Just when Big Ten expansion rumours were starting to quiet down, whistling in from the heartland of the nation comes this gem:
Radio host Steve Daece in Des Moines, Iowa quotes "sources in the Michigan athletic department" believing that Notre Dame, Rutgers, and Boston College are likely to be announced as winners of the Big Ten Beauty Pageant in 2-3 months. Posters in Iowa have on the one hand alleged that Daece's source is the guy who drives the Little Debby Snacks truck to cafeteria and on the other hand lauded Daece as an accurate prognosticator. So anyone's guess on the validity of this one is, well, valid.
So let's look at this premise. 1. Notre Dame. Duh! Yes the Big Ten will be happy to open its doors to the Golden Domers despite being spurned in the past. Rumours from the Big Ten indicate that ND will have to do the courting this time. This is like that hot chick that shot you down has to give you a sign that she's interested now. So if ND looks coyly at the Big Ten and smiles, they're in.
2. Rutgers. Yes I can hear the wailing and gnashing of elitist teeth already. No Texas? Uh, no. But the Big Ten deserves better. Yes and I deserve to retire right now to a life of playing golf, drinking good bourbon, and doing whatever the hell I feel like. Ain't gonna happen. Let me spell it out. The Big Ten Network wants to make more money. They want the NY/NJ television sets. A lot of them. Sorry Michigan, Penn State and whatever other Big Ten school that has at least one alumnus in NYC, you're just not getting it done. Furthermore, the duo of Rutgers and Notre Dame on the BTN is a pretty good argument to get it on the basic tier. And maybe, just maybe the BTN can get a bump in Philadelphia rates (4th largest DMA) with Rutgers in the fold as well. So despite many Big Ten fans' belief that Rutgers isn't worthy of the Big Ten, the fact remains that the Big Ten Network isn't worthy of getting on the basic tier in the NY/NJ area without them. Deal with it.
3. Boston College. Now this one to me is a stretch. Yes, you traditionophiles, BC has it, they have a rivalry with ND, they've had success in football having made it to the ACC championship twice. But if you talk to the ACC, you kinda get the impression that they're not that happy with new member Boston College. Well at least their bowl partners anyway, that try to shun the Eagles every year because of their poor fan support. The fact is, even the ACC Championship draws poorly when BC's in it. BC wasn't in the original "5 team report" bandied about in the Chicago Tribune. Add in that BC's 44,500 seat Alumi Stadium would be the smallest in the Big Ten and BC looks like a questionable choice. How about Boston TV sets? Boston has the 6th largest DMA, better than any Big Ten home city with the exception of Chicago (Northwestern). The TV argument is there along with adding another state to the Big Ten footprint. Will BC really increase the pie of the Big Ten Network enough to justify its addition? I don't have the answer but from what I read, BC has been somewhat of a disappointment in the ACC TV wise. Could it change if they're playing Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State instead of Virginia Tech, Clemson, and Georgia Tech? My guess would be yes.
How about Notre Dame's coattails? Suppose ND says we'll only join if we can bring BC with us. Now why Notre Dame would do this other than that they're both private Catholic schools is beyond my comprehension. In fact Notre Dame apparently got rather tired of being beaten by Boston College on the football field and has not renewed the series. Notre Dame doesn't need to bring rivals to the Big Ten, it already has plenty.
If Notre Dame is campaigning for BC's admission, it would explain why the Eagles are being mentioned now while being omitted from the "Report of Five." The idea of the Big Ten's two eastern outposts located in the DMA of over 10% of the nations total number of TV sets does have some allure to it. You would think that the Fighting Irish would have a few fans in New York and Boston as well. If the trend is toward superconferences, the Big Ten would pluck some prime real estate in the NYC, Philadelphia, and Boston areas if it does pull this off. Who knows, maybe the ACC would be happy to swap out BC and swap in a West Virginia, that actually has rivalries with Maryland and Virginia Tech? Well it passes the giggle test anyway.