Where Should the Big Ten Go to Find Its 12th Team?

Brad MillerContributor IJanuary 13, 2010

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 5: Danario Alexander #81 of the University of Missouri Tigers hauls in a pass against the University of Illinois Fighting Illini during the State Farm Arch Rivalry on September 5, 2009 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Tigers beat the Fighting Illini 37-9.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The Big Ten Conference announced it would like to add at least one additional member that fits the following criteria:

  • Strong academics and athletics that would bring something to the table. 
  • Can expand the reach of the conference and provide exposure to bigger markets.
  • A location that wouldn't be a logistic nightmare.
  • Willing to consider such a move.

Names like Rutgers, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Missouri, Cincinnati, Louisville, Pittsburgh, and Nebraska have been mentioned as possible schools.

After looking looking through the candidates listed about, though, I think that there is one candidate that would be a great fit more than the others.

Ladies and gentlemen...I present to you...the University of Missouri.

Why you so? Mainly, because the fit all of the criteria listed above. 

  • Mizzou has a strong academic program and has had it for quite some time. Effortless would be the transition into the Big Ten.
  • Adding Missouri the conference would add the St. Louis and Kansas City markets for TV exposure and recruiting.
  • Columbia is located about 250 miles from Iowa City and Champaign/Urbana, which is a quick four-hour drive and a short nap by plane. Columbia would not be much different of a trip for Penn State or Ohio State than a trip to see the Hawkeyes.
  • Higher-ups at Missouri have already stated publicly that, if the Big Ten offered an invitation to join, they would listen to the proposal.

The Big Ten would also like to add a team to split the conference into two parts (like Big 12, ACC, SEC, etc.) and then hold a conference championship game between the top two schools. 

This would validate a true Big Ten champ as it pushes the Big Ten season (football-wise) into late November and claim some TV time that now is being used on other conferences' championship games. 

The Big Ten is missing out on a BOAT LOAD of cash by not having this game. It's all about money, people. Granted, the Big Ten revenue sharing would drop, but the TV exposure and conference championship games will offset that by far.

OK, so how would this work? Try this out. The conference would be divided into West and East regions:

West: Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Northwestern

East: Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, and Purdue

Logistics-wise, it is a good fit for travelling. Rivalry-wise, Missouri has a rivalry with Illinois already and Iowa would be a another possibly strong candidate as well. So those would be preserved, and it keeps the Iowa/Minnesota/Wisconsin, Illinois/Northwestern/Iowa, Michigan/Michigan State/Ohio State, Ohio State/Penn State, Indiana/Purdue rivalries as well.

The other schools listed all have a few glaring shortcomings in the addition debate.

Notre Dame has declined already, and that's enough chances according to Jo Pa. Plus the Big Ten has those markets already.

Pittsburgh would be drawing from the same markets as Penn State. Nebraska is a possibility, but it would be a long haul from Penn State. Cincinnati and Louisville would be dipping too far south and would cause headaches getting there. Rutgers and Syracuse would be good to get into the New York market, but the school's academic standards are not the same as the Big Ten's, and a trip to NY would be a haul for the Hawks and Gophers.

There...I've done Commissioner Jim Delany's work for him. He just needs to send the invitation! Now, about the newly needed Big Ten (or whatever) logo...