More expansion talk, because we find this stuff fascinating.
It seems like the key to figuring out where the Big Ten is going with expansion is to, at the very least, figure out what the Big Ten's highest priority is, and what the best way is for them to accomplish that goal. Poll time? Shit yeah, poll time.
For option one, it seems like Pitt or Syracuse is the call; Notre Dame has made it pretty clear that they're not coming to the Big Ten if expansion doesn't effect major change.
For option two, the aforementioned Big East schools are still here's where Rutgers comes most into play, though we could also see some ACC schools get wooed (BC, Maryland, the Virginia schools). If the Big Ten took Notre Dame and lopped the top half of the ACC off, that'd be a ton of new media markets in their hand.
For option three, here's where we start talking Nebraska, Texas, Miami (hey, why not), and Notre Dame as football powers, and KU and Connecticut in basketball. If this happens, the landscape shifts dramatically in the Big Ten's favor. Likelihood that the Big Ten can pull this caliber of university away from its current conference? Um, debatable.
For option four, this is likely focused on the Big East and Big XII. Even if--somehow--Delany's able to wrangle four schools from the ACC (unlikely), it won't matter much; that conference's heart is in North Carolina and always will be. Delany can certainly wreck--or at least dramatically alter--the other two conferences, though, especially if he's willing to take the Big Ten to 16 teams. Sure, this seems malicious, but it's an alpha dog move, and Jim Delany is an alpha dog.
And lastly, if option five is the top priority, then Notre Dame's going to want some friends. They'd probably like to choose the other teams for the Big Ten, just to maintain that sense of leverage that Jack Swarbrick has been trying to cultivate without shutting the door on joining the Big Ten. And if you doubt Notre Dame's insistence on looking superior among all of this, um, spend three minutes talking to any Notre Dame fan.
So which is it, and where do you think the Big Ten goes from there?