Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger discuss the possibility that the Big Ten will continue to add teams in the coming years, and debate which teams would bring value to the conference.
DAN WETZEL: All right. Pat, you did report a unnamed source-- sources-- saying the Big Ten isn't done expanding. Explain yourself.
PAT FORDE: It's pretty self-explanatory. Big Ten source-- we're not done expanding.
DAN WETZEL: OK, well, a good host would know how to set you up better. I don't. I suck.
PAT FORDE: [LAUGHING] Yeah.
DAN WETZEL: It seems fairly obvious.
PAT FORDE: Look, you shot all of your bullets at the beginning of this podcast with that rant.
DAN WETZEL: I don't-- just go talk about some stuff while I zone out.
PAT FORDE: [LAUGHING] No, I mean, this wasn't equivocation, this was a flat declaration. We're not done expanding. Now, there were no specifics, there's no timeline, there's no this school, that school. And it did dial me back to when I talked to Kevin Warren in July, and he said the next three years are when the tumult is going to happen. Then he said three, he said three to five, he was kind of all over the place.
So that will happen during this broadcast contract lifetime if it does. If his timeline is correct. So then they're going to blow up that contract and redo it if they're adding more schools. Now, you know, I think the speculation starts in the Pacific Northwest. Mostly it starts with the ultimate wish list team of Notre Dame. For now, I think Notre Dame, especially with these numbers in the Big Ten deal, do not, I think, scare Notre Dame and say, oh, my gosh, we've got to join.
I don't think they blow it out of the water to the point where Notre Dame says we cannot compete. So start there. I still think Notre Dame stays independent for as long as possible. So then, do Washington and Oregon move the needle? Does Phil Knight and company have time in the next two or three years to demonstrate how valuable they could be, and do they get added?
Then what happens to Stanford and Cal? I do think there would probably be a real strong wish from USC and UCLA to have some West Coast partners so you're not just going two time zones all the time to do everything. But it's going to be within that group.
And then the question is, obviously, if the Big Ten takes more of the Pac 12, is the Pac 12 done because the Big 12 scoops the schools from the lower part, the southern part? The four corner schools as they're called-- Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Utah.
ROSS DELLENGER: I'm curious of who turns the so-called key first with the expansion? The next expansion dominoes, who flicks the domino? Because Kevin Warren certainly has the power to do it. The four corner schools in the Pac 12 probably have the power to do it. We know the Big 12 wants them. So it's like, who does it first? And when one does it, the other one is probably following behind.
So if the four corner schools decide the Pac 12's media rights deal isn't as high as they want it to be-- and that number should be coming within weeks, I think, probably from ESPN you would think, the top bidder of the Pac 12 given the Big Ten situation. So that number should be coming, and so the four corner schools, maybe, if they decide this number is not good enough. We're heading out to the Big 12. We think the number is going to be better there.
Well, then that leaves Washington and Oregon, maybe Cal and Stanford kind out there for the Big Ten to grab if it wants. Or does the Big Ten grab them, and then that precipitates the four corner schools to come over. So that kind of feels like the next realignment issue is one of those two things happening. Or maybe neither happens. Or maybe it happens years from now. I don't know.
DAN WETZEL: So rough math. It's about $66 million per Big Ten school for the media rights alone.
ROSS DELLENGER: Right.
DAN WETZEL: The total thing, of course, will be much higher. There's other sports, there's tickets, there's marketing, there's a million other things. But just on this, so, you know, I don't-- I'm dubious about this expansion other than Notre Dame. Because who are you bringing that's going to bring that exciting game that adds value really to the third-- you really need more-- I guess what you really need is more good third games, right?
ROSS DELLENGER: Yeah. Yeah.
DAN WETZEL: So does Oregon and Washington seem like, you know-- and obviously Notre Dame. Does Notre Dame demand that Stanford comes with them if they're-- And Pat's point, how much can Notre Dame get from the new NBC deal?