The numbers are a formality now, a mathematical truth but not essential to the branding. That’s why it made so much sense for the Big Ten Conference to adopt, more than a decade ago, the now ubiquitous logo that offers such a handy, cl Kentucky vs. Louisville Rivalry Gear ever abbreviation. It’s just B1G.
And maybe it will get B1GGER, if it can find members who fit the conference profile and add to its athletic reputation in the same way as UCLA and USC. Those two will be announced soon as the 15th and 16th Big Tenners, and the conference all but literally will stretch from coast to coast. It is five miles from the UCLA campus to the Pacific Ocean. Rutgers is 38 miles from Point Pleasant Beach. If you want to get away from the Big Ten, those are your spots.
In a world where Texas and Oklahoma would jet Central Missouri Mules shirt off to the Southeastern Conference for greater television income, the Bruins and Trojans were just sitting there as obvious as the HOLLYWOOD sign offering a presence in the second-largest media market in the nation along with a football program that has claimed 11 national titles (USC) and a men’s b Notre Dame vs. USC Rivalry Gear asketball program that has earned 11 (UCLA). Oh, and some lucky hoop teams will get assigned each winter to make the SoCal road trip and feel what it’s like to be in the square outside Pauley Pavilion on a January afternoon. It’s possible, though not guaranteed, that Heaven will be as exquisite.
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Who else that’s out there can match this and squeeze their way into the Big Ten? There was considerable speculation following the news broken by Jon Wilner of the Mercury News in San Jose that the Big Ten might look for other new partners.
1. Notre Dame. When the Irish flirted with Big Ten in 1999 before ultimately declining to join, it was believed the hard feelings that lingered from that episode would prevent the league from ever considering another such rejection. That was long enough ago that most involved on both sides are no longer decision-makers. Notre Dame is too valuable to dismiss. If the Irish wanted to be in a conference, there isn’t one in NCAA sports that wouldn’t leap at the chance.
Notre Dame doesn’t want to be in a conference, though.
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Except on their own terms, which means no football, which means the Big Ten will not be interested.
2. North Carolina. This university has everything the Big Ten would want in a member. It would give Maryland more company in the East. It dominates the fan base in CU Denver Lynx clothes a state whose population has grown from 6.6 million in 1990 to 10.5 million last year. It has the American Association of Universities (AAU) affiliation that has been understood to be essential to entry.
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What it also has is a contract with the Atlantic Coast Conference that grants its media rights to the league until 2036. Everyone in the ACC agreed to that.
Some have expressed the opinion that these deals can be escaped, but if that were the case, the Longhorns and Sooners would have been in the SEC yesterday. Their GORs run until the end of the 2024-25 academic year. We’ll soon be entering the second competitive season since the SEC completed the deal on its latest round of expansion, and UT and Bowie State Bulldogs Jerseys OU still are in the Big 12.
So unless the Heels want to pay an exit fee and receive no money for athletic media ri College Cold Weather Shirts ghts for 14 years – or unless they’ve got some magical formula no one else has discovered – being part of the ACC would appear to be the Tar Heels’ future.
3. Oregon. Although they haven’t been able to hold onto their coaches for long, the Ducks have played some fabulous football over the years, including their participation in the initial College Football Playoff final. And they appeared in the 2017 Final Four and have continued to excel in men’s basketball under Dana Altman.
What Oregon does not have: people. The population of the state is 4.2 million. Every other Big Ten expansion, even back to Penn State in 1990, was driven by gaining access to larger television markets. Is Portland, as the No. 25 market, big enough to fit that requirement?
Or is its close Nike affiliation, with the headquarter Bradley Braves Jerseys s just outside Portland and company founder Phil Knight being an Oregon alumnus, enough to bridge the gap? This is one that could make sense, if its location is not an obstacle.
4. Washington. If you’re already on the West Coast with the two LA schools, would it make sense to bring in UW and Oregon as a package? Seattle is the nation’s No. 15 market. With those two, the Big Ten would be closely represented in 15 of the top 35 markets in the nation.
UW is still rebuilding in the two high-revenue sports, but each has a track record of consistent success.
If this were to happen, including in combination with Oregon, it would be the least surprising and most logically defensible move the Big Ten could make now.
5. Kansas. The Big Ten would be adding the nation’s No. 31 market and the reigning NCAA men’s basketball champion. Kansas borders Big Ten states Nebraska and Iowa and is reasonably close to Minnesota and Illinois, as well.
The league would have to wait until 2025, but that’s not an obstacle. What is: No other possible expansion candidate lacks a natural partner. It likely would have to join simultaneously with some distant singular program. Who would that be?
If only the Irish would budge …
6. Stanford. The Cardinal averaged home football attendance last season of 35,684, which could be attributed to the lingering pande Caldwell Cougars Jerseys mic and a terrible season. But in the five years prior to 2020, they ranked 10th in the Pac-12 in attendance.
This is a magnificently successful athletic program, but is it a draw?
7. Cal. Going back to the Aaron Rodgers days, Cal football made eight bowl games in nine seasons. The Bears have had only two 8-win seasons in the past dozen years. Basketball, lately, has been worse.
There’s no compelling reason to go in th UNC vs. Duke Rivalry Shirts is direction.
If the Big Ten is really not done, finding the right members to continue continuing will be a challenge.
The logo will work forever, though.