Another round of college football realignment has kicked off.
You all clearly have thoughts.
And the rumor mill continues to spin:
KU REALIGNMENT HEARINGS:— Mike Vernon (@M_Vernon) July 23, 2021
KU has a call set up with the Big Ten.
BTM— Greg Flugaur (@flugempire) July 24, 2021
“USC & UCLA want to see this thing through and see if it works. Their boosters want this to happen(hint, this is where info is coming from - Los Angeles). FOX Sports are clearly open to getting this done. In era of NIL top brands want to play top brands for top exposure.”
This is a strong thread that further illustrates the sticky situation the rest of the B12 is in -- other P5s won't add just to add.— Kevin Sweeney (@CBB_Central) July 23, 2021
My outside-the-box idea is that the Big Ten should explore the USC/UCLA combo. Add prestige/$$ in FB/MBB, become the "national conference". https://t.co/coiEH4JV2p
And the complaining about how the rumor mill is spinning and ruining something that’s basically already been ruined:
Conference realignment sucks, and it’s taking away what we love about college sports.— Chris Vannini (@ChrisVannini) July 26, 2021
My column: https://t.co/4kv1CMOYx4
So what should the Big Ten do?
If you’re a person who wants to expand the footprint? Well, there’s a conversation. Colorado has been the most interesting contiguous name of the ones floated above (of course UCLA and USC are intriguing for their own reasons)—certainly more appealing than the Tobacco Road crowd or Thomas Jefferson’s university. But barring continued shakeups and more teams fleeing the stable-ish Power 5 conferences of the Pac-12 or ACC, you’re likely just seizing on any tweet for meaning.
And so we look inside the footprint and find...Iowa State. We look regionally and find...Kansas, maybe even Missouri. None of those schools move the meter one iota—neither, of course, does Northwestern (this is to forestall the moronic “yEaH bUt YoUrE tEaM!11!1” that’ll happen anyway)—but they’re about it for what’s in the Big Ten footprint, unless you’d really like to call Pitt, just to see what’s new.
But, of course, there’s always the elephant in the room:
Notre Dame obviously would be an exception.— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) July 26, 2021
That’s the only answer here if geography still means anything.
Here’s the Big Ten’s play, to my mind:
- Call Notre Dame and make some kind of offer. (I’ll briefly expound on that below.)
- If Notre Dame says “No,” do nothing.
That’s it. That’s all you do. Nothing else here short of MEGA-CONFERENCE with the Pac-12 is moving the needle one goddamn bit.
So just don’t do anything.
That Modest Proposal
Call Notre Dame. Get the pleasantries out of the way, maybe say a rosary, tell the Diocese of Fort Wayne to fuck off and take its bishop with them.
Then say another rosary for telling that asshole bishop to fuck off.
Then remember “No, wait, he can definitely fuck off,” and say another.
When you’ve somehow managed to pull yourself out of that loop—and God knows I haven’t yet—do something along these lines:
- The Irish can have all but one of their 4-5 yearly Big Ten home games on NBC, but they’re going to play at least one home game—conference and non-conference each—on BTN.
- They can keep their end-of-year date with Stanford or whomever, particularly if Notre Dame is the 15th team in the conference. If you add a 16th team like Kansas or whatever, let them play their old rivalry on that final weekend.
- Offer Notre Dame a better basketball audience, full membership and access, etc.
- Take away B1G Hockey if they say no.
It ain’t a ton, and Notre Dame might say no! To reiterate, Domer who has made it this far: If you do say no or have a better idea or offer, that is fine. Go play in the ACC. I will not be losing sleep over it. But in a world where the Irish currently do not have a shot at a #1-4 seed in the College Football Playoff—assuming they are, at some point, motivated to have one of those—it would likely behoove them to play a full conference schedule.
Do you want those to be against Syracuse, N.C. State, and Duke, or would you prefer Purdue, Michigan State, and Northwestern? You’ll probably still win all 3 of those games!
As for the Big Ten, this would add a national fanbase that, come winter, would likely appreciate getting Big Ten Network (and BTN+) so they can watch Domer hoops and hockey, assuming NBC Sports ever actually dies the death it is supposed to.
Enough with the over-the-pants stuff: just add Notre Dame already.
Or do nothing. Again, either option is fine.
This poll is closed
Add Notre Dame.
Offer Notre Dame, then do nothing when they say no.
Just do nothing.
HEY WAIT I HAVE THUMBTACKS AND STRING, I’M GOING TO TELL YOU ALL THE TEAMS IN THE COMMENTS
To be clear: I hate this. It’s dumb, I don’t see a point, and it feels cynical writing this and doing all the SEO legwork to keep my Vox overlords blissfully unaware of Off Tackle Empire’s existence. So feel free to do whatever you want in the comments. Know that whether Notre Dame
lives or dies joins the Big Ten or does not, I will carry right on being a fan of shitty-ass Northwestern, if it’s alright with you. God, this is all the worst. Enjoy the comment section.