Top ten programs that should join the Big Ten in further expansion according to FiveThirtyEight

·6 min read

By now, you’ve probably gone into the depths — and maybe even the abyss — looking at forecasts and predictions of which athletic programs could join the Big Ten if it decides to expand further. And it’s not unrealistic with comments that were made recently by conference commissioner Kevin Warren to think that there are more teams that will get added in the future.

Since the shocking news of UCLA and USC joining the Big Ten hit the news cycle while I was on a cruise ship trying to take a vacation with Mickey Mouse, seemingly everyone has an opinion on what happens next. Heck, we even got into the action once I got my sea legs back on dry land.

However, it’s one thing to eyeball things and make an opinion, it’s another to use analytical data to try and figure it all out.

And that … is why we love FiveThirtyEight. We follow the popular analytics website during the college football season to see which teams have a greater chance of making the College Football Playoff, but now Nate Silver has gotten into the act by crunching the numbers to determine which schools are the best fit for the Big Ten.

The method used has a long explanation that you can check out for yourself, but basically, it’s based on athletic performance, fit, and market in both football and basketball among 38 Power Five schools that are taken into account. Point ratings are given for most recent success as well as total national titles in both sports, with it weighted more heavily towards football.

The results might be a little surprising in some cases, while others are the same schools we’ve heard bantered about in the news.

Here is a look at the top ten best candidates for programs to expand further into the Big Ten in the future courtesy of FiveThirtyEight.

First Up … Tier 3: How Big should the B1G Be?

California Bears

Nov 3, 2018; Pullman, WA, USA; California Golden Bears helmet sits during a football game against the Washington State Cougars in the second half at Martin Stadium. The Cougars won 19-13. Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

What the FiveThirtyEight Data Says

Sports Score

“Fit” Score

Market Score

Total Composite Score

44

87

24

52

 

Stanford Cardinal

Oct 17, 2019; Stanford, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal cheerleaders and tree mascot pose during the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

What the FiveThirtyEight Data Says

Sports Score

“Fit” Score

Market Score

Total Composite Score

59

64

35

53

 

Miami Hurricanes

Oct 30, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Miami Hurricanes helmets sit on the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the third quarter at Heinz Field. Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

What the FiveThirtyEight Data Says

Sports Score

“Fit” Score

Market Score

Total Composite Score

48

40

72

53

 

Utah Utes

Ohio State vs. Utah: 3 reasons Utes could be a problem in Rose Bowl
Ohio State vs. Utah: 3 reasons Utes could be a problem in Rose Bowl

December 3, 2021; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Utah Utes helmet pictured with rose following the victory against the Oregon Ducks in the 2021 Pac-12 Championship Game at Allegiant Stadium. Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

What the FiveThirtyEight Data Says

Sports Score

“Fit” Score

Market Score

Total Composite Score

50

61

50

54

 

Clemson Tigers

The Clemson football helmet near the Fiesta Bowl trophy at the coaches’ press conference in Scottsdale, Arizona Friday, December 27, 2019. Credit: USA TODAY Sports Network

What the FiveThirtyEight Data Says

Sports Score

“Fit” Score

Market Score

Total Composite Score

57

44

75

59

NEXT … The ‘No-Brainers”

Washington Huskies

Nov 23, 2018; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington Huskies helmet sits during a football game against the Washington State Cougars in the second half at Martin Stadium. The Huskies won 28-15. Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

What the FiveThirtyEight Data Says

Sports Score

“Fit” Score

Market Score

Total Composite Score

49

83

64

65

 

Florida State Seminoles

Sep 28, 2019; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles symbols Osceola and Renegade during the game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Doak Campbell Stadium. Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

What the FiveThirtyEight Data Says

Sports Score

“Fit” Score

Market Score

Total Composite Score

55

58

82

65

 

Oregon Ducks

Report: Oregon in 'preliminary discussions' with Big Ten about joining
Report: Oregon in 'preliminary discussions' with Big Ten about joining

Dec 29, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; The Oregon Ducks mascot on the field during the second half of the 2021 Alamo Bowl against the Oklahoma Sooners at the Alamodome. Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

What the FiveThirtyEight Data Says

Sports Score

“Fit” Score

Market Score

Total Composite Score

60

63

77

67

 

North Carolina Tar Heels

Mar 25, 2022; Philadelphia, PA, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Caleb Love (2) and guard R.J. Davis (4) celebrate after defeating the UCLA Bruins in the semifinals of the East regional of the men’s college basketball NCAA Tournament at Wells Fargo Center. Credit: Mitchell Leff-USA TODAY Sports

What the FiveThirtyEight Data Says

Sports Score

“Fit” Score

Market Score

Total Composite Score

61

73

71

68

NEXT … Tier 1: The Slam Dunk

Notre Dame

IrishCast Twitter account says Notre Dame should "bully" Ohio State
IrishCast Twitter account says Notre Dame should "bully" Ohio State

ARLINGTON, TEXAS – DECEMBER 29: A detailed view of a Notre Dame Fighting Irish players helmet showing the CFP logo during the College Football Playoff Semifinal Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic against the Clemson Tigers at AT&T Stadium on December 29, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

What the FiveThirtyEight Data Says

Sports Score

“Fit” Score

Market Score

Total Composite Score

77

49

93

73

NEXT … What We Say

In Conclusion: What We Say

Big Ten football reportedly looking at removing East, West divisions
Big Ten football reportedly looking at removing East, West divisions

The Big Ten logo dominates a lightly trafficked Monument Square in downtown Indianapolis on Thursday after the conference announced it was pulling the plug on the men’s basketball tournament over coronavirus concerns. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

What We Say

I love this. I’m a coach in my “other life” and I’ve embraced the new-age analytics of what’s going on inside the numbers of the game, and it makes sense to take into account here. I always say analytics don’t tell the whole story and other things have to go into decision-making, but it does tell a story and you’d be doing a disservice to dismiss data and metrics altogether.

However, one thing that I want to make clear with all of these lists is that it is highly improbable for the Big Ten to take on a team that is not an AAU member when it comes to academics. If you know anything about the Big Ten, you probably know what that means, and thus I won’t bore you with the details here.

However, admitting schools that aren’t members has been a non-starter culturally in the past and will most likely remain so, besides Notre Dame that is. That’s the only exception because of everything else the Irish bring to the table.

For that reason, I think Florida State, Clemson, and Miami aren’t realistic options (though it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been surprised). The SEC doesn’t have the same sort of academic preference as the Big Ten and those three schools are probably better fits there if they would ever jump ship from the ACC. Rumors have speculated otherwise, but we’ll just have to see if and when it all plays out.

With that in mind, of course Notre Dame is the Holy Grail for Ohio State, but beyond that, North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington would seem to make the most sense when you look at everything in totality.

But hey, what do we know? What does anyone really know about all of this besides those on the inside?

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Story originally appeared on Buckeye Wire