Got to hand it to the oft-plodding Big Ten; they sure know how to liven up a dead week of college football. In typical Midwestern fatalistic fashion, reactions from in-conference writers have been neither fervently opposed to nor over the moon for the idea of expansion; it's already taking on an air of fait accompli. Brian Cook likes Pitt and Missouri's chances the best, and by fancy charting, concludes the Panthers are the more likely candidate:
Rich tradition in football and has been intermittently decent over the last decade; basketball program has recently built itself into a national power but has little in the way of history.
Scholastically Pitt would be an average Big Ten team, which is very strong relative to other serious candidates. And there's no question whether they would jump or not: Pitt would kill to get in the Big Ten. They'd get to play Penn State, they'd get a ton more football revenue, the basketball would be fine, and they could play WVU out of conference.
Back in the SBN fold, The Crimson Quarry has an exhaustive rundown of prospects from Cincinnati to Maryland to Kentucky, and a bit of historical context:
Expansion is not something that the Big Ten undertakes lightly. Penn State joined in 1990. Michigan State joined in 1950. Before that, the last new members to join were Indiana and Iowa in 1899. The University of Chicago is the only school to leave the Big Ten permanently (per Wikipedia, Michigan left the conference from 1907-1916, but was a charter member when the conference was formed in 1896). All current and former members of the Big Ten are major research institutions ranked in the top 100 by US News & World Report and are members of the Association of American Universities. The Big Ten cares about its brand, academically and athletically.
Yes, well, here's hoping this addition to The Brand goes smoother than the last time Jim Delany tried to shake things up.