There has been a lot of speculation lately about the Big Ten considering expansion. The talk is that the conference might add a twelfth team, split into two divisions, and then end the season with a championship game. Today the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors released a statement on the expansion possibilities that makes it sound like consideration of potential expansion is a standard exercise that the conference undertakes every few years as a matter of course.
I hope the Big Ten doesn’t expand. I don’t care that expansion might permit the conference to “expand into new television markets,” or increase revenue through a championship game. Although Big Ten football has been much-criticized lately, the reality is that the conference as a whole is the premier athletic conference in the United States and consists of high-quality academic institutions that also happen to emphasize intercollegiate athletics. Why mess around with a good thing and risk the possibility of diluting the academic and athletic quality of the conference by adding schools that really don’t belong?
From a selfish standpoint, I also don’t want to see any changes to the traditions surrounding Buckeye football and the Big Ten. Ohio State should end the regular season in football with The Game against Michigan, period. No ginned-up “championship game” can hold a candle to The Game, and it is silly to even suggest such a thing.