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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Big Ten: The New Big 12?

With the addition of the University of Nebraska to its membership beginning in 2011, the Big Ten Conference will officiallly consist of twelve schools.  On the flip side, the conference that Nebraska is leaving, the Big 12, will be left with only 10 members, as the University of Colorado accepted an invitation to join the Pac 10 prior to the Big Ten making its offer to Nebraska.  So how then do we refer to these conferences in light of the fact the membership of each has shifted?  The Big Ten Conference has held that moniker since 1917, making it the oldest conference in college athletics.  Renaming the Big 12 Conference the Big Ten almost seems silly when you take that into account.  The Big 12, however, is not nearly as old, but has also established its own identity.  Do we then go completely back to the drawing board?  What if we were to name the Big Ten conference the New and Improved Big Ten, and the Big 12 conference now becomes the Big 12 lite?  What about the Big 10 version 2.0?  No, I think in the end, the Big Ten will retain its name, leaving the Big 12 conference to sort out its new identity.  The Big Ten has too much to lose financially by giving up what has been one of the most marketable brands in all of sports.  Not only that, but if history has taught us anything, it's that the Big Ten Conference will not at all be ruffled by the fact that it now has 12 schools:  if that were the case then there should have been a bigger push to become the Big 11 once Penn State joined the league in the early 1990s.  But that might still happen.

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