Magnifying the Expansion Part 7: Show Us Your Cards

Okay, we’ve reached the final showdown for our week-long series on the Big 10 Expansion.  Please take a moment to read up on all of the posts that led us to this point.  All of the information we dumped the last 7 days will show what we think will end up happening, as well as what we wish to happen.  It’s been a bumpy ride, but it’s only going to get bumpier.  We know change is coming, and now we will call out our cards and show you what our predictive hand plays, all in for the pot.

First let’s talk about what is not going to happen. We mentioned their name time and time again and now we put our wishful thinking cap on along with the green and gold of Notre Dame.   They’ve been flirting with the Big 10 forever and this final flailing of the Big 10 will break the Fighting Irish’s independent will.  We will see the marriage to end all marriages in college football. For almost 100 years a nasty relationship will be fixed and the true 12th team will join the Big 10.

How will this work?  The Big 10 has their own network with contracts from the Disney family of channels and Notre Dame has exclusive cash from NBC.  Simple.  Put the Big 10 Championship game on NBC.  Bam, you have a national network with the Big 10 Championship game on it and a way larger footprint than any other regional school could provide.  Nobody else makes a move because no other team gets cherry picked.

The Pac 10 might invite Boise State and Utah to have a title game as well.  No weird configurations for the BCS and two more football games that fit right in with the flow of college football.  The playoff banter will quiet down and we’ll get two more great football games to watch at the end of the year.  The hype will be flushed away and we can continue to carry the banner that is college football.

Now let’s talk about what will happen.  Texas is not leaving.  They will stay along with the Big 12.  The conference will have a change but it won’t be as massive as others have predicted.  The conference will find a replacement in the most unlikely of places:  Missouri State.  The recently rebranded Southwest Missouri State enjoys the same type of footprint as the bigger counterpart in Columbia.  They also bring a basketball team from a very hot mid major conference.  We get to see the Big 12 tournament stay in Kansas City at the sacrifice of a good football program.

So who is leaving?  Notre Dame will turn down the Big 10 again out of shear arrogance and count their fat money from NBC.  Even though the football program is dead, they will die an independent school, free of Jim Delany’s clutches.  Nebraska catches wind of this and realizes that even though they are a national brand, they won’t have an easier ride to the conference championship game then they already do with the Big 12.  The Cornhuskers turn down the Big 10 invite which leaves the conference with their 3rd choice:  Missouri.

The grass is greener with the Tigers and now is the chance for them to jump.  Never have we seen a school so badly want out of one conference and into another with Missouri.  They have the academics, regardless of reports, and they have more televisions to bring in the network cash.  Regionally it makes sense and it’s just a small enough step that the rest of the conferences won’t revolt against the Big 10.    The Big 10 still wants New York, but they are smart enough not to kill a whole conference in doing so.

A swap and an upgrade later and you have the Big 10 expansion.  Missouri ultimately will do it for the money grab as they will never get to the big time that a Penn State did when they joined the Big 10.  Gary Pinkel is not Joe Paterno.  Athletics will take a hit as well as the Kansas City fan base.  Due to the laser quick news cycle in this era, the Big 10 will not get who they really want and end up settling.    The money Missouri and the Big 10 Conference gets will help the schools and really that’s what it’s all about.  Right?