Rutgers: Forget About the Big Ten

Leslie MonteiroSenior Analyst IDecember 17, 2009

A few days ago, the folks at the Big Ten talked about expanding by adding one more team to their conference. The candidates to join are Rutgers, Syracuse and Missouri.

The conference initially wanted Notre Dame to be that 12th team, but the Fighting Irish said no, citing they enjoy being an independent team that can play anyone at anytime— along with their television contract with NBC.

So it comes down to the other three teams.

It's hard to believe Rutgers will be the one that make the move. It does not make sense for the university and for that conference.

The Scarlet Knights market the tri-state area well by being in the Big East. New Yorkers and New Jerseyans love the concept of their collegiate teams being in a conference that is surrounded by other east coast schools.  While Rutgers does not have a legitimate rivalry with anyone in the Big East, regional competion leads to interesting games for the Scarlet Knights, especially when the football team is experiencing success.

The university makes good money playing in the Big East. It's difficult to assume they would bring in as much revenue if they choose to defect.

Additionally, it does not benefit Rutgers by playing teams in the Big Ten—especially in football. If Rutgers moves it will mostly be for football purposes, and in my opinion the decision would be unwise.

Rutgers has zero history with any team in the Big Ten, and odds are the Scarlet Knights would not fare well against Big Ten teams on Saturdays. Rutgers has experienced some success in the Big East and have had the opportunity to play in a few bowl games—in the Big Ten, the road becomes much more difficult.

For women's basketball, Rutgers would likely win the Big Ten looking at the weak teams in the conference, but other than that, the move serves no purposes.

Moving Rutgers to the Big Ten is like switching the University of Minnesota to the Big East or Big 12. It does not make sense geographically, or logistically.

The conference can do better than Rutgers anyway.

Rutgers does not suit what they need when it comes to competition, rivalry, and ratings.

Missouri makes sense. The Tigers present more potentially great games with Big Ten teams in both basketball and football—their track record is better in both sports.  Rutgers simply can't compete, and aside from basketball, Syracuse is inept.


In the Midwest, teams automatically have a rivalry based on the proximity—Missouri will be able continue their game with Illinois in Big Ten conference play. The schools in the Big Ten would also draw well with folks from Missouri coming to their schools based on close proximity.

It's a solid bet that Missouri would bring in more revenue to the Big Ten than Rutgers or Syracuse.

Missouri wants to be a powerhouse in college football, but in Big 12, it's hard to do with other juggernauts like Texas and Oklahoma owning a monopoly on the conference.  The Tigers can at least win the Big Ten any year with their style of offense.

Rutgers must know their value in the collegiate sports world is benefited more by playing in the Big East.  It's hard to believe anyone in Jersey would get fired up about seeing their state university face Big Ten teams.

One can say the same thing for Midwesterners. Somehow Rutgers does not stoke the fire of those bumpkins over there.

Looking at the pros and cons of Rutgers and Missouri, it's clear what team fits for Big Ten expansion.