Jimmy Wonka and the Big Ten Expansion Factory

Jimmy Wonka and the Big Ten Expansion Factory

Submitted by Seth on May 1st, 2010 at 8:42 AM

It's everybody's favorite non-pollutionary, anti-institutionary, pro-confectionary conference conundrum...



Doopadee doo,

I've got a real good question for you:

If money is the driving force behind Big Ten expansion, and academics are the official sticking point, and the Big Ten Network makes this conference so attractive that almost any team would be in for joining, who is really a potential expansion candidate now?

This Has All Been Chewed Before

Gum chewing's fine when it's once in a while
It stops you from smoking and brightens your smile
But it's repulsive, revolting, and wrong
Chewing and chewing all day long

I realize I'm not exactly the first person to start talking about Big Ten Expansion. But this isn't just any old stick of gum: this gum has an entire meal in it. You probably won't learn anything new here, but you'll get some information to back up what we already know.

This diary is a look at current FBS (formerly Division I-A) teams that might be considered for Big Ten Expansion, and others that might fit the academic profile, even if there's no way they would join the Big Ten.

When expansion to 12 or 14 teams was the modus operandi, this blog reviewed the leading candidates. However, with even 24 teams having been mentioned by NCAA people (by which I mean "Just Tom Osborne"), the field has grown.

The question: are there that many schools out there that fit the conference's academic profile, or at least close enough the Big Ten can continue to claim itself the most academic FBS conference?

In reality, there is a clear cutoff: does the school match the criteria to join the American Association of Universities?* and the Big Ten's own little version of that, the CIC. There are currently 63 members, but I would imagine a Big Ten addition not already part of the AAU would be able to join, if it matches the academic criteria. Therefore, the lower bound of AAU membership is the functional lower bound of Big Ten expansion consideration.

To find out who has a golden ticket, follow me, overjoyed, enraptured, entranced. Are we ready? Yes, good. In we go.


* If not, MaizeAndBlueWahoo is going to neg me.


Big Ten Expansion: Teams decided???

Big Ten Expansion: Teams decided???

Submitted by learmanj on April 30th, 2010 at 10:40 PM

Per Peter King's Tweet and this article


Sounds like expansion is almost complete (I guess I don't really believe it).  Mizzou supposedly has already said they are leaving.  Supposedly joining is Nebraska, Syracuse, Pitt, and Rutgers.

If true, damn you ND and Freakbass.

Another Brandon Quote

Another Brandon Quote

Submitted by msoccer10 on April 27th, 2010 at 5:48 PM

Here's another beauty. In response to a question about Big Ten expansion;
"Anybody that comes up with a plan that says Michigan shouldn't play Ohio State should be institutionalized. That's one I can probably carve out and say, 'that's a deal stopper.'"

Man, I really like this guy.

In which I continue to beat the dead horse of B10 expansion offering a hopefully new (?) Idea

In which I continue to beat the dead horse of B10 expansion offering a hopefully new (?) Idea

Submitted by Blueto on April 21st, 2010 at 12:11 AM

I must confess that I don’t read EVERY post on MGOBLOG (obviously my priorities are screwed up), My apologies if someone has thrown out this idea before.

First to restate the obvious, the general feeling is that expanding the B10 for expansion’s sake alone is as distasteful as a 96 team NCAA hoops tournament. Expansion should significantly expand the Big 10’s TV market AND enhance the Big 10’s overall national image. The two best targets to accomplish these goals are Texas and ND. Texas would seem to be the more desirable but also the more difficult target. ND is playing coy. So how does the B10 lever ND into the fold? Notre Dame will likely only come in if they see some sort of major realignment that will affect their long-term outlook. We can do that by quietly suggesting to ND that Big 10 members will not renew their contracts to play ND if they don’t play ball. So right now that is only 3 games, but if the Big 10 first takes Pitt then… (here comes the new idea) Boston College two more of ND’s frequent football opponents, ND is now looking at the possibility of a bleak scheduling future.

BC is academically a good fit and has a fine football tradition, better than any Big East team. They can bring the Boston TV market and maybe most of New England. They have been part of the ACC for a relatively short period of time and are geographically separated from the rest of their conference, so they probably wouldn’t feel any great angst about leaving for greener pastures. They certainly have more football tradition than either Rutgers or Syracuse and likely bring along a bigger TV audience.

Assuming ND then folds and a 16 team super conference is in the cards we could then expand westward with either UT & TAMU, Mizzou/Kansas or Mizzou/Nebraska.

An interesting question is whether the addition of Notre Dame would help bring Texas into the fold. Alternatively, the Big Ten could go with an eastern theme and add Rutgers and Syracuse, but I would personally prefer going west for the final 2.

A Slightly Less Bats 16 Team Proposal

A Slightly Less Bats 16 Team Proposal

Submitted by Tacopants on April 20th, 2010 at 4:29 PM
In my spare time today, I decided to make a sweet spreadsheet.  It's more of a conventional split of a 16 team Mecha-Godzilla Big Ten conference.  As such, it's bound to piss just about everybody off, but hopefully I built in enough intriguing matchups to make somebody happy.


Bo Woody JoePA Fry/Osborne
Michigan Ohio St. Penn St. Iowa
MSU Moby Dick BE 1 (Pitt?) Wisconsin
B12 2 (Mizzou?) Illinois BE 2 (RU/Cuse?) Minnesota
Indiana Northwestern Purdue B12 1 (Neb?)

In here I'm assuming that we will poach at least 2 Big XII and 2 Big East teams.  Moby Dick may be ND, Texas, or any other random school.

I attempted to preserve as many rivalries with the divisions as I could, while at the same time balancing geography and football prestige.  The Fry/Osborne division is the only one I feel solidly about, the other 3 can flex around a bit to find the best fit.

To go along with the divisions, I decided to include 2 protected games for each team, much like the Big Ten's current format, to preserve up to 2 big rivalries/develop new ones.  Without complete knowledge of rivalries of all teams, I tried my best.

Cross Divisional Protected Games

Michigan Ohio St
Ohio St Michigan
Michigan Minnesota
Ohio St Penn St

MSU Penn St.
Moby Dick Purdue
MSU Northwestern
Moby Dick B 12 1

B 12 2 Illinois
Illinois B 12 2
B 12 2 B 12 1
Illinois Indiana

Indiana Purdue
Northwestern MSU
Indiana Illinois
Northwestern Iowa

Penn St Ohio St
Iowa Penn St.
Penn St Iowa
Iowa Northwestern

BE 1 Wisconsin

Wisconsin BE 1
BE 1 Minnesota Wisconsin BE 2

BE 2 Wisconsin Minnesota Michigan
BE 2 B 12 1
Minnesota BE 1

Purdue Indiana
B12 1 B12 2
Purdue Moby Dick B12 1 BE 2

The 3 Divisional games and 2 protected matchups should ideally be played in the first 5 weeks of conference play.*  Then we move onto:

Weeks 6-7

Weeks 6-7 are a semi-randomized* draw.  Each team will play 1 home and 1 away game.  I call this a semi-randomized draw because there are rules.  You cannot play
  • Anybody you played in weeks 1-5
  • Anybody you played in weeks 6-7 of randomized draw from the last year
  • Anybody you played in the conference weeks 8-9 last year

At the end of Week 7, we lock into seeding for mini-playoffs in weeks 8-9

Weeks 8-9

The conference splits in 2 for weeks 8 and 9.  The top half of the conference is put into 2 divisions, seeded by conference record, H2H matchups, point differentials, and et cetera.  These two divisions would play 1v4, 2v3, then winners vs.winners and losers vs. losers.  The two winners that would emerge would then play for the Mega Ultra Super Explosion Conference Championship Game (Sponsored by State Farm)

The other bracket, tentatively named I can Has Bowl?  Will follow much the same format, only all of these teams will be pretty much battling it out for the last few bowl berths available in conference.  If scheduling trends continue with MACrifice type games, most of these teams can get to 6-6 if they win out.  They're jostling for position, much like any teams that lose any of the games in the championship bracket.  Keep in mind this new conference would probably send at least 2, and as many as 4 teams to the BCS every year.

As a final note, if 2 lower seeded teams have the same record, the conference can decide to flip them to give a better (IE, non divisional or teams that have not played this year) matchup

To illustrate this, I'll provide an example season

After 7 weeks of conference play, the standings are**:

Bo Woody JoePA Fry/Osborne
Michigan (6-1) Ohio St. (7-0) Penn St. (5-2) Iowa (6-1)
MSU (3-4) Moby Dick (4-3) BE 1 (Pitt?) (4-3) Wisconsin (6-1)
B12 2 (Mizzou?) (5-2) Illinois (4-3) BE 2 (RU/Cuse?) (0-7) Minnesota (0-7)
Indiana (0-7) Northwestern (2-5) Purdue (2-5) B12 1 (Neb?) (2-5)

Which would lead to this type of week 8-9 seeding

Seeds Champion 1 Champion 2 I can has bowl? I can has bowl?
1 Ohio St. (7-0) Iowa (6-1) Illinois (4-3) MSU (3-4)
2 Wisconsin (6-1) Michigan (6-1) Northwestern (2-5) Purdue (2-5)
3 B12 2 (Mizzou?) (5-2) Penn St. (5-2) B12 1 (Neb?) (2-5) Indiana (0-7)
4 BE 1 (Pitt?) (4-3) Illinois (4-3) Minnesota (0-7) BE 2 (RU/Cuse?) (0-7)

Winner of Champion 1 v Champion 2 would compete in the Mega Ultra Super Explosion Conference Championship Game (Sponsored by State Farm)

And to be clear: All lower seeds have home field advantage throughout weeks 8-9.  Conference Championship held at neutral site NFL stadium.

So there you have it.  Let's lauch into Pro-Con

Pros -

  • Pretty much everybody can keep traditional rivals, either through divisional lineups or protected matchups.  The only exception will be if Moby Dick turns out to be Notre Dame.  In which case, to hell with Notre Dame, you shouldn't have made us make a 16 team conference.  You'll get nothing and like it.
  • In the end, you play with your skill level.  Even if your Division and rivals all had down years AND your random seeds turned out to be bad, you will still be forced to win 3 games against quality opponents to win the Big Ten.
  • You are guaranteed to see at least 2, hopefully 3-4 new teams a year due to the randomization in weeks 6-7.  This should see you cycle through the conference every 4 years or so, not ideal, but hopefully it'll all work out.
  • It makes my head hurt: Yeah, it makes my head hurt too
  • Divisions are fairly static: Yep, I guess we could make a provision that realignment can happen every X amount of years, assuming this conference survives.
  • Some teams may be screwed out of position due to the 8/9 cutoff: Yeah, but were we really expecting them to win the championship anyways?  They should have won more games in weeks 1-7.
  • The losers bracket sucks:  You suck.  That and 3-6 of those teams are angling for bowls, everybody else gets to play for pride and a chance to screw somebody out of a bowl.
A Weird mix of Pro and Con

  • Some teams will invariably play each other twice in a season.  This is not necessarily good or bad.  In the championship bracket, it's a shot at redemption!  In the losers bracket... it's a shot at redemption.
This proposal has deeply upset you and/or I have made grammatical errors that really bug you.  You are dying to tell me that Mecha-Godzilla does not have a hyphen.

Feel free to let me know.  I don't care about the hyphenations, but I suppose everything else is fair game.

*Truly random schedule generation would lead to weird results like playing Ohio State 3x
**This may or may not make sense with Divisions/rivalry matchups.  I don't care.  The total wins and losses add up correctly, and that's all I really care about to illustrate an example

Big Ten Expansion and What it Means for Notre Dame and the Big East

Big Ten Expansion and What it Means for Notre Dame and the Big East

Submitted by Seth9 on March 10th, 2010 at 12:25 AM
The more recent developments in the Big Ten expansion have been very interesting (and to an extent, frightening). The most important of these are the leaked reports that Rutgers is near or at the top of the Big Ten's expansion plans and Notre Dame coming out and saying that they may be forced to join a conference. This led me to think about the implications of these statements and I've come up with some interesting (and quite possibly/likely incorrect) conclusions.
First of all, only of Big Ten fans and Notre Dame (and others who want to join the Big Ten) would be upset about Rutgers joining the Big Ten. Big Ten fans would obviously be upset (with the possible exception of Indiana football fans) because Rutgers would be a perennial doormat in football and basketball. Notre Dame would also be upset because the generally open door that the Big Ten has left for Notre Dame to join would likely close. Now, Notre Dame has made it clear that they have no desire to join the Big Ten and prefer their independent status in football. However, the open door that the Big Ten has provided for Notre Dame has given them a powerful tool when negotiating with the Big East.

This brings me to the heart of the matter. Should Rutgers join the Big Ten, the Big East could actually benefit. Rutgers has given the Big East very little. Through St. John's, the Big East already owns the New York basketball market. Meanwhile, Rutgers football has generally been unable to deliver any ratings in New York, due to their being generally terrible through the years, and thus the Big East hasn't really benefitted from them. However, if Rutgers were to leave for the Big Ten, the Big East would get a huge opportunity. Because the Big Ten would have been eliminated as an option for Notre Dame, the Big East would likely have a conversation like this with Notre Dame:

Big East: Since Rutgers has gone, we're looking for a new football team to join the conference and we think you would be a great addition.

Notre Dame: Well thanks for the offer, but we're quite happy with our independent status and we don't think that such an arrangement would benefit us financially or athletically.

Big East: Don't be so sure. You would get five non-conference games every year, so you could keep up your rivalries. And let's face it, our conference is weak enough that you'll be able to get to a BCS bowl at least 2 out of every 3 years, so long as your coaching hires work out.

Notre Dame: Still, we would prefer independence. Joining the Big East would restrict our schedule a lot and our alumni would be very unhappy. Furthermore, we could still easily lose football revenue.

Big East: That's a shame, because if you can't join us for football, we'll have to kick you out for basketball.

Notre Dame: [mouths a few profanities] That would be unfortunate, but we can always join Conference USA or the Atlantic 10.

Big East: Well, that's an option for you, I suppose, but you should know that we'll probably be raiding those conferences for replacement teams for you and Rutgers [evil grin].


Anyway, should Rutgers join the Big Ten, they can easily get a replacement like Memphis or someone, and they would also gain a huge amount of leverage when negotiating with Notre Dame. And that situation, I feel, is likely the reason that Notre Dame is saying that they may be forced to join a conference. Also, I really hope that leaking the idea that Rutgers is perhaps the preferred candidate is just a method of putting pressure on Notre Dame to join the Big Ten, because if Rutgers actually came to the Big Ten, it would really suck.

Notre Dame may be willing to join the Big Ten

Notre Dame may be willing to join the Big Ten

Submitted by Ali G Bomaye on March 9th, 2010 at 2:51 PM

Looks like Notre Dame may be seeing the writing on the wall as far as conference expansion and conference TV networks. If they're open to joining a conference, that should make the Big Ten's decision easy, right?


One 14 Team Conference to Rule Them All

One 14 Team Conference to Rule Them All

Submitted by Seth9 on January 12th, 2010 at 11:28 PM
This was originally intended as a response to the_white_tiger's Big 14 diary, but it grew into this and I figured that I might as well make it as its own thing. Besides, this way I get to use a Rich Text Editor, rather than try to remember all the html tags that I wanted to use, as I forgot most of them over time...which is kind of pathetic now that I think of it... 

First of all, I sincerely doubt am pretty much willing to completely discount the possibility that the Big Ten will expand to 14 teams. However, it is an interesting exercise to consider the possibility, particularly when the alternative would be to do the physics homework I have due tomorrow. Anyway, here we go:

Current conventional wisdom considers adding Maryland, Syracuse, Pitt, Rutgers, Missouri, etc. (i.e. an array of palatable choices) to the Big Ten. No group of three here could even hope to better the Big Ten financially, because these schools cannot generate enough revenue collectively to improve the financial situation of the Big Ten. This is not to say that an individual school wouldn't be able to do so. With the exception of Rutgers, who doesn't produce a lot of revenue, despite their proximity to New York, and would become an instant doormat in every important sport, each school on that list has the potential to benefit the Big Ten financially. Every school would likely add something in television revenue and a Big Ten championship game could be a huge moneymaker. In fact, if the Big Ten does expand, it is possible that they may consider putting the game on the Big Ten Network, which would suck to watch but would either make the network more profitable or allow them to drive up the price that another network (likely ESPN/ABC) would have to pay to televise the game. This means that the addition of one school adds some television revenue and the revenue of a championship game. However, any school in addition to a 12th school would only add television revenue in their market, which would almost certainly cause the Big Ten member schools to lose revenue.

Now, if the Big Ten were to expand to 14 teams, the move would have to include several major schools, not unlike the ACC bringing in Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College. In fact, if the Big Ten were to attempt to expand east, it is likely that at least some (or even all) of those schools would be recruited. However, I think that if the Big Ten were to expand to 14 teams they would most likely move west. This thought is not based on some whimsical geographic notion, but rather because I have three specific teams in mind.

This is where it gets interesting. If the Big Ten were to expand to 14 teams, I believe the best move is to poach Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri. These teams would be more likely to leave the Big 12 as a group, because it would allow them to maintain some rivalries (most notably Kansas and Missouri), increase their revenue, and join a conference that is much more prestigious than being in the Big 12 North. Meanwhile, the Big Ten might be able to increase their TV revenue by adding a larger geographic footprint (Kansas and Nebraska aren't much from a revenue standpoint, but Missouri would be a nice addition*), and the addition of a national football power in Nebraska and a national basketball power in Kansas would allow the Big Ten to sign much larger television contracts. Also, from a competitive standpoint, this move would make the Big Ten stronger in football and much stronger in basketball.

Obviously, this is not remotely likely to happen. The financial uncertainty and legal problems that this type of move would cause would be a huge risk for a conference that doesn't need to take it and universities who stand to potentially lose a lot of money. That said, it is a fun idea to think about, particularly when you consider how much havoc this would cause (bye, bye Big 12...cackle cackle).

Not well thought out fun with divisions in the new 14 team Big Ten (note, I am assuming nine conference games with one game reserved as a permanent inter-divisional rivalry):

Michigan State
Ohio State

Penn State

Permanent Rivalries
Michigan State-Indiana
Ohio State-Penn State

Note: I considered leaving out permanent rivalries because outside of Northwestern-Illinois (and OSU-PSU to an extent), none seemed that important. However, I decided that it would be worthwhile to do them as an exercise. My methodology to making them was to prioritize current rivalries first (MSU-Indiana, OSU-PSU, and Northwestern-Illinois), then match the remaining teams as best I could. I put Michigan and Nebraska together because of the historical success of both programs, although it also makes a lot of sense to put Iowa and Nebraska together (it could be called the Corn Bowl, a trophy game in which the winner gets a golden corn...).