Calling it now: Jim Delaney is going to come up and say we have no plans for expansion in the most curmudgeon way possible.
Holy Crap: Big Ten Expansion For Serious
I got a couple requests in the inbox for a take on Big Ten expansion after Barry Alvarez made a comment the other day about the Big Ten adding that elusive twelfth team. On the assumption that Alvarez was just making an idle statement and expansion was a distant possibility at best, I was going to dig up the post I made two years ago detailing pros and cons of various candidate schools and leave it at that.
But it appears that Alvarez was not just idly speculating:
It has been 19 years since the Big Ten expanded to 11 teams, and it appears the conference is ready to seriously explore moving to an even dozen.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany was expected to release a statement later Tuesday to say the conference is ready to consider the addition of a 12th team.
That would be in about half an hour. It's time to update the above list, which I am in the process of doing right now.
And even if he doesn't, it is much more important to ask whether this is actually a good idea for Michigan and the Big 10 rather than just mindlessly supporting it.
"The league will announce that expansion is now a front-burner issue, though there are no guarantees a 12th member will be added."
"The expansion examination is expected to take 12 to 18 months, at which time a recommendation may or may not be made."
I don't believe it.
I'm hoping otherwise, FA. This league needs a 12th team and a championship game unless the league decides to implement a schedule where a team plays the other 10 members in the league, which will never happen because of cupcakes, need for certain number of home games, etc..
West Fuckin' Virginia
PROs: Darling of the moment with Rich Rodriguez staying, and if he turns down 'Bama's millions he's probably in for the long haul. Will have a good, if sleazy, basketball team with Huggins around.
"Rich in for the long haul" lol Funny how MUCH things change in 3 years
"CONs: Isn't WVU a really crap school? Huggins should be a net negative. Football program has strong flash-in-the-pan characteristics."
"Football program has strong flash-in-the-pan characteristics."
what would they name the conference? It would be really difficult to keep using Big Ten, nor would it really make any sense. MidWest Conference? Central Conference?
that about says it.
Great North or Big North Conference.
I've always kind of liked the idea of calling it the Western Conference, since that the original name of the conference.
This would be the best imo. While everyone else in the country might go "LOLURNOTWEST", it would be sticking with tradition, and spartys and tosu fans with zero hindsight would no longer be able to whine about our fight song.
Maybe this is the new programming the BTN was going to use to fill up its winter slots
"This year, on Big Ten Network, come watch as 4 high performing academic institutions vie for inclusion into the most prestigous college conference in the country... welcome to
BIG TEN IDOL!"
Simon Cowell: "I'm sorry Pitt but your mascot is atrocious! I mean look at it! Is it a panther? A tabby cat? What in the bloody hell is it?"
Randy Jackson: "Word up Dawg.... you know, Boeheim, you're my dawg right? But you gotta bring more flava to the outfit, you dig? How about something with sequins and a possible fringe on the sleeve? WOOF WOOF WOOF"
Jim Delaney: "Um, yes, can you recite to me your graduation rates and percentage of student athletes to tenured professors?"
Simon: "Jim, are you daft? You're talking to the Chancellor of Mizzouri on national TELEVISION! Are you taking Paula's meds? I just don't think you're taking this seriously at all!"
How about instead of stealing just their Basketball and Football coach, we steal the whole school!...er from the Big East.
In all seriousness: Pitt is the most logical for all the reasons that have been already discussed on the boards.
Will the conference finally change the name?
Or will it still be the Big Ten? And if so, how will it incorporate a 12 into the logo like it incorporated an 11 before?
I know someone on the board can come up with better names.
My suggestions from the simalar topic on the board:
The Extra Large Dozen?
The Bigger Than You 12?
The Big Ten Plus Still Larger Than Average 2?
The Bigger 12
Take that, smaller, more rural 12!
Be careful about copying - anything with Midwest sounds like the MAC and Great Lakes makes us sound like the GLIAC - Grand Valley, et al's conference
or great lakes conference reminds me of a FCS conference that would have bemidji or grand valley or north dakota st or something. i think it needs to be the big _____. big north seems reasonable but i'd prefer ti stay the big10
Dr Shredder.. MsPaint in exam room 3...
Nebraska would be cool.
Nebraska would make for a great permanent rivalry with Michigan and Iowa.
I think we can get the Big Ten officials to ignore the benefits (increased revenue from a title game, larger footprint, etc) in favor of a game that has only lived up to it's billing once in the last several years.
Well played sir.
Lincoln is not a bad city as cities in the middle of nowhere go, and the stadium is terrific. But....how big is their TV market? Have you ever driven through Nebraska? Nebraska makes Iowa seem palatable. I have lived my life under the mistaken assumption that when I drive from Ann Arbor to Colorado, God put Nebraska in the way to make you appreciate the majesty of the Rockies more than you would otherwise do so.
Then, there is the issue of academics. The academic ranking of Nebraska is far below any other school in the Big Ten.
Florida-FSU and Auburn-Alabama still work.
The Big Ten HAS TO do this. And, really, the 12th team HAS TO be Notre Dame. Even if it comes down to a boycott or an act of Congress, as ridiculous as that sounds. It just makes too much sense.
All BCS conferences should expand to 12 or 14 teams. The remaining schools and conferences get relegated to the FCS, with a chance to "move up" to the FBS every few years (not unlike soccer in the UK). You cannot put together a playoff in a league with 122 teams. It is impossible. Half of those 122 have absolutely no chance of competing, anyway.
in a 12th member school is that we DO NOT lower the academic bar that is currently set. That doesn't mean we have to *raise* the bar (e.g. Vanderbilt), it just means that we absolutely DO NOT lower the bar (e.g. Cincinnati).
A couple of generations of family members have attended Michigan. We are all football fanatics. However, while Michigan's football program was no small part of the decision making process when selecting colleges, the difference maker was the quality of the academics that U of M brought to the table.
There are a huge number of advantages to having a 12th school and a playoff game. It would increase TV markets, give additional exposure and practice and gasmes later in the season, make it easier to recruit, etc., etc.
However, I would not even consider a university which did not have academics at least as strong as mid-level Big Ten teams. Among the schools which seem possible fits, ND would be my first choice, followed by Pitt. Pitt's academics are ranked by US News ahead of Purdue, Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana and MSU. Pittsburgh, in case you haven't been there lately, has become a decent city. They don't have their own stadium, but you could get about 70,000 fans into Heinz Field.
Here is the link to US News' public universities and their academic ranking:
If the B10 goes to 12 teams, you have to imagine they'd move towards a championship game, right?
If so, that would mean that the B12, B10, SEC, ACC all have championship games. Would the Pac10 and Big East follow suit?
Addressing in reverse order: no way would the Big East be able to do it. Remember, you must have at least 12 teams to schedule a championship game.
And the Big East has 16.
We don't think of it that way in football season because they don't all play football (or they play in their own yard because they're special), but they do have 16 members. The schools that aren't full members are a) Notre Dame, b) I-AA schools who aren't in a position to move up, or c) not even close to DI football. So they can't have a championship game.
The Pac-10? Well, it might make sense for them to add a couple of teams (BYU and Utah? Nevada and UNLV? TCU and Boise State?), but I don't know if it would fit with how the conference is structured (academics, non-revenue sports, etc.). The one advantage they'd have is that they would be able to draw just about anyone they'd want, I'd guess.
I'm pretty sure I like it the way it is at present. Adding another team would make us the Big 12 part two, and this conference already gets enough shit because it can not count. They would have to change the name if this ever became reality.
the Baker's 10.
if they add a team, they could split into two divisions of 6 named "Big 5" and "Big 7".
Cincinnati is a lot more attractive than they were 3 years ago. Mick Cronin has turned the basketball team into respectable again (a Top 25 ranking) and obviously football matters now. They are geographically close to most of the conference and provide a natural rival to Ohio State...believe me it's intense in the Nati and the OSU fans absolutely hate UC and their bUCkeye state shirts. Academics are probably on par with MSU and OSU. The school has some very highly regarded programs but the general education is kind of weak. Facilities are weak. Fifth Third Arena/Shoemaker Center is old and they haven't filled it in recent years and Nippert Stadium is old, crammed together, very fan unfriendly, and only holds 35,000. They do have plans to renovate it and add a practice bubble field. It's an interesting case.
Sorry, but Cinci is an academic backwater compared to every Big 10 school (yes, even lil' brother). U.S. News and World Report classifies them as "Tier 3." This means they rank beneath most (if not all) of the SEC and a few MAC schools. Aside: That report may not be perfect, but it probably doesn't miss by much.
This assumes that academic reputation should be the most important measure. I'd certainly lean that way.
By that measure, the only schools cited that make any sense are ND, Rutgers, Pitt, and Syracuse. Missouri, Iowa State, and (especially) Louisville don't make the cut.
also, brian, did you forget about daylight savings or something?
I've always liked the "Big Ten" as a name- even though we do have 11 teams as we all know.
If we add a 12th, what about the Great Lakes Conference?
That's decent- or we can just keep the name.
All I know is that we better get two separate divisions and a Championship game out of this.
if it's not ND, and it probably won't be, it has to be Pitt.
No one else makes a whole lot of sense... either due to geography or not being good enough.
Also, I like keeping the Big Ten name, or Midwest (or Midwestern) Conference.
If we add a 12th team- we've got to change the name- you would think right?
What about the Great Lakes Conference?
That'll do- I hope
Top 3 Twelfth teams: Rutgers, Syracuse, Nebraska
Bottom 3 Twelfth teams: West F***in Virginia, Pitt, and Louisville
There are already a few conferences with 'Great Lakes' in the name (Great Lakes Valley Conference, Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, Great Lakes Football Conference).
I don't think the name would have to change. Calling an 11-team conference "Big Ten" is no less weird than calling a 12-team conference "Big Ten".
I think we need a school that can compare in famous alumni, so that their videos on BTN during games won't look subpar. That is obviously the best way to pick.
Let's look at the candidates:
Pitt: Most Famous Alumni: Mike Ditka
Tagline in the 'Gerald Ford Spoke of World Peace' commercial: "Mike Ditka Coached Da Bears"
Iowa State: Most Famous Alumni: George Washington Carver
Tagline: "George Washington Carver invented Peanut Butter"
Syracuse: Most Famous Alumni: Jim Brown
Tagline: "Jim Brown ran through people"
Rutgers: Most Famous Alumni: Charles Molnar
Tagline: "Charles Molnar defined personal computing"
Am I missing anyone?
I realize you were being (at least somewhat) humorous in selecting these, but it raises a good question about who the most famous alumni of these schools would be. Pitt definitely has quite a few that would be right up there: Andrew Mellon, Ditka, Ron Paul, Tony Dorsett, Cyril Wecht, Gene Kelly, and Dan Marino, just to name a few.
What about Missouri? I don't know much about their academics in general, but their journalism school is tops along with Northwestern. I guess poaching a Big 12 school is gonna be harder than a Big East school. Pitt wouldn't be a bad option either. No to Cincy, WVU, Syracuse, and Rutgers. Well, I guess I'd consider Syracuse, but no way they're coming b/c of bball.
Believe it or not, it may not be as hard to pull a Big 12 North team as you might think. From a university standpoint, the Big Ten is simply a more prestigious collection of schools. From a sports standpoint, the Big Ten's media contracts are better and far more lucrative, and the Big 12 North kinda sucks. A Nebraska friend of mine said that the Nebraska boards seem to largely be in favor of a move if it was offered.
I think that Pitt will be the first choice for the 12th team.
Unless Notre Dame realizes this is their last chance to join and changes their minds. But that would surprise me -- they are just too proud of their national, independent, prima donna status.
Pitt is a better fit anyway, IMHO. They are a public university with a substantial endowment, more than twice that of any of the other candidates (not counting ND). They play in a professional stadium with all the amenities. There is a bitter in-state rivalry with PSU. I don't know if they play hockey, but no question they could quickly establish a program in that town.
Another thing -- there is going to be a lot of discussion about divisions, but there really is only one way to do that. I argued this in Zone Left's diary, but I'm going to repeat it here, while adding to the rant:
EAST: Pittsburgh, PSU, OSU, Michigan, MSU, Northwestern
This division's champion is a media darling on par with the Big 12 South's or the SEC favorite. That increases the chance of the BIg Ten champ making the BCS championship game in years where there are more than two obvious choices -- better strength of schedule in the computers, better prejudices amongst the voters.
WEST: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Purdue
This makes sense geographically. College football is about traditional, geographic rivalries. One of the reasons the ACC can't get any traction in football is their divisions make no sense geographically. In a misguided attempt to create parity, they have Florida State and Miami in separate divisions. Also North Carolina and North Carolina State. Georgia Tech and Clemson, also natural rivals, also separated. Maryland is separated from Virginia. It's just stupid, stupid, stupid.
"I don't know if they play hockey, but no question they could quickly establish a program in that town."
They don't have an NCAA-level program, but the potential is probably there to add another D-1 hockey program in the city. The biggest obstacle would probably be a suitable rink, as the only option at the current time would be the Consol Energy Center (the new arena for the Penguins) and building one in Oakland near campus would be difficult.