What other schools should the Big Ten add?

Now that the Big Ten has added USC and UCLA starting in 2024, the question of whether or not the conference will continue with expansion or stand pat at 16 teams remains. A report from Sports Illustrated states that several schools are already making moves to try and join the Big Ten or SEC out of a fear of being left behind if the two leagues each form a 20-team super-conference. The report states,

“Sources tell Sports Illustrated several schools across the country are jockeying to land in one of the two conferences, a multiteam shift that many believe will result in the two conferences—35 to 40 teams—separating themselves from the rest of the pack.”

So it appears that expansion across all college football is far from done. Take a look below at just some of the schools we think the Big Ten might be interested in adding to their league before they end up somewhere else.

Notre Dame

I’m not the only one to mention the Fighting Irish as a possible league member. With the changing financial landscape and the manner in which media rights deals are structured today, you have to wonder how much longer independence will be financially viable for Notre Dame. And now, with USC being added to the conference, the Irish could join a league with two of its biggest rivals already on board. Rivalry games equal money in college football.

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The Ducks would help solidify the Big Ten’s hold on the west coast. They would also allow the Big Ten network to expand to the Portland media market (21st in the nation).

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The Huskies add continued West Coast expansion and the Seattle media market (12th nationally).

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports


Just like Oregon and Washington would help the Big Ten solidify its position on the west coast, adding Duke would strengthen the conference’s position on the east coast. You wouldn’t necessarily be adding a strong football school but you would strengthen the conference in basketball.

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North Carolina

I could just repeat exactly what I wrote for Duke. There is one complication though and that is that the current ACC media rights deal runs until 2035. It could be a legal problem that’s too expensive to overcome to leave the conference anytime soon.

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Contrary to what you may have heard, they do play football at Kansas. They even went 12-1 and won the Orange Bowl back in 2007. Granted they’ve only had one winning season since then and no winning campaigns since 2008 but you’re not adding the Jayhawks for football. You’re adding Kansas for basketball and the addition of the legacy program would be a big boost for Big Ten hoops.

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports


This is the longest of the long shots on this list. If, and with that ACC contract it is a big if, the Tigers do switch conferences it feels like SEC would be a natural fit but it doesn’t mean the Comishoneer Kevin Warren and company should look into it.

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The Big Ten Network would be able to expand to media market #16 in Denver should the Buffaloes join the conference. They also are probably the least committed to the Pac-12 Conference given the length of their tenure and history within the league. Making them flip to the Big Ten probably wouldn’t be too difficult.

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