Big Ten Expansion Roundtable: Who's Next?

Grant Halverson

Off Tackle Empire staff writers discuss the recent additions to the Big Ten, and also what's next to come for the conference in the expansion game.

A few short days ago, Maryland and Rutgers officially became the newest members of the Big Ten conference. The move was not universally well received, but one thing was clear: few people believed it was the end of expansion for the Big Ten. Unlike the last time around, when the conference seemed content to stay at twelve members after adding Nebraska, it's tough to believe that fourteen teams is where the Big Ten is going to stop. But were the additions appropriate? Should the conference expand more? And who is likely to be the next school invited to join the conference of Northern Aggression? We got the OTE writers together and, after raiding Jon's liquor and cigar cabinet, attempted to come up with answers to these burning questions.

Here we go...

1. Give me your instant reactions to the addition of Maryland and Rutgers. Limit it to twitter length since that's what all the kids are doing these days. And then get off Ted's lawn.

Ted: Not a big fan of this move, I must say. I don't know that it's a reaction to Notre Dame going to the ACC, but it's not the best that the conference could have done. This seems as half-assed and sloppy as the Nebraska addition was pure gold.

Chad: Really? I like it....particularly if it's a step towards landing Virginia and Virginia Tech.....

Tom: I'll say this. I think 14 is a horrible number to sit on.

Joe: Absolutely hate it. I'm a New Yorker and have lived in Maryland. Neither school fits historically or culturally. The only purely selfish reason I would like to see this happen, is that both Maryland and RU have DI varsity men's and women's lacrosse teams.

Cory: So everyone can lose to NU WLAX? Goooooooooood. Gooooood. Also, I hate this. It's dumb.

Jesse: I still don't get the timing on this...

Mike: Seriously, can you imagine people from New Jersey in Iowa and Nebraska? SO MANY JORTS.

Graham: What is the purpose of all this? Is this just a reaction against ND? If so, what are we trying to prove? Also - Are we diluting our brand somehow with this move? Or is this just the way of CFB?

Hilary: I'm just not sure how I feel about all of this... On the one hand, hooray increasing revenue. On the other, do Maryland and Rutgers really fit with us?

Jon: Unsatisfying in the short term, but smart in the long run. Instead of being a Midwestern conference, we'll soon be a Northern one, and that identity will allow us to maintain our academic and athletic standing. Don't get me wrong, Maryland (and especially) Rutgers, are nothing to write home about now, but give them two decades, and you might be surprised.

Jeff: Not a fan.

2. Should the Big Ten stay at 14 schools? Should we go to 16? If we go to 16, how soon should we do it?

Ted: I think 16 is going to be inevitable now. I thought 12 was perfect, but super-donferences are on the horizon.

Jesse: I think that 16 makes sense logically. I hate that it's going that way, though.

Cory: No, this is probably some end-game move to 16. It'd just be nice if we weren't left holding the bag with two shitty Big East schools or something when the next round of moves happens. I wish we wouldn't have done this. Ted's right: it seems just horribly thrown-together and sloppy. Now, I know Jim Delany probably has more up his sleeve than I want to give him credit for. But I just don't get it. I don't get how adding Rutgers and UMD really makes us that much better of a conference. It makes us richer? Oh, goody. I guess Northwestern wants to upgrade a whole bunch of shit on- and off-campus that the extra TV revenue will help with.

Joe: Since my opinion really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things, go to 16 tomorrow. Heck the B1G could announce they were annexing Nova Scotia and Belize and I wouldn't be surprised anymore. More TV's for the B1G network.

Jon: Of course, we have to go to 16. How soon depends on how long it takes for this move to put a few blue chip prospects back on the board. If expansion stops at 14, with Maryland and Rutgers as our grand finale I'll agree with the masses that this was ill-advised. But this was never a one-step play. The Big 12 and Pac-12 are going to feel immediate pressure to keep up with the B1G and the SEC. Once they start cherry picking schools to get to 14 members themselves, all bets are off.

Jeff: I guess if we've got 14 teams, 16 is the next logical step. I would like to see 4 team quads instead of 8 team divisions, though.

Hilary: We have to go to 16. I didn't like it when the SEC went to 14, and I don't like us being there. Seven teams in each division is unwieldy, with the current number of in-conference games. At least a 16 teams we could explore quads or rotate more effectively.

Tom: If you've go 12, it works. If you have 16, you can innovate with quads. 14 is 6 division games, 1 permanent rival and 1 rotating game. That's Michigan playing Penn State once in a six year period. Not good.

3. Which two other schools would you add to take the Big Ten to 16 teams, and why?

Ted: As to who to add, if we're talking demographics they need to move south--Georgia Tech and Louisville. Or if the ACC starts getting raided by other conferences based on this move and their demise seems inevitable, try and get Carolina and Duke and lock up the best basketball rivalry. But honestly, those are just names I'm throwing on a wall to see what sticks at this point.

Jesse: I mentioned it somewhere, but I could see some form of Syracuse and Va. Tech as they seem to fit the bill, but I have not done enough research to say if that's a good idea. I'd love UNC-Duke because of the sports aspect, but is that really a great fit either? Maybe Canada? Who knows...

Joe: It seems like they'll be a discussion about Kansas/KSU and UVA/VT. But why not go Syracuse and either BC or UConn. BC would bring in another Hockey school. Since we have jersey, NY would act as the bridge to either CT or Mass.

Hilary: I'm a huge football fan, but I'd really also like to see us continue to improve at basketball. So I wouldn't mind if we got one of each. Georgia Tech feels a bit southern for my tastes, but I suppose I could stomach it. Cheating scandal aside, UNC could work. Or Virginia Tech. Or maybe Louisville.

Jon: Any combination of Texas, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Virginia, Virginia Tech, UNC, and Boston College, or any of the first six schools plus Georgia Tech or Syracuse. And what the hell, throw Florida in there as well. They're going to be majorly bummed when the SEC grabs Florida State, and they're much more similar to the B1G academically than they are the SEC.

Jeff: Louisville because they are nearby and solid at basketball and football. I can't think of another logical one right now.

Cory: I don't know who to go with now. These are East Coast teams we've just added. I know everyone gives me the "but but Penn State" argument--Penn State is, in my mind, more a Midwestern-feeling school than either of those teams. Maryland's fans on Testudo Times were worried about their lacrosse teams. Seriously. Give me a break. Does Rutgers have fans? Can you imagine a Northwestern-Rutgers showdown at Ryan Field? What is the sound of 10,000 people half-heartedly cheering? God, I can't wait for those fucking barnburners. What am I supposed to care about with these two schools? Money for the B1G? Oh, goody. If anything, I hope NU fans can pull off another Sailgate-style event at Rutgers. That's about it.

Oh, that's right, I was supposed to pick 2 teams. Ummm...

/picks name out of smart school hat

UVA!

/picks name out of ass

Louisville!

Now how did that get up there...?

Jeff: Have you been at an Italian restaurant with Rick Pitino recently?

Mike: Why would you keep names in your ass?

Cory: I plead the fifth on how Louisville got up there. Also, if UVA/VT is a package deal? I guess I can think of worse things. I like UVA/VT from the standpoint of continuing to drive a wedge into the ACC. It's a fun little fuck-you to ND, it draws TVs (if thats apparently what we care about), and the football's not awful at VT.

Chad: Hell, the football's not awful at UVA.....am I right Penn State? High five!

(Seriously, though, root for UVA to the B1G.....it would immediately top the roadtrip list for the conference....)

Graham: Charlottsville! And it's like a supersized Miami OH.

Joe: I'm not so sure how serious I am about this nor what it matters in the big picture.

Every member of MSU's first class enlisted in the Army to go suppress the rebellion. We just added a school that in effect honors those that committed treason in some of its uniform schemes.

What shameless affrontery! Harumph!

And there you have it, ladies and gentleman. Also, apparently the latest rumors circulating on the intertubes are suggesting a combination of Georgia Tech, UVA, UNC, and Boston College.

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