The Big Ten made waves when it joined the conference realignment fray and brought Nebraska aboard prior to the 2011 football season. The Cornhuskers looked and felt like a logical fit at the time, and nothing the program has done since might suggest otherwise. The addition allowed the league to separate into two, six-team divisions and hold a prestigious (and extremely lucrative) conference championship game.
Following the 2012 season, conference commissioner Jim Delany announced the further expansion of the Big Ten to 14 teams with the additions of Maryland and Rutgers. Neither the Terrapins nor the Scarlet Knights have any real ties to the Midwest, nor are either particularly strong athletically or academically.
The move was made for two reasons: First and foremost, to bring in the Washington, DC and New York City television markets. The Big Ten Network has been an overwhelming success, and breaking into two of the nation’s most populous cities will only provide more wealth for all schools and athletic programs involved. Secondly, the conference wanted to be proactive in bringing in more East Coast programs to keep Penn State from potentially jumping ship and joining the ACC, SEC or Big 12.
Now, after expanding into the East Coast market, reports are saying that Delany and the Big Ten may not be done solidifying their hold on the region.
The goal now may be to become the nation’s first 16-team “superconference”. Of course, that would entail the addition of two more programs (and presumably a name change at some point, but we digress). Delany seems to already be ahead of the game, having had preliminary conversations with not two, but actually three different schools.
“According to sources in the Big 12 who say the Big Ten has reached out to Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Virginia, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany appears to be too busy plotting his next raid on the ACC to consider alliances,” Chip Brown of OrangeBloods.com wrote.
The Big 12 conference leaders have been in meetings on Monday and Tuesday. Of course, sitting at 10 teams as they are, having lost Nebraska and also Colorado to the Pac-12, realignment was a major topic of discussion.
The ACC has made strides in solidifying its own stature as a national power, raiding the Big East for Syracuse, Pitt and Louisville recently and Miami back in the day, as well as adding Notre Dame in all sports and essentially half in football.
Both conferences are now attempting to work out some sort of alignment in terms of bowl games or out of conference scheduling in order to secure the type of money making, nationally televised events that draw recruits and keep athletic departments solvent.
[Read: Tennessee athletic department is more than $200 million in debt, oops!]
Should the move happen, the Big Ten wouldn’t think to stay with the same name, despite being at 16 schools, would it?
But the Big 16 seems a bit unoriginal, does it not? The potential branding and naming rights will be worth many many millions of dollars, so we figured we might try taking a stab at it ourselves, just TO help out Delany and his posse.
- The Sweet 16
- The Sweetest 16
- The Epic 16
- The Sensational 16
- The Super 16
- The Super Duper 16
- The Supersonic 16
- The Semi-charmed kinda life 16
- The B1G + 6
- The Sup Dawg 16
- The Slick 16
- The Crazy 8s + the Sane 8s
- THE 16 (lot of swagger to that one, in our humble opinion)
- The Snappy 16
- The Snazzy 16
OK, get back to us Delany and let us know what you think. We’ll be expecting our royalty checks in the mail, of course.