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Big Ten, with a lack of options, is right to avoid expansion talks for now

INDIANAPOLIS – The Big Ten has no discussions of expansion or realignment.

At least for now.

The Houston Chronicle reported that Oklahoma and Texas are interested in joining the Southeastern Conference, news that has reignited realignment and super-conference talks across college football. New Big Ten adviser Barry Alvarez had a simple question as he read the report: “Why?

“It took everyone by surprise,” Alvarez told a small group of reporters on Big Ten Media Day Thursday. “It really didn’t strike me one way or the other. I don’t know how legitimate it is. No one commented on it. The fact that there was no comment to maybe that topic says something. It’s something that you have your antennae for. ”

What is the response of the conference? Should the Big Ten react? It was then that Alvarez, former head coach and athletic director of Wisconsin, bristled.

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“I don’t know anything about it,” Alvarez said. “We never even touched on that in any meeting I’ve been at with athletic directors. I don’t want to talk about expansion because it’s too early. We never even discussed it. have nothing more to say. ”

Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren added a non-binding response on top of that.

“We are always constantly evaluating what is in the best interest of the conference,” he said. “It will be interesting to see how this story evolves and where it ends up.”

It’s never too early to talk about an expansion possibility, but don’t count on the Big Ten to react anytime soon. After all, if Texas and Oklahoma do go to the SEC and Notre Dame gets stuck in their five-game deal with the ACC, then what do the leftovers look like?

In this case, no action might be the best course of action.

“I don’t know if the Big Ten has to respond to it until it happens or if it is a plan they themselves had,” said Howard Griffith, Big Ten Network analyst. . “It obviously sent shockwaves through college football when you talk about two dominant and important programs and what they could do for the SEC.”

Or could would the Big Ten leave if expansion was a possibility? A quick look at the possible selections:

TCU. That would give the Big Ten a Texan outpost in the Dallas market, but it would be a soccer-exclusive decision. The Horned Frogs have made only one appearance in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament since 2000.

State of Kansas and Iowa. The Hawkeyes have a rivalry with the Cyclones, but what is everyone in the Big Ten getting? Kansas would be a basketball exclusive movement and unnecessary given the strength of the conference in the sport.

Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and West Virginia. Pick your combo of choice. The Buckeyes are in no rush to share this Ohio spotlight with Cincinnati. Pitt and West Virginia would probably be the best bet, but it won’t generate much excitement.

Does the Big Ten want to drive out these schools? For not a lot of excitement? Maybe that’s why Alvarez is in no rush to talk about expansion.

The Big Ten added Penn State in 1990, Nebraska in 2011, and Maryland and Rutgers in 2014. Do these fans really enjoy being in the Big Ten?

It depends on who you ask and when. Remember, the Huskers challenged the Big Ten’s decision to cancel the season in 2020. Nebraska, of course, has also known Oklahoma and Texas for the Big 12 days. Nebraska coach Scott Frost was still not taking the hook.

“I have absolutely no comment on Texas or Oklahoma or any other league,” Frost said. “I think there’s a lot of dust flying around, and we’re all going to have to wait and see where the dust settles. If that leads to further realignment, then I feel good in the position that the Nebraska.”

No comment. Nothing else to say. No answer.

In this case, the Big Ten is right to wait and see what happens next.

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