The most likely candidate is Pitt. Many presidents of the Big 10 will be reluctant to invite another member, but Pitt would be the best fit among the teams available (assumning the ACC nabs Syracuse). It would give the rest of the Big 10 even more exposure to Pennsylvania, which is probably the 4th best state for producing football players (after CA, TX and FL).
Absolutely disagree. To be a "likely" - or the "most likely" candidate, you would have to be a team they would actually want - and Pitt isn't a team that they want.
Of course, you're also assuming they'll expand for the magic number 12 and a championship game. If that was such a driving force - wouldn't they have already done it? It's been about 10 years at 11 teams. 10 years at about $12-$15 million in foregone revenue per year. The Big11 has bypassed $120 - $150 million dollars in potential revenue over the last decade and you're saying that now, suddenly, Pitt is what they've been waiting for? They could have had Pitt at any time. JoePa's been in their corner since day 1 and they are no closer to adding Pitt than before PennSt arrived.
And you're looking at the effect of the new ACC alignment in the wrong direction for the Big11. The creation of the ACC12 - and the simultaneous elimination of the BigEast as a BCS conference - does not put pressure on the Big11 to expand (and then have to divide their money 12 ways). It actually just opens another BCS slot - making it more likely these 11 teams get 2 BCS slots each year - and raising the average yearly revenue for all 5 of the remaining BCS conferences. Why share additional revenue with someone you don't even want?
Let's say expansion is all about money. [the Big11 decade long experience tells you that it can't be just about money - or they would have expanded to 12 a decade ago]
For this 12th team in, they would have to bring even more additional revenue into the Big11 than prior to the ACC raid - because the conference stands to make more per team anyway.
Let's say the elimination of the 6th BCS conference increases the average take in the Big11 from around $8 million (presently) to $10 million instead (on average more BCS bids per year). To maintain that take-home pay of each school - now the 12th team must add at least an additional $10 million to revenue - where prior to ACC expansion it only had to bring in an additional $8 million. Whether it could do it or not (and frankly any warm body could
just by being the Big11's 12th team), the increase in expected per team pay from the BCS now makes it less likely that they bother - not more likely.
For example - if the championship game brings in an additonal $15 million, then when they averaged ~ $8 million (prior to the elimination of the BigEast) - that was $7 million extra (over and above paying for the 12th team's $8 million share). Now, when each team makes ~ $10 million anyway - that's only $5 million over and above the $10 million required to pay for the 12th team. The bonus pay for having a championship game just shrank.
It doesn't matter if the ~ $10 million is acurate or not. As long as the ACC raid of the BigEast raises the expected BCS revenue of the surviving BCS conferences (and it would have to), then that change makes it less profitable than before for the Big11 to expand. So if they were unwilling to expand before for ~7 million (divided 12 ways) , they would be less willing to now for ~ 5 million (divided 12 ways).
Finally, Pitt does not bring the "Pennsylvania market" anyway - nor does it help the Big11 schools recruit Pennsylvania. They've been doing that long before PennSt was even a member. Frankly, college FB fans in Pittsburgh are just as likely to be PennSt or OhioSt fans as they are to be Pitt fans. Pittsburgh is a pro-city and Pitt is a city college - neither of which "fits" the Big11.
So re-capping the reasons Pitt won't be added to the Big11:
- Any team they add will give them a championship game - but Pitt does not raise the bar anymore than any other 12th team would.They don't bring a significant untapped market.
- They don't bring additional TV revenue over and above any other 12th team could (we know the Big11 could make more TV $$ by having a 12th team and a championship game - but any team could do that).THIS ONE IS KEY - They don't bring any additonal FB respect to the conference (the Big11 will expand if it raises their FB reputation clearly above that of the SEC - Pitt doesn't do that - NotreDame, Nebraska, Texas, TexasA&M or Oklahoma could).