Expansion, anyone? Not surprisingly, today's Big Ten chat was filled with expansion questions, speculation and misunderstanding. Oh, how I missed those, "Why doesn't the Big Ten add West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Louisville?' questions. Good times.
In case you missed out on the fun, check out the full transcript. My apologies for some of the repeat responses (spotty Web connection).
Matt from NYC: I asked this question once previously to no avail (ignored). Let me try once again. As an OSU fan, I am naturally thrilled by the potential prospect of an undefeated season. Yet I am not convinced that this sets the table so perfectly in 2013. The woes of the B1G loom large. Poor coaching hires, demographic shifts, anemic recruiting and national perceptions have caught up with the conference. Even if the Buckeyes manage to run the table, I doubt whether that will be enough to punch a ticket to the BCS championship. Their 2013 schedule manages to be weaker than this year. Schedules are, of course, hammered out years in advance. Nonetheless, it is hardly a murderers row of non-conference opponents. Even their B1G lineup is suspect--no Nebraska or MSU. Thoughts?
Adam Rittenberg: Matt, you make some good points, and this is an issue Brian and I will debate heading into next season. After all, a 13-0 Ohio State squad likely wouldn't make the national title game this season because of its weak non-league schedule and the Big Ten's relative weakness. But I think the Big Ten takes a step forward next year. Teams like Nebraska, Northwestern, MSU and Michigan return a lot of key pieces. Minnesota and Indiana are trending upward, and Bret Bielema has targeted 2013 as potentially his best team at Wisconsin. If the Big Ten can just hold its own in non-league games, an undefeated champion should have a decent chance of reaching the title game.
Nate from Dallas: With the B1G going east I think this is still about Notre Dame. ND does not want to leave the east coast (Big East now ACC) so now the B1G has made a path to New York. If I handle the B1G I would let ND keep the USC game and bring them and another football school like Va Tech to help Maryland. Rutgers is a diamond in the rough with the help of MI,OSU,NEB, and Penn St coming in every year along with $. They could be the USC of the east in 15-20 years. your thoughts?
Adam Rittenberg: Nate, here's something all Big Ten fans need to understand. The Big Ten will NEVER give Notre Dame the same deal the ACC did. It just won't happen. So if Notre Dame wants to give up its football independence, the Big Ten's doors are open. Notre Dame hasn't expressed that desire and will do all it can to remain independent. Until that changes, there's nothing to discuss. Agree on Rutgers' potential. It's definitely there.
Logan from Indianapolis: What are UM's chances at a BCS bowl, assuming the beat OSU (a big assumption, I know)?
Adam Rittenberg: Logan, I covered this in Rooting Interests on Monday, but the key things to root for are: the top ACC teams (FSU, Clemson) to lose; UCLA to beat Stanford (helping chance of just one Pac-12 BCS team); and both Oklahoma and Texas to lose. The SEC is guaranteed of two BCS bowl teams, and Notre Dame will be in there, too. The ACC might be the biggest obstacle for the Big Ten. A Clemson loss to South Carolina would be big if Michigan goes on to beat Ohio State.
Chris from New Jersey writes: I don't know why any big ten fan would be upset with the recent expansion. The fact is that these conferences are going to continue to grow and the big ten has to be out in front of expansion orIt will be left with the remains. While Rutgers and Maryland aren't traditional football powerhouses, they are in huge TV markets, fertile recruiting grounds, and are both AAU members. Find me a better fit than these 2?
Adam Rittenberg: Chris, a lot of it has to do with tradition, nostalgia, a fear of watering down the product and resistance to change. People also have a hard time grasping what expansion is really about these days. As Jim Delany told us this week, you can't add Penn State football or Nebraska football every time with expansion.
Thanks again for the questions, and if yours wasn't answered, my apologies. Let's do it again next week before the title game.