Texas Update 2-12-10 [Link]
Initial Texas Post [Link]
Aside from the obviousness that we yet don't know who will be the 12th, or 13th and 14th member of the soon-to-be bigger Big Ten conference is yet, that is not going to keep us from going all speculative as to what this conference is going to look like when it's all said and done.
Any form of expansion will result in the formation of two divisions. Maybe a North and a South, East and West, Woody and Bo, Good and Bad...whatever you want to call it...it doesn't really matter the name at this point. But what matters like nothing else is which teams will be in which division and who will cross over and who won't.
The obvious problem is which division gets the powerhouse teams (Michigan, tOSU and Penn State)? Can Michigan and tOSU be split up and still play every year? Well, the answer is of course, yes. Prime example would be Florida-LSU in the SEC. They play every year, sometimes twice with the SEC Championship game. Would this work for the Big Ten? Of course, just as long as the money makes sense. Which of course, it will.
For example #1, let's assume Missouri is picked as the 12th member of the conference. That would give us two nice and neat divisions of 6. They could break up as follows:
3. Michigan State
1. Penn State
Trying to keep the most important rivalries in place, UM-tOSU, UM-MSU, NU-Ill, Purdue-IU, UW-Minn - just to name a few, and also maintaining the Mizzou-Ill rivalry that has been going via non-conference scheduling. Obviously there are other rivalries that aren't really rivalries such as PSU-MSU, Minn-PSU, IU-MSU, etc. Not every team is going to be happy...obviously.
Currently, each Big Ten school has two teams it plays every year:
- Illinois: Indiana, Northwestern
- Indiana: Illinois, Purdue
- Iowa: Minnesota, Wisconsin
- Michigan: Michigan State, Ohio State
- Michigan State: Michigan, Penn State
- Minnesota: Iowa, Wisconsin
- Northwestern: Illinois, Purdue
- Ohio State: Michigan, Penn State
- Penn State: Michigan State, Ohio State
- Purdue: Indiana, Northwestern
- Wisconsin: Iowa, Minnesota Source [Wikipedia.org]
BUT...if the Big Ten adds Texas, well that just throws everything out of wack. We'd just have to assume that Texas would have to bring Texas A&M to the Big Ten with them...which would be interesting to say the least. But from a Big Ten standpoint, it would really come down to: Do you want Texas to be paired with Michigan or tOSU...OR, Texas and Penn State together? Or Texas and A&M? Because either way, you can't have 1 division be too top heavy. You would have to split the 4 major teams with 2 in each division.
AND...which team would be the 14th school? Who would they be and where would they go?
I would see it looking like this...
3. Texas A&M
4. Michigan State
2. Penn State
7. Mystery Team X???
I am of course assuming that each team will be required to play the 6 other opponents from their division, 4 non-conference games, and 2 in-conference games from the other division. Looking at this from the Michigan perspective, because we must play Notre Dame every year until 2031, I just don't see Michigan getting paired in the same division as Texas. Yes, we might play them, but I could see it being a revolving schedule with Penn State OR Texas on the schedule each year.
Either way, this example is a crazy idea that will probably never happen. 14 teams that include Texas and A&M is just insane. And if the 14th team is Missouri...then what's left of the Big 12?
All of this post is just incoherent speculation...but it sure is fun to consider what could be. But one thing is for sure. The Big Ten is going to expand. And Texas is a definite possibility.