Monday, April 19, 2010

Big Ten Expansion - Accelerated

If you have been following along, you know that I read Frank the Tank’s Big 10 Expansion Index regularly. I also try to follow the news. Yesterday, the Chicago Tribune reported that the Big 10 would be accelerating the process in order to have things in process before most Universities’ fiscal years end on June 1.

This is an interesting development and allow me to “Read Between the Lines.”

If the Big 10 wants to discuss this at the Association of American Universities (AAU) in Washington, which Notre Dame is not a part of, then Notre Dame is out. I don’t think there’s any other way to state it. It’s really that simple. Notre Dame is not an AAU member and the Big 10 is sending a message to everyone else that the Domers are out by announcing this “open” discussion at the AAU meeting.

So, how do I feel about that? I would feel great if it meant that Michigan didn’t have to play Notre Dame any more. Seriously. I love beating them, but I hate adding to their financial bottom line in Big 10 country when there are better and more deserving teams within the footprint that would benefit from playing Michigan. That’s my honest assessment. I also don’t like the fact that they get to enjoy playing the Big 10 teams that they play and it keeps the money in the region – or rather, at Notre Dame, but not in the Big 10.

Anyway, while this is pure speculation on my part, it’s the way I’m reading it.

So, what does it mean to the Big 10 overall? I will change my earlier position (I more or less have to, right?) that Notre Dame was going to be part of this expansion to not including Notre Dame. I still believe it’s going to be 14 teams, but I am not sure who the 3 will be. For those believing that it’s going to be 16 teams, I will say this: There has never been a 16 team football conference that has ever succeeded long term. Hence, 14 teams – at the max. But I will now shift my opinion and state that it will be two Big East Teams and 1 Big 12 team. 7 teams per division with 6 division games and 3/4 non division rotating games with the other division teams. There will be two non conference games on the schedule as well.

All right - I'll speculate - that's why you read this drivel, right?

BEast: Syracuse, Rutgers
Big 12: Nebraska (no, not Missouri)

Why Nebraska over Missouri? Better national footprint for the BTN.

This gives the Big East at least a chance at surviving, even though I really don’t believe they can or will want to after the Big 10 decimates them to the point of having to take C-USA dregs or whoever else is left. The Big 12 will survive and will most likely add TCU – even though most of the Big 12 won’t like that decision. But, caution for the Big 12 is warranted here: If you start making the Big 12 look to much like the SWC, well….We all know how THAT turned out…

More as it comes.

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