Underrated Players and Issues in Conference Realignment

Posted: May 17, 2010 in Big East, Big Ten, Illinois Fighting Illini, Sports

The Big Ten athletic directors and coaches are meeting this week, where supposedly nothing regarding what we actually care about will be talked about. (Of course, I’m very ready to find out why Jim Delany went Tony Montana on someone’s ass in a conference meeting.) So, in light of the anticipated non-news that will doubtlessly spur about eighty rumors anyway, let’s take a look at some of the players and issues in conference realignment that actually haven’t been talked about enough by the national media and blogosphere.

1.  Fox – There were two very surprising developments out of the new ACC TV deal that is reportedly close to being finalized. First, the ACC received a substantial increase over its previous deal from ESPN, which was a feat in and of itself considering the “meh” football play coming out of that conference since it expanded, the still dragging economy, and the fact that everyone thought that ESPN blew its college sports wad on the SEC and Big Ten a couple of years ago. Second, that substantial increase was forced on ESPN by Fox as a legitimate competing bidder for the ACC’s TV rights. There had been a lot of speculation that Fox was simply getting out of the college sports business at a national level after losing the rights to the BCS bowls, yet it looks like Rupert Murdoch’s empire is thinking otherwise.

Now, as many of you know, Fox is a 49% partner in the Big Ten Network with the Big Ten Conference, so it has already had a significant role in conference realignment in an indirect sense (unless you buy into the theory, as some readers have suggested, that this is really a ploy for Murdoch to take over all of college athletics). Still, the fact that Fox was seriously in play to get the ACC games can alter the strategic thinking of the Big XII and Pac-10. One of my readers that does some consulting work for a conference speculated that having Fox as a potential deep-pocketed TV suitor for marquee games puts the Big XII, even without Nebraska and Missouri, in a much more stable position down the road… assuming that schools like Texas can stick around for a few years before the conference’s current TV deal expires. That arrangement might not make the Big XII on par with the Big Ten or SEC in terms of TV revenue, but if the Longhorn Sports Network (which I’ll get to in a moment) is a viable property for Texas, then UT in particular might be satisfied and continue to make a go of it with whatever is left in the Big XII. This also gives more credence to the possibility of a “Western Alliance” that is aligned with Fox for media purposes even if the Big XII is depleted and the Pac-10 doesn’t expand, where that alliance could form its own network or enter into joint ventures on TV deals.

So, maybe Fox has a bit more up its sleeve than slamming Glee down our throats during May sweeps.

2.  Longhorn Sports Network – The commenters on this blog have been going back-and-forth for quite awhile about the prospect of Texas starting its own TV network, but it seems as if though the national media has paid scant attention to it other than a cursory acknowledgment from time-to-time.  The thing is that outside of the Big Ten Network itself, there’s arguably nothing more important in this conference realignment cycle than the Longhorn Sports Network.  The fate of the LSN is likely going to determine which conference Texas is going to be in a couple of years from now over possibly every other issue (although there is another potential Texas-based complicating factor that I’ll describe later on). While other Big XII schools may complain that Texas is looking to make more revenue that those other schools can’t take advantage of, it’s in their best interests (at least the ones that don’t end up in the Big Ten or Pac-10) to ensure that the LSN works. It’s really the only conceivable way that Texas could possibly make as much TV money in the Big XII as all of the schools in the Big Ten and SEC and that’s what it’s going to take to get Texas to stay and not completely demolish its current conference. Otherwise, there’s literally nothing else for the Big XII to give to Texas – it’s already given the Longhorns as much as it can handle and it’s still far behind what the Big Ten and SEC could provide, so the notion that Texas is trying to extract more concessions from the Big XII is laughable.

The mere threat of this network could also be used as leverage by Texas in negotiating with the Big Ten or Pac-10, just as the SEC used the threat of a network to get ESPN to give it a Godfather offer to prevent that from ever happening. One way or another, the LSN seems to be conceptually far along at Texas and it’s going to be used to extract as much as possible from whichever conference that it ends up being a member of (whether it stays or goes).

3.  Texas Tech – Beyond the LSN, there’s a matter of Texas politics for wherever the Longhorns might end up.  Frequent commenter Hopkins Horn has been covering conference realignment for Burnt Orange Nation and put together an excellent piece speaking to a top state political observer.  The general assumption is that Texas A&M needs to move with Texas or at least find an acceptable alternative home, which isn’t surprising.  Of course, Texas A&M is a top 20 athletic revenue school with huge fan bases in places like Houston and Dallas and a better academic research reputation than schools such as Nebraska and Missouri.  In other words, A&M can stand strongly alone on its own merits.  The Aggies are not some type of political albatross.

So, the critical question for any conference that really wants Texas isn’t whether it’s willing to take Texas A&M because that’s an easy answer: HELL YES.  Instead, the real dilemma is whether that conference is willing to take Texas Tech, which is in the Big XII in the first place because of political protection and is exactly the type of school that could seek such protection again.  The political source that Hopkins Horn spoke to personally believed that Tech may not have to be part of a deal, yet that was the only time that he threw in the caveat that he could be wrong on that issue.  Note that UT president William Powers has been rumored to say that Texas can’t go anywhere without Texas Tech.  Whether that’s ultimately going to be the case is speculative, but having to take Tech on top of UT and A&M might have to be the assumed price for any conference that wants to break into the state of Texas and that certainly wouldn’t be acceptable to either the Big Ten or Pac-10. 

4.  Nancy Cantor - Ms. Cantor is the Chancellor of Syracuse University.  Prior to that, she was the Chancellor of my alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  As a result, Cantor is the only person at any of the usual suspects of candidate schools that has had direct working relationships with all of the decision makers in the Big Ten, ranging from the university presidents to the conference office run by Jim Delany.  Considering that there aren’t really 100% no-brainer candidates outside of Texas and Notre Dame, this is not an insignificant connection.

5.  The LDS “No Playing on Sunday” Rule – I’ve long thought that BYU would be an obvious choice for the Big XII if it needed to find any replacement teams. (Note that there’s NFW that BYU gets into the Pac-10. I explained it here before and Jon Wilner from the San Jose Mercury News expands upon it further.) The fact that Baylor only recently allowed frisky moves such as the Charleston and Waltz on campus seemed to indicate that the Big XII wouldn’t have a problem with religious peccadilloes.  However, I’ve been seeing a number of insights indicating that the inability to participate in athletic events on Sunday due to LDS rules could be a bigger sticking point than anticipated.  The rule isn’t a problem for football, yet virtually every other sport is affected.

Whether the Big XII can deal with that rule (and personally, I think that they should in order to get such a solid fan base if it loses a school like Nebraska) could determine whether the conference replaces any lost members from the west or east.  That has very significant “second wave” repercussions after the Big Ten and/or Pac-10 make any expansion moves.  If the Big XII doesn’t take BYU (due to the “No Playing on Sunday” rule) or TCU (since it doesn’t add a new market as long as Texas and Texas A&M are in the league), then the Mountain West Conference is looking in great shape to survive or even thrive, especially if it ends up adding Boise State as expected in the next few weeks.  Meanwhile, I’ve seen a surprisingly large amount of smoke that the Big XII might pick on the poor Big East even further by taking Louisville and potential Big East replacement member Memphis before it even had a chance to replace anyone in that conference.  Louisville certainly makes a lot of sense to me even if it would be on the geographic fringe of the conference since it has a good football fan base (who has simply suffered through a couple of horrific seasons) and a world-class basketball program that will likely cement itself permanently as the nation’s top revenue generator in that sport once the new KFC Yum! Center (or as I affectionately call it, the “KenTaco Hut Center”) opens up next season.

(On a side note, I’m a little bit frightened to try the KFC Double Down Sandwich.  It’s certainly not because I don’t like the ingredients.  Quite to the contrary, I’m a certified sommelier of bacon and having lived close to the only KFC buffet in the Chicago area for a couple of years means that I no longer can eat Original Recipe like a normal human being anymore – there are no limits to how many pieces I can throw down.  I’m concerned that trying the Double Down Sandwich will end up being like that first hit for a crack addict, which will then doom my body to needing 20 angioplasties by the time I’m 40.  My metabolism has fortunately always been pretty good, but I know that I’m going to slam into that wall sooner rather than later if I start making bacon/Original Recipe combos a regular habit.)

So, what the Big XII thinks about BYU could determine the ultimate fate of Big East almost as much as the Big Ten can.  I’ve actually been someone that is skeptical that there won’t be as many proverbial dominoes falling as predicted even if the Big Ten goes up to 16 schools, but the BYU dynamic is something that have a multitude of repercussions.

We’ll keep a watch out this week to see anything substantive comes out of the Big Ten athletic meetings.  In the meantime, I’ll get my fill of LeBron-to-the-Bulls speculation (I’m not going to lie – when Chad Ford wrote that 3 NBA GMs texted him that LeBron James would end up with the Bulls AND the team could trade the cap killing Luol Deng contract to clear space for signing Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh, I almost wet myself), watching the Blackhawks and pondering the final hours of my favorite show LOST.  Don’t ask me about White Sox baseball, though.

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

(Image from Mediamonster)

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  1. HoosierMike says:

    adding (Nebraska)

  2. Jeepers says:

    Haaaaam sammich.

  3. Playoffs Now! says:

    The B12 contract with ESPN reportedly has a clause where it can be reopened to negotiation if the conference starts a cable channel. Since Fox is coming up for renegotiation 4 years earlier than ESPN, if they start a Western Alliance channel (The WAll?) they might could grab the whole kit and kaboodle of conference games. Moving marquee games from the ESPN family to Fox may not be in the conference’s best interest, but the concept may be driving Fox’s moves.

    UT AD Dodds recently said something to the effect of, “Wouldn’t it make sense for each school to have their own channel?” So could they be considering setting up a conference channel network where each state has their local school’s channel as an affiliate? The big schools like Texas and OU could have their own channel in state, but also carry prime time or feature games of the Western Alliance. That could be on basic, with a co-channel on the sports tier to handle most of the network filler and overflow. For dual school states or regions perhaps it is a shared channel? There was an article recently stating that UT was considering sharing their channel with other schools, presumably aTm. A Lone Star Channel instead of a Longhorn Sports Channel. Another option would be to give each subscriber the option of UT or aTm as their basic Western Alliance affiliate, while the other and the WA feed on 2 sports tier channels. Conference schools that can’t afford the start up costs could simply go with the core WA network channel.

    Lots of ways to pull that off, though negotiating revenue allocation and costing could be tricky. Just seems that if Fox Sports can regionalize their cable network into regional branded affiliates, why not do the same for schools?

    • HoosierMike says:

      This whole “each school gets it’s own channel” doesn’t make sense to me. They’d be duplicating fixed location-based costs 11 times over for each campus to run a cable network. Costs which I’ve got to believe are significant. This is going to cut into the bottom line for each member school’s channel. I gotta figure the only school this would make sense/money for would be UT.

      • Playoffs Now! says:

        Actually the opposite. Most everything run out of a central BTN or WAll headquarters, with some local content collection through existing campus TV facilities. Perhaps an exception for the big dogs like UT or Ohio State, but studio shows would originate in Chicago or Fox’s LA HQ. Same for most editing and production. Very simple for some tech to slap a “Longhorn Sports Network” logo on a feed out of LA.

      • M says:

        Google translate needs a BS to English
        “each school gets it’s own channel”
        “To hell with the rest of the conference, we’re TEXAS”

        • Playoffs Now! says:

          “To hell with the rest of college athletics, We’re The Big Home Wrecker Conference.”

        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          M – very similar quote from the original Tennessee Volunteer, Davy Crockett. In his farewell address to Congress, after getting beat for re-election, he said, “You may all go to Hell and I will go to Texas.”

      • Albino Tornado says:

        It makes perfect sense if you assume each and every school has the resources, reach, appeal, and alumni base of the University of Texas — as DeLoss Dodds seems to be doing.

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      And now for some crazy brainstorming. B12 commish Beebe has said that the conference would likely look for new markets to replace any lost schools instead of, say, more Texas teams. Of course Beebe is a shill and says a lot of things, but let’s play a bit. NE and MO leave while Colorado joins Utah in the P12, 3 teams needed. Out west you have UNLV and NM with markets of under 2 million, pretty darn small. BYU’s state is nearing 3 million, but has aforementioned issues. Forget Memphis, their market doesn’t even crack 1.5 million. Louisville isn’t much better, though they’ve got the better overall brand name and following. Same for WV, under 2 million. At least Cincy-Dayton is a 3 million market, same for Pitt, while S. FL and UCF are each slightly larger and growing fast. But the FL schools are still seeds that aren’t assured of bringing their markets.

      So could we see a wacky combo of the B12 plugging in something like Lou, S.Fl and UCF (Oklahoma schools to the North?) A B12 North add of Lou, Cincy, and WV? CT, Syr, and Cincy? If the B10+ goes to 16, I just can’t see Texas staying in the B12 long term, though perhaps temporarily as a negotiating ploy. Hence some hasty arrangements, BCS ports in a storm?

      Unlikely, but throwing it out since there aren’t any home run replacements for the B12, just bunt singles or double steals. Another of my Eephus Pitches.

  4. Guido says:

    Sometimes when sides are negotiating, one side thinks they have all the power when in fact they have none. This strikes me as a situation Texas is in regarding negotiations with the Big 10. A Big 10 invite isn’t coming with anything more than the same package every other team in the conference gets. I don’t think Texas can live with that.

    • zeek says:

      I tend to agree with why the Big Ten may have a hard time of getting a deal done with Texas.

      The Big Ten can’t offer anything unequal in terms of the revenue or the network, so there really isn’t a middle ground here for bargaining. I wouldn’t put it past Delany to come up with something, but I don’t really see anything on the table that could bring Texas into the Big Ten if it really wanted its own channel with 24/7 Texas in Texas.

      • M says:

        The middle ground can come in terms of how soon the school gets equity/full money and buy-in.
        Texas/ND/Nebraska-immediately and cheaply
        everyone else-might have to wait awhile or pay

      • raven19 says:

        Based on what i’ve read progamming and live programs at that is what makes the real money for a cable channel. The LSN sounds great but where is TEXAS gonna get the programs to make this work?

    • Sportsman24 says:

      I had concerns about adding certain universities, such as UT. But, I now have no such concerns. I believe that the BT will negotiate fair terms for both the current members and any new members. It’s the “Big Ten Way.”

      Also, I don’t understand why many don’t believe that the Pac-1# will expand. I disagree. I understand about the unanimous vote (especially as it relates to Stanford…), but do you really believe that Stanford (or anyone else) thinks the status quo is fine? I believe the Pac will expand. If they cannot get UT, it will likely be to 12 (CU & Utah?). If they can get UT, then it may be 14 or 16 (UT, TAMU, TTU, CU…?).

      • Mike R says:

        Stanford is probably OK with the status quo. Their endowment is so huge that income from the sports dept. is not all that big a deal for them. However, they have to be sensitive to the needs of the other conference members — particularly USC — so they will be persuadable to cast a yes vote for the “right” package of teams. But they won’t be shy about threatening a “no” vote for a school Stanford does not see as a cultural fit. We all assume they would be a “no” vote on BYU, and I think that assumption is correct. They may even have qualms about an outstanding school like aTm, because it is the state military institute of Texas. Stanford’s pickiness is why I’ve floated Rice as a potential partner for Texas in the Pac-10 and Colorado State as a potential partner for Colorado (Stanford is so fond of the status quo in the P-10 that CU+CSU’s replication of the conference’s existing “matched pairs” would be very appealing).

        • Derrick says:

          I think Stanford would only object to schools that didn’t match up to the academic standards. When looking at “cultural” fits, I think Cal (and even UCLA) would be the roadblock to conservative schools like BYU and TAM. Berkeley is probably the most liberal school/city in the country, and there would be a lot of resistance to adding a Mormon school and/or a military school. California liberals are still smarting from that Prop 8 (gay marriage) vote a couple years ago, and the Mormom church pumped a LOT of money and effort into getting that vote to pass in CA.

          • Oneforthemoney says:

            In fairness, the Mormon church itself didn’t pump money into Prop 8, its individual members did–at the request of the LDS church. If the Mormon church itself had poured money from its tithing revenue into the effort, it would have been in serious jeopardy of losing its tax excempt status.

  5. Manifesto says:

    True Story: I was working out today at the gym, watching ESPN, and the KFC Double Down commercial came on. I almost threw up a little in my mouth.

    Oh, and adding.

    Oh #2, stay away from LeBron. Cleveland needs him dammit. That city might just explode and sink into Lake Erie if he leaves.

    • @Manifesto – The LeBron situation has made me feel some sadness for Cleveland for the first time in my life. The way that the town has been dragged through the mud (supposedly not being “worthy” of LeBron) after all it has been through (sports-wise and economically) has been extremely rough.

      That being said, and I would say this even if I weren’t a rabid Bulls fan, the best long-term basketball situation for him would be Chicago. D-Rose throwing up beautiful passes to LeBron for the next decade along with the depth on the rest of the roster is something he’s not going to find in New York while the Cavs seemed to have aged 15 years over the past couple of weekes. The Clippers arguably have a good situation on paper, too, but my gawd, it’s still the f*cking Clippers!

      That Chad Ford proposal of a sign-and-trade for Deng’s contract would be awful from the standpoint of the Cavs, though. I have no idea why Cleveland would do that. It would be the sports management equivalent of The Drive and The Shot happening on the same day.

      • Manifesto says:


        I agree that I think the best formula for a championship is currently in Chicago. Cleveland needs some players with consistency, and they just don’t have it. I really don’t follow the NBA close enough to know the cap situation for Cleveland, but they need to do something.

        If LeBron wants to win a championship, he has no reason to go the Knicks, Clippers, or Nets. Those would be money moves, that’s it. Even that’s debatable if you figure he’s getting max money no matter where he ends up. In Chicago he could win a championship, but play for a team where he’s forever in MJ’s shadow.

        In Cleveland he’s a god. I honestly think he could kill someone, get caught, and get away with it because he’s LeBron. If he wins a championship there, they might declare a public holiday in his honor. That’s something he won’t find in another city. Chicago already has a statue of MJ.

        All he needs is a front office smart enough to put the correct pieces around him. Don’t know if that’s possible in Cleveland.

        • Mike R says:

          Not a Nets fan, but Brook Lopez and Devin Harris are a really good supporting cast in search of a superstar. And the Nets are going to be in NYC in a couple of years. And that Russian owner is not going to be shy about throwing around his dough to run a first-class operation. I think the Nets are not just a $$$ move for LBJ.

          • @Mike R – The Nets won only 12 games this year! 12! Now, I do think Lopez and Harris are good and if the Nets win the lottery, they’ll be adding John Wall on top of that. The Russian owner is also all kinds of awesome – if anyone hasn’t seen the 60 Minutes interview with him from a month ago, look it up on YouTube NOW. It is worth every single second of your time. There’s the Jay-Z connection, too. With all of that, I’d at least give the Nets a better shot of landing LeBron than the Knicks (who have ZERO to offer other than location). Still, the Nets are the East Coast equivalent of the Clippers – big market on paper with a small market fan base. Chicago and Miami (assuming D-Wade doesn’t bolt) have the best combo of competitive basketball sense and market desirability, in that order.

          • Manifesto says:

            This might sound dumb, but what are the chances Wade and/or another big FA end up in Cleveland with LBJ? Is Cleveland’s payroll too close to the cap?

            I admit to being ignorant of the NBA as it stands; I’m mostly a football guy.

          • @Manifesto – It’s an either/or scenario – with the contracts that the Cavs have committed to others, they can only afford to sign LeBron OR a different max free agent. Of course, it’s unlikely they’d attract any max free agent without LeBron there in the first place. Cleveland is screwed if LeBron doesn’t re-sign with them.

          • Manifesto says:


            Cripes. Thanks. Don’t suppose they could trade up in the draft for Evan Turner or John Wall? Hah.

            Cleveland should just give LBJ part ownership of the team if they haven’t yet.

          • Guido says:

            It’s a huge longshot, but I would not discount location with LeBron and the Knicks. He loves NYC, loves the Yankees and loves MSG. They have the space to add Bosh and LeBron, now lets say Phil Jackson really does move on to somthing new, wouldn’t LeBron, Bosh and Phil be desirable for everyone? All that said, he’s going to Chicago!

        • Art Vandelay says:

          I think the best case scenario for Lebron to go to the Clippers. Look at what the Heat has coming back outside of Wade and Beasley. They have ZERO size, an average point guard, no interior defense, and no rebounding. The Bulls, on the other hand will need to deal Luol Deng if they get Lebron, except no one wants that contract. They have no interior scoring and no shooters, which wastes one of Lebron’s greatest talents in his passing ability.

          There are two scenarios for Lebron if he wants to win championships RIGHT NOW for teams with enough cap space: Clippers and Thunder, aka Zombie Sonics per Bill Simmons. Believe it or not, Chris Kaman is one of the ten best centers in the NBA right now. Eric Gordon will stretch the floor and will take advantage of Lebron’s passing ability. Griffin is a wild card, and COULD be very good right away. The only question mark is at point guard, and Steve Blake is pretty good, but if Baron Davis can just return to 50% of his 2007 form, that team would be in great shape, especially with having the #8 pick in the draft.

          With Lebron, the Clippers are a championship contender RIGHT NOW.

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        I was in Cleveland last December to visit a college friend. I don’t know how you guys up North handle that cold. It 14 and Sunny when he picked me up from the Airport. We went to the Steelers/Browns game and a Cavs game. That Browns game was colder than any duck blind I’ve ever been in. Thank goodness, we had club seats.

        Even though I’ve seen LeBron play a few times in New Orleans, I wanted to see LeBron play in Cleveland with LSU’s biggest alum, Shaq. The love and reverence Cleveland has for LeBron is similar to Drew Brees in NOLA, plus LeBron is from Akron. While I wish he would play for the Hornets (unrealistic because we’re stuck with giving ga-zillions to a washed-up Peja & we’re the Hornets), I really hope he stays in Cleveland. He could be the Cal Ripken/Joe Mauer of the NBA, and he still has plenty of time to win rings.

        • Manifesto says:


          Cleveland gets really cold, in large part because of the lake. I’m from Columbus and it’s usually a little bit warmer. Granted, winter is still cold.

          ESPN had an article up recently juxtaposing Kevin Garnett’s career with LeBron’s where it suggested LBJ needed to abandon loyalty to win a championship, like Garnett. Like you said, though, LBJ’s situation is somewhat different because he’s from Akron.

          As you said, he’s revered in Cleveland. Would he be revered in New York or LA? Not a chance. He’s another big name in a list of big names. New York and LA want him because he’s a big name: He’s the basketball equivalent of the trophy wife.

          I also hope he stays. He’s more than a basketball player in Cleveland, but that’s all he’ll ever be in NYC/LA/maybe Chicago. Then again, maybe the pressure that comes with being Cleveland’s Superman is part of the problem.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Manifesto – 100% right. Using the hated NY Yankees as an example, Lebron on another team would be A-Rod. Yankee fans love him only when he’s doing well. In Cleveland, LeBron will always be Jeter and get unconditional love.

            Either way, he’ll get the same amount of money, so his choice is hometown hero/deity, or hired-gun/mercenary.

    • Derrick says:

      Wait a sec- I thought Cleveland already did sink into the lake?

  6. mushroomgod says:

    Assuming no TX/ND, how about adding RU, Pii, Neb. Mo. RU for academics and TVs, Pitt for academics, TVs. PSU rivalry, Neb. for Fball and overall sports program, Missouri for fit, geography, TVs, overall sports program.

    These 4 schools seem to me to be the best available candidates. I know that gives you 15, but you could divide as follows:




    Have a 9 game conference schedule. East teams play play 6/7 in own division and 3/7 in other division each year.

    West teams play all 5/6 in wown division and 4/8 n other division each year.

    This arrangement would preserve every rivalry game.

    15 would leave open the possibility that ND or TX could join down the road….or U Conn after it gains AAU status….

  7. M says:

    I have trouble seeing how Texas (or any other single school) could have a successful network. First and foremost, they would not have any live football games to place on the channel, other than potentially the FCS bodybag game. I guarantee that without football, the Big Ten Network never gets off the ground. A second, related point is that Texas simply cannot generate the volume of content. From just looking at the channel, the BTN shows 3 baseball and 3 softball games a week, with other live and taped events sprinkled in and has been criticized for being mostly “filler”. LSN would be even more so, especially considering that it would not have access to Texas’ away games and many games in basketball would be taken by the conference deal. Third, while Texas is rather ideally suited as a very popular school in a very popular state, it still is only one school. Could they take on the risks and costs associated with the network by themselves? The BTN had a severe fight getting its channel on in places where seemingly everyone graduated from a Big Ten school, and that (again) was with football and most basketball games. I am just skeptical about Texas winning that fight with a channel that is mostly replays and non-revenue sports.

    From an inventory perspective, the channel would have 1 football game a year (the FCS opponent that has been PPV), 4 basketball games (the amount on FSN in Texas only last year), and about 15-20 baseball games.

    I suppose the counter to this is that it doesn’t have to be as successful as the Big Ten; it only has to be 1/11th as profitable.

    The fundamental issue is the BTN has proven very good at monetizing marginal events, those that do not have much national or even wide regional appeal, but attract enough viewers and buyers who will demand the channel (Think MSU-Michigan from last year). Texas’ games are the sort that will always be picked up by whatever national television coverage the conference has.

    I realize this got a little rambling, but I would be interested if anyone thinks differently on any or all of my points.

    • zeek says:

      Yeah this inventory problem is the basic issue here and a part of why the Big Ten wants more schools for more live events (i.e. second tier football games).

      You also provide a solid summary of the issues that a Texas or any other big name school would face in terms of starting a network.

      The LSN at this point seems to be partially a bargaining chip for Texas to use against all conferences (including its own) but in practice it may not be as devastating at it seems to be on paper.

      • Wes Haggard says:

        I think maybe the inventory is not the only problem. Sharing of ownership, income and participation by all the other conference members just might be the biggest obstacle. How would Michigan feel about appearing on Ohio State TV with no say and little to no income?

    • Blood & Steel says:

      I would guess for football you will see a lot of Texas high school and some lower division college games. Add a lot of ‘classic Longhorn games’ amd there may be enough content/interest to make it a go on the football side of it.

      Of course, I’m usually wrong so take it with a grain of salt.

  8. gjlynch17 says:

    Interesting quotes from Iowa’s athletic director. Nothing specific but good insights as to the Big Ten’s thinking:

    Barta told discussed with reporters Monday possible geography and population in regards to expansion.

    “We’ve talked from 10,000 feet about the census 20 years ago and the rust belt population, the Big Ten population versus movement to the Sun Belt over the last 20 years,” Iowa athletic director Gary Barta told the AP.

    “More and more people have moved to the South,” he said. “The Big Ten still has the largest population base of alumni, but we want to make sure years from now, if that movement continues, we’re in position to say that.”


    Perhaps schools like Miami may be receiving more than cursory consideration. Miami’s President, Donna Shalala, is the former Chancellor at Wisconsin and knows Delaney well and is good friends with Barry Alvarez.

    • mushroomgod says:

      No surprise that bill Lynch is comfortable in his ignorance. He is clueless.

      Mr. Barta’s comments are pretty scary. Hopefully, he’s only talking about making the obligatory reach for TX…not schools like Miami or GT,,,I would remind Mr. Barta that the job of these schools, as public institutions, is to make our region better…not abandon our region for sunnier pastures……

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      Hmmm, yes, one could read Barta’s comment as suggesting one or more ‘Southern’ schools are being targeted. What are the 4 biggest ‘Southern’ states? TX, FL, GA, and NC. UT, Mia, GT, Duke, NC. UT, FL, GT, Duke, NC. UT, aTm, GT, Mia (+ ND.) Mizzou ain’t Southern.


      “More and more people have moved to the South,” he said. “The Big Ten still has the largest population base of alumni, but we want to make sure years from now, if that movement continues, we’re in position to say that.”

      One could read that as not so much adding multiple ‘Southern’ schools, but big schools with big alumni bases where many end up in the South.

      Or perhaps bring it back to his level of ‘Need to know.’ “Don’t be shocked if we are courting teams outside our region” without hearing specific targets.

      • Patrick says:

        They have the largest population base of alumni, and the population is shifting south. The AD’s also complain about travel expenses and athlete concerns, especially for secondary sports. Sending the track team to Texas for the weekend can get expensive.
        I was thinking here, and with previous posts, that this whole expansion (ND, Texas, Texas A&M, Nebraska) is invisioned to make the BTN a national brand. If you have enough QUALITY football games, the public will demand it. Rationalization is that not only do we have a great product, but there are tons of Big 10 alums living in Tampa, or Miami, or Pheonix. If they can get to that point or close…. all this talk about adding Rutgers for the tv households is pointless. Some of the sky high revenue numbers that we have seen floated (upwards of $45 million per team) would easily be realized as a national brand.

      • m (Ag) says:

        Yeah, you could read that as a statement they will add more schools with big campus populations, like Rutgers. It would also seem to diminish the chances of a Syracuse or Notre Dame.

        Looking at populations projected 20 years from now-the populations of the current SEC, Pac 10, and Big 10 will all be pretty close. However, if the Big 10 just adds New Jersey (Rutgers) or Missouri, it will still have the biggest population imprint of any conference in 2030.

        The Texas schools, obviously, can swing that in favor of any of the 3 conferences. If they go to the Pac 10 or SEC, they will keep that conference close or give it a decent lead. If they go to the Big 10, that will still be the clear king for decades to come.

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      Not sure how this will format, but here goes. I looked up some numbers on population for a discussion with SEC fans about expansion. Currently the B10 footprint is over 10% more populated than the SEC. By 203o the SEC will be about 4% lareger. Of course, whoever gets Texas gets a large lead:

      Current Projected 2030
      *wiki *US Census
      Penn 12,600,000 12,800,000
      Ohio 11,500,000 11,600,000
      Michigan 9,900,000 10,700,000
      Indiana 6,400,000 6,800,000
      Illinois 12,900,000 13,400,000
      Wisconsin 5,700,000 6,100,000
      Minnesota 5,300,000 6,300,000
      Iowa 3,000,000 3,000,000
      TOTAL 67,300,000 70,700,000

      Florida 18,500,000 28,700,000
      Georgia 9,800,000 12,000,000
      So Carolina 4,600,000 5,100,000
      Tennessee 6,300,000 7,400,000
      Kentucky 4,300,000 4,600,000
      Mississippi 2,900,000 3,100,000
      Alabama 4,700,000 4,900,000
      Louisiana 4,500,000 4,800,000
      Arkansas 2,900,000 3,200,000
      TOTAL 58,500,000 73,800,000

      Texas 25,000,000 33,000,000

      But it is also interesting to note that the comments mention ‘alumni population’. I don’t know where to find those numbers, so I simply compared the size of the schools. Even with one fewer member, the B10 is about 50% bigger. Even adding Texas to the SEC doesn’t close the gap:

      B10 Total (per school site)
      PSU 42,000
      OSU 55,000
      Mich 56,000
      MSU 47,000
      Indiana 42,000
      Purdue 40,000
      Illinois 42,000
      Northwestern 15,000
      Wisconsin 42,000
      Minnesota 51,000
      Iowa 26,000
      Total 458,000

      Florida 50,000
      Georgia 29,000
      So Car 27,000
      Tenn 27,000
      Vandy 12,000
      Kentucky 23,000
      Ole Miss 18,000
      Miss St 18,000
      Alabama 29,000
      Auburn 25,000
      LSU 25,000
      Arkansas 17,800
      Total 300,800

      Texas 50,000

      Make of this what you will. But the decline of the rust belt is not going to give the SEC a major lead in the next 20 years.

      • m (Ag) says:

        Loki- good stuff, but the fact that the SEC is the number 1 football conference right now when it has several million less people than the Big 10 would imply that the SEC can get even more separation as they achieve population parity. The fact that the recruiting in the SEC territories figures to get better with population increases is another problem.

        Of course, adding Rutgers and Missouri would leave the Big 10 with a solid population lead in 2030 unless the SEC got Texas or the ACC heartland.

        I don’t know if you saw it, but in the last post someone linked to an excellent blog posting that had population numbers for the 6 BCS conferences:


        • loki_the_bubba says:

          Thanks. I’ll have to dig into that one after work.

          • Cliff's Notes says:

            If you look at the SEC population growth for 2030, it is interesting that Florida sees ~10M, Texas ~8M, the entire SEC (minus Florida) is ~5M, while the Big Ten is ~3M.

            Therefore, if you are focused on raw population growth numbers, it’s not important for the Big Ten to get into “the South”. It is important to get into Texas and Florida.

            While getting UF to leave the SEC for The Big Ten is a pipe dream, this is an eye opener. When you add in everything else with UF (Research, Academics, Football Power, TV households, recruiting grounds and now population growth), I wonder if UF would be as big of a catch as UT.

            It’s enough to make me believe that it would be worthwhile to approach UF and discuss a Godfather offer to them. Yes, I’m sure that they are happy in the SEC, but again, if you put it down on paper what adding say, UT, UF, UGa (as UF’s local partner), NE, and RU, perhaps it is a big enough number that UF would consider it. IF Big Ten + Texas + NYC = $44M per school, does Big Ten + Texas + NYC + Florida + Georgia = $66M?

            $66M vs $17M (current SEC TV contracts) is a pretty damn big number.

          • Cliff's Notes says:

            …And if UF is a pipe dream, perhaps getting Miami is more of a target to get into Florida, and because they have a number of East Coast alums that would want the BTN.

          • Djinn Djinn says:

            Cliff’s Notes:

            Florida would, like Texas, be a grand slam addition. Florida is the only other school that comes close to what Texas brings. Good school, AAU, good research, well regarded ARWU, great sports teams, large state school (50K students), great market… And like Texas, I think they’re looking to improve their academics and associate with schools more like themselves.

            They are in a stable conference with established relationships and great cash flow, however, and its not like they’re near the BT footprint. So it’s hard for me to think they’d consider leaving the SEC.

            Any Florida or SEC people here who could offer more of an inside opinion?

            Miami is small (16K students, meaning fewer alumni), private, but outperforms Florida State (39K students) in research and in academic ranking.

            According to Wikipedia, Florida’s president Bernie Machen did his undergrad work at Vanderbilt, but got his masters and PhD from Iowa. He also worked for the University of Michigan. Hmmm….

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        You don’t have to be an alum to be a fan. Professional sports are not nearly as big of a deal in the South as they are in the Midwest and on the East Coast. We didn’t get any NFL teams in the South until the 60s. UGA is more popular than the Falcons in Atlanta. Until this year’s Superbowl, LSU & the Saints were about 50/50 in New Orleans. Nashville loves the Vols more than the Titans.

        What I’m getting to is that while a lot of non-college educated football fans in the Midwest and on the East Coast may be NFL fans and may not really follow or support the area college teams, there are very few non-college educated football fans in the South that don’t give a shit about SEC football. Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, LSU and others all have their own “subway” alums even though we don’t have many subways down here.

      • Art Vandelay says:

        I’m not buying the population projection numbers. Outside of Tennessee, the population growth figures for the Southern states are starting to round off. If Florida continues to grow at their current rate, which has decreased on a per year average this decade versus from 1990-2000, it will be around 24 million in 2030. And population growth is directly related to economic growth, which has been very poor in the Midwest versus the rest of the country, which is why there’s been such stymied growth. Once it picks up again, when the Midwestern states find a new niche, their population will go up again, and states like Florida, Georgia etc. round off, the Midwest will still maintain a higher population.

  9. gjlynch17 says:

    One other thing: although a lot has been written about expansion, ultimately the decision will be made by 11 people. I have seen no article or analysis describing the history, outlook, public statements or relationships (the last one is very important) of the Big Ten Chancellors/Presidents and what universities are most likely to garner the eight votes necessary for expansion.

    That would be an interesting topic for discussions.

    • Mike R says:

      It would not be a bad idea to collect the expansion-related statements of the Big 10 presidents along with their resumes, and a list of the folks on each campus who would have input into that school’s vote. There have to be folks on this board who are familiar with each of the 11 schools. So its a resource that we collectively have the ability to create.

  10. greg says:

    Go Hawks!

  11. Jeff says:


  12. HerbieHusker says:

    I caught some talk on College Football Live (ESPN) about some AD’s commenting on how they expect to be ‘brought into the know’ this week at the Big Ten meetings. I’ll be interested to see what leaks correspond with these meetings….should be a crazy couple weeks in expansion news, I have a feeling the fuse is about to be lit.

  13. prophetstruth says:

    I too have a hard time figuring out how Texas can find enough content for a LSN to make it successful. The Big10 is expanding in an effort to get more content and inventory for the BTN. If the Big10 has a difficult time coming up with live content I would assume content for 1 school, even the magnitude of Texas, would have an equally, if not harder, go at it. The only way I could see it is if Texas were in the Big10, a BTN2 that televises all non revenue sports on school centric channels in the respective states would televise all Texas overflow sports that do not appear on the ESPN Networks, BTN or BTN.com. I don’t know how that would work but even then I still have a problem with a special arrangement for 1 member school unless each member school could be afforded the same opportunity.

    Another point is the matter of security and stability. If I am the University President, that is what I am looking for. It seems that we tend to overlook that point. However, if I am Texas or Texas A&M, I am looking for a more permanent home and one in which I could stay for the next 25-50 years minimum. I would not want a situation where I am looking to change conference affiliation every 15 years or so. I may be on top now but that may not always be the case. With that in mind, I am leaving the Big12 for the stability of the Pac10/Western Alliance or Big10 if other members leave and I have an offer on the table from either one. If the Big12 implodes, this will make the 2nd conference Texas is a member of that has ceased to exist. That should be telling for Texas.

    I don’t think the Big10 or Pac10 to a lesser extent, needs to offer a special deal to Texas for membership. The special deal is the stability, academics, prestige, CIC (in Big10′s case), security and money (in Big10′s case). If association with world class peer Universities isn’t enough, I would say that Texas is not yet ready to be a full member of the conference and I would wish them luck for the future. The Big10 has a longstanding formula that works very well. I wouldn’t mess with that winning formula, creating dissension amongst current members for the sake of 1 potential member by offering special deals.

  14. mmc22 says:


  15. Lol says:

    add vme

  16. Hopkins Horn says:

    Count me among those skeptical of whether there would be enough programming to make an LSN viable today.

    (And contrary to what others have been speculating, I feel the LSN would be UT-only. No A&M. Just a guess, but I’ve seen nothing that would make me believe otherwise.)

    If the LSN had existed for 2009-10, I believe it would have been able to show one live football game (ULM) and maybe eight or nine men’s hoops games, mostly December weeknight games against the likes of UT-Pan Am.

    However, I believe that, if the LSN does launch, the UT numbers crunchers will have determined that it would be financially advantageous for UT to do so, and they will be right.

    • zeek says:

      This is still the biggest problem.

      The question is whether the network can pull in $10M (or whatever benchmark) in terms of profitability per year in order to pick up the slack from the Big 12 contract.

      I think a lot of us are skeptical as to whether that can happen considering that the Big Ten is expanding in order to increase the number of live events (especially second tier football games), etc.

  17. Minneapolis Husker says:

    More connection:

    Graham Spaniard, the current President at Penn State, was the Chancellor at the University of Nebraska

    Barry Alvarez played football at nebraska under Bob Devaney

    • Minneapolis Husker says:

      *Graham Spanier

    • MIRuss says:

      And Bob Devaney rhymes with Jim Delaney…..

      @ Frank, interesting take on BYU…I, too, started to see the “map” and future of all this and I kept coming back to BYU as a “What happens to them?” Pac 10 – nope. The Big 12 needs BYU, assuming Nebraska’s gone and assuming the Big 12 survives.

      LSN – Not yet a believer. It took two years for the BTN and comcast to work a deal. I doubt that UT can negotiate with every cable carrier in Texas and work a deal that makes sense and then have enough content that people will actually tune in for. If they can’t get it on a basic tier and people buy it for awhile, realize how much they aren’t watching it, well, it will be doomed…

      • Hodgepodge says:

        Does Comcast provide cable service in Texas? If so, is it a major carrier? I ask because Texas could pair with Comcast on a potential LSN and pretty much be guaranteed the money they’d want. Comcast where I live in the PNW has Comcast Sports Net, a cable channel they started so they could earn more money. $2 is the monthly subscription rate that Comcast gets from Comcast customers for that channel. Talk about a racket.

        Despite being charged $2 a month, there are a few Trailblazer games, a few Portland Timbers games, maybe some minor league baseball games, and pretty much no other other live sports. The rest of it is game reruns, horrible talk and studio shows and, believe it or not, roller hockey reruns from the 70s.

        Regardless, a UT/Comcast partnership could potentially give UT, say, $1 per month, per subscriber. It wouldn’t matter if the content sucked, because Comcast subscribers would have no choice. If Comcast is in enough homes in Texas, that could be enough money for the LSN to work financially. I imagine the fact that Comcast now owns NBC could also play a role.

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      6 degrees of Jim Delany.

  18. Albino Tornado says:

    One thing that the Big Ten, SEC, and ACC all seem to be realizing that the Big XII does not is that what you’re selling to the networks is not the conference members, but the competition among them. The NFL figured this out years ago, that the leveling effect created by equal (not equitable, but equal) revenue sharing means the competition is better, and therefore more appealing to the audience and fan bases. Heck, even baseball has some mechanisms to help improve competitiveness (revenue sharing / luxury taxes, and the draft). College sports have no such mechanism, so the rich tend to get richer. It seems to take malfeasance or a bad coaching hire to meaningfully affect the existing hegemonies.

    It’s unfortunate that the big guns among the Big 12 schools are entirely too focused on getting what they can or feel they deserve from the TV pie (appearance pools, the LSN) rather than focusing on baking a bigger, better, more attractive pie.

    I don’t see how the Big 12 is a sustainable conference in the long term, considering how each school is rowing in its own direction, and doesn’t seem to much care about or consider the interests of its partners or the collective enterprise as a whole.

    • jd wahoo says:

      Fair points, but I disagree with the implication that “each school…rowing in its own direction” necessarily represents a failing on anyone’s part. Unlike MLB or the NFL, college teams have to worry not only about how they stack up within their leagues, but also how they compare to the best teams from other leagues. So, it’s obviously in the best interest of the Yankees to share in helping the weaker teams, even if it means they are slightly weaker for it – as long as they have the resources to compete for the World Series, it doesn’t matter whether they can beat the Japan League champ. If UT/Bama/OU/USC/etc. made the equivalent sacrifice, they might well be in trouble – they might still win their own league, but they could find themselves at a disadvantage in the national title hunt against other teams that didn’t have to make that sacrifice.

      Accordingly, the “equal” conferences remain competitive because the inequities aren’t that significant on the whole, and thus the powers don’t really have to give up much. Essentially, Texas, and the Big XII as a whole, are simply in a different situation from the BigTen/ACC/SEC, each of which has a core of 6-8 neighboring schools that are similarly situated in almost every way and therefore have built up bonds of trust over many decades. Each of these conferences also have a few members that are weaker in some respects but share in the overall trust bond, largely because they are natural geographic fits and they’ve just always been there (Wake/MissSt/NW).

      In the Big XII, Texas has only OU and A&M as regional peer institutions (state flagship schools with huge athletic budgets and corresponding alumni support) with whom it shares a long history. It’s one thing for a 6-10 similar schools to take a slight hit to maintain their shared 100-year history with NW or Vandy, and it’s quite another for UT/OU/A&M to take a much larger hit to carry 5 or 6 weaker schools, some of which they hadn’t played until 12 years ago. Doesn’t strike me as unfair or underhanded; it’s just a different situation. In fact, this is the key insight that Frank started with – Texas would be among peers in the BigTen, and it mostly isn’t in the Big XII.

      • Albino Tornado says:

        Not rowing in the same direction isn’t a failure on anyone’s part, it’s a failure on *everyone’s* part. Ben Franklin’s aphorism about hanging together or hanging separately comes to mind.

        How can it be in tOSU’s best interests to share television revenue equally with Northwestern, and also not in Texas’s best interests to not share revenue equally with Baylor? Simple — the Big Ten is looking to the long view, where the rising tide lifts all boats, whereas the Big XII schools (mine included) are looking only to short-term interests that benefit themselves directly.

        And exactly how again is Nebraska not a “state flagship school with a huge athletic budget and corresponding alumni support?”

        And while we’re at it, there used to be a long-running association of such neighboring schools — it started back in 1907 as the MVIAA. We had those bonds of trust. And the injection of the Texas schools managed to shatter them. The elimination of the NU/OU game and the fact that the Big 8 conference history was not carried forward to the Big 12 weigh heavily toward the loyalty that Nebraska feels toward the conference, as do all the votes that Nebraska’s on the losing side of.

  19. Albino Tornado says:

    shoot — tagged with wrong email

  20. A fairly good blog post going through the myths of conference realignment with a number of arguments that we’ve seen here:


  21. Paul says:

    One thing Texas cannot provide for itself is opponents to play.

    If Nebraska and Missouri leave for the Big Ten, then the power shift to Texas will become even more severe. But Texas cannot hog everything for itself. At some point, the rest of the local teams may come to realize that they are becoming patsies for UT.

    Texas A&M and/or Oklahoma may conclude that joining the SEC would give them a recruiting advantage over UT.

    If Texas wants to remain relevant, then it needs to have a competitive schedule full of exciting games. The best place for Texas to do that would be in the expanded Big Ten.

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      Or SEC or P16.

      • Art Vandelay says:

        For what Texas is looking for, the Big Ten makes so much more sense, academics, money, and money potential. With the Texases and New York locked up, the BTN would almost HAVE to become a national TV brand, especially after they buy the Pac 10 TV rights in two years, which would get them on the West Coast.

        I really do believe that Fox and the Big Ten schools are going to make a push for the Texases, Notre Dame, Rutgers, and probably either Nebraska or Syracuse, and thus create a network on par with ESPN, except that it will only cover college sports.

        Fox will have an advantage on ESPN/ABC/Disney for the two most popular sports in the US right now, and that may be enough to close the gap in what has been a sports media monopoly for at least the last 20 years or more.

        I think this is a lot closer to happening than anyone is giving it credit. This has to be the ultimate goal of the BTN, right? They’re so close to being able to do this already. They have leverage on both Notre Dame and the Texases by having the ability to destroy the Big East and the Big 12, and can offer both a ton of money, and a partnership to take this thing nationally to become so much more than just a money-maker.

        • greg says:

          @Art Vandelay

          I’ve been thinking the same thing about BTN challenging ESPN in the college sports space. Delaney said early in the process about possibly partnering with “dozens of schools”, which I read as a BTN rights expansion rather than a B10 expansion. PAC10 has terrible secondary/basketball coverage, and would be the perfect compliment due to time zone differences.

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            Bingo. BTN/Fox wins the P10/12/14/16 bid and sets up a separate P-Whatever channel brand. BTN still on the sports tier in the west, P channel gets added to the sports tier in the east. More incremental revenue. Simply rebrand one of the Fox Sports-Region X channels and force it to basic in the west.

            Add to that Texas (and other schools that want to) will probably have their own channel that is an affiliate of the BTN. All UT sports are on the Longhorn channel, but BTN gets rights to carry any of UT’s games in all sports whenever they want to pick up a game for the nat’l BTN. The Longhorn Channel gets access to BTN content to fill empty slots. Several different ways to set it up, perhaps BTN goes to basic and the Longhorn channel is on the sports tier. Or maybe in Texas the Longhorn channel is basic while BTN is the sports tier, but all the BTN prime games are shown on the Longhorn channel (unless conflicting with a Texas game.) Or maybe they both go to basic, similar to a ESPN and ESPN2. Surely UT and the B14 will try for that.

            The BTN/Fox family of networks. Similar to the ESPN family, but drag racing and poker crap.

            Which would explain why ESPN see it as enough of a threat that they refuse to mention the BTN by name.

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            Oops, try again:

            Similar to the ESPN family, but without drag racing and poker crap.

          • Mike R says:

            @PlayoffsNow Those Fox College Sports channels are horrible. They look as if they were programmed by rhesus monkeys throwing half-chewed banana at a programming grid. Where else can you watch nearly year-old basketball games from the World University Games? Or the Big 12 women’s soccer title game — from November 09? Or Wisconsin-Platteville basketball?

          • Mike R says:

            The FCS channels are useful as a placeholder for future conference networks, however. It’s easy to see them replacing, say, FCS-Pacific with a Western alliance network.

          • Mike R says:

            This would have to be severely limited, and maybe a unique offer the Big Ten could make, but I wouldn’t mind seeing BTN pay for the rights to a late-night Pac-10 football game of the week. That would be a natural outgrowth of the two conference’s relationship through the Rose Bowl Game. But going any further than that would water down the BTN and Big 10 conference brands.

          • Art Vandelay says:

            @Playoffs Now!

            It makes more sense for Texas and inevitably A&M to just join the Big Ten. There’s too many unknowns about the Longhorn network, and it ultimately would limit Texas’ exposure on a national scale because it would only be regional.

            What I really think will end up happening is the Big Ten will use its leverage against Notre Dame by threatening to 1) offer them more TV money, 2) dismantle the Big East by taking 2+ of its current most prominent football and basketball members, and will use their monetary and national exposure growth potential to get Notre Dame to join.

            Immediately after getting Notre Dame, they’ll grab Rutgers for obvious market reasons. Depending on where they stand in not just New York City, but New York State as well, they’ll have to determine whether they’ve done enough to get on all the cable stations in New York State and New Jersey. My guess is they will probably be able to get the bulk of NYC Metro, but will come up lacking in the rest of the state.

            Regardless of the BTN’s position in New York, they still won’t add another East Coast school at this point. They’ll instead go to Texas and A&M and do the same thing to them that they did to Notre Dame. They’ll use their leverage against them by threatening to dismantle the Big 12, or at least damage it mightily, and they’ll offer them TV money and growth potential, both monetarily and in national exposure. During all this time, they may or may not have started the negotiations with the Pac 10 regarding their TV rights, which will conveniently be leaked to the public so that the Texases know about it, and they’ll be able to offer them a national product that will probably make it on every basic cable station in the country for sure, except in the Southeast where it might make it on the basic cable package, or it might just make it on the upgraded packages.

            With the state of Texas and New Jersey surely locked up, the BTN will now have to evaluate their stance in New York with Rutgers, Notre Dame, and the Texas schools and determine whether they need further help to gain/maintain the state. If they decide they absolutely need a presence in the New York State, they’ll invite Syracuse, if it’s not necessary, they’ll get Nebraska for their national brand name.

            With the TV rights to the Pac 10, the BTN will add another channel, the BTN/Pac 10 alliance, which will be what plays all the Pac 10 games, but will sprinkle in Big Ten content in with Pac 10 stuff, and this channel will only be offered with the BTN.

            Once the BTN becomes national, it will start RAKING in the money, and Fox and the Big Ten members will start spending more money and develop more quality programming. Right now, the BTN has no need to develop its programming into what people want to watch. It’s regional, and I’ve got to imagine that it’s just about the cheapest channel to operate with the kind of programming they do have. But if they really want to be the go-to cable channel for college sports, they will have to offer a more quality product; they’ll have to offer what people want to watch. They’ll grab a couple big named sports media members, maybe a couple polarizing figures, some kind of funny sports show, if not all out sports comedy, and just like that they’ll steal college football from ESPN. The BTN will be everywhere, and I do think with all the California, Michigan, Ohio, New York etc. transplants that there are in states like Florida and Georgia, there’s a good chance that it even gets added on their basic cable packages.

            The biggest downside to it going national is that they will no longer have the flexibility that they now have. They won’t be able to offer volleyball or hockey games ever, even though it could be awesome, because there just isn’t a national market for those things. The BTN is about money, and I truly believe it will make all the money they thought it would and more, but going from small time to big time is going to cost its price, which will be not being able to completely determine what’s on TV, but having to offer what people want to watch.

    • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

      Texas may be doing well now, but they are currently riding the Vince Young wave of success. In 2004, OU was the big dog in the Big 12. I don’t know about revenue back then…I’m sure Texas was at or near the top then too…but I think sometimes they get a little too much credit as begin far beyond everyone else in the nation. I’m not disputing that they are at the crosshairs of the entire expansion debate…just that they’re not in the power seat.

  22. Patrick says:

    Exit penalty from the Big 12 seems to be confusing (I think it is 80% of the conference payout if in the 12-24 month range but not sure). So in actual dollars for Nebraska or Missouri that would be roughly $6-7 million dollars for 1 season. Say the Big Ten wants new members to earn equity, maybe 50% of the incoming schools profit the first year is redistributed to original members, then 25%, then 10% and you are then on equal ground (TOTALLY GUESSING HERE).
    SO Nebraska would take about 4 years to become a full equity member of the Big Ten. Giving up (B12 loss, buying equity) about $25 million in the process.

    In the current Big 12, Nebraska pulls about $8 million per year from tv payouts. So over 4 years they would earn around $32 million from payouts by staying in the Big 12. With a move to the Big Ten they would earn (using current Big Ten numbers) $1 million from the Big 12 + $11 million + 16.5 million + $20 million = $48.5 million over the 4 years.

    TO help with the perspective, regardless of conference Nebraska athletics would make around $265 million in those 4 years, without any conference payouts.

    I keep seeing people worried about Big Ten buy-ins and Big 12 penalties….. but it is still easily a no-brainer.

    2015 Nebraska Revenue – Big 12 roughly $75,000,000
    2015 Nebraska Revenue – Big 10 roughly $96,000,000

    • Justin says:

      If Nebraska, Missouri and Colorado leave the Big 12, and the Big 12 is looking for three (3) replacement schools, I think there are a couple options.

      Western expansion – New Mexico, UNLV and Colorado State. This keeps Denver in the Big 12 footprint, and also expands the Big 12 into Albequerque and Las Vegas. These three schools could replace the NU, MU and CU trio in the North, also there would be a worse disparity in terms of competitive balance between the two divisions. A more likely scenario is to shift Oklahoma and Ok. State to the north, and have UNLV and New Mexico move to the South.

      The biggest issue with this expansion is if Texas was uncomfortable with the academic credentials of its Big 12 peers before, it will be downright apopletic about being associated with the likes of UNLV and New Mexico.

      Option #2 – southern expansion — I think a better move would be to add Louisville, South Florida and Central Florida. USF and UCF establish a Big 12 presence in Florida, which gives the Big 12 strong inroads to Texas and Florida — an enticing thought for its football coaches. Louisville is a top notch athletic program that bolsters the b-ball reputation.

    • Nostradamus says:

      The Big East is obviously you give 24 months notice and pay the $5 million. For the Big 12, it is a lot more complicated. The conference has 5 year member terms and the buyout is based on how close to the end of the current membership term the team gives notification of departure. Right now and until the end of June, it appears a departing Big 12 school would forfeit 80% of its conference revenue over two years. Starting in July, it goes up to 90%.

  23. Playoffs Now! says:

    Regarding GT and Mia, some argue that they aren’t good candidates because they can’t bring their markets. While both may be secondary schools in their state and not by themselves able to get the BTN bumped to basic in-state, when you combine them with the large and growing B10+ alumni base in GA and FL you may reach critical mass.

    • zeek says:

      Why not just cut a deal with the ACC to squeeze out the SEC in some sort of Eastern Alliance like the Western Alliance the Pac-10 and Big 12 are working on…?

      (Obviously it’s too late at this point because the ACC just wrapped up its contract talks, but still…)

  24. Ken Smithmier says:

    I have done this several times but still get no notifications, anybody got any advice? thanks

  25. HerbieHusker says:

    What is the feasibility of this scenario coming to fruition? Looking at what we know; it is seems to be less and less farfetched.

    1. Missouri is gone to the Big 10 if given a hint of an invite; Nebraska still seems to be at least 60%/40% going given an invite (based on what’s been said and what we actually know). If the Big 12 can come up with a competitive TV deal aligned with the Pac 10, then Nebraska may stay. Colorado is being courted by the Pac 10. Texas is not linked to Texas A&M. Oklahoma is not linked to Oklahoma State. (Rumors were rampant about there being a state law binding the two, but if you look , http://www.lsb.state.ok.us/osStatuesTitle.html, that law is nowhere to be found). Texas A&M prefers the SEC. Texas prefers unequal revenue sharing.

    Given these facts could this play out? Missouri, Nebraska, Rutgers and Notre Dame are publicly invited to the Big 10. Missouri goes immediately. The Pac 10 responds by officially offering Colorado and they leave. The Big 12 offers membership to Louisville and Memphis. They both accept. Nebraska says they will stay if one condition can be met; they want to play Oklahoma every year (this issue holds more clout than most give it credit for) which involves Oklahoma and Oklahoma State moving to the North division and Louisville with Memphis going to the south. This would re-unite the remaining Big 8 schools all in a single division satisfying a lot of the history that was lost upon the formation of the Big 12. Texas, however; would never allow this unless Oklahoma agreed to play Texas every year in a protected rivalry. Oklahoma wouldn’t agree to play Nebraska AND Texas every year so Texas threatens to leave if Oklahoma is re-shuffled to the North. Texas is once again appeased and there is no such reshuffling. Nebraska sees the writing on the wall (and with no true rivals left in conference with the absence of Missouri and Colorado along with the destruction of the Oklahoma rivalry by the Big 12) leaves for the Big Ten. BYU is offered and accepts as a replacement. The Big 12 now is not nearly as attractive to TV networks as they once were; the Pac 10/Big 12 media alliance doesn’t bring the money expected. The SEC starts to feel the pressure to keep up with the Jones’ (along with the added pressure of the new ACC TV deal) and looks to expand. Since the members in the ACC are now secure with a new TV deal, they look west at the weaker Big 12 and offer Oklahoma and Texas A&M. With the weakened Big 12 not able to lure a shiny new TV contract on par with the ACC, SEC, and Big Ten; they both accept. Texas is now the lone power left in the Big 12. The Pac 10 offers their final spot to the Longhorns and they accept. The final 6 teams in the Big 12 are left to join the MWC and CUSA or merge with the MWC to make a new conference.

    Could this actually play out according what everyone here knows?

    • zeek says:

      I really don’t see how anything has changed though…

      In the first place, all this stuff about contract improvements is speculative until well into next year by which point they would have already applied to join the Big Ten if invited, so I don’t think the Big 12 has much to dangle in terms of incentives for Nebraska to stay.

      And secondly, this is about securing the futures of their universities. We all know that Texas accounts for the majority of the footprint, and that majority is growing larger by the day. If Texas ever thinks about leaving, the Big 12 goes back to being the Big 8 essentially with a tiny % of the country’s population footprint.

      Also, I think ACC expansion is somewhat of a moot topic, they’re happy with their TV deals, although they’d probably take a very hard look at Syracuse/Conn/Pitt. if they need to discuss expansion. It’s just hard to see the ACC needing to fight in an arms race when the universities are more content with where they are as a group.

      Anyways, I don’t see Nebraska really demanding anything of the Big Ten. Yes, they would negotiate the best possible buy in terms they could (which may be free for a university of Nebraska’s stature in terms of the TV draw it would be for the Big Ten), but I really don’t see them putting up any other resistance. They would rather join as an equal member and possibly get some kind of limited protected rivalry but nothing as big as a NU-OU kind of demand…

      • HerbieHusker says:

        I agree that Nebraska wouldn’t make any demands of the Big Ten; the demands I highlighted were for the Big 12 in order for Nebraska to stay in the Big 12.

        • zeek says:

          Ah, my bad on that then.

          The rest of your scenario is plausible although I’m in the camp that thinks Oklahoma sends out a line to the SEC as soon as Nebraska gets an invite to the Big Ten. Then the dominoes start to fall from there…

          • Redhawk says:

            that line has already been sent. OU wants stability, and they want it now. There is real resentment over UT’s blocking of the Big 12 network and all the talk of the LSN.

            OU’s stance that I’ve heard, right now, is, “F&%k U. of Texas, they don’t control our destiny” (but Okla St. might…damn it)

    • Josh says:

      You really think it’s only 60/40 that UNL leaves? I’m assuming you’re an alum from your name and thus more in tune, but I’m getting it’s more like 90/10. The money, the bump up in academic class and just the sheer anger at Texas in the Big XII seems like UNL couldn’t really turn down an invite. Heck, in the Big 10, they’d actually be allowed to play Oklahoma every year!

      From reading Husker boards, I get the sense that about 60% want to go to the Big 10, 10% want to stay in the Big 12 and 30% want to kick the Texas schools out and reform the Big 8. Since the last option isn’t happening, sentiment is largely in favor of the move (albeit grudgingly, in many quarters, I must admit.) A lot of Nebraskans seem excited to get all the games on the Big 10 network rather than shelling out $20 PPV for a game against a lousy FCS school.

      I’d say the only thing keeping UNL out of the Big 10 is that they don’t get an invite because the population is too small. There’s no way that Texas is going to agree to the changes the Huskers want to stay in the Big XII.

      • HerbieHusker says:

        For me personally, I’m 100% that we go. I’m just basing that 60/40 number on what I’ve heard from Perlman and Osborne. It sounds like to me in everything I’ve heard that their stance is this: “Big 12, if you give us a reason to stay albeit a more competitive TV contract; partial qualifiers, a renewed rivalry with Oklahoma, anything then we’ll stay. But if you don’t change then we are bound to the promise of a better future for our program in the Big Ten. Sorry.” I agree that there is NO WAY Texas would agree to anything that we ask…..so essentially the blood of the Big 12 conference (and also more importantly and fresh in the minds of Nebraska fans, the Big 8 conference) is on the hands of Texas.

        • loki_the_bubba says:

          Texas wouldn’t want a better tv contract? And I doubt they care much if you play OU. And aren’t the recruiting rules even more stringent in the B10?

          • Manifesto says:

            I’m pretty sure the Big Ten doesn’t allow partial qualifiers either, although I could be wrong. I’m almost 100% certain Ohio State doesn’t at least.

        • @HerbieHusker – The only thing that you should be wary of, though, is that if the Big Ten is able to execute its ultimate plan, Nebraska would still be in the same conference as Texas (just as part of the Big Ten instead of the Big XII). The “demographics are shifting South” comment from Delany was probably the most telling thing that I’ve seen from him up to this point.

          • HerbieHusker says:

            @ Frank – This is true, but the dynamics in the relationship would be changed. Texas would no longer be the loudest voice in the room; they would be treated equally with the rest of the New Big Ten, no more important and with no more influence on other members than Ohio State or Northwestern. We Nebraska fans/alumni aren’t upset because we aren’t getting our way on the rivalry with Oklahoma, partial qualifiers, the location of the conference offices, or the location of the championship game; we are upset because of the feeling that in the Big 12 conference its “Texas’s way or the highway” and if the schools within the conference do bow up to Texas then Texas plays the “we’re the biggest asset in the conference card” and sways votes using that power. Michigan St or Illinois would laugh at Texas if they tried that game of “play our way or we’ll take our ball and go home” in the Big Ten. It’s not Texas as an opponent that we are tired of…..it’s the way they are throwing their weight around and are being allowed to do it that has Nebraska fans ready to bail.

          • Redhawk says:


            You are right dead on that the Big 12 is “Texas’s way or the Highway” league. There is resentment all over the league to UT’s “let ‘me eat cake” attitude. So much so, that if Nebraska and Missouri get in the Big 10+ and if they get a vote…I think they vote no on Texas.

            OU is wanting to leave to the SEC…and it’s because of UT.

          • eapg says:

            By the way, on the idea that Nebraska and Missouri would vote against Texas getting into the Big Ten if they had a vote – they’d have to be nuts to do that. It’s great to vent the spleen, but let’s be realistic.

        • eapg says:

          Partial qualifiers has been a dead issue for a long time. Osborne may rue that defeat, but no one is going to resurrect it to stay in a conference with a lower payscale and academic standing. It would be pretty foolhardy to even broach the subject when Nebraska is under Big Ten consideration.

          The rivalry with Oklahoma could theoretically be restored as an OOC game. How much interest is left, particularly if Nebraska goes to the Big Ten and Oklahoma ends up in the SEC is anyone’s guess. Mine would be not much. OU’s non-SEC schedule would be Patsyville because you have more than enough competition to deal with in the SEC. Nebraska would replace Colorado all the time and OU once in a while with a lot of meaty Big Ten rivalries. If I had to bet, I’d say they shut off the ventilator on NU-OU.

  26. Adam Rittenberg tweeting Jim Delany’s press conference right now. Most interesting thing so far is Delany stating that changing demographics to the South is right next to the Big Ten Network as the driving force in expansion (reiterating what Iowa’s AD has stated):


    • Manifesto says:

      So pretty good quotes there.

      12-18 months of this, however, is going to suck.

      • Manifesto says:


      • @Manifesto – It indicates to me that the Big Ten is going to go after ND and Texas up until the very last possible moment. At least one of those schools is still returning Jim Delany’s phone calls, and as long as that’s the case, it’s not in the best interests of the Big Ten to hand out invites prematurely. I don’t want anything to do with 12-18 months of this speculation, either, no matter how much traffic comes to this blog, but that time period in the scheme of things is fairly small compared to decades (if not centuries) of “marriage” that will occur when the Big Ten hands out invitations.

        • Stopping By says:

          Expansion news has been like a crack addiction to me…and I know that I can’t take another 12-18 months. I seriously doubt it does though…at least for the Pac 10.

        • ezdozen says:

          According to the Mayans, this is all somewhat “moot.” :-)

        • Manifesto says:


          I guess my stance is this. I understand sending a shot across the bow to destabilize other conferences by publicly announcing intentions. It looks to be working. In fact, in the span of 5 months, without saying anything of substance publicly since December, they’ve probably netted three teams they wanted (Nebraska, Missouri, Rutgers).

          But if they were serious about taking 12-18 months to even explore the possibilities, then why make it public at the start? I mean, why not just do the work, work out the scenarios, then say, “we’re looking to expand in the next few months.”

          If they seriously take this long there are going to be a *lot* of raw people by the end. And not just fans and media, but peer institutions and conferences. Maybe Delany doesn’t care about ruffling feathers, but the university presidents should and probably do. Waiting the duration just lets every possible candidate get dragged through the mud because of speculation. All of the “wow look at the BigTen” hoopla is going to turn to serious media vinegar if it stretches that long.

          I agree that 12-18 months isn’t very long if we’re talking about a partnership that should last decades. I’m just beginning to think it was a serious misstep to make this big public announcement if they didn’t already know who they wanted and could realistically get. 12-18 months isn’t too long to vet candidates, but it’s far too long if you’re looking to do it publicly.

        • Ken Smithmier says:

          I can see 12-18 months before a true opening day with teams in new conferences, but not that long before the deals are done and announced. Seems to me like B10 has this train moving now and will be forced to accomodate its momentum even if it is on a faster timetable than they or anyone else might like.

        • Pat says:

          I saw a report on ESPN today at 1:30pm that Delany told the AD’s he is resigned to Notre Dame remaining independent and he respects their decision.

          • Djinn Djinn says:

            If ND feels independence is so important to its identity, or if they feel their identity is more secure if they’re school is kept isolated from the “secular” schools (as FLP somewhat derisively calls the BT), I think it’s better that they stay independent.

            It would be fun to see the Badgers play them now and again, (Wisconsin may finally be competitive), but from the BT’s perspective, I don’t feel they’re an academic or cultural fit. Even the concept of cooperating with other academics via the CIC is viewed with suspicion. I think they’d be constantly tilting at Big Ten windmills, and this seems like a waste of energy on both ends.

            And from ND’s perspective, even $20 or $30 million more per year (if the estimates prove true after expansion) is probably not worth the cost if having their football team play in a conference makes them lose their identity as an institution.

            It is still a preposterous concept in my mind that a person or school’s identity could be tied that closely to a football schedule, but they understand what’s important to them in a way I obviously cannot.

            If joining the BT is against the wishes of the students, alumni and supporters, I hope the administration doesn’t push it through.

          • Manifesto says:

            Gene Smith, current Ohio State AD and ND alum, has some interesting words to say. Oh, and your Delany comments appear to be at the bottom:


    • SuperD says:

      Patience is all well and good for the Big 10, but they’re not the only ones affected. Other conferences are trying to conduct their business, particularly the conferences involved in new TV deal negotiations. Stretching this out is pretty unfair to the other conferences, yes I know “fair” is not necessarily a concern between what could be considered competitors, but I thought the Big 10 was trying to at least maintain an appearance of keeping things collegial. The Big 12 should not be forced to put up with another 12 months of Missouri’s antics or have to try and work out their TV future without knowing if they are going to be losing anywhere from 1 – 4 of their top TV markets, its predatory to stretch this out past this summer.

      • prophetstruth says:

        The Big10 said they would take 12-18 months to explore expansion. I fail to see how maintaining the original time-frame is stretching expansion out and thus unfair for conferences that may be affected.

        Seems that if the Big10 simply kept quiet, negotiated behind closed doors and announced one day that Texas, Texas A&M, Nebraska, Rutgers & Notre Dame were becoming members effective immediately with football play to begin in 2 years, many would scream bloody murder for not giving affected conferences ample time to react.

        Which way do people want it? Do you want time to react with contingency plans to an announcement that the Big10 plans to expand? Or, would you rather be blindsided by the news when reading the morning paper?

        I also fail to see how Missouri’s antics are the fault of the Big10 or cause the Big10 to rush it’s time-frame. Maybe Missouri’s antics are necessary if the Big10 has already decided on 3 expansion members and the last two spots are between Missouri and 3 or 4 other schools. Maybe this is Missouri’s campaign to get into the Big10.

    • zeek says:

      Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but the most important thing here seems to be: “Delany says a head’s up to conferences would be before a public announcement but not way before a public announcement.”

      • Nostradamus says:

        I guess I don’t see the importance there. I think that has been the assumption all along. Delany had said he would notify the conferences of the affected teams before the offer was extended, but that could be on the same day.

        • zeek says:

          Well it wasn’t clear before whether he would talk to the Big 12/Big East before getting really far along with their schools or just before the offer phase.

          I wasn’t clear on that point anyways…

    • zeek says:

      12-18 months means Dec. 2010-May 2011. I don’t really think he’ll do it during the football season though, so I would expect it to happen in Feb. 2011 to May 2011.

      That’s very far away. It’s hard for me to see him making these kind of decisions during the football season although it could happen if Texas or Notre Dame gets on board then. Essentially I’d imagine that those are the only two schools that could speed this thing up if they were willing to sign.

      If they both say no, I think Delany would just let the process drag out till next year after the football season is done, and then either roll out Neb/Mizz/Rutgers, or nothing at all…

      • @zeek – Teddy Greenstein from the Chicago Tribune indicated today that it would likely “spill into the fall”. I agree that it wouldn’t happen during football season and frankly, I doubt that it would happen during the school year. With June 30th being the fiscal year end date, that seems to be the critical deadline for a lot of decisions and I personally fear that announcements wouldn’t come for truly another year if it isn’t done within the next few weeks. That might be the best decision for the Big Ten in the long-run, but we’ll certainly be pulling our hair out here.

        • 84Lion says:

          I would hope there is good reason for delaying (Delaynying?) a decision. That’s gonna cost the schools coming in, and cost Fox, BTN, and the Big Ten itself revenue left on the table.

          I sure hope when all is said and done that everyone can say, “boy, we’re glad we waited.” Otherwise it could be a missed opportunity.

          Personally I think Delany is blowing tons of smoke.

          • PensfaninLAexile says:

            The good reason for delay is the transactional friction in any such move. Consider all the hoops:

            1) Gotta make an evaluation of the potential candidates. Delaney made a point of how other expansions were hasty and resulted in serious cultural and logistical problems (ACC, anyone?)

            2) Gotta get 8 of 11 schools on board as to both how many and who to invite. That involves presidents and their trustees (at the very least).

            3) Gotta make sure that the invitees will say yes. No more jilting like ND did (I know, they are applicants, but really the B10 will informally invite first)

            4) The invitees have to make sure of their decision.

            5) Doubtful that these schools are just going to jump in as full members with full revenues. So, there may be negotiations for terms of entry.

            6) All schools have to look at their schedules, contracts, sponsorships and determine if alterations need to be made.

            That’s a long and complicated path. To sum it all up, aircraft carriers can’t turn on a dime.

        • zeek says:

          What’s the thought on this then? Right now, if we invited teams it would be for 2012, correct?

          If we wait into the fall of this year and into 2011, then the earliest the teams can be integrated would be 2013?

          At what point does the window to a 2012 integration close I guess is what I’m wondering…

          • zeek says:

            I do realize that in the scope of decades none of this matters, but we would like to keep the transition as clean and painless as possible because that can be a scarring experience for all involved including those “left behind”…

    • Vincent says:

      Despite the ACC’s new contract with ESPN, perhaps its AAU schools are still in play as expansion candidates. If Notre Dame and Texas are out of the mix, which would you rather have as a group of five newcomers: Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke and Georgia Tech, or Nebraska, Missouri, Rutgers, Pittsburgh and Syracuse?

      I sense the Big Ten presidents would prefer the former, or at least four of the five, with Rutgers subbing for Georgia Tech. Better academics and all-around athletic programs, on the whole.

    • Richard says:

      You know, I’m not a big fan of the demographics argument (at least if it means Southern expansion). Main reason is because I believe global warming will become a reality. The southwest from California to Texas will become a desert (OK, I know most of it already is, but they’ll have major water crises in that region), and they’d need sea barriers to keep most of Florida from being flooded (and in general, the coasts will suffer the most from both rising sea levels and more frequent natural disasters like hurricanes). Big parts of the Sun Belt were also built on a Ponzi economy model which collapses if people stop moving in (and with the collapse of the housing bubble + higher temperatures + higher energy costs/natural disasters/water concerns), retiring to places like Arizona, LV, or Florida won’t be so appealing in the future.

      That said, the Sun Belt is still the place to go for football recuiting for the foreseeable future, and Texas will still be fine economy-wise so long as the energy industry stays there (and I’d like Texas to join the Big10). However, I wouldn’t rely on the population trends of the last 30 years to predict the population distribution 30 years from now.


      • PensfaninLAexile says:

        Are you the current president of the Club of Rome?

      • Paul says:

        Even if global warming doesn’t come to pass in such an extraordinary way, the southwestern states are already running out of fresh water. Once the north gets its new economy figured out, the people will start coming back.

        • PensfaninLAexile says:

          Getting off-topic here. The ‘we have water’ canard has been around for decades. As population and economies have grown in the West and South, previously considered terminal points for population have been passed and water is still available. Usage in the past was highly wasteful. Even modest conservation has stretched current resources. Even with almost 37 million residents, agriculture is the biggest user (and waster) of transported water in California.

          The somewhat unsettling fact is that you can endlessly recycle the same gallon of water, as long as you clean it. Technological improvements have made this more and more economically feasible (and the shortages you reference).

          There is one constant in a free enterprise society and that is that new technologies and innovations currently unconceived of has the ability to solve problems once thought intractable.

          That’s why the 1975 Club of Rome report was wrong and is roundly ridiculed to this day.

          Far bigger a challenge is a social and economic structure that is rooted in past industries and an old social compact. Good luck.

          • Richard says:

            Not a Club of Rome guy; I thought their take on population was ridiculous (if anything, China will suffer seriously in the future due to too _few_ people). However, I’m not sure many people will be moving to places like Arizona & LV in the future when average summer temperatures in those places approximate those of Death Valley. Texas will get hotter as well, but at least you guys have the energy industry.

            The “past industries and social compact” you’re thinking of in the Midwest is already pretty much gone. Chicago has the most diversified economy in the US. Can’t say that for the smaller cities in the Midwest, but other than a few exceptions, I do believe the Sun Belt will fare worse in the next 30 years than in the past 30 years. Texas has the energy industry, and areas in California (like Silicon Valley) are still pockets of innovation (though we’ll see if California’s fiscal situation will impact that). Atlanta and Charlotte/Research Triangle/NC have developed in to diversified business hubs, but big parts of Arizona & Florida were reliant on a Ponzi/housing economy model that’s not coming back for several decades at least, if ever (and they’ll have to deal with the effects of global warming). Meanwhile, that big stretch of land between Georgia and Texas (the western, non-ACC part of the SEC) hasn’t been developing (or even growing much in population) the past few decades, and I don’t think that’ll improve in the future.

            I do see the Northwest becoming more attractive, though.

          • Richard says:

            In any case, my point is that it’s just not safe to extrapolate from the past in to the future without taking impending changes in to consideration (ironically, that’s what the Club of Rome dudes did as well).

      • loki_the_bubba says:


        Water falls from the sky down here.

        • PensfaninLAexile says:

          Richard –

          Couldn’t agree more with your comment on population projections. They are absurd and often engage in the fallacy that recent trends will continue endlessly into the future. If that were true, the whole world will work for Google in 30 years.

          The fact that significant stretches of the South have experienced little population and per capita income growth (compared with their neighbors) shows how important economic and social structures are to growth.

          California’s dysfunctional government and weak political leadership are more likely to repel residents and industry that any water shortage.

          As to the applicability to B10 expansion, I think we can agree — Mississippi State is off the table.

  27. Todd says:

    Based on the thousands of posts already read, and the assertion by Delaney this is going to take awhile, I think I’m giving up on expansion for now.

    • R says:

      Are you giving up on expansion, or, on reading posts about expansion? I can’t get enough of this crap!

      • Todd says:

        Oh, no. I’m still very interested and excited about the prospects for the expansion, I just can’t continue to dedicate the time to read all these wonderful theories. My wife thinks I’m insane.

        • R says:

          You’re fortunate! My wife knows, I am!

          • MIRuss says:

            Heh-heh…Yeah, my wife now thinks “Expansion” is a stripper that lives downtown that I have this ongoing secret cyber life with. When she asks me, “Well, what’s new with this expansion thing that you’re on the internet past midnight reading? Besides the fact that the Big 10 wants Notre Dame and maybe Texas” and I look at her and kind of shrug, she just turns in a huff and walks away…

  28. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Frank – If the Big Ten keeps to this insane 12-18 month timeline and since you’re in Chicago (the Home Office), you and I ought to sue Delaney for intentional infliction of emotional distress on behalf all of us on the board (a special class), as well as Big Ten fans and fans of Nebraska, Mizzou, Kansas, Texas A&M, Rutgers, Syracuse, Pitt, & UConn.

    UTx and Notre Dame fans would be specifically excluded from the class as their schools are probably the cause of the hold-up.

    A mass intentional tort spread out over millions of people in over a dozen states. While the damages aren’t as great as what BP has done to us down here, it would be fun. Who knows, maybe we can get a taste of that BTN money?

  29. jd wahoo says:

    Alan’s comment supports my suspicion that most of us who frequent this board are lawyers. :)

    As to the above discussion of the need for more inventory on a Longhorn Sports Network, I don’t think that’s a major problem. Beyond the 1-2 football games and 8-10 men’s basketball games, there are 16 other varsity sports at UT that could be broadcast, and diehard fans – the kind of people who would be interested in the LSN anyway – will watch them. This is the whole concept behind televising the Olympics; in the abstract, people don’t care about curling or water polo, but if it’s USA v. Other Country, especially Evil Other Country, there’s suddenly interest there. Same thing here; if there were a go-to channel where you could watch Texas play OU/A&M/Tech/etc in something – tennis, golf, checkers, anything – at any point during the day, I think a surprising number of people would have interest in that. (Heck, I’m not even a UT alum, and I’d watch that.) Probably not enough interest for most people to pay extra for the channel for that reason alone, but the prospect of exclusively broadcasting a football game and a few basketball games gets you past that threshold anyway. We’re just talking about filling the broadcast day. You’d televise as many non-revenue sporting events as you could, replay them incessantly, mix in a few coaches’ shows and a daily Longhorn highlight show a la ESPN News, and there you go – content.

    I have zero expertise on the technical side of broadcasting – is there some reason this wouldn’t work?

    • zeek says:

      Well, the issue is how you would get it onto basic cable in metro areas in Texas as opposed to being put on a sports tier/package. You don’t want to build a LSN that’s just for hardcore fans of other varsity sports because football is the main product and the reason we’re all discussing conference expansion.

      A big part of why the Big Ten Network has been successful is second tier football games. That’s probably the biggest reason for why its on basic cable packages in the Big Ten’s footprint.

      It’s hard to see where Texas gets the inventory for that in order to really have a money making network that would justify the LSN.

      But don’t get me wrong, Texas is the only school in the country with the geographic footprint as well as the national brand to be able to even contemplate this kind of experiment at this point in the game.

      • kmp says:

        I agree that there will be problems getting the Longhorn network up and running, Even if you solve the inventory problem with minor sports, there has to be football content and one school can’t provide enough, especially if only one or two games a season are on it.

        UT fans are very football-centric. Even their successful men’s basketball program is an afterthought to most of their fan base. It’s hard to imagine a network with so little inventory in those two sports drawing the interest of the typical UT fan.

        I also wonder, as was mentioned above, about the rights to broadcast games. For example, if there is a Big 12 TV deal for men’s basketball and Texas doesn’t want to be a part of it and Texas is playing at Baylor, would the Longhorn network be allowed to show it? Or does the home team have the rights? This is moving into an area that hasn’t been tested before.

        • MIRuss says:


          I mean, how many “classic” Texas – OU reruns can one really watch? That’s if OU let’s the Longhorn network show the games!

  30. loki_the_bubba says:

    Apparently, Conference USA is publicly OK with having members poached. Kind of odd to me.


    • Mike R says:

      That’s just realism on Banowsky’s part. He wants to tell his members that (a) he won’t hold down anyone with aspirations of finding a conference with BCS-AQ status, and (b) there are “rising” programs out there that would serve as adequate replacements for, say, Memphis and Houston, if the need should arise, and he is the guy who can shepherd those programs into C-USA.

  31. Redhawk says:

    The Longhorn Sports Network is a HUGE issue. It’s even deeper than Frank the Tank has suggested. UofTexas seems to think that they can get the benefit of being independent (their own TV contract that they don’t have to share) and the benefit of being in a conference (built in teams to play).

    That idea is NOT going over well with the other member schools in the Big 12.

    I finally heard from my guy that knows a guy (yeah, but its a really well connected guy!)….Oklahoma, is trying to figure out what they have to do with Okla. State, and are looking HARD at the SEC. And it has everything to to do with the LSN, and UT’s blocking of the Big 12 TV channel. There is concern, that UT might block a “Western Alliance” type deal as well.

    If the Big 12 can’t get more money from their TV contacts, they will fall behind the SEC and the Big 10 eventually. The schools staying think the “Western Alliance” would be a wind fall that would put the Pac-10 and the Big 12 in the SEC range of income per school….Unless UT kills it. Yes UT could survive with out it (Western Alliance TV contract or a Big 12 network)…but the other member schools in the Big 12 can’t.

    I should note that David Boren the President of Oklahoma, said he thought the Big 12 would stay together. My source, “That was all posturing from a career politician, being a politician.”


    • yahwrite says:

      I think I understand the Texas point of view on the Big 12 Network. I’m no expert, but I’m sure the costs to start a network are big, along with a big risk. With over half the population in one state, and most of the subscribers in that state rooting for Texas. They may feel that if the network succeeds it is going to be propped up by Longhorn fans with only 1/12 of the programming. Therefore, give the audience what it wants – the Longhorns on the Longhorn Network.

      More than anything, the population gap makes the Big 12 unstable. Texas needs to be in a conference of equals. Baylor, Texas Tech, K-State, and Iowa State should not all be in the same BCS conference. All due respect to their supporters, there just aren’t enough of them to reasonably balance the conference revenue.

      Here’s hoping that Texas, A&M, Nebraska, Missouri, and Rutgers (really, I want Pitt, but no new market) end up in the Big Ten.

      • M says:

        In some sense those other schools are more valuable to a Big XII network than Texas (hear me out). All or nearly all of Texas’ football games are already picked up by the national television contract. They would have 1 or maybe 2 games a year on any network, Longhorn or Big XII (or BTN for that matter). The draw would be for the smaller but non-negligible number of fans of those other schools whose teams would be on Big XII Network. I’m sure those schools would be happy to generously share the revenue with Texas equally though, so no worries there.

        • zeek says:

          You’re actually right on this as a major issue.

          What a lot of people are not focusing on about the Big Ten Network and LSN is that the main inventory is second tier games for football.

          Texas as the premiere national brand in the Big 12 is going to have most of its football games on national networks regardless of what happens for a LSN.

          At this point the LSN isn’t as much of a threat because the problem is still that it won’t feature that many of Texas’ football games…

      • Redhawk says:

        Yes…but where does all this “programing” come from?

        You are correct in UT’s thinking that they are the big dog….but they are being self centered and short sighted, if they think they can get that programing with out a conference.

    • jd wahoo says:

      Re: Boren, I think we are underplaying what he actually said. It wasn’t just the usual boilerplate of “we’re happy in the Big XII” or “we have no desire to explore realignment,” all of which might have been posturing. He actually went beyond this to add, seemingly unnecessarily, (paraphrasing) “Anyone who leaves the Big XII will regret it.” A smart politician wouldn’t allow himself to get rhetorically boxed-in like that unless he had already made a firm decision. And, it isn’t clear to me how this finger-wagging would help his supposed attempt at posturing anyway. I know that stranger things have happened, but unless Armageddon comes, i.e. Texas leaves the Big XII, I tend to think that OU rides it out and tries to work within the existing structures to get the best media deals it can, which may include partnering with selected schools on a start-up network.

      • zeek says:

        I agree; most of us believe that OU will not be a first mover and will only really consider moving if it looks as if Texas is going to move, which doesn’t seem to be going on at all right now…

        • Redhawk says:

          If the SEC offered OU they would be gone. It would be a pay raise, and they are pissed at UT. Why should OU stay if Neb, and Missouri leave?

          • zeek says:

            Why is OU pissed at UT? (Forgive my ignorance, but I really don’t know the grievances there…)

          • Redhawk says:

            Same as the rest of the Big 12. Arrogance. And UT voted against a Big 12 TV cable, and wanting to go on their own.

            When they did that, UT was saying, we don’t care about anyone in the conference, but US. That didn’t sit well as you can imagine, with the other schools, that might be thinking that part of the reason you are in a conference is to join forces and ban together.

            OU (and from what I understand Nebraska) were left thinking “why is the amount of money we make connected to UT when they don’t care about us?” For the smaller schools, I think they realized they had to take it…but OU and Nebraska, being Big Dogs themselves weren’t happy with being made 2nd class citizens, beholden to the whims of UT.

          • jd wahoo says:

            OU may or may not be pissed at UT over the Big XII network (and their only public comment has been a surprisingly strong defense of the Big XII), but even so, I highly doubt they are eager to leave. Remember, OU’s primary recruiting territory is Texas – more than half of their football roster usually hails from Texas. If they went to the SEC, they would play far fewer games in Texas, and recruiting would correspondingly dry up. Establishing new recruiting ties in the already-hotly recruited areas of FL/GA/SC/AL is easier said than done for a faraway school.

          • Josh says:

            @jd wahoo

            Oklahoma had no problems recruiting Texas when they were in the Big 8 and UT was in the SWC. The whole “You have to play Texas to recruit Texas” line is overblown. OU will get just as many Texas HS players playing in the SEC.

          • Redhawk says:

            “Pissed” may be strong, but the schools in the Big 12 I get the feeling are really upset by what seems to be UT holding them hostage. As for texas recruiting “drying up”. OU has always, and I mean always recruited texas. They did when OU was in the Big 8, in the Big 6, in the Missouri Valley. Going to the SEC isn’t going to hurt OU. I mean, Oklahoma is right next to Texas

  32. rich2 says:

    I stumbled across this column at Yahoo and I have pasted the relevant passage.

    This represents my experience with my alma mater — unlike presidents and ADs at public entities, ND is under no pressure to disclose much less to shout to the media how much money it is making.


    The Big Ten reportedly handed out $22 million per member last year. Media reports have said Notre Dame receives $15 million annually from NBC to broadcast its home games each year. Richard Sheehan, a Notre Dame finance professor who has been involved in past negotiations with NBC, believes that figure is low.

    “The NBC contract is more lucrative than pretty much anyone knows,” he said.

    Notre Dame, which has an endowment of more than $5 billion, also receives $1.3 million a year if it doesn’t qualify for a Bowl Championship Series berth and $4.5 million if it does. It doesn’t have to share that money with anyone.

    Sheehan said money shouldn’t be a factor.

    “We lose half a million, a million, through the cracks each year. So a million here, a million there, I don’t think makes a difference,” he said.

    Swarbrick said money won’t be a factor in any decision.

    “Questions of this nature are too fundamental to be about money,” he said.”

    22m in the Big Ten represents everything — fb, bb, licensing, BTN, BCS and so on. If 15m is low (posters here try to pin an 8m figure)and there is BCS (1.2), Big East is 2.0+. I agree with Prof. Sheehan – we waste the difference (if there is a difference) every year.

    I am beginning to feel confident that this storm has passed.

    • M says:

      The worry for ND fans is in some sense not the current numbers, but the overall trend line. 20 years ago, ND had the indisputably most lucrative contract of anyone. 10 years ago, it was nearing parity the Big Ten but was still more. Currently, it’s at parity or maybe a little in the Big Ten’s favor. Where will it be 10-20 years from now?

    • FLP_NDRox says:

      I’d feel better knowing that even if the Big East broke up that the ND olympic sports would have a place to go.

      Frank, that’s another thing that isn’t getting enough play: The Morning After in the the Big East/ the viability of “Major” football-less conference.

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        Where would the other sports go if the BE broke up? I didn’t see anything in that article to address that. The B10 wouldn’t take them without football. Nor would the ACC or SEC. What’s left, CUSA or MAC?

        • Manifesto says:

          The better question is, if the ND non-FB sports were forced to CUSA or MAC, would anyone at ND (aside from the AD) even care? So far it seems like most ND fans are willing to sacrifice just about everything else to keep independence.

        • FLP_NDRox says:

          I don’t think so, Mani, but if the AD finds it a problem, it’s officially a problem.

          If ND manages to maintain football independence, I think it will be because we’ll join with the seven other non-football Big East schools.

          Now that’ll probably still be a pretty decent basketball conference but I don’t know if it would be a major. It would also be approximately 4 lax teams short of eight, 3 baseball teams short of eight, and one team short for volleyball and softball.

          Lax is a weird sport. I’m pretty sure Bellarmine of Louisville is in the same conference as OSU. The Big East just started sponsoring Lax. ND can probably resume independence there. It would be weird not to be in a baseball conference, tho’. But I don’t know if the $$$ would be good enough to support three more mouths…especially since we would be relying on basketball money to do it.

          If I were to guess, we’d need the three best mid-major basketball schools with baseball teams in the northeast or midwest for an expansion. Gotta try to keep the travel costs in check. I’m also guessing the teams would probably also prefer private school, particularly Catholic ones, all things being equal. If not, you might as well just take the best three non-Philadelphia based A-10 schools and go with that. Why not Philly? I think ‘Nova would veto it.

          As to who to invite, I’m not sure what’s more pressing. Is it better basketball teams to get more at-large NCAA bids, or better metro markets and ratings for the TV contract? So, just as an initial guess let’s go with three of the following:

          St. Louis

          I don’t know, my sister’s the A-10 fan. Dayton’s good, but I don’t know how desirable they’d be to the other schools, particularly XU, since that’s more Metro-Cincy.

          If that conference wouldn’t be good enough, I think ND may yet go to the Big Ten.

          • FLP – That has long been my thought about ND – the survival of the Big East is more important than it’s letting on. The football program at ND is always going to be well-funded and it’s never going to realistically be shut out, but it’s a tough decision for the AD to (1) know it could make more money in the Big Ten and (2) if it doesn’t join, its non-football sports are at risk. The alums can afford to only focus on football, yet the university as a whole may act differently.

            Still, maybe Delany’s comments today indicate that ND won’t come no matter what and, if so, an expansion towards Texas as opposed to the East becomes the new goal.

          • jcfreder says:

            If the Catholic schools break off, my guess is they’d only invite other Catholic schools. So my guess would be Xavier, Dayton and/or Saint Louis. If ND isn’t part of this conference, they could take all three. Thats probably a step below major for basketball but not too far off.

    • Bullet says:

      Back when ND almost joined the B10, Notre Dame decided it would be a financial wash to join the Big 10 (that was their AD-their NBC contact at the time was $9 million, B10 was about $7/school). Since then, the B10′s revenue has gone up enormously. There is no doubt ND would make more money in the Big 10.

  33. Oneforthemoney says:

    Regarding BYU and Sunday play, here is some information that has been discussed before, but may be helpful/interesting to some. As Frank noted, this is a non-issue for football, but it is practically a non-issue for basketball as well. The Big 12 basketball tournament ends on Saturday, and the Big 12 plays basketball games on Sunday every now and again. To me, its simple: just don’t schedule BYU for those games. I don’t think the Big 12 would have a problem with this since the conference tournament isn’t threatened in any way by BYU’s policy.

    It gets a little more complicated for non-revenue sports, particularly for baseball, which is a pretty big sport in the Big 12. The baseball tournament currently ends with a championship game on Sunday. BYU simply won’t play such a game–they would rather forfeit. At the same time, however, BYU will also almost never make it to the championship game. The Cougars are normally in the top half of the MWC in baseball, and occasionally makes a push at the conference title, but only occasionally. It has not shown any ability to compete year in and year out with TCU, SDSU, and UNLV on the diamond. Therefore, any conflict here would be rare. That said, an agreement on this issue will have to reached prior to expansion. I would imagine the Big 12 would have to agree to play a doubleheader on Saturday or move the title game to Monday if BYU were ever to make it that far into the tournment. My gut feeling–and I have nothing to base this on–is that an agreement could be reached here largely because this bridge will rarely be crossed.

    This leaves the truly non-reveune sports, where many (but not all) Big 12 sports involve Sunday play. I believe the Big 12 holds track, tennis, and soccer championships on Sunday. I would think that the Big 12 could move these events to Saturday without losing any money. The huge question (at least as it concerns people like myself who want BYU in the Big 12) is will the Big 12 be willing to do this? I really can’t say for sure. An earlier poster noted that the Big 12 needs BYU. Even as a die-hard BYU fan, I can’t agree completely with that statement, but I do think BYU brings a lot to the table in terms of viewership around the country, fans will live in Big 12 states, and good athletic teams across the board.

    Another point that may be worth noting: if the Pac-10 and Big 12 do form a TV alliance, BYU I think would become even more important. BYU has a decent (and growing) alumni base in Texas, but the vast majority of the LDS population outside of Utah lives in Arizona and California. BYU would bring these fans to the TV sets by being involved in the network alliance. I’m not sure how much extra $$ this tranfers to directly, but its still worth noting.

  34. The impression of Joe Schad from ESPN talking to Jim Delany appears that ND isn’t joining:

  35. Djinn Djinn says:

    Milwaukee story about expansion meaning institutional fit more than just adding a sports team.


    • PSUGuy says:

      Here’s the thing about the “shift south comment”…I don’t think it means the Big10 sees itself needing to take new schools in the south (east).

      I see it meaning, even with slower overall growth, the states the Big10 is already in should still grow at rates appreciable enough to maintain the current student levels (plus adjustment for inflation) and that those students are very likely to become large contingents in markets where the Big10 currently (or even after expansion) has no “university footprint”.

      In effect, schools that aren’t national (Rutgers) will become much more national via the fact more of their students are likely to head south (ie out of state). Again though, this only tends to be true for schools with large state populations (already) and high enrollments.

      To that end I’d ask the question, with Rutgers/Mizzou/Neb/Texas being “in”, what “bubble” schools are in states with high population, have high undergrad levels, and spread their graduates to areas not currently NOT in the Big10 (or possible expansion areas) zone.

      Answer that question and I think you’ve found the 16th school (since ND doesn’t seem to be in play).

  36. Mark says:

    The only person I’ve heard talk about the Big XII going east to Memphis and Louisville is Kevin Keitzman, the same guy who broke the non-story last week about Mizzou and Nebraska “being offered membership” to the Big 10.

    Everyone else I’ve heard has been saying BYU, Utah, and/or other schools to the west.

    As a Kansas Citian, I feel obligated to say, again (pointed this out in the comments a couple weeks ago), that Keitzman’s opinions and “insider info” are worthless. In fact, it’s gotten to the point with me that if he says something, I believe the opposite will happen.

    His insider info revolves around connections in Manhattan, Kansas and KSU people. He consistently gets things wrong (his sources said that Mike Shannahan was to become the Chiefs head coach back in early ’09, Gary Patterson to be KSU’s head coach in ’08, etc.)

    Maybe I’m just being a hater, but it bothers me that the national media and this blog keep running with his MU and NU to the Big 10 story and other ideas he’s throwing against the wall.

  37. Everyone is going to LOVE this. The Internet report that supposedly sent Delany off the wall was the drunken Big Ten employee story posted on the Northwestern Rivals message board (which I linked in last week’s post):


    As a reminder, that message board posting said the Big Ten was focused on Texas, ND and Nebraska with negotiations about different types of conference schedules.

    • Manifesto says:

      @Frank: Wow, seriously? That was the one that apparently pissed him off? Interesting. I thought for sure it was going to be the WGH one that went crazy last week.

      • eapg says:

        The ESPN Radio in Kansas City story might have been a planted leak, if you subscribe to the Missouri being the bridge to Texas theory.

        Interesting (if all this is true) that the Northwestern rumor had enough resemblance to real life that it sent the boss into a tizzy.

    • djinndjinn says:

      Must have been a fair bit of truth to it then.

      However, if Notre Dame is now out, the BT can direct its efforts at Texas. The question is, does ND’s not joining change Texas’ dynamics?

    • Michael says:


      The NU rumor made too much sense to not have quite a bit of truth to it. I don´t think many people, apart from this blog, however, realized that.

      What I find even more amazing, however, is that Delany supposedly went ballistic about this rumor only to have his reaction leaked and this rumor confirmed by someone else. It was obviously only a matter of time until leaks from the inside occurred, but some of these people really don´t value their jobs . . . unless this was another plant of some sort.

      • zeek says:

        Yeah, I think Delany exploded because he probably mentioned some kind of concession that could be made for Notre Dame/Texas and he really didn’t want that to leak out because it starts to show his hand…

        • MIRuss says:


          If you’re going to treat the Domers and Texas with “special gloves”, everyone else might try to squeeze as much as they can out of the Big 10 as well…Even though they don’t bring nearly the leverage to the table.

          I remembered reading the post and the only thing I didn’t buy was that the Big 10 wouldn’t want to hold a championship game. That part made it smell a little fishy.

    • Mike says:

      I think there might be some truth in that report, but I don’t think its gospel. I just can’t see the Big Ten not adding a championship game. Too much money left on the table. I can’t see Texas willingly giving up conference titles. Just doesn’t make sense, However….

      Now I could see two 8 team divisions (either pod based or permanent) with a seven team division schedule where Texas and Notre Dame don’t play any cross-division games in order to accommodate ND’s national schedule and UT needing to play OU and A&M. Other schools would play 1 or 2 cross division games that wouldn’t count in the division standings. Division winners meet for the Big Ten title.

      • Patrick says:

        Actually I can easily see the Big Ten scraping a conference championship game and moving to a 13 game schedule for everyone in the conference!

        If I think about this like a college commisioner, Why end the season for 14 of the most popular football programs in the country only to have the remaining two knock each other out of a National Championship Game?

        Why not extend the season one game, and maybe 1 or 2 weekends ( for programing the Big Ten Network ) for everyone, having no conference championship game, and ending up with 2 or 3 BCS qualifiers.

        Say the last games of the year…. rival games, Michigan v. Ohio State, Notre Dame v. Texas, Nebraska v. Penn State, Wisconsin v. Iowa, Illinois v. Northwestern and you end up with an undefeated Nebraska and Ohio State and a one loss Texas. Instead of knocking out your own conference in a tournament you’ve played the BCS system and are now dominating it, AND you get more BTN programming, AND it feels like you just had 5 conference championship games. Think of a 6-1 Wisconsin that would need Penn State to beat Nebraska to get to a BCS bowl, or else they go the the Liberty Bowl. The idea is a WIN, WIN, WIN for the conference. Maybe one more win because a 11-1 Florida knocks out a 11-1 LSU in the SEC championship, leaving an extra BCS game for 12-1 Texas.

        I could see that working really well!

        • Random says:

          That actually can’t happen currently. Every team is capped 12 regular season games, with the only exceptions being for conferance championship games, and road games at Hawaii. Furthermore, leagues can still only have 2 participants in BCS games. To change this, all the BCS leagues would have to vote to change these rules, and I don’t think the other leagues are gonna vote for something that only help the Big 10, to their own detriment.

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            The majority of conferences don’t have a championship game. They wouldn’t just be voting to help the B10+, they’d be voting to help themselves.

          • MC says:

            As lifelong Husker fan and proponent of the Big Red finding a better fit with the Big Ten, I like Patrick’s suggestion of an extended regular season for an expanded Big Ten for all the reasons he suggested. However, I also note Random’s concern on the cap of 12 regular season games. I’ve been trying to convince myself that possibly the current NCAA rules allowed an exception to the cap, besides the games played in Hawaii that Random also referenced… like a 12+ team conference has an option of a CCG or an additional regular season game for its members. Unfortunately, I am unable to locate any NCAA bylaw that specifically addresses such situations. Who can point me in the right direction to determine once and for all what options exist for playing an extra regular season football game?

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            @ PN

            I have five either with or coming:


            and five without:
            Sun Belt

            I don’t know how a vote on a 13th game will go. Didn’t they just put in Game #12 a couple years back? I wonder if the money situation is bad enough that the Prezs will take the PR hit for “exploiting student athletes”.

            If the B10 loses the Game 13 vote, I think then they’d put on the CCG. I’m sure their preference is an extra OOC game early, tho’.

    • M says:

      Strictly speaking, the whole thing is one anonymous, possibly well-positioned source saying that Delaney got upset at another anonymous, possibly well-positioned leaker.

      I would laugh hysterically if “The Plan” was revealed first on the Northwestern board though.

      • PensfaninLAexile says:

        And we thought the real source at Northwestern was sorority row.

        On an unrelated note, time to put all of Columbia on suicide watch.

    • PS says:

      If there was a special football OOC rule for ND & UT, instantly they would be reviled by all B10 alumni. It would be ten times more caustic than when PSU arrived expecting all those football titles. Instant rivalries would be created, I mean at least the Buckeyes I tolerate even if they work for me. I would hire Domers & cattle farmers just so I could lay them off.

      • Playoffs Now! says:


        But a lot of those ranchers own mineral rights. Careful, the oil barons could buy your company out and clean house!

  38. Michael says:

    Delany´s comments today were probably the hardest news we´ve seen. Let´s try to read into some of the quotes:

    Delany – Population shift driving Big Ten expansion study

    Projected population increases from 2000 – 2030 in states with potential expansion candidates:

    - Texas 12.5 mil
    - Missouri 800 k
    - Kansas 251 k
    - Nebraska 109 k
    - NC 4.2 mil
    - Georgia 3.8 mil
    - Florida 12.7 mil
    - Virginia 2.7 mil
    - Maryland 1.7 mil
    - NY 500 k
    - NJ 1.4 mil
    - Connecticut 283 k

    Texas or bust in the West? Gaining a presence in Texas is obviously important to Delany. Even though we haven´t heard any rumors involving aTM, I imagine this means they´re being considered along with UT. If you strike out on those two though, do you give up on the rest of the more stagnant states in the Big 12? Nebraska´s more national presence may help them, but I´m not sure where this leaves Missouri.

    Northeast expansion – Apart from New Jersey, there shouldn´t be much urgency for expansion to this part of the country. And even with Jersey, I´m not sure if Rutgers is enough by itself to warrant a bid. Delany may be better served focusing on different regions.

    Southeast – Apart from Texas and California, the Southeast is, by and large, the region that will see the most growth. If you didn´t take Southeast expansion seriously before this Delany´s comments, you should now.

    Delany – “Some of the best decisions are not acting.”

    More than anything, he´s saying ¨don´t settle.¨ And apart from appeasing us on this site, he has no reason to. Notre Dame appears to be off the table and so now the focus turns to Texas. While you´re waiting on UT and aTm, you are also exploring expansion to the Southeast – trying to find a feasible way to integrate North Carolina, Georgia and Florida with the Big 10´s Midwestern schools.

    Delany says this decision is about institutions finding the best fit for themselves, not about conferences. “Institutions compete.”

    The Big 10´s looking for like-minded institutions in fast growing regions. Once again, this points to Texas and the Southeast. The only schools that fit this criteria, on the Eastern half of the country, are UT, A&M, Rutgers, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke (?), GTech, Florida, and Miami (?).

    Delany – “AAU membership is a part of who we are. It’s an important part of who we are.”

    Along with the previous comment, where does this leave Miami? It´s a smaller private research university that´s not apart of the AAU. After GTech this spring, maybe they´re next in line?

    • zeek says:

      The question is, what teams can we get in the Southeast that would help?

      None of us believe that Florida would consider the Big Ten.

      GTech/Miami/Vandy don’t really do it.

      Maryland, Va./VTech, UNC/Duke are what you’re looking at but does anyone really believe those schools are in play here?

      • Manifesto says:

        Personally I still don’t take southeast expansion seriously, unless you’re thinking of Maryland as southeast. Keeping to our rules from before, no one is leaving the SEC, so that eliminates Florida.

        I wouldn’t expect the ACC core to go anywhere without one another. I don’t see Miami going anywhere, and even if they did I think there’s enough red flags to turn the Big Ten off. With GT you just take Miami and change the positives and negatives a little.

        • zeek says:

          Yeah, I still think Delany is 100% focused on Texas.

          If Texas says no at any point, I think Delany’s going to roll it in and possibly end the expansion talks early…

          I don’t think we can take it as a given that the Big Ten will necessarily expand at this point in time…

          • Patrick says:

            If Texas says no, it’ll go to 14…. the BTN is hungry and needs to be fed.
            Seriously, there is just to much money available to not expand. Maybe they go to 14 and wait for Texas / Texas A&M to make a commitment one way or another.

          • djinndjinn says:

            I think at the minimum they’d take Nebraska and go to 12. Great football product and destabilizes the B12.

          • mushroomgod says:

            I agree Patrick…I still think RU, Neb., and Mo. get added this go-around…

      • Michael says:

        Why wouldn´t any or all of these schools be in play? The Big 10, academically, is a big step up from the SEC, and, from the ACC, it has research benefits the ACC doesn´t offer.

        More importantly, every other conference in the country faces a ceiling in the amount of profits that can be awarded each year to its members. With targeted expansion, there is no limit to how high the profits could go.

        How could any school turn down that type of offer under normal conditions, much less while under budget deficits?

        • Michael says:

          That last post should read, ¨with targeted expansion, there is no limit to how high Big 10 profits could go.¨

          • zeek says:

            I see what you’re saying but I think that we really would have to take a large clump of the ACC schools to get them interested.

            I find it hard to believe we can pick them off individually.

          • Michael says:

            I think I´d only consider the ACC schools if I could get a large clump of them.

            I don´t think any of them, on its own, is as strong as Texas and could stand as a geographic outlier.

            If, however, you can grab the elite half of the ACC and combine that with the Big 10 expats living in the Southeast, that might be enough to put the BTN on basic cable from DC down to Florida.

            I´d be very interested to see Patrick´s numbers run for a four or five team ACC grab.

            Four ACC teams plus Texas is probably the dream scenario, at this point. In that case though, maybe you start to look at one of Playoff Nows´ 20 team combos.

        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          Michael – The reasons why no SEC team would leave the SEC are many and varied.

          With the exception of Arkansas and South Carolina, all the other members are charter members with 76 years of tradition. Many of the SEC rivalries date back to the late 1800s. If you think Notre Dame fans are going crazy about talk of jumping to the Big Ten, just let the Gator Nation get a hold of that.

          I know all you Big Ten guys think your BTN deal is THE best deal in the world, but the SEC deal is pretty darn good too. Most of you guys forget, don’t know, or choose not to remember that under the SEC TV contracts with CBS and the ESPN family of networks, the individual school retain local multi-media rights, as well as delayed TV rights. That means that SEC schools can cut their own deal on inventory that CBS and ESPN didn’t pick up. For example, in the SEC, college baseball is huge and ESPN may only show a couple games per week. LSU sells those games not picked up by ESPN to Cox Cable, the dominant cable company in Louisiana. For games not on TV at all, but filmed, SEC schools sell the internet streams, not the conference. What I’m saying is that there is a lot of money that schools get that won’t show up in a few weeks when the SEC distributes checks in Destin, Florida. Each school should get over $21 million, but Florida is also making about $10 million themselves on the inventory not reserved by CBS, ESPN & the SEC. LSU, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee & Auburn are probably taking in at least another $5 million.

          That’s why I’ve been saying that Texas would be crazy not to seriously consider the SEC if they decide to make a move. Conference money is close to the Big Ten, plus they can at least equal UF’s take from the non-reserved inventory on the proposed LSN.

          I’ve seen a lot of posts about how bad those no-good cheatin’ SEC schools are academically, but I think the academic argument issue is way overblown. 10 of the 12 SEC schools are ranked as top tier schools by USN&WR. That’s more than the Big XII.

          Expansion decisions will be primarily football decisions. Acceptable academics gets your foot in the door, but football, markets and ratings close the deal.

          • eapg says:

            What he said.

          • PSUGuy says:

            The only caveat I’d make mention of though is the fixed contract portion of this equation. I’m sorry, but I don’t care who gets added, I just can’t see ABC/ESPN allowing a renegotiation not even a year after the ink signed.

            This means any new school, even one as big as Texas, is going to drag down the per school payout…and those schools that will be hurt most are those that are never going to get a great $5-10 million for their non-football sports programming. Just as OK’s fate might be in the hands of those schools, so too might Texas’.

            And that doesn’t even take into account the fact if one schools is added, there would most likely be another (or more) to maintain some sort of geographical/division balance (which would only drag that per school number down more.

            While it might be in Texas’ interests (even more so than I thought) to consider the SEC, there might be some pretty stiff (and unseen) opposition to any additions to the SEC. Even one as big as Texas.

          • mushroomgod says:

            Alan…Who knows, but I think elite academics will be important to TX administrators and alums…

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            PSUGuy – I’ve been saying for weeks that the only way the SEC expands is if CBS/ESPN agree to pay for it. Since CBS & ESPN are everywhere, expanding the SEC footprint is not an issue, higher ratings and ad rates are the issues. For that, the SEC needs to get at least 2 “homerun” teams to boost ratings even higher by creating even more compelling games. Given what the ESPN/ABC just paid for an inferior football product like the ACC, if the SEC added at least two of these four – Texas, Oklahoma, Florida State or Miami – current TV contracts would be ripped apart and renegotiated.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            ‘shroomgod – 90,000 people ain’t paying $100 each to watch a professor give a lecture about anthropology.

            Obviously, we’re all fairly educated people on this blog, even though I’m quickly realizing that my undergrad degree in History from backwater LSU is worthless, at least according to several posters here. Education is important to SEC schools. Its not like the SEC schools are one-room school houses off a dirt road somewhere in BFE (well, that is true in Starkville). The SEC schools are not as well-respected as those in the Big Ten, Pac 10, & ACC, but the SEC schools are all solid schools. A move to the SEC by any Big XII school would be at least a lateral move from an academic perspective.

          • Patrick says:

            Alan, LSU is a good school. It’s a history major that we are wondering about!

            Just kidding Alan, what is important is that you get to do what you want in life, if a history major gets you there….. more power to you.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Well Patrick, my History degree from LSU did get me into Tulane Law School, which was a top 40 law school pre-Katrina. I have no complaints.

            Also, regarding Big Ten alums living in the South sending their kids back up North for college, I know that Louisiana and Georgia have TOPS and HOPE scholarships available for above average graduates to stay in state. For example, if your kid qualifies, he or she can go to LSU or any other public school in Louisiana tuition free. If the kid goes to Tulane or any other private school, the state pays a portion of the tuition not to exceed LSU’s tuition.

            What I’m saying is that if Big Ten alum lives in LA or GA, you’ve really got to love some gophers, badgers or wolverines to turn down essentially free tuition for out-of-state tuition.

          • djinndjinn says:

            The state schools are a great deal, Alan. And it sounds like the arrangement in Louisiana is fantastic. (It’s very reasonable here in Canada, too.)

            My nephew turned down a 100% free ride on an academic scholarship at UNC to attend Duke. Crazy. $50,000+ per year to wear a darker blue.

      • Pat says:

        It’s unlikely that any of the ACC teams were ever in play, including Maryland, which I believe quietly told the B10 they were not interested. The many comments on this board about Boston College and Maryland have been “thought provoking”, but I don’t think they were ever in the cards. After the ACC’s new contract with ESPN this week it’s a dead issue.

    • Mike R says:

      Delany’s presser today was certainly mindblowing for expansion junkies. At once, it made it clear that JD is going to work on Texas until the last possible moment, gave credence to the Andy Katz “Southern strategy” story and threw several buckets of cold water on Nebraska, which is, alas, located in a small state without much growth. And from the AAU statement and the future- and growth-orientation of his talking points, I infer that Delany is no longer Ahab to ND’s white whale.

      • Stopping By says:

        Or……it all more smoke and mirrors

      • Manifesto says:

        I don’t think it threw cold water on Nebraska. I think that water went squarely on the northeast strategy though. If you were a school hoping to cash in (ie. Syracuse, UConn, Pitt, etc) it’s very likely ND finally saying no killed your hopes. Without ND there’s no real reason to go northeast, and now you see attention shifting (south)west.

        • zeek says:

          Yeah, I think Delany totally blew out the 4 teams from the Big East strategy once he said “Sun Belt” and went to demographics as one of the two focuses of expansion, the other obviously being the Big Ten Network.

        • mushroomgod says:

          Agree…although RU still seems likely, Pitt and esp, Syracuse nad U Conn now look like long-shots…Mo. and Ne, still look solid, unless there’s no expansion.

        • Mike R says:

          I do think the NYC-surround strategy has likely been discarded, because Delany’s vision seems to be to “go big” (cold water on Syracuse) and emphasize the AAU (cold water on UConn). But it leaves RU, a giant school doing massive amounts of research in a growing and wealthy state, as a more than viable candidate. I also think Delany wants to do a solid for Penn State, and providing an eastern partner for the Nittany Lions would do that.

      • Pat says:

        The Big Ten Network needs more inventory (events) to show. Therefore, I still think they expand, even without Note Dame and Texas. Might be Missouri, Nebraska and Pitt to make 14, leaving a couple of slots for future expansion.
        I did a quick check on Google Maps and the nearest B10 schools to Austin, Texas (Iowa, Illinois and Indiana) are all about 850 miles away. That’s a long way to send the softball and gymnastics teams.

      • Josh says:

        I think people are reading too much into the changing demographic comments from Delany and Barta. It is clear that the Big 10 is concerned about the future of the “Rust Belt” states, but Rittenberg as ESPN said “It’s more likely the Big Ten will become even stronger in the northern half of the country (Midwest, East Coast) to offset the changing demographics,” than add Southern states. Of course, Texas changes everything if they agree to come, but beyond Texas or maybe TAMU, I don’t see the Big 10 taking Southern schools for the sake of adding Southern schools.

        The other comment that’s been coming out of these meetings is getting “like-minded schools.” That’s going to be more important than anything else, I believe. The Big 10 doesn’t want to change its culture any more than Notre Dame does. If a Southern school like Georgia Tech could become workable and add value, they’d be considered. But I don’t think they’d take Tech over Nebraska just out of demographic concerns.

        I still think the UNL, Mizzou and Rutgers are the most likely, with the door open for UT and TAMU later. For all the talk about Rutgers not delivering NYC, I’d say there’s even more talk among the presidents along the lines of “You know, the State University of New Jersey is a lot like us.”

    • djinndjinn says:

      And while I think everyone assigns Colorado to the Pac 10, I think the Big 10 would have to consider it too. Another good school, strong in research and in a growing market. Currently 5+ million residents and the 3rd fastest growth rate in the US. Up 17% since 2000.

      • mushroomgod says:

        Wouldn’t like it, but have to agree that’s now a possibility as a long-shot….at least it would make for a good road trip…..

  39. loki_the_bubba says:

    With the emphasis on population growth, the top ten candidates are now:

    1. Texas
    2. Texas A&M
    3. Rice
    4. TCU
    5. Texas Tech
    6. Houston
    7. Baylor
    8. UT-El Paso
    9. SMU
    10. North Texas

    I believe only the first three are AAU members. After that, you’re back to small slow-growing states.

    • Manifesto says:


      It’s official then: Rice and UT-El Paso to the Big Ten as the best candidates that sound like burrito ingredients.

    • Michael says:

      Texas and Texas A&M are the only legitimate candidates from that list (like-minded institutions). This is why I think the Southeast will become heavily in play.

      And I have to imagine, if the NU rumor was true – and Texas valued a Big 10 with ND – they´d value a Big 10 with a SE presence even more.

      Remember that a Big 10 + Texas could be looking at profits above $40 mil/school, while the ACC schools – even with their new deal – are locked into profits of around $15 million. A Big 10 with Texas + a combination of Maryland, Virginia, NC, Duke, GTech and Miami would bring per school profits to a ridiculous level. Even with ACC unity, I can´t see any of these schools turning down that type of offer – even above and beyond CIC membership.

      Delany is truly in the driver´s seat here and he has no reason to settle. He might be the single most powerful man in sports right now, as he´s truly sitting on a gold mine.

    • Josh says:

      We’ve already got all the Ro-Tel Queso dip they can eat.

  40. Playoffs Now! says:

    Delany’s ‘Demographics are destiny’ speech today raises a new question: Are we still sure 16 is the upper limit?

    My gut read is that the B10+ got a better response than expected to initial queries, and now has multiple targets in the South, perhaps even a shot at Duke and NC. Those would almost surely go as a package, and maybe UT and aTm, too. The B10+ starts to run out of slots, but getting into FL and GA would seem to be of high value. VA is fast growth, but that might require VT, too.

    The idea being to get an in-state base school, even if by itself it can’t deliver the state, and combine that with the large and increasing number of B10 alumni for a critical mass to get on basic cable. Also being able to market the channel nationwide as a smaller but powerful and elite version of ESPN. Big time schools with less of the filler teams.

    So could some version of my Great AAU Alliance/Conference be in play? Perhaps not beyond 20, because the current conference schools need to keep a majority vote. Could break up into 5 groupings of 4. Play 3 annually in your pod, then 2+2+1+1 from the other 4 pods. 9 game conference schedule and every school is played at least every third year. Delany again said today that they are not looking at a conference championship game, so you don’t need divisions.

    How about adding:

    TX, aTm, GT, Mia, Duke, NC, VA, MD, ND

    That’s about as national as you can give ND for a conference schedule, but leaving room for USC, Navy, and 1 or 2 others per year (I’d say it is likely other conferences will vote to add a 13th money maker game per season.) If Virginia insists on VT tagging along, two of NE, MO, Pitt, and Rut could be replacements.

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      Possible pods:

      MN, IA, WI, IL
      TX, aTm, ND, NW
      MSU, MI, OSU, IU
      PU, PSU, MD, VA
      GT, Mia, Duke, NC

    • zeek says:

      How is that the read?

      The read is that the Big Ten needs to look at high growing states but make sure that each addition counts for something.

      I don’t really see it as a manifest destiny kind of statement.

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      If 16 is the upper limit, and ND is out, then my guess on the target list is:

      1) UT
      2 & 3) Duke/NC combo
      4) Mia (though of course long shot FL is there was any possibility)
      5) GT (or long shot UGA)

      TX, FL, GA, NC = easily the four fastest growing states east of Arizona, all four already in the top 12 of population.

      • Playoffs Now! says:

        MN, IA, WI, IL
        MSU, MI, OSU, IU
        PU, PSU, Duke, NC
        Mia, GT, NW, UT

      • Michael says:


        I think that list is just about right. I´d edit it slightly though:

        2)Florida (Whether or not Florida would ever leave the SEC, they are obviously the ideal candidate – how firm is the no-one-leaves-the-SEC-rule?)
        3)A&M (With or without Texas, large AAU research school on eastern half of the country with strong football and great location)
        4)Duke/NC (basketball vs. football)
        5a and 5b) Miami and GTech
        6) Maryland (as a way to bridge to the SE)
        7) UVa

        • Kyle2MSU says:

          I wonder if there is any lingering resentment about the last ACC expansion? What about the possibility of Duke, NC, Maryland, and Virgina joining the Big 10. AAU members, maybe they’d be happier with more like minded members in the BIG 10.
          Add Texas, Nebraska, or Rutgers to that mix.
          It all depends on how happy they are together.
          I know the Big 10 will not “destroy” another conference, but what if these 4 came to the Big 10 and asked. I can’t see the Big 10 saying no.

          • Vincent says:

            Institutionally, an addition of Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke and Rutgers would fit in well with the Big Ten, from the presidents’ point of view. All are respected AAU institutions, all have solid, well-rounded athletid programs, and would extend the Big Ten brand north to NY/NJ and south to the Carolinas.

            As a Maryland grad, I can say that would erase the only problem with Big Ten membership among Terrapin fans — the time-honored rivalries with UVa, UNC and Duke (although personally, I’d be happy with the Terps in the Big Ten whether or not they came along).

          • Todd says:

            As a Maryland grad myself, I would have expected the undergraduates to be against any move away from ACC basketball, and Duke more specifically. But I was on a Terp message board yesterday, and the comments were about 80% in favor of a move to the Big Ten…pretty surprising.

      • FLP_NDRox says:

        How is Duke so high? It’s a small school (13K) with historically awful football. I’ve heard often here how poorly they travel.

        I’d figure including the ACC, the target list reads:

        *Texas (50K, $12b, 18 teams)
        *TAMU (49K, $5.1b, 20 teams)
        *Rutgers (52K, $0.5b, 27 teams)
        *UNC (28K, $1.9b, 28 teams)
        ND (11K, $5.5b, 23 teams)
        *MD (37K, $0.5b, 27 teams)
        *UVa (20K, $3.5b, 25 teams)
        *Mizzou (30K, $0.8b, 20 teams)
        *Pitt (27.5K, $2.8b, 17 teams)
        *Nebraska (23K, $1b, 21 teams)
        *Kansas (29K, $1b, 18 teams)
        *GT (20K, $1.2b, 17 teams)
        *CU (30K, $0.6b, 16 teams)
        Miami (15.5 K, $0.5b, 15 teams)

        *AAU members
        all numbers culled from Wikipedia, if you think you can do better…please do =)

        and in approximately that order. Did I miss anyone?

    • 84Lion says:

      I think the demographics thing is that the Big Ten wants to continue solid branding academically and athletically. The idea is to have the premier conference now and 20 years from now, not necessarily for the conference to start moving South.
      I think what Delany is trying to say is that if the population swings South, he’s afraid that the alumni base will shift to Southern schools (your kids belong to the Gators and Seminoles). This is why I think the Big Ten is focusing on academics – great to go to a football school, but if the football school doesn’t have good academic creds, good luck finding a job down the road.
      He has a point, and the SEC schools haven’t figured it out yet. The ACC schools have it figured a little better.
      I don’t think these “demographics” comments put ACC or SEC schools in play to join the Big Ten any more than they ever were.
      Or, to boil it down to a sound bite, “quality, not quantity.”

      • PSUGuy says:

        Something I’ve been thinking very similarly.

        The Big10 doesn’t need schools in the south if it has loads of alumni that move south to find the new jobs, then send their kids back to the Big10 schools since their academics are better than the alternative

        And before folks get up in arms, realize that not every prospective student needs to come “back up north”. Just enough to pair with the already large populations up north (even if they grow slowly, they’ll still have a lot of people) to continue the slow, but steady spread of Big10 alumni across the nation.

        And if the BTN, due to those alumni in non-footprint areas, allows the Big10 to become a national conference (if only in coverage) it might very well be able to cherry pick non-alumni relations to come to Big10 schools…

    • m (Ag) says:

      I thought there was no chance of 20 when it was first suggested. Now I think their might be a small chance for it, but I still really doubt it.

      Reasons against 20:
      1) ‘First 10′ schools feel nearly outnumbered and don’t play each other much
      2) Reached point of diminishing returns for the Big 10 network as they have more games than airtime on Big 10 network. They could launch a BTN 2, but that wouldn’t be as profitable as the first, so it would probably mean less profits per school than 16.

      Reasons for 20:
      1) Can bring a big group of schools together, like North Carolina-Virginia-Maryland
      2) Having too much content for the Big Ten network might be a good thing, if each school gets to keep the rights to 1 football game and a handful of games in other sports, that might appeal to Texas. It wouldn’t be enough for them to have their own cable network, but they could sell those games to a cable outlet for good money.
      3) Could have an epic title game if you went with four 5 team pods. Since you likely would have no cross-divisional games during the season, the 2 teams would not have played each other. It would be like a bowl game.

      If you don’t have a title game, I don’t think you bother with pods. Just give everyone a certain number of permanent games and let them rotate other schools.

      Or perhaps something more complicated, where they play 2 archrivals every year, 4 rivals 6 times every 8 years, and 13 schools almost twice every 6 years.

      Every year you’d play:
      2 games against archrivals
      3 games against rivals (1 sits out)
      4 games against other 13 schools

      • Mike R says:

        No on multiple games against archrivals. Michigan-Ohio State football is the best rivalry in American sport because each team has just one shot at their main foe. Yankees-Red Sox has gone from the best rivalry in US pro sport to tiresome because there are too many of these games, all on national TV, too many in relatively meaningless parts of the season.

        • m (Ag) says:

          I wasn’t saying they’d play 2 games against the same teams. I was just calling ‘archrivals’ the teams you play every year with no exception. So for Michigan that would be Michigan State and Ohio State; for Ohio State that would be Michigan and Penn State.

          • Mike R says:

            Sorry about the misunderstanding. I’ll stand by what I said about Yankees-Red Sox. Haven’t they played about a dozen games already?

        • zeek says:

          He’s saying to have it like it is now in the Big Ten now but for 20 teams so more tiering…

  41. Can't Get Enough says:

    I saw an interesting piece on today’s College Football Live on ESPN. Well, the content itself wasn’t interesting, but what was interesting was ESPN’s slant. The subject of the Longhorn Network came at the end of the program, and the announcers were all jolly about it. What they refused to say were the words “Big Ten Network.” Do you think that ESPN will have a hand in UT’s channel, and would they get involved to keep Texas out of the Big Ten and maybe put them contained until they develop a bigger ESPNU presence?

    About ND, well, I would rather see them scheduled into irrelevance. Keep them out.

    Based on Delaney’s comments, I would include more southern schools than just Texas. Some say TAMU, but if he is being truthful about not expanding just to expand, the cultural gap between Aggieland and the Midwest is too far to bridge. Unless you’ve spent time there, you just might not fully understand why the Big Ten would want UT to arrive stag. Academically, it may get the full 25 from Frank the Tank, but combine that with culturally, and TAMU is a definite zero. I am not going on a limb to say that, on the whole, TAMU students and alum will be happier in the SEC than the Big Ten.

    • Mike R says:

      Good lord but that was a silly stupid piece. No substance, just some snickering about Bevo. ESPN of course has been doing a lot to head off conference networks, buying the SEC (royally) and the Big 12 (cheaply) out of the idea of starting their own. But I think the piece was silly because the panel had no one with sports media or business expertise.

      • Can't Get Enough says:

        Sorry, I shouldn’t have used the word “interesting” but rather “entertaining.” Those guys are so dumb that it entertains me, and ESPN will not let them call the Big Ten Network by name.

        Today the guy said he’d shave his head and sell his horses if UT joined the Big Ten. His reason? Recruiting. Not from the player’s standpoint specifically, but because the parents will not want to drive to away games.

        Also, they do not discuss schools in this; they talk about teams.

        • M says:

          I love that show. It’s an SMU guy and a UHouston guy saying that UTexas would never leave a Texas-based conference for a midwestern conference. How they manage to do this without any sense of irony or history is beyond me.

    • zeek says:

      ESPN doesn’t seem to understand that Texas will still recruit 95% of their players in Texas and most from within 200 miles regardless of where Texas is in any conference.

  42. SuperD says:

    If ND is out and TX is in play does Colorado make more sense as a bridge state, particularly if they are looking at growth demographics? I’ve always assumed CU was hands off as part of an agreement to leave it as a PAC 10 expansion target. In addition to a good TV market Colorado is one of the fastest growing States in the country, think its in the top 5. The alumni demographic weighting to the West Coast would still be an issue but CIC membership for a research school like Colorado would be a big deal.

    • zeek says:

      I don’t think many of us have put Colorado on the radar screen but it might be the right time to do so if the Pac-10 doesn’t make a move on it.

      • Manifesto says:

        I thought that too. But I thought a big reason Colorado was considered a lock to the Pac10 for so long was because of mutual interest, alumni demographics, research collaborations in place, etc.

        • zeek says:

          Agreed, but what if the Pac-10 doesn’t take Colorado because of the Western Alliance?

          That might make Colorado a dark horse candidate for expansion.

          A Nebraska/Missouri/Colorado expansion would be a decent set if we aren’t that interested in Rutgers…

          • Paul says:

            Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, Texas, Texas A&M.

            What’s not to love?

          • PSUGuy says:

            I really don’t think the Pac10 is banking anything on a Western Alliance…it simply can’t until the ink is signed.

            They need to assume they are going to contract alone and that means they need new markets and two more teams to get that championship game.

            While I agree Colorado would be a nice academic addition to the Big10, lets not forget its total population is 5 million (less than Mizzou and arguably less athletic draw) with more of its alumni supposedly falling in the Cali/West Coast areas.

            IMO, it belongs in the Pac10 with another Big12 (TAMU?) or Utah (due to academics).

          • zeek says:

            But isn’t that why we’d want it for the Big Ten. Colorado is the perfect school for sun belt alumni focus out west. If you make them Big Ten alumni, that would pay off dividends considering that Colorado is one of the fastest growing states.

        • mushroomgod says:

          Paul–Still think they’ll be at least 1 eastern school–if not, PSU would (rightfully) be pissed….

          • @mushroomgod – Agreed. It’s not really about giving PSU a travel partner, but there’s little doubt in my mind at this juncture that at least planting a flag in the NYC area is very important to the Big Ten. That points to adding Rutgers no matter what people think of them.

      • eapg says:

        First you might want to see if you can get Colorado to care about Colorado. They couldn’t raise enough money from boosters to buy out Hawkins. They don’t sell out their smallish stadium. Demographics and TV sets don’t mean much if the demographic doesn’t turn on the TV set.

        • SuperD says:

          Not going to go into it, but not buying out Hawkins this year had a lot more to do with State legislative politics then it did with booster money availability. I will concede that stadium size / total attendance are below the current Big 10 averages.

          • eapg says:

            As in they asked the state for help and the legislature, in tight budgetary times, had bigger fish to fry than Hawkins.

          • SuperD says:

            As in due to some “interesting” constitutional laws, higher ed has less protection then other major expense areas, and the administration didn’t want political heat that would come from spending money on a buyout (whether the money was from private sources or not) while they were fighting tooth and nail to preserve funding levels in an election year. Not sure why you’re so threatened by some random speculation, lemme guess, Nebraska fan?

          • eapg says:

            Just engaging you on the subject of this blog post, underrated players. My position in this and previous posts when the subject of CU has come up is that from the athletic and fan support standpoint, they’re highly overrated due to little interest in CU (or CSU), more interest in pro sports, and the general Front Range outdoorsy lifestyle, skiing, etc. Neither good nor bad, just what is. On the academic side, they’re probably very underrated, and it all comes down to what mix of these elements the Big Ten ultimately decides upon.

      • Mike R says:

        CU folks definitely seem to prefer the Pac-10. But if a Western Alliance between the Pac 10 and Big 12 implies, as I think it does, that the Pac 10 will not take any of the Big 12′s teams, then CU might be willing to listen to the Big 10. And I think that CU offers the Big 10 a high-growth state with an already-big (and sports-mad) TV market. If CU is frozen out of the Pac 10 I’d make that call if I were Delany.

  43. Playoffs Now! says:

    Barking Carnival has an excellent post about the truth vs some of the myths regarding UT’s cable channel and the B12′s decision not to start a channel:


    Basically it proves that many of the Cornwhiners are FOS.

    • eapg says:

      Huh. A Longhorn website says the Longhorns are as pure as the driven snow. Shocking.

    • Mike says:

      Cornwhiners? Classy.

      I don’t know if it proves anything as the article has a little more spin than content. However, he did come to the correct conclusion as to why Nebraska wants to leave.

      (edited for clarity)>>
      Why are Nebraska and Missouri considering leaving a conference they helped form nearly a century ago?… They are concerned that if they forego a chance to jump to a stronger conference now, they may be replaced in that lineup and not have[n] a safe have if the Big 12 dissolved (unlikely) or diminished significantly in stature (more likely). It’s the classic “Prisoner’s Dilemma”.

      • Mike says:

        rats… fixed the spelling mistake in the wrong spot it should read “and not have a safe have[n] if”

      • PensfaninLAexile says:

        Are zings that bridge blog posts allowed?

      • Drake Tungsten says:

        I’m just glad a Texas fan finally admitted that the Big 12 is really an expanded Big 8 and that Nebraska and Missouri let Texas join their conference.

    • Patrick says:

      That article was odd. I wasn’t aware of the partial qualifiers issue, and he does explain one of Nebraska’s issues… the failure to create a Big 12 network. UT wants a longhorn network, and is blocking the Big 12 development of a Big 12 network. But now Nebraska, as they are ready to walk, can come back and negotiate? Like chasing the girl who is dumping you down the driveway saying you’ll change.

      As I understand it, Nebraska was also upset that the Big 12 was a ‘new’ conference not an expansion of the Big 8…. so all of their records were wiped clean. They also lost the yearly game with Oklahoma which caused some anger.

      I was under the impression that Nebraska and Texas voted together on most items, except for playing the conference championship game as a Texas home game every year.

      Having a conference with everyone playing by equal rules and having an equal say would be great for Texas and Nebraska. I don’t see any issues or problems between them that joining the Big 10 wouldn’t cure quickly. It is no secret that Nebraska & Texas are the two big players in the Big 12 and lobby the weaker schools (Baylor, Iowa State, Texas Tech, Kansas State) on issues. Honestly, if Texas tries to lobby Penn State to vote with them, Penn State would tell them to GFY. Same with Nebraska. Pushing around schools with 1/10th your budget is nothing like voting in a room full of your equals.

      • 84Lion says:

        “Honestly, if Texas tries to lobby Penn State to vote with them, Penn State would tell them to GFY.”

        I would certainly hope so.

      • eapg says:

        The partial qualifiers issue is consistently overblown. It would have conferred no advantage to any team over another no matter which way the vote came out, since all teams would have played by either of the proposed set of rules approved, unless of course a school voluntarily didn’t take partial qualifiers. Schools in a position to do that probably could have more than offset any disadvantage by virtue of their location and prestige as the number one school in a very populous football crazy state. The only real effect of losing that vote is that more players end up going the juco route and getting tutored to get their grades in line instead of doing the same thing at a four-year institution. Winning that battle hasn’t spectacularly improved the athletic graduation rate at Texas, so maybe it’s all counterintuitive anyway. None of which is worth getting in a dither about, or holding a grudge about since the formation of the Big 12. It’s a dead issue which at this stage amounts to, yes, whining about something that doesn’t stand a chance in hell of ever coming back.

        • SuperD says:

          I will say that it wasn’t just Nebraska that did well with partial qualifiers, they helped all the Big 8 schools. Plus there was some fairly substantial evidence that kids who came in as partial qualifiers did substantially better academically (with the support structure of the university to help right from the start) then kids who come in as Juco transfers. I’d much rather have a situation where the schools were allowed a limited number of partial qualifiers then a case like Prince’s last recruiting class at KSU where he took like 10 – 15 jucos.

        • Bullet says:

          It really was an issue at the time for Nebraska. One of their great 90s teams had 23 partial qualfiers. That was more than any other CONFERENCE in the country. Interestingly, the only 2 conferences that limited them were the SWC and SEC. The P10, B10 and ACC knew noone would abuse the rule. The SWC and SEC knew teams would abuse it. The B8 and BE didn’t care.

          It was a big deal for Texas because it was a prerequisite for joining the league and Nebraska was trying to change the rules after the agreement was made.

          This is also one of the reasons I don’t think the B10 presidents will admit Nebraska.

      • Mike says:

        What is often left out of the PQ issue is that Nebraska wasn’t against the rule, they just wanted delayed implementation.

  44. fifthangell says:

    Nancy Cantor also served as professor, and later Provost, at the University of Michigan before leaving for Illinois:

    “In 1983, she came to the U-M as associate professor of psychology. She was area chair of personality psychology in 1984-88, was named professor in 1987, served as a research scientist in the Research Center for Group Dynamics in the Institute for Social Research in 1987-91, and was associate dean for faculty programs in the Graduate School in 1989-91. She left the U-M in 1991 to teach at Princeton, where she was chair of the Department of Psychology. Cantor assumed her duties as Rackham dean July 1, 1996.”

  45. zeek says:

    Look at the options, since most of agree with the line of thinking that Notre Dame may not be on the table, what are the scenarios from here:

    1) No expansion.

    2) Texas (and 2 or 4 others).

    3) Southeast strategy of Virginia/North Carolina (might include Maryland/GTech/Miami as well).

    4) Around the edges: Nebraska/Missouri/Rutgers (possibly Maryland in place of Rutgers).

    Those are the most likely scenarios, but when you really weigh them, it comes down to Texas or the Southeast strategy if you’re looking at 16 teams.

    If Texas or the ACC teams don’t want to play ball, then we’re going to have to roll it back and look at the teams closest by or no expansion at all.

    • Pat says:

      I think #4, around the edges, is the likely outcome. I don’t see Texas joining the B10.

      The B10 will continue to play most of their bowl games in Florida. I believe they had four in Florida and one in Texas last year. Also, B10 schools should schedule more home-and-home games during September with teams like Florida Atlantic, South Florida, Central Florida and Florida International. These non-conference “cupcake” games can serve as “recruiting trips”. Michigan State is finishing a home-and-home this year with Florida Atlantic in hopes of keeping the pipeline open to the talent rich state of Florida. I believe Notre Dame is playing South Florida next season in South Bend.
      Central Florida in Orlando has about 50,000 students, third largest in the nation. South Florida in Tampa is also quite large. Both of these schools will be graduating lot’s of alumni and will probably become sports powers in a few years given all the talent available nearby. Might not be a bad idea to try and build relationships, if not rivalries, with these schools.

    • Rick says:

      I just don’t see the ACC play as being realistic at all. Yes the shifting demos are great but I don’t see those AAU schools busting up the core to go Big Ten. There are some blue blooded boosters in those schools that I don’t think would think too kindly of such a move.

      • Michael says:

        What part of this would boosters not like?

        A Southeast expansion would only occur as a package deal and would keep most rivalries in tact, since it would include almost all of the original members.

        Of the original ACC, South Carolina has already left and the only schools that wouldn´t get consideration from the Big 10 would be Clemson, NC State and Wake Forest. The other members of the ACC are newer and less ingrained.

    • mushroomgod says:

      I agree with Rick. It’s not going to happen. I found Delaney’s performance today very odd indeed.

  46. Buckles says:

    I’m not seeing a lot of people talking about the southern migration when it comes to this proposed expansion.
    The fact is, there is a significant shift of population from northern states to southern and western states over the past 2 decades and I imagine that will continue for the foreseeable future.
    Don’t you think that will factor in to whatever inevitable expansion decisions for all conferences are made?

  47. M says:

    So originally (5 months ago) the premise of this blog was that the Big Ten would use Missouri as a “stalking horse” to get Texas. Now, it seems like that plan is in full swing, except Delaney has taken Frank’s Missouri and raised him Nebraska.

  48. c says:

    Re population as factor fueling expansion


    “Delany pointed to two factors fueling the expansion study: The formation and success of the Big Ten Network, and the national population shift to the south in the last 20 years. Although a lucrative football championship game would likely arrive with expansion, Delany reiterated that it’s not a driving force behind the study.

    The league could look to increase subscriptions for the network in new or existing markets, and it wants to maintain a presence and a brand in major media markets, he said.

    “As far as the shifting population, that is reason, by itself, enough, to look at the concept of expansion,” Delany said. “In the last 20, 30 years, there’s been a clear shift in movement into the Sun Belt. The rates of growth in the Sun Belt are four times the rates they are in the East or the Midwest.

    “You do want to look forward to 2020 and 2030 and see what that impact would be on our schools.”


    What it may mean is the Big 10 is concerned to expand it’s footprint in states with large populations to offset anticipated future growth in the south. Perhaps like NY and NJ?

    • Rick says:

      I think this means look to big new markets now and for the future. Northeast and Texas. I don’t think it means the Southeast. It means Texas schools as well as the “Big Kahuna” of NY Metro/NY State/NJ. The two biggest markets now and well positioned for the future. I just don’t see this as a move for ACC schools. This is institutional fit and markets.

      • Michael says:

        How is the elite of the ACC less of an institutional fit than the Big East schools you´re referring to? If anything, it would be the other way around.

        Without ND, I don´t think Delany has any interest in the NE.

        If he can´t get either of the Texas schools or the package of ACC schools, I´m not sure we see expansion – at least for now.

        Eventually, every major conference will have a cash cow similar to the BTN. When that happens, the difference will be demographics, and that´s why any new school must be an institutional fit, within a growing market.

        And the only way to do this is 1) reach Texas, 2) bring in the SE or 3) get to California. When this whole process started, no one (except Frank) would have dreamed that these were possible. (1) is still seen a bit of a stretch to the mainstream media but is taken for granted on this blog. I think (3) is a pipe dream, but (2) should be every bit as possible as (1).

      • c says:

        Re Big 10 strategy

        What Delany is saying about population trends, markets, the Big 10 channel is providing a glimpse of a big picture strategy underlying a possible expansion.

        The other part is geography and cultural and academic fit: who the Presidents want as their partners. And who might want to partner with the Big 10.

        A lot of posters are providing reasons why Texas or ND or Maryland should do this or that in absence of any public clues of reciprocal interest and to the contrary public clues of “Thanks, but no thanks”.

        What the Presidents decide to do is another story. However, if nothing else this expansion exploration process has done a lot to clarify who may or may not be in play and what steps those not in play may be exploring as they consider their own options.

      • c says:

        Re Northeast and Texas markets (Rick)

        I think the problem for the Big 10 is there is no indication that Texas is in play.

        Texas has spoken of a western alliance between the Big 12 and PAC 10; the Oklahoma President has supported the Big 12; the PAC 10 has no motive to participate in a charade in spending time with the Big 12 discussing a joint channel if Texas is not part of it;
        and why would the Big 12 commissioner say he would be asking members at their upcoming meeting who’s in or who’s out if he had the slightest question that Texas wasn’t in.

    • Pat says:

      If Rutgers, Syracuse and Pitt can help capture a decent portion of the huge northeast market the B10 will be protected against the population shift to the south. But, that remains a “BIG IF”.
      The only way I can see Texas joining the conference is if the B10 took in about 7 members of the B12 and put them in a Western Division of the B10, and that seems unlikely.

  49. Ron says:

    The one thing that surprised me most about Frank’s commentary this time was mentioning Texas Tech as going wherever Texas does. Strikes me as straight-faced humor. Have been following the ridiculous story of Texas Tech’s dismissal of Mike Leach with increasing incredulity, particularly the school’s invocation of “sovereign immunity” as a legal defense for their officials’ actions in this case. “Sovereign immunity” is a legal defense that derives from medieval English common law, it literally translates in everyday speech to “the king can do no wrong”. Texas Tech apparently cannot run their FOOTBALL PROGRAM in a manner consistent with common sense and decency and that is something open to widespread public scrutiny. Just what is supposed to make us think they are running the rest of their institution on an every day basis in a way that will eventually make them academically respectable? If there were a “Not Ready for Big Ten” comedy troupe, the current Texas Tech administration would take center stage.

  50. PensfaninLAexile says:

    Quick point: The Sun Belt line might be a head fake. After keeping everything so close to the vest, why would Delaney telegraph anything now?

    More ponderous point:

    Think about how curious the B12 meeting will be. It appears that no expansion announcement will be made at least until the regular football season concludes. So the complaint squad of NU and Mizzou have to deal with their brethren in the B12. And Texas will be under serious suspicion.

    Consider this what if … The no option schools (TTU, BU, KSU, KU, and ISU) are peeved and have had enough of watching the flirting and possible disintegration of the conference. Possibly joined by OK State and OU (and encouraged by Beebe), they proposed dramatically hiking the departure cost for current members.

    I don’t know how the by-laws work, how many votes that would take or how long before something like that could be implemented. And, such a move probably wouldn’t have the votes. But, it could serve to flush out all the schools looking to leave. Does OU have options, or is it stuck? What about OK State? Colorado has been moving to the PAC-10 for years, do they still think they have a chance? Does A&M think it can move to the SEC or B10? Schools that oppose such a move could be easily tagged as potential Judases. Beebe and the others would have a better idea where they stand.

    It’s possible that the needy nine (all but TX, NU, Mizzou) are ready to put their chips all in on keeping the conference together. If so, what happens if the conference hikes the departure penalty? Will the schools flirting with the B10 have a new clock ticking? Will they press the B10 to accelerate the decision process?

    There is this unstated assumption that the B12 is helpless and is stuck on some type of deathwatch. I doubt programs that have busted ass to become relevant (KU, KSU, TTU) are going to be passive. After all, what do they have to lose?

    • Nostradamus says:

      The Big 12 requires a super majority for any decisions, 9 out of 12 members. The problem is I don’t think it really is 3 versus 12 as you are making it out to be. Schools like Texas A&M and Oklahoma can likely get decent offers if things turn for the worse and the Big 12, and they’d likely be more inclined to vote with the other 3.

      • PensfaninLAexile says:

        First off, I hardly made it out to be “3 vs. 12″ — the 3 vs. 9 was just one ‘for instance’ — it was not the main point.

        The main point is that the rump schools are not necessarily going to be passive. One way of pushing back is raising the issue or proposing an increase in departure fees. How each school reacts to such a proposal would tell everyone much more about the cohesiveness of the B12 than the empty propaganda coming from the ADs and chancellors.

        Texas, NU, Mizzou against the rest is one possibility.

        Here’s another: Due to state politics, desire to stay pre-eminent in its own conference, potential profit of its own cable TV network, Texas decides to stay and make the B12 work. Now it’s 10 vs. 2 (maybe Colorado on the outside). How is that going to be for NU and Mizzou?

        • Nostradamus says:

          I obviously meant 3 vs. 9. I was just responding to your post where you asked what it takes to get things done in the Big 12. It is a super majority 9 schools. This is why it is difficult to get things done and difficult to make changes to established rules in the conference. I don’t think there are 9 schools that would be willing to raise the departure fees, because at least 6 of them see very likely scenarios where they themselves could be leaving in the near future.

          The 10 versus 2 scenario changes things. I don’t think an increased buyout is of any concern for Nebraska, but it could be for Missouri. I would still be surprised if it gets 9 votes though as again schools like OU, Colorado, Texas A&M, and even Kansas to a certain extent realize they will likely have other options.

        • eapg says:

          How’s that going to be? Hopefully, we’ll get the Big Ten and they’ll still get Texas. Even if we have to pay extortion.

          • PensfaninLAexile says:

            Who is we?

          • eapg says:

            I would imagine the big money guys who are going to get the arm put on them to tide the two alleged invitees over any financial rough patches. I’m not one of them, so it’s a conversational “we”.

  51. mmc22 says:

    Sorry I didn’t read all the comments and I don’t know if anybody mentions this, but I think maybe the second part of that post is the one that upset Delany. Quote:
    “Finally, the Big East is essentially pushing ND to discussions with the Big Ten. The Big East has presented an ultimatum to ND to play football or get out of the conference for the other sports in order to protect the integrity of the remainder of the conference. Apparently discussions have taken place between the Big Ten and the Big East, and the current understanding is that the Big Ten will not accept any other Big East schools if ND joins the Big Ten.”

    • c says:

      Re Big East pressuring ND (mmc22)

      The idea that the Big East with 8 BB schools including ND and SU and Pitt is going to issue an “ultimatum” to ND makes that specific rumor beyond credibility.

      • mmc22 says:

        Not if it comes with a guaranty from B10 of not touching that conference. Remember the football coaches are already pushing for it.

        • FLP_NDRox says:

          It assumes that:

          1. The Catholic schools would prefer USF and Cincinnati to ND.

          2. That Rutgers, Syracuse, and Pitt would sacrifice their own Big Ten ambitions to stick around with lower paydays and less prestige in the Big East.

          That was the only part of the story I wasn’t quite buying. At best, I think that the B10 floated the idea, and the BE said they’ll take it to their respective brass.

        • c says:

          Re ND being pressured by the Big East (mmc22)

          “Remember the football coaches are already pushing for it”


          There was an article where the coach at UConn wanted such an approach.

          The point remains that the BB schools including ND have 8 votes and I doubt SU, Pitt or RU would be part of such an effort.

          If you have a source for your statement that all the football coaches are pushing for it, please provide source. Thanks.

          • Rick says:

            @C: Randy Edsall said it. But he didn’t say “all” the football coaches, just the coaches. I doubt very much Schiano or Wanny agree with him. Just google Randy Edsal, ND, Big Ten and there are plenty of references to his comments. I think he was making a general statement and over stating the facts.

          • mmc22 says:

            I can play the same game of “if you have a source please provide it” too with your argument. At this moment all this is speculation. At least in my argument there was a coach that was talking about and don’t think he’s the only one thinking that way. In regards with Syracuse, Pitt and Rutgers I think only Rutgers has a real chance of joining the other too unfortunately not so much. Think about it, this is THE ONLY WAY to save BE conference and the deal is with the BE not with the catholic basketball schools which can be left out in the cold if the football schools go somewhere else. Oh! One more think, ND can leave anyway.

          • c says:

            Re Big East pressuring ND

            I sincerely doubt anyone believes ND is going to join the Big East for football.

            And it appears ND is not joining the Big 10 as a member.

            The other 7 BB schools will be ND’s partners if the Big East football schools split.

            Are they seriously going to vote to issue an ultimatum to ND?

            Even if ND left, what is to prevent the football schools from splitting from the BB schools?

            Then the BB schools have to form their own conference without ND. How is that in their interest?

            I have no idea who in the Big East may or may not be invited into the Big 10.

            Regardless, using your own logic, why would RU support an ultimatum if the deal was that ND was the only team that would be taken?

            Further a decision by the Big East to issue an ultimatum against ND is not a staff decision. Only the Presidents could do that.

            Do you seriously believe the Big East Presidents including the 7 BB schools and RU (8 votes) voted to issue an ultimatum to ND without a single credible article?

          • FLP_NDRox says:


            Of course he isn’t the only one. The message boards are full of fans yelling the same thing. But this isn’t their call.

            1. The Big East that would be doing the negotiating is the full Big East. ND and the Catholic schools still have a full stake in the membership, even though they don’t get any football money, IIRC.

            2. You’re assuming that the Football Schools are willing to jettison their basketball rivalries with Georgetown, Villanova, and links to NYC (St. John’s) and Chicago (ND, DePaul). The reason the Big East exists as a 16 team conference is because of the knowledge that the only some of the great Northeastern basketball schools have FBS football, and those schools need quality opponents in both sports.

            3. ND alone can be replaced in basketball and Olympic sports. Maybe not well, but it is doable. The thing is, the BE would still be vulnerable to another ACC expansion or potentially a SEC expansion.

            Sorry, I’m just not seeing the Big East saying this early in the negotiations for ND to GTFO. Especially since ND seemed pretty confident that Independence was still a usable option. For it to be usable, ND would have to stay connected to a non-football major(ish) conference.

      • mmc22 says:

        Let me ask you this; why will J. Delany be upset for a leak about possible talk between B10 and Texas, ND and Nebraska? We all know these are the main targets of B10, we all assume that some back door talks have been initiated. Tell me, what’s the big deal? The 7-8 conference games think. If that is true how that will affect the negotiations right now? If that is true, I can see J. Delany sending an e-mail to the involved parts asking them to put a lid on it, not make him “livid”.
        In the other hand, if the pact between B10 and BE is true and has leaked-out, that is a very, very bad problem. I’m not saying that is true or not, but one can see my point here. This to me looks like one of those secret deals that we will never find out about. A leak of this magnitude will make J. Delany “livid” and can have a big impact in the expansion’s talks.
        I’m not one those fans yelling about this kind of thinks on the internet, I don’t even care if ND joins or not the B10, but don’t think for a minute that a pact like that will be brought up for a vote. It could only work if is between J. Delany and J. Marinatto and if memory serve me correctly, wasn’t J. Marinatto a protégé of J. Delany? He can tell ND that J. Delany announced him about a possible raid of BE, which will not be a lie, and scare them into leaving on their own. Again I’m not implying this is true or not I’m just guessing here. J. Marinatto job here is to save BE not ND independence and in doing that he needs to sacrifice something and sometimes maybe even make a pact with the devil. You will be surprise what people will do when they’re scare.
        Now I hope you are not that naive to think that the catholic schools will put ND in front of their own good, or that these types of deals have never happened. If push comes to shove, BE can dump them and focus in becoming a strong, solid conference for both football and basketball. Tell me, who is the stronger basketball conference here?
        A) Syracuse, Pittsburg, West Virginia, Connecticut, Cincinnati, Louisville, South Florida, Rutgers, or
        B) Georgetown, Villanova, Providence, Marquette, DePaul, Seton Hall, St. John’s
        I can see at least 6 very good teams in group “A”. They can add a couple more teams for football without caring too much about basketball and still have a solid basketball conference.
        I hope you here kidding when you said that St. John’s delivers NYC and DePaul delivers Chicago. If not, following your logic, BE can add Toledo and have both Ohio and Michigan delivered. Outside of their alumni not too many really care about those types of schools and even they usually have a big time college football program that they will follow.
        I don’t want to argue this to death because I have no inside information and after all these are internet rumors and nothing else, even the so call J. Delany’s “staff meeting” is nothing more than a “I know somebody that knows somebody” type of think.

        • FLP_NDRox says:

          If Delaney and Marinatto think they can buffalo ND with that, both of them are less savvy than I thought.

          Not having a top-flight football team limits each of the Catholic Big East schools. They are all brutally aware of the fact that they are lucky to be in a BCS conference as we start this brave new world of College sports. Furthermore, they know they will never be in another hybrid conference if this one breaks up. They have to wonder if any non-football conference will automatically be a midmajor.

          I don’t think the Catholic schools will fall on their swords for ND. Nor do I (or Frank) believe that the hybrid Big East will remain like that forever. If the football schools leave, they’ll join with other football schools. If the basketball schools leave, they’ll join a midmajor. The Catholic schools only real chance to remain in a conference that annually receives multiple NCAA bids is to hang together. ND may not be the greatest basketball school in the Big East, but they are a name program and that counts for something.

          You are correct that lately the football schools have been doing better than the parochials in basketball. But I don’t think that Providence, Seton Hall, Marquette, DePaul, and St. John believe that they will always be in a league with UCONN and Syracuse. When the league splits, they’ll need all the help they can get to stay on TV and in the tournament committee’s good graces.

          I never said any Catholic school “brought” their markets. All I’m saying is that they let the other schools get a foot in the door recruiting-wise via the exposure. That’s why ND was brought in, IIRC.

  52. mmc22 says:

    One other think about the future of BTN, while everybody is looking at the population growth of Texas and Florida and Southern states in general and sees this is a bad thing for B10, I actually think that will help BTN in becoming a national TV channel more than expansion. Just ask yourself; how will Florida or Texas population grow so much in the next 20 years? The answer is simple, through migration. Where are those people coming from? Rust belt states. Which colleges are they rooting for? What sport channel will they want to watch on TV? The answer is simple; the one they were used to before and covers their favorite college, BTN.

    • Ron says:

      @mmc22, you certainly have a point there, but frankly there is a case to be made for extending the Big Ten presence to either Texas (with Texas and Texas A&M) or to Georgia/Florida (with Georgia Tech and Miami) or to the already heavily populated northeast (Syracuse, Rutgers and UConn/or Maryland and Boston College). Nebraska I can see as a national brand name, but the excitement over schools like Missouri, Pitt and (especially) Kansas may be overblown due to limited market improvement. One would have to assume most of the Big Ten graduates moving to the sun belt are not going to be sending their sons and daughters to college back up north, so the long term prospects for the Big Ten as a purely midwestern conference are not really that promising. Think Delany is trying to get people thinking in a way that serves the long term interests of the conference and doesn’t just bolster the balance sheet temporarily for the next five or ten years.

      • mmc22 says:

        I don’t think if you go south you’ll die in 5-10 years and you omitted one important think. BTN has to penetrate that market once. After they get on basic cable I don’t think they will be kicked out 20-25 years later. Remember at that time B10 will have probably 16 strong schools with a lot of sport on its schedule plus people will get used to it. I’m not saying this will be enough to penetrate those markets, but will definitely help more than people are giving it credit here.

      • PSUGuy says:

        I wouldn’t assume that so much (regarding the number of Big10 alumni sending kids back to Big10 schools).

        While I imagine the choice will largely the kids’ choice the fact is with the BTN (and mom/dad pushing) those kids will likely end up rooting for the Big10 in some way and because of that familiarity they’ll know the academic prestige of the Big10 schools.

        Iowa and Wisconsin won’t be some “faceless schools in the mid-west”, they’ll be very good schools with athletic pedigrees that are true options for college (especially if the students want to get away from the folks!).

        Besides, even if only 25% of alumni send kids back (and mind you PSU prides itself on 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc generation students so this number IMO is low) that’s a large number of people that can (and will) offset almost any forseeable population growth differential (based on %’s that is).

        • Ron says:

          @PSUGuy accept the point about Big Ten alumni carrying their loyalties to other parts of the country. However, just as an example, if the Big Ten expands to states like New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, that would serve to intensify the loyalty and following of Penn State grads who have migrated there. Then kids of PSU alumni would have the choice of going back to dear old dad’s/mom’s school or attending the Big Ten university in their own state. Penn State is doing a pretty good job of anchoring the Big Ten out east, but that doesn’t mean the conference couldn’t help itself by growing (some more) outside of the midwest. The last expansion is a pretty good example of that, actually.

          • PSUGuy says:

            Totally agree, which is why I’ve never thought the addition of Cuse, UConn, and Rutgers was as bad a play as some make it out to be.

    • m (Ag) says:

      “how will Florida or Texas population grow so much in the next 20 years? The answer is simple, through migration”

      A good deal of the growth in US population will be from immigrants and their children. Much of the population growth in Texas and the 2 coasts will be from this source, not from midwest migration. If everything stays the same, their first introduction to college football will be in the Pac 10, SEC, Big 12, or even Big East conferences.

      • mmc22 says:

        Then were are all those midwesterns going? I look at Iowa on that chart and their population will be the same 20 years from now as is today. This is a trend highly influenced by the bad economy, but as soon as the economy is starting to grow again the tide can change directions. Remember not long ago people were going north to find jobs.
        Also, Florida will have a 50% increase in population, if all that is from imigrants imagine the political and economical problems they will have (think Arizona today). You can’t sustain such a big growth without a comparable job market growth and more and more latino imigrants will keep moving north in hunt for a job.
        Another reason of the massive migration south was the relatively cheap house market. You could’ve left your more expansive home here and go down south and buy a similar one at half price which will have allowed you to get a job that pays you less money. Now that disparity is gone.
        This is why I think this prognosis is wrong or at least exaggerated. People will go were the job are, especially imigrants, and I doubt Florida will have a 50% increase in job market and the midwestern states will stagnate and please stop bringing-up the cold winters argument. We are not really frizzing to death here.
        Now if the prognosis is correct probably half of that number will be made of midwestern people.

        • m (Ag) says:

          “Then were are all those midwesterns going? I look at Iowa on that chart and their population will be the same 20 years from now as is today.”

          The population in the midwest will mostly stay in the midwest. The native-born population is pretty stable; it’s growing at a small rate. Immigration, and the children of immigrants, has been the chief driving force behind US population growth.

          I tried to look up some reference materials on this. I found lots of sources using it to try to make some sort of political point, but I’ll cite this editorial:

          “Native-born Americans have only about two children on average, which makes for a roughly stable population over time. But with an estimated 1.5 million legal and illegal immigrants settling in the country each year, and about 900,000 births to these immigrants each year, immigration directly and indirectly accounts for at least three-fourths of U.S. population growth.”

          Yeah, some of the population growth on the coasts and southwest is from migrating northerners, but it’s mostly immigrants. I don’t want to make any kind of political issue of this; just want to point out that they won’t have any ties to the current Big 10 footprint.

          • m (Ag) says:

            Just after I posted that I found this article by USA Today citing a Pew research report:

            “New immigrants and their children and grandchildren born in the USA will account for 82% of the population increase from 2005 to 2050.”


            Now, I think any projection for 2050 is going to be wildly off in one direction or another. However, it does show that our immigration level is driving our nation’s population growth.

  53. Michael says:

    Watching a couple minutes of Delany´s talk here: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/news/story?id=5199145

    I got the sense that he sees the college landscape as a sort of free market. He stressed that this is not about conference vs conference but instead institution vs. institution. He mentioned that there have been 252 conference changes throughout Division 1 and that only three conferences have remained constant (the Pac 10, the Ivy League and the West Coast Athletic Conference). The college landscape then is fluid and reflects changes over time, and the general convergence of similarly-minded institutions is natural and expected, especially now that geography is no longer such a deterrent.

    Think about this idea for a minute. Delany is saying that change happens, rivalries and traditions evolve and similar institutions converge. The question then is how Delany sees the Big 10 and what institutions are so similarly minded.

    From his emphasis on AAU schools and the general prestige of the CIC, I´d imagine he sees the Big 10 as the elite conference of large, research institutions in the Eastern half of the US. In this sense, I don´t think he´s going to be tied to geography – at least from a distance stand point. I also don´t think he sees anything wrong with significant conference reorganization.

    I think this lends a lot of credence to Texas´ candidacy, as well as candidates from conferences we´d previously seen as untouchable. If the Big 10 is the elite conference (on the Eastern half of the country) for large research schools, then it makes sense for a school like Maryland, North Carolina, or even Florida to eventually become members.

    The fact that Delany´s sitting on a gold mine only serves to expedite this process.

    • mushroomgod says:

      Here’s my problem with what you’re saying…

      I think schools like Maryland and NC and Florida are a pipedream. They aren’t going anywhere….but if they were, you’re adding schools whose interests are not necessarily the same as those of the current 11 instituitions.

      How can the Big Ten schools play a leading ADVOCACY role with the FEDS and private industry as a collective political force for the revitalization of the East/ Mideast/Midwest if schools like Maryland and NC (or TX and A&M) are also members? For this reason, I think that REGIONALISM will remain an important factor….and I think schools in the other regions will see it the same way…

      Adding schools like RU, Pitt, U Conn, Syracuse, Mo., Nebraska, KU still makes sense in this regard…….I do think TX and A&M are so tempting that the BT would take them anyway, at it’s long-term peril….but I don’t think the same applies to NC, Viginia, Duke, GT, Miami…see also my comments below concerning ESPN’s take on Delaney’s comments…..

      • Vincent says:

        Maryland is as much eastern as southern (given the growth of the D.C. and Baltimore suburbs, probably more so), and would culturally mesh with the Big Ten as much as Syracuse or Pitt. Things change; remember, for several decades, West Virginia University, which we now think as purely eastern, was a member of the Southern Conference.

    • ChicagoRed says:

      You said “[Delaney]sees the Big 10 as the elite conference of large, research institutions in the Eastern half of the US…..I think this lends a lot of credence to Texas´ candidacy”

      Never heard Texas referred to as an eastern school :) Heck, Hopkins Horn took issue with TX being thought of as a southern school. Guess an independent nation that claims the right to subdivide into 5 states or secede can be anything it wants.

      • Michael says:


        With five different states, Texas could claim any direction it wants, and it probably already does.

        I was only using ¨eastern¨ though in this sense as a way to discriminate against the USCs or Cals of the world.

        I´m not sure there are many geographic limitations left, but crossing the Rockies would be a bigger step than even this blog has considered.

  54. mmc22 says:

    What if Texas knows LSN is a no go but wants to save faces when leaves the B12 and pushes LSN down their throat in order to be kicked out. At some point the remaining B12 schools must have enough of Texas. While Texas is a big fish I think the rest of B12 will leave in harmony without them and when they create their own TV channel they don’t have to worry about the state of Texas because they already have 3 Texas schools with possibilities of adding even more.

  55. Paul says:

    OK. Here is my dream expansion to 16 teams with emphasis on westward expansion to capitalize on growing populations in Texas and Colorado.

    With 16 teams and a 9-game schedule, each team will never go more than one year off playing the rest of the conference. No championship game (which has been hinted at and will help make the regular season schedule more attractive).

    The pods are for scheduling purposes only. You would play each team in your pod every year (3 games) and then one team on each other line (6 games):

    Pod A

    Pod B

    Pod C

    Pod D

  56. greg says:

    Do today’s remarks indicate that the “silent phase” is over?

  57. mushroomgod says:

    Some more analysis of Delaney’s comments from ESPN’s Rittenberg, which I think makes sense……(See Day 2 Notes from BT meeting, as I don’t do links…)

    He believes Delaney’s “sun belt” comments are being somewhat misconstrued.

    He does not think Delaney is talking about “chasing” southern schools, other than TX…., per se…

    Instead, that changing demographics are
    such that the BT has to get “bigger” in terms of alumni base…

    Therefore, schools like Missouri and Rutgers, with large enrollments, might have an advantage.

    This actually fits in pretty well with what Silverman, BTN President, said the other day, to the effect that the BTN was not controlling the expansion, although it’s a factor.

    Seems to me that JD is saying “institutional fit” will be a major factor here….with the bigger state schools, whereever located, having the advantage.

    That said, obviouly TX and A&M fit the BT profile of 40000+ enrollments, lots of research$, state school.

    Of the “usual suspects” mentioned for expansion, this would favor RU first, Missouri second, with Pitt and Neb. next, and Syracuse trailing. I also think this makes smaller southern schools like Miami and GT less likely targets than the “sun belt” aspect would otherwise imply. Also, AAU membership has again been mentioned as critical, which apparently leaves U Conn out of this expansion, if it occurs.

    Rittenberg quotes OSU’s Smith as saying “You could address the census issues by getting stronger where we are” (ie…”bigger” in the MW/East)

    What doesn’t make much sense to me is JD’s comment that “ome of the best decisions are not acting”. If the above analysis is correct (and I think it is), I don’t understand why you wouldn’t add RU, Missouri, and Nebraska now even if you couldn’t get TX and A&M to go along…anybody have any thoughts on that?

    • @mushroomgod – I agree with Rittenberg. Outside of Texas, I don’t think that there is really a push for the Big Ten to actually go south. I’ll reiterate again that I think it’s fairly pointless to talk about the Big Ten adding ACC schools other than Maryland only in the off-chance that it’s interested, but the new ESPN contract along with what will likely be another rebuff by Notre Dame makes going that route very unlikely.

      People can say what they want about the ACC, but that is an extremely well-run conference where its members are generally happy. As much as we focus on money (and I’ve certainly contributed to that), this conference realignment shows that schools being happy and tight-knit is invaluable to conference strength (and something the Big Ten needs to heed when it adds any schools). The Pac-10 schools make less than the Big XII schools, yet the Pac-10 is likely to raid the Big XII as opposed to the other way around. That’s largely because the Pac-10 has great institutional fits without the constant in-fighting of the Big XII. I’m continually getting the impression that absolutely no one likes being in the Big XII – there’s obviously a lot of animosity towards Texas (for taking the most TV money) and Texas shoots it right back (where it doesn’t think the other schools contribute enough to the national TV package).

      • Jake says:

        @Frank – Part of the reason for the Pac-10′s stability is that it’s geography really does make its members less appealing to other conferences. There are probably several schools on the left coast that wouldn’t mind different company, but the time zones really are a bit of a barrier.

        As for the BYU issue, the Sunday play thing is absolutely non-negotiable on their part. If not for that (and some other previously mentioned political issues), I think they would be in a different conference already. I really do hope we manage to keep the conference together. Feelings are mixed among the Frog faithful (and all of the other MWC followers) as to whether adding Boise is a good idea, but I’d really hate to see this tight little conference broken up just to replenish a violated Big 12.

        Also, what’s your beef with Glee? I don’t know what I’d do without my weekly dose of uncut brain crack. And, with Joss Whedon and THE Neil Patrick Harris on board – I’m gonna burst, I’m so excited.

      • Michael says:


        Why? Why does the ACC´s new ESPN contract change anything in regards to the Big 10?

        I understand that it would affect the SEC´s ability to steal any members, since they are both subject to similar contracts, while the ACC places a greater premium on academics.

        But how does it change anything in respect to the Big 10? I don´t know the exact numbers, but let´s say that the per school annual payout went from $15 mil to $20 mil. Then add $5 million per school to account for Alan´s comment about out-of-network profits. That puts each school at $25 million.

        If the difference between the Big 10 and the ACC were a few million or even 10 million, it might be understandable, but, unless I´ve got something wrong, we are talking about a $20 million difference or more each year.

        With schools across the country facing cutbacks, I´m not sure if tradition is enough to stop this from happening, especially if tradition is kept alive through a package deal.

      • Josh says:

        I don’t think this can be stressed enough in expansion. The Big Ten wants schools with a similar profile and a similar mission. They want schools that will be team players. The Big Ten, SEC, ACC and Pac 10 are efficient teams that get things done because they work together. One gets the sense the Big East and Big XII are barely speaking to each other. (And Tagliabue only increased that impression by trash-talking Rutgers when he got hired.) That’s why those schools are ripe for poaching.

        Academic profile is very important in making a “fit”. One thing we shouldn’t get too caught up in is the USNWR rankings, though. I get the impression that most University Presidents think they’re garbage. They’re happy to trumpet them when they’re good, but they don’t really believe them.

        The Big Ten loves Rutgers whether they deliver NYC or not. They’d make a great team player. This is probably why Missouri is getting a lot of consideration as well, despite not making a lot of financial, academic or athletic sense.

    • Michael says:

      Delany sees the conference as a means for institutional convergence. In that sense, he´s looking for large research schools in areas of growth. Nebraska fails that test and Missouri and Rutgers don´t make a big splash.

      A large national and passionate alumni base can make a difference – and maybe that gets Nebraska in – but remember that the Big 10 already has a large alumni base, dispersed in every major city across the country. The challenge now is to develop those high-growth markets to the best interests of its members, and expansion is the means by which you do that.

      In this new environment, like attracts like, regardless of geography. And while potential candidates will be attracted to the Big 10 through their shared values, the BTN will be the motor setting this process in motion.

      In that sense, the Big 10 clearly has the upper hand. All things being equal, large research universities may be happy where they are and more inclined toward inertia. Yet as Delany made clear, conference affiliation is a reflection of the past, since individual institutions are compelled to continually seek out the better fit. The better fit, from the perspective of current Big 10 members, is one of these big fish – it lies in fulfilling one of these expansion scenarios. The reason you are expanding in the first place is because of the gold mine you´re sitting on, and even though it may take a bit longer, I can´t see any of your big targets turning that down in times of budget deficit. So in that sense, you don´t settle for the peripheral schools until every recourse has been exhausted with your top targets – even if that means waiting a few years.

      To address one of your other posts, you mentioned that the Big 10 may see itself as a political lobbying group for its region, but I don´t see how SE expansion is any different in that regard from Southern or NE expansion.

      As for Alan´s comments on the SEC, I think outside forms of revenue are interesting subjects and ones tough to quantify. I would be very interested to see true conference-by-conference numbers that reflected this. That said, we are still talking about a model with a definite ceiling. And even though the SEC comes closest, I don´t think any conference can challenge the Big 10 until it abandons its out-dated revenue models. And that gives the Big 10 the power to discriminate and wait for the best institutional and geographic fits.

  58. PS says:


    Delaney previously stated the expansion would likely be geographic proximate. Today he mentioned the importance of shifting population so these two comments seem to be at odds. Maybe he meant the importance of new media markets & national distribution are critical in the expansion. Larger alumni bases can have a large pull for basic service carriage in non B10 states. Anybody have a list of living alumni for each candidate? Maybe pulling in enough schools will make the BTN almost national if they have a much larger alumni base. Picking up schools in the major media markets like NYC, DC, etc. might also do the trick for getting the BTN as a national channel. If I do the math right, getting BTN to be a national channel like ESPN would about multiply the profits tenfold.

  59. M says:

    Just another Delany tidbit:
    “Could it be 19? I hope not. Could it be 11? It may.”
    The overly conspiratorial among us realize that is the first time he has ever admitted that the process might take less than 12 months.

  60. Guido says:


    This point is spot on, and a good reason why the “Traditional” Notre Dame fan base is holding Notre Dame back by not embracing the fact that the landscape has changed and recruits want stuff like conference championships and night games on ESPN. I’ve felt for quite some time that Notre Dame has no real shot at sustained success without joining a football conference. Perhaps everyone associated with Notre Dame feels they don’t want the success if it means embracing stuff they have not historically cared for like the night games and conference championships.

  61. Guido says:

    A few thoughts on some of the comments here on the boards and on Delaney’s comments today. I noticed Colorado has suddenly come up as a Big 10 option on the boards. Intriguing in that they did have a memorable game, if I recall, with Michigan in 1994:

    And if Nebraska were going too, would bring some familiarity with the setting. Rivalry or not, when both programs are good, the games are intense.

    I think any Big 12 North team would be happy to leave the conference, there is clear resentment toward the South and Texas in particular. However I imagine Colorado see’s itself more aligned with the PAC-10 and has the alumni base there. They also like the recruiting connection to the West Coast. Of course they’d listen to the Big 10 if the Pac-10 were not calling and several other North Schools were headed to the Big 10. Too bad McCartney is not the coach anymore, he has huge ties to Michigan, which could be an interesting dynamic. And what Big 10 fan/school would complain about visiting Boulder?

    As for the comments today from the Big 10, I wouldn’t put much stock in them. I think the time-line will be affected by many things, and 12-18 months is probably more likely the time-line to having everything signed,sealed, and delivered. Information will get out sooner, and the Big 12 in particular will probably have a major falling out sooner than later.

    How it all shakes out is probably still unclear, and there is going to be a ton of politics with every decision. Not just politicians, but school administrators, donors, alumni, TV people, etc.. I believe the B10 will do their best to deny every rumor until things are finalized because clearly Delaney indicated today he does not want to be publicly turned down, and schools clearly do not want to bank on an invite or acceptance by the powers that be until those pieces are in place.

    Best guess is Missouri, Nebraska and Rutgers to get to 14 and it stops there. Can’t see Texas going, too much ego and they have a great deal right now. Don’t understand Rutgers, they are not going to bring the NYC market, but they will bring something positive if they continue to improve I suppose. More of a recruiting advantage to the East Coast for the other Big 10 programs. Nebraska makes a lot of sense from a national interest/TV standpoint and Missouri makes a lot of sense geographically and to even out the numbers. Plus they want it sooooooo bad! Sometimes you just gotta throw the little guy a bone! Sorry Mizzou fan, couldn’t help myself. This post is clearly too long, sorry.

  62. FLP_NDRox says:

    The more I think about it, I think that a lot of things that Delaney thought might happen didn’t and that’s why the expansion isn’t wrapping up like I know I thought it would.

    I don’t think the Big Ten anticipated having to destabilize the Big XII alone. They probably expected the Pac-10 to be more proactive in becoming the Pac-12. The Pac-1x’s problem is that there are a dearth of acceptable expansion options for them. Colorado is a given but after that it gets very speculative very fast. Texas is great but is married to the LSN idea and is apparently unwilling to be on the first bus outta the XII. TAMU is still a political misfit with the Left Coast as near as I can figure. Utah is still small and poor and would probably be more acceptable if their admission would actually make money for the PAC instead of merely breaking them even.

    I also don’t think that the Big Ten wanted Rutgers, Syracuse, or Pitt. I think they wanted to see if they could turn the Big East against themselves and ND. Surprisingly (to me), the Big East decided to keep ND and take their chances.

    That may have been the Big Ten’s fatal mistake in all this: they may have given too many schools in the Big East hope they may get invited to the Big Ten trying to scare ND. This move ended up giving approximately half the conference enough incentive to try to keep ND out of the expansion in hopes of getting a slot for themselves on the gravy train. I think Delaney, et al., erroneously believed that ND really is using the Big Ten as a fallback plan like so many of y’all do. I can understand they weren’t expecting ND to be as willing to gamble with their future like they seem to be. Lord knows I didn’t expect them too either. I also think Delaney, et al., still doesn’t view the institutional dissimilarities as anywhere near as big as ND does…again, similar to the commenters here. That’s why I’m guessing negotiations fell through.

    With ND not coming, the Big Ten was left with the option of taking a bunch of schools that were potentially even less of a fit than ND is. Pitt is a great school well within the footprint and with slacking fan support. Syracuse is small and private. UCONN is a FBS neophyte and not even an AAU member. No combination of these schools guarantee NYC basic tier cable. It seems now that Eastern expansion is likely a no-go.

    To the West, Texas is the dream but BXII destabilization seems to be a prerequisite. It seems that the PAC-10 is not going to help by at least removing the first piece, Colorado. Colorado seems too far at first glance for the Big Ten to pull it. Further, it seems that the Buffs only have eyes for Cali.

    In order to destabilize the Big XII, it appears that the Big Ten will need to take themselves around three of the BXII-North schools. Unfortunately for the Big Ten Mizzou is an average school practically in the footprint. Nebraska has practically open admissions and few in-state TVs. Kansas is a basketball school is a state only a little larger than Nebraska. All the remaining schools are just not an option from the Big Ten POV. Besides, I don’t think either the Presidents or the BTN want to take around half the Big XII and end up losing the opportunity to expand elsewhere for decades.

    I think that’s why we’ve been hearing so much about a new Southern strategy. Canada blocks northern expansion, and western and eastern expansion is stifled due to circumstance. If the Big Ten wants to pick up new school[s], it seems like it’ll hafta go south. I think that’s why the Big Ten is still quiet, they’re putting the finishing touches on “Plan D or so”. I would think they are now trying to identify Southeastern schools that may be acceptable to both the Presidents and the BTN. This is now complicated by a better than expected ACC TV deal.

    I remain intrigued to see how this will turn out, but it seems to me it won’t be anywhere near done this summer.

    • M says:

      Or maybe Delany meant it when he originally said he was planning on taking 12-18 months and nothing has changed from that.

      Why do ND fans always assume everyone is going for the most underhanded and conniving approach possible? It’s almost like they’re projecting. :P

    • Josh says:

      Or maybe Delany just figured that the ND ship sailed years ago and that it just keeps popping up because the media keeps pushing it because they don’t “think like a president” like Frank told us to months ago.

      The Big 10 has been interested in Rutgers for years for the very reasons you don’t want ND in the Big 10–it’s a school almost identical to the schools already in the Big 10. They needed them to upgrade their athletic programs and now they have. That’s got nothing to do with ND.

      Every leak that’s come out of the Big Ten offices (and not from some fanboard passing on rumors supposedly overheard at a drunken sorority party) about ND has said that if Notre Dame wants to join the Big Ten, they’d have to approach us and then we’d listen. But they’re not going to try to woo Notre Dame again.

      I can’t say that Delany thinks Rutgers is as sexy a school as Notre Dame. But I think a lot of Big Ten college presidents think Rutgers is awfully pretty anyway, and much less likely to be a pain in the ass after the marriage.

      • Patrick says:

        So you are saying….

        Notre Dame = Rich, spoiled daddy’s girl that is pretty hot…wants special treatment. She’s herself as special and above everyone else.

        Rutgers = Cute girl, but not a knockout. In the long run though she is a good partner, is fair and keeps a nice house. Added bonus is the the cute girl may become rich.

        I am starting to get this marriage thing Delaney is talking about.

        • Patrick says:

          ‘she sees herself’

        • Rick says:

          And with the cute girl the sex is usually great, no pining for Botox or breast implants, and she loves you to death.

        • FLP_NDRox says:

          Personally, I prefer to think of ND in relationship to the Big Ten as the girl next door who’s pretty attractive, has some issues, but it doesn’t matter since she wants to be “just friends”.

    • Phil says:

      “Surprisingly (to me), the Big East decided to keep ND and take their chances.”.

      You might have been the only one surprised (and I’m sure the Big Ten wasn’t).

      ND never had a chance of losing its home for its non-football sports.

      -Villanova, G’town, etc. would never vote to kick ND out of the existing conference.

      -Even without all of this Big 10 expansion talk, the Big East would have to go through some form of a split so that the football conference can add one or more teams to get above eight members. The less than attractive candidates (UCF, Memphis, etc.) the Big East has to pick from would still solve the problems of putting together a 12 game schedule the Big East has now. ND has to know that they always have a home with the non-football playing part of the split.

      I think the Big 10 has examined Big East candidates for expansion based on their individual merits, not as non-existent leverage to get ND.

      • @Phil – Agreed. ND was NEVER going to be given an ultimatum by the BE. It takes a UNANIMOUS vote from all 15 other members (not just the football members) to kick ND out and there’s absolutely no reason why any of the Catholic schools or the schools that might end up in the Big Ten would do that. The Catholic schools believe that there’s eventually going to be a split regardless of what happens to the football side at this point and if/when that happens, they want to be in position to have ND be a part of that. Why would they have interest in sending them to the Big Ten instead? I know for a fact that DePaul and Marquette would not be in the BE today if it weren’t for ND, so there’s at least 2 schools that were never going to vote ND out. On the football side, no school feels better about prospective Big Ten membership than Rutgers and they’ve wanted to go no matter what happens to the BE, so there would’ve been little reason for them to put it at risk by making it easy for the Big Ten to just add ND and call it a day.

        It needs to be repeated: ND was NEVER EVER EVER going to get kicked out/given an ultimatum by the BE. NEVER. All of that was coach/message board speak, which is worthless on this matter. That was never a real option on the table.

    • Justin says:

      Just speculation, but I think the return to the original 12-18 month schedule is because they feel that Texas is an option if UT has more time to study the issue.

      The Sun Belt comments directly reflect that Texas is the top target. It may also be a carrot to dangle in that the Big 10 is more willing to expand to the southwest then the northeast, and thus, UT may have several conference rivals joining it in a new conference.

      My guess is through the back channels Texas has advised the Big 10 that they are completing their analysis of the LSN in the next 3-6 months, and that if the projections aren’t fruitful, they will strongly consider Big 10 overtures.

      This also nicely coincides with DeLoss’ contract extension in which he stated he would help navigate UT through any conference realignment issues.

    • Michael says:

      Great post, FLP. You put in words many of the same impressions I have.

      Another idea to consider is what part of the Northwestern rumor pissed off Delany so much? If it was the relationship between UT and ND, then with ND out, it certainly hurt UT´s case.

      This is another reason why I think the SE strategy gets picked up now. If ND´s national image combined with Rutgers location was appealing to Texas, I imagine a Big 10 with a presence in NC, Georgia and Florida might be even more so. One of UT´s concerns in joining the Big 10 could very well be the potential of losing recruiting ground to the SEC. However, imagine what happens if Texas has annual games in Atlanta and Miami. Suddenly Texas becomes a major player in that region and they do so while enjoying the academic benefits of the Big 10.

      Furthermore, from the ACC´s standpoint, picture the difference of approaching the SE group with Texas in the fold vs without Texas in the fold. If Texas has told Delany that they´d replace Notre Dame/Rutgers with the SE bunch, then you call up the ACC with the promise of $15 or $20 extra million a year per school, on top of whatever you predict the ACC schools would bring in.

    • mmc22 says:

      @ FLP_NDRox
      After reading your comment I finally realized that B10 is doomed (sarcasm). God, I hope ND stay independent forever.

      • FLP_NDRox says:

        As do I. I just wonder what brought you to that conclusion reading my comment. Oh well.

        Big Ten will be fine, I just think the fanboys need to dial their rhetoric back a bit. While it no longer looks like they can get anyone they want merely by showing up and allowing them to put in an application, I’m sure they’ll be OK long-term. UT is probably still in play but no lay-up. TAMU likely is as well, particular if Texas goes B10. But I doubt that BTN will be on the basic cable tier in NYC in the forseeable future even if Rutgers joins. They still are the best fit among Big East schools that will expand the footprint. I just doubt that the Big Ten wants Rutgers as much as Rutgers wants the Big Ten.

        • greg says:


          Rutgers probably brings NJ and ups the Philly carriage rates to in-state. In addition to probably being the best institutional fit (other than Pitt) on the slate. They are attractive even assuming NYC doesn’t care.

    • zeek says:

      Honestly, I think Delany still wants his Big Ten + ND = 12 done strategy.

      I’m actually glad that it will not end up like that. The Big Ten doesn’t need another national brand, it needs footprint. The only way to get footprint is to add schools outside the footprint, so I’m glad that we’re not counting on Notre Dame at this time.

      Besides, Notre Dame will always be there, so it’s not like this is the last time it would ever get a chance at having them join the conference.

      But on the other hand, if Texas choose a different conference, that would have much more permanence than a Notre Dame staying independent decision.

      Even if Texas doesn’t happen, there’s still a lot of opportunity out there for the Big Ten, and I do think the Big Ten should take a really hard look at Colorado if the Pac-10 doesn’t move on them.

    • Vincent says:

      And I sense Maryland, though not really “southeastern,” is part of plan D. Isn’t it interesting that Indiama moved its home football game with Penn State to Landover, Md. (FedEx Field) rather than Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis? Isn’t it interesting that Maryland has been sent to Penn State for the upcoming ACC-Big Ten Challenge?

      I’m not claiming that Maryland is as high on the Big Ten priority scale as Notre Dame, Texas or Nebraska, or even Rutgers or Missouri. But it has a lot to offer the conference, and Delany knows it.

  63. Kyle says:

    a few things.

    1] Why is no-one upset about Frank Lapidus’ death?

    2] Is it really a choice if all 4 of them can’t say no?

    • Josh says:

      1) Because it’s Lapidus and no one really knew him very well. They’ve got closer people to mourn. It’s like if your sister and brother-in-law died in a car accident, you wouldn’t be too upset about your neighbor who died in the same accident and whom you only knew from an occasional party.

      2) They all could have said no, it’s just that bad things would happen if they did. You do have a bit of a point here, but it was rendered moot by Jack quickly volunteering.

      • Kyle says:

        1] Well they’d only known Jin & Sun & Sayid for 3 months longer than Lapidus. Which of course translates to 3 seasons tv time, but doesn’t seem like a big difference in the greater 3+ years since 815 crashed. You’d think the fact that the fact that the sub captain and airline pilot (the only folks that can leave the island without dropping into Tunisia) both died would have warranted some mention.

        3] Do we really think Smokey knew Sayid would falter in killing Desmond? I can’t imagine how Des being alive and out of his control “helps” Smokey at all. I think Smokey’s explanation was just trying to save face in front of his new pal/gun-for-hire Ben.

  64. loki_the_bubba says:

    Delaney made a comment at the meeting yesterday that I have not seen anyone comment on:

    ‘”a significant number of institutions” are included in the analysis.’


    How many is ‘significant’? Does this expand over the five that were mentioned as being in the original study, or over the fifteen that were mentioned as being in the original study? Or is this not relevant at all?

    • Pariahwulfen says:

      I honestly thought it was implied by the time table. Whereby they’re looking at every school and every possible permutation of the groupings of schools.

  65. Rick says:

    As for Delany going ballistic at his staff I think a couple of things:
    1) It was not that the rumor was entirely true but that it compromises his negotiation strategies with all parties if even parts were true
    2) The impression it gave that the Big Ten offices were run like a loose ship with staffers privy to all conversations, him not having control of private information, a “frat house” environment where staffers don’t feel the importance of “the silent phase” and are comfortable enough with the lack of control by Delany that they can spout off after a few beers.
    3) With the meetings coming up in early June with the Presidents at the offices (I think I read that is where they will be) he wanted to make sure everyone understood that they should STFU and not compromise the integrity of the private meeting. He may have heard from some Presidents that he better get control of his office prior to the meeting. He doesn’t want to seem out of control of his house in a time of extreme importance

    As for yesterday’s comments:
    1) The process is multi-faceted and complicated. Requiring a tremendous amount of research into alot of factors. It will take time (12-18 months), and they want to learn from mistakes of conference expansion by others in the past.
    2) AAU/Academics are very, very important
    3) Institutional fit is a driver
    4) Major Media markets are a driver
    5) Demographics and population changes will be considered
    6) They are studying many options with a substantial number of Universities.

    In other words, the rumors of a short term decision are still not true, the list of invitees has not been narrowed down completely yet, and everyone should not expect closure till the end of the year.

    • Rick says:

      Personally I also think he is blowing smoke and is engaged in private negotiations as we speak. He is trying to buy time for getting what he wants and is sending the rumor mill running in different directions while he focuses on the final few players.

    • zeek says:

      I’ve been looking at this map: http://www.colorado.edu/pba/misc/aaumap.gif

      and I really think Colorado should be considered higher up on the list.

      Colorado is the only AAU for probably hundreds of miles in any direction in the geographic heart of the west.

      If it comes down to a 14 team Big Ten, we’re looking at Nebraska/Missouri/Colorado versus Nebraska/Missouri/Rutgers.

      I would argue that Colorado probably does a better job of securing a future for the Big Ten by giving us an anchor out west in the heart of the sunbelt.

      Who knows, maybe Colorado only has eyes for the Pac-10, but I think Colorado would have to consider the Big Ten if it came calling and the Pac-10 favored the status quo with a Western Alliance.

      • SuperD says:

        First time I’ve seen that map. That is a whole lot of empty white space around us, lol. Kind of explains why we’re going to be stuck as an outpost school no matter where we go unless we somehow get stuck in the MWC.

        • FLP_NDRox says:

          There’s a *lot* of empty space on that Map. This could really end up being tough on the Big Ten finding schools that are willing to move conferences. Much more difficult that the fan boys dream, I’m afraid.

          Assuming that ND is off the table, and Texas needs to be sweet-talked off it’s insistence of a special deal, where does the Big Ten go in the southeast?

          GT? Only 4k bigger than NU and only 15 varsity sports (I think wiki sez 17, still, that’s not many by B10 standards).
          Vandy? Private. Smaller than NU (barely larger than ND). Has only 15 sports.
          Miami? Private. Not AAU.
          Florida? Good Luck getting them out of the SEC.
          The ACC core group: Maryland? UNC? Duke? UVa? Would they be willing to move as a package? Or alone, for that mattter? Will they be sufficient to get Texas/TAMU?

          For that matter why isn’t TAMU alone discussed more?

          • zeek says:

            I agree with all of the points you’re making here.

            The Big Ten is taking a hard look at what the future of the country will look like and how the Big Ten fits into it.

            I’m beginning to think that some kind of move out west has to be on the table because the Big Ten will never be able to cross into the west if Colorado joins the Pac-10.

            I also think that TAMU should be considered alone because I think it’s also a better fit than Rutgers and some of the ones being discussed in the southeast or northeast for the reasons you give as well.

          • Djinn Djinn says:

            “There’s a *lot* of empthy space on that Map. This could really end up being tough on the Big Ten finding schools that are willing to move conferences. Much more difficult that the fan boys dream, I’m afraid.”

            Fan boys?

          • Manifesto says:

            Mayhaps FLP is a gamer? That’s the most common usage of “fanboy” that I can think of.

          • Djinn Djinn says:

            Could be.

            Maybe I’ve spent too much time in Chicago’s New Town and Vancouver’s West End, I can’t help but form a different mental picture for the term “fanboy”.

          • Vincent says:

            The ACC core of Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and Duke would probably go as a unit of four. They have traditional rivalries with each other and wouldn’t miss a beat as Big Ten members, with academics and athletics palatable to Big Ten presidents. Make Rutgers school #16 and the conference has a best-case scenario in case Texas or ND can’t be lured. (Heck, if you want to go to 20, tack on Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Missouri and Nebraska.)

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            I am Mani.

            “Fanboy” hasn’t yet entered the general internet lexicon yet?

          • Wes Haggard says:

            You might have a really long lasting marriage with Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Colorado, and Texas A&M. No attitudes (ND) no prima donnas, all recognized brand names that would fit and fit nicely.

          • Manifesto says:


            For those of us who game it’s common parlance. For those who don’t, apparently not. :)

          • M says:

            Come on you people, fanboy was Urban Dictionary word of the day for September 19, 2006.

            You call yourselves educated…

          • djinndjinn says:

            I was busy September 19, 2006. So no, I’ve never heard the term “fanboy”. It elicits a certain image in my mind that seems at odds coming from a traditional Catholic.

            Maybe I’m just transitioning into the wrong generation, but to be honest, I have to look up a lot of the abbreviations FLP and others write: IIRC, TPTB, and so forth.

            Even the schools mentioned here are confusing. Is NU Nebraska or Northwestern? Maybe NE is Nebraska (the state code)? Or is that the Northeast? Is UW Wisconsin or Washington? Is UM Michigan? Miami? Missouri? Manitoba? (Not that most Americans have ever heard of Manitoba…) And speaking of Canada, is BC Boston College or my own British Columbia? Is UT Texas, Utah or Toronto? Then again, I’m getting the UConn Huskies confused with a Yukon dogsled team.

      • Rick says:

        Nebraska, Missouri, Colorado, Rutgers, Pitt/Syr/Maryland. Strong.

  66. Richard says:

    I was thinking of the 7-games-for-ND&Texas rumor (where they insist on playing each other). The only way that can work is if the Big10 goes to 14 and the official Big10 conference slate is only 7 games (6 intradivisional + 1 cross-over game). Then the old Big10 schools could schedule 1,2, or even 3 “non-conf” games against Big10 schools in the other division. That way, you could have Big10 rivalry games early in the season as well (for the BTN). To incent teams to schedule the Big10 schools in the other division non-conf, you could make winning those games part of the tie-breaker (if there is a 3-way tie in a division).

    So say ND, Texas, & TAMU/Nebraska are added, what would the crossover divisions be?

    Illinois-Indiana would almost certainly be scheduled out of conference, as well as most of the rest of Illinois/Northwestern/Wisconsin-Michigan/MSU/Purdue/Indiana

    Probably OSU vs. Iowa & other western Big10 teams as well.

    • cutter says:

      One of the things mentioned by Jim Delany was the shifting population to the Sun Belt as a factor in how conference expansion is going to occur.

      If they’re looking for data from the 2010 census, the U.S. Census Bureau delivers its data to the President in December for apportionment. In March 2011, complete redistricting data is delivered to the states. When Delany states that the expansion study may take 12 to 18 months, one of the pieces of data he may be looking for is the census information. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_census

      If you look at the link, you’ll notice which states are likely to receive more members of the House of Representatives–Texas leads with four more seats and Arizona, California, Utah, Washington, Nevada, Georgia and Florida all get one seat. Not surprisingly, the states predicted to lose states include Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Pennsylvania–all within Big Ten territory. New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts are also looking at losing one seat.

      I may be stretching things here a bit, but think about the census data and why Notre Dame and Texas want to play football against one another. If one of the growing population segments is Hispanic Catholics and the state of Texas is projected to have the biggest growth in population, then that special arrangment with ND and UT begins to make some sense for both schools. Texas regularly playing Notre Dame grows the local interest in a population segment that may not have a strong interest in college football; ND playing in Texas puts them in a strongly Hispanic Catholic market on a regular basis.

      On a related note, I was at the Insight Bowl game here in Phoenix when Oregon State played Notre Dame. A good portion of the crowd at the Bank One Ballpark (now Chase Field) were Hispanics supporting the Fighting Irish. I don’t know what the crowd composition was when Notre Dame played Washington State in San Antonio–perhaps the same thing happened.

      • zeek says:

        This is an astute analysis of the benefits that could accrue to the Big Ten from a Notre Dame-Texas rivalry within the context of the conference.

        And it’s probably why Delany was supposedly upset about that kind of leak because he probably mentioned something very similar to that scenario as a possibility…

      • Djinn Djinn says:

        I also have to wonder, how far along were the discussions with Notre Dame that an accommodative schedule was worked out and a protected rivalry with Texas was negotiated?

        In any event, if Notre Dame doesn’t want those hispanic Texas fans so much, Wisconsin will welcome them. Bienvenido a los Diez Grande, Tejas!

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      I was thinking of the 7-games-for-ND&Texas rumor (where they insist on playing each other). The only way that can work is if the Big10 goes to 14 and the official Big10 conference slate is only 7 games (6 intradivisional + 1 cross-over game). Then the old Big10 schools could schedule 1,2, or even 3 “non-conf” games against Big10 schools in the other division. That way, you could have Big10 rivalry games early in the season as well (for the BTN). To incent teams to schedule the Big10 schools in the other division non-conf, you could make winning those games part of the tie-breaker (if there is a 3-way tie in a division)

      The general conclusion was that they were looking at a 14-team conference but a different format. 12 schools would have 3 protected annual rivalry games plus 5 conference games per year against the other 10 teams. A 3-5 conference schedule. Texas and Notre Dame would only have 1 protected game (each other) and then play 6 of the remaining 12 schools each year, a 1-6 schedule. Thus every combination is played either annually or twice per 4 years.

      • FLP_NDRox says:

        I didn’t comment on the rumor at the time since it seemed both totally off-the-wall and totally against what the Big Ten’s egalitarian mentality. But if Spartan Nation’s inside source is willing to say there’s something to it, I now am re-facinated.

        I have to say it’s interesting I think for the reasons cutter mentioned that ND would love an extended series home and home with Texas. The problem is that Texas is already pretty full up on rivalries (TAMU, Oklahoma, all the old SWC, all the current BXII, etc.) I think that carrot plus the possibility of either playing in the Penn State, OSU, MSU, UM, Purdue, etc. division or getting a definitive affirmative to protected games with the UM-MSU-Purdue combo would get the NDPTB to consider membership.

        Djinn, as a guess I’d say that the AD’s office was asked about specific ND wants and concerns with Big Ten scheduling, and if Texas was in what would ND like. My hunch is that the Big Ten office was spitballing and this was something that came out that wasn’t immediately shot down.

        I just don’t understand if/why Texas would want it.

        @ Josh
        That “ND’s gotta apply, we’re not gonna chase them” wasn’t rumor or speculation, but was from Delaney himself, FWIW.

        • Playoffs Now! says:

          I just don’t understand if/why Texas would want it. Texas already plays an 8 game conference schedule with OU and aTm, so 7 plus an OOC of OU and aTm is just one more tough game than now, the equivalent of UT in the B12 adding ND as an OOC. The money increase would be huge, as would the prestige factor. Instantly becomes an all-time Top 25 rivalry. Further boosts and separates the UT brand into the elite level.

          I don’t see the academic reputation and CIC as enough to lure Texas into the Big Tent, even if aTm comes along. Pac16 seems a more natural fit. IMHO, the only way UT joins is if ND also joins and they play each year.

        • Djinn Djinn says:

          To me, speaking for the BT as I see it, I don’t see the seven game thing as a deal killer. However, so everyone is on the same playing field, I’d give everyone 7 games and if you want to schedule an OOC or an extra in-conference game, great. Your choice.

          Nor would I object if ND and Texas wanted a rivalry. Great. Each are historically great teams. I can see the appeal, and I can see ND wishing to appeal to the Latino community.

          Nor would I think a conference championship rotating through Texas would be a deal killer. In fact, I think it’s reasonable.

          If Texas wanted A&M to come along,too, again, fine by me. It doesn’t compromise what I think the BT values. It’s a good research school.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Guys, I think y’all are spending way, way too much time trying to figure out how to kiss Notre Dame’s and UTx’s collective asses. What makes the Big Ten (and the SEC) a great conference is that the conference is more important than any one individual school. If the Big Ten starts treating its new members different, the old members are going to resent the Hell out of them.

          • Djinn Djinn says:

            I’d agree with that. All schools in the conference would be treated equally.

            The “compromises” I mentioned above have evidently been discussed, and I don’t think any of them are unreasonable.

            Championship games could (and probably should) rotate through all campuses.

            All schools would have a rivalry. Wisconsin has Minnesota (and Iowa), for instance, Ohio State has Michigan, etc. ND could have Texas insofar as I would care.

            If Texas wants A&M, what’s not to like? A&M is a great fit on paper. It’s a good school and an AAU member with higher research than Texas.

            I’m not sure how any of that means kissing anyone’s ass, least of all Notre Dame, (which I’ve stated I don’t really feel belongs in the Big Ten). I’m just stating that if these are “compromises”, in my mind, they’re not big issues.

            Alan, as a southerner, do you have any insight as to whether Florida would consider the Big Ten?

          • Richard says:

            There’s always the danger of that. I’m quite sure Delany would be for this plan, but the Big10 presidents would have to live with this scheme, so persuading them would be the tough part.

            However, they may spring for an official 7-game conference slate. Non-conf Big10 games aren’t very exceptional; they’ve taken place before and Michigan & Indiana tried to arrange one recently but couldn’t get their schedules to match up.

          • zeek says:

            Djinn Djinn, having lived much of my life in Florida (20+ years), I can say with near certainty that there’s no way that Florida will consider another conference at this time.

            Florida is very comfortable being the SEC’s biggest draw and the biggest market, and it doesn’t really see itself as a kin to the Northern schools.

            UF is a “southern” school but in a “border” kind of sense (in the northern part of Florida but not the panhandle which is really rural) because a lot of its alumni and fanbase is to the south in Orlando and South Florida, yet the school doesn’t necessarily identify itself with South Florida’s “northern values”.

            Florida would consider the Big Ten many years after the Big Ten gets to its doorstep by taking NC/VA schools and building a “southern strategy”, which is to say realistically not anywhere close to today…

            Also, UF seems to be in a comfortable place in living in a reality of a sports conference with schools that it doesn’t really view as being on the same academic level (other than Vandy). The administration is probably comfortable with that because it knows that it is prestigious enough in Florida and among people in the know, etc.

          • Manifesto says:

            It’s probably better to just purge the Florida question from your mind, rather than wait to hear responses. The SEC is the most stable conference out there (along with the BigTen), and Florida has little reason to leave. Academic peers has a big place in this discussion, but let’s not go crazy.

          • Djinn Djinn says:

            Thanks for your insight on the University of Florida, Zeek. I really have no knowledge about the school.

            The U of F would be an amazing “get” for the Big Ten, but it does seem far-fetched.

            If the BT is interested in expanding into the state of Florida, Miami or Florida State would be the other obvious choices. Any opinion on their willingness to jump?

            In my mind, though, these are just not the same sorts of schools as the current BT members or the University of Florida. Do you have an opinion on that?

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Djinn – What I mean by “kissing ass” is any consideration of expanding the conference by up to 5 teams and cutting the number of conference games for the sake of Notre Dame’s “national schedule” or UTx’s traditional rivals that may not follow them to the Big Ten (if UTx goes at all). If there are more teams in the conference, the number of conference games ought to increase, or at least stay at 8.

            The less you play other teams in your conference, the less you keep your conference identity. By taking in Notre Dame, you are losing some of your big/public identity. By taking Texas, you are losing some of your Midwestern identity.

            For example, if Wisconsin plays Minnesota every year plus 6 other games that rotate, you could go 4 years without playing Michigan, Ohio State, Penn St., Texas or Notre Dame.

            For all the fuss about Nebraska & Oklahoma losing their traditional rivalry, I think the Big XII scheduling is better than the SEC’s formula. LSU & Florida are in different divisions but play every year. Ole Miss gets Vandy. Those games count the same in the standings, but they aren’t equal.

          • zeek says:

            Florida State would be even harder to get than UF in my opinion because Florida State really does see itself as the “southern” Florida school. Again like UF, a lot of FSU alumni do live in South Florida, but even more than UF, FSU views itself as part of the panhandle, whereas UF thinks of itself as the true center of education in Florida even though it is in the northern part of Florida.

            Miami though is an entirely different story, and I can probably best speak to its qualifications. Donna Shalala is always about the next big thing and is somewhat self-serving (during a relative’s graduation there, she played a 5 minute video of herself doing things there, seriously). I really think that Delany would find an open ear there if he was willing to lay out a southern strategy.

            Most likely though Miami would not want to become like BC or Hawaii (a lone school very far away) and may want other schools like GTech and some NC/VA schools to come with them.

            The one benefit with Florida as opposed to Texas is that politics would not play a role at all since the schools are mostly left to their own devices and can take care of themselves…

            In summary, I think Miami would be able to be put into play, the issue is whether the Big Ten can see a use for Miami, but that’s an entirely different story…

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Djinn – regarding the chances Florida considering the Big Ten, I think Florida would consider moving to the Big Ten just as much as Michigan would consider moving to the SEC.

            I doubt anyone from the Big Ten, Pac 10, SEC, or core the ACC teams (UNC, NC State, Duke, Wake, UVA, Maryland)would consider any move to any conference due to history, tradition, comfort with other members, and geography.

            Florida probably has a better deal with the SEC due to its retention of broadcast rights of inventory that CBS/ESPN don’t pick up.

            Like Frank has said on many occasions, teams from stable conferences aren’t going to move just to move. I agree with that.

          • Yeah, I’d put Florida in the same category as USC and UCLA with respect to Big Ten expansion – NFW. I’ve spent more time in Florida more than any state other than Illinois and that is SEC country until you get to the Miami area. Likewise, North Carolina is ACC country. In contrast, my impression of Texas is that it’s Longhorn/Aggy country as opposed to Big XII country, if you understand what I’m saying. Local identities (not just school identities) are intertwined with the Big Ten, ACC and SEC, but that’s not the case with the Big East or Big XII. That’s a big difference and shows why some conferences are poachable and others aren’t, even if the Big Ten can offer more money than any other conference.

          • zeek says:

            Let’s just put it this way. To get Florida to even consider the Big Ten, you’d have to get Texas and Notre Dame in; and get the earnings per team up to say $50+M on TV after the 2015-2016 negotiations are done. It’s just not realistic.

            The Big Ten would be best off focusing on Texas for now and if there’s any way to realistically get them into the mix.

          • Richard says:


            The SEC seemed to have a pretty strong identity even back in the days when schools there played only 6 conference games in a 10-school conference (and played some schools something like twice every 8 years or so). In fact, if I recall, you folks could go 6 years before playing a school in your conference until fairly recently.

          • Djinn Djinn says:

            Thanks, gentlemen. (Or fanboys, depending upon your preference.)

            That’s pretty much what I thought about the Florida schools, but I never seem to hear if there are any squabbles like there seem to be in the B12 or BEast, that might make them more likely candidates.

            I never liked Miami when they were winning those championships, and I just don’t know about adding a smallish private school.

            You likely know that Shalala was at Wisconsin for a time, a time which corresponded to Wisconsin turning around its football fortunes.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Richard – I think the SEC went from 6 to 7 SEC games around 1984, and went from 7 to 8 games when the SEC expanded. So when the SEC expanded by 2 (20%), it added a game. The Big Ten is discussing expanding by up to 5 (almost 50%) and decreasing its conference schedule. What’s wrong with that picture?

            Like I said in an earlier post, I don’t like the non-division every year game in the SEC. Don’t get me wrong, I get geeked up for Florida. Two of my greatest memories in Tiger Stadium were in 97 when LSU beat #1 Florida, in 07 when LSU went 5 for 5 on 4th down conversions. But its just not fair. The Big XII has it right. Nebraska and Oklahoma play for 2 years in a row and then take two years off. In the SEC, LSU goes 3 years without seeing Georgia, Tennessee, Vandy, Kentucky, and South Carolina.

          • Pezlion says:

            IMO, the only way you can accept those kind of concessions to get UT and ND into the league is if they are on a temporary basis. In other words, give them the shortened conference schedule and extra OOC game for a period of 5 to 10 years. By that time I would say it’s very likely that the NCAA has moved to a 13 game schedule for everyone and the extra OOC game for those two would be less significant. While it would be weird to have unbalanced schedules, the time limit would make the idea somewhat more palatable. Something similar was done when PSU joined the league and they were given a 3rd guarantee game against Michigan for the first 10 years (on top of the guarantee games with OSU and MSU).

      • Richard says:

        I think the idea of having unequal conference games is just too screwed up to consider. However, that could still be pulled off by having 7 “official” conference games (1-6 for all schools) with the original Big10 schools playing 1 game against each other out of conference (so schools could have 3 annual rivalry games if they wanted to, only 1 of the rivalry games would be played in the non-conf slate each year). That actually may appeal to the BTN as they could have one Big10 rivalry game each week of the nonconf schedule when most of the rest of the Big10 (and the country) is playing creampuffs.

        Then the nonconf Big10 game could be used as a tie-breaker (if there was no head-to-head).

        • Richard says:

          Oh wait, except without divisions, ND wouldn’t be able to protect their games against Michigan, MSU, and Purdue. Hmm. I think we’ll have divisions, and games like OSU-Illinois & Michigan-Wisconsin will become annual nonconf games.

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      Didn’t the Big Ten have 2 teams play one less conference game than the rest in 1981 and 82?

      Could perhaps the “ND-TX play one less” format be a temporary measure until the conference can get an extra game added to seasons?

      • Richard says:

        Huh, you’re right. tOSU and Iowa only played 8 while the rest played 9 conference games in 1981 & 1982. Wow, that was weird. Probably due to them moving to a 9-game conference schedule, and tOSU & Iowa couldn;t clear their nonconf slate in time.

        • Richard says:

          In any case, I can’t see uneven conference schedules holding up in the long-term. Nonconf Big10 games are more likely.

          • spartakles78 says:

            When Michigan State was voted in back in 1949, they didn’t start competing in football for the conference title until 1953. From 1953 season through 1964, there were at least 2 schools who didn’t play the same number of conference games.

            Penn State came in 1989 and it was 1993 before they were eligible for football.

            A few years of fewer conference games will also cover for new schools to become fully invested in the BTN equity structure while still making some money on OOC games.

  67. M says:

    From Shatel:

    And none of the athletic directors, football coaches or men’s basketball coaches passing through the lobby were willing to name names or drop hints. All except Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith, who, when asked about the Sun Belt demographic being most important, said, “You’re on track with the thought process.”
    Does that mean that the Big Ten is now looking south?
    “I’m trying to give you a hint,” Smith said.

    Reports are unconfirmed that Smith later played Hot-Cold with a map of US later.

  68. PS says:


    What are the lessons learned from the previous expansions? What worked & what didn’t? Maybe that will help understand some direction of the B10 & the “institutional fit” Delaney talks about.

    • Mike says:

      Review the 16 team WAC disaster.

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      Laugh at the ACC division name confusion.

      • Guido says:

        You’d have to include: Don’t bow to the demands of 1 school (Big 12 – Texas). Despite all the rumors, I think the members (maybe not Delaney) of the Big 10 get this point loud and clear.

        • zeek says:

          I think Delany got that from the negotiations to produce the Big Ten Network and equal revenue sharing across the board.

    • Gopher86 says:

      Some of his comments hinted at the Big 8+4 mentality in the Big 12. The North teams think they rescued 4 teams and brought them into their conference. The South teams think that a new conference was formed and both leagues (the SWC and the Big 8) went the way of the dinosaur.

      If he’s going to expand, I don’t think he takes a big block from one league– like a five team scenario from the Big 12. He’s going to pick and choose from several conferences.

  69. Joshua says:

    Paul Finebaum is taking shots at Jim Delany.

    Imagine for a moment you are Jim Delany.

    Once the baddest man in collegiate athletics, today you have been reduced to being Mike Slive’s personal piñata. Your once mighty Big Ten Conference is gasping and in desperate need of round-the-clock nursing.

    So instead of accepting your role in the pantheon of big-time sports, the Big Ten commissioner has cunningly been teasing people lately about his great expansion plan. One day he says it’s a go. The next day he screams no. Anything, to make himself and his once proud conference relevant again. But the clock is ticking — loudly.

    Since the Big Ten began groveling for Notre Dame to join many years ago, the Irish have become as passé as “American Idol.” Quickly now, can anyone remember the last time the Irish won an important football game? 1988. That was when Notre Dame last secured a national title. Since then, the SEC has been crowned No. 1 eight times.

    Delany had it going a few years ago. There was even a Michigan-Ohio State game in 2006 that mattered, pitting No. 1 vs. No. 2. Since then, in the infamous words of Tom Petty, Delany has been free falling.

    Delany’s Buckeyes were punked by Florida in the BCS title game, 41-14. A couple of months later, in 2007, the Gators beat the Buckeyes for the NCAA basketball title. A double shot of castor oil for Delany.
    Paul Finebaum Column Head

    It was also about this time that Delany lost his manhood to Slive and the SEC commissioner simply won’t give it back. Delany went from the major domo of college sports to second dog on the sled team. And as the saying goes, if you’re not the lead dog, the view never changes.

    This was also when Delany jumped the shark. Instead of taking his ball and whimpering all the way back home, he opened his yap about the SEC. Slive responded with such a hard shot across the chops that Delany’s jaw has been wired shut ever since.

    Following the beat down by the Gators, Delany sent out an email, defending the talent pool in the Midwest and taking a shot at the academic standards of the SEC.

    Slive didn’t scream or holler. He simply issued a statement, saying: “I can appreciate why the Big Ten wants to compare itself to the Southeastern Conference.” Bada-bing!

    Then, Slive stated the facts, which eviscerated Delany’s lame argument.

    Lately, the SEC has done its talking on the field — four straight BCS titles in football and five of the last seven years. The Big Ten’s last BCS title was in 2002.

    In a huff, the Big Ten started its own television network. Would the SEC follow suit?

    Instead of the risky endeavor, the SEC did its due diligence and then cut separate 15-year, multi-billion deals with CBS and ESPN. And with precision timing, the historic deal was signed two months before Wall Street crashed in 2008.

    Ohio State remains on the national radar screen. However, the Big Ten’s other top gun, Michigan, has become a pathetic joke, going 8-16 (3-13 in the league) in the last two years. So Delany and Big Ten zealots are forced to wrap their arms around Ohio State in this losing national debate against the SEC.

    Can anyone guess the last time Ohio State beat an SEC opponent in a bowl game? Well, keep looking, since the all-time record for the Buckeyes is 0-9.

    But you hear fans of the Big Ten — particularly those in Columbus — talk like they invented football up at the Horseshoe. Well, think again.

    And to make matters worse, after Delany opened his trap again a few months ago about expansion, the SEC kept quiet (and went to work on a response). Finally, the other day, Slive spoke softly but carried a big stick. In other words, he seemed to be saying, “Delany, go ahead and fire the first shot. We’ll blow you back to the Stone Age.”

    So while Delany fiddles up there in his cushy office in Chicago, the Big Ten burns. Down in Birmingham, Slive is smiling. Delany makes a move and Slive will make a move that’s even better.

    In a way, it’s really sad. The once proud Big Ten has been emasculated by the SEC. And its only hope of deliverance is to pick up Notre Dame on the discount rack at Walmart. Or, if that fails again, cobble Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Nebraska and Missouri and try to sneak out in the express lane.

    It doesn’t appear the SEC really wants to expand. But Slive knows one thing for sure. Anything Jim Delany can do, he knows the SEC can do better. That’s been proven off the field in recent years. It’s also been demonstrated on the field.

    The Big Ten had its day in the sun. And it was glorious. But it’s over. And the boys up there might as well get used to playing second fiddle to the SEC.

    (Contact Paul Finebaum at finebaumnet@yahoo.com. His column appears on Tuesdays in the Press-Register.

    • zeek says:

      Uh, the Big Ten Network is a far better deal than the SEC cut with ESPN/CBS. In a few years, that will become far more apparent.

    • Justin says:

      Well, we know the SEC cannot “do academics better.” Obviously, residing in a state which spends more on football then on research, this is an insignificant concern.

    • Manifesto says:

      As an Ohio State fan, I want to rant. But, 0-9 is what it is. Plenty of excuses I suppose, but 0-9 is what it is.

      However, even with that terrible record, the BigTen is 22-24 in bowl games against the SEC. PSU is 6-2, Michigan is 7-3, and Iowa is 4-2. OSU is unfortunately the only team keeping this debate alive.

      Before everyone jumps to “but OSU is the BigTen’s best team!”, I’d like to remind people that OSU has been the BigTen’s best team *this decade*. Plenty of great teams in the Big Ten over the years. OSU’s ugly 0-9 record only has four games from the last decade (00, 01, 06, 07), and two of those were bad 7-5 teams.

      It’s also pretty bold for an Alabama shill to slam Michigan’s two year record given the way the bulk of their decade went. I guess those last two really good seasons can cause long term memory loss though. I’m sure Michigan is looking forward to forgetting them. :P

      Lastly, the SEC signed a huge deal with ESPN and CBS. However, taken on the whole, BTN+ESPN still outperforms it now — only three years into BTN’s inception. Who knows if it’s going to be even close in 15 years, when the SEC contract is up. Maybe BTN flames out or plateaus, who knows. Maybe, as Alan has pointed out, every SEC team (due to local rights negotiation) is individually destroying the BigTen broadcast package. Or, maybe, this guy is talking out his ass.

      The SEC is a great conference. Five NCs this decade — it’s impressive. Maybe when Finebaum finishes his S-E-C chant he’ll concede that the Big Ten is too. But, hey, whatever. Incendiary article meant to illicit page hits and response, not unlike Jim Rome or Cowherd. By all accounts it worked.

      Alright, sorry, I ranted. And advance apologies to Bamatab if it rubs the wrong way.

      • Manifesto says:

        And another point, how has the SEC “emasculated” the BigTen? The SEC won 5 NCs this decade, but only two were against the BigTen. Whatever.

    • With apologies to the SEC fans here, that guy’s a fucking douchebag.

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        Frank – Paul Finebaum doesn’t speak for the SEC, its fans, or its schools. He’s a shock jock on the radio, and for some reason a rag allows him to write a column.

        Manifesto – was you reference to “this guy is talking out his ass.” to me of Finebaum? If Finebaum, OK, I agree. If its me, I talk out of my mouth, thank you.

        Generally regarding money, look at Forbes recent article on the worth of football programs.


        The SEC must be doing something right, as they have 8 in the top 17. I don’t think these ranking even reflect the new CBS/ESPN TV contracts. The Big Ten has 5 teams on the top 19, with the BTN money.

        Generally regarding on-field success – The SEC and the Big Ten are close top to bottom, but as an LSU fan, I’ll take two losses to Big Ten teams in the Cap One Bowl every decade, if I can get two BCS championships in the same decade. You can’t argue with the SEC’s results during the BCS era. The SEC had half of the BCS championships spread out over four schools. The Big Ten has one. The SEC has never lost a BCS CG, the Big Ten (Ohio St) has lost 2 to SEC schools.

        • Manifesto says:

          Alan, my comment of “his guy is talking out his ass” is directed to Finebaum, not you.

          Regarding that Forbes article, what in the world is their scoring system? South Carolina ahead of Tennessee and Southern Cal (the other USC)? Interesting.

          But, regardless, in my little rant I said the SEC is doing very well in terms of revenue. That’s not in doubt. But this guy’s take that somehow ESPN’s deal with the SEC somehow sticks it to the Big Ten and Delany is uneducated at best.

          Again, not arguing with the SEC’s success during the BCS era. No one is disputing that. What I do dispute, however, is that somehow because OSU can’t seem to win a damn game against that conference that that means the SEC overall drinks the BigTen’s milkshake. It means OSU is stupid snake-bitten for whatever reason.

          Overall the records are relatively similar in head-to-head matchups, again ignoring the fact that two of those losses were in the NCG. And while you can’t really ignore that fact, neither does OSU losing two NCGs somehow negate the 22 wins the Big Ten has had.

          To summarize: Two great conferences. SEC has had a real golden age in the BCS era. Doesn’t mean that somehow the BigTen is total garbage, or that Slive is playing chess and Delany is playing checkers. And, as Frank said, that guy is a douche. You, however, are just fine (even if your team beat mine for a NCG -_-).

    • ezdozen says:

      Isn’t this true?

      Does adding any Big East school (or all of them, for that matter) really make the Big 10 suddenly better than the SEC?

      Does adding a Nebraska that is entirely different from the Nebraska of the Osborne era matter? Any Big 12 North school?

      If the Big 10 gets Texas, then we are talking two competing mega-conferences.

      While everyone refers to the money being made by the Big 10, so what? Money hasn’t made Michigan competitive in a few years. They just invested a ton in coaches that have not delivered yet. Can’t make Indiana compete in football. Money = money.

      Meanwhile, making Missouri, Syracuse, Rutgers, or Pitt wealthier will not make them Florida. They will be just be wealthier versions of Auburn on the field. Some good years, some forgettable years.

      I have come full circle on this. The Big 10 needs Texas. If it is not getting Texas, it might as well just stand pat.

      Or, fine, take some 12th school. Rutgers, Missouri, whatever. Neither team will be missed by its prior conference. And that tells you all you need to know.

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        You underestimate Nebraska. Not really fair to lump them with Auburn. Pelini has them on a upward trajectory. Should be pre-season top ten. I would slot them as third in the SEC behind Alabama and Florida. Ahead of all the rest.

    • Djinn Djinn says:

      Doesn’t sound like he likes Delany much, does he? He may feel everything is better in the SEC, but then again, he’s a Bama guy and writing to sell newspapers for a Bama crowd. I’ll cut him a little slack. Maybe I’d come up with something just as inflammatory if I were being paid to do so.

      Personally, I’ve always kind of like Alabama more than most SEC teams. Great tradition. Easy access to Waffle Houses. And any school that produces Bart Starr is okay by me, regardless of the reports who cover them.

      The TV deal discussion is silly. Both conferences are doing great there. (The Big Ten is actually doing better and stepping on the gas.) The ad hominem attacks on Delany are over the top too. But for his points on SEC football, in truth, top to bottom, they have been the best conference in college football over recent history. If Ohio State has a losing record against SEC opponents in recent bowls, okay, it’s worth pointing out. Though several BT schools have winning records against the SEC and Wisconsin is 2-1 against the SEC in their last three bowls.

      But there’s certainly room for improvement. In fact, that’s one reason I can’t get excited about the idea of adding teams like Rutgers or Syracuse. I think we need to improve the quality of BT football by adding teams like Texas or Nebraska. We need quality teams performing in quality games, not just adding random teams in larger population centers.

    • greg says:

      Does Finebaum speak for all of SEC-land? The B10 will have to be satisfied with being the best academic/athletic consortium in the land, the deepest research pockets, the biggest athletic revenue pockets, in states with a much more educated populace.

      The SEC can have their slightly better football teams and low literacy rates.

      • PS says:

        I thought this was a B10 blog NOT a SEC vs. B10 manifesto. We can ignore the SEC comments because in the short term, many things look good. Look at Enron, Clinton before he stained his reputation, Wall Street big banks before the recession for an example of how time reveals a larger perspective. Besides its probably some guy who graduated from Auburn and was denied admission from all the B10 schools and nobody will hire him.

    • Pezlion says:

      I love how SEC folks always ignore Penn State when they try to make these arguments. It’s because it doesn’t fit their agenda. PSU is 7-2 against the SEC since 1990. Over the last 28 bowl matchups, the Big Ten and SEC are tied at 14-14.

  70. HerbieHusker says:

    I don’t think the ‘population moving south’ statement takes anything away from the report we heard earlier this month out of Kansas City saying that Nebraska/Missouri/Rutgers/and Notre Dame have all been shown interest by the Big Ten. In fact, listening to the statements Jim Delaney made yesterday; I almost believe this more. I imagine things could have went down this way: the Big Ten has sent out ‘feelers’ to Nebraska/Missouri/Rutgers/Notre Dame. Why only four? If Notre Dame shows reciprocating interest, then that opens the door to further eastern (or southeastern if you somehow count Maryland/Virginia areas southeast). Notre Dame has not shown reciprocating interest; so that leaves 3 that have with 2 spots remaining. I believe those two spots are being reserved for Texas and Texas A&M. The reason I see for his ‘we’re sticking to the 12-18 month schedule’ is that it might take that amount of time to get both of these schools onboard. Those are the teams I believe are the best bet coming out of yesterday’s comments though (Nebraska, Rutgers, Missouri, Texas, and Texas A&M) who’s with me?

    • zeek says:

      I’m with you on what Delany wants if he can’t get Notre Dame and believes that he has a decent shot of possibly landing Texas.

      I do think Delany needs to take a harder look at Colorado though if he can’t get Notre Dame.

      In my mind, Notre Dame will someday (before the end of time anyways) join the Big Ten, and when it does, we can have it join with Rutgers or Pitt or whoever makes sense at that time.

      I really think we should focus on the schools that are willing to join. If Texas says no, but TAMU says yes, then maybe that’s a route worth looking at…

    • Nostradamus says:

      In a somewhat conspiratorial way his comments yesterday also could have served to take some pressure off of Nebraska and Missouri as they head into the Big 12 meetings in a couple of weeks.

      • eapg says:

        Absolutely. Nothing to see here, move on. Nothing Delaney said advances one any further towards knowing whether that’s true or false, but it can be used as cover.

      • c says:

        Re status of Nebraska and Missouri in Big 12 (Nostradamus)

        Not sure the pressure is off Nebraska or Missouri. The Big 12 is in talks with the PAC 10 to create or explore a joint channel.

        There is going to be pressure to know who is in and who is out. The Big 12 potentially minus Missouri and Nebraska needs to at least game plan substitute schools to analyze the prospects of such a joint channel, division of revenues, estimation of revenues if only to attract a partner like Fox or Comcast.

        If the PAC 10 sees a limited Big 12 contribution and smaller footprint, they may then decide to expand with Colorado and focus on a more focused Texas option to expand to 16?

        • Pezlion says:

          Honestly I’d be surprised if this Big XII/Pac-10 alliance channel ever gets off the ground. Too many people involved with divergent interests. Even if it eventually goes somewhere, it would be years away.

    • michaelC says:

      I agree that it seems most likely ND has said no and NE,Mo,RU are probable with UT and TAMU the pieces yet to be gained. If this is true, why wait 12 mos or whatever? How does announcing NEMORU invites affect negotiations with UT and TAMU? Does anybody believe UT comes only if believe ND is possibly part of the deal? Doesn’t add up for me. If UT is negotiating then waiting to accept any new members makes sense if UT insists on some other collection of schools one or more of which is not in NEMORU. If the situation is that every university is acting in its own interests (but accepting that UT TAMU might be seen as a pair for political or travel purposes) then waiting to announce the other schools does not make sense.

      I think the likely explanation was raised earlier (I don’t recall who said it) — UT needs some time to understand whether the LSN makes sense or if a Western Alliance (which may include a LSN) can be worked out on terms it accepts. Delany might be confident enough of those answers (remember the Big Ten is the only conference with actual experience in building such a network) to wait rather than push the matter to an early conclusion.

      As for the demographics, place me in the camp that sees this as an affirmation of the play for Texas rather than a strategic commitment to getting members in Sun Belt states. Note that statewide population trends need to be coupled with other demographic and economic trends. The major cities in this country will continue to gain population and economic power. The travails of Detroit and Cleveland and other industrial cities of the Great Lakes region and elsewhere need to be contrasted with the the prospects in New York, LA, SF, Washington, Seattle, Boston, Chicago, etc. Even if there is not strong population growth, their economic influence is likely to grow disproportionately. I’d wager that in 2030 a map of per capita income in the US will not change much from today. Also note that demographic growth in the Sun Belt for the next twenty years will get a significant bump from Baby Boomer retirees. This is not to deny the fact that on balance the US population will grow more strongly in the South/Southwest.

    • cutter says:

      I watched today’s ESPN College Football Live show earlier today and they discussed the prospect of Texas joining the Big Ten. Craig James was fairly confident it wouldn’t happen because (1) UT’s recruiting is based in Texas and (2) the parents want to drive to the football games.

      I looked at Texas’s regular season schedules the last five seasons (2005 to 2009) and found out that 46 of the 59 games were played within the state (Note: Only 11 games were played in 2005 with 12 games played in the other four seasons). This comes out to 9.2 games per year that UT played within the state’s boundaries (about 78% of the games).

      Here’s the breakdown of these in-state games:

      Conference Games in Austin: 17
      Non-Conference Games in Austin: 14
      Games against Oklahoma in Dallas: 5
      Conference Games in Lubbock (v. Texas Tech), Waco (v. Baylor) and College Station (v. Texas A&M): 8
      Non-Conference Games in Houston (v. Rice) and El Paso (v. UTEP): 2

      Of the 13 games UT played outside the state in those five seasons, three were non-conference (at Ohio State in Columbus, at Central Florida in Orlando and at Wyoming in Laramie). The remaining ten were against Big XII opponents with three of them in Stillwater v. Oklahoma State, two in Columbia v. Missouri and one each in Lawrence, KS; Manhattan, KS; Boulder, CO; Lincoln, NE; and Ames, IA.

      This is something to keep in mind when talking about Texas joining the Big Ten Conference. Right now, UT doesn’t leave the confines of the rather large state of Texas for most of its games.

      It also might explain why the conference might have offered Texas the option of playing only seven conference games upon admission to the Big Ten. I have to imagine it was a temporary measure (perhaps the first four years of conference membership), but seeing what UT has going for it right now, it could go to explain why such a deal may have been put on the table.

      Let’s assume there’s a UT/ATM package deal in place and Notre Dame, Nebraska and Missouri round out the conference to give the B10 sixteen members (dare to dream!). What happens to Texas and its overall schedule?

      I assume they will continue the matchup with Oklahoma in Dallas and that at least four conference games per year will be in Austin. In alternating years, Texas will play in College Station, so that means we can automatically pencil in alternating years of four and five games within the state.

      If Texas were allowed to play five non-conference games (including the one with Oklahoma), UT could could still get its nine in-state games by playing non-conference opponents like Rice, UTEP, SMU, Texas Christian and Houston. Texas has also put teams like Sam Houston State and North Texas on their schedules, so there’s plenty of Texas-based teams available–and that doesn’t include former conference partners Baylor and Texas Tech.

      How would Texas’ schedule be different? Well, first off, they’d have a home-and-home with Notre Dame so that means they’d travel to South Bend every other year to play the Fighting Irish. Depending on how the conference is set up, they’re likely to have regular games with Missouri and Nebraska–two former Big XII members. Iowa would esssentially replace Iowa State in terms of geography. And then there’d be the occasional trip to Big Ten destinations great and small instead of playing in Lawrence, Kansas and Boulder, Colorado, etc.

      Eventually, when Texas gets to eight conference games, they’ll still play four of them in Austin and have the non-conference game in Dallas. If they only have four total non-conference games, its possible that they schedule another two or three in Austin–that puts them at seven or eight games per year in Texas.

      However, if the Big Ten were able to get the NCAA to sign off on thirteen regular season games (which was mentioned in that Northwestern message board post), Texas could have alternating seasons of eight and nine games per year in-state.

      The seventeen conference games in Austin the past five seasons includes three with Texas Tech, and two each with Colorado, Kansas, Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. One game apiece was played against Iowa State, Nebraska, Kansas State and Missouri.

      Imagine what the games played in Austin would look like if UT was in the Big Ten Conference. Two or three of the games in that five-year period would be against Notre Dame (a Catholic school likely to be very attractive to the state’s growing Hispanic population). Sprinkle in a game apiece with Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State in Austin in the same time period. Plus perhaps two or three with Missouri, Nebraska and Texas A&M would be played at UT. Fill in the rest with the remaining members of the conference. And don’t forget the annual non-conference matchup with Oklahoma in Dallas.

      Which of the two options looks more attractive to you? What about the networks–what will they think of that lineup?

      More importantly, which of the two options looks more attractive to Texas and its fans? The status quo or annual games with Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Notre Dame plus some combination of Nebraska, Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan thrown into the mix (not to mention Missouri, Iowa and Wisconsin who are also likely opponents on the schedule).

      If I’m Jim Delany, that’s part of the pitch I’d be making to the decision makers in Austin–and South Bend.

      • djinndjinn says:

        Good post.

      • Playoffs Now! says:

        Good analysis.

      • c says:

        Re Texas games in Big 10 (cutter)

        A transition period where Texas and or ND would play 7 conference games certainly might be attractive transition option.

        However in a 16 team conference presumably with pods, wouldn’t the teams inevitably want to play NINE conference games to preserve a sense of belonging to a single conference rather than 2 conferences playing a championship game?

        If that could be offset by a rule change permitting a 13th game, that could allow 4 nonconference games. But I wonder if most NCAA schools would want so many games in consideration of the students.

  71. Can't Get Enough says:

    To all of you Yankees who think that Texas A&M is an excellent fit:

    It isn’t.

    The Big Ten will not expand just to expand. If an invite is extended to TAMU, Jim Delaney was not being truthful. Until then, I’ll assume that he’s only looking for “soul mate” schools like Penn State, and that would include UT.

    Longhorns do not particularly identify themselves with the south. Aggies very frequently do. Also, hard-core Aggies may use a term like “Yankee” in a derogatory manner do describe people who graduated from a Big Ten University. I am not kidding.

    Let me put this in simpler terms. Friends of Frank are in town and he wants to take them to a Sox game, but Sox are not in town. His friends say “oh well, let’s take off our black shirts and change into white with pinstripes and go to a game at Wrigley instead. It’ll be almost the same thing.” If a Sox fan isn’t even slightly appalled by the lack of insight that Sox=Cubs, they’ll never understand why TAMU is in no way a good substitute for UT. UT and TAMU are major AAU schools from the same state. White Sox and Cubs are both MLB teams from the same city. Dig deeper, and there’s a divide. True White Sox fans do not like the Cubs. Big Ten, and Pac 10 as well, are very compatible with UT but not TAMU.

    Call me crazy, but I say NFW to ND for the same reason why the PAC 10 says NFW to BYU. Faith-based schools just do not belong amongst major scientific research institutions. It goes back to a kids’ show that had a segment that goes like, “One of these things just doesn’t belong here.”

    • zeek says:

      I disagree unless you’re implying that the president and board of trustees of A&M think that way…

      • Can't Get Enough says:

        Here’s a Jim Delaney quote:

        “A lot of (previous expansions) have, in my view, been improperly studied,” he said. “Didn’t understand the logistics. Didn’t understand the culture. Didn’t understand the academic fit. Didn’t understand how people did their business. Didn’t really understand whether they were doing a merger or whether they were doing an expansion.”

        “Didn’t understand the culture.”

        This is not an acquisition; it is a partnership.

        “Didn’t understand the culture.”

        I do. It doesn’t fit. TAMU would be expansion for the sake of expansion.

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      From what I see among the Aggie alums here in Houston it seems like your descriptions fit those over 40 fairly well. The younger ones not so much. The environment at A&M is growing to be more like a Big10 school all the time. The culture is moving that way. Sure they still have all sorts of weird traditions, but the school is getting better and the selectivity of admissions is causing a drift to a more ‘normal’ atmosphere.

      • Can't Get Enough says:

        Thanks. I haven’t lived there for 10 years and assumed that it hadn’t changed.

        • loki_the_bubba says:

          My daughter’s friends that will be heading off to College Station this fall are all first generation Aggies. They’re very bright kids. Some of them pretty liberal. You just don’t see the third-generation Aggie off the farm like you did a few decades ago. These kids are going for science and engineering.

      • zeek says:

        That’s what I’d imagine might make A&M and the Big Ten logical fits if Texas isn’t interested and A&M isn’t included in a LSN.

        I have no idea whether there are or aren’t cultural issues, but in terms of institutional fit, A&M looks more like a fit than Notre Dame or Syracuse or a lot of the other ones we’ve thrown around…

        • loki_the_bubba says:

          I probably shouldn’t downplay the differences too much. A&M is one of six Senior Military Colleges (Virginia Tech is the other in D1A sports). The Corp of Cadets is a major part of life there. But it’s not been required for quite a while. They even let women in now, both to the University and the Corp.

          • zeek says:

            I’m not really sure the whole military issue of A&M is as big a one as it would be for the Pac-10 (Stanford and Berkeley).

            Note that Northwestern (I’m pointing this out as an example of the school with among the most liberal student bodies in the Big Ten) has maintained its commitment to ROTC and that most of the student body didn’t really seem to mind the cadets being there.

            Maybe things have changed but I don’t see A&M being that palatable to the Pac-10 schools unless USC forces them to swallow Texas…

          • zeek says:

            Er I mean A&M in combo with Texas…

    • Djinn Djinn says:

      I have no opinion on A&M’s culture.

      I do agree with you that religious schools do not always mesh well with major research / science schools–as some of our domer friends’ comments illustrate. While Baylor appears to exist quite well in their conference, there is more inter-mingling in the BT, what with the CIC. So I think institutional fit is important.

      However, A&M is a major research university like the BT schools. It’s not a religious school. Hence, I’m guessing they’d fit in better with the BT than a ND or a BYU.

    • Wes Haggard says:

      WOW. Just the sort of attitude that RedHAwk, Herbie and M (AG) college football fans have come to expect on this board.

  72. Playoffs Now! says:

    Also, hard-core Aggies may use a term like “Yankee” in a derogatory manner do describe people who graduated from a Big Ten University. I am not kidding.

    Lighten up, Francis.

    • 84Lion says:

      I remember some of that “Yankee” stuff when I moved to the Atlanta area in the mid-1980s. Honestly, that “Yankee” junk has pretty much faded away these days.

  73. glenn says:


    i’m trying to remember where i’ve seen that. isn’t it a kind of remora? only eel-like?

    a&m is an odd fit anywhere. it doesn’t really show that much in the big 12 because there is so little cooperation in that conference. if cultural fit is important, you need to look really hard. i’m sure you do that.

    why the slow play if the conference sees a possibility of getting texas? do you recall i told you that nebraska and texas don’t like each other? i don’t mean ‘don’t like’ like rivals. i mean ‘don’t like’. we have gotten wisps of detail of real rancor between the programs for 15 years. it was not all just the start-up issues. my guess is that if nebraska signs on that means texas is gone for good.

    • glenn says:


      i have no doubt that delany and crew have a clear understanding of nebraska/texas relations, whatever they are. while missouri has been mentioned openly for quite a while, hints of nebraska interest are quite recent and coincide nicely with word that texas is cool on the idea of big ten membership. then a crescendo of news items suggesting imminent action including nebraska followed by wait and see and, as one of the barfing carnivore posters said, ‘delany throwing pebbles at deloss dodds’ window.’ and not being subtle about it.

      i don’t mean to suggest that delany is playing nebraska. i think he is serious if texas says a final no. but in the interim, i think it has smoked out at least the word from austin to go easy. my guess.

      on another item, the brouhaha at texas tech with leach, craig james, and others may be much more important to your cause than you might know. one of the major players is kent hance, a panhandle politician and tech fan who could be a potential problem for texas going anywhere. i gather he is pretty bent over in that situation and may not be in a position to cause trouble.

  74. angryapple says:

    Here’s a ridiculous thought I read on an ESPN message board and really liked…

    How about the University of Toronto?

    - AAU member
    - #27 AWRU ranking
    - Canada’s top medical school and research leader
    - $1.3 Billion endowment
    - 33,000 undergrads, 12,000 graduates
    - 44 varsity sports
    - played first intercollegiate football game against University of Michigan in 1877
    - potentially delivers 34,000,000 Canadian market
    - five hour drive from Ann Arbor / East Lansing / State College and an easy airport to fly into for other schools

    …you may now return to your regularly scheduled programming

    • I regularly get comments about adding the University of Toronto and they’re always written in such a serious/no frills manner that they’re apparently not joking. Anyway, that’s a great idea for the CIC, but anything in Canada is completely worthless for TV sports rights purposes. NBC wouldn’t even want the Habs to make the Stanley Cup Finals simply because they’re based in Montreal and they’re the equivalent of the Yankees of hockey. Plus, my understanding is that U of T is a fairly poor sports school by Canadian standards. Big market apparently hasn’t translated into top athletes for them. Rutgers has an illustrious football history by comparison.

      • angryapple says:

        Yeah, I laughed when I read it too. My bullet point laden post was not so much a suggestion as it was a parody of some of the analytical discussion on this blog. If you just look at the bullets, U Toronto makes sense.

        And just imagine Delany introducing them as school number 14 in his press conference as Missouri watches in horror!

  75. Less Is More says:

    I think Delany alludes to two types of expansion. One is Universities. The other expansion is the B10 Brand, primarily led by BTN. The Brand needs to move south to capture the eyeballs of recruits, students and alumni.

    Fox’s ROI from the BTN surely has them looking for opportunities. Losing the ACC TV agreement gives them cash and motivation to start an ACC Network.

    I visualize the B10 expanding with Pitt/Rutgers (maybe NU/MU too) and the ACC taking UConn and Syracuse (which they wanted anyway). Then a Fox-BTN-ACCNet venture will be part of every household in the Southeast. Viola! B10 Brand in the growing South.

    It’s a lot easier to expand the Brand with an innovative TV venture than a hostile takeover of a distant University.

    • eapg says:

      That’s an excellent point. If a Western Alliance for TV purposes makes sense, a Big Ten alliance to gain southern exposure might also make sense. The time zones aren’t as big an issue, either, since whether you’re on Eastern or Central, night games are still early evening.

    • 84Lion says:

      Well, I live in SEC/ACC country (Atlanta) and the BTN is available on Comcast (sports pack) and AT&T U-Verse. I’m not sure about other smaller cablecos, but BTN is on DirecTV and Dish, to my knowledge.
      The thing is, would the cablecos that don’t carry BTN now be swayed by a joint ACC network-BTN venture? I’m a little skeptical since I doubt ACC fans would watch BTN, or BTN fans watch ACC stuff. I suspect the whole thing might be confusing and counter-productive.
      Personally, I think the better push would be for the BTN to add more nationally-known names to the conference to make the BTN more appealing as a national brand.

      • eapg says:

        Yeah, I don’t know that it’s a given that either makes sense. You’d have to commit to a lot of OOC cross-scheduling, which runs up against the big boys need to make home date money, usually against inferior competition. Hard to envision how you create must-see cross conference rivalries even if you get your schools to attempt to try, since the results wouldn’t have any effect on a conference title run.

        It’s a big if, but if it worked out west, it could surely work east/midwest/south.

      • Josh says:

        I agree. People in the SE are not going to watch the BTN just because of an alliance or even if we add Georgia Tech to the Big Ten or something like that.

        For example, I grew up in Madison as a Badger fan and changed my allegiance to Iowa after I enrolled in graduate school there. But I’ll watch a Purdue/Michigan State game (doesn’t matter the sport) on the BTN because I grew up watching those teams, even as opponents for the Badgers and Hawkeyes. I know the importance of the Little Brown Jug, even if I don’t care about the two U of M schools.

        If we add GTech, Georgia Tech fans will watch their team. They won’t watch the battle for Floyd of Rosedale.

        I think we have to be very careful going South. Texas is a no-brainer but beyond that, I’m not so sure.

  76. zeek says:

    I know a lot of people want Rutgers now to “plant the flag in NYC” at this moment and give PSU a second eastern school.

    But for the long term (think 50 years from now), shouldn’t we look at Colorado now and consider Rutgers if Notre Dame ever comes to the Big Ten and wants to join and needs a partner. I realize that we could end up waiting till the end of time for that, but Colorado may be a once in a lifetime chance to truly go west and grab a school that puts many alumni throughout the west in a fashion unmatched by any school to the east.

    I posted this map before: http://www.colorado.edu/pba/misc/aaumap.gif and I think it justifies maybe looking at Nebraska/Missouri/Colorado and saving Rutgers for if Notre Dame ever wants in. The Big Ten will never get another chance to target the Western half of the US other than Colorado. Sure, that’s as speculative Rutgers delivering NYC, but that map should give pause if the Pac-10 does take Colorado…

    Colorado is similar academically and in football profile to Rutgers although not as large in terms of alumni, but it is comparable to the other schools that we’re looking at and seems to draw better national ratings: http://media.pennlive.com/davidjones/photo/bigten-1gif-cafc3a6ce509bd0a.gif

    • RedDenver says:

      (Disclaimer: I’m a Huskers fan who lives near Boulder, CO and works at CU.)

      Problem with CU is that their athletics are in really bad shape. They’ve dropped all the sports they can and still be in D1. CU doesn’t have a baseball team, and their basketball team is bad. CU had a great run in football from the late 80′s until around 2002, but other than that they haven’t done anything.

      Academically CU is a slamdunk having many tremendous programs both undergrad and grad. Not sure that’s enough for the B10. And the distance makes it even less desirable since Boulder is about 7 hours drive from Lincoln, NE.

  77. c says:

    Re Fox ACC channel (Less is more)

    Interesting post: clearly the recent ACC contract shows a lot of interest among major TV organizations. Perhaps Comcast may get involved.

    Question: is a channel option on the table for the ACC or are they limited by their recent TV deal? Would second tier games be available for such a channel?

    Has anyone actually seen a statement or article indicating the ACC is actually considering or exploring a channel option?

    It’s been mentioned the ACC is top heavy in North Carolina and shares FL and GA and SC with SEC teams.

    Schools like VT and FSU and Clemson have intense fans in football. Could the ACC attract significant interest based on BB cmpetition to make a channel worthwhile.

    Some have dismissed the ACC as a football conference but I would be surprised if FSU and Miami are not on their way back. Perception of and interest in a football team and a conference competition can turn around very quickly.

    The real question: would such a channel work based on perhaps a smaller payout for markets within the footprint of the schools?

    • Less Is More says:

      A Fox college sports family of channels makes sense to customers and carriers. BTN and ACCnet available at one price. I live in NC and pay extra for BTN. Why not have a bundle?

      Many B10 premier games are on ESPN/ABC while the BTN covers the rest. Same thing for ACCnet. I see a similar arrangement benefiting the ACC.

      The takeover of the NE BE football schools is important for the B10 Brand and ACCnet. The eyeballs in the NE drives a growing footprint. Out-of-conference games, like Miami-PSU football at the Meadowlands or Duke-OSU basketball at Madison Square would drive interest in both conferences and the network venture.

      • c says:

        Re ACC channel (Less is more)


        Seems like you are suggesting independent Big 10 and ACC channels which have a markeing arrangement in certain areas where the 2 separate channels offer a discount via subscription or via a BASIC channel placement?

        In an ACC region, the ACC might get a larger portion; in a Big 10 region, the ACC would get less.

        My real question is I wonder if anyone would speculate on what they may have read about the actual prospects of an ACC channel with Fox or Comcast or ESPN as an independent channel.

        THe PAC 10 and Big 12 are currently exploring a joint channel. There had been talk of the ACC being a potential partner. I wonder if the ACC is continuing to explore its options for its own channel.

  78. ezdozen says:

    I am beginning to tire of conspiracies and such. What if Jim Delany is just telling it like it is?

    Also, I am sorry… this idea of Jim Delany being mad is kind of absurd too. How is that story any more credible than any other message board/blog source?

    It could be that School A is opposed to any expansion… Schools B and C only want to add one team, going westward…. School D wants to add eastward…. School E wants to do whatever it takes to make cash, whether it is 1 school or 9 schools… School F just can’t make up its mind… School G is opposed to private schools… and so on.

    This is herding cats. Until there is some sort of a Big 10 internal consensus, this thing is stuck in neutral.

    And I have said it before too… how much of this is the Big 10 just doing its periodic due diligence to placate Fox? Or it started at that and the interest is more massive than the expected, kind of catching them of guard? Or they were very interested, but now are cooling due to the negative sentiment that is being generated?

    People seem to be viewing this like a Risk board where Delaney has 40 armies and is deciding where to place them all. Ahh… put some in PA to fortify the North…. put some in the Western flank… oooh… how about some South.

    That’s all great in Risk… a stupid game (I mean, I liked the game). But this is NCAA sports, where the conferences compete… but also need each other to generate interest. There is no need to kill the Big 12 or mortally wound the ACC or obliterate the Big East. There is no need to take over the SEC.

    This is just a simple matter of considering whether expansion can be a win-win. Part-sports, part-academics, part-financial, part-guy feeling. And with 11 equal deciders… good luck generating a consensus.

    End rant.

    • ezdozen says:

      Errr… gut feeling.

      P.S. Someone put a muzzle on Dinehart. How many times can you be wrong and still be worth listening to?

      • Justin says:

        Dienhart will tomorrow be predicting the southern strategy involves South America.

        Big 10 is targeting Brazil and Argentina. You read it here first. Come on Dienhart, tweet it.

        • ezdozen says:

          Are they Sun Belt?

          Brazil has been promised an 8-game OOC soccer schedule, as well as a name change to “futbol.” If anyone cared about soccer or futbol or whatever, this would be a big deal.

    • PSUGuy says:

      Good points, but I think there’s one thing you gloss over by your comparison of this situation to Risk…in point of fact it IS Risk.

      Every university in the US has to make a name for itself and provide, with that name, for whatever programs it desires. Penn State has decided it wants to be a major research facility, provide high quality undergraduate education, and pursue a wide range of athletics. It knows going alone in this path is much harder, so it joined the Big10…a collection of like-minded universities.

      The thing is if the Big10 wants to continue in these endeavors, it needs to make sure the “capital” which allows it to achieve these goals is in abundant supply not only today, but for decades to come. Sure it wants to “play nice” with the conferences and really doesn’t see any of them wiped off the face of the earth, but lets be honest why should those conferences be coddled?

      The Big12 was a mish-mash of schools slammed together to stave off the spectre of independence in an area where population densities guaranteed independence=death. The schools operate as more or less remote entities that play sports together, but feel no connection and as such tend to disagree more than not because they only thing they share is athletics, where all they do is compete.

      The BigEast is a joke IMO, stemming from very similar views and the fact that it treats it major money maker (football) as an afterthought when it comes to allowing minor schools say in excess of their importance and forcing through agendas that don’t benefit the whole (all athletics) conference.

      Point being, whether its due to lack of leadership or commitment of the member schools, neither conference strikes me as being “coherent” bodies working toward common goals.

      At this point if there are schools who say “I think it’d be better in the X” and the X recognizes that certain schools can help it continue to do those things it deems important, then why not sit down and talk?

      I mean if someone gets a divorce because they’re partner would rather drink, or cheat, or any other number of items that may not make that particular relationship work out can we really blame them?

      Personally, I find it intensely amusing that many are calling the Big10 plenty of derogatory names (greedy, selfish, “ruining the game”, etc) because the likes of the Big12 or BigEast may be effected. Last time I checked, the ACC/Pac/SEC conferences had a very low liklihood of getting an invite…imagine that, the good conferences’ schools don’t see a need to find a better home, while the bad conferences’ schools look like they’re trying to bail. Yet the Big10 is the one cackling maniacally as it plots to take over the world?

      Listen, I don’t want massive upheaval in the college athletic landscape if for no other reason I think there will be good schools who end up getting the shaft (Iowa St.). But on the other hand if the Big10 can add 5 (or more) schools, ensure they’ll be committed to maintaining and expanding the Big10 goals, and guarantee the future (as much as possible) for its members, I just can’t blame them…especially if that expansion means teams previously in “unhappy circumstances” are able to better themselves and their universities as well.

      • ezdozen says:

        You miss my point. I am not saying that they CANNOT do anything… I am not even saying that they should not or will not do anything… I am just saying that maybe these Presidents don’t want to have the other conferences’ blood on their hands.

        In Risk… you have to expand to survive. Here, there is no threat to the Big 10.

        Just ask yourself what it would take for any member to leave? It is not happening. They have the history, the academics, the sports, and the money… and regionality.
        Quite the contrary, we wonder whether schools that are quite content (Maryland, Ga Tech) would jump ship.

        Frank said a long time ago to think like a University President. Does a University President seem like the type of person who believes that other Universities should be harmed? Someone whose competitive spirit outweighs every other factor?

        I think that’s the part that scares Delany the most… if the Big 10 takes Missouri OR Rutgers… is that going to do more harm than good because people were thinking Texas, Nebraska, Notre Dame, 1/2 the Big East, 1/2 the Big 12, Miami, Ga Tech, Maryland, etc.

        • Michael says:

          A university president, like the rest of us, will, first and foremost, look out for his own self-interest. Many current Big 10 presidents are living through nightmarish cutbacks across the board. If conference expansion is a way to address these problems, I don´t think they´ll have a problem with it. Furthermore, they won´t feeling guilty offering other presidents across the country the same opportunity through membership.

          What will be interesting is how far they´re willing to push this. What the Big Ten has is essentially a revenue model for exponential growth, while his competition is stuck behind archaic, long-term maxed out television contracts. If Delany pulls off a five team expansion with ND and Texas, each member could see their profits doubled. As advertising becomes more embedded, this bottom line will further increase. At that point, expansion to the West Coast or the Southeast would make a lot of sense, and frankly, they´d have an offer that no one could resist.

      • m (Ag) says:

        Ultimately, I think it will be a good thing for most schools if we get more tiers in football.

        If we get more segmentation into 3 or 4 tiers, maybe those schools that get left in tier 2 accept they can’t financially compete with the tier 1 schools and spend a more reasonable amount on their coaches and facilities. If so, we could see more schools breaking even or even making a small profit.

        Of course, the tier 1 schools will likely be making more, but that doesn’t mean the tier 2 schools wouldn’t be financially better off if they didn’t try and keep up with them.

  79. mouse says:

    Herding cats may be the answer that explains it all. I do have a couple of questions, though.

    What is happening with PAC 10 expansion? I keep hearing Colorado but nothing of significance seems to be happening there. Part of me thinks Delaney is waiting for that move to get it all started. I’m not convinced it ever happens.

    And why do we assume the ACC is beyond reach, whether because of how well they mesh or how good their TV contract now is, but also assume that if the BT goes to 16 schools, the SEC will easily scoop up several of their schools? Is the SEC that much more appealing?

    • zeek says:

      We don’t actually know. The Pac-10 seems to be working on some kind of joint fronting of their network with the Big 12, but we don’t know whether that means they’ll take Colorado.

      The Pac-10 wants its teams to join in pairs, but there’s only two schools that can clearly pass the unanimous vote requirements: Texas and Colorado.

      The problem is Texas may not be interested in a Pac-12, but A&M may find it hard to get a unanimous vote due to cultural differences/institutional fit.

      Utah is the other school that could join with Colorado, but that may not really be worth it in terms of TV markets, so we don’t know whether that will happen.

      Basically, if the Pac-10 announces Colorado/Utah in the next 2-3 months, then something happening, otherwise it’s not going to happen for a while.

  80. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Mouse – the reason why I think the SEC could poach a couple of teams from the ACC and the Big Ten would have a harder time, is that the Big Ten would want different schools. The Big Ten would be most interested in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina, all core ACC schools. The SEC would most likely be interested in Florida State, Miami, VA Tech, Clemson, or GA Tech. Only Clemson has a long standing relationship with the ACC. The SEC candidates are football schools and more “Southern” in nature, with the exception of Miami. Florida State, Clemson, and GA Tech’s main in-state rivals are SEC schools. With all that said, I think VA Tech would be unlikely due to politics and geography, and Clemson & GA Tech would be back-up plans.

    While GA Tech has been bounced around this board as a possible Big Ten candidate, I doubt the Big Ten would want to go into a new market with the third most popular team in Atlanta, behind #1 UGA & #2 Auburn.

    UNC, UVA & Maryland are all great schools, but to them basketball is #1. I think they probably like the ACC as a basketball conference better than they would like the Big Ten (16).

    • Vincent says:

      I could see the Big Ten and SEC working in tandem to pick off ACC members — the Big Ten getting Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke and Georgia Tech, the SEC Virginia Tech, N.C. State, Clemson and Florida State. All nine would be a good cultural fit for those conferences, would retain intraconference rivalries, and all would make a lot more money than they are now.

      The other three ACC members, Boston College, Wake Forest and Miami, all private colleges with limited followings (Miami doesn’t travel well despite its national football appeal), would probably wind up aligned with the Big East football members, with Memphis probably becoming team #12.

    • 84Lion says:

      I live in Atlanta and I had no idea that Auburn is considered the second most popular team, ahead of GT. Auburn is generally well-respected for academics, and it has a good following in the ATL, but then there is a lot of support for the Gators, Tennessee, Alabama, and other schools as well. There’s a large Big Ten contingent in the ATL as well.
      What I have trouble with: what does the SEC need GT for? They already have Atlanta, and Georgia and GT schedule each other every year anyway. I suppose as an AAU member GT holds some academic cachet for the SEC, but the reverse applies, why would GT want to rejoin the SEC after a half-century, especially considering the circumstances GT left under.
      If GT was interested in moving out of the ACC, and I don’t see why, the Big Ten would make a lot more sense for them.
      And, I don’t see the SEC expanding in the next half-decade or so. They have no reason to.

  81. Playoffs Now! says:

    Here’s an expansion ‘What if’ regarding the strength of the BEast. After the B10+ expands, if the BEast stays untouched, would Louisville leave if invited to the B12? What if it was a dual invite to Lou and Cincy?

    Say the B10+ does snag ND, TX, and NE. The Pac Ten lures aTm, which chooses advancing its academic reputation and an easier path to conference title games over the SEC. Could be an invite of Utah, CO, MO, and aTm, but let’s say it is just CO and aTm to a P12. ACC does nothing and the BEast adds UCF to replace ND and strengthen the football side as a 9th team. All that’s left is for a B12 that’s lost 4 schools to rebuild back to 12.

    Since both heavyweights in Texas are gone, TCU and UH are no-brainers. The B12 could look west for a solid BYU and perhaps a CSU in a 5 million pop state but doesn’t necessarily bring its market. Or they could look east to a closer Lou and Cincy, or maybe just Lou to go with BYU. In that scenario, does Lou (or Cincy) move west or decline the invite?

    Would the B12 look at S. FL and UCF instead? Would they take the invite?

    • Redhawk says:

      I’ve said that I think the Big 12 could rebuild if they lost 3 teams….but if they lost 4, I think it’s dead. They would be SO far behind the other conferences in income they wouldn’t survive, or not as tier 1/BCS conference. At this point there is only 2 big names left, and that is OU and Kansas.

      I don’t think either school will become a Conf. USA level school which is what you have left once you lose, UT, MO/Col, A&M Nebr.

      • Playoffs Now! says:

        But what are the alternatives? If the B10+ only goes to 14, the SEC may very well not expand. The P10 may not go beyond 12. Why disband the B12 instead of rebuilding if there is nowhere better to go. The BEast? Just as unstable, but much further away. Do those schools really want to go beyond 16 schools in the non-football sports? The B12 would still have a BCS AQ, so why would they go to the uncertainty of a MWC?

        Even if the B12 loses NE, TX, CO, and aTm, they still have OU and KS, and 2 schools in Texas that you can combine with other TX schools for a critical mass in that pivotal state. UH would jump at the chance, and you can fill out with the top MWC and perhaps BEast schools. Fiesta Bowl guarantee vs hoping the BCS voters and computers will like you.

        • Redhawk says:

          If the SEC doesn’t expand, and the Big 10 goes to 14, and the Pac 10 goes only to 12, you have a grand total, of 5 total teams moving conferences.

          In your scenario 4 of those are Big 12 teams.

          that would be the worst case scenario..for the Big 12, and the teams left behind.

          I’d think the remaining teams in the Big 12 would have to make as much of a super-conference as it could, I guess.

          But you just killed OU and Kansas, and I can’t picture that happening.

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            But you just killed OU and Kansas, and I can’t picture that happening.

            Not really. OU will stay play in just as many, if not more, Fiesta Bowls. Losing UT, NE, aTm, and CO but replacing them with TCU, UH, BYU, and Lou actually increases the overall strength of schedule slightly. SOS doesn’t care about earning power. The new B12 would be poorer, but they’d survive. Just like the MWC schools get by now, but the new B12 would still earn more money, have TV contracts, and a BCS AQ.

            A pay cut isn’t the same as losing one’s job.

          • Redhawk says:

            @Playoffs Now.

            Given your scenario, I would think that the Big 12 would be “different”. Would other schools join the Big 12, or would it be a new conference? The only way to be even a semi-viable conference would be to take the best of the rest. Take the cream of the MWC, WAC, CUSA, and even the Big East, and hope it can hold together, being a coast to coast conference with nothing holding them together, but being a mid-major.

            Kansas, one of the top 5 basketball programs of all time, and OU one of the top 5 football programs of all time, now in a….2nd tier conference. They just got relegated to “Mid-Major” by association.

            I’m not saying that’s not how it would play out…I’m saying that is by far the worst case scenario if you are an OU or KU person. (and my first degree is from OU)

            OU would be a WAC school. damn

    • FLP_NDRox says:

      If the Big East only loses ND, I still think U of L will stay Big East over moving West. The less intact the BXII is the less likely that U of L goes there. It would be most likely to move if the Big Ten kills the Football Big East. Then I think the Cards would prefer the BXII to a return to CUSA.

      Geography: Louisville is on Eastern time. The BXII will likely stretch in your scenario another 2 time zones west. That’s not really conducive to anything. I think it’s even worse than U of L’s CUSA days. It’s closest rivals will be MU, Iowa State and K-State, which ain’t exactly a selling point.

      Athletics: Louisville is one of the most underrated sports towns in the U.S. They love all three major sports. The minor league baseball team has drawn over a million fans a few times, IIRC. Male HS is one of the all-time winningest HS football teams in America. But basketball is still king. My mother, God rest her soul she was a Louisville girl at heart all her life, always said that Kentucky was a better basketball state than Indiana. U of L has made great strides in Football but it’s still a basketball school.

      UK is U of L’s real rival. I think U of L would leave yesterday for an SEC invite, but I doubt the Cats will let them have it. UC is a lesser rival. The Bearcats would not be a factor in any move by the Cards.

      U of L recruits heavier on the coasts than in the Midwest in basketball. The Big East is far and away the better basketball conference. The Big XII you postulate PN! is subpar and will not help U of L in recruiting. U of L as a recent midmajor will likely stay put as long as it can in the nation’s best basketball conference.

      • Playoffs Now! says:

        Yes, I lean in that direction, too. But I do think Lou would consider the invite.

        • jcfreder says:

          I think LVille only goes west if its a desperation move. They, Cincy and S Fla all really have to hope that expansion is minor rather than major, because they (along with the scraps of the B12) have the most to lose.

          If expansion is major (say, B10 gets Tex, Neb, MO, ND, Rut, P10 gets TAM, Utah, Col and Kans, ACC takes Syr and Pit, and SEC takes Okl and Ok St) that decimates both the B12 and the Big East. At that point maybe the Big East reloads. If they don’t (it would water down basketball), WV, LVille and Cin are loose, and a match with the remaining B12 scraps wouldn’t be very appealing. WV woudl seem to be a better option for both the ACC or SEC than LVille would. Maybe LVille’s best chance would be as the team included to fill out an even number of teams in an expansion. Is there any way Cincy lands in a major conference if this movement happens?

  82. Mark says:

    This is a nice article on Missouri athletics – http://bit.ly/cchUvE.

    The school with the least championships since the inception of the Big XII a good fit for the Big 10?

    • eapg says:

      Got to love the level of analysis where yelling “scoreboard” explains everything. I’m sure in his next installment, Sittler will explain how it is that Nebraska shakes in fear at the very mention of Texas.

      Beebe should probably just go ahead and put his hand behind Sittler’s jaw and move it up and down, so we know where this is coming from.

      • Gopher86 says:

        There might be a bit of sour grapes in the article, considering where OU and OSU are in this expansion talk, but it’s hard to ignore that track record.

        • kmp says:

          Basing the worthiness of a school’s athletic department solely on total conference championships can lead to some pretty shaky conclusions. It’s an even more worthless measure of a school’s viability as an expansion candidate.

          Using that criteria, you would conclude that Kansas has a much better athletic department than Missouri. But the reality is that Missouri has won their head-to-head competition the last four years and six of the eight they’ve been in a formal competition.

          It also ignores that Missouri consistently finishes higher than Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State in the Directors Cup.

          It also ignores the overwhelming importance of football (Missouri would rank ahead of several Big 12 schools in current strength) and to a lesser degree men’s basketball (also in the upper half of the Big 12).

          In fact, if you were looking at the combined strength of football and men’s basketball programs in their current state, you could make a case that only Texas is in better shape in those two sports than Missouri.

  83. Playoffs Now! says:

    Hmmm, here’s another claim that UT asked aTm to be a partner in the cable channel, but aTm turned them down:


    (4th and 13th posts)

    • zeek says:

      If such a thing were to happen, that’d be enormous news…

      It signals that A&M wouldn’t necessarily be on board a Texas-only network, which is a pretty big deal because it may imply that A&M is looking elsewhere and that Oklahoma may end up having to do the same.

  84. angryapple says:

    trying again because my comments aren’t going through.


    Here’s a ridiculous thought I read on an ESPN message board and really liked…

    How about the University of Toronto?

    - AAU member
    - #27 AWRU ranking
    - Canada’s top medical school and research leader
    - $1.3 Billion endowment
    - 33,000 undergrads, 12,000 graduates
    - 44 varsity sports
    - played first intercollegiate football game against University of Michigan in 1877
    - potentially delivers 34,000,000 Canadian market
    - five hour drive from Ann Arbor / East Lansing / State College and an easy airport to fly into for other schools

    • Paul says:

      “potentially delivers 34,000,000 Canadian market”

      Now that is thinking outside of the box!!!

    • PensfaninLAexile says:

      The 34 million population, does that include the Yellowknife DMA?

    • Patrick says:


      I have been a college football fan for almost 40 years and never knew that Canadian Universities played, and I live NORTH of Toronto. I think there may be value in adding a school like the University of Toronto down the road if the level of competition is there and established. It is a good population base, but like Los Angeles…. do they give a damn about football? Who do they play now? If that is a thought process, then have 1 or 2 Big Ten teams per year play a non-con against the University of Toronto. Allow them to try to gauge and rise to the level of competetion in the Big Ten. Maybe in 20 years it would be worth it, but right now probably not because football makes the money and they are a total unknown.

      • Djinn Djinn says:

        The U of T is a great school in a great market, but Canadian college sports are not the same as in the US. Schools don’t offer scholarships, for instance, and few watch. It is nowhere near the multi-million dollar business in the US.

        • PensfaninLAexile says:

          Toronto on its own would be a waste, but added it in conjunction with McGill (AAU member) could create a blockbuster rivalry and add the dimension of bilinguality to the B10. In addition to the 34 million Canadian residents, there is also the First Nation population in Nunavut and the NWT. Though small, there is little to do at the onset of winter, thus providing a guaranteed audience. Granted, merchandising opportunities are limited due to poverty, but they can surely afford foam fingers and cup holders.

          But the real prize was alluded to by Delaney’s cryptic comment about the Sun Belt. He was not referring to the American sun belt as much as hinting that the B10 was prepared to go big — in other words, China.

          Hong Kong University and Tsinghua University are highly rated institutions in China and stand to benefit greatly from future economic growth and huge government sponsorship. Why screw around with Georgia Tech when there are over a billion Chinese waiting for real American football?

          Look for the B10 to start off by adding Nebraska, moving its footprint closer to Asia. Follow that with an annual game in the Bird’s Nest — say Indiana vs. Minnesota. Add the Canadian schools to get the logistics of international travel situated. Then, the blockbuster, the HKU Fighting Sampans and the Tsinghua U Little Red Book. Thus Delaney’s vision of a dominant globe-girdling football league will be realized.

          Take that SEC rednecks.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            You can have China & Canada. Get those 14 year-old Chinese girls in college & you might be able to compete against out women in gymnastics. Take the schools in Canada to improve your hockey.

            I’ll stick with Florida State & Oklahoma as expansion candidates.

  85. M says:

    This spring and summer are basically the golden age for what I call “speculative sports”. College football has expansion. Basketball has the LeBron saga (please stay!). The NFL has the lockout/uncapped year/strike/explosion. Golf has the trials and tribulations of Tiger. College basketball had the “is the tourny going to expand and by how much?” moment. Soccer has the ever present “How many South American towns will be burned down due to World Cup rioting?”. If you’re interested in sports but not in actual playing of sports, you’re in heaven.

    • zeek says:

      To be entirely fair, college football expansion is something that affects the core of the sport and the universities involved in a way that the other events don’t with respect to their sports or teams.

      We’re looking at how college football will look in 2030 and 2050 based on expansion scenarios now, whereas those other events are much more focused on the immediate results.

      Sure our speculation tends to be day-to-day but the impact of college football expansion would be felt for many decades if a school like UT was involved…

    • I do love watching sports, but this is speculation heaven for me. The subject that I wrote about the most before this expansion story took over everything was writing about random Bulls trade rumors. Now, LeBron might be moving with the Bulls as a strong possibility (and let’s not forget about D-Wade and Chris Bosh, too) and the Big Ten could be expanding within weeks of each other. I don’t want to get my hopes up on either, but I might not sleep until July 4th.

    • Nostradamus says:

      The following quote makes an interesting point, “It will be a tough sell to go beyond eight conference games because the four non-conference games are the only games where each school keeps all the revenue. Conference games fall under a revenue-sharing plan.”

      I forgot that the Big 10 shared revenue from conference games.

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      “It will be a tough sell to go beyond eight conference games because the four non-conference games are the only games where each school keeps all the revenue. Conference games fall under a revenue-sharing plan.”

      What? How can this be? I keep hearing how how the B10+ is a wonderful Socialist paradise, all for one, one for all. How evil greedy Texas would never fit in because of its selfish heart that is so different from the egalitarian mindset of the B10+ members. How every member recognizes the strength and bond that comes from sharing everything.

      Looks like B10+ members aren’t so different from Texas after all. Another circular blog myth disrupted. Huskers, Tigers, and, uh, Yankees, may have to adjust their talking points. One of the “Rules of Expansion,” created using the E. Anglia Living Breathing Scientific Method, may need tweaking.

      • eapg says:

        I see you driving, I just don’t know what you’re driving at. Are you upset that Penn State doesn’t share the proceeds of their OOC schedule with other Big Ten schools? Nobody does that, you don’t even have to look it up. Are you upset that what Paterno is addressing here is a real issue in schedule making that will have to be dealt with? Same problem any conference that might be thinking about expansion will have to deal with. Or did you just need to vent about the situation, that apparently Texas, should they join the Big Ten, will have to somehow fall asleep at night knowing that Minnesota and Northwestern get cut the same paycheck as them? Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think that’s tweakable. If it was, the heavy hitters in the Big Ten could make the same case. They don’t. Making it out to be some kind of political/philosophical insult to you personally seems a little over the top.

      • Manifesto says:

        Given how OOC games are handled, ie. you often pay scrubs to come visit or split a 1-and-1 with a decent school, it makes sense not to pool the OOC stuff. Maybe they should — perhaps that would give schools more incentive never to schedule FCS teams.

        However, I’m actually not even sure what you’re upset about. I’m a little surprised that the BigTen pools the conference game proceeds. It makes sense, it just never occurred to me that they’d do that. I wonder if all conferences do that.

    • Paul says:

      I agree with his concern about scheduling keeping some rivals apart for many years, but it doesn’t have to be a problem.

      With 16 teams, a great schedule could be devised that would allow each team to play 3 protected rivals each year and 6 of the remaining 12 teams, alternating every other year. There would be no more than one year off.

      To make this work, the teams would have to go to a nine games conference schedule. Also, it would not be possible under this system for a round robin to occur within each division. I think these concessions would be worth it to avoid Wisconsin disappearing from Penn State’s schedule for five or six straight years.

      • PSUGuy says:

        I actually kind of like that set-up. The only thing I see is if the 16 team conference were broken up into 4, 4 team divisions and you played all in your division, plus one other division (and rotate through them), you’d play the entire conference once every 3 years while still maintaining the 4 OoC games every year (which I think a lot of schools like for early season $$$ fodder).

    • cutter says:

      During the three year period (1996-8) the Western Athletic Confernce had sixteen teams, the WAC divided them into four quadrants with a plan to rotate them through two divisions (Mountain and Pacific). The NCAA regulations required the two divisions and state that the teams in each division must play a round robin–in this case, seven conference games. I assume the eighth conference game was against a team in the other division, although the WAC took full advantage of the game at Hawaii by scheduling an additional regular season game for those programs slated to play in Honolulu (again, per the NCAA regulations). The champions of the two WAC divisions played in a conference championship game.

      Quadrant 1 included Hawaii, Fresno State, San Diego State and San Jose State

      Quadrant 2 included UNLV, Colorado State, Air Force and Wyoming

      Quadrant 3 had BYU, Utah, New Mexico and UTEP

      Quadrant 4 had Tulsa, TCU, SMU and Rice

      In 1996 and 1997, Quadrants 1 and 2 made up the Pacific Division and Quadrants 3 and 4 were the Mountain Division.

      In 1998, Quadrants 1 and 3 made up the Pacific Division and Quadrants 2 and 4 became the Mountain Division.

      The WAC only lasted three years in this configuaration before a number of teams dropped out due to finances, travel and academic issues to form the Mountain West. I assume the 1999 season would have had the same set up as 1998. In 2000 and 2001, that would mean Quadrants 1 and 4 would make up one division while Quadrants 2 and 3 would become the other.

      See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Athletic_Conference#2005

      Let’s dare to dream and imagine that Texas, Texas A&M, Missouri, Nebraska and Notre Dame all joined the conference. We’ve organized the pods/quadrants a number of times before, but here’s my take on it:

      Quadrant 1 – Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin
      Quadrant 2 – Illinois, Missouri, Texas, Texas A&M
      Quadrant 3 – Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State
      Quadrant 4 – Indiana, Notre Dame, Penn State, Purdue

      In Years 1 and 2, the divisions would be:

      Division A (Q1/Q2) – Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas, Texas A&M, Wisconsin

      Division B (Q3/Q4) – Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue

      In Years 3 and 4, the divisions would be:

      Division A (Q1/Q3) – Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Wisconsin

      Division B (Q2/Q4) – Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Notre Dame, Penn State, Purdue, Texas, Texas A&M

      And finally, in Years 5 and 6, the divisions would be:

      Division A (Q1/Q4) – Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin

      Division B (Q2/Q3) – Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, Northwestern, Ohio State, Texas, Texas A&M

      This cycle takes six years–after that, you go back to the same configuration in Years 1 & 2.

      Despite what Jay Paterno thinks, this kind of set up actually keeps most of the rivalry games intact because they’re set up in the quadrants. In case where the two rivals aren’t in the same quadrant (such as Illinois and Northwestern), those games can be inter-divisional. In the case of the Illini and NW, that interdivisional game would be scheduled in Years 1 through 4. If Notre Dame wanted to play Texas every season, you do the same thing–make the ND/UT game interdivisional on the schedule for Years 1, 2, 5 & 6. Then perhaps make Michigan-Notre Dame an interdivisional game in Years 3 & 4, for example.

      Fans’ heads might spin a bit with this sort of arrangement, but it does allow each team in the 16-team conference to play one another at least twice over a six-year span. It also introduces an interesting discussion dynamic (as if college football doesn’t have enough of them) regarding the divisional alignments, future schedules, etc. By and large, and despite their shifting nature, the two divisions look fairly well balanced in each of the six seasons (perhaps a little unbalanced in Years 1 and 2, but not horribly).

      Obviously, the sort of arrangement allows the individual programs to schedule four non-conference games. Notre Dame, for example, in Years 1 & 2 would have confernce games with Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Penn State, Purdue, Ohio State within its division. Let’s assume Texas is the inter-division game. Add USC and Navy plus two more non-conference games and I’d say the overall schedule there might even please the hardcore elements at ND Nation in terms of quality (well, probably not–they’d still claim Notre Dame would be “regionalized” despite what is really a kickass schedule).

      Clearly one pitfall to this is that with an uneven number of divisional games, some programs will play three home/four away and the others will play four home/three away. Not completely fair when it comes to setting up divisional champions, but not a major bump in the road.

      • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

        Cutter, great post. I usually skim over these long “pod” posts because it’s hard to figure out who teams 12-16 will be…let alone try to configure pods that would be fair/feasible.

        I like yours EXCEPT for one detail. Switch OSU and ND.

        I love your concept of fixed Out of Division (OOD) games. With rotating pods, you’d have one fixed OOD whom would never fall of your schedule. Then, when that team rotated ON your schedule, you’d have a backup OOD. In summary, each team would have FOUR teams that would never drop off (3 in pod+ 1 fixed OOD), ONE team you’d play every four year (once in division play, once as backup OOD), and then TEN teams you’d play twice every six years.

        So, here are my new quadrants. The parentheses have a FIXED OOD first and a backup OOD second. For example, Iowa will play Purdue ever year OOD. If Purdue is in their division, then they’ll play Texas. They’ll play Wiscy, Minny, Nebraska, and Purdue every year. They’ll play Texas 4 of 6 years.

        Quadrant 1 – Iowa (Purdue/Texas), Minnesota (Indiana/Illinois), Nebraska (Missouri/PSU), Wisconsin (Texas AM/Michigan)

        Quadrant 2 – Illinois (NW/Minnesota), Missouri (Nebraska/OSU), Texas (ND/Iowa), Texas A&M

        Quadrant 3 – Michigan (OSU/Wisconsin), Michigan State (PSU/Texas AM), Northwestern (Illinois/Indiana), Notre Dame (Texas/Purdue)

        Quadrant 4 – Indiana (Minny/NW), Ohio State
 (UM/Missouri), Penn State (MSU/Nebraska), Purdue (Iowa/ND)

        Whenever possible, I tried to keep Big 12 teams playing each other for tradition’s sake and Big 10 teams playing each other. I also tried to matchup “big stadiums” as much as possible for my optional match-ups. I switched ND and OSU b/c ND currently has longstanding series with UM, MSU, and Purdue. By placing UM as OSU’s protected OOD game, I could get ND playing their three current Big 10 series completely (except for Purdue in years 3/4) and get them their yearly matchup with Texas (assuming that rumor is true).

        If these five teams were added, I have a hard time imagining a better alignment that protects traditions while creating VERY compelling football.

        This is where it gets long…asterisks denote “protected OOD games”

        In Years 1 and 2, the divisions would be:
        Division A (Q1/Q2) – Illinois, Missouri, Texas, Texas A&M
, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin

        Division B (Q3/Q4) – Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Indiana, Ohio State
, Penn State, Purdue
        OOD games
        Illinois vs. NW*
        Missouri vs. Ohio St
        Texas vs. ND* (assuming rumor is true)
        Texas A/M vs. MSU
        Nebraska vs. PSU
        Iowa vs. Purdue*
        Wisconsin vs. Michigan
        Minnesota vs. Indiana*

        In Years 3 and 4, the divisions would be:
        Division A (Q1/Q3) – Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin
, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Notre Dame
        Division B (Q2/Q4) – Illinois, Missouri, Texas, Texas A&M
, Indiana, Ohio State
, Penn State, Purdue
        OOD games
        Iowa vs. Purdue
        Minnesota vs. Indiana*
        MSU vs. PSU*
        Wisconsin vs. Texas A/M*
        Michigan vs. OSU*
        Nebraska vs. Missouri*
        NW vs. Illinois*
        ND vs. Texas*

        And finally, in Years 5 and 6, the divisions would be:
        Division A (Q1/Q4) – Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin
, Indiana, Ohio State
, Penn State, Purdue
        Division B (Q2/Q3) – Illinois, Missouri, Texas, Texas A&M
, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Notre Dame
        OOD games
        Iowa vs. Texas
        Minnesota vs. Illinois
        Wisconsin vs. Texas A/M*
        Indiana vs. NW
        Purdue vs. Notre Dame
        Ohio State vs. UM*
        PSU vs. MSU*
        Nebraska vs. Missouri*

        • m (Ag) says:

          I’ve come around a bit to this sort of design.

          Let’s say ND won’t join, UT, A&M, Nebraska, Missouri and Rutgers do join. UT presses for Rutgers as an annual opponent; whenever Rutgers hosts UT it is played in Giants Stadium.

          I came up with the following setup (you can come up with better names):

          Snow- Iowa(Nebraska/Purdue)
          MSU (Michigan/Rutgers)
          Wisconsin(Texas A&M/Northwestern)
          Minnesota(Missouri/Ohio State)
          Michigan (MSU/Texas)
          PSU (OSU/Texas A&M)
          Rodeo-Texas (Rutgers/Michigan)
          Texas A&M (Wisconsin/Penn State)
          Missouri (Minnesota/Illinois)
          Nebraska (Iowa/Indiana)


          Year 1&2 Snow Rodeo & Apha Coast

          Non-divisional games:
          UT vs. Rutgers*
          MSU vs. Michigan*
          Wisconsin vs. Northwestern
          Missouri vs. Illinois
          Minnesota vs. Ohio State
          Iowa vs. Purdue
          Texas A&M vs. Penn State
          Nebraska vs. Indiana


          Year 3&4 Rodeo Coast & Alpha Snow

          Non-divisional games:
          Indiana vs. Illinois*
          Purdue vs. Northwestern*
          PSU vs. OSU*
          Texas A&M vs. Wisconsin*
          Missouri vs. Minnesota*
          Nebraska vs. Iowa*
          Texas vs. Michigan
          Rutgers vs. MSU


          Year 5&6 Alpha Rodeo & Snow Coast

          (play primary non-divisional opponent for all teams)


          Minnesota doesn’t play Michigan much, and the mighty MSU/PSU rivalry is broken up; otherwise, I think I got every major rivalry.

    • Manifesto says:


      Interesting little potshot at the Big Ten coaches:

      “Nebraska, the other Big 12 school reportedly on the Big Ten’s hit list, has won a combined 76 championships, which is second only to Texas’ massive haul.

      No wonder Big Ten coaches are in favor of adding Missouri, but want nothing to do with overachieving Nebraska.”

      Uh, did I miss some quotes or something from BigTen coaches?

      Some serious sour grapes in that article.

  86. coldhusker says:

    Anyone else contemplating the 7 day free trail to sign up the the Northwestern Rivals premium board to see what else Purple Book Cat has to say?

  87. Patrick says:

    Blog Update ESPN..


    Key points….

    Several Big Ten athletic directors said that Notre Dame makes a lot of sense for the league both athletically and academically. One league source told ESPN.com that Nebraska would be a great fit for the league. Texas brings some challenges because of its location, but the Big Ten is well aware of UT’s obvious strengths.

    “The academics and the traditions and the values of those schools have to match the values of the Big Ten,” Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said. “[AAU membership] is very important.”
    When asked if AAU membership is part of the identity of Big Ten schools, Alvarez replied, smiling, “It is right now.”
    In other words: it is until Notre Dame wants in.

    Aside from Texas, few schools in the South fit what the Big Ten is looking for from an academic, athletic and marketing perspective. While it’s foolish to totally write off candidates at this stage, I think Delany might have been misunderstood.

    Delany said there will be no vote at the June 6 meeting of Big Ten presidents and chancellors at the league headquarters in Park Ridge, Ill. And several league sources said the expansion process likely would go through the fall before reaching a resolution.
    The Big Ten doesn’t seem concerned about the start of fiscal years for expansion candidates or the penalties — either financial or length of time — that schools would face for leaving other conferences.

    Delany knows he’s holding most of the cards in this process, and if/when the Big Ten ultimately decides to go forward with expansion, the league will act quickly.


    What I took away from this is, Nebraska is likely in, Notre Dame is in if they choose to be included, Texas seems to be involved in some type on negotiation and that is THE main southern target. Expansion will come, but probably not until the fall and when the decision is finalized by the Big Ten it will be fast and furious.

    I guess the big question is what will Texas & ND decide and who else comes along.

    I think ND says no thank you, Texas says no thank you, and it ends with Nebraska, Rutgers, and Missouri….. at least for now.

    • 84Lion says:

      Just because there is no vote currently scheduled at the June 6 meeting doesn’t mean expansion won’t be discussed. If (and it’s a big IF) there is general consensus on a candidate school at that time, I could see the “fall” timetable moved up. The comment about this vote not being like the Penn State vote is very interesting.

      • Patrick says:


        I really hope that you are correct and they are just playing 3 card monte with the fans. A total distraction / misdirection while something significant is going on just beyond your awareness. Just because it isn’t scheduled, doesn’t mean that it can’t be added on June 5th.

        • Rick says:

          I agree that I think this process is very far down the road and significant negotiations have been underway. This summer or the latest December for the first move. The biggest question mark delaying this is what is Texas going to decide to do. The Texas decision is the tipping point on which direction it will go. I don’t see this hinging on Notre Dame anymore.

  88. djinndjinn says:

    I read that and it doesn’t sound like the Irish are out.

    Of coursee, Alvarez coached at Notre Dame as an assistant and was interested in the head coaching job years back. And Delany, himself, is Irish Catholic.

    So maybe they’re just not giving up on ND even if the Irish have indicated they’re not interested. Or maybe they know the Irish are, in fact, interested.

  89. Mike says:

    Pat Forde thinks Nebraska should be the 12th team and the Big 10 should stop there.


    • Well Played Mauer says:

      @ Mike

      That was a pretty insightful article I posted a link to a article with similar sentiment. I especially liked this:

      “And think of this ancillary benefit: When you take Nebraska, and Colorado wanders off to join the Pacific-10, the Big 12 will be the Big Ten. And you will be the Big 12. Your leagues can simply switch logos and carry on. No fuss, no muss.”

      • Mike says:

        That did wrap this whole thing up in a nice little bow, but I don’t see the Big 12 giving up the championship game.

    • Rich2 says:

      I also thought that it was an excellent article. I also think that the Big 10+ should add Nebraska. I loved this quotation in which Forde outlined why ND should not join: “Why trade a Thanksgiving weekend game on prime time against USC for an 11 a.m. kickoff in Champaign?”

      Interestingly, someone on this board was really protesting that the idea of a BTN triple-header on Saturdays (and a Thursday double header ["remember, watch Nortwestern vs Rutgers, tonight at 5:30pm followed by Penn State vs. Missouri at 9:00pm est"] is a good one and ND would be foolish to be concerned about having the Big Ten+, and not ND, schedule its kickoff times.

    • Mike R says:

      It was a reasonable argument, but from a pretty myopic, football-only standpoint that ignores (a) the imperative that the Big 10 create more “inventory” for BTN, (b) the need to enhance the academic prestige of the Big 10/CIC. I still say its likely to be Nebraska (the splash that can be made, assuming UT & ND are non-starters, and the addition to satisfy BTN and ADs), Rutgers (PSU’s long-desired eastern partner, and an addition that will satisfy the presidents) and name your favorite third team to make a 14-team league.

      Not an advocate of ND joining the Big 10, but in his throwaway passage about ND, Forde not only does not “think like a university president” (TM Frank), he doesn’t think like an AD. Obviously ND wouldn’t trade its Thanksgiving wknd date @ USC for Illinois. It would be trading, say, its game with Utah for Illinois. Not such a big deal if you frame it that way. ND won’t refuse to join because of trading away any cherished rivalry (they will play USC & Navy OOC forever), they will refuse to join because (a) independence in football is part of their identity and (b) they have qualms about their religious identity — and emphasis on outstanding undergraduate education — getting lost in the Big 10/CIC. I hope FLP_NDRo would agree

    • 84Lion says:

      Normally I don’t think much of Forde, but I thought that article was pretty good too. I’d feel bad for Missouri and Rutgers, but…

      Stewart Mandel at SI came to the same conclusion, but back before Christmas of last year.


      • M says:

        I find it amusing though that Mandel’s “crazy” suggestion from 5 months ago is Forde’s “reasonable” one for today. I’m not sure what that says about the direction the overall discussion has taken, the relative merits of Mandel vs Forde, or how much better Northwestern’s journalism school is than Missouri’s. Seriously, look at the articles side by side. They are effectively identical in how they consider schools. Just take Mandel’s article, add a pissant tone and a few questionable assumptions (e.g. the SEC would expand in response to 16, a larger conference would be the end of all that is holy in this world) and you get Forde’s.

        • 84Lion says:

          I was thinking the same thing. Either Forde was channeling Mandel or plagiarizing him, or both.

          Frankly, when Mandel wrote that article I considered him something just short of a “real man of genius.” Seriously, I thought it was a fairly astute observation given everything we know about the Big Ten. Some among us might wonder if discussions had already been rumored between the Big Ten and Big Red at the time Mandel wrote that.

    • Djinn Djinn says:

      I can’t say I found Forde’s article as insightful as some of you did. For instance, Forde says:

      1) The Big 10 is “stodgy” and has dynasties in volleyball, fencing and women’s lacrosse, but spends most of its time “ staring up at the SEC”.

      2) That the B10′s expansion means “pillaging” conferences that will trigger “robberies” elsewhere, and will “destroy” collegiality and “blow up” college sports overall.

      3) He doesn’t recommend that his alma mater, Missouri, join.

      4) Texas would be a “geographic joke” in the Big 10, (even though the B12 itself is pretty spread out as are several other conferences.)

      5) Notre Dame may give up money by joining, but they’d give up Thanksgiving games against USC for a lowly am start against last-place Illinois.

      5) The B10 should only expand by one team—Nebraska.

      Clearly Forde is no fan of the Big Ten, nor its expansion. That’s okay; he’s a commentator and is entitled to his opinion.

      But he needs to understand WHY the Big Ten wants to expand. No, it’s not for the championship game. So inviting one single team doesn’t really accomplish that.

      So while I can see the appeal of Forde’s recommendation, Nebraska, and I agree it’s a TV draw, if other good candidates are out there, expansion can’t stop there. It’s not what’s best for the B10, even though it might be best for Pat Forde.

      The B10 has found a formula to make a lot more money, and to make the most of it, the B10 needs content. And that means more schools. I’d wager most schools (including his alma mater) can see a HUGE upside to joining the Big Ten, even if he cannot.

      The only insight I really see with this article is his point that the Big Ten should choose their invitees carefully.

      • michaelC says:

        The Forde article is narrow-minded and focused on athletics. He simply doesn’t express any knowledge of the vision required to understand the manifold nature of expansion (i.e it’s not just athletics). It is hard to say if he doesn’t understand or if he is constrained by his job title. In either case his comments are worthless in understanding what the Big Ten might do and the rationale for the move.

        Frank and everybody here should take a bow. I have no doubt this blog and its commentariate are light years beyond the ‘analysis’ coming from sports writers.

        • Guido says:

          I agree with the above 2 posts on all counts. I have been wondering if the national media outlets
          1- Don’t understand this stuff
          2- Understand, but for some reason are holding back (TV negotiations?)
          3- Don’t think the fans could understand this stuff.

          My guess is they really don’t understand it,their sources are all guys who don’t understand it, and whats worse, they think they’ve got it covered pretty well.

          Yesterday I saw a clip of the great brain child, Craig James, talk about why Texas would never join the Big 10. It was basically his own emotional and personal reason why he wouldn’t do it if he were Texas. Not even worth a link!

      • djinndjinn says:

        Personally, I don’t think most commentators get the big picture. I think they believe it’s about the BT championship and that’s it. I doubt many understand how BT schools view themselves as academic institutions. Many individuals from private schools think all state schools are the same. If you’re from any random school–West Virginia, Louisville, Auburn, Kansas State, wherever–they probably think the BT is just another conference with sports teams. I doubt most people, let alone writers, know what the AAU is. How many who went to journalism school would have even ever heard of it? How many players or coaches from other conferences? In fact, a lot of BT alums probably don’t know if they weren’t in the sciences. I doubt many know what the CIC is or what membership means to member schools. I also doubt many understand the BTN side of the equation. (I didn’t before I started reading this blog. Thanks particularly to Patrick on that front.)

        I think many, too, are biased. They may not like the idea of the BT changing the landscape. Particularly those who support schools in smaller conferences. They may think, why should the rich get richer? SEC fans may not like the idea of the BT passing their conference in football, or pulling away from it in cash. Some may be ND fans who don’t like the idea of the BT “corrupting” their school. I think most anyone from outside the BT wouldn’t like the idea of these schools earning several times what their school can earn. I’d say much of this is true for this writer.

        For these reasons, many fans from other schools would just love for the BT to fail. For schools to turn the BT down.

  90. Well Played Mauer says:

    Not sure where in the thread this will end up but here is a link to a article from a Detroit sports writer that was picked up by the Dallas News.


    I think it sums the whole process up till now pretty well. A long time ago on a blog far far way Frank said to “think like a university president”. As this circus as rolled on and we all have gone further down the rabbit hole, I think many of us here are not thinking like a university president but are rather thinking like a TV executive. What with talk of demographics, DMAs, TV contracts, carrier rates and market share.

    But TV markets mean little if your network has less than completing content.

    Basically the author says, and I think rightfully so that without Texas and/or Notre Dame it is not worth it. And any mishmash of Pitt, Rutgers Uconn, Syracuse, Mizzou, Iowa State, etc is just going to be a wasted opportunity. Even if the conference can make money of these schools what does that do to the Big Ten brand?

    Adding a bunch of schools [while all very good institutions] that have no real national following does not make the BTN more “essential” to people lives, nor does it make the Big Ten a National Conference.

    After all I have read here I feel the best course of action would be to try and go to 14 with Texas, Notre Dame, and Nebraska and lobby the NCAA for a extra regular season game. This nets the 3 National Brands that are conceivably getable; schools will still be able to play each other every two years, only 8 conference games will be needed, and Texas & ND get 5 OOC games to use as they see fit.

    If Texas & Notre Dame are not interested, but the Big Ten is dead set on a conference title game, go to 12 with Nebraska, and save Armageddon for another day. Delany said himself at the Big Ten AD meeting something to the effect, that sometimes it is better not to act.

    Just because TV money can be made by slitting the throat of the Big East and plucking 5 random schools from the ensuing carnage and call them Big Ten Schools does not make it a good idea.

    • PSUGuy says:

      Personally I hear the words of an Athletic Director, not a university president…

      While Neb/Texas/ND are by far the golden geese of any expansion to simply dismiss schools like UConn, Cuse, Ruters, Mizzou etc is a little short sighted.

      They are all good schools, with large population bases to provide prospective students, and bring much in non-athletic benefits via diversitying the Big10 geographical footprint, expanding the CIC, and as a whole strenghtening the conference.

      Are they all Texas? Of course not, but if the Big10 could add a couple “no name” schools and create a conference that is more stable, academically respected, and profitable than any other why should they stick around for the big boys who are dragging their feet?

      Waiting for ND has gotten the Big10 no where. Waiting for Texas will be the same. If neither want to join, no problem. Get some schools elsewhere, expand the BTN and laugh as those same schools see the likes of Indiana make 2, 3, 4 etc times what they make from their conference.

      IMO, the Big10 needs to make its move now (well within the 12-18 months timeframe originally quoted) and take schools with the smarts and vision to continue the Big10 ways. Everyone after will just be trying to cash in after the risks have all but been elliminated.

      • 84Lion says:

        Concur. I don’t think it is wise to give the Big 12 time to either patch things up with Nebraska or impose stiff exit penalties that will only aggravate the situation. If Texas or ND come back in a few years it will be the Big Ten that let them wait and sweat.

      • zeek says:

        Yeah I don’t really think any of the schools being considered should be dissed just because of the focus on Texas/Notre Dame.

        I’m one of those who are glad that Notre Dame hasn’t joined yet because then we’d be stuck at 12 with no incentive to go up.

        A Big Ten with ND at 12 members is too stable to be able to deal with the demographics trends of the next 30-50 years and beyond that, and we might have regretted such a situation in hindsight in 2050…

        There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Rutgers needs to build up its football brand, but it has the potential to do that because of its location.

        I do tend to agree that we need to make the move to 14 now, and then integrate those schools and look to the next thing.

        • PSUGuy says:

          Personally, I’d make the argument 16 is the magic number.

          At 16 you can create and perfect the 4 division system, show how viable the BTN is (IMO even without national brands), and squash any of the old adages about conferences can’t survive past a certain number (unless of course we crash and burn…).

          Then in 15 years, if the the Big10 is paying out to Indiana twice what even the SEC big programs are getting (especially with “2nd tier” universities) then it’ll make the “power” position the Big10 currently finds itself in to appear weak and inconsequential by comparison and there will be no program within reason that would have justification not to join.

          A move to 14 delays that timetable (at least in my warped mind) by that same 15 year period, because I just don’t see a second round happening (goes back to the whole “Big10 will expand just in time for contract negotiations in 2016 then sit for the length of the contract to stabilize itself” theory I have).

          • zeek says:

            Well I mean we still have a couple years till our negotiations start for the new 15 year contract in 2015-2016?

            I would hope we’re at 16 teams by then, so I do agree with what you’re saying. I don’t think we need to go to 16 this year or next though (is what I’m saying).

            I’d like to see us add 3 teams by this year, and then revisit this issue in 2013-2014 after giving 14 teams a go for a year or two…

          • zeek says:

            Oh hah, you got to that in your last paragraph.

            Well that’s what I’ve been hoping for…

            But hey, at least we look like we’re going to 14 or 16 this year. It could be a lot worse…

  91. loki_the_bubba says:

    One thing that has not been sufficiently discussed from your original post is the KFC Double Down sandwich. I had the opportunity to consume one for lunch today. Rest assured that it is an idea best appreciated on paper and not experienced in real life. Uninteresting sauce, chewy bacon, and mediocre chicken are not enhanced by excess. By bite three your mouth is craving a pickle, some lettuce, a little onion, anything to add some variety and monotony-relieving texture.

    I had to try it once. I see no point in having another.

  92. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Loki – I tried it too, but didn’t finish it. Unimpressed. BTW, if you guys have Popeye’s in your area, there is no reason to ever go to a KFC again, except to experiment on something like a double down.

    Popeye’s is the greatest fried chicken ever!

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      We do have Popeye’s in Houston. But we also have Frenchy’s, one step above it.

      • Playoffs Now! says:


        1) Frenchy’s
        2) Popeye’s

        step down

        3) Some Hartz outlets. Good buffet, too. Tastes like the old Ron’s Chicken before they disappeared.
        4) Church’s spicy

        big, big step down

        5) KFC

    • M says:

      I’m not really sure of the geographic extent of it, but I’ve recently become a fan of Raising Caines. It’s the only fried chicken place I would actually voluntarily go to. I haven’t heard of or tried Frenchy’s though.

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        Raising Cane’s is a Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based restaurant chain owned by a LSU grad that goes to my church.

        Raising Cane’s is quite a success story. Todd got this idea for a chicken finger restaurant while at LSU. He wrote a business plan for a class and got a “C-”. After graduation, he tried to get financing, but every bank in town turned him down. He moved up to Alaska and worked on a fishing boat to raise money for his restaurant. His first restaurant was opened about 10 years ago, just outside the North gates of LSU. Now he has a top 500 restaurant chain and isn’t even 40.

        On behalf of my friend, Todd Graves, Raising Caine’s Founder/CEO/Cashier/Fry Cook, thank you for your support of a fine Louisiana-based business.

        • OriginalRed says:

          Oh my I just recently experienced the wonderment, and mystique that is Raising Cane’s, or as me and my boys call it “The Middle School Girl.” Why call it this, I’m glad you asked; Think way back to your freshman or sophomore year of high school. You come back from summer break and your sitting at lunch when you see this hot girl that you had never met before, then after you start talking you remember you have known her since the 6th grade she just all of a sudden got hot. That is how Raising Cane’s was. always saw it but one day tried it and realized it was by far the best chicken joint in town.

          I am however a little sad that it’s founder was an LSU graduate. I still have nightmares about the 07 title game. I also find it disturbing that I have been reading this blog for months now and the first thing comment I make is on the behalf of Chicken.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Red – I this doesn’t make you lose your appetite for those chicken fingers, but Les Miles does the local commercials for Raising Cane’s.

  93. zeek says:

    If the Big Ten felt that it had to go to 16 this year (and I’m among those who thinks it won’t without Texas or ND) as PSUGuy and some others have favored, what would the best option be if Texas/ND were off the table?

    Almost all of us think 3 have to be Nebraska/Missouri/Rutgers. But the 2 to get to 16 is always the hard part of the equation.

    I think Colorado (if the Pac-10 doesn’t make a move) and Maryland (if willing to leave the ACC, which is highly improbable at this point) are probably the optimal two since they get you the anchor out west in Denver and one of the fastest growing states putting alumni all over the west, and then Maryland’s access to the D.C. markets. It’d be worth giving Texas A&M a look if Maryland says no, but Colorado says yes…

    If neither of those are in the game, then we’d probably go with Pitt. and Syracuse, but the question has always been what they deliver that the Big Ten doesn’t already have with Penn State and Rutgers that plays 25 miles away from Manhattan. I think we all feel that Pitt. is exactly the kind of school that we’re looking for, it’s just a location problem. Both great academically; the issue has always been whether they make sense from the financial side of the equation.

    • zeek says:

      I exclude UConn because although it is academically in the mix, I think the AAU “requirement” will be in place until Notre Dame joins. After Notre Dame, then we’d probably be willing to consider other non-AAU schools that have the academic heft, but I really think Notre Dame has to be the one to do away with the AAU “requirement.”

    • PSUGuy says:

      Never been a big fan of Colorado as a Big10 school. Nothing against them, I just always say them as more Pac10 material.

      Maryland is very in, but I really think they’re happy in the ACC.

      Syracuse, IMO, becomes a must have. It would add 20 million people to the Big10 footprint via NY (the state) and provide one more “chip” to locking down the north east.

      UConn, I actually disagree on the AAU thing. While its true UConn is late to the table in focusing on being a larger, research based public university it has made great strides in becoming exactly that over the past 20 years. For comparison, UConn has as much research spending as Mizzou & Neb and is better ranked by the ARWU. Point being, if those two have AAU status UConn should. I actually think this is a solid school to add as a fifth, especially if it somehow becomes the de-facto university of New England and locks down said states for the Big10.

      Pitt is great in every way except the bottom line. I’m sure the Big10 would continue to make money with it, but adds nothing via “footprint”. It’d be interesting to see though.

      Personally, I take Syracuse and UConn. Together they add great footprints, good basketball programs (in areas where that is huge), good academics, and best of all allows the BigEast to continue on (since none are “pillar” schools). However, without 30 million+ folks in their footprint (from Cuse, Rutgers, and UConn) they’ll continue to see football $$$ fall off the table and without its North East schools Notre Dame will find it harder to schedule in its historic stomping grounds…that is unless it wants to add even MORE Big10 schools to its schedule.

      • zeek says:

        Yeah, Conn does make more sense than Pitt and when you put its research capabilities like that, it probably would get AAU status sometime in the next decade or two (I doubt the Big Ten universities would push for it immediately so it doesn’t look political, etc.)…

      • FLP_NDRox says:

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but are any schools in the Big East *more* of a pillar to both football and basketball than UCONN and Syracuse?

        The loss of three teams kills Big East football. I doubt the Big Ten is anxious to do that. I also doubt that the Big Ten is anxious to take on a non-ND private school or non-ND non-AAU member.

        • PSUGuy says:

          I would say they aren’t because none of the Rutgets/Syracuse/UConn trio factor into the BCS qualifier status-ing for the BigEast (as they typically don’t finish Top25).

          As for basketball, they’d be losing two big name programs true, but with 16 total basketball schools it wouldn’t kill that side of the conference at all.

    • Justin says:

      If we cannot get sixteen teams, I would prefer that the Big 10 just add Nebraska and divide into these divisions.

      Penn State
      Ohio State

      Michigan State

      Synopsis: I understand Michigan and MSU are more eastern then Northwestern and Illinois, but I really think you need to protect the competitive balance of the divisions. The best way to ensure that is to divide Michigan/Nebraska/OSU/PSU into two divisions.

      In a twelve-team conference, you could easily have a protected rival from the other division.

      My protected rivals


      I would move the Michigan-Ohio State game to the first Big 10 game. I have no problem with a rematch of UM/OSU, but I think playing two straight games is excessive.

      PSU/OSU and UM/MSU can play at the end of the season.

      • zeek says:

        I really don’t see Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State being put into different divisions unless its a 16 team expansion with pods.

        If 12 with Nebraska:

        Big Ten West

        Big Ten East
        Michigan State
        Ohio State
        Penn State

        This is by far the best way to ensure that all of the teams play their rivals and then 3 crossover games each season, so each team would play every other team every two seasons or four seasons (if home and home). I think the competitive balance issues are overrated because Nebraska is as good as Michigan/Penn State/Ohio State and Iowa/Wisconsin are right there in the mix and would be considered #5-6. So you’d have 1 of the top 4 along with 5-6 and then the other 3 of the top 4 in the other division… If you set it up like this you don’t need protected rivalries for the most part.

        If 14 with Nebraska/Missouri/Rutgers:

        Big Ten West

        Big Ten East
        Michigan State
        Ohio State
        Penn State

        Adding Missouri and Rutgers actually improves the competitive balance a bit since I think Missouri is a more competitive team right off the bat in a proposed Big Ten West.

        Note that Indianapolis (Lucas Oil Stadium) would be the CCG location. You wouldn’t even need a rotation in either scenario. Personally, I think either 12 or 14 works easily.

        • Scott C says:

          I agreee with zeek on the 12 team league. Keep Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State in the east with Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin in the west. Then just rotate the out-of-division games like the Big XII does.

          In a 16-team league, you can fairly easily setup rotating pods so pods would be grouped together 2 years out of six. Then just add one guaranteed rivalry game (e.g. Michigan-Ohio State).

          In my opinion, the hardest setup to account for is the 14-team league. I just don’t like a division setup as it’s harder to rotate though the other division than it would be in a 12-team league. For this I think a special pod system would work.

          Create a permanent East and West Pod of 4 teams each:

          Penn State


          Then create 2 central pods:

          Central A
          Michigan State

          Central B
          Ohio State

          The central pods would then rotate every two years while the East and West pods are static. There would then be 6 division games and room for two out-of-division games.

          The East and West out-of-division games would rotate between their opposing pods. For example, years one and two Nebraska would play Indiana and Penn State, years three and four they would play Purdue and Rutgers.

          The central pods would play their out-of-division games against each other. There would be one permanent rival. The other game would rotate every two years between the other two teams in the opposing pod. So, Michigan would always play Ohio State, and their second out-of-division game would rotate between Illinois and Missouri.

          Central Rivals would be as follows:

          Michigan-Ohio State
          Michigan State-Missouri

          Hopefully that wasn’t too complicated. This setup would ensure in a 14-team league that all teams would play each other at least twice every four years.

          • angryapple says:

            Great post.

            I like this much better than the two seven school divisions. I still think my simple three permanent rivals, rotate five of the other ten every year is better, but your shows more creativity and allows for a championship game.

  94. Scott C says:

    Interesting interview with Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald on the local Omaha sports show.


    Interview starts at 9:50

    Lee brings up a point he made in his last column on the expansion, the Big XII and Nebraska/Missouri could negotiate a deal or some sort of buyout if the Big XII has their replacements ready to go. If anything is announced this fall, before the season starts, you could almost see them in the Big Ten for the 2011 season.

    • SuperD says:

      There has been some discussion on some of the Colorado boards speculating or suggesting that the Big 12 might let Colorado leave amicably as part of a Western Alliance deal with the PAC 10. In addition getting to twelve for a championship game the PAC 10 and to a lesser extent would be happy to…umm significantly diminish…the chances of an AQ Mountain West conference. The speculation has been Utah and Colorado to the PAC, with Big 12 taking BYU or TCU as a replacement, or both if there is more than one slot available in the Big 12. Losing all 3 or maybe just 2 would likely kill the MWC’s AQ bid even if they add Boise.

      This somewhat flies in the face of Beebe’s statement on not taking any teams in the Big 12′s existing footprint, but you can see how there could be benefits to both leagues, and if its a joint TV deal the Big 12 isn’t really losing the Colorado market.

    • angryapple says:

      I also think there will be a negotiated buyout in the Big Twelve. After all the bad blood of the last five months and likely the next seven, does the Big Twelve really want to stay together for two more football seasons on top of that?

      They’ve had plenty of time to decide what to do after Nebraska and Missouri/Colorado leave and the options seem to be either add BYU/TCU/Memphis to get back to 12 or stand pat at nine or ten and get a true round robin going. Plus they will have incentive to come to a quick, clear solution so that Oklahoma and Texas A&M don’t try to get the hell out.

      • zeek says:

        I agree, especially with your last sentiment.

        Keeping Nebraska/Missouri/Colorado in limbo would only increase the uncertainty of the situation for A&M and Oklahoma which would spend the 2 years making phone calls to the SEC and possibly the Pac-10 or Big Ten in the case of A&M…

  95. Phil Ferrari says:

    As I indicated about a week ago, IMO, the unofficial approval has already been given by the Big 10 power structure for NE, MO RU and ND. Texas was not asked yet due to their ongoing studies re: LHN, etc. I believe the first four have been asked to submit an application for admission to the Big 10, as reported by station 850 in KC. The delay in any announcements have to do with due diligence regarding NE/MO getting out of Big XII early.

  96. Rick says:

    I just came across this article in the Tribune from Teddy Greenstein, pardon me if it was posted earlier today. He talks about expansion candidates, academics, AAU, and APR as factors not to be overlooked with quotes from various Big Ten folks.


    • Patrick says:

      I find it interesting that the sports writers for most outlets continuously google search the Undergraduate US News & World Report Rankings and spit them out as gospel….. even while in the same article has quotes like these……

      Smith envisions Big Ten schools uniting to “do some things for our country and our world. … Just imagine schools with cancer centers collaborating to ultimately find a cure.”

      “Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany downplayed that Tuesday by saying: “I don’t know about rankings in a magazine. I think AAU membership is an important part of who we are, an important aspect of what makes an institution a research institution that serves the public.”

      All the while, many of the posters on this blog have recognized that research budgets are about ten times what the athletic budgets are. Strikes me as laziness by the sports writers. Damn, look how much Wisconsin and Michigan spend on graduate research! Doesn’t that hit these guys as something they may find important. ***Like minded acedemic institutions***

      • rich2 says:

        It is really not surprising at all — in fact, I have found it surprising that so many posters on this board have tried to forge such a strong link between undergraduate programs such as athletics to graduate research.

        When you think about cfb on a sunny Saturday afternoon (or for the Big Ten, a Thursday night), is it really your image to think of a 29-year doctoral student, married and two kids supporting his or her team. For most people, the image is undergraduates cheering on their undergraduate compatriots.

        More often, the strength of affiliation measured in terms of donations or self-identification is much stronger between individuals and their undergraduate institution vs. individuals and where they received their masters, doctoral or post-doctoral degrees — affiliation is much stronger with your undergraduate program. I know that universities have studied this issue of differential rates of participation among alum who hold undergraduate vs. graduate degrees. I could find a relevant citation fairly quickly if pressed.

        You don’t think that collegiate sports is tied more closely to the undergraduate student body than the graduate student body?

        This is why the undergraduate metrics appear to be more relevant — college athletics is largely an undergraduate program with its closest ties to the undergraduate student body.

        • djinndjinn says:

          Athletics is tied more to undergraduate education than graduate education because a) the athletes are undergrads, b) there are typically a lot more undergrads at a school than graduate students, c) most undergrads don’t go on to grad school at all, c) if they do go, it’s often for a much shorter time, and d) many schools don’t even have a graduate school or its an afterthought.

          Students will donate more to their undergraduate school because a) it’s a more formative time of life, b) most students don’t go on to grad school, so there’s really only one school to which they’d donate, c) if they do go to grad school, it’s typically for an MBA or maybe law school and it’s shorter than undergraduate years, d) a lot of small, private, liberal arts sorts of colleges providing a large chunk of undergrad education need bigger endowments and hound grads for donations. In comparison, most grad school positions are a large, state universities that don’t need that sort of level of funding to anywhere near the same extent.

          For your Notre Dame, I’d imagine the powers that run the school think of themselves as an undergraduate institution first and foremost. I’d imagine that’s how you view your school, yourself.

          For my Wisconsin (or the other BT schools), I’d imagine the president (voting on BT membership) thinks of both grad and undergraduate departments. The graduate department accounts for an enormous amount of funds going through the school each year, so the graduate department would have a huge voice. Probably the louder voice.

          When I think of Wisconsin or Penn State or Michigan, or Purdue, I think of large, very good schools doing huge research. Personally, I don’t differentiate grad and undergrad depts so much.

          And personally, I’d look at a Texas or Washington or UCLA similarly. In fact, when I think of some schools, (Pitt, Cal Berkeley, Cal Tech, I think of their grad school more than their undergrad school.

          But I wouldn’t look at a Montana or a West Virginia or a South Dakota State or an Auburn or a Oklahoma State in the same way. I think of undergraduates.

          Anyway, when we discuss research numbers and such, it’s because either that’s how we see those schools or because we know that’s how those schools see themselves and these are factors they’d consider in choosing what school to invite to join the BT.

        • Patrick says:

          I think you totally missed my point. Absolutely, I agree that undergrads are tied more closely to athletics. But graduate research is very important to the presidents and the university as a whole. Wisconsin makes roughly $80 million in athletics, but spend around $800 million on research. So a university president would probably be about 10 X more concerned with acedemic research. Football and basketball are great and make the university proud and make money at some schools, but undergraduate metrics don’t mean as much as the huge dollars involved in research.

          • Djinn Djinn says:

            Wisconsin may have passed the billion dollar mark last year. Michigan did, and they indicated other schools passed that mark, too.

          • zeek says:

            I think a lot of people don’t really understand that the reason why graduate education is much more important to collaboration is that there is relatively little collaboration to be done in undergraduate education.

            When you really think about it, undergraduate education is much more of a “zero sum” game. You want the best undergraduate students from the best high schools with the best test scores, and you want to give them your 4 year education (up to 6 years to complete often enough) and then send them on their way. But the process is discrete in terms of packaged units of undergraduate students.

            However, universities collaborate in athletics and graduate research because those are much more of a “positive sum” game situation. Yes you compete once again for the best athletes and graduate students, but once you have them on campus, their situation is enhanced by the conference situation. Hence you have the Big Ten with all the athletics focus (even though athletics are tied into the undergraduate school), but the collaboration arm of the conference, the CIC, focuses mostly on graduate research.

            It just happens to be a unique issue that schools need to be able to work together to lift all boats in athletics but there aren’t really opportunities like that in undergraduate education because its a much more contained situation where schools compete only at the entry of the students.

            In athletics and graduate research, you compete every year on the field and for research grants, which is a totally different situation from the general undergraduate experience which generally occurs on campus in a way that isn’t really compared to other campuses…

          • rich2 says:

            I think your point is muddled on two fronts. First, you would have to demonstrate the marginal increase in research grants received by current Big Ten+ institutions if a new member is added. Rutgers, Missouri and Nebraska is added to the Big 14. How many additional dollars in research dollars will Wisconsin receive as a result of this addition? I know that no one on this board know the answer to this question. How does this affect Ohio State, MSU, Iowa and so on?

            Second, could we agree that the “profit” from research grants is far, far less than the overhead cost applied to an external grant. If Wisconsin receives 1b in grants, what is the net profit received? 5%? 6%? Is it profitable at all? Show me. I know IU’s budget extremely well so don’t use platitudes or confuse the public face with the hidden game of cross-subsidies.

          • djinndjinn says:

            Rich, as for producing a figure of the financial windfall or shortfall that might come with an addition to the Big Ten of a Rutgers versus Nebraska, such estimates would, of course, be difficult to estimate even were we to work for the Big Ten and have access to their numbers. (And even if we had the time or expertise to run the numbers.)

            I’m sure university presidents would have access to whatever estimates exist, not only on research spin offs, but also for estimated athletic and BTN profits, however, most of us certainly do not.

            I’d have to go by my assumption that if university presidents feel expansion would come at an estimated financial loss, the BT likely won’t expand. If they feel there’s money to be made, they likely will. I’ll leave the accounting specifics to them to suss out–unless you, as a budget guy at a Big Ten school, have access to such figures, yourself.

            As for the request for information on UW’s $900 million to $1 billion research budget, I doubt many of us are employed by Big Ten universities, and few of us have a lot of access to such information or the accounting wherewithal to process it.

            However, as you know IU’s budget extremely well, it would be of great interest if you would break down the numbers for us. Plus IU’s budget is a fair bit smaller than UW’s so that should be easier to do.

            I’d be curious to see IU’s numbers on where the research money is going. What percentage, for instance, goes to actual research versus university costs (lab space, heat, lights), prof income, and offsetting tuition costs. (That could be taken as “profit” of course, but because IU is a non-profit institution, such “profits” may be invested in that manner.)

            I do know, for example, that just 15.4% of the UW budget comes from student tuition and just 18.7% comes from state revenue. I’d be curious to see what numbers you have on IU.

            What, if anything of research profits / investments is going towards campus construction? E.g., the Institute of Disovery at UW that will be completed in 2010 has a pricetag of $375 million, half of which is covered by private enterprise funding (for research) and another $50 million is covered by WARF (see below), in other words, from profits made directly from UW patents.

            Perhaps some of IU’s research spin offs is going for such endeavours there?

            Also, if you’d include where the patent money produced by that research going? That is, I assume IU has an equivalent of WARF, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation that does the patenting and helps direct money realized by that research? At Wisconsin, that’s a separate budget to UW’s. In fact, WARF has an endowment of over $2 billion above and beyond that of UW (that’s actually more than UW’s endowment) and does over a billion dollars in sales from patents per year. Much of that comes from things like Vitamin D (discovered at UW) and the blood thinnner, Warfarin (named for WARF, of course). While WARF is a separate budget technically, the WARF money is 100% derived from UW research, so should be considered in such an analysis, given that their yearly sales is actually larger than the entire UW research budget each year, and given that a lot of these profits make their way back to UW in one way or the other (new research funding, construction on campus, offsetting wages, etc.) but may not show up on UW books. With your background, it sounds like you have access to that sort of information for IU’s equivalent.

            Wisconsin research has also spun off quite a few companies (Nimblegen, Tomotherapy, Third Wave Tech, OpGen, several others) that provide quite a few new and decent-paying tech jobs. I assume the same is true at Indiana. It would interesting to see jobs and income IU research is producing as spin offs as part of the benefit for research. I believe UW keeps those numbers; I assume IU does as well.

            The income from these companies woudn’t likely show up as “profit” to a non-profit state university, but is of great benefit to the state and nation, nonetheless, and a result of research.

            Given your inside knowledge on such matters, I’d appreciate it if you could break that info down a bit for us so we can be a bit more educated on the subject.

          • PSUGuy says:

            Point of clarification…it might not “spend” that much in research it “does” that amount. The difference being much of that comes $$$ comes in the form of federally given grants. The reason why this distincition is important IMO is because roughly half that amount (based on the article I read which of course I cannot find right now) can be used for “infrastructure related to research”, as opposed to the research itself.

            Thus if a school does 1b in research, roughly 500million is “profit” by the fact it can use those funds for capital reinvestment in the university.

            As for patents, businesses, etc providing actual profits that research will pay out I have no info on that, though I can’t believe schools would share that money. Though by having more “total” money in the CIC (ie through the addition of like minded schools) it makes it much cheaper to reach a breakthrough as you are able to better leverage research at other sites (don’t have to recreate it yourself).

          • PSUGuy says:

            As an aside, if you’re discussing this topic with a ND fan then you’ve already lost.

            They don’t care about research (literally, look at their school) and refuse to believe that anything other than undergraduate focused academics and football matter (I might throw other college athletics in there, though its obviously given 2nd priority).

            Fact is, in the BigEast or the SEC, maybe that is the case (as a whole, though obviously individual schoools might disagree). The Big10 however is the only conference (that I know of anyway) that actually has tied the graduate level research arm of the university into the conference equation.

            For the Big10, it IS a big part of what they do and as such will be factored into heavily come expansion time.

            I mean if not, why even have the CIC?

          • djinndjinn says:


            You’re absolutely correct about federal money financing research. Such money is the largest single source of income to UW. I don’t know about other schools, but I’d imagine this is true at many, maybe all Big Ten universities, particularly at those BT schools doing the most research–UW, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, and Minnesota (all in the top 13 in the nation).

            This is why the state budget issues (which are certainly real) that Rich brings up tell just a portion of the story of BT school funding. As I mentioned above, state financing represents under 20% of UW’s source of money, and this is going down every year. When I went to school a million years ago, state taxes covered 50% of the UW’s budget. The fact that a major university in a state is able to take less and less money from the state coffers–while it simultaneously educates tens of thousands of residents each year–certainly shows some of the benefit to research money.

            As for the percentage of yearly research money passing through UW’s books that goes to “profit” (or at least to offsetting operating and capital costs at a university, therby decreasing the state tax burden to the state), you may be right about the 50% figure. I don’t honestly know.

            As Rich has a lot of expertise in his school’s budget and is quizzing us to see if we know, it seems clear Rich has access to those numbers. The research level at IU may be half of that of UW or Penn State, but we’re still talking about $400 million per year, a sizeable sum. Hopefully Rich won’t mind providing that for us so we all get a clearer picture.

            As for money made on patents, I can’t speak to Penn State or other schools. I, too, would imagine it would be kept private. However, Wisconsin’s WARF seems to be relatively forthcoming on that information. A lot can be read on their own website, though maybe they keep other information less transparent.

            It’s astounding to me that WARF’s endowment (derived wholly from research patent profits) is larger than that of the entire endowment of the University of Wisconsin and that it does more in sales (not necessarily profit) than the UW’s annual research budget.

            As those numbers are kept separately from UW’s research budget, you wouldn’t fully grasp the importance of WARF if you simply looked at the university’s profile, but it illustrates rather clearly the benefits of research to a university.

            Also illustrative of the benefits of research would be the information about spin offs from start-up corporations. Some 43 such companies are profiled on WARF’s website (warf.org). The high-tech jobs produced by these sorts of companies would not be accounted for in a simple university budget, but it helps the US at a time of economic woes and is still another way to see the practical value of research.

            No offense to small, private liberal arts schools that don’t do much research, but these are the sorts of jobs that provide new sources of wealth for the US, but aren’t going to be reflected in a simple university budget. (And UW alone accounts for several dozen spin off companies. How many are associated with the Big Ten overall?)

            Again, as a guy with a great deal of knowledge about IU’s finances, Rich will likely have IU’s version of this information at his fingertips. It will be interesting to read.

      • prophetstruth says:


        I think the excerpt below, from an article posted above and re-posted below, gives insight into the role of the CIC and why posters emphasis the graduate and academic aspects of Big10 expansion.

        Academics also count.

        The Big Ten’s 11 schools also are members of the Association of American Universities. That organization consists of 63 public and private research universities in the United States and Canada. Most schools mentioned as potential Big Ten targets are in the organization.

        The Big Ten’s academic counterpart is the Committee on Institutional Cooperation. It consists of the Big Ten’s 11 schools, plus the University of Chicago.

        “In the little closed world of higher education, we’re known . . . but I’m forever having to explain to my grandmother what it is we do,” said Barbara McFadden Allen, who directs the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, based in Champaign, Ill.

        The Committee on Institutional Cooperation connects the universities.

        “Together, we save money, solve problems, share assets and build opportunity for faculty and researchers,” Allen said.

        Initiatives include joint purchasing, the digitization of millions of books and the creation of fiber optic network.

        “By almost any metric – investment in research, number of top-ten academic programs, national rankings and enrollment – the CIC universities are very similar,” Allen said in an e-mail. “This helps us move together on projects and initiatives in ways that would be difficult for a more disparate group. I guess the sports analogy would be if you tried to mix a conference with division one and division two level schools – they wouldn’t have anything to play about.”

        Coaches, athletes and fans might be awaiting the final outcome of Big Ten expansion. And so, too, are the administrators and scholars.

        Allen said the Big Ten presidents and the league commissioner “understand and appreciate the academic enterprise.” She said if expansion occurs, the leaders will “be bringing in a university and not a team.”

        “I trust and believe they’re looking at the whole package,” she said.


    • m (Ag) says:

      Reasons why the 16 team WAC failed:

      1) It didn’t make money
      2) It didn’t make money
      3) It didn’t make money

      The rest was just details.

      Still, it is surprising to read they apparently sincerely believed universities like TCU and Rice would make much of an impact in their home cities.

    • Patrick says:

      That’s a good article. Geography and scheduling are issues. Believing you are worth something and not being able to back it up is a Killer.

      Comments about Houston & TCU not delivering their home markets is telling.

      • Nostradamus says:


        • GCS says:


          I was thinking more *cough*Syracuse/Rutgers*cough*

          • Mike R says:

            The allure of Rutgers isn’t so much its intrinsic appeal in its home market (although that’s not insignificant — there is a waiting list for RU football season tickets, and there are tons of RU alums throughout NJ, a wealthy and growing state), but it provides a NY-area stage for the Big 10′s biggest names: tOSU, Penn State, Michigan and (name your favorite “home-run” addition from Texas, Nebraska or ND).

  97. Paul says:

    Dumb question: Apart from the public image associated with membership in a particular sports conference (which I get) is there any other, more tangible, reason why academics are such an important consideration for sports conferences?

    I mean, if there is some tangible benefit to like-minded universities working together on in academic areas, couldn’t the like minded universities simply agree to cooperate academically without having their respective football teams square off?

    • zeek says:

      Because the Big Ten has a research consortium called the CIC which includes UChicago even though they aren’t a Big Ten member anymore.

      The Big Ten schools view their alliance as much more comprehensive than just sports, so the CIC is only going to be offered to schools that join for both.