Conference Expansion — What’s in a Name?

If you’re looking for some humor or irony in the midst of NCAA conference expansion, consider this:

As things stand today, the Big Ten has twelve teams.  The Big 12 has ten teams.

When the dust settles, the names will still be wrong, but probably not quite as confusing.

The Big Ten could end up with 14 or 16 teams.

The Pac-10 seems as if it may end up with 16 teams.  They at least have the option of renaming as the Pac-16.  But the league is rumored to be pursing Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State.  The last time I checked, those schools were nowhere near the Pacific.

The Big East, if it survives, will continue to be a misnomer.  Once more or less an East Coast league, expansion into Indiana (Notre Dame), Kentucky (Louisville), Illinois (DePaul) and Wisconsin (Marquette) have turned it into the ‘Big East of the Mississippi’ Conference.  Technically, I guess the name still fits.  But with possible expansion into Kansas (Kansas, Kansas State), Iowa (Iowa State), Texas (Baylor), or Missouri (Missouri), the name will be a bit outdated.  That’s why (along with having ‘basketball only’ schools) I’ll be pushing to rename the league, “The Big Mess”.

Same for the Southeast Conference (SEC), which could pick up Kansas and Kansas State, if not Oklahoma or Texas A&M.

The league with the best chance of maintaining its identity is the Atlantic Coast Conference, which could expand by adding Connecticut, Syracuse, West Virginia and one other school, and still be more or less on the East Coast — West Virginia might be pushing it.

Then again, the Dallas Cowboys play in the NFC East, but the St. Louis Rams are in the NFC West…


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