Big East fans breathed a sigh of relief when the Big Ten plucked Nebraska from the Big 12 and seemed happy to stop its expansion right there for now.
But how long that "for now" lasts remains a question, and this story by the New York Post's Len Robbins over the weekend points out that the Big Ten still remains keen on adding teams in the Boston-New York-Washington D.C. corridor. In other words, Rutgers and to lesser extents Syracuse and UConn could still be in the crosshairs.
"For us it's important," Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany told Robbins about his league having a presence in New York City. "I consider the East Coast to be as important to us as the West Coast is even though the West Coast has got the Rose Bowl and the Big Ten-Pac-10 relationship. And it's so because of the recruitment of students, the recruitment of athletes, the size and scope of the markets. I hope it becomes more important."
Delany also told Robbins that the league is sticking to its timeline, originally set in December 2009, of a 12-to-18 month study period for expansion possibilities. Which means expansion isn't necessarily done with Nebraska. The Big Ten and Big East have their media days at the same time early next month, and the topic is sure to be a hot one at both.
Delany also expressed some doubt about whether the new Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium will be enough to attract the city's attention.
"We'll see how some of the other bowl games, which may not be top tier, produce," he said. "My sense about that bowl was, 'It's great to be in New York but you better come with your 'A' game.' . . because I don't think the New York market really responds to anything but the 'A' game."
He's probably right about that, but the bowl game doesn't need to capture the entire city's attention to be successful. Because of limited seating in the baseball stadium for football, if a team like Rutgers brings 15,000-to-20,000 fans to the game, then the bowl can easily sell out.