The Big Ten is adding UCLA and USC, making it a 16-team conference as of summer 2024.
The conference had been a Midwestern juggernaut but expanded a few years ago to the Washington D.C. (Maryland) and New York (Rutgers) areas.
Now it's a coast-to-coast league.
Of course money is behind the move. Adding the Los Angeles television market allows the Big Ten to expand its footprint and garner much larger paydays from national networks.
But Purdue is taking something of a beating in some of the early reactions to the move.
As we trend toward survival of the richest and fittest, how secure should the less marketable and successful schools feel within the Big Ten and SEC? If everything is negotiable and every agreement is breakable, is the Big Ten really committed to keeping Purdue and Minnesota for the long term? What about Vanderbilt and the Mississippi schools in the SEC? Watch your backs, Boilermakers and Gophers and Commodores and Rebels and Bulldogs.
It’s hysterical to imagine these L.A. schools trading their 10 p.m. ET kickoffs and games featuring 90 points in 80-degree weather for nooners played in 40-degree downpours in West Lafayette, Indiana, with final scores in the teens.
All those years of history and tradition in the Pac-12 — over. But now USC and UCLA will get a slice of pie so large they won’t ever have to worry about anything — except how to get to West Lafayette, Ind.
The average distance from UCLA to another school in the Pac-12 — not including USC — is about 735 miles. The average distance from UCLA to a school in the Big Ten is about 2,160 miles.
This funky reshaping will start in 2024, creating a 16-team conference stretching from the middle of New Jersey not far from the Atlantic to the western edge of Los Angeles blocks from the Pacific. It would fatten the Big Ten to the same size as the eventual SEC at 16 teams, and set up the two Los Angeles schools as 1,740 miles from their conference office in Chicago.
USC and UCLA are the tipping point for a new world order. Eventually, every school with designs on competing for the national championship will push and shove in an attempt to get to the front of the line and beat the crowd into one of the two super-conferences.
(M)aybe it will get B1GGER, if it can find members who fit the conference profile and add to its athletic reputation in the same way as UCLA and USC. Those two will be announced soon as the 15th and 16th Big Tenners, and the conference all but literally will stretch from coast to coast. It is five miles from the UCLA campus to the Pacific Ocean. Rutgers is 38 miles from Point Pleasant Beach. If you want to get away from the Big Ten, those are your spots.
It seems like Notre Dame will have to join eventually. The TV money will be insane and every conference is going to want the Irish. The ACC could probably save itself by adding the Irish to its league, while the Big Ten could become even more powerful if it did the same.
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Big Ten expansion reactions involve UCLA, USC, Purdue and Notre Dame