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Old 11-27-2012, 05:25 AM
Location: Chicago
6,079 posts, read 6,629,646 times
Reputation: 5474


A little conjecturing here...

In the early 1990's, Penn State joined the Big Ten. The move by that conference to "expand its footprint" was the first of this current era, an era unmatched in realignment and virtual musical chairs (think of how simple and unaffecting a far earlier expansion brought UA and ASU into the now Pac 12).

Penn State, like no other university, totally dominated its region. It was the unquestionable "Beast of the East". of course, putting this in perspective, the northeast was one of the weakest regions of the nation in college football (note PSU's reality check when it joined the Big Ten and faced a higher level of competition).eat move and shaker in northeastern football since the demise of the Ivy League power days (now ancient history).

But Penn State was what it was. And it was the lynchpin, that grSo Penn State joined the Big Ten. But what if it hadn't? What if it had gone a different direction and tried to stay part of the northeast through conference membership in its own era. That might have come from joining the Big East or, perhaps more effectively, through having tried to have set up a conference in the northeast in the 1960s and early 1970s, before the Big East had been created.

Would the power of Penn State have created a lasting and enduring conference, one that could stand on its own in the way the Big East was never destined to do so? If Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse, WV, BC, and out of region Miami were unable to stand up on their own, would the addition of Penn State have carried the day?

I have to wonder. The closest situation I can think of is the Big 12. No, Texas did not dominate the southwest and the Great Plains the way PSU did the northeast. But Texas is about the biggest 800 pound gorilla in the room in all of college football. And it would have been virtually impossible to think of a successful Big 12 without UT. of course, the irony is how Texas also destroyed a conference that never should have been. Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri, and none more so than Longhorn dominated A&M went scurrying away from the UT empire and its feared network. Still, without UT, no Big 12 in the first place.

PSU would not have been such a destroyer in the northeast. I think there would have been a good chance for a northeastern conference with Penn State to have made it. And if it had, what would have happened to all those dominos that have fallen, I'd say tragically fallen, as the footprints of conferences took on almost national scale and destroyed the beautiful regional nature of the game. A strong northeastern conference could have blocked ACC incursions from the south and Big Ten ones from the west.

Would PSU as part of the northeast "back in the day" have made a vastly different (and IMHO better) scenario?
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