Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Big Ten Expansion: A case for the University of Cincinnati
It has almost become a forgone conclusion that within the next year the Big Ten Conference will expand its membership, from eleven to possibly sixteen teams. Names such as Notre Dame and Texas are being thrown around as potential marquee candidates for expansion. Texas would surely be a huge addition, but the logistics of such a move make it an unlikely candidate. Notre Dame has been asked to join the conference on several occasions but rebuked; in the end it may regret its decision to remain a football independent. Other schools that have been mentioned as candidates are Rutgers, Pitt, Syracuse, and Missouri to name a few. One school, however, that I think would be a great addition for the Big Ten that almost no one is talking about is the University of Cincinnati. Cincinnati, currently a member of the Big East, has a strong tradition in men's basketball(maybe not last season, but typically they're good), and has been builiding a reputation for itself as a football power in the last decade as well, culminating with last year's appearance in the Sugar Bowl against Florida. Their addition to the Big Ten would also pave the way for a rivalry between them and Ohio State, something fans of both schools have wanted to see happen for years. And the Bearcats would also bring a new fan base with them, the Southwest Ohio/Dayton and Northwest Kentucky areas, something that would have to be a boon for the Big Ten Networks. So while the Big Ten goes looking for the home run candidate that will bring it out of the red and into the black, it would be wise to consider a consistently good program such as the University of Cincinnati for expansion too.