With all of this talk of expansion, there is one thing that no one has suggested, at least not lately: the idea of eliminating one of the current Big (eleven)Ten teams while adding another. In the good old days before Penn State joined the conference, there was always speculation about adding Notre Dame or some other midwestern school.
But that speculation always came with the additional thought that the conference would kick out one of the "lowly" schools (usually Northwestern) so as to maintain the perfect number of 10 members. But ever since the Nittany Lions joined up, the Big Ten has accommodated itself to the idea of an odd number of teams, and so the talk of conference excommunication has ceased.
But what if that idea was back on the table? What if, in the course of adding the likes of Texas, Notre Dame, Missouri, Syracuse, Pitt, and any other team you had in mind, the conference took advantage of the realignment to rid itself of a "non-performing" member school? If such things are permitted for our consideration, I have just the school for the job.
It is a melancholy object to those who pay attention to Big Ten football year after year when they must look upon the recent record of the University of Michigan in football. Over the past few years, this team has endured severe beatings, surprising reversals, unexpected betrayals, and scandal upon scandal. Whoever could find out a fair, cheap, and easy method of making this program a sound, useful member of the conference, would deserve so well of the public as to have his statue set up for a preserver of Big Ten pride.
But can it really be done? The man who was expected to restore the fortunes of this once-proud institution has only brought it lower. As to my own part, having turned my thoughts for many years upon this important subject, and maturely weighed the several schemes of the current head coach, I have always found them grossly mistaken in the computation. The question therefore is, how this member school shall be repaired and restored to respectability, which, as I have already said, under the present situation of affairs, is utterly impossible by all the methods hitherto proposed.
I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection. I have been assured by a very knowing college football fan of my acquaintance, that a former football power well outfitted is a most a most attractive candidate for a second-tier conference trying to increase their stature in the FBS world. I propose, therefore, that the Big Ten should drop the University of Michigan from the ranks of conference teams and facilitate its entry to one of the lesser conferences for the good of all involved.
I have reckoned upon a medium that a team of such formerly high stature, if given an annual slate of conference foes such as that offered by someone like the Mountain West or the WAC, would prosper greatly in both the number and the margin of victories. At the same time, the conference that acquires this former power will prosper by including U of M in their ranks in both the athletic and academic realms. Meanwhile, the Big Ten prospers by adding higher quality programs that are not currenly engulfed in scandals and beset by numerous transfers. This to me appears to be a win-win situation.
So, 11W readers, what thinkest thou of my proposal? (submitted with many apologies to Jonathan Swift)