Do Fans Want a Bigger Big Ten?

Gary BrownCorrespondent IIMay 11, 2010

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01:  Quarterback Terrelle Pryor #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes attepts a pass against the Oregon Ducks during the 96th Rose Bowl game on January 1, 2010 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Get the latest on conference expansion at College Sports Matchups

There are some things you just have to accept as true. One of them is change will be coming to college athletics.

It is interesting that while college sports fans were wringing their hands over the possibility of expanding the NCAA basketball tournament to 96 teams, the real change being considered was coming in all sports, with the greatest impact being felt by the golden egg, football.

Well, unless you are one of the athletes, who will find your transit time to games increasing if your particular sport spends more than it takes in each year.

Here is what we wanted to find out College Sports Matchups : Do the fans want the change that is being considered, and if so what do they want to see happen when it comes to expanding the SEC and Big Ten?

We asked fans to answer a few simple questions and what follows are the answers to a few simple questions they gave us. We will also provide a few insights into what they told us.

After we consider all of this, we will give a brief analysis of what we believe the message is from the people who watch the games on television and fill the stadiums on Saturday.

First for the Big Ten results.

Question: Do you want the Big Ten to Expand?

  • Yes- 73%
  • No- 27%

The fans have spoken. They want a bigger Big Ten, but how big?

Question: If expanded, how many teams should the Big Ten add?

  • 1- 33%
  • 2- 11%
  • 3- 21%
  • 4- 8%
  • 5- 27%

It seems the majority want the conference to grow, but at one extreme or the other. Is there a particular reason for this? Maybe it can be found in the teams they want to bring in.

Question: Which one school would you most want to see the Big Ten add?

  • Notre Dame- 51%
  • Nebraska- 26%
  • Texas- 9%
  • Pitt- 6%
  • Missouri- 4%
  • Syracuse- 4%

While Texas may be one of the schools the Big Ten covets, the fans would rather see their Big 12 cousin, Nebraska, bolt from the Big XII to align with the Big Ten.

Have no doubts that if the big shots at the Big Ten could only add one team it would be the same one the fans want: The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame are far and away the “it” team for Big Ten expansion.

Question: If the SEC and Big Ten expand which conference will be the biggest loser?

  • Big Ten- 3%
  • SEC- 3%
  • Big East- 40%
  • Big XII- 39%
  • ACC - 10%
  • PAC 10- 5%

While the Big East cannot afford to lose any members in football, this vote seems to reflect sentiment that the Big XII just has more to lose than the Big East if teams bolt to other conferences. 

Really, would you miss the drama of hoping there is not an undefeated Big East champ in football?

They don’t play football on par with the rest of the big six, no matter how you slice it.

The Big XII, well they are home to many traditional powers for football, and can you imagine Oklahoma and Kansas trying to decide if they want to join the PAC-10 or some new version of the remaining teams from the Big East and ACC .

Quick analysis: Fans are not resistant to change, but are at two extremes it seems.

Fans who like the present system want minor changes made, such as the addition of Notre Dame to the Big Ten.

Those who want to force a new era of college football playoffs believe the new mega conferences will hasten the day when teams make progress through a playoff system in their pursuit of a national title in football.

One or the other will get what they are wishing for.

The real question: Will it still feel like college football when the major players complete their coming expansion?

Time will tell.

Tomorrow: The results of the SEC expansion polling.




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