Dave Jones on Big Ten Expansion
The college football offseason is rarely quiet, and much of the noise this year has come from folks talking, writing, prognosticating and blogging about the possibility of Big Ten expansion. The traditional story line — the Big Ten has coveted Notre Dame as a 12th member ever since Penn State joined the league nearly two decades ago, but the Fighting Irish never bit — has been updated as the league recently announced it was taking its most serious look yet at adding a 12th school. The topic has been buzzing online, with a variety of folks making arguments and guessing at the league’s intentions. What seems clearer than ever is that, with or (most likely) without Notre Dame, the Big Ten is more likely than not to expand in the next few years — to 12 teams, perhaps, but maybe to 14 or even 16. The ultimate decision will reshape the college football landscape as drastically (if not more so) than did Penn State’s switch from independent to Big Ten power nearly 20 years ago.
David Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News posted a three-part story today that’s as well-done as anything I’ve seen on the topic. Part One explains why expansion appears to make so much sense right now, for reasons that shouldn’t surprise anyone (hint: it’s what makes the world go ’round). Part Two explains why, in Dave’s opinion, the addition that Penn State fans would most like to see is not the most likely to happen (hint: the lure of a classic rivalry is trumped by the bottom line, every time). And Part Three offers Dave’s pick for the “sleeping giant” that might ultimately make the most sense if the Big Ten adds just one team.
Time will tell if Dave’s right (or if our friend Frank the Tank is prescient with his prediction of Texas), but this is compelling stuff regardless.
Ryan Jones, senior editor