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Bring the Scarlet Knights to the Big Ten

   Bring on the Scarlet Knights,  the Cornhuskers, Tigers, and possibly the Orange. No, let’s leave the Orange out of this!
 This week, the Big Ten announced they are starting to look into expansion of the conference, and I for one am happy with the news.
   The Big Ten needs to add a 12th team so they can play in a conference
championship game at the end of the regular season to determine who goes to the Rose Bowl. The conference needs this in the worst of ways, in my humble opinion, for the sole reason it adds one more game before the Rose Bowl is played, and perhaps this would cut the rust away once the Rose Bowl game or a national title opportunity takes place.
   Now who should the Big Ten invite to join the oldest conference in the land?
    There have been early talks about Nebraska, Missouri, Pittsburgh, and even the Syracuse Orange.
   But there is one team I would love to see join the Big Ten more than any
other team: the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
    They are a perfect fit to join the Big Ten. For one, I heard on the radio their campus is similar to other Big Ten schools and their academics are equal to that of any of the 11 current schools.
   Rutgers was one of 41 teams recently named a 2009 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Academic Achievement honorable mention award recipient.
   Another reason is the fact they play in a New York/New Jersey market, so
that can only help the Big Ten gain another major TV market, which in the long run can help bring better athletes to all the Big Ten schools. (Yes, I am looking at this from a purely athletic standpoint.)
    Rutgers is an up-and-coming school in the Big East, and I know I am not the biggest fan of the Big East, but they could possibly compete in the Big Ten in years to come.
     They are playing on Dec. 19 against Central Florida in the St. Petersburg Bowl.
    Some may say, what about Cincinnati or Notre Dame?
    Not going to happen! Why?
   The answer: Notre Dame will NEVER give up their NBC TV contract and both
teams are big-time players in the Big East on the basketball side of things.
    But if the Bearcats joined the Big Ten, would it take away from the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry? Just something to think about!
   The Big Ten needs some new flavor as well. Who better to come galloping in on a white horse for the whole world to see than the Scarlet Knights?
   Imagine it with me! The new anointed Big Ten team Rutgers playing their
first conference game against either the Ohio State Buckeyes or their new
“natural” rival Penn State.
    And a few short years later, Rutgers could be a player in the conference.
  You never know, with some of the top high school football in the country in the Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey area, and with a Big Ten affiliation, this could be the final launching pad the Scarlet Knights need and the Big Ten needs for both to gain national prominence and respect on the football field.
   Stephen Forsha is the sports editor of The Highland County Press.
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