We've recently heard hints of the Big 10 Conference's desire to expand beyond it's 11 schools and add a 12th so the conference could put on a football title game between two divisions. There has been much speculation about which school might be in the mix, with Missouri prominent in the rumors.
This kind of talk is not new and I have long thought, as a Mizzou fan, that moving to the Big 10 would be desirable.
Today I read of a plan that is daring, bold and speculative. From Bill Livingston of the Cleveland Plain Dealer -
The Big Ten, with 11 members, is seriously considering expanding, either to 12 or to an even Bigger 14.
Expansion by one member is a plan driven by television markets. It should focus on Connecticut, and I have reason to believe that is exactly what is happening at Big Ten headquarters in Chicago.
The second expansion plan is bigger in numbers and is driven by Midwestern geography. I believe that is being considered in Chicago, too.
Reasons for UConn -
Luring UConn from the Big East would give the Big Ten a very big footprint in the television market bonanza of the Northeast. Media outlets in the nation's media capital, New York, cover the Huskies. UConn is a presence in the Boston market.
Competitively, adding UConn would have the approximate effect in basketball of adding North Carolina. It would be greater, if you factor in UConn's dominant women's team.
Adding UConn is surprising enough. Get a load of this -
The second plan to grow by three members starts with Missouri. If the Big Ten is going to go west, it would not gain that much from the addition of Missouri alone, in terms of markets. Illinois is already a presence in the St. Louis market, and the TV market in Kansas City in not big enough to be a deal-maker.
The Big Ten, however, would get a big push in national profile if, along with Missouri, it added Nebraska, which is almost back to being Nebraska in football, and Kansas, a premier basketball program.
It seems certain the Big 10 is going to make some move but just what we don't know. It will be fun to watch this story unfold.