Even More Big 10 Expansion Talk

Ok so lets clear some things up. Rutgers, Missouri, Nebraska, and Notre Dame have not been offered officially yet. They are the front runners to receive invitations as of right now. Notre Dame could solve a lot of problems by saying their intentions right now. Yes, Big 10 we want to join your super conference. No, Big 10 we don’t want to join your super conference. But will Notre Dame do that? Probably not and that is why we hate them. They think they are the best and act like it too. It’s getting old Irish! Anyway here’s whats up…

If your the Big 10 and your wanting to expand you have a tough choice who to add. Pittsburgh would be good geographical fit, athletics fit, and would be a stretch but could get by academically. What’s the problem? TV Market is already covered. So lets look at the front runners:

What are the reasons that the Big 10 want to expand with these four teams??

  • Rutgers expands the Big Ten into the New York area and gives the conference a chance to build a fan base in the North East.
  • Missouri and Nebraska would give the conference in-roads into the deep talent pool of Texas, plus the Tigers already have a built in rivalry with Illinois.
  • Notre Dame already plays several Big Ten schools every year in football. While they play Basketball in the Big East, the Irish are nearly a Big Ten football school in all but in name.They are a national brand which millions of people watch.

Why these teams would not want to join the Big 10?

  • One thing for Missouri to think about is if they leave the Big-12, the conference would snap up Texas Christian out of the Mountain West Conference. TCU has been a better team the last couple of years and would only get better being in a BCS conference.
  • Missouri, Nebraska and, Rutgers would be leaving winnable divisions or conferences for an unknown situation or a worst situation.
  • The Tigers and Scarlet Knights have not been very good football teams for very long and a move could stunt the growth they have made.
  • Nebraska once one of the most dominating teams in the country might be headed in the right direction to return to that dominance. Jumping to the Big Ten could also set them back as well.
  • Travel would be an issue for Nebraska fans as they would now have to travel more than 5 hours for road games.
  • Notre Dame would be giving up their money making deal with NBC

A Big 10 Championship game would be a huge money maker for the conference. Playing championship games in a new Vikings stadium, Lucas Oil Fieldhouse, or even Lambeau field and you have yourself the potential for epic. (Yes I hate the Big 10 just as much as the next southerner)

How would the Big 10 be formatted?

The Old Options

The most obvious option when considering a 16-team league is probably the two-division format. Teams play all or all but one of their seven division rivals and then one, two, or even three teams in the other division of eight. The main problem with this is that even with the perfect selection of expansion teams, there is no way to create two divisions where any school will play extra-division teams a sufficient number of times. Indiana and Illinois play every year, now try telling them to play twice every eight. The second, historical option is the creation of quads. At 12 teams, this is a legitimate structure. With 16, teams will go six years between playing most teams not in their quad. The second issue with quads is that rivalries in the Big Ten won’t fit neatly into four-team bundles. Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin play each other every year; now, which team should end all of its rivalry series to join them in the Northwest Quad?

The Resolution

First, teams are first split into two geographic groupings: East and West. Teams on either side of the divide will still play each other at least every other year. This is called the False-Quad model. Next, half of each grouping is put in the same division. For example: Minnesota, Wisconsin, N’western and Illinois from the West Grouping may be paired with Ohio State, Michigan, Purdue and Indiana from the East Grouping. Then, each year the West Grouping will cycle a single team between divisions and the East Grouping will cycle a pair of teams between divisions. This mixes up the divisions and insures all teams will play each other four times on an eight year cycle. In addition to a full, seven game division schedule (meaning: no MAC-style ties), teams will play two games against the other division, both within their geographical grouping (this totals nine conference games). This allows annual rivalries (like Michigan – Michigan State) to continue even when split on division lines.

The Groupings

This is the West Grouping: Minnesota, Wisconsin, N’western, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa

Teams listed adjacent to each other (inc. Iowa/Minnesota) will most likely have annual rivalries (or at least play six times in an eight year cycle) with the probable additions of Iowa/Wisconsin and Missouri/Nebraska as annual rivalries.

This is the East Grouping, listed by cycling pairs (which are always in the same division): Ohio State – Michigan, Purdue – Indiana, Penn State – Rutgers, and Notre Dame – Michigan State.

In the East, as in the West, there are other non-paired annual rivalries: Purdue/Notre Dame, Michigan/Notre Dame, Michigan/Michigan State, and maybe a few others at ADs’ requests.

**Take Notre Dame and Kansas out if Notre Dame says no**

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About Steven Harris

Steven Harris is a fifth year senior at the University of Tennessee. Majoring in sports journalism, this blog provides an outlet for Harris to share his thoughts on the state of the University of Tennessee's athletic department''s Volunteer teams. View all posts by Steven Harris

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