Sunday, August 14, 2022

Teams the Big Ten could add next and why many could be already off the table

July 1, 2022
<p>Duke&#x27;s junior forward Wendell Moore Jr. (0) and sophomore center Mark Williams (15) celebrate in the last minute of the game during Duke&#x27;s victory over Michigan State on March 20, 2022.</p>

Duke's junior forward Wendell Moore Jr. (0) and sophomore center Mark Williams (15) celebrate in the last minute of the game during Duke's victory over Michigan State on March 20, 2022.

Photo by Rahmya Trewern | The State News

Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC were the first dominoes of change, UCLA and USC were where the speed of the dominoes falling reached a climax.

Now the question is, when do the dominoes stop?

With a vacuum created by the departure of four major programs, the Big 12 and Pac-12 are left in a state of desperation to stay alive. The ACC is now forced to make a move of its own. For the schools within those conferences, they may be trying to force their way to the SEC or Big Ten. As for the group of five? It may be too late for most of them.

According to multiple college football insiders, we could be moving towards a college football world with super conferences of 20 or more teams. With each school looking to keep itself alive and conferences looking to gain an edge, dramatic movement and change is coming whether you like it or not.

So what could that look like for the next teams coming for the Big Ten? While it may be nice to think about adding schools such as Iowa State or West Virginia that may fit the mold of a nearby school that would culturally fit in, the reality is that they will not be added barring a significant mindset change from the conference.

All but one (Nebraska) of the current schools in the Big Ten are accredited by the Association of American Universities. There are 63 members in total, all with the goal of being, “...on the leading edge of innovation, scholarship, and solutions that contribute to scientific progress, economic development, security, and well-being.”

That leaves many teams off of the table for the Big Ten at this point in time should they stay true to this. However, there is a team that stands out as one they could make another exception for. Below are the teams that would make sense for the Big Ten.

Oregon

The first four schools on this list are from the west coast after the addition of USC and UCLA. Oregon is one of the more exciting college sports programs in the nation not only with the flashy uniforms and performance in football and basketball but also with high-quality Olympic sports in track and field and others.

Washington

With Washington comes tremendous history and background along with an immense TV market in Seattle. Oh, and this team also made the College Football Playoff just a few years ago.

Stanford

Stanford is one of the most prestigious schools in the world along with the best collection of Olympic sports in the nation. The football program has struggled on the field, but the recruiting has been solid enough to suggest they could bounce back.

California

The University of California Berkeley had 16 Olympians in the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan in 2021. Pair that with one of the more prestigious colleges in the nation, and you’ve got a solid pitch for the Big Ten. However, they will need to see some more investment into football and basketball to compete at that level.

Kansas

Kansas to my surprise is AAU accredited and has one of the most prestigious college basketball programs in the nation. Football has improved in the last year with the hiring of Lance Leipold, but the addition here would no doubt be about pairing Kansas with some of the best basketball teams in the country.

North Carolina and Duke

About great basketball teams, you can’t have one in the conference without the other when it comes to Tobacco Road. Both of these schools have major athletic programs not only in basketball but in Olympic sports. The SEC would likely come calling as well being in their geographical footprint, but adding these two schools would make a ton of sense for either conference.

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Virginia

With a robust basketball program and tremendous academics, not much else needs to be said here other than would Virginia join even if they have to play MSU in basketball each year?

Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is AAU accredited with an athletic program that fits the traditional Big Ten. Not only would they be able to play their rival Penn State in conference, but this is also an excellent TV market. 

Notre Dame

The Irish are the one exception the Big Ten would likely take to the AAU accreditation. The Irish have an incredibly robust academic program along with one of the best athletic programs in the nation. When Nebraska was added in 2011, it was solely on its athletic program at that time. Notre Dame has both. The main component here is whether Notre Dame will swallow its own pride and join a conference after being an independent for this long. However, Big Ten athletic directors seem open. 

This would also allow Notre Dame to routinely play in four trophy games each year with USC, Purdue, Michigan and Michigan State. It truly makes too much sense.

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