August 11th, 2011 at 10:02 PM ^

If the BigTen must add teams, I would probably go after teams that open up new markets, have decent academics, and decent football tradition or potential.

I'd probably rank them as follows:

1) Notre Dame - obvious

2) Maryland - borders PA, Baltimore/DC markets

3) Syracuse - borders PA, New York is a big state, old tradition

4) Connecticut - good east coast imprint

5) Virginia - great academics, Virginia is a growing state, DC Market

6) Rutgers - New Jersey is a densely populated state, although they prefer pro-sports

7) Missouri - not a fan of the school, but St. Louis/Kansas City markets would be nice, I'd also rather move east into the population density


I'd avoid:

1) Iowa State - I can't think of a single positive

2) Pittsburgh - wouldn't be horrible, but what would they add? PSU is the big fish in that state.

3) Kansas/Kansas State - no thanks...

4) Cincinnati - although it would be intersting to give OSU a stronger in state competitor


August 11th, 2011 at 10:16 PM ^

After Virginia legislators pushed VT into the ACC, I have a hard time seeing them let UVA leave that conference without VT. I also think VT is a school that belongs on your list, now that I think about it. But I don't think the ACC is as unstable as the B12 or the Big East, anyway. The Big12 had some serious cultural problems with Texas' hegemony over the entire conference, and the Big East has always been a schmorgasbord of a conference. I have a hard time seeing any of the Carolina or Virginia schools leaving the ACC for anybody. I have an easier time of seeing GT, BC, Maryland, FSU or Miami leaving, but not by a whole lot.


August 11th, 2011 at 10:21 PM ^

It's pretty obvious the SEC wants an even number of teams.  IF A&M bolts for the SEC, then the SEC must decide if they want to go to 14 or 16 teams.  If just 14, they probably try to pull another Big 12 team in.  If they go to 16, they very well might try to raid the ACC.  If they do, depending on which teams the ACC as a football conference could be in trouble.


August 12th, 2011 at 8:46 AM ^

My brother-in-law went to BC. People in the ACC are very worried about expansion, and what it might do for their conference. At the end of the day, only the Florida schools and Virginia Tech are ever within spitting distance of being relevant, so the loss of any of those would be, how you say? a "big deal."

Snidely Doo Rash

August 11th, 2011 at 10:59 PM ^

Dude with "good sources" from Oklahoma no less saying the BIG 10 to make offer to take Texas and A&M as a package next week before the A&M regents vote on the 22nd based on the fact that the SEC will not take Texas. 

No love lost between Texas and a&m based on their comments.  Also, A&M has a very good looking class coming in.  

Interesting boards to check out if you're a few beers/drinks into this.  

I have no interest in Texas or even ND unless they agree to be equal partners as is the tradition.  If Texas agrees to be an equal partner, then I'd see doing this.  


August 11th, 2011 at 11:40 PM ^

Texas seems to have too much 'baggage' to be considered:

1) poor geography

2) not a team player in terms of conference schools

3) already has their own network

4) Nebraska was happy to leave them, this might be a nightmare for them

5) Their baseball team is important to them (just like hockey for us) and they would hate the switch

...but who knows. 


August 12th, 2011 at 9:25 AM ^

Pitt would only sort of add to academics.  You don't get CMU just because it's nearby.  Market-wise, it's a good move for basketball, but Pitt football is a distant fourth (or, man, fifth wth the Buccos right now).  Good luck ever filling Heinz Field unless they are playing Penn State or OSU.  No thanks.


August 12th, 2011 at 10:21 AM ^

Heinz Field sells out for big games, and Pitt does an okay job of filling up seats. In 2010 (probably the biggest disappointment for me since Michigan 2008 or 2009 basketball) they averaged 86.22% of capacity. That would just edge out Illinois (86.19%) for eighth, assuming Nebraska is up with us and OSU.

Pitt also has a bigger venue than NU/ IU/ Purdue/ Illinois/ Minnesota.

As for academics, Pitt is a top twenty research institution in science, engineering and medicine. This wouldn't change with a move to the Big Ten.


August 12th, 2011 at 10:47 AM ^

I'll give you medicine, especially UPMC.  But Pitt isn't top 20 for engineering or sciences.  They're just outside of the top 50 for almost all engineering and science grad programs according to US News.  That's not bad (and much better than many competitors), but it just makes them a peer institution, not a place that gets to use academics as a primary reason.

The probelm with using capacity measurements is it does nothing to show actual totals.  They may have edged out Illinois, but U of I put 10,000 more people in their stadium on average (and people at U of I barely care about football in the first place, so that number is surprising to me).  Pitt has 2.3 million people in it's metro area and Illinois has 200,000.  Something is wrong there.  If we're adding someone else, I want a big draw for football, or I guess a big name for basketball.  Both would be ideal.

Sources: http://espn.go.com/blog/bigten/post/_/id/10366/big-ten-finishes-second-in-attendance



August 12th, 2011 at 11:13 AM ^

I was talking research expenditures, not US News rankings. Pitt gets stupid amounts of money for its research in those areas (yes, all skewed towards medicine, but nobody cares about Purdue being skewed towards aero, they're both very good).

As far as attendance goes, Pitt is a little like Northwestern, the size of Pittsburgh is a big detriment. I'm not trying to claim that Pitt football = Michigan football, but other than ND/Texas, they could be the best "available".


August 12th, 2011 at 11:24 AM ^

With UPMC there (they employ, what, like 1/4 of the city), I'm not surprised.  I guess I just don't see them having the same academic name pull as a Texas or ND, though admitting that ND has academic name pull sort of makes me want to throw up.

I'd agree that Pitt is one step below the main contenders, but that field is so big and lackluster, I just can't get behind any of the options.  Fuck it, let's just go after Point Park University.


August 12th, 2011 at 11:32 AM ^

You have to admit that ND is a very good school.  Douchey?  Yes.  But still a good school, that just happens to be full of douchenozzles.

I don't see why anyone would want Texas.  They completely go against the principle of equality in revenue-sharing amongst all schools.  And academically, you can't possibly put it on the same plane as a school like ND.


August 12th, 2011 at 11:45 AM ^

Well, you can because Texas is a big research university.  Texas also is just as much of a name as ND.  Their alumni power is also incredibly strong.

Of course, I grew up in Chicago, so you're looking at the wrong person if you want concessions about ND's greatness.


August 12th, 2011 at 11:32 AM ^

Pittsburgh plays at Heinz Field with a capacity of 65050.

Home Game Attendance for 2010:

New Hampshire - opening home game of season - 50,120

#19 Miami (YTM) - ranked opponent at time of game - 58,115

Florida International - not a big OOC opponent - 45,207

Rutgers - 50,425

Louisville - 48,562

West Virginia - "Big Rivalry" and it isn't even sold out - 60,562


I would argue that these attendance #s hurt the school's chances to join.  Only 6 home games, including your #1 rival and a ranked out of conference opponent and you still can't sell a game out?

I do like the city of Pittsburgh.


August 12th, 2011 at 7:48 AM ^

the fact that most of his predictions didn't come true doesn't strike you as a reason to pause? Didn't he say, unequivocally, that Texas was not in talks with the Big 10? Something we know to be false?


August 11th, 2011 at 10:37 PM ^

Mizzou and  either Syracuse or Maryland not only because of their TV markets but they might add more competivness in the conference in more then one sports.


August 11th, 2011 at 10:39 PM ^

It's actually kinda funny, cause I could see it happening where the conferences get so big (20 teams), they will just split into 2 divisions of 10 and schedule where you get 9 games against teams in your division, then maybe 1, 2, or 3 games against teams from the other division. Basically, it would be like smaller conferences again with guaranteed OOC games against teams from other division and a revenue sharing agreement.
I'd take us reverting to the Big Ten as one division then PSU, Nebraska, Texas, ND, Missouri, etc in the other division...


August 11th, 2011 at 10:43 PM ^

Time for some long-term predictions...

Texas A&M, Texas to the SEC West, Florida State, Clemson to the SEC East (with the SEC allowing Texas to maintain their Longhorn Network)

Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Baylor to the Pac-12 South with Colorado and Utah moving to the Pac-12 North

Missouri, Notre Dame, Pitt, and Rutgers to the Big 10 with a non-geographical split like so to accomodate those Irish bastards (since Michigan, Purdue, Michigan St, and Pitt are traditional annual games)

Lakes - Ohio St/Michigan/Notre Dame/Pitt/Purdue/Indiana/Michigan State/Rutgers

Plains - Penn St/Nebraska/Iowa/Wisconsin/Minnesota/Illinois/Northwestern/Missouri

The Big East becomes a basketball only conference with West Virginia, Connecticut, Syracuse, South Florida, Cincinnati, and Louisville joining the ACC forming the country's premiere basketball conference and solidifying their spot as a 4th "BCS Playoff" football conference.

For kicks, here's the Big East: Georgetown, Villanova, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John's, Dayton, Xavier, Marquette, DePaul, and possibly 3-5 teams from the Atlantic 10.

So, you have 4 16-team mega conferences in football.

The MAC remains at 14 (including UMass and Temple)...

The Mountain West adds Kansas, Kansas State, TCU (now without a home), and  BYU (quickly realizing they are the only independent left) to get to 14.

That leaves Conference USA (12), the Sun Belt (10 once South Alabama begins playing FBS football), and the WAC (at 7 teams), and poor Iowa State.

I see Louisiana Tech, Texas State, UTSA, and New Mexico State leaving to the Sun Belt to get to 14 leaving Iowa State, Idaho, Utah State, San Jose State, Army, and Navy as the odd teams out. My guess would be Army and Navy join Conference USA with Idaho and Utah State joining the Mountain West and San Jose State dropping down to FCS.

Lastly, this is completely crazy and will most likely never happen unless the SEC adds more than A&M and FSU (which the ACC will probably hit up WVU to replace them) , the Pac-12 counters with Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas and the Big 12 feels the need to match-up with Notre Dame, Missouri, and Pitt.

Even then, God only knows how the dominoes will fall.





August 11th, 2011 at 10:59 PM ^

The Texas A&M Board of Regents meets on August 22nd.  In an optimal situation, that would be when the university formally decides and announces it's going to join the SEC. 

If TAMU joins the SEC, then the minimum possible thing that could happen is one more team joins the conference and it stays at 14 members.  The likely candidates for that would be from the ACC (Florida State, Virginia Tech, Clemson) or the Big East (West Virginia, Louisville).  There was a tweet by North Carolina State's men's basketball coach that FSU has been contacted by the SEC, but there's no confirmation outside of that. 

I strongly suspect it would be a program from the ACC, which then means that conference would be looking at one additional member.  Back in 2003, the ACC initially wanted to add Syracuse, Boston College and Miami-FL.  Virgnia Tech was substituted for Syracuse because the state legislature essentially strong-armed Virginia into supporting VTech's candidacy into the ACC.  Would Syracuse be invited again?  If not, would there be some other Big East school that would be a likely candidate to join the ACC?

The Big XII has indicated that if TAMU does join the SEC, it would willing to become a nine-team conference and play eight confernce games.  We already know that the Big East is looking for additional football partners since its television contract is up for negotiation in 13 months.  If one of their members moves to the ACC, that makes their situation more problematic.

Everything I've written above is the bare minimum that could happen with only a small handful of teams making moves, i.e., something roughly akin to what happened last year.

Things get really interesting in terms of conference realignment if the SEC actually opts to expand to 16 teams.  At that point, the number of programs moving increases and the potential for really major change now becomes a greater possibility.  One of the key programs is Oklahoma.  Does OU decided to stay with the Big XII?  Or do they go to the SEC, if invited?  Oklahoma will also invariably be approached by the Pac 12--that is another possibility?  Will Oklahoma be willing to make a move without Oklahoma State or are they a package deal? 

If the SEC and/or the Pac 12 are on the way to super-conference status, I have to imagine the Big Ten will also make its move.  Delany and the conference presidents have already examined all the possibilities these past twenty months, so whatever candidates for expansion they invite will already have been thoroughly vetted.

Clearly, the two prime candidates throughout the Big Ten's expansion study process are Notre Dame and Texas.  ND is the only college program with enough name recognition to help move the Big Ten Network into basic cable in the mid-Atlantic and northeast states and cities (Washington, DC; Baltimore, Philade;phia, New York, Boston).   Texas does the same thing for Houston, Dallas and the other major cities in Texas.  Both teams have network obligations (ND with NBC, UT with the Longhorn Network), but in both cases, there are workarounds to these sitatuions.  Keep in mind that the three parties behind the LHN are ING, Texas and ESPN--all of them would want to make nice with the Big Ten is any future arrangement (particularly ABC/ESPN seeing that the conference's television rights are up for negotiation in four years time).

I suspect that the Big Ten would add a 15th and 16th team to help solidify the Big Ten Network's efforts to get on basic cable in Texas and the mid-Atlantic/Northeast/New England regions.  While UT could probably wrap up the state of Texas, ND might need "help" when it comes to basic cable in cities that are pro-oriented.  That's why the last two members of the confernce could come from that area--programs like Virginia, Maryland, Rutgers and Syracuse would make sense in that regard.  If ND doesn't need "help" to accomplish those goals, then the Big Ten could cap itself at 14.

In a 14-team conference with nine conference games and a permanent crossover rival, a team would play six games within its division, one with the cross-division rival and two with the remaining six teams in the opposing division.  If Texas went into the Legands and Notre Dame into the Leaders and nothing else changed, then Michigan would play the following:

Legends Division (3 Home / 3 Away):  Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Texas

Leaders Division Protected Cross Rival:  Ohio State

Leaders Divison:  2 of Illinois, Indiana, Notre Dame, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin 

We'll see what happens.  Until the Texas A&M move is official, we're dealing with informed speculation at this point.  But if it has real legs, then you can rest assured that the commissioners from the BCS conferences are going to have a lot of restless nights in the coming months.





August 12th, 2011 at 12:00 AM ^

I don't see why the SEC would add Louisville.  Kentucky isn't a big market and they already have the Wildcats.  Also, Louisville has had some good years with football, but isn't that great and the SEC cares most about football.  It seems like Va Tech, North Carolina, Oklahoma - would all add more than a Louisville.


August 11th, 2011 at 11:36 PM ^

There is no way that the Big 10 is going to put up with Texas' shenanigans.  The reason that they weren't chosen before, is that Texas expects to be treated differently than the other member institutions.  That's not going to hold water in the Big 10, no matter what "rumors" you here down there.  It's simply not an option.  Texas, for good or bad, has painted itself into an indpendent corner.


August 11th, 2011 at 11:20 PM ^

...And take it FWIW, but that would be part of the deal.  Texas Home athletics would not appear on the Big Ten Network.  UT would agree to a smaller percentage of gross from the Big Ten Network, and the Longhorn Network would stay Texas alone. 

The Big Ten Network would still recieve its .50 per household on footprint states on basic cable deal, or whatever it is, with the State of Texas as part of that footprint. 

UT has 3 options:

1) Become independent, which long term is not a good plan, too much risk.

2) PAC-12 which is fine, however it is kind like the BIG 10 lite.

3) Big Ten.

Honestly staying with the Big 12 w/out A&M is really not an option.  You might as well become independent, why give away revenues to 8 other schools if they aren't giving you anything in return?