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The Big 12 has declared war. A formal resolution to come to arms may not have been drafted by the conference, but make no mistake about it. The Big 12 sees what’s happening across college football. They’ve seen the moves that the SEC and Big Ten have made over the past year. The Big 12 will not idly sit by and wither away to a slow death while college football becomes a two-conference system.
Before anyone else got any ideas, the Big 12 hit the Pac-12’s newest rising star in Colorado. While the Buffs haven’t made any real noise in recent years on the field, they told everybody that they mean business by hiring head coach Deion Sanders. One of the most recognizable names in all of football, “Coach Prime” is exactly the type of figure who can bring Colorado back to its glory days.
Now, the Buffaloes are going back to the Big 12, a conference in which they experienced a lot of success in the early 2000s. It’s a power move by the Big 12 to grab Coach Prime before one of the other big conferences could, and they still have one move to make. It’s a bit of a risky maneuver, considering Colorado is going to have to overturn a mediocre tenure in the Pac-12, but they are a potential sleeping giant.
The Big 12 has sent their shot, now it’s time to aim for the head. Any self-respecting Big Ten fan knows that now is the time to strike back for conference superiority. While the Big 12 congratulates themselves on their coup, it’s time to show them how the big boys play. It starts by showing one of these schools the light and benefits that the premier athletics conference in the NCAA has to offer.
These are the top 10 expansion candidates for the Big Ten!
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I don’t care if this is the obvious one, it’s obvious because it needs to happen. Fans have been saying for years that the Irish operate like a Big Ten program. They play like a Big Ten program, they have the national fanbase of one, too. Don’t talk to me about their exclusive TV rights contract. You want to be the best conference in college football, it starts with bringing in Notre Dame. Figure out how to get it done.
The death of the Pac-12 is truly a sad one to see, but it is inevitable at this point. Why not benefit from it? There are few bigger brands in college football today than the Oregon Ducks, and they would be a perfect west coast expansion for the Big Ten.
If Oregon is going to the Big Ten, then it’s only right that Washington follows. You do not want to lose this storied rivalry or this big-time west coast media market. The Huskies would be a strong addition to the conference.
Why not add one more team out west in Utah. The Utes have been an extremely underrated football program for a while now, and they deserve a bigger spotlight. They are the type of strong defensive team that the Big Ten prizes. I can already see Kyle Whittingham in the Big Ten now!
That’s right, we’re not just coming after the Big 12 here. The goal isn’t to cement the Big Ten’s place as second best. We want to be the premier conference in college sports. The conference has already expanded out west, let’s look down south. Florida State is a great football program situated in a fantastic location. It would be a tough one to do. Florida State seems like a shoo-in to go to the SEC should they leave the ACC, but at least try it.
So, somehow the Big Ten managed to steal Florida State straight from the grasp of the SEC. They just made a move on their turf. Now, it’s time to do it again. Miami is right there. Gain one of the most storied programs in all of college football.
We’re fully raiding the ACC now with North Carolina. A lot of people think this is purely a basketball move. Sure, adding possibly the biggest basketball brand in college sports is certainly a plus, but don’t discount the Tar Heels’ football program under Mack Brown either!
Again, let’s get crazy. This one certainly would be more for basketball purposes, but there are few bigger institutions in this country than Duke basketball. I can’t imagine that the Blue Devils would want to see their massive rivalry with North Carolina fizzle away.
Virginia is actually one of two schools coveted by both the Big Ten and SEC. It makes perfect sense given the geographic location of the school, too. It’s right on the border of the current Big Ten and SEC territories and is a natural expansion for either side. If the Big Ten is getting the other big ACC school in North Carolina, might as well keep the South’s Oldest Rivalry going!
I’ve spoken at length about how North Carolina State is my personal dream school to bring to the Big Ten that nobody is talking about. I just think their athletics program as a whole fits with the conference, especially as a wrestling powerhouse. Unfortunately, it seems like nobody else agrees with that. Who cares, it’s my list.
The other squad I was thinking is Virginia Tech. They make sense academically for the conference, and while the football program is down, it’s a serious sleeping giant.
They didn’t win a national championship like Colorado did before, but the Hokies had a long tradition of winning under Frank Beamer. They are a program I’d like to see return to glory, and it should happen in the biggest, baddest football conference in the country!
Follow Jacob on Twitter: @Jacobkeppen