As I was going through the always insightful comments (since people seem to love talking about superconferences) and pondering life’s great questions, such as what Desmond’s plan is on LOST or why Justin Bieber has been a trending topic on Twitter for the past 15 years, it occurred to me that a multi-phase expansion for the Big Ten may actually be a strong strategy for the conference.  For a very long time, I thought that if the Big Ten was going to add multiple schools, it would do it all at once because it wouldn’t want to risk not ending up with its desired end combination by inviting 1 or 2 schools and then hoping that someone like Notre Dame would join down the road.  However, what if the Big Ten could invite 2 specific schools who would accept that would (a) apply maximum pressure on the big names to join in “Phase 2″ and (b) even those big names don’t end up joining, those 2 schools plus another school that the conference apparently likes would still provide enough value where expansion would be considered to be a success?

A large part of the leverage that the Big Ten has right now is due to the fact that it stands at an odd number of 11 members, which provides the possibility of the conference adding 1, 3 or 5 schools (or even standing pat).  Basically, it’s the conference equivalent of the “triple threat” position in basketball, where the player with the ball has the ability to dribble, pass or shoot.  No one knows which direction the Big Ten is going to go right now.  The mere threat of Big Ten expansion has caused the Big East and Big XII to wonder if they’ll survive and at least making the ACC consider some contingency plans.  If the Big Ten just adds one member in an attempt to have a multi-phase expansion, then a lot of that threat goes away – the perception will be that the Big Ten is at a stable 12 members with a conference championship game and provides a strong possibility that it wouldn’t look any further.  However, if the Big Ten invites 2 strategically targeted schools that would almost certainly accept, then the conference creates even more fear and chaos in the college sports world.  Standing at 13, it’s clear that the Big Ten is pursuing a superconference strategy and there is an absolute guarantee that it needs to add 1 or 3 more members.  If there’s a frenzy about the Big Ten’s plans today, just imagine what it would be like if the conference expands with a guarantee that it will add at least one more.  The Big Ten would also show schools like Notre Dame and Texas that the conference isn’t bluffing when it says that it’s moving on.

Let’s look back at the Big Ten Expansion Index, which is likely how most of you found this blog in the first place.  After Texas and Notre Dame, I had ranked Syracuse and Nebraska as the next two best candidates for the Big Ten.  For separate reasons, Syracuse and Nebraska also happen to serve as the ideal “Phase 1″ invitees to the conference.

Reading the tea leaves from Notre Dame, a split of the Big East current hybrid structure is the most likely way to “force” it to join a conference (regardless of what the school’s alums believe).  Well, if the Big Ten were to choose just one Big East school that would most likely cause the Big East to split, it would be Syracuse.  The Orange are the glue that holds the hybrid together because no other Big East football school has as much invested in rivalries with the conference’s Catholic schools for basketball.  Without Syracuse, the other football schools would almost have to split simply for self-preservation.  Those remaining Big East football schools wouldn’t know whether the Big Ten would really want any of them in Phase 2 of the expansion and with only 7 members, they absolutely have to add another member immediately just to have the minimum number for a conference to exist in the first place.  Practically speaking, they would likely want to split from the Catholic schools to have the leeway to add 2 new members to cover the situation where the Big Ten may end up taking another Big East school in Phase 2.

On the other side of the Big Ten footprint, we should note something very important with respect to the Big XII: it takes 4 schools to stop any changes to the current inequitable revenue sharing structure that favors Texas more than any other school.  Missouri’s chancellor has complained about this openly.  Right now, there’s a solid bloc of 4 schools preventing those changes:  Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma… and Nebraska.  Those 4 schools consistently receive the most national TV appearances of the current Big XII members, so they receive the largest share of conference revenue on a year-in and year-out basis.  (Note that as much as a lot of otherwise incredibly civil Husker fans complain about how much Texas supposedly controls the Big XII, Nebraska is one of the reasons why Texas has such a large financial advantage over the rest of the conference because the Cornhuskers are still a net beneficiary from that revenue distribution model.)  If the Big Ten takes Nebraska away, then the other Big XII schools will have a super-majority to enact the revenue sharing changes that they’ve long wanted and block the prospect of allowing member schools to create their own TV channels (such as the Longhorn Sports Network).  Who is going to be really pissed off in that situation because it now no longer has the supposed financial “control” of the Big XII?  Texas, who is already behind all of the schools in the Big Ten and SEC in TV money even with the Big XII’s deck completely stacked in the Longhorns’ favor.  If Missouri could be considered a “stalking horse” to try to get Texas, actually taking Nebraska can directly hit the pocketbook of Texas like no other Big XII school except for Oklahoma (who won’t ever get a sniff of a Big Ten invite due to academic concerns).  Texas A&M would be in a similar position.  Nebraska leaving the Big XII gives those two Texas schools a clear financial reason for them to move conferences (to the extent that it’s not there already) AND the political “moral authority” (as Barking Carnival has noted before) of telling the state’s politicians that they need to move pronto regardless of what happens to Texas Tech and Baylor because the Big XII is a dead man walking.

In summary, the Big Ten can announce that it’s inviting Syracuse and Nebraska, both of whom I believe the conference likes regardless of who else might be added.  The effect of this is even more panic in the college sports world since 2 BCS conferences will have lost key members and it’s clear that the Big Ten is going to want to add at least 1 more school (or maybe 3).  This causes the Big East to split up simply for self-preservation (which would drive Notre Dame to the Big Ten) and the Big XII’s power schools would no longer have veto power to avoid changes to its revenue distribution model (which would drive Texas and Texas A&M to the Big Ten).  We would then have a Super Death Star Conference (the one that the Empire attempted to build in Return of the Jedi):  Notre Dame, Texas, Texas A&M, Syracuse and Nebraska as new members of a 16-school Big Ten.

Now, what if the desired fallout doesn’t go as planned for the Big Ten, where Notre Dame and/or the Texas schools stay put?  (In the words of future Ole Miss mascot Admiral Ackbar, “It’s a trap!!!”)  This is not really a problem because the Big Ten has already added a huge national football name (Nebraska) and a marquee basketball school that happens to be the only BCS school in the state of New York (Syracuse).  The Big Ten would then invite Rutgers as school #14, which gets the conference to stake its geographic claim to the New York/New Jersey area.  As a result, the Big Ten has increased its national cache for both football and basketball while adding on concrete households in the form of a major presence in the nation’s largest TV market.  (This is “JoePa’s Quasi-Dream Conference” that I wrote about here.)  Adding Syracuse and Nebraska as schools #12 and #13 allows the Big Ten to disrupt the current comfort zones of Notre Dame and Texas and applies serious pressure on them to join the Big Ten themselves, but also provides a hedge in the event that those major players aren’t persuaded at the end.

I’ve stated before that Nebraska would be the one school that could make me eat my words that the Big Ten wouldn’t expand without Notre Dame or Texas involved.  Frankly, JoePa’s Quasi-Dream Conference is a pretty good outcome for everyone associated with the Big Ten.   The sports fans get great national programs in football and basketball (plus major upgrades in other sports with Nebraska baseball and women’s volleyball and Syracuse lacrosse).  The academically-minded people maintain a conference entirely composed of members of the American Association of Universities.  The traditionalists get a geographically contiguous conference that “conservatively” adds on to both sides of the league footprint.  The TV executives get another marquee football name for national TV contracts and entry into the New York/New Jersey area for Big Ten Network households.  Maybe most importantly, these are all schools that seem to actually WANT to be in the Big Ten (as opposed to feeling forced to join).  This can maintain the close-knit atmosphere that I believe is the Big Ten’s greatest qualitative strength.

That would be my maniacal multi-phase expansion plan if the Big Ten is truly looking to move up to at least 14 schools – go for the proverbial royal flush in a way where the conference is still guaranteed to be the chip leader no matter what happens.

(NOTE:  In response to several requests, I’m putting together an updated post on the potential fallout on other conferences, so stay tuned.)

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

(Image from Eco Auto Ninja)

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  1. [...] Multi-Phase Big Ten Expansion: How to Create a Super Death Star Conference [...]

    • Doug says:

      Well, guess what happened to the deathstar? Luke blew it up. And look what happend to the ACC’s great expansion plans. Biggest is not bestest.

      Very insightful Frank on your views of the Big Ten picking just two schools, but highly strategic schools for future expansion. I’m not sure Syracuse and Nebraska are the two, though.
      Nebraska has terrible basketball, but it is an AAU school and we all know about the football history there. Syracuse is not a research school and has terrible football. Someone else besides Syracuse would be better….of course, Notre Dame, which needs no discussion.

      So, what happens to the Big 12? Don’t count on Colorado going to PAC 10 because of significant painful exit penalties in a tight economic climate, but it could happen if Utah goes too and the PAC 10 makes it financially attractive.

      So, will the Big 12 add 2 schools? Nothing around is really attractive. Could stay at 10 schools, but would lose even more TV revenue by losing the Denver market, so would prolly need to add BYU and another Texas school, maybe Houston – or if not a Texas school then New Mexico.

      Texas would have even greater leverage in getting what it wants, and would stay in the Big 12 to beat up on everyone else and take their milk money.

      • MIRuss says:


        The ACC imploded because the ACC doesn’t know what to do with the content it has. When it was formed, everyone believed (myeself included) that with Miami and Va Tech, the football level of the ACC would be forced up. And to a certain extent, I believe it has improved. But without a great way to promote and market the product, well, it’s kind of like buying a sports car and never getting it tuned or washing it… Sooner or later it’s going to crap out on you.

        My point: Bigger can be better, you just have to know what to do with it.

      • Jim Edgcomb says:

        ND is neither a research school, nor an AAU member. How are they even in this discussion?
        One of the original tenants of Franks expansion thesis was to think like a university president, NOT like an AD…. ND doesn’t belong.

        • flp_ndrox says:

          Because it didn’t matter in ’99 or ’03.

          No Catholic school is in the AAU anymore. The research isn’t bad, but it isn’t Big Ten level, either.

          I concur, we don’t belong. I wish the media would figure that out.

        • @Jim – ND isn’t a research school, but the university presidents aren’t so myopic to forget that the #1 revenue driver in all of this is still football. The Big Ten’s university presidents were perfectly happy to invite ND formally in 1999 and the Irish were on the brink of joining in the wake of the ACC raid in 2003, so the lack of graduate research at ND obviously wasn’t an issue.

          That being said, would I ultimately be OK if Nebraska was invited instead of ND? Absolutely. I’m really starting to like the Huskers more and more in these discussions – an elite football name (which I do think is non-negotiable – the Big Ten shouldn’t be expanding without at least one) that’s a large research university without the baggage of ND’s stance regarding independence.

          • Chase says:

            It’s not the research solely, it’s the overall academic standards (an easy way to judge this is by going off of the AAU, but that is by no means the be-all-end-all). Notre Dame fits both academically and athletically (and geographically) with the current Big 10 schools. If they choose to accept an offer, they’ll fit in perfectly with everyone else.

    • Justin says:

      I would love Nebraska, but other then Frank stating the Big 10 has interest, I haven’t seen any reports suggesting Nebraska is at the top of the Big 10 wishlist.

      • Scott C says:

        There haven’t really been reports on any school from the Big Ten. Just lots of speculation and a few unnamed sources.

    • Nittany Wit says:

      Assuming that the PAC-10 take Colorado, do you think that there is value to take two Big-12 North teams, say Nebraska and Missouri (or Kansas) to leave the Big-12 with just 9 teams and a very weak North Division of Iowa St., Kansas St., and probably Kansas (maybe Missouri)?

      The more I think about this, the more I like it because it gives leverage for three options:

      A) Texas/Texas A&M/ + 1: This take politics off the table (maybe even to encourage Texas to abandon ship before it goes under).

      B) Notre Dame: Expansion with Nebraska, Missouri, and Notre Dame maintains the Mid-West feel and tradition. Although folks like to think that Notre Dame won’t go if forced, the reality is that Notre Dame is wise enough to know that a wrong move may end up in checkmate. For example, no ND then means that Big-10/Big 12 take a combo of 4 to 5 Big East teams leaving ND without anywhere to go.

      C) If A & B, fall through then the Big 10 could select any one Big East school (Syracuse) or any three Big East schools (Syracuse, Rutgers, UConn) or 2 Big East and one ACC (Syracuse, UConn, BC) to round out the NY/NE region.

      The minute that Colorado leaves, BYU will be offered and will shortly accept. This has me thinking that the Big-12 won’t fall with one or two teams going, but needs a minimum of three. If the Big-12 isn’t in danger of capsizing then Texas and A&M are likely no-movers. Then options 2 and 3 are the only available ones in which case the Big East could survive since at most three teams would leave the Big East, which would have the most ease to replace teams by taking from the MAC or UCF, Marshall, East Carolina, etc. Although they would lose the BCS AQ bid, Notre Dame could care less and would still have a home for their other sports.

      • @Nittany Wit – IF the Big Ten truly thinks that Texas and Texas A&M will be spurred to move to the Big Ten, then this makes sense. However, I get the feeling that the Big Ten has a desire to add at least one Eastern school with ties to the NYC area and that they’d rather end up with 14 schools as opposed to 16 (at least right now), so I doubt that they’ll open up with adding 2 Big XII North schools. 1 would be enough (and IMHO, Nebraska >>>> Missouri).

        • Nittany Wit says:

          If the Big10 goes after the Big East first, they will at most take three teams. In order of likelihood, this is probably Syracuse, Rutgers, UConn, and Pitt. I can easily see the Big East picking up Memphis, ECU, UCF, Temple, Buffalo, Marshall, or allowing Villanova to step up to Division 1 as UConn did in the 90’s. The Big East has a lot more viable replacement options than the Big12.

          • Richard says:

            Not really. ECU, Temple, Buffalo, etc. don’t match the appeal of Syrause, Rutgers, or UConn on football or basketball.

    • Wes Haggard says:

      M (AG)

      Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall in Bill Byrnes office and listen to the conversations? In my imagination, it could go something like this.

      “OK, staff, I have called you in because I need your latest research and your latest numbers projections. Spring training will be over Saturday. The Board of Regents meets in May and I have been told that they need the numbers and our input on all the different scenarios, which will almost surely be upon this University when the Big Ten Presidents meet in June. The Board wants to be ready.

      A. As I have told you, Delaney has talked to DeLoss and to me about Big Ten membership. Informally, of course. He is not empowered to issue a formal invitation. Only the Presidents can do that. With that said, by the time a formal invitation is issued and accepted, all the deals will have already been done. I have spoken with President Loftin and he is pretty much on board, with the change, especially with the way that Nebraska and Missouri have gone public with their declarations. No need to tell you that if this conversation leaks to any member of the press, you are all looking for a job tomorrow. Acceptance by Texas A&M is an easy decision. We share a commonality with the Big Ten of large endowments and a thirst for education and research grants. We think that our University will be a top 50 ranked school within the next decade because we are spending the money to get there and to hire the staff to succeed. We are an AAU member and, certainly, we believe we could be a contributing member of the CIC. Whatever it takes to acheive our educational improvement and recognition goals. But as usual, it is our friends in Austin who are putting the brakes on the membership status.

      B. DeLoss tells me that Powers love the Big Ten but that some of the UT regents want to explore their options. Their regents have always felt that their educational goals have always fell more in line with the California schools. Stanford did not agree in the early nineties. That bone may still has some meet on it so who knows. But Texas is persistent, so that they are now quietly talking with the other California schools; especially USC and Berkley to determine their feelings about starting a new conference with select membership and or creating a Western Alliance with east/west divisions in conjunction with a startup conference cable TV network. They are suggesting the Arizona schools plus six existing Big Twelve schools for the eastern division. Sure they have asked us but we have not committed. As I understand their scenario, they want to include Tech, Colorado, Oklahoma and Kansas and us. Guess they want their cake and be able to eat it too. Just me I know, but if you have Wazzoo and the Beavers, guess OU and Tech would be ok. They fill the stadiums and play well on TV, but why not Nebraska, well you know why.

      C. They have been talking to Fox Sports, ESPN and Comcast for sure about a Western Alliance Network similar to the Big Ten Network. Seems like the projections change every time I hear them. As you know, we are a conservative school and we would prefer a bird in our hand rather than two or three in the bush. But, it is probably no accident that Texas graduates a huge number of future entrepreneurs. They are projecting revenues based on the schools state population and the present ratings of the schools sports broadcasts. Kansas makes the cut because of their basketball and since Kansas is afraid of being left behind, they are quite interested. We may be too, but we need to see some contracts or at least some solid evidence.

      D. Texas likes the Big Ten available money very much but, because of the past history of the Nebraska non-qualifiers, they seem to have a sore spot about the Cornhuskers. I was there and those are some nice people dedicated to their school and I think they would be a credit to the Big Ten. But Texas would prefer a membership offer from the Big Ten to Colorado, not Nebraska. They say the ratings and the money would be better and they may be right. This could be a double political sword. You know that our friends have a history of personal gratification and political intrigue. If Colorado is talking to the Big Ten, then they are not talking to the PAC Ten, which just might leave them at the whims of the Texas decision makers. And Nebraska would be left behind. Plus it could take some stroke away from the Big Ten in forcing a decision on the whole Big Twelve. I think maybe in their secret heart, Texas wants to keep the Big Twelve in tact. They are not the moneyest making school in the country by accident. Then Texas could have more time to explore a Big Twelve Network. But, with decision time in June, time is of the essence. And I think Texas is a little hesitant about Big Ten membership because Texas is a little leery of the Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State power brokers. Sure, I believe that we would fit right in.

      E. Yes, if Texas goes west, we would accept membership all by ourselves to the Big Ten. But, we may not be asked. If we could go back to the future, back to the 80’s and 90’s when we were riding high and commanding the lions share of the TV broadcasts, there would probably be no question that the offer would be extended. Our old dominance is why, that when the Big Twelve was formed the North Division schools refused to play Texas A&M and Oklahoma in the same season. So, always be careful what you wish for. Now they get to play Texas and OU in the same season. TV ratings are of paramount importance right now and Texas is the 800-pound gorilla. They have the power and they will use it to slow play every thing. Although, I believe they will accept Big Ten memebership after a whole lot more conversation. And we will too. If we put together back to back nine win seasons, as we used to enjoy every year, then we will have the big TV ratings also.

      F. But, to be safe, and because of our conservative nature, and because some of our Regents and most trustworthy supporters have questions how we might fit in with the Colorado’s, Berkeley’s and the overall Hollywood image of the PAC Ten, I have talked to the SEC. The southern gentlemen at Georgia and Florida would sponsor us and LSU and Arkansas would support us. Conversations of “just in case” are going on with CBS and ESPN to get some sweetening for the contracts because of the potential addition of the Texas TV market. To offset A&M in the West, CBS is asking questions about Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech and FSU for the East. Virginia Tech has a lot alumni living in DC. Pittsburgh would open additional Pennsylvania TV sets for the SEC. FSU is a geographical fit but Florida opposes their membership. They have their reasons. If the Big Ten expands to sixteen schools but, does not include Texas nor Texas A&M, well that could really open up a great amount of movement. Sixteen schools in the Big Ten would most likely include a great number of Big East schools, probably destroy the Big East, but it may leave the Big Twelve untouched. Then, we would have business as usual and lots of time to explore our own network. By the way, DeLoss has flat out asked me what it would take for us not to go to the SEC, if Texas goes west. I think that Mack told him that it could upset the balance of recruiting. When is the last time we did what Texas asked us to?

      G. I have a meeting with President Loftin the first week in May. He is going to ask me some hard questions. This your agenda and I need solid, supported answers by the 25th.

      1. Talk to any of your friends or sources in DeLoss’s office that will give you an inkling about how they are leaning.
      2. Talk to some of the whiz kid accountants and give me some solid projected income numbers for staying in the Big Twelve, going to the Big Ten, joining the PAC Ten, being a charter member of the Western Alliance or joining Florida and Georgia and Vandy, etc. in the SEC.
      3. Talk to as many alumni as you can, especially the large donors and determine without asking, if they will continue to support our endowment with their gifts and in their wills. This is very important.
      4. Talk to Kay Bailey and John and see if they feel our research grants will increase or decrease if we are identified with the Big Ten or the PAC Ten or the SEC without any other Texas schools except maybe the University of Texas.
      5. Talk to Rick and his staff and see if he will support us no matter what or if there may be some flak from our left behind state brethren. And get some ideal on how to put out the fire. Fires. Whatever, you know what I mean.
      6. Go, you have work to do. Give me lots of supporting paper and facts and a very short summary on every scenario.”

    • Well Played Mauer says:


      I have been reading the various posts and comments here for quit a while now, and they have been very entertaining and insightful. In regard to Frank’s Latest post about multi-phase expiation and Syracuse being one of the main targets I final decide to post something.

      Now let me first say I am not advocating or suggestion anything as concrete but merrily presenting food for thought.

      In regard to Syracuse and the Big Ten the whole notion of inclusion seems to be based on the predication that they can delivery not necessary the NYC market but at least the upstate New York Markets; and because of this the Big Ten would then be willing to overlook the lack of research activity at the school, it’s sub par football and small enrollment.

      Now under that premise why then would The Big Ten Not invite Buffalo instead of Syracuse? At first blush this seems like a non starter, but bare with me and follow me down the rabbit hole.

      First let’s assume for ease of conversation that neither of these schools will get you much in the way of the New York Metro area, and they are being brought in just to turn Upstate New York into Big Ten Country. According to there are roughly 2.7 million TV households in the various markets in upstate New York. The largest being Buffalo with 633,000, Syracuse is 4th largest with around 385,000. Now can one school delivery all the other markets [Albany, Rochester, Plattsburgh, etc] better than the other? Is Syracuse’s stellar basketball enough to compensate for their lack luster football in the rest of the state? I do not know. But Buffalo football is no more or less good or bad than is Syracuse football. Buffalo has a small stadium to be sure, but Syracuse is playing in an aging dome, either school would conceivable need to upgrade their facilities.

      If the worst paned out for the Big Ten, and the Upstate team taken could only reliably delivery their home market only, would you not want the bigger market in Buffalo? And if we assume The Big Ten continues with it’s state wide pricing straggly for the BTN wouldn’t either school get them about the same amount of leverage when negotiating with the various cable companies?

      Also consider research levels; Buffalo is a AAU members rated by the Carnage Foundation as being a “primarily residential” University with “very high research activity” the same rating as nearly every Big Ten School. According to Wikipedia it is the largest public university in the state of New York. And according to the Nation Science Foundation is ahead of Iowa & Rutgers in the amount of R&D expenditures [and just behind Nebraska].

      In 2008 Buffalo had just under 340 million in research spending, Rutgers had 323 million and Iowa was at the bottom of the Big Ten with 293 million, Wisconsin topped the Big Ten and all Division I Schools with 880 Million. Syracuse had 38 million in R&D spending in 2008.

      Also Buffalo is currently in the middle of instating their UB2020 plan which calls for the expansion of the school by 40% by 2020 and the increase of enrollment by 10,000 which would bring the total enrollment close to 38,000 which would tie it for second largest in the big ten with Minnesota and Penn State, only Ohio State would have a larger enrollment. Syracuse’s enrollment is just under 13,800

      Buffalo has a endowment of around 500 million, Syracuse’s endowment is just under 700 million, both would be the lowest in the Big Ten. Currently Iowa’s 1 billion dollar endowment is the lowest of all Big Ten schools. Buffalo was founded in 1846, Syracuse was founded in 1870. Both schools are located on frozen tundra’s, but Buffalo’s frozen tundra is geographically closer to the current big ten foot print than Syracuse’s frozen tundra ;-)

      And finally this maybe here nor there but the prevailing winds of change seem to suggest that at some point there is a very real chance the Buffalo Bills will relocate to someplace other than Buffalo New York. If that does happen all of sudden the Buffalo “Bulls” are no longer in a pro-team kill zone, they are now the only game in town for football fans in Buffalo. Does this mean Buffalo could become the New York State Version of Ann Arbor, Columbus, or State Collage? Who Knows?

      The only real advantage Syracuse seems to have over Buffalo is that the field one of the best basketball programs in the country. Is that enough?

      I am not saying Buffalo is being considered or even that they should or shouldn’t, but from the available information; if a person thinks Syracuse is an acceptable expansion candidate, one could agree Buffalo is a better choice. Likewise if a person believes that Buffalo is a absolute non-starter, then one could argue Syracuse is too.

      Wow, that was a long one, if anybody made it to the end, thanks for reading! Again love the articles and all the comments keep them coming.


      • Scott S says:

        I have to admit, I know absolutely nothing about Buffalo. I mean nothing. I didn’t know they were the Bulls. I didn’t know they had a medical school or law school until I looked it up.

        I see it’s a decent sized university. It’s ranked 91-112 by the ARWU, which I’d imagine would be deemed borderline by the Big Ten. It’s just below Nebraska and above Rutgers in research.

        Buffalo might have as strong a pull in upstate NY as Syracuse, but I think one of the appeals of Syracuse is at least the hope that they appeal to NYC. I don’t think they’d be considered for an appeal to just upstate New York

        Whether Syracuse actually appeal to NYC, I’m not at all convinced. However, Syracuse does have a basketball team which might appeal there. Buffalo, not so much.

        If Buffalo were to be invited to join the Big Ten’s conference for sports, I think they’d need to have a much more prominent sports profile.

        Nonetheless, an interesting suggestion…

        • Tim W says:

          Scott, as someone who has lived in Upstate New York my whole life I can shed some light on the attractiveness of Buffalo vs. Syracuse.

          As of now Buffalo has very few fans that root for the bulls. Everyone in the city is much more preoccupied with the various professional teams.

          That said Syracuse absolutely has a larger Upstate NY fanbase, but if for some reason Buffalo joined the Big 10 that could change. (although I see a Big 10 invite very unlikely, Syracuse would get asked first)

          As for Syracuse’s NYC following? Syracuse basketball is already loved by NYC, and Madison Square Garden is really a second home court for us. (honestly we seem to play better at MSG than in the Carrier Dome)

          Whenever Syracuse is playing at MSG for the Big East Tournament the building is predominately filled with Orange.

          Syracuse football however doesn’t have near the NYC following of the basketball team currently has partly because the program has fallen on hard times, and the fact that NYC loves college basketball over college football.

          Syracuse, athletically speaking has more of a sports following similar to that of a state flagship school than Buffalo ever will. I honestly think if Syracuse were to join a nationally watched “Big 16″ mega-conference its private status could aid rather than hinder the growing of the Orange fanbase. In the Northeast few states have big state flagship schools, and privates dot the landscape and are often considered much more prestigious.

          With some success Syracuse could be seen as the Northeast’s/New England’s school rather than just a “NY State” school. Syracuse alums generally flock to all the major cities of the Northeast (NYC, Boston, Philly, etc.) so the possibility is not too far fetched.

          That said it will take considerable academic success in football combined with continued domination in basketball to develop such a large widespread fanbase across the North East.

          • Well Played Mauer says:

            Tim W,

            I was hoping someone from the upstate area could shed some light on the overall appeal of Syracuse in the area, everything you said makes sense.

            I was not really advocating for Buffalo but it just surprised me to the amount of resources that school had, I mean their in the MAC for crying out loud who knew? ;)

            As for Syracuse I will agree that the fact that they are private is not a disqualifying factor, I mean Northwestern Has made it work, but the low research output of the school is what I can’t get past.

            Does anyone know if New York State has a system similar to the “Commonwealth System” in Pennsylvania? Where by private and/or independent schools are privately run but can still be supplied with State Funds. Could Syracuse upgrade their research level threw such a system?

            Another question Does Syracuse even feel the need to upgrade research?

            Maybe I am making too much of the importance of the research levels, but from reading some of the other post I do not think so…

      • Nittany Wit says:

        A couple of things…Syracuse has a rich football history. ESPN ranks them as the 29th most prestigious football program while Buffalo checks in at 103…..

        The players they have produced include Jim Brown, Larry Csonka, Art Monk, Dwight Freeney, John Mackey, Donovan McNabb, and Ernie Davis (Heisman winner). Others include Marvin Harrison, Keith Bullock, and Tebucky Jones. Buffalo wouldn’t even come close to Syracuse in football not to mention basketball. To most people, maybe even those in NY, if they overhead someone say Buffalo Bulls, they would probably correct the person and say it is the Buffalo BILLS.

        Syracuse wasn’t really run into the ground until Greg Robinson took over (2000’s). However, since Syracuse basketball is bigger than football it makes it easy to forget there rich tradition in football.

        Syracuse basketball only delivers NY better than all of Buffalo’s sports combined…

    • Jeepers says:

      One thing I’d like to point out about Syracuse basketball in the NYC area. SU fans took over the Rutgers basketball games at Rutgers so badly that Rutgers had to implement a rule where you can’t buy tickets to the SU vs. RU game without buying the season package. The only game of the year this rule (afaik) applies to.

      Granted, RU basketball sucks. Penn State’s basketball sucks, too. But I doubt their venue gets taken over by opposing teams (or do they?). First and foremost, I’m a fan of my alma mater. I would be attending basketball and football games evenly regardless of how well each are playing.

      Yes, I’m just gloating. :D

      I think NYC is very much like its moniker. It’s a melting pot. I don’t think it will every be any one school’s city. But that doesn’t mean football can’t be popular here. And I don’t think it’s that we don’t watch college football. I think we do. Just need more big names coming to play around here.

      It *does* mean that you need the surrounding schools, though. And if there are a ton of Big Ten alums in NYC (as has been implied here), I think the BTN will do quite well.

      I’m surprised Duke is so high (I’d guess UNC). I know I’ve personally seen BC, ND, UK, and SU bars.

  2. m (Ag) says:

    If Texas (with or without A&M) wants to join the Big 10, Nebraska leaving would certainly give it the cover to leave. However, after all this speculation, I’m still not entirely confident they wouldn’t go to the Pac 10 (Nebraska leaving gives them cover to go West, too) or try to make it work in the Big 12 with BYU taking Nebraska’s place.

    I think if this would work, they’ve likely told the Big 10 behind the scenes. I guess we’ll see this summer?

    • @m (Ag) – It would not surprise me at all if it spurs the Texas schools to look to the Pac-10, as well. I’m still a little perplexed by how much a lot of Texas fans seem to really prefer the Pac-10 or have some type of Western alliance over the Big Ten, though. I understand it from a pure traveling fan perspective and the lure of Southern California football recruiting. However, when you step back from it all, there’s a reason why the Pac-10’s revenues are weak compared to even the Big XII – the West Coast is just as bad following college sports as the Northeast. From a national TV perspective, USC is the only team that really draws interest in the Eastern and Central Time Zones – otherwise, the other schools are truly mysteries to the rest of the nation. That’s the danger in playing in the Pacific Time Zone – there’s a reason why the Cowboys wanted absolutely nothing to do with going to the NFC West when the NFL realigned its divisions (and that was even when they were in the middle of their great games with 49ers in the 1990s). Oh well – if that’s where the hearts of Texas and maybe Texas A&M seem to be, then it is what it is.

      • R says:

        Every time I think all permutations have been covered, you come up with a new one. Great reasoning!

      • Hopkins Horn says:

        As a Cowboys fan as well, I can state confidently that the reason the Cowboys fought to remain in the NFC East had nothing to do with a fear of the Pacific Time Zone (that’s just two, maybe three games a year) and everything to do with preserving lucrative traditional rivalries with the Skins, Eagles and Giants. The Cowboys would have fought against a move to the NFC South for the very same reason, regardless of the more advantageous time zone.

        And recall that realignment came several years after the great NFC Championship Games of the early 1990s. Any energy which had gone into building a rivalry with the Niners had dissipated by the time of realignment was announced around 2000 or so.

        • Stopping By says:

          Hopkins Horn is exactly right. Nothing to do with timezones (besides – all the NFL start times are standardized anyway) and everything to do with rivalry.

    • Scott C says:

      I don’t think there is any team the Big XII could add that would vote to keep the unequal revenue sharing.

      It is weird that Texas would opt for less money in joining the Pac 10, but I think if the administration did do that, they would have to have plans for some way to boost the television revenue (either the Western Alliance, the Long Horn Network, or even a Texas College Television Alliance).

      • FLP_NDRox says:

        Does the Pac-10 have a CIC type program? Is their plans on putting one in? If there is, that might be enough to push Texas west.

        • Richard says:

          No. Stanford is not going to allow Oregon St. and WSU students to take their classes and use their research facilities.

  3. Jeepers says:

    I sure hope you aren’t getting my hopes up with all this talk of Syracuse.

    Good post. My only nit-picky gripe is that I don’t think that B10 would stop at an odd number of schools, even if they plan to expand more in the near future. That would be like showing their cards after what they said when this was first announced.

    • Jeepers says:

      Oh, rereading I see that that was your point. I still see them adding 1 or 3 and then spreading some rumors that they’re still looking if their plan is going to 16.

    • mushroomgod says:

      I think the Big 10’s better off going with one school right now…Nebraska …

      As to Syracuse, no thanks. Private school with 19000 enrollment….located in a crappy, cold rust belt town…25M in federal research funds, which is probably 1/10 of Pitt’s total….limited football upside due to aging 50000 indoor stadium voted one of the 10 worst venues in college football…a long way from every other Big 10 school…and a long way from NYC….recent poll showed that less than 1% of NYC sports fans had Syracuse as their favorite sports team…and no, Rutgers was not listed in the poll, but it couldn’t have done any worse.

      Rutgers—35000 students..flagship state school of New Jersey…when Rutgers is good, it will get more NYC attention than when Syracuse is good….I can remember when Syracuse was good in football(yes, it’s possible), and I don’t remember the level of enthusiasm in NYC that there was for Rutgers a few years ago. Rutgers isn’t quite the research powerhouse that Pitt is, but it’s probably 6X what Syracuse is…

      No Syracuse please….

      • ezdozen says:

        When Rutgers is good? What, that one year that they were able to defeat all of their cupcakes?

        • Richard says:

          Regardless, I was in NYC then, and Rutgers got a lot of media attention. I wasn’t there when Syracuse was (relatively) good, but other than the (admittedly vast) number of alums they pull from Long Island and the other NY burbs, I don’t think anyone in NYC cares about ‘Cuse.

      • Jeepers says:

        Hey, mushroomgod. We all know you hate Syracuse. You’ve made that abundantly clear. But where exactly has the Carrier Dome been voted one of the 10 ten worst college football stadiums? Something on Bleacherreport, that you probably wrote? Heh. Googling the only thing I can find is that it doesn’t have air-conditioning (which is meaningless for football and basketball season). The only downside that I can see is expansion possibilities, which could be addressed with the proposed retractable roof. Ryan Field holds 47,130 to Carrier Dome’s 49,250. And the Carrier Dome is a helluva place to watch a basketball game.

        Please show me a legitimate article, because I’d love to see.

        • mushroomgod says:

          I don’t hate Syracuse, the college or the city. In fact I’m sure the city is very nice, in a freezing rain, rustbelt sort of way.

          I couldn’t locate the article I had seen, but I did locate others of interest.

          Justin Schuver, sports editor for the Madison, WI Record,named the CD as the worst college football stadium, saying “It’s like watching a game in a warehouse”. BTW, he also thought the “Orange” was the worst college nickname. Why was it changed from the “Orangemen”?

          In a 10/8/08 article for the SU scout site, Jordan Lyndaker said of (potential HC) Lloyd Carr: “Carr has aways been able to work with top-notch facilities and a rabid fan base. At Syracuse, that would not be the case, with Syracuse being a ‘frozen tundra’ in the winter and an aging Carrier Dome(that many feel is outdated)….”

          TripAdvisor touts SU football and basketball but also says “Both teams play in the large, impersonal, aging Carrier Dome…”

          Movie Hawk/Travel says of Syracuse and the Dome: “…while the campus proper there is nice, and the support for the basketball team extends throughout the community, the town itself leaves a lot to be desired….the Carrier Dome-for all iuntents and purposes one of basketball’s new Meccas after the Orangemen won the title-is a bland, aging, basketball-focused version of Veteran’s Stadium.”

          In a 2007 article for Fanhouse about possible replacement of the CD, the author states: “Replacing the concrete warehouse that is the Carrier Dome with a sexy new stadium certainly would not hurt Syracuse’s candidacy (for the Big 100″

          Finally, in an 8/26/09 article for the Middletown (Ct) Press, the columnist writes about SU playing ND in the Meadowlands: “This was Goss chasing the money…playing the game in the posh new Giants stadium…instead of the creaky old Carrier Dome….”

          Well, fellow Big 10 fans – ready to road trip now??

          • Scott S says:

            I’m thinking it was changed to “Orange” from “Orangemen” for two reasons. The politically-correct answer is so the name doesn’t exclude female atheletes. The real answer is its an abbreviation of “Orange you glad you’re not at Rutgers.”

          • Richard says:

            Actually, I would think it’s because they don’t want to be (mistakenly) associated with a sectarian faction.

            “Historically, to supporters of King William III of Orange.
            To members of the modern Orange Institution – a Protestant fraternal organisation.”

            The Orangemen in Ireland (and historically, in Canada & the US as well), were Protestants who opposed Irish Catholics.

          • Jeepers says:

            There is nothing in there that you couldn’t find written about a bunch of other stadiums. Because it’s old? Because it’s plain? I mean, you’re referencing TripAdvisor for Christ’s sake. Fact is, most stadium improvements are nothing more than a way to make more money (luxury boxes, etc). As long as beams aren’t falling on my head, I don’t care. At least you can buy beer in the Carrier Dome.

            You keep saying how Syracuse is a frozen tundra in the rust belt. I thought you’re supposed to be showing how Syracuse DOESN’T fit in the Big Ten? :o

        • HoosierMike says:

          Comparing capacity size of a candidate’s stadium to that of Northwestern’s isn’t very compelling. Especially in a league with the Beav, Michigan and Ohio Stadiums, 3 stadiums exceeding 100K capacity. Being on par with the bottom of the league is not an endorsement.

          • Jeepers says:

            Both are private universities, with smaller enrollments that are reflected in the size of the stadium. Perfectly valid comparison.

  4. loki_the_bubba says:

    If Nebraska accepts and the P10 does take Colorado this summer, the implosion of the B12 may be faster than anyone imagined. I can see Texas and A&M moving before the start of the school year in that scenario. If they do go to the Pac10, I’m not sure if that puts more or less pressure on ND to decide.

    Time seems to move faster every year.

    • Scott C says:

      Would the Pac 10 just take Colorado? One school isn’t going to get them the championship game. They may need to bring in two to get some of their schools to sign off on the expansion.

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        Yes, they need two. The permutations of Utah, BYU, et al have been debated to death. I was just thinking of the B12 when I typed that.

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        Also, if the B10 can pursue an open-ended multi-phase strategy, why couldn’t the Pac10 take just Colorado and make it obvious they also want more?

        Of course, if both B10 and P10 do this at the same time, power shifts back to Texas as they are able to play them against each other somewhat.

        Ah, the fun of game theory.

        • @loki_the_bubba – Hmmm… my thinking is that the Pac-10 would be taking a much greater risk than the Big Ten if it attempted to do that unless it wants to try to go up to 14 schools and is 100% convinced that Texas would move West. The Big Ten would still have a lot of options in its back pocket in my scenario regardless of what ND and the Texas schools end up doing – Rutgers would be my top pick there and you can make cases for Missouri, Pitt and even UCONN, too. The Pac-10, though, is fairly limited in what it can do. Other than Texas and Texas A&M, the only real appealing choices that they have are Colorado and Utah. If the Pac-10 were to take only Colorado, the Big XII would have 2 open spots and could invite Utah and BYU as a pair, leaving the Pac-10 in a real bind at 11 schools.

          • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

            Whoa, I think we were typing the same idea at the same time. Maybe in a parallel universe you and I are fighting black smoke on an island in the South Pacific? You never know.

          • @allthatyoucantleavebehind – Ha! It’s like a Wrinkle in Time.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            No doubt the P10 has fewer options (and no doubt I did not think my post as thoroughly as I might have). But the P10 does need Texas (and maybe the Aggies) more than the B10. If Texas does not jump day 1, the P10 needs to try something or they are stuck at 10 or admitting a lesser player like Utah.

            And unlike some, I would consider replacing NE/CO with BYU/Utah a major step down for the B12. I think Texas would too.

          • m (Ag) says:

            Missouri is distant from the Pac 10 and will certainly hold out hope for a Big 10 invite.

            However, if they get the impression they are off the table for the Big 10, they could make a decent move to the Pac 10 with Colorado. Yes, it’s far for travel, but the tv markets would certainly make it financially worthwhile.

            Right now the Big 12 basically has Texas, Missouri, and Colorado as populated states in a 12 team conference. If MO and CO moved west, they would again be in a 12 team conference, but they would be trading Texas’ population base for the population of California & Arizona, a big gain.

        • MIRuss says:


          The key is the Big 10 can immediately add the Chamionship game for instant revenue. If the Pac 10 adds one, what have they gained, really? Another mouth to feed with no real immediate revenue. No, I think the Pac 10 will act proactively at getting to at least 12 and closing the door on the Big 12 and it’s options (if Nebraska goes Big 10) as Frank pointed out.

    • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

      Taking Colorado “only” as phase 1 for the PAC10 might allow for Texas/ATM to move west. If you apply Frank’s “multi=phase theory” to the PAC10, they could also be gunning for 14/16? The impetus on them–it seems to me–is they ONLY have Texas/aTm if they’re looking for a blocbuster move. The PAC10 must snag Texas/aTm if they want to ever go past 12 with gusto.

      The Big 10 has options, as we’ve been posting here endlessly the past three months. There are numerous scenarios west (Nebraska, Mizzou, Kansas), southwest (Texas schools), east (ND, MD, Pitt, Syracuse, Rutgers) and NE (BC, UConn). In combination, there could be numerous “winning additions” for the conference.

      The PAC10 has Colorado, the Texas schools, and maybe Utah that fits its profile.

      However, we haven’t heard any links about the PAC10 considering more than 12…yet! :)

    • Nittany Wit says:

      The Pac-10 taking Colorado would be a big boon to the Big 10. Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas are going to be wary of their position. If they stay, they will be in a watered down division that already was the weakest and are at risk of not having a contingency plan if the Big Ten completes expansion without them. Especially if one of the other Big 12 North teams goes to the Big 10. And if the Big Ten decides to expand beyond 12, it is almost inevitable that one team will come from the Big 12, so that pretty much puts the Big 12 North at four members (Iowa St, Kansas St, Kansas, and probably Missouri) and an unreasonable chance to have balanced divisions. And without a quick move, someone is left in the lurch or the Big 12 loses the title game revenue.

      The other reason this is a boon for the Big 10 is that Texas and Texas A&M are still on the table and now the conjecture of major conference realignment is now reality. They now have options of Big Ten, Pac-10, or SEC. If the Pac-10 couldn’t get them to go to 12, then that doesn’t bode well to getting them to go to 14. The SEC would welcome them, but with the prospect of equity in the BTN and academics put the Big 10 in an enviable position. Plus ND would be coming at that point.

      • I can’t see Texas seriously considering going to a Pac 10 that does not have a network and earns very little in TV revenue. I also can’t see an elite university like Stanford accepting a borderline academic school like A&M. Hate to say it, but the Pac 10 is probably screwed because of that unanimous vote requirement and their terrible tv revenue. I also think it would not appeal to Texas to play games on the west coast that could not be shown in prime time back home. I just don’t see it.

        • m (Ag) says:

          I know Texas A&M isn’t much known outside of Texas, but it is not borderline academically. It’s better than several universities in the Pac 10 and Big 10 by several of the rankings people have brought up in these threads.

  5. FLP_NDRox says:

    Pulling Syracuse out of the Big East probably kills the conference. I just don’t know if that would be enough to for ND to act.

    ND alumni value the independence of the University and the football team highly. I can see them sticking around with the Big East Catholic schools picking up Xavier and others Catholic mid-majors to form a BCS level basketball conference. Is it a money machine? No, but it should be enough to give the olympic sports a home.

    As near as I can tell, the only way to force ND’s hand is to make it impossible to schedule November dates. For that you’d need *4* superconferences. I don’t know if the PAC-10 can come to a consensus on teams 11 & 12 much less 15 & 16. The SEC just did their TV contract, so I doubt they’ll look to snag TAMU and Oklahoma just yet.

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      If the Big East dies in its current form why would ND not stay with the basketball schools that form a non-football conference? They would have a home for the other sports just like they do in the Big East now, without the questions of why they aren’t there in football. I’m starting to think the collapse of the BE as a football conference has no effect on Notre Dame thinking.

      • @loki_the_bubba – If the BE Catholic schools got together in a separate league, that would be an excellent basketball conference. The issue would be all of the other sports. ND, as a massive football school, supports a lot of sports that would no longer have a league home or be completely weakened if the BE split up. Would ND care? I know that the alums wouldn’t because they can afford to only focus on football, but ND’s administration and overall athletic department likely have a more nuanced view on that. Obviously, football drives the athletic department bus, but normally the quid pro quo with the other sports is that they all get lots of funding and participate in a strong leagues. ND’s situation is the opposite of every other school in this expansion process – in order to “protect” football (specifically independence), it would actually be sacrificing revenue and competitive opportunities for all of its other sports. Like Texas, ND has an excellent top-to-bottom athletic department. Whether that can continue to be the case if it’s only competing against the other Catholic schools is an open question.

        • loki_the_bubba says:

          I don’t pretend to know what other sports the ‘Catholic Big East’ would sponsor. Sorta why I threw it out. It would be interesting to see what varsity sports those schools sponsor. And what ND would lose by staying with them.

        • FLP_NDRox says:

          ND supports doesn’t support near the number of sports that many Big Ten schools do.

          Team sports that lack 7 other Hoop-only schools in the Big East are:

          Men’s Lax
          Women’s Lax
          Women’s Volleyball

          Those last three really surprised me. I think even the Lax spots can easily be filled with a couple other Eastern non-football squads, perhaps from the CAA or something. Actually, Men’s Lax is the only team sport it will be difficult to find a worthy basketball school to fill the slot.

          I don’t worry about the individual sports, since I figure finding them will be easier than the Men Lax teams.

          Besides, this is a Big Ten blog, not a Big East.

          More interesting to me personally is what happens to the CCHA if there’s a Big Ten Hockey conference. Again, tho’, Big Ten, not CCHA.

          • WhiskeyBadger says:

            @FLP …or the WCHA.
            Now tht I’ve started to think a BTHC might be possible after expansion, I think there are a couple of scenarios.
            For the BT, we would of course have the following:

            Ohio State
            Michigan State

            If Notre Dame joins, add them.
            I do not believe (much as I would wish) that if the BT starts a hockey conference it will add schools not otherwise in the conference as full members. Why spread that BTN money around? Also, while I view the WCHA as the strongest conference in college hockey, I’m seeing this more and more a lateral move for all BT teams involved. UW, Minn, UM, and MSU have a combined 23 national titles if memory serves properly. Each has won a national title in the last 12 years. Now we add to that OSU and maybe ND (Notre Dame for this post, not the better NoDak), we are adding growing programs well into respectability.
            That gives us six teams. If, by Frank’s suggestion, two more BT members add hockey to their list of sports, we have eight. I could easily see Northwestern, Illinois, PSU, or Iowa starting a team and having a fan base ready to go from day one. From expansion candidates we would have any number of choices who could definitely succeed in terms of fan support, based on location. In my purely unresearched opinion, they rank in this order (for beginning hockey programs, not ranked by expansion worthiness):
            1. Nebraska-the state already has one D-1 program at Omaha, and the geography is right. NoDak has a rabid fan base throughout the West, mostly because there is no competition.
            2. Syracuse-Well, college hockey is sort of an elitist, east coast, thing in many ways, andSyracuse has a lot of neighbors. and that’s exactly the problem. Loads of competition from close-by schools would make it difficult. However, if they offer scholarships, they’re already a step ahead of RIT, in-state competition who just made the frozen four.
            3. Pittsburgh-Think this town isn’t hockey-crazy already?
            4. Rutgers-Why not? They’ve been throwing money at athletics and hoping it sticks for a while now.
            5. Mizzou-Okay, now I’ve lost all rationale for this list and am just adding names. I give up.

            In any case, the BT would have a new league with four powerhouses, one or two established programs, and two-three new ones, who obviously start weak, but have good odds at improving rapidly. In any case, the “weaklings” wouldn’t drag down the conference any more than in other conferences. Just for fun, I’ll call it:

            As far as the CCHA and WCHA, that leaves them with 9 and 8 apiece. Each could survive on its own, although I think the WCHA remains the stronger league, with Denver and NoDak remaining. They could combine to make a conference nearly worthy of standing up to the Big Ten’s prestige, but 17 teams seems unwieldy. I’m guessing in the event of the BTHC, nobody moves, or there is a complete conference realignment even more than the bigs discussed normally on this post. I’m guessing there is no intelligent prediction for that.

          • Richard says:

            BC has a hockey team (as I’m sure you noticed) if they’re a candidate. UConn does as well. The Big10 could easily put together a hockey league that’s as good as any existing league.

          • WhiskeyBadger says:

            Yeah. Those bastards got their revenge. I was AT the game. Badgers played like they were hungover. Eagles played like champions.
            Grrrr. Anyway…
            I just really don’t see BC as a candidate for expansion. They’d be great for hockey, but they’ve been a disappointment for the ACC in everything else.
            Even so, with any teams filling out a conference headlined by the five guarantees mentioned earlier, the BTHC would be a premier league. Put BC in there and no one would be anywhere close, unless the landscape turned into a 2-conference country with the rest as hangers-on (i.e. BTHC competes against the Power Conference of NoDak, Denver, Miami, Maine, Boston U, and Cornell, and the leftovers formed the WeakA and WeakB conferences–in other words, no effing way.)
            UConn has better odds as an expansion candidate, but it’s still not one of the major contenders discussed on this blog, which is why I didn’t include them.

          • Richard says:

            Yeah, I agree that BC’s not terribly attractive as a candidate (unless ND came along and specifically requested them). Even their terrific hockey team draws, what, 3K-4K per game?

          • Tim W says:

            If added to the Big 10 Syracuse will absolutely start a Men’s Hockey team that will be competitive shortly after its inception. Central New York has plenty of hockey fans, and even more quality recruits.

            Syracuse recently started a Women’s hockey team to “test the waters” for the eventual creation of a Men’s team.

            To my knowledge athletic department budget restrictions are the only thing currently holding Syracuse back from having a D1 Men’s Hockey team. If added to the Big 10 however, expect Syracuse to launch a Men’s program almost immediately.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            Thought about it more today. I didn’t mention the WCHA because they would only lose two schools, but they’ll pick up Nebraska-Omaha. They’ll still have North Dakota and ten teams. The WCHA will be fine. It’s the CCHA that’d be in trouble, especially if ND leaves. ALL the big schools will leave for a BTHC leaving the CCHA in a MAC-esque situation, only with 7 teams.

            I remember reading in a comment on a blog somewhere that if at least half of the Big Ten member schools play a sport, that sport has to be played under the aegis of the Big Ten. Can we even have six team hockey conferences? Can Penn State or others get going quickly to Div I status? Is every school obliged to get a hockey team?

          • Richard says:

            Not every team has to play hockey, just as not every team has to play baseball, or any other sport.

    • Richard says:

      Hey FLP,

      I get that football independence is a big part of ND’s identity. My question is, do the other parts of ND’s identity matter so little that the university would be drastically different if ND joined a conference in football? I remember a post where you stated that you and your friends thought ND would be a different enough school from the one you attended that you wouldn’t donate any more, and you used the example of Parris Island to the Marines as a comparison to football to Notre Dame. Yet the Marines would still be the Marines even if they didn’t have bootcamp at Parris Island any more, and ND would still play football if they joined the Big10.

      To give another example, Rice is still Rice even though they went from a major conference to a non-AQ one. No one is going to confuse Rice with Southern Miss. As a Catholic example, BC is still BC even after giving up football independence, and no one confused them with WVa when they were in the Big East or Clemson now that they are in the ACC.

      • FLP_NDRox says:

        @ Richard

        lol. Nothing like a loaded question, huh? Like I think I said, it’s all tied together.

        Yesterday was a long day and I was tired when I came up with the Parris Island analogy. My bad; it wasn’t a good one.

        Rice is Rice. A place I hear is a pretty dang good school in Texas. I think it’s small and private. I’m guessing it’s secular. The only thing about them I can say for sure is that they’re ranked near ND on USNWR rankings, and the NCAA videogame playbook for them indicates they run a lot of option. This is the totality of my Rice knowledge. As anyone who reads NDNation can tell you, BC is Fredo Corleone. The less said the better.

        If the knowledge of Notre Dame was this lacking by a person who tries to stay informed, I’d say ND was failing as a brand big time.

        *point of fact: None of us discussed if we’d still donate. I think many of us are either withholding donations due to prior grievances over the years that have got the NDNation crowd riled. I think a lot of the others just don’t have the money due to econ, baby, or wedding expenses. It’s a time of life thing.

        The thing about joining the Big Ten is that it puts practically everything that makes ND unique and to us special under attack. Big Ten schools are huge both in physical plant and enrollment (except NU). Big Ten schools are secular (ND, one of the few places left in America where “secular” has a negative connotation). It puts it’s emphasis on Undergrads. I think I had maybe three classes with TAs, and maybe one of those was after freshman year. They don’t roll like that in the Big Ten, I’m told. I’m not explaining well…

        But the big problem for me, the NDNation crowd, and a lot of us is what joining the Big Ten tells us about our leadership. It tells us that TPTB want us to look like Stanford or Duke or *shudder* Princeton. That they are willing and happy to sell out what we hold so dear for a few places on the USNWR rankings and being hopeful for esteem from the establishment who never like the Catholic Church anyway.

        I’m sorry, I’m doing a lousy job of explaining. This is what happens after reading too much NDNation and then trying to write without cheesing y’all off, then I get too emotional to say what I wanna say. =) This is why I can’t watch the ND-Purdue game with my Dad…my Mother is no longer around to separate us.

        This does a better job even though you will find it horrible. Remember, Domers made a conscious decision NOT to attend a Big Ten school, try to look at it from an anthropological mindset:

        Also, as unpopular as former ND Pres. Fr. “Monk” Malloy, CSC, was, his 1999 turn-down is in my mind just as applicable today:

      • FLP_NDRox says:

        Last night I talked to one of my buddies I had the “If ND joined the Big Ten, would we have an alma mater?” conversation. As he reminded me, I can’t explain “residentiality” at ND to my Dad, how can I explain everything to you guys?

        Richard, you’re asking the wrong question. What I think you really want to know is why the ND faithful DON’T want in your club. The question the Big Ten bigwigs should be asking is how the Big Ten helps ND.

        As near as I can figure, there are three benefits:

        1. TV $ (something like $20mil/yr-ish)
        2. Benefits to the Grad Schools and Research
        3. A fall back if ‘something’ should happen to the Big East Olympic sports (an ND will probably hear that in Fat Tony’s voice).

        Three will be taken as a veiled threat, and ND doesn’t kowtow to outside threats.

        Notre Dame is traditionally and culturally very Undergraduate oriented. Orders of magnitude moreso than the Big Ten. Current undergrads and undergrad and subway alums care little for the Grad programs, and their voices are much louder than the faculty and grad students. I don’t know that the CIC benefits are markedly better than they were in 1999. I do know that the CIC benefits weren’t dispositive back then.

        The bottom line question if the TV money will offset the goodwill hit, the permanent forfeiture of institutional independence, and an eternity of “thirty pieces of silver” wisecracks. Yes, even we Domers understand that Big Ten membership is forever. Yet another reason for us to oppose it. I personally firmly believe that all sports are local (except maybe the NFL), and who knows how long ND remains a national brand playing >75% of games against midwestern squads.

        God, I pray it isn’t.

  6. Rich says:

    I say why not go all the way in and form a truly super conference with 20 schools? Two ten-team divisions would see one division comprised of all the old Big Ten schools before PSU joined. The other division would include PSU and all of the new schools.

    Along with Frank’s Five, my suggestions:
    University of Toronto – AAU member, geographic proximity, entry to Canadian market.
    University of Miami – obvious athletic reasons (including baseball), top 50 USNWR ranking.
    Florida State – academic standing may not muster but ranked 102 by USNWR.
    The Florida schools capture not only the Florida market but also provide lots of national interest and would also benefit the conference by opening wide the Florida recruiting grounds.
    Take your pick from the following: Georgia Tech, Maryland, Rutgers.

    I might even advocate going to 24 schools with all of the aforementioned plus Kansas and Missouri. Or I might see if USC and UCLA would be interested.

    Split into four six-team divisions and worry about scheduling quirks later.

    The really juicy idea would be to capture all of the top 40 football schools outside of the current Big Ten and form a modern version of the old College Football Alliance. Why should the biggest schools making the most money share it with the less marketable schools ie all non-Big 6 conferences and teams like Vanderbilt, Baylor, Wake Forest, South Florida, etc, etc.?

    The Big Ten could then form another cable network calling it the Big Ten Network 2 followed by Big Ten News Network followed by Big Ten Espanol and Big Ten

    Don’t laugh. Everybody laughed at ESPN2 at first…

  7. MLBneedsAsalaryCap says:

    Frank, to paraphrase Homer Simpson, I hate you because you’re right.

    However, my ace in the hole is also, ironically, that your argument is WAY too logical and makes too much sense to EVER come to fruition. Don’t forget that these Presidents are the same old coots who say straight-faced that a playoff would take too much time away from education. So no doubt these lunatics will ignore all common sense, go for the money grab and destroy years of history with their stupid, greedy and short-sighted decision(s). Remember that at one time the thought of Rome ever perishing was thought to be similarly impossible …

  8. M says:

    This whole line of thought seems overly complicated. I think much of the same results could occur by simply going to Texas/ND/whoever and saying “We’re inviting Nebraska and Syracuse, want to come along?”.

    I also agree with Loki et al. that the first move will be Colorado to the Pac-10. That should destabilize the Big XII and the Big East is already unstable.

    While we’re on what it would take for ND to join, it is interesting to note that 5 of the 6 laypeople on ND’s “Board of Fellows” (which is like their Board of Trustees; ND has one of those too, but their role is unclear) are alums of Big Ten schools. Two are particularly interesting. The Head Fellow is Richard Notabaert, a Wisconsin grad who is also on the board at Aon Corporation. Now that name might not sound familiar to some, but the head of that corporation is Patrick Ryan. He is married to Shirely Ryan, who is also on the ND BOF. These are the Ryans of Ryan Field and Welsch-Ryan Arena. If those do not sound familiar to you, well then you clearly haven’t experience the toughest places to play in the conference.

    I’m not really sure how this connection affects anything.

    • @M – Good info on Ryan family connection on the ND Board of Fellows. They’re very influential in the Chicago area in general and Northwestern in particular.

      As for the complicated line of thinking, I really wish that all of this could be achieved in a streamlined fashion. However, it’s more of the political factors in play with respect to Notre Dame (with its alums) and Texas (with actual politicians) that make me think that a multi-phase expansion would be necessary to have a chance at them. It’s bad enough for ND’s alums to join a conference at all, but if they join the Big Ten before the Big East is actually split up, they’re going to always believe that ND gave into the Big Ten’s bluff. That sounds petty, illogical and bass-ackwards, but if you’ve spent time looking at what the NDNation crowd thinks of joining the Big Ten, I think ND’s leadership needs to at least have the cover that the Big East was truly killed off. Likewise, Texas and Texas A&M can’t be perceived as the instigators that split up the Big XII – that would be political suicide in their home state. However, if they’re just responding to market forces beyond their control, then they have the freedom to move.

      • M says:

        I’ve looked at that board at times and I always seem to run into a “ND has more national championships than any Big Ten team since WWII, why is anyone even thinking of joining?” thread. You and I both know that no circumstances would be acceptable to most of the people there. None of the arguments gain any traction with them. Increased television revenue? ND doesn’t need the money. Academic benefits? Random alumni know what is good for the school much better than those lousy professors. Other sports don’t have a spot after the Big East disintegrates? They would rather burn down every other sport and piss in the ashes (figuratively speaking of course) than allow football to join the Big Ten. Also, some Yost guy was really really mean to them 50 years ago.

        I guess my point is that the number of alums/fans/whoever-gets-to-make-decisions convinced by “The Big East is dead” is about the same as the number convinced by “The Big East will be dead”.

        • FLP_NDRox says:

          We *do* know better than the profs. All they see is the ability to pad their own resumes, get raises, and probably get more gofers.

          Just remember in that infamous game Against Nebraska, the Nebraska fans overwhelmingly got their tickets from Staff and Faculty (you can tell by where they were sitting).

          (also, there were quite a few students in red “Nebraska Sucks” T-shirts, not realizing they were gonna be contributing to a preception)

          The Big Ten’s problem is that aside from the money they can’t give us anything we want more than independence.

          • Mike says:

            >>Just remember in that infamous game Against Nebraska, the Nebraska fans overwhelmingly got their tickets from Staff and Faculty (you can tell by where they were sitting).<<

            Notre Dame Stadium in Nebraska red. Testament to how rabid Nebraska fans are.

  9. Looks like C-USA ended up winning the conference expansion game by adding Alabama, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas AND Tennessee… for women’s rowing:

  10. Scott S says:

    First, I see and appreciate the logic behind your post, Frank. I just can’t see trying to force a school to join the Big Ten if they don’t wish to join of their own volition. It’s not going to be a happy or stable relationship. It’s like trying to create a complicated master plan where, in the end, you “get to” marry Lindsay Lohan.

    Second, where did you get the picture of my mother in law?

    • Rick says:

      LMAO, so true Scott.

    • Manifesto says:

      @Scott S: Ultimately I think this is my opinion about Notre Dame. If the ND administration has the same opinion of joining the Big Ten that ND’s fan base has, I think the Big Ten should just move on. If independence is important enough to go “all in”, so to speak, then I think the Big Ten should just leave them to it. The BT might miss out of possible revenue, but it might be worth it to avoid a conference member that fights you at every turn. The BT offers enough that it doesn’t need to beg someone to join.

    • mushroomgod says:

      I think that’s one reason you don’t try to force ND to do anything right now. If the Big 10 adds 1/2 teams, and ND football doesn’t pick up significantly in the next 2-3 years, there might be a lot more acceptance of ND in the Big 10 at that time……if not, proceed with Plan B at that point.

      • FLP_NDRox says:

        @ Manifesto
        From what I hear, the Admin *want* into the Big Ten, along with the Grad Schools. It’s everyone else that’s the problem.

        Thank God it’s not their call. In 1999, the “shadowy Board of Fellows” kept us out. I’m pretty sure they were majority ND undergrad then. There’s been changes in the past decade, and I haven’t checked recently if anyone has leaned either way privately. With the new TV money, I wonder if they still will place the same premium the rank and file put on Independence.

        “[G}o ‘all in'” is an incorrect analogy here. We’ve been working this Independent angle since long before football. The Big Ten is requesting we forfeit it. TPTB at ND will determine if that’s a good idea. If it is, they better have some impressive reasoning behind it.

        All in all, Mani, I agree with you, which is why I want ND independent.

        @ Mushroomgod

        The performance of the football team is a non-issue in the debate. We believe in it with religious devotion.

        We also believe that with the right coach, we’ll compete for National Championships again. Things got bad in the 30s, and then Leahy won 4 MNC and told returning GI’s they might as well turn pro since many of them wouldn’t make the 2deep chart. The 50s had some bad teams but eventually we had the Era of Ara. After a point where we had a lovable high school coach, we got Lou and another MNC. Just saying it’s not unprecendented.

        • @FLP_NDRox – I believe that someone pointed out that ND’s Board of Fellows now actually has a majority of laypersons that attended Big Ten schools. That might be a very big change from 1999.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            OK, just did the quick Board of Fellows Google. I’m just listing each of the Fellow’s initial Bachelor’s degree. Let’s face it: Grad school’s just a job compared to the attachment undergrad engenders.

            Fr. Jarret, ND ’86
            Fr. Jenkins, ND ’76
            Bishop Jenky, ND ’70
            I think Diana Lewis is a Domer
            McCartan, ND ’56
            McGlinn, ND ’62
            Notebaert, Wisconsin ’69
            Fr. Scully’s a Domer
            Fr. Tyson, ND ’70
            Fr. Beauchamp, U Detroit
            Goodyear’s a Domer
            Hernandez, Harvard ’77

            Wow! I feel a heckuva a lot better.

        • Manifesto says:

          Believing you’re “the right coach” away from it raining National Championships is the blessing/curse of any big program that isn’t on a winning trend. It can be true, and it certainly helps when rebuilding occurs, but it can also be an easy target and a small part of a larger problem.

          Which is it for ND? Who knows. ND is now on Year 14 since Lou left and Coach #4. Perhaps you won’t have to wait as long as OSU did between NCs (32 years versus 22 and counting). Will the landscape be as accommodating if/when ND does return?

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            Accommodating to what exactly?

            Very few schools have completely fallen off. Even if you count Army and Navy. Fordham, Centre, the Ivies, The other eastern FCS teams, Carnegie, Carlisle, and Chicago are about the only ones I can think of. Then again, I can see similarities between them and Notre Dame…

  11. c says:

    Frank for President!

    Seriously this is a brilliant proposal.

    And of course it assumes that ND and or Texas are not willing to join and create the package in partnership with the Big 10 at the outset.

    First the Big 10 will clearly be talking to Texas and ND prior to or immediately after the Big 10 Presidents meeting in June. I would be surprised if informal discussions have not already taken place. However, public statements by ND and lack of apparent interest by Texas seem to indicate those schools do not see joining the Big 10 as their preferred option at this time.

    The Big 10 has been stuck in it’s tracks for the last 20 years. The catalyst is not simply a conference game but a financial vehicle via the Big 10 channel that makes expansion work and upgrades the importance of targeting large, affluent new markets as well as enhancing the conference from a national perspective.

    SU puts the Big 10 in the middle of the greater NY metro region market and if ND doesn’t come in as team 14 then RU consolidates that market as team 14. That achieves geographical continuity and affinity partnership with quality schools, along with a first mover advantage against a possible later expansion by the ACC.

    At a later point, even if the ACC expanded with Pitt and UConn, they would be left with geographically separated northern islands that could not compete with PSU in PA, nor compete with SU and RU in the NY metro region.

    Further with SU as a member, it is far more likely that the Big 10 would be the conference of choice for RU or any other Big East school even if ND for their own reasons later decided they preferred the ACC.

    I personally believe an expansion of the Big 10 beyond 14 is very unlikely absent Texas. However, adding SU and NE certainly positions the conference for any unexpected additional expansion.

    The 2 step approach in truth may be useful not because the Big 10 doesn’t know what will happen but to enable ND or Texas to decide to do whatever it is that they want to do, where many decision makers may need a “push”.

    For reasons mentioned by other posters, I believe the Big 10 would be just as well served by adding schools that presumably don’t have to agonize over becoming members and fit in with the other schools.

    The benefits of adding a national tier BB program with a historically strong Nebaska football program has the added benefit of strengthening the conference in both sports and may be politically important in winning a concensus among a potentially divided group of Big 10 Presidents.

    • c says:

      Re: Just changed my mind:

      Alternative multi-phase strategy and priority of eastern markets:

      The biggest risk of Frank’s multiphase plan is it’s potential lack of focus.

      I doubt the Big 10 will go beyond 14 unless Texas is involved.

      In pursuing a multi-market strategy, the Big 10 may end up with ND saying yes, but be unable to add RU to fully capture the NY metro region market, since it would have added NE. It also allows and perhaps encourages the ACC to expand north.

      Guessing what Texas really, truly wants to do and adding NE to stir things up may not be as valid a strategy as identifying what are the priorities (schools or markets) and be guided by the goal.

      In this respect, if the Big 10 wants the NY metro region market, perhaps better to just add SU and RU and then allow 3 -5 months for the dust to settle and then add school 14.

      Inviting SU and RU as team 12-13 puts maximum pressure on ND to act, captures the key target market, maximizes the benefit that ND would provide the conference should they join and limits severely any options the ACC might have to expand if ND is not interested or if ND decides it prefers the ACC.

      If ND and Texas are not interested, perhaps Pitt or another school might be considered: even without a new market, Pitt helps consolidates the northeast, has excellent football and a larger research budget and superior academics than NE.


      If ND joins, the Big 10 has added SU, RU, ND. If ND doesn’t join then the Big 10 has added SU, RU, NE or another school.

      If Texas decides to join in, then the Big 10 has SU, RU, ND or NE, Texas, Texas A&M.

      • mushroomgod says:

        If you were going to add 2 eastern teams, make it Rutgers and Pitt… Pitt is a research powerhouse and a geographic fit, and is more attractive to ND because of their history. It’s also a significantly bigger school-27000+ v. 19000+ Syracuse adds very little…but I wouldn’t add 2 crappy eastern teams just on the hope of getting ND anyway…I think Neb has to be in there…..

        • c says:

          Re Pitt as 2d eastern team (Mushroom)

          Not sure why you constantly feel the need to use the word “crappy”, except to perhaps make a statement to others about your state of mind.

      • michaelC says:

        Just to state the (hopefully) obvious. Rutgers would accept an invite to the BT in a New York minute. The only circumstance where RU might be unavailable is if the ACC made the first move and RU believed there was no BT invite on the horizon.

        In a multistage expansion, if RU is in the plan, there is only a question of when to show that card. I somewhat disagree that Syracuse is the only (best) way to drive a stake into the heart of the BE. ‘Cuse may cause more psychological damage, but the BE (football) is already well traumatized. Any loss of SYR, Pitt, RU, UCONN does the trick. The virtue of an RU move is more money sooner (via NJ cable) and a clear indication the BT wants the NY/Phila markets. If the ACC doesn’t move to contest the Northeast markets it will be apparent the BT can control and develop the markets as it wishes.

        Of course, this assumes the BE itself has no moves. Despite Frank’s earlier piece about BE responses, the BE commissioner seems incapable of doing anything dramatic to change the game. The football members may see ways of patching things up and moving along, but the future as a BCS conference will be in doubt and there is no doubt about increasing revenues (which is to say not gonna happen).

        It is worth noting that the argument against any school re: the Eastern TV markets is not that school X is followed/not followed rabidly, but that these are not college sports towns. So the value of the market depends on selling college football as a brand. Who is going to say it cannot be done with the right budget and product?

        ND and Texas enhance the product in a significant way, so regarding future revenue any move that puts NYC/Phila in the BT footprint ups the multiplier for adding ND/Texas. If ND was in, but needs protection from its alumni taking any school from the BE is enough.

  12. Ken Smithmier says:

    ever see the old Steven Seagal movie Under Siege 2:Dark Territory? Frank, you remind of the Eric Bogosian character, the computer genius who gets his kicks from playing with world leaders by keeping them guessing about where the death ray is going to strike next, lol.

  13. jeremy says:

    Colorado is culturally and in academics close to the PAC 10 they should be great choice.

  14. Theta says:


  15. HerbieHusker says:

    I’d be excited about any of these scenarios…..but I think I’d be more excited if the Big Ten would stay at 14 or less schools. I’m of the school of thought that having a 16 team conference may be teetering on the side of greed and less on the side of what is actually going to work long-term as a healthy successful conference. If Nebraska were added as the 12th team; I’d be estatic. If the 3 teams added were Nebraska, Syracuse, Rutgers/ND/Pitt/Missouri; I’d be excited; if the Big Ten went ahead and added 5 teams with Nebraska included I’d be happy but a little nervous about how the cohesion was going to work 5 years down the road. Maybe I’m just being paranoid though.

  16. Todd says:

    Great post as always. Frank, you should think about working for the Big Ten, if you don’t already…

  17. Playoffs Now! says:

    Yes, in theory the loss of NE opens the B12 to an equal revenue sharing vote, but why would those minor revenue schools vote for conference suicide? Such a vote would be the greatest way to ensure UT and aTm leave the conference, which kills the golden goose. The B12 minors would get 2 years of enhanced revenues, then a permanent reduction. One could argue that if they hold off and wait until after this next wave of expansion, they could then raid the cash cow without UT having a move option. But the P10 isn’t going past 12 without Texas, so the Longhorns will always have them as an option as long as the P10 writes an opt out into their new contract allowing for renegotiation if any school is added from a state of 24+ million. However several of the B12 minors may not have any other options that would even equal the revenue from the current B12 system.

    As to state politics hindering UT and aTm from being the first to leave the B12, the political landscape is completely different now. The breakup of the SWC involved and threatened 8 TX schools. Leaving the B12 only potentially hurts 2, maybe just Baylor if TT is brought along. Back then the governor and lt. gov. (the 2 most powerful positions in the state) were both Baylor alumni with heavy interventionist leanings, but neither is the case these days. In fact the departure of UT, aTm, and perhaps TT (and NE+) from the B12 could result in from one to three Texas schools becoming BCS members as replacements. A net BCS gain for the state.

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      Oh yeah, if the B10+ grabs NE, that may just makes creating a P16 more inviting for the Longhorns. If KS or MO fills NE’s slot in a P16, UT’s road to the football championship game will usually be easier each year, especially if the P16’s revenue sharing is merit-based (TV appearances.)

    • MIRuss says:


      Isn’t the Big XII’s goose already kind of cooked, regardless of who votes how if Nebraska leaves? Assuming Nebraska goes, you can sure as heck bet that I would be voting for the equal revenue distribution if I am in the Bifg XII. If Texas is too stubborn (or handcuffed by the legisature) to leave, it’s great for me and whoever else joins the Big 12. Even better if Texas tries to create the Longhorn Network that will give me some additional revenue. Texas, if they can’t make a free decision or if they choose to go to the Pac 10, will be making a long term capital commitment to expanding it’s own revenues and the revenues of the Pac 10 (in a really tough college market, as Frank noted).

  18. HerbieHusker says:

    From the outside looking in; the most attractive, and possibly the best additions for conference cohesion, would be adding Nebraska, Syracuse, and Missouri (if Notre Dame is willing plug them in Missouri’s spot). One of the most attractive assets for the Big 10 (and the biggest reason outside the BTN) for me as a Nebraska fan is the close knit feel that that Big 10 shares between all members. Nebraska was in a conference like that at one time; it was called the Big 8, but that cohesion has been a distant memory ever since the SWC teams merged. What I see in the Big10 is what I remember the Big 8 being like and that is something every Nebraska fan misses and would like to get back. Don’t for a second discount the value of conference cohesion…..being a part of the shot-gun wedding that was the Big 12 for the past 14 years I can say that bigger conferences are better if they destroy the relationships among conference members. Adding the group of 3 teams I mentioned above (I wouldn’t be opposed to PItt being one of those three, but I am a little leery about Rutgers) I believe would meet the athletic and academic requirements of the Big 10 while gaining new households for cable TV $’s and would keep the cohesion to the group much more tight knit. Adding the 3 mentioned above, the Big 14 could be split up as follows:


    Michigan St
    Ohio St
    Penn St

    Very balanced divisions with little disruption in the major rivalries. Also, if the format 2 years on/2 years off format would apply here (not saying this is the best format, just the one I’m most familiar with) where the West division would play 3 different East division teams every 2 years (Home/Away); then teams like Iowa and Nebraska would only have to travel out to New York (Syracuse) for a game every 2 years. Just an outsiders take on it…..

  19. HerbieHusker says:


    I like your line of thinking here…..i’m also for a one team expansion…..but if they do expand by 3 teams, how would you feel about a Nebraska, Missouri, Pitt expansion? I’d be on board for that….

    • mushroomgod says:

      Thanks for not mentioning Syracuse….hehe…

      You know, I think there are fairly serious drawbacks to any combination of 3 involving Rutgers, Syracuse, Pitt, Missouri, and Nebraska. I certainly do like all 3 schools you mention. However, adding Neb, Pitt, and Mo adds 2 schools that would be rated 13th and 14th in the Big 10 academically, and 3 schools that would be ranked 10th, 12th, and 13th in enrollment. With the exception of Iowa and NW, all the Big 10 schools have enrollments over 40000. With these 3 we’d be adding enrollments of 24000, 27000, and 30000. The reason I think that is important is that Big 10 schools compare themselves to one another, and use each others as standards…when I was at IU, you’d see articles ln the IDS saying “IU ranks 10th in faculty pay” or “IU ranks 9th in class size”…

      As an example, I love Missouri as an expansion candidate…but last night I’m looking at a book that is titled “The 348 best colleges” or something to that effect (my son is a HS jr.)and Missouri’s not even listed in the fricking book (Neb was, even Ole Miss).

      So, although I really, really like both Neb and MO, I don’t know if I’d take BOTH, because of the academic issues…

      All of this is one reason I like Rutgers, even though I understand their sports history sucks, and bball is likely to keep sucking well into the future…

      When compared to Syracuse, Rutgers is bigger (35000 v.19000), better (118M in fed research funds v. 25M), a state school v. a private school, is much closer to NYC and, imo, has a higher football upside.

      I believe Rutgers has a higher football upside because it has a very nice and recently improved outside stadium that can be expanded another 20000 or so in relatively quick order, and has a better recruiting base (NJ HS football is better than NY HS football).

      Also, although both Rutgers and Syracuse are, for me, an uncomfortably long way from the other Big 10 schools, with Rutgers you’d still be tempted to go road tripping to see the Big Apple. I don’t think too many people are interested in road tripping to Syracuse….

      So… 3 with no ND would be Neb (football gravitas), Rutgers, and Pitt. (Syr and Rutgers would be too much culture shock)…..with ND, it’d be ND, Pitt, and Missouri (with ND, you don’t need Rutgers, thankfully…and you don’t need Neb for football gravitas, and Missouri is otherwise the better choice).

      • @mushroomgod – I love Pitt on so many levels, but simply can’t see how the Big Ten can get over their location, especially if we’re talking about a multi-team expansion. If Pitt could trade locations with Rutgers or even Missouri, then they’d be a no-brainer. Instead, I don’t know how they could expand the financial pie for the conference. The research aspect is obviously important, but that’s more of a “related but not direct” benefit to the CIC, whereas athletic revenue is shared directly between the schools. As Richard has said in prior threads, a school that doesn’t provide top research credentials at least doesn’t actually take anything away from the CIC (it just doesn’t add as much), but a school that doesn’t add athletic revenue is definitely taking away from the other members. Optimally, you want both, yet I still think the Big Ten’s approach to academics is more of a “first cut” – the conference sees if you’re academically acceptable and if the answer is yes, then you are eligible to move on to step 2. After that first cut, it’s solely an athletic revenue and strength decision.

        So, does Syracuse make that first cut? My opinion is that they would – it’s an AAU member and while it doesn’t have the research strength of other candidates, it’s still a top 60 undergrad school that’s the only BCS school in the state of New York. To me, if 30,000 people are showing up to basketball games in Upstate New York and also pack in Madison Square Garden on a regular basis, that’s going to matter in the Northeast where we may need to pay a little more attention to the basketball side of the ledger. If the TV consultants have determined that NYC may be more like the states of Indiana, Kentucky and North Carolina, where it’s a basketball area more than a football area (and judging by how the Big East Tournament is a massive event in a town that supposedly isn’t into college sports, I tend to believe this is the case), then Syracuse makes complete sense.

        I know that we will likely continue to disagree about Syracuse, but if the Northeastern market is important to the Big Ten’s expansion plans (and I believe that they are), then Syracuse is a valuable (if not essential) piece. The “culture shock” that you’re talking about might be the point – for the conference to turn NY and NJ into Big Ten territory. I honestly don’t think it really would be much of a culture shock, though – Syracuse is much more “Midwestern” in character as an Upstate New York school while Rutgers in the NYC area draws a lot of Big Ten alums already. Culture shock would be a more appropriate term if the Texas schools are added.

        • mushroomgod says:

          Seems as though your total emphasis is on TV $s. I believe this is shortsighted…

          Syracuse would be a far greater departure from the norm than you are willing to admit. It would be only the second private school in the Big 10. it’s 19000 enrollment is a full 10000 less than every other school in the Big 10, except NW. It’s fed research $ would be some $50M less than the lowest current Big 10 school, and 122M less than Pitt’s, not counting 275M for Pitt’s medical school, which is top-notch. It’s geography is terrible……if I was forced to take 2 eastern named schools not named Pitt, I’d take U Conn over Syracuse. At least it’s a public school, and somewhat larger….

          These Big 10 preisents are like CEOs for giant corporations…..IU has something like 80000 students on a number of different campuses across the state…and many of the other schools are similiar…I hope that they are not interested in associating with a a small, remote private school like Syracuse….. Syracuse belongs in the Big East or the ACC, not the Big 10…

  20. DavidPSU says:

    I totally agree. This is the way to go. I look forward to much more conference expansion chaos after the Big Ten selects Nebraska and Syracuse in Phase 1. The force is with them…. always.

  21. DavidPSU says:

    We don’t need Notre Dame

  22. Ron says:

    The weakness in the Big Ten adding just one Big East team (like Syracuse) is that a competing conference, the ACC, has similar athletic and academic criteria for future expansion. Once the Big Ten adds Syracuse, the ACC would have an opening to counter-move by inviting teams like Rutgers and UConn (effectively building a bridge up to Boston College and tying up much of the eastern seaboard and New York City for the ACC). I’m convinced the Big Ten is better off going big or staying home as far as adding Big East teams. An addition of Pitt, Syracuse, Rutgers and UConn (plus Notre Dame) by the Big Ten would effectively block the ACC out of remainder of the northeast and leave them with just an isolated bastion up in Boston. I’m convinced a lot of the speculation about the Big 12 being vulnerable to conference raids is off-base, it is really the ACC that could get blocked to the north by the Big Ten and then squeezed from the south by the SEC (with teams like Florida State, Miami, Georgia Tech and Clemson possibly invited to move to the SEC in the near future). The ACC could still survive by picking off leftover teams from the collapse of the Big East and raiding Conference USA, but I doubt the ACC leadership would be real happy about that.

    • Rick says:

      Ron, you hit the nail on the head. If the Big Ten does not go for the big move as the first move the ACC will gobble up PITT, RU, UConn. DC to NY Metro to Boston market is now the ACC’s. If ND stays independent then the BT has lost the great opportunity. If the BT goes small first in a multi phase the remaining schools will not wait around and don’t be surprised if the ACC is the one to make seismic changes once seemed destined to be only the Big Ten’s desire. Big, big mistake by the Big Ten. I just don’t think Delany will do this. He has bigger plans and the dominoe scenario of multi phase is just too conditional for x followed by y to equal z. Too much risk of the whole thing falling apart. This is small thinking, not big thinking. I think Delany is a big thinker. Hopefully the ACC will be the biggest thinkers of all. Wouldn’t that be something.

      • c says:

        Re re alternative multi-phase strategy and priority of eastern markets (Ron and Rick)

        Just changed my mind:

        The biggest risk of Frank’s multiphase plan is it’s potential lack of focus.

        I doubt the Big 10 will go beyond 14 unless Texas is involved.

        In pursuing a multi-market strategy, the Big 10 may end up with ND saying yes, but be unable to add RU to fully capture the NY metro region market, since it would have added NE. It also allows and perhaps encourages the ACC to expand north.

        Guessing what Texas really, truly wants to do and adding NE to stir things up may not be as valid a strategy as identifying what are the priorities (schools or markets) and be guided by the goal.

        In this respect, if the Big 10 wants the NY metro region market, perhaps better to just add SU and RU and then allow 3 -5 months for the dust to settle and then add school 14.

        Inviting SU and RU as team 12-13 puts maximum pressure on ND to act, captures the key target market, maximizes the benefit that ND would provide the conference should they join and limits severely any options the ACC might have to expand if ND is not interested or if ND decides it prefers the ACC.

        If ND and Texas are not interested, perhaps Pitt or another school might be considered: even without a new market, Pitt helps consolidates the northeast, has excellent football and a larger research budget and superior academics than NE.


        If ND joins, the Big 10 has added SU, RU, ND. If ND doesn’t join then the Big 10 has added SU, RU, NE or another school.

        If Texas decides to join in, then the Big 10 has SU, RU, ND or NE, Texas, Texas A&M.

        • Ron says:

          Have to stick by my guns. The Big Ten is well-advised to consider adding Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Rutgers and UConn (plus Notre Dame) all in one fell swoop. As a Minnesota grad who lives in Texas, I saw the Big 8 strengthen itself immensely by grabbing four major Texas schools, which effectively ended the Southwest Conference. Like the old Southwest Conference, the Big East in football has sort of an underdog appeal, but it is really a hodge-podge of teams that is not taken seriously on a national scale as a major football conference. The Big Ten is capable of appealing to the New York market in ways the Big East really cannot and would greatly improve its own long-term prospects for recruiting, finances and national visibility by becoming the first 16 team “superconference”. Also note Tony Barnhart in the Atlanta Journal Constitution has indicated such a move could already be underway. Assuming Barnhart’s sources are accurate, the Big Ten looks at northeast expansion as an all or nothing proposition. (

          • c says:

            Re eastern focus (Ron)

            Another excellent post.

            Adding SU, RU, UConn, Pitt, ND is certainly a bold and excellent move.

            It has the benefit of focus, captures and maximizes big TV markets in NY, NJ, PA, Conn, New England, is a big tent strategy that brings in major regional rivals, enhances Big 10 BB, has geographical logic and includes quality schools.

            In this respect, going after NE could simply be a distraction, with a limited market that has no connections assuming Texas is not included.

            My current guess is the Big 10 is unlikely to go to 16 due to the concern of current teams about dilution of playing teams on their current schedule.

            And then there is the politics of whether the Big 10 can achieve a consensus on such a northeast strategy.

            One thing is certain: If the Big 10 offers SU, RU, Pitt and UConn membership and says to ND: do you want to be team 16?, ND has to say yes if they have any sense or the Big 10 then adds NE and expansion is completed.

          • @c – I also really doubt that the Big Ten will go up to 16 schools (despite having written thousands of words speculating on it). That being said, I’m starting to believe that a simple 1-school addition isn’t happening, either (and I truly never thought that a multi-school expansion would be possible a couple of months ago).

            So, 14 is the most likely number. Pick 3 out of the following 4: ND, Nebraska, Syracuse and Rutgers. Some 3-team combo out of those 4 is a pretty good bet as of now. I think the Big Ten really wants at least one Eastern school but it also has to have some “football common sense” with a national power involved.

          • mushroomgod says:

            Realistically, you might be right about not just going to 12….

            I do think adding only Neb.and awaiting developments is the smartest move..however, the Big 10 presidents might get some flack for not adding an academic heavyweight…and if they add only Rutgers they’ll get flack for adding a sports lightweight…

            On the other hand, with 3 teams you might have more trouble getting 8 votes for any given combination…

            I don’t see how you can leave Missouri out of your mix….if ND does come on board, I think Mo. gets the western spot…better geography, more tv sets, somewhat bigger school (30000 v. 24000), better bball, overall equal sports program…

          • cutter says:

            I have to agree with what you say regarding the number of program who will be invited and the likely candidates. If the B10 wants to emerge in its final form as a 16-team super conference with schools that have a relatively good (not perfect) academic fit, then what you’ve suggested does make sense.

            What happens next? As you pointed out earlier, the ACC took five months to complete its invitation process when the original plan didn’t work out. Would the B10’s timetable be the same if it wanted to go from 14 to 16?

            I don’t think the Texas/Texas A&M combination is possible given the way I currently read the tea leaves. That’s not to say its impossible, but with the Big XII losing one (major) member, I could see them mustering together some sort of replacement. But as we’ve talked about before in length, if Colorado opts to join the Pac 10, then it gets interesting for UT/ATM.

            As you’ve pointed out, Notre Dame might be able to maintain its independence if the Big East lost (and replaced) two of its members. ND, for example, could place all its non-football teams in a Midwest/Eastern Catholic Conference, but you have to imagine the overall level of competition would be much less then if they were to join the B10.

            But there aren’t many good candidates for the Big East to reach out to as replacements for Syracuse and Rutgers (UCF? East Carolina? Memphis?). That impacts the conference’s BCS status and much more directly for Notre Dame, the non-BCS bowl lineup for its football team. It also lays out scheduling problems for ND football in the latter two-thirds of the season. If the Irish aren’t able to put together a good run of opponents in October and November (outside USC), then it won’t matter if their schedule is 7-4-1, 7-5 or 6-6 (unless you’re an NBC executive–then it really does matter).

            I still think the Big Ten will prioritize its list of expansion scenarios and present them to Notre Dame and Texas before going forward with any invitations. How those discussions go will help shape the nature of the expansion (along with a host of other factors).

            I’ve attended games in recent years between Michigan & Notre Dame (2003) and Michigan & Texas (2005 Rose Bowl). These were two of the better sporting events I’ve ever attended and they go a long way in my mind towards demonstrating why UT and ND are front and center the two best candidates (something which you and many others have pointed out).

            It should make for an intersting summer. Texas would probably have an easier time taking a pass on joining the Big Ten than Notre Dame, even if it did include Nebraska in the mix. There is the possibility of the dissolution of the Big XII, but I also think there are candidates out there that might fill in the blanks in the the slate (even if CU goes to the Pac 10)

            I have to think it’ll be harder for ND to do the same for all the reasons mentioned in all the posts above. Yes, there will be vocal opposition in some corners against Notre Dame joining the Big Ten, but the decision makers will have to look at the bottom line and the changes taking place in college football.

            In the end, I think it does end up being Nebraska, Notre Dame and Syracuse as the three invitees. If not ND, then Rutgers fills out the slate.

            And then the fun really begins. . . .

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            You may have a point there relative to the BB Big East + Catholic conference that could happen if Syracuse or Rutgers joins the Big Ten.

            IIRC, ND was in a similar conference before joining the Big East. Actually, I think ND basketball and olympics jumped conference a couple times before settling in the Big East. I want to say it was to play a higher level of competition in each case.

            Clearly the football team is priority 1 at the ND AD’s office. Number 2 is how we do in the Sears Cup. If our Sears Cup standings would be significantly compromised that may be used as excuse if the Big East is euthanized and we don’t throw our Olympic program’s lot in with the non-football BE schools.

          • @Ron – Well, there is a big difference between the old SWC and the current BE: Texas and Texas A&M were always clear powers in a region that loves college football, while no one really qualifies as such from the BE. Adding all of those BE schools would do wonders on the basketball side of the equation, but we all know that’s a pittance compared to football. IF the Big Ten goes this route with a mass annex of BE schools, then I think that you need to swap out either UCONN or Pitt for Nebraska. For market purposes, UCONN likely gets the nod as that locks down the Tri-State area and gives the Big Ten a presence in New England.

            Nebraska is really growing on me more and more – this is the #4 most valuable college football program according to Forbes that’s next door to Iowa with an incredible traveling fan base. The small market doesn’t matter if the Big Ten’s analysis shows that a school like Notre Dame would be profitable (who, for the purposes of the Big Ten, effectively has a home market population of zero but brings the aura of a national name) and especially if you’re simultaneously adding much of the NY market. The university presidents are going to balance a lot of factors, but I don’t think they’ll have such tunnel vision that they’d forget about the #1 revenue driver of football (which Nebraska excels at FAR beyond everyone that we’ve talked about other than ND and Texas).

        • Richard says:

          I’m a fan of adding RU, SU, and UConn to lockup NYC & all 3 states in the tri-state. Then 2 of Nebraska, Mizzou, ND, Pitt, BC, or Maryland (if they’re willing to break from the ACC). I wouldn’t even put ND on the top of that list. Probably Maryland would be my first choice as school 15.

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      Except that the B10+ still has the much bigger payout per school, and it will take the ACC a long time to ramp up a similar cable venture (even if it signs an agreement today with the P10 & B12 to share start up costs and efforts.) Hence any attempt by the ACC to lock up the northeast would simply result in a higher counteroffer by the B10+ if the latter wants those schools. The ACC could speed up the B10+’s expansion stages, but they are unlikely to thwart them.

      • @Playoffs Now! – I agree with this – if I’m the Big Ten, I wouldn’t be scared of the ACC. As long as there is an open spot in the Big Ten, I don’t think schools like Rutgers and UCONN will jump to the ACC until the Big Ten is completely done with expansion because the payout differences between the conferences is so huge. This multi-phase expansion wouldn’t take years, by the way. It would be more like over the course of a few months at most – the Big Ten makes an announcement, schools like Notre Dame get one legitimate last chance, and if they don’t sign up, then the conference completes its expansion with Rutgers.

        • Rick says:

          Months is a different story Frank, I did not get that impression from your article. I was assuming 1-3 years. I also didn’t see your scenario including Rutgers.

          • @Rick – I think it would be relatively quick. Think of how ACC expansion worked last time (not that it’s necessarily a model that the Big Ten ought to follow) – after all of the political infighting, the ACC added Virginia Tech and Miami. The ACC then went into some fairly heavy discussions with Notre Dame. When those completely broke down, BC was quickly invited instead. All of that took place in about a 5 month period. More than the Texas schools moving, the multi-phase expansion plan would really be one last chance for ND (and the Big Ten would be truly serious about it).

            Rutgers is key to this – I think the Big Ten has made it clear that it likes Rutgers enough that a Nebraska/Syracuse/Rutgers combo would be a perfectly fine outcome for the conference. I don’t think that it’s an accident that the Big Ten has leaked studies showing how much Rutgers could add financially. That’s really what I was describing at the end of the post where the Big Ten would effectively have a hedge. Nebraska and Syracuse are schools that the Big Ten would want regardless of any scenario and happen to apply a lot of pressure on ND and the Texas schools because of how important they are to their respective conferences. If neither ND nor Texas bites, though, then the Big Ten is fine with completing expansion with Rutgers to form a 14-school conference that hits the athletic, academic and financial targets.

          • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

            The problem is that if they takes Rutgers, Nebraska, and Syracuse in “phase 1″ there is no room for BOTH Texas schools and Notre Dame.

            I think getting both Texas schools is a must for the Big 10. Not just because you want two southern buddies, but b/c aTm is valuable as well and you want to forever solidify your hold on the region.

            I’d take Syracuse and Nebraska. Lure the Texas schools in (or push them west). Push Notre Dame towards a conference.

            Notre Dame will take the bait. The Texas schools might go west. Then you either sit at 14…or strategize to solidify eastern stranglehold (i.e. Maryland, Rutgers, Pitt, UConn, BC, et al)

        • mushroomgod says:

          Frank—ND wouldn’t be ready to move in 6 months. The AD would be strung up or ran out of town on a rail. They MIGHT be ready to move in 3 years, if BK can’t get it going in a big way.If BK does get it going big-time, they won’t be ready in any event….

          • @mushroomgod – Heh – it’s kind of like of having kids: if you wait until the “perfect time”, you’ll never have kids. Same thing with ND – they’ll never be emotionally ready to join a conference. The Big Ten has to determine whether they’re still worth waiting for.

          • mushroomgod says:

            yes, but if the Big 10 adds Neb. now,even if ND resists, TX might be in play in 2-3 years, if the Big 12 unravels…I’ve always agreed with you about the worth of Tx.,,

    • mushroomgod says:

      I don’t think the purpose of Big 10 expansion is to destroy the Big East or the ACC….adding ND, Pitt, Syr, Rutgers, and U Conn would be adding 2 private schools, and enrollments of 11000, 27000, 19000, 35000, and 24000. This to a midwestern league where 10/11 are public schools and 9/11 have enrollments over 40000, and a 10th has an enrollment of 29000. Can you say “serious culture shcck”? Why does everyone on here think they’re fricking Donald Trump out to destroy all competition?

    • Nittany Wit says:

      The two critical teams to prevent ACC dominating up and down the seaboard are Syracuse and Rutgers. Pitt only geographical extends the ACC, I don’t believe that they will have any real impact since they are only bring a portion of the Pittsburgh market and won’t bring Philly or any other eastern seaboard city. UConn would actually be better since this gives BC a rival and traveling partner as well as a chunk of the NY basketball market and strengthens the ACC’s hold on BC.

      If the Pac-10 expands with Colorado/??? or Texas/A&M and Nebraska is still available, then I think they could be considered a strong play for the Big Ten. However, if they go incrementally, there is not another conference that is capable to swoop in and grab Nebraska (or Missouri or Kansas). Thus, my preference would be to add two teams, Syracuse and Rutgers. Then at 13, you can approach BC and see if they are interested. If so, then it doesn’t matter who the ACC adds from the remaining Big East schools.

      • Rick says:

        Nit: Spot on from a strategic market power play strategy

      • Richard says:

        I’d go with Rutgers, ‘Cuse, & UConn to deny the ACC any part of the tri-state, then add Nebraska as the 15th team. 16th is dependent on whether Maryland or ND will join or not. I’d actually prefer Maryland to ND. Maybe even Mizzou as well. Hope the Big10 presidents like Nebraska over Mizzou (or hell, Syracuse over Mizzou) as well.

        • Nittany Wit says:

          With Rutgers, Syracuse and UConn, you haven’t touched the Boston market. In this case, I think it is better to try and grab BC since they you have the Boston, New York, and Philly rather than just New York and Philly. Even if the ACC has UConn, they aren’t going pull NY away from the Big Ten since PSU, Rutgers, Syracuse have more combined alums in the area than the ACC would have with UConn.

          That also leaves you with the option to convince Maryland to join as well. That would be the true power play in locking up the entire Northeast Corridor from D.C. to Boston.

          • Richard says:

            The problem is that BC isn’t much of a draw even in Boston. Think Northwestern in Chicago.

          • Nittany Wit says:

            @ richard
            : BC isn’t much of a draw because a) pro sports dominate Boston, b) relative to public state schools they have fewer alums, and c)haven’t been an elite school with a empassion rival to increase viewership.

            However, I think that BC is attractive because it opens the door for the BTN in Boston since there are a lot of Big Ten alums in the Northeast. The competition in the Big East was weak enough that not many people cared about BC nor the team they were playing. In the ACC, BC is so far removed from the conference that developing a rivalry has been slow. In the Big Ten, though many more people will care even if it is because they want BC to lose. Naturally, this will make for more passionate BC fans to root against others. If ND also comes, that makes for a good rivalry game.

            And to boot, BC has a great hockey team. As noted before, outside of basketball and football, only baseball, hockey, and lacroose playoffs generate revenue. Syracuse adds lacrosse, BC adds hockey before long the BTN will have a lot of quality games to air.

          • Richard says:

            I think BC makes sense only if ND decides to join. Between them, you can make a serious play for all of New England. Without ND, I don’t think the Big10 alums that end up in Boston is enough.

        • @Richard – Completely agree on your last line. Mizzou and Nebraska make a nice tandem on the western edge of the conference if they come in together. However, I REALLY hope that if it comes down to a choice between the two, the Big Ten will not get tunnel vision with the households in the state of Missouri (even with as much as I love to talk about markets). They are effectively equals academically, but there is no debate about the national draw. If you’re going after the NYC area, then it’s OK to think a lot about households, but don’t do it for an area like Missouri.

    • Manifesto says:

      @Mike: It’s a good article, although I will say Pittsburgh’s demographics rating should probably have an asterisk by it. I love Pitt as a football fan, but I think others have a point that they’re not as worthwhile from a television revenue standpoint.

    • Mike says:

      @Manifesto I think they did a good job with what they had. In addition to the Pitt numbers you mention, Nebraska’s “home” market isn’t Omaha by itself. If you take football out of the mix, the people going to Nebraska games (baseball, basketball, etc) are from the I-80 corridor between Lincoln and Omaha. That area is about 1 million people. Kansas’s home market is vastly understated as well as I think they might be missing the suburbs. That being said, I don’t think their rankings would change much. The analysis does point out how overrated Missouri is as an expansion candidate though.

    • Patrick says:

      This article is heading in the right direction but has a few issues, like using 2 year old financial data and strangely assigning tv markets and using population figures instead of tv households. The last fiscal years financial summaries are in, why aren’t they used?

      More importantly, while tv households will make the Big 10 network a premium on cable carriers, RATINGS are how advertising is sold. If the ratings are not high enough, it will be removed from the basic tier. If ratings are low, advertising rates drop accordingly.

      I guess what I am not understanding fully is the weight that people are placing on population (METRO & STATE). If Rutgers home market population is 8.3 million and Nebraska has a nome market population of around 430,000 from the article….. Why does Nebraska’s average attendence beat Rutgers 85,888 to 49,113 and why does the NU athletic department earn $20,000,000 more per year?

      An oblivious population is not nearly as valuable as a devoted one.

  23. Lou Gagliardi says:

    Hey Frank..what about the Big 11 adding Pitt?

    -You’d get a big market
    -Penn State vs Pitt as permanent rivals
    -Put Pitt, PSU, OSU, and maybe Michigan or MSU in the same division, and you’ve got a good market for the in conference games on TV.
    -With Pitt vs OSU, you could call it, after 2-3 years for example, a mini version of the Bengals-Steelers or the Browns-Steelers.

    Whatta think? I think it’s a good idea, but that’s just me.

  24. @ Doug, I’ve shouted this from the internet rooftops over and over, but THERE IS NO WAY THAT BYU WILL BE ADDED TO THE PAC 10. Since each Pac 10 school has a veto vote in essence, there is no way a liberal school like Cal will ever allow a conservative Mormon based school like BYU to join the conference (the church of the LDS poured millions of dollars into California to help pass the gay marriage law that went into effect last year). It’s a stretch at this point whether or not Utah would even be allowed. Just scratch that from your list of possibilities.

  25. @ Rich, I just don’t like 20 team conference idea. Does competing for a national championship even matter at all? I, like Frank, am a follow the money guy, and know that many practical considerations like this could be sold for top dollar. But how unfair would it be for a Big 10 team to try and come out of a 20 team conference when other conferences would be sporting 8 & 10 team members? How often would you be playing teams in the other conference? Wouldn’t you basically have to completely give up playing OOC games? Could you really have a happy marriage of 20 partners for a long period of time? I just can’t see this working.

    • Manifesto says:

      @Michael Ziemba: I wouldn’t read too far into Rich’s proposition. As people have continued to discuss the prospect of ND joining, despite his protests, he’s become increasingly cynical and surly. It’d be funny to be a fly on the wall in Rich’s room if ND actually did join.

      • Rich2 says:

        The post by Rich to which Manifesto and Ziemba refer was not authored by Rich, the poster who has offered a devastating critique of much of the wishful thinking masquerading as “analysis” on this board on the benefits presumed to accrue to ND if they joined the Big Ten.

        Frank, identity theft has occurred on this board. Thus, I have changed my name “Rich2.”

        Nebraska, Syracuse and Rutgers are perfect targets for the Big Ten expansion and I hope that the Big Ten does add these three institutions.

      • Rich2 says:

        A point of clarification: It would benefit the Big Ten and be tragic for ND if ND joined the Big Ten, in phase one, two or three. If ND somehow was faced with a situation where joining the Big Ten was the best option available, then of course I would accept it. But I and thousands of other alums would demand that someone at ND be fired for allowing the situation to reach such a point. I notice that Dr. Kevin White, AD of the Year, was pushed out after the 7-4-1 debacle and he landed at Duke.

        • @Rich2 – The 7-4-1 “debacle” is necessary for ND’s independence now. In order to continue to receive the maximum amount from NBC as well as mitigate the revenue disadvantage that ND is now experiencing compared to the major Big Ten and SEC schools, ND must have that extra “neutral site game that’s an ND home game”. If Kevin White was really pushed out because of the scheduling philosophy, then that’s ridiculous since that’s part of the bargain for maintaining independence. ND’s alums need to understand that they can no longer have their proverbial cake and eat it, too. If they want independence, then that’s fine, but that comes at a cost of lower revenue and the 7-4-1 schedule that lessens the opportunities to play the “national schedule” that makes such independence attractive in the first place. That’s one thing that the NDNation crowd needs to understand – I see a ton of comments that if ND just went back to a 6-6 or even 7-5 schedule, then the “national schedules” would return, but that fails to take into account that the 7-4-1 schedule is a critical part of what allows ND to continue to be independent. ND can never go back to having less than 8 games per year on NBC if it doesn’t want to join a conference.

          P.S. I apologize for the fact that your identity was stolen!

        • Rich, this is non-nonsensical. Why would you presume that the ND AD could control the events that might transpire? While I agree that much on Frank’s site is just interesting speculation, if the conferences start to realign, what exactly do you think the ND AD could really do about it? I really do understand ND fans that want to maintain their independence, but this stubbornness on the part of such fans to even entertain the possibility that joining a conference might be beneficial to them is exactly why I criticize their fan base so harshly? What part of the profits from the Big 10 network and the the SEC’s $3 billion dollar ESPN deal do ND fans not understand? Money aside, i think it is very plausible that the independence thing will also make it more difficult for ND to play in a BCS championship game. They could have gone undefeated last year, and I still think Texas was going to play Alabama. Whether you like it or not, winning a conference (including the CCG) is a major factor for voters, in large part because of the SEC’s success the last ten years or so.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            Seriously, besides the money, what’s the real benefit?

            What profit is there for a school to gain the whole world and lose it’s soul?

            Or at least that’s how we look at it.

          • Richard says:

            Competing for a national championship in football. I know you Domers want to believe that ND can still compete for national titles as an independent in the future, but if there comes to be 3 mega-conferences each staging conference championship games, and ND has to keep their (rather weak) 7-4-1 schedule in order to bring in enough TV money to stay independent, then ND would always lose out if they have the same record as the champion(s) of the mega-conferences.

            Again, reasonable people can disagree about whether ND will go the way of Army if they stay independent, but even if you’re OK with that, would administrators (who’s jobs are affected by how much money ND football brings in) be OK with that? Ultimately, money is real, talk isn’t, and if perfect or near perfect seasons still don’t mean a chance to play for the national title, coaches, admins, and most importantly, recruits, will take notice.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            Any MNC game that exclude the Irish by rule will be considered even less legitimate than the one we have now. I’m not sweating it. Maybe I should.

            The other part of the conference money is that I have no reason to doubt ND will lose *tons* of donations if they went to any conference. According to folks in the athletic department publicly, independence is our greatest recruiting asset. Maybe that’s political cover, but I believe it.

            The media loves conferences since they make their life easier. I don’t know if any kid dreams of playing for a conference championship.

          • Manifesto says:


            I don’t think Richard was suggesting that the rules of the game change such that ND is officially prohibited from ever getting into the MNC game. If I’m misunderstanding, Richard, feel free to correct me.

            My understanding of his statement is that if there end up being 3 super conferences, and in a given year two of them and ND end up with similar records and are in contention for the MNC, odds probably going to be very much against ND getting the nod over the other two. Because ND’s schedule with the 7-4-1 format is already somewhat watered down from their historical strength, and with three super conferences encompassing the majority of major football teams it’s arguable that future schedules will water down further in the future.

            And even if they don’t water down further, when you look at the present day, if ND had been undefeated last season I don’t see them getting in over Texas and Alabama, or over Oklahoma/Florida the year before, and perhaps not a two-loss LSU team in 2007 if ND had had two losses as well. That’s conjecture for sure, but I’m unsure if any non-ND fans would disagree. I’m unsure it’s reasonable to say your best (and possibly only) shot at a MNC every year in the future is to hope to be one of only two undefeated teams. Is independence worth that if so?

          • m (Ag) says:

            “I don’t know if any kid dreams of playing for a conference championship.”

            Clearly you didn’t follow any of the big conferences closely as a kid!!!

          • greg says:

            I don’t know if any kid dreams of playing Washington State in San Antonio.

          • Richard says:

            Manifesto, you explained it well.

        • Richard says:

          I kind of doubt Kevin White was pushed out because of the 7-4-1 scheduling, because ND is still sticking to it in future years even after he’s gone.

    • Scott S says:

      I think Rich is attempting to satire the expansion fever that has gripped many discussing this topic. I wouldn’t take the post seriously.

      However, if the Big Ten expands to 64 teams and can start its own NCAA-style tournament (December madness anyone?)–now you’ve really got something. (The key is to start with the lucrative el Paso market…grap UTEP and the whole thing falls into place.)

  26. Fear not, everyone! Ron Zook knows what’s up with expansion:

    ‘Zook on expansion: “Somebody’s going to have to come up with some money to buy into it.” Says Big Ten will only add a $$-making school.’

    If the Big Ten adds schools the way that Zook recruits, the conference will add Texas, Notre Dame and USC… and then promptly find a way to lose money on the whole thing.

    • Manifesto says:

      @Frank: Rumor is Zookie Monster’s already sent out verbal offers to every school in Ohio for Big Ten membership. Sorry… OSU recruiting joke. :)

  27. If you’re not already following Adam Rittenberg on Twitter, there’s a slew of quotes from Joe Paterno regarding Big Ten expansion: “Expansion is coming.”

  28. alsace man says:

    Intriguing, but I really believe you’re overthinking this matter. There are schools that would join the BT in a heartbeat. Why the subterfuge? Just invite them. Texas & Texas A&M might be good additions but forcing them creates resentment and makes the BT into a “loose confederation.” They are a more natural fit for the PAC 10. And if you read between the lines of recent Swarbrick PUBLIC comments, it’s clear that he’s setting his alums up for eventually joining a conference. Where else would N.D. go but where the money is?

    • m (Ag) says:

      The Texas schools wouldn’t resent being in the Big 10. The issues would be whether they have rivals and whether they can explain it to Texas politicians and average local fans why they are leaving the Big 12 (and Baylor/Texas Tech) to a conference that is seen as distant and inferior to the SEC and Big 12.

      Nebraska announcing it’s going to the the Big 10 gives the excuse to do something administrators may want to do anyway. With Nebraska leaving they can claim they need to leave a Big 12 that is falling behind nationally. With Nebraska already joining the Big 10 they have one rival they’ll already be familiar with in the new conference. Fans would understand that with OSU, Michigan, PSU, Nebraska, and Texas, the Big 10 will now surpass (or at least equal) the SEC as the premier football conference in the nation.

      Now if Texas administrators don’t want to join the Big 10, they still won’t. They’ll either join the Pac 10 or make the Big 12 work by taking charge of who’s added (and I’m not sure BYU wouldn’t vote for unequal sharing; wouldn’t they be the most desirable program for national TV networks in the Big 12 north?). But if the schools want to join they’ll join with no resentment.

      There will be still be some consternation from fans just like when the SWC folded. That fuss died out almost immediately when the excitement of playing in a more national conference took over the first year; I think it would happen almost as quickly in the Big 10 if they joined with at least one other rival.

      • m (AG), I have been writing on this quite a bit lately too. I put together a 16 team conference model that is essentially a merger of the existing b10 and five B12 schools which would satisfy the rivalry thing. My idea is a compilation of some Franks, the Barking Carnival’s, and my own. Check it out if interested at:

        • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

          Nice article. One small change…Iowa, Minny, and Wiscy should join your five Big 12 schools. They are current protected rivals in Big 10. Throw Illinois and NW in the “eastern” division.

          Your theory isn’t bad…but I don’t think the five Big 12 schools would add enough TV markets. The Big 10 Network is already in Missouri (minimizing their importance to the conference). By adding two powerhouse Texas schools, you, in effect, create a corridor from Illinois-Iowa down through the heartland. Plus, the eyeballs in Texas alone dwarf the amount of all of those heartland states you’d be guaranteeing with a Kansas/Nebrask/Mizzou trifecta. I like the national “name” value of your trifecta…but that doesn’t trump their minimal home markets.

          If they can get Texas and aTm, and you make a strong case that they can, they don’t need the other three.

          At that point, they should go for other big markets. NYC, DC/Baltimore, New England, or the national appeal of Notre Dame. I just don’t think they’re interested in ingesting that much of the Big 12; there’s way more population (outside of Texas) in the Northeast.

        • m (Ag) says:

          I wrote a little about a 5 team Big 12 raid on Frank’s last post. Nebraska has 1.8 million people and Kansas 2.8 million (wikipedia), so it’s hard to see them both being added by the Big 10 unless Texas really wants it and the Big 10 is happy not going East.

          I think it can be rewarding for the Big 10 to just grab 5 schools to the West, but they’d rather keep Colorado themselves in that scenario. With 2 schools from Texas (24.8 million people), 1 from Missouri (6 million) and 1 from Colorado (5 million), you can take Nebraska to connect the geography a bit and provide another national name. Texas isn’t quite connected to the other states, but it’s only a trip through Oklahoma to get to Colorado or Missouri.

          Those 5 schools add an average of 7.52 million people per school. To compare that to the current Big 10, there are only 4 Big 10 states that have that many people. In 2 of those states (Illinois and Michigan), that population is divided between 2 Big 10 schools, so they bring less than 7.52 million per school. Only Penn State and Ohio State could say they bring more population to the conference than the average new school.

          Now, you could swap out some of those non-Texas schools for Syracuse (19.5 million in NY) and/or Rutgers (8.7 million in NJ) and come out with an even more impressive number. This is obviously what Frank is proposing. However, it’s more questionable that they’ll be smoothly integrated and that those states will follow football as devoutly.

          The fact that the Big 10 network is already present in some of these states doesn’t matter much, since the cable rates for the Big 10 network for states with Big 10 teams go up significantly. Adding these national names will also spread the network to basic cable in even more areas of the country. The Big 10 might also add a second station and charge a little more if they add 5 schools.

          Other bonuses:

          -Colorado would give the Big 10 one school in Mountain time, so they can naturally host ‘late night’ games for the Big 10 network.
          -With the Big 10 adding some Thanksgiving week games, it will have 2 rivalries that have already been broadcast nationally Thanksgiving week: Texas vs A&M and Nebraska vs Colorado.
          -The Big 10 wouldn’t have any culture clashes with private schools.

    • @alsace, it may very well be that all the Big 10 was after in the first place was ND. From a geography and money making stand point, they are perfect (I do think the religious aspect of their school could be a problem with the research component of the CIC schools, but I think the B10 is willing to look past this). Every other school is less than perfect on these two fronts. So it would not surprise me one bit if all of this gamesmanship was being done to try and lure ND into the fold. Just my two cents worth.

      • alsace man says:

        Michael; Do you really think ND needs to be lured? Check out Swarbrick’s recent statements on conference membership, made publicly, and its amply clear that he’s actively selling the concept to his alums. The machinations behind the scenes toward the creation of “super-conferences” are well under way. It’s a money game and ND is too smart to be left behind. ND will follow the money

        • FLP_NDRox says:

          Are you talking about the comments at the Big East MBB tournament? He’s been backing off them as far as he can without lying.

          Notre Dame not only needs to be lured, they hafta find a face-saving explanation to the fanbase.

  29. JoePa isn’t making the expansion decision, but I really like this quote:

    “When you get married, you better marry somebody you love, and that means somebody who appreciates what you want to do,” he said. “It’s a question of bringing somebody in that can handle the academics, the research, AAU schools preferable, commitment to women’s sports, the commitment to all sports programs. Now can you find one, two, three, four? I don’t know. That’s up to some people that are outside my realm.”

    Amazing that outside of JoePa, the Ron Zook quote I posted earlier was probably the most substantive view that came from any of the other Big Ten coaches.

    • Nittany Wit says:

      Joe is not keen on ND…More and more, I find myself agreeing with him. While from a football rivalry and scheduling perspective and from a PR perspective, I’d love to have ND in the conference, bringing someone into the conference that is as committed is only going to lead to friction and division. Notre Dame of old may have been worth it since they were individually making more money that any other FB school, but the see-saw as tilted and ND no longer has that ace. Other than in-roads to the NY market, I don’t think that ND is essential like they once were.

      After think over the past few weeks, I’d rather have Nebraska than ND if we only added one school.

  30. HerbieHusker says:

    It’d be interesting to see (now that we know what vote it would take to approve a team’s expansion into the Big 10) how each school would vote on the given candidates. Would there be a split in the conference with the eastern schools (Penn St) wanting another team out east and the western schools (Iowa, Minnesota) wanting another team out west? This could be something interesting to look at. I am not familiar enough with Big Ten politics to speculate; but maybe some of you are. I only know the Nebraska connections at Wisconsin and Penn St…..but whether those connections mean anything or not is to be debated. How do you more ‘in the know’ speculate that each school will vote on each candidate?

    • Mike R says:

      Herbie you make a good point. It was U of Ill. President Ikenberry (a former Penn State department head) who brought PSU into the Big 10. Graham Spanier would be a sure vote for NU, which he formerly led.

  31. MIRuss says:

    In theory, the only way it could happen:

    In a dark hole in the wall Bar in St. Louis….

    Unknown Voice: Thanks for coming. Mr. S, Scotch and water?
    Mr. S: Irish Whiskey, neat please.
    Unknown Voice: Mr. P., what are you drinking?
    Mr. P: Call me Bill.
    Unknown Voice: Okay Bill, what’ll it be?
    Bill: And by the way, I’m calling you Jim. This whole Mr. Letter of our Last Name thing is ridiculous.
    Jim: Fine. Can I get you a drink?
    Bill: I’ll have a beer. (Jim waves a waitress over and makes the order)
    Jim: So, gentlemen, you all know why you’re here.
    Mr. S: Uh, just for the record, I’m not officially here. I’m just here for the booze.
    Jim: Yes, we know that Mr. S. (under his breath) Dumbass….
    Mr. S: What was that?
    Bill: Jim said that you’re all class, Jack.
    (There’s a commotion as Jack and Bill start to grab each other’s lapels. Jim separates and calms the two as the drinks arrive. Jack gulps his drink and immediately orders a double. Jim sips his vodka rocks as Bill takes a long pull on his draft)
    Bill: All right, Jim. I’m going to put my cards on the table. We’re in if they’re in. (he nods to Jack).
    Jack: I’m not here.
    Jim: Shut up, (again – quietly) Dumbass….Okay. So, the state will let you make the move if A&M can come, right?
    Bill: (nods) Yeah. We didn’t even have to push to hard with the legislature. They were on board with it based on the annual opportunity to pound on the two schools in front of us for all time wins. One in particular.
    Jim: Michigan and present company?
    Jack: I’M NOT HERE! (grabs the waitress and orders another double)
    Bill: Yeah. (turns to Jack) So, what’s it going to be?
    Jack: I’m in a difficult situation with a fan and alumni base that believes the college football world revolves around a golden dome in northern Indiana. We want – no, we NEED TO MAINTAIN OUR INDEPENDENCE and not tarnish ourselves in the football cesspool known as the Big 10.
    Jim: But you make the decisions. You are the man in charge.
    Jack: (gulping his drink) Who told you this? What makes you think I make decisions? Has he spoken to either of you? (Jim and Bill look at each other)
    Jim: Has who spoken to us?
    Jack: You know. (points up) “Him.” (Jim calls the waitress over and orders another Vodka and Beer)
    Jack: And another double for me, thanks. (Tries to grab the waitress around the waist – she dodges the grab.)
    Waitress: Is your friend okay? We don’t usually get big drinkers like that here.
    Jim: He’s fine. Whiskey is like mother’s milk for him. (she walks away)
    Bill: (Gives Jim a knowing look) You know, Jack. I actually did have a conversation with Him the other Sunday in Church.
    Jack: (slurring) Are you serious, what did he tell you?
    Bill: He said, “Join the Big 10. It’s the right thing to do.”
    Jack: Seriously? Really? Oh, man! Wait till I tell Father! (Jack texts a quick note – there’s an immediate response.
    Jack: Father says you’re full of shit…no offense.
    (Bill and Jim stare at Jack for a few minutes. Jack quaffs another double. Bill swipes Jack’s blackberry and starts typing under the table. He hits send and slides the device back in front of Jack after Jack tries to squeeze the waitress’ ass and cop a feel on her boob. It buzzes about 5 seconds later.)
    Jack: (after looking at his blackberry and turning a little pale) I’m in. I mean, we’re in.
    Jim: (glances at Bill speaks to Jack) What changed your mind?
    Jack: I just got a text from “Him”. He says it’s okay.

  32. Mike R says:

    From a Penn State perspective NU (Spanier’s former school) + an Eastern partner would be the ideal ticket. Frank you may be on to something here!

  33. duffman says:

    Part I – the ground rules…. and 16 #1

    the more i read the more i feel a dynamic approach needs to be taken..

    some points to consider…. the magic number is 12 or 16.. not 14

    a) big means PUBLIC not PRIVATE
    b) the Predators (B10,SEC,PAC10) vs Prey (B12,ACC,BE)
    c) research = politics (turf means protecting dollars)
    d) some share and some do not (my texas = jupiter argument)
    e) the future value of MBB, WBB, and baseball
    f) history should be considered in a big picture view
    g) as things happen one would expect reactions
    h) if you corner a wild dog, you get unexpected consequences

    and the first “superconference” is the big 16..

    the current 11 + ….

    Nebraska = a + b + c + d (of the Big 4 in the Big 12, the equal share would probably appeal most to Nebraska) + e? + f (football a better fit in Big 10 vs Pac 10) + g? + h (Nebraska is no wild dog).

    Maryland (my original thought [after UC] was Kentucky, but everybody else shot it down) = a + b + c (add congress / senate) + d (happy with an equal share) + e + f? + g (if ACC is prey, then this is a good east coast get) + h (edge of conference, easier to jump).

    Missouri = a + b + c (more congress / senate votes) + d + e? + f (would be the second to adding Nebraska) + g (added to Nebraska, makes smoother transition) + h

    I would add UK and WVU for the 4 extra senators, i know this will be shot down.. so I am not sure on the final 2.. but Uconn or Rutgers are some to look at.. what I would be willing to guess, is that the final 2 WILL be PUBLIC (preferrably flagship) and LARGE (preferrably 20 – 40 thousand undergraduates) with the ability to deliver a market without competition (UNC would not go without NC State or UVA would not go without Va Tech, so would not make the cut to go to the big 16).

    I am making the note that all 3 of the surviving conferences has at least 1 current private member “grandfathered” in, (Northwestern, Vandy, and Stanford) but this imbalance in not likely to make future PRIVATE schools feel happy or safe.. the old “like follows like” argument..

    i know a big part of Franks argument is research, which I agree with.. I am more inclined to look at schools that could “grow” as opposed to the easy “gets” today that might not be so easy.. as in i know Texas + A&M would = 16, but I just do not see it happening, because of the “share and share alike” in the Big 10.

    • Manifesto says:

      @Duffman: I think you lay out some decent “rules of war”, but the reason some of your schools get shot down is because you’re ignoring academics somewhat. I agree with you that some schools will need to be considered not on what they are but on what they could be — again, the example being that supposedly PSU agreed to up their research and academic profile when they joined (I have no idea if this is indeed true or not, but seems to be the accepted belief).

      I see that with some schools we’re discussing — Missouri, Nebraska, UConn — I don’t see that with Cincinnati or WVU. Perhaps that’s the OSU alum bias in me talking, but I doubt you’ll see a school that’s Tier 3 end up on the short list. Moreover, from a practical standpoint, I can tell you OSU would probably do everything in its power to keep Cincy out just because it doesn’t want more competition in its backyard. Anyway, WVU is listed as Tier 3 in USNWR rankings, and isn’t part of the top 152 schools on the ARWU list. Kentucky’s listed on both, but I just don’t see them leaving the SEC. The SEC is in the same position of power as the Big Ten, and Kentucky is on the gravy train with biscuit wheels. Reaping the benefits of a strong football conference while being a big fish in a relatively small basketball pond.

      I like Nebraska, but I’m viewing them as the backup to ND inevitably saying no or backing out at the last moment from alumni backlash. I only view Nebraska as a back up because I’ve bought into the assumption that the Big Ten really wants to make a move northeast, and in that scenario ND is probably worth more than Nebraska. That said, if the Big Ten decided in the end just to invite Nebraska and call it at 12 for now I’d be happy. The worst scenario at this point, imo, is to go through all the effort and public declarations and then announce they’re staying at 11.

      • duffman says:

        I am concentrating on 3 + 2

        nebraska, maryland, and missouri + 2

        i do not know the last two.. just suggesting 2.. but putting emphasis on the words LARGE and PUBLIC

        as ND is neither, even tho i acknowledge WVU is a bad fit.. just trying to keep the PUBLIC and LARGE in the forefront.. and eliminate SMALL and PRIVATE from possible choices..

        • Richard says:

          Pitt is actually as public as PSU (state-related), though they may be rejected for other reasons.

          I think Rutgers is as good as Maryland (and easier to get). I could live with Colorado, Nebraska, Mizzou, Maryland & Rutgers, though I don’t know how likely that is.

    • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

      Just because Texas doesn’t like sharing an equal amount of a medium sized pie in the Big 12, doesn’t mean they won’t share an equal amount of a huge pie in the Big 10.

      There are a lot of reasons why Texas/aTm to the Big 10 doesn’t make sense. But your #1 reason (they don’t like to share) isn’t strong enough.

      • duffman says:


        when i say “share” it is a combination of things..

        $$, ego, etc.. texas = jupiter = ego

        if this makes my thinking clearer….

  34. KingOttoIII says:

    Why doesn’t the Big Ten just contract and go to 10 teams which IMO is the perfect number. I would kick out Indiana. Honestly what do they add to the conference? They have become a leach. Their basketball is done, the football never been. They offer no market and the school is more Southern than Midwestern.

  35. duffman says:

    Part II – 16 #2

    the Pac 16.. the current 10 + ……

    in addition to a) – h) i would add the value of pairs in the Pac 16

    Texas + Texas A & M = a + b + c + d (the dealmaker – in that in the PAC 16 the texas schools can be JUPITER, while in the Big 16 they can not) + e (better minor sports fits baseball vs hockey, etc) + f (I think with weather, and the youth of the Pac 10 and Big 12 – they will feel more comfortable than the long term history that the SEC and Big 10 have in common). + g (texas can stay independent and not become a part of the collective) + h (texas is no wild dog, it is the 800 lb. gorilla)

    Oklahoma + OK State = a + b + c (there is $$ in the state of Oklahoma, and they would not get the “academic inferiority complex” that the big 10 seems to rub in their face) + d (they will want a bigger share, while not jupiter – they are no mercury either!) + e (see texas and a&m) + f (with the SWC / Big 8 history.. it will make the texas schools feel more at home in the PAC 16) + g (with JerryWorld hosting USC annually, you could see texas politics in full force + h (with the texas 2 in place, no wild dogs here).

    Colorado + Kansas = would round out the 16, with greater ease in finding acceptance in the Pac 16 over the Big 16. Brings more stability for the other Pac 16 adds.. and adds 4 more senators.. and these schools would have no problem playing second fiddle to Texas and USC. Kansas vs UCLA in basketball in a new PAC 16, just one of the match ups that would be tailored for TV.

    • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

      Sorry, OU and OKSt are deal-breakers. It’ll be hard enough to envision a scenario where the PAC10 can expand (unanimous vote for acceptance, remember?!?!). Weak academic schools like the two Ok schools would never fly in the historical climate of PAC10 decision=making.

      Utah and Missouri would be feasible as 15 and 16, especially since they’d already be as far east as Kansas. OU and OkSt are better suited for the SEC (rabid fan bases, average academics, border state with Arkansas).

  36. duffman says:

    part III – 16 # 3

    or “how the south rises” and the new SEC – 16

    in addition to the other items.. a) – h) + the value of pairs, I would add the value of southern history.. while some may find this crazy.. I feel any serious discussion merits inclusion..

    # 1 the oldest conference is the SIAA (the big 10 is the oldest still in operation), this is not to say the SIAA disappeared.. It just became the SEC, ACC, and Big 12.. the point being the early member’s were Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, University of the South (Sewanee), Vanderbilt. Clemson, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Tulane, and Texas NOTE: No Duke, Wake Forrest, BC, Miami (the PRIVATES in the ACC), but Ga Tech, UNC, and Clemson are in!! this conference became..

    #2 the SOUTHERN CONFERENCE – with membership of.. Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Washington & Lee, Florida, LSU, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tulane, and Vanderbilt NOTE: several STATE schools are added (UVA, Va Tech, USC) but the privates are still not there.. then comes the split in 1933 to form the SEC, and the second split in 1953 to form the ACC..

    #3 the original SEC included Ga Tech and Tulane..

    #4 the original ACC was Clemson, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina, Wake Forest, and Virginia. South Carolina has since moved to the SEC while the remaining five have short histories (Ga Tech, FSU, Miami, BC, and Va Tech)

    so much for the history lesson.. but I am making a point, that if push comes to shove.. i find it quite easy to believe that multiple PUBLIC schools in the ACC could find themselves easily at home in a 16 team SEC.. and while the Big 10 may Pooh Pooh academics in the south, I can assure you that if you corner a dog, you can not predict the outcome.

    It is also why I have no problem in seeing a SEC composed of southern state schools with a few caveats….

    a) the best thing would be to jettison the bottom of the SEC, but it will not happen (see also Mississippi & Mississippi State).. but if it did you could have an SEC 16 that looks like this..

    Current 10 + ….

    UNC + NC State (pair 1) = a + b + c (southern voting block) + d (i have no sense here of a failure to share) + e (UNC vs UK in basketball, and a football rivalry that has HUGE upside compared to UNC vs Duke, with a 10,000 seat basketball facility and a 30,000 seat football stadium – this is a WIN WIN for UNC, as it adds HUGE “live seats & tv sets” while crippling its current rival in Duke.. UNC grows and Duke withers, I feel any UNC grad would think this a dream come true.) + f (hey having the old gang together would be like money in the bank) + g&h (see f)

    UVA + Va Tech (pair 2) = sorta like UNC, but next step.. and makes state of virginia happy by keeping schools together. Not the same bang, but lie OK + OSU pair in Pac 16.. makes jump feel safer..

    Ga Tech + Clemson (pair 3) = not a true pair but fills out state rivals in UGA vs Ga Tech and Clemson vs USC.. again.. these teams lock up the south.. give the other 4 ACC jumpers some “friends” in the new conference.. and LOCK UP the south for recruiting from outside the south.. while this may not mean much to the rest of the country.. i have a feeling in the south.. it would be a big plus..

    b) of course.. if the Mississippi schools stay you must pick the best 4 of the 6 above, and work out a trade of USC for say FSU to hold down in state rivals.. while I agree the Big 10 model of picking 1 school in a market is the smart move, my guess that this would not play well in the SEC.. so maybe the SEC gives up USC (back to 11) but adds UNC, NC State, UVA, Va Tech, and FSU (for 16 total).

    • Richard says:

      The SEC already splits states (USC-Clemson, Georgia-GTech, Florida-FSU), so I think it plays perfectly fine in the SEC. In fact, the last time they expanded, they decided to enter non-SEC states (Arkansas and SC) instead of trying to “lock up” Georgia & Florida.

      In any case, when the SEC does expand, VTech will definitely be a target. Then maybe WVa (though they may be too small & talentless), so likely 3 from FSU-Miami, Mizzou (if not taken by the Big10 yet) or the 2 Oklahoma schools. TAMU may like to join, but if UT has any pull in their legislature, they won’t allow them to.

      • duffman says:

        Richard.. have you been to SEC vs SEC football games in person?

        Mizzou.. can not see them in the SEC

        I think OU and OSU are a long shot, at least Texas was in the old southern conference (see above)

        with Ark.. they got the Wal Mart and Tyson folks.. if you have not been to Fayetteville in a few years.. you are in for a shock.. Much $$ in the past few years, and you have to remember that Ark made the move to join the SEC

        I wondered if USC, was a precursor to go after Clemson down the road..

        Everybody assumes that the ACC will survive.. but to many private schools with small facilities.. look at seating in the Big 10 and SEC to compare.. If UNC jumped to the SEC, the ACC would go down the toilet.. ACC needs UNC, but UNC could get a better deal in the SEC..

        • Richard says:

          If UNC is willing to jump, they’d rather join the Big10 (with Duke, Virginia, and Maryland) than the SEC. VTech is a much more likely target.

          • duffman says:


            you are ignoring 3 points..

            a) public vs private.. look at the numbers in my previous post for DUKE.. terrible!!

            b) the pair theory (UNC + NC STATE) and (UVA + VA TECH)

            c) the “history”

            as Big 10 would not take all 4 in b) they go to the SEC 16, and MARYLAND as a “single” would go to the BIG 16..

            ACC and SEC have a previous LONG term history .. so a greater comfort zone.. The ACC did not used to be part of the Big 10, but they have shared ties with the current SEC..

            I am not trying to knock you down here, I am just looking at what I see with data to back it up.. I see no such data in your argument.. if you can show me how / why this would work.. please do..

            In my first part of the post I put maryland in the Big 16 because..

            a) LARGE, PUBLIC school
            b) does not have a pair the Big 16 would have to take.
            c) does not have the weak facilities that Duke has and small # of alumni (in my previous argument I pointed out that if they were starting from scratch.. Northwestern, Vandy, and Stanford would not be in the Big 10, sec, and pac 10 respectively).

          • Richard says:

            The pair theory has no credence since the SEC wasn’t interested in getting/creating pairs of schools in Georgia, Florida, or SC last time they expanded.

            The history is over half a century ago, so I don’t think anyone in North Carolina cares that they were once in the same conference as Georgia and Tennessee. Any ties they had have been long gone.

            As for my thought that Carolina will hold their nose at the SEC, that’s because I know Texas (which, like Carolina, has raised their academic profile substantially) has little interest in joining the SEC because they see it as a cesspool. Maybe Carolina feels differently, but I doubt it.

            In any case, since Duke will have no interest in joining the SEC, and NCSU won’t get in the Big10, and I don’t see UNC abandoning either, the heart of the ACC will stay in the ACC.

            Maryland may go, VTech may go, the Florida schools may go, but I just don’t see the North Carolina schools splitting up, regardless of whether they’re public or private.

          • m (Ag) says:

            When the SEC added Arkansas, it was reported that they went to Florida State, and then to Miami, to try and get the 12th team. Florida was willing to allow them in at that time. Florida State didn’t go in because Bobby Bowden thought he would do better going to weaker competition in the ACC. Miami turned them down for similar reasons; they may have also been worried about not playing enough in the northeast. Of course, the SEC settled for South Carolina.

            Now, with cable meaning it might be more profitable to get new states, the SEC might not still be interested in adding one of these schools, but it’s possible, given their national appeal. I wouldn’t see them both joining. I’m fairly confident they wouldn’t want to add a second school in any other state except Texas. No other state would bring enough people to make it worthwhile to have 2 schools.

    • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

      You lost it here, friend. Football rules the day, but destroying the bball tradition of the ACC is haphazardly aggressive.

      The SEC only needs four, and with the Big 12 dissolved, the Big East up for grabs, and the ACC slightly weaker, the SEC can take their pickings.

      Again, I think OU and OkSt would be perfect choices. From there, your guess is as good as mine. Maybe WVU or VTech in a northern push. Maybe Clemson, FSU, or Miami…ACC football powers. Maybe Missouri to enter the St. Louis market, if they are still available.

      The ACC will remain in a 4 super-conference scenario. They will be the weak super-conference for football, but they will remain mostly intact.

      • duffman says:

        what basketball tradition!

        until the ESPN deal in the late 70’s the basketball rivalry was IU vs UK! before said deal.. ACC basketball was UNC, and now it it primarily UNC and Duke.. With the new deal, ESPN has become dominant, they no longer need the ACC.. and their big DEAL is now with the SEC..

        i see an ACC implosion much easier than a big 12, because they have little football value. and their basketball value it tied up in just 2 teams.. my guess is that in 10 years the basketball value will be in the SEC, Big 10, and some Basketball Conference outlined in part IV.

        I went through an analysis of the southern schools for a reason, If the big 10 picked off Maryland.. and UNC / UVA bolted for the SEC.. the ACC would fold up.. if you are reading / posting to this blog, and over the age of say 40 / 50 .. the ACC basketball is a modern thing..

        look at the facilities.. the PRIVATE part of the ACC is a liability, and the PUBLIC side could grow in the SEC.. again, if you say the ACC will remain a POWER conference.. show me how.. as it would be easy prey for the Big 10 and SEC. If they took the top PUBLIC schools.. they might survive.. but not as a power conference just look at the old SoCo..

        and where the SoCo is today.. same thing could easily happen to the ACC, as they are a conference not filled with Big PUBLIC schools like the Big 3 (B10,P10,SEC). i am willing to say there may be a flaw here.. but show me some data that backs it up..

      • Nittany Wit says:

        The ACC teams would be wise to consider their options now in light of where things may be in long term since the will be the weakest football conference. In terms of stability for the six major conferences it is:

        1A) SEC
        1B) Big Ten
        3) Pac Ten
        4) ACC
        5) Big 12
        6) Big East

        If conferences shift to 14 or 16 teams, then the ACC is the most likely to lose teams other than the Big 12 or Big East. BC & Maryland would probably be the two targets for the Big Ten, but surely the SEC would consider FSU, Miami, VaTech, and Clemson.

        • Richard says:

          Though they’re limited in what they can do. They could make a play for the same Northeastern schools the Big10 would be interested in (Rutgers, UConn, Syracuse, Pitt), though if I was the Big10, I would take all of them besides Pitt. They could try for ND. Maybe Cincy. Otherwise, they’re limited to schools that are very weak academically (WVU), weak academically and in small cities (Louisville), or schools in states they already cover (ECU, USF, UCF). They’re not going to be able to take any SEC school.

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            If the B10+ shuts outs the ACC from most of the BEast’s academically acceptable schools, they can still look west to schools like MO, KS, even Tulane, Rice, SMU, and IA St (in addition to Cin, which you mentioned.) If the SEC raids the ACC, they could also set up as an academic division of 8 and partner with a division of lower standard leftovers to create an Eastern Alliance.

            It appears that the ACC could be boxed into a decision between being an academically ‘pure’ conference or making the substantial compromises likely required to get to 16 schools. 16 could be the minimum necessary to stay a BCS athletic top tier conference.

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            The other decision the ACC probably has to make is whether they are willing to pay the price of having reduced average revenue per school if they go to 16. The ACC staying in the BCS top tier probably can’t pay for itself if the landscape shifts to a P16-B16-SEC16.

          • Richard says:

            Adding teams that are both far away and TV lightweights isn’t going to enhance the appeal of the ACC (and MO & KS have no reason to jump to the ACC unless they get left out by all the major conferences). The ACC isn’t going to expand and take less money per school just for the sake of expansion.

          • Nittany Wit says:

            I meant ACC schools individually not collectively. For the very reasons that you illustrate the ACC will not likely expand and if a team leaves they will be replacing it with a less attractive version. Thus, the ACC teams, specifically Maryland, should consider the benefits of leaving versus the advantages of staying.

  37. duffman says:

    part IV – 16 #4

    how 16 + 16 = 16 and other issues..

    the last conference would actually be 2 conferences in a 16 / 8 format that meet each other in a regular conference championship to round out the 4 football team format for a play off.. we will call them A and B..

    Conference A – the God & Country Conference..

    it is 16 team basketball conference / 8 team football conference

    say gtown, villanova, depaul,st. johns, st louis U, marquette, seton hall, and xavier in basketball

    plus ND, BC, Army, Navy, UL (urban college in large catholic city), UC (urban college in large catholic city), Uconn, and Syracuse..

    Conference B – the Privates + the leftovers

    again a 16 team basketball conference / 8 team football conference

    say 8 private basketball schools + 8 team football conference

    when the BIG 16, PAC 16 and SEC 16 have their conference football championship.. Conference A would play Conference B for a representative…

    this could be repeated to form additional conferences to insure that any serious team had a legitimate shot at a national championship.. sort of a sub playoff using the existing early “crappy” bowls.

    More $$ for the NCAA.. everybody wins.. till it all breaks back into 8 team conferences..!!

    • Richard says:

      Not happening. I foresee 3 mega-conferences covering the North, South, & West, including every major state in the US except for NC. The ACC will be distinctly 4th in football (though still a powerhouse in basketball), but with a BCS bid.

    • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

      No, the ACC would simply snag the leftovers (pretty attractive leftovers from a bball standpoint, I might add!) from the Big East.

      UConn, Syracuse, Louiville, Pitt, Rutgers, Cincy, WVU, USF…would certainly hold that conference together as a legitimate super-conference for football and might even make them the premiere basketball conference.

      I’m not even worried about the bball only schools. Like you said, they can easily form a bball conference when the football fallout is finished.

      • Richard says:

        Well, I think most of the attractive schools in the Northeast will join the Big10 (UConn, ‘Cuse, Rutgers). The ACC would have to hold their nose at WVa’s academics to add them, (same with Louisville, and they’re in a small city). Also, unless FSU and Miami leave, there’s little incentive for them to add USF. They could add Cincy, though. Pitt as well if the Big10 doesn’t take them.

  38. Jeremy says:

    I said before my ideal confernce would be a 14 team with ND, Neb, and SU. Now this might not happen. Lets talk about Nebraska. They can fit as at least a 12th member.

    What you think is better? ND with Pitt and SU or ND with SU and RU.
    Now inviting Rutgers and Syracuse wouldn’t destory the Big East as well as Syracuse and Pitt. I think ND with the choice of two is a tough call.

    For my Pac 10 I think they go Colorado and Texas. Both universities are liberal enough, top in research, money boosters, viewers increase, and make the pac10 better in sports.

  39. Redhawk says:

    If the Big 10 does go for the 16 team model, and can make it profitable due to their TV network, I would assume the SEC would follow suit.

    First off, Texas and Texas A&M won’t be divided up…the legislature won’t allow it. Would it be great for UT to join the Big 10? Yes…would it hurt A&M, Baylor, Tech? Yes..and I’m going to take a wild guess, and say that UT alumns do not make up a majority of the legislature…or the Governorship (who is an A&M grad).

    If the Big 10 does go to 16…and if the SEC or Pac-10 also goes to 16, UT and A&M would more likely go to the SEC. At this point, the implosion of the Big 12 will be on.

    But….I don’t think 12 team conferences work, so I don’t think 16 will work either.

  40. loki_the_bubba says:

    A major complication in all of this expansion talk, that is interesting to me, is that Texas does not fit in any of what are pegged to become the ~4 major conferences.

    ACC – too far, too weak in football, small schools
    SEC – academics, academics, academics
    P10 – distance and culture
    B10 – distance and culture

    Texas would be the outlier in any of those conferences. And unfortunately there is not enough between the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi river to make a conference on those levels. The B12 was the last real attempt to make that happen. And now everyone thinks it could fall apart. Perhaps if Colorado athletics had not imploded over the last ten years it could have worked.

    I miss the SWC :(

    • Michael says:

      Regarding the “weak” ACC, I think the ACC could surprise a lot of people this fall. Miami has lost practically no one from an 8-4 team. FSU has added an outstanding new class of recruits. UNC supposedly has SEVEN upperclassmen NFL prospects on defense alone. VT will be a national title contender if it can survive Week 1 vs. Boise. Georgia Tech and Clemson ought to be strong, too. NC State, Wake Forest, and BC (as always) should be in the 6-6 to 8-4 range. Of course, Duke, Maryland, and Virginia will still suck.

      But regarding a change in Texas’ conference affiliation: anyone who thinks the ACC could ever get the Horns is out of his mind.

    • Patrick says:

      I think that Texas may be waiting and wanting to go to the Pac 10+ if and when the expansion takes place. If The Big 10 takes the valuable Big12 schools NU & KU and tacks in Missouri the Big 12 is set to collapse. Then Texas / Texas A&M / Oklahoma / Colorado / Oklahoma State and Utah would round out the Pac 16 nicely. Add AZ & AZ St to that and call it the eastern division which leaves the old PAC 8 alone. Create a Pac 16 network and you have LA, SF, Seatle, Dallas, Houston, Denver, San Diego, Pheonix, San Antonio, Austin, Portland, Sacramento, and Ok City all in your umbrella. Nice footprint to start your own network. Acedemic question about Oklahoma would be squashed by the $$$$ they generate, as long as Stanford would agree. I think Oklahoma would be a better academic school than ASU or WSU anyway.

    • Richard says:

      That’s why Texas would want to bring along all its favorite B12 pals in a merger with the Pac10 to form a Pac/Western 16/20.

  41. Scott S says:

    We talk about academics, “cultural fit”, geography. But the major emphasis on this blog seems to come down to television money via the BTN. Fair enough. But in discussing TV money, there’s another factor besides markets that seems under-considered. Ratings.

    Let’s say the Big Ten gets Rutgers, Syracuse, and UConn and they really sew up the New York market.

    Who’s going to watch?

    Does anyone in New York (or anywhere else) really want to watch these teams play football? Do they watch now? If viewers wake up in 2012 and find these schools are in the Big Ten, will that suddenly spark intense interest for them to start watching? I don’t think so.

    Even Syracuse alumni won’t want to tune in every week to see their team get pummeled by Michigan or Wisconsin. Nor will Rutgers or UConn alums care to tune in and watch their team crushed by Iowa one week, Penn State the next, Michigan State the week after that.

    You could argue that these teams have the potential to become good. But there’s nothing to suggest they will.

    Providing a weak product means you’re going to be putting another channel on the New York cable package, along with the 100-200 existing channels, and no one will be interested in watching. Viewers will just as soon tune in to watch the Roloffs or the Dog Whisperer, and then what have you gained? A tarnished image as a weaker sports conference.

    If the Big Ten wants viewers, they have to bring in a school that plays good football. You bring in a Texas playing Ohio State, a Nebraska playing Penn State, and I’d wager there’s at least as many people in the New York area watching the game as there would be with Rutgers or Syracuse. Not to mention the additional viewership in Texas and the plains.

    Athletically, the Big Ten brand needs to be about quality sports. Something to draw in viewers. You can’t go from Big Two, Little Eight to the Big Two, Little Twelve. Your sales pitch can’t be, “Hey, we’ve got a crappy product, but we’re in you’re area!”

    From the perspective of current football strength, the best school choices are Texas, Nebraska, then Notre Dame.

    Of these, the only sure “yes” would be Nebraska. I think they have to be part of the package, though the biggest prize is still Texas.

    I don’t think the Big Ten can afford to go east and leave these schools for the SEC to pick up.

    • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

      Scott, You make a valid point. You do want to add attractive teams, strong programs, get some competitive games. But the question that needs asking is this. Would a Syracuse, let’s say, fan be more LIKELY to tune into Syracuse vs. Wisconsin or Syracuse vs. UConn? Syracuse vs. Ohio State or Syracuse vs South Florida? If you polled a hundred thousand ‘Cuse fans, I’m certain that more would tune into a ‘Cuse Big 10 schedule than a ‘Cuse Big East schedule. The second factor is this: after the ‘Cuse noon game is on, would a ‘Cuse fan tune into a Wisconsin-Indiana game if it were on basic cable through the Big 10 network? Some weeks, maybe.

      You’re totally right though. Some big football hitters need to be on board for this to work. A Nebraska and Notre Dame might balance out a Syracuse and Rutgers…but a four northeastern school addition would be a HUGE drag.

      • Scott S says:

        I’ll let someone from Syracuse answer the question of who they’d rather watch and whether joining the Big Ten would make them more likely to watch. I haven’t a clue.

        However, there are 230,000 living alumni of Syracuse. Rutgers has 380,000 living alumni. UConn has 150,000. That’s a total of 760,000 alumni. A sizeable number, but a fraction of the New York / New Jersey / Connecticut population the Big Ten is trying to draw.

        So even if these teams draw a good audience of their alumni, the larger question is what do the people in upstate New York, in New Jersey, in Connecticut, and in the city who did NOT attend Syracuse, Rutgers or UConn want to watch? A weak Syracuse, Rutgers, or UConn team playing a Big Ten foe? Or a strong Texas or Nebraska squad against that same Big Ten opponent?

        • Scott S says:

          BTW, as I now live in Canada, whenever I hear the name UConn, I can’t help but think of the Yukon. Even the UConn mascot–the Huskies–smacks of the Canadian north. Certainly not the greater NYC area.

    • Rick says:

      Scott: Your premise is based upon these teams from the BE are weak and basically suck. And that they will oontinue to suck and get pummelled week in and week out in the Big Ten. As a result no one will watch. You might be right, if they suck then their fans won’t watch. I for one don’t think they are going to come in and get waxed. OSU and PSU will beat them, the mid tier of Wisconsin, Iowa, MSU, and Mich will be 50/50, the bottom tier of Ill, Ind, Purdue, NW, Minn they will win more than they lose. Syracuse has sucked but are improving fast. UConn and Rutgers are good and getting better as well. These 3 you can expect to be in the middle of the Pack most years. I would say that is true for Pitt as well. I watch these teams alot. I also watch the Big Ten as much as I can. I don’t see a significant gap between the mid tier BT and these 4 BE expansion candidates. The fact is they don’t suck.

      As for mascots, come on. Just as “The Orangemen”, “Scarlet Knights, “Huskies” don’t immediately conjur up images of NY Metro, neither do the “Gophers”, “Spartans”, and whatever NW’s mascot is conjur up enduring images of the Big Ten from those outside their fanbases as well.

    • KingOttoIII says:

      While FB gets higher ratings, BBall would provide a lot more programming to the network and has to be taken into consideration.

      As to Upstate NY interest in Syracuse, just about all of the schools home fans are non alumni. Most SU students are from NE cities and after graduating go get jobs in NE cities. When SU gets a full house in FB or BBall it is 99% locals.

    • FLP_NDRox says:

      This isn’t over-the-air. This is cable. Ratings and advertising aren’t the issue, it’s subscriber fees. If a channel makes it onto basic cable, the channel gets paid by every subscriber regardless if anyone watches it under the current system.

      If we go to an a la carte system, then all bets are off.

      Yet another reason to keep ND out of it.

      • Scott S says:

        I’m no TV exec, but if a channel gets excellent ratings, they can bargain for higher pay outs per subscriber, no? If so, ratings matter.

        Likewise, if no one watches, could they not be booted off basic cable?

      • Scott S says:

        Also, viewership affects rates you get for ads. So again, ratings matter.

  42. Michael says:

    If (and this is a big if) the Pac-10 and Big Ten both happen to expand by 3 or more, and it all happens too fast for the BE and B12 to start plugging and replacing, then some type of alliance between the remaining Big 12 and Big East schools ought to be in store.

    Let’s say on the Big Ten side, Rutgers is cut out of the Big East, Nebraska from the Big 12, and Notre Dame from independence. On the Pac-10 side, UT, A&M, and Colorado are plucked from the Big 12, plus Utah from the Mountain West.

    Once they catch their breath, I’d bet that OU & co. would strongly desire affiliations with already-BCS schools. Lo and behold, there are seven such programs which suddenly need new affiliations themselves. As geographically awkward as it would be, I believe whichever Big 12 schools are left out from Big Ten/Pac-10 raids will be better off, business-wise, with names like West Virginia, Syracuse, and Pitt than with New Mexico, Houston or Colorado State. Big East football schools would share that view, I’m sure, when they compare that option with additions like Memphis, UCF, or ECU.

    So with 8 remaining Big 12 schools and 7 remaining Big East schools, one more program would be needed to round things out at 16. TCU and BYU would be the obvious, excellent options. I think TCU would get the nod, if for no other reason than to keep the league within two time zones.

    Even if the ACC snatched Syracuse & Pitt, that new B12/BE league would still be capable of competing strongly with the nation’s other leagues.

    Maybe after all this, Boise State would join the MWC alongside BYU, and that league might salvage an automatic BCS bid. Oddly enough, that would mean there would STILL be six BCS conferences, but only four others

  43. HerbieHusker says:

    Thanks for the input!

    So votes for Nebraska I’d have to think are:

    For: Iowa, Penn St, Wisconsin, Minnesota (possibly, there was some bad blood here because of an 83-0 thrashing in the 80’s; but that may be water under the bridge)

    Questionable: Michigan, Michigan St, Ohio St, Indiana, Purdue

    Against: Illinois (possibly holding out for Missouri, the border rival) Northwestern (possibly for academic reasons?)

    How about Rutgers?

    For: Penn St, Northwestern

    Questionable: Michigan, Michigan St, Ohio St, Purdue, Indiana, Minnesota

    Against: Illinois (for Missouri?), Iowa (distance, wanting NU border rival?), Wisconsin (Alvarez NU alum?)


    For: Penn St

    Questionable: Michigan, Michigan St, Ohio St, Purdue, Indiana, Minnesota

    Against: Illinois (for Missouri?), Iowa (distance, wanting NU border rival?), Wisconsin (Alvarez NU alum?), Northwestern


    For: Illinois, Iowa, Northwestern

    Questionable: Michigan, Michigan St, Ohio St, Purdue, Indiana, Minnesota

    Against: Wisconsin, Penn St (if western team is added will probably vote for NU)

    With my limited knowledge of Big 10 politics, this is the best I could come up with on how the voting may actually go. It’d be interesting to see how the Michigan and Indiana schools vote; geographically they are in the middle of the conference and will not be effected as far as the conference adding a border rival to them; so as far as I can see they could vote either way.

    • Scott S says:

      First, Alvarez doesn’t get to decide for Wisconsin.

      Second, I think most schools would vote, first, for whoever fits academically–and second, who brings in the most money.

    • Richard says:

      Agree with Scott.

      As a Northwestern fan, I wouldn’t care for Mizzou. Our demographics (both students and alums) skew heavily towards the East Coast; definitely much more so than towards the Big12 North (which makes sense, as there’re many more people there).

      I’d like Nebraska because of their travelling fans and, growing up in the Midwest, Nebraska & Oklahoma are more “name” programs than schools like Georgia & LSU (or any school on the East Coast besides PSU).

  44. HerbieHusker says:

    Mike R,
    Thanks for the input!

    So votes for Nebraska I’d have to think are:

    For: Iowa, Penn St, Wisconsin, Minnesota (possibly, there was some bad blood here because of an 83-0 thrashing in the 80’s; but that may be water under the bridge)

    Questionable: Michigan, Michigan St, Ohio St, Indiana, Purdue

    Against: Illinois (possibly holding out for Missouri, the border rival) Northwestern (possibly for academic reasons?)

    How about Rutgers?

    For: Penn St, Northwestern

    Questionable: Michigan, Michigan St, Ohio St, Purdue, Indiana, Minnesota

    Against: Illinois (for Missouri?), Iowa (distance, wanting NU border rival?), Wisconsin (Alvarez NU alum?)


    For: Penn St

    Questionable: Michigan, Michigan St, Ohio St, Purdue, Indiana, Minnesota

    Against: Illinois (for Missouri?), Iowa (distance, wanting NU border rival?), Wisconsin (Alvarez NU alum?), Northwestern


    For: Illinois, Iowa, Northwestern

    Questionable: Michigan, Michigan St, Ohio St, Purdue, Indiana, Minnesota

    Against: Wisconsin, Penn St (if western team is added will probably vote for NU)

    With my limited knowledge of Big 10 politics, this is the best I could come up with on how the voting may actually go. It’d be interesting to see how the Michigan and Indiana schools vote; geographically they are in the middle of the conference and will not be effected as far as the conference adding a border rival to them; so as far as I can see they could vote either way.

    • Mike R says:


      I’m not sure of Penn State’s attitude toward/ties with Missouri. The school does not have a history of playing the Tigers in any sport.

      I do know that PSU’s preference would be for RU, SU or Pitt. Spanier, as I’ve said, would surely support Nebraska.

      I read Paterno’s comments on Rittenberg’s blog and they make it clear that Penn State will likely be cool toward the application of any non-AAU school (read: ND), maybe even a “no” vote. I think one of the unexamined issues is whether the addition of Notre Dame would be divisive within the Big 10, even though offers have been extended on at least two occasions.

  45. schwags says:


  46. Ron says:

    One of the (many) things I like about this blog is that Frank has done a real good job of laying out objective criteria for schools the Big Ten might pick and then discussing their true merits as potential conference members. It sets a very intelligent basis for the debate.

    The downside to this approach is that it tends to ignore the overall social context in which the Big Ten actually has to operate. If you pick off one school like Nebraska out of the Big 12, you’ve angered 11 other institutions that have all sorts of ways to retaliate. Maybe they slow down your inter-library loans or don’t nominate a president of one of your member institutions as administrator of the year or Big Ten professors visiting Kansas State have to dine on hot dogs instead of steak (if they are invited at all). I don’t know…

    Now let’s say you instead decide to take on Notre Dame, Syracuse, Rutgers, UConn and Pitt. In that case you’ve angered four other institutions, Cincinnati, Louisville, West Virginia and South Florida, that were part of the (now defunct) Big East. I guess you could argue the ACC might be a little offended too, but given how the ACC itself has treated the Big East in the past, that would be ridiculous. The risk/reward of getting four new eastern schools and angering four other schools sounds to me a lot better than getting one new school and angering eleven others. Especially if one of those eleven is Texas (“Don’t mess with Texas” is sort of an informal state motto down here and might prove good advice in this case).

    My point is that Nebraska may be a better institution than any of the northeastern schools (Syr, Rut, UConn, Pitt) to add to the Big Ten by objective merit criteria, but still not be a good idea to add in real life.

    • @Ron – Interesting point there, Ron. I guess the counter to that would be that I doubt that the Big Ten would care about “retaliation” from anyone other than possibly Texas in the Big XII. At the end of the day, schools like Kansas and Missouri (much less the much lower-ranked schools in the Big XII) aren’t going to refuse to partner with institutions like Michigan or Northwestern on academic matters. Are Texas and Texas A&M seriously going to choose to do more engineering research with Kansas State as opposed to Illinois and Purdue? I simply doubt that would happen.

      Here are my 2 hangups with taking 4 BE schools:

      (1) If every single Big Ten school is making more TV money on its own today than the ENTIRE Big East football contract, how realistic is it to think that 4 of those BE schools (plus ND) would add $110 million per year to the conference (which would be a 50% increase to what the Big Ten makes now)? It probably isn’t.

      (2) I’ve been the champion of the “Think like a university president and not like a sports fan” mantra, but that doesn’t mean that university presidents are so myopic that they’ll only parse through research expenditure figures and forget that the #1 revenue driver in all of this is still football. On that front, adding the 4 BE schools even with ND is going to water down the overall football product when looking at fan base figures such as national TV ratings and attendance compared to the current Big Ten averages. Switch one of those BE schools out for Nebraska, though, and the strength of the overall football product increases compared to what the Big Ten is today. Assuming that Nebraska meets the academic requirements of the Big Ten (and as I’ve said before, if Missouri meets them, then there’s no good reason why Nebraska wouldn’t), then it would be VERY hard for me to watch the Big Ten pass up that type of program which seems to be willing to move (and is geographically contiguous and Midwestern for the conference’s traditionalists, to boot) in favor of 4 BE schools. A 16-school Big Ten isn’t looking at markets, anymore – I think it’s to position the Big Ten to be as close to a national conference as you can get.

    • @Ron – Now, the “retaliation” that the Big Ten may need to take into account is that if it destroys the Big East and, say, leaves UCONN behind to wither in a non-BCS conference, are the influential politicians from that state at the federal level going to brand the Big Ten as Public Enemy #1 and push some very negative legislative and legal maneuvers aimed at the conference specifically and the BCS in general? That’s the type of thing that the Big Ten would likely be more concerned about as opposed to being blackballed by academic institutions (which I just don’t think would ever happen with the Big Ten’s research strength).

      On the other hand, this concern would seem to support the notion that it’s not in the best interests of the Big Ten to completely destroy another conference – current BCS schools getting downgraded to non-AQ status would be a political nightmare. The Big Ten would take the cream of the crop from 1, 2 or even 3 conferences (if ACC schools could be targets), but not all from one place.

      • Ron says:

        If a Big Ten expansion really did include Syracuse, Rutgers, UConn and Pitt, it would actually take the most politically potent areas of the country currently served by the Big East and move them to a conference that would serve them a lot better. Am not convinced the alums of West Virginia, Louisville, Cincinnati and South Florida are going to be a particularly strong political force to punish the Big Ten for this. My guess is you’ll have a few more anti-BCS politicians hanging out with (Utah Senator) Orrin Hatch on some of those goofy interviews he gives about college football, with little more substantive effect than we see now from the current complaints of the Mountain West. Don’t get me wrong, I like Hatch, but the political grandstanding is aimed at the home crowd back in Utah…

        Pretty much accept your appraisal of the current Big East as a football conference (terrible), but think you’d see an exponential growth in interest and money for all these schools. (The Dallas Cowboys as an Eastern Division team in the NFC visit that area of the country all the time and don’t seem to have trouble getting a reaction).

    • Nittany Wit says:

      This should be a non-issue. The Big-12 schools could stop research with the Big-10 but there are plenty of other schools that will be just as happy to pick up the slack. The only conference that this would matter for is the Pac-10 due to the Rose Bowl and other conference connections with the Big10.

      As Frank said, you want the cream of the crop not just the easiest targets or the least likely to ruffle feathers. If Texas joined the Big Ten would you care about the other 11 schools that you irritated…not a bit. Nebraska isn’t Texas in that regard, but still they make it totally worthwhile

  47. JRT says:

    Could you see a scenario where schools like IU/PU/Minny/NW ban together to vote in favor of a 12th school for the championship game revenue but against a 14 or 16 team super conference because it drastically lessens the chance they will ever get back to the Rose Bowl?

    • Manifesto says:

      @JRT: The only scenario where I could see that is if we were looking at a situation where an abundance of football powers were invited, ie. Nebraska, Texas, *and* ND. More likely, however, would be a combination of schools where competition might be slightly tougher but not killer, ie. Nebraska, Rutgers, and Syracuse.

      I think you bring up a great point however, one that’s probably somewhat lost in all of this. You can’t introduce only sharks into the Big Ten tank; you need some middle tier and bottom feeders as well. Those 2nd and 3rd tier schools, however, will need to bring something else to the table to make their inclusion worthwhile, such as basketball (Syracuse) or markets (Rutgers) or maybe research (Pitt). As football fans an all-shark tank sounds terrific, but from a business perspective I’m unsure it’s the best method. And, as you said, I would have a hard time believing current tier 2/3 members would be thrilled.

      • @Manifesto – I agree with this. The conference does need some balance – if there are too many alpha dogs, then those national powers will turn into middle-tier schools after a decade of 7-5 seasons where they beat up on each other. In a 3-team expansion, I think that 1 massive national football name is necessary. In a 4-team expansion, I think that 2 massive national football names plus 3 solid “second tier” schools that bring something else to the league would be optimal.

        • Redhawk says:

          This is a great point, and not JUST from the conference point of view. It’s important from the schools point of view as well. A school won’t want to join a conference to become one of the also-ran, middle tier schools that ends up having too many loses and fans and alumni lose interest and quit caring (buying tickets, donating money).

          No one wants to be the next “Arkansas”. The schools could end up losing more money then they gain. IN fact, Arkansas no longer wants to be Arkansas, and they have let it be known, they would rather join Texas in the Big 12 if they could.

          • Mike says:

            @Redhawk – where have you heard Arkansas wants to be part of the Big 12? Some fans maybe, but the SEC has been very good for Arkansas and they don’t want to leave according to everything I’ve heard. Plus Arkansas would be competing with Oklahoma St and Texas Tech for third place behind UT and OU in the Big 12 South. How is that any different than looking up at LSU and Alabama in the SEC west?

          • @Mike – I agree. Any complaints from Arkansas are completely fan-based (similar to some old school Penn State fans wishing they were in the Big East). There is no doubt that the people that actually run Arkansas thank their lucky stars that they ended up in the SEC every single day. The Big XII is a poorly run conference that’s at great risk of being picked off by both the Big Ten and Pac-10, whereas the SEC has turned itself into a juggernaut that is going to be immune no matter what happens in conference realignment. Why on Earth would Arkansas leave a strong conference for a complete clusterf**k? Plus, Arkansas is exactly the type of school that NEEDS the equal revenue distribution of the SEC. The Razorbacks aren’t a national power in either football or basketball that would benefit from the Big XII’s unequal revenue distribution – they’d end up in the same boat as schools like Missouri that are openly lobbying to get out of the Big XII. The chances of Arkansas leaving for the Big XII are about as likely as Penn State joining the current Big East – maybe some fans would like it, but those schools’ leaders would consider such moves to be financial suicide.

          • Mike R says:

            There is only an infinitesimal slice of the PSU fanbase — that would prefer to be in the Big East. Once in a while you hear someone say we’d have an easier path to the NCG as a Big East member. But every group close to the school knows that Penn State’s reputation has only been enhanced by its association with the Big 10.

          • Redhawk says:

            I’m not so sure it’s “entirely fan based”. I’m an Alum from Okla. U. (and Col. St). A few years ago, Arkansas played a home and away with Texas. The desire to leave the SEC or more accurately to join Texas in a conference was very much present. It made the papers.

            First off, the greatest flow of income a University has is NOT tv money. It’s ticket sales, and the add on cash of donor seats. It’s a fact that the performance of the football team also directly affects the academic donations as well, at least it does in Oklahoma.

            If the fans are upset/disappointed that they don’t buy tickets or if the football team has enough losses on the field, donations WILL go down. The SEC is a juggernaut, but it also eats it’s young. Arkansas, doesn’t see it’s self beating out the traditional powers. They see themselves as being locked into that 2nd tier, and there is some despondency. The fans want some thing to be excited about.

            OU was rumored to be joining the SEC at one point. I can tell you our fans are relieved that didn’t happen and they always mention Arkansas, as why. OU made more money in the long run, because they are winning. Joining a super conference, and being the winner, becomes harder to do. Make wins harder and losses more and fans will not be as excited. Fans not being excited, means less money in ticket sales and donations.

            Now what President is happy to have less ticket sales, and less donations? TV money doesn’t cover that up in all cases.

          • @Redhawk – Oklahoma is a clear nationally dominant program – I can see some downside with its fans if it were to become a middle-of-the-pack SEC school. However, I don’t see how Arkansas would be anything more than a 2nd-tier team in the Big XII, either. It’s a classic “grass is greener” mentality if Arkansas fans seriously think this way. Are Arkansas ticket sales actually hurting when Alabama, Florida, LSU, Tennessee, etc. are coming into town, especially considering that the Big XII anyone from the Big XII North other than Nebraska is fairly ho-hum on the interest scale? Do Arkansas fans seriously think they’d do any better record-wise getting slotted with the old SWC rivals that they care about in the Big XII South? Regardless, if Arkansas leaders have any clue, they shouldn’t ever count on being aligned with Texas because they’re probably going to end up in the Pac-10 or Big Ten eventually (neither of which would consider Arkansas in a gazillion years). Arky would be best served cashing in its checks in the stability of the SEC because they might not have gotten into that conference in today’s TV climate and would be screwed if they were in today’s Big XII that’s teetering on collapsing. This is why every single Big East school would trade better opportunities for a BCS bid in a weaker conference for the stability of the Big Ten within two seconds of an invite.

          • Rick says:

            Amen brother

          • Patrick says:

            I have been reading through some documents from the cable trades on Tier 1 and Tier 2 carry rates, advertising, and the Big Ten Network. Depending on the will of the conference in regard to 14 or 16 teams, we are looking at 3 or 5 adds.

            I am QUICKLY becoming convinced that the additions will include Rutgers, Syracuse, and Nebraska if it is 3 teams. Rutgers, Syracuse, Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas if it is 5 teams. This based on footprint, cable carry rates, advertising, ratings, and the previously discussed acedemic and financial requirements.

            The key is getting the NYC market on Tier 1 cable… basically talking about $31,000,000 per year from carry rates alone.

            I’m still working on some things, there is a lot of scattered information, but I don’t see any need for Notre Dame at all? I don’t know if the inclusion of ND is nostalgic or if it is because of previous invites, but other than a small ratings boost for some of the games that fall to the BTN, I don’t see it. They add NO new tv markets, they are smack in the middle of the footprint. They are a national draw, but not enough to raise the demand in Denver to bump the whole BTN up to Tier 1. They are still in a contract with NBC, and the big name games they would have would fall to the regular networks anyway. They add almost nothing on the research side, they have a very small graduate program, and they don’t seem to fit culturally.

            Texas is far and away the WOW school. After Texas there are some really good additions RU and SU strictly on acedemics and the hope of getting Tier 1 in NYC, NU & KU on athletic revenue, new markets, expanded footprint that make sense…. MU a little more borderline but fits here.

          • Patrick says:

            Disclaimer – I work in the television industry.

          • duffman says:


            if those are the views for the BIG 16.. what teams would be best from a PAC 16 and a SEC 16 (assuming the Big 12 and ACC get cannibalized).


          • Patrick says:

            From a tv perspective I haven’t looked up numbers or specifics for the PAC+ or the SEC+, but it would not suprise me to see Texas / Texas A&M / Oklahoma / Okie St. / Colorado / Utah for the PAC+. Adds lots of strong tv markets and Texas would still financially dominate.

            As far as the SEC goes… I haven’t even considered them in expansion. They are locked in to a lucrative deal with ESPN, and they went that route instead of developing their own network. Any expansion by the SEC would then split the pie into more slices, reducing each teams take. I would be suprised if the SEC expands.

            ACC / Big East would likely merge and go to the 16 strongest teams while trying to control the eastern seaboard. Seriously though, I have not done any assessment of the ACC / SEC, the PAC 10 tv numbers were more residual information from trying to get an idea of what the BIG 10+ will try to do.

          • duffman says:


            that last comment went up and did not attach as a reply to you.. my point was would such a MAJOR shift open up the SEC contract..

          • Patrick says:


            I doubt that would impact the SEC contract, however as the laywers will tell you…. every contract is written to be broken. LOL

          • c says:

            Re financial considerations (Patrick)

            Interesting post. Can you expand on comparative specifics for schools you cited, SU, RU, Nebraska, including knowns and unknowns?

          • @Patrick – Fantastic info. On a percentage basis, how much does revenue comes in from advertising compared to carry rates for the Big Ten Network (or peer cable networks)? That would seem indicate how much weight should be given to a marquee name with a small home market (i.e. Nebraska) that draws large national ratings versus a school with a large home market that draws lower national ratings (i.e. Rutgers).

            As for the value of Notre Dame, my feeling is that they would aid greatly in getting the BTN on Tier 1 cable in the NYC market specifically (if not outright ensure that happens). I know that I’ve seen polls of New Yorkers that indicate ND as being the favorite college football team in that market.

          • Patrick says:

            @ FRANK – That is the MILLION dollar question. Simple answer is it depends and changes all the time. It depends on ratings, market, and the strength of the sales staff.

            That said… I am trying to bust up some numbers that I will pass along to you when I finish.

            I would say that the GAS (Give A Sh##) level of the fan base will make a difference in rates because that will allow the BTN to push the cable providers for higher rates. If there are few college football fans in NYC and they are not beating down the cable company door, BTN carry rates will go down. On the flip side, in Nebraska try having the cable company tell the fanbase that they couldn’t reach an agreement, that would carry a big premium.

            Same type of answer with the advertising rates versus the carry rates. Ad rates will be based on ratings and actual viewers. Out of NYC’s roughly 5,040,000 cable subscribers they pull a rating of 1.2 for a Rutgers v. Nebraska game. That is equivalant to 60,480 households. Same Rutgers v. Nebraska game in Nebraska markets and their roughly 1,050,000 cable subsribers gets a 45.0 rating is roughly 472,500 households. The commercials in Nebraska would sell for roughly 7 times what the commercials in NYC would. (Maybe not that much because consumers in NYC are used to paying more.)

            So far the highest rated program ever on the BTN had a 2.2 rating. For some mild perspective I saw that Nebraska was near the top of Pay-Per-View buys with an average of 40,000 buys per game at $29.95 per game.

          • Patrick says:

            Addendum, I think the BTN would sell on a national basis meaning that you would see the same commercials in NYC as in Nebraska so all you want is total households. So over the whole network you would need to average those numbers.

            So the shear volume of fans in Nebraska could actually raise the commercial rate in New York if it is sold nationally. If there are 25,000,000 households in the BTN you would just take the total viewers (60,400 + 472,500)532,900 and divide that by the 25,000,000 available households. That would put you at a 2.1 rating, assuming nobody outside of Nebraska and NYC watched. Obviously, you will get viewers from all over especially with a fan base like Nebraska, which would increase sales rates network wide even if the households are 1/5 or 1/6 of what NYC has.

            You want NYC for the carry rates and Nebraska for the advertising rates.

          • Scott C says:


            Thanks for the analysis on advertising rates. This really falls into line with Frank’s view that the Big Ten should try to lock down the NYC area and then add a team like Nebraska for the national appeal.

            If the Big Ten took Syracuse and Rutgers, about how much more money in advertising they get if they took Nebraska.

          • PSUGuy says:

            Just wondering what exactly is the reasoning behind Kansas?

            I mean for example a school like UConn has roughly the same academic standing, research funding, undergrad/grad student enrollment numbers, stadium seating (admittedly Kansas’ is probably more well attended though only 10k bigger), has the same record in the past four bowl games attended (3-1) and since 2002 (when UConn started playing with the big boys) has roughly the same winning percentage (.523 for Kansas vs .5 for UConn…per the online sources I was able to Google).

            Meanwhile UConn bball is, imo, equal to Kansas (what’s more its in the bball centric tri-state NYC area) Connecticut’s populations is ~1 million more, and (if the Big 10 takes Rutgers/Syracuse) there’s only one other (that I know of) Div I-A school in New England (which means the Big10 has a legit shot of at least competing with the ACC for all New England viewer-ship) a continuously growing regional area.

            Anyway, I don’t really have a dog in the UConn fight (PSU alum myself), but I just don’t see why Kansas is an “automatic” in.

          • Patrick says:

            I don’t really care between UConn and Kansas, but the tv markets are the roughly the same (Hartford vs. Kansas City & Wichita). Kansas athletic dept. before conference handouts made $62 million…. UConn made $54 million. Kansas has been a Division 1 school for over 100 years while UConn football is relatively new… only 62 wins at the D1 level. Also Kansas has been an AAU school since around 1900 while UConn is not an AAU school. I would think that the Big 10 would lean towards the tradition, and the plus is Kansas actually already makes more money.

          • duffman says:


            i was asking between Kansas and UTAH!

            and how would Maryland look in the expanded big 16

            sorry if i was not more clear..


          • Rick says:

            Someone else asked about UConn and Kansas. Maryland is a good question.

          • Scott C says:


            I believe Patrick was answering PSUGuy’s post where he was talking about UConn and Kansas.

          • Patrick says:

            @duffman – I just haven’t looked at Utah much, I would suspect Kansas would be a stronger canidate but I am not sure. I’ll add some schools later from a PAC 10 perspective.

          • @Patrick – UCONN is definitely an interesting one. I think that you’re on the mark with the youth of the football program being a sticking point with the Big Ten. Otherwise, their basketball program is excellent and it locks down the Tri-State area. Still, Kansas is really at the very top tier of basketball programs alongside Duke/UNC/Kentucky.

          • PSUGuy says:

            Fair enough. I just get hesitant sometimes when I start to think about which “2nd tier” schools would be added since I think they’ll really be what “defines” the future of the Big10.

            Will it be more of a mid-western conference? Mid-Atlantic? “The Conference of the North”? None of the above? Think you get my drift.

          • Josh says:

            I don’t think Kansas is an automatic in or even anything more than a longshot, but Kansas does have AAU membership and UConn doesn’t. I’m not sure that UConn does have the same academic standing than Kansas.

            UConn does have a hockey team though. That would be nice.

          • Rick says:

            Academic Standing UConn v. Kansas

            AAU ARWU USN GSR APR%tile Research $
            UConn No 71 66 82 60th $215mil
            Kansas Yes 91 96 58 50th $131mil

          • Rick says:

            Academic Standing UConn v. Kansas

            AAU: no
            ARWU : 71
            USNews: 66
            GSR: 82
            APR: 60th
            Research: $215 mil

            AAU: yes
            ARWU: 91
            USNews: 96
            GSR: 58
            APR: 50th
            Research: $131

          • mushroomgod says:

            Well, the s***s going to hit the fan soon, with the Big 10 Pres meeting in June. How about some predictions as to likely (not preferred) outcomes(for the “1st round” expansion only):

            15% — Do nothing –Not likely, but with so many possible scenerios on the table, and the necessity for 8 votes, they might say more time is needed to decide….

            11% — Nebraska only — My preference is to add Neb. and await developments. Might be a compromise solution to break a deadlock. A big advantage is that it makes the East?West divsion split a lot more viable. Don’t think people are going into the meetings seeing this as a likely option, given press reports that Neb. was not one of the 5 schools most intensely studied….

            11% — Rutgers only — The Big 10’s been looking at Rutgers for 15 years. If press reports are to be believed, the independent study rated RU as more valuable than Mo, Pitt, Syr. 2 big drawbacks are that it makes East?West division split unlikely, but the “this is it?” ridicule factor…

            11% — Pitt only — Pitt is a great fit, and the academics/research + Pitt v. PSU rivalry may be too much to ignore. $ concerns are lessoned by ability to have a championship game.

            6% — Missouri only — Mo apparently rated high and is an all around great fit….however, the “eastern partner” and “pressure on ND” angles favor Pitt,as do academics/research, plus adding Mo instead of Neb makes East/West divisions less viable.

            2% — Add ND only — Not likely..ND’s not ready to jump, esp. by itself…

            10% — Add 2 teams and await developments — Not likely due to ridicule factor of having 13 teams, but the Big 10 might say “what the heck” as they’ve done it before….if it happens I think it would be RU and Pitt, or RU and Neb.

            10% — ND plus 2 –would have to be 2 eastern teams, most likely RU and Pitt..

            6% — ND plus 4 — 3 eastern teams plus Mo/Neb…I think it’s too radical for the Big 10…

            10% — 3 w/o ND — Has advantage of “finality” while keeping alive the prospect of ND at a later date..would almost have to include Neb. to avoid dilution of football brand.

            3% — 5 w/o ND — unlikely

            5% — Add 4, w/o ND — Another “force ND’s hand” scenerio…seems unlikely…can’t see this happening w/o Neb. being involved…would probably be RU, Pitt, Syr (boo), Neb….biggest problem is it results in 15 teams.

            Seems like the chance of Tx being involved in this first round is very low…however, Tx AD did make some general comment to the effect that ‘there’s going to be a lot of discussion’ in the next few months…so I’d put the odds of Tx being involved at 3%…

            Let’s hear your #s…..

          • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

            The only decision I could see being made in June would be this–Nebraska and Rutgers join the Big 10 in 2015. Otherwise, I think we won’t hear of anything until Jan of 2011 about Big 10 plans.

            Why Nebraska and Rutgers?
            a–Great additions…one for football/brand appeal and one for TV potential/location/alumni.
            b–expansion would clearly NOT be done. The Big 10 would remain the “talk of the town” for another year.
            c–The Big 12 and Big East (and thus, Notre Dame) would be sent scrambling. Options for further expansion would be wide open in the Big 12. A Texas annex? A Colorado/Kansas flavor? On the Big East side, Syracuse would still be available. Maryland and BC could be explored if the Big 12 scenarios flop.
            d–Notre Dame would have six more months to convince fans. While I don’t know if you’ll ever get 100% support or 100% excitement, enough sentiment will be in place for ND to make the jump. Finally, goodness gracious.

            By February of 2011, I still think this is what we’ll have. Nebraska and Rutgers (added in June 2010)…Notre Dame, Texas, and aTm.

          • Todd says:

            I think I’m actually starting to prefer Nebrasda, Rutgers, Syracuse, Texas and aTM. With the Texas schools, would the Big Ten really NEED ND and the headaches?

          • mushroomgod says:

            good points…the question would be rather they’d rather have a degree of finality or have the discussuion go on and on and on……

          • m (Ag) says:

            I think if ND isn’t added, any teams will join in 2 years. The minute any school announces it is leaving it’s conference for another, it becomes awkward to stay around, and everyone wants to get it done as quickly as possible. Also, since you’re mostly shuffling one set of conference games with another, it’s easier for schools to arrange.

            If Notre Dame is added, the expansion might take longer. As an independent, it has 12 contracts per year, so it will likely want to play out as many as possible rather than buying out all of them. Also, there isn’t the awkwardness involved with members of a current conference.

            If ND + several teams are joining, it will be interesting if they try and stagger the invites.

          • Rick says:

            0% — Do nothing –

            0% — One only.

            12.5% — ND plus 2 –East/West split. most likely RU/SU, Neb

            12.5% –3 w/o ND — East/West split. most likely RU, SU, Neb

            37.5% — ND plus 4 — East/West split. most likely RU, SU, Pitt plus Neb/Mo

            37.5% — 5 w/o ND — East/West split. most likely RU, SU, Pitt, Neb, Mo

            Multi phase in I don’t see happening

            Texas, Texas A&M I just don’t see happening

            Colorado, Kansas, BC, Maryland, UConn I don’t see happening

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            Since the blog is back to its BFE placement habits, I’ll quote Rick’s post that I’m responding to (hopefully the italics tags will work right, always a crapshoot without a preview option.)


            0% — Do nothing –

            0% — One only.

            12.5% — ND plus 2 –East/West split. most likely RU/SU, Neb

            12.5% –3 w/o ND — East/West split. most likely RU, SU, Neb

            37.5% — ND plus 4 — East/West split. most likely RU, SU, Pitt plus Neb/Mo

            37.5% — 5 w/o ND — East/West split. most likely RU, SU, Pitt, Neb, Mo

            Multi phase in I don’t see happening

            Texas, Texas A&M I just don’t see happening

            Colorado, Kansas, BC, Maryland, UConn I don’t see happening


            That’s pretty much how I see it, though MD might get in instead of Pitt or MO. Adding 5 is most likely, but the presidents might scale that back to just 3 or 2 and a multi-stage approach.

            Won’t even try to give percentages, because the East Anglia method would be the only way to do so…

          • Manifesto says:


            I agree that I don’t see Texas/A&M, or Colorado, Kansas. Highly unlikely to see Maryland or BC. I doubt Missouri will get an invitation. I think UConn or Pitt, if either get an invite, will be a competition between media aggression and tradition.

            I think it’s more likely to see a 5 without ND than a 5 with them. Ultimately alumni/fan pressure will be enough to keep ND independent. 45% versus 30% maybe, but assigning percentages feels kind of arbitrary anyway.

          • Rick says:

            Revised 4/18:

            0% — Do nothing –

            0% — One only.

            1% — ND plus 2 –East/West split. most likely RU/SU, Neb

            4% –3 w/o ND — East/West split. most likely RU, SU, Neb

            20% — ND plus 4 — East/West split. most likely RU, SU, Pitt, Mo

            70% — 5 w/o ND — East/West split. most likely RU, SU, Pitt, Neb, Mo

          • Patrick says:


            UConn is a terrific school. I have the research $’s at KU $187 million – UConn $215 million. My research numbers included KU’s medical school.

          • Rick says:

            Patrick: my mistake for not including KU medical. I show them as $131 + $65 medical (2006 American Research University data); UConn $109 + $106 medical.

          • mushroomgod says:

            I don’t want U Conn, but I’d take them all day and twice on Sunday over Syracuse. I can’t believe how overrated Syracuse is as an expansion candidate on this blog.

          • @mushroomgod – From an athletic perspective, I just don’t see how they’re overrated compared to the Eastern candidates. Is it a private school that’s smaller than the publics we’re looking at? Sure. However, even if Syracuse football hasn’t been very good lately, it’s a true national basketball name (not on the UNC/Duke/Kentucky/Kansas tier, but right below it) that has the ability to draw 30,000 people for hoops, which is the best fan devotion for any of the Big Ten’s BE candidates. It’s the only BCS school in a state of 20 million people. It has ties to the NYC market and even stronger in the not-talked-about Upstate New York area (which has a population that’s the size of Missouri or Maryland). If TV revenue is important in this decision (and it will be), then Syracuse is simply a very attractive school if not outright necessary to lock up the NY/NJ region. A multi-school expansion practically mandates that the Big Ten adds the households in NY and NJ. I just don’t see how the size of the school (as it’s a very large private school – 14,000 undergrads compared to Pitt’s 17,000 undergrads) or academics (since it’s an AAU member) will be issues for the Big Ten. We’ll just have to agree to disagree on Syracuse.

          • Patrick says:

            From a financial sense…. Syracuse is an absolute slam dunk if they can bring the NYC cable market with them. If they can, there is no need for Rutgers. Maybe you need both schools to take the NYC market…. and if that is the case, the financial winfall of getting NYC is divided between two schools and it would put those two canidates (RU & SU) back in the pack behind Nebraska and right near BC & Maryland.

            If Syracuse can’t drive the NYC market to tier 1 cable rates… they fall rapidly to near the bottom of the list from a BTN perspective.

            BTN is on Dirtectv and Dish… and is carried on the cable systems in NYC and all of New Jersey. The issue isn’t to get ON cable there it is to get bumped up to tier 1. Around 80% total penetration for approx. 7.2 million HH. 30% is Satellite, 50% is cable. Pulling around 18 cents per subscriber per month on tier 2 but BTN gets about 70 cents per on tier one. Roughly a $22,000,000 carry increase.

            @Frank – you had asked about the ad revenue vs. carry rate revenue for cable, in a previous post. It typically runs about 50/50 but it can be anywhere from 25/75 to 75/25 depending on the channel. BTN is going to be VERY STRONG in home markets during football season. Most of the ad dollars will be tied directly to how passionate the fan base is. Cable carry might work that way also. If there isn’t much demand from the subscribers for BTN to be on tier 1 in NYC, then the cable company will just leave it on tier 2 and let the people that want it pay extra for tier 2. They probably make more that way, the catch is if you start losing subscribers to other cable outlets or satelitte because you don’t have BTN on tier 1 and they do. Then it is the cable companies doing the math…. how many regulars are we going to lose for adding BTN and raising rates vs. how many do we lose by not adding BTN? Overall, I’m not sure RU or SU could either or both get the BTN bumped up to tier 1, I think NYC may be more of a pro sports town and the YES network may have already taken the BTN networks slot there.

          • Richard says:

            Hi Patrick,

            Thanks for the analysis.

            If you need 3 of RU, SU, UConn, or ND to get NYC (with the first 3 bringing in their respective regions as well), would it be worth it to take 3 of those schools?

            So Nebraska’s at the head of the pack. I assume if you need 3 schools to put the BTN on tier1 in the tri-state (NY/NJ/CT) Maryland & Mizzou would follow Nebraska. Is that correct?

            Where is Pitt in all this? They actually drew decent ratings on ABC (their games on ABC outdrew the ND games on NBC last year and were about the same as Nebraska’s ABC games), though wouldn’t bring many new subscribers.

            I doubt any one of RU, SU, UConn, or ND would put the BTN on tier1 throughout all of metropolitan NY. Two of them may or may not do it.

          • @Patrick – Excellent stuff! Now, does the calculation change for Syracuse if it can guarantee bringing in at least Upstate New York (around 6 million people)? That seems to be part of the attraction for me – I feel like Syracuse can be counted on to at least deliver that portion of the state while simultaneously providing inroads into NYC. If Syracuse and Rutgers can bring in their entire states up to tier 1 (not just the NYC area), is it worth it to add both? I guess there’s also a long-term perspective on this – if the Big Ten is going to focus on the Northern half of the US, then the NY/NJ area is really the main place that’s still adding population in large quantities.

            On the flip side, I’m really interested to see how Pitt could increase revenue at all. The academically-minded people in the Big Ten likely love Pitt (with good reason), but my general feeling is that if you aren’t going to add more households (or in the case of Nebraska, a very small market), then you really need to be a marquee national name that can both increase carry rates and ad rates in the homes that already have the BTN. ND and Nebraska can do that, but I simply don’t see how Pitt does. Maybe this ultimately doesn’t matter to the Big Ten presidents that really like Pitt’s research abilities (although I’m 99.9999% certain that they aren’t going to give up a single penny of their current athletic payouts regardless of academic research strength).

          • mushroomgod says:

            People writing off Pitt as a Big 10 expansion candidate should go to the Pitt Scout forum. There’s a post there, pinned to the top, for”visitors to this site”. Take a good look at that post and get back to me……

          • mushroomgod says:

            If anyone goes to that site, also look at the second post under that thread–it has all the #s.

          • @mushroomgod – Oh, I wouldn’t write them off at all. As I’ve stated elsewhere, if Pitt could trade locations with either Syracuse or Rutgers, there wouldn’t be a debate – they would’ve been invited to the Big Ten many years ago. They are solid athletically and academically. If there is a multi-school expansion, the Big Ten presidents may ultimately decide that it can’t just leave Pitt sitting there. The question, though, is whether they’d increase revenue on the athletic side. Pitt definitely doesn’t work out financially as a single-school addition. Any multiple-school expansion is going to have effectively absorb the cost of adding Pitt if the Big Ten is hell-bent on adding them – the other schools added are going to have to make up $22 million in revenue that Pitt simply won’t add to the coffers. This is why a multi-school expansion that includes Pitt truly does have to lock down the states of NY and NJ, which means to me that you can’t really leave out Syracuse, even if you can’t stand it ;-) NY and NJ are effectively required in order for the Big Ten to “afford” Pitt.

          • Manifesto says:


            Link to the thread in question: (love the architecture photos)

            I don’t think anyone’s necessarily writing off Pitt as an expansion candidate, nor are there really many (if any) against Pitt joining. Basically almost everything about Pitt is great, except their location. And no matter what we may think about it, footprint expansion is going to matter. The great debate is exactly how much. If Syracuse gets the invite over them, clearly footprint was a huge factor. The aggressive timing and nature of the Big Ten announcing makes people think BTN’s footprint is going to matter a lot.

            As a side note, you sure you don’t have some axe to grind with Syracuse? I noticed you petitioning Pitt posters to come over here and advocate for Pitt over Syracuse in that thread.

          • Scott S says:

            As it’s lunchtime, I especially enjoyed the pictures of the food at the bottom of the page.

            Personally, I’d be very pleased to add Pitt if it could be worked out financially.

            As for encouraging people to come here and lobby for Pitt, it’s great to have more input from others, but it’s not like anyone here has a vote on who is invited to join.

          • Manifesto says:

            @Scott S: Adding more Pitt fans to the discussion is great, but unless they can provide some kind of new information it’ll just seem like preaching to the choir. Everyone here seems “for” Pitt. However no one seems to have an answer for their biggest obstacle.

            Unfortunately we’re stuck in a situation where there are no slam dunks. But how many of these could be three-pointers?

          • mushroomgod says:

            I agree that there are no slam dunks…I think the Big 10 should be really careful about adding lots of schools with “issues” that might have 1 or 2 really strong points–Syracuse for basketball, Nebraska for football, Rutgers for ratings—if the overall Big 10 “brand” is degraded.

          • @mushroomgod – Completely agree about the overall “Big Ten brand”. There’s going to be a balance – you don’t want to completely destroy the items that make you strong. If ND and Syracuse are added, does that dilute the graduate research strength of the conference? If Missouri and Nebraska are added, does that dilute the undergraduate perception of the conference (which we haven’t talked about much here) as they would clearly be the 2 lowest rated schools? If multiple Northeastern schools are added, are we getting too focused on TV markets and forgetting about that a huge strength of the Big Ten is that our sports fans generally show up and travel to games (like Nebraska)? There are going to be lots of different things to weigh here.

          • mushroomgod says:

            I’ve always thought you add Neb OR Missouri for the reason you mention. And if you add either of them you almost need RU and Pitt to balance it out….both of them are very solid academically….given Pitt’s research #s and endowment, I think it’s US News rating seems rather low…

            I have this feeling that Nebraskans are so proud of the state/school that if they were added they’d make a big effort to catch up to MSU/Iowa/IU…whether that’s possible given their population, I don’t know….

          • Patrick says:

            FYI –

            Nebraska Research $324,000,000
            Iowa Research $334,000,000
            Mich St. Research $333,000,000
            Indiana Research $124,000,000

            Missouri Research $220,000,000

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            Regarding needing BC to get the Boston market, BC hasn’t been that successful at that so far. But consider that a decent percentage of Boston area kids end up at B10+ schools and Conn, Pitt, Syr, ND, Rut, and MD. A much larger number of graduates from those schools end up taking jobs in Boston. Even though the northeast is dotted with non-BCS schools and thus greatly diluted, I wonder if the number of Boston area alums and fans of the entire total of B16 schools approaches (or even surpasses?) the number of alums and fans of BC?

          • mushroomgod says:

            Someone from Neb. had a good post under an earlier story about how Neb. has dramitically increased the research component over the last 10-15 years……..

          • mushroomgod says:

            No axe to grind. Now if Keith Smart had missed that shot and IU had lost to them it would be a different matter…..

            No, I just feel very strongly that it would be a huge, long-term mistake to add a small private school not named ND. And I won’t even argue that Pitt is perfect for the Big 10. The enrollment is smaller than I’d like, there are questions about the width of the fan base,the minor sports must be improved, and I’d prefer an on-campus stadium. That being said, the more I’ve seen and read about Pitt, the more I like it….1) academic rating 2)research $s 3)medical school 4) location between OSU and PSU 5)seems to be in a nice city, in a nice neighborhood, right next to a 500 acre park 6) gorgeous limestone architecture 7)”Cathedral of Learning”–awesome 8)ready-made rivalry with PSU 9)great football history, claiming 9 NCs–now I understand most were pre-1960, but Pitt has almost always been at least serviceable in football–Marino, Greene, and Dorsett 10)presently, a really good bball program (future?)

            I’m not unreasonable about this…I think Pitt and Missouri are far and away the best fits for the Big 10, but my choice for a 1 team addition would be Nebraska, then Rutgers…Nebraska so that the East?West divisions would make sense…Rutgers for TV revenues…

          • c says:

            Re calculating TV market and rates (Patrick)

            No doubt the Big 10 Presidents have talked to the key cable and TV networks.

            Making calculations can be tricky:

            Focusing on SU for example: the last several years SU has been at the bottom of its football program.

            The new AD, with support of the new Chancellor, came from USC and has instituted major facility improvements, increases in coaching salaries including assistant coaches (as have all the Big East teams) and hired former SU alumni and New Orleans Saints OC Doug Marrone to replace his prior disasterous late season selection of Gregg Robinson. Marrone has changed the culture big time (as has Strong at Louisville and Holtz at USF).

            So things are not really static, and again I’m sure the Big 10 will be evaluating SU’s potential as well as its “nadir”. The same applies to RU who only made a major comittment to becoming competitive in football in the last few years. Uconn also is is new to BCS level football and has made major investments and strides. So whats past is not necessarily the present or future.

          • Patrick says:


            I calculated Syracuse straight with just the Upstate NY markets and Syracuse with both the NYC market and the Upstate. Syracuse with only the upstate NY market is below Maryland and Boston College. I am hoping to send you my stuff soon so you can see it, but I have some more data to try to pull on cable advertising rates. The Nebraska markets (Omaha, Lincoln, etc.) and the Syracuse markets (Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, etc.) are almost a wash. I don’t have my spreadsheet in front of me right now. Footprint is going to be a big deal! They need to increase the pie for the BTN to increase the payouts to the current members, even with a bump in ratings from Pitt, I don’t think it would be enough.

            Also, if it takes SU & RU to get the NYC market that bumps them down to the range of BC and Maryland. BC & Maryland bring 3 big markets that are roughly equal to the total for NYC & the upstate NY markets.

            Unless ND delivers the NYC market or helps, it doesn’t look like a slam dunk for ND. Pitt, while a terrific school would not be financially viable as an addition from the tv side.

            I sure hope that the BTN execs have asked the NYC cable operators what it would take to get to tier 1. Then they need to make the decisions on what combination makes sense for them. When I did calculations for Syracuse I did include more than the last few years but the football fan support is just not as strong lately and that is a factor. That said, traditionally strong programs tend to remain strong (ND, OSU, Nebr., Texas, Okla.) and the tendency to remain top flight programs gives the BTN execs. a little more comfort.

            Just so everyone is aware, basketball means VERY LITTLE in this deal from a tv perspective. Look at the current Big 10 deals. In television payouts from the traditional networks the Big 10 gets $102,000,000 per year. The football contract is $100,000,000 the remaining $2 Mil is basketball. Football is literally 50X more valuable.

          • Rick says:

            Patrick: when calculating the RU/SU numbers are you including NJ with 9 mil population in the NYC market? NJ (9 mil)/NY Upstate (7 mil) is 16 mil, with the 12 of NYC it’s 28 mil. Just trying to get my head around these numbers you’re talking about.

          • Patrick says:

            @Rick – I am using television households and cable penetration. Northern NJ is in the NYC market. NYC is about 7.3 million households (don’t have my sheet on me right now). A good rule of thumb is HH times around 2.5 is close to population.

          • Rick says:

            Patrick: Thanks. The confusing part for most of us laypeople is looking at state populations vs TV markets and viewing HH’s. 35-40% of the 9 million NJ state population is not in the NY TV market. Central and South Jersey is 3-4 million folks. Some of those are down in the Philly TV market numbers I’m sure. How the 28 million of NJ (9 mil), NY Upstate (7 mil), and NYC (12 mil) is broken up in to TV Market HH’s, advertising, cable rates, tiers, and such is where it gets dicey for us outside the industry to get good numbers to understand. I’m sure the BT has the market experts digging through this. Thank you for your insights, very helpful. If you could clarify how the 9 million NJ population, 7 mil upstate, and the 12 mil NYC will be accounted for that would be great. This is really important for us to understand.

          • Patrick says:

            12 million for NYC metro is counted as about 7.3 million households, and includes Northern NJ. Philadelphia market mainly has BTN on Tier 2 o that will need to be accounted for. Upstate markets would need some math but they are Roch, Syr, Alb, Buf, and Utica. From a tv perspective you need a approximation of cable households. Population can be a decent starting block though, not everyone has cable. General estimates are about 50% cable… about 30% on Sat. and 20% use antenna. This varies across the country.

            Say for NJ alone. 9 million people. About 30% already get Big Ten Network through Satellite and 20% will never get BTN because they refuse to pay for cable. So cut that number in 1/2 to 4.5 million people. 4.5 million people is about 1.5 to 1.8 million households, that’s a pretty strong number. Think about your house, one bill…. two parents and two kids. One bill – 4 people. Average is around 2.5 to 3.

          • Rick says:

            Great thanks. very helpful.

          • omnicarrier says:


            I have all of the the TVHH data per markets if you need any help. Upstate NY markets above the mid-Hudson region total 2.7 million TVHHs – all of those DMAs presently receive Time Warner Cable Sports Network which prime feature is SU sports except for the Albany-Schenectady-Troy DMA.

            Time Warner Cable Sports Net actually got started in upstate New York when SU left the Empire Sports Net (owned by Adelphia) for Time Warner and it is the featured sports team of the network.

            The percentage of TVHHs subscribers using either ADS or Cable is now 91.3% – 29.8% ADS/61.5% Cable but in the majority of northeastern markets it is usually less than 20% ADS/ 70%+ using Cable as can be seen in the following link:


            Hope this info helps.

          • Patrick says:


            The tvb list is very helpful for finding cable penetration. I got 2,211,250 household for Upstate NY though using Nielsen data here

            I got Syr, Roc, Buf, Albany, Utica, and Binghampton counted as adds for Syracuse.

          • omnicarrier says:

            [unfortunately this is likely a double post since it didn't wind up anywhere near the message it is in reply to]

            @Patrick – “I got Syr, Roc, Buf, Albany, Utica, and Binghampton counted as adds for Syracuse.”

            Add Plattsburgh NY/Burlington VT, Watertown, and Elmira. SU brings all three DMAs to Big East network.

          • Richard says:


            Though that number’s a little misleading, since the Big10’s football contract with ESPN lets them pick essentially the best 50% of the Big10 football games played, while CBS gets one basketball game a week (out of something like 10 a week). Really, that CBS basketball contract isn’t for money, but just so they can have Big10 basketball maintain a token presence on network TV. To compare another conference, the ACC gets almost as much money from their basketball TV contracts as from their football TV contract.

            Seeing that ad rates on the BTN seems to be whats really bringing in the money, basketball may factor in more than we thought.

          • Patrick says:


            Growing up in football country we tend to forget that there are any other sports. You have an absolutely valid point, and I looked at Athletic Department revenues… not just football, since the whole athletic department would be on BTN.

            Interesting stuff on that report though, trivia type stuff. Only 2 schools on the report had their BBall program make more than football. Duke & Louisville.

            10 Most valuable Baseball programs – LSU, Texas, Vanderbilt, USC, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Miami, Nebraska, Miss St. & Rice.

          • Bamatab says:

            Patrick, so which scenerio looks to be more rewarding for the Big 10. Adding Neb, Mizzou, & Kansas along with ND & one of either Syacuse or Rutgers; or adding Neb, Mizzou, ND, along with both Syracuse and Rutgers?

            I think if I was the Big 10, I’d prefer to add Kansas than to add both Syracuse & Rutgers. I’m still not sold, that even with Syracuse, Rutgers and ND, that you could spark enough interest in the NYC market to push the BTN to tier 1. I’m a lot more sure that a much larger population in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and surrounding states like the Dakotas and maybe even the eastern part of Colorado would have a high interest in the BTN. Plus, I think Mizzou and Kansas would have a bigger national appeal (this is coming from and SEC outsider) when it comes to the area of advertising sales.

            What are your thoughts on how these two scenerios compare?

          • Patrick says:

            @ Bamatab,
            Simply, I could see both. It will come down to what the actual exact numbers are (which the BTN is never going to give anyone). Maybe they go Syracuse, Maryland, ND… or Rutgers, Maryland, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. It will depend on the values of the BT presidents and how the dollars play out.

            Personally I beleive they expand by either 3 or 5. I think Texas tells them no, or they know what the answer will be and don’t ask. At 3 I think it is Nebraska, Notre Dame, and Missouri. I am not sure that they will EVER get off tier two in NYC. The cable giants have BTN available, so as a network you just want to increase the subscribers. That means QUALITY games, not only for NYC but nationwide.
            If they go 5 teams I think they go Nebraska, Notre Dame, Missouri, Syracuse, and Kansas.

            I have thought lately if you add Nebraska and Notre Dame that combination will instantly convert some of your available houses to subscribers… matbe as many as 3-5,000,000 nationwide. An attractive combination to be sure.

          • Richard says:

            Thanks Patrick. I wonder if expansion to 14/16 is still going to happen if ND says “no”? Maybe not; maybe just add Nebraska and wait and see.

          • Rick says:

            Good stuff Patrick: a few questions:
            1) With a 5 team (with ND) add why Kansas and not Rutgers?
            2) With a 3 team (with ND) add why pass on NY Market?
            2) I personally think ND will buckle under to alums independent crying, their football team will bounce back this year and be good again, and they will roll the dice and stay independent. That being said, what are your 3 and 5 team thoughts without ND?
            3) As for Pitt, how can they fit?

            With both your 3 and 5 team adds with Notre Dame, it seems that the door is left open for the ACC to really strengthen and potentially lock up the DC to Boston markets for football and with Pitt and UConn for basketball as well. In your 3 and 5 team adds without ND it will be interesting to see if you still would leave DC to Boston to the ACC by bypassing the NY market as well.

          • Richard says:

            Actually, their football team doing well may actually undermine the position of the pro-independence crowd. Even without expanding, any current SEC or Big12 champion that has the same number of losses as ND will almost certainly be picked for the national title game over ND, and it’s no sure thing that ND would get the nod over the Big10 or Pac10 champion with the same record either. Once the Big10 and Pac10 supersize, the only way ND can play for a national title while still staying independent will be by having at least 1 less loss than 2 of the 3 champions of the SEC, Big10 and P/W16/18/20.

            If ND goes 11-1 this year, yet still gets passed over for the national title game in favor of 1 or 2 other teams with the same number of losses, recruits will see that, the administration will see that, and even their rabidly pro-independence fans will see that.

          • Rick says:

            Richard: great point for those looking at it from a rational and logical perspective. For the ND administration, that is something they must consider very, very heavily versus the extreme backlash they will receive from alums and the impact on giving. As Rich2 points out, worst case there might be less backlash from an ACC move. Slightly less. And if the Big Ten leaves the NY market door open by only taking SU then the ACC is in a perfect position to add ND, Pitt, UConn, and Rutgers and become a very relevant Super Conference.

          • Patrick says:

            @ Rick,

            I was making those examples with the thought that the NYC cable market will NOT move the BTN up to tier 1 regardless of schools. If the BTN is already available in NYC on Satelitte and tier 2 cable, maybe they cable giants just leave it there.
            My 3 or 5 team thoughts without ND would be absolutely dependant on NYC and which schools or combinations of schools carrry NYC. Difficult to say…. maybe Nebraska and Notre Dame have enough national name to carry NYC. Maybe NYC never moves up to tier 1.

            As for leaving DC / Boston to the ACC, I’m not sure I would do that. Maryland seems to be one of the stronger canidates mentioned from a tv perspective and Boston College isn’t far behind Maryland. I could see the Big 10 taking Maryland, financially it seems to work. If the NYC cable market is completely removed from the discussion, it would be Texas – Nebraska – Maryland – Notre Dame – Boston College – Kansas – Missouri….. but obviously the NYC cable market MUST be considered. All by itself, independent of schools, the NYC cable market would bump the conference revenue about $35-$40,000,000

          • Rick says:

            One more thought. Suppose ND passes on the Big Ten. Instead eyes the ACC and strikes a favorable financial deal, the BT passes of the NY market by only taking SU only, doesn’t that leave the ACC to add ND, Pitt, RU, and UConn and dominate the DC to Boston corridor? I guess it will come down to whether the BT wants to really hit hard the NY Market or not. I think if they are really aggressive, making a strong play for Maryland, SU, RU, Nebraska, and either Missouri/Pitt is their strongest move without ND. Without ND or MD, the BT will be exposed in the NE by only choosing SU. The biggest variable, I guess, is the direction of ND. Unfortunately. So to me, the bottom line is what is the strongest move for the BT without ND because I just don’t think they are going to come around and join the Big Ten. The ACC maybe as a wildcard but I think they stay put as an independent.

          • m (Ag) says:

            The ACC won’t catch up to the Big 10 by adding the NY markets. If it would, the ACC and Big East contracts would be worth more than they are.

            If the Big 10 adds those schools, they will be trying to use the Big 10 football brand to raise the value of those schools over time. They’re also counting on NY tv ratings being driven by fans of current Big 10 schools in NY as well as fans of the schools they will be added.

            Even if the Big 10 does nothing and the ACC adds a bunch of those schools, the ACC won’t be passing the Big 10 in value on a per school basis anytime soon.

          • Rick says:

            The issue for the ACC is to remain a relevant player as one of the conferences left standing as a Super Conference and growing their revenue payouts. Catching up to or passing the Big Ten in value on a per school basis is not the issue. Not being raided and decimated by the SEC or Big Ten is, and the future financial stability and growth of their TV deals is at stake if they don’t do something. As it is they are coming up on a contract renewal negotiation and it does not look good for any decent increases for them. Strengthening their football and enhancing their basketball brand will go a long way to boost their future contract.

          • m (Ag) says:

            I wasn’t saying the ACC shouldn’t expand.

            Despite where it ended up being placed, I was responding to someone who said the Big 10 had to take the Big East schools because if they didn’t the ACC would and that would somehow hurt the Big 10. Several other posters have also implied this.

            If the Big 10 decides not to expand or to expand elsewhere, it’s OK if the ACC gets those schools. It doesn’t mean the Big 10 will get passed up by the ACC. That’s all I was saying.

          • Ron says:

            I respect ACC (a lot), but… If the ACC were to get Notre Dame plus at least three of the four northeastern schools currently in the Big East (Pitt, Syr, Rut, UConn), I think it would be very well positioned to limit Big Ten growth long term and compete with the Big Ten in many respects (academically, athletically, etc.). As a Big Ten partisan, I DO NOT think that’s okay.

          • Rick says:

            Ron: I agree. I think it would be a strategic mistake to forsake the NE and leave it open for the ACC to secure the markets long term. As a Rutgers partisan, I like the fit of the Big Ten equally as well as that of the ACC for RU aside from the money benefits of the Big Ten. I don’t think the ACC is going to sit at 12. These are smart folks down at the ACC and they are reading the tea leaves like everyone else. While the BC addition probably has not worked out exactly like they intended, they must realize now that connecting the dots between Boston and DC with the NY market is the next move that will finally fulfill their initial goals and intentions. The movements of the Big Ten and Pac 10 will begin the seismic change and if I were them I would pre-empt the SEC from raiding their ranks and solidify their position for the future by going to 16 and link their conference from Miami to Boston and out to Pittsburgh.

          • 84Lion says:

            While I understand the “forsaking the NE” argument in terms of TV eyeballs, if the “NE” schools such as Syracuse, Rutgers, and Pitt, or even UConn were really that valuable in that regard, why isn’t the Big East getting huge television contracts and a lot of TV exposure now? The more I look at it, “raiding the Big East” seems more like moving into a black hole or going after a red herring rather than plucking ripe fruit. What I think people are missing in the TV equation is name recognition, which schools like Notre Dame and Nebraska bring. Syracuse and Pitt bring the name on a secondary level as far as football and possibly on a primary level as far as basketball; frankly I don’t think Rutgers registers on most casual fans’ radars.

            The ACC could enhance their basketball value by adding Pitt and Syracuse, but neither school is a huge force in the coveted NY market, to my knowledge. Maybe ‘cuse for basketball, but not football.

            Here’s an interesting article:


          • Tom Smith says:

            Remember B10 expansion is about academic fit including research, expanding the market/footprint, and football as the primary athletic money maker
            IMO the 15 schools evaluated by B10:
            From the Big East: Rutgers, Syracuse ,Pitt, UConn
            ACC: Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, Miami
            SEC: Vanderbilt, Florida
            B12: Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, TAM
            Texas and ND are slam dunks, so no evaluation necessary
            If 3 are added to make 14, top choices are: Tex, TAM, ND (superpowers with seismic effect on national collegiate landscape)
            Next choices IMO opinion, are Nebraska (national football draw), Rutgers and Syracuse (NY/NJ market, followed by Maryland (DC/Baltimore market)

          • Ron says:

            Syracuse, Rutgers, Pitt and UConn bring enormous market potential, but they’re currently part of a conference that is hard to take seriously on the national (or even local) scale in football. Combined with Notre Dame and brought into the Big Ten, that entire equation could change drastically. No one is in a position to change their football histories to match Notre Dame and Nebraska. On the other hand, all four schools appear ready and willing to try to improve their football programs going forward, particularly with Big Ten Network dollars flowing in. I see the northeastern schools of the Big East as being much more valuable to the Big Ten than to the ACC in the near term since the Big Ten is much better situated financially (and as a football name brand) to leverage their potential as football markets. There are risks and I don’t think the Big Ten should take on these schools right now without also persuading Notre Dame to join at the same time. I think it is worthwhile for the Big Ten to wait on further expansion until it can get a deal done that does include Syracuse, Rutgers, UConn, Pitt and Notre Dame. Notre Dame’s continuing reluctance to do a deal in both its interest and the Big Ten’s interest is disappointing. Still, the sun comes up tomorrow either way, right?

          • Mike says:

            Completely agree, Lion.

            With Delaney saying nothing and next to no leaks surfacing, we really have no structure to work with – the slates entirely clean, and, as a result, I think we are losing focus. I think we are carried away a bit by the raw numbers or possibilities of expansion.

            When we´re talking about Eastern expansion, I think we have to be careful. Sure, the Big 10 Network could be picked up by cable companies throughout the DC-Boston-NYC corridor and it would increase revenue. But at what cost and by how much? Would people in DC really tune in to watch Wisconsin-Purdue or Iowa-Minnesota? Would someone in Illinois really care about BC-Maryland or Rutgers-Pitt? I´m not sure they would, and I think the reason is culture.

            The Big 10 has been and still is a Midwestern conference with a culture entirely distinct from the ACC, SEC, Big East or Pac 10. Expand east and I´m afraid you create a super-conference that´s missing an identity – similar to what happened to the Big 8. If that happens, what type of ratings does the Big 10 Network see? Would we not be much better served to fan the flame by adding Mizzou, Nebraska and Kansas?

            When it comes to culture, I think the Big 10 is very similar to the Big 12 North. If you poach Mizzou, Nebraska and Kansas, you add three historically strong sports programs and increase the national profile of the conference, while still maintaining its identity. In the process, you have created a conference that stretches across the heart of the country, and a television network that is must-see-tv within that territory, if not throughout the entire country.

          • Pat says:

            BTN is More Than Sports:

            The Big Ten Network plans to air a live broadcast of President Barack Obama’s speech at the University of Michigan’s May 1 commencement ceremony.
            Coverage of the commencement ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m. that Saturday and will also be streamed live on


          • Pat says:

            Great point about the Midwestern culture of the B10. I think Mizzou, Nebraska and Kansas would be a great fit, along with Notre Dame and Pitt. That would create my dream conference. However, as I mentioned in an earlier post, my gut tells me the five schools leaked by the consulting firm will be the choice. Let’s hope my gut is wrong.

          • Mike says:


            At this point, I´m not even sure you accept Notre Dame, even if they come crawling to your feet.

            A couple points here though:

            Like Frank says, if you are only adding one school, I guess that has to be Notre Dame. No other school – except Texas – offers enough, by itself, to warrant expansion.

            That said, it´s not the scenario I prefer, and I´m not even sure if under a multi-school expansion I´d want to include them. I certainly wouldn´t want to include them at the expense of any of the schools in the package deal of Mizzou, Nebraska and Kansas.

            If we are talking about a 5-team expansion, I think it makes it a little easier, but I think I´m hesitant because of the culture aspect. The Big 10 is essentially a Midwestern, large research school conference. While South Bend is certainly ¨Midwest,¨ Notre Dame is a private, Catholic University that might fit better with the Big East – the conference it willingly chose and one that´s composed of a similar culture.

            So, I don´t know. If your 12th, 13th and 14th schools are Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri, I think you have to weigh these factors along with the finances and inconveniences that a 16-team conference would bring when considering Notre Dame and Pitt as the 15th and 16th schools.

          • PSUGuy says:

            You are probably right on about culture, but I think totally off in the schools.

            Fact is the Big10 doesn’t strike me as caring so much about location (I don’t care how rural it is, State College / PA is not mid-western in its cultural heritage) as it does what the university actually does.

            Does a candidate see itself as a large univesity or smaller school? Is it more undergraduate or graduate focused? Is research a primary goal of the institution? Are athletics a major part of the program, or an afterthought?

            Questions like these define the “culture” of the Big10, regardless of the culture of any particular schools region. If UConn gets into the Big10, uses its status there to become a top notch research university doing $500 million worth a year, expands enrollment, and continues to develop its (entire) athletic department how is that anything but “Big10″ culturally?

            This goes back to what JoePa said about joining a conference being more of a “marriage or common goals”. I really don’t think the Big10 cares about where a university is located (other than for $$$ purposes) so long as it shows those characteristics it sees in its already existing member base.

          • mushroomgod says:

            It seems to me that what the “acceleration” of the process most likely means is that the Big 10 has only SERIOUSLY considered the 5 teams which were most intently studied — ND, Pitt, Syracuse, Rutgers, Missouri. Seems to me that if schools like Neb., Kansas, U Conn et al were being seriously considered, we would have heard some semi-official “buzz” to that effect by now. While the fan forums and blogs are full of such talk, no journalist covering the Big 10 has said any of those 3 are being given serious consideration.

            To me, this means the Big 10 will go to 14 teams, not 16. The 16# is being thrown around in case ND changes it’s mind, which won’t happen. In that event, the Big 10 won’t take 4 and go to 15…and they won’t add Nebraska, imo, given the haste with which events are proceeding.

            If I am reading the situation correctly, I think Missouri is now in. The other 2 will be 2/3 of Rygers, Pitt, and Syracuse. No Syracuse please, waiter….

          • 84Lion says:

            But didn’t Barry Alvarez say in a presser back in February that the Big Ten was looking at 15 teams? And that Notre Dame and Texas weren’t on that list?

          • Scott C says:


            Alvarez only stated Texas wasn’t on the list. He then went on to say that he doesn’t see Notre Dame joining. He never said they weren’t on the list, though.

          • NDx2 says:

            This strikes me as a sound analysis.

          • NDx2 says:

            Referring to mushroomgod’s analysis above, I suspect he’s right on the 16 if ND comes/14 if not point.

          • mouse says:

            I don’t see ND joining at this point no matter what. It would take a two step process to encourage them to the point of joining. They (and their alums) would have to see the seismic shift and feel the aftershock first. So if 5 schools get added now, ND will not be one of them.

          • Bamatab says:


            The more that I think about it, I’d almost be willing to add Pitt in the place of either SU & RU.

            If the Big 10 were to decide that adding the 3 midwest teams makes more sense than adding multiple northeastern teams, then that decision would be based on the determination that ad revenue and fan interest out weighs tv markets (or they aren’t as sure that they can get the NY market to move the BTN to tier 1 even with multiple NE schools). If this is the case, then bringng in Pitt gives (in my opinion) a better rivalry prospect for the Big 10 schools (especially PSU). Personally I’d prefer to watch Pitt vs OSU than Rutgers/Syracuse verses OSU.

            But I guess the Big 10 will at least try and get a foot in the NYC market. I just don’t see that market paying dividends, just like Boston College didn’t pay the dividends that the ACC.

          • Richard says:

            Small quibble: Kansas doesn’t have a “much larger population”. Even if you give SU & RU credit for just their home territories (upstate NY & NJ, respectively, no NYC), they bring several times more viewers than KU. Ignoring academics, home population is the biggest strike against KU; granted, that’s true for Nebraska as well, but their brand is significantly stronger and they’re good in a more (financially) important sport.

          • Patrick says:

            One of the big questions that I have been pondering is how much weight to give fan support (advertising sales & rates) versus population (carry rates for cable). With the BTN making about 60% of the money from advertising, and that number growing, I think slightly more emphasis will be based on fan support. An important question to ask is… how much money does the universtiy make now? Due to or in spite of population. With all of the massive population numbers at it’s disposal, Rutgers (independently of conference pay-outs) made $50.1 million, Syracuse made $47.8 million, and Kansas made $62.0 million. So even though RU and SU have a bigger population they seem to be less involved with the university overall. Kansas did have one of the lowest population bases for the schools that I looked at, and it is an issue. I think the Basketball brand makes up the difference.

          • Bamatab says:


            I don’t think that the arguement (at least for me) for choosing Kansas over SU or RU is tv market population. I think it has to do with college football interest. Even if you could get SU, RU & UConn, you still aren’t guaranteed to get the BTN moved up to tier 1 cable. The BTN is already available in those areas under tier 2, and could possibly stay that way even with the acquisition of all three schools because there currently isn’t a whole lot of college football interest in the NYC market.

            Now the midwest is a little different story. There isn’t anyway that I would take Kansas by themselves or even with one other midwest team. But by taking all three you bring in 3 schools that already have a long history of playing each other and would fit nicely with Illinois, Iowa, and Minn. This would facilitate more interest for some the fans (especially those outside of the Big 10) when watching some of the 2nd/3rd level games that would be shown on the BTN which I would think would spurn better tv ad revenue.

            Again, this is coming from an SEC fan that doesn’t know a whole lot about how the BTN works, but from a fan standpoint I’d be more willing to watch a Kansas vs Mizzou game than I would a Syracuse vs Rutgers game (and be more willing to pay to get the BTN in order to watch it).

          • Scott C says:

            You do bring up some good points on the advantages of bringing in Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri. There is a lot of history between the three schools. For instance, Kansas and Missouri have the second oldest rivalry in Division I football, the Border Showdown for the Indian War Drum. Missouri and Nebraska play for the Missouri-Nebraska Bell which I actually never realized until I saw them bring it out at a game when I went to school at Nebraska. Also, the Nebraska-Kansas game is the longest uninterrupted series in college football (104 years in a row in 2009). That being said, I don’t think any of that would stop one of these teams from leaving the others for the BIg Ten.

          • Scott C says:

            I don’t think this has been mentioned yet, but apparently Jack Swarbrick spoke to the Notre Dame Alumni Senate today and stated the following:

            “Our highest priority is maintaining football independence.”

            He may have just been appeasing the alumni, but he if he is, they won’t be happy if he breaks his word.

          • Mike says:


            As a fan, the Mizzou/KU/Nebraska trio has been my dream scenario from the start. And I think you´re right, unlike what the Big 8 did, it is important to consider the culture of the expansion. That´s probably why I hate dipping into the NYC, Boston, DC corridor. I´d be ok with Syracuse though, since upstate NY fits the Big 10 culture much better – and adding one school eastern school would help balance out two western ones.

            All that said, I love this blog since it does a good job of considering all the angles and incentives of expansion. The two-part plan makes perfect sense, however, Frank, there really may be more money at stake than initially meets the eye – as Bamatab wrote – to a Big 12 North raid.

          • @Patrick – I’m not sure if you can find this info, but what is the carry rate for the BTN in the Philly market? My understanding is that it is less than the rest of Pennsylvania. This might provide some insight as to how the Big Ten could benefit from adding Pitt and Rutgers (and maybe Syracuse, too) if the current Philly carry rate is low but gets bumped up to the full rate in that market. That would be a lot of households which would provide additional revenue within the current Big Ten footprint.

          • omnicarrier says:

            @Patrick, when looking at the SU/RU combo are you factoring in any bump of Philly up to Tier 1 for Comcast subscribers? They are now Tier 2 (digital sports channel in the 700s) at the lower carriage rate for Comcast because Comcast argued that the Philly is a pro-sports/Big East city and that the DMA is really Philly-Camden-Wilmington. With Rutgers in the picture, the bulk of the DMA which is Philly and Camden, would now be in-state and at the higher rate.

            I believe NYC cable companies Time Warner and Cablevision also would want the same Philly/Comcast price exemption if Rutgers or SU were left out. If it were RU and not SU, they’d argue RU is in the state of New Jersey, the bulk of our DMA resides in New York state. If it’s SU and not RU, they’d take the Comcast/Philly approach – well SU is in the state of New York, but 31% of our DMA branches into the state of New Jersey and a small percentage branches into Connecticut.

            And for the record, SU and RU fans were both credited by Time Warner in getting ESPNU added to expanded basic for both New York and New Jersey which at that time doubled the number of ESPNU subscribers from 10 million to 20 million.

          • mushroomgod says:

            Frank, I have great respect for what you’ve done with this site – so much so that I assume some of the powers that be MIGHT occasionally be looking in. If so, I want to take every opportunity to explain why I think adding schools like Syr., BC, U Conn to the Big 10 is a bad idea.

            First, I’ve never agreed with your “smell test” approach to the academic/research angle. Given that these will be 100 year relationships, I place a lot more emphasis on academic/research fit than do you. In fact, thinking like a university president, I believe academic/research fit is as important as any other factor to be considered.

            Let me give you a couple of examples– my son is a HS jr looking at engineering schools. Unfortunately, (I’m an IU grad), Purdue has a great engineering school. They have app. 8500 engineering undergrads. PU’s undergraduate engineering population is roughly 45% the size of Syracuse’s total enrollment, including all graduate students. All of the Big 10 schools other than IU have engineering schools, and all are rated in the top 50 in the country. 6 or 7 are rated in the top 30.

            I agree that Syracuse is an excellent private college, but all of the Big 10 schools other than NW and Iowa have enrollments over 40000. Two have enrollments over 50000. NW, the only other private school, is a huge research power, with over 9000 graduate students, and a medical center. With the exception of NW and Iowa, all Big 10 schools other than Iowa have at least 20000 more students than Syacuse. Iowa has 10000 more.

            Again, I don’t intend to diss Syracuse. I know that Syracuse is considerably more selective than PU in admissions. I also realize that the Domers can turn this argument 180* as a reason not to join the Big 10– ie..different mission, objectives et al

            Also, I agree Syracuse is solid in athletics. I do wonder about football future because the dome caps the program’s potential. For this reason, I’d put Syracuse behind Mo in football potential. But the attractiveness of Syracuse basketball in undenialable.

            As a another example, compare Rutgers to Syracuse. Rutgers is the state u of NJ. It has 3 campuses (most present Big 10 schools have several regional campuses) and some 60000 total students, 35000 at NB.

            What do the presidents of these giant institutions have in common with the president of Syracuse? Not a hell of a lot. So, imo, size does matter (hehe), and I’d rather stay big than go small. This needs to be considered when people are talking about adding BC (13000?), Syracuse (19000), U Conn (24000), and Neb (24000).

            I’m not saying that other considerations don’t matter. I favor Rutgers because of tv sets. I favor Neb because of football. I favor ND because of tv sets, geography, history. I don’t believe, however, that ‘thinking like a president’ is equivalent to thinking like a tv exec or a sport fan, which is exactly what you are saying when you say that enrollment does not matter.

            A couple of other matters–I note that you give zero consideration to geography in your index. This makes no sense to me. I think proximity to other Big 10 fans and administrators is a good thing. How many Big 10 fans are going to travel to Syracuse for football games? How many track and tennis and swimming championships will be held at Syracuse? Now substitute Pitt and ask the same questions….

          • Richard says:

            Well, I imagine Syracuse would be amendable to playing some home games against the likes of Michigan, OSU, PSU, (and ND if added) in/around NYC and Buffalo. NYC has a ton of alums from Big10 schools, and Buffalo’s pretty close to OSU & Michigan (of course, PSU fans would be close to anywhere east).

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            I think we apply the smell test because ND was considered acceptable in the past decade with a small enrollment, small non-law grad programs, and without AAU membership.

            Are the Ind. Engineering School rankings still
            1. Rose-Hulman
            2. Purdue
            3. ND

            I think the major ND alum disagreement with joining the Big Ten is that our aims, culture, and enrollements are quite dissimilar to the Big Ten template. It’s been the among our more thoughtful arguments against.

          • mushroomgod says:

            Depends. If increasing research nad improving graduate studies is not a major goal of ND, I’d say the different aims/culture argument makes a lot of sense. However, NW has done rather well in the BT at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Also, As someone pointed out, lots of ND undergrads end up going to graduate school at Big 10 Us.

          • mushroomgod says:

            RH is rated #1 in the country for schools that do not offer engineering doctorates….PU is rated from 6th-9th in the country overall amoung larger schools….UM and Ill. are right there with them. Wis, Minn.,NW, and PSU are all top 20-30. OSU and MSU are top 40 or so. Iowa is top 50. Not sure about ND.

          • Orange says:

            “What do the presidents of these giant institutions have in common with the president of Syracuse?” Interesting you should ask, albeti facetiously.


            “Prior to her appointment at Syracuse, Chancellor Cantor served as chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Michigan, prior to which she had been dean of its Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies and vice provost for academic affairs; she also was professor of psychology and senior research scientist at the Institute for Social Research at Michigan. Previously, she had been chair of the department of psychology at Princeton University.

            Unlike some other alums, I don’t feel the need to stand on a soapbox and preach the benefits of SU to the B10. I also don’t feel the need to run to other sites and seek support for a position ( What I will say is that all the schools will ultimately stand on their own merits and I’m confident SU will get a fair review in the process.

          • mushroomgod says:

            Let’s hope she liked her time at Princeton best….

          • spartakles78 says:

            I mentioned in another thread the backgrounds of the various presidents and chancellors to check if they have experience with the so-called Big Ten culture & landscape. The incoming president at UVA has roots at MSU, an extensive career at Texas & leadership at U-M.


            but would the fans be willing to move?

            back in 2003, the ACC press conference was full of hope of academic & athletic potential…


          • Well Played Mauer says:


            I was wondering this myself, like you I feel that Uconn, And Kansas are very similar institutions. I think what it would come down to is TV Sets.

            According to Connecticut has about 1 million TV households, while the State of Kansas has about 2.1 million. That is why I think in that instance at least Kansas would get the nod.

            Now where is becomes tricky is if a person was of the mind that Uconn can somehow become “New England’s Team” and capture that whole region, then the number of TV Households for Uconn jumps to around 5.2 million double that of Kansas.

          • Richard says:

            Well Played:

            Connecticut has 3.5M people, and Kansas has 2.8M, so I think TVB’s wrong (unless they’re counting all of KC as part of Kansas, and only metro Hartford as part of Connecticut or something funky like that).

          • Well Played Mauer says:

            “Well Played:

            Connecticut has 3.5M people, and Kansas has 2.8M, so I think TVB’s wrong (unless they’re counting all of KC as part of Kansas, and only metro Hartford as part of Connecticut or something funky like that).”

            Yes you are right,

            Connecticut is more populated, but TVB was counting TV Households in a given market which is different, and you are right I did count all the markets in Kansas just for the fact that everyone on the board keeps talking about the state wide pricing model for the BTN. One would assume the Big Ten would want to get the same rate in all the Kansas markets if they have a school in state, just as they have with other schools already in the Big Ten.

            But That is also why I said in my post that if Uconn could bring in the other New England Markets: Boston, Portland ME, New Hampshire, etc. Then Yes Uconn would bring in almost double the TV sets that Kansas would. I was just unsure of how the state wide pricing model of the BTN would be applied to a region like New England.

            I Think that is why Syracuse is so sexy to a lot of people here; their home market is only around 300 or 400k but if they could become “Up state New York’s Team” then all the markets in New York State other than NYC metro would mean around 2.7 million households.

            Sorry I was not more clear in my line of thinking in my original post.


          • Rick says:

            Patrick: incredibly enlightening. Thank you

          • Rich2 says:

            Patrick, it appears that you might be able to provide numbers that could frame some of this discussion.

            If the Big Ten added Nebraska, Rutgers, Syracuse and Pitt, in 2015, what would you project to be the per member distribution received from the BTN? Please take into account: increased competition by suppliers of sports, fewer cable companies that are less inclined to compete and expenses.

          • Patrick says:


            Sorry I missed this earlier. I would very conservatively estimate the pay-out per school at $22.87 million. I thought it odd that you only choose 4 schools.

          • Rich2 says:

            22m per school for 15 schools? Then why expand? I thought I read that the current payout is 22m for 11 schools?

          • Richard says:

            Research. Sometimes, I wonder if you read the stuff other people write. I’ve already advanced my theory before that I believe the Big10 will expand in part (maybe even primarily) to increase their sources of research money and leverage research synergies, and the BTN makes it possible to without taking downside risk, so even if the research money goals are not met, at least athletically, everyone is still as well or better off.

          • Rich2 says:

            I don’t know where this post will be placed. It is in response to Richard, April 19, 2010 at 3:16pm. Research…

            I do read what others write and I incorporate every analysis that I find compelling into my posts. “Sources of research money” is an interesting phrase. Are you suggesting that more NFS funds (and so on) would accrue to the current members of the Big Ten if Missouri, Nebraska, Pitt and RU are added to the conference? How so? How does this “synergy” occur? I have read (and voted against) countless proposals for “synergy.” And most importantly, by how many dollars per institution? Of course there are downside risks — when the “cheery” analysis of what will occur in five years is to “break even” (22 v. 22.8), risks abound.

          • PSUGuy says:


            Point is, each member of of the CIC gains the advantage of each other members’ research (or at least a large portion of it), without having to shell out the time and resources to do it on its own.

            Try imagining the (huge) effort that might go into creating the first economically viable electric car….now imagine if PSU focuses its energy (read that as research $$$) on better battery technology, Michigan regenerative braking, Purdue lighter weight materials…each can contribute greatly while banking on the fact other schools will be “synergistic” in their research efforts without duplicating efforts.

            As stated elsewhere, this means more research, better research, and that is going to attract the interest of technology companies/government institutions world-wide.

            The CIC is already a $6 billion (yes with a B) a year endeavor fpr the Big10 and it looks to add $1-2 billion more in research via a 5 school expansion (and that’s in an economic climate that is strapped for cash). Joke is we’ve all been focusing on the couple hundred million dollars looking to be added via sports when it could very well be chump change compared to the research additions added.

          • Scott S says:

            I’m not sure how much dollar value crosses over from one school to the other via the CIC, but I agree with your point. Which is why the presidents have to decide if choices are made purely at an athletic level (as many think) or more based on research (as I would do). However, Notre Dame was previously invited, so maybe they’re thinking athletics is more the issue.

          • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

            Even with your disclaimer, I have some questions.

            One–if the Big 10 Network were the only way to get some ND games (as a PSU fan, there were at least three games that were only found on BTN last season), would we truly see the ND fans “demands” rise up? ND would be in the same boat…certain games would be only BTN.

            Two–While Notre Dame alone wouldn’t be a big enough draw for the BTN to get on Tier 1 in Los Angeles, what about ND plus the current Big 10 (with its oodles of alums) plus other key additions (the x factors could include Texas schools, Nebraska). You have the lionshare of football superpowers in one conference in that scenario. The BTN might have to play “hardball” with ESPN for a while to gain their own national respect, but this seems like a way that the BTN could become Tier 1 in numerous markets, even outside of the locational footprint.

            Three-I haven’t read anything that leads me to believe that the Supersized Big 10 would actually commence league play before 2015. There are a few factors that are “rushing” this process along, but all in all, a major change like this can take years to fall into place.

          • Patrick says:

            @allthatyoucan leave behind,

            Good points, I’ll answer what I can,

            one – Yes, demand would rise and that would increase ad rates. But is it as much as other schools. If there is no expansion of footprint and carry rates…. you need to make up alot of advertising before it becomes a net positive.

            two – That is a possibility, especially with the bordering states. In LA and San Fran. they hardly care about their own teams, it would be tough to get bumped up a tier. BTN doesn’t have to play hardball with ESPN. ESPN is another cable entity… and it is the BIG DOG. Carry rates for ESPN are over $4.00 per subsriber per month. BTN Is averaging around $0.36 per, about $0.65 for tier 1 and around $0.15 for tier two. BTN wants to get to tier one status for as many cable subscribers as possible…. but it is not ESPN, and luckly they only need to negotiate with the Cable / Satelitte providers. It is independent of ESPN or CNN or other cable stations.

            Three – Very true! I don’t know when the expansion would be completed and when games would begin. It could be after 2015, but how much does that change the dynamic. Very hard to tell. If ND – MICH goes to the tv side and that bumps WIS – IOWA to the BTN which replaces Northwestern – Purdue which ends up on one of the aux channels it is still a net win, but how much? What are the advertising $$ differences. ND not expanding the footprint would be a bigger concern.

            I’m sure that the BTN has people that have more exact numbers than I do and can calculate that. I am just trying to get a financial sense for why team A and why not team B. I haven’t looked at the ACC schools. I looked at the most often mentioned schools here mainly Big East / Big 12 north & Notre Dame.

          • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

            patrick, thanks for the info.

            My “hardball” comment referred to the BTN holding out some key games for only BTN subscribers. If they farm out ALL of their big games, then becoming a “national” station never really happens. Lukewarm fans in Florida and Maine and California could care less about the “nice” games the “new” Big 10 would offer. But Texas/PSU, Notre Dame/Ohio State, Nebraska/Wisconsin would carry some wallop. The BTN had to play hardball in 2006 when they launched the channel to get where they wanted to be. I’m guessing they’d have to suck it up and take some short-term losses to get where they ultimately want to be (Tier 1 in virtually all markets coast-to-coast). No, they’ll never be ESPN or get close to ESPN’s Tier 1 rates…but there are plenty of channels on basic cable that barely sniff at the $.65 the BTN currently gets.

          • @allthatyoucantleavebehind – My understanding is that the Big Ten negotiated a handful of weeks per season where BTN gets the #2 conference game after ABC. So, there have already been some pretty good games on the BTN depending upon the week (Ohio State/Wisconsin is one that comes to mind). Other weeks, it gets the #4 pick after ABC, ESPN and ESPN2. It’s doubtful that you’d see any of the games pitting 2 marquee schools against each other on BTN (Michigan/Ohio State, Penn State/Ohio State, ND vs any of those 3 schools), but the BTN benefits by getting those games where 1 marquee school is playing a school in the tier right below it (i.e. Wisconsin) or the ones with that draw well in the big markets like Chicago or NYC.

            Basketball is actually the sport that gets a lot of great games on the BTN no matter what week – you really can’t follow your team at all if you don’t have the channel.

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            From an interview with Kansas AD Lew Perkins:

            But the hottest topic may have been NCAA Tournament expansion, talk of which has picked up steam in the media this week. Perkins expects the tournament to expand to 96 teams.

            “In my opinion, that’s a done deal,” he said…

            …He then was asked about the BCS, which Perkins said he supports. That wasn’t necessarily a surprise, but what he said next might have been. Perkins predicted the conferences that now make up the BCS would split off from the NCAA.

            “At some time, the six major conferences are going to have their own quasi-NCAA,” he said. “They’re going to do their own thing.”

            He didn’t think this was imminent, but was confident in it.

            “It’s gonna happen,” he said. “I hear a lot of college presidents talking about those kinds of things.”


          • @Playoffs Now! – Not surprised about that comment at all. You will see the BCS schools split off from the NCAA before you’ll ever see a college football playoff system run by the NCAA.

          • 84Lion says:

            “At some time, the six major conferences are going to have their own quasi-NCAA,” he said. “They’re going to do their own thing.”

            I have thought for some time that’s the way to go. Why share money with the non-BCS conferences and schools and water down the competition? I’m actually very pleased this is “gonna happen.”

          • greg says:

            In one of the earlier expansion newspaper articles, Delaney was quoted as saying “possibly partnering” with “dozens” of schools. There may be a gigantic bombshell coming this summer or next.

            It could be the BTN becoming a carrier of another conference, or splintering away from the NCAA.

          • arkstfan says:

            Splitting from the NCAA has been discussed for at least 30 years.

            Most fans and media assume that means the top 40-80 schools depart and keep their loot and become a quasi-NFL.

            If you talk to administrators a different picture emerges. Most talk in terms of a larger organization. While the is a vast difference between Ohio State and Ohio, the fact is that in philosophy about athletics, the Buckeyes and Bobcats have more in common than Ohio State does with Xavier, Dayton or Youngstown. There are 340+ schools in Division I. There are 120 FBS roughly that number of FCS (many non-scholarship or limited aid) and another 100 or so don’t play football ranging from major programs to barely there programs.

            Most administrators think you have to bring along some non-elite schools politically and for scheduling.

            The problem is where to draw the cut-off. There is a significant school of thought that says that cut-off is FBS football. It’s easier to explain. They can couch in term of the similarity. Remember in Division I you range from FBS schools who must award at least 200 scholies and sponsor 16 sports to schools sponsoring 14 sports, the grandfathered in Ivy which awards no athletic based aid, the Patriot that limits athletic aid to the athlete’s financial need, and a large number of schools that are sponsoring 14 sports and only awarding about half the allowed aid because that is the minimum.

            Anything COULD happen but most likely if there is secession, it will be all of FBS and some elite programs will be permitted to do an equity buy-in. No more than 180 schools at the very most.

            Another reason to think this way is the BCS. The five non-AQ leagues signed on for 9% of the revenue with a bump if they qualify to play. Compare that to the NCAA basketball revenue where the six AQ leagues take home only 47% of the revenue distributed to Division I, that’s after the NCAA takes out overhead and also shares a small amount with Divisions II and III.

            The 55 non-BCS schools in FBS have demonstrated their willingness to work with the 65 BCS schools on a fractional income. Share-and-share alike has been imposed on them by the FCS and non-football schools. If you want rid of someone, it is those who make your life difficult and that is the non-FBS schools and NCAA management.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            ND fans will certainly demand the Irish on TV. Heck, we get real irritable if it isn’t on over-the-air TV.

            I thought that was the big reason to get ND: to generate enough demands to get it carried on tier one in every urban area in America, or at least outside the old Confederacy.

          • Manifesto says:


            I’m unsure ND joining the Big Ten would generate enough demand to get it in every urban area (assuming you’re not exaggerating) in America. If these numbers are to be believed anyway (

            I think it’d be a big get for the northeast strategy and any other places where there are large alumni deposits that aren’t within the current Big Ten footprint. From a marketing standpoint it’d be good, as ND is a big brand. From a football standpoint, I think ND plays good football and would be a valuable addition to the conference. But do I think ND would secure BTN on basic in, say, Texas or Washington state or California? Nothing I’ve read so far would believe me to think that, although the trickle down effect of good matchups being on BTN because of a larger conference certainly makes that more probable.

          • mushroomgod says:

            Saw where CBS (SEC) 2009 ratings were 4.0, ABC–3.9. NBC (ND) – 2.4…these were for the weekly games….highest NBC/ND ratings were 3.2 in 2002, their first year on NBC.

          • Nittany Wit says:

            For curiousity’s sake, if you considered Boston College (or Maryland) as potential candidates, how do you think they stack up in your list?

            I’m wondering about the scenario of adding three teams and later on adding two more in a few years. Suppose that Nebraska, Rutgers, and Syracuse take the Big10 to 14. Then I see UConn and Pitt ending up in the ACC to make 14. So down the road do you think that BC (as the geographic outlier in the ACC) would consider joining if Mizzou or ND would join to go to 16?

          • Patrick says:

            @Nittnay Wit –

            I have been looking at Texas, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Kansas, BC, Maryland, UConn, Rutgers, Missouri, Syracuse, Pitt, and Iowa State. The tv side of things is difficult because there are many assumtions / educated guesses that need to be made. I can look up financial data and say Notre Dame Athletics – the NBC contract earned $66,088,368 in 2008 while Nebraska Athletics – the Big 12 tv deal made $66,271,383 in 2008. But with the tv deals you need to gather data on ratings, cable penetration, HH, and also estimate carry rates, ad rates, and which markets each team will bring. Will Notre Dame help carry NYC…. would Missouri or Kansas or both or either carry Kansas City…. does Nebraska carry the tv markets all the way to North Dakota (I have a brother-in-law in Wyoming that has the whole town freak out if the NU game isn’t carried). I will pass everything along to @FRANK when I wrap it up. It will be a tough decision for the B10 no doubt.

          • Richard says:

            I largely agree with this except Kansas is too unpopulated (yes, I know they have more fans in KC than Mizzou, but adding Nebraska, Mizzou + the rest of the Big10 would get the BTN on tier1 on all cable providers in KC anyway). As team 16, I’d prefer Maryland (if they’re willing to leave the ACC, or even UConn or Pitt to Kansas. Adding UConn has the added benefit of securing NYC more.

          • @Richard – I was just thinking along these same lines re: Maryland. Think of these pods for a 16-school conference:

            POD A
            Penn State

            POD B
            Michigan State
            Ohio State
            Notre Dame

            POD C

            POD D

            Maryland brings in the academic bona fides of Pitt but opens up a new market and makes up for the lack of households added by Nebraska on the western end (which means that the Big Ten can be even more comfortable going for the quality of Nebraska as opposed to the population of Missouri). As tight-knit as I believe the ACC to be, this is one scenario where I don’t believe Maryland could pass up if the Big Ten sends them an invite.

          • Rick says:

            This I like Frank. I love MD for the BT, just don’t think it’s likely they will make the big break from ACC. Money talks though. Would be great move for BT. Great for MD. This pod structure is good East/West balance, National brands for football, regional eastern markets (DC/No. VA/Philly/NY Metro) TV position, very good hoops upgrade, academic quality. Nice!!

          • Rick says:

            ACC then picks up Pitt, UConn, WVU?. Nice expansion to 14, big boost to BBall, real good football additions, good academics (?WVU but they can live with it), keeps their core solid.

            So Flor., Louisville, UC unfortunately left picking up the pieces.

          • @Rick – Yes, I’d actually be happy with that if only because I really hate leaving Pitt out of these Big Ten expansion scenarios for market purposes since they’re such a good fit in other ways. Pitt brings a lot of value to any conference that doesn’t have Penn State already. It’s very hard for me to stomach the thought of Pitt getting left behind in a decimated BE, so they deserve a nice landing spot in the ACC. WVU is going to be a tough sell for the ACC on the academic side, but they have such a great traveling fan base for a conference that’s in such desperate need of one that they may end up with an invite.

            Louisville isn’t a bad candidate to end up in the Big XII, especially if Nebraska leaves for the Big Ten instead of Mizzou. If Colorado and Utah go to the Pac-10, then the Big XII could replace its open spots in the North division with BYU and Louisville, which is pretty good considering the other options. USF and Cincy are in real danger, though.

          • Rick says:

            I would really like Pitt in the BT as well. I like the school, the athletic programs, love Wanny, just good fit all around. the BT is the perfect fit for them. If ND passes then Pitt, MD, Neb, RU, SU is still a real nice expansion. Really nice.

          • mushroomgod says:

            Don’t think anyone could object to MD. That would be big-time all-around….just don’t think that the Big 10 presidents are aggressive enough to pick a fight with the ACC. Also, I’m sure a substantial minority, if not a majority, of MD fans would be dead set against it, which would be a big concern.

            As far as the other 4 go, Missouri is a far better choice than Syracuse. state school v. private…30000 enrollment v. 19000…3 or 4 times the research level…better geographic fit…better football stadium…it’s not even close….

          • mushroomgod says:

            Louisville AD says Big 10 will definately expand and ND, Pitt, and Rutgers, in that order, are the primary targets….hmmmmm…..

          • @mushroomgod – I’ve seen that rumor. I’ve also seen rumors that Syracuse is the #1 choice after ND according to other ADs. At the end of the day, I don’t think that they know WTF is going on any more than we do.

          • duffman says:


          • duffman says:


            link on the UL AD??

          • mushroomgod says:

            Don’t know how to do links..but saw it on the Louisville Scout board…and discussed on the Pitt and Rutgers boards (can’t recall if rivals or scout).

          • duffman says:


            you have to go with my original thought.. B 16 gets maryland..

            SEC gets the twins..

            ACC goes down with loss of major state schools..

            along line of Arkstfan comments.. 3 BIGS, and “the rest”

          • N.P.B. says:

            Not sure why Maryland would give up their games vs Duke, UNC and Virginia, to play Northwestern, Minnesota and Iowa. Maryland is bored as it is in their games vs newcomers BC, Miami, and Va Tech.

          • @N.P.B. – Ah, the classic sandbagging technique. Pick the best 3 schools possible and then compare them to the worst 3 schools. With the scenario that we’re looking at, let’s turn it around:

            “Not sure why Maryland wouldn’t jump at the chance of playing Michigan State, Syracuse and Ohio State, in order to keep playing BC, Miami and Virginia Tech.”

            I’m also sure Maryland couldn’t stand playing, at the very least, Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan for football (and possibly Notre Dame and/or Nebraska) in order to keep their games against, well, Duke UNC and Virginia. (For everything that the ACC gives for basketball, it taketh away for football.)

          • N.P.B. says:

            Sorry, hope I didn’t come across as a jerk– I love your site here.

            My point was that for Maryland to join the Big 10, at best they’d be getting an even swap– Duke, UNC, Va (to say nothing of NC State and Wake when they rebound) vs Ohio St, Penn St, Michigan… while at the same time, they’re cutting 57-year-old ACC ties.

            Football-wise, if we’re up to 14-16 schools, would Big 10 scheduling scenarios guarantee that Penn State visits Maryland every other year?

            Also, if geography is a less important concern in a big-money scenario where Texas is concerned, then what would stop a super-national-conference from being discussed? For example, the top six Big 10 schools could dissolve the conference, and re-unite in a new national conference. So you’d have top-6 Big 10’s with Texas, Texas A&M, Florida, Alabama, UCLA, Southern Cal (or whatever six national powerhouses you’d prefer). Approach UCLA and offer a scenario where they’d never again have to go to Washington State or Oregon State, yet will have Ohio State, Texas, etc, on their schedule.

          • Patrick says:


            Just FYI – Maryland’s current tv contract take $5,571,000 joining the Big ten could push that to over $20,000,000. Cutting the long time ties is a big deal and maybe the ACC / Big East of the future can save the strong schools and make money more consistent with the other conferences.

          • Richard says:

            Tradition. Granted, we’re arguing against tradition when contemplating Maryland to the Big10, but the financial boost of going from the ACC to the Big10 is much more certain than the financial boost of going from the Big10 to a completely new superduper-national-power conference (not to mention it would be incredibly hard to get the power SEC schools to go along with such a plan, since one reason there’s so much interest in SEC football is because those schools have built up generations of hate between each other).

            In any case, for Maryland, the research/academic benefits and monetary benefits would be clearly better in the Big10. Athletically, you have to consider that some combination of Pitt,Syracuse, ND, UConn, and Nebraska would be added as well.

          • Richard says:

            For Maryland,
            1. Money
            2. Fooball
            3. CIC/Research

            Plus OSU, PSU, and the other potential new Eastern additions (Pitt, Syracuse, UConn, Rutgers) could make some great rivals in either football or basketball.

          • Ron says:

            @Frank, on a general note, great model for a workable sixteen team conference. Was just thinking, if the old 16 team Western Athletic Conference had adopted a “pod” concept (4 team modules rotating every year into two different 8 team divisions), the Mountain West might never had to split out to a separate conference. The WAC circa 1998 could have adopted the following structure instead of the two division structure they did have:
            POD A: TCU, SMU, Rice, Tulsa
            POD B: New Mexico, UTEP, Colorado State, Air Force
            POD C: Wyoming, Utah, BYU, UNLV
            POD D: San Diego State, Fresno, San Jose State, Hawaii
            The WAC is constantly cited as a reason sixteen team conferences won’t work. The Mountain West was founded in 1999 as a breakout conference of eight teams falling geographically right in the middle of the conference. These teams were upset about disruption of close rivalries under a 16-team/two division setup.

          • m (Ag) says:

            From what I’ve read, that is more or less how the WAC was set up. I think it failed not because of the setup, but because it was a collection of regional schools in a national conference.

            All college football fans have at least a general idea of the schools in the Big 10, even if they grew up in a different region. They’ll get interested and excited when they appear on the schedule. They’ll see the teams in the other division on ABC, ESPN, and the Big 10 network; they’ll be talked about on sports radio. There won’t be any problems of unfamiliarity after the first few years.

            For the teams in the WAC, that wasn’t so. They were trading one group of schools they rarely hear about for another. This was particularly true in an era when the internet wasn’t used extensively and most people only had 1 ESPN channel. So they didn’t know their opponents from the media, and they weren’t familiar with them from playing them year in and year out. The schools involved decided there wasn’t enough financial incentive to continue traveling across the country to make it work.

          • Ron says:

            My general point is that a pod scheduling structure is extremely adaptable and could be used to schedule almost any Big Ten expansion scenario up to (say) twenty teams, even odd-numbered configurations (so a 19-team conference would have three 5-team pods and one 4-team pod). Even if the Big Ten just adds Notre Dame and Syracuse for a 13-team conference, you can make three 3-team pods and one 4-team pod.

            W Pod(West) – Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa

            E Pod(East) – Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State

            D Pod(Dome) – Notre Dame, Purdue, Penn State, Syracuse

            I Pod (IN/IL) – Illinois, Northwestern, Indiana

            Then just rotate your pods into one six-team and one seven-team division, changing every year. Preserves some traditional rivalries while also shaking up the schedules (and division races). This prevents recurring problems like the imbalance the Big 12 has between their North and South Divisions these days.

          • arkstfan says:

            The WAC16 did use a pod system but no combination was created keeping BYU/Utah/WY/CSU/AFA aligned. It is a gate receipts league and busting up those rivalries were bad for gate receipts.

            Didn’t hurt that they discovered they could basically the same TV deal for 8 as they had for 16 with half as many sharing. Never good for stability.

          • Well Played Mauer says:

            “@Frank, on a general note, great model for a workable sixteen team conference. Was just thinking, if the old 16 team Western Athletic Conference had adopted a “pod” concept (4 team modules rotating every year into two different 8 team divisions), the Mountain West might never had to split out to a separate conference. The WAC circa 1998 could have adopted the following structure instead of the two division structure they did have:
            POD A: TCU, SMU, Rice, Tulsa
            POD B: New Mexico, UTEP, Colorado State, Air Force
            POD C: Wyoming, Utah, BYU, UNLV
            POD D: San Diego State, Fresno, San Jose State, Hawaii
            The WAC is constantly cited as a reason sixteen team conferences won’t work. The Mountain West was founded in 1999 as a breakout conference of eight teams falling geographically right in the middle of the conference. These teams were upset about disruption of close rivalries under a 16-team/two division setup.”

            The WAC did have pods they called them Quadrants and they where setup has follows:

            Quadrant 1: Hawaii, Fresno, San Jose, SD State
            Quadrant 2: Air Force, UNLV, Colorado State, Wyoming
            Quadrant 3: BYU, Utah, New Mexico, Utep,
            Quadrant 4: TCU, SMU, Tulsa, Rice

            Quadrant one was always part of the Pacific Division, and quadrant four was always part of the Mountain Division Quadrant 2 and 3 would have rotated divisions every two years, but the whole thing was abandoned after 3 years when the Current Mountain West School broke away to form their own conference. The POD/Quadrant Thing was wildly unpopular in the old super WAC. But those where a lot teams in small markets with no strong national or even regional followings in some cases. So maybe with well known National Powers it may work out better, but who knows?

          • Ron says:

            @well played mauer, @arkstfan & @m ag, I apparently stand corrected on the wac16 scheduling system? (I was, and still am, living in a WAC metro area in Texas, although only have a casual interest in the WAC since I’m primarily a Minnesota Gophers football fan. Professionally, I was a long-time scheduler for operations work on computers at the time, so do feel confident in the theoretical workability of pods nonetheless.) Am frankly impressed y’all took note of this.

          • duffman says:


            I was living in arkansas back when eddie had the triplets in the final four in the checkerdome.. I was there when lou holtz was coaching football out there.. (before iowa and notre dame). I have family and friends out there still and it is a small state, so word gets around.. I would offer a few points….

            a) Arkansas has a basketball history – they have 6 FF, 1RU, and 1NC – they have had a team in the NCAA tourney from the 1940’s on.. since they entered the SEC their rivalry has been Kentucky.. peaking with Richardson vs Pitino.. As their current coach is John Pelphrey, I think the basketball rivalry will continue.. They play in Bud Walton (yes.. the Wal Mart folks) and can hold 20,000 folks for a game…. (and their women’s team has had around 1 million fans through the gates in the past few decades – but only 1 Final Four).

            b) Arkansas has a football history – while having only 1 NC against Nebraska in 1964.. they are a football crazy state.. I have seen this firsthand! While not in the title hunt every year.. consider the following..

            #1 55 games 30 – 24 – 1 for a 56% win ratio
            #2 55 games 19 – 34 – 2 for a 35% win ratio
            #3 77 games 21 – 56 – 0 for a 28% win ratio
            #4 66 games 39 – 24 – 3 for a 59% win ratio

            the first 2 are Ole Miss and LSU, their current rivals
            the second 2 are Texas and A&M, their former rivals

            now if I was Arkansas in the SEC with equal revenue sharing vs being in the Big 12 and getting the smaller part of the pie.. you can see why Arkansas asked to jump to the SEC, as when I lived out there EVERY other team in the old SWC was a texas team! they were the only non Texas team in the conference, so why would they want to go back.. plus they have a modern football stadium that seats 76,000.. which means they can sell many seats to teams coming to fayetteville from other SEC schools.

            c) Arkansas has the most successful Track and Field team in the COUNTRY, and they have some of the most impressive facilities in the country for this.

            d) their baseball team has developed quite a rivalry with LSU..

            the folks i know out there are happy as clams to be in the SEC, so I am not sure who these fans are.. and while I would say you are correct about them being a national power in football, they are at least very competitive (with a history of knocking SEC west teams out of the NC picture). I would consider them VERY competitive in basketball, and track & field at the national level.

            i did not mean to go on here, but sometimes it is frustrating as people post about places they have never been.. and accept stereotypes as facts. (and yes, i think IU vs Ark in basketball would be a good long term game).

          • duffman says:

            haha .. yet again it did not tie it as a reply to your original post

        • MIRuss says:

          Hold it, Frank….for The Record:

          Big 10 Pac 10 Rose Bowl all time Appearances:

          Team Appearances Wins Ties Latest
          Southern California 33 24 2009
          Michigan 20 8 2007
          Washington 14 7 1 2001
          Ohio St. 14 7 2010
          Stanford 12 5 1 2000
          UCLA 12 5 1999
          California 8 2 1 1959
          Wisconsin 6 3 2000
          Illinois 5 3 2008
          Iowa 5 2 1991
          Oregon 5 1 2010
          Michigan St. 4 3 1988
          Washington St. 4 1 2003
          Penn State 3 1 2009
          Oregon St. 3 1 1965
          Minnesota 2 1 1962
          Northwestern 2 1 1996
          Arizona St. 2 1 1997
          Purdue 2 1 2001
          Indiana 1 0 1968

          So, technically, since the beginning of the Big 10, it has been WAY out of balance. To let someone off the hook and vote against expansion for the reason that it “will limit our chances of making a Rose Bowl” and that University is Indiana, Purdue, Minnesota, Michigan State or Iowa, then I would tell them to go piss up a rope as they haven’t done too well with 10 (or 11) teams.

          So, to this I say: Bring on the Sharks! It will only make everyone else better. Recruiting will improve top to bottom with kids that want to play big games in the Big 10.

          • MIRuss says:

            Okay, that’s a tough chart to read, but suffice it to say, the schools at the bottom haven’t been there too often….

          • duffman says:


            i have to agree.. bring on the sharks!!

            look at the sec.. they have some top sharks, but their second tier sharks and even the bottom feeding sharks have their day.. UK taking out LSU a few years ago comes to mind.. and some other games… The big 12 games the past few years that knocked out a top team.. but drew “outside” viewer interest.

            If IU was beating tOSU or Michigan every few years.. it might draw more viewers, than getting a$$ pounded year after year. Good rivalry means you get to win a little more often.. so if IU is not getting better in football, you need to bring in some sharks.. to liven up fan interest..

    • KingOttoIII says:

      I actually think it may be easier for those teams. In a normal year they have to beat out or hope for down years from Michigan, Ohio St, Penn St, Iowa, and Wisconsin. As well as hope that Mich St, Illinois, or any of the other 3 you listed in that group don’t have a dream season. So you have to beat out 10 teams to get to the Rose.

      In a 12 team conference you only have to beat out 5 teams to get to the BTCG and then it is winner take all. In both divisions you have to hope for down years from 3 power teams (vs 5 in current set up) and non dream seasons from 2 teams (vs 5 in the current set up). Of course that is to just get to the BTCG vs getting the Rose outright. Since IMO it would be a lot easier to get to a BTCG than to win an 11 team league, I think getting to the Rose is more likely.

      In a 14 team conference it would depend on who is added. If it is only one of ND, Nebraska, or Texas and 2 teams from the B12/BE, then it wouldn’t really be that much harder. You would be adding one mediocre program to the division mix vs the 12 team setup. So you have to beat out 6 teams to get to the BTCG. Harder sure, but not enough to block it IMO. However if two or all three of ND, NU, and UT were added then teams like the ones you mentioned above have no shot at all.

  48. arby says:

    One other point that I think needs restating is that if you want to maintain the heritage of conference rivalries, it will be difficult to lean exclusively in one geographical direction or the other. Michael’s blog entry on the mythical 2018 Big 16 championship is excellent — especially as it spells out the massive research dollars that will play a big role in all of this. But … in his scenario, the 3 western schools wind up playing 5 division rivals that they have little in common with historically. A swing to the east yields the same problem. How excited will OSU or Michigan fans be to see an annual schedule that includes Rutgers, Syracuse, UConn and Pitt on it and leaves only 2 slots for conference games for schools from Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota? A 16 team conference will need to have new members from both ends geographically to maintain the feel of the Big 10.

    • Manifesto says:

      @Arby: As an OSU fan I can say there are 3-4 teams in the conference I seriously get excited for during football season: Michigan, PSU, and sometimes Wisconsin/Iowa. Long history with the rest, but not playing some of them every year won’t have much impact. Replacing occasional thorns at best for new occasional thorns, if I can be a pompous fan for a second (jokingly, of course ;)). Besides, Michigan-Ohio-Pennsylvania have a good tri-state rivalry going between college and professional sports imo, so adding Pitt would be good for that. Personally, I have friends in the NY/Boston areas, so adding teams from those regions would give added incentive to visit.

      From a basketball perspective, losing games against Purdue, Indiana, and/or Michigan State would suck (assuming Indiana ever bounces back). But adding Pitt, Syracuse, Maryland, and/or UConn would provide OSU basketball new and exciting (albeit daunting in some cases) matchups, and new rivalries will emerge over time.

    • m (Ag) says:

      We’ve discussed this on other threads, but using the pod system that rotates divisions can allow everyone to play against everyone else in the conference every 4 years.

      For example, with 5 teams from the West:
      Year 1 & 2:
      Division A: OSU, PSU, Mich, MSU, IU, Pur, Il, NW
      Division B: Iowa, Wis, Min, MO, CO, NE, Tex, A&M
      Year 3 & 4:
      Division A: OSU, PSU, Mich, MSU, Iowa, Wis, Min, MO
      Division B: IU, Pur, Il, NW, CO, NE, Tex, A&M

      Every year teams from the (OSU, PSU, Mich, MSU) group will play 2 teams from the (CO, NE, Tex, A&M) group for non-divisional games. Teams from the (IU, Pur, Il, NW) group will play 2 teams from the (Iowa, Wis, Min, MO) group.

      With this lineup, the 3 Western schools would have a home and away series with every other current Big 10 member every 4 years. Of course, it wouldn’t take long to develop rivalries with the new members.

      Obviously, this sort of setup will work with any 16 schools.

    • @arby – Yes, adding 1 western school would alleviate a lot of this in a 16-school conference. I believe I wrote this in a separate post, but if the Big Ten were to add ND, Nebraska and 3 BE schools, you’d have 4 geographically aligned pods that maintains all of the current protected rivalries except for Penn State’s (although they get 3 Eastern rivals in exchange):

      POD A
      Michigan State
      Notre Dame
      Ohio State

      POD B
      Penn State

      POD C

      POD D

      I’d have Pod A always in an opposite division from Pod B. The main drawback from these pods is how completely stacked Pod A looks in historical terms (and Pod D looks like the pupu platter), but I’m tending to think that the Big Ten ought to follow the geographic rival model like the Big XII instead of the ACC (where they tried to shoehorn Miami and FSU in different divisions). Preserving the various rivalries (along with solidfying the Big Ten’s new Eastern presence by having Penn State play the 3 other schools in that region annually).

      These pods also work for basketball scheduling, too. Each team plays the 3 schools in their pods home-and-away every year and everyone else in the conference once, which works out for an 18-game conference schedule. If we go up to 16 schools without Texas and Texas A&M involved, I’m a fan of this setup.

      • Manifesto says:

        @Frank or m(Ag): Is there room for a single protected rivalry in a 16 team pod system? Using Frank’s setup, could you, say, swap Illinois or Northwestern for ND and let ND play Michigan every year as a protected rival? ND would then get the butter pod, but they’d at least maintain a Purdue and Michigan rivalry (albeit sacrificing an every year contest with MSU). I think there’s a difference between avoiding the ACC’s folly and setting up a pod as an eternal nightmare.

        • m (Ag) says:

          You could do that, but you’d have to carefully assign the protected rivals so that it balances out perfectly between the schools in a pod (one way would be for every team in pod A have a protected rival in pod D, while the same is true for pods B and C).

          This would also mean there will be some schools you play less often; there would be 3 schools you would play home and away every 6 years or 4 schools you play home and away twice every 10 years.

          I think it’s better off not to set it up that way, but it could be forced in.

          • Manifesto says:

            I suppose, thinking about it some more, Pod A wouldn’t be a total nightmare. My concerns were that the three big schools would eat each other alive. But Michigan already plays these three teams every year, and OSU would be swapping its rivalry with PSU for ND. That’s unfortunate, since that’s been a hell of a contest. One that I think has been good for both teams, specifically from a recruiting perspective, but a yearly OSU-ND matchup is a nice consolation prize.

            Pod D is still Poopoo Pod though, as Frank stated. But maybe that’s a good thing. Minnesota would be getting a rough yearly slate as well (Iowa/Neb/Wisc), but oh what a rivalry pod that would make! I’d love to see Iowa-Neb-Wisc go at it every year.

          • m (Ag) says:

            “there would be 3 schools you would play home and away every 6 years or 4 schools you play home and away twice every 10 years.”

            I realized I miscalculated the case for 4 schools. it should be “or 4 schools you play home and away 3 times every 16 years”. (In this case these 4 schools would be on the schedule 6 times in 16 years instead of 8.)

        • KingOttoIII says:

          Using the teams Frank has I would swap ND/Mich St from Pod A and Illinois/Northwestern from Pod D. So it would be like so:


          Plays every year: Ohio St (DIV), Illinois (DIV), Northwestern (DIV), Pitt (Pod Rival), Nebraska (Pod Rival), and Mich St (Pod Rival).

          All other teams (Penn St, Syracuse, Rutgers, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minn, ND, Purdue, Indiana) once every three years.

          Ohio St
          EY- Mich(D), Illinois(D), NW(D), PSU(PR), Wisc(PR), and Purdue (PR).

          EY- Mich(D), Ohio St(D), NW(D), RU(PR), Iowa(PR), and Indiana(PR).

          EY- Mich(D), Ohio St(D), Illinois(D), SU(PR), Minn(PR), ND(PR).

          EY- Ohio St(PR), Pitt(D), SU(D), RU(D), Neb(PR), and Mich St(PR).

          EY- Mich(PR), PSU(D), SU(D), RU(D), Iowa(PR), and ND(PR).

          EY- NW(PR), PSU(D), Pitt(D), RU(D), Minn(PR), Purdue(PR).

          EY- Illinois(PR), PSU(D), Pitt(D), SU(D), Wisconsin(PR), and Indiana(PR).

          EY-Mich(PR), PSU(PR), Iowa(D), Wisc(D), Minn(D), and ND(PR).

          EY- Illinois(PR), Pitt(PR), Neb(D), Wisc(D), Minn(D), and Indiana(PR).

          EY- Ohio St(PR), RU(PR), Neb(D), Iowa(D), Minn(D), Mich St(PR).

          EY- NW(PR), SU(PR), Neb(D), Iowa(D), Wisc(D), Purdue(PR).

          EY- Mich St(D), Purdue(D), Ind(D), NW(PR), Pitt(PR), and Neb(PR).

          Mich St
          EY- Mich(PR), PSU(PR), Wisc(PR), ND(D), Purdue(D), Ind(D).

          EY- ND(D), Mich St(D), Ind(D), Ohio St(PR), SU(PR), and Minn(PR).

          EY- ND(D), Mich St(D), Purdue(D), Illinois(PR), RU(PR), and Iowa(PR).

      • arby says:

        I’m in agreement with this setup Frank. You can also make the case that by putting PU, IU, NU and UofI in the same pod you’re giving them a little bit of an advantage, which isn’t an all together bad thing. Like the NFL schedules that pairs fourth place teams against each other, etc. I’d probably also be inclined to let Pods A & B live together 1/3 of the time as well, so that the new eastern teams and Penn State also get their share of face time with OSU, ND and Michigan.

        • m (Ag) says:

          By having 2 non-divisional games per year between pod A&B (as well as C&D), they will have those teams on their schedule home and away once every 4 years as well.

      • Todd says:

        Frank – If it happen that the Big Ten expands to 16 teams, and the “pods” proposal is put in place, how would the Big Ten champion be determined. I would assume the winners from each of the pods would play a semifinal, then those winners would play a championship game. Following that, those teams would play a bowl game. That could potentially be 14 or 15 games. Would some regular season games have to be sacrificed? And what do pod losers do while these “semifinals” and “finals” are being played?

        • Adam says:

          The rules don’t allow for semifinals. The “pods” are not divisions; they’re groups of teams that would be rotated to form 2 divisions, to keep everybody playing on a regular basis.

          I find it confusing and I’m not a fan, but that’s the theory behind it.

          • R says:

            @Frank- For your next treatise on big ten expansion, could you please address the efficacies of pods, so that all of the pod people may pod themselves out, and I can save some of my hair!

          • m (Ag) says:

            Using Frank’s pods:

            Years 1&2 your divisions are:
            A: MI, MSU, ND, OSU, NE, IA, Wisc, Minn
            B: PSU, Syr, Rut, UConn, Ill, NW, IN, Pur

            Year 3&4 your divisions are:
            1: MI, MSU, ND, OSU, Ill, NW, IN, Pur
            2: PSU, Syr, Rut, UConn, NE, IA, Wisc, Minn

            with 2 non divisional games per year you play everyone over 4 years.

  49. D Shannon says:

    For a while, I thought that Virginia would be an ideal fit for the Big Ten. It’s right up there in academics, has a solid fan base, and would bring the Washington DC, Richmond, and Hampton Roads areas into play. The Richmond MSA has 1.1 million residents, the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News MSA has 1.6 million residents, and neither of the two have either a BCS conference school or a major league team — meaning UVA would have the biggest sports following in that area. Finally, Virginia isn’t that far from the Big 10’s geographic area — Charlottesville is actually farther west than State College — so, among teams located outside the Big 10’s footprint, it would be among the closest to the current schools.

    It might be hard to take just one team out of the ACC. But how about we think outside the box and take three teams from the ACC? Let’s invite Virginia, UNC, and Duke. UNC and Duke might not be football powers, but they do bring a lot to basketball season.

    Also, the ACC has just four teams in the AAU: the three invitees and Maryland. Would our three invitees feel more comfortable with the likes of Clemson, Florida State, and Miami, or with the schools of the Big 10, all of which are in the AAU? UNC and Duke are big rivals, and UNC and Virginia compete in “The South’s Oldest Rivalry,” so some rivalries will be kept by inviting the three as a unit. Also, as noted in Frank’s superconference post, the difference in funding (from sports) between the ACC and Big 10 is even bigger than the difference between the ACC and Big XII.

    Texas has 24 million people, while the combination of Virginia, North Carolina, and the DC Metro area outside Virginia has 16 million people. It might not be Texas, but we get a substantial market anyway.

    But what would happen with three teams out of the ACC? That conference is down to nine teams, and it’s going to try to poach teams from the Big East, and the Big East would have big trouble finding new football teams if it loses members. The Big East football schools would be looking for new homes. Given the choice between the Big 10 and the ACC, most of the Big East’s schools would prefer the Big 10.

    This would provide a great opportunity for the Big 10 to invite Syracuse and Notre Dame. Notre Dame, of course, would be a great coup for the Big 10. Frank has noted that New York is a much bigger college basketball city than a college football city, and that Syracuse may be at the top of that market. With Syracuse basketball, there would be a great demand for the Big 10 Network in NYC — and the involvement of UNC and Duke would only increase the demand among basketball fans.

    If Notre Dame decided not to join the Big 10, the conference could add UConn or Rutgers. In a conference with Penn State, Syracuse, Virginia, North Carolina, and Duke, a sixth East Coast team wouldn’t be a geographical stretch.

    • arby says:

      If you grab three ACC schools it feels like adding Maryland makes a lot of sense too, probably instead of Syracuse. You get other half of DC, all of Baltimore and a school that is making academic headway and has a lot of history of playing Penn State in many sports. One possible catch here — UNC and NC State are both part of the UNC system. It would be interesting politically to see if the Heels would be able to leave NCSU in the ACC. I can tell you it wouldn’t be well received by Wolfpack fans.

      • Manifesto says:

        I love the academics UNC/Duke/Virginia would bring, but they bring almost nothing football-wise. Additionally, I have to think it’d be an unnecessary headache. Would Virginian politicians get involved again on VT’s behalf? What about any culture clashes between Big Ten and southeastern schools? I mean, this isn’t Mississippi we’re talking about, but how does Michigan feel about Virginia’s recent declaration of Confederate History Month, for example? These don’t direct affect the schools perhaps, but there’s certainly culture that can be traced to the communities they are a part of. I dunno… I’m fine with Maryland, and maybe Virginia, but getting in NC now I start to wonder.

        • D Shannon says:

          UNC averaged 57,000 spectators per home game in 2007, when it went 4-8. Virginia had three NFL top ten draft picks in the past four years, and usually has attendance levels over 50,000. That’s something.

          Also, I want Syracuse instead of Maryland. Here’s why:

          (1) I’d want to get into the NYC market.
          (2) As Frank has pointed out, NYC is more of a basketball town than a football town.
          (3) Thus, the best way to get NYC would be to pick up a current BCS team with a large basketball following in the area.
          (4) That team would be Syracuse.
          (5) It would help greatly if the college basketball angle of the package were to be increased.
          (6) That’s why inviting Virginia, UNC, and Duke is step number one in my plan. It’ll cause the ACC to threaten the Big East, thus giving an incentive for Syracuse and Notre Dame to join the Big 10.

          If I were to get Virginia, UNC, Duke, Maryland, and Notre Dame, I don’t get into the NYC market. Furthermore, I would be making it very easy for the ACC to corner the market by adding UConn, Rutgers, and Syracuse as replacement teams. If the ACC also adds Pitt, we’ve given them much of the Northeast.

          That’s why I’d go with Syracuse over Maryland. Since Syracuse is in the AAU, it would still fit in the Big 10 academically.

          • duffman says:

            folks I do not get duke..

            a) small school – not many alumni

            b) private not public

            c) anemic fan base – and this is REAL important.. as stated before I go live to see Big 10, sec, big east, and a – 10 basketball.. i have done this for MANY years.. I can tell you with absolute certainty that duke puts NO fans in the seats.. and that is for basketball.. if FRANK is correct, and football revenue is #1.. why would ANY Big 10 team want to have a team that will not sell seats?? seriously!! explain this to me!!

            as example.. when duke had a good basketball team a few years ago.. they played a regional in RUPP against IU.. and RUPP was RED not BLUE!! i never saw a team with so few fans.. I was there when MSU was in the duke bracket.. the same thing.. IU travels, MSU travels, duke does not.. ask any UNC fan about the Duke fanbase.. and why the Dean Dome is TWICE the size of Cameron..

          • D Shannon says:

            Well, with Duke football, you would get . . .


            HURRAH! HURRAH!

            Also, I think it would be politically easier to get legislative approval for UVA and UNC than for Texas. The Big XII isn’t in a position to grab teams from any other BCS conferences, and that may prevent the Texas legislature from preventing UT from joining the conference without Texas A&M.

            However, the ACC is in a position to grab teams from the Big East. So what if the Big 10 gets Syracuse and Notre Dame, or Syracuse and UConn? The ACC will still be able to get WVU, Pitt, and Rutgers.

            For the ACC, that would be a big improvement in football terms. It would expand its presence in the northeast. And, since Pitt has become a perennial powerhouse, and WVU just made the Final Four, the ACC wouldn’t lose that much in terms of basketball. The ACC, and programs that remain in the conference — like NC State and Virginia Tech — would be better off.

            Since the state schools in Virginia and North Carolina would belong in two major conferences with coverage along the whole Atlantic seaboard and the Midwest, rather in just one conference restricted to the South Atlantic coast and the Boston area, I doubt the legislatures would have trouble with the plan.

            However, in areas where the conferences overlap, the Big Ten would have the advantage.

            UNC + Duke > NC State + Wake
            UVA > Virginia Tech
            Penn State > Pitt

            and, in the NYC area,

            Syracuse + ND > UConn + Rutgers
            Syracuse + UConn > Rutgers.

            The Big 10 would expand into the Carolinas (huge market), Virginia, the DC metro area, and the NYC area. That’s a big gain in the conference footprint.

            Frank says that football is #1. However, Frank also says that football may not be enough to break into the NYC market, and that basketball may be the key there. The latest census estimates indicate that North Carolina is the tenth most populous state in the US. That’s a basketball area, too.

            I’m thinking that getting the Big 10 Network into the NYC metro area is #1, which is why I’m emphasizing basketball. And if the UVA/UNC/Duke pickup breaks up the Big East (from ACC poaching) and gets Notre Dame into the Big 10, that’s also a huge pickup in football.

            I do admit that my idea is a classic “black swan” proposal. It isn’t likely to happen, but it does make a lot of sense, and it could really shake things up.

          • duffman says:

            D Shannon..

            haha.. IU gets a win in football!! trust me i love that part..

            my point is..

            a) maryland to Big 16.. as it has no twin, and is a single.. no problem..

            b) UNC and UVA to the SEC 16 BECAUSE they have twins (VA Tech and NC State) .. i get the feeling everybody would agree to UNC & UVA to the Big 10.. BUT they must bring their sisters (VT & NCST) which would not be a big issue in the SEC 16.. I just do NOT think a conference gets UVA & UNC without VT & NCST.. so unless the big 10 would add them .. it is moot..

            c) which leave us with duke.. which just does not add anything of real value.. and a doormat football team in the ACC and no traveling fans is not something to bring added value to the Big 10.. just my observation..

            i agree to your math of….

            UNC > NCST
            UVA > VT

            my point is the states of VA & NC will only allow the following math..

            UNC + NCST
            UVA + VT

            so.. in Big 16
            UNC + NCST + UVA + VT = No

            Maryland + 0 (no 2nd state school) = Yes

            but.. in Sec 16
            UNC + NCST + UVA + VT = Yes

            if Arkstfan is correct, and the more i ponder this I think they are.. WE are looking at a BIG 3 (B16,P16,SEC16) and the death of power in the ACC and BE..

            people keep thinking the ACC will survive, I am not in that group.. and why I pointed to the SoCo as the historical marker for the future of the ACC.. they will not die (the SoCo did not die) but they are a shadow of their former selves when the BIG PUBLIC schools went and played together, and left the SMALL PRIVATES to fend for themselves..

            which is why duke to the Big 16, would be foolish indeed..

          • Richard says:

            Of course IU fans would outnumber Duke fans in Lexington. Southern Indiana’s much closer to Lexington than NYC (which is probably Duke’s biggest area of support). In any case, the Virginia schools don’t have to move together (they were in different conferences for many years), and the SC legislature didn’t do anything when SC was invited to the SEC and Clemson wasn’t. In any case, there’s only so much state legislatures can do when schools start leaving conferences (as opposed to determining who to admit).

            Finally, I can’t see Carolina ever giving up their Duke rivalry (they’re not going to play Duke twice in absketball out of conference every year), and I doubt they’d give up the twice-yearly basketball games with NCSU either, so I just don’t see the NC schools going anywhere. Maryland may split off to the Big10, VTech may split off to the SEC, UVa may join the Big10 as well, the Florida schools may join the SEC, but the NC heartland will stay ACC.

          • duffman says:


            i was in austin, texas for the MSU vs Duke game and duke was the #1 seed. and there were no duke fans there either! MSU fan yes.. duke fans no.. in fact the tickets i had were in the duke section (from a scalper) and there were more utah fans in the duke section than duke fans (and Utah was a #6 seed). anytime i travel i can get duke seats at a cheap price because they do not travel.. and this is for basketball.. which they have had success in.

            if we are talking Big 10 football, Duke would be a joke in driving ticket sales.. and in revenue for the big 10!

            I find it easy for UNC to part ways with Duke.. they could still schedule a game every year. but in the Big 10 or SEC their football revenue would jump greatly, and they could have multiple rivalries to fill the dean dome.

            you say stay ACC, but if the big 10 and sec took the big state schools.. their would be NO MORE ACC (it would become a minor conference like the WAC or MAC).

          • Richard says:

            We’ll have to get some Carolina fans in here, but I have a feeling that none of them are willing to give up their 2 games with Duke.

  50. m (Ag) says:

    Let’s talk about basketball scheduling in a 16 team conference.

    The Big 10 currently plays 18 conference games. Since we’re talking about playing 9 football games, you could simply have the basketball team play a home and away series with everyone on the football schedule for an 18 game schedule.

    I’d propose something different. I’d use the pod idea and have you play the 3 teams in your pod home and away and then everyone else in the conference once, for 18 games total.

    Then, I’d mix everything up for a 16 team tournament with no byes. Every pod would have its teams seeded 1-4 for the tournament, but they wouldn’t play each other in the early rounds.

    I’d put the 1 seed with the highest conference standing across from the second and third best 1 seeds (so they can’t meet until the final) and place the final 1 seed on the same side of the pool.

    Then I’d place the other teams so that teams from the same pod are in different groups. The 2 and 3 seed from a pod would be placed in different groups on the other side of the tournament from the 1 seed. The 4 seed would be placed in the other group on the same side of the tournament. I’d do this for all 4 pods.

    With this lineup teams from the same pod can’t play each other until the semifinal or final, so the first 2 rounds of the tournament are always against teams you only played once in the regular season.

    You may occasionally get a 4 seed that is ranked higher than the 1 seed it’s playing in the first round. Second round matchups might include games between very highly ranked teams. This, I think, will add buzz and excitement to the tournament.

    • m (Ag) says:

      heh, Frank posted a little about basketball scheduling while I was writing this. I can never refresh often enough when I get around to writing a reply.

  51. Cooper says:

    im writing a persuasive essay. does anyone have arguements for or against college athletes being paid?

  52. 84Lion says:

    Well, Frank, your latest post has made me feel tingly all over (not sure I want to admit that…). As you know, I’m rooting for the Huskers, so I have reason to like your scenario.

    One of the things I’ve been thinking about is that the Big Ten would prefer to integrate these new teams nicely into the conference. I think if that is a priority, one way to accomplish that would be to assign each “newcomer” a “rival” (or “buddy,” if you will) that would work with the new school to help integrate it. Kinda like PSU was assigned MSU as a rival when PSU entered the Big Ten.

    The obvious “rival” for Nebraska is Iowa, which would be a kick-butt season ending game to boot.

    An eastern school is more problematic because the only “available” “Eastern” schools (and I’m using that term loosely here) are PSU and MSU – who just happen to be rivals already. (I’m considering Ohio State and Michigan as “unavailable” due to their untouchable rivalry, and no other B10 schools could be considered “Eastern.”)

    The argument could be made that adding two Eastern schools would be perfect as these could be paired together. However, I think that establishes the schools as “outliers” and doesn’t foster their integration, so I don’t see it happening.

    For this reason, I think Syracuse might actually be a possible add, since they could pair with MSU (kick-butt basketball rivalry there), especially if there is a 2nd Eastern add of, say, Rutgers or Pitt, which would undoubtedly pair with PSU.

    What I see more likely is Nebraska as a Western add (with Iowa as their rival/buddy), one Eastern add (most likely Rutgers, with PSU as their rival/buddy, all due respect to Syracuse, I see their small size and religious affiliation, however tenuous, working against them), and one Central/Western add (most likely Missouri with Illinois being their rival/buddy).

    The best option at this point, I think, would be Nebraska, Notre Dame, and Rutgers. This adds two “national gravitas” football names and a solid East Coast presence. Nebraska pairs with Iowa, Notre Dame pairs with MSU, and PSU pairs with Rutgers. If ND decides not to come on board, I would say that Missouri gets their opening.

    Herbie, obviously it’s impossible to say how the schools would vote. However, back when PSU was admitted, the three schools reportedly voting against PSU were Indiana, Michigan, and Michigan State. See:

    According to the article, a 2/3 majority is required, so unless things have changed that’s 8 of 11 “yes” votes required. Given what Penn State has subsequently meant to the Big Ten, one would think that there would be less reluctance this time around to add a school that obviously brings value to the conference. Another consideration: if memory serves, PSU contacted the Illinois president first to begin negotiations. If there were fancy studies being put forth, I sure don’t remember that. No doubt the Big Ten did their due diligence against Penn State but this time around there seems to be more formal study being applied; if the studies say “yes” then any school voting “no” better have a good reason. That’s maybe the real reason for the studies, when the time to vote comes it’ll be hard for schools to “just say no.”

    Remember at the time that Bob Knight was Indiana’s coach. My recollection is that he vehemently opposed playing PSU at State College because of the travel issues, among other things. So that may have been where the Indiana “no” vote came from. I’m not sure what drove the Michigan and Michigan State opposition, although they may have been concerned that PSU would affect that rivalry, or maybe Michigan was concerned about PSU academics. In the end, PSU and MSU did become “rivals” but Michigan maintained its rivalries with MSU and tOSU anyway. But considering the above, I’d be floored if Nebraska didn’t get the 2/3 majority vote. I just don’t see where any solid opposition could come from other than academics, and it isn’t like UNL is a lightweight there.

    • mushroomgod says:

      Bob Knight definately ran the IU athletic dept. when PSU was admitted….he may as well have been the AD…..don’t know the position of the current AD on expansion….

    • Josh says:

      Interesting point about taking teams with natural rivals, but seriously, PSU’s “Rivalry” with MSU is a joke. Does anyone at PSU or MSU really give a damn about the Land Grant Trophy? MSU’s rival in the B10 is and always will be Michigan–it’s just that UM’s got a pretty girl for the last dance. PSU cares a lot more about beating OSU or even Iowa.

      Under the scenario you describe, Iowa would reluctantly lose that easy end of the season win over the Gophers for the prettier Cornhusker game. Minnesota would now save the last dance for Wisconsin–and the Paul Bunyan’s Axe trophy has always been the biggest one for the Badgers. Penn State would dance with Rutgers (or Syracuse) as their end of season game and MSU would get school #14 just like they got school #11–or they’d have to dance with their cousin from the MAC if the B10 stopped at 13. Really–Michigan State’s got a great personality.

      • Rick says:

        If the Big Ten is going to create rivalry games with the new members, and if Rutgers was ever selected, creating a trophy game with historical significance for both teams would be quite easy for Penn State and Rutgers:

        The Colonial Cup/Liberty Cup/Patriot Cup
        Penn State: Represents Pennsylvania, home of the founding fathers, Declaration of Idep., Constitution, William Penn, Ben Franklin, Liberty Bell, Independence Hall et al.

        Rutgers: Established 1766; The charter was signed and the young college was supported by William Franklin (1730–1813), the last Royal Governor of New Jersey and illegitimate son of Benjamin Franklin. (how ironic) Unique as the only university in the nation that is a colonial chartered college (1766), a land-grant institution (1864), and a state university (1945/1956) One of only 2 (William and Mary) Colonial Colleges that later became public universities. NJ, home of significant Revolutionary War battles and heritage.

    • Marc says:

      According to Bryce Jordan, Penn State’s President who lead their expansion cause,

      “The geographic issue was mostly a cover,” Jordan insisted. “I’ve always thought the real objection was related to the fact that Penn State athletics was flying high, especially in football (with national championships in 1982 and 1986), and some people were concerned about the intensity of the competition.

      “I thought all along that the Big Ten would add a 12th school after Penn State’s entry, and that would lessen the geographic issue. There was even some talk of adding my own alma mater, the University of Texas. The conference could divide north and south into six teams.”

      I agree in that I don’t think the reaction would be the same this go around. Interesting that in this retrospective Dr. Jordan mentions talk of the Big Ten adding Texas back then.

      By the way, great blog Frank.

    • Richard says:

      I believe 70% is required. In any case, I beleive Schembechler and company didn’t want anything to threaten the Michigan-OSU (and an OSU-PSU rivalry would do that). Don’t know why MSU was against.

      Oh, and they did do a study last time. It was much more secret, though, but the gist of it was that the Big10 presidents were adamant that any new school would have to be in the top half of th Big10 in academics and top half of the Big10 in athletics (football). They purportedly looked at every Northern school, and PSU was the only school (in the North) that met both criteria.

      This time around, the academic aspect may be relaxed (otherwise, why bother doing a 5-school study that included Mizzou), and TV money maters more.

      • Adam says:

        Yep, it’s 70%. After I FOIA’d the Big Ten, someone from their office called me, noted that they felt they were not regulated by FOIA, but wanted to know if my information request could be handled over the phone. And I said, that’s the question I have. He said 70% (which I thought was weird), and expressly said that that means 8 votes are needed. I thought 70 was an odd number (it’s normally 2/3rds, not 7/10ths), but as Frank noted, 70% probably dates to when it was a 10-team league and nobody updated the bylaw.

        I imagine Richard saw this when I posted it another time, but 84Lion may not have. Of course, all of that depends on you believing me when I say I had that conversation with the Big Ten. But hey, we all know that if it gets published on the internet, it must be true, right?

        • Richard says:

          True, Adam, I have to trust you’re not lying; in fact, that you’re a real human being expressing your true opinions instead of some character dreamt up by a retired person with too much free time.

  53. Scott S says:

    I recently noticed some comments by FLP on the previous blog entry, so I thought I’d respond.

    “It’s not that we’re impolite, it’s that we don’t have the high opinion of the Big Ten that everyone else seems to…”

    I’ll leave it to others to decide if telling someone you don’t have a high opinion of their education is, in fact, impolite.

    However, I would respectfully suggest that to say you don’t have a high opinion of Big Ten schools might indicate you’re not fully knowledgeable about what the Big Ten schools do.

    For instance, if you find yourself ever needing modern medicine, chances are you’ll be thankful for the Big Ten. For example, anyone you know have a heart attack? The EKG that assessed him is a Michigan invention. And chances are that heart attack victim is staying alive because of a drug invented at Wisconsin. In fact, statistically speaking, the odds are good that the doctor that sees you in your hospital was educated or trained at a Big Ten school.

    If you ever need an MRI, you can thank a guy who spent over 20 years teaching at Illinois. (Another one of the MRI innovators did his undergraduate work at Wisconsin.) Big Ten universities are among the leaders developing stem cell lines and in sequencing genes in humans, bacteria, and animals. This is the future of medicine, treating genetic diseases and developing medications.

    That computer you’re reading this message on uses a disc drive invented at Minnesota. Interested in nanotechnology? Purdue is a leader. Curious about the origin of the universe? The Big Bang was proven at the University of Chicago. Interested in defense of your country? Much of the technology used by the US military was developed at a Big Ten school. Penn State, for instance, does a lot of research for the Navy.

    The truth is, one out of every seven research dollars in the US is done at a Big Ten school, and the Big Ten is responsible for a similar percentage of all inventions and patents in the US, many of which are used in industries developing new jobs in the United States.

    Research is a major component of the Big Ten, and it’s why I believe new schools invited in should have a similar focus. This, to me, is more important than geography.

    In any event, if you don’t have a positive opinion of research in medicine, science and engineering, almost everything that advances our society, I’m not sure what your value system is.


    “My biggest concern is that it would pull the academic focus from the undergrads to the grad students to the overall detriment of the university.”

    That’s a legitimate concern. It’s a criticism my brother-in-law makes of his alma mater (Duke).

    Another reasonable and related criticism is that because state schools are too big, you don’t get as personal a level of training. I think that’s true. And many students need a more personal level of training. So undergraduate-focused universities play a big role in the US. No doubt.

    However, the job of state schools is two-fold. First, they’re charged with the duty to educate large numbers of people. This is a great asset to the US, as the more educated we all are, the better off our society is. And while large schools may not be as personal as a small, private school, if you’re a motivated student, you have access to more top-flight professors and more facilities that few private schools can match. Particularly in the sciences (which is my field of emphasis).

    For instance, as an undergraduate student, I was able to get a position at a graduate-level research lab where I worked daily with a professor who is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. I took macroeconomics from a professor from the Federal Reserve. I did field work in geology and ornithology that I could only do at a handful of universities in the US. I got to work with an electron microscope and to “see” huge telescopes. (Most private schools don’t even have departments in the fields of study I was interested in.)

    As for the off-handed criticism FLP made about classes being taught by grad students, the only grad students I met were leading discussion groups. I never had any classes taught by grad students, nor did I have trouble accessing faculty. In fact, my fraternity had professors from a variety of disciplines over for dinners on a weekly basis. Maybe this is a problem elsewhere, but I think this is a criticism made mostly by those at private schools to justify paying five times the tuition of a state school.

    The other job of universities, in my view, is that they are there not only to educate undergrads—but to expand the breadth of human knowledge. That’s just not done at schools emphasizing the undergraduate level. Nor is it done at schools with graduate departments in architecture, law, nursing or philosophy (as important as those fields are).

    You may not have the “high opinion of the Big Ten that everyone else seems to”, but nearly all advances to which all humankind benefits–in medicine, science, engineering and technology–come at research universities like those in the Big Ten.

    That’s why the criticism of the Big Ten being “regional” rings so hollow. The effects of what the Big Ten produces and discovers affect humanity across the planet. (That’s why international rankings like ARWU rank Big Ten schools so highly. They are emphasizing tangible productivity and output of schools.)


    “Besides, you’re smart enough to know that there’s an enormous difference between playing a school and forming an alliance with them.”

    I don’t know if I’m that smart. You’re sharing a conference with Pitt, which, insofar as I can see, is little different in nature (a large research university) than a Big Ten school. I can’t see why this is acceptable but being in a conference with Penn State, a similar school in the same state, is not.

    And if Notre Dame doesn’t want an alliance with the Big Ten, why did they lobby to join the CIC to join?


    “…as near as I can tell on the visits, the real difference between the student bodies of the Big Ten schools was the state in which the majority of students were born. Are there really cultural difference on a campus level between Wisconsin and Indiana? Between Ohio State and Iowa? I doubt it.”

    I can’t say I’ve visited all Big Ten schools to compare them. I’m sure they’re similar in that they’re students are mostly from within the state. That’s not surprising. State schools are largely state financed. That means by taxes generated in that state. Their job is, in part, to educate people from that state.

    But are you really criticizing the level of diversity at a Big Ten school? You’re comparing that to the diversity at a small, Catholic school?

    At Wisconsin, I had a room-mate from Wisconsin, one from Jordan, one from Taiwan, one from Puerto Rico, one from Pakistan. I knew Muslims, Catholics, atheists, gays, Palestinians protesting Israel, Jews protesting Palestinians. I knew Olympic medalists (speed skating) and for three months I lived with a guy from Italy’s 1980 world cup soccer team. Joan Cusack used to hang out in my dorm room because she liked my roommate. The others most likely to hang out in our room (besides those from Wisconsin and neighboring states) was the son of a Pakistani diplomat and a jazz guitarist.

    Based on my experience, I think the amount of diversity at one Big Ten school would hold up quite well against the diversity at a small, private Catholic school, where diversity is more defined as Catholics from different states.


    “Sure (state schools) may have more #s of people that can be classified as “minority”…..” “Let’s face reality; there are fewer non-white Catholic minority groups in this country than other minority groups. There are more East Asians and protestant African Americans than Latinos, Filipinos and Catholic Vietnamese in America.”

    Actually, the reality is that Hispanics / Latinos are the largest minority group in the US. More than blacks. And they are overwhelmingly Catholic. Hispanics represent 15.4% of the US population, yet Notre Dame is made up of just over 9%. If Notre Dame, which prides itself on being a “national” school, wished to be more diverse, you might think that they would be at least as Hispanic as the national average.

    Blacks represent 13.5% of the US population. 7% of blacks are Catholic, meaning there are 2.3 million Catholic blacks in the US. Apparently, Notre Dame, at all levels, graduate and undergraduate, has a total black population the 430 range. Assuming an equal distribution across graduate and undergraduate levels, there are fewer than 100 blacks per class at Notre Dame. And how many of those are there primarily as athletes?

    There are 11 million Asian Americans. 17% of all Asian Americans are Catholic (Filipino’s overwhelmingly so) and 21% are protestant. It wouldn’t be hard to have a larger Asian presence on campus either.

    (BTW, even the Notre Dame administration admits to wanting to have more minorities. It’s not like this is my criticism.)

    • Rick says:

      Magnificent Scott, Bravo.

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      Wow, I’m starting to understand why so many domers find some B10+ fans to be annoying and obnoxious, even if the conference is Gaia’s gift to man.

      • Manifesto says:

        @Playoffs Now!:
        Perhaps, but there’s nothing wrong with taking pride in your conference. It gets annoying to get crapped on by other school/conference alumni for being “just a bunch of state party schools” just as much as it gets annoying to get crap for being “big and slow”. (Not accusing FLP of either in this case.) When you don’t feel either stereotype is true, sometimes it’s good to point out the inaccuracies.

        Although, if you’re trying to espouse the merits of Big Ten research to a Catholic university alumni, I’m unsure bringing up stem cell research and Big Bang Theory is the way to go. But maybe that’s just me being snarky. :)

        • Scott S says:

          I’m not sure Catholics have a problem with the Big Bang these days. Or evolution. (Any Catholics can tell me if I’m wrong on this, but I think they’ve come around on these issues, as they have with other previous scientific discoveries once thought objectionable.) Regardless, it’s the truth and demonstrable.

          I think it the protestant fundmanetalists who have the bigger problems with these issues.

          As for stem cells, the bottom line is that they’re the future of medicine. And in my opinion, Catholics will come around on this issue with time, particualry when they realize there is a difference between stem cells and fetal stem cells. But we’ll see.

      • Scott S says:

        I’m simply replying to what I perceive as inaccurate comments made by Notre Dame fans. I’m simply stating that the Big Ten is a collection of schools that is very good at what they do. Educate the masses and do top-flight research. If I’m incorrect on a point I’ve made, call me on it. Maybe I’ve made a mistake. Otherwise, give credit where credit is due and don’t make up criticisms that have no basis in reality.

        To be clear, however, I’m not stating that the Big Ten schools are the best. There are a lot of outstanding schools out there.

        Of publics, Washington, the schools in the Cal system, Virginia, Texas, A&M, Pitt, Florida, UNC–I can’t list them all (so don’t get offended if I didn’t list your school)–do much the same work as Big Ten schools. Many are as good or better than Big Ten schools, particularly in one department or another. (And the fact that they do it at such a bargain cost is amazing.)

        I’m not disparaging privates either. All of the ivies are top-notch. In addition, Stanford, Cal Tech, Duke, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Washington University–there are many, many privates that are excellent, again, often better than Big Ten schools, particularly in one area or another.

        Nor am I disparaging Notre Dame. I’ve said repeatedly that it is a very good school. Like Boston College, Wheaton, Georgetown and a host of other religious institutions, however, it has an undergraduate focus, and it’s strongest graduate departments are things like law and architecture, not hard sciences. That’s not a crticism, it’s simply a fact.

        Personally, I know schools with such a focus are necessary. My sister went to such a school (small, private, religious). My niece is currently at such a school. My longest life-long friend went to such a school.

        It’s entirely reasonable for Notre Damers to want to remain independent. It’s entirely reasonable to want to maintain one’s identity. If it’s quite closely associated with football, I can appreciate that(even though there’s some irony there given the fact that touching the old pigskin is expressly forbidden in Leviticus 11:6-8)

      • michaelC says:

        I think this post was less about the Big Ten than it was about the role of big research universities in society. This aspect is unappreciated by many. It happens that one characteristic of the Big Ten is that all of the members are such universities. That same however can be said of the other big research universities in the country — UC, UCLA, UWashington, Texas, UNC etc.

        Small, undergraduate-focused institutions can certainly exemplify excellence in teaching and other aspects of undergraduate education. But there should be no question about where the heavy lifting is done when one thinks about creating the future through research. I think Scott’s post is exuberant, certainly, and some may find that off-putting, but in the context of responding to the particular criticism I think it is on point.

        The bottom line is that there are many who do not understand what big research universities do and mistakenly equate ‘great university’ with its quality of undergraduate education.

        Re: ND
        As has been said many times ND is a fine undergraduate school with excellent students. It is not, however, a big league research school. In that regard it is quite unlike the rest of the Big Ten. ND in the Big Ten _would_ be a cultural outlier. We all know ND has an opportunity to join the Big Ten only because of its football brand name. Personally, given a choice between ND and a great research university with an average football tradition, I’d pick the research university for the long haul. But that would leave money on the table. So, ND in the Big Ten will be a marriage of convenience that produces gobs of money. Still, despite the grumbling about the good old days after the wedding, eventually everybody will get along well enough and the ND alums will soon enough be Big Ten fans.

        • FLP_NDRox says:

          Even a die-hard like myself wonders if twenty years of being in the Big Ten kill the Notre Dame golden goose.

          If you think ND fans would eventually become Big Ten fans you have another think coming.

          Large sections of ND fans do not consider themselves Midwesterners. Even midwestern ND alums consciously chose against attending a Big Ten school.

          If the discussions of Fielding Yost have taught us anything, it’s the ability of the Notre Dame family to hold a grudge.

          • @FLP_NDRox – I like your posts, but I’m still perplexed by the geographic tinge in your arguments (i.e. Big Ten = Midwest and ND = National). Doesn’t it change drastically if the Big Ten becomes more Eastern-oriented (which I think is a big part of the plan)? I understand that lots of ND students come from the East Coast, but there are a ton of indications that this is exactly where the Big Ten is headed for expansion. If the Big Ten also adds a western flank (whether in the form of Missouri/Nebraska or even better with Texas/Texas A&M), then that’s about as national as you can possibly get with a conference outside of a conference that somehow includes both Florida and USC. MAYBE the Big Ten could be considered “regional” now (even though it already has the most widely distributed fan base of any conference, similar to ND, which is why bowls from California to Texas to Florida jump at Big Ten tie-ins), but it certainly won’t be a Midwestern conference after expansion to either 14 or 16 schools. You’re looking at what the Big Ten looks like today. ND needs to take into account what the Big Ten will look like if/when it gets a presence in the NY/NJ area and/or has western additions because THAT’s the conference ND would be agreeing to join (not just the 11 schools today).

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            Frank, you’re right. The Domer arguments are much more persuasive if the expansion is merely Big Te(leve)n + ND. Like you, I’m also starting to think that the expansion will go eventually to 14 or 16.

            Maybe it’s just my take on the outside looking in, but is Penn State *really* considered an Eastern school anymore? I remember when PSU first joined, a big deal was made of western PA’s midwesternness, the Big 33 and the natural rivalry with OSU (that for reasons that have never been explained has never blossomed into really what it should have). I think a lot of people are like me thinking of PSU as a midwestern school now when we didn’t during the years when they were playing Miami for National Championship as independents. I personally forsee the same thing happen if Syracuse was added.

            That’s less likely with a UCONN, Rutgers, BC, or Maryland, I know. But how likely are those? And, since only one or two of those would be taken as part of even a 16 team league, how are any of them not considered outliers?

            If any Big XII schools are taken, outside of TX, aren’t they definitionally Midwestern? And seriously, how likely is Texas? They need to take TAMU with them. They may prefer going in with the PAC-10 (especially if they go to a PAC-14). They have deep seated political issues.

            That’s another thing: I can’t forsee Michigan and Ohio State letting in BOTH Texas and ND even if that’s the only way to even pretend to nationalize the conference. That’s entirely too many alpha dogs to muck up the UM-OSU control of the Big Ten that theyve enjoyed since day 1.

            Even growing up in the Midwest as a Big Ten fan, I’ve never sat thru a Michigan-OSU game. If I wouldn’t why would anyone in the South or California unless they’re from Michigan or Ohio?

            I think the Big Ten will likely remain in the Public imagination a midwestern institution, not a national one. I still laugh when I hear about Michigan and Ohio State’s national following. I mean Michigan may have been able to make that argument in the Fab Five era, but that’s it, and that was twenty years ago.

          • Manifesto says:


            “I remember when PSU first joined, a big deal was made of western PA’s midwesternness, the Big 33 and the natural rivalry with OSU (that for reasons that have never been explained has never blossomed into really what it should have).”

            OSU/PSU play each other every year, and it’s a big enough rivalry. From an OSU perspective at least, it’s a big game. It matters, and we take it seriously.

            You have to look at it from OSU’s perspective. There is one rivalry that consumes the majority of OSU fans and (obviously) that’s Michigan. That’s never going to change. We have plenty of enmity towards PSU, Wisconsin, and Illinois (probably in descending order), but Michigan is all-consuming for outright rivalry “hatred”.

            If people were expecting a PSU/OSU rivalry to approach that they were kidding themselves. Paterno-Tressel/Cooper aren’t Woody-Bo, and no one in Columbus is keeping track of the number of days since PSU last beat OSU. OSU-PSU has gotten a little nastier in the last decade though on both sides, so in terms of a rivalry I suppose that’s good. Takes time for these things to grow sometimes.

          • m (Ag) says:

            If Texas and A&M are added, there will certainly be more interest in the OSU/Michigan games in the state of Texas if one of those schools have a chance at the Big 10 championship game. Same thing for other football-mad states like Nebraska if they are added.

            I myself have never followed it that closely, paying more attention to Big 12 or SEC games that weekend. I would certainly start paying more attention if the move was made.

          • Manifesto says:


            That’s not a surprising statement, given that all rivalries are regional to an extent. People watch OSU-Michigan when they have national implications, such as in 2006 when 21.8M people watched despite it not being a night game (3:30pm est start). But they were ranked #1 and #2 and it was late in the season. When both teams are good, they are ABC’s main game that day. The only reason it isn’t the primetime night game is because neither school wants it to be.

            Likewise, I don’t care as much about ND playing USC or Florida playing Tennessee or Texas playing Oklahoma unless there’s national implications. Will I check them out? Perhaps, but then again I watch a *lot* of college football. Probably more than your average football fan. But they aren’t must-see unless there are more things at stake than rivalry bragging rights.

            I watched Oregon-Oregon St. last year because it decided who Ohio State was playing in the Rose Bowl. It determined who won the Pac 10. Aside from that I didn’t care about either team or the fact they are rivals. I watched the SEC title game because I wanted to know who was going to the NC game.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            Manifesto and m(Ag),

            To put a different spin on your statements: Unless the game affects *my* team, I ain’t watching it.

            I agree.

            That’s why I wonder about the success of the BTN in an a la carte cable world.

            If you aren’t already a Big Ten fan, there’s tops 3 games a year you care about in the Big ten. The championship, and the two divisional deciding games. Even if you are a Big Ten fan, you’d rather watch your team if its on at the same time. At my house, if it’s a choice between the Old Oaken Bucket or UM-OSU, Dad and I are watching IU-Pur.

            If I am out west I’m watching USC over ANY Big Ten game. I think you can guarantee the same in the SEC no matter who your school is (except UK, who’ll be watching basketball either way).

            This is why I don’t ever see the BTN as being more than regional regardless.

          • m (Ag) says:

            “To put a different spin on your statements: Unless the game affects *my* team, I ain’t watching it.”

            No, I’ll be following the top teams in my conference even if my team has fallen out of contention. Even though A&M has been on about a decade-long down streak, I still am very interested in Big 12 games late in the year that don’t affect A&M in any way. Sports are much more interesting when you’re familiar with the teams involved. So if at least one team in OSU-Michigan is playing for a BCS chance or a Big 10 title game spot, I’ll likely turn in even if A&M is in the opposite division with a mediocre record.

            Right now, I’ll generally make time to watch ‘good’ games in the Big 12 or SEC. If I flip around, I’ll stop to watch the 4th quarter of a close game between good teams in other conferences, but I won’t sit down and make an afternoon out of it. If A&M would leave for the Big 10 or Pac 10, I’d stop paying much attention to whoever was left behind rather quickly and start paying attention to the new conference colleagues.

    • FLP_NDRox says:

      @ Scott S.
      Dude, seriously, chill. I’m *in* Indiana. Most of my extended family went to Purdue. I woulda went more with astronauts when talking about Purdue, but whatever. I also woulda pointed out the Manhattan Project had big stuff going on under the Maroons’ stadium. But it’s all cool. No one doubts the high points of Big Ten research (even if occassionaly Michigan State pulls some SEC type athletic stunts) (kidding). They do fine work. Although all of us midwestern kids know folks who went to State and partied on weeknights. Just sayin’.

      That said, ND *isn’t* a state school. But it’s pretty good at what it does. We graduate like 95% of our freshmen in five years. Not of the athletes, but of the student body as a whole. I knew *two* guys in my class in my dorm that didn’t graduate from ND. One ended up at Mich. St., the other at Columbia. I think they did OK.

      As for Grad students. At ND the few I had were a mixed bag. I just remember my Dad telling stories of huge lecture halls @ Purdue where you couldn’t even see the instructor except on a screen hung from the ceiling. Dad might have been exaggerating. Did we really request to join the CIC? Its good for ND, but I missed *that* in the alumni magazine.

      I didn’t start the diversity discussion. Someone else did when they meant discussing how much of an outlier ND would be. Why you so obsessed with it? Or do I not wanna know?

      I know I wish ND had higher Hispanic enrollments. I blame the rediculously high tuition. If my kid were going, I don’t know if I’d be willing to pay that much, and I lived it and loved it. I know we all thought it awkward when I was there that half the AA male student body was on the Football, Basketball, or Track teams. But I did manage to meet people from all over there, too.

      But I do stand by my earlier assertion. There’s not really a lot of difference between campus life at Michigan or Minnesota or Iowa or Illinois. Correct me if I’m wrong.

      Like I said earlier, the world needs both kinds of schools: small and big, sectarian and secular, research and teaching. I know if I’m paying 5x more than I would if I went to *State* I know what I want. I’m glad you enjoyed your time. Don’t act like you can’t appreciated I enjoyed mine, too, not to mention getting a bunch out of it.

      You shouldn’t really take it so personally that schools that are consciously different from yours in important ways don’t think you are the be all end all in education. Nor should you take any offense that the folks who love a school that would be even bigger outliers than NU aren’t currently aren’t chompping at the bit to get in to your little club. Jeez.

      While I’m thinking about it: ND doesn’t have FRATS either. Doesn’t want ‘em or need ‘em. Wrap yer brain around that?

      @ Playoffs NOW!

      THANK YOU!!!

      @ Manifesto

      Big Bang is not only not a problem, but an entertaining show.

      *embryonic* stem cells? Nice try attempting to get my to lose the argument on a Godwin’s law violation.

      • Manifesto says:

        Not gonna lie, I haven’t watched Big Bang Theory. I know that probably hurts my credibility as a software developer or smart person, but I have to come clean.

      • Manifesto says:

        @FLP: As an Ohio State grad, the university with the largest undergrad population in the Big Ten, I can say your father may be exaggerating or he may just be remembering a different era. I’ve heard similar horror stories regarding OSU by individuals that graduated a long time ago. However, OSU has made a serious commitment over the last 15-20 to increase it’s academic profile. Part of that is reducing both the overall number of undergraduate students on the main campus (by increasing the requirements to attend OSU in Columbus versus, say, Newark) and increasing the number of professors.

        It’s (relatively) difficult to get accepted to OSU’s main campus these days. Moreover, in my experience (as an 2004-2008 undergrad), the only times I dealt with classrooms with sizes larger than 30 was when I dealt with freshman-level GEC courses. In that case it was a split course with a recitation hall seating 250 people or so, then discussion groups with TAs in classes of 30 or so. Even then, I probably only had 5-6 courses like this, and none of them were within my chosen major (CIS/CSE). Is this the same for the other Big Ten schools? Can’t say, but it wouldn’t shock me. The money isn’t in being a diploma factory for in-state kids anymore.

        • Marc says:

          That’s how some of my GER classes were at Iowa. Large lecture halls and small discussion sections with TAs. Most of my classes and major courses were not over 30 students a class.

      • Scott S says:

        1. Graduation rates at schools like Notre Dame and Duke are outstanding. Even for atheletes. State schools will never approach those numbers. For better or worse, there aren’t a lot of people there guiding you along. It’s much more sink or swim.

        2. State schools do have a party rep. Much is deserved. But state schools are like society–there are some there studying, some partying, some doing whatever.

        3. As for the Notre Dame asking to join the CIC, I came across this reference when looking for Notre Dame demographics. I’ll see if I can find it again.

        4. As for whether campus life is different at one BT university or another, I don’t know. I haven’t visited more than a few, and haven’t spent much time at any other than Wissconsin and the University of Chicago. Further, the schools and campuses are big, so life at Wisconsin was diverse. (Much more so than U of C).

        Depending upon your interest or background, you could have a variety of experiences. For instance, you could insulate yourself within a Jewish or muslim community, you could live at a fraternity with nothing but engineers or nothing but blacks. Fraternities weren’t overly big, but even if you joined, it wasn’t necessarily stereotypical. In my frat, we lived in a mansion designed by Louis Sullivan across the street from the University president, and we dressed for dinner. Others were clearly more like Animal House.

        So it’s hard for me to state that Michigan State or Iowa or Penn State “culture” are identical or to talk about the Wisconsin experience as if it’s homogenous. Wisconsin even had two student unions (and they’re building a third). Some students only frequented one or the other. Same for the libraries. UW had a good couple dozen. So where you studied or what types of people you encountered was variable. On a big campus, I think you carve out your own experience.

        • Scott S says:

          The story on Notre Dame’s petitioning to join the CIC comes from:

          Jennifer Yachnin
          University Wire
          (Michigan Daily) (U-WIRE) ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The University of Notre Dame Faculty Senate voted Tuesday to support a resolution to join the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, a higher education body composed of the Big Ten constituents and the University of Chicago.

          “The recommendation is that we enter negotiations to join the CIC,” said Gregory Sterling, chair of the Notre Dame academic affairs committee, in a report in The Detroit News. “We didn’t address the issue of the Big Ten, but the two are … ”

          You have to sign up to a website for the rest of the article.

    • Rich2 says:

      No one at ND denigrates graduate education. In fact, our undergraduates matriculate in graduate programs at one of the highest rates in the nation.

      It is interesting that while you present the positive you refuse to acknowledge the negatives. Let me provide a few items based on a topic I know very well: undergraduate enrollment strategies in the Big Ten.

      1. Undergraduate enrollments have already swollen to historic levels in the Big Ten (excluding the one outlier, Northwestern).
      2. As a region, the state budgets of the Big Ten schools are in the worst condition of any states represented in a BCS conference (even including the disproportionate influence of California and Arizona in the Pac 10).
      3. Support from states to the main campuses of Big Ten schools will either decline or be flat for the next two to four years.
      4. The effect of the “silver bullet” will diminish over for the next five years: the percentage of undergraduate enrollment in Big Ten schools from out-of-state students will decline in the next five years (and their double to triple tuition rates).
      5. The continued decline of the core of the Big Ten schools in overal national rankings (undergraduate + graduate), that is composite rankings, will continue its trend which first started more than a decade ago. I could not help but notice that while the USNWR rankings are not as rigorous or reliable as other rankings (for example, BusinessWeek), the most recent rankings showed continued improvement of the ACC and Pac 10 schools while the Big Ten schools fall further behind: UCLA, USC and Berkeley and UNC all nudged ahead of Michigan and Wake Forest drew even. Michigan!!
      Forget about IU, PU, Minnesota, MSU, PSU (or RU, CONN, and Missouri).

      The trends are very difficult to turn around — and increasing BTN review from 22m to 30m in 2015 will not have any effect.


      • @Rich2 – If you have such dire predictions for Big Ten institutions, why do you continue to work at one?

        • flp_ndrox says:

          Frank, it’s a recession. New jobs are hard to find.

          I hadn’t heard this about the aca. rankings, but giving the demographic trends, I’m not surprised. Except by Wake Forest…when did they upgrade?

        • Rich2 says:

          The reason is: tenure.

      • Scott S says:

        I hate writing these long posts, but here goes…

        “It is interesting that while you present the positives, you refuse to acknowledge the negatives.”

        My post was a simple response to what I felt were derogatory comments about Big Ten schools.

        As such, listing a series of negatives about the Big Ten would not be a logical part of such a response. However, Big Ten schools do have negatives (as all schools do). So let’s go over your list.

        1. You state that enrolments are higher than ever. Why are you saying this a negative? If state schools make money on in-state students (I don’t know if they do or not), this is a positive. If you’re stating that in-state students are a net drain (my guess), I’m no administrator, but I can see several theoretical choices with which a school might wish to respond.

        First, the state could go into even more debt to fund the school. (Not appealing, but they seem to do it all the time, don’t they?)

        Second, the state could raise taxes to cover a shortfall. (I agree this is not going to happen at this point in time.)

        Third, tuition could be raised for in-state students. (No one would like this either, but it’s been going up everywhere and there’s still a HUGE gap between state schools and privates. My nephew is paying something like $50,000 at his school at the moment.)

        Four, admissions of in-state students could be tightened. (This is meant to cut costs if in-state student are, in fact, a drain. This also has an indirect benefit. Magazines like USNews would like it because it means the school is more “exclusive”, even though the quality of actual education imparted would not be affected. So it would, in theory, raise a schools rank in that publication).

        Five, more out of state students could be admitted. (I don’t know what “silver bullet” refers to, but this would help offset costs.) Six, more foreign students could be admitted. (There were 671,600 international students enrolled in US universities in 2008-2009, and first year enrolment jumped 16% this past year. So clearly there’s a huge demand, and clearly admitting more and more foreign students is already happening. International students in countries with booming economies are desperate for a good quality education, and the US is the number one destination in the world. And several Big Ten schools near the top of the list of international students. Foreign students already represents 16% of Illinois enrolment, 15% at Purdue, 14% Michigan, 10% at Michigan State (all of which are in the top 10 in the nation. Three other Big Ten schools are in the top 20.

        This is one reason for Big Ten schools to be grateful the ARWU rankings rank Big Ten schools so well. That’s an international ranking read by foreign students. A lot more foreigners will read that than a US magazine like BusinessWeek.

        In any event, Rich, what do you think is the worst thing that could happen to the Big Ten? Or any state school? Have you ever heard of any state university anywhere going under? In the great depression? During the World Wars when funds were unbelievably tight and students were off to war? Ever?

        2. The state economies may well be doing poorly. True. And that’s true in much of the US.

        Of course, we’re all kind of in the same boat on this. A poor economy is not unique to Big Ten schools. And it affects both publics and privates. (Have you seen how much many endowments have gone down in both publics and privates?

        Further, do you think that people making donations to schools like Notre Dame are immune from a poor economy? Do you think there is anyone, anywhere, who suddenly may not be able to afford a private school? I know people in this boat. Would that not affect all schools to some degree? Why is this a negative for only the Big Ten?

        Nonetheless, as bad as the economy has been of late, everyone who has been around for a while certainly knows that the economy has up and down cycles. Yes, the economy may stay down for a while. A few years. A decade. Two decades even. Maybe there will be tough times. But it will rebound. It always rebounds. We’re already rebounding here in Canada.

        3. You say support from states will decline or be flat four two to four years. Okay. I’m sure you’re correct. It will be bad for a while. You say two to four years. Could be longer. Whatever. So what? It’s not forever. So they tighten their belts for a while. Eventually it passes. What is the point you’re making? How is this a negative to the Big Ten and no other schools?

        Besides, it’s not like the state is the only source of funding for Big Ten schools. The other source that is unique to research schools like those in the Big Ten is……not to keep harping on this, but……..research money. All of the Big Ten schools are very strong in research money. Michigan and Wisconsin have supposedly crossed the BILLION dollar mark in 2009. That’s per year. All Big Ten schools bring in hundreds of millions per year. Most of that does not come from the state government, so it is an outside source of funding.

        Not all of that is spent on test tubes and fruit flies. A good chunk of that goes to the university for buildings and staff, heat and lights. This source of funds, too, is not so readily available at small, private schools that don’t do research.

        Of course this could dry up too. Though if you look through the numbers, research money hasn’t gone down in almost any school. Even last year. But it could go down. Let’s say it goes down 20%. Then the University of Wisconsin has to make do with $800 million for a few years.

        4. Could you explain “silver bullet”? If out-of-state students decline as you say, however, one could always increase foreign students as discussed above. There’s a huge supply of foreign students, and they at least used to pay more than the out of state students. (As mentioned, I had several foreign roommates and knew many more, so I know they were paying through the teeth.)

        5. As for your point on rankings, first, UCLA, USC, Cal, UNC and Wake Forest are all fine schools, (though I know less about Wake Forest than the others). Frankly, I have no objection to their being ranked highly. That they’re ranked well is no insult to Big Ten schools in my opinion.

        As for Business Week’s rankings, I only see Business Week’s rankings of business schools online, so I can’t comment on what you’re seeing. (I didn’t even know they ranked other departments or the universities as a whole. Could you provide a link?) When you say Big Ten schools are slipping, do you have comparisons from the same source in previous years?

        Big Ten schools also don’t fare so well on the USN&WR rankings. To me, I see what I would perceive as absurd rankings on that list, so I take it with a grain of salt.

        However, rankings will vary by whoever is doing the ranking and what methodology they use. For instance, Notre Dame is ranked very well on USN&WR, (which loves private schools), but Notre Dame is ranked 91-112 on in the 2009 ranking done by ARWU.

        As perspective, a 91-112 rank ties Notre Dame with schools like SUNY Albany, SUNY Buffalo, New Mexico, Central Florida, LSU, Kentucky, Kansas, Oregon, South Florida, Washington State, Wayne State, and Yeshiva.

        A 91-112 rank also means that ARWU ranks Notre Dame behind every single Big Ten school (Chicago #8, Wisconsin #15, Michigan #18, Illinois #19, Minnesota #20, Northwestern #22, Penn State #32, Ohio State #41, Purdue #42, Michigan State #48 and Indiana #52.)

        Does this 91-112 rank mean Notre Dame is slipping like you claim Big Ten schools are slipping on the rankings you have chosen to quote? (Why do I think you won’t feel this is the case?)

        Maybe there’s a different methodology at play between the different sources. Could it be you get different results when you judge class sizes versus reputation? SAT scores of admitted students or Nobel Prize winners and Fields medal winners on staff? Graduates who have become CEOs at Fortune 500 companies versus selectivity? Numbers of PhDs produced versus individual attention provided by professors? Number of scientific papers produced per year versus graduation rates?

        What if a private school is FANTASTIC at literature or history or journalism or art? What if a public school is AMAZING in chemistry, limnology, business or ancient Greek? Who do you rank higher?

        (We rank our alma mater higher, I”m sure.)

        When I went to Wisconsin, the zoology department was supposedly ranked #1 in the world. Does that mean the university is a good school?

        But what if Wisconsin were TERRIBLE in electrical engineering. Is it still a good school?

        What if one school was weak in Slavic languages and another didn’t even offer Slavic languages? Which one should be ranked higher?

        Maybe we should rank departments instead of universities as a whole—like Gourman used to do. But is that even possible? Is it reasonable to give one school a 4.33 and another 4.32? How do you differentiate like that and come up with a ranking? One ever-so-slight difference in weighting or opinion of a single professor could drop one school a dozen or more ranks.

        Given all this, what’s the real difference between a school ranked #33 and #39? Or #109? Maybe it’s absurd to give numerical ranks to schools at all.

        Personally, I think its clear rankings are ball park estimates at best and completely prejudiced by what one values. I know that Duke is a very good school even if it’s ranked below Cal by ARWU.

        However, rankings are helpful for me to look up a school I don’t know (like Buffalo earlier today), but I pretty much know all the best schools in the sciences, which was my field.

        For sciences, I truly like bigger schools better. The access to facilities not even found at smaller schools can be amazing.

        However, I would almost certainly have a different personal ranking of schools had I gone into the humanities—very possibly preferring smaller, private schools with more individual attention.

        And I’ll tell you, from the point of view of the student, what really matters isn’t really the school so much anyway. Education isn’t passive. It’s active. What matters is the motivation of the student. A motivated student at a poor university can accomplish more than a student at a top university who drifts listlessly through his four years.)

        Finally, I’ll mention that AWRU has the schools you mention ranked: Cal at #3, UCLA at #11, UNC at #30, USC at #33. So ARWU agrees these are all fine schools. I could tell you this without any ranking, so again, no complaint from me. I’d have been pleased to attend any of them. (Wake Forest isn’t ranked quite so high by ARWU, at #113-138.)

        • mushroomgod says:

          Excellent post. You spent a lot of time responding to an idiotic post, but I’ll add a few more words.

          Given the state of California’s economy, it is doubtful that state schools such as UCLA and Cal will continue to advance in the rankings. USC will be affected as well.

        • Scott S says:

          I just received an email from a friend this morning. His wife is entering Wisconsin’s MBA program.

          “Karen has incoming UW MBA orientation stuff today and through the weekend….She’ll get an MBA from a program with 100% placement for less than what one semester of my nephew’s prep school cost. I tell you, Wisconsin does have it’s up side.”

          State schools get a bad rap from those who attended privates–particularly in the east where states are particularly dismissed. But it’s amazing to me what they can offer for their cost.

          Maybe Rich’s concerns are all valid. Maybe some schools will have to contract. Maybe drop a bunch of majors. Cut enrollment and staff. Maybe some will have to raise tuition, or drop sports that lose money. Maybe some will drop in rankings because of it. Could be. Even then, that school will be an amazing deal compared to the cost of a private.

          BTW, almost every school in Canada is the equivaltent to a state school. Largely paid for by tax dollars. Very few privates. So there isn’t this private versus public squabble.

          My 10-month-old son could go to the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto or the University of Alberta for all about the same cost. He doesn’t even have to stay in his home province. If there’s a great program at Queens, great. If there’s a better program at McGill, fine. And many of these schools are very good indeed. (According to ARWU, Toronto ranks Toronto #27 in the world, between Illinois and Minnesota; UBC #36 (ahead of Maryland and Texas) and McGill #65 (with Dartmouth, Tufts, and Iowa). Further, that cost is even less than most state schools in the US.

          Plus, the government encourages parents put $5,000 aside each year, earn interest tax free, then use it for education when the chilod is of age. That money alone would pay for most of that child’s education cost. And if the child doens’t go on for a university or even tech college, the parent can keep that money for retirement. Not a bad deal.

          Would I consider sending him to a private in the US, even if I had the cash sitting around, stuffed in my linen closet? Maybe for a Harvard or Princeton or Yale. Ivy league diplomas are still very valuable in a lot of fields. But other than schools of that nature, no, probably not.

          • Richard says:

            Generally my thoughts as well. I’d add the Ivy-equivalents (Northwestern, Duke, Stanford, UofC, JHU, CalTech, MIT, WashU, Rice, CMU) and some liberal arts schools like Swarthmore (because you’re not going to find that environment at a state school), but otherwise, if your state school (or Canadian school) is good in your field of interest, there’s no reason to pay several times more to go to a mediocre private (unless your family’s poor, in which case the privates may give you enough financial aid to make the cost of attendance the same as a state school).

            Also, the top public state schools get a relatively small percentage of their funding from state governments now. In the future, I see more of them become “state-related” like PSU & Pitt, with some money from the state and a small discount for in-state residents, but otherwise functioning independently.

          • Scott S says:

            Richard: What school is CMU?

          • Rick says:

            I believe it is Carnegie Mellon (CMU)

          • Richard says:

            Yep, Carnegie-Mellon. You can tell my major was in an engineering school.

          • Scott S says:

            Ah, the Carnegie Mellon. That’s the best type of mellon. Along with the cantaloupe.

      • Scott S says:

        Rich, if you’re associated with a Big Ten school, could you give me an estimate what the total budget is for a large state school? What percentage of this is paid for by the state government versus tuition or other money coming in through other sources? Also, do you have any figures on how much a state school makes or loses on a foreign student, an out-of-state student and an in-state student?

  54. Rick says:

    This whole dance with Notre Dame reminds me of a great scene in “Dumb and Dumber”. Lloyd (Jim Carrey), ever the optimist, is finally having the love conversation with Mary. Lloyd reminds me of the Big Ten and Mary of Notre Dame:


    Look, Mary, I know this may seem a
    little sudden but I’ve given it a lot
    of thought: You’re the woman I’ve
    been waiting for my whole life, and
    I’m not ashamed to admit it —
    (holds up his hand)

    –Please, let me finish.

    I’m crazy about you. I’ve never felt
    this way about anyone. You make it
    so easy for me to tell you my
    innermost desires.

    Listen to me, I feel like a schoolboy
    again. A schoolboy who desperately wants to
    make sweet, sweet love to you.

    Suddenly we hear TOILET FLUSHING O.S.

    REVERSE ANGLE REVEALS that Lloyd has been talking to an EMPTY CHAIR. The bathroom door opens and Mary comes out. She looks around, expecting to see someone else.


    Oh… I thought I heard you talking to someone.

    Lloyd is flustered. He swallows hard. It’s the moment of truth.


    I desperately want to make love to a schoolboy.

    MARY (taken aback)

    Maybe I should be going now.


    No, that’s not what I meant. I meant… I really like you, Mary. I
    like you a lot. I’m gonna ask you something flat out
    and I want you to answer me honestly:

    What do you think the chances are of a girl like you and a guy like me
    ending up together?

    Mary is obviously thrown by this question.


    Lloyd, that’s difficult to say. I mean we hardly —


    –I asked you to be honest, Mary.


    But Lloyd, I really can’t —


    –Come on, give it to me straight. I drove a long way to see you, the
    least you can do is level with me.

    What are my chances?


    Not good.


    You mean not good, like one out of a hundred?


    I’d say more like one out of a million.


    So you’re telling me there’s a chance?

  55. cutter says:

    I see that CBS Sports reporter Dennis Dodd has put out his latest article on conference expansion. It will be one of a series of articles through the week:

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      A couple of interesting quotes from the article:

      Dennis Dodd – “The conference could expand to 12 or to as many as 16 — and maybe more.

      Hmmm, is that “maybe more” just his speculation (aka meaningless) or is there perhaps a B10+ source behind it? (Which could give us a whole new ball game.)

      “There’s never a time not to have conversations,” Texas AD DeLoss Dodds said. “But this is certainly a good time to have conversations about anything anybody can think of that is new and innovative … On this deal, you can let your imaginations run wild.”

      For someone supposedly happy staying in the B12, he doesn’t seem to mind stirring the pot of intrigue.

      “If the Big Ten went to 16, the SEC wouldn’t be far behind,” said Tom Hansen, former Pac-10 commissioner. “It’s all driven by football TV income.”

      Not a huge surprise, but to hear a former commish say this gives credence to the idea that the seismic shakeup many have hoped for has a good chance to take place, rather than being just another false alarm. If we do see a big expansion and realignment, there’s a good chance we’ll see changes to the post-season. A plus-one is enough of a start, like Delany says, it will inevitably expand. Seems like the SEC wouldn’t expand unless it can modify its TV contracts, but in this economic climate the TV side needs a good reason to cooperate in renegotiation. Hence such change might be tied to other aspects of college sports, such as the BCS arrangement. Realignment into 2 or 3 super conferences may be enough of a landscape change to prompt movement in several areas.

      OTOH, would adding the right teams to the SEC produce enough value to ESPN modify their package? Clemson and WV wouldn’t, but what about 3 Texas schools and OU? That would put 4 of the top 8 cf brand names (and 7 of the top 15) in one conference, and increase the SEC’s home market pops by what, 30+%? I would have expected UT to prefer the academic super conference that the Big Tent would offer, but unless they are very quiet with negotiations and playing good poker, that doesn’t seem to be their preference. Since every realist option for UT involves compromises, maybe the SEC is on the table. UT, aTm, TTech, and OU would make a great SEC West with LSU, AR, and both MS schools. Tough, but not too tough a path to the conf champ game (and gets the AL school back with their eastern rivals.) This is the one setup where LSU might be ok with losing the annual nature of the AL game, lots of Tigers living in Texas. Keeps travel for UT about the same as in the B12, keeps the rivalry games in conference, brings back the AR fued, establishes an LSU rivalry that will be instantly huge (and a team that UT has had success against) and doesn’t give OU or aTm the potential recruiting advantage they’d have in the SEC if UT split from one or both and went to the P10+ or B10+.

      If nothing else, such an SEC discussion would give UT leverage against the P10 in trying to bring in a similar Texas-based block of schools, including OU. Might be enough to get the rest of the p10 to pressure Stanford if they’re obstinate about TT’s and OU’s academic standing (though neither is that far behind ASU, Or St, WSU, and Oregon.)

      As much as I despise some aspects of the SEC, particularly their cheating nature (though USC, OR, WA, Or St, Neuheisel, Mich, Oh St, aTm, CO, and OU have all had more than their share of ‘issues’) the Texas-based SEC West is growing on me. Hits all the bordering states but NM (which is so far away it is about as influential to most of TX as Hawaii is) while maintaining a local feel and fit. Basically trading Ok St for AR while adding neighbor LSU. Plenty of arguments against UT to the SEC, but I could now see it happening.

      • m (Ag) says:

        “If the Big Ten went to 16, the SEC wouldn’t be far behind,” said Tom Hansen, former Pac-10 commissioner. “It’s all driven by football TV income.”

        I don’t buy this. Yes, if they can increase their payout to each school, they will expand. But the Big 10 going to 16 teams doesn’t mean that anyone else will be able to make money expanding.

        If Texas changes it’s mind and wants to join the SEC, the conference will likely expand. In any other scenario, it’s difficult to see them even going to 14 teams. A&M will likely stay with Texas, which leaves maybe Missouri and Virginia Tech as 2 schools that might be able to add enough TV markets to justify their entry.

      • Stopping By says:

        Tom Hansen was a terrible backward (opposite of forward) thinking commissioner – listen to nothing he says.

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      Forgot to mention, one thing that intrigues me about TX, aTm, TT, and OU to the SEC is that it would trump and foil Delany. While he could create an unsurpassed BCS academic super conference, the B16 would on average always be second to the Super SEC on the football field. While the current gap between the SEC and B10+ is greatly (and infuriatingly) exaggerated by ESPN and the pollsters, most of the time as a whole the SEC>B10+. Adding ND and NE could change that, but an SEC plus UT and OU flips it back. That would inevitably gnaw away at Delany as a dream not quite accomplished. Inner angst I would love to see, because that sorry bastard is THE reason we don’t have some sort of a cf playoff already. A single game matching up 2 beauty contest winners isn’t a playoff or a real championship. Perhaps he’ll bring it about now as a result of expansion. But until we get one, I’m going to keep my Delany virtual voodoo doll. “Hand me another pin…”

      • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

        Haven’t we read numerous stories detailing Texas’s hatred for the SEC? This seems like an impossibility. The PAC10 or Big 10 are better cultural fits for Texas (and thus aTm if they are indeed a package deal).

        Yes, Texas is keeping their mouth shut. And if you notice, no one–PAC10 or Big10–has publicly mentioned Texas schools yet either. They’ve mentioned them in response to journalist QUESTIONS, but never openly as volunteering information. They are the yellow roses everyone wants. You can bet both conferences are secretly lobbying uber-hard to get those schools’ attention.

        The SEC wouldn’t need to expand now…but if the “best pickins'” were being snatched up while they sat back on their 15 year ESPN deal contentedly, they’d lose out. They are in the enviable position of waiting to see what happens. Whereas the Big 10 will be making the changes, the SEC will be reacting to the changes…and not suffering because of it. Since the Texas schools won’t come to them…and they’re not interested in any of the New England schools that the Big 10 might target…their future targets are almost entirely schools that the Big 10 is NOT targeting.

        • Rick says:

          Does the SEC have a minimum yes vote, or percentage voting requirement for approval of new members? I’m sure they do but I have no idea

          • duffman says:


            i do not know..

            but at one time texas was in the SoCo with all the current SEC schools.. and if they bring A&M.. they get LSU and Ark for rivals.

            I still see Texas and A&M in Pac 16

  56. Arkstfan says:

    Per your request.

    Playing around with the NCAA attendance figures. There are 20 some odd schools that average right at 70,000 per game and we can presume they tend to draw good TV audiences.

    Of those schools all are in the SEC and Big 10 except for:
    Four in the Big XII: Texas, TAMU, OU, Nebraska
    Two in the Pac-10: USC & UCLA
    Two in the ACC: Clemson & Florida State
    One independent: Notre Dame

    Of these, Notre Dame, Clemson, and FSU are in states with strong SEC or Big 10 markets.
    Nebraska, OU, and Clemson are in markets that range from small to not big.

    When you take an economics approach to the game the first thing that stands out is that in football you have 65 upper class and 55 lower class programs. Arguably 65 upper class, 9 middle class (MWC), and 46 lower class. That is an unnatural imbalance and precisely the sort of thing that triggers realignment.

    Let’s view the country as someone like ESPN would (by ESPN I mean the full family, ABC, the cable nets and over-the-air syndication). The fewer people I have to contract to get market share, the better it is for me. Right now I have to contract with six conferences in order to cover the major TV markets and major TV draws. I contract with four of the other five to backfill non-standard slots I can’t convince the big six to cover.

    But what if the world changes?

    If I’m ESPN I’m quite happy to see the Big 10 take Notre Dame plus three or four Big East schools that can meet my needs in the NE markets. I become even happier if the SEC takes Texas and TAMU with four good sized markets including two huge markets. If the SEC can help me with key markets in North Carolina and Virginia/DC/Maryland all the better.

    Now I have few needs out west as the Pac-10 hits every key market except Denver and Salt Lake City. I’m strong but not perfect in Las Vegas which has a large transient population that is more agnostic about who it watches.

    If I’m ESPN I’m thrilled to death if the Big 10 and SEC go to 16 and the Pac-10 adds one of the Utah schools and Colorado. If I sign them I need only three contracts with leagues made up of 44 schools and get really close to the same level of market coverage I needed three contracts to deal with. I’ll still be willing to deal with the other leagues but they will be backfill to make sure I’ve got content for U and to syndicate to regional sports nets and local TV as well as weeknight games.

    Expansion is pro-ESPN and I’l pay the three about what I was paying the six. The three are happy and I’m happy.

    Instead of 65 upper and 55 lower class schools, we get 44 upper class, roughly 40 middle class and around 36 lower class and the system is in better balance making it more stable. If you are in the new 44 great for you. If you are in the MAC, WAC, C-USA and Sun Belt you barely notice a difference. If you are Big XII, ACC, or Big East that didn’t get picked, finding a way to pay for a high budget program became hard.

    • duffman says:


      wow.. i mean WOW!!

      ESPN used the ACC to gain a foothold against the Big 3 (for the old days of just NBC,ABC,and CBS) and kept leveraging up.. with the power they now posses what you have just proposed is so simple, yet so possible..

      and my cannibalization of the Big 12, ACC, and Big East makes even more sense.. it is the banker approach.. easier to make (1) Million Dollar loan over (10) Hundred Thousand Dollar loans.. and cost savings makes the Fat Cats happy, on the wealth transfer issue….

      Playoffs Now.. if you are right, Delaney gets checkmated by the SEC.. and nobody really wins.. but the media! it would appear that he is the pawn in a big money sweep!.. hummm….

  57. JerseyCityOrange says:

    Any one know when the BIG EAST 27 month notice cut off would be this year? With a late August football start, they would need to announce by late May for a 27-month notice. Unless it’s based on academic calendar or fiscal year.

  58. duffman says:


    as a TV guy.. if we enter MEGA big 16 & pac 16.. seems like the sec would have a clause for re negotiation.. as they would not want to fall back..

    sorta why i looked at a sec 16 with addition of UNC + NC State, UVA + Va Tech.. or some type of ACC raid based on BIG state schools..

  59. duffman says:


    actually.. your Pac 16 was like the one i proposed except I had Kansas instead Utah… my question is.. which is the better media fit between Kansas and Utah? and why?


  60. duffman says:


    haha.. yeah that is sort of what was in the back of my mind.. lawyers..

    did you see the compare / contrast post as it kicked it up higher..

    i am interested about the kansas vs utah to the pac 16, as I had maryland to the big 16 instead of kansas..


  61. M says:


    As the one who originally looked at the alma maters of ND’s BOF, I made a mistake in the list I used. The ones I looked up were from before they had a switch last year:

    Coincidently (or not), the retiring trustees had Big Ten connections and the new ones do not. The priest component was and remains overwhelmingly ND educated.

    I am not sure why that is overly comforting though, as one of the key drivers for it is Swarbrick (ND ’76).

    • FLP_NDRox says:

      From what I’ve read it doesn’t sound like Swarbrick’s driving it. It sounds to me like he’s doing the good lawyer thing by thinking about worst case scenarios. Plus he’s got to know that if ND jumps to the Big Ten without an incredibly good set of excuses that he’ll be the public scapegoat. No one wants to go down into the lore as the guy who sacrificed our independence for cash.

      Y’know, they might try to spin this as “fulfilling Rockne’s dream” but I wonder how well it will fly if we become, “the religious Vandy”.

      My relief comes from knowing that 75% of the BoF lived the ND experience and valued it. You can’t live ND and not. They may not have been as hands on with the day to day as I’d have liked, but I doubt they’ll blow this decision.

    • MIRuss says:


      Dodd didn’t really cover any new ground that I haven’t either seen here or somewhere else…However ,the 1959 “Airplane” conference was interesting and it made me think how that would have probably failed miserably by now due to the lack of “relative” performance of the academies…

      Which, of course, got me to thinking: Is there something unforeseen that we’re all missing here? Things (environments) always change, and seem to change more quickly now than ever before. I just wondered what would happen to say, the SEC if there was a huge demographic shift in the region to say the northwest part of the country for whatever reason: Jobs, climate, etc.

      Anyway, the link from the Dodd article I thought was interesting (and frankly, kind of ripped you off) was “How Much Are the Candidates Really Worth?”

      and I was shocked to see that the state of Nebraska only has a population of less than 2Million people…which, when you look at their revenue, tells me there’s a hell of a lot of rich farmers in Nebraska or the Oracle of Omaha is spending a lot of money at Nebraska games. I’m not sure which.

      Where I’m going with this last point is pretty much the conclusion Law Buckeye: If Notre Dame and Texas aren’t part of the discussion, there’s really not much of a discussion to have….

      • Mike says:

        Warren Buffett doesn’t typically give a lot (if any) of money to Nebraska Athletics and I don’t know if you will ever find a rich farmer (farming, like pimping, aint easy). What that number shows is how big Nebraska’s fan base is outside of Nebraska.

  62. M says:

    I thought I would answer the offhand questions about Catholic teaching, the Big Bang, and evolution.

    The original paper proposing the Big Bang theory was written by a Jesuit priest Georges Lemaitre. The Catholic Church has been a supporter of theory almost before scientists because it coincides better with creation theology (i.e. the universe has a beginning rather than an infinite period of time in its current state).

    The Church’s relationship with the theory of evolution is more complicated. “Origin of Species” was never placed on any banned books list. Gregor Mendel, a Catholic monk, developed the laws of genetics which gave substantial support to the theory. However, no official statement was made was until 1950 (89 years after publication) by Pope Pius XII in which he basically says that he did not like the theory but that it isn’t intrinsically contrary to Catholic thought. Pope John Paul II strengthened this view when he referred the theory in 1996 as “more than hypothesis”.

    In practice, evolution is widely taught in Catholic schools with much less controversy than many public schools. In fact, a search for disputes about whether it should be taught yields sites claiming the whole theory of evolution is a Jesuit conspiracy instead of any actual incidents. (As an aside, if you would like to know how Barack Obama is a puppet controlled by Jesuits out of Scranton University, you will not find a more “informative” read than

    From my personal experience at a Catholic high school, the only comment I heard about Creationism was when the state was considering an “equal time” proposition for public schools. My biology teacher stated that it did not matter, as he would continue teaching evolution.

  63. Ron says:

    It is reasonable to speculate that the Big East, as a football conference, is eventually going to be destroyed, with the most desireable schools and markets going to either the Big Ten or the ACC (or both). The only thing holding the ACC from eventually expanding into a superconference and adding schools like Pitt, Syracuse, Rutgers and UConn is current economics, with the Big Ten a much more desireable conference to join (for now). Question the Big Ten needs to ask itself in the long run is does it want to dominate the markets of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, or would it rather share (or totally lose) these markets to the ACC? Sorry to phrase this like a Walmart business model…I’d be the first to admit Nebraska would be a whole lot more fun and immediately desireable as a football program.

    • Richard says:

      You could have both. Rutgers+Syracuse+UConn hopefully is enough to lock up NYC and all 3 states in the tri-state. Nebraska as a 4th team still leaves room for a 5th (Maryland if they’re willing, Pitt to lockup Pennsylvania, or maybe ND to try for New England).

    • c says:

      Re eastern markets (Ron)

      Personally I would like to see the Big 10 take SU, RU, Pitt, UConn in combination with ND or Maryland and lock up these large, major, contiguous affluent markets as you suggest.

      It’s a lot easier to create a great football team than a great university. UConn and RU and SU are the only major schools in their states. Such a combination when connected to PSU and other major Big 10 schools would mean a lockdown of these markets and long term stability.

      Nebraska despite their great history and incredible fan base to me is a bridge to nowhere absent Texas joining the Big 10.

      The Big 10 needs to focus on what it’s key long term strategic goal is and not get sidetracked.

      However, this is really going to come down to Big 10 Presidents of large midwest research oriented schools deciding on the basis of affinity as well as markets.

      And it will similarly depend on what do the Presidents of Texas and ND really truly want to do.

      • Ron says:

        Thanks for the support. Frank is operating by the assumption that it is politically untenable to take the four northeastern schools of the Big Ten all at once and destroy the Big East. I’m making the opposite assumption that if you’re going to raid a conference, go for it. Don’t leave a horde of angry leftover teams and conferences on your borders. Both approaches have merit, politics and law can be very unpredictable on how they apply to big changes like this. My thinking re the ACC is to live and let live, schools like Boston College, Maryland and Virginia are appealing targets but not worth stirring up further public controversy in the wake of a large expansion.

        • @Ron – That’s a fair point. The politics are certainly there, but my overarching concern is simply wondering how much value adding all of those Northeastern schools are going to bring to the Big Ten. As of now, every single Big Ten school is making more TV money on its own than the ENTIRE Big East football conference. The Big Ten Network is a great financial vehicle, but it also won’t magically turn the BE schools into massive money-makers – there’s going to have to be a balance between national football name brands and large population bases for a multi-school expansion to work. Absent a school like Texas (which automatically brings a national football name plus a massive home market), all of the other names we’ve been discussing brings either one or the other. I’m really looking forward to Patrick’s insight because I think it will touch upon what we ought to weigh more from the TV side – a big name like Nebraska or a massive market like Rutgers. If push comes to shove, is the Big Ten really going to pass up on a school like Nebraska (#4 most valuable college football program according to Forbes) that’s an AAU member or even Missouri for UCONN that’s not an AAU member and has only been playing FBS football since 2000? I can kind of understand if the Big Ten simply doesn’t want to pass up on Pitt (who has a lot of football history and great academics) despite the lack of a new market, but the financial hit that the conference would take to add Pitt needs to be made up either in the form of at least one national name brand (Nebraska and/or ND) and the maximum number of new households in the Big Ten footprint (Syracuse/Rutgers/Missouri). UCONN is the most likely school to be left without a chair from the BE even though its location and academics are desirable.

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            UConn’s football may be relatively new, but they’re pretty good and have been for several years. Last year (IIRC) they lost several games by just a point or two, coming off the murder of one of their star players. While I’m not very high on BEast football, unless MO gets another Chase Daniels, UConn on average will be better than MO. Same for bball, and of course they have a monster in woman’s bball.

          • Ron says:

            @Frank agreed, you do need Notre Dame to make the four school northeast expansion economically viable (I’m personally not convinced Nebraska gets that done since its appeal out east is limited). If Notre Dame still refuses to join the club, are you free to keep this blog going another ten years or so?

          • Rick says:

            Patrick had some very, very interesting thoughts on the ND TV value, basically not valuing it as high, from a BT network perspective, as other candidates and contrary to what I and others on this blog assume is a given (that being their unquestioned massive TV appeal and value). I was actually quite shocked he came to that conclusion. I too would like to hear more from Patrick on the ND TV value.

          • m (Ag) says:

            This is why I suggest taking the 5 Big 12 schools at once. You get nearly as many people as 5 Eastern schools will get you, but you get sure national names that are popular in their region. Taking them all together also helps the schools say ‘yes’.

          • Richard says:

            However, it’s all dependent on whether Texas wants to play ball.

        • c says:

          Re politics of expansion choices and “packages” (Ron)

          The “political” reason an expansion to include 4 northeast teams is doubtful in my opinion is not that it would expose the Big 10 to criticism though it will (though likely less than when Miami and BC were sued during the ACC expansion due to the charge of making misleading statements).

          The bigger political obstacle is internal and relates more to a largely midwestern conference feeling comfortable with including so many eastern schools.

          UConn is a further geographical distance from the current center of the conference, despite its potential to attract interest in New England beyond Conn. And Pitt adds no new market not covered by PSU.

          Still these schools offer large contiguous potential markets where the sum of its parts would likely be greater than the individual schools.

          Schools like Maryland, UVA and even BC have been occasionally mentioned along with others. However despite the value of the individual schools, in my opinion Maryland needs a partner to make an impact in the DC market or would be competing with VT and UVA; UVA would likely want an affinity partner such as UNC (not likely) and BC is the ultimate island as compared to a combination of SU, RU (and perhaps Pitt or UConn)who in combination with PSU would all be strongly connected and perceived as such by northeastern college football fans.

          If ND is part of picture even better, but if not I could see Nebraska as completing the combination in part for its great national football school and in part due to the Big 10 desire to add an affinity “midwestern” school (assuming Texas is not interested)

          • Richard says:

            If the Big10 adds the Northeastern schools, they’d become the “Northern” conference instead of just a Midwestern one. Culturally, I think most people would be fine with that; the Big10 already draws students from and sends alums to the East Coast heavily.

          • Ron says:

            @C Don’t think its reasonable to ask the Big Ten as a conference to “invest” in the northeastern markets without a fairly immediate return, even though you and I agree that it is clearly a long term winner. Public institutions in general are being held to short-sighted standards of profit and loss throughout society. Think you could see Big Ten conference and institution officials getting fired over a northeastern expansion without Notre Dame since the short range balance sheet might prove devastating. It would be nice if research indicates Nebraska could fill in for Notre Dame after all, just have my doubts.

          • c says:

            Re northeast expansion without ND (Ron)

            Actually I thought I was agreeing with you from a preference perspective of adding 4 northeast teams.

            Now I notice your suggestion to add these teams is contingent on adding ND which you feel would be needed to create synergy in addition to PSU and other Big 10 schools to make it work.

            And further the Big 10 Presidents are unlikely to go out on a limb to invite 4 eastern teams absent ND.

            I agree.

            As mentioned in my other posts, I doubt Big 10 expands beyond 14 without Texas or ND and would be very surprised if the Big 10 takes more than 2 eastern teams even if ND is included.

            Pitt has no unique market beyond PSU. UConn is likely to be subjectively perceived as too far from the current conference center and a midwest based conference will likely be concerned with dilution of its current schedule by adding 4 eastern members.

            For all I know absent ND and Texas the Big 10 may simply add one eastern school like RU or simply add Nebraska or even add Pitt from an affinity perspective or go to 14 and add Nebraska, RU, SU.

            The 16 team conference really comes into play based on the Presidents knowing whether ND or Texas are available, what package of schools if any they prefer relative to Big 10 preferences and research from TV and cable executives and Fox as to what are the likely and potential financial returns.

            I am not privy to any of that information and I doubt anyone posting here is.

            The truth is RU only a few years ago decided to become competitive in football; UConn is new to a BCS level conference; and SU is now back from its nadir with a new chancellor and AD making significant improvements in facilities and coaching salaries and hiring Doug Marrone after firing Gregg Robinson who was a disaster for the program.

            The Big 10 Presidents know all this and will make their decision based on where they believe these schools are going.

            As you say, the Big 10 Presidents may be frozen when it comes to making a decision if Texas and ND are not involved, least they make a “devastating” mistake.

            Actually I don’t believe adding 4 eastern teams with ND is any guarantee of success.

            What I naively believe is that if the Big 10 wants to capture eastern markets they should really consider adding the single major schools in the states of NY and NJ at least to lock down the market, in combination with PSU and other major Big 10 schools, and not rely on the appeal of a school based in Indiana that you are premising doesn’t want to join the Big 10 anyway.

          • Ron says:

            @C excellent analysis, think you’re starting to explain my position better than I can. Have two qualms, one, on Notre Dame joining yes I am very flippant but also truly optimistic this time (that’s just my sense of humor coming through). Then again, haven’t we been here before? Two, there are no guarantees in life, but the northeastern markets look AWFULLY good if the Big Ten is patient. Look at it this way, don’t you think the “Tea Party Activists” of their day took Thomas Jefferson to task for the Louisiana Purchase and William Seward to task for buying Alaska from Russia? I just think the Big Ten Conference needs to look at Syr, Rut, UConn and Pitt as a package deal and not cherry-pick, else they cede what’s left to the ACC. Would say that people on this blog have an (understandable) urgency for the Big Ten to act, but think of the Big Ten as playing a chess game with the ACC. It has a current (big) advantage re potentially gaining the northeast markets, but if not patient the ACC will pounce on the mistake and gain a draw (have to say, as a spectator sport, college football beats chess five ways to Sunday).

          • c says:

            Re: expansion strategy re northeast schools absent ND (Ron)

            With respect to northeast football, SU, RU, UConn are currently in the process of creating a very interesting regional rivalry that is historically unique.

            Unfortunately time is running out on the Big East and the loss of two northeast schools would change the image and reality of the conference.

            Some point to the low TV contract of the Big East and ask what that means about the northeast market. Correct me if I am wrong but the current Big East TV contract was negotiated after the loss of Miami, VT and BC.

            Louisville, Cinn, USF and UConn were all new to a BCS level conference. RU was still a doormat and SU football had begun its slide after years of neglect. There was talk of the Big East losing its BCS bowl status.

            One mistake is to view the Big 10 expansion simply as a search for dollars.

            A second mistake is looking at the financial returns over a very abbreviated time frame; some may want to invite candidates based on current revenue projections versus longer term upside.

            My own view is its a lot easier to create a great football team than create a great university in a large affluent, contiguous market.

            If one looks at the Big 10, not every school is PSU, OSU, Michigan, Wisconsin. There is a geographical continuity and stability where the sum is greater than the parts.

            Adding SU,RU, UConn (and Pitt) in combiation with PSU and major Big 10 schools gives the Big 10 a lockdown of a large, contiguous, affluent market that has nothing but upside over the long term.

            Assuming that Texas and ND do not want to join the Big 10 as long term partners, the question becomes who do the Big 10 Presidents want as long term partners and what is the best way to secure a long term financially stable future with partner universities in a changing environment of conference TV channels and the beginnings of a race to attract larger TV markets.

            The Big 10 has a first mover advantage that will set a precedent. Expand by one and conference stability is insured for the time being depending of course on what happens to the Pac 10 and Texas.

            Personally I sense the ACC is more insular and content than the Big 10 and left by themselves would prefer not to expand beyond their southern based conference.

            But my guess now is as other conferences explore the options of their own channels the race to expand markets may become more widespread.

            In summary, the Big 10 Presidents are not likely to act because they are concerned with the ACC, but rather, where do they see their opportunities and who do they want to partner with?

        • c says:

          Re taking 5 Big 12 schools (M)

          That strategy assumes Texas is interested. They are clearly target one. And that would probably include Texas A&M and likely a 3d bridge school.

          Any news?

          Without Texas, only Nebraska is likely to resonate nationally.

          • m (Ag) says:

            “Any news?”

            Nah, I don’t have any inside information.

            But as a strategy, I think it would make sense to go to Texas and make the offer (behind the scenes). They’d fit into the new conference better than they would if several Eastern schools were added and then the 2 Texas schools were added. With the states of Texas, Colorado, Missouri, and Nebraska the Big 10 would have almost as many people as NY, NJ, and Connecticut, and there wouldn’t be any worry about whether the fans would follow the teams.

            I think, from a financial sense, this should be the Big 10’s priorities if they’re talking about a 16 school conference:

            1) Getting both Texas & NJ/NY. Financially big, but less appealing to Texas than option 2.
            2) Going with 4 or 5 Big 12 schools. Large increase in population (not as big as 1), well integrated conference, teams nationally known. Only state schools with AAU membership involved, helping keep academic focus of the conference.
            3) Going East, perhaps with Nebraska or Missouri. Unless Maryland is involved, this won’t add to many more people than option 2. In addition, you’re bringing in at least 1 private university (Syracuse, maybe with Notre Dame) which might not fit in as well. The popularity of the schools in their own state is more in doubt.

            Most people seem to think the Big 10 should grab something East and then see if maybe Texas would join. I think the Big 10 should secretly see if Texas is interested in option 1 or 2. Only if they say no to both should they try to go to the riskier (but potentially valuable) all Eastern route.

          • c says:

            Re adding 5 Big 12 schools (M Ag)

            I would be shocked if the Big 10 hasn’t already discussed in detail whether Texas wants to join and what package of schools they want to come with them relative to Big 10 preferences.

            Texas would be a home run addition to the Big 10.

            The only question is are they interested?

            If Texas wants in, my guess is Texas A&M and perhaps Nebraska as a bridge school are the package.

            I would be surprised if ND wouldn’t want to be part of such a conference and I would guess the Big 10 would want to add one eastern school such as RU to geographically balance the conference expansion and capitalize on ND’s appeal to such a market.

            Therefore I doubt 4-5 Big 12 schools would be added to the Big 10.

            The only problem is this assumes Texas is in play, but are they?

            I personally don’t see Missouri as having any interest nationally; Colorado is a great school but absent Texas I would be surprised to see them added to the Big 10.

  64. pennstgrad says:

    I think this multi-phase expansion makes a lot of sense as I think ND is still wishy-washy. Frank do you think the Big Ten brass is clever enough to think of this themselves or do you think they will be made aware of this idea through your blog? You should be working with the Big Ten committee on expansion!

  65. Tidbit from Lansing: I’m not sure how connected the head of the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl is, but he’s hearing through “bowl channels” that the Big Ten is planning a 16-school conference.

  66. Playoffs Now! says:

    Good to see the range of pinks starting to post more again. Color wheel balance has been overlooked in this discussion, which lately has been too dominated by the green and blue spectrums.

  67. c says:

    Re Predictions although I could see anything happening (subject to change upon next rumor)

    Timing: sometime after June Big 10 President’s meeting

    1) Texas package likely means 16 total schools:
    at this time seems unlikely

    2) ND package likely means 14-16 schools:
    guaranteed at 16 schools; possible if accompanied by 2 eastern schools at 14;

    3) eastern market schools: at least one: 100%;
    probably RU then SU in priority;

    4) expansion to 14 absent Texas or ND: possible: probably include 2 eastern schools and Nebraska

    5) Strong national football program: Nebraska: possible in 3-5 school expansion depending on whether Texas or ND is included

    6) 4 northeast team expansion plus ND: zero percent

    7) midwest expansion beyond Nebraska (absent Texas): zero percent

    8) 5 team expansion including Texas, Texas A&M, Nebaska, ND and one eastern school (likely RU): unlikely but strong combination

    • c says:

      Re CIC research cooperative

      Still waiting for anyone who can guess why major research universities would not offer CIC membership on a partial basis akin to U of Chicago to strong research universities as Pitt without membership in sports conference?

      Seriously how important is research to Big 10 Presidents when they have not offered CIC membership for some 20 years and are only now considering offering membership based on obtaining a 12th team for a football playoff and to expand to new markets due to the Big 10 Channel?

  68. Mike says:

    @Rick – Ask a Nebraska fan about Pitt’s AD. I dare you.

  69. Penn State Danny says:

    As a PSU grad living in suburban Pittsburgh, I am pulling for Pitt (mainly for the chance to see my Nittany Lions once every other year)

    This is how I feel things are going to shake out (at the moment…I am sure that I will change my mind with Frank’s next post). Bascially, I think that it will be 3 of: ND, Nebraska,Rutgers and Syracuse.

    I don’t think that Pitt or Missouri make the cut even though that they were 2 of the early favorites.

    If Rutgers AND Syracuse both join, then kiss the BE good bye. The ACC probably takes UConn and Pitt.

    WVU, Louisville, USF and Cincy would be stuck to form a new CUSA. This is definitely most unfair to WVU but I really feel that their academics are too low for the Big Ten or ACC. Their location is actually too north for the SEC (no matter what Coach Stewart said)

    Here’s hoping we know SOMETHING this summer.

  70. PSUGuy says:

    Something I just thought about concerning UConn…its a public land grant university, that’s been around since the 1800’s, and been trying to build itself into a top notch research university for the past 20 years. AAU membership aside, if it could find a way to get into the Big10, with its CIC and research tie-ins, it might very well be placed to become “THE Public University of New England” (something I think its been trying to do for some time now) and garner the sports following (and television draw) that it entails. Could it become the “PSU” north of the Hudson? Probably not, but do you think an Illinois or Indiana is out of the question?

    Now maybe this has nothing to do with the selection process, but I always felt part of what attracted the Big10 to PSU was PSU’s ambition/drive over the past 20-30 years (when they joined in the early 90’s) in the areas of expanding its research and “geographical footprint” via conference/sports activities. Something I see UConn doing a lot of lately.

    As Paterno said somewhere (paraphrasing), joining a conference is more about marriage of common goals than just following the money. UConn strangely, the more I think about it, seems to fit very well in the Big10 and has been doing a lot of things on its own that I think the Big10 members would be demanding of any new member coming in.

    • Rick says:

      PSUguy: Very, very true. Lew Perkins (now at Kansas) began that process with athletics and for the last 20 years (since my daughter went there) they have massively upgraded their academics and facilities. If only for the non-AAU status, they are an ideal candidate.

    • @PSUGuy – I really like UCONN from a market perspective and it’s obviously an incredible basketball school (both men’s and women’s). The Big Ten would likely find UCONN’s academic standing acceptable, too, and I’m surprised that they aren’t in the AAU already. However, I just don’t know how the Big Ten’s university presidents will be able to get over the fact that UCONN has only been playing FBS football since 2000 and been in a BCS conference since 2004. I’m obviously big on the mantra of “thinking like a university president” but football prestige is going to be a big part of that calculation.

      • Rick says:

        The problem UConn has in football as a candidate is two-fold:
        1) Their D1 program is very young
        2) Their stadium holds 40,000 (they avg. 38,000 attend.)

        Now they do have a home and home with ND coming up over the next few years. Those home games for UConn will be played at Foxboro stadium and the New Meadowlands stadium.

        The State has no plans to expand The “Rent” stadium in the near term as far as I know. This is a problem.

        They also have a home and home with Michigan coming up too, with them going to Michigan this year (Michigan better be ready because UConn is bringing virtually everybody back) and Michigan agreeing to play at “The Rent” for the second game.

        The other problem that may become an issue is Randy Edsell the coach. 1 or 2 more years of success and he is going to be very sought after to move to a bigger program. He is already on alot of short lists and his name will be bantered about every year for open jobs. If he goes, they will be able to replace him with someone good but that coach may be faced with the same issues as now. Skip Holtz preceded Randy and he is now at South Florida. If they end up in the Big Ten then Randy I think stays long term. He is already talking up the need for stadium expansion. With a Big Ten invite and pressure and pre-conditions by the BT to expand the stadium, maybe that happens.

      • PSUGuy says:

        Agree totally about the youth of the football program and the issues it raises. Personally, they only really work out in a 16 team Big10 with a Texas/Nebraska/ another top notch national brand football program already added.

        They’d be the end-cap which makes the entire north Big10 country, but even in a (realistic) 14 team Big10 I just don’t think they have enough to push them over the edge.

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      You make a good case for UConn. I had written them off since they aren’t AAU, but perhaps the B10+ will take the Huskies if they see a strong commitment to and realistic path to attainment. So (unless the academic heart of the ACC abandons ship) I guess realistically we’re still at 7 or 8 possible candidates: Conn, Syr, Rut, MD, Pitt, NE, maybe MO, and the grouchy Green Island of Misfit Toys.

  71. Playoffs Now! says:

    Don’t know how to do links.

    All you have to do here is copy and paste the address, tags not needed. If that process is unfamiliar, then go click on the article’s address in the address bar, right click and hit copy, then go to the posting box here, right click, and hit paste.

    BTW, everyone at ‘inferior’ Syracuse knows how to do this…

  72. Homework assignment for today – Let’s look at this hypothetical scenario:

    The Big Ten is convinced that ND’s alums will put the kabosh on the school joining any type of conference even if the Big Ten and SEC become 2 separate 30-school conferences whose champs automatically play each other for the national title. Texas and Texas A&M are out of the picture. However, the Big Ten still sees the economics of expanding and are ready to just forget about ND forver, so the conference proposes to add the following 5 schools: Syracuse, Pitt, Rutgers, Nebraska and Missouri.


    (1) Does this 5-school setup work out financially for the conference?

    (2) If you’re a fan of the Big Ten or one of the expansion schools, would you be happy with this outcome?

    (3) If you’re not a fan of the Big Ten or one of the expansion schools, does this appeal to you from a national perspective?

    And now for the real challenge…

    (4)Can you figure out 4 pods that make sense for a divisional setup? It would be very clean and geographically logical if the Big Ten were to add 3 Eastern schools (who would be in a pod with PSU), ND (who would be in a pod with Michigan/OSU/MSU) and one of Mizzou or Nebraska (who would be in a pod with Iowa/Minny/Wisky), but it becomes much more haphazard when adding 3 Eastern schools and both of Mizzou and Nebraska. Except for the protected rivals for Penn State (who would naturally be slotted with the 3 Eastern members), Illinois/Indiana and Northwestern/Purdue, I think that every other protected rivalry in the Big Ten MUST stay in place. Is there a way that we can preserve all of those protected rivalries in the Big Ten while also ensuring that the natural/historical rivalries like Nebraska/Iowa and Illinois/Missouri are made annual? I only see this being possible if the Big Ten goes up to a 10-game conference schedule, which I’m 99% sure wouldn’t happen. Try to play around with it.

    • m (Ag) says:

      From a national perspective, I think it leaves the Big 10 about where it’s ranked now for the moment. However, it could go higher in a few years if those schools do well over time..

      I think you need to pull Northwestern out of it’s grouping. The big names of Michigan and Ohio State will hopefully financially make up for the loss of it’s annual rivals:

      Iowa Wisc Minn Nebraska
      Ill, MO, Ind, Pur
      NW, MSU, MI, OSU
      PSU, Rut, Syr, Pitt

    • Playoffs Now! says:


      1 – Yes. Cable + synergy + B16 is now perceived as basically the conference of the North.

      3 – Yes, because the conference has improved. No matter how cfb expansion and realignment shake out from there the B16 will be approx. equal to the best conference(s) that emerge. While an SEC16 and P16/20 could emerge and be ranked higher overall, all 3 will be basically equal and at the top. The Big Three, end of story.

      However, instead of MO I would have offered MD membership. If they declined then I would probably have gone with Conn, if they are on the path to AAU membership. If nothing else it adds the psychological element of the B16 being THE blanket BCS conference of the North. Which is why if MD accepted I might even take Conn over NE, trading one type of synergy for another. IMHO there is substantial $ value to be mined if the B16 freezes the ACC out of the Northeast except for a relatively small, private BC outpost on the fringe (adding Temple probably isn’t worth the ACC’s effort.) The BEast wasn’t really able to tap that, but in an era of consolidation the B16 probably can.

      ND and Texas off the table takes away the home run ball, but the above would be a run-scoring triple. Even Syr, Rut, Pitt, NE, and MO is still a run-scoring stand up double.

      5 – I hate pods. If NE + 4 east, put the IN schools in the west division. If 5 east, put the IN schools and PSU in the east division. If NE + MO + 3 east, Put the IN schools in the west div and Northwestern in the east. Which is another reason to take UConn instead of MO.

    • Richard says:


      I thought about pods if both Nebraska and Mizzou are taken. My thought is that Purdue and Indiana could be split up between the MSU-OSU-Michigan pod and the UofI-Northwestern-Mizzou pod, alternating every 4 years. Then, in the years when IU and PU don’t meet in conference play, they can play their rivalry game non-conf. Not sure how happy they’d be about that, but the biggest benefit to them is that they’d both still play Michigan & OSU 75% of the time. Neither of them draw many fans at home (especially IU), so having 7 home games isn’t as huge a deal; the biggest concern is that they wouldn’t want to play each other in a non-conf game.

      • @Richard – I remember that Indiana and Purdue played each other in a non-conference game for basketball a few years ago because it was a year where they were only going to play 1 conference game against each other (Big Ten basketball doesn’t have protected rivalries). Northwestern and Illinois would likely be candidates to split up, as well. This may work better from a practical standpoint since Purdue always has a non-conference slot taken up by Notre Dame and Indiana may want to start playing Kentucky again annually. Meanwhile, Illinois would have its normal non-conference rival turn into a conference game (Missouri) and Northwestern doesn’t have a current non-conference rivalry. Plus, Illinois AD Ron Guenther has actually supported the Big Ten going up to 10 conference games in the past, so if there’s anyone that would be willing to play a Big Ten school in the non-conference schedule, it would be him.

        • Richard says:

          True. Then NU and UofI get more chances to play Michigan & OSU (which I’m sure they’d like). Don’t know what IU & PU want.

    • c says:

      Re “homework assignment (Frank)

      1) The Big 10 will only move forward based on having a very good idea what ND and Texas want to do.

      If 3 Big East teams are invited into the Big 10, ND would be foolish to stay out unless they prefer the ACC for its private schools, smaller size public schools and desire not to be so closely linked to and surrounded by a conference of large state schools geographically.

      If ND did go to ACC, the Big 10 would be in a far stronger position with its choice of 3 eastern schools than watching the ACC expand with ND to 16.

      2)Missouri adds nothing nationally.

      3)Pitt would be a logical and excellent add but UConn might be considered for it’s potential to extend the Big 10 to the New England market. It should be considered as an alternative to Missouri which is to me a bridge to nowhere absent Texas.

      Maryland might also be an alternative to Missouri, though I see Maryland as fitting in well in the ACC with regional teams UVA,VT, UNC and so on.

      4)Objectives of expansion:

      Absent ND and Texas, the only truly “national team” though with a small home market is Nebraska. However, taking Nebraska and the 4 eastern schools adds excellent schools in large contiguous, affluent markets, where SU, RU and UConn are the only major schools in their states.

      The new wildcards are large TV markets and the Big 10 channel. The Big 10 has a first mover advantage.

      5) The SEC no matter what will continue to be a major conference, as will the PAC 10 and ACC and whatever conference Texas ends up in.

      6) Absent ND and Texas my prediction is the Big 10 expands to 14 primarily because the existing teams will be faced with the issue of dilution against existing members.

    • FLP_NDRox says:

      @ Frank’s homework assignment

      1. It’s close. If Syr/Rut bring BTN to tier I in in NYC, it helps a bunch. Only new TV areas to expect are in NJ and NE. Pitt helps with the research end. I was suprised how poor the home attendance was for the non-Huskers, they’re well off B10 averages.

      2. N/A

      3.Football: Underwhelmed. Still seems like a Big 2, Little 14

      Syracuse is down and may be years from being back up. Even then, the down decade they had will make rebuilding into a perennial national power probably impossible unless NE/upstate is a quiet football recruiting hotbed. I can see them turning into a Michigan State/Purdue type team in a best case scenario. Occassionally good, occassionally missing bowls, good for maybe an upset and scare a year.

      Pitt can’t sell out their own stadium, and despite being in a recruiting hotbed can’t currently dominate the Big East with their advantages. They may be rejuvinated by playing PSU again as a main rival over WVU, but fan support may be questionable in a town where the Steelers dominate. Expect them to be about the same level as the ’Cuse over the long haul. Then again, it could be because I’m too young to remember the Pitt glory years.

      Rutgers are a never were. If they can get good, and it only took about a century to get to passable, they might be the toast of NYC. Then again, to do that they gotta start beating up on OSU, PSU, Pitt, Syracuse, etc. Teams with prior national championships. Unless NJ football is the equivalent of a Ohio, Texas, or Pennsylvania, that ain’t happening. At least the occasional games against Northwestern and IU ought to be interesting.

      Mizzou is basically a Rutgers without the upside. At least they give Illinois a real rivalry game. Hell, that may be the biggest upside I’ve seen yet on this.

      Nebraska is the only football name that I can see shaking up the B10 status quo of these five. Even though they only had a handful of dominant national years in the 90s, they are a traditional power over the past Century. I can see them joining Penn State in the Big Ten second tier permanently, with Wisconsin and Iowa visiting on occasion. I think it also may help in the western section since I can see the UW, Iowa, Minn., Nebraska grouping becoming quite entertaining. That first Nebraska Rose Bowl will be fun. Will also bring in one good national bragging right OOC game with the Sooners, right?

      MBB: Should make the Big Ten the new #1 conference
      Tough to do a thorough analysis, since who knows what a 96team dance will look like. Don’t know what will happen to a Boeheim-less Orange, but I doubt they go immediately to the cellar. Mizzou is a team that I think will get better with the increased exposure in the Big Ten (I’ve always found BXII hoops overrated). Pitt should also continue to thrive in the B10. OK, so Rutgers and Nebraska will remain hoop nobodies, so what? Rutgers women are pretty good, right?

      It also totally kneecaps the Big East. B10 may get 10-12 bids in an expanded tourney.

      4. No question, m (Ag)’s pods. Although theoretically a lot of teams might gripe at the number of non-UM&OSU years, the rivalries should pacify them. The only thing I don’t like is that it does segregate the Eastern bloc. Perhaps the Big Ten should split into true divisions?

      Before the BTN, I said that Mizzou would be the best choice for a twefth team. They’re still not bad.

    • KingOttoIII says:

      If I were to pod those teams I would do it like so:


      Mich St

      Ohio St


      Year 1 match 1/2 and 3/4 as divisions. Year 2 1/3 and 2/4 followed by 1/4 and 2/3 in year 3. That yields 7 division games. Add two more games with permanent rivals.

      This is the best balance in FB and BBall. And it keeps every current B10 rivalry.

      As to the $ if the NCAA were to allow a conf semi final (2 games) that would easily pay for it. Without that I see ND or Texas as a must.

      • FLP_NDRox says:

        Every rivalry except for Michigan State’s.

        Interesting use of geography there. I thought it was perfect until I noticed about MSU.

        • KingOttoIII says:

          Michigan State plays Penn St and Michigan every year. Those would be Michigan State’s designated rivals. So they would still play those annually.

          The issue is you cannot split any of:

          Mich-Ohio St
          Purdue-Indiana (BBall)

          That leaves Nebraska, Mizzou, Mich St, Northwestern, and Illinois that can be mixed and matched.

          Nebraska and Northwestern cannot be with I-W-M as that is too weak for BBall. You do not want Mizzou there because then Nebrsaka and Iowa cannot play every year. And you cannot put Illinois there as it woudl ruin Indiana, Mizzou, or NW yearly for them. Mich St is the only one that fits.

          The only way I could figure to keep every current B10 rivalry (as well as Illinois and Mizzou every year) is with the pods I created.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            There are few rivalries to protect outside your pods (except for MSU) which is the reason it impressed me so much.

            Before we set us a schedule, we need to know how many conference games there will be. With the 12 game schedule, 8 conference games aren’t enough (olympiad gaps between playing UM or OSU won’t fly). 9 is uneven (no one wants to play 5 road conf games when others are playing 4). 10 doesn’t leave much room for quality OOC opponents.

    • D Shannon says:

      My responses

      1) I’m not so sure. Syracuse + Rutgers could bring in the NYC area. However, as Frank has pointed out, NYC is more of a college basketball area than a college football area. Thus, if you have two schools which are approximately alike in both academics, football, and geographic footprint, but greatly different in basketball, take the basketball power. It’ll help in getting into the NYC market.

      UConn vs. Rutgers? UConn doesn’t have much of a football heritage. Rutgers does have an important football heritage, but that heritage pretty much ended in 1869, and Rutgers hasn’t been a powerhouse since. UConn will get you New England, and that’s a plus as well.

      Likewise, consider Missouri vs. Kansas. Neither has much of a football heritage, and both are AAU members. Both schools will get you into the Kansas City metro area. Neither school will get you into the St. Louis market — the Big 10 is already in that market, due to Illinois. If you’re trying to make your package in NYC better, basketball helps, and Kansas >>>> Missouri there.

      Pitt might not add anything geographically, but their brand does mean something in football (especially among the older generation), and they bring something in basketball, so it’s fine with me.

      (2) If I were a fan of Nebraska, I’d be happy that we could resume a rivalry with Oklahoma as an annual out-of-conference game. If I were a Missouri supporter, I’d feel the Big 10 is a better fit than the Big XII. We could still keep the Kansas rivalry, and the Big 10 games would be more attractive than matchups against Kansas State, Iowa State, and even Colorado (which is a long way away). If I were a supporter of the eastern schools invited, I’d be jumping for joy; our athletic future is secure, as we wouldn’t have to worry about the ACC taking teams away from our new home.

      If I were a Big 10 supporter, I would see Nebraska, Pitt, and Syracuse as good additions. I’d see Missouri and Rutgers as dead weight. Either UConn-Kansas or Texas-Texas A&M would be better additions than Missouri-Rutgers.

      (3) I’m not sure if the expansion would change things that much. It would leave the teams left in the Big East extremely mad, especially UConn and WVU. (If I were in the ACC, I would add those two teams to get a fourteen-team league. I might even add Louisville and Temple to get up to sixteen teams, since they would be two basketball powers that add new territory to the league.)

      Poaching teams from the Big 12 would be tempting fate. If I were running the Big 12 and lost Nebraska and Missouri, I would respond by inviting Air Force, Utah, BYU, UNLV, Fresno State, and Boise State to join the new Big XVI conference. Most of the strongest non-BCS football pow