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Big Ten reportedly “vetted” 10 schools with eyes on expansion

The Big Ten is going to expand. It is just a matter of when and how many.

NCAA Football: Big Ten Championship-Northwestern at Ohio State Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

We are one year away from the Big Ten taking its first step in expanding. The question remains, what are the next steps?

USC and UCLA will be joining the Big Ten in 2024. This will get the number of teams to 16 but it could go much higher. On Sunday, it was reported that the Big Ten “vetted” 10 schools with eyes on expansion.

“It should be noted that when the B10 added Nebraska, they were going to invite Maryland. as well but held off,” Jim Williams tweeted. “Vetting is doing your homework, I am not saying that Oregon or Washington are never getting an invite, what I am saying is not a lock in the next couple of years.”

According to Williams, these 10 teams were looked into by the Big Ten:

  • Cal
  • Duke
  • Georgia Tech
  • Miami
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Stanford
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington

At this point, it does not question if the Big Ten will expand — it is a question of when. This is a process and the conference has already started doing its homework. With that being said, with USC and UCLA on their way, there is some time for the Big Ten to figure out the rest moving forward.

Oregon and Washington have been linked to the Big Ten after the news of two other West coast teams coming. This would provide help geographically while bringing other markets to the conference. In 2024, the Big Ten will officially have markets in New York/New Jersey, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Yes, Notre Dame remains the darling. The word “never” has been linked to the football program when discussing joining a conference. College football is changing and the new landscape might persuade the Irish to join a conference. If there is interest, the battle to land Notre Dame will be intense but the Big Ten hopes to have a leg up.

If Oregon and Washington leave the Pac-12, the conference could be no more. Also, if Notre Dame joins a conference, Stanford might follow, which would also be a blow to the Pac-12. Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and Arizona State are also teams to watch. At this point, all members of the Pac-12 are linked to a potential change. Realistically, there is a situation where the Power Five turns into the Power Three or the Big Three. What other conference would dissolve? Likely the ACC.

It will be interesting to see how the ACC, Pac-12, and Big 12 navigate moving forward. While the Big Ten is getting larger, the SEC is as well with Texas and Oklahoma coming over from the Big 12.

Aside from the geographical nature of the additions, the new styles of play on the field/court will be new to the Big Ten. Out West, the football field and basketball court plays fast. Games are not necessarily won in the trenches and in the backcourt. The clashing styles will add another exciting dynamic to an already elite conference.

The Big Ten agreed to a new media rights agreement last year. With the two schools out West coming in 2024, the conference is in a good spot already. Now, it is looking to get even better with some more potential additions.