If you were hired by the big ten to give an evaluation of 15 potential candidates, what would your list look like? According to Barry Alvarez you need to give the following information:
“They basically broke down what they would bring to the table," Alvarez said. "They talked about academics. They talked about size. They talked about size of their arenas. They talked about attendance. They talked about the populace in that specific area."
First thing mentioned: academics.
We all know football and basketball will be important.
And Alvarez mentioned size, attendance, and population of the area — which equals TV money.
So here’s what the Big 10 is looking for in a new member: Academics, Football, Size, and Basketball.
Big 10 geography isn't like most conferences. Being close to the Big 10 footprint is not a main factor; closer teams mean less travel but they don’t extend the TV market, further teams mean more travel, but they extend the TV market.
Based on this, what would your initial list of 15 potential candidates look like? Here’s my list of teams that pass the smell test, in no order other than the order in which they popped into my head:
Pitt, Missouri, Nebraska, Syracuse, Rutgers, Iowa State, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Cincinnati, Miami, Ohio, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Maryland, West Virginia
Note: I would’ve had Notre Dame, and Texas on my list since they are home run options, but based on Alvarez’s comments, I’ve left them off. And that leads me to the problem with this list, none of these schools are a huge slam dunk for the Big 10, but that’s why the evaluation is necessary. You don’t need to spend a bunch of money evaluating Notre Dame and Texas, they obviously deliver the goods in every important area.
After the academic, athletic, and size findings we’d be down to the following candidates in my opinion:
Pitt, Nebraska, Missouri, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Maryland.
Based on football, academics, basketball, and size of the area I think Pitt is the top choice here, my top three would be:
1. 1. Pitt
2. 2. Nebraska
3. 3. Maryland
Any of these 3 schools would be a solid addition to the Big 10 conference, but Texas is still lingering out there. Texas will not leave the current Big 12 —life is great for them there —but current is the key word.
Texas does not want to be left behind in a diminished Big 12 that might have to replace 2 or more teams with the likes of TCU and Houston. Texas doesn’t want to move towards a state conference while the Big 10 and Pac 10 are expanding as national powers.
If the Pac 10 makes the first move and takes Colorado then Texas is left wondering if the Big 12 could additionally lose one or more teams to the Big 10. They don’t want to be left behind while lesser academic universities from the Big 12 get to join the academic powers of the Pac 10 and Big 10 —which Texas was interested in back in the 90’s.
I think the most likely scenario is the Big 10 adding Pitt, but if things happen in the right order and the timing is right, and the Big 10 handles it correctly, there is a shot that Texas could join the Big 10, but it’s a long shot in my opinion.
If Texas isn’t on the Big 10’s current list, they should be added, it’s surely worth a shot. It will be interesting to see what happens.