Red, White and B1G: Big Ten Eastern Expansion Ready to Begin


Fitting that on the week of our nation’s 138th Independence Day, Big Ten Conference mascots and cheerleaders are posting selfies from Washington, D.C. monuments all over social media. Everything about that sentence is uniquely American.

Of course, the social media fun is part of a PR tour through one of the league’s new media markets, thanks to the official arrival of Maryland as a member on Tuesday. It’s not necessarily a new concept; ACC mascots ran amok at NASDAQ headquarters last summer to welcome Pittsburgh, Syracuse and affiliate Notre Dame to the conference.

Curious if the Great Recession could have been avoided with Otto The Orange replacing some of the Wall Street crooks responsible for the economic bubble bursting in 2008. In the same vein, I’m sure Testudo would be a fine replacement for any number of Congresspeople on Capitol Hill.

Maryland joins Rutgers as the Big Ten’s 13th and 14th members. The conference last expanded in 2011 with the addition of Nebraska. Penn State was added in 1991. Adding the Nittany Lions and Cornhuskers addressed specific concerns: longtime independent Penn State was wildly successful in football and offered a contingency plan if Northwestern dropped from the conference, while traditional powerhouse Nebraska gave the Big Ten an even 12 members.

Penn State and Nebraska were added with careful deliberation; Maryland and Rutgers are college football’s version of speculative trading. I might hold off on letting the Big Ten mascots take my portfolio to Wall Street.

Last week, I addressed the immediate concerns the Big Ten faces in bringing aboard Maryland and Rutgers, two programs with far more potential than tangible results. The point needs no belaboring–not yet, anyway.

Matters like revenue splits and on-field competitiveness will hash out in the months and years to come. In the meantime, the newcomers are celebrating their b1g move. Maryland commemorated July 1 Monday by showing off it’s new uniform.

If you can pry your eyes from the helmet, which is more reminiscent of a hockey goalie’s custom mask than any football headgear, you’ll notice the subtle Big Ten badge on the jersey.

The conference is embarking on a Reverse Manifest Destiny with commissioner Jim Delany as its James K. Polk. Now there’s a costume I’d enjoy seeing selfied on this Big Ten media tour.

James K. Polk