It’s been a solid month since the rumor mill spit out any healthy speculation on Big Ten expansion.
Thanks to the Atlanta Journal Constitution‘s Tony Barnhart, who’s in the heart of Big Ten country covering Monday night’s men’s basketball championship game — ya know, the thing that comes at the end of a playoff — we have some additional expansion fodder to chew on.
Barnhart writes that he’s “spoken to a number of athletics directors and commissioners who are convinced that the Big Ten is positioning itself to seriously consider becoming college football first super conference by expanding to as many as 16 teams.” A conference commissioner told Barnhart that if the conference goes “to 16 teams and one of them is Notre Dame, then we’ve got an entirely new ballgame.”
This isn’t the first time the Big Ten turning itself into a super conference size-wise has been broached; however, when it’s broached by someone as respected and connected as Barnhart, it just gives further weight and additional credence to the notion that the Big Ten could be comprised of 16 teams when all of the expansion dust settles.
Barnhart also takes a look at the effect a Big Ten super conference would have on the SEC. As Barnhart explains, the current top-dog college football conference would be forced to answer the Big Ten’s expansion shot, and they could go about that by courting the biggest fish in the expansion pool: Texas.
Of course, Texas A&M would likely follow the Longhorns if they were to ever bolt the Big 12. Toss in the ever-present Florida State and Miami SEC rumors, and — voila! — you’d have the SEC matching the Big Ten size-wise.
Then again, the Big Ten could decide to add just one team — Notre Dame, anyone? — or, perish the thought, not expand at all, which would make all of this conference apocalypse discussion moot.
But, it sure is fun as hell speculating where the league dominoes may tumble. Especially as we are still five long-ass months away from real games being played.