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Harrison: The Sleeping Big Ten In Realignment

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 10, 2011


Harrison: On the Big Ten Sitting Out of this Round of Conference Re-Alignment

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- Mitchell: Georgia. All Schedule, No Substance
- Harrison: The Sleeping Big Ten In Realignment 
- Sallee: Time For The Frazier Era At Auburn
- Johnson: Is Stanford Out Of The Title Hunt?
- Zemek: The Brad Wing LSU Celebration Nonsense
- Cirminiello: The Rebounding Old Coaches   

By Phil Harrison

Harrison: On the Big Ten Sitting Out of this Round of Conference Re-Alignment

Calling Mr. Delany...Your table is ready. Anyone, anyone?

With the recent rounds of re-alignment talk--and action, you had to believe that everyone would be scrambling to either find a home, or invite the best guests to their home so they can rub elbows with the upper crust of college football and invite them into their secret club. So far, it has held true to form as the ACC looks to be letting teams in like Ellis Island, The Big 12 is attempting to replace its front-lines that have been decimated, the Pac-12 has come out in the ring and went back in to tape up, and the Big East is hiding in their bunker until the buzzards are away. But there’s one thing missing.

Where is the Big Ten Plus Two in all of this?

Its name and number of teams is at the least ironic in this web of musical chairs. It could be argued that Delany started all of this brouhaha when he announced that the Big Ten was looking to expand back in December of 2009. That wee little bit of news started the first cataclysmic shift in the college football Teutonic plates, but it only resulted in a few teams and conferences shuffling the deck and discarding bigger plans. It could have been worse.

Now however, still with aftershocks rippling across the country because of the full-court-press of a love-affair that the Big 12 heaped upon Texas just to remain a viable conference, little brother Texas A&M threw the next stone against the NCAA glass house. As a result, more lava is spewing and reshaping the landscape of college football. Somewhat surprisingly though, the Big Ten remains stuck in the mudslide of news and rumors.

True to the decibel level, Jim Delany this week went on record and confirmed that the Big Ten is staying out of this round of conference re-alignment and one has to wonder why?

The original idea of the Big Ten expanding was to reach new markets, more exposure, and of course, more revenue. Sure Nebraska was as fine of a catch as anyone from a college football pedigree, but the Huskers reach still doesn’t get the Big Ten out of the Midwest and into the larger Texas, or the television markets on the coasts. Without a big new television market, the Big Ten simply did not hit the home run financially that it set out to do. More had to be coming right?

Apparently not – for now.

The Big Ten offices in Chicago have been more silent than a Charlie Chaplin double feature, and it doesn’t seem to be ready to hit the full surround button-at least not yet.

Somewhere, somehow, the Big Ten is going to have to show up to the dinner table. There are two conferences that are “untouchables” at the moment and everyone knows it. One is of course, the SEC. The other, is the Big Ten. Both bring in tons of revenue, both have huge television ratings, and both are always looking to one up the other. Lest anyone forget, the SEC is winning the battle and the Big Ten and Jim Delany have too big of an ego to fall further behind.

And further behind they will fall when the SEC adds Texas A&M and a fourteenth team, because the SEC will do it right, and look to make more coin out of the deal. With more cash means more exposure, more licensing, and more talented football. If the Big Ten does nothing, they not only take the risk of getting lapped by the SEC once the re-alignment race is over, but it also risks falling behind conferences like the ACC and Pac-12 who are primed to scoop up some of the prime real-estate left behind.

The once proud flagship bearer of college football could be relegated to kids table of the super-conference feast if it sits idly by and thumbs its nose at money for sake of tradition this time. If nobody starts throwing in the bullpen soon, the conferences teams could be looking at losing the best tradition of all--winning.

Mr. Delany, it’s time to make your move.

Please follow Phil Harrison on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN.

- Mitchell: Georgia. All Schedule, No Substance
- Harrison: The Sleeping Big Ten In Realignment 
- Sallee: Time For The Frazier Era At Auburn
- Johnson: Is Stanford Out Of The Title Hunt?
- Zemek: The Brad Wing LSU Celebration Nonsense
- Cirminiello: The Rebounding Old Coaches