Epic Carnival | Where Sports and Pop Culture Collide: Big Ten = New Big Twelve

Big Ten = New Big Twelve

by , Winning the Turnover Battle

The Big Ten has been watching college football the past few years. They've seen the big money rolling into other conferences' coffers. They know how much money a conference championship game brings. Hell, they know how much of a boost a big win in a conference championship game can be for a team's BCS championship hopes.

So this shouldn't come as any big suprise right?

"Big Ten officials will likely discuss expanding to 12 schools to accommodate the new Big Ten Network, commissioner Jim Delany said."

Adding a twelfth team to the Big Ten actually makes a lot of sense.(Except for making the eleven team league's name even dumber) Adding a twelfth team would allow the Big Ten to split into two divisions and stage a conference championship game, which in and of itself would bring a substantial financial windfall. It would also allow the conference to potentially expand into a larger media market, a move that would greatly benefit the launch of the new Big Ten Network.

OK, so it is pretty obvious that adding another team would make financial sense. So now for the nitty gritty; who is it gonna be? The Big Ten has a history of on-field excellence as well as high academic standards for its member institutions, so those two factors must be weighed heavily when considering which team to add. The third major factor would be the previously mentioned addition of a large media market to the Big Ten stable. Given these factors, three schools stand out above the rest; Notre Dame, Navy, and Rutgers.

Notre Dame:
Academics:
A
History: A+
Recently: B+
TV Market: A+
Notre Dame is a no-brainer as a target for the Big-Ten. The problem is, it is also a no-brainer for Notre Dame to remain independent. Notre Dame's current affiliation with the Big East in other sports aside, Notre Dame already has a lucrative long-term TV deal in place. That deal would obviously need to be broken in order for Notre Dame to join the Big Ten, and the likelihood of that happening is pretty slim. Which really is a shame, since otherwise Notre Dame would be a perfect fit as team #12. Storied history? Check. Recent success? Check. Strong academics? Check. TV market? Although the Big Ten already has a team in Indiana, Notre Dame's national fanbase would exponentially increase the attractiveness of the Big Ten Network to cable companies across the country.


Rutgers:
Academics:
A-
History: D+
Recently: A-
TV Market: A+
Rutgers is a school that has been widely discussed as a twelfth team for the Big Ten. The Scarlet Knights' main appeal would be the addition of the New York/New Jersey media market to the Big Ten stable. Rutgers has more to offer in that regard than any other team. The downside of course, is that Rutgers does not exactly have a tradition of excellence on the football field.(Does winning the 1869 national championship count?) If the Big Ten were to become serious about adding Rutgers they would have to ask themselves this question; was last year a fluke? Rutgers experienced a breakout season last year under Greg Schiano, but if the Scarlet Knights were to falter this season they would become a far less attractive addition. To put it bluntly; the Big Ten already has a perrenial doormat in Indiana, they don't need another one.

Navy:
Academics:
A-
History: B
Recently: B
TV Market: A-
Although Navy is a less attractive candidate than both Notre Dame and Rutgers in a number of ways, at the end of the day the Midshipmen make the most sense for the Big Ten. Although Annapolis Md. might not seem like a big boon to TV numbers at first, keep in mind that Navy has a large following in the D.C. area. Navy has also been very consistent on the field in recent years, having gone to bowl games in each of the past four seasons. (And winning two of them) As odd as it may sound Navy also just "feels" like a Big Ten school don't they? Their teams in recent years have exemplified the classic Big Ten smash mouth style. Add in the fact that Navy is an independent, making their addition much simpler than Rutgers, and Navy seems like a perfect fit.

18 comment(s):

Sanchez said...

I like Rutgers actually. Good competition often leads to a better team in most sports. That could work couldn't it?

Hank W said...

I like Rutgers too, I just think the Big Ten would need more than one good year from them given their somewhat lackluster past.

Stan M. said...

The addition of Notre Dame would certainly be logical. The Irish already play half the Big 10 on the Football schedule inbetween their epic battles with Army and Navy.

Stan M. said...

And just for the record...sleeper alert for this upcoming season, Michigan State is going to take the leap in Football...John L. Smith is gone.

Oh wait, they are on the road at the Big House, @ Notre Dame, @ OSU...can't wait till basketball season...GO STATE.

Sanchez said...

Yeah, I see what you mean Hank.

Brian said...

You rate Notre Dame's academics as an A and Navy's as an A-? Really? Do you have any idea how good Navy is academically? They don't have crap majors there like at ND and every other football power. Every student (every single one) takes basic engineering and other science courses.

Rutgers as an A- academically is a joke.

statsprof said...

Undergrad difficulty is irrelevant. Notre Dame and Rutgers are research institutions and Navy is not. That makes it a very unlikely choice.

I think the short list also includes:

Syracuse

Less plausible (market, academics, &/or happy where they are):

Pitt
Missouri
Iowa State
Louisville
Maryland
West Virginia
Kentucky
Nebraska
misc. MAC / Cincy / Army ...

By rule, has to be in current or adjacent state.

Anonymous said...

The Big 10 already has a Conference title game it's played on the 3rd weekend of November in Columbus or Ann Arbor.

Little Dutch Boy said...

Brian over at MGoBlog had a writeup on this the other day. He mentioned schools like Boston College and Syracuse in addition to Rutgers and the obvious ND. The problem with Navy is, like statsprof said, they are not a research institute. That's an automatic no for the Big 10. I happen to like BC a lot outside of ND - despite the fact that they're kind of far away, they seem to be the best fit to me.

Anonymous said...

One thing to consider is the league has an informal rule that new members must also be members of the Association of American Universities. ND is about the only school I can see the league setting this expectation aside for. It is vital to remember that a league member has access to the CIC (Committee on Institutional Cooperation) and so they want to make sure it's a school that will add significant research benefits.

Frank said...

Yeah, Rutgers as an A- academically is a total joke. It isn't even close to on-par with Navy or Notre Dame.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the Big Ten Plus One has two teams in Indiana.

Steven said...

Although the Big Ten already has a team in Indiana

A team? How can you write an article analyzing the BigTen with out knowing that both Purdue and Indiana University are in Indiana.

The BigTen is a midwestern thing, so pretty much only ND makes sense. And I can't think of anything ND would gain by joining the BigTen, and a lot they would lose.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that someone with more resources and time could unearth the details of ND's TV football contract with NBC. My google meanderings are all over the place, ranging from 7.2 mil a season to 60 mil over four years through 2008--equalling 15 mil a season.

Reality is, ND football has a huge tv contract with NBC. The likes of which makes membership in a conference of any kind seem laughable. Big Ten or any other conference members divide TV revenues equally throughout the conference. As an independent, ND gets TV revenues they generate all to themselves.

A Mich-Purdue game might get a decent viewership in the Mich-Ohio-Ind-Ill states, but an ND-SoCal game gets huge numbers nationwide. Or an ND-Stanford or ND-Purdue game even.

So, in order for ND to join a conference, give up their exclusive TV rights, and start sharing TV revenue, they would have to receive an enormous payoff to join a conference. The other members of the conference would never allow that to happen. It would be as if Michigan or Penn State said, yeah, we'll give ND 100 mil to join our league, because we need them to help our league to survive. The payoff would have to be that much, or even more, in order for ND to forgo their lucrative independent football tv contract to take a paycut and join a conference. It will never happen.

Anonymous said...

I don't know that ND's position is as strong as all that. Suppose the Big 10 schools decide to play hardball with them (and stop playing football with them)? I doubt the tv rights to a Notre Dame schedule would be worth very much then. And ND's stock has to be declining with each successive bowl failure. Even without pressure from the Big 10 schools, they won't keep that lucrative individual contract forever.

However, even if the Big 10 doesn't get ND, I can't see them going to the trouble of expanding to pick up an at-best-mediocre team like Navy. And I really mean "at best". The restrictions they face as a service academy means that borderline top 25 is the best they can do (and they probably wouldn't do it ever again with a Big 10 conference schedule). Retaining the possibility of adding ND in the future is in itself several times more valuable than Navy ever could be to the Big 10. And if they want to crack the DC tv market, they'd probably be better off trying to steal Maryland or Virginia from the ACC.

But if they're adding a non-ND team to get into a "big market", I have to think they mean NY/NJ, which is the only TV market possibly worth passing on the Irish for. To me this likely means Syracuse, which may be located upstate but draws heavily from (and deposits alumni even more heavily to) the NYC area. Maybe Rutgers, if they're talking about adding a team for the 2011 season or something like that. It would be easy to see if the change in the program was serious or not, and react accordingly, after watching for a few more years.

Anonymous said...

As a Big Ten fan I would love to see the Colorado Buffaloes added to the league. It would offer the opportunity for a great road trip and venue to watch a game.

While Colorado could be a stretch because of it's western location, perhaps ponder what it would do for recruiting in the league.

In the same way Penn State opened up exposure in the east for programs like Iowa and Wisconsin, perhaps adding Colorado would open the recruiting grounds to the Rockies, plains and pacific coast states.

It's been written in the past that CU has explored options to leaving the Big 12.

Lou P. said...

A long shot would be stealing Iowa State away from the Big XII. Maybe the conferences could even trade names, causing widespread confusion.

Kentucky isn't leaving the SEC but would be tempting if it seemed even remotely possible.

What about Pittsburgh? According to Wikipedia:

"In another recent ranking, an all-sports ranking done by Sports Illustrated on Campus, Pitt was ranked 17th among all of the country’s universities in terms of the overall strength of its athletic program."

Anonymous said...

Pitt hands down makes the most sense.


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