The last time the Big Ten conference made a major change was in 1990, when the Penn State Nittany Lions joined the group and helped to build it up to a BCS power conference.
Big Ten directors decided Tuesday that they will be exploring expansion options within the next 12-18 months in order to add a 12th team and even out the conference. The Big Ten, along with a name change, would be split into two divisions, creating a conference championship at the end of the season and presenting an opportunity for a 14-game season.
Joe Paterno has been adamant on the issue of adding a 12th team, stating it would ease scheduling difficulties as well as keep players in good shape with late schedules. That, in turn, would create better performances in bowl games, resulting in a better Big Ten showing and silencing its critics.
Adding another team in the next couple years will give Paterno his wish, allowing him to build up a conference championship team while still preparing his players for a New Year’s bowl game.
For JoePa, conference expansion means prevention of another blowout similar to last year’s Rose Bowl in addition to building up his career wins with an extra game available each year.
Some new-addition possibilities include Notre Dame, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and Rutgers – all of whom have ties to Penn State in terms of old-time rivalries except for the Scarlet Knights:
Rival: All-time vs. Penn state
Notre Dame Tied 9-9-1
Syracuse Penn State 42-23-5
Pittsburgh Penn State 50-42-4
Notre Dame would most likely keep its TV contract with NBC and remain an independent team, despite the more competitive play and BCS ties the Big Ten would be able to offer.
Another Penn State rival and more competitive play helps the Nittany Lions and the Big Ten gain more national exposure. What TV station wouldn’t want to televise a Penn State/Notre Dame match-up featuring two of the more storied programs in college football history?
Sit back and enjoy the discussions for now, but in the long run, the future looks bright. And exciting.