Could the Big Ten Poach the Big 12?

Many of you probably read the Internet rumors flying around this morning. Someone claimed to have insider knowledge that the Big Ten had extended initial invitations to Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame and Rutgers. Of course, everyone from those schools was immediately contacted to confirm the rumor and all of them squarely put it to rest. However, it did raise an interesting point. What if the Big Ten went poaching into the Big 12 a little more extensively? Most of us take Missouri as a sure bet for one of their picks. But Nebraska? Oklahoma maybe? Perhaps even Kansas? Some interesting twists develop when you think about it.

Let’s do a make believe scenario for a minute. Let’s suppose the Big Ten wants to get up to 14 teams in the conference. This allows for two divisions of seven teams and a conference championship game in December. That’s a great thing for the conference. So let us imagine for a minute that the Big Ten takes Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas. These are great schools with great football programs, not to mention Kansas has one of the best basketball programs. They would definitely help the conference and I’m sure those schools wouldn’t mind being in the lucrative Big Ten.

I think this is how those divisions would shake out:

West division- Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois.
East division- Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Indiana, Northwestern, Michigan State and Purdue.

Now that is a pretty formidable conference. Certainly in football you’re looking at two tough divisions with what is sure to be a tough conference championship. So this could be an all win situation for the Big Ten. More exposure, more BCS bowls, more revenue, more markets…everything works. But what about the Big 12? They would be decimated to lose those three teams. What would happen to them?

My guess is this: upon seeing the Big Ten expansion, the Pac 10 would immediately call upon Utah and BYU to join the conference. They would of course do this immediately. Now the MWC is down to 7 teams. From there, the Big 12 picks up some leftovers to replace their three lost teams. They invite TCU, New Mexico and Colorado State. Now you have 4 teams left in the MWC- San Diego State, Air Force, UNLV and Wyoming. I would think San Diego State, UNLV and Wyoming would hop on to the WAC and Air Force would go independent.

So here is your new Big 12:

North: Colorado, Colorado State, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State
South: Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, Texas Tech, TCU, New Mexico

Here is your new Pac 12:

North: Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, Cal, Stanford
South: USC, UCLA, Utah, BYU, Arizona, Arizona State

Here is your new WAC:

East: Boise State, Wyoming, New Mexico State, Idaho, Utah State, LA Tech
West: Nevada, Fresno State, San Jose State, Hawaii, San Diego State, UNLV

The MWC is dissolved and is no more. The Big East would undoubtedly poach from CUSA and steal away Marshall, Memphis, Central Florida and East Carolina. Here is your new Big East:

North: Rutgers, Pitt, West Virginia, Uconn, Syracuse, Cincinnati
South: South Florida, Marshall, East Carolina, Memphis, Central Florida, Louisville

That’s certainly not as menacing as some of the other conferences would become, but they would at least get a conference championship, something that would certainly help.

So now you have the Great Midwest Conference (formerly Big Ten), the Pac 12, the Big 12, the WAC, the Big East, the ACC and the SEC who would all have championship games. Those 7 winners would be guaranteed a BCS bowl I would imagine. The at large bids would surely go to teams in those 7 conferences unless a MAC, CUSA or Sun Belt team really tore it up.

And all because the Big Ten took Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas. Who knew the ripple effect could be so huge. What do you think would happen?