If it’s Saturday, it must be the roundtable where I send a question to the staff and share their answers with you.
Just to give you a little behind the scenes stuff here, I send out the roundtable question on Wednesday which gives the staff a few days to come up with an answer and send it to me. Well, this question was going to be about who you think the Big Ten should be going after or just they delay expansion for now. Needless to say, that question went out the window on Friday. Instead, let’s focus on reactions.
With the Big Ten is adding Oregon and Washington I want your reactions. How do we feel about this move?
Look, college sports is a world run by the big squashing the small. That’s just how it is. Do I like the idea of Washington and Oregon being Big Ten teams? I can’t say that I do. Do I hate it enough that I’m not going to watch the games and will suddenly decry that the Big Ten is a Midwestern league consarnit! Absolutely not. I still love Purdue and I’m sure given time I will learn to hate both Washington and Oregon just like I’ve grown to hate Nebraska.
Overall, this is good for Purdue because it solidifies the Big Ten as a conference that will not get left behind and therefore Purdue won’t get left behind with all this tomfoolery. Additionally, it means Purdue is going to just see their monetary distribution from the conference go up and up.
I think it was easy to see this writing on the wall when the Big Ten snagged the LA schools but when Colorado dashed for the Big 12, that writing got bolded, underlined, and italicized. The Big Ten will now have the largest conference ever assembled and has constituents from every state on the west coast. The Pac-12 will lose 4 of its top programs to the Big Ten and as I type this at noon on Friday, 3 or even 4 more could jump ship to the Big 12 in Colorado (already confirmed), Arizona (basically a done deal), Arizona State, and Utah. The other four (Cal. Stanford, Oregon State, Washington State) seem destined to bolster the Mountain West or could even pull off a wonder move and jump coasts to the ACC.
But I’m going to reiterate what I said the last time expansion was a hot topic: I don’t think the Big 10 will be truly happy until it has 20 teams. At this point, poaching the Pac-12 (or 9 or 4 or whatever number) is a dead cause since the remaining schools don’t bring any new market space to the B1G media rights negotiations (and it’s all about the media rights nowadays). This is to say that I believe the B1G will turn to the east coast and start looking to poach from the ACC. Florida St already wants to leave and is actively looking to get out of the ACC’s grant of rights. Clemson is a name that has come up as well. Those two seem to be the popular choices but the true dark horse is a certain Catholic University in South Bend. It’s becoming easier for Notre Dame to finally join the Big 10 but the Fighting Irish seem determined to turn up their noses to the thought of joining a conference (some schools just like to be introverts).
So ultimately, I have several thoughts on the matter: I think the addition of the Ducks and Huskies was a smart but imminent move, I think the Big 10 will not stop until it hits 20, I think the SEC will respond by adding schools too, I think ND may finally have no choice but to join into the fun, I think that money talks, and I think nobody gives a flying hoot about travel schedules.
I love the move! Whatever can help increase the cash flow into the athletic department without actually having to raise money helps programs like Purdue. The next tv rights deal will happen for the start of the 2030-2031 athletic season and getting these programs into the fold now and showing the kind of impact it will have will likely make the next deal close to $12 billion (currently that stands at $8.05 billion). You don’t suddenly add some of the biggest markets like Los Angeles and Seattle and not increase your revenue potential, considering the B1G will now be on eastern time television sets from noon until midnight. The key moving forward is, will the B1G add to get to 20?
Notre Dame recently came out and said they are happy to stay independent but how much longer can they really do that? My gut tells me that the B1G is going to look to add two more teams to the fold and it won’t have much of anything to do with AAU membership because those in the ACC typically are already there. Florida State is a no-brainer and they appear willing to jump ship while Clemson is quickly seeing their spot is in question after a long haul to get to the top of the college football world. Do you think those two programs are really going to sit and watch Indiana rake in nearly $100 million annually simply for existing while they squeeze by with $30 million? No way and I think they are smart enough to see the $130 million it’ll take to leave as a small investment.
I also love the move because the B1G has always been the conference to be proactive when it comes to expansion. Adding Penn State in the 90’s and then moving on Rutgers, Maryland, and Nebraska solidified the conference with the SEC as the power players. Adding USC, UCLA, Oregon, and Washington shows they are not afraid of the changing landscape. We saw how that nearly killed the Big 12 before they became incredibly proactive following Oklahoma and Texas leaving for the SEC while the PAC 12 tried to just skate by. After we learned that the PAC 12 actually passed on Texas and Oklahoma, it seemed that little bit of West Coast arrogance got the best of them and suddenly the PAC 12 looks like it will falter even more. Imagine if the B1G lost Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, and Wisconsin in the span of a year?
This will ultimately make Purdue better because they will have more cash on hand for continued upgrades to Mackey Arena, Ross Ade Stadium, and Holloway Gymnasium. But this will also alleviate the traditional problem Purdue has faced when they have seemingly made headway as a football program: assistant salaries. Don’t be surprised if Purdue, when Ryan Walters starts having success, starts paying their assistant coaches million dollar salaries. They just did it with their offensive coordinator and they hauled in one of the best ones in the country from another P-5 program. Ohio State currently pays five assistant coaches $1 million or more and Purdue will likely be there by the time we get to another media rights deal in 2030.
I mean, I don’t know that I feel one way or another. I didn’t want expansion and both these teams are kind of whatever. Worst part is we will be subjected to watching Purdue on Oregon’s court. I think the biggest headache is going to be scheduling. Is it possible a team could play say Rutgers on a Tuesday and then UCLA on Thursday? How are they going to divide the conference with all these teams? Just seems like a nightmare but I guess we will adjust.