Big Ten Changes Unimpre$$ive
By Bryan FrakerPosted Nov 28, 2012
So the Big Ten officially got Rutgers and Maryland as the 13th and 14th members of our beleaguered conference. There’s only one word that describes how I feel about this move:
I know this makes financial sense for the Big Ten+Four. They get to expand to the Washington D.C. and New York markets just in time to cash in on a new media rights contract. This will do nothing but increases the visibility of the Big Ten+Four and make the conference a boatload of cash.
But I don’t work for the Big Ten+Four. I’m a fan. And as a fan I look at these additions in a different light than the big shots at Big Ten+Four headquarters. While they see progress and dollar signs I just see mediocrity.
Football is the driving force behind college athletics and Maryland and Rutgers won’t excite anyone. Rutgers may be in the hunt for the Big East BCS bid, but winning that is like winning a belching contest: you’re the only one who’s impressed. As for Maryland their lone accomplishment in recent football history is being the school that took the field in those awful state flag uniforms a few years ago. When was the last time either of these teams was playing for a national title? Don’t think too hard because it hasn’t happened.
The Big Ten+Four may see the super conference writing on the wall and doesn’t want to be left out. Getting two more teams making 14 will guarantee the conference won’t be in danger of folding like the Big 12 was afraid of last year and what the Big East will face shortly. The real question is, if the super conferences come together, who will the next two teams be that come to the Big Ten+Four?
The two sexy picks are Texas and Notre Dame. Texas ruffled a lot of feathers in the Big 12 by launching the Longhorn Sports Network because people didn’t like the fact it can be used as a major recruiting weapon that lesser revenue teams can’t say. Notre Dame fits in perfect because it’s located in the Midwest and is a national brand that people want to see.
The problem is I don’t see either team coming here. Texas loves to be the big dog and if they come to the Big Ten+Four they’ll be third on the totem pole after Ohio State and That School Up North. If Texas came here they’d also have to merge into the Big Ten Network and take money away from its network. Notre Dame won’t come here because they have a very lucrative NBC deal and by staying independent they get to schedule whoever they want whenever they want and that’s too good to give up.
Two teams that I can see coming here is Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. Cincinnati has a budding program that fits in with everything the Big Ten+Four does and Pittsburgh has the rich tradition that our conference loves. This move will effectively kill the Big East as mentioned before and eventually lead college football to have four super conferences: Big Ten+Six, SEC, Pac 12 and ACC.
All of this is pure speculation and my attempt to read the tea leaves. The only certainty is Maryland and Rutgers coming to the Big Ten+Four. Other realignment in college football seems evident and it’s doubtful these moves will be the end of it all there is one thing that has held true this whole time and will never change: