I have to say, I do have a personal fondness for Joe Paterno. Especially when he says things like this.
Basically, he wants the Big Ten (which has 11 teams) to go ahead and add that 12th team like a normal football conference.
The question becomes…who to add? Rutgers? UConn?
There are a couple of problems of course from the outside. PSU would love to get a northeastern school so it doesn’t have to go across the country to play teams like Wisconsin, Iowa, and Indiana (which to PSU is probably across the country).
Secondly, adding another school is hard enough. You can’t just add a school because the Big Ten has this little thing called “academics” it likes to worry about. There are stipulations like library size, amount of research done, etc. That all go into the prestige that is the “Big Ten”.
The third, and biggest, is the small fact that most of the other Big Ten schools would want Notre Dame. Notre Dame has no reason to join the Big Ten for football. Notre Dame is fine and happy as an independent. Join the Big Ten? Say bye bye to all those sweet and lucrative NBC (yes it’s still a national network) deals. Say bye bye to a bit of the prestige and rivalries that come from playing Navy (ok still) USC (definitely) and others. Finally say ta-ta to Notre Dame’s master plan of going back to their barnstorming roots. (like the FSU game in Jacksonville, <I think that’s right>). So as much as the Big Ten wants Notre Dame (hell, it already plays Purdue, Michigan State, Michigan, and at times Penn State) Notre Dame doesn’t want the Big Ten.
So who to add? Well if you want the east its got to be Rutgers (which other Big Ten Schools would probably scoff at) or UConn (ditto). There is an outside shot of Iowa State (bleh) or maybe even poaching Virginia.
There just really isn’t a school around the Big Ten that would be feasible.
Sooner or later other conferences are going to wise up and go to the magic number of 12 teams.
Especially if the Mountain West keeps making this push to be a BCS conference.
The Sun Belt is making waves and plans to expand to 12 (South Alabama and WKU becoming full time in the future).
It all comes back to the SEC. Did we make the right move adding South Carolina and Arkansas? Personally, I don’t think so.
I would have preferred to add Georgia Tech and Tulane (two previously affiliated members). Then again, I would rather have seen Auburn in the East and Tennessee in the West (anyone who looks at map and sees just where Knoxville and Auburn are should agree)
But we have what we have. I’m happy (although I’m not happy going to East Oklahoma aka Fayetteville, Arkansas) and it’s worked so far.
So here’s to the future.