Friday, July 27, 2007

The Morning After on TSE - 7.27.2007

Before you know it, the Big-10 may need a new name. Not because there are eleven teams in the league right now, but because The league's commissioner of the conference says it may be time to add another team to the mix in order to boost the viewership for the new flagship station of the conference: The Big-10 Network. Adding a team to the current Big 10 would bring the total to 12 teams. And that means playoff, something that not only gets rid of recent situations where there have been co-champions in the Big-10 (2000, 2002, 2004 and 2005) but also would be quite lucrative for the upstart new network.

"I think we need to look at it in the next year," [Big-10 Commissioner Jim
Delany] told the Des Moines Register on Wednesday. He offered no specific
candidates. "The broader (the network) is distributed, the more value
(expansion) has. We have eight states. With expansion, you could have nine," he
The story continues here.

So who could come into the league as a result of this change? There are several options but each has their individual flaw. Here, in contender order, are my top-3.

1. Notre Dame
Pros: Notre Dame's tradition, fanbase and the fact that they typically line up against two or more Big-10 teams each year wouldn't all make sense for the school to join the league. Surely there would be benefits for each party - the Big-10 could claim another national powerhouse to their conference and ND would be able to capitalize on their status of being associated with a conference instead of as an independent. The parties were close in 1999 to joining up, maybe this time it actually happens

Cons: Money. ND has their own television contract, clothing license and auto-ticket into the BCS if they get 9 wins. A move to the Big-10 would only hurt the school in that regard.

2. Pittsburgh
Pros: Geographically, the move makes sense. Pitt is the team furthest to the West in their league, the Big East. The Panthers have some of the nicest home facilities in the country (Heinz Field for football, the Petersen Events Center for basketball, and the move would also help facilitate the natural rivalry with Penn State.

Cons: The move would have to be football only, and I doubt Pitt would want to do that. Over the last 10 years, Pitt has become a mainstay on the basketball scene, winning the Big East basketball tournament in 2003 as well as winning three straight Big East regular season crowns. For a state (and a region) obsessed with football, Pitt is transforming into a basketball school and their interests are better served acquiescing to the round ball.

3. Missouri
Pros: If the Big-10 is looking to get into a new state, Delany's primary goal, then Mizzou is probably the best choice. They are a good draw in the area and have strong basketball and football programs that would only help the Big 10 expand into the new area. Leaving the Big-12 would allow that league to absorb TCU, the college that was left out of the equation when the Big-12 formed. It's a win-win for everyone...

Cons: ...Except the Big-10. Right now, Mizzou is a second-tier team in the Big-12 in football and basketball. Does the Big-10 really need to add another also-ran to their ranks?

Rounding out the top-6 are Syracuse (Pros: good location; Cons: shitty football team, too close of ties to the Big East); Iowa State (Pros: good rivalry with Iowa; Cons: see Mizzou list of cons); Northern Michigan (Pros: ...; Cons: close to Canada, will soon be covered locally by JTBI).

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