If the latest reports are true The Big Ten really is aiming to become a conference whose schools share not only a history of athletic prowess, but also cultural similarities through their status as state flagship research universities, that is, land grant universities.
UVA appears to be a target for the Big Ten, and also UNC, or if they balk, GT. They certainly fit the mold culturally. Moreso than the idea that the B1G is only interested in invading large TV markets in the case of UNC and UVA.
Actually, as I started to think about this growing cultural identity for the B1G, I wondered where that left the ACC. Could they redefine themselves around a different, homogeneous cultural identity of their own
What if their new identity was driven by a mix of city-based universities and large private universities? It already seems to be going in that direction. Hell, send UVA, UNC and GT all three to the B1G, and send Northwestern to the ACC, where they seem to be a better cultural fit, based on how I've defined the two conference cultures.
That gets the B1G to 16 like-minded schools. And if you want to use my cultural filter, the ACC could get to 16 teams that are more culturally homogeneous than the current ACC, with most having a pretty strong basketball tradition, and at least a pretty interesting mix of football programs.
- Boston College
- Notre Dame
While it's pretty spread out geographically, that doesn't seem to be an issue in the age of realignment. And if you go through the list in twos, there are some geographic rivalries that sort of naturally pair off. Except for Duke, and we now know from Coach K that rivalries don't matter to Duke.
Actually I could have kept in Wake Forest and tossed Miami. Both are probably cultural fits the way I defined it.
The only thing that wouldn't make sense with my new ACC composition would be calling it the Atlantic Coast Conference.