The Big Ten expansion rumor mill continues to churn, with the conference reportedly inviting (or at least welcoming to fill out the online Common Application to join the conference) Notre Dame, Missouri, Nebraska and Rutgers.  Supposedly, if Notre Dame were to accept the Big Ten’s invite this time around, then the conference would add one more school for a 16-school conference.  If the Domers reject the overtures of the “Big Integer” once again, then the conference would decide between staying at 14 schools or finding 2 other schools to invite.  (Note that as I’m writing this, SportsCenter has teased talk about Notre Dame possibly joining the Big Ten about 8 times in the last 20 minutes with nary a mention of anyone else.)

This particular rumor has been denied by various parties, including the Big Ten’s office and Nebraska’s chancellor (who has probably been the most open university president of any of the schools involved over the past few weeks).  Still, I’m suffering from confirmation bias with respect to this specific story because it’s the main scenario that the collective brain power of this blog’s readers has settled upon over the last few posts: Nebraska, Missouri and Rutgers as virtual locks in a minimum 3-school expansion, with the Big Ten only going to 16 if it gets Notre Dame and/or Texas.  I noted this in my interview with Penn State blog Nittany Whiteout a couple of weeks ago (here are parts 1 and 2):

NITTANY WHITEOUT: I’ll have to ask you a three part question.  First: without thinking about money, or logistics, and if saying “no” wasn’t an option, what would be the ideal move for the Big Ten?  Second: getting back to the real world, what’s the best possible decision for the conference?  And lastly, just a shot in the dark, what ends up happening? Does Joe Paterno get that “Eastern Rival” he’s been pining for?


1. The Big Ten adds Texas as team #12 and stops there.  There is no single school that can provide more impact for the conference (even Notre Dame).

2.  For all of the focus on TV markets, this expansion is going to require a massive football name in order for it work, which means at least one of Nebraska, Notre Dame or Texas.  Any 14-team scenario with 1 of them would work very well and I think that you need 2 of them for a 16-school conference.  If I were making a recommendation to the Big Ten and it’s not an option to just add Texas or Notre Dame as team #12, I’d go for a 14-school conference with one of those big names as an anchor.  The other 2 schools would provide a base of households (Missouri to the west and Rutgers and/or Syracuse to the east), with the caveat being that if the Big Ten can get Texas but also needs to take Texas A&M, too, then the conference should do it in a heartbeat.

3.  If I were to bet today (and be advised that this changes on almost a daily basis), I believe that the Big Ten will add Nebraska, Missouri and Rutgers to create a 14-school conference.  Nebraska provides the national name, Missouri safely delivers a state of 6 million people for the Big Ten Network, and Rutgers is a reasonable bet to at least get a toehold in the state of New Jersey.  They are all large flagship schools that are members of the AAU, so they meet the academic requirements of the conferences while “fitting” the Big Ten mold.  These are also all schools that will say yes to a Big Ten invite almost immediately.  Finally and most importantly for your readership, JoePa gets one Eastern rival to pummel annually.

What’s interesting is that if the Big Ten were to actually send out 4 invites in the manner that it was reported today, it indicates that the conference is employing something similar to the Super Death Star Conference multi-phase expansion strategy that this blog threw against the wall in a homage to John Nash.  The Big Ten is pot committed to expanding one way or another and clearly isn’t bluffing (as many casual fans across the country continue to believe).  This puts Notre Dame in a precarious position because it will end up holding the key to whether the Big East will live on with just losing Rutgers from the football side.  One line of thinking (which is the one that UCONN football coach Randy Edsall and many Big East fans believe) is that if Notre Dame were given an ultimatum to join the Big East football or give up membership in that conference’s other sports leagues, then the Irish would be “forced” into the Big Ten and the Big East could minimize its losses since Jim Delany wouldn’t pursue the East Coast any further.  (I threw a lot of cold water on this popular suggestion in my post about potential Big East expansion scenarios back in February.  Please see assumption #2.)  On the other hand, the line of thinking in my head (and what I believe is the Big Ten’s modus operandi) is that Notre Dame joining the Big Ten actually would embolden the conference to go for the jugular in the Northeast with a 5-school expansion that includes multiple Big East teams.  Jack Swarbrick has consistently tried to toe the proverbial party line that Notre Dame is fully supporting the Big East.  The Irish will have to decide whether joining the Big Ten or staying independent will end up hurting the Big East more (and if it actually matters to the school).

Now, this blog’s commenters went wild in the last post over this Northwestern Rivals message board rumor about a drunk Big Ten employee supposedly stating that the Big Ten’s true targets are Notre Dame, Nebraska… and Texas.  (What’s up with Northwestern and Big Ten expansion rumors? The university president telling a bunch of sorority girls about how the conference voted at the AAU meetings?  Plastered Big Ten insiders getting toasted with the Wildcat faithful?  Is this why Evanston was a center of the temperance movement?)  The scheduling proposal is whack and would seem to be a non-starter for the Big Ten, but as for the mix of teams itself, no one can really discount this as the ultimate goal for the conference (as much as it might be a shoot the moon attempt).  There have been multiple threads on Orangebloods (the premium Texas Rivals message board) that actually corroborated that if the Big Ten could grab Notre Dame and Nebraska, then that would be the scenario that would get Texas to join the Big Ten (whether or not Texas A&M is included).  So, call me just a little bit titillated that the Big Ten might be sending out 4 invitations to apply to receive invitations with 1 outstanding spot that seems to play right into what that wasted Big Ten guy apparently told his Northwestern alum buddy.  I’m simultaneously laughing off the thought that someone with this type of knowledge would spill it to a message board poster while seeing enough detail in the rumor to think, “Why the fuck not?”  This is what passes for “solid” expansion news when no one with actual authority is willing to go on the record.  A variant of the Super Death Star Conference might be coming along just yet.

Or it could “just” be a 3-team expansion with Nebraska, Missouri and Rutgers.  It continues to amaze me that a few months ago I thought that it was ridiculous to even think that the Big Ten would add multiple teams, yet now believe that 3-team expansion with one of the top 10 college football programs of all-time (Nebraska) that locks up the state of Missouri and possibly enters into the New York City market is a “conservative” move.  That’s how much our expectations of Big Ten expansion have changed in an extremely short period of time.  Hopkins Horn, a frequent commenter and Texas alum, asked the blog’s readers whether they’d be happy with that ultimate outcome.  Personally, I think that it would be a great outcome for the Big Ten.  While I’d love to add on Texas and/or Notre Dame on top of that group for a 16-school conference, a 14-school conference with Nebraska, Missouri and Rutgers as new additions provides a great mix of star power, guaranteed households and East Coast market potential while still maintaining some semblance of an actual tight-knit conference feel (as opposed to being a massive confederation).  As an Illinois alum, I like the natural East/West division split with annual games against long-time Braggin’ Rights rival Missouri.  Expanding further to 16 without Texas or Notre Dame isn’t worth it, in my opinion (as much as I have a huge soft spot for Syracuse).

So, that’s where we are in the expansion rumor cycle at this point.  Hopefully, some real news will come sooner rather than later.

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

(Image from College Hoops Journal)

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  1. Jeepers says:


    • Playoffs Now! says:

      Could we see a TX-ND-NE-MD-Rut expansion? MD/DC and NJ each have more TV sets than MO, same for Georgia.

      From my neck of the words, it is hard to think of a more delicious scenario than TX, ND, GT, MD, and Rut to the B16 and aTm to the SEC. “Here’s your Big Eight back, just like you’ve always said you wanted…”

      But now for the real reason I’m posting. Normally the TX legislature only meets for the first 5 months of odd years. However various house and senate committees occasionally gather in Austin to deal with matters. Lots of them are meeting this week. If UT and aTm want to broker deals that may require lobbying legislatures, this is a good week to do that.

      For aTm, the best possible outcome would be to go to a P14 or P16 without Texas. The chances are small that the Aggies would thrive in the meatgrinder of the SEC, and a B16 will be almost as tough. In contrast getting into the P14′s conference championship game would happen far more often than getting into the SEC’s. More visibility and more success brings more recruits and more success. That’s the fast track for aTm, especially if USC gets hit hard with a multi-year sentence in the next few weeks. Probably in a division with KS, CO, TT (or MO), AZ, ASU, and Utah. Better odds than facing OU, OK St, LSU, AR, Ole Miss, AL, and Aub.

      The Memphis AD recently stated that a P10 AD confirmed that while they targeted UT and aTm, the Horns weren’t interested but the Ags were. Going to the P10 instead of the SEC would publicize aTm’s academic standing and boost its reputation. And how about the chance for they and TX to meet in a Rose Bowl?

      A potential deal-killer would be UT having to schedule both aTm and OU as OOC games. Hence one reason why the NWestern rumor about UT and ND seeking more OOC games makes it believable.

      Still, put me on board the TX to the B16 and aTm to the P14 train.

      • HawkfanBeau says:

        but this is a even (2010) year?i don’t understand what you mean by “Normally the TX legislature only meets for the first 5 months of odd years. ”

        i have always enjoined “sources close” BS.. Hey “Source Close” to the Burger king/Wendy’s expansion to take over Mc D’s spot as # 1 ,have said “It’s all a Bunch of Lies”

      • Playoffs Now! says:

        Heard more rumors today that UT and aTm are indeed negotiating with both the B10+ and P10. Since ESPN reported that Georgia Tech is in the running, don’t we have a new dream scenario, or close to it? Adding TX, aTm, ND, GT, and Rut is tantalizing. Helps lure ND with more of a ‘national’ schedule in conference and Rutgers provides the foothold to play showcase teams in the suburbs of the nation’s largest market and media hub. Atlanta is a demographic triplet to DFW and Houston, and what a psychological power statement. Right into the heart of the SEC, plus hitting the 4 corners of the eastern half of America. TX=25 million, GA=10 million, NJ=9million, MO=only 6 million.

        But NE & MO would still do alright in a P16. Quad Utah and CO with the AZ schools, another of NE, KS, MO, and perhaps ISU, plus the 4 Cals and the 4 NW schools.

        As a Longhorn, a UT, aTm, ND, Rut, GT addition is the best realistic option I could hope for.

        • Playoffs Now! says:

          How about this power pod:

          UT, aTm, ND, GT – Gives ND a game in TX every year and in the Southeast every other year. Puts all the good newcomers in their own pod to beat each other up, an advantage for the original Big Ten members. Other pods:

          MN, WI, IA, IL
          MSU, MI, OSU, IU
          NW, PU, PSU, Rut

          Splits up IU-PU and PSU-OSU, but somewhat balanced.

          Or perhaps:

          UT, aTm, IU, PU
          MN, WI, IA, IL
          MSU, MI, OSU, NW
          ND, GT, PSU, Rut

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Don’t get too worked up about GA Tech. Two years ago, LSU put more butts in the seats at the Georgia Dome for the Chick-fil-a Bowl that Georgia Tech did. You can walk to the GA Dome from GA Tech’s campus. For a historically good team, GA Tech has very little support for their athletics in Atlanta. From what I’ve seen, UGA dominates the ATL. Auburn probably has fans in the ATL than does GA Tech.

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            I used to live in Atlanta. UGA is the dominant program, but GT has a solid following.

            They’re now AAU, top-flight, and will make a nice fit. Similar to Purdue but knows how to win consistently.

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            Here’s the infamous flyover when GT hosted a mediocre Wake F team:

            Stands not completely full in the 55K seat stadium, but still a good crowd.

        • doogie says:

          Rutgers is in the mix only because Delaney is from NJ. GT? Why? Small stadium, small crowds. Small following. I lived in Hotlanta for 10 years. Nobody but engineers cares about GT. MO/NB good B10 fit. GT/Rut…eh.

    • Justin says:

      I doubt the Big 10 stays at 14 teams. If Notre Dame rejects a Big 10 invite (likely), then staying at 14 basically confirms they can accept the invite whenever they would like.

      I believe this is a multi-phased expansion, and that you will see three teams added by July 1, but if ND turns down the bid, I think you’ll see another two schools added by the end of the year, which then completes the complete expansion process in the 12-18 months first mentioned last December.

      While we’re hearing new names such as Maryland or Georgia Tech, I think its really between Syracuse, Connecticut and Pitt for 2 spots. PSU and Rutgers gives the B10 a presence in NJ and PA, but if the Big 10 wants more of a play in NY, they’ll need to take a couple more BCS schools.

      I think Syracuse is likely team #15, and right now, Connecticut may have a better shot at #16, mainly because you surround the tri-state area, and also have more exposure to New England in general.

      Further, Syracuse and Connecticut are strong b-ball programs and are star programs in lesser sports such as women’s bball and lax which brings additional content to the BTN.

      So right now, I think NU, Mizzou, RU, SU and Uconn is most likely.

      • mushroomgod says:

        Don’t think so Justin.

        You have to remember that the presidents are going to be involved in this process.

        We’re already adding the two lowest ranked academic schools in Mo and Neb. Your scenerio would also have the BT add the school with the least research (by far) in Syracuse, and a non-AAU member in U Conn. I don’t think that will happen. I can’t imagine that in a 5 team addition the best academic fit won’t be added.

        • @mushroomgod – I think it’s somewhere in the middle with respect to academics. My feeling is that adding Mizzou and Nebraska will likely mean that the Big Ten wouldn’t make a play for a school like Kansas that’s similarly ranked. The Syracuse and UCONN comments are duly noted and I highly doubt that both would be invited, although if one of those schools is determined to push the Big Ten from being a fringe player in the NYC market to a true presence where the BTN gets basic cable carriage there, then the university presidents aren’t going to turn down those dollars when Syracuse and UCONN are likely in the “academically acceptable” cateogry (even if they aren’t academic powerhouses). The academic requirements are more qualitative (prestige by association), while the athletic requirements are more quantitative (how much TV money can a school bring to the rest of the members), and in this day and age, the quantitative factors are going to carry a lot of weight.

          Regardless, if ND doesn’t choose to apply for a spot, I think that the Big Ten would stop at 14 unless it can get Texas and Texas A&M (who both certainly meet all facets of the athletic and academic requirements) to go up to 16.

          • Justin says:

            If the Big 10 stops at 14, then they’ve again signaled to Notre Dame the door is always open.

            I cannot see that happening. I also think its ironically enough, easier to have a 16 team conference then 14 teams, because with 16, you can have pods of 4 and rotate the schedules such that all the teams face each other every other year.

            Nebraska gives the Big 10 a national brand in football. Syracuse and Connecticut bring a national brand in basketball, and with Rutgers, they have the tri-state area.

          • R says:

            I agree with many of you, that, without Texas, the B10 stops at 14. Rutgers would be the 20 years later tag-a-long for PSU football and Missouri for Nebraska football. Since football is the major driver for the BTN, IMO, do not add anyone until Franks Fav, Texas, is either in, or, absolutely, positively out. I would think five years would be a reasonable time period we could expect to wait for Texas(and A&M, please)! However, the caveat is how much per school net, BTN money, if any, would be left on the table by not expanding with two more universities, to 16, in the near future. The numbers crunching, media, BTN, market share and add revenue analysts really have their work cut out for them. I know some of you have expertise in those areas. Could you add your thoughts on short term,(five years) 14 vs 16, revenue implications. My question, again is, if Texas could be ‘had’ within five years, would it trump anything from the Big East going forward with 16 immediately?

        • mushroomgod says:

          What signal is sent to ND is not relevant. What is relevant is what is the best plan for the Big 10 long-term.

          To me, RU-NEB-MO looks better than RU-Neb_MO-Syr-Pitt. The risk-reward on the latter may not be there. If you stop at 14 you leave open a lot of options down the road. Maybe ND. Maybe TX. Maybe TX & A&M. Maybe Maryland, if the ACC fragments.
          Maybe U Conn gains AAU status, and it’s football and academic status take off such that it becomes a no-brainer.

          ‘Twer me, I would also add Pitt, and stop at 15. How’s that for a signal? I would do that because Pitt is such a good fit and because the ACC may at some point offer ND, Pii, U Conn, and Syr. Yes, there’d be an odd # for awhile, but we’ve lived with that for 18 years or so…..

  2. HoosierMike says:

    Of the Wiener variety only… please.

  3. HoosierMike says:

    I had also heard in this report, or at least in reference to (whether endorsing or denying, I can’t recall) that the Rutgers invite would be dependent on whether ND said yes? Anybody else recall seeing this? I’ve been going through my browser history and can’t seem to locate where I heard this.

    Either way, if true, this is, as they say, “A BIG FUCKING DEAL”. And I, for one, as an Indiana alum and die-hard Wolverines football fan, am pumped!

    You gotta think that with only offering 1 BE football participant (Rutgers), ND has got to feel ok about the BE surviving and would probably risk staying Indie for the time being. In fact, I’d argue that with these offers on the table, the BE seems to be in a lot better shape than the BXII, no?

    It looks to me like the B10 is going for a multi-phase expansion strategy, grabbing 2 BXII North schools, with another (Colorado) eyeing the Pac10, and half of the North Division is byeski. The only pool of likely candidates to replace them is in Texas (TCU, Houston, UTEP), but none are very attractive, nor do they help the BXII avoid the problem of population distribution for TV contracts.

    WIth half a division kaput, UT and aTm would be crazy to not try and bug out of the BXII as fast as they could, and you gotta believe at that point they’ll do it with the blessing of the legislature, the governor, the lt. governor and every joe and jose schmo on the street.

    What am I missing here?

    • @HoosierMike – A Rutgers invite wouldn’t be conditional – the wording of the original report was just confusing. What it essentially said was this:

      ND accepts = 16 school Big Ten with ND, Rutgers, Missouri, Nebraska and one more lottery winner

      ND rejects = 14 school Big Ten with Rutgers, Missouri and Nebraska

      • HoosierMike says:

        Ok, so that doesn’t change things too much. As you state in your scenarios, the only variable here is ND. No way that Neb, Mizzou or Rutgers turn this opportunity down. If the certainty of these three teams moving, is coupled with Colorado moving to the Pac10, UT really has a decision to make.

        #1: Work with the remaining 9 to rebuild a 1/4 of your league.
        #2: Jump ship with the Buffs to the Pac10.
        #3: Jump ship with the Huskers and Tigers to the B10.
        #4: Join the SEC (Just kidding, HopkinsHorn)

        #1: With who? Take your pick from the MWC or WAC? Arkansas? BYU, CSU, NM, BSU, LT, NV
        Q: Which of the above schools makes your position stronger, UT?
        A: none. If you’re going to rebuild a cabin, you gotta have some logs to get it done, and I just don’t see any laying around.

        #2: I’m still having a hard time with thinking that you can get a unanimous vote from the Pac10 schools to support adding a member, let alone two or three. Hell, 3 schools voted against Penn State joining the B10 (sketch!). But, then again, there was a time I thought the B10 going to more than 12 was just stupid, stupid talk.

        #3: In the wake of conference realignment armageddon, as the first dawn emerges from the long darkness, but before the sun rises, still shadows will seem alive, and the light will play tricks on the eyes. If there is a (college football-)loving god, in this uncertain, volatile and dangerous landscape the Big10 WILL provide a safe haven to UT. The B10 becomes the bar-none biggest swinging sac this side of Patton’s 3rd Army, and well, I’ll be one happy Hoosier. All I’ll need then is RichRod to get to a bowl and Crean to get to the dance and my world will be right.

        By the way, if all of this ends up being yet another bogus rumor that I’ll end up spending countless hours thinking about, I’m gonna be totally pissed… and anxiously awaiting the next baseless rumor.

        • MIRuss says:

          Dammit Frank, Every TIME I think I have kicked the expansion crack pipe, something comes up that sucks me back in…..

          @ Hoosier Mike,

          I don’t know where this will show up, but it’s a response to your first post (I think). Completely agree on Texas. If Frank’s scenario 1 materializes (or was that your scenario 1) then Texas has some building to do without any logs. Why not move at that point?

          Also, Pac 10 expansion is just not happening. The Pac 10 would need to leave Stanford independent and then get three teams to sign up. I read this

          on WASU’s board and while it was a political answer from the Stanford AD, it sounds like while Stanford would entertain the idea, there was a lot of “get screwed” innuendo with respect to the teams discussed.

          @ Frank,

          BEast and the Domers (JEEZ I HATE THESE GUYS!) If Tagliabue is serious about doing SOMETHING with the BEast, does it begin with Notre Dame? I mean, what else can either clearly send a message that the BEast wants to improve or they just let it implode? If Domer independence is a dinosaur waiting to collapse, why shouldn’t the BEast force the Domer’s hand and tell them to get in or get out? What does the BEast have to lose at this point?

          Just wondering if there has been anything juicy coming from the BEast or if they’re simply going to react after the fact. I know I would be taking the offensive, if I were in charge. Of course, that’s probably why I’m not…

          • @MIRuss – The issue with the BE and ND is that a lot of the Catholic schools believe that a split is inevitable, in which case it makes ZERO sense for them to provide an ultimatum to ND. If a new separate Catholic league is formed, then those schools certainly want ND as a centerpiece for that conference as the biggest draw. My understanding is that it would take a unanimous vote for the BE to remove a member. The football members only have 50% of the vote, so good luck trying to get the Catholic members of the BE to kick ND out (especially since DePaul and Marquette were specifically invited to the BE as a result of the support of ND). Not only that, it sets a horrible precedent – DePaul, for example, would be on edge constantly if the conference set a standard of kicking schools out. (Temple was a unique situation as a football-only member of the BE, where the only schools that had a say in its membership status were the football schools.) Add to the fact that Rutgers is certainly on the short list of Big Ten invitees while Pitt, UCONN and Syracuse all are hopeful to get onto that list and you’ve got most of the league that have a lot of interests in ensuring that ND does NOT go the Big Ten. The main schools that have been pushing ND are West Virginia and Louisville, who clearly have the most to lose if the BE loses multiple football members. Even though it might be in the best interests of the BE conference overall to kick ND out, when there’s a lack of faith that the conference will even exist in another year or two, there isn’t going to be much willpower to give an ultimatum to ND.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            Plus there’s still the question of who is left for the Big East to pick up if they drop ND.

            They’d probably pick up a football school (9 teams being infinitely better than 8). But there’s no good argument that Memphis is better than ND from the Big East’s perspective…esp. from the Catholic schools.

          • Pezlion says:


            The Big East football schools may not be able to force ND’s hand outright because of the relationship with the Catholic schools, but they have their own tools to use. It would be very easy for the football conference to pass a referendum that its members will no longer schedule ND, period. In recent years, ND has played Pitt, SU and UConn from the Big East. In addition, I could really see Delaney wanting to stick it to ND if it seems like they’re going to turn down the Big Ten again. What happens to the Irish’s schedule if Big Ten teams no longer schedule them either? That’s a lot of teams off of the table.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            @ Pezlion

            Uh, you mean the games that Mike Tranghese asked for to help the Big East out?


            yeah. I’m sure the Big East would love to throw a favor we did for them back in ND’s face.

            Plus, how will it help the Big Ten to try blackballing ND…again. It’s a huge game annually on Purdue and MSU’s schedule that I’d bet they’d loathe giving up for Delaney’s ego. Michigan just signed a 25yr deal, IIRC. The only other Big Ten team we’ve played recently in the regular season was PSU. I don’t see it happening.

          • HoosierMike says:

            Yeah, I don’t see any league in a position to blackball ND, especially when ND’s membership is what any league would want. This coming from a UMich fan that would have liked to have seen the B10 not schedule ND some years ago to get them to join, or at least embarrass themselves by scheduling the Pentagon every year.

        • Redhawk says:

          What does Texas do?

          1) Yes. Ok, it’s not a pretty picture, and really doesn’t work well. The TV part though works if the Pac-10 joins in a TV package. The Pac-10 has issues in expansion themselves with Stanford saying no to everyone. But if the Big 12 replaced NE, Mizzou, Colorado, with New Mexico, BYU and say Boise St, (or Houston, or UTEP if forced) between the 2 conferences, you’d have most of the TV markets in the west covered. The names wouldn’t be as sexy, but it would work from a TV stand point.

          2) I agree on the Pac-10. Especially if the PTB tack on Texas Tech or even Houston to the mix.

          3)I’m thinking this just isn’t an option any more. UT has 2 hanngers on in A&M and Tech. A&M is viable on their own, but Tech isn’t. UT, doesn’t want the SEC, and the Pac-10 would never OK Tech. The Big10+ couldn’t go to 18 could they?

      • Kyle says:

        And who would #16 be if Notre Dame accepts?

        Would they go for a basketball school with just-ok football like Kansas or Syracuse? Send the ACC into a fits taking a school like Maryland? Or maybe Notre Dame and PSU would want Pitt invited? Pitt is only behind Michigan State, Purdue, Navy, and Southern Cal on Notre Dame’s all-time opponents list.

        • Drake Tungsten says:

          I’d hope Kansas is #16 if Texas doesn’t want the spot, if only because I would feel terrible if Kansas got left behind with the scraps of the Big 12 while the rest of the conference scatters to the Big Ten, Pac-10, and SEC.

        • HoosierMike says:

          I like Pitt a lot if UT says no to the final spot. Solid academics, AAU, research funding on par with B10 schools. Not to mention Wanny’s got them on the rise in fb (isn’t there something about a monkey, typewriter and enough head coaching jobs that you’ll eventually do something significant?), and they’re a solid bb school. Plus, I’m too young to remember the PSU/Pitt rivalry, although I’ve heard much about it. Would love to see that fire rekindled.

      • davidpsu says:

        That’s how I understood the comments, too. I think that maybe the Big Ten is giving Notre Dame the position as “Savior to the Big East” with this kind of positioning. ND admin can sell it to their alumni that way. “Notre Dame is so powerful, it can save an entire conference by joining the Big Ten!” The Big East only loses 1 school — Rutgers, and school # 16 is Maryland or Texas.

        • FLP_NDRox says:

          “Notre Dame is so powerful, it can save an entire conference by joining the Big Ten!” is not impressive enough to sway anyone…particularly Domers.

          I also think the ND powers that be still don’t want in the Big Ten. Sure, the AD’s office might be in favor, as the hard-science faculty and grad student union. But the way I read Swarbrick’s near-immediate backing off his earlier maybe is that his bosses told him to knock it off. Considering how TPTB might be able to use the potential windfall of B10 TV money to drive up donations, I don’t think they’d tell Swarbrick to back-off unless they seriously determined that ND to B10 is bad for the Irish.

          OTOH, if *that’s* true, why did they get the B10 to send them more info re the B10 TV deals and possible membership benefits for the B10, as is rumored?

  4. TheBaron says:

    So if ND says no thank you, that leaves the Big Televen with three yeses and 14 teams total. Without another big name like ND, the incentive to go full out to 16 right now just isn’t there. Does that mean a 14 team Big 10 pushes the PAC to 14?

    Who joins Utah and Colorado on the trip out west? While I’ll be shocked if the PAC actually follows through with expansion beyond 12, I can’t see any way they get to 14 without Texas and a +1 for whichever belle Texas wants to bring to the ball. Is there any truly viable alternative to Texas in a PAC 14? Utah and Colorado are the only two western schools that hit every major requirement on the PAC’s list. If they need to go beyond 12 and Texas says no, is the PAC geographically screwed?

    • FLP_NDRox says:

      I think so. Without a network there’s no financial incentive to go above 12. I don’t even know if TAMU is politically acceptable to Stanford or Cal-Berkley. Every time I try to come up with a scenario to get to a PAC-16 I get stuck at 14 (TX, TAMU, CO, Utah). When I try to sub in UNM, SDSU, Wyoming, Hawaii, and/or CSU, even I think it’s not happening.

      I think the only place to really find politically acceptable schools for the Pac-10 is the Northeast. I’m thinking schools in the Big East and ACC that the Big Ten is looking at are the type of schools that the PAC-10 is looking for but can’t be found in the Rocky Mtn states or Great Plains. I doubt that it’s economically feasible flying cross-country for Olympic sports, which would be a dealbreaker. Then again, the idea of a UCLA-UCONN match-up three times a year in basketball is very entertaining to me.

      • FLP_NDRox says:

        How committed is the Big Ten to the PAC-10?

        As you ask, TheBaron, who else can the PAC-10 get? Is the Big Ten confortable capping PAC-10 expansion to merely Colorado and Utah? Is that PAC-12 line-up good enough to maintain the Rose Bowl as we currently know it?

        This may be why ND is such a big deal to the Big Ten. ND is the B10′s best name expansion candidate that allows them to leave Texas to the PAC-10 and maintain the PAC conference as a major one…or at least in the same ballpark as the B10 and SEC.

        • zeek says:

          We’re committed to the Pac-10, but we’re more committed to making the Big Ten the dominant conference in the East.

          Delany and co. believe that the Pac-10 will prosper simply because the Big Ten can never truly eat it or harm it, since we’re never going to go west of Texas and neither will the SEC.

          Thus, the Pac-10 will always be third fiddle to the Big Ten and SEC.

          For the Big Ten, grabbing Texas is the #1 priority, making sure Texas does not fall to the SEC is the #2 priority.

          If Texas says no to the Big Ten, then it better be going to the Pac-10 in other words. That’s the only scenario where we’ll be fine with Texas going elsewhere. But first, we’d want Texas.

          The Big Ten doesn’t mind leaving the Pac-10 as the third major conference, since that won’t really kill it per se; it’s got 2 time zones protecting it.

          • zeek says:

            But yes, to answer your question in a better way: the Big Ten would be satisfied going to 16 with Nebraska and Notre Dame. We wouldn’t really need Texas as long as it still doesn’t go to the SEC.

  5. PS says:


    1) History of B10 expansion has been one school at a time with 20 years or so between the last 50 years. To wit PSU 1990, MSC 1950, OSU in 1912 were the last three adds, a very commendable success rate. It may not be in the DNA of the COP/C to expand more than one to 3 or more members despite what seems obvious to us BTN viewers. Is there any good analysis of the previous expansion discussions & what Presidents have been saying?

    2) These public Ivies make up the CIC but it is the B10 athletic side that is taking the lead in the expansion. The CIC DNA does not typically desire a solution of dilution by academic pollution of inviting lesser research schools to share their research dollars with. So it seems a homerun NU on the BTN side might be somewhat of a bigger sell to the CIC folks than say RU or Pitt. Does anybody know the effect of joining the B10 might have on improving a schools research R & D or USN&WR rankings?

    • prophetstruth says:

      Former Penn State President Brice Jordan indicated that after he lead Penn State into the Big10 that there was talk of adding Texas and creating north and south divisions.

      I am not sold on Missouri, Nebraska and Rutgers. IMO you have 2 schools with worse academics and research than every other Big10 school in Nebraska and Missouri. You have 2 schools with average at best football teams in Missouri and Rutgers. You have 1 school with an ok basketball program in Missouri. I can not see the AD’s or Presidents hyped about this trio of candidates, no disrespect intended. Unless the plan is to add two more of Texas, Texas A&M and/or Notre Dame immediately after adding the first trio of teams.

      Maybe the premise is that if Notre Dame is accepted, Texas comes in as team 16 and Texas A&M along with Colorado go to the Pac10. If Notre Dame says no, maybe Texas A&M comes with Texas.

      Whatever the case, I think more is needed from an academic, research and sports content point otherwise simply add Nebraska for football, or Rutgers for academics, research and TV sets.

      • HoosierMike says:

        Agreed. I love Neb from a purely fb perspective. asses in the seats and eyeballs on the tv. Rutgers I like for having Big10 games played near NYC. Mizzou? What do they bring other than a natural rivalry with Illinois and middling everything else?

        • Seth9 says:

          Nebraska brings a fairly sizable population base that will certainly sign up for the Big Ten Network, unlike Rutgers (from whom we might but may well not get NYC) and Nebraska (low population base).

      • Paul says:

        In this day and age, the number one concern for most Presidents is probably money. If the BTN becomes huge enough (i.e. with enough programming to really cash in), then the athletic programs in the Big Ten will be able to generate substantial income for their schools. If the experts are saying that expansion is the way to cash in, I think the Presidents will be more generous in their critiques of the newcomers’ academic standing.

        • Michael says:

          I think the Presidents and Chancellors will be more ¨generous¨ in the sense that they are actually considering multi-team expansion, when in the past that would have been unheard of. As for drastically lowering their academic standards, without being thrown a couple carrots in the process . . . I don´t buy it.

          Until this rumor unfolds to add at least one power house research program, I don´t think any of us should take it seriously. And remember, even though the Big 10 is clearly comfortable with ND, I can´t imagine their inclusion (and lack of research prowess) would do anything to justify the other schools added.

          The fact of the matter here is that RU, NU and MU are all AAU schools but none is a powerhouse. Rutgers is probably the best of the bunch but it roughly equates to Iowa, among the current Big 10. Iowa, for God´s sake! Being in a dead heat with the back of the pack does not qualify as a research bang and would not be enough to get this trio of schools approved. Hell, even if ND and Texas were numbers 15 and 16, I´m not sure it would be enough. If that were the case – and it seems like the best case scenario under this rumor – it would at least make for a very contentious vote.

          • Drake Tungsten says:

            How many times does it have to be pointed out that Nebraska has higher annual R&D expenditures than Rutgers (and more than any expansion candidate other than Pitt and UT/A&M)?

          • michaelC says:

            Rutgers is #38, I believe, in the ARWU rankings which places it middle of the pack in the Big Ten. Pitt is about the same. Both schools are in the tier just behind the academic leaders in the Big Ten (and of course the world). By most standards, RU and Pitt would be considered first rate academic institutions

    • djinndjinn says:

      PS: Big Ten schools do not share research dollars per se. The CIC is simply a mechanism for cooperation between schools. Bringing in schools with little research capability doesn’t drain the bigger research schools’ coffers, but it is a lost opportunity to have a strong partner with good facilities and good staff with whom they can augment existing research efforts and facilitate new research endeavors. And adding private schools or state schools within the existing footprint could conceivably mean a lost opportunity for having more senators and representatives lobbying for funding for shared projects.

  6. PS says:


    Why would it take the B10 12-18 months to evaluate expansion when they do it every 4 years or so? They know who they looked at in the past, so what has changed so much other than the BTN to take so long to evaluate candidates? For example one former President casually mentions Pitt & NU so these names have been on the table for many years. I get the fact that this is a 25+ year marriage but these folks know each other just like their Admissions Department knows the High Schools in the region. Besides the AAU is a Private Club where they talk to each other and the CIC knows who they are competing against for grants. I do not recall the ND invite review taking this long. How long did the previous expansion reviews take?

    Also there must be significant opposition to expansion considering the 4 year moratorium after the PSU invite. A moratorium sounds like a political compromise to get that last needed vote in exchange for a go slow promise. I recall the PSU invite being a stealth announcement too which would possibly indicate there was too much opposition to expansion, plus all the howling afterward. On the other hand, ND was extended an invite not long after the PSU expansion, but very little talk since then. Why all this previous resistance to expansion?

    What is the prevailing B10 alumni view of the B10 expansion? What about the potential invitee alumni desire for an invite? I would think that has to be a very important aspect since alumni are many of the viewers BTN expansion is chasing. I remember most PSU alumni were enthusiastically bragging about how they were going join & win football championships. That is the unbridled optimism turned into ugly reality & then only hope that drives the BTN. This same alumni hope would be a desired trait in any possible invitee.

    • Kyle says:

      “There were a number of us that were hopeful of adding the University of Pittsburgh as well,” said the 77-year-old Beering, a 1954 graduate of Pittsburgh.

      “We had, at that time, a number of new presidents who were not secure in what they knew about the situation to cast a vote. They abstained, and we never got a vote to add a 12th member.”

    • HoosierMike says:

      First, I share your view that too many folks on this board are looking at this from the BTN side of things instead of the CoP/C perspective. You’re talking about some seriously risk-averse individuals here, none of which want to be remembered for pushing the domino that drastically altered collegiate athletics if this expansion business gets WAC’d. I thought that 12 would be most likely, followed by 14 with a cool down period of a few years, and thought that 16 was an “out there” idea, but for some reason, every rumor points in the other direction. I hope someday down the line some average sportswriter is able to put together a mediocre book about this period of expansion and we can all find out who these sources “close to the situation” and “deeply involved in discussions” are.

      I think the 12-18 months is a factor of CYA more than anything else. They’ve got to announce that they’re looking to expand, and better to give fair warning ahead of time of their intentions. Just as you’re not required to let your neighbor know you putting a fence up ahead of time, it’s kind of rude not to give them some advance notice. It’s really a way to minimize blowback on the backend of things.

      I’m not sure how long the expansion reviews took in the past, but I also know there wasn’t any number crunching around the BTN that needed to take place to determine likely subscriber rates/household blah-blah’s.

      As a Big10 alum (IU) and huge fan (UM fb, IU bb), I’m all for expansion… to 12. I’d prefer UT/Neb/ND/Rut in that order. I’m not big on 14, and think Mizzou is kind of an unnecessary pick, but I get it. I like Rutgers because I like the idea of heading to NYC for a weekend to take in a game. Suh-weet. I think 16 is a big stretch with some significant risk of diluting the product of “Big Ten Football”, not to mention the academic standard you mentioned. 4 team pods, with rotating divisions seems workable to me, but isn’t quite as sexy as two divisions with a CCG in the first week of December (my birthday) played in Indianapolis (my hometown). That, sir, is my heaven on earth. Big 10 football on my birthday 5 miles from my house. And anything that goes beyond that is unnecessary in my book, unless it guarantees we’re considered “better” than the SEC in football and ACC in basketball. Then it’s ok.

  7. PS says:


    Why was PSU rejected by the BE in ’85 only to be welcomed into the B10 in ’90? Why didn’t founding institution Rutgers join the BE for football in ’79? Was SU offered admittance to the ACC and if so, did they accept before they were replaced by VT? Why didn’t the ACC take RU over BC to get the NYC market instead of Beantown and the additional resulting travel? Supposedly the BTN covets NYC eyeballs and this seems to be a case of one mans trash being another’s gold. I’m trying to understand some of the thinking of these folks since in hindsight, many of the decisions seem to questionable. Also what are former Presidents & Commissioners saying that might be of value in determining who might be offered admittance?

    Speaking of travel, how well did the Miami & BC addition work out out for the ACC? Were the additional revenues & reputation increase worth the additional travel expenses? Same question applies with the most recent BE geographic expansion. The real question is did the expansions deliver as expected? The B10 PSU, last & SEC expansions seem to have worked well from what I can tell. It seems that most of the more successful Conferences expand well which is a blueprint for the B10 expansion.

    • Kyle says:

      1] The Big East was strictly a basketball league in ’83 and ’85 when Penn State was talked about as an addition. There was little interest in them from the catholic basketball schools.

      2] There was no Big East football in ’79. The Big East football conference was only organized after Penn State accepted the Big Ten invitation.

      3] The Virginia legislature used the ACC bylaws and well-known fact that Duke and UNC were against expansion to strong-arm the other schools into taking VT instead of Syracuse.

      4] The ACC invited BC because they were a more attractive candidate. You have to remember that by 2003, Rutgers had not had a winning season in 10 years and the administration had not begun its large and controversial investment in the football program and facilities.

      5] Expanding to Florida is always worth it. Flights are cheap and plentiful, recruiting is top-notch.

  8. FLP_NDRox says:


    I’ll defer to your Big East knowledge on this one.

    I doubt ND will apply for Big Ten membership or accept an invite in the forseeable. I agree with your Big East second assumption that ND won’t be kicked out.

    My question: Is independence a viable option for any Big East school not taken by the Big Ten, particularly Syracuse, Rutgers, Pitt, WVA and/or UCONN as they wait for potential ACC or SEC expansion? Would it help if ND as a fellow Big East school cut them a deal for November games until they found a new conference home?

    • HoosierMike says:

      My humble thoughts on this is “no”. The $5MM penalty the BE instituted for leaving after the ACC raid, as well as a leaving school not receiving any money from the FB or BB TV contracts, makes it an expensive and risky proposition for a school to go it alone. If you’re going to have to pay the 5 mil whether or not you leave to go indy or to join another conference, you may as well wait until you’ve got somewhere to go/money stream to dip into/other schools close by to schedule games with. I also can’t see ND helping a school with scheduling that’s decided to weaken the BE in any way.

      • FLP_NDRox says:

        What if the Big East dropped football, but not the football playing schools? That is, the schools would remain Big East in all sports but football like ND.

        Does that change the answer?

        • I don’t think that anyone can really pull off being independent today other than ND and Texas. (The service academies are in a different class as extensions of the federal government, so they don’t have the same financial issues to consider.). Financially, none of the BE schools would have the leverage to put together individual TV packages that are as attractive as being part of a conference. In terms of bowl tie-ins, the BE has had a hard enough time getting decent bowl agreements even as a group with the enticement of ND every few years, so it would be horrific if they had to go out on their own and make their own deals. Finally, and most importantly for the BE, I don’t think that any of these schools have the power to obtain the same treatment from the BCS as ND, meaning that they would have to go to the BCS non-AQ pool. Even if all 4 Northeastern schools were to leave the BE, the 4 BE schools left behind actually have performed the best out of the BCS AQ criteria over the past few years (WVU and Cincinnati, in particular), so whatever league that is cobbled together would still maintain BCS AQ status. There’s no reason whatsoever to unilaterally give that up since that’s the main differentiator between the BE right now and leagues like the MWC.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            Yeah, that’s true. Good point.

            I wonder where they go. I don’t see the ACC expanding again for a while. If the Big East has to replace three or four members, they’re really gonna have to scrape the barrel, and that’s even if they’re willing to expand all the way to BXII country.

            Is there the will in the Big East to pick up schools like Buffalo, Temple, UCF, and ECU? At what point do Georgetown, Villanova, and St. Johns say no mas for fear of diluting the basketball brand?

            The longer this goes, the more excited I become for Notre Dame’s future…especially if it’s as an independent.

          • @FLP_NDRox – I think that if Syracuse and UCONN stay in the BE, then the hybrid survives. If they don’t stay in the BE, then you’ll almost certainly see a split. Now, if I were running the BE, my first call would be to TCU. (This is assuming that Texas and Texas A&M stay with what’s left of the Big XII, where there’s little incentive to add another Texas-based school.) Seeing how the BE has been run, though, it looks more like a Memphis/UCF/ECU-type move.

          • HoosierMike says:

            @FLP_NDRox How do you see ND’s future getting brighter in this scenario of a strengthened B10 and weakened BE?

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            Probably because emotionally I’m at the point most of the commenters were two months ago when anything was possible. :-)

            If the Big East drops football, ND will have the opportunity to play the major remaining Eastern teams late in the season, and more potential BCS slots open up since the MWC will likely get the BE’s old AQ slot. Especially since I don’t see either the ACC or SEC expanding further into the Northeast anytime soon.

            As my father always complains, the Big Ten beats up on the Big Ten. If the major powers of the midwest are content to group together to beat up on each other, some of these powers will have to wane. This can only help ND by comparison. Plus, if Big Sixteen fans are happy with the expansion, and ND fans remain happy with their independence, it can only help my existence in dealing with Big Ten fans. :-D

            I’m also intrigued to see what an all-Catholic league of the best Catholic schools east of the Mississippi might look like. I’d love to see if they were treated like a major, particularly in basketball.

          • indydoug says:

            FTT, I totally agree that BE’s 1st call SHOULD be to TCU if only Rutgers goes to BE. Is there a realistic possibilty of BE adding a 9th FB/17th BB school assuming BE thinks outside the box? If so, would Houston be a fit giving a travel partner in BB?

          • J. says:


            “If the major powers of the midwest are content to group together to beat up on each other, some of these powers will have to wane. This can only help ND by comparison.”

            Replace “midwest and Notre Dame” with “southeast & Tulane.” How’d that work out for them?

  9. spartakles78 says:

    If the Big Ten is hoping a multiple phase expansion would somehow entice a university that is hesitant to join now, it is deluding itself. The belief a university just needs to be convinced to not take a wait and see attitude undervalues your brand. All invitees will want to pull their weight and then some to improve themselves and in turn the conference so that all benefit. Entrance into the conference is not the destination but only the beginning.

    If the time horizon is really 25+ years, why be conservative with 14? The premise I take is that there will still be a healthy bowl experience for the next 25 years and we will not see a playoff system other than a +1.

    16 offers better scheduling with the various pods that have been discussed in numerous comments. There could be 8-12 bowl tie-ins. We also know about the additional programming opportunities for BTN. We could see more non-sport programs something you would see on Discovery, PBS, NatGeo, History, etc.

    As several have pointed out, the analysis of the present and future values of which universities offer the best fit would seem to favor the more assertive path of 16.

    • HawkfanBeau says:

      i disagree about 16 teams being the “Best”. i still thin 14 works out a lot better.

      One thing i think is odd, why invite Rutgers until you know ND’s answer. and if you know it’s no. then why bother to even ask? Getting ND changes IMO Rutgers value.

      • HoosierMike says:

        There are probably legitimate questions as to whether ND “delivers” the NYC DMA. That is, is having ND in the conference enough to put the BTN on a basic tier? Methinks no.

        I think it’s to let ND know that the B10 is looking to the BE, and if ND says no, it’s very likely the next two schools we invite will be BE schools.

        It makes the invite count 4, which equals 15 schools, which implies a willingness to go to 16. Rutgers is the first BE school. If ND says no, that leaves 2 open slots for two more BE schools. If the B10 takes 3 BE schools, the conference is in serious trouble, and ND may need to find another home.

        • zeek says:

          Put ND a mere 25 miles away from NYC every other year and I guarantee you they deliver NYC. There’s a reason why ND is the team playing at Yankee stadium.

          ND makes the Rutgers play pay off in spades. Then again so do any big teams like Michigan/Ohio State/Nebraska/Penn State/Texas.

          The people of NJ/NYC only care about big time football; that area is so inundated with professional sports, that they don’t care about the Big East because it’s not really anything like professional sports. The Big Ten expansion has the potential to take it to that kind of level by doubling the number of national draws to 6.

          • Rick says:

            That is so very true about the NY Market. It’s big time sports, not only the pros, that the market craves. The Big Ten package, ND, Texas, etc, the whole concept of big time sports is what gets the juices flowing. With or without ND, the Big Ten package (preferably 16) will sell.

      • mushroomgod says:

        Hawkfan, as to “why Rutgers”?—The BT presidents have been thinking about RU for 20 years…it’s the state u of a large state, NJ, has 35000 enrollment, is highly regarded in academic circles, has plenty of research $, and is 20 miles from NYC. Additionally, it has turned a corner, imo, in football in the last 10 years. Stadium improvements have been made, and more are contemplated. And, finally, adding RU gives the pres some academic “cover” to add Mo and Neb.

        I do agree with you that this WON”T be a two-phase addition. I seriously doubt that the BT pres will want to go through all of this nonsense twice within 6-12 months. They’ll go to 14 or 16 in one move–they won’t keep the college football world all mixed up for another full year.

        I think they’ll go to 14 and stop. They’ll let things play out and see what the landscape looks like in another 5 years. Obviously if TX or ND change their mind in the interim plans would change….

        • Patrick says:

          Nebraska has a a looser acceptance policy than Rutgers, due to population and mission, but they spent more in research last f.y.

          • Phil says:

            Rutgers research figures do not include UMDNJ (the University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ), which WAS part of RU but was stripped away in a political move several decades ago. The current belief is that the new Gov of NJ is on board with at least part of UMDNJ (which does $200mm+ a year in research) being moved back under the RU umbrella.

          • Patrick says:

            That would be a good thing for Rutgers, keep the research united. Maybe there would be an increased efficiency with a move like that.

          • Kyle says:

            I haven’t heard that any anywhere Phil. It’s my impression that UMDNJ was completely separate, working as closely with Princeton and Seton Hall as with Rutgers.

        • Vincent says:

          MushroomGod, Maryland has many of the academic attributes of Rutgers, in addition to a better and more traditional all-around athletic program. And its ties to Washington and Baltimore, two large media markets, are considerable. Why shouldn’t it be a factor as well?

          • zeek says:

            Maryland is on the table as a top get, but no one knows if they’re interested.

            Maryland may not want to leave the ACC since it is so close to the other D.C. area schools…

    • Cliff's Notes says:

      Spartakles, I disagree.

      Assuming this move is true, the addition of Rutgers, Missouri, and Nebraska is a game changer for both ND and Texas (And A&M for that matter).

      Before this move, there was a lot of speculation, and almost too many potential paths for national re-alignment and expansion. With the Big Ten at 11 schools, there may have been too many variables for ND and Texas to say yes, or make a commitment.

      Now, though, it absolutely narrows the focus.

      For ND, there is now a paradigm shift. The Big East will lose a football member. If ND says no, there is a very distinct possibility that this is their last chance to get into the Big Ten. Additionally, if ND says no, there is also a very distinct possibility that the Big Ten next offers two more Big East schools (Pitt, UCONN, ‘Cuse). Also, joining the Big Ten to go to 12 schools is much different than joining the Big Ten to go to (eventually) 16 schools. The Big Ten has made the first bold move. Now, the pressure is on Notre Dame to be proactive. If they want to stay put, that’s fine, but doors will be closing, and their choices may be very limited as the weeks (not years) go by.

      For Texas, we’ve gone from many variables, to the distinct fact that the Big XII is losing two schools, two states, one national football power, and one-and-a-half big cities (St Louis and half of Kansas City), and (for now) one Big XII Championship Game. With the heavy rumors about Colorado to the Pac 10, as well as other rumors of A&M to the Pac 10 or Kansas to the Big Ten, again, now is the time for Texas (and A&M) to be proactive. It’s no longer a question of leaving the 12-school Big XII to be school number 12 in the Big Ten. It’s now a question of proactively choosing which path to take. Either rebuilding a smaller, less powerful Big XII, or becoming a part of a bigger, more powerful 16-school Big Ten.

      And Perhaps the Big Ten knew this all along; maybe ND told the Big Ten that this is what needed to happen to get alums on board. Maybe Texas told the Big Ten this is what needed to happen to politically put Texas in a position to accept a Big Ten invite.

      • zeek says:

        I agree with this position.

        There are two options for Texas. Move now or move later.

        The Big Ten can wait for Texas to come to it if Texas does not want to come now.

        We should leave spots 15 or 16 open for Texas or Notre Dame (or both) if they aren’t willing to come now.

        We’re trying to build the conference for the next 25-50 years; there’s no point to rushing to close the door on two national draws…

      • FLP_NDRox says:

        I don’t see a paradigm shift in re ND. Rutgers leaving hurts but does not kill the Big East, particularly in basketball. I am coming to the conclusion that Big Ten fans believe that ND has been using the Big Ten as a fall-back option for years for whatever unknown reason. Seriously, who outside of the Big Ten cares if ND joins them or not? Maybe the BE-Catholic schools, maybe.

        In the public 1999 turn-down ND cited poor institutional fit as the #1 reason against joining the Big Ten. Taking 3 more large secular public institutions only makes the Big Ten less of a fit for ND. Even if UCONN and Syracuse leave, all the Big East would likely do is drop football. Who would the non-football conference rather have: Pitt, U of L, WVU, USF, and Cincy or ND and the top part of the A-10 and pick of other Catholic schools? For that matter, outside of Pitt, where are the rest of those schools gonna go? CUSA? Even if the SEC expanded, they wouldn’t be first choices, and I doubt half of them would be acceptable. I think ND likes it’s chances.

        The doors to the Big Ten may (finally) be closing for ND. But if ND doesn’t think it’s that great of deal to begin with, I don’t think they are going to feel any pressure. With the possible exception of Irish Texan, I don’t know how TPTB at ND can spin joining a conference before we get to four 16-team super-conference future to the alumni in an acceptable way.

        • cutter says:

          In answer to the questions about who cares whether or not Notre Dame joins the Big Ten, the answer is simple–probably everyone.

          You’ve read the scenarios. If Notre Dame joins the Big Ten as its only member, then the college football status quo stays the same.

          If ND joins with the schools mentioned in the report out of the KC radio station, then all the conferences get affected. There’s a strong likelhood that the Big East as a football confernce is finished. The SEC would look to expand and the ACC will almost certainly look at some sort of reorganization in the wake of everything else.

          Regarding the question of what happens to the Big East if Rutgers and two other programs go to the Big Ten (say they’re Syracuse and Connecticut), I would say that the baskeball only schools will split from the football programs as Step 1. Step 2 is finding a home for Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Louisville, Cincinnati and South Florida. Could a reorganized ACC or even an expanding SEC take some of those programs? Sure. Or they might go to Conference USA–which is where Cincy and UL came from before joining the Big East.

          If you’re suggesting the Big East drop football, then where is Notre Dame going to play in terms of non-BCS bowls? ND’s bowl agreements are piggybacked with the Big East–no BE, no bowl games. Now I know Notre Dame can replace a SEC team one year in four at the Cotton Bowl, but that’s it. Do you think Notre Dame is going to be able to come to agreement with another confernce and let them shoehorn in on their bowl deals like they did with the Big East? I’m hard pressed to imagine there’s any confernce that would allow it within the BCS.

          Notre Dame will still have its problems scheduling the latter two months of the season if the Big East folded. In fact, since ND generally plays three BE teams in the latter part of the season, Notre Dame is going to have to find replacements? Do you really think that West Virginia, for example, would schedule Notre Dame when ND had the opportunity to save the conference that just got destroyed? Would Pitt be that congenial if this were to happen?

          That doesn’t leave a lot of choices for Notre Dame, despite the generic claims that being independent allows ND to have a national schedule. Sure, the schedule is national–just as long as it doesn’t include a major program from the SEC, ACC or Big XII. Do you enjoy playing Tulsa or Western Michigan? How about that game against Army in Yankee Stadium? You’d better get used to it, because that could well be the type of competition showing up on Notre Dame’s schedule if the Big East implodes.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            The Big Ten picking up ND is only a big deal if it also means the Big Ten expansion hunger is satisfied.

            I believe Frank’s shown how unlikely that is. Assuming the Big East can be saved knowing that the Big Ten wants to expand to eventually 16 and can pay more than any other conference to do so makes the idea that ND can save the Big East laughable.

            ND will figure something out, like it always has. For non-BCS bowls, ND’ll come to some sort of agreement with a variety of Bowls where ND would play every 1 of x years it didn’t make a BCS game. Plus, those Big East tie-in bowls will be looking for replacements, and the opportunity to get ND will probably be better than other available options. Let’s face it, the Big East tie-ins of late aren’t that awesome. If a raid of the BXII happens as well, they might be willing to allow ND in to their rotations esp. if more than 2 or 3 teams leave.

            For those Big East teams that are not absorbed by the Big-10 or SEC (since they are really the only viable BCS conferences to expand in the near future east of the Mississippi), they’ll still need late season games. They may be mad, but they still need to play. Even Frank doesn’t think they can handle being major football independents. ND might be able to get them 2 for 1 as opposed to the 2005 agreement with the Big East where we played them home and homeish.

            And I still don’t know what Big Ten fans think the Irish are using the Big Ten as a back-up option against.

        • Cliff's Notes says:

          FLP – Let’s assume that the reasons for ND staying independent today are unchanged, and that it remains the poor institutional fit, the freedom of an independent schedule, and the catholic vs secular school issues. And that these are more important than any re-alignment discussions or news or money concerns.

          If that’s the case, don’t you think that they would say “no thanks” up front, not unlike Maryland is rumored to have quietly asked to not be considered? Sure they need to do “due diligence”, but I don’t think they would be sending mixed signals.

          While I agree that Notre Dame has a lot of reasons to stay independent, and I think that all things being equal, they would stay independent.

          But, if presented with a situation where Notre Dame must join a conference for football, I do think that The Big Ten is not only the clear favorite, but is distancing itself from the other conferences as possibilities for Notre Dame. And this move may be the first domino that quickly knocks over some other dominoes, that quickly puts ND in a position where they need to join a conference.

          If the winds are blowing towards 4 super-mega-steroided-conferences, are you willing to risk a spot in the Big Ten, only to end up in the SEC, Pac 10, or ACC?

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            @ Cliff’s Notes

            Excellent question. I’m not on the inside, so here’s my theory.

            In 1999, there were folks at ND who wanted in the CIC, namely hard science professors, large percentages of the rest of the faculty, and all the grad students (for some reason). There was also rumor that many in the administration building wanted ND in the CIC including then President Monk Malloy as part of his “aspirational peers” BS. Fortunately, they weren’t the ones making the decision. The mainly undergrad/law-grad alumni Board of Fellow made the call and the wider board passed it unanimously to say no.

            A lot of those folks in favor of joining in 99 are still on campus. Knowing the relative strength of the grad programs, I’d bet the grad students would still want to go B10. Also, considering the current scheduling issues and the TV $ changes, there may be more support for a move in the Athletic Department than a decade ago. That’s why we got the initial maybe from Swarbrick in March. Considering Fr. Jenkins statements in the last blog, I don’t think he’s near as excited at the prospect of joining the B10 as say Monk was.

            This will likely turn into a internal ND political question as much as anything else. As such, no one likely has the authority yet to nip it like Maryland did. Who knows, by the time this is all over with, they may not want to.

            Since ND has previously stated there’s a bad institutional fit, they may yet be seeking concrete assurances that ND’s Catholic character and small school needs will be protected if they joined the Big Ten. One for all only works if all believe the group is acting in the best long-term interest of each member, and all have similar goals.

          • djinndjinn says:

            FLP: In what way would ND’s Catholic character be jeopardized in the Big Ten compared to the Big East?

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            Well, since half the Big East is Catholic, I don’t worry much about them attack ND about Faith.

            Off the top of my head examples?

            ND has not added “Sexual Orientation” or anything about LGBT rights to the non-discrimination clause. The GSA has been denied official status for years. Do you think the Big Ten will find that OK?

            ND has a stated preference for hiring Catholic faculty, and wants to keep a majority of Catholic profs? Will Big Ten faculty have the ability to force a change?

            If ND implements Ex Corde generally believed to require approval from the Bishop of any Theology professors, what will the Big Ten response be.

            I bet people in the academy can come up with more and better ones.

          • Djinn Djinn says:

            I can’t imagine how the Big Ten could exert any control over who any school hires or how it conducts its business. The Big Ten does not control the functioning of any of its universities.

      • spartakles78 says:

        I’m not sure you can compel ND or UT into some scenario that forces them to react. Even if the Big Ten had 16 teams, if those 2 universities applied for admission later, would the Presidents/Chancellors tell them we can’t figure out a way to accommodate or schedule their teams so go away?

        • zeek says:

          It just makes it unlikely.

          If the Big Ten goes to 16, it is highly unlikely that we see another expansion within the next 20 years.

          Absorbing 5 schools is a very arduous task, developing them into Big Ten schools, building rivalries, integrating their research programs into the CIC, etc.

          We have to get #12-16 right before we settle in…

          Delany will not leave Texas and ND on the board and go to 16 unless they tell him “we will never join the Big Ten.” That’s not going to happen.

          Texas will be compelled to act if it doesn’t think it can match the Big Ten’s $ with its own Longhorn Network.

          Right now there are probably analysts at work for Texas trying to figure that out… if their results show that the Big Ten is in the best interest of Texas for the next 25-50 years, Texas will remain at play, so we shouldn’t go to 16.

          • @zeek – I’m with you here. There is nothing good that could come out of ND joining, say, the ACC in another decade or spurring Texas to move to the SEC (even if I think that’s unlikely if UT is as committed to academics as it says it is). I kind of wrapped my head around the 16-school scenario that we discussed last week, but more and more, I don’t think that it’s a good idea unless ND and/or Texas is included, too. It shouldn’t really matter what message the Big Ten sends to ND if it stops at 14 schools – it’s finding the best fit for the Big Ten itself and if that means keeping some options open down the road (including the prospect of ND joining), then that’s what it needs to do.

          • eapg says:

            If we’re going to mention Texas and academics and this being why the SEC is a non-starter, let’s at least ground it in the reality of graduation rates:


        • Cliff's Notes says:


          I’ll address Notre Dame first. I think that Notre Dame has less decisions to make than Texas, so it would be more difficult to “compel” them to react.

          Notre Dame’s “big” decision is whether to stay independent in football, or to join the Big Ten (yes, they may consider other conferences, but there isn’t any real talk of them going anywhere else right now).

          Once they decide that, the question of whether or not to leave the Big East in all other sports is very secondary.

          If ND joins the Big Ten in football, all other sports follow suit (except for the odd outlier, like hockey). If ND stays independent in football, they will stay in the Big East. If the Big East collapses, I don’t think ND or their alums are sweating it, knowing that it will work itself out, possibly with the all-Catholic conference.

          I think that one of two things would need to happen to truly “compel” ND to react.

          1. The money from the BTN gets too ridiculous to ignore. (ie, lets say BTN goes basic cable in Texas, NYC, NJ, STL, KC, and combined with increased ratings and ad rates, the current $22M per school quickly jumps to $44M). $15M vs $22M might be able to be sacrificed, but $15M vs $44M? I think that if you are going to turn down that much money, you had better be sure about your reasons for doing so.

          2. Something happens where 4 super conferences draw a line in the sand. Maybe 4 super-conferences decide to leave the BCS and do a “plus one”, or maybe the 4 super-conferences decide to leave the NCAA altogether.

          Neither one is going to happen this year. But, again, the winds are starting to blow in this direction.

          And like FLP suggests, there are different factions within Notre Dame. Perhaps the money issue becomes enough to sway an influential group or two.

          At this point, I do believe that ND is compeled to investigate the situation thoroughly. And I’m sure TPTB at ND are talking to all of the conference commisioners, and major school presidents, and they have their pulse on the the likelihood of the plus one. It may be all fantasy talk, but it also may be a freight train coming down the tracks. If it is a freight train, then yes, these initial moves by The Big Ten may compel ND to be proactive. And I’m sure that many of the issues that FLP mentions will be discussed and negotiated before ND agrees to anything.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            The real question is the feasibility of the Non-football Big East to be a top conference on their own with perhaps some other schools.

            ND abandoned the MCC when it contained Butler, Loyola (Chi), Detroit Mercy, La Salle, and Xavier in the early 90s. Of course Dayton, Marquette, and Duquesne had already left at that point. If this post by “burgerczar” can be believed, ND is exploring just that feasibility.


            I think I remember hearing that ND did get some numbers from the Big Ten as well.

            Until about an hour ago, I thought that the viability of a expanded Catholic Big East would be dispositive on the matter.

            Then I read this:


            Per the Trib, ND is working out the kinks on a series with Miami (FL). This is not the action of a Athletic department that is looking to join the Big Ten in calendar 2010.

        • Cliff's Notes says:

          Regarding “compeling” Texas to react, I think they are compelled to make a studied and conscious decision VERY SOON. And Texas has more options on the table to review than ND. Texas can realistically look at :

          1. Not doing anything immediately and staying in the Big XII for a year or so to see how things shake out.
          2. Going full steam ahead with a rebuilt Big XII by adding replacements for the 2-4 schools that might leave.
          3. Become independant
          4. Go to the Big Ten
          5. Go to the Pac 10
          6. Go to the SEC.

          Perhaps some of these choices are long shots, but I think they are more realistic than any of Notre Dame’s options (beyond staying independent vs joining the Big Ten).

          And even if the Texas decision is to essentially “abstain” and stay right where they are at, it is by far more of a conscious decision this year than any other year.

          But as I stated earlier, Texas is facing a massive change to their conference.

          Some have suggested that Texas priorities aren’t affected. Maybe they do want to be the big fish in a little pond, or to have an easy path to the National Championship, or their priority is to support the growth of the network of schools in Texas.

          But if their priorities are the prestige of their academic standing, their athletic conference, or increased athletic revenue, then they absolutely are compeled to take a very hard look at what is happening around them.

          The Big XII and Texas are (allegedly) losing St Louis, the biggest conference market not already controlled by Texas. They are heavily rumored to be losing Denver, the second biggest conference market not already controlled by Texas.
          and they are (allegedly) losing a bite out of Kansas City, which is the third biggest conference market outside of Texas.

          If Texas decides to sit still and do nothing, that is their right. But they are losing a Championship game. They are losing big markets. They are losing a name brand football program that holds national appeal. This will reduce the revenue pie of the Big XII. And at the same time, the revenue pie of the Big Ten is increasing.

          I am pretty sure that the alums and other stakeholders within both the University and the govenrment of Texas will have a great deal of interest and be very demanding in what the future hold Sitting still in a scaled back Big XII conference of only 8 or 9 or 10 teams is probably not going to make a lot of people happy. Texas will not be able to sit on the fence too long.

          If Texas decides that they want to be a part of rebuilding the Big XII up to 12 schools (from 10 or 9 or 8), I think the new schools joining and the other schools remaining will want some assurances that Texas is staying, too. The rumored name brand schools that might go to the Big XII include Utah, Arkansas, BYU, Colorado State, and perhaps New Mexico or Air Force. Would Utah or BYU join the Big XII if they weren’t sure that Texas was a long-term dance partner? Would Kansas or Texas A&M or Colorado or even Oklahoma commit to a revised Big XII if Texas had a big loophole to leave for the Big Ten? Or would these schools become very proactive in pushing for a Pac 10 or Big Ten or SEC invite?

          At this point, whatever Texas decides is going to send a pretty loud message one way or another. If the Big XII loses only Nebraska and Missouri, and “quietly” adds TCU and Houston to the Big XII, this still sends a pretty loud message to the rest of the conference and the nation that Big XII = Texas.

      • indydoug says:

        Cliff, assuming you are correct that the current 3 team scenario for expansion “narrows the focus”, what happens if ND & Texas blink & politicians in Texas insist on A&M as a package deal? Now B10 has potentially 17 which wouldn’t work. Do they disinvite one of the 3, go for broke to 20 or choose between ND & TX pair? Hmmmn,…

        • zeek says:

          Your examples are why Delany is treading very carefully.

          Once an invitation to apply has been sent, there will be no turning back.

          The path to 16 must be done in a way that guarantees that at least 2 of Nebraska/Notre Dame/Texas join and are content with the result.

          A rush to 15 or 16 gets us nowhere and may ruin even the most carefully laid of plans.

        • Cliff's Notes says:


          That is a good question. However, I do think the Big Ten has talked informally to both ND and Texas. If either school was in a position to be #12 of 12, I think everyone agrees that it would already have happened.

          I agree with Frank that going from 14 to 16 only happens if you get at least one of Texas/ND.

          So, if Notre Dame blinks, and Texas says they’ll only come if A&M joins, well, then you’ve got your 16.

          If Notre Dame joins, and then Texas says they’ll only come if A&M joins, well, I think that would be considered a “nice problem” to have. At that point, it would be rather easy for the Big Ten to do the analysis of the effects of going to 17 (and presumably 18), or simply telling Texas that the Big Ten is taking one more school. Texas or UCONN. You decide. (Yes, I blatantly stole that line from another poster on this board from months ago – sorry if I don’t recall who wrote it)

          • zeek says:

            Personally, I think Texas would make sure A&M is happy with the Pac-10 or SEC.

            A&M hasn’t shown interest in the Big Ten, but it is willing to take calls from the Pac-10 and it has considered SEC membership in the past.

            Thus, there’s no real reason to think that Texas can’t help ensure A&M a spot in the Pac-10 or SEC before taking the final spot for itself in the Big 16.

          • m (Ag) says:

            “A&M hasn’t shown interest in the Big Ten”

            There’s been no public statement indicating they’re looking at any conference. However, I don’t recall any behind-the-scenes sources saying they’re not interested.

            Despite what some have said, I don’t see joining the Pac 10 without UT as anything but a fallback position for A&M.

          • indydoug says:

            Cliff, ain’t that why we all spend our time here!! The possibilities are ENDLESS, Fascinating & COMPELLING.

          • Sportsman24 says:

            I said this in the previous blog, but getting UT is a Home Run. Getting UT and TAMU is a (walk-off) Grand Slam.

        • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

          The way I understand it, the Big 10 asks schools to apply for admission. (Kind of weird…but OK)

          I’m wondering if they’d ask more than five schools to “apply”. Secretly of course. Things might leak out, but it’d never be officially acknowledged.

          I don’t think going beyond 16 is an option. But I do wonder if someone is asked to apply (cough, cough MISSOURI, PITT) and then is not chosen in favor of a bigger school (Texas, ND) who is asked to apply a few months later.

      • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

        This is what I’ve argued all along. Very eloquently stated.

        The Big 10′s ideal is Texas, aTm, ND, Nebraska, and Rutgers.

  10. HoosierMike says:

    Ok, if this rumor is true, can anyone explain why Mizzou was offered other than to try to destabilize the BXII and pull in UT? Is the state of Missouri really that valuable for the BTN?

    • PSUGuy says:

      Missouri is the only other high density population state in the mid-west and encompasses the only other major city (Kansas City) that isn’t already in the BTN footprint (at the $.70 per subscriber level). Per someone’s post, it also has a high number of top notch highschool recruits, respectable football/basketball, and respectable academics. While it in no way is “solid gold” it is a valuable piece of the Big12, and a piece that rightly or wrongly feels the Big12 has stepped on time and time again.

      Rutgers is very similar to the east.

      • HoosierMike says:

        Right on, but if I had the choice between Mizzou and Kansas (either of which would arguably deliver KC), my choice would be Kansas hands down. While nothing special in FB until recently, they’re one of the top 5 all time BB programs and on about equal footing academically with Mizzou. To have IU & Kansas in the same conf playing BB and UM, tOSU, PSU and Neb in the same conf playing FB?


        • HawkfanBeau says:

          i have heard that Kansas would have to get K state in as well,( like a Texas ,Texas A&M) but i don’t know that as a fact.

          • Gopher86 says:

            K-State isn’t linked at the hip with KU. If the Big 10 offers, KU will go with no strings attached.

            As for the KC market argument: there are 73k KU alums in KC vs. 21k MU alums. KC is 35 miles away from KU’s campus– MU is in the center of Missouri. KC is a KU town.

          • Albino Tornado says:

            To follow up on Gopher86′s comments — Half of KC, give or take, is in Kansas anyway. Missouri and KSU are neck and neck for 3rd place (depending on which bandwagon is more full) in that town after the Chiefs and Jayhawks.

        • jokewood says:

          Even if Kansas has the biggest single fan base in Kansas City, I’m guessing the BTN has been sufficiently convinced that there are enough Missouri fans, Nebraska fans, and Big Ten transplants in the KC metro area to pull a decent rate on basic cable.

          • Gopher86 says:

            I can guarantee you that there are more KU alums in the area than all three of those segments combined. The BTN may gain entry to the market, but they won’t get picked up on a basic package and they won’t get the ad rates they would be getting with KU in the fold.

            I guess it comes down to how saturated they want to be in the KC market.

        • Sportsman24 says:

          @Hoosier Mike,

          If I had my choice, I’d take NU over MU &/ KU. Football is driving this bus. Instead of RU, I’d rather see Pitt as the initial BE invite.

    • Cliff's Notes says:

      One other point about Missouri – to the “casual” sports fan, both St Louis and Kansas City have more ties to the Big Ten footprint than elsewhere.

      The St Louis Cardinals play in a division with Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh, and Houston. Only Houston is currently in the Big XII footprint, while all the others are in the Big Ten footprint.

      The Kansas City Royals play Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago White Sox, and Minnesota. All in the Big Ten footprint.

      The St Louis Blues biggest rivals are Detroit and Chicago, and also have Columbus in their division. Only Nashville is not in the Big Ten footprint.

      The NFL is a totally different alignment. Both KC and St Louis play in Western divisions. With the exception of KC and Denver in the Big XII footprint (and that may change soon, too!), all other division rivals are in the Pac 10 footprint for KC (Oakland, SD) and St Louis (SF, Seattle, Ariz).

      So not only for the Missouri-Illinois rivalry does this make sense, but for the “casual” sports fan, too, there is some regional synergy towards the Big Ten footprint as well.

      • Gopher86 says:

        Again, you’re presuming MU is the best University to deliver Kansas City. That simply is not the case.

        • Djinn Djinn says:

          If what matters to generate cash for the BTN is football, maybe the combo of Missouri and Nebraska gets enough interest in Kansas City to make it to basic cable there.

        • Drake Tungsten says:

          I’m glad someone else is also saying this. To me, Kansas has always seemed like a better choice for the Big Ten than Missouri.

          • kmp59 says:

            The fact that there’s a state line cutting through Kansas City is important to remember. If the Big Ten took KU, then it would get almost all the KU fans in the area (a very high percentage live on the Kansas side of the line) but only about 35 percent of the total metro area population. Plus you also get the rest of state of Kansas (total population 2.8 million).

            If the Big Ten takes MU, then it gets 65 percent of the metro population as part of a state that has 6 million people.

            Those population numbers and the difference in carriage rates for states in the Big Ten footprint vs. those outside give the Big Ten millions of reasons to pick MU over KU.

          • Gopher86 says:

            You can’t go by state populations, though. St. Louis doesn’t count because the BTN is already there, and KC isn’t 35-65 in favor of MU. There are over three times as many KU alums in the KC metro area than MU alums. Additionally, KU’s campus is 35 miles away from KC, whereas MU is 125 miles away.

            If it is a play for Senatorial votes, it makes sense (from a research standpoint), but from a TV market standpoint, the MU-KU debate isn’t so clear cut.

        • Cliff's Notes says:


          I don’t think it’s about who is the “one best school” to carry KC. I think it is enough that Missouri is part of the KC market.

          Not unlike the fact that Rutgers is not going to “carry” New York City, but it does get you on the map.

          And as far as synergies go, there are people that plan road trips to see their team play out of town. And also look to see if they can kill two birds with one stone.

          And there are also reporters and beat writers who do the same.

          This is a minor issue, to be sure, but it is something for the “casual” sports fan, who might not buy a ticket to a game, but listens to sports talk radio, and reads the newspaper, and follows it from a distance, who might tune in for a big game, or to see the first Missouri-Ohio State or first Missouri-Michigan game.

          • Gopher86 says:

            I think I see where you’re going with that. I guess I misinterpreted your premise.

      • Sportsman24 says:


        I haven’t been thinking about the BT footprint, as it relates to pro sports, but I find it very intriguing/interesting.

  11. gjlynch17 says:

    Nebraska, Missouri and Rutgers are all solid gets.

    Nebraska brings the historical FB reputation and passionate national fan base (huge TV ratings and advertising $$$ for the BTN).

    Missouri and Rutgers bring strong recruiting bases and households for the BTN.

    At 14, the conferences fits very neatly into two seven team East-West divisions based upon time zone that maintain all of the key rivalries.

    Most importantly, all three are large, public, state flagship universities that want to join the Big Ten and fit the profile of its current membership. There are minimal integration issues as all three universities share the mission of the existing 11 universities.

    I do not believe other rumors about Notre Dame, UConn or Syracuse being in the mix. Looking at it from a President’s perspective, none of these schools fit the profile of Nebraska, Rutgers or Missouri.

    Yes, ND brings football and strong alumni base but ND prides itself on independence and is worried about its primary focus of undergraduate excellence being different than the Big Ten’s focus of academic research.

    UConn is not a AAU member.

    Syracuse is a AAU member but has a very small research budget.

    I believe the Big Ten will stop at 14, absent them being able to snag schools like Texas, Texas A&M, Maryland, etc.

    • HawkfanBeau says:

      as i have said i like the 14 team idea. 6 in Div games 3 out of Div games!
      West : Neb,Mizz,iowa,MN,Wis,NW,Illinois,
      East : tOSU,Um,MSU,IU,PSU,Purdue,Rut

      CCG can be played in four locations, two in the west two in the east. last years winning Div gets one of its cities to host the CCG.

      • HoosierMike says:

        @HawkfanBeau It’s definitely workable, I just hate that the Little Brown Jug becomes a 4 or 6 times a decade kind of thing.

        @ gjlynch17 I just don’t think Mizzou’s “strong recruiting base” is near enough reason for any big10 fan to get excited about them joining the conference, especially when nearly 40 of their players are from TX. I just feel like this is an instance where the B10 would be doing more by doing less.

        • HawkfanBeau says:

          that is the Beauty of the 3 out of Div games. you could have one or more Rival games that are played ever year.

          • HoosierMike says:

            alright, so one protected rivalry, but then the other 6 teams in the opposite division you’ll play home and home and then won’t see for another 4 years. An entire recruiting class will enter school and graduate without playing two of the teams in the conference. Isn’t that a little weird? I mean, I know you’ve got to break some eggs, but anything more than 12 is less like a conference and more like two conferences that play a playoff game at the end of the year.

          • HawkfanBeau says:

            well as long as IL and tOSU play , and Um plays Minn then the rest can be a mix.
            PSU and Minn will lose their Trophy( Im sure neither tema cares)
            Il and Purdue will lose theirs,( Might be a bigger deal)

            so you will play every school at least once every 4 years.

      • greg says:

        I agree that 14 is better than 16. At 14, you could still play 3 out of 7 in the opposite division, and retain playing everyone in the conference with some regularity. Once you hit 16, the other division seems like a bunch of strangers.

        • HoosierMike says:

          Oddly, at 16 schools broken into 4 pods, a 4 year player is more likely (if scheduling works out as I’m assuming) to play every other school in the conference than in a 14 team conference.(See above post on 14 team scheduling cycle)

          If the pods rotate each year, you’ll be guaranteed to play every school in the conference at least once in a 3 year period.


      • Joe says:

        In a 16 school conference I’d play a 9 game conference schedule. You play all 7 schools in you division yearly, playing every year makes for rivalries. You play 2 schools in the other division yearly and a 4 year athlete gets to play everyone in the conference.

      • joe4psu says:

        I would like 2 divisions and 9 conference games. You play your division every year, forming new rivalries if any of your rivals are in the other division. Then you play 2 schools from the other division every year and a 4 year athlete gets to play every school in the conference.

  12. Jeff says:


  13. Pariahwulfen says:


  14. Herbiehusker says:

    If I’m reading the rules the Big 10 has for adding a team correctly, then technically there will never be an ‘invites’. The way I understand the ‘rules’ (if there really are any rules in this whole process) a team has to apply to gain access to the Big 10. The application is then reviewed by conference chancellors/presidents and is either accepted or rejected. Could this leak not actually be about invites; but the Big 10 saying to these schools “if you apply you will not be rejected, start the application process”? No school would want to fill out the application only to be publicly rejected….who knows. Hopefully there is some truth in this latest leak.

    • That’s pretty much what I think could be happening – the Big Ten could conceivably have asked these schools to fill out an application with a heavy intimation that they will ultimately be accepted. Meanwhile, everyone can truthfully deny that no actual invites have been sent out.

    • HoosierMike says:

      This is how I remember hearing about how this process works as well.

    • ezdozen says:

      What happens if Rutgers submits an application?

      Is that tantamount to leaving the Big East, triggering the penalty?

      I’d love to see whatever contracts are out there.

  15. HawkfanBeau says:

    i think they will be “Invited” to Apply.

  16. M says:

    bulgogi, (forgot to click the subscribe button the first time)

    • HawkfanBeau says:

      Bulgogi is made from thin slices of sirloin or other prime cuts of beef.[2] The meat is marinated with a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic and other ingredients such as scallions, or mushrooms, especially white button mushrooms or shiitake. Sometimes, cellophane noodles are added to the dish, which varies by region and specific recipe. Before cooking, the meat is marinated to enhance its flavor and tenderness.


  17. greg says:

    Go Hawks.

    • HawkfanBeau says:

      where we going Greg? and can i bring some beerz along for the ride?

      • greg says:


        We’re going to the national title game this year, but that’s not relevant to the current discussion. :)

        Beers are a requirement!

  18. Albino Tornado says:

    The more I think about this, the more I think that this is the Big Ten giving Notre Dame one final bite at the apple *AND* giving Texas and A&M the political cover to join, or to move to the SEC. Nebraska and Missouri are going as soon as the ink’s dry on an invitation, and Colorado’s been making cow eyes at the Pac-10 for a decade. So after the Domers decline the invite, Texas and A&M will be extended quietly. Delany will get 2 of the Big 3 in a 16 team conference, or he’ll stay at 14.

    • @Albino Tornado – This is actually what I’ve been thinking lately. Expanding by 5 schools is a “bet the conference” move. The Big Ten will likely not expand for many more decades (if ever again) and are going to be locked in with these schools without any flexibility for future moves. If the Big Ten goes up to 16 teams, then it HAS to get it completely right without any margin for error. As much as the university presidents want academic peers, are they seriously going to bet the conference with only Nebraska as a big-name national football draw? These university presidents are academic snobs, but they’re also not sports ignorant and definitely not financially ignorant. I feel pretty good on betting the conference with a 5 school expansion that includes 2 of Texas, ND or Nebraska. I don’t feel very good betting the conference based on how well UCONN/Rutgers/Syracuse may or may not get cable carriage in the NYC area.

      • MIRuss says:


        I am still of the 3 teams ONLY camp. I have never bought into the 16 team scenario, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the ONE right team were brought it that would be it forever, or until someone else changes the landscape and forces the Big 10 to add more…

        With respect to drunk Northwestern fans and alumni, well, yeah…I mean, you know…What else do they have to do?

        Besides, I think it has something to do with the proximity to South Bend…And I agree with your laughing it off, but not so fast take: Generally, when no one is willing to talk officially and you hear something totally off the wall, off the wall is sometimes a whole lot closer to the truth than previously thought….

        • M says:

          Getting drunk fits very easily into the busy life of a Northwestern fan/alumni. It only takes few minutes to have 2-3 apple schnapps.

      • HawkfanBeau says:

        i also think that without a “Home Run” group of 5 schools then the big ten is taking too big a chance on a Media backlash. If they only go to 14 and both the Big 12 and Big east don’t fold up shop. Take 3 schools from the Big East and it’s done. Fans of other Conferences will go nuts, as will those hack reports at the “Mother ship”

        • Albino Tornado says:

          Taking Missouri and Nebraska — coupled with the Pac-10′s likely recruitment of Colorado — is going to cripple the Big 12, one way or the other, especially if it gives UT/A&M the justification they need. Taking Rutgers doesn’t cripple the Big East, but Notre Dame’s *choice* not to join might if Delany then goes after two other eastern schools.

          BTW, the SEC’s recruitment of Arkansas was the biggest domino in the fall of the SWC, and by extension, the Big 8, but no one seems to blame the SEC for it.

          • HawkfanBeau says:

            i could see Texas using Co, Neb, Mo leaving to make the Big 12 even more of their own lil Conference then they already do. move OU,OSU up north, take BYU (north) and a couple of Texas schools. Playing OU twice might be dicey, cause you know the “Red river shout” out will remain a every year game.

          • zeek says:

            The only issue I have with that, is that Texas won’t sit around in a conference with a contract worth $3-5M. That’s what a Big 12 minus Denver/StL/KC and one of its three big draws Nebraska is worth.

            Texas will only sit around if a Longhorn network is worth $10-15M a year. We don’t know that, and I find it hard to believe that Texas would not take an invite to the Big Ten and just sit around with the hope that a Longhorn network will be a big money maker some day.

      • Justin says:

        I agree that if only three (3) are added right away, the Big 10 will turn its focus to Texas.

        I disagree that if Texas shows no interest, the Big 10 will wait and hope for Texas or ND to change their mind. The Big 10 can make more money with 16 teams, and their leverage is the best right now.

        The Big 10 will try for Texas, if it says no, then it will find the next two best options.

        If you want to think outside the box as Andy Katz suggested, then Miami (FL) is a darkhorse candidate. They would open up the South Florida recruiting territory, play in a major TV market, and are located in an area where there are lots of Big 10 alums.

        The Canes are not a southern school. They have no longstanding ties to the ACC. Their president was the former chancellor at Wisconsin, has ties to Syracuse and is very familiar with the CIC.

        Shalala was adamant that Syracuse and BC accompany Miami to the Big East because U Miami recruits a lot of students from the northeast.

        Miami is also in no position to turn down revenue. They are a huge TV draw for football.

        • zeek says:

          I completely disagree.

          Jim Delany’s express goal is to make the Big Ten the far and away #1 conference.

          Leaving Texas on the table for the SEC or Pac-10 means that they can catch the Big Ten unless we take Nebraska and Notre Dame.

          Simply put, the only way we leave Texas on the table for anyone else is if we have Nebraska and Notre Dame.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Zeek – if that’s Delaney’s express goal, he will be disappointed. The Big Ten and the SEC will never get much separation from each other, because football is TOO big and matters TOO much to its alumni & fans who are willing to pay for success. Whatever the Big Ten does, the SEC will probably match it.
            Whatever happens, the Big Ten and the SEC will get richer and continue to pull away from the rest of the pack. They just won’t pull away from each other.

        • eapg says:

          I believe the odds are prohibitive against Miami, but man oh man are you talking Joe Nebraska Fan’s fantasy. Miami in Lincoln, preferably on a gruesome November Saturday. Yum.

      • Djinn Djinn says:

        I agree fully with the idea that if the Big Ten goes to 16, it has to be done right. And I just don’t think picking Nebraska and a bunch of maybe-they-get-NYC schools is smart. You need actual teams. Actual product. People here say that NYC likes big time sports, not the small, local teams. I think that’s true. If you have a USC versus Alabama, I’ll watch. Texas vs. Ohio State, I’ll watch. Nebraska vs. Florida, I’ll watch. I dosen’t matter geography so much–get good teams and you’ll get good ratings. Especially if the only place to watch a bunch of high profile games is the BTN, yes, I’d subscribe.

        Taking Missouri, Nebraska and with Colorado likely leaving as well, and the B12 conference is likely to implode. Meaning Texas and Oklahoma will go somewhere to make another conference stronger, while this huge Big Ten powerplay gets you what? Rutgers? Syracuse? UConn? No disrespect to those schools, but they’re not football names. If the Big Ten goes to 16, I don’t think you dink around. You need Texas. Otherwise, don’t go to 16.

        • Michael says:

          Here´s an idea:

          If you´ve got RU, MU, NU, ND and UT in the bag, and one of your goals is to foster the NYC market, rent out the Meadowlands for the Big 10 championship. You could even try to put the basketball tournament in NYC, beating out the Big East for MSG.

          • zeek says:

            Too cold.

            Plus, everyone believes that the Big Ten Championship will be played at the Colts’ indoor stadium. It is perfectly located in Indianapolis to serve as the Big Ten Championship with no complaints.

          • djinndjinn says:

            By definition, nothing located in Indianapolis is perfectly located. ;-)

          • Cliff's Notes says:

            If the Big Ten really wanted to be bold (and I really don’t think this would ever happen), they should put Michigan-Ohio State at Yankee Stadium, and let the Big Ten Network carry it. That’ll showcase both the conference and the network in a big fat bow for NYC.

            A Conference Championship Game is inherently difficult for fans to travel to, as they would likely have only one or two weeks notice to travel.

            For many, it just isn’t feasible to drop everything and arrange tickets, hotels, and flights from the midwest in 5-10 days. If you give alums a year to plan, they will be much more likely to make arrangements to travel.

            And if NYC is all about the big names, it’s hard to think of a a bigger regular season game that could realistically draw a crowd and get NYC buzzing about the Big Ten. (As a Michigan alum, it pains me to say that they might want to wait until the name “Michigan” means what it did for the last 40 years before RichRod – hopefully that’s soon).

            Not to knock Penn State, as they would draw an east coast crowd, too, but they don’t have the historic name-brand rivalry like Michigan and Ohio State.

            If ND has the greatest number of NYC fans, than perhaps ND-USC would do it, but USC doesn’t have the motivation to impress NYC (and ND isn’t in the Big Ten anyways). Likewise, no SEC matchup or Miami-Florida State matchup would have the motivation to impress NYC or the alums to generate the buzz and ticket sales.

          • HoosierMike says:

            Sorry. I can’t see UM or OSU giving up the most highly attended game of the year to play at a neutral site. Any match up other than that and I’m on board Neb v PSU/OSU/UM/ND, PSU v OSU/UM/ND, etc.

            But not The Game.

          • Cliff's Notes says:

            HoosierMike, I don’t see UM-OSU happening in NYC either. I’m just pointing out that it would be the biggest, boldest move for the NYC market.

            That being said, any conference matchup held in NYC could be a “neutral site” matchup, whereby each school technically gives up one-half of a home game, and not one team giving up a home game.

            For example, let’s say both Nebraska and Notre Dame join the Big Ten, and they play annually, and they agree to play in NYC.

            The series could look like this:

            2013 at Notre Dame
            2014 at Nebraska
            2015 at NYC
            2016 at Notre Dame
            2017 at Nebraska

            And not like this:

            2013 at Notre Dame
            2014 at Nebraska
            2015 at NYC
            2016 at Nebraska
            2017 at Notre Dame
            2018 at Nebraska

          • HoosierMike says:


            I think that could definitely work, and be a very cool showcase game. Hell, you could do multiple per year with a mix of teams.

            I just don’t think that Michigan, having just scheduled their first home night game for 2011, is going to want to “experiment” with something as revolutionary as a neutral site game.

  19. mmc22 says:


  20. davidpsu says:


  21. Manifesto says:


  22. M says:

    I try not to get too into scheduling for hypothetical conferences, but a pod-like system still works pretty well for 14. Instead of 4 pods of 4, have 2 pods of 3 and 4 pods of 2. The pods of 3 are always in opposite divisions but have each other as inter-divisional games more often to maintain (relatively) equal number of games against all non-pod members.

    The pods actually fall together very naturally with the Nebraska, Missouri, and Rutgers scenario (I’m open to naming suggestions):

    “The Eastern Additions”
    Penn State

    “The Big Two And Zoidberg”

    “The Bucket Brigade”

    “Battle of LoL (Land of Lincoln)”

    “That’s Not A Trophy”

    “Western Additions”

    There’s probably needs to be some restrictions on how divisions are setup (e.g. don’t put Nebraska, Penn State, OSU, and UM in the same division at any point) but in general, on a rotating basis a division consists of one of the 3-pods and two 2-pods. If set up correctly, every team should have a home and home with every other team every 4 years, even with only an 8 game schedule.

    • HawkfanBeau says:

      what the heck M? what is this? you totality lost me with 4 2 team pods and 2 3 team pods.. why not have 7 2 team pods that never play the other team in the pod, then on even years play all teams with same starting letters of your schools name( Mich , Minn, Mizz..Iowa Ill, Indaina) and then.. um . shoot IDK. heehee

      • M says:

        I agree it’s more complicated than the 4×4 setup, but the basic idea is the same: have fixed rivals who are always in the same division, but have the divisions change each year. If anyone found it too confusing, they could look and see which divisions each team is in each year.

        As a more concrete example, here are example divisions:

        Penn State


        The next year, they could be

        I agree it’s more complicated than the 4×4 setup, but the basic idea is the same: have fixed rivals who are always in the same division, but have the divisions change each year. If anyone found it too confusing, they could look and see which divisions each team is in each year.

        As a more concrete example, here are example divisions:

        Penn State


        Like pods, determining the divisions/schedule for any particular year is a little complicated, but once they are set it works like a normal division setup.

    • m (Ag) says:

      Year 1&2-
      OSU, MI, MSU, PSU, Rutgers, IN, PU
      IA, MN, WI, Il, NW, MO, NE

      Year 3&4-
      OSU, MI, MSU, Il, NW, MO, NE
      IA, MN, WI, PSU, Rutgers, IN, PU

      Every year play 6 division games + 2 non-division games.

      If you like you can give the two 3 team groups permanent non-divisional rivals-

      Putting Nebraska in the Iowa-Wis-Min pod makes more geographic sense but leaves one awfully weak pod and breaks up the old ‘Big 8′ rivalry.

    • Well Played Wauer says:

      A pod system is still workable with 14 schools but no need to make it this complex, just go with 2 four team pods which would anchor each division and would not rotate, then have 2 three team pods that would switch divisions every two years. The schools in each of four team pods would play two schools from the other pod in a 2 on 2 off 2 year rotating basis. The schools in the 3 school pods would each have 1 protected rival in the other pod and would play the other two teams 1 at a time on a 2 year rotating basis.

      It sounds convoluted on paper, but if the 3 teams mentioned are taken, this setup would perverse all the current protected rivalries and no school would go more than 2 years with out playing in any other school’s stadium, and the Big Ten would still only have to play 8 conference games.

      Basically what it would boil down to is a modified suggestion a poster had on this blog awhile back about every team having 3 protected rivals and then the best teams play in the CCG. In essence this is what we would have. The division could look like this:

      NORTH: Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa
      GREAT LAKES: Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State
      MIDWEST: Mizzou, Illinois, Northwestern
      CENTRAL: Rutgers, Indiana, Purdue,

  23. Brad says:

    To help clarify the issue about the alleged attached-at-the-hip myth about A&M going where Texas goes, let me tell you as a Texan that this is by no means the case. A&M does not need Texas to take care of it. It is more than capable of finding a new home in a conference it prefers all on its own. A&M will not be in a position of being left out in the cold.

    A&M has wanted the SEC for a long time. If the Big 12 dissolves, that is where they will go and will be accepted with open arms. A&M doesn’t need to follow Texas. They’ll still play each other each year for rivalry purposes, but neither is wed to the other.

    Heck when the Big 12 formed, A&M had to be convinced and bullied into going along with Texas, Baylor, and Tech to the Big 8. They were ready to go to the SEC. So, both schools have already demonstrated that they are both perfectly capable, willing, and comfortable living in separate conferences.

    So, let’s please stop pushing the myth that “as Texas goes, so does A&M”. It’s not anywhere near the truth.

    • @Brad – That’s actually in line with my outsider’s view (albeit from afar). I would think that A&M has a lot of various options regardless of what happens to the Big XII, so that’s the type of school that doesn’t need political protection. It’s Texas Tech and Baylor that would want the politicians to get involved.

    • Redhawk says:

      @Brad I agree A&M has it’s own merits and can take care of itself. So can UTexas. But, the interests of the other schools, specifically Tech are wanting to tie the 3 together (and possibly even adding Houston or UTEP to the mix).

      Like going to a sporting event, you can find a single to most any game….getting 3 or 4 or 5 seats together on the glass, that’s much harder to do…and that’s the point. Tech doesn’t want to get left behind. They need to make the block as big and un-digestible, as possible.

  24. Stix Symmonds says:

    Frank, I always love your analysis/opinions.

    It’s very interesting if Texas really is still on the table for the Big Ten. I don’t know that it would happen, but if so, it would be a coup like no other for the B10 to get ND and UT in the same move (considering the entire expansion deal to be one move, even if staged over a couple of years).

    As for the recent rumors, I think there’s probably a shred of truth to them, but mostly I think it’s unreliable information at this point. My take is that someone in a position of “know” understands that the B10 is likely to extend those invitations very soon, and has let loose lips release that information as if it has already happened. However, I don’t think those invites have been officially extended just yet.

    I do think they’re coming very shortly though. Now that the Big XII and Pac 10 have announced their intention of entering a joint venture of some sorts, the B10 will move quickly to get the Huskers and Tigers on board in an effort to remain in control of the expansion process.

    Just my two cents.

  25. [...] Hawkeye Players as Star Wars characters… Star Wars meets Big Ten Expansion “Conservative” Expansion or Super Death Star Conference? FRANK THE TANK’S SLANT __________________ Everything is proceeding as I have [...]

  26. MIRuss says:

    @ Frank,

    Frank, this just posted on the Detroit News website. Lynn Henning is a pretty good writer in the area (Let’s just say he’s NOT Drew Sharp) and I don’t think he would have written this without someone giving him some information:–Big-Ten-headed-to-16-team-super-conference

    I will cut and paste some of the details here:

    “Here’s what is happening today with Big Ten expansion, which is almost certainly headed for a 16-team conference, based upon sources who can be trusted and who prefer that their names not be revealed.

    Missouri and Nebraska are the best bets to join the Big Ten and begin the break-up of the Big 12. Rutgers and either Syracuse or Pitt are the most likely schools to leave a dissolving Big East and join the Big Ten, although Connecticut is a possibility, as is Maryland from the Atlantic Coast Conference.

    Notre Dame is the wild card. It is also the most vital name the Big Ten can add to a 16-team lineup.”


    “There could be a buy-in timetable compared with a Notre Dame or a Nebraska, which would receive a full cash cut immediately. Rutgers would, in essence, make less money initially on its way to a full share. The reason Rutgers might go for it is for the same reason the Big Ten wants Rutgers: In the long term, it’s good business for both parties.

    Nebraska speaks for itself. The football program is gold. Cornhuskers red is the color not only of an entire state, but of a territory, with big alumni numbers, to boot.

    Missouri is the Big Ten’s expressway into the St. Louis and Kansas City markets. Again, alumni numbers make those two markets even more attractive to an expanding Big Ten.”

    • c says:

      Re 16 team expansion (MIRuss)

      So according to this well connected reporter, 16 is the likely goal; no mention of Texas; no reason to believe decision or “informal invites” have been made.

      Appears nothing has really happened despite hundreds of posts since Frank’s prior blog post “Fab 5″ based on Dienhart’s best guesses.

      • zeek says:

        I really think ESPN and other major news outlets are missing out on the Texas to the Big Ten angle.

        Most of them have dismissed it as pie in the sky talk, and yet Texas is still the #1 target for the Big Ten.

        Moreso with Notre Dame’s seeming reluctance to join and the fact that Notre Dame can wait till there are 4×16 conferences on the horizon to make its move to the Big Ten.

        Thus, the Big Ten is probably most focused on Texas, yet no sports writers are willing to focus on that angle.

        ESPN is much more focused on the Texas to the SEC angle despite the fact that the Big Ten seems to be the best possible fit from all points of view that the president of Texas is considering… (of course ESPN is a horrible source for anything expansion related, but that’s beside the point…)

  27. MIRuss says:

    I’m replying to my own comment – sheesh…..

    I am STILL not convinced that 16 team conferences make sense…Logistics and revenue sharing simply don’t point in that direction….

    And somehow, I’m still not believing that the Domers actually do this. It’s too far gone for them now to reverse their track and join the Big 10. So, for what it’s worth I’m still a 14 team believer with The Big Red, Missourri, and Rutgers….

    • @MIRuss – My bet would still be on the NU/MU/RU 3-team addition, as well. I like the smoke around Maryland as a potential 16th team if ND joins, though – that makes the most sense in terms of academics, TV market value and athletic history of any school outside of Texas.

      • Vincent says:

        Frank, if ND says no (as I expect it to) and the Big Ten takes in Maryland as #15, I think Syracuse goes as #16 (or vice-versa, a la North and South Dakota). SU’s ace in the hole is its relationship with the SUNY system, which complements it in terms of research (and compensates for New York state’s relative lack of a large land-grant institution, just as Cornell does in some other aspects). And, as stated before, with UMd, PSU, RU and SU, the Big Ten locks up the NY-to-DC corridor.

    • Stix Symmonds says:

      I think a 16 team conference would work well enough if the added teams bring enough value (monetarily speaking) to the table. Logistics shouldn’t be all that tough, and a 16-team conference actually gives the B10 some options.

      I’ve never been a big fan of four-team divisions, but I’ve seen scenarios where there was a “mini-tournament” to decide the conference championship out of the four division champions that I kind of liked.

      At this point, I think the B10 isn’t just looking to go big, I think they’re looking to go REALLY big. I don’t think they stop until they’ve completely changed the face of football.

      • Stix Symmonds says:

        Also, if the B10 goes big enough, they force ND’s hand a little by threatening the stability of the Big East as well as changing the B12.

        If the B10 goes really big (16 teams), you can be sure that the Pac 10 will go bigger than just two teams (to make 12), which could further weaken the Big XII. Note, I said “could”.

        The SEC has already made it clear that they’ll expand if the B10 and Pac 10 get aggressive, so you could easily assume that the SEC makes some moves on the ACC as well as making overtures to Texas.

        The ACC won’t go down without a fight, which makes the BE even more vulnerable.

        With all of that going on, can Notre Dame afford to hold onto their independent status? What’s more, does Swarbrick even really want to? All of this movement (which is admittedly speculation), he would have a perfectly legitimate excuse to tell the Golden Dome faithful that they had no real choice but to join a conference and the Big Ten was the best “fit”.

        • FLP_NDRox says:

          As long as ND has a place at the BCS table, they can hold on to independence. As long as they have a chance to go undefeated and play for a National Title, ND’ll stay independent, AFAIK.

          The New Big-16 will still a collection of larger, secular, and almost entirely public flagship schools. The only fit ND has with them is geographic. Here’s my question to you, Stix: Why would the Big Ten be the best fit for ND in this Brave New World?

          BTW, $$$ is not an acceptable answer.

          • @FLP_NDRox – I think that it’s clear that ND can survive as an independent. Anyone that says otherwise is way overstating the decline in national interest in ND – it’s still there and when the Irish are winning, they are the biggest single draw in college football.

            The question is whether the ability to survive as an independent is outweighed by the negatives that now come with it. Even if we don’t talk about money (although I think it matters greatly), ND’s overall athletic department is very strong and it’s questionable whether a non-football league made up solely of Catholic schools can really support the significant investments that the school has made on that front. It’s easy for the alums to be completely football-focused, but the school’s administration has to look at the totality of the athletic program. Football scheduling is also an issue. I also see a lot of ND alums say, “If we could just get rid of the 7-4-1 scheduling model, our schedules will be awesome again!” The problem is that the 7-4-1 scheduling model is now a necessity to maintaining independence because NBC wants to show 8 games per year (one of which needs to be in prime time). That’s why I don’t think that the scheduling flexibility/regionalization arguments hold much water anymore for ND – the TV deal that allows ND to maintain independence is putting constraints on ND’s ability to schedule freely anyway. That’s not to mention the fact that the top tier schools that ND fans would like to see the Irish play simply don’t schedule many (if any) major non-conference games beyond the middle of October. USC is the lone exception and that’s a long-standing ND rival. The complaints about ND’s football scheduling have very little to do with incompetence of the ND administration (as the NDNation crowd seems to believe) but rather market forces outside of ND’s control.

            I just see a lot of the former advantages that ND had with independence (more TV money, national scheduling) eroding to the point that they are turning into disadvantages. Whether that’s enough for ND to spur its independent identity is unknown, but I do believe that the ND alums would benefit from at least being self-aware that a lot of the concrete football reasons why they love independence have already been going away and they’re never coming back. I get the sense that a lot of ND alums (not necessarily you) are very naive as to how much impact this conference realignment is going to have on ND’s ability to THRIVE (not just survive) as an independent. If the Big Ten has a large-scale expansion, ND can’t proceed as if nothing had happened in its own little bubble. Texas itself wasn’t immune to outside forces when the SWC collapsed and they aren’t necessarily immune to those forces right now with the impending break-up of the Big XII.

          • Stix Symmonds says:


            ND already has rivalries/regularly scheduled games with several Big Ten schools (okay, a few). Michigan and MSU play the Irish nearly every year and play at least one other B10 school early in the year (Purdue).

            Yes, they also play several teams from around the country; this year pulling a few from the East Coast, and of course, the other independents.

            Pitt is one of those eastern teams. Supposing Pitt is one of the teams that joins the B10, ND could be looking at one or more fewer options for scheduling each year.

            If the Big East were to get raided horribly in the “Armageddon” scenario, by the B10, ACC, and/or SEC (depending on who you listen to), how many of the teams on ND’s schedule would no longer be available? Their “national schedule” could be relegated to the “expansion leftovers” with a couple of traditional matches still available (UM).

            What are their choices? If the Big East ceases to exist as a football conference, and assuming that they wouldn’t want the travel headache of joining someone like the Pac-10 or Big XII, what’s left? The Big Ten or the SEC.

            That’s a tough decision, IMO. The Big Ten currently brings in more money than the SEC, but the SEC is the bigger conference in terms of competition and national respect.

            Between the two, I’d have to think that ND would want to choose geography and money over competition.

            That’s all assuming that ND felt they HAD to join a conference, of course.

            Here’s my ultimate reasoning why the B10 is seriously being considered by ND and would make the best “fit”.

            1) the B10 is the closest conference that can offer ND a decent shot at a National Championship (and yes, keep them in the kind of money they’re accustomed to), with great academics. They’re the Midwestern Conference as well, and don’t underestimate the importance of that kind of relationship.
            2) Remember that not so long ago, they approached the B10 about potentially joining the conference. That time, the B10 said “no”, but it’s important to remember that ND wasn’t always so set on keeping their “identity as an independent”. They didn’t go to the Big East, SEC, or Big XII that time, so why would they now?

            In the end, it’ll all come down to ND’s analysis of whether they can continue to remain independent and still garner enough love from the BCS to have a shot at the big crystal trophy. At some point, the rest of the nation is going to tell the BCS that they want ND to join a conference or forfeit any right to play for the championship.

          • jokewood says:

            Ultimately, I see Notre Dame in the ACC. They’re a better institutional fit in that conference, and the ACC would allow them to play away games from Massachusetts to Florida.

            Clearly, Notre Dame does not want to join a conference until they have to, and they seem willing to turn down a big payday in the name of independence. Reduced donations stemming from alumni backlash could cancel out any financial advantages of the Big Ten, anyway.

            Given the conference’s lack of influence relative to the Big Ten and SEC, the ACC will likely be the last conference to expand in a 4×16 super-conference landscape. At that point, I think Notre Dame will reluctantly join the last ferry leaving the island.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            @ Frank

            You’re right about the schedules. But many other things besides the infamous 7-4-1 are hurting the schedule. I personally think the current BCS formula’s value of undefeated over SOS is hurting ND disproportionally since practically no traditionally great teams are scheduling more than one big-time opponent as an OOC game. Further, the agreement reached with the Big East that ND would play multiple BE conference members a year home and home (or homish) added to the traditional Navy, USC, Purdue, and MSU, along with the long-term deal with UM put conference level scheduling flexibility on the Irish trading geographic diversity for the lack of “Tier 1″ opponents compared to the B10 & SEC.

            Unfortunately, joining a conference means trading the current schedule’s geographic diversity for half as much flexibility. That’s why I think many Domers aren’t impressed by the scheduling argument.

            Looking at the Big East’s site, I went back over the Olympics sports champs since the 05-06 school year. There were a ton of ND Monograms on there. Lotsa G-town Gs and Villanova V’s. Depaul and St. John’s made the list a lot more than I expected. Among the football schools, UCONN did very well, as did Syr and USF. The one that shocked me was how well U of L did in Olympic sports. ND and the other Catholics didn’t have good years in baseball, but they went 7-5 against the Big Ten in the Feb BE-B10 challenge. 3 of the top 6 BE softball teams were Catholic. 5 of the Big East top 8 in Women’s hoops were Catholic. ‘Nova won the Women CC Nat’l Championship. G-town’s men’s golf team won the BE, and the Lady Irish made the golf dance. 5 of the top Men’s finishers were Catholic schools at the Men’s BE golf tourney. 5 of the 7 members of the Men’s BE Lax league are Catholic, along with 4 of the 9 women’s squads. 2 of the 5 NCAA tournament making Men’s teams were Catholic as were 4 of the 7 women’s teams.

            Long story short, losing the Football schools will hurt the Big East’s depth, but the Catholic schools can hold their own in Olympic Sports.

            The idea of forfeiting our current contract of being on NBC nationally 8 times a year in exchange for regional coverage on ABC maybe 5 times a year, and cable for the rest strikes me as a bad idea. See how well premium cable and PPV worked out for Boxing? Free TV is probably still the best way to keep ND a national name.

            @ Stix

            I know I knew ND didn’t play that many different B10 opponents, but when I was looking at the 2002-14 schedules I only saw 4 current Big Ten teams listed (UM, MSU, PSU, Purdue). In that same time I saw 7 different ACC teams and six different PAC ten teams. Between the PAC-10, the ACC, MSU, Purdue, the Independents (academies and likely the Big East and Big XII Leftovers), there’s enough for games.

            Plus, Jokewood is quite correct, the ACC is out there, and it has multiple private schools. Only two schools in the ACC have more than 25K undergrads. Sure, it’s weak now, but who knows if and when the dominos fall who will be ACC teams.

            You do realize that, “The Midwestern Conference” is a major knock on the B10 to Domers, right?

            I like Jokewood’s thinking on this, while I remain skeptical of likelyhood of four superconferences and thus the need for ND to forfeit independence.

          • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:


            I’ve been waiting to hear your response on this, but maybe you never saw it on the other thread.


            Scroll down about 5 posts. I’m trying to figure out the whole “national” schedule argument and I’ve done a mock-up 6 year schedule for your beloved Irish in MY dream Big 10.

          • FLP_NDRox says:


            Unless I misread the post you’re referencing, that post seemed to indicate a “Big Ten Dream Line-Up” where ND would join with Texas, TAMU, Neb., and Rutgers. I’m not seeing that happening, but I roll with it for purposes of the exercise.

            To sum up, I did my own checking on ND’s future schedules. By going thru “future ND schedules” (which are quite incomplete, and often disagree) I came up with a list of differences between the teams used (and not used) by Micahandme and the schedules I found. The choice essentially boils down to:

            Penn State
            random non-BCS cupcakes


            Wake Forest
            Arizona State
            and whatever else Swarbrick can find since there appear to be around 18 open games still from 2011-16

            Truth is, neither line-up above really excites me, and considering I consider the Texas teams longshots likely to be replaced with either Mizzou, Kansas, or some Big East team ND’ll play anyway, I think I’d prefer independence at this point, given the schedule diversity we’ve had in a poorly scheduled stretch from 2002-2016 ND either have or will have played:

            7 different ACC teams (of 12)
            6 Pac-10 teams (of 10)
            5 Big East Teams (of eight)
            2 BXII (of 12)
            1 SEC (of 12)
            merely 9 different non-BCS teams
            and only *4* Big Ten Teams out of 11.

            I also put other observations about Micahandme’s team choices up at:


            For more info I’ve posted as to who ND plays and why, check:


            The happily locked games are USC and Navy. The Big Ten rivalries are with Purdue, Michigan State, and Michigan. I can’t think of any other “rivalry” games that “must” be maintained. Not Army, Pitt, or BC, need to be played more than occasionally. Any other Qs? Just lemme know. :-)

  28. Less Is More says:

    Thanks for hosting this expansion blog. I have several observations, for what they’re worth, and questions. a. Lou Anna Simon of MSU is the current Chairman of the B10 Presidents. She is very interested in athletics and not known as an academic snob. That means she likely will push the Presidents to a financially rational decision. b. Jim Delaney (basketball) and John Swofford (football) both played at UNC during the late 60s/early 70s. Their common background probably means a B10 hostile takeover of Maryland is not likely. But could they be working together on a bigger deal to carve up the BE and share the northeast cable market? c. Can the BTN partner with MSG or YES networks to provide off-season and off-day content to the NYC cable market? Could such a partnership make the Rutgers selection sufficient to make money in NYC? d. Pittsburgh ranks #18 in research dollars with $558M. Would the B10/CIC think this is a prize bigger than the Missouri TV market? At least armPitt wins “best all-around” among Pitt/Syr/UConn.

  29. M says:

    This has to be the best expansion related article out there:
    “You, too, can spark a bogus Big Ten expansion rumor”,240041

  30. HawkfanBeau says:

    i guess my argument against 16 teams,and i don’t believe 16 works all that well fyi, is that why stop at 16? why would you waste this chance to get all the schools you want?

    ND says no i think they go to 14, ND says yes they have to got to 16 ( because , and this is just a Conspiracy theory, they have already spoke to Neb, Mo, and Rut. and can’t un invite one of them.

    Now if they do go with more than 14 without ND or TX, then look out, cause they intend to go to at least 24 teams. and force ND and Texas to join!

    • zeek says:

      Er. There are only 2 teams that the Big Ten really wants more than anything else in the world: Texas and Notre Dame. Either of those joining as #12 would halt the expansion talk immediately and probably for years unless both want to join in which case we’d go to 14 and grab Nebraska along with those 2.

      Nebraska, Notre Dame, Texas are the only 3 that the Big Ten needs to guarantee the future.

      If we can get 1 of the 3 to go to 14, that’s good. If we can get 2 of the 3 to go to 16, that’s good too.

      We would only go past 16 if we need to in order to grab 3, but that’s so unlikely as to not be worth consideration.

      At this point, once you have those 3 schools, there are no other schools out there worth expanding for (other than Maryland for academics/D.C. exposure).

      A 16 team Big Ten with Texas/Notre Dame/Nebraska would never need to expand. That’s why Delany’s probably going to try to create as optimal a scenario as he can with 2 of those 3 or all 3 if he can draw the inside straight.

      • zeek says:

        But I can see a scenario where the Big ten takes Nebraska/Missouri/Rutgers/Texas/A&M to go to 16.

        Then say in 10 or 20 years, Notre Dame’s TV contract is worth $15-20M and the Big Ten’s is worth $50+M a year. I could see Notre Dame finally coming around and saying, alright we’ll join the Big Ten.

        Then the Big Ten would go to 18 for Notre Dame and another like Maryland…

        There is no mix of schools that justifies going beyond 18.

        1 of the 3 to go to 14, 2 of the 3 to go to 16, and the highly unlikely event is the 3rd to go to 18.

        There’s really no reason worth going past 18. 16 is probably where we’d stay for the next 20 years in any case, but we would never say no to Notre Dame unless the presidents think it’d be overload to go to 18.

        • prophetstruth says:


          We can have a Big20. That’s what I am going with. Delaney will seek to make the Big10 the Big20 for the next 100 years in a way no one will be able to catch-up. With new potential expansion targets Maryland, Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt.

          The Big20

          Eastern Pod
          Penn State
          Ohio State
          Maryland – AAU
          Rutgers – AAU

          Western Pod
          Nebraska – AAU

          Northern Pod
          Michigan State

          Southern Pod
          Texas – AAU
          Texas A&M – AAU
          Missouri – AAU
          Georgia Tech – AAU
          Vanderbilt – AAU

          9 conference games
          4 against your pod, 3 against your cross pod mate, 1 (2) total against each pod in other division
          4 against your pod, 3 protected rivals from other pods, rotating pods playing other 4 teams in pods every 3 years
          4 against your pod, 5 against cross pod, rotate pods
          4 OOC Games
          1 Division Championship game
          Game 1 @ Dallas
          Game 2 @ NY
          1 Conference Championship game @ Indianapolis
          1 Bowl game/NC Championship game
          Each Pod Champion Plays for division title
          Each division title plays for conference title

          • zeek says:

            I don’t really see what Vandy and GTech add other than solid academics…

            Plus, Vandy likes being in the SEC with Tenn. etc. Vandy doesn’t associate itself with the academics of the SEC in any way so it doesn’t really care.

            GTech is hard to see ever being invited to the Big Ten because its not the top dog in its market either…

          • Michael says:

            Vandy, GTech, UVA and Miami would add academics, but even more importantly, they´d give you a bridge into SEC country.

            I think it´s pretty clear that with 16 teams the Big 10 has two strategies: a road to Texas and the NYC market. If you expand past 16, I think the next strategy would be to bring the Big 10 brand to the Southeast. Charlottesville, Nashville, Atlanta and Miami would would really make the SEC sweat.

            If you look at a map of the Big 11 + 5 (UT,MU,NU,ND and RU), you have a right angle of sorts, boxing in the SEC. At that point, the next step would be to try to get to Florida, stealing market share away from the SEC. I doubt you´re able to steal any big name SEC teams, (like Florida) but if you can poach Vanderbilt from the SEC and a handful of teams from the ACC, you´ve got a claim to a good portion of the Eastern United States

            If the Big 10 goes to 20, I think it only makes sense if you can break into SEC country. To do that, however, I think you have to be very aggressive very soon and beat the SEC to the punch in schools like Miami.

        • PSUGuy says:

          I’ve said before…Big10 going to 20 is not total insanity…

          From the east…Syracuse, UConn, Rutgers, Pitt, ND
          From the west…Neb, Mizzou, Kansas, Texas

          • zeek says:

            It’s not total insanity but it doesn’t make sense to consider as a possibility any time in the next couple of years.

            Would the current Big Ten schools approve an 81% increase in the number of schools with no guarantee of increased payouts?

            More than likely we go to 14, then 16, then 18, but 20 is hard to see. What teams would justify going to 20?

            Taking Nebraska + 2 = 14, Texas + 1 = 16, Notre Dame + 1 = 18.

            Hard to make a move to 20 after taking Nebraska/Notre Dame/Texas because then it’s hard to see the $.

            Like your 20 team expansion minus Kansas/Pitt is an 18 team set up that accomplishes everything the 20 team version accomplishes…

          • PSUGuy says:

            Taking Pitt and Kansas takes the only other two AAU schools in the areas (ie decent cultural fit) and prevents any future encroachment into the Big10 footprint.

            You have the biggest & best schools from Texas to New England, any additions in those states will be much lower quality (Pitt is a very good #2 in PA), and none of the effected conference will likely be around to “spite vote” against you in any BCS, NCAA, etc votes (as opposed to poaching MD from the ACC).

      • Cliff's Notes says:

        zeek – i know this is a ridiculous rebuttal, but yes, I could see the Big Ten going past 18.

        If USC, UCLA, Cal, and Stanford decided they want in, I think the Big Ten would say yes to those four together locking up California TV markets, tremendous research and academics, recruiting grounds, and the prestige of USC football, UCLA hoops, and all four school’s all-around athletic programs (esp Stanford).

        Also, if Florida called up, I think the Big Ten would listen. Again, football powerhouse, Florida TV markets, recruiting, and legitimate academics and research.

        Finally, if UNC and Duke called up the Big Ten, I think they would be accepted. The research dollars coming out of those two schools, as well as the Basketball programs, would be accepted.

        I don’t think any of those schools would consider it today. At all. But, if there was some drastic change in 10 or 20 years, and these schools were in play, I can see the Big Ten interested in adding these schools even if it meant going past 16 or 18.

        • zeek says:

          Sure, but your scenario is considering the Big Ten essentially replacing the NCAA for large public and wealthy private schools.

          I agree with that if the Big Ten was to replace the NCAA that we’d end up picking up all the good schools out there and creating a 32 team Big Ten NFL, etc.

          But I also think that Congress would get involved at that point. We’d be setting up a monopolistic system where the rich public/private schools that are part of the Big Ten would then become vastly more rich and the ones on the outside looking in would become vastly poorer, etc.

          In the meantime, I think 18 is the absolute upper limit if we do a 16 team expansion for Nebraska/Texas, and then Notre Dame wants in sometime in the next 10-15 years…

  31. Michael says:

    Let´s assume this rumor has some truth. It´s kind of interesting to look at the strategy behind each of these schools:

    What does Mizzou bring to the table for the Big 10?

    They bring in $245,000 in R&D. They are lower than the Big 10´s lowest ranked university. They bring decent football and basketball. A fan base that notoriously does not travel well. A partial market in STL that is already partially in the B10´s pocket. A partial market in KC that in truth would be better served by taking KU.

    So, again, where´s the attraction?

    The only thing I can see is that the state of Missouri is an absolutely crucial state to the Big 12 conference. If you don´t take MU, the Big 12 has a chance to survive and Texas´ hand probably isn´t forced. If you don´t take MU, on the other hand, you can leave an extra space for someone more worthy – like a Pitt, Maryland, Texas, A&M, etc.

    The only reason, I can see, for taking MU is because you know that it´s going to lead to Texas.

    And, if it leads to Texas, and you know Notre Dame is finally ready to come along for the ride, Rutgers suddenly makes a lot more sense.

    So what does Rutgers bring to the Big 10 under this scenario?

    A regular NYC visit from the most important university to New Yorkers: Notre Dame. It also opens the biggest city in the US to the Big 10´s other big draws: Texas, Michigan, Ohio St and Penn St. From that perspective, Rutgers makes a lot of sense, whether they ever field competitive athletic teams or not.

    Looking at it this way, I don´t see how 15 and 16 cannot be ND and Texas. NU is strong on its own, but you only bring MU if you are trying to de-stabilize the Big 12 and you know that, politically, it leads to Texas. And I think the same´s true with Rutgers. Unless you already know you´ve got ND, Rutgers doesn´t make a whole lot of sense.

    • mushroomgod says:

      Missouri brings a lot to the table.

      First, it is the 2nd largest enrollment of any school being considered. RU is something like 35000, Mo. is app. 31000. It thus “looks” more like a BT school than does Syr (19000), Neb (24000), Pitt (27000), U Conn (24000)…

      Second, R&D, while not huge by BT standards, is a lot more than ND and Sry, and somewhat more than U Conn.

      Third, it brings a big, on-campus stadium (74000 or so), which is generally pretty full. Advantage Mo over Kan (50000), Syr (50000), and U Conn(40000).

      Fourth, it brings a large basketball arena which is pretty new, and generally pretty full. Advantage Mo over Neb,. Rutgers

      Fifth, it brings better than average traditions in both football and basketball.

      Sixth, It is the public flagship U of a fairly populous state.

      Seventh, it is the best geographic fit, along with Pitt.

      Eighth, it has ready made rivalries with Ill. and Neb.

      Nineth, it has a good overall sports program–avg. #36 in Sear’s Cup rankings over last 10 years. Adv. Mo over Pitt, Rutgers, Syr.

      • Michael says:

        Missouri bring enough to the table to be accepted as a means to draw in Texas. That´s it.

        Take a look at this chart comparing MU to the rest of the Big 10:

        Missouri fits with the bottom half of the Big 10, but nothing about that screams for expansion.

        You say that Missouri is a fairly populous state, but this is more important to the Big 12, under this scenario, than it is to the Big 10. The Big 10 already has a good portion of STL and KU would do a better job providing KC. The only reason MU´s more appealing than KU to the Big 10 is because MU´s more important to the Big 12 than KU is.

        Also, comparing MU to other sub-par candidates says nothing about NU. Its competition, on its own merit, would be NU, ND, UT, A&M, Maryland, Pitt and maybe Rutgers. And, again, on its own merit, it falls behind all of those schools. If, however, it provides the political cover to bring in UT then the end easily justifies the means.

        • zeek says:

          I tend to agree with this.

          If you don’t add Missouri, then it really does feel like a Big North + 2 to Texas as Frank has alluded to in the past (I believe).

          Texas probably doesn’t want to be in a conference where the closest state is Nebraska/Iowa/Illinois.

          They don’t want to feel like Hawaii per se.

          • Michael says:


            And even more so than that, I think all else being equal, Texas would prefer the status quo. That means the only way to draw them to the Big 10 is to make the status quo no longer an option.

            Who knows if Standford will ever come around to voting in Colorado, but without Missouri and Nebraska I don´t think the Big 12´s viable for UT. And the Big 10 is their next best option.

        • mushroomgod says:

          Michael, I never said that Missouri was a better candidate than ND or Texas, but they aren’t available. I doubt that A&M or Maryland are available either.

          I was comparing Missouri to the other rumored candidates, and refuting your rather silly post. I gave you 9 reasons why Missouri would be a solid, if not spectacular addition.

          With respect to NU and KU, there are reasons to prefer Missouri. Vs. Neb., larger enrollment, a more populous state, better basketball tradition and interest, better geopgraphy.

          Vs. KU, larger enrollment, a more populous state, larger football stadium, better football tradition/history, better geography.

          That is not to say that Neb. and KU don’t have areas in which they top Missouri.

          But Missouri is the single best fit of ANY expansion candidate. Now before you get all excited, I said ‘best fit’, not ‘most valuable’. That is why it is prominately mentioned in every expansion rumor and is nearly a lock if TX/ND aren’t involved.

          • zeek says:

            I tend to agree.

            The only way I see Missouri getting left out is if we get a Big 14 with just Nebraska/Texas/A&M, and Texas says no to 16 unless Notre Dame is involved…

          • Michael says:

            Alright Mushroom, look:

            A number of things but I´ll start by humoring you. Yes, Missouri ¨fits¨ with the Big 10. The culture in NE, KS, MO, IL, IA, and parts of IN, WI and MN is similar. And for that reason, I´d love to see NU, KU and MO added.

            That said, I´m not sure KU and MU bring enough to the table to be added together and I don´t think either brings enough to be added by itself, as the one and only expansion team.

            The goal of expansion is to add value across the board, and while MU is average in just about every category, that doesn´t make it a ¨target.¨ It is a tool. In this case, it´s a bone that can be thrown to Texas to make this politically possible.

            Before you get upset, I´m not saying MU has no value. The Big 10´s not going to add a Texas Tech or Baylor, just for the sake of Texas. Missouri is obviously head and shoulders above that and, like you say, fits with a good portion of the Big 10. That said, if MU is all there is, I think you´re better off holding out for something bigger.

      • Drake Tungsten says:

        “Fifth, it brings better than average traditions in both football and basketball.”

        Missouri has won 1 Big 12 tournament title in basketball and 0 Big 12 titles in football. Missouri only has 6 Big 12 titles in all sports combined, last-place in the Big 12. Missouri is the definition of average.

      • Gopher86 says:


        1). MU’s undergrad enrollment is 21,600 and it’s total enrollment is 28,400. No where near 31,000.

        KU’s total enrollment is 29,260

        2). Their R&D was $ 102.8 mm in 2009. KU’s was $ 97.4 (not including their medical center).

        3). Their stadium seats 71,000, but sells out two games a year. KU’s sells out at about 54,000 about 3-4 times a year.

        4). Mizzou has a nice arena, but they don’t sell out any games outside of Kansas and maybe any other top 15 team that wanders in. They had an attendence of about 2,500 during some of their early non-con games. Kansas has sold out every game for the last decade or so– 16,300 seats.

        5). Mizzou isn’t better than average in either sports historically. They’ve never made a BCS bowl or a Final Four. KU has a recent Orange Bowl victory, three tourney titles and 13 Final Fours. The football record between the two schools is pretty much dead even, and the basketball record isn’t even close.

        6). This is Mizzou’s key advantage– Congressional firepower.

        7). If geography was the main factor, Louisville or Butler would be considered.

        8). One could argue that Pitt or Syracuse vs. Penn State would be a better rivalry. KU vs NU is a stronger rivalry than NU vs MU.

        9). It really isn’t that strong of a program. It competes in the most sports out of any Big 12 team, but only has 6 Big 12 titles (the fewest of any team). Only one is a revenue sport– a tourney basketball title (they came in third for the regular season).

        I know I’m drinking haterade here, but I felt compeled to correct some of these rumors.

  32. Hopkins Horn says:

    Hey all, traveling today and can only post a new comment (no replies possible) on my mobile:

    @Frank: you made a mention of independence being a viable option for Texas. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts as to why. The consensus amongst the Texas fans I know is that independence is a non-starter for a number of reasons, and I agree with that assessment.

    @Brad: re the UT-A@M tied-at-the-hip issue, first that’s what my legislative source told me, and though the source is anonymous, I can say with confidence that the source is extremely knowledgeable. Second, I think the key is that neither school would allow the other to leave without having its own escape plan. If Texas were invited without A&M to the Big 10, and it turned out the Pac 10 and the SEC would not swoop in and rescue the remaining Big XII members, I think it’s fair to guess that Texas would have to turn down the invite.

    @Everybody: am I the only only who thinks that yesterday’s “news” was most likely made up, is at best a trial balloon, and that the official announcement will only have a passing resemblence to what was reported?

    • zeek says:

      I think yesterday’s “news”/rumor would actually resemble what would happen very much.

      If A&M secures its own escape to the Pac-10 or SEC, then Texas would probably be cleared to join a Big Ten with Nebraska/Missouri/Texas/Notre Dame/Rutgers.

      Also, Nebraska/Missouri/Rutgers is the most sensible pick to go to 14 if Texas isn’t yet on board.

      But the reason why I don’t think any of it will play out like that is because I think Texas will be on board any expansion play as soon as Colorado moves to the Pac-10.

      Thus, I would imagine that if Colorado (and possibly A&M) moves to the Pac-10, that the Big Ten would immediately invite Texas/Nebraska/Missouri/Notre Dame to apply. If A&M goes to the Pac-10 or signals its own plans, then we send the 16th invitation to Rutgers.

      If Notre Dame and Texas decline to apply to the Big Ten, then we stay at 14 with Nebraska/Missouri/Rutgers.

      If Notre Dame declines but Texas accepts, then we may end up sending the 16th application to A&M if A&M is on board and wants to come: Texas/A&M/Nebraska/Missouri/Rutgers.

      If Texas declines to apply, then we send the 16th spot to Maryland or Pitt. and the end result is Nebraska/Missouri/Rutgers/Notre Dame/Maryland (or Pitt.)

      • zeek says:

        Needless to say, I think we would know whether Notre Dame or Texas is interested before inviting them to apply. Thus, this will all play out in private before it plays out in public.

        Once a team is targeted for an invitation and the news is public, I assume that they’re almost certain to join.

    • HawkfanBeau says:

      i think it’s closer to the truth than you would think. and i have a strong feeling that Neb, Missouri are in.. ND is going to get a “Last Time” call, and Rutgers is a 50 /50. depends on the info they have to support letting them join verses another team that fits better in the Big ten Foot print.

    • @Hopkins Horn – Oh, I don’t really think that Texas would ever actually choose independence. I just meant that in theory, Texas is probably the only school other than ND that could pull it off if it wanted to. That doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea – Texas doesn’t have a Big East-type conference nearby to house all of its other sports and ND is finding that it’s a much tougher world to be an independent than it used to be.

      • ezdozen says:

        Well, that is the next step in all of this. After a while, these schools that are “carrying” conferences are going to look around and wonder why they are sharing revenue with bottom feeders. Texas v Rutgers will generate interest in NYC… Indiana v Rutgers will not.

        So… you will end up with 4 mega conferences and several elite schools with their own TV deals a la Notre Dame.

        If Texas joins the Big 10… the Big 10 network payouts increase to $40M. Texas looks around and wonders why Indiana gets $40M. Someone says… we’ll give you $65M for YOUR games. Bingo. Texas can say to the Big 10… we need unbalanced revenue sharing or we leave.

        Other schools carrying conferences are out there too. We watch Florida St./Miami. We don’t want Wake Forest/NC State. We watch Florida/LSU.. we don’t watch Mississippi St./Arkansas.

        So if you’re the Big 10… does Texas seem all that attractive to you? They are the Super-Model Girlfriend. A fine idea… but a disaster in the end. Meanwhile… Missouri, Rutgers, Nebraska, and all the other candidates just want to be loved…

        • Pezlion says:

          You’re forgetting that it’s not just about football. Texas has 19 other sports to worry about. Good luck finding someone willing to give them a deal like the ND/BE situation if Texas isn’t going to participate in football.

    • Brad says:

      Wow, that’s a big IF. A&M is NOT getting left out in the cold. That’s too many fans, too big a school, and too strong of an athletics program to be needing anyone’s help.

      The one who forced A&M into the Big 12 was NOT Texas and it had nothing at all to do with Texas. It was Bob Bullock who promised A&M some much needed funding they were after if they agreed to join Texas, Baylor, and Tech in the Big 12. Bullock, the most powerful man in Texas politics at the time, was a BU and Tech alum.

      Your friend might be confusing what happened in the early 90s thinking it’s indicative of the future. It’s not. A&M doesn’t need Texas, and vice versa. It would take a crazy impossible situation where A&M would be left to Conference USA/WAC/MWC options that would require any intervention of the legislature’s part. That’s just not going to happen. A&M will be courted plenty, and have their pick.

      As I stated before, they were perfectly ready to split before, but it was actually BU/Tech powers in Austin that forced the issue to bring A&M to the Big 12. It wasn’t Texas taking care of A&M. It was BU/Tech taking care of themselves and needing A&M to come along for the ride to make it work.

      Texas gets go where they want. A&M gets to go where they want. What should be asked is if Tech and Baylor have enough clout politically anymore to force the horns or aggys to take them with them wherever they decide to go. I don’t think they do anymore. But we shall see.

      • zeek says:

        This is what made the scenarios that erupted yesterday so believable.

        A&M can choose the Pac-10 or SEC easily because both conferences covet A&M.

        Thus, Texas is really in a position to be the 16th team in a Big Ten as long as it moves after A&M.

        For a Texas that wants to go to the Big Ten, the best outcome would be for the Pac-10 to announce Colorado/A&M as its two additions…

    • FLP_NDRox says:

      If it’s a trial balloon, who is it being floated by?

      If it’s the Big Ten, it’s interesting, but I think it’s something that Frank and the commenters (hey, that’s not a bad band name) already have been going over for weeks if no months.

      If it’s Mizzou, I just hafta wonder why they floated it at all.

  33. Pat says:

    ESPN has a colorful graphic at the link below regarding conference projections. Click on “the projections” within the article to get the graphic. It’s a PDF file that takes a minute to open.

    • HawkfanBeau says:

      anything that has Boise state going to the Pac 10 goes on my to dumb to read list!

      • Stix Symmonds says:

        Don’t dismiss Boise State to a major conference too quickly. Though their strength of schedule is suspect at best, they’ve not fared so horribly against ranked opponents (6-5 in last six years), and in bowl games (2-4 last six years isn’t wonderful, but not horrible either). They’re as ready as they’ll ever be to join a major conference.

        Admittedly, they don’t have the huge fan base that most conferences would be looking for, but thanks to their more recent “BCS busting”, they’re gaining an much larger intrigue-look from football fans across the country.

        They wouldn’t be my first choice for an expansion candidate, but I’d gladly take them in conjunction with someone who will bring in tons of viewers and/or seat-fillers.

        • HoosierMike says:

          I think Hawkfan is referring to the fact that no way Stanford does not veto letting Boise State into the PAC.

          • Stix Symmonds says:

            Ah, my bad. And after looking at their layout, I’d agree even more…didn’t like that layout at all.

      • Brad says:

        Yeah, NO WAY Stanford agrees to let Boise State in. Boise State really doesn’t have a lot of options in all of this realignment. Maybe the Big 12, but that’s a big if. But, the Boise State fans should stop dreaming about the Pac-10. That isn’t happening.

        • MIRuss says:

          Boy’s State, San Diego State, and Fresno State in the Pac 10? Right. Sure. And I’ll get that new conference logo made up at the same time with the one that has Notre Dame, Florida, Texas, Maryland and Nebraska joining the Big 10…

          I think we need a new blog entry on the Pac 10 and what “really” can happen with Stanford and to a lesser extent, California involved. The unanimous vote rule pretty much kills any discussion before it even begins. Expansion for the Pac 10, if you have followed any of the reliable information out there, just isn’t in the cards. It would require a huge shake up (where everyone just leaves Stanford alone – kind of like those pesky Domers. And if anything like a bomb went off in Pac 10 land and that did happen, you’re going to end up with WSU and OSU on the outside looking in if there are better candidates available for a new Pac 16 or whatever number they settle on…

          Just my opinion…

  34. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Frank – its been a while since I’ve seen Star Wars Episode VI, but wasn’t the Super-Death-Star destroyed because the little furry Ewoks knocked down the some protection beam protecting the Super-Death-Star?

    Is the Super-Death-Star-Big16-Conference pre-ordained for destruction?

    • @Alan from Baton Rouge – Ha! Those stupid Ewoks. The one thing that I will say is that the comparisons to the old 16-team WAC aren’t exactly an apples-to-apples comparison. It’s quite different when you’re talking about schools like Michigan, OSU, PSU, Nebraska and possibly ND and/or Texas in the fold. Still, the Big Ten needs to be careful, here – that’s why I don’t like the thought of going up to 16 without at least 2 huge football names. I hope that they don’t get too starry-eyed or have tunnel vision regarding the potential in the NYC area.

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        Frank – I’m all for expansion in the Big Ten, and the SEC for that matter, but the point I was trying to make is that you can only take so many Divas in one conference. Think about Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Nebraska, Notre Dame & Texas: all football royalty. Sometimes they may play second fiddle, but they’ve always had a fiddle. If the Big Ten pulled off the Super-Death-Star, one of these 6 teams would have to play in the Bowl every year.

        I’m not worried about the WAC-16 comparisons either, but the schools need to be tight-knit for expansion to work. The two best conferences are the SEC and the Big Ten because the schools in both conferences the members understand that what’s good for the conference is good for their school. Will Nebraska, Mizzou and Rutgers understand that? I’m guessing yes. Will Notre Dame & Texas in a 16 team conference? Not so sure.

        History has taught us many things, but I’ll mention two:

        1. Loose confederacies don’t work.
        2. Even George Lucas makes mistakes (See Ewoks above).

        • zeek says:

          Why wouldn’t the Big Ten go to the NCAA and demand that the limit of 2 BCS bowls be pulled?

          A Big Ten with 5 or 6 powerhouses is in a position to demand 3 BCS bowls every year…

          Then the SEC would have justification to go to 16 and also try to grab 3 BCS bowls every year…

        • @Alan from Baton Rouge – Oh, I see what you’re saying. I’ve actually written concerns about that before. My comparison was a basketball team, where you can’t have a team full of Michael Jordans or LeBrons to be successful and there needs to be a good mix of marquee teams and second tier programs. I understand how you can can have the same concern with too many power teams in one conference. Still, I’d rather have that problem than expand by 5 teams but only bring in 1 new “diva”. 2 divas out of 5 total probably would strike the best balance.

          • prophetstruth says:

            @ Frank & Alan:

            Yes, but you have 5-6 big dogs in the SEC in:


            And they have only 12 teams. On top of those, some suggest if the SEC expands, they could add FSU and Miami. If they were to add those two that would make at least 8 premium football properties. Why couldn’t it work in a Big16 with 6 alpha dogs in:

            Ohio State
            Penn State/Iowa

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            prophet & mike – Those SEC schools have been together for 75 years and get it. I’m not saying it can’t be done, because it can. But the Big Ten can’t make concessions or make special deals the Divas, ie Notre Dame & Texas. It has to be all for one and one for all, for expansion to work. That’s how the SEC and the current Big Ten have operated for as long as I can remember. If Texas and/or Notre Dame can come in be be one of the gang, then you’ve got a great situation. If they can’t then you’ve got a f*cked- up mess on your hands.

            Here’s how the SEC works: Alabama is the only Diva, but Tennessee, Georgia & LSU have all won at least 10 conference championships. Additionally, Auburn, Florida, South Carolina, and Arkansas all want to be on the top of the heap, and have sufficient resources to get there. Since the early 60s, Bama has been challenged by many teams, but they are the only constant. It really pains me to write this, but the point I’m getting to is the SEC can handle one true Diva. The Diva makes everybody work harder. I don’t know if we could handle five.

            I don’t think FSU is a diva as it has always played 2nd-fiddle to UF & it used to be a girls’ school. Miami is down on its luck and needs cash. Oklahoma may be a diva, but they have always shared the spotlight, first with Nebraska and now Texas.

          • The way that I perceive the SEC is that it actually isn’t really filled with marquee names. It is the best pure football conference from top-to-bottom on a consistent basis, so that’s really why they draw ratings. In terms of “diva” schools that simply draw tons of eyeballs across the country just for showing up and whether they win or lose (like Notre Dame or Michigan), I’d really only put Alabama and Florida into that category. Those are truly alpha dogs. National interest in schools like LSU, Tennessee and Georgia is much more variable depending upon how they perform from year-to-year. Now, at least one of those schools on the next level beyond Florida and Alabama is in the national championship race more often than not, so that’s a huge interest driver in the conference. The SEC’s attraction is really more of a collective entity as opposed to leveraging a handful of superstars. This is what the Big Ten is generally like, as well, whereas the Big XII is the opposite.

          • Bamatab says:


            Please tell me you don’t view Tenn, UGA, & the Auburn (Auburn, are you kidding me???) in the same category as Michigan, OSU, PSU, TX, ND, Neb? Heck, I wouldn’t even put LSU (sorry Alan) in that category. UF has only been in that category since the early 90s. Now I know I’m a little bias on this, but Bama is the only SEC team that has consistantly been in the “national championship” discussion since the 30s. As Alan stated, Bama has always been the big dog in the SEC. That changed a little bit when UF final broke through in the 90s. But those other teams aren’t in the same category. JMHO

        • HoosierMike says:

          But the SEC has LSU, Florida and Alabama, all schools that have won a NC in the last few years, not to mention an undefeated Auburn team, and generally competitive UTenn and UGA. They all seem to get along pretty well, no?

          • Cliff's Notes says:

            I’m sure that the Big Ten will also negotiate an increase in payouts from all of their bowls, as it is more likely that a higher ranked team and bigger brand name school will be at the Capital One and Outback bowls, and then down the line.

  35. Michael Z. says:

    Frank, you and I have drawn the exact same conclusion about expansion. In my last article, I discussed how 16 almost had to include either ND or Texas to work. I think there are two models of 16 that work; a Big 10-Big 12 merger or a New York model moving east. I must admit, I was a little concerned about a mixxed approach thinking their would be too many different interests at work. As most of your readers know, my aricles, inspired in part by your work, can be found at Keep up the good work. It only took about 12 weeks or so, but we ended up pretty much at the same point.

  36. Greg says:


    I’m just curious why the Big Ten might feel adding Rutgers and Syracuse would get the NYC market. The Big East has this combination already, and nobody watches for the most part. I know the Big Ten values the NYC market, but I think it would be folly of great proportions to think NYC cable companies would add the Big Ten network because they added Rutgers and/or Syracuse. Those 2 plus Notre Dame; maybe. But then again, Notre Dame could maybe do it by itself, so that goes back to the “why Rutgers”?

    • HoosierMike says:

      My thought? The only 3 schools the Big10 really covets is ND, Nebraska and Texas. So any team not named ND, Nebraska or Texas being asked to join the Big10, are being asked because Delany believes that in some way, inviting them may cause ND, Nebraska or Texas to join the Big10.

      • Michael says:


        Exactly. That´s why 1) this rumor is false or 2) Mizzou/Nebraska leads to Texas and Rutgers gives the Big 10 a chance to showcase ND (and everyone else) a few miles away from NYC.

        If it´s number 2, this plan looks shrewd and probably puts the BTN on basic cable in NYC and Texas.

        If it´s not, then we´re back at square one trying to figure out how to get the greatest number of the following schools: UT, ND, NU, aTm, and Maryland.

        • HoosierMike says:

          Agreed. I’m leaning towards Door number 2, Michael (nice name). I think they really took the long view on this one, knowing they’d need two BXII North schools to change the dynamics of that conference (plus a Colorado defection). Rutgers and ND invites lets ND know we’re willing to go to 16, and if they don’t want in, we’ll take TX/aTM or 2 more BE schools and collapse that conference, too. Midwest, bitches. Do not fuck with us or we will kill your conference.

          • zeek says:

            I agree with both of you, but one thing to consider is that Texas also knows what both of you are stating.

            Thus, Texas knows that losing all of the major markets outside of Texas along with Nebraska’s national brand is the death of the Big 12.

            It is in Texas’ interest to act in a way that maximizes its options with respect to its knowledge that the Big Ten will strike at the heart of the Big 12.

            Therefore, Texas may act right after Colorado leaves with the excuse that “Colorado has mortally wounded the Big 12 by taking Denver”…

          • HoosierMike says:

            that’s the hope anyway. Hook them Horns!!

    • @Greg – The argument is that the “penumbra effect” of PSU, Michigan and other Big Ten schools combined with the physical presence of Rutgers and/or Syracuse could deliver the NYC area. There is something to be said for the fact that there has NEVER been a conference that has combined Penn State with the other major Northeastern schools, so there is possibly a lot more potential there than it looks like on paper. Think of how the Big Ten would look if you took away Michigan and Ohio State and that’s effectively what the Big East has looked like without Penn State – it never had a real chance to break through. Now, I don’t know if this argument will hold and if I were running the Big Ten, I’d much rather go full bore towards Texas than take a gamble on the NYC region, but the Big Ten can’t be blamed for looking to see if that market can be opened in any way possible.

      • HawkfanBeau says:

        I got to say as a fan of the Big ten, i would not be happy with Texas in the Conference, and i don’t care one way or the other about Notre Dame! we get a bit to “BIG PICTURE” on your site, me thinks. after all there has to be some kind of “Fit” to the whole thing. No way the Gov’t lets there only be to “BCS” con fences. and i cant see the big ten plus , Neb, Texas, and ND being able to have the same win/loss as a Pac ten school or a ACC school. and i dont see it being any better in a Expanded Sec with FSU , Miami, etc.

        • zeek says:

          What exactly is wrong with Texas?

          Texas acts too big for the Big 12, but so would Michigan or Ohio State.

          The fact is that the Big 12 is a little pond compared to the big lake that is the Big Ten.

          We want the big fishes to come to where they’d feel at home just as Penn State felt at home in the Big Ten.

          • HawkfanBeau says:

            but Texas is a “Southern” school. we are midwest. and i dont mean Southern as a bad thing, they have different winters and a host of other things then us.not bad just different

          • HoosierMike says:

            I dunno. Austin is Ann Arbor is Bloomington is Madison. Culture of Austin is not that different from Big10 college towns.

          • zeek says:

            I don’t really buy that. Texas is a large public flagship university that is a research and academic powerhouse.

            Last I checked, that’s what makes the Big Ten schools special (along with Northwestern being private of course).

            Penn State is an Eastern school even if it is a Rust Belt school and it has fit in well with the Big Ten.

            I really think the differences between Texas and the Big Ten are more imagined than real.

            Texas sees itself more as a Southwestern school, not really a Southern school and if we’re adding Nebraska and Missouri then we’re adding schools to the southwest of the Midwest, so we’re already adding schools that aren’t really that different from Texas…

          • zeek says:

            This is also a supporting argument for adding Nebraska/Missouri to make Texas feel more at home.

            We don’t want Texas to feel like they’re regionally very distant. They won’t feel that way if Nebraska/Missouri/A&M come along. You’d have 4 Great Plains-Southwest schools added to a 16 team Big Ten…

          • HawkfanBeau says:

            it would be funny that Neb leaves the Big 12 cause Texas wont share equally with them ,, and then ends up in the the Big 10 with Texas.

          • Drake Tungsten says:

            Nebraska and Missouri are nothing like Texas culturally and are in no way “Southwest” schools. Both NU and MU have far more in common with Iowa, Illinois and the other western teams in the Big Ten than with the former members of the Southwest Conference.

          • zeek says:

            I would still argue that adding Missouri regionally removes the thinking of a Big North vs. Texas/A&M kind of Big 14 + 2 as opposed to a Big 16…

          • Kyle says:

            I don’t think Penn State counts as a rust belt school, really. The rust belt doesn’t start until Johnstown.

    • HoosierMike says:

      yeah, what I said, plus what Frank said. But mostly what Frank said. I think I’m getting Diabolical Twitching Mustache Syndrome. help!

      • HawkfanBeau says:

        what about what i said right after what you said, after you heard Frank say it?

        • HoosierMike says:

          oh, completely disagree :) I would love to have UT, ND and Neb in our conference. And I can’t stand ND and Neb. But the level of competition is unparalleled. It’s the perception of competition that allowed a 2 loss LSU team to be crowned national champs. It’s borderline ridiculous, but hell, when it works in my team’s favor, I’m all for it.

          • HawkfanBeau says:

            H Mike.. i was Kidding, and i wrote that before al ot of the other replies. teehee

  37. HoosierMike says:

    Holy Shit, Frank! You went to Ho-Flo? Half of my friends from college (IU) went to Homewood-Floosmoor. What year did you graduate if you don’t mind me asking? Small freaking world.

  38. Ken Smithmier says:


  39. Cliff's Notes says:


    Can someone shed some more light on the “regional” reach of Nebraska?

    I understand that Nebraska has a national name brand, and that it’s fan base travels as well as anybody, and also reaches into existing Big Ten footprint states (like Iowa).


    1. Would the addition of Nebraska put the BTN on Basic Cable in South Dakota? North Dakota? Wyoming or Montana or Idaho?

    2. Somebody argued that perhaps Missouri + Nebraska + Kansas in Kansas City (or, the Kansas Cities). Does Nebraska really have reach into the state of Kansas? Would the BTN get sizable numbers in the state of Kansas due to Nebraska?

    3a. Does the University of Nebraska have any regional agreements with other states? For instance, about 15 years ago, I heard that since the Univ of Colorado is the only medical school in the states of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, that the school grants in-state tuition to students from those four states, and holds a few spots for kids from those states. Is there anything like this at Nebraska U regarding the Dakotas?

    3b. Would this relationship virtually add additional Senators from the Dakotas that have a vested interest in seeing Nebraska Research Dollars grow?

    4. Anything else I might be missing from the addition of Nebraska to the Big Ten from a Regional standpoint?


    • Cliff's Notes says:

      One correction. It should have read “Nebraska + Missouri = Kansas” in Kansas City. Sorry about that.

    • eapg says:

      1. The Dakotas, probably more interest in South Dakota than North. Any reach into the mountain states would be iffy. Wyoming hates us for hiring Devaney, Montana has their own 1-AA (or whatever it’s called these days) football thing going on that they’re rightfully proud of, Idaho (at least southern) aligns more towards Utah and LDS interests.

      2. The Kansas City Metro is home to a lot of Nebraska grads. I’ll defer to locals concerning loyalty percentages.

      3a. Dunno.

      3b. The Dakotas look out for their own interests. If theirs and ours coincide, sure.

      4. We drown any children who aren’t Husker fans, which is why we have nationwide reach. If you’re descended from someone from Nebraska, and you’re alive, you’re a Husker fan. At worst they’re you’re second-favorite team.

      • eapg says:

        4b. We take a bite out of the Denver metro also, as it is the destination of many who move from the western part of Nebraska.

      • eapg says:

        First post, last sentence, you’re = your. Should probably proofread.

      • Patrick says:

        I would say that there are many Husker fans in Wyoming, mainly due to the Union Pacific jobs that shift between Norfolk / Grand Island and Torrington / Douglas. I had relatives in Douglas, WY for a while and there was definitely support.

    • Michael in Indy says:

      I think Nebraska would bring a decidedly minimal number of new local or regional subscriptions. In fact, I might go as far as to say that the addition of Nebraska would add fewer new LOCAL subscribers to the BTN than programs which are already within the footprint such as Pitt & Notre Dame. There simply aren’t many people living out in the Great Plains states.

      Meanwhile, those facts hardly even matter because of the power of the Nebraska name. Growing up in South Carolina, I never met a Nebraska fan until going off to college. Yet I recall numerous times hearing conversations that started off with, “Did you see that Nebraska game? Wow…” If Nebraska can capture an audience in far-away South Carolina, it can certainly capture an audience in New York, California, Texas, and of course current Big Ten country. It’s simply a program that turns heads in all parts of the country. IMO, only 11 other programs are in that kind of company: Notre Dame, Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Miami, Florida, Florida State, Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma, and USC.

      BTW: I do not know about South Dakota, but North Dakota has a deal with the state of Minnesota where students from either state can get in-state tuition to either state’s universities, so I’m sure that state doesn’t also share a similar deal with Nebraska.

    • Herbiehusker says:

      @ Cliff’s Notes

      1. Nebraska definitely holds much of South Dakota, and I know there is a very large presence in Wyoming as well as Idaho. Montana I’m not really sure, but further west in Oregon there is also a large number of Nebraska faithful. There are also large numbers of fans in North Dakota, although not as strong as South Dakota. My brother works and lives in Kansas City right now and from what he has seen; Nebraska fans have a stronger presence in KC than even Kansas State. He said that during football season, the Nebraska fans in KC almost are as prevalent as the Missouri and Kansas fans he comes into contact with, so take that for what it’s worth; but there definitely is a strong presence in KC. I’m not sure how many other programs have this sort of national presence (and I will find and list them later) but the Husker Sports Network is a group of radio stations nationwide that broadcasts Nebraska Football games from California to Georgia. I live in Tulsa, OK and can listen to games on the radio through Husker Sports Network affiliates in Rogers, Arkansas. So take that again for what it’s worth.

      2. I kind of answered this to some degree above, but to expand on it; my extended family lives throughout central Kansas and I know for a fact that Nebraska football rivals strongly Kansas and Kansas State football throughout that state. (now that support disappears during basketball season, but during football season it is definitely noticed strongly) It got so bad at one point that for Kansas State home games in Manhattan, the Catbackers (the alumni club for Kansas State who my uncle is very involved in within Manhattan) issued a warning to all season ticket holders that when Nebraska came to town, if they sold their tickets to a Nebraska fan (and a Nebraska fan was found sitting in their seat) then they could risk their seat location being moved back or to another spot or some other ramification. That is the extent they went to keep Nebraska from filling their stadium. So yes there is a large presence in Kansas.

      3. I can’t answer this with any certainty; I had in-state tuition so I didn’t pay any attention to any of the other options that were available.

      4. Like I stated above I live in Tulsa, OK right in the heart of Soonerland. Yet, in my subdivision alone there are 6 other families that fly Nebraska flags every Saturday. Also here in Tulsa (as well as OKC and numerous other parts of the country most notably the Bay area in California and the Phoenix area in Arizona) there are massive watch parties for Nebraska fans to attend. Last year for the Arkansas State game (only available through pay-per-view) I attended a watch party that filled an entire convention room at a hotel here it Tulsa (probably 200+ people); I have also been to similar watch parties in OKC. This being said if that many people are willing to show up for an Arkansas State game in a city as far away from Lincoln as Tulsa then you’d have to think the BTN would be a no-brainer in many parts of the country where large portions of Nebraska fans are located.

      I hope this helped you out!

    • Albino Tornado says:

      1. If the BTN isn’t already on in Sioux Falls (it’s only 20 miles or so from the Iowa Border, and there’s a significant Hawkeye following), adding Nebraska will put it on. Adding Nebraska will put it on basic cable in Rapid City, and the other South Dakota markets aren’t worth discussing. If you think Nebraska’s got a small population, well, go visit South Dakota.

      2. Nebraska doesn’t deliver KC, but Nebraska weighs there heavily, as would any historically good team very close to the market of a hasn’t-been (KU) and an aspires-to-mediocrity (MU).

      3a. Nebraska, to my knowledge, has no educational reciprocity agreements. Both South and North Dakota have (or have had) reciprocity agreements with Minnesota.

      3b. I do not suspect South Dakota has any real interest in seeing Nebraska’s research dollars grow. Nebraska and North Dakota are sufficiently far away — it’s the better part of 300 miles across South Dakota — that they aren’t all that aware of each other.

      What might not have been considered from an impact perspective is how Nebraska being added to the Big Ten would impact satellite subscription to the BTN network. Nebraska may be a small state, but the loyalty of its expatriates is both real and significant, and it’s not simply the alumni base, but anyone who spent any formative years in the state. Scarier yet, we even indocrinate those expatriate children with our Nebraska-themed rec rooms and autumn Saturdays dedicated to football. No Nebraska fan outside the the existing BTN cable footprint — and there are millions — will fail to subscribe to the BTN.

    • jokewood says:

      3a. State medical schools have a mission to produce physicians to serve their state populations. I’m not sure what other university schools/departments are as explicit in their dedication to serving the state – perhaps other professional schools like law, nursing, and social work.

      Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho have no in-state medical schools. However, there is a partnership in which the University of Washington (not Colorado) reserves a certain number of spots for students from those states. The Universities of North and South Dakota have medical schools.

    • Gopher86 says:

      1. Nebraska’s football presence covers the majority of the great plains and it has penetration into Denver and Kansas City. I don’t know if any stations outside of the state of Nebraska would put the BTN on basic cable, but I can guarantee that they would need to offer it in all the locations you listed. Nebraska fans have been buying Pay-per-view games at $40 a pop to see games that ESPN, FSN or CBS College Sports wouldn’t cover. Outside of Nebraska, they have a large, rabid fan-base, but it’d be a hard sell to justify putting it on basic cable.

      2. Nebraska has about the same number of alums in KC as Missouri and K-State (around 20k), whereas KU has around 73k. KC is a KU town, but Nebraska football is a very strong draw. If we’re talking about getting onto basic cable, NU & MU together is still a tough sell, but you’ll definitely see a lot of subscriptions. Having an annual game at Arrowhead b/n MU & NU could probably help boost the numbers, but you’re still playing catch up with KU.

      3a & b – I’ll have to defer on this one

      4. Nebraska is really a national brand. If you add a few other brands like it (like Texas and Notre Dame), you really can stop worrying about regional markets and start wondering if the BTN can become a nationally carried network like ESPN.

      • Gopher86 says:

        Forgot one thing: the ‘Jayhusker’ factor. There are a lot of casual fans that follow Husker football and Jayhawk basketball. It’s mostly because Nebraska football and KU football has been so bad historically.

        Folks in the area that don’t really have a University affiliation, but are interested in college sports generally defer to Jayhusker status.

  40. Mike R says:

    The Missouri market is a keg that can be tapped at both ends — KU for KC, IL for StL.

  41. Mike R says:

    MU in my view is a *meh* addition, and I think many of these rumors are the product of MU folks trying to keep their school in the conversation. Look at the talk radio story — ND is there as catnip for ESPN and SportsCenter, not because of any solif information. The real agenda of the leaker is to attach MU to the ND-sriven story. I think its a fable, pure and simple. Expansion thinking revolves around NU, TX, the NYC dream and (maybe if the fit issues can be addressed) ND.

  42. Blood & Steel says:

    Articleon the
    regarding how the BTN plays into expansion

    Nice read and a good site for Big Ten folk.

  43. Blood & Steel says:

    Big Ten Expansion and the Big Ten Network

    from the article

    “…so we made a call to the one guy we thought might know the most about that, Big Ten Network CEO Mark Silverman.

    “I think the network has an impact on expansion,” said Silverman who then quickly fell into lockstep with the Big Ten company line on expansion.

    “I think there’s many factors involved in evaluating it in terms of cultural fit, geography, education, academic standards. I think the network is just one of a list of things that go into consideration by the conference.”

    A nice, safe, vanilla thing to say. It’s also probably absolutely true. Here’s why we think that.

    If the premise is true that the conference will expand in a way to benefit the Big Ten Network the most, then it stands to reason that Silverman and the network have to be included in the discussion on how to expand, something that Silverman says simply hasn’t happened.

    “We talk to the conference regularly about a lot of things but we’re not actively involved in any part of the expansion,” Silverman said.”

    A good read and a shout out to FtT as well

    • Pezlion says:

      The biggest problem with the article is the statement that the Big Ten got $80 million in the form of a “franchise fee” and $42 million in BTN profits. Those numbers are incorrect. According to published reports (, the Big Ten received a rights fee of $60 million and profits totaling $66 million last year. That would mean the total profit of the network was $189.4 million, and the total payouts were $126 million to the Big Ten and $63.4 million to Fox.

  44. Ron says:

    Interesting general article/speculation about Big Ten expansion and long run conference implications by Pete Fiutak at College Football News…

    • PensfaninLAexile says:

      Boise State and Fresno State in the PAC-10? This idiot should be banned from the interweb!

      • Cliff's Notes says:

        Normally, I like what Fiutak has to say. When it comes down to team and player analysis, he really knows his stuff.

        But I think he’s a bit off on this article. His look at conference membership in 2020 includes some big reaches, especially concerning the Pac 10 membership. Also, at this point, I don’t think we need to be projecting 2020. I think 2020 will look awfully similar to 2013.

        • Ron says:

          @Cliff’s Notes
          High level, here’s what I like about Fiutak’s analysis:
          1. Big XII survives loss of Missouri, Nebraska & Colorado.
          2. Projection of Syracuse and UConn ultimately joining the Big Ten. Would love to see Notre Dame and/or Texas to jump on board but it doesn’t seem likely.
          3. A roughly 80-team collection of major football schools with five major conferences surviving. Although at this vantage it seems difficult to see both the WAC and MWC disappearing that fast (especially given the predilection of the PAC10 for very strict academic qualifications up to now).

          Having said all that, you’re right, anything this detailed re 2020 at this juncture is going to be a big reach…

          • Cliff's Notes says:


            Yeah, high level, it’s a reasonable and sound speculation that the lower third of Div 1-A is pushed out of the way, and it is reasonable to suggest that the Big XII survives.

            It’s fun for us silly posters on blogs and message boards to speculate on the actions and reactions three or four steps down the road, such as how the Pac 10 goes beyond 12 teams.

            But I think for a journalist to start throwing out ideas like this – even admitting its a guess – it’s stretching too far.

            And again, I really like Fiu. Nationally, I’ll read his thoughts on an upcoming big game before I read or listen to anyone else. I highly recommend to any fan of college football to bookmark before ESPN or CBS Sports or Yahoo sports.

          • Ron says:

            The wild card here is that with Big Ten expansion, college football as a whole could be starting a process of change that will wind up altering the entire control structure. The NFL has a commissioner with centralized powers to help adjudicate disputes. It’s no accident that the Big East has hauled in a former NFL commissioner, Paul Tagliabue, as a special advisor. Think an unspoken assumption in Fiutak’s article is that college football is evolving toward a more centralized control structure that will decide matters like conference affiliations at a national level based on considerations of “what is good for the sport as a whole”. Which is (rightly) going to offend people who think that universities should have other priorities.

      • 84Lion says:

        CFN has a general love interest with Boise, and Fresno to a lesser extent. CFN used to be a good site, but these days they are yet another college football hype machine. Oh, did I mention they love the SEC and give the Big Ten a hard time?

  45. PensfaninLAexile says:

    Mizzou and Big Red leaving kills to Big XII? The PAC-10 is expanding? Sheesh — why won’t these canards die?

    The keys to the Big 12 are TX and OK. There are plenty of decent schools who can replace MO and NE (especially whiny MO). BYU, Utah, TCU, SMU, Houston, UTEP — they’re all decent candidates for admission. Texas and Oklahoma might be glad to be rid of the complaint squad — note that Tom Osborne cast the lone vote against having the B12 championship game in JerryWorld.

    Let the whiners go, add a couple of teams who would crawl over broken glass to get in, share less money with the new entrants, keep your real rivalries and generally be even more the boss of the conference (that’s what TX and OK are thinking).

    That’s a lot better than having to start new rivalries, jolt A&M and the other Texas schools (and their political friends), and MOST IMPORTANTLY — give up the power be the dominant political power in the conference.

    As for the PAC-10, as noted by other posters and myself, the one-school veto is a killer. I won’t even address the myriad legal and logistical issues that make a 9-school mutiny impossible.

    Consider that the PAC-10 last expanded in 1978 — that was before the BEast even started playing BBall! The PAC-10 was also the last major conference to start a post-season BBall tourney. This conference is the last mover. It may expand, but it will be last. All this light and smoke about the PAC-10 talking with this school and that school and “getting aggressive” is ridiculous. It’s all just talk.

    RIP PAC-10 expansion; long-live the Big 12 Conference: A nearly wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Texas.

    • zeek says:

      Oklahoma the key to the Big 12?

      How about the fact that the biggest markets for the Big 12 outside of Texas are in Colorado and Missouri, and that Nebraska is as big a national draw as Oklahoma…

      Lose Nebraska/Missouri/Colorado, and exactly what will Texas stick around for? A shrinking Big 12 contract worth around $5-7M a year?

      Texas/A&M aren’t just going to sit around in a conference in which they bring all of the major markets.

      Texas may sit around in the Big 12 if it can make a Longhorn network that pays it another $10-15M+ a year.

      But why should A&M stick around? Why even should Oklahoma sit around? Those two stand to take a paycut if the Big 12 loses all of its big markets outside of Texas… there’s an incentive for Oklahoma to dash to the SEC for 3-4 times the TV pay if it can, and A&M is likely to follow it out…

      • Redhawk says:

        Here’s the major markets the Big 12 has/will lose when they lose Nebraska and Missouri: St. Louis

        You are assuming that CU is going to the Pac-10. You are assuming that Stanford votes yes to them and another team. Which are pretty big assumptions. The only other one Stanford would say yes to would be Texas. For Texas to be able to go alone to the Pac-10 or to the Big 10+ you are assuming that they can ditch their cling-ons of A&M and Tech (and maybe even Houston)…and if they could why would they join the Pac-10 over the Big 10+?

        If the Big 12 adds BYU and/or Utah as one or both of their replacements, they have about the same TV coverage and markets as they had with Nebraska and Missouri. If they could add Arkansas they might have more.

        The only way for the Pac-10 to expand for TV is through a joint TV alliance/venture as they won’t be voting in any schools thanks to Stanford’s veto.

        • zeek says:

          Stanford did vote for Arizona and Arizona State. How are Colorado and Utah not a better fit than Arizona and Arizona State in terms of academics and sports?

          Also, a 12 team championship game is a huge incentive for Stanford to vote yes for this time around.

          Even if Colorado stays, Nebraska is a national draw and that’s a major part of what the TV package is based on.

          The TV packages are based on how many games can be put on TV, and I guarantee you that replacing Nebraska with any other team results in a smaller contract with fewer televised games on the major network contract…

          • Josh says:

            Stanford only voted for Arizona and Arizona State to join the Pac 8 because USC and UCLA told them if they didn’t, they were leaving the conference, starting a new one and not inviting them.

            Stanford and Cal are going to be tough sells to convince them to accept new members. But it’s completely possible that USC plays hardball with them again. It’s also possible that the two Bay Area schools have softened their stances with the changing landscape.

      • PensfaninLAexile says:

        First off, losses can be counterbalanced by additions — and additions that won’t get revenue if they don’t produce. And who said Colorado is leaving? Make the case for overcoming the PAC-10 veto (which you haven’t) and then let’s see. Omaha — smaller than Tulsa, Kansas City, and OK City.

        Second, everyone ignores the politics of the situation.

        Texas is the big dog in its own conference. They were able to negotiate an uneven revenue distribution. The B12 can live without a lot of schools, but not Texas. In the Big 10, they are one of 12, 14, 16. They can’t be the boss. The other B10 schools can live without them.

        Explain to me why Texas would give up their power?

        Also, you are assuming that TX looks at the BTN and pines to get in. How about TX looks at BTN and thinks “We can do better and make more $$” ?

        As I said, Oklahoma is key for them. I agree that an OK departure would be the death blow. So, Texas shares more of the wealth with both Oklahomas (and already does). Keep OK, you keep OK State.

        Why should A&M stay? How about 50 years of rivalries and tradition? Throw it away for Vanderbilt and Mississippi State? HA! Add on top of it the tacit admission that A&M can’t compete with Texas — so it’s running to the SEC. No chance. A&M might be able squeeze some cash out of the deal, but they will stay — if TX and the Oklahomas are there.

        As for the other schools, where do they go? Baylor to the SEC? HA! Texas Tech to the PAC-10? Double HA! And who cares if they leave? There’s a raft of decent replacements for all the secondary schools.

        My point is that the Big 12 is far stronger than anyone thinks and has a big list of options — both for replacements and to make enough revenue to satisfy the core schools. The B12 can easily live without Mizzou and Big Red.

        • zeek says:

          Can you honestly make the argument that the Big 12′s payouts won’t shrink with the loss of Nebraska/Missouri at the least? What could you replace them with that would even remotely be revenue neutral?

          Nebraska is a bigger part of the Big 12′s payday than you give them credit for, the $ are based on how many games are televised nationally, Nebraska is a disproportionate part of that, and there are no expansion candidates for the Big 12 that improves upon that.

          The Big 12′s revenue model is part split evenly, it’s not all “eat what you kill.”

          Texas can survive in the Big 12 with a smaller Big 12 contract because Texas can make a proposed Longhorn Sports Network and prosper even with shrunken Big 12 payouts. Texas won’t be sharing the Longhorn Network with anyone, they voted against a Big 12 Network already.

          But A&M and Oklahoma don’t have that option… Why should A&M and Oklahoma sit around in a conference making $7M a year, when they can jump to the SEC making $17M? Who cares about tradition when your TV payouts are shrinking due to the loss of Missouri’s markets and Nebraska’s national brand?

          There’s no incentive for Texas to share the wealth because a Longhorn Network would be all of theirs…

          The Big 12 cannot easily survive without Mizzouri and Nebraska, and if Colorado leaves too, it’s totally dead.

          Why would Stanford vote against Colorado? They did vote for Arizona and Arizona State… How is Colorado not far and away better than those two as an addition in terms of academics and sports fit? Also, a championship game would mean larger payouts for the Pac-10.

          • ezdozen says:

            What if they don’t like the 12th school and nix Colorado for that reason alone?

          • zeek says:

            We’ll know within 2 months what the Pac-10 has decided…

          • Michael says:

            Why Colorado?

            They bring in the 25th highest R&D at $546,000 in 2008, just ahead of UNC and just behind Arizona, who Standford has voted for. It should also go without saying that it´s a much different decision today than it would have been 15 years ago.

            As for the 12th team, why not wait for aTm? Assuming the Big 10 has already taken Missouri and Nebraska, it´s a pretty safe bet that the Big 12 would fall apart if they lost Colorado – assuming they haven´t already by that point. In that case though, why take Utah when aTm and maybe UT would be available shortly? Finish off the Big 12 and then pick up the pieces.

          • Michael says:

            @Zeek or anyone else,

            Does the Pac 10 make expansion candidates first apply, like the Big 10 does? And when could a Pac 10 vote take place? Do their presidents have any sort of meeting this summer?

            Any idea?

          • Redhawk says:

            I agree that CU would be one team that Stanford would say yes too. The ONLY other one would be Texas. There is little reason they take Utah.

            The Pac-11…just really doesn’t work well. That’s why I don’t think the Pac-10 expansion is any threat at all to the Big 12. They won’t take ONE team..and then stop.

          • Redhawk says:

            Q:Could losing Neb AND Missouri be revenue neutral to the Big 12?
            A: Yes with BYU which is a national program, and from a far bigger metro area, then Omaha and as many national fans as Nebraska has. The other team would be New Mexico. While not as sexy as Missouri, it delivers Albuquerque/Santa Fe metro area and it’s a growing state.

            So Yes, the Big 12 could come out revenue neutral (or pretty close).

            But, that’s not the real question. The real question is can the Big 12 survive and compete against the Big10+ and the SEC by staying revenue neutral. I’d say that answer is NO.

            Can the Pac-10 if they continue with only 10 programs and their current TV contract? No

            BUT…combining California, Utah, Arizona, and Texas into one big TV market contract…then you have the weight to get the money that would get the schools closer to the SEC/Big10+ area.

            That is the only real Sea-changer, the Pac-10 and Big 12 can hope for.

          • zeek says:


            I believe that teams are invited to apply to the Pac-10 and then voted on and any school can use its veto at that point.

            In any case they’re not going to vote on any school that’s not going to join if it gets a 10-0 vote.


            There is no way that replacing Nebraska and Missouri with BYU and New Mexico is revenue neutral.

            It just doesn’t make sense. Nebraska is a top 10 all time football program with fans across the nation. Missouri is from a large state and has a decent enough in state following.

            There’s just no way that the Big 12 contract doesn’t take a big hit from replacing with New Mexico and BYU.

            You’re talking about a couple few games on national television and probably a 10+% cut to the contract.

        • Patrick says:

          I think Nebraska and Missouri would be fine with that. Leave the Big XII’s $8,000,000 tv payout for the Big 10 and a $22,000,000 payout.

          You’re right, Texas would likely love that senario, sweep Rice, Wyoming, and Fla. Atl. in non-conference. Then go to play UTEP, Houston, Baylor, Rice, A&M, ISU, Kansas State and Texas Tech for a chance to meet Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship.

          • ezdozen says:

            $ = $

            Indiana apparently has plenty of money. Not doing it much good.

            Heck, Michigan’s money was probably worse for them. With less money, perhaps they could have hired better fits.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            Egads, we have to play Texas twice a year?

        • m (Ag) says:

          “Why should A&M stay? How about 50 years of rivalries and tradition? Throw it away for Vanderbilt and Mississippi State? HA! Add on top of it the tacit admission that A&M can’t compete with Texas — so it’s running to the SEC. ”

          What are you talking about??? A&M has one and only one historic rival in the Big 12, and that is UT. It has played Baylor for over a century, but nobody thinks of that as a rivalry. Texas Tech is a rival, but rivalries with LSU and Arkansas, largely dormant since the creation of the Big 12, are more historic than the rivalry with Texas Tech.

          If A&M does go to the SEC, it will be because it decided that’s where its best interests lie. It will continue to play UT every year; there will be no “running” from that rivalry.

          “Explain to me why Texas would give up their power?”

          More silliness. The Big 12 is composed of several schools who bring very little to the conference, and a few who bring a lot. So several schools, including Nebraska, pushed through unequal revenue sharing as a condition to form the conference. If they join the Big 10, they’ll agree to share revenue given that they’re joining a conference with more peers and less hangers-on.

          There isn’t any other real difference between the Big 10 and Big 12 in terms of rules. Missouri complains that they get passed over when bowls pick Iowa State over them; this will continue if they join the Big 10. Nebraska’s old coach complains about UT supporting high academic standards for the Big 10; he won’t find the Big 10 more accommodating.
          All, or nearly all, the Big 10 schools would be with UT on these issues.

          The rules UT supports in the Big 12 are the same rules most Big 10 schools support. This notion that they have some magical ‘power’ they’d lose if they move is silly. If they moved, they’d be with more schools that think like them, not less.

          One thing they’d lose if they moved to the Big 10 is geographic proximity to most of the schools in their conference. Another thing they might lose is a chance to form their own TV network. They also have to wonder about possible political problems from their legislature about leaving other schools behind. They will worry about these issues; they won’t worry about losing any magical ‘power’ people attribute to them.

          • PensfaninLAexile says:

            You don’t think Texas is the biggest dog in the Big 12?

            You don’t think that power and control are important to universities and their presidents?

            You think being first among equals is a ‘silly’ consideration?

            There is nothing ‘magical’ about their power. They have the most fans, money, following. Texas is the most important school in the B12. They leave and the conference is moribund. Any other single departure and the B12 can still be relevant with Texas. Even a double departure (MO, NE) is survivable. Texas leaves and it’s lights out. THAT is power.

            And it is that power that allows Texas to have the most say in how the B12 is run. You don’t think that’s a big deal?

            Thinking that the TV check is the only criteria is simplistic and perhaps silly.

          • m (Ag) says:

            Being the ‘top dog’ is rather meaningless if it doesn’t get them something useful.

            Other than finances, the policies they they support are generally the same the Big 10 supports, so they’d lose nothing moving. To say they’re avoiding changing conferences because they’ll lose ‘power’ is wrong.

            With finances, they look out for themselves. Same as Nebraska and Missouri. They certainly have no more power than Nebraska in this regard. If they think their network will make more money they’ll stay in the conference, but that won’t get them any extra votes in conference matters.

            If they decide they’ll make more money by moving to the Big 10, they’ll actually gain ‘power’ by moving. On all non-financial matters, they’ll actually have an easier time of it; on financial matters, they would be better off.

          • zeek says:

            I’m with M (Ag) on this.

            Nebraska and Missouri will leave for a conference that will be over $30M per team in a few years.

            Texas will choose to stay in a conference making $5-7M per team (even replacing Nebraska/Missouri with BYU/NewMex is a big hit to the $ and TV draw) only if the Longhorn Sports Network is a huge money maker.

            Texas will not stay in the Big 12 if it can only make $5M or so on a Longhorn Network.

            Texas will not stay in a conference that would leave it far behind the Big Ten TV payday that Nebraska and Missouri would be running to…

            What about A&M? A&M has a lot of options including the Pac-10 and SEC (as well as the Big Ten).

            Why should A&M stay in the Big 12 if the TV money is shrinking because Nebraska and Missouri are leaving?

            A&M would rush to the SEC and sign an agreement ensuring that it’s rivalry with Texas is maintained.

            Oklahoma would be the next one out the door if it can cut a deal with the SEC.

            There’s no loyalty if the $ are shrinking. That’s one thing you can bet on which will happen if Nebraska and Missouri leave…

          • Redhawk says:

            Your numbers are off on the Big 12. The League currently has a pay out of between 13-9 million dollars now. Above, you say the league would lose 10% revenue. But here you put the pay outs at 5-7 Million Dollars which would be a 50-40% decrease.

            The Big 12 would still have Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, OKC, Tulsa, Wichita, Kansas City, markets. If CU stays they have Denver market. Trading St. Louis for Albuquerque and Salt Lake City, actually would be increasing eyes. If the Big 12 added Col. St, they still have a claim to Denver. (as strong as saying CU delivers Denver anyway) Trading the national audience of Nebraska, for BYU and all the Mormons, is pretty close as well. BYU is kinda the poor man’s Notre Dame.

            Losing St. Louis and Omaha is NOT a 50% drop in value. Sorry, man that doesn’t make any sense to suggest that Nebraska and Missouri is half the Big 12′s value.

            Again, that’s not the real point. The real point is does staying alive, and fairly close to revenue neutral really keep the Big 12 from falling way behind the SEC and the Big10+?

          • @Redhawk – Losing Missouri may not be catastrophic to the Big XII, but Nebraska is another matter. The Huskers are consistently the #2 or #3 TV draw in the conference after Texas – they are critical to the Big XII’s national TV contracts. BYU has a great fan base that can conceivably replace a Mizzou-type school, but there’s no way they can come close to replacing the value of Nebraska. Forbes ranked Nebraska as the #4 most valuable college football program – only Texas, ND and Penn State were ranked higher. It’s every bit as bad as Miami leaving the Big East for the ACC with the only difference is that at least Texas could possibly stay (although a lot of Big XII fans are extremely naive to think that they will just sit on the sidelines).

          • Albino Tornado says:

            Actually, I thought the Big Ten had no conference rules regarding eligibility of partial qualifiers, but did have rules regarding the number of credit hours toward progress in a major required for players to maintain eligibility. Can someone more familiar with Big Ten rules clarify?

    • PensfaninLAexile says:

      If the world was a rational place without ego and politics, ND would be in the B10, the PAC-10 would be the PAC-12 with a championship game, and Greece would never have been let into the Euro.

      As for the earlier commenter demanding to know why Stanford would vote against Colorado — I have no idea. That said, I have two questions:

      1) The PAC-10 has had 32 years to add 2 teams and a championship game. Why haven’t they?

      2) Why were they the last conference to add a post-season BBall tourney, leaving millions on the table?

      The PAC-10 could very well expand — and might do it soon, but their history shows us is that they are the last mover and only do so out of absolute necessity. Proactive they are not.

      • Stopping By says:

        I agree with the history of the Pac 10 – but that was also all within the Tom Hansen era (over 25 excruciating years of it). Yes, I realize that the commission only acts in the interests or direction of the universities BUT Hansen was terrible from a forward/proactive thinking and planning standpoint. I realize that the Pac has some geographical disdvantages due to timezones but Hansen seemed content to go with the “it is what it is” strategy vs outside the box thinking to generate more TV revenue, bowl partnerships, etc.

        Larry Scott, at least initially, looks to be much more aggressive through his recent staff hires, retention of CAA to assist w/ rebranding, WTA track record, etc. He has also been charged with (at least from what I have read) to increase revenue per school at most all costs by the conference universities.

        Don’t get me wrong, the 100% approval is an absolute hurdle (that I really wish wasn’t there), but it is yet to be seen if Scott can rally all to vote for what is best to the conference as a whole. As a Pac 10 fan – I am hoping he can and will give him benfit of a doubt till I see otherwise.

        • PensfaninLAexile says:

          Agreed with your point. My main point is not that the PAC-10 won’t expand — it’s that the political structure makes it very difficult to expand and that it is most likely the last mover — or will move only when circumstances dictate.

          • Stopping By says:

            Yes, the political structure, or in other words: Stanford, does make things difficult in the way of the unanimous vote. Again, I have seen more from Scott in less then a year then in the entire Hansen era in the way of progressive thinking.

            My one hope as far as Stanford thinking is this….CA is broke and both Cal and UCLA are part of the UC system. Most state schools are struggling which means most Atheletic Depts are as well – unless you are a part of the BTN or have a monstrous donor pool. Stanford realizes that the current TV contract and bowl tie ins are crap (for the most part), and even they would want to see a bigger slice of $$$ from the conference.

            My thought is that Scott is going to have to pull Stanford aside and basically give them the “you may not like it, but you need to find a way to live with it” speech for the betterment of the conference as a whole to get them to come along. Stanford is academic 1st no doubt, but they do care about there AD (and ALL the sports they participate in) and I can’t imagine they want to go down as the school that left the Pac 10 in everyones rear view mirror.

            I am not suggesting Scott will attempt to strong arm hm into BYU orsomething that polarizing but…they will need to particpate in the give and take of it all.

    • FLP_NDRox says:

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the Big Ten the second to last major conference to put in a Basketball tourney?

    • Gopher86 says:

      You can’t replace a top 10 football brand and your second most populous state. The Big 12 may not be doomed, but it certainly won’t pack as much punch with whoever it subs in.

  46. Pat says:

    Big Ten Quashes Latest Expansion Rumors

    • Mike R says:

      Delany restores sanity and order. Please ESPN, take any reports out of MO with a mine full of salt.

    • MIRuss says:

      Well, yeah…that’s what these guys have to say. But I think there’s way too much smoke at this point for all of it to be “untrue”.

      Just one observer’s humble opinion.

  47. IrishTexan says:

    This is one Notre Dame alum who wants to see ND join the Big Ten. I’m more concerned with academia and an increase in research, funding, and prestige than I am about how Michigan’s athletic department hurt our feelings in the first half of the 20th century.

    I’m not the only one, either.

    • zeek says:

      I think there is a legitimate issue of how well Notre Dame fits the Big Ten in terms of research/CIC. The Big Ten schools are a group of secular mostly large public institutions.

      I’m sure a lot of Notre Dame alums (not all obviously) have issues with Notre Dame joining the CIC especially depending on the kind of research that Big Ten institutions may end up dabbling in…

      After all, the 1999 talks for Notre Dame largely fell apart due to the CIC and institutional fit issues that Notre Dame had. There’s not really any reason to believe that those reasons have changed.

      As for the $, TV payouts are now in favor of Notre Dame joining the Big Ten, but there’s an issue of whether that alone is enough…

      • djinndjinn says:

        I could see some Catholics not wishing to belong to a conference like the Big Ten that does “objectionable” research in fields like stem cells. However, Notre Dame already shares a conference with schools like Cincinnati, South Florida, UConn, Rutgers, and Pitt, which do EXACTLY the same sort of research. So if this is the argument of Notre Dame’s alumni, they’re clueless.

        • FLP_NDRox says:

          @ djinn^2

          Yeah, but we’re not helping with it either. Let’s keep it all in perspective.

          @ “IrishTexan”

          Joining the Big Ten provides no additional prestige to the Undergraduate studies, and the help for the graduate rankings is debatable without AAU membership. Since CUA already left the AAU, I’m unsure if that’s even something the admin would want. As for the grad students…I don’t care. They knew what ND was when they came.

          Prove you’re not the only one.

          • djinndjinn says:

            How would ND be helping with research in the Big Ten? The CIC wouldn’t force anyone to do anything (like research). It’s simply a way for schools to more readily cooperate on projects–professors and students can move between schools more readily, libraries are more readily shared, equipment can be purchased more inexpensively, etc.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            Didn’t say we would be. Just saying we aren’t helping now.

            Besides, IMNHO, if you wanted to go to a certain school, and you’re that bright, you shoulda went to that school.

          • djinndjinn says:

            I’m not sure I know what you’re saying there.

            The idea of being able to spend a semester at a different school might be to work with a specific professor or to study a unique subject not offered at your school. For example, if you’re a prof or student studying amphibians at, say, the University of Chicago, and you realize that an increase in acidity in lakes is affecting the population of what you’re studying, so you want to spend a semester or two at Wisconsin, which has one of the better limnology (study of lakes) departments in the world, it’s easily done. Or what if you’re a prof at, say, Iowa and you want to use the particle accelerator at Michigan State, well, it’s easily arranged. It’s not so much a matter of being smart enough to go here or there. Not every university has a limnology department or a particle accelerator. Further, going across state lines to enroll for a semester at another school may mean a HUGE increase in tuition cost. If your studies are done at a different school, but THROUGH your home state university, you could save tens of thousands of dollars. That’s an example of the beauty of cooperation via the CIC.

            I’ll point out that Notre Dame has a study abroad program that allows a student to study art in, say, Florence or Paris that would augment his education at ND. It’s the same idea. It doesn’t mean he wasn’t smart enough to go to school in Florence or Paris. It means his university is assisting him expand his beadth of knowledge.

          • djinndjinn says:

            That should read “breadth of knowledge” not breadth.

          • djinndjinn says:

            Let’s try breadth, not beadth.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            First of all, the way it was explained to us was that the CIC was mainly used by the Grad Students and occasionally Profs.

            Now, here’s where I cop to my ignorance. I’m a liberal arts guy, one of my sisters studied Finance. Everything I know about seeking Grad school comes from my baby sister who will start her Grad work in the fall in Philosophy. If what I say is way off when dealing with the sciences…well, I won’t be surprised.

            While she was applying, she was obsessed with finding out about the professors at each school and their specialties. IMHO, if you go to study at a Grad level and find out the school you are attending don’t have what you need for thesis purposes you have failed miserably in picking a school. I mean, if I’m your Frog-guy, wouldn’t it make sense to know before you go that you needed a good limnology instructor if nothing else before you signed on? I mean, this shouldn’t come as a shock, right?

            If you take a job as a particle physicist at a facility that doesn’t have the tools to let you do your necessary testing, isn’t that the kind of critical research failure that means you shouldn’t be teaching at the college level at all? And this is horrible to say since the according to stuff I’ve seen since I started commenting here the grad schools @ ND have improved astronomically since I was there. But, when I was there, not only was I personally unimpressed by my TAs, my business school friends would report how the undergrads consistently outperformed the MBA students on the exact same material. When I was there, I looked at the grad students at ND who were vocal in their support for B10/CIC acceptance like folks who were trying to get into a Big Ten grad program through a backdoor which offended my sense of fairness.

            Plus, I didn’t think anyone worth their salt in a Ph.D program actually paid anything. I thought they got paid. Is my sister really that good?

          • djinndjinn says:

            FLP, as you can tell from the name CIC, which stands for the “Committee on Institutional Cooperation”, the CIC is designed simply to augment cooperation between schools.

            Yes, that would primarily be for research. And yes, that means primarily grad students and profs. But it benefits everyone. As an undergrad, I worked with a visiting prof from the U of Chicago that I otherwise wouldn’t have, even if I wasn’t the one who traveled. And the lab I worked in was doing research with another lab at Michigan. So even as an undergrad, it affected me.

            The CIC would be most beneficial for research in sciences, engineering and the like, but not exclusively. The CIC’s website mentions cooperative programs in literature, art history, music, speech, environmental health, library automation, physical education, economics, and others. They have a unique and shared Far Eastern Language Institute that supposedly allows students at all Big Ten schools to accomplish in 15 months what would normally take four years. (I know nothing first-hand about any of that.)

            Maybe your field is archaeology at Penn State and you want to study at the U of C because of the unique materials available exclusively at the Oriental Institute. Such a facility is simply not available anywhere else. Or maybe you’re in ancient languages and there’s a prof you want to work with at some other school that is excellent at Aramaic. Or maybe cooperation means that only one university needs to purchase an obscenely expensive piece of equipment (like that particle accelerator) that several universities could share. Or maybe it allows a member school (like, say, Notre Dame) the opportunity to have one of the world’s leading authorities on geology or literature. You don’t think Notre Dame students would benefit?

            You say that a prof shouldn’t be working at a school without the necessary equipment to do intense research. Well, first, for sciences, you never know what the future will hold or where a new discovery will take you. A lot of people start off in one field and end up in another. So it’s hard to foresee that you may need to know something from a different field. What if you could save years of time by working with someone in that new field at a different school?

            Besides, it’s not like you can get a job anywhere you want. Iowa may want someone to teach subatomic particle physics, but maybe that requires you go to MSU for that accelerator. There are only 22 in the US—including the Chicago area, the University of Wisconsin, MSU, and Indiana University. If you’re a prof anywhere else, it sure helps for easy access to these sites. But if you hold that no one should teach at any other universities, well, Notre Dame shouldn’t have anyone teaching those sorts of subjects. And the US would have a lot fewer experts in a lot of fields.

            What if you take a job at Indiana and three years later an expert colleague gets hired at Minnesota. The CIC facilitates you to work with that guy, even from a different school. That means more papers, better papers, and faster research. That benefits the US and the world.

            In fact, there are some fields so specialized that there are only a handful of others in the world who may understand what you’re working on. I have a friend at MIT working on a field of cancer research so specialized, I don’t really have the foggiest idea what he’s doing. So sometimes there is no one at your school with whom you can cooperate. If working with someone else at a different school means a faster cure–well it’s easy to see the benefit.

            What if you’re a prof in oceanography or tropical medicine. It’s not like the Big Ten has an ocean or a tropical rainforest on campus. You have to share resources. What if only one BT school has a facility in the Borneo rain forest, but that’s critical to your research?

            You may think the brightest minds are all in the Ivy League or at Stanford or Berkeley or wherever, because they’re the most “exclusive”. But there is a reason the Big Ten does more research than the Ivy League or Pac 10 or ACC. The CIC is a big part of that.

            Notre Dame may value its independence, but no one school can be great in everything. Working together strengthens everyone.

            The point of all this is that the CIC is not something to be feared. It couldn’t make Notre Dame do something in research (like stem cells) any more than Pitt could force Notre Dame to do it in the Big East. Just like Notre Dame’s joining the CIC wouldn’t force everyone to convert to Catholicism. It’s simply a tool of cooperation. One may or may not wish to do participate—it’s completely voluntary (which is pointed out on their website.) But I think the CIC has proven that you get further by working together. Any new school added to the CIC would benefit. It’s a good thing.

          • greg says:

            re: CIC

            I work in IT at UIowa. Let me outline the ways we, as IT, work with the CIC to push the University forward, which is just one more way that the CIC is beneficial to its member schools.

            * Working together for higher levels of identity federation, allowing local network logins to be used to access web-based resources. Eventually, all federal research funding will require to use federation. The CIC allows the schools to work together to reach this goal, and we are well ahead of other schools, which could eventually increase the number of research dollars within the CIC.
            * CIC Grid computing project to further grid computing research
            * CIC Storage project to create an “in the cloud” storage network for both research and to benefit IT
            * Federated wireless project, so that a user from any CIC school can use the on-campus wireless at other schools. This was initially driven by the CIOs who meet regularly, but will benefit all CIC members.
            * We are investigating student email outsourcing, and conversations with other CIC schools has impacted our process. Conversations with member schools about IT practices is a big positive.
            * There is a CIC IT leadership program which involves regular meetings/training at various campuses
            * IT conferences in subject areas

            I participate in regular CIC IT conference calls, and one of my concerns about expanding to 16 or even more is possibly making these calls unwieldy. Also have some concerns about extending the geography, as us IT grunts have to drive to meetings/conferences.

            The CIC benefits each institution in many many ways.

          • UWGradStudent says:

            FLP, here are some ways that the CIC has directly benefited me during both my graduate and undergrad programs in electrical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

            Both semesters of my senior year, I worked on a computational electromagnetics project with a UW professor in close collaboration with a professor at MSU. The UW professor was an expert in the “end use” application of the research, while the MSU professor was an expert in the mathematics underlying the method we were using. I was able to have multiple conference calls with the MSU professor to directly ask him questions on how to make the method work, while obviously having access to the UW professor to determine whether it was working correctly. This was purely an undergraduate project. I believe that this experience was one of the key reasons I won a major graduate fellowship during my first year of grad school.

            As I’ve come to understand during my graduate program, each school specializes in its research fields. It is too simplistic to say that “you shouldn’t go to a program that doesn’t have the resources you need” because each program specializes within its field. For instance, I am doing my graduate work in electrical power engineering. Wisconsin has one of the best groups for electric machines research in the world (think wind turbines, hybrid vehicles, etc.), which is a subset of power engineering. Other schools, such as Illinois, specialize in other power engineering areas (power electronics for instance). It just doesn’t make sense for both schools to compete when specialization and cooperation allows far more to be accomplished. A researcher in power electronics at Illinois would easily be able work with the electric machines researchers at Wisconsin to work on a project of integrating wind power into the electric system, which requires expertise in both power electronics and electric machines. This is of course somewhat simplified, but it should get the idea across.

            Additionally, the CIC allows researchers to approach companies and governments jointly for research funding. For instance, Grainger Industrial Supply is a huge sponsor of both Wisconsin and Illinois research. The ability to specialize in research areas, and then approach Grainger with a broad research proposal gives the CIC a huge advantage over competing universities.

            I also have personally benefited from the CIC at the graduate level. Wisconsin and Illinois power engineering researchers routinely put on teleconference research presentations for each other. My advisor has written many papers with Illinois professors, and another graduate student in my office is directly working with an Illinois professor. Another Illinois professor has a spin off power systems software company that incorporates much of his research interests. I feel fairly confident that I would easily be able to get an internship at the company if for no other reason that it diversifies the knowledge base.

            Additionally, I am instantly able to get any CIC university dissertation or masters thesis electronically. Could I get a thesis from a non-CIC school? Probably, but it would involve tedious discussions with my library system and the other school’s library system. The sharing of library resources is another huge research advantage.

            Could this sort of collaborative research have been done without the CIC? Possibly, but developing such the close knit relationships necessary for effective research are not simple. I would feel far more comfortable contacting researchers at a CIC institution than anywhere else.

            Hopefully this helps you better understand why the CIC is such a large advantage at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. In my opinion, advocating to continue depriving Notre Dame students, both graduate and undergraduate, of the opportunities provided by the CIC is really doing your university a disservice. While I am clearly not an expert in the history of Notre Dame, it appears that your university has been able to leverage success on the field into success in the classroom. Getting an invite to join the Big Ten over the many more qualified candidates (from a research perspective) appears to be another important way that Notre Dame athletics could help increase the university’s academic accomplishments. As a Catholic, I can understand the hesitation at some of the stem cell and other research, but research projects are completely non-compulsory.

            Personally, I hope that Notre Dame does not join the Big Ten. I think the opportunity cost to the CIC compared to adding a big time research university is too great. However, I wanted to help ensure that you were clear on the magnitude of the opportunity that you want to turn down. Undergraduate research is considered extremely important, if not essential, to getting accepted at high caliber graduate schools. Specialization and collaborative research, as is common at CIC schools, is key to producing good research. Hindering the ability of the many bright science and engineering undergrads at Notre Dame to get into good grad programs is clearly not your intent, but it is one of the logical outcomes of your position on Big Ten expansion.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            The better question is why I should care. I mean, it’s not like *I’m* making this call. Hell, I was a history major. Talk about a major that will give you contempt for “the academy”…

            I’ve liked the sound of the CIC, but what I’ve never yet heard is the cost: financial, reinvestment, scholarship, expectation, and how much external interference will be placed on ND. It’s been over a decade, and I’ve still yet to hear it discussed.

            Here’s the other thing. ND is a small school; and a disproportionally business one at that. Makes sense when costs are >50K/year/student. The ND college of science has approx. 1,200 undergrads and 145 instructors. The engineering school…well, it’s probably still ranked #3 in Indiana. IMHO, if a kid’s going to ND to be an engineer, he’d better be going for free.

            At what points must ND say the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many? If the CIC must be sacrificed for independence and the greater glory of Our Lady Domers should be proud to do so. I realize that’ll make no sense to you.

          • djinndjinn says:

            Football aside, the greater need of a university is the quality of the students’ education. Providing education is why your university is supposed to exist. Yet you’re telling students that educational opportunities “must be sacrificed” because you, as an alum making no sacrifice whatsoever, want to watch Notre Dame play a few different football teams each year. And you’re dressing it up as a “greater glory”.

            Notre Dame should do what it wants and not be forced into anything, but I’ve got to say, this sort of value system doesn’t make sense to me either.

          • djinndjinn says:

            UW Grad Student: Your work sounds quite interesting.

            For me, the worst part of university was not having enough time to fit in all the classes I’d like to take.

          • UWGradStudent says:


            “I’ve liked the sound of the CIC, but what I’ve never yet heard is the cost: financial, reinvestment, scholarship, expectation, and how much external interference will be placed on ND. It’s been over a decade, and I’ve still yet to hear it discussed.”

            Thank you for this comment; it gives me another opportunity to clarify how research funding works. Research represents incoming money to a university, not outgoing money. When my advisor gets a grant to work on a project, just under half of the grant money goes directly to the university. So if the NSF awards $200,000 to work on a project, my advisor gets approximately $100,000 to spend on graduate assistants, lab materials, etc. with the UW College of Engineering receiving $100,000 to essentially use for whatever it wants (undergraduate courses, lab space, advising, computer facilities, libraries, etc, although I believe there are restrictions on funding major construction projects). This is common practice at universities. Research therefore isn’t an expense, it’s income for the university.

            I had a conversation with a professor in the public affairs graduate program who was upset with how much grant funding the public affairs professors obtained that went back to the university. I learned that a large portion of the funding received by the professors in their program went to funding undergraduate needs like introductory economics and political science courses. This reinforces the fact that research is not a cost or a burden, it represents income to the university, even in the social sciences.

            Research funding allows the university to keep tuition relatively low (even out-of-state tuition at Wisconsin is less than half of what it is at Notre Dame). Low tuition allows the university to attract both a more diverse student body and a better qualified student body. A goal of large state schools is to allow gifted lower income students the chance to obtain a world class education. This simply would not be possible without extensive research funding.

            As far as I know, there is no direct costs associated with being in the CIC. I have never heard of any scholarship or reinvestment requirements asociated with CIC membership. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than me could confirm this. CIC membership would increase research funding and consequently allow for increased scholarships and reinvestment.

            I don’t believe there is any external interference associated with CIC membership. Professors and departments determine what research projects they want to work on. I can’t imagine, say, the Michigan and Penn State electrical engineering departments calling my professors to tell them what they can or can’t do. The CIC allows professors to take advantage of synergies between universities. If a professor or department doesn’t want to collaborate with other institutions, no one is going to force them to do so. For instance, no one is going to make Notre Dame faculty work on stem cell or other potentially objectionable research topics.

            Even if you don’t care about the quality of the education received by the 1200 or so science and engineering undergrads, you should care about the benefits that all students receive from CIC membership (by the way, according to wikipedia, there are 1200 undergrads in the sciences alone, not even counting engineering, so science and engineering accounts for far more than 10% of your total 12,000 student enrollment). All students can gain from increased library access. All students would likely have reduced tuition from increased research funds, and all students would gain from the increased student diversity when lower income students can enroll. Student in non-engineering/science would likely benefit from CIC membership as well; I simply am not experience enough outside my field to directly comment on what those benefits may be.

            I certainly don’t understand the internal politics of Notre Dame. You may point out that current students don’t want to join the Big Ten, and that might very well be true. However, the benefits from big time research or membership in the CIC are not well known. I had no idea how research or university funding worked until well into my graduate career. I never thought about why I was able to work with a professor at Michigan State during my undergrad or how that related to CIC membership. I would be surprised if current Notre Dame students, message board posters, or alumni really understood what they were advocating for or against vis-a-vis the academic and research benefits of the CIC.

            I post on here because you seem to be truly interested in learning more about how this all works. I am not trying to entice Notre Dame to join the Big Ten. As I said before, I would much rather have other major research schools to collaborate with: Texas, Texas A&M (which has an excellent engineering school that is in no way a “little brother” to UT as far as I am concerned), Pitt, Maryland, UNC, Nebraska, Rutgers… I would take any of these schools before Notre Dame because I don’t think that Notre Dame adds much research expertise to the CIC.

          • UWGradStudent says:


            Thank you for your comment. It is really an exciting time to be working in engineering; there are so many important problems to solve.

          • PensfaninLAexile says:

            NSF allows universities to impose a 65% admin fee. It is a backdoor way of subsidizing universities both private and public. It is also why federal funding is so coveted by universities. In some instances, private foundations allow no skim off the top for administration.

          • FLP_NDRox says:


            I remember reading something not that long ago about the 1999 turn-down where then Pres. Malloy told the CIC folks early on in the process he never heard of them.

            Believe me, in 98-99, we got an earful almost daily about the CIC in the student paper and from the grad student who thought it was better than sliced bread. We undergrads felt to the man it wasn’t worth it to be a Big Ten school. Y’all aren’t telling me anything I didn’t know a decade ago.

            I’m here primarily to try to figure out where ND ends up when the music stops. Two things I think are going to make the decision for ND.

            1. Will the hoop-only Big East Teams and who they can get be a big time conference or a mid-major?

            2. What loss of institutional independence will their be under the Big Ten?

            From the unanimous Trustee vote and the public announcement by Monk last time, I believe that there’s something to the idea that somehow joining the B10/CIC will somehow limit ND’s administrative independence.

            How? I don’t know. It seems not to be public information.

      • Mark says:

        zeek Says:

        “After all, the 1999 talks for Notre Dame largely fell apart due to the CIC and institutional fit issues that Notre Dame had. There’s not really any reason to believe that those reasons have changed.”

        As I recall, when ND turned down the Big 10 offer in 1999, they specifically asked if they could be a member of the CIC, but were told it was both or neither. I’m not sure why the CIC would be an issue now?

        • FLP_NDRox says:

          In 1999 the CIC was spun as the #1 positive of joining the Big Ten. I don’t think anyone outside of the internet has mentioned any potential problems that ND has with CIC membership. I think that’s the conclusion some reached looking for specifics in re ND’s concern about becoming less Catholic/more secular.

          • djinndjinn says:

            I still don’t see how the CIC makes one less Catholic. I don’t think you really understand what the CIC is.

            All it does is make cooperation within your field of study easier and opens up easier ways to perform your work. If you’re a history major, (as you were), you’d have access to a ton of extra resources.

            The 2010 issue of your favorite publication, the USNews & World Report states that 8 of the top 25 history programs in the US (graduate level) are at Big Ten schools. If they join, Rutgers and Texas are also in the top 25.

            I wasn’t a history major, but I’d have imagined that having access to 8-10 of the top history programs in the US, including professors, documents, papers, libraries and classes, would seem to be an opportunity to enhance your knowledge. Not a threat to Catholicism.

          • djinndjinn says:

            Link to the rankings, if you’re interested:


          • FLP_NDRox says:

            I don’t understand how the CIC threatens the Catholic character either. It kills me that people keep trying to argue with me when I agree.

            That said, there appears to be significant downside on the administrative side to joining the Big Ten that has never been adequately described. If there wasn’t, the ND99 turndown would have been phrased in purely athletic terms.

            When my fellow students and I marched against Big Ten membership we did it with the same information I have now. Even the kids who actually stood benefit felt the perceived cost outweighed that benefit. Likely the half of faculty that was opposed to Big Ten membership knew even better and still opposed. Personally I defer to them. I told you that you wouldn’t understand.

  48. Mike R says:

    I’m actually OK with MU joining the Big 10. It is, however, a “complementary” addition, not the main course. But this relentless and phony leaking must wear on Delany’s nerves and actually decrease MU’s chances of being included.

    • zeek says:

      It plays into his hands.

      Delany’s goal is Texas. Missouri is a prop to that goal even if it does qualify for membership in its own right.

      Missouri’s constant leaks about being offered or considering the possibility of a Big Ten application do nothing but help Delany’s cause in targeting Texas since it lends an air of urgency to the decision making process at Texas and A&M.

  49. [...] “Conservative” Expansion or Super Death Star Conference? The Big Ten expansion rumor mill continues to churn, with the conference reportedly inviting (or at least welcoming to f [...] [...]

  50. ezdozen says:

    This whole thing is getting borderline ridiculous.

    If I was the Big 10, I wouldn’t need Texas, Notre Dame, Nebraska, or anyone. It would just be a matter of who we WANT. Any school thinking WE need THEM necessarily does not fit our profile.

    And, frankly, I’d be a little concerned about schools that need us too badly too. It sure seems like Nebraska, Missouri, and Rutgers want IN to the Big 10 quite a lot.

    • Paul says:

      I would rather have a team that wants in then one that feels forced to join, reluctantly, because times have changed.

    • djinndjinn says:

      I know what you’re saying. Though I have to admit that it sounds a bit funny to say that we don’t want any school that thinks we want them too much, and we don’t want any school that we think wants us too much.

    • Ron says:

      Reminds me of the old Groucho Marx line, “I would not join any club that would have someone like me for a member”. The Big Ten needs to focus on what it really wants and not worry so much about coming up with perfect candidate school.

  51. Tom says:

    Hopkins Horn,

    I have enjoyed getting the perspective from a Texas fan / alumni on Big 10 expansion. Earlier, you asked what B10 fans thought about adding Nebraska, Rutgers, and Missouri, based on the recent rumor emanating out of Kansas City. While the actual story may be false (especially the part about a certain school in Indiana having an “open invite,”) the schools mentioned are all logical choices. That said, had this story been accurate, I would be less than thrilled with this proposed expansion trio, and I’m surprised so many people are excited about it.

    Here are my thoughts on the potential candidates: (I’m going to focus mainly on football and basketball. I know there are other factors, such as academics and non-revenue sports, but for the most part the most logical choices all fit in academically, and the non-revenue sports are exactly that, non-revenue.)


    ++Traditional powerhouse

    +Rabid fan base

    +Possible rivalry with Iowa, but the Cornhuskers actually have a little known historical rivalry with Minnesota

    +The ‘Huskers seem more than willing to make a move unlike another school in Indiana who the conference would have to drag along kicking and screaming
    +As a Michigan fan, I personally would love to see Michigan vs. Nebraska on a fairly routine basis after what transpired in 1997

    -To my knowledge, the ‘Huskers do not field a men’s basketball program. Seriously, have you ever seen Nebraska on TV? Normally, this wouldn’t concern me, but considering the B10 is already home to two of the worst BCS basketball programs historically in terms of Penn State and Northwestern, and you have two more tradition rich programs in Michigan and Indiana bumbling along, it is worth mentioning.

    -This isn’t your older brother’s Nebraska. It has been 8 seasons since the ‘Huskers finished in the top 10. Yes, they gave Texas all they could handle in the B12 title game, but they also put up what 118 yards of total offense?

    Nebraska is a good choice, and certainly a must in any multi-school expansion scenario, but I’m not going to get too excited. While the league is gaining one of the sport’s blue blooded programs, is it still on that level and if not, can it get back to that level?


    +Once a historically average football program, Missouri has risen up in the past several years, (probably because Nebraska has fallen off)

    +Pretty good basketball program historically

    +Missouri TV markets. While I find it hard to believe that the Big Ten doesn’t already have a sizable presence in the state of Missouri, maybe it’s not the case. This move at the very least solidifies it

    +Fits in nicely geographically, almost like a kid looking at a map of the earth and wondering whether South America and Africa were once connected

    +“Braggin’ Rights” game with Illinois is probably intensified

    -Once a historically average football program…

    -I could be wrong, but “Braggin’ Rights” seems more basketball oriented. In fact, I was surprised to learn that the two schools have only met 23 times on the gridiron.

    -As a B10 fan, I would watch Missouri vs. Indiana, but for a non-B10 fan, I don’t see much “allure” with Missouri, regardless of whether they are playing Purdue or Ohio State

    -Fan support seems to be pretty lackluster, hence Missouri getting snubbed three straight years during the B12 bowl selection process.

    I think geography alone gets Missouri into the B10, which is basically how I feel about the addition.


    +I have a soft place in my heart for the Scarlet Knights as I grew up in northern New Jersey, and it’s been cool to witness Rutgers’ rise the past several years.

    +New Jersey TV market. Whenever I hear Rutgers mentioned, it’s in connection with bringing the New York City market. Maybe it can and maybe it can’t, but people seem to forget that New Jersey is a state of 8,000,000+ people. From a pure business perspective, Rutgers is a no-brainer.

    +Gives PSU a fellow eastern conference member. I’m not going to say rival, because let’s be honest Pittsburgh is PSU’s rival (see below)

    +B10 championship game at the new Meadowlands stadium. Just imagine the media coverage this would get. (I suppose you could also get Rutgers to host the big conference match ups there as well, but I think that would be a Notre Dame style move and I hope the conference would not stoop that low.)

    +Surprisingly strong fan support.

    -Despite being the oldest college football program in America, you can basically tell the story of Rutgers football by replaying the last 5-6 years.

    -I personally thought Greg Schiano was on the verge of building another “U,” but he seems to have hit a plateau, and has yet to win a Big East title.

    -Rutgers basketball is not as bad as Nebraska, but the Scarlet Knights are pretty inept.

    -Like Missouri, there isn’t much “allure” to Rutgers

    I’m intrigued by Rutgers. I think the football program has potential, and at the very minimum, you are picking up a lot potential subscribers for the BTN in New Jersey.

    So, the Big Ten now sits at 14. What are the next steps? I feel like the Irish would decline their “open invite” in about 5 seconds, because has anything changed for them? The Big East stays intact. If ND wants to play Nebraska they can schedule a home and home. Michigan, MSU, and Purdue stay on the schedule and the status quo is maintained.

    As it stands, the B10 has added one traditional, but faded power in Nebraska, and two “upstart” programs in Missouri and Rutgers that would probably be mid level B10 programs in the long run, but capable of challenging for the title every few seasons. Neither selection would be an Indiana, (perennial cellar dweller) which is good.

    However, an important fact to consider is that basketball wise, you will have added one solid but not great program in Missouri, but two flat out awful programs in Rutgers and Nebraska. This is why this proposed league of 14 in my opinion is not really a game changer and must go to 16.

    So who gets those two final spots? I’m going to focus on the most realistic candidates, so while Maryland and Kansas have been mentioned, I think Pitt, Syracuse, and UConn are the most realistic options (assuming Texas is off the board.)

    Well, I have long maintained that Pittsburgh must be brought into the fold:

    +Tradition rich program (top 20 all time wins)

    +Pitt basketball has become top notch, or just below top notch

    ++Pitt-PSU. There are a lot of naysayers that say this rivalry doesn’t mean much. Well, I have to disagree. Despite Pitt falling off the face of the earth for much of the 80’s and all of the 90’s, the Pitt-PSU game remains one of college football’s most storied rivalries. Even though the game has not been played since 2000, the two schools have met 96 times, with an all time series record of 50-42-4 in favor of PSU. Pennsylvania is a proud football playing state, and these two schools should be playing every year. In fact, I think this game becomes the Big Ten’s second biggest rivalry, (at least from a national perspective.) In some ways it’s a poor man’s version of the Iron Bowl.

    +Heinz Field. Even though it’s a pro venue, it is a great place to watch a football game.

    -Tradition rich program, but one that hasn’t done much for almost 30 years

    -Fan base is disappointingly lackluster. Maybe it’s true what they say about the city of Pittsburgh only caring about the Steelers and high school football.

    -No new TV market. I still think that this is offset by Pitt’s strong TV ratings, but from a business perspective this must be looked at.

    This leaves one spot. Again, as long as there is some sort of basketball league for ND to put its team in, they will decline. A catholic school league highlighted by Villanova and Georgetown, isn’t the juggernaut that the current Big East is, but as long as it’s a decent league, that’s where ND will play. So now you’re talking about UConn and Syracuse for that final spot.


    +Once proud program, with a fair amount of tradition and history

    +Top notch hoops

    +Upstate NY TV market, possibly NYC market as well

    -Program has simply fallen off the face of the earth

    -Carrier Dome is a miserable venue, and it would suck to have to start watching B10 football being played there

    -Syracuse probably faces the most difficult rebuilding job of any current “once proud” program, recruiting in a talentless state and convincing recruits to come to upstate NY, home to perhaps the country’s most inclement weather.

    I go back and forth with Syracuse, I personally think that the football program is dead and incapable of resuscitation unless it can get a new outdoor stadium built, and that is just a pipe dream right now. However, based on basketball prowess, I feel that Syracuse would be a good addition.


    +Program was a middling 1AA team and has been on a meteoric rise ever since moving to the 1A level.

    +Top notch hoops

    +In a trifecta with ‘Cuse, and Rutgers, you have effectively surrounded the New York City media market

    +Small stadium would have to be addressed, but the Huskies seem to have a decent fan base

    -Lack of tradition / history

    -How long will UConn hoops be UConn hoops without Jim Calhoun? Remember, this program did not exist prior to Calhoun.

    -Small state population in the event that NYC does not succumb to the BTN

    -Not an AAU member, which may kill the dream for any school not named Notre Dame

    I am starting to warm on UConn. I think their football program has a ton of potential and seems to be improving each season, and you give B10 hoops a shot in the arm.

    Assuming that ND declines, (which they will,) and that Texas is not an option, for me, I feel the best bet would be for the B10 to grab Nebraska, to go along with Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, and UConn. I am just not a fan of Missouri, but I could see the logic in swapping UConn for Missouri.

    I am with the camp that says go straight for 16. It’s all about content, and more teams = more content. It would be one thing if the league was adding 3 big time programs, but that isn’t the case. Plus, if 10 years from Texas finds the new B12 unappealing and appraoachs the B10 to become the 17th member the B10 would throw a welcoming parade for the Longhorns.

    The problem the B10 faces is that there aren’t really any brand name programs in or near the Midwest that can be plugged in easily. Unlike the SEC, who in theory can not only could go after Oklahoma and Texas but can also go after Florida State, Miami, and possibly Virginia Tech. The only “helmet” programs that the B10 can go after are Nebraska and Notre Dame, and possibly West Virginia if academics weren’t an issue. In the case of Nebraska and Notre Dame, both are not what they once were, especially Notre Dame.

    What does this mean for the B10? In my opinion, it means that it can not trump the SEC in terms of raw power schools, but as my expansion proposal shows, it can add some power to the football side, while at the same time adding some “jersey” programs to the basketball side.

    Now, Texas is the only possible “helmet” program that the B10 could conceivably add, but whether this is realistic or not is for another debate. Anyway, this brings me to my main question, and this is directed to any Texas fans / alumni out there:

    Is there a group of say 4 realistic schools that the B10 could add that would make Texas say, “hey, we got to get in here as the 5th school?” I feel that the three mentioned in yesterday’s report don’t really move the needle. I also feel that the opinion among Texas fans / alumni is divided, with some wanting the B10, some wanting the Pac 10, some want to say in a reconstituted B12, etc. While I find the Northwestern message board rumor pretty ridiculous, I did find it interesting to hear the ND / Texas part of it. Is Notre Dame that much of an attraction that Texas would consider joining the league assuming ND would be part of it? I get the feeling that a B10 with Texas would cause the Irish to come running, but is the same true for Texas?

    • PensfaninLAexile says:

      The only thing more fun to think about in the comment section than Texas is the Rutgers fait accompli.

      Rutgers is the beer goggles candidate. That NYC market looks so sexy, doesn’t it? But once Rutgers enters the B10 (and I agree that they are almost certainly part of any 14 or 16), sober reality will set in.

      Like you said, Tom, Schiano gave the program a big boost, but they have flatlined. Last year they were 3-4 in the BEast — uh, that stinks. OOC? A blistering 6-0 — toughest opponent? Maryland. Schiano has padded his record against a roster of cupcakes (I would too in order to get to some bowl games and start establishing some winning).

      When Schiano has to face off against some real competition it could be ugly. What would 3-4 BEast mean in B10? 2-6? Worse?

      It may be the case that Schiano improves his teams and puts together some 8-4 and 9-3 campaigns, decent bowls and makes PSU-RU a real contest.

      A more likely scenario would be 5-7 or 4-8, and creamed at least 2x a year in your own stadium. The NJ recruits who don’t go to Penn State start going to tOSU, Michigan, Wisconsin, rather than Rutgers.

      It’s been mentioned before in the comments, but it does bear repeating — if the product stinks, no one is going to watch. The B10 will be taking a big risk with Rutgers.

      On the bright side for the league — someone’s got to lose, right?

      Check out this anti-Rutgers rant from bleacherreport:

      • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

        Rutgers being bad isn’t necessarily bad for the Big 10 Network in NJ or slivers of NYC.

        1–You still give tons of Big 10 alumni in that region (technically from Boston down to D.C., but particularly NYC to Philly) an occasional chance to see their favorite midwestern team locally. How many times has Michigan played east of State College in the past 20 years? That will fill up seats in a 1-11 Rutgers stadium.

        2–While the Rutgers fans may stir up half of the pot for getting the BTN on NJ/sliver NYC cable, other Big 10 alum will stir the other half to make it happen. If ND indeed joins, you’ll have them PLUS PSU alums PLUS the other traditional Big 10 school’s alums in the area PLUS general fans of college football desirous of Texas/Nebraska/Big 10 football rolled into one. It’s an attractive package even with a frustrated Scarlet Knight fan base lamenting 3-9 seasons.

        3–I guess my last point is that Rutgers could/should improve upon entering the megaBig10. While their home recruiting ground may be invaded, they should have a stronger pull up and down the coast (and into Big 10 country to a small, small extent) as a “city-friendly, Eastern Shore-flavored” way of playing in the Big 10. I don’t think they’ll become perennial contenders, but they could continue to grow and be mid-tier Big 10 schools (kind of like Purdue and MSU). It’s possible.

      • 84Lion says:

        It is interesting to see support building on this blog for consideration of Maryland to the Big Ten, yet they are lumped in the “cupcake” category because Rutgers beats them. All the while Rutgers is generally considered somewhat football-challenged.

        • Rick says:

          In addition, Rutgers is 4-1 against Pitt in the last 5 years. I don’t consider Pitt as cupcakes. Both Rutgers and Pitt should continue to improve their programs and most likely would consistently be 2nd tier finishers with the likes of Wisconsin, Iowa, and MSU. They have more in common (with the state of their current program over the last 5 years) with those 3 than Illinois, Purdue, NW, Indiana, and Minnesota.

        • Vincent says:

          Maryland split with Rutgers in its recent two-game football series, each winning on the other’s field. But as an all-around athletic program, Maryland has it all over Rutgers, with NCAA titles in men’s and women’s basketball, men’s soccer and field hockey over the past decade. The closest Rutgers came was a runnerup in women’s hoops.

      • michaelC says:

        Rutgers a ‘beer-goggles’ candidate? By what standards?

        If someone was saying Texas or Rutgers is a toss-up because the media markets are similar then your comment would have some bite. As it is, this is a straw-man focused on a football fan centered perspective. The article is just that and not worth the read.

        As this blog has worked out in detail, expansion is based on many attributes. Whether or not candidate X’s football team will be mediocre in all future competition is not the primary feature (and basically unknowable in any case). I think it is fair to talk about national brand appeal as that has a direct impact on advertising revenue — and everyone can agree Rutgers is not a national brand. There is a cost to building a brand and one can ask whether that is likely to happen. I think it is possible for Rutgers to build a strong football brand (excellent recruiting grounds — both football and btw, basketball). A Big Ten affiliation would be a big help.

        In any case, NYC is a market too big to ignore when one is playing with the knowledge that this period of expansion determines the cards one has going forward. Even with a Big XII-centered expansion, leaving out Rutgers –the single best bet to get into NJ/NYC and leverage the conference’s assets — just doesn’t make sense. If it fails, the downside is not so bad (NJ), if it does work the upside is Texas-like in impact (perhaps even more so given the influence of NYC in media and advertising circles).

        Apart from those media considerations, Rutgers is a solid choice by any measure. After Texas and Maryland, Rutgers is the best available academic school (along with Pitt). It is a state school and a large alumni (another 10,000 graduate next week) and a good cultural fit with the Big Ten. Even if Rutgers was not the closest Big Ten-like school to NYC (by Midwest standards New Brunswick is suburb distance to NYC) it would be a logical candidate.

        • PensfaninLAexile says:

          “Beer goggles” candidate by the standard that the program isn’t that good. Their record has been fattened up by a weak OOC schedule and the BEast has some good teams, but nothing compared to the B10.

          The point is that they may have good demos, academics, etc., but what happens if they get into the B10 and get creamed every week? How will expansion look then? BC to ACC hasn’t worked as well as the participants hoped and BC is a better program.

          • PSUGuy says:

            I’d say they look a lot like Indiana…bad team in a populous state with excellent academics.

          • mushroomgod says:

            As an IU fan, I feel that I’m well qualified to comment on bad football programs….and I don’t think Rutgers will be an IU in BT football. The big difference, imo, is that Rutgers is the only D1 program in a state that annually produces perhaps twice the # of D1 prospects as Indiana. IU has to share those recruits with Purdue and, occasionally, ND. At worse, I see RU as an Illinois-type program, at best, an Iowa or Wisconsin.

      • Charles C says:

        I agree. Here are the facts about Rutgers that everyone seems to gloss over:

        Fan Support
        - 2009 average football attendance of 49,100
        - 2009 average basketball attendance of 4,600
        - Ranked 48th in NCAA licensing sales (lower than every other rumored expansion candidate)
        - 2009 average television ratings of 1.51

        Can anyone identify where this “large” fan base is hiding? Because they don’t appear to be attending games, buying t-shirts or watching their team on television.

        Athletic Success
        - Since 2005, during the “modern / golden” era of Rutgers football, the program has averaged 4 losses per season.
        - Rutgers has never won more than 5 conference games in a season.
        - Their five year Directors Cup average ranking is 85th, 32 spots below the lowest Big Ten team.

        Are we to expect that in the face of increased competition, Rutgers will be anything other than a lower-tier Big Ten team?

        Additionally, the academics of Rutgers have been trumpeted on this site, yet Rutgers will be below the Big Ten average in endowment, research spending, academic rankings.

        If the Big Ten wants to add Rutgers, fine. They will be a solid addition to the CIC and offer Big Ten alumni on the east coast an opportunity to see their teams. But let’s not delude ourselves into thinking that Rutgers offers anything other than average (by Big Ten standards) academics and below average athletics.

        • Mike R says:

          Many valid points here. But I think 49K is a sellout at Rutgers Stadium. And they have a waiting list for football season tickets.

        • michaelC says:

          @Charles C

          Your analysis strikes me as shortsighted and a bit disingenuous. Let me restate the case and add some context to your points about the apparent lack of a rabid fan base.

          After Texas and Maryland, Rutgers (and Pitt) are the best available academic schools. They are much better than the next tier of expansion candidates, all of whom would be below every school in the Big Ten (edit: TAMU would be above a couple of Big Ten schools). All four of them are amongst the best universities in the world. In terms of Big Ten academics, to be ‘below average’ (BTW my count Rutgers/Pitt would be 6th in the current conference and so ‘above average’) is hardly a ‘meh’.

          Rutgers is the best option to reach into the NYC market. It is the local (geographically speaking) team.

          Your points about the lack of indicators for a rabid fan base are well taken, but benefit from some context. First, the football attendance figures are actually pretty good — the stadium holds 52K now — and the home schedule was far from attractive this year (with some horrible weather — cold and rain — to boot).

          Rutgers football history for the last twenty/thirty years has had no success until recently. The school was independent until 1991 when the Big East was formed. It has never been a football power (to put it kindly). A serious investment in building a football program has been in place for less than a decade. New Jersey is a rich recruiting grounds for both football and basketball and in the past its best players have gone elsewhere (and a good many have had an impact in the Big Ten).

          The media coverage of Big East football is pathetic. If the Rutgers game is not on ESPN, you probably cannot watch it. I’m in NYC and the Big East cable outlet shows one game a week (for the conference) and it is not HD.

          I’ll note that BB history of success (men’s that is) has been consistently nonexistent.

          It is hard to whip up a rabid fan base when one has no established history of winning and the team is practically invisible in its viewing area. An attendance of 49K/52K and sold out season tickets tells a story of real potential, I think.

          As others have argued, I believe moving to the Big Ten will change everything. Recruiting NJ players will continue to improve and the fans will be much more interested in the Big Ten teams than the Big East competition, whatever the outcome on the field. Generally, I expect Rutgers will be middle of the pack in the Big Ten, but capable of rising and challenging from time to time (think MSU, Purdue). In the longer term, Rutgers could be a solid member of the upper division — it certainly has a better local base for recruiting than most of the Big Ten schools. Gaining national access will depend on success and exposure.

          • Charles C says:

            Rutgers football did average 94% capacity last year. That is very respectable, but would still rank 9th in the Big Ten.

            As you’ve stated, the enhanced TV presence and media profile offered by Big Ten membership may assist Rutgers in continuing to build its program. But winning is what ultimately builds a fan base. Indiana and Northwestern have been hosting games against Michigan and OSU for 100 years. What’s that done for their attendance and fan interest?

            My point is that it is a huge gamble on the Big Ten’s part to add a school with zero record of sustained athletic success. Especially when that school is located in a pro-sports market that only cares about winners.

        • ezdozen says:

          As a Big East fan… taking Rutgers is the best case scenario. The Big East survives that hit.

          I think the Big 10 is better off either going East and taking Pitt, UConn, Syracuse, Rutgers, and Notre Dame (if, of course)….. or going west and taking Missouri, Nebraska, and Kansas (and hoping for Texas/A%M).

          Maybe you could take Nebraska or Missouri if Notre Dame declines the eastern expansion.

          But I don’t see Rutgers + 1 Big East school mattering to the Northeast. The other two schools will likely end up in the ACC, dividing the NE corridor (BC and PSU). From there, success would matter more than school name. Who is more likely to be successful… a Big East team joining a loaded Big 10 or a Big East team joining a possibly depleted ACC?

          • PSUGuy says:

            Fair enough, but another point would be who has more non-local alumni in the area…ACC teams or Big10 teams?

            If PSU/OSU/UoM come to town to play Cuse/Rutgers/UConn (whichever get in) do you think they’d be a bigger draw (for ABC/ESPN and BTN advertisers) than any of the ACC teams?

            I do.

          • ezdozen says:

            If the Big Ten already has the presence in NYC, why is ANY school needed?

            Moreover, unless Rutgers, Syracuse, or UConn are able to compete with OSU, PSU, and U of M, the game will get ratings until it is out of reach.

            We don’t know whether Rutgers can compete with OSU or PSU because they refuse to play any type of schedule. UConn will play U of M this year, played Notre Dame last year. Syracuse played Minnesota, Northwestern, and Penn St.

            If you add UConn, Syracuse, and Rutgers… you get the local flavor of all those schools competing against each other AND the aforementioned visits from other schools.

            I just think taking one school… any school really… does very little to capture the market. And if the only school the Big East loses is Rutgers… that’s a win.

            Heck, look at Paul Tagliabue’s comments. Brer rabbit?

          • PSUGuy says:

            One simple reason…BTN.

            Without schools in the states of mention the BTN will never be a basic cable channel in those areas and its carry rates will be comensurate. The ad rates the BTN could charge for games in those areas might be higher since it could sell the fact it has built in alumni base, but it would be losing money that it could have access to.

            If Syracuse could get the BTN the $.70 carry rate for all of NY, not even NYC just the rest of the state, thats still 12 million people (less for tv sets) you’d be adding to the Big10 footprint. Even if PSU or OSU aren’t coming to play (to capitalize on the alumni prescence in the area) a Syracuse game on the BTN would be a considerable local draw that the BTN could sell the heck out of. It wouldn’t be a national concern, and as such the BigEast can’t leverage those teams / population centers to ABC/ESPN, but it could be very lucrative to the Big10, but again, only because of the BTN.

          • Sportsman24 says:

            I think there are two universities that must be included in any expansion. Those two universities are NU & Pitt. NU brings, among other things, a National FB brand and they appear to be increasing their amount of research. Pitt brings everything, but new markets.

            From there, the BT has to decide whether they want to go East or West. I don’t think they can do both.

            If they go East, they should invite SU, RU & UConn/MD. As ezdozen mentioned, they could try to grab NYC by bringing the National Brands (NU, UM, OSU, PSU…) into the NYC area and by having the “local” teams (Pitt, PSU, SU, RU & UConn/MD) playing each other there on a bigger stage (in the BT). The Sub-Divisions would look something like:
            * West: IA, MN, NU* & WI
            * South: IL, IU, NW & OSU
            * North: UM, MSU, PU & SU*
            * East: PSU, Pitt*, RU* & CT/MD*
            The “home run” in this scenario is surrounding the tri-state of NYC. I believe each of SU, RU & CT/MD has a lot of athletic potential. But, that potential may, or may not, be realized.

            If they go West, it would be more of a “home run” in that the BT would include universities that are National Brands right now (and have been historically). The three Western universities that should be invited are UT, TAMU & MU. The BT would look something like this:
            * West: IA, MN, NU* & WI
            * South: IL, MU*, UT* & TAMU*
            * North: UM, MSU, NW & PU
            * East: IU, OSU, PSU & Pitt*

            The BT needs to choose… East or West.

          • Michael says:

            @ Sportsman,

            I used to think that too. The more you think about it though, the better a mixed strategy looks.

            The reason is because – East or West – in adopting five teams you´re talking about adopting dead weight in one form or another. And since with each strategy you are only talking about one or two big fish, we´re all better off if you can reel those in without the extra frills.

            At this point, if you can´t get Texas, I´d give up Missouri. Likewise, if you can´t get ND, I´m not letting in Rutgers.

            The Big 10 brand is too powerful at this point to expand just for the point of expansion. There´s no reason to dilute the brand with schools that aren´t going to bring in either Texas or NYC.

            However this turns out – both goals, one goal or neither accomplished – I think the next strategy is to look Southeast – from D.C and Tennessee down to Florida.

        • Pezlion says:

          The fact remains that Rutgers is the best fit for the Big Ten as an institution when compared to ANY other expansion candidate. If you remove geography, Texas is obviously a better fit, but geography does count for something.

          • Kyle says:

            Remove geography and Pitt would be the obvious fit. Damn, if only Pitt had Maryland or Rutger’s location…

          • @Kyle – I’ve always thought that about Pitt. If it were located almost anywhere other than Western Pennsylvania, it would be a Big Ten school already.

          • ezdozen says:

            Yeah. I agree on Pitt.

            The Big East could probably survive losing only Pitt.

            But losing Rutgers is still the best case scenario.

          • Pezlion says:

            Pitt’s 17 varsity sports would be the least of any athletic department in the Big Ten. Rutgers supports 22 varsity sports, which is much more in line with the rest of the league. Like the vast majority of the Big Ten, Rutgers is a flagship land grant institution. Pitt is not. Rutgers would be the 7th best school in the Big Ten according to the rankings of the national research council (which are admittedly dated at this point, but were at one time the best measure of a research university) and 16th overall among public universities. Pitt would be the lowest Big Ten school, and 33rd overall.

            I could go on, but Pitt’s fit in the Big Ten is overstated as compared to some other options, particularly Rutgers.

          • Kyle says:

            ::eye roll::
            In sports, Rutgers has NCAA Men’s & Women’s golf, Men’s & Women’s Lacrosse, women’s field hockey and women’s rowing. Lacrosse isn’t a Big Ten sport, and not every Big Ten school has Women’s field hockey women’s rowing. They’re still relatively inexpensive sports for Pitt to bring up from club status.
            Sorry, but this non-flagship university still has twice the research budget of Rutgers and three times the endowment. There may be an argument if you can prove the UMDNJ would be joining the CIC too, but I haven’t heard anything to support that idea.

    • c says:

      Re Big 10 options (Tom)

      Interesting summary of options with positives and negatives.

      1) A while ago more than a few posts were suggesting the benefits USC and UCLA would bring to the Big 10. Those posters have gone and in their place are posts about how ND or Texas can be brought into the expansion by the right strategy. Is it possible that ND and Texas and Maryland have behind the scenes said “thanks but no thanks”?

      2) If Texas or ND or Maryland are quietly in play, then no one should be concerned that the Big 10 is going to expand without them or wouldn’t do anything reasonable to work with them with respect to timing or package of schools or pods or whatever. It could be an extended timetable for expansion is precisely to allow those target schools to analyze their options or decide what they want to do.

      3) Back to reality, if the pool of actual candidates are the ones you mentioned in your post and frequently mentioned by Greenstein and others, including Nebraska, Missouri, Pitt, RU, SU, UConn, Kansas, then the question is what is the strategy.

      My personal opinion is the Big 10 might choose to select quality schools in the northeast markets, including some strong BB schools along with an historically strong football program in Nebraska.

      The reason for 16 is to add additional quality live programming for the Big 10 channel that will appeal to the various expanded markets.

      While I understand the appeal of Missouri to Presidents of large midwest state schools, and specifically to the western members, I believe Missouri absent Texas is a bridge to nowhere.

      One of the lessons of the current financial problems of the Big 12 may be that even with great traditional teams like Texas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, that conference is in trouble because they lack large markets within member school footprints.

    • ChicagoRed says:

      Re: “Faded Power” Nebraska’s winning % compared to the other BT powers OSU, PSU, & Wisconsin would rank 3rd in this decade, and 4th over the last 5 years. So in Nebraska’s worst period in 50 years, their football would still be BT top tier.

      Incidentally, Nebraska’s had a better winning % than your Wolverines in both these periods :)

      • Tom says:


        I’ll be the first to admit that the Wolverines’ struggles the past few seasons have been nothing short of disgraceful. Going back to 2005, Michigan has been flat out awful, (with the exception of 2006.) So, Nebraska having a better winning percentage during this period doesn’t really wow me. (I still think the Cornhuskers are a good addition, but I don’t think they are a great addition.)

        And let’s be honest if you had to pick one program most likely to “return to glory,” I think most people would pick Michigan. While the state of Michigan isn’t exactly a hot bed for recruits, it is far better than what Nebraska is working with. Ann Arbor is a much better college town than Lincoln, and sits closer to the B10 recruiting hotbeds of Ohio and Pennsylvania. In terms of national recruiting, Michigan has and always will have the better reach and cachet than Nebraska. Whether it’s Rich Rod or Jim Harbaugh turning the ship around remains to be be seen, but I think most people believe that Michigan will be back to its top 10 ways relatively soon.

        Either way, Michigan is already in the B10 so there is really no point in comparing them to Nebraska, who in my opinion has faded. If they haven’t then their winning pct. should be right around OSU’s winning pct. right?

        When the B10 added PSU, it got a dominant program. Right now, Nebraska is not dominant, and like I said, it’s been 8 seasons since their last run at a title. The only program that was more dominant than USC in the 2000′s was Nebraska in the 90′s. I want that Nebraska in the B10. The current Nebraska is not that Nebraska.

        • Albino Tornado says:

          No, you really don’t. That Nebraska went 60-3 over a five year period. I imagine you’d like to win the conference once in a while.

          • Tom says:

            True, I would like to win the league, but my thinking is that a Nebraska team going 60-3 over 5 years would help lift up the rest of the league, sort of like what USC has done recently in the Pac 10.

          • PSUGuy says:

            In fairness…I don’t think the Big10 wants that team in the league due to the notorious nature of its program…I mean does Lawrence Phillips ring a bell?

        • ChicagoRed says:

          I’m not cherry picking Nebraska’s success vs other Big 10 powers.
          By decade compared to current BT, Nebraska winning % ranks:
          1960-2009: 1st
          1970-2009: 1st
          1980-2009: 1st
          1990-2009: 2nd
          2000-2009: 3rd

          My real point is that the Nebraskas and Michigans are always good and bounce back from low periods–certainly Michigan will. But in Nebrask’s case, even their worst decade or 5 years in 50 years is top tier BT.

  52. Steve says:

    For the basketball side at Nebraska, it looks be getting better.

    The city of Lincoln just passed a 344million dollar arena project which will be completed in the fall of 2013 and seat 16k people.

    Also the university is building the first ever practice facility for basketball, total cost for that is around 10.5 million.

    First time ever Nebraska is putting a large sum of money into basketball, they really want to turn the program around.

    So hopefully if we go to the Big 10 they can bring in a whole new attitude and team in.

    • Scott C says:

      The arena looks pretty amazing and is badly needed. Not only because the Devany Center is dated, but it will be a good recruiting tool and should spark some fan interest.

      • zeek says:

        Of all the teams in the conference expansion mix, Nebraska and Missouri do look like they’ve put the most effort into becoming like Big Ten schools. From Missouri’s renovations to its stadium, to Nebraska’s research spending, etc.

        (Obviously they’re doing it out of their own schools interest, but it also plays into getting Big Ten invites).

        • Rick says:

          RU just completed a $100 million stadium expansion last fall, further expansion capability up to 70k built into the design. Plans currently in place for BB arena upgrade and expansion.

          • michaelC says:


            I wasn’t aware of a commitment to upgrade the BB facilities. Certainly about time. How can they possible expand the RAC? Looks to me a new BB arena is needed.

          • Rick says:

            Tim Pernetti the AD has expansion plans and drawings for RAC expansion which will include building addition, boxes, practice facility, and new office for Olympic Sports coaches and administration. A new arena is not in the plans but upgrading the current Rutgers Athletic Center RAC. Financing arrangements are in the works.

      • Mike R says:

        Gotta love what architects can do with CGI. Is this on the NU campus, or downtown Lincoln?

        • Albino Tornado says:

          Neither, actually; it’s the old State Fair Park northeast of the Devaney Center. It took me a couple of watchings and some google-mapping recognize it.

          • Scott C says:

            The State Fair Park is reserved for the Innovation Campus.

            You can see in the video they start out at Haymarket Park and work their way south to meet the Haymarket. Both projects will be great additions to the area.

        • Scott C says:

          The campus is pretty much located right off of downtown Lincoln. The arena will be located just south of Haymarket Park and west of Memorial Stadium (on campus). The west part of downtown Lincoln is called the Haymarket. It’s really a nice area with some good restaurants and bars. I believe the plan is to have the Haymarket develop north and connect with the new arena.

          Here’s an overview of the area:

          As far as I know, it’ll be called the Haymarket Arena. While the University is an active partner in its development and the Huskers will be the main tenant, it’ll be owned by the city.

          The big project that the University is currently working on is the Innovation Campus that will be built on the old fair grounds on the north side of the current campus.

      • Mike R says:

        And you gotta know they’re going to call it the Osborne Center.

  53. Skidmark says:


  54. Scott C says:

    Kevin Keitzman was on Omaha’s local sports show today. I’m really starting to think this was just the Big Ten making those initial contacts. It does make sense and still allows for all sides to deny the story.

    • Scott C says:

      Oh, the interview starts around the 1/3 into the segment.

    • 84Lion says:

      Actually, for KK being described as a “hack” by others in this thread, he comes off as sounding quite reasonable and he makes some good arguments. (Then again I am used to Atlanta sports radio, which tends to be uninteresting and unprofessional.) Combine his comments with the San Jose paper comments below on MU (and UNL by association) being “hell-bent” on getting out of the Big 12 and more pieces of the puzzle fall into place. Those who have not listened to the clip from the show should, the ideas presented are very illuminating. I’m not sure I’m ready to buy into the Memphis/Cincinnati/Louisville to the Big 12 idea, but everything else is more than reasonable.

      What I get out of all this is that MU and UNL started the process of initial backchannel contact with Big Ten admin folks some time back, probably late last year. Now the Big Ten backchannel contacts have come back and said to MU and UNL, “we’d love to have you, submit your apps online and you won’t be disappointed.” Undoubtedly Rutgers has done something similar. And, at the same time, backchannel contacts have suggested ND also apply if they want to.

      As with any application, I’m sure there’s a time limit and my guess would be that UNL, MU, and Rutgers probably had their applications in before the WHB story broke. When the Big Ten heads meet in June, they will have those three formal applications and if KK’s analysis is anywhere near correct, those applications will be approved then. At that point the official invites go out and UNL, MU, and Rutgers say yes, in time to meet KK’s “July” timeframe. My guess is that all three schools could play Big Ten schedules as early as 2012, certainly 2013 at the latest. Although, Rutgers will have to cancel that OOC home-n-home with Penn State in 2014 and 2015 – it won’t be OOC anymore! My further guess would be that if UND declines to submit an application, the B10 will stand pat at the Big Fourteen for awhile.

      Dang, this is fun! Don’t know if it’s time to uncork the bubbly yet, but maybe we ought at least to be making up the tub of Gatorade (who shall we douse, Jim Delany?). Big 14, here we come!

      • PSUGuy says:

        I simply don’t see why the Big10 would jump the gun this summer to add Neb, Mizzou, Rutgers and call its quits on expansion when it doesn’t know (officially) what the Pac10 will do and how unstable the Big12 will get.

        If they wait until at least the Pac10 makes its play (and makes it known Texas will be welcome in the Big10) and they take two solid markets from the Big12 the Big10 says “these three are officially in and we’re looking for two more…” while saying “Texas, want an in?”.

        At that point there’s one last slot…its ND if they want it, and would allow the Big10 legitimate play in New England while adding another national brand, but if refused (again) could add a final NYC team to go to 16…with the final tally being two national programs (Neb, Texas), two high population “solid” athletics/academics programs (Mizzou, Rutgers) with one last school either being another national program (ND) or the “end cap” to try and solidify the NYC DMA (Syracuse/UConn).

        • Pezlion says:

          Going to 14 now doesn’t close off future expansion. It seems pretty clear that Texas wants to make a go of it with the Longhorn Sports Network and cling to the Big XII. It also seems pretty clear that ND wants to cling to independence. Fine. The Big Ten can go to 14 now, it can continue to increase it’s revenues through the BTN. It can sign a new 5 year hoops deal with CBS. And it can sit and wait.

          The ESPN contract would then be up in 2016 and the new CBS deal would be up in 2017. So in 2015, the Big Ten can revisit the expansion situation. They would have been playing with the new setup for three years, and it would give Texas and ND more time to see where things stand. It would also give the other conferences more time to shake things up. If UT and ND still aren’t interested, then Big Ten will have a better idea of the future of the BTN, and the effect that the first round of expansion had. At that point, it might behoove them to go after UConn, or SU, or UMD, or Kansas. In any event, the league will have much more information available to it than it does now. And so will everyone else.

          • PSUGuy says:

            I disagree slightly…right now there are only two conferences looking to expand and no teams looking for a home (at least officially).

            If the Big10 went to 14 and “waited for the dust to clear” the Pac10 still needs to make its move. I have to believe they are going to expand (television alliances are nice, but membership in a conference can be depended on, the Big12 cannot) and will go for at least Colorado. Even if they don’t go for another Big12 school (I still think they make a play for TAMU) the Big12 has lost every major market in the north and just about every major market / team with the exception of Texas. Even if Texas starts its own network, that will be several years in the making and all the while the SEC will be making serious overtures for them to join (with or without TAMU). And even if Texas decides to stick with the Big12/independent how likely is it going to join a conference after its finally got said channel up and running?

            Point being, after the Big10 / Pac10 makes their plays teams and conferences will be scrambling and that’s no way to guarantee an optimum solution.

            What’s more I really think a realistic schedule for starting to play a Big10 schedule for the new teams is 2012. With contract negotiations probably starting 2014 (to ensure their finalized prior to the 2015 season and 2016 when the contract is up) you only have 1-2 seasons to show the impact having these schools in the Big10 has and what ABC/ESPN needs to pay because of it.

            Personally, I still wait until the Pac10 expansion is officialized. Everyone already knows Neb, Mizzou, and Rutgers are all but in right now, the Pac10 will be the signal of whether the Big12 is going to be nothing or just a diminished conference.

            If it looks to survive, the Big10 can easily sit or push for the north east, but if it looks to be on life support bumping the expansion to 16 by adding Texas (maybe TAMU)looks very easy to do (and why would they gamble on a tv channel not even started against once already created and a conference falling around their ears?) and could easily be sold to Texas Legislatures as a “survival” move with schools like TT and Baylor could possibly be sold to the MWC (now with possible BCS tie ins) in a round of expansion for it.

            Point being the Big10 has already detabilized the Big12 with the understanding of 3 likely additions and until the Pac10 makes its move (and they NEED to move soon) the Big10 runs the risk of leaving valuable programs up for someone else to grab.

  55. PensfaninLAexile says:

    Nothing more fun than talking Texas …

    This blog is B10-centric, so most of the commenters look at Texas and think of reasons why THEY should join US. But to Texas it’s the reverse. Since there are so many boosters for the US crowd, I will pass on repeating their arguments.

    Consider some contra arguments from a Texas POV:

    1) As it stands today, Texas faces only one real football power (OU) on its way to a national championship game. A&M, Tech, and OK State may be able to pull the odd upset, but OU is the big obstacle. In the B10, there may not be a program stronger than OU, but the depth is greater and thus the possibility of a loss or two. So, joining B10 drops the potential for playing in the BCS championship. How do you put a dollar figure on a weakened chance at the BCS? I don’t know, but that’s gotta be worth a few million.

    2) Might be able to make more money with own cable network.

    3) Donor/alum opposition. Today donors get to see UT in Austin and can easily get to Waco, College Station, etc. And every year they see the big tilt with OU in JerryWorld — followed by the championship game in said JW. B10? Much bigger pain to haul your ass to Lafayette of Lansing. Not to mention a championship game in Detroit/Chicago/Indy. That’s a long way from JerryWorld.
    (Throw in BBall games, too).

    What happens when the boys in the luxury suites hear that they’ll be headed to Detroit in December, not Dallas?

    4) Loss of rivalries. Want to win a natl championship? Then your OOC schedule better all be cupcakes. So, maybe they keep A&M. But OU is gone as a game. Does Texas’ fan base want to lose that?

    Maybe Texas picks up $10-$15 million from the B10 in TV — but what if they lose $10 million from ticked off alums? Maybe Hopkins knows if the big $$ donors for Texas would put a kibosh on this, but it seems to me that loss of donor support could be a very real possibility.

    Is a major donor revolt worth $15 million? As long as the four core schools stay in the B12, it survives as a BCS conference and gives Texas a launching pad for the natl championship. They can figure ways to make more $$ as TV contracts expire. Any move is really permanent — so you better be sure it’s the right move for the next 20 years, not just for the duration of the current TV contract.

    • @PensfaninLAexile – Looking at the general comments that I’ve seen from Texas alums on message boards and blogs (which I understand is not necessarily representative of the views of everyone), they are WAY more concerned about Texas sitting around and doing nothing while the Big XII falls apart and there’s a lot of support to go to the Big Ten. There are also others that like the prospect of the Pac-10 or Western Alliance. The point is that there isn’t any rumbling at all of a donor revolt and, in fact, the main revolt might be that Texas is too willing to let bad things happen around them. The worry is that Deloss Dodds wouldn’t want to destroy the conference that he helped create and, as a result, it’s coloring his objectivity on the subject. This is in direct contrast to virtually all Notre Dame fan outlets, where you will see 99% opposition to joining the Big Ten. Unlike ND alums, Texas fans saw what happened to the SWC, so they are much more aware that the status quo may not be a viable option much longer. I have full faith that there would be a donor revolt if ND were to join the Big Ten, but I don’t think that would happen at Texas (especially among the academically-minded people).

      • Let me also put the caveat here that the assumption is that Texas A&M would come along with Texas to provide a geographic rival. OU would be played in the non-conference schedule just like it was for 80 years. I think that you’re wildly overestimating how much Texas fans care about being able to travel to Waco and Lubbock (or at least if the alternative is to remain in a crippled conference). The other Texas alums that are commenters can speak better to this issue.

        • PensfaninLAexile says:

          Yes, few Texas fans would shed any tears over not going to Lubbock every other year.

          But I am not talking about people who post on message boards. I am talking about people at the Trustee level and their friends. What does the crowd in the luxury boxes think? If anyone out there in the Texas universe knows, let them post and comment — maybe they reflect your analysis. I don’t put much stock in the influence of the internet hoi polloi.

          If Mizzou and NE leave, that’s not good, but is it fatal? Only if a subset (or all 4) of OU, OK State, A&M, Texas leave. And their only logical destination in the near term is SEC. (Or do you disagree about the challenge to getting PAC-10 to expand?)

          You posted earlier that any B10 addition would have to be a net contributor. And SEC will likely expand in pairs. So, who could be a net contributor to SEC? TX, OU, A&M, OK State (State is debatable). I suppose Kansas might be, but would the SEC reach that far?

          The SEC has three natl contenders (FL, AL, LSU) and two possible contenders (Auburn, Georgia). Do they want another natl contender in the mix? Will any additional money really be worth it? I am guessing Florida wants to play Texas in the BCS, not in Atlanta. I am dubious about the SEC being so hot for Texas or Oklahoma. Maybe A&M.

          What I was trying to get at originally is that the I don’t think the B12 is in such dire straits. Losing Mizzou and Nebraska may be bad, but is not the death blow so many commenters seem to accept as an article of faith. As such, Texas is not in some box where joining the B10 is the only way out.

          And the PAC-10 is still stuck in neutral.

    • Patrick says:

      Who would you consider the 4 CORE schools in the Big XII?

      Looking at it from Wisconsin I would think it goes Texas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Colorado, Texas Tech, Kansas State, Iowa State, then Baylor.

      • PensfaninLAexile says:

        The Cyclones are part of the core of B12?

        The criterion of core would be the same for any conference: Any school that is a critical component to the success of the conference AND has departure options.

        ISU, Kansas, KState, Baylor, TTech have no option other than B12 (unless MWC becomes a BCS conference).

        Colorado is replaceable.

        TX, A&M, OU, OK State are the best known and wealthiest programs. Plus they have options (SEC).

        • PensfaninLAexile says:

          Let me amend that, given my other post. TX, A&M, OK, OK State have both other conference options, and in the case of OK and TX, wherever they go they strengthen a conference.

          ISU, KS, KState, Baylor, TTech are all programs that have no option but to watch the process unfold and hope for the best.

          • Gopher86 says:

            I don’t agree with Kansas being lumped into the ‘no options’ group. They’re AAU with top 25 athletic revenues and profitability and have a top 5 basketball program.

            If the Pac-10 whiffs on the Texas schools, what are their options? Colorado and…? Utah is not AAU and BYU has political issues. Their options are slim.

        • Patrick says:

          I was more ranking how I see the current Big 12. I wasn’t trying to define a core group. But say TX, OK, A&M, and OK State are in that “core” group. Where are Nebraska and Missouri? How do they fit from a Big 12 perspective and what is the Big 12 losing?

          I see it as TX – NU – OU – A&M – MU – OK ST…. but I would like to know your thoughts.

          • PensfaninLAexile says:

            Maybe ‘core’ isn’t the best word choice. I look at Texas, OK, OK State, and A&M as teams whose departure would most hurt the B12. The best way to look at it is probably a sliding scale, with TX and OK at the top.

            I could agree with you on NU.

            But Mizzou? From an eastern/now west coast perspective, my reaction to Missouri is, uh, who’s that? Can’t they easily be replaced by Utah?

          • Mike says:

            Think of the Big 12 in tiers. Utah could probably replace anything but a tier I school.

            I – NU, OU, UT, TAMU
            II- KU, MU, TTU, OSU
            III – CU, KSU, ISU, BU

          • Gopher86 says:

            In terms of a University’s value to the conference:

            Texas A&M


            Oklahoma State

            Kansas State
            Texas Tech
            Iowa State

            That’s from a KU fan’s perspective. Any of the top four would be impossible to replace. The next three would hurt. Okie State is in purgatory between a have and have-not only because of T-Boone’s money. Most would say the last four teams could go in any order and could be dumped for upgrades.

      • zeek says:

        The 4 core schools of the Big 12 are clearly Texas/A&M/Nebraska/Oklahoma. There’s a reason those 4 are the ones voting for uneven revenue sharing (because they typically top the $ charts due to TV appearances, etc.).

        Mike’s tier system is probably accurate as is Patrick’s rankings, but I would exchange TTU and CU between the 2nd and 3rd tiers…

        I would put Colorado and Missouri both around the middle though because of their in-state markets. Kansas might be a bit higher than Missouri simply because of its pull on KC.

        • Mike says:

          I didn’t take into account market size when I did that. Colorado could probably go either way. I included them in the bottom tier because of their small football stadium (54K), their low number of sports (min required for D1), and their overall current fan apathy. If it weren’t for T. Boone, I would have put OSU in tier III. The more I think about it, if you want to think of importance to the Big 12, OSU is probably a tier III school and should switch with CU.

  56. FLP_NDRox says:

    So, basically, Texas is ND with a love of playing Texas teams instead of teams from all over the country?


  57. Josh says:

    The San Jose Mercury News is passing on stuff they heard at the Commissioner’s meetings in Phoenix.

    The bullet points:

    1) The B10 is also looking at Maryland, Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech for expansion. (Andy Katz also reported this.) From both reports, it sounds like the schools were included just to be thorough, but we’ve talked about the appeal of Maryland before. GT is interesting someone that’s been mentioned in passing around here. They certainly fit academically and they’re located in a big market, but I question if the fan base is there. Vanderbilt makes no sense to me, academic rep or no. They’re the #2 team in their own city, and they’re a joke in football. The one sport they’re great at is baseball, and playing bad B10 baseball would hurt that.

    In any case, no one actually seems to think these schools will be included in expansion

    2) Missouri and Nebraska are “hell-bent” to get out of the Big 12. No surprise to any of us here. Being in California, they float the “Is Mizzou to the Pac 10 possible?” angle.

    3) In a related note, Boise State is likely to go to the MWC and soon, if only to secure an automatic BCS bid for the conference. If BSU is playing in the MWC in 2011, then BSU’s record from 2008-2010 count towards the automatic bid.

    • Albino Tornado says:

      To clarify, only Missouri’s is “hell-bent” to get out. Nebraska’s administration (specifically Perlman and Osborne) have been playing it a lot cooler than Missou’s admins.

      • Nostradamus says:

        That isn’t to say Nebraska doesn’t want to or won’t go if invited, they will. Agreed though Missouri has been acting like the child screaming pick me pick me! Nebraska has been handling things more professionally.

        • Kyle says:

          Can you blame them? Their best teams in years were passed over when it came down to bowl selections.

          • Nostradamus says:

            Yes and no.
            1) the Big 12 bowl selection order isn’t locked in. Missouri has traditionally not traveled well to bowl games. From a bowl organizers perspective, I can see picking a lower team that you believe will travel better.
            2) related to this, the only times Missouri regularly sells out their stadium is when Texas or Nebraska visit Columbia. For a school located almost inbetween KC and StL that doesn’t instill a lot of confidence.
            3) Missouri’s bogus outrage over the inequality of the Big 12 revenue sharing is borderline lunacy. The majority of years they are better off under the current system than they would be under equal revenue sharing.

            My thing against Missouri is that it appears they are about to get one heck of a deal given their circumstances. Sit back and act like you deserve it instead of acting like a child saying pick me, pick me and leaking confidential information to the media.

          • Kyle says:

            Well, color me unimpressed. Maybe it comes from being a Big East fan and having the constant threat of a 7-6 Notre Dame team take our hard-earned bowl invitation, but I think bowl considerations should be based on record, not expected fanbase turnout. Anything else is just perpetuating the system of haves and have-nots, stifling Mizzou’s potential to grow and reward their fanbase.

            Miami was the beneficiary of the Big East’s unequal distribution, but they still recognized that it was fundamentally flawed and decided to take the lesser, but more stable ACC check.

  58. Guido says:

    If we are to believe the 4 schools (Nebraska, Mizzou, Rutgers, ND)were in fact invited, and I tend to think they prob were, then it would seem Texas has either said no already or won’t receive an invite. If there was a chance Texas would join the Big 10, they would have been invited up front ahead of Missouri and probably Nebraska. To think they are the consolation prize if ND says no doesn’t make much sense to me. Wouldn’t the Big 10 prefer both ND and Texas? Even if it meant they had to take Texas A&M instead of Missouri or Nebraska?

    • zeek says:

      The most likely possibility is that the 16th spot is left open for Texas as soon as A&M finds its own path to the Pac-10 or SEC.

      It matches the other rumors that Texas would join if Notre Dame did, and it allows Texas to look like it was the last one to escape the Big 12 going bust (after Colorado/A&M/Missouri/Nebraska).

    • mushroomgod says:

      Heard the sportswriter for that story (from KC) on a Nebraska radio station– says he’s not backing down from the story and says his sources are reliable, fwiw. Said again that the BT hopes to have this “done” by the end of July….

  59. Mikeyclaw says:

    Texas would likely be the most coveted team of all. If TX comes to the Big Ten, Notre Dame Nebraska and Missouri would beg for membership. I think that Rutgers is a slam dunk.

  60. Wes Haggard says:

    An interesting post from Texas A&M site: This is an email so the truly relevant part is at the bottom of the post.

    I have been reading some of the posters on the TU site and on Frank the Tank site. Texas seems to want the Big Ten really bad and really seem to want to go by themselves. They don’t really care where we go. Not relevant to them, just their own self satisfaction. About the same as we feel about Tech. Tech can make their own deal with whichever conference they want as long as we get what we want.
    Now if you give this talk with the president of A&M credibility and I think that I do, I think there are three things important.

    1. The powers that be are very aware of conference realignment and want to make sure their school, our university, cuts a good deal.

    2. Politically, TU goes nowhere unless A&M has a good deal with a conference of their choice. Big Ten, SEC or Pac Ten.

    3. “Now your are thinking like me” could just as easily mean the Pac Ten as much as the SEC. As a University President, it would be my guess that Bowin might like the academics in the Pac Ten better. A lot of better thinking Aggies do.

    The fact is that the SEC travels and would probably, regularly fill up a 100,000 seat stadium and the Pac Ten might not? And the money and the TV ratings would probably be higher annually. But Bowin did not say SEC. He just confirmed that the AGS could go their separate way. Two bad things about the SEC. They are not nicknamed the South Eastern Cheaters conference for nothing. If the SEC expands by one team in the West and one team in the East, the AGS are looking good. If the SEC goes two and two, the land thieves would probably go too and no other school is in their league when it comes to cheating.

    Should TU go Pac Ten, then I think that we go with them. Maybe even TU, A&M, Colorado and (Utah????????????) I believe we will see more and more concrete statements before June is ended. I don’t think there is any question that change is coming. The very, very, very worst scenario would be to just keep the Big Twelve intact minus two or three schools.
    ——-Original Message——-
    From: charlie WOW

    Interesting…BUT I see no way tu goes to the Big 10 or Pac 10 while we go SEC. They know that would give us a huge recruiting advantage over them. Maybe we can hope they are just too arrogant to think it will matter.
    Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


    You don’t get Scout but this is today’s post

    Posted: Today 12:58 PM
    There is DEFINITELY something going on (big 12 dying) (14 votes)

    I just visited with Bowen loftin (A&M Prez) and I asked about the situation. He took a long pause and said, “we are comitted to the big 12 as long as we can. But I am already working to make sure that we have the best options possible for Texas a&m when the time comes.”

    he added that the big 12 has had issues since it formed because Texas has all the TV sets and schools like Nebraska and Missouri are upset and have always been upset because they don’t get an equal piece of the pie…which spells out why they’re the first to leave.

    Posted: Today 1:24 PM
    Re: There is DEFINITELY something going on (big 12 dying) (9 votes)

    I’ll add more now that I’m in front of my computer.

    I’ve interviewed a lot of people over the years, and you can just tell when someone is holding back from saying what they want to say, and that’s how he responded to my question.

    He even came up to me after the meeting and TOLD ME that “I had to be careful what I could say right now” and we visited as he walked to his car. I asked him how joined to Texas we are. He asked “Did you read Burka’s blog yesterday? About Perry not allowing Texas to get a better deal and leave A&M in the cold?” I said, yeah, I understand that, but if we could get a better deal with the SEC and they go to the Big Ten, why would we not do that?

    His response: “Now you’re thinking more like me.”

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      The Paul Burka blog referenced:

      He’s a longtime Texas political writer who sometimes gets it wrong but is very well connected in state politics.

      • mushroomgod says:

        Hard to take him seriously when he says the BT wants Neb. to come in and be non-competitive with OSU and UM…..

        • FLP_NDRox says:

          Odd, I thought the only real headscratcher in the post was the idea of Oklahoma to the PAC-14.

        • eapg says:

          Yes, didn’t you notice the tremendous difference between Texas and Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship a few months ago? Colt McCoy laughing so hard at the weakling Suh that he had to fling himself to the ground? Nebraska is a cupcake and you want no part of Texas!

    • Manifesto says:


      Interesting. Making the assumption here that Texas is, in fact, looking at the Big Ten positively, is A&M interested as well? I guess I’m just confused why A&M would see the Pac10 as a better fit than the BigTen w/Texas/Nebraska/Missouri. Better money, built-in rivalries, and better time zones.

      Maybe this has been covered and I just missed it.

      • Playoffs Now! says:

        Making the assumption here that Texas is, in fact, looking at the Big Ten positively, is A&M interested as well? I guess I’m just confused why A&M would see the Pac10 as a better fit than the BigTen w/Texas/Nebraska/Missouri. Better money, built-in rivalries, and better time zones.

        Splitting up and going to a P14 or P16 could help A&M escape the ‘UT’s little brother’ label. After a decade of success, A&M has had a decade of supreme frustration in football while their hated rival has won a nat’l championship. Pragmatism suggests the path to renewed success is more likely through a Pac16 then a B16 or SEC. Not as many power schools to compete with, so getting to the conference championship is more realistic out west. Playing in the conference title game of one of 3 super conferences will do more for recruiting than mediocrity in the SEC.

        • Wes Haggard says:

          Playoff, I sure cannot find fault with this logic either.

        • mushroomgod says:

          I can’t see Stanford and Cal wanting A&M on board, at least without TX….

          • PSUGuy says:

            Academically I can’t really see how they could complain…they’re a Top100 ARWU (world ranking, not US) with tons of research. Maybe they’re not Texas, but they are VERY respectable.

            Culturally I could maybe see a difference, but if you believe the rumor TAMU was listening when the Pac10 came calling.

            Personally I think the above poster was right…TAMU see’s its chances for success as being better in the Pac10 and the Pac10′s academic prestige will help elevate its considerable standing even more…neither would happen IMO, in the SEC.

      • Wes Haggard says:

        Manifesto, I don’t think you missed anything. I have a theory that, rather in line with this board’s thoughts, that the Big Ten really wants Notre Dame and Texas. Personally, I don’t think ND will fit, but I think most of you have wanted ND for a long time and, deep down, you still do. So, if ND and Texas are your prize catches but ND is still holding off, no real directions can be made. If ND comes aboard then you can announce Texas as the 16th university to be added. If ND does not then you can announce Texas and A&M as the two additions. No brainer to me even though a lot of my peers are blinded by the sizzle and geography of the SEC. Guess June will start spilling some secrets to us all.

    • Djinn Djinn says:

      Interesting… Personally, I’d love A&M in the Big Ten, but if not, I’m sure they can look after itself just fine. Like Oklahoma, they’re a big-time school and will find a home if the B12 collapses.

      • mushroomgod says:

        I would have less than no interest in A&M being in the BT if TX was not attached… about a different culture….

    • c says:

      Interesting article: “To go, or not to go? That’s the question for expansion candidates”

      With respect to Texas: they are said to be exploring a statewide TV channel which could feature Texas A&M as well as other Texas schools. Such a channel could deepen the connection between state supported schools and Texas voters.

      Why the SEC or PAC 10 may be of interest for Texas:

      “For the SEC, which dominates the TV markets in the south, westward expansion would open up huge markets in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio.

      The league would try to woo Texas with the fact that SEC schools retain control over local television rights, and it probably would mention the fact that Florida — located in a state with six million fewer citizens — has a local TV deal with Fox Sports that pays $10 million a year. Texas could command significantly more.

      Of course, the Pac-10 probably wouldn’t pass up the chance to take a shot at Texas. Since that league is entering TV contract negotiations in the next year, it probably could give Texas favorable terms. Pac-10 officials also might mention that while Texas would be only the third AAU member in the SEC, it would be the seventh in the Pac-10 (eighth if Colorado is already on board).”


      Another possible reason Texas might want to be linked to Texas A&M: a statewide channel would be more likely to be successful if they were cooperating.


      Somehow I also believe if Texas wanted to join the Big 10 they would want a fellow Texas team. The rumor that Nebraska, Missouri, ND, RU were given assurances makes no sense if Texas is still in play.

      • PSUGuy says:

        Now isn’t THAT interesting…the only problem is if the SEC expanded with Texas, they’d probably only want Texas and TAMU, but with only those schools Texas would be cutting off a significant number of Texas based schools from its possible programing. Then again if they were making a deal through the local Fox Sports Network they probably wouldn’t need so many schools for content.

        Then again (again) with Fox Sports Net they wouldn’t be making nearly as much money as they could with their own channel (due to advertising) which might not be up and operational for quite some time (let alone profitable)…

        • c says:

          Re Texas channel option (PSUGuy)

          Hopefully someone far more knowledgable than I will comment.

          However, as an outsider, my impression is a Texas channel might feature not just Texas and A&M but even high school sports in Texas and perhaps other Texas schools if their conference membership permitted it.

          In short, my impression is such a channel might be viewed as not simply a revenue stream which could be significant but a way to achieve a deeper connection with voters and fans that could be a platform to win ongoing support for higher education in Texas.

          • PSUGuy says:

            Like I’ve said before, getting their own channel would be a fairly large undertaking and take years (5+ ?) before it was up and running, let alone profitable. And if it is their own channel, the SEC might look down on one of its teams including other conference teams on it. Higshcool might not be an issue (couldn’t see how it would).

            On the other hand if it goes the (apparently) Florida route and signs a deal with FSN it will not have the ability toleverage other teams and lose out on the advertising dollars vice what it could get with its own channel.

            Point being, the only true “optimal” choice at this moment is for Texas is to join a conference with its own tv channel. Whether that’s true for its long range goals is another matter.

          • PSUGuy says:

            Point of clarification…

            “another conference’s teams”. Ie putting a MWC or Big12 (what remains) team on the Texas (in the SEC) channel.

            It just strikes me as a “ND-esque” type of deal that the SEC would frown on.

          • c says:

            Re clarification (PSUGuy)

            This is purely speculative,
            but if Texas was to consider a Texas channel,
            the channel might be about promoting all Texas sports featuring Texas and A&M, but also including Texas Tech and Houston as future tier one schools where the goal was to promote a connection between the publically funded schools and the fans and citizens of the state.

            In short the revenue aspect of the channel might be supplemented by the broader goal of PR and connection to promote Texas schools on a statewide basis.

            The article cited above simply points out the PAC 10 or SEC might offer more flexibility IF such a channel was a big deal to Texas.

          • PSUGuy says:

            I get it, I just don’t buy the SEC allowing any school to join forces with teams outside the league to create a product that would probably be in direct competition with it and not allow the sharing of its profits with the league (speaking to football here).

            The Texas channel, with teams outside the conference, is a far cry from getting FSN to host some local content like Florida has. I mean if people think Texas runs the Big12 now, what will they say about that in the SEC?

  61. Djinn Djinn says:

    The question about this news regarding Rutgers, Notre Dame, Missouri, and Nebraska joining the BT is whether this was a conjecture that got out of hand, a real news story someone really uncovered or a planted leak.

    I don’t think it was something uncovered, in that none of these schools could have been invited before the BT presidents vote. So if someone uncovered something, they got it wrong and don’t fully understand the process.

    The fact is that only four teams were mentioned, yet an odd number of schools will almost certainly be added.

    So unless this story was simply made up, my guess is that this was a purposefully-planted leak. It may have been put out to let Texas and its alums know that the B12 is collapsing. And that a couple big-time programs (Nebraska, ND) were coming to the B10. And that a foray was being made into New York-area TV markets. And there was just one spot left.

    You could make case, too, that the leak was meant for ND eyes. They’re being told Rutgers is leaving the BEast and that if ND isn’t interested in the BT, UConn and Syracuse will likely come on board, which will adversely affect ND’s home conference. Again, the idea being expressed could be that the BT is the preferred home.

    In fact, you could make the case that this one leak serves both purposes–to grease the wheels for both Texas and Notre Dame to join, which, if true, would be a bit of genius on the part of whoever may have dreamed it up.

    Finally, the story was also worded in a way (ie, that invitations were given out) that can be truthfully denied. Which makes me, again, think it was a leak.

    • Mike R says:

      I think this story was pretty obviously an MU plant. Look at the names dropped: ND (which got the story onto national outlets like ESPN’s crawl), Nebraska and RU represent two of the strategic plays we’ve been talking about (RU=the NYC dream; Nebraska, along with ND, the “home run” name school). MU, for all of its virtues, is the “brussels sprouts,” the side order to the steak represented by the other 3. And of course it was leaked to a KC radio station. Delany, ND and RU would not have chosen that outlet. A source out of Nebraska would be more likely to have broken the story locally.

      • Djinn Djinn says:

        If the story is just a plant by Missouri, what’s the purpose? What does Missouri gain by either planting a false rumor or leaking a true story? All it would seem to do is jeopardize a possible invitation.

        • Michael says:

          Only way you´d see a Missouri plant in this situation is if they weren´t getting the attention from the Big 10 that they wanted. Maybe – but that doesn´t seem to be the case.

          That leaves us with either a Missouri leak or a Big Ten plant. I´m going with the latter, since Missouri´s inclusion in the first place seems to be a bridge to Texas.

          From the Big 10´s perspective, if you´re planting this story, KC seems like the logical place to do it – closest and most connected to Texas and the Big 12 within the expansion area. The goal here, as other posters have described, is to destabilize the Big 12 and get the gears in motion for a UT move to the Big 10 . . . Seems to make sense

      • Mike says:

        At what point in time does Missouri hurt their chances by continually leaking information to the press? It’s clear the Big Ten wants to do this out of the spotlight, but is seems that every leak is attributed to Missouri officials. How long before the Big Ten decides that despite all its plusses, the University isn’t run like Big Ten University? Is there a possibility that the Big Ten decides that Kansas will bring roughly the same market as Missouri without all the headaches?

        • PensfaninLAexile says:

          Mike — best Mizzou-related post of the day!!

          If this were a lineup of chicks at a bar Mizzou would be in a halter-top, mini-skirt, and mouthing ‘… I’m not wearing panties.’

          I am guessing that they have already been told to stop their shameless flirting. The B10 will probably still invite them if the numbers work.

          But think about it from this perspective: What if they don’t get an invite? Answer: They are so screwed!

          You think Texas and Oklahoma are sticking it to them now? Just wait and watch what happens if they have to crawl back into the conference. In the interim, the odds of teams with worse records getting to better bowls is approximately 100%.

          MIzzou is a classic example of 1)emotion getting the better of logic; and 2) the inability of keeping everyone on the reservation.

          What have they gained from their whining? Nothing. At least nothing that could not have been achieved by privately telling the B10 that they would accept an invite. Of course it’s possible that elements in Mizzou have just ‘gone rogue.’

          For entertainment purposes only, I hope Mizzou doesn’t get an invite.

          • Mike says:

            If this were a lineup of chicks at a bar Mizzou would be in a halter-top, mini-skirt, and mouthing ‘… I’m not wearing panties.’

            I see you've been to Harpo's ( before…


        • Nittany Wit says:

          From the beginning, Missouri had the appearance of begging to join the B10 for various reasons, including academics, more equitable revenue sharing, previous bowl snubs, and the Missouri gov being open to the B10. Essentially, most of the roadblocks for other teams are not their for Missouri so they become the obvious choice. For this reason, it makes sense for the Big 10 to plant information coming from Missouri because everyone assumes that: a) Missouri has informally been in contact with the B10, b) they aren’t shy to deny their interest, and c) due to previous leaks that someone has a source somewhere in Missouri.

          From the B10′s perspective, this is very advantageous because: 1) Missouri cooperates to enhance their chance of joining the B10, 2) with the Nebraska rumor, it carries more weight coming from a B12 brethern, 3) basically indicates to any other B12 team that Missouri and Nebraska have more leverage as they are considering other options, 4) means that no matter what, the effort by Beebe to call the question is meaningless because who is going to trust whatever Missouri says, and 5) serves to let the nation know that ND’s fate is in their hands.

          With regard to ND, if they do want they want now (remain independent) then it doesn’t take much to read between the lines that the B10 will look elsewhere since only 4 invites had been given (theoretically). Meaning that the B10 has at least one other school in mind to get to 16 if ND comes. Thus, only one more school will be needed if ND doesn’t join. But if they remain independent they may set off the chain of events that forces them later to be reactive rather than proactive. Its that delicate middle road like in the Cold War where you didn’t want to get left behind but too much aggression would get you obliterated to.

          For me, the leak was brilliant…gives Texas and ND some idea of who we are looking at. Doesn’t put pressure on Texas so it allows them to remain a choice down the road. It does raise the concern to ND though that they aren’t the only ones coming and so that the realignment is massive and will touch the Big East. Simply gives more people more to consider the realities of each solution.

          If ND

  62. mushroomgod says:

    President of U Conn is taking over as President of Illinois effective 7/1.

    Wouldn’t hurt U Conn’s chances, I would think……..

    • Mike R says:

      True. Illinois’ president in the 1980s, Stanley Ikenberry, went to UIUC from Penn State. His relationship with PSU President Bryce Jordan was what brought the Lions in to the Big 10. But UConn will still have to qualify for AAU status within a certain time frame as a condition of a Big 10 invitation.

  63. prophetstruth says:

    I don’t have a link for an actual article or anything but did anyone else hear this?

    ESPN Radio reporting that Mike Slive has been in preliminary discussions with 4 schools: FSU, Miami, GT, and WVU.

    Makes me think that this is in response to a perception or knowledge that the Big1o will pull a coup with Texas, ND, Nebraska, Rutgers and 1 of (UCONN, PITT, Mizzou or Syracuse).

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      Makes me think that this is in response to a perception or knowledge that the Big1o will pull a coup with Texas, ND, Nebraska, Rutgers and 1 of (UCONN, PITT, Mizzou or Syracuse).

      Or UT and aTm to the P10, or both to the B10, or split between them, or UT’s SEC negotiating demands being way too high, or…

      For example, one rumor had UT wanting to bring aTm to a SEC West of LSU, AR, Ol’ MS, MSU, and Vandy. We can presume AL, AU, TN, GA, SC, KY, and FL were not amused.

      • zeek says:

        Well if what the Memphis AD said about Texas not taking the Pac-10 calls is true, then most likely Texas is focused on a Big Ten invitation if Slive feels like he has to go to those 4 schools.

        Plus, those 4 actually make sense for the SEC even with the overlap because they can command national ratings, which is what Slive is after if he can’t get Texas’ markets.

        • zeek says:

          Oh the other possibility of course is that Texas has told everyone that they’re staying put in the Big 12, but it doesn’t seem logical for them to make such a move before knowing how things will shake out…

    • Albino Tornado says:

      Far be it for me to discredit such a rumor, but I’ve been streaming ESPNradio today, and Colin Cowherd’s just finished several hours of gassing on about LeBron. The link is to ncaabbs, and there’s nothing on (Chris Low’s blog) at ESPN (at of 4pm ET 5/12) about this.

    • Vincent says:

      If the SEC shows interest in picking off ACC schools, then Maryland is in play as a Big Ten expansion candidate.

      • mushroomgod says:

        I would be shocked if MD ever gave any serious consideration to joining the BT. IMO, they are joined at the hip with Clemson and the NC schools….

        • zeek says:

          I tend to believe that too, but it depends on how it all falls out as to whether there is an opening.

          Sure it’s mostly a pipe dream right now, but if the SEC moves while the Big Ten is at 14, then there might be an opportunity to grab Maryland if the ACC falls apart.

        • R says:

          @mushroomgod I think you mean Virginia, not Clemson. Right?

    • mushroomgod says:

      Frank, I think this SEC rumor will keep you busy through the June BT Presidents’ meeting…

      I definately see the SEC making a play for some ACC teams, even if the $s might be questionable. I have a feeling they don’t want to behind behind the BT, even in # ot teams….a pride thing….

      AS for interest, I went to the GT, Miami, and FSU sites….the FSU site had a poll where it was almost 50-50 SEC/ACC. I’d say the sentiment on the other forums was similiar.

      I do find it very curious that was no mention of TX, A&M, or Oklahoma…does make you wonder if the TZ Pres. expressed no interest, and the others are tagging along with that—otherwise, OK and A&M would seem like obvious candidates, certainly over and above WV and GT.

      Also found it curious that Clemson and VT were not mentioned…Rumor is that Clemson reported it was not interested. Clemson was an original member of the ACC, and that might make sense from that angle. As far as VT goes, they may be unwilling, due to political pressures, to seperate from Va. That was my operating assumption prior to the report, and there absence may be some confirmation of that…Or…the report may be bs…..

      If there is fire here, it will be interesting to see if BT expansion is affected…certainly U Conn, Syracuse, and Pitt would all be strong ACC expansion candidates…..

      • ezdozen says:

        Syracuse, Pitt, WVU, and UConn to the ACC would be a significant grab for the ACC.

        • ezdozen says:

          Also… assume any 4 schools leave the ACC, now you can add USF, L-ville, or Cincy.

          I suspect that perhaps the ACC would dance with Notre Dame as all-sports-except football. Why not? Now it is the ACC that has Syracuse, Notre Dame, and UConn. Tell me an ACC conference doesn’t get viewers in the Big Apple with that.

  64. Hopkins Horn says:

    Still posting remotely, so I’m unable to do more detailed posting and responding, but I do have to say that I’m amused that Paul Burka had a blog post on this the day after I posted the anonymous comments of one of the “keenest observers of the Texas political scene” who seemed to be making many of the same obervations Burka did in Texas Monthly. :)

  65. Gopher86 says:

    The espn breakdown– nothing new here:

  66. PensfaninLAexile says:

    Defending the B12 is such a thankless job.

    I don’t know the TV numbers, but I’ve worked over 15 years in politics, so I’ve seen more than a few instances when the economics of a matter failed in the face of egos, competing (and incompatible) agendas, and miscalculation.

    Universities are political places. Money matters — a lot. But there are competing power centers that have different agendas and may find that they will net a loss from a move that profits the university. University presidents are not all-powerful (just ask PSU Pres Graham Spanier — I think Paterno has Spanier’s testicles stored in his freezer).

    Consider this — what does Mack Brown think? Does Mack Brown want the challenge that would go with competing in the B10 and a larger natl stage? Or, does he want the easiest path to the BCS championship? I think Wyoming would vote for the former. Now, Mack Brown can’t move the dial on his own. But, is he able to rope together enough boosters to make his opinion count? Can he collect enough financial and political backing to derail a trip to the B10? Are there enough big $$ boosters who value a natl championship over joining the B10?

    What does Bob Stoops think? Are Brown and Stoops of the same mind — save the B12? Can they pull together enough like-minded TX and OK boosters?

    Continuing with the ‘B12 is alive theme’ — would Texas or Oklahoma to SEC really b possible? Do Saban or Miles want to deal with Texas intra-league? I doubt it. Does Urban Meyer want to play Texas in Atlanta? I think these guys have more than a little pull.

    Money is powerful, but there may be more powerful political interests that keep the Big 12 going. Maybe the forces of reaction at Texas and Oklahoma miscalculate and end up stuck in a Big East of the Plains.

    The thing about politics is that the majority of it is opaque to the public — and university politics is no different. What’s really going on at these schools won’t be known until the dominoes start falling. I just think the comments on this blog have not considered all the political forces and agendas.

    Money doesn’t always win — no matter how important it is. If money always won, the B10 would add Texas and ND in a second (and both schools would accept), then pick either Nebraska or Rutgers for 14.

    The demise or decay of B12 may happen, but I think that story is far from certain.

    • Gopher86 says:

      I read that. Ashamed she’s a KU grad. Doesn’t know that Marquette and Depaul are west of Notre Dame.

    • zeek says:

      I kind of laughed at most of that. The Big 12 doesn’t even claim the Big 8′s history, so the Big 8 is dead as far as Nebraska/Missouri and even Kansas is concerned.

    • HoosierMike says:

      That was pretty ripe hackery. Look lady, most people don’t give a damn about Neb/OU on Thanksgiving. None of us really care who’s playing that weekend as long as someone is. That’s why I cheer for the Lions every year on T-day, because I don’t give a shit who wins. Priorities:

      1 Turkey
      1.5 Pie
      2 Football

      • ezdozen says:

        Not that I care about this article or its writer, but she did say that Notre Dame is west of most Big East teams.

        And if people don’t care about Nebraska/Oklahoma, good luck making people care about Nebraska/Indiana.

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        HoosierMike – that’s the difference between the SEC and the Big Ten.

        In SEC country, our priorities are:
        1. Football
        1.5. Pecan Pie
        2. Turkey (smoked or fried)

        • Manifesto says:

          Man, pecan pie is good.

          • HoosierMike says:

            You know another pecan-based sweet treat that is amazing and that I’ve only seen in the south? Pralines. Dear God.

        • HoosierMike says:

          Really? One day a year you can’t give thanks and pay honor and deference to a massive bird that will complement football watching in a way that only chili on Super Bowl Sunday can rival? Perhaps we should have parted ways 150 years ago, because that is un-American. I said good day! :)

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            HoosierMike – we actually shoot turkeys in the wild. Does that make things better or worse?

          • HoosierMike says:

            Uh, being that killing you own turkey for Thanksgiving is completely badass, I would say better!

            Previous statement rescinded.

    • Craig says:

      I think she really overstates the geographical difference between staying in the Big 12 and moving to the Big Ten. If you are Nebraska and Missouri, does it really matter if you are flying to play four schools in Texas or flying to play UM, MSU, PSU, and OSU? The flight times can’t be all that different. Also, especially for Missouri, there would be new rivals in the neighboring states (like Illinois, NW, and Iowa). Plus, if Neb and Mo come together, they would have each other still.

    • Cliff's Notes says:

      That was a terrible article. She’s all over the map and talking out of both sides of her mouth.

      If you want to make a fan-based, impassioned plea, that you don’t like change, that’s fine.

      But don’t do that, and then blame everything on Jim Delaney. “This is what college football has become: mergers and acquisitions. Just like Wall Street.” Seriously? There have been earth-shaking moves ever since Penn State came to the Big Ten twenty years ago, but only NOW is shifting conference alignments a bad thing.

      And of course, she blames Jim Delaney for ruining some precious rivalries, and saying “to hell with”… Kansas-Missouri, and Nebraska-Oklahoma.

      Addressing Nebraska-Oklahoma; I think the Big XII did a fine enough job of ruining this rivalry, SINCE THEY DON’T PLAY EVERY YEAR AND HAVEN’T PLAYED AROUND THANKSGIVING SINCE 1996. Yet, Jim Delaney is evil and ruining this rivalry.

      But seriously. That’s not even the most laughable part of this story. Jim Delaney is evil and ruining the college football experience for everyone because this means the end of the Kansas-Missouri football rivalry. The KANSAS-MISSOURI football rivalry.


      There are exactly 932 better arguments against expansion in the comments section of this post alone than what she has presented in her article.

      • PSUGuy says:

        I’ve said before on this blog…we should start releasing these posts to the AP. More research goes into most of these posts than most of the crap that comes out of the talking heads!

  67. IrishTexan says:

    @djinndjinn and greg:

    I want to thank you two for illustrating some more examples of why being part of the CIC is so beneficial to member institutions.

    Those are some very important things to me, and I believe if Notre Dame turns down an invitation to join the Big Ten, they are saying football is more important than academics. Fr. Hesburgh helped ND shift from being a school with great football to being a school with solid academics as well. If football can again allow ND to improve as an academic institution on all levels, then why not do it and join the Big Ten?

    • Djinn Djinn says:

      I can’t relate to the staying independent mindset. If that’s the desire there, okay by me, but I can’t say I quite get it. There’s almost a fervent irrationality about the independence obsession (at least from my non-domer perspective).

      It’s hard to do everything well–even for a university 3x as large as ND. So if all these BT schools (larger than ND) feel it’s productive to cooperate–and if this CIC cooperation has inspired some 1,000 similar cooperative inter-university alliances (according to the CIC) with some 200 more in the works, I don’t understand why ND feels they’re better off alone. But I’m not in their shoes, I suppose.

      • IrishTexan says:

        Independence allowed Notre Dame to flourish in a time when, as hindsight taught us, the conditions were perfect for a school like ND to grow. America has changed. College football has changed. Catholicism is not the “weird cult foreigners belong to.” Notre Dame is firmly established as a strong Catholic university with a proud football tradition.

        We don’t have to go it alone in the same ways we used to anymore. It’s not necessarily “us against the world” (as in the ways of the past) anymore. We can join a conference and still live by our virtues and commitment to excellence.

        I think the problem facing most alumni and fans is misunderstanding. Joining the Big Ten/ CIC and engaging in academic exchange with other institutions does not mean Notre Dame has sacrificed its Catholicism on a grand, secular altar.

        ND is unlikely to strike a sweetheart deal with the Big Ten, but I don’t think the Big Ten would have much of a problem with ND joining on the condition that ND must be allowed to maintain its Catholicism, wholly. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think the Big Ten will force ND to engage in research it doesn’t want to. If I am wrong, I apologize. I just believe ND has an incredible amount to gain from the partnership.

        • FLP_NDRox says:

          Feeling the need to jump in. Even last time expansion was publicly discussed, the CIC was generally considered the single greatest PRO for joining. For those of us against it, the CIC was the only real PRO about the Big Ten. I think the issues re “instituional independence” and “maintaining the Catholic character” are not attached to CIC membership per se. Perhaps with the AAU? IDK, something had to make CUA so uncomfortable they resigned.

          Perhaps behind the scenes, TPTB are negotiating a Bill of ND Rights to answer such concerns. If not, they should be.

          • @FLP_NDRox – Yes, I don’t know why there have been some intimations that ND didn’t want to join the Big Ten because of the CIC. I was always under the impression that it was exactly the opposite where the CIC was the biggest draw on the academic side.

  68. Playoffs Now! says:

    Consider this — what does Mack Brown think? Does Mack Brown want the challenge that would go with competing in the B10 and a larger natl stage? Or, does he want the easiest path to the BCS championship? I think Wyoming would vote for the former.

    I take it that you are unaware that WY was a last minute replacement after both Arkansas and Utah dropped Texas from their 2009 schedules. You know, the Arkansas that needed ref intervention to stop an upset at Florida this season. The Utah that had just humiliated SEC West champ AL in the Sugar Bowl, the SEC’s backyard. That would have been coming off an undefeated season where they likely were the best team in the country, added to UT’s schedule when Urban Meyer was still their coach and drawing the notice of schools like FL. UT had a great OOC schedule last year, until the 2 best teams on it dropped out.

    Last year’s meme of the whiners that UT only schedules weaklings was an urban myth.

    • PensfaninLAexile says:

      Playoffs — you didn’t address the main issue. The point is that Mack Brown MAY have a different agenda than the AD or the university — an easier path to the BCS and that he might be able to muster the political clout to derail going to the B10.

      Do you disagree with that?

      • zeek says:

        Sure but he’s going to toe the party line.

        There’s no way Mack Brown or Bob Stoops wants to sit around in a conference with a shrinking national stage.

        The fact is we take it for granted that a 1 or 2 loss SEC team can go to the national championship right now.

        Based on what Big Ten expansion looks like, the same may be true of the Big Ten if Nebraska and Notre Dame are at play.

        Do Texas and Oklahoma want to sit around in the Big 12 if everyone’s going to be talking about the SEC and Big Ten every year?

        You still want to go to the biggest stage and win there even if it becomes more difficult, if it guarantees you the best shot at the national championship…

        Sure, they’re more likely to go 13-0 in the Big 12, but post-expansion 13-0 SEC and 13-0 Big Ten teams will be favored…

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      Well it has been fun, but adios. The last post gave me a message of “You’re posting too much. Slow down.”

      Let’s see, 5 posts yesterday, 5 today (this will make 6) for me, while another person made literally 3 dozen just yesterday.

      Seems misdirected, but I’ll respect the owner’s wishes.

      • HoosierMike says:

        I think that just happens if you post more than once within 60 seconds. I got that message after my “Adding” post, but just reposted about 30 seconds later and was good to go.

      • Manifesto says:


        It’s a spam feature for WordPress. Usually it’s a 60 second timer, that’s all. No personal. :)

        • Playoffs Now! says:

          Thanks for the info, guys.

          Ya’ll have probably covered this before, but here’s someone noting how quads could be played in just a 5 game conference season:

          Basically your quad plays an entire other pod plus 1 protect game, for 8 total games (3 your pod-4 rotating pod-1protect.) Equivalent of having 4 protected games and playing the other schools once every 3 years. Existing teams may grumble, but it can protect pretty much all the major rivalries and limiting to 8 conference games may be the only way to lure in ND. Seems like a decent compromise.

          Say TX, aTm, ND, MO, and Rut are the 5 invites. Here are a couple of options:

          Example A, if ND prefers a game in Texas every year:

          TX, aTm, ND, PU
          MN, WI, IA, NW
          MSU, MI, OSU, IU
          MO, IL, PSU, Rut

          Protect games are ND-Rut, MN-MI, IU-PU, IL-NW, PSU-OSU, and perhaps TX-MO, WI-MSU, IA-aTm

          Example B, if ND prefers playing PSU annually and in Texas every other year:

          TX, aTm, MO, IL
          MN, IA, WI, NW
          MSU, MI, OSU, IU
          ND, PU, PSU, Rut

          Protect games of TX-ND, MN-MI, IL-NW, IU-PU, OSU-PSU, IA-MO, and aTm-Rut

          I’m ok with either.

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            Oops. Ya’ll have probably covered this before, but here’s someone noting how quads could be played in just a 5 game conference season:

            Should read 8 game conf season

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            For my dream B16 scenario, additions of TX, aTm, ND, GT, and Rut:

            TX, aTm, PU, and NW (Chicago trips!)
            MN, WI, IA, IL
            MSU, MI, OSU, IU
            ND, GT, PSU, Rut

            Protect games of TX-ND, IL-NW, IU-PU, MN-MI, PSU-OSU, and perhaps aTm-GT, IA-MSU, and WI-Rut

            Could be ND’s preference schedule given the format and 5 new teams.

            IMHO this is the best B16 expansion combo and schedule possible. Some could argue NE over GT, but I like the geographic dominance for the conference with a school in the heart of SEC country. Rut puts the B16 in the NYC national media hub (I’m not talking about cable penetration.) Two of ND, GT, PSU, and WI every year available to play in the Meadowlands, plus MI, OSU, and TX every 6 years.

  69. 84Lion says:

    Let’s say the rumors are true and MU and UNL become B10 members sooner rather than later. If that happens what does that do to the possibility of Texas joining? My question is, would MU and UNL support Texas to the Big Ten, or actively campaign against them? Would MU and UNL even have a vote?
    In the scenario that the B10 is 14 teams strong, by my math if the threshold is 70%, that means 10 votes will be required to confirm any new member(s). If we assume that MU and UNL both decide to vote “no,” and successfully persuade 3 other schools to vote “no,” is that a legitimate concern for Texas? Or might MU and UNL support Texas becoming a Big Ten member?
    In the scenario that the new B10 members don’t have a vote, how would the existing B11 members vote? Remember, all that is needed is 4 “no” votes and new members remain on the outside looking in.
    Frankly it would be very…interesting, to say the least, if UNL and MU were to wind up, again, in the same conference with Texas. I really think that if Texas was the preferred or ultimate B10 target that the B10 would work to get Texas in first, then let UNL and MU decide whether they want to rejoin with the Longhorns in a different conference.
    The question is, if UNL and MU do become B10 members, are the prospects for Texas joining the B10 diminished?

    • zeek says:

      They would have a vote on later additions when they’re a part of the conference; I don’t think that would happen till 2012 though.

      But Texas is likely to join right after them or not at all, in which case it will be up to the original 11 members to vote on Texas.

      I would think that Nebraska and Missouri would support Texas’ application since their goals are also to increase $ payouts.

      Note that only Nebraska voted against staging the Big 12 CCG at Cowboy Stadium the next couple years, and both Missouri and Nebraska understand that the Big Ten treats equality as the most important goal in decision making, so maximizing Big Ten payouts would be their goal.

      Also, let’s be honest, Nebraska and Missouri probably would abstain from any campaign for or against Texas because they’d want to defer to the original Big Ten members as to whether they want Texas. I don’t see either school trying to tip the boat as they’re getting integrated into the Big Ten.

      • zeek says:

        As to your main question, the prospect of Texas joining the Big Ten can only increase with the inclusion of Nebraska and Missouri because of the hit that the Big 12 takes from their loss.

        The addition of Nebraska and Missouri makes it more likely that Texas would want to join if it feels that a Longhorn Sports Network would not be as profitable as joining the Big Ten…

        • mushroomgod says:

          Mo and Neb would strongly support TX in the BIg 10…their beef is about TX making all the rules and keeping more of the $. Presumably that wouldn’t happen in the Big 10…….

          • eapg says:

            No way in hell NU or MU would be so presumptuous as to weigh in against anyone being considered, much less proven commodities like Texas. We’re not crazy. How the Big Ten runs itself would be more than enough assurance to balance off any lingering concerns about Texas.

          • Scott C says:

            Exactly right, mushroomgod. I don’t see Delany as the type of person that would just roll over and let Texas interests run the conference. So I don’t think Nebraska or Missouri would care if Texas was invited one way or the other.

  70. N.P.B. says:

    If the Big Ten wants to make inroads into NYC metro, instead of wasting their time and resources with a Rutgers invite, why don’t they schedule 4 Big Ten games a year at Giants Stadium? Or Yankee Stadium for the atmosphere. Every 3 years, each team gives up one game at home, and plays in NYC. Add Nebraska as the 12th team, and it’s an even 3-year rotation.

    • zeek says:

      What team would give up home games to hold at Meadowlands Stadium other than Rutgers?

      That’s partially the point of inviting Rutgers…; you’d get them to schedule all of their big games like Ohio State/Michigan/Penn State/Nebraska/Notre Dame/Texas at Meadowlands Stadium.

      That would bring you the NYC focus, but you need Rutgers to pull it off.

      I could easily see Rutgers scheduling 1-2 home games at Meadowlands every year for the big name Big Ten teams…

      • zeek says:

        Heh, I misunderstood what you were saying. Regardless, I think it makes the most sense for the Big Ten to add Rutgers while stipulating that Rutgers will hold 2-3 games at Meadowlands every year.

        I do like your idea though and the way the J puts it.

        • Kyle says:

          That stipulation seems to go against the all-for-one, one-for-all ethic that has made the Big Ten a strong conference with happy members. If such a schedule ever happens, it ought to be at Rutgers discretion, just as next season’s Indiana vs PSU game in DC came at Indiana’s discretion.

          • zeek says:

            Yea, it wouldn’t be implemented as a requirement, since that would be contradictory to the whole notion of the Big Ten, more of as a nudging from Delany as being in Rutgers’ best interest.

    • J. says:

      If the Big Ten ever goes to a 9-game conference schedule, I could envision it. 4-4-1 (home-away-neutral)

    • Pezlion says:

      Because home games are worth way more money to the individual schools than a neutral game in NY could ever be. Schools like PSU, OSU and Michigan make upwards of $8 million on home football games, and that’s not counting the huge boost to the local economy in a place like State College. There’s no chance PSU ever gives up a home game for a neutral site game.

      • eapg says:


        1983 Kickoff Classic, Meadowlands.

        Nebraska 44 Penn State 6.

        • ChicagoRed says:

          Whatever happened to the Kickoff Classic? Great way to start off the season with two big teams. I miss it.

          • HoosierMike says:

            I think it was around 2000 that they were “outlawed” by the NCAA. At the time that basically amounted to ending the Kickoff Classic and the Pigskin Classic.

          • Kyle says:

            Now we’ve got the Chick-fil-A college kickoff, but that’s always ACC vs SEC in the Georgia Dome.

        • Pezlion says:

          Pre-season classics don’t count, they were outside of the regular season scheduling allotment and they don’t exist anymore.

          • eapg says:

            Absolutely correct on the kickoff type games. There are still instances of neutral site games, though, OU-BYU at JerryWorld just this last year for a recent example. Depends on the teams (generally involving one have and one not-so-have) and the payday that can be arranged. It’s not impossible that Penn State would give up a home date for one at the Meadowlands if the payday was better.

  71. Stephen says:

    What I don’t understand is how Notre Dame fans think that joining the expanded Big 10 would make them a “regional” team. Are they really that stupid?

    If the conference broke into two division and played everyone in the division and a couple teams from the other division, Notre Dame’s schedule could look like this:

    Georgia Tech
    Michigan State
    Ohio State
    Penn State
    Missouri or Texas

    Are you telling me that top recruits wouldn’t be salivating to play a schedule like that? Even the lesser conference games would be two local rivalry games (IU, PU) and a game played in a major market (Rutgers). And most of those games would get lots of national attention.

    • zeek says:

      It has to do with the % of their schedule that is open to play games with teams in other regions.

      Considering that they are locked into playing USC and Navy, their scheduling would be by far the most locked in if they join the Big Ten.

      • Stephen says:

        But if you were playing the schedule I posted, which is very possible, why would you need to play more games in other regions?

        You would be playing games in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Atlanta, Nebraska, Maryland, Los Angeles and possibly Texas? How much more national can you get than that?

        • FLP_NDRox says:

          Are there any games against Mountain time zone teams? Pacific Northwest team? Southwestern teams? Games against most of the BCS conferences?

          Sorry, Domers are not interested in playing a Big Ten schedule. Why is this so hard to wrap your brain around?

          • HoosierMike says:

            It’s tough for me because they play 60% of a Big Ten schedule every year.

            Take 3 games against B10 opponents, choose 4 others that would count as OOC – say, USC, WMU, Army and Navy – and that’s 7 of 12 games.

            If there is such a need for a national schedule, why play UM, MSU, and PU year in and year out?

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            3 games becomes 60% of the schedule how?

            Oh! By counting OOC games that every team in the country takes. Wait, still not enough. Oh! And you rounded up 58.3%, too.

            Weak, dude, weak.

            Apparently here’s the prototype Big Ten schedule

            8 Conference games
            1-2 MAC games
            1 Div I-AA/FCS game
            1 legit OOC game

            No wonder ND scheduling confuses and frightens you.

          • M says:

            I think that most observers understand the appeal of playing national powers from around the country. The problem is the difference between that and the reality of what ND is playing. You describe a typical Big Ten conference schedule as
            “8 Conference games
            1-2 MAC games
            1 Div I-AA/FCS game
            1 legit OOC game”

            This schedule from a strength perspective is very equivalent to ND’s actual schedule (not the imaginary one that Domers think they play when they use this as an anti-conference angle). To wit:
            1-2 MAC games=EMU and Tulsa (CUSA)
            FCS game=Army
            8 conference games=the seven games against BCS opponents and Navy
            1 legit OOC=Utah?

            The fact remains that needing 8 home/neutral site games a year for the NBC contract forces ND into 3-4 buy games a year. No BCS team has 4 buy games in a year.

            I suppose my point is that independence from a scheduling perspective has become a glass cage. It provides the illusion of flexibility, but the hard facts of the television contract substantially constrains the possibilities to the point where the actual schedule is indistinguishable from what you deride.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            “[I]ndependence from a scheduling perspective…provides the illusion of flexibility, but the hard facts of the television contract substantially constrains the possibilities to the point where the actual schedule is indistinguishable from what you deride.”

            I don’t mean to insult the B10 schedules…except for the FCS games. You guys are better than that, seriously. I went over this more in the discussions in Frank’s last post. The standard B10 sched is great for both getting to bowls generally and the Rose Bowl particularly. I know those are every B10 team’s preseason goals.

            The NBC scheduling demand changes are slowly being felt by the fanbase. We’d have probably noticed earlier, but we were distracted by our coaching issues of late. Y’all may laugh at the NDNation folks, but they were among the first to notice the problem. I’m not even sure if it’s fixable in the foreseeable with the BCS like it is.

            P.S. Utah’s played in a couple BCS bowls, better than the overwhelming majority of BCS schools FWIW.

            P.P.S. Army = SIU, Towson, EIU, UMass, No. Colorado (Isn’t that where the #2 punter stabbed the #1 punter?), S. Dakota U., Illinois State, WIU, YSU, and Austin Peay? Really?

          • M says:

            Utah is a very quality opponent, especially for a buy game. I am somewhat surprised they agreed to it without even a 2 for 1. I think that Utah ranks well with the “legitimate” non-conference opponents of the top Big Ten teams (Alabama, Miami, Arizona).

            You’re also right about the goals of Big Ten teams. Most in the conference view non-conference games as exhibition/pre-season games, which helps explain some of the scheduling.

            Just for fun I looked at the record of Army over the last 10 years:
            They have the second worst record of any FBS team. I am certain there are many FCS teams that are better than the second worst FBS team. I realize there is a lot of history between Army and ND, but pretending that on a football level they are not currently FCS quality is disingenuous.

    • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

      I wrote out a “sample” schedule for Notre Dame if they joined the Big 10. It certainly doesn’t have the geographical variety that they currently have as an independent but it does have yearly variations that keep it from being mundane like Big 10 schedules of the past.

      Go down five comments on the link to “micahandme’s” post.

    • FLP_NDRox says:

      1. All ND games already get national attention…or at least national coverage.

      2. The fact that’s there’s only one non-rivalry potential OOC game in that list is pathetisad.

      3. I live in the Midwest, and I don’t want to watch that many midwestern teams. I can’t imagine being a Texas or Florida Five-star and wanting to play that schedule annually forever.

      4. You left off *all* the traditionally deficient Big Ten squads.

      5. I think about 1 in 6 Domers are from Indiana, so there’s no attraction to a “local” rivalry with IU, and minimal interest among Domers with the annual Purdue game.

      6. How do you figure that’s not a heavily Midwestern schedule. Do you even know what ND schedules look like?

      • Blood & Steel says:

        This year they play 5 non-bcs schools in a row. National schedule or not, that is a boring schedule.

        • FLP_NDRox says:

          Everyone knows ND fans are unhappy with this year’s schedule.

          Just because y’all are used to Big Ten schedules doesn’t mean ND fans should be excited for them.

      • Playoffs Now! says:

        3. I live in the Midwest, and I don’t want to watch that many midwestern teams. I can’t imagine being a Texas or Florida Five-star and wanting to play that schedule annually forever.

        See my schedule below:

        New teams are ND, TX, aTm, GT, Rut.
        ND in a quad with GA Tech, PSU, and Rut.
        8 conference games: 3 in your quad, 4 in 1 of the other 3 quads (rotated each year) and 1 protected annual rival game.
        ND’s protected game is with TX.

        Over 3 years under that schedule you’d play 4, 4, and 3 Midwestern teams per year. That’s 11 times over the 3 year cycle. ND is already playing a minimum of 9 Midwestern team per 3 years: MI, MSU, Purdue annually. So the conference schedule would not be much of an increase in Midwestern teams.

        Plus those games would now be played in conference season when it is hard to book OOC teams. That leaves September open, when more schools are available to schedule.

        Obviously not as many OOC games as being independent, but in conference you’d get the equivalent of 4: 2 games in Texas, GA, PA, or NJ every year, states ND has played in at least 12 times in the past 8 years (almost double that if you consider games in the Northeast within a few hours of NYC: MD, CT, and BC.) 2 more games with those 4 schools in S. Bend each year.

        Leaves 4 or 5 games for USC, Navy, and others. You’d lose 1 or 2 home games, but that’s the compromise.

        • FLP_NDRox says:

          @ ATYCLB and Playoffs Now!

          You both start with an aggressive regionally diverse 16 team line-up. Interesting, 4 of 11 potential opponents are outside the “Midwest”; five if you wanna count Penn State in Micahandme’s. Playoff’s has one fewer.

          While preparing my reply at:

          I came across a Big Ten schedule grid off their official site

          It seems that Big Ten teams have very similar formulas to scheduling OOC. Every B10 team will only play 11 FBS opponents this year. Only NU plays more than one true OOC road game. 13 games league-wide are played against MAC opponents. The average is a 7-4-1 breakdown. Every B10 team plays a noted Homecoming game (ND has not required a homecoming game in decades). Do you see ND’s schedule doing the same in a few years?

          I’ll try putting together some potential 2011 and 2012 schedules for a B10+ND, B10+ND+2, and B10+ND+4 later.

          @ ATYCLB

          The reason ND has been playing so many Big East teams for the last few years is because the Big East asked us to. I don’t think you need to include Pitt in the future OOC schedules for ND. They have not been considered even a second tier rivalry in decades IMHO. UCONN is a similar thing.

          Why did you propose SDSU and Vandy? We played SDSU once as a season opener that no one was excited about. ND’s played Vandy a few times, but it is rare for ND to play SEC teams lately, and Vandy had agreements in place to play Northwestern.

          Of course, I concur that it is an improvement. Further, I confess that the traditional rivalries + the added Big East games puts ND in a de facto conference schedule straitjacket. Then again I still think rotating 2 BE games among 8 teams, and the remaining 5 games among well, the rest of the FBS is better than 8 games rotated around 15 teams and 2 games likely rotated against the MAC (1 rotated among 13) and a random BCS team.

          @ Playoffs Now!

          If I’m reading you right, and I may well not be, ND will play GTech, Rutgers, Texas, and PSU annually in conference? Navy and USC OOC annually? For the remaining conference games we’d rotate TAMU and the current Big Ten every 6 years leaving 2 OOC games?

          Not bad. Loss of home games is kinda tough, as are the loss of MSU, UM, and OSU at the same time for two years.

          Not bad.

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            If I’m reading you right, and I may well not be, ND will play GTech, Rutgers, Texas, and PSU annually in conference? Navy and USC OOC annually?


            For the remaining conference games we’d rotate TAMU and the current Big Ten every 6 years leaving 2 OOC games?

            Every 6 years at home, but you’d play each team at least every 3 years. You have your own pod, call it pod A (3 games) and then play 1 of the other 3 pods each year, pods B, C, and D (4 games.) Then every team gets a protected annual rivalry game outside of their pod. For ND that would be TX, the 8th conference game. In the years you play the Texas pod (pod B) you’d play a team from either C or D to make up for that. That’s where the 11th Midwest team per 3 years comes in.

            Also I expect an attempt by multiple conferences to get a 13th regular season game added. That would allow for 5 OOC games, 3 after subtracting USC and Navy.

            Or I guess instead of playing pod B, C, and D once every 3 years in a rotation, they could play each twice every six years. Home, away, then off 4 years. I would think that wasn’t as good, but whatever. The point is I think a compromise is doable. However the buzz I’m hearing down here is that Texas is most likely going to the P16.

            I bet we know by July 1st.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            As I promised, here’s my guess as to what a typical ND Big 1x schedules will look like. I went with the 2011 and 2012 seasons alone because they already have their OOC games in. Curious as to y’all’s reactions.

            2011 – 12 teams
            ND added, eight conference games

            09/10 # @ Michigan
            09/17 # MSU
            09/24 x Minnesota
            10/01 # @ Purdue
            10/08 x @ Wisconsin
            10/15 * “@” Army
            10/22 * USC
            10/29 * NAVY
            11/05 x Illinois
            11/12 * “@” Maryland
            11/19 x @ NU
            11/26 x Iowa

            2012 – 12 teams

            09/01 * “@” Navy
            09/08 # Purdue
            09/15 # @ MSU
            09/22 # Michigan
            09/29 x Minnesota
            10/06 * “@” Baylor
            10/20 x Wisconsin
            10/27 * ! Oklahoma
            11/03 x @ Illinois
            11/10 x NU
            11/17 x @ Iowa
            11/24 * @ USC

            x Western Div Games
            # Eastern Div Games
            “@” neutral site games
            * OOC games
            ! shifted from away to home game

            ND, Nebraska, Rutgers
            eight conference games

            2011 – 14 teams

            09/10 x @ Nebraska
            09/17 # MSU
            09/24 x Minnesota
            10/01 # @ Purdue
            10/08 x @ Wisconsin
            10/15 * “@” Army
            10/22 * USC
            10/29 * NAVY
            11/05 x Illinois
            11/12 * “@” Maryland
            11/19 x @ Northwestern
            11/26 x Iowa

            2012 – 14 teams

            09/01 * “@” Navy
            09/08 # Purdue
            09/15 # @ MSU
            09/22 # Nebraska
            09/29 x @ Minnesota
            10/06 * “@” Baylor
            10/20 x Wisconsin
            10/27 * ! Oklahoma
            11/03 x @ Illinois
            11/10 x Northwestern
            11/17 x @ Iowa
            11/24 * @ USC

            x Western Div Games
            # Eastern Div Games
            “@” neutral site games
            * OOC games
            ! shifted from away to home game

            ND, Mizzou, Nebraska, Pitt, Rutgers
            nine conference games
            2011 – 16 teams

            09/10 $ @ Michigan
            09/17 # MSU
            09/24 # @ Pitt
            10/01 x @ Purdue
            10/08 x Nebraska
            10/15 * “@” Army
            10/22 * USC
            10/29 * NAVY
            11/05 x Wisconsin
            11/12 x @ Mizzou
            11/19 $ @ Rutgers
            11/26 # Northwestern

            2012 – 16 teams

            09/01 * “@” Navy
            09/08 x Purdue
            09/15 # @ MSU
            09/22 $ Michigan
            09/29 x Mizzou
            10/06 * “@” Baylor
            10/20 BYE
            10/27 @ Nebraska
            11/03 # Pitt
            11/10 $ Rutgers
            11/17 # @ Northwestern
            11/24 * @ USC

            # Central Pod Games
            $ Eastern Pod Games
            x Other Pod Games
            “@” neutral site games
            * OOC games

          • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

            That’s one tough schedule you’ve got there. OU and USC as your two OOC games…plus a Big 10 schedule with Wiscy, Neb, and UM (usually tough, although who knows how long ’til they’re back). Yikes. If USC stays strong and you can schedule one other tough OOC game (like OU or any other strong BCS team) AND PLAY A BIG 10 slate…!?!?! Yikes.

            I’m trying to find your other posts. This WordPress format is tough to navigate through 500+ comments.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            I’m sure there’s at least some concern about the SOS given ND’s OOC obligations. Yet another reason to pursue independence as far as I’m concerned.

            Anything specific you’re looking for?

          • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

            NDROX wrote about my schedule proposal…
            “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
            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.”

            First off, 12 years doesn’t sound like a fluke. That sounds like past, present, and future reality. Your schedule is what it is b/c every other school is tied down with conference scheduling restraints. There’s a good chance that you won’t like your schedules for the rest of your life, friend.

            Secondly, you have a nice variety from many of the other BCS conferences but with three SOLIDS from the Big 10, there’s really no reason to schedule any others from this region. You might find that you like Camp Randall and games against Illinois at Soldier Field and versus Indiana at Lucas Oil Field. You talk about some of these Big 10 schools like they’re lepers rather than legendary (top 50 all-time) college football programs. A bit unfair.

            I picked Vandy and SDSU and Duke to give you some national schools who wouldn’t require a 1-1 with you but would simply come to South Bend for a home game. You’ll always have USC…Navy will play you anywhere…you’ll want another 1-1 with someone decent. Your 12th game will be some scrub.

          • HoosierMike says:


            You keep mentioning ND’s OOC obligations, but I can’t locate a post where this is covered in depth. You mind shedding a little light for me?

            I know that USC and Navy are non-negotiable. I also know that ND & UM signed to play through 2029 or something like that.

            Is there something else to which you’re referring? Thanks

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            @ Hoosier Mike

            Basically, yeah, it’s Navy and USC.

            During WWII, Navy opened a training center @ ND that kept the place in business during the war. Ever since then, there’s an understanding we will play them as long as they want the game. Considering that the ND and Army games are what balances the athletic books in Annapolis (or at least that’s what I’ve heard) the series will continue indefinitely.

            The USC game has been going since 1926. It gives us a definitionally big game in SoCal which is great for all kinds of reasons. It remains ND’s great long term rivalry, and one of the rare ones at ND where the feeling is mutual.

            Michigan State and Purdue are historical match-ups (not quite a rivalry, since all three schools have teams they spend waaay more time thinking about) that I’d bet ND’d make an attempt to keep especially if ND doesn’t go Big Ten. Maybe not as an every year thing, tho’. Michigan would be, too, but since that game so rarely gets played…

            I know ND’s played Pitt a bunch, but it never really feels like a rivalry. It’s just…a game. Like:

            “Who we got next week?”
            “They any good this year?
            “I don’t know, let’s google it.”

            @ ATYCLB

            Perhaps ND scheds aren’t a fluke. Then again, if the BCS is tweaked back to factor strength of schedule relative to being merely undefeated, I think ND may get some better games. But that’s just me.

            It seems to me that ND joining a conference merely due to scheduling issues is using a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Y’know, like suicide.

            As for the general Domer “indifference at best” attitude toward the non-Michigan/Ohio/Pennsylvania Big Ten is likely historical more than anything. Let’s face it, for decades it’s the “Big Two, Little Eight”. During those years, Big Ten football was often and accurately described as “three yards and a puff of dust”.

            Yeah, and this is according to my Dad who was there during Purdue’s glory years.

            Basically, there’s no established ND history with large swaths of the Big Ten. Domers internalized the accepted National stereotypes of the Big Ten. And ND has traditionally enjoyed longer travel than the B10. Heck, our current biggest rival is over 2000 miles away.

            Sure, you say I might like these other Big Ten games, but that’s the same crap my mom pulled about veggies. She was wrong.

            And let’s remember that great Big Ten PSA where Joe Paterno had to remind fans to not riot.

            Man, I’d forgotten that. So yeah, that’s the basic “Why ND Fans are Blah on the most Big Ten teams” overview.

          • HoosierMike says:

            Wow. That’s extremely cool about the Navy game. I definitely learned something today AND the normal shit-talking I engage in about ND playing Navy every year stops… now. :(

            Now you’ve just got to talk me down from trashing the frequent Army and occasional AFA matchups :)

          • Pezlion says:

            ND’s all time record is 837-291-41, for a total of 1169 games. 29.8% (348) of all games were played against Big Ten teams, with a record of 220-113-15 (26.3% of all wins, 38.8% of losses and 36.6% of ties). Of the 25 teams that ND has played at least 10 times, 9 (36.0%) are Big Ten teams. Ohio State and Minnesota are the only Big Ten teams that ND hasn’t played at least 10 times.

            I really just don’t see the issue with playing a Big Ten conference schedule.

      • mushroomgod says:

        Well, 1 in 6 Domers being from Indiana is a hell of a lot of Domers. A lot more than I’d like to deal with…

        When IU played ND at ND (perhaps 20 years ago), I thought there was considerable local interest…

        Carry on.

        • FLP_NDRox says:

          ND’s a really small school. I don’t know if there’s a 125,000 living alumni in the US.

          Down there, I’m sure the ND/IU tilt was huge. Especially since IIRC, it was a September game. Lotsa time to kill before basketball season and all.

      • Stephen says:

        FLP_NDRox -

        Re #4

        If the conference were split into two divisions, the schools that ND would probably play every year would be in the Eastern Division: the other Indiana schools, Michigan, MSU, tOSU, Penn State, and Rutgers.

        Their games against the Western division teams could include Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, or Wisconsin. I don’t think any of those games are unappealing. Illinois has been bad for a while, but ND recruits Illinois heavily and I see that game helping them.

        Are you telling me that ND-Iowa, or ND-Wisconsin would be unappealing games? Wouldn’t they be more interesting than ND-Army or ND-Washington?

        • FLP_NDRox says:

          @ Stephen

          You think so?

          It continues to surprise me how Michigan and Ohio State are viewed differently depending on whether you’re a Big Ten fan or not. Inside the Big Ten fans are confident it’s all for one and one for all. Outside fans believe that UM and OSU will do what’s good for them and force the rest of the conference to go along. Outside ignorance and/or bias or Insider Stockholm Syndrome? You decide.

          As a believer that UM and OSU run the conference for their benefit primarily I broke down what I thought the divisions would be when I was putting up potential ND-Big Ten schedules at

          I figured OSU, UM, and PSU would be kept together. I also figured UM would prefer MSU in their division for many reasons: political, geographic, and competitive (some national name has to “go out west” to get national interest in the B10 title games). With those four linked for any B10+2 or B14 scheduling purposes, it seemed to me to make more sense to pair it with the Old Oaken Bucket rivalry (IU-Purdue) to maintain both that rivalry and the Northwestern-Illinois rivalry. Even better for the UM/OSU/PSU triumvirate is that it keeps them playing out east annually (esp. good for the NYC area games if Rutgers, UCONN, or ‘Cuse is added) and ND only visits x times outta y years kneecapping the Irish.

          For the B16 sched I put Rutgers, PSU, OSU, and UM in the pod together for the reasons above. I put ND in a Pod with Pitt, MSU, and Northwestern for mainly geographic reasons, and because I figured that the Triumvirate had no desire to want them in their pod for obvious reasons.

          ND doesn’t need games against the Illini to maintain a presence in Chicago. It’s not like ND recruits downstate heavily. “Unappealing” is too strong. I save that for non-BCS games like WMU. Army has historical significance and Washington not only gives us a presence in the Pacific Northwest but has been a power in the Pac-10 when USC is down. Of course even they could not survive having Willingham as a coach.

          ND-Iowa, ND-Wisc., ND-Wash, and ND-Army are probably all about the same interest wise. To get folks excited about a change, that change has to be a noticable improvement.

          • zeek says:

            I think it’s mostly the fact that Delany’s been around for so long and runs the Big Ten independent from any individual school’s influence.

            Also, he was probably the driver behind not allowing the schools to negotiate their own local rights and centralizing everything in the Big Ten offices.

          • Manifesto says:


            I’d be interested to know what examples there are out there where Ohio State and Michigan colluded to move the conference in one direction against the wishes of the rest in the Big Ten.

            The only issue where I know they stand together is pertaining to the Game. I don’t believe either was particularly fond of moving it to Thanksgiving weekend, and Tressel often said he enjoyed giving the kids the holiday off to be with their families. However, they lost that fight, and this season the OSU-Michigan game is November 27th.

            Additionally, I’m unsure either has been super-positive about a BigTen championship for fear of it reducing the impact of the OSU-Michigan game. A CCG is coming though, we can all agree on that I think, and Tressel has appeared to be on board with it.

            Both schools seem to be reacting positively to this expansion, even though there’s a significant chance the rivalry will be impacted if the OSU-Michigan winner has to face, say, Texas or Nebraska the following week in the BTCCG.

            The next biggest challenge I can see was the addition of Penn State 20 years ago, which Michigan voted against but Ohio State voted for. Michigan was apparently worried a PSU-OSU rivalry would dull the impact of the game, since Ohio-Penn. football is a nice regional rivalry with the Big33 game. A silly concern imo.

            Earlier in the decade OSU wanted to sell The Game sponsorship to AT&T but Michigan refused. It would have netted both schools quite a lot of money. One of the few times in my life I’ve sided with Michigan over Ohio State, and I was appalled that it was even being considered.

            I guess my point is, both parties view that rivalry game as incredibly significant, both to the schools that participate and the conference as a whole. Most conference-wide changes will be looked at through that lens.

            I assume the BigTen’s adoption of instant replay was probably unanimous, despite Michigan having previously purchased every official in the midwest. :P

            Does that mean OSU and Michigan might see things differently than the other 9 schools? Sure, sometimes. But, like every other school, the two will split if there’s a difference of opinion.

          • Manifesto says:


            Side thought. I know that recruiting is often brought up as an important issue for keeping a national schedule for ND. A couple years ago SI put together a database of recruits by school over a four year span (2004-2008, or classes 05-09) and averaged them out. Also included are percentages within a school’s state, and percentage within 200mi. Wanted to give toss out the link and see if you had any thoughts.


            There are Google maps at the top and a table at the bottom. Some interesting data. I would love to take this data and produce percentages for conference footprints, but I don’t have time at the moment. 200mi radius though barely covers Ohio.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            @ Mani

            It really doesn’t matter if I’m right or wrong on this. No, really, it doesn’t. The question I was going at was how ND would be slotted into a larger Big Ten. Then I tried to think like the Big Ten would.

            Sure, I let my biases scream, but I stand by my conclusions. Outside of Illinois, all the major populations states are in the eastern portion of the Big Ten. The conference will likely give preference to established in-conference rivalries over the newcomers’ rivalries or potential rivalries (see also Land Grant Trophy). Moving from the outside in, PSU, OSU, MSU, and UM are a natural grouping. Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin are as well. That leaves five southern teams left: ND, NU, IU, Purdue, and Northwestern. Considering the historical rivalry twixt IU-Purdue and their football history, I figured the conference would prefer to keep them together and near the traditional powers. Take that as you’d like. ND then moves west with NU and it’s in-state rival the Illini.

            Adding a team to each end doesn’t alter my thinking on the teams in the middle. Hell, for the 14 team sched I just replaced Michigan with Nebraska.

            With 16, I kept the same general idea. UM, OSU, PSU are a good rivalry grouping. Rutgers give JoePa his eastern Buddy and the traditional “Big 2″ permanent Bi-annual trips to the Big Apple for hype purposes. If you wanna disagree fine, but I just know that UM is more than OK dumping MSU (they still aren’t a protected rivalry, are they?) out of the pod. If Pitt is brought in as I anticipated, I can’t imagine a PSU that offered the Panthers a 2-for-1 last time out would want them in their annual NYC pod. And who do MSU and Pitt play practically every year? ND! Keeping ND out of the NYC pod is merely bonus.

            Like I said, maybe I’m wrong. What do you think the pods would shake out as?

            I know it’s often quoted on the ND message boards that former ND and Michigan recruiting coordinator Bob Chmiel has stated that Independence is ND’s greatest selling point on the recruiting trail.

            200mi of ND barely covers Chicago, NE Ohio, and SE Michigan. ND *must* recruit nationally to merely be average. Indiana, despite significant increase in football participation since Manning arrived in Indy, doesn’t have enough Div I recruits for one BCS school, much less three.

            I wouldn’t bother with conference recruiting footprints, according to my recruitnik buddy it’s so dominated by the SEC footprint and Texas it’s not funny.

          • HoosierMike says:

            Michigan’s two protected rivalries are OSU and MSU. I’d have a hard time seeing UM give up an annual MSU matchup, but I suppose it’s *possible*.

          • Manifesto says:


            I have no clue on the pods thing. Most of the speculation feels like voodoo to me, so I’ve just stayed out as best as possible. I expect everyone will have to make some minor concessions. For example, OSU might lose its current protected rivalry with PSU, which has been a good game and helped both schools recruit each other’s states. PSU and MSU can finally stop their sham of a manufactured rivalry.

            As far as I know, Michigan and MSU are still a protected rivalry. Does that change if ND enters the Big Ten? Again, possibly. My understanding of that rivalry is that it’s always mattered more to MSU than Michigan.

            If ND joined and only 1-2 eastern schools are added, perhaps it could be a requirement to go into the eastern pod. PSU-ND-Rut-(Syr/UConn/UMD) could be a terrific pod imo, especially if you could keep Michigan as an out-of-pod protected rival. It’d also give ND yearly access to the northeast.

            It’s all speculation really, so you could be wrong or you could be right. My initial comment was just to say that OSU and Michigan are like every other school — they look out for their own interests. Sometimes those interests coincide with each other and/or the rest of the conference, sometimes it doesn’t. In the end, each has 1 vote out of 11, and neither is going to pull a hissy-fit if they don’t get their way, ala USC and the Arizona/ASU vote.

            Regarding my recruiting link, I should’ve more explicit with what I was talking about (was running on 3hrs of sleep). To be honest, you can ignore the article itself. I was interested in the database of information.

            It has a list of every ND recruit for the 2005-2009 recruiting classes (and UM, OSU, etc), including their state, which is independent of Rivals and its southern bias. I agree that the 200mi radius is too small and can be largely ignored. But I wonder what percentage of ND recruits come from the Big Ten’s current footprint, or from the northeast. I will say that ND recruits California better than most Big Ten teams, although Michigan has often recruited well from there as well. ND also competes occasionally with USC in Hawaii, which just isn’t happening for other Big Ten teams.

            But, yes, your recruitnik friend is correct. The recruiting services favor the south and California. But there are just more recruits in Florida, Texas, and California.

          • Manifesto says:


            Alright, went ahead and looked at that table to see where ND got its players during that time period. Bear with me:

            2005-2009 RECRUITING CLASSES (2004-2008)
            AR: 1
            AZ: 1
            CA: 11
            CT: 3
            FL: 8
            GA: 5
            IL: 9
            IN: 6
            KS: 1
            KY: 2
            MA: 1
            MD: 2
            MI: 5
            MN: 3
            MO: 3
            NC: 3
            NE: 1
            NJ: 7
            NV: 1
            NY: 1
            OH: 9
            OK: 2
            OR: 1
            PA: 6
            SC: 1
            TN: 3
            TX: 3
            VA: 2
            TOTAL: 101

            IL: 9
            IN: 6
            MI: 5
            MN: 3
            OH: 9
            PA: 6
            TOTAL: 38

            MO: 3
            NJ: 7
            NY: 1
            NE: 1
            TOTAL: 12

            NJ: 7
            NY: 1
            CT: 3
            MA: 1
            MD: 2
            VA: 2
            TOTAL: 16

            Roughly 38% of Notre Dame’s players come from states already within the Big Ten footprint. Assuming the one rumors are true, and Rutgers, Missouri, and Nebraska are BigTen-bound, 50% of ND’s recruits come from these states. 16% came from the northeastern part of the country (or ~58% total when adding BT+XP+NE states).

            Now, I think the quick reaction is to say, “look at California at 11 recruits (~11%)! Clearly that’s from playing USC yearly along with other west coast teams.” And there might be some truth to that. However, during the same period Michigan grabbed 10 recruits from California as well. Making the same argument for Florida, where ND signed 8 players, is countered by the fact that Ohio State signed 11 Florida recruits during this period. ND and OSU are tied in Georgia, with 5 each. Michigan signed 8 recruits from Texas compared to ND’s 3.

            It looks like I’m doubleteaming OSU/Michigan against ND here, which is somewhat true I suppose. But it’s to illustrate the point that I think the “national schedule leads to national recruiting” argument is somewhat overblown for modern day football. OSU and Michigan both play within a conference and perform as well or better than ND in the big western/southern recruiting hotbed states, despite the fact Ohio State gets the bulk of its talent from within Ohio.

            Lastly, regarding Bob Chmiel, that’s a strong endorsement. The man knows recruiting, far better than I ever will. However, he was Michigan’s recruiting coordinator from 88-93 and ND’s from 94-97 (per During that period, yes, being independent would’ve been a tremendous advantage. Not the least of which was because ND was on NBC and the Big Ten was fighting with other conferences for regional coverage.

            However, with cable proliferation and the BigTen Network (for our conversation anyway), most of that advantage is neutralized. In fact, I would argue that cable proliferation has as much to do with the rise of “mid-pack/mid-major” schools as the 85 scholarship limit.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            IIRC re Chmiel, his theory was that if ND joined the Big Ten, ND pitch would change to be much more similar to UM’s, and he always found it more useful to have a differing pitch. ND::Big Ten like 7up::Coke or something.

            IDK, I’m not a recruitnik.

          • Manifesto says:


            I admit to being one of those sad souls that follows recruiting, at least somewhat loosely.

            I agree it’s good to have a different pitch. Thing is, at least when ND’s recruited in Ohio, the majority of the recruits seem to be more interested in ND because they go to a Catholic high school or are Catholic themselves, not necessarily that they played an assortment of conferences. That and ND’s outstanding academics has always been a major selling point for Ohio recruits from what I understand.

            I’m sure there are exceptions, of course. The Hawaiian LB Weis nabbed from USC (Te’o?) was probably thrilled ND plays west coast teams, for example. But most care for playing for a winning program, usually a big name, getting a good education, and almost always having the best chance for the NFL.

    • Patrick says:

      I love the look of that schedule, but I can’t imagine Notre Dame would want to go 3-9 or 4-8 every year. Independence would probably be better for them.

  72. Rick says:

    The NCAA just released their Top 10% Public Recognition Awards for 2010 for the APR (Academic Progress Rates). This is the rolling multi-year rates for the combined 2005-06 thru 2008-09 academic years. Each year it looks back over the last 4 years and releases the Awards for schools, by sport, that are the High-performing top 10% scores. All the APR scores for all schools are released soon.

    “The APR provides a real-time view of a team’s academic success by tracking the progress of each student-athlete during the school year. By measuring eligibility and retention each semester or quarter, the APR provides a clear picture of the academic culture in each sport.”

    7 D1 FBS Schools were honored:
    Duke University
    Northwestern University
    Rice University
    Rutgers University
    Air Force Academy
    University of Miami (FL)
    University of Notre Dame

    1 Academy, 5 Privates, 1 Public State University

    Link and searchable database:

  73. M says:

    On the “Big Ten expansion could affect everyone” front, here’s an article discussing its potential impact on Siena and Albany.

    So yeah…

  74. HoosierMattMizzou says:

    First, a quick, personal note… thanks to all of you who have spent your time posting comments on this blog, though I am an addict, I am definitely thankful for the brain trust that has been assembled.

    Now, I live outside Kansas City, and Kevin Keitzman of 810 WHB, the individual who “broke” the most recent speculation, just interviewed Dan Beebe, Commissioner of the Big 12. He got the following out of him:

    1) The Big 12 will meet in KC in three weeks. Beebe says that at this meeting, “We need to call the question, and figure out who is going to be going with us.” He reiterated this at the end of the interview, saying, “we’ve got to make this happen soon.”

    2) A big issue in Missouri and Nebraska’s expansion thoughts is academics. “There is a big issue besides athletics… there is an interest by those in the faculty and others to take a look a what possibilities lie there.”

    3) The Big 12 will not share revenue. Speaking to the opinion of “significant” institutions, “This was the deal when we came together. If you try to go back on it, you’re reneging on the deal. We’re not going to stand for that.”

    4) According to Beebe, “The Big Ten has clearly stated, any institution that comes into the league is going to have to buy-in and probably have a lot less revenue distribution than the other institutions.”

    5) As an answer to the following question from Kietzman, “Do you honestly believe that no representatives from the Big Ten have spoken with either Missouri or Nebraska?” Beebe answered, “The Big Ten, either through the conference or its members, have probably been in communication with others in the country that they have an interest with just to send out feelers and get responses back.”

    6) “I’ve talked with Jim (Delany) directly, I understand what he’s doing and what he’s coming from, maybe I would do it similarly if I was in his situation, maybe I wouldn’t.” [Sounds a bit like Conan O'Brien on 60 Minutes a couple weeks ago]

    7) A couple of months after he took the commissioner’s job in the Big 12, “I talked to our media partner Fox… about the possibility of a joint network, perhaps, with the PAC-10 or others.” Expansion is just a convenient time to bring the subject up, but it has been cooking for a while. Also, the Rose Bowl is not on the table.

    8) “Whether we have the twelve that we have, or we expand in some fashion, or replace members with others, there are going to be plenty of candidates who want to be a part of this association of univerisities.” Beebe has given thought to all scenarios, “If our membership said, we don’t want to be at 9, or 10, or whatever, or 11, we want to be back at 12, I’ve thought about possible replacements.” Beebe would want to look outside of current states where they have schools. He tried to make the case that other schools in current Big 12 states wouldn’t add anything because the Big 12 has already captured those markets. If it was just for numbers, maybe they would add a school in a current state (i.e. Texas), but otherwise they are looking to add more value by looking to markets that the Big 12 does not currently have.

    That’s pretty much everything of value, here’s the link so you can check it out yourself

    I’ll be interested to hear what you all think.

    • zeek says:

      Interesting interview.

      In the past couple weeks he’s sounded fairly confident that Texas isn’t going anywhere otherwise he’d be more nervous about all of this.

      Beebe seems to only expect to lose Nebraska and Missouri and for the Big 12 to reload. Perhaps he doesn’t expect to lose Colorado, but I guess we’ll see.

      I still don’t see how the Big 12 keeps going if Colorado walks away and Nebraska and Missouri follow it out… Oklahoma and A&M would have to want out if that happens…

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      Beebe says a lot of things. He’s perhaps most infamous for claiming the NFL is inferior to college football because it has a playoff. (Yes, I know, a few kooks truly do believe that.)

      TX and aTm are leaving, it is just a matter of when and where. Most likely to the P16, taking CO, KS, and OU with them. TX turning down the B10+ likely puts NE and MO in the B16. SEC could grab OK St and/or TT, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Beebe will probably have 3 to 5 current teams to rebuild upon. (Maybe 7 if TX and aTm choose a P14, screwing CO, OU, or KS.)

      First off, he’s got to expand the Texas footprint. TX and aTm brought the state, TT and Baylor do not. However adding TCU and UH, and maybe even SMU could help the conference. Since the B12 is now going to be a leftover conference the strategy is different. They aren’t going to get on basic cable and no one or two teams will carry the state. But an aggregate strategy can add up, enough to still broker deals with regional sports channels or Versus, NFL Network, etc. TX and aTm may command 70% of the market, but you can still go after the remaining 4, 4, 5, 7, 8% and get another 25% of sports fans who will watch other local teams or good match ups. You can still sell the conference if you have good teams. The money will just be somewhere in between WAC/CUSA and what they have now, though closer to WAC.

      So beyond Texas schools (and the SEC might grab TCU or even UH, though unlikely) BYU out west and S. FL and UCF to the east seem the next logical targets. Lou, Cin, WV if any of those are available. Fresno, perhaps Boise, and even CSU or UNLV. Sorry, but NM is just too small and iffy, unless the NeoB12 go to 16 and regional pods or the BEast survives.

      My guess is three 16 super conferences. ACC replaces SEC raided holes with BEast schools but probably doesn’t drop its academic standards and thus won’t get above 12 or 14 schools. BEast BCS football disappears, NeoB12 takes the best leftovers to get back to 12. A chance they go to 16 if they can make the numbers work. That’s a big IF, but with the big dogs gone the thresholds will be quite different.

      So probably 72 BCS AQ schools in 5 conferences feeding 4 bowls, 73 if ND stays indy. Maybe as high as 80 if they withdraw from the NCAA, in five 16-school conferences with some fill out additions to the ACC and NeoB12 from political pressure.

      • m (Ag) says:

        I’ve been thinking about a different arrangement for the Texas schools to join with the Pac 10.

        How about 2 conferences that join together to have a Western Alliance Championship game only for football?

        Pac 8-Stanford, USC, UCLA, Cal, UW, WSU, OSU, Oregon
        New SW-UA, ASU, UT, A&M, TT, OU, Colorado, BYU

        -Because they’re separate conferences for non-football sports, Texas Tech and BYU might be acceptable to the California schools

        -The 2 conferences would sell their TV rights together and form their own cable network

        -There would be legal agreements that if the Alliance fell apart, Arizona and Arizona State could rejoin the Pac 10 instantly without a vote.

        -Because Arizona and Arizona State University are giving up their Pac 10 rivalries, UCLA and USC each would agree to an annual series against one of the Arizona schools in football and other sports

        -Other teams can schedule a permanent series against a member of the other conference if they wish.

        -In addition to any permanent series, every team would play a member of the other conference. This opponent would rotate every 2 years. If they already have a permanent series, this team would come from a different region of the other conference. (For example, Arizona’s extra game would rotate between Oregon, OSU, Washington, WSU, Stanford, and Cal)

        -At the end of the football season, only games against your own conference would count in determining who plays in the Alliance championship game.

        -For the 2 Arizona and LA schools, they will each have 9 games per year determined by this setup. This is the same number they have now in the Pac 10.

        -Everyone else will have 8 games fixed, so the Big 12 teams would still have 4 games they can schedule. The other Pac 10 teams would have 1 more game to schedule than they do now.

        -The 2 conferences would also agree to games in non-revenue sports against each other.

        Using Wikipedia’s population numbers, these 16 schools bring states that total 32% of the US population (assuming BYU brings Utah). While they would still get more joining the Big 10, the Texas schools should do OK with their TV contracts in this arrangement.

    • jokewood says:

      Very interesting.

      Few thoughts…

      1) Beebe is behaving as if the Big Ten is indeed on an accelerated timeline and is targeting Nebraska and Missouri. This may just be his doing due diligence as the Big 12 commissioner. However, he does have a relationship with Delaney. Beebe feeling the need to “call the question” publicly just adds to the smoke.

      2) “The Big Ten, either through the conference or its members, have probably been in communication with others in the country that they have an interest with just to send out feelers and get responses back.”

      …pretty much what we’ve all been figuring.

      3) Beebe dogged the Big Ten’s revenue distribution to new members. Tagliabue straight up dogged Rutgers.

  75. Patrick says:

    I’m pretty sure we are arriving at over-analysis, especially concerning Notre Dame.

    Notre Dame is a good football school with a rich tradition but this is the BIG 10. A collection of schools that individually have traditions that rival ND, and collectively is something much bigger. I believe they should ask and that is it. If ND doesn’t want to play, great…. more power to them.

    So I did some checking on the teams.

    Expansion Canidates FB Wins last 10 years…. PLUS the top and bottom of the current Big Ten
    #2 Texas 110
    #4 Ohio State 102
    #19 Nebraska 84
    #32 Pitt 74
    #40 Missouri 70
    #40 Notre Dame 70
    #57 UConn 62
    #71 Rutgers 58
    #92 Syracuse 46
    #103 Indiana 39

    Last 20 years….
    #2 Ohio State 193
    #3 Nebraska 192
    #4 Texas 184
    #21 Notre Dame 154
    #46 Syracuse 128
    #61 Missouri 113
    #64 Pitt 111
    #85 Rutgers 95
    #90 Indiana 90

    Last 40 years…
    #1 Nebraska 393
    #2 Ohio State 366
    #6 Texas 345
    #15 Notre Dame 321
    #36 Pitt 256
    #51 Syracuse 237
    #64 Missouri 217
    #64 Rutgers 217
    #92 Indiana 171

    Last 80 years….
    #2 Texas 620
    #5 Ohio State 611
    #7 Nebraska 603
    #8 Notre Dame 595
    #41 Pitt 446
    #42 Syracuse 443
    #47 Missouri 429
    #51 Rutgers 419
    #98 Indiana 307

    • djinndjinn says:

      Very interesting, Patrick.

      Texas and Nebraska have been the winningest programs among candidates, followed by ND. I think we knew that in the past 10 or 20 years, but I’m surprised they’ve out-performed ND as long as its been.

      Interesting to see how Nebraska has ranked in the past 10 years, at about the weakest its been.

      And one can’t help but notice that Indiana has been pulling up the rear for the past 80 years. But I’m pretty sure they’re turning a corner in 2010! ;-)

      • Patrick says:

        I was also suprised that Ohio State was leading Michigan at every slice. In many cases Michigan was just a few wins or spots behind Ohio State. How about this …
        Record versus the Big Ten over the last 50 years….

        Nebraska 36 – 5 – 0 0.878
        Texas 6 – 3 – 0 0.667
        Notre Dame 98 – 59 – 2 0.623
        Missouri 25 – 22 – 3 0.530
        Rutgers 6 – 6 – 0 0.500
        Pittsburgh 11 – 13 – 1 0.460
        Syracuse 15 – 27 – 2 0.364
        Texas A & M 3 – 9 – 0 0.250

        • Manifesto says:

          As an Ohio State fan I’m not surprised. ;)

          In all seriousness, Ohio State has been pretty stable with good coaches that won, even when we were considered “the graveyard of coaches”. A couple hiccups here and there, but largely solid winning percentages since Paul Brown.

          Michigan had (roughly) two decades of mediocrity prior to hiring Bo, followed by almost four great decades with Bo/Gary Moeller/Lloyd Carr. Since World War I the rivalry has been even, with Michigan’s dominance in the 90s all but canceled by OSU’s dominance this decade, although prior to 1918 Michigan was 14-1. :P

          That’s kind of why no one really knows how to take this RichRod situation — he has the worst winning percentage of any Michigan coach in history at this moment. When I look RichRod’s Michigan teams I see Nebraska with Callahan, ie. a square peg and a round hole. Maybe that’ll change, I dunno.

          • ChicagoRed says:

            I also share your confusion on the whole RichRod situation and totally agree on the Nebraska comparison.
            Michigan brought in RR to “cure” their previous ten years of mediocrity (ranking 7th among D1 schools at .766). Nebraska felt the need to replace a coach who ranked 12th at.753.
            Both schools were guilty of hubris and suffered.

          • jokewood says:


            Who should Michigan have hired?

            There were no acceptable internal candidates. Ferentz runs his program similar to the way Carr ran Michigan. Consequently, Ferentz was Michigan’s first target. He said no. Schiano (ugh) also ran a program similar to Carr. He was Michigan’s next target, but he also said no. Only then did Michigan turn to Rodriguez, who simply had the strongest resume by a wide margin. It’s hard to argue that Michigan was looking to reinvent the wheel from the outset.

            Les Miles — nonstarter, for a number of reasons I won’t get into. Besides, LSU fans aren’t too happy with him right now.

          • Manifesto says:


            I don’t buy that. It’s Michigan. There are coaches lined up around the block to coach at a place like that. Perhaps in terms of the only big-name, hot commodity coaches ESPN touts that’s it. But if that’s the only category the AD looked at then he was being lazy imo. There were probably other options but the AD didn’t want to stick his neck out, so he went with the popular choice.

          • jokewood says:


            It’s really easy to say “Michigan could have done better” with the benefit of retrospect. It’s also easy to say so without providing names of who would have done better and who would have accepted the job.

            The AD certainly dropped the ball in terms of not landing his first candidate. That’s especially bad since he had known for a long time that was going to retire. Carr dropped the ball by his failure to groom a successor.

          • Cliff's Notes says:

            A few points about the RichRod hire. Wake Forest’s Jim Grobe was also allegedly offered the job.

            If true, that means that the first 5 coaches offered this job were BCS head coaches. I don’t know if it was laziness, but the AD clearly was not interested in promoting a co-ordinator, or a small school coach, like a Brian Kelly or Jim Tressell.

            I don’t fully recall the circumstances surrounding the last couple of ND hires, or Jim Tressel’s hiring, but I seem to recall that there was the George O’Leary fiasco before hiring Willingham, and also that Charlie Weis was not the first coach offered the ND job. I can’t recall about Tressel, but I don’t think he was the slam-dunk favorite in the press.

            My disappointment with the hiring of RichRod is that I don’t understand how someone can look at Kirk Ferentz track record and offer him the job, and then look at RichRod’s track record, and then offer him the job. I just don’t see it. If RichRod would have been your first choice for a hire, I don’t think Ferentz would have been on your list. Two completely different types of coach and programs. And that’s what puzzles and disappoints me.

            If ND and Ohio State were willing to hire coaches that were not BCS Head Coaches previously, why couldn’t Michigan? I mean, they did hire some dude named Schembechler once, and he hadn’t been head coach at a BCS-caliber program.

            Also, I think Carr tried doing the grooming, but it just didn’t work out. If you go back 6 or 7 years, most people thought Jim Hermann (our old DC) was next in line. Then it was Mike DeBord, but Martin for some reason wouldn’t even consider it. Some people believe that (the next DC) Ron English only needed some more seasoning. He’s at Eastern Michigan now to get that experience, and I’ve heard plenty of whispers that English is waiting in the wings to “get the old gang back together again” once Rich Rod fails.

          • jokewood says:


            The “some reason” Martin would not consider Debord was his 0.261 win percentage as head coach of Central Michigan. English is off to an 0-12 start at Eastern Michigan, so don’t expect him back in Ann Arbor anytime soon.

          • Cliff's Notes says:

            Gary Moeller had a less than stellar run as a head coach at Illinois, came back to Michigan as an assistant, and eventually was promoted to head coach at Michigan.

            For better or worse, your prior record may not matter if you are a “Michigan Man”.

            I might not have been thrilled with DeBord, but how many coaches need to turn down the job before you look to promote from within?

            And even if DeBord was only a “place holder” until someone else was ready (or available), there would have been a lot more consistency in the program between recruits, systems, and the coaching staff.

            I know there are some factions at UM that would fully support getting the band back together under DeBord or English, even if it was a return to 8-4.

    • m (Ag) says:

      Should have put Texas A&M up on the list, too:

      last 10 years- 55(tied) with 63 wins
      last 20 years- 17(tied) with 157 wins
      last 40 years- 18 with 293 wins
      last 80 years- 30 with 477 wins

      You can see the last 10 years have been downright average. Still, from the size of our donations and attendance at games, this is proof the program is supported well even in the worst of times.

      • Patrick says:

        I agree with you on A&M. Very strong athletic program, great acedemics. I think I’ll start adding A&M and Texas when looking at stuff, but all indications I have seen is that A&M will either go with Texas or go to the SEC.

  76. Paul says:

    The more I think about this whole expansion deal, the more it occurs to me that, because all of the power resides with (1) The Big Ten, (2) Texas, and (3) Notre Dame, these three actors will work in concert to promote their own best interests.

    These big three will be the actors. They have the most to offer. The rest of the conferences will be reacting to what they decide to do.

    Given the relative freedom of these three entities to act in their own best interests, why should we assume that they won’t work together to reach the decision that makes the most sense and the most money? Why not create the most exciting, big money conference ever? What is stopping them from putting together the “Dream 16″?

    The dream outcome would be to take the Big Ten to 16 teams by adding (1) Notre Dame (for national excitement and TV $$$), (2) Texas (for great sports, great academics, and more TV $$$), and (3) Rutgers (to put all of this football glamor on the doorstep of NYC, give some political cover to ND, and provide an eastern rival for PSU). The final two teams would probably have to be two of these three (Texas A&M, Missouri, and Nebraska). While these teams would all bring much to the table in their own right, their addition would also serve as political cover for Texas.

    Texas does not want to be the team that breaks up the Big 12 because this cause too much political discomfort in Texas. If Missouri, Nebraska, and Colorado leave first, then Texas realistically has to choose between three conferences: Pac-10, Big Ten, and SEC. Of these three, the Dream 16 lineup would be the best bet. More glitz, better academics, better time zones.

    Texas A&M may want out from under UT’s shadow, if so, then they can go to the SEC or Pac-10. If they want to stick with Texas, then they too will be in the Dream 16. It sounds like A&M may want to go its own way, which means the last two Dream 16 spots would go to Missouri and Nebraska (though they will likely be the first two announced for strategic purposes).

    Notre Dame biggest stumbling block is its fan base, but the seismic shift of losing one Big East team and seeing Texas join the Big Ten will allow Notre Dame to find away to the big money table. More than money, Notre Dame must realize that times are changing and that they will need to get in a conference to keep a decent schedule of BCS opponents. It would be hard not to jump at the Dream 16.

    My guess is that most of this has already been decided and we are just seeing the process play out. First step will be the announcement of Rutgers and Missouri and/or Nebraska. Then Notre Dame and Texas (after the Big 12 is further ransacked by the Pac-10 and SEC).

    • zeek says:

      While that might happen in the business world in terms of M&A, the education world has way more competing tendencies for purely optimal $ outcomes to drive the day.

      Texas and Notre Dame are both reaches for the very reason that it’s not just all about money, there are a lot of other constituencies that have to be pleased with the arrangement including boosters, faculty, the athletic department, and of course the president and his trustees.

      I don’t think it’s possible to get both Notre Dame and Texas in this expansion. It just seems to be too difficult without wrecking the Big 12 or Big East to really wrench them away.

      Thus, I’m more inclined to believe that the Big Ten should go entirely after the Big 12 and take Nebraska/Missouri/Kansas/Texas/A&M if we really want Texas because it’s hard to see the Big 12 surviving without Nebraska/Missouri/Kansas and those 3 were the heart of the Big 8 since its founding…

      Notre Dame can be gotten later along with Rutgers if Comcast is feeling stingy when it comes around to getting its next TV contract sewn up…

      • zeek says:

        What I mean to say is that Eastern expansion only seems to be worth it at this time if Notre Dame is on the table. There’s a reason they’re the draw for Yankee Stadium’s first football game.

      • Paul says:

        I agree about all of the other constituencies having to be pleased. There are a ton of moving parts. That’s why it takes so long. But in terms of getting things done, the synergy that would result from having the big three players act in concert to create the dream conference would, I think, create a big enough carrot to get it done.

        There is also enough of a stick. For ND and Texas, the alternatives are not great. Expansion still makes sense without them, and if they do nothing, they are going to be hurt by it. The Big XII will be gone or diminished and Notre Dame will run out of BCS teams to play.

    • PensfaninLAexile says:

      When viewed from a distance, all logic seems to point to a B10 that adds ND, Texas, Nebraska and 1-3 hangers on. But money and logic get you to the bargaining table, they don’t make a deal happen. Ironically, the power, money and prestige that the B10, Texas, and ND have could lead to a deal failing, rather than succeeding.

      In order to figure out what is going on, all anyone has are the profiles of the universities, their revenues (TV and other), history and a few scraps of information that bubble up from time to time. So, we have to take the facts and go from there.

      The last two leaks (and they were orchestrated leaks from the B10) were that the timetable has moved up and a list of B10 is putting pressure on its targets. Now, there is no pressure applied to Rutgers or Mizzou – could these two make their intentions more obvious? Likewise there is no pressure on Syracuse, Pitt, Uconn, Kansas, K State – all are guaranteed to say yes.

      The pressure would have to be applied to powerhouse schools. Schools who have other options, schools who bring a lot to the table – and know it. In other words, Texas and ND – with NU straddling the line.

      Consider Texas. Why was Texas not mentioned? Three possibilities: 1) they’re out; 2) they’re in, but B10 is holding back to make a big splash; or 3) they’re negotiating. #1 and #2 are no fun, so consider #3.

      What could the negotiations look like? Two more possibilities: 1) Texas wants in and is working on cutting the best deal; 2) Texas is in talks, but either isn’t certain or they are internally split on moving. When you start to dig into the negotiation scenario, a whole series of paths open up, some leading to membership, some not.

      Scenario #1: Texas wants in, and everyone is on board. So, what’s the holdup? Texas could be demanding an outsized share, based on the logic that they bring more to the able and don’t want to subsidize the weaker schools – at least not too much (precedent: that’s how things work in the B12); Texas could want a guarantee that the B10 championship is held in JerryWorld at least once every 3 years; they might be demanding that A&M be brought along; maybe they want A&M in and Mizzou out (wouldn’t that be a riot!); they might want some flexibility in choice of non-BCS bowls, etc.

      If Texas really wants in they might accept terms dictated by the B10, with a few face-saving concessions. But remember, Texas is used to being the big dog and having its own way. It is now facing a group that likely won’t want to concede much, if anything to Texas. Both sides could very well miscalculate. B10 might set a deadline; Texas might issue an ultimatum. The clock ticks – B10 wants to move as Nebraska and Mizzou don’t want to mark time in the B12 and Rutgers needs to get out of the B East. (OK, phased expansion takes care of this – I get it)

      Of course, both sides could get to the brink and realize they need each other and seal the deal. Probably the most likely result if both sides want each other.

      Scenario #2: Texas wants in, but not everyone is on board. Now we are into a tricky situation. Can Texas get enough of its key people to agree on a move to the B10? Can it be done quickly enough to keep on a decent time frame? Does Texas have to appease any opponents to moving with some demands? If so, are their demands too much for the B10? If UT has to come up with a compromise negotiating position to satisfy the relevant power centers within the university, athletic department, and boosters, then getting in becomes much more difficult. The B10 has shown little, if any inclination to give special treatment to anyone. Again, the clock on Texas could expire and see the B10 move on. That might even be a strategy be any dissidents – delay, delay. It’s also possible that there are elements in the B10 that don’t want Texas – could a school that is not keen on expansion use any outsized demands by Texas to blow up the process?

      Think #2 is foolish? Scenario #2 is what is happening at ND (with more ambivalence to be sure). ND is split – and badly. My guess is the Swarbrick is simultaneously trying to knit together a consensus to go to the B10, while trying for entry terms that can be swallowed. Logic and money dictate that ND should join the B10 with or without special terms. But that doesn’t appear to be happening. ND’s strength (NBC, BCS exception, natl following) are making it harder to cut a deal, not easier.

      Lastly, Texas and the B10 will negotiate ONE time over entry. There are no do-overs on this one. If the B10 miscalculates, not too big a deal – Texas out? B10 is still huge, growing and top conference (with the SEC); Texas in (with inducements)? Maybe some grumbling, but everyone will still get richer.

      Texas is taking a big jump – miscalculation could be very costly. They are going to want to make certain that they cut the right deal – which is another impediment.

      • PensfaninLAexile says:

        Let me add one more point to the last —

        Texas will NEVER be in as strong a position as it is in right now. Once inside the B10, they are just one vote out of 14/16. If they are negotiating, this is it. This is the only chance they will have to cut a deal that works for them.

        Maybe just walking in is fine for them — I tend to doubt it.

        • zeek says:

          Your analysis of Texas and the Big Ten is spot on and why it’s going to be far harder to negotiate a deal than anything else.

          I think the truth is probably closer to Scenario #2. There are probably a lot of people at Texas who like being the big dog in the conference as opposed to 1 equal vote out of 16. Another consideration for Scenario #2 is that Texas state politics start coming into play with respect to A&M and TTU if Texas would appear to want to make a move.

        • rich2 says:

          This analysis is spot on — but I suggest that we move the analysis to the next level.

          Texas, ND and Big Ten are three actors involved in a competitive game.

          Scenario 1:
          If Big Ten expands to 14: Missouri, Nebraska and RU — why does Texas and ND feel threatened? I don’t see it.
          Scenario 2:
          If Big Ten expands to 15: Missouri, Nebraska, Pitt, RU — why does Texas and ND feel threatened? I don’t see it.
          Scenario 3:
          If Big Ten expands to 16: Missouri, Nebraska, Pitt, RU, and Conn — why does Texas and ND feel threatened? I don’t see it — in fact I think they laugh at the idea that group “forces” them to do anything. Instead, it might require a re-shuffling of the deck.

          Scenario 4:

          Big Ten expands to 14 or 15 and it includes either Texas and ND. That is a dangerous scenario for the other school that does not participate. But, the school that says “yes” in the initial expansion knows this too. So, for example, if you are Texas, the value of your accepting a bid from the Big Ten for the Big Ten is: the Big Ten gains in its brand by the addition of Texas, every current member gains additional TV revenue by the addition of Texas AND the Big Ten is much more likely to add ND.

          Contrary to how the board wants to view it – I think Texas gains a much better deal from this situation then “our oceanography doctoral students can spend a semester at MSU” or “you don’t have to pay a fee to join” or “we get to influence our schedule.” Really, is that how you would negotiate? If expansion is about money, then the negotiations will be about money.

          As I have written several times (and it has been ignored by this board) — you view expansion fueled by the financial strength of the BTN. It can also be viewed as an attempt to overcome the rapidly deteriorating fiscal situation of most of the states that support the current Big 11. For example in the state of Indiana, the current projection is that there will be a faculty salary freeze for two MORE years (and maybe a tuition freeze for the next two). When the freeze is over will IU and Purdue be stronger or weaker academic institutions?

          Scenario 4 leads me to ask two different questions: how much would the Big 11 be willing to pay Texas to join in a Big 14 or Big 15 expansion (either a one-time signing bonus or spread out over a decade) and could the Big 11 hide this arrangement from the general public since for political reasons they would have to do so.

          Texas would undoubtedly earn more than any other Big 14, 15 or 16 member from the total TV package (including the original 11) — I say for the first decade. That would be quite a kick in the butt, wouldn’t it?

          • Blood & Steel says:

            Instead of a payout to Texas, why not waive the buy-in to the BTN?

          • prophetstruth says:


            In your scenarios I think it naive to think that Texas and Notre Dame would take expansion of the Big10 to 14 – 16 teams lightly, especially if the foundations of their present homes are shaky. Notre Dame and Texas would have to react simply to make sure their homes were secure. Losing 2 conference members, 1 the anchor tenant in the opposite division & arguably the 2nd most popular football team in the conference has to cause concern for the Big12 conference. Missouri is in the 2nd biggest market after Texas. The Big East losing 3 members especially with 2 being Pitt and UCONN means the Big East will likely cease to exist or merge with the ACC. That has to cause concern for ND and I doubt they will be laughing. They have to find, form or restructure their conference affiliation to find the best situation for the University. If I were the University President, I would want stability, money, associations with world class Universities, research collaborations that fit with the mission & goals of the institution, overall strong athletics. Arkansas leaving for the SWC threatened Texas stability & thus began the Big12. The Big10 is as stable as it comes. There was a reason why Texas sought membership in the Pac10 and Big10 15 plus years ago. If I am Texas, I want stability, not searching and changing conference members every 15 – 20 years if a reconstituted Big12 were to last that long. Notre Dame wants independence and has to consider themselves lucky regarding the generosity of the Big East & BCS.

            Also, the Rustbelt and Midwest are not the only areas of the country reeling from the economy. Come to California. The same problems regarding cuts in education, have swept across the country. The students were damn near rioting at Cal. That simply underscores the reasons and needs for consolidation amongst the major research universities (AAU) who also participate in major athletics (Div I) and thus expansion for the main conference that includes both (Big10).

            Lastly, the Big10 will negotiate. However, Texas will not get more than any other team in the Big10 and the Big10 will not pay Texas a signing bonus to join. You act as if the conference has nothing to offer these teams. The Big12 or Big East may not survive expansion especially if other conferences plan to follow suit. You are not being honest if you think administrators for Texas & Notre Dame are sitting in room laughing at the prospects of staying in weakened dying conferences. They are making plans, some of which include seeking membership in the Big10 which has more academic and athletic resources than any other conference.

          • Manifesto says:


            I don’t want to bring politics and such into this, but I do agree with you on the whole “Rust Belt is dying” ND argument.

            Yes, the population in the midwest isn’t growing *as fast* as the southwest. However, it’s not like the rust belt states are the only ones looking at tough times at the moment, and I’ve seen some anti-ND-to-BigTen arguments on here that act like “why should we join this regional conference when this region is going to look like Thunderdome in ten years?”

            Fact is, there are three rust belt states in the top 10 for unemployment rates right now. That’s terrible. But so are plenty of deep south, southwestern, and western states. 5 of the top 6 states for housing foreclosures are Western states, with Florida as #4.

            So let’s avoid the “but the midwest is dying” argument, because it’s largely a red herring. Everywhere’s hurting, and it has little to do with conference expansion.

          • PSUGuy says:

            Don’t forget the other partner…Pac10.

            None of the Scenario’s will scare either of ND or Texas, but the scenario where Neb and Mizzou go to the Big10 and Colorado goes to the Pac10 will scare all the rest of the Big12 because it directly effects likely payouts their tv contracts will give with no attractive replacements to be had…and right before negotiation time.

            Truly, I think Texas will walk a fine line, but in the end isn’t going to push because its going to need a home if the Big12 disintegrates and what’s around (other than the Big10) may not suit very well.

            ND on the other hand, even if the BigEast as a football conference disintegrates, could just start a Catholic league, or all sports but football BigEast, and keep on with its independent status.

          • Pezlion says:

            “Texas would undoubtedly earn more than any other Big 14, 15 or 16 member from the total TV package (including the original 11) — I say for the first decade. That would be quite a kick in the butt, wouldn’t it?”

            Never going to happen. It’s just not. The Big Ten doesn’t NEED Texas. Is it a nice to have? Of course, but it’s absolutely not a NEED. On the other hand, a situation could be reached where Texas needs the Big Ten. If the Big XII goes away, of course Texas will have choices, but none of them will be as good of an option as the Big Ten, either financially or otherwise.