With the creation of the Big 10 Network and being available on HD channels, the expansion of the Big 10 is probably being expedited.
Who will get the call and will the Big 10 expand by more than one team?
Let's examine some possibilities.
The Big 10 adds one team scenario.
The “Pitt” Panthers would give the Conference two teams in Penn., but the Pittsburgh market would not bring TV money as PSU draws from there already.
PSU with Paterno would veto this— odds are not likely with any major media market.
WVU are a team on the rise in football and basketball. The Mountaineers are not a major television market and bring no "must have" to the table.
Syracuse Orange is an interesting team.
They were once a football power and currently have a great basketball program. However, they are not looked on, as New York City's team, which means the TV area they control, would not be as large as you might think.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights are New Jersey's team and the first to bring substantial broadcast revenue to the bargaining table.
They have gone from “no” to “whoa!”
They are historically, not a generaly good program in either football or basketball, but playing the Big 10 football schedule would result in about a .500 record.
Louisville Cardinals— a Kentucky market, is not a major viewing plus, however, they are a program on the rise in both football and basketball.
The fact they are more southern than any current Big 10 teams give them some points.
Ohio State doesn't want another “Ohio” school and that market is already on the fritz with all Buckeye fans in the area.
Fat chance for “Cincy.”
The Mac teams are the little brothers of the Big 10, and none would be considered as they bring, essentially, nothing substantial to the table.
Fat chance part II.
Iowa State Cyclones are a natural rival for Iowa. They bring nothing to the table.
Nebraska Cornhuskers are arguably one of America’s football legends that has stumbled lately.
While they bring little to the pot as far as viewer revenues go, they are still, Big Red.
Odds are that the Big 10 will accept that collect call— a definite short list team.
Missouri is geographically not that far from the current schools, but then again neither is Kentucky.
They’re a program on the rise in football and a legitimate contender to win the Big 10 basketball title any year.
The St. Louis market is a bonus as well and odds are as good as Nebraska's.
Colorado Buffaloes are a major market in Denver and have been a top football program in the past, but recently in a rebuilding stage.
The program has had many problems and the Big 10 may decide they are too big of a risk.
Years ago after the formation of the Big 12 they turned down a Pac 10 invite.
Odds are 50-50, but don’t hold your breath.
The Naval Academy is my “Dark horse” candidate. They are obviously a major player in academics.
Their sports programs are not the powers they were 50-years ago. TV impact is hard to consider, but they would add ratings with the number of Navy veterans all over the country.
Chances of any team being asked to leave the Big 10 are slim to none.
Penn State would be the only team likely to leave, but they realize the power of the Big 10 with non-revenue producing sports and I don't see them leaving.
Now, here's another possibility: 14 Teams
With two seven team divisions the schedule would work. Each team would play every team in their division and two teams on a rotating basis in the other division.
This still leaves four non-conference games.
Let's look at what this could mean: three teams could be brought in.
This would expand the coverage area nicely depending on who is invited to join.
Let's look at some possibilities:
A three-team raid on the Big 12 with invites to Nebraska, Missouri and Colorado. Iowa State if needed would be considered if it meant two of the Big “3” would come in with one refusing to join.
The Texas “Two Step.”
Would Texas and Texas A&M be willing to jump ship for the Big 10?
Any of the other Big 12 schools would be welcomed with these two teams. The Big 10 would be drooling to get a foot in the Texas media market and recruiting pool.
Then we have the possibilities of Eastern Expansion
A trifecta of Pitt, Louisville and a team from this list: Rutgers, Syracuse, WVU or Navy wouldn't be that bad.
Then we have the dream if Notre Dame agrees to come in and is allowed to keep their contract, but wouldn't get any Big 10 revenues until their contract expires.
Along with ND joining any other two teams mentioned would be acceptable.
Teams that the Big 10 would be willing to talk to not mentioned: Boston College, Air Force Academy, Kentucky, SEC Powerhouses, BYU and Boise State.
Sure some of these are wishful thinking but you never know when money is involved.
Expansion will happen and the Big 10 needs to be proactive not reactive.