Apologies for the new thread, but I wanted thoughts on this and know it would have been lost in the mix.
Does the expansion water down football? You bet. Does it reek of a market/money grab? Uh-huh, but a for-real playoff forced that hand and this is another pre-emptive strike. Four teams is already assured and getting to 8 requires bigger conferences to create defacto early rounds. And the conference will likely now add Men's and Women's Lacrosse to make a total of 28 Big Teh(14)n sports with content that the East coast will enjoy.
This is also about academic standards - believe it or not. The conference still holds that as criteria and we just added two research universities - the big dogs in their states - that are members of the American Association of Universities. Only Nebraska is not a member (and only because the AAU chose to no longer recognize their medical center as a research entity for the NU-L campus).
Those standards are why ND will NEVER be asked to join the Big Ten. They are not a respected research university - just a cash demanding whore. When the conference moves to 16 teams, expect Missouri, Pittsburgh, Iowa State, Kansas and Virginia (regardless of recent moves by some of them) on the short list. And unless Syracuse can demonstrate a Nebraska-like research bounty, they won't be part of the conversation.
Delany's madman visions aside, the presiden't have final say, and they're not all Gordon Gee.