Buckeye Battle Cry: A team besides Notre Dame that would be a great addition to the Big Ten

Every now and then we like to get the debate going here on Buckeyes Wire.

We have a little roundtable segment we like to call our Buckeye Battle Cry. We throw out a hot-button topic and each of the three writers takes turns debating an answer.

There are varying perspectives for a trio that doesn’t agree very often, and sometimes the virtual mud flies. Other times (and rarely at that), there are rainbows, butterflies, and agreement among the group.

We haven’t done it in a while, but we decided to dust off the Buckeye Battle Cry roundtable and throw out a topic as we sit here just a couple of days before the start of the 2022 season for Ohio State.

So, since the Buckeyes are hosting Notre Dame, and the Irish have been all the talk about whether joining the Big Ten makes sense or not after the latest round of expansion, we threw it out to our writers in a little different way.

The question: What school other than Notre Dame do you think makes the most sense to join the Big Ten if the conference expands further, and why?

We’ll have our editor, Phil, kick us off and then go to Mark and Josh. I’m sure they will all agree — ahem, to disagree.

Phil Harrison I’ve heard this school thrown out a few times, and to me, it makes a lot of sense. First, you have to start with a school that is an AAU member academically (i.e, a research institution). 

Phil Harrison Besides Notre Dame, it seems to be a non-starter in the discussion if a program doesn’t belong. That cuts out some of the big-name football programs like Clemson and Florida State.

Phil Harrison You also want a combination of market, reach, and success athletically. To me, that program is in North Carolina. 

Phil Harrison I know the Tar Heels don’t have the best pedigree in football, but what a get it would be for basketball. 

Phil Harrison But it’s not just hoops. The Tar Heels have a good athletic program across the spectrum of some of the Olympic sports and could really add something to the league.

Phil Harrison Also, that program is really a sleeping giant in football if the right guy gets hired. Even without though, it’s a great academic institution that would add to the culture of the Big Ten.

Phil Harrison And hey, I’m not the only one that thinks so. In fact, according to analytics, UNC is a slam dunk.

Mark Russell Hmm… the Tarheels huh? Good for basketball and could be good for football, but we all know this is about more than just being a powerhouse on the field or court. 

Mark Russell I mean why else is Rutgers in the Big Ten? The obvious answer is Oregon, but I don’t want to go with the obvious answer. 

Mark Russell How about bringing back one of the charter members of the Big Ten? 

Mark Russell The University of Chicago? U of C is an AAU member you know. Okay, maybe not… I mean we’ve already got the Chicago market cornered with Northwestern, right?

Mark Russell On a more serious note, what if the Big Ten went right into the heart of the south and the south’s biggest market… Atlanta? Yep, I’m talking about Georgia Tech.

Mark Russell The Yellow Jackets haven’t been great on the gridiron for several years, but they do hold claim to four national titles, the last (1990) more recent than all but three Big Ten teams (Ohio State, Michigan, and Nebraska). 

Mark Russell They check the AAU box and would put a footprint right in the middle of SEC country. Outside of the typical answers, Georgia Tech is an intriguing option.

Josh Keatley Let’s keep this West coast expansion going! I 100% agree with Mark’s take about Oregon being an obvious answer, but the Utah Utes would be fun too. 

Josh Keatley This is a program that has arguably been the most successful and consistent in the Pac-12 the last ten years and they are predicted by a large number of people to make a playoff emergence this season.

Josh Keatley Utah is an AAU member, which is a supposed pre-requisite and they can help broaden the Big Ten scope towards the West again giving the conference a decent footprint with UCLA, USC, and Utah. 

Josh Keatley I also like the Utes program, because it has some Big Ten swag to the playing style with consistently strong defensive play. Utah and Oregon would be at the top of my addition list.

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