Expansion: What Is It Good For?

Nate Silver has proven himself extremely accurate when it comes to his numerical analysis. In fact, he went as far as to ensure his work is must-read for those who didn't already follow Silver's credo, when his electoral college predictions were almost dead on in the 2012 Presidental Election, in a race many called too close to call.

On Tuesday, Silver applied his calculations to college football expansion, specifically the additions of Maryland and Rutgers to the Big Ten (12? 14? What are these people?). The results weren't good.

Though both Maryland and Rutgers fit in with the Big Ten academically, which, if we're being honest, was probably not much of a factor, they don't fit in geographically, their ability doesn't match, and neither do the fan bases.

The markets the Big Ten may have been seeking will not pay dividends either according to Silver. Both Maryland and Rutgers operate in severly diluted markets, with many other colleges, but more importantly, other sports that attract high levels of interest. 

These factors all go back to the first arguments against conference expansion: the loss of actual rivalry games. Nebraska against Rutgers might be the single weirdest combination of fans to come together every year outside of a Danny Brown concert.

So, really, what is the point? It's hard to imagine the Big Ten… actually, it's not hard to imagine the Big Ten doing anything. They've been the driving force against a playoff and refuse to punish their conference's biggest offenders, preserving blatant hipocrisy within college football.

Jim Delany, go for it. But when you go, maybe take your conference and your ideas with you.


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