The Big Ten stayed quiet during this week's realignment chaos, reiterating its desire to remain at 12 members and not proactively pursue other schools.
But some rumblings surfaced regarding a current Big Ten member, Penn State, and whether it should consider jumping to the ACC. Penn State coach Joe Paterno, in his weekly news conference Tuesday, referred to "some speculation that Penn State maybe ought to get into something different or we ought to try to go out and get some people from the East to come into the Big Ten."
Penn State president Graham Spanier released a statement on the matter:
"The Big Ten does not contemplate a change and feels very secure in its current arrangement. This applies to all of our 12 members, including Penn State."
This topic made its way into my Big Ten chat earlier Wednesday, as at least one Penn State fan stumped for the Lions to move to the ACC, staying that he isn't alone in this belief.
He's not alone. A portion of Penn State fans still don't like being in the Big Ten, and they cite several reasons. They miss having more drivable road games like Pitt, Maryland and West Virginia. They feel distant from a conference rooted in the Midwest (while State College is not). They'd feel more comfortable in a league like the expanded ACC.
Other Penn State fans enjoy the Big Ten, the rivalries it has created for the Nittany Lions and the obvious financial benefits and exposure it brings the school and its athletic program. They also agree with me that winning consistently in the Big Ten raises a program's profile more than winning the ACC, a league that has repeatedly flopped on the big stage (yes, even more than the Big Ten).
Here are two emails I received this afternoon:
Sam from Central PA: Adam, I just have to follow up from the Chat this afternoon...I think that it needs to be made crystal clear that those opinions today are NOT the opinions of all Penn State fans. In fact, I'd say the majority of us feel the complete opposite. I was a student at Penn State when we joined the Big Ten and have always felt welcome by the fans as I attend the games throughout the years and would love to travel to one of the other teams' stadiums one of these years! The Big Ten IS football and, let's be honest, Penn State Athletics is nothing without football...it's a natural fit. I can see no positives in joining the ACC. I also don't see you as a Penn State hater, either - keep up the honesty...it keeps us "normal fans" grounded and informed!
Matt from Townsend, Del.: Adam,Going over you chat today and your take on PSU fans and the ACC is a bit misinformed. The reason PSU fans do not like the Big 10 is the way the ADs attempted to take back the invitation to join the conference. Then they wanted to push their admittance to the conference until 1995 or 1996. Only when the SEC and ACC began to bring in their new members almost immediatly was that hyprocisy exposed. Add to that, that no AP voter in Big 10 country voted PSU #1 in 1994 despite being the first perfect team since 1968 from the Big 10. I do point these things out in my book The Great Book of Penn State Sports Lists if you care to inform yourself before you take swipes at a fanbase that has had plenty of swipes taken at it by this conference. The only thing the Big 10 offers better then the ACC is money (and in cases like this money does talk).
Let's put this question to a poll. Penn State fans, do you want to stay or go?
I'm very curious to see how it breaks down.