Faceoff: Who will be the Big Ten's 12th team?

Ask Tate and Turpin who they think should be the 12th team by submitting a question for Monday's chat here.

Marcus Jackson says Connecticut

Like most things in college sports these days, the decision to add another team to the Big Ten comes down to, you guessed it, the almighty dollar.

The Big Ten wants to add an institution (Jim Delaney's favorite word) that will bring in fans from a new media market. What bigger market is there than New York?

The Big Ten Network would benefit with a ridiculous amount of new viewers, and folks on the East Coast, who care little about the Big Ten, will find themselves with a rooting interest in the league.

Missouri makes sense geographically, but the league already has a presence in St. Louis with Illinois getting plenty of airtime in the Gateway City.

Sure, you add Kansas City. But we're talking market No. 31 vs. market No. 1. Advantage: Connecticut.

And with Penn State being the lone soldier out East, it makes a very logical travel partner for the Nittany Lions.

With the Huskies' basketball program, you'd add one of the elite programs in the country to an already powerful league.

And with the caliber of coaches in the league – Tom Izzo, Bruce Weber, Tubby Smith and Matt Painter, just to name a few – adding another personality like Jim Calhoun to the mix is genius.

Tony, you're a women's basketball fan, surely you would love to cover Geno Auriemma's program.

The Huskies don't add a ton of power to the league as far as football is concerned, but their up-and-coming program would benefit by joining the Big Ten.

So, as Jay-Z and Alicia Keys so eloquently put it, "Let's hear it for New York" – or Connecticut.

Tony Bleill says Missouri

As I wrote in Sunday's News-Gazette, I believe the natural fit for Big Ten expansion revolves around Notre Dame. But the Irish – who would benefit greatly from joining – likely aren't interested.

So the most logical fit from a realistic standpoint is Missouri. The school does not offer some of the benefits that would accompany other potential suitors – more on that later – but Missouri is the most likely school to be interested in what the Big Ten has to offer. The Tigers have no decades-deep tradition in their current conference (the Big 12 hasn't been around that long) and would lose only one natural rival, Kansas, while maintaining its secondary rivalry against Illinois. The league would benefit by adding the Kansas City media market and would gain a greater stronghold in St. Louis.

I realize that, when it comes to media/sponsorship dollars, Kansas City and St. Louis aren't the same as New York, which is what the league would gain if it could attract Rutgers or Syracuse. But neither of those schools are leaving the Big East, particularly the latter. Pittsburgh makes some sense because it would add a decent-sized market while giving Penn State a travel partner. The Panthers could renew their rivalry with Penn State. But what would Pitt gain?

I would, however, be mildly surprised if any team decides to join. It's a big step, a risky one for some schools, and there aren't many candidates that seem to be a good fit from both sides.

If it's not Notre Dame, then who? I'll guess Missouri, while placing a longshot bet on Pittsburgh. But it's not a wager on which I'll be betting the rent money.

Categories (3):Illini Sports, Football, Sports

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toddalan1975 wrote on December 20, 2009 at 11:12 pm

I have said since this whole thing started back up that Uconn would be a good fit! I think there are some rules that would have to be changed but that can be done! If not them, then I would try for Pitt or Syracuse, then and only then if not them try missou but I do think there needs to be a 12th team!

RPeterE wrote on December 21, 2009 at 8:12 am

UConn first then then Pitt if only one team chosen

But 3 teams would be best, so also include Missouri

!! Big 14 !!

illini82 wrote on December 21, 2009 at 8:12 am

I believe that the B10 office wants an east coast media market presence but it just doesn't seem natural to bring in anyone east of Pittsburg.

Too bad ND isn't interested and they by far would be the best choice but thier arrogance in football won't allow it even tho their academic people would love it.

Mizzou seems to be the next best "fit" at least geographically and while fairly solid academically and athletically they don't bring a huge new buzz nor an increase in media exposure.

But what about Louisville? Geographically they would make as much sense as Mizzou and more centrally located. The addition would add a bit of southern flavor but the one they bring is a strong basketball tradition plus one of the best coaches in the game today in Petino. While their football has slipped a bit very recently they saw a resurgence in the earlier part of the decade and can be quite good given the chance.

The biggest drawback to Louisville is that they just don't measure up academically to most if not all B10 schools and brining in Louisville doesn't gain you much of a media bump but Louisville basketball especially with Pitino brings in east coast viewers.

Vandy is solid acacemically but they too are far away from the midwestern base and they have been lower division SEC in both major sports more times than not in the last 20 years. They may bring in the Nashville market a bit but don't kid yourself. Tennessee is about Vols...If you want a comparison it would be like chosing Northwestern vs. Illinois just because NU is in Chicago but the state fan base is the U of I.

If you can't have ND I guess you go for Mizzou or Pitt but don't leave out Louisville either.

fordy88 wrote on December 21, 2009 at 8:12 am

I think it's either Connecticut or Rutgers

yappster wrote on December 21, 2009 at 11:12 am

UCONN would be killed by the University Presidents pretty quickly in my opinion. Just not sure that they bring the academic / research competencies that the Big Ten would require. Missouri doesn't either, but one could argue that they are in a good position to be elevated via shared resources, etc. Not that Michigan State has become an academic powerhouse following their inclusion in the Big Ten, but they're solid enough.

Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Missouri -- the ultimate power play. Now we're talking!

WingnutGriffin wrote on December 21, 2009 at 3:12 pm

The only school that makes sense adding, if it has to be done at all, is Pitt. The school fits geographically and academically and it would have two relatively close, instant rivals in PSU and OSU. In addition, it's in a beautiful city with great sports facilities that's easy to reach. While Pittsburgh is not the biggest market, it's bigger than what Syracuse, Mizzou, or even Nebraska would bring. Getting into the NYC market is a foolish pipe dream and expanding beyond 12 teams is madness. (Just ask DePaul how it feels to come in 16th in a league!) Getting bigger (and splitting into divisions) is not always better. There will be losers if the Big 10 goes that route. (See: NC State.)

Wenalway wrote on December 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm

I like it when the dim, bitter sportsters try to sound smart about things they know nothing about. (Somewhere Salem Bleill's ears are burning.)

The argument that Pitt will bring no new TV viewers is badly flawed. State College is hundreds of miles from Pittsburgh, and there are tons of Pitt fans who could not care less about Penn State.

"The Tigers have no decades-deep tradition in their current conference" -- um, huh? Missouri-Kansas is one of the longest rivalries in the history of college football sports. How do things like this make it into print?

TopCard wrote on December 21, 2009 at 8:12 pm

Bring in Louisville, with all the medical advancements, including first heart transplant and first hand transplant leading the way. Anyone in the Big Ten done that? Don't think so. Anyway, this should be about location, facilities, and fans, all of which Louisville has in abundance.

topot wrote on December 21, 2009 at 10:12 pm

UConn , Louisville, Rutgers, Pitt, and Missouri

bring little to the table and are not good fits.

ND or leave it alone.

Why dilute the conference with any expansion

other than ND ?

Buckeye4Life wrote on December 24, 2009 at 2:12 pm

First off pretty sure the Big Ten (11) has academic challenges that must be meet. Pretty sure I've read that every school is part of the AAU. Now I can't imagine that would stop another school from joining the league as long as that school can become an AAU affiliate. UConn is not an AAU school. Some of the schools that are AAU are Iowa State, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse. The Big Ten will expand, but to how many? Will they just add one program or go for 3 or even 5? I would not be surprised to see Missouri, Pittsburgh, and Rutgers all join the Big 14 in years to come.

vp81955 wrote on December 26, 2009 at 10:12 pm

You can't view this solely in athletic terms. The Big Ten views itself as sort of the Ivy League of state research institutions (with Northwestern as the lone exception). It will want Tier I academic schools that also have good Division I athletic programs, provide new markets for the Big Ten TV Network (which the conference owns) and are contiguous to current Big Ten states. Based on those criteria, only three universities qualify: Syracuse, Rutgers and...Maryland. Yes, Maryland is a darkhorse candidate for this, mainly because the Big Ten has a significantly larger revenue stream than the ACC does; the allure of Big Ten football and the opportunity to boost College Park as a research institution would easily trump losing basketball games with UNC and Duke. The Big Ten is the only conference Maryland would leave the ACC for. So expect Syracuse, Rutgers or Maryland to be the 12th school -- in fact, the Big Ten could take all three to establish a solid footprint along the eastern seaboard (complementing Penn State). Were that the case, those four plus Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan would form a Big Ten East, with the seven remaining conference members comprising the Big Ten West.