This, this is a worry now.
If the Big 10 were to expand I figured that it would be pretty self contained. I thought that Delany and Co. would take a run at Notre Dame or Missouri at the outside, poach one of them and that would be that. The damage from the expansion would end up being minimal in scale and self contained. Those thoughts continued once it became pretty clear that Notre Dame was a little bit more than interested in finally joining the modern era of college football. The writing is on the wall that it just isn't reasonable for an elite school to remain an independent in this era of College Football. It just can't happen in the long term. Notre Dame can print a hell of a lot of money for themselves, but the Big 10 give them even more if the Irish just give up their plates and printing press. (Emphasis Added)
By joining the Big Ten, Notre Dame could increase its annual television revenue from roughly $15 million to $22 million, get a national TV platform (the Big Ten Network) for its top-notch Olympic sports and decrease travel costs for its teams.
I figured that the Big 10 would add Notre Dame and call it a day. It is a good fit for both parties and the end result would be impressive if not unexpected. Adding Notre Dame is the logical next step for the Big 10. But the talk that the Big 10 could add 3 or 5 schools in total is just a little bit depressing. Adding 3 to 5 schools is ambitious and would set off a chain of events with side effects that would not only reach every corner of the college landscape, but would blast apart the bedrock upon which the structure high level intercollegiate athletics is built as well. (Emphasis Added)
The thinking among those in touch with Big Ten officials is the conference likely will add at least three schools to end up with a 14- or 16-team league.
"I don't think 16 is scaring anyone off, as long as you can find (five) that are a good enough fit," said one source who has been consulted during the exploratory phase. "They're looking long-term, across the horizon. What gives them the best shot at keeping value at a high level?"
There is the slimmest of hopes that UC could be one of the five that are a good enough fit. But that is still very, very unlikely. UC is not a member of the Association of American Universities, unlike every current member of the Big 10. Notre Dame is not a member of the AAU either, but I get the sneaking suspicion that that requirement would be hastily waived on their application in order to get the Big White Whale in the boat. I doubt that such a courtesy would be extended UC which has less clout (read: money) or influence (read: money) than the University of Notre Dame. All the other schools that have been linked with the Big 10 over the past few months, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Missouri and Rutgers are AAU members and have greater resources readily at hand than UC does. Those four plus Notre Dame seems to be the pool from which the Big 10 will draw its newest institution(s). If five schools get the call, well that's when shit gets interesting. Because most of the schools that the Big 10 seems probable to poach are Big East schools, but more than that comprise nearly half of the Big East Football schools which would hurt the conference to say the least. I have scoured the internet in search of a rendering of what the Big East would look like if such an event were to take place and I came up with this.
This could be a fascinating exercise in creative destruction.