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Longhorns on top of Big Ten’s expansion wish list?

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Michael Hunt
February 16, 2010
— When the Big Ten expands, and itís eventually going to expand in a very big way, ask yourself, Mr. or Ms. Bucky fan:

Would you want to open the gate for Texas, thereby allowing the Longhornsí grazing territory to extend all the way up to where the benign dairy cow once ate in relative peace?


Is there room up here in the pasture for a beast like that?


Yes, you should absolutely want Texas as part of the Super Conference that the Big Ten is angling to become in the next three to five years.


And for all the Longhorns would bring to the league, you should be as accommodating and welcoming as possible, at least until the time they show up at Camp Randall.


Granted, there is a better chance of ZZ Top playing your league bowling tournament this weekend than Texas joining the Big Ten anytime soon. The Longhorns are merely on the leagueís sizable wish list, and there are many reasons why Texas would rather stay put in the Big 12 than realign itself with the Big Ten.


But for what is coming down the road, the massive three or four Super Conferences that will gobble up everything in sight, the Big Ten is going about expansion the right way by trying to take the lead in a very big and very aggressive way.


Credit Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany for being somewhat transparent with the process. He has been upfront with his colleagues in the Big 12 and the Big East that the Big Ten is prepared to set out on an imperialistic binge to expand its reach and influence as far as the Big Ten Network can take it on a national level, traditional and archaic geographical borders notwithstanding.


Make no mistake about it, the Big Ten Network has made the Big Ten the Big Dog with almost $250 million in TV revenue last year Ö and it will eat.


Thatís why youíd want Texas in the Big Ten, even if you had to take a football beating for a few years.


Letís say, for the sake of argument, that the Big Ten got its TV tentacles into Texasí mega-TV markets such as Houston, Dallas and San Antonio because the Big 12 began to crumble with the Big Ten and Pac 10 poaching its schools, and the remaining high-profile teams scrambling for cover in the SEC.


Thereís no way Wisconsin can get top recruits out of Texas now. The Badgers canít even get the second-tier players that have made TCU very good lately. But if Wisconsin games began going into millions of Texas homes, the possibility exists that those massive and fertile recruiting grounds would open just enough to give the Badgers a shot at some kids who might have otherwise chosen an A&M or SMU.


Thatís the power of TV, which is why the Big Ten is also looking at the New York market with Rutgers or anywhere else that the numbers make sense for more dollars.


And hereís another advantage of expansion for the Wisconsin fan:


Letís say the Big Ten goes to 12, 14, 16 or even 18 teams. Whether itís Notre Dame, Texas, Missouri, Texas A&M, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, whoever, the case beyond a dozen could be made for no more nonconference games. No more MAC teams, no more Woffords, no more Marshalls that Wisconsin makes you buy just to get the good games.


Imagine a college football world with nothing but conference games and a handful of mega-leagues having a final say on what happens to the BCS. Whether itís the Big Ten with another superpower like Texas or other major players, get ready because itís coming.



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