I expect conference expansion to pick up again in the coming months. When it does, the BIG TEN should expand to 20 teams and make a concerted push for 6 of the following teams: Texas, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Kansas, Miami, Florida State, Georgia Tech, UNC, Virginia, Duke, Boston College, Syracuse, and Virginia Tech. Of these, the only two states that I see as critical are Texas and Florida. As it stands, the SEC has solid footing in both of these recruiting hotbeds that will no doubt prolong its dominance over college football for years to come. To remain competitive against the SEC over the very long term, the B1G needs to add Texas and either Miami or Florida State. Further, to remain competitive against the PAC 12, who has interest in expanding into Texas, and against the BIG 12, who has interest in the state of Florida, the B1G must be the aggressor and gain a foothold in these states before it is left out altogether. Of these 14 teams, the BIG TEN is best served over the next 100 years by taking these six schools: Texas, Miami, Georgia Tech, UNC, Duke, and Virginia. Of these all but Miami are AAU members. But to add either Miami or Florida State, the B1G must make an exception to its AAU rule just as it did with its addition of Nebraska (the B1G knew at the time it invited Nebraska that its AAU membership was in jeopardy, and in fact both Michigan and Wisconsin voted Nebraska out of the AAU). My preference for Miami over Florida State is based on the following: the B1G has more alumni in the southern part of Florida than it does the panhandle, the panhandle is more like the SEC in its culture, the city of Miami is an international gateway, the southern part of Florida is a recruiting a gem for the B1G and the Buckeyes in particular, over the years Miami has been a constant draw for many students in the midwest as well as the DC-NJ-NYC corridor, and finally, have you been to South Beach? With the additions of Texas and Miami, the B1G will have a strong presence in the two most dominant recruiting grounds for college football. Moreover, with the additions of UNC, Georgia Tech, and Virginia, the B1G increases its exposure to other important recruiting states. Finally, the addition of Duke, while not necessary, is one that you do not pass up on. It's a leading academic institution that just so happens to have a dominant basketball program. Duke adds value to BTN's content when basketball ramps up (Kansas for the same the reason).
With these 20 teams, the B1G should be the first power conference to use a "pod" structure of 4 sub-divisions, each with 5 teams. This allows for greater variability and exposure in conference scheduling. Further, this will pave the way for conference "semi-finals" as an important -- and lucrative -- lead up to the conference championship. Within this structure, football schedules would include 3 non-conference games, 8 regular conference games, a semi-final matchup (as well as tiered matchups for non-subdivision champs), and finally, a conference championship. Basketball regular schedules with 20 teams should be done as a round robin, maintaining its conference tournament to include all 20 teams. The four pods could look something like this:
West: Texas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Northwestern
North: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan St., Purdue
East: Ohio State, Indiana, Penn State, Maryland, Rutgers
South: Miami, Georgia Tech, UNC, Duke, Virginia
Now, before anyone says the idea of a B1G-20 is insane, ask yourself whether it makes any sense to permit other conferences to add these important recruiting grounds. Does it make sense to permit the PAC to add Texas? Does it make sense to allow the Big 12 to add the state of Florida? Does it make sense to allow the ACC to venture into B1G territory without repercussion? Does it make sense to let the SEC remain as the only power conference with a foothold in both Texas and Florida? The answers are clear. Delany and the B1G opened up the expansion craze when it announced its intentions to expand into southern territories. Since then the SEC has gained yet another strategic advantage with the addition of the state of Texas. The B1G meanwhile has yet to make any major move to improve its football product (Nebraska without its ability to successfully recruit Texas is a shell of its former self). The B1G must expand into the states of Florida and Texas because anything less is a failure.