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Turkey Tom


State of the Big 10 Expansion: Part 1, The Announcement E-mail
Written by Gideon   
Tuesday, 22 December 2009 21:27

Since December 15th, when news outlets across America reported that the Big Ten will officially consider expansion to 12 teams, much has been said and written about the University of Missouri as a strong option for the potential 12th school. In this series, MizzouRah will keep our readers current on the possible Big Ten expansion until either Mizzou or Big Ten leadership publicly rule out MU as a candidate, at which time we will revert to ignoring and occasionally ridiculing the Big Eleven.

Let's catch up on the short chain of events to date and this blogger's interpretetation of said events:

December 15th - The Big Ten announces that it will "explore options over the next 12 to 18 months for expansion".

Interpretation: It is likely that the Big Ten will expand - despite having previously considered the move in '93, '98 and '03 without action - for, at the least, the following two reasons (both of which are noticeably green in hue):

  • The financial and public relations success of the Big 12 and SEC (and ACC, to a lesser extent) two-division, championship game model (it is estimated that the financial impact of a Big Ten title game could be worth approximately $5 million to the conference).
  • The disadvantages of not playing a championship game as expressed by Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez, "We're irrelevant for the last three weeks of the football season because we're not playing."

December 18th - When asked if he believed his conference would retain all of its members in the event of a Big Ten expansion, Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe tells ESPN's Tim Griffin, "Yeah, I do. There are a lot of reasons for collegiate conferences to remain together."

However, MU Chancellor Brady Deaton said that Mizzou would listen to the Big Ten if a dialogue was opened and Missouri Governor and MU grad Jay Nixon wasn't shy when he encouraged Mizzou to do more than listen.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is listening to his northern neighbors

Interpretation: Dan Beebe is clueless if he doesn't think Mizzou would take a long, hard look at Big Ten membership (this blog lists a plethora of incentives). Geographically, academically, athletically and financially there are enough of said incentives that the top leadership of the University and the State of Missouri are open to discussion. If Beebe doesn't proactively seek to establish an awareness in the media that he and the Big 12 are dedicated to retaining Missouri, don't look for the Mizzou leadership to stop batting their eyelashes at the Big Ten.

December 19th - Christmas - following the Big Ten's announcement and the reactionary posturing by Beebe, Deaton and Nixon, the media has exploded with analysis on the Big Ten's expansion, much of the discussion centering on Missouri as the probable best fit (assuming Notre Dame will again rebuff the Big Ten's advances).

Interpretation: The reactions have been diverse, but weighted toward a consensus that Missouri is the best fit (from the Big Ten media) and that losing Mizzou would be cause of significant alarm for Big 12 member schools. In the perception of this blogger, Mizzou fans have spoken up from both sides, but there is enough resentment toward the Big 12 (see: bowl snubs) that most are listening.

Only a week has passed since the Big Ten's announcement. But from a Mizzou fan's viewpoint, this chain of events and its implications, considering who was involved and what has been stated on the record, have to be considered seriously. Regardless of how the next 18 months unfold, it would seem that Mizzou is in a decent position, presented with the opportunity to remind the Big 12 of its value as the sole FBS school in the second most populated state in the conference, which includes the 21st and 31st ranked TV markets in the nation.

In Part 2 of this series, MizzouRah will provide an update on expansion related events and provide an analysis of what matters: the money.

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