Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What's Really Going On With the Big Ten

Media reports said that the Big Ten Conference had offered Missouri, Nebraska, Rutgers and Notre Dame spots in the conference. But Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith stated that was not the case.

So who is right and wrong in this seemingly cat-and-mouse game? Are the media just trying to break a story? Is the Big Ten playing coy because its pieces haven't fallen together yet?

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany is his usual quiet self. No word again from him. You can bet your retirement plan that media will hound him next week at the conference meetings. You can also bet Delany will be lost for words.

But for the sake of argument, let's say the media reports are true. If Rutgers and Notre Dame join, the college football picture wouldn't change that much.

Rutgers should jump at the opportunity. Despite its location and TV sets, this university isn't an athletic force. Here in the Midwest, I cannot remember seeing (for example) any Scarlet Knight apparel in sporting goods stores.

Notre Dame would be a great addition for the Big Ten. But unlike Rutgers, Notre Dame would probably lose with membership. Notre Dame with its own network must be thinking "Do we want to eat the whole pie or just have a piece?"

But a Missouri and Nebraska transfer would cause a ripple effect and probably destroy the Big 12. Missouri, like Rutgers, would probably jump at the chance to join. According to reports, the Tigers feel unloved in the Big 12. Can Nebraska benefit other than the money (from the Big Ten Network)? That is an interesting call.

So with most things in life, we will need to wait. I will although bet my retirement plan on Big Ten expansion. It's just who and when.

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