The Lawrence Journal-World and News is reporting that the Big Ten has entered into preliminary discussions with the University of Texas.  (H/T to Josh for sending in the link.)  Please note that this is an actual newspaper article as opposed to a regurgitation of some Twitter feeds on Bleacher Report.  Maybe the Big Ten Expansion Index wasn’t so crazy after all.  Here’s the main quote:

“There have been preliminary exchanges between the Big Ten and Texas,” the source told the Journal-World on Wednesday. “People will deny that, but it’s accurate.”

So, if Big Ten and Texas officials deny this report, you can respond with, “YOU LIE!!!”  With the Pac-10 also looking at expansion (with the speculation centered on Colorado and Utah), a major realignment of college conferences looks more and more like a probability than just a theoretical exercise.  (That being said, as I explained in this post, any rumors about the Pac-10 expanding have a lesser chance of actually coming to fruition because of the conference’s unanimous vote requirement.)  Coming soon, I’ll have some thoughts on what the Big East ought to be doing regardless of what happens in this conference realignment process.  Until then, continue on with the great comments.

(Image from Double-A Zone)

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  1. [...] Big Ten is Talking with Texas « FRANK THE TANK’S SLANT Says: February 11, 2010 at 8:48 am | Reply [...]

  2. [...] Ten and Texas talkin'? __________________ [...]

  3. Penn State Danny says:


    Keep up the good work.

    I would love Texas in the Big Ten. I am still a skeptic but would love it.

    From a PSU point of view, I would prefer Notre Dame, Pitt, Maryland, Syracuse, Rutgers in that order.

    However, the Big Ten would be a fool to not consider the Longhorns.

  4. Texas seems like a stretch regardless of money because it doesn’t benefit them monumentally. Losing A&M, OU yearly would raise eyebrows for starters and then their 18 non-football sports traveling to Happy Valley, Madison, Ann Arbor from Austin, midweek makes it seem more unlikely.

    From a power structure standpoint it would be a homerun though. Pairing #1 and #2 in revenue together would make the “we want Notre Dame” people just marvel at the cash stacked up by the Horns.

    • Richard says:

      UT can still play Oklahoma in non-conf (they did that for 90+ years). I’d advocate bringing TAMU in along with UT.

    • Matt says:

      Student athletes traveling to Lincoln, Ames, Columbia, Boulder, Lawrence, even Stillwater, etc. is just the same as traveling to Madison, Minneapolis, Iowa City, Champaign, Columbus, etc…

      Once you are on a plane, you are taking a flight. Not to mention, the Big Ten probably has more airports for direct flight access.

      • Jon Morse says:

        While it’s true that “once you are on a plane, you are taking a flight”, all flights are not created equal. I’m just throwing this out there for information purposes and not offering an editorial opinion:

        Longhorn travel breakdown

        Big 12:
        No need to fly at all: College Station, Waco
        Frequent non-stop commercial flights (which also implies charter ability at any time): Lubbock and (essentially) Boulder
        Non-stop commercial flights exist, but are limited (charter ability at any time): Lincoln, Stillwater, and (essentially) Norman* and Lawrence
        Charter or layover only: Columbia, Manhattan, Ames

        * – I was very startled to discover that there is, on average, only one non-stop commercial flight per month from Austin to Oklahoma City and from Austin to Kansas City… which is half as many flights as there are to Stillwater and Topeka. The single monthly flight to Lincoln, on the other hand, wasn’t much of a shock. The numbers for Lubbock and Denver, on the other hand, are 50 and 253 respectively.

        Of those cities, ramp-to-ramp time is under two hours for each flight.

        Big 10:
        No need to fly at all: uh, none
        Frequent non-stop commercial: Minneapolis (55), Evanston (186 to O’Hare, 47 to Midway) and (essentially) Ann Arbor (26 to Detroit)
        Limited non-stop: none
        Charter or layover only: Madison, Iowa City, Champaign, West Lafayette, Bloomington, Columbus, State College, East Lansing

        Obviously, it really doesn’t affect football at all, as your football entourage will fill a commercial jet, so you charter that sucker anyway.

        So the big questions in regard to travel are (a) to what extent chartering is more efficient than flying commercially for other sports (presuming the possibility of volume discounts for commercial travel) and (b) if flying commercially, just how much hell you want to put your athletes through in regard to changing planes and such. If you’re willing and/or able to charter all your flights, then this isn’t an issue at all as every single locale in both the Big 12 and Big 10 has local airport access (although you do have to resort to “more than trivial” ground transport to get to Lawrence, Norman, and Evanston). But if you’re not or can’t, then it does become an issue to some extent.

      • Richard says:

        Uh, Evanston’s in Chicagoland. It’s closer to O’Hare than downtown Chicago is.

      • Jon Morse says:

        Richard, that was exactly why I listed Evanston as a non-stop commercial flight as opposed to “essentially” ala Lawrence, Norman, and Ann Arbor.

  5. matt says:

    Texas isn’t anywhere near the other schools geographically. Not to mention texans feel big xii pwns big x. It would be like leaving varsity to go play j.v. STUPID

    • TJ says:

      J.V.? No other conference has had as many multiple BCS births as the BIG10. How many “J.V.” teams have been embarrased by the “statue of liberty” and mid-majors routinely?

  6. Jon says:

    Maybe Texas is the carrot that will draw in Notre Dame.

  7. Confluence says:

    Have you considered the matter of student-athlete graduation rates? Apparently Texas’ graduation rates aren’t on par with the rest of the Big Ten teams and could prove to be a factor as the conference takes such matters very seriously.

    Also, I think the PAC-10 is going to join the Texas sweepstakes very soon. While reports mention Utah and Colorado, why wouldn’t they go after Colorado and Texas this time around?

    • Richard says:

      They very well could, but knowing the UT athletic department, they’ll go where the money is.

      • Brad says:

        Exactly Richard. Pac-10 does not have the money to lure away UT.

        As a Baylor alum and fan, I can tell you that Texas follows the money, which I think is why this has legs at least around these parts.

        Travel costs and traveling fans won’t effect a school like UT in the least. So arguing about geography is like screaming into the wind. It’s a non-issue. Their fans will still buy luxury suites, season tickets, merchandise, and will still tune in. Big whoop that a few of them won’t be able to travel with the team now. Yawn.

        I can easily see UT using this to sweeten its pot in the Big 12. Even then, financially, the Big 12 lives on the wrong side of the tracks, and UT is getting all they can, which, honestly, isn’t that much more than the rest of us in this league in regards to Big 12 TV revenue.

        I will say this. The power that UT holds over the Big 12 will not exist if they go to the Big Ten, and I have to think that is something they are considering. Here they are the big dog on the block. In the Big Ten, if they try and throw their weight around, other big dogs will push back and hard. Can UT handle that? They’ll have to wrestle with that in their decision making process.

  8. ILfan says:

    C’mon north, Horns. And bring the Sooners and MU Tigers with you.

  9. LonghornLawyer says:

    Matt, I can assure you that most Texas fans don’t think anything of the sort. From an economic and academic standpoint, it is easily the Big 10 that is superior. Beyond that, I think most Texas fans understand the inherent shortcomings of the Big 12, including (but not limited to) our abysmal television deal, the ongoing subsidization of a bunch of poor schools that add nothing but anti-Texas votes, and little prospect for improvement.

    The Big 12 was a shotgun marriage from the beginning, and the sooner we escape the better.

    • matt says:

      Then why do all the UT alums, myself included, have status updates along the lines of “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!”? We want to head to lubbock, college station, waco, dallas, & stillwater for away game weekends with old friends. Student athletes have no ability or desire to head to Indiana for a mid week game. The big ten is a midwest conference. Texas does not belong, and texans & alums would view it as selling out the athletes, alums, fans & taxpayers.

      • LonghornLawyer says:

        I don’t know, Matt, but if you look at hornfans, shaggybevo, orangebloods, and other Texas message boards, I think you’ll find that you’re in the minority.

        Wait, wait, wait–I missed something. Did you just say you want to head to Lubbock, Waco, and Stillwater? That’s sarcasm, right? Please, please tell me that’s sarcasm.

      • Todd says:

        You and your friends do not constitute the entire fanbase. Texas can still play OU and A&M out-of-conference (and how much does that boost strength-of-schedule?), but I’d much rather see my alma mater improve their strength of schedule and increase their national exposure than to drive to Lubbock or Stillwater for a party… Waco? Really? Waco?!? And how much does this move help admissions and recruiting? It would be an instant credibility boost in both athletics and academics. This TexasEx and all of his friends understand this, and we say “Bring on the Big10!”

      • Brad says:

        Matt, you think that matters? You think UT’s president and board are going to turn down that financial windfall and academic boost (which has dollars attached to it as well) because some fans can’t travel to Purdue or Minnesota? Really? If they turned this down for fan convenience, then they’d rival Tech as one of the dumbest administrations in the Big 12. I know you horns are spoiled rotten and believe the world revolves around you, but you’re not really going to be considered in these discussions.

        I can’t see UT turning this down. Only thing I see standing in the way is politics. Nothing more.

        Oh, and you Big Ten fans, if you want A&M, please take them with you! You can have that annoyance. Hell we’ll gift wrap them for you.

      • Steve says:

        Matt, I think it’s because you and your friends haven’t really thought things through and are just reacting as a sports fan.

  10. Dave Hines says:

    Frank, what do you think would happen to the Big East if Big Ten takes Texas, Texas A&M and Pitt to go to a 14 team league? What would Notre Dame do in this case?

  11. chris says:

    The Big Ten will always have room for Notre Dame. It just means they might go to 15 teams. And if Notre Dame is the one knocking on the door this time, they might lose some bargaining power. The Big Ten would be in a position of power and would jump on the shot to land ND.

  12. illini fan says:

    YES YES YES! Hook ‘em!

  13. Nate says:

    Talking to Texas could also benefit the Big Ten in its dealing with Notre Dame. ND would have to realize that if the Big Ten gets Texas, they’re done, and ND would have to look elsewhere in the future. Of course, ND would just say they’ll never have to look elsewhere, but their TV contract will eventually end and the BCS may not give them sweetheart deals in the future.

    • Craig says:

      How is the current BCS deal a sweetheart deal? We have a harder route to an automatic spot than some of the conference teams (cough ACC cough), the exact same at-large qualification rules, and a monetary cut comparable to what any conference team would see.

  14. Mike B. says:

    The Big East needs to dump four of their “basketball only” schools and add four football schools. Gee, I wonder what who one of those BBall only schools should be?

    • Kyle says:

      The Seton Hall Pirates?

    • Kyle says:

      But in all seriousness even if the Football and Basketball factions of the Big East were to split or even just trim the fat on the basketball side of things, who would you add to the Big East for football?

      The Big East doesn’t have the Economic or Academic influence to ‘steal’ additional school like the Big Ten does. The available candidates to add to the Big East are the likes of Temple, Buffalo, and Marshall. Not terrible teams, but nothing that will improve the quality or interest in conference play.

      • Mike B. says:

        The Big East is going to have to accept that they’re in survival mode, not improvement mode. Memphis is where I’d start if I was the Big East, after dumping ND.

  15. [...] is the FIRST legitimate news report surrounding the Big Ten expansion. Frank the Tank commented on his Big Ten Expansion Index as it “wasn’t so crazy after all,” and [...]

  16. Blitzer says:

    Personally, I think a Texas, Texas A&M and Maryland expansion would be big time. Talk about really expanding the footprint of the Big Ten Network.

    Dallas – Market 5
    Washington, DC – Market 9
    Houston – Market 10
    Baltimore – Market 26
    San Antonio – Market 37
    Austin – Market 49
    Brownsville – Market 87
    Waco – Market 94
    El Paso – Market 99

    And about 10 more below the market 100 level.

  17. Josh says:

    I was up late last night putting my baby daughter to sleep when I saw that story. Apparently, it’s the buzz of college sports today.

    I started reading this blog because I always thought that Texas, even more than Notre Dame, was the dream school the Big 10 wanted. Texas is a perfect fit with all the other Big 10 schools in everything but geography. I was skeptical that Texas would be interested, but this blog has convinced me they have millions of reasons to join the Big 10.

    And don’t discount academics. Texas wants to be associated with Michigan, Wisconsin, Northwestern and the U of Chicago a lot more than it wants to hang out with Baylor and OK State. The Big 10 also wants to solidify its reputation as the “Public School Ivy League” and Texas would aid that perception.

    Baseball is a minor problem as the B10 stinks in baseball. But maybe with Texas in, some recruits will start choosing B10 schools.

    And as an Iowa alum, we’d be the closest school to Texas. We’d have to get some of their recruiting leftovers, wouldn’t we?

  18. Adam says:

    Something about this doesn’t smell right to me. This is not the procedure that the Big Ten said they’d follow when they issued that press release back in December.

    As for all the praising how well Texas fits other than geography: why does that get written off? If you don’t fit geographically, you don’t fit! A school that is not appropriate geographically should not be considered irrespective of any financial or academic advantages, just like a geographically-appropriate school that does not pull their weight academically and financially would also be written off.

    Texas is as spectacularly wrong for the Big Ten geographically as Cincinnati is academically.

    • Brad says:

      This is just plain dumb. Turn down millions because of geography? Why? It gets written off because it’s nothing. Oh, you’re on a plane for an extra hour or two. WOW! Stop the negotiations!

      Geography, travel costs, and traveling fans will mean nothing in these talks. Absolutely nothing.

      • Adam says:

        I like college athletics for the traditionalism. If the Big Ten breaks its ties to the Midwest, it loses my business. I’m not concerned about student-athlete welfare in flying slightly further, or the ability of fans to travel to road games, or other such nonsense. The Big Ten ought to be a Midwestern league. Period.

      • Brian says:

        First, am a geography freak. I believe Geographyis tremendously important in every day life and knowng you place in the world etc. However, when it comes to athletics, it’s meaningless. How far does Boston College travel to go play Miami in conference play? How far does every school in the WAC travel to play Hawaii? It’s irrelevant, they all do it.

        Secondly, what exactly does being a midwestern conference mean? Can you get a map and show me where the borders of the midwest are? Do people in State College have the same values as people in Iowa City? The so called Midwest and the states that are assigned to that region have quite a variety of people and values. It is valid to say that Austin and Madison may be more a like than Columbus and Madison.

        I live in Kentucky, but I’m about 10 miles from Cincinnati. I personally don’t consider myself “southern” but others may. I say my values are more closely aligned with those in Columbus than those in Lexington or Louisville though. I just don’t get the “midwestern” debate.

      • Adam says:

        Brian, your ACC and WAC counter-examples make the point that’s on my mind: those are bad conferences I don’t care about and do not find interesting. Their geographic lack of cohesiveness makes them uninteresting to me.

        As for your notion that what’s “Midwestern” is a contested question: while true, I oppose the Big Ten adding schools that are not at least arguably located in Midwestern States, irrespective of whatever the “local culture” is like in the college town. Kentucky is a southern state, no matter how closely you are to the border with Ohio. Just the way it is. If it’s marginal or debatable whether Pennsylvania, Missouri, or Nebraska are Midwestern States, there is no disputing that Texas is NOT, and any institution located within the Texas boundaries ought to, accordingly, be automatically disqualified from consideration.

      • Richard says:

        Uh, it’s not debatable whether Pennsylvania is Midwestern or not. They aren’t. Yet the Big10 is there.

        I also haven’t ever heard any one argue that Missouri or Nebraska aren’t Midwestern.

        Texas actually has a greater claim to being Midwestern than Penn (neither of them really are, though); the NCAA basketball tournament use to put Midwest regional games there; I never saw them put Midwest regional games in Penn.

    • Steve says:

      It seems kind of silly to give geography as much weight as academics.

  19. Justin says:

    I think this could happen — however, I think it is a prelude to a bigger conference in which the Big 10 stretches from NYC to Texas.

    I think Texas will insist on taking a rival with them — either OU or A&M — so that they can feasibly continue both rivalries.

    Would the Big 10 presidents be willing to take OU? An athletic powerhouse but their academic reputation isn’t very strong — but the president — Boren — is very highly regarded, and perhaps Big 10 membership would dramatically increase the school’s academic prowess.

    • Richard says:

      No, but they’d be willing to take TAMU.

    • Brad says:

      LOL! It’s a myth that UT is attached or has any loyalty to A&M! Don’t know where that started, but it’s completely untrue. UT was more than willing to leave A&M in the dust when the SWC dissolved, and UT does not consider A&M their rival. Why would they even think of ruining this deal by sticking their necks out for OU or A&M? Makes zero sense. Only significance either plays in UT’s world is a football game. That’s an easy fix. Play them in non-conference. Hell UT did it with OU for nearly a hundred years didn’t they?

      Here’s something to keep in mind for all your Big Ten posters: UT only cares about UT. Say it with me: UT only cares about UT. As they should.

      “I think Texas will insist on taking a rival with them — either OU or A&M” LMAO!!!

      • Richard says:

        I think TAMU will have to be brought along to appease the politicians in Texas. UT may not care 2 figs about TAMU, but they can’t get rid of them, either, and I doubt UT wants to see TAMU in the SEC.

      • Jon Morse says:

        Brad, do you even recall what exactly led to the Big 8 adding four Texas teams?

        UT does not actually have the authority to make this decision all on its li’l lonesome without the consent of the Texas Legislature (even if such consent is silent), and thus Texas is in fact forced to care about not only A&M, but Tech and Baylor as well. (They don’t necessarily have to safeguard their interests per se, but they do have to take things into consideration.)

    • Jake says:

      I hear a lot about this supposed concern in the Texas legislature for A&M, but I think it may be overblown. In 1995, A&M was in danger of being left out in the cold as the SWC broke up. The Aggies are in the Big 12 now, and I don’t think that conference is in danger of completely dissolving, even if Texas and CU leave. A&M should be fine.

  20. Greg says:

    This pencils out very nicely for Texas in terms of direct revenue, as you’ve said.

    What does NOT pencil out is the little detail of what happens to the same revenue streams of the three other B-12 Texas institutions when the prize bull of a teetering athletic conference uproots and leaves. Does the Texas legislature cover the losses for these schools and their tuition-payers and let UT walk away with the windfall or do they adjust the Longhorn’s hay rations accordingly?

    On the other hand, if the B10 takes MU (and their share of the KC/STL TV market) and the Pac10 takes CO (and pretty much all of the DEN TV market), maybe the B-12 collapses anyway. As the best academic school in an otherwise very questionable academic conference, maybe UT’s smart enough to recognize the open field and sprint for (much) greener pastures, academically, economically and (sorry B12) athletically. It should be a Texas-sized fight anyway, if TU goes there.

    • Richard says:

      Baylor is private, so the Texas legislature can’t help them out. I’d advocate taking TAMU as well, so that just leaves TTech. Plus, note that Houston and UTEP are also public yet there was no great cry to help them out through the Texas legislature.

      • Greg says:

        RE UTEP and Houston – I’m guessing your talking about the divorce in the old conference? So, with Baylor being private – maybe throwing in TAMU would get the deal done – or maybe it would kill it from the B10 end. Sounds like the Longhorn alums are pretty split on this (maybe because being atop the Big 12 gaurantees more championships than slugging it out with the deep B10). As a Big 10 fan, I think it would be fun, and I like the Academic angle, though TX is not exactly a “top 25″ team in that category.

      • Mike says:

        “though TX is not exactly a “top 25″ team in that category.”

        Better than half of the existing Big 10 schools, academically.

      • Brad says:

        Hell if yall want A&M, friggin take them. Just don’t complain two years later when you realize what you purchased.

    • Jon Morse says:

      Mizzou going to the Big 10 does not take away the KC market from the Big 12. Not one iota. There’s a reason people consider KU games in Kansas City to be essentially home games.

  21. tony says:

    If UT requires a rival to join, A&M is the one that will be selected. This Texas 2-step may just be the straw that breaks ND’s back and convinces them to join up. If not, Maryland, Rutgers, Pitt, or Syracuse wouldnt be bad replacements for the 14th team.

    With Texas in the mix, a 3 team expansion is about as likely as a 1 team expansion in my humble opinion.

    • Adam says:

      Personally, I don’t think a 3-team expansion works out well. A 14-team league with 2 divisions of 7 means that you’re locked into at least 6 opponents every year. If you have a guaranteed cross-division rival, that’s 7. If you play 8 league games, that means there’s only 1 opponent that changes every year. Of course, you could play 9 league games, but that is (effectively) lighting money on fire; conference games are a “zero sum” system, while non-conference games bring in more fresh revenue. This isn’t a huge problem for me, but it’s my understanding that the 9-game format has not been a big hit with the decision-makers in the Pac-10. From a “fan’s perspective,” the 9-game schedule means you’ll play 4 home/5 road (or vice-versa), an imbalance which could have an unpopular effect on the league title.

      Similar scheduling problems crop up in basketball. If you play the other 6 teams in your division twice, that’s 12 games. One game against each of the teams on the other side is 19 total games (another odd number). Of course, you could slice down to 18 games and just not play somebody, but I’d rather play 20 and have it be a complete schedule. But, extra league games are (again) a money-loser, and hurt everybody’s chances of making the NCAA Tournament (zero-sum, whereas everybody can win non-conference games).

      I really don’t think anything above 12 works.

      • Richard says:

        Big10 fans evidently want more conference games (at least that’s what they tell the ADs). If the TV money gets big enough, it’ll make up for the loss in home games (conference games will draw more TV interest than a game against a MAC team).

        2. You can structure in a way where there’s no need for a cross-division rival.

        You divide the conference in to quadrants and flip them every 2 years.

        For instance,




        TAMU (to make it work)


        You switch between an East/West division and a North/South division every 2 years.

        Play 9 games with an intradivision rival, and you’ll play every team in the conference at least half the time.

      • Adam says:

        Richard: something this complicated seems doomed to failure. The leagues with good conference title games (Big 12 and SEC) have league alignments that are both stable and logical. The league with the crappy title game (ACC) has an alignment that nobody can make any sense of. The constant shifting sands will produce BCS-like “how come it’s so complicated” complaining from fans and columnists.

      • Adam says:

        BTW: I did a Google search and was unable to find an article about this notion that Big Ten fans are clamoring for more league games. Also: is this consistent with the “think like a president” mantra? Throwing money away by playing more league games to facilitate pipe dreams about fantastical expansion scenarios?

      • Richard says:

        I got the “more league games = better” meme from someone saying he heard that’s what the Michigan AD heard from his fans. In any case, Michigan (which would definitely benefit from more non-conf games) now has publically stated that they’re in favor of a 9-game league schedule along with Illinois. The smaller schools would always favor more league games, since they don’t get much revenue from playing MAC teams anyway (while more league games means a better chance of facing OSU, UM, and other matchups where they can get better attendance. The question is whether OSU & PSU still objects, and whether they’d get outvoted.

      • Jake says:

        Richard – the WAC tried that quadrant arrangement back in its 16-team configuration. Part of the reason the WAC split up was that some of the more tenured members (BYU, Utah, CSU, NM, Wyoming, AFA) wanted to maintain their traditional rivalries instead of playing teams they’d never heard of halfway across the country in some giant, watered-down conference. If the Big Ten keeps expanding, Delany needs to make sure that the member institutions understand that they are going to lose some traditional annual rivalries. If everyone accepts that, a 14+ configuration could work.

      • Richard says:

        What the Big10 has going for it that the WAC didn’t is TV money. Giving up annual rivalries is easier if it means millions more in revenue flowing in.

      • Pat says:

        Big Ten Going to Nine Conference Games?

        Here’s a link to a Big Ten Blog from several months ago by Adam Rittenberg about the Big Ten AD’s discussing 9 conference games. I believe Indiana and Minnesota were the two Big Ten teams that Bill Martin of Michigan tried to schedule as “non-conference” games in recent years. Michigan fans want more conference home games rather than a steady diet of Delaware State, Eastern Michigan, Appalachian State, Bowling Green and UMass. Most of the fans were very disappointed when Connecticut was announced as the opponent for the re-dedication game of the expanded Michigan Stadium to be played on 9/4/10. Fans expected a “bigger fish”. I’m sure Wisconsin fans weren’t too excited about paying big bucks to see Wofford this past season. (By the way, Wofford is in Spartanburg, SC. I had to look it up on Google Maps.)

      • Pat says:

        Michigan & Minnesota tried to schedule non-conference games 2009 and 2010 in addition to 8 conference games. Couldn’t make it work.

      • HoosierMike says:

        Probably meant to say the B10 Network will capture tv market there

    • Brad says:

      Texas is not going to require any rival to join them. Why do you guys persist with this fantasy? Texas will be coming alone. They don’t give two farts about A&M or OU. You do realize the Red River Rivalry is over a hundred years old, yet the Big 12 is only 15 years old. So, let’s see… this is hard to figure out. Hmm. UT and OU were not in the same conference for decades, yet they still played annually. Geez. How did they ever pull that off without being in the same conference.

      Get this through your heads: UT is NOT going to stick their necks out for A&M or OU. If the Big Ten wants either of those other schools, that will be a separate deal. UT was more than ready to leave A&M behind before. They will not hesitate to do it again.

      • JO says:

        I like how some posts here keep acting like Texas did not think twice about leaving A&M behind in the 90′s. Of course they did – because A&M was kicking their tale during that period. get over yourselves.

      • bad bob says:

        sure… if by ‘thinking twice’ about it you mean that they thought about it once and decided to leave for the Pac10, and then they thought about it twice, and decided to leave for the Big10…

        aTm was in fact kicking their tale (sic) during that period. That is the only significant timeframe in which that happened, and it was due entirely to the fact that aTm was cheating their asses off – in fact, it took a UT lawyer to keep them from the death penalty they richly deserved. All of which is germane since that’s the main reason the SWC blew up and Texas was willing, if not eager to leave.

        There are lots of assumptions about Texas having to bring along aTm, but times are substantially different, and nobody really knows how much truth lies in that supposition. But absent any such coercion, rest assured that if Texas decides it’s in their best interests long-term to move, they’re gone…

  22. Justin says:

    IMO — you are about the first 16 team superconference that will define college sports and be the next wave of consolidation.

    The Big 10 plucks Texas, Texas A&M and Missouri, eviscerating the Big 12 in the process.

    I’ve heard the Big 10 presidents love the research endowment of Pitt (would be 4th among current Big 10 schools). Pitt also allows the Big 10 to close off Pennsylvania from the ACC and Big East.

    They add Syracuse to complete the process and give them a presence in the East Coast.

    The Big 10 becomes
    Penn State
    Ohio State
    Michigan State
    Indiana Purdue

    Texas A&M

    • Richard says:

      I like the idea of a 16-team superconference, but it would only make sense if ND was in there along with UT (if the Big10 can get both those schools by going to only 14, I doubt they’ll go to 16).

      BTW, people have been so use to small conferences that they don’t realize that superconferences have been around before. The Southern Conference (which spawned both the SEC and ACC) as well as it’s predecessor SIAA both had 14 more more members (the Southern Conference had 20+ schools for quite a while).

      Furthermore, the economics will dictate consolidation. Benefits will accrue more and more to the biggest, richest conferences.

      • Adam says:

        16 seems like it would work even less than 14. In a 16-team league, you’re playing 7 division games, which means only 1 inter-divisional game if you play an 8-game schedule. Even if you play a 9-game schedule, that’s a lot of league schools you don’t see every year.

        A 16-team league is almost entirely dependent on an amendment to NCAA rules allowing an exemption for both Conference Semifinal and Championship rounds, at which point you could break into four 4-team divisions.

      • Richard says:

        Back in the day, the SEC use to have 10 teams who played 6 league games each (and most of those were yearly rivalry games), which meant some SEC schools would face each other, well, pretty much never. Somehow, they managed.

        Heck, the Big10 use to have a 6 game conference slate.

      • Adam says:

        Yes, and once upon a time, teams in a league played whatever schedule they wanted and the league championship was awarded in a vote of the teams at the end of the season (this was the NFL’s model for some time). I don’t think how things used to be done a long time ago sets up a particularly valuable precedent now.

      • Richard says:

        The SEC played 6 league games in a 10 team league as recently as 1987. Granted, that would be before some of the readership here was born, but it’s not generations ago.

      • Jon Morse says:

        Richard, the SoCon and SIAA are bad examples, though.

        Back in those days, teams might only play two or three “conference” games. They did not have centralized scheduling. It was, simply put, precisely and exactly UNlike anything we’re used to in terms of organization.

        That said, there actually are fairly stable examples of super-conferences on the D-II and NAIA level which are organized in a manner to which we modern fans are accustomed. The Lone Star and West Virginia circuits have at times run with as many as 17 members, and the American Mideast conference had 16 before it blew up when a bunch of schools decided to try to get into the NCAA a couple of years ago.

    • FightnTXAggie02 says:

      I would love to see a big superconference like this. This would cause other conferences to be forced to expand like the SEC.

      But yes whatever happens, if Texas A&M is not included in the deal then the TX legislative will force the issue and deal.

      But I can assure you TX A&M and TX will go to the Big Ten as part of the overall deal…even if the TX Alumni does not think so. Life is all about politics and money my friends. Politics always has to be included as part of the overall equation.

      A little inside scope for you – The Board of Regents for Texas and Texas A&M are all good friends with each other. In addition, most of them are friends with the TX Governor and Lt. Governor as well as the certain folks in the legislative…As big as TX is, its a “small town” setting when it comes to state politics. So the deal will go down with the both schools being included.

  23. Tom says:

    I have actually pitched that very idea to a few friends just for fun, (a sixteen team conference comprised of four 4 team divisions.) It works very well in terms of schools getting to play every other school with frequency. Three games against your division, then two games with each of the other three divisions, resulting in a 9 game conference schedule. Every school plays every other school twice every 4 years. The four division winners square off in the “Final Four,” with the winners facing off in the title game. As a Michigan fan, the only drawback would be a severe dilution of the importance of Michigan – OSU, as it would only be a prequel to the Big Ten final four. Is there a specific NCAA rule that prohibits this?

    Even if there was no rule preventing it, its hard to see the revenue for each school increasing enough to warrant such a move when you are going to be dividing up everything among 16 as opposed to the current 11, or the proposed 12 or 14. The only way to do it would be to bring in major power programs, meaning Texas, TAMU, along with Notre Dame, Oklahoma, and possibly Miami.

    Obviously, Oklahoma wouldn’t qualify academically, and Miami seems to be set in the financially stable ACC, so then you’re probably looking at the usual suspects from the Big East and maybe Missouri or Nebraska to fill in the remaining spots, and I don’t think any of these schools would bring enough to the table.

    Furthermore, I don’t see the league rushing to 16 teams right away. Maybe over time, 16 would become a possibility, (if the Big Ten goes to 14, the SEC would inevitably go to 14 and then it would only be a matter of time before all the major leagues are at 14 and then someone will be the first to 16,) but I imagine the league would like to see how things would work with 12 or even 14 first.

    Anyway it is definitely interesting to speculate. If the Big Ten could land Texas without having to take A&M I think they would do it in a heartbeat. I still think the Longhorns would be loathe to join without the Aggies, so then you are looking at who becomes that 14th school.

    • Adam says:

      NCAA rules limit teams to a 12-game schedule. There is a list of exceptions to the 12-game limit, which is Rule Examples include a “Spring Game,” a bowl game, etc. One of those exceptions ( provides (and I’m paraphrasing here, I don’t have my copy of the Division I Manual in front of me) that a league with a minimum of 12 members can break into divisions which play “round-robin, regular season” schedules (or something like that), and the champions of those divisions can meet in a conference championship game that does not count against the 12-game limit. Including an exempt semifinal round would require that exemption to be totally re-written by the NCAA.

    • HoosierMike says:

      While I agree that dividing into two divisions is a necessity (and more than two won’t work as you can’t have a conference playoff) why the assumption that you have to play your entire division each year? Can’t you take the team with the best record as division winner with tiebreakers to follow (head2head, highest BCS ranking, pts scored, etc). Seems like this would allow for more variability in scheduling.

      • NCAA rules state that you need to play a round robin within each division in order to play an “exempt” championship game (meaning that championship game won’t count against the 12-game schedule limit). Theoretically, each conference team could agree to play only 11 games and then leave the last week of the year open to play a non-exempt championship game, but the loss of a regular season game would be a complete non-starter financially for each school.

        I’d love to see the NCAA rule changed where you don’t need to split into divisions in order to play an exempt championship game, though. There would be much better and more meaningful matchups if you could just pit the top 2 teams in the conference against each other without regard to any divisions.

      • Adam says:

        Frank, I’m glad you got to the round-robin rule before I responded. I think it’s worth exploring how the MAC went about getting their limited exception. This past season, they did not play a true round robin in the East Division, because of the unbalanced alignment (6 in the West, 7 in the East). In particular, Temple did not play Bowling Green and Akron did not play Miami (OH). I am assuming they got some kind of rules interpretation or other permission from the NCAA, because that is technically in violation of the requirement of round-robin play.

        • Hmmm… this might be an exception to be exploited if the Big Ten halts at 13 schools. If the schools want to keep an 8-game conference schedule (and I think that Texas, if it’s part of the mix, will insist upon it because it will need to schedule Oklahoma in the non-conference schedule at the very least), then you can still split into divisions with a less than a round-robin schedule and keep a regular rotation with the other division while still having a conference championship game. Maybe have one school switch divisions every 2 or 4 years?

          • Adam says:

            I tried contacting the NCAA to find out what was going on with the MAC, whether there was some kind of formal rules interpretation or what, but all the e-mail contacts I could find on their website professed ignorance of the subject or insisted they were just clerical types. I suspect that if a higher-profile conference tried it, there would be some push-back. If the Big 12 UT-TTU-OU controversy from a few years ago didn’t induce the NCAA to change the “2 divisions” rule, I’m not sure what could.

  24. Tom says:

    Also, to further clarify the Texas being loathe to jump without A&M sentiment, imagine Michigan jumping to a hypothetical ACC that could offer the Wolverines increased revenue over the Big Ten. Sure, Michigan is free to do what they please, but considering that they would want to keep Ohio State and Notre Dame as non-conference games, (as these rivalries are 1 and 2 for most Michigan fans,) the Michigan State game would likely go by the wayside, and despite the overall dominance by Michigan, the rivalry is still very important to both sides.

    • Brad says:

      Texas is not bringing A&M with them. Or OU. I promise you.

      • Nostrildamus says:

        Either UT brings little brother aTm or the Big Can’t Count Conference doesn’t get UT. You can’t separate Wally and the Beav. Since the Big Ten (sic) is likely to go to 9 conference games no matter what, UT doesn’t want its non-conf. schedule limited to 1 game of flexibility. OU and aTm will always be annual rival games, if for no other reason than alumni, political, and cash cow reasons.

        Leaving as a duo will be enough to navigate the choppy legislative waters in state (though some of the political angles have been overblown, the Lt. Gov. and Gov. are no longer Baylor/TTech wanks.) With Colorado also almost guaranteed to bolt (regardless of what UT does) the Ags don’t want to be stuck in the Big Dwindling Dust Bowl Conference. Paradoxically, the Ags leaving with Texas actually makes legislative approval easier, because the 3 openings allow a chance for TCU and maybe Houston or SMU a shot at moving up to a BCS conference to fill that void. Now if the SEC expands and the Big Least takes more than Mizzou then that might not work, but I think the SEC stands pat for now if the Big Ten (sic) only goes to 14 teams. If Notre Dame turns them down then MD becomes the 14th and the conference waits for a final chance to go after ND at 16.

        At 14 that still gives Mizzou hope that they’ll could be taken in the next expansion wave and the Big Least isn’t really an upgrade, so ultimately that only leaves 3 holes to fill in the de facto Big Eight. BYU suitably replaces CO, since while Utah is a slightly smaller market than Colorado, it is sort of a Notre Dame-lite for Mormons. TCU obviously can’t come close to replacing UT and aTm, but at the moment they do have a fairly high and rising profile and reputation in football and the rankings, would keep a game in the core of Texas for the recruiting pipelines, and maintain some presence in the TV and political anchor state of Texas. So then they only need 1 more, either the similar trendy Boise State or perhaps UHouston for political and TV market reasons (though Cougar High has always underperformed in those areas, the perennial ‘Next Big Thing’ that never becomes a big dog, just remains a constantly yapping Chihuahua.) IMHO Boise would be the logical choice, since the conference’s best option is to market itself as the home to the most Top 25 teams.

        In the end, the de facto Big Eight will grumble and explore options but pretty much stay put by adding BYU, Boise, and TCU. They may be monetary runts, but they’ll still have their BCS AQ and where else are they gonna go? Relative beggars can’t be choosers, They should be thankful for getting 2 decades out of anchor UT. But too often they acted like entitlement mentality welfare leeches, bashing the ‘evil rich guy’ while relying on UT to monetarily enrich the conference. Not changing the tiebreaker rule and having 3 conferences coaches conspire to vote UT artificially low in the BCS-relevant poll may have satisfied their petty and jealous instincts, but it was a Pyrrhic victory. Now that he has the chance, Atlas is gonna shrug.

        Enjoy your Dust Bowl Conference.

      • Kyle says:

        as valuable as internet promises are, I think it’s the Texas state legislature that would force the issue with A&M, not the administration in Austin.

      • Richard says:

        I agree mostly. If UT & TAMU go AND ND declines, then the Big10 will pull in Rutgers/Maryland/Mizzou/Pitt. If the Pac10 expands, they’ll take Colorado and Utah. The Big12 would still want 12 teams, so I believe they’ll take BYU, TCU, and Houston. With 4 Texas teams, they can still claim to have part of the Texas market, and Boise St. is too far away with too little local support to edge out BYU, TCU, or Houston for a BCS conference spot.

        Of course, if the Big10 takes Mizzou as the 14th team, the Big12 will be left to choose between Boise or Colorado St.

  25. Todd says:

    As a ‘Horns fan from back in the SWC days, I can tell you there are only 2 rivalries… OU and A&M. It would be great for our strength of schedule if those were out of conference, but the statehouse might make it very difficult for us to go to the Big10 without A&M. That said, two Texas schools joining the Big10 might be just the thing to bring ND around, bringing their national (and more importantly, their east coast) tv fanbase with them… And that makes a Big14…

  26. Brad says:

    The legislature just might force UT to take A&M with them, but it won’t be by UT’s doing. They couldn’t care less about what the aggys do. If the legislature forces A&M into the discussion, will the Big Ten back off?

    • Richard says:

      Doubtful. Texas is just too big a prize. Even if the 14th team is a Rutgers, Maryland, or Mizzou, the economics would still make sense. If the 14th team is ND, then it’s a no-brainer.

  27. [...] yesterdays events occured], you’ve probably seen various reports that the Big Televen is courting Texas rather hard. If not, your tubes may be plugged, impeding your progress to the blagosphere. People [...]

  28. gk says:

    just read an article that pac-10 looking to start its own tv network for the 2011-2012 season. if so, then a case can be made that pac-10 teams will have revenue similar to that of BTN, or perhaps more in the longrun.

    i think geographically, pac-10 is more appealing to UT and all else being the same with whatever big ten can offer, my bet is that pac-10 snatches up UT and CU. and it goes through because conference expansion landscape is different now and they get the unanimous votes necessary.

    and big ten stays as is, unless ND has a change of heart.

  29. Cuse says:

    This was just published.

    Makes sense, to me. I figured there wouldn’t be any contact until the basketball season ended, at the earliest.

  30. Brian says:

    I think you can kill a rivalry like A&M for the new rivalry that has already got some roots. The last few years Ohio State and Texas have played 3 awesome games. This rivalry would be awesome, and Geography doesn’t matter. A team doesn’t have to share a border or lie in the same state to be a rival. Notre Dame and USC is a pretty good rivalry. Florida and LSU have become quite strong rivals as well even though part of Florida is pretty close to Louisiana but it’s still valid. Other pretty good rivalries have popped up along the way Va Tech and Miami Florida is a pretty good game too. The scope of a rivalry between 2 schools of this size would far eclipse that of the UT/AM rivalry.

  31. Nostrildamus says:

    Did a quick look at the numbers and basically the increased travel time away from class is pretty small. For football we are talking about UT moving from roughly 2 to 3 1-hour flights and 1 to 2 2-hour flights per season to 4 2-hour flights per season. No big deal, this ain’t like the Jets or Dolphins doing the west coast tour. A bit tougher for sports like volleyball or basketball, but manageable. The furthest school is Penn State at 1330 miles and a 2.5-hour flight, but the schools in UT’s likely division are 850-1040 miles away, all under 2 hours.

    In contrast the Pac 10 has 5 schools 3 or more hours away from Austin and the 2 LA schools at 2.5 hours. Add in the 2-hour time differences and those trips may be a bit much.

  32. M says:

    Apparently Delaney denied everything today. I guess we get to say “You lie!” to him.

  33. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by frankthetank111: My blog reaction to the newspaper report that the Big Ten is speaking with Texas:

  34. [...] Big Ten is Talking with Texas The Lawrence Journal-World and News is reporting that the Big Ten has entered into preliminary discussions with the [...] [...]

  35. Tom says:

    Just wondering if the Big Ten would ever consider Oklahoma?

    Now, I know that the Sooners have a penchant for cheating and that the university is not that highly regarded and is not a member of the AAU. However, one would think that Big Ten membership would eventually drive the University of Oklahoma up in the rankings and over time, AAU membership would become a possibility. (Maybe I’m not too knowledgable about how the AAU works. I know that it requires 75% of its members to approve any prospective member.)

    I only ask because Missouri is frequently mentioned as the most logical choice yet is tied with Oklahoma at #102 according to US News and World report. Maybe Missouri has more highly ranked graduate programs that separates it from Oklahoma, but to me they seem very similar. Now, Oklahoma does not bring in a large TV market, but Oklahoma City and Tulsa are mid sized markets. Plus, Oklahoma is a top 10 program not only historically but currently. You throw in Oklahoma along with Texas, and then you are setting up some big time marquee matchups on a weekly basis. Oklahoma – Iowa, Texas – Wisconsin, Oklahoma – Michigan, Texas – Penn State, etc.

    The only reason I ask, is because it seems that the number one concern among Texas fans is whether a move to the Big Ten would disrupt the Red River Shootout. Naturally, it wouldn’t, as it would continue as an OOC game like it did for almost 90 years prior to the formation of the Big 12.

    But, I would argue that ever since the two became conference mates, the series has become even more intense and is now up there with Michigan – Ohio State in terms of the most prestigious and important college football rivalry. (With the way Michigan has been playing the past 3 years, the RRS may have surpassed it.) In 14 Big 12 title games, Oklahoma and Texas have combined to play in 12 of them, and since 2000, the winner of the RRS game is almost always in the MNC mix. The stakes couldn’t be higher than they are right now. A move by Texas to the Big 10 could over time affect this rivalry.

    Remember, Oklahoma – Nebraska was once not only the premier rivalry in the Big 8 / Big 12, but it was in the top 3 nationally in terms of tradition and history, and we all know how that turned out. I could envision a scenario where Ohio State from the hypothetical Big 10 East, and Texas from the Big 10 West, all of sudden start meeting in multiple Big 10 championships and over time, this starts developing as a bigger rivalry, as it would determine the B10 title and who would emerge as the BCS entry or MNC entry. OU-Texas would still go on, but there is a possibility that it would no longer maintain the huge implications that it does currently.

    • Richard says:

      Mizzou is stronger in research than Oklahoma (and they’re already lower than most Big10 schools). Oklahoma is significantly lower than all current Big10 schools.

      Missouri also has nearly double Oklahoma’s population.

      Remember that the Big10 is considering expansion for 2 reasons:
      1. To get more viewers of the BTN per school.
      2. To increase sources of research funding.

  36. Tom says:

    I realize OU wouldn’t get a look as just a 12th addition, but I was thinking as a part of a move to 14 teams.

    I think its pretty clear that A&M may have to come as a package with UT because the Longhorns would want to continue playing both OU and A&M (more so because of the state legislature than UT.) This would be feasible if UT came along solo, but it would handicap UT’s ability to schedule a marquee Pac 10 or ACC team if it so desired. Therefore, most people seem to think that bringing A&M would alleviate that issue, as A&M makes the grade academically but OU does not.

    But as I hypothesized above, even if A&M came along, the UT-OU rivalry could eventually lose some luster. So, in order to prevent that, what if UT tells the Big Ten that it wants OU to come along as a package deal instead of A&M. (Surprisingly, from what I gather, most UT fans could care less about A&M, and playing this game as a non-conference game would not in any way lessen the rivalry.)

    In this scenario, would the Big Ten then agree to take OU? Assuming the 14th team would be Missouri, and believe it or not, all Big Ten states would be contiguous (not that it matters.)

    I’m just curious, because a league with the Big Ten traditional heavyweights along with the Big 12 heavyweights would be downright nasty, truly rivaling what the SEC has.

    • Richard says:

      It’s not what the fans care about, but what the people who actually have power to facilitate or block expansion care about, and those people are (besides the UT administration)
      1. Texas politicians
      2. Big10 presidents

      Group 1 would want to include TAMU (and could care less about the fate of Oklahoma).
      Group 2 doesn’t want to include Oklahoma (and would find TAMU acceptable).
      As for the UT administration, they’re going to care about what’s best for UT, and the “luster” of the OK-UT game is behind a bevy of other things on their list of concerns.

      So no, I don’t find a scenario where Oklahoma ends up in the Big10 with Texas a likely one, even though it would make us fans salivate.

  37. eapg says:

    While the money may be better, Texas will never cede the power they currently enjoy. They run the Big 12 with an iron fist, a luxury they won’t have elsewhere.

    I’d be interested in seeing an analysis of the Big Ten going to fourteen by skimming the cream off the top of the Big 12 North, Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska. Adding Kansas would be huge in basketball, and I think Nebraska is undervalued as far as what they bring in football (and non-revenue sports), if you consider putting butts in the seats of the Big Ten’s weaker sisters. Nebraska fans travel, just ask Notre Dame. A Big Ten West would make tons of sense for the a Nebraska fan in the gravitational centers of Omaha and Lincoln. Chicago is just as close geographically as the west end of the state. Missouri brings some value in both major sports and has always been seen as the natural fit.

    At any rate, what are the thoughts on this, once the Texas flirtation ends as it will when the pre-nuptial terms are discussed, and the chances of penetrating the New York market with any college team are accurately surveyed?

    • Jon Morse says:

      I don’t see that happening at all. Never mind the Big 10′s potential desire to do it, but Kansas going would involve the same political problems as Texas — with the added problem of K-State actually tending to hold more political sway in the legislature than KU.

      But, playing along with you and accepting your premise that Texas isn’t going anywhere, if it did happen it would almost be like the Big 12 holding A-K suited with Q-J-10 on the board, and an opponent going all-in. They’d still have a solid foothold in Kansas City and throughout the state of Kansas, meaning Nebraska and St. Louis are the only losses; they could just hit the reload button at that point, grabbing BYU, Utah, and New Mexico, which might even over-compensate for that lossage. While none of those schools possess the oomph of Kansas in basketball or Nebraska in football individually, combined they make up for the losses in terms of competition.

      And if Colorado bolts to the Pac 10, too… you can just go grab Colorado State or Air Force. (Remember, it doesn’t matter that CU is king in Colorado so long as the cable companies think it’s important enough to carry Big 12 product. The cable companies do not care that CU is more popular so long as the demand from CSU and USAFA fans is strong enough.) If Utah actually splits from BYU and goes to the Pac 10 with Colorado instead, well, heck, grab UNLV or Boise or the other Colorado school. Just not Wyoming, because nobody wants to see those brown uniforms every year and they only add about 400 television sets.

      In short, I think any scenario wherein the Big 12 loses teams which are not Texas actually turns into a win for the Big 12, regardless of whether it’s a good or bad result for the Big 10.

      • eapg says:

        First, the Denver Broncos are king on the Front Range. College football is only important in relation to how often it provides a winner. CU can’t fill their stadium for more than two or so games a year, and they struggle to do that in down years. I would agree that they’re no great loss (or gain) to a conference, other than whatever TV ratings they pull from their small amount of loyal fans who will watch through thick or thin. There are simply to many other sports outlets and recreational opportunities in Colorado for most potential viewers to endure bad teams.

        Air Force/New Mexico/BYU are of equal value to Missouri/Kansas/Nebraska? On what planet? You also presume that the Texas gravitional pull holds the South together if 75% of the North (if CU goes Pac 10) bolts. I wouldn’t be so sure the SEC wouldn’t come and grab some South plums. The overtures between Texas and the Big Ten send a loud and clear message to the entire Big 12 that it’s time to look out for themselves.

    • Paul says:

      This is an interesting scenario. Putting Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska into a Western Division with Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois would make for a very competitive division with a chance to build some great rivalries, and it wouldn’t expand the conference footprint too much. Nebraska football and Kansas basketball bring national brand names that would help sell the Big Ten Network across the country.

      That said, my gut feeling is the Big Ten would like to take at least one eastern school. Therefore, it would be Nebraska, Missouri and either Pitt/Syracuse/Rutgers. I think Pitt would be the best fit because they would have fierce rivalries with Penn State and Ohio State that would attract national attention.

      • Richard says:

        There’s no way the Big10 takes 3 schools that are all at or below the Big10 average in both population and research.
        Again, think like a university president. Why are they entertaining expansion again?

        How exactly is limiting the expansion of the conference footprint (while diluting the per-school take of cable & research money) a _good_ thing?

      • eapg says:

        They’re entertaining athletic league expansion because they’re not on TV at the end of the football season. They could reinstall D1 football at the University of Chicago for Northwestern to beat on, or find some other creampuff if it were only about adding a team who meets the academic requirements and nothing else. It’s also about athletic relevance, and adding quality to a league which has been steadily diminishing in that department has to be part of the equation. UNL, by the way, isn’t as low on the academic research scale as you might assume.

      • Richard says:

        Uh, no, that’s not the reason. If they just want a 12th team to form a championship game, they could have added one of Rutgers/Syracuse/Pitt/Missouri over a decade ago (or hell, Cincy, Louisville, or WVA if they didn’t care about academics).

        However, they haven’t, because they will expand for 2 main reasons:
        1. To expand the BTN subscriber base to such a great extent that the per school take of TV money increases (adding any combination of Nebraska/Missouri/Kansas just by themselves would either be a wash, or be detrimental).
        2. To increase new sources of research funding.

    • Jon Morse says:

      @eapg: Replacement of lost television sets. I already explained this quite clearly.

      You and so many others Do Not Understand. Ratings are meaningless. Viewers are meaningless. Popularity is meaningless. The only thing that matters in that regard at all is whether there are enough viewers to compel the local provider to carry the content. Period. Because that’s where the rights holder actually makes the money — on cable subscribers.

      Which is why losing Kansas, for example, has zero television impact on the Big 12, because no provider in Kansas is going to ignore the Big 12 while Kansas State is still there. Losing Missouri does cost the Big 12 — except it does not cost them the Kansas City market. So, you trade off Nebraska and part of Missouri for Utah and New Mexico, and right now — never mind the future, which is relevant since Utah and New Mexico are among the fastest-growing states in the union — it’s already close to a wash.

      Utah/BYU/New Mexico is the preferred replacement plan, because those three schools together utterly replace the loss of KU/MU/NU in both basketball and football. New Mexico’s kinda blah in football, but let’s be honest: so is Kansas, historically. Utah and BYU are both substantially better than Missouri historically, making up for the loss of the Huskers. There is no replacing Kansas in basketball, but all three western programs are historically better than Missouri and I really don’t think we even need to insult anyone’s intelligence by claiming that losing Nebraska in basketball is anything but a plus.

      Which leads us to your second paragraph, which I’ll shoot down by pointing out something which has been pointed out repeatedly in these posts: the SEC isn’t expanding anytime in the next two decades, because they’re locked into a very long-term television deal. Expansion would cost each school in the conference millions per year as a result of dividing the pie further. More to the point, it was your own premise to which I was holding: that Texas wasn’t going anywhere. Remember? Now you want to shoot down your own argument as to why Texas won’t go to the Big 10 by arguing they’ll go to the SEC?

      • eapg says:

        No, I’m not arguing that Texas would go to the SEC. They wouldn’t run the show and they would quickly find themselves among the pack competitively. If the Big 12 conference implodes, the SEC and OSU/OU would seem to be a place for two programs who aren’t going to be relegated to irrelevance, no matter what high notions Texas holds of themselves comparatively.

        I’m more of the opinion that this entire dog and pony show is for the benefit of the Big Ten, in order to bring pressure upon Notre Dame to come into the fold, a venture in which Texas was happy to cooperate in order to quell dissension in what they consider their outer provinces. All Notre Dame has to do is pick up the phone and the Big Ten has all they need, Texas can go suck an egg. If Notre Dame doesn’t budge, then all bets are off, but for all of the Texas posturing, let’s just say I have a hard time believing they’ll give up power and the competitive advantages they’ve worked so hard to maintain in the Big 12. Texas likes a stacked deck, and touring the Rust Belt in the fall and early winter is far from that. If they do go, I’d think they’d much prefer the scenario on the Barking Carnival link someone else provided, where the Big Ten goes to sixteen with Texas bringing A&M, Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska with them to a Western Division they can attempt to run like they have the Big 12.

    • Richard says:

      If Texas ran the Big12 with an iron fist, UT fans wouldn’t be so pissed off about how their fellow conference members screwed them out of a championship game appearance 2 years ago.

  38. 78Lion says:

    Frank, Delaney has subsequently denied that story and denied having conversations with any school as of yet.

    I don’t trust him any more than any politician but take it for what it’s worth.

  39. Adam says:

    There are two things I’d like more information on.

    1. Can anybody quantify or provide more insight into exactly what the CIC provides? Does any other conference have any programming or institutions that are at all analogous to it? The CIC seems to get thrown out authoritatively in these expansion discussions as a sort of mysterious limiting agent. “Well, [Cincinnati, West Virginia, Oklahoma, etc.] isn’t realistic, don’t forget that they need to be able to contribute to the CIC.” And it’s some vague mish-mash of their U.S. News ranking, the quality of their “graduate programs,” and whether they’re a member of the AAU. But as we’ve seen, authoritative comments based on conventional wisdom are generally wrong: Texas’ “ownership” of the Big 12 isn’t worth a hill of beans, the Big Ten’s financial picture is astonishingly strong, etc. Can anyone provide more concrete information about what the CIC’s role will be in all of this?

    2. In much the same way, the “Texas Legislature” seems like it gets thrown out there as an explanation for all kinds of things. Can we substantiate this with, you know, details? Apparently it was involved, somehow, when the SWC broke up. But how, exactly? Can anybody substantiate their generalizations about what the Texas Legislature would or would not do with information about real legislators and interest groups as they relate to the actual political dynamics in Texas? This means more than just where a person went to school. Let me give you an example: I live in Michigan, and the major state universities enjoy a degree of institutional autonomy under the state constitution. Efforts to boss around their decision-making via the purse strings are not especially consistent with local political culture: for example, the University of Michigan was substantially more liberal than the State Legislature for most of the last, oh, 15-20 years, but there has been no serious effort at reining it in via the budget. Similarly, many of the school’s flagship programs show little (or at least, insufficient in the eyes of the critic) favoritism toward in-state students (e.g., the law and medical schools), but while people sometimes complain about this, again, there has been little serious effort at influencing them to change. What can we substantiate about the legal and practical limits of the Legislature’s influence over the school?

    • Jon Morse says:


      The following article is a good explanation of how the state government forced Texas — who, in the moment, was on the verge of joining the Big 8 all by themselves — to insist on the Big 8 also accepting Tech and Baylor, as well as coercing A&M into going along as well rather than pursuing their attempt to join the SEC.

      In short, it has to do with the government being able to approve or disapprove funding requests.

      • Adam says:

        Thank you, although this does nothing to make me want Texas in the Big Ten. The league would be well advised to steer completely clear of an institution enmeshed in this sort of political culture.

        Can anybody provide thoughts or context on whether this sort of thing is in position to be repeated now? 16 years is a long time. College sports is an almost entirely different beast than it was then. The piece says the Big 8 wanted to play a 9-game league schedule, back when it was only an 11-game schedule. Nowadays, it’s hard to make the argument for a 9-game league schedule when everybody can schedule 12 games.

    • Jacob says:

      Here’s another article on the (at the time) imminent demise of the SWC:

    • Richard says:

      Well, I’m certainly murky about how much the CIC provides (and thus how much of a consideration research is to Big10 expansion), but we can say,
      1. Research (and the CIC) matters to some degree, because all Big10 sources have stated academic fit as a requirement (and someone who works at a Big10 school gave “expanding research funding sources” as major impetus for expansion.
      2. No other conference (that I’m aware of) has anything similiar to the CIC. Thus, while the Pac10 boasts some academic powerhouses, they had no qualms about admitting ASU in the ’70′s, because Stanford, Cal and UCLA didn’t have to share any of their academic resources with ASU.

  40. Lawrence804 says:

    Here is an excellent, sophisticated analysis of the situation from the smart UT fansite Barking Carnival.

    • Richard says:

      That’s some great analysis. The only quibble is that I’d include Colorado instead of Kansas.





      Switch divisions between West+North vs. East+Central and West+Central vs. East + North with East always playing West in interdivision and North always playing Central in interdivision. No traditional rivaliries will be broken up, UT & Nebraska will always be in a different division from PSU/OSU/Mich, and all schools will play everyone else at least half the time still.

      The Big10/CIC would include every serious research university between the coasts (and PSU on the East Coast).

      Nebraska would be a drag-population-wise (though their regional appeal may make up for some of it), and neither Nebaska or Mizzou are really up to Big 10 standards yet in research, but for political purposes, you’d need to include some Great Plains schools, and those are the best 2 on the Plains. In terms of research funding, you’d definitely get any company between the Rockies and Appalachians & outside the southeast to think first of collaborating with a Big10/CIC school on research.

      • Tom says:

        I actually really think that 16 teams could work, but you would have to drop Nebraska and Kansas from consideration:

        Penn State
        Rutgers / Maryland

        Michigan State
        Ohio State


        Texas A&M

        I’m focusing only on schools that are 50% or more inclined to make a move, meaning I’m not going to hypothesize about Miami or Virginia Tech, or even Notre Dame. I think the above schools are for the most part willing to consider a move and I think this configuration could end up proving to be a financial boon for all involved.

        All of the premier rivalries are preserved except Purdue – Indiana. This is a historic rivalry, but more so on the hardwood, and the moment that IU decided to get into the business of selling home games is the moment they lose all say in matters (in my opinion.) You can’t split up Michigan / MSU / OSU, so I decided to put Purdue, who has a stronger football tradition than IU, out into the EAST to beef up that division slightly.

        Basically, if you are Michigan, you end up playing 9 conference games. 3 against the CENTRAL, then 2 against the EAST, 2 against the NORTH, and 2 against the WEST. In two years, you play the other halves of the divisions. This way you play everyone twice every 4 years. If you just made two 8 team divisions, you wouldn’t play everyone until every 8 years.

        Now, the only way this could actually work, would be if the league got an exemption to stage a semi final featuring the division winners, followed by a final. I’m also not sure how this would work if there was a playoff system as opposed to the BCS, because the Big Ten champion would be at a disadvantage having to play another game compared to a school from a 12 team ACC wouldn’t have to play the additional game.

        In terms of markets, as Frank has shown, ‘Cuse basketball may entice NYC viewers more than football would and Rutgers would at the very least give the league New Jersey. Either way, NYC, the largest media market in the nation, would effectively be surrounded by the Big Ten.

        I also threw in Maryland instead of Rutgers as it presents an option as well. Maryland is a decent sized state population wise, but it also sits on the border of Virginia, and northern VA is very much DC / Maryland, so the potential of making inroads into VA exists as well. But, UMD has been a ACC member for a long time and has a lot of history and tradition there so I would put the chances of the Terps moving at less than 50%.

        When you add up Missouri, Texas, New Jersey, and New York, this is an increase of roughly 32,000,000 million potential viewers, giving the league an audience of around 120,000,000 potential viewers. Around 1/3 of the United States. That is some big time, potential TV revenue.

        Again, this all depends on whether the league can stage that Big Ten semi final. If you can’t do it, then I think 14 may be the max, only because of scheduling issues. Playing every school relatively frequently is extremely important, otherwise there isn’t the chance to develop any new rivalries.

      • Tom says:

        My numbers are actually off, the 32,000,000 should be 56,000,000, (forgot to count Texas.)

      • Richard says:

        Indiana and Purdue will still demand to play annually against each other, regardless of how bad they are or how many home games they sell (or they will veto the expansion plan). BTW, you can get around the need for semifinals by rotating quandrants to form divisions. You’ll have to switch Syracuse with Indiana (it’s not like they’ll complain).
        Also, Northwestern-Illinois is a traditional rivalry as well, though one both sides are more willing to give up than Indiana-Purdue.

      • Tom says:

        How would the quad setup work without semi-finals? Top two teams face off for the championship? It seems like it could cause some nightmarish tiebreaker scenarios.

      • Richard says:

        Rotate the quadrants every 2 years.

        So for the first 2 years, the EAST division will be formed from the East & Central quads while the WEST division will be formed from the North and West quads.

        The next 2 years, the NORTH division will be formed from the North and Central quads, while the SOUTH division will be formed from the East & West quads.

        Each school will play 9 conference games (7 divisional, 2 interdivisional) where the interdivisional games are always East quad vs. West quad and North quad vs. Central quad.

        Every team still plays every other team at least half the time, the main rivalries (that people care to preserve) are preserved, UT & TAMU are always in the opposite division of UM & OSU, while PSU is always in a different division than Iowa & Wisconsin.

        In any case, I don’t see the Big10 choosing Syracuse over either Rutgers or Maryland. Both of the latter contribute more to research, and while ‘Cuse is in a more populous state, they don’t command more loyalties than either Rutgers or Maryland.

      • Richard says:

        Whoops, I screwed up the interdivisional games. They would always be East vs. North and West vs. Central in your set up.

  41. mgmlion says:

    If the Big Ten expands (especially if its Texas), the restriction of only two teams from any one conference getting a BCS bid may become more troublesome for the conference. Already this year, Penn State was closed out of a potential BCS game. If Texas joins, then it will get even more crowded and difficult to get a BCS bid. Any chance they will alter the 2 per conference rule?

    • Stopping By says:

      I think that rule can be changed as soon as they add the Cotton Bowl as an additional BCS game (which I can only imagine they will be at some point in the near future)

  42. Karateka says:

    I think the Big 12 really needs to get rid of Baylor, Iowa state, and Kansas State. Keeping these teams was a big mistake in the formation of the conference, and has led to the unstable situation today. Even though Baylor has had bunches of BCS money, they still have not shown any improvement on the field. As the Big East showed with Temple, addition by subtraction works.

  43. Justin says:

    IMO, the PAC 10 seems to have an accelerated timetable. I look for Colorado to be the first domino to floor. Its all precursor to the Big 10′s decision.

    The SEC may preemptively strike, however. The SEC, if it feels the Big 10 is primed to take Texas, may offer A&M and OU. If SEC wants to get a foothold in Texas, they will need to move quickly — before the Big 10 makes its dcision. A&M won’t leave the Big 10 once they are entrenched.

    I could see the SEC adding A&M and OU. That sets the stage for the SEC’s own network at some point. Plus, it would sort of isolate Texas in their new conference.

    The Big 10 probably wouldn’t mind this scenario — they could either stay with 12, or add two new markets.

    • Richard says:

      Unless there’s a clause in the SEC TV contract that increases the amount if they expand, each SEC school would have to give up about 2.5M each year in TV money to take in 2 new members. Even if they start their own network, the Big10 schools got virtually no TV money from the BTN part of their TV contracts the first year the BTN launched (the BTN barely broke even the first year, even though programming was essentially free), and I expect the same if the SEC ever launches their own cable network.

      Not saying that the SEC won’t expand anyway, but the risks are greater and the rewards are farther out in the future, given their current situation. It would definitely take more guts.

  44. Jeepers says:

    I think it’s a mistake if the Big Ten expands only south (UT, A&M, OU). I hate long distance teams (like Miami in the Big East), but I think that’s a necessary move in this day and age. I’d rather they get UT and steal some other bug name, like the USC/UCLA rumors. But raiding the Pac 10, when the Big Ten and P10 have such a history seems foolish.

    Anyway, if the B10 truly wants to be a national conference, they need to expand in multiple directions. And ignoring the east is a bad move in my opinion. This is the only reason I can see going to 16 teams as a good idea. They could expand in different directions much easier that way.

    Love all this expansion talk. I personally think our discussions will have some impact on what happens in the end. I’m sure the presidents are listening to what the public’s opinion is. As long as my Cuse come out all right I’ll be happy.

  45. Justin says:

    I think the Big 10, if it expands beyond 12 teams, should make the move for 16 teams. I don’t see any difference between 14 or 16 teams, and in fact, at 16 teams you can create a true national conference.

    However, it only makes sense to expand to sixteen if you raze both the Big 12 and the Big East.

    Ideally, I would love if A&M and OU bolted for the SEC, and we could take just Texas. I would prefer Texas, Nebraska and Missouri from the Big 12 — but I figure Texas A&M comes along, and then its Missouri vs. Nebraska. It seems Missouri has the leg up.

    We grab two schools out of the east. It seems the Big 10 presidents love Pitt. So Pitt is it for one spot. Besides, if we’re giving Texas their biggest in-state rival, we need to do the same for PSU.

    If Maryland isn’t interested, then its a Rutgers vs. Cuse battle.

    If we go with Cuse, we then have Cuse lacrosse and Texas baseball to televise in the spring. We’ve also the markets of Dallas, Houston, SA, Austin, St. Louis, Kansas City and Buffalo under this plan, and have made a play into NY. IMO, I tend to think it would be Rutgers.

    Here is the conference

    Michigan State
    Penn State
    Ohio State

    Texas A&M

  46. [...] Lawrence Journal-World et Nouvelles rapporte que la Big Ten a entamé des discussions préliminaires avec l'Université du Texas. (H / T à Josh pour l'envoi dans le lien.) S'il vous plaît noter qu'il s'agit d'un article de journal réelle par opposition à une insuffisance de certains aliments sur Twitter Bleacher Report. Peut-être le Big Ten Expansion [. . . ] URL article original: [...]

  47. Emmet Ryan says:

    Frank, I just have to say that you’ve done an exceptional job covering and analysing the potential Big 10 expansion but I have one question, which I’ll get to shortly.

    I had just finished reading the Expansion Index earlier when I went out to meet a friend for coffee and I wondered “Hmm what if adding Texas made Notre Dame and Syracuse react and try to make it the Big 14″.

    I came home to catch up on your other posts and lo and behold you’d given a great explanation as to why 14 wouldn’t work.

    Then it hit me, whatever about Notre Dame. The question is this: Given it’s potential value, why has Syracuse not made moves since he ACC/Big East realignment to ensure it gets more funding? Sure it’s having a down period in Football but it could flat-out get paid if it put the work in to find a better home.

    • Richard says:

      Syracuse’s potential value isn’t any greater than Rutgers. There’s a reason the ACC took BC and VTech over Syracuse.

  48. Emmet Ryan says:

    Well I’d disagree as the New York market holds a greater interest in hoops than pretty much any other so that would help on the cable front and Syracuse certainly offers more than Rutgers in that front.

    Even if however your argument about Rutgers holds, that they are even with Syracuse in value, then why did neither move? I don’t feel Rutgers offer the same impact on New York (in terms of affecting cable subscriptions) that the Orange do but if either did then it makes sense for at least one to have made a move by now.

    • Richard says:

      Actually, NYC is more interested in several professional sports before any college sport pops in to the picture.

      . . .and I think you answered your own question (sort of). They are both even and both behind about 8 professional sports teams in the sports scene in NYC, so no one finds them particularly valuable.

      It’s not clear that adding either Rutgers or Syracuse or both would get the BTN on the basic tier of all the cable systems in the tri-state area.

  49. I enjoy reading through a post that will make men and women think. Also, many thanks for permitting me to comment!

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