In this new wild west era of conference realignment some schools are paying stiff fines to jump ship and land in a more lucrative conference. Both the Big Ten and the SEC have recently added new members who have paid dividends in recruiting, fans and the thing we all like-money.
When the Big Ten added the Nebraska Cornhuskers in 2011 they expanded their reach and gained a school with a strong following and great traditions. Although Nebraska got pummeled in the Big Ten Championship against the Wisconsin Badgers by a zillion points, they are still making some big bucks for the conference.
With the addition of Texas A&M to the SEC last season they also gained a school with great tradition, but as a bonus they got Johnny Football. This kid made more money for the SEC last season than most schools make in three years- and he’s got three years left with the Aggies, if he stays that long.
But back to the question, who gets the Duke Blue Devils?
Well I figure both conferences want Duke because of their strong following and geographical location. The Big Ten has already expanded its footprint to the east coast by snatching up Maryland and Rutgers last year and getting a nice chunk of the Carolinas would put the perfect capstone on the career of Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany.
The SEC also wants a presence in North Carolina and stealing a big fish like Duke away from the Big Ten would definitely be an ego boost to SEC commissioner Mike Slive. Slive raked in $1.6 million last year and getting Duke would guarantee a hefty bonus check.
Duke is known more for basketball than football, the big money sport, but don’t be surprised if you start hearing rumors of closed-door negotiations. With the 2013 season vast approaching we just might see some more college conference musical chairs.
This same scenario is also true for the North Carolina Tar Heels. Duke and UNC are already both in the Association of American Universities which is important with the Big Ten. On the other hand the SEC likes winners and both schools can provide that, at least in basketball. How much would it help already strong recruiting to have the basketball and football champs consistently under the banner of SEC? Let the madness continue.
You can follow me @derantsports