A day or two ago I wrote about a hilarious article at ESPN that stated that the Big Ten only wants to look at AAU members to add to the conference (unless they bring in a ton of ca$h, like Nebraska).
Well, it is easy enough to see who the expansion "targets" are, so lets analyze it a bit. Here is the current list of AAU universities. We will keep the conversation to football, as that is where the lions share the money is anyways.
There are a total of 49 schools in the AAU that are not currently in the Big Ten. Of the 49, 9 don't have football programs at all, bringing us to 40 candidates.
Of the remaining 40, 6 play football in division three, 2 play in Canada in small venues, and 7 are in the Ivy league. I think it would be safe to exclude these from potential candidate$ for the Big Ten, so this leaves us with 25 schools left.
Of the 25 schools, I think it would be safe to eliminate Mizzou, Florida, Texas A and M, and Vanderbilt, who have sweet deals with the SEC. This leaves us 21.
Similarly, I think it would also be safe to eliminate the PAC 12 schools that are left from the list of potential candidates to join the Big Ten with their AAU credentials. These schools are Colorado, Oregon, Arizona, Cal, UCLA, USC, Stanford and Washington. We are now left with 13 schools.
We now can eliminate those schools playing in the FCS, which used to be called Division 1-AA. They are just not big enough and wouldn't being the dough and fan base needed to join the conference. These are Stony Brook University (who knew?), and UC Davis. Now we have 11.
We are now down to 11 candidates that play football in Division 1, and have AAU credendial$ that make them "eligible" to join the Big Ten. I think we can now safely eliminate a MAC (Mid American Conference) team. While I love the MAC since it is based with schools in the Midwest and never outgrew itself by expanding in dumb, far away markets, it is a relatively tiny conference and really, there is no place for these schools in the Big Ten. We have one school from the MAC, Buffalo. We are down to 10.
CUSA (Conference USA) schools face the same fate as the MAC schools for the same reasons. We will toss out Tulane and Rice now. Down to 8.
Of the 8 schools left, five are in the ACC and three are in the Big 12.
From the ACC:
From the Big 12:
The ACC has been under assault the last half decade or so, and is a little more loosey goosey than most conferences. The Big 12 is even worse, with recent losses of Texas A and M and Nebraska really hurting them.
Texas in particular is an interesting case, as they have by far the largest athletic department in the nation, with probably one of the largest fan bases and even have their own network (the Longhorn Network). The deal would have to be really, really sweet for them to join the Big Ten and share their revenue.
Kansas, while making an empire in hoops, has stunk up the joint in football for a long time. The Big Ten might be interested in them for the basketball piece, and to give the top dogs in football more to feed on in the basement of the conference on a yearly basis.
Iowa State is really the school without a home. They don't naturally fit into the Big 12, and they are likely not wanted by the Big Ten because they have a (relatively) tiny fan base and a small TV market.
As far as the ACC schools go, of the lot of them I could see Pitt making the jump to the Big Ten if they were asked - five years ago. But they just signed a huge deal with the ACC with a LOT of TV money (via ESPN) and they would have a GIANT penalty (buyout) if they jumped that ACC ship. Couple that with Notre Dame halfway joining the ACC and all the fans and money they bring (like them or not) and that is a lot stacked against not only Pitt, but any of the other ACC members leaving.
So, in the end, I think realistically, if the Big Ten stuck to their guns and only allowed AAU schools to join (lol), the most obvious targets are the three from the Big 12, especially Texas. But there are pros and cons to all of this and you never know what can happen.
My bet would be that the next member to join the Big Ten will be...not an AAU accredited institution.