Piscataway, NJ–We don’t have much time on this Earth, and I don’t have much time left at this university, but to see Rutgers garner a bid to join the Big Ten would be a great send off for a sports fan like myself.
Oh, and it would be awesome for Rutgers as a whole.
Imagine Joe Paterno leading his Nittany Lions into Piscataway to crush, I mean collide with the Scarlet Knights on a saturday afternoon. Envision Terrelle Pryor and the Buckeyes of Ohio State stepping onto the turf of Rutgers stadium under a shower of boos.
The Big Ten Conference, established in 1896, currently has 11 teams in it’s conference. Only having 11 teams ultimately leaves the Big Ten one team shy of holding a football conference championship game. A conference championship game at season’s end between two division winners not only keeps the particular conference relevant, but it also enables the two participating universities to pocket considerable amounts of cash money.
Basically, the Big Ten has recognized the vicious void of not having a conference championship game as it watches the ACC, Big XII, and SEC all roll in dough with their nationally televised championship games. Expanding and adding another school would surely quell this boiling problem.
Who are some candidates for the 12th Big Ten spot you ask? Reportedly, the three schools being eyed by Big Ten execs are: The Big East’s own Pittsburgh, Missouri from the Big XII… and RRRUTGERS!
The Pittsburgh acquisition doesn’t make much sense for the fact that Penn State already owns the state of Pennsylvania. Pitt also has a long-standing rivalry with fellow Big East member West Virginia Unviversity that would be affected by a move to another conference.
Missouri would mark a move geographically further away from which the Big Ten wishes to go. The Big Ten, a primarly mid western conference has made strides to move east since it’s inception. Penn State, the last team to join the conference, is the easternmost university in the conference and everyone knows Penn State is in the middle of nowhere.
So that leaves Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. A public university surrounded by pro teams to the north and just a train ride from New York City. Rutgers boasts an enrollment around 35,000 and just experienced a stadium expansion that added over 10,000 seats among other amenities. It was announced earlier this year that the basketball arena will soon be remodeled as well.
Rutgers basketball fans also know a conference change would do wonders for their basketball programs as the men and female basketball teams would escape the insanely difficult Big East, also known as the other National Basketball Developmental League.
In the end, it’s a win win for both the Big Ten and Rutgers. The Big Ten can then hold conference championship games for football, and Rutgers can use the Big Ten as a recruiting tool to finally keep home grown players in state.
Again, don’t laugh. This all just a dream.