Thursday, April 25, 2013

Big Ten looking at Kansas, Oklahoma, and Vanderbilt as future members?

If you thought the ACC's recent acquisition of it's member's media rights was going to stop future conference expansion, then think again. As Lee Barfknecht recently pointed out, nothing is impossible with lawyers around.

With that said, Barfknecht's sources also tell him that one of the biggest offenders in college expansion, the Big Ten, has been looking into yet expanding again. This time, the targets for future expansion are reportedly Kansas and Oklahoma out of the Big 12, and Vanderbilt, out of the SEC. Yes, that Vanderbilt.

Why Vanderbilt? It would seem that Big Ten Devourer of Worlds,  commissioner Jim Delany wants to get the conference's footprint in the SEC territory. So much so that he would even stoop down so low as to get the school that until recently many SEC fans would have loved to have seen get kicked out of the conference. (And probably still do.) Though after going after the low-lying fruit of Maryland and Rutgers, it may be time for the B1G to go after a Big Boy school.

Which brings us to Kansas and. Okay, Kansas isn't quite a "Big Boy" school when it comes to college football. On the other hand, current head football coach Charlie Weiss does qualify as a "Big Boy," though who knows how long he will last in Lawrence. The B1G going after Kansas only makes sense if it was more interested in the Jawhawks for basketball than football. And although seeing Kansas playing the likes Michigan and Ohio State in basketball every season is very enticing, basketball isnot the engine that's powering conference expansion.

That leaves Oklahoma. Which is the big dog of the three schools in question. Snapping the Sooners out of the Big 12 would be a huge feather in the Big Ten's cap. Here's the problem, Oklahoma has a lot to lose leaving the Big 12 in rivalries both traditional and lucrative in Texas and Oklahoma State. Oklahoma probably doesn't want to lose both the Red River Rivalry and Bedlam like Texas A&M lost the Texas rivalry when it bailed for the SEC. It may take the B1G willing to bring in Oklahoma St. to get the Sooners. (The same could be same about Kansas, who would want Kansas State to follow the Jayhawks into the B1G as well.)

Further Big Ten expansion is probably going to be a very complicated process, and is going to have to take a school that is seriously interested in bolting its pastures for greener ones. Vanderbilt seems content in the SEC, and it would take a huge screw-up by Texas to cause Oklahoma and/or Kansas to leave the Big 12. So don't hold your breath for any of these three schools leaving for the B1G unless something dramatic happens.

( via Team Speed Kills, The Omaha World-Herald)