Big 10 expansion — why stop at 12?

Blogs and tweets galore today about Big 10 expansion — the discussion all centering on who should be the 12th team, particularly if not ND?

I’m not in love with the idea of expansion, but if it is going to happen…it is all about money. If ND won’t join in, no single other school will make a real contribution to TV viewership. So why stop at 12 teams? Pick up 3 or 5 and really increase TV footprint. Again assuming ND won’t play:

  • If 3, go after Rutgers, BC, Syracuse. Good schools, pick up major East Coast interest. BC can’t be that committed to the ACC. Syracuse is a great bball program and can be a great football program. Rutgers is the weakest but the potential TV market is huge. And this expansion would be big big news and would drive interest.
  • If 5, add in Pitt for sure. Not thrilled about WVU as the last add, no population base for TV or recruiting. What about UConn?

These would be dramatic moves but if the Big10 wants to grab the spotlight again, a one team expansion of someone besides ND is just not going to do it. It is a “me too” move and pretty boring.

OK two more crazy ideas, but in the vein of “let’s get the spotlight of football back on the Big 1o”:

  • A 2 weekend playoff at end of season. Trim off one game from 12-game schedule, have two play-in games from the top 4 teams. Pair up everyone else in seed order for a final 12th game.
  • Heck with eastern expansion, merge with the Pac-10. The Pac-10 tv offering sucks, the BTEN network could pick up all the Pac-10 content and Pac-10 footprint.

Point being, if you can’t get ND, don’t screw around with half-measures. Go big or go home.

One thought to “Big 10 expansion — why stop at 12?”

  1. The most logical expansion to 14 teams would be adding Syracuse, Rutgers…and Maryland. Those three and Penn State are the dominant athletic programs in the New York-to-Washington corridor, the most populous part of the country. Plenty of new eyeballs for the Big Ten Network. All three are Tier I academic institutions and Association of American Universities members, so they’d mesh with the rest of the conference. And athletically, you could put SU, Rutgers, Maryland and PSU in a power-packed Big Ten East with Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan.

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