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The Big Ten Conference has misrepresented itself in name since 1990, so I suppose a 14 or 16 team make-up wouldn’t alter the conference’s label. It’d just make it tougher to conceal the number somewhere in between the letters. If we can get Missouri, Nebraska, Rutgers, Notre Dame, and somebody else… take this baby to 16…then I think there’s an opportunity to make the “I” and “G” in Big into a 16. That could work with a little creative fonting. You can do some crazy stuff in that dropdown menu.
But why stop there? Let’s take this to 20! The Big Ten x2! Eventually we could absorb all but the SEC and Pac-10 and form the ultimate conference…the Big NCAA. Twelve divisions – one champion!
Back to reality: by all reports, some form of expansion for the 2011 calendar is going to happen. Which school is willing to incur the costs of a conference divorce is pretty much the only obstacle, for there’s no doubt that there’s cash to be made for all involved.
The “purist” has already voiced his misguided sentiment, whizzing and moaning about the integrity of the conference rivalries, the tradition of the conference champion...conveniently disregarding the fact that the present system is wickedly imperfect – the Big Ten champion determined as much on strength of schedule as play on the field.
It’s time to get this done.
No matter what number we ultimately settle on, this is a win for the Big Ten Conference. The only loser? Ironically, that too belongs to the Big Ten Conference – more specifically, the Big Ten Conference champion under the present system – the annual recipient of the ultimate benefit of the doubt…an invite to a BCS bowl game.