Wednesday, August 5, 2009
And It's Notre Dame By A Nose
The polls on this little blog aren't the most scientific of samples (only 249 votes), I must confess. But I found it interesting that when it comes to the question of the right 12th team for the Big Ten conference that Pittsburgh (84 votes, 33% of the vote) got knuckled under by the voters in favor of Michigan's perennial nemesis Notre Dame (94 votes, 37% of the vote). The next closest 12th team candidate was Missouri (29 votes, 11% of the vote).
Since 1940 Notre Dame's game record versus the Wolverines has been about .500 with 14 wins, 12 losses and 1 tie. No other Big Ten team has a winning record versus the Wolverines since 1940.
Since Michigan is playing Notre Dame every year from now until infinity, it's almost like a conference game anyway for the Wolverines, except, of course, that it's a essentially meaningless game as far as the Big Ten championship is concerned.
From a geographical, rivalry and traditional standpoint, Notre Dame makes a lot of sense to be the 12th team in the Big Ten Conference. Pittsburgh makes sense as a 12th team for similar reasons. Current sentiment suggests, however, that the Irish will not be joining the Big Ten any time soon. Even the Big Ten administration has started to cool it's jets on the subject.
In the event that the Big Ten conference does add a 12th team, I would foresee it splitting into 2 divisions to facilitate a conference championship game at a central, neutral site like Soldier Field in Chicago (you're welcome Notre Dame and Illini fans!):