Now or Never 12/15/2009Posted by sportretort in Sports, Uncategorized.
Tags: bcs, big ten, expansion, joining a conference, ncaa football, notre dame
There is a change on the horizon. The NCAA BCS landscape is going to change. The current BCS format is scheduled to end in 2015. People want it to change. Most want a
playoff system. The non BCS conferences (MWC, WAC, C-USA, MAC, Sun Belt) feel left out. Even Congress has weighed in. (Let’s let them try health care first and see if they can actually manage to run something efficiently before allowing them to become involved in something REALLY important like college football!). We don’t know what is going to happen, but something has to give. With a shake out set to happen in ’15, the time has come for the Big Ten to expand from 11 to 12 teams. Why now? Because it takes several years to adapt schedules. It took Penn State about 3 years to play a conference slate once it agreed to join the Big Ten.
The league has been on the cutting edge for years. It is one of only 2 conferences to have its own network (along with the Mountain West), and theirs is much more successful. It has HUGE contracts with ABC and ESPN. The cash flows in the Big Ten, and as the Big Ten Network grows, the cash will increase. There are more TV sets in the Big Ten ‘footprint’ than in any other conference. What this conference lacks at the moment is a football championship game. For that, it needs a 12th team, 2 divisions and a licence to print money, because a Big Ten championship game will be a cash cow, and a TV ratings bonanza. So who should be the 12th team? That’s the question.
To me, the perfect fit would be Notre Dame. The Irish play 3 to 4 Big Ten games a season anyway. Join the conference and you can keep the traditional USC and Navy
matchups, as well as your Michigan, MSU and Purdue Big Ten games. Adding five more Big Ten conference games will still leave 2 more games to schedule. Joining the Big Ten will allow ND to keep all of its traditional rivals. Economics will force the Irish into a conference by 2015, the final year of ND’s current TV contract with NBC. Notre Dame can not remain economically viable if it loses its TV contract, and the Big Ten can probably offer the Irish more cash than they will be able to get on their own anyway. Hey, ND, want to go to a BCS game? The Big Ten has more invites (21) than any other conference, including the max of 2 per season in each of the past 5 seasons and 7 of the last 8. Where else are you going to go? The Big East? The ACC? Please. Those two conferences have only 12 appearances in the BCS each. The odds are, ND, that this will be your last chance to join the Big Ten. Expansion WILL happen, either with you or with some one else. The are other options. The Big Ten can go after an east coast team, or a Texas team and increase their TV market even more. You left the Big Ten at the altar ten years ago, Irish. In the years since then, the Big Ten has gotten bigger and better, I don’t think you can say the same. (The Big East in basketball, etc.? Really? What were you thinking?) If the conference gives you another chance, JUMP!! It is what is best for your future. It is a natural fit. Ten years ago, they need you more than you needed them. The shoe is on the other foot this time.
(To read an interesting article about Big Ten expansion, along with other potential teams, go here: http://www.hawkeyenation.com/football/time-for-big-ten-expansion )