ESPN analyst Greg McElroy: Big Ten would rather raid the ACC, not the Pac-12 in future conference expansion
The Big Ten isn’t done, not yet. After adding Maryland and Rutgers in 2014 and then getting ready to expand with UCLA and USC next year, the Big Ten might be making moves.
And their next move? Might be back to the East Coast for the Big Ten.
That is the belief of Greg McElroy, and ESPN analyst who discussed the intentions of the Big Ten in his recent ‘Always College Football‘ podcast. McElroy
With news this week that Oregon and Washington have been vetted for the next round of Big Ten expansion – date yet to be determined – McElroy says his sources think the conference next looks at the ACC for expansion. Given the unstable situation in the ACC, McElroy believes that the conference is ripe for the plucking.
And the former NFL quarterback, who won a national championship in college with Alabama, believes that the Big Ten would rather go after some targets on the East Coast rather than continue to pounce on the Pac-12.
“Then you look at the Big Ten: North Carolina, Virginia – tremendous academic institutions, they would feel like a very natural fit,” McElroy said on ‘Always College Football.’
“But at the same time – there’s a lot of other schools right now that I think would be advantageous to the Big Ten’s further expansion. We’ve already heard about Washington and Oregon being vetted and being cleared as potential candidates in the event in which the Big Ten wants to expand.
“But is the Big Ten really going to benefit by expanding into the Pacific Northwest perhaps down the road? According to sources that I talked to, the Big Ten would actually feel better about the possibility of expanding down the eastern seaboard. That’s why I think Florida State, Miami, Clemson, North Carolina, NC State, Virginia…and those are the schools that I think would be more likely at this point to align with the Big Ten than they would the SEC.”
To McElroy’s point, were the Big Ten to expand to include Oregon and Washington, they would essentially lock up the West Coast. Adding a Stanford or Cal (Berkeley) would not necessarily add more in terms of television sets if the local cable companies already picked up the Big Ten Network for USC and UCLA, for instance.
ESPN's Greg McElroy on college conference expansion: The Big Ten is 'far more likely to expand right now'
And Oregon State and Washington State would be redundant markets as well.
Perhaps the only universities that could add to the Big Ten footprint in a positive way would be Arizona and Utah.
But neither would have the same impact as adding national brands such as Florida State, Miami and North Carolina for instance. Virginia would make sense as well in terms of market added as well as geography.
Will four-star Nigel Smith still take an official visit to Rutgers football?
Former Rutgers defensive back Keenan Reid on his New York Jets rookie camp experience: I was told to stay ready