Texas and Oklahoma to the Pac 12. Texas A&M and Missouri to the SEC. Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC, as is Notre Dame? Florida State and Clemson talking to the SEC? No one wants West Virginia. As expansion talks begin to heat up again, I figured I’d take a look at what it means to the Big Ten and the Hawkeyes.
While the Big Ten has not been involved in any expansion rumors as of late, there are certainly a few teams that would present intriguing matchups for Iowa. The most obvious would be the Missouri Tigers. Missouri currently sits in the Big 12, although reports have come out that the SEC has offered Missouri to join fellow Big 12 team Texas A&M. Missouri’s major clamored for the school to make the switch to the Big Ten back in 2010 when conference realignment was at the top of the agenda. Instead, the Big Ten passed over the Tigers and picked Nebraska to be the 12th team.
Missouri would present Iowa with yet another border rivalry. It would be a natural rivalry as Columbia is only a little over 4 hours straight down Rt. 218, closer than any other Big Ten city. Missouri and Iowa used to play each other, although a falling out has left the Tigers off the Hawkeyes schedule in both football and basketball.
The other option that the Big Ten may consider would be Kansas. While the Jayhawks have only really had one great year in football in the last decade, the addition would leave with Iowa with another rival out west. Looking geographically, Missouri and Kansas are the 2 schools that would immediately strike up rivalries with Iowa (and former Big 12 rival Nebraska).
But not all expansion talks may be good for Hawkeye fans. Should the Big 10 expand to a 14 or 16 team conference, in state rival Iowa State may become a big question in terms of the schedule. Expansion most likely means at least a 9 game conference slate, meaning teams would alternate between 4 and 5 home games each season. This would give schools added incentive to schedule low end FBS or FCS school so the team has more home game, thus bringing in more money. The fact that Iowa and Iowa State alternate home fields each season may be reason for the Iowa Athletic Department to put an end to the rivalry.
While the Big Ten has not announced publicly that expansion is on its mind, we must assume that they have some sort of options. Whether those options include Missouri or Kansas we don’t know, but those schools would give the Hawkeyes instant rivalries.