Right now, with no championship, they — along with the Pac-10 — share a decided schematic advantage by not bringing in Notre Dame or anyone else into their group. In ancient Rome, the emperor increased the number of senators to amplify disagreement among the group and ultimately weaken the body. If Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney does this, he'll be sacrificing BCS games for money.
Now, IF they were to expand, Pittsburgh is the one I keep hearing. Iowa State, West Virginia, Cincinnati ... I've heard it all. Even Texas. (Texas!)
You raise an interesting point about UConn and USF becoming legitimate football programs by giving time to shine in the Big East. It makes me think: no matter who you bring into the Big Ten conference, in five years it will be worth their while.
And that's why my pick is going to come right out of the blue. Deep blue, even.
Bring in Navy as a football only school. They're an independent team, they don't cause trouble and they're pretty good.
Subject: Re: [FW: Re: Re: Big Ten.2]
Great, now we're going to have Big Ten conference commercials that splice in clichéd clips from 300. Way to go, Matt.
I don't disagree with bringing in EITHER service academy (Army or Navy). They're respectable programs who deserve a chance to shine more often than just the Army/Navy game. I'm not sure about the convolution theory - they're adding one team, not five. But I have a much more streamlined idea for their addition hopes.
What is the Big Ten? A Midwestern league - Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and all those other cornfed states. So what could make more sense than moving a team from the MAC? The conference currently has a lopsided 13 members since Temple joined anyway. I wouldn't move Temple since they just joined, or Eastern Michigan since they're already terrible and would only get worse if they move to a BCS conference. However, why not let Central Michigan continue their move up the food chain, or another deserving team? You could choose just about any other team, depending on which geographical rivalries you would like to encourage, and the move gives both leagues a balanced 12 members.
Or, another more daring idea — snag an FCS school! Several teams (Montana, Villanova, Richmond, and Appalachian State) have been at the top of the former I-AA pecking order for a solid stretch of time and may be interested in coming to the next level. I wouldn't put any of them into the Big Ten (and Montana doesn't really fit in anywhere — except maybe the Humanitarian Bowl?), but perhaps put Villanova into the Big East so you can shift Rutgers, or App State into Conference USA so you can shift Marshall.