Conversation piece for the offseason. Big 10 expansion and championship game. JoePa is apparently for it.
"We go into hiding for six weeks," Paterno said, referring to the hiatus between the end of the Big Ten regular season and the BCS bowls. The other major FBS conferences play into the first weekend of December.
"I've tried to talk to the Big Ten people about, 'Let's get a 12th team -- Syracuse, Rutgers, Pitt -- we could have a little bit of a playoff.'"
"You know, it's a conference that's dominated by a couple of people," Paterno said. "If I start talking, they're polite, but they snicker.
"They don't know I know they're snickering, but they're polite. ...I wish I were younger and going to be around [another] 20 years."
Just a guess, but those couple of people would be Michigan and Ohio State, who wouldn't want anything to get in the way of their precious game.
I'd like to throw out three topics for discussion.
1: Should the Big 10 expand?
2: Who should the 12th team be?
3: If so, how should the teams be aligned?
1: Yes it should, for the reasons that JoePa outlined. The Big 10 basically ends their season two-three weeks before everyone else. In addition, the NCAA needs 12 teams in a conference for that conference to have a championship game. The NCAA could grant a waiver and let the Big 10 do a championship game with only 11 teams, but the ACC tried that a few years ago and the NCAA didn't go for it.
In the interest of keeping the Big 10 in discussion when the rest of the conferences are still playing games and being talked about, the Big 10 needs to add a team and add a conference championship game.
2: Notre Dame is the obvious answer. They have location, history, and acedemics. They also have their fat TV contract with NBC. So Notre Dame is a no go. Let's just leave them out of the conversation.
Some possible schools I've seen mentioned repeatedly are Syracuse, Rutgers, Pitt, Louisville, and Missouri. Louisville and Missouri can probably be taken off the list. Louisville doesn't have the academics and Missouri probably wouldn't want to give up their rivalry with Kansas.
Cuse is a small private school without much of a TV market. It's like Northwestern, but without the Chicago TV market.
Pitt and Rutgers are both good possibilites. Both are on par with the Big 10 in terms of size and academics. Pitt could get their rivalry with Penn State going again. Rutgers and Penn State could probably get a rivalry going. Both are in large TV markets as well. Rutgers probably has the better football program right now, but their basketball program isn't very good. I would be happy with either one in the Big 10.
3: How to split everyone up. Here would be my geographic breakdowns.
North: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Iowa.
South: Ohio State, Indiana, Illinois, Purdue, Penn State, Pitt/Rutgers.
East: Penn State, Pitt/Rutgers, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Indiana.
West: Purdue, Northwestern, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois.
Looking at the two of those, North/South is probably more evenly balanced. Each team would play 5 games against their division, 3 games against the other division, with one protected game, and 4 non-conference games. To use Michigan as an example, their schedule could look like:
Michigan School for the Blind
Indiana (rotating game)
Penn State (rotating game)
Ohio State (protected game)
[come on, I couldn't go a whole post without a shot at Michigan ]
With making one team in the other division a protected game, it keeps Michigan and Ohio State happy.
OK, I've written way too much. This is what happens when I don't have enough to do at work.