Big Ten Expansion (part 3): The Contenders

12 04 2010

After discussing some of the  outside contenders for the 12th spot in the Big Ten, lots of noise has been made to cut to the chase and get to the real teams (already). This installment will cover the teams with good chances, but not the front-runners. The top two teams for expansion will follow soon.

Some bloggers and so-called experts have been casting doubt on the “East Coast Media Theory” for Big 10 expansion. The problem is, it is too logical not to apply. The conference wants to send a serious statement to the college football community that it is THE top conference in football by adding a conference championship game as well as gain exposure in the ESPN (Eastern Sports Publicity Network) dominated media market on the East Coast.

Two major teams accomplish this feat; the Syracuse Orange and Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

Syracuse has an established football program that has had very strong times, and very weak times – a perfect fit for the Big 10. Other than Ohio State, the Big 10 standings can be highly volatile on a yearly basis. And the basketball team has also had established success. Plus Syracuse is about as close to New York itself as the Big 10 can get.

About the only university closer is Rutgers, another likely option. The Scarlet Knights have had a solid football program over the last decade joined with an increase in credibility as a quality opponent. Joining the Big 10 offers Rutgers a larger stage than the Big East and gives the Big 10 a 12th team that will not be a threat to upset the apple cart immediately in the conference.

Again, major prospects like Texas,  Nebraska and Notre Dame would not consider a move t the Big 10 because they want to be conference championship contenders from the start. The truth is, the conference would not want a drastic shake-up immediately – the individual athletic directors within the conference would not allow it. The team needs to ease itself into conference contention.

Two other very unlikely names to also consider at this point would be the University of Connecticut and the Naval Academy. With recent success for both programs, their presence on the East Coast at least puts them on the Big 10 radar.

Coming up next: The Semi-finalist. Who will take second place in the chase for the 12th spot in the Big 10?

Mr Pressbox Out!!

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