Lots of people have been discussing in the comments section on the “Template for Shooting Down Any Argument Against Texas Going to the Big Ten” post a story from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel stating that the Big Ten has hired a research firm to evaluate an “initial list” of 15 schools, with a quote from Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez saying that Texas isn’t on that initial list.  (H/T to WolverinePhD, among others, for sending in the link.)  I don’t interpret this study as Texas not being a target.  As Dennis Dodd stated on CBS Sportsline (who has voiced skepticism about Texas joining the Big Ten):

[I]f Notre Dame and/or Texas showed a willingness to join the Big Ten, there wouldn’t be much research to do.  The two schools are seen as the only slam-dunk candidates in an otherwise muddied expansion picture.

Exactly.  The Big Ten doesn’t need to pay presumably tens of thousands of dollars (if not more) to hire a research firm to say that “Adding Texas and Notre Dame would be sweeeeeeeeeet!!!”.  The conference knows that already and its university presidents don’t need to be convinced of the attributes of those schools.  Instead, you hire a research firm to evaluate the schools that you AREN’T sure of and look at the positives and negatives of them.  A research firm that’s providing value is going to look at issues that aren’t obvious, such as whether Syracuse or Rutgers can really deliver the New York City market or Nebraska’s national brand name can compensate for its small home market.  It’s a waste of money to have someone come in and state that “Texas would really add a lot of eyeballs to the Big Ten Network while being awesome in sports and academics.”  No shit, Sherlock.  Tell me something that I don’t know.

The fact that the Big Ten has a list of 15 schools that it’s looking at is an indication that the conference is looking at numerous schools that are significantly outside of its conference geographic footprint.  To me, this exercise looks a lot more like an evaluation of “Who do we add on top of Texas and/or Notre Dame if we’re willing to go to 14 schools?”  From a realistic standpoint, schools from the SEC aren’t going to ever move while the 2 schools that the Big Ten would want from the Pac-10 (USC and UCLA) are no-brainers in the same category as Texas and Notre Dame where there’s no point in even examining them because they’re in if they want to join.  Here is my semi-educated guess as to who is on that list of 15 schools as well as the key questions that the Big Ten ought to be asking about them:

1.  Syracuse – Does it really bring in the NYC market?  Can it bring in the NYC market when it’s combined with Penn State?  If yes, does Syracuse or Rutgers do this better?

2.  Rutgers – See comment for Syracuse.

3.  UCONN – Can it make inroads into both the NYC and Boston markets?  It’s not an AAU member but its overall rankings are pretty solid, so is that good enough academically?  Is the youth of the football program at the Division 1-A level a complete non-starter?

4.  Pitt – Great for both academics and athletics, but can they really add much in terms of TV viewers with Penn State already delivering the Pittsburgh market, especially when there are other candidates that are similar but can bring in new markets?

5.  Maryland – Is it more trustworthy in its ability to deliver the DC and Baltimore markets than the other East Coast candidates with respect to their own markets?  What does a Maryland/Penn State combo do for the conference in terms of delivering the Mid-Atlantic region?  Is there enough commitment to the football program in terms of long-term competitiveness?

6.  Virginia – An unequivocal academic superstar, but are its athletic programs good enough to add more value?  Can it really deliver the DC market any better than Maryland?

7.  Virginia Tech – Rising in terms of academics but not an AAU member, so is that satisfactory?  Can it really deliver the DC market any better than Maryland or UVA?

8.  Boston College - Can it really deliver the Boston market?  Is the fan base large enough to justify inclusion?  Very strong undergrad program but isn’t an AAU member, so will it fit academically?

9.  Miami – Can it deliver the Florida market by itself?  It’s not an AAU member and doesn’t have great graduate programs, but it’s a top 50 undergrad school.  Is that enough in terms of academics?  Is the poor attendance and traveling fan base for the football program trumped by its extremely strong national TV drawing power?

10.  Missouri - Has the ability to draw in the St. Louis and Kansas City markets, but is that enough considering that there are options in more populous regions like the Northeast, Florida and Texas?  Many assume that it’s an academic fit as an AAU member, but it’s actually lower in the US News rankings than Nebraska, so does it really meet the Big Ten’s academic requirements?

11.  Nebraska – Is the national drawing power of its football program enough to compensate for its tiny home TV market?  Lots of questions as to whether it would be an academic fit even though it’s an AAU member already.  Does it meet the Big Ten’s academic standards?

12.  Colorado – Long assumed to be a top Pac-10 target, but could it be a viable Big Ten candidate since it’s actually a better academic and cultural fit with the Big Ten than anyone in the Big XII besides Texas?  Is the population growth trend in the Denver area more attractive than adding presently larger markets like the state of Missouri when looking at this decision 20 or 30 years down the road?

13.  Oklahoma – Obvious national football power, but without AAU membership (unlike Missouri or Nebraska) or high academic rankings (unlike UConn), can it fit in academically?

14.  Kansas – 99% of these decisions are about football, but Kansas isn’t any ordinary basketball school (where only Duke, UNC and Kentucky can compare nationally).  Is the elite status of its basketball program enough to compensate for a historically weak football program that no longer has the services of Baby Mangino?

15.  Texas A&M – Is the Big Ten truly fine with the thought of Texas A&M coming along with Texas in a package deal?  Are the Aggies really a threat to go to the SEC if the Big Ten doesn’t invite them?  What do they bring to the table that Texas doesn’t bring alone?

The Big Ten will NOT expand unless it adds Texas and/or Notre Dame.  The conference is in a financial position where it doesn’t make any sense to settle for anything less.  This “initial list” is examining who might come along for the ride on top of the main targets.

(Follow Frank the Tank’s Slant on Twitter @frankthetank111)

(Image from Scout.com)

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Comments
  1. [...] UPDATE #7 (2/21/2010) – Explaining why the “initial list” of 15 Big Ten candidates is an examination of who woul…. [...]

  2. Erik says:

    If the ACC is in play, what about Georgia Tech? It could cancel out the academics brought to the conference by a Nebraska if they were to be team 13.

    • I thought about Georgia Tech and Florida State as potential candidates. I wouldn’t be surprised that the Big Ten would consider either, but those are truly “Southern” schools where it’s going to be tough to see them in the conference. If I had to guess, the master Big Ten plan at this point would be to invite Texas and Texas A&M at the same time. At that point, the Big Ten would look to flank the eastern side of the conference by going after Maryland or Syracuse (in that order). I think that it’s significant for the Big Ten to not only get into certain markets, but make sure that it’s getting the #1 schools in those markets. The state of Texas is so huge that there is a lot of value in locking it down entire by inviting both UT and A&M, while Maryland probably brings in the DC and Baltimore markets better than anyone. GT and FSU, on the other hand, play second fiddle to Georgia and Florida in their home markets, respectively.

      • Erik says:

        Second fiddle? GT is borderline hated in their home market (all UGA and SEC chumps). The reason I mention GT is I’m wondering how much the average Big Ten fan’s love for the Big Ten is wrapped up in the Big Ten being “smart”? The conference has a lot of pride in being academically superior (on average) to every other BCS conference in the country, and GT would be the best engineering school in the Big Ten (sorry Illinois). I guess my question is, what is the value in maintaining the Big Ten “nerd” brand? UT would not hurt that at all, but every other school being considered (other than UVA and MD) would.

      • HoosierMike says:

        No. The best engineering school would still be Purdue. And that’s coming from a Hoodier alum. Gulp.

      • Schlepper says:

        Purdue?!?
        GT is tied with Illinois at 5 on US News Engineering School list behind MIT, Stanford, Cal and CIT. Michigan is at 7 and Purdue shows up at 9

      • Erik says:

        US News just updated their list: GT 4, Illinois 5 and Purdue 12. GT and Illinois both passed CalTech, so I’d advise the Big Ten to pass on them.

  3. M says:

    I really hope you’re right, but if you are, Alvarez deserves an Oscar for keeping a straight face when asked about Texas and ND.

    Thinking about it, the size of the list itself helps your argument. Unless they are considering MAC schools, they have to be casting a (geographically) wide net.

    I would think Iowa State would be on a list of 15, but I’m not sure who I would take off your list. Perhaps Oklahoma, as they do not remotely pass any sort of eyeball academic examination. Also as Erik says, if you’re going to look at Virginia, why not UNC, Duke, Wake Forest, or other ACC members?

  4. Kyle says:

    I wish there was a big grid where one could compare all of these schools by academic rating (grad, undergrad, AAU, and research grants), athletic programs (http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/sports_college/2009/07/how-much-revenue-did-your-favorite-fbs-school-take-in-in-200708-this-chart-will-tell-you.html), and tv territory share/potential. No doubt that’s what Delaney is paying 1000s of dollars for, but someone out there in internet land has to have the free time for this project.

    p.s. When do we get to hear your game-plan for the Big East? I’ve heard some folks calling for immediate expansion or somehow reshuffling the Basketball-only schools as a buffer against Notre Dame/Rutgers/Syracuse leaving. (unless they take all three and then we need to panic and work out something with the mountain west as a east-west conference.)

  5. Rick says:

    I am not quite convinced that the Big Ten does not expand if they don’t get Texas and ND. On the financial side (Big Ten Network), bringing in 1 team would require at least $22 million in cable fees from that new team in a new market or $66 million for 3 teams in new markets to even get to the table, right? If that is correct then Maryland, Missouri, and Rutgers can do it. If Maryland brings in at least 70% of their 3.4 million household Neilson market (DC/Balt) at $.80/month (going rate for BT Network) and Missouri does the same for their 3.4 million household market (KC, StL and in between), that is $22 million. Rutgers would have to deliver only @ 30% of their 7.5 million NY household market (NYC, LI, NJ, CT, the Tri-State it is referred to) to bring in $22 Million. Together those 3 get to to the $66 million threshold. It would give the Big Ten new East and West markets, lock up the NY to DC corridor (combined with Penn State in PA), and give great room for further penetration on the NY market each year. The NY market can be penetrated and Rutgers is positioned to do it better than Syracuse. Yeah their hoops team is popular but they are just not going to do it with that alone. Football will not deliver it even if they get better. Rutgers is much further down the road program wise and will deliver NY faster and deeper as years go by. Syracuse does not compare to these 3 academically on the AAU/CIC angle. They do no research and the other 3 have large research pieces. I am sure the BT Presidents consider that important. So if we are thinking like Presidents as you admonish us to do MD, MO, and Rutgers fit the bill. Academics, Geography, TV new markets, Size, Stadiums, Population, Attendance, all the things Alvarez mentioned No other combination of Syracuse, Neb, PITT, BC, Virginia, VT, UConn, Iowa St, Colorada, Kansas, NC, Duke, Vandy, fits all the criteria (because of the TV BT Network piece) as well as Missouri, Maryland, and Rutgers either individually or grouped together as the 3 team to 14 package. TV kills those schools. Do you think BT will definately NOT expand if they don’t get Texas or ND? Why doesn’t MD, Missouri, Rutgers make sense as the 3 or individually? They can deliver the money and the other criteria. Syracuse basketball cannot overcome their liability in their football not penetrating NY market or their deficiancy in research. I just don’t see it. I enjoy your work very much. Please respond, I want to understand this further from your perspective.

    • Richard says:

      Well, those 3 don’t expand the current schools’ slice of the pie. If you’re Indiana or Purdue (or Minnesota or MSU or Northwestern or Wisconsin) and adding those 3 schools doesn’t increase your $22M, why would you be for it?

      You’d get the drawback of playing fewer games against Michigan & OSU, but you don’t gain any new rivalries or more money.

      Heck, Indiana opposed adding PSU back in the day, and PSU is about as much of a slam-dunk as can possiby be (short of adding ND).

      • Art Vandelay says:

        Don’t forget, IF these schools can make up the $22mil in their TV contracts, then adding a championship game is still going to add another million to each school, presumably.

      • Richard says:

        Still relatively chump change. You also have the opportunity cost of forever closing out the possibility of both ND and Texas (since UT will require taking A&M as well in pretty much an realistic scenario). Once at 14, the Big10 sn’t going to expand to 18.

        In fact, I believe that’s the primary reason the Big10 held off from just picking up a random 12th team and holding a championship game; because they believed they can wait-out ND.

    • 78Lion says:

      Rick,

      The big 10 network has been using a different strategy with the cable companies than your numbers suggest. They have been claiming (successfully) that if a school is in the state, the network must be placed on basic cable (or a digital entry level) for the entire state. That precludes the necessity for Maryland or Virginia to have to draw subscribers. They draw them by being in the state regardless of the desire to watch their putrid football teams.

  6. orangezest says:

    I think the fact that Texas A&M is on the list is a true indicator that Texas is under consideration but does not require research as you suggest. In fact, all other viable Big 12 teams are on the list but not Texas?

    • Jake says:

      This is just Frank’s guess, not the official list. The Big Ten could be looking at McGill for all we know. Although now that I think about it …

      • I’m astounded by the number of legitimate suggestions that I’ve seen on the web for the University of Toronto (who’s actually an AAU member despite its Canadian location). Certainly that could work for a U of C-type CIC-only membership, but I think that people are vastly overrating the quality of college hockey programs in Canada (where the top players are usually in the NHL minors or different junior leagues). Plus, the football field is a bit different up there, no?

      • Jake says:

        They play by Canadian football rules, so no fair catch, fields are both wider and longer, and 12 players per team. That’d be quite an adjustment.

        I believe McGill is an AAU member as well.

        I sometimes wonder if a Mexican college football team, like Monterrey Tech, might not be a good expansion candidate for the WAC, the Mountain West, or even the Big 12. The Borregos Salvajes are a big deal South of the border, apparently, and they play by American rules. Maybe my Horned Frogs can set up a home-and-home with them and see how it goes.

  7. Dr Drunkenstein says:

    First off, it is interesting that this blog has become the definitive site for Texas/Big 10 talk. I was waiting for Alvarez comments to surface here.

    I am a Longhorn fan who lived in South Florida for years and have now been in the DC area for a couple of years. A few observations:
    – I am 100% behind a Texas move to the Big 10
    – I would have ZERO confidence that Maryland could ‘deliver’ the DC metro area TV market based on what I have seen and heard.
    – Bringing the U on board would be a strong move and would lock-down Florida TVs from North Palm Beach county through the Keys (and a lot of Orlando). If ND gets cold feet, bringing the Horns & Aggies (to lock down the Texas market) and Miami would be incredible.

  8. Emmet Ryan says:

    Like Kyle I’m looking forward to hearing about your views on the Big East. No matter what happens with the Big 10, surely it makes sense for the conference to be trying to protect itself?

    • Jake says:

      But how can the Big East protect itself? Poach more teams from C-USA? They can do that just as easily after they’re raided by the Big Ten, if that should come to pass, and there’s no addition they can make (short of convincing ND to join for football – fat chance) that would strengthen their position. The Big East is in a bad situation. The Big Ten, ACC and SEC (if they were so inclined) can raid them at will, and the Big 12 could probably lure a team away as well if they needed to. And lurking below, they have that internal divide between the football schools and the basketball-only schools. I’d be surprised if the Big East is still around as a football conference in ten years.

  9. Mike B. says:

    If Texas can make a go of the Longhorn Sports Network, and the Pac10 is willing to let them keep all the revenue from that enterprise, doesn’t it make more financial sense for Texas to go Pac10 than Big Ten?

    • Richard says:

      Big “if’s”, but maybe. It would still be more risky for UT.

    • Stopping By says:

      That would seem to defeat the purpose of the Pac10 targeting UT. The conference needs more $$ for ALL its schools – bringing in UT w/ an unbalanced TV dollar distribution + allowing UT to keep revenue from its own network doesn’t make much sense (at least from my point of view).

      My guess to draw TX, Pac10 would need to bring on A&M (they need 2 anyway), continue an unbalanced TV Dollar distribution with a new deal beginning 2012 (continuing to benefit UT), add conf championship game, and create conf network that now includes two of the highest populated states. All that should net much more than they currently receive from Big12 (but maybe not as much as Big10).

  10. Jeepers says:

    As someone who grew up in NJ and lives in NYC, I can tell you Rutgers will never, ever, ever be a force in NYC for football unless they’re contending for a national championship. They’ve only been good in football for *one* decade, and that’s being generous with the word “good.”

    I do think there is a market in NYC for college hoops, though. And since Rutgers is terrible in basketball, and Syracuse is an elite program, you have to give the nod to Syracuse.

    And I don’t understand the appeal of Missouri. I can’t speak for the rest of the country, but they are pretty much unknown on the east coast.

    @Kyle, I’ve been thinking about putting together a big map of all the candidates. But I’d need to know where to find all the info, and figure out what to put it on (I’m guessing something like a pdf, with mouseovers so you can see all the text).

    • m (Ag) says:

      Missouri is a candidate because it’s good enough academically, geographically sensible, and the only major school in a state with a fair amount of TV viewers.

      It’s not a home run candidate, but it might boost every schools money a bit. Plus, its addition would bring the conference geographically closer to Texas, while weakening the Big 12, making the Texas schools more willing to look at alternatives.

      • Gopher86 says:

        Mizzou isn’t as good as meets the eye.

        Mizzou is in the center of the state, in Columbia. They have a strong presence in St. Louis, but Kansas City is a KU town (Lawrence, KS is 35-40 minutes away).

        Mizzou’s alumni page estimates 20k alums in the KC area, vs. Kansas’ alumni page’s estimate of 74.5k alumns in the KC area.

        If you take away the 2 million people in the KC area and realize that St. Louis is a pro-sports town, Mizzou doesn’t really deliver much in terms of television audiences.

        I’d argue that Nebraska and Kansas are better candidates, because of their national and Midwestern appeal.

        http://www.kctigers.com/
        http://www.kualumni.org/~kualumni/cgi-bin/kuaa_chaptersgroups.cgi?action=displaychapter&intent=home&itemid=30

      • Jake says:

        The Big Ten doesn’t actually have to invite Missouri in order to weaken the Big 12; all they have to do is let people think that they might (this has pretty much already been acccomplished). If UT feels that CU and Mizzou are close to bolting, they’ll take a serious look at their options.

      • Richard says:

        In any case, Nebraska’s a better candidate if the BTN wants to build a national brand (that may matter more than how many people are in a state).

    • Terry Wynn says:

      BTN already has St Louis on X Cable, so Mizzou aint bringing any $$ from STL.

      Mizzou is way down on the extra BTN $$ list.

  11. CTBucki says:

    There’s another reason Texas isn’t on the list. You’ve already discussed that Texas can’t be the first to leave because there’d be too much political pressure from destroying the Big XII and leaving behind A&M. But it could respond to Colorado’s exit with a clear conscience. If this ( http://tiny.cc/UGY92 )is any indication, no one will need much patience.

    It’s likely that the Big Ten and Texas have already had discussions, but no one wants to broadcast it. Texas can much more easily claim it’s leaving the conference out of self-preservation if there hasn’t already been some outreach.

    • Jake says:

      Yeah, more and more I feel that Missouri and Nebraska are just getting played. These hints come out that the Big Ten might be interested in them and they all but beg for an invite. Now, thanks to them and the CU-to-the-Pac-10 rumors, the Big 12 is looking ready to crumble, giving Texas all the cover they need to make their move. At least Osborne won’t have to worry about that power shift to the South.

      I have to wonder if the Pac-10 is being used as well. Their expansion announcement certainly seems to be playing into the Big Ten’s hands. Of course, the Big Ten is also doing them a solid – they’ll have an easier time convincing Big 12 teams to look West if Texas bails. Maybe those two are in cahoots.

      • Richard says:

        Possible. The current Pac10 commissioner wants to expand and set up its own cable network, but they had previously done a study which came to the conclusion that adding Utah & Colorado doesn’t actually increase the current Pac10 members’ piece of the pie. Thus I have to imagine that the Pac10 gets something more out of this. Maybe an alliance with the Big10 for the next TV contract. Maybe a piece of the BTN (making it truly national). Maybe they really think they can get Texas.

      • Art Vandelay says:

        Doesn’t it make so much more sense, then, for the Pac 10 to pursue aTm and Colorado, and for the Big Ten to just take Texas on its own? That would eliminate much of scheduling and division break-up problems that come into play with 14 teams

      • Art Vandelay says:

        Doesn’t it make so much more sense, then, for the Pac 10 to pursue aTm and Colorado, and for the Big Ten to just take Texas on its own? That would eliminate much of scheduling and division break-up problems that come into play with 14 teams.

  12. Mike Sweet says:

    To add Texas and Texas aTm you make them feel more comfortable by adding Mizzou at the same time. Mizzou is the geographical bridge between the B10 and the new Texas teams. Adding Maryland or Syracuse moves the conference’s center further away from Texas.

  13. Rick says:

    Rutgers does not have to deliver the NYC market. “The NY Market” of 7.5 million households includes the NY Metro area of NY, NJ, Long Island, Fairfield County CT, Westchester County. I think delivering more than 1/3 of that is do abale with plenty of room to further penetrate year on year. The Big Ten wants future growth potentia? That! is growth potential. The members’ piece of the pie will have plenty of room to grow. I think they deliver more than 1/3 right off the bat. Getting to even 50% within 3 years is doable. That is big dollars. $40 million or so at low end carriage rates of $.80/month. Standard carriage rates of $1.10/month has Rutgers delivering $50 million alone. Add in Maryland and Missouri at those carriage rates and 70% penetration and you are talking over $110 million. A year. Incremental. Thinking like a President, I think they have my attention.

    If in fact that Texas and ND are not on the list of 15 because they are such slam dunks and the Big Ten really only wants them or they will probably not expand, then I am surprised and appalled that the Big Ten is going through the trouble, time, and effort to announce their plans to consider expansion, Dunlevy and Alvarez speaking publically about it, give folks an update on the research company initial findings of 15 candidates, say Texas is not on the list, don’t consider ND a viable candidate that will say yes, and put everyone through this as a charade. Why bother with all this? If Texas and ND are their only interest then really, what are they up to? If this is just political and poker playing leverage games they are playing with all the interested schools, and us, when in fact they have no intention of adding anyone but UT and ND, then they are really disrespecting these Universities big time and there will be a tremendous amount of ill will over this.

    Lastly, on the AAU/Research front, Missouri, Maryland, and Rutgers all do roughly half a billion each a year. Syracuse…less than 50 million! In reading the excellent “Barking Carnival” blog inside “Bill,Powers”, and taking your advise to think like a President, the benefits of having Maryland and Rutgers in the BT and new partner collaborators with other CIC member is great. 4 new Senators and many more Representatives stalking the halls for the benefit of the CIC is big. The Big Ten is also looking for market share increases for the CIC, there are tremendous amounts of funding spent in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic corridor, and Maryland and Rutgers help them compete there very well. The CIC has put out white paper on the growing focus of Federal funding agencies to grant funding for complex problems that are best worked on by complex collaborative teams of scientists, to research Universities that can deliver that. Those are CIC Universities. That is the definition of the core capabilities of the CIC. Maryland and Rutgers on the home turf of the Federal funding agencies banging on their doors for themselves or the CIC. i think the Presidents will like that concept. Syracuse cannot and will not deliver that. As a President, you have my attention.

    If the Big Ten is playing everyone here then shame on them. And all of us are going to feel like fools for spending one second on this. Bad boiling if that is the case brother. If I am a President, I am embarrassed.

    • Richard says:

      Shame on them? Maybe it’s because of my day job, but I’d expect poker playing to be part of any negotiation. Hell, even in everyday romance, if you have an eye of a girl/guy, you don’t just go out and announce to the world that you have the hots for her/him. Maybe you engage in “secret negotiations”, but if a stranger asks if you’re chasing after so-and-so, would you answer directly?

      BTW, no one (except maybe mom&pop cable systems out in rural Iowa) pays the listed carriage rates any more than WalMart pays listed price to its suppliers. While Maryland and Rutgers definitely contribute in research, they still wouldn’t expand each existing members’ piece of the TV pie.

    • Art Vandelay says:

      Like Frank said, the team who’s presumably researching Rutgers is surely getting a feel for how they grab the NYC/NJ markets. They need about 1/3 of it (with you as my source) to get to $22mil (before the conference championship), and then has HUGE growing potential. Here’s my question. If Rutgers cannot deliver even a third of the the NYC market, does the Big Ten even bother? What if Rutgers actually brings more like 1/5 of the market, and the Big Ten loses short term money to expand because of growth potential? What happens if Rutgers joins the Big Ten, and starts to compete with Indiana every year in football, and Penn State every year in basketball in a MUCH tougher Big Ten? I’m not super familiar with how TV contracts are written, but I get the feeling that NYC/NJ is such a volatile market with such apathy toward college sports, that they could end up LOSING households when the contract ends if they just don’t perform, which based on their performance historically, has to be considered.

    • Richard says:

      In the end, I see the Big10 adding Rutgers . . . as the 16th team (after they’ve landed Nebraska, UT with TAMU & ND).

  14. Rick says:

    If The Big Ten powers that be are only interested in UT and ND and have no intention of expanding without them, then they are coming across as pompous, arrogant, egotists who think very little about the rest of us. Why spend the big money on a research company? This is not poker. Thinking like a President, I am not too comfortable with that. I might be more than a little embarrassed and ashamed by this. They will have some ‘spainin’ to do. I don’t buy it but maybe I am too naive.

  15. Rick says:

    Syracuse is a complete non-starter in my opinion. If Growing market share in TV and Research is their objective, then Syracuse is off the table. Being in the NY Metro area all my life I just don’t see Syracuse as viable in this scenario. I just don’t.

  16. Playoffs Now! says:

    Yeah, I’m not convinced that Texas is or ever was a primary target. That said, there are other possible explanations for their not being on the Big List of Fifteen. Perhaps there was an earlier search contract regarding Texas and/or other schools that hasn’t been revealed. Perhaps in their quiet initial talks they determined that UT was a legit candidate but likely required taking little brother aTm as a package, and since that makes 13 they did a second search contract to look at who would make the best 14th school. Or maybe ND is ready and UT doesn’t require aTm, or ND, UT, aTm are ready and the Big List of Fifteen is for considering going to 16 teams.

    Or more likely, the Big List of Fifteen is legit and designed simply to look at the most likely candidate to get to 12 and its better scheduling and conf champ game. UT isn’t the primary target, but of course if UT and ND, or UT and aTm, or UT and Neb, or UT and X want to join to go to 14 or 16 that would be considered. 12 is the primary goal, but while they are expanding they might as well consider all possible contigencies. That isn’t a charade spitting on the rest of us, it is simple due diligence.

    My first question to any and all those in the know would be “Are any schools in the state of Texas on the list?”

  17. M says:

    So I was sitting around with too much time on my hands again and I figure this out. These are the schools that are both AAU members and in current BCS conferences:
    ACC
    Duke University (1938)
    University of Maryland, College Park (1969)
    The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1922)
    University of Virginia (1904)

    Big XII
    Iowa State University (1958)
    Texas A&M University (2001)
    University of Colorado at Boulder (1966)
    The University of Kansas (1909)
    University of Missouri-Columbia (1908)
    University of Nebraska-Lincoln (1909)
    The University of Texas at Austin (1929)

    Big East
    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (1989)
    Syracuse University (1966)
    University of Pittsburgh (1974)

    Pac-10
    Stanford University (1900)
    The University of Arizona (1985)
    University of California, Berkeley (1900)
    University of California, Los Angeles (1974)
    University of Oregon (1969)
    University of Southern California (1969)
    University of Washington (1950)

    SEC
    University of Florida (1985)
    Vanderbilt University (1950)

    If we remove Texas and Pac-10 schools (because of the special relationship the Big Ten has had with that conference, I do not think they would even investigate adding one of those schools), how many are left?

    15

    • Kyle says:

      Well that’s interesting. But I think we ought to remove the SEC schools from that list too; they’ve got little incentive to switch conferences.

      Maybe replace them with BC and UConn as very good, but non-AAU schools.

      • Richard says:

        Still no reason to not research them. You determine which schools are on your wishlist first.

      • M says:

        Well there are also 3 universities that are FBS but not BCS:
        Rice University (1985)
        Tulane University (1958)
        University at Buffalo, The State University of New York (1989)

        I suppose you could take out the SEC schools and put in Buffalo and Rice (Tulane is still in a world of hurt since Katrina).

      • Joe says:

        Not sure you should ever count out the SEC schools. Florida of course would be a major athletic coup possibly in the same league as Texas and ND, and Vandy would be a strong academic fit.

        The CIC affililiation should not be underestimated. This is much more than an athletic decision. And there have been reports that Florida is desperate to upgrade it’s academic profile…

      • Joe says:

        And another thing – the CIC affiliation is primarily what is appealing to the UT alums out there more than anything else, and likely to Bill Powers. They don’t care about the chump change in TV revenue. They do care about maintaining and improving the academic profile and feel like they are clustered with unequals in the Big 12. It’s always been their thing and why they moved from the SWC in the first place.

        I think the CIC means Texas is almost a done deal already – the fit and mutual attraction is too strong – and it’s clear we are going to 14 because they are saying A&M is likely a package. The Big 10 is probably looking into that as well as who would fill out the 14th spot (especially if Notre Dame doesn’t get smart and wake up).

  18. JoePa says:

    With all the talk of expansion, one think I don’t recall seeing too much is any analysis of other conferences starting their own networks ala the B10. I know that other than the SEC no others would have as much national appeal. But I would think the B12 would have pretty solid regional appeal (obviously in smaller markets) and be able to rake in enough dough to at least make the $$$$ attractive to keep that conference together. The BE is another story. But I would think that if the B12 got their own network soon, it would close the revenue gap – which would make it more attractive for Texas to stay put. No?

  19. Rick says:

    OK, maybe poker playing is not the right analogy. I have a day job too and poker playing in negotiations is part of the game. However, outright deceit, incenserity, arrogance, and pompousness are usually not and not looked too kindly upon. I would hope this is a legitimate effort in due diligence and that serious and honest consideration is given to all scenarios whether it is to add 1 or 5 schools. I really would expect that from the Big Ten, really. I don’t want to believe this is slimy, but but you never know.

    As far as Rutgers historically, yes they were really, really awful prior to the Greg Schiano era began in 2000. However through a steady hand the program is much improved to the point that since 2006 they have gone to 5 straight bowl games and won 4 straight. Yes the schedule is relatively weak outside the conference, but to site their historical ineptness as a reason for the Big Ten to pause is not fair. Ask Joe Paterno what he thinks of the current and future prospects for Rutgers are. As for the NY TV market, that is truly the great unknown here but they are the only player with a reasonable good chance of tapping it. Can they be part of the discussion of going to 14? I think so. 16, definately. My guess is Maryland, Rutgers, and Missouri/Nebraska are the best play if going to 14 or 16 is an option. I don’t see it at all for Colorado, Kansas, Iowa State, UNC, Virginia, Duke, Vandy, BC, Miami, VT, UConn, PITT, Syracuse et al.

    • Art Vandelay says:

      The problem with them coming from the Big East to the Big Ten is like night and day. The Big Ten conference schedule is grueling and brutally physical (IMO moreso than any other conference). Re-watch the Iowa-GT or Wisconsin-Miami bowl games to understand where I’m coming from. The O- and D-lines in the Big Ten beat the crap out of you as the season progresses. Take Michigan for example. They had arguably one of the 30 best teams in the country during the first 6 or 7 weeks of the season, but as soon as they started conference play they just couldn’t stay healthy, and the physicality wore on them. When push came to shove, they were driven back because undersized players just won’t do it in the Big Ten. I’m not saying Rutgers is undersized, but they may not be prepared to take the physical beating that comes from playing Iowa, Penn State, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Illinois, Michigan State, Minnesota and the traditional Michigan. Then if they’re beaten or upset by teams that are under the radar, but definitely have talent like Northwestern, Purdue or Indiana, and they’re looking like Michigan this year. And once they start losing again, are they going to be able to regain momentum, especially if they start losing more recruiting to Penn State, Michigan and Ohio State? Michigan is built like a Big East team, and look what’s happened to them thus far.

      • Rick says:

        Art, fair point, but the school choice will go far beyond what Football team is built in what way in order to withstand the Big Ten teams in the 4th quarter. If you are correct, using your thinking, then you can rule out Rutgers, PITT, Syracuse, Maryland, UVA, Duke, UNC, Vandy, Kansas, Iowa State, and Colorado. Throw in BC and UConn, they are out. Miami? hey, they can’t win the ACC. Out. VT? maybe. Vandy? out.

        So who is left from the “15” BCS/AAU plus minus UT and ND? Texas A&M, Florida, Missouri, Nebraska. Throw out Florida. Texas A&M, ok leave them in. Without having Texas and or ND Missouri and Nebraska don’t add up for the BTN. So it looks like Texas A&M as the 12th team not counting UT and ND. If UT and says no then so does A&M. If ND says no then No one is left using you reasoning and other BIg Ten criteria such as BTN money. Don’t buy it. This other teams can play with the Big Ten, even in the 4th quarter in most games. i am a little more optimistic for others inclusion other than UT, ND, TAM. Both on the field and off in relation to BT criteria.

      • Art Vandelay says:

        Rick, you missed my point. Most of the other school’s will do fine in TV deals just because they are not in a volatile market that cares nothing about college sports, like Rutgers. If Rutgers can come in and dominate the Big Ten, get some BCS games, and maybe a national championship, then they’re a great addition because they’ll get a following in the NYC/NJ market and get more cable deals, but if they do poorly, like they have for over 90% of their history because of increased competition against big time football schools that would LOVE to steal their recruiting, then how are they going to make NYC/NJ care about them while they’ve already had decent success over the past few years, and no one cares about them now? If they don’t have success in the Big Ten in football, NYC/NJ won’t care about them. If NYC/NJ doesn’t care about them, BTN will not get the cable companies to pay for their network and the Big Ten will ultimately lose money. Maryland, UNC, Duke, BC, Miami, VT, Syracuse etc. are not in such volatile markets that care nothing about college football, and thus are going to get the cable companies to subscribe to BTN just because they’re going to be playing on it, whether they’re good or bad.

    • Richard says:

      Deceit? Insincerity? I think you’re projecting your own feelings here. Right now, the Big10 hasn’t shown their hand, just denying that they have contacted anyone yet. Everything else is just jumping to conclusions.

      As for arrogance, yes, you could see it that way, and Delany did know it would be hard for the commissioners of the Big12 and Big East when he told them that the Big10 is looking to expand, but the fact that the Big10 is willing to risk hard feelings signals to me that they have a strategy here and aren’t just being callous for the hell of it.

      • Rick says:

        I think that will be a more common feeling among more that you think if this ends up with no expansion because of UT and ND declining. I don’t think Tom Osborne would be too happy about the way this played out if this is in fact a ruse to get UT and ND.

      • Richard says:

        . . . and that affects anyone . . .how? This isn’t a grade school popularity contest. Jim Delany isn’t looking to make the most friends he can. He’s looking out for his member schools’ best interests.

    • Tai says:

      Rick is by far the nostradamus of conference realignment leaps and bounds of bloggers. What’s your next prediction

  20. mushroomgod says:

    Frank: You may be right, but I think the more obvious explanation is that they are primary looking for the 12th team to set up the conf. title game.

    Alvarez and Paterno have been the ones primarily pushing this. Perhaps the Presidents aren’t enthusiastic about expansion, and are only looking at it at the insistence of the football coaches. They may not want to be the driving force behind more reallignments.

  21. Playoffs Now! says:

    U. Washington’s AD says both the Pac 10 and Big Ten (sic) have been talking to UT and aTm:

    “— The Pac-10 and Big Ten have reached out to both Texas and Texas A&M as possible expansion targets (which makes sense as the thought has always been A&M would have to go wherever Texas goes).

    — An expansion could go beyond two teams and could ultimately be a merging of several conferences to the point where there are only four super conferences.”

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/huskyfootballblog/2011141306_woodward_talks_to_percy_and_a.html

    • Richard says:

      Well damn. Somebody’s talking too much. The Pac10 needs to get their act together.

      In any case, I wouldn’t be surprised at a “grand bargain” between the Big10 and Pac10 where the Pac10 “allows” the Big10 to take UT & TAMU in exchange for a part of the BTN or TV deal alliance or the Pac10 getting first dibs on Colorado + Nebraska or Kansas.

    • Mike says:

      Actual Quote.

      >>
      Woodward also talked about expansion and said the Pac-10 and the Big Ten have reached out to officials at Texas and Texas A&M. “I’d be surprised if our office is not in contact with them,” he said. “I’m sure those conversations have happened and are taking place.”

      When asked if the league might expand beyond two teams, Woodward said that’s a possibility. “It could be two, four or a merger of Big 12. … There’s a theory that at the end of the day there’s only going to be four super conferences. Now that it’s going to look like, God only knows.”
      <<

      http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/huskymensbasketballblog/2011140851_ucla_game_threa_5.html

  22. Playoffs Now! says:

    BTW, if the dominoes do fall fast and we end up with 4 16-team super conferences, that could include a 13th regular season game for all. NCAA might not go for that when 1 conference wants it, but if all 4 do then yeah. 13 games would help scheduling in a 16-team conference, by allowing a 9th, 10th, or even 11th conference game while maintaining some non-conference flexibility. 16 teams with 11 conference games allows 7 division and 4 cross-division, so you can play every conf team at least every other year, though I think 10 conf games is more likely. And of course 4 x 16 would make a playoff easier to implement.

    Think like a President, walk like an Egyptian.

  23. chris says:

    Boston does not give two you-know-whats about Boston College. The school can barely draw the 40,000 to fill their home stadium. It’s a small, Catholic school that suffers from a self-diagnosed pro-sports-city-disease.

  24. SH says:

    Call it arrogance if you want, but the bottom line is that the Big 10 is in the enviable position of being the premier BCS conference in the country and most schools would jump at the chance to join (other than those in the SEC and Pac-10 and possibly the ACC). The fact is the Big 10 is the most financially successful and popular conference in addition to being an academic powerhouse conference and a great athletic conference. While the SEC has produced the most national champions in football in the BCS era, the Big 10 has the most BCS appearances. Plus, their other bowl tie-ins produce better ratings and payouts. That is simply because they are the most popular. The BTN is a byproduct of that popularity. Again, most schools would jump at the chance to join (Mizzou and Neb look to be begging).

    Of course the one school the B10 has always wanted – ND – has spurned them in the past. However, the dynamics may be changing on that. But the risk of ND staying independent is a lot less than UT going independent. That would be a truly bold and risky move.

    It hasn’t been discussed much here, but what if UT for whatever reason doesn’t want to join. Is there any reason why the B10 would want an A&M on its own. A&M doesn’t have the cache of a UT, but it does bring the state of Texas into the B10. And A&M fans are as passionate as any and could possibly lock up Texas for the BTN on its own. Why wouldn’t the B10 want to expand to the 2nd largest state and a still growing state while it can. A&M has a lot of other plusses that could make it a school to target. So would the B10 consider them without UT? If they were only looking to expand by one school then maybe not, but if they were to expand to 14 wouldn’t you want at least one school from Texas? Would A&M do this without UT?

    • M says:

      While we’re talking about interesting scenarios, what happens if the Big Ten invites A&M? Would the Texas politicians let them go without Texas? Would A&M insist that Texas comes along also? It would be a strange tactic, but who knows if it would work.

      • Richard says:

        Texas wouldn’t join only if they plan on being independent or to have their own network. If UT goes independent, the politicians won’t keep TAMU from jumping, but they’d likely go to the SEC (eventually; SEC TV deal may preclude them from joining soon). If UT plans to stay in a conference but to keep the TV revenue it’s programs generate, they’ll likely both stay in the Big12 (the Big12 would allow UT to do this because it’s a better alternative than letting them go and seeing the onference fall apart).

      • Gopher86 says:

        A&M politicians will see to it that Texas gets equal revenue to Texas A&M. None of them are going to allow Texas to get $10mm more a year than their beloved A&M.

        They’ll cry foul if they aren’t a package deal.

    • SH says:

      As a follow-up to my question on adding A&M alone, here are some numbers to ponder:
      – Huge total enrollment of about 48,000
      – A top 20 research university (recently, don’t know exact number)
      – Forbes rated in #18 in football brand value
      – Sells out stadium of 83,000
      – Tradition rich program – 12th man, thanksgiving game against UT
      – Texas has $25,000,000 people and growing (including 2 of the top ten TV markets). MD and MI have less than $6,000,000. Neb less than $2,000,000.

      So does the National brand for Neb trump the inclusion of the 2nd largest state? Would you want the flagship university in a state with only 6,000,000 which isn’t much of a football school, or a true football school in a state with 25,000,000. These should be questions the research group is looking at.

      I’m not advocating taking A&M alone, but putting the possibility out there. Texas could make the reasonable decision to not take any action, knowing it is still making money in the Big 12 and will likely have a spot in the B10 or P10 when and if it decides to move. Maybe they stand pat for now and explore the idea of going independent with its own network. Does having A&M in the B10 improve the chances of eventually recruiting UT?

      • Richard says:

        UT sees the SEC as a cesspool, but TAMU has no hangups about joining the SEC.

      • Art Vandelay says:

        I hope that by saying “MD and MI have less than $6,000,000″, you mean MD and MO have less than 6,000,000 people. Michigan’s population is closer to 10,000,000.

      • SH says:

        Yes, I was thinking dollars, but meant population. And obviously my postal code usage is not up to par as I meant MO (Missouri) and not MI (Michigan). That’s what I get when I don’t proofread my entries.

    • M (Ag) says:

      I’d hope A&M could get a Big 10 invite if Texas went independent, or if Texas ran to the PAC 10 with Colorado.

      However, if Texas stayed put and A&M got a Big 10 offer, I think it would be politically difficult for A&M to go alone (even though I’d support the decision). Everyone knows A&M would be the second choice, and that somewhere along the line Texas had to have told the Big 10 “we’re better off in the Big 10, thanks”. All of the politicians would say, “Texas did its calculations and decided the Big 12 was good for it, why are your calculations different?”

      This is in addition to the arguments Texas would face: “how will you leaving hurt the other Texas schools you leave behind?” At least on this argument A&M has an advantage in that their departure wouldn’t financially hurt Texas Tech and Baylor as much as Texas leaving.

      The first argument won’t apply if they go to the SEC, as everyone would understand that A&M would be putting aside the academic objections that Texas has.

      • I had never even thought of the scenario where Texas A&M would be invited by itself. Actually, despite my jokes, I really like what A&M brings to the table and I’ve got a number of friends who are Aggies. It’s just that it seemed to all hinge on Texas being involved, too. The fact that Texas would consider independence (not that I think that’s a legitimate option) is kind of why I think they would also work well as a lone geographic outlier in the Big Ten – they’re kind of a lone wolf in that regard. My perception of A&M (and you can tell me if I’m wrong) is that it puts a lot more weight on those secondary rivalries (i.e. Texas Tech) than Texas does, which is why it might be more unpalatable for the Aggies’ fan base to be a geographic outlier in the Big Ten (unless it’s the SEC). For all of the talk about other schools, Texas A&M does fit the academic profile of the Big Ten better than all of the other Big XII schools except for Texas itself.

      • m (Ag) says:

        On A&M’s secondary rivals:

        I think any Aggie will tell you we have one and only one rival. Of course, Texas fans might tell you they have no rivals, or they have 2 (A&M and OU), or they have 1 (and not necessarily agree which 1 it is).

        That said, Texas Tech has become rather passionate because, frankly, they have been better than us on the football field for awhile.

        As for the other Big 12 schools, I don’t think the school had any real rivalry with any of the non-Texas schools before the conference formed. They had played LSU non-conference quite often, but that ended around the time the Big 12 formed.

        I was a student at the end of the SWC and the beginning of the Big 12. Some people lamented the loss of the SWC, but people adapted pretty quickly to the new conference. It helped that K State, Colorado, and Nebraska were all national programs then.

        I think A&M would get used to the Big 10 pretty quickly as well, though coming with Texas would make it much easier. They’ll still play Arkansas at JerryWorld every year (a renewed rivalry), have the rivalry with Texas, and can schedule one or 2 non-conference games with other Texas schools.

        It would make it even easier if the Big 10 would win a national title or 2 in the next few years. Texas is football country; if a move was seen as a step up in football quality, it would be easier for casual fans to support.

  25. Rick says:

    Another point to consider. I agree that the NYC or Metro market is tough. They consider themselves a Pro Sports market. Ok, I buy that. But I also believe that midset goes a little further. I think the mindset is that the MYC/Metro mindset is that it is one of the biggest in the world, an elite market, one that can and will only embrace the elite and best from any type of sport. Why bother with anything else. It’s NY, only the best. Everything else is chump change. Well, this expansion of the Big Ten is not only about whether NY will embrace Rutgers and thereby enhance market penetration for the BTN and Rutgers, but whether NY will embrace the Big Ten. I think that given the Big Ten’s status, reputation, and due respect, both athletically and academically, it qualifies as the best of the best and part of the elite of all college sports. It thereby would qualify in the minds of the NY mindset as worthy of attention. The elite and best of markets accepting, and buying into the BTN on their cable channels at .50-1.10 a month, the elite and best of all college sports. A match made in the heaven of the elite and best. Rutgers to the Big Ten is the conduit for that great match makers dream. The Big Ten delivers the NY market, not just Rutgers as the isolated driver. It’s the Big Ten package that will crack the elite and sophisticated NY market. I think the Big Ten egos seriously think they can do it. I do too. BTW: I think this is also true for the DC market and would say Boston as well for those schools like Maryland and BC.

    • SH says:

      This is a good point, but I think Syracuse could deliver better than Rutgers simply because Syracuse is more elitist than Rutgers, not too mention its journalist/communications program. How many ESPN announcers went to Syracuse? What about producers who could drive stories? Always helps to have the self proclaimed world wide leader in your back pocket. Syracuse also has a much better national following than Rutgers. But your point is valid, for better or worse NY is the media capital of the world, so it makes sense to have one school that can possibly give you a footprint into the area.

      • Rick says:

        The problem with Syracuse is with some parts of the rest of the BT criteria such as the CIC and research collaboration. Yes they are AAU no they don’t bring any juice to the CIC and their football program, attendance, and surrounding population is a liability. Their football/basketball stadium is 50,000 and can never be bigger. The recent Rutgers stadium expansion to 53k was done with the capability to expand further. Probably up to 70k. In addition, the use of the new Giant Stadium in their back yard is a factor. Hey, why not both in a package that includes one of the following: Maryland, Missouri, or Nebraska. Or, If the Big Ten wants the two biggest options in terms of the markets of Texas and NY, why not Syracuse, Rutgers, and TAM? NY and Texas are the home run markets financially I think the Big Ten wants. TAM, Rutgers, Syracuse together bring it.

      • Richard says:

        Not sure why you’re so intent on excluding ND and UT. All we’ve heard so far is that Alvarez believes ND isn’t interested and UT wasn’t on some initial list. Nothing he said rules either of them out.

        In any case, I can see Rutgers along with ND and Nebraska. I can see Rutgers along with UT and TAMU. Hell, I can see Rutgers along with ND, Nebraska, UT, and TAMU. I can’t see Rutgers with 2 other schools that don’t include ND or UT.

      • Rick says:

        I’m not exluding ND or UT for any reason other than looking at scenarios without them. Taking what Alvarez said and looking at the chess moves given that scenario. I for one think going to 16 with UT, aTm, Maryland, Rutgers, and Notre Dame is the best scenario for a financial bonanza that they are seeking. Without ND then with Syracuse. I think ND is absolutely crazy to look at the landscape of the BT at 16, the Pac 10 at 16, and the SEC and ACC adding again and want to stay independent. That’s nuts. Someone help me understand ND wanting to stay independent. Please help me grasp this. I may be ignorant but I’m not stupid.

      • SH says:

        Obviously, ND and UT are the top prize, I think the discussion is just what if they don’t jump. Is A&M a worthy selection on its own merit with the premise that it gives the B10 a footprint in Texas – a big footprint.

        Regarding ND, my question is why would the BCS continue to include them. I know they reduced their potential payout, but why include them at all. The only reason you would want them is if they were No. 1 or 2 and you needed them in the national title game, but that doesn’t look probable anymore. So why should a 2-loss ND ranked No. 14 take up a BCS spot. Wouldn’t it make more sense to give such a spot to a mid-tier conference to try to minimize the threat of antitrust hearings in Congress. Would the BCS receive less money in a bid that didn’t include ND?

      • Richard says:

        The only reason ND is staying independent is because they fear the backlash from their alumni (and millions in withheld donations) if they join a conference. Does it make sense to you or me? No, but that’s the way they are.

      • Gopher86 says:

        @Richard

        Notre Dame stays independent so that they can play a national schedule. It considers itself a national brand and does what it can to play all over the country. Joining a conference means that they become more regional.

        I recently read Lou Holtz’ autobiography. He said the first day on the job the athletic director sat him down and said (paraphrase) ‘We’re Notre Dame, you will play the hardest schedule in the country every year, you won’t redshirt anybody and you are forbidden from offering a student that hasn’t been cleared by admissions first.’

        Their mission statement is as follows: “The University seeks to cultivate in its students not only an appreciation for the great achievements of human beings, but also a disciplined sensibility to the poverty, injustice, and oppression that burden the lives of so many. The aim is to create a sense of human solidarity and concern for the common good that will bear fruit as learning becomes service to justice.”

        When Mike Golic (ND football Alum) was asked if he’d rather ND lower admissions standards or win more football games, he favored the former. It’s just a different culture.

        Notre Dame is an independent, because they like having freedom in their scheduling and the ability to play by their own set of ethics. I’m not saying it’s smart, but it’s the way their administration and many alums view their program.

      • Richard says:

        ….and they play a national schedule, stick to their admissions requirements, blah, blah, blah….because they fear an alumni backlash if they don’t. In the end, it comes down to money, and they could lose a substantial amount in alumni donations if they join a conference and don’t handle it right.

  26. Straight Talk Hawk says:

    The Big UnTENable Conference (BUC)!

    It looks like a mega-conference is on the way, so I tried to come up with a name for the new Big 10 to 16 Conference. I have seen many writers and fans say that a conference over 12 teams is unwieldy, so that is a factor in naming the conference. The driving force is money (bucks). The “TEN” has been in the name and it should continue to be that way. I like it a lot!

  27. Rick says:

    The bottom line for me, if I were the Big Ten, I would want to leverage my money, power, prestige, reputation, and all egos and shoot for the big enchilada and wrap up the state of Texas and the NY to DC corridor and make the pitch for going to 16, begin the “Super Conference” tidal wave, and add Texas, TAM, Maryland, Rutgers, and Syracuse. Now that is money.

  28. Mike B. says:

    Hearing lots of chatter today from Texas sources that the Pac10 is making a strong play for UT Austin. Could involve the Pac10 expanding to 16 teams.

    • Richard says:

      16 actually would be easier for the Pac10 than 12, because the Northwest schools wouldn’t have to give up their precious annual trips to SoCal. The hard part would be convincing the Arizona schools to play a bunch of Big12 schools (possible if UT & TAMU are part of the deal).

      Texas may be out of the question in that case, especially if the Pac10 allows unequal revenue sharing of their new cable channel.

      I’d still like the Big10 to grab Nebraska (and ND along with Rutgers) in that case.

      • Mike B. says:

        But what if the Pac16 allows UT to keep all revenue from Longhorn Sports Network? LSN doesn’t have to make much for it to be more than 1/12th of the BTN number.

      • Richard says:

        I certainly think that a 16-school Pac16 with UT and Oklahoma together with USC and the rest of the original Pac10 can create a cable channel as lucrative as the BTN is now. However, if the Big10 added Texas (and especially if they get ND as well), they’d be a juggernaut. You’d have to add together all the rest of college football to get a TV deal as the Big10 in that case.

        Could a Pac16 TV deal + the LSN equal 1/12 (or 1/14) of the Big10+Texas? Possibly/probably. However, there’s more risk in going that route. They might still do it, though. What makes this scenario pass the smell test is that adding 6 teams may very well be more acceptable to the Pac10 members than adding 2 teams.

      • Richard says:

        Thinking of this further, if the Pac10 makes a play for Texas going to 16, the Big10 could get pissed off enough to go after the 4 California schools of the Pac10. Remember that the Pac10 is also top-heavy like the Big12. The main difference is that the Pac10 has been together longer and is more geographically isolated. It’d be interesting whether the Cali schools would go for it. From a purely financial and academic perspective, the Big10/CIC+4 Cali schools > Pac16 (including Texas) in a pretty big way (especially if the Big10 gets ND as the 16th school). Culturally, while the Cali schools want to play each other, I’m not sure they really care much about giving up games against the Northwest or Arizona schools, and NorthCal is actually culurally quite close to the Midwest (SF was originally settled by Midwesterners; back in the ’30’s, the SF accent was identical to the Chicago accent, and there’s a large Big10 population in NorthCal thanks to all the engineers the Big10 schools send to Silicon Valley). Travel would be a concern, since, while Pac10 teams already are use to long travel distances, they’d travel longer to the Midwest, and they may not want to give up the tradition. Still, those schools on the West Coast have always wanted a national stage, and there’s no better way to get it than joining the Big10. If the Pac10 became the Pac16, the majority of the country who live east of the Mississippi still wouldn’t care unless it’s USC vs. Texas or USC vs. Oklahoma. Join the Big10, though, and most games between a Cali school and a Midwestern power would be a national event (due to the fact that the Big10 sends its alums everywhere in the country).

  29. arby says:

    I think a strong case can be made that the biggest TV draw in metro NY hasn’t changed in the last 4 decades and it’s still . . . Penn State. As a private school from upstate NY, I don’t see Syracuse having a large enough fan base to consistently drive ratings. Unless Rutgers or UConn can leverage their state flagship status to become big-time “local” football programs, I’m not convinced either school adds massively to Big 10’s existing footprint in that region. How many additional folks will tune in to see a good Rutgers team play Iowa than would watch Penn State playing Wisconsin?

    • Rick says:

      Last time I checked I couldn’t find the Big Ten footprint in the NY market cable offerings to watch the biggest TV draw in NY (PSU) play Wisconsin. If anything the biggest draw in NY is not PSU but Notre Dame by far.

      • Rick says:

        If the Big Ten really wants the NY and Texas market as the prize (and DC in wrapping up the NY to DC corridor) and plays ball with the Pac 10 in carving out 2 16 team conferences, then Pac 10 (16) with aTm, Missouri. Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, and Utah in the deal and a Big Ten of Texas, ND, Rutgers, Syracuse, and Maryland to get to 16 is a home run

      • Richard says:

        Er? The northeast (outside of Boston) consistently gets the Big10 game during ABC’s 3:30 slot. The BTN is now carried on several cable networks in greater New York as well (and has always been on Dish and DirectTV).

      • Rick says:

        Richard, you are right. The BTN is offered on Cablevision in the NY Metro area thru their Otimum IO Sports Pack for $6.00 a month. My mistake in not stating that I could not find it, the Big Ten Network, on the NY area, non-premium, basic cable channel offerings. I was not referring to Network programming like ABC etc. or Dish/Direct TV or premium packages like IO TV Sports Pack. Only the BT Network on basic cable. I stand corrected.

      • Rick says:

        BTN also available here in CT on Comcast as a premium sports pack. Not basic.

  30. Playoffs Now! says:

    2 things:

    1) Texas going independent is just talk, it would be the dumbest thing that they could do. They don’t have a national following like ND. Best revenue right now, but being at the top of the list is not the same as being at the level above necessary to make it alone (ND only gets away with it because of a unique circumstance.) What happens when Texas again goes through a dry spell? And a UT cable channel is just a niche wannabe, just another Speedweek bracketed by home shopping and televangelism channels.

    2) I have a hard time envisioning how the PT offers UT anywhere close to a total advantage over the BT. Maybe a couple more good weather games and vacation destinations (though a 39 degree rain in Oregon can be worse than a subfreezing game in November.) Overall travel is worse, time zone issues, I can’t see how revenue issues swing in the Pac 10 issues, and recruiting is a bigger risk. UT is usually going to win the argument of “Would you rather play in warm Austin with Texas babes or spend all winter in MN/WI/MI/OH.” But not so much when competing with LA, the Bay Area, or Seattle. AZ schools may be a wash, too. Maintaining UT’s status quo is probably easier in the BT.

    Now what might change the equation is if the PT and BT are serious about going all out to 16-team super conferences, because it is harder to make that work without UT and aTm going to the PT. The PT’s probably wish list is UT, aTm, Utah, CO, NE, and KS. But if the Texas pair goes BT, who does the PT get instead? BYU is unlikely for ‘cultural’ reasons, perhaps OU but I can’t see those barefoot perpetual cheats getting a unanimous vote, several others would water the conference down academically (though they did take the AZ schools) so then is it IA St. and MO? Not what Mizzou had in mind, but if the BT also grabs ND and a couple of eastern markets it makes some sense.

    But still, this is why I think it will probably be a bridge too far to slim down to 16 super conferences. 5 or 6 maxed out at 12 or 14 seems more likely this go round.

    • Jake says:

      Why should the Big Ten and UT care about what happens to the Pac-10? Beyond having someone to play in the Rose Bowl, the Big Ten couldn’t care less about that league’s membership. Conference expansion and realignment isn’t a draft – they won’t take turns carving up the Big 12. The Big Ten will take whatever and however many they want, and the other conferences will fight for the leftovers.

    • SH says:

      The B10 and the P10 do have a long standing partnership as co-owners of the Rose Bowl. That is a precious commodity that they both own. In addition, I’m sure they see the each others as somewhat equals in the academic area – compared to the B12 and SEC. I think the B10 and the P10 could have mutual interest in what the other is doing. I do not think it would necessarily drive any decision.

      But in the end, the power conferences will need each other to maintain a hold over the BCS and the FBS in general. I believe the B10 and the P10 are often aligned when it comes to all matters BCS, primarily due to the Rose Bowl. It is in their best interest to keep this alignment. The SEC and ACC may start aligning themselves since they are in the same regions and many states split conferences. If we continue toward a path of conference consolidation, the balance of power may always rest with an aligned B10 and P10.

    • M (Ag) says:

      The thing about Texas having its own cable station is that it would make most of its money by being on basic cable everywhere in the state of Texas. This would be true even in the down years.

      Some of the things the Pac 10 offer Texas:
      1) a region that will grow more than the midwest (though the midwest will still be bigger)
      2) the ability to add more teams from Texas’ region. We don’t think the Big 10 are going up to 16 (at least now); if they do, at least some of the new schools will probably be on the East Coast.
      However, as others have noted, it might be easier for the Pac 10 to add 6 schools than 2. In this case, surely the Pac 10 would let Texas help pick the 5 other schools.
      When bringing issues to the legislature, public schools often come together. What if Texas decides it will make future political battles easier if they keep Texas Tech in conference? Then the Big 10 would likely be out of the running, but the Pac 10 probably accommodates.
      3) more cultural affinity with California and Arizona than the midwest.
      4) better climate for warm weather sports like baseball.

      Now the money and the academics still favor the Big 10. And for university administrators, money and academics are generally the most important things.

  31. eb2 says:

    I think it might be smart to look into adding Rice as well as TAMU to entice Texas into making the move. Distance seems to be the main issue with bringing Texas to the Big 10. With 3 Texas teams, and the Red River Shootout with Oklahoma (Which will never go away, if you’ve been you know why) Texas would only be playing one fewer game against in-state conference rivals, essentially replacing trips to Waco and Lubbock with a trip to Houston. It would not be hard to see UT adding Baylor as a permanent whipping boy game, similar to what we do with Rice now, heck we could even play Tech yearly for a few years just to keep the in-state rivalry alive, or alternate with UTEP to keep that west texas presence, or rotate among Texas market football teams like SMU, TCU, and Houston.

    That would mean 4 conference in-state games, and 4 non conference in state games each year. That leaves 4 in conference out of state games each year. Essentially replacing trips to the northern big 12 with trips to the Big 10, which would get much more play nationally without making a big difference in travel. Really, when was the last time an Alumni of Texas set foot in Ames IA or Manhattan KS?

    Also there would be no more need for trips to Wyoming or anywhere else to schedule creampuffs,there are plenty of in state schools who would be more suitable matches than the current sorry out of conference lineup. (TCU, Texas Tech, Baylor, UTEP, Houston, SMU). Theoretically Texas schedule could consist of

    TEXAS SCHEDULE:

    OOC

    Baylor
    TXTech
    Oklahoma (in Dallas)
    TCU/UTEP/SMU/Houston

    In Conference

    TAMU
    RICE
    Illinios
    Minnesota
    Northwestern
    Iowa
    Michigan/Ohio St/Penn St
    Michigan StateIndiana/Perdue/Northwestern

    That’s only 3 games in a given year that any Texas Team would have to play road games outside of the state of Texas. (This is assuming that the B10 sticks with the 8 game conference schedule, for 9 game just add 1 more road game in alternating years.)

    Rice certainly fits the academic standards of the big 10 and CIC. I am sure that the Big 10 wouldn’t mind a scouting trip to Houston (a super rich recruiting area) every few years to take on a mediocre at best football team in a top 5 TV market.

    This would also be difficult for the Texas Politicians to gripe about. Bringing in Rice allows for Houston politicians who are otherwise unaffiliated to go with the helping the regional economy argument.

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      As a Rice alum I can assure you that this will never happen. Sure, we have 72k seat stadium, but 30k are covered in tarps so we can claim it’s only 40k. And we still only draw 10-15k per game. And our football program is stronger than our basketball. Of course, we WOULD win the B10 baseball title every other year…

      The only way Rice gets invited to the party is if we drop to D3 and come in as a southern counterpart to Chicago. That would appeal to some here.

  32. SH says:

    Since this is Frank’s blog and he created the index, I ran my own subjective numbers through his criteria and conclude that A&M is near Nebraska and Syracuse.

    Academics – 25 (I think A&M has it – using Frank’s all or nothing score)
    TV Value – 20 (I think it could deliver the Texas market for B10, but does not have the national following to get the full 25 points.
    FBV – 25 (long history of selling out 80,000 seat stadium, travels fairly well, fans are very passionate about football – although this downturn has not helped)
    BBV – 3 points (not great here, but I think in line with Frank’s scores from other schools).
    Historic Rivalries/Cultural Fit – 3 points. No HR but A&M fits in culturally with the land grant schools of the Big 10.
    Mutual Interest – 3. Same as Texas, fans may prefer SEC, but thinking like a president, would probably prefer B10.

    Total = 79

    Not bad. Again, not advocating per se, just making the argument that on its own A&M is worthy of consideration in the group of schools immediately behind ND and UT.

  33. Vincent says:

    Rick’s suggestion of a 16-team Big Ten, adding Maryland, Rutgers, Syracuse, Texas A&M and Texas would give the conference the NY to DC corridor and the state of Texas as well.

    If the Pac-10 beat the Big Ten to the punch of A&M and Texas, substitute Missouri and Nebraska on the western flank.

    • Rick says:

      I would swap out ND for Syracuse and it’s a deal

    • Richard says:

      Hell, if we’re taking Maryland, why not Virginia as well? They’re more mid-Atlantic than Southern these days, and money & cents may win them over the basketball tradition they have with the NC schools.
      My ideal (if no Texas schools): ND, Nebraska, Rutgers, Maryland, Virginia. That way, the (non-ND) Indiana schools won’t be split between divisions either, ND gets all the East Coast exposure it wants, and the midwestern trio of ND, OSU, and Michigan get exposure to at least some southern recruiting grounds.

      • Rick says:

        I like it. Do you think 16 is an actual possible option that will be considered? I suppose it will if there is some real due diligence done. Given the alumni push back, does ND seriously consider the BT option? The monster money involved will dwarf staying independent and probably offset lost donations as well to a certain extent. I just don’t have a good feel for the Notre Dame mindset here in the East other than there is a tremendous following in NYMetro.

      • Richard says:

        It all depends on whether the Pac10 takes Texas and expands to 16 teams or not. If that falls through, and the Big10 gets Texas, it probably wouldn’t feel the pressure to expand to 16.

        Then again, ND may demand the addition of at least 1 Eastern team, and maybe more, as you know how much they love to play in New York.

  34. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by frankthetank111: New blog post on the Big Ten’s “initial list” of 15 schools for expansion: http://tiny.cc/vw5xs

  35. Justin says:

    IMO, if Texas went to the PAC 10, it makes sense to go to sixteen teams if we could take over the Eastern seaboard.

    Invite Syracuse, Uconn, Pitt, Rutgers and Maryland.

    Those five schools in conjunction with Penn State would create a dominant sixteen conference that would basically control the TV markets from the Eastern corridor through the midwest.

    The division breakdown

    East
    Syracuse
    Uconn
    Rutgers
    Penn State
    Pitt
    Maryland
    Indiana
    Purdue

    West
    Michigan
    Michigan State
    Ohio State
    Iowa
    Illinois
    Northwestern
    Minnesota
    Wisconsin

    • Rick says:

      drop UConn and add ND and this dog hunts

    • Richard says:

      You also don’t need Pitt.

      I think any sort of East Coast plan requires ND.

      • Rick says:

        East:
        Notre Dame
        Michigan State
        Purdue
        Indiana
        Penn State
        Rutgers
        Syracuse
        Maryland

        West
        Ohio State
        Michigan
        Wisconsin
        Iowa
        Minnesota
        Northwestern
        Illinois
        Nebraska

      • Jeepers says:

        I’d like to see Syracuse and Pitt stay together. Yes, Pitt doesn’t bring any new market blah blah blah, but with the right large expansion, I think you can take a hit in that department for the sake of fit.

        I can’t see a raid of 3 conferences, plus an independent.

    • Jake says:

      Yep, that’s a lot of redundancy in the NY area. I think you’re better off going after Miami or some other ACC schools further South. They might be hard to pry away at first, but add Texas and let them witness the revenue-generating power of the fully armed and operational Big T1e2n for a couple of years, and you won’t even have to ask. ND, Miami, whoever will come begging for a seat at the table.

    • Rick says:

      East
      Notre Dame
      Michigan State
      Indiana
      Purdue
      Penn State
      Rutgers
      Syracuse
      Maryland

      West
      Ohio State
      Michigan
      Wisconsin
      Illinois
      Minnesota
      Iowa
      Northwestern
      Nebraska

  36. Jeremy says:

    Without Texas or Notre Dame the other candidates have “holes.” Research is not a bad thing. If you can look at all demographics, the ecmonomy, level of intrest, if at team can repair a football or basketball program, or fix certain academic programs. Assuming the Big Ten want a school that reaches their requirements, maybe just take team like Pitt and wait a couple years to see the big IFs in these schools.

  37. glenn says:

    a&m has ‘long history of selling out 80,000 seat stadium’?

    not even close. a&m borrowed money to expand a stadium it only filled a couple of times each year as it was. considerable component to their present financial woes.

    • Tyler says:

      A&M’s average attendance the last three years:

      2007: 82,208
      2008: 82,193
      2009: 76,800

      The biggest issue in these averages has been the nonconference attendance (which is usually between 73-77K).

      • glenn says:

        i’m neck deep in something and don’t have time to beat this to death. i did check attendance figures for the recent season, though.

        ‘long history of selling out’. now you say out of conference games don’t count. ok, let’s look at a&m conference game attendance figures this year:

        76,153 okla state
        72,530 iowa state
        82,106 baylor
        84,671 texas

        conference avg attendance: 78,865

        stated seating capacity: 82,600

        attendance includes everyone at the game, including officials, vendors, etc. so for a sold-out game, attendance will be larger than the stadium seating capacity.

        only one conference game this year exceeded seating capacity. so it only ‘filled’ once this year. that’s what i am talking about.

        don’t claim ‘long history of selling out’. it damages your credibility on things you can rightfully claim.

        now, for real sellouts, let’s look at texas this year.

        seating capacity: 100,119

        101,096 univ louisiana – monroe
        101,297 tech
        101,144 utep
        101,152 colorado
        101,003 ucf
        101,357 kansas

        avg, including out of conference opponents, was 101,174. that is selling out a stadium.

        and that includes a goofy season for ooc games. two teams, utah and arkansas, reneged for different reasons, so we sold out every game with a weak ooc slate.

        a&m ooc attendance this year?

        73,887 new mexico
        73,599 utah state
        74,656 uab

        avg attendance 74,047, which is between 73,000 and 77,000.

    • m (Ag) says:

      While they haven’t sold out, they are doing fairly well. I scanned the ESPN college blogs today and they pointed to 2 different reports for 2009 attendance figures. While there were slight differences between the 2 lists, both had Texas A&M at 16th in the country with an average attendance of 76,800.

      Using the list that I linked to in my name, here here are the current and possibly future Big 10 schools who rank in the top 25 attendance:

      1.Michigan (108,933 average)
      2.Penn State (101,175)
      3.Ohio State (105,261)
      4.Texas (101,175)
      10.Nebraska (85,888)
      14.Notre Dame (80,795)
      15.Wisconsin (80,109)
      16.Texas A&M (76,800)
      18.Michigan State (74,741)
      19.Florida State (74,345)
      21.Iowa (70,214)

      So even if the Big 10 were to add Texas and Nebraska or Notre Dame with Texas A&M, Texas A&M would still be 7th out of 14 schools in average attendance. Not bad for a school that had a good season in a while.

      • glenn says:

        that is a lot of tickets, so i retract my comment about it being a hefty component in your financial situation. just not as helpful as it might be.

        and definitely is not really selling out the stadium. people who know better become suspicious of everything you say if you say that. say long history of top 20 or so in attendance. that’s plenty impressive in my book.

      • SH says:

        Glenn, I’ll own up to the long history of selling out statement – since it was mine. I think m (Ag) stated my point better than I did obviously. My point being that A&M has a big stadium and typically fills it. I did this to support my underlying argument that A&M is a well supported football program in connection with its Football Brand Value. This was done on my part to try to give a score to A&M using Frank’s index.

        Again, I am not claimng that A&M is a better candidate than UT, just that I think A&M on its own offers a lot to the Big 10. And using Frank’s index is on par with Neb and Syracuse – at least from my subjective scoring numbers.

        Perhaps m (Ag) can chime in, but A&M I believe did have a long run of sell outs, up until the end of the Franchione era which has set back the school. However, there non sell outs are near misses in that in general they are at 95% above capacity.

      • m (Ag) says:

        Using the Kyle field webpage, which hasn’t been updated with the attendance for the last 2 years:

        Apparently the expansion was finished during the 1999 season. The lowest average attendance since then was 74,498 in 2004. With that attendance, they would have fallen just behind Michigan State, but remained ahead of Florida State and Iowa in the chart I listed above.

        It doesn’t look like they’ve completely sold out often, as the 1999-2007 average looks to be a bit more than 77,000 (I say without actually doing any math); pretty much where they were this year.

      • glenn says:

        sh, there is no question that a&m has a loyal and fervent following. i’m just saying be careful not to say something that someone can check on and refute.

        several of the big ten schools routinely sell out their stadiums and have to turn people away. every nearby intersection probably has a number of people walking around holding fingers in the air showing how many tickets they have for sale, if you have the money.

        these guys don’t look at your numbers and say ‘sell out’. strong support, yes, but not a ‘sell out’.

        they understand that college station/bryan is not a city and that there is no large permanent collection of fans like austin and several of the big ten cities. they also probably don’t care whether you sell out. if you make the point that lots of ags can’t get to college station for the game, BUT WATCH IT ON TV, they probably like the sound of that.

        : )

  38. glenn says:

    i do agree with the various people who believe that bringing in both texas and a&m would really deliver the texas market. no doubt texas has the larger share, but by how much i don’t know. the aggies have not been good to make the trip to kyle field, but there are a lot of aggie tv sets.

  39. glenn says:

    intesting what you said about the sooners, but there is more to the oklahoma question than academic fit.

    let me share an anecdote.

    in – i believe it was – bob stoops’ first year at ou, which – here again, i believe – was mack brown’s second at texas, ou was coming off the better part of a decade of miserable football, and stoops had not yet got ou pointed in the direction they soon went. the first quarter was very troublesome for texas and the sooners roared out to something like a 17-0 lead by partway through the second quarter. the horns got it worked out and won the game handily, but what was interesting was how the sooner faithful handled the tantalizing start.

    did they experience renewed hope, realizing that their staff and players were savvy enough and promising enough to have a pretty decent texas team on its heels for a considerable part of the game? not at all. the big story repeated over and again on the ou boards was one of connivance.

    the tale said that an ou player or staff member dropped a wrist band where it would surely be found by a longhorn. it appeared to be the plays scripted to start the game. and sure enough, the opening plays followed the ‘script’. the texas coaching staff, now supposedly in possession of the wrist band, ran a defense tailored to stop each play. at a key moment, the sooners broke from the ‘script’ and caught the horn defense flatfooted. they howled with glee on those boards at the thought of their cunning tricksters.

    of course, one unexpected play doesn’t usually result in a 17-point lead, but who’s counting, huh? the point here is that those people would much prefer to be sneaky and conniving than to be genuinely good.

    sooners don’t fit in the big ten for a variety of reasons.

    • NOTglenn says:

      I think glenn wins the award for “most imaginative” here. Please tell me, did they fax Texas their entire game plan the next year so that they could win 63-14?

  40. [...] List of 15 Big Ten “Candidates” is Who May Come With Texas or Notre Dame (not Instead o… Lots of people have been discussing in the comments section on the “Template for Shooting Down Any Argument [...] [...]

  41. glenn says:

    i read exactly what i report.

  42. Richard says:

    Frank’s tweet about the “diabolical” plan he heard (of adding ND UT, TAMU along with UCLA & USC) got me thinking of a more realistic diabolical plan. The SoCal schools would never leave their NorthCal partners, even if something could be done about the travel distance. However, there’s a southern section of another conference that brings in about as much money as the Pac10 right now and which is closer to the Big10: The ACC.

    Imagine a southern division of the Big10 with FSU, Miami, UT, TAMU, IL, NU, IN, and Purdue (ND in the north with the rest). I think the Big10 may have to try to land 2 of the Florida schools to get Texas. Otherwise, they may go for the Pac16 idea, which would produce as much money as the BTN does now. Though they may get a little more with equal sharing of the BTN if they join the Big10, they would be in a conference & division where everyone except TAMU are in the frozen north. Get 2 of the 3 big Florida schools, though, and they’d get to recruit in a fertile area, not just opening up their own fertile recruiting grounds to the Big10 (plus this would surely get ND). What’s in it for the Florida schools? For the ACC pair, a lot more money, a boost on the academic side, and better visibility on TV. The Florida pair may even be UF & FSU instead of FSU & Miami. People think Florida would never leave the SEC, but if you compare the SEC’s 15-year-long fixed-rate TV deal with what the BTN (and new Big10 national TV deal) could produce with games like OSU vs. Texas, PSU vs. ND, and FSU vs. Michigan every week, the Big10 would blow everyone else away, especially in 5-10 years, when the bulked up BTN and national TV deal could very well be generating $30M+ per school a year compared to the SEC still being stuck at $17M per school annually. Plus, I believe Florida really wants to upgrade its academic reputation, and being in the same conference as Alabama and Miss St. doesn’t really help that aspect.

    Why a pair of Florida schools? To give them a partner in crime, plus, this way, they’d get another conference game in Florida as well.

    Finally, this plan would permanently put the Big10 on the top in terms of money, following, and prestige. The SEC could add Oklahoma, but that would only close the gap slightly, and there’s no way you can even combine conferences together to get close to the revamped Big10.

    If you think strategically (about maintaining the Big10’s current position on the top of the heap), getting Texas is of paramount importance, and the Pac16 plan is the biggest threat. This plan is the only one that would blow that one away and leave Texas with no other defensible choice.

    • Jake says:

      I would think Florida and Miami would be the more attractive pair. Academics are still a factor here, and FSU doesn’t quite meet the standard. Florida is AAU and tied with UT and PSU in the USN&WR rankings at 47; Miami is ranked just a bit behind UF at 50, but isn’t AAU; and FSU is further down the rankings at 102 and isn’t AAU. As far as drawing an audience for football, I feel like FSU and Miami are about even, nationally. FSU it seems like draws a better crowd to games.

      • Richard says:

        I thought of that, but Florida simply isn’t going to play both FSU and Georgia out of conference, and it won’t (can’t, in the case of FSU, due to the legislature) give up those 2 rivalry games.

    • Dcphx says:

      I think you’ve jumped the shark here.

    • m (Ag) says:

      If we’re talking about this fantasy league, let’s adapt the ‘pod’ idea mentioned on other comment lists:

      North Pod – Penn St, Michigan St, Michigan, Ohio St
      South Pod – Texas, A&M, Florida State, Miami
      West Pod – Iowa, Wisconsin, Minn, TBD*
      East Pod – Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Northwestern

      (*note- while Missouri and Nebraska are natural fits here, this team doesn’t have to be geographically in the ‘west’. The pod setup is only to set up permanent rivals. I also think ND’s national appeal is declining. Since the Big 10 already owns the region I wouldn’t have them high on my list for this spot. I’d prefer to get a new state with a school from the ACC, Big 12, or Big East)

      Rules:
      -every school plays the teams in its pod every year
      -the teams in the South spend the last 5 weeks of the season (including Thanksgiving week) playing the 3 teams in their pod + 1 bye + 1 non-conference game. Thus they can’t complain about having to play in the snow.
      -For the first 2 years you form the Northwest division (N+W pods) and the Southeast division (S+E pods.
      -The second 2 years you have the Northeast division and the Southwest division.
      -Everyone plays 7 division games + 2 cross-divisional games, for 9 total conference games. Each North pod team plays 2 teams from the South for the first 2 years; they then play the 2 schools they missed in the second 2 years. Similarly, the East and West pods play their 2 cross-divisional games against each other.
      The net effect of this is that you play everyone in the conference once home and away every 4 years.
      -Obviously, South pod teams get to host night games in November
      -Florida State is only given provisional membership. After 5 years, they must reach certain academic benchmarks. After 10 years, they must reach ‘normal’ Big 10 academic standards (they must be academically equal to the worst big 10 member). As soon as those standards are met they receive full CIC membership and permanent Big 10 membership.
      Thus, they will be encouraged to funnel some of the extra money they get from Big 10 membership to their academics for the first decade. This makes it really hard for the faculty to say no.

      • Richard says:

        Sure, we’ll plug in Nebraska in the West*

        *(technically speaking, the “North” pod is more East and the “East” pod is more Central).

  43. Vincent says:

    If Virginia became a serious Big Ten contender (if only to get back at state politicos for shoehorning the Gobblers into the ACC, thus weakening UVa’s status relative to Tech, I would think Maryland would be obliged to tag along, so as not to be weakened in recruiting against the Cavs.

    It shuld also be noted that C.D. Mote is retiring as UMd president effective Aug. 31 (he’s 73). I have no idea whom his successor might be, but there could be some ramifications regarding a conference switch. The advantages of Big Ten membership are many, but there are an awful lot of Terp fans obsessed with basketball games vs. Duke and UNC, and even keeping them as nonconference games might not placate some people.

    • SH says:

      I wouldn’t expect UVA to be a serious contender on any expansion list. UVA has a lot of positives: a top public university, large amount of research, great graduate programs, respectable atheletic program (though not that great recently in Fball or Bball), flagship university for state, and local ties to DC market. However, it has been associated with the ACC for over 50 years basically since the ACC’s inception, it is really a small school student wize with around 13,000 undergraduate, its footprint is relatively limited.

      If simply compared to MD, I think UVA offers more long term benefits to the B10. But then again, I don’t think MD or UVA are truly compelling candidates for the Big 10 unless it truly wanted an east coast presence that could try to bring in the DC market.

  44. Theta says:

    Frank, check out Chip Brown’s interview with Big 12 Commish Dan Beebe on Orangebloods.com. It is pinned at the top in the message board.

  45. This “PAC 16 threat” you speak of is impossible. Since the PAC 10 requires a unanimous vote for any new member, finding not 2, not 4, but 6!!! candidates to add all at once is preposterous. Even if the new PAC 10 commish can convince the Uni Presidents of the financial windfall in expansion, they’d change so drastically and so severely that the PAC10 would hardly resemble the PAC10 at all. The Big 10 adding 3–which is what most around here are talking about–is about a 25% change to the conference. The PAC10 adding 6 would be a 60% change to the conference. That’s enormous! Would the current conference be willing to make such a radical makeover–adding Texas, aTM, Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas–just for money?

    • Richard says:

      Just because you can’t imagine it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. A Pac16 actually changes very little for 8 of the existing 10 members (in football). The old Pac8 schools would still play each other, and I doubt playing the Arizona schools is so important to them to money doesn’t trump it. The big change would be for the Arizona schools, but they may not mind playing in Texas every year instead of California (lots of Texas transplants in Arizona, and culturally, they’re closer to Texas).

      I doubt many fans could imagine the Big8 expanding by 50%, but they did, and now no one thinks it’s ridiculous that 4 Texas schools were bolted on to a Midwestern conference.

      • Jake says:

        Where did this Pac-16 idea come from? Was something said by anyone in the Pac-10 that indicated they might be looking at adding more than two schools, or is this all just speculation?

      • Richard says:

        Woodward also talked about expansion and said the Pac-10 and the Big Ten have reached out to officials at Texas and Texas A&M. “I’d be surprised if our office is not in contact with them,” he said. “I’m sure those conversations have happened and are taking place.”

        When asked if the league might expand beyond two teams, Woodward said that’s a possibility. “It could be two, four or a merger of Big 12. … There’s a theory that at the end of the day there’s only going to be four super conferences. Now that it’s going to look like, God only knows.”

  46. Playoffs Now! says:

    Eh, very little is completely off the table at this stage. If the Big 10 (sic) and Pac 10 really are willing to consider going to 14 or 16 teams then it is a possibility that they and a majority of Big 12 schools could agree to split much of the conference. I could see CO, NE, KS, IA St, MO, UT, and aTm agreeing among themselves on a split. Far more likely that they wouldn’t be able to agree, but it is possible. If 7 of the 12 teams agree to dissolve the conference, could they eliminate or modify the withdrawal payments? What if they could get the SEC to take OU and OK St, that gets to 9 votes? Laugh about IA St, but their academics are sound. What if they reach an agreement to bring in replacements like Utah, BYU, and TCU into the Big 12 that retains the BCS Auto-qualifier, thus quieting some of the heavier Congressional critics who could throw a monkey wrench into expansion plans?

    Probable? Of course not. But also possible that some of that could occur.

  47. Richard says:

    While I’m on the idea of a crazy-big 16 team Big10 conference, let’s consider nabbing the heart of the ACC:
    Maryland, Virgina, Duke, and UNC (+ ND).

    Cons:
    1. The biggest problem is that you’d likely encounter resistance in the state legislatures of both Virginia & NC.
    2. The footprint of all 3 states added together equals that of Texas, except you need to add 4 schools instead of 2.

    Pros:
    1. The heart of the ACC is closer to and contiguous to the Big10. That helps for travel reasons, but maybe as important for research funding reasons. It’ll be easier for people & companies in NC and Virginia to consider themselves “Big10 people” in a decade than it ever will to convert Texans.
    2. These schools will be more loyal than Texas; none of them can throw their weight around the way Texas can, and would be more likely to share an all-for-one, one-for-all spirit than Texas (which will always be on the lookout for itself, solely, regardless of what conference it’s in).
    3. They’re a great academic, research, and cultural fit. The Big10 would be a collection of almost all the best DivI-A research universities east of the Mississippi. Culturally, due to the massive influx of northerners in to NoVa and the Research Triangle & Charlotte, NC and Virginia are more mid-Atlantic now than southern (like Penn and Maryland).
    4. Those 4 schools get to keep their basketball rivalries with each other. Almost all basketball rivalries for them will be kept intact. The only home-and-away basketball rivalries that would be lost would be UNC-NCState (and UVA-VTech, but I don’t think they care about that one).

    It’d be pretty funny if this was what Delany & company had been planning all along.

    • glenn says:

      boy, the proponents are hitting the net.

      “more loyal than Texas”

      you don’t understand texas. texas has never been in a conference where it didn’t need to keep its hand on its wallet. let’s see how loyal texas is in a cooperative environment.

    • Richard says:

      Yeah, he’s been stating that the future is 4 16-team superconferences for years. His details are off (no one’s going to want Hawaii, the Big10 isn’t going to lose any of the Big East schools to the ACC if they truly want them, and he had Texas going to the SEC even though he himself reported that Texas never had interest in the SEC when the SWC was breaking up), but his general idea is on.

      I’m not even sure there will be _4_ superconferences. If the Pac10 can pull off the Pac16, the Big10 and SEC may very well split up the ACC between them.

  48. Playoffs Now! says:

    I dunno, after sleeping on it and learning a few other things, I think Texas may be more likely to end up in the Pac 12. The Pac 10 hired one of the guys who created the BT Network. Say their offer to Texas is that the Pac 10 splits cable money generated in their states, Texas (with some formulation to aTm) keeps the cable money generated in Texas, and everybody splits the cable dough generated elsewhere. Perhaps similar arrangements for some other money issues, and only expanding to 12 to prevent revenue dilution (aTm being the 12th, especially since CO may have sizable money issues hindering a transfer.)

    Creates a stronger conference than the Big 12 that provides a revenue boost to both sides, and puts UT in a league with a better academic reputation and more consistent standards across the board. A conference with the image of spanning some of the top growth areas, vibrant and alluring. Simple scheduling, with 5 division and 3 or 4 cross-division games in football. Every conference pairing is played at least every other year, or more likely 2 out of every 3 years in a 9 game conf sched. In basketball every team in conf is played home and away each year. And a bonus, moving to a conference of adults, so less hassles with the at times petty, immature, yapping, ankle-biter mentality schools such as NE and TxTech.

    IMHO the BT is academically a more prestigious conf and my preference for UT. But I’m starting to see scenarios where moving to the Pac 10 could make some financial sense. If UT and aTm went west and the BT takes only 1 team (at most) from the Big 12, then it isn’t a certainty that the latter implodes. Either Utah or BYU to the north plus TCU and perhaps Houston to the south could plug the holes and keep 3 or 4 schools in Texas for recruiting help and arguable television presence (remember that there has been significant migration of Big 12 school grads to Texas jobs.) Strength of schedule maintained and the Big 12 can still market itself as a competitive powerhouse. Keeping the Big 12 and getting a Utah school into the BCS helps in tamping down potential Congressional meddling. Get the Pac 10 and BT to 12 teams and conf champ games without collapsing the existing house of cards may be sufficient for now.

    • Richard says:

      I still say adding 6 will gain more political support than adding 2 in the Pac10. I say that because the northwest schools REALLY value their annual games against the SoCal pair, and all the Cali schools would still want to play all the other Cali schools (it’s why they play a round-robin 9-game conference slate even though all their football coaches hate it). The Pac16 solves that problem, while there’s no way to really solve that problem with a Pac12. Plus, a Pac16 allows the Texas schools to play opponents closer to home (rather than having all their conference away games 2 timezones away on the West Coast; really, with all the bitching about playing in Minnesota and Penn, how much bitching would there be if they had to have annual games in Oregon and Washington), with almost everyone in their division old acquintances from the Big12 and at most a timezone away.

      As for TV value, the Big10+Texas would be a TV juggernaut that no other conference could hope to catch up to. A Pac16 could generate as much TV income as the current Big10, and with unequal revenue sharing, Texas could bring in as much income as USC and the Big10 schools (with Oklahoma, A&M, UCLA, and the SEC teams close behind).

      In terms of maximizing absolute TV income, Texas would still be better off in the Big10. If UT doesn’t care about that and just wants to gain a _relative_ TV income advantage with most of the rest of the college football world, then they may opt for the Pac16.

      One big consideration is that the Big Ten would never consent to unequal sharing of TV money, while the Pac10 already shares TV money unequally. Does that matter? To my (Big10) mind, maximizing your TV revenue (even if it means Indiana and Northwestern gets the same as you) would be most important. Reading Texas message boards, though, it seems that some people would rather make sure Texas more TV money (along with USC, in the Pac16) than other conference schools, even if that is a lesser absolute amount.

    • Twelve would be perfect for the PAC 10. And those two? Texas and aTm. Scheduling would be perfect (NW schools could rotate a SoCal, an AZ, and a Texas team on and off the schedule at all times, thus keeping their recruting inroads in each area), symmetry would be perfect (two schools in every region), academics would be satisfied (two strong academic schools, no two better candidates out there really), TV deals would be huge (Texas market plus broader national appeal). If the PAC10 can pull it off, I think they stop there. Perhaps another decade or so of change would bring about the need/desire/possiblity of a 16 team conference and further poaching of the Big 12, but two is enough for now.

      These officials might be “open” to going for huge conferences, but I don’t think the Big 12 will allow for any one conference to inherit its prizes NOR do I think that any conference has the cahones to poach 4 or more teams from the Big 12.

      • Jake says:

        That might be perfect for the Pac-10, but is it perfect for UT and A&M? If they have offers from the Big Ten or SEC, they’d be passing up more money to go West. And they wouldn’t have to cross two time zones to make those moves.

        CU wouldn’t turn them down, as long as they can afford the move. And if the Pac-10 really wants to get into Texas (and who doesn’t?), there are other options. Just not ones with as much drawing power as the ‘Horns and Aggies.

      • Richard says:

        The problem, again, is that the northwest schools have no interest in rotating a SoCal school off their schedule. They want to play USC and UCLA every year because they have a ton of alums in SoCal, they get the bulk of their recruits from SoCal, and USC makes them more money than any other opponent when they visit.

        Also, it’s not really up to the Big12 to “allow” (besides which, if UT and TAMU go, the Big12 isn’t going to be one of the top leagues any more regardless of whether 4 more schools go with them or not).

        In any case, joining the Big10 would still make the Horns the most money, though they wouldn’t have unequal revenue sharing any more (don’t think UT administrators would ever consider the SEC).

      • Jake says:

        The SEC comment was more about A&M than UT.

        The SEC is really the wild card in all of this. They may not have much financial incentive to expand at the moment, but if A&M or maybe OU was up for grabs? Hard to pass up. I wonder what sort of meetings they’re having right now.

      • By “allow” I was referring to the comment by Big 12 commish Beebe about the possibility of a “merge” between conferences. Merge means that both conferences would have a stake in the affair. I don’t think it’s more than him spitballing really.

        I see what you’re saying about the desirability of USC AND UCLA on your schedule each year…but your failing to see the HUGE potential of getting a Texas school ON your schedule every year. Oregon State’s Rogers brothers are from Texas…and a slew of other top PAC10 talent is too! (James of Oregon too?) If you’re talking about attractive places for a Texas kid to go…I’d put the West Coast (Portland and Seattle included!) as more attractive then the midwest. It would REALLY open Texas up for the PAC10 to have them in membership.

        But alas, the money does look better in the Big 10-land…

  49. Playoffs Now! says:

    Oh yeah, if the Texas schools don’t join the BT, then I think they most likely add only 1 school and realistically their primary options are NE, MO, Rutgers, and maybe ND. 12 teams with a 5-3 conf schedule is perhaps the best scenario to attract the Irish, since the 4 non-conf. games allows them to keep USC & BC annually plus 2 games of a rotation between Stanford/in Florida/in Texas/in wherever they want to play for recruiting purposes.

    • Richard says:

      BC isn’t an annual game. ND really has only 2 annual rivalries (with USC and Navy) outside of the Big10.

    • Rick says:

      And if not ND are they willing to wait on the money coming in more gradually from 14-16 teams choosing from that list. Will they really pick 1 if not ND or will they stand pat given that most folks don’t think adding 1 other than UT or ND can satisfy their revenue split reduction and plans for the BTN. Tough call. They probably pass and stand pat if no ND and no 14-16.

    • Isn’t Stanford a rivalry game for ND too? Recent history suggests they host Stanford/USC earlier in the season and travel to USC/Stanford after Thanksgiving. If they join the Big 10, I could see them rotating USC/Stanford on/off every two years. It would be a change, for sure, but still a regular part of their football scheduling.

      • Richard says:

        Continuous since 1997, but I’m not sure they would care so much if they had to give it up. They use to play Air Force every year (every year between 1972 & 1991 except one), but now they don’t schedule them any more.

  50. Rick says:

    Would someone please tell Dodds that he is ruining all our fun here. Come on man!! On another note, the time is right, right now for the BT to really put the press on ND. Having seen Kelly coach here in the Big East these last few years, winning alot, and big, with alot of what some would say was mediocre 1,2, and 3 star talent, he is going to do very, well, at ND. Once they get the momentum back leverage goes out the window for the BT and ND will stay indy and never look back. Kelly will make it happen this Fall. So what then for the Big Ten?
    If we take Dodds at his word and they stay put, does the Big Ten ever expand? Supposedly no 1 team can make them the money they want, some say even 3 can’t. So what then? With Texas staying put, ND staying independent, the BT wanting more money to keep up the arms race with the SEC, do they stay at 11 or consider 3-5 teams from a list like Neb, Mizz, Rutgers, Maryland, Syracuse, PITT, UVA, UNC, Duke, KU, CU? I don’t see any way the 4 big ACC teams bust away. Maryland maybe. I am still not convinced the money, academics, geography, culture et al do not work for the Big Ten with NEB, MO, Rutgers, Syracuse, and PITT/Maryland in some kind of east west combination that gives the BT 14-16 teams that includes NY. Without UT or ND, there is no money to be made for future growth save NY (without the complete implosion of the ACC or Florida shocking everyone). The ACC doesn’t work without UT or ND anyway financially. I don’t see expansion without UT or ND happening if NY is not included somehow, while at the same time I just don’t see the BT not expanding. Or do we just ignore Dodds knowing that they really are going to seriously listen to the BT and probably pull the trigger. Then the fun begins.

    • I don’t trust Dodds or anyone else in these discussions any farther than I can throw him. Neither the Big Ten nor Texas (nor any other expansion candidate) is going to say anything on the record in an official capacity until there is an official offer and acceptance. If Dodds had said that they were talking to the Big Ten and Pac-10, that would’ve set off a complete feeding frenzy and it wouldn’t stop for months on end. It’s not in the best interest of either the Big Ten or Texas to have any confirmation of discussions so that they can save face if it doesn’t work out. This is pretty normal for any type of high level business transaction. I’ve been on both sides of my employers either being bought out or doing the buying, and in all cases the leadership won’t say anything about the deal to the general employee population until the day that it’s completed.

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – you won’t see the Big Ten expand without Texas and/or Notre Dame involved. At least one of them will be necessary to make it work.

      • Jake says:

        Yep. And since Nebraska and Missouri have basically been begging to be invited, I feel fairly certain they haven’t been approached. And most likely won’t be.

      • Lawrence804 says:

        Yeah, but Frank, Dodds didn’t just remain silent, he specifically DENIED the reports. There’s a difference.

      • Jason says:

        That’s what they pretty much want you to think, Lawrence804.

      • Aphilfan says:

        @Lawrence:

        Silence in these situations are easily taken/mistaken for implied confirmation. If he said anything else, the headline is almost certainly,

        “Texas AD Refuses To Deny Jump to Big 10″

        How does that look? Wouldn’t that fuel the feeding frenzy they’re looking to avoid (for the time being) as well?

        I’m not saying he isn’t telling the truth, personally, just that regardless of the situation his response has to say the same.

      • Richard says:

        I could see the Big10 taking Nebraska as a first step. Any school (or collection of schools) lesser than Nebraska would make me question their judgement, though.

    • The fun begins now. When an announcement is made or real information leaks out, the deal will almost be done. This blog is “the fun.”

      For example, Notre Dame’s little tidbit from 2003 that their coach shared about an imminent move within days meant that things were very, very close and talks had been going on for weeks and weeks, if not months and months. That deal didn’t die in its early stages…it died in the 11th hour.

      What’s REALLY happening behind the scenes right now? Pure conjecture. But something IS happening. Missouri, Nebraska, and Colorado’s open politicking for other conferences. Which begs the question–WHY are these three not as confident with the Big 12 as Dodds is? It would make a lot of sense that two pillars of the league (Texas and Texas A/M) are likely to go west or north, and those “in the know” know it.

  51. OrderRestored says:

    Really there is only one way to look at this process; you have to first take into account which schools are members of the AAU (that cuts the number of candidates down dramatically). Then you just start cutting away teams that either do nothing athletically or are in the SEC/PAC 10. This only leaves about 6 teams. Which are:

    Syracuse
    Texas
    Texas A&M
    Nebraska
    Missouri
    Maryland

    (you could throw in non-AAU members Boston College and UConn; because despite their non-member status, they both display academic strength)

    I don’t think Texas is going anywhere without Texas A&M; the current governor of texas is a former ‘Yell Leader’ for Texas A&M and he would not poltically allow Texas to ditch the Aggies. Ridiculous? Just recall how texas politics played a part in Baylor being drug into the Big 12 (the govenor at that time was a Baylor alum). So if the Big 10 were to add Texas it would have to come in a 3 team package. Texas is more likely to join the Pac 10 at this point (that is if the Pac 10 can all agree on adding BOTH Texas and Texas A&M) after all is said and done; I can see a very real possiblity of the Big 10 and Pac 10 WANTING to expand; but the Big 10 either is forced to take Texas, Texas A&M, and Nebraska or nothing; and the Pac 10 wanting to add Texas and Texas A&M but can’t get a uanimous vote. In the end it IS a very real possibility nothing will happen. If Notre Dame pulls the trigger (which they won’t) this all becomes a moot point.

    • Richard says:

      I’d include Colorado, Rutgers, the rest of the AAU ACC schools (Virginia, Duke, UNC), and Florida as possibilities (even if Florida isn’t likely, and the ACC schools would have to come as a package, and even then, the move would be done for solely research purposes, because they wouldn’t increase anyone’s share of the pie).

      I don’t think the Pac10 is averse to a Pac16. The Big10 is probably more conservative about going big, but if getting Texas means going to 14 or 16, they may still do it. If they take UT, TAMU, Mizzou, Nebraska, and Colorado/Kansas, they’d have an almost contiguous conference, and the great plains would start thinking itself as “Big10 country”, leading to more private research money flowing to Big10 universities. Hell, add another of Maryland, Rutgers, Pitt, or Iowa St.* along with _both_ KU and Colorado, and you’d have 18 schools in the Big10 (and the CIC would become a formidable academic consortium).

      *(Iowa’s legislature may or may not force Iowa to vote for Iowa St.)

      • Richard says:

        BTW, I fully admit that an 18-team Big10 is highly unlikely; still, if that could be pulled off, the CIC would be a force and the BTN would be national.

  52. Qbucki says:

    Did anyone hear Jim Delany’s comments on Cowherd today? I missed it. The summary I got was. He said they are still in the research stage (yeah right). No schools have been talked to including Texas (yeah right). Commented on ND saying they made it clear in the 90’s they wanted to be football independent and have a loose conference affiliation for other sport i.e. the Big East.

    • Sounds like similar types of comments that Delany in the interview that Gopher86 posted (which wasn’t with Cowherd). Delany reiterated that the Big Ten hasn’t talked to anyone and that they’re doing research. He also pointed out the 3 things that the conference is looking for: (1) academics, (2) athletics and (3) demographics.

  53. Vincent says:

    I’m not sure how Texas could reconcile its own proposed cable network with the BTN. UT may have the same problem for the Big Ten that Notre Dame does — it thinks it’s too big for the game. That can work in the BIg 12, but not in the BIg Ten, where Purdue and Minnesota are on equal revenue footing with Ohio State and Penn State.

    I still maintain the best route for the Big Ten is expanding to 14 with Syracuse, Rutgers and Maryland — which would cement the populous, affluent NY/DC corridor as Big Ten country. (Syracuse is relatively small in research, to be sure, but Ny state hasn’t had much research funding aside from Cornell and Columbia. SU might be able to get more research through the ties it has to some of SUNY’s professional schools.)

    • Richard says:

      IMHO, such an Easten strategy just wouldn’t bring back enough extra (without ND) to more than offset the 3 extra mouths.

      • Richard says:

        Maybe they’d still do it to secure more research funding sources. Who knows. Without ND, it wouldn’t increase the per-school TV money, though.

    • There’s no reconciliation. Texas would have to scrap those plans for its own TV network if it joins the Big Ten. That’s probably the #1 financial question for the Longhorns – will a Longhorn Sports Network work and, if so, yield more revenue than being part of the Big Ten? I don’t think the financials work for any type of Big Ten expansion (whether 12 or 14) without Texas or Notre Dame involved (which is why I said that they were the “only real choices” from the beginning).

      For a 14-school scenario, there would be an assumption that would be necessary because Texas and Texas A&M would come as a package, leaving one spot open. I can’t see any other real reason why the Big Ten would go up to 14 other than ND wanting to join at the same time as Texas. That’s where it gets interesting. Assuming Notre Dame still isn’t interested, does the Big Ten go for a national name like Nebraska? Lock up the East Coast with either Maryland or Syracuse? Add in Missouri? I like Maryland for a lot of reasons in a 14-school scenario since I think it can be reasonably counted on to deliver the DC/Baltimore area compared to the speculative nature of adding Syracuse or Rutgers. As I’ve stated before, Nebraska is kind of “Notre Dame lite” in terms of its national fan base possibly trumping the smaller home market. I still like Syracuse because it might be one of the few cases where the basketball program matters if there’s a determination that it could be leveraged into the NYC market.

      I’m much more down on Rutgers and Missouri than a lot of other people. Nothing personal about them, but I see other not-that-unreasonable options who could join that would have more of an impact (because I don’t buy for a second that Rutgers can get the BTN onto basic cable in the NYC area or even just the NJ portion). Mizzou can be counted on to deliver its state, but I don’t think they would trump a national name like Nebraska or a top 10 market (DC) that would come with Maryland.

      • Mike B. says:

        Trying to get creative here…what about branding (no pun intended) the BTN as LSN in the state of Texas? Revenue splits stay equal, but maybe give a nod to Texas with the in-state brand and a little extra air-time for baseball, T&F, and other sports that maybe don’t fit so well with the rest of the BT?

      • Rick says:

        I must respectfully and cordially disagree on the NJ TV market and Rutgers. Having lived in NJ and the NY Metro area for almost 50 years, Rutgers will be able to get BTN onto NJ household basic cable. NYC is another story, that will take time. This is not so hard to believe for those folks who live here, maybe more so for those in the rest of the country who aren’t quite as familiar with the market. It should be interesting what the research company thinks.

      • Rick says:

        Syracuse and Rutgers have just as reasonable a chance of delivering the Upstate NY and NJ markets as Maryland has of Maryland/DC. For those of us out East here closer to the pulse of these 3 markets it is clear they all are on pretty equal footing in delivering their respected markets. One more thing on NJ, a very high % of college grads age 25-60 left NJ and went to the Midwest, Carolinas/VA, and Boston to school. Many came back and live and work in NY Metro. Many met their spouses while away. In particular, those that came back from the midwest still follow BT Football. You are discounting the value that BT Football has on the NJ market. Many , many BT Football fans that currently work in the NY Metro area are transplanted BTers. It’s the whole BT package that will deliver NJ, not just Rutgers. That strength of the BT package is also true for longer term penetration of NYC. It’s not such a fickle market as you might think. They like the big-time and like winners. Sounds like alot of BTN programming.

      • This “Longhorn Sports Network” as an arm of the Big 10 network could have some legs. I don’t know much about TV and all, but if the Big 10 had 2 members in Texas, I could see them doing, let’s say, four hours a day of “special” programing that focused on those two schools. Then, the other 20 hours would feature “normal” Big 10 network programing, which would still have a Texas flavor built into it since Texas/aTm would be a part of the conference. Perhaps a slight revenue advantage could be given JUST in the state of Texas for UT/aTm.

  54. highway6 says:

    What if ND remains a steadfast No and Texas and A&M both agree to the move. That leaves the B10 with 13 members.

    Instead of looking for a 14th team, is kicking out the lowest member on the B10 totem pole an option?

    I’m a big Xii guy, so i don’t know who that would be Academically or Athletically or Financially or from a TV draw standpoint. But for sake of argument, I’m going to assume… Indiana.

    Would swaping Indiana for Texas and A&M, resulting in a clean, 12 team, 2 division with a championship game, optimal revenue sharing balance conference be possible? Would the b10 be willing or able to shed a dead weight team to expand to the optimal size?

    • Richard says:

      No. Simply not an option. All these schools besides PSU all go back over a half-century with each other. A century or more for most of them. Plus they cooperate academically as well. Severing ties would be well-nigh impossible.

  55. Tom Smith says:

    I agree again with you, Frank. It’s Texas and/or Notre Dame or no expansion. Texas, TAM, and Notre Dame would be he ideal, but if Notre Dame said no, grab Maryland, or if Texas insists, take Nebraska.

  56. Richard says:

    Don’t think Texas or ND _have_ to be 1 of the teams for there to be expansion. Nebraska may make sense as a first step. Also, even if unlikely, if Florida is willing to leave, the Big10 won’t turn them down. They may be willing to take 1 or both of FSU & Miami without ND or Texas as well.

  57. Jeremy says:

    hypothetically, with the help with the big ten over decade and recieving large amount of yeary revenues. Assuming Texas or Notre Dame do not join the BT, what other shcols do you all see that can be all rounded? (academics, athletics,drawing full fanbase,and bringing in dollars)
    Mizzou, Rutgers, Virginia, Pitt, Nebraska, Syracuse

    • Dcphx says:

      Of all those, Rutgers is like the 7’3″ athletic center that NBA GM’s can’t avoid drafting. There is just so much potential for reasons Rick mentioned above. I think their attendance will improve greatly from BT alumni in the region, NYers will be more inclined to get behind them if the put together a string of success in a conference like the BT. But could just as easily be a bust. That’s the double edged sword for Rutgers IMO. Much easier to take a flier on them if TX & aTm accept bids.

      • Ooooh – you’ve successfully merged my concurrent dreams of becoming a conference commissioner and being an NBA GM. (Yes, I know it’s Simmons-esque.) My fear is that Rutgers could very well be Michael Olowokandi. I think that you’re right, though – if the Big Ten has Texas in the fold, then that allows the Big Ten to take a risk on a school like Rutgers simply for the hope of a piece of its massive home market. That brings up this question: why did the ACC want Syracuse when it was looking for a Northeastern expansion while Rutgers wasn’t even in the discussion? Have things really drastically changed over the past 5 years? I don’t doubt that the Big Ten would be willing to lock up an East Coast school if it’s bringing in Texas and Texas A&M, but I’m still having a hard time getting convinced that Rutgers would truly be a better choice than Syracuse in that scenario. The power of the Orange basketball program seems to hold a lot more sway than the mere size and location of Rutgers as I look at it from a 10,000 foot view. I’m sure that this “initial study” is going to try to address this issue in-depth.

      • Skidmark says:

        . . . and is UConn Hasheem Thabeet?

  58. glenn says:

    this isn’t a lot different than when a school is looking for a new coach.

    school says it isn’t having discussions with a particular coach and is not lying.

    the particular coach says he hasn’t heard from that school, and he isn’t lying.

    the schools and the coaches don’t do the talking early on. their representatives do.

  59. OrderRestored says:

    By expanding, the Big 10 is looking to turn this current deal which is good into something even better. Now as obvious as that statement is, it highlights the fact that the Big 10 isn’t going to risk the good thing they have now on a school that shows ‘potential’. Rutgers is a fantastic academic institution; but up until the past few years it has been just a flash in the pan athletically. I’m not saying that Rutgers will not continue to develop into something more athletically than their history suggests; but the Big 10 has to be conscious of facts and not ‘what ifs’ and potential success. The facts are that Rutgers has not maintained over a substantial period of time the athletic level required of a Big 10 school; therefore I am very skeptical in Rutgers being involved in the conversation. I am aware that academics plays a major part in this descision, but athletics is the driving force. If not then we could also throw Army at West Point into the conversation (obviously not a candidate) because they show top notch academic capacity with little to offer in athletics and also have the ‘potential’ for a large following. If the Big 10 looks to move eastward, the schools involved are pretty much narrowed down to Syracuse and Maryland; most likely Maryland. I say this because whether we want to recognize it or not; NYC is not a college sports venue, they are a pro sports venue. I doubt the inclusion of Syracuse or any other school in the NYC footprint will change that. In my opinion (which echos Frank’s) the only way the Big 10 goes to 12 and is satisfied is with Notre Dame or Texas; and if you read my response earlier, you know that I am in firm belief Texas alone is not an option and Notre Dame is not interested. This leaves the only possibility being a 14 team expansion and I believe the 3 team package will be Texas, Texas A&M, and Nebraska or if the Texas schools are not available; Nebraska, Missouri and Maryland.

    • Mike B. says:

      Good points. Just to add to it, Big Ten membership hasn’t done much for Penn St. basketball. And Big East membership hasn’t done much for Rutgers basketball. I see no reason to think that membership in the Big Ten will turn Rutgers into some kind of a powerhouse than can deliver key markets.

      The thing that worries me about Syracuse is that they’ve already wrecked their football program. What happens to basketball when Boeheim retires? Can ‘Cuse remain an elite program?

      Maryland makes the most sense, and it’s too bad that Pitt doesn’t expand the footprint, because they’re perfect in every other way.

      I don’t think the Service Academies are an academic fit, since they aren’t research universities. And I think you’d need all 3 to have any potential as a national draw, and that would dilute the money too much. Interesting thought, though.

    • Mike says:

      >>If the Texas schools are not available; Nebraska, Missouri and Maryland<<

      I think Kansas is a better cantidate. If the Kansas politicans don't marry them to K-State, they have roughly the same football team and a national basketball brand. Missouri struggles to compete in the Big 12 (only 6 conf. titles) and won't do better in the Big 10.

      • Richard says:

        Mizzou brings more people, though I think it’s all moot; without UT or ND, the Big10 isn’t going to add 3 other schools, unless 1 of them’s Florida (or 2 of them are FSU & Miami).

      • Mike says:

        I am not convinced Mizzou will actually bring more people. Missouri has more population, but there is a reason that bowls have passed them up the past three years. The Mizzou fan base just isn’t as strong as KU’s.

    • To expand upon this, here’s a new article with interviews from a number of Big Ten ADs, which effectively states that none of the current Big Ten members are going to give up a single dime of their payout in this process. Whoever comes in needs to bring in a whole lot more to the table:

      http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/story/12978437/big-ten-mulls-over-expansion-money-remains-sticking-point/rss

      Also note that Ron Guenther likes talking about geography and travel costs (as he’s done before), but as someone that has observed him for many years as an Illinois alum, he might very well be the most reactionary old school AD in the country with absolutely no clue about how to create new revenue streams or the changing landscape of college sports. This is a guy that has supported 10-game conference schedules (which is great for fans but suicidal in terms of conference bowl tie-ins) and probably has done less with more compared to any other athletic program in the country considering all of the advantages that he’s squandered (i.e. Big Ten revenue streams, huge alumni bases in Chicago and St. Louis, etc.). It is unconscionable to me that Illinois is far behind in revenue compared to schools like Iowa and Michigan State (much less Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State) while even being behind Purdue and Minnesota considering everything that the Illini have at their disposal.

      At the same time, Illinois is the one that has the most to gain by far from adding the “contiguous” school of Missouri since there’s a pre-established rivalry and Columbia is close enough to Champaign where the non-revenue sports could theoretically take cost-saving bus trips. The travel costs for Michigan and Ohio State to go to Missouri, though, really wouldn’t be much different than having to go to Texas or Syracuse, so I don’t believe that’s a real factor for them. I really think that travel costs are a red herring if you’re adding revenue that vastly outweighs those costs. So, I wouldn’t project the comments from Illinois-based Guenther and Ikenberry as indicators of what the conference overall thinks.

      It’s a good thing that the university presidents are making these decisions as opposed to ADs because Guenther has simply awful business judgment. I’ll agree with the overall premise of the article, though – you’re almost certainly not going to see any schools that don’t bring in new markets, which means that schools like Pitt aren’t going to be invited.

      • Chas. Davis says:

        Everybody should pay infinitely more attention to the words of Stan Ikenberry than any other source. As the primary driver in the addition of Penn St twenty years ago, he will have far more influence with his counterparts than Jim Delany. Remember 8 out of the 11 university presidents need to vote in favor of a candidate institution’s inclusion in our exclusive club.

        Even though I’d like to see massive conference realignment; this article leads me to believe that it will a blockbuster 12th school or nothing. Tradition is the operative word and anything that detracts from playing each other regularly will be voted down. Despite bowl eligibility questions, there is still support for moving towards a ninth conference game, particularly if there is expansion.

        The other item which has not been discussed is which school provides the greatest amount of revenue with the least athletic disruption. I’m mean is it worth more money for a school like Indiana to be even less competitive in football? For the presidents, a school like Rutgers or Missouri have less downside for their athletic departments.

      • Jake says:

        Guenther doubts fans would go to a title game and a bowl? Hasn’t been a problem for the Big 12 or SEC. And it wouldn’t be “a couple of weeks” in between – the winner is going to the Rose Bowl (at least), and the loser is headed to either a BCS game or, at worst, the Capital One Bowl on New Year’s Day. That gives you almost a month between the title game and the bowls. And the title game will be in Big Ten territory (Indy, Detroit), so it won’t be that big of a deal for fans to make the trip. Either that guy is completely clueless or he’s trying to throw everyone off.

      • Richard says:

        The ACC title game has done poorly. the SEC has the advantage of being relatively compact geographically, plus, in every SEC title game so far, at least 1 team, and usually both teams, are either from Georgia or a state adjacent to Georgia. Likewise, every Big12 title game so far has featured at least 1 team from the state hosting the title game or adjacent to the state hosting the title game.

        In 2 of the 5 ACC title games so far, both teams have not been within driving distance of the title game (including the BC-VTech game in Tampa that had 27K in attendance), while in another 2, GTech (with a relatively small fanbase) was the closest school.

        If the Big10 expands, unless we only add ND, the Big10 would be very spread out, and if the title game was held in Texas, it may have poor attendance unless a Texas team was in it. Even a title game in Detroit featuring Iowa vs. Texas or a title game in Indianapolis featuring PSU vs. Texas may not get huge attendance.

        In any case, the Big10 could expand to 14 and still not have a title game or split in to divisions; it would certainly make maintaining rivalries easier.

      • Richard says:

        9/11 required for expansion.
        Indiana’s probably given up on being competitive in football (they moved a home game to DC for money). It’s the schools like MSU, Wisconsin, and Iowa who have aspirations of winning Big10 titles who may feel threatened (though Wisconsin seems pro-expansion).

        So when is Illinois going to appoint a new president?

      • Richard says:

        The Big10 may have to add Mizzou (even though I’d prefer Nebraska) as the 14th team if Illinois’s the key vote.

        Probably no conference championship game (3 protected rivals, and you play the other 10 teams half the time) because you can’t split Illinois an Northwestern. Don’t know if Texas would go for that, though.

      • Jake says:

        The ACC title game is a poor comparison. That conference is much more spread out, and it really hasn’t had any outstanding football teams in the last few years. Also, ACC schools aren’t as big as Big Ten schools, nor do they have quite as fervent a following (in general – Clemson would be a notable exception). You might as well use the C-USA title game as a comparison.

        The Big Ten may be a little more spread out than the SEC, but not by much. Happy Valley to Indy is about 500 miles; Iowa City is under 400. LSU fans face a 550 mile trip from Baton Rouge to Atlanta, but they seem to cope. And there are plenty of alums/fans from every Big Ten school, except maybe Northwestern, throughout the region, so drawing a crowd shouldn’t be a problem. Texas is pretty far from most potential sites, but that’s something they’ll have to live with if they’re invited.

        A Big Ten title game would be huge. It would sell out nearly every year, and the TV ratings would probably top those of any other conference. If the Big Ten opts not to have divisions and a title game, it won’t be for lack of fan enthusiasm.

      • Rick says:

        Frank or anyone else, I am not familiar with the thinking and overall philosophy of the AD’s in the Big Ten being from the east here. Frank gave an interesting view of Guenther above. If you were to rate the other AD’s on a scale of 1,2, or 3 in relation to Guenther being a 1 as more traditional, less progressive, where would the others rate ( 3 being more progressive, revenue driven, aggressive). In particular how they look at Big Ten expansion to the east. Thanks.

  60. OrderRestored says:

    Mike,
    I agree that Kansas is the dark horse candidate in all of this. I really do think they would be a nice addition along with Nebraska and Maryland, but I’m in the group of thought that:

    1. They would be hard pressed politically to leave little brother Kansas State behind (echoing your point)
    2. They would not bring as many TV sets into the equation (Missouri has both the KC and St. Louis markets within its footprint)

    However, this may be offset by the huge franchise that is the Kansas basketball team. Make no mistakes this is going to be a football driven conversation (as football is generally where the most money is made) but if basketball ever were to be a factor, Kansas would be the case and point. Like I said before the Big 10 will be looking for ‘a sure thing’. There are few things more stable than the Kansas basketball program. There is a possibility that if Kansas can politically leave Kansas St behind, and if the Big 10 isn’t convinced Maryland would carry the DC market (and I’m not totally convinced they can), that the grouping of Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas could be a very real possibility (that is a lot of ‘ifs’ though).

    Richard,
    I agree with you that adding 3 teams without Texas or Notre Dame is something that the Big 10 may be taking a risk on financially (which is one of the reasons nothing at all may happen) but I think there is even a less of a chance that they add and of the Florida schools for the following reasons:

    Florida is so entrenched in the SEC that I can’t see them ever leaving and why would they have to? The SEC is not far behind the Big 10 in TV revenue and their culture is so far away from that of the Big 10 that this would be an awkward match from the get go. They do qualify academically however to be considered a Big 10 candidate; but that is where the positives for this match stop. The only school that would ever leave the SEC would be Arkansas; but they are not a candidate in any way shape or form.

    Florida State is nowhere near the level academically to be considered as a Big 10 candidate, the Big 10 wouldn’t even look their direction.

    Miami is not a member of the AAU which is a sticking point for the Big 10. That’s not saying that the University of Miami isn’t academically qualified, but nevertheless it is an issue. Another reason Miami would have trouble being considered a major candidate is that they struggle in fan support. Miami doesn’t sell out home games like a ‘homerun’ candidate should; they also do not have the national following that the Nebraska football program has or that the Kansas basketball program would bring to the table.

    • Richard says:

      FSU is about the same level in research as Nebraska, Iowa St., Mizzou, & Kansas (http://www.arwu.org/Country2009Main.jsp?param=United%20States). They aren’t AAU, though, at least not yet, but that may just be an accident of history (KU, NU, and Mizzou all joined the AAU before WWI; and the AAU never kicks anyone out; if they were to start from scratch, not all those Big12 schools would make it). As for Florida, I agree it’s unlikely, but generally speaking, pointing to rivalries is a pretty weak argument. PSU was willing to give up very strong rivalries with Eastern schools (Pitt, ‘Cuse, Maryland, etc.) to join the Big10, and maybe the academic side of Florida won’t outweigh the athletic side, but I wouldn’t just write off that possibility. Remember that Florida brings in all of $5M more in TV money than Texas, and they have a loooong fixed contract, so the Big10 schools will have a widening advantage in TV money so long as they grow the BTN, expand smartly, or even simply if inflation starts staying above 5% a year. By 2020, I can easily see each Big10 school bringing double the TV money each SEC school takes in.

  61. OrderRestored says:

    Richard,

    While FSU is close to Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas in academic ranking; they still are not part of the AAU (as archaic it may be it still garners a lot of merit). So throwing FSU into the conversation opens the door for programs like Oklahoma who are also in this range academically. According to the article Frank provided it seems like geography is also more of an issue than originally anticipated as well, making the Florida schools as well as the Texas schools a bit of a stretch. The more and more I read on this, the less I believe that anything at all is going to happen. It doesn’t sound like the Big 10 school AD’s are willing to go through the type of changes required (or sharing the ‘pie’ with three more mouths) for a 3 team package making the Texas option even less likely. If Notre Dame doesn’t come around this all may have been just a really fun conversation. There is one team outside the Texas/Notre Dame option that may qualify enough to be added singularly and that is Nebraska. I was opposed to this idea before reading this article because of their relatively small state population but Nebraska is a national franchise (ranked #4 by Forbes); they are a member of the AAU and also fit geographically into the Big 10 area. Barry Alvarez referred to a school possibly having to ‘buy its way in’ and I believe Nebraska is the only program who could do that (outside of Texas and Notre Dame) Missouri (though an attractive option for Illinois) just wouldn’t cut it for the conference as a whole I don’t believe; Kansas doesn’t hold enough weight in football (the driving aspect of these talks) and Maryland, although they are an academic juggernaut does not bring enough to the table athletically and may not even be able to hold the DC metro area. Nebraska may be a better option than originally thought.

    • Richard says:

      Oklahoma’s lower than the Big12 North schools mentioned and FSU (in the 113-138 range instead of 71-90 (FSU, Nebraska, & Iowa St.) or 91-112 (Mizzou) in the ARWU rankings (http://www.arwu.org/Country2009Main.jsp?param=United%20States).

      Oklahoma’s way beyond the pale. Hell, Mizzou may be beyond the pale as well. FSU’s on the same level as Nebraska (though not AAU).

      I do agree with you that if not ND, Nebraska’s the contiguous candidate that makes the most sense (it would be my third choice after Texas & ND as well). Not sure if Lincoln’s close enough for Illinois, though (though maybe support by Illinois for Mizzou would be balanced by support for Nebraska from Minnesota; Iowa would be indifferent). Actually, Nebraska may get support from Northwestern as well, since Husker fans travel well, and Northwestern needs whatever attendance it can get.

      • m (Ag) says:

        How difficult would it be for a Florida State or Nebraska to improve its academic standing?

        When I talked about the ‘fantasy league’ with 16 teams above, I theorized Florida State would be given provisional membership. If joining the Big 10 gave it $12 million more a year, and it put $6 million of that towards academics (so their athletic department still got a big boost from joining) that would be an extra $60 million to academics over a decade.

        Would an extra $60 million over 10 years raise either of these schools to the ‘Big 10 level’ of academics?

      • Richard says:

        It’s more about the administration’s dedication to academics. When PSU joined the Big10, I remember that none of their departments were top-ranked except meteorology. Soon after they join, they launched a massive fund-raising drive to improve their laboratories and library. Now they have several departments in the top 10/20 nationally.

  62. WhiskeyBadger says:

    In regards to the conference title game, how about this:
    The title game alternates between divisions, with one of the two participating teams hosting? That way the stadium still fills (almost guaranteed), and there is no debate about who *should* be hosting or constant home field advantage like Indiana and Purdue get in the bball tourney now, and Illinois gets other years.

    • WhiskeyBadger says:

      Oh, and I don’t care if it’s cold (and I don’t think too many fans will either). Lambeau works for the Packers, soldier for the Bears, etc. This is Big Ten country and an outdoor game might be perfect for a championship.

    • Jake says:

      That’s one of the problems with the ACC – since their divisions aren’t based on geography, there’s a good chance that neither of the teams in the title game will be particularly close by. East-West divisions, with the title game alternating between them, would pretty much alleviate that problem. Chicago would be close to probable West division teams, likewise for Detroit or maybe Pittsburgh in a potential East division.

      • I’m biased as a Chicagoan, but Chicago is certainly the center for the Big Ten. Every school has a massive alumni base there and, just as important, there is a huge base of corporations, law firms, accounting firms, consulting firms, etc. to sell tickets to no matter who is playing. If you put it anywhere other than Chicago, there’s a big risk that if one of the “home” teams isn’t involved, there would be weak ticket sales. That was really the ACC’s problem – instead of simply putting the game in its nerve center of Charlotte, they got cute and put it in Florida instead (and made the wrong assumption that Miami and/or Florida State would always be involved). The SEC model of keeping the game in Atlanta would probably work best for the Big Ten with respect to Chicago as opposed to having rotating sites.

      • Richard says:

        I agree on Chicago having a ton of fans from all Big10 schools (except PSU) as well as some Big12 schools (Mizzou, Iowa St., and even Texas + Nebraska fans will travel to Chicago). However, I’m not sure anyone wants to hold a championship game in the cold. That’s why Indianapolis is brought up so often.

  63. OrderRestored says:

    Richard,

    I am in total agreement with you on Nebraska being the next best option. I see where you are getting your information now; I totally overlooked the link you provided. Here’s where I got my info: http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/national-universities-rankings/page+5 and it has OU and FSU tied at 102nd’ so that’s where the Oklahoma comment came from. Speaking of Oklahoma, what happens to them if the big 12 does dissolve? Texas and Texas A&M surely have a home in the Pac 10 (though the required unanimous vote could be tricky). Does the SEC extend and offer? A program like Oklahoma would be extremely attractive to a conference like the SEC. Is it feasible that the SEC could be the first 16 team conference adding Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, Florida St and Miami? That is putting the cart miles ahead of the horse but that would make an interesting conference nonetheless. It may be safe to just stick to Big 10/Pac 10 talks instead of opening that can of worms…..any how; it does seem like Nebraska is in prime position for a Big 10 invite. They have to be at least in the top 4 on that mysterious list of 15.

    • Richard says:

      Yeah, I think the presidents will care more about the research rankings than the undergraduate rankings (the CIC collaboration is mostly between graduate programs, plus, back in the day, the Ohio legislature forced OSU to take in any high school grad that wanted to go there, but the Big10 always was a collection of top research universities). I’m still not closing the door on Texas, but if the Big10 doesn’t take them but takes Nebraska/Mizzou, the future for the Big12 isn’t so bright, and the Pac16 could form. In that case, the SEC will take Oklahoma eventually (there’s really no rush; neither the Big10 or Pac10 will take them). FSU _may_ head to the SEC (though every time, Florida has blocked that move). Most likely, FSU and Miami stay where they are, and massive conference realignment may not come for another couple decades or so.

  64. OrderRestored says:

    Jake,

    Good point. These divisions don’t seem to be that unrealistic if Nebraska was extended an invite and if they accepted.

    West
    Minnesota
    Wisconsin
    Iowa
    Nebraska
    Northwestern
    Illinois

    East
    Michigan
    Michigan St
    Penn St
    Ohio St
    Indiana
    Purdue

    You have traditional powers Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nebraska on one end and Michigan, Penn St, and Ohio St on the other. No rivalry would be interrupted and no travel distance would be ridiculous. This is looking like a very attractive option for the Big 10 the more I look at this.

    • Jake says:

      Having Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State in one division might be a little unbalanced. Nebraska may be on the rebound, but I’m not sure that quite matches the power in the East.

      The Michigan-Minnesota rivalry would be split up in that alignment, but they don’t play that one every year anyway.

      • Richard says:

        On the other hand, the 2 Indiana schools would be in the East. In any case, I reckon rivalry considerations will matter far more than balance-of-power considerations (which no one can predict; when the Big12 started, the North was dominant, now it’s the south; when the ACC expanded to 12, everyone expected FSU and Miami to regularly make the title game & they’ve combined to go once in 5 years, etc.)

        • I’m starting to agree with this more. Originally, I thought that it would make more sense to ensure that Michigan and Ohio State were in one division and then Penn State would be in the other division. If the Big Ten adds a marquee school to the west (Texas or Nebraska), though, then I think the pure geographic east/west split would be palatable.

    • Richard says:

      Actually, Indiana-Illinois won’t play every year (don’t know if they care about that; old fogey Ikenberry might)

      Minnesota-Michigan (Little Brown Jug) and Illinois-OSU (Illibuck) would also go from being 3/4th of the time to half the time. Still, that’s the most reasonable split.

      • None of those rivalries will be major considerations. Speaking as an Illinois alum, I care a LOT about beating the crap out of Indiana as much as possible with respect to basketball, but the football “rivalry” is artificial. Honestly, I think the Big Ten would want to keep the Ohio State-Penn State series going over any of the others even though it doesn’t have a long history (2 marquee schools in contiguous states). That has become the major mid-season game for the conference. So, that’s a mark in favor of keeping a pure east/west split.

  65. Jeremy says:

    Frank, you talk about Missouri joining will help Big Ten what about Nebraska joining that will help Iowa? They could rival each other every year.

  66. OrderRestored says:

    My question is why would the Big 10 invite Missouri instead of Nebraska? Missouri does have the state population advantage; but I would be shocked if the Big 10 made this decision based loosely on a statistic like state population. Nebraska is the more lucrative franchise nationally by far and historically has been an incredibly stable program. When in doubt just say it out loud, as a major TV network would you rather be able to offer Missouri vs Ohio St or Nebraska vs Ohio St? Missouri vs Michigan or Nebraska vs Michigan? And etc….. Academics are in favor of Nebraska as well. In my opinion Missouri has about the same chance at an invite as Rutgers. (which isn’t necessarily a bad chance, it’s just not as good as some of the other candidates).

    • That’s exactly how Nebraska ranked higher than Mizzou in the original Big Ten Expansion Index and I stand by it. As I’ve stated elsewhere, they’re “Notre Dame lite” – a national name that goes beyond their home market. Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated has stated the same thing – he said that it’s not even a debate as to whether Nebraska would be more valuable than Mizzou.

      • mushroomgod says:

        Frank— I’ve agreed with Richard when he disagreed with your original hypothesis that the Big 10 won’t expand unless ND or Tx are involved….If that were the case, why would they have made a big public pronouncement of their intention to study the matter? They would have instead just made quiet inquiries and dropped the matter when ND or TX didn’t reciprocate the interest.

        I believe the simplist explanation is that the expansion proposal has been driven by the football coaches, esp. Alvarex and Paterno…they wanted a 12th team solely for the championship game and related exposure.

        I agree that once the matter got thrown out people started looking at other possibilities….and that the U presidents will as the process continues…However, I do think you are greatly underestimating the force of tradition/inertia here…I don’t think the goal will be to shake up the college football world by using a hard sell on Tx and A&M because of the questions about tradition and culture….

        Assuming no TX and no ND, I still think the Big will go to 12 to placate the football coaches. There is no particular downside to the Big 10 in adding Mo or Neb or Pitt–the $15-20M from the championship game, plus increased tv sets will mean a draw or some marginal increase in revenues….

        Whether the team is Pitt, Neb or Mo depends on exactly what the presidents value most..

        Pitt– Pros—-If an eastern travel partner is a high priority Pitt may be the choice. I understand your “no new tv sets” argument, but Pitt’s academic/research credentials areconsiderably better than Neb and MO…Cons–fan base? tv sets: plus the best split by far would be east-west divisions, and unless Neb is chosen the west is a problem…also, Pitts overall ath. dept is sub-par #93 in Sears Cup v. 31 and 36 for Neb. and Mo.

        Missouri–I still think Mo grades out higher than Neb. More tv sets, higher population, considerably closer, academics are a wash, larger enrollment by 7,000, better b-ball history. I understand that Mo is not exciting, but it also has no weak areas….main issue with Mo is that the western div. would be too weak…

        Nebraska– Bigger name than Mo, no doubt, and solves the east/west div. problem in football…BUT…enrollment is only 23,600….about 5,000(?) less than Iowa’s (v. 30000+ for Mo.). No new tv sets, but does improve the football “product”…Did you know that the basketball team has won 0,zip, nada NCAA basketball games? However, they do have a nice arena, and are considering a new 16000 downtown arena, and their attendance is ok…

        All-in-all a tough choice, even if the Big 10 only goes to 12…

      • Richard says:

        Nebraska & Mizzou may pull their weight in increased TV sets, but Pitt wouldn’t. If it’s a given that no current member would want to decrease their share of the TV pie (strong research or no), Pitt is out.

        • I agree. I really like Pitt on a whole lot of levels, but its location is actually the deal-breaker here. Its great academic programs will only mean so much when it gets down to how much athletic revenue that it can bring to the table. It’s virtually a given that no one within the current Big Ten footprint besides Notre Dame could come close to bringing back the TV value that the conference is looking for.

  67. OrderRestored says:

    Well put.

    It would be foolish to split a conference into divisions based on current program success. I am positive the Big 10 would have more vision than that. The biggest rivalry that the Big 10 has would be kept in-tact (Michigan-OSU); but past that I believe that all other rivalries are fair game. Look at what the Big 12 did to the OU/Nebraska rivalry, that is just one example of geographical divisions splitting up historic rivalries; it is a factor but not enough of one to make a huge difference. Besides; as a college football fan I would be curious to watch the Iowa/Nebraska rivalry begin. I’m not sure why those two programs are not involved in some sort of rivalry anyway.

    • Iowa-Nebraska would be fun…that’s true. But you realize that Wisconsin doesn’t have a “rivalry game” on the last weekend of the year, right? Wouldn’t that be perfect? In the Neb-Wisc, Iowa-Minn, NW-Illinois division, you’d have three nice rivalry games to finish out the slate. Over the past decade, that series (Huskers vs. Badgers) would be about .500. Now, the 80’s and 90’s might have been a different story, but that would be a SUPERB game for rivalry weekend.

  68. OrderRestored says:

    Also, outside looking in, I think the possibilities of new rivalries between Minnesota/Nebraska; Iowa/Nebraska; and Wisconsin/Nebraska would be very fun to watch. I also did a little research on Barry Alvarez (seemingly the prominent outspoken AD right now on the subject) and he is a Nebraska Alum who played there in the 1960’s under Bob Devaney. Does that play into this at all? It absolutely couldn’t hurt Nebraska’s cause, but I have to believe that this decision will be made on factors running deeper than alma maters of the AD’s. But who knows? I do think though that with the talk of a 3 team expansion almost shot down (if you read between the lines of the article Frank provided about the Big 10 AD’s)that Texas’s chances went down with it. I just believe that Texas politics has the two Texas schools fused at the hip.

    • 84Lion says:

      Order, you should also know that, FWIW, Graham Spanier, President of Penn State, was formerly Chancellor of UNL. I also think it is interesting that Alvarez has become the point man in all this, coincidence or should something more be read into it? The name of Bob Devaney has great pull with Nebraskans, what with Devaney’s MNC in 1970, Johnny Rodgers, Tom Osborne, et al. If Nebraska would accept a Big Ten invite (they would be insane not to) I’m sure that having a “friend” in Alvarez (and in Spanier – worthwhile to note that the biggest crowd record at Beaver Stadium is still held by the Nebraska-PSU game in 2002) would help grease things with the fans.

      • Richard says:

        Connections are extremely good to have when it comes to Big10 expansion. Illinois recommended PSU’s addition (even though there’s nothing to suggest U of I would be a natural ally) because someone in the Illinois administration was provost at PSU (or something like that). If Nebraska’s the target (this time, at least), it would explain why Alvarez pooh-poohed ND and everyone associated with the Big10 has poured cold water on the idea of Texas.

  69. Richard says:

    BTW, Alvarez didn’t actully say ND wasn’t on the initial list, just that he thought they wouldn’t be interested. Thus, my guess of who was on the list is ND + the 12 AAU schools in the Big East, ACC, and Big12 North (Rutgers, Pitt, Syracuse, Maryland, Virginia, Duke, UNC, Iowa St., Mizzou, KU, Nebraska, & Colorado) as well as non-AAU’s VTech & UConn/BC.

    • mushroomgod says:

      Richard–I looked at U Conn and I can’t see the Big 10 getting too excited there…Not an AAU member, same school ranking as Rutgers but 11,000 smaller in enrollment…basketball is big, obviously, but not worth driving 1 1/2 past Rutgers to get to….football potential is probably less than Rutgers…so, although they’d probably be on the list, can’t see them being the choice….

      • Richard says:

        I don’t see them as a possibility either, but it’s hard to figure out who the 15th team could posibly be once you get past the AAU schools.

  70. goblue says:

    From the Big 10’s perspective, wouldn’t U. California Berkley be a shoo-in, ahead of USC and UCLA?

    Academics: 25
    TV Value: 20? (High-wealth Bay Area market + rich alums = Syracuse?)
    Football Brand Value: 20 to 25 (Pitt to WVU)
    Basketball Brand Value: ? (no idea)
    Historic Rivalries/Cultural Fit: 4
    Mutual Interest: 2?
    TOTAL: ~75-85

    Cal’s academics alone — the best of any school named, inside or outside the Big Ten — would I think make the the Big Ten jump at the opportunity. Plus the have a good football team, are in one of the nation’s largest markets, and have many wealthy alums around the country.

    But it seems very unlikely that Cal would leave the Pac-10. The only way I could see selling them on it is that, with the addition of Cal and Texas, the Big Ten would truly be the ‘Public Ivies’, the unquestionable elite among public universities, with the exclusion of North Carolina (why not? Hoops brand plus Charlotte market) and probably someone else I’m not thinking of.

    • Richard says:

      Cal and Stanford meet all the criteria, except SoCal has 3-4 times NoCal’s population. In any case, it’s academic. The 4 Cali teams will stick together, and in any case, I don’t see them leaving the Pac10.

    • Jake says:

      UCLA and Virginia are tied at 24 in the USN&WR rankings and both are AAU members. UCLA certainly has a strong athletic tradition, and if you can get the Bears, why not the Bruins?

  71. Tom says:

    I came across an interesting article in the Austin Statesmen written by Kirk Bohls:

    http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/bohls/entries/2010/02/25/big_ten_would_b.html?cxntfid=blogs_bohl_games

    If you have read any of Bohls’ other articles on this subject you would see that the man is clearly hell bent against Texas moving to the Big Ten. However, I thought the Mack Brown quotes were really interesting.

    Essentially, Brown is saying that a decision to move to the Big Ten is one that goes much higher than him, and he would be the last to know if such a move was made. He also says that if something were to happen, his next move would be to break out the film of the Big Ten schools.

    Keep in mind, this is Mack Brown, the highest paid coach in all of collegiate athletics, and he will not have a say whether UT decides to move or stay put. I just wanted to point this out because when the usual suspects from the Big East are brought up as Big Ten candidates, people normally respond by saying: “Yeah right, (insert Big East basketball coach here) will never allow it!” In reality, those schools may run it by (insert Big East basketball coach here,) but (insert Big East basketball coach here,) will have no influence on the decision.

  72. Pete in LA says:

    All I know is whether its Texas or Nebraska I would hate to be a running back in the Big 10. It’s pretty rough as it is.

    Love this blog btw. Still thinking outside the box here but the biggest bang for the buck if they do take 3 schools would be to take Texas, Rutgers and University of Toronto. For 10 years or so they could have Toronto play MAC schools till they get warmed up. I’m just thinking about the possible CIC implications if Toronto was in it. Any collaboration in research whether it be corporate or government between the US and Canada would funnel through the Big 10. Plus the Big 10 could probably get the BTN on every cable system throughout Canada.

    • Richard says:

      The University of Toronto would have as much success capturing the Canadian market for the BTN as the University of Chicago would at delivering the Chicagoland market. They play the same level of football now as well (DivIII). In any case, this is a less realistic scenario than adding all the Pac10 Cali schools. BTW, California has a significantly bigger population than Canada (which has as many people as Texas).

  73. Jeremy says:

    Pete, as a Canadian, we already recieve college football. Thier is a following of Big Ten throughout Southern Ontario. The Windsor, Essex area even has about Michigan.Michigan supporters are as strong as up into Toronto. We get cbs, tsn(canadian espn owned), Fox, and NBC. Thats all the games in college football. I would think the Ontario government would love the idea of going to the CIC he really loves investing in elite education. The concerns I have with Toronto they need an football stadium even if they want it for the NFL. Secondly, convincing Americans to move to a foriegn city. Although Toronto is a wonderful city, the Raptors and to some exctent the Blue Jays have trouble signing American players. Lets face it;having expansion could be an easy bust.

    • Jeremy says:

      The Rogers Centre for CFL football and Bills games have 50k stadium. There one thing about Candians we love football. The Rogers Centre may be a good home if and when there is a new stadium. I think if enough money is put into it it can compete with MAC shcools, but even with success it will be second fiddle to more important sports. Pete, you are right there is no BTN set up. I think you can buy it though as full college package on cable, or get it on dishnet for free. I can see more Michigan people getting it to see thier team not for they love the Toronto team so much. I’d rather see Nebraska join even though i think with the right infranstuctre in place it could be cool idea.

  74. Jeremy says:

    When i talk about “HE” in my topic im reffering to the Premier of Ontario Dalton Mcguinty

  75. Playoffs Now! says:

    OK, many have been looking at the B11 and P10 raiding and splitting up the Big 12. What about an inverse scenario:

    The 4 Cal schools plus Nebraska join the B11, the remaining P10 (less WA St) is taken in by the B12, and both super conferences meet in the Rose Bowl annually.

    Crazy, but if the B11 money is so overwhelming better and the P10 has a worse contract than the B12, perhaps the CA schools might take a look if their state’s finances continue to crater towards bankruptcy. CA has nearly twice the population of Texas and the guy they hired to look into a P10 network is from the B11. Could he end up doing something like Cheney’s 2000 VP search? Hard times have made from some unexpected mergers.

    Remaining P10 schools would feel betrayed, but what can they do? Could water down by bringing in Utah, CO, BYU, and Boise or similar to keep control of their own destiny. However an offer from the B12 might be more likely and lucrative. Once a real super conference forms, the weaker outsiders need to form the strongest alliances possible, and for the P10 divorcees that would probably be found in joining the B12. Similarly the B12 would need to go to 16 to stay competitive, with the smaller markets they need as many teams in the polls as possible to market themselves as the strongest conference. WA, OR, and AZ are all boom states similar to Texas with decent TV markets, 2 of them top 20.

    Division would be easy for the expanded B12, just add the AZ schools to the B12 south. Perhaps more problematic for the B11, though the simplest would be to add MN, IA, and WI to the new western 5.

    Odds of that happening right now are near zero. But if everything is on the table in crazy economic times…and this isn’t the best time for the P10 to be negotiating contracts and launching a cable network. May be that way or worse when the B12 starts negotiating. We’re heading for at least a double dip recession. Take a look at the charts for 1929-33. Will scare the crap out of you because there is little to indicate that we aren’t still on a similar path of a descending staircase graph.

  76. Penn State Danny says:

    For Eastern teams, I would prefer: Pittt, Maryland, Syracuse, Rutgers in that order.

    For Western teams, I would prefer: Texas, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas in that order.

    I would put ND at the top of either list. I still have a feeling that the Irish and the conference are going to work something out.

  77. glenn says:

    i’d like to see the addition of three ‘western’ teams, texas, texas a&m, and washington.

    all three have very solid academics and research portfolio. no one of them is appreciably farther from the other big ten schools than the other two. and all three represent heavy market implications, particularly texas and udub.

    colorado wouldn’t be a bad option.

    but nebraska? nebraska is still angry with texas over the limitation of partial qualifiers. how many pq’s does the big ten allow? two isn’t enough for nebraska.

    no idea whether washington would consider it. also, it would be awfully isolated out there, particularly with the mountains in early winter between.

    • Richard says:

      Re: Washington
      1. Considerably farther away from Big10 country than Texas.
      2. They have the same population as Missouri.

      Re: Nebraska
      Different dynamics. When the 4 Texas schools merged with the Big8, Nebraska probably felt everyone should play by Big8 rules. If they join the Big10, they’ll expect to play by Big10 rules.

      • Jake says:

        Technically, the Texas schools didn’t join the Big 8 – the Big 12 is a separate entity with it’s own charter. I’m assuming that wouldn’t be the case with a Big Ten or Pac-10 expansion.

      • glenn says:

        with the advent of the superconference concept, distances are becoming less important, and other issues are becoming paramount.

        washington has won an mnc and missouri has not. when washington was romping, they owned viewership in the pacific northwest. even in missoui’s recent time in the limelight, they didn’t really control that region from a viewership standpoint. while neither is all that today, a rejuventated udub would bring a large viewership.

        heh, i suppose $10 million per annum will buy the necessary smiles. that’s what texas did wrong. should have written the nebs a check every year.

        jake is right in that the big 12 was a whole new conference. only problem is that nobody told the big 8 schools. they still think it’s the big 8 with some interlopers.

      • Richard says:

        Well, UDub is still in the sewer in football. Even discounting all the rivalries they’d have to give up (WSU, Oregon, annual trips to SoCal and NoCal), Washington just doesn’t look more appealling to the Big10 than Mizzou, Maryland, or Rutgers from a TV money perspective. If you’re intent on getting a western school, pulling in Colorado makes more sense (though Nebraska makes the most sense of all as a 14th school if ND is still unwilling).

      • glenn says:

        nebraska lacks the academic credentials. udub does not.

        my thinking is predicated on a rejuvenated washington that might flourish in a better environment.

        no question it is easier to raise athletic competence than academic, and the big ten seems to be very serious about academics. i can understand if most big 12 fans have a hard time relating to that.

        colorado is a good possibility, especially when distance – and mountains! – are taken into account, but washington would be a better complement if texas comes.

        say, have you noticed the size of the texas linebacker recruits lately? pretty large for big 12 play. probably better suited for a tough big ten schedule, one might think.

      • Richard says:

        Are they slow but make up for it by hitting hard? If so, they’d fit right in.

      • glenn says:

        not really slow, richard, if the available vids are representative, but not such an emphasis on speed and quickness as in recent classes.

        may simply be a reaction to the difficulties handling the bama running backs and coach boom’s natural predilections coming out.

        interesting, though.

      • glenn says:

        regarding hitting, some real hard cases. look very punishing.

      • glenn says:

        “When the 4 Texas schools merged with the Big8, Nebraska probably felt everyone should play by Big8 rules.”

        no, it wasn’t a pride matter at all. the great nebraska teams depended very heavily on admitting kids that other top programs couldn’t recruit. that was bill snyder’s secret formula at k-state as well. nebraska arranged an academic program and academic support system that prided itself in reclaiming lost souls. my suspicion is that no one outside that program knows for sure whether that means they found a way to educate persons other people couldn’t touch or whether nebraska arranged such a watered-down curriculum that no true biped could fail.

  78. glenn says:

    ps: my inclusion of a&m presumes that in an adult environment those buggers would be forced to grow up.

  79. Playoffs Now! says:

    After sleeping on it, I think if the B11 did make the power move to invite all the CA schools, the 16th team would more likely be Washington (if ND stays independent.) Talk about an academic super conference! And those are the 5 P10 schools with the closest relationships to the B11.

    The B12 would then only need 4 teams to match at 16 (MO and CO wouldn’t have any real options for leaving.) I would guess they’d nab Oregon, BYU (the Mormon poor man’s Notre Dame) and both AZ schools.

  80. Adding a western school makes it easy for divisions.

    If the 12th school is Notre Dame, the divisions will be a bit messy. It could still work out with two superpowers on each side, but there will be some big changes.

    1–Purdue, Indiana, Notre Dame, Penn State, Illinois, Northwestern
    2–Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan St., Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin

    First off, Indiana would have to sacrifice having a cross-division rival, so that Notre Dame could have two (UM and MSU). The other cross-divisional rivalries would remain intact. Purdue/WIscy, PSU/OSU, NW/Minny, Iowa/Illinois. Also, PSU vs. MSU would die as a yearly game. (PSU fans certainly DO NOT care…I don’t know about MSU fans?) Other than that, this division split is the best I could come up with after a few hours of juggling.

    • Richard says:

      Too messy, and schools would complain about unfairness if ND has 2 cross-divisional rivals while Indiana has none.

      I don’t think you could have 2 superpowers in each division and still keep Michigan and OSU in the same division. If your main goal is to maintain traditional rivalries, you could put the trio of ND-MSU-Michigan (who all play each other) in the same division as OSU, Purdue, and Indiana, with PSU + the western 5 in the other division.

      If you insist on 2 superpowers in a division, you’d have to put ND-MSU-Michigan in one division with Minn-Iowa-Wisc with the interdivisional games being
      ND-Purdue
      Michigan-OSU
      MSU-PSU
      Iowa-IL
      Wisc-NU
      Minn-IN

      Nebraska as the 12th team just makes things easier.

      • Richard, it is messy. True. But who would get upset on Indiana’s behalf? They’ve been the mutant in football forever. If that was the one catch for getting Notre Dame to join, I think the Big 10 would bite the bullet. And it’s not like they are really missing out on anything substantial. They’ll still get great home games each season…PSU or Notre Dame…plus Ohio State or Michigan or Wisconsin every few years. Plus, an annual shot to upset the state’s hotshot (Notre Dame) could do wonders for in-state recruiting (or not). This cross-divisional rival isn’t really a big deal. Actually, the only people who might feel it’s not fair would be Ohio St, Iowa, Minny, and Wiscy…because they would only see Notre Dame come to town every 8 years b/c of the schedule rotation. They’d lament that huge revenue game perhaps.

        However you split the divisions remember this: season-ending rivalry games (most crucially Michigan and Ohio State) must keep rivals in the same division, or else you risk a back-to-back rematch in the conference championship game.

      • Richard says:

        It’s more that you split up Michigan-ND and MSU-ND. There’s less incentive for ND to join the Big10 if that means they actually play _less_ of their traditional Big10 rivalries than as an independent.

        The only way to maintain as many traditional rivalries as possible if ND is the 12th team is to put PSU in with the western 5. They may not mind since they’d be in the weaker division.

      • I know this is complicated so it’s no surprise that I didn’t communicate everything I was thinking. Although Purdue is the only yearly rival that would be in Notre Dame’s division, they would have rivalry game cross-division with both MSU and UM in my scenario. The other teams would rotate through less frequently (i.e. less games with ND for Wiscy, Iowa, Minny) but rivalries would be preserved. I worked through a ton of scenarios and this actually comes closest to working with, in my opinion, only Indiana getting the shaft (if not having a cross-divisional rival is really “the shaft”?).

      • Richard says:

        Come to think of it, if you can have 1 cross-rivalry game, you could put Indiana in the West with the other 5 western teams.
        Then the cross-rivalry games would be
        Purdue-Indiana
        OSU-Illinois
        ND-NU
        Michigan-Minnesota
        PSU-Iowa
        MSU-Wisconsin

        The East would be superstrong, though only OSU & PSU would be picking up a team they would not normally play (in ND). OSU usually plays a nationally recognized OOC opponent anyway, and PSU does sometimes as well.

    • Adam says:

      If ND were the 12th team, I’d split the schools:
      A: Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, Wisconsin
      B: Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State

      Cross-division rivals:
      Ohio State-Illinois
      Michigan-Minnesota
      Michigan State-Wisconsin
      Penn State-Iowa
      Notre Dame-Purdue
      Indiana-Northwestern

      • Richard says:

        You could do that as well.

      • Adam says:

        I think that’s the best scenario for the Big Ten. It preserves almost every meaningful rivalry in the league. I think that alignment scenarios start tripping over their own horns when they get caught up in trying to ensure a “balanced” alignment. I think “balance” is too evanescent to be worth chasing.

      • I’m not sure how much you guys have studied Big 10 scheduling, but you really aren’t addressing any of the current rivalries (except Purdue/ND). Why make a rivalry that wasn’t there before?

      • Richard says:

        It’s more about keeping the existing rivals in the same division (which is preferable to a cross-division rivalry anyway). The cross-divisional rival is for ND-Purdue, though Michigan-Minnesota also has one (Little Brown Jug) and to a lesser extent OSU-Illinois (Illibuck).

      • Adam says:

        Yeah I mean you can play around with the cross-division rivals, but those would be the Divisions I’d establish. They preserve almost all of the most important pre-existing rivalries intra-division, which as Richard notes, is preferable anyway. Consider: UM-OSU, UM-MSU, MSU-PSU, OSU-PSU, UM-ND, MSU-ND, IA-MN, MN-WIS, ILL-NU, even lesser ones like MSU-IU. I set the cross-division rivals as I did with an eye towards the Illibuck, Little Brown Jug, and Shillelagh, and did the best I could to come up with logical pairings for the other 6 teams (MSU and WIS have a fairly strong rivalry, cultivated in part on the Basketball side; I believe IU-NU is currently a “protected” game in the schedule rotation, evidencing some level of rivalry between the programs; and PSU-IA was what was left over).

      • Adam says:

        The other advantage to my approach (in my own mind at least; I hope you’ll pardon me for finding my own work attractive) is that it’s nice and simple. No rotating pods, shifting divisions, or quests for the chimera that is “balance.” Just two divisions that have a whole lot of very traditional rivals in them.

      • Adam says:

        One other point: although I have expressed my vehement disagreement with adding Texas, I am capable of at least observing that I think this basic structure would also work best for a Texas addition. If it’s Texas instead of ND, you simply slide PUR over into the “B” group, to preserve the Old Oaken Bucket rivalry with IU (one of the few sacrifices my above proposal makes), and put TEX in the “A” group.

  81. Vincent says:

    The Big Ten must decide whether it wants to go east to get eyeballs and subscriptions for the Big Ten Network, or west for stronger football (but without the basketball improvement Syracuse and Maryland would bring)

  82. Captainobviously says:

    “… We have not talked to anyone from the big ten …”

    “… No one from the big ten has talked to Texas …”

    lol… Well, I’m sure they’re telling the truth technically. They’re exploiting the fact that the average sports fan has no idea that high level sports negotiations take place via proxy… Subcontracted law firms, sports agents, or in this case, perhaps a Mergers & Acqusitions firm.

    Of course the big ten and Texas haven’t talked directly. The proper question is whether the big-time Chicago law firm representing the big ten is talking to the big-time Austin law firm representing UT.

  83. OrderRestored says:

    I’m starting to see rumblings (from various blogs) that the Big 10 would be interested in going after some of the California schools and possibly Washington. First off the California schools are completely out of question. Cal wouldn’t leave Stanford and USC would never leave UCLA and vice versa; besides even with all the money involved I am very skeptical of the Big 10 sabotaging the tradition it has with the Pac 10 in the Rose Bowl by scavenging teams from it. I was with Frank in believing that geography has little to do with the Big 10 expansion; but if you read some comments surfacing from the school AD’s within the Big 10 it is very evident that geography still pulls some weight (even more than anticipated). I personally would count all the Pac 10 schools out of the Big 10 expansion conversation; unless the Pac 10 was about to go under financially and the Big 10 made a move and merged to save the tradition the two conferences have, I really am very skeptical of any team leaving the Pac 10 for the Big10. The Big 10 is more likely to go after the Florida schools (which isn’t likely due to academics and florida politics) than the California schools or Washington.

  84. OrderRestored says:

    84Lion, I didn’t realize that. Nebraska seems to have some pretty good connections within the Big 10. They are quickly becomeing the most attractive candidate in my opinion.

  85. [...] away from Midtown Manhattan becomes irrelevant.  Taking the NBA analogies further, commenter Dcphx brilliantly described Rutgers as “the 7′ 3″ athletic center that NBA GMs [...]

  86. Michael says:

    I’m a bit surprised there are more discussions about UNC. Academically and culturally, it’s like a southern IU or Wisconsin, but with a notably higher US News ranking than either. The CIC would be thrilled to take in UNC. Secondly, one of the Big Ten’s few weaknesses, compared with other BCS leagues, is that its current markets are comprised of populations (and potential viewers) that aren’t growing. The state of North Carolina, on the other hand, already has just 600,000 people fewer than Michigan, and the state is easily on pace to surpass Michigan within ten years. UNC draws the #1 fan interest, by far, in almost every community in the state. As for questions about commitment to football, it’s no Texas, but there are plans to add about 7,000 seats, and it has a multi-million dollar coach.
    Since Maryland has been in the same conference as the other 6 founding ACC members for 89 years, why would they be more likely to leave than UNC? Considering also that all of Maryland, DC & Northern Virginia add up to fewer TV sets than North Carolina, why is Maryland more attractive?

    • spartakles78 says:

      Would UNC be willing to leave the other Tobacco Road schools? I only mentioned Maryland of the original ACC members as a possibility as they may have less invested without in-state rivals like UNC. It’s a big if on any of the original ACC schools. Round-ball is still their sports identity.

      • I think there a lot of non-obvious moves that could happen if the price is right (see Boston College in the ACC today), so there are very few situations where I’ll say “That will never happen!” The thought of UNC ever leaving the ACC, though, is in that category.

    • Richard says:

      I think the only way is if UNC, Duke, Virgina, and Maryland all leave together (and then you’d still have difficulties with the state legislatures of Virginia and NC with leaving VTech and NCState behind). Certainly, UNC isn’t going to leave by itself. Heck, I’m not even sure Maryland would, though it’s the most likely to “defect”.

  87. Penn State Danny says:

    Frank

    Here is where I think things are. Please tell me if you agree or disagree with my assessment.

    Choice A: ND decides to join. They are the only team that meets everything. There would be no need to go to 14 but if desired, the conference could add 2 of Nebraska Pitt, Missouri, Rutgers or Syracuse.

    Choice B: Texas and A&M join. Maybe ND then caves, maybe not. If not, add one of: Nebraska, Pitt, Missouri, Rutgers or Syracuse.

    Choice C: ND and Texas (and therefore A &M) say no. Nebraska says yes and 2 of: Pitt, Missouri, Rutgers or Syracuse.

    Choice D: None really. I don’t see the Big Ten only adding Pitt, Missouri, Rutgers or Syracuse…or even any 3 of these 4.

    • Jake says:

      You don’t think A&M would say yes if Texas declined? They aren’t much happier in the Big 12, and the move would really help improve the perception of their academics.

    • Richard says:

      If ND and Texas both say no, I don’t see the Big10 adding 3 teams, because that would mean either excluding Texas (and TAMU) or ND in the future. At most they add Nebraska as a first step to speed up the break-up of the Big12.

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