810 WHB out of Kansas City is reporting on its website that Nebraska, Missouri, Notre Dame and Rutgers have been extended invitations to the Big Ten. Read it here
There will be war and rumors of war, so the good book says…of course they were not talking about Big Ten expansion back then. However, as we get closer and closer to June, you will see more and more items like this.
I have experience with the folks at WHB. I did a Saturday night college football wrap up radio show at 1510 KCTE before the ownership group purchased 810, one of the most powerful daytime radio signals in the nation, certainly the farthest reaching all sports station. I know some of the personalities that are on the station still today. I have been a guest on 810 WHB on three different shows through the years, usually when something Hawkeye related happens.
Some people are likely wondering how a station in Kansas City is onto something like this before the Chicago Tribune, or other outlets that are in Big Ten country..here are a few of my thoughts.
1. This is BS and someone has bad info. Always a factor to consider.
2. Kevin Kietzman is the PM drive talk show host, and a connected KC dude. He’s also an unabashed Kansas State fan and alum. There are also several connected KU fans and alums that work there, including at least one of the owners, Chad Boeger. Kietzman is also one of the owners (Union Broadcasting is the company). Steven St. John is the co-host of the morning drive show, and he is a big Missouri fan. He and I did the short lived Saturday night call in show together that I mentioned above…we were both passionate callers to KCTE back in the mid 1990’s. His caller name was MURock, and mine was….Hawkeye (go figure, right?). He has connections to Missouri now that he has a prominent voice in the KC Sports community. Kansas City is like an Ellis Island for midwestern sports, primarily old Big Eight schools.
3. Given what I laid out in #2, you have high ranking people at Kansas and Kansas State that have caught wind of these alleged invites, because they are not invited to the Big Ten’s party and they have not reason to stay quiet about it. Making it public might make for some fun fireworks even. Kietzman despises the Big Ten, or at least, that has been my take from listening to him through the years. He feels they get too much run for not enough performance. He’ll relish in playing the little guy, underdog card on this topic. But the folks at 810 will NOT LIKE the possibility of losing the KU-MU rivalry dynamic, however I think those teams will still play one another in an out of conference situation. It would be a shame if they did not. Nebraska has only recently had rivals in the Big 12 North, so the history is not there like it is for KU-MU; Missourians actually burned Lawrence, Kansas to the ground back in the late 1800’s. That stokes a rivalry, don’t you think? Ever wonder why a high school in Lawrence is called Lawrence Free State? Go dust up on your history….it’s interesting reading.
4. Folks in the Big Ten footprint are probably not going to be talking about this, because folks in the Big Ten offices are not going to tell them. So hearing news of this from outside the footprint should not be shocking, when and if verifiable evidence comes forth, and I am not saying WHB’s report is a smoking gun. I am just trying to lay the ground work for why I think this could have legs.
Now, onto the teams mentioned..I think Missouri and Rutgers will be in the expanded Big Ten. I have had them written in for a while now. If you get those two and the TV markets they bring, you have the ‘cover’ to bring in Nebraska, a state smaller than Iowa but one of the eight or so teams with 800 wins in the history of college football. Notre Dame? Well, that’s obvious.
Now, for the math. 11 + 4 = 15. M-O-O-N spells moon, even Tom Cullen knows that.
That doesn’t add up for even divisions, right?
Well, this could be round one, or the Big Ten wants to force Notre Dame to publicly say no, because this time around, the Big Ten has the hammer of ‘OK, we’ll be fine without you’ and this can put pressure on them as Big East circles want to issue ultimatums to them as well; join us in football, or get out. When it all shakes out, the Big Ten will increase by an odd number; 1, 3 or 5. 3 makes more sense to me, but I think it will be either 3 or 5.
If the Big Ten HAS issued invites, which I am a bit skeptical of given that the Big Ten Presidents and Chancellors meet in a few weeks in Chicago, and those invites have gone to the schools mentioned, three of the four are going to say yes in a relative split second; Nebraska, Missouri and Rutgers. Notre Dame may take a bit. But June 30th is the end of fiscal years for most schools and leagues, and you have to give a conference a few years notice.
This has been a fun topic for months and is going to get more fun in the coming days and weeks.