Since Mid-February rumors have been spreading about the Big Ten and it’s desire to expand. The Big Ten currently has 11 teams(I know, it doesn’t make sense), and is looking to expand to at least 12 teams, possibly more.
The Big Ten, which is a history rich league, has a few schools on its radar that they might be looking at for expansion. Let’s take a look at a few of the schools:
– The number one school that is on the conference’s list is of course Notre Dame, who makes the most sense, but Notre Dame refuses to give in and join a conference. The Fighting Irish have been independent and can afford to do so due to their lucrative television contract with NBC. Their national following puts them at a different level then other schools. My guess, along with many experts, is that Notre Dame doesn’t give in, and remains independent.
-The next few schools all offer similar things to the Big Ten. Rutgers, Syracuse, and UConn all have a Northeast following, which is something that Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany wants. All three schools would give the Big Ten a New York and New England following. The main reason Delany and the Big Ten want the New York and the New England markets is because of their own television network(The Big Ten Network), which they are expecting to grow. Rumors say that if Notre Dame says no, the Big Ten’s next choice would be to add all three Big East schools.
– The University of Missouri is another school that is also in the mix to be added. Their Kansas City fan base would be a prize possession for the Big Ten.
Ok, so you might be asking why UConn would leave for the Big Ten. The school has been a part of the Big East for almost 30 years, and have a rich history within the conference. While this is true, no school would be able to turn down the money that the Big Ten would offer. It would be like your boss offering you a 200% raise at work. Would you decline? Probably not.
UConn is a good school for the Big Ten to choose because of its top tier basketball programs, as well as their up-and-coming football program. UConn has a large alumni base, which even extends into the midwest(Big 10 country). Another key that might help bring UConn into the Big Ten, is the President of the university. Mike Hogan, who has been at UConn for three years now, came from the Big Ten and the University of Iowa before heading to Storrs. His connections to other Big Ten administrations could help the cause.
So as a UConn fan, I would root for the Huskies to join the Big Ten. Yes, the Big East has a great tradition, but the Big Ten is going to take at least one Big East school, maybe more, and whoever is left behind is going to see a depleted Big East. While the basketball side of the Big East won’t take a huge hit, the football side will suffer a major loss if one of the eight football playing schools leave.
UConn to the Big Ten might sound crazy, but it might just be the right move for both the Huskies and the Big Ten.