Inside the new Big Ten
The Big Ten has gotten a whole lot bigger since the last time the conference took the football field.
Driving the news: After adding USC and UCLA — which will become the conference's 15th and 16th universities in 2024 — and signing the most lucrative broadcast contract in TV history, reports say Oregon could be next.
Why it matters: The conference's headquarters is in Rosemont, and sports bring big revenue to schools like Northwestern and the University of Illinois.
Context: In 2014, the Big Ten expanded outside its traditional Midwestern schools by adding Rutgers and Maryland — or, more accurately, the markets of New York City and Washington, D.C., respectively.
- The recent expansion to include USC and UCLA will bring in California for the first time.
The big picture: Gone are the days of the Big Ten as a Midwest juggernaut.
- To compete with the SEC, the conference has set its sights on bigger cities and bigger markets — and doesn't seem to be stopping there.
- According to Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren, schools like Notre Dame, Florida State and Stanford are possibilities.
- He suggested the conference could eventually expand to 20 schools.
What they're saying: "I think it's changed the narrative on the Big Ten Conference,” Warren told Sports Illustrated last month.
- "We shrunk the United States in one announcement."
What's next: NU kicks off its 2022 season on Saturday against Nebraska in Dublin, Ireland.
- The Illini host Wyoming.
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