The Big Ten is all set to expand with USC and UCLA joining the party in 2024, and this doesn’t look like the end of the big moves.
The conference has already made a big statement that it wants to go coast-to-coast and expand its overall footprint. Now it can claim the Los Angeles market to merge with Chicago, Baltimore/Washington DC, Detroit, all of Ohio, Minneapolis, most of Pennsylvania, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and mostly New York.
Who else is excited to get on board? Where will the Big Ten go when it wants to go to 18? Or 20?
Remember, the Big Ten just got USC and UCLA – it’s not going to just go after just anyone.
There has to be a big market, a school with a huge profile, and it has to expand the Big Ten brand.
There’s no point in going after Iowa State — the league already has Iowa. It wants new places and new eyes for BTN, and it wants the school in the state.
It wants The University of Maryland, and The University of Nebraska, and so on.
So with that in mind, here are the top 5 Big Ten expansion candidates…if it really wants to turn 18.
Top 5 Big Ten Expansion Candidates – After Passing USC and UCLA
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5. Notre Dame
Of course, the Big Ten would take Notre Dame in an instant. Of course Notre Dame wants to be part of the Big Ten. So why isn’t this happening?
Notre Dame makes a ton of money from whatever it does with the ACC while also maintaining its independent status, but it will want to get on the money train soon.
That’s not the ACC. It’s not the Pac-12, although the move would make a lot of sense for both sides. Notre Dame at the SEC? no. Wrong academics, wrong profile, wrong branding, wrong fit.
So at the very least, these two crazy kids need to have a discussion to see where things stand. The Big Ten isn’t going to give Notre Dame any special treatment, and Notre Dame doesn’t want to get into the league just to become a football show again.
In short, money is no problem, and desire is no problem, but neither side in this stubborn battle is likely to give in.
Seriously, the University of Kansas owes me a tray of delicious meats and cheeses when the Big Ten or Pac-12 rings the bell.
Not sure why this school is no longer in the mix for expansion. No, it’s not a sleeping giant or anything, but it checks all the expansion boxes.
Well, except for one.
No, the football side isn’t great, but Rutgers isn’t exactly bringing down the national titles.
Basketball doesn’t really matter in expansion, but kind of like having the cache to land the Nebraska football program, Kansas basketball is clearly special.
Decent but not huge enrollment of about 20,000, large national alumni base, markets in Kansas City and St. Louis, Tier 1 examination AAU school, easy rival to Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois – or Colorado as the Pac-12 makes the switch – and most importantly, as mentioned before, it The University of Kansas.
Missouri might fit in with the SEC in a lot of ideological ways, and no one is leaving that conference right now, but does the school seem like a lot of fun?
It’s right there on the outskirts of the SEC, far, far away from downtown where the cool kids hang out.
Mizzou is about as Atlanta as Pepsi.
It’s not that College Football Playoff appearances come when Mizzou would switch to the Big Ten, but it’s a much better, much more comfortable fit with Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and even Minnesota and Wisconsin having a little drive.
Like Kansas, Missouri brings St. Louis and Kansas City, and it is The University of Missouri.
The Big Ten ruined it in 2011 when it didn’t get the school when given the chance. It probably won’t get it this time either – it’s already in the SEC, it’s not quite smashing enough, markets aren’t That great – so…
Missouri sounds nice, but too much work, too little result, unlike…
In light of the USC and UCLA’s move to the Big Ten, Washington now makes so much sense that it’s insane that this hasn’t been in the rumor sewing circle discussions until now.
Think about what the Big Ten wants.
It wants the great university in a state. To check.
It wants a solid football program that can play a role. To check.
It wants a large untapped media market to get new eyes on the Big Ten Network. Seattle is right up there with Detroit and Minneapolis-St. Paul in terms of market size. To check.
It wants a strong academic institution. To be right there in the wheelhouse with Rutgers, Penn State, Maryland and Ohio State. To check.
Washington is opening up a corner of the country to make the Big Ten even more of a national brand, obviously the ties to USC and UCLA are there, and again, it just fits the profile in every way.
Just as …
UCLA, USC to Big Ten? What now for Pac-12, SEC, Notre Dame, College Football?
Yes, all that with Washington, but with better football, better branding and much, much better marketing.
The media market is not Seattle or Los Angeles, but Portland is with Baltimore and Indianapolis and Milwaukee. The academic profile is more Nebraska than UCLA or Northwestern, but it’s more than good enough.
And again, the marketing. Don’t you think the Big Ten wants to be associated with everything the University of Oregon is putting forth in an NIL era?
You can’t take Oregon without Washington—and vice versa—and these two, along with USC and UCLA, completely change the landscape of the Big Ten and make it corporately untouchable.
Of course, if the Big Ten really wants to keep expanding.