As your resident demographics nerd, I want to delve a little into something we hear a lot about with conference expansion, and that is, like, people living places and stuff. This is a pretty unrefined look, as I am not looking into actual football fans or recruits coming from certain states (this has been done before, and better, by others, so I won't reinvent the wheel), just pure eyeballs that exist in said state, and population trends. First, let's look at current and future B1G states. For unfortunate reasons, as I was making the chart, it kind of de-pretty-fied, so in an effort to not remake it, I will explain that the way to read this is like so:
|1990 Pop.||% Growth|
|2000 Pop.||% Growth|
|2010 Pop.||% Growth|
|2012 Est. Pop.||% Growth|
So, Wisconsin had 4,891,769 people in 1990, grew 4% even from 1980, and was estimated to have 5,726,398 in 2012, as we can see in the chart below. Dig? So, here is some raw data (all from Wikipedia):
Now, a list of the B1G states in pure rank order, with growth rates from 2010 to 2012:
What should stand out is that we have have three states with above 10 million people, one with almost that much, one with almost 9 million, then a dropoff. Also, with the exception of basically Maryland, no state is posting super high growth in that time, and the "B1G region" has over 84 million people total. Now, for the region we will inevitably compare ourselves with (and because I am not doing this for the West Coast, so there), here's the SEC state comparison (including prettiness):
And in order:
US chart for comparison:
So, the takeaway is thus: The SEC states right now have a few million more people (only like 8), and lots of those states are fairly small and not even growing very fast, as they only have three states with more than 10 million people, and none of the others are close. However, look at the numbers for Texas especially, and to a lesser extent Georgia and Florida. Those are growth percentages from 2010 to 2012. There are B1G states that have put up those percentages in a decade, on much smaller numbers. So, in one sense the demographic issues we are facing are real, but picking up a school in a state that is fairly large but stagnant in growth (Jersey), and another (couple) schools in a state that is growing fairly fast but only the size of Minnesota (Maryland), don't really seem to be the smartest move for the conference from a simply demographics view (there are wealth discussions to be had, but that is not within my purview).
So, we are thinking "Ah, ah, make the population stagnation stop!" Well, in an effort to not bitch aimlessly, I give you this:
Ah, fairly large states with fast growth. Whew. Anyway, since many of you will skim to the last paragraph to avoid tl;dr syndrome, in summary I say: while it's true the B1G population numbers weren't really growing fast either compared to the US or the bigger SEC states since 1990 (the smaller SEC states were really a wash), the states we picked up at the moment don't really fix the problem, except maybe in terms of just bringing in current people (as a side note, our population is much more spread out than that of the SEC in terms of evenness). However, many have said that the next move on the part of the B1G is moving South (I don't disagree with this, but it might take quite a while, as I have argued before), which brings the double boon of adding large, fast-growing states, and also preventing the SEC from getting them (the issue of VA Tech going SEC is something I am just going to call a wash and ignore for now), and that's probably the only longer term solution if this is really seen as a problem that needs to be combatted. I am not saying anything profound that we haven't discussed ad infinitum here and elsewhere, but I did want to put some hard numbers on it so we can see the scope of the issue.