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You’re Nuts: Which Big Ten addition are you most excited for?

The B1G is set to add four new West Coast teams in 2024.

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic - Tulane v USC Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Everybody knows that one of the best parts of being a sports fan is debating and dissecting the most (and least) important questions in the sporting world with your friends. So, we’re bringing that to the pages of LGHL with our favorite head-to-head column: You’re Nuts.

In You’re Nuts, two LGHL staff members will take differing sides of one question and argue their opinions passionately. Then, in the end, it’s up to you to determine who’s right and who’s nuts.

This week’s topic: Which Big Ten addition are you most excited for?

Josh’s Take

In today’s world of college football and college sports in general, there is only one constant: Change. Oh, and greed and stupidity, which I guess makes three constants. But change as the only one (constant) sounded a little better.

And because they are never ones to underachieve or fall behind, the Big Ten embraced all three last week when the conference added Oregon and Washington, two schools both located more than 2,200 miles from Indianapolis, where the B1G currently plays its conference championship game in football. Other B1G conference championships are held even farther away, but football (and money, but shhh) is the only thing that really matters to those in charge. So what’s the point in even bringing up or giving consideration to other varsity sports, right?

The ‘new’ Big TEN will boast 18 schools – makes sense – spanning from Parsippany, NJ to Eugene, OR. Nevermind the total absence of representation from Omaha to Los Angeles, the B1G is going to be a national brand/conference, baby! The first of its kind in college football. Rumor has it that the B1G braintrust is also looking to add University of Alaska Fairbanks and Universidad Ana G. Mendez in Puerto Rico to expand the conference’s footprint even further. In that scenario, I can’t wait for the first matchup between UAGM and Maryland lacrosse, to be held on a random Tuesday evening in San Juan. Sounds like a logistical treat.

But you know what, Gene!? At least the B1G is going to have exciting football games. And be able to foster new rivalries and traditions, that much I am sure of. In five or so years, the battle between the Spartans (Michigan State) and the Trojans (USC) is going to be an absolute bloodbath... Uhh, again. Alright, maybe that one checks out. My sarcastic point is/was that nobody is going to care about Indiana vs. UCLA on a Saturday night in November.

However, there will be teams, games, and matchups that people are interested in, and that is what Gene and I chose to debate. So the question we came up with was: Which current and soon-to-be former Pac-12 team are you most excited to see in the Big Ten?

Well partner, my answer is pretty simple and straightforward. I am not excited about any of the future members. Frankly, I just want to say f*ck conference realignment, expansion, the NCAA, and the horse they all rode in on. I think this whole thing is sad and gross. And it feels like the B1G is now the one holding the biggest axe being used to dismember, cut up, and bury under concrete all that was good about college football and college sports as a whole. History, pageantry, and tradition are all dead, never to be dug up again. They are six feet under and covered in lye. Pretty sweet, right?

I am old enough to remember when conference pride meant something. Actually, forget pride. I am old enough to remember when conferences just made geographical f*cking sense! Now they are just random, loose alliances with no background, history, or story. Gene, you are a baseball fan... What if the NL East suddenly added the Kansas City Royals and Oakland A’s? You would be like “WTF are we doing here!?” And that is how I feel about all of this conference realignment. It’s dumb and I will not partake.

But if I had to, my answer would be Washington. Because their jerseys are sick. That’s all you’re getting out of me. RIP to college sports. We had a good run, and I will miss you dearly.

Gene’s Take

As you can tell, Josh is very excited about the new teams joining the Big Ten! All jokes aside, I do understand where he is coming from. College football is such a regionally dependent sport, and with things now seemingly headed towards a two-conference league comprised of all the good teams joining either the B1G or SEC in the not-so-distant future, a ton of that will be lost. It stinks, but there is nothing you or I can do to combat it, so we might as well embrace it all.

I think what I’m most excited for is an introduction of some parity to the conference. It is no secret that the Big Ten as currently constructed is a two-team league, as it would be virtually impossible for any team not named Ohio State or Michigan to emerge the victor of the B1G. Teams like Penn State, Wisconsin and occasionally Michigan State or Iowa — on super good years — can challenge these teams on an individual game basis, but the Buckeyes and Wolverines are pretty much guaranteed to win 11 games in any given year.

All four teams that are joining the Big Ten by way of the PAC-12 will become legitimate threats to upset the balance of power in the conference. Are Ohio State and Michigan still more talented than those West Coast schools? Yes, but all of them add at least another one or two more losable games to the calendar than previously existed before, which could create a different result when the dust settles at year’s end. An extra loss could prove massive, especially with the B1G getting rid of divisions.

My counterpart sort of chose Washington, reluctantly, which I am also weirdly excited for. The Huskies are a solid enough football team to make some games interesting, and as Josh said their color scheme/jerseys are aesthetically pleasing. I think I'm pretty equally excited for all four teams for the reasons I talked about above, but If I had to pick one of the four, I guess I have to go with USC.

For one, the Buckeyes are Trojans are two very similar teams. Both feature explosive, dynamic offenses with strong quarterback play and the ability to take the top off of defenses. Speaking of defenses, both programs have seen their defense hold the rest of the team back over the past few seasons — albeit USC’s Alex Grinch led defense is FAR worse than Ohio State’s. Ryan Day and Lincoln Riley have also been compared to each other throughout their coaching careers, so that just adds another layer of intrigue to future matchups.

On top of the actual on-field product, USC jerseys are a classic college football look, and LA Memorial Coliseum is a very cool and aesthetically pleasing venue. It will be fun to see these two historic programs go head-to-head at both home stadiums. The jersey matchups will be fantastic, and the atmospheres in both locations will be electric.

While there are obviously a lot of negatives to college football expansion, it is also going to create a lot of fun, exciting matchups between top tier programs. All we can really do is try to enjoy the best parts of the sport that remain, and hopefully the on-field product helps us to do just that.