FanPost

BigTen Expansion: How ND would Work

Hey Crimson Quarry and Hoosier fans-

 

I've been kicking around the idea of Big Ten expansion- and how Notre Dame might fit in these plans- since this site's post on JoePa's comments a few months back. I struggled with how the subdivisions & rivalries could work, and I believe I've come up with what might just be a long-term solution. Take a look and tell me what you think...

Now, I know that ND is still a long (perhaps the longest) shot for Big Ten expansion, and I do think that accommodations (such as letting them keep their NBC contract, etc.) will be necessary. But as an Indiana native, IU alum and Big Ten partisan, forgive me for believing that ND in the 12th spot is in the best interest of both the conference and the Domers (hell, let's even add a shamrock in the 'BigTen" logo and let them arrange some kind of 'Independent' named status with the BCS, if that will bring them aboard.) Let's face it, basketball and Olympic sports aren't what's keeping ND in the Big East- it's the football schedule. To make this happen, the Big Ten will need to suck it up and create subdivisions that will both keep traditional rivalries intact and also show ND that they can keep their own unique identity while being a full member of the league.

So here is a proposed BigTen/12/ND football breakdown: I've split the conference into two subdivisions (I'm calling them Red and Blue, although that's the least important detail) and weighed each member by the historical strength and cache of the program from I-III (and further denoting IIIa and IIIb) in order to give the traditional conference heavyweights their due.

Blue Division:

I. Notre Dame

I. Penn State

II.Illinois

II. Purdue

IIIa. Northwestern

IIIb. Indiana

Red Division:

I. Michigan

I. Ohio State

II. Michigan State

II. Wisconsin

IIIa. Iowa

IIIb. Minnesota

Now, before you go too nuts, I've thought about how these subdivisions would affect yearly schedules and rivalries. Each subdivision would play every team in their own subdivision each year, which would preserve almost every annual rivalry, and would play the remaining teams in alternate years. Here is an example of the alternate-year schedule for two teams, Notre Dame (the "target" school) and Ohio State (a current 'traditional power' school):

ND Alt Year 1:

I. Michigan

II. Wisocnsin

III. Iowa

ND Alt Year 2:

I. Ohio State

II. Michigan State

III. Minnesota

Ohio State Alt Year 1:

I. Notre Dame

II. Purdue

III. Northwestern

Ohio State Alt Year 2:

I. Penn State

II. Illinois

III. Indiana

The strongest positives are that this schedule keeps nearly every major in-state and historical rivalry within the conference, and establishes new conference rivalries with ND.

The main losses include a few of the league's lesser rivalry games that would move from annual to semi-annual (but map it out and think: how many people live or die by the Illibuck or the Old Brass Spittoon?) and the new alternate-year schedule for ND and UMich/MSU. MSU is probably the biggest loser here, losing ND every other year. However, a big winner would be Penn State, who would gain ND as an annual foe, helping to cement an 'East Coast' draw that seems to be key for both schools.

ND is clearly also a winner-  the Irish not only gain an annual rivalry with PSU, but also get to keep traditional rival Purdue and would now alternate UM/MSU, thus keeping interest alive in the Wolverine State while freeing a spot for another non-conference team. Furthermore, ND solidifies a presence from the Alleghenies past the Mississippi, and would play two Illinois teams each year and would thus further solidify its traditional Chicago-area market. The Irish would also have plenty of room to rotate USC, Navy, Boston College, Army and Stanford in their non-conference schedule, thus combining the benefits of their historic rivalries as well as their traditional Independent status.

Of course, the BIGGEST winner would be the combined forces of the Big Ten + Notre Dame together. Clearly, no other expansion choice for the Big Ten would offer the combination of academic, athletic and traditional fit that ND could offer, but- perhaps more importantly to the proposed alliance- only the Big Ten could increase the academic, athletic and traditional mystique that Notre Dame holds on its own.

Just wanted to follow up on Crimson Quarry's previous post and record my thoughts- let me know what you think!

FanPosts can be created by any member of The Crimson Quarry. While such posts are subject to community guidelines, the statements therein are the assertions or opinions of the poster only. Please no profanity in subject lines.

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