Pitt.. good choice IMO. They would have given Penn State hell this year.
here's one vote for "John Beilein's head in a Futurama jar"
|From Big Ten + Pitt|
Pitt.. good choice IMO. They would have given Penn State hell this year.
Pitt is also the best academic match. Large public school with strong academic ranking, graduate programs and research budget.
Pitt's academic ranking, per US News, would put them right in the middle of the Big Ten. Pittsburgh is also is a serious sports town and very into football.
Would this hold for basketball as well? Pitt brings a lot to the table there too(obvi).
That would work...
I was reading the comments on this topic over at espn.com and thought "somebody over at mgoblog probably has a more thoughtful analysis than this..." and sure enough, I was correct.
While I dig the North - South division idea, the thought of not having the Michigan - OSU game being the final game of the season makes my head asplode. That, and the possibility of having to play that school twice in one year. If OSU was in our division, it would be similar to the Texas - OU rivalry which often sends its victor to a championship game against a weaker school from the Big 12 North. This would also allow us preserve the tradition of playing the rivalry as the final game on the schedule. But of course, that would make the divisions all screwy...
But I, too, disagree with opening Big Ten (North?) play against OSU.
Like the north-south split.
Pitt is an obvious choice.
There goes any shot of "Awsomeness"
Sorry, but the Big Ten already suffers a serious image problem. So, let's add another boring yawner to the schedule?
Even from a marketing standpoint--does that add TV sets? Does it increase the Footprint?
The Big Ten needs to make a splash if they do this. Outside its fan base--it really is regarded as being on par with the MAC. Adding some shitbird mediocre team like Pitt just sends a message that it's gonna be more of the same. A bunch of 7-5 teams with Ohio State and Penn State jostling for the league championship every year.
And Pitt's basketball fortunes would probably go south. Being in the Big East most likely is the reason they have a good program. It's a powerhouse conference with great exposure and media love. I think the BIg East basketball teams feed off that.
Hopefully the Big Ten sees Pitt as the pits.
I suppose you want Oklahoma to join?
What media market larger than Pittsburgh would you suggest? Cleveland? Case Western's football team is a real powerhouse. Washington U in St. Louis?
|Designated Market Area (DMA)||
% of US
|1||New York, NY||7,493,530||6.524|
|2||Los Angeles, CA||5,659,170||4.927|
|5||Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX||2,544,410||2.215|
|6||San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA||2,503,400||2.179|
|7||Boston, MA (Manchester, NH)||2,410,180||2.098|
|9||Washington, DC (Hagerstown, MD)||2,335,040||2.033|
|14||Tampa-St. Petersburg (Sarasota), FL||1,805,810||1.572|
|15||Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN||1,732,050||1.595|
|17||Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL||1,538,090||1.339|
|18||Cleveland-Akron (Canton), OH||1,520,750||1.324|
|19||Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, FL||1,455,620||1.267|
|21||St. Louis, MO||1,249,450||1.088|
|26||Raleigh-Durham (Fayetteville), NC||1,107,820||0.964|
|28||San Diego, CA||1,073,390||0.934|
|30||Hartford and New Haven, CT||1,010,630||0.880|
|31||Salt Lake City, UT||944,060||0.822|
|32||Kansas City, MO||941,360||0.820|
|36||Greenville-Spartanburg, SC-Asheville, NC-Anderson,SC||865,810||0.754|
|37||San Antonio, TX||830,000||0.723|
|38||West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, FL||776,080||0.676|
|40||Birmingham (Anniston and Tuscaloosa), AL||742,140||0.646|
|41||Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, MI||740,430||0.645|
|42||Las Vegas, NV||721,780||0.628|
|43||Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, VA||709,880||0.618|
|44||Albuquerque-Santa Fe, NM||694,040||0.604|
|45||Oklahoma City, OK||694,030||0.604|
|46||Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem, NC||691,380||0.602|
You must be assuming that the Big Ten has not telvision audience in Pittsburgh--but I disagree because of Penn State. I am not certain, but it wouldn't strike me as odd that Penn State would have a large fan base in Pittsburgh, and they already watch Big Ten games. I would also guess that Penn State would be responsible for the other 10 or so million TV households in Pennsylvania being interested in Big Ten sports.
I admit that all things being equal, Pitt fits in nicely. But all things are not equal, and Pitt adds no excitement, and they are, most of the time. the equivalent of adding another Purdue.
I'd like to see the Big ten go in another georgraphical direction as well as adding a big name school that adds some much needed pizzazz.
I like Nebraska. I've said it on almost all of the 9 million threads on this subject. You add them, you get great fans who will travel, prestige and tradition, a top-ten all time program, and they'd have instant rivalries with Iowa and Penn State--and heck, even Michigan to a degree. If you create either a north-south or east-west format, Nebraska's campus is pretty close to everyone except PSU.
The best addition might not bring in the most raw numbers in terms of TV sets--but it might be the one that has the most potential to make the conference better overall (Nebraska fields a lot of teams) and opens the most eyes nationally.
They've got a bunch of rivalries in the Big 12, as well as a relatively easy path to the conference championship whenever they field a halfway decent team, considering that they play in the Big 12 North.
Any move the Big Ten makes is contingent on both the Big Ten and new team being happy with the arrangement. Most big name schools are not going to want to change conferences, so you have to go after what you can get. Pitt is a good football and basketball school (they are definitely better than Purdue at football), has acceptable academics, and would probably be willing to come to the Big Ten.
I would also like to see a different geographical region, but Nebraska isn't all that close to other BigTen teams. They are within 8 hours drive of just two schools, Iowa and Minnesota.
they'd have instant rivalries with Iowa and Penn State--and heck, even Michigan to a degree.
I don't understand the Penn State Rivalry at all. They've played 13 games ever. I don't get how they'd get an instant rivalry with Michigan to a degree either.
(Nebraska fields a lot of teams)
Other than volleyball and football, they don't have many other strong programs. Basketball is meh. Baseball had a run in the early 00's but is meh. That's about it.
Yes, they'd be a great football school, but that's about it. They don't offer much in the way of major population exposure. They aren't close to most of the BigTen schools. They don't offer anything past football.
"I am not certain, but it wouldn't strike me as odd that Penn State would have a large fan base in Pittsburgh, and they already watch Big Ten games. I would also guess that Penn State would be responsible for the other 10 or so million TV households in Pennsylvania being interested in Big Ten sports."
You'd be wrong. Pittsburgh is a Pitt town all the way aside from those who actually went to Penn State.
Have you ever been to Syracuse, NY? that place is hell-on-earth.
It is impossible to get to. Yes, it works academically, but their football program is in shambles. It is impossible to recruit to that place. And they are the 83rd ranked media market...pretty small.
Louisville is Tier 3 academically - not even close to Big Ten caliber, so in short, now way:
West Virginia: Also Tier 3...and no way in hell they would join they hate us:
While the Syracuse media market itself is quite small, it's worth noting that Syracuse and Michigan (yes, really) are the dominate college football programs in western New York (which includes Buffalo and Rochester) and thereby makes the media market much larger than just Syracuse itself.
I'd love to see the Big Ten somehow steal Boston College from the Big East. They meet all the requirements (football, bball, academics...) and they'd bring wicked sweet accents into the conf.
That would be a nice pull, and a pretty big FU to Notre Dame at the same time.
BC is in the ACC, not the Big East.
Any conference alignment is fine except for 1. OSU must be in the same division!! We play them the last game of the year, that can not be changed. We can't play them in a rematch during the year, so we must be in the same division. Everything else is fine.
It screws over Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa.
If we really want to put Michigan and OSU in the same division, we would have something like this:
Division of Awesomeness
The permanent rivalries:
Ohio State-Penn State
The problem here is a lack of equity. The Awesome Division is top heavy, but also includes the two worst football programs of the 12, and Illinois and Purdue are probably the two worst after them. Meanwhile, the Division of Awesomeness is loaded, meaning every year, there will be a team completely screwed over. Also, some rivalries (like the Little Brown Jug) are heavily neglected.
That said, perhaps if we switched MSU with Illinois, we would be OK:
Division of Awesomeness
Ohio State-Penn State
This is more equitable, although it still falls short in that regard from the original set of divisions. Furthermore, it neglects somewhat important rivalries, such as Michigan State-Penn State.
Simply put, there is no ideal solution. I personally think that moving Michigan-OSU from the end of the season isn't completely terrible, because if it were so close to the championship game, and one of the teams had already clinched the division, it could have reduced importance. If the game were earlier in the year, the rivalry would still have the same intensity every year.
But that's not important. I like the North/South split. My friend and I were discussing the 12th team for the conference at the OSU game. We thought that ND is the most logical choice, but Pitt is a nice second option.
I would keep the OSU game the last week of the season. The thought of beating them twice in 8 days is too much to pass up...even with the potential flip side of that.
I would also not mind seeing the number of conference games increased, not only in the Big Ten, but for all major conferences.
Increase the conference games to ten games, have one game with a team from a major conference and one game with whomever you choose, major or non-major.
That might also produce some pressure on ND to consider joining a conference. As much as I hate them, they would be the best fit for the Big Ten as ND already plays Purdue, MSU and Michigan every year anyway.
A 12th member of the Big Ten is a very complicated subject, I think.
Pittsburgh is indeed a great candidate. As you mentioned, it gives Penn State a natural rival in the conference (the Minnesota and Michigan State "rivalries" are the most contrived such mathchups in sports), and they match the academic profile of the Big Ten. The Big Ten's interest in Pitt, though would mostly be for access to the Pittsburgh sports market. The school's $2.8 billion endowment would make it the 4th-biggest school in the conference (behind, in order: Michigan, Northwestern and Minnesota).
The incentive for Pitt would be to get a share of the Big Ten's media Titan. They'd go from being the biggest fish in the smallest BCS pond, to a kind-of big fish in the sport's biggest media market (one that slaughters even the SEC in views and dollars).
What could make this easier is the impending disintegration of the Big East Conference in football. They are the most likely conference to lose their BCS autobid, leaving Pitt as maybe the biggest non-BCS program in the country. That would be good enough motivation to jump into a BCS conference. But I highly doubt that this is done deal, so it's best to operate, for now, under the assumption that Pitt would be leaving the easiest BCS conference for the second-toughest (and leaving perhaps the best basketball conference for a generally middling one).
I don't know how their fanbase feels about it. I know they still mourn the Penn State rivalry, but that their corners of the Internet were smoldering pretty badly during the traitorous realignment in '05 (though Syracuse fans seemed the angriest bunch).
Note, however, they are the key to the Big East's survival. Not counting Notre Dame, Pitt is by far the biggest program in that conference, with double the endowment of the next closest school (Cincy), and control of the conference's only major sports market.* The Big East without Pitt is a mid-major in football. The point is, that conference would fight tooth and nail to keep the Panthers, and may offer a sweetheart deal that even the Big Ten's deep pockets can't match.
The last thing working against us in feasibility is the example of Penn State. The Nittany Lions, since joining the Big Ten, have slipped from being mentioned among Michigan/USC/Texas/Ohio State/Notre Dame to the next tier down. They had a perfect season that didn't win them a National Championship. They've been kicked around, for the most part, by Michigan and Ohio State. And Pitt isn't Penn State. Should they come in then, knowing that it's a very real possibility that two more losses per season in a tougher conference will lead to irrelevance?
To sum up, Pitt to the Big Ten would not be sure thing any day of the week. But in a moment of weakness for the Big East, I think Pitt's poachable.
* Cincy is again the next-closest comparable market, but the Big Ten, through Ohio State, lays probably more claim to that city than the local Bearcats.
Pitt would be walking away from the Backyard Brawl, a natural rivalry with West Virginia (sub-plot: how much can we take from that state before we start a war?) which is usually played on Thanksgiving weekend. I figure they could still play this as a non-conference game. The Big Ten schedule currently ends the week before that, but I believe this is changing. Whatever: if Florida can still play Florida State every year, we can preserve the Backyard Brawl.
Their Cincy rivalry is contrived; nobody will shed a tear for it. The basketball rivalries are serious, but recent -- the UConn/Pitt thing started only in 1998.
They have somewhat of a Notre Dame rivalry, which like, who in the Big Ten doesn't, right? Since it's a football rivalry, this doesn't really affect the decision all that much.
The biggest problem with the Big Ten going to a championship game, I think, is the Michigan-Ohio State game. When you have the best rivalry in American sports, by which I mean the one sports event between the same two teams that generates the biggest national audience, you don't fuck with it.
This was the first year in like forever that the Big Ten Championship wasn't decided in some way by this game. Whenever this primal torture of Michigan fans is over, you have to imagine those two would still finish on top at the end.
Plus, this isn't a great region to have championship games. It gets mighty cold up here.
Other conferences' championship games are held because they generate huge TV audiences. They're an attempt to catch up to the Big Ten, which gets the same thing from Michigan-Ohio State.
If the Big Ten becomes the Big North with Pitt, I wouldn't create divisions at all.
Rather, let's go to 11 conference games. Every team plays each other, and you finish with an odd-numbered conference record and a more likely indisputable champion as you get now.
The upside of this is it's awesome for the fans. Would your rather play a directional Michigan school or Indiana? Imagine Minnesota on the docket every season? Awesome, right?
The downside is you're getting more losses for the conference as a whole. Intra-conference games for the Big Ten are a .500 proposition, which is a much lower winning percentage than Big Ten teams' current non-conference clip, so we're talking more losses for the conference as a whole, lower rankings, and whatnot.
The downside for the schools is that they're giving up home games. Michigan has years when they play 8 games at the Big House. This is because we can pay om nom noms to come get blow'd up. An 11-game conference schedule means, at most, 7 home games, and as few as 5 (if the non-conf. game is in like South Bend, which more later).
But the Big Ten Network makes this feasible. And if there's money to be lost in a BCS or national championship bid here and there, it's made up for in the much bigger draws of intra-conference matchups.
This leaves room for just one non-conference game, which for most of these schools will be:
Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, and Pitt have long-standing, mostly annual rivalries with Notre Dame. Penn State has an old one that was momentarily renewed a few years ago. Indiana's in their state. Illinois and Northwestern share the Chicago market with the Irish. And everyone knows, if the Big Ten were to expand, Notre Dame is the first one we would want. Only Ohio State, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota don't have some claim to rivalry with the Domers.
An 11-game conference schedule makes playing Notre Dame difficult for all of these schools. Already Notre Dame games intrude on the Big Ten schedule (Purdue usually plays them the first week of conference play). For these schools, you've got one game to schedule before the conference season begins, you go for a tune-up nummy num game that you can get at home every year, not the second-biggest football program in NCAA football history. And only one can start the season against the Irish anyway, meaning anyone else who wants to schedule Notre Dame has to do so after playing one or several Big Ten opponents. Meaning you don't get a tune-up game.
In other words, an 11-game conference schedule would have the ultimate effect of making Big Ten v. Notre Dame matchups extremely rare, if not extinct.
Which is why this is such a good idea...
I mentioned earlier that the Big Ten really wants Notre Dame, not Pitt.
And when I talk about going to an 11-game schedule, getting Notre Dame to join the Big Ten is part of the scheme.
They've managed to hang off as independent because of their TV contract, which doesn't last forever. And because they can pretend like they don't care about the Big Ten. Part of the reason for this charade in negotiations is that the Irish already can schedule all the Big Ten teams they need. They get Michigan. They get Michigan State. They get Purdue. If they want Penn State or Ohio State or Northwestern or Indiana or Illinois, it's a phone call away. Why give up a free BCS ride for winning 9 games against BYU and Navy and Stanford et al. when they already get all the Big Ten games they need?
An 11-game conference schedule takes that away from them.
If losing their Big Ten rivalries is imminent, Notre Dame gets nervous, and could be brought back to the table. If they still won't come in, we lock in Pitt (and maybe back down on the 11-game schedule). If the Irish take the bait, we lock 'em in, thank Pitt for being the mid-wife, and march forward with a conference so utterly dominating in American media market share we could almost be our own separate division (except for way too much talent being elsewhere).
That was intense. I find this "potential 12th team" debate to be never ending enjoyment. I do have one quibble with your theory. I don't like an 11-game conference schedule, although I never thought of a no-division 12-team league. That was interesting. Leaving Big North (let's call it for now) teams with only one non-conference game to schedule yum yum snacky cakes is not enough (especially for Wisconsin, who gets fat on snacky cakes). I think a 10-game conference sched. with 3 "keeper" games for each team even if ND joins would work. An 11-game schedule would all but make any UM-Oklahoma, OSU-USC, PSU-Alabama game extinct.
I don't see why they would have to walk away from the Backyard Brawl. They could just play a game after they finished Big Ten play.
Your 11-game, no division Big Ten+2 sounds nice to fans, but it would never happen for the reason we all know so well: $$$$$$.
First of all, you already mentioned the loss of home games. While the BTN network does bring in a nice amount of money, I don't see any reason why the ADs in the conference would give up having both that money and the money from the home games.
Secondly, it will cost bowl money. Since teams need to finish at .500 to make a bowl, all the Big Ten+2 teams beating up on each other all season would mean fewer teams finish bowl eligible. Fewer teams would get the bowl payouts, and there wouldn't be all the extra money from a second BCS team as often. Plus, since the Big Ten splits all the bowl money, all the individual shares would go down once there was one more mouth to feed. Sure, attendance would increase due to the lack of patsies, but most of the Big Ten is already pretty much selling out these games anyways.
And finally, it would never happen because the whole point of going to twelve teams is because that is the magic number of teams necessary to stage a conference championship game and bring in all the $$$$ the game entails. That is the only reason the ACC did their raid on the Big East earlier this decade, and would be the only reason the Big Ten would go to twelve teams. There is no advantage to going to twelve teams if you aren't doing a championship game.
The first two problems I mentioned are bad enough if you tried to do round-robin at eleven teams, and they only get worse at twelve teams. Add in the fact that the conference also wouldn't have the championship game, and it makes no sense at all.
past which conference games do more harm than good. Case in point: the Pac-10 has five teams at 8-4 this year. Two of them lost 4 conference games and the others lost 3 conference games. By no small coincidence, the at-large team taking up space in the BCS dance is not from the Pac-10, and for that all Big 10 athletic departments are thankful.
Past that point, you have fewer opportunities to prove you deserve an extra BCS bid and fewer chances to take advantage of those opportunities (for example, USC's win over Ohio State carrying little weight now).
I agree that expansion would not happen unless it was to produce a conference championship, for two reasons: money and exposure.
It isn't just about television money, it's also about keeping two of your better teams on the field right before BCS selections are made so you aren't screwed out of a spot because so-and-so beat a mediocre team just now. Again, look at the Pac-10: the Apple Cup and Victory Bell are no longer at the end of the season, and I doubt it was a coincidence that Oregon and Oregon State moved their game to a Thursday night. Out of sight, out of BCS.
There is no way Notre Dame would join the Big Ten (Big North, whatever) if an 11 game conference schedule is a requirement. They have major rivalries with USC, Stanford, and Navy, and wouldn't give those up just to join a conference that they're not all that interested in joining to begin with. If you somehow pull their Big Ten games as punishment, they'll just fill those three games in with any of the 100-some other teams in DI-A.
1) An 11-game conference schedule will never happen. Scheduling nonconference games provides the guaranteed bank of another home game, and allows the Big Ten to send 7-9 teams per year to bowl games (which require at least a .500 record). You're dropping millions of dollars and a couple guaranteed bowl payouts if almost every game is a conference game. Plus, intersectional games are awesome when they happen (OSU-USC, Michigan-Oregon, OSU-Texas, etc.) and this would all but extinguish those, as most schools would play a traditional rival in their remaining nonconference game (PSU-Pitt, Michigan-ND) or a tuneup patsy.
2) A Big Ten championship game at a central neutral site would be the biggest cash cow game in the country. The Big Ten might have the closest-knit group (geographically) of major football schools of any conference, and the second-biggest city in the country is right in the midst. As you mentioned, weather is a problem. Luckily, Big Ten territory features two awesome new domed stadiums in geographically central locations: Ford Field and Lucas Oil Stadium. Sure, both cities suck, but alternating the game between them would be amazing.
So... the Big Ten should get a twelfth member. First approach ND with a take-it-or-leave-it offer; maybe if the ND brass knows it's their last chance ever to get in a major conference that might sway their thinking. If ND doesn't jump, Pitt is an ideal school - big state school, decent academics, good at football and basketball, and located in a major city within Big Ten territory. No other school offers the Big Ten that combination - Rutgers, Missouri, or Syracuse are geographical reaches, Cincinnati or WVU are terrible academically, and none of those schools (besides maybe Missouri) has had basketball or football teams as consistently good as Pitt. Plus, Pitt would have to love leaving the sinking ship of the Big East for perhaps the most stable, profitable conference in the country.
Bottom line, we need a 12th team, and either ND or Pitt would be fine.
Academics, however, make Pitt a better fit. Better fit from the persepective of character of education (graduate school, research focused, public) than ND (undergraduate focused, private).
Bring in Pitt. If ND wants in, we can bring Rutgers/Syracuse along and go to 14.
This is an incredibly informing post. Thank you. However wouldn't West Virginia get a little debate if Pitt said no.
WVU cannot meet the Big Ten academic standards.
what about them?
Before we ask them to join we should learn to spell their city. Or just call them UC.
Minny doesn't give much of a shit about Penn State. The Victory Bell is, at best, contrived. Iowa, Wiscy and Michigan are several billion times more important.
Now here's my highly opinionated two-cents' worth.
First, I do not want any scenario that creates the possibly of UM-OSU playing twice in the same season, period. The only way to avoid that is for UM-OSU to be in the same division. To hell with it causing an imbalance in the league. Those other teams need to get their shit together and help the B10 be stronger nationally.
Second, any division of the conference need not be based on geography. All the B10 teams have been travelling all over the conference footprint for decades. You could divide the conference in some other way, giving it a little more balance, and call the divisions something non-directional, like the NHL once did with Norris, Campbell, etc. How about the Bo and Woody Divisions... anyone?? :)
Third, the length of the CFB season has always been one of the arguments against the feasibility of a real playoff system. Said season length is currently the fault of the SEC, Big 12, and ACC. If the Big Ten adds a 12th team and jumps on that bandwagon, we can kiss a fair playoff system goodbye.
Obviously, I'm one who is against the whole thing. There's nothing wrong with how we do things. It's the other conferences that have mucked things up in the interest of money.
I do realize that I'm probably in the minority, and there's not one damn thing I can do about such a change. But the whole thing has become so exhaustive, that I'm slowly getting to the "if ya can't lick 'em, join 'em" mindset.
Second, any division of the conference need not be based on geography.
For those that think this is ridiculous, take a look at the Atlantic and Coastal divisions of the ACC.
The geographical divisions were just a starting point. I looked at a lot of permutations of teams and couldn't find anything that really worked for everyone, considering factors such as the need to preserve the Wisconsin-Iowa-Minnesota triangle (meaning that they all must be in the same division), and competitive balance in football and (to a lesser extent) basketball. I have yet to see anything better that would be acceptable to everyone in the Big Ten.
How about just playing one out of confrence game and doing an 11 team round robin? A Championship game has cost the B12 Millions in BCS dollars as the loser has been sent as far away as the Alamo (K-State against Purdue) and the SEC runner up gets the nod. Although the North and South divisions make the most sense I just dont see a big gain adding Pitt.
Nice post. I figure Pitt is the best choice, but Notre Dame is probably the best fit simply because of its tradition and rivalries with other Big 11 teams. Adding Pitt, though, would basically introduce another team into the Big 11 that would compete for second-tier status, like MSU, Illinois, and Minny. Pitt has had a nice run the last few years, but they still don't strike me as a team that can compete year in and year out in the Big 10. They don't have a favorable recruiting position (being surrounded by power teams in Ohio, Michigan, and Penn), lack a major national presence, and their teams tend to be solid Dantonio-style outfits (without penchant for student apocalypse), solid on defense and conservative offenses. That might work against the weaker teams in the Big East, but just trying to line up and out-work the opposition in the Big 10 will still put them behind OSU, PSU, UM, and Wisconsin most years.
That's my only concern with adding another team to the Big 10 - if you bring someone in, it has to be a team that can challenge the top dogs. Bringing in another 8-4 team doesn't really help the conference grow nationally; it just pushes mediocre teams down the bowl game pyramid.
There is one consideration though that you overlooked. When the Big East was expanding it went out on got USF, in part for the Florida TV market but also so that Florida and other southern recruits would start seeing Big East games on local TV (at least the ones USF played in). The idea was for the Big East to market itself not just to the nation but also to the recruits it needed.
While there is a lot to be said for geographical coverage, the Big Ten already owns Western PA. Steve Breaston, Terelle Pryor, Je'Ron Stokes, all of those kids are top HS players the Big Ten grabbed up.
The Big Ten also has the money, we don't exactly need the Pitt TV market. One thing we do need though is a more fertile recruiting ground, the Rust Belt isn't exactly a booming area and given population shifts we're not exactly on the upswing.
I think the Big Ten will also consider a Southern School or perhaps a Cali School (does Fresno State meet the academics)? Or we could go hard after TCU if they have the academics. They just locked their coach in and they give us a better foothold in the sweet Texas recruiting ground.
US News Ranking: 110. Indiana is currently last at #71. That's a pretty big difference. Furthermore, TCU would become the doormat in basketball and would face hugely increased traveling costs, which would be a problem for sports outside of football. Same goes for a lot of schools that are outside our geographic area that we might try to grab.
Rutgers is a possibility for geographic expansion, but they would be an athletic liability. Boston College could potentially work too, but getting them out of the ACC could prove difficult.
Neither of those qualify academically.
For a full list, see the AAU list of members
California Institute of Tech looks like the way to go. Strong academics and add them to our schedule and we'd have gone 6-6 this year.
that only works if they join as a football-only or football/basketball-only team, and even then, you're adding a significant cost to that team's travel budget. (In non-revenue sports, it simply wouldn't work. It's difficult enough to get the western schools to Happy Valley and vice versa.)
Fresno State would get out of biennial trips to Hawaii; on the other hand, they'd miss out on biennial trips to Hawaii, and every single road game would be a draining visit across two or three time zones. That's simply not sustainable. I think the only way Fresno State or another school would bolt is for the Pac-10.
TCU's graduation rates from 2002-03 were 69% as a whole and 59% for student-athletes. Iowa and Minnesota posted 66% as a whole, Wisconsin was also at 59% for student-athletes ... so right now, their rates are comparable to the weakest state schools in the Big Ten. I'm not sure they're the droids we're looking for. (For reference, Pitt is 76/67, probably closer to what the Big Ten would pursue.)
You know, thinking about it, are we really in the same situation as the Big East was? Between ABC, ESPN, and BTN, we've got relatively good exposure already. I'm not convinced we need another school outside the Great Lakes area to enhance our exposure ... particularly not if it's going to put a strain on other schools' travel budgets. (Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State probably don't have to worry too much. The other schools, well, they would probably prefer a trip that involved some portion of I-70.)
"The other schools, well, they would probably prefer a trip that involved some portion of I-70.)"
I've got it!!! AIR FORCE!!!!!!!!!!
Just kidding. On a more serious note, I fully agree with your point.
. . . To all of your points, especially about non-revenue sports and travel for these "outlier" candidates. It just won't work for all sports outside football and basketball. Also dead on that the Big Ten doesn't need to make any drastic or geographically-challenged moves as it is (relatively) healthy.