As Panther's pasting of CDT editorials show, it is not just fb and/or bb. Penn State to the Big 10 was a fit, academically and other multiple features.
Great point, Louiville Card 01. :)
I completely agree that Penn State fits in the Big Ten like a hand in a glove. I think that PSU's move to the BT was inevitable as long as the conference was receptive to it. Once Bryce Jordan arrived on the scene in state College, it was pretty much a done deal & was just a matter of working out the details. It's precisely because they fit so well in terms of size, research, academics, etc. - as you point out - that the Big Ten would inevitably be their home. And for this same reason they were never going to be the saviour for Eastern football despite their Eastern football traditions & histories with other Easter football schools.
I believe that your comment gets to the heart of the matter. Schools are best off when they seek affiliations with other universities that are most like them as institutions first & athletics second. Athletic programs can be developed but the character & nature of the institution is what it is. The Big Ten is a perfect example of this. The old Southwest Conference is a perfect example of why the opposite doesn't work & why that conference would inevitably break up. Conferences based on state flagships have been able to function well with one or two independents like USC & Stanford in the Pac Ten, but not when the conference has been split half & half as it was in the Southwest Conference.
This is precisely why I proposed in this thread that the ACC had chosen the wrong schools. They were looking for a quick fix to turn themselves into a power football conference & at the same time extend their geography to dominate the East. They saw the football pedigree at Miami as the answer to the football issue - not only an established football power at the top of the conference but an insurance policy to protect against any bad times at Florida State.
The flaw in the decision IMO is that Miami gave them a third private school member. No other power conference has 3 privates except the Big East. I believe that they compounded the problem by looking to BC & Syracuse as the schools to extend their geography. This set them up to have 7 state schools & 5 privates, a situation approaching the Southwest Conference formula for disaster.
At the time the ACC was looking to expand, they had 7 state schools & 2 privates. The schools in the Big East that are most like them in institutional chaaracter & mission were Virginia Tech, Rutgers, & UConn - & possibly Pitt. IMO West Virginia was a borderline candidate because it is from such a small state & because its academics & overall mission are different than the other ACC state schools.
Instead of looking at Miami as the answer to football prestige, I believe that they would have been better to look at Virginia Tech right from the beginning. VA Tech was a notch below Miami in football, but they were good enough to strengthen the ACC's football profile. Besides, there were never any guarantees that when viewed in 2003 that the next 20 years of Miami football would look like the previous 20 years with their multiple national championships. Who would have stood in South Bend in 1988 with its back drop of multiple national championships over the previous 20 years & said that Notre Dame would win no NCs over the next 20 years? But that's exactly what has happened & they have set a record for most consecutive bowl losses. The ACC should consider themselves fortunate that VA Tech was forced upon them. Besides football, they were a perfect fit in every other way & provided a great rival for UVA.
When looking to extend their sphere of influence north, the ACC looked to BC & Syracuse, 2 more privates. Good insitutional fit with the rest of the conference? I think not. Maybe a fit with Duke & Wake, but not with the 7 state schools. Rutgers & UConn were the best candidates to expand up the coast into the East's major media markets, which the ACC has instead left for the Big East to rebuild around. UConn was already an established basketball power house with a national championship under their belt & Rutgers has since proven my point that schools can grow thei athletic departments faster than their insitutional character. Academically these two were a perfect fit. Both are Public Ivy type institutions, which fit in well with the academic prestige of Virginia & North Carolina. They were also the only two Big East schools that fielded teams in every sport that the conference sponsored & would therefore bring depth to the entire athletic picture of the ACC. Finally, Rutgers is close enough to Maryland to reduce the isolation that the Terps have always experienced in the ACC. BC, 200 miles farther to the northeast, did little to asddress these needs in College Park.
Adding 3 state universites would truly have made the ACC the Pac Ten of the East Coast. Opportunity missed.