Their fans' anger could be the beginning of a beautiful rivalry...
12th Big 10 Team
I was planning on simply responding to Seth 9’s diary, but this became way too long.
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With Barry Alvarez openly saying that the Big 10 is serious about adding a twelfth team, it is an interesting exercise to try and determine which team the Big 10 would add, given various constraints that either do or supposedly exist. I did some extensive searching, and could not the find Big 10 bylaws, so we have to go off what the greater internets tell us is the truth. There are two constraints I’ve seen thrown out:
1. Membership in the American Association of Universities (AAU)
2. Located in a state already in the Big 10 footprint or adjacent to the Big 10 footprint.
Assuming the bylaws won’t be changed and no one is added to the AAU, here are schools that meet both criteria (and play Div 1-A athletics:
<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Iowa State
The little bit of research I’ve done does not suggest that entering the AAU is as easy as those of us interested in Notre Dame might think, although Notre Dame has improved markedly in academics and would definitely meet the Big 10’s general criteria of a strong academic institution. That said, Notre Dame is clearly the obvious choice should NBC decide not to renew their TV contract in 2015. If the Big 10 were desperate enough, the Big 10 and Fox Sports could make an exception and let Notre Dame keep the TV deal for its home games.
The general assumption is that the Big 10 is interested in expanding solely to create a football Championship Game, with the goals of added revenue and increased national exposure after Thanksgiving. I believe that better basketball and non-revenue sports are secondary, but desired. To me, this means that the ideal candidate has a strong football program, a TV market without a Big 10 team, and strong recruiting base.
The base criteria—specifically football strength allows us to pare down the list to something like this, give or take a Syracuse:
Personally, out of those six teams, four are in good to excellent situations right now. I firmly believe that leaving the Big 12 would hurt Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska. Their recruiting base is primarily Kansas south into Texas and only Nebraska even comes close to being a true national recruiter. Losing TV exposure in Texas would leave those schools with small local populations and a difficult road to hoe trying to pry athletes from Texas. Plus, TCU would likely be the school the Big 12 would add, which is a better choice for a BCS conference level Texas recruit—further diluting those schools’ recruiting bases. The Big 10 simply doesn’t have that great of an offer for a Big 12 team. Leaving a goliath conference with guaranteed schedules and a championship game for another goliath, etc isn’t a great sales pitch.
Maryland is in a similar boat, and really doesn’t have much in the way of historical ties to the Big 10. However, I see Maryland as a stronger option for the Big 10 than the Big 12 teams simply because their membership means more exposure in the fertile Maryland/DC recruiting region.
Like Seth 9, I see Pitt as a very strong candidate that the Big 10 has something to offer. The Big East has relatively little exposure nationally, no championship game, and only eight teams. Big East teams have to schedule five non-conference games and have a crappy TV deal. The Big Ten can offer eight conference games and a great TV deal, plus Ohio recruiting. Pitt provides the Big 10 with a (relatively) strong football team, good basketball team, and the Pittsburgh/Philly market. Win/Win situation.
Rutgers also has a lot to provide the Big 10, minus the strong basketball. Furthermore, it expands the conference footprint into New Jersey/New York, which would be great for recruiting and TV dollars. The Big 10 offers Rutgers better TV, a championship game, and Big 10 footprint recruiting—which combined with New Jersey and New York gives the Big 10 a much stronger recruiting base. To me, Rutgers is the best choice given the above constraints.
How would this break down into divisions? Let’s assume that the Big 10 decides to operate like the SEC and guarantee one cross division game per year and three rotating games with five games in each division. Like Seth 9, the East-West Divisions would break down like this (substituting Rutgers for Pitt):
This division breakdown does not have much parity, so the North/South is probably better, and might look like this:
To me, this works better parity-wise. Michigan would still play Ohio State, Iowa could still play Minnesota, and Penn State could keep its huge rivalry with Little Brother alive. Unfortunately, splitting Michigan and Ohio State up likely means moving the game to earlier in the season to prevent likely championship game rematches the next week.
There are tons of better teams out there that might be swayed by Big 10 TV money or other factors. Texas would be great for the Big 10, but would never happen ina million-billion years. Personally, I’d like to see us gain a foothold in the south by stealing Vanderbilt or Kentucky from the SEC. Unfortunately, like the Big 12 and ACC teams, the Big 10 doesn’t have much to offer.
ed: Response to comments about the importance of TV markets in today's hyper-media age.
The New York TV market is the largest market in the country. According to a blatently pro-cable study (http://www.arbitron.com/downloads/cabletvstudy.pdf), about 61% of Americans have cable TV in their home. If anything, a blatently pro-cable study is going to guess high, IMO. According to the census, about 7% of Americans don't watch TV. This leaves about 32% of Americans without cable TV. Assuming those numbers are relatively constant across the United States, this means that several million people in New York/New Jersey don't have cable.
Adding Rutgers means ABC would likely televise a Big 10 game in New York during a time slot with an ACC game (Boston College vs. Virgina Tech) and a Big 10 game (Michigan vs. Iowa). If even a couple percent of those people tune in with their digital TV converter box, that is a few hundred thousand extra viewers, which means more money, etc.
Here are two threads on Scout (free board) with Husker fans discussing a possible move to the Big Ten. I get the feeling they have had these discussions numerous times.
The biggest problem is that any reasonable football division alignment is unbalanced. In the North-South breakdown proposed above, the South teams have a much tougher road to the championship. For instance, had that alignment existed this year, the Big Ten championship would have been OSU vs. Wisconsin, leaving two teams better than the Badgers (Iowa and Penn State) out of it.
As a Michigan fan, I wouldn't mind being in the easier North division, but it's not fair to the conference. Also, assuming (as all of us do) that Michigan becomes a perennial contender again, the championship game could quite frequently be a Wolverine-Buckeye rematch.
If it does happen, I think a Big East or ACC team is the most likely candidate. I don't see how any Big 12 team benefits from a switch to the Big Ten. Among Big East teams, Pitt makes the most sense geographically. Rutgers would extend the Big Ten's footprint, but bear in mind that many of the non-revenue sports teams frequently take buses to opposing meets. It's a long ride from Madison, Wisconsin to Piscataway, New Jersey.
Just switch the expansion team and Iowa.
Historically, it would usually be Michigan v. Ohio State... Michigan being on an extreme lull and Iowa playing out of their minds are not typical.
I would like to look at that break down and see if it balanced by conference championships or rose bowl appearances.
North Rose bowls = South Rose Bowls?
North Conference Champs = South Conference Champs
I know it would be weighted because of Penn State only being there for 11 years, but I have a feeling those divisions are fairly balanced historically.
I wouldn't get too caught up by using geography as a criteria for aligning the divisions. Since it's a conference, it's almost defacto that the schools share a geography. In this case, all schools except Iowa border a Great Lake. That's close enough.
I'd be more focused on parity and preserving rivalries. The Big Ten, if nothing else, is about tradition. You can call the divisions anything you want......
This gives Penn State a natural rival (Pittsburgh) and preserves The Little Brown Jug, Old Oaken Bucket, Floyd Of Rosedale, Paul Bunyan Trophy.....everything except the Land Grant Trophy (don't care) and the Land of Lincoln Trophy (care even less).
Edit: Oops....I messed the Little Brown Jug. Need to review again.
Personally, I'd like to see OSU and UM on the same side, playing the last game of the season. It all comes back to that pesky tradition. That means that they won't be playing each other in the Championship game. It also ensures that they won't play twice in a season which I don't think would be a good thing. The winner of The Game gets all of the glory for the season (or in OSU's case, the past six seasons). No need for a re-match (unless it comes in MNC game).
I really don't see teams leaving the ACC or Big 12 so that pretty much leaves ND and the Big East as the most likely targets. At this point, screw ND. I think that leaves Pittsburgh as the most likely candidate. PSU is dying for a rival (and MSU just doesn't cut it). Pittsburgh has the potential to be a solid football program and might even throw in a Final Four or two for basketball.
It'll be interesting to see how this whole thing plays out.