Hey, did you hear the Big Ten may be looking to expand?
Pretty much every national writer on my Google Reader list, plus just about every Big East blogger, has written about Big Ten expansion in the last 24 hours, so ... quite a list here.
- Senator Blutarsky: Conference expansion, a zero-sum game?
- Dr. Saturday: Expansion, death in the air as BCS commishes meet
- ESPN.com: Expansion? Pac-10 taking backseat to Big Ten
- ESPN.com (Bruce Feldman): Expansion won't stop with the Big Ten
NY Times: College Conferences Ponder Expansion and Extinction
That would increase the Big Ten to the 12 teams necessary to have a postseason championship game and increase the league’s national profile.
What it would not do is significantly increase the Big Ten’s television footprint for its successful new network, which is really the driving force behind its proposed expansion.
That is why the Big Ten is toying with the idea of a 16-team league that could include colleges like Missouri, Rutgers, Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Connecticut. If that happens, [Former Syracuse AD Jake] Crouthamel predicted other conferences would catch up by adding teams.
The counterintuitive aspect of the Big Ten expansion talk is that it is not always the quality of the program, but the television market that it would deliver, that is the most important factor. Though probably not pining to watch Rutgers or Syracuse football, Big Ten officials like all the television sets in New Jersey and upstate New York.
Eventually, Crouthamel said he saw the Big Ten, the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Southeastern Conference and the Pacific-10 forming four 16-team superconferences and leaving the umbrella of the N.C.A.A. (Just imagine the fight between the SEC and the Pac-10 for Texas.) He said that those leagues would form their own basketball tournament to rival the N.C.A.A. tournament.
- SI.com (Stewart Mandel): Will Notre Dame join Big Ten, more conference expansion FAQs
- SI.com (Andy Staples): Conferences wait on Big Ten's move
Post-Dispatch: Possible Big Ten expansion looms over BCS meeting
- Pitt Blather (Pitt): The Big East Will End With a Whimper
- Casual Hoya (Georgetown): Where Will Georgetown Be in Five Years?
- Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician (Syracuse): The Big East Will Not Exist in 2013
- Voodoo Five (South Florida): Big 10 Expansion Scenarios and USF
- On the Banks (Rutgers): Best be packing our bags
- Maize 'n Brew (Michigan): As Long as We're Talking About It: A 16 Team Big Ten Proposal
- BC Interruption (Boston College): Big Ten Expansion: Why Stop at 16?
- Team Speed Kills (SEC): Would the SEC Respond to a Larger Big Ten?
- Gobbler Country (Virginia Tech): Conference Expansion, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and You
The UConn Blog (UConn ... as if you couldn't guess): The importance of the Association of American Universities
If you look at a list of AAU members, there are two important things you'll notice, at least for our purposes. First, UConn is not a member. Second, every Big Ten school is. Now, being an AAU member is not a requirement to join the Big Ten (Notre Dame is not a member), but it certainly can't hurt, and with or without the Big Ten, I think UConn could get there soon.
So why does this matter? Well, it seems to be a matter of "fit." The Big Ten and its members pride themselves on academics, and like I said above, being an AAU member provides cover. This makes UConn a less than ideal candidate to some Big Ten watchers, so if you look around the net, you'll see fans say things like this.
If we're being honest, we need to acknowledge that historically, the school has not been an academic powerhouse (thought it was never awful either). However, it has made huge gains in the past twenty years, most notably on the undergraduate level, but its graduate programs have also been improving. The more than $2 billion the state has put into the school for improvements is paying off. In addition, UConn president Michael Hogan has made increasing support and funding for graduate research a priority. Assuming the school follows through on that, it makes sense that UConn could merit an invitation sometime in the not-too-distant-future. As is, several of their peer schools are already AAU members, including some in the Big Ten (Iowa, Indiana, etc.).
And after all the discussion ... expansion didn't really come up on the first day of the BCS meetings.Mizzou Football Links
The Trib (Dave Matter): Four and Out: Spring Surprises
Matt White, RsFr., safety: If you didn’t know better, you might mistake White for a kicker. Actually, at 6-foot, 180 pounds, White is smaller than Missouri’s kicker, Grant Ressel, who checks in at 6-1, 190. Missouri initially pegged White as a cornerback, but he’s been a player defensive coordinator Dave Steckel has loved since he began recruiting him out of Dallas. Here’s what Steckel said of White back in February of 2009, when Missouri fans were probably wondering why the Tigers just signed a player who was barely a blip on other team’s radars. "I hate using the term ‘sleeper,’ but he just turned 17," Steckel said. "I know I’m getting old, but he’s 17 and looks like he’s 12. He played safety at Keller because they had three corners. But he was the toughest one, so they moved him to safety. Plus he was the smartest one, so he could make all the checks." Two-time team captain. National Honor Society. Industrial Engineering major. The Tigers need some brains in the secondary, and White also brings some impressive ball skills and fearlessness — which is essential when you weigh less than your team’s kicker. By the fifth week of practices, White was working with the first-team defense, ahead of junior Kenji Jackson (nine career starts) and senior Jarrell Harrison (eight starts). Come September, will he start opposite Jasper Simmons?
- PowerMizzou: Post-spring defensive review
- Inside Missouri Football: Derrick Washington
Other Football Links
KC Star (Campus Corner): Bill Snyder on Dylan Meier: "Unbelievable young man"
ESPN.com: Examining some college basketball what-ifs (a much better piece from Eamonn Brennan than the Mike Anderson piece he wrote last Friday)
Other Mizzou Links
MUtigers.com: Grand Opening of Mizzou Baseball Facility Set for Saturday
KC Star: Border War rivals need a victory at Kauffman
SimmonsField.com: Game Day: MU vs. KU at Kauffman Stadium
MUtigers.com: Catherine Lee Named Big 12 Player of the Week
MUtigers.com: Tigers Host Pair of Doubleheaders
Mizzou Women's Basketball
The Trib: No quit in new coach