Big Ten to Expand Again?

The BIG Ten is looking to become the first Super Conference in America for football. North Carolina and Virginia reportedly have received invitations to join the conference in all sports.

bigtenThe additions of Virginia and North Carolina would give the league 16 members. The Leaders and Legends divisions would expand to 8 teams apiece. Realignment will most likely happen. As it stands now the BIG Ten has Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin in the Leaders division and Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern in the Legends division. With already adding Rutgers and Maryland and talks of adding Virginia and North Carolina this would give the BIG Ten four east coast teams. These teams would fit well together in one division and keep alive the UNC/Maryland rivalry, along with being geographically beneficial.

With these four teams the other four that make sense to be in the same division would be Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State. As geographically perfect as putting these 8 teams together the Big Ten will never put Ohio State and Michigan in the same division. These two teams are the BIG Ten, and the  cash cows. Putting them in opposite divisions gives the BIG Ten a chance to get “The Game” twice in a season. On top of getting “The Game” twice it aids in getting both Ohio State and Michigan in the new NCAA football four-team playoff system.

Most likely the BIG Ten would include Indiana in the new Leaders division and leave Michigan in the Legends division. With this theory you would have Rutgers, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, Penn State, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Indiana in the Leaders division and Michigan, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Purdue, Northwestern, Illinois, Minnesota, and Iowa in the Legends division. This leaves most natural rivalries, and is optimal for the BCS.

Then there is the basketball aspect of North Carolina joining. Adding UNC puts Big Ten basketball even if not ahead of the ACC and any other conference in America. The Tar Heels bring 2083 wins, 108 tournament wins, 18 Final Fours, and 5 National Championships with them. There will be those that will complain about losing the Duke/UNC rivalry. There is one simple answer to this gripe, the BIG Ten/ACC Challenge, the other is UNC can negotiate the rivalry into their contract. The BIG Ten should have no issue will allowing UNC to keep the Tobacco Road rivalry alive.

There is still a lot that needs to happen before this merger happens. The BIG Ten is itching to make a splash and top the SEC. Landing North Carolina and Virginia to make a Super Conference would be that splash. Neither is a huge football power, yet they each are competitive and can make a run on some random season. The addition puts the BIG Ten in the SEC backyard. Helps them in recruiting, and image in the south. Joining the BIG Ten helps Virginia and North Carolina in recruiting. They can sell playing Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin on a regular basis. This move by Jim Delaney and the BIG Ten committee is strategic and opportunistic. A Super Conference is the next step in collegiate evolution, and the BIG Ten seems on the verge of history. By Steve Kish

5 Responses to "Big Ten to Expand Again?"

  1. David Owens   March 9, 2013 at 6:39 am

    As a B1G fan and Indiana Alumnus who lives 45 minutes south of the Notre Dame campus, I don’t EVER WANT TO SEE NOTRE DAME IN THE B1G and I’m tired of hearing about that school. They had their chance and spit in our face. Georgia Tech and Virginia, you bet. North Carolina…I’ll believe it when I see it. Now, one thing I’ve not understood, why isn’t Iowa State being considered? I’d love to see them in our conference as a natural rival to the Hawkeyes and Nebraska.

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  2. Radi   February 22, 2013 at 4:06 am

    B1G East Division: Notre Dame, Rutgers, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia Tech

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  3. Dan   February 21, 2013 at 8:04 am

    You haven’t been paying attention. Part of this division realignment the Big Ten is doing is to put Michigan and Ohio State in the same division. Word leaking out of Chicago, Columbus, and Ann Arbor lately is that Mich and OSU will “likely” be in the same division, which is what the schools want. Big rivalry games to get into the conference championship game has done well for the Iron Bowl and in the past for Texas-Oklahoma. Michigan State is going west instead.

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  4. Blah Man   February 21, 2013 at 3:38 am

    Yea as a ACC fan I agree with everything in this article except for two things… when/if the Big Ten gets UNC (ACC will be dead) then SEC will get VT and NcState and also the best recruits in the state. Cause lets face it, would these kids from southern states wanna play in the south for a conference that dominates and sends more players to the nfl or play in the midwest in a average league. VA and NC are always in the top 8 for High school football. SECOND. Big 12 only has 10 teams, they will definitely add Clemson, FSU, GT(im 50/50 on Miami). Would GT rather play in the south and make more money in the Big 12( Big 12 already makes more money per school) or play in the midwest and make less.

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  5. Ravi   February 21, 2013 at 12:48 am

    Adding UNC puts the Big Ten even or a little ahead of the ACC in basketball? I think most neutral observers would agree the Big Ten is already ahead of the ACC in basketball. At worst, the Big Ten is roughly equal to the ACC. Nobody denies that Duke and NC are powehouses, but they’re on par with – or slightly below – teams like Indiana, Ohio State or Michigan. Traditionally, teams like Illinois, Michigan State, Purdue and Wisconsin are national contenders as well. I think adding UNC certainly would put the Big Ten way ahead as the dominant conference. I don’t think the word “even” remotely describes the situation.

    There is also the aspect of Georgia Tech here… The Big Ten absolutely wants UNC, and will gladly take UVA, but also they want to grab the Atlanta market. Part of this expansion into NC is directed specifically at GT, in order to comply with geographic contiguity code in Big Ten expansion (Maryland -> VA -> NC -> GA).

    If superconferences are the future, then the ACC schools need to decide whether they want to go to the Big Ten and maintain most of their traditions/reputations… or whether they want to go to the SEC and get sucked into terrible academics and football-only sports culture. The reality is that schools like UVA and UNC (and probably Duke, too) are better suited to Big Ten culture than they are to SEC culture. Ideally, everybody would stay where they are, but that just doesn’t seem likely anymore.

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