Sunday, May 29, 2011

Big Ten Could Extend Invitations to Maryland and Georgia Tech. Wait, What?

The Boston Globe has a thumbsucker today on the strength of the Big East's position and college football television negotiations generally. But in a classic example of burying the lede, the article includes this paragraph, almost as a throwaway:
There may be more trouble coming for the Big East if the Big Ten decides to move forward again in a few years; already there are rumblings that it might go to 14 teams, with an eye on Georgia Tech and Maryland, which would significantly increase its television footprint.
Those rumblings must be awfully low frequency, because it's the first I'm hearing of them, and I'm pretty compulsive about reading every news-like substance about the Big Ten.

Neither school makes much sense. Georgia Tech in particular would stretch the geographic footprint perhaps beyond the breaking point. Yes, new television markets are great, but every non-revenue team is going to have to travel to Atlanta (or, in Georgia Tech's case, to Chicago, and Minneapolis, and State College, and Lincoln). Those airline miles add up on a budget. And while Maryland and Georgia Tech are fine programs, well, when's the last time you make a point of watching a Terrapins football game?

For the Big Ten to extend an invitation for another team, that program has to be able to create $30 million or so in revenue for the league to break even. Otherwise, further expansion is a net loss for the other twelve programs in the conference. Without further verification, I'd chalk this rumor up to "journalist needs to make deadline and fill space," and nothing more. Next time, at least choose plausible teams.