The latest Big Ten expansion rumor du jour: a 5 -team expansion with Missouri, Nebraska, Pitt, Syracuse and Rutgers.  South Bend NBC affiliate WNDU (which was owned by the University of Notre Dame until 2006) has a report from “a source in St. Louis”, while Tom Dienhart of Rivals and Yahoo! tweeted about this scenario and then explained to a Nebraska radio station (h/t to Scott C) that he had received his info from Mizzou officials.   The Show-Me State apparently has so many loose lips that we should expect to have the next big expansion news to break out of Branson.  Hooray for more rampant speculation (and beer)!

As far as news stories about Big Ten expansion go, this is at least within the realm of reasonably coming to fruition.  This particular 5-team combination is no surprise to the followers of this blog as we discussed this in detail in the comments a couple of weeks ago with hypothetical pod alignments and the potential financial and prestige merits of this option.  As a far as collective requirements for the Big Ten, this group consists of great academic schools (all are members of the AAU), provides one marquee football brand name (Nebraska), grabs a set of guaranteed households (Missouri) and makes a legit play for the New York City market (Syracuse and Rutgers).  As sports fans, this expansion would look like a mega-blockbuster if one of those schools were to be replaced by Notre Dame, but I’d still characterize this as a game-changing move that improves both Big Ten football and basketball while expanding the conference footprint.  If true, Notre Dame fans will also feel that they’ve dodged a bullet by maintaining independence while simultaneously giving up millions of dollars per year (both in added revenue and reduced travel costs) and watching their league for basketball and non-revenue sports completely collapse.  This is seriously what passes for wonderful news in South Bend these days.

In addition, I found the comments from University of Nebraska president Harvey Perlman to be slightly titillating.  One week ago, he told the Omaha World-Herald the following:

So far, Perlman said, Nebraska hasn’t been approached by another league.

In an article yesterday in the same paper, Perlman was a lot more evasive:

Last week, I asked Perlman if NU had contacted the Big Ten or any conference about joining. His response: “I’m not going to comment on that.”

Things that make you hmmmm…

Anyway, Dienhart suggested that there would be four 4-team divisions if the Big Ten were to go with the proposed 5-school expansion.  Here’s how it could shake out in my eyes:

EAST: Penn State, Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse
WEST: Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois
NORTH:  Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Minnesota
SOUTH:  Ohio State, Indiana, Purdue, Northwestern

These “divisions” would really be pods, where the pods would rotate every 2 years.  I’d make the East and West divisions always be opposite each other with the North and South divisions rotating.  At the same time, every team would have a permanent non-division rival as follows:

Michigan – Ohio State
Illinois – Northwestern
Penn State – Nebraska
Iowa – Minnesota
Pitt – Michigan State
Rutgers – Indiana
Syracuse – Purdue
Wisconsin – Missouri

This way, every team has 4 annual rivals while playing everyone else in the conference 2 out of 4 years (with a few exceptions) if there’s a 9-game conference schedule.  The rotating pod mechanism allows everyone in the conference to continue to play each other on a regular basis even in a 16-team conference and still comply with NCAA rules requiring divisions of at least 6-teams each to play an exempt conference championship game.

As for the permanent non-division rivals, despite Pitt’s non-land grant status, I’m fairly certain that Penn State fans will gladly hand over the keys to the Land Grant Trophy (AKA “The Trophy Designed by Rasputin: It Just Won’t Die” or “The Big Ten Bowling League Trophy with a Lion Mold-A-Rama Glued on the Side”) in exchange for an annual game with Nebraska.  Now, if you want a REAL rivalry trophy, check out this bad-ass politically incorrect killing machine that Illini like myself and Northwestern fans get to enjoy… wait a second… WTF?!

I was firmly in the camp of believing that Michigan and Ohio State HAD to be in the same division for a very long time no matter how the conference was expanded and that seriously mucked up logical pod setups if you stuck that principle.  However, I like the aforementioned pods enough that I’ve been convinced that we may be better off splitting the 2 big dogs.  The pods are geographically contiguous and has one marquee football name each.  If Michigan and Ohio State really do have to play each other 2 weeks in a row, maybe that’s not the most horrible thing in the world.  The Worldwide Leader certainly can’t get enough Yankees-Red Sox and Duke-UNC games to slam down our throats, so having a rematch of college football’s best rivalry for the Big Ten championship would be a completely different kind of Armageddon.

All in all, I’d be fairly happy if this 16-school conference came to fruition.  I still think a lot of the value that the Big Ten would be looking for could be achieved in a 3-team expansion with just Nebraska, Missouri and Rutgers (assuming that Notre Dame and Texas aren’t in the mix), but this 5-school proposal would definitely lock up the Northeastern quadrant of the United States for the conference with similarly situated top tier research schools that have big-time athletic departments.  It’s a risk to expand in this manner without either Notre Dame or Texas, yet I do feel as though all of these 5 schools could “feel” like Big Ten schools and fit in well with the current members.  Of course, the only way that this works out financially is if the Big Ten Network takes Manhattan.  That continues to be the gazillion dollar issue to be resolved in this conference realignment.

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

(Image from FanHuddle)

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  1. [...] #18 (5/2/2010) – Rumors about a 5-team expansion with Nebraska, Missouri, Pitt, Rutgers and Syracuse. Possibly related posts: (automatically [...]

    • Bullet says:

      I agree with Cutter. You can’t split up WI/MN/IA. I don’t think you can split OSU from UM and MSU, so those 3 would have to be together.

      I thought pods were a great solution for the WAC, but it didn’t work. Ultimately since the pods didn’t work, the WAC failed. They couldn’t figure out an 8/8 split. I think the ACC’s idiotic divisions are part of their championship game problem. Its hard to remember whose in your group. That was the problem for the rotating pods in the WAC.

      Some Big 10 source was quoted as saying the division (if 8/8 or 7/7) had to be E/W for travel issues, but really you only need divisions in football and travel isn’t that big an issue for 4 conference games a year. N/S with OSU/UM/MSU/IA/MN/WI and one or two others (out of NE,MO,IL,NW) makes too much sense.

    • Nittany Wit says:

      I think that an ideal scenario for the Big Ten would be to add Nebraska and Missouri (or 2nd Big12 North team). Then to let things sink in with the rest of the nation realizing that the Big Ten has three scenarios left since staying at 13 isn’t an option.

      1) Add one team to round out at 14 (in essence, ND)
      2) Add three eastern teams to balance with NU and MU (aka the Big East combo of Rutgers, Pitt, and UConn/Syracuse)
      3) Add Texas/A&M and one other team (ND, Rutgers, Kansas etc).

      At this point, the writing is on the wall for ND since if they don’t join, then options 2 and 3 will result in the demise of the Big East. Option 2 directly takes the three best teams leaving only five football teams left that will be seeking out new homes in ACC, Big 12, etc. Option 3 means that the Big Ten has NU, MU, Texas, A&M and probably Rutgers. The SEC and ACC will have to expand to keep pace and so Pitt, WVU, will be gone in a flash.

      The advantage of this to the Big 10 is that if you get NU and ND then it becomes a no-brainer to take Pitt over Syracuse or UConn. In the end, this may yield Nebraska, Missouri, Pitt, ND, and Rutgers. However, if you take the Big East teams first then it becomes a trickier issue to decide which 3 you want because you know that ND will be looking to

    • Nittany Wit says:

      I think that an ideal scenario for the Big Ten would be to add Nebraska and Missouri (or 2nd Big12 North team). Then to let things sink in with the rest of the nation realizing that the Big Ten has three scenarios left since staying at 13 isn’t an option.

      1) Add one team to round out at 14 (in essence, ND)
      2) Add three eastern teams to balance with NU and MU (aka the Big East combo of Rutgers, Pitt, and UConn/Syracuse)
      3) Add Texas/A&M and one other team (ND, Rutgers, Kansas etc).

      At this point, the writing is on the wall for ND since if they don’t join, then options 2 and 3 will result in the demise of the Big East. Option 2 directly compromises the Big East and Option 3 does it indirectly as the ACC and SEC will definitely be forced to expand.

      The advantage of this to the Big 10 is that if you get NU and ND then it becomes a no-brainer to take Pitt over Syracuse or UConn. In the end, this may yield Nebraska, Missouri, Pitt, ND, and Rutgers. In my mind, this is better than Nebraska, Missouri, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and Rutgers on all fronts (academic, athletic, and TV/financially).

      Taking the Big East teams first means that you must decide which three you want prior to ND looking around. I’d rather take the best teams first and hope that ND joins than to take the teams that I hope would force ND to join. Besides, everyone expects that the Big East will be tapped, so it is better to let that a the status quo until the final moment changes than to put the wheels in motion and have to move more quickly if the ACC wants to snap up Pitt/Syracuse/UConn.

      • Michael says:

        @Nittany Wit,

        I agree with Nebraska and Mizzou in the first stage. Like you say, it´s the most effective way to destabilize the biggest fish.

        I disagree slightly though on what comes next.

        1) You hope to finish off with a sweep of the Big 12 (Texas, A&M, KU or OU)

        2) The status quo is not an option for Texas (the Big 12 is dead in this scenario) but if Texas still spurns the Big 10 even with the package deal on the table, you approach Notre Dame one last time. If they´re in, then you take Notre Dame, Rutgers and Pitt/Syracuse.

        3) Notre Dame balks once again, and with Notre Dame off the table, you give up any dream of locking down NYC. In that case, you add Kansas and call it a day.

        A couple explanations:

        First, you don´t take Rutgers without Notre Dame and one other Big East school. It spreads you too thin and accomplishes nothing.

        Second, I don´t buy into the three school Big East conglomerate without Notre Dame. By starting with NU and MU, you don´t end up with lameduck East Coast schools, if Notre Dame doesn´t want in. You also hold out the option for a package deal to entice Texas.

      • Nittany Wit says:

        @ Michael

        Even though I wouldn’t mind seeing it, I seriously doubt whether all the pieces that have to fall for Texas to join the Big10 would actually do so.

        From a posturing standpoint, I think that Nebraska and Missouri puts more pressure on ND than on Texas.

        In fact, I’d prefer to just take Nebraska at this point.

    • cutter says:

      The Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune had a rather extensive article on the Big Ten Network in today’s edition of the newspaper. Go to http://www.startribune.com/sports/gophers/92558764.html?elr=KArksi8cyaiUjc8LDyiUiacyKUnciaec8O7EyUr

      I live in Arizona and would have never realized that there are more Big Ten alumni living in the state than Pac Ten alumni. Maybe that’s why the Big Ten Network is available on the sports tier with my local cable company.

  2. Hopkins Horn says:

    Geez, Frank, can’t you give us faithful readers of your blog news we don’t already know? :)

  3. Hopkins Horn says:

    OK, let’s suppose this five-team expansion is what in fact happens.

    (1) Would this be a big enough move to trigger the threatened SEC nuclear option? (I think, “not quite large enough”.)

    (2) Would the Big XII respond by doing, well, nothing? (As I argued in the dying embers of the previous frame, perhaps doing nothing, and becoming a 10-team, single division conference, and lobbying with a conservative, non-expansionist 10-team Pac 10 to allow conferences with less than 12 teams to stage championship games, is better than trying to fit some awkward pieces into a 12-school framework.)

    (3) If my thoughts on (1) and (2) are correct, could we realignment junkies be left with a mere repeat of 2003 (a conference raids the Big East, the Big East raids C-USA, C-USa raids the Sun Belt, etc.)?

    • Ron says:

      @Hopkins Horn, Agree with you the Missouri and Nebraska losses should not trigger an SEC raid on the Big XII by themselves. Would expect the Big XII to look at Colorado State and BYU to get back up to 12 rather than sitting at 10 (especially since there is still danger that Colorado goes to the PAC10). If there is one thing the Big East experience re the ACC should teach us, having more football schools than you need is better than having too few. As to your last point, my expectation is the Big East probably folds as a football conference if it really loses Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Rutgers. If that happens, the dominoes fall west to east with the Big XII (and maybe PAC10 with Utah) taking MWC schools, MWC raids the WAC and/or C-USA, while C-USA (paradoxically) may be strengthened by picking up former Big East schools.

      Then again, Big East special advisor Paul Tagliabue has experience as an NFL commissioner and may be able to counsel member schools on how to pick up in the middle of the night and relocate to more favorable markets (like the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts, the Oakland-LA-Oakland Raiders and the Houston/Memphis/Nashville Oilers/Titans. Don’t mess with the Big East!)

      • Ron says:

        One last brainstorm re the Big East. The five remaining teams of the Big East (UConn, WV, Louisville, Cin and USF) could keep the Big East name and offer a football merger to the entire C-USA conference (maybe even adding Troy from the Sunbelt). That way they could keep the Big East’s AQ and form the nation’s 2nd “superconference”. Am sure the Big East would not hesitate to sue if anyone tried to stop this, even though this is sort of a nuclear option that turns the eastern college football conference map into a parody of itself…

        • Morgan Wick says:

          The Big East already raided the good C-USA schools. C-USA + UConn, West Virginia, Louisville, Cincy, and USF do not a conference that will keep AQ status for long make. C-USA has some interesting schools, like Houston, Memphis… um… SMU… um… does Rice count?

          • Ron says:

            @Morgan Wick, do get your drift, although C-USA schools like East Carolina, Central Florida, Tulsa and Texas-El Paso have also had moments in recent history. Still, in general, does not sound like a long term solution to the Big East’s problem, just delays an inevitable collapse. If C-USA schools like Tulsa, Houston, SMU or Texas-El Paso also get Mountain West invites, they might consider them above any Big East offer, even with upcoming problems the Mountain West might encounter.

        • N.P.B. says:

          Ron:
          I agree with you on the Big East/ C-USA football
          merger. 5 Big East + 12 C-USA, with maybe 1 or
          2 C-USA schools moving to the Big XII or whatever.
          Either way, the Big East AQ would entice any mid-
          range conference with a merger. Big East
          basketball schools (and their other sports) would
          retain 13 members. The conference certainly
          would be no worse off football-wise than their
          current membership. A clean transition. Hoops
          would suffer with the loss of Syracuse; hoops
          would celebrate the loss of Rutgers; hoops would
          be rather keep Pitt, but it’s not that big a deal.

          Regarding the AQ for the Big East… if more than
          half its football members are retained, including
          2 ranked teams from 2009, I don’t see how their
          AQ status could be lost… actually, how does AQ
          status get lost?

          • N.P.B. says:

            Sorry for the spacing problems.

          • Ron says:

            N.P.B. Sounds logical to me. Re AQ status, my understanding is the BCS has now written up a set up standards that govern how a conference can gain AQ status. However, as far as I know, there is no objective written standard governing how AQ status is lost. My personal (mythical) take on AQ’s in the first place is that a bunch of BCS power brokers originally were eating out and scribbled the conferences receiving AQ’s with a cross pen on a napkin. A guy from New York agreed to split the check with a guy from North Carolina, so everyone agreed the Big East and the ACC should both get guaranteed conference slots in addition to the Big Ten, Big XII, PAC10 and SEC. Since then, they’ve referred the whole matter back to a series of committees which are feverishly writing it up in the form of legally defensible objective standards. Imagine future committees will be assigned the task of writing up objective standards of how a conference loses AQ status. Odds are this occurs several years after it becomes ridiculously obvious to everyone that some conference that has that status really needs to lose it.

      • Hopkins Horn says:

        I’m not sure how to read the Pac 10 right now. Would the conference consider expanding without Texas? That might be the biggest question right now as to whether the theorized Big 10 expansion leads to wholesale realignment or remains contained in the midwest.

        • Ron says:

          Given your supposition that the Big Ten goes to 16 as rumored, think the PAC10 will feel pressure to go to 12 and have a conference championship. Utah and Colorado would both be strong additions. Suspect legislators in Utah might be okay with the state school going to the PAC10, especially if they think the Big XII ultimately takes BYU (a delicate balance in practice to carry out, but a reasonable compromise solution for both the Big XII and the PAC10).

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            But . . . what if the Big XII stays at 10 and approaches the Pac 10 to jointly lobby for changing the rule which requires 12 teams to stage a championship game? That might be the best for all parties involved: no raiding each other, no having to stoop to invite MWC teams to join your conference, no opening the door to BCS dollars to additional players.

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            On the flip side, peeling off Utah and BYU would kill the possibility of a new BCS conference being formed between the Pac 10 and the Big XII.

          • Ron says:

            @Hopkins Horn, having the MWC get an AQ is not in the interest of either the PAC10 or the Big XII. Best solution for both is a sort of functional MWC/WAC “remerger” in the long run as the PAC10 and Big XII slowly add teams as needed to keep up with the SEC and Big 10 supersizing.

          • Oneforthemoney says:

            @ Hopkins Horn

            Taking BYU and Utah would destroy any chances of the MWC gaining AQ status (though I think the MWC’s chances are bad even if its not affected by expansion).

            My question is, which conference takes them? We know the Pac-10 won’t take BYU. If the Pac-10 decides to expand without taking TX, it would take Utah and CO. That gives the Pac-10 12 teams and leaves the Big 12 with 9 (assuming no NE or MO). The Big 12 could take BYU and stay at 10, but that seems to flip the conferences’ preferences.

            The best would be: the Pac-10 stays at 10 (it is resistant to expansion anyway). The Big 12 takes BYU and Utah to get to 12 and then the conferences form a joint network. Adding the Utah schools would destroy the MWC, strengthen the Big 12 North, and make the Big12/Pac 10 network more geographically contiguous.

          • Ron says:

            @Oneforthemoney, good logical points, but you’ve got to keep in mind that the Big XII and Pac10 may be liable for antitrust or other legal action if they cooperate too closely in actions that damage the MWC. A joint PAC10/Big XII network and an explicit agreement for the Big XII to annex BYU and Utah would really look bad legally.

          • Oneforthemoney says:

            @Ron

            I’m a young attorney with no real knowledge of antitrust matters. I do see your point regarding collusion between conferences. Then again, if six conferences can get together, form the BCS, and somehow avoid an anti-trust lawsuit, I would think the Big 12/Pac 10 could carry on with their plan, although they would certainly target one conference in particular. Again, I have no real legal knowledge from which to speak, so I could be wrong.

            Perhaps, the Big 12/Pac 10, as two ten team leagues, might just consider a TV network and be done with it. Don’t they have to consent to another conference being given AQ status anyway? This would make it harder for the MWC to threaten them.

          • Ron says:

            @Oneforthemoney, no particular antitrust expertise here either, other than just following the news and reading a lot. My understanding is the current BCS structure came very close to a lawsuit, which is why a deal was recently implemented to guarantee a non-BCS slot in the BCS (that even sounds stupid, but it is true). The BCS actually has objective standards about how AQ status is determined, my suspicion is the BCS drew these standards up, at least in part, to avoid legal action. As far as a network, think the PAC10 would be well-advised to team with the ACC rather than the Big XII to avoid collusion charges.

          • Morgan Wick says:

            There were rumors a while back that the ACC, Big 12, and Pac-10 would all come together for one big network, though I haven’t kept up with sports media news since August or so.

          • Ron says:

            Here’s a link on network speculation for ACC, Big XII and Pac10, about a year old…
            http://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/article/63036

            If you read between the lines, there is skepticism even two conferences can share a network, let alone three. Would think the three hour difference between eastern and pacific time zones would make a PAC10/ACC network a little easier to schedule than a PAC10/Big XII network (only 2 hour difference in central and pacific times).

        • Wes Haggard says:

          Hopkins, I have a question for you. Do you suppose that Texas would spurn the guaranteed money and academics of the BIG TEN for the unknown but almost surely less money for perhaps the slightly higher academics of Stanford and the PAC TEN? It is your thoughts that the travel would be a wash or do you consider the West closer.

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            I’ve thought for years that Texas would wind up in the Big 10, but I can sense that the likelihood of that is less than it was a few months ago.

            I would assume that if Texas doesn’t go to the Big 10, it would be because Texas has indicated it wouldn’t move to the Midwest. (Not being egotistical here; I think that’s what a majority of the posters here seem to believe.)

            Disregarding the role any cultural or political factors which might have played into what seems to be Texas not wanting to go to the Big 10, one would have to think that the financial calculation, from an athletics standpoint, is that the potential profit from a successful launch of a Longhorns Sports Network, which would be possible in a retooled Big 10 and would at least be on the table in a move to the Pac 10, outweighs what the school would earn as a 1/12 to 1/16 shareholder in the BTN.

            As far as travel goes, I’m not sure if the aggregate travel to the Big 10 schools would be greater or less than the aggregate travel to the Pac 10 schools, but I would think that it would be close enough that it wouldn’t be the tipping point in making a decision between those two conferences alone. Increased travel, not so much from a cost standpoint but more from a standpoint of increased demands upon UT student-athletes, could be a factor leading the school towards staying in the Big XII.

          • Michael says:

            @Hopkins Horns,

            It sounds like the most important variable here is this proposed Longhorn sports network. All of these ¨packages¨ that we are talking about to entice Texas to the Big 10 are packages that the SEC and Pac 10 could offer, as well.

            If, however, the Big 10 is actually willing to go to bat on this Big 12 expansion scenario, Texas will only have two choice and they both involve moving: follow four of your Big 12 rivals to the sure bet in the Big 10 or choose to forego tens of million a year, go someplace else and try to forge your own way with this network.

            If the Big 10 is serious about this, they don´t give Texas the option of remaining in the Big 12. The Big 10 holds all the cards here and can destroy the Big 12, if it so wishes. If Texas decides to drag its feet, you add Nebraska and Missouri (leaving room for three more Big 12 teams) and, in the process, send an unequivocal message to Texas: you´re welcome to join us but the status quo won´t be an option.

          • Michael says:

            And let me just add, if there´s a man in college sports shrewd enough to pull this off, it´s Delany.

    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      With the Big Ten essentially killing off the Big East, I think the next move is the ACC’s. Do they scoop up UConn, West Virginia, Louisville & Cincy? All have good-to-great basketball programs with football teams looking for a home. The ACC may also want to have some teams in reserve, just in case to SEC takes 2 or 4 teams from the ACC. On the other hand, such a play for more basketball schools, may push Florida State, Miami and/or Clemson to seek out the SEC.

      Once again, no matter what happens, the SEC will only expand if CBS and ESPN pay for it.

      • Wes Haggard says:

        Alan, I have a question for you too. Suppose that A&M and Oklahoma somehow, someway convinced Texas to join them in the SEC. Do you see that CBS and or ESPN would up the money?

        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          If the SEC had Texas, Oklahoma, Florida State and Texas A&M, CBS would never finish second to ABC’s regional afternoon coverage.

          ESPN’s SEC prime time slot would get similar if not better rankings to the ABC prime time game.

          CBS would definitely be in. The question would be ESPN, since ABC’s inventory would be devastated in the process. Think of it – the Red River Rivalry goes from ABC to CBS; CBS or ESPN gets Florida/Florida State and Texas/A&M every year; plus they get Oklahoma/Alabama, LSU/Texas, Florida/Texas, I could go on and on.

          The Big Ten probably only picks up one highly compelling team in Nebraska. Nebraska v. Penn St./Ohio St./Michigan would be must-see TV and I’d certainly watch Nebraska v. Iowa or Wisconsin, but Rutgers v. anyone just isn’t that compelling unless Rutgers becomes competitive.

    • m (Ag) says:

      “(1) Would this be a big enough move to trigger the threatened SEC nuclear option? (I think, “not quite large enough”.)”

      It depends on how much money the Big 10 starts making on a per-school basis. If SEC conference payouts start to fall significantly behind, the SEC will look to respond.

      Since much of the value of a 16 team expansion apparently comes from the additional programming on the BTN, these schools may well be enough to trigger an SEC expansion a few years down the line.

  4. Manifesto says:

    @Frank:

    I’ll say again that I think it’s going to be a tough sell trying to get Michigan and Ohio State to agree to be in different pods. To be honest, I think everyone would be for it except those two schools.

    Perhaps I’m wrong, but everything I’ve heard from the last decade or so has said neither school wants the chance to meet up in a conference championship a week after facing one another. And there’s a very good chance it could happen, quite frequently, when you look at the history of the conference. As much as it pains me to say it, Michigan won’t be down forever. Even with new big dogs in the conference it’s just too likely they’ll meet again imo.

    • yahwrite says:

      I agree, I don’t want Michigan and Ohio State split up in opposite divisions even if they are still guaranteed to play each year. I prefer a consistent East-West split. Iowa and Wisconsin don’t have the “name” value, but I think the actual on field performance for the last twenty years or so balances the two regions. Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin is about equal to Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State.

      The only problem with an East West split is splitting up Indiana and Purdue or Northwestern and Illinois. If they go to 16 I would like to see Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas(AAU and brand name b-ball) and 2 Big East schools or Nebraska and Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse and UConn.

      I have to admit the five rumored schools might be the top five individual choices, but I don’t like how that combination messes up the rivalries I want to see remain intact.

      • yahwrite says:

        One problem with the East – West split, not the only. I’m sure the West schools want to maintain their games with U-M, OSU, and PSU, hopefully that could be alleviated with annual games against Nebraska. There would be two rotating cross-over games in my mind, allowing one game against an East division power 75% of the seasons.

    • Justin says:

      Michigan and Ohio State may prefer to be in separate pods actually.

      The pods are each anchored by one traditional power in college football. If you throw Michigan and OSU into one pod, you are creating the opportunity for another Big 10 program to emerge as a consistent power by winning their pod regularly while UM and OSU battle it out every year in their pod.

      As long as UM and OSU play every year, I don’t think its an issue. What UM and OSU fans will care most is being in that 4 team tournament to determine the Big 10 champ (yes I expect 4 teams fairly shortly) — if they are in the same pod, it is going to make it harder to win the Big 10 title.

      Besides, a UM/OSU Big 10 title game would be the ideal scenario however when you split up UM, Nebraska, PSU and OSU into different pods, you get A LOT of enticing title game matchups.

      • Scott C says:

        I doubt the tournament will happen. That would require a rules change in the NCAA and I may even take a game away from the regular season schedule. Rotating pods is more likely scenario. That would give 3 possible pod groupings that could rotate every two years. So 1/3rd of the time, Michigan and Ohio State would be in the same division.

        • Paul says:

          Also, if the West and East are always kept in separate divisions, as Frank suggested, then they will be in the same division 1/2 of the time.

          My question about scheduling is whether we need to have a protected outside-of-pod game for every team. Why not just guarantee the ones that really matter and then allow for more variety with the other team’s schedules? Do we really need to guarantee Purdue-Syracuse or Rutgers-Indiana?

        • Cliff's Notes says:

          I could see a change to the rules allowing a CCG if multiple conferences don’t like the current rules. If the Big XII goes to 10 teams, they would want a new rule to allow a CCG. If Pac-10 doesn’t expand (or does expand to 12 but doesn’t want to split into two divisions), they would want a new rule. And then a voting bloc with the Big Ten (and perhaps a new revised Big East) wanting new rules, it could easily happen.

        • Justin says:

          The NCAA would likely grant the waiver. The NCAA would have to be concerned that if they reject the proposals that the superconference could leave the NCAA and form their own entity.

          I don’t see the NCAA doing anything to antagonize the power schools. If anything, they will be trying cater to their interest even more to ensure they remain within the organization.

    • cutter says:

      As a Michigan fan and alum, I wouldn’t mind having UM and Ohio State in different pods as long as the scheduling allows for a protected rivalry so that the two schools play one another each year.

      If that also means moving the Michigan-Ohio State game up in the year or having the two meet again in a conference championship final or semi-final game, then that’s fine as well. The hype leading into such a contest would be off the charts and if the conference semi-final game was played in the stadium of the higher ranked team, it would be pretty incredible. The Big Ten would be taking a backseat to no one in that kind of scenario (the same goes if it was Michigan-Nebraska or Penn State-Ohio State in a conference semi-final game–the sort of ideal postseason matchup that the B10 and the networks would love to have with this sort of pod setup).

      I’m going to throw out another pod setup with the teams mentioned above that assumes a nine-game confernce season.

      Pod A: Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin
      Pod B: Illinois, Missouri, Northwestern, Ohio State
      Pod C: Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, Purdue
      Pod D: Penn State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Rutgers

      This arrangement has an eye to maintain the rivalries largely within the existing pods (with the obvious exception of Michigan-Ohio State) with a secondary emphasis on goegraphy.

      1. Iowa-Minnesota-Wisconsin stays together an adds Nebraska for geographic consistency and to put a “major program” within the pod.

      2. Illinois-Missouri and Illinois-Northwestern are kept intact. Ohio State is the “major program” within the pod”.

      3. Michigan-Michigan State and Purdue-Indiana are also kept intact.

      4. Penn State-Pittsburgh are kept intact and having Rutgers and Syracuse in the pod makes them geographically consistent. This also gives Joe Paterno the eastern presence that he’d like to see in the Big Ten.

      The obvious protected game in this setup is Michigan-Ohio State. I also like the Penn State-Nebraska idea that Frank discussed in the blog. I won’t go into detail about the other possible protected games, but if this has to happen conference-wide to make it work, so be it. I will say that, in a sense of fun, Minnesota and Rutgers should be paired together and play for the annual Paul Tagliabue “Golden Tennis Racket” Award.

      Other than that, we know the mechanics behind the pod system, the semi-final conference championship game and the conference championship game. For Michigan, the conference schedules might look something like this:

      Year 1 (5 Home Conference Games)

      Michigan State
      At Indiana
      Purdue
      At Ohio State
      Iowa
      At Minnesota
      Illinois
      Penn State
      At Pittsburgh

      Year 2 (4 Conference Home Games)

      At Michigan State
      Indiana
      At Purdue
      Ohio State
      At Iowa
      Minnesota
      At Illinois
      At Penn State
      Pittsburgh

      Year 3 (5 Home Games)

      Michigan State
      At Indiana
      Purdue
      At Ohio State
      Nebraska
      At Wisconsin
      Missouri
      Syracuse
      At Rutgers

      Year 4 (4 Home Games)

      At Michigan State
      Indiana
      At Purdue
      Ohio State
      At Nebraska
      Wisconsin
      At Missouri
      At Syracuse
      Rutgers

      Years 5 & 6 would be just like the first two years, but substitute Illinois with Northwestern. What that shows in this type of system that the other teams in Ohio State’s Pod C (Missouri, Illinois, Northwestern) only play Michigan twice in six years while the other teams in Pods A & D play the Wolverines twice in four years. Obviously, this can be mixed up somewhat–instead of playing Penn State and Pittsburgh in one season, it could be Penn State and Syracuse or Penn State and Rutgers. The schedule laid out above was just one example of what could be done.

      • Manifesto says:

        @Cutter:

        We’ll have to agree to disagree here I think. As an Ohio State fan/alum, I suppose that was destiny. :)

        In all seriousness, I just remember both OSU/Michigan being wary about inviting Penn State back in the day because of fears that it would somehow diminish the impact of The Game. Ultimately Michigan voted against it and OSU for it. It was a fist fight just to get the game pushed back a week, because it was traditionally the week before Thanksgiving.

        Now we’re talking about moving the date of The Game up, and having the chance of Ohio State/Michigan meeting up again in a conference championship 2/3 of the time? I don’t see it. I think Ohio State fans are for expansion by and large, but that’s predicated on the notion that The Game is left alone as much as possible.

        • cutter says:

          Manifesto: As history shows, the addition of Penn State was a boost to the conference and it didn’t have any major effect upon the annual Michigan-Ohio State game.

          In fact, if anything, the bigger effect on the game was the 85-scholarship limit that kicked in the same time PSU joined the conference. It clearly meant that the Big Ten was no longer the “Big 2, Little 8″ that it was in the 70s and 80s. Think about it–in that time we’ve seen Northwestern, Illinois, Purdue, etc. go to the Rose Bowl, become Big Ten champions or co-champions, etc.

          I don’t think having Michigan and Ohio State in different pods is going to diminish the rivalry–that will always be there. But I would say that the meaning of The Game in terms of deciding the Big Ten championship has already changed, irregardless of the winning streak Ohio State is currently enjoying right now.

          I would rather hazard a rematch in a conference championship final or semi-final game than having the annual winner of the UM-OSU game being crowned pod champion–that would be kind of a letdown in the bigger scheme of things and I think that’s why you have the four major programs in diffent pods–it gives greater potential for higher stakes in the post-regular season conference tournament.

          One more note. Would you really want to schedule a game against your all-time major rival just before the conference semi-final games take place? Would it make sense for Ohio State to play Michigan one week and then have to go on and play Penn State or Nebraska in a conference semi-final as the first step to a BCS bowl game or the national championship? To me, that would not be scheduling smart.

      • ezdozen says:

        They could name the pods after storied coaches—Bo, Paterno, Hayes, and Osborne.

        Also… why not have Northwestern and Syracuse as the protected rivalry somehow? The two private schools.

        • jcfreder says:

          I think you lose too much else by putting Mich and OSU in different pods — (1) a 9-game schedule witha 4-pod setup makes for a smooth schedule UNLESS you add in non-pod protected rivalries; and (2) there aren’t enough good rivalry games to be “protected” unless you really mess with the pods, which kind of destroys the idea of having geographically tight pods in the first place.

          • ezdozen says:

            Just imagine Pitt and Syracuse having to play Penn St. in the Paterno Division.

  5. Scott C says:

    I just don’t know if I can trust these Missouri sources, but if it’s true, I’ll be happy. Personally, I’d like to see two protected games, but as long as the pods are rotating regular, I can live with this setup.

    On a side-note, Frank, when I finally finish working on my department’s resource site for our intranet, I might have to design you a WordPress theme or something that could really make the site’s look match the greatness of the content and analysis. :)

    • Josh says:

      I don’t really trust these sources either. I think the Big 10 is still several months away from making a decision. They’ve still got to build a consensus among 11 college presidents, and that’s going to take some time.

      I also agree with Frank–I don’t see what adding Syracuse and Pitt does in this scenario other than making Joe Paterno happy and PO’ing Jim Boeheim. Even if you wanted to go to 16, I’m not sure why you wouldn’t go to 14 first and then see who you could add later. It’s not like Pitt and Syracuse are going anywhere anytime soon. You could always add them later.

  6. M says:

    I love how this blog remains fresh and unpredictable.

    Last week, you warn readers to believe nothing, that every journalist was being lied to and nothing they said could be remotely believed.

    This week, you go into an in-depth discussion of random journalists’ “buzz”.

    Last week, you said that you are not “one of those people that subscribe to conspiracy theories and break every conference official comment down like the Zapruder film.”

    This week, you break down the Nebraska president’s comments like the (obviously fake) moon landing photos.

    If you forced the conference to pick a group of five that it was pretty sure would say yes, this would be it. We knew this 5 months ago. (I for one would be very amused if they added the 3rd through 7th schools on your original list) For anyone who is of the “Make a threat at ND (or Texas)” persuasion, this is the setup: a viable, massive addition that eliminates the Big East, severely injures the Big XII, and removes all possibility of joining in the future. I suppose what they can do is go to the other schools and say “If you want in this, we’ll take you instead of (?Syracuse?). If not, we’re done.”

    The NU-Illinois reward is of course the LoL Trophy. I just made a joke about how feebly Illinois has performed against Northwestern in my previous comment so I will refrain from doing so here.

    The pod setup for this arrangement has Northwestern’s protected games being Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, and … OSU. One of those just doesn’t belong.

  7. spartakles78 says:

    maybe they could use a panther/nittany lion pelt stuck on a spear? Actually it’s good thing that the block of wood is so large because it’s an excuse for not bringing it to the sidelines. Otherwise you get memorable moments like when ND forgot to bring the Megaphone Trophy which caused Irish eyes to turn red with anger when Spartans planted a flag on their turf.

    of course, the Illini did it to State in imitation but it wasn’t like they were in the midst of winning 6 straight at an opponents stadium…

    Maybe with expansion we can get rid of the number 11 in the logo. The Big Ten brand will still be used, so instead of thinking the ‘Ten’ refers to the number of universities, a change in definition is in order. Think water. More specifically, the USGS has six watersheds in what could be described as Big Ten Country. You split the Great Lakes watershed into its component parts of five. You then take the other five watersheds, the Missouri River, the Red River of the North, the Upper Mississippi River, the Ohio River and pick a river to represent the Mid-Atlantic. You can pick from the Susquehanna, the Delaware or the Hudson.
    Big Lakes, Big Rivers, Big Ten Country…

    • Pariahwulfen says:

      Actually 10 in hexadecimal is equal to 16 in decimal notation. Thus there is no need to change it…unless you want to call the conference ‘The Big Hex’.

    • FLP_NDRox says:

      Ah, yeah, I remember that game. Can’t believe the megaphone was left behind, that was embarassing. As for the flag planting,

      Stay classy, Sparty.

      …come to think of it, I also remember ND winning the next year in Lansing. Wish I could find the picture of those three MSU players, guarding the S at midfield against a ND flagplanting that wasn’t going to even be attempted. Classic.

      • spartakles78 says:

        yeah that game was the 40 year anniversary of the 10-10 tie and the ‘phantom slap’ of Weis. The 4th quarter collapse spelled the end of the John L. era, thankfully.

  8. greg says:

    kerplunk.

  9. chris 7165 says:

    Let’s assume this report is true. I fully understand that any expansion will be approved only by the presidents on their terms which are mostly academic and financial related. But 95% of people look at on field results and not the classroom and you can’t help but shake your head when you consider that initially, the B10 was talking about adding Texas and now we’ve been reduced to adding a bunch of third rate Big East teams and a never was school like Missouri. I was led to believe that Jim Delaney was all powerful and that the B10 with it’s “public Ivy League” reputation along with the BTN, we could pick any one we wanted and we get this?

    • Paul says:

      Agreed. But if Notre Dame is not an option because of its “independent” DNA and Texas would prefer a southern or western league, then Nebraska is the best option that exists.

      The question if ND and Texas are off the table is which of these three options to pursue:

      1. Add only Nebraska. Solid, conservative move that will excite fans without watering down the league. Leaves the door open for future expansion. Maybe Texas re-evaluates in a post-Nebraska Big 12.

      2. Add Nebraska, Missouri, and Rutgers. Solid additions, though with a bit of a “filler” feel. Opens new markets in Missouri and New Jersey (15 million new residents in “Big Ten” country), gives Penn State an eastern partner, still leaves the door open to Texas/aTm or Notre Dame/Pitt down the road.

      3. The option discussed in the post above.

      My guess is that the Big Ten is not excited about the five-team expansion described in the post and that the “buzz” is the result of leaks made with the hope to shake the tree a bit.

      I think option 2 is the best way to combine the Big Ten’s apparent desire for a larger, splashier expansion that would provide more programming for the BTN, with its hopes of someday truly being the premier football super conference. Going to 16 with Missouri, Pitt, Rutgers, and Syracuse closes the door to the big dream of a conference that includes the likes of OSU, PSU, UM, ND, NEB, and TEXAS.

      • chris 7165 says:

        Nebraska I could live with. Any of the others would be a major let down. Keep in mind that once these teams are in, they’re in forever pretty much.

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      But 95% of people look at on field results and not the classroom and you can’t help but shake your head when you consider that initially, the B10 was talking about adding Texas and now we’ve been reduced to adding a bunch of third rate Big East teams and a never was school like Missouri.

      The B10+ has never talked about adding Texas, only outsiders have. Barry Alvarez was asked specifically if Texas was on the list of 15 teams studied and he said he didn’t see them on it.

  10. herbiehusker says:

    adding

  11. mmc22 says:

    added

  12. Pariahwulfen says:

    Eggs.

  13. gjlynch17 says:

    A couple thoughts:

    1. Pitt, Rutgers, Nebraska and Missouri all make sense. I am not sold on Syracuse as their profile is too different than existing Big Ten members. Syracuse is a smaller, private school with a limited research budget. Syracuse’s research budget is $36M, compared to the average Big Ten university of $505M. By comparison, other candidates are large public, flagship universities with large research budgets: Rutgers ($280M), Pitt ($530M), Nebraska ($215M) and Missouri ($215M). Using this profile, both Colorado ($250M) and Kansas ($131M) would be better fits for the Big Ten.

    2. I believe the Big Ten would go to a pod system that would try to maintain existing rivalries as much as possible. In addition, IMO the Big Ten will go to a 9-game conference schedule without protected rivals to allow each team to face each other team at least twice every four years. The best example of how this would work would be as follows:

    West: Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin
    South: Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Purdue
    North: Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Northwestern
    East: Penn State, Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse

    There are three main issues with this setup:

    1. Northwestern and Illinois would be in different pods.

    2. Northwestern is stuck in an odd grouping.

    3. There will be some years where one pod is disproportionally strong (e.g. this year the West would have 3 teams in the pre-season Top 12).

    IMO, these drawbacks are far outweighed by the advantages of maintaining existing key rivalries (OSU/UM, IU/PU, IA/MN/WI, UM/MSU) and allowing all teams to play each other two of every four years.

    • mushroomgod says:

      To be honest, this is more like a “Feeble Five” than a “Fab Five”.

      Syracuse has roughly 1/10th the research $ and 1/10th the endowment of NW….app. 11000 fewer students and $173M less in research $ than Missouri. If we must go with 5, pick KU or U Conn for that 5th team.

      • Playoffs Now! says:

        You do realize that if they don’t take 5, Pitt almost surely gets left out in the cold? Meaning if ND turns them down, Pitt doesn’t get in without Syracuse.

        • gjlynch17 says:

          @Playoffs Now!. IMO, both Pitt and Syracuse are at > 50% chance of not getting invites. However, I believe Pitt would get in before Syracuse. Pitt simply fits in better with the Big Ten universities and Pitt wants it more. The only way I could see Syracuse getting the invite ahead of Pitt is if Syracuse could delivery the NYC market, which I do not believe would happen.

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            Perhaps, but if the B10+ only takes three, it is probably Rut, MO, NE. Being ranked 4th rather than 5th then becomes a worthless consolation prize. And if the conference goes to 5 they’re almost surely going to want more of a presence in the greater NYC market. (KS or MD would be nice but their odds are low, for various reasons.) CT isn’t AAU, so Pitt’s chances rest with ND and Syr, and ND seems to not be interested.

        • mushroomgod says:

          Why wouldn’t Pitt get in with U Conn or KU as the 5th team?

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        Keep in mind, I’m basing this purely on athletics, not academics. This proposed expansion, while not as sexy as some may like, looks like the sum of the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts. None are knockouts, but it accomplishes what we all believed were the Big Ten’s goals to increase revenue through BTN subscribers.

        Back in the 90s, the SEC picked up Arkansas and South Carolina. They definitely weren’t the sexiest girls on the street from a football perspective. But what expansion did for the SEC, was to allow the existing conference super powers to grow stronger.

        • PSUGuy says:

          @Alan
          I think you are 100% right on this. If these five schools are brought in, the talking heads are going to talk themselves senseless about not truly getting NYC, the lack of top brands (my own arguments about Nebraska I’m sure will come up), how they missed the real opportunity to get ND and a host of other truly non-important aspects because the expansion isn’t “sexy” enough from the purely football perspective.

          Ignore the Big10 will now encompass every state above the Mason-Dixon line, north of the Ohio River, and into Great Plains (assuming Nebraska delivers the states above it)…probably close to a quarter of the square footage in the contiguous US.

          Ignore the ridiculous percentage of the overall population the Big10 will have the biggest, and most affluent schools in and the $$$ the BTN will leverage off those populations to further expand the athletic programs of each schools’ already considerable stature.

          Ignore the billions of research added to the CIC. The understanding that the Big10 continues to be the primary conference of big universities who pride themselves on academics.

          Ignore the instant rivalries that can be ignited between Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Mizzou, Illinois in both football and bball as well as the re-starting of the Pitt-PSU rivalry.

          True nothing “screams” home run at me with the addition of these teams, but the more I think about the 5, the more I think this grouping can be the group that will enable the Big10 to thrive for the next 50-100 years.

          I can live with that.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Five successive stand-up doubles is better than a solo home run in this case.

          • ezdozen says:

            Exactly.

            What can anyone do to damage the Big 10 footprint?

            With 3 Big East schools… the Northeast is locked up.

            Nebraska and Missouri lock up the Midwest region.

            Take Kansas instead of Syracuse… and now the ACC can grab UConn and Syracuse and divide the NY/NE Market with B.C. Perhaps they will “affiliate” with Notre Dame somehow.

    • Paul says:

      Here’s another possible pod system:

      EAST: Penn State, Pitt, Syracuse, Rutgers
      ROTATING POD 1: Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, Northwestern
      ROTATING POD 2: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, Purdue
      WEST: Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois

  14. Well Played Wauer says:

    “Anyway, Dienhart suggested that there would be four 4-team divisions if the Big Ten were to go with the proposed 5-school expansion. Here’s how it could shake out in my eyes:

    EAST: Penn State, Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse
    WEST: Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois
    NORTH: Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Minnesota
    SOUTH: Ohio State, Indiana, Purdue, Northwestern”

    Frank,

    I do not like those pods at all, as a Ohio State Fan I do not want “The Game” to become a best of two series period. I also do not think Iowa, Wisconsin & Minnesota would be split up. It was my understanding that the whole reason the conference has the current two protected rivals format is because when Penn State joined the league those three schools made a stink about not playing each other every year. I think those schools would make a similar demand this time around.

    If those are indeed the schools i would rather see the pods like so:

    NORTHEAST: Penn State, Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse
    MIDWEST: Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota
    HARTLAND: Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Missouri
    CENTRAL: Indiana, Purdue, Northwestern, Illinois

    Granted Mizzou is completely out of place, but that is a concession I think need to be made in order to keep the 2 tirades in place. With this setup no permanent cross pod rivals are needed if 1 pod is always in division 1 and other is always in division 2 with the other two rotating divisions every two years. The permit pods would then play two teams from each other on a rotating two year basis, and the rotating pods would do the same. The result would be a 9 game conference schedule and no school will go more than 2 years without playing in any other school’s stadium.

    Just to muddle things further if Missouri is a lock I would rather see Kansas get the nod, then the pods could look like this:

    EAST: Rutgers, Syracuse, Indiana, Purdue
    MIDWEST: Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota
    GREAT LAKES: Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State
    CENTRAL: Northwestern, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas

    Again I make geographical concession for the sake of rivals which I feel are more important.

    And finally if Pitt is a absolute must, then I feel the best possible setup would be to make a hard press for Notre Dame. Then the league could breakdown as such:

    NORTHEAST: Penn State, Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse,
    MIDWEST: Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota
    GREAT LAKES: Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Notre Dame
    CENTRAL: Northwestern, Illinois, Indiana, Purdue

    At any rate any combo above I feel I could live with as long as Michigan & Ohio State stay together and Iowa plays Nebraska every year [that should develop into a pretty good rivalry in time].

    All that being said I am sure the 5 suspects will once again change in say about 7 days or so ;-)

    Cheers-

  15. Jeff says:

    adding

  16. prophetstruth says:

    East 1: Penn State, Pitt, Syracuse, Rutgers
    East 2: Ohio State, Illinois, Missouri, Northwestern
    West 1: Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, Purdue
    West 2: Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota

    • Albino Tornado says:

      I think those pods have a better balance and feel for preserving some of the existing rivalries, like the iron triangle of Iowa/Minnesota/Wisconsin. However, they’re not geographically contiguous (which may or may not be relevant), and add in some challenges with figuring out cross-pod rivalries — other than Ohio State-Michigan and I pray, Nebraska-Penn State — what’s worth establishing/preserving?

    • Seth9 says:

      I like your pods a lot more than Dienhart’s, but if I were you, I’d switch Ohio State out for Nebraska, as that allows for Nebraska and Missouri to play each other every year and for the creation of a permanent Penn State-Nebraska rivalry.

      • eapg says:

        That permanent rivalry already exists, it just doesn’t get played out very often. From one Nebraskan’s POV, give us Penn State, Iowa and Wisconsin and we’ll be happy as pigs in you-know-what.

  17. Cliff's Notes says:

    Great Blog, and outstanding discussions in the comments.

    I’ve got a question for those with their finger on the pulse of Texas:

    If I understand this correctly, UT has athletic dept revenues of ~$100M per year. And Research revenues of ~$500M per year. And then the three big UT Hospitals have research revenues of ~$1.5 Billion per year. What kind of power do the hospitals have?

    I don’t know what the real dollar value of synergies is worth, but if you suppose that synergies with the CIC increases research funding by 10%, that would be an additional $150M per year. Adding the increased funds of $10M to $20M from the BTN trumps any gains from a Longhorn TV Channel (I haven’t seen numbers, but lets go nuts and assume the Longhorn TV is worth $50M).

    Now, I understand that this is a University, not a business, but if a CEO and Board of Directors chose $50M instead of $160M, the consequences from shareholders could be enormous – not only losing their jobs, but criminal charges.

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      I asked more or less this very question on the Horn-centric blog I play on. Unfortunately, it’s looking like the thread has died off before the person I was hoping would answer had a chance to do so.

      I’m not exactly sure how all of the institutions interrelate for the purposes of making a political decision like this.

      But looking at the players (and correct me if I’m wrong on this Playoffs Now):

      — when we talk about President William Powers, he is President of the University of Texas at Austin. There is no medical school at UT-Austin.

      — UT-Austin is one of 15 institutions — 9 universities and six health institutions — which make up the University of Texas system. I would assume that the bulk of those research dollars are going to those health institutions elsewhere in the UT system.

      — It should be noted that the UT system includes one other school (UTEP) playing football at the D1-A level, another school (UT-San Antonio) which has announced its intentions of doing so in the near future, and at least two other schools (UT-Arlington and UT-Pan American) which compete at the D1 level in all other sports. So the chancellor and the board of regents of the UT system has to keep the interests of all schools in mind — and the Legislature makes sure it does.

      — I have no idea if the UT system board would merely rubber-stamp a move by UT-Austin to another conference. My recollection of the conference moves in the 1990s is that the president of UT-Austin was the key figure publicly, but who knows what was going on in the background.

      — I’ve noticed in that list of research funding by university that pops up from time to time that most Big 10 schools report by an “all campuses” methodology, while UT-Austin reports independently of its other branches. Whether this is a semantic difference or truly indicative of how an increase in research dollars Texas would supposedly receive from the Big 10, I don’t know.

      I guess this is a long-winded way of saying that, even assuming an arbitrary, straight-line 10% increase in research dollars available if joining the Big 10 and the CiC, it’s unknown, at least to me, which specific dollar amount would be increasing by that 10%. Nevertheless, even if it’s an increase in research dollars going to UT-Austin alone, it strikes me that that is a bigger pot of gold available to the university than would be the funds from a Longhorn Sports Network which launches and is successful beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.

  18. Playoffs Now! says:

    Longtime Austin sports writer Kirk Bohls’ take:

    http://www.statesman.com/sports/nine-things-and-one-crazy-prediction-662277.html

    1. Don’t get overly worked up by rumors last week that it’s a “done deal” that Missouri will leave the Big 12 and join the Big Ten. It’s not a done deal, or even close.

    If the Big 12 were to lose only Missouri, I’m hearing the Big 12 would go hard after the SEC’s Arkansas, which might be willing to listen. Texas will never leave for a destination without Texas A&M, and should more than two schools leave the Big 12 for other conferences, I’m convinced the Longhorns and Aggies would work toward joining the SEC or perhaps try a far-flung, Pac-10 arrangement of 16 teams, with the two schools from Texas and Arizona and maybe Texas Tech making up a South Division.

    If I were the SEC, I’d invite Texas, A&M, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to form a 16-team league that would be tougher than some NFL divisions. Teams that could get left out, however, are the two Oklahomas and Texas Tech, if they’re not careful. Should be a very interesting Big 12 spring meetings in Kansas City next month.

  19. greg says:

    I don’t see conference semi-finals making sense. You don’t want to guarantee another loss for 3 of your top 4 teams. If they have any hopes of a 3rd BCS at-large, semis are not the way to do it.

    • Redhawk says:

      Conference Semi’s make a ton of sense…if there is no BCS. The current BCS contract ends after the 2014 season. If you have 4 conferences, with 16 teams each making a Super-64…the semi’s actually become a defacto first round of a 16 team playoff. The 2nd round would be the championship games…then each conference sends a champion on for 4 game playoff which I would assume be held in the bowls then the winners get a Championship Game, or a “Plus One game”.

      And there’s your playoff which will rake huge money for the teams that are in it…and it won’t be the NCAA or the small programs like Utah State, or Tulane, etc. It will ONLY be for 64 teams. Not in one of the 4 conferences? tough

      • m (Ag) says:

        “Conference Semi’s make a ton of sense…if there is no BCS.”

        ehh…the value of expansion comes from college football being the most important regular season in all of sports. This makes every regular season game important.

        Reducing the importance of regular season games, especially regular season conference games, is not in the Big 10’s financial interest.

        • Redhawk says:

          @M(Ag)

          I agree that college football’s regular season is one of it’s draws. How does that diminish with a playoff system around the pods? Getting to the top of a pod is still going to be tough. Also there will be no “wild card” in this scenario.

          In many ways it makes the regular season even more important. First a team only has to be the best out of it’s four team pod (assuming that’s how it’s done). This gives hope, and a season isn’t done with the first loss. It still would be only 16 teams out of 64..which would be the lowest % of any playoff system out there (that I know of pros and college)

          • m (Ag) says:

            When you only have to finish ahead of 3 teams to get in a playoff—you’ve diminished your regular season substantially.

  20. Playoffs Now! says:

    Longtime Austin sports writer Kirk Bohls’ take:

    http://www.statesman.com/sports/nine-things-and-one-crazy-prediction-662277.html

    1. Don’t get overly worked up by rumors last week that it’s a “done deal” that Missouri will leave the Big 12 and join the Big Ten. It’s not a done deal, or even close.

    If the Big 12 were to lose only Missouri, I’m hearing the Big 12 would go hard after the SEC’s Arkansas, which might be willing to listen. Texas will never leave for a destination without Texas A&M, and should more than two schools leave the Big 12 for other conferences, I’m convinced the Longhorns and Aggies would work toward joining the SEC or perhaps try a far-flung, Pac-10 arrangement of 16 teams, with the two schools from Texas and Arizona and maybe Texas Tech making up a South Division.

    If I were the SEC, I’d invite Texas, A&M, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to form a 16-team league that would be tougher than some NFL divisions. Teams that could get left out, however, are the two Oklahomas and Texas Tech, if they’re not careful. Should be a very interesting Big 12 spring meetings in Kansas City next month.

    (Sorry if this ends up duplicating, but it never showed up so I’m trying again.)

    • Seth9 says:

      “If the Big 12 were to lose only Missouri, I’m hearing the Big 12 would go hard after the SEC’s Arkansas, which might be willing to listen. Texas will never leave for a destination without Texas A&M, and should more than two schools leave the Big 12 for other conferences, I’m convinced the Longhorns and Aggies would work toward joining the SEC or perhaps try a far-flung, Pac-10 arrangement of 16 teams, with the two schools from Texas and Arizona and maybe Texas Tech making up a South Division.”

      Nice to know which sportswriters’ opinions should never be taken seriously.

  21. Kyle2 says:

    MSU fan here.

    I’m ok with Frank’s Pod’s & would be fine (thrilled even) moving our protected rivalry to Pitt (or even Rutgers) – maybe we could be favored in a few more late season games.

    Sure hope Notre Dame doesn’t get an invite. As a 30 something football fan I’ve never understood the media obsession with them. Sure they’ve got boatloads of history, but in my lifetime they’ve just been a blah (imo) team.

  22. indydoug says:

    Where do UC, UL, SFU, WVU & UConn land if this happens? I can’t see Big East surviving–adding Memphis UCF ECU is unlikely going to be enough to keep auto bid.

    • N.P.B. says:

      The Big East under Frank’s scenario:

      The Big East could align with Conference-USA for
      football only. C-USA’s 12 schools could merge
      with the 5 remaining Big East footballers. This
      totals 17 schools.

      Dominoes will fall and conferences will adjust, but
      as long as the C-USA/ Big East combination keeps at
      least 12 teams, they’ll have their conference
      playoff, and C-USA will gain an auto-bid.

      This would be a marriage of convenience, but
      the schools each conference would be fine.

      In all other sports, the two conferences

      • indydoug says:

        That would be a pretty weak BCS league IMO. The standard-bearers of such a league are WVU & UC? Yikes! I wonder how the BIg East withdrawal guidelines are written, i.e. if B10 takes 3 BE FB schools & the remaining 13 can’t agree on adding 3 new FB schools, is there a basis for the 5 remaining FB schools to seek a dissoluton of the conference on the basis that FB is no longer a real option thereby avoiding the $5 Mil buyout & 27 month wait??

        • N.P.B. says:

          As it stands, West Va and Cincy ARE the
          standard-bearers. It’s not like the
          three best teams (record-wise) will be
          leaving the conference (under the
          proposed scenario from Frank).

          Weak, yes, but 57% of the Big East will
          be retained.

      • N.P.B. says:

        Sorry for the sentence fragments at the
        end of this post…

        They should have read:
        “This would be a marriage of convenience, but
        the schools in each conference would be fine.”

        “In all other sports, the conferences
        remain separate.”

  23. N.P.B. says:

    The scheduling as noted could conceivably create 3 Indiana-Rutgers games every third year.

    Following Frank’s pod system and schedule:
    In the years where the East plays the South, Rutgers would face Indiana in the “rotating pod” scheduling matchup (along with Rutgers vs OSU, Purdue and NW).

    Additionally, as part of the annual “rivalry” matchup, Rutgers would again face off against Indiana.

    Conceivably, if Rutgers and Indiana then advance to the Big Ten title game, they’d face off for a third time.

    This would hold true for Syracuse vs Purdue, Iowa vs Minn, and Missouri vs Wisconsin, in that same rotation year,

  24. New and improved Playoffs Now says:

    Testing. Prior posts have not gone through.

  25. New and improved Playoffs Now says:

    Longtime Austin sports writer Kirk Bohls’ take:

    http://www.statesman.com/sports/nine-things-and-one-crazy-prediction-662277.html

    1. Don’t get overly worked up by rumors last week that it’s a “done deal” that Missouri will leave the Big 12 and join the Big Ten. It’s not a done deal, or even close.

    If the Big 12 were to lose only Missouri, I’m hearing the Big 12 would go hard after the SEC’s Arkansas, which might be willing to listen. Texas will never leave for a destination without Texas A&M, and should more than two schools leave the Big 12 for other conferences, I’m convinced the Longhorns and Aggies would work toward joining the SEC or perhaps try a far-flung, Pac-10 arrangement of 16 teams, with the two schools from Texas and Arizona and maybe Texas Tech making up a South Division.

    If I were the SEC, I’d invite Texas, A&M, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to form a 16-team league that would be tougher than some NFL divisions. Teams that could get left out, however, are the two Oklahomas and Texas Tech, if they’re not careful. Should be a very interesting Big 12 spring meetings in Kansas City next month.

  26. Playoffs Now! says:

    From longtime Austin sports writer Kirk Bohls’ column today:

    1. Don’t get overly worked up by rumors last week that it’s a “done deal” that Missouri will leave the Big 12 and join the Big Ten. It’s not a done deal, or even close.

    If the Big 12 were to lose only Missouri, I’m hearing the Big 12 would go hard after the SEC’s Arkansas, which might be willing to listen. Texas will never leave for a destination without Texas A&M, and should more than two schools leave the Big 12 for other conferences, I’m convinced the Longhorns and Aggies would work toward joining the SEC or perhaps try a far-flung, Pac-10 arrangement of 16 teams, with the two schools from Texas and Arizona and maybe Texas Tech making up a South Division.

    If I were the SEC, I’d invite Texas, A&M, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to form a 16-team league that would be tougher than some NFL divisions. Teams that could get left out, however, are the two Oklahomas and Texas Tech, if they’re not careful. Should be a very interesting Big 12 spring meetings in Kansas City next month.

  27. Hopkins Horn says:

    Let’s see if it works if I link it like this.

  28. Hopkins Horn says:

    Click on my username on this post.

  29. Redhawk says:

    The more I’ve read, and heard on the conference expansion the MORE I think we are headed for the 4 conferences with 16 teams which will break off from the NCAA to have their own playoff championship.

    Last week I broke out schools into conferences, and amazingly it worked. The amount of big time program/schools left out really wasn’t all that long of a list. The Big East as a football conference was dead, and the Big 12 was divided up.

    Here’s out I had it. (who goes where of course is just speculation) It could go something like this:

    Big 10 adds 5 teams: Rutgers, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Nebraska, Missouri
    SEC: Adds Kansas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, & Oklahoma St
    ACC: West Virginia, PITT, South Florida, Louisville
    Pac-10: Adds Utah, BYU, Colorado, Texas Tech, Texas, & Boise State/or New Mexico/or UNLV

    That leaves the Big 12 down to: Kansas St, Baylor, and Iowa State…and the name “Big 12″. I assume it dissolves. I think the Pac-10 and SEC make a deal to split up Texas and A&M

    Their are a few left over schools like Cincinnati, Houston, UTEP, TCU, New Mexico (or Boise St/or UNLV), Hawaii, Fresno St., Nevada-Reno, San Diego St., Wyoming, Colorado St. (and others) on the outside looking in to the SUPER 64. But most of these schools are small, and don’t have the TV market or alumni national followings that the big boys want. These ARE the guys the big boys want to kick aside.

    This goes back years, when the the NCAA set up D-1, and D-1A…and the big boys thought the NCAA stuck WAY too many schools into D-1.

    My real question is if all this happens would the Big 10 kick out Northwestern, or the SEC kick out Vanderbilt? Both are small private schools that really don’t compete well in sports. They are located in major metro areas, but those metro areas, get more TV from other schools already in the conference.

    • Manifesto says:

      @Redhawk:

      I think if we were going to continue to add to Frank’s Expansion Rules from the last blog post, the next rule on that list should be: “No conference is going to kick out another member.” That sums up my feelings on Northwestern ever being kicked out. You don’t kick out family, and I think that’s how the Big Ten sees itself.

      • Hopkins Horn says:

        Yeah, I would make this one a golden rule as well. Just look what it took for the Big East to finally kick out Temple. No school in any of the BCS conferences is in anywhere near the condition Temple was in 2003.

      • Redhawk says:

        @Manifesto

        I could see that. Especially in the “first Northwestern/Vanderbilt….is your school next?”. It would set a bad precedent. Still monetarily, I don’t think either school brings anything to the table, where another school might. Kansas would be worth more to the Big-10 then Northwestern for example. Greed can break family ties.

        • Manifesto says:

          @Redhawk:

          Perhaps. But in a conference that prides itself on its academic reputation (in addition to its athletic reputation) Northwestern is a good school to have. They’re also occasionally (within the last 20 years) competitive on the football field, even if they’re never expected to reach the upper echelon.

          To be honest, if the Big Ten kicked out Northwestern (or any other team) in favor of a prettier name I’d lose a lot of respect for the conference. You can’t expect any loyalty from teams in your conference if you don’t show any as well.

      • N.P.B. says:

        If Texas agreed to join, but only if
        Northwestern were booted out, what would
        the Big Ten do?

        This blog has introduced a zillion
        scenarios, many of which have been
        implausible. Many scenarios, after being
        challenged, were defended by wondering
        how a school could ignore the Big Ten’s
        megadollars (e.g., the Maryland bolting the
        ACC scenario, among others).

        So a future Northwestern boot is very much in
        the scheme of things. What if the Big Ten
        went to 16 schools this year, but then in
        a couple of years, Texas wanted to join?
        No room for a 17th, but hey, Northwestern
        is expendable right?

        • Manifesto says:

          @NPB:

          Very doubtful at best. When Texas was supposedly interested in joining the Big Ten in the early 90s, the Big Ten presidents wouldn’t even lift the moratorium placed on expansion discussion. But they’re going to kick out a founding member if Texas comes calling?

          The decisions aren’t being made by Delany or fans or the media. The presidents aren’t going to kick out a highly respected institution like Northwestern.

          • Redhawk says:

            @Manifesto

            I think the possibility varies from conference to conference. Would the Big 10 kick out Northwestern? doubtful. Would the Pac-10 kick out Stanford? Well, that’s two totally different circumstances and pressures.

            I think the Super-64 is going to be TV driven. Like so much of sports now days, all the posturing and power isn’t much with in reality the power is in the hands of the TV executives and their cash. If they set up the plan/outline to get to the Super-64 and a playoff system (and I think they have) they might also start dictating whose in an whose out.

            I wouldn’t be surprised by kicking out certain teams. Actually I’d be more surprised if Vanderbilt or Northwestern was part of the Super-64 and Kansas St, or Texas Tech wasn’t.

          • eapg says:

            Got to keep Northwestern. Husker fans will sell out Soldier Field for you for that game, if you have the good sense to put it there. Easy drive from the east end of the state.

          • Manifesto says:

            @Redhawk:

            I agree that the probability varies conference to conference. That’s why I haven’t really talked about the SEC and Vanderbilt, although I would say I consider it almost as unlikely.

            But, then again I don’t really think these teams would split from the NCAA anyway. All of it feels like the schools would be taking on too much political heat. That and the situation largely ignores the bureaucratic systems in place that these teams both chafe and benefit under.

        • prophetstruth says:

          No way in hell the Big10 kicks out NW. If the only way for Texas to join is to kick out NW, Texas will have to look elsewhere for a conference. The Big10 is like a family, once a member, always a member. The Big10 will not drop NW for TV money. Won’t happen. I can not think of one instance that would cause the other members of the Big10 to kick NW out. Not even up for discussion. Consider that The University of Chicago is still an academic member of the Big10.

        • zeek says:

          The Big 10 is an integrated athletics and academics conference.

          No one “truly leaves,” look at Chicago. Chicago is still a part of the CIC after all.

          The only way any member of the Big 10 leaves is if they do so of their own accord. The Big 10 is a bunch of schools that are “all for one and one for all.”

          Any school that puts forward an ultimatum like “we’ll join if someone gets kicked out” will be laughed out of town. The Big 10 schools work as a team, everything is shared, etc.

          They would just laugh at such an offer, it just won’t happen.

          Likewise, the same is true of this new expansion. Once the Big 10 invites new teams, those teams will become members for the long haul. Even if the schools don’t necessarily bring their markets, their membership won’t be conditional.

          • N.P.B. says:

            The Big Ten would leave
            all that Texas money
            on the table?

            And let the SEC gobble
            it up? All for the sake
            of Northwestern?

            I agree that it would
            be a shame, but the Big
            Ten is currently in the
            process of destroying
            longtime rivalries for
            the almighty dollar…
            if a Gordon Gekko type
            replaces Delany in the
            future, then North-
            western might be in
            trouble…

          • prophetstruth says:

            Yes! The Big10 would leave the money on the table. If Texas comes with that attitude, the Big10 will tell them good luck in the SEC. Texas will not be able to dictate to the Big10 Presidents to kick out NW. Not going to happen. Period! End of story. Doesn’t matter when Delany retires, because he would not be making that decision anyway. NW will not be in trouble or danger of being kicked out of the Big10.

          • Manifesto says:

            @NPB:

            As Prophet said, in the end it doesn’t matter if Delany is replaced with someone even more shrewd, because ultimately the decision comes down to the university presidents. I don’t see the presidents tossing a fellow school under the bus.

          • N.P.B. says:

            One final thing on Texas (or any school) and the Big Ten. If Texas enters the Big Ten in 2010, they will have just as many rights and privileges as any other Big Ten school. It doesn’t matter that they’d be a new member. If Texas has different priorities, the original Big Ten schools will have to deal with them. At some point, Texas would want a Texas alum in the commissionership. What then? They’ll set up a voting bloc with Missouri and Nebraska, etc, and twist arms. Nothing is certain as to what could happen to Northwestern in the future. Especially dealing with possible egomaniacs at Texas and Rutgers.

            The Big East is an interesting example. The conference was set up as a basketball conference, and for ten years functioned as one, first and foremost, with incredible success. Now, for the past 20 years, it’s been caving in to the whims of football schools… so that original members St. John’s and Georgetown have to listen to the demands of West Virginia? People on other blogs loosely throwing out the idea of booting out original members Seton Hall and Providence, so that Louisville and South Florida can be retained via invites to Memphis and East Carolina?

            We can believe that Northwestern is safe because of the long Big Ten tradition, but keep in mind that when you invite in TEXAS, you’re inviting in the school, their alums, their traditions, their egos, their whims, their entire history and culture, all of which have little connection to Big Ten traditions. You may not recognize the Big Ten in ten years.

          • m (Ag) says:

            N.P.B.-

            The idea that Texas will join the Big 10 to orchestrate a campaign to throw out Northwestern is so bizarre that I can only guess you intended it as comedy.

            Otherwise, I’d say you’ve taken the idea of secret conspiracies behind conference expansion way too far.

          • N.P.B. says:

            m (Ag):

            Sorry I didn’t explain my thoughts well enough. My point is not some “Texas conspiracy”… it’s that realities change… priorities change. Texas wouldn’t enter the Big Ten with underlying motives, but in 5, 8, 10 years, a different set of realities may exist. This is true if you’re talking about a 1,500 pound tiger (Texas) being invited into the conference, which has absolutely nothing in common with Northwestern.

            The Big Ten should invite schools that are enthusiastic about joining, and have solid academic and athletic backgrounds. Go with Pitt, Missouri, and Nebraska. Pitt is a no-brainer. Mizzou is stable and solid and enthusiastic. Nebraska would be a great balance. Go to 14.

            Syracuse is only as good as Boeheim, and after he leaves, they may turn into a St.John’s basketball-wise. Rutgers has too big an annoyingly enormous ego, similar to Boston College. Texas– forget about them– the Big Ten would lose its soul– too many cultural differences.

          • m (Ag) says:

            “Texas– forget about them– the Big Ten would lose its soul– too many cultural differences.”

            Could you list some of these ‘cultural differences’ that will come up in conference votes?

          • Rick says:

            @N.P.B.: where are you coming up with all this ego referenced trashing of Rutgers? “Enormously annoying ego”? “Egomaniacs”? What is that all about? Is it possible for you to make your points without such vitriol and trashing of Universities such as Texas, Rutgers, Boston College etc.

          • N.P.B. says:

            Rick, m (Ag):

            Ok, I re-read my post and should
            have avoided the insults.

            Peace, NPB.

          • Djinn Djinn says:

            Northwestern isn’t all that bad. Certainly not as bad as you suggest. They went 8-5 last year and took Auburn to overtime in a very good bowl game. They were 9-4 the year before.

            They’re also in the single largest market in the Big Ten footprint, a market arguably more important to college football viewers than LA or NY. A market that is home to the CIC and the Big Ten itself.

            They’re also a very good academic school with good research numbers.

            Other than their purple uniforms, why would anyone kick them out?

          • PSUGuy says:

            In fairness to those wondering about Texas’ motives in this expansion scenario…

            Texas was the only major power in the old SWC conference for about 80 years.

            When that conference died it tried desperately to get into the Pac and Big 10 rather than get “lumped” in with the Big8. After failing (and being forced by the Texas State Legislature) it joined in the Big12, but happily left behind (rightly or wrongly) most of its old SWC teams. During its stint in the Big12, it has taken a distinctively “Texas (school) Centric” view on things…ie unequal profit sharing and shot down a Big12 Network in favor of a purely “Texas” network (where no profits would be shared). Now it remains absolutely silent as its conference potentially falls apart around it (even the BigEast is trying to save things).

            Part of me wonders if Texas is that chick who knows she just won’t find happiness with the ones she’s with so she buys time and protects herself for now. The other wonders if Texas is that cold hearted self-centered b#$%^ who’s always looking out for number one while looking to throw anyone under the bus to make the best situation possible.

            Fact is, I think the Big10 is that stubborn independent SOB who will tell Texas to screw off if it thinks Texas can tell them to boot NW. Conference membership to the Big10 is damned near family (as someone mentioned, Chicago is still in the CIC) and family is listened to, respected, protected, and yes fought with sometimes…but never thrown away for something “better”.

            If Texas can buy into this mindset, no problems. I just can understand why folks on the outside looking in could see some blemishes on Texas’ appearance.

          • zeek says:

            I agree with everything you’re saying PSUGuy, and I also think that 100% the Big Ten would say “absolutely no” to any school that offered to conditionally.

            I would also go so far as to say that if the Big Ten did invite Rutgers or Syracuse or UConn that the invite would not be conditional.

            Even if Syracuse can’t bring the NYC market, it’s not like their membership will come up to a vote in 2020 or something; we’re inviting them for the long haul. The invited schools will presumably get invited to the CIC, etc.

            The Big Ten will not be expelling schools. Delaney has the power to run the conference affairs and that includes the Big Ten, but there’s no way a commissioner could ever suggest or think about kicking out a school. The conference would fire him the day he floated the idea.

      • chris 7165 says:

        The B10 will kick out Ohio State and Michigan before it kicks out Northwestern

        • Mike R says:

          True, that.

          The Big 10 may be chary of inviting new private schools, given the nature of the vast majority of conference members, but Northwestern has a legacy in the league and it will stay as long as it chooses to.

    • indysportsfan says:

      I agree that we’re headed to super conferences, but the problem with the school alignments you have are that:

      The Pac-10 isn’t extremely motivated to add schools AND there is that little unanimous consent requirement to add schools. Adding BYU, Tech, Boise, New Mexico and UNLV are going to be REAL stretches for a league with Stanford, Cal and Washington in it.

      I could see a Kansas St. being in the same position as A&M is with Texas — political forces mandating those two schools stick it out together.

      I think Cincy makes it into a top 64 league simply because of TV sets…its a top 25 MSA and the BTN is the only league where there is currently overlap…maybe UK a little for the SEC, but not really. Plus once Cincy grows into Dayton and they become a combined MSA (a la Dallas Ft worth) — it will be even larger.

      While it hasn’t been mentioned, I think eventually ND could use Independence to its advantage — if you’re a national brand that is the only one without its own network and the other conferences have their own networks — ND provides live college football programming that the other networks aren’t getting because of the limited supply thanks to BTN like product. I could see the same with Texas as a potential independent?

      • Redhawk says:

        @indysportsfan

        Well, the Pac-10 and their 100% vote rule is a HUGE issue to over come. But they have to figure out how. I agree that some of the teams I listed for them don’t fit with their current model. But if the Super-64 is going to happen, and if the Pac-10 is one of them, they will have to figure it out.

        And…while we are discussing it above, if expansion is blocked 9-1 and that one is Stanford, well, some schools in the Pac-10 are really hungry and desperate. I’m not saying they get kicked out, but I’m sure there would be arm twisting, and unlike the Big-10…the Pac-10 I think will change the rules out of desperation, and necessity.

        As for Kansas St. political connections to Kansas, I could see that. I could see your arguement with Ciny. The issue coming up with 64 teams, is some one with a good arguement DOES get left out. Like I posted who goes where is really pure speculation. I mean I could see T. Tech left out pretty easily.

        As for ND or Texas independence goes, I personally don’t see either. The way I see it is the if your not one of the 64…you are D-1A. There is no place for you to get into the playoffs as an independent team as the spots are locked up with the 4 conference winners in the way I think it plays out. This is about keeping the playoff TV money tied up, in the fewest hands as possible. Opening it up to a 5th conference or to independent teams opens it up to too many.

        • Stopping By says:

          @ Redhawk. been discussed here before but in the event of a 9-1 vote on expansion from the Pac 10 or in other terms: one team impeding 9 other schools attempt at generating much needed additional revenue – whats to stop the 9 from seceding from the Pac 10 and just joining the additional members in the creation of a new conference?

          • @Stopping By – It depends upon who that 1 dissenting vote is. If it’s Washington State, I think that the other Pac-10 schools will bolt. If it’s Stanford, though, who every university president wants its own school to aspire to in terms of a top notch academic school with a great sports program, that’s a different story. Stanford is going to carry disproportionate influence in the conference – I don’t think that the university presidents are going to pull the trigger on disassociating themselves from that school.

          • m (Ag) says:

            Stanford has disproportionate influence, but everything I’ve read indicates Pac 10 athletic programs have been hit hard by the recession. Stanford itself has had to make cuts.

            If the other 11 schools walk away and join with the schools they want to add, they’ll leave a spot open for Stanford. At that point, would Stanford really refuse to join?

            It’s better for Stanford to avoid this, because the new constitution would probably eliminate the unanimous vote requirement, which Stanford would like to keep for other votes. So if 11 schools line up for expansion, I think Stanford would have to go along with it. Of course, if there are other schools who don’t feel strongly about expansion, Stanford will get it’s way.

          • Manifesto says:

            @m(Ag):

            For all of our concern about Stanford, does anyone know about USC? USC’s been the big dog in that conference for so long. Would they even want an 800lb gorilla like Texas challenging them? From a recruiting standpoint it’s a slam dunk, with 2/3 of the largest football states under one conference.

          • m (Ag) says:

            I don’t really know what anyone in particular wants in the Pac 10. Well, they’d all like money and academic prestige.

            Perhaps USC would be happier with only second tier programs added to their conference. They are probably more financially sound than the other programs, so they may feel less urgency.

            Then again, they may want the extra money + football prestige that would come with adding some top programs to the Pac 10.

          • Wes Haggard says:

            You asked about UDC. I know for a fact that Mike Garrett, who is the USC AD would joyfully welcome A&M and Texas into the conference. Mike has made that statement to my son.

          • Wes Haggard says:

            USC not UDC.

          • Manifesto says:

            @Wes: Well, that’s good enough for me. I retract my question regarding USC. :)

        • Mike R says:

          @indysportsfan:

          I think a clear majority in the Pac-10 favor expansion, and are keen to do so. That’s the main reason for hiring a pro like Larry Scott, who didn’t come cheap.

          @Frank the Tank:

          The Pac-10, as I understand it, also saw USC threaten to take a walk 3 years ago when Stanford balked at taking ASU along with Arizona. So while I don’t think the “9” would at the end of the day walk away from the “1,” they could use that threat to force Stanford’s hand if it were to balk at, say, Texas A&M. Having said that, your point stands that Stanford — because it is in many ways the academic flagship of the conference — has disproportionate sway. But there are limits.

  30. mushroomgod says:

    testing

  31. pennstgrad says:

    I still like the 2 phase expansion idea. Add Nebraska, Syracuse and Rutgers in phase #1. Give ND the ultimatum that’s it’s them or Pitt. If ND still doesn’t bite then add Pitt and Missouri. If ND caves in and comes on board then add ND and Missouri with Pitt the odd man out.

  32. JB says:

    I forgot that Syracuse once had a proud football program. It has a long way to go if they want to get it back to these days:

    Syracuse @ Wisconsin brawl

    http://blog.syracuse.com/sports/2010/05/former_su_player_joe_ehrmann_g.html

  33. DCphx says:

    Here’s my pod set.
    -I think divisions with 2 rotating pods every other year is the best way to maintain balance and keep every team connected. With a 9 game conference schedule, you’d be 2 years on 2 years off for every team in the conference. Pods A & B always opposite, Pods C & D always opposite.
    -I think it is best to divide the newcomers up in their pods for the most part to help create new rivalries and meld them into the new conference.
    -I wanted to keep the most significant rivalries connected (UM-OSU, IA-MN-WI triangle, UM-MSU, IU-PU, UI-NW).
    -Fortunately some of the newcomers have some real easy rivalries that geographically make great sense (UI-MO, PSU-Pitt, NB-IA-WI)
    -The sticking point in every mix I tried was UI-NW and IU-PU, those 4 geographically fit and have numerous trophies and current protected games.
    -The second sticking point was PSU. Either they were going to anchor their own pod or they were going to go in with UM-OSU. As much as they want to play UM-OSU every year, I sacrificed that to give them Pitt every year. They would rotate between a home-away with UM & OSU to a home-away with NB & IA (who seems to have their number). So their annual schedule would see one home visit from UM, OSU, NB or IA every single year.
    -I put Rutgers with UM-OSU-MSU because I think it would benefit the conference to have either UM or OSU playing in New Jersey every year.
    -Syracuse is really out of position and if Syracuse was replaced by Kansas, this set up would really fit better.

    Pod A
    Nebraska
    Minn
    Iowa
    Wisc

    Pod B
    MI
    OSU
    MSU
    Rutgers

    Pod C
    Illinois
    NW
    Syracuse
    Missouri

    Pod D
    Pitt
    PSU
    IN
    Purdue

    • davidpsu says:

      Do the teams from Pod A and Pod B ever meet?

    • Dcphx says:

      Yes. A & B (as well as C & D) would play 2 teams from their opposing pod every year, plus 3 games in their own pod and 4 games in their matched up division pod.

      So for Pod A.
      3 games with Pod A teams
      4 games with Pod C teams
      2 games with Pod B teams

      That stays the same for 2 years (home/away for each matchup). Then C & D swap.

      Pod A then gets
      3 games with Pod A teams
      4 games with Pod D teams
      2 games with Pod B teams (the 2 teams they didn’t play the cycle before).

      It sounds difficult at first to get your head around but it’s really simple. You have 3 preserved rivalries and everyone else you’re playing 2 on 2 off.

  34. mushroomgod says:

    Frank and others….

    Concerning expansion $ #s….they don’t seem to add up…

    Big 10 teams got a reported $22M from tv rev last year.

    The ABC/CBS deals average 9.27/year over 10 years, but are lower in the early years—83M in year 1…so network $ may have been 8.5 or so per team lasy year…

    BTN rights fees, independent of profit sharing, were 6.3M lasy year.

    So that’s 14.8M or so in rights fees. One would assume the remainder (7.2M or so) would be profit sharing..

    But BTN has a repoted 35M subscribers, 26M in it’s “footprint”

    If BTN cleared .36/month on 26M sub, that would be 10.21M per team. Adding in the others at .05 a pop would add another 1/2M or so, taking it to roughly 10.7M, prior to consideration of adv revenues.

    The Big 10 would have to pay the cable companies a share…..not sure what %, but throwing in a reasonable # there, things still don’t add up………

    • gjlynch17 says:

      The difference is advertising revenue. Your other numbers are consistent with my understanding. In one of Frank’s earlier posts, a media executive ran through the numbers. The variables in your analysis are ad revenue and other BTN expenses. I used a WAG method of estimating them based upon ad revenues making up 40% of total revenues and $150M of operating expenses (all expenses other than rights fees) and that comes up with approximately $7M / school, which is your difference.

      Sub Revenue $235M
      Advertising Revenue $156M
      Rights Fees $(70M)
      Other Expenses $(150M)
      $172M

      Big Ten percentage 51%
      $88M
      12
      $7.3M per school

      • mushroomgod says:

        The rights fees are seperate from the profit calculations.

        Assuming 235M sub rev plus 156adv rev minus 150M expenses, you’d have 241M profit, or 12.29M to each team.

        12.29M plus BTN rights fees of 6.3M plus ABC/CBS network fees of 8.5M (guess) would be over 27M per team.

        • gjlynch17 says:

          I backed the rights fees of ~$70M out in the calculations above. The three components I have are:

          ABC/ESPN rights fees ($8.0M)
          BTN rights fees ($6.5M)
          BTN revenue sharing ($7.2M)

          • mushroomgod says:

            Using your #s, 235M + 156 -150 equals 241M. 51% of that is app. 123M. Divided by 11 is 11.18M

            That would be each teams share of profits.

            11.18 + 8.0 + 6.5 equals 25.68M per team.

            Not sure where you came up with $150M expenses. That sounds like a lot….but reduce adv rev by 41M and the #s may be close….

    • Patrick says:

      mushroomgod,

      I know you had mentioned the rights fees before, but do you have any documentaion on that? The BTN seems to be very restrictive with their numbers. I am thinking that the added programing is what is really going to drive expansion.

  35. UofMinMaryland says:

    Sorry if someone already said this but I didn’t get to read through every comment, but why would we kill both the Big East and the Big 12 and not get either of the big dogs?

    I feel like taking the good half of the Big 12 is a better proposition if we were to go to 16 teams.

    With Texas and Texas A&M we would lock down the state of Texas and gain two very good research institutions. With Missouri we would get higher carriage rates for St. Louis and get part of the KC market. With Kansas we would lock down the other half of the KC market and gain a premier basketball program. Then Nebraska brings a premier football program with a great fan base that will travel anywhere. And all a large state flagship research institutions which fit the Big Ten profile.

    With the Syracuse, Pitt, Rutgers, Mizzou, and Nebraska combination you are hoping that the combination of Big East schools will get the NY and NJ markets but with Texas and Texas A&M you know you’ll get the entire state of Texas. Plus Missouri is more valuable with Kansas since the combination gets the whole KC market and higher carriage rates.

    And then the Big 12 schools are just more competitive in football and basketball than the Big East schools.

    Maybe if ND is swapped with Pitt it makes sense but we just killed the Big 12 why not go after Texas? I guess they could go independent but I don’t think they would have enough quality programming to get their own network off the ground. And they would still need a deal to get their football games nationally televised unless they are ok with having every home game on the Longhorn Network. They could also find shelter in the PAC 10 but they wouldn’t get nearly as much money as they would in the Big Ten and then there is the two time zone difference and the unanimous voting of the PAC 10.

    Any thoughts?

    • Michael says:

      @UofMinMaryland,

      I agree, and I imagine you go directly to 16 in this scenario because you´ve been told by Notre Dame and the Texas schools that they will never join the conference.

      I really can´t see that happening though – until things shake out why would you shut the door on any scenario? And because of that, like you say and Frank has said in the past, I don´t see 16 making sense. Nebraska + one or both of the others and it could happen – short of that though, I think we take three and wait out the storm.

      I think we all need to be careful finding truth in any of these rumors. As for this one in particular, I call BS.

      • davidpsu says:

        I’m with Michael. I think that since the most appealing candidates are off the table, take 3 and call it a day. A 14 team Big Ten that includes Nebraska is the TOP Conference in the country. After the other top candidates see how much $ is being made, they may reconsider in a few years.

        • jcfreder says:

          Agreed. If taking 3 can start monumental shifts in CFB, you don’t need to take 16 and then not have room for Tex or ND. Start the ball rolling and then mae another move once the landscape has been softened up.

    • Wes Haggard says:

      YEP, this whole post is just too logical. Back to Frank’s original index, if expansion does not have Texas or Notre Dame, no expansion makes sense. Larry in Baton Rouge says don’t expand unless you expand with schools that have a following and will be watched. So Right! If Rutgers, Missouri, Syracuse and UConn are not pulling big TV ratings now, what makes the Big Ten think that all of a sudden the leopard would change its spots? Your expansion idea mirrors another post on a totally different blog by a Michigan man. Football is King in the Big Ten and in Texas and in Nebraska and your post brings the KINGS to the King of conferences.

      • ezdozen says:

        That doesn’t make sense.

        Create a conference with Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa St., Purdue, Indiana, Illinois, and Northwestern and see what kind of ratings it gets in Chicago.

        It is the mega-schools that drive the revenue stream–Ohio St., Michigan, Nebraska, Penn St. If Ohio St. plays Northwestern… people will watch. If Ohio St. plays Rutgers… people will watch. If Penn St. plays Syracuse…people will watch. And so on.

        I originally hated the pods, but now I see the brilliance. You put one traditionally dominant school in each pod. Any of those schools coming to town will create interest.
        And none face a daunting task to success, despite being challenged.

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        Wes – I’m Alan from Baton Rouge, but that’s OK. Larry in Baton Rouge may have said something else, but I’ve always said that the reason for Big Ten expansion is different from the reason for SEC expansion.

        The BTN is pushing Big Ten expansion, as we all know. More subscribers = more money for the Big Ten.

        The SEC has a different deal. The SEC’s equivalent to the BTN is the ESPN-produced SEC Network. It is syndicated throughout the SEC footprint and in at least 15 states outside the footprint. Generally speaking, the SEC Network game competes with the early Big Ten ESPN game. The SEC’s partner, ESPN, has a greater interest in the reach of syndication than the SEC. The SEC gets a flat fee per year.

        The SEC would only expand if CBS & ESPN pay for it. If CBS & ESPN thought the SEC could get two of the following teams – Texas, Oklahoma, Miami, Florida State, the networks would probably jump. If all four aren’t available, stick in A&M, OK State, Texas Tech, Clemson or Georgia Tech in one or two of the other spots, and it still works. A bigger footprint is not a big deal for the SEC.

        Big name teams that all have had recent success, ie BCS championships, means compelling match-ups, means big ratings, means higher ad rates, means more money. That’s the SEC’s formula for expansion.

        • PSUGuy says:

          Completely agree, though I think you can see the conundrum in that there aren’t that many big time programs left in “weak” conferences so the expansion of this model is quickly coming to a head.

          Realistically I could see the SEC adding Oklahoma…maybe a Texas team. Other than that what big time programs are out there?

          Maybe that’s enough, and fair enough on that, but is the SEC really going to be content with the likes of Indiana making more than Florida or Alabama?

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            PSUGuy – I’m not sure if the likes of Indiana is really making more than Florida or Alabama. One point that a lot of people are missing in the SEC/CBS/ESPN contracts is that the individual schools can sell their own inventory of games after CBS & ESPN takes their picks.

            For example, LSU sells its surplus inventory to Cox – the biggest cable provider in Louisiana.

            That’s why I’ve been saying all along that Texas would have to take a hard look at SEC membership, since the SEC contracts wouldn’t prevent Texas from starting a Longhorn TV network.

          • PSUGuy says:

            Perhaps thats true, but my statement was coming from the realm of conference money.

            Even with its new big deal the SEC payout will be ~$17 million. Indiana got ~$22 million last year from the Big10.

  36. gas1958 says:

    Thanks for everyone’s posts. Not to duplicate, but two points:
    (1) Hard to see Cincinnati in the 64-team super division without booting teams that, many seem to agree, will not be evicted (Northwestern will always be in the Big Ten).
    (2) As a Texan who went to Michigan and lives in Ohio, I think the key to the
    Big 10 becoming THE top conference is UT (Texas). I don’t think Nebraska going will force Texas’ hand, rather UT joining would then give the Big Ten the ability to pick whomever else they want–and the list of schools wanting to join would be long, perhaps even ND.
    This is perhaps reflective of a built-in bias, but I think UT makes any conference it joins No. 1.

    • eapg says:

      Depends, I suppose, on what you mean by “top conference”. As far as money payout to schools, the Big Ten is in that perch. If you’re talking a combination of payouts and football dominance, then it’s the SEC. And I agree with the idea presented here that it’s very doubtful Texas will go the SEC route, but not for the academic reasons proffered. Texas won’t go to the SEC because they will get pwned on the football field in that conference, and there won’t be one heckuva lot they can do about it. And if there is anything Texas can’t abide, it’s not being in control and top dog. Good luck with that in the SEC. Or the Big Ten. Maybe they could share power with USC in the Pac 10, even that’s an iffy proposition. The more one thinks about it, the more one leans toward the Texas and the Tomato Cans Conference model after this all shakes out, if they can find enough schools who wish to be wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Longhorn Network.

      • Hopkins Horn says:

        I love to read such unbiased and insightful analysis like this. I feel all the better informed for it.

        • eapg says:

          You yourself have stated that losing Nebraska and Missouri would be of no great loss to the Big 12, that Texas, er, the Big 12 to 10 can do fine without them. It’s your opinion, just not put in a way that you can appreciate.

          It’s all conjecture anyway, someone will guess right and most will guess wrong. If we could predict the future we’d be living in a really nice mansion in Vegas, no?

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            Yes, I have stated that the Big XII could survive without Nebraska and Mizzou. I have also consistently stated that the conference would be weakened if those two schools left, no matter which two schools out there realistically being floated as replacement schools were plugged in their place.

            There is nothing inconsistent in noting both of those.

            (I also believe that the conference would be weakened, but would survive, if it chose not to replace NU and Mizzou at all, if that makes you feel better.)

            That’s a far cry from writing the equivaent of what you wrote, that the real reason that NU wants to leave the Big XII is that the Huskers are tired of being “pwned” on the field by the Horns.

            There’s many reasons to speculate why schools might go in different directions, but to say that the reason Texas wouldn’t go to the SEC is that Texas would be “pwned on the football field” and that Texas desires to be in a conference of tomato cans (we did leave the tomato cans behind when we joined the Big XII, remember?) when this is all said and done is laughable and far below the level of analysis most of contributors here demonstrate.

          • eapg says:

            If you had actually owned us, it’d be a valid statement. In actuality, we’ve been quite competitive, even through our down cycle, although somewhat snakebit lately. If it makes you feel any better, we’d get pwned in the SEC also, at least for a while until we could get up to speed. It’s a bitch of a football conference on the field. We certainly wouldn’t go in thinking we had to run things to our advantage and to everyone else’s disadvantage.

            As far as the quality of my contributions, well lahdeedah. Have Frank give me the boot if they’re so beneath you.

  37. davidpsu says:

    adding

  38. I think that we would do well to remember the failed WAC experiment. While the Big 10 does have obviously better revenue stream in place, part of the WAC problem was dissention amongst it’s members (the good academic schools resented the bad ones). I only see a 16 team model really working if it is: 1) a big 10-big 12 merger; or 2) the NY model with ND as the ceterpiece. Otherwise, you end up with a collection of schools from different regions of the country with little in common. If interested, check out my analysis on this topic at: http://thepolesposition.com/2010/04/22/a-history-lesson-the-case-against-a-16-team-super-conference/. Once again Frank, good job staying on top of things.

    • PSUGuy says:

      @Michael Ziemba
      Which is another reason why I think the Big10, and only the Big10, can expand to 16 anytime soon. Not only does it have the BTN which allows it to pass the point of diminishing marginal returns, but all its schools are very like minded in their goals.

      AAU, Top 100-150 ARWU, hundreds of millions in research, large student populations, major athletics programs (not just in football, all collegiate athletics).

      If the right mix of schools is added, no more than one or two of those characteristics would be broken for any of the members. Schools that have proven “they are Big10″ without even being in the conference would likely share world-views with the already existing members…like-wise the current Big10 members wouldn’t have to worry that their view of what the Big10 is now would be changing radically with the addition of new members.

      Folks talk about the likes of WVU joining the ACC or Texas joining the SEC in 16 team superconferences though and then, yes you’re point is very valid.

    • mushroomgod says:

      I do have “culture concerns” when it comes to Rutgers, Syracuse, U Conn…none with Mo, Neb, KU, Pitt….

      Rutgers looks so much like a BT school that I think they’ll be a good fit….Rutgers has been beaten down so much image wise that I’m curious to see what it can do….Syracuse, on the other hand, is a small, private, liberal arts-focused university….The best thing Syracuse has going for it is basketball…..however, the SU basketball program has nowhere to go but down in the BT…..if that happens, the BT gets the blame with SU fans…Syracuse is also probably the school that has been most devoted to the Big East….basketball coach Jim B. keeps talking about how it will be a mistake to leave…finally, Syr doesn’t look like any Big 10 school, even NW. NW has 8000-9000 grad students to 5000 for Syr., does 10X the research, and has 10X the endowment…

      • Michael Z. says:

        mushroom good, for your reasons, I just don’t see Syracuse as a good fit culturally. All the other factors seem to make sense. For the same reason, I have recently cooled on ND. While there are obvious benefits, the small school Catholic no real R&D grants makes them a bad fit in my opinion.

        PSU guy, I agree. The Big 10 has the best chance of all to pull off 16 for the very reasons you stated. Stating the obvious, they still need to be careful. The morst different interests you bring in, the more likelihood there is for problems.

      • PSUGuy says:

        IMO, Rutgers is a Big10 school through and through. Its Pitt without the athletic pedigree. Also, UConn = Kansas (actually its better than Kansas for some categories), it only lacks the AAU status.

        Kinda agree on the Syracuse thing though. Its seems they try to walk a fine line between being the only Div1 school in NY and being a smaller “New England” college that seems to more prevelant thereabouts.

        I do think however, if the Big10 offers it an invite ‘Cuse starts putting more effort into research/academics and expanding its student body to more closely resemble Northwestern (could we start calling it “Northeastern”?).

        • mushroomgod says:

          Syracuse would be a dramatic departure from the Big 10 norm.

          Total 2008 R&D totals:

          Wis 882M
          UM 876
          OSU 703
          PSU 701
          Minn 683
          Pitt 596
          Ill 501
          NW 484
          Pur 430
          IU 412
          MSU 357
          Neb 349
          Rut 323
          Iowa 294
          Mo 245
          UConn 226
          Kan 215
          ND 97
          Syr 38

          I believe I also read that Syracuse has a $545M endowment, which compares to $6B + for ND, $5B+ for NW.

          I hope people open their eyes and realize Syracuse is not an elite university. It is nothing like Northwestern.It is nothing like ND. And it has less research $ than U of Wisc. at Milwaukee, Jackson St., Wright State, UTEP, UNLV, or Toledo.

          • PSUGuy says:

            Understood and agreed.

            Only questions then are:
            1) Do you think Syracuse would be amenable to pushing hard to change that if a Big10 invite were forthcoming?

            2) Do you think UConn could be a Syracuse replacement?

          • mushroomgod says:

            No on Syracuse “changing” to the extent necessary to fit in with the other BT teams.

            Syracuse is a darn good private school, but not “elite” in the same sense as NW or ND. However, for Syracuse to try to change to be more like the Big 10 model would be the tail wagging the dog. It’s one thing to ask schools to add a sport or two or to improve their facilities to be more competitive–it’s another to ask them to change the very nature of the university. If I was an SU alum, I’d be offended at the suggestion….

            And no Rox, that’s not what the Big 10 would ask of ND either. Association with Big 10 Us might make a school lean in one direction or another, but that choice is left to the adm., faculty, and alums of the school, not the remaining BT schools.

            As to U Conn., I’d absolutely take it over Syracuse…bigger school, public, 7X the research, and nearly as selective in admissions. Plus, everything I’ve read indicates that U Conn has athletic and academic momentum on it’s side — Syracuse, not so much — SU’s total research budget is less than 2001, the CD is an aging facility, the football program is down….

            However, the lack of AAU status seems like a killer for U Conn., even though they’ll be there in 5 -10 years.

            I’ve been very surprised and disappointed in the lack of imagination the Big 10 appears to be showing to date….seems like the “study” that was done was geared toward confirming the original 5 of ND, RU, Syracuse, Pitt, Missouri…I can’t imagine why U Conn., KU, and Neb. weren’t included to be studied in depth….makes you wonder….

          • ezdozen says:

            Mushroomgod…. 90% of posts are anti-Syracuse. Seems to be one of the biggest concerns in your life is keeping Syracuse out of the Big 10.

    • Michael says:

      @ Michael Z,

      I agree. I think the conference needs to focus on one goal and then do everything in it´s power to carry it out.

      Is the purpose of this expansion to capture the NY market? If it is, fine, but let´s do it right. It needs to be ND, Pitt, Syracuse, Rutgers and UConn.

      If we´re looking to expand the conference West and really lock down the heart of the country, go with five from the Big 12.

      I think the problem we run into, however, is appeasing both sides of the Big 10. How do you sell an all-East expansion to Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin? Or, on the other hand, would PSU, Michigan, OSU and NU buy into an all-West expansion?

      For my part, I´ve made it clear that I prefer the latter of the two, as it better fits the Big 10 culture, as I see it.

      It should go without saying, but a job well done is better than two done half-ass.

      • @Michael – If the Big Ten adds these 5 schools, I think it’s really a “Northern” strategy. It would have all of the AAU members of the BCS north of the Mason Dixon Line and east of the Rockies except for Iowa State, Kansas and Maryland. So, I think that this combo actually makes sense in that regard as a collective as opposed to jumping to various markets. Now, I frankly don’t care at all about making geographic jumps to get schools like Texas and Texas A&M, but maybe the Big Ten university presidents think differently. This combo also has a lot more firepower if one of those Eastern schools is replaced with Notre Dame, yet we’ve discussed whether that will happen ad nauseum.

      • PSUGuy says:

        Which is why I think the 5 spoken to work so well.

        You add a national brand on the west, where one was lacking, and another solid market there as well. In the east you add lots of markets and make a legitimate play for NYC. If you really want to be serious, ditch Pitt and add UConn (don’t necessarily argue for that or think it will happen, but you get the point).

        Plus, the additions, and their locations, make creating 4 divisions relatively easy.

        As I said elsewhere, it just seems to well balanced plan that maximizes $$$ while minimizing risk.

      • UofMinMaryland says:

        I don’t think any Michigan fans would have any problem with going west. I think JoPa has always wanted a more natural rival in the east but besides PSU why would anyone (Michigan, MSU, OSU, or NU included) care if we added quality schools in the west?

        I think we seem to be on the same page though as far as our personal thoughts on expansion strategies are conserned.

        On a side note, I wonder why so many in the MSM seem to think the Big Ten will only go after the low hanging fruit though? How many schools when asked if they would like a $10M+ increase in their annual budget and an equity stake in a growing and profitable TV network would say no? I can think of only one. The Big Ten can afford to be picky in my opinion.

        • loki_the_bubba says:

          There are two that can say no. After that, it’s pretty much ALL low hanging fruit.

        • PSUGuy says:

          The reason why UoM and OSU want to go east is because that’s where many of their alumni go. It’d turn in to “home” away games. Not so much the further into the mid-west you go. The same can be said for PSU. There’s a reason JoePa wanted to start a conference there…big time populations mean lots of jobs, where large schools (like most of the Big10) will send a disproportionate amount of graduates.

          NY/NJ/MD are Big10 states without having Big10 schools. Add the right schools and they become purely Big10 states.

          Loki has the right idea about the low hanging fruit though.

          • Justin says:

            OSU doesn’t have as large an East Coast presence as Michigan.

            Michigan has far more out-of-state students then OSU.

    • Jake says:

      If academic standing had been a problem in the old WAC, the MWC schools probably wouldn’t have left Rice, SMU and TCU behind when they split. The MWC schools left because a. their long-standing rivalries were being diluted in the mega-WAC, and b. they realized they could get just as good of a TV contract and split it half as many ways.

  39. indysportsfan says:

    We’re all discussing pods, but I agree with Alvarez that anything in this area is just imagination. So here are some what-if scenarios, just throwing it out there.

    What if instead of adding the schools you mentioned, you instead added an entire league? What I’m thinking happens a couple ways, but what if the BTN went ESPN and added another league such as the Big East to its programming content, but they remained separate conferences?

    Why? You add schools and markets without the equal payment and equity that a new conference member would need and you could add 8 football schools and a premier basketball conference to really expand your programming content. On the Big East’s end — adding even 2 million per school to their existing 7 mill payout is a huge addition and I think puts them on par with the Big 12 and ACC.

    If this discussion really is about beefing up content and adding viewership — wouldn’t this have a safer and larger effect for the Big Ten and BTN then just adding straight up conference members? Heck — get rid of the guarantee games and spice up the schedule with non-conf games against the leagues or specific opponents where you have strong alumni/recruiting/tv interests a la OSU, MICH, Mich ST at Rutgers — and do so without the so-so Minn Vs. Rutgers games.

    If a league were truly thinking like a President AND a for profit network it seems like this would be the best.

    Rather than find 22million per school, now you can just find 50 million for an 8 team league or 100 million for football and all the basketball that a 16 team basketball league adds..plus hockey, etc.

    Also for the Big Ten, a move like this strengthens the Big East and allows them to go back after BC and some of the more tenuous ACC brethren to strengthen things even further..

    Outlandish? possibly.

    The other scenario I see is the July 2010 scenario — whereby the BE football schools can break away without penalty by then.

    What if Marrinatto already knows 3 schools are leaving and those schools are working with the league office to find appropriate homes for the other 5. Its 5 million per school and 27 months of awkwardness that can be avoided if it happens. Bring on Tagliabue to convince the SEC, ACC and BIG 12 that its in their interest to provide a home for 1-3 of the available BE schools and within a shorter time frame the new landscape occurs and the BE saves face by making a ‘strategic shift’ to be the nation’s premier catholic basketball conference by adding Xavier, Dayton and Temple.

    Thoughts?

  40. Michael Z. says:

    Don’t know if you guys have already discussed this, but I just found it: some pressure may be put on Notre Dame by the Big East to either join them for football or leave for basketball. I have always wondered why the Big East put up with that since ND isn’t much of a player in basketball (or maybe I’m wrong on this, maybe the name still makes them a draw). Here is the link I found:

    http://ncaafootball.fanhouse.com/2010/04/30/big-east-coaches-want-notre-dame-to-get-in-or-get-out/?ncid=txtlnkusspor00000002

    • Manifesto says:

      @Michael Z:

      It’s interesting from a drama standpoint. The cracks in the Big East have been showing since this whole thing started, and it’s been looking recently like they’re beginning to eat their own (Tags’ comments, now this).

      But it’s telling that, according to Edsall at least, this has been going on for the last two years. Moreover, it’s important to note here that he points out that it’s the coaches, not the presidents or even the ADs. Therefore I doubt it has much traction.

      I will say, however, that as this builds obviously the Big Ten’s public image takes a hit. But does Notre Dame’s as well? A lot of officials from various schools and conferences have been quoted saying, “if only ND would just join this would probably be over with”. If the Big Ten kneecaps two conferences, some people are going to be raw over it. If Notre Dame stays independent, do they suffer any kind of blowback? Doubtful, but it’s something to think about I guess.

      • FLP_NDRox says:

        Perhaps ND does, but only from those so naive to think that B10 will stop at 12. Thanks to the BTN, who seriously desperately needs something to run (I can almost see a weekend of OSU and UM spring games, but when you’re rerunning NU-UVA women’s lax, you are running dangerously low on content) they won’t stop before fourteen at least.

        I’m just glad ND didn’t hire Edsall. Anyone who fails to realize that ND would leave before joining in football and that the Big Ten raid will continue regardless is not going to make it as the ND head coach. He also needs waaay more tact.

    • @Michael Z – I think that it’s too little too late to do that to ND. Putting aside the fact that it would take a unanimous vote to kick ND out and the Catholic schools and those angling for Big Ten invites wouldn’t do it, ND actually emboldens the Big Ten for adding multiple Eastern schools. The main value of ND besides the national brand name is its NYC/East Coast fan base,

  41. JJ says:

    I think this is simple. No “divisions”, no real “pods” and you keep the 8 week schedule if 14 teams and go to 9 if 16.

    Each team has 3 “designated” rivals, much like they do now. They play these teams every year. For example, Michigan’s would be OSU, MSU and Minn.

    Then, you play exactly one-half of the others 5 (if 14 teams) or 6 (if 16 teams) every year. Each school would have its own 2 “pods” of teams, if you will. This way you play everyone at least every 2 years.

    Then, the top 2 finishers play for the championship. No unbalanced “divisions” to worry about.

  42. Rich says:

    I think the BT should go to 20 schools. If you whore yourself out for money, why not really go for it.

    For football, 4 divisions of 5 teams. You play your division rivals each year. You play all five teams from another division for a total of nine games. You’d have a semi final round played at two campus sites and a BT championship game played at rotating neutral sites. Sites could include Minneapolis, Chicago, Detroit, Indy, St Louis, Kansas City, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philly, New York. You rotate the divisions so that each school plays every school at least once per three years.

    For basketball, no divisions. You would play each team once per season so you would get a full round-robin and you would play every team every year. The schedule would be equatable this way. Top 12 make the BT tournament with the top four seeded into the quarterfinals.

    Can you imagine a Big Ten football championship played at Yankee Stadium? That would be pretty cool.

    Added schools:
    Syracuse
    UConn
    Rutgers
    Pitt
    Nebraska
    Missouri
    Kansas
    Iowa State
    Colorado

    Divisions:
    Syr, UConn, Pitt, Rutgers, PSU

    OSU, UM, MSU, IU, PU

    WI, MIN, NW, ILL, IA

    ISU, NU, MO, KU, CU

    The Big XII collapses. Oklahoma, Okla St join the SEC.

    Texas and A&M join the Pac 10.

    Texas Tech, Baylor and Kansas State join the MWC giving the MWC a championship game.

    WVU, Louisville, Cincy, USF join the ACC.

  43. George says:

    I know this doesn’t actually matter at all, both because the Big Ten hasn’t expanded and because preseason rankings are mostly worthless, but:

    Was looking at ESPN’s Mark Schlabach’s newest “way to early top 25″, posted today. If the Big Ten added the “fab five” today, the conference by conference comparison of the Top 25 would be:

    Big Ten (6): #3 OSU, #7 Nebraska, #9 Wisconsin, #11 Iowa, #13 Pitt, #23 Penn State
    SEC (5): #1 Alabama, #8 Florida, #14 Arkansas, #17 LSU, #20 Georgia
    ACC (5): #5 VTech, #15 FSU,#19 Miami, #21 UNC, #22 Georgia Tech
    Big 12 (3): #4 Texas, #12 Oklahoma, #25 Texas A&M
    Pac 10 (3): #10 Oregon, #15 USC, #24 Stanford
    WAC (1): #2 Boise State
    MWC (1): #6 TCU
    Big East (1): #18 Cincy

    Just food for thought.

    • Justin says:

      I’ve said it before. If the Big 10 wants to make a truly compelling case for Texas, they should secretly solicit Texas’ interest in the following proposal.

      Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Missouri to the Big 10.

      Texas keeps its two primary rivals. You would have 6 of the 7 winningest programs in the past fifty years — Neb #1, OSU #2, PSU #3, OU #5, Michigan #6 and Texas #7. You could probably add the Cotton and Holiday Bowls to your bowl game stable which includes the Citrus, Outback and Gator.

      We agree that the other four schools are academically acceptable. So does OU single-handedly kill the whole deal?

      The SEC would be hard pressed to match this move.

      • Wes Haggard says:

        Justin, I totally agree but I would replace Missouri with Kansas just because of the strength of their basketball program and the money BB amkes for them and consequesntly, would make for the new league.

        • Wes Haggard says:

          Let the SEC try to top that!

        • Michael says:

          We´ve talked about how Texas´ preference may be the status quo. The biggest problem, however, is that the Big 12 isn´t profitable enough for anyone.

          We´ve also talked about how Texas may not have a particular affinity or tie to anyone else in Texas apart from A&M.

          If you then combine the strengths of the Big 12 with the revenue, exposure and academics of the Big 10, I don´t see where Texas would object.

          We could argue that they´d prefer the Pac 10, but 1) the Big 10 is more profitable and 2) an expansion of Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and A&M would essentially keep the status quo while correcting its faults. Under that scenario, Texas would either be placed in a four school pod with A&M, Oklahoma and Kansas or placed in an 8 team Western division with the four other Big 12 teams plus Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin.

          This scenario makes too much sense, for all parties. Now, the only question is if OU would be a deal breaker for either side, and I´m not sure who feels more strongly about this issue: the Big 10 or Texas.

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            If OU were a deal-breaker for the Big 10, could KU be substituted? Or would that make this overall theoretically package not attractive enough?

            (And Justin, I can’t remember if I said so when you originally posted this idea, but I really like it.)

          • Michael says:

            If Missouri meets Big 10 academic standards then so does Kansas. From the Big 10´s standpoint, I don´t think they´d lose much athletically moving from OU to KU. You lose the Red River Rivalry but gain the Border War. I´d be interested to see Patrick´s revenue estimates for OU. You lose an elite football program but gain an elite basketball program.

            I don´t see why the Big 10 wouldn´t be fine with KU and MU but I don´t know how Texas would feel about it. Hopkins Horn, how do you and the rest of the Texas fans on here feel about making a move without OU? Would a 5 team package with A&M, KU, MU and Nebraska work?

          • Justin says:

            I cannot imagine Texas would turn down this proposal.

            I cannot imagine the Big 10 wouldn’t accept A&M, Missouri or Nebraska, so its all about OU.

            OU is still the flagship state school, so we’re not talking about adding Nevada-Reno here.

            I don’t think Texas has any interest in Kansas. They would still have to play OU in the non-conference — I don’t think Texas fans care whether Kansas ever appears on the schedule again.

            To me, the 5 school expansion of OU, NU, Mizzou and the Texas two-step is feasible — I guess the only caveat is that it would require Texas to make the first move, albeit collectively.

          • PSUGuy says:

            Oklahoma is not in the AAU. ARWU ranking in 300’s (worst ranking of any other school mentioned is Kansas/Nebraska in the 200’s…all current members are under 150). I could not find its research amounts.

            Suffice it to say Oklahoma is not a “Big10 calibre” school and I would be very surprised to see it entertained as an expansion candidate.

            As for Texas/TAMU, as discussed ad nauseum they’d be great fits in the Big10 and Texas truly is the only “perfect” candidate as far as the trifecta of athletics/academics/population.The thing is I’ve seen nothing to indicate even tangentially that Texas is considering a move to the Big10. Nebraska says things like “no comment”, Mizzou gleefully says “We’re in!”, but Texas is as quiet as a grave.

            Now maybe this is Texas keeping a lid on things till the last second so the legislature can’t get involved, but I can’t help but think Texas has some desire other than to join another conference and its just letting everyone scatter as they may till they get around to doing it.

          • Michael says:

            @PSU guy,

            Missouri and Nebraska have nothing between them and the Big 10. They would probably be willing to move whether they were by themselves, with two others, four others, etc. Long story short, there is little reason for them not to openly acknowledge this.

            Texas is a whole other beast. The only way they´d even consider a move seems to be if A&M were brought along for the ride. The scenario being talked about here would involve four other Big 12 schools and is a much more complicated and highly contingent discussion.

            If they were interested in this type of move – and why would they not be? – we wouldn´t hear anything about it unless we also heard about this specific scenario.

          • Michael says:

            Oklahoma´s R&D numbers from 2008 were $192 million. That compares to Iowa´s $293 million, Missouri´s $244 million, Kansas´ $215 million, Notre Dame´s $97 million and Syracuse´s $38 million.

            From an academic standpoint, the Big 12 would certainly have more difficult sales jobs than OU. They are clearly at least a tier above OSU, Texas Tech, KState and Baylor.

          • Redhawk says:

            @…well, in general

            For the record I have my first degree from Oklahoma. My 2nd from Colorado State.

            OU’s academics have increased tremendously over the last 15 years or so. I don’t think they will ever be members of the AAU. But OU’s academics aren’t anything to be embarrassed about. OU has built a University that the college football team can be proud of.

            However, if all MONEY WERE EQUAL, OU would join the SEC over the Big-10. There are more cultural connections. If there were a 4 team pod of OU, A&M, Arkansas, and LSU, OU fans would be very happy.

            But using that standard, Uo f Texas would join the Pac-10 as they see them selves in the same group as Cal-Berkley over the Big-10

            And my personal guess is when the Super 64 gets going, I think the SEC and the Pac-10 make a deal to split Ok. State and OU and Texas and TA&M to give both conferences present in both markets.

      • Paul says:

        That would be great! Also, it would be a lot easier to divide up the divisions

        WEST: Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota.

        EAST: Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Michigan State, Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, Northwestern.

        I don’t see why this isn’t a realistic possibility and it is infinitely more attractive than what is now being discussed with all of those Big East teams.

        • Justin says:

          This league would be a financial juggernaut — with 6 of the top 7 programs over the past fifty years, you’d probably have a chance to get on basic cable everywhere.

        • mushroomgod says:

          I can’t imagine OK in the Big 10. They are the biggest cheats this side of UK basketball….they definately belong in the SEC.

          • HoosierHusker says:

            Yes and no. As you can surmise from my name, as a Husker I know about the Sooners. 50’s-80’s, yes I would not trust them as far as I could throw them. But now they have stability with Stoops as HC and IIRC there has been only one cheating situation and that appeared to be all about a booster with no connection to the athletic department.

            Let me be very open and say that I really hate cheating and I see (IMO) a general decline in US morality but at the same time, as a long-time Husker fan, I largely to not see recent evidence of the Sooners being a cancer whether that be bad fan behavior or cheating. I’m no insider and I could be wrong, but I do pay some attention as do many Husker fans. I hear mostly positive vibes re the Sooner from Husker fans.

          • Jeepers says:

            At Syracuse, they taught us how to spell definitely correctly. HEY-O! Yeah, I’m going there. :D

      • George says:

        To me, Big 12 teams are much more desirable than any Big East team. For one thing, people in the Big 12 states actually give a shit about sports. For example, while NY/NJ is obviously a way bigger market than Nebraska, you can bet when Nebraska plays every TV in the state is set to the game. Do people that go to Rutgers/Syracuse/UConn really care to much about the athletics, let alone random people in NYC?

        However, there are some concerns with your idea.
        First, I think (but don’t really know) that OU’s academics would be a deal-breaker.
        Second, adding that many teams from a single other conference creates a “us-and-them” mentality. It would always be “the old Big Ten” and the “old Big 12″ teams.

        Also, I think that a two-division 16-team league is a terrible idea. It would divide the league, especially considering in these proposals the entire Big12 contingent would be in one division. Furthermore, why would current B10 schools want to add all these teams if there never going to play them.

        • Justin says:

          Are OU’s academics a deal breaker?

          Let’s think about a similar hypothetical.

          What if ND said they would join the Big 10 only if West Virginia were included? Would the Big 10 reject ND under those circumstances or take WVU and just hope for substantial academic advancement?

          I would guess the latter. Its the same scenario here. In fact, there is even more incentive to do the deal because OU is an athletic monster on their own.

          • George says:

            I disagree, for two reasons.

            1. WVU’s academics would be a dealbreaker
            AND
            2. There is no way the Big Ten would let ND start these sort of BS negotiations. In no way would the B10 allow ND to be “special” or get a different deal than anyone else.

        • PSUGuy says:

          While I in no way would ever want to defend a BigEast team…but you might want to read between the lines a little bit when trying to understand the NY/NJ/NYC DMA’s.

          The power of the BigEast brands comes in the form of providing local markets for already established programs to come to town. NYC ranked its favorite collegiate programs and the highest percentages were (in no particular order) Syracuse, Rutgers, UConn, PSU, OSU, Mich (which by the way does show that apparently those markets do care about their local teams). This means that when PSU comes to play Rutgers or OSU Syracuse you are going to have large local ratings because the home team fans will tune in and PSU/OSU graduates living in the area will tune also.

          Now of course ABC/ESPN will say so what, I can’t market that nationally, but the Big10 will say great, I can put it on the BTN and make a boatload doing so. Having the same team play Kansas will net much less.

          Point being we both agree on taking the whole Big12 would probably be a mistake, but I think a lot of people who are marking the Rutgers/Syracuse/UConn’s of the world as useless are going to be in for a surprise when the BTN starts releasing its profits numbers after accessing the NJ/NY/NE markets.

          • George says:

            Oh I understand the TV revenue thinking, it makes sense. Its simply unfortunate that we’re talking about adding generally poor programs that don’t really culturally fit, just as a vehicle to get BTN on basic cable in NYC and as an excuse for OSU/Mich/PSU to play games out east.

            I’m saying if I had to choose, without TV revenue or other money concerns, I would clearly take B12 teams hands down to Big East teams.

          • ezdozen says:

            How are Pitt, Rutgers, and Syracuse any historically worse than Indiana, Purdue, and Minnesota?

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        Here’s how the SEC beats that using ESPN’s All-Time Prestige Rankings.

        http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=3849468

        Under your scenario, the Big Ten picks up #5 Nebraska, #7 Texas, and #20 Texas A&M, to go along with existing members #3 Ohio State, #8 Michigan, and #11 Penn State.

        Since the Big Ten doesn’t want Oklahoma, the SEC gladly picks up #1 Oklahoma, to go along with #9 Florida State, #10 Miami, and #18 Georgia Tech. The SEC currently has #6 Alabama, #12 Tennessee, #13 LSU, #14 Georgia, #15 Florida, and #19 Arkansas.

        So the SEC picks up 4 in the all-time top 20, while the Big Ten picks up 3. The Big Ten currently has 3 members of the all-time top 20, while the SEC has 6. The Big Ten has more teams in the top 10, but the SEC has much more depth.

        I’d say the SEC wins with half of the top 20 residing in the proposed conference, while the Big Ten has only 6, but it looks like the Big Ten/SEC cartel would have just about cornered the market on historically-great football teams.

        • Patrick says:

          I guess they picked 1936 as the year to start with because of the AP poll, but it seems fairly random and definitely favors Oklahoma.

          Other teams show up in the top spot depending on what year you choose to start with, and when dealing with the AP Poll you are basing everything on humans picking teams…. and for a long time (I think through 1970 or so) the FINAL AP poll came out before the bowls were played.

          Try this fun list builder. Choose any year you want and judge by winning percentage or wins.

          http://football.stassen.com/records/compute-request.html

        • mushroomgod says:

          Alan—I don’t think the Big 10’s intent is to try to top the SEC in football. SEC will do anything, by hook or crook, to win football games. Your SEC would have 5 of the top 10 “Dirtiest NCAA Football Programs” of the last 10 years, according to Fanhouse (7/27/07)—

          #2 Oklahoma
          #4 Alabama
          #5 UK
          #8 Auburn
          #10 Miami

          What’s impressive about that is that UK saves most of it’s cheating for basketball…..

          • mushroomgod says:

            that should have read “last 20 years”….

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Mushroomgod – I wasn’t flaming, I was just responding to Justin & Wes Haggard’s earlier posts along the line of “Let’s see the SEC top that.” Personally, I wouldn’t want the SEC to take Georgia Tech. They left the SEC in the 60s.

            Regarding cheating, the SEC has certainly cleaned it act up relative to the 70s & 80s. No, the SEC isn’t as virtuous as the Big Ten, but it has improved.

          • mushroomgod says:

            Alan, I was just messing with you anyway….I would consider it a compliment to SEC fans that they wouldn’t give up their poition without a fight….shows the passion the Southern fans have for their football…

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            shroomgod – I am a Southerner, but have Midwestern roots and have much respect for the Big Ten’s institutions and their brand of football. I certainly enjoyed my Tigers whipping Ohio State for the BCS Championship a few years ago. While I didn’t like the outcome of the Tigers’ recent trips to Orlando, I had fun getting to know Iowa and Penn State fans.

            Having been to all the SEC stadiums and most parks in MLB, my next adventure in sports road trips is the Big Ten. I went to see LSU play Ohio State at the ‘Shoe back in the 80s. After Hurricane Gustav shut down Baton Rouge for a week, I took my son on a sports trip to Wisconsin back in 08. Camp Randal is a lot of fun. This, during LSU’s open date, I’m seriously considering Michigan v. Penn State at Happy Valley.

            Regarding your earlier flame about cheating, there’s an old saying: “If ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.” I can’t defend my SEC brothers, since in the last 20 years 10 SEC schools pop up in the NCAA major infraction database. The two that didn’t: Vandy & LSU. By the way, the Big Ten had five (Ohio St., Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan State & Minnesota) Of your most prominent candidates, Rutgers, Pitt & Syracuse also show up.

            None of us know for sure how all this expansion stuff will play out, but at the end of the day, the two remaining superpowers will only get stronger.

        • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

          Two points.
          1–Don’t forget that ESPN is in bed with the SEC. Bias towards their “product” is to be expected. I’m not saying SEC football sucks==just saying that it’s not unusual to see them get a bump when discussed by ESPN.

          2–If we add ND too (#4 on this little list) and I think the Big 10 is going for the home run lineup (Texas schools, Nebraska, ND, and Rutgers), then we have 7 of the top 20. The SEC might not even expand at all, and if they do, it’s no LOCK that they’d simply pick off anybody they wanted. They might take OU (but only with OkSt too…#65 in this poll) And simply getting the “best” football schools isn’t what expansion is completely about. The competition on the football field might be stiff, but the Big 10 would win in population centers if they can snag the dream team (Nebraska, Texas, aTm, ND, and Rutgers (NJ)).

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Like I said in an earlier post, I was responding to the “take that SEC” posts. I’m not sure who the SEC would take and I don’t think Mike Slive will ask me for my advice. But don’t think that whatever the Big Ten does, that they will somehow pull away from the SEC. The SEC and Big Ten are the undisputed Super Powers of college sports. Conference expansion won’t change that fact; it will just further separate the SEC and the Big Ten from the rest of the conferences.

      • djinndjinn says:

        This proposal would greatly improve the quality of programming on the BTN. I would wager more people in large markets like NYC or Boston or Philadelphia would rather watch any random combination from the pool of Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State than games with Syracuse or Rutgers. Hence, to me, this combination makes more sense than simply finding a school with an attractice population base nearby.

        It’s an interesting thought, too, to think that with an eastward expansion, the Big Ten might have to worry about how to spread the football talent out in the west to match that of the eastern powers. In this scenario, you could argue that the west (Texas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Iowa and Wisconsin) would have the stronger teams (Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan).

        • PSUGuy says:

          Don’t underestimate the power of the local team man. The Pittsburgh Pirates are the crappiest baseball team in the MLB yet if you poll a number of people in downtown Pittsburgh to see who’s a fan of the Yankees or Dodgers I bet you’d be laughed at (if not threatened!).

          Point being in NJ, watching Rutgers play PSU, Pitt, or even Syracuse probably trumps a pure mid-western matchup, even if the teams are better, simply because the home team is the home team.

          Now if the home team isn’t playing, agreed the better over-all match-up will draw the most viewers.

  44. Paul says:

    Rather than pods, why not just divide up the teams into two divisions that will balance the historical powers and keep most of the rivalries intact. Here’s my attempt:

    DIVISION A
    Ohio State
    Michigan
    Michigan State
    Purdue
    Indiana
    Illinois
    Missouri
    Rutgers

    DIVISION B
    Penn State
    Nebraska
    Iowa
    Wisconsin
    Minnesota
    Pittsburgh
    Syracuse
    Northwestern

    Two traditional powers at the top of each side. Iowa-Wisc-Minn kept together and placed with Nebraska. Pitt and Syracuse placed with Pitt.

    Michigan State placed with Michigan. Indiana-Purdue and Missouri-Illinois kept together.

    Rutgers put with Michigan and Ohio State to appeal to New York fans.

    Northwestern represents the another “big” city to put in the division opposite of the “NYC” team. Downside would be splitting NW from ILL. Another downside would be that Division B seems a little bit stronger.

    • davidpsu says:

      I love your division idea Paul. I also am more in favor of this type of traditional set up. It creates more continuity and tradition.

    • PSUGuy says:

      First off, I doubt the second division buys off as they’ll be spending significantly more on travel costs.

      Second, I really don’t think half the conference will buy off on never playing the other side. Even if you have some sort of protected rival system odds are most teams won’t play most other teams. Believe me, I’ve tried to make 2 8 team divisions work in my mind, but none really matches the flexibility of 4 divisions.

      Now if the NCAA says it won’t allow another playoff game to filter from 4 division champs to the Championship game (and would thus need a glorified paper-rock-scissors tournament to see who goes to the championship game) then having two divisions of 8 may be required…

      • m (Ag) says:

        To expand on what DCphx says below, you use pods to create 2 divisions that change every 2 years. Rather than type up a whole new example, I’m going to copy and paste an example I gave on another post of Frank’s.

        This is an example where the Big 10 adds 5 from the Big 12 and makes the following 4 pods:
        OSU, PSU, Mich, MSU
        CO, NE, Tex, A&M
        Iowa, Wis, Min, MO
        IU, Pur, Il, NW

        “We’ve discussed this on other threads, but using the pod system that rotates divisions can allow everyone to play against everyone else in the conference every 4 years.

        For example, with 5 teams from the West:
        Year 1 & 2:
        Division A: OSU, PSU, Mich, MSU, IU, Pur, Il, NW
        Division B: Iowa, Wis, Min, MO, CO, NE, Tex, A&M
        Year 3 & 4:
        Division A: OSU, PSU, Mich, MSU, Iowa, Wis, Min, MO
        Division B: IU, Pur, Il, NW, CO, NE, Tex, A&M

        Every year teams from the (OSU, PSU, Mich, MSU) group will play 2 teams from the (CO, NE, Tex, A&M) group for non-divisional games. Teams from the (IU, Pur, Il, NW) group will play 2 teams from the (Iowa, Wis, Min, MO) group.

        With this lineup, the 3 Western schools would have a home and away series with every other current Big 10 member every 4 years. Of course, it wouldn’t take long to develop rivalries with the new members.

        Obviously, this sort of setup will work with any 16 schools.”

        Now, Frank in this post is suggesting a slightly modified version, where you have one additional permanent foe who you’ll play as a non-divisional game if they’re not in your division. This means there will be at least 1 team you wouldn’t see in 4 years.

        • eapg says:

          While I realize you’re not really stumping for Colorado here and just using them as an example, I’ll take the opportunity to point out some weaknesses to a case for them, since I’ve seen them brought up as a possibility on less current threads.

          First, CU has always pined for the Pac 10 and will jump there without a doubt if invited. Demographically and culturally they’re an excellent fit with a lot of cross-pollination of graduates and residents between the Front Range and California. The glaring liability they would bring is they don’t really draw interest from their home market, even though they’re smack dab in a big metro. Denver is a pro town. Broncos, Avs, Nuggets, Rockies, with CU and CSU as afterthoughts, in good years. The Front Range also has some of the best skiing in the world a short jaunt away, and lift tickets will pull a lot of the fall and winter entertainment money that might go to season tickets elsewhere.

          You need only look to the fact that CU didn’t have the booster backing and therefore couldn’t afford to buy out their current football coach last year, once the State politicians foreclosed any help in that regard due to budgetary concerns. They sell out rarely, usually just when the Huskers visit Boulder, and it’s Husker fans filling their stadium. So while you might potentially get the Big Ten Network on Front Range cable systems, there’s no real draw there for massive advertising support, unless CU improves dramatically on the field.

          • Redhawk says:

            @eapg

            I currently live in the Denver metro area, and my 2nd degree was from Col. St., and everything you said is correct.

            Most folks in Denver & Colorado are not FROM here originally. The connection to CU and CSU is weak. I’d argue that if some one wanted the Denver TV market in college football, they should take Nebraska over CU.

          • SuperD says:

            Yes Denver is a pro-sports town but the Buffs draw just fine in the local market, at least they did before the Hawkins hiring debacle. I will concede that support is not as rabid as at a place like Nebraska, and the “other things to do” factor does come into play, particularly when compared to some of the other…umm…garden spots where most of the other Big 12 campuses are located. Not every game is a sellout like at Nebraska but we’re usually near capacity and season ticket sales have been trending up despite 4 years of crappy football. Honestly we haven’t been down for THAT much longer then Michigan. Plus when you’re talking markets for a conference you’re really concerned with the potential households in that market for the broader set of content, i.e. ALL the games not just when CU plays. I’m guessing both of these responses were from Husker and CSU fans which I’m sure are completely unbiased :). We’re also a heck of a better fit academics / research wise then any of the other Big 12 schools besides TX and potentially TAMU (#34 ARWU ranking).

            In regards to the booster issues for Hawkins, you’re oversimplifying the issue. It’s not that the money wasn’t there, but that the school made the political decision that it didn’t want to deal with the bad press of paying out a coach while fighting tooth and nail against budget cuts, even if the payout came from private funds. Due to a lovely piece of legislation called TABOR that was passed around 10 -15 years ago, higher ed funding has been taking it in the teeth and you’d be hard pressed to keep calling CU a “public” school based on the amount of state funding we’re receiving. For an AD that everyone is claiming is broke and has no support we’re somehow funding a brand new B-Ball facility this year. I also think its possible that the retention of Hawkins may have been tied to the knowledge that we may be taking a revenue hit from a conference switch. Most of the “insider” stuff we heard was that Hawk was gone 2 weeks before the NU game, then our AD went out to Hawaii for the B-Ball tournament and spent a lot of time talking to the AZ AD out there and suddenly Hawk wasn’t fired anymore.

            All that being said, I still think the PAC 10 is probably a better fit primarily due to the “Californication” that has occurred in CO over the past 20 years. Tons of Cali folks out here who would like to watch PAC teams, and our alumni presence on the west coast in CA/WA dwarfs anything in the other Big 12 states and likely the Big 10 states as well, though I haven’t seen any numbers for the Big 10. We did have fairly strong contingents from IL and NJ when I was going to school. If the recent UCLA and ASU games are any indication we’d have a much better traveling rep in the PAC 10, but I seriously doubt that would be the case in the Big 10, particularly for the schools further East.

    • DCphx says:

      <<Rather than pods, why not just divide up the teams into two divisions that will balance the historical powers and keep most of the rivalries intact.<<

      The benefit to the pods is that you can arrange it so that in a 4 year period, you play every team home and away. With the division alignment, it takes 8 years to cycle through all of the other schools in the division, home & away. I don't think that is an insignificant difference.

    • mushroomgod says:

      I’d go East/West

      OSU UM IU Pur Rut PSU Pitt Syra

      Mo Neb Iowa Wis Minn NW Ill MSU

      MSU is the only one out of place. They could still play UM and PSU/OSU every year. With Miss, Neb, Iowa, Wis, and MSU you’d have enough strength in the West. Play 6 in your division and 3 in the other.

      • Patrick says:

        I like your thinking here mushroom god, but instead of splitting Michigan / Michigan State, I split Indiana and Purdue. Put Purdue in with the western teams. They are closer to Chicago, Indiana is downstate and closer to Indianapolis. I would say that the east is a little stronger but these things change and flex constantly. Your line-up would keep the big rilvalries in place and keep travel costs down.

  45. Tim W says:

    I am really starting to buy this 5 team expansion of Nebraska, Missouri, Pitt, Syracuse, and Rutgers. All five have been discussion on this board for a long time, and each of those institutions would join in a heartbeat. Although each school was its flaws; as a collective group they all add different value to the BTN and Big 10. Nebraska with the marquee name, Missouri gives guaranteed households, Pitt provides solid academics, athletics and research powers despite not adding new markets, and finally Syracuse and Rutgers provide Update New York, New Jersey, and some of NYC.

    It is a balanced expansion eastward and westward, and provides another marquee name along with valuable markets and secondary sports (basketball, lacrosse, hockey etc.)

    Despite all of Notre Dame’s whining, protesting and demand for special treatment they were continuously mentioned until now. I think I finally found out what was the final straw for Delany and co. that completely removed Notre Dame from the expansion discussion.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6mE9Au3CwM

    Atrocious.

    I can see Delany’s press release now; “After seeing that atrocious music video and failed attempt for a pep rally we have come to the conclusion that Notre Dame’s institutional mission and values do not align with the members of the Big 10.”

    Have fun staying independent with your indie music artists who managed to shame one of the best fight songs and athletic programs in the nation.

  46. Jake says:

    If the Big Ten Network takes Manhattan, wouldn’t they need the Bronx and Staten Island, too?

  47. I haven’t read every comment, but read several and here are a couple of my thoughts.

    1. I like the idea of OSU and Michigan in separate pods. In a 16 team conference, with the parity that exists, and with the number of high profile teams, I don’t think an OSU-Michigan rematch would happen that often and if it’s just on occasion, that could actually add to the rivalry. With that said, moving the game up in the schedule is not an option. Both schools benefit as it is and both love where it is. You aren’t going to see support for moving it and you shouldn’t.

    2. I don’t see 9 game schedules. I understand how it could help (and would be in favor of it even in the current set-up where one team would be stuck at 8 games), but remember you are already talking about the Big Ten taking a big risk with 5 new members. Given the size of that risk, the larger existing members aren’t going to want to give up any home games at the same time, which is what you would be asking them to do with 9 conference games.

    3. I could see the Big 12 sticking at 10. I think they’ll move, but they’ll at least study the thought.

    4. In some ways, this is a better expansion idea than with Notre Dame and/or Texas too. There is only so many marquee programs a conference can have before some start to decline. This would keep the balance much better.

    5. I don’t like the thought of a multi-game playoff in conference at all. One of the things that separates college football from most other sports is the importance on the regular season and this would definitely devalue that. That said, I could see them trying to get approval for it.

  48. [...] The Big Ten’s Fab Five? The latest Big Ten expansion rumor du jour: a 5 -team expansion with Missouri, Nebraska, Pitt, Syracuse and Rutgers.  [...] [...]

  49. Morgan Wick says:

    Seeing the many failed attempts to post the AAS writer’s column should be one more confirmation that Frank the Tank should dump WordPress.com for Blogger or WordPress.org (unless blog traffic dies down when realignment talk does).

  50. Paul says:

    Here is an alternative pod system that is (1) fairly balanced, (2) maintains some geographic logic, and (3) keeps almost all important rivalries intact (assuming a decision is made to split up the big four teams.

    EAST – Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse
    NORTH – Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Indiana
    SOUTH – Ohio State, Northwestern, Illinois, Missouri
    WEST – Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota

  51. Vincent says:

    I still maintain that if Maryland is interested, it will bump off Pittsburgh for member $16. Much more of an upside in terms of viewers (two new markets as opposed to none), and comparable academically and athletically.

    If the Big Ten did go to 20, how about taking in Rutgers, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Missouri, Nebraska and the ACC’s four AAU members (Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke)? Notre Dame would be the only school for which the Big Ten would not require AAU membership, so forget Connecticut and Kansas.

    • Vincent says:

      Oopsie — that should have been “member #16.” (Though the dollar sign is a bit subconscious, isn’t it?)

    • @Vincent – I really wish everyone else at Maryland had your passion on this matter. If Maryland was willing to move, they’d clearly be a top candidate.

      • OSU-Typhon says:

        @ Frank – I also agree with Maryland being a top candidate, as a blogger, what do you think can be done to assist those “Powers That Be” (Maryland and The Big Ten Expansion Council) to court one another?

      • Vincent says:

        Frank, I wish the folks in College Park had my vision on the matter. This is about the University of Maryland in 2030 or 2040, not today. As I’ve often said before, the university’s academic and athletic destiny can’t be held hostage by two basketball games with Duke — it’s not a natural rivalry, and won’t last any more than the Maryland-N.C. State rivalry did past the ’70s.

        (Heck, when the ACC was formed in 1953, the big wintertime sport at Maryland wasn’t basketball, but boxing; basketball games at Ritchie Coliseum were prelims to intercollegiate boxing, which at the time was a big deal but soon faded after a few fatalities in the ring.)

        Some thoughts on divisional or “quad” setups in a Big Ten that added Maryland, Syracuse, Rutgers, Missouri and Nebraska:

        East: Maryland, Penn State, Rutgers, Syracuse
        Central: Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin
        Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Northwestern, Purdue
        West: Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska

        For football — nine conference games, three against the teams in your quad, four against another quad, rotating every three years, and two against teams from the other eight-team division. Trophy rivalries such as Michigan-Minnesota, Ohio State-Illinois and Penn State-Michigan State would continue to be played annually, regardless of divisional setups that year. (Substitutions would be made on the schedule to avoid teams playing each other twice.)

        For men’s and women’s basketball — 18-game schedule, home-and-home with the teams in your quad and one against the conference’s other 12 opponents. No divisions.

        • PSUGuy says:

          As a PA and PSU guy…I’ve always had the sneaking suspicion Pitt would turn a cold shoulder to the Big10 simply because of PSU. Starting with the BigEast and PSU’s attempt to start a football based NorthEast athletics conference Pitt just never seemed interesting in seeing PSU on the same side-line as it. I even have friends who are pumped about joining the ACC and going to 16 teams there instead of the Big10 (imagine the looks in their eyes when I mentioned Indiana made almost twice as much as Texas or 5 times Pitt last year).

          If Pitt for some ridiculous reason doesn’t want in, could MD ever be considered a good “trade” with the thought the ACC scoops up Pitt?

          • Vincent says:

            If Maryland gets in and Pitt doesn’t, it won’t be because the latter didn’t want the Big Ten (I can’t imagine either would spurn an invitation), but because Maryland has more to offer the conference.

    • PSUGuy says:

      Yah, for some strange reason the ACC seems to be calm and impervious to expansion talks. Admittedly they tend to be much more “Big10″ in their outlook as far as the “conference is more than just about athletics” so that’s bound to create loyalty amongst the members, but its pretty astounding to see.

  52. Bullet says:

    I will disagree with the flavor of the week-Nebraska.

    They seem to be the only willing national power to join, but I think they will be unpalatable from an academic standpoint (which also means 14 is more likely than adding 5 mediocre fb progams).

    Many Nebraska fans will agree. Nebraska despite being AAU has a different mission. It was open admissions until recently. Rather than being elite like UM, UW, etc., it is THE school in Nebraska. There are only 4 state schools, 2 in remote west and central Nebraska, a commuter school in Omaha and then Nebraska. I’m not being negative about Nebraska, it just has a different purpose, by necessity.

    And the current AD, Tom Osborne, almost scuttled the Big 12 before it started. As the Big 10 said, you want someone you can be with for 30 years. As part of the deal to create the Big 12, the SWC rules limiting partial qualifiers was adopted. Then just before the league started, Nebraska backed by KSU tried to eliminate those rules. They failed. Had they succeeded the Big 12 would not exist today. Osborne, a legend in Nebraska, bellyached about it and that contributed to a lot of the N/S anomosity in the league. Why did he complain? Well he had 23 partial qualifiers on one of his great mid-90s teams (new limit was 2). That was more than any other CONFERENCE in the country. So will the Big 10 want a school with an AD who abused the ability to use partial qualfiers?

    • eapg says:

      You’re overcounting University of Nebraska campuses by one. UN-Kearney, UN-Omaha, UNL. Three State (teacher’s) colleges, Wayne, Peru, Chadron. Kearney was Kearney State until fairly recently.

      As far as partial qualifiers, Osborne resoundingly lost that argument. Nebraska adjusted, it’s history. Maybe not for Osborne, but at his age he’s a transitional AD at any rate. Perlman is much more the face of Nebraska in this negotiation. Nebraska, if admitted to the Big Ten, will adjust again to even tighter recruiting rules and will have to embark upon some academic improvements to keep up with the new conference, a project I’m sure Perlman welcomes.

    • Patrick says:

      AAU members have a dedication to graduate research, much like the CIC. I would argue that Nebraska would be easier to accept to the CIC than Notre Dame. While Notre Dame has a better undergraduate reputation, Nebraska spends more than 4 times as much on graduate research.

      I believe the Big Ten and the CIC is much more concerned with the graduate programs and the strength of research by any potential university than the mission of the undergraduate programs. That’s where the money is.

    • mushroomgod says:

      Everything I’ve read indicates Neb. has dramatically improved it’s academics and research in the last 20 years….I’m impressed with the 1B research park. Also Neb has the most academic AAs of any school.

      I think Nebraskans are good people and good fans. Let’s add Neb and let OK go to the SEC. The SEC would then have the 3 “cheatinest” programs of all-time in ‘Bama, OK, and UK>

  53. Albino Tornado says:

    Hey, there are actually more than that:

    Chadron State College(extreme NW Nebraska)
    University of Nebraska-Kearney (mid state)
    Wayne State College (Northeast Nebraska)
    Peru State College (Southeast Nebraska)
    University of Nebraska-Omaha
    University of Nebraska Medical Center (2 miles east of Nebraska-Omaha’s campus)

    And you can say Dr. Tom almost scuttled the Big 12 on formation; you can also say he was a Cassandra — what he feared came to pass, and no one believed him. The Big 12 has not served the interests of the Northern schools, and Nebraska fans (and administrators, I suspect) are more than willing to leave the former Big 8 schools behind.

    And how is having a great many partial qualifiers abusing it? Was it not legal? Was not one of Nebraska’s great selling points their academic support for athletes? (e.g. Jared Tomich and Neil Smith had undiagnosed learning disabilities in high school.) What school has the NCAA records for academic All-Americans in both all sports and in football again? Oh, and that number of partial qualifiers on that one team? According to this (http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=861&dat=19960726&id=O3cKAAAAIBAJ&sjid=JEsDAAAAIBAJ&pg=7145,4385844), that’s about the number for a decade. Ironically enough, back when the Big 12 was formed, the Big Ten had no limits regarding the recruiting of partial or non-qualifiers.

    • Scott C says:

      You beat me to it, Albino.

      I’ll add this, too. Say what you will about Osbourne, but Perlman is the man in charge and I think the driving force in this will be the CIC. Perlman wants to make Nebraska a top research university. They are moving forward with plans to build an large innovation campus north of the current campus on the old state fair grounds by the Devaney Center. It’s a larger project that will in bring millions of dollars in research.

      http://innovate.unl.edu/

      • PSUGuy says:

        That does it for me. I’ve always felt certain schools (like Nebraska) would be asked to “step it up” in the research department if invited to the Big10. If this project is already in the works (as it seems to be) I think the addition of Nebraska is a done deal.

  54. Sportsman24 says:

    Fan of: Iowa

    My preferences seem to change almost daily. Initially, I hoped for ND. After reading Frank’s BTEI, I thought we were going to 14 w/ UT, TAMU & ND. After reading the 18 follow-ups & comments, I’d prefer NU, Pitt, SU, RU & UConn/MD.
    * NU-marquis CFB brand
    * Pitt-excellent despite their market/geographic issues
    * SU-just b/c they don’t have A LOT of research doesn’t mean that tBT doesn’t value the DIVERSITY of their research vs. current BT members (thanks Omni), excellent MBB
    * RU-for markets & recruiting
    * UConn-they have A LOT of potential, they’ve come a long way in a short period of time; their MBB & WBB are top-notch; What if they become the “U of New England?”
    (* MD)-they fit very well; good-great MBB & WBB

    MU isn’t a bad fit, I just think adding CT instead gives us the tri-state around NYC, thus helping the BTN’s chances there. If it’s MD… well it’s not a bad thing to have a member institution so close to where many government contracts are handed out, right?

    • Vincent says:

      Maryland makes much better sense than Connecticut. AAU member, stronger academics, better all-around athletic program. Syracuse and Rutgers will give you metro NYC; Maryland will give you both Washington and Baltimore.

  55. NDx2 says:

    Frank–
    Up until now you have remained admirably dispassionate about ND, recognizing the benefits to the Big Ten (and fairly pointing out potential economic upside to ND) while recognizing long-standing resistence to it among alumni. In this post, however, you lost that careful balance and, unfortunately, resorted to petulant insults.
    Face it, joining the Big Ten is not, and never will be, the Holy Grail for ND. Moreover, your attempt to demean a hypothetical new landing place for ND’s non-football sports is simply dishonest. A “Catholic Big East,” while not quite to the current Big East standard, would still be a very respectable conference for the other sports. Indeed, the biggest threat, as I see it, would be if the Big Ten added hockey, thus gutting the CCHA. But there doesn’t even seem to be much threat of that at this point.
    Finally, in the worst, worst case, if we got entirely squeezed out of any respectable conferences in non-football conferences AND couldn’t schedule any longer as an independent, one of these hypothetical forthcoming mega-conferences would inevitably have a spot for ND. I mean, if you get to 16+ in a conference, really, what’s one more? It’s not as if such a conference is really in any meaningful sense a conference anymore anyway.

    • mushroomgod says:

      Get thee to the ACC…..

    • mushroomgod says:

      Frank — petulant and dishonest? He must be a regular Fielding Yost.

      You will have to explain “petulant” to him, however—remember, he’s an Illinois grad.

      • jcfreder says:

        The ND mindset of “we can always join a conference later” is why the BT should only go to 14 if they truly want ND. Once the landscape starts shifting, and ND decides that it must join a conference, the BT would be the best option.

        I would also point out though, that a “Catholic” Big East, without Syr, LVille, Pitt, etc, would be a notch below the majors in basketball (although clearly better than a mid-major.) Will ND fans stomach being in that conference?

        • mushroomgod says:

          The CYO league MIGHT be acceptable for basketball….no way it works for the program in other minor sports.

        • FLP_NDRox says:

          @ JC

          ND fans would be happy to be in about any conference so long as the football team doesn’t have to join. The AD’s office may not be. I’m not seeing a problem with a Catholic BE/A10 league, outside of LAX.

          @ ‘shroom’

          why the heck not, especially when they finish poaching the A-10?

          • mushroomgod says:

            You are talking about an all-sports league with schools like Marquette, St. John’s, Xavier, Dayton et al?? If you have no problem with that, good for you.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            Yeah. Sure it isn’t as sexy as the Big East, but it’s probably the best possible non-football conference in the NCAA for the foreseeable. Then again, I still don’t really follow the current Big East’s olympic sports.

            CCHA 4 Life…or until there’s a BTHC and the CCHA ends up looking like the MAC….

    • Nittany Wit says:

      I don’t doubt that any conference would want ND if approach by ND, but not sure that ND would get there first choice.

      Notre Dames appeal from a financial perspective is based on the NY market and the overall national appeal. However, if the Big Ten takes Rutgers and/or Syracuse to get the BTN into NY, then this diminishes ND’s value to some extent regardless of what conference they would go to. For conferences with standard TV contracts, they may not be able to re-negiotate these contracts as effectively if the TV execs do not think that ND can bring NY in as it once could. As Swarbrick said, ND’s biggest bargaining chip, if they wanted to join a conference, is their NBC contract. But the longer that ND waits, the less value that they contract (currently till 2015) carries. And likely this contract will not be renewed if ND joins a conference, and certainly not at the amount that it currently is.

      My point being that ND will find a home if they want to join a conference, but they might have to settle for less that what they could have. There is an opportunity cost that ND is passing by if they choose to remain independent at this juncture. Additionally, if ND waits until it can’t remain independent, they have lost a lot of negotiability as they will be dependent on joining rather than being proactive.

      • FLP_NDRox says:

        There’s an opportunity cost for everything. You are assuming that the BTN will be carried on basic cable in NYC. That’s a big assumption considering we’re talking about a network that is running FOUR HOURS of Northwestern Women’s Lax today (none of it live and the UVA game I’ve flipped thru twice and it wasn’t live either of those times), TWO HOURS of tape delayed IU rowing, and NINE HOURS of Ohio State Baseball (one live game against U of L, and the replay of the UM-OSU match-up *twice*) JUST TODAY.

        The more I check out BTN the angrier I get thinking I’m paying money for this on basic.

        You further assume that people will keep paying for BTN which is what allows the Big Ten to pay out to the individual schools as much as it does. BTW, today has more actual sports content on BTN than it does any other day for the rest of the week. ND apparently plans to be one of the last teams to join a conference in Football. For ND to join, you practically need four 16team superconfs. To make the Superconfs viable you need either the networks to pay significantly higher rights fees (unlikely given the economic climate) or for the conferences to get their own networks. You are assuming they will do this sooner rather than later, and that the cable situation will be similar to how it is now.

        I still can’t believe I’m paying for BTN. There’s no way B10 will make any money on this if we ever go to an a la carte pricing unless they actually pay the money to get the HD cameras to all these olympic sports and/or get a every non-national B10 game live on the one channel. Not seeing that happening.

        You are also assuming that the Big Ten Network will cause non-transplant New Yorkers to transfer their allegiance to either the Big Ten generally or Rutgers specifically. Considering that NYC is a known pro-sports town, this is another huge assumption.

        Also included in that supposition is that ND will then be ignored by NYC, particularly it’s Catholic community. ND doesn’t need superfans to get eyeballs. It has relied for years on bandwagon and “they’re my second favorite team” fans. I don’t see how BTN hurts ND with either.

        The next assumption is that one of these Superconfs either wouldn’t want ND or would force them in at worse terms than ND would get by joining now. I doubt that would be the case (I mean, what’s really to stop conferences with cable channels from going >16?). As for the NBC contract, it will rise and fall based on ND performance, the economy, and what the market will bear.

        I see no downside to ND for waiting and seeing, especially given more realistic assumptions.

        • Sportsman24 says:

          FLP,

          You need to use a little progressive thinking. When tBT expands, they will have much more content to offer. This includes (but is not limited to); add’l CFB games, MBB, WBB, wrestling, rowing, field hockey (and hopefully a BT Hockey Conference & BT LAX conference)…

          I/we understand that you don’t want ND to join tBT and that’s fine. I think some BT fans (myself included) have come to the conclusion that it may not be in our (tBT’s) best long-term interest to extend an invitation to ND.

          So instead of attempting to degrade tBT &/ the BTN, please just say… “While we (ND) appreciate your interest in our institution (and our FB team), we will have to respectfully decline.”

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            @ Sportsman24

            Progressive thinkning? Shoot, they’ve been on the air for almost three years now. They’re not reinventing the wheel here. We’ve got ESPN’s six or eight channels, Fox Sports, Fox Sports regional channels, various local sports channels, etc., so they’ve already got the blueprint. How hard can it be to get programming when you have student labor and paid-for equipment at what are supposed to be eleven of the finest Universities in the country with approximately 400,000 undergrads total? There’s a lot of filler on the channel. I don’t know if a mere 45% increase in schools is gonna help when it appears that there’s only enough live programming on a random May Tuesday to cover 3 of 24hrs.

            I will continue to badmouth the Big Ten Network for two reasons.

            1. I am merely a proud alum of ND. I am not in their pay, so I feel no obligation to be diplomatic for the Big Ten’s fan’s sake. You want diplomacy, look at ND’s turn-down from 1999. What was true then’s still true now.

            2. The BTN stinks as TV. I’m a cable subscriber in Indiana and I resent having to pay for it at an increased rate when it should be on the Sports Premium tier at best. I will complain as long as I remain an unsatisfied customer. The BTN folks will either hafta drop the price I gotta pay, let me not have to pay it, or improve the product to ESPN2 levels.

          • Sportsman24 says:

            FLP,

            As you probably know, the premier BT games go to ABC/ESPN. The BTN gets the games that are not selected. When tBT expands, there will be more (and better) games available to the BTN. This will allow the BTN to increase the quality & quantity of their programming. This is especially true if tBT adds a Hockey &/ Lacrosse Conference.

            I believe it is admiral that you are a fervent “fanatic” for your alma mater, as you should be. But, what does it say about your character? You seem to have to degrade other universities in order to build up your own? Is this indicative of all ND fans/alums?

          • Rick says:

            It’s less than $10.00 a year for God’s sake. The content from August through March more than makes up for the dearth of programming April through July. This is a tempest in a teapot.

            When JoePa mentioned the expansion should be looked at like a marriage and you better be ready to live with it for a long time for some reason I don’t think he was talking about Neb, Mizz, Kansas, Pitt, UConn, Syracuse, Rutgers, Maryland, BC, Texas, TAM.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            @ Rick

            If $10/yr is no biggie, can you send me a check?
            :-D

            Kidding

            The only part of a game I ever watched on BTN live was the 4th quarter of last year’s IU-EKU game when the Hoosiers needed luck to squeak one out against an FCS team. I had an uncle that went to Eastern for a little while in my defense.

            If you want to watch it, great. I would rather have the ten bucks. I mean, that’s a sixer…y’know something I can actually use. :-)

            @ Sportsman24

            Point of Fact: I have yet to degrade any Big Ten schools. I go out of my way not to, actually. You may miss that since I don’t bother expressing awe at the majesty that is the Big Ten. *shrug*

            The Big Ten sponsors 25 total sports. Ohio State sponsors like 36. I’m sure other schools sponsor fewer sports, but there’s adequate games to cover. The problem is that the BTN is making no discernible effort to cover these games. This week, the BTN is showing maybe a half-dozen live events. I think. They listed the Iowa-PSU baseball game as live at least twice, and I don’t think it’s the only one. There may be only 4 games going all week on Big Ten campuses…but I sincerely doubt it.

            I would be shocked if any B10 school lacked a TV journalism class. I know Fox can run a studio show. I don’t care if it’s just undergrads calling Varsity games. Come to think of it, that actually sounds pretty cool.

            But if the BTN want to be a sports channel, they should ACTUALLY SHOW LIVE SPORTS. Now it’s like a cross between PBS and ESPN classic. The former I shouldn’t hafta pay for, the latter I choose not to.

            I have no moral issue with taking the professionals of the BTN to task for providing bad product. I’d rather have my ten bucks than a year of BTN. Then again, I’m no B10 fan anymore.

          • PSUGuy says:

            @NDRox
            You are 100% correct. The BTN needs to show live events and in different sports to truly be successful.

            Thing is…its only been three years…I don’t even consider an investment in stocks a profit in that timeframe let alone some cashflow coming in from a fledgling tv network. Getting those sports (hockey, lacrosse, soccer, volleyball, etc) is a necessity, but a necessity that’s going to have substantial up front costs that are totally dependent on on who the final members of the Big10 are.

            Does it make much sense for PSU to upgrade its club hockey team to official NCAA team and outfit it with HD tv cameras if no other hockey schools join and the Big10 hockey schools remain in their other conferences? Should PSU outfit its lacrosse fields likewise if Syracuse or other mid-atlantic states with good programs don’t join?

            Point being, I understand why some feet dragging on this front is happening. The Big10 is stockpiling $$$ and waiting for the new schools to commit with the argument that the BTN can put those schools programs (in second tier sports) on near national tv. Once they do commit, then they can spend the couple years worth of BTN profits on the infrastructure necessary to happen.

            THEN you’ll see a truly “collegiate sport network” just as you describe (at least I damned well hope so!)

          • Rick says:

            PSUGuy: Think you can send Rox $10 in the meantime or at least a case of Ponies?

          • Rick says:

            Or 2 cases of Stoners for the suffering for that matter.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            @PSUguy

            That’s the thing, tho’, they apparently aren’t sitting on the money. They are giving it to the member institutions at a $22mil/school/year clip. If I’m an investor looking long-term with stock in a company putting out an inferior/shoddy product that could be rectified by investing in the production angle, I’d be angry if they the board was just handing out huge dividends instead of reinvesting. If you only have enough cameras and talent to cover three games a day, get some people and some equipment rather than showing re-ran games from a couple weeks ago.

            If I was in the AD’s office at a B10 school, knowing that our olympic sports teams could be highlighted on basic cable every night throughout the Midwest half the year (fall and spring), I’d be livid with BTN showing re-re-re-runs. The BTN should be the hugest non-revenue recruiting tool ever and it is being completely wasted. Heck, as a college sports fan not even a Big Ten fan, I find that offensive.

            If the money will eventually have to be invested anyway (which I would assume it will) doesn’t that mean the $22mil/school/yr we’re all assuming is totally malarkey?

            I’m not anti-BTN, so much as I’m anti-BTN-stinking.

          • PSUGuy says:

            The BTN has to pay out the $$$ to its member schools, the member schools don’t have to spend the money…yet.

            Its like this…me and my friends want to buy an island so we invest money in IBM to make enough money to buy it. After a couple years we make some nice profits on dividends, but we still haven’t made enough to buy our island. No biggey, we’re still saving.

            PS-as an alumni of one of the Big10 universities I of course can spare $10 for NDRox to get the channel. I’m just smart enough not to waste $10 on those who wouldn’t appreciate the greatness of the channel!

  56. Jeepers says:

    “SU-just b/c they don’t have A LOT of research doesn’t mean that tBT doesn’t value the DIVERSITY of their research vs. current BT members (thanks Omni), excellent MBB”

    Exactly. I think you take a bullet on SU’s research. In time, with Big Ten support, they will catch up to Northwestern’s numbers and they’ll be sister schools. And two of the best journalism schools in the country. I’ve worked for many consumer magazines in NYC, and there are a TON of SU alums in that industry. Keep that in mind when talking about “taking NYC.” An example: http://nymag.com/daily/sports/2009/12/should_syracuse_join_the_big_t.html

    I think the SU admins really want to be in the Big Ten and will improve on anything needed to be a member.

    The AD, Daryl Gross, is a USC guy (credited for bringing Pete Carrol in) and is hellbent on improving their athletics. He’s done an amazing job (besides the previous football couch) so far.

    The chancellor, Nancy Cantor, has Big Ten ties as provost of Michigan and chancellor at Illinois. Don’t think she wants to compete with Northwestern?

    If offered membership, I see an immediate announcement to expand or completely replace the Carrier Dome. With a complete rebuild, I see them playing a lot of games near NYC.

    Now, if you want my mostly unbiased view, the Big Ten should not attempt a Northeast expansion strategy that doesn’t include at least 3 Big East teams. Just won’t work. Rutgers will not work alone. Picture Rutgers being a single BE expansion team. Looks a lot like BC in the ACC, doesn’t it? Then picture taking Rutgers, Pitt, and UConn. I really like UConn’s upside, but come on, can you really skip the entire state on NY to take them? Just doesn’t make sense. If you’re not going to take the state of NY, then don’t attempt a Northeast strategy. It’s that simple. Just go for the Big 12.

    I think one problem most people are making when considering the NYC market is that it’s not so much the home team, but who is coming to town. A school like Rutgers would be an arm of the Big Ten. When Ohio State, or Michigan, or Penn Stage come to town, those school’s alums are going to take that roadtrip. I think this is a big reason why the BE basketball tournament works so well. All those alums are here in NYC. You just need an event to bring them out.

    Notre Dame: I told my college roommate in the mid 90s that one day ND would be in the Big Ten. But seeing how opposed to joining the alums are, no way in hell should they be invited. *Especially* if they are manhandled into joining. They will complain for years and YEARS! Decades!

    • mushroomgod says:

      Fuzzy headed thinking Jeepers.

      HTH is Syracuse ever going to catch up with NW in research funding? Syracuse is a liberal arts university, focusing on undergraduate studies. Does it have an engineering school? It has app. 5000 grad students. Pitt has 10000, NW 8000 or 9000. It has 1/10th NW’s endowment, and 400M less in research dollars.

      As far as the CD goes, maybe, maybe not. I assume you’re talking about a new 60000 seat domed stadium. How much do those cost? Where is this private school with a small athletic budget going to get the $???

      • Jeepers says:

        Mushroom, apparently you’re the fuzzy headed thinker here considering how often Syracuse is mentioned as an expansion candidate. Even being on the “magic” list of 5. Maybe you should stop being so closed-minded? Research isn’t the be-all end-all. There are no Penn State level candidates this time around. Try again. You’re just going to have to realize some sacrifices need to be made.

        Now, the people who are against expansion completely (unless it’s ND or Texas), they have a valid argument.

        • Jeepers says:

          And aren’t you an Indiana guy, mushroom? Why don’t you just admit you’re anti-Syracuse because you’re not looking forward to Syracuse giving Indiana yearly ass-whoopings as revenge for 1987. :)

          • mushroomgod says:

            I’m not saying Syracuse has nothing going for it.

            I was responding specifically to your response on the research issue, which was fuzzy-headed.

            Syracuse would be by far the biggest departure from the BT norm if it’s included in the expansion. 10 years from now the BT would be wondering why they didn’t take U Conn, and Syracuse would wonder why it’s not in the ACC. It’s a bad fit.

          • c says:

            Re “10 years from now the Big 10 would be wondering” why they took Syracuse.

            Of course, 10 years from now the Big 10 could well be wondering why they didn’t connect the conference to major northeast universities instead of expanding to schools like Missouri and Kansas.

      • Jeepers says:

        And Syracuse does, in fact, have an engineering program.

        A non-scientific, lazy (it’s 2am) first link in google reveals:

        Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs
        Syracuse #78
        (higher than UConn, Nebraska, and Missouri)

        Engineering Specialties: Computer Engineering
        Syracuse tied at #56
        (higher than UConn, Missouri, and tied with Iowa)

        Engineering Specialties: Mechanical
        Syracuse tied at #73
        (higher than Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska)

        • ezdozen says:

          Just ignore Mushroomgod. He hates Syracuse in a way that can only be personal.

          • mushroomgod says:

            Actually, when expansion first came up, Syracuse seemed like a good candidate, and I was not an advocate of Pitt. However, study the matter for 10 minutes and you change your mind.

            Amoung the “Feeble 5″ expansion candidates, there are two areas of obvious excellence that can’t be duplicated by the other candidates. Nebraska has football prowess, a brand name, and an incredible fan base. Pitt is the 17th ranked research college in the country, behind only Wis, Mi, OSU,PSU, and Minn in the BT. These schools are an exspansion must if at least 2 schools are selected.

          • c says:

            Re points of view (ezdozen)

            Varying points of view are to be expected and desirable given relative interests, values and goals of posters.

            However, when a poster on this board uses words like “crap”, “feeble”, “tundra” and other offensive terms to describe a highly ranked and respected university, it raises the questions about the “mind” and judgment of the poster.

            Of course, when someone posts the same message a hundred or more times, that’s another clue as to the judgment of the poster.

        • Patrick says:

          Jeepers, I think that we all (for the most part) agree Syracuse is a great undergraduate school, the problem lies in the graduate programs / research & development. It appears that Syracuse may be in despite these issues. The CIC is very important to the Big Ten University presidents.

          • ezdozen says:

            I think the Presidents know what is important to them, and the rest of us are sitting here trying to think about what grabs their attention.

            The CIC is important to the Big 10. Well, what aspect of the Big 10 is NOT important to them?

            Everything is just one factor.

    • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

      I don’t think ND should be or will be “manhandled” into the Big 10. That’s bad PR for everybody.

      I’ve said this proposal before, and despite about three weeks of “leaks”, nothing has changed my opinion.

      The Big 10 Home Run.
      Nebraska and Rutgers this summer.
      Destabilized Big 12 gives Texas and aTm cover to flee. They are added next January.
      ND begins to “leak” how much the Big 10 has “changed” now and is more “national” and isn’t so “regional” and that they’re considering joining the richest and “best” (arguably of course) conference in the nation. Five months later, Notre Dame joyfully joins (despite some groans by backwards thinking traditionalists), and the Big 10 joyfully welcomes them in. Good PR for everybody.

      • FLP_NDRox says:

        About a month ago, that theory was potentially viable. Since Swarbrick made that “force into a conference” comment at the BE tourney, he’s been backing off of it as hard as humanly possible. As fast as it happened I don’t even think it was alumni backlash. I think it was internal backlash among Swarbrick’s bosses.

        Plus it assumes things about ND that just aren’t true. First, that there are non-traditionalist alums. Well, maybe among the grad students, but they often aren’t fans. Second, no one at ND can argue that merely adding Jersey and Great Plains state schools makes the B10 ‘national’ with a straight face. If ND goes to a conference at this point (after generations of pro-independence propaganda) it will be only if forced by circumstances and without any pleasure.

        • FLP_NDRox says:

          Oh, and since I forgot to mention it, I haven’t seen *anything* that leads me to believe that Texas wants any part of the Big Ten. They want their own network, something the Big Ten would never let them have.

        • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

          Interesting thoughts, FLP.

          Adding the state of Texas (and in a sense, the corridor between Indiana and Texas also) certainly adds a ton of territory to our conference (almost doubled actually). While New Jersey isn’t a ton of land, it’s a ton of people, and a ton of those people are Catholic. So, spanning from Texas to the Atlantic Ocean (with some fingers into America’s largest city, New York) is more “national” than any conference is currently.

          You state “without any pleasure” but it’s ridiculous to imagine that ND would put a positive spin on any move they made. Why would they become the Eeyore of college football? That’s a sure recipe to kill any momentum and popularity…”We’re Notre Dame! We used to be good and independent but now we’re forced to be in the richest conference in the nation and it sucks!” That’ll be a sweet PR campaign.

        • djinndjinn says:

          This is Scot S, here as DjinnDjinn. I tried to add a photo to my profile, but it didn’t work, so now I’m just left with a different name.

          In any event, let’s look at this “national schedule” business a little more deeply, as the term is continually used without any examination of what it means.

          From 2009 – 2016, Notre Dame played, or will play a total of 96 games. So that gives a reasonable sample.

          Every year during this stretch they play Michigan and Purdue. So that means 16 total games between those schools in those eight years. Six out of eight years they play Michigan State. Wisconsin is tentatively scheduled twice. We’re now up to 24 games out of 96 are against teams currently in the Big Ten. That’s fully 25% of their schedule over those eight years.

          In addition, every year they play Pitt (8 games). UConn is close behind (6 games). They play Syracuse, too (3 games). These are all Big East teams. Plus Missouri (1 game) is scheduled.

          So, for those of you scoring at home, this means 42 out of 96 games are against Big Ten or Big Ten candidate schools. That’s 43.75% of their games. (I’m not counting Boston College in this group, though they have been discussed here as being a Big Ten candidate, because I don’t see them as a viable Big Ten candidate.)

          Notre Dame has long-standing rivalry games with USC, Army, and Navy. Army didn’t appear on the schedule in 2009, but they’re there every other year. So let’s say Notre Dame plays each of these teams every year. (In joining the BT, Notre Dame could keep playing these teams if it wished. In fact, they could schedule another independent game.)

          We’re now up to 65 games. This means 2/3 of Notre Dame’s schedule is made up of Big Ten schools, Big Ten candidates or long-standing rivalries.

          So that leaves 31 games over eight years, or 3.875 games per year that are needed to be scheduled out of the Big Ten or future Big Ten footprint. These games, along with the rivalry games, are the “national schedule” continually talked about. So who has Notre Dame scheduled with those games?

          There are several Pac Ten teams on Notre Dame’s schedule: Arizona State (2), Washington State (2), Stanford (4), Washington (1). It varies by year, but only Stanford had a winning record in 2009. And I’m not sure if any of these teams would be considered football powerhouses on a yearly basis.

          There’s several games against the likes of Baylor, Tulsa, Western Michigan, Wake Forest, and Maryland. All had losing records in 2009, even in weak divisions, but again, this might vary by year. Again, though, there are no real football powers here. No Alabamas. No Ohio States. No Floridas.

          And there are several games against Nevada, South Florida, Utah, and Boston College (2). Each of these schools had a winning record in 2009, though in other years they might be down. But looking at these teams objectively, it’s once again, it’s not like any are really top-rung football programs on a yearly basis. There’s no Auburns. No Penn States. No Georgia.

          Correct me if you have a different opinion, but I’d go so far as saying that the only school scheduled that would be a game of high national interest would be against Oklahoma, which is scheduled twice during that stretch.

          I can understand the appeal of wanting a “national schedule”, if that meant picking top-notch teams you wouldn’t get to play if you were in a conference. And Oklahoma fits that bill. But look through Notre Dame’s schedule over these eight years and look at it objectively. Baylor? Tulsa? Wake Forest? Nevada? South Florida? Washington State? Is going “national” for games like these really the preference of Notre Dame?

          Is the domer really saying that geographic diversity (especially when most games are played in South Bend anyway) is more important that quality of opponent?

          If Pitt were to join the Big Ten and Notre Dame lost them as a regular opponent, Notre Dame’s schedule would be even weaker.

          Would domers really rather play these schools–plus Maryland, Arizona State and Western Michigan–instead of Iowa? Ohio State? Penn State? Wisconsin? Nebraska, if they join the BT? Missouri, if they join? Every one of these teams has a winning record 8 or 9 seasons out of ten. Every one of them has a legitimate chance at ending the season to be ranked. Is this true of Tulsa and Maryland? Of Wake Forest or Nevada? Of Washington State or Boston College?

          Even Minnesota, Northwestern, and Illinois would give better competition than most of these “national schedule” teams Notre Dame prefers to schedule.

          I think this whole “national schedule” idea that’s continually tossed out really needs to be kept in perspective. Because it doesn’t really equate to a top-quality schedule as implied by the Notre Dame grad. And it’s not as good a schedule as what they’d encounter in the Big Ten. It’s just an excuse to justify not wanting to join the Big Ten. Which is fine, but let’s call it what it is. Let’s not hold it out there like going “national” equates to a superior line up.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            @ ATYCLB

            Getting Texas, you might be able to make the argument. But you actually hafta get UT to do it. So far, Texas has expressed no interest in the B10. It seems to still be behind the BXII, Pac12, and maybe ahead of the SEC.

            That is the spin they’d try to put on it, but I don’t see *anyone* buying it…especially not the alumni.

            @ Scott S’s new handle

            First, let’s acknowledge a truth: That 66.67% and 75% are greater than 43.75%

            Depending on the # of conference games, if ND joined the Big Ten ND would have to play 8 or 9 games against other Big Ten teams. It’s an approx. 50% increase in games against the Big Ten footprint (read Midwest) at least.

            Considering that Navy will be kept on the schedule regardless, and USC likely will as well, ND joining the Big Ten would lock either all but one or two games a year in perpetuity. For you percentage folks, that’s 91.67% and 83.33% respectively. Which really stinks when you are used to only having about 33.33% locked annually.

            For comparison, let’s go with Wisconsin. Wisconsin is fortunate insofar as all of its rivalry games are in the B10. Currently they play 8 B10 games or 66.67% and they get four OOC games. Next year they go out to Vegas and bring SJSU (CA), ASU (AZ), and FCS Austin Peay (TN?) to Camp Randall. Not horrible exciting Nationally, I’m afraid. Future schedules I could find (2011, 2012) include Oregon State, UNLV, South Dakota (FCS), and NIU (MAC). Still not supersexy from a National football standpoint.

            Scheduling suffered greatly under Kevin White. Still there’s no FCS schools on the schedule, unlike practically every B10 team. In a perfect world we’d all get dream match-ups every week. But here in reality, that’s not the case. Show me a team that plays top competition every week, and I’ll show you an NFL team.

            Geography isn’t more important than team quality. But geography is still important. National doesn’t necessarily equate to a superior schedule every year, but it does equate to a more flexible one. Besides, superior schedules in college are rather a crapshoot. Who woulda thunk a decade ago that Michigan would miss bowl games?

            Then again, just from the schools mentioned in your post, I notice that ND is playing teams from *every BCS conference* except for the SEC. Who does the SEC play outside of Dixie? Is their any one in the Big Ten who can say that they play 5 different BCS conference schools?

            No.

            Even on a bad schedule like 2010, ND plays 4 of the 6 (no SEC or BXII) and a MWC school.

            Would Domers prefer to play a differing group of teams from power conferences around the country as opposed to playing Wisconsin, Minnesota, IU, and Illinois practically annually forever?

            God, yes.

          • zeek says:

            The national schedule thing mattered in the days before ESPN and national broadcast networks.

            Nowadays, not so much.

            If big name schools are playing, then people all around the country will watch.

            Maybe it’s nostalgia or something, but actually having a geographically diverse schedule essentially doesn’t matter that much anymore. Sure, it’s a nice thing to have, but Notre Dame would grab the viewers regardless of where the games are. National schedules mattered when the brand was being built. Whether Notre Dame joins a league now is more of a pride factor.

          • Djinn Djinn says:

            FLP, I looked at eight years of Notre Dame’s opponents and reviewed them all in an attempt to be objective as to who you’re really playing.

            In response, you attempt to dismiss the Big Ten by mentioning its weakest teams.

            The point is that if you look objectively at Notre Dame’s so-called national schedule these days, at the end of the day, there are typically two challenging games–Michigan (most years) and USC. Maybe you add Pitt or Michigan State as a rung below.

            Wisconsin plays its share of bottom-feeders, too, (as a cash grab), but we’re still playing high-quality teams like Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State, and Iowa–and likely soon, Nebraska. Not to mention, Michigan State and Missouri and Pitt if they join.

            Even now, what you call the Big Ten’s “regional” schedule is certainly no weaker, and arguably stronger than the “national” schedule about which domers seem so proud. That’s my point.

            If playing teams in 4 of 6 divisions is the ideal, regardless of their relative strength, then I agree, you’re doing great. I can see the appeal of playing a larger variety of teams. It’s just that objectively, I’m not sure it equates to being superior in actual quality.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            @ zeek

            It matters to ND alums nationwide that the Irish play a variety of teams also Nationwide. That it doesn’t matter to B10 fans who play 2/3 of their schedule in Conference, and most of the remaining games at home and about half of them against FCS and/or MAC teams neither surprises nor concerns me.

            @ Djinn^2

            And you continue to miss my point. I am not arguing that ND has the toughest schedule. I am arguing I’d much prefer ND’s nationalized schedule to the Big Ten schedule.

            On the other hand, maybe I should argue that ND’s schedule is tougher. On the Indiana High School football board I check on during the season, they treat the Sagarin’s as practically gospel. What it predicts so often comes true apparently, it’s uncanny. Many there argue that the IHSAA should forgo to nation’s only all-in HS football playoff since no school outside the top half of the Sectional’s Sagarin ratings have won a sectional in the twenty-odd years of the all-in tourney. He does NCAA football, too, and they do rank SOS. I think I’ll check it out.

            I don’t mean to dismiss the Big Ten merely by stating my preference. I’d rather play a large variety of schools than a small one. If I’m obliged to play approximately 4 games a year against the bottom half of a conference, I’d just as soon play those four games against teams from different conference than a single one. If I’m supposed to play 3 OOC bottom-feeders, I’d rather play teams in BCS conferences or at least the MWC or WAC than the MAC.

            Just because the B10 is used to doing it one way doesn’t mean ND should prefer doing it like the Big Ten does.

          • zeek says:

            Yeah I’m just saying that in terms of maintaining a national brand, it doesn’t matter whether you’re in conference or not. That much should be obvious considering that every other national brand is in a conference.

            I don’t see Notre Dame joining a conference, but it doesn’t have much to do with its national ratings, which would be there regardless of where it is.

          • Djinn Djinn says:

            Personally, I’m not so sure about Sagarin. I thought Wisconsin handled Miami pretty well in their bowl game, yet Miami ended up ranked higher in the final rankings–just after the game. How does that work? I also question any ranking that gets down to the 100th decimal place.

            In any event, using Sagarin’s numbers, by my calculations, the average BT team gets 79.6 points. That means the average BT team is slightly better than Auburn. (Which isn’t bad.)

            As a comparison, Sagarin has Notre Dame at 75.31.

            Notre Dame’s 2010 schedule clocks in with 72.99 points.

            I’m only looking at one year, mind you, but it would appear that Big Ten opponents are, on average, stronger than the opponents Notre Dame chose to schedule at least next year.

            How a BT school ranks in strength of schedule would depends upon what you put in as your OOC games. Wisconsin booking Austin Peay or Wofford, (I had to look up both to see where they even were) or Notre Dame booking Army or Western Michigan doesn’t help the average much.)

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            per USAToday.com, specifically the Sagarin pages at:

            http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin/fbt01.htm
            http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin/fbt02.htm
            http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin/fbt03.htm
            http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin/fbt04.htm
            http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin/fbt05.htm
            http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin/fbt06.htm
            http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin/fbt07.htm
            http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin/fbt08.htm
            http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin/fbt09.htm

            Here’s your Sagarin average Strength of Schedule Ranking for the Big Ten and ND.

            1. ND 18.56
            2. Michigan 28.78
            3. Ohio State 34
            4. PSU 40.33
            5. Iowa 40.89
            6. Illinois 41.67
            7. MSU 43.11
            8. Purdue 43.78
            9. Northwestern 44.11
            10. Wisconsin 45.67
            11. Minnesota 50
            12. Indiana 50.56

            Considering how the SOS rankings shifted year to year, I think a lot of SOS depends on the how the teams are playing that year as opposed to the scheduling philosophy. I doubt there was a major scheduling philosophy change at Purdue between 2005 (the 15th toughest sched. in all Div. I) and 2006 (the 67th toughest).

            That said, ND had the toughest schedules on average between 2001 and 2009 in “the current Big Ten footprint”. The lowest ranked schedule of the current decade was IU’s 2007 slate of FCS Indiana State, WMU, Akron, Illinois, Iowa, Minn., MSU, PSU, Wisc., BSU, Northwestern, Purdue, and Oklahoma State that the Hoosiers went 7-5 against. The only Nat’l ranked #1 SOS was ND’s 2003 slate of Wash. St., Mich., MSU, Purdue, Pitt, USC, BC, FSU, Navy, BYU, Stanford, ‘Cuse. The Irish unfortunately went 5-7.

            Lemme guess, you see Navy, BYU, Stanford, and Syracuse, and see a weak schedule. The computer says you’re wrong.

            More importantly, ND schedules are at the very least no worse than an average Big Ten schedule.

          • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

            Arguing with FLP is a little bit like arguing with a rock, but yet I keep doing it. :)

            I get it, all of the “national schedule” drum ND fans are beating. I do. Two points of clarification…

            If Texas were to come to the Big 10, I would 100% expect silence between the parties. It would be a cataclysmic change to the NCAA landscape. The silence could mean there is no interest on either side. Or, the silence could mean everything. A merger of this size would require the utmost care and caution.

            An expanded Big 10 schedule won’t look much like the current Big 10 schedule. “Playing Wisconsin and Indiana and Minnesota every year” (an Irish version of purgatory, I assume?) wouldn’t be the future of ND football. While pods vs. divisions vs. some-other-format isn’t clear yet, what IS clear is that you will have a dynamic schedule every year. ND would (ideally) have UM, MSU, and Purdue every year as part of Big 10 play. Then (if you allow my “home run” conference to be an outlandish possibility for the Big 10), the Irish would play 2 or 3 CFB giants each year (OSU, Texas, Texas A/M, Nebraska, or PSU) and 2 or 3 other average CFB programs each year as well (Iowa, Wiscy and others). Pencil in Navy and USC each year. Schedule Stanford or Arizona or Washington or BC or UNC or another “National” program every few years…grab a “national” cream puff (like Nevada or SDSU or UCF) for a home only game…and not only do you have a diverse schedule each season, still keeping many traditional rivalries. It’s not quite as bad as purgatory, if you ask me.

            (Oh, and you’ll make tens of millions of dollars extra each year too. FWIW.)

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            You make an *excellent* point about UT-Austin. It would be in everyone’s best interest to keep that under wraps. However, it seems to be the blogs conventional wisdom that politically speaking Texas can’t leave without the BXII being on death’s door, and they gotta bring TAMU with them (since I guess TAMU won’t leave without Texas). I suppose to do that, you need some combination of Neb., KU, CU, Mizzou, and Oklahoma to leave. The Pac-10-12 is probably only interested in Colorado, Texas, and TAMU now. To get the SEC to expand, the B10 has to first go to 16. OU is not gonna fly as a B16 member. Nor is CU. The only way to flush/give cover to the UT/TAMU move is for the P12 to take Colorado and for the Big Ten to take two Neb., Kansas, and Mizzou.

            Unless we’re wrong about Texas’ comfort in being the first domino…which is quite possible.

            Anyway, back to your hypothetical. We’re adding ND, TX, TAMU, Neb., and Rutgers, right?

            Hmmm.

            There are 12 games. Two are set aside for Navy and Southern Cal, leaving 10. Of those ten, 8 will be conference games (possibly nine, but let’s not go there yet). Those eight will be divided among 15 teams unequally depending on who ends up in our pod/division. I doubt we’ll get a protected rivalry with Michigan, since they are already at two (OSU, MSU), correct? We may with Purdue, but I’d be among the rare alumni excited about that. We’d most likely end up with MSU and Purdue as protected rivalries if we aren’t placed with either of them in the pod. I haven’t been following the pods, but wouldn’t protected rivalries mess them all up?

            For our remaining two OOC games, you’re proposing we’d rotate home and homes with Air Force, Army, Pitt and/or Syracuse, Washington, Stanford, Georgia Tech, Miami, BYU, Maryland, Baylor, Wake Forest, Oklahoma, ASU, UNC, Tennessee, FSU, BC, etc.?

            Um, yeah. I’m still not psyched. Is it better than being stuck in a Western division in a Big Ten Plus Two? I guess. But I also guess it’s better being shot in the groin than in the face. Point is none of these sound like good options for the Irish.

            I’m also still very suspicious of the claims of continued growth to the BTN and network contracts for the Big Ten. Will the economy improve more in the Rust Belt than the Sun Belt? Will the demographics of shift once more northward?
            After noting BTN more since I started coming here, I don’t think it’s a super investment opportunity anymore. I don’t know if the money in 20-50yrs will be substantially better for ND than if we had just stayed Independent.

            Then we can get to other problems like the cultural dissimilarities, the fact Ara warned us about how when he was at Northwestern they’d get outvoted 9-1, how they’d get about our having to be Catholic, but mostly how we’ve been doing it our way since 1842 and we’re OK with that.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            re-posted without the links if it isn’t approved for posting.

            per USAToday.com, specifically the Sagarin pages

            Here’s your Sagarin average Strength of Schedule Ranking for the Big Ten and ND.

            1. ND 18.56
            2. Michigan 28.78
            3. Ohio State 34
            4. PSU 40.33
            5. Iowa 40.89
            6. Illinois 41.67
            7. MSU 43.11
            8. Purdue 43.78
            9. Northwestern 44.11
            10. Wisconsin 45.67
            11. Minnesota 50
            12. Indiana 50.56

            Considering how the SOS rankings shifted year to year, I think a lot of SOS depends on the how the teams are playing that year as opposed to the scheduling philosophy. I doubt there was a major scheduling philosophy change at Purdue between 2005 (the 15th toughest sched. in all Div. I) and 2006 (the 67th toughest).

            That said, ND had the toughest schedules on average between 2001 and 2009 in “the current Big Ten footprint”. The lowest ranked schedule of the current decade was IU’s 2007 slate of FCS Indiana State, WMU, Akron, Illinois, Iowa, Minn., MSU, PSU, Wisc., BSU, Northwestern, Purdue, and Oklahoma State that the Hoosiers went 7-5 against. The only Nat’l ranked #1 SOS was ND’s 2003 slate of Wash. St., Mich., MSU, Purdue, Pitt, USC, BC, FSU, Navy, BYU, Stanford, ‘Cuse. The Irish unfortunately went 5-7.

            Lemme guess, you see Navy, BYU, Stanford, and Syracuse, and see a weak schedule. The computer says you’re wrong.

            More importantly, ND schedules are at the very least no worse than an average Big Ten schedule.

          • djinndjinn says:

            FLP, we’re both right, but it doesn’t seem like it because we’re not exactly talking about the same thing. Here’s the deal…

            The Big Ten teams, themselves, (Michigan State, Indiana, Penn State, etc.) have an average strength that works out higher than Notre Dame’s schedule. (Look it up, yourself.) So if any team played nothing but Big Ten teams, you’d have a pretty tough schedule.

            So if that’s true, why don’t the BT teams have a stronger strength of schedule. After all, we’re both using Sagarin’s numbers?

            What lowers BT numbers is that, for the most part, the Big Ten teams schedule cream puffs for the OOC schedule. That’s what lowers the BT average SOS. (We’re talking the “mean”.) Like Wisconsin scheduling Austin Peay or Wofford. Their Sagarin numbers are exceedingly low. That’s the sort of thing that lowers the mean average.

            That’s a point a lot of Wisconsin fans gripe about, actually, and I understand the complaint. However, there are several reasons BT teams do this.

            First, the season that matters most in the Big Ten–to get to the Rose Bowl–is the Big Ten season. Cream puffs are scheduled as warm up games, to get the offense and defense in sync and ready for Big Ten play.

            Second, the cream puffs are scheduled as home games. That means less wear and tear on the team for the BT season.

            And third, the home game schedule means cash in the pocket.

            So does Notre Dame have the strongest schedule? I’ll believe you if you say so. But if you toss out the cream puffs the BT plays as warm ups, the answer would be no. The Big Ten conference schedule is tougher than Notre Dame’s. (Again, this is what Sagarin’s numbers say.)

            The point I was making, however, (feel free to read my original post) is that complaining that a BT schedule is “weak” is disingenuous. If Notre Dame were in the Big Ten, their conference games would be, on average, better than Notre Dame’s current schedule. And all they’d have to do is keep a reasonable out-of-conference schedule and you’d have a stronger schedule than you have at present. For example, maintain your current rivalries with USC, Navy and another reasonable school like, say Pitt or Boston College. Then you’d have a SOS stronger than you’re generating at present.

            What would lower Notre Dame’s average SOS would be if Notre Dame took the same approach as the current Big Ten teams and scheduled cream puffs before conference play.

            In other words, joining the BT conference wouldn’t make your schedule weaker than your “national” schedule–it would make it stronger–depending upon what is scheduled for the OOC games.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            @ zeek

            It’s cute how you Big Ten fans believe that your teams are “national brands”. AFAIK, there is only one “national brand” and that is ND. Show me non alumni family fans outside the footprint that aren’t full-fledged bandwagon jumpers, and we’ll talk. P.S. Merchandizing #s don’t count, too many gang-based purchases to screw-up the #s.

            Djinn^2

            The issue you and I are having basically derives from the fact neither of us are actually arguing against the other one. I’m arguing against people who say ND plays a weak schedule. You’re arguing against people who say ND’s schedule is stronger than all Big Ten teams. I’d agree we’re both right.

            Far be it from me to criticize anyone’s scheduling practices…except K-State when they first got good. I won’t even question that rancid IU schedule I mentioned previously. If I was IU’s AD and I had a good coach and a Big Ten schedule without UM and OSU, I’d have done the same thing. The Big Ten has been putting their OOC schedules together for a century. I’d hope they’d have it down to a science.

            Taking a closer look at the Sagarins listed above, I noticed a half-dozen B10 national top 10 ranked schedules in that nine years. Looking at their OOC games, I question your assertion that the cream-puff portion of the schedule was what was holding down the SOS.

            2001 PSU OOC – Miami, So. Miss., Virginia (Miami ended up #1, Virginia was rebuilding, and So. Miss was a decent non-BCS squad).

            2002 Mich OOC- Wash., Utah, WMU, ND.

            2004
            UM OOC – Miami (OH), SDSU, ND
            OSU OOC – Cincy, Marshall, NCSU
            UI OOC – FAMU, UCLA, WMU
            NU OOC – TCU, Az St, Kansas.

            Or, as I see it, typical OOC type games for the respective teams. What made those schedules so much tougher those years? Better Big Ten teams.

            You are the first to mention weak re this while taking me to task for pointing out Big Ten teams that I as an ND far weren’t enthused about playing.

            Better question is why ND would necessarily want an even stronger SOS than currently. Since our schedule is currently tougher top to bottom than the typical B10 team, as you already mentioned.

            By the grace of God, ND has no conference championship to play for. We play our games for the purpose of winning a NC. Failing that, of playing in a BCS game. Anything else is considered failure. That’s why ND schedules the way it does. Or at least that’s the goal.

  57. Sportsman24 says:

    If tBT selected the five schools that I prefer (right now), I’d set up the sub-divisions something like…
    West: IA, MN, NU* & WI
    South: IL, IU, NW & OSU
    North: UM, MSU, PU & SU*
    East: CT*, PSU, Pitt* & RU*
    * = New Member

    The Protected Games would look something like (N vs.S & W vs. E)…
    IA vs. PSU
    MN vs. CT
    NU vs. RU
    WI vs. Pitt
    UM vs. OSU
    MSU vs. IL
    PU vs. IU
    SU vs. NW

    What can I say, I’d like to see Iowa play PSU annually. Besides, by having NU/RU as a Protected Game (instead of NU/PSU), is another marquis name visiting NJ/NY every other year and thus, another marketing opportunity for tBT.

    • jcfreder says:

      Except the protected games are totally contrived for almost everyone, for the whole sake of putting Mich and OSU in separate pods. I think the best option is Mich and OSU in the same pod. Much smoother schedule for everyone (if you go to 9 games).

    • Djinn Djinn says:

      To me, NU sounds like Northwestern University.

      For clarity sake, I think we should refer to Nebraska as UN (the University of Nebraska) or UNL (the University of Nebraska Lincoln).

      • Mike says:

        As far as I know, Nebraska is not known as UN. Its either NU or UNL.

      • zeek says:

        Northwestern was NWU till like 5-7 years ago when they launched the whole rebranding effort to NU (and people jokingly wanted the university named John Evans University).

        • Richard says:

          Uh, no, Northwestern was NU back when I was there (mid-’90’s), and I believe it’s been NU since forever. We wouldn’t have this problem if the old Big8 schools knew the initials to their schools.

          • @Richard – Ha! Seriously, can someone explain why the old Big 8 schools juxtapose their initials?

          • Jake says:

            @Frank – I’ve tried to ask some OU grads about that, and they just look at me funny. They really don’t like it when you call them Oklahoma University. At least Missouri keeps it simple with just the M. The “State” schools all get it right, but no one cares.

  58. Matt says:

    This still sounds like a bluff to get Notre Dame to cave in and join the Big Ten.

    Nebraska ought to be the first choice if ND still says no.

    No to Rutgers, no to Syracuse. Either one or both would be a mistake for the Big Ten.

  59. Sportsman24 says:

    re: mushroomgod (on May 3, 2010 at 10:44 pm)

    I think they question about SU is, do they want to stay relatively the same or become more like NW? If the answer is to be NW-like, then I think they should get an invite, as I believe they can achieve that goal (especially with the add’l resources that come w/ BT membership).

    As far as UConn not being an AAU member… Don’t you think that 15 of 63 members lobbying for them to receive an invite would help?

  60. Scott C says:

    New quotes from Tom Osborne on expansion:

    http://www.huskerextra.com/articles/2010/05/04/football/doc4bdf926c39995040840910.txt
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “Really, until these conferences make up their minds what they want to do, and start making offers one way or another, it’s hard to assess the landscape,” Osborne said. “You just don’t know for sure what they’re thinking. And, obviously, they have not called us, and they have not informed us what they’re thinking.

    “It’s not that we’re just sitting here not doing anything,” he added. “But you can’t all of a sudden begin to make a lot of phone calls to people when you don’t even know what the parameters are.”

    And if the Big Ten made an overture to Nebraska?

    “We have to listen to anything,” he said, reiterating his past comments. “Because, if it looks like the Big 12 is going to take a real big hit, and lose two or three or four teams, then you’d have to take a look. If, on the other hand, it looks like the Big 12 is staying intact, then that’s another issue.

    “There’s no way anybody at this point can know.”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Perlman stated that the Big Ten hasn’t contacted them, as well, but he did refuse to answer whether or not Nebraska has contacted them. So it sounds like Nebraska is being proactive behind the scenes, but the Big Ten is sticking with their time table and Delany’s promise to inform the conferences before they open talks with a school.

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      I found this part telling:

      In exactly a month, the Big 12 Conference board of directors will vote whether to keep the league’s football title game at Cowboys Stadium through 2013, or continue to rotate the site.

      Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe, in a radio interview last week on the Husker Sports Network, sounded inclined toward keeping the game in suburban Dallas.

      “Look, the fact of the matter is, we have the facility in this region of the country that is the best in the world right now, that is also in a recruiting hotbed for all of our programs,” he said. “So, I think our members so far feel like, why would we move away from such a tremendous facility?”

      Um, not quite all members feel that way.

      Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne told me Monday that Big 12 athletic directors voted on the issue in March at the request of Beebe, perhaps as a way for the commissioner to test the waters.

      The vote, as I recall, was 11-1 to return to Texas and to give them a three-year contract,” Osborne said.

      Hmmm, I keep hearing from Shatel and NE fans how the North feels enslaved to UT’s interests and how they can’t wait to bolt from such oppression, how UT gets its way regardless of the North teams preferences. They often point to the championship game being in Dallas twice in a row (Oh, the humanity!) as exhibit A in how unfair life is and how the North is ignored. But an 11-1 vote for a 3-year extension doesn’t exactly support that portrayal, seems more like a NE issue than a North one. The conference didn’t have any trouble voting against Texas on the tiebreaker, so it is hard to believe that they were strong-armed into voting for multi-years at JerryWorld. Maybe it was simply the best money-maker. 11-1 ain’t close to 7-5.

      While NE has plenty of good points, I think the more they squawk and the more the B10+ reads and hears them, the more the latter starts to see a a bit of pouty, high-maintenance attitude. Some may start to wonder if the statement about the conference looking for good partners for 30-years, not just the moment, might be referencing NE’s complaining nature.

      Recall that iconic internet picture of the gorgeous chick and the caption, “No matter how hot she is, someone, somewhere is sick of her sh!t.”

    • c says:

      Re Osborne interview (Scott C)

      Interesting article since Osborne has a reputation of being honest in what he chooses to say.

      So while many schools are a possibility, appears no one really knows what the package might be perhaps because the Big 10 may not have decided on one.

  61. jcfreder says:

    subscribing

  62. Penn State Danny says:

    My weekly “gut feeling” update. I still think that Texas, A &M, and Marlyand are all off the table.

    Four of these 5 get in. Nebraska, Rutgers, Missouri and either Pitt or Syracuse.

    The break up of the BE is still the ultimate play for ND. My gut is that they will join. I don’t know if it is wishful thinking or not.

    I still have a preference for all 3 Eastern teams. I understand those who have a preference for the midwestern teams. We all speak from our own biases.

    I hope that we know something by June 30.

  63. Sportsman24 says:

    With all due respect to ND, I don’t think they would be a good long-term fit in tBT. They don’t seem like they’ll ever fit in culturally or grad/research-wise. At this point, I think ND would be a better fit in the ACC (if Independence is no longer an option).

    As far as UT &/ TAMU… I think they’d be great long-term additions, but IDK how well they’ll fit in, in the short-term. The SWC & B12 were set up fundamentally different than the “all for one & one for all” mentallity of tBT. I believe they can do it, I just question how long it may take. What do you think, Hopkins, Playoffs, et al?

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      Sportsman, I’ve seen a few posters around here express a concern that Texas wouldn’t be a good fit because of its not having this same sort of ‘all for one and one for all” attitude which schools in the Big 10 have.

      Aside from the self-admittedly feelings of bitterness many Husker fans have about not being the power they once were and complaining about such minor things as the location of the conference HQ, I think the main area of concern for Big 10 fans as to whether Texas would be a “team player” would be the unequal revenue distribution of the Big XII.

      My response to that is this: if Texas were to join the Big XII, I would believe that a meeting of the minds would have to have occurred on the issues of revenue sharing and television rights before such a merger were agreed to. All parties involved will reach an agreement which everyone can live with. And if Texas did join the Big 10, I would assume that such an agreement would be very close, if not identical to, what the Big 10 has in place already.

      If Texas doesn’t express a willingness to play by Big 10 rules, I don’t think there’s any chance they’d get an invite.

      Remember a key difference here and what happened with the Big XII: in today’s situation, Texas would be joining an existing conference. In the 1990s, all eight schools of the Big 8 and four schools of the SWC left their respective conferences to form a completely new conference (i.e. it was not Texas joining the Big 8 and then demanding all of its rules be changed to fit its needs). Being a new conference, all conference rules, including revenue distribution, needed to be determined.

      So it won’t be a case of having Texas join the Big 10 and then working out after the fact that Texas doesn’t want to play by the rules.

      Now it very well could be the case that Texas in fact doesn’t want to play by Big 10 rules, and that’s what’s caused the mating dance so many of us foresaw not to happen.

      In sum: if Texas joined the Big 10, I wouldn’t worry about Texas not being a “team player.”

      • Jeepers says:

        The problem I personally have with Texas is that of all the possible Big Ten expansion schools, they seem the most likely to leave the Big Ten when a better offer comes years down the road. I could easily see this happening.

        • Hopkins Horn says:

          In theory, I can see where you’re coming from, but in practice, it’s hard for me to imagine what that better offer could ever possibly be unless collegiate sports evolves to the point at which independence is a much more viable option than it is today. Or 50 to 100 years down the road at a point at which transportation has evolved to the point at which one could travel coast to coast in an hour and geographic proximity means less than it even means today.

          • PSUGuy says:

            And even then you’d need the “better offer” to not only offer better $$$ but also better academics. A tough combo to pull off.

      • RedDenver says:

        A better reason to be wary of Texas leaving the B10 than unequal revenue sharing is their decision to block the B12 TV network plan. Texas is now looking at starting their own TV network, which they would not need to share revenue with any other teams. Not a very “one for all” decision. I think that’s the straw that ultimately is going to break the B12.

        • Hopkins Horn says:

          RedDenver, I would put that in the very same category of issues which would be worked out in advance if Texas were to join the Big 10, so I wouldn’t have that as a reason not to invite Texas.

          • RedDenver says:

            Agreed. But it’s still riskier than Mizzou or Pitt who are extremely unlikely to ever leave the B10.

          • zeek says:

            RedDenver, but all you’re saying is that a bigger brand name school is more likely to be able to leave than a smaller school.

            In terms of actual risk to leave, sure it’s higher for Texas than it would be for anyone in the league, but there won’t be a reason to leave until/unless population densities change massively, which isn’t going to be on the horizon for many decades.

            It really is not worth considering as a part of the decision making process.

            The people making these decisions won’t be making it based on some kind of black swan event in which the Pac-10 or SEC somehow becomes so attractive that it’d be able to grab Texas away from the Big Ten.

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      Can one of the Big 10 commenters on this board answer me this:

      I understand why some might question whether Texas would be a good member of the Big 10, given what they’ve read of the turmoil of the Big XII. Questions like that should be raised of any perspective member school.

      So why aren’t people raising similar questions abut whether Nebraska would be a good fit? It seems pretty clear to me that Nebraska’s administrators and fanbase are just a wee bit sensitive when things don’t go their way. It seems to me that it would be very helpful to raise similar questions about Nebraska as to whether they’d be a good fit for the “all for one, one for all attitude” of the Big 10, or rather there would be continued public bitchiness when they lose a vote or a close game.

      • Sportsman24 says:

        Hopkins,

        Idk if this fair or not, but UT gets a lot of grief for many of the problems w/i the B12. If the CCG is in TX, then it’s UT’s fault. If there’s unequal revenue-sharing, it’s UT’s fault. If the B12 HQ is in TX, it’s UT’s fault. And so on… While I don’t think this is fair (or accurate), UT doesn’t seem to say very much. Because of this, perception becomes reality to the general public and UT then becomes the scapegoat for the inner-conference turmoil (when really their problems start w/ population density disadvantages).

        However, UT blocking a B12 Network seems like a strong intimation that it views itself as above it’s own conference.

        As far as NU is concerned, they’ve been knocked down a few rungs (from their power in tB8 to their power in tB12), so it’s assumed they could/would assimilate more fluidly into tBT.

      • Albino Tornado says:

        The Big 12 wasn’t founded on “all for one, one for all,” so taking Nebraska to task for looking out for its own interests — as UT certainly has over the life of the conference — seems hypocritical. I’ll gladly admit that Nebraska hasn’t been rowing in the same direction as the rest of the schools, which appears from Nebraska’s perspective to be “whichever way Austin tells us to.”

        Your perspective appears to be that the Big 12 was a new conference.

        Nebraska’s perspective is more like “we invited them when they needed a new home as they blew their conference up, and they’ve been running it ever since.” Recall that all the Big 8 schools joined, whereas there were only 4 of the formerly 9 SWC schools, and two of them were tagalongs forced by Texas politics.

        You can contend that’s not reality, but it is the perpective that I suspect many Nebraskans — and fans of other former Big 8 schools — share. If Nebraska is joining a conference like the Big 10, I’m sure there’s going to be a pretty non-negotiable set of terms and conditions that Nebraska will have to agree too, just like Texas would. And I suspect Nebraska’s administration would have less of a problem with them than would Texas’.

        Here’s a different way of looking at it — what did Texas give up when it joined the Big 12? Anything of value or history? (Both conference’s history was washed out, so both lost there.) Nebraska ended up losing the NU/OU game. Nebraska also lost its edge on recruiting and educating partial qualifiers. Please, explain to me when Texas hasn’t gotten what they’ve wanted since the birth of the conference.

        • Hopkins Horn says:

          @Albino:

          If Nebraska is joining a conference like the Big 10, I’m sure there’s going to be a pretty non-negotiable set of terms and conditions that Nebraska will have to agree too, just like Texas would. And I suspect Nebraska’s administration would have less of a problem with them than would Texas’.

          I think that concern goes more towards the likelihood of joining the conference than how the schools would behave once admitted.

      • zeek says:

        I don’t know why people are questioning whether Texas would be a team player but not Nebraska. Personally, I question neither for one reason…

        The fact of the matter is that they’re in a conference built on convenience, not a conference built on an “all for one and one for all” mentality.

        I would expect Nebraska and Texas to act in their own interests in the Big 12 but be willing to become team players if they’re asked to join the Big Ten and decide to accept.

        Anyone who’s not acting in their own interest in a league like the Big 12 is foolish.

        Nebraska is one of the 4 teams that votes along with Texas to keep unequal revenue sharing in the Big 12. That’s just proof that people will act in their own interests if they’re in that kind of situation.

        Notre Dame does a similar thing with respect to the Big East.

        BUT, I would fully expect Michigan or Ohio State or Penn State to do the same thing if they were in the Big East or Big 12.

        The Big Ten schools treat the Big Ten differently than Big East or Big 12 schools treat their conferences. Once Nebraska or Texas or whomever becomes a Big Ten school, I would expect them to act just as Penn State did and act in the best interests of the conference, etc.

  64. AggieFrank says:

    I don’t believe Texas A&M has much interest in B10 membership and it is highly unlikely, under any scenario, A&M will end up in the conference. This certainly is not a knock on the B10 schools or the quality of the conference but the cultural differences and travel are obstacles are too severe to overcome.

    Texas A&M has had serious conversations with the SEC in the past and once the next phase of conference realignment begins, look for Texas A&M to land in the SEC. A number of schools in the SEC West are in favor of the move and are working hard to get approval for the conference invitation. Texas may or may not come along but that decision is unlikely to impact A&M’s move to the SEC.

    • Redhawk says:

      @AggieFrank

      I agree. Personally I think when the next phase begins, A&M will be in the SEC, and Texas in the Pac-10. I think a deal will be made to split between the conferences. I think OU will also join the SEC.

      • Bamatab says:

        Redhawk,

        I doubt very seriously that the SEC strikes a deal with the Pac 10 to split TX & OK. First off, that is a pretty one sided deal with TX being the more desired team. Now I think that it could end up with TX going to the Pac 10 and OK (and maybe TX A&M) going to the SEC. But it won’t be because the two conference struck up a deal to split them. JMHO

    • Bamatab says:

      AggieFrank,

      From everything I’ve read or heard, it seems that both TX A&M and Oklahoma would prefer to go the SEC if the Big 12 suffers huge loses. If those two schools do decide to jump to the SEC, then the question for TX comes down to whether or not they want to continue to keep their rivalries with those schools and allow their fan base to continue to travel with ease to away games; or whether they would prefer to join the preceived better academic schools in the Pac 10 where their fan base will have a harder time traveling to away games and where it will be a lot harder to form decent rivalries and would probably make less money and have less tv exposure since most of their away games will be played in the Pacific time zone. As most people have said, this decision will be made by the university presidents and not the athletic directors, so the academic standards may weigh more heavily than the normal fans would think. It should be interesting to see what TX does if this situation arises.

    • Wes Haggard says:

      AggieFrank, I appreciate your thoughts and I can see where you may wish to personally become a member of the the SEC. I too believe that we would have an immediate and wonderful rivalry with LSU and we already have a series with Arkansas at Jerry World for a number of years. Myself and a number of my acquaintances think that membership in the Big Ten is the best for Texas A&M’s future. Athletics being the least of the reasons to join. Combined political power for obtaining research grants, the CIC sharing of education, emphasis on graduation studies and the sharing opportunities therein, not to mention just the thought of membership in a conference of higher educational standards and morality toward recruiting. I think the leaders of our wonderful University recognize that the Big Ten would and should be A&M’s first choice. From a purely athletic point, well, you can’t beat the money in the Big Ten. I would hope that Texas and A&M both accept membership if and when an invitation may be tendered.

  65. Sportsman24 says:

    Hopkins Horn (on May 4, 2010 at 9:51 am)

    Thank you for your insight. While I was/am aware that the B12 was a merger of the SWC & B8, I’m not sure of the mindset of UT. If what you say is true, then it helps alleviate one of my concerns.

    Jeepers (on May 4, 2010 at 10:00 am) & RedDenver (on May 4, 2010 at 10:09 am)

    These are a couple more of my concerns regarding UT & TAMU.

    (I’m using my phone & cannot put these comments where they should be.)

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      Thanks. I guess my main point is that, if Texas really is as selfish an SOB as some fear it could be, it won’t ever come anywhere close to UT receiving an invitation to the Big 10, so the “team player” issue won’t be an issue.

      I think Zeek sums it up best above: Texas and Nebraska are behaving in the same way virtually any other school in their present situation would behave.

      • zeek says:

        Yeah I don’t really know where these comments are coming from as to the risk of Texas up and leaving soon after joining.

        Texas joining the Big Ten would put it way ahead of any of the other conferences in terms of size and scope, and there probably wouldn’t be a reason to leave until the population densities moved more southwest… but that’s talking 50-75 years away from now.

        For the next 30 years (and presumably as far as one can see), Texas would be as loyal a trooper as any other school if it were to join. I don’t see any tangible issue that would make me think otherwise.

        The worry about risk of leaving or rocking the boat seems entirely misplaced. Once a school joins the Big Ten at this point, there’s not going to be a reason to leave anywhere on the horizon.

  66. RedDenver says:

    Here’s an interesting view on why the Huskers have such good traveling fans (hopefully this links):
    http://bigrednetwork.com/archives/2010/05/nebraska_might_go_to_the_big_1.html

    As a Husker fan living outside Nebraska, I can attest that there are many Husker fans all over the US.

    • zeek says:

      That’s probably the most exciting thing that Nebraska brings to the table.

      Nebraska has the potential to make as big a splash in the Big Ten for football as Penn State did just based on the fact that it has one of the most intense fanbases in the country. It still amazes that they got 80,000 at a spring game that they charged $10…; that in itself is mindboggling.

      • Manifesto says:

        @Zeek: That’s what bigtime programs do, and Nebraska is a bigtime program. Ohio State drew 95k last year and 65k this year (rain killed attendance) charging $5-10 as well.

        As a Big Ten fan it’s an exciting proposition to bring a school like Nebraska, with their passionate fanbase, into the conference. It enhances the conference to add another big program like this.

  67. Xenon says:

    Ok, let’s say it is a 5 team expansion by the BigTen to go to 16 teams (Which I think is the most likely scenario at this point).

    The SEC will follow suit by adding 4 teams to get to 16 as well. The big question is which 4 teams. They could go after 4 Texas Schools, or 4 other Southern teams from the ACC. I don’t think the Texas Administration is thrilled with SEC academics, so I kind of doubt the SEC goes West. I think they kill the “little brother” in their own backyard and take 3 or 4 from the ACC. Perhaps Duke and North Carolina to sure up the SEC in Basketball. Perhaps Florida State or Miami. Perhaps Georgia Tech or Virginia Tech. Or some combination.

    That leaves the the ACC reeling … and sitting at 8 schools. I think the ACC can rebuild back to 12 by grabbing 3 or 4 from the remnants of the BigEast (USF in particular to keep a strong Florida presence). BUT, I really DON’T see the ACC being able to rebuild up to 16 teams to match the SEC and BigTen.

    Which leads to a very interesting battle to the death between the BigXII and the PAC. In the end, I think this looks somewhat like a merger of the BigXII and the PAC to form the third and final 16 team supermegaconference. You get the core 6 or 7 PAC teams (USC, UCLA, Cal, Stanford, ASU, AU) and the Core 6 or 7 BigXII remnants (Texas, TA&M, TTech, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado) to for the core of the new “Everything west of the Mississippi” Conference. Those core 12 or so teams add in 4 more schools from the PAC / BigXII / MWC / WAC (Probably Washington and Oregon, maybe BYU, Utah, Baylor, OkState). That will be a very very political decisions (perhaps the Texas Legislature forces Baylor, or Oklahoma forces OkState or whatever).

    So, in the end, you end up (in Football) with a “consolidation of power and money through expansion”. In the end, the Elite BCS football money is divided up between 48 schools (down from the current ~65ish), which means everyone gets a slightly larger slice overall.

    AND, the remnants of all this end up forming 3 POWER Basketball conferences, that have varying numbers of football schools as well. The BigEast focuses on Basketball, and basically drops out of the football club … maybe two or three BE teams also play football as independents. The ACC reforms itself focusing primarily on their Basketball History. They rebuild with teams like Memphis and Syracuse and UConn that have great Basketball tradition. And the leftovers from the BigXII/PAC merger come together with the top of the MWC and the WAC to form a power basketball conference for west of the Mississippi. This has Kansas State, Iowa State, Washington State, Oregon State, BYU, Utah, New Mexico (good basketball program), Baylor, TCU, and perhaps schools like Gonzaga and St. Mary’s that don’t even play football.

    End Result ….
    48 ELITE Football programs in 3 SuperMegaConferences of 16 teams that get most or all of the BCS slots (each Conference gets 2 AQ teams into the BCS for each Division Champ, and can have one more at large bid as well)
    96 POWER basketball programs in the 3 SuperMegaConferences and 3 or 4 Power conferences in Basketball of 12 to 16 teams. These conferences completely dominate the new NCAA tourney selection process, and have a BCS football arrangement similar to the MWC/WAC now … a champ with a ranking above 12 gets into the BCS, but not automatically if less than 12.

    • zeek says:

      Most people have focused on Oklahoma and Florida State as being the targets of the SEC along with possibly Clemson and Texas Tech or Oklahoma State.

      I don’t see the ACC getting raided for 4, that would be too redundant for the SEC’s footprint. Granted they don’t have a TV network yet, but they’d probably aim for Oklahoma and Texas or if Texas refuses, then Texas Tech.

  68. Jack says:

    I would prefer a TBD game instead of the 1 stable rival game. Have each pod play its own every year, and then rotate one of the other pods each year. Use the last game to match up teams based on records in the following way:
    1 vs. 4 – mini semi 1
    2 vs. 3 – mini semi 2
    5 vs. 6
    7 vs. 8
    9 vs. 10
    11 vs. 12
    13 vs. 14
    15 vs. 16

    Then have the winners of mini semi games play each other in the conference championship game.

  69. rich2 says:

    Reading about the possibility of adding Missouri, Nebraska, Rutgers, Pitt and Syracuse. I read that this expansion is fueled by academic and athletic goals, as well as “feeding the beast” of the BTN.

    I am interested in the academic side. Currently there are 11 members and then the Big Ten +1 expands to the Big Ten +6. How does this improve the Big Ten + 1? I have no doubt that the expansion will aid the “recently added five” in their marketing efforts to attract students. But for the original eleven, what specific academic benefits do you forecast in terms of:
    1. Undegraduate education: will the quality or number of undergraduates improve for the B10 + 1 by expanding to a B10 + 6? How?
    2. Graduate education: How does a current graduate program leverage this expansion to improve the quality of their current programs? More opportunities for collaboration? Are the current grad programs in the Big 10+1 hurting for potential collaborators?
    Will research dollars be pooled and leveraged in a way that the current group cannot pool? How much?
    3. Faculty: will more qualified faculty be attracted to a department that is part of a Big 10+6 who were not attracted to the Big 10+1? Really?

    What are the specific academic benefits that the posters expect to accrue to the Big Ten’s original 11 members as a result of an expansion to 16. Or to be crass — five years after the expansion occurs, how will the perceived value of a degree received from one of the original 11 in the new Big 16 be enhanced?

    • zeek says:

      To be entirely honest, I see most of the positive impact going towards the schools joining rather than the original 11. That’s probably my view unless Maryland is somehow brought in because Maryland has a closer relationship to the federal agencies than any Big 10 school and that’s very important for the research money.

      For undergraduate education, there probably won’t be much of a quality impact. I don’t think number really matters, anyone looking at a student coming out of a school looks at the school individually.

      For graduate education, I would imagine that Nebraska, Rutgers, and Pitt will probably be able to pull their weight in terms of adding their research facilities to what’s already in the Big 10.

      As for faculty, most of the benefit would go to the new schools being in the CIC and being able to offer when recruiting potential faculty.

      All of these schools compete for the prestigious researchers in any case, the ones that may develop something that will pay off for the school; like the Lyrica drug that paid off handsomely for Northwestern, etc.

      To be brutally honest, most of the benefits will go to the joining members unless we somehow bring along Maryland.

      (I say this having done ug (as has 90% of the board ofc, and grad school at Big Ten schools).

      • @zeek – There could also be more of an intangible benefit for the current schools to the extent there really is an “East Coast bias” in higher education and the Big Ten establishes itself in that region. While schools like Michigan, Wisconsin, Penn State and Northwestern typically receive notice from people on the East Coast (and to a lesser extent, Indiana much more lately specifically for the Kelly business school), the rest of the schools lack exposure in that area. The average high schooler in the NYC area likely thinks that Illinois is closer to Kansas State than UVA in terms of academics (as wrong as that may be). For better or worse, perception in higher education is driven by the East Coast (and in the New York area specifically), much like the media in general. I’m not sure if adding schools like Rutgers, Syracuse and Pitt really can change it that much, but it’s likely a factor on the academic side and why the university presidents probably favor adding at least a couple of Eastern schools instead of a pure Western expansion (which some have suggested here as that would be more attractive from the sports perspective). Right now, the Big Ten academic “brand” is “big-time research schools with big-time sports programs in the Midwest” (notwithstanding the presence of Penn State). Adding Eastern schools would alter that brand into “big-time research schools with big-time sports programs in the North”.

        • zeek says:

          Yeah, that’s probably the strongest argument for Syracuse right there. Just getting the Big Ten into the NY consciousness would be quite the victory for its academics as a whole.

          That also is probably why they don’t care that Notre Dame isn’t an AAU member (ignoring the athletics aspect of ND).

          The only issue is whether it would really work. If we were talking about NYU, I could see that working out, but it’s just hard for me to imagine.

          Just what I’ve heard from the people who attended undergrad with me from the NYC and northern New Jersey area, those areas are so east coast focused with the exceptions of the schools that you’ve named, that it might be impossible to pull it off without it being NYU on the table or a school like that.

          But that’s the calculation the presidents will make when everything is on the table.

          That’s probably why I wouldn’t be surprised whatever the mix is. At this point it seems as if a convincing argument can be made for any mix of 3 or 5 schools.

        • mushroomgod says:

          I think it’s also useful to have a sense of academic/research momemtum….

          Looking at the #s form 2001-2008, the % increases in res. funding are:

          ND 111%
          NW 88%
          OSU 80%
          Pitt 71%
          Pur 69%
          IU 58%
          Neb 56%
          PSU 53%
          Minn 48%
          Wis 46%
          Mich 46%
          Mo 40%
          U Con 38%
          KU 38%
          Rut 36%
          MSU 34%
          Ill 28%
          Iowa 15%
          Syr (09)%

          The Iowa # may be a typo, as it’s #s increaed steadily from ’01 to ’07, then declined dramatically in ’08. Iowa’s correct # may be 40%

          Couple points here–ND is doing very well in increasing res $s w/o the BT; also, Pitt and Neb seem to have some academic momentum, while Mo., Rutgers, and Syr do not. That kind of corresponds to the sense of things I’ve gotten from their boards…the Pitt and Neb boards seem to have more confidence in their adms that the others….

          In 2001, ND had 46M in research, Syr. 42. By 2008, ND had 97M, Syr 38. Something dramatic happened to SU’s totals from 2004 to 2005. They declined from 62M to 36M…..

          • M says:

            Re “research momentum”.

            As I’ve said before, if there is one school that could ramp up their research totals it is probably ND. They have the endowment (and seemingly the administrative desire) to do it.

      • rich2 says:

        I agree with your analysis Zeek. I believe that most observers will interpret expansion similarly. If the Presidents believe that expansion will be portrayed similarly in the media “Big Ten sells academic reputation for additional BTN cable fees” they will get cold feet and everyone on this blog (including myself) will ask — where do I reclaim the hours of my life I lost writing and reading about something that did not happen.

        • zeek says:

          That’s probably why I think we will see some sort of attempt to grab Maryland; it would probably be a mistake not to at least float the possibility of an invitation. But as has been pointed out, Maryland may be too hard to get. The ACC has a lot of strong undergrad programs and some strong research programs as well.
          Sure we can offer a lot of money, but I’m not sure if money is enough to grab Maryland away from the other east coast schools that it really associates itself with…

          A 3 or 5 team expansion that includes both Maryland and Nebraska would probably be the best way to satisfy the academics and the sports fans. That would be the easiest way to convince the faculties of the schools joining that this is a home run expansion other than grabbing Texas.

          I mean, I just think it’s a statement of how good the current Big Ten is academically that the pickings are relatively slim. We’ve already got the strongest hybrid of athletics and academics out there among the big conferences, so it’s hard to improve on that.

          I think Syracuse, Rutgers, and Pitt would be fine additions, it’d just be the equivalent of growing the academic pie from 11 slices to 14, per se.

          Naturally, the Big Ten Network is easier to improve because we just need market access to create the 11 + 1 = 13 effect that Frank has talked about.

          It’s really tough to get the same bang for the buck of expansion for academics/CIC.

          • Vincent says:

            If it appears the SEC will pick off a few ACC schools in its expansion, Maryland will become part of the Big Ten equation. Its president, C.D. Mote, is retiring at the end of August, and I think he’d like to give College Park Big Ten membership as a going-away present.

    • Rick says:

      Currently, virtually all (there are a very few exceptions like supposedly Texas) Universities subsidize Athletic Departments in a substantial way. With the increased revenue generated from the Athletic Department due to expansion those subsidies would be able to be invested instead into the Academic and infrastructure side of the University thereby improving the University as a whole. The current Big Ten member Universities would benefit greatly from expansion revenue, aside from the Athletic Department, as a result of this reallocation of University funding. I think the Big Ten COP/C clearly understand this and is a very important issue for them.

      • Rick says:

        In the link below there is an interesting discussion and analysis of this issue of University subsidies for Athletics.

        http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/2010-01-13-ncaa-athletics-funding-analysis_N.htm

        • Albino Tornado says:

          Note the last sentence of the linked story:

          “Nebraska and Louisiana State were the only schools whose athletics programs reported receiving no subsidies in each of the four years studied.” Nebraska’s athletic department is required to receive no state subsidies, and in most years, contributes to the university’s general fund.

          • Manifesto says:

            @Albino:

            Saw that too, which confused me because Ohio State’s athletic department is believed to be self-sustaining. By going through the database I found out why they didn’t add OSU to that list of not receiving state/institutional subsidies:

            2004/05: Direct institutional support – $5,429.00 – 0.01% (Ended ~$120k in the black)

            2005/06: Direct state or other government support – $9,911.43 – 0.01% (Ended ~$2.9mil in the black)

            Not sure how/why they received those tiny subsidies for those two years. Weird.

            To tie this to Rich2’s original post, the athletics department at OSU returns a lot of money back to the university, despite funding 36 sports. This includes funding things like libraries, scholarships, and other areas that enhances the university as a whole (http://oncampus.osu.edu/2009/03/putting-the-pieces-together/).

            When we’re talking things like libraries, campus police, campus radio stations, etc. yes I think both undergraduate and graduate students’ experiences are enhanced by the athletic department making more money. Making the assumption that the Big Ten->16 would generate more money, I also assume these fund infusions to the university to increase.

            But, like Texas, Ohio State is probably the exception and not the rule. To counter, however, I would argue that schools like ND and Nebraska also fall under this exception, and I believe that the increased cash flow to their schools would have a positive impact on the average student. (Only looking at this from a financial standpoint, of course.)

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            In fact, LSU’s athletic department has makes yearly contributions to the University. In these difficult economic times when LSU has sustained numerous budget cuts, the athletic department has stepped up its academic contributions.

          • Rick says:

            It’s not only fund infusions back to the University from flush ADs, but for most schools ( Big Ten schools included) the expansion revenue increases would lessen or negate the need for University subsidies therefore allowing the University to reinvest in Academics, Faculty, Infrastructure, Student life etc. This whole topic relates back to the OP by Rich2 questioning how the current Big Ten members will benefit from expansion other than growing the Athletic Department budgets. This is a huge concern among University President’s and BOG as well as State Govts. which are cutting back University funding all over the country. That coupled with a backlash from students on increases in Tuition and Student fees and Faculty pay freezes and department cuts makes enhanced Athletic Department revenue generation a big opportunity area that will benefit the Universities in general.

          • Rick says:

            This example from The University of Iowa is typical of Universities across the country. It is not surprising that expansion by the Big Ten is currently on the agenda for COP/C. Budgets and revenue generation is on the agenda for every University administration everywhere. Conference realignment, instability in revenue generation for AD’s (non-Big Ten), University and State subsidy cutbacks, all make for a very anxious group of schools that will be effected by Big Ten expansion. I think the Big Ten is acutely aware of this and will not want to drag this thing along. The financial implications are too big for both the current Big Ten members and all Universities directly or indirectly effected by this for this topic to be extended too far past this summer or fall at the latest.

            http://www.dailyiowan.com/2009/10/28/Opinions/13935.html

          • Rick says:

            For further reading on the topic of the urgency of the financial concerns of University Presidents here are 2 links to “The Knight Commission” group. 1 is there home page, the other is their report from their findings gathered at a Conference they hosted this past fall for University Presidents. Big Ten expansion is in the middle of a bee hive and resolution soon is a high priority to settle the landscape.

            Knight Home page:

            http://www.knightcommission.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=frontpage&Itemid=1

            Conference Findings:

            http://www.knightcommission.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=418:october-26-2009-university-presidents-united-in-call-to-curb-athleics-spending-says-major-knight-commission-survey&catid=22&Itemid=12

  70. OSU-Typhon says:

    Great insight zeek. I concur the the original 11 schools will not receive much academic benefit unless the expansion includes Maryland. Arguments could be made for the other contenders (like Pitt’s top notch Medical Research may further medical research) but the only clear cut winner on assisting the Original 11 is Maryland.

  71. rich2 says:

    Count Fr. Jenkins, President of ND, as another one who does not understand the collective wisdom expressed on this blog. Frank, sign him up.

    http://chronicle.com/blogPost/To-Join-or-Not-to-Join-/23710/

  72. M says:

    Father Jenkins (the ND equivalent of university president) had a few words today:
    http://chronicle.com/blogPost/To-Join-or-Not-to-Join-/23710/

    • FLP_NDRox says:

      Fr. Jenkins is the President of the University of Notre Dame du Lac.

      The post? article? what ever it is seems too short. I would have preferred to have seen a full interview. Fr. Jenkins was only quoted hitting obvious bulletpoints.

  73. Hopkins Horn says:

    Unless I’m completely missing it, I think all the discussion we’re having on this thread is ignoring the elephant in the room: the fact that a number of sources seem to be coalescing around the idea that these five specific schools have been targeted by the Big 10.

    How seriously do we take this? It seems as though most of us, including me, have been accepting these rumors as very much based in reality without stopping to reflect upon their validity.

    Is this what’s really going on, or is this merely one rumor bouncing around and being amplified inside an echo chamber by other reporters with no original reporting of their own?

    And if this rumor is in fact based in reality, is this what the Big 10 really wants, or are we still either at a trial balloon stage or a stage at which the Big 10 is still trying to lure bigger game?

    (And an aside from my Texas-centric viewpoint: my original theory of Texas moving to the Big 10 included a moment very much like this: a moment at which the Big 10 would attempt to call Texas’ bluff by appearing intent upon inviting at least one other member of the Big XII to join the Big 10.)

    • Seth9 says:

      My take on the rumors:

      While the specific distribution of teams coming to the Big Ten is possible, I give only a 15% chance of the reports that the schools have been decided upon being false. They may be true if the negotiations are taking place, the schools have been agreed upon, and the entire conference is doing their best to keep a lid on them, which means that only one school (Mizzou) slipped up and the rest of the conference is refusing to confirm the rumors until the details are sorted out. More likely, however, is someone at Missouri said something to the local station that is either a) not true, or more likely b) somewhat uninformed, which is why no major news outlet with sources at multiple schools in the Big Ten has said anything. Because nothing has come out of the Big Ten or a Big Ten school, I doubt the rumors are based in reality or were even instigated by the Big Ten, as it is certainly not in Missouri’s interest to leak any information to try to force a move by other schools, as that could easily lead to Mizzou being left on the outside.

    • Manifesto says:

      @Hopkins:

      I’m not taking this latest rumor very seriously. An awful lot of articles starting with “a source in St. Louis” or something similar, as Frank mentioned at the start of his post. Until I start seeing it from sources from other places I’m calling shenanigans. It’s too convenient that all of these sources appear to be coming from Missouri and not Pitt, Rutgers, or anyone else involved. Apparently Missouri is the only place where journalists can find someone willing to spill the beans anonymously. Maybe this is the final alignment, but I need more than shadowy figures making proclamations in sports gossip columns.

      Fact of the matter is, despite all the “leaks” that have popped up since December, the only thing we know for sure is that the Big Ten is playing it very close to the vest and 99% of the leaks have yet to be verified by anyone reputable. Arguably the most trusted journalist covering this so far, Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune, even ended up with egg on his face not too long ago. For someone to magically appear like Expansion Moses to lead us to the promised land is suspicious at best. Especially since it popped up only a week after the Big Ten came out with “nothing to see here, move along” as their official response.

      Hell, for all we know this “source” could be a journalist reading this blog and just misinterpreting Frank’s hometown. :P

      • FLP_NDRox says:

        Agreed.

      • Redhawk says:

        I think the only thing we can say for sure is that schools are being talked to. There are too many quotes from people attached to too many universities and conferences. The biggest one to me was the SEC president’s comment.

        Now WHO is going where…I seriously doubt anyone knows for sure, right NOW..not even the Big 10 people.

      • Craig says:

        I wonder if anybody from the Big Ten office is reading this blog?

    • zeek says:

      It’s just idle speculation. This is just the current focus because it’s the current media rumor.

      I don’t think the Big Ten presidents have decided on any schools at this point.

      Delaney has decided that he wants the Big Ten to go east and west and is telling ADs this in his conversations. The difference between now and 2003 or the late 90s is that he has the Big Ten Network on his side of the argument for expansion.

      Personally, I see Delaney waving his wand and trying to net the big catch of Texas.

      While the media is settled on Nebraska/Missouri/Rutgers/Syracuse/Pitt, they don’t realize that Nebraska/Missouri and presumably Colorado within two months leaving the Big 12 essentially destroys the conference. All of the remaining major markets will be in Texas and the Big 12 contract will be worth next to nothing when it comes up to re-negotiations.

      There is no way Texas can sit by and let this happen. Thus, a move to 5 immediately seems like total folly unless you actually favor the current speculation group of 5.

      Taking just Nebraska or Nebraska/Missouri/Rutgers still seems like the most obvious move this year. That gives everyone (including Texas and Notre Dame) time to evaluate their options.

      The Big East is already unstable; teams will bolt anytime for the Big Ten if given the opportunity. The Big 12 is potentially unstable if Colorado and Nebraska or Missouri leave.

      All of this is all rehash, but it leaves us where we were when this process started. We don’t really know what will happen. The most obvious path is Nebraska (plus 2) -> Texas (plus 1) or Notre Dame (plus 1); or Nebraska -> Texas (plus 1 or 3).

      Other than Nebraska, there isn’t a single school that seems to be moving this year that is guaranteed to significantly upgrade the football/television side of the equation while passing the academic smell test.

      I still think Texas is the biggest chip on the board. Everyone’s just gotten bored of Texas-speculation (off of this site) so they’re just accepting Texas staying in the Big 12.

      I would submit that Texas will not sit still if Nebraska/Colorado/Missouri move out of the Big 12.

      You’re probably more qualified as to speak to what Texas will actually do after that though…

      • zeek says:

        Oh, I would just add that the one rumor I believe is that the Pac-10 actually has spoken to Texas and Texas A&M and that only A&M was interested.

        The Pac-10 is much further along (a fact that the media has not picked up for some reason) because of the way it needs schools to show off to networks in 2012.

        The Big Ten will not do anything until it knows whether Colorado’s moving to the Pac-10 this summer.

        • PSUGuy says:

          Excellent point and one which got me to put my “mad genius” hat on…

          Pac-10 comes out this summer and says TAMU/Colorado will be the additions.

          Big10 then invites Neb, Mizzou, Kansas, Texas, Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse, UConn, ND

          4×5 Team divisions
          1)PSU, Pitt, Rutgers, UConn, Syracuse
          2)OSU, UoM, MSU, Purdue, ND
          3)Nebraska, NW, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesotta
          4)Texas, Kansas, Mizzou, Illinois, Indiana

          Play everyone in your division plus one other division on a rotating basis (play all once every three years) for a total of 9 conference games with 2 OOC. ND’s historic rivalries with UoM, MSU, Purdue are kept and the “no more than two consecutive seasons” between ND / Pitt games are kept in tact as well. Pitt/PSU reignited, OSU/UoM kept. Wisconsin/Iowa/Minnesotta good plus Nebraska added to the fun. Mizzou/Illinois can have the border war. Texas will just have to live with winning its division every year.

          Only two schools not AAU (ND, UConn) only two schools not heavily invested in research (ND, Syracuse). Academically, the worst of the bunch is Syracuse, which has been in talks since the beginning.

          The remaining Big12 schools invite (are forced by Texas State Legislature) other Texas schools to backfill in Texas, add NM, Utah, BYU and become a less academic version of the ACC.

          Am I really going insane or does this actually seem like a plausible idea?

          • Manifesto says:

            @PSUGuy:

            To be honest, I’m already squeamish about 16. 20 feels like coo-coo crazytalk. You don’t have a conference then; you have two conferences with the same name.

            I mean, who knows. Anything’s possible when nothing is really known. But when you’re talking about conference sizes bigger than either the NFC/AFC I think we’ve entered crazytown.

          • Redhawk says:

            why stop there? Just go to 65 teams….we can all be the Big-10.

            Sorry, I just think 20 is going the step in crazy land….but I never thought I’d be thinking that the real final out come of all this would be 4 16 super-conferences and a big finger to the NCAA. So …I guess 20 is possible.

          • PSUGuy says:

            As I said…crazy talk, but here’s the thing…name one school in that list that doesn’t nominally fit the Big10 profile.

            Either AAU or research. Tend to be bigger schools. Even the least academically rated of the schools (Syracuse and ND) take academics very seriously.

            You say “why not go to 65″…well when Kentucky, Alabama, Oklahoma, etc start pushing the academics side of the field and stop violating so many NCAA rules for athletics I’ll say maybe thats when those schools are entertained.

            Point being, there actually is a reasonable and noticeable reason to stop exactly at that point. No more schools of merit to include (ACC excluded).

            Though again, complete crazy talk.

          • mushroomgod says:

            Actually, PSU guy, imo Texas is the ONLY school you mention that fits squarely into the present Big 10 norm. All of the others are either a “stretch” or are of a different nature than current BT schools.

          • mushroomgod says:

            To expound on that comment a little–

            I think it’s useful to remember that none of the obvious expansion candidates really “fit” the existing Big 10 profile.

            Take Mo. Yes, it’s a large, public, research university. However, it’s smaller, by over 10000 students, than any of the existing schools other than Iowa or NW. It’s also 31 spots below the lowest rated Big 10 U on UN News ratings.

            Or consider Pitt. It’s 13000 smaller than the typical Big 10 U, and in the 90s in the Director’s Cup standings, some 40 spots below the lowest BT school.

            U Conn and Nebraska are 16000 less than the BT norm. That’s a lot.

            I’m not saying don’t take Mo or Pitt. Taking 1 or 2 of these schools is not a huge deal. However, when you take 5 at once, it becomes a big deal.

            I think most of us on here are at least somewhat pro-expansion. However, when you go on the BT forumsand mention the schools we’re talking about, there’s tremendous skepticism. I think that’s justified.

          • PSUGuy says:

            @mushroomgod
            Don’t disagree at all. My simple point is if Mizzou/UConn/Syracuse etc are in the discussions for likely expansion candidate there are literally many schools who fall inside the “minimums” required.

            At that point it boils down to just how far does the conference want to push and how quickly?

            Again, its crazy talk, but facts are there are some “solid” schools left on the table in even a 16 team conference. Maybe the Big10 doesn’t care about them and fair enough, but to me adding one more team per division while solidifying the conference’s landscape even further might just be worth it…if only in “crazy land”.

        • m (Ag) says:

          While I hope A&M is open to everyone who calls, I would be surprised if they quickly joined the Pac 10 without UT if there is a chance they could join the Big 10 with UT. Given the distances involved to the 2 conferences, having 1 close neighbor and rival in conference is good for travel and fans. It also gives more freedom to non-conference scheduling.

          I don’t think UT and A&M are joined at the hip, but I do think UT would prefer to have A&M in the same conference if it moves to a large (13+ schools) conference. The only way I really see them splitting up if Texas moves to a large conference is if A&M prefers to go to the SEC and the SEC wants A&M.

          Of course, if UT was to join the Big 10 as the 12th and last member, A&M would probably check if the SEC or Pac 10 would take them. Similarly, if UT went independent or declared it was staying in the Big 12 as other schools bolted the conference, A&M would be open to moving.

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            I think that’s a pretty spot-on analysis.

            What I don’t think any of us know is the extent to which there might be a Legislative roadblock if Texas were to try to split on its own to either the Big 10 or Pac 10 without bringing A&M along. I instinctively believe that A&M and the SEC could easily come to mutually beneficial terms in such a situation, so I don’t know if the pro A&M forces would attempt to stop Texas.

          • zeek says:

            Yeah, I see where you guys are going with this.

            But what about this thought; what if A&M is signaling to Texas that it is willing to consider a move as a way of nudging Texas into considering it?

            Right now we haven’t heard anything about Texas’ intentions from anyone (whether rumor or not). No one really knows what’s going through the minds of the Texas president and the Texas AD. We know they’re considering a Texas sports network to pick up the Big 12 contract’s slack. But we don’t really know what Texas has planned if the conference gets gutted because they lose all of the big markets outside Texas as well as the North’s national draw.

            We do know that A&M has spoken to the Pac-10. They are probably more interested in the SEC as many have mentioned before (and you state).

            I think this is A&M’s way of possibly sending smoke in the air.

            I mean, Texas should know that A&M is considering different leagues because Texas was also contacted by the Pac-10 according to that source (the Memphis AD, whatever that’s worth).

            I do think that Texas is considering its future in private at this point, but is not willing to make any moves until the first domino falls.

            Right now Texas probably realizes that as the anchor of the Big 12 it should just act like business is normal so other schools don’t start scrambling to consider their options. It also doesn’t want to set off rumors.

            Just imagine, if Texas were to talk to the Pac-10, just talk, that would set off alarms in 11 other schools in the Big 12. You’d have Oklahoma and Texas Tech open channels to the SEC. Kansas would try the Big Ten or the SEC, etc.

            That’s probably why Texas told the Pac-10 they weren’t interested. The last thing they want is a scramble to the exit that would also force their hand.

            Thus, I would probably just say that it is in Texas’ best interest to not respond to inquiries until Colorado does something.

      • Hopkins Horn says:

        @Zeek:

        I would submit that Texas will not sit still if Nebraska/Colorado/Missouri move out of the Big 12.

        That’s the key. The word I’ve used for a couple of years is “grudgingly” Texas is grudgingly content with the status quo — after all, the Big XII, in its current configuration, has been great for Texas athletics across the board. And all things being equal, Texas would prefer nothing to change. But if things do look like they’re about to change, I don’t think Texas will stand idly by and remain stuck in a weakened conference.

        The key word in that last sentence is “stuck”. It is foreseeable to me that Texas remains in a weakened Big XII (assuming a Mizzou/NU departure here) if, and only if, the Pac 10 remains a safety net for down the road. In this sense, I’m arguing that Texas may view the Pac 10 in the same way many on this board feel that ND has viewed the Big 10 over the years, as a safety net in which it can fall if independence no longer suit sits needs.

        Texas wouldn’t necessarily be “stuck” in a weakened Big XII if the Pac 10 doesn’t expand right away. And if the Pac 10 is unable to agree upon two expansion candidates outside of Texas — and the only plausible pair to me would be Utah and Colorado, and of course neither of those two schools provide the “wow” factor a Texas would bring — perhaps the Pac 10 doesn’t expand, and Texas can experiment with its LSN model, and if that fails, a Pac 10-Texas merger can remain.

        But if the Big 10 shows it’s willing to expand without Texas, and if the Pac 10 shows it’s willing to raid the Big XII as well to get to a 12th team, then I think Texas chooses its preferred course, A&M and OU head east and the Big XII as we know it is dead.

        • zeek says:

          All of this means that the timing of this is central.

          Right now, the only thing that seems even remotely certain (I would say a solid 50% chance, which is better than anything else we know), is that Colorado is likely to announce a move to the Pac-10 by June/July.

          The Pac-10 can’t wait is Texas’ biggest problem. The Pac-10 needs to start inviting teams this summer probably. Thus, where we are in July is probably all that really matters.

          The whole 12 to 18 month timeline for the Big Ten is likely a way of letting the Pac-10 lead the way by grabbing Denver away.

          Then, the ball starts rolling. Does Texas sit around and wait for Nebraska/Missouri to go to the Big Ten, or does Texas jump in front with a phone call to Delaney.

          I’m sure you’ve seen the Continental/US Airways/United merger dance that went on.

          Continental jumped in as soon as it heard US Airways was considering merging with United.

          I have a hard time not seeing Texas start getting into gear if Colorado leaves.

          A Big 12 contract without Colorado/Nebraska/Missouri is probably worth no more than $5-6M a year.

          Texas is probably crunching the numbers right now on a Longhorn Network. If the network can pull down $10M+ a year, then it might be willing to do its own thing as the only big market in the Big 12.

          Otherwise, there is no doubt in my mind that Texas will put phone calls in to Delaney and Slive the day after Colorado announces.

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            We’re pretty much in agreement here.

            There are plenty of Longhorn observers who believe that the Horns do want to make a move, but can’t go first for political reasons.

            If that’s the case, and the Big 10 really wants Texas, then let the Pac 10 pull the trigger first this summer.

    • Ron says:

      Don’t think there really is a “final” list yet, but the size of the expansion (5 teams) and the specific school names leaked of Nebraska, Missouri, Pitt, Syracuse and Rutgers are all highly credible, desireable by objective criteria, located in states contiguous to current Big Ten states and probably available. It is a decent working list even if it is still open to question.

      As far as the size of an expansion, the numbers 12 and 16 for league size both sound desireable and workable. Anything in between seems an attempt to hang out indefinitely while Notre Dame and/or Texas (with Texas A&M in tow) change their mind. Just what are these schools going to know in the coming years about the Big Ten that they don’t know now? Plus, if Notre Dame or Texas do have an epiphany and change their minds, couldn’t the Big Ten just expand to an odd number like 17 or 18 or 19 and live with that temporarily? Sixteen is a great number for league size, but it is not an absolute cap.

      So to answer your question, the elephant fits quite nicely into the room for now, so let’s just allow it to hang out for awhile and see what happens (and keep our shovels handy).

      • ezdozen says:

        Not only that… but if Texas sees that these 5 additions added to the pie AND the slices of the pie… they will then realize how much they could add!

        The one thing we will not see for a long time is stability.

    • eapg says:

      I tend to agree with you on this one, Hopkins. But again, you’re probably not going to like why. It’s very possible that this “leak” is an effort to exert some leverage on Texas. You mention a Texas bluff. What would they be bluffing about at this point? The leading contender for that answer would be their terms for accepting an invitation, which might not jibe (at the moment, not saying they might not come around) with the team player idea.

      And really, why wouldn’t they shoot the moon as their opening price? You never know, you might get it. Texas is one big whopping football brand, made even bigger if ND is off the table, as it seems from all indications.

      Anyway, if I had to bet, the five teams are the Plan B position and reservations are still good for Texas if terms can be negotiated, the big if, in my opinion. Prudence would dictate giving some time to see if a meeting of the minds can be reached.

      • Hopkins Horn says:

        A bluff could be for the reasons you state — negotiations with the Big 10. And it’s quite plausible that the Big 10 and Texas already know that the two parties could never come to mutually-agreeable terms. And if Texas believed that it would be more beneficial (financially-speaking, of course) to strike out on a path other than join the Big 10, I would term that less “not being a team player” and more “looking out for #1,” which pretty much each school is doing. It’s just that Texas happens to hold more cards than the other schools at the table and has more options available to it. I would tend to believe that Nebraska would do the same if it determined that launching a Huskers Sports Network within the framework of the Big XII would be more profitable than its 1/16 share from the BTN.

        But if there is a “bluff” — or mutally agreed-to secrecy — going on right now, I would think that the primary reason would be for internal Texas state political reasons. Given all the theoretical roadblocks Texas might have to maneuver if it were to move to the Big 10, it would serve the school’s best interests to keep all speculation as quiet as possible, work out all the backroom deals it needs to in advance, and strike like lightning when the time is right.

        I don’t think any of the five schools being speculated about right now face anywhere near the political hurdles Texas would face, so mindless speculation about their chances of winding up in the Big 10 doesn’t result in stirring up a hornet’s nest of internal state political opposition.

        • Sportsman24 says:

          I’d be surprised if we hear who the new members are before the deal is done. This is especially true if UT &/ ND are part of the expansion.

    • Wes Haggard says:

      Hopkins,I like your elephant in the room analogy. The only story that I have read about any University being contacted was the Kansas City Star article back around the first of the year and the subject of that article was Texas. Just maybe that is the only University that has been contacted by the Big Ten. Maybe Texas knows that it is the prettiest girl in the room and decides to leverage their looks and asks that A&M and OU be invited to the party too. Why should the administration leave Mack Brown with a ridicoulously difficult out of conference schedule with A&M and OU games that the Longhorns own traditionalists would not do without. I doubt not that there have been back room discussions. There always are in changes this big.

      It just might be that the names floated are not the real targets. What if the real targets are Texas, A&M, Notre Dame, Maryland and Pitt? Guess we may never know. Or maybe we will after all the back room agreements are made.

      • zeek says:

        Yeah, for what its worth, the Penn State addition was pretty much unexpected until the announcement from what people have said about it.

        We probably will be in for a surprise when the actual schools are announced.

      • Sportsman24 says:

        Wes,

        I like your five teams, but it might be better if ND were exchanged for NU. It’s nothing against ND, I just think that NU along with UT, TAMU, Pitt & MD would be better institutional fits in the long run.

  74. Boojtastic says:

    Two divisions! No, four pods! Enough with the fixation on even numbers, people.

    Why is no one proposing a three-pod set-up with an at-large bid to a two week, 4-team conference tournament? If the four-team tourney is going to happen anyways with the pod system, as some have insinuated, why not structure the conference like the National League in baseball?

    EAST: Penn State, Pitt, Syracuse, Rutgers, Michigan State
    CENTRAL: Ohio State, Michigan, Indiana, Purdue, Northwestern, Illinois
    WEST: Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, Missouri

    This keeps Ohio State and Michigan in the same conference and only creates a rematch situation if the two are clearly the best teams in the conference.

    (yeah yeah, enough with your NCAA bylaws about conference tournaments and whatnot)

  75. Sportsman24 says:

    @Hopkins Horn (on May 4, 2010 at 3:05 pm),

    I now believe that if UT joins tBT, then they will be in it for the long haul w/ an “all for one” attitude. I wasn’t meaning to be down on UT. I got caught up in the perception, instead of the reality.

    I don’t mean to patronize you or Playoffs, et al… but if UT fans are generally like you guys, then I’d welcome UT w/ open arms.

    How about sub-divisions like…
    * West: IA, MN, NU* & WI
    * South: IL, IN, UT* & TAMU*
    * North: UM, MSU, NW & PU
    * East: MD*, OSU, PSU & Pitt*
    Would this be appealing?

  76. Playoffs Now! says:

    Let’s take a look at the B12 revenue numbers for the 08-09 and 07-08 years, from a link someone posted earlier:

    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/2010-01-13-ncaa-athletics-funding-analysis_N.htm

    For NCAA/conference distributions including all tournament revenues:

    08-09:

    OU $16.8 million
    UT 14.3
    KS 12.3
    aTm 12
    OSU 11.7
    MO 11.1
    NE 11
    TT 10.8
    ISU 10.6
    CO 9.9
    KSU 9.8

    = 130.3, if split evenly 11 ways (Baylor info isn’t available because they’re private): 11.8

    07-08:

    aTm 12.9
    OU 12.8
    KS 12.3
    OSU 11.7
    UT 11.3
    MO 11.1
    ISU 10.6
    CO 9.9
    NE 9.1
    KSU 9.8
    TT 9.6

    =121.1, split evenly = 11.0, basically the same payout that UT received that year.

    Now one thing I’m not sure of is the category “Broadcast, television, radio, and internet rights.” Seems odd that in 08-09 UT, aTM, and OU would have just $.2, .3, and 0 respectively, while ISU, KSU, and OSU made 2.6, 3.0, and 2.5. Is it possible that some schools lumped TV in with NCAA/conference distributions when reporting? If so, here’s the combined totals:

    08-09:

    KS 17.8
    OU 17.1
    NE 15.9
    MO 14.8
    UT 14.5
    OSU 14.2
    ISU 13.2
    KSU 12.8
    aTm 12.0
    TT 10.8
    CO 10.1

    = 153.2, split evenly = 13.9, or 96% of what UT received that year.

    07-08:

    KS 18.3
    aTm 16.2
    NE 13.0
    OU 13.0
    TT 12.8
    KSU 12.3
    MO 12.2
    OSU 11.9
    UT 11.5
    ISU 11.4
    CO 9.7

    = 142.3, split evenly = 12.9, or $1.4 million more than what UT received that year.

    I’m not really seeing how schools are being screwed by Texas. If you have a good year you can get a jump in earnings, but that’s the same for everyone. Where Texas blows the rest away is in ticket sales, royalties, and contributions (donors.) Do other conferences equally share that?

    And UT isn’t even the most profitable (net revenue – net expenses) program in the conference, aTm is. Profit:

    08-09:

    aTm 15.8 [20.3 less 4.5 DIS (Direct Institutional Support, aka the school subsidy to the athletic dept.)]
    UT 10.8
    NE 4.4
    MO 1.8 [4.5 less DIS 2.7]
    KS 0.5 [2.3 less 1.8 DIS]
    OU 0.1
    TT -1.2 [2.0 less 3.2 DIS]
    ISU -3.6 [0 less 3.6 DIS]
    CO -3.9 [1.7 less 5.6 DIS]
    KSU -4.7 [-2.8 less 1.9 DIS]
    OSU -22.3[-20.0 less DIS 2.3] (They have big losses when T. Boone Pickens isn’t donating mega millions. But one year they were $240 million in the black!)

    07-08:

    aTm 11.7
    UT 9.3
    didn’t run the numbers on the rest, but OU and NE were under 1.0

    In addition, several of these schools could increase their portion if they would schedule decent non-conference games instead of I-AA matchups so bad that they can’t get on TV. That’s a gamble to make sure they get into a bowl, but it hurts their guaranteed payout. In contrast OSU plays a decent OOC schedule and gets a revenue bump, so some of the disparity is self-inflicted.

    Some of the moaning about how devastating the B12’s unequal revenue sharing is appears to be overblown.

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      That said, I think the other schools are justified in being livid that UT blocked the creation of a B12 channel, even if it is a costly and risky venture.

    • Redhawk says:

      I think your 2nd set of numbers look more accurate to my understanding of the splits. (like I know anything)

      But for the 1AA match-ups for OU, they actually bank, as they put those games on Pay-Per-View, and they don’t share that money with anyone in the league, as it’s outside the league’s TV deals. (I doubt that Colorado or Iowa State, get the same bank on the 1AA games)

      I’d take the net profit numbers with a grain of salt, as the OU athletic department is one of the few in the country to give money to the University.

  77. Richard says:

    Here’s a thought:

    At first glance, Dienhart’s divisions make no sense since too many rivalries would be broken up. But you could actually have 4 actual divisions and semifinals so long as the NCAA changes one rule: the one where each teams has to play everyone else on their half of the conference to have a championship game. Here’s what may be possible if the NCAA plays along:

    There would be 4 divisions:
    North: Wisconsin, Minny, Michigan, MSU
    West: Iowa, Nebraska, Mizzou, Illinois
    South: Northwestern, IU, PU, OSU
    East: PSU, Pitt, SU, RU

    There would be set rivals between teams in all the divisions with one other except between West-South & North-East

    So you would play
    3 intradivision games
    2 permanent interdivisional rivalry games
    3 games against one other team from each of the 3 divisions.

    The 9th game would not be set and would be between West-South & North-East teams in the order they finish in their division (so the game between the 2 division winners is a semifinal) and takes place Thanksgiving week, alternating each year to take place all in West stadiums or all in South stadiums (for example).

    The permanent interdivisional rivalries would be
    Minn-Nebraska
    Wisconsin-Iowa
    Michigan-Illinois
    MSU-Mizzou

    OSU-PSU
    Northwestern-SU
    IU/PU-Pitt/RU
    IU/PU-Pitt/RU

    Michigan-OSU
    Wisconsin-Northwestern
    MSU/Minn-IU/PU
    MSU/Minn-IU/PU

    Nebraska-PSU
    Iowa-Pitt
    Illinois/Mizzou-SU/RU
    Illinois/Mizzou-SU/RU

    2 rivalries broken: Iowa-Minnesota & Illinois-Northwestern (technically, Indiana-Illinois & Purdue-Northwestern are broken as well, but no one would miss them). UofI-NU can be nonconf (really, the students of neither side care too much). Don’t know how much they care about Floyd of Rosedale up there, though Iowa gains 2 new border rivals and Minnesota gains an annual game with Nebraska plus their battle for the Little Brown Jug becomes an annual affair again, so that may satisfy them. I guess they could flip to Minnesota-Iowa & Wisconsin-Nebraska if they wanted to.

    The only current Big10 school that wouldn’t have an annual game against either Michigan or OSU would be Iowa. Again, they could flip the rivalries to be Iowa-PSU & Nebraska-Pitt if they cared that much.

    • Richard says:

      For the old Big10 schools, the frequency that each school plays Michigan or OSU wouldn’t change that much, just the distribution. Wisconsin, Minny, IU, PU, & Northwestern would play one of those 2 all the time and the other 1/3rd of the time instead of each 75% of the time; for MSU, the drop would be from playing OSU 75% of the time to 1/3rd. For PSU & Illinois, it’d be at least 1.25 times vs. those 2, though they could meet one of them in the semifinals as well.

      Iowa would play those 2 the least, though maybe having permanent games against Nebraska & PSU would satisfy them.

    • Richard says:

      Oh, finally, another key point is that the permanent interdivisional rivals (like Michigan-OSU & OSU-PSU) wouldn’t meet again unil the championship game, and to do that, they have to both win their division and win their semifinal game, so it should be more rare (and even if it occurs, wouldn’t be back-to-back).

    • Seth9 says:

      The problem I have with having two inter-divisional rivalries is that it means that you play the other teams too infrequently. For instance, as a Michigan fan, I would be very disappointed to play Penn State only once out of every four years (or twice out of every eight). It seems more logical to simply put as many rivals as you can in each division while conserving some semblance of competitive balance. That way, teams will play teams in other divisions twice every four to six years, as opposed to twice every six to eight years.

      • Richard says:

        Yeah, that’s true. What that would do, though, is spread the times other Big10 teams will play OSU & Michigan (and PSU+Nebraska) unevenly. As most schools would want visits from those top draws in order to sell season ticket packages, coming up with pods agreeable to all would be difficult.

        In any case, if semifinals are allowed, all Michigan has to do to consistently meet PSU is win it’s division, since PSU will likely win its division most years.

        • gjlynch17 says:

          Not sure about the Eastern schools but that’s not true for the Western schools. Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska would sell out every game regardless of opponent, but the most passionate draws are neighboring states. Similarily, Minnesota’s biggest draws are Wisconsin and Iowa and Northwestern draws well for Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois.

          Playing OSU, PSU and UM are nice, but not at the expense of missing closer rivals. For that reason, I believe it would be difficult to have any arrangement whereby Iowa/Minnesota/Wisconsin did not play every year.

          • Richard says:

            Can’t speak for the other schools, but the Michigan and OSU games are the only ones Northwestern consistently sell out. Sad but true.

  78. IrishTexan says:

    I’m not sure, but I may be the first ND alum to voice my support for joining a conference on this message board.

    I’m a recent graduate in my mid 20s. I was born and raised in Dallas and have heard views from many different perspectives on this issue.

    I loved the undergrad ND football experience. I loved being able to see teams from across the country every single year. It was fresh, dynamic competition. I preferred it to the schedules of friends who went to schools in the Big 12 South, Indiana, Northwestern, and Boston College (who split time in the Big East and ACC while I was a student). I loved the variety ND saw because I didn’t want ND to be regionalized. ND is a national school and draws its students from all over, sends its alumni all over, and reflects that diversity in its schedule.

    It’s okay that ND is in a conference in all sports but football. I don’t think it’s hypocritical. Football independence is something ND alumni value deeply, just because it’s the way it always was.

    That being said…

    The game of college football has changed, and not subtly. Would it be great if there were a dozen powerful independent schools? Yes! Would it be great (or easier) if all conferences were strictly regional, avoiding the mess of schools leaving? Yes! Would it be great if BC missed the kick in ’93? Yes!

    Notre Dame is good for football and is still relevant. ND as we know it today is the result of a number of social, economic, religious, and political events. I think the window of opportunity for ND to disappear from college football’s name-elite has passed. ND isn’t going to disappear like Army (I pray). ND doesn’t have to be independent to be followed nationally. Enough people around the country are familiar with the idea of Notre Dame thanks to television and computers.

    So here is the situation: you can either continue to compete with the big boys by joining a super conference, or you can hang out with lesser competition. ND became ND by challenging the biggest and the best. It is 2010, and you may not be able to compete against the biggest and the best while being independent. Which trait do you value more, ND alumni? The desire to push yourself to excellence, or independence?

    Notre Dame won’t disappear if it joins a conference. At some point, Stanford, Duke, Vanderbilt, and Northwestern joined a conference, and students from across the country still apply to the schools. Being part of a conference has not diminished the academic prestige of those schools.

    It will be sad to see independence go, but sooner or later, the bandage HAS to be removed. Why not put yourself in the best possible situation academically and athletically and join the right conference, before you have to settle for something inferior?

    The sun will come out the next day. I promise.

    • FLP_NDRox says:

      Good Lord!

      Y’know, when I was at ND, we didn’t panic about ‘changing situations’. We are not, nor are we anywhere near, where the Superconferences will keep ND out. For the love of all that’s Holy let’s not jump on the first offer that comes out of fear of a potentiality. If the worst comes to pass and Independents are permanently shut off from Nat’l Championships, then a conference should probably be joined. But there’s no reason to do so until we hit that point. We’re Notre Dame, for God’s sake. The point where a conference *must* be joined probably won’t be reached for another decade at least.

      ND should look very hard at offers, especially if they’re from gigantic midwestern secular institutions that don’t understand us and don’t really want to.

      If you think that those of us who went to ND think that joining the Big Ten will lessen the prestige of the place academically, you’re mistaken. That’s not really the issue. It’s branding and marketing, and you know it. As Ol’ Chuck Lennon said back in 1999, “Our brand name is something special. We’d rather be one of one than one of 12.” Let’s not forget that truth, ‘kay?

      What makes you think the Big Ten is the best place anyway?

      • Hopkins Horn says:

        As a Longhorn fan, I’m beginning to hope that we don’t wind up in a conference with the Irish either. :)

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        “Holy let’s not jump on the first offer that comes out of fear of a potentiality.”

        It’s not the first offer. And I believe the argument is that this is closer to the last offer.

        • gjlynch17 says:

          I would recharacterize “last offer” as “last chance”. I do not believe ND will receive an offer to join the Big Ten. All public statements by Big Ten officies indicate that ND is not going to be part of the Big Ten.

          1. After the incidents of 1999 and 2004, Jim Delaney went on record as saying that if ND wanted to join the Big Ten it would have to apprach the Big Ten.

          2. Barry Alvarez said that ND would not join the Big Ten for the same reasons that FLP_NDRox is saying.

          3. Joe Paterno said that expansion is like marriage and that you need to make sure your parter has the same commitment that you do.

          4. Delaney has said that he is looking at how expansion will help the Big Ten 50 years from now. Frankly, as an Irish Catholic, I believe the in 50 years ND’s national prestige will be closer to 2010 Army rather than 1990 Notre Dame as the television dollars will be earned by and BCS / playoffs rules will be set by major conferences.

          Add in the strange public statements from ND’s Fr. Jenkins and Jack Swarbrick about ND being “regionalized” in a conference and the reaction from many ND alumni, I believe there is virtually no chance the Big Ten would invite. Yes, they would add value but the value would not be as much as they think it is and it is becoming very clear that ND and the Big Ten are not good institutional fits at the Athletic Department level (the ND faculty had previously voted to join the Big Ten).

          ND will continue its football independence and will try to find the best home for other sports. ND will pursue its vision and the Big Ten will pursue theirs. At the end of the day, it will be interesting to see where both parties are 50 years from now.

      • @FLP_NDRox – I think that most of us understand the Catholic identity portion of the argument from ND alums. There are legit academic and religious reasons why a Catholic university may have reservations in participating in an academic consortium with schools that may perform research (such as stem cell research) that would go against the principles of the Church. If ND refuses Big Ten membership on those grounds, then no one has a right to call ND deluded or arrogant – it’s following Church doctrine. It’s the other stuff that ND fans bring up constantly that just don’t jive with the media world in 2010. Most of us find the “national school”/scheduling arguments extremely weak (if not downright perplexing). We’ve been going around and around about this, but lots of schools are on national TV every week (including but not limited to every single Big Ten school) compared to even just a few years ago, when ND’s TV coverage was truly unique. ND won’t be transformed into a “regional” school in the Big Ten (or any other conference) any more than Stanford is a regional school in the Pac-10 or Duke is a regional school in the ACC. I think that the religious argument is more than valid, but the “regionalization” argument is simply off base considering how much the entire media landscape has changed in the past decade.

        • mushroomgod says:

          Frank, I think there’s some validity to the scheduling argument.

          ND does lose control over 3 or 4 games if it joins the BT.

          Those are games it can’t play on the west coast, in the ACC region, or in TX. If a good # of your alums and/or recruits live in those regions, you have a legit reason for wanting flexibility to play there.

          I realize ND’s schedule for the next year or two may not reflect these objectives…..

        • Manifesto says:

          @Frank:

          I’m with Mushroom somewhat. Maybe they lose the current faux national schedule, but more importantly they would lose flexibility. Most of the arguments I’ve seen regarding ND are that with the BigTen they could still schedule USC and Navy OOC and be fine. Which sounds good in theory to those who don’t have to live with it.

          With 16 teams, however, I see the BigTen conference schedule moving to 9 games. For ND, that leaves 1 game a year that can be used for matchups with Stanford, Army, or whoever ND feels gives them a “national” schedule now.

          Moreover, locking down 2/3 OOC opponents every year will kill the idea that they’d ever play a different big name opponent. ND isn’t scheduling Alabama, Oklahoma, Miami, etc. if their schedule already includes USC, Michigan, and some combination of Texas/Neb/OSU/PSU/Wisc/Iowa.

          It’d be a patsy home-only game, every year, plus USC/Navy/BigTen. That’d get old. It’s these marquee, rare matchups that generate buzz. Look at the OSU-USC or OSU-Texas series over the last five years, or Alabama-PSU this year. I think ND joining is unlikely at this point, because I think they’d have to sacrifice at least the yearly with USC in order to have flexibility. That’s a tough sell, and I imagine it’d sit about as well as losing Oklahoma did with Nebraska fans.

          • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

            “It’d be a patsy home-only game, every year, plus USC/Navy/BigTen. That’d get old.”

            Yes, in the old 11 team Big 10 that would get old.

            However, there are a lot of 16 team scenarios out there (my particular favorite is most aggressive)…and even if the league goes to 9 conference games (which I do NOT think is automatic), you will have a 3-4 fixed games a year in the Big 10, and the other 5 will rotate.

            What does THAT look like?
            Patsy at home
            USC (home and away yearly)
            Navy (home and “variable national site” yearly)
            Michigan
            MSU
            Purdue

            That’s six games that are constant.

            Then, you’ll have the other six games which will rotate among (in my favorite scenario)…
            Texas
            Texas A/M
            Nebraska
            Penn State
            Rutgers (NY/NJ Catholic crowds are huge)
            Wisconsin
            Iowa
            The five other Big 10 members
            And finally, if the conference schedule stays at 8, another marquee OOC game

            Worst case scenario, your schedule is 33% different every single season. Every 4 years, there will be “repeat” teams within a conference….BUT it still offers some significant geographical variety and yearly variation.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            OK, for the sake of argument, let’s go with a 16team B10, in pod scheduling, with 8 conference games.

            ND’s potential B16 sched:
            3 locked annual Pod Games
            2 locked annual OOC Games (USC and Navy)
            5 conference OOP games (5 games rotated around 12 teams in perpetuity).
            2 unlocked OOC games

            41.67% locked forever
            41.67% rotated between the same 12 teams forever.
            16.67% actually open

            with 9 conference games, it looks likes:

            41.67% locked forever
            50% rotated between the same 12 teams forever
            8.33% actually open

            This compares poorly with the status quo:

            16.67% happily locked
            25% Big Ten rivalry games
            16.67%-25% Big East rotation (2 or 3 games against 6 Big East Teams rotated)
            25-33.33% actually open

            I’m not surprised that the average Big Ten fan doesn’t understand ND’s issue about scheduling flexibility. Only Iowa and Illinois play annual OOC rivalry games with non-ND opponents (ISU and Mizzou respectively). No B10 team has multiple OOC rivalries. All Big Ten teams have the same completely available dates as ND does now. Am I the only one who remembers the issues that were discussed on this blog previously about potentially going to a ten game conference schedule? That is precisely what the Big Ten is asking ND to do annually as per scheduling freedom.

        • FLP_NDRox says:

          @ Frank

          Mani’ and ‘shroom’ are correct. I think the problem is the term “National”. Big Ten fans generally take that to mean that the game gets national TV coverage and interest. ND uses it to mean geographic schedule variety. Great analogy, BTW, Mani, re ND-USC = Neb.-Okla.

          As for the Regional school discussion. I think it was you who stated that many kids on the east coast would be surprised to find out the Big Ten academic profile is closer to UVA than K-State. ND wants to make sure that kids all across America don’t make that mistake with ND. And we are rather enamored with the variety in the schedule.

          @ gylynch17

          IIRC, Big Ten also said it was the last time back in 1999.

          Barry Alvarez was a former ND assistant. I thought he would have made a fine NDHC after Lou and later davie. He “gets” ND. And he acknowledges it would be a poor fit.

          You may be right, re 50yrs from now. Considering that large public universities located in large population states seem to be holding all the power and money due to TV and politics, I’m not sure if joining a conference will help. Notre Dame intends to remain small, Catholic, and in Indiana. You state that in the future ND may be more like Army than ND of twenty years ago. Sadly, that may yet come to pass. However if we join a conference, given current trends, there’s no reason not to think that ND won’t end up being closer to say Vandy today than ND 20yrs ago. I’d personally rather be Navy than Vandy, but that’s me.

      • IrishTexan says:

        FLP_ND, I think Notre Dame’s brand and Notre Dame’s academic reputation go hand-in-hand. I believe people fear Notre Dame will just be another Midwestern college if it joins the Big Ten.

        Most kids growing up in Texas don’t know anything about the academic reputations of Big Ten schools (unless their parents were Midwest transplants). Fewer kids know where Northwestern is.

        Do kids know where South Bend is? No, many don’t, but a decent chunk knows what Notre Dame is and that it has a strong academic reputation. A lot of people first heard the name of the school from football games on television. Joining a conference will not remove Notre Dame from the ears and eyes of the media.

        I would be more concerned with what we lose by joining a conference if we lived in an era without 1) big television and 2) the Internet. People are growing more tech-savvy. People can communicate on message boards, forums, blogs, and websites. There are plenty of resources out there to educate people on what ND is.

        Notre Dame can still market itself as a different kind of school in a conference in 2010. In fact, they can do just what you said: position the school as one of one, and not one of twelve. There are plenty of avenues to do so.

        If you don’t want ND to join the Big Ten, then what? Because if the word on the street is real, the day is coming when we will have to join a conference. I know the SEC is out. The Big 12 and Big East are doubtful. Would you rather join the Pac-10 or ACC? Joining either would basically guarantee a national (re: not Midwestern) schedule.

        I would love to remain independent forever, but I fear we’ll be left behind competing for Conference USA titles if we don’t plan ahead.

        • FLP_NDRox says:

          Simple. I vote we keep doing what we’re doing. If in two years the Big Ten is at 16, it’s no skin off our noses. There are still at least 5 BCS conferences. We may not get to play as many Big Ten teams, but I’m sure we’ll manage. Taking five schools from likely the BXII-north and the Big East is no deathblow to us. In the short-term it may even mean more fellow independents to schedule.

          Aside from the BXII and maybe the PAC-10 going to twelve, and the Big East either attempting to reload or going to football independence, there’s minimal change in the landscape.

          It sounds to me like you are taking a world of 3-4 Superconferences as a given. I don’t. There’s no extra money for expanding…unless you have a cable channel or something. Only the Big Ten has that.

          Plus, we’ve yet to see if a 16 team conference is sustainable. a B16 seriously probably would be. For anyone else, it’s gonna be tricky. The WAC-16 collapsed in a mere three years. Let’s see more than a single conference survive at >12 members for some time.

          OK, *IF* all the current BCS conferences go to the superconference model, and make plans to keep the nat’l championship to themselves alone, then it may be time for ND to move.

          Notre Dame is still quite a brand. Why be the first domino when you can easily be the last. Especially since ND football is coming off the worst 20yrs in history and the economy stinks. There’s no reason not to play for time and see how it all develops.

          • zeek says:

            The WAC example is a strawman, but you do have a point.

            Only the Big Ten and SEC can support 16 team conferences. They’re the only conferences with the networks putting the money on the table to make it worth expanding.

            The SEC could probably figure out a way to redo their contracts with CBS and ESPN if they really need to expand. There’s no way CBS and ESPN would get in the way of an SEC expansion if teams like Oklahoma or WV/VTech or Texas Tech were on the list.

            But in terms of money and logistics, it almost makes no sense for the Pac-10 to go to 16 without Texas and talk of the ACC or Big East expanding is pretty much a joke.

            I fully agree with you that the world of super conferences is not coming.

            In fact, there are only going to be two “superconferences,” and the rest will just get by and not be as rich, which is just what’s happened the past 2-3 years.

            Thus, the NCAA will continue, and Notre Dame will have a spot at the table as an Independent for the next 50 years.

            There’s just no way that the ACC or Pac-10 all of a sudden becomes monstrously profitable and able to support additions anytime soon or even for the next 20-40 years.

            The more I do think about it, I don’t really see a need for Notre Dame to move until the Pac-10 and ACC prove they can go to 16 or more.

          • m (Ag) says:

            “Only the Big Ten and SEC can support 16 team conferences.”

            While I think we’ll have at least 5 BCS conferences, I could see a scenario where the ACC goes to 16 schools and starts its own network.

            Remember, since the ACC is going to make less money per school than the Big 10, schools that wouldn’t make money for the Big 10 could still raise the payout for ACC schools if they get a network.

            If the Big 10 only takes 2 Big East schools (say Rutgers and Syracuse) while the SEC doesn’t take any ACC schools (either grabbing schools from the West or not expanding at all), the ACC might decide to make a 16 team conference with 4 regional pods:

            FSU, Miami, Georgia Tech, Clemson
            UNC, NCSU, Duke, Wake Forest
            Virginia, V Tech, Maryland, West Virginia/Louisville*
            BC, UConn, Pitt, ND/Buffalo**

            *West Virginia gives poor academics but great regional rivalries. Louisville is a geographic outlier, but might have a better academic reputation (don’t really know).
            **Notre Dame has national and regional appeal and Buffalo is a big regional school.

            Again, the ACC network doesn’t need to make as much money as the Big 10 network to raise what the schools are currently getting.

            This conference is a good basketball conference, with the only 2 New England schools, all the major college powers but one from South Carolina to Maryland, and 2 big Florida schools (even though neither are as big as U of Florida).

            This conference wouldn’t get much more national respect than the current ACC, but it would be able to get a network on cable in each region it covers. Not as valuable as the Big 10, but perhaps profitable enough.

          • zeek says:

            The only problem I see is that the ACC won’t have the heft to be able to negotiate much outside of Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland. Maybe that’s enough, but I don’t really know.

            There’s a ton of risk in starting a network and the ACC doesn’t seem like it’ll take that kind of chance.

            And then adding schools that are on the Big Ten’s list don’t seem like they’d add anything. Maybe WVU and Conn would, but there’s no chance that Syracuse in the ACC would add anything. The Big Ten has the negotiating strength to pull off some of these additions…

    • davidpsu says:

      @IrishTexan: Welcome to Frank the Tank’s board! It is great to hear such a fresh perspective from a recent Notre Dame grad. Your points sound intelligent and thoughtful. It is great to hear from someone so passionate about their school who can also see the benefits and flaws from both sides. Please comment more on Frank’s board. We need more like you.

      • IrishTexan says:

        @davidpsu: Thanks for the welcome! I look forward to getting involved in discussion here.

        • rich2 says:

          IrishTexan, as a fellow alum who is not freshly minted, let me add some context — dynamics means everthing in this dicussion. For example, if in three years, Kelly is 19 – 19, your analysis makes more sense, if in three years Kelly is 32-7, it sure doesn’t. Never negotiate when you are at near historic lows — and if PSU guy or Illini guy congratulates you for being reasonable, take a deep breath. ND can afford take a chance that the train will leave without us. If the Big 10 adds Missouri, Nebraska and Pitt, our fundamental position in the market is not affected negatively at all. As I have posted on a prior thread, we will lose not one additional student to the newly reconstituted Big 14, not one.

    • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

      This link is for Notre Dame fans who claim that the Big 10 (16) schedule would be too boring and regional if they were ever to join the Big 10 (16). Scroll down to “MicahAndMe” post.

      http://mbd.scout.com/mb.aspx?s=157&f=1395&t=5598641&p=9

      I want you to look at your current schedule(s) and look at those and give me your honest feedback. (Keep in mind that you’ll be without a conference for your other 15 sports in a few years as well.)

      • M says:

        @allthatyoucantleavebehind

        ND fans hate their current and near future scheduling. They view the scheduling as a conspiracy between their AD and various schools who don’t want to schedule them during their conference season (and possibly Fielding Yost). If you say that their schedule has very few “national interest” opponents, they will agree with you and offer you a position in their plan to kidnap their AD and other schools’ AD and force them to play each other.

        What they do not realize is that their current schedule is a direct result of trying to get a roughly comparable amount of tv money. For NBC to agree to their current contract, they had to have a night game (the neutral site) and 7 other home games, which effectively leaves them with 4 buy games a year, more than any conference team.

      • FLP_NDRox says:

        @ ATYCLB

        ND’s future schedules are still incomplete. I think Swarbrick’s only managed to get c. 54 of 72 games set in seasons 2011-16 at most judging from a quick googling that has vastly different ideas of how far along the process is and not even all the teams are the same.

        essentially after going thru the post, you are asking if ND fans would prefer:

        Minnesota
        Iowa
        Illinois
        Texas
        TAMU
        Wisconsin
        Nebraska
        Northwestern

        and potentially teams like SDSU or Vandy, and I suppose further down the line OSU, Indiana, and PSU.

        over

        USF
        Maryland
        Stanford
        Baylor
        Wake Forest
        Arizona State
        BYU
        and whatever else we can find?

        Uh, while neither look great, I’ll take what we already have, thanks.

        Between who the Irish have scheduled 2002-2010, and who we think will be on the schedule 2011-2016, here’s who we play by conference:

        7 different ACC teams (of 12)
        6 Pac-10 teams (of 10)
        5 Big East Teams (of 8)
        2 BXII (of 12)
        1 SEC (of 12)
        9 non-BCS teams
        and only *4* Big Ten Teams out of 11.

        that’s the scheduling diversity in a bad 14 years. To get that kind of scheduling diversity in a conference will take the better half of a century.

      • FLP_NDRox says:

        forgot to mention:

        1. Maybe I’m naive, but I don’t see a problem sticking with the BE Catholic schools, esp. if they add some A10 Catholic schools or something to cover the base and lax sports.

        2. Still a little sick of TAMU from all those Cotton Bowl matchups in the 80s-90s that never managed to turn into a rivalry (although we did enjoy the bootleg t-shirts).

        3. Underwhelmed by the Texas experience when we played them in 1996 (?) Bob Davie took over for an ill Lou and led the team to a 55-0 (?) win. Really got sick of “I’ve Been Working On the Railroad” from the Longhorn band. ;-)

        4. Pretty sure there’s a reason we don’t schedule Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, etc.

  79. Playoffs Now! says:

    From a UH Cougar message board:

    http://mbd.scout.com/mb.aspx?s=215&f=2804&t=5907475&p=7

    (Requires registration, but is free.)


    rangercoog

    Posted: 4/27/2010 12:48 PM
    Re: SEC studying expansion…..

    I guess it’s time to dust of an old post.

    A couple years ago I went to a media day event in Birmingham when I was stationed there as a guest of one of the Deputy Commissioners. I spoke with him and a couple of other SEC executives and we talked about expansion… of course I mentioned UH. Here is a summary of what they said off the record….

    The SEC will allow current member teams to veto any expansion in their State. Therefore it is unlikely that any team from Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, or Louisiana will be seriously considered.

    If they expand west, then they would likely go after two teams in Texas or Oklahoma. In their pipe dreams they would like to add Texas and Oklahoma, but agree that such expansion is unlikely without some significant concessions. They also mentioned that expansion ‘west’ would be preferable.

    If they expand east, they would likely go after two teams in North Carolina, Virginia, or West Virginia. Their pipe dream would be to add West Virginia and Virginia Tech, and they feel like they could pull this off. They mentioned that North Carolina would be a team that they are interested in but feel that loyalty to the ACC would be an issue.

    Of course I asked about Houston, and the response was generally positive. They said that every time they brain storm expansion scenarios UH is at least mentioned as an outside possibility, as is TCU and ECU. But when they discuss expansion they primarily focus on stealing teams from existing BCS conferences which they believe they could pull off.

    One guy said that the Houston and Dallas markets are VERY compelling, and he was certain that any expansion into these markets would get wide support from existing member teams, since many SEC teams already recruit in there areas. He said TCU and UH are ‘good enough’ to be considered legitimate contenders, and at the same time, not considered too much of a challenge to existing SEC teams.

    Up side for TCU and UH is that both teams have a decent history and played in a ‘big’ conference in the past with some success. Both teams have shown recent quality improvement, both teams play is BIG markets, and both teams sit in the middle of rich recruiting grounds.

    Down side for both teams is that neither team actually dominates their market. Attendance for both teams is well below the SEC average which is about 75,000. Another downside for both programs is facilities. The perception is adding TCU and UH would help us much more than the SEC as a whole.

    While expansion west for TCU and UH is not impossible, under the existing circumstances it isn’t very likely either. If we had a new stadium that averaged 40K in attendance then it would be much easier for the SEC to consider us, in fact it would almost be a no-brainer. Some is true for TCU, although their attendance is in the low 30s, they are still lower than the worst SEC school Vandy.

    ——–
    Same author, a week later:

    Posted: Today 10:11 AM
    Re: BIG 10 and PAC 10 Expansion

    I just had an interesting conversation with my old friend for the SEC office in B’ham. Everything we discussed was off the record, so I’m not sharing names.

    (1) The SEC is NOT seriously considering expanding into Texas. HOWEVER, they will target UT and A&M if the Pac-10 seriously makes an effort to expand into Texas. Right now the SEC is not going to do anything, but they will also not sit by and allow the Pac-10 to expand into a market that the SEC thinks is a natural market for the SEC.

    (2) If the SEC does make a push for Texas, they will be looking at Texas Only. There is no interest in bringing in Oklahoma or any othe Oklahoma schools.

    (3) If the SEC decides to exapnd they will likely expand big and go to 16 teams with an East and West Division. The West division would be the 4 Texas teams, Arkansas, LSU, and the two Mississippi teams. East Divison will be everyone else in the SEC.

    (4) The Texas Universities that are being looked at are: UT and A&M (naturally). Strong contenders TTU, TCU, and UH, Out side shots: North Texas, SMU, Baylor. He would not confirm that any discussions are currenlty being held with any Texas teams, but he said, and I paraphase “The University of Texas is driving the bus on this one, they are going to be the ones that decides who comes in with them”
    ——-

    Posted: Today 12:15 PM
    Re: BIG 10 and PAC 10 Expansion

    He didn’t want to discuss any potential Texas teams other than to say UT and A&M are ‘do or die’ teams. If they can’t get them then they wouldn’t want to expand.

    When I asked him to expand on the stong contenders (TTU, UH, TCU) all he said was that each team has it’s pluses and minuses, and really all it boils down to is what UT would want to get this done.

    • PSUGuy says:

      Translation…the SEC wants Texas (the state) and is willing to just about anything to get it.

      If the Texas State Legislature forces Texas/TAMU to pair up with their “idiot cousins”, just like they did with the Big8, the SEC is willing to have them come along.

      Makes the play for Texas very interesting…

    • zeek says:

      Sounds like the SEC is giving Texas all the leverage, which provides Texas with a hedge against the Big Ten.

      That also sounds like the smartest power play at this point. It’s the kind of move that could leave Texas on the table the longest, which would be a win for the SEC if Texas feels it needs to join a conference and the Big Ten and Pac-10 have already expanded.

      • Hopkins Horn says:

        Do keep in mind that we’re using an anonymous posting on a University of Houston message board as the basis for this belief.

        That being said, if this is true, and I want to stay consistent with my stated belief that Texas will not end up in the SEC, I would argue that Texas will not allow itself to wind up in a situation in which joining the SEC is the only means of escaping a dying Big XII. If it hits a “now or never” time with both the Big 10 and the Pac 10 during this round of realignment, then Texas ultimately says “now”. In which direction, who knows?

        As I argued a few comments above, I think it is feasible that the Pac 10 decides it’s only worth expanding if it can lure Texas, and if Texas says no, the Pac 10 stays at 10 and the Big XII either stays at 10 or picks up a couple of spare parts, and the Horns give it a go launching the LSN.

        • zeek says:

          Everything in that post makes sense even if it is admittedly an anonymous post on an internet board.

          I mean, the SEC really wants Texas. Even if Texas wouldn’t touch the SEC with a ten foot pole, the SEC will let Texas know that it’s willing to jump any hoop.

          But your point about the Pac-10 is interesting. As we discussed above, the Pac-10 is the likely first mover due to the fact that it’s contract negotiations come up in a few years.

          If there is no Pac-10 announcement this summer, then the stakes drop dramatically for Texas and even the Big Ten as well.

          The first domino at this point has to be Colorado for Texas to move. It is hard for me to see Nebraska being as willing to jump if Colorado says no to the Pac-10 or the Pac-10 doesn’t take Colorado.

          I still believe there’s almost no chance of Texas going to the SEC regardless of what the SEC has said about Texas’ willingness in the past.

          At this point, my scenarios are 1) Colorado moves, then Texas calls the Big Ten and SEC (to at least have as a second option), or 2) Colorado doesn’t move, and Texas most likely sticks it out.

          I don’t really see any scenario where Texas goes to the SEC unless the Big Ten takes 5 teams right now (which is very unlikely with Texas on the board).

          • zeek says:

            I just mean that Texas will use the SEC as leverage for the Big Ten to give it a free pass on the buy in or something… The buy in negotiation with Texas will have to be the cheapest if not free because of the sheer size of Texas’ markets.

          • eapg says:

            @ zeek – What Colorado does or doesn’t do will have no bearing on Nebraska. There hasn’t been much love lost between the two for many years now. Pretty certain that Nebraska and Missouri both would be mortal locks to accept an invite to the Big Ten, even if a number of factors which make a prospective merger attractive weren’t there. The payday is just too good, and neither school could approach that part of the deal anywhere else that makes some logical sense as a possible new or old home.

        • Sportsman24 says:

          Hopkins,

          As a UT fan, if you had your choice, where would you like UT to end up… in the BT, Pac, SEC, B12, Ind. or something else?

          Also, if you select a conference… What others would you like to move with UT (or in the case of staying in the B12, whom would you like to join)?

          I’m sure you’ve said this in the past, but I don’t remember and am curious.

          I’m an Iowa fan and I’d love to see UT, TAMU, NU, Pitt & MD join. If UT & TAMU aren’t on the table for tBT, then I’d probably have to go with NU, Pitt, SU, RU & MD/UConn.

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            Not only have I believed that Texas will join the Big 10, I have long been an advocate of that position. (And, yes, I’m sure that one of those sentences gave birth to the other. In what order, I don’t know.)

            I believe that the Big 10 offers the most long-term financial stability to Texas. I say this as a skeptic of the proposed LSN.

            I believe that the Big 10 offers the best academic situation for the university as a whole. Texas has underachieved at the undergraduate level — it’s good, but with all the oil money Texas is sitting on (yes, cliches come to life!), Texas should be one of the best, if not the best, public institution in the country. Hanging around a better bunch of school can only help Texas reach its full potential.

            Athletically, the Big 10 offers the best and most appropriate level of competition for Texas, with the glaring exception of baseball.

            But most important for me is that I think it is the best cultural fit for the school. I’ve traveled far and wide in the USA (just click my user name for the photographic proof, and, please, license a photo or 20!!!), and the Big 10 just feels right to me. I think we have a lot more in common with the Michigans and Wisconsins and Iowas of the world than we do the schools of the other mentioned conferences.

            Not please do not confuse me with the typical Longhorn supporter. When this topic comes up on the Longhorn board I play on, I would say there’s roughly an even split between those who would advocate a move to the Big 10 and those who would support a move to the Pac 10. (And, yes, there are a handful of extraordinarily articulate Longhorn supporters [trust me, you HAVE to click on that link!] who would want to go to the SEC.)

            But the strong majority of Longhorn fans seem to support staying in the Big XII rather than move at all. I acknowledge that, but I also wager a good sum of money that most who state such a belief do so believing that Texas will make its choice of conference affiliation in a vacuum, absent any influence of what might be going on in the rest of the country. If the Big XII winds up being wounded as badly as many of us foresee it being wounded, I think support for staying in the Big XII would drop like a rock.

            That being said, the selfish, new-California-resident in me wouldn’t be too disappointed if Texas wound up in the Pac 10 instead. :)

            As for the second part of your question, if NU and Mizzou alone departed (counting out a Pac 10 grab of CU for this), I would want Texas to add Utah and BYU. If that didn’t work out, I would rather the Big XII stay pat at 10 than start trying to force-feed schools like TCU into the mix.

        • ezdozen says:

          I think we had 100 comments based on a University President saying something at a sorority event. You know, the oft-occurring event of male Presidents having dinner at sorority houses to discuss athletic conference expansion in great detail.

          Heck… we should an experiment. Someone go to Chicago… write 5 candidate schools on a napkin… drop it on the floor and walk out. See if those 5 schools make it to a message board, blog, or newspaper article!!!

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            Even better, print three exact copies, with boxes to check next to the names, drop one in Chicago, one in South Bend and one in Austin.

          • ezdozen says:

            Yeah…. it could be a “Delaney’s Things to do List”

            Call Nebraska and invite to celebratory dinner regarding confirmed expansion plans.

            Pick-up dry cleaning.

            Continue raid of Big East.

            Call Missouri. Tell them to shut up about their invitation.

            Oil change.

        • Seth9 says:

          Hopkins,

          I would question whether you think the following chain of events is a reasonable possibility:

          Big Ten expands and takes away Nebraska and Missouri (along with a Big East team or three), reducing the number of Big 12 teams to ten.

          Then, the Pac 10 invites Texas and Texas A&M. Both schools refuse.

          The Pac 10 decides to invite Colorado (and possibly Utah) even though this would not necessarily greatly increase the Pac 10’s revenue, reducing the Big 12 to nine teams and putting a ton of pressure on every school in the Big 12 to find a new home.

          The Pac 10 reiterates their invitation to Texas and Texas A&M. They accept.

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      Hey, just an FYI that has nothing to do with our past disagreements:

      Be careful with wholesale cutting-and-pasting entire paragraphs from other sits like this. It opens the door to possible coppyrigght infriingement issues (intentionally misspelled so that a serach engine doesn’t pick up the phrase) for this site.

    • Vincent says:

      West Virginia and Virginia Tech to the SEC? Makes sense. Both would give it access to the mid-Atlantic region; Tech’s years in the ACC have made it more of a Washington-area school than it’s ever been before. And both have football-first cultures that would fit in with the SEC. (Also remember that WVU was a Southern Conference member for decades.)

      The SEC could then take in two schools from the west for a 16-team conference, preferably Texas and A&M but potentially settling for Oklahoma and Okie State.

  80. HawkfanBeau says:

    what if we had two teams”Paired” and had them rotate threw a 8 team division.
    tie say tOSU and um(team 1) , and pitt and psu( team a) , 7 in division games 2 out of division games
    year one:
    teams
    1
    2
    3
    4

    a
    b
    c
    d

    year 2:
    d
    1
    2
    3

    4
    a
    b
    c

    year 3:
    c
    d
    1
    2

    3
    4
    a
    b

    • Paul says:

      This sort of schedule would create a lot of variety, which is good, but a downside might be a lack of rivalries developing within a set division.

      Think about the baseball divisions. As a Tigers fan, I now hate the Twins, Indians, and White Sox a lot more than I used to. Familiarity breeds contempt. These rivalries are good, but on the other hand, it would be cool to see the Red Sox and Yankees in town more often. So I think the Big Ten will weigh stability/predictability against variety/flexibility.

      Taking your idea to the extreme, what’s to prevent the Big Ten from making entirely new divisions each year based on the prior years’ results?

      • HawkfanBeau says:

        i have thought about them using last years results, but that would be even hairy i think. as i iowa fan i expect a year or two down with a two or three up. this is college not pro and if our up years started by playing the best 8 teams in the conference why they played the worst then how would they ascend?

  81. HawkfanBeau says:

    so teams “1” would play teams “a” as a out of division game.. year one tOSU plays pitt UM plays PSU . year two tOSU plays PSU, UM plays pitt.

  82. Paul says:

    A question about super conferences: If a truly super conference is created, say with six or more traditional powers, at what point does the resulting difficult schedule begin to diminish some of the sparkle of the crown jewels? How much filler is needed to ensure that the good teams get a breather?

    If teams like Texas, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech and Florida State are added to teams like Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and LSU in the SEC, the schedules are going to be brutal.

    A 11-1 Penn State team with victories over Syracuse, Rutgers, Pitt, and Missouri is going to be rated a lot higher than a 7-5 Alabama team with close losses to Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, Florida State, and LSU.

    So maybe it will be good for the Big Ten’s TV ratings to add four middle tier teams for every traditional power.

    • PSUGuy says:

      Which is why realistically I think you only want one “true” power per division.

      Assuming a team would play its own division and one other random division, that’d mean each “power” team would have one “power” team on its schedule and two second tier programs (one from its own division and one from the other) with the rest as conference filler that won’t hurt its SoS rankings.

      This way the power programs would realistically only have a 2 loss season (lose its big game and split the second tier pairings), 3 at the worst (unless of course they’re having a down year, but that’s something else entirely).

    • jokewood says:

      You bring up a good point that I don’t think gets discussed often enough. After a certain point, increasing the competitiveness of a conference can be detrimental to the individual programs. While guaranteed TV money is attractive, ADs also need to focus on maintaining brand success / product quality.

  83. HawkfanBeau says:

    i disagree.. the NCG will be played between the Big 10+,ACC+.SEC+,Pac+. Pac vs big, ACC vs Sec and then NCG. no longer will ther be BSU’s because it will be the Super NCG.. not the College football championship game. should be fun me thinks!

    • Redhawk says:

      I totally agree. The money for this “playoff” would also be split between 64 teams..not the current 120 schools of the NCAA.

      I think this is where we are headed. The key for schools is not just which conference to join, but making sure they are in one of those 4 super-conferences.

  84. HawkfanBeau says:

    what i mean is . if you can win your Conference rankings dont mean anything. other than for us to Bitch about and the rest of the Bowl games.

  85. Hopkins Horn says:

    Random thought:

    Is there any reason why the BTN and a proposed Longhorn Sports Network couldn’t coexist if Texas did wind up in the Big 10?

    In context, view the LSN as a “BTN2″ which focuses exclusively on UT content. ABC/ESPN and BTN still get first dibs on all content. (So, yes, all football games remain on those two networks.) Anything leftover would be fair game for the LSN. I would imagine that there would still be plenty of leftover material for an LSN. The BTN can’t possibly carry every Michigan hockey game, or Iowa wrestling match, or every Penn State women’s soccer game. (Or does it? I haven’t paid close enough attention to know.)

    The BTN would have rights to show anything which originally aired on the LSN, so it would gain a production wing for additional content.

    The two networks could be distributed in tandem inside Texas to increase BTN penetration. A cable system in, say, Amarillo could only carry the LSN if it also agreed to carry the BTN. (Instinctively, I think an LSN for a UT which remains in the Big XII would have a much greater penetration rate within Texas than would a BTN even if the Big 10 includes Texas.)

    If this model were proven to work in Texas, it could be duplicated by other Big 10 schools. I’m not sure it would work for all Big 10 schools (Northwestern Sports Network?!?), but if an LSN could be grown and thrive side-by-side with the BTN, why couldn’t a Buckeye Sports Network similarly thrive in Ohio?

    And if these school-specific networks could be nurtured, the BTN would have an entire fleet of networks to market to national carriers like DirecTV. And in the era of narrowing niche programming, that’s a good thing.

    I know that the obvious argument is that such a set-up might not be congruous with the “all for one” mentality of the Big 10. In response, I would point out that (I presume) some broadcast revenue, like local radio broadcast rights, revenue from coaches shows, etc., are probably kept entirely by each school. I know it’s a drop in the bucket by comparison, but I would have to think that there already exist situations in which revenue isn’t split entirely equally. (And I admit I could be completely wrong about that as I am pulling that assumption out of you-know-where.)

    I would also argue that the model I propose would increase the entire BTN pie for all schools, so it’s a win-win, if my assumption about marketing the BTN with the LSN inside Texas is correct. To use random numbers as examples, if the per-school profit from a BTN-only model with Texas in the conference were $20M, would Northwestern really be that unhappy with “unequal distribution” if the end result of the BTN+LSN model netted Northwestern $21M, even if Texas wound up with $30M?

    And I would also assume that there could be some sort of profit sharing mechanism built in to the LSN as a concession given by Texas in exchange for permission to launch the LSN. Maybe a 70/30 split, with 30% of the profits kicking back into the general Big Ten pool?

    The biggest flaw I see is that, if this model could work, why wouldn’t it have been attempted already with a LSN in tandem with the never-launched Big XII Network?

    • HawkfanBeau says:

      could it yes. but i have to say with all due respect there is no way the Big Ten lets the long horns do that! The one thing about the big ten that everybody in the country needs to understand is it has to be fair( or at least appear to be fair) to all the rest of the teams in the big ten. whats to stop tOSU from doing the same? we are stronger together then apart. time i think has proven that point.

    • HawkfanBeau says:

      I would also say that if you think Texas ( and the rest of the Big Ten ) would only be making 30 million a year, with Texas in the Big Ten, you are under estimating the BTN ability to earn AD money and cable money.

      • Hopkins Horn says:

        Hawkfan:

        (1) As I stated above, the “$30M” figure I cited was strictly a random number pulled out of my ass for illustrative purposes only.

        (2) The scenario I lay out would be “fair” to all in the sense that it would grow the overall profit pie of the BTN by giving the BTN a means by which to secure greater marker penetration in the second largest state in the country. (If you think the BTN salivates about NYC, just think if it could become standard fare throughout the entire state of Texas!)

        (3) I think your missing a main point of my suggestion: the BTN would continue to exist and would have the same pull of programming upon which it would have first dibs.

        • HawkfanBeau says:

          you lost me a pulling things out of your bum!. ( just kidding)

          what do you think the chances are that texas and the Big ten join up? because i know that there is no way they let them in with any kind of tv that isnt shared with rest of league, no school in the big10 will get more then their 1/? share. sorry.

    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      Hopkins – what you suggest can already be done in the SEC.

    • PSUGuy says:

      The problem is….why?

      Why would the Big10 invest time and effort into building yet another channel. This time focused on only one of its members.

      Why would they then try to market what truly amounts to a regional channel nationally to those few (per capita) Texas alumni in direct competition to its own BTN (which will be trying to get ALL Big10 alumni to tune into the BTN).

      If the Texas channel is “Texas only” then why would Texas want to share the proceeds with the rest of the Big10 (Big12 argument all over again)? In which case why would the Big10 put up any money or effort to start it (see first question) or put up with one of its members (Texas) not sharing in all the pots that are supposed to be shared?

      Personally, I think the reason why Texas would be very interested in joining the Big10 over any other conference is directly due to the BTN. Using regional programming, Texas (state) BTN feeds could be pumped Texas (school) athletics and it becomes the de facto LSN. Then when the Longhorns aren’t playing anything they can backfill in with other Big10 athletics (mid-atlantic lacrosse, mid-western wrestling, northern hockey). The other regional markets could act the exact same way.

      I’ve said it on this site numerous time, but I really think any other conference getting its own tv channel are years (~5 IMO) off. While the present economy is improving, it takes billions of dollars and total dedicated effort to start a tv channel, get it on cable, and start to see profits. That kind of money and backing is going to be hard to come by in a situation where a lot of folks are hording cash and investing in the safest methods possible.

      Texas may have been able to find backers and willing to do the work when their lot was sealed in the Big12 as little as a couple years ago (and most likely will if after this round of expansion they are not in the Big10), but I can’t see them pushing, or receiving any favorable ears, toward the idea of a LSN if admitted.

      • Hopkins Horn says:

        Why would the Big10 invest time and effort into building yet another channel. This time focused on only one of its members.

        For what I’m suggesting, Texas would built it, and only Texas would be at risk if it failed.

        Why would they then try to market what truly amounts to a regional channel nationally to those few (per capita) Texas alumni in direct competition to its own BTN (which will be trying to get ALL Big10 alumni to tune into the BTN).

        I am making a purely speculative guess that it might be easier for the BTN, even if Texas joined the Big 10, to penetrate the Texas market if paired with an LSN. Remember that there’s probably a lot more demand in, say, Michigan for a Wisconsin-Minnesota hockey game that there’d be in Texas. At least until we get our kick-ass hockey team up and running!

        If the Texas channel is “Texas only” then why would Texas want to share the proceeds with the rest of the Big10 (Big12 argument all over again)?

        Because that could be a concession Texas could make to gain permission to join the Big 10 and still start a LSN.

        Again, I realize that the idea is probably a non-starter. Just wanted to throw it out there for discussion.

        • Manifesto says:

          I think the need/desire for the LSN is pretty negated by the BTN, especially with a regional feed (which BTN has). Want Texas-centric programming in Texas? Fine, BTN can do that.

          Texas’s biggest benefit to starting the LSN versus the Big12 Network is that they wouldn’t have to share the profits, mostly generated within Texas, with a bunch of dead weight (not counting Nebraska and maybe Kansas/Missouri).

          The BigTen might have a little dead weight as well, but not as much, and moreover is already up, running, and profitable in states with large populations. 4 of the current top 10 populated states are within the current BigTen footprint (all within top 30, 7/8 in at 21 or below). Missouri is #2 after Texas, at #18. (http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/rankings.html)

          With Texas the BTN is more likely to tap into the northeast market (#3, 11, 15, and maybe 19 [Maryland]), something I don’t see the LSN doing alone. But, splitting 1 way versus 16 might mean they’ll make more money in the end even if they can’t tap those markets.

          • Manifesto says:

            For quick reading, state rankings by population (from census data linked above):

            Big Ten states:
            #5 Illinois
            #6 Pennsylvania
            #7 Ohio
            #8 Michigan
            #16 Indiana
            #20 Wisconsin
            #21 Minnesota
            #30 Iowa
            Total: 67mil

            Big 12 states:
            #2 Texas
            #18 Missouri
            #22 Colorado
            #28 Oklahoma
            #30 Iowa
            #33 Kansas
            #38 Nebraska
            Total: 43.4mil (24.3mil is Texas)

          • 84Lion says:

            BTN has overflow channels, not regional channels. The only time I’ve seen these used for unique programming is on football Saturdays when more than one game is on at one time.

            The problem with creating a “regional” channel with, say, “Texas-centric” programming, where do you draw the line? How long before Ohio State wants “Buckeye Sports” or Northwestern wants a “Wildcat Channel?” Could these even be viable? If the Big Ten expands to 16 I could see them having a permanent West division and East division feed, if it shakes out that way.

            But it seems to me that what Texas wants with a LSN runs counter to the Big Ten philosophy of “all for one and one for all.”

        • zeek says:

          I think Texas will negotiate some sort of alternative to the LSN into the Big Ten programming line up.

          I mean, Texas is going to want to be sure that all their sports are getting regional coverage in Texas when the games are on if they’re going to give up on the LSN idea.

          I think the Big Ten will agree to split the coverage regionally in order to give Texas precedence in Texas and the surrounding states.

      • indysportsguy says:

        Thats why I think the Big East could avoid a raid by working with the Big 10 to provide additional programming for the BTN.

        For the Big Ten schools you don’t have to split the pie equally or give up equity in the BTN.

        For the BTN, you have readily available programming and a premier basketball conf with 16 teams that provides for a lot of extra games that can’t all be shown on ESPN/ABC

        For the Big East you add a little bit of cash per school to the pot that maybe brings it up to ACC/Pac-10/Bottom of the totem pole Big 12 money

        Plus now the Big Ten essentially has a second conference and can call a few shots like the BTN is calling now..

        16 schools without having to add 22 mill in value per school and better leveraging the Big East’s media markets with Big Ten teams that have better drawing power….

        • greg says:

          @indysportsguy

          One angle that I think has been under-discussed is the BTN becoming a carrier of another conference. One of Delaney’s early expansion statements mentioned “possibly partnering with dozens of schools”. BTN becoming a secondary or tertiary carrier of another conference may be high on Delaney’s hit list.

          Delaney’s grand plan may be more focused on the BTN rather than expanding the conference itself.

          • davidpsu says:

            I agree Greg, that is a strong possibility. Maybe we are just talking about expanding the Big Ten Network’s reach, without actually adding schools. That would satisfy the presidents, who want to keep academically inferior schools out and still maintain the tradition of the Big Ten.

            Also, I must point out that the timeline refers to 12 to 18 months just to make a decision. That timeline does not include actually sending out invitations or picking teams. As I understood it, they are giving 12-18 months to research this and then come to a decision to expand or not. Does anyone else see it that way?

    • Seth9 says:

      I don’t think it is feasible for a Longhorns Sports Network to exist if Texas joins a conference with its own network. Should Texas join the Big Ten Network (which has regional coverage), then pretty much every Texas football game would be aired on either a national network or the BTN. Texas would have 17 other varsity teams to provide content to the LSN, which would probably not yield good ratings. This means that for a population of 24.3 million (as compared to the 67 million people living in the current Big Ten market), the LSN would be able to produce content for far fewer teams than the BTN and no football games would be covered. The result would likely be very low advertising revenue, leaving cable subscribers to provide the vast majority of the revenue to the network. As such, it is questionable whether such a network could even come close to being profitable, or even get any backing from another party.

      Now, if a potential Longhorn Sports Network got the rights to football games, the conversation changes. That said, I question whether that would be as profitable as simply going with the BTN.

    • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

      I had a similar thought. However, developing special “Texas-style” broadcasting for the channel wouldn’t be necessary. The BTN would be a great bridge between “two worlds” if you will.

      Texas doesn’t have much affiliation with Big 10 country currently. If they were to enter into this marriage with a northern conference, it’d be “for life.” Therefore, they’d need to “get to know” their new league, and what better way to do that than through a channel which focuses solely on THE LEAGUE! As a PSU fan, I can speak to this. While we felt out of place for a good decade in the Big 10, we’re now nearing 20 years in the league and are affiliating ourselves with that conference more and more. Watching OSU/UM games of yore might not be “must see TV” for folks in Austin, but it will help them understand their new brethren better.

      On the other hand, what better way for Big 10 country to embrace their new outlying franchises than to see a heavy dose of Texas on the BTN? There would certainly be Texas focused shows on the network (considering how a huge portion of the network’s fan base would be in Texas now)…and watching classic Texas/aTm match-ups would help the Big 10 to learn about the history and heritage of their new brethren.

      I don’t see the need to create a Longhorn Sports Network. Simply gear 1/5 of the programming (2 of the 16 Big 10 teams would be in Texas if this happens) towards Texas. Maybe even 1/4, depending how rabid the Texas market is for the shows. A whole new channel (right off the bat) would be too risky and would be too unfair in a league that prides itself on equity among members. Plus, if you started a new network, you’d need to double your production costs.

      Simply put, the BTN–spanning from Texas to New Jersey (not to mention anything about NYC) and including ND, OSU, UM, PSU, Texas, aTm, and Nebraska–would be a cable TV juggernaut and would vault the Big 10 coffers into the stratosphere.

  86. HawkfanBeau says:

    well they are alot better all around academically then the SEC. and you would own most of the teams there. but i understand your point.

  87. AggieFrank says:

    A couple of points from A&M’s perspective:

    A&M is not interested in the Pac10 unless it is in a “doomsday” scenario where the B12 has imploded, the SEC has eliminated the possibility of an invite and the B10 option to tag along with Texas is also gone. It is very doubtful the rumors coming from the Memphis AD have any legs at all as this is the least favorable option for A&M. It is highly unlikely A&M would be agreeable to joining the Pac10 this early in the conversation.

    While it is certainly true that Texas has multiple options and can basically decide where it wants to go, it doesn’t necessarily follow that Texas A&M will come along. If the SEC invites A&M to join, this would be the choice regardless of the decision by Texas.

    Last, I’d be very skeptical of the comments from the UH board. It is hard to imagine a scenario that would include UH, TCU, Baylor, etc pairing back up with A&M and Texas. The only other university wth a chance would be Texas Tech and it would be limited to a Pac10 option with 16 teams.

    • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

      Why do you say that “the Big 10 option to tag along with Texas is also gone”? Do you have any links? Or is this just your opinion?

      It’s great to hear from an Aggie fan. As a Big 10 fan, I’m not really interested in JUST getting Texas. I’d want both of your schools b/c it would really give the conference some foundation in Texas. If we’d reach all the way down there, having just one school would be lame. Not only that, but Texas A/M is just as attractive as Nebraska and ND in my opinion. Decent football with rabid fans…amazing in all the other facets of research, education, all-sports programs.

      Would love to hear where you’re getting your insights from and hear anything that you’re hearing “down there” in Texas.

      • Marc V says:

        I think you misread. He said “unless it is in a “doomsday” scenario where the B12 has imploded, the SEC has eliminated the possibility of an invite and the B10 option to tag along with Texas is also gone.” In other words, they’d only consider a move to the Pac 10 if the Big 10 option were gone.

      • Wes Haggard says:

        AllthatYouCanLeaveBehind,

        This is only the FIRST post acknowledging Texas A&M as a wanted university in it’s own self. Thanks for the kind words. Speaking as an Aggie that thinks the Big Ten is the only other conference that we AGS would like to affiliate with, I assure you that you would find us a loyal member who would adopt the Big Ten “All for one and one for all” in a New York minute. Hope that it comes to pass. I hear that Big Ten country is great weather for an October football game. Just might invite you down for a November game and the same weather here.

        • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

          I”m not the only one, Wes. There are scores of us “northerners” who have been shocked to find out where aTm ranks in all of these categories–fan attendance, sport program revenues, research dollars, academic rankings–you guys are big time. Second dog in a big state is still a big, big dog!

          Eli Manning might not be Peyton Manning, but not many teams would be sad to have him aboard.

        • michaelC says:

          That’s not true. The attraction of TAMU in its own right (but not necessarily independently of UT) has been noted many times by various posters here.

          It’s true there has been an assumption that if UT came Texas politics would insist TAMU came as well.

          I my view the pair would be a good fit with the Big Ten academically and a big positive for the BTN. Take NU and RU and Pitt|Syracuse|MD|Missouri and that is an excellent outcome to the expansion.

    • m (Ag) says:

      “If the SEC invites A&M to join, this would be the choice regardless of the decision by Texas.”

      That may be true, but I wouldn’t be sure, unless you’re writing from the office of the University President.

      A&M has more to gain from raising it’s academic profile than UT. As an Aggie who does not live in Texas, I know few people around the country realize the school exists when the football team isn’t doing well. If they do recognize the name, they have no idea that it’s a top public university. If A&M moves to the SEC while UT goes to a conference with a better academic reputation, I think it will be a small but real lost opportunity to boost A&M’s ability to attract top professors and grad students from around the country and the world.

      I certainly acknowledge that the SEC has better travel for sports, good rivals for A&M, and better money than the Big 12. I would prefer the SEC to the current Big 12 alignment.

      However, a move to the Big 10 with UT and Nebraska would be athletically as strong or stronger than the SEC, offer more money than the SEC could, and raise the academic profile of the university.

      • Djinn Djinn says:

        I’ve never been there, but I’ve always like A&M for some reason. I root for them over Texas, not that I have anything against Texas, but I rather like A&M better for some reason.

        It’s unfair A&M sort of sits there in UT’s shadow. If they were in any other state, everyone would know their name, and they’d be a very attractive candidate for the BT to court.

        Personally, I think to an outsider, part of A&M’s issue with its image is the “A&M” tag. This modifier make the school sound smaller and less like a full-fledged university. For example, the name “the University of Texas’ suggests that it is, well, the university for the state of Texas. Whereas your school’s name makes it sound like its a small agriculture school. Hardly the case, as you can readily see with its gaudy research numbers.

        It’s too bad, in a way, they don’t have a more distinct name. Something that better expresses its true breadth and scope.

        • m (Ag) says:

          “Personally, I think to an outsider, part of A&M’s issue with its image is the “A&M” tag.”

          Yes, I know this is people’s first thought. There are several other universities in the country with “A&M” in their name, and I think their reputations drag down Texas A&M’s reputation.

          That said, the university values its traditions; those traditions are a big part of the fun of being a student there. So there’s no chance the name will get changed. I wouldn’t change it myself.

          What we might change is our conference affiliation!

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            Well, the school used to have “TEXAS AGGIES” spelled out in the endzone.

            We Longhorn fans also looked forward to our games against the Texas Red Raiders!

          • m (Ag) says:

            “Well, the school used to have “TEXAS AGGIES” spelled out in the endzone.”

            Yes, we’re not going to stop calling ourselves that. ‘Texas A&M Aggies’ is redundant.

            We know College Station is in Texas and we have the maps to prove it!

        • Djinn Djinn says:

          Years ago, I met a doctor who was thinking about relocating here. He introduced me to his wife, and she soon mentioned she was an A&M alum. I told her, “You know, although I’ve not been there, I’ve always liked A&M and I root for them when they play Texas.” She was so happy, she gave me a big hug and a kiss.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            I always rooted for Texas and A&M to tie so they’d both be disappointed…

          • Djinn Djinn says:

            That’s why you don’t get any action from the A&M chicks.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            That leaves all the Rice, UH, Baylor, Tech, TCU, SMU, UTEP and No Texas chicks for me ;)

      • Wes Haggard says:

        M, could not ahve said it better myself.

    • PSUGuy says:

      Don’t know how reliable it is, but someone posted a link or some such that said the Pac10 floated the idea of membership to both Texas and TAMU…TAMU was interested, Texas was not.

      • zeek says:

        Yeah that was the Memphis AD.

        And to AggieFrank, I realize you’re skeptical, but that’s the most reliable rumor out there.

        If the Memphis AD says that he spoke to a Pac-10 source who told him that the Pac-10 spoke to both A&M and Texas but only A&M was interested, we should take his word on it.

        That’s probably the most accurate rumor we’ve gotten because the Pac-10 is way ahead in its search for schools.

        The fact of the matter is there is a 0% chance that Texas doesn’t find a dance partner.

        There may be a chance that A&M gets left out (yes a very remote chance, probably like 5% odds) but it could happen.

        A&M’s president/AD would be doing malpractice if they weren’t engaging all offers.

        Texas can say “we’re going to join the Big Ten or Pac-10 or SEC” tomorrow, and the doors will swing wide open.

        A&M doesn’t have that luxury. Yes A&M is the 2nd or 3rd most desirable team in the conference, but that’s not the Texas guarantee. Texas will be in the conference it wants to be in…

        Nebraska and A&M are going to have to look out for themselves.

        We always discuss how Texas stopped the Big 8+SWC from going to Big 16.

        Why couldn’t Texas just announce in 4 months they want to go to the Big Ten and take it to 12? It could happen (yes a very obvious remote chance), but Texas probably doesn’t want the Big Ten to go to 16 if it means smaller pieces of the pie, etc. A Big Ten with just Texas may be the most optimal solution if Texas doesn’t want more pieces to the pie, etc. Obviously, the Big Ten Network changes the calculation since the pie actually grows when schools get added, but my point still has some merit.

        Every school needs to decide what’s in their best interest. Texas is being rational by not talking to the Pac-10, whereas A&M is locking down its options in the event of a shake up.

        Most likely A&M and Texas go together, but there are a few scenarios where A&M needs to have its back covered.

        • AggieFrank says:

          To put some perspective on A&M’s value, the Bloomberg news released an article discussing AD revenue today.

          The article comments:

          “Among the largest schools — the nine with at least $90 million in operating revenue — the biggest winners were Texas, up 32 percent to $138.5 million; LSU, up 32 percent to $100.9 million; and Texas A&M, up 33 percent to $98.1 million, according to a review of athletic department financial records.”

          A&M is thriving despite being in downcycle for football (a really, really bad one) and the economy.

          The link is:

          http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601079&sid=aPDM7_6FJ6aw

          • zeek says:

            The nice thing for A&M is that only Texas is a bigger fish that’s moving. Since Notre Dame doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, Texas and A&M are dominating the stage in terms of speculation along with Nebraska for the Big Ten.

            I hear a lot of Aggies say that the team wouldn’t fit the Big Ten, but I don’t really understand it. I could see A&M being a better fit in the south with the SEC schools, but the Pac-10 teams seem like they’d have far less in common with A&M than the Big Ten schools.

    • Rick says:

      He lost all credibility when at the outset he described the Big Ten expansion currently rumored to include West Virginia. Otherwise quite grandiose.

    • Seth9 says:

      I said this elsewhere, but I’ll post it here too:

      1. The idea wrongly assumes that the SEC can get any team they want. Now while all of the athletic departments in question may be willing to join the SEC (outside of Notre Dame and some of the ACC schools mentioned in the second scenario), a lot of the universities in question would absolutely refuse to be associated with the SEC for academic reasons. For instance, Texas has and will continue to refuse to be associated with the SEC because the SEC’s academics are so far below theirs. Academics would also be an issue with Virginia, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Miami, Georgia Tech, and possibly Virginia Tech. While this may not be a game-breaker for every school on the list, it certainly will create issues.

      2. The purpose of this plan is SEC dominance, meaning that the focus is not improving the situation for the individual member schools, but improving the profile of an organization that’s sole purpose is too promote the welfare of its members. Unless the presidents of the SEC universities decide to be loyal to the idea of SEC supremacy to the point of making financial sacrifices, this will never be the goal of expansion.

      3. To follow up on point #2, a number of potential expansion teams do not add enough to the conference to merit inclusion in expansion. In the first model, I would cut out Clemson, Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech, and Miami, because a 16 team conference with the other teams mentioned is better for each individual member than a 20 team conference with those said teams. In the second model, I would cut out Louisville, Virginia, the NC State/West Virginia option, and 1-3 of numerous other listed expansion teams (Duke, Clemson, and/or Georgia Tech).

  88. loki_the_bubba says:

    Rumor du jour:

    “WVU is currently in talks with both the SEC and ACC with possible expansion talk.”

    According to someone’s ‘inside sources’ on another board.

    • Michael says:

      WVU is not a candidate for the ACC for the same reason it isn’t a candidate for the Big Ten: it doesn’t meet academic standards. If the ACC does expand, it will not be able to add any SEC or Big Ten schools, and it won’t add schools who don’t have credentials that match others in the ACC. That rules out WVU, Cincy, Louisville, USF, and any C-USA school.

      So the only realistic candidates would be UConn and whoever the Big Ten doesn’t take among Pitt, Rutgers, and Syracuse. In other words, the ACC won’t ever be larger than 14, assuming the Big Ten takes two Big East schools.

      I’d be surprised if the SEC took WVU, either. It’s waaaaay outside the footprint; Morgantown is 5.5 hours from UK, which itself is somewhat a geographic outlier in the SEC. Besides, the SEC would consider UT, A&M, FSU, Miami, Ga. Tech, Clemson, OU, OSU, TCU, and Missouri before looking at WVU.

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        Hey, I resent that CUSA snub. Rice and Tulane are peers to Duke and Wake Forest.

        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          As a Tulane Law School grad, I’m with you, but while Rice, Tulane & SMU are all great schools, CUSA has a wide spread from an academic and athletic point of view.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            No doubt about that. I’m looking for some scenario to play out where Rice, Tulane, SMU, TCU, Tulsa, Wake, ZDuke, Vandy and some others make a real academic conference for the south.

  89. Kyle2 says:

    On a side note. According to Forbes magazine’s 2009 rankings after expansion the top 10 places to raise a family will all fall in Big 10 country. Currently 2 in NJ and one south of Kansas City are the only ones not in the footprint.

  90. Redhawk says:

    As an Oklahoma alum, I have some connections, and finally I talked to one of them. He’s not heard one word about the OU big shots talking about conference realignment. And he knows the people that would know. Personally, I thought the total lack of news was interesting.

    • zeek says:

      Oklahoma’s options are Big 12 not collapsing or SEC in the event that it does collapse. There’s really nothing to discuss.

      Texas determines what happens to Oklahoma at this point.

      The best thing going for Oklahoma seems to be the notion that SEC schools will not allow more in-state members. That almost guarantees Oklahoma a seat at the table should they go west or north.

      • Redhawk says:

        I don’t disagree, but I would assume that these guys would be looking at, and discussing possible options depending on various scenarios.

        The only rumor my friend had heard was on the “NEW Southwest Conference”. It would be based on a new tv cable package. It would have OU, OSU, Arkansas, LSU, Houston, TCU, A&m, Texas, Tech, Baylor, Kansas, and Kansas St, as the answer to the conference losing Neb, Missouri, and Colorado. He heard that from a source in the Tulsa media, so I’m not sure how much weight it holds.

        • zeek says:

          Arkansas can’t come along because the SEC has too much money on the table.

          The problem with trying to reform the Big 12 after losing Missouri and Colorado is that you lose all the major media markets outside of Texas as well as one of the three big draws.

          At that point the next Big 12 contract will be much smaller.

          Oklahoma is probably just going to wait to see if Nebraska/Missouri do leave. After that, I’d imagine they put a call in to the SEC.

          • zeek says:

            I wanted to add ditto LSU.

            It doesn’t make economic sense to leave the SEC or Big Ten or Pac-10.

            And it’s impossible to replace Denver/St. Louis/KC.

          • Redhawk says:

            @Zeek

            Again, I’m not disagreeing. I was just sharing what I had heard. There are a few other things going on here, then just pure population numbers. Part of it is market penetration. A huge part is cultural, and another is travel costs for the 2ndary sports.

            What you lose in TV set numbers in certain markets, is off set with what you gain % in Texas or so I assume the thinking is. It’s also based around UT not being able to go anywhere with out a big block of Texas schools. The trade off is Denver and St. Louis adding all of Arkansas, and Louisiana and getting huge penetration in the state of Texas. (you keep KC with KU and Kstate)

            I’m not saying it’s what will happen, but I’m hearing the rumor now in a couple of places. Personally I think there will be issues that the old SWC had, in being too regional and thus easy to dismiss.

          • zeek says:

            I’m only saying that because a rebuild of the SWC with all of its major markets in Texas is only worth a maximum of $5-7M per year in TV revenues per team. You need more metro areas, that’s why a state like Arkansas doesn’t add anything.

            That’s why it’s so easy to dismiss. The league would have a TV contract only 20-25% the size of the Big Ten or SEC contracts, which are probably going to be aiming for 25M+ sooner rather than later.

            Travel costs are easily overcome by those kinds of TV revenues.

            And at that point, everyone’s going to scramble off the ship.

            I’m not trying to dismiss the argument on face value, but there’s just not a real justification. No one can justify rebuilding a league that pulls in less revenue.

            Maybe the Big 12 can stay together if just Nebraska and Missouri leave, but I still find it hard to believe that the schools would all just sit around.

            Even if Texas decides to go it with the Longhorn Network, what about A&M? or Oklahoma? etc.

            They get none of that, yet the Big 12 TV contract is going to be worth less. That means that only Texas is going to be able to say they’d want to stay…

          • Redhawk says:

            @zeek

            First off, I don’t think it flies either. I’m just sharing. But there are a few reasons the rumor holds a little water:
            1) It’s not the Big 12.That dies…but where does those left over go?
            2) it’s not about a contract with ABC/ESPN, it’s about a cable network. Not just for UT, but for the new-SWC. At $5 or $10 per month, everyone in the state of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas would buy it. It becomes viable (more viable) through the subscriptions and the penetration.
            3) UofTexas isn’t going to get to make the decision where they go on their own. Would the Pac-10 take Houston, or Tech or Baylor, or TCU? Would the SEC? UTEP could be forced into this mess as well. With A&M and UT, there could be as many as 6-8 teams getting added to UT in a package deal. The point is that kills UT going to any Super-64 conference. Many people got hurt when the SWC folded, and the Big 12 formed. Those people now can make sure it doesn’t happen again. A Super-64 means schools like Houston, and Tech or TCU become even smaller fish, so there is an interest to keep that from happening.
            4)Texas (the state, and the University) actually thinks they are great enough, pull something like this off.

            again…I’m not the one that came up with this, but I’ve now heard it in a few places. I don’t think it works either. As an OU fan, I’d hate this.

            The fact that I heard it more than once and from credible sources made it seem worth while to share.

          • zeek says:

            Yeah, I appreciate any kind of information or rumor, since there’s always an angle that we may not have thought of…

            The only other thing is, Texas vetoed a Big 12 network before, why would they revisit the issue after losing Denver/StL/KC; that makes the Texas contribution even more lopsided than it was when the Big 12 network was first proposed.

            It’s just so hard for me to see why Texas would share when it bring more than 50% of the footprint of a theoretical SWC. That means that Texas is bringing in over 50% of the cable sets in a SWC network, and that’s pretty much why they vetoed a Big 12 network before.

            Logistically they’re going to try their own Longhorn network first probably and see if they can make $10M+ a year off it just putting it on every box in Texas.

            That’s what they’ve been talking about the past couple months.

            The problem for Oklahoma/A&M is that they’re going to take the same hit on the Big 12’s revenue due to the potential loss of Colorado/Missouri/Nebraska (if those three bolt). Texas will make it back up and then some with a Longhorn network, but I find it hard to believe Oklahoma won’t get the heck out and go to the SEC.

            As for the other schools, they’re going to be shafted. I could easily see Iowa State/Kansas/Kansas State/Baylor ending up on the outside.

            Sure, Texas and A&M may go along as a group, but there’s no way that they’re going to allow themselves to be dragged back down by anyone else.

            They left behind those 4 the first time. All that’s left to do is leave behind Texas Tech and Baylor; I could see that happening in a heartbeat.

            Anyways, Oklahoma ends up worse off if it sticks around in a Big 12 regardless of the scenario at this point, so I have trouble seeing them sticking around since they’re most likely going to be able to net an SEC invite.

        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          LSU would NEVER replace home games with Alabama, Florida, and Auburn for home games with Baylor, Kansas, and Houston.

          SEC RULE NO. 1: No school is quitting the SEC.

          SEC RULE NO. 2: No school is getting kicked out of the SEC.

          SEC RULE NO. 3: The SEC will only expand if CBS & ESPN pay for it.

          SEC RULE NO. 4: For CBS & ESPN to pay for expansion, the SEC needs at least two “Home Run” schools to create more compelling games.

          Home Run schools are: Texas, Oklahoma, Florida State, Miami, Virginia Tech & Texas A&M.

          Stand-up double schools are: Clemson, West Virgina, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State & Texas Tech.

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            I tend to agree with your rules.

            Instinctively, I think VT has as much chance of winding up in the SEC as Texas does, which, as you know from our discussions, I believe is just slightly north of zero. If VT really wanted into the SEC, it will learn that the politically-related deal it struck with UVa to get into the ACC will have been a deal with the devil, as I can’t see UVa or the Virginia Legislature allowing VT to bolt the ACC after all the levers which were pulled to get them into the conference in the first place.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Hopkins – I really don’t think VA Tech is realistic either. They are stuck with UVA. For that reason, I almost didn’t include them. Obviously, UNC would be a “home run” school, but I just can’t see Tobacco Road getting split up.

          • AggieFrank says:

            I think you nailed it Alan.

  91. Playoffs Now! says:

    Here’s the deal: 4 super conf’s of 16 schools that break away to form their own division of 64 only happens if Texas and/or aTm goes to the P16. Otherwise the P10 can’t economically go beyond 12, and thus your left with a minimum of 5-6 conf’s and 76+ teams. If the P10 doesn’t go to 16, then the ACC also likely doesn’t, which means the B12 and BEast could both likely survive and reload.

    If the P10 and ACC do go to 16, with Texas out west, the options fall in line where all the major remaining schools fit into the SEC and ACC, and just a couple of bubble schools get left behind (the only ones with any conceivable chance at ever winning a football nat’l title.) Not only do nearly all the BEast schools get taken to kill that conference, 9 of the B12 would likely be grabbed. I’m not certain on this, but get the impression that 9 votes would be enough to dissolve the B12. Thus the only remaining BCS AQ conferences would be the ACC, B16, SEC, and P16. A much better scenario for fending off lawsuits if these 4 depart. The loss of Utah would set back the MWC’s bid for AQ status at least 5 years, well beyond the next BCS negotiation. A tidy reduction just in time to make major changes easier and realistic.

    Makes me wonder if the B10+’s delay and silence is a result of Texas telling Delany and Scott they’d like to pursue moving to 64 ASAP. Think of it this way: Would the B16 make more money with a Texas block of schools in a 77-120 BCS school division of 5-7 BCS AQ conferences, or dominating the North without Texas in a 64 school division of only 4 conferences? All BCS slots filled by those 64, almost doubling the number of B16 teams getting BCS bids on average?

    P10 plus Utah, CO, TX, aTm, TT, UH
    B16 plus NE, MO, Rut, Syr, Pitt (or ND)

    That basically seals off the west and realistically leaves a pool for the ACC and SEC of only CT, ND (or Pitt), WV, Lou, Cin, KS, KSU, OU, OK St, and TCU. CT, ND, Cin, and KS are all probably academically acceptable for the ACC, which might compromise a bit for geography/travel and the big payout of getting to 64. Most likely in danger would be Cin, Lou, TCU, KSU, and OK St, but if one of the latter two is taken that leaves the B12 with only 3 and the departing schools can probably vote to disband. Not only eliminates the B12 as competition and a fly in the ointment, but saves all of them the hefty departure fee.

    SEC plus TCU, OU, OK St, KS (Gets a Texas school, OU for marquee TV, and 2 decent schools that aren’t a fb threat. T Boone buys in OK St, KS raises Bkball profile. Miss schools move to SEC East, balancing power and easing expansion complaints of East schools.)

    ACC plus CT, ND/Pitt, WV, and Lou/Cin (Partner for BC, WV if this plays out before Sen. Byrd croaks, and a midwest partner for ND. If the ACC moves first they might could grab the academically superior combo of CT, ND, Cin, and KS, but the SEC money will be hard to overcome and the SEC might raid FSU.)

    Royally screwed would be the two left out of the above 10, plus Boise, BYU, and maybe S. FL, UCF, and Fresno. I can’t see any beyond those that would ever have any possible shot at winning a fb nat’l title. For political reasons I don’t see the 4×16=64 withdrawing from the NCAA Bball tourney, though threats would be made to change the revenue allocation.

    Doesn’t mean expansion would play out this way, but I could see this being a plan under consideration. Don’t need many schools inside the negotiating loop for now. Pretty much just UT, aTm, Delany, Scott, and maybe a few of the P10 & B10+ power schools. If the P10 and Texas schools can reach an agreement, then the 64 package can be introduced to the SEC and ACC without their having many good options beyond the 4×16 plan.

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      your = you’re

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      Why is UT likely demanding to bring a local block of schools to any new conference? Travel costs (not just $), conference politics, state politics, maybe academic vision.

      UT’s travel costs have increased more than 50% in only 4 years. Remember, they have all the minor sports and the huge dead weight of Title IX sports, and would prefer to improve their performance in the Director’s Cup. UT and aTm in the P16 or B16 would have the about the most arduous travel of any schools in the 4-6 surviving BCS AQ conferences. Much more than the existing P10 and B10+ schools would face, thus a competitive and financial disadvantage. Here are the numbers:

      Travel costs:

      08-09 – 7.6
      07 – 7
      06 – 5.6
      05 – 6
      04 – 5

      Net Revenue after expenses:

      08-09 – 10.8
      07 – 9.3
      06 – 8
      05 – 7
      04 – 7

      Revenues have kept pace with the increased costs, but the travel still takes a hefty bite and the balance could worsen in down years. Bottom line, travel isn’t a deal killer but it is an important consideration.

      In conference matters, Texas doesn’t want to be a frontier outpost and wants enough potential like-minded votes to either hold a veto or be as close to that as possible. With TX legislature looking over their shoulders, TX schools are more likely to vote with UT on critical issues.

      The dynamics and players are different, but there is some political buzz that TX politicians will keep a close eye on any moves. The TX legislature recently made a big effort to boost TT, UHou, and perhaps 2-5 more schools into Tier One status and eventual AAU membership. This was a major expenditure of political capital on the part of many Reps and Senators, since it required not only legislative passage but also voter approval in a down economy (which it got.) Several fiscal conservatives lobbied hard for this last year, which might be unexpected to some. The TX House is evenly split Dem/GOP, thus every voting block can cause problems. The point being that some heavy hitters are invested in the improvement of TT and UH, and are going to be proactive in making sure they don’t get left behind in realignment. Doesn’t necessarily mean they have to go with UT and/or aTm, but any move better make sure those schools end up in a good conference.

      UT, aTm, TT, and UH are set up as different university systems, unlike in CA, thus the 4 systems at times compete with each other. Perhaps UT thinks of it this way: If they have to go to 16 in a conference, why not let a fellow state school get that big conference payout and thus potentially reduce the state dollars flowing to them instead of UT? UH athletics receives about $15 mil/year from the school, moving into a super conference could wipe out that deficit and redirect more funds into research facilities. Once they and Tech reach Tier One, more state dollars funneled toward them may be opened back up for UT to grab. Plus UT bringing aTm, TT, and/or UH would bank some major political goodwill for the Horns in the state legislature.

      A stronger UH and TT make better partners for UT to collaborate with. Texas could join CA and NC as the only states with 4 BCS AQ conference schools. If 4×16 comes about, 4 out of 64 votes is more powerful than 2 of 64. Same for 4 of 16 vs 2 of 16.

      In a consolidation to 64 or even 80, TT and UH are desperate to not be left behind. Thus UT could probably reach an agreement with them to vote for merit-based revenue distribution and perhaps come to the P16 at some kind of discount.

      UT bringing all the big state schools to the P16 pretty much locks out the SEC from TX. TCU would still be available, but they have a smaller fan base. Both aTm and UH in the SEC could siphon off a lot of high quality recruits. A Texas 4-pack to the P16 would also go a long way towards balancing out college football, and thus reduce the discrepancies in TV contracts.

      Hence I tend to believe the rumors that TX wants to bring along several local schools, even if that waters down the academic average a bit. Currently 70% of the P10 is in the AAU, with CO (AAU) and Utah (not) it would be 66%. Add a Texas quad and that becomes 63%, 10 of 16 schools. B16 will be 14 to 16 AAU of 16 members, but the next closest is the ACC with just 5 of 12, and a potential of only 6 or 7 AAU members out of 16 schools, not even a majority. Since the P10 already has 3 non-AAU schools, and soon a 4th, I doubt UT will accept the much worse travel just to have 12 of 16 AAU instead of 10 of 16. Especially if such compromise allows them to separate into a top tier field of 64, instead of the current 120 BCS schools.

      Lots more money to be made at 64 than 80+, so it is also in the P10’s interest to compromise with UT. Might also be the prime argument to convince aTm to go west instead of into the SEC.

      And once again, UT President Powers has been a huge backer of the state boosting TT and UH to Tier One status. His vision may include them in whatever conference the Horns end up in.

      I can’t see the B16 agreeing to a TX block of UT, aTm, TT, and UH or OU, but I can see the P16 compromising. Certainly the SEC would, which gives UT leverage and a backup plan. UT might even could use that to bring in the Texas 4-pack plus OU instead of Utah, but I think for political reasons Utah needs to be included in a 4×64, if that is UT’s goal.

      • zeek says:

        I only see the SEC accepting all 4 if that kind of demand was made.

        The Big Ten and Pac-10 are only looking at Texas and A&M. There’s no way anyone but Texas and A&M can get unanimous votes in the Pac-10, regardless of what USC or anyone else says. I could easily see Stanford or Berkeley voting against UH and/or TT.

        But that kind of demand seems extremely unlikely to me. Texas is going to do what’s in Texas’ best interest.

        I only see Texas going with A&M of all the Texas schools if it does go paired with someone.

        Texas would be able to extract buy in concessions and a requirement of A&M.

        Those are the only things the Pac-10 and Big Ten will put on the table; Texas would probably have the heft to force the Big Ten into adding 5 in the west if it really wanted but you’d better believe those 5 are going to be Texas/A&M/Nebraska/Missouri/Kansas, and even then, I’m not sure they could get Kansas in over Rutgers if the Big Ten really wanted to add an eastern team.

      • Redhawk says:

        @playoffsnow

        Well, this is actually interesting. As I posted above, I have a pretty well connected friend. He has really only heard one rumor (he said from a Tulsa media source), and that was Texas was wanting to reform the “Southwest Conference” if Nebraska, and Missouri, and Colorado left.

        The big issue he had heard: travel costs for the 2ndary sports.

        • eapg says:

          @ zeek – Depends if their studies indicate that the NYC market is penetrable by any college team or group of teams. They may well conclude, as many suspect, that it’s a fool’s errand.

          @ Redhawk – Both points make a lot of sense to me. Certainly Texas has a big bankroll, but it’s a lot of sports and a lot of travel and a lot of downtime for the scholar side of scholar/athlete. And when push really comes to shove, does Texas really want to be an outlier school of a northern conference (with equitable distribution), when they haven’t tried their pet project, which could pay off quite well for them? I really doubt it.

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            I personally have never seen the “travel costs for secondary sports” issue as being too much of a factor for Texas. If Hawaii has been able to exist in the WAC, and Washington State in the Pac 10 (try getting anywhere from Pullman quickly), and BC in the ACC, I don’t think the costs to an athletic department as rich as UT’s would drive this.

            The difference in those situations and UT’s is that WSU and Hawaii have no choice but to pay high travel costs if they want to compete in intercollegiate athletics, while UT would have an option of some sort of regional conference, no matter how weakened that conference was, if travel costs really did drive this.

        • jokewood says:

          Would Texas be happy playing in this conference?

          Texas
          Texas Tech
          Baylor
          TCU
          Houston
          Kansas
          Kansas State
          Iowa State
          +/- Colorado State
          +/- BYU
          +/- Oklahoma State

          If Nebraska, Missouri, and Colorado are pulled away by other conferences, then I can’t see Texas A&M and Oklahoma sticking around for much longer. The Big 12 TV payouts will be even worse than they are now. Even if Texas is able to make big money from the Longhorn Sports Network, this does nothing to keep Oklahoma or Texas A&M happy. Both of those schools would be attractive to the SEC in a reactive expansion move. Oklahoma State may be able to come along for the ride as well.

          So, this brings me back to my question – would Texas be happy as the sole major player in an otherwise borderline-AQ BCS conference? This set-up would allow them to…

          — win their conference most years (in football)
          — play Oklahoma & Texas A&M OOC
          — keep travel costs low
          — maintain BCS status
          — avoid the scheduling hassles of an independent

          • jokewood says:

            Let’s say the LSN nets Texas $20 million per year and this new conference gets them an additional $5 million in TV revenue.

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            Would Texas be happy playing in this conference?

            No.

            That’s a conference that has all of the academic firepower of the SEC but with none of its athletic prowess.

            Let’s not get carried away with the extent to which a theoretical LSN will drive realignment. Yes, Texas would like to maximize its television revenue, as would any other school in the country (except ND, apparently), but it wants to maximize its television revenue within the larger goals of being in a geographically-logical conference which is top-tier competitive both athletically and academically.

          • jokewood says:

            Seems to me that Texas really wants to maintain the status quo and then add on the LSN. But once the status quo changes, Texas has less power than they think they do. As the golden goose, Texas has their pick of conferences. But they don’t have control of who comes with them if staying put isn’t an option.

          • zeek says:

            Yeah, that’s pretty much what I’ve been saying.

            But it’s just not going to happen. Texas would be able to do fine with an LSN supplementing declining Big 12 payouts, but they’re not going to stick around.

            Texas will be one of the first schools out once the first domino is pushed.

            I have to believe that if Colorado goes to the Pac-10 before the Big Ten does anything, that Texas puts in a call to Delaney to at least extract an offer before the Big Ten does anything.

            The Big Ten has pretty much broadcast that it will let Texas make the call if it wants to; at this point, Texas is waiting to see if the dominoes get pushed.

            Once you look at the cascading effect and realize that A&M is planning on decreasing Big 12 payouts as will the rest of the schools, Texas has no real reason to sit around.

            Texas will always have an advantage regardless of when it moves, whether it’s second (they’re not moving first) after Colorado but Texas has to put some sort of plan into action before the Big Ten announces anything otherwise doors slowly start to close.

            Hence, the Big Ten at this point is just calculating payouts from various teams in the East and West in the event that Colorado goes nowhere and the Big Ten has to start the dance.

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        Playoffs Now – Your “Texas 4-pack” idea would work only for the SEC. I have a real hard time seeing Stanford, Cal UCLA & UW taking in Tech & Houston.

        This idea of a SEC/Texas 4-pack has been floating around some SEC boards as well as the Rivals main board. Supposedly, the SEC would offer UT membership and let them pick the other 3 Texas schools.

        I doubt the SEC would delegate that authority to any school though . . . even Texas.

      • Wes Haggard says:

        PlayoffsNow, I don’t see that any of the schools that you have listed could play tag along with A&M or Texas. No clout, no reason. They were left behind the first time and won’t be picked up now. Their ship ship has sailed, period.

    • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

      I think you’re putting the cart before the horse, playoffsnow.

      The cart–four mega-conferences of 16 teams each.
      The horse–no current mega-conferences beyond 12 teams.

      I don’t think the powers-that-be have enough gumption to presume upon each other what is best for EVERYONE. The Big 10 is looking out for #1. So is the SEC…the PAC10…on down the line. At this point, to start theorizing ways that they ALL can go to 16 and can then break away from the NCAA is a bit hurried.

      If the Big 10 goes to 14 in the next year, the SEC expands too, the Big East implodes and the PAC 10 goes to 12….then maybe someone, somewhere might start looking at your “breakaway” scenarios. But even then…it’s a CRAZY huge merger you’re talking about, worth gabillions of dollars…and it’s not going to all miraculous happen at once.

      • zeek says:

        You’re right.

        Plus there would be two superconferences and two WACs.

        It’s not like the 4 conferences would be merging into an NFL. They’d be merging into a mess where two much stronger conferences dominate two conferences that are held together by bonds only a bit stronger than the WAC-16 bonds.

        It’s hard for me to see the Pac-10 and ACC turn themselves into WACs with frills and bows for the hell of it.

        I’m pretty sure Stanford and Berkeley will say no if the schemes get too out of control.

        • Redhawk says:

          Well, the alternative, would be 2 super-conferences dominating in money and recognition because of their size, and 3 little sisters lost in the the 2 bigger one’s shadows.

          That’s not sustainable either.

          If Stanford starts to balk, the Pac-10 will find a way to work around them. There are some schools really, really hurting in the Pac-10 right now. (in case folks haven’t noticed California isn’t rolling in money as a state right now).

      • Hopkins Horn says:

        I’ve argued that a 4×16 realignment seems plausible if a massive realignment starts, and suddenly there are some BCS-worthy schools out there (Kansas? WVU?) who might not have a BCS home otherwise in some of the scenarios we’ve spelled out. But I’m not sure there’s a strong desire from the outset that a 4×16 is wanted. It just might wind up working out that way.

        (But even if a 4×16 were desired from the onset or evolved naturally once realignment started, UH isn’t going to be included. Please, take off those Cougar-colored glasses you’re wearing!)

        • Redhawk says:

          I think a 4×16 realignment IS the desired out come for some people. Many of the “powers” were a little miffed when the NCAA had D-1 and D-1A schools, and now there are 120 D-1 (FCS) schools. Some wanted far less, and more money in fewer hands. I think they see the 4×16 set up as the solution.

          However, your comment on Houston I think is important. As you said, UH wouldn’t be in a Super-64. I agree. However, I think there are interests in the state of Texas that want to make sure the Super-64 doesn’t leave out “their school” wither that be Baylor, or UH, or Tech, or UTEP, or TCU or even Un. of Texas South of Austin when their program is up and running.

          The best way would be for them to leverage and save their schools from being even more 2nd class programs would be to band together in the Texas Legislature, and block UT and A&M from leaving with out taking all of them. That requirement would effectively kill the Super 64 or the 4×16 alignment, cause like you say, UofH won’t be in that group.

          What happens in Texas I think will determine wither a 4×16 super-64 could occur.

          (and in the Pac-10 with Stanford’s veto vote possibly blocking all Pac-10 expansion)

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            However, I think there are interests in the state of Texas that want to make sure the Super-64 doesn’t leave out “their school” wither that be Baylor, or UH, or Tech, or UTEP, or TCU or even Un. of Texas South of Austin when their program is up and running.

            It’s important to remember that Texas and Texas A&M have already demonstrated that they could successfully leave everyone but Tech and Baylor behind, so I would consider the probability that any of those other schools could force their way into the discussion via the Texas Legislature as close to zero.

            It’s also important to remember that UT was less powerful in the Legislature 15 years ago than it is today, and Tech and Baylor were more powerful. And also keep in mind that the stakes were higher 15 years ago: even though the term “BCS” didn’t yet exist, the fight 15 years ago was over who would become a BCS school, and who wouldn’t. Today, even if Texas and A&M were to go their separate ways, Baylor and Tech would still almost certainly be BCS schools somewhere, even in the worst case scenario of joining what would be an upgraded MWC.

          • Redhawk says:

            @Hopkins Horn

            In a 4×16 Super-64 set up, I think the stakes are just as high if not higher, as with the 4×16 we are looking at a playoff system, that could include ONLY those 64 teams.

            And in any 4×16 set up I’ve seen, Baylor would be on the outside, and Tech on the bubble and usually outside as well, as they don’t fit in the Pac-10 or the SEC.

            If there is a 4×16 Super-4 set up, any football program not in that group is now the equivalent of Sam Houston State, and no school that thinks it’s D-1 wants to be there.

            So, can UT and A&M just walk away, cause they want to? I think there will be one hell of a fight to make sure that the smaller Texas programs are in the Super-64..and there just isn’t room for them in that kind of set up. If that means trying to kill UT’s and A&M’s leaving, I think that is what it comes down to in the fight.

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            Well, also recall that the fight in the 1990s meant less to Texas and A&M. Although they obviously preferred to leave Tech and Baylor behind, it wasn’t that big a deal, all things considered, to let those two schools jump aboard the liferaft, and I doubt there was much incentive for pro-UT and pro-A&M forces in the legislature to mount much of a fight.

            This time around, the stakes could be the difference in UT & A&M being allowed to join a top-tier conference or being forced to stay behind in a dying conference. If those are the stakes, one can assume that the big dogs which weren’t called in the 1990s would be called this time.

          • Wes Haggard says:

            Redhawk, I seem to be missing a link of thought some where. The Big Ten has announced their conference will expand. Yep, that is public knowledge. But only from you have I seen an insistance about an whole nation four 16 team conferences. Say What?

          • Redhawk says:

            @ Wes Haggard

            the SEC commissioner said last week, that he could see 4 conferences of 16 teams each, and that they could break away from the NCAA.

  92. Playoffs Now! says:

    Some interesting TV contract numbers, if true:

    Big XII
    * ABC/ESPN: $60M/yr, 19 gms/yr, 8 year deal
    * FSN: $19.5M/yr, 4 year deal
    * Total: $6.625M per team per year

    Big Ten
    * ABC/ESPN: $100M/yr, 41 gms/yr, 10 year deal
    * BTN: $112M/yr, 25 year deal
    * Total: $19.272M per team per year

    SEC
    * CBS: $57M/yr, 15 gms/yr, 15 year deal
    * ESPN: $150/yr, 15 year deal
    * Total: $17.222M per team per year

    Note the average pay per game:

    SEC-CBS: 3.8
    B12-ABC/ESPN: 3.2
    B11-ABC/ESPN: 2.4

    The B12 gets a higher payout per game than the B11, closer to the SEC. However the B11 has more than twice as many games broadcast.

    • Seth9 says:

      Do you have a source?

    • m (Ag) says:

      “The B12 gets a higher payout per game than the B11, closer to the SEC. However the B11 has more than twice as many games broadcast.”

      Well, one leads to the other. The first game the network chooses each week is the one they think will get the most viewers; this is the game they’ll pay the most money for. The second game is the one they think will get the second most viewers, and is thus worth less money.

      So each game they buy per week is somewhat less valuable. If they reduced the number of Big 10 games they bought per year, the average price per game would rise.

      However, it’s still possible that the best games in the Big 12 would be more valuable than the best games in the Big 10. The top teams in the Big 12 are quite attractive from a national standpoint.

      The problem is, the Big 12 doesn’t have the depth of the SEC or Big 10. The SEC has more quality schools and a bigger population base to follow those schools; the Big 10 has the largest population base, giving them a bigger audience for all their games.

    • HawkfanBeau says:

      Also the BTN money isn’t set in stone. they own 51% of it. Everytime the BTN makes more money so do the schools. unlike the SEC/Big12/Pac-10 tv deals.

  93. Josh says:

    How about a new rumor? Oklahoma/Oklahoma State to the Big East. OK, I just made that up. But if you want to spread it around, just say that I heard it from an old girlfriend who works for OU. Or maybe it was a Big East school.

    But the thinking is this. The Big Ten snags Nebraska, Missouri and Rutgers. The Pac 10 take Colorado and Utah. At this point, UT and TAM think the Big 12 is doomed. A&M starts looking at SEC or Pac10 membership and Texas looks to go independent or maybe take A&M along into a 16 team Big 10.

    The Big East still has seven football schools that are desperate to remain relevant. They need another school and ND won’t join for football. OU then becomes the biggest free agent left. They’ve already got South Florida in the Big East–is Norman all that much farther? (Not for Louisville, I’m sure.) Oklahoma won’t go without OSU, both for travel and political reasons.

    Now this scenario doesn’t work if the Big Ten goes to 16 and takes Syracuse and Pitt (or UConn). Why? Because at that point, the Mountain West Conference becomes more attractive than the Big East and Oklahoma would go west with the Kansas schools to a new MWC, which would be a helluva basketball conference. They’ve even already got their own TV channel, which the Big East doesn’t.

    Crazy? Yes. But a lot less crazy than some of the proposals that have been floating around like UNC and Duke to the SEC and Arkansas and LSU leaving the SEC for a new SWC.

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      I though this was an interesting question:

      I’m a big Northwestern fan. They seem to be on the cusp of becoming more than a perennial Big Ten cellar-dweller in basketball. I don’t see expansion helping NU in basketball, or football either for that matter. NU is already a bit of a fish out of water in the Big Ten, sports-wise. Isn’t expansion to 14 or 16 teams going to push them further down the ladder?

      I point that out because, for some reason, something I read in the wake of the ACC expansion stuck in my mind. Someone sorting through the pros and cons on one of the major websites was questioning why Wake Forest would ever support expansion. WF had trouble enough competing in a 9-team ACC. Add FSU, Um and BC to the mix, and how was Wake’s football team ever supposed to win more than one or two conference games a year?

      Six years in, and Wake has as many ACC football titles in the ear of a 12-team ACC as Miami and FSU combined.

      So you never no how well these things will work out for any individual school.

      • zeek says:

        As an NU fan myself, I’m fairly pro expansion because NU relies the most (I believe) on the TV revenue for its sports teams.

        Thus, NU will get the biggest bang for the buck in terms of % revenue expansion due to TV revenue increases. Sure the conference will get harder.

        But I’d love to see NU play Nebraska or even Texas if that ends up happening. They’d be fun games even if we end up on the losing end most of the time.

        I was at the game in ’04 when we beat Ohio State for the first time in 33 years (28 straight losses). I’ve never been a part of anything as crazy as that.

        I still think expansion helps NU the most, which is why I think NU fans would be short sighted to not want teams like Nebraska or Texas to join since it would end up helping out our sports programs more than anyone else.

    • derek says:

      He mentions an article next week about the revenue created by the BTN. I’ll be very interested to read that, and compare it to the blog on here that talks about TV revenue.

      • cutter says:

        The $22 million per school revenue figure is quoted in the article in yesterday’s Minneapolis-St. Paul. The source of the quote is Minnesota Athletic Director Joel Maturi. The $22 million dollar figure comes from television rights (including ABC, CBS and ESPN contracts) alone, according to the article.

        http://www.startribune.com/sports/gophers/92558764.html?elr=KArks7PYDiaK7DUvDE7aL_V_BD77:DiiUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUU

        What do we know? According to that article, the Big Ten Network paid the conference $60 million in rights fees plus an additional $66 million in profits that were shared equally among the conference members for a total of $126 million. That translates into $11.45 million per school.

        Sports Business Journal has an article dated March 3, 2008 that describes the different revenue streams to the various conferences. Go to: http://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/article/58254

        According to the article, Big Ten schools also receive TV revenue from the league’s deals with ESPN and CBS. ESPN will pay an average of $100 million per year over 10 years, starting at $83 million in the first year and escalating over the life of the contract.

        CBS’s 10-year deal is worth $2 million annually. Each Big Ten school will reap an average of $9.27 million from those two deals, but again, those revenue numbers will be significantly less on the front end of the contract when the guarantees are smaller.

        Adding the $11.45M and $9.27M figures and you get $20.72M. That’s not quite $22 million, but we’re getting closer. Where does the rest of the television rights revenue come from?

        According to the BCS website, the Pac 10 received $22.2M from the Bowl Championship Series for the 2009/2010 season. Go to: http://www.bcsfootball.org/news/story?id=4856975

        The other bowl games generated $14M in revenue per this article: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/stewart_mandel/12/15/bigten-expansion/index.html

        If you take the combined bowl revenue of $36.2 million, then each school potentially gets $3.29 million. I say potentially because as I recall, the Big Ten confernce allocates part of that revenue to each school participating in a bowl game for expenses, then takes the remainder and gives an equal share to each porgram. That could easily make up the remaining $1.3 million or so.

        To sum up, here’s what we’re looking at when that $22 million dollar figure is quoted:

        Big Ten Network Profits/Rights Fees – $11.45 million per school

        ABC/ESPN/CBS contracts – $9.27 million per school

        BCS/Non-BCS Bowl Payout – Approximately $1.3 million per schools net revenue after expenses. Total revenue before expenses are $36.2 million.

        Let’s now look at what the conference would need to do to keep its average revnue per school ($22M) with the addition of five members. The obvious breakeven point is that these sources above would have to add an additional $110M to the conference ($22M times 5).

        Assuming the conference puts together a championship game. Putting the revenue on rough par with what the SEC receives, which is $14.3 million.

        Would the BCS/non-BCS bowl payout be greater? Obviously this fluctuates depending on how many Big Ten teams get BCS bowl berths and the number of total bowls the conference gets with 16 teams. Assuming the BCS bowls per conferences maxes out at two per the current rules, let’s be conservative and say the bowl payout will increse by another $5 million total.

        That leaves the remaining $90 million to come from a combination of the Big Ten Network, ABC, ESPN and CBS.

        If Patrick’s figures (in parens) from the earlier blog are correct and assuming the Big Ten does add Nebraska($54.48M), Missouri ($45.90M), Syracuse (w/o NYC $43.50M), Pittsbugh ($34.37M) and Rutgers (w/NYC $67.80M) , then the value of these programs totals $246.05M. Obviously, that puts the conference well past the $90M mark required from the television contracts to break even.

        If you add in additional bowl revenues plus the Big Ten championship game (not including semi-final games in this number), you’re now looking at roughly an additional $265M extra across the board with those five schools to add to the current $248M in shared revenues per Stewart Mandel’s article–that’s a back of the envelope calculation of $513M for 16 programs or a little over $32 million per school.

        That comes down to $10 million more for the current Big Ten schools.

        Per Mandel’s article, ACC schools get $5 million in shared revenue, so if Maryland were truly interested, there’d be plenty of financial incentive (Maryland would add $50M additional to conference, so this number might be slighly higher) to go from $5M to better than $30M.

        The Big East is a bit higher at $8 million per program. The Big 12 varies a bit between schools because part of the money is based on television appearances. Schools of interest are Nebraska ($9.1M), Missouri ($8.4M), Kansas ($9.2M), Texas ($10.2M) and Texas A&M ($9.2M). Again, there’s a huge financial incentive for all these programs to join in an expanded Big Ten from the television rights reveue side alone.

      • Jake says:

        @derek – I’d be interested to see that, too. We’ve been assuming all along that the Big Ten’s TV revenue was far above everyone else (particularly Notre Dame), but that may not be the case. ND’s NBC contract apparently gives them $15 million a year, which in addition to the $2 million they get from the Big East for basketball gives them $17 million. The Big Ten, according to Greenstein’s article, gets around $9 million from the networks and maybe $8 million from the BTN. That’s $17 million. And that $220 million figure he threw out (which included bowl revenues) would make each school’s take even lower. Maybe the Irish don’t have as much to gain from joining the Big Ten as we thought.

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      Also note from the article that ESPN’s Outside The Lines will address realignment today (Thursday 5/6) at 2 pm Central. I work at home, so I’ll try and watch.

      • Hopkins Horn says:

        Damn LT rape story bouncing conference realignment discussion.

        • Ron says:

          @Hopkins Horn that was my first reaction too, but then noticed the number sixteen came up prominently in the story. Coincidence? I think not.

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            Ooh, good point! And LT went to UNC, and the alleged crime was in NY, so I’m thinking that this a clear signal that Syracuse will wind up in the ACC after all after its Big 10 dreams are wiped out.

    • mushroomgod says:

      That Teddy’s a pretty smart guy:

      “The Cuse never made sense to me because of the smallish enrollment, tiny media market…subpar football facilities, and mopy comments from Jim Boeheim”

      Good job Teddy, but you forgot the frozen tundra and lack of research $ problems

    • c says:

      Re Teddy Greenstein’s recent article (5/6) on expansion (Frank)

      Another interesting article.

      Teddy’s claim to fame is not that he is smart but he is supposed to be well connected.

      So in yet another article it appears he is again listing RU and SU as his “best guess” to be included as expansion targets in a likely 16 team expansion.

      Equally interesting, he is now listing UConn as his best guess instead of Pitt perhaps because Pitt doesn’t add much of a unique footprint.

      “We know that Delany wants to make a huge splash. And we know that TV revenue is driving expansion. If the Big Ten really wants to make an impact on the New York market, it will add Syracuse and UConn to go along with Rutgers. So I’ll go with 16 teams. More on divisions later.”

      Another trial balloon for UConn?

      • Ron says:

        @c Excellent observation. Pitt is the one school of the five mentioned by Dienhart that does not extend the Big Ten measured by state footprints (since the conference already has PSU in Pennsylvania). If the expansion is mostly about extending network reach and markets, UConn makes more sense than Pitt (or Kansas for that matter). One possible concern about UConn is that it is not really contiguous with the Big Ten unless Syracuse follows through and joins. Recall that Syracuse accepted, but then later reneged, on a commitment to join the ACC when that conference expanded.

        • c says:

          Re SU and prior ACC expansion (Ron)

          SU didn’t “renege” on a committment to join the ACC. They said yes and accepted the invitation.

          Don’t you remember the ACC first “invited” Miami, BC and SU to be considered to begin the process of voting to expand the conference and even sent a team to inspect the schools. This was after years of study and informal conversations.

          UNC and Duke were opposed to any expansion beyond Miami. UVA, the key 3d vote, then was told by the governor it had to vote for VT.

          So the ACC invited Miami and VT and then after failed last minute discussions with ND, voted to invite BC to hold a conference playoff.

          • Ron says:

            My memory is evidently faulty on that point. Had the impression at the time that Syracuse pulled out of the ACC expansion in hopes of eventually becoming the Big Ten’s 12th team. Looks like the blame for Syracuse being dropped really fell on inept ACC political handling of their expansion.

          • omnicarrier says:

            Syracuse never received an official invite to the ACC. Virginia politics and Duke/UNC trying to stop expansion beyond Miami prevented SU from ever coming up for a vote.

            After that, SU admins at that time said they would never consider the ACC again.

          • Ron says:

            Does point to a possible pitfall for Big Ten expansion. Plan should be for the Big Ten to present the entire expansion invitation package to the members for one straight up and down vote. Politicking over who to invite did not wind up serving the ACC well.

          • c says:

            Re Big 10 voting (Ron)

            The ACC expansion process indicates once the “experts” like Delany make their recommendations and outline options based on their studies and analysis and informal discussion with target schools, then the fun begins.

            Wonder how involved are Big 10 Presidents at this stage? Do they have a President’s committee? Has a tentative consensus been reached? Do they now have the outlines of what is possible with respect to ND and others?

  94. loki_the_bubba says:

    Latest musings from the Omaha paaper.

    http://www.omaha.com/article/20100505/SPORTS/705059807#shatel-expansive-range-of-reactions-to-big-ten

    Love the reference to B10’s silly rivalries: ‘Getting to the conference title game and a shot at the National Championship should be worth more than fighting over the “Old Aluminum Spit Bucket” or “Paul Bunyon’s Log.”‘

  95. loki_the_bubba says:

    Second attempt to post the link to today’s comments in the Omaha paper.

    http://www.omaha.com/article/20100505/SPORTS/705059807#shatel-expansive-range-of-reactions-to-big-ten

  96. M says:

    Take this with as much salt as befits an open ESPN poll, but they have “Would BCS conference expansion be good for college sports?” as one of their questions
    http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/polls
    (click on college football in the lower left)

    Right now it’s 60/40 yes. The only states opposed are WV (understandable), Maryland (not sure what to make of that), and Kansas (presumably Kansas and K-State fans worried about being left in a Big XII without Missouri).

  97. allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

    This link is for Notre Dame fans who claim that the Big 10 (16) schedule would be too boring and regional if they were ever to join the Big 10 (16). Scroll down to “MicahAndMe” post.

    http://mbd.scout.com/mb.aspx?s=157&f=1395&t=5598641&p=9

    I want you to look at your current schedule(s) and look at those and give me your honest feedback. (Keep in mind that you’ll be without a conference for your other 15 sports in a few years as well.)

  98. M says:

    @ the people questioning the “$22 million a year” number

    I believe the original source for that number is this Outside the Lines report:
    http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=4757335

    It says that the Big Ten received $242 million from television contracts per year. $242/(11 schools and 1 share for the conference itself)~= $22 million per school. They don’t particularly document how each contract (e.g. BTN, ESPN/ABC) contributes to that total.

  99. Djinn Djinn says:

    The idea of Big Ten expansion is fueled by BTN money. And as our friends Frank and Patrick point out, the lion’s share of that money comes from football. Basketball is secondary. For the BTN to make money, they need to schedule more live events. More schools means more games available, and more money generated.

    When we look east or west to what sort of football teams there are out there, to the east we see Rutgers, Syracuse and Pitt. To the west, we see Nebraska, Texas, A&M, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas.

    Texas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska are 5-star programs. These would be fantastic additions on the football field. The next tier would probably be Missouri, Pitt and A&M. I think this group is where the Big Ten should begin.

    As much as I want to like Rutgers and Syracuse for their supposed market strength and academcis, from a fan’s perspective, it’s just hard to get excited about their football programs. Hoping they may get better someday doesn’t mean they deserve an invite today. Any invitee anywhere might get better someday.

    Personally, I’m much more likely to turn on the TV to see good football teams–even if they’re not from my area. I have no connection to Texas, Oklahoma or Nebraska, but I’d rather watch their games than anyone Rutgers or Syracuse is playing. Ijust can’t help but feel the quality of the product on the field should be the most important thing to the BTN. Not geographic location of weaker programs.

    If the NY market is really so important to making expansion work, (which I doubt–remember, the BT is generating more than anyone else without that market now), and if it’s determined that Rutgers and Syracuse hold the keys to untold riches, I think adding them should mean going to 20 and go with Rutgers, Syracuse, Pitt, Nebraska, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri TAMU, and Kansas.

    There’s no reason not to consider 20. There’s nothing magic about 14 or 16. Plus with 20 you add huge markets, fantastic football programs, and fantastic basketball programs for non-stop BTN programming. There would be something good on all the time. Almost any football fan would like to have a network showing Ohio State versus Texas, Oklahoma against Michigan, Nebraska and Penn State. The Big Ten would be hands-down the best conference in the only two sports that matter. The BTN would be appealing even in the southeast and west coast.

    The difficulties would be, first, to convince the Texas schools to join. But I’d imagine the prospect would be much more appealing with this configuration, given the market and quality of product and the amount of money to be made. The other issue would be to get Oklahoma’s academics in line.

    But that would be a cataclysmic shift in college athletics.

    • Paul says:

      Great comment. I completely agree. I could live with Nebraska, Missouri, and Pitt. But Rutgers and Syracuse provide no excitement to folks west of Pennsylvania.

    • mushroomgod says:

      pass

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      One thing from my perspective:

      My enthusiasm for Texas joining the Big 10 has always been under the assumption that Texas would be the 12th member of a 12-school Big 10. I would be very disappointed if the Big 10 invited only one school, and that school were one other than Texas.

      But if Texas weren’t to be included in a 16-team Big 10, I’d still be disappointed, but not to nearly the same extent. Part of it is a little weariness as to the 16-school model can really be pulled off in football (the failure of the WAC doesn’t phase me, as I see it as a completely apples-oranges situation), but I think a bigger part of it is, frankly, when I get excited about joining the Big 10, road trips to Syracuse and Piscataway don’t factor in at all to that excitement.

      • c says:

        Re Texas as 12th team (Hopkins horn)

        Another interesting yet surreal post that comes when being on the outside and getting caught up in a guessing game.

        Does anybody anywhere have any reason to believe Texas is in play? Not logically but actually; not reasons why it may be or could be or might be?

        Does anyone really believe if Texas wants in they wouldn’t be accepted yesterday or tomorrow?

        Does anyone believe if Texas wants in, the Big 10 wouldn’t try their best to accommodate them? Same with ND?

        Seriously what does the “possibility” that RU or SU may be invited have to do with Texas joining or not joining? Is Texas waiting to see if RU is first invited before they decide?

        • Hopkins Horn says:

          @C,

          Of course there’s no actual reason to believe Texas is in play right now, just as there is no actual news about virtually any school speculated about on this board.

          Seriously what does the “possibility” that RU or SU may be invited have to do with Texas joining or not joining?

          My point was from my personal vantage point as a UT booster who wants to see US wind up in the Big 10 and not what I believe the school is thinking. I was making the point that I, personally, would be less disappointed if Texas didn’t wind up in a sprawling 16-team Big 10 than I would be if Texas didn’t wind up in a 12-team Big 10.

          Who knows what the powers that be at UT would prefer sizewise if the school did want to move to the Big 10.

      • Sportsman24 says:

        UT & TAMU fans,

        Assuming the BT expands beyond 12 and UT &/ TAMU joins… Would you prefer 14 or 16 teams? Who would you like to see come in w/ them? Would you like to join w/ or w/o your in-state rival?

        I’m curious what would get Longhorn & Aggie fans the most excited about joining? As a BT/Hawkeye fan, I’d love to have both/either join. They are both tradition-rich universities, on and off of the field. And, we BTers love or tradition(s).

      • Sportsman24 says: