Which schools could be added next?


Last week, Thursday, it didn’t even take a day for the rumors to become reality, as the early afternoon saw rumblings of the Big Ten adding USC and UCLA, with an announcement made that said decision was official the evening came. It sent shockwaves through the college football landscape, less than a year after Texas and Oklahoma elected to move from the Big 12 to the SEC, which then led the Big Ten, the ACC and the Pac-12 to form a loose “alliance”.

“The Alliance” is nearly dead now that the Big Ten have attacked the Pac-12, which leaves this conference and the ACC ripe for the picking – along with the Big 12, always. It appears the Big Ten are still coveting Notre Dame and awaiting an answer, while Washington and Oregon have applied for membership and have reportedly been told the conference is ongoing at this time.

Let’s say the Big Ten continues to expand. Which schools would make sense?

We have compiled a list of 10 schools, all of which are AAU-accredited (except one), which is perhaps the most important criteria for the Big Ten when accepting members. All Big Ten schools are in the AAU except Nebraska.

That said, here’s who we expect the Big Ten to target if they continue to grow.


our Lady

Photo: Isaiah Hole

Obviously. However, it is the only school that is not accredited by the AAU, although it is academically recognized. If ND were to join the Big Ten, it would have conference rivals in USC, Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue, while Indiana could then become a natural rival as well.

Notre Dame fits much better, geographically and philosophically, into the Big Ten than it does with its current flirtation partner, the ACC. The Irish would still favor independence, but in this ever-changing college football landscape, they would do so at their peril.



Joe Nicholson – USA TODAY Sports

Another ND rival, but also one that would make academic sense. This would give the Big Ten another California media market, drawing from the Bay Area, while bringing in a contemporary of the Northwest and USC, as an elite private school.

While he may not be as solid on the grill as he was during the Harbaugh years and the immediate aftermath, joining the Big Ten could help revitalize the Cardinal. Also, the style of football, thanks to Harbaugh, is more like that of Iowa and Wisconsin of the world than that of Oregon and Arizona.


Georgia Technology

Photo: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, Georgia Tech has been pretty mediocre when it comes to on-field competition in recent years, but the Big Ten could help turn things around on that front. Admitting the Yellowjackets would be a solid media move, because all of a sudden the conference would be taking place in the Atlanta market, finally tapping into the heart of SEC country. Georgia Tech has its annual rivalry with Georgia, which could have increased interest nationally, as it would then be a Big Ten-SEC matchup.

Although GT doesn’t bring much to the table, tapping into Atlanta would make up for it a lot.



Photo: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Aside from not having its own stadium (the Panthers play at Heinz Field, home of the Steelers), Pitt resembles the Big Ten in almost every way. Fearless football in a Midwestern steel town? Check.

There have long been rumors that Pitt defected to the Big Ten, dating back to when the conferences began to grow in earnest, but that remained in the ACC. It wouldn’t necessarily bring prestige to USC or the potential addition of ND, but with a rival at Penn State and Ohio State not being too far away, it could be an interesting addition.



Gabe Mayberry – USA TODAY Sports

Another prestigious academic school, but which certainly does not contribute much from a sporting point of view.

While Cal has played the spoiler at times, he tends to be more on the Indiana level when it comes to competitive football, at least. However, like Stanford, it would tap into the Bay Area media market, while adding an elite-level academic institution to the fray.



The Topeka Capital-Journal

While the Jayhawks would be uninspiring on the gridiron (although new coach Lance Leipold is working to have some say in that), it would be a big basketball game for the Big Ten.

Kansas is one of the best hoops teams in the nation, if not the top team outside of Duke and North Carolina. It would be a decision that makes geographic sense with Iowa and Nebraska nearby.



(AP Photo/Mike Caudill)

Another private school, but Duke often seems to transfer former Michigan players — an indication of how the Blue Devils fit in academically. Sure, he’s best known for basketball, but the football program has been okay – moderately competitive in some years and moribund in others.

Bringing in Duke would bring the Big Ten south, as would Georgia Tech. While being in North Carolina wouldn’t have the same impact as Georgia, it would help solidify the conference as a true national powerhouse.


North Carolina

Bob Donnan – USA TODAY Sports

Sure, Duke and North Carolina could be a forfeit, but not necessarily. The Tar Heels are solid in both basketball and football, and might make more sense coming to the Big Ten than the Blue Devils.

However, having the two, given their rivalry, could and would make sense.



Joe Nicholson – USA TODAY Sports

Another school that feels like a Big Ten institution, despite being on the opposite coast.

Bringing in the Huskies would bring the Big Ten into the Seattle market, while emboldening the conference with another highly recognizable national name. However, it was reported (by CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd) that Washington had inquired about joining the conference, but the Big Ten said they were on their toes for now.



(AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

On the same deal as Washington, in that the Ducks asked to join the Big Ten and were told they would have to stay in standby mode. It’s a recognizable brand, and has already been shown to rival the best of the Big Ten, having beaten Ohio State to Columbus in 2021.


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