Big Ten Talk: Just a theory

By Chris Williams, Publisher

Iowa State to the Big Ten? The thought is out there. At this point, it doesn’t seem very realistic. But I think we all can agree it would be an absolute best-case scenario for Iowa State University.

Notice that I didn’t just single out Iowa State athletics. More on that in a minute.

All week long, Cyclone fans have heard it. Iowa Staters have essentially been called second-class citizens living in the “Hawkeye State.”

This morning, I logged onto and saw a website that had been created overnight.

Seems crazy right? I laughed out loud when I saw it. But then I got to thinking…

It is all but clear that Nebraska will be heading to the Big Ten. That’s what the Omaha World Herald and the Lincoln Journal Starare reporting at least.

Nebraska is a nice catch for the Big Ten. Nebraska is a national program that attracts a lot of eyes as far as television goes. I don’t blame Nebraska for wanting this. The Big Ten offers more money and ultimately, the Huskers won’t have to deal with Texas anymore. Regardless of what Tom Osborne says, it is hard for me to believe that isn’t a big factor in all of this.

Notre Dame is reportedly considering finally joining the Big Ten. I’ve heard some media members say that “if Notre Dame turns down the Big Ten this time,” they won’t be asked again.

Yeah right. If Notre Dame wants in the Big Ten, they’ll get into the Big Ten. It doesn’t matter when it is. There will always be a spot for the Fighting Irish.

What does all of this have to do with Iowa State you ask?

It’s time to get hypothetical.

Let’s say that in two weeks, Nebraska and Notre Dame both join the Big Ten. Other than Texas, those are two biggest fish in the pond. If the Big Ten adds both schools, all of the sudden, television and money aren’t nearly as important in rounding out their 16-team league. That’s my theory at least.

Then, academics come into play.

I just took it upon myself to Google “top US land-grant universities.”

Of course, your Iowa State University is listed. Other Big Ten schools in the mix are: Illinois, Michigan State, Purdue, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

This is obviously a focal point for the Big Ten. This is a spot where little ole’ Iowa State could help out the proverbial big boys.

Keep in mind that Michigan State president Lou Anna K. Simon did recently comment on how academics are going to be more important in expansion than most are giving them credit for.

Based off of some very loose research, here’s what I’ve come up with as far as the Big Ten institutions strengths academically.

Iowa: Medical, business and law

Michigan: Business and law, also medical

Michigan State: Agriculture

Purdue: Engineering

Ohio State: A very strong business school

Indiana: Law and business

Minnesota: Engineering

Illinois: Engineering

Northwestern: Engineering

Wisconsin: Law, medical and engineering

Penn State: Medical, law and business

What would Iowa State bring to the table?

Iowa State is a land-grant institution. Academically, Iowa State is strong in agriculture, engineering and veterinary medicine.

This is a long shot, but should Notre Dame and Nebraska accept, I can only imagine that athletic success and television eyes will mean much less to the Big Ten.

This is Iowa State’s only shot in my opinion. Even then, it is probably a long one.