Look out, kids, the Big Ten might be adding yet another team that can go out and underachieve on the national stage. According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, the Big Ten might be making an an announcement sometime today announcing its intention to once-again begin a search for a 12th member to add to the already inaccurately-named “power” conference.
The first sign of change came from former Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez, who told Wisconsin’s athletic board on Friday that Delany “is going to take this year to really be more aggressive about it. I just think everybody feels [expansion] is the direction to go, coaches and administrators.”
A league source on Monday cited a “growing groundswell” of support among athletic directors for expansion.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney has frequently poo-pooed talk of expanding the conference in the past, but it appears that he will be unable to hold back the movement any longer.
He could not be reached Monday but said in May, “I’m agnostic. I could live with two divisions and a championship game, but I think that has a tendency to devalue the season-ending game and have a negative impact (in terms of at-large BCS selection) on your losing team in season-ending games.
“I don’t want us to tear ourselves apart over the structure of football for the sake of expansion.”
Delany also has reminded reporters that if the Big Ten were to expand, it would add an “institution,” not a team.
Why the interest, you ask? Money. The Big Ten as a whole has grown tired of watching SEC and Big 12 schools making assloads of money from their conference championship games. Some argue that holding a Big Ten championship game (and televising it on the Big Ten Network) could generate more than $5 million in revenue for the conference.
Odds are that if in fact the Big Ten does decide to pursue a twelfth team, it won’t be Notre Dame. The Big Ten attempted to lure Notre Dame once before in the late ’90s before talks broke off, so most suspect that Missouri, Cincinnati, Louisville and Rutgers may be in the running.
Wow. I can barely contain my excitement.
Big Ten Conference looking into expanding to 12 teams? [Chicago Tribune]