Big Ten Conference Realignment: East or South?
The Big Ten wants to be the premier football conference in the country.
Therefore, the Big Ten needs 16 teams.
With Nebraska already under its belt, now begins the selection process for the final four teams in the soon-to-be mega conference.
But where do they go from here?
Geographically, snatching additional schools from the newly formed 10-team Big 12 would make the most sense.
However, the gold mine that is larger television markets lies eastward with Big East institutions.
Here are the most plausible scenarios for each case.
Missouri has been and will continue to be on the Big Ten's radar.
Many experts thought the Tigers would join alongside Nebraska, but the conference ultimately decided not to pull the trigger on the school just yet.
One thing is for sure though, Missouri will accept the offer if and when it does come.
Iowa State is another possible no-brainer annex of the Big Ten. An immediate natural rivalry would be formed with in-state foe Iowa. The Cyclones, however, lack the star power the Big Ten wants from its schools.
Memphis is a little further away, but brings a checkbook to the bargaining table.
Tigers booster and FedEx CEO Fred Smith has been rumored to be willing to pay upwards of $10 million per year to any BCS conference that takes in his Alma mater.
Rutgers, located in New Jersey, theoretically brings in the highly coveted New York market.
Already owning the likes of Chicago, adding any substantial portion of New York viewers to the Big Ten Network would make it the most dominant in all of college football.
Syracuse would most likely join as a package deal with Rutgers.
Two New York area teams would make Big Apple viewers far more likely to care than just the one.
Pittsburgh makes the most sense with the current alignment of the conference.
Penn State has long wanted another Pennsylvania institution in the Big Ten.
By the 2013 season the Big Ten will add Missouri, Rutgers, and Syracuse.
This, of course, would make 15 teams in the conference.
Enter Notre Dame.
Yes, the Big Ten will finally get its most coveted prize.
By this time conference expansion will dwindle the BCS leagues to four or five at most. Therefore, The Fighting Irish will no longer be able to stay relevant outside a major conference.
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