Big Ten Discussing 12th Team is a Good Thing

Joe Paterno started it when the 154 year old Penn State coach told a group of reporters that it was time for the Big Ten --- aka: the Conference that can not count --- to add a 12th team and create a conference championship game. Commissioner Jim Delany kept it going by discussing, though not encouraging, the possibility. It's a topic that should not go away.

Paterno mentioned two key reasons why the league should add a 12th team. The obvious one is to create a football championship game that could rival the SEC and Big 12 for national importance. (Rumor has it the ACC has a title game but no one has ever seen it… sorta like the Yeti of college football).

The other reason might be just as important. The Big Ten often ends its season two full weeks before the conference championship games in December. That's two more weeks of sitting around and may well contribute to some dismal bowl performances. Additionally it takes the league out of the national conversation at arguably the most important time of the year.

Paterno mentioned Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Syracuse as possibilities; but we all know the only way to make this happen is with Notre Dame. I am convinced there are a handful of things that can make this happen.

Let them keep their home TV deal ----- The Big Ten will never, EVER get Notre Dame without letting the Irish keep their home TV deal with NBC. So let ‘em keep it. It's worth it to have dibs on all Notre Dame games away from South Bend. It's worth it to have half or more of those Notre Dame home games involving Big Ten teams.

Put the Title Game in Indianapolis ----- Not forever, but for the first five years as another incentive for the Irish. Not only that, but other than Ford Field in Detroit, it's the only legit site.

Make divisions that make no geographic sense ----- This new league does not divide easily, so don't bother. Let's accept the fact the Ohio State and Michigan must be in the same division and Notre Dame and Penn State should be in the other one. Purdue and Indiana should be in the same division with Notre Dame and Michigan State has to be with the Wolverines. The rest really don't matter much, but since Notre Dame has played Northwestern for years you have to make that happen, too.

If that doesn't get Notre Dame so join, then implement emergency measure.

Ask the BCS to eliminate Notre Dame exception ----- If all these nice concessions don't get the Irish to sign on then it's time to get rough. Take away Notre Dame's lone school exemption in the BCS process, which would force them to join a league somewhere. There actually has never been a better time to force the Irish to join a league and eliminate their special status in the BCS. You can't have much clout more than a decade after your last meaningful bowl win.

Once Notre Dame joins the Big Ten and the Pac-10 follows suit by adding two schools (Utah and BYU) then the BCS can fire the Big East and create another at large berth which can be guaranteed to the highest ranked conference champ of the non-BCS schools.

That would improve the Big Ten, improve the BCS, improve college football overall and most importantly get Congress to STHU.


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