I don't know about you, but I've always considered the Big Ten to be a Union conference, by which I mean a conference from states who fought for the North in the Civil War. The SEC is the Confederate conference and the Big Ten is the Union conference. Do the rest of you have the same perception (or is it just me)?
Coming from this perspective, it has been SHOCKING to me to hear people suggest that teams like Virginia Tech, Virginia, Georgia Tech, UNC, and Duke are on Delany's target list for expansion to 16 teams. Tonight on the Big Ten Network, the guys were openly discussing Delany's desire to move the B1G's footprint into the southern states for demographic reasons. I hope this is wrong. If the B1G starts admitting teams from the old Confederacy, that would completely shatter my image of what this conference is all about. And I am bewildered that the B1G's northern cultural roots being incompatible with the admission of southern schools is NEVER brought up in these discussions.
Some people have complained that the addition of Mid-Atlantic schools like Maryland and Rutgers violate their image of the B1G as a Midwestern conference. The addition of teams from Maryland and New Jersey didn't bother me at all, because I've never thought of the B1G as a Midwestern conference; I've always thought of it as a Union conference. And Maryland and New Jersey were Union states. So all is well (at least in my mind). But adding teams from the old South would go too far. I wouldn't know what this conference is about any more. I fervently hope that expanding further south is not being seriously considered. No Confederate schools in the Big Ten!
Personally, I hope the B1G is done expanding (in any direction) for a long, long time. I think 14 teams is a good place to stop. But if expansion is inevitable, I hope we get one or more of Notre Dame (duh), Pittsburgh, Syracuse, or Kansas.
I know some people will say that restricting the Big Ten's expansion based on something that happened 150 years ago is irrational. So be it! There's not much about sports fandom that *is* rational. The traditions that we value in sports have very little to do with rationality and everything to do with emotional commitment and sentimentality.
Ok, I'm done. Go ahead and fire away. Let me know what you think.