The Big Ten appears to be stepping up the timetable for expansion dramatically, where what once looked like a 12-18 month process might now result in announcements prior to the end of June.  So, this is a perfect time for a guest post from Slant reader Patrick, who is a long-time veteran of the television industry.  (This means that he can actually drop some knowledge, as opposed to being a speculative Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer like myself.)  If you’ve been following the comments on last week’s post, Patrick has been providing incredibly insightful analysis based on industry information and has pinpointed some critical items in the Big Ten Network revenue model that definitely has changed some of my prior thoughts on expansion.  In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that he has provided the most informative viewpoint that I’ve come across since the Big Ten announced that it was exploring expansion back in December and it has changed a number of my views on the candidates.  So, everyone should give Patrick some major kudos for investing his time on this critical issue.  Here’s what he has to say (and my take on it thereafter):

With all the talk of Big Ten expansion lately I could help but wonder why the richest conference with the highest pay outs would want to expand. Wouldn’t that break up the pie into smaller pieces? Wouldn’t that cut the take from the current conference members? In short, NO, a resounding NO! The Big Ten schools together made roughly  $214,000,000 as of the last report. $100,000,000 from ABC / ESPN, $2,000,000 from CBS, and the schools collected $112,000,000 from the newly formed Big Ten Network. That is $19,454,545 per school. The regular network haul of $102,000,000 per year isn’t going to change. Any new members would need to make up that difference, plus carry their own weight of $38,146,166 in new revenues to the Big 10 Network. The conference only controls 51% of the Big 10 Network, FOX News Corp owns the other 49% and takes 49% of the overall profits. So each possible addition would need to earn the conference $19,454,545 per year AND earn FOX News Corp $18,691,621 AND make up the difference in the take from ABC / ESPN / CBS to break even for the current members. Since the conference reported a $112,000,000 payout, the actual profit margin of the Big Ten Network is around $219,607,840. In addition, there are a number of news stories indicating that the universities take this year was just shy of $22,000,000. I haven’t seen anything official on that but if it is true than the BTN made around $272,000,000 in the most recent year. Almost a $50,000,000 climb year to year for a brand new network. So why would anyone mess with that? How could any university earn that much for the BTN?


By the Big Ten’s own admission they are clearing about $0.36 per subscriber per month for the states inside it’s footprint. They also tell us that there are 26,000,000 subscribers and it is AVAILABLE to 75,000,000 people. The BTN wants to increase the available number but even more important is to increase the subscriber numbers, and there is an opportunity to do that within the current footprint. Regardless, at $0.36 per month for 26,000,000 households over 12 months I only came up with $112,320,000 for a cable carry rate. Well short of the $272,000,000 that the network likely made last year. The other $160,000,000 is advertising revenue! Live sporting events get big advertising dollars and the BTN is loaded with them. As Frank pointed out, if the conference were to expand, many more games would be on the BTN. Football, basketball, and maybe down the road a Big Ten hockey conference. Throw in a few conference championship games in different sports and expansion makes money just by added Live programming and increased quality of programming. A few creative tweeks in the scheduling and you could have every Big Ten game make it to air somewhere, which is good for everybody. For the Big Ten to get to 12 schools the addition would need to equal $38,200,000 to break even, for 3 schools they need to reach $114,500,000 combined, and for 5 schools a whopping $190,800,000.  If I were to just pull the #2 – #6 schools from my estimate they would bring in roughly $266,000,000. In that scenario, FOX News Corp profit (by adding 5 schools) goes from $107 million up to $201 million. It would not surprise me to see FOX News Corp gently nudging this process along. If advertising is earning the BTN in the ballpark of what I am thinking, then FOX has realized they opened a gold mine and want to see how deep it goes.

But what about the schools being batted around? I did my level best to average numbers, to play it conservatively, to be fair across the board with finding any schools potential. Notre Dame and Pittsburgh are a little tough to gauge because they don’t add any new television markets. But I found that by extrapolating what is already happening with the conference and the Big Ten Network, combining that with my television experiences, and taking into account some of the posters comments and thoughts I came away with what I feel is a pretty fair assessment of the potential of the candidates. As many of you have noted, game attendance and athletic revenue are important. I used attendance to gauge the level of support and fan interest to help me put a dollar value on ratings potential. If the fans won’t even fill their own stadium, how valuable is the team overall? Any team that joins the Big Ten will share in the Big Ten pie, so I subtracted off the current tv pay out for those teams to gauge strength in their home markets. Then extrapolated to find a decent estimation of a new tv markets potential for advertising revenue. I also averaged in the carry rates for the home market or markets with the number of cable subscribers. I did add a category to try to account for additional Live programming on the BTN and gave each school a flat $10,000,000 for the additional sports coverage, that is probably too low but I am leaning to the conservative side.  The following is a summary of the totals of my findings.

Texas $101,369,004
Rutgers    WITH NYC $67,798,609
Nebraska $54,487,990
Maryland $50,818,889
Boston College $48,382,692
Notre Dame $47,629,255
Kansas $46,320,092
Missouri $45,901,459
Syracuse $43,504,813
Connecticut $38,080,271
Pittsburgh $34,365,175
Iowa State $31,831,077
Syracuse  WITH NYC $65,874,573

For a full chart with my calculations, please see this Word document:

Big Ten Candidates TV Analysis

This table could be read many different ways, I have no clue what the Big Ten will do. I could make a strong argument for Nebraska, Missouri, Rutgers, Maryland, Pittsburgh, and Kansas. If Syracuse can deliver NYC then they might be in but the amount of research they do will hurt their cause. Texas is an absolute no brainer, they lead in almost every category. I don’t think Iowa State is viable, but I was VERY conservative with these numbers. It would be hard to ignore Notre Dame and Nebraska being the #2 and #4 most valuable college sports franchises. Interesting that Kansas is right there behind Nebraska and ND in athletic revenue. If anyone wants to pass along better or more current numbers, I would appreciate it. In addition, with the talk and discussions that were flying around Sunday about the AAU meetings and the accelerated time table, I firmly believe that my estimates are probably too low. The fact that they want to move this quickly with an expansion means that the potential revenue is HUGE and the decision isn’t even a tough or close one. Also in some of the statements coming from the Big Ten brass and Notre Dame, I highly doubt Notre Dame is going to be included in the expansion. I now think that the expansion will happen, and I think that they will go all the way to 16 teams. I believe they will get AAU member schools, and the Big Ten presidents seem to be very interested in graduate research.

 I for one can’t wait, Bucky Badger playing against Nebraska would be an awesome sight!

- Patrick

Based on Patrick’s analysis, there are a few important things that I take away from this:

(1) The 60/40 Rule – This might be the most important piece of information regarding Big Ten expansion that I’ve seen to date: the Big Ten Network makes 60% of its revenue from advertising and 40% 0f its revenue from carriage fees.  I’ll be honest with you – I thought that it would’ve been the other way around and it has definitely altered the lens through which we need to look at expansion candidates.  What this basically means that if push comes to shove, the Big Ten should pick a school that has a great fan base (which translates in viewers for ad revenue) as opposed to market size (which contributes to carriage fees).  This actually brings some common sense back to the discussion, where somehow the world has been convinced over the past few months that Rutgers must be the most valuable school on Earth due to the location of its campus.  We’ve been very focused on footprint sizes and research funding in our discussions lately, but at the end of the day, ad revenue is the #1 source of dollars for the Big Ten Network and that’s based on finding schools that Joe Blow in Anytown, USA will want to watch.  Here’s a chart of some of the expansion candidates with their football TV ratings from last year.  (Note how well Nebraska and Pitt performed compared to everyone else.)  Now, that doesn’t mean that expanding the footprint is irrelevant (as the New York City market is still an important target for the Big Ten), but it definitely lets people “think like sports fans” a little bit here.

(2) Pitt MIGHT make money for the Big Ten – Most of the readers out there know that I personally love Pitt as an academic institution and athletic program, but just couldn’t find any way how the school could add to the Big Ten’s coffers financially.  Well, if Pitt’s ratings for football and basketball are good enough (and judging by the chart I linked to above, they probably are), then the school can end up being financially viable.  Patrick has stated that his figures for Pitt and Notre Dame are very conservative, so if Pitt continues to draw high football ratings, it changes the equation significantly.   Now, Pitt can’t really be put into the same category as Notre Dame or Nebraska where the national draw clearly overrides a lack of new BTN households, yet it does have the advantage of being one of the few expansion candidates that has strong programs in both football and basketball.  Speaking of Nebraska…

(3) If the Big Ten wants to make a ton of TV money, it will invite Nebraska – I’ve been increasingly become more and more supportive of Nebraska joining the Big Ten lately and Patrick’s analysis completely sealed it.  Nebraska’s small market be damned – the Husker fan base is as rabid as any other in the country and they will tune in anytime, anywhere.  (If you were wondering, the photo at the top of this post is evidence of how Nebraska fans completely took over South Bend a few years ago when they played Notre Dame.)  In fact, Patrick’s figures mean that we should remove Nebraska from the realm of “Well, they might be coming instead of Missouri” or “They’re a good back-up if Notre Dame doesn’t want to join” and put the Cornhuskers into the “lock” category instead.  I will now officially be shocked if Big Ten expansion occurs without Nebraska involved.

(4) 16 Schools = Huge Inventory – The 60/40 rule that favors advertising revenue also gives a whole lot more credence to making a 16-school conference financially viable. I recalled this piece from Don Ohlmeyer on that examined how ESPN chose to schedule programs:

The message that I got from this was that LIVE EVENTS = RATINGS. A live hot rod competition after a college football game actually holds more viewers than a studio show that talks about said game, even though they have nothing to do with each other at face value.

The Big Ten expanding up to 12 schools really doesn’t increase the inventory of conference football games (which are the higher value games) very much at all. Assuming that the Big Ten continues with an 8-game conference schedule, it would have 48 conference games as opposed to 44 conference games in a season. At 14 schools, it would go up to 56 conference games. At 16 schools, though, the Big Ten would almost certainly go to a 9-game conference schedule, which would catapult the inventory up to 72 conference games.

What does 72 conference games allow you to do? Well, let’s assume that the Big Ten provides 4 games to ABC/ESPN every week (2 games on ESPN and ESPN2 at 11 am CT, 1 game on ABC at 2:30 pm CT, and 1 prime time game), which is a package that would likely see a substantial increase in rights fees when it’s now presumably including Notre Dame and/or Nebraska on top of the current Big Ten members plus a conference championship game. This leaves 2 conference games for the BTN for every single week of the season (except for maybe Labor Day weekend, which is reserved for MACrifice games). With non-conference games mixed in, the BTN could have football triple-headers virtually every week. Going up to 16 schools increases the amount of live football on the BTN in a dramatic fashion and if twice as much live football compounds the amount of ad revenue earned, then I’m starting to see how going up to 16 schools makes more financial sense under the BTN model than 12 or 14 schools.

Then, we get to basketball, where a 16-school conference can get at least one basketball game onto the BTN onto every day of the week except for Friday, whereas now the BTN usually only has games on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. That’s a dramatic jump in the number of high quality basketball games on more nights of the week. This also still leaves enough for the Big Ten to add 1 or 2 more basketball games on ESPN per week for widespread exposure (and likely garner a rights increase there, too, if schools like Syracuse or Pitt added to the mix). Of course, Friday night can be reserved for the new Big Ten Hockey Conference game(s) of the week if Notre Dame joins. There’s even some side benefits in the spring with baseball (as Nebraska and Notre Dame lift up the quality of that league substantially) and lacrosse (where a new Big Ten league could be formed with Syracuse as the national headliner if that school is invited). Other sports such as women’s basketball and volleyball can end up with new national (and TV-friendly) brand names, too.

So, maybe that’s why the chatter about a 16-school conference has taken center stage: if you have that many more high value football and basketball games plus a ton of other sports of interest where you’ve got live programming every night of the week that’s comparable to the college games on the ESPN networks, that can increase ad revenue dramatically (and in turn, carry rates could increase as the BTN becomes more “essential” to viewers’ lives).

(5) My Latest Prediction That Will Change in a Week - Looking at Pat’s figures, it’s clear to me that the Big Ten pretty much has to at least try for the New York market unless Texas and Texas A&M come walking through that door.  The question will be whether the Big Ten believes that it’s worth it to take both Rutgers and Syracuse.  I get the feeling that the Big Ten’s university presidents have a fondness for Rutgers as  fellow public flagship (and I’ve stated before that they make sense in a multi-school expansion), even though my personal choice would be Syracuse if we had to take one or the other.  The academically-minded people in the Big Ten love Pitt and I think that if there’s any financial case for the conference to to be able to take them, they’ll likely do it.  Missouri, although it doesn’t have gangbuster financial numbers, would  probably be seen as a “safe” option because it can at least be counted on with reasonable certainty to deliver any households in its home state that don’t already carry the Big Ten Network on basic cable at the Tier 1 rate.

The one item that I disagree with Patrick on is Notre Dame – if his figures are close to correct, then I have a hard time believe that the Irish will turn down such a huge windfall for playing a lot of the same teams that it already plays annually in football (especially if its home for basketball and Olympic sports is destroyed).  I feel pretty good that Notre Dame, Nebraska, Missouri and Rutgers would all be involved in a 16-school Big Ten.  This essentially leaves Pitt and Syracuse for the last spot (unless the Big Ten wants to cut further into the Big XII by taking a school like Kansas).  If the Big Ten wants the better institutional fit, it will choose Pitt.  If the Big Ten really thinks that locking down New York is possible for college sports, then it will choose Syracuse.  With such a large-scale expansion, the Big Ten may put more emphasis on institutional fit to ensure maximum cohesion (especially since renegade Notre Dame is very likely to be involved), which would give the edge to Pitt (as much as it pains me as an avowed Syracuse supporter).  I know that this an about-face from what I’ve been saying for quite awhile.

So, here’s my current bet on who will join a 16-school Big Ten: Notre Dame, Nebraska, Missouri, Pitt and Rutgers.  If Notre Dame continues to balk, I believe that we’ll see Nebraska, Missouri and Rutgers added for a 14-school conference.  This will probably change by the end of the week (and I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if Pitt is replaced by Syracuse in the 16-school scenario), but that’s my line of thinking right now.

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

(Image from Ning)

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  1. HerbieHusker says:

    Excellent analysis! I am another one anxious to see that Wisconsin/Nebraska matchup! June can’t come soon enough!

    • M says:

      Not sure where this is going to go in the comments but whatever

      re sec expansion by taking acc schools

      as a UVA (grad) student I like to think I have some insight but it is mostly my speculation.

      If Clemson is invited they are gone yesterday. If there is one school in the wrong conference anywhere it is Clemson.

      Fsu actually declined an sec invite before they joined the acc in 91. However they are the next most likely to join if asked.

      Gt was actually part of the sec and left under nonamicable terms. I highly doubt that they would be invited back.

      Miami sees itself as a northeast school that happens to be in the south. I doubt they would want to self identify as a southern school.

      All of these previous have some chance of joining the sec. However I simply cannot envision any scenario where the nc, va, or md schools would entertain bids. These schools are just too strongly connected in so many ways (culturally, academically, atheletic sport preferences, history). This is also why the Maryland to the big ten idea is such a stretch, even with some of the academic reasons removed. I realize many of the same arguments apply to old big eight schools, but there does not seem to be any of the animosity that exists in the big xii.

      My guess is that if the sec takes Clemson or fsu, the acc just takes whatever of Pitt, syr, or uconn are left to fill back out to 12. It will relatively content to remain a top notch bball conference and a just below top tier football conference.

      • Rich2 says:

        M, could not agree more. Miami to the SEC has been blithely mentioned by many posters in the SEC 16 scenario. Miami attracts its out-of-state students from the greater NYC and Boston areas. They will not want to be viewed as a “southern school.” As I mentioned earlier, if the Big Ten, PAC and SEC expand to 16, ND, UConn and one other school will join the ACC. By 2020, the 12th school could be… Richmond? Just a wild speculation.

        • M says:

          @Rich2 about ND joining the ACC

          I am always befuddled by suggestions that ND should join the ACC. On some level, I understand the argument for staying independent, but I do not know why if a conference is necessary why the ACC is preferable to the Big Ten (or honestly the Big East, Pac-10, or Big XII) for ND. I will lay out why I think the ACC is a bad idea as well as my guesses as to why you (and a sizable number of other ND fans) would prefer and I would like your response.

          First, 8 of the current schools are located in states in the lower half of the US in terms of Catholic percentage. 6 are in states in the bottom 12 in this statistic. While I realize that not every fan of Notre Dame is Catholic, I doubt they receive much support in these areas.

          By the same statistics, if ND’s Catholic identity is threatened by playing in a conference whose schools have sizable Catholic student populations (Big Ten, Pac-10, really anything but ACC or SEC), I would think it would be even more threatened in one where they do not. Assuming state-proportional representation, there are more Catholics at Penn State than UNC, NC State, Duke, Wake Forest, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Clemson combined. Do you think the leaders there would be conducive to a Catholic viewpoint?

          From a national draw standpoint, an ACC schedule simply does not match with ND’s usual independent schedule or even the current 7-4-1 schedule. The two most “needle-moving” teams are Miami and FSU, which are not even the most popular in their (admittedly populous) state. This lack of national or even regional attention can be seen from their bowl tie-ins, to their lack of at-large BCS bids (0 in 12 years), to their dismal television contract.

          I’ll now try to guess why ND fans seem to prefer the ACC. First, the perceived similarity of institutions due to size and focus. ND fans like that many of the ACC schools are (at least closer to) the size of ND. They also have a history of high quality undergraduate education. This argument is correct. The only point I would like to bring up is that these are still massive research universities as well (except BC and Wake Forest). If ND wants to be with institutions like itself, it should disband 1-a football and continue on in the Big East.

          The second reason why ND fans might prefer the ACC is a belief that they might receive preferential treatment both in joining and while in that conference. It is difficult to dispute a hypothetical, but currently the ACC is an equal (television money) sharing conference. If they did not make those sorts of concession for Miami, I don’t believe they would do so for ND. An even more apt comparison might be FSU entering in ’91 which basically took ACC football from nothing to having a major power.

          The third possibility is the “Michigan and OSU would run the world, we would just live in it” argument. If there is a part of the overall discussion which confuses me more than ND-to-ACC, its this perception. I have never heard any fan of any team in the conference espouse this view. I think this represents a lack of understanding of the relationship between these two schools. Quite simply there is no way OSU would do anything to improve UM’s position and vice versa. It’s like saying if ND joined the conference, UM and ND would work together to screw over everyone else. If anything these two schools help to balance each other out, preventing a single school from controlling everything (e.g. Texas in the Big XII).

          Overall, I would just appreciate hearing why ND’s fans seem to prefer the ACC to the Big Ten.

          (PS I realize that my last point will be met with “You just have the wool pulled so far over your eyes that you can’t see anything”, so responding to that is probably unnecessary.)

  2. Justin says:

    I strongly disagree that Nebraska is going to be invited.

    Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune has been at the forefront of this story since the beginning. He has consistently listed Syracuse, Rutgers and Pitt as prime candidates in every single story that he was written on the subject. I doubt he is speculating.

    Now, today he has also thrown Connecticut — a school that has funds research $$ then AAU Kansas and will probably make the AAU in no time — into the mix. I think the expansion is based on two factors.

    1. Capture NYC

    2. Get Notre Dame

    #2 gives the Big 10 the best opportunity long term, in conjunction with UM, PSU and OSU, to have a syndicated TV channel on basic cable everywhere.

    I’ve thought the five schools leaked in initial report — Syracuse, Rutgers, Pitt, ND and Missouri — were the five schools likely to join the conference. I believe four of those schools are at the top of the list, and the 16th spot is between Connecticut and Missouri.

    If the Big Ten can land Notre Dame by inviting Uconn over Missouri, I believe the Huskies — with their powerful basketball programs — will get the call.

    So put me on record, the schools invited will be Notre Dame, Syracuse, Connecticut, Rutgers and Pitt.

    • c says:

      In the Greenstein interview (4/19) cited by “KingOttoIII” below, he said:

      Five team expansion more likely than 3; looking west, mentioned Missouri and Nebraska; looking East mentioned RU, SU, UConn and Pitt, where UConn with RU and SU could put “stranglehold” on NY metro region.

      RU has best potential and “more and more” thinks SU is invited in a 5 school expansion.

      He covered the Northwestern vs Syracuse game last year (SU won) and said “obviously (SU) football facilities are very good”. (Obviously he hasn’t spoken to Mushroom.)

      • Rick says:

        If you listen very carefully you’ll hear Teddy say the facilities “aren’t” very good. Needless to say he likes them as a candidate.

        • omnicarrier says:

          @Rick – No, he said “obviously the facilities are very good.”

          Not everyone is anti-dome.

        • c says:

          Re Rick: Listen again

          “Obviously the football facilities are very good”

          • Rick says:

            Believe me, I am pro SU as an expansion candidate and I personally don’t have a problem with the Dome. The place rocks when times are good for football. It does have expansion issues but all in all fine for now. I just didn’t hear it that way on my computer but will check again.

          • c says:

            Re Greenstein on SU facilities (Rick)

            Let me know if I misheard what was said. The link is provided.

            There is a BIG difference between someone like Greenstein saying the football facilities are very good and saying they are not very good.

            I felt Greenstein’s opinion of SU football facilities was worth noting first since he was recently there at the Northwestern game, second because a lot of improvements have occurred in the last few years and most importantly a poster named “Mushroom” has made some truly questionable comments about the facilities.

            The Dome just broke a NCAA record attracting over 30,000 fans to a BB game against Villanova.

          • Rick says:

            He said very good on third listen.

          • duffman says:


            on the “record” the top game is..

            MSU vs UK = 78,000

            IU vs UK = many games of 42 – 48 thousand folks in the old hoosier dome

            all well above 30,000 (and the game this year was a in conference game).

            the MSU/IU vs UK games were regular season non conference games..

            that said, JB is an excellent coach and the orange have a strong basketball following.

          • omnicarrier says:

            @duffman – the record c is referring to is for “on-campus” games. The games you cited were all off-campus.

          • c says:

            Re top BB attendance (duffman and omnicarrier)

            Thanks for corrections.

  3. FLP_NDRox says:

    The longer this goes, the more I think ND *will* go to the Big Ten. Alumni revolt be damned. For an extra $12mil/yr, it might not be worth it. For an extra $25mil/yr I can’t see them saying no.

    People will howl. Notre Dame may well lose what made it special in the first place. But that’s a Sh!tload of money, and I doubt TPTB have the stones to turn it down. Damn it.

    • Scott C says:

      I think you’re right, though I’m guessing it would require a multi-phase solution like Frank has detailed. If the revenues continue to rise with 14 schools, the administration may use that as cover for the jump.

    • Richard says:

      ….and the Big10 Presidents might just be traditionalist enough to pursue ND. As you can tell from the postings here, most Big10 fans are rather ambivalent about adding ND; if ND actually brings in no more money than Kansas or Syracuse, I’d personally rather add KU and/or SU, but I think the Big10 presidents would prefer ND over KU & SU even if the money’s the same.

  4. Jeepers says:


  5. m (Ag) says:

    All I can say is that I think the SEC regrets going the ESPN route now…

    • Justin says:

      An interesting thoughts.

      Is it any coincidence that immediately after the SEC locked its rights fees for the next fifteen (15) years the Big 10 aggressively pursued expansion?

      The Big 10 is potentially poised to now dwarf the SEC in total revenue for the next 10-12 years, and unless the SEC contract has an escape provision — doubtful given the amount of money ESPN handed it — the SEC really cannot do much about it until 2025.

      • Richard says:

        I believe there is an escape clause somewhere that allows them to start their own cable network. Besides the Big10, they’re really the only other conference that’s well poised to start their own network (with their collection of name brands, rabid support, and population base that’s just a little smaller than the Big10’s). However, they’d have to go through 2-3 years of hard work, fighting with the cable companies, and years of little/no profit (like the Big10 went through). We’ll see if they have the stomach for that.

        BTW, no, I don’t think it’s a coincidence. I noted several months ago that this is the ideal time for the Big10 to expand.

        • PSUGuy says:

          And lets not forget the financial situation the economy finds itself in. When the Big10 network was set-up, investors were throwing cash at investment opportunities, no matter the risk. Now a days how easy is it going to be to get together enough money to start a new television channel…even one for a conference as well watched as the SEC?

          • Patrick says:


            2008 and the first half of 2009 were very tough. Maybe the toughest ad sales (down sales, percentage wise) in the history of television. It has been getting substatially better this year. We are planning like 2011 will still be difficult but 2012 should be fully back to normal.

          • PSUGuy says:

            Perhaps for ad sales yes, but I’m speaking more of venture capital. Its going to take billions(?) and years of work to start up a new television station to work through the contracts with the cable companies. Advertising will probably return to normal quickly as people in economic downturns tend to stay home and enjoy “low cost” entertainment (aka television), but I have to believe the cost/work/risk associated with a new television station is going to daunt folks at this time (why take the risk on a new station when if you think tv will make you money in the coming years you can easily, and more safely, invest in those stations already turning a profit?)

          • Rick says:

            Ad sales are picking up YTD. My daughter is an Account Exec for COX TV stations based in Atlanta and she says her ad sales business, and the company’s as well, is beating targets for the year so far and those targets are for increases this year over last. She is encouraged although her stations are Network (only Fox, NBC, ABC, CBS) not cable. Needless to say things are not as bleak as last year.

        • Pariahwulfen says:

          @ Richard Don’t forget, that unlike the Big Ten, the SEC has a competing brand inside their own footprint in the ACC. Which in turn means that they might not be able to get the same rights fees in the states of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina as they would elsewhere in the footprint.

          • Richard says:

            Maybe not SC and parts of Florida (South Florida and the panhandle), but everywhere else, the SEC is the dominant brand. It’s the ACC that’s going to have the most trouble starting it’s own network because it’s footprint is so small and most of the terrtory is shares with the SEC is dominated by the SEC.

  6. Manifesto says:

    I don’t know… I see Nebraska getting the nod before Missouri. Something about Missouri just doesn’t excite me. Perhaps it’s the argument that the Big Ten already penetrates the markets we attribute to Missouri.

    What are the odds of Nebraska, ND, Rutgers, Pitt, and Syracuse/UConn? I can’t help but think that, if we’re expanding by five, we’re not going to leave Pitt by the wayside. It’s a good brand. Not sure how thrilled I am at the prospect of leaving UConn or Syracuse to the ACC either. I’ll go crazy and call… Nebraska, ND, Rutgers, Pitt, and Syracuse — unless ND walks officially, then sub in UConn. Big Ten will roll the dice that Nebraska and Pitt add enough umph for football, and the others can continue their upward swing and help elevate advertising up for basketball season.

  7. BoilermakerMarc says:

    just adding

    • I retired to central Florida many years ago. Spent five years in the U.S. Submarine Service, totally on the east coast from Nova Scotia to the Florida Keys. There was one University very popular with sports fans wherever I went into town which was everywhere. It was followed well during basketball, lacrosse and football seasons. Everyone knew of Jim Brown, Floyd Little, Larry Czsonka and Ernie Davis! The best tight end today receives The John Mackay Award! Syracuse has well over 100 years of great football history!
      I was also stationed at The Brooklyn Receiving Station for about a year. New York City is Syracuse territory! Rutgers, was always a last place team in those days, if anyone did recognize the name! As for name popularity, Jim Brown, played in several movies and a movie was made about Davis who played in The Cotton Bowl with a pulled hamstring!
      Before TV, Notre Dame was the only college football game you could get on the radio. That made them popular. Today’s TV has Notre Dame fading in popularity every year! Urban Meyer, will also have less success as folks begin to realize Dan Mullen was the brains behind Meyer everywhere he had a winning program! OK, I rest my case!

  8. Brent says:

    I hope the Big 10 doesn’t make the mistake of taking all schools from the same conference as that will severely increase the likelyhood of an us vs. them mentality.

    • mushroomgod says:

      Absolutely–looks more like a merger than an expansion….

      I really believe Missouri will be added in either the 3 or 5 team scenerio…although I really like Neb., no columnist covering the Big 10 has reported any buzz about them…

      • Matt says:

        Cleveland big 10 columnist covering expansion dropped Nebraska as a front-runner early on in December, and then has been hush about it ever since.

        Stewart Mandel put out back in December 2009 that the primary target of Big 10 expansion would be Notre Dame, then Nebraska. He has an article today that reiterates that stance, and the data Frank, et al has amassed here supports that thought.

        Plus, remember that AD Tom Osborne (who is as exciting as dry toast and as verbal as a monk) went from saying ‘we’ll stand with our Big 8 friends’ to ‘if the Big 10 wants to talk, we’ll listen’ in less than a month. That’s a huge 180 on the subject, considering the source.

        Nebraska is a front runner in this race (since ND bowed out). But of all the football schools listed, and since expansion is being driven by football, which candidate excites you the most when added? Nebraska vs. Michigan/Wisconsin/Iowa/Penn State is a hell of a lot more interesting than anyone else mentioned.

  9. Patrick says:


    Those numbers are the added value to the Big Ten Network, not to the individual school. With those numbers it would increase ND from collecting around $15 mil to around $25 mil.


    I would bet that Mr. Greenstien is speculating. The people involved with this kind of deal understand the legalities and do not want to cause any issues with any potential deal. Interviewing businessmen at this level is like interviewing a lawyer, they are very calculated with what they say.


    That 3.57 NATIONAL rating for Nebraska football averaged over 9 games is huge. The 3.31 number for Pitt is also impressive. I hadn’t seen that before, and that would further convince me that Pitt & Nebraska will be included. Those ratings for SU & RU are not very good, that’s only a slight bump up from regular BTN programing.

    • Patrick says:

      A 3.57 national rating over 9 games equates to a reach of around 50,000,000 households.

      Around $50,000 per 30 second commercial. That’s VERY attractive to the Big Ten Network!

    • Scott C says:

      Great stuff, Patrick. With those numbers, I don’t know how they Nebraska and Pitt could be ignored. There’s just too much money to be made. A move including like you and Frank are indicating would solidify the Big Ten as the financial powerhouse of college football.

      • Patrick says:

        Thanks Scott, This should secure the Big Ten for a long, long time. DOn’t be suprised to see this shake-up realign many conferences and the PAC 10 to expand to 14 or 16 and add it’s own network as fast as they can.

        • Phil says:

          Concerning the Pitt and RU TV ratings, I would like to see an examination of the ratings that covered more than one year, especially when that one year had Pitt in the title hunt until the end and RU had the air taking out of its season in game 1.

          • Rick says:

            Those are great ratings for Pitt. They had a great year and people watched. It also matters for any team if you are in the conference title race and ranked late in the year, and play significant late season games that have implications. The last 4 games Pitt played in 2009 were Notre Dame, West Virginia, Cincy, and their Bowl game v. UNC. The Notre Dame game they were ranked #8 and covered by 83% of the TV homes. It got very good ratings. I am sure those 4 games all got good ratings and hence their average was great overall for the season. It was a perfect storm for great ratings and Pitt capitalized. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the past few years they may have been around 1.5 to 2.5 avg like the rest of the Big East teams but last year they were fantastic.

    • FLP_NDRox says:

      @ Patrick

      I was assuming your numbers were very conservative and a full 5 team expansion. I was also thinking best case scenario in approx 5yrs.

      Am I wrong? Will the addition of say ND, Texas, Neb., Rutgers, and Pitt not potentially double the per team take in a decade?

      • Michael says:

        Even though A&M wasn´t included in these numbers, I think they´d have to be included with Texas. And if you can pull off A&M and Texas, you can probably only doing by an aggressive Big 12 raid. Furthermore, with A&M and Texas, you don´t need NYC or have the space to try.

        I would imagine a scenario that includes Notre Dame, Texas and A&M would probably also include Nebraska and Mizzou/Kansas – and then you call it a day.

      • Patrick says:


        Potentially YES, but I was just trying to get an idea of how the BTN and current Big Ten members would do once any expansion was completed. I was honestly trying to look at worst case senarios for the next 2 or 3 years. Best case senario money is too big for my calculator. Maybe for a 16 team league around 1.25 Billion per year. Say around $46,000,000 per school per year from all the contracts.

        Interesting to note that the BTN deal with FOX is for 20 years. What happens in 2027 when that ends, does the BTN and the conference keep ALL the loot? Cause even without interest in today’s dollars you’d be talking around $80,000,000 per school per year.

        • Dcphx says:

          If I’m reading this article accurately,
          I don’t think that Fox loses it’s ownership share of the BTN after 25 years (it’s 20y + option for 5 more).

          The B10 makes their cash from the BTN in 2 ways, first a broadcast rights contract between the B10 and the BTN. Second is their 51% share of the profit from the network operations (advertising & carriage fees). After 25 years the rights fee would be up for renewal.

          The Sports Business Journal article above indicated that the rights fee in 2008 was paying 66m, after starting at 50m. The estimate for total value to the B10 over the life of the contract was $2.8b but I think that figure includes estimated advertising revenue. Since the average was indicated to be $112m/yr over the life of the 25y contract and the 2009 payout to the B10 seems to be $140m, it would appear that the estimate of $2.8b is going to be on the low side.

          I don’t think that you’ve accounted for the guaranteed rights fee in your calculations. I think it makes a difference that the B10 share of revenue is likely north of 60% as opposed to 51%. As far as the BTN is concerned, the rights contract is an expense. But clearly the B10 is collecting more than 51% of the revenue of the BTN. They’re collecting $66m+ for broadcast rights and then 51% of the remaining profit.

          If their total take was $140m and Outside the Lines clearly indicated that the B10 revenue from broadcasting was $242m with $20m for 10y from CBS for Basketball and $1b for 10y from ABC/ESPN (which coincidentally isn’t flat either as it started at 88m and graduates over the life of the 10y contract), that leaves $140m from the BTN. If 70m of the payout is from rights fees that leaves 70m for 51% of profit sharing. Assuming that the expenses beyond the rights contract are relatively minimal (I have no idea but lets estimate $10m/yr for salaries & whatever physical plant expenses there are), that would put the total revenue of the network somewhere north of $220m which is a bit less than your estimate of ~$270m.

          Does the BTN or the B10 own the studio building (the old Montgomery Ward warehouse in River North)? Who owns the equipment at each school? There would be debt service on those physical equipment if owned by the network, rental costs if owned by the conference or the schools. I wouldn’t be surprised if the conference owns the building and all of the cameras/equipment and they rent them back to the network.

          • Patrick says:

            You are 100% correct. I didn’t account for rights fees, I had thought that they were part of the 49% / 51% deal. You also hit on another important point, it is profitable…. we are just not sure exactly how profitable. I had read something in one of the trades about FOX and their financial backing making sure that the conference is guaranteed its cut during the first few years of launching the network…. then when the network becomes profitable they will recoup their investment with interest until it is paid off. Then, and only then, would the conference payouts increase. While my stuff was an estimate, and ignorantly I left the rights fees out. I still feel that the network is doing way better than anticipated and that’s why we have all this expansion talk.

          • Nelson says:

            Good points by Rick. A few follow ups:

            Rights Fees. This dominates advertising revenue. It’s not even close for the BTN. I’ve seen figures that indicate 85-90% of revenue comes from rights fees. The remainder is ads and new media (online games,etc). Estimated BTN revenue going forward is probably something like $210 mln [(~42 mln subscribers x .36 cents ave rate x 12 months) + (advertising + new media sales)] Programming costs (including rights fees) are at least 100 mln annually. Plus you have other normal operating costs. So maybe 50 mln in profits in a year.

            This $50 mln in profits (assuming it is all distributed, a big if) will translate into a per school payout number that is smaller than some expect. Yes, the Big Ten is entitled to 51% of the profits but I believe that number is divided by 12 (11 schools + conference itself). So that’s 4.25% of distributions per school. $50 mln of profits (if fully distributed) is $2.125 mln in additional revenue per school.

            Rights fees are a cost to the BTN. They started low ($50 mln in year 1) and have an escalation clause (just like the the ESPN/ABC and CBS deals). That’s why we saw $66 mln the following year and reportedly more than $70 mln this year. That number will keep going up.

            As far as Big Ten distributions go, I believe you have to include the BCS and Capitol One Bowl payouts (less budgeted amounts for the teams playing). This is another $20 mln+ that gets distributed to the schools every year. The only variable is whether there are 1 or 2 teams playing in BCS bowls. Most times its been two teams. The additional team is worth $4.25 mln in revenue.

            I, too, have my doubts about the $242 mln figure being used for conference distributions. Last year it was $207 mln. It will be higher this year but my guess is somewhere between $207 and $242, thanks mainly to a higher contractual BTN rights fees and some small profit payout.

            Also, though it’s not clear to me without actually seeing the contract, the BTN – Fox deal may be capped at $2.8 bln. The articles referred to things like ‘if all sales milestones are met, the deal could be worth as much as $2.8 bln over the life of the contract.’

            So I believe we’re back to looking at subscribers, not ads, a new school could bring. One thing to remember here is that the BTN has some long term contracts with DIRECTV, etc. Those won’t necessarily change just because a new school is brought in.

            Look at the NYC DMA as an example. DIRECTV, FIOS and U-Verse all carry the BTN on standard programming. These 3 have over 20% of the market. Add in DISH and others and you probably have 25% of the market already. The revenue for these subscribers won’t change immediately if say Rutgers joins. The revenue numbers will still be higher if Cablevision gets on board but not as high as looking simply at the number of subscribers. Something many analysts do.

            In some ways the ideal state is one with a high number of tvs and where there is low penetration by DIRECTV, FIOS and U-Verse and the entire state rallies around the school. This would put strong pressure on the dominant cable providers to pay a Big Ten footprint rate.

            So it’s the quantity and quality of the subscribers that are important.

        • Dcphx says:

          One other thing, I wouldn’t be surprised if the true figures were different from the Outside the Lines program that we’ve all come to treat as gospel. Do you find it coincidental that the $242m/yr figure happens to match up with $102m from ABC/CBS and $2.8b/20 year contract? Other articles have referenced $212m/yr for the B10 which is $100m/yr from ABC/ESPN and $112m/yr from BTN which is $2.8b/25y.

          I’m not sure that we’ve seen the true BTN figures.

          • Rich2 says:

            Congratulatons, this is one of most astute comments posted on this blog. With the cross-subsidies that occurs within any university, a college president has enormous discretion to make any project far better or worse depending on the politics. The politics of the BTN is to make it look as profitable as possible — and this while this effort cannot be sustained indefinitely, it takes years for the truth to emerge.

          • Richard says:

            Yeah, but I assume the Big10 presidents are rational people, so if they are window-dressing, they are not going to make the decision to expand based on the window-dressing. Considering how conservative that lot is, expansion will have to bring a lot of real value that they expect _will_ be sustained indefinitely for them to be so gung-ho about it.

            BTW, what do you teach? I ask because you seem very inclined to believe what you want to believe rather than the reality that other people’s actions suggest. It can’t be a science or social science; at least, you wouldn’t be able to get away with such reasoning in those fields.

    • Mike says:

      IIRC the Nebraska ratings for the past year include the second highest rated non-bowl, the Big 12 Championship (10 point something) and the lowest rated broadcast national game, vs Colorado for a day game the Friday after Thanksgiving (2.7 I think).

  10. gjlynch17 says:

    I can’t open the Word file but the breakdown between the advertising revenue and subscription revenue may be off as I believe the BTN has over 35 million subscribers, not 26 million. If true, this could change the revenue mix more heavily towards new subscribers (e.g. Rutgers) and away from advertising (e.g. Nebraska). Any corrections (or a way to open the file or an Excel file) would be appreciated.

  11. Jonathan B. says:

    First, I wonder if the announcement the Michigan will play Notre Dame at night next year is a foreshadowing that Big Ten tripleheaders will be a certainty.

    Second, since advertising and ratings, rather than market size appear to be the money makers, I have become convinced that Kansas, rather than Missouri would be the more likely choice. The Jayhawks are a wonderful basketball draw, and while a step below the Tigers in football, the distance is not huge. Furthermore, it has been proven that the BigTen network is already in much of STL because of the Illinois alumni who are in the area, and Kansas, not Missouri is the top team in the Kansas City area.

    It is hard for me to believe that Texas and Texas A&M would not bolt if Nebraska or Kansas were to be leaving the Big Twelve. I would bet that the two Texas schools, Nebraska or Kansas, Rutgers and Pittsburgh will be invited.

    • Justin says:

      The issue is if the Big 10 adds five schools, including Nebraska and Missouri from the Big 12, they will have effectively ceded Texas to the PAC 10.

      Now, this could arise from Texas informing the Big 10 that it prefers to cut a deal with the PAC 10 for whatever reason (can bring more travel partners, easier to convince alumni and politicians, etc.), and in fact, if the Big 10 adds five schools and none are Texas, I’d be pretty convinced that Texas already made its decision to join the PAC 10 or form some Western Alliance as has been rumored.

      BTW, the SEC commissioner is going to have some explaining to do if two 16 team superconferences are launched with TV networks that greatly surpass the deal that the SEC cut with ESPN.

      • Patrick says:

        I think that this will probably happen, that way Texas can take A&M, Oklahoma, Ok State, and Colorado with them. Texas could also set up the direction and planning of the new tv network and be “in control” of the process to an extent.

        • Michael says:

          I cannot imagine any scenario in which Oklahoma and OSU head get accepted by the Pac 10. The Pac 10 requires a unanimous vote for expansion – and neither of those schools can hold its own academically.

          I would think it´s much more likely that Texas, A&M, Colorado and maybe Kansas head west.

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            Justin’s post + Michael’s post = OU moves to the SEC and takes OSU along for the ride.

          • Scott C says:

            Yeah, if Texas, Texas A&M, and Nebraska left, Oklahoma would be a victim. I think their only shot would be joining a 16-team SEC. I could see Oklahoma, Ok-State, and TTech joining the SEC, but that won’t happen for many years unless the SEC can convince ESPN to renegotiate their contract.

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            @Scott C: I could foresee, in a scenario in which the Big XII completely implodes, that A&M, and not Tech, would be the school to join OU and OSU in a move to the SEC. Texas and A&M aren’t so tied to the hip that they can’t be broken up, so long as both schools are taken care of.

          • Richard says:

            The Pac10 will do what USC wants, because if Texas wants a network & USC wants a network, they’ll get to gether in a brand new conference and start a network (inviting those Pac10 and Big12 schools they want to join them). Stanford’s not stupid enough to sacrifice self-preservation for the sake of “purity”. BTW, that’s how USC got Arizona & ASU in to the Pac10 last time (by threatening to leave if the Arizona schools didn’t join). Evidently, USC didn’t care enough about Texas when the SWC collapsed. This time, however, the Pac10 presidents are desperate to increase their TV money (even Stanford had to lay off athletic staff and cut programs recently), so if taking in Texas and its extended family means more money, they’ll take in the Clampetts.

          • Richard says:

            On the other hand, OU & OSU may very well head to the SEC, in which case I reckon Texas would just go independent and start their own network.

          • Patrick says:

            I really don’t know much about the politics of the Big XII south, but Oklahoma is too much of a name and makes to much $$$ to be left on the sidelines. Baylor, Kansas State, Iowa State are going to be in trouble if this goes down like I think it will.

          • duffman says:


            two things put OU and OSU in the Pac 16

            a) football = $$

            b) energy = $$

            now a) is easy, but remember california, texas, colorado, and oklahoma share energy money (and have for almost 100 years). so it would not “shock” me at all to see the OK twins in the Pac 16….

            oil, nat gas, and coal = energy $$

        • Justin says:

          Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Utah, Colorado and Kansas to the PAC 10.

          If the Big 10 just ran its models and found that a sixteen team model generates the most revenue for a TV network, the PAC 10 will do the same thing.

          The PAC 10 and Big 10 have always moved in tandem.

          Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to the SEC?

          • Bamatab says:

            The SEC would also probably either raid the ACC for two more teams, or if they had no other options, the could go after USF & West Virginia.

          • Richard says:

            WVU, VTech, FSU, and Miami is my guess, though they could steal OU&OSU from the Western Alliance and/or take NCSU if the AAU members in the ACC decide to join up with the Big10/16 to form the Big20.

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Utah, Colorado and Kansas to the PAC 10.

            If the Big 10 just ran its models and found that a sixteen team model generates the most revenue for a TV network, the PAC 10 will do the same thing.

            The PAC 10 and Big 10 have always moved in tandem.

            Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to the SEC?

            I agree with those being realistic options, but not so fast on the revenue. Different markets, total pops, and levels of fan interest. Look at how the more populous P10 trails the B12 in revenue and average attendance. The B10+ schools on average have a more loyal and rabid fan base than that on the west coast, the kind of thing that translates into more $’s and higher viewership. I don’t think it is a given that the BTN can be duplicated in the P10/16/20, or at least not at the same level of success. Might, but for now is a big question mark.

          • m (Ag) says:

            I don’t think the SEC would take two schools from Oklahoma. If they needed a 2nd school from the west to go with Oklahoma and UT and A&M were unavailable, I think they’d try Missouri, Houston, Texas Tech, or maybe even a private school like TCU rather than a 2nd school in a relatively small state.

            Yes, the SEC has 2 schools in Mississippi and Alabama, but those are grandfathered in.

          • duffman says:

            I still say OK and OSU to PAC 16 as more valuable franchise than Utah and T Tech..

            If the SEC expands, it will be 4 ACC State schools is my bet.. and you can say there is academic issues.. i would argue that 4 ACC PUBLIC schools would fit very well in the SEC East with Vandy, Florida, UGA, and UK.

      • Bamatab says:

        If anyone thinks that, if the Big 10 starts reeling in the type of money that Patrick is predicting and the Pac 10 expands to 16 teams can creates their own network, that the SEC would not be able to come to an agreement with ESPN to create their own network (possibly with a partnership with ESPN), then they are sadly mistaken. I’m sure that the SEC wasn’t dumb enough to not add an escape clause somewhere in their contract. Contracts are made to be renegotiated, especially when you are talking about the type of money that is being discussed here.

        • Richard says:

          I think an SEC channel is inevitable. Just a question of when the SEC will bite the bullet and start it up (because the first 2-3 years will require both hard work and a decrease in money from what the SEC is seeing now).

        • Justin says:

          I’m not sure on that Bama.

          The prevailing sentiment when the SEC landed that contract was that ESPN completely overpaid, and that it was a financial windfall for the SEC in order to prevent the SEC from starting its own network.

          Why would ESPN toss that kind of dough at the SEC without any assurances of cost control?

          • Bamatab says:

            Justin, I doubt that ESPN would want to have a conference on the majority of their channels that is at a financial disadvantage (and thus a competitive disadvantage) from other conferences (this is if the Pac-10/Western alliance creates their own network as well). And with the money that is being discussed here, the SEC would be at a major disadvantage. And if you think the SEC wouldn’t do whatever it takes to not be at a financial and competitive disadvantge from other conferences, then you just don’t understand the SEC’s mentality when it comes to football. I know that I am bias when it comes to SEC football, but to people in the south, college football isn’t just a game, its an identity and a huge part of their lifestyle that has been cultivated that way for decades upon decades. Contract or not, The SEC would find a solution to getting the type of revenue it needs to compete with the Big 10. Plus, I think that ESPN understands this and would probably figure out a way to get the SEC and themselves the money (maybe by building a more indepth partnership a little more along the lines of what the Big 10 & fox is doing now, who knows). JMHO

          • Richard says:

            The SEC will still have deep & fertile recruiting grounds in its backyard. ESPN would be perfectly happy to have a competitive SEC, especially if they don’t have to pay them to keep the competitive. Also keep in mind that ESPN isn’t tied to the success of the SEC; they also have a contract with the Big10 (which the Big10 likely will extend with them just to keep ESPN from being a solely SEC-focused network), so ESPN wouldn’t care too much who’s on top so long as they get the best games from both conference.

          • Shaun Corbett says:

            It’s worth noting that the SEC covers a relatively small population base. An SEC network would most likely reel in less money than the ESPN/CBS contract. The SEC may draw in the most viewers nationwide, but it’s home terrotity is just too small to make B10 money with a network. That is the issue the Big 12 faces currently. I honestly think that the only other conference that coudl go regional and make money is, suprisingly, the Big East, simply due to population base, it has a better chance of success.

          • m (Ag) says:

            “It’s worth noting that the SEC covers a relatively small population base.”


            Using numbers from wikipedia-

            Florida 18.5 million (18.5 per school)
            Georgia 9.8 million (9.8 per school)
            Tennessee 6.3 million (3.2 per school)
            Alabama 4.7 million (2.4 per school)
            S. Carolina 4.6 million (4.6 per school)
            Louisiana 4.5 million (4.5 per school)
            Kentucky 4.3 million (4.3 per school)
            Mississippi 3.0 million (1.5 per school)
            Arkansas 2.9 million (2.9 per school)

            total 58.6 million people. 4.9 million per school.

            Texas 24.8 million (6.2 per school)
            Missouri 6.0 million (6.0 per school)
            Colorado 5.0 million (5.0 per school)
            Oklahoma 3.7 million (1.9 per school)
            Iowa 3.0 million (3.0 per school)
            Kansas 2.8 million (1.4 per school)
            Nebraska 1.8 million (1.8 per school)

            total 47.1 million people. 3.9 million per school.

            The Big 12 number is 80% of the SEC number. The SEC could lose any school but Florida and still have more people than the Big 12 even if they didn’t add anyone. You can also see how losing some key teams would devastate the Big 12, especially when you consider Baylor and Texas Tech don’t have huge fanbases.

            Now, NY, Pennsylvania, NJ, and Connecticut total 44.3 million people. So you’re correct; there is some value in the Big East schools of Rutgers, Syracuse, Pitt, and UConn. West Virginia brings the total to 46.1 million people; still less than the Big 12. The other football schools in the Big East are clearly not the main attractions in their own state. Given the differences in passion that the SEC teams have in their teams, they would have a more successful network than the Big East, even if they didn’t expand.

            If the SEC were to add Texas, A&M, TTech, & OU, they would gain 28.5 million people for a total of 87.1 million people. That would be 5.4 million people per school in a 16 team league. That would be a big boost over the current number.

            If the SEC were to add Oklahoma, Missouri, Virginia Tech, and Florida State, they would gain 17.5 million people for a total of 76.1 million. That would be 4.8 million per school, slightly less than their current average (though it would be more balanced with Florida State adding attention in Florida).

            The SEC already has a sizable population; it will get some schools to join it if need be to add to that. Even the University of Houston could be a plus if they don’t get the big Texas schools; with fans of SEC teams (particularly LSU) already living in the area, the addition of UH would get the cable system to add a new SEC network to the 5.7-million person region.

        • duffman says:

          ESPN has history with the ACC..

          ESPN make money with the SEC..

          It is at the root of why the SEC and ACC will merge if the Big 10 goes to 16..

          in a perfect world, the SEC jettisons the Mississippi schools and takes 6 PUBLIC ACC schools

          in reality they take at least 4 PUBLIC ACC schools

          • Manifesto says:


            In a perfect world the SEC jettisons two founding members, both public schools, to pick up two public ACC schools? That makes no sense.

          • duffman says:


            if the SEC was reforming today (no past history) which is why I said adding 4 not 6 was the reality..

            ie if the SEC picked up Clemson and FSU for the 2 Mississippi schools (ie if the Big 10 were forming today – no previous history – IU and Northwestern might not make the cut).

            as stated before, most of the SEC and ACC were in the SAME conference at one time, and Texas was in there at one time too..

            of course if you were looking at a FOOTBALL only deal. The SEC would pick up TEXAS, TEXAS A&M, OKLAHOMA, and OSU as that combo would dwarf 4 ACC schools. My argument is that these 4 are part of the new PAC 16..

    • Gopher86 says:

      @Jonathon B. You hit the nail on the head. Let’s take a look at Missouri vs. Kansas:

      You’re looking at two nearly identical academic institutions, with Mizzou having a higher enrollment and Kansas having a slightly higher endowment. Both are AAU institutions.

      On paper, Missouri’s population dwarf’s Kansas’. Take a closer look, though. Discount the St. Louis market, which already offers the Big Ten network. Add the Kansas City metro area to KU’s tally (KU alumni in the KC Metro area outnumber MU 71k to 23k). The cable fees then even out or favor KU.

      Both teams have excellent athletic directors. Mike Alden has done a great job to improve Mizzou’s standing in the Big 12 in men’s sports. Despite this, MU still ranks dead last in all-time Big 12 titles, with six (one being in a revenue sport). Lew Perkins has made KU one of the most profitable AD’s in the country and has had top 25 revenues over the last two years.

      Let’s take a look at football fan bases. Mizzou has a larger stadium than KU by about 14,000. Both teams have had solid attendance numbers over the last several years. KU has a much better traveling fan base. There’s a reason why the Orange Bowl committee snubbed Mizzou– KU filled up a stadium in Florida. The last three years, bowl committees have selected other Big 12 teams with lessor conference records over Mizzou (including a 6-6 Iowa State team over an 8-4 Mizzou team). There’s no doubt that MU is the better program right now, but KU has more potential.

      Basketball isn’t close. KU sells out each game and is a top 5 all-time program. MU can only claim one Big 12 tourney championship (they didn’t win the regular season) and struggles with attendance during non-conference games. Jayhawk fans are dotted around the Midwest and travel to out of state games– they sold out Rosemount when they played DePaul in Chicago and they sold out Las Vegas when they played Florida a few years back.

      The simple fact is, if you’re going to pick from the Big 12 North, the only two nationally recognizable brands are Nebraska football and Kansas basketball. If you’re going to look at expansion candidates from the Big 12, you’d have to rank them as follows:

      1. Texas
      2. Nebraska
      3. Texas A&M
      4. Kansas
      5. Missouri
      6. Colorado
      7. Baylor
      8. Oklahoma
      9. Oklahoma State
      10. Texas Tech
      11. Kansas State
      12. Iowa State

      1-3 are can’t miss prospects. 4-6 are good prospects. 7-12 aren’t really viable candidates due to academics or athletics.

      • Art Vandelay says:

        Why is Missouri a better candidate than Colorado? I’m wondering why Colorado doesn’t get more consideration for the Big Ten. It’s a better school than Missouri – both in US News rankings and in other research rankings, it’s got a better football name, and adds the Denver-Metro viewing area, isn’t that much less populated than Missouri, and gets total viewership of the entire state, as opposed to Missouri which shares St. Louis with Illinois and Kansas City with Kansas. The only thing Missouri has on Colorado is proximity, but if Texas schools are being considered for the Big Ten and Colorado is being considered for the Pac 10 (not much closer), why isn’t Colorado also being looked at?

        • Gopher86 says:

          I will give you my perspective as a Big 12 fan:

          That fan support isn’t there and the athletic department has shown it won’t participate in the arms race.

          Denver is a huge market, but Colorado fans are pretty apathetic. When KU is in town, there’s usually more Jayhawk fans in their arena than CU fans. I’m fairly sure that Nebraska does the same in football. The way both of their revenue sports have fallen off the table gives them little to cheer about.

          Part of this is because CU has made it clear that they won’t go out and spend money on their programs.

          Dan Hawkins would have been fired from any other Big 12 school (outside of ISU, maybe), but the CU AD wouldn’t spend the cash on his buy-out. So they decided to go through another terrible year and decline further as a program over a million or two, which is almost unheard of nowadays.

          Their basketball program hasn’t been good since the Chauncey Billups days. After trolling around in the basement of the Big 12 for over a decade, the AD continues to take half-measures towards success. Their latest hire is out of Northern Colorado(a Big Sky school), who had zero NCAA tourney bids. I love Tad Boyle, but most schools require at least some mid-major experience or NCAA bids before offering a coaching job in the Big 12.

          You could very well be right about CU’s value, but from my point of view, it’d take years for them to build up either program. After that, you have to get the fans interested again. MU’s just in a better spot right now, but that very well could change.

          • Mike says:

            I don’t think its Colorado won’t spend the money; its Colorado can’t spend the money because their Athletic Dept. is so heavily in debt. That is why Colorado wants so bad to go to the PAC 10. They hope it will energize the fan base and alums (a lot of CU alums in CA) and get them to start donating again.

          • Gopher86 says:

            @Mike: I agree. I’m just wondering how they’re going to pay the Big 12’s penalty fee for leaving.

          • Mike says:

            It’s not a fee for leaving so much as it’s a reduction in TV money. They would make up the shortfall in their budget with booster money (they hope the newly excited CU alums in CA will donate early and often) or by taking another loan from the University proper. They will be willing to take a two year hit if the money from the new PAC 10 is significantly better than the Big 12. That won’t be hard if the PAC 10 starts a network, as expected. They have to be hoping the Big Ten will take Nebraska and send the Big 12 the way of the SWC. If the league dissolves, I doubt there will be penalties.

      • Shaun Corbett says:

        Gopher, you cannot simply discount the St Louis makret. Yes, they “get” the Big Ten Netowrk, but at an “out of market rate.” There is a gigantic difference in carriage rate for the B10 Network out of market, and in market, close to a 700% – 1000% difference. This cannot be discounted. The Big Ten Network is “available” in NYC, but at an out of market rate, on a sport tier. Their gola is to get it to be an “in market” rate on basic cable. That is what this whole fuss is about.

  12. michaelC says:

    I’m surprised there isn’t more talk about Maryland. First tier research, excellent TV market in a wealthy and growing area. Is it that people here believe they wouldn’t leave the ACC? They will make money (per Patrick’s analysis) and they are a great fit with the Big Ten culture and research commitment. I’d not bet against them turning down an invite.

    I am also a bit surprised by the continuing support for Norte Dame. Sure they make money, but it is not the slam dunk we have supposed to this point in the discussion. Put more directly, they don’t fit — are they really worth the hassle?

    • michaelC says:


      “I’d not bet against them turning down an invite.”
      I’d not bet against them accepting an invite.

    • Richard says:

      I don’t think ND’s worth the hassle, but the Big10 presidents, being traditionalists, may want them.
      I’d definitely go after Maryland, but it’s not certain they’d be so willing to leave, even if the dollars make sense.

    • duffman says:

      MC.. I have argued Maryland from the beginning instead of ND

      a) people keep shooting me down saying it will be ND

      b) people think the ACC will grow, I have been a proponent of implosion

      if the BIG 16 / SEC 16 take the 6 top ACC PUBLIC schools, what is left of the ACC? My whole argument has been the BIG 3 predators growing at the expense of the little 3 prey..

      so far no one seems to have accepted my premise, but they also have not been able to show why this would not occur…. To me this is a no brainer, as I can find no compelling combination of 16 ACC teams that could hold a candle to the BIG 3.

      • @duffman – Oh, I’d love Maryland to be in the Big Ten. They’d be a great fit. However, it goes back to what I said a couple of months ago – the Big XII and Big East are very “breakable” while the ACC isn’t as much. I’m just basing this on the fact that there are schools that would likely provide similar or greater financial value (i.e. Nebraska and Missouri) could be obtained with a lot less hassle. It woudn’t shock me to see Maryland in the Big Ten, but one thing stuck with me was a comment that essentially said this – Maryland fans (other than Vincent that posts here frequently) would complain about the move as much as ND fans without the commensurate upside. Schools like Texas and ND are clearly worth a ton of effort to lure. How much would the Big Ten really be willing to dance around with Maryland? If Maryland was as ready and willing to jump to the Big Ten as Missouri or Rutgers, then I’d say that’s a no-brainer for the Big Ten. However, I don’t think the Big Ten is going to tolerate much hemming-and-hawing from that school.

        • duffman says:


          again.. why do people think the ACC is less breakable than the Big 12 or BE?? everybody seems to feel this is not possible, but can not seem to offer more concrete reasons as to why? I am not saying I am right, I guess I am looking for concrete reasons for why not.. as the only 2 possible seem weak..

          a) UNC vs duke in basketball – thumped many times in past several posts as UNC becomes much more valuable in a BIG 3 without duke

          b) academics – the SEC east has Vandy, UF, and UGA which would fit much better with UNC, UVA, and NC State than schools in the SEC west – the less academically gifted part of the SEC (I am viewing the SEC east as forming and academic component that the west might not share).

          this also makes Maryland (as a no twin school) a VERY easy pick off for the Big 16. I originally offered the Virginia twins to the Big 10 but that kept getting shot down as nobody seemed to think the Big 16 would accept Va Tech, so I have since dropped UVA to the Big 16.

          • Richard says:

            1. The core ACC schools have more history together. Few people are still alive who can remember seeing the Carolina schools, Virginia, and Maryland playing while not a part of the ACC. That’s not true of the Big12 or Big East. Nebraska won’t be sad if they’re not in the same conference as TAMU or TTech any more, and Rutgers won’t miss UConn or Cincy that much either. There’d be much more fan backlash if the core ACC schools broke apart (especially if Duke & UNC break up).

            2. The SEC isn’t ready to expand yet. The Big12 is under siege from both the Pac10 and Big10 (with certain schools open to leaving), but the SEC isn’t ready to raid the ACC yet (they’d have to start their own cable channel first for expansion to make sense financially). Maybe once the SEC starts making overtures to VTech, FSU, and Miami, the core ACC schools will start considering their options.

          • duffman says:


            a) usc was a charter member of the ACC, and is now in the SEC

            b) ga tech went to the ACC in 1978

            c) the ACC founded in the mid 50’s so the older folks (see directors and big donors) are still alive to remember. I am guessing the guys in the “expensive” seats remember (folks in their 60’s and 70’s and beyond) and have more money and power than recent graduates.

            d) saying they are not ready to expand is wishful thinking, I have a VERY strong feeling they are just waiting for the Big 10 to make the first move. I would be willing to bet they already have several plans in place once “pandoras” box gets opened by delaney. If fact the “silence” from the SEC right now is very telling in its own way.

            e) by not forcing anything they can be the white knight to either the Big 12 (via texas, a&m, OK, and OSU) or the ACC (via FSU, Clemson, UNC, and NC State – the last 3 being ACC charter members)

            consider.. clemson already plays..

            auburn and south carolina

            FSU already plays florida..

            UNC already plays LSU..

            if you substituted Ga Tech for NC State

            UGA plays Ga Tech

            f) the duke – unc rivalry..

            #1) it is basketball not football

            UNC holds a 19 – 1 edge in football, and does not translate to TV money.. I love IU, but I would not call the IU vs tOSU football game a rivalry.. would you??

            #2) the basketball rivalry is modern – ask any UNC fan over 45 / 50 if they considered duke a rival when they were growing up..

            #3) the rivalry coincides with the ESPN / ACC contract that started in the late 70’s and early 80’s. If UNC thought there was more gravy in the SEC, they would not bring duke.

            #4) duke is the little brother in competition.. like people saying that UK views UL as a more serious rival than IU. In the old days UNC’s rival was NC State and could easily become again, if cut loose from duke.

            I am willing to bet if UNC was able to cut away from duke in a poll they would do so, especially if they felt they could seriously grow their football revenue (they could always schedule duke in basketball to keep that specific rivalry going) but if you want to fill the dean dome in basketball, SEC fans (especially UK) will travel.

            Just imagine a BIG 4 renewal (IU, UK, UL, ND) but revamp it as (IU, UK, MSU, UNC) and play it in Lucas Oil / Georgia Dome in alternating years. UNC could excel without having duke tag along on its coat tails..

        • Nittany Wit says:

          Maryland may be harder, but it is much more strategical valuable. With Maryland, PSU and possibly Rutgers, you have the best teams in the mid atlantic region. Later down the road, that allows the Big Ten to focus on the NE for expansion as the mid atlantic schools outflank the NE schools.

          If Maryland would be the first offered and accept, could you imagine the shock relative to if the Big 10 took Rutgers or Missouri?

          • Vincent says:

            If rumors persist about the SEC picking off the ACC’s southern flank (the schools who likely would have fled to an expanded Big East had the ACC not been proactive in 2003), it would give Maryland officials the public leverage they need to join the Big Ten, basketball games with Duke be damned. Maryland can’t afford further ACC erosion in football. (And I’m certain the Big Ten would rather have Maryland than Pittsburgh, as it would get two new markets rather than none.

      • Dcphx says:

        You need 61 teams to control the BCS. 3 conferences of 16 teams leaves you a minority to the non-AQ schools…who would predictably vote you out of AQ status and themselves into AQ status. Any combo of big conferences that doesn’t have at least 61 teams is not BCS politically workable.

      • Dcphx says:

        Let me expand on this a bit. Currently there are 65 teams in the BCS conferences plus ND who vote themselves into the Haves in the BCS equation. There are 120 BCS Football schools, 66 Haves, 54 Have Nots. There are probably 4 teams in the Have Nots who would be good candidates to bump up into the Haves (Boise, Utah, TCU, BYU) and another 5 teams who might have potential (Nevada, East Carolina, UCF, SMU, Houston).

        You could lose 5 teams from AQ conferences into non-AQ status and still maintain a sufficient voting block, but cannibalizing 3 conferences, you’d just lose too many voters. The P10 adds 6, the B10 5, the SEC 4, that’s 15 teams that can be absorbed into your big 3. However there are 32 teams in the other 3 conferences plus ND. You need that 4th conference and a 5th conference if your 4th isn’t at least 14 teams to maintain majority rule.

        • duffman says:


          i see what you are saying..

          i was just interpreting what arkstfan said and taking it to the next logical step.. The BIG 3 reform and leave the BCS behind. In this scenario the newly formed BMF (think of Jules wallet in Pulp Fiction) has an 80% demand footprint, and everybody else is along for the ride. I have read in the past where this was desired so the top schools and conferences could dominate the market..

          Instead 120 BCS schools, you might be dealing with 64 BMF schools, and 48 is 75% 64. In my predator vs prey argument, the lions pick which gazelles they want to schedule for dinner, but the gazelles do not get to pick the lions. Sure the remaining schools would still play games, but not in front of the nationwide tv audiences who will be watching bama vs michigan in a BMF bowl will outdraw USF vs ECU in the Pappa Johns bowl.

          It will clearly define a first and second tier in college football. The first tier will protect 20 or so “historical” BIG time college football programs. the second tier will encompass the rest, but somewhat limit their ability to break into the first tier. It would insure say, that a Central Michigan could never challenge a Michigan for dominance in college football.

          I am not knocking Central Michigan, i am just saying that Michigan (and large media companies) have a great deal to lose if the power structure is upset over the long term. If I am looking to expand to the BIG 16, I want Maryland with 26,000 undergrads over duke with 6,000 over the long haul because it means more TV sets over a multi decade horizon. This has been pointed out in previous posts, but seems to get lost on some people posting just how valuable this part of the expansion equation it is..

          If it goes to the BIG 3, you can not look at the BCS or the 120 team matrix because it will no longer apply. As it has been noted before, delaney wants to create a legacy. The BIG 3 and the BMF would fit this bill quite nicely. I am will to admit error here, but from what I am reading this fits delaney. If I am not reading delaney correctly this this is moot.

          Am I reading delaney correctly? If so you have your future, if he can accomplish his goal.

        • Dcphx says:

          I don’t think you’re reading Delaney correctly.

          He has said time and again, that he doesn’t work for the good of the NCAA but the presidents of the B10. He carries their water and while he might be the agent of change, ultimately they are the arbiters. The presidents of the B10 have many more concerns than getting 48 football teams their own feifdom. I think they know that there is a grey area of greed and monopoly that they can dance around, but breaking off into a 48 unit exclusive club (where the members are the vast majority state sponsored), is far enough over the line that it will draw attention in an unfavorable way.

          Ever hear the saying, pigs get fat – hogs get slaughtered?

          • duffman says:


            I agree.. but the “actions speak louder that words” comes to mind. If Delaney was just adding one team to get to 12, my feeling is it would fit in the Big 10 presidents “comfort zone”. I agree with you 100% at this point.

            As I have said before, the day the Big 10 hits 13 we have all gone down the rabbit hole. I note the following..

            a) Delaney is not a “lone gunman” from what I can tell. Somebody, somewhere is giving him marching orders. He is already carrying the presidents water so to speak.

            b) Somebody, somewhere has given him the order to change the playing field. I say this as by going to 16, he is changing the current status quo.

            c) What has been lost on the SEC to 12 was not that they did it.. but that they almost assured a SEC team would be in the NC game every year! They changed the status quo, and now if the B 10 goes to 12 they just “catch up”.

            d) going to 16 puts Delaney (vis a vi the Big 10 as a collective) ahead of the curve. If the Big 10 is smart, they must have already thought of this. It is why I would argue Delaney is doing what he is at this time because he has already been given his marching orders.

            e) my proof is that it appears as though the Big 10 will not stop at 12. There is no need for the Big 10 to 16, but the fact that it is on the table tells me by simple logic that the presidents have already approved such a move ALREADY!

            Delaney may be the dog on a leash, but the Big 10 presidents have already taken him outside for a walk in the first place..

            something to think about..

            BTW: In the plan I am working on it is the BIG 3 80% + some second tier “filter” conferences / alliances that doles out the remaining 20%.

  13. GrBoiler says:


    I am afraid all you are seeing is dollar signs and have forgotten that the Big Ten (particularly through the university presidents) thinks of itself foremost as an academic unit.

    • M (Ag) says:

      Well, this is one reason why noone has ever mentioned Oklahoma as a possible candidate for the Big 10.

    • Scott C says:

      Everyone discussed by Frank more or less meets the minimum academic standards of the Big 10. This has been discussed ad nauseam.

  14. M says:

    Mostly adding, but a few comments:

    Greenstein seems to have a direct line to Big Ten HQ (which I envision as a grainy blue hologram of Jim Delaney). I would take his comments as gospel which means the original 5 (ND, Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse, Missouri) are most likely. Like many observers I would substitute Nebraska for almost anyone else on the list. I wonder if there are long-term doubts about Nebraska’s viability due to their population size/growth. One of the Greenstein quotes was “They’re looking long-term, across the horizon. What gives them the best shot at keeping value at a high level?”. Another possibility is concerns about the “partial-qualifier” issue.

    I was very surprised at how low Pittsburgh was on the list, especially compared to Iowa State.

    I’m still amazed by the advertising money revelation. Someone must be buying enough Rotel to fill swimming pools.

    • HoosierMike says:

      I’m still amazed by the advertising money revelation. Someone must be buying enough Rotel to fill swimming pools.

      <- best comment yet

      • @M – re: “I’m still amazed by the advertising money revelation. Someone must be buying enough Rotel to fill swimming pools.”

        Little known fact is that all of that Rotel was hauled across America in a Barbasol truck.

        • HoosierMike says:

          Hmmm… A close shave and Rotel… Two things that should never mix.

          • duffman says:

            now if you mix Ro*tel with Velveta..

            put it in a swimming pool..

            bring in a multitude of 18 wheelers filled with corn chips..

            I think you become a GOD in the history of Super Bowl parties!!

      • @HoosierMike – Speaking of sponsors, I really hope that people start calling this the “Kentaco Hut Center”:

        • Pariahwulfen says:

          Kentucky Fried Cardinal Yum!

          I’m not sure they thought the new name through.

        • HoosierMike says:

          Wow. Just… Wow. I got about halfway through the first paragraph of that article and scrolled to the top to make sure the dateline wasn’t April Fools. Unsurprisingly, it was not. I, as my handle implies, am a lifelong Hoosier native (IU grad), and a lifelong Michigan Football fan. This unique combination provides me the just the right amount of arrogance AND genetic diversity to have spent the better part of my 28 years trashing, belittling, and generally making fun of all things Kentucky. This news represents an opened floodgate with a force of farcicality possibly too great for even my formidable experience…

          That said, I find this agreement slightly more inspired than most (Lucas Oil Stadium, anyone? “Come to Indiana, and getch yer… Oil? really?), but more hilarious than all of them.

          I think this shark was jumped when the Double Down was released. At that point, any self respecting city (or Commonwealth) needs to declare: no mas. This is a extinction level event, people, worthy of a John Boehner-esque “HELL NO, YOU CAN’T!” from the legislature, demanding the drop of the “K” from KFC. More worthy, perhaps, than the first iteration as this monstrosity is inherently designed to kill people! It’s a 540 calorie one-sandwich death panel!

          This is a dark day for my countrymen to the south. The thought of Kentucky once conjured great things in the minds of Americans, and in many respects was quintessential Americana: bluegrass on a fiddle, horse farms, Daniel Boone, log cabins with quilts on the walls, and warmish southernish hospitality.

          Now? Clogged arteries, The Colonel, Calipari, missing teeth and rusted out pickups.

          We’ve come a long way, baby. God Bless America. Peyton Manning.

        • duffman says:


          My understanding was that it was a push on Pappa John’s. When UL built the football stadium they were having a hard time finding a sponsor. Pappa Johns swooped in at the last min and got a discounted price. Word on the street in the KY, IN, OH triangle was Pappa Johns has been waiting to do the same thing for the new basketball arena (get in at last second for a discounted price).

          keep the following in the back of your mind….

          a) Pappa John’s is headquartered in Louisville..

          b) Yum is headquartered in Louisville..

          c) Yum owns Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, etc..

          d) egos = crazy decisions..

          My guess is Yum did not want to see both new venues go to a rival. They stepped up to stop such a thing from happening. Of the many food company that Yum owns, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) has the most ties to the state of Kentucky. Hopefully some PR group will arrive at a better name before the venue actually opens.

  15. Pat says:

    The numbers for Texas are impressive, to say the least. No wonder they are pursuing the “Longhorn Cable Network”. I wonder if that thing will get off the ground?

  16. MStreet says:

    How does the BTN get a football triple header given that the current ABC/ESPN deal has exclusive Big Ten rights during the 3:30 and 8pm timeslots? No game can be on the BTN in those timeslots if ABC/ESPN has a Big Ten game.

    • greg says:


      The BTN night games generally start at 6pm CST, so that may be one way they avoid the same time slots as their ABC/ESPN contract. They have later games in the afternoon, but I don’t know what the exact time is.

    • gjlynch17 says:


      The ABC/ESPN agreement would need to be renegotiated as part of Big Ten expansion as that agreement suddenly became more valuable. I am not sure how much (if any) additional revenue ABC/ESPN would give up but the Big Ten would be pushing for the loss of ABC’s exclusivity.

    • Richard says:

      The exclusive ABC window’s only for the 3:30 time slot (right now)

  17. Jeepers says:


  18. jeremy says:

    Big 10 will have an amasing Rosebowl rep for the future years.

  19. Jason says:

    If the Big Ten wants to increase its revenue, it should definitely and totally agree in that statement that they should start a hockey conference and especially a lacrosse since it’s one of the fastest growing sports, if not, the fastest growing sport in the country if it does indeed invite Syracuse. I’ve made an article about a potential Big Ten Lacrosse Conference last Thursday.

    Even though that much of the major schools lacrosse teams are in the MCLA, including 5-of-10 current Big Ten members (Northwestern doesn not have a Men’s Lacrosse team), the Big Ten can just easily move them from the MCLA to the NCAA. However, that could also cause a chain reaction in college lacrosse, to where the MCLA will fold or just simply merge with the NCAA.

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      Ooh, I love threads where I can chime in on both half of my user name!

      It’s hard to see, in an era of Title IX and tight budgets, that any of those schools competing in lacrosse at a non-varsity, club level would want to take on the expense of competing at a varsity level and add a corresponding number of opportunities for female student athletes as well.

      It is possible that there could be a Big 10 lacrosse league if Rutgers, SU and ND join the Big 10. Just as the ACC competes with just a four-team conference, the Big 10 could do the same, with those three schools joining Ohio State with varsity programs.

      (Oh, and after reading your blog post, it’s “Johns” Hopkins. With an S. It’s very hard to convey how annoying that dropped “S” is to those who didn’t go to school there! And it’s also very hard to write about that annoyance without sounding very annoying and petty in the process of doing so. It’s a burden Hopkins grads bear.)

      • Jason says:

        Yea it is kind of annoying when there’s another “s” after “John” cause it’s like that double standard thing or whatever it’s called that your English teacher tells you not to do/use. But thanks for pointing that out.

        Also, besides Ohio State being in the current NCAA lacrosse program, Penn State has a lacrosse program in the NCAA.

        With Syracuse, Rutgers, and possibly ND lacrosse joins with a newly formed Big Ten lacrosse with OSU and Penn State, the conference could become a becoming, dominate powerhouse in college lacrosse. Too, if they can bring the rest of the schools from the MCLA over to the NCAA, where Michigan has been dominating the MCLA for about a decade, just think of an awesome conference rivalry for Syracuse.

        I believe that the Big Ten should definitely look into this and possibly take advantage of it as well.

        • Tom says:

          As a Michigan fan and lacrosse fan, I have long dreamed of a day when the Wolverines actually fielded a legit division 1 team. However, as it stands now, all those schools in the MCLA are non scholarship club teams. As good as Michigan’s club team is, the level of play in the MCLA is basically the equivalent of the NCAA’s division 3, (and it probably is worse, as Michigan has lost to mid level D3 teams in scrimmages over the years.) It would take years before they could even dream of hanging with Syracuse were they to move to division 1, although with the allure that U of M has on the east coast, a Michigan lacrosse program has tremendous potential. More so than any athletic program, Michigan could probably afford to add a men’s and women’s team, but in this economic climate, its hard to see it happening.

          • Jason says:

            I have noticed the area that the college teams in the MCLA rarely get the money from the school. I’ve found out about that when I was going through the Iowa Lacrosse website (BTW, I’m a Hawk fan, even though living here in Minnesota), when people fill out a form to participate in the team, that they’ll have to pay at a range of $400-$600, as well as seeing fine print saying that they don’t get hardly any money.

            So yes it would be tough for those teams in the MCLA, but once they could get some of that money from Big Ten’s TV contracts, including from BTN, the players won’t be paying for the equipment and travel costs anymore.

  20. Jabroni Wilson says:

    If Fox New Corp is controlling the puppets, could they be pushing the Big 10 east in order to steer 4-6 Big 12 teams to merge with the Pac 10? Thus setting up themselves to be the TV partner of a 2nd conference network 50% owned by Fox?

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      If Fox New Corp is controlling the puppets, could they be pushing the Big 10 east in order to steer 4-6 Big 12 teams to merge with the Pac 10? Thus setting up themselves to be the TV partner of a 2nd conference network 50% owned by Fox?

      Could? Yes.

      A P16/20 is also in the B16’s interest, because it gives these conferences that often vote together more power in matters such as the BCS.

    • Jake says:

      Are you suggesting that Rupert Murdoch might be playing with these academic institutions like so many pieces on a Risk board? Because that would be awesome.

    • Dcphx says:

      It would also create additional market power for getting both of those stations onto Tier 1 across the country. You want the new P10 channel on Tier 1 in Texas and California, then you add the BTN as well. You get them both or you get neither. Same for the B10 footprint.

      • Patrick says:

        Now your thinking less like a Big Ten President and more like a tv executive.

        • Dcphx says:

          I negotiate for a living, seeing how to create leverage to benefit your position is somewhat second nature. Sometimes creating benefit to your position comes from creating benefit for your nominal allies so you can join together for mutual benefit. A strong P10 doesn’t harm the B10. A stronger SEC does. Because if the B12 is harmed and UT looks for a landing spot, the other obvious alternative is UT into the SEC and ESPN’s SEC network which wouldn’t benefit the B10. You need to look several steps down the road. If UT isn’t coming to the B10, we want them in the P10 where the B10 can leverage our P10 relationship to our ultimate benefit (and theirs).

          People have previously asked how the B10 would benefit from Texas/aTm in the P10. I always thought that the B10 could benefit from helping the P10 with a viable conference network. If that means Texas/aTm into the P10, then so be it as long as UT has said no to B10.

          Once the BTN isn’t the sole conference network selling itself to the cable operators, it becomes much easier to market. I think 5-10 years from now there will be a cable network for every major conference on basic cable and no one will blink an eye any more than getting ESPN Ocho with basic cable.

          • @Dcphx – I agree with this. I don’t believe the Big Ten would just pass on Texas to allow the Pac-10 to take them. However, I definitely think that if Texas is deciding between the Pac-10 and SEC, then the Big Ten 110% wants them to end up in the Pac-10. Placing Texas in the SEC would be a ridiculous juggeraut that could be a direct threat to the Big Ten, whereas Texas in the Pac-10 is more like creating a West Coast peer that could co-exist peacefully.

          • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

            Very shocked to see Dennis Dodd’s focus on “Texas to the SEC” in his latest article. Maybe I relied too heavily on the many old articles and stories I read around here about Texas’s aversion to the SEC, but I thought that was a non-issue. I know CBS (his employer) has SEC’s glory in mind, so maybe he’s creating a non-story here. Or maybe he’s simply failed to do ANY research about the issue. (Seems unlikely) None of his source’s quotes (DeLoss Dodds) directly mentioned the SEC though, which makes me think that Dennis is just trying to get the SEC’s name out there in all this.

          • duffman says:


            as i pointed out in a previous post.. Texas and the SEC west teams were once all in the same conference, and they share southern values and thinking. I do not think the deal breaker is the SEC or academics.

            I think the deal breaker is “sharing”, which is why I have felt the Big 16 will not include Texas as well. That said business make strange bedfellows.

      • Jake says:

        Maybe the Big Ten and Pac-10 could schedule some non-conf. games in various sports to get their fans watching each others channels.

        • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

          Very much down the road, but yearly 1-1 series between the two 16-team conferences would be awesome.

          However, in light of the new size of these 16 team conferences, teams schedules will be so varied every single year as it is, the need/desire for OOC should be much less. Playing teams from St. Louis to Minneapolis to New Jersey (to Texas I hope!) is broad enough. Throwing in a random West Coast or Southern team isn’t necessary.

  21. Vincent says:

    If the NYC numbers are true, invite Rutgers, Syracuse, Nebraska, Maryland and Notre Dame (substituting Missouri if ND declines). You get the entire NY-to-DC corridor in SU, RU, PSU and UMd and two football “brand names” in Nebraska and Notre Dame.

    • mushroomgod says:

      According to a March 2 story from the Chiago Tribune, the “consensus” of Big 10 sources, officials from other conferences, and TV execs rated RU, Mo., Pitt, and Syracuse in that order….Ilooking back, I think this is an under-reported analysis….

      • Richard says:

        That jibes with the report on the VTech board. That means RU & Mizzou are in (along with Nebraska & maybe ND), Pitt is borderline, and SU is a weaker candidate than Pitt.

  22. Scott S says:

    Excellent job Patrick, Frank. Very, very interesting numbers. It’s interesting that an expansion could include any of a number of schools. I’m pleased that expansion invitations don’t have to be about population, but can be made with regards to academics and athletics.

    From a football perspective, I couldn’t be happier to see Nebraska viable. Fantastic fans. I’d love to see their football team in Wisconsin’s division. In my opinion, we need a high-profile team like the Huskers in any expansion.

    I certainly hope Texas would consider joining too.

    Academically, I’d like to see Pitt and Maryland. Beyond these, I’m not sure I care too much.

    I’m glad to see that the numbers showing Notre Dame isn’t necessary. (Why would it be, really, given what the Big Ten has already built without them?) It’s interesting that any of a number of teams could be inserted for about the same value to the league. How many domers would believe the likes of Boston College or Nebraska would be worth more to the Big Ten than Notre Dame?

    Personally, I’d rather see invitees that don’t have to be wooed or cajoled. While it would be fun to see Wisconsin play Notre Dame now and again–as they do have a good football team even now–I just can’t see it being worth all the holier-than-thou drama.

    • Patrick says:

      If you take away the tv contracts, Nebraska’s athletic department already makes more than Notre Dame. Boston College brings the added value of millions of tv sets in the Boston area. One interesting note is the national tv ratings, Nebraska pulling a 3.57 over 9 games and Notre Dame averaging a 2.4 over 7 games. I would not have expected that.

      • Richard says:

        To be sure, they were down, and their home games weren’t that appealing (they played USC as well as MSU & BC, but their other home games were against Nevada, Washington, Navy, & UConn, and their neutral site game was against WSU). Still, I think it’s safe to say ND doesn’t have more TV appeal than Nebraska, which means about 10 other schools (the big 3 in the Big10, several SEC schools, Texas, OU, and USC) had as much TV appeal or more than ND these days.

        • Manifesto says:

          I posted this link in the previous thread:

          I’m unsure how accurate those numbers are (NYTimes has ’05 listed at a 3.6 rating –, but some of them are probably at or near the right answer (06 and 07 are the same for example). ND’s records, number of home games, and ratings from 2002-2009 were:

          2002, 6, 10-3: 3.2
          2003, 7, 5-7: 2.4*
          2004, 6, 6-6: 2.5
          2005, 6, 9-3: 2.7/3.6*^
          2006, 7, 10-3: 3.0
          2007, 7, 3-9: 1.8*
          2008, 6, 7-6: 2.2
          2009, 7, 6-6: 2.4*

          (*USC@ND, ^Article above or NYTimes)

          Point is, even when they’re great (02, 05, 06) ND still seems to average about the same as Nebraska. Which is great for the Big Ten and BTN specifically, don’t get me wrong, but there’s some perspective to be had here I think.

      • Playoffs Now! says:

        First off, I appreciate your efforts, background, insight, and enthusiasm. However, I’m having a hard time buying into numbers that place ND at about the same financial attractiveness as KS, MO, BC, and MD (and yes, I’ve followed the discussion and understand the market size and cable issues.) Given the potential hassles ND would bring, the relative lack of research, and non-AAU status, why would Delany and others in the know pursue them so hard if they already had more than 5 qualified schools available? Rut, Pitt, Mo, KS, and NE are big state schools that fit basically all the criteria, as does MD, so the only reason to try to put square peg ND in the round hole B16 is that they would bring a very large financial boost.

        So it seems like perhaps the model is missing or undervaluing one or more elements. Thus I’m not sure one can use the numbers and argue that schools, X, Y, Z, C, and G are likely to be added. Though it has certainly added a squinty-level layer of understanding from which to analyze.

        IMHO, Syr, Rut, CT, Pitt, ND, MO, and NE are all still in the running. Perhaps MD isn’t being pursued, since if the ACC is likely to survive then why piss off a conference you may be negotiating with over matters like the BCS down the road? With apparently enough qualified candidates, better to stick it to the conferences most likely to disappear, the BEast and B12. Plus there’s always the possibility that in the back of Delany’s mind he thinks the SEC could raid and gut the ACC, and thus the B16 might want to woo some of those schools into a B20. Easier to do that if they can’t directly blame you for their demise.

        My guess is the rushed timetable is because of evident financial feasibility, and perhaps to pressure and prevent ND from dragging things out.

        • Playoffs Now! says:

          And to those who say the B10+ is too tradition tied to go from 16 to 20, well apparently the presidents aren’t too tradition minded. One of the weekend reports said they were looking into changing the conference name, which many had claimed was so valuable that it would never be changed.

          OTOH, MO may be attractive because its unexciting but qualified nature mirrors many of the current members, such as MN, IA, IL, MSU, PU, and IU. Sorta like how the dorks/uglies sometimes look out for each other in John Hughes movies.

          • Richard says:

            A Big20 would be intriguing. Say Nebraska, Mizzou, ND, Rutgers, & Pitt in the first wave (the rest of the Big12 merge with the Pac10 to form the Pac/Western 20). Then the SEC raids the ACC, taking VTech, NCSU,FSU, and Miami. Maybe WVU instead of Miami. Then the AAU schools in the ACC (Maryland, Virginia, UNC, Duke) very well could join the Big20. Miami instead of one of those 4? Probably not, since Miami may be underwater by then.

            How to divide in to 5-team pods would be a tough decision, though.

          • Richard says:

            OK, I got it:

            Pod A:

            Pod B:

            Pod C:

            Pod D:

            East (C+D) vs. West (A+B)
            North (A+C) vs. South (B+D)

            The biggest rivalries broken up would be the ones between the pod B schools and Michigan/OSU/MSU, but I see no good way around that.

          • Richard says:

            OK, second try:

            Pod A:

            Pod B:

            Pod C:

            Pod D:
            UNC Duke.

            A+B vs. C+D
            B+C vs. A+D

            Everyone in the old Big10 gets to play OSU and Michigan. ND gets to play eastern/southern teams.

            Only traditional Big10 matchups gone for good are IU/PU(/PSU) vs. Iowa/Minn/Wisconsin. I don’t think anybody would care that much.

          • gjlynch17 says:

            I love Richard’s pods as they preserve the traditional rivalries.

        • Richard says:

          Well, Patrick did say he was being conservative. Maybe ND locks up NYC, in which case the credit for NYC goes (largely) to ND instead of Rutgers. Maybe ND even allows the BTN to make inroads in to New England (without any New England school or SU!). If so, ND jumps to the front of the line in desirability again.

        • Patrick says:

          You are correct that the table is missing something. I obviously am not quite getting some piece of the puzzle but I really can’t figure out what that is. If ND is more valuable (and it probably is) then I have underestimated the impact of adding LIVE programing to the beast. But that also increases the value of Pitt and Nebraska. Maybe this is where I have an error. Also, maybe the BTN sees themselves as national like ESPN instead of regional like FOX Sports Midwest. They already have an impressive reach, adding Notre Dame increases that value…. so does Nebraska.

          If the bbs post of $44 million per school is anywhere close to accurate I am WAY TOO LOW on the value of increased programing and the value of advertising. If that is the case, add Rutgers as a token effort to get NYC and NJ then take all the national brands you can get!

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            Yes, perhaps part of it is the focus on nat’l rating numbers vs. the local ratings for a school in markets the BTN is in or targets. So NE might be a better draw than ND nationwide, but ND surely rates better in NYC, the northeast, and the midwest east of the Mississippi.

        • Playoffs Now! says:

          Seems apparent down here that behind the scenes (off the record) UT has been throwing cold water on any B10+ talk for them, based on how local sports reporters have consistently reacted as this has unfolded. So basically they’re looking at a P16/Western Alliance, the SEC, or a B12 rebuild. I could easily see each happening, but am surprised at how the SEC option seems to have an equal shot. Also interesting that UT’s decision may basically be decided by aTm and OU.

          Some argue that the SEC won’t expand because of their long-term TV contract. I don’t know if they have an escape clause like the B12 does (if the B12 starts a cable channel.) Regardless, ESPN has an incentive to reopen the SEC contract if that allows them to take TX, aTm, OU, and a 4th team. Why? Because if ESPN keeps that block of schools from going to the P10, it gets much harder for the P10 to pull off a BTN-esque channel that could be a competitive threat to ESPN’s and their ratings. For now ABC/ESPN is the national showcase for college football, but they are also the primary SEC network (CBS gets a marquee game each week, sometime two, but ESPN gets the bulk and not just table scraps.) A strong P16 with TX, aTm, OU, KS, maybe Utah or NE is solid competition for eyeballs and ads, while a weak P10/12 is far less so. Plus ESPN’s SEC inventory and potential reach would be more attractive when they have games featuring TX, OU, versus even the alternative of FSU, Mia, and VT.

          TX seems to wants to join as a block of schools. Less travel, a more solid voting block that gives them better control of the future in conference matters, preventing OU and/or aTm from getting a recruiting advantage, scheduling advantages (keeping rivals in conf to maintain non-conf scheduling flexibility,) potentially easier state politics long-term, and perhaps even the factor that the UT president has for years now been pushing hard for the state to support and fund TTech and UHou attaining Tier One status and AAU membership. Membership in the surviving BCS conferences is a big revenue enhancer that aids that development and potentially reduces the chances funds UT might tap will be redirected towards TT and/or UH.

          So would P10 take OU? Probably, the P10 already has non-AAU members and OU’s research numbers are similar to those of KS, above OR St’s, and well above OR’s. Their level in various rankings is similar. Would they also take TTech? The state is upping their funding with a goal of reaching Tier One by 2015 and more than any other state has the resources and economy to get it done. I could see the P10 insisting on leaving out TT and UT settling for bringing aTm, OU, KS, CO, and Utah (or NE instead if available.) I could also see UT insisting on a compromise where the P10 stays the P10 and UT brings a modified B12-X+Y=10 into an alliance. The 10-team eastern conference could then set their own standards, but have an alliance where each conf is classed as a division with the division winners playing a conf champ game. May not be as financially lucrative, but would be a compromise that overcomes the P10’s issues while allowing UT to bring TT and perhaps UH.

          OTOH, I can picture UT insisting on bringing a minimum of aTm, OU, and TT. If they can renegotiate with ESPN, the SEC would probably take that block. Of course TX doesn’t have to go with aTm, but if both aTm and OU insisted on going to the SEC, then UT would probably follow (2 annual out of conference rivalries locks up too much of the schedule, plus it makes for a daunting slate when competing in the tougher, bulked up divisions 16-team conference would bring.) So can UT convince aTm and/or OU to join the academically superior P10, or will the Ags and thieves insist on heading for the SEC, luring the Horns? A west division of TT, OU, UT, aTm, LSU, AR, Ole MS, and MS St is tough but winnable. Good matchups and fairly compact, the MS schools are about as close to Austin as Stillwater, OK. For those saying UT would never sully itself in the academically inferior SEC, take another comparison of the SEC and B12. In both rankings and research they somewhat mirror each other from top to bottom. There are other issues in play, but they aren’t necessarily deal-breakers. It isn’t as if the P10 has been squeaky clean.

          Then again, there’s no guarantee any conferences will follow the B16’s lead and expand beyond 12 schools. The P10 might grab CO, Utah, or NE, but the B12 could reload by adding BYU, pushing OU and OK St into the north, instituting an annual cross-conf game, and adding UH and SMU or TCU. The latter has been discussed off and on for a few years. As long as there is uneven revenue sharing you can make a case for how that works out for UT, which has the negotiating leverage of always being able to leave for a new P14/16 or SEC if the small schools vote themselves too big a share of the pie. Plus UT (and aTm) can bank some goodwill in the legislature for future use if they get one or more in-state schools into a BCS conference. UT operates in its own self-interest, but sometimes that benefits their brothers.

          Right now the sense I get is that UT is looking towards the P14/16/20, but the more I look at it, the more the SEC option seems not only feasible but almost an equal shot. Still, I’d rather go to the Rose Bowl than the Sugar or Fiesta.

          • Richard says:

            Ironic that Texas, which has always looked down on the SEC’s academic standards, may be forced to join that conference by its rivals.

            In any case, the Pac10 is desperate for more TV money these days, so I don’t think they’ll object to Texas bringing its cousins. The bigger issue is that OU isn’t beholden to Texas, and could just decide to join the SEC with OSU by themselves. However, UT probably has enough pull in the Texas legislature to force TAMU to go along with them to the Pac16, even if OU & OSU bolt.

            So in the end, I believe Texas (and the other Texas schools UT wants) will join some Western conference regardless of what OU does.

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            I don’t think there’s any chance in hell that Texas will go to the SEC. And I don’t get why Texas would have any incentive to insist that OU gets to tag along.

          • m (Ag) says:

            Geographically the SEC makes perfect sense for the Texas schools. I’d rather be there than the Big 12 right now.

            However, I do think moving to the Big 10 or Pac 10 could help the academics more for the schools, so that would be my preference.

          • Marc says:

            I just don’t see Texas giving the SEC the time of day. They have been looking to improve the perception of their academics, thus the reason for contacting the Big 10 and Pac 10 after the SWC fell apart. Maybe Texas AM to the SEC without Texas.

          • duffman says:

            back to a point on texas to the SEC..

            I raised a point about IMG..


            they have the rights to Texas..
            they also have UF, UK, and UT in the SEC..
            the ONLY Big 10 team is Michigan..

            and the only conference they seem to have locked down is the SEC, so they would have a vested interest in the SEC as Fox has a vested interest in the BTN..

  23. Hopkins Horn says:


    Let me ask you a question based on my Texas-centric world view (and meant to bring this discussion towards the affect of Big 10 expansion on the rest of the college universe).

    Here is a link to the Longhorns’ future schedules:

    Texas is scheduled to play a conference game at Iowa State on October 24, 2015. What do you believe are the chances that that game will actually be played?

    I’d say less than one-in-five.

  24. PensfaninLAexile says:


    TX and ND are givens, that said there is one intangible and one money factor you are leaving out that help Pitt out.

    Intangible: Durability. Of the candidates, Pitt and Nebraska have been the most competitive over the years. Pitt has survived droughts of competitiveness. The same cannot be said for Rutgers or UConn (if they are in the mix). If those programs take a turn for the worse, will anyone in NYC want to watch? And Syracuse doesn’t look like it’s getting any better soon.

    Money: Unlike any of the other teams, Pitt brings an instant national rivalry back with Penn St. OK, so IL and MO play, but when is the last time anyone cared about that game? Is it even televised nationally? Consider the $$ to be raked in if the B10 opens its season with Pitt-Penn State. That’s an instant big moneymaker game that no other candidate school can produce.

    • flp_ndrox says:

      Does anyone outside of Pennsylvanianians care about PSU-Pitt? Didn’t JoePa kill the rivalry after joining the Big Ten? If it wasn’t worth protecting then…

      I’ve seen UI-Mizzou on ESPN or ESPN2. At least two states are involved. From a national standpoint, I am not wowwed by any of the potential new rivalries like I was about PSU-OSU when PSU first entered.

      • Scott C says:

        Nebraska-Iowa should be good one. The fans on both sides have been wanting that game setup for some time now.

      • Manifesto says:


        I dunno… I think the new OSU-ND rivalry should be a good one. ;)

        (I kid, I kid)

        Iowa-Nebraska, Wisconsin-Nebraska could be good. Actually I’m just kind of excited to see Nebraska in the Big Ten regardless. I think they’d bring a consistent national player in the west.

    • N.P.B. says:

      Agree that Pitt has had a long, solid, successful run over many coaching regimes in both football and basketball, and has the best likelihood of long term success vs other Big East schools.

      Food for thought regarding Syracuse and UConn– Boeheim and Calhoun are legends. But will they turn into an Indiana post-Knight, or a St John’s post-Carnesecca? Where will that leave the Big 10 if either Syracuse or UConn gets invited, then tanks after Boeheim and Calhoun leave?

      Regarding long-term viability, what would be the draw for a blue-chip recruit to the city of Syracuse in an outdated Carrier Dome for hoops, and an awful football program? Or, without Boeheim’s legend, wouldn’t a basketball recruit rather stay at St John’s and play in Madison Sq Garden?

      • stellapurdy says:

        A. You know nothing about the Big East, Syracuse and the Carrier Dome.

        B. No one with any skill wants to play for St. John’s. They haven’t had a good program for years.

        I love how some people on this board claim to know anything about Syracuse and the Carrier Dome when it’s evident that they’ve never been there. I don’t care if you don’t want SU to join the Big Ten, at least know what the heck you’re talking about before writing them off.

  25. omnicarrier says:

    Patrick, I want to thank you for your efforts in this endeavor. I think the points you bring to the discussion are valid parts of the equation.

    However, I’m not sure the data being used is correct.

    “By the Big Ten’s own admission they are clearing about $0.36 per subscriber per month for the states inside it’s footprint.”

    I believe this 36 cents per subscriber per month is the Big Ten’s 51% of the actual 70 cents per month per subscriber the BTN is getting for in-state subscribers which is probably why the terminology “Big Ten is clearing” instead of the BTN is receiving.

    This would mean that the subscribers’ fees for 26 million would produce approximately $218.5 million.

    So if we use your $272 million profit, this would mean ad revenue generated $53.5 million for a 20/80 split between ad revenue and subscribers fees. This is probably too low, just as I believe your 60/40 is way too high.

    My understanding of this is that it is usually a 25-30 ad revenue / 75-70 affiliate (subscribers fees) ratio.

    Also these figures don’t seem to take into account the 49-50 million subscribers outside the Big Ten region that are either receiving it on a digital tier at 10 cents a month or who are paying for it through a sports package.

    Any ideas as to how we might be able to close the data gap?

    • Patrick says:


      There are markets where the BTN gets $0.70 per suhatbscriber and markets where they get $0.10 per subscriber. Most of the $0.70 markets are in Big Ten home states & Big Ten Universities home cities. Unfortunately, I will never be able to get my hands on that data. Even guessing which cities are 70 cents and which are 10 cents is a difficult excercise. Also trying to determine if the new markets would add 10 cents per or 1.10 per (as the BTN has asked multiple times) is difficult because I don’t have that kind of access. That is why I used the average claimed by the Big Ten.

      Say in NYC the 5,000,000 cable HH only want to pay $0.20 for BTN and in Nebraska you get 800,000 HH that will pay $1.10. It’s just impossible to predict individual market negotiations between the BTN and local cable outlets.

      Advertising vs. Cable Carry rates is usually very close to 50/50.

      For closing the data gap… I wish I knew how to fill in those holes. I can promise you that the BTN execs have filled in those gaps and have giant dollar signs for pupils.

      • omnicarrier says:

        “There are markets where the BTN gets $0.70 per subscriber and markets where they get $0.10 per subscriber.”

        True. As the Big Ten’s business model clearly shows. They went hard and fast to get the channel on basic cable in the 60s/70s range and at a higher price – the initial asking price was $1.10 but they said right from the beginning that was negotiable. Which it proved to be that first year when none of the major cable companies were signing up. They had to come down in that price and since then the average “in-state” subscriber fee is at the $.70+ a month fee.

        The out of state fee was supposed to be $.10 a month if it wound up on a digital HD tier alone. If it wound up as a sports package, that price would need to be negotiated.

        “Most of the $0.70 markets are in Big Ten home states & Big Ten Universities home cities. Unfortunately, I will never be able to get my hands on that data. Even guessing which cities are 70 cents and which are 10 cents is a difficult excercise. Also trying to determine if the new markets would add 10 cents per or 1.10 per (as the BTN has asked multiple times) is difficult because I don’t have that kind of access. That is why I used the average claimed by the Big Ten.”

        As the links I provided in my previous post show the Big Ten has been telling people for the past couple of years that they are getting .70 cents plus for in-state DMAs where the cable company has signed on and that they are now in excess of 85% penetration in those markets with all of the major cable companies on board and with national contracts with DirecTV and DISH.

        The lone exception we know about is Comcast Philly, which got it at a reduced price because Comcast argued that Philly was a pro-sports/Big East city and that the DMA wasn’t truly Philly, but Camden and Wilmington as well and they weren’t going to be bothered separating out the PA residents from the NJ and DE residents. So they all get in on the digital tier for whatever “bargain” price Comcast negotiated.

        “Say in NYC the 5,000,000 cable HH only want to pay $0.20 for BTN and in Nebraska you get 800,000 HH that will pay $1.10. It’s just impossible to predict individual market negotiations between the BTN and local cable outlets.”

        We have 3 years of history to go on and the Big Ten has told us the average in-state price is .70 cents a month per subscriber. The Pennsylvania link I provided showed this as well as the Wisconsin link I provided.

        “Advertising vs. Cable Carry rates is usually very close to 50/50.”

        This is the statement I am questioning the most. As I understand it, the Cable companies overall annual take is indeed basically 50/50 with ad revenue of $24 Billion.

        However, again, as I understand it, 60% of that ad revenue goes to the over the air networks, leaving the many cable networks divvying up 40%. So the true ratio is $10.5 Billion in ad revenue and $24 Billion in subscribers fees for the ratio falling between the figures I gave in my post.

        With ad revenue taking a hit by 2013, the over the air networks want in now on the subscribers fees as we’ve seen with both Fox and ABC.

        • omnicarrier says:

          Post above edited, this paragraph should read:

          This is the statement I am questioning the most. As I understand it, the Cable companies overall annual take is indeed basically 50/50 with ad revenue of $26 Billion and Carriage Rate fees $24 Billion.

          • c says:

            Patrick and omnicarrier:
            Thanks for this interesting discussion.

            Patrick: can you provide more detail about your methodology and sources and assumptions that allowed you to derive your numbers; including a better sense of knowns and unknowns so hopefully you and omnicarrier and anyone else able to contribute can further clarify and correct, if appropriate, the numbers presented?

  26. Hodgepodge says:

    I think this is an excellent analysis of the TV side of things, but the academic/research aspect sticks in my craw as something the university presidents are going to look at very hard. Certainly television, especially the BTN, has the potential to benefit the universities beyond adding to the AD coffers, but research is a huge source of revenue as well. For many research grants, the university skims ~45% off the top for overhead, and that’s no chump change. Engineering and biomedical programs especially bring in tons of research dollars. So, adding the right mix of schools from the standpoint of benefiting the CIC is as important from a revenue standpoint as is TV money. Many of the biggest research grants are steered to the CIC by senators, and right now the CIC has 16 working on their behalf. Adding schools like Pitt and Notre Dame does nothing to increase the number of senators that can steer grants in the direction of CIC schools. Same with adding both A&M and UT, although that situation is more complex than simply looking at it in terms of senators/research dollars (as Patrick pointed out). Expanding to 16 schools could– with the right choices– expand the number of senators fighting for research dollars up to 26. That’s over a quarter of the U.S. senator pool and a damned powerful force. I’m positive each university prez knows this full well and I suspect finds it to be at least as important as TV dollars. Remember, these are university presidents making the decisions (with pressure from trustees, regents, politicians, etc., of course) so I suspect the academic side of things will play a bigger role than many suspect.

    • Richard says:


      Actually, I don’t think Senators get involved that much in research funding decisions. I mean, yes, there are pork-barrel earmarks, but most research proposals get decided by the scientists and bureaucrats at the NIH & DoD.

      • michaelc says:

        Yes, but the Congress sets the budget and it is easier to push for increases in research funding when you know your state has a good chance of landing the money. Of course this depends on the idea the CIC promotes a synergy that leads to more competitive research by its members than would otherwise be the case. I’ll note that one secular trend in science research funding is supporting multi-university and multi-discipline projects. It is more than plausible the type of cooperation and coordination available through CIC connections may have a material impact on funding success.

        • Richard says:

          Yes, coordination between CIC members will become more important, but that means you would want to add schools to get strong research departments, not Senators (who really don’t have much impact on where most research money goes).

  27. Shawn says:

    As a person who really likes to see the numbers and data while working through all of the possibilities that have been presented so well by Frank and posters, I have created a Google Maps map that I have been copying everyone else’s great information to so I have it all in one place. I take zero credit in the the information, but present it for those who like me need to keep referring to the underlying data.

    To find it, go to Google maps, search for ‘Big Ten Network – Cable Providers, University and State Census Data’ and select ‘Show Search Options’ and choose ‘User-defined maps’, you should then see it listed. It still needs cable rates data wink wink Patrick! If anyone wants to be added as a collaborator let me know.

    Frank, hope this isn’t a problem.

  28. Scott S says:

    Patrick: If Texas started a Longhorn Network within Texas along the same formula as the BTN, any notion as to what they might make (in comparison to joining the Big Ten)? I’d imagine they might consider doing it without Fox, given what the Big Ten has shown they could make.

    • Patrick says:

      Well they would have to share the money somewhere, so I really don’t know. Ideally you would want to increase the footprint and get big schools with a strong fan base. I really could see them doing this with the Pac 10 and the remaining viable members from the Big 12.

  29. DavidPSU says:


  30. allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

    Since Frank allowed us to “think like a fan” for a minute, I’m going to speak as a Penn State fan.

    From a football standpoint, I’m very interested in Nebraska and Notre Dame. I’m not very interested in Rutgers (one top 25 finish in the past 30 years), Pitt (4 top 25 finishes in the last decade DESPITE playing in the Big Weak), Missouri (3 top 25 finishes in this decade), or Syracuse (1 top 25 finish this decade). I know they all have solid names nationally, but I don’t want 2 of them in the Big 10, let alone 3 or 4 (if Nebraska isn’t included).

    I realized today…this expansion stuff is a ton of fun to speculate about…but when it actually comes down, will it still be fun? Yearly games with Syracuse and Rutgers (PSU’s likely regional rivals with expansion)? Pitt too? Yuck.

    • Richard says:

      Basketball would be fun. Well, maybe not if you’re a PSU fan, but you’d get to see (more) future NBA stars pass through.

    • Manifesto says:


      As an Ohio State fan, I agree that the gems in the names mentioned are Nebraska and ND (I just don’t see Texas as a possibility) for football. Syracuse and Rutgers do nothing for me. Neither does Missouri, UConn, or BC. Pitt is kind of so-so.

      One thing to keep in mind is that Pitt’s been kind of between a rock and a hard place in the last couple decades. Particularly this decade, given how many top recruits from Pennsylvania have gone to either PSU or OSU. It’s a tough recruiting sell for Pitt to say, “Hey come play in the Big East!” when you have two neighbors saying, “Hey come play in the Big Ten!” Would that change if they joined the Big Ten? Largely, probably not. But I could certainly see them grabbing some recruits here and there from OSU/PSU, not unlike how Wisconsin, Iowa, MSU, etc. occasionally do now.

    • Manifesto says:


      (Accidentally hit Submit.)

      Additionally, for basketball I would say those other names do bring some excitement. Pitt, ND, Syracuse, UConn? Good matchups.

    • Justin says:

      You don’t want to have 7 of the top 15 programs playing in one conference.

      Nebraska or ND gives you five of the top 10 college football programs of all time with UM, OSU and PSU.

      If you add any more than that, its overkill. You’re going to get a lot of coaches fired at UM, OSU, PSU, Nebraska if they are losing 3-4 games most season which would be the case if you add any more top programs to the conference.

      • Richard says:

        Well, they won’t play each other, since no school can play more than 9 of their 15 opponents in a 16-team conference. In any case, unless Texas changes their mind, no other top 10 or even top 15 school is a possibility.

        • Joe says:

          syracuse fan here. have been trying to read up on all this stuff and figure out where the orange are going.

          you do realize that SU is #15 in all-time wins in football right? yes, we have sucked the past decade (don’t remind me) but HCDM looks to have things turned around and running the right way (unlike at UM where they took our old coach. hahaha) we do have a national championship, a heisman winner and oh yah, jim brown.

          trust me, pretty sure none of us want to join the B10+. just take ND and be done with it.

      • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

        Who knows what scheduling COULD look like, but if we had a homerun conference–let’s say the Texas schools, Nebraska, ND, plus the current “big 3″–it’s unlikely that those 7 schools would see more than 4 of the others each season.

        You also have to consider that the Big 10 (16?) would get the same benefit of the doubt that the SEC currently gets. In the same way that 10-2 SEC schools are far more respected than 10-2 schools from any other conference…a 9-3 team from the Big 10 (16?) would be probably be a top 10 team in the nation…and a 10-2 school definitely would be. Adding home run schools MIGHT get some coaches fired due to the competition level but it would DEFINITELY change the perception of the strength of the Big 10.

    • Mike R says:

      As a PSU fan, I would love an expansion that included Pitt. I loathed them during the Majors-Sherill era, but those games at 3 Rivers were great theater. A trip to Heinz Field every other year would be terrific. Rutgers is a speculative add. Even with some recent success, RU is till, as Paterno has been saying for 30 years now, a “sleeping giant.” Also love the idea of adding Nebraska, which would create several marquee matchups in football.

      Here’s how I would rate the candidates (I’m only considering AAU members, so no ND here. As I’ve stated I don’t think they’re a good institutional fit):

      1) Nebraska (the fourth most valuable college football brand can’t be overlooked. If Texas isn’t coming, and I don’t think they are, this is the marquee add)

      I would actually stop with one, but if 14 are needed, then these:
      2) Pitt (supersolid in the two major revenue-producing sports and the only partner for PSU that would create an instant major rivalry)
      3) Kansas (one of the top four basketball programs of all time, would immediately require Big 10 teams to ramp up their games)

      If 16-team superconferences are the future, then:
      4) Rutgers
      5) Missouri

      • Michael says:

        @MikeR – I´m on board with you here. Obviously if the Texas schools want in, that changes things. The same can also be said about the ACC powerhouses. Barring either of those scenarios though, I would love the 5 team combination of NU, KU, MU, RU and Pitt.

        I know the prevailing winds kind of point to a more eastern-oriented expansion, but too many of those schools are fatally flawed in one way or the other. Even Pitt and Rutgers have their downsides, but they are smaller than those of the other Big East names being bounced around.

        Also, I don´t think we should overlook the revenue and excitement that come from rivalries. When we´re talking about the three Big 12 North schools, you have a handful of already existing rivalries between themselves and other Big 10 schools. Of the Eastern candidates, I would imagine only Pitt-PSU would come close to the rivalries that the Big 12 North carries. I don´t know what this means as far as added revenue for the conference (maybe Patrick could chime in here) but it has to tilt the scale in their favor.

  31. Richard says:

    BTW, this was posted by Mike in the other thread:

    “Went to a cocktail party with a friend yesterday when I was in Chicago.
    Met a guy who is a producer for the Big 10 Network. He says the
    prevailing plan is to go to 16 teams with the addition of ND, Missouri,
    Nebraska, Rutgers, and Pitt. The revenue is projected to be $44 mil per
    school. ND is unofficially “negotiating” with the conference, but it is
    clear that they will make more as part of this than their own TV deal.
    Pitt is not a lock, because it doesn’t really add any new media markets,
    but this guy did say there were no plans to approach any ACC

    • Richard says:

      Seems like Nebraska, Mizzou, and Rutgers are locks. I’d personally stop there for now and wait to see if Texas would be interested at that point. If that still isn’t enough, some combination of SU/KU/maybe-one-of-Pitt/UConn may still be more appealing to me than ND + someone.

      • mushroomgod says:

        Don’t understand why you think Neb. is a lock when it wasn’t one of the 5 schools intently studied by the Big 10, and has not been featured in stories by sports reporters with Big 10 connections….

        I’m not disagreeing that Neb. should be a lock, just that it is…..

        • Richard says:

          That report just studied the 5 most “obvious” candidates. If they expanded the net just a bit further, Nebraska would show up as a screaming thumbs-up. Remember that the Big10 isn’t going to leak all the studies they made, so I wouldn’t rely on how much “buzz” there is on certain names.

          • Michael says:

            The report sounds like it was focusing on how many schools to add, not on which specific schools to add. They picked five schools that may or may not be interested, but, nevertheless, kind of ran the gamut from western to eastern expansion.

            Once they decide on a number, then I´m sure they go through the same process that we´re going through on here – and that leads to a few differences from that list that was leaked.

        • Patrick says:


          Do you have a link to that?
          I have not seen anything like that. I did see Bielima send a message a few weeks ago that he was working on scheduling Nebraska and Notre Dame for upcoming seasons. If the Big Ten was ignoring Nebraska if favor of UConn or Syracuse they would be doing themselves a big disservice.

          • Orange says:



            “A source inside the league told the Tribune that the report, prepared by the Chicago-based investment firm William Blair & Company, analyzed whether five different schools would add enough revenue to justify expanding the league beyond 11 teams.

            “The point was: We can all get richer if we bring in the right team or teams,” the source said.
            The five analyzed were Missouri, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Rutgers. The source, though, called those five “the obvious suspects” and cautioned that other universities could earn consideration.

            It’s also widely assumed that Notre Dame, which came within a whisker of joining the league in 2003, is not ready to give up its football independence, with Irish athletic director Jack Swarbrick saying in December: “Our strong preference is to remain the way we are.””

    • Patrick says:

      I replied in the other thread, but basically I could easily see those numbers being accurate. For my calculations I used the the 19.545 million per school and was very conservative (and conservative using 2 year old data). If those types of numbers are accurate, and it wouldn’t really suprise me, then that is exactly why the Big Ten will expand, will go to 16, and it will happen soon. At those types of rates the BTN and FOX are losing around $700,000,000 for each year they delay expansion.

      Like I had suggested, the BTN and FOX have opened up a gold mine, and they will ramp up to maximum production ASAP.

    • Scott C says:

      I’m usually the first to cast doubts on posts like this, but this sound legitimate for the simple fact it falls into line with Patrick and Frank’s analysis and was posted on Saturday. Patrick stated that he was conservative in his numbers. It could be that the BTN was not and are actually projecting this high of per school revenue. The benefit to all the schools involved would be incredible.

      • Richard says:

        Well, the $44M could be what all schools will get, or it could be what the new schools would bring in on average, depending on how that’s read. Still makes expansion worthwhile, in any case.

    • Richard says:

      Only conjecture I can think of for why Maryland isn’t considered is that the Big10 does care a bit about the pissing-off-other-conferences thing. They don’t care too much about hurting the Big East’s or Big12’s feelings, because those conferences may not be around much longer, and multiple schools in those conferences are looking to leave anyway, but the ACC will be around, and the Big10 may want those schools as allies.

      • Q says:

        Then, do the ACC a favor and take BC!

      • duffman says:


        if arkstfan is correct. I am not sold that that the ACC as we know it will survive in a BIG 3 world!

        if this forces the PAC 16 and SEC 16.. i think maryland is a Big 16 possibility (in place of ND)

        and many of the big state schools in the ACC wind up in the SEC 16.

        • Richard says:

          It still may make sense not to antagonize the ACC schools. Then if the SEC raids the ACC, the Big16 could expand to the Big20 by taking the 4 AAU schools in the ACC.

          • duffman says:


            expanding past 12 antagonizes all parties (Big 12, ACC, and BE) wether it is intended or not. It means a new “playing field” is being created. Creation means change. People fear what they can not control, and change fuels fear.

            You can take from this what you will, but when there is uncertainty people get rich for a reason. Be it poker, finance, or basketball tickets (one reason I am happy that duke fans do not travel – means heavily “discounted” tickets) as their is an economic reward.

            There is a reason serious poker players are at the table year after year.

  32. James says:

    Rutgers brings nothing to the Big Ten. Just because they’re in the NYC market doesn’t mean they actually have a lot of people watching them there — Pitt’s national TV ratings were far higher than RU’s these past few years. Sorry, but one big game back in 2006 is not going to get the Scarlet Knights a bid they don’t deserve.

    • Richard says:

      You also need BTN subscribers, and Rutgers raises the BTN subscription rate in Jersey.

    • Rick says:

      Yes those ratings for Pitt games losing to Rutgers 4 out of the last 5 years were were probably pretty good. Do you actually know what those ratings were for Pitt the last 4-5 years?

  33. JimmyJams says:

    I noticed you only talked about 36 cents/subscriber IN the BTN footprint. I am willing to bet there is a significant and large subscriber base outside of the Big Ten states. I, for one, am one of many many OSU transplants that now resides in California. I pay $5/month which I’m willing to bet a minimum of $1 goes to the BTN a month. I believe you are vastly undercalling the subscriber revenue from this population. There are tons of midwest transplants in all regions of the country (outside the BTN footprint) in which the BTN is getting $1/month from.

    Remember my subscriber revenue is equal to 3 people inside the BTN footprint. As someone mentioned above…there might be 9 million of us non-footprint people if there are 35 million subscribers and only 26 million in the footprint. Meaning the footprint accounts for half the subscriber revenue with us non-footprint people accounting for the other half. So the BTN needs to be careful of not including cannibalizing these non-footprint subscribers. I’m sure there is a large portion already in NYC.

    These people would severely alter your ad revenue numbers.

  34. Patrick says:

    UPDATE, sort of:

    Big Ten’s last commish Wayne Duke:
    Duke said he was aware of several schools, including Pittsburgh and Nebraska, that were under recommendation to join the Big Ten as far back as 1946. And the addition of Penn State to the conference in 1990 first was pondered in 1981 under his watch.–20100419,0,2494876.column

    So now it is a financial positive to bring on the desired schools. I think Nebraska, Pitt, Missouri, Rutgers and one of these (ND / Syracuse / Maryland / Kansas).

    I’m not sure ND wants to go and I’m not sure that the Big 10 wants them…. maybe it is all posturing. I think Maryland is a good fit but if you are wrecking up the Big 12 why not take Kansas also and retain the rivalries. I’m not sure about Syracuse but maybe they help deliver NYC or maybe Penn State really wants them… but there is a lot of noise around them for a team/school that doesn’t seem to fit as well as the others.

    • Richard says:

      Well, it’s not quite a financial positive for Pitt (or, even if it is, there are schools out there who will bring in more revenue than them), so they’re borderline. I’ve got to think Nebraska, Mizzou, and Rutgers are in, though.

      • Playoffs Now! says:

        Were I a betting man, I’d place a large sum on Pitt getting in. If 16 is anywhere close to being the financial windfall being suggested, Pitt is too good an academic fit to pass up. Heck, their research expenditures are higher than Cal’s (would be 6th in any B16, 4th in the P10, 2nd in the ACC, and first in every other conference.) Even if they are a bit of a loss leader, their academic heft helps balance out the ‘compromises’ of taking a Syr or ND.

        Not a guarantee, some of the B10+ source comments about each needing to financially contribute to the conference seem directed as cover if they are excluded. But as the Presidents gather around the table and weigh various arrangements, I think Pitt emerges as a consensus pick.

    • mushroomgod says:

      Based only on rival and scout forum comments, the average Neb fan is very ready to go to the Big 10, esp. if Missouri also comes. They don’t like Texas’ domination of the league, and think the league is going to fall apart. They would also have a rivalry with Iowa, and could get back to playing Ok. every year.

  35. I have been advocating for a 16 team model for some time now based on what Kevin White calls compression state economics. Consolidating resources has lead to larger profits in just about every industry. One part of the equation that I think many are leaving out is that TV revenue, while important, is just one part of the revenue formula. I believe the revenue generated by increasing the number of partners in the CIC, who pool their resources, would increase big time if the right 5 teams were brought in. Under this model, Texas is ideal, where as ND is a non player. For a sixteen team Big 10 model featuring Texas that considers the additional revenue that would be generated by expansion, check my article at:

    • Michael says:

      Nice article, in line with what Frank´s been saying on here.

      And, I agree, taking the 5 Big 12 schools (UT, AM, KU, MU, and NU) is the ideal scenario. At this point though, the Texas schools are starting to sound like long shots (although I don´t understand why) and there may be some interest in adding at least a couple Eastern schools.

      As for your divisions, you point out that the time zones naturally divide the two sides of the conference. That´s a kind of neat outcome and I´d think you´d name the divisions accordingly: the Central and Eastern divisions.

  36. ets says:

    If Nebraska goes to Big 10, then the Big 12’s lower class has the votes to change from unequal to equal revenue sharing….would Texas and A&M be willing to take a pay cut instead of jumping ship to the Big 10 for a giant pay raise??

    That is my big issue with the idea that the Big 10 will take a Big 12 school that is not located in the state of TX…it doesn’t make sense.

    • Richard says:

      Unless Texas has already decided to either
      1. start its own cable channel
      2. cast it’s lot with the Pac10 (probably negotiating unequal revenue distribution and other goodies, so even if the new Pac/Western cable network doesn’t pull in as much as the BTN, Texas would still be in the competitive range).

  37. (bl)Otto says:

    Greenstein interview on a Syracuse affiliate…

    • c says:

      Very interesting.

      Says 5 team expansion more likely than 3; looking West, mentioned Missouri and Nebraska; and looking East (mentioned RU, SU, UConn and Pitt), where UConn with RU and SU could put “strangleghold” on NY metro region.

      He believes RU has best potential, and “more and more” thinks SU is invited in a 5 school expansion.

      He covered the Northwestern vs Syracuse game last year (SU won) and said “obviously (SU) football facilities are very good”. (Obviously he hasn’t spoken to “Mushroom”.

  38. KingOttoIII says:

    If those numbers are even close to right the Big Ten should take Nebraska, KU, Mizzou, Pitt, and RU. You could sub in MD for KU but I don’t think they would join. Syracuse is small and private, lacking research money. ND could be a pain in the butt to deal with as they are used to calling the shots. Plus they aren’t big into research. BC is too far away and private. UConn too far away and not AAU.

    You can easily split the league into pods

    Ohio St

    Penn St
    Mich St



    • Richard says:

      OK, maybe separating Northwestern and Illinois isn’t a dealbreaker, but separating MSU & PSU would be.

      • Richard says:

        MSU & Michigan, not PSU, sorry.

        • Josh says:

          What? Are you saying they wouldn’t play for the Land Grant Trophy every year? Unacceptable!

          Seriously, you’re right. MSU would have to be in with Michigan. MSU already gets the short end of the stick a lot in football–they couldn’t break them up from Michigan.

          I think you’d have to put Nebraska in with Iowa. One of the big attractions for Nebraska to join would be an annual rivalry game with Iowa. They’d certainly give up annual Mizzou games for annual Iowa and Wisconsin games. That way you don’t have to split up NW and Illini either.

          • duffman says:

            it does bring up a point.. to balance power in a 4 pod system (with Nebraska, Missouri, Maryland, Rutger, and Uconn to the BIG 16. You would assume the haves of BIG 16 football would be PSU,tOSU,UM, and NU. in a 4 pod system each would have to be in a pod to preserve balance..


            POD #1 = PSU + 3 teams
            POD #2 = tOSU + 3 teams
            POD #3 = UM + 3 teams
            POD #4 = NU + 3 teams

            because based on past football success, putting any 2 of the 4 in the same pod creates means imbalance. Another reason ND might not want to be in the Big 16, as if they were in a POD with UM & tOSU there would be 66.66% chance of failure EVERY year assuming the three teams are about equal every year (ie all 3 have a shot at a conference championship or a NC).

    • omnicarrier says:

      @KingOtto –

      With ND on board, the BTN could very well change it’s model. But up to this point, it has been an in-state and out-of-state pricing guide.

      I don’t see either Cablevision or Time Warner just handing NYC over to the Big Ten for the in-state $.70 rate without both Rutgers and Syracuse.

      Take Rutgers without Syracuse and they will likely argue that Rutgers is not in the state of New York. Take Syracuse without Rutgers and they will likely argue for the Comcast Philly exemption because the NYC DMA includes basically all of northern New Jersey.

      And even with both RU and SU there are no guarantees when it comes to NYC. Look at the problems YES had getting on and that was the Yankees!

      If the Big Ten wants to play it safe they focus on the midwestern teams. If they want NYC, they will need to gamble on ND, RU, and SU and hold their noses.

  39. pennstgrad says:

    I say the expansion has to be done in 2 phases. Start with Nebraska and Rutgers (or) Syracuse. This gets ND off their arse or if not then nothing will. Then go from there based on ND’s ultimatum decision.

    • Michael says:

      I think you forget ND at this point.

      But you could still do some damage with the 2 phase expansion. What happens if you start with Nebraska and Missouri? Or those two plus Kansas? In that scenario, you are obviously stalking the two Texas schools. Is it only politics holding Texas back or do they, for whatever reason, not want to join the Big 10?

      If you add those first two or three schools and then strike out on the Texas two, you look East and try to wrap up NY-Boston-DC.

      There are some question though with two part expansion. First, is there time? Would a two part expansion at this point mean the second part trails a year later? And is that possible with all the TV deal complications? Or is it even necessary? (once the writing´s on the wall, will the Texas schools step up to the plate?)

    • Jake says:

      I think a multi-phase expansion could be a possibility, particularly if the Big Ten wants to land UT and/or A&M. You invite Nebraska and a Big East school now, then see if that lets UT make their getaway from their Texas brethren. But it will only work if everyone promises not to call it the “Texas Two-Step,” because that would be lame.

      • Josh says:

        I’ve been thinking the most likely scenario is Missouri, Nebraska and Rutgers. That leaves things open for UT and TAM to join if Colorado jumps to the Pac 10 and the BXII collapses. Or it would leave things open for Texas and Notre Dame in a final expansion if the Big XII collapses and Notre Dame no longer sees independence as viable.

        Finally, if none of these things come to pass and Texas and Notre Dame stay put, well, Mizzou, Rutgers and Nebraska are good additions on their own and they could stand pat. Or add Syracuse and UConn to seal up NYC.

    • flp_ndrox says:

      @ Pennstgrad

      Taking one Big East team is nowhere near enough of a threat to get ND to move. The Big East merely reloads with say Memphis, and rolls on. The only way to force ND’s hand is to kill the Big East.

      No, with Patrick’s numbers, I no longer think ND will have to be forced. I think the ND beancounters will have a pretty dang good idea of the financial upgrade, and will get the info on the damage to contributions.

      Reading the Tea leaves in Domerland, either the financials come out in the Big Ten’s favor, or TPTB have already decided that CIC membership is in the long-term best interest of the USNWR rankings chase. Or more likely both. The more I hear on NDNation, the more I think the NYC leaks were a trial balloon that went much worse than expected. Knowing how ND handles dissent, I doubt there’ll be debate.

      I think the Big Ten takes ND for ad purposes, the ability to jack carrier rates outside the footprint, the pressure of Fox to stick it to NBC/Comcast, and to assist Nationalizing the brand, esp. since I too don’t think that Texas is that interested. If they think they can split the network money in much fewer ways and potentially at their advantage in the former BXII or the Pac-1x, they’d probably prefer to go that way.

      • Justin says:

        I hope you are right. I understand a lot of ND fans despise the thought of conference membership, but if four conferences are going to break away at the end of the day, ND would be foolish to pass on the Big 10 and end up in the ACC, and hope to close the financial gap with the Big 10 (and as strong a brand as ND is, the ACC is so far behind in $$, that there will still be a gap).

        They would still be regionalized in a much less lucrative conference, and they’d lose a lot of schools which they’ve had rivalries with over the years — UM, MSU, PSU, etc.

  40. HoosierMike says:


  41. Scott C says:

    Jim Tressel was in Lincoln today speaking at the Nebraska’s Sports Celebration Banquet. The following is the section that pertains to expansion:

    Expansion in the Big Ten is inevitable, according to Tressel.

    He doesn’t want to appear that he has any inside knowledge on the topic, but he doesn’t seem to see a scenario in which his conference doesn’t add another team soon.

    “I’m not much different than the people on the talk shows or anything else,” he said. “I just think it might happen.”

    And what about Nebraska? Could the Huskers be a possible candidate to join?

    Some reports suggest that the Big Ten is considering the addition of as many as five schools.

    All Tressel could say is this: “Nebraska’s very highly thought of.”

    Not really giving any new information, but still interesting.

    • Brice says:

      Wow… I know that the coaches aren’t the ones with the best information, but that’s actually pretty informative coming from “The Senator”. Tressel’s not one to say anything without a reason, and for him to give that answer (and not something like, “Well, we coaches aren’t really involved in the process,”) when directly asked about Nebraska’s candidacy is about as clear an indication as I’ve seen that Nebraska is actually being seriously considered by the Big 10. Remember, they weren’t on the initial list of 5 that we saw, and I don’t remember hearing much about them from the actual decision makers. With all the rumors swirling, I may have missed something, of course.

      It’s just another indication that Nebraska is being considered, which I’m very glad to see.

    • Patrick says:

      Goes along with Bret Beilima’s statement a few weeks ago that he is trying to schedule ND and Nebraska for upcoming seasons.

    • Mike says:

      Bo Pelini is in Columbus today speaking at an Ohio State function, FWIW.

      • Manifesto says:


        Pelini played for OSU and is from Youngstown, Ohio, so that’s not a shock. OSU fans have often speculated that the AD would go after Pelini hard should Tressel retire anytime soon.


        Tressel is called The Senator for a reason. I’m sure he *does* think highly of Nebraska, as do I, but even if someone asked him about DeVry he’d probably say the same thing.

  42. [...] UPDATE #16 (4/19/2010) – The value of expansion candidates to the Big Ten Network. [...]

  43. Nick says:

    Mizzou goes nowhere without kansas. Fans hate each other, reams don’t like each other, universities do everything in tandom.

    • @Nick – No school has openly begged to get into the Big Ten more than Mizzou and even Missouri’s governor talked about the academic upgrade. The people that matter (Mizzou’s administration) will not care what Kansas does.

      • Justin says:

        I think the Big 10 will avoid Kansas for political reasons.

        An understated advantage to schools such as Connecticut, Missouri and Nebraska is these are the only flagship schools of their respective states. Kansas bolting would result in some type of backlash from the legislature if K-State was going to be left out.

        Its also imperative that if the Big 10 goes to 16 it avoids an 8-3 vote. Unanamity is critical to integrate these schools into the conference, but also if three schools are dead set against expansion, then you run the risk of a school like Iowa State making a power play by forcing Iowa to take them as part of expansion.

    • Gopher86 says:

      @Nick: Mizzou and Kansas can be split as long as an out of conference football and basketball series can be maintained. Both are the main money generators for Mizzou’s men’s sports. The game at Arrowhead is very lucrative and when KU travels to Columbia, it’s their only guaranteed basketball sell out.

      @Frank: Agreed.

      @Justin: I disagree. Kansas’ State government is pretty cheap. More and more, they are asking the Universities to subsidize themselves via research dollars and to pay for facility upgrades out of pocket. Any meal ticket from the Big 10 would raise a stink in Manhattan, but the research and athletic dollars would make it well received in Topeka.

      As a former Kansas resident, I really see this as a non-issue– especially if the Sunflower Showdown is kept intact.

  44. I saw this on a TexAgs forum that linked to this blog and got a huge chuckle on a number of levels (starting with the fact that the poster’s name is Jeff George):

    Welcome back my friends
    To the thread that never ends
    We’re so glad you could arrive
    Step inside, step inside

    Let’s catch you up to date
    On that con-fer-ence’s fate
    Are they going to expand
    ‘Cross the land, ‘cross the land

    First of all you’ll note
    Big Ten schools would never vote
    For a Tier-3 school like Tech
    What a wreck, what a wreck

    It’s because the Big Ten schools
    Are no academic fools
    Members of the CIC
    Don’t you see, don’t you see

    Next of all you’ll find
    Pockets certainly aren’t lined
    By adding schools out in the sticks
    Sorry, hicks… sorry, hicks

    They want a lot of Joes
    Watching Big Ten Network shows
    Advertising revenue
    What a coup, what a coup

    Now you’re up to date
    So you can wildly speculate
    On who will move to the Big Ten
    Er… eleven, eleven

    Come and see the show!

  45. c says:

    Re calculations and markets

    First Patrick: thanks for putting in the time to come up with these estimates; as a professional this had to be an interesting challenge.

    The good news is the Big 10 will not be playing a guessing game with respect to the numbers and will without doubt have a nuanced perspective of how the numbers are best understood (present tense and future); will be evaluating the numbers based on a strategy; and will be evaluating the numbers and strategy based on affinity or values; who the schools want as long term partners based on their understanding of who may or may not want to be partners with the Big 10 (including Texas and ND).

    Perhaps the most interesting part of reading these posts is the diversity of opinion and some of the confident predictions. (Come to think of it I’ve made my own guesses).

    Questions and thoughts:

    What are RU’s numbers without NYC households?

    Doubt Texas is joining at this point but still not sure what “estimated added revenue” Texas brings when Texas A&M is added as a package? Texas almost certainly can’t be analysed as a single add.

    With respect to “total added revenue estimates”, my first reaction is how relatively close the numbers are for Nebraska, down to Syracuse: $54.5 million to $43.5 million.
    Note the Syracuse estimate above totally excludes any impact on NYC. UConn at $38 and Pitt at $34.4 million follow.

    The RU estimate includes NYC at $68 million, without a lower estimate for RU without NYC. The Syracuse estimate on the other hand with NYC balloons to $66 million. My guess is alone neither school “delivers” the NYC market but each or better both might be instrumental in helping to deliver that market along with other teams in the Big 10.

    Is the goal to maximize an existing relatively small yet devoted fanbase or target a potentially much larger, affluent market with a less single minded fanbase? More specifically, Nebraska has to be evaluated as a school with national interest for its outsiding football. Yet even Nebraska is only rated as adding 11 million dollars more than Syracuse presumably absent any impact on a potential NYC market.

    Excluding BC and Maryland as seemingly unlikely adds for the moment, Kansas and Missouri, 2 midwestern schools are ranked less than $3 million above Syracuse presumably absent any impact on a potential NYC market.

    More to the point this estimate (and the TV viewership chart) of Syracuse is based on at least 7-8 years of its nadir as a football team: in the last few years modern field turf has been put into the carrier dome, significantly more money have been allocated for coaches, new practice facilities and equally important hiring a new coach Doug Marrone, now beginning his second year, who is rapidly turning the program around.

    The same could be said for RU, historically a doormat, now at the beginning of showing results based on relatively recent administrative support to be competitive.

    Additionally it is unclear to what extant if any the “estimates” reflect the contribution a major basketball program like Syracuse might provide in bringing the Big 10 banner into the NY metro market as well as promoting interest in Big 10 basketball across the network.

    To get to the point: SU and RU in combination with PSU and other Big 10 teams would likely turn the Big 10 into the conference of the northeast as well as the midwest.

    Pitt is further from NYC than PSU. BC as an isolated team in New England is a nonfactor.

    As the 2 major schools in NY and NJ, it is not simply a question of miles to the NYC metro region but where the schools draw their students and where their graduates live and work.

    From a strategy perspective, whyich is more valuable: a “safe” school like Missouri or Kansas whose fans will certainly follow their teams or a very large, affluent, contiguous and largely untapped market that will not simply be increasingly likely to follow the local teams but increasingly be likely to follow prominant Big 10 teams such as OSU, Michigan, PSU as they compete for the conference title.

    Ultimately the Big 10 Presidents will decide based on who do they want as partners and where does the long term stategy of the conference lie: east or midwest or both?

    My belief is the Big 10 if they can not get Texas will consider an eastern stratey that initially targets ND, RU, SU as well as Nebraska.

    Should be interesting.


    • Richard says:

      Another issue is that in research, SU is weaker than MU or KU.

      If the TV money’s about the same, in order of preference, the Big10 presidents would rather add

      • duffman says:


        SU is also a PRIVATE school..

        • Richard says:

          So’s Northwestern. I don’t think the Big10 presidents are as hung up on private vs. public as you are.

          • duffman says:


            Northwestern was in early on (like Vandy in the SEC). If it is about research, my guess is BIG PUBLIC STATE schools will have more political clout in the state houses. Vandy is a great school, but I am guessing U Tenn has the most sway in Tennessee politics.

            It is a numbers game. UNC and NC State are passing a significant number of bodies through their academic and athletic “turnstiles” than Duke or Wake Forrest. In volume this translates to larger voting blocks which politicians need to get elected.

            Presidents of STATE schools are directed by board members who are appointed by politicians who are elected by masses of their citizens. Presidents of PRIVATE schools have a different food chain. I am not saying PUBLIC vs PRIVATE is the only reason, I am saying it will affect a part of the decision. As such it should be factored in as much as tv revenue, football status, or any other factors used in consideration. It is why I advocated Flagship or sole state schools (like Maryland) have greater value.

  46. CaliBuckeye says:

    A bit of a disclaimer: This turned out to be a hell of a lot longer than I had anticipated. And I’ve been reading this blog since the expansion was announced but haven’t posted. Sorry if I am reiterating other posts.

    Of the expansion candidates, I think the only real “home runs” are Texas and Nebraska. They are a proven commodity that can sell pretty much anywhere. ND has an aging fanbase and too much of a “diva” attitude to be a true home run.

    I don’t think that Rutgers and Syracuse together would be able to pull in that kind of coin from NYC but let’s assume that they can and be worthwhile (without ND). I also don’t see BC or UConn adding much in New England to be worthwile.

    Maryland would be a great add due to it’s academic/research profile, proximity to current footprint, and the potential DC/Baltimore markets (assuming they have enough pull in that market). It’s all a matter of being able to lure a founding member away from the ACC.

    I know this may be beating a dead horse considering how many times it’s been discussed, but I think the only way an expansion to 16 teams will work would be breaking the conference apart into pods/quadrants (quads). Concerning these quads, I also think you’d have to expand to a 9 game regular season where you play one entire quad (essentially creating a division) and one team from each of the other 2 quads. Then, each team would play every team in the conference 6 times over a 12 year period (or 12 all 12 years for the teams within their respective quads). This way, no matter which quad they’re in, the “traditional” Big Ten schools will still play Ohio State, Michigan, or Penn State in 10 of the 12 years in the cycle (and play all three in 4 of the 12 years).

    Also, to keep the existing members happy, you’d almost have to put the “unbreakable” rivalries in the same quads, regardless of who’s added. One quad will almost have to consist of tOSU, PSU, UM, and MSU and another would almost have to include of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and a fourth team.

    Honestly, with all the teams/options that are out there, it’s just an all around win for the Big Ten. But some scenarios are obviously bigger “wins” than others. I obviously think the Texas schools with ND, Nebraska, and Maryland/Syracuse/Rutgers would be the ultimate win. I however do not see it happening. I see the Texas schools heading west and ND declining for the last time (which I honestly hope happens).

    The following would be my ideal scenario by adding schools that not only fit academically and culturally, but also expand the footprint and add value based on Patrick’s chart (assuming Syracuse and Rutgers can carry even that portion of NYC). Also, the rivalries would maintain in tact and the quads would be organized geographically:


    Penn State
    Ohio State
    Michigan State



    This is assuming Syracuse and Rutgers can pull in the numbers from Patrick’s chart. This conference make-up might become unbalanced whenever E/C and N/W are paired up, but it’s still doable.

    The only other thing I can think of would be instead of creating quad-divisions (playing an entire other quad to create a division), you’d play your quad and then 2 teams from each of the other quads to create more balance. Then the top two teams would play for the title (assuming there will still be a title game). Then you’d still play each team in the conference 6 of the 12 years in the cycle.

    I guess no matter what happens, it’s still going to be a bit of a nightmare for Delany and Co. to have to figure out. I’m sure he’s already ripping out what hair he has left. :)

    • duffman says:


      if i go with you 16, maybe it looks like this as your NORTH has too many big teams..

      E: syracuse, rutgers, pitt, and PSU
      N: maryland, indiana, purdue, and tOSU
      C: northwestern, illinois, mich state, and UM
      W: wisconsion, minnesota, iowa, and NU

      with my 5 i was thinking

      E uconn, rutgers, maryland, PSU
      N missouri, indiana, purdue, tOSU
      C northwestern, illinois, mich state, UM
      W: wisconsion, minnesota, iowa, NU

      not perfect but a start.. but could be some interesting long term TV rivals in MD vs PSU, UM vs tOSU, MSU vs M, and UW vs NU for regular season games.. but keep M vs tOSU on one side but maybe add NU vs PSU on the other side..

  47. Terry says:

    Thank you Patrick,

    I think many of the long time points are:

    1) Does RU bring NYC?
    2) Many overlook Maryland, but don’t they bring DC? Which is a growing area and a good demo.
    3) Texas and TAMU need a 2-way number.

    Add in the new points:

    4) Nebraska is higher than I expected.
    5) Why would you consider schools at Break-even? Since this is being done for revenue?
    6) BC > ND. interesting….

    • Patrick says:


      Truth is I was attempting to gauge the potential schools using the last reported numbers that I could and extrapolating. I would guess that the BTN and the conference know EXACTLY what kind of numbers they have and how rapidly they are growing, and they know how much money they could make on added Live Games to the BTN.
      I think my numbers were conservative, and maybe too low by anywhere from $10 – $25 million for each school. I was initially interested in worst case senarios or could this fail. I was suprised when even under that type of scrutiny… almost everyone was a winner. Kinda scary what they will be earning soon.

  48. Terry says:

    Remember that the INCREMENTAL revenue to an existing school is

    (Patrick’s number – $38M)*.51/(total num of BTN members)

    So for a $45M school thats an increment of like $300,000 which isn’t much, like about 1.5% of current Revenue.

  49. GregInSparta says:

    I have no clue what Notre Dame is going to do. As a Michigan State fan, I would love to see them in the BigTen. But the rivalry has lost it’s luster for me. If they chose to remain independent, that would be OK as well. Notre Dame football will never be the same after the expansion. If they choose to remain independent, they will be on a slow downward spiral because they won’t be able to compete with the schools in a conference.

    What this post has shown is that ND is not required for BigTen expansion to be successful. As a football and a BigTen fan, I would love to see Nebraska and Pitt in the conference.

    • Playoffs Now! says:


      Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton was believed to be in Washington on Monday, but it was unknown whether he had met with the Big Ten. Deaton said two weeks ago that Missouri had not been contacted by the conference…

      …Regardless of what happens, (MO football coach)Pinkel foresees a scenario where super-sized conferences will form the basis of a playoff scenario through four or five major bowls, perhaps with other games following those meetings.

      “To me, that’s eventually what the national championship will be,” he said

      …Pinkel speculated that Notre Dame will enter the Big Ten before the game of conference musical chairs unfolds.

      “I’d be very surprised if Notre Dame is not in the Big Ten,” he said. “They see what’s happening.”

  50. [...] permalink Snagged this off of a different board. Thought it was interesting – even if the outcome is disappointing. The Value of Expansion Candidates to the Big Ten Network FRANK THE TANK’S SLANT [...]

  51. Playoffs Now! says:

    BTW, remember the comments that new teams would have to in effect buy there way into the B10+? Perhaps that is why MO is so prominent on the expansion list, because in the informal discussions what they are willing to pay for inclusion is higher than most of the other candidates?

  52. Dooogie says:

    Neb and MU leaving Big 12 makes sense, CO to PAC 10. Look for old Southwest conference to re-emerge. SMU, Houston, TCU back with other Texas schools. Big 12 will do just fine – maybe add BYU, New Mexico to get to 14.

    WAC is whacked!

    • Josh says:

      The Southwest Conference died for a reason–an all-Texas conference just isn’t financially competitive. UT and TAM really don’t want to be in a conference with SMU, TCU and Houston anyway. (Heck, they don’t want to be in a conference with Baylor, but that got forced on them.) Adding BYU might help since they’re the Mormon Notre Dame, but New Mexico is too small a market and too small a program to help.

      If Nebraska and Mizzou go to the Big 10 and Colorado goes to the Pac 10, look for UT and TAM to put themselves up for auction to the highest bidding conference.

  53. Nittany Wit says:

    Kudos to Patrick/Frank and others with the financial and legal insight.

    Mulling this information over, the things that stuck out to me are:

    1) Rutgers will surely get an invite. They have academic appeal, TV viewership/ad appeal, historical appeal (birthplace of FB), and a commitment to expanding the sports (bigger stadium). I think they can also do well as they will be able to recruit more effectively in the Big East. Leaving Rutgers on the table would be counterproductive if the B10 wants the NE corridor (even if ND comes).

    2) The first 3 teams should have broad based appeal (diversity) since all teams look capable of being financially reasonable. For example Nebraska’s strengths (athletics) are complementary to Rutgers strengths (academics). Likewise Nebraska’s weakness (location) is balanced by Rutgers and Rutgers weakness (athletics) is balance by Nebraska.

    3) Maryland should be a prime target probably #1 (assuming that the B10 has already gauged Texas’ possibility as very low). Maryland combines location (DC/Maryland), academics, athletics, research and is a state school to expand to the east. Essentially Maryland is Pitt in a new market.

    4) ND isn’t really in a position to play hardball any longer.

    My selections would be 1) Maryland, 2) Rutgers, 3) Nebraska, 4) ND, 5) UConn. I pick ND only on sentiment and media attention otherwise I’m fine with Missouri to balance the invitees into 3 east and 2 west. I picked UConn over Pitt to diversify into the NE states further while supporting NYC with Rutgers and preventing the ACC from matching BC, Syracuse UConn, Pitt to get Connect Four up the east coast.

    Rutger’s academic research will appeal to the B10 pres/deans. While not an athletic powerhouse in FB or BB, Rutgers offsets this by their location. Getting a Mich/OSU/PSU/Iowa/Wisconson or potentially Nebraska/ND in the NY viewing region will combine the FB powerhouse with the viewing powerhouse (ads go up). Rutgers also has made a commitment to athletics with a new stadium and retaining Schiano, but the big factor is that Rutgers will now be able to dominate NJ recruiting. They won’t have to turn to Florida or other areas because teams like PSU, ND, USC, etc are poaching the biggest recruits from NJ. Although Rutgers is coming to a tougher conference, I see that they have the potential to match. Additionally, they claim the birthplace to FB, so historically this is a fit.

    • duffman says:


      haha i was less sentimental.. so my 5 is Missouri instead of ND!!

      but i think you see many things i have voiced in past posts..

      I think Maryland might be the gem, and could shine in basketball without being in UNC/duke shadow.. plus you really could get a double in markets (Baltimore + Washington) and not have to take a second school (Like UVA + Va Tech). I also think Maryland could wind up as a solid mid level football school in the Big 16 (with a NC run maybe every 8 – 10 years).

      • ezdozen says:

        The problem with the Big 10 taking Maryland is that it FORCES the ACC to do something. Alternatively, it gives the SEC an opening to move in on the ACC.

        I tend to think that the best case scenario for the Big 10 is Missouri, Pitt, Syracuse, Rutgers, and UConn.

        You get the entire region from Missouri to the Northeast. Pitt and Syracuse are name schools for football, while Rutgers and UConn have the facilities to become great. Pitt, Syracuse, and UConn upgrade basketball. UConn and Rutgers upgrade womens basketball. You add a private school to keep Northwestern feeling like it is not a complete odd duck. You get an iron clasp grasp on the NY market.

        If you take Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas, and say Pitt/Rutgers… now the ACC could take Syracuse and UConn–and associate with Notre Dame somehow (say, all sports except football) and have a 4-2 edge for the NY/Northeast market for both cable rates and advertising.

        Maybe you can shave UConn off and add Missouri. If UConn goes to the ACC, it would give the ACC the Northeast, but not NY.

        • Richard says:

          Uh, Pitt & Syracuse aren’t exactly name schools. Syracuse’s TV ratings are poor, and in merchandise sales, all of the Northeastern schools (SU, RU, Pitt, UConn, & BC) rank behind the regular Big12 North schools (Mizzou, KU, Colorado), not to mention Nebraska, which is top 10 any way you measure brand (merchandise sales, athletic
          revenue, Forbes brand rankings, TV ratings).

          There’s a reason why the ACC has been reluctant to take the Big East schools, even though they’ve been available up there since forever.

          I use to be a fan of the Northeastern strategy, but I was somewhat shocked at how poor the brands of the Big East schools are. Thus, I think you have to take Nebraska & Mizzou, then if no ND, decide whether you can still take NYC with 3 BE schools or maybe add Kansas/Colorado as well.

          • ezdozen says:

            Ratings for what? 2009 football? When you are on the SNY channel, what kind of ratings do you expect?

            Regardless, if you think that taking two Big East teams is going to generate ratings, I think that is a flawed theory. If Syracuse-Rutgers does not generate interest, why would Syracuse-Iowa, UConn-Iowa, or Rutgers-Iowa?

            Better off taking 3 Big 12 teams (Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri), than trying to get ratings by picking off one or two Big East teams.

            I suspect that this is where the 5-team addition gathers steam. You need to bring in some rivalries to get the early momentum.

          • Richard says:

            Guess you changed your mind (you went from 4 Eatern schools and 1 Western to 2 Eastern and 3 Western. BTW, the ratings in question were for games that purportedly were broadcast nationally (on ABC, NBC, or an ESPN network).

        • mushroomgod says:

          I don’t want to add 5 times unless one of them is Neb or ND….that’s too many mediocre football teams to add……

  54. MIRuss says:

    Patrick – Completely Awesome analysis.
    Frank – Superb follow-ups
    Commentors – As Always, thought provoking without any BS you normally see on other blogs.

    My Question is: When do we start selling this information to the Big 10 for doing all their research for them?

    Seriously, and if I missed this, I apologize: How did the Domers fall off on the revenue so quickly? Are we missing something simple? If I read this correctly, not only does the Big 10 not need Notre Dame, they may not actually want them…Does that make sense to anyone else? Or like I say, are we completely missing something?

    I agree with Patrick in that Notre Dame will probably not be part of this equation moving forward – I stated this yesterday when the article came out with respect to the discussion at the AAU. So, if it’s not The Domers, who is the 5th team? My guess is UConn or Syracuse, further decimating the BEast.

    What is important is that Nebraska will create product that people will want to tune in for regardless of who they are playing. I think Pitt and Missouri are also “must see games”. We’ve had Rutgers in the Big House and frankly, it wasn’t all that exciting. Maybe a rivalry develops with certain schools? And I can’t wait to see Basketball, Baseball, and even Hockey improve.

    • GregInSparta says:

      If anything, Patrick’s analysis shows that the BigTen should drop the focus on ND and go after Texas. Pursue the strategy to get the dominos to fall in the Big12 first, then put the press on UT.

      ND may shake out as a result of these moves, but it doesn’t matter in the end.

      Hook’em Horns!

      • Michael says:

        This is the part that I don´t understand.

        What is holding Texas back from the Big 10 or the Big 10 back from Texas?

        Since any scenario involving Texas is the top priority, I think this needs to be the first issue resolved.

        If the Big 10 raids the Big 12 North, where does that leave Texas? With the Big 12 crumbling, would they really choose the SEC or the Pac 10 over the Big 10 – even though the academics, the distance, and the money would all strongly favor the Big 10?

        Again, Frank, as you said in regards to Notre Dame, how can any business exec turn down an offer for higher revenue, lower costs and lower risk?

        • Richard says:

          2 reasons I can think of:

          1. They want to start the Longhorn Network.

          2. They want to be top dog in their conference (or at least their division). They’d probably maximize their TV money by joining the Big10, but wouldn’t be able to bring any of their cousins along (except TAMU). Plus, in the Big10, all the other big dogs like OSU, PSU and Michigan (as well as TAMU) would get the same amount of conference money, and they wouldn’t be able to police TTech, OU, and OSU. I think the Pac10 is so desperate for TV money now that they’d be OK with unequal revenue sharing as well as Texas bringing along TAMU, TTech, OU, and OSU. That way, they’d still get the most revenue of the schools in their neighborhood, play many games close to home, and also be able to police their local rivals.

        • Justin says:

          Texas may want an unequal revenue sharing model.

          The PAC 10 already has this with SC and UCLA getting a disproportionate share.

          Its very possible that the Big 10 approached Texas, and was told that the conference had to be flexible on unequal revenue sharing, as well as taking a couple Texas schools, and the Big 10 balked.

          Texas may feel its able to cut a better deal on its terms with the PAC 10 — which would need Texas very badly if it hopes to get close to the Big 10 revenues after this expansion.

          • Josh says:

            I think Texas would be OK with equal revenues as long as they were getting more than they got in the B12. I mean, is Texas, with all the money they pull in, really going to cost themselves $10 million over a principle that they should make $3 million more than Northwestern?

            I think the Texas issue is more of a political and cultural one. They like that all the decisions about their fate are made in Dallas and not Chicago. They don’t want to explain to the legislature why TTU is getting screwed. And they don’t want to tell their alums that the nearest away game is Iowa City.

            Right now, I think TPTB in Austin are pulling their hair out not knowing what to do. They don’t want to join the B10, but they’re worried they may be stuck in a worse situation if they don’t.

    • Rick says:

      MIRuss: Not quite sure what “Big House” you are referring to but since Greg Schiano took over for the 2001 season, Rutgers played Michigan State 2x and Illinois 2x (2003-2006). They were 2-2. Since 1980 they are 6-6 (MSU 3-2, Illinois 1-1, NW 2-0, PSU 0-3). Forgive me if you are referring to prior to 1980.

      OT note: Rutgers basketball is awful, new coach search underway. I posted some short list candidates recently, according to NY Metro College hoops guru and NY sportswriter Dick “Hoops” Weiss he is hearing Jim O’Brien (OSU, BC) is now the favorite and the frontrunner.

      • Michael says:

        With all the Big 10 talk, Rutgers could certainly make a splash and make things more interesting if they went after Bobby Knight.

        • Rick says:

          His name is popping up and his son very recently said he wants to coach again. Even referred to RU. We’ll see.

      • ezdozen says:

        Football is pretty cyclical. One bad coach can cause a significant problem.

        Pitt’s football records:

        1990: 3-7-1
        1991: 6-5
        1992: 3-9
        1993: 3-8
        1994: 3-8
        1995: 2-9
        1996: 4-7
        1997: 6-6
        1998: 2-9
        1999: 5-6

        It took quite a while to right the ship… and then it only really solidified under Wanny in the past few years.

        Syracuse went through a tough period in the 2000’s with the end of the Paul Pasqualoni period and the disaster that was/is Greg Robinson. Things are turning around. Still over scheduling.

        Rutgers was absent from the football landscape until 2005. Schiano was given the time to turn it around and has done so. Still underscheduling.

        I think these are three great additions to the Big 10, with Rutgers’ NJ talent pipeline outweighing their inferior basketball program.

        • PensfaninLAexile says:

          Those bad seasons make Pitt’s TV ratings more impressive. Note also, they only won the BE once since ’91 and that was a with a tiebreaker (and got pasted by Utah). Pitt has shown it has a resilient program. Syracuse could probably make the same case. Rutgers? We’ll see.

          • Pezlion says:

            Those tv ratings were for one year only, Pitt’s best year in the past 25+. I guarantee you that you wouldn’t see the same picture if the ratings for the past five years were averaged.

          • Rick says:

            According to my daughter who does this for a living, her college football ad sales are very much a now sell. She cannot use previous year’s trends very effectively, to the buyers it is who are they playing and how well are they doing this season. For 2009 Pitt was a hot sell with very good ratings. Previous year’s trends are supplemental info. Nice to know. Good leading indicator. If Pitt continues to do well (and they should) and play meaningful games in November, they will continue to draw good ratings. That is true for most of the expansion candidates as well. Win and they will watch.

          • ezdozen says:

            Rick… that’s the whole point. If Rutgers loses Schiano or UConn loses Edsall… and both teams plummet due to hires that do not pan out… what happens to your ratings then? If Pitt can go from Dan Marino to a decade of futility… how are Rutgers and UConn assured of perennial football success? And if both teams become Big 10 doormats, what have you added?

            Again, this is probably what is causing the Big 10 Presidents pause. The Big East does not present any sure things individually.

            And, if that’s the case, why bother at all?

          • Rick says:

            EZ: Schiano makes 2.0 million a year. Nice coin. If in the Big Ten, they would continue to pay him top dollar. I don’t see him leaving if they continue to win, he’s in a power conference, and Rutgers AD continues to pay him top market value with additional BT money. He loves it there and if he continues to be paid fair market price like his peers he will stay. Much less risk than Edsell. He will go somewhere unless UConn really steps up and pays big time. He is prime to move. He makes 1.45 million. Risk here. Will UConn pay him over 2 million with BT money, probably if he doesn’t leave before the Big Ten decides. We’ll see

          • ezdozen says:

            I can’t believe anyone leaves anywhere, but they seem to do so. Regardless, if the Miami Dolphins offer Schiano 5 years, $25M, are you telling me he says no to that?

            If Paterno retires and they throw big money at Schiano or Edsall.. do either say no?

            Meanwhile, Florida, Florida St. and Miami all have potential openings someday. If Schiano is still doing well, why not target him?

        • Rick says:

          So true EZ. The Terry Shea era wrecked the RU program in the mid to late 90’s. The Doug Graber era before that was average but the Shea era was God awful. Devastating. Wanny saved the Pitt program and hopefully Doug Marrone will at Syracuse as well. Rutgers has a chance to rebuild Basketball with the right new hire now. The search is on. Now Eddie Jordan’s name is moving up the short list. This is a critical hire. A real resurrection project for the right guy.

    • duffman says:

      MI RUSS..

      I would argue that the least the Big 16 could do was to give the post here that came to fruition some perk for life. frank would be first in line, but i want some sort of dibs on future basketball (men’s & women’s) tickets..


  55. indydoug says:

    Big East loyalty clause to leave is 27 months so this and the end of year being 6/30/2010 might explain the acceleration of the B10 expansion talks. So we’re talking 2012-13 year for any Big East additions.

  56. Mike says:

    I have not seen this posted yet. According to Dodd Texas is working on their own channel. I have only heard speculation that Texas wanted to, or could.;cover

    The UT-centric channel would be available in-state to televise minor sports, campus activities, basketball and possibly some football games. IMG College, which oversees the school’s trademark licensing, marketing and multimedia rights, thought enough of the idea to enter into distribution negotiations with major cable carriers.

    “We’re working on a channel, ‘network’ is not a good word,” Dodds said. “Texas ought to have our top games on a bigger entity [but] we need to keep some football and basketball and baseball and women’s basketball and have our own state-of-Texas deal.”


  57. One fact that was brought up in the latest Chicago Tribune article on expansion was very interesting – ND would supposedly save MILLIONS of dollars in travel costs by joining the Big Ten (which makes sense because so many Big Ten schools are within driving distance of South Bend and that’s where real cost savings are achieved).

    So, let’s think about this for a second – ND would make substantially more TV revenue in the Big Ten AND cut down expenses for Olympics sports drastically, which means that the net gain for ND’s athletic department is incredible. This doesn’t even account for the fact that research funding, which is how universities really bring in money, would likely rise over time by ND’s inclusion in the Big Ten as a CIC member. Once again, the ND alums won’t care, but the administration is going to realize (if it hasn’t already) that it is truly a financial disadvantage for ND to be an independent from this point forward than the to join the Big Ten. In almost any line of business (and believe me, ND is BIG business), you’d be fired on the spot if you blindly turned down a virtually guaranteed simultaneous increase in revenue AND decrease in expenses AND decrease in risk in the future (since a 16-school Big Ten means that ND truly doesn’t have a conference “safety net” any longer). ND can talk about joining the ACC and Pac-10 in theory, yet those would both be situations where the Irish would take a pay cut AND increase expenses. The Big Ten really may have boxed ND in here.

    Once again, I completely understand the emotional sentiment of ND alums (and I know a lot of them), but this is looking less like giving up few million dollars (which may be worth giving up as the “price” of independence) and more like giving up a net of tens of millions of dollars per year (which almost anyone would be foolish to turn down no matter what else is going on).

    Here’s the article again if you haven’t seen it.–20100419,0,3111131.story

    • GregInSparta says:


      One concern you hear from ND fans is that if they join the BigTen (or BigInteger), it will change the undergraduate experiece from something that is unique to something that is more like a big state school.

      How would this happen? Did Northwestern lose their identity and get transformed into a copy of a state school? Is Evanston now equivalent to Champagne-Urbana? I don’t get how ND would be compelled to focus on graduate students at the expense of the undergrads.

      PS – thank you for this blog. Very interesting and informative.

      • mushroomgod says:

        Yes, that’s a pretty silly argument. Actually, the only argument that makes much sense, and it makes a LOT of sense, imo, is that ND would have less scheduling flexibility to play a national schedule. With 12 games, three would be against MSU, UM, Pur–no change. 4 others would be OOC-no change. However, that leaves 5 games to be played against Big 10ers that could be played against coast teams or TX teams…or even SEC teams.

        “Twer me, I’d ensure ND that it will always also play PSU and Pitt each year…I think most Domers would be interested in those games…but that leaves 3 others against other Big 10 teams…

        In any event, I am sure warming up to the Neb for ND swap….Neb. fans are like Iowa fans–very friendly, yet passionate. Think of how much less crap we have to listen to for the next 10 years…..

    • MIRuss says:


      We’ve seen SO MANY logical arguments based on revenue impacts that I think we can all conclude – regardless of your bent – that Notre Dame joining the Big 10 is good for Notre Dame (and the Big 10).

      What we haven’t evaluated, and someone needs to look at this, is the pure vitriol and hatred of the uneducated Domer fan and how they will reject the decision. And they will. Lord knows they will. They haven’t been following your blog…

      If that’s the case, then Heads At Notre Dame must ROLL! Those heads would include the President (Jenkins) and the AD($warbuck$). And I’m not entirely sure either one of those guys is old enough at this point to commit political suicide. It doesn’t matter to these fans that in 10 or 15 years it will be the best decision ever made; on the contrary, they will probably be branded in Notre Dame’s history as “those that gave up our independence” and get a special seat right there along side Losingham, the Weasel (Weiss), and former AD Kevin White…..

      • FLP_NDRox says:

        Not just “uneducated Domer fan[s]“. I’ve been following along, and I still think it’s a bad idea long-term for ND. I think ND will join for CIC and scheduling purposes, and BTN revenues will offset the major donor and fan revolt.

        If ND goes to the Big 10 or ACC, it will be done with the permission of TPTB. Jenkins and Swarbrick will likely keep their jobs until the day ND needs a scapegoat…and that’ll be years out. Sure, the rank-and-file will considered them apostates who lost their faith in “the Spirit of Notre Dame” and despise them as traitors to the ideal and curse their names above all others. But that won’t matter to the ones calling the shots as long as the ND brand grows.

        P.S. Weis isn’t disliked. We wish he did better, but we harbor no animosity and wish him well. It’s the folks who lack the love like Davie and Willingham who villify.

        • MIRuss says:


          Thank you for making my point. Weiss wasn’t hated? Seriously? Is that what you meant to type here, forever captured on the internet?

          • Rich2 says:

            MIRuss, I assume you mean Weis. He was not hated by the alums. I am sure that non-ND fans did not like him and came up with many brilliant criticisms about him (e.g., he is arrogant or he is fat). The alums simply wanted him to win more in the last three years (that is, they wanted him to take the squad to a BCS game every year).

            He still has close ties to the school. When the ND girls BB team played in KC in March, he hosted the squad. CW worked very hard, turned recruiting around after TW, and was an alum. He simply didn’t win enough. Ineffective — not hated.

          • flp_ndrox says:

            Yeah, I stand by that.

            WEIS WASN’T HATED BY THE ND FAITHFUL. More than anything he was a disappointment.

            He wasn’t the answer for ND as a head coach. He had his chance and had to be let go for the good of the program. But it wasn’t personal, it was business. He’s a Domer, and he has shown he loves ND. He cannot be hated for failure. We reserve our hate for those like Davie and Willingham who had neither skill nor love and tried to blame ND for their personal failure.

          • Rick says:

            Kelly should do very well. I expect ND to really get better with him. They should be real good real soon. He is a very good coach.

          • MIRuss says:

            Okay, NDRox and Rick,

            Explain this, if Charlie was so loved:


            Yeah, there’s a lot of love out in Domer land for Charlie.

            I know several Domers – I’m talking Blue (or Green) and Gold Blood, dedicated basements, etc. Let’s just say any discussions did not have the words “Weis” and “Love” in the same sentence…

            Sorry, Frank. I know that’s NOT what this site is for.

          • flp_ndrox says:


    • c says:

      Re ND’s decision

      Frank, the decision makers at ND need to step up; if they pass on this opportunity for stability in conference membership, financial benefits, plus association with quality academic and research schools, they seriously could look back on a decision to say no as a major and historic mistake.

      The only possible explanation might be they have spoken to the ACC and are confident the ACC has reserved a place for them in the future should they want to join that conference. And that regardless, they prefer the ACC schools to those of the Big 10.

      • Richard says:

        Except, other than for emotional value, there’s no reason to prefer joining the ACC to joining the Big10 . . .

        • mushroomgod says:

          Frankly, if ND intentionally joins the ACC rather than the Big 10 I’d have to conclude that all Domers are a word that rhymes with wussies……seriously….

          • Scott S says:

            Actually, the ACC does offer ND something the Big Ten doesn’t.

            First, a better chance to dominate at football. Playing OSU, Michigan, Penn State, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Iowa is likely more daunting than playing Duke, Wake Forest, Clemson, Boston College, Virginia and Virginia Tech. FSU and Miami are the only football powers, and both programs have seen brighter days.

            The second advantage of choosing the ACC is that Notre Dame can feel in control of making their own choice. I think ND resents the fact that they’re not really in control of their own football landscape any longer–it’s being dictated to them by a rapidly changing environment.

            And I know that they can’t stomach the fact that the Big Ten, (which ND has always felt superior to in every possible way) is largely responsible for that changing environment and has already pulled ahead of Notre Dame and is about to step on the gas to leave them even further behind.

          • Richard says:

            OK, that’s another reason. Still, it’s rather shortsighted (IMHO). For better recruiting grounds and a chance at more conference titles in the short-run (as well as emotional value), they’d be joining what will definitely be the weakest and most unstable of the power conferences left. In the long-term, there may not be an ACC left, and then what does ND do? Would ND still be relevent enough for the Big20, Pac20, and SEC to care about it decades from now when they break off from the NCAA?

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            No, but it’s the only non-BE BCS conference this side of the Mississippi with more than a token private football school. Heck, they’re the only BCS conference outside of the BXII that even have sectarian Football schools. That’s why some ND folks consider them as a better option in a worst case scenario situation than the Big Ten.

            If the Power schools break off from the NCAA, I doubt they’ll bring any private schools with them. The money in that future appears to be with schools that have government subsidies in better populated states. Any way you wanna slice it, ND will probably be on the outside looking in regardless. I can’t see the CSC allowing ND to go down that path.

      • duffman says:


        i can think of at least 3 that are not emotional..

        1) public vs private
        2) research vs education
        3) predator vs prey

        i can think of several more, but these are easy to see by all

        • Richard says:

          Ultimately, that’s all emotional, since all those distinctions do is create warm fuzzy feelings about “we’re special”. Now, TV money, travel costs, research funds, donations; that’s not emotional, that’s money.

          Oh wait, recruiting grounds. I guess that’s another reason in favor of the ACC. Still ND would have to give up a lot financially and join a weaker conference (that’s more in danger of being raided by the SEC) for the emotional satisfaction and recruiting exposure (at least, before the SEC takes those away).

          • Rich2 says:

            Why do you think you have an insight into the culture at ND? Donations? You mistyped or you are so completely off base it reduces your overall credibility. In one generation ND has become a top 15 school in endowment per student. Why would ND risk a 97% alumni participation rate (behind Princeton and Yale) to gain 10m per year from extra tv revenues? You have never answered this question. The reason is: there is no answer that you can provide. It is not emotionalism — it is brand management.

          • Richard says:

            That’s the main financial reason for ND to remain independent. I’m sceptical that donations would be affected that much between whether ND goes to the Big10 or ACC, if they do decide to join a conference. Maybe I’m wrong. Ultimately, ND would still not maximize their finances by shunning the Big10 (in a perfect world for them, they’d be able to hang on to alumni donations while still reaping the financial gains from joining the Big10). Perhaps their alumni base will always keep them from ever reaching that maximum. That’s why I think it’s perfectly possible that ND may join the ACC. Long-term, I don’t think it would be the best move for them. We’ll see how it plays out.

          • Richard says:

            BTW, I don’t claim any insight in to ND’s culture (unlike you, who seems to think you know how the Big10 works even though you tend to be way off base); I am pointing out that the alumni base seems to be basing their viewpoints mostly on emotional reasons (only argument that isn’t emotionally-based is that the ACC has more fertile football recruiting grounds). I don’t deny that these emotions have dollar values attached to them, since alums can choose whether to donate or not, but ultimately, they’re still emotions-based. Liking the ACC because it gives you a warm fuzzy feeling to be associated with Wake Forest and BC (and Clemson & NCSU) is emotions-based reasoning. Liking the Big10 because your school would get more money from the conference isn’t emotions-based reasoning.

  58. PSU Kevin says:

    I think the 16 team expansion is going to happen. I think we get Texas to come by threatening to take Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska. If we can get Texas then I think we can get Notre Dame to follow. I think this breakdown would be the best for a future 16 team conference. With this breakdown you would leave most of the rivalries intact. (Mich/Ohio State, Texas/A&M, Iowa/Wisc) and you would renew the PSU/Pitt and create new ones in (Iowa/Nebraska, Wisc/Nebraska).

    Penn State
    Michigan State
    Ohio State
    Notre Dame

    Tex A&M

    Top Tier
    Penn State
    Ohio State

    Middle Tier
    Michigan State

    Bottom Tier

    Top Tier
    Notre Dame

    Middle Tier

    Bottom Tier
    Texas A&M

    • Herk says:

      Leave it to a Nitt to put Nebraska and Notre Dame in the “Top Tier” and intentially snub the one school that’s owned his alma mater 8 of the last 10 years. I’ll chalk it up to the bitternes of the past two years.

      Iowa is without a doubt a TOP TIER player in that divisional alignment Kevin. :p

      • greg says:

        I’ll give Nitt the benefit of the doubt and assume he is going by a historic view of tier strength, since we know ND is currently bottom tier!

        • Gopher86 says:

          Putting aTm in the bottom tier is a bit of a stretch. Historically, it is a great program. It wasn’t too long ago that they dominated the Texas rivalry and were a national powerhouse.

  59. NDx2 says:

    Any “analysis” that purports to quantitatively value Rutgers, Maryland, and BC football over ND is immediately discreditable. Period.
    ND just slipped to second place behind Texas in the Forbes football franchise ranking in the last year or two, so there’s a serious, serious flaw in the purported “analysis” by someone who concededly doesn’t have all the figures and is doing a whole lot of extrapolating. This isn’t to knock “Patrick,” but let’s apply some common sense here, folks.

    • GregInSparta says:


      If you have an analysis which would show that ND would bring in more revenue to the BigTen than Rutgers, Maryland, Boston College, please share it.

      Keep in mind that Patrick’s work is an analysis of how valuable ND is to the BigTen, and the BigTen Network. I’m sure that by itself ND is worth more than those other programs, but that is not relevant to this discussion.

      Patrick’s analysis shows that Big Ten expansion won’t necessarily be negatively affected on what ND decides to do. However ND probably will be negatively impacted if the BigTen expands without them.

    • MIRuss says:

      @ NDXx2

      The Sniff Test was difficult for me as well as I have seen so much on the relative value of Notre Dame. However, I will give Patrick this: Notre Dame is already in the footprint and adding it to what is already BTN households doesn’t have as big of an impact as adding new areas and new footprints, so that part is logical.

      What can’t be gauged, and Patrick admits this, is what market share could be increased at a national level by adding Notre Dame? There’s a number there that he’s missing…and I’m not sure how you value it.

      Patrick, do you add the “NY Market” and give the Domers a litte extra to keep them ahead of the pack?

      • Scott S says:

        Unless you can show Notre Dame captures the NY market, you can’t just fudge your numbers so your favorites come out on top.

        • MIRuss says:


          I wasn’t suggesting fudging it. I have seen reported elsewhere that some of NBC’s biggest numbers from Domer Games come from the NY market – that’s all.

    • Hodgepodge says:

      IIRC, the Forbes list factors in a whole range of revenue sources, including donations and university-centric ad money. This revenue is not the type that would be shared within a conference. Patrick was– correct me if I’m wrong– focusing purely on television revenue, in terms of BTN subscribers and ad revenue. I too am surprised to see ND so low on his list, but it is certainly a more accurate portrayal of the situation than is the Forbes list.

    • Manifesto says:

      @NDx2: Remember, however, that we aren’t talking about the overall worth of the brand. This is in regards to value for BTN, and I think you can make a case that says ND is undervalued in these evaluations. But, let’s also be honest and not overvalue ND’s ratings push, because this is the only team in America where we can look at specific ratings (NBC) to see how they perform. And the results are sometimes good and sometimes not so good, as has been talked about in this thread and previous threads.

      Moreover, Forbes’ list I assume would be overall worth of the athletic program, including things like sponsorships, trademarking, apparel sales, etc. These don’t affect these numbers because the Big Ten isn’t sharing that pot. Indiana doesn’t see a nickle from any Ohio State gear sold for example. My understanding is that revenue is shared only from bowls, television stuff, and sponsorships that are conference-wide.

      So ND being in the Big Ten footprint can be considered somewhat of a negative, but that’s offset by the fact that it’s a strong brand (which would for sure raise advertising revenue despite not necessarily adding any new markets). Conversely, Rutgers is in a large, “new” market which (ideally) offsets the fact that they’re mostly a turd burger athletically speaking. Patrick’s analysis probably isn’t perfect — he has stated so himself. But I wouldn’t just flippantly disregard it because your favorite team didn’t rank as high as you’d think/prefer.

    • Patrick says:

      My analysis was purely from a television standpoint, and there are issues with estimating the revenue for Notre Dame when they do not bring any additional TV sets. But, as I mentioned, I am being way conservative and I have probably seriously underestimated the impact of additional games on the BTN. The BTN doesn’t care about how great you think you are, or how special you seem to believe your football team is. They care about numbers and dollars. ND doesn’t add new television markets, they don’t add anything on the research side, their tv ratings are lower than Nebraska or Pitt, and they are not AAU members. What “NDx2″ does seem to bring is an obnoxius and entitled attitude which seems outdated and myopic. They don’t seem to have the same educational philosophy as the rest of the Big 10, and I could see that killing ND more than any tv analysis.

      • Scott S says:

        You will never convince a Notre Dame alum that their school isn’t the best, that their football team isn’t the best, that they’re not the most valuable, most revered and most desirable program in the land, and that they always will be. If they’re not so good at something (research level, graduate studies, basketball, etc.), it wasn’t important anyway.

        Notre Dame is a religious school, and it appears that domers have applied a similar faith in the superiority of their school. No statistics or logical argument will ever change that faith.

        As Mark Twain once wrote, “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.”

  60. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by frankthetank111: New blog post with analysis from TV insider on the value of Big Ten expansion candidates to Big Ten Network:

  61. [...] A blog on why 16 teams for Big 10 makes sense I came across this blog and thought it was interesting in the points for why the conference makes money if it goes to 16. The Value of Expansion Candidates to the Big Ten Network FRANK THE TANK’S SLANT [...]

  62. Nate says:

    From the NY Times article:

    The best chance for the Big East to survive, he said, would be if the Big Ten, with 11 teams, adds only Notre Dame.

    Two questions.
    1) Would the B10 be satiated by just adding ND at this point? Or does 3 or 5 teams pretty much have to happen?

    2) Any chance other conferences (Big 12 and Big East specifically) attempt to lobby/blackball/plead with ND to join the Big 10 to attempt to preserve some semblance of the status quo?

    • Ryan says:

      I can’t see the Big East threatening Notre Dame since half of the conference is made up of Catholic schools.

    • Richard says:

      1. If the big revenue generator is advertising, them you want as many conference games as possible (so long as the new schools are at least passable). The Big10 will go to 16 with or without ND.

    • mushroomgod says:

      Interesting question…if only ND were invited the Big 10 would have pissed off a LOT of people…that can’t be good….

  63. Tom Smith says:

    Frank and Patrick: Please explain why Texas (and possibly TAM) were NOT in your projections for the five schools to join???

    • Manifesto says:

      @Tom Smith: A lot of people have speculated why. They’re the awesome girl you want that unfortunately lives across the country. Lots of reasons, but I think the main one is that they’re big enough and far enough away that their interest is lukewarm at best.

      Personally, I think if you’re going to 16 teams, you need to pick an expansion direction and go that way. If you want Texas, expanding east isn’t in the best interests of the conference because you become spread too thin. It’s going to be hard enough to manage 16 teams and form cohesion as is. Adding schools that far away, again IMO, is mercenary. You don’t want schools to feel mercenary, even if they are, because a mercenary ultimately has zero loyalty. While you can’t put a price on it, I do think the Big Ten is strong precisely because it’s largely been a loyal, cohesive conference. Ultimately the same reason I never gave much thought when people joked about USC or Miami or any other school some people mentioned between scoffs.

    • Patrick says:


      I honestly think if Texas & Texas A&M want in, it is a done deal. They would be the best financial choices…. no doubt. I think that Texas has other plans, they are fully aware of what is happening and are dreaming of something different long term. My hunch is they merge with the Pac 10 and create their own network. Ground floor development, work the process in their favor. That’s why I didn’t include Texas in my prediction….. I think they have other plans.

  64. Jeff Quimby says:

    I don’t think any conference is going to be raided of more than two teams. Delany has said on multiple occasions that the Big 10 will not be the death blow to any conference.

    With this in mind, a likely five could be Rutgers and Syracuse/Pitt, Nebraska and Missouri/Kansas, and Maryland. No conference gets hammered, although Big East is bleeding profusely.

    The exception to the rule may be if Texas/A&M are in the picture then the Big 12 could take three hits (w/Nebraska). This might eliminate Maryland and save any hard feelings with the ACC, whom Delany has sentimental ties to UNC.

    I was really surprised the numbers showing how important ad revenues really are. This obviously makes TV rating a key factor. I have always thought Nebraska was a prime candidate but never thought Pitt was viable until reading this article.

    The next sixty days should be extremely intriguing for all college sports fans.

    • Richard says:

      Where did Delany say that?

    • Manifesto says:

      @Jeff Quimby: I thought Delany said it wasn’t the Big Ten’s “intention”, not necessarily that they would actively try not to do it. There’s an important distinction I suppose.

      • duffman says:

        you guys need to look at what is said.. and what it can imply..

        delaney takes no more than two from ANY conference.. easy enough.. but it implies that no one else will.. say..

        big 10 gets missouri and nebraska!! that means the big 12 is now ten.. which means the pac ten can now take 4 -6 more teams.. yes the big ten only took two, but by taking two it began the big 12 implosion..

        big 10 gets maryland and UVA!! same thing, they only took two.. but now the ACC is crippled.. so the SEC intervenes and picks up 4 more.. and the implosion begins..

        big 10 gets Uconn / Rutgers.. and the impolsion begins..

        the point being .. the big 10 only took a school or two, but forced implosions and forced the little 3 (ACC,B 12, and BE) to seek shelter..

        if you are FSU, UNC, Clemson, and NC State or Ga Tech.. you can find a nice warm (and VERY profitable) home in the SEC, where you can align with the predators, rather than trying to limp along as prey.

        • Richard says:

          Don’t think the ACC is going to be picked on this round. It’ll be extremely hard for Maryland and Virginia to separate from the NC schools. The Big10 will start going after ACC schools only if the SEC announces it’s looking to expand as well.

  65. MMC22 says:

    I am one of the Big Ten fans who are really fascinated about the expansion talks and I will like to throw in my two cents here. First and foremost I like that the discussions on this blog are civilized and you can actually learn a lot of inside stuff from fans of other schools. A lot of really good points and a lot of great ideas had been brought up here which makes this blog one of the best when it comes to Big Ten expansions talk. Now, please allow me to state my thoughts on this.
    The athletics world is changing and is changing fast. I believe that ten years from now the landscape of college sports will be totally different. Even if Big Ten adds only one team for now, those new financial possibilities that we as outsiders have identified, and I believe they are many more that we cannot see at this time, in the future will be too big to ignore and more and more university presidents will come along (even ND’s). So why wait until the last minute when you can join now and actually have a say in the matter?
    When we are talking about the candidates for expansion, I think we are forgetting something. The first negotiations have been taken place inside of Big Ten and athletics (football + basketball), academics, TV and research people were represented, which makes me believe some kind of give and take to satisfy everyone was proposed. You can’t find 5 schools that will be perfect candidates like Texas (which I don’t think is coming) and you also can’t just add the top 5 athletic or top 5 revenue schools. You have to find some kind of balance to make everybody happy. This will be like a family with four kids buying Christmas presents just for two of them. Remember CIC is a big player at that table and is coming home empty in most scenarios. This is way I think Pitt has a very good chance of getting an invite.
    Now, this is who I think the candidates will be:
    1. Nebraska (football, TV)
    2. Notre Dame (football, TV, academics)
    3. Syracuse (TV, basketball)
    4. Rutgers (TV)
    5. Pitt (research, academics, basketball)
    I think in this case everybody is getting at least one present. A lot of people were talking about how senators from new states added will help getting more research money for CIC, now I ask you this: In that case, why Syracuse or Rutgers or any NE universities in general don’t have more research money? Maybe because of the Ivy League universities! That’s possible. Anyway, my point here is chasing senators is not a good idea, after all they are politicians.
    A lot of people are having different opinions on how the scheduling should be, so I try one scenario myself. Here it is (for football only):
    1. Create 4 pods (2 fixed and 2 rotating). The 2 fixed pods will never be in the some division nor the 2 rotating ones.
    Fixed Pod A – OSU, MI, MSU, ND
    Fixed Pod B – WISC, IOWA, NEB, MINN
    Rotating Pod C – PSU, RUTG, SYR, PITT
    Rotating Pod D – PUR, IND, ILL, NW
    2. You use the fixed pods as bases for your divisions to keep them balanced and rotate the other two pods.
    3. Go to 9 conference games. Play 3 games inside your pod + 6 more games against the other 12 teams. This means you play everybody outside your pod every other year.
    4. You play everybody inside your division + 2 from the opposite pod (Fixed Pod A – Fixed Pod B) (Rotating Pod C – Rotating Pod D)
    5. One problem with the 9 conference games is that you play a 5-4 or 4-5 schedule (home-away). You can fix that by having one division playing 5 home games and the other one just 4. This will make it fair inside the divisions. To keep thinks easier you can rotate after two years so the second year the division that had 5 home games will have 4 now. That way you basically have a home and away series every 4 years with the teams outside your pod.
    6. This scenario keeps most rivalries intact inside the pods, creates new ones and guaranties balances divisions.

    • Richard says:

      I think most Big10 people would prefer Mizzou to Syracuse:
      1. More research
      2. Better football
      3. Better brand/Better TV money (unless Syracuse helps in delivering NYC, but their football TV ratings have been poor).

      What’s clear is that the Big10 can’t take all 4 of Syracuse/Pitt/ND/Mizzou. Even if ND backs out, they’d choose 2 from SU/Pitt/KU.

      • KingOttoIII says:

        The is no debate with #1 where Syracuse gets crushed. But #2 and #3 I think you are completely wrong.

        Syracuse the last 5 years has had its worst stretch ever. Mizzou its best since the 60s. Do you think that Syracuse is totally done? The current 5 years is more important that the history of the program?

        Upstate NY has about 6 million people. Syracuse would carry that. Mizzou has about 6 million people but has little influence over Kansas City. On top of that Syracuse has a better national brand.

        • Richard says:

          Demographics aren’t helping ‘Cuse. Granted, Missouri isn’t exactly a growing region either, but upstate NY is now a rather poor football recruiting ground. I’m not sure they’ll ever recover their past football glories. In fact, I’d say they have a better chance of going the ruote of their fellow private Northeastern schools in the Ivy League and the military academies . . .
          Firing Pasqualoni has got to be one of the dumbest decisions I’ve seen in college sports in my lifetime, and I thought so at the time as well (same as firing Solich, but Nebraska at least has their insanely fervent fanbase to keep them relevent).

          Oh, and as for brand, Mizzou moves more merchandise these days than Syracuse. I was shocked as well.

          • hurley for heisman says:

            As one of the few Syracuse fans who loudly and consistently objected to the idea of firing Pasqualoni, I would find it quite ironic if the Big 10 took Pitt and Rutgers over Syracuse based on the relative strengths of their football programs. Pasqualoni dominated those two schools over his career, and beat them both in his last season as coach.

            That said, I think it would be a mistake to assume that Syracuse football is never going to regain its footing as a solid but not great program. Over the 20-year period ending with the firing of Pasqualoni in 2004, Syracuse had the 18th best winning percentage in college football, ahead of Texas, Alabama and USC. Fortunes do change in this sport.

        • Justin says:


          Syracuse has played a lot of Big 10 schools recently, and this idea they are out of their league geographically is crazy.

          Big East teams already play in Tampa (USF), Milwaukee (Marquette) and Cincinnati (UC), so I don’t see trips to Iowa, Minnesota or Wisconsin as some ridiculous development.

    • WhiskeyBadger says:

      I like it. The fixed pods are the stronger in fb, the rotating are stronger in bb (overall-I don’t mean a particular school as there are some exceptions). This is good because it helps maintain balance. I even thought rule #4 would imbalance it at first glance, but on further examination, it works perfectly.
      In football, each “fixed” school has five “fixed/tougher” members, and four “rotating/weaker;” and each “rotator” has five “rotating/weaker” members, and four “fixed/tougher” Except that each rotating pod has at least one school that is generally the equal or better of the fixed in any given year (i.e. PSU for C and rotating between Purdue, Ill, NW recently for D), which gives the rotator anther “tough.”
      Similarly for bball, where the relationship is reversed.
      Again, I don’t mean to imply that, say that individually this “tougher/weaker” relationship is accurate, but overall, they imply that relationship.

      Beyond that, I can’t see a major rivalry split up (except maybe the little brown jug). Nice Work!

  66. Jeff H. says:

    To everyone using DC/Northern Virginia for reasoning to include Maryland, consider that many local TV providers (i.e. Comcast, Verizon) include the Big Ten Network as, at the least, an optional channel. So many homes in the area are already part of the “AVAILABLE” number. The value of Maryland should be not the addition to “AVAILABLE” but to actual subscribers.

  67. Playoffs Now! says:

    Laughable link of the day:

    Super secret ‘college football sources’ we’ll call U and H reveal that an unrevealed entity, we’ll call Cougar, paid for a study that shows UHou would make a great mail order bride. Especially if glorious conference of BCS expands.

    • Richard says:

      Someone should tell him April 1 has passed. I mean, Hawaii?!?

      Still, I wonder if UT would decide to take UH along instead of Baylor to merge with the Pac10. Say the Big10 takes Mizzou, KU, and Nebraska. OU and OSU bolt to the SEC. Texas would have a hard time scrouging up 6 teams to join the Pac10 with. BYU and/or Utah would be available, but UT may prefer more Texas teams. Think an Eastern division of the Pac16 that includes 5 Texas schools (UT, TAMU, TTU, Baylor,UH) Colorado + the 2 Arizona schools would fly?

      • Playoffs Now! says:

        Yes, I could see TX’s first offer including TX, TT, OU, Baylor, aTm, and UHou, with perhaps Baylor being their first drop, then UHou. But UHou is still Tier Four on USNews’ rankings, so perhaps even too much for a desperate P10 to accept. OTOH, UHou is actually ahead of TT in research funding (partly because TT spun off its med side a few years ago) and has the same goal of reaching Tier One by 2015. UH is well behind TT in sports attendance, TV draw, and merchandising. They may need a perfect storm to end up with TX, though their prospects for ending up in a BCS conference are better. A few months ago UH was being discussed for MWC expansion. Probably not until next year, so as not to risk the MWC’s AQ bid if UH came in and had a down year before the evaluation period was through.

        I could see Utah, CO, TT, TX, aTm, and UH if OU and/or KS weren’t available. Could also see TT, TX, aTm, and UH to the SEC. That could make for a relatively low revenue P16 (if all the other majors go to 16 or 20) alliance of the P10 + Utah, CO, OU, OSU, KS (I can’t see them making the cut for the B16) and ISU, no equal revenue sharing in that combo!

      • M (Ag) says:

        U Houston + TCU would make a good combo for the Big 12 if the 2 big Texas schools leave. They might be a decent combo for the Big East right now.

        If a Pac 16 is formed with Texas involved, I think 5 Texas schools would be too much, and 3 (UT, A&M, & Tech) work just fine. If a 4th school is desired, either Houston or Rice would likely be the candidate. Houston may be more politically advantageous, as it is the other big state school. Rice would bring academic prestige, and it has been playing Texas regularly (albeit in a contract that favors UT). Rice could be a compromise candidate that Stanford and Texas could agree on.

        Other schools outside of the current Big 12 that might be considered for a Pac 16 would include Utah and New Mexico. They bring decent academics and close most of the geographic gaps in the conference. They don’t bring huge populations, though, so they’d be the last ones chosen.

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      Remember that, when the SWC broke apart, not even the expansionist WAC wanted Houston. SMU, TCU and Rice were all acceptable, but not “Cougar High,” as UH is affectionately referred to in Texas.

      When UH made the Cotton Bowl for the last time in the mid-1980s, the president of the Cotton Bowl got into a bit of hot water for saying that all of the 7-11s of Dallas would be thrilled at the arrival of tens upon tens of UH fans.

      And the idea that Texas would be the driving force behind pushing UH into a BCS conference is pretty laughable, given the grudge presumably still felt after the last time Texas visited UH, and the temporary bleachers built to hold Texas fans were mysteriously deemed “structurally unsound” two days before the game, preventing most Texas fans traveling to Houston from being able to attend the game. UH still hasn’t popped back up on Texas’ schedule since, despite a desire to play regularly in the city of Houston. Rice serves that purpose well enough.

      So, no, do not take any reports of UH being a viable, Texas-backed candidate seriously.

  68. Mike says:

    @Frank – You’re famous. You made the Daily Herald (blog)

  69. duffman says:


    I am still not sold on ND to the Big 16

    My 5 are Nebraska, Missouri, Uconn, Rutgers, and Maryland..

    that said.. in most of my previous post I have argued to look at the big picture, and not with a Big 10 bias.. living at the center of 4 different conferences keeps me more fluid..

    I still can not remember reading on post on this series of blogs on the composition of the boards of the Big 10 (vis a vi) their composite breakdown based on faith (one MAIN reason I have given, as why ND will not join.. my argument is that LIKE follows LIKE going forward (as Northwestern, Vandy, and Stanford would not fit their conferences today). with this in mind can you or someone address board composition of each Big 10 school?

    I have met and heard Bobby Knight many times.. and he has made many references to being a Methodist. I am struck by the fact that while we now know the faith of the board of ND, but not of the current Big 10 schools as a whole.. If i have missed this in a previous post, please link me back. If not this should be discussed if the folks in the Big 10 feel that ND will join (at this point I am still 100% unconvinced they will). My base argument has been like follows like..

    such as..

    OLD vs NEW

    using these metrics.. plus the revenue.. is why I have the five listed about as the new BIG 16. and why ND and BC are NO, and Syracuse is on the fence..

    MY POINT IS.. can we get a faith background for the boards and presidents of the BIG 10 schools?


    • Richard says:

      I don’t think the religious backgrounds of the boards and presidents matter; they head large, secular universities (even if Northwestern was founded by Methodists and is still affiliated with Garrett-Evangelical, they’ve been non-sectarian since the beginning). _Maybe_ if there are a preponderance of Catholics, they may feel some sentimental attachment to ND, and choose them over KU or SU if the money’s the same, but otherwise, I don’t think religion will factor in the decision-making.

      BTW, it seems that the Big10 doesn’t want to antagonize the ACC, and UConn is both small and non-AAU, so if no ND and SU isn’t up to snuff, KU and Pitt are likely in.

      • mushroomgod says:

        If no ND, maybe Neb, Mo, RU in and final 2 out of Syr/U Conn/KU. This is how the final 3 stack up:

        #58 US News aca. rating
        $25M fed research $s,AAU
        19000+ enrolled
        #63 2009 Director’s Cup

        #96 US News
        $74M fed Res. $,AAU
        29000 enrolled
        #72 DC

        U Conn:
        $67M, not AAU

        I would stop at 3. If pressed, I’d take KU and U Conn as the last 2.

        • Richard says:

          Don’t forget Pitt. Personally, I’d consider Colorado as well.

          • mushroomgod says:

            yikes, I did forget pitt….so it might be 2 out of these 4: Pitt;Syr; U Conn, KU Of those 4 I’d take Pitt and be indifferent as to U Conn or KU.

      • duffman says:


        it may not matter to you.. but it may matter to the ND board / president / donors / alumni

        I argued pitt early on and kept getting shot down, based on overlapping markets. if overlapping markets matter, then you take uconn instead. Frank actually got me off Pitt and on Uconn / Maryland in the expanded footprint argument.

        wether the Big 10 wants to antagonize the ACC , they will by going to 16 (as it forces the hand of the Pac 10 and SEC). Going forward the ACC knows that NO combination they can set up will put them in the BIG 3 (B 16, P 16, and SEC 16). If arkstfan is correct the BIG 3 can leave the NCAA/BCS and have 60 – 80 % of the USA media footprint and form their own “cartel” – a BIG 48 would allow the BIG 3 to control post season bowls with utter DOMINANCE from a revenue standpoint. The small 3 (B 12, ACC, BE) will become smaller and insignificant. if what I am reading from arkstfan and patrick is correct.. the little 3 will be more like the wac, mac, etc of today.. If you feel I am wrong show me any combination of “scraps” not in the BIG 3 will be able to bring enough added value to be able to sit at the table..

        the only way this does not happen is if the Big 10 adds only one school and it is a Big East team. As the majority of these posts seem to argue more than 1 team added. the genie is out of the bottle, and the Big 10 will be the instigator for better or worse. no matter where this all falls out, once the big 10 goes past 12, they will be the “evil” empire.

        From a personal standpoint, I think the Big 10 to 16, without having to take “pairs” is a cool move. It shows “huge” stones, but that being said.. to think everybody else is just going to sit around an do nothing is naive at best. Maybe I am wrong, but I am willing to bet my bottom dollar that I am not. Things change to account for changing demographics (see also the fall of the Harvard and Yale as football titans). My argument from day one has been a dynamic model vs a static one. if B 10 goes to 16, it will force the hand of the other 2 possible “mega” conferences (and why i have argued the texas twins will call the PAC 16 their new home).

        As an individual I would not like to see this happen, I am pointing out that an action that shifts the landscapes will be met by other “predators” not to fall behind in the food chain. It is why I feel that what we as individuals want is not what we will get, but by opening up pandoras box we are forcing actions.

        case in point is a SEC / ACC merger of sorts. While folks have said it would not happen because of academics, I would argue that BIG ACC STATE schools to the SEC is quite possible (as the academics in the SEC EAST are Vandy, Florida, and UGA – with UK gaining ground rapidly). Am I in favor of this.. NO.. but I can see it being a very real possibility.. (it would also allow Maryland to go to the BIG 10 – which I would favor).

        • Richard says:

          Big10/16/20 and the SEC could very well split up the ACC between them. Then they and the Pac/Western 16/18/20 could split away from the NCAA and have their own basketball and football championships.

          Big20 champ still meets Pac20 champ inthe Rose Bowl. SEC champ meets the second-best of the 3 conferences (or, if they throw the rest of the NCAA a bone, the NCAA championship winner). Plus-one to settle it all.

          • duffman says:


            i think arkstfan is correct.. 16 + 16 + 16 as going to 20 only weakens the value. if 48 schools can dominate 80% of the market EVERYTHING else becomes scraps..

            so Big 16 meets Pac 16 in rose bowl
            and SEC 16 meets “best of rest” in sugar

            winners meet each other for NC!!

            but the real winners are the BIG 3 because they could “force” 3 + teams into remaining bowls as a “cartel” that no combination the “scraps” could muster to oppose them..

            in the Mu Ha Ha world delaney wins the battle, but loses the war! as in trying to dominate, he forces a draw between the big 3. as stated before the big winner out of all this will be the media companies and their shareholders….

          • Richard says:

            Eh, I think the Big10(/16/20) would be happy in a Big 3 world, since each conference would dominate their geographic area, with no room to expand.

          • duffman says:


            ie.. that was arkstfan point ..

            BIG 16 + SEC 16 + PAC 16 covers the east / midwest upper + east / south + lower midwest / west respectively..

            the point was once each conference hit 16, there would be no need to go to 18 or 20, as the incremental value would go down. the rest of the country would have to fight for the “scraps”.

            sorry, if i did not make that clearer..

        • Hopkins Horn says:


          “If you feel I am wrong show me any combination of “scraps” not in the BIG 3 will be able to bring enough added value to be able to sit at the table”


          Assume the Big 10 takes two of the following four teams: RU, Pitt, UConn, SU.

          ACC gets the other two and WVU and either Louisville or Cincy. All three of those schools have been in the BCS over the past four years.

          The pair of schools from the WVU/UL/UC trio might be seen as academic drags, but if it’s conference survival we’re talking about, standards can be lowered.

          • duffman says:

            Hop Horn,

            the BIG 3 means BIG 16, PAC 16, and SEC 16.. which means 4 – 6 of the current BIG PUBLIC ACC schools wind up in the BIG 16 or SEC 16 (an ACC that would no longer contain Maryland, UVA, UNC, Clemson, Ga Tech, and FSU).

            I pegged a Big East / Catholic conference and a ACC / Private conference, but it would not include at least 8 BIG schools that are in the BE and ACC now. I have drafted on legal pads how the BIG 3 + the scraps based on arkstfans premise, and it really becomes the “haves” and the “have nots”. WVU = 60,000 + UL = 56,000 + UC = 35,000 stadiums (consider the size of Big 10 and SEC stadiums and you begin to see what I mean). Clemson has 82,000 seats and FSU has 84,000 – if they jump to an expanded SEC, you can see how quickly this creates wider gulfs. If the “re formed” ACC “averages” 45,000 seats and the SEC “averages” 90,000 you can see how big the gulf becomes.

            In my notes a “private” conference would include Syracuse, Miami, Duke, Wake.. etc.. but it would not have the brute force a Trio of 16 team STATE school conferences (BIG 16, PAC 16, and SEC 16) would in terms of TV contracts.

        • FLP_NDRox says:

          The B10 are pointedly secular schools. Catholics on the boards don’t matter to the Alums and I doubt they would to TPTB. Mostly because they didn’t in 1999 or 2003 and they don’t seem to affect life in the B10.

        • PSUGuy says:

          People keep throwing around 16 and 20 team super conferences as though they “have” to happen. Fact is they haven’t worked for quite some time and the barriers to their “being born” are quite significant.

          You really see the SEC adding 4-8 members to split the huge ABC/ESPN contract they just signed (and probably get much resistance to changing, especially in this economic climate), diluting the payout per school? Sure adding Texas/TAMU to the Pac10 and filling in some extras will bump up the total Pac10 contract, but if previous history is anything its going to drop the per school payout, and how does that help the conference (there’s a reason why Texas insists on un-equal revenue sharing with schools it deems “inferior” to its market draw)? Even if the ACC adds all of Pitt/Cuse/UConn/Rutgers what’s that “really” going to do for their negotitaions on the upcoming contract (I’d probably say it’ll have about as much impact as its had for the BigEast).

          As Frank/Patrick have stated so many times on this blog the only way a “Super Conference” works is with a dedicated television channel where it can showcase (and collect the ad revenue/cable carry rates from) live sports events that the ABC/ESPNs of the world are simply not interested in airing (tier 2/3/4 football/bball games, hockey, lacrosse, soccer, volleyball, wrestling, etc). Its for this reason a smaller private school in a secondary market (Syracuse) can actually provide tens of millions of dollars to a conference via a dedicated conference channel while it would draw nary a glance from the big networks.

          Facts are with the way the economy is right now I only see two possible conference television channels being able to be started (SEC & a PAC10/Big12 merger) and both would have serious challenges to raising the money (folks just aren’t in the risk taking mood these days). Even when they could (and I’m sure they could eventually), I’m not expecting them to get up and running for years (closer maybe to 2020?). By that time the Big10 will have already expanded to 16, raked in the cash, and maybe even starts looking for a second round of expansion (and why would a school want to join a start up television channel when they could potentially join one that’s been profitable for a decade by that point?).

          • Richard says:

            Well yeah, these 16/20 team superconferences are likely decades down the road. We’re just trying to speculate what the final endgame would look like.

          • PSUGuy says:

            Fair enough. Though there is another thing I just thought of…would it actually be worth it?

            I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it’ll be profitable at some point to some extent, but as we’ve seen tv channel profitability comes down to advertising. Advertising comes down to tv sets and what you put on them.

            Now ABC/ESPN is going to take the “marquee games” so that means (by definition) you’re going to have “secondary events” that are going to have limited to no national appeal. If that’s the case, your conference channel is going to draw on the aforementioned advertising from the local demographics.

            But here’s the thing that Patrick could perhaps shed some more light on, but I think I’m on fairly solid ground on…if there’s an “average” program that only reaches a limited number of sets and an average program that reaches a large number of sets who gets more $$$/ad? I’d bank on the larger market (duh).

            The reason why this application of “no duh” is important is any additions to the SEC/Big12 are likely to be average programs in smaller markets. Maybe the SEC picks up WVU (which I’d actually argue isn’t average), but its value to a conference outside of its marquee games is marginal due to its small home footprint and likely alumni base (which probably largely reside in Big10/ACC states anyway). I guess I’m saying in a very long winded way, while another conference(s) may very well start their own channels, their own demographics, and those of the schools likely to join, are such that I can’t imagine them having the same “gold mine” that the Big10 has.

            I guess yet another reason why the Big10 is most likely to push eastward and ensure it encompasses the largest population center in the US…

          • duffman says:

            PSU guy..

            I do not think we are looking at 20 team conferences, I do think we are looking at 16. as it has been pointed out, you have 3 16 team “footprint” conferences” that can reform their own NCAA / BCS. Once you have gotten to 16, there is very little reason to go to 18 or 20..

            for some of these reasons….

            a) 2×2 = 4, 2×4 = 8, 2×8 = 16.. so the next progression would be 24 ( a hard thing to accomplish)

            b) 16 + 16 + 16 = 48, which translates to the BIG 3 (B16,P16,S16).. after 48 you are dealing with the laws of diminishing returns.. after you get past the perennial top 10 (ohio state, michigan, usc, texas, oklahoma, nebraska, alabama, and a few other teams) plus value added teams in their respective conferences. You have probably 80% of TV football demand.

            c) small markets (see WVU) and small undergrads (see Wake Forrest) do not translate to big $$ via fan demand.

            d) delaney wants to go out with a bang, so adding 1 school just gets him to where the BIG 12 and SEC are now. He seems to want his place in history, so 16 gets him there (if anybody thinks I am reading delaney incorrectly please tell me).

          • Richard says:


            The Big12 won’t be able to add anything worthwhile; most likely, the most powerful schools (that aren’t taken by the Big10) merge with the Pac10. As for the SEC, they don’t have to settle for small markets. Virginia’s not small. NC isn’t small. South Florida (assuming it doesn’t get flooded) isn’t small either. There’s plenty of virgin ACC territory for the SEC to encroach upon.

          • duffman says:


            in a flooding of south florida, all the more reason to avoid miami and USF.. and go for FSU!!

          • PSUGuy says:

            duff…don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we’re going to see 20 team conferences either (though I do admit to “evil genius” thoughts of inviting Cuse, UConn, Rutgers, Pitt, MD, Mizz, Nebraska, Texas & TAMU and locking up the US from New England down through the mid-west). However, the point brought up by Frank/Patrick is that so long as a conference has its own television channel, the old adage about “conferences with too many members reach a point of diminishing marginal returns” no longer holds true. Fact is when the only person buying was ABC/ESPN, and there was only so much $$$ you could get out of them, there did come a point when adding school X actually reduced the per school payout. However, with a conference tv channel its been proven that even if a team does not raise the “ABC/ESPN contract” payout enough to offset its inclusion to the conference, it COULD provide enough $$$ by incorporating markets previous untapped by the conference channel.

            Personally, if they think that 16+ bring even more money (and they fit), and I have yet to see why this wouldn’t be the case based on the numbers shown by Patrick’s spreadsheet, why stop at 16 just so the rest of the NCAA can play catch up?

            @Richard, while I agree about the North Carolina comment (who knew they had so many people?!) I think my overall point stands.


            Don’t know accuracy, but found it on this site so its good enough to talk to…VA, while populated, tends to be skewed toward the DC metro area. Which tends to be inhabited by transplants and MD grads. While it would be an increase in “tv sets” I have to admit (based on my own experiences of living in the southern MD area for the past 6 years) I would not see it as a “complete” ownership of the market if the SEC took either (or even both) of VA or VaTech. OK and Kansas are low pop states and if a SEC conference tv channel started, teams like GaTech, Miami, FSU, etc would already find themselves smack dab in the market of the biggest members already in the SEC. If Pitt is borderline on the amount of money it can add to the Big10 because of PSU/OSU are other schools going to be any different against GA and FL?

            Again, not saying that conference wouldn’t make money …it would. Just that with a conference tv channel you actually want to branch out to encompass as much area and include the highest population centers as possible (as opposed to getting the biggest programs with the largest national appeal). While the SEC could in fact get some very nice schools, in areas of decent population, I don’t think anyone is going to say they’d be to the level of NJ/NY up through New England (at least I wouldn’t).

    • @duffman – I see what you’re getting at, but I really don’t think that this is what it’s about for ND anymore. Otherwise, why did it join a conference for all of its other sports with schools that are secular public research institutions (and in most cases, not as prestigious as the Big Ten’s members)? The ACC has a research consortium like the Big Ten (albeit not as strongly developed), so that obviously wasn’t a hinderance to BC joining that conference. The faith argument will likely be used as an excuse by Domers (that these big, bad secular universities will suck the religious life out of the school), yet the ONLY thing that ND has been independent in is football. So, if ND is solely defined by football (because for some reason, according to Domers, its identity hasn’t already been compromised by being in the same conference as USF and Cincinnati for other sports), then what they’re saying that they’re the Catholic version of the University of Alabama. As one of the top 20 undergrad schools in the country, maybe ND’s administrators actually want to break the “ND’s identity = independence in football” image and re-focus its identity on greater academic endeavors. Oh, and it’s not as if though ND would still make a crapload of more money in the Big Ten for football itself, so football will actually be funded better than ever. If ND wants to stay independent, it’s because they want to stay independent for the sake of being independent. All of the other arguments set forth are, as Adam has described before, post-rationalizations to justify a pre-determined conclusion.

      • duffman says:


        sort of my point.. as why ND went to the Big East in the first place (a collection of catholic schools and urban state schools with catholic footprints). maybe i am wrong here, and willing to admit it.. but they did not join the B 10 the first time.. and I still view them as an education school vs research school.

        I do not view ND as a football school. I view ND as a religious school with a mission that is beyond research or athletic metrics. I feel sure I am not alone. As I said early on ND makes sense in the Big 10 from my point of view, I do not have the power to make it so. I do not think it is an excuse, I think ND just thinks from a different point of view. It may not be what I think, and it may not be what you, richard, mushroom, and others think. We do not sit on the ND board so what we think does not really matter in what ND will ACTUALLY do.

        I think the only difference between you and I is that I feel that no matter what data I could come up with to win the argument is moot. I am not a Domer, and will never be a Domer in my lifetime. No matter what I could say or do, it will have NO EFFECT on how ND makes its decision..

        HAHAHA – as I am typing this ESPN is interviewing ND Head Coach Brian Kelly.. His comments based on his personal choice is to stay independent..

        Also, from ESPN broadcast Big East and BIg 12 are listed as conferences Delaney will approach at Arizona meeting.. TV money is issue for a “raid” of BE and Big 12. Which means arkstfan thinking of a BIG 3 is VERY REAL. which means my predator vs prey argument become VALID. Once this happens I think Maryland is on the table to go to the Big 10, as the ACC will not have the power to stop it.. just saying..

      • Michael says:

        Frank, this post got me wondering – under a new 3 or 4 super-conference landscape could a handful of schools (ND, UT, KU, ISU, etc) be viable under the independent route? Could be something some of these more go-it-alone type schools at least consider. With big names like these maybe they could have success with the tv deal route on their own . . . just not sure.

        • Richard says:

          I can see Texas do it. After that . . . . not really. Independence already ensures that ND makes less money than if they joined the Big10. No one cares enough about ISU for them to do well as an independent, and even Kansas would need a conference as well.

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            There are a handful of Texas fans who think we could go independent, but most don’t think it’s a viable route, regardless of whether or not a Longhorn Network could be successfully launched.

            Who would Texas play in early November in football? Or on a weeknight in February in basketball?

            And how would Texas qualify for a BCS game? Sure, the Horns could get championship game bids by finishing in the top two, but it seems doubtful for me that Texas, a school which would be abandoning the conference system, would receive anywhere close to the concession Notre Dame, a historical independent, received in terms of what it would take to qualify for one of the “lesser” four BCS games.

      • flp_ndrox says:

        @ Frank

        “Catholic version of the University of Alabama”?

        What does mean? Should I be insulted?

  70. [...] and here are my sources, This guy knows his stuff, A picture is worth a thousand words, More source [...]

  71. My goodness, NDNation is something else (except for the handful of readers that link to my blog posts there – I like you guys). Take a look at this argument about how much the Big Ten’s TV deals are compared to ND (and insinuating that the media out there isn’t vetting the numbers correctly):;pid=70085;d=all

    • Manifesto says:


      Ultimately, NDNation is the same as Bucknuts, WeAreSC, MGoBlue, etc. Rationality is a distant second to unwavering, fervent fanaticism. I wouldn’t put too much stock in it. Ultimately, even if every ND fan believes they (a) have a realistic say in affairs and (b) think there’s some kind of media conspiracy to sway ND towards a heathen “religion” (aka conference affiliation in football), the truth is the ND bigwigs will get all the necessary information, probably from Delany himself, so they can make an educated decision that isn’t going to involve any but select alumni at best.

      In the end, you could prove to NDNation that they’ll stand to gain a billion dollars yearly from joining the Big Ten and most will still look the other way. They’ve got their opinions and no amount of facts are going to stand in the way. Even if ND joins, makes a ton of money, and wins NC and NC playing against the best of the best across the nation, odds are a good amount of fans will still burn effigies of the AD/President because they’re no longer independent.

      Did have to laugh at this comment though:

      “Word to Jim [Delany]: In terms of actual on-field performance in the major sports of football and basketball, your conference is regressing.”

      Is a Notre Dame fan actually in a position to throw stones at the moment (sorry FLP)?

      • Manifesto says:

        Edit: “wins NC and NC” should’ve read “wins NC after NC”

      • duffman says:


        Ha Ha.. “will burn effigies”

        sad but true, they did it before but called it “inquisition”

        and reinforces my position on if the majority of the presidents / directors for the big 10 are not catholic, ND stays put.

        those darn catholics are just silly that way *smile*

        • Manifesto says:


          I’m totally going to make a Photoshop image for Frank when/if ND joins. I think taking the usual Iranian anti-US rally image should work, with ND fans burning BigTen conference/team flags.

          • duffman says:


            i would go a step further.. if ND goes to the Big 16 Salman Rusdie and Osama Bin Laden combined will feel safer than Frank!

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            I don’t know if you’ll need to Photoshop that if it happens.

          • Manifesto says:


            LOL. Good… it was gonna be a bitch trying to make all those Iranians look like pale, Conan O’Brien-esqe Midwest/Northeasterners. ;D

      • Richard says:

        Not to mention he’s actually wrong. The Big10 has more BCS bowl appearances than any other conference and more Final 4 appearances in the last 10 years than any conference other than the ACC. Granted, there’s been fewer national titles, though a Domer probably isn’t in a position to say anything.

    • HoosierMike says:

      No kidding. I delved into the site and read down a few dozen comments. Funny they’re arguing over it being reported that ND pulls $9MM/yr, but everyone over there thinks it *might* be closer to $12-15MM. All the while ignoring the rate of growth the BTN is enjoying WITHOUT expansion, AND the fact that once this thing breaks open, per Patrick’s conservative estimates, that mythical $15MM will go from about 70% of what a B10+ team pulls in annually to easily south of 50%.

      Forget “Wake up the echoes”, simply WakeTFU.

  72. Richard says:

    The MAN is STRIVING to keep ND DOWN.

    We must RISE, RIIIIIISE, against this Oppression.

  73. M says:

    I actually found something interesting on NDNation- a link to an old SI article about the last time the conference shuffle took place (1991):

    It’s good reading, if mostly for the laughs. My favorites:
    “The game’s hottest new player is the Big East Conference”
    Basically, the big story last time was the birth of the Big East. The story this time is its death.

    “They (Penn State) must be having some second thoughts in State College about the wisdom of joining the Big Ten instead of waiting for the Big East.”
    I do not think there is any PSU fan who seriously thinks they would have been better off in the Big East.

    “Of these, the most vulnerable is the developing partnership between the Big Eight and the SWC, which are exploring what SWC commissioner Fred Jacoby calls “more of an alliance than a merger.””
    An alliance that kicks out half of one league.

    “Indeed, the SWC and the Big Eight fear that the Big Ten, which will have an unwieldy 11 teams with the addition of Penn State, might look to expand by adding one or more teams from their leagues.”
    The more things change…

    “(T)he Big East, centered in the heavily populated East, may become as strong and independent as the SEC.”
    or not.

    I’m not really sure what moral can be reached out of the last time, but I think I can safely say that the only groups that are completely happy with last round are the Big Ten/PSU and ACC/FSU. The Texas-Big Eight has been iffy at best. The Big East is in shambles. The SEC has had its lucrative title game, but I can’t imagine they wouldn’t trade Arkansas and South Carolina for Miami and Clemson in a heartbeat.

    • flp_ndrox says:

      I found this old SI article even more entertaining:

      It’s a comedy piece, but I can see a new “Big Gulp” with the old Big 8 – Colorado + the Big Ten. I wonder if in 30 years a “Big Ugly” conference where the top teams play. Maybe with promotion/demotion like in the EPL.

    • Rich2 says:

      This has been my point as well. No one on this board is in a position to forecast five years into the future. Yet you are willing to make a fifty commitment to five new members — based on what? How well will an article “Big Ten adds five to reap cable revenue fees” read in 2029?

      • Richard says:

        Dude, your school’s not adding anybody (and if I had my druthers, ND wouldn’t be 1 of the 5), so you don’t have to worry about that.

  74. Josh says:

    This is now officially the silliest expansion idea yet. Sillier than the suggestions that the B10 take Iowa State, Louisville or Boise State. This one has them all beat.

    If Notre Dame says no, the Big 10 should pay the University of Chicago “a heaping crapload of money” to restart their athletic programs. Apparently, he’s serious. His “three school solution” is to add Iowa State, Mizzou and Pitt, since it would give Iowa, Illinois and PSU rivals.

    Any more suggestions like this one and we may have to consider Purdue’s academic fit in the Big 10. (I’m kidding on that last point, before a flamewar starts.)

    • duffman says:

      Are you serious! Break up the “Nerdy Nine” just to help out the Big 10, there would be a serious outcry at Carnegie Mellon! If NYU lost that Chicago TV market, just think of how many “techs” would have to start hacking the Big 10 party schools to make up for the lost revenue..

      actually it does show out of the box thinking, but it would be cheaper and easier to just merge them with Nortwestern as a PUBLIC STATE institution.

      a) what would a merged research number look like?

      b) what would a merged endowment look like?

      c) at that point they could just buy the Bears franchise and become a non profit..

      and yes c) is jest, lest the northwestern folks get uptight..

  75. Ed says:

    Not to be forgotten, Tom Osborne at Nebraska has close ties to Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez (Barry played for Nebraska), and Head Coach Bo Pelini has close ties to Big Ten football (grew up in Ohio and played for OSU).

    If Nebraska wants in, those links could prove helpful.

    • Mike R says:

      Don’t forget Penn State’s president Graham Spanier came to PSU from Nebraska. That’s another vote for the Huskers.

  76. M says:

    NDNation just gives me fits of giggles every time I try to read some of the threads.

    “Given that Teddy Greenstein is a typical Northwestern asshole”
    Seriously? I haven’t seen that type of anti-NU vitriol outside of Hawkeye message boards. Are they still upset about ’95?

    “PS I am not a nutjob.”
    Of course you’re not. Now you and your invisible friend just go play nice now.

    “By the way, everytime I see a picture of Jim Delaney, I want to slug him. What a smug, fat, fucking asshole.”
    This is especially rich from the fans of a school that had Weiss as their coach. Smug and fat don’t even begin to describe him.

    “If you told me I would lose both pinkies if ND didn’t join that wouldn’t change my opinion. I don’t think I’m in anyone’s target audience.”
    Well he might not be in the target audience, but it does appear that ND lets people like this make their decisions.

    “Just so I can state my point clearly, I have very little desire to see Northwestern’s, Duke’s, Syracuse’s, etc. football status, revenue, or access increase because they’re now suddenly in the same conference as ND.”
    This one just sums it up for me. ND fans love the idea of the student-athlete, they just don’t want any of them in their conference where their schools might benefit. No small, academically prestigious privates need apply, because they just can’t compete in football.

    (As an aside, since I started following college football in ’04, ND has 40 regular season wins. Coincidentally, this is the exact same number as Northwestern. So yeah…)

  77. Nice synopsis of Big Ten expansion issues by Stewart Mandel:

    He’s also one of the few national writers that has consistently noted the logic of the Big Ten adding Nebraska.

    • Drake Tungsten says:

      I like Mandel’s Nebraska/Missouri/NYC market school suggestion for 14. For 16, I’d add Kansas and another east coast school. Personally, I think Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Rutgers and Maryland/Syracuse offers an ideal mix of nationally respected brands and new cable markets.

  78. Scott C says:

    From ESPN:
    SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe says he is not expecting the Big Ten to notify him this week that it will be pursuing his members as part of a plan to expand.

    Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said in December the league will explore options for expansion in the next 12 to 18 months. Several Big 12 schools have been speculated to be targets, including Missouri and Texas.

    The commissioners of all 11 major college football conferences are gathered at the Royal Palms Hotel this week for BCS meetings.

    Beebe said Tuesday he expects to be the first to know if the Big Ten decides to make a bid for one of his member schools. He also said he believes the Big Ten’s timetable to decide on whether to expand has not changed.

    Ol’ Danny boy could be in for a bit of a surprise soon.

  79. Toe says:

    BTN or not, would Nebraska be willing to give up recruiting exposure in Texas?

    • Scott C says:

      Nebraska recruited just fine in Texas before they joined the Big XII. I don’t think they’re going to loose too much in recruiting there.

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      Well, compare Nebraska’s success before they had conference-related access to Texas talent to after. Nebraska’s ability to recruit partial qualifiers seems more relevant to their success.

  80. PensfaninLAexile says:

    The numbers in this blog have been great, but I don’t think they explain ND. Politics and emotion explain the ND Hamlet routine. My guess is that there is a raging fight behind the scenes. The Swarbrick faction sees the future, the higher revenue and wants to get in. Swarbrick fears that ND will become the Harlem Globetrotters if they don’t jump into a conference. The problem is history. ND has been a special football school for so long, it’s impossible for some within their community to admit that it over (or at least in serious decay). The psychological pain of admitting that they’re not special is too much. The thought of being just one of 12/14/16 is simply too much to bear. As long as ND is a rich program, the prospect of more rich doesn’t resonate. ND’s Hamlet routine is the public manifestation of this fight.

    So, there are three possible outcomes: 1) Swarbrick wins and ND enters the B10 as an equal partner with no special status. OR 2) the “we’re special” crowd wins and ND stays out. OR 3) Swarbrick wins, but the victory is incomplete. The special crowd forces him to demand some type of special status for ND within the B10 (keep NBC and its revenue, for example).

    The results of #1 and #2 are straightforward. If #3 – then it is on the B10. Even if that option is a moneymaker for the B10, will the B10 swallow its pride? I doubt it. Let have special status in a conference that doesn’t really need them and where the member schools are fairly equal (at least there is no one dominant school)? In the Big East, fans seethe at ND’s special deal, but as the weakest conference, the BE schools have no choice but to eat it. The B10 is in no such position. There are 4-5 AAU schools who would enter the B10 with no such conditions (MO, RU, Syr, Pitt, maybe NE) and be more than happy to be one of 12/14/16. So, why not just move on. The B10 can have schools who want to be there, will play nice with others and everyone makes more money.

    Money matters – and its the easiest thing to analyze, but don’t discount pride, power, and ego. The challenge is that you never know at what point pride is set aside. ND might be running out of time to get over themselves. Looking forward to their next game against the Washington Generals – I mean Huskies.

  81. M says:

    Comments from PSU prez saying he does not expect Delaney to say anything this week.

    False alarm people, you may leave your bunkers. Nothing to see here.

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      Yep, his quotes sure sound like the B10+ bigwigs couldn’t reach agreement.

      Crazy thought of the day: Delany seems to be suggesting a long-term reorganization based around 4 conferences of 16 teams each. Those 64 might eventually split off from the NCAA. Could Texas, and now the P10, be pushing a more politically feasible alternative of four 20-team alliances? For example, P10 doesn’t expand, starts a joint cable venture with the B12, eventually the B12 pares down to 10 (which could be this theory’s fatal flaw.) B10+ just goes to 14, probably without ND, then waits for a shakeout and continued discussions among the conferences. Gives them a chance to see if the SEC raids/guts the ACC, which could finally force ND’s hand and provide the B14 with a possible ND, MD, VA, Duke, NC, plus one grab. If that plays out, conference 4 would be a relatively poor east to west alliance of the leftovers who want to stay BCS equivalent.

      If that’s the case, then the B14 might start with NE, MO, and Rut. Gets the B12 down to 10 and ready to plug and play the Western Alliance and its cable startup.

      A bit out there, but hey, we may have a while to speculate.

      • Playoffs Now! says:

        Oh yeah, 4 BCS conferences of 80 instead of 64, while diluting the revenue a bit, might be able to keep Congress and the state AG’s off their back. Provides more moderate teams so that the big boys can more easily keep their larger win counts per season. Further, it substantially reduces the chances that a non-Big Four conference could convince the broadcast and cable networks to give the outside conference(s) a big contract. Thus by shrinking the number of conferences receiving large contracts, a 25% increase in teams per conference could provide more than a 25% increase in revenue per conference.

        • Richard says:

          I think 3 conferences of 20 is more likely (though the SEC may stop at 16 or 18 while the Big20 and Pac20 get there).

        • Hopkins Horn says:

          @Playoffs Now!:

          Which 14 schools would you foresee being promoted to BCS status in a 4×20 setup? (And that 14 doesn’t include ND, which is already at BCS status.)

          You could add every school in the MWC, including San Diego State and Wyoming, and still need to find five more viable schools.

          I don’t see how that would work.

          To me, the whole point of superconferences, in a 4×16 model, sooner rather than later. is to shut out current non-BCS schools from slotting into existing conferences as replacements for departing schools.

  82. Scott C says:

    That or they are just trying to cover up some leaks. Either way, though, I doubt we’ll see any real news this week.

  83. [...] The Value of Expansion Candidates to the Big Ten Network The Big Ten appears to be stepping up the timetable for expansion dramatically, where what once looked like a 12-18 [...] [...]

  84. Patrick says:


    Most of the article is about Byrne saying the college sports experience is all about the student-athlete.


    Former Nebraska AD Bill Byrne

    “The loudest rumors I’ve heard about us,” Texas A&M’s Bill Byrne said Monday from College Station, Texas, “is that the Pacific 10 Conference would be the place that would have the most interest in us.”

    Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne told The World-Herald last month that there’s “a fairly good chance the Big Ten makes a move in some way — maybe one team, maybe five.”

    Several Big 12 athletic directors, when asked recently about the latest realignment rumors, echoed the line “things feel different this time,” meaning that they sense change.

    Byrne said the following about Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany:

    “Jim Delany is very serious about this, and he’s a very smart man. He’s going to do everything he can to position the Big Ten to be formidable. They already are, and the Southeastern Conference is as well.”

    • Justin says:

      There are reports, including from Colin Cowherd and Kevin Harlan, that the Big 10’s primary three targets are Connecticut, ND and Pittsburgh.

      In fact, Cowherd said Uconn is a primary target at the moment.

      I’ve said that Uconn’s candidacy should not be overlooked. If this is about content, you are talking about a nascent football program, a top 10 basketball program, and an unparalleled powerhouse in women’s bball that could bring different type of advertising revenue to the conference, and Uconn is the State U. of a very wealthy state.

      Now, if these three are invited, I don’t see how you leave out Rutgers and Syracuse. Maybe once ND accepts, the 15th and 16th spots are given to RU and Cuse.

      I understand this board has a lot of love for Nebraska — but its all been speculation from fans, we are seeing consistent reports on the 4 Big East schools and ND. It could all be a coincidence but I’m thinking this is where its going

      • mushroomgod says:

        My guess is that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

        • Michael says:

          I think we´re going to hear a lot of rumors over the next week but nothing official or substantial. Some of this may have legs but most will probably be posturing by different universities, fans, conferences, etc.

          That said, I´m not sure I buy this one. Three team expansion like this isolates UConn too much and none of these teams help capture NYC. Uconn may get invited but not as the top priority.

  85. Rick says:

    I have been wondering what we can expect from the expansion candidates on the football field in Big Ten play. This is what they did over the last 10 years versus the big three (OSU, Michigan, and PSU) and the rest of the teams:

    Nebraska: Big 3: 2-1; Rest: 4-0
    Notre Dame: Big 3: 5-6; Rest: 11-12
    Missouri: Big 3: 0-0; Rest: 6-2
    Kansas: Big 3: 0-0; Rest: 1-2
    Maryland: 0-0; Rest: 1-0
    UConn: Big 3: 0-0; Rest: 2-0
    Syracuse: Big 3: 0-3; Rest: 2-6
    Pitt: Big 3: 1-1; Rest: 1-2
    Rutgers: Big 3: 0-0; Rest: 2-2

    Overall w/o ND: Big 3: 3-5; Rest: 13-14
    Overall w/ND: Big 3: 8-11; Rest: 24-26

    Maybe the Big 3 becomes the Big 4 or 5 (with ND bouncing back) and Nebraska

    The others should not be cupcakes but probably 2nd tier most of the time with occasional bad years for 3rd tier finishes. They probably fall in behind Wisconsin and Iowa most years.

  86. fifthangell says:

    Brian at MGoBlog elaborates on his theory of using a World Cup strategy to divide a 16 team Big Ten:

  87. grantlandR says:

    I think all this talk about whether or not Notre Dame can turn down the opportunity to join the Big Ten is moot. Notre Dame is not even going to be invited. I don’t think Paterno was speaking off the cuff when he said Notre Dame had its chance.

    The Big Ten will be successful beyond their dreams even without Notre Dame, so why bother? They’ve jilted the Big Ten twice recently, and make it publicly very clear that they still don’t want to join, and would do so only as the last resort, and oh, so reluctantly – maybe. If Notre Dame is confused/conflicted about the Big Ten, Delaney and the Big Ten presidents should have a clear view of what Notre Dame membership would bring. They will resent having to give up their football independence, they won’t be happy being part of the CIC, and they probably won’t truly adapt to the egalitarian nature of the Big Ten.

    I don’t fault Notre Dame for this (I just think it’s the nature of the beast), but who the hassle when there are such good schools ready and willing to join the Big Ten, even wanting to join the Big Ten, and with whom the Big Ten will prosper. Patrick’s analysis bears this out. And I think Jack Swarbrick knows this, too, and that is why he has been backpedaling since early March.

    Again, the Big Ten will not extend Notre Dame an invitation.

    • Patrick says:


      I agree. Too much noise about specifics that ND just doesn’t live up to. ND has their own path to travel as a university which is very different from the members of the Big Ten. Forcing them together is not a good idea, and I think they both know it. I think the media, seeing ND play a bunch of Big Ten schools each year and being smack in the middle of the footprint, wants to push them together. The media thinks it is a natural fit, even though most people can see it is not.

  88. Patrick says:

    ::: MORE TONIGHT :::

    Tidbits from ESPN…

    Pac 10 Commish Scott’s position remains constant: Expansion makes sense if only it increases per team revenue.

    Said Beebe, “Any conference looking at expansion has to look at whether an institution is going to bring at least one unit to pay for itself.”

    Moreover, just because a team resides in or near a prime metropolitan market doesn’t mean that team will deliver that market.

    Noted WAC commissioner Karl Benson, “It’s how many television sets they can deliver, not necessarily how many people are in their market.”

    Of course, Benson then noted that the Big Ten has been delivering on TV, with a conference network that has made per-team revenue by far the biggest among BCS conferences — $22 million, $5 million more than the SEC.

    Sounds like some of the other conference heads think ratings are important.

    • Justin says:

      ND and the four East Coast schools — Rutgers, Syracuse, Uconn and Pitt.

      You get the largest national TV draw in Notre Dame.

      You also lock down New York City and Philadelphia.

      Content rules right?

      You add the nation’s preeminent lacrosse school in Syracuse to launch a sport to keep viewers in the spring.

      Uconn is the most valuable women’s b-ball program in the country by a mile.

      Uconn and ND allow the Big 10 to form a hockey league to air games on Friday nights.


      You’ve also created the most dominant basketball conference in the country. I believe that Connecticut-Syracuse-Pitt were the three most successful BE basketball programs over the past ten years.

      How about rivalries?

      Syracuse-Connecticut is the best basketball rivalry in the Big East.

      How I think this transpires. The Big 10 adds the four Big East schools by June 1 — Uconn, Rutgers, Syracuse and Pitt. They announce an intention to look for a 16th school by October 1.

      Why? The Big East schools need to provide 27 months notice to leave now. ND doesn’t play football so the 27 month notice is irrelevant to them.

      The Big East either splits in two, with a Catholic league that would be a good home for ND’s basketball, but unsatisfactory for other sports, or it reconsitutes itself with fourth tier academic schools like ECU, Memphis, UCF and Southern Miss.

      ND sees the revenues explode for the BTN and announces its intention to join as the 16th member in the fall.

      • Tim W says:


        I certainly hope that is what happens. As a Syracuse fan that is my dream scenario, but I am not positive that will occur. I could easily see the Big 10 grabbing at least Nebraska from the Big 12 and possibly Missouri.

        However several quotes point that the Big 10 is “looking long term” when determining expansion candidates so if cultivated correctly a northeast stretch could be very profitable if SU/RU/Uconn fare decently in Big 10 football. Attendance and fan fervor would almost certainly increase with big names like Michigan, Notre Dame, OSU, and PSU coming to town.

        You do make a good point that adding these Big East schools would greatly enhance all the sports in the Big 10. Big increases in B10 basketball quality, and potential establishment of a Big 10 hockey and/or lacrosse league.

        • PSUGuy says:

          Here’s the thing I see…the SEC and the ACC are pretty much static. Low likelihood of either adding a member, especially after contract negotiations just get done (which will be the case with the ACC soon).

          The Big12, while vulnerable, is pretty stable at the moment. Even if it lost Colorado (a blow to their money making ability) there are teams in the area that could help offset and allow the Big12 to limp along.

          If the Big10 contains its additions to the BigEast it can take the best of the eastern schools before either the ACC or the SEC has a shot at them while not giving the Big12 reason to self destruct (and allow Texas/TAMU/Neb/Mizz to bolt in different directions). Even if it takes a single ACC school (thinking directly of MD) it would be leaving plenty of “low hanging fruit” for the ACC to replace them and again leaves the Big12 “stable”.

          This allows the Big10 to consolidate its new members, get a new tv contract, and work out the bugs that will inevitably come with new membership. If the new tv contract is like the old…it should last 10 years which would give the Big10 approximately the same amount of time to work with the new members and determine how successful this round of expansion was.

          If its anything like the PSU addition, THEN they could turn to the mid-west and poach the Neb, Mizz, etc…if those schools still maintain the interest of the Big10.

          • @PSUGuy – The one quibble that I have is that I don’t know if the Big Ten really should be worried about the BE schools going anywhere. The ACC is squeamish about expansion because BC has been a very mediocre success in breaking into the Northeast. If anything, it’s a word of caution about getting too intoxicated with large markets. (Granted, the Big Ten Network is a vehicle that can take advantage of those large markets better than traditional TV contracts.) The Big XII might be able to do things to make themselves more attractive to Nebraska and Missouri over the next few years that would make them harder to get. Is there anything that the BE could do over the next few years that would prevent them from bolting for the Big Ten within 2 seconds? I don’t think so at all – those BE schools will always be there. Think about this: Nebraska, the #4 most valuable football program in the country (ahead of both Ohio State and Michigan) is there for the taking as of today! In terms of priority, a school like Nebraska needs to be locked up before the Big XII enters into a new TV contract that may them more squeamish about a move.

          • PSUGuy says:

            Very true about Nebraska and today, but here’s the thing. What’s their addition to the BTN now? Fact is, Nebraska is a “wow” school only from a football sense and that is only going to help the Big10 (not the BTN) come contract negotiations with ABC/ESPN in 2016. Few added households for the BTN means fewer ad dollars (than could be gotten now) since most of Nebraska’s football content will be on the major networks. They would certainly add money, but it would more toward the older business model of focusing on the ABC/ESPN contract as a primary revenue generation method.

            Lets take Patrick’s estimate for a second. Nebraska is looking to add $57 mill to the Big10 pie if its included. Teams like Cuse, Pitt, Uconn (ignoring Rutger/NY for the moment) look to average $37 mill…quite a bit of difference, with the trio adding almost double what Nebraska would bring by itself. However, as I said before Nebraska is a lower population state in an area of slow growth. While it would be a been for any conference, it would be so primarily for the ABC/ESPN contract not the conference channel. And that’s what the channel does that completely changes the game…

            I guess I’mjust saying Nebraska is, and has been, a wanted commodity in the college football landscape, but the reasons for why a conference would want it don’t mesh as well with the reasons why a conference tv channel would want to expand.

            The real question I guess is does the Big10 really think it will stop at 12/14/16 schools or does it see itself expanding even further. If it is stopping, then yes Nebraska needs to be seriously considered. If it thinks further expansion in the mid-term (say another decade) is probable, then solidifying the east coast markets before the BigEast disintegrates and allows their teams (and markets) to scatter to the new conference tv channels (SEC maybe ACC) is probably the right opening move, as I really think the Big12 (especially Neb/Mizz) are stable enough to wait.

          • Richard says:

            Nebraska would also add value in ad rates, which are a big chunk of the BTN’s revenue. I think the Big10 will still add Nebraska, Mizzou, and try to get in to NYC with more 3 schools (if no ND, then Rutgers, Pitt, & ‘Cuse?) Rutgers, Pitt, and UConn?

      • Patrick says:

        Baseball is already an established spring sport.

        I believe you are correct on some of those schools. I think Pitt and Rutgers are probable, then either Syracuse or UConn and this is why….

        UConn is not AAU, but could be added.
        Syracuse spends very little on R&D, something the Big Ten thinks is important.

        If these schools are so desirable, why is the Big East conference payout only $4.2 million per school? Football is the #1 money maker, yet Syracuse and UConn average under 40,000 in attendence. TV Ratings nationally for these schools (sans Pitt) are low, the BTN needs games that generate interest. Who watches lacrosse? Baseball will generate more money and more ratings as a spring sport.

        Nebraska and Missouri are a better combo to add along with Pitt and Rutgers. As for Syracuse and UConn…. I see it as a toss up. I don’t see ND getting an invite.

        But, maybe six weeks from now, we will all see for ourselves. Which will be great!

        • c says:

          Re Big East TV contract (Patrick)

          Not a TV expert and please correct me if I am wrong, but current Big East contract was negotiated after loss of Miami, VT and BC where UL, Cinn, UConn, USF all were new to a BCS bowl conference and RU was still a doormat and SU was beginning its multiyear slump.

          So the current low Big East TV contract is not really a mystery.

          Since then SU, RU and the other schools have spent a lot on facilities and salaries and UL and SU last year replaced disasterous coaching selections with Strong at UL and Marrone at SU.

          Still trying to understand how your estimates indicate Missouri or Pitt are a better choice than a eastern strategy of RU and SU.

          • Patrick says:

            In it’s most basic terms Missouri or Pitt ALREADY make more money than RU oe SU despite location.
            That said, that really isn’t my position. I think Rutgers, Pitt, and either SU or UConn are taken along with Missouri and Nebraska.

            SU and UConn have holes in their resume that I think are to big to take both. If I were to rank my top 6 and only 5 get invites… SU & UConn are the bottom two.

          • Rick says:

            I know it’s late and you are probably sick of explanations, but how does Pitt and Mizz make more money now than RU and SU despite location? Sorry.

          • Patrick says:

            @Rick, Sorry…. it was late and I didn’t have my sheet. I was wrong above. UConn makes $54 mil. Mizzou makes $50 mil. Syracuse $48 mil and Pitt at $42 mil. That is total athletic revenue – conference payouts.

            I think the BTN will make money with whomever they choose, within reason. All of these schools are within reason. I could potentially see any of them in an addition. I believe SU R&D expenditures will seriously hurt their cause, but UConn not being AAU and the relatively new football program (with a 38,229 ave. attendence) will hurt their cause.

      • flp_ndrox says:

        @ Justin

        Who in the footprint watches LAX?

        UCONN hockey? No wonder I never heard of them, they’re AHA, which I suppose is still Div 1. If they’re the reason for Minnesota to be forced out of the WCHA and into the B10-hockey the whole state will be upset.

        A Big East Catholic league will probably be adequate for ND, especially if they pick up a couple decent Catholic schools who don’t play FBS football.

      • Vincent says:

        Forget Connecticut — non-AAU and too new a program for the old-money Big Ten.

        The ideal five for expansion: Nebraska, Missouri, Rutgers, Syracuse and Maryland (which will accept if it feels the ACC’s southern schools could be picked off by the SEC).

  89. Scott C says:

    Big Ten expansion timetable isn’t on fast track
    Commissioner says conference will stick with 12-18 month window–20100420,0,1326764.story

    So much for all those people who were supposedly in the know. Looks like we got another year of speculation on our hands.

    • M says:

      The best part of the article is “Delany has informed colleagues that, contrary to a Tribune report, the timetable for Big Ten expansion has not been accelerated from the period of 12-to-18 months that was announced in December.” Mr. Greenstein, that report was yours. You are breaking the news that the news you reported earlier is wrong.

      • greg says:

        Greenstein seems to include a lot of speculation in his columns. Of course there are discussions going on now. Did he think the Big Ten announced 12 to 18 months, and wouldn’t meet with anyone until 10 months have passed? This isn’t a simple process.

    • Justin says:

      I doubt the Tribune just made up a story that the Big 10 accelerated the timetable this weekend.

      So what happened? I’m guessing Delaney took his plan to the Big 10 presidents and received considerable pushback from certain schools. We know that Michigan, Michigan State and Indiana voted against Big 10 expansion in 1991 — and that was Penn State, if these three schools or even worse 4, are opposed to a grandiose 3 or 5 team expansion, then Delaney would tone down the rhetoric.

      I sense there is a real struggle here between certain execs at the BTN and Delaney and certain Big 10 schools. For example, does Minnesota or Illinois want to lose 50% of their games with Michigan and OSU to play Nebraska or Pitt a few times a decade?

      The last thing the Big 10 needs is to invite several institutions only to have them voted down. Its important to present a united front. A failure to do so either leads to the humiliation of a school getting rejected, or if its clear only 8 votes are there, a school (i.e. Iowa State) potentially using politics to strong-arm the Big 10 to vote for the less optimal expansion solution (see Virginia and Virginia Tech in 2003).

      I think this is a setback for Delaney — there could be a real resistance to this expansion in some circles. For the Tribune — the mouthpiece of the conference — to basically refute its own story hurts its credibility.

      No one is going to put up with this crap for another 12-18 months.

      • Q says:

        Good analysis! Add Nebraska, say no to Notre Dame, and call it a conference. Frank, if you are still writing on this next year, my wife says you will be cause for divorce!

        • HoosierMike says:

          my thoughts (and my wife’s) exactly. And I NEVER thought I’d NOT want ND in the Big 10. They have been my personal unicorn for this conference since the mid 90s. But the discussions about institutional focus and fit are beginning to sway me from thinking ND will even want to join – which makes me not want them to join. I guess that’s what you call personal growth in real time.

          Also, I’m beginning to question how much sense it makes to bring in 2-4 academically and athletically middling Big East schools (and not just because I don’t need more quasi-crappy teams beating up on my hapless alma mater – IU). While it does create more “product” of live programming, I don’t give a rat’s nut about ‘Cuse vs anybody and the same goes for Rutgers in their current state and I imagine 95% of B10 country and probably about 80% of NY/NJ feels the same (total guess). UConn is the only team near compelling, and I have to admit that’s solely due to their quick rise in the D-1 ranks, their game against ND last year and the fact their UofM’s season opener/stadium dedication game this year.

          Nebraska v. whomever, OTOH, would be a definite flip back on the ol’ remote from whichever game is being featured on ABC/ESPN. They’re an immediately respected power in the conference that you can cheer against – think a Western tOSU – and that is something as a B10 fan I can really get behind.

          • michaelC says:

            Pitt and Rutgers are not academic ‘middling’ schools. Both are world class research schools that fit well. By most measures they would rank just under the upper tier of Big Ten schools. Syracuse has some excellent academics but is not a broad-based powerhouse, especially in the hard sciences where most of the research money lays. UConn has improved its profile quite a bit but is still significantly behind all Big Ten schools except (although they have a decent amount of research money — is the a med school associated with them/ I don’t see where the money is coming from in the other research areas).

          • HoosierMike says:

            @michaelC –

            I stand corrected. I mixed up these school’s USNWR rankings with some of the less desirable Big12 schools in my head. Thanks for clearing that up. I did not include Pitt however, as I don’t see them being a part of an eastern only expansion. If the B10 is going to round out at 14, you’ve got to imagine they’re taking RU, SU and UConn. Or do they? Now that you mention it, in an east expansion to 14, I’d much prefer Pitt to SU, for institutional and competitive reasons. Still would rather poach Neb from the B12 than take any combination of these schools.

        • Justin says:

          I’m not trying to downplay Nebraska — they would be my first choice in a twelve team expansion.

          However, we’ve seen reports on ND, Texas, Uconn, Missouri, Syracuse, Pitt and Rutgers. There is nothing on Nebraska.

          We need to consider them a darkhorse at this point with Maryland and Kansas. Unlikely but not outside the realm of possibility.

      • @Justin – Excellent observation. This is probably what happened. Greenstein’s sources in the Big Ten office likely were all on board with a particular plan to push forward, but it goes back the one of the first things that we all said about expansion: “Think like a university president and not like a sports fan.” These university presidents have different thoughts and needs than the people on the athletic side of the equation (and very likely be more conservative in their actions). That said, the circumstances over the past few weeks really put the Big Ten in the position to drop the hammer (even appearing to get ND to do a full self-evaluation), so I’m a bit disappointed that the conference isn’t taking advantage of the panic.

        • Michael says:

          After all of this, man, this is disappointing.

          I have to think Justin is right on what might have happened on Sunday. That said, if Delany and the boys in the Big 10 office were ready to go to bat, I´m sure they haven´t given up on July 1st.

          After talking to the presidents on Sunday, they know where everyone stands, what the concerns are and who needs convincing. From here, you probably try to address those problems and get back to the hold-outs as quickly as possible. As Frank and Patrick have pointed out, there is too much money on the table to put this off for another year.

        • Justin says:


          I agree 100%. It would be a mistake for the Big 10 to let this linger for another twelve months. You have to strike while the iron is hot.

          However (speculating), Delaney may feel this delay could prove beneficial, because it allows the PAC 10 to make the first move. If Colin Cowherd is correct, and the PAC 10 adds Colorado and Utah (with an eye towards a bigger expansion) then Texas may consider its options while the Big 10 is still studying expansion.

          If the Big 10 adds five schools, and Texas is committed to not making the first move, then the Big 10 is off the table, and Texas would only have the SEC and PAC 10 as options.

          My guess is its still about Texas or ND. I would guess the Big 10 tried to pressure ND to accept — they declined — and other presidents simply aren’t ready to add a bunch of other schools at the expense of weakening the longstanding rivalries.

          • Justin says:

            Also – I do feel that the Big 10 will expand.

            One possibility is to invite as twelfth school that everyone feels is a great institutional fit (Pitt or Rutgers), which according to the Tribune report would make the Big 10 money, so that at least you could start playing a Big 10 title game in 2012.

            Then, you study expansion for another 9-12 months and see if you’re willing to convince everyone to adopt a 16 team platform.

            If the comrpromise is twelve teams, I think the Big 10 would probably take Pitt or Rutgers, see how they fit into the conference, and go from there.

        • MIRuss says:


          First – My wife thinks this is some sort of porno site in disguise even after I let her read some of the posts, so the Big 10 HAS TO DO SOMETHING or there will be hell to pay in my household as well…

          Second – I think I posted this in your first blog that started all of this: It takes Universities TIME! Look at the hiring process at the Universtiy of Michigan for the Head Football Coach after Lloyd announced he was retiring AT THE BEGINNING of the season.

          1. Sailboat Bill didn’t even have a short list, or so it was stated.
          2. I’m not entirely sure he spoke with anyone (unofficially) prior to the OSU game.
          3. The Search Committee hadn’t even been formed until sometime in November.
          4. It still took the better part of 3 weeks to nail down a candidate.

          The PSU addition in 1991 is another great timeline to review….

          Let’s face facts: Academia is not the private sector when it comes to transaction speed. And these decisions are decisions that all of the Big 10 Universities are going to have to live with for a long time. Yes, PSU looks great after 15 years in retrospect. However, if I was a president of one of the Big 10 schools and we had just gone through the pain of childbirth of the BTN and I still was unsure of what the kid was capable of, I might not be too willing to rush right out and sign him up for little league, or commit to a college and sign a letter of intent if he’s ready to go to the pros.

          The Big 10 holds all the cards (and cash) right now – it’s that simple. They don’t have to do anything and the money still comes rolling in.

          Let’s not forget that. Even a conference championship wouldn’t change the money potential that’s rolling in right now. Everything needs to digest with TPTB and we’ll see what happens when the dust settles.

          • Gopher86 says:

            MIRuss, I agree with your sentiment, but they are leaving a lot of money on the table.

            If Patrick’s numbers are correct,for every year the Big 10 doesn’t act, they leave $266 mm on the table. That’s enough to light a fire under anyone’s butt.

      • Scott S says:

        It’s certainly possible that Delaney is encountering more resistance to his plan by member presidents than most of us on this board would prefer.

        Or maybe it’s not so much resistance that’s slowing this down; perhaps it really does take 12-18 months to get this all organized. That’s what he said intially–maybe he said it because he meant it.

        It’s possible, too, that by making this announcement, Delaney is simply trying to take the heat off himself and the BT presidents, who are likely getting peppered with questions everywhere they go.

        And perhaps they’re waiting on a school like Texas, which might need some time to do an analysis as to whether that Foghorn Leghorn Network they’re considering could fly.

        • Michael says:

          @Scott S, any of your explanations sound possible, although if it´s number 2 (it really does take 12-18 months), why the leak in the first place?

          I tend to give Delany more credit than most other sports commissioners or GMs, as I feel like his vision for this expansion would probably amaze the general public.

          That said, the Big 10 had a chance to lay the hammer down by moving quickly, and then just sitting back and watching the dominoes fall.

          If this isn´t just a diversionary tactic, I tend to think it´s the process needed to reel in the big fish (whether that´s Texas, ND, an ACC school or anyone else)- as opposed to just incompetence by Delany and the rest of the conference.

      • Hopkins Horn says:

        Could a possible reason for the pushback be that Delaney was proposing a three or five-team expansion which didn’t include a home run (ND/Texas)?

        • @Hopkins Horn – Maybe it’s not pushback. Maybe the Big Ten is waiting for a certain school in South Bend to finally make a decision. I’m skeptical that a 5-school expansion occurs without ND, but would think that a 3-school expansion that has Nebraska would work. The thing is that the Big Ten isn’t going to start talking to people until the point that it knows with 110% certainty that ND is in or out.

      • Jake says:

        @Justin – Yes we will. We’ll put up with this game for years. This is like Fantasy Football and the most high-stakes game of Risk you’ve ever played rolled into one. Every time Delaney tosses out a scrap of information about who might get in and when, we’ll be there to gobble it up and beg him for more. I love this crap, and I have no problem admitting it.

        • Scott S says:

          A lot of people seem very interested in this topic. As I write this, there have been over 400 comments responding to this latest post topic, and it’s been up for, what–a little over a day?

          Frankly, I’m not sure why its of so much interest–even to me. Frank, any idea how many unique visitors you’ve had to this site in the past month?

          • Scott C says:

            I don’t know what kind of numbers Frank is putting up, but apparently this post was #14 out of all blog posts in WordPress for the day.


            I think people are visiting for a variety of reasons. Mostly their team is involved one way or another. Other sports fans are coming for the intrigue as what the BIg Ten does will have ramifications for nearly all college teams in the coming years.

      • mushroomgod says:

        I’m not sure why anyone would think there would be easy agreement on how to proceed. If this was simple it would have been done before, and we wouldn’t have typed 3000000 words on the topic in this blog…..

        • mushroomgod says:

          I also have a little bit of “I told you so” coming here…..Awhile back, I said I thought there was a 15% chance the Big 10 would do nothing soon becuase they wouldn’t agree on teams……as I recall a few people said in reply that there was 0% chance of that happening…..

          • Rick says:

            I was working on the premise that the Big Ten would do nothing as an outcome of this process. I didn’t really base the 0% do nothing on this accelerated timeline. I still think I will stick to my projections that they will act within the original 12-18 month timeline.

      • Michael says:


        Doesn´t sound like Delany said much today, but I thought this comment might have been telling: ¨”The presidents have been clear: This may not happen.”

        I don´t know the context in which it was said, but he sounds frustrated by what may or may not have happened on Sunday.

    • I love all of you guys, but if I’m still writing speculative blog posts about Big Ten expansion 12 months from now, it’s not going to be pretty.

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        Is it pretty now?

      • Hopkins Horn says:

        I do hope that you’ve added “nation’s premier Big 10 expansion-related blogger” to your resume!

        • MIRuss says:

          Come on, Frank!

          This actually gives me something to look forward to every day….

          Wait, did I just type that? I’m a bigger loser than all those clowns that follow recruiting.

          • duffman says:


            no.. recruiting is short term..

            but real expansion may last a lifetime..

            BTW – love the PORN site thing with your wife, but it does bring up a point.. are men’s sports moving to become the male “soap opera” instead of just being about the games themselves..

            and yeah expansion talk makes me a moth to the flame.. fantasy baseball and recruiting news could never appeal to me like this has..

      • mushroomgod says:

        I think the Big 10 may be crossing the line from good pub to bad pub on this expansion business….while it’s good to have everyone talking about the league, they’re now pissing off a lot of people at the prospective schools and in the leagues to be affected….therefore, regardless of what JD is saying, I can’t believe that the powers that be won’t want this decided sooner rather than later…..

        By the way, remember when I said Neb. had a 11% chance to be admitted as a 12th member, even though they weren’t in the original 5, as a compromise, interim solution? Hmmmm…..

        • Justin says:

          You also run the risk that the Big 12 or the ACC could potentially step to the plate and remove some schools from the equation.

          The ACC can’t compete with the Big 10, and there are certain ACC schools – Duke and UNC — dissatisfied with expansion, but one has to wonder if their commissioner thinks everyone is going to sixteen schools whether they would swoop in now, and give the BE schools an ultimatum while the Big 10 is sitting back and taking its time.

          Still, I think there are some Big 10 presidents who only would expand if we get ND or Texas.

          • Scott C says:

            I think the only thing that could save the Big XII at this point would be a western television alliance with the Pac10. If Texas goes through with plans for a Longhorn Television Network, Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, and probably Kansas will be looking to jump ship and no realisticly available team (to the Big XII) can stop that.

    • Nittany Wit says:

      Two points…

      1) Sounds like it was Beebe that said Delany has informed him (and other commissioners) that the B10 would stick to the 12 to 18 month timetable. While Delany will inform the commissioners of the potential schools they will look at, he doesn’t want to give all of his ammunition away. Timing is very important. Everyone is now bracing for something quick, but if people relax thinking it was a false alarm and then they are broad sided, it might send more shock waves. Besides is that what you’d what Delany to say. It avoids backfiring in his face and doesn’t reveal any more info than necessary.

      2) It also lends credence to the stepwise approach. The Big Ten might add one to go to 12 but maintain that they are still evaluating how to go forward or whether they are done. Whatever conference they take a school from will very quickly start looking at replacements. For example, Big10 takes Missouri so the Big 12 must quickly invite a 12 team to not lose the conference playoff for multiple years. Additionally, the longer it takes to add a team, the more the other teams are going to look around. So what if the Big10 takes Missouri and then waits to see how the Big12 respond or how the Pac10 reacts (if they immediately swoop in on Colorado). Put the wheels in motion and let the chips fall where they may. Once the B10 starts to negiotate or talk with teams in the next month or so, I have to think that those schools, except for Texas, will always be gauging the B10 interest before they move since the B10 can likely offer them more than any other conference. Essentially, they want a date for the prom, but before accepting the good looking friends invite, they want to make sure that their dream date has moved on.

  90. Ron says:

    As a long-time resident of Texas, want to give a special shout out to everyone who has, will, or will ever drink the “burnt orange koolaid” (i.e. advocate Texas to the Big Ten). It might actually happen someday (and everyone has got to have a dream), but keep a couple of things in mind.
    1. If you think Notre Dame folks are a legend in their own mind, UT actually turns that up a notch. They really epitomize a combination of oversized western ego with a sort of arrogance that they go to the only notable public university in the state. (Look, as a Minnesota grad I can actually relate to that last point. Longhorn fans are fun, but if you’re not a UT grad yourself, they’re sort of an acquired taste.)
    2. If Texas alums are sort of different, Texas A&M alums are way differenter. A lot of what gives A&M its unique culture and character is a tie-in with the army ROTC, in some ways it is a West Point south. It has grown to be something of a great university, just have to say that most Big Ten people are not going to feel immediately comfortable with A&M culture either.
    From a purely selfish point of view, I would love to see Texas and Texas A&M join the Big Ten. In fact one of the things that first hooked me on reading Big Ten expansion blogging was speculation that this could happen. For a number of cultural reasons, I see Texas gravitating toward the PAC10 (in the long run), the west coast culture amd academics would actually suit them pretty well. A&M arguably could go with them to the west or could just as easily wind up in the SEC, the former more for political than cultural reasons (i.e. state politics).
    Last point, Texas is sitting on their own pile of money and undeveloped market potential. The Big Ten’s financial enticements are not going to get the deal done and “threatening” Texas with Big 12 North defections is not going to have a (positive) effect either short-term or long-term.
    To summarize, on Texas to the Big Ten, I ain’t seeing it anytime soon.

    • GregInSparta says:


      UT fans are not much different than fans of other schools. Everyone thinks that their U is unique and special. As an MSU fan, I hear all about how special a “Michigan Man” is from UM fans.

      I met a UT grad years ago. His opinion was that you can think A&M alums as members of a cult.

      Do you think its possible that UT, A&M, Tech, and other universities in Texas would form their own “Texas Sports Network (TSN)” to show games that are not picked up by the national networks? This would be instead of a Longhorn Sports Network (LSN). You would get much more content with multiple universities.

      • Ron says:

        A “Texas Sports Network” would surprise me more than UT joining the Big Ten. Texas Tech has its own college culture which sets it far apart from both Texas and Texas A&M (They’re sort of the outlaws out west and that perception pre-dates Mike Leach. You’ll note the Tech mascot has more than a passing resemblance to Zorro.). Also, during Texas-OU football weekend, my general perception is that the fans of non-UT Texas schools root mostly for Oklahoma. That even goes back to Southwest Conference days when a Longhorn win was in their obvious self-interest. Texas is the most fun state in the whole world to follow college football (would say the whole country instead of the whole world, but need to allow for local confederate sympathies and secessionist fantasies).

        • Hopkins Horn says:

          Good lord, I ignored your first post and your reference to people like me having an “oversized western ego,” but when you start making references like “local confederate sympathies,” you’re revealing a deep ignorance about a state in which you claim to live. Let’s stop it with the untruthful slanders.

      • Mike says:

        Texas is working on creating the Longhorn Sports Network. That network will be picked up throughout Texas. If it adds any other Texas schools to it will will just cut down the amount of money Texas gets from its own network. You won’t see Texas in a conference like the Big Ten unless it fails. However, the PAC 10 or a rebuilt Big 12 might let Texas keep the LSN money and be a member just for the profits off the national contracts.

        • Hopkins Horn says:

          This is what I don’t get behind a proposed LSN — maybe Patrick or someone else better with TV number can provide some insight.

          The BTN is distributed nationally. The proposed LSN would presumably have Texas-wide distribution. (Would DirecTV pick it up for national distribution? Seems doubtful but not completely implausible.) How could the LSN hope to replicate the BTN’s success with such an inherently more limited footprint for distribution?

          • m (Ag) says:

            Texas could make money because they would not share the money with any other schools. So they need 1/11 the viewers of the current Big 10 network to make as much money as each Big 10 school does now. Given the size of Texas, that could be doable if they come up with the programming to fill the network.

            Problem is, one school can’t produce much programming. If they take all their home games away from the conference for the network, they become less valuable conference members. Even if they go independent, it becomes less useful for other top schools to schedule Texas. Yes, Texas might pay a good fee for schools to travel to Austin; however, if the game is not available to a national network, it won’t be as useful to the traveling school, which normally uses a game versus Texas to burnish it’s national reputation.

            So they likely need some home games nationally televised, which leaves even less live programming to occupy viewing hours. I’d imagine there would be lots of ‘encore’ viewings of games and lots of ‘classic’ games of Texas from years past. It doesn’t seem like it would get the viewers much of the time.

    • duffman says:

      as an aside .. on a per capita basis.. the MOST “colorful” fans in the nation are wearing blue & white and spelling C – A – T – S alot. I am sure there are many really nice and sane UK fans, but their extreme fans would make david koresh and jim jones green with envy to get that kind of blind devotion to their cause. it was in the news that they stopped the legislature session to announce the newest recruit signing his LOI.

  91. hack says:

    the moral of the story: texas destroys everything it touches.

  92. Patrick says:

    Interesting article with some ratings information from 2009….

    “The Big Ten Network’s ratings increased across the board in 2009, with its average afternoon telecasts improving by 28 percent over 2008 and its eight primetime games exploding by a staggering 183 percent. The channel’s telecasts of afternoon games averaged a 2.3 household rating with the primetime games pulling a 1.7 rating.”

    For perspective a 1.7 rating = 1,904,000 HH
    A 2.3 rating = 2,576,000 HH

    There are 112,000,000 HH in the US

    “A thrilling-overtime Outback Bowl produced the highest rated bowl ever on ESPN/ESPN2 for a game in the Chicago market (DMA), producing a 7.1 rating as Auburn beat Northwestern, 38-35. The previous Chicago market record was the 2000 Alamo Bowl between Nebraska and Northwestern with a 5.2 rating. The 4.06 national rating was a 32% increase over the 2009 Outback Bowl.”

    Northwestern, when successful, can deliver ratings in Chicago. I was suprised ND wasn’t involved in the highest bowl rating for Chicago.

    There are other rating highlights for bowl games at the bottom.

    • Rick says:

      I was speaking with my daughter last night and she sells spots for the Austin DMA (she is an Account rep for Cox stations), she sells UT football spots using a typical local rating of 15 to build her fees and per spot costs. To her college football is a gold mine for sales and commissions.

      • Patrick says:

        I’m actually suprised it’s not even better for UT in the Austin market. I think you would see the similar sales jumps in all of the big, successful college towns.

        • Hopkins Horn says:

          When you start dealing with a media market of, what, approximately 1.2 million people, and a football stadium that seats 100,000+, doesn’t the sheer size of the stadium in relation to the market in which it sits have to have some effect on the number of people who actually watch the game on TV as opposed to attend in person?

          (Yes, I know that not all 100K+ attending games live in Austin, but a strong majority would, and that’s at least 3-5% of the total potential viewing audience attending rather than watching.)

        • Rick says:

          According to her, the UT ratings depend on the game but in general 15 was a typical number. You are right about typical college football towns and ratings. Her Georgia football ratings and spots pay her bills and are similar to UT ratings. She just picked up the Hartford DMA Cox station and she was shocked at how high/strong that DMA was (includes New Haven) and would foresee excellent ratings and spot charges for Big Ten over the air games with UConn. She also said (shocker..hah) that any ND game is a money maker for ratings. No news flash there.

    • Justin says:

      The article, from an Omaha newspaper, suggests that Nebraska isn’t in the mix.

      Really think its an Eastern strategy by the Big 10 for better or worse.

      However, if the Big 10 does not add ND, its not going to work.

      • michaelC says:

        Reading the article, I do not think there is any basis (from that article) to think NE is not in the mix. The thrust is to say things are happening fast and the Big East exit clause makes it likely a move takes place (regarding BE teams) soon.

      • Mike says:

        Shatel is awful (and a Missouri grad). He wrote that Nebraska isn’t a cantidate before even calling his “sources.”

        Stay tuned. The story is about to unfold before our eyes.

        I’ll have more on this in my Sunday column. I need to make some phone calls. <<

      • HoosierMike says:

        I think an eastern only expansion can work without ND. It just won’t be the exciting or blockbuster move that Frank is responsible for getting all of our hopes up for with the completely logical and reasonable initial posts about UT coming to the B10 (fingers still crossed).

        I think that with an eastern only expansion at most they can do 14, and I think they’d be wise to just take one and get to 12.

        I think 16 with an east only approach won’t work because I just can’t imagine the CoP/C signing off on adding 5 new schools of RU, SU, UConn, Pitt, MD, as I think Delany’s desire to go big and be bold might be a Grand Canyon away from the thinking of the CoP/C. Does the B10 (and when I say B10 I mean CoP/C, not Delany/BTN) really want to be the first conference to 16 (save the failed WAC) – four schools larger than the ACC, SEC or B12? Does that in any way reflect the B10’s more traditional, staid and entirely frustrating stance on all things college? Is there even an inkling of necessity to do so? If you’re going to be a disruptive force, you better be sure that the shockwaves reverberate in a way that benefits you in the long term, and I don’t see any way this can be assured at this point to the satisfaction of a CoP/C voting member.

        As far as 14, I just don’t see the CoP/C chomping at the bit to pick up a threesome of eastern schools, although it’s much more in the realm of possibility. Adding two schools (RU, SU) for one market that neither of them is actually in, plus another to round it out, seems a stretch for me. OTOH, If you take MD, RU, and UConn, the BTN can secure subscriber rates and more importantly, as Patrick has proffered, advertising opportunities in the three wealthiest states per capita. But again, does that appeal to the CoP/C the way it does Delany/BTN?

        I think the safe play is to add any one of these schools, let the dust settle, and if the gravy train is still churning in a few years time, re-examine the landscape and feed the money engine with some new fuel.

        Aside, I could just see Delany ripping out the remainder of his hair, as he’s sitting in front of the leaders of some pretty prestigious institutions with dollar signs bulging out of his eyes, and them telling him to “slow down, pal”.

        • Rick says:

          Rutgers is right in the middle of the NY Metro TV DMA. NYC means nothing, NY Metro DMA is what matters.

          • HoosierMike says:

            @Rick – In terms of advertising, sure. But I thought the subscriber rates were worked out between the BTN and cable networks based on the states in which a member school was located. Am I missing something?

          • Rick says:

            I’ll leave those details to Patrick or Omni, but Rutgers is in the NY DMA, about a 30 mile trip into NYC, and NJ population is @9 million. I was just responding to what you said that they weren’t even in that market. Not to quibble I am sure we just disagree on the semantics of market.

          • HoosierMike says:

            No, I’m sure you’re closer right. I’m still trying to get a firmer grip on all of this. I think if we meld our two stances here, from an advertising perspective, which Patrick says we can’t underestimate, Rutgers is very much in the NY DMA. From a subscriber fee perspective, it may or may not be.

          • michaelC says:

            I’m not sure some appreciate just how close Rutgers is the major cities in question. Rutgers is less than 40 miles away from the Empire State Building. It is also just 60 miles from downtown Philadelphia.

            Of course UMinn is in St. Paul and OSU is just a couple of miles from downtown Columbus. NU is 15 miles from the Sears Bldg. and UM is 43 miles from the Renaissance Center. To put it in Chicago-oriented perspective, imagine a school rather like UIUC in Waukegan (40 miles to Chicago, 60 miles to Milwaukee).

            There is a fair debate about the mental distance to the media DMAs, but physically — by Midwestern standards — Rutgers is right next to two of the largest cities in the country. No major state university is closer to these markets (even SUNY Albany and SUNY Stony Brook are further away).

            If the Big Ten can sell its product in NYC and Philadelphia Rutgers is a vehicle to become the home town team.

          • Rick says:

            MichaelC: it is so close that you could be in downtown Philly or NYC in about the same time it takes to go grocery shopping round trip in the local strip mall on a busy Saturday afternoon in Central/No. NJ.

          • Jeepers says:

            Rutgers may be close to NYC, but that doesn’t mean you can jump in your car and be there in a jiffy. In fact, most people avoid driving into the city at all costs. Much better to take a train.

      • Scott C says:

        I actually e-mailed Tom Shatel after I read that article citing this site among others that are showing numbers in support of Nebraska.

        Tom’s repsonse was as follows:

        “Everybody is in play. But the top priority is getting Notre Dame. And a way to do that is to impact their conference, the Big East (for all sports except football) and get them to think they need to find a new home. We’ll see. Right now, everyone is guessing.”


        It’s all just speculation on his part. I think Jim Delaney is smarter than to put all is eggs in one basket and take 4 Big East teams on the chance he could force Notre Dame’s hand. The multi-phase option outlined by Frank seems to be a much smarter move.

    • Patrick says:

      Found some more…

      “The Big Ten Network saw its coverage area ratings increase for afternoon college football games by 113 percent from a 0.8 in 2007 to a 1.7 rating in 2008. The network also achieved household impression records with audiences more than doubling in some markets from the previous year. For example, ratings in the Columbus, Ohio market rose from an average 10.3 HH in 2007 to 24.4HH this year, and ratings in Detroit increased from an average 2.4HH to a 6.2HH.”

      So in tv terms they are becoming a habit and locking down an audience. It appears they have gone from a 0.8 rating in 2007 (year 1) to a 2.3 rating in 2009 (year 3).

      With 3 consecutive years of ratings they can now sell on trends and growth. With only two years you can try but advertisers won’t buy it.

      In year one about 896,000 viewers for Saturday football. In year 3 they are now around 2,576,000. Nearly 3 times the viewers in two years…. they are hoping for somewhere around 3.7 million viewers for Saturday games next year. Which would be about a 3.3 rating. In the cable universe that is around the value of a Saturday night ESPN Basketball playoff game and Sunday Night Family Guy reruns on Adult Swim. ** Don’t laugh, they are only 300,000 viewers apart nationally.

      I would expect less Rotel and more Ford / Chevy commercials.

  93. Scott K says:

    I’m a little unclear on this 12-18 month timeline. Assuming the timeline began in December 2009, does that mean we wouldn’t know a who’s invited to join until between December 2010 and May 2011? Or just that it will happen sometime within 12-18 months?

    I’d also read in the Chicago Tribune article that universities’ fiscal years end June 30. How does that affect the timeline?

    • Rick says:

      I’ve been wondering the same thing. When we first heard the Dec expansion announcement of 12-18 months didn’t we think a June 2010 recomendation to the University Prez was to be expected and that a 2012 season with new teams was the target? Doesn’t the rumblings from yesterday just mean that it won’t be sooner or am I missing something?

      • Scott K says:

        Exactly. What does the 12-18 month timeline mean practically in terms of when a team will be announced, when it will actually join the league, etc.?

        Also, is it possible that everyone’s reading too much into this “deceleration” of the timeline? Seems like it comes from one non-definitive quote from the Big 12 commish: “My understanding is that they are still on the same timetable that he outlined.”

        • Scott C says:

          I’m guessing we’ll eventually get some leaked information. I find it hard to beleive they can keep everything bottled up for a year and a half. Someone along the line will talk.

        • indydoug says:

          “12-18 months ‘ timeline surely doesn’t mean when they join as the 27 month exit rule for BE is in play. I still think we know by the next 2 -3 months with the start of B16 in fall of 2012.

  94. Angry Monkey says:

    Great job with this article. You have some great insight and have really thought about all of the potential ramifications.

    Thank you for bringing back some sanity to the Rutgers argument in your piece, but there’s one thing that appears to be lacking with the Rutgers argument.

    Rutgers is close to NYC. NYC is the largest TV market in the US. But that doesn’t mean that there are large numbers of NYC people who follow (or care) about Rutgers and it’s sports teams. Rutgers could potentially bring in a NY audience, but the reality is that most Rutgers fans are people in NJ, which isn’t NYC in terms of TV markets. Even Syracuse, which people continue to think will bring in the NY TV market, is closer to Buffalo than NYC. Hell, Scranton, PA is closer to NYC than Syracuse, so I continue to think this argument of “gaining a NY TV market” through either Rutgers or Syracuse is greatly overblown and overplayed factor.

    I wouldn’t be surprised, in my humble opninion, that the push for Rutgers and it’s “ties” to the NY TV market come from Rutgers AD Tim Pernetti, who has experience working as a TV executive. Tim’s a good salesman, and he can use the school’s proximity to strengthen his argument. But the reality is this: a small percentage of people in NY associate themselves with Rutgers.

    NY is — and almost always will be — a pro sports town. It’s the Yankees, the Mets, the Giants, the Jets, the Knicks, the Nets, the Rangers, and the Isles. They will get excited for the Big East Tourney every year, but it’s like driving to Connecticut to see the leaves change in the Fall — it’s not an all-consuming endeavor and just something that comes around once a year.

    • Rick says:

      Rutgers is in the NY Metro TV market DMA. Being in the 5 boros of NYC mean nothing.

    • Rick says:

      You are right about Tim Pernetti, he also is a Rutgers grad and Football alum. In addition:

      “Prior to returning to Rutgers, Pernetti was the Executive Vice President, Content, for CBS College Sports Network. In that role, he oversaw the rights and relationship business, on-air talent, and all network programming and content on air, online and across all screens for the nation’s first company dedicated to college sports.

      Pernetti helped to build the CBS College Sports Network, previously CSTV, prior to its launch in 2003, and has played a critical role in establishing it as the multi-media leader in college sports programming, content, news and information. He was a recipient of the prestigious Sports Business Journal Forty under Forty Award, and the Multichannel News 40 under 40 Award both in 2008.

      Charged with developing relationships, acquiring rights and creating multi-platform original programming for the first ever 24-hour sports college sports network, Pernetti successfully navigated through a complicated web of media rights deals to come up with new ways to serve college sports fans. Pernetti worked closely with the NCAA and hundreds of schools in every major conference, securing over 2,500 hours of event programming each year and multiple NCAA Championships across 35 men’s and women’s sports. Pernetti was in charge of the CBS College Sports Network exclusive long-term agreements with the US Naval Academy, Mountain West Conference, Conference USA, and the Atlantic 10.

      Further he managed company relationships with more than 30 conferences and thousands of institutions. Pernetti remains most proud of establishing a strong relationship in women’s collegiate sports including the establishment of a women’s basketball game of the week package in 2004 with the Big East Conference.

      In 2006, Pernetti spearheaded a landmark multi-media partnership with the NCAA to make CBS College Sports Network the home of Division II Sports. The innovative deal effectively increased the scope and reach of NCAA Division II sports with hundreds of games now available nationally via the broadcast network and online. Pernetti’s commitment to providing greater exposure to women’s and under-served sports is evidenced by the network’s unprecedented coverage of lacrosse and volleyball, among others. He has also been at the forefront of the development and creation of the Collegiate Nationals, which crowns champions in dozens of high endurance sports, and innovative original production including CBS College Sports Network’s groundbreaking NCAA March Madness Central, NCAA March Madness Highlights on CBS College Sports, and the WIRED franchise which gives viewers an inside look at games and events through wireless microphones on coaches during game action.

      Prior to joining CBS College Sports Network, Pernetti served eight years at ABC-TV and ABC Sports most recently as Director of Programming, where he was integral in acquiring, managing and developing several ABC Sports properties including college football, the Bowl Championship Series, and college basketball. For five years, Pernetti handled relationships and negotiated television rights with all of the major collegiate conferences.”

      He knows his way around the TV business.

    • HoosierMike says:

      I’d also add that there are a ton of Big10 grads that have transplanted to NYC. You may also be surprised that a large contingent of B10 alums are actually from NYC metro. I graduated from IU in 2005 and I’d estimate that maybe 15% of that graduating class was from Philly/NY/NJ area.

      While nobody may care about Rutgers for Rutgers’ sake, I can near guarantee that when they’ve got a B10 school coming to town, there will be a level of interest above and beyond almost any BE school.

      • michaelC says:

        Absolutely true. I’d add however there are a lot of Rutgers graduates in the Tri-state area. For a long time they have not had much to cheer about wrt big time college sports.

        Rutgers has not had a history of competitiveness in BB or football for many years. I assure you the difference in sports-related spirit, on campus and off, is dramatically different today compared to five years ago. The investments have been made in football to continue improvement and if Rutgers can be a consistent top 30 program playing nationally-visible competition I believe they will do well in the local media markets.

        There are a lot of sports media choices in NYC and Philadelphia to be sure, but there are also a lot of TV sets. Getting the local media to give Rutgers consistent coverage will be a key to breaking through. There has never been consistent availability of Rutgers football and basketball games and that makes it extra hard to gain the visibility needed against the daily coverage of the pro sports teams. I think the skeptics here underestimate the potential impact of the BTN in making Rutgers relevant to the media markets.

        • ezdozen says:

          I hope the Big 10 takes Missouri, Nebraska, and Rutgers. That way, the ACC can take Syracuse, UConn, Pitt, and WVU and destroy the Big 10 in the Northeast.

          I still think people are thinking like a fan and not thinking like a President. Sure, Rutgers has had a few “good” years of football. But what if Schiano gets a can’t refuse offer from some pro team? If it is so easy to replace a head coach… why did Nebraska suffer? Michigan? Alabama? Miami?

          What does this matter? If Rutgers returns to being a doormat… what kind of NY market do you have? If Rutgers/Iowa is interesting today… is it certain to be so in 5, 10, 20 years? If more than 50% of the money comes from advertising… what good is a Rutgers/Missouri game that nobody cares about?

          In contrast, UConn has gone from nothing to similar success. They also have a basketball program that is light years ahead of Rutgers. And then there is the women’s program.

          Meanwhile, Pitt and Syracuse have tradition that goes back many years… even though Pitt was down in the 1990’s and Syracuse is currently down.

          To me, if the Big 10 is going to bother to go Eastward, they need to snag all four teams. Pitt, Syracuse, and Penn St. have a long time rivalry/hatred. UConn, Pitt, and Syracuse have a basketball hatred. Rutgers and Syracuse have a burgeoning football hatred. With hatred comes interest. With interest comes television.

          Michigan can be 5-6, but people will watch the Ohio St. game. Same with Michigan-Michigan St. Rivalries generate interest.

          • Rick says:

            I totally agree, go big in the NE if you go at all. One team is like being half pregnant. Don’t leave the door open for ACC options. And yes I do understand the ACC is probably gun shy and doesn’t really have the financial model figured out yet but they will soon if the opportunity presents itself. But the ACC with any 3 or all of SU, UConn, Pitt, and Rutgers will probably secure a nice future for themselves. If the SEC raids then they can still remain viable.

          • HoosierMike says:

            I think the “half pregnant” statement is highly offensive. Just kidding. I agree with it, but I think it is the very reason that “go big in the east” is not going to play well with the CoP/C. They’re looking for a home run with each added school, not two doubles.

            Plus, I think the CoP/C is concerned (rightly) about being the disruptive force that completely alters the landscape of college football. Just because BTN payouts are solid now doesn’t guarantee this into perpetuity. I think the CoP/C is treading very carefully here, and rightfully so. I also don’t think they’re all too concerned about what the ACC/SEC/Pac10 counters with or what schools are left available to them. They are on solid financial footing at 11 schools, and would be with 12, and possibly/probably 14 and maybe 16. This is not a zero-sum game. Don’t get me wrong, their primary concern is still money, but maintaining conference prestige is a close, close second.

  95. Scott C says:

    Direct from Delany now.
    Delany: Big Ten ‘not anywhere near’ expansion decision

    By Steve Wieberg, USA TODAY
    The Big Ten Conference is still in the early stages of weighing whether and where to expand and is “not anywhere near” the point of identifying and approaching prospective new schools, commissioner Jim Delany said Wednesday.
    “We have not accelerated anything,” Delany said, refuting a Chicago Tribune report late last week that the league had stepped up its timetable.

    In announcing it was exploring expansion beyond its current 11 members, the Big Ten said in December that Delany would take 12-18 months to draw up recommendations to its council of school presidents.

    He met with the presidents in conjunction with semiannual meetings of the Association of American Universities in Washington, D.C., earlier this week, but described those discussions as routine.

    While “I’m not saying it didn’t come up,” Delany said of expansion, he insisted it merely was one of several league issues addressed.

    He declined to get into details of the discussions.

    Delany is in Scottsdale, Ariz., for regular football Bowl Championship Series meetings through Thursday. He spoke to USA TODAY in a telephone interview.

    Also in Scottsdale are other commissioners, including the Big East’s John Marinatto and Big 12’s Dan Beebe, and speculation had been rampant that Delany could serve them notice of the Big Ten’s interest in talking to officials at Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Missouri and Nebraska, among other potential expansion targets.

    “We’ll work with our athletic directors and our presidents. If there’s a need to have formal discussions about expansion with another institution, we’ll reach out,” Delany said.

    “But we’re still in the process of analyzing and gathering information, and we’re not anywhere near what I would describe as formal expansion discussions with any member. We haven’t changed anything, neither the timetable nor the process that was described.”

    • Manifesto says:

      @Scott C:

      Disappointing. I’m glad to see Delany is doing due diligence, but the way things had percolated recently I really drank the kool-aid that we’d be getting new official information soon. Oh well.

      Personally I think 12-18 months is just too long. Moreover, his original announcement is a double-edged sword. It obviously created a significant buzz and put other conferences on notice, but 12-18 months gives people time to formulate counter strategies. It seems like the majority of momentum gained by making such a public announcement is lost if you take the full duration. Oh well.

    • MIRuss says:

      Jeez…Talk about the Fun Police coming in an shutting everything down.

      Delaney is worse than my wife telling me she has a headache.

      My read on all of this is that the Presidents all told Delaney to cool it with the discussion and stick to the plan. I am sure that they are getting killed with questions that they can’t answer, haven’t researched, and want to deep dive into before anything happens.

      But, that doesn’t help the BTN’s cause for growth in the near term. And, whether it’s good or bad, it gives Notre Dame plenty of time to maneuver.

      • Rick says:

        MIRuss: that’s the way I see it too. They have a ton on their plates, the rumors, leaks, and questions they receive are driving them nuts, so they basically said enough. Chill with the leaks, finish the due diligence, and stick to the plan.

    • PSUGuy says:

      IMO…not surprising I guess. The Big10 is getting good money right now and any new addition will be risking that $$$ by splitting the tv contract pot more ways and “rolling the dice” on if the BTN expansion will be able to make up the difference (and then some). The original 12-18 month timetable still fits nicely into my other post concerning getting new teams in the conference and having a year to gauge their worth to the BTN before contract negotiations with ABC/ESPN.

      The thing that disturbs me is the thought that the university presidents put the brakes on a multi-team expansion. The Big10 could potentially get itself to be the preeminent conference in the nation, encompassing large institutions in the largest markets, with top notch academics, research, and athletics. Would be a shame to watch some of the teams mentioned slip to another conference because the Big10 decided to play it safe.

      • Rick says:

        I don’t necessarily see the brakes put on multi team expansion as much as brakes on the circus surrounding it. I think in no uncertain terms they told Delany to throw cold water on the surrounding noise and keep it low key and on task. Hence the “we may not do anything” splash of sobering water. I don’t know if he was expecting that but maybe he was. Maybe we are just too far out in front of this thing and Delany is navigating it just the way he and the presidents want. Full control, no hint of rashness, buttoned up, neat and tidy. As it should be I suppose.

  96. Rod M says:

    I think if the numbers and math are reasonably close and conservative, I believe the new schools will be Texas, Texas A&M, Nebraska, Syr and Rutgers. Nothing tells me the B10 will settle for Missouri or Pitt or UConn. They just can’t bring all 3 needs: B10 network revenue, market share and academics. Plus, though ND would be viewed as desirable, the B10 isn’t likely scheming to force ND’s hand. They’re either in or out. No more, no less. Consider all the egos involved in that conversation. Sometimes the obvious ones are the obvious and most likely. I think you can book it: TX, TXA&M, Syr, Rut and Nebraska.

  97. 'CuseAlum says:

    Ugh….this sucks.

    I hope the B10 takes Pitt, Rutgers and another non-BE school and they can play their lame style of basketball and sub-par football into eternity. As a Cuse alum, I hope we go to the ACC somehow and UConn comes with. This would make an unbelievable basketball conference and LAX would be very, very good as well.

    • mushroomgod says:

      sounds good….

    • N.P.B. says:

      Most Big East fans are primarily basketball oriented. If the Big 10 shreds Big East football by taking Pitt and Rutgers, and one of either Syracuse or UConn, it will be trouble for the football schools, but great for hoops.

      Big East wise, Pitt is always solid, but hasn’t made a Final Four as a Big East member (every other 1980’s Big East school has made a Final Four except Pitt and Judas BC); and further, Big East-wise anyway, Rutgers is considered an Atlantic-10 school.

      If West Va, SoFla, Louisville and Cincy start making demands to admit East Carolina, Memphis, etc, then they should just leave the conference and start a new one with those schools (if invited, East Carolina would just use the Big East as a stepping stone to a different conference anyway, like Va Tech did to the ACC).

      The remaining Big East would have Georgetown, Villanova, Marquette, St John’s, Providence, Seton Hall, DePaul, and either Connecticut or Syracuse (or both). It would be like the 1980’s conference, minus Pitt and BC, and plus Marquette and DePaul… fine with me… each school gets a home-and-away in a 9 or 10 team sane-sized conference… perfect…

      Incidentally, if the Big 10 grabs UConn, they may end up overreaching like the NHL did in Phoenix and Nashville. Arizona and Tennessee are large markets, but they don’t care about hockey. New England doesn’t have the major college football culture anywhere near like the Big 10 does.

      UConn’s football stadium is actually in East Hartford– and it has the disadvantages of 1) not being anywhere near campus, 2) being a 2 hr drive through congested highways from NYC, and 3) seating only 30,000 or so.

      Finally, these coveted Big East football schools have had 15 years to develop a solid footing in college football, based in the northeast with the advantages of big media and huge population centers, and they haven’t capitalized on it. Be careful what you wish for– a scenario where Rutgers or UConn or Syracuse leverages to pull the Big 10 in a different direction that what you’re used to– outvoting Iowa, Minn and so forth… you might turn into a Boston College, which sold its soul for 30 pieces, and is floundering around in a league and culture where they’re not wanted…

      • N.P.B. says:

        “Georgetown, Villanova, Marquette, St John’s, Providence, Seton Hall, DePaul, and either Connecticut or Syracuse (or both).”…
        and I forgot Notre Dame if they don’t go to the Big 10.

        Also, I think Penn State’s move to the Big 10 was the death blow for northeast football– the BC, Pitt, Syracuse, WVa, Penn State grouping of independents was entertaining– presently, we now wonder why anyone should care about playing Louisville or Cincinnati…

      • michaelC says:

        Apart from the comments about the state of the Big East as a BB conference post-Big Ten expansion (which I think is a fair assessment — it will continue to be a very good conference), I’ll disagree with the rest of your post.
        The management of the Big East has been incompetent for many years. None the least of which has been to concentrate on BB at the expense of football. It has been a complete failure in negotiating media rights. While it is true the last TV contract was inked just after the ACC raid, it is also true the ACC raid may have never happened if the Big East had been under better management.

        If Rutgers and Pitt are added they will certainly will not pull the Big Ten in an opposite direction. Their culture and academic interests are well aligned with the rest of the Big Ten schools and completely dissimilar to BC. I think the same comment would apply to UConn and probably to Syracuse as well, although they are private and somewhat smaller. BC would be an outlier for the Big Ten in exactly the same way ND would be (and that has been dissected in other threads).

        UConn’s stadium is not a big time stadium — true — and it is not convenient for NYC fans, but so what? UConn’s fans travel to the game from within CT and Hartford is reasonably central in the state. If UConn were to join the Big Ten (which I think is in the not probable territory) a stadium upgrade is likely. They have only been a D1 team for a short time.

    • (bl)Otto says:

      Rest assured, ‘Cuse Alum doesn’t speak for most SU alums..

  98. Mike says:

    Looks like there will be news today after all (just not what we wanted)

    Delany to break silence on Big Ten expansion

  99. HuskerMack says:

    For the love of God.
    Please don’t let the NU-OU rivalry die.
    That would be a shame and a disgrace.

    • Scott C says:

      Mack, that rivalry died when the Big XII was formed. Let it go. The rest of us Husker fans have. You need to look to the future. If Nebraska joins the Big 10, we’d have a new rivalry with Iowa and have a chance to rekindle the old Oklahoma rivalry on yearly basis as we wouldn’t be subject to Big XII restrictions on playing every year.

  100. M says:

    Cowherd says Utah and Colorado “definitely” headed to Pac-10. Of course, he says that UConn is headed for the Big Ten just prior, a candidate that the consensus here seems to consider not entirely wacky but certainly not a top pick.

    • Manifesto says:

      @M: Cowherd’s a shock jock. Careful putting too much value in anything he says. Most of the time it’s just for ratings.

    • greg says:

      Cowherd’s job is to say with absolute certainty, things he knows nothing about. Don’t put stock into a word he says.

      Btw, UConn is a wacky pick. A school with low research, a tiny endowment, a tiny stadium and 10 years of Division 1 football history is not joining the Big Ten.

    • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

      The more I hear from “random” sports personalities about expansion the more I realize that this is a micro-story that thousands of us have become obsessed with. We know more about expansion than Colin Cowherd…not just because we’re reading some guy’s blog…but because we’re researching EVERY BIT of news that comes up regarding this.

      We can assume that Cowherd has some “source” that has given him (an ESPN personality who could/should have access to better info. than us) good information…but it’s FAR more likely that he’s read one or two articles about college football expansion over the past few months, and he’s chiming in on a topic that is “trending” heavily this weekend/early this week. I’m not saying all of my crazy opinions (Nebraska, Texas, aTm, ND, Rutgers for a 16 team league) are correct, but they are informed and I have tons of facts to back up why my hypothesis could work.

      • Michael says:


        Hit the nail on the head here.

        This is one of those rare national stories that, so far, is not dominated by leaks and has slid below the radar over the past couple months. As a result, fans like us can talk much more intelligently about this than almost anyone involved in the media. That´s not to say any of us has a direct line to Delany, but it´s very likely that the process that he´s going through is very similar to ours – with the exception that he has more accurate data available.

        Until, we get to the stage of this where legitimate leaks start appearing, this fact isn´t going to change. And, as such, I put much more stock in the prevailing opinions on here than the uninformed rambling of the national media. Again, though, when legitimate leaks start appearing that all changes.

        • M says:

          I’ve tried to come up with an explanation as to why this story interests so many people. I’ve come up with a few reasons:

          1. In terms of sports, it is about as big of story as it gets.

          2. It affects a lot of schools. Really, any and every school in the country could be affected in some way.

          3. The on-the-surface effects are very easy to understand (schools a b and c join the conference).

          4. The overall number of scenarios is endless.

          5. Why any particular scenario will actually occur is extraordinarily complex, bringing in politics, demographics, and history.

          6. There’s a lot of time to investigate the various scenarios and forces

          7. The spurts of leaks give new impetus to discussion every time they occur.

          8. Finally, and I think this one is important, is that it isn’t that big of a story in a big picture sense. Very few people will be materially affected by whatever result there is (other than that ND guy cutting off his pinkies). It’s fun to discuss, but no one has their life or livelihood staked on any particular outcome.

          • HoosierMike says:

            Not to mention it’s a healthy dose of college football in the offseason, which is always appreciated!

  101. fwa says:

    The numbers presented are a bit confusing. It was stated that BTN “CLEARED” $0.36 per subscriber per month. To me, that means the BTN’s portion. At 51% of the total, isn’t the total per subscriber per month more like $0.70. If so, that would make the BTN’s take more like $218,400,000, not $112,320,000. And if he says BTN made $272,000,000 overall, that leaves only $53,600,000 in advertising revenue. Now all of a sudden the 60/40 breakdown may be more like 20/80 advertising vs. subscriber revenue. Did I mis-read or read too much into Patrick’s numbers… because to me “cleared” seemed to indicate BTN’s take net of Fox’s take.

    • Scott C says:

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe Patrick stated that the in-state average was $.70. He had to factor in the out-of-state fees which I belive averaged at $.10.

  102. Daniel Plainview says:

    The SEC drinks the Big 10’s milkshake.

    • Manifesto says:

      @Daniel: On the field, lately yes. In terms of money earned or academic standing of the conference as a whole, no.

      • michaelC says:

        @Michael (and everyone else — you know who you are)

        The quality of this blog has led to its visibility. That has now (see above) attracted some comfortable with a different level of discourse.

        Please do not feed the trolls.

  103. soylentgreen says:

    I wonder if Nebraska’s tv ratings as reported in Patrick’s research aren’t artificially inflated based upon 3 games- OU (saturday prime time), Texas (big 12 champ. game) and Missouri (thursday night game- no competition). How much of that tv audience was not tuning in to watch NU specifically, but to watch ‘the only game in town’ or to watch their opponent? Certainly, games against texas or oklahoma in prime time will generate ratings regardless of who the opponent is. Perhaps more than a 1 year analysis is needed.

    What raises this issue the most is the fact that the nebraska-arizona holiday bowl had nearly a full-point lower rating than the 2009 Oregon-Oklahoma State (4.6 vs 3.7).

    • Scott C says:

      Nebraska-Arizona actually pulled a 4.31 and that game was pretty much over at half-time. 2008 Holiday bowl involving Oregon and Oklahoma State was much more competitive.

      And if you want to start throwing out numbers. Let’s look at the second and third highest rated National Championship games. ’95 Orange Bowl and ’96 Fiesta Bowl. Both involved Nebraska. The only game that rated higher was the ’06 Rose Bowl which I think we can all agree was a great game.

      • Manifesto says:

        @Scott C: To be fair, using your second link, Nebraska also has the two of the three worst ratings as well (’92 Orange v. Miami, ’02 Rose v. Miami). Perhaps that’s because Miami has a terrible fan base, I dunno, but I felt it important to show the other side there too.

        • Scott C says:

          Yeah, but Nebraska lost those games, so I choose to pretend they never happened. :)

          • Manifesto says:

            @Scott C:

            LOL. If I have to hear every college football fan on the planet talk smack about how bad OSU is (and will be for all time apparently) because they got smoked in two NC games then you have to live with your two losses. :P

      • Pezlion says:

        Keep in mind that that list is only for the past 20 years. The 1986 Fiesta Bowl between Penn State and Miami is the most watched college football game of all-time with a 24.9 rating.

    • Manifesto says:

      @soylentgreen: Blowouts usually don’t yield big ratings as far as I know. Nebraska-Arizona was a 33-0 snoozer. Oregon-Oklahoma St. featured a lot of points (73) in a game that wasn’t out of reach until the final three minutes. Nebraska had 33 points before the end of the 3rd quarter.

    • Patrick says:

      I completely agree that you need more than one season, but I doubt that would change anything for Nebraska since it is averaged over 9 games. They are in the top 5 winningest programs of all-time. Having more seasons would help more acurately rate all of the teams and might cause some seperation between others. I would bet that the BIG TEN has that data, and is using it wisely.

  104. Mike says:

    Source: Notre Dame not in the mix for expansion. Three to Five still possible.

    • FLP_NDRox says:

      Please let this be true.

    • Manifesto says:

      @Mike: Interesting. Well, if true, good luck to ND with all of that.

      That said, it certainly makes sense why Delany came out today trying to quiet the storm about this if we’re now officially writing off ND ever joining. Given that ND is the only candidate the Big Ten has (seemingly) considered since PSU joined, the presidents probably need time to readjust their thinking.

      Ultimately, it was never meant to be I suppose. With luck, this makes Nebraska target #1 now (or #2 after Texas).

    • Mike says:

      I wonder if the Catholic Big East comment is implying a Big East split?

    • FLP_NDRox says:

      I am sort of surprised a Boston scribe has that great of an inside source at either the Big Ten level or with an ND insider. Then again, he’s probably getting his info from some Big East people. The kind of folks who’ll likely know the truth approximately a day or so before any merger goes public. On the other hand, since his source seem to be coming to the same conclusions I was initially, I shouldn’t gripe. Be afraid, maybe, but not gripe.

    • Justin says:

      If NU is on the list, I really think the prudent move is to take Nebraska as #12 and stop there.

      What is the rationale for including Missouri and another school?

      Is there some evidence that Nebraska wouldn’t bolt absent Missouri? Why dilute the league with 13th-14th teams?

      Plus, let’s assume the PAC 10 adds Colorado. Now, the Big 12 has lost Colorado and Nebraska, and Texas is definitely exploring its options.

  105. MIRuss says:

    Dateline 2025

    The Big 20, in its latest expansion discussions, has finally received a nod from Texas. Texas admits that while the TLN (Texas Longhorn Network) was a success, there simply wasn’t enough diverse programming to hold viewers’ interest. Constant re-runs of Texas Football victories over arch rivals still drew viewers, but not the numbers needed to make advertising worthwhile. So, along with other revenue streams, the TLN will get rolled into the BTN and the overall Big 20 as a result. Texas will realize an immediate $20-$25 million revenue increase in 2026. Frank the Tank, the Big 20 Expansion consultant, offered that while he was the first to predict Texas, he never dreamed it would take this long.

    Texas will join the Big 20, along with A&M, and the conference will effectively “split” into two major 11 university divisions that will play round robin games, joining the SECACC Super conference. Teams from these two conferences have decided the national championship 14 of the last 15 years. Boise State was the last non-super conference team to challenge for the National Title in 2015.

    The 256 NCAA Men’s tournament just concluded and upstart Oakland University from Rochester, Michigan, nearly pulled of the impossible dream of winning 8 consecutive games over equally seeded or more highly ranked opponents. The University of Michigan of the Big 20 takes the National Title honors…

    And finally, Notre Dame AD Swarbrick announced that Notre Dame will not be joining a conference and will continue playing D-II universities. Whenever possible Notre Dame will schedule an FBS school when they have the opportunity in their new 10-2-1 format. Notre Dame was allowed to schedule the 13th game in order to have games continue through December, similar to the super conferences. Swarbrick continues to lobby the BCS to allow a school that has more than 5 D-II schools on its schedule to play in a BCS game. However, the BCS is comfortable with the current format and is reluctant to make any changes to the system.

  106. Manifesto says:

    And the insurgency begins to take shape…

    • Scott C says:

      Wow, that’s definitely someone you’d want advising you on the situation. I just don’t know if there’s anything they can do if the Big 10 and ACC want to dismantle their conference.

      • Manifesto says:

        I happened to be watching ESPN today when they brought Joe Schad in to talk about this and the Big East’s future. Normally I don’t pay that guy much mind, but I thought he had something interesting to say.

        He had mentioned that, if the Big Ten was seriously interested in ND (which is debatable obviously), the Big East might consider making an ultimatum to ND. Basically tell them to join up completely or get out, under the hope that (a) without a home for their non-football sports ND would be forced to join up with the Big Ten, and (b) by getting ND the Big Ten presidents would see no more reason to expand so aggressively. Basically a preemptive strike where you remove some toes to save the leg.

        I’m not sure I’d buy into the thinking, but I thought it was interesting. There have been some articles and opinions that basically said something similar, only where the Big Ten destroys the Big East to force ND’s hand, which I haven’t thought made a lot of sense. But coming at it from the Big East’s perspective instead?

        • Rick says:

          The Big East leaders are not that smart. If they were they would have dealt with the 8 team 7 game (3 home conference games every other year) fiasco that is BE Football. Now they bring in Tagliabue. What a nightmare.

          • Rick says:

            Would have dealt with it last year and be proactive. Now they are scrambling. Incompetence.

        • flp_ndrox says:

          @ Manifesto

          I don’t seen the Big East making a threat. Everything I’ve ever heard is that the Catholic schools like ND more than the new Football schools. I think they would be comfortable leaving to form a new conference with ND, especially is Syracuse is looking hard at B10 membership.

          Sounds to me like Schad should spend more time lurking here. He’d then realize there’s no reason for the Big Ten not to expand to sixteen.

          Lord knows BTN needs the programming. Every time I flipped through it since Sunday they’ve been running the same cruddy Michigan Spring game. Where’s softball when you need it?

          • Manifesto says:


            Like I said, I wasn’t signing on, but it was at least a new perspective I hadn’t considered or had seen considered on here. Otherwise, yeah, pretty much uninformed talk that I’ve come to expect from Schad (and most of ESPN for that matter).


            I think, if they tried it, it would display a shrewdness we have yet to see from Big East officials.

            Oh well.. I guess we can file this in the uninformed pile, along with the suggestions of WVU/Louisville/Cincy to the Big Ten, ND joining in all but football, Texas to the SEC, etc.

        • Playoffs Now! says:

          Actually Beano Cook and Ivan Maisel both said yesterday that they’d been hearing plenty of talk that the BEast might give ND an ultimatum.

          • flp_ndrox says:

            @ Playoffs Now!

            Yeah. Then I see the

            story. Now considering it came from a longtime Boston Globe college sports reporter I’d bet that the info came from a BC source who heard something from a former colleague in the Big East somewhere.

            If the Big East does not believe ND will be offered, they have no reason to threaten ND. If ND is not invited the Big East will likely lose enough other football teams that they will truly be dead man walking as a football conference.

            hmmm… WVU as an independent or in CUSA? If Big East football does die, who wins?

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            If Big East football does die, who wins?

            The rest of college football.

            The BEast has too easy a ride to be getting a BCS AQ. Even the MWC will go to 12 schools once they become AQ, and since 2 of the schools they’ve look at for expansion were in the top 25, they’ll be a significantly tougher conference than the BEast.

            Same for ND. I’m all for them being independent if they want that, but to hell with their BCS free pass. Thankfully this next round of BCS talks will see the conferences with greater leverage over the bowls (regardless of expansion) and so I bet an independent ND has to meet the same standards as every team in a non-BCS AQ conference to get a BCS bid: Be in the top whatever in the final BCS system rankings.

        • @Manifesto – I wrote about this when looking at the Big East’s options a few weeks ago and it’s just not going to happen. “Kicking ND out” assumes that schools like Syracuse, Rutgers, UCONN and Pitt would really rather stay in the BE as opposed to the Big Ten, which I don’t think is the case. At the same time, if the BE were to split, the Catholic schools without a shadow of a doubt would want to be in a non-football conference with ND – that’s what would make a split more than tolerable for them. They have no interest whatsoever in “forcing” ND into the Big Ten. It takes a unanimous vote from all 16 schools to kick ND out from the BE and if you think that it’s tough to get 10 schools in the Pac-10 to agree upon new schools to add, just think about how difficult it will be to get 16 schools to agree upon removing arguably the most famous athletic program in the country in order to add Memphis or UCF simply for football. The 8 Catholic schools and the 4 Northeastern schools that have a shot at Big Ten membership don’t have much incentive to let ND walk to the Big Ten as a sole 12th addition. Here’s what I wrote back then (assumption #2):

          • Manifesto says:


            Hm… good points. Figures I would’ve forgotten that you said that earlier. Everyone’s written so much about this topic at this point that it’s hard to remember all the scenarios discussed. Oh well. :P

  107. Looks like Delany presser didn’t produce much news:

    • SH says:

      This blog certainly has taken off. 540+ comments on this thread alone. Sorry if things have been discussed, I just don’t have the time to sift through all the comments. has devoted a lot of screenspace toward B10 expansion today. Having read that, this blog and its comments provide the best information and most reasoned thoughts. However, I think this blog is having an effect, because they are no longer just spouting out non-sense that geography should trump everything.

      However, regarding Texas, everyone seems to agree that they are the 100lb gorilla. Yet, they are still dismissed as a possible B10 candidate. And maybe UT doesn’t want to join which is fine, but I don’t really understand from their perspective. Unless they are willing to leave millions on the table. I also saw (again on CNNSI) that UT may consider the SEC or Pac 10, especially if the B12 implodes following a B10 expansion. If that is the case, why would UT want to be a part of those conferences over the B10. Why would UT let other events dictate their conference existence yet again (just like after the SWC)?

      The only reason I could see UT wanting to stay with the B12 is b/c they feel it could survive a B10 expansion and believe that it could generate huge amounts of revenue – possibly with the addition of a Longhorn network or B12 network with UT retaining the biggest pot. However, it still seems that in such scenario UT will have less revenue than Purdue or Iowa (as part of the B10). Maybe I am wrong on that front.

      I just can’t get past the revenue UT could earn in an expanded B10, so I really don’t know why they wouldn’t want to join.

      I hope it works, it may not. But it seems to me that the benefit to both the B10 and UT make it a no-brainer.

      • Mike says:

        Texas is starting their own network (I posted a link somewhere in this thread). I think that means they won’t be looking to join the Big Ten. The question for them is, can they pull it off? Will they end up like the Minnesota Twins’ network or the Yankee’s network?

        • Hopkins Horn says:

          I would refine your statement to read “Texas is strongly considering starting its own network.” I don’t think it’s official yet, and I would imagine that any proceeding with a potential LSN would have to wait until realignment sorts itself out and Texas knows what cards its playing with when looking for its best future home.

      • Hopkins Horn says:

        At this stage, I would doubt that the public unwillingness of Texas to consider a move to the Big 10 has anything to do with “letting other events dictate their conference existence yet again.” I’m sure the Powers That Be at Texas are quite aware of what is going on and are working out contingency plans behind the scenes.

        It very well could be that they do in fact want an invite to the Big 10, but political realities require playing dumb for now and letting public events unfold as they will before making their move.

        Or, to apply Gordian’s Knot, the public dismissing of rumors of a move to the Big 10 are indicative of a private unwillingness to move to the Big 10. If such, you and I and everyone else on the board can figure out the possible reactions to a Big 10 expansion which consumes other members of the Big XII: (a) stay put in the Big XII, whether or not replacement schools are added; (b) move to the Pac 10; (c) a hybrid of (a) and (b) with this vague “Western Alliance” which has been discussed; or (d) go independent (which I question the viability of above).

        (Note that there is no “(e) join the SEC” on that list. I think it is very important to stress for those not as familiar with UT and the school’s mentality that, for any number of reasons, academics not being the least of those concerns, THERE IS NO CHANCE IN HELL THAT TEXAS WILL JOIN THE SEC, despite these random references from unnamed, non-Texas sources which have popped up. I’ll just leave it at that but will elaborate if anyone wonders why I [and other Horn fans] believe that so strongly.)

        As for the other possibilities, there are two big reasons why Texas would bypass the Big 10: either it already knows that political realities won’t permit it, or the administration has run the numbers on what a potential LSN would bring in, a network which would be possible to implement in any of secanrios (a) through (d) but presumably not with a move to the Big 10, and have come to the conclusion that the revenue from the LSN exceed a 1/12 to 1/16 share of the BTN pot.

        • SH says:

          I am with you on UT never joining the SEC. I’d say right now UT is a cross between Mich and OSU. They are (or think they are) the top public school academically and they are brash and annoying sports fans like OSU (and really because they can be right now).

          I live in Texas, and I’m of the opinion that so long as UT takes A&M, politics won’t prevent it from happening. Sure, it may get nasty, but I do not see a repeat of what happened back in 1994. So I don’t think political realities is a reason. With the caveat that I think they will need some political cover like the B12 imploding – and this may be what all this talk is doing.

          Maybe UT can pull of the LSN, but it is a huge risk. But I guess one with a huge potential reward. But they will have to be part of some conference.

          Anyway, we’ve gone from a one-team expansion to a possible 3-team expansion to now a 5-team expansion. According to this post, the dollars make a 5-team expansion very profitable. But exclusive clubs rarely expand that large unless forced to in order to survive. Like the Big 8 + SWC merger. Nothing is forcing the B10 to expand except additional dollars. I think there is a better chance that UT joins than a 5-team expansion without them.

          • HoosierMike says:

            Agreed, regarding UT more likely than a 5 school add to the B10.

            As far as LSN, however, it just seems like a huge risk in my humble eyes to give up the guaranteed revenue boost of joining the B10 while at the same time massively growing that money pie (and thereby your own share). This is the 11+1=13 line of thinking that Frank spoke of some time ago. Except in UT’s eyes, it’s x + 11 = 3x. Going it alone on the LSN front just seems like a big investment without a guaranteed payout. All the while, they’ll let the B10 opportunity pass them by, and should the LSN fail (or not meet revenue expectactions) they’ve now backed themselves into a corner trying to maintain the status quo in the B12 – which none of the other schools seem to be ok with or, heading to the PAC10. Neither of these options are anywhere near as good as the proverbial bird in hand should the B10 approach them, IMO.

            But, they need to take their time and weigh the pros and cons on their own. That’s why the decelerated acceleration doesn’t really bother me. I think this works the best if EVERYONE is given ample time to think through all of the possible scenarios so that when the time comes to make a decision everyone’s best interests have been clearly thought through.

            What I DON’T want is for UT (or any other school) to feel like they’ve been “trapped” into moving to the Big 10. As JoePa said (paraphrasing), “If you’re going to marry someone, you better be sure you like them a lot.” I think that’s good advice.

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            My Texas view has been that Texas is most analogous to Michigan, and Oklahoma most analogous to Ohio State (and making Texas A&M = Michigan State, I guess), when trying to compare the schools to those not as familiar with them as someone from the Big XII territory.

            I tend to agree with you on the political assessment. I’m still of the mindset that Texas won’t necessarily be tethered to A&M, let alone Tech, as this process unfolds, but I believe most burnt orange followers of realignment might disagree with me, at least when it comes to A&M.

            @HoosierMike, I share your concerns as to the viability of a LSN, but I imagine those with better accounting and advertising backgrounds than I are taking a hard look. But just to pick some numbers at random, even if a theoretical LSN could only achieve 10% of the profitability of the BTN, wouldn’t you be better off — and potentially MUCH better off — keeping 100% of that lesser amount rather than 1/12, or 1/14/ or 1/16, of the larger pot?

          • Manifesto says:

            @Hopkins Horn (and SH I guess):

            “My Texas view has been that Texas is most analogous to Michigan, and Oklahoma most analogous to Ohio State”

            As an Ohio State alum, I’d love to hear the rational behind that statement. I guess, as an OSU person, I just thought OSU and Texas were pretty similar.

            USNews, if it matters:
            #27 Michigan
            #47 Texas
            #53 Ohio State
            #102 Oklahoma

            In general, what’s with all the vehemence towards Ohio State? Sure some of our fans are obnoxious, but I’ve come across plenty of obnoxious fans from almost every school (especially on the Internet).

          • Hopkins Horn says:


            I’ll do my best to explain my statement politely, yet honestly, if you promise not to attack me in response. :)

            Keep in mind that that statement is my personal viewpoint and does not necessarily represent the view of any other Longhorn fan.

            That being said, it’s a combination of personal experience and second-hand reports of the games we played against both schools in 2005. I attended the Rose Bowl against Michigan and sat in the Michigan section. Almost without exception, the Michigan fans who surrounded me were polite, fun, knowledgeable and very courteous to me. A great, great group of fans. After UT kicked the game winning FG, I received numerous congratulatory handshakes from the fans around me.

            Meanwhile, I didn’t attend the Horns’ game than fall in Columbus, but I certainly read about it. Every Horn fan did. And the reports of fans who attended the game were stunningly negative. Many said that the OSU fans, particularly those outside the stadium (more on that in a second) were easily the worst bunch of fans they had ever encountered. And before you write that off as hyperbole, please keep in mind that there really would be no incentive for any single Longhorn fan, let alone many Longhorn fans, to cede that title to a school with which we had absolutely no history at the expense of giving it to OU, or A&M, or Arkansas, or any other school with which we have a much more heated history.

            One of the particular problems is that, apparently in Columbus, 100K fans are inside the stadium and another 100K or so mingle outside. It sounds like, for most fans, there’s about a two mile or so walk from the stadium to hotels, cars, whatever. And on that night, OSU suffered its first ever home loss. So, after the game, Texas fans had to walk a two-mile gauntlet through 100K OSU fans who had had more time to consume alcohol before a loss at the Horseshoe than they had ever had before. Many fans reported being scared — legitimately scared — for their safety and reported that “good” OSU fans often grouped up with them for safety on the walks.

            (These stories contrast starkly with the reports of Texas fans who traveled to Lincoln for our first regular-season conference game against the Huskers in 1998. Despite the fact that we broke the Huskers’ multi-year home winning streak, Texas fans came back to Austin overwhelmed by just how awesome the Husker fans were — including one NU fan who offered to buy a bunch of Texas fans a congratulatory steak dinner.)

            Additionally, someone noted that a OSU fan noted about Texas fans that he had never seen so many football fans wear polo shirts to a game, and a Texas fan responded that he had never seen so many grown men wear football jerseys to a game. I think that statement, as snobby as it might sound, somewhat sums up the difference. OU fans are those who wear their jerseys to games, while, based on the Michigan fans I sat with, they’re the polo-wearers.

            So stepping away from my personal biases for a moment and when I think about this more rationally, I realize that Texas and OSU have a lot in common, and there probably isn’t that great a difference between OSU and UM. And my comparison is strictly on the athletics side and doesn’t go to academics. It’s a desire to be more around the OSUs of the world, in an academic sense, and to flee the OUs which drives my personal desire to see us head north.

          • HoosierMike says:

            @Hopkins – re: LSN share. Yes, it’s better, while riding nearly a decade of 10 win seasons and complete conference dominance and non-stop BCS berths. But what if Texas takes a downturn for a few years, or a scandal – (say Mack Brown is a prostitution ring kingpin using his profits/service offerings to lure recruits – which by the way, I assume to be true as my jealousy and hatred of success by any team not called the Michigan Wolverines blinds me to reason and forces me to conclude that this success was ill-gotten and thereby illegitimate @Manifesto – I think this is the answer you were looking for*) – anything that damages the brand for a period of time/puts them on probation/postseason ban could kill this whole thing. Sure, fans will still watch, but advertisers will drop LSN like Tiger. With 11 other members, this risk is mitigated.

            * Just kidding, I think both schools (OSU/UT) are awesome institutions. I think Mack Brown, while having something of an ego is a solid guy. And I think Tressel is – *gulp* – a class act. There. I said it.

          • Hodgepodge says:

            Hopkins Horn, keep in mind that there is a big difference between fan behavior at a bowl game (where, for the most part, only older, financially well off fans attend) and at a home game– especially one at night. Believe me, M******n has just as many boorish fans that show themselves at home games as does Ohio State, and Ohio State has just as many great fans that you would meet at a bowl game.

          • HoosierMike says:

            Coming from a Michigan fan that sometimes (not always) wears jersey’s to games, I think Hopkins is pretty spot on. I’ve hated Nebraska ever since the 97 split (thanks a lot, Fulmer). I got to go to the UM/Neb Alamo Bowl in the ’05 season. Nebraska’s fans have class (caveat – both fights I got into in my adolescence were with idiots from Nebraska – separate incidents and I was 11 and 13). Before durning and after the game, my dad and I were constantly running into Nebraska fans and were able to strike up great conversations with all of them. At the end most were saying good game, bad officiating, and sorry it worked out the way it did. (the Alamo Bowl is a blast if your team ever goes, I highly recommend going).

            Illinois fans can’t stand Michigan, and I get that, but I’ve never gotten a shoulder dropped into me in a crowd leaving Memorial or anything like that.

            At the PSU/UM game in Happy Valley last year, I had 3 different people aggressively confront me trying to instigate a fight, and that was with my brother next to me wearing a PSU shirt. Starting a fight with a guy who’s team just lost to Toledo – that I don’t get.

            OSU fans – I’ll leave it with what Hopkins said, because that pretty well sums up my experiences at Ohio games. For a time, UofM even starting sending out notices cautioning fans to not show their colors until they were safely inside the stadium. I’ve got OSU fans in my family and ALL of my in-laws, and they’re all reasonable, and enjoyable to talk CFB with.
            But almost to a person, no matter who I talk to, it seems that the consensus is that OSU fans are obnoxious and this may be a self-fulfilling prophecy of perception, but anecdotal stories like those UT fans experienced certainly don’t help things. I wish this weren’t the case, because at the end of the day, OSU is representing the B10 as well.

          • greg says:


            “the Alamo Bowl is a blast if your team ever goes, I highly recommend going”

            I’ve always wanted to go there for an Iowa game, but unfortunately the Big Ten has severed that bowl tie in. I missed my chance!

          • Hopkins Horn says:


            I certainly understand that, and I didn’t have any problems with any of the (presumably better off financially) OSU fans I encountered in Austin the next year when I attended the rematch. (Though way too many grown men wearing jerseys!!) But the question was why I would have made the comparison, and I explained where my biases came from. I would imagine that more than a few Longhorn fans would share those views (though I would not presume to speak for them) as a result of that night in Columbus.

            (BTW, here a link to a letter of apology sent by the President of OSU to a Texas fan after that game:


          • Hodgepodge says:

            I’m not denying that SOME OSU fans treated some Texas fans poorly at the game in Columbus a few years ago. That was an unfortunate situation, to be sure and one about which the vast, vast majority of OSU fans are embarrassed. I’m just saying that lumping all OSU fans into this stereotype is as unfair as sterotyping UM fans in a positive light because the boneheads didn’t show up at the bowl game you attended.

            And for the life of me, why on earth does wearing a jersey to a game (I don’t, BTW– I don’t even own one) matter in the least? It’s a football game, not a dinner party.

          • Manifesto says:

            @Hopkins Horn:

            Don’t worry, I like to believe I respond to civil conversation in kind.

            That’s unfortunate re: the 2005 game. I remember taking my (eventual) wife to a nice restaurant for her birthday the day before the game, and there were some older Texas fans in there. A couple OSU fans came over and bought them some drinks, and they did the whole handshake and well-wishes and all that. Very cordial on both sides. Later, after we lost, there was the usual message board vitriol on Bucknuts, but the (reasonable) Texas fans that had been on before the game came back and had glowing things to say about the experience. I guess these two things perhaps gave me blinders to what occurred around campus.

            You’re right about the parking situation. OSU has lousy parking, and to get to the west campus lots they stuff you into the buses, which I think only creates tension between the passengers. Those who parked in north campus have to deal with walking through a bunch of drunk college kids who’ve been partying since they woke up. Per usual, it seems the few ruining the perception of the whole, and that stinks. I’d like to think we’re a classy group all around, but I’ve been around Bucknuts long enough to know better.

            @Hodgepodge kind of has the right of it, really. There are bad fans everywhere. I actually went to the Rose Bowl this year (first time to a bowl, yay!) and found quite a few Oregon fans to be really annoying. The usual taunts OSU fans have come to expect, shouting, etc. The rest weren’t really friendly, but they weren’t unfriendly either, so whatever. Then again they went into that game expecting to stomp us, so perhaps there was some animosity from that.

            @HoosierMike: The UM/OSU is just a different atmosphere, and both sides have horror stories of behavior from both the fans and teams. I’ve seen similar warnings regarding being an OSU fan in Ann Arbor. Although I will say this: OSU has a huge campus and a lot of local fans, and not all are actually part of the school.

            Unfortunately, combining all of that with a lot of alcohol often equals bad things, and doubly so during Michigan week. The insanity, for better or worse, is part of what makes our rivalry so big. But I’ve heard plenty of bad stories from every team. Last time OSU was in Happy Valley someone decided to pelt our band with bags of urine, for example. Again, a few fools making the rest look bad.

            Lastly, I will say it’s going to depend on where your tickets are too. I’ve never heard of anything good happening to fans in opposing teams’ student section, no matter the school.

        • Mike R says:

          @HoosierMike: To extend JoePa’s analogy a bit, if you’re going to marry someone, you had better be sure they like you. Thus, adios ND.

  108. [...] the expansion talk isn’t just about football.  It’s also about enhancing the overall value of the Big 10 Network* and, on that point, you can’t  ignore KU’s ability to generate the benjamins.  In [...]

  109. jeremy says:

    What the biggest factor wieghing this expansion?
    money or research or all the above

    • HoosierMike says:

      I would say both. Money is definitely #1. The more money a school takes in from TV contracts, the less the school needs to divert other funds to spend on it’s athletic program, allowing them to instead invest that money on the institution’s actual mission: education and research.

  110. Q says:

    I know I am in the small minority who would prefer a one team expansion(No Notre Dame please) and an even smaller minority preferring that that team be Nebraska. (I am a 60s PSU alum living far away from B10 area) A poster on earlier boards, Adam, has argued, (successfully for me) that the essence of the B10 will be destroyed with a large addition of non-midwestern universities. Assuming that the vast majority of posters here are younger than myself, do you see this as having any importance? I, like Adam, fear for the destruction of long standing rivalries, that make each conference unique.

    As an aside, to my fellow PSU alums, who in large part seem intent on a large eastern espansion, will you enjoy B10 football as much, when Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse or UConn come to Happy Valley every other year, but Ohio State, or Michigan comes once every six years?

    And finally, my admiration, for the many posters who are making this such a great read!

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      Q, as a Longhorn fan, I’m curious: if you fear the destruction of long-standing rivalries, why would it matter if Nebraska, rather than a large non-midwestern university like Texas, were to be admitted to the Big 10? It seems as though you’d be starting from scratch with the Huskers as much as you’d be with the Horns.

    • HoosierMike says:

      @Q – I am in the same camp you are (single school expansion), although my prefs are:

      1. UT
      2. Neb
      3. ND

      I am 28 yrs old, a lifelong UofM football fan, and an IU grad. My stepmom is a PSU grad (and huge fan).

      Tradition is a large part of the allure of college football for me. I am concerned that if you expand the B10 to 16 or even 14, you’re essentially dealing with two separate current model conferences that agree to put their best two against each other at the end of the year.

      My family tries to make it to the PSU/UofM as often as we can and go to see either UofM or PSU if they’re in the neighborhood. If the UM/PSU game was reduce to every 4 or 5 years, that would totally suck. Just as it would suck getting to see Michigan/PSU come to IU, Purdue or Ill (I’m 1, 1.5, and 2 hrs from these schools) as often as they do. Getting up to see UofM in Ann Arbor every year is hard to pull off with a family, and living in Big10 country definitely allows for same-day trips. If Michigan only comes to these schools once a decade, that’s a huge downer.

      This is my biggest fear, as an avid fan of a particular team, and the current Big10 in general, to see the matchups that comprise my annual fall love affair to disintegrate.

    • Mike R says:

      Q: I think the consensus among PSU folks on this blog is not necessarily in favor of a sweeping eastern expansion. PSU commenters have been very favorable to Nebraska, for instance. As you point out, Michigan and tOSU are very important games for us, and I think PSU fans are passionate about Wisconsin and Iowa games, as they’ve been a thorn in our sides. So, aside from bringing in Pitt to restore a historic rivalry, I am not particularly keen on the SU+RU=NYC line of thinking, as I think its very speculative.