Monday, May 04, 2009
WARNING! I've put a lot of thought into this post. Be afraid...be very afraid.
Late last week, Joe Paterno was spouting of his usual old man stink and surly attitude to reporters regarding changes to the Big Ten. JoePa wants them to add a 12th team, break the conference into two divisions, and have a conference title game. This is a GREAT idea and should happen. It should have happened when they brought in Penn State in the first place. It won't cheapen the Ohio State/Michigan game. It will normally mean that the winner gets to play for the conference title, so don't use that as an excuse. You won't have a 3 month layoff between the final game and bowl games for your two best teams. It could legitimize the conference nationally if they can showcase their two best teams on a national level with everyone watching. Maybe...maybe not, but it's time to get with the times and make the Big Ten a respectable conference.
Now, Paterno suggested that they consider Pitt, Syracuse, and Rutgers for inclusion in the conference. Either one would be fine but not necessarily realistic. I've come up with 5 schools that I think fit the bill to be the 12th Big Ten team. A few things: no MAC school would qualify. Toledo may come close with their enrollment and facilities but they have point-shaving scandals all over the place so they are out. The 12th team would need to not necessarily have to be in the midwest, but close enough for fans to travel. You have to have a fanbase that travels obviously otherwise what would be the fucking point. You have to have a decent history in both basketball and football. Paterno is thinking of this solely for football, but you have to think of the other revenue-producing sport as well.
Louisville, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse - These are basketball schools first and no fucking Big East school is leaving that gold mine for the Big Ten. It ain't happ'nin'. Forget about that.
Missouri - One of those schools that are pretty good in both sports. They have a natural rivalry with Illinois but, let's face it, the Big Twelve is better than the Big Ten.
Notre Dame - They makes millions from NBC in football which would end if they joined a conference and they play hoops in the Big East. They will NEVER join a conference because us Catholics love getting free money.
Kentucky - Their fans would burn the school to ground if they left the SEC for the Big Ten.
Honorable Mention: Minnesota State Screaming Eagles - Hayden Fox will fuck you up.
The five favorites:
5. Rutgers - They don't care about basketball that much so this would be solely a football decision. Greg Schiano is building something big in New Jersey. It gives you a pipeline into the New York market. They would have a natural rivalry with Penn State. I would like to see if they have a little more staying power as a decent football program before including them in the Big Ten, but they are on the radar. Personally, if an invitation to join was offered, I think that the Knights would jump on it immediately.
4. Iowa State - Iowa State is one of those schools that people know about, but they don't know anything about them. Why? Because they sort of suck. They had a good run in hoops a few years ago with Marcus Fizer and beat the RedHawks in the Independence Bowl in 2004. They hate Iowa. Maybe they just need a change of scenery? Ever think about that? Maybe they need to be in a conference that focuses more on physical play than pass-happy, gimmicky offenses like the Big Twelve. It could work and geographically, it fits. Not the best choice in the world and nothing to get excited about, but it could work.
3. Memphis - A little bit outside of the Midwest, but the Tigers should get a long look. It's a new market with potential to open up recruiting lines. They would kill to make the leap from C-USA to the Big Ten and their national TV channel. Granted, in football, they are blah. But they did produce 2008 fantasy dynamo, DeAngelo Williams. This would primarily be a hoops inclusion. How good would Memphis make the Big Ten in hoops? Even without Calipari, they are still going to bring in sick local talent and be a 2-5 seed every year for a long time. And plus every fanbase in the conference would want to make the road trip to Memphis for the ribs alone. I don't think this is as far-fetched as you may think. But then again, I love ribs.
2. West Fuckin' Virginia - The Mountaineers will always be a football-first school no matter what Huggy Bear does there. There is an inferiority complex amongst their fans as they believe that they are ready for the big time. The Big East is too small of a pond for the WV fish. It's time to move up. They are right in Big Ten country and would get the chance to prove that they are for real. You've got natural border rivalries with Penn State and Ohio State. Their fanbase is rabid and will travel. Even in hoops, just the name Huggins makes the conference all the more stronger. This could be a very good thing. And don't forget about the moonshine.
1. Cincinnati - This is such a perfect fit yet it will never happen. Jim Tressel will never let up on the monopoly that he has in Ohio (which is a total pussy-ass bitch move). The Bearcats are a growing monster of a program under Brian Kelly. Do you know why he keeps turning down better jobs? It's because he realizes what he has in Cincy. They have adequate facilities. A proud and upcoming hoops program. A natural and potentially deadly rivalry on the field and recruiting trails with the Buckeyes would be awesome. This is one program that would leave the Big East in a fucking heartbeat for the Big Ten. And do you know what the Big East would do to replace them in hoops? Enlist the services of Xavier and the world is right again. Nobody cares about Big East football but maybe they take a MAC team or Marshall to replace them.
I guess that my advice to JoePa (other than to not shit his pants like Naptown Wolverine) and other Big Ten fans who want a 12th team to happen is to get realistic. The big name schools are not coming. Get over it. You need to focus on the up and coming programs that can make the Big Ten better now and in the future. What do you all think? And feel free to congratulate me on the first thought-provoking blog post in a very long time. Eat shit.