Iowa students surprised by the Big Ten’s newest members

Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 10:28 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 2, 2022 at 4:52 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - When many think of a Big Ten city, they don’t think Los Angeles, California.

“I think of Champaign, Illinois, Iowa City, Iowa, like rural, corn fields. Not really Los Angeles with A-list celebrities,” said Abby Gamble.

Gamble is a University of Iowa graduate student, who did her undergrad at Illinois. She says it’s still unusual to think that in the next couple of years the Big Ten Conference will stretch from coast to coast. She isn’t alone.

“I was definitely surprised, just because them being so far from us geographically,” said Iowa senior Vishal Chitnis.

“I’ve seen all the stuff about, ‘oh they’re not going to know what to do in the winter games’ and I believe that it’s going to be a shock,” said recent Iowa graduate Ryan Burdick. “It’s going to be nice for the Big Ten teams to go out there.”

Some say the addition of Nebraska to the Big Ten in 2011 made sense regionally. Adding Maryland and Rutgers in 2014, less so. With the addition of USC and UCLA, these students say they’ll most likely watch those away games from home in Iowa City.

“Unless I have a bunch of friends going, and we make a trip out there and we plan it, I’ll probably watch the games here,” said Iowa junior Andre Vu.

“Some people are going to travel, but way less because you can’t drive to that game,” added Burdick.

“Personally, the farthest I ever went was Nebraska for a game, but that was still far,” said Gamble.

As far as the competition that these two storied schools bring to the conference, these Hawkeyes fans think that Iowa can handle them.

“They just want more L’s. They want to come over here and lose to all the Big Ten teams. I’m down for it,” said Vu.

“I think the addition of USC will be a nice challenge for us. I think it will bring a lot more attention to the Big Ten in terms of football, maybe recruiting for all the schools will get better,” added Chitnis.

The Big Ten continues to expand into the nation’s largest media markets. This move allows the conference keep up with the powerhouse in college sports down south.

“It’s certainly leaning towards SEC, Big Ten, versus the world,” said Burdick.

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