This article quotes Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin’s athletic director, as saying that the Big Ten has hired a firm to evaluate potential expansion candidates and that 15 schools are on the list to be evaluated. Interestingly, Notre Dame and Texas apparently aren’t on that list.
Fifteen schools seems like a lot; presumably the list includes a few serious candidates — like, say, Missouri — and other schools whose only real purpose is to provide a point of comparison to the serious contenders. I’m also not sure that it makes any difference that Texas and Notre Dame evidently aren’t on the list. I don’t think the Big Ten schools needs any consultants to tell them that Texas and Notre Dame are more attractive expansion candidates than schools like Iowa State or Syracuse.
Alvarez’s comments left me wondering how serious the Big Ten is about possible expansion and whether his comments are part of a campaign of misdirection. If the Big Ten were really carefully reviewing expansion, you would think they would be focused on far fewer than 15 schools. In the meantime, I’ll reiterate what I’ve said before: I’d prefer to keep the conference just the way it is.