A lot of discussion has been made about the Big Ten expanding in the recent months.
While most people suggest teams like Syracuse, Pittsburgh or Rutgers, I think they are overlooking the most beneficial choice. The State University of New York at Buffalo.
Now there are several reasons why the Big Ten may want to expand. One of the reasons they do not is competition. The reality is the Big Ten is not looking to bring in a powerhouse program. If they expand and the team that joins so happens to be one is just a bonus.
The way I see it, the Big Ten should have three criteria for possible expansion. Those are:
- The University should be in the East to provide for an East and West division.
- The University must be a major research facility.
- The University must be located in a major TV market.
The University of Buffalo fits all three of these criteria. UB would fit in well with an East division. The University of Buffalo is a major research facility and Buffalo would be one of the largest networks in the Big Ten—only behind Chicago, Columbus and Detroit.
Now some may say that UB is not up to the caliber of the Big Ten. While this is true...does it matter? JoPa is not crying about having better teams to play. He wants more teams to play.
He wants a conference championship game and he wants to straighten the eastern focus of the league.
Another item to consider is UB could develop into a powerhouse program if it is provided the opportunity. Right now fan support is low but this is not because people in Buffalo do not like football.
In fact, the opposite is true. Buffalo and the Western New York region has one of the most active football fan bases in the US. The challenge is most of those fans are for the Buffalo Bills. I do not know many fans who have the stamina to attend both a college game on Saturday and a NFL game on Sunday, let alone the desire to pay for tickets to both.
The opportunity is the Buffalo Bills may not be in Buffalo in 10 years. They are already playing games in Toronto and most likely will move once the current owner passes away. When this happens, there will be a huge void in Western New York for football.
The ability to upgrade facilities and collect large donations are in direct correlation to the caliber of competition a team plays. Playing teams like Akron, Ball State and Toledo do not open the check books of boosters and taxpayers like Michigan, Penn State and Ohio State would.