I Tip My Hat to Joe Paterno

The 82-year old coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions, Joe Paterno, said one of the greatest things today. He called for the expansion of the Big Ten to 12 schools so that a conference championship could be played. He says the Big Ten fades out of memory as the ACC, Big 12 and SEC have their conference championships each year. Those games are a playoff of sorts, as the winner is automatically in a BCS bowl. So why hasn’t the Big Ten gotten on board?

Well, part of the reason the Big Ten, Pac 10 and Big East are so disrespected is because of their lack of teams. The Big East only has 8 teams for crying out loud. Joe Pa called out Syracuse, Rutgers and Pittsburgh, saying one of them should join the Big Ten. I actually agree, I think it is a great idea.

I don’t see Pitt bolting anytime soon. Their rivals are in the Big East and the Backyard Brawl is always a good game every year. It cost West Virginia a shot at the title in 2007. And Syracuse is still a stretch, as they are a big basketball school, and playing basketball in the Big East has more prestige than the Big Ten.

Rutgers, though, would be perfect. New Jersey isn’t far from other Big Ten schools, especially if it was divided East and West. Rutgers under performs in all their sports, so they are not tied strongly to the Big East. Plus it would be a move up for them, as the Big Ten is a prestigious football conference. Watch for a move to happen.

Now think on this- of the 11 championships played in the BCS era, only 5 of those 22 teams did not come from the current SEC, Big 12 or ACC. You don’t think that conference championship game gives those guys a boost? Ohio State has been the only Big Ten representative at any title game, and they lost two of those three. The trend seems to be that the Big Ten, Pac 10 and Big East don’t have hard enough conferences and schedules, and so they get rocked in bowl games.

The Big 12, SEC and ACC have stronger conferences and a conference championship to help them get ready for their BCS game. It’s also a game against a good team, usually ranked highly. This will help in the BCS rankings. If the Big Ten wants to be a power player in college football again, they would be wise to get that final team to give them 12 and play a conference championship. I hope they do.

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