Big Ten Expansion: How Will the Michigan Wolverines Be Impacted?
The 2010 college football season is poised to be among the best yet even before the first tackle has been made.
Why? It is simply the announcement of conference expansion, and this week has already had some exciting developments.
The University of Colorado has been the first to pull the trigger by announcing that they will be leaving the Big 12 for the Pac-10.
There are also a lot of rumors and speculation at this moment that the University of Texas and five other schools from the Big 12 will also join the Pac-10.
If this does happen, it will certainly dissolve the Big 12 Conference.
Meanwhile, the Pac-10 will become a powerful athletic conference.
On the other hand, it is almost certain that traditional college football power Nebraska is set to join the Big Ten immediately.
There is no doubt that the Cornhuskers will make an excellent addition to the Big Ten.
The Huskers will be joining league play at a time when the program appears to be headed in the right direction after being down for a few years.
If the Pac-10 does rapidly expand, the Big Ten might not be as quick to do so.
The process may be slower, however, as Big Ten officials want to be deliberate in their choices.
This does not mean, however, that the Big Ten will not add more teams. They will.
Big Ten fans should look for the addition of Notre Dame, Missouri, Rutgers, and possibly Syracuse or Maryland.
Notre Dame cannot financially afford for the Big Ten to expand around them. Therefore, it may take some time; however, the Irish will more than likely become a part of the Big Ten.
With all of this in mind, Michigan fans must be wondering how much this expansion will affect the program, which is currently in a state of transition.
This is a pivotal year in Ann Arbor for Rich Rodriguez and company, and the outcome of the season will go a long way toward determining which direction the program will go.
The biggest impact that expansion will have on Michigan's program will be in one area, and that is recruiting.
Recruiting the top talent to play at your school means everything for a program, and it is affected by several different items.
If the Michigan athletic administration is satisfied with having six to eight wins a year, then Michigan will continue to be an average program that will draw average talent.
There is a valid argument that this was the attitude throughout the final years of coach Lloyd Carr's tenure, and the fallout came with a new staff.
The acceptance of mediocrity has become entrenched within American society, and it certainly had within the Michigan administration.
Let's hope that David Brandon will put an end to this among the entire administration.
However, the recent developments in the Demar Dorsey case are not a good sign.
Nevertheless, if Coach Rodriguez and company prove this season that they are turning the program into a national contender, then the nation's top talent will want to play in Ann Arbor.
At this point, Michigan cannot rely on the old glories of the past and a fantastic stadium to nationally recruit.
Those days are gone in Ann Arbor, and the addition of Nebraska and the others that will follow will only make this more of a reality to the program.
In order to remain above average, Michigan must win on the field.
Overall, the expansion of the Big Ten is excellent for the conference, and the divisions should look something like this:
Eastern Division Western Division
Notre Dame Iowa
Ohio State Wisconsin
Penn State Missouri
Michigan State Minnesota
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