When I was thinking about making a post about the impending expansion of the Big Ten Conference, I had several titles in mind: 20 is the new 16, War of the College Conferences, Conference Roulette, The Axis of College Athletic Superiority, The Same Ole' Order(but in new packaging), and so on. But when I decided to pay homage to Morgan Spurlock's homage to American decadence by McNuggets, the title of this post made sense.
Now that it appears that the Big Televen is on the verge of becoming the Big Ten-Six, who's to say the conference landscape, with respect to the Division I-FBS level, won't stop at 16? Will 20 teams be the new level of dominance? Well, I got to thinking about it, and folks, it's not pretty.
The initial salvo
The Big Ten, as it has been speculated, is expected to open the proceedings in the next few weeks to formally announce it will add from 1 to 5 teams to it's harem. If it only one, particularly if it's only Notre Dame, the next move could be the Big East fortifying it's ranks by adding Memphis, East Carolina, Central Florida and either Buffalo or Temple. Conference USA would then add Louisiana Tech, Georgia State(Football newbie) and Florida Atlantic. If it's either Missouri or Nebraska, the Big 12 welcomes Texas Christian to the group. If it's Rutgers, the Big East finally convinces Notre Dame to surrender it's football independence (which would be detrimental to the success of the Big Ten).
An alternate route
Should the Big Ten go to 14, the shake out could end up like this:
-Missouri, Nebraska and Rutgers to the Big Ten
-Colorado State and TCU to the Big 12
-Buffalo, Central Florida, East Carolina, Memphis, and Temple to the Big East
-Boise State, Fresno State, Hawai'i, Nevada, and Utah State to the Mountain West
-Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Louisiana Tech, and New Mexico State to Conference USA
-Marshall to the MAC(again)
-Sun Belt reorganizes with Arkansas State, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Louisana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Middle Tennessee, South Alabama, UTSA, Troy, Western Kentucky
-Idaho and San Jose State leave the FBS to join the FCS(The Vandals to the Big Sky, the Spartans to the Great West)
Response and counter-response
If the Big Ten gets to the ultimate goal of 16 teams, the consequences could virtually render the scene unrecognizable:
Let's say the Big Ten gets Notre Dame to finally say yes to membership, it still leaves one spot open. With Missouri, Nebraska, and Rutgers already on board, Jim Delany offers membership to Syracuse(a compliment to Rutgers in the New York City market), completing the expansion with a collection of markets and research dollars far superior to the other conferences out there. However, Mike Slive and the SEC decide they need to "UP THE ANTE" by announcing that they will pursue 20 teams(in essence, Zillioning Down on their growth). To do so, they expel Mississippi State(no offense Bulldog Fans, it's a hypothetical expulsion) and proceed to go Rumsfeld on the Big 12 and the ACC. From the East; Florida State, Miami, North Carolina, Virginia and Duke are invited(thereby pumping up the SEC's weak academic resume). From the West; Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State join in, thereby killing off the Big 12 in the process. In response, the Big Ten adds Iowa State and Kansas from what's left of the Big 12, also adding Pittsburgh from the comatose Big East and Maryland from the comatose ACC. Out West, the Pac-10, tired of Stanford's Supermega Veto, secretly vote to change the rules to require only 7 votes to expand, then they proceed to invite Colorado, Kansas State, Baylor and Texas Tech to the league. But to cement it's status as the Big Kahunas out West, they get BYU, New Mexico, UNLV, Utah, and Colorado State from the Mountain West, as well as Boise State of the WAC to become the Pac-20.
Meanwhile, the leftovers of the Big East(UConn, Cincinnati, Louisville, West Virginia and South Florida) and the ACC(Boston College, Clemson, Georgia Tech, NC State, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest) come together with other misfits(Army, Navy, Temple, Memphis, East Carolina, South Florida, UAB, Georgia State and Missisippi State) to become the Eastern 20.
The End Result
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Rutgers, Wisconsin
UAB, Army, Boston College, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Clemson, Connecticut, East Carolina, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Memphis, Mississippi State, Navy, North Carolina State, South Florida, Temple, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, West Virginia
Arizona, Arizona State, Baylor, Boise State, Brigham Young, California, UCLA, Colorado, Colorado State, Kansas State, UNLV, New Mexico, Oregon, Oregon State, Southern California, Stanford, Texas Tech, Utah, Washington, Washington State
Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana State, Miami(FL), Ole Miss, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Virginia
The Left Behinds
Those not included in the new power structure are forced to drop down to the FCS level.
Note: This is all hypothetical, if it does turn out the way it does, feel free to call me a prophet.