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Trib: Big Ten expansion talk has USF's attention


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Big Ten expansion talk has USF's attention

By JOE HENDERSON | The Tampa Tribune

Most people in college sports agree that the Big Ten Conference is going to expand.

But who? What? Where? When? There are no specifics, although at least we already know why (hint: money).

You say it's the end of the world as we know it?

You say it barely will rate a blip on the athletic landscape?

You both might be right.

Hopefully we'll have some hard information soon. The Big Ten opened meetings Monday in Chicago and everybody is waiting for a signal - including out on Fowler Avenue, where the University of South Florida has started an ambitious $30 million athletic upgrade to bring its facilities into the 21st century. It's a bad time for uncertainty about where the Bulls might play for the next 20 years.

"It would be inappropriate for us to speculate what the Big Ten might do," USF athletic director Doug Woolard said.

While that may be true for someone in Woolard's position, it shouldn't stop the rest of us from playing the ol' "Conference Shake Up" game.

After all, it was so much fun when Miami and Florida State went to the Atlantic Coast Conference, or when the ACC raided the Big East for Boston College and Virginia Tech.

By the time those dominoes stopped falling, USF had been plucked from Conference USA to the Big East and a new era of Bulls athletics had been launched.

Can it happen again?

Well, it seems that every fresh rumor about this subject involves a raid on the Big East, including a dandy one that up to three schools could be targets of the Big Ten. That's the nuclear scenario and it has USF's full attention because it would finish the Big East as a BCS conference.

Far-fetched? Probably.

No one can answer that question for sure, though, until the Big Ten makes its move, whether that involves adding Notre Dame football (highly unlikely) or some other combination of schools. It could be as few as one new member, which wouldn't rock too many worlds, or as many as five.

In that case, the heavens and earth will split and life as we know it will have ended.

The Big East schools have decided to leave the talking to Commissioner John Marinatto for now. He concedes "we're paying very close attention" to what goes on in the Big Ten, but tries to keep the focus off of rumors. It's not easy, but the best way is to focus on what the Big East does well.

"We've done a phenomenal job in the last five years of rebuilding ourselves," he said. "When we created what we have now a lot of people didn't think we'd survive. Well, we've done just the opposite. We created something special."

It's almost certain the Big Ten will add at least one team, split into divisions, and have a conference championship game. That's the least complicated path.

Besides bringing in another big paycheck from that, expansion would also feed the voracious appetite of the Big Ten Network, which is really the driving force behind all this. The University of Missouri has made no secret of its interest in joining the Big Ten, mostly because it would get an extra $13 million annually thanks to the network.

As someone once said, follow the money.

Conferences like the SEC and Big East don't have their own networks but that might change. They may not have a choice. Marinatto said "everything is on the table" as he studies the shifting landscape.

"We're at that point, whether it's creating our own TV network or creating alliances (with other conferences)," he said. "We're planning now what we can do (in the future). It's not easy or everyone would be doing it."

If the Big East stays together and even expands - say, extending an offer to Central Florida for instance - then USF stands pat and all is well. Things can happen quickly, though, and the Bulls might suddenly need a new place to land.

But there we go again, getting way ahead of things. So maybe it's best that we leave you with this.

"I know people love the drama," Marinatto said, "but don't forget this. Everybody was sure the NCAA basketball tournament was going to 96 teams for next year and that didn't happen. So let's just see what happens."

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There you go. Big East should bring c-usa teams. We can be a powerful non-bcs conference. Ever year ecu and the Bulls can continue to play the underdog roles and upset bigger program ever year. Ucif can continue to celebrating moral victories. A look into the future of the Big East.

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There you go. Big East should bring c-usa teams. We can be a powerful non-bcs conference. Ever year ecu and the Bulls can continue to play the underdog roles and upset bigger program ever year. Ucif can continue to celebrating moral victories. A look into the future of the Big East.

being a non bcs conference means u have no power

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The BE will not lose its bcs bid if it only loses rutgers.  There is a formula the BCS uses to decide who gets a bid, and the next review time is 2013.

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Okay its simple...

(1). If the Big10 takes more then just Rutgers (Which is a lock) then the Big East will lose its BCS bid and will be no better than CUSA.

(2). If the Big10 takes just Rutgers (Again, they are a lock) then the Big East will add UCiF.

I don't know which one is worse  :D

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Okay its simple...

(1). If the Big10 takes more then just Rutgers (Which is a lock) then the Big East will lose its BCS bid and will be no better than CUSA.

(2). If the Big10 takes just Rutgers (Again, they are a lock) then the Big East will add UCiF.

I don't know which one is worse  :D

Depending on who the big 10 takes, if the BE loses two teams I don't think they would lose there bid.  granted the BE teams are going to have to start winning bcs games, because I believe that weighs in on whether or not you keep your bid.  Unless the mwc gets raided they will receive a bid in the next couple of years.  Maybe even next year.

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Boy Henderson is really digging into the bottom of the Barrel here.

How do you get this headline:

Big Ten expansion talk has USF's attention

When the only comment from a USF official is this:

"It would be inappropriate for us to speculate what the Big Ten might do," USF athletic director Doug Woolard said.

Taking a little bit of a leap there aren't you Joe?!? Did you leave out a Wollard quote somewhere in there?

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Boy Henderson is really digging into the bottom of the Barrel here.

How do you get this headline:

Big Ten expansion talk has USF's attention

When the only comment from a USF official is this:

"It would be inappropriate for us to speculate what the Big Ten might do," USF athletic director Doug Woolard said.

Taking a little bit of a leap there aren't you Joe?!? Did you leave out a Wollard quote somewhere in there?

i was wondering the same thing.  kept looking over and over for a quote

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The current Big 10 schools would love to have a nice place like Tampa to roadtrip to, but I'm afraid trying to compete in the Big 10 would be brutal for USF.

They would destroy us. I'm not trying to overexaggerate. But holy shizzle, their Linemen are huge. Look at Wisconsin's O and D line. They manhandled Miami....

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The current Big 10 schools would love to have a nice place like Tampa to roadtrip to, but I'm afraid trying to compete in the Big 10 would be brutal for USF.

doubt big 10 wants a southern team

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