Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Last month, the Big Ten conference issued a statement about the possibility of expanding to 12 schools.

By the way, for those of you who can count, the Big "Ten" currently has 11 schools.

— Warning: The aforementioned statement is quite long and extremely boring ...

"The Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors believes that the timing is right for the conference to once again conduct a thorough evaluation of options for conference structure and expansion.

"As a result, the Commissioner (James Delany) was asked to provide recommendations for consideration by the Council of Presidents/Chancellors over the next 12 to 18 months.

"The Council of Presidents/Chancellors has asked the conference office to obtain, to the extent possible, information necessary to construct preliminary options and recommendations without engaging in formal discussions with leadership of other institutions."

So in essence, the Big Ten conference is "The Bachelor" and it is looking for bride No. 12. Perhaps they should look for her in the mountains of Utah instead ... BA-ZING!

Sure, there are many quality candidates to sift through before presenting that final rose. So, I have listed the Big Ten's final 10 "preliminary options" below (in alphabetical order) and which ones deserve more consideration.

CINCINNATI — UC is the young, hot girl of the bunch.

The Bearcats football program finished the 2009 regular season unbeaten. Yes, I know, they ended up being lambasted by Florida in their BCS bowl game, but come on, that shouldn't disqualify them from entry into the Big Ten, that's for sure.

No, what will ultimately keep the Bearcats from getting the final rose is their sub-par athletic facilities. Their football stadium just simply wouldn't be able to hold Big Ten games. Nippert Stadium's capacity is 35,097 — 15,000 less than the smallest Big Ten stadium (Northwestern). Their suffering basketball program also doesn't help their cause.

Recommendation: No rose. She's hot, but that will probably diminish in time. There's no future with her.

CONNECTICUT — When it comes to basketball, both men's and women's, UConn is a real catch. Their football program is on the rise, as well.

With a few touch-ups — expanding the seating at Rentschler Field to 50,000-plus — UConn could be really appealing to the Big Ten.

Recommendation: She has a lot of redeeming qualities — solid athletics, good facilities and would expand the conference into the New England region. Keep a rose handy!

LOUISVILLE — Very attractive and has a little bit of staying power, as well. The sports programs are up to Big Ten standards and the facilities are top notch. Not much else to say.

Recommendation: Dipping into SEC country should be enough to garner consideration. But, when you factor in her well-rounded credentials, both athletically and academically — you may have a winner here.

MISSOURI — Talk about your perfect Big Ten woman — Mizzou is definitely her. Great athletic facilities? Check. Solid sports programs? Check. Great academics? CHA-CHECK!

Missouri has arguably the greatest journalism school on the planet. With Northwestern already in the conference, the folks at the Big Ten Network will have the pick of the nation's top j-school grads. Oh, and picking up the St. Louis and Kansas City market doesn't hurt matters much, either.

Recommendation: Will you marry me, Mizzou?

NEBRASKA — I'm still thinking about, Mizzou!

Recommendation: Mizzou!

NOTRE DAME — Super hot, but she's definitely a tease.

Recommendation: No rose. She's just not that into you.

PITTSBURGH — Please see Cincinnati.

Recommendation: She isn't exactly your independent woman (Pittsburgh plays their football games at Heinz Field, the home of the Steelers). No rose.

RUTGERS — Ok, now we have another candidate that will turn your head. Rutgers' football program has become quite solid under head coach Greg Schiano and their women's basketball team is always amongst the nation's elite.

She will also bring in the New York/New Jersey market, something the Big Ten is very, very interested in.

Recommendation: Perhaps not as great a catch as Mizzou, Rutgers can deliver a similar resume. Can we have two roses?

SYRACUSE — The Orange are like Rutgers' twin sister. The only problem is, she lives too far from the Big Apple.

Recommendation: Did I mention that I really love Mizzou?

WEST VIRGINIA — Wow! Stunning — in that country-ish, Carrie Underwood sort of way. West Virginia has great athletics, impressive facilities and good solid academics.

Where the Mountaineers make their strong case, though, is location. Immediately upon their entry into the Big Ten, they will become arch-rivals with Penn State, and to a degree, Ohio State. West Virginia possesses that rabid, Big Ten-type fan base, as well.

Recommendation: Mizzou now has an equal.

To be continued ...