I asked Brian to delete the other one. It should be gone soon.
In the doldrums of the offseason, a lot of interest was generated over the prospect of adding another team to the Big Ten. Recently, the SEC and the Big XII have experienced success after picking apart the old SWC, and the ACC raided the Big East for some of the top teams of the conference. The Big Ten experienced more success after adding Penn State, and the question was ultimately raised whether a new member would be wanted in the conference, and whether or not this would help shore up the Big Ten's image and if it would help the conference in the long run. Delany has said "no thanks," but it seems that most coaches want the expansion.
What teams would there be is the critical question pertaining to this discussion. A few basic parameters should be set:
The university must be in a BCS conference. There are no teams in the region with the success that the western mid-majors had.
The university should be within reasonable geographic location.
This leaves the only candidates (alphabetically): Boston College, Cincinnati, Iowa State, Louisville, Maryland, Missouri, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, and West Virginia.
We can eliminate Notre Dame because it has not expressed desire to be in the Big Ten. It would be a lateral move for Missouri from the Big XII (maybe even a step down) and they'd lose all of their history and rivalries nonetheless (no, Illinois does not contribute.) We can eliminate Iowa State because they historically have been a bottom-dweller in football and basketball. Maryland can be eliminated as well for similar reasons to Missouri. Boston College moved conferences just recently so a pretty nonsensical situation. Cincinnati would not add a larger T.V. market, and this move is not big enough move for the conference to make. Louisville is similar.
That leaves: Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse and West Virginia.
This would be a great move for the conference to make, it's a school with good academics, it brings in a good media market for the T.V. network, they have a traditional rivalry with Penn State, and they'd help the Big Ten in football and basketball prestige. Step up for them.
Also a pretty popular choice. it would give a pipeline to the New York/New Jersey viewing area, it’s a big school, and the school is up-and-coming in football. Basketball is another matter, but this would be a huge move for them and the conference, as it would move them into the big time.
A decent choice, they'd be an instant credibility boost in basketball, and football would be... iffy. Big market, good tradition compared to the nouveau riche Rutgers, and very similar to Pitt. They'd also be rivals with Penn State should the move happen. It is a good choice academically.
They'd be an instant rival with Michigan... kind of. Not a phenomenal school or a very large one, but they've had success lately on the playing field (thanks to Rodriguez). Basketball is fine, but the media market would not be great.
Overall, I'd choose Pitt; the move is the best for the school and the conference.
Financially, expansion would help the Big Ten Network gain a much larger viewing area, generate more interest and revenue with a conference championship game (Detroit and Indianapolis would be perfect locations geographically, as well as top-notch stadiums.) The new team would potentially bring in more revenue into the conference with bowl game appearances; and the money would definitely help the conference. Really, there is not a financial reason that would seriously inhibit the Big Ten from adding a twelfth member.
A major question arose over the divisional setup or even if there shouldn't be any divisions and keep the current round robin system that misses two teams per year and add another conference game. 9 conference games in a year has really hurt the PAC-10; the teams lose revenue with the loss of a 1-AA (MAC, mid-major whatever) and a home game every two years, replacing this with a conference road game (which makes it harder to become bowl-eligible too.) A round-robin would not be the smartest idea; it hasn't worked out well for most of the teams in the PAC-10 (who all have to play USC every year) and it probably would not benefit anyone in the Big Ten either, the middling to lower-echelon teams would possibly get another loss making it harder to become bowl eligible, and the powers that be would lose tons of revenue by playing a maximum of 7 games at home every other year.
No clear-cut conference divisional alignment makes total sense if it is just a clear-cut round-robin. The major rivalries in-state and out west cannot be kept this way. I’ve worked out the solution and a geographical divisional alignment is easily produced (avoiding the messy ACC.) The caveat is a SEC-type ‘permanent rival’ from the other division so one team plays a team in the other division every year to uphold historic rivalries.
It would look like:
Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, and Pittsburgh
Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, and Wisconsin
The permanent rivals would be: Indiana-Purdue (obviously), Michigan-Minnesota (Little Brown Jug), Ohio State-Illinois (Illibuck), and Michigan State-Wisconsin, Penn Sate-Iowa, and Pittsburgh-Northwestern (the final three may be rearranged).
A sample schedule for Michigan would be all of their divisional teams (Indiana home, MSU away, OSU home, PSU away, and Pitt home), Minnesota away, and Wisconsin at home and Northwestern away. The next year would be the same but all of the games would be flipped home/away. Then Wisconsin would be replaced with Purdue and Northwestern with Iowa or something.
EDIT: In response to those who seem to want Missouri for whatever reason, the division alignment would look something like this:
Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, and Purdue
Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Northwestern, and Wisconsin
Permanent rivals: Michigan-Minnesota, Ohio State-Illinois, Northwestern-Indiana, Penn State-Missouri, Michigan State-Wisconsin, and Purdue-Iowa.
I just have issues with further expansion of the conference, though the suggestions you make here are all quite sound.
Issues I see with Pittsburg include:
Would Penn State be happy with that? Rivalries are all well and good, but I don't think Penn State has anything to fear from Pittsburg on the recruiting trail right now. Bring Pitt to the Big 10, and that might change.
Is Pitt up for it? Right now, they're pretty sound successes in their conference. A move to the Big 10 would likely entail at least a few years as whipping boy. This isn't necessarily true, but there's a chance. There's no denying they'd have to build up their program some.
Which brings up the last concern. Big 10 teams are money makers, but I would venture they also cost more to set up the first place. Pitt might need to upgrade facilities, update university practices to match with Big 10 requirements, hire new staff, and/or make many other changes. Can they/Do they want to afford it?
If the conference were to get another member, I think a lot of people agree Pitt is the best option (I also like Rutgers for it), but I just don't care for the idea in the first place, I guess.
I guess that a determinant in my choice was that Pitt is ready for it compared to the other three. They have an NFL-tested staff, an NFL stadium, and a pretty good team (IMO). They might not want to leave, but Penn State wants them here. JoePa brought up the idea originally and he has a grudge against Pitt. He wanted to form an Eastern Conference but Pitt didn't want any part of it. Penn State just gave up and entered the Big Ten after the Big East gained Pitt. I have a feeling that PSU wants Pitt or a competitor out east or the idea would have never came up (from Paterno).
And your work is fine, excepting the huge strength disparity in your divisional breakdown.
But if the Big Ten's new team "has" to come from the Big East or the, gulp, MAC--then there really is no need to expand. That is what I would call "settling"--and bowing to pressure to expand just for the television companies and the extra bucks of a championship game.
No, there are other candidates out there--and who knows, in this economy, Notre Dame just might be tempted when their current TV contract expires.
well considering the big ten teams are all mostly from the midwest and the mac and big east teams are the only conferences close enough, we don't have many more options besides those.
As mentioned, it was Penn State who first broached the idea of Pitt joining. And all their facilities are top notch.
I guess I didn't realize they thought Pitt was the school. Just that they supported expansion.
Okay, well that's ONE off then.
So you're saying that the team has to be from the Big East?
yeah pretty much.
Or the MAC...
what would they call the conference since theres already a big XII? would it be the big 12 with no roman numerals? lol
It would remain the Big 10. You don't ditch that brand name.
Excepting Notre Dame, of course:
Pitt All the things you mentioned plus it provides an in between for Penn State and Ohio State, non-rev sport kids would appreciate it. The Pittsburgh media market covers Penn State, but not as much as they do Pitt and WVU. Pitt has history, 9 national titles and a Heisman winner. Academically, they'd fit perfectly into the middle of the Big Ten.
Syracuse The perfect "Meh" candidate. Once upon a time, they could sell out Giants Stadium in football, but the days of being NYC's go to college team seem over for now. They do have some penetration into the Buffalo market. They make a nice rival for PSU. Basketball is a major plus. I'd say it's a solid choice.
Rutgers The worst choice of all. Academics are the only fit. Like three hours away from PSU, nobody in New York cares. Flash in the pan. Please no.
Missouri Perfect in all but academics. Provides the entire St Louis market and a large portion of the KC market. A lot of discontent in the Big 12 North, might be willing to move if they can keep game with Kansas. Academics hurt, but still AAU members. Good choice.
WVU Bad academics, only a marginal draw in Pittsburgh. Bad overall candidate.
Louisville The market is bigger than people think, but academics are a major setback. Program too new to the BCS, probably. Facilities might need upgrading. Probably a no.
Cincinnati Another Ohio team would be nice, but bad academics and a 35,000 seat football stadium are nonstarters. No.
Nebraska Never going to happen. Less likely than Notre Dame.
Iowa State Ugh.
MAC schools Only Miami makes much sense.
Overall, I happily accept Pitt with Missouri and Syracuse as my fallbacks.
Agree with you on the divisions... but on stadiums, I'd like to see it rotate between Ford Field and Soldier Field so each division hosts one year.
I agree with the first three but I'm sure that Missouri would probably just say "thanks but no thanks".
Miami makes no sense whatsoever, and I liked Louisville for a while, but they're an up-and-coming program that is stalled. They need a new coach and better players to be successful, and they really don't fit into the conference, but the Big Ten would move south.
Lucas Oil stadium is as nice as Ford Field, and Soldier Field would be fine in my book too.
Miami is ranked 66th in the country by USNWR and they've historically been better at revenue sports than Northwestern. As for Louisville, the city is actually considered to be Midwestern by many residents. It's only a couple hours from Indiana.
Mizzou would consider it. The Big 12 North gets shafted by the lack of revenue and the lack of a solid TV deal.
Miami is very bad at football and at basketball. Their coaching staff, facilities, stadium, and talent level are all way behind the Big Ten.
And as for Missouri, I'm sure they'd consider the deal but ultimately they'd decide to stay put. The university presidents would nix the deal when they consider how bad of an academic institution Missouri is anyways.
Lately, yes. But since 1979 (arbitrary number) they're better than 6 teams in the Big Ten according to Stassen. The basketball team is competitive, with 17 NCAA appearances most recently in 2005. I agree they lack the facilities.
I agree on Missouri, their great grad programs couldn't save them... they're not CIC material.
Since 1979 they have played in the MAC. I would like to see their Big Ten record in the last 30 years and see how this compares to those six teams.
Miami is 4-20 over that time. My only point was they're historically better than Northwestern... who all of their wins via the Big 10 have come against.
They are better than Northwestern (historically). Fine. That really sucks for the Wildcats.
As the (so far as I can tell) only Northwestern fan in these parts, I'm obliged to respond. Yes, NU sucks historically, but for the past 15 or so years not so much. Two shared Big Ten Championships, a nine win season a year ago, some ups and downs between them, it's true we're no OSU... But in that time we're better than Minny, Purdue, Indiana, Illinois, and all of the MAC. Just wait until Kafka makes a name for himself this year. What? He has?
Louisville is about 60 seconds from Indiana. Cross the I-65 bridge over the Ohio River and you're in Jeffersonville, IN. It's a couple hours from Indianapolis and only about 20 miles longer to drive from Ann Arbor than is Bloomington, IN.
That said, still not a great candidate for academic reasons.
I don't think the academics at Cincinnati are any worse than they are at ohio state.
They ran off the last university president who wanted to make the university into a respectable institution for education and hired gordon gee back. I wouldn't be surprised to see him disband the university so they could focus on athletics instead.
They're an open enrollment university. That pretty much automatically precludes high end education.
That being said, I go to Cinci now in a highly ranked graduate program so I may have a little bias.
Actually, neither are open enrollment (nor does that preclude a quality education, but way to be a douche) and Ohio State is a very good university, certainly a much better one than Cincy who isn't even in the same tier as Ohio State.
is lacking. Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan all in the same division? To imagine a conference title game that would only include, at most, one of those three teams seems unworkable.
I disagree. Iowa beat Penn State this year, after all. Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa are both often on par with the Big Three.
Last year. How often does that happen.
And not too long ago, Illinois was a cellar dweller perennially. Like 5 years ago, probably.
Wisconsin did well under Alvarez, but it looks like the ship may be sliding back under the waves under bielma.
I would say that the power in the Big 10 is still pretty well stratified. M, OSU, PSU at the top, most other teams in the middle, IU MINN(historically) at the bottom.
It's football, any given Saturday.
Here are their average finishes in the Big Ten since 1993* (I chose to go back that far because the site I was using went back that far...):
Illinois finished in eleventh place 5 of the 16 years, and as recently as 2006.
*For their Big Ten rank, I used only conference games, and no tie-breakers, so there were years that there were multiple 1st place teams.
would end up a lot like the Big 12 South relative to the north.*
I think this is the toughest part of the 12th school argument. Dividing up the teams in a way that makes sense geographically and WRT travel and is also relatively fair is just a tough task...
* Recently - obviously things change over time, but it seems like this would create a lopsided conference for football purposes.
I think it's a non-issue considering the success the Big XII is having.
There's some logic hidden in there.
If you split up UM-PSU-OSU, putting one of them into the other division, you almost ensure them winning that division on a yearly basis. That might seem kind of unfair to the other teams in the proposed division, and they might nix it.
On the other hand, putting UM, OSU and PSU in the same division ensures no one team will dominate either division, so you have a rotation. Hell, with Dantonio ruling the world by Mondya next, MSU could be in that rotation as well. And the other teams in the Putz Division? They get to hoist the banner of "Big Ten Putz Division Champions"--and it would prolly rotate pretty well among them. They'd be happy. And they'd get killed in the championship game...right?
Interesting, this is getting!
I'd be stunned if Missouri said no. The Big Ten's TV contracts are way more lucrative than the Big 12's (they're buried on FSN much of the time), and would be even moreso if we get a conference title game. We're also a vastly better conference academically and they would surely love to be members of the CIC. Any holdup would be at our end, not theirs.
The Big 12 was working on new contracts--but the recent deal between ESPN and the SEC might make the Big 12 appealing to CBS to replace the SEC package they had. The BIg 12 might be looking a lil better in terms of TV deals right about now.
If they have a "traditional" rivalry with Penn State, how's come they don't dance anymore? Pitt opens up no one's eyes as a candidate to increase awareness or national appeal. Sorry, they bore to tears. They have sucked for an eternity. They are not on the verge of anything good. Wanstedt has proven nothing as a coach.
Opens up a TV market that is decidedly NOT very interested in college football. New Jersey and New York are huge basketball markets. But, Rutgers basketball is poop. And Rutgers football, thank God almighty, is coached by Gerg Schiano STILL.
**The "recruiting" angle doesn't wash with these two schools. The BIg Ten has national recruiting presences in Michigan, OSU, Penn State, and to an extent, Illinois now with The Zooker. To argue that Pitt or Rutgers open up new recruiting frontiers is misguided, I think.
OK, you get a notch up with basketball, I guess...I kind of think of Jim Boeheim as the Lloyd Carr of basketball coaches. And he is about as old as Joe Paterno, won't be there a whole lot longer. And to call their football hopes "iffy" is to call Mark Dantonio the next Jim Carrey. Syracuse would falt out be an absolute SUCK of a choice, and I think deep down we all really do know that.
I am sure this possibility exists ONLY in the minds of message board posters. It would not be a "rivalry" with WVU (and really, does UM NEED another "rivalry" game?)--it would be a war. I think the term English Soccer Riots would be an understated way to put how this thing could turn out. UM's vote on WVU? Uh, I'll let you guess which way they'd go.
I believe no one outside of Happy Valley thinks of Pitt as a viable candidate. I do not think that would please the Big Ten Network, either. And any other candidate not named Notre Dame won't get a sniff, wiff, or make a diff no matter who feels what for quite some time.
They don't play anymore because Penn State has been unwilling to waste a precious OCC game on a home and home serious with a team that's as good as what they face in conference. PSU also gave up their rivalries with Maryland, Notre Dame and WVU upon joining the conference. I think you're wrong about pretty much everything and uninformed about pretty much everything.
And the fact that no one has been invited into the conference since Penn State and Notre Dame a few years back is proof of that.
I can understand PSU giving up those other rivalries, but a rivalry with in-state importance and recruiting at stake?
Either way, I can concede that Pitt makes sense logistically as well as giving JoePa what he wants, but anyone who thinks Pitt adds some allure to the Big Ten is simply off base, IMO.
And let's be real: the other schools mentioned by the OP are really not ever going to be conisidered for a nanosecond.
The lack of an invitation does not mean it's not going to happen. The BTN didn't exist until two years ago, that changed everything. The entire landscape of college football has changed very quickly and the Big Ten is on the verge of being on the outside looking in when more changes come. I don't think if our media deals expired today that we could get SEC money. And that's worrying to the conference because we've forever been the measuring stick.
Another factor is that Delany is afraid of change. He wasn't commissioner when negotiations with Penn State were begun, and while he did nothing to stop them once he was in charge you get the sense he doesn't like to shake things up. I think the offer to Notre Dame was an attempt to be ahead of the curve... it wasn't needed at the time but it was worth a chance. Pretty soon it will be necessary.
And when it becomes a necessity, you have to take what you can get. Obviously we all want Notre Dame. And they will be begged and offered as much as we can possibly give... Hell, we might even say "Join is in football, stay in the Big East for everything else". But trust me, that's the top priority. Other than them it's pretty much Pitt, Mizzou and a whole lot of "meh". We might as well accept this and pray to Touchdown Jesus that Notre Dame finally takes the hint that NBC provided by getting golf, tennis, the Olympics, the NHL and the NFL (ie, the big paydays are over) and joins up.
I've been saying all along that it's pretty much Notre Dame and no one else.
I kind of like Jim Delaney's approach. Why tempt the watering down of established conference rivalries with "meh" candidates like Pitt or any other Big East, or especially lame MAC team? Who knows, maybe Delaney's patience with Notre Dame will pay off. I also have to believe that Notre Dame really doesn't see a chance in Hamtramck as a basketball entity in the Big East. Last year's midseason swoon where they were kicked around like one of my dogs* during football season should have shown them the futility in that part of their conference affiliation.
And I definitely understand where you are coming from with the Big Ten Network and all the MO-NAY to be made with a 12th team and a conference champship game. THAT is exactly why I harp on the Big Ten going beyond provincial thinking and bringing in a 12th team with the idea that it has to be somebody in the backyard or neighborhood.
Get ahead of the curve, I say. make a splash. Once this is done, it's done. The only way I can give my approval to Pitt is if Penn State is unhappy in the conference and needs their own little brother to noogie and wedgie around a bit. Other than that, if they are happy in the Big Ten and show no signs of wanting out, then fuck Pitt. Pitt's a snoozer. They are Ugly Betty. The Big Ten needs Beyonce.
*Edit: No dogs were harmed during the making of this post, nor were they harmed during last football season. That was just for laughs. I would never kick a dog unless he was in the same room as me. I do not own a dog or dogs.
Nebraska would never join the Big Ten in a billion kajillion years.
I am in deep discussions with Husker fans in an attempt to shed some light on the fact that there is NO love for the Big 12--certainly not nearly as much as you believe.
Nebraska has NO rivals, no consistent games of interest and import in the conference. They have been left out in the cold. They need a new home, and they are open to the possibilities of greatness that a new and improved Big Ten would offer them.
I think that you're discounting the decades of tradition, history, and rivalries in the Big 8 also. Maybe the recent downfall of the rivalry with Oklahoma has attributed to this somewhat, but they still are rivals with Missouri (kind of.) They might chance leaving, but the chance is very remote that they'd move to conference where the other schools are very far away.
I agree with you completely except that I have a major tent for Ugly Betty.
Me too, braces are sexy.
Brodie has MAD skills! I tell ya, mad skills!
This is a pretty good thread. I still want Mizzou, but really don't care one way or the other.
That was the best response ever. +60000
The big 10's claim to fame is that they have to play in the cold and we bitch about it every bowl season. Let USC come play in the snow. The championship game should be played outside somewhere in the northern region. Therefore i nominate Lambeau stadium for the championship game. It's A nice stadium and it has a history comparablied storied to the Big ten's.
Also those division are stacked as hell. It would be worse than the Big 12. North South makes more sense
Last year the number 1, 2, 3, T-9, and 11 teams were in the "East" and the T-4, T-4, T-6, T-6, T-6, and T-9 teams were in the "West." The average is approx. 5 in the East and about 6 in the "West."
Pretty balanced. Consider in that Pitt would have some growing pains and it would be fairly balanced.