Our Conference Mock Draft: Big Ten Edition

Our Conference Mock Draft: Big Ten Edition

The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame and Michigan come on down!

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Welcome to the new Big Ten! As a lifelong Midwesterner, I have a certain fondness for the conference, and I wanted to preserve some major rivalries while keeping an open mind for expansion to new markets.

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1. Notre Dame

1. Notre Dame

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Sometimes, loyalty comes first. I’d never forgive myself for leaving my beloved Irish on the board (not to mention a top-five valued program), and with its diversity of rivalries and central Midwestern location, it was too good to pass up. Also, I just had to. You get it.

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2. Michigan

2. Michigan

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I couldn’t believe the Wolverines were still on the board. Another highly-valued program as well as a flagship of the actual Big Ten (not to mention with a longstanding Notre Dame rivalry series), this was one of my most important foundational building blocks for this new Big Ten.

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3. Penn State

3. Penn State

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Solid program, always competes well — I like this decade’s Penn State team a lot, and in keeping with traditional series, I did want another original Big Ten building block. Plus the White-Out game is awesome.

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4. Florida

4. Florida

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So here’s where I went a little out of range. I’m interested in Florida for the next decade. I see a comeback in their future, and whether or not there is one, they’ll always have great in-state rivalries for out-of-conference matchups. I wanted to capture a larger southern media market here, and I think that it would be a lot of fun to watch them compete against my first three picks.

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5. Arkansas

5. Arkansas

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PIG SOOIE! Arkansas really caught my attention this past year in both football and basketball. A longtime bottom feeder of the SEC, I think that their up-and-coming programs should be able to legitimately compete in my conference. Is it a culture fit? Well, what’s the culture I’m going for? I’m not even sure I can answer that question. But I’m excited to watch the Razorbacks this fall, that’s for sure.

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6. Iowa

6. Iowa

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Gotta capture one of the most loyal fanbases in college athletics here, as well as a classic Big Ten school. I like the Midwestern location, I love the Hawkeye fans, and I think it connects well geographically. Will they be competing for championships? Probably not, but they’ll have fun.

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7. Kentucky

7. Kentucky

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This was a basketball pick, to be honest, though we’re mostly doing a football-centered draft. I wanted a blueblood program that would put me in the Elite Eight most years (unless, of course, they play St. Peter’s). Their football team will be the joke of the New Big Ten, but that’s okay. Every conference needs one.

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8. Utah

8. Utah

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Honestly, I’m a huge fan of the direction that the Utah football program is headed in, and while it’s a bit out west, I think that this is a major addition in terms of media markets and general public interest. They’ll be a team to watch in the next few years.

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9. BYU

9. BYU

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Have to preserve the Holy War. Also, their fans travel pretty well.

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10. Purdue

10. Purdue

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Another OG Big Ten member with a really solid basketball program and a football team that keeps things interesting. Good location, too.

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11. Boston College

11. Boston College

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I wanted one more religious school in the mix — BC and Notre Dame have a good rivalry going, but I think BYU and BC could have an interesting series. I get to grab some of the East Coast market here as well as a good academic reputation.

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12. N.C. State

12. N.C. State

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Another up-and-coming program in football and basketball — I like the Wolfpack, and I’m excited to see what they do in the next few years. It’s a geographical pick that sort of rounds out the Florida-BC region, too.

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