The Big Ten made a major move by adding UCLA and USC to the conference. Their expansion plans may not end there.
Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said they could add more teams if “done for the right reasons, at the right time.” Notre Dame has loomed as a logical top target, and conference players appear to share that sentiment.
Eleven Warriors asked 45 players attending Big Ten Media Days which team they’d most want added to the conference. The Fighting Irish led the way with 10 votes.
Oregon and Alabama tied for second place at six votes apiece while Texas and Hawaii trailed with three each.
While Alabama isn’t leaving the SEC, adding Notre Dame or Oregon is feasible. Per The Action Network’s Brett McMurphy, they’re on a short list of schools the Big Ten is considering for possible expansion.
Washington, Stanford, Cal, Miami, and Florida State are also candidates. Only Washington and Miami (two each) received any votes in the Eleven Warriors player poll.
As college football’s most prestigious independent institution, Notre Dame would represent a monumental get for the Big Ten. However, the school might want to remain on its own.
During Thursday’s episode of First Take, head coach Marcus Freeman said “being independent is what we love.” He pointed to their wide-ranging brand recognition from playing games all across the country.
Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports reported that Notre Dame is pursuing a $75 million TV deal from NBC to remain independent. If not, aligning with the Big Ten could boost the school’s media rights earnings when their current contract expires in 2025.