Rutgers is sitting on top of a volcano that's about to explode. The Big Ten knows it and that's why they're about to come calling.
Citing "Big Ten Sources, Officials from Other Conferences, and television Executives," an article on the Chicago Tribune's website , suggests that Rutgers will be the school added to the Big Ten Conference.
The article by Tribune Reporter Teddy Greenstein outlines the criteria being used by the conference to contemplate expansion.
These include, revenue, i.e. the ability to "fill a football stadium," geography (keeping current Big Ten members "connected"), academics, and recruiting.
According to sources, Rutgers appears to out-rank the other schools when all these factors are considered.
Unfortunately for many, but not me, the Rutgers' choice isn't quite sexy enough for their tastes.
Too bad because it works.
That volcano? It's the New York market.
This may be the baseball capital of the nation, but it's also a market that would embrace an affiliation with a conference with the national stature of the Big Ten.
I'm telling you.
The idea of a Penn State-Rutgers matchup every year or Michigan or Ohio State coming in to play RU every other year is very enticing to fans, the media, and business in this area.
Don't forget folks, this is big business.
And I don't want to hear "but will Rutgers bring eyes to the sets and fannies to the seats?" They will.
The Big Ten's got to be tired of the SEC running roughshod over the New York college football market every weekend. Establishing a broadcast foothold here, would change the game. Rutgers holds the golden key to that door. And it's called geography.
When it comes to sports, this is a big event town and Big Ten football would instantly make the region a national college football player.
Being from NJ, I know that there is plenty of room in our collective sports' attention spans for big time college football.
If you're not from this part of the country, you might not realize how huge high school football is in New Jersey. For its size, the state produces tremendous players who litter the rosters of many teams across the country. And we pay a lot of attention to football too.
The Scarlet Knights will run to the Big Ten. No courting has to be done. No Notre Dame-ing here.
Over the past few years, Rutgers and the state have poured a ton of money into the Rutgers athletic programs. They've invested heavily in their football coach, Greg Schiano, increased the capacity of Rutgers Stadium, enhanced their already state-of-the-art training facilities, and are about to overhaul the Rutgers Athletic Center (the RAC), one of the most underrated college basketball venues in the country.
They haven't done this just to be good. They're eyeing "Big" things.
But what about Texas you say?
Why in the world would Texas want to join the Big Ten? There is no way a team from Texas, much less the flagship university of that state, is going to join what is, right or wrong, a "Yankee" conference.
Doesn't make sense to me at all.
How about Missouri? Picking Missouri to join the Big Ten would be like adding another Indiana to the conference (no offense Hoosier football fans), but come on. To justify expansion, the conference needs to make a splash.
Lastly, am I forgetting Pittsburgh? Penn State won't let it happen. Too close to home. Sort of like adding an expansion team in MLB to an already existing and spoken for market.
It's Rutgers folks.
And once the volcano erupts, it'll be game on.