Dirty South for the Big Ten?

Posted: May 25, 2010 in Uncategorized

Let me preface this blog post by stating that I am not an “insider” regarding Big Ten expansion nor have ever claimed to be.  However, as this blog has received more attention from across the country, I’ve been sent a good amount of information from people that actually do have relevant contacts.  Parsing through it all has been interesting since there has been a fair amount of conflicting stories by people who swear to be in the know (which has occurred in many places throughout the blogosphere and message board world).  So, I don’t blame anyone for taking this particular blog post with a grain of salt.  There’s a fairly good chance that all of this will be debunked by next week just like many other Big Ten expansion rumors.  I will say that the ultimate sources of this information would be privy to what was stated last week at the Big Ten meetings with Jim Delany.  Frankly, I couldn’t make this list up as it flies in the face of a lot of arguments and assumptions that I’ve set forth in this blog.

It appears that the Big Ten has been heavily discussing the following five schools:  Texas, Texas A&M, Maryland, Virginia and Vanderbilt.  I’m not saying that these are the only five schools being discussed, none of the “usual suspects” such as Nebraska and Rutgers will end up being included, or the Big Ten has forgotten about Notre Dame, but these are apparently all targets that the conference is focusing on.

Now, let’s not completely get tunnel vision with the names of the 5 particular schools that I listed above for the moment.  (I’ll give my personal opinion at the end.)  Instead, this is an opportunity to take a step back and re-evaluate and possibly re-calibrate what a lot of us have been assuming the Big Ten wants to do.  Here are my main takeaways:

1.  Texas is the Ultimate Goal – I know a lot of people believe that I’m a shining example of a Texas-to-the-Big Ten fanboy, yet there are multiple accounts from both the Big Ten and Texas that getting UT is the ultimate goal for the conference regardless of what anyone else is saying publicly.  So, this isn’t something to be passed off as, “Well of course the Big Ten wants Texas, but they’re never going to get them, so let’s move on.”  It is becoming clearer that the reason why the Big Ten is taking so long with its expansion plans is NOT because Texas and/or Notre Dame have rejected the conference outright, as many bloggers and message board posters seem to want to believe, but rather the exact opposite where at the very least Texas is returning Jim Delany’s phone calls.  There’s a whole lot of public posturing going on here.

2.  “Shifting Population” Comment is Literal – When Jim Delany made his comment that “shifting population” to the South and demographic changes was right alongside the Big Ten Network as the top factors for examining expansion, I initially was in agreement with Adam Rittenberg, who believed that the Big Ten really wasn’t looking South outside of Texas and wanted to shore up more population bases in the North. However, there are two things that all of the 5 schools listed have in common:  they are all located south of the Mason-Dixon line (yes, even Maryland) and in areas that are projected to grow rapidly in population over the next 20 years.  Just as importantly, those population changes are based more upon solid economic underpinnings (energy in Texas, federal government in Maryland and Virginia, health care in Nashville) than, as uber commenter Richard has argued, “Ponzi scheme” real estate aimed at investors and retirees in places like Florida, Arizona and Nevada.  Considering the slow-to-no growth population trends in the home states of the Big Ten’s marquee schools of Michigan and Ohio State, getting into higher growth areas, not just new markets, may be key for the conference to maintain its current demographic advantages for the long-term.

3.  Academics with a Capital “A” – Looking at this list of 5 schools, AAU membership in and of itself may not be enough for the Big Ten’s academic requirements.  The Big Ten appears to be looking to raise its “academic brand” as much or even more than its athletic brand.  Adding Vandy (top ranked BCS school after Stanford, Duke and Northwestern) and Virginia (in the discussion as the nation’s top public university) doesn’t just upgrade the academic reputation among the wonks that look at ARWU rankings and research funding numbers, but also for the average Joe upper middle class suburban high school student looking for colleges.  In the academic world, there is an image associated with being a “Big Ten school” in a manner that doesn’t exist for any other conference outside of the Ivy League, so the university presidents are going to be fiercely protective of that.  There would be no dilution of the Big Ten’s academic standing whatsoever, whether looking at the populist US News rankings or graduate research-focused metrics.

4.  No Mass Annexation from One Conference – This particular mix consists of 2 schools from the Big XII, 2 from the ACC and 1 from the SEC.  Whether this is ultimately the exact composition of expansion schools for the Big Ten (or even anywhere close to it), my general feeling is that we’re not going to see, say, 4 or 5 schools added from a single conference.  Part of the reason that the Big Ten is so strong is that it operates as a cohesive unit more than 11 separate bodies.  Therefore, in the event of a multi-school expansion, it would make sense that the conference would avoid adding too many schools from a particular source in order to prevent those schools from forming a “bloc” that never really integrates with the rest of the members.

5.  The American Pastime – Baseball is likely reason number 1,587 on the priority list for Big Ten expansion, yet it’s hard not to notice that the conference would have a kick-ass baseball league with these 5 schools.  As of the date of this blog post, Virginia and Texas are the top 2 ranked baseball teams in the nation while Vandy and Texas A&M are traditionally strong programs.  Come to think of it, one of the most prominent criticisms of the Big Ten from Texas fans is the poor baseball league, so if adding some great baseball teams makes a potential move a little bit easier, then all the better.

6.  Vanderbilt? – When Andy Katz said that a Big Ten source suggested Vandy as a potential expansion candidate a couple of weeks ago, I put about as much stock in it as the conference adding USC and UCLA.  It seemed to be almost a lose-lose situation – a school that would be incredibly difficult to pull away from the extremely stable SEC and a clear #2 in its own home market to Tennessee.  As much as I tell people to think like a university president instead of a sports fan, that doesn’t mean being sports ignorant.  Out of all of the conference realignment scenarios, the one thing that I consistently assumed is that the SEC wouldn’t lose any members.  Heck, I’ve continuously been skeptical about any schools bolting from the ACC.

Digging deeper, there is shockingly a lot of smoke around Vandy.  One key fact to note is that there is an extremely important personal connection: Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee, who is in the midst of his second stint in that position in Columbus and was the chancellor at Vanderbilt from 2000-2007.  As far as university presidents go, Gee is about as high profile as you can get.  Time named him the best college president in the country back in November and I recall when I was an upper middle class suburban high school student flipping through the US News rankings 15 years ago or so (ugh – it doesn’t feel that long ago) reading a day-in-the-life account of him in his first stint at tOSU.  By all accounts, Gee was incredibly popular at Vandy.  The main hiccup during his tenure was a report in the Wall Street Journal that his wife at the time was using medicinal marijuana in the chancellor’s residence along with hoarding the university’s supply of Doritos while listening to The Dark Side of the Moon and watching The Wizard of Oz at the same time.

Regardless, Gee is extremely influential in the academic world overall, not just the Big Ten.  He left Vandy on a high note and took the very un-SEC-like step of eliminating Vandy’s separate athletic department and consolidating its activities under the Division of Student Life.  If Vandy somehow ends up joining the Big Ten down the road, this connection may prove to have been a key factor.  I go back-and-forth as to whether this is a good idea (I don’t know if Vandy could get the Big Ten Network on basic cable in Nashville), but the main point is that Andy Katz’s original report has some legs.

So, if the Big Ten were to hypothetically add the 5 schools that I listed, I’d consider it on par with the LOST finale: pretty good overall and definitely can’t complain because it hit the main target, yet there’s a lingering feeling that there could’ve been a little more.  Replacing one of the schools other than Texas with Notre Dame or Nebraska would still seem to make it a blockbuster sports move as well as still having an overall improvement to the academic standing of the league.  In fact, one of the cited reasons that Vandy might be a consideration is that its academic strength would balance out adding a school like Nebraska in the minds of the university presidents.

As for the usual suspects, I still think Nebraska and Rutgers are in good positions to eventually get Big Ten invites if Texas doesn’t ultimately want to join, while Syracuse continues to hang around.  The schools that need to worry appear to be Pitt (logical deduction based on such a heavy focus on shifting population while its academic fit argument could be trumped by demographically-friendly schools like Vandy and UVA) and Missouri (multiple separate rumblings that it wouldn’t receive a Big Ten invite in any scenario – please don’t kill the messenger on that one).

So, that’s the latest scuttlebutt on Big Ten expansion.  Apologies to Twitter follower Cory Stinebrink for starting a rumor.

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

(Image from Inside Vandy)

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  1. HoosierMike says:

    Ha! Cutler!

    Sweet article, Frank! Ask and ye shall receive. Thanks!

    Virginia and Vandy? Wow. My degree from IU just earned about 5K in value just from that rumor. I’m all for it.

    btw, I give 20 posts before Playoffs Now! finds a way to meld these teams into OMG 3 20-TEAM SUPERCONFERENCE! :)

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      Vanderbilt, eh? Was that a hot tip from Anderson Cooper?

      Well, if nothing else, this rumor does have a degree of believability from a Texas angle. UT has often taken a ‘just enough’ approach to scheduling, and this scenario wouldn’t bring in too many competing alpha dogs. The Aggies would get the academic recognition their leaders prefer and wouldn’t be in a meat grinder conference. A better chance for them at BCS bowl slots than in the SEC, especially if the format avoids a conf champ game. MD and VA as a duo makes academic and some demographic sense, without wandering too far afield. And its never a good idea to underestimate the gutlessness and fiefdom protection instincts of big schools like Texas and Ohio State. But academically it is a strong expansion, even with VA’s reputation over research.

      Vandy. Seems to be another Pitt, but with a slightly different mix of pluses and minuses. Might be key to getting VA, as it would open a slot in the SEC for V. Tech. Depends on if the VA legislature feels staying in ACC wouldn’t be good enough for the Hokies and how the SEC would react. Not sure this prods the SEC to go beyond 12.

      Another oddball Vandy factor: Connection to Al Gore. Why on earth that matters? The potential research funding gold mine related to the carbon trading and ‘Global Warming/Cooling/Climate Change/Your Scam Here’ poli pork. He’s become a billionaire off that scheme, and adding Vandy might be a cash-free buy in for the conference in the pay to play environment.

      The SEC reaction: Beyond 12? Maybe not. VT makes the most sense as the replacement (though no doubt FL will argue for Charleston Southern.) The SEC and sports media will be impressed you lured Texas but otherwise laugh. My bet is they stay at 12, unless the P10 goes beyond Utah and CO and the ACC looks at 16. Not enough marquee adds to get ESPN to reopen the contract unless they raid the ACC. FSU and Miami’s long term desire AAU membership, so staying in an academically superior ACC may be their preference.

      The ACC reation: Academically, replacing MD and VA with Syr and Rut is almost a wash, a Syr, Rut, Pitt, CT add an improvement. IF VTech goes SEC then one of those (CT?) probably gets left behind, though perhaps Cincy could get them back to 14. If they go to 16 to keep up with the Jones, WV (geo, Pitt rival) and S. FL (278 million in research and rising) could do it. But can they then hold off SEC raids? Unlikely to ever see the ACC at 16 if they lose MD and VA.

      The P10 reaction: Might spur them to go ahead and add Utah and Colorado. Also might get them to listen to overtures from NE, KS, and MO to reach 14 or 16. Or maybe not. Weighing a W. Alliance tv channel joint venture with the B12 vs a P16.

      The B12 reaction: Could stay cool, simply replace numbers, and pursue a Western Alliance for TV. Would require lots of Texas teams to approach a critical mass in the state for TV purposes. TCU and UH for sure, maybe SMU if CO goes west and a 3rd is needed. Or perhaps Lou or BYU as the 12th. Creating a W. Alliance or B12 channel would open the current ESPN contract to negotiations instead of having to wait several more years.

      I could also see NE, MO, and perhaps other schools approaching the P10 for membership. With Utah and CO to a P14, or go to 16 with KS and one of ISU (academics) or OU (TV draw.) Can KS escape KSU? And there’s also the possibility the B12 tries to go to 16. Add TCU, UH, and as needed from a pool of SMU, S.Fl, UCF, Lou, Cin, WV, Utah, BYU, UNLV, CSU. The thinking being that without UT and aTm, the pie will now be so reduced that perhaps a cable channel, more inventory, and more Top 30 matchups might bring in higher $$ per school. Or perhaps rather to the top remaining schools. Might see NE and OU rake in an even more uneven revenue distribution in a conference of BCS hungry misfits with nowhere else to go.

      Not sure how many dominoes this B16 combo would tip over, though the aftershock may well kill off the BEast and its BCS AQ. Which would thrill Texas and the current B10+ heavyweights.

      Gonna go with a ‘Work in progress’ assessment for now. GT instead of Vandy seems to makes more sense ($100 million more in research and gotta love a Purdue-GT-aTm engineering triangle.) Unless going to 20 really is an option…

      • Michael says:

        Interesting that we´re talking about killing off the BEast now without taking a single member. Again, not sure where that leaves Notre Dame.

      • Playoffs Now! says:

        TX, aTm, MD, VA, and VB. Heading in the direction of an eastern version of the Great AAU Conference concept. If the B10+ gets an agreement from all 5 on joining, that sure seems like a selling point to approach a few other diamonds. Recall that one of the rumors was that if TX joined, a 20-school conference was in play.

        Seems like if anything would lure out Duke and NC, that would. Duke is 4th in research at 767 million and huge TV draw in Bball. NC’s 526 million is 16th in research and another Bball king. GT is 17th in research at 522 million and not a stranger to BCS bowls.

        Duke, NC, GT, and either ND, Miami, or Rut for the 20th. Miami isn’t AAU, but neither is ND. The huge population and alumni base of FL has to be tempting. In which case VB might be ditched if ND joined. Put the Original Big Ten on one side and the newbies plus PSU on the other. Not too top heavy, but enough TV draws.

        Going from 16 to 20 would be a tough sell to the relatively conservative conference presidents, but in this scenario it seems to be such a natural progression. Wraps up basically all the high growth states east of the Rockies. The seismic shift and nearly national scheduling that could lure ND. Impossible for the SEC to ever surpass, and relegating them to a permanently stuck 2nd tier academically. The Elites vs The Cheats.

        • Michael says:

          Completely agree. From 11, a 20 team conference feels like a stretch. If the 5 team expansion, however, is really these 5 universities, you would get the feeling that you were laying the foundation for something bigger.

          UT, aTm, Vand, UVa and Maryland would encircle the SEC and what´s left of the ACC. At the point, the only elite research and athletic schools left east of the Rockies would be Pitt, UNC, Duke, GTech and Florida. You´d also have a handful of schools jockeying to be considered among that group: Miami, Rutgers, UConn, Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska.

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            Now let’s play out the eastern Great AAU Conference strategy to its conclusion. Start with 16 by announcing the addition TX, aTm, VB, MD, and VA. ACC is rattled, SEC makes expansion noises, P10 and B12 consider an alliance, P14, P16, etc. ACC has to make a realistic assessment of where it could end up and its limited options. Could be a permanent 4th or 5th place conference. ND has to consider that we are indeed about to see the great shake out in a way that possibly leaves them on the outside.

            With that backdrop the B16 makes a final inquiry to 8 of:

            Duke, NC, GT, GA, FL, Mia, FSU, Rut, Syr, Pitt, MO, KS, NE, ND.

            “We’re going to the AAU academic super conference format, any other option (outside of perhaps the P-whatever) will forever be viewed as 2nd-tier. With the P-whatever we intend to shake up the BCS format and will have the votes. Perhaps with the surviving current BCS conferences break away into our own DI-$$ division. Are you in or out of the AAU Alliance?”

            At 24, the natural split is the current B11 and ND in one division, the newbies from Texas to NYC in the other division, in an AAU Alliance. The original goal of B10+ and just ND, but with a partner conference of the cream of the AAU crop in the east and south. Maximized BTN footprint and revenue. Something like TX, aTm, VB, GT, Mia, Duke, NC, VA, MD, Pitt, Rut, and Syr, brokered by the BTN and CIC.

            Combine with the other academically superior partner conference, the P12, and you have the AAU half of a sensible 72 school breakout to a DI-$$. SEC would then likely put together a companion 3×12 ‘Alliance of the 2nd Tier’ with the leftovers, athletically equal to the Great AAU Alliance. Original side still plays a P12 in the Rose, Newbie side plays a wildcard in the Orange. Original SEC plays a wildcard in the Sugar, and the other 2 SEC Alliance divisions meet in the Fiesta. 4 winners continue the playoff with 2 on campus games and a national title in the 100K seat indoor JerryCotton.

            3×12 in the (basically) AAU side, 3×12 on the SEC and leftovers side.

      • SuperD says:

        Would CO and Utah to the PAC 10 even still make sense in this scenario, or would the PAC maybe try for CO/NE to get to 12 instead. It would be interesting to see if NE would prefer to stay in the Big 12 or not, we’d essentially be back to the Big 8 except for the two tagalongs that were forced on the league by the Texas legislature.

        • Playoffs Now! says:

          Ore perhaps the P10 adding just CO and MO. Bigger TV footprint of +11 million vs +8 with Utah and CO or +7 with CO and NE. However, obviously a much worse TV draw if NE is excluded. But that might not hurt much if they can still do a W. Alliance TV deal with a rebuilt B12. Geography would still suggest Utah and CO.

          End result would probably be a P12-B12 alliance in some combination of the current P10 plus Utah, CO, NE, KS, KSU, MO, ISU, OU, OSU, Bay, TT, TCU, UH, and either SMU, Lou, or BYU.

          Unless the Big 10+ doesn’t stop intend to stop for long at 16…

    • mushroomgod says:

      IMO, none of the schools listed will end up being in the Big 10 expansion…..If it DOES end up going down this way, the SEC will kick our ass in football….but they’ll be hell to pay when the chess tourney comes around…..

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        ‘shroomgod – I couldn’t have said it better myself. The Big Ten is a lot smarter than this. Do they really want to take on the SEC on the SEC’s home turf with Vandy? That’s worse than GA Tech.

        Don’t get me wrong, I love Vandy. its a great school. I may send my daughter to Vandy in a few years. But, from an athletic standpoint, Vandy is the weakest link in the SEC. It has a 40,000 seat stadium and NO athletic director.

        If Vandy wanted to leave, the rest of the SEC wouldn’t shed any tears. FSU, Clemson & GA Tech would be beating each other up for the 1st spot in line.

        Or the SEC could go tell UTx to bring along A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. So with Vandy gone, the SEC could co-opt the entire Big XII South (minus Baylor). That would be an offer UTx couldn’t refuse from a political and rivalry standpoint.

        Bottom line from this SEC fan’s perspective:

        1. I doubt Vandy would leave, if asked.
        2. Bad move by the Big Ten if they ask Vandy.
        3. If Vandy goes, it may just help the SEC further distance itself from the Big Ten athletically.

        • @Alan from Baton Rouge – I’ve got to echo your sentiment. I question the judgment of the Big Ten wanting to go head-to-head against the SEC in any market. The only exception is in South Florida, where I’d be perfectly fine with the Big Ten going after Miami for the national TV draw and very large base of transplanted Big Ten alums. At least for the U of Illinois Alumni Association, the single largest base of alums outside of the Big Ten footprint is the southern half of Florida. I’m certain that this is similar for other Big Ten schools.

          • HoosierMike says:

            If you look at coverage maps for fall Saturdays from as recently as a couple of years ago, the northern 2/3 of FL usually broadcast an ACC or SEC matchup while the southern 1/3 generally carries a Big10 game. Hell, there’s a bar in Ft. Myers called Hoosier Daddy’s (which would have been my handle if I was thinking clearly after reading the first OMG TX to B10! article.

        • @Alan from Baton Rouge – Now, the only other thing that I could think of for Vandy is if, for whatever reason, Texas would want them in a multi-school expansion. Who knows who Texas could be asking for to come along.

          • Michael says:

            @Frank, the other obvious reason to include Vandy is as an ode to the conference´s vision for the future.

            If further expansion is in the cards, JD may see the Big 10 as the elite academic conference (like-minded institutions) with strong athletic programs east of the Rockies. In that case, you´d want to include Vanderbilt at some point. If you do it now, you help your case in bridging further to the Southeast in the future.

            Look at it this way, if we´re headed toward a 20 or 24 team conference that includes the five rumored schools ´+ UNC, Duke, GTech, Florida, Miami, etc, it makes sense to first fortify the perimeter before diving head first into SEC country. These five schools would effectively encircle the SEC, allowing the BTN to develop, the CIC to grow and the other dominoes to fall before going back for stage 2 of this expansion.

          • m (Ag) says:

            Vandy seems like something of a compromise candidate between the West Wing (Texas+ A&M) and East Wing (Maryland+Virginia) of this expansion.

            Vandy is top-notch academically, Southern, and pretty much in the middle of the 2 wings.

            The ‘West wing’ schools might prefer Rice or even Tulane as an academically strong regional rival; the ‘East Wing’ schools might prefer a Georgia Tech (assuming the North Carolina Schools are untouchable). Vanderbilt is right there in the middle.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Michael – The Big Ten would be crazy to take teams in the South that will get clobbered by the SEC in the TV ratings in shared markets, and the Big Ten isn’t crazy. The Big Ten has the dominant teams in every state within its footprint (the state of Indiana is up for debate with Notre Dame, but its been said here before that Notre Dame is just located in Indiana, but it belongs to the world).

            Hypothetically, Vandy could play #1 Ohio State in Nashville, and it would be overshadowed by unranked Tennessee playing unranked Mississippi State. Would the Big Ten really want to be in that position?

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            m(Ag) – I vote for Tulane!

        • Playoffs Now! says:

          Or the SEC could go tell UTx to bring along A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. So with Vandy gone, the SEC could co-opt the entire Big XII South (minus Baylor). That would be an offer UTx couldn’t refuse from a political and rivalry standpoint.

          Uh, no. TX is negotiating hard with the B10+ and P10, but any SEC negotiations are just a safety net.

          Now I get the sense that the aTm AD might prefer the SEC, but his bosses sure don’t appear to. He’s not the most respected AD around, including having turned down the offer from TX to share in an in-state cable channel venture.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Playoffs – no negotiations with the SEC would be necessary.

            Under my scenario, with the Big Ten “stealing” Vandy away from the SEC, UTx can bring all their rivals to a conference, take a conference cut of at least $22 million, and start their own network.

            The only question for UTx would be, “where do I sign?” But we’ll never know because the Big Ten ain’t asking Vandy, and Vandy wouldn’t leave if asked.

          • AggieFrank says:

            You don’t think Bill Byrne is a respected AD? Based upon what? BTW, he didn’t participate in the Longhorn network because it is, well, the Longhorn network. He was for a B12 network, though. One of his A&M “bosses” is BOR member Gene Stallings. You think he would be against a move to the SEC?

            You are right that Texas A&M would be highly interested in listening to the SEC but overall, your read on this is mostly wrong. Bill Byrne is much more likely to be pushing for a Western Alliance with the Pac-10 as he is from the West and was the AD at Oregon (before Nebraska). I think he would probably be more inclined to move to the B10 vs. the SEC unless A&M was only invited as a lure to attract Texas.

            Many, many Ags (including the A&M President, the Texas Governor and many BoR members) would be just fine seperating from Texas if it means a better deal for A&M. I know a lot of posters here think A&M is a ‘tag along’ with Texas and doesn’t have a mind or will of its own, but I can tell you that simply is not the case. That is the primary reason why A&M said no to the Longhorn network. It is more interested in working with a larger group of conference members vs. aligning with Texas only.

          • PSUGuy says:

            Personally I think both Texas and TAMU are interested in showcasing their academic prestige.

            While comments concerning the SEC’s academic status can wait, I think it fair to say the Pac, Big, and ACC are all better overall academic conferences and as such might entice either of those schools over a “neighbor” in the SEC (ok, maybe not the ACC) due to differing markets and academic rankings.

            Point being, for those two schools the SEC strikes me as an option, but not a goal.

          • Bob Devaney says:

            AggieFrank–Nebraska was happy to be rid of $ Bill Byrne, as he is known in Lincoln, because he was a big part of the reason the football program was left to crumble.

            $ Bill’s failure is that while he wants all sports to succeed, he doesn’t realize you can’t kill the cash cow to make it happen, or all sports will eventually fail. Nebraska’s AD department, while entirely self-sufficient and doesn’t use a dime of taxpayer money, has to pay for all athletics at that school. If the football program doesn’t make $$, all sports suffer as a result. Bill just didn’t stick around long enough to see the decline happen, and he’s repeated the same mistakes in College Station.

          • AggieFrank says:


            A&M’s football program died at the hands of Dennis Franchione, whom Bill Byrne had no involvement in hiring. Besides, the football program is in the top 20 in revenue and overall the AD was 9th in revenue at $94 million last year. Would it be even better if the team was experiencing success on the field? Of course, but to call it a failure a pretty big stretch. There are lots of reasons that attributed to NU’s decline (partial qualifiers, the formation of the B12, Bill Callahan) so to lay it all at the hands of Byrne is also a stretch. The guy is a respected AD and the comment that he is not by “Playoffs Now” is just not factual.

            For example, A&M basketball pre-Bill Byrne was DOA. Now both the men’s and women’s teams are constants in the NCAA tourney. He brought to life to dormant revenue producing sports. He has also drastically improved facilities for football as well and the benefits are helping turn around the on-the-field results (hopefully in a big way this year).

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            the guy is a respected AD and the comment that he is not by “Playoffs Now” is just not factual.

            I guess you are unable to recognize the difference between ‘not respected’ and “not the most respected”…

            One wasn’t written, one was.

    • WolverinePhD says:


  2. HoosierMike says:

    Shit. Forgot to add. Bacon.

    • Pariahwulfen says:


      • Blood & Steel says:


        • glenn says:

          ketchup – ewww!

          • Albino Tornado says:

            Salsa — ketchup for grownups.

          • glenn says:

            ‘nado, i couldn’t agree more. the thought of ketchup on anything other than bad french fries makes me retch.

            speaking of salsa, i found a new habanero sauce from the el yucateco people that i’m really liking. i’ve enjoyed their ‘salsa picante de chile habanero’ for a while, but they have a new one they claim is a mayan recipe that is every bit as good.

            give it a shot, if you can find it. heb in texas carries it.

  3. Kyle2MSU says:

    I’d be all for this!
    Since the Presidents asked JD to look into expansion I wasn’t sure if football was the driving force behind it. I think that us sports fans may have failed to place enough emphasis on the academic branding of the Big 10.
    Although, I must admit, if Rutgers and Nebraska are not in the expansion I’ll feel a little let down. Just a personal preference on my part.

  4. Gumbynuts says:


  5. NDx2 says:

    IF Texas were to jump, I think Notre Dame would, too. I think that’s what Swarbrick and Dodds have been discussing.

    • mushroomgod says:


    • Mike R says:

      Any evidence (public statements, decently-sourced news stories) tying ND & Texas aside from the Northwestern board rumor that ticked off Delany?

      • Michael says:

        The USAToday article posted today ties ND and Texas:

        Article: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/football/2010-05-25-texas-notre-dame-expansion_N.htm

        Quote: “It’s not something we have to think about. It’s something we are thinking about,” says Texas’ DeLoss Dodds.

        “If we have our way, we’re never going to get caught in a situation where we’re not part of something that’s really viable nationally. If that’s the way the world goes, then we’ll go in that world.”

        At Notre Dame, AD Jack Swarbrick says, “You’ve got to think about it and evaluate it, and make sure you don’t wind up with a different division of college football all of a sudden. DeLoss and I have a similar perspective.”

        • WhiskeyBadger says:

          Also in that article:

          “In the Big 12, Commissioner Dan Beebe says he’ll push for a deadline — probably sometime before the start of the 2010-11 school year — for institutions to affirm their commitment to the league, backing it up with stiffer monetary penalties for leaving.”

          THAT could be an issue.

          • Michael says:

            He can push for whatever he wants but could that really get enough votes to pass?

            Nebraska, Missouri, Texas, A&M, Oklahoma, OSU, and Colorado have all been mentioned as candidates for one conference or another . . . 7 out of 12 schools.

          • @WhiskeyBadger – The problem for Beebe, though, is that he works for the university presidents of the Big XII as opposed to the other way around. Beene can’t just mandate this type of commitment. He’s going to need a supermajority of schools to vote for this and there’s at least 3 schools who will bolt immediately (Missouri, Nebraska and Colorado) and 2 others that are highly considering it (Texas and Texas A&M). Plus, it’s a massive sign of weakness for any conference to start talking about increasing penalties. The only thing this would do is send school rushing to the exits quicker.

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            Plus, it’s a massive sign of weakness for any conference to start talking about increasing penalties. The only thing this would do is send school rushing to the exits quicker.

            Well, with 5 or more schools considering moving, a conspiracy theorist might think that is the actual intent.

            “Golly gee, we were planning to just sit here quietly minding our own business, but the threat of big penalties forced us to evaluate our options. Surprisingly, we then discovered that moving would be better. A shame that Beebe blew up the conference…”

          • eapg says:

            On the other hand, if Beebe gets his supermajority extortion vote, it tells you everything you need to know about the plans of Texas for the immediate future.

            Maybe Beebe is blustering. Maybe not. If Texas is really in play, I’ll guarantee you these threats will add up to exactly nothing.

  6. Hodgepodge says:

    [Assuming that the above rumor is, in fact, accurate]

    The most thing about this list of 5 schools that first came to my mind was that it is entirely possible that not a single one of them ends up in the Big Ten (for reasons that have been advanced here ad nauseum). If the powers-that-be are indeed this focused on academics, it could be that expansion may not get enough traction to actually occur.

  7. ezdozen says:

    I can’t say I disagree with any of these options.

    Vandy has never been a good fit in the SEC.

    Maryland and Virginia are growth areas. Also gives Penn St. nearby rivals in the growth areas.

    Texas and Texas A*M guts the Big 12 though.

    Unlike Rutgers and Nebraska, you get teams that have had basketball success. The baseball issue is noted. Maryland, Virginia, and Vandy are good enough in football to not be perceived poorly, but not so good as to interfere with any team’s current success.

    Academics are fine.

    The dominoes will be interesting. If the SEC expands… does it add 1, 3, or 5 teams? Okla, OSU, Nebraska, Louisville, ACC targets? What does the Big 12 do? Does the ACC add 2 schools or 4-6?

    • 84Lion says:

      “Vandy has never been a good fit in the SEC.”

      However, Vandy is a founding member of the SEC, and was a member of the Southern Conference prior.

      “Maryland and Virginia are growth areas.”

      Mainly because of D.C. and government spending.

      “Texas and Texas A*M guts the Big 12 though.”

      A gut punch, but the Big 12 (-2) would still be left with the Texas market (TT & Baylor) along with the original Big 8 schools.

      However, I give this “Egghead Expansion” idea very low probability of coming true.

  8. PS says:


    Amazing how the convenional thought was for good football programs such as PITT & NU plus BTN markets/states such as Rutgers & Mizzou to now academic powerhouses such as Maryland, Virginia & even Vandy. Pitt has been noted as a school previous Presidents wanted and Nebraska applied around 1900 but was denied. Who were the other schools that have flirted with joining the B10 in the past?

    • FLP_NDRox says:

      Notre Dame =/

    • Cliff's Notes says:

      BTN Growth is still there. Texas is still added. Maybe the Big Ten has decided they cannot carry NYC, so they shifted focus to the next best target. Getting UMd and UVa gets 14M people between Virgina, Maryland and DC. Plus, it gets the political pull of DC, too. Obviously, Vanderbilt is there for Academics much more so than the BTN growth.

  9. Jeepers says:

    I don’t buy any of this. I’m still gonna keep reading, though. :D

    I think this has, and always will be, about getting ND to join. When Delaney said they wouldn’t be killing any conferences, I think he was alluding to this. Maybe that rumor that he and Marinatto were trying to work out getting ND to leave the BE had some truth to it. Now Delaney can just tell Marinatto “Hey bossman, sorry, I tried. Now bend over and get ready for your assfucking. We’re still friends, right?”

    I still think UT is a huge case of wishful thinking by BigTen fans. As a current non-BigTen fan, this seems abundantly clear to me. Plus, UT to the Pac10 is much better for the sport of college football (imo).

    I don’t think shifting population is literal. I see that more as Delaney preparing everyone for a “bleh” expansion. If people are disappointed, he can just point to the expanded footprint.

    With that said, I really feel now that there will be no expansion. Or maybe just a 1 team expansion.

  10. Hodgepodge says:

    For those of you who put a lot of stock in “connections” being a big deal in getting some of these teams into the Big Ten (a la former and current OSU president E. Gordon Gee’s connection to Vanderbilt), it should be noted that another former OSU president, Brit Kirwan, is currently the Chancellor of the University of Maryland system.

  11. Sportsman24 says:

    While UT, TAMU & MD have been on many of our Wish Lists for some time, UVA & Vandy are surprises. I’d be okay with those four, but Vandy excites me about as much as RU does. I’d rather exchange Vandy for NU. That would be an amazing expansion, IMHO.

    • mushroomgod says:

      Although I like both schools, I’ve always wondered whether taking both Neb and Missouri, with their relatively low US News ratings, might be more than what the presidents could swallow…however, I would have thought both would be JD favorites…we’ll see….

      • @mushroomgod – My impression is that this is exactly what’s being thought about – the Big Ten would be willing to take one of Nebraska or Missouri, but not both of them. On that front, Nebraska wins out. The national football name, rabid fan base and top-to-bottom athletic department funding strength would end up being more important than local households for the BTN.

        • mushroomgod says:

          You might need academic “cover” to take both–ie…the other schools being all highly ranked academically—some combo of Tx, A&M, Pitt, RU, GT, Vandy, VA, MD, ND, or perhaps a western-based exp of TX, A&M, Neb, MO, RU…the academic issue would be most problematic with our “presumed” expansion of 3 we’ve discussed — RU, Neb, Mo

          • michaelC says:

            Please take note — once again — Rutgers (and Pitt) are top tier research schools and not ‘problematic’. In the AWRU rankings (for the Americas):
            UVa — 54,
            Texas A&M — 53,
            Vanderbilt — 33,
            UMD — 30,
            Texas — 31,
            Rutgers — 39,
            Pitt — 40.
            All of these schools are middle of the pack in the Big Ten, which is to say among the very finest universities in the world.

            The other candidates at the bottom or below, but not too shabby in the greater scheme:
            Iowas is 60-77
            Ga. Tech is 60-77
            Nebraska is 78-99,
            Missouri is 100-134,

            The AWRU numbers are not the only measure, of course, but the point is that most of the schools in the mix are among the very best D-1 schools available in the country.

        • PSUGuy says:

          One thing I’d mention however is that Missouri and NJ tend to have very good football recruiting grounds (even if for other states).

          That plus population makes them safe, if unexciting additions that can be “urged” to improve academics.

  12. angryapple says:

    I think Nebraska is still a shoe-in. I have to assume Notre Dame will get a call a couple days before any announcement. Rutgers must still be in the mix. I love the news that Missouri is likely shit outta luck.


    Assuming a five school expansion:

    -Spot #12 goes to Nebraska

    -Spots #13-#15 are offered to Texas, Texas A&M, Maryland, Virginia, Vandy, and Rutgers in that order

    -Notre Dame gets a call asking them to decide if they want school #16 to be Notre Dame or School X (the next school in the pecking order that hasn’t already accepted or rejected — probably Vandy or Rutgers)

    • Sportsman24 says:

      I disagree. If this rumor is even remotely true, then I think there’s a high probability that tBT is serious about letting ND be. For the most part, these five are/have…
      * AAU Membership
      * High Ranked in the USNWR
      * Highly Ranked in the ARWU
      * High-$ Research
      * High Enrollment
      * Prestige: + tBT’s Image
      * Profile: Flagship State U’s
      * Geographic Fit: < Footprint
      * Large Media Markets: < TV $

      ND has very few of these. ND is not a good institutional fit in the BT. They belong in the ACC.

      • djinndjinn says:

        Well, Vanderbilt has low enrollment, it is not a flagship state university and has no TV market.

        For MD, Virginia and Vanderbilt, the research numbers are very good compared to the better schools in the nation (see my post below)–but they’d be on the very bottom of the BT.

        • Sportsman24 says:


          I love your posts!
          I agree with Vandy’s low enrollment, that’s why I said, “For the most part.” I like UT, TAMU & MD… but I’m not sold on UVA or Vandy. I’d rather them be replaced with NU & Pitt.

      • Mike R says:

        Agree with @Sportsman24 completely. I think ND and the Big 10 realize they’re better off as neighbors than partners. And I think there may be some “no” votes to ND among the presidents and chancellors where there weren’t in 99 and 03.

      • SDB10 says:

        Sportsman you must have been watching too many games & not enough news to realize that ND was the last publicly announced invitee to the B10. The COP/C thinks ND fits in the B10, but are probably ready to move on. At one time, ND even applied to the B10 but I think it was 110 years ago with Nebraska. By your logic NW & UC would not be a good fit for the B10. Anybody who has been on the ND campus, other B10 campuses, & other conference campuses could label ND as either B10 or ACC, BUT the subconscious urges B10 due to the 3 games/yr in football, the midwest/rural setting, no real connection to BEast except for the other Catholic schools.

        • Sportsman24 says:


          While I appreciate your keen insight and ability to break a story of such magnitude, you may want to read all of my posts on this and the previous blogs before you jump to conclusions.

          To recap some of my posts…
          When this round of BT expansion began, my initial preference was ND only. Since I’ve been researching the issue on this and other sites, my opinion/preference has changed. I now believe that ND would not be a good institutional fit.

          If ND joined the BT…
          * they would be the only Sectarian instution. As you may have read here, that is very concerning to many a Domer.
          * they would be the 2nd Private institution in the BT (the 3rd in the CIC). While NW does $400M+ and UChi does $300M+ in Research, ND does less than $50M.

          The BT is comprised of universities that have similar goals in higher learning. ND would be a significant outlier in these goals.

          Talks of ND in the BT go back much longer than I’ve been alive, but I am familiar with times when ND tried to join the BT (including 1900 & Rockne) and other times when the BT pursued ND (including 1999 & 2003). Each time, the other party decided against the union for whatever reason(s). They are star-crossed lovers, that are better off as Just Friends.

          The ACC has multiple Privates, including at least two sectarian (including fellow Catholic BC).

          There are only two reasons why ND is in the discussion for BT membership… Football Brand and proximity. If ND were less successful (historically) on the FB field &/ located outside the BT footprint, they would likely not be included in any expansion talk.

          I do not believe that tBT & ND would be a mutually-fulfilling merger in the long run. This is not an emotional decision on my part (I grew up Catholic & have a soft-spot for ND), this is an intellectual decision. It appears that the BT may be thinking along the same lines as I am. Does this mean that I don’t think ND will join… No. It is possible that they will. I just don’t think it would be a happy marriage.

    • Paul says:

      The Big Ten may not want to take the first three from the Big XII. I think Spot 12 goes to Texas. Spot 13 goes to A&M if necessary for UT to get No. 12. Then spots 14 and 15 go to Virginia and Maryland (assuming Texas is on board). Spot 16 is for Notre Dame if they want in. Otherwise, it would be Nebraska, Rutgers, or Vanderbilt.

      If Texas and Notre Dame are both out, I think the Big Ten would only expand to 12 teams and the team that would get spot 12 in that scenario would be Nebraska.

    • mushroomgod says:

      Screw Vandy….get real

  13. glenn says:

    “us sports fans may have failed to place enough emphasis on the academic branding of the Big 10″

    i laugh what’s left of my ass off.

  14. Cochese says:


  15. PensfaninLAexile says:

    Mizzou readers now on suicide watch.

    • Gopher86 says:

      Mizzou fan expectations peak, only to be crushed bitterly at the last moment. Somehow, everything is right with the world.

      • m (Ag) says:

        Wait, I thought Missouri fans just wanted to be away from Texas. Wouldn’t this accomplish that?

      • PensfaninLAexile says:

        News item:

        B10 announces expansion: Nebraska, Rutgers, Notre Dame, Maryland, Virginia to join.

        Meanwhile, on a Big XII Conference call:

        Bebbe: So, we’re agreed to invite Utah. If they decline, then BYU.

        (murmurs of agreement)


        Mizzou: Sorry about being late, guys. Great to be here.

        Kansas: Were you expecting to be on the Big 10 Conference Call?

        Mizzou: About that. Look, we really like it here. We weren’t serious about leaving. Just having a little fun. You guys are the best!

        Oklahoma: While you were off the call we made some by-law changes. For starters, all schools from states that end in the letter ‘i’ are automatically last in the bowl order. Regardless of record.

        Texas Tech: And those schools have to change their colors to pink and yellow. Since they’re girlie cowards.

        A&M: And their team mascot is now a kitten.

        Texas: And last, but not least, all schools from states that end in the letter ‘i’ have to spend then next 20 years eating shit and being grateful for it. So, how about a thank you?

        Mizzou: (meekly) Thank you.

        Beebe: Ok, I think we’re done. Great call.

        (schools all click off)


        Iowa State: Hey guys, thanks for waiting. Is anybody out there?

  16. Paul says:

    How about this for the new “dream” scenario:

    Texas A&M
    Notre Dame

    I’d still love to see Nebraska in the Big Ten, but I don’t think Texas would come alone (or without Notre Dame). Because of its name and tradition, Nebraska likely would be the first alternate for Texas, A&M, or Notre Dame.

    My question about the ACC teams is whether they would really leave behind the ACC. If so, then those two teams would be a great addition. Backup options for these teams would be Rutgers and Vandy (both have good demographics and academics like the ACC schools).

    Missouri, Pitt, and Syracuse would be second alternates.

    My guess is that Texas and Notre Dame need to entice each other into the conference and that one or both would be needed to break VA/MD away from the ACC.

    So if ND and TX say no, then the most likely way to get to 16 (for the BTN) would be back to the old plan of Nebraska, Rutgers, Missouri, Pitt, and Syracuse.

    • Paul says:

      East Pod: Penn State, Maryland, Virginia, Indiana

      North Pod: Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue

      South Pod: Texas, Texas A&M, Notre Dame, Northwestern

      West Pod: Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois

      • BoilerBart says:

        If that were the setup killme now. How about

        East PSU, MD, Va, OSU
        North MICH, MSU, Wis, ND
        South Ind. Pur. Ill. NW
        West Iowa, UT, TAM, Minn

  17. glenn says:

    i’m going to tell you that i think you get texas, and i think the seal on the deal is these other five, if you get them.

    many here and many in the longhorn community will squeal like stuck pigs, but academics is and has been the biggest driver in this outside of dollars. really, though, the academic shift discussed here will probably translate into a hell of a lot of dollars.

    with all the talk on this blog and elsewhere about diluting the big ten’s academic profile i had begun to seriously doubt that the longhorns would head your way. now i have to wonder if discussions with austin haven’t had at least a small hand in zeroing on these particular schools.

    i think delany tried to send this message when he spoke, but somehow it just didn’t get through.

    • Paul says:

      If you got an initial four of Texas, Texas A&M, Maryland, and Virginia (and ND is out of the picture), would you want team number five to be Vanderbilt or Nebraska?

      Texas is the only bona fide football power of the initial four. The academics are all stellar. In that situation, I think Nebraska would be a better pick than Vanderbilt or Rutgers.

      • Pariahwulfen says:

        That would be true, and I’ would love to see Nebraska in the Big Ten…but just imagine the reaction you would get for poaching from the mighty and invulnerable SEC.

    • prophetstruth says:

      I could see Vandy as a partner to Northwestern in a 16 team league. That gives the Big10 2 private high caliber research Universities.

      I think in this scenario Texas is only needed to go along with the other 3 heavy weights in OSU, MI, and PSU

      Texas A&M slides into the middle tier with Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan State.

      This scenario seems believable. State flagships except for Vandy. Academic and research powerhouses. Includes only one powerhouse school in Texas. All the rest are solid schools that would not be “missed” from their previous conferences per se. Doesn’t destroy any conference.

      • Sportsman24 says:


        Iowa & Wisconsin have separated themselves from the MSU’s of the BT. They are solid Tier 2 FB programs in the BT, and climbing (hopefully). TAMU would join MSU in Tier 3 of the BT hierarchy.

  18. glenn says:

    what i would want is not important. i think texas would say vandy.

  19. djinndjinn says:

    Texas and A&M–no problem, as discussed ad nauseum. Slam dunks.

    Maryland? 37,000 students. Ranked #53 USNews. #28 on ARWU. #41 in research with $395 million, (which would be 9th in the Big Ten). Very good market if it brings DC/Baltimore. Decent sports, though not exactly a football power.

    My verdict? All in all, I think this would be a good addition, as many of us have stated previously.

    Virginia? Nearly 20,000 students. Ranked #24 on USNews, #51 on ARWU. #70 in research with $257 million, which would be last in the Big Ten). Market? Does it take both Virginia and Maryland to bring in DC-Baltimore? Why do I think Maryland would draw this market better? Is the football team really any draw?

    My verdict: Fine academically, but all in all, not the greatest choice, especially if you can get Maryland, which has significantly more alumni and appeals to DC just as well and Baltimore even more. I certainly wouldn’t turn on the BTN to watch Virginia play.

    Vanderbilt? 12,500 students. Ranked #17 USNews. #31 on ARWU. #37 in research at $422 million, but would be 9th in the Big Ten. No TV market. And do they have sports teams?

    My verdict: Vanderbilt just doesn’t make sense in any way other than academics. Or if you’re just trying to stick it to the SEC a little bit. If you want academics, invite MIT to join the CIC and let another school come in for the sports.

    Overall: Anything with Texas would be a home run. A&M and Maryland, they’re fine, too. But I’d forget any school that starts with a V. (You may as well consider Vassar if you’re considering Vanderbilt.) Add Nebraska for football and one more. Maybe Rutgers for decent academics, more alumni and another large market.

    • Sportsman24 says:

      Agreed. But, if we added UT/TAMU, MD & NU, I’d like to see Pitt over RU.

      PS: @djinn, Thank you for your info regarding the CIC in previous blog comments. I have a much clearer understanding of what the CIC is and what it does.

    • rich2 says:

      Why do you and so many others continue to place a few million dollars in revenue over building a more powerful institutional brand.

      Vandy + Virginia vs. Nebraska + Rutgers. The two Vs bring so much more to the table strategically, I can’t believe that the first instinct is to drop them.

      Again, trends matter. In the last five years Virginia has supplanted Michigan as an undergraduate destination of choice. Certainly 2020 is part of the relevant planning horizon and Virginia will clearly have supplanted Michigan in the minds of the general public by then — as they say the recipe is simple — better more talented students year in and year out leads to a better reputation. In fact, by 2020, Virginia and Vandy could be top 16 universities. The Big Ten gaining the two Vs would be a tremendous coup — one I think that they would resist — I don’t see what they gain from joining the Big Ten as much as what the Big Ten clearly gains. I am not an acolyte of the Big Ten but if true, you should take this deal in a heartbeat — it is a better deal than I would ever of thought that the Big Ten would receive.

      • rich2 says:

        I meant to add: I realize that given the state economies of Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan and their effect on budgets of state schools and the generally low endowments held by these schools, five million dollars is a lot of money to lose — but most Big Ten schools can simply admit another 250 freshman a year and you can easily cover it. 250 wouldn’t appreciably lower average ACT or SAT metrics, attrition is 15-20% per year for the first two years so after the first semester you can always find them space on campus, and adding five or ten students per section of the Introductory courses will not be noticed.

      • Djinn Djinn says:

        What’s your ongoing beef with Michigan? Post after post… Say what you want, but ARWU ranks it #22 in the world. The QS rankings list it as #19 in the world. If you can be even slightly objective, Michigan’s academic reputation speaks for itself.

        Now whether Virginia or Vanderbilt is better schools than this or that is debatable. But I’m not going to say anything against either school on an academic level. They’re clearly very good institutions and would make fine additions to the Big Ten on an that level. I can see the Big Ten’s interest in that regard.

        And while I’m all for adding quality institutions to the Big Ten, Big Ten expansion at this point in time is motivated by more than academics. Even BT officials have stated its been prompted by the BTN. And from that perspective–these two “V” schools don’t offer a lot of product worth watching by anyone outside of their alumni.

        You could make a case for Virginia if it does get you the Washington DC market, and I don’t know if it does. But from the BTN perspective, I’d still rather have a school that gives you something someone in an outside market would find worth watching. Would you subscribe to the BTN because you heard Virginia is now a BT member?

        As for Vanderbilt, it gives you what market exactly? Who on earth is going to tune in to watch Vanderbilt in either of the sports that generate cash? It’s Saturday afternoon and Notre Dame isn’t playing. Are you tuning into the BTN to watch Vanderbilt? I guarantee there’s an SEC, Big 12 or Pac-10 game more intriguing.

        Seriously, if you want a good school with sports that cannot compete at a division one level, why not add Vassar? Or MIT? Or Johns Hopkins? Or Cal Tech? Or the Sorbonne, for that matter? All great schools. All would enhance the academic profile of the Big Ten. And all give you about the same BTN product.

        If the argument is that you don’t need great football or basketball to make for a good expansion candidate, if all you need is enough alumni to tune in to make this worthwhile, well, neither school is particularly large, so its not like there are a lot of alumni to tune in either.

        That’s my problem with these schools. Beyond a new market, beyond inviting a good school academically, the BTN needs to have something actually worth watching.

        • SDB10 says:

          DC has the largest per capita college graduate population of any major metro area. These people will watch BTN, more UVA than Maryland, because I lived there. Virginia is the choice of destination over Maryland for HS students but Maryland has better BB & FB presently. Alumni in Philly & NY will travel I-95 to see games. DC is a 9 hour drive from MSU or a cheap Southwest flight from most BT campuses. DC is a great place to visit in the fall and I think COPC would prefer these 2 over Mizzou/Nebraska even if they do not bring the top sports.

      • curdog says:

        Totallt agree rich2. UVA is an absolute no-brainer (full disclosure here: undergrad at Northwestern grad at UVA). UVA is the preeminent public university in the country (arguemnts from UC Berkely and UM duly noted). Athletic department is top notch across the board in numerous sports (men’s basketball and football have been down recently but have a ton of potential). Vandy is a world class institution on all levels. Also an absolute no-brainer. Let me ask everyone this? Would you accept Harvard into the Big 10. My answer is absolutely. Just by association with a prestigious university like that will elevate the the reputaion of all the other universities

    • @djinndjinn – My personal thinking is along the lines of yours, although I think the Big Ten would take UVA in a heartbeat without any questions. Research funding levels aside, UVA’s academic reputation is stellar in the general public’s eyes and that’s worth a ton for a conference that fancies itself as the “Public Ivy League”. Vandy still perplexes me. I’d switch out Vandy for Rutgers if I were running things (and I’m not someone that’s completely sold that the NY/NJ market can realistically be obtained). Of course, if you can switch out Vandy for Notre Dame, then it would be a massive grand slam on all levels. The sports fan in me definitely would rather see Nebraska in that spot, too. Finally, put me on the record as someone that LOVES the thought of Miami in the Big Ten even though I know it isn’t a “traditional” Big Ten-type school – great national TV draw, fantastic football recruiting base and improving academics (although not an AAU member).

      • Djinn Djinn says:

        Maybe Texas is really interested in improving its academic reputation. And I could see adding Vanderbilt if it gets you Texas somehow. Or if the BT goes to 20 maybe.

        Right now, at 11 teams, I personally find only 5 or 6 teams worth watching (speaking about football).

        But if you go to 16, a Texas would make it 6 or 7 teams worth watching. But I think you need still more TV product. Nebraska or Miami may not be as strong academically as Vanderbilt or Virginia, but to my eyes, both offer something a lot more watchable, at least on the football field.

        If I’m not a BT alum and I live somewhere where the BTN is not on basic cable, I’m not subscribing if the BT adds Vanderbilt or Virginia. Great schools, to be sure, but I’m not interested in their teams.

        However, I might well subscribe if it had a few more teams in the Texas, Nebraska or Miami sort of family.

    • Hopkins Horn says:


      Does it take both Virginia and Maryland to bring in DC-Baltimore? Why do I think Maryland would draw this market better? Is the football team really any draw?

      I lived inside the Beltway in DC for most of the 2000s, and my distinct impression is that the best way to this market, if obtainable at all through a single school, is through neither UVa nor UMD but rather through Virginia Tech.

      I know that Vincent might disagree, but as an impartial observer in this particular case, it always struck me as peculiar how little Maryland seemed to matter to the DC market as a whole relative to its size and location. For those of you unfamiliar with College Park, it is not in the middle of the state. It is an inside-the-Beltway DC suburb.

      That’s why I’ve taken assertions on this board that adding Maryland would “deliver” DC to the Big 10 with a big grain of salt. There are certainly other reasons Maryland may or may not be attractive, but that, to me, isn’t one of them.

      • Playoffs Now! says:

        Strongly agree on MD’s TV draw in greater DC (and to a slightly lesser extent on VA.) DC is like NYC, LA, and Houston: Half of the market is from somewhere else.

      • Pezlion says:

        I live in DC currently, and have been in the area since 1999. While I agree that UMD and UVA don’t necessarily have tremendous support in the area individually, taking the two of them locks down the area. IMO, there is no doubt about that. VT is not really any better than the other two on an individual basis. The area is actually dominated by Big Ten folks already, with a very large PSU contingent. The problem is that from the perspective of TV and cable, it’s considered an ACC market. That changes with the addition of UMD and UVA.

        Keep in mind, however, that the above relates to football only. Once basketball season starts, things change. UMD has a very strong basketball following in the area. That alone would lock things up re: the BTN.

    • m (Ag) says:

      Virginia is a large state and will continue to get bigger in the years to come. While some of that population increase will come from elsewhere in the country, their children will grow up paying attention to the local schools and their rivals in whatever conference they play.

      If Virginia + Maryland gets the BTN everywhere in the 2 states + DC, then it’s a good monetary addition for the Big Ten now, and a stronger in the future. Looking at US Census projections, Virginia will have 9.8 million people in 2030 (barely more than New Jersey, slightly less than Michigan), Maryland 7 million people (more than Massachusetts, Indiana, or Missouri), and DC .4 million people.

      Maryland also might not come without Virginia. Virginia and Penn State gives Maryland 2 natural rivals in conference.

      It is also possible that Texas has asked for more schools to improve the conference’s baseball potential.

    • BoilerBart says:

      I read somewhere that for every state the Big Ten has a member school they get ~$.70 per subscriber, and .10 sense for every other subscriber. If this is so adding the State of Virginia catches a lot of people that would not be caught by Md. Any subscriber in Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria etc. would only get the B10 .10 a month, as opposed to .70.

      • Art Vandelay says:

        I don’t believe that’s accurate. It’s not around $0.70 per subscriber in the state, the way I understand it is that it’s about $0.70 per subscriber WHEN THE BTN IS ON THE BASIC CABLE PACKAGE, and about $0.10 per subscriber when it’s an upgraded package (i.e. sports package). So in theory, they don’t absolutely HAVE TO HAVE a school in a state to get the $0.70/subscriber, they just have to get the BTN on that state’s basic cable.

  20. M says:

    If we want Lost metaphors, this post is the moment Ben moved the island. It’s the moment where things go from “You know, there’s a lot of weird stuff happening” to “wtf just happened, I’m so confused”.

    I think this has been mentioned before, but UVA’s new president Teresa Sullivan was formerly the provost at Michigan.

    I am currently at Virginia for graduate school and I somewhat keep up with the sports (still figuring out lacrosse). Let me say that I have heard absolutely zero from anyone about potentially changing conferences, not even throwaway comments or crazy “what-if” scenarios. I’ve said multiple times on this blog that I would extraordinarily surprised if any of core 6 schools of the ACC (UVa, MD, WF, UNC, Duke, NCSU) or wannabe core member VT left the conference. I don’t have any particularly “inside” contacts though.

    Academically this is a monster, in the “pick whatever 5 schools you want” variety. If you were allowed to select any 5 BCS schools not in the Pac-10, this is arguably the best possible grouping. (Duke, UNC, UF, and Pitt to go to 20?) The athletic equivalent would be something like Texas, Florida, Alabama, Nebraska, and Notre Dame from 30 years ago.

    One question though. Why Vanderbilt over Duke? Academically, Duke is better. Athletically, in football they are a wash and Duke is substantially better for basketball. They are both small private schools, so no advantages there in terms of alumni numbers. Is it strictly willingness to leave? Too many ACC schools at that point?

    • spartakles78 says:

      I only picked 3 out of 5. Is hitting .600 still the standard for a softball league?

      Long ago in one of Frank’s earlier articles I mentioned Sullivan’s background which includes her undergrad at Michigan State, a Ph.D at Chicago and a long career at Texas. Has she been at UVA long enough to build momentum in the UVA community to take a serious look at a possible invite?

    • Sportsman24 says:

      I understand why Duke is getting much love from everyone, but (as a sports fan) I just do not want them in the BT. While I respect Coach K and what he has done with their BB program, I am not a fan (to say the least). Also, from prior commenters, it sounds like the don’t have true fans… just band-wagoners (that don’t travel).

      • UncleFester says:

        As someone married to a Dukie I can honestly say that their alumni are freakishly loyal / committed to their sports teams.

        However, I think they would need one hell of a Don Corleone for them to even think about leaving the ACC. The only way they go is if UNC goes as well.

  21. PensfaninLAexile says:

    Fallacies, fallacies, fallacies.

    I would like to pre-empt a bit the onslaught of “connections” conspiracy theorists. There are two fallacies at work:

    1) Analysis of issues in a vacuum.

    Gee has a strong connection to Vandy. Spanier has a connection to Nebraska. A commenter on the previous post noted the Illinois-UConn connection. The world of presidents and provosts at major universities is a small one. Every 11 of the B10 presidents has their own ties. It would not surprise me if every candidate has some close tie to at least one B10 president. Now, Gee may be the most respected and may have the strongest connection. So, in a tie on all counts, he could push a school over the top. But most likely these “connections” cancel each other out and the matrix of qualifications the B10 develops makes the decision, not the right phone call at the right time. I would grant that a school not originally thought of might be able to get on a list to consider in this fashion. But, at that point only the full range of merits of that institution will out.

    2) Coincidence as causation

    Let’s say Nebraska gets in. The story written by the semi-competent sports journalism community will probably talk about how NU’s AD or President worked with this AD or that President in the B10 to midwife their entry blah, blah, blah. The real story would be NU’s strong national brand, programs, good academics, strong traditions, history, etc. But that story is too boring — it’s much more interesting to write some silly gossipy story.

    If Nebraska gets in, the causation is its value as a school and athletic program. It will only be a coincidence that, say, Graham Spanier (Penn State) used to be at Nebraska.

    See ya at the grassy knoll, ‘connections’ proponents.

    • Bob Devaney says:

      Um…don’t forget that Barry Alvarez, who is a key cog in all of this, is a former Nebraska player and was even discussed briefly as a potential replacement/caretaker for Bill Callahan at Nebraska if Bo said ‘no’.

      As for Nebraska, there is no way that the Big 10 doesn’t invite them. Despite the small population base, they have built one of the premiere college athletic programs in the nation.

      Being that Nebraska is contiguous to the Big 10 footprint and the program has bucked all of the socioeconomic indicators that suggest Nebraska should not have such a caliber of program, you have to take them–Nebraska is more or less golden, population shift or economy be damned.

      As far as Missouri goes, folks need to realize that at least 1/3rd of those TV sets are Nebraska’s in that state. Having a poor program like Missouri for as long as they have will do that to a viewership base.

      • whatever says:

        um there are not 2 million nebraska fans in the state of missouri. that’s just f’ing stupid

        • HerbieHusker says:

          @ Whatever

          Do you really believe that the entire state population of Missouri tunes in to watch college football? Of the population that tunes in to watch college football it isn’t “f’ing stupid” to say that 1/3 of those people are Nebraska fans.

          • whatever says:

            ok fine point taken but honestly it doesn’t matter what the number of is but for argument’s sake let’s say 1 million people tune in to college football on a given saturday in Missouri. You honestly think almost 333,333 of those people are husker fans? that’s just another shining example of over the top husker arrogance (i.e. f’ing stupid).

          • HerbieHusker says:

            @ Whatever,

            You obviously know nothing about Nebraska’s following. I’ve attended watch parties in Tulsa (way farther away from Lincoln than Missouri; reference a map) where 250-300 people show up for watch parties; and that is just in the city of Tulsa alone. It is not farfetched to think that 333,000 people would turn on their TV sets in the entire state of Missouri to watch Nebraska play. It’s not arrogance if you are pointing out plausible scenarios……you sound like a bitter Missouri fan with the f’ing stupid remark; it is very unbecoming.

          • whatever says:

            trust me…i’m not bitter about anything. i’m just calling this what it is. now you’re using an example of a tulsa watch party with 300 people as an argument. The more likely argument is that those 300 people were the majority the nebraska fans in tulsa. in either case it’s impossible to extrapolate anything from that let alone that it’s even plausible that 333,333 husker fans live in missouri. if you said there were 10-20,000 total that would be a much more meaningful number. i’m sure there’s plenty of husker fans in missouri and elsewhere but just be reasonable.

          • Djinn Djinn says:

            You know, I’m not a particular fan of teams like Nebraska, Texas, Oklahoma, Miami or USC. But assuming they have a quality opponent, I’d tune in to see them play. (I can’t say that’s true about Maryland, Virginia or Vanderbilt.)

            I’d believe the same thing could be true about the Huskers for a TV audience in Missouri. I’d imagine a lot of people in Missouri would tune in. I’m not sure you have to be a fan of the school. Just a fan of quality football.

          • Gopher86 says:

            As a Kansas fan, I’ll vouch for the Nebraska fan’s numbers. They aren’t a stretch of the imagination by any means– especially during a historically typical year where Nebraska is doing well and Mizzou is bad to mediocre.

          • eapg says:

            Or maybe you just hate Nebraska. Or Texas, or USC, or Florida, so you watch their games not as a fan, but to root for the underdog. It makes not a whit of difference to the cable company or the advertiser what your motivation for watching is.

          • Bob Devaney says:

            Thanks Gopher86.

            To add another point, Nebraska has apparel stores outside of the state of Nebraska, even including Colorado.

            Considering that Nebraska has better TV ratings that all candidates being discussed, save for (only on occasion) Texas, it’s not far fetched.

      • SDB10 says:

        The last 2 invitees were PSU & ND. Mizzou & Nebraska are not in the same academic league & the COPC would likely pick UMD, Pitt, Rutgers over them. The main reason they would take a year to analyze this is to see if high academic schools could deliver the BTN in the footprint notwithstanding their lesser athletic profile. They want the other public Ivies over sports I think.

    • Mike R says:

      Yes, fundamentals are the most important underpinning in forging partnerships among schools. But in the 1980s, the Big 10′s expansion would not have happened without Bryce Jordan reaching out to Stanley Ikenberry, who had a strong connection to PSU. That’s not conspiracy theory, its fact. Both of the principals have discussed the deal, at length. So it is not knollery to think about what connections may exists between and among decision-makers and institutions. It is reality. When you look for a job, you are selling your talents and qualifications (the fundamentals) but the first phone calls you make are to people with whom you have a relationship. There is no tension or contradiction between these two ideas.

      • PensfaninLAexile says:

        I think it is likely that the B10 presidents were aware of Penn State’s existence before Mr. Ikenberry came along.

        This phone call may have been a catalyst. But you are fixated on this relationship. A more plausible explanation is that Jordan and the Penn State trustees decided that joining the B10 was their best alternative, once spurned by the eastern schools. Jordan started the ball rolling by calling the person he had the closest relationship with. If Ikenberry had been on sabbatical in Nepal, I’m sure Jordan would have called his second choice among the B10 bigwigs.

        By your logic, if Ikenberry had been president of the Univ of Akron, Penn State would be playing in the MAC.

        Like I said, there is a complicated web of relationships. Everyone in the B10 has connections. They will probably cancel out.

      • SDB10 says:

        Personal relationships in business only start or facilitate mergers. Otherwise two good friends Gates & Buffett would merge companies by your logic. Mergers occur for synergistic purposes or in this case universities seeking their strategic affiliation. Do you marry a woman because you have known her for a long time or marry the right one?

  22. M says:

    Couldn’t resist a pod-shot:

    Penn State
    Vanderbilt (really should have been an ACC school this whole time)

    Ohio State

    Texas A&M


    • Sportsman24 says:

      Here’s a Pod shot back at you…
      * West: IA, MN, NU* & WI
      * East: MD*, OSU, PSU, Pitt*
      * North: IU, MI, MSU& PU
      * South: IL, NW, UT*, TAMU*

    • m (Ag) says:

      These are always fun:
      School (permanent opponent, secondary opponent):

      Penn State (OSU, Texas A&M)
      Maryland (Texas, Michigan State)
      Virginia (Vanderbilt, Wisconsin)
      Purdue (Indiana, Northwestern)

      Ohio State (PSU, Iowa)
      MSU (Wisconsin, Maryland)
      Michigan (Minnesota, Texas)
      Northwestern (Illinois, Purdue)

      Illinois (Northwestern, Indiana)
      Iowa (Texas A&M, OSU)
      Wisconsin (MSU, Virginia)
      Minnesota (Michigan, Vanderbilt)

      Texas (Maryland, Michigan)
      Texas A&M (Iowa, PSU)
      Indiana (Purdue, Illinois)
      Vanderbilt (Virginia, Minnesota)

      Year 1&2: Atlantic Central & South River

      Non-conference games:
      PSU v Texas A&M
      Maryland v Texas*
      Virginia v Vanderbilt*
      Purdue v Indiana*
      OSU v Iowa
      MSU v Wisconsin*
      Michigan v Minnesota*
      Northwestern v Illinois*

      Year 3&4: Atlantic River & South Central

      Non-conference games:
      PSU v OSU*
      Maryland v Texas*
      Virginia v Vanderbilt*
      Purdue v Indiana*
      Illinois v Northwestern*
      Iowa v Texas A&M*
      Wisconsin v MSU*
      Minnesota v Michigan*

      Year 5&6: South Atlantic & Central River

      Non-Conference games:
      PSU v OSU*
      Maryland v Michigan State
      Virginia v Wisconsin
      Purdue v Northwestern
      Texas v Michigan
      Texas A&M v Iowa*
      Indiana v Illinois
      Vanderbilt v Minnesota

      • m (Ag) says:

        Actually, if these are the schools they are really picking, I think they might want to just have 7 official conference games per year. This would allow schools to schedule at least 2 good non-conference games. While some old Big 10 schools could schedule each other for an 8th game, Penn State could schedule Rutgers for an East Coast rival; Virginia could schedule Virginia Tech and North Carolina; Texas could schedule Oklahoma and Notre Dame (or Texas Tech, if the legislature pressed).

        To do this, you would need to preserve as many rivalries in your quadrants as possible:

        OSU, Michigan, MSU, PSU
        Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Vanderbilt
        Illinois, Indiana, Northwestern, Purdue
        Texas, Texas A&M, Maryland, Virginia

        A more geographically balanced approach would be to pair the 2 Texas schools with the 2 Illinois schools, and the Atlantic schools with the Indiana schools.

        • ezdozen says:

          When you break it into pods, these expansions breaks down.

          On this one, you don’t end up with a 4th anchor school. This only matters because you end up with a few pods that are woefully inferior to other pods. How do you decide who gets stuck with Texas & A&M? Ohio St.? No offense to Wisconsin, but it is quite a lucky break to end up with them as your anchor school.

          Why not just split into two divisions:

          Texas…. Ohio St.
          Texas A&M… Penn St.
          Wisconsin…. Michigan
          Iowa…. Michigan St.

          The tough spot would be splitting Purdue/Indiana for football. But I just don’t see any other way. Pretty parallel talent-wise.

          Then you play 2 of the other schools on a rotating basis each year. Play everyone every 4 years.

          • Kyle2MSU says:

            You could always flip-flop Vandy and Indiana in that scenario. Keeps Purdue/Indiana as a divisional game. Creates a divisional game between Northwestern and Vandy.

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            Because in 2 divisions (which I prefer) some of the schools may moan about only playing MI, OSU, and PSU only once every four years. Could do 3 of 8, but TX may not want to play 10 conference games.

            Alternately, you could do quads with more focus on maintaining as many annual rival games as possible rather than pod balance.

            Make pods A & D division anchors. Rotate B and C between the divisions every 2 years. Those schools would play each other twice per four years. Have A play D twice each year, same for B vs. C.

            Make A & D division anchors. Rotate B and C between the divisions every 2 years. Those schools would play each other twice per four years. Have A play D twice each year, same for B vs. C.

            Years 1 & 2:

            A – TX, aTm, NW, IL
            B – WI, IA, MN, VB

            C – VA, MD, PU, IU
            D – PSU, OSU, MI, MSU

            Years 3 & 4:

            A – TX, aTm, NW, IL
            C – VA, MD, PU, IU

            B – WI, IA, MN, VB
            D – PSU, OSU, MI, MSU

            9-game conference schedule, makes temporary divisions every 2 years, but everyone plays each other at least twice per four years. 3-2-0-2 schedule for two years, 3-0-2-2 for two years.

            Again, this is more about keeping annual rivalries than geography and balance. We’re only talking the difference between playing every year vs. twice per four years.

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            Dang it, I screw up my math. It would be 3-4-0-2 and 3-0-4-2.

            For pods A or D: 3 games every year in your pod, play every team in rotating pod B and none in rotating pod C for two years, play two teams in D each year. After two years swap B and C, playing every team in C and none in B for two years.

            For pods B & C, 3 games every year in your pod, play two from the other twice per year, play every team from pod A and none in pod D for two years. Then swap A and D, playing four from A and none from D for two years.

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            BTW, using anchor pods could also allow an 8-game schedule, which might be key in landing ND. The difference being that A vs D and B vs C only play one game per year.

            More fun with Rubik’s Quads:

            A – TX, aTm, VB, NW
            B – MN, WI, IA, IL
            C – PU, ND, PSU, RUT
            D – OSU, MI, MSU, IU

            Years 1 & 2:

            National Division: A+B
            American Division: C+D

            Years 3 & 4

            Nat Div: A+C
            Am Div: B+D

            A and D play one game per year, same for B and C. 7 games in division, 1 cross-division.

            Any way you slice it, an 8-game schedule while making ND and TX happy is going to require compromises.

  23. Josh says:

    I’m sure these five schools are being examined. Word has been leaking out that around 20 schools are under consideration, so it would make sense that these five would be in that list of 20.

    But Vandy really doesn’t make sense unless it’s just tagging along with the other four to up the academics and baseball. I don’t think you can take Vandy unless you get these other four. Of course, if you get UT, TAMU, UVA and Maryland, you could add Alaska-Fairbanks as the final school and it would still make sense. You’re playing with house money in that case.

    But it really doesn’t work without Texas. Without Texas, I don’t think TAMU moves to the B10. As football programs, Maryland is Michigan State in a good year and Illinois in a bad one. Virginia is Minnesota and Vandy would give Indiana someone to beat. Those may be compelling markets, but they’re not compelling games.

    I also don’t know what Vandy brings that Rutgers can’t deliver. Yes, it’s a better school but it’s not that much of a better school, and Rutgers actually has a football program. For all we talk about Rutgers not delivering NYC, most of us agree it delivers NJ at least. Vandy probably doesn’t even deliver Nashville for the BTN.

    The appeal of the ACC schools is obvious, except for their football programs. If you added them, you’d have to add Nebraska if UT and TAMU don’t join. This expansion has to have at least one football power and if UT and ND say no, that only leaves Nebraska.

    Missouri only has one thing going for it–it’s willing to join and even the conference out at 14 or 16. It wouldn’t mess things up academically too badly and it would probably be a great team player.

    While of course the Texas schools are the ultimate prize, if they don’t join, I don’t see how any of the other schools get invites over Nebraska and Rutgers. I understand the appeal to make the “Public Ivy League” slogan a reality, but the football sense has to be in there somewhere.

    • ChicagoRed says:

      Josh & All,

      Like you say Josh, these are some of the 20+ schools being looked at.
      It won’t be five southern schools any more than all western or eastern schools, rather some combination.

    • Bob Devaney says:

      Agreed, Josh. Nebraska has to be a near-certain lock. If they don’t invite them, the Big 10 is just pissing away guaranteed at that point, Texas be damned.

      • ezdozen says:

        What if Nebraska and Missouri are deal-breakers for Texas? If they are so unhappy with the Texas revenue sharing issue… well, be careful what you wish for… now that issue is gone. Enjoy the Big 12.

        I think it would be great if all the early
        whores (Nebraska, Missouri, Rutgers) get shut out.

        • eapg says:

          In this scenario is Texas the high-class callgirl?

          • eapg says:

            And, by the way, just as Nebraska or Missouri instituting demands involving what schools they would be willing to come in with would be extremely unwise, the same applies to Texas. The Big Ten isn’t going to fall apart if Texas or Nebraska or whomever doesn’t come in. The Big Ten is a massive upgrade, even for Texas, and perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity. Nebraska’s interest has nothing to do with shedding Texas (best case scenario they both come in) and everything to do with all that being in the Big Ten offers on all sides of the equation.

          • HerbieHusker says:

            @ eapg

            Coming from a Nebraska alum perspective you hit it right on the head. We (atleast the alumni and fans I am in contact with) don’t dislike being in a conference with or playing Texas….there is no desire to ‘shed’ Texas and it certainly is not a motivating factor in moving to the Big Ten….what we see in the Big 10 as alumni and fans is a conference where no one’s say out weighs another and that is what we are after. Its not Texas as a program we dispise at all; we actually enjoy competing with Texas although we’ve come up on the short end more often than not recently in the series. What we do dispise is the influence Texas has over the conference and the descisions being made regarding the conference (conference offices, title game location, partial qualifiers, etc.) granted I know that these issues would not necessarily go Nebraska’s way in the Big 10 either (i.e. partial qualifiers) but atleast the decisions wouldn’t be influenced heavily by a single team. If Iowa St was the dominant voice in the conference we would be treating the situation just the same. This is reflected in quotes by AD Tom Osborne when he said “the gravity of the conference seems to be moving south” once again we don’t necessarily want our way, we just are looking for a conference where the influence is more balanced.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            @HH, serious question. I see NU fans on other boards also complaining about Texas. But it amazes me that they complain about 11-1 votes where Nebraska is the outlier (such as having the CCG in Jerry World). Shouldn’t NU be looking much more at themselves instead of blaming Texas?

          • HerbieHusker says:

            @ Loki

            That’s a fair question. I for one can’t speak for those fans because I don’t mind the CCG being played at Jerry’s World; as long as it is in a rotation with a northern site. (2 years at Jerry’s World, 2 years at Arrowhead etc) Take this year for example; the majority of the tickets for the Big 12 CCG were offered to Cowboy season ticket holders first……then a fraction of the tickets were divided up between Nebraska and Texas. Who in that matchup are most Cowboy fans going to be routing for? The 11-1 vote is a little skewed. First of all A&M, Tech, Baylor, OSU, and OU would all be for having the game in Jerry’s world for location reasons….as for why the ISU, Kansas, Kansas St, Missouri, and Colorado all voted for it, i’m not completely sure. The popular belief among Nebraska fans (although i don’t completely agree) is that Texas’s influence sways the votes of the smaller income schools. They need the money, and the money is in Texas. They aren’t looking at it from a competitive standpoint but from a economical. As long as Texas is happy, they are happy. I’m not sure I completely agree with that; but that is what is said. Notice Osborne didn’t say “the gravity of the conference is moving to Texas” he said “the gravity of the conference is moving south”. The northern schools really have the short end on alot of descisions (yes the vote was 11-1, but the belief is that the smaller northern schools are playing ‘follow the leader’) and I think this is what alot of the belly aching is about by Nebraska fans. With money comes influence/power and right now that is in the south. In the Big 10 that isn’t the case. Unless I am reading the Big 10 instuation relationships horribly wrong; and if I am and one school has more influence than the rest, then please correct me.

          • m (Ag) says:

            HerbieHusker, has it every occurred to you that maybe the other North schools want the championship game in Dallas because Jerryworld will make the most money? Did you ever think that is far more important to them than which location Nebraska or Texas prefers? Have you stopped to think maybe Nebraska, by asking them to pass up money in order to make the game less of a drive, is the selfish party here?

          • @m (ag) – As an outsider on this issue, that’s pretty much what I’ve thought all along. Jerry World has 30,000 more seats than Arrowhead, an avalanche of high value corporate suites and a larger population base to draw from. There’s no single stadium in the country that can milk revenue like that stadium. As a result, financially, it’s a no-brainer for the Big XII to make Jerry World the permanent home for the championship. The Rose Bowl is a home game for USC when it’s the Pac-10 rep, but Big Ten fans that travel there never complain about the location.

          • eapg says:

            Less of a drive, or a flight, isn’t the issue. Nebraska fans travel as well as any fans in the country, and they certainly like their breaks from winter weather.

            The issue is competitive balance. Elemental fairness. Not giving the South division of the conference a permanent home game for the championship. Texas (and the South division) should be ashamed that this was even put on the table. That Nebraska lost 11-1 doesn’t burden my conscience one bit.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            “Not giving the South division of the conference a permanent home game for the championship. ”

            As far as I am aware, this is not what was voted on. There have been 7 games in the north and 7 in the south so far.

          • Nostradamus says:

            @m (Ag)
            That is precisely why the North schools are voting it. It is also an easy vote to make when 3-4 of the schools don’t have a realistic chance of going to the title game either. From Nebraska’s prospective, they expect to go to the Big 12 championship game every year. And yes, having it in Kansas City where it is a 3 hour drive from Omaha and Lincoln, and where Chiefs fans get extra tickets is a more appealing deal than playing a game in Dallas where Cowboy ticket holders get extra tickets. Nebraska has no problem with the game being in Dallas every other year, they are just worried the Big 12 appears to be breaking the “traditional” rotation.

          • Nostradamus says:

            @ Loki
            “As far as I am aware, this is not what was voted on. There have been 7 games in the north and 7 in the south so far.”

            What was voted on was a non-binding resolution to play the next three title games in Dallas. Historically it has rotated between a North site and a South site every other year except back to back games in Texas and then two back to back games at Arrowhead.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            The SEC Championship Game is always in Atlanta. Atlanta is in the SEC East. The Eastern team always has twice as many fans. Makes no difference to teams from the SEC West.

            If you’ve ever been to the new Cowboys Stadium (I have) you’d understand why the Big XII wants the game there. Its the greatest sports venue in America.

          • Nostradamus says:

            “The SEC Championship Game is always in Atlanta.”
            And the Big 12 Championship Game hasn’t always been in Dallas.

            Atlanta is in the SEC East. The Eastern team always has twice as many fans. Makes no difference to teams from the SEC West.”
            The difference to me in this though is that for the majority of the West schools in the SEC (other than Arkansas and LSU) the drive to Atlanta is an easy day drive or less. In the Big 12 the only North schools that have under a 10 hour drive to Dallas are the Kansas schools.

            “If you’ve ever been to the new Cowboys Stadium (I have) you’d understand why the Big XII wants the game there. Its the greatest sports venue in America.”
            I was there for the Big 12 championship game and it is a very nice facility. Personally I don’t care what happens with the decision, but I understand Nebraska’s perspective and why they voted against it.

          • Bullet says:

            Nebraska has been in 5 B12 championships. They won twice in San Antonio and came within a second of a major upset in Dallas. They lost as an underdog in Kansas City and lost in a major upset in St. Louis. Maybe its to their benefit to have the game in Texas.

        • Nostradamus says:

          Nebraska isn’t unhappy with the revenue sharing deal. They are one of the four schools that block equal revenue sharing, as they consistently benefit from the unequal sharing model.

    • mushroomgod says:

      Agree on RU v. Vandy, and would add that RU’s enrollment is 3X that of Vandy…and one factor recently mentioned has been alumni base…

    • SDB10 says:

      How do you know its 20 schools being considered? I still am amazed that they are thinking of 3 or 5 schools when the last rounds of expansion in 90′s & early 2000′s only one school was offered. You are considering only sports/BTN whereas the COPC are looking primarily at academics. Example is they only had 7 votes to offer PSU & after that they went for ND, two schools with much higher academic profile than Neb or Miz.

  24. greg says:

    Hawkeye national champs!!

  25. Joshua says:

    When Sewanee, Tulane, and GT left the SEC (for reasons revolving around athletic competition and academic standards) it kind of left Vandy all alone in the SEC. Sure, Florida is up there, but outside of Florida Vandy has no academic peers in the SEC.

    I think Vanderbilt would be right at home in the Big 10 from an academic standpoint. That said, I think most Vanderbilt fans would throw up in their mouths at the thought of becoming a Big 10 team, simply because they are an SEC team with SEC pride.

    In thinking like a University President, moving to the Big 10, in Vandy’s case, is a slam dunk. More $$$, more academic peers, and an opportunity to finally compete on a level playing field.

    Vandy is 1 of only 2 schools in the SEC that do not practice oversigning of players, Georgia being the other. This puts them at a huge disadvantage (the same one that drove GT out of the SEC back in 1964) against the other SEC schools. Whereas in the Big 10, Vandy would not have to compete against schools that blatantly oversign players and essentially run spring mini-camps for players to try out for scholarships.

    If Vandy were to go then I think you would see the SEC look to add however many teams it would take to get to the same number of teams as the Big 10.

    The irony here is that no matter what, you can almost bet the ranch that every school the SEC adds will be based on football and very little if anything else.

    • Josh says:

      The other issue with Vandy is that baseball is a big sport at that school. Moving to the Big 10 would be a huge step down. It would be like Minnesota leaving the Big 10 and taking their hockey program to a new Big XII hockey league. (Yes, I know the B10 and B12 don’t have ice hockey.)

  26. HerbieHusker says:


  27. mmc22 says:


  28. PSUGuy says:

    Interesting, but the only reason why this works is Texas (& TAMU) and the fact that the Big12 remains a very stable/viable entity, but even then it completely destabilizes the ACC/BigEast (SEC has to replace and match & will probably do so from ACC-since Big12 is stable-ACC thus takes from BigEast, etc). Other that those two points, I just don’t get it.

    MD/VA would be a nice get, but again the ACC seems stable.

    Vanderbilt is definately an outlier in the SEC, but it doesn’t seem unhappy.

    Baseball additions would be nice for the BTN spring line-up (slots that I think are lacking currently), but while a sport may be important to a school, I have to believe baseball isn’t anywhere near as important as football.

    Academically, true a powerhouse, but as mentioned there’s needs to be some balance with $$$.

    VA, while a good school with solid markets, I think provides minimally more if MD is already added. Besides, I’d argue VT is the better draw in the area. Vanderbilt (as noted) might not even provide its city (and I know it won’t provide its state).
    You’d in effect be adding “two” Vanderbilts.

    And really, what would those three schools (MD, VA, Vande) add that would more entice Texas to join? I don’t think its baseball…

    And besides, why add VA or Vanderbilt when Rutgers is the equal or better athletically and academically?

    Personally I think this (5 school expansion) is even more unlikely than a 20 team scenario and maintain the “move south” comment was an ackowledgement that the Big10 needs to become more than a mid-western regional conference, not necessarily that it needs to add schools in the south.

    Whether that “non-regional” means movement into the SW (via Texas), the northeast (ND, Syracuse, UConn), or more mid-atlantic (Rutgers, MD, VA) is a matter the conference is investigating right now.

    • Pezlion says:

      “MD/VA would be a nice get, but again the ACC seems stable.”

      I’m not sure that we really know how stable the ACC is. They’re still digesting past expansion schools. I do know that there is tension between the Carolina schools and the non-Carolina schools though, even amongst the founders.

      “Baseball additions would be nice for the BTN spring line-up (slots that I think are lacking currently), but while a sport may be important to a school, I have to believe baseball isn’t anywhere near as important as football.”

      I don’t think you can ignore the importance of this. Adding premiere baseball programs gives the BTN a ton of watchable content in the spring. It’s not just that you’re adding good teams, you’re adding teams with fans who want to watch. Also, you can’t forget about lacrosse. I guarantee you that adding UMD and UVA cause the Big Ten to start sponsoring lacrosse, and gives the BTN even more solid content for the spring. That creates year round marketability for the network, with football in the fall, basketball in the winter and baseball/lacrosse in the spring. Summer? Well, no one watches tv in the summer anyway.

      “VA, while a good school with solid markets, I think provides minimally more if MD is already added. Besides, I’d argue VT is the better draw in the area.”

      I’ve already touched on this above, but VT really is not any better in the DC market, individually, than UMD or UVA. Perhaps further down into VA, but not really up here. DC is a hodgpodge for school affiliations, but UMD and UVA locks it down as far as a tv market.

      “And besides, why add VA or Vanderbilt when Rutgers is the equal or better athletically and academically?”

      You’re crazy if you think Rutgers is anywhere close to being on par with UVA or Vandy as an academic institution.

      • michaelC says:

        Rutgers is on a par with Vandy and UVa as an academic research institution. If you only consider undergraduate rankings, then I’d tend to agree. The Big Ten presidents will consider both of course, but from the standpoint of the CIC all three are strong choices and reasonably equivalent to one another.

    • SDB10 says:

      Yes maybe that is why it takes a year to analyze this. Seems there are 3 or more regional options: East to slay the BEast, Mid-Atlantic ACC raid, West B12 land grab, maybe even the South route for SEC/B12 takings, or even a combination of the above regions. That is a huge strategic decision especially after the previous looks have centered on ND or the BEast area.

  29. PSUGuy says:


  30. mmc22 says:


  31. glenn says:

    more guesses.

    ▀ nd is NOT coming. perhaps a good thing all around.

    ▀ market study showed the nyc market cannot be impacted to any significant degree.

    ▀ like academics, shifting demographics and the associated concerns for the future are more central to this process than any of us realized.

    ▀ while this group of FIVE (thank you, glenn, for waiting until you are awake before commenting again) is perhaps the hot five, it may well not be the final five. so what should we expect a final five school to look like? very much like the school it replaces. you guys pining for nebraska are likely sol. (is there an echo in this room?)

    ▀ when it is final, going this direction will be hooted from every rafter in college sports. the espn guys are going to go nuts. they have pounded every drum for months that ACADEMICS DON’T REALLY MATTER, and they are going to be blazing hot because academics don’t matter to them and get in the way of their business. expect trouble, but the big ten guys have their shoes on the right feet here.

    • PSUGuy says:

      The only problem is then I’d be forced to watch ESPN get even deeper in the hind ends of the SEC as “the BEST college football conference in the HISTORY of the WORLD”…

      Though it would be fun to watch their heads explode like “Scanners” when the announcement is made.

      • glenn says:

        it’s hard to imagine espn deeper in the hinys of the sec, but your point is well taken. those guys are going to howl like scalded goats.

  32. Marc V says:

    Off topic – I’ve gotta ask…what’s with the “adding” and “added” posts? I don’t get it.

    • PSUGuy says:

      Whenever you post a reply, check out some of the check boxes besides the “Submit” button. It allows you to have emails sent to you when someone replies to your/anyone’s post without having to parse through 1000 posts.

  33. Paul says:

    This expansion poses an interesting problem from a “game theory” perspective. The Big Ten with Texas or Notre Dame is much more attractive than a Big Ten without these teams. Getting one attractive piece greatly increases the likelihood of getting the other and then the likelihood of getting teams to leave other good situations (ACC/SEC).

    Based on this, I assume that the Big Ten is (or would like to be) negotiating with both Texas and Notre Dame–together–in a coordinated fashion. Without knowing where it stands with these two schools, the Big Ten would not want to move forward with the less attractive options that would come without the need to align so many other moving parts (Nebraska, Missouri, Big East).

    As part of its negotiations with the two big prizes, it would be in the Big Ten’s best interest to create the impression that it is going to expand to 16 one way or the other (to let ND and Tex see what they will have to deal with in the event they decline.)

    If ND and Tex ever get on board, at least conceptually, then I would expect the rhetoric to change.

    An interesting question, to me, is whether the Big Ten will follow through with its threatened expansion in the event Notre Dame and Texas say “thanks but no thanks.” My guess is that the optimum strategy would be to undertake a slightly smaller expansion that would (1) still shake things up considerably, (2) make lots of money, and (3) leave room for the big prizes to change their minds after seeing (1) and (2) happen.

    In the “thanks but no thanks” scenario, Nebraska would be the most obvious team to add, because it would destabilize (without destroying) the Big Twelve, shift some football power to the Big Ten, and get fans excited. Rutgers would also make sense because it is a big market, it has good academics, and it would destabilize (maybe without destroying) the Big East.

    I can see the Big Ten stopping at 13 instead of filling the spots with less optimum choices like Missouri and the other Big East teams.

    • glenn says:

      ‘optimum’ is a funny word. it means different things to different people.

      • Djinn Djinn says:

        To me it means “spaghetti”.

        • Paul says:

          Are you guys saying I’m stupid? I get that feeling a lot on this board.

          • glenn says:

            absolutely not at all, paul. far from. certainly didn’t mean to suggest that.

            this is such a nebulous situation that it is hard to know what optimum would look like. we don’t truly know the goals of the various key parties, and without that we are throwing darts in a dark room.

    • PSUGuy says:

      I’d actually argue they’d take that last one now and make the move to 14. Whether is be a Pitt, Mizzou, Syracuse the point is to show the Big10 is serious this round of expansion is it “unless something amazing comes along”.

      If Texas or another big school suddenly come along, then they can revist, but its important to show at least the face of a conference willing to maintain its current status until then.

      • Paul says:

        If they stayed stuck on 11 for so long, then there is no reason they could not stay stuck on 13 until just the right situation comes along. Although the logo design would be trickier.

        • greg says:

          They’ve made it pretty clear they don’t want to be at an odd number of schools, so I don’t see 13 or 15 happening, even for a limited number of years.

          • Bullet says:

            13 and 15 don’t work. MAC found that out the hard way. You have to play everyone in your division for a championship game per NCAA rules. That means mathematically, its impossible to have teams playing the same number of games. For example, with 13 teams, for everyone in the 6 team division to get 8 games, 4 teams in the other division will have to play 9.

          • jcfreder says:

            But is there a complete round-robin in the MAC in both divisions? Last year each team plyed 8 games, which means not everybody got a full division round-robin. Do they have some kind of NCAA waiver?

          • Bullet says:

            If they all played 8 last year they had to have gotten a waiver. Prior to last year I know they didn’t play the same number of games. The 1st year they were at 13 they had to redo all the schedules and make sure everyone played a complete round robin after the NCAA informed them of the rule. That was sloppy expansion.

        • Pezlion says:

          This is why 16 is a must. The logo couldn’t be simpler:

          “B16 TEN”

    • FLP_NDRox says:

      If this new rumor is a negiotiating ploy with the Irish and/or Texas what is it trying to accomplish?

      Is it to frighten the Irish? If so, how? At best it indirectly destabilizes their conference. Is it to give them an incentive to join because of the smaller non-Texas schools floated? Does adding to mid-Atlantic schools and two Texas schools suddenly make the B10 National?

      Is it an inducement to Texas/TAMU? Is it providing them more Southern competition? Would UT really prefer Maryland over a more nearby Kansas or Mizzou?

      The more I think about it, the more I think this may be something the Big Ten explores, but I don’t think it’ll work. I doubt any UVa or the Terps will leave the ACC for the Big Ten, and I don’t think the Big Ten really wants a Southern Northwestern-type school that can’t guarantee it’s own city.

      If the presidents have an issue with Nebraska because of the open admissions or whatever, and the BTN has an issue with Mizzou’s ability to help get TVs, maybe we will see a Rutgers-only expansion.

      • m (Ag) says:

        Or maybe the Big 10 just isn’t that interested in Notre Dame.

        • FLP_NDRox says:

          Not with my luck. =)

        • PSUGuy says:

          Personally I think this is the the million dollar post.

          I really don’t think the Big10 is all that interested in that school, let alone “forcing” ND’s hand.

          If at the end of the day ND ends up requesting admittance, due diligence will be done, but until then the assumption will be ND isn’t joining.

    • SDB10 says:

      Maybe this will be a two stage expansion, pick one or two & see what other fruit drops to the ground.

  34. greg says:

    Vandy and Virginia both bring gigantic endowments, which I’ve pointed out as being ignored ’round these parts. This 5 team pod brings 4 gigantic endowments, plus Maryland.

    • glenn says:

      lots of things have been ignored here. there is a reeducation underway which i see is going to take a while. that’s ok.

    • PSUGuy says:

      I fail to see how endowments mean much to the Big10.

      Sure it means the school in question is more likely to maintain those aspect of the school the endowments fund (typically academics and infrastructure, admittedly important to the Big10), and thus its less dependent on the demographics of its home state (if publicly funded), but in the end these funds aren’t shared or leveraged among the Big10 members(as far as I know).

      IMO, in the end, its just a good indicator of stability.

      • greg says:

        We are talking about adding $5M a year in revenue to a school. Yet a $4B endowment doesn’t mean much.

        Think like a university president. Endowments mean A LOT.

        • PSUGuy says:

          Thank you for not answering my question…

          Again, how exactly does a large endowment mean anything but @#$% all other than a gross measure of stability?

  35. Hopkins Horn says:

    Just as eapg suggested in the last thread that I had written my Texas-to-the-SEC post as a trial balloon, I suggest that this post is Frank’s trial balloon to see if he can move from a blogger of news to a shaper of news. We’ll see if anyone else starts picking up this specific rumor over the next few days, and, if so, congratulations to Frank for taking the leap forward.

    Reading the analysis, it makes sense, but in much the same way as an analysis of why the Big 10 would be adding any five schools pulled out of a hat containing the names of 20 or so plausible schools would be. Does it sound plausible? Sure. But is it realistic? Not really. I still don’t see any school, including Vanderbilt, abandoning the SEC, and I tend to think the ACC is more cohesive than many here want to give it credit for. Time will tell, I suppose.

    I do want to take issue with one specific thing you wrote, Frank:

    Just as importantly, those population changes are based more upon solid economic underpinnings (energy in Texas, federal government in Maryland and Virginia, health care in Nashville) than, as uber commenter Richard has argued, “Ponzi scheme” real estate aimed at investors and retirees in places like Florida, Arizona and Nevada.

    First of all, the very reason that Texas has fared relatively well during the current nationwide economic slump is that it has deliberately diversified well beyond its status as a mere energy state. Texas is home to the headquarters of more Fortune 500 companies than any other state, having passed New York a couple of years ago.

    Second, to dismiss the economic strength and growth of the Southwest and Florida as being based on a mere Ponzi scheme aimed at investors and retirees is laughable. Come on Frank, you’re smarter than that.

    • PSUGuy says:

      Speaking as a person who spent 2 years (of the past 3) living in Florida (St. Augustine) and traveling it fairly well I have to say that observation of the Florida boom is (sadly) more accurate than not.

      I saw nothing but service industry businesses focusing on tourism and “living the good life” (basically getting the locals to double and triple mortgage their houses to spend spend spend) or contruction related jobs looking to build more homes. Also much of the new business construction stood empty, even before the recent troubles.

      Where I did see “true growth business” it seemed to revolve around the same “seed” that had existed there prior…government (or government contractor) based companies working in very specific sites scattered across the state. While I’m sure they did grow, they certainly did not impart the numbers seen in the national media.

      I have friends with family in the Gulf area and they say one of the biggest jobs in the area now-a-days is being a cleaning crew…to go through the forclosure homes remove debris, repair damages, and minimally maintain homes that people walked out on.

      Listen, I’m not saying Florida is a death trap. Fact is its always going to have strong tourism and northern retirement and it certainly has seen some real growth in the past couple years, but the levels of growth (in almost all areas) were very much based around construction overbuilding and cheap money and I really think it’ll be playing “keep head above water” for the next couple years while it sorts out the over supply of housing (and business real estate) and waits for folks to get back into their “Florida summer vacations”.

    • Jeff says:

      I could be wrong, but I read Frank’s comment as suggesting another poster implied the “Ponzi scheme” growth in places like Florida, Arizona and Nevada.

      • PSUGuy says:

        The “ponzi scheme” is actually not a bad description because it happened as such…

        People were “churning” houses as fast as they could…buying a place, putting $20k max into it and selling it for $50k+ what they bought it for. Real estate agents made profits off overall price so they pushed these numbers and estimators got paid on houses that sold for the prices they estimated so as long as a known realtor with a legit buyer came along they just fast tracked the paperwork (it happened to me in MD).

        Meanwhile construction built as fast as possible trying to fill the “demand” that the quickly rising house prices “indicated”. Eventually there were a ton of homes on the market (and still are) and everyone realized there was actually a relatively small number of people actually buying the places to keep (most were just buying to sell).

        In the end the only folks who made out were those that cashed out before the crash or never bought in at all…typical of that type of scheme.

    • Richard says:

      Yeah, I posted it, and stand by it. As PSUGuy has attested to, the economic vibrancy of Florida is heavily dependent on more and more people moving there. There really isn’t a lot of industry there besides construction & services for people who moved there. Same goes for Arizona. I guess Florida & LV have tourism as well, but while LV is small enough to survive solely on tourism, that’s not enough to employ every soul in an 18M people state like Florida.

      Look at it this way: Now that we’re moving to a knowledge-based economy, the industries you want generally are the ones that hire MBAs, yet Florida, the 4th most populous state in this country, doesn’t have a b-school ranked in the top 45 (using Businessweek’s b-school rankings). Every other state that’s top 10 in population has at least 1.

      As for Texas, you’re right, Texas has more than energy; like Atlanta, Charlotte, and the Research Triangle, the cities in Texas have attracted headquarters and knowledge-based companies. However, I don’t think having energy as your biggest industry is a bad thing; that’s actually the reason why Texas rode out the past recession so well, not so much because of diversification. The past recession hit virtually every sector hard (which is why Chicago, which has the most diversified economy of any major American city, suffered as much as everyone else). The two sectors that managed relatively better were energy and agriculture.

      • Playoffs Now! says:

        Its far more complicated than that. For one thing, TX and FL don’t have an income tax so both have scored big with office relocations. Miami has become a major hub for Latin America, benefiting not just from related (white-collar) service industries but an increasing number of businessmen establishing 2nd homes/offices as their primary countries have become more dangerous and/or destabilized. You are correct about several of FL’s major weaknesses, but it comes across as too stereotyped. Sort of like someone claiming the Northeast is experiencing major flight to other states and thus NYC must be losing population and declining. Some truth to that, but NYC is simultaneously experience significant in-migration from both domestic and foreign locations, for a variety of reasons.

        Another factor for Texas that is relatively unknown is that we have very different state laws regarding taking out 2nd mortgages, much stricter. Between that and the massive home building that basically mirrored demand, Texas didn’t really see the huge appreciation bubble and thus didn’t have much to burst. Some overbuilding, but nowhere near the scale of Vegas or Phoenix. But I don’t want to give the wrong impression, we aren’t strangers to boom and bust cycles either.

        • Richard says:

          Well, we’ll see how long Florida can sustain it’s no-income-tax policy if they stop getting migrations inward.

  36. tt says:

    Long time lurker, first time poster. This site is great, all of the insights (from Frank and all the commenters) provided here are amazing

    Having lived the majority of my life in Ohio, attended Ohio State, and now working in in the DC area after graduating, I thought I could share a Big Ten perspective on how this area feels about local college athletics:

    First: in the DC area, a lot of people who live here, aren’t from here. Go to any DC-team sporting event, and at least 10 to 25% of the crowd will be rooting for the other team (the team from the area they’re from). Also, if people end up staying here, they continue to support their previous city’s teams, and their kids do the same thing. So, saying something like “adding MD will secure the DC/B-more market” isn’t necessarily true because even though MD is the big state university here, it’s not like the majority of the population went there. So, even if you add MD and get the BTN on basic cable here, you’re not getting the majority of the population’s eyes on it. This is all in contrast to adding Nebraska, where you can guarantee that 99% of the people in that state are going to root for the Huskers

    Second: For the population who are from this area, yes, they do root for MD just like any area roots for its local state school. However, it’s not extremely intense, especially when it comes to football. Basketball is popular here, and, therefore, so is hating Duke basketball. For MD, they’re kind of like Illinois (sorry Frank) in that Illinois has the Illibuck trophy game with Ohio State, but the Buckeyes really only care about Michigan. In the same sense, MD plans every year around playing Duke in b-ball, but Duke only really cares about UNC. This kind of mellows out the passion of the MD fans overall

    Third: As far as I can tell (I’ve lived here for 2 years now), no one in this area cares about UVa. If something happens at UVa, it gets reported and discussed, but that’s about as far as it goes. Case in point: the unfortunate murder of the UVa lax player. It was a bigger deal around here that she was from B-more than she went tot UVa. So, saying “adding UVa will really help secure the DC market with MD” is for the most part completely untrue. Obviously, people care about VT even less (it’s much further away)

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      “adding UVa will really help secure the DC market with MD”

      As I mention above in a related post, I lived inside the Beltway for most of the 2000s and would tend to agree with that statement.

      It is important to throw out the caveat, though, that both of our DC-related experiences have occurred during an unusually-long dry spell for both UVa football and hoops. Neither one of us could know for sure how much more prominent UVa would be in the DC market with some improvement.

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      Obviously, people care about VT even less (it’s much further away)

      Forgot to mention — I disagree with this based on my personal observations over several years. Supporters of the Hokies seemed much more visible than supporters of either UMD or UVa.

      • tt says:

        “experiences have occurred during a … long dry spell for UVa”

        That is a fair statement, however, that shows that the fan base in UVa is more of the fair weather variety. Would that get eyes on the BTN, even during slumps? Compare that to Nebraska which has been in a slump as well…

        “disagree with [people not caring about VT] based on my personal observations”

        I’m not saying that there is not support for VT in DC. My point is that VT does not bring the ‘local state school’ support that Ohio State does in Ohio. Yes, there are supporters of VT here, but there are also supporters of Ohio State, Florida, ect. It is easy to make the connection of “hey, there’s a VT supporter, and I’m close to Virginia”, but I don’t see VT supporters here vastly outnumbering supporters of other schools.

      • PSUGuy says:


    • Vincent says:

      You can argue about Maryland’s fan base — but just as many people have noted the number of Big Ten alumni in metro New York as a plus for Rutgers, so is it true in D.C. as a boon for Maryland. Those Big Ten alums will come out to Byrd Stadium and Comcast Center to see their teams play the Terrapins. And as government grows, metro Washington will grow and become insulated from economic downturns. This is a good market for Delany to target, given its long-term growth potential.

      Virginia is a good complement for Maryland, a traditional rival and a more multifaceted one than UNC or Duke. And both have the all-around athletic programs to fit in with the Big Ten.

      As for Tech, its fan base is more SEC-like, football-centric (you don’t hear much about Gobblers basketball, even though they’ve had some success in the ACC). Tech would be right at home in the SEC.

      I sense Vanderbilt is sort of an ACC wannabe — for several years, it has played Wake Forest in football, and occasionally has met Duke and Georgia Tech. So a move could lead it to become the “Northwestern of the South.”

      Finally, pods for this 16-team Big Ten:

      PSU, UMd, UVa, Vandy
      OSU, MSU, Mich, Wisc
      Ind, Pur, Ill, N’west
      Minn, Iowa, Tex, A&M

      • tt says:

        I agree with your points about Big Ten alumni in the DC area. However, that just plays more towards the fact that you cannot count on MD to deliver the entire state on its own. Yes, obviously the DC market is important: it’s large and it’s growing. However, there are more markets in Maryland than just DC. Baltimore, to name one. There is also Annapolis and the entire western half of the state. MD does not carry these areas. This would be like Ohio State bringing the Columbus market and not carrying the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, Youngstown, ect. markets

        I don’t have a problem is UVa, and, yes, they would bring a nice pairing in for MD, however, you cannot assume that UVa will help MD carry any markets

        I only mentioned VT because of their recent success, to say that even when they’re doing amazing, they don’t do anything for the DC market. Also, remember the last ACC expansion. The Virginia government threatened to derail any expansion effort without VT. If UVa tries to jump to the Big Ten, who said that won’t happen again?

        One thing I did not mention in my initial post is the difference in cultures from the Midwest and the East Coast. When I was in school, one of my best friends was from Rockville, MD (just outside of DC). He used to tell me all the time how different the culture in the Midwest is than in MD. Now that I’m living here, I can see what he means. As Delany said: “Didn’t understand the logistics, didn’t understand the culture, didn’t understand the academic fit, …” (emphasis mine). By adding an East Coast school, or Vandy, at what point do you get away from the Midwest culture which currently defines the Big Ten?

        • Djinn Djinn says:

          What cultural difference(s) are you referring to?

        • SDB10 says:

          Culture is probably referred to as the school such as their strategic goals, emphasis of education over athletics, research school vs. commuter school, alumni support, etc. UMich seems different than MSU in that MSU has a great aggie/vet program yet UMich is strong in law/med/biz but they are similar in their desire for research. Maryland & UVA may be south of the Mason Dixon line but they have the culture of a public Ivy just like the last 2 invitees ND & PSU.

    • PSUGuy says:

      Speaking as another Big10 alum in the MD area for the past 6 years you’re typically right, though I would make one aside…if MD joined we would be combining the large, but not overly rabid, local alumni of MD with the large, and rabid, prescence of the PSU/OSU transplants.

      I really think MD is almost Big10 country already and getting a MD would only cement that.

  37. Carl says:

    adding …

  38. Bob Devaney says:

    If ND is off the table, it’s because the Big 10 has realized what Frank the Tank, et al have discussed–that there are better football properties (read: Nebraska, Texas) to add which fit the Big 10 better.

    Hell, a commenter in one of Frank’s earlier posts brought up Notre Dame’s television ratings (2.6 average, 4.1 highest against USC). That means Nebraska generated the best ratings of any expansion candidate, save for possibly Texas (but not certain–the NU/UT saturday night game was the second-highest rated game, while UT’s other saturday night game was ho-hum).

    Nebraska is the only sure-bet as an expansion target in all this mess.

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      the NU/UT saturday night game was the second-highest rated game, while UT’s other saturday night game was ho-hum

      Well, yeah, one was a conference championship game and the other wasn’t.

      Oh, and which Saturday night game for Texas were you referring to? We had multiple games in prime time on ABC last season (Tech, Okie State, Mizzou, Kansas).

      • jcfreder says:

        Texas is a slam dunk based on TVs or really any other measurement. While I’m inclined to see Nebraska as a top priority given its success and fanbase, my guess is that the B10 will try to accomodate Tex and ND first. If that means taking TAM, it’s done (and in actuality TAM may be a bigger target than Neb anyway). I have to think an addition of Tex would make the Domers think long and hard about joining.

        In the best case, if you can add Tex, TAM and ND, you do it, almost regardless of what other schools those guys force to come along or veto. I have no idea whether Texas would veto Nebraska, but if they did, its sayonara Nebraska. If Texas demands Texas Tech or Oklahoma comes along, maybe its a dealbreaker. Based on Frank’s current post, academics might be driving this even more than we think. But the bottom line is, I think concessions get made for Texas and ND before anyone else gets an offer.

  39. [...] Article at: frankthetank.com var a2a_config = a2a_config || {}; a2a_config.linkname="Dirty South for the Big Ten?"; [...]

  40. Bullet says:

    This convinces me of 2 things.

    1) The Big 10 is really dragging this out to get more attention and this rumour is showing that they are top dog. They can pull from more than disjointed conferences like the Big East and dissatsified members of the Big 12. This expansion would suit the game theorists as it strikes at all 3 of their Central and Eastern time zone competitors.

    2) The Big 10 is telling the truth. They are still just brain storming and running numbers. There is no firm plan and no sort of committment. Vanderbilt????

    I believe there is just one lock in this expansion. That’s Rutgers. New Jersey is a nice addition by itself, growing faster than any B10 state except MN (http://www.census.gov/population/www/projections/projectionsagesex.html table 1) and the possibility of gaining New York City and connecting with alumni there is too good to pass up.

    I also think David Boren is being honest and accurate. Leaving the B12 would be bad for anyone who left. As a Texas fan who remembers the SWC days, I think it would be a major mistake. 93% of the Longhorns’ revenue does NOT come from TV. Do you put it at risk to improve the 7%?

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      As a Texas fan who remembers the SWC days

      It’s funny that we have different perspectives, because I am also a Texas fan who remembers the SWC days quite well, and my takeaway from those days is flee a dying, geographically-limited conference as quickly as possible.

      My personal guideline for Texas is that the schools needs to leave the Big XII one step ahead before point at which the best replacement school on the table is another school from inside Texas.

      • Bullet says:

        The Big 12 has been great for Texas. The stadium is full at 100k instead of not quite full at 80k. Tickets are $70-$110 a game next year instead of $18 the last year of the SWC (less than 15 years ago). Not sure what donation requirements are with the bigger stadium and bigger Cotton Bowl, but before expansion I heard 1k to by new season tickets and 10k to get OU tickets. No donations were required in the SWC days. One of the prime benefits of season tickets was that it guaranteed OU tickets.

        Besides the competition, the biggest factor is success. In the closing days of the SWC, half to blue chippers went out of state to various SEC, B10, P10 schools, Miami and ND. Now, except for a few who just want to go out of state, Texas rarely loses recruiting battles except to OU and A&M. Then OU, A&M and the rest of the Big 12 get who they want. Finally, other schools get their pick. And the top schools from those other conferences usually don’t bother. Maybe a Kentucky can pick up players who help, but Ohio St. isn’t going to put out the effort.

        The Big 12 has helped OU, Tech, Ok. St., Missouri and Kansas as well. I don’t think you can explain that away by simply saying its Mack Brown. Part of OU’s decline in the 90s had to do with the out of state schools taking Texas talent. Texas has now been carved out as Big 12 recruiting territory. If Tech goes to a different conference it might hurt that “wall.” If OU or A&M go to a different conference it tears it down. Plus, UT is opening up Texas to the Big 10 the way it opened up to Kansas, Missouri and Ok. St.

        • m (Ag) says:

          If UT had gone to another conference instead of the Big 12, it would likely be selling out the stadium every week as well. The chief reason for that is the on the field success, not their particular opponents.

          The Big 12 has been a big step up from the SWC, moving on to the Big 10 would be even bigger.

          One nice side effect of a ‘pod’ alignment is that only the 2 schools in the pod with Texas and Texas A&M would have an annual game in the state, so UT and A&M would still have first choice for recruits from the state.

        • Hopkins Horn says:

          You get no arguments from me as to the positive effect leaving the SWC and helping to found the Big XII has had on UT athletics. And I don’t attribute it fully to Mack Brown — the school is performing as well as one would expect it to when firing on all cylinders.

          My fear is that, in a scenario in which NU and Mizzou leave for the Big 10, and Colorado and Utah join the Pac 10 after Texas decides to stick with the Big XII, the Big XII is fatally weakened by replacing the three departing schools with BYU, TCU and (insert name of intolerable third-rate school here).

          You mention the stadium being no quite full at 80K. To be more precise, when I attended UT for the 1992-1994 seasons during the dying days of the SWC, stadium capacity was only 72K, and, for most games, at least 10K seats were empty (half of the west-side upper deck and most of the old horseshoe).

          The 100K+ plus crowds of today are a result of a giant school playing at a top level of competitiveness. But there’s no guarantee that such competitiveness will continue after Dodds, Brown, et al leave the scene. And when things do go downhill for a few years, I’d rather have the assurance that we’re in the strongest possible possible rather than relive the days of having 30K empty seats show up to see a meaningless conference tilt against TCU.

          • Bullet says:

            Clearly CU, NU and Mizzou would be losses. Individually very tolerable, but collectively significant. That might be too much. But then I think the Pac 10 would be an option. And one where Texas has more ties than with the Big 10.

            Illinois and Texas may have shared the top 2 spots in Accounting for most of the last 30 years, but that just doesn’t translate to the football field. USC, UCLA and the Arizona schools fit better (even if not geographically).

            And there are more options than TCU. I think Colorado St. is an adequate replacement for CU (they’ve been beating them on the football field lately). CU doesn’t add much other than football (cross-country is not a big spectator sport and UT doesn’t have a ski team). BYU has a good following. UNLV adds very little to the Pac 10, but might be valuable to a revamped Big 12. New Mexico is a possibility as are Memphis and Louisville. And if you’re going east, WVU and Pittsburg might be available. With BYU, Louisville, WVU and Pitt you are adding teams with some historical success in football. BYU, UNM and UNLV have had basketball success.

        • Playoffs Now! says:

          The Big 12 has been great for Texas. The stadium is full at 100k instead of not quite full at 80k. Tickets are $70-$110 a game next year instead of $18 the last year of the SWC (less than 15 years ago). Not sure what donation requirements are with the bigger stadium and bigger Cotton Bowl, but before expansion I heard 1k to by new season tickets and 10k to get OU tickets. No donations were required in the SWC days. One of the prime benefits of season tickets was that it guaranteed OU tickets.

          Well, that and the fact that the state population is 40% larger and a heck of a lot wealthier than at the end of the SWC days.

          • Bullet says:

            Since 1969 maybe, but Texas hasn’t grown 40% since 1996 and isn’t significantly more wealthy. And the student population stabilized around 50,000 after 1980. Texas was filling those 70-80k seats throughout most of the 70s. Then UT went in a slump starting in 1985 as the SWC started its death spiral.

          • Playoffs Now! says:


            1990 TX population 17 million, 2000 almost 21 million, currently approx. 25 million.

            And we sure as hell have seen substantial growth income, both median and even more for college graduates during the multiple boom cycles. Same for the Austin-San Antonio corridor, where UT football is their de facto pro sports team (besides the Spurs.) A-SA is now adding as many people per year as greater Houston, placing they and DFW all in the top 10 in the US for metro area growth. Lots of hi-tech jobs have moved to Austin since the SWC days. With no state income tax we’ve also attracted a disproportionate share of high-income earners and entrepreneurs. Boom times and startups = disposable income.

          • Manifesto (Ohio St.) says:

            Crap. Beat me to it Playoffs. Well, here’s another census link for Texas:


          • Cliff's Notes says:

            Bullet, I have to disagree with your perspective.

            I admit I’m an outsider, and I know Texas is more of a self-autonomous state than any other in the lower 48.

            But I really don’t see how UT leaving the Big XII really risks 93% of their revenue, or their recruits.

            From a purely football standpoint, if Michigan or Ohio State left The Big Ten, I know that these schools would still sell out their stadiums, and still get plenty of revenue. So long as they weren’t joining the MAC, and had a relatively decent schedule. And UM-OSU could be a non-conference game if it had to be.

            Michigan and Ohio State still bring in 100,000+ when they play Western Michigan and Bowling Green.

            Likewise, it’s been pointed out by many Texas posters that UT-OU was a non-conference game for many years, so there doens’t seem to be a worry that this rivalry would end.

            So you’re really talking about a likely exchange on the regular schedule of Baylor, TT, Ok St., and a non-conference game or two (for OU and maybe A&M) to add Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, etc.

            And then the non-division matchups every couple of years change from Kansas, K St, Colorado, Iowa State, and maybe Mizzou or Nebraska to Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan St….

            I’m sure some people will be a bit disappointed, and maybe one or two folks cancel their season tickets. But I think plenty of people will remain, and some folks will be more excited. There’s going to be plenty of people waiting in line to grab any open seats.

            Also, I fans root for their school first, and their conference second. Except for Ohio State, which roots AGAINST Michigan second, and then FOR The Big Ten third. That won’t change.

            As for recruits, I’m sure that some kids will look around elsewhere. But Texas, (like Michigan or Ohio State if they left The Big Ten), not only is going to remain very strong in-state, but also regionally. There is just such a name-brand recognition and attachment by a lot of these kids that the conference isn’t going to matter a lot. Ohio State would still clean up the Ohio recruits and UT would still clean up the Texas recruits if either school were in SEC. Maybe a kid in Chicago is less likely to look at Ohio State, but if the Buckeyes are competing with Notre Dame for a recruit, the kid is already accepting of playing many road games out of the region.

          • Bullet says:

            For Cliffnotes

            The 2nd paragraph is my main point-recruiting and success. If you aren’t successful, you don’t sell nearly as much merchandise, don’t appear on national TV as much, don’t get as many or as large donations and you may have 20-30,000 empty seats. You can’t raise ticket prices 500% in 15 years. That’s why the 93% would be at risk-because top flight recruits would be spread out instead of staying with Texas.

            And Playoffs is right-UT is the Austin/SA “professional” team so there are a lot of bandwagon fans.
            As HopkinsHorn pointed out, he saw lots of empty seats when he was in school and Texas was struggling. I remember Texas’ lone non-winning season between the late 50s and mid 80s and having only 50,000 in the stands for A&M (nearly half of them Aggies). It was Thanksgiving night, rainy and miserable (in more way than one), but I can’t imagine not selling out an A&M game now. Prior to that year in the 70s, UT was selling out virtually every game every year.

            I’ll disagree about the wealth issue. DFW and Houston are about the same. Austin was booming like crazy in the 80s and 90s before a slump in the mid to late 90s that didn’t slow down the surge in UT athletic revenues. Austin is now booming again.

          • Bullet says:

            Texas gets nearly all their recruits from the top 100 in Texas. They had to dip a little lower in the SWC days. About 2/3 of the recruits stay in the Big 12. Most importantly, Texas and the Big 12 dominate the top part of the list.

            For example in 2007 UT had 22 of the top 100 (Houston Chronicle list). Big 12 had 68, other Texas schools had 8 and schools from neighboring states (LSU, Arkansas, Tulsa) had 9. In the early 90s, over 50% were going out of state and out of conference. And most at the very top of the list were leaving.

            So Texas has to be concerned that if they join the Big 10 that Big 10 powers, SEC powers, Miami, FSU, ND, etc. will start raiding Texas’ top talent again. It happened before, but was dramatically reversed with the formation of the Big 12. The Big 12 schools had traditionally recruited Texas anyway, so they weren’t letting anybody new in the door and they shut the door on a lot of out of state schools picking up the top talent.

            I believe concerns about losing the success is why Texas is so reluctant to join the Big 10. The administration is probably salivating about the possibility of being in the CIC. They consider Illinois, Wisconsin, etc. to be their peers and want to be viewed like Michigan and Berkeley.

          • Cliff's Notes says:


            I still think you are taking too big of a leap.

            A few random points:

            Texas was #1 in athletic revenue last year. Even a slight slip in success is not going to turn that program into Baylor.

            Ticket prices across the country have exploded. To say Texas ticket prices went up 500% in 15 years… I’d like to see how ticket prices went up elsewhere. At Michigan, in 15 years, the ticket price went from roughly $25 to $50, but they added a PSL, so that $50 seat is really about $120. Which is roughly a 500% increase. And at the time UM added the PSL, the UM tickets were amongst the cheapest in The Big Ten, so I know that the ticket prices at the other schools have increased, too.

            As for recruiting, there are certain inherent advantages that Texas has that few other schools can match. The name recruits itself, just like Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama, Notre Dame… Even in down times, these schools are always going to be on TV more, have better facilities, tradition, etc.

            You’re right, that Texas may not be able to pick and choose from the Top 25 kids in Texas. But if the SEC or Big Ten makes inroads, Texas is still going to be #1 over time, and Texas will adapt. Texas will start recruiting Florida and Georgia and California more, too.

            Besides that, recruiting goes in cycles. Sometimes kids want to “get away”. Sometimes kids want to be a part of “closing down the borders”.

            If you want Texas to do everything possible to have an easy path to the National Championship game, then your argument is much stronger that you want to keep a “just strong enough” Big XII schedule that doesn’t beat you up too much instead of a more difficult SEC or Big Ten schedule.

            Texas moving to the Big Ten is not going to suddenly drop UT down to the level of Oklahoma State; you’re not going to lose all your recruits and see 40,000 empty seats.

          • Bullet says:

            I don’t have specific #s, but I know Rice and UGA haven’t gone up that much. And as I mentioned, UT for the 1st time required donations to purchase new season tickets, so the increase is even more. Looking at UGA, away games are 40-65 and season tickets are only $240 (vs. $400 at UT). Back in the mid-90s ticket prices were comparable, but UGA like most SEC schools required donations to buy tickets. So the effective price was higher. The required donation is not 500% higher at UGA than it was back then.

            If UT goes back to the Mackovic era of mostly 7-4 seasons they won’t draw 100k. They won’t drop all the way to 60k, but 70 is possible. Using $70 and 7 games, that’s $14.7 million or 10% of revenue not even counting concessions. And Mackovic did do a lot of California recruiting (remember Ricky Williams?).

            We don’t know if the recruiting “wall” will break down if UT goes to the B10, but its a risk and there is a history. There’s a reason Arkansas is playing home and away with SMU. There’s a reason B10 schools love FL bowls-and its not just the beaches. Presence gives you a better shot at recruiting. And if the whole B10 and whole SEC have a presence, its a big risk.

            UT was still winning more than anyone but A&M during those years. And there were some good years, but it wasn’t what UT was used to and it wasn’t competitive with the powers then (UNL, FSU, Miami) And it wasn’t enough to fill an 80k stadium (let alone 100k) and lead the nation in licensing revenue.

          • Bullet says:

            On the topic of non-TV revenues, there is an Atlanta article about UGA’s athletic association. They earned $85 million and gave $2 million to the university on top of $6 million they already committed over 3 years. Their fund for donations in order to get football tickets brought in $22.8 million in 2010 down from a peak of $26.1 million in 2008. That decline was credited to both the economy and the decline in the football team’s success.

            I would guess the figures are similar for the top half of the SEC teams and presumably for the top half of B10 teams also.


          • Cliff's Notes says:

            BTW, One more thing about recruiting…

            If the population trends continue, there is just simply going to be more D-1 players coming out of Texas (and CA and FL), and more BCS schools will simply have to expand their recruiting in Texas (and CA and FL) to get talent.

            UT is going to be right in the middle of it, but they can’t can’t get them all.

            I don’t know how many Texas recruits went to D-1 or BCS schools, or some arbitrary list of power house schools, but it’s going to reach a point where if you don’t recruit TX and FL and CA, you won’t survive. And UT and A&M simply don’t have room for all of them. So regardless of what conference UT belongs to, the SEC and Big Ten will be increasing their recruiting in Texas more and more each year.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            Once you get past the big three, it drops pretty quickly. Signees by state:

            1. Texas – 408
            2. Florida – 355
            3. California – 323
            4. Georgia – 182
            5. Ohio – 172
            6. Alabama – 90
            7. Louisiana – 90
            8. Virginia – 84
            9. Pennsylvania – 75
            10. Illinois – 72
            11. Michigan – 62
            12. Mississippi – 62
            13. New Jersey – 59
            14. North Carolina – 57
            15. Maryland – 54
            16. South Carolina – 49
            17. Oklahoma – 42
            18. Tennessee – 38
            19. Arizona – 36
            20. Utah -34


          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Loki – so does the population. For example, Louisiana, with 90 D-1 signees, has a population of 4.2 million. That’s less than the Houston MSA.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            Alan, agreed. The real outlier is New York. Huge population but doesn’t crack the top twenty in recruiting. More evidence to me of the folly of the strategy of ‘capturing’ NY. Outside of them, demographics is destiny to some extent.

          • Bullet says:

            I ran across Ivan Masiel’s EPSN blog on demographics and recruiting. The total state population doesn’t tell the whole story. PA, IA and OH are likely to be losing population by 2030 and MI will be at 0 growth, but more significant is the age of the population. OH HS population has dropped by 25% since 1980 and the trend is accelerating according to the article.

    • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

      I like point #2. The Big 10 IS indeed telling the truth (to an extent…)

      Outside of Texas and Notre Dame…I doubt there are any “offers” on the table currently. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t talking with 10-15 different schools informally…but it means that no one has been told “You’re in!” other than UT and ND.

      The conference is doing its due diligence, getting its ducks in a row, so when he day comes (this June? sometime in the fall? January?) when UT and ND give their final answer, they’ll know exactly how to proceed. They will have plan a, plan b, plan c, plan d, and plan e all worked out perfectly before they actually IMPLEMENT plan a.

      Outside of Texas and Texas A/M, I think Frank’s “egghead five” are probably part of plan c, d, or e rather than plan a or b.

    • SDB10 says:

      How long do mergers & acquisitions take in business? Months right? This is the same thing but instead of taking the slam dunk athletic teams such as Neb or Pitt, they are looking at many scenarios on how the good academic schools can deliver the BTN to ensure the annual payout is not diluted. They already know about the schools they are interested in, just need to do the $ crunching.

  41. Ken Smithmier says:


  42. Michael says:

    Assuming these 5 schools, the Big 10 would be in great shape for further expansion.

    - Maryland and UVa would seem to destabilize the Big 10 – at what point would UNC, Duke, GTech and Miami be considered?

    - You haven´t taken a big jump into SEC territory, leaving any member isolated – but you have poked at the perimeter and maybe paved the way for UNC, Duke, Georgia, Florida down the line.

    - The Big 12 is obviously significantly weakened – whether the damage is reparable is debatable. Nebraska, however, is now a clear outlier in terms of geography. Great football school, good/improving research school but where do they go from here? Pac 10? SEC? Big 8 revival? The Big 10 may make the most sense if we ever consider moving to 20.

    - Where does this leave Notre Dame? Along with Pitt, they could probably effectively replace UVa/Maryland in the ACC. Why would this scenario, however, be better than joining the Big 10? Any ND fans out there with any idea about this?

    • FLP_NDRox says:

      I don’t know that for ND it would be better. Likely as not, it would be about equal, all things considered. But I’m a Domer and find all conferences for ND football a bad idea.

      The ACC and B10 are surprisingly similar in Domer eyes: excellent academic schools that care about athletics, too. The Big differences are athletic focus (B10 football vs. ACC hoops) and geography (Midwest vs. Coastal South).

      What the ACC has over the Big Ten potentially are two things. First, ACC schools are smaller and are perceived to have more undergraduate focus than B10 schools. They have multiple private schools including the only other FBS Catholic school. Potentially there’s less reason for ND and the other conference schools to be at odds in the ACC than the B10+ since the school sizes and aims are similar. Secondly, ND fears being considered a “Midwestern” school. In the ACC, ND would be considered an outlier. In the B10+, we’d potentially be “the Catholic Northwestern” in the eyes of kids in NYC, Boston, Etc.. OK, probably not that bad, but when you’re talking about fear, rationality is at a disadvantage.

      The loss of the nothernmost ACC core schools might force the ACC back to Tobacco Rd., or it might force them to get Syracuse. Hard to say what the UVa and MD losses would do to the perception of the ACC.

      • Manifesto says:

        Playing through this scenario, I could see the ACC making a real effort to bolster its northeast presence. It would lose Virginia and Maryland, and probably counter by trying to add Syracuse and Rutgers, or perhaps just some combination of Syracuse/Rutgers/UConn/Pitt. I could see Miami and BC being for that strategy, and adding most of these schools would help enhance basketball.

  43. quasikoz says:

    Just a thought about how viable Virginia would be in Big Ten expansion…

    After the strong-arming involved in having Virginia Tech join Virginia in the ACC, what would keep that from happening again if the Big Ten just wanted Virginia?

    Shouldn’t UVA/VT be treated just like UT/TAMU? And if that’s the case, would that make UVA worth it if it meant excluding a school like Vandy/Neb/MD?

    • mushroomgod says:

      Agree about VA. If they WANTED to come, which they wouldn’t, they wouldn’t do so because of Va. Tech/politics.

      Maryland’s also a non-starter.

      The Vandy rumor worries me because they might actually be interested….and the SEC wouldn’t care if they left. Hopefully, they’re only thrown in as a fill-in in the event of the “egghead expansion” (thasnks PSU guy), which won’t happen.

      • Hopkins Horn says:

        Although couldn’t one argue that the price of VT accepting UVa’s help in upgrading conference affiliations is not throwing a roadblock in front of UVa wanting to do the same?

      • Vincent says:

        Bringing Vandy in as part of this helps UVa’s cause, as VT could then become the 12th SEC member. They aren’t joined at the hip, and the respective moves would be profitable for both schools.

        • m (Ag) says:

          Yeah, it would seem the SEC invites Virginia Tech first to get back to 12 teams, then maybe looks to add more schools to 14 or 16.

          Virginia Tech will be in a better conference than they are now, though maybe not as good as Virginia (depending on how you rate academics and football).

    • greg says:

      The entire state politics interdependency thing has been overblown by commenters. The VA/VTECH/ACC thing was a perfect storm: one of the top conferences was expanding, the vote was falling so that any one additional nay vote could submarine expansion, one of the existing schools in the expanding conference held a vote that could sway it, the “little brother” school was at least good enough to claim they belonged, and the “little brother” school wanted out of an unstable conference. Somehow that perfect storm has morphed into a conventional belief that every pair of state schools is handcuffed for eternity.

      If VA was considering being added to the B10, most of those factors go away. Virginia wouldn’t hold a vote. VA Tech is already healthily established in the ACC, and wouldn’t need to panic about their future. VA Tech can’t claim that they have the chops to be invited into the B10.

      KU/KSU it may matter, as a KU B10 invite (which I don’t see happening) could totally F over KSU by leaving them in a dying conference. But would the Kansas legislature decide its better to have both state schools in a dying conference by submarining KU? Or would they be glad that KU is going B10, and hope for the best with KSU?

      TX/TAMU are probably not tied, as TAMU doesn’t need TX to survive. TAMU could easily join the SEC or P10, although there is some doubt there. But the politics will matter somewhat.

      ISU may squawk if the B12 was dying, but to somehow get Iowa to force ISU into the B10, you’d need the B10 vote to be 7-3, with Iowa holding the swing vote. Even then, its hard to justify ISU in the B10, due to lack of TVs and athletic chops, and borderline academics.

      OSU may successfully make a stink if OU was invited to the SEC without them, in part due to Daddy Oil’s billions.

      I just don’t see another perfect storm on the horizon.

      • Cliff's Notes says:

        I agree… I don’t see how UVa leaving the ACC ruins that conference. In the case of The Big East, it was clear that the power schools in that conference were leaving. Va Tech might be tied to UVa only if UNC and Duke were leaving the ACC and it turned into a free-for-all.

        Likewise, I think the replacement for Vandy would be Texas A&M. Supposedly, UT and A&M are not tied at the hip, and A&M prefers the SEC anyways. If A&M did get a Big Ten offer, I’m sure they would at least let the SEC know they are considering it, and want an offer from them, too.

        Knowing the bluster of the SEC and Slive, I think they would LOVE to brag about how A&M chose the SEC over a Big Ten invite.

        While I know that A&M on its own would be a pretty solid addition to The Big Ten, I think that getting only UT allows The Big Ten to make in-roads into another state and additional markets that an addition of A&M doesn’t allow.

    • SDB10 says:

      UVA to BT is a step up academically from the ACC. The pols wanted VT to go from BEast to ACC as a step up. You have a good point but VT is probably where they belong in the ACC whereas UVA as a public ivy is a step up from VT who could reasonably be argued as a non-qualifier in the B10. Do the pols really want VT in the B10 instead of ACC anyway?

  44. Dave says:

    If going after the DC Market is a priority, UVA is the 3rd banana out here after Maryland and Va Tech.

    State of Virginia households on Basic Cable for BTN is another thing, but living in DC, not too many people out here follow UVA compared to MD and VT

  45. Nittany Wit says:

    The focus has shifted from ND and taking multiple teams from the Big East to make this happen to seeing what combination of teams would appease Texas. If the Big12 is destroyed that meants that the can of worms is opened with where Tech will go to in the legislature. So if Texas comes and A&M presumably gets an invite, then I don’t see Nebraska or Missouri getting invites. Especially if the SEC comes in to poach Oklahoma.

    Also, note that PA is contiguous with MD which is also with Va which is also with Tennessee…starting to build an end-around to connect to Texas. Maybe coincedence, but that looks like a more national appeal…ND’s schedule would have teams from East Coast (PSU, Maryland), South (UVA, Vandy), Southwest (Texas, A&M), Midwest…the only region not really cover is the Pacific Coast, but their USC rivalry would fulfill that itch. Such a strategy might work out better for everyone

  46. Jeff says:


  47. c says:

    Re newest rumor (Frank)

    Frank, another well written post. Your advocacy skills are outstanding: I’m sure you are a great attorney. However this seems like yet another interesting trial balloon.

    1) On the surface this would be an ideal combination from a President’s perspective: all great schools outside the footprint that theoretically could attract each other.

    2) Problem: I really doubt and would be very surprised if UVA or Maryland or even Texas at this point want in any more than ND. These 5 proposed adds highlight what the Big 10 is not: a close knit group of southern or ACC schools.

    Texas seems currently to be moving along a western alliance joint channel option. Combining UVA with UMD makes a lot of sense but I doubt these schools see the Big 10 as a great affinity match compared with the ACC.

    3) What is interesting about this post is the possibility that Missouri may not be in. Personally I am skeptical that Missouri adds anything by itself or in combination that actually strengthens the conference.

    4) Conclusion: The end of this post states Nebraska and RU may be in if desired targets say “no thanks”.

    It may be the Big 10 just adds a 12th team like Nebraska.

    However the idea that SU “continues to hang around” leads to the thought a 3 school expansion may be Nebraska, RU and SU. Adding RU alone is leaving the other half of the NY market open and SU might make an interesting supplement and combination to RU to make a play for the combined market.

    This prediction is subject to change without notice based on next weeks rumor or news.

    • Vincent says:

      Considering their athletic revenue would likely triple and their research value would increase dramatically, I doubt UMd and UVa officials would worry too much about an “affinity match.”

    • SDB10 says:

      This is all about schools finding their fit such as all the public ivies flocking to the B10. UVA & UT are public ivies, Pitt, Rutgers, UMD are honorable mention. Although I agree UMD & UVA seem happy, they can get huge payouts & join a killer football conference. Besides the BTN is another big recruiting advantage.

  48. Manifesto says:

    I don’t see Vandy. Yes, they’re an academic outlier in the SEC, but they don’t seem to be discontent with that. Using academics as a reason for Vandy to bolt the SEC feels similar to using enrollment/research/private numbers as why Northwestern would leave for the ACC. On paper, sure, it’s kind of plausible I guess. But in reality? No way. Gee’s a very influential man, but I don’t think he’s quite that influential.

    As for Virginia and/or Maryland, eh, ok. It doesn’t set my pants on fire, but I could live with the rational. If you can grab Virginia, do you really need Maryland? Is Maryland, which by all accounts is lukewarm to the notion, worth the headache over Rutgers? Can’t help but feel like these are comparable.

    Do you seriously leave Nebraska at the alter if you’re already taking Texas/TA&M? Sure, on paper, you’ve only taken two schools out of 12 in the Big12. But you’ve also gutted that conference out of it’s biggest draw in its biggest state. Leaving Nebraska behind just seems silly at that point.

    To be honest, this feels like an argument where the “academics importance slider” has been moved too far. I really don’t see a scenario where you should abandon Nebraska (expect in the most unlikely scenarios). As for Missouri, well, I’m not broken up about that.

    If we’re tossing stuff against the wall, this is probably my current “expansion home run”: Texas, TA&M, Nebraska, and pick two from ND/Rutgers/Maryland/Virginia. In every combination you have a population increase, a football brand increase, and an academic and research increase.

  49. Guido says:

    I’m going to comment from a different perspective than many of the commentators on this blog, which is a non-big 10 perspective/lense.

    I have no doubt the Big 10 loves the spotlight expansion is causing, and is talking to many schools at some level as part of their process. Schools tend to avoid being rude to each other since schools in different conferences work together all the time in academic, administrative, and athletic settings (out of conferene scheduling, tournaments, etc.)

    However, in the end, for many of the same reasons the Big 10 wants to expand southward, most schools are not going to be interested in joining the Big 10 and moving toward the north/midwest. As an athletic conference, looking at the combination of Basketball and Football primarily, the Big 10 is not considered elite by most outside the Big 10. Among the BCS conferences, an argument could be made that they are viewed right now as fighting with the Pac-10 between the #5 and #6 overall conference. Many might argue that point, but I do think people outside the Big 10 generally see it that way.

    Most schools want to be playing regular games where the recruiting hotbeds are, the top 3 generally being Florida, Texas, and Cal (listed in no particular order). Schools in conferences that already hit those markets are not going to be jumping at the chance to leave them behind to play games in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana.

    Academics seem important, but you can’t get the school to change conferences by only convincing the faculty it’s a good idea. And schools like Vandy, Duke, and Stanford have all done quite well to maintain their academic reputation without needing to be in a conference with each other.

    In the end, the schools that would actually move are going to be ones that are not happy for one reason or another where they currently stand. Which brings me back to Rutgers, Missouri, and Nebraska. They have all indicated they’d be interested at some level and have reasons for wanting out of their existing situation. It allows for a championship game to be played and enhances the football brand of the conference to help it be more appealing nationally. It also expands the geography of the conference so that years from now, when more expansion comes up, the “Big 10 footprint” will be something larger than it is today, perhaps making it seem more logical a destination for schools that today would just see it as being too far away.

    • jcfreder says:

      I’m coming from a B10 perspective (UW). I see what you’re saying, but only to a certain point. Some people here seem to think of the college landscape as a candy store where the B10 can pick whomever it likes. I don’t think that’s totally true. However, I think that’s probably closer to the truth than a statement that the B10 isn’t an “elite” conference that is desirable to the candidates for expansion. I think it has underachieved to a certain extent in recent years, but only on the field, not in terms of money, academics, prestige, etc. Part of the reason Neb, Rut or Mizz would jump to the B10 in a heartbeat is because is an overall better conference than the Big East or Big 12. That may have more to do with stability, academics and money than with current success on the field, but (1) current success is overblown, most of the BCS conferences (other than the SEC at #1 in football) flip-flop overall strength on a yearly basis; and (2) adding really big fish to the WILL make it undeniably “elite” even in the most ardent B10 haters. Let’s face it, Tex and TAM to the B10 is a better conference than the current BXII. Texas could easily say no, but it won’t because they see the B10 as a minor league.

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      Among the BCS conferences, an argument could be made that they are viewed right now as fighting with the Pac-10 between the #5 and #6 overall conference. Many might argue that point, but I do think people outside the Big 10 generally see it that way.

      I think this is absolutely false. Even through the prism of “what have you done for me lately” from a football-centric worldview the Big Ten is no worse than fighting the Pac 10 for the third best conference, behind the SEC and the Big XII.

      • Pezlion says:

        Not to mention from an overall sports perspective, the only thing that the Big Ten is fighting the Pac-10 for is the #1 spot.

    • Phizzy says:

      Guido: “Among the BCS conferences, an argument could be made that they are viewed right now as fighting with the Pac-10 between the #5 and #6 overall conference.”

      I think you are sadly mistakenly. In terms of overall athletic performances, the Big Ten and Pac-10 are tops. Average Directors’ Cup rankings, for all 16 years of the Directors’ Cup:
      Pac-10: 28.0
      Big Ten: 29.8
      SEC: 36.4
      ACC: 40.5
      Big 12: 45.5
      Big East: 87.4

      The Big Ten’s worse team, Northwestern, with a average Directors’ Cup ranking of 50.9, is easily the “best worst” of any conference:
      Big Ten: Northwestern – 50.9
      ACC: Virginia Tech – 77.5
      Big 12: Kansas State – 77.6
      SEC: Mississippi State – 84.5
      Pac-10: Washington State – 90.3
      Big East: Cincinnati – 129.9

      Northwestern also ranks higher than all Big East schools, 6 Big 12 schools, 3 ACC schools, 3 SEC schools, and 2 Pac-10 schools.

      In reality, the Big Ten is fighting with the Pac-10 for the #1 conference.

      And that is just on the athletics side. Couple that with academics, revenue, etc., and you’d probably have conclude that the Big Ten is the best overall conference. Period.

      • Guido says:

        I’m not surprised by that type if response, nor do I neccessarily think it is incorrect. Was just stating that for purely BB and Football, as a whole, people not tied to the conference. But rather obseving from a distance, do not see it as being as strong as “Big 10″ folks do. Not that there are no premier programs in each sport, just a top to bottom assessment of the strength of the league today (not historically)

      • Djinn Djinn says:

        Good post.

    • SDB10 says:

      Your thinking sounds like a fan not a University President. Put on your Prez cap and consider that you have 30,000 students of which maybe 750 are athletes. Now look at the $6B research going on in the CIC compared to your $50M athletic budget, throw in an annual $10M increase in your athletic budget as a signing bonus and you can see why all the other conferences are waiting to see what the B10 is doing. They have to wait because they don’t know who they will have left unless you happen to be the PAC10.

  50. glenn says:

    this is fun. frank’s source(s) sure know how to poke a nebraska wasp nest.

    or is hopkins saying that frank has no source on this?

    • @glenn – Personally, I think that Nebraska will ultimately end up in the Big Ten unless Texas makes it clear that it won’t join because of the Huskers. Mizzou, though, is on thin ice on a lot of levels.

      • glenn says:

        frank, i think schools/conferences of schools are jockeying for position in the expected economy of the future.

        it is hard for us sports fans to not see athletics as the key to the future, but they are not. assuming your source(s) is indeed tapped into big ten thinking, i see them preparing for rough seas ahead, and football has nothing to do with it.

        • glenn says:

          umm . . . actually football may have something to do with it. or it may have something to do with football.

          i can imagine a time in the not too distant future when most schools have had to cut way back, and many, in fact, have had to close their doors.

          people all over the country are anxiously awaiting saturday afternoon on the btn to see whether virginia has an answer for that vanderbilt defense that handed them the title last year.

      • glenn says:

        another thing–and i’m certainly not knowledgeable about the big ten–my guess is that even if texas chooses a different path, the message here–IF IT TRULY REPRESENTS BIG TEN OPINION–is that nebraska is not right for what the bt wishes to do anyway.

        that would dovetail very nicely with my impression of the conference, so i guess i am predisposed to see it that way. that said, the strong nature of this latest leak, if that’s what it is, certainly lends credibility to my impression.

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      or is hopkins saying that frank has no source on this?

      That’s not what I’m saying at all.

      What I am saying is that Frank has become a leading source for those interested in realignment-related news. By becoming a source, he has put himself in a position to receive unsolicited “inside information.”

      Frank has taken a look at the evidence sent to him and has concluded that the Big 10 might very well be looking at this particular group of five teams.

      As a result, for the first time, Frank has moved from being, like me, a mere speculator or an analyst of rumors broken elsewhere to someone able to break his own news about what the Big 10 might be doing.

      And it will be very interesting to see whether this rumor gets picked up elsewhere. I suspect it will. If so, Frank will have successfully made himself a player in the expansion media game.

      • glenn says:

        actually just poking you with a stick, hh.

        i absolutely agree with you that frank is positioned to be a key conduit in all this. my great suspicion is that the bt/delany were pretty stunned that delany’s comments have been sidestepped so adroitly by sports fans in general. i can imagine them saying, ‘what does it take to get through to these people?’

        frank’s blog has become central to the public experience in this issue and is the perfect place for them to throw the next hatchet. in part, too, because posters here have been so immune to outside thinking. i suspect that is what happened.

        • PSUGuy says:

          In fairness though, he now has to watch out for plain old fashioned crack heads.

          Just because a lot of crap washes up on my shores doesn’t make it good or useful right?

          • glenn says:

            well, certainly. i think we all expect him to at least have a good idea the validity of things he is given.

            i gather this recent bit of information was deemed pretty substantial for him to write a new entry. but not substantial enough for him to change his basic viewpoint.

  51. Joe with a UVa daughter says:

    UVa and Maryland are extremely logical choices….would love to see the ACC get a taste of their own medicine for what they did to the Big East.

  52. Mike R says:

    Sorry about the length of this comment, but there is so much to chew on in this post, Frank.

    Interesting and plausible scenario. I’ve always thought that Andy Katz was one of the better reporters at ESPN, where journalism is so up-and-down, with uninformed speculation presented within seconds of solid reporting, and when he brought up the “Southern strategy” I knew we should take it seriously, especially when JD started talking about growth states.

    But there are still so many things that give you pause. Most importantly, the preponderance of public statements indicates that Texas is looking weat, in the form of a Western alliance, or joining the Pac 10. The willingness of UVa and, to a lesser extent, Maryland, to leave their historic conference home is a complete unknown. And the Vandy story breaks one of our “iron rules:” no one leaves the SEC.

    Moreover, Nebraska and Rutgers still bring a lot to the table and I can’t believe they are totally off the table.

    However, if the “Southern strategy” is real, that may spell the end of the dream for what I call the “complementary” schools: Missouri, Pitt and Syracuse. It means that JD is trying to hit a home run or at least a stand-up double with every choice:

    The northern candidates:

    Nebraska (home run — football tradition, rabid fanbase)
    Rutgers (stand-up double — brings the Big 10 and its marquee schools to the frontdoor of the NY market; natural partner for Penn State)

    The “Southern strategy” candidates:

    Maryland (at least a stand-up double — brings the Big 10 to the frontdoor of the nation’s capital and it political influence; solid sports program; natural partner for Penn State)
    Texas (HR — no explanation necessary)
    Texas A&M (stand-up double on its own as a major research player and sometime sports powerhouse; rabid if quirky fanbase; natural partner for Texas)
    Vanderbilt (academically a HR, in sports terms an out — averages out to a ground-rule double, let’s say)
    Virginia (a triple — HR academically, the major prestige builder in the DC market)

    While none of the five schools Frank discusses may end up in the Big 10, the message to my ears is clear — if you want to be in the Big 10, you must, in and of yourself, be a strategic addition, not a complement to some other other school. The “encircle NY” strategy, in other words, is dead. Also, audacity counts. This is Delany’s legacy move, and if it happens at all its going to make an impact.

  53. Ken Smithmier says:

    A few points:
    1. Just because these schools might be on the B10 list doesn’t mean they will be the Final Five. But going after a group like this sure makes it easy to demonstrate to faculty/alumni/community that academics are extremely important.
    2. Going after these 5 to begin with makes it easier to take a lesser academic star like NE once one of the coveted says no.
    3. The presidents want money, yes, but at a B10 meeting they want to sit with the Vandy president a lot more than they want to hang out with some presidents from some of the other schools mentioned here.
    4. Likewise with UVA. You think B10 presidents don’t salivate over THOMAS JEFFERSON’s school?? They see it as their crowd.
    None of this means their interest is reciprocated by any of the 5, nor does it mean the deal will get done, but don’t underestimate the power of academic elitism in this scheme.

    • BigTenBound says:

      I thought Jefferson attended William & Mary? Either that or Harvard since those are the only schools that existed then. I could be wrong.

  54. M says:

    Virginia is getting rocked on this board, so I thought I would defend it.

    As far as fan support, I am not sure exactly what sort of pull the school has in DC. However, even in the worst season in 25 years (3-9), attendance was still better than Maryland (and Miami for that matter) and just 1000 behind 9-4 Rutgers. These people are not all coming from Charlottesville. The stadium seats 62000 which puts in third in terms of capacity out of all ACC and Big East college football stadiums and effectively tied for 7th in the current Big Ten.

    Competitively, in football Virginia would again be the middle of the 5 candidates. From 1989-2009, UVa has a .600 winning percentage which would be 5th in the Big Ten, behind the obvious 3 and Wisconsin. I doubt Virginia would win the title with regularity, but they wouldn’t be a doormat. They’ve also had 30 drafted players in the last 10 years for what its worth.

    I cannot believe I am having to defend Virginia academically, but whatever. UVa is the original impetus for the term “public Ivy”. It is the best undergraduate public school in the country. While it’s research dollars are not the monster of a Wisconsin the school has a top 25 medical school, a top 40 engineering school, a top 10 law school, and has top 10 programs in a number of “prestige” departments (e.g. English). Also, for all the talk about total research dollars, it’s not like UVa is ND. The school is within spitting distance of UChicago, Rutgers, and is more than CMU, Princeton, and Syracuse. I seriously cannot understand that commentators here who are ready to welcome in schools like Missouri, Nebraska, and Kansas would have any objection to Virginia.

    • jcfreder says:

      Agreed on Virginia. It’s a great academic fit and probably presents one of the best mixes of academics, population (the whole Southern move Delaney seems to be talking about) and athletics. I would probably atke it over Maryland if there was only one spot. I’d take it over Vandy in a heartbeat. But over Nebraska? Hard to say. I think the B10 needs to add at least 2 home runs in terms of football. Nebraska could be one of those (probably the third best option in that regard after Tex and ND) but Virginia seems more like a school that gets added after locking down some big-time football schools first.

    • @M – Yeah, I could see some of the critiques of UVA as having a so-so sports program, but any criticism of the school’s academics based on a supposed lack of research dollars is insane. Adding UVA from an academic perspective for the Big Ten (which sees itself as the top academic conference for public universities) is every bit as huge as getting Texas or ND for football in terms of public perception. UVA is a school that truly moves the needle for the Big Ten’s academic reputation (not just fits into it).

      • M says:

        If by “so-so sports program”, you mean “an outstanding overall sports program with an average to above average football team”, then I agree. Last year Virginia placed 8th in the Director’s Cup which I think is higher than any Big Ten school ever (except Michigan).

        • mushroomgod says:

          90% of the population is only interested in 2 sports…bball and fball. In these 2 sports Va. has been mediocre….forever. That said, Va. would still be a good addition to BT, but it won’t happen.

          • M says:

            @mushroomgod, UVa haters

            Here are the winning percentages of the expansion candidates over the last 25 years:

            Nebraska 0.772
            Texas 0.699
            Texas A&M 0.660
            Notre Dame 0.652
            Virginia 0.590
            Georgia Tech 0.580
            Syracuse 0.574
            Boston College 0.561
            Connecticut 0.517
            North Carolina 0.512
            Pittsburgh 0.497
            Maryland 0.471
            Kansas 0.445
            Missouri 0.442
            Rutgers 0.411
            Duke 0.286
            Vanderbilt 0.282

            In other words, in terms of long term football success, Virginia is only behind the “Big 4″. If Virginia is mediocre in football, then every other candidate is that or worse.

          • Kyle says:

            That’s well and good, but winning percentages for an arbitrary time period don’t tell us too much and can active hide certain trends. For example what kind of schedules did these teams have? Are they trending up or down or periods of highs and lows? Are they continuing to invest in their athletic facilities and brand?

            I don’t mean for you to provide answers/analysis for these questions, but obviously there is more to the issue than football winning percentage since ’84.

          • M says:


            I agree that winning percentage over the last 25 years is a bit of crude measure, but it does give an indication of the historical dedication of a school to the sport. Comparing schedules over a long period is tricky, but note that a number of these schools are in the same conference as Virginia.

        • NeutronSoup says:

          Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State have all placed in the top 5 of the Director’s Cup multiple times each. That’s not to take away from your point that UVa has a strong overall sports program, an assertion I completely agree with.

        • Manifesto (Ohio St.) says:


          Uh, “any Big Ten school ever (except Michigan)” is just false.

          Current standings, according to http://www.nacda.com/, has OSU #2, PSU #3, and Minnesota #4.

          If you can trust Wikipedia, you see the Big Ten frequently sits in the top 5: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NACDA_Directors%27_Cup

          You are correct that Virginia placed 8th in last year’s final tally (http://www.nacda.com/auto_pdf/p_hotos/s_chools/nacda/sports/directorscup/auto_pdf/june29d1). Michigan was 5th, OSU 10th, plus three others to round out the top 20 (Minn, PSU, Illinois.). But, again, the assertion that the BigTen, with the exception of Michigan, never cracks the top 8 is entirely false. OSU finished #3 in 2002-03, for example.

        • Phizzy says:

          Directors’ Cup rankings:

          Penn State:
          3rd (1998-99)
          4th (1999-00)
          5th (1993-94)
          5th (2002-03)
          8th (1994-95)

          Ohio State:
          3rd (2002-03)
          4th (2003-04)
          6th (2000-01)
          8th (1996-97)

          7th (2001-02)

          And, of course, Michigan has finished 8th or better almost every year:
          2nd (2003-04)
          3rd (1999-00)
          3rd (2007-08)
          4th (2000-01)
          4th (2002-03)
          4th (2004-05)
          4th (2006-07)
          5th (1995-96)
          5th (1997-98)
          5th (2008-09)
          6th (1998-99)
          6th (2001-02)
          7th (1994-95)

          • Vincent says:

            Can you provide the Directors’ Cup standings in recent years for the five schools listed in this thread (Maryland, Texas, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt and Virginia)?

          • jokewood says:


            I took a 10-year average of Director’s Cup standings. Here are the Big Ten schools and other schools of interest.

            3. Florida
            4. Michigan
            5. Texas
            6. North Carolina
            8. Ohio State
            12. Penn State
            16. Notre Dame
            17. Duke
            18. Minnesota
            20. Virginia
            22. Texas A&M
            23. Nebraska
            25. Wisconsin
            30. Michigan State
            31. Illinois
            33. Maryland
            34. Purdue
            37. Indiana
            44. Miami
            45. Missouri
            46. Northwestern
            47. Georgia Tech
            49. Iowa
            51. UConn

            All of the above schools finished in the top 100 of the Director’s Cup in each of the last 10 years.

            Vanderbilt — had respectable standings, but below those listed above.

            Rutgers, Syracuse, and Pitt — performed poorly.

        • SDB10 says:

          With all the B12 & BEast Commish saber rattling going on, I find it odd that there is nothing from Swofford of the ACC now that UMD & UVA are making headlines as candidates. Same goes for Slive of the SEC now that Vandy is getting some love. Further I have seen no denials from the ACC or SEC schools which again seems odd since all the other candidates have made public statements throughout the process.

      • rich2 says:

        Let’s be clear: Adding UVA improves significantly the academic prestige of the Big Ten. UVA does not “fit” it, it improves and elevates the academic image of the Big Ten. Which is why I can’t figure out why UVA would agree to join the Big Ten. Has anyone explained on this thread why UVA (or Vanderbilt) would want to join the Big Ten?

        • BoilerBart says:

          I believe the belief is inclusion in the CIC is a big factor that any institution would be interested plus the increase in revenue.

        • Djinn Djinn says:

          Plus not everyone thinks as little of the Big Ten as you do. If you read any rankings other than USNews, (which you, yourself stated was flawed, yet continually look to for rankings) you’d see that.

          ARWU, for instance, ranks Virginia at #51 in the US. That would put it 9th in the Big Ten. QS (The Times in London) ranks Virginia #128 in the world, which would put it 8th in the Big Ten.

          I know you can measure schools in a million different ways to get different results, and clearly Virginia is a fine school ranked much higher in other surveys, so I don’t mean to insult them–but my point is that I wouldn’t go solely by a USNews ranking that is mostly subjective–it uses few objective measures at all, and the ones it does use can be manipulated–just because it ranks Notre Dame highly and the Big Ten schools lower.

          • rich2 says:

            I think highly of the Big Ten. One of the Big Ten schools is my employer for 22 years since I received my doctorate from the University of Chicago (another member of the club).

            This is simple: look at average SAT or ACT scores, measured at the median or the 75% percentile. Using this measure, Virginia kills. Of course Virginia undergrads (or ND undergrads) can pursue graduate degrees at CIC or Big Ten Schools. Few reasonable people argue that the graduate program molds the student. Some credit sure – but ultimately not in the ways that matter: student alignment or alumni donations. Graduates are about three times likely to donate to their undergraduate than graduate school. This is where affiliations are made. You and few others on this thread represent the outliers who believe that graduate experience, not undergraduate experience marks a person’s affiliation for life. You are insulting Virginia because you wish to measure them on a dimension that they do not prioritize. Virginia has done quite well, thank you, without aping Iowa or even Wisconsin.

            Which schools of the current Big Ten do you rank ahead of Virginia for an 18 year high school applicant? To paraphrase from a different context “thrill me with your acumen, Djinn Djinn; explain to us why so many higher academically-qualified applicants are mistakenly applying to Virginia when they should be applying to the entire Big Ten.”

          • PSUGuy says:

            Show me what those SAT/ACT scores are going towards.

            Point being Big10 tends to focus heavily on engineering and physical sciences, which mind you VA does well on, but IMO the Big10 schools do better.

            My own PSU has been top 10 in the world the past 10 years for engineering (Michigan even better), per ARWU anyway (FYI, VA is 50-75, ND not ranked) and yet I’m sure they’re SAT/ACT scores are worse. Fact is folks who do well in logical thinking may not post the best verbals.

            Then again with a standard undergraduate admittance of double+ what UVA/ND have is it a wonder their average is lower?

            As for “why are more going to VA”…I’d argue they aren’t. I count a grand total of 13k undergraduates going to that school. UoM probably has that in its engineering department (exaggeration of course, but you get the point).

            Long story short, stop taking schools that are exceedingly selective in their undergraduate admissions as proof positive that “they are the best schools around”. Especially when they have literally millions of prospective students in the mid-atlantic region to select from.

            Its just one more measure of academics and really needs to be broken down to truly be informational.

            I mean I’ve known plenty of idiots (myself included) that scored 1500 SAT’s (myself included). :P

          • djinndjinn says:

            Sorry in advance for the long post…

            Rich says, “I think highly of the Big Ten.”

            Rich, you’ve already made it clear that you’re a Notre Dame alum. You know you’re 100% biased towards the Irish, are you not? Would you not agree that the school you most care about in all this expansion talk is Notre Dame? Isn’t Notre Dame why you keep up with this blog? Or is it your love for Indiana or Michigan?

            You may be employed by Indiana, but it would appear you are reluctantly so. Some time back, after one of your many “the sky is falling on the Big Ten” posts, Frank even asked why you even work for Indiana if you think things in the conference are so dire. Do you not recall? Your response was something to the effect that you were there because the economy was in bad shape and there weren’t a lot of jobs. Do I misrepresent your statement? Your response certainly didn’t sound like you were there for a love of Indiana University.

            Post after post, I haven’t seen this high regard for the Big Ten. For example, look at your last post. You asked why a school as prestigious as Virginia even want to consider joining the Big Ten. Evidently nothing wrong in your mind with their associating with Florida State or NC State or Clemson. But why would they conceivably want to associate with the likes of Michigan, Wisconsin or Penn State? Yes, Rich, that sounds like a lot of love for the Big Ten to me.

            But let’s use a more tangible measure of your love and respect. Where do you donate more of your money, Rich? To the U of Chicago that gave you the degree that got you hired? To Indiana, the university that clothes, feeds and houses you and your family? Or to Notre Dame? Where does your financial “love” go?

            “Graduates are about three times likely to donate to their undergraduate than graduate school….You and few others on this thread represent the outliers who believe that graduate experience not undergraduate experience marks a person’s affiliation for life.”

            While this has absolutely nothing to do with the topic on this thread, I’d like you to show me my quote, because I don’t think I’ve said this at all. In fact, I know I said the opposite. On the previous thread, I even listed several reasons WHY people donate at higher rates to their undergraduate institutions. So I agree with you.

            What I HAVE said is that a university is defined by what it does. At your Notre Dame their emphasis is, far and away, undergraduate studies. And because that’s Notre Dame’s emphasis, in your mind all schools are measured by the same yardstick. It’s all about the undergraduates.

            Of course, at Big Ten schools they have a completely different mandate. They educate a LOT of undergraduates and they educate a LOT of graduate students and they do a WHOLE LOT of research. For Big Ten university presidents voting on an expansion, this is how they look at their schools. It’s not just about undergraduates to them. So that’s the lens most of us on this blog apply in looking at expansion candidates. We’re discussing how other universities would fit the Big Ten as the presidents view it. Get it? Hence, the value of a Big Ten school just simply has a different measure than the one yardstick (SATs, ACTs) you use. To them (and to me, frankly), a university means undergraduates, graduate students, and research. The whole enchilada.

            “Explain to me why so many higher academically-qualified applicants are mistakenly applying to Virginia when they should be applying to the Big Ten.”

            Virginia is a fine school. People should apply there.

            However, I’d be curious to see what information you have that shows who is applying to which schools. My guess is that you only have academic stats on those accepted or admitted, which is a function not only of applicants but of positions available.

            “You are insulting Virginia because you wish to measure them in a dimension they do not prioritize.”

            When did I insult Virginia?

            When I said in an earlier post on this thread that Virginia and Vanderbilt are “clearly very good institutions”?

            When I said they “would make fine additions to the Big Ten”?

            When I said “I can see the Big Ten’s interest in that regard”?

            Or when I simply made the point to you that despite your feeling that there is no conceivable reason for a school like Virginia to affiliate itself with the Big Ten, that not everyone thinks the Big Ten would rank so low in comparison to Virginia. And as proof, I provided a couple well-known and unbiased international organizations that ranked the Big Ten schools much higher you can accept as possible. Again, these are not my rankings, but theirs. I’m just reporting them.

            Or maybe the insult was when I purposely followed that point by stating that “clearly Virginia is a fine school ranked much higher in other surveys, so I don’t mean to insult them”?

            Please point out the insult, Rich. It’s lost on me.

            As for your point that I want to measure Virginia “in a dimension they do not prioritize”, that’s hilarious, because that’s exactly the complaint I’ve made about you.

            EVERY time you discuss a school’s value or prestige, it’s all about SAT or ACTs. That’s it. It’s what you used to justify the ridiculous claim that Michigan’s academics were “plummeting”. And it’s the same measuring stick you use here.

            Why do you use this one single metric to value a school?

            Because that’s how private schools like Notre Dame measure their worth.

            Like most privates, their claim to prestige is exclusivity. By whom they keep out. That’s easier to do when you have 1/2 or 1/10 the number of positions.

            SAT’s and ACT’s are certainly one way to measure those attending. However, as I’ve previously written on this blog (and I don’t believe you ever responded), the job of large public schools like those in the Big Ten is not to keep people out, but to educate large masses of people—both at an undergraduate and a graduate level–and to contribute to society by doing the sort of research that actually advances society.

            Large schools with a lot more open slots to fill are almost by definition going to have higher acceptance rates. Is that not obvious?

            That doesn’t mean the school is worse. Or that the facilities are worse. Or that the teaching staff is worse. Or that the quality of teaching is worse. Or the educational opportunities are fewer. It’s merely reflective of different sorts of institutions with different missions.

            Hence, I’d argue that above and beyond SATs and ACTs, the value of a school could be measured in many, many ways. Graduation rates. Numbers of people being educated (BS, PhD). Nobel prize winners produced, NAS members on staff, Fields Medal winners on the faculty. Highly-cited researchers. Awards won by faculty. Scientific papers produced. Class sizes. Numbers of majors offered. The list of measures goes on and on.

            I’ve made this point—that not everything boils down to ACT scores, that you can use many metrics to measure a school—on more than one thread on this blog. Yet while you continually use the same ACT / SAT scores for all of your evaluations of schools, one that is clearly biased to favour small schools over larger schools, you tell me I’m measuring Virginia in a “dimension they do not prioritize”?

            With that said, you write ”look at average SAT or ACT scores measured in the median or 75th percentile. Using this measure, Virginia kills.”

            Here’s the example of my last point. SATs and ACTs–that’s your one measuring stick.

            But for fun, here’s a quiz for you. Which school is “best”?

            School A
            88% in top 10% of their high school class
            98% in the top 25% of their high school class
            75th percentile of composite SATs : 99th percentile
            75th percentile of best SAT section: 730 score (Math)
            75th percentile of ACTs: 99th percentile
            25th percentile of ACTs: 89th percentile
            15.9 students per faculty
            26 Fulbright Fellows
            Out of state tuition and fees: $32,000

            School B
            92% in top 10% of their class
            99% in the top 25%
            75th percentile of composite SATs: 98.5th percentile
            75th percentile of best SAT section: 740 (Math)
            75th percentile of ACTs: 98th percentile
            25th percentile of ACTs 89th percentile
            15 students per faculty
            31 Fulbright Fellows
            Out of state tuition and fees: $35,000

            Which university is better?

            Personally, I’d call that pretty close. Based on this information, I’d consider those schools to be almost identical. Peer universities.

            Not you. One of those schools “kills” the other.

            So, honestly, is there really a lot to separate these two schools based on this information?

            Or are you just completely biased against the one in the Big Ten?

            But what if I now added this information:

            Would it matter if one university offered 2 ½ times the number of majors as the other? Does that make one better?

            Would it matter if one university had 63% more applications than the other? Does more interest in attending mean that school’s better?

            Would it matter if one university turned down more applicants than the other?

            Would it matter if one university had 80% more volumes in its libraries?

            Would it matter if one university had 73% more undergraduate students?

            Would it matter if one university had 61% more graduate students?

            Would it matter if one university had 34 National Academy of Science winners and the other had 4?

            Would it matter if one university had 30 National Academy of Science members on staff teaching students and the other had 12?

            Would it matter if one school had 19 Nobel Prize winners associated with it and the other had 4?

            What if one had more award winning teachers?

    • Pezlion says:

      I for one love the combo of UVA/UMD for the Big Ten. I’m not a fan of either school, but as a Big Ten alumnus and fan, I think this duo brings a lot to the table. I don’t, however, like either one by itself all that much.

    • FLP_NDRox says:

      The only issue I see for the B10 in re UVa is enrollment.

      • Manifesto (Ohio St.) says:

        The academic prestige of Virginia is high enough I’m sure enrollment size isn’t an issue. Much like the prestige of ND is enough for the BigTen to overlook similar presumably negative factors.

  55. willarm1 says:

    Hey Frank;

    Thanks for the post, it all makes plenty of sense and of course who knows what will happen next.

    Here is my question to #4. Do you think it may end up being necessary to bring more teams that share some tradition from the Big 12 to get Texas and A&M to pull the trigger?

    I believe this to be true for a couple of reasons. 1st Travel, Delany has spoken about the troubles the WAC had with teams spread out to far. and B, don’t you have to sell the fan base on some things staying the same and some things changing?

    In my example. Tex, A&M, NEB, Miss or Kansas, and ND were the teams of choice. This not only keeps some SWAC, and Big 12 tradition but also makes travel that much easier because many of these schools they would be familiar with already.

    But maybe the most interesting part of this example is that it almost dictates what Silve has to do. He must clean up after the big 10, the remaining big 12 teams. because going to the acc doesn’t make sense for them. they already own those markets and it would have to piss off members like fla, sc, and ga.

    So to sum up, if they concentrate on the big 12 they not only broaden their scope for the league and the BTN, but they force SEC to act a certain way (virtually) hurting their revenue stream, because they now share with four more teams without the additional revenue streams to offset the expansion. while the bug ten increases its revenue divide with a champ game and BTN expansion.

    What do you think?

    • Bullet says:

      The SEC won’t hurt its revenue stream. So I think they stay at 12 regardless of what the Big 10+1 does. The only way they improve the revenue stream is to expand their market-schools like UVA, UNC, Texas and Texas A&M. And the 1st 3 will not join the SEC.

      The game theorists might think UVA is a bad move for the Big 10. VT would then be free to go to the SEC. Coupled with an OU that might be a revenue enhancer and it would certainly be a competitivness enhancement.

      • Vincent says:

        Let’s assume Maryland and Virginia go to the Big Ten, along with Vanderbilt, Texas A&M and Texas, and Virginia Tech goes to the SEC as team 12. It would be intriguing to see what happened next.

        Might the SEC match the Big Ten bu going to 16, and if so, who joins the Gobblers? (I refuse to use the “Hokie” nickname because it sounds stupid.) West Virginia has been a longtime Tech foe (though it ended with VT to the ACC), and it would certainly covet SEC membership. Would Mike Slive pursue Oklahoma, even if he had to take Okie State as well? They would give Arkansas two nearby rivals. That leaves one slot left, and I sense Florida State would get the nod over Clemson because it hails from a bigger, more recruit-laden state.

        Under that scenario, the ACC is now minus UMd, UVa, VT and FSU. It likely would pick off Rutgers, Syracuse, Connecticut and Pittsburgh from the Big East, giving it more visibility in the New York market. Then again, under this scenario, that wasn’t all that important to the Big Ten, was it?

        The Big 12 is left as the Big Eight again, only with Texas Tech and Baylor instead of the two Oklahoma schools. It’s vulnerable to a Pac-10 pickoff of Colorado (and Nebraska? Remember, there are a lot of former Nebraskans on the West Coast). It would likely be forced to take in Brigham Young abd Utah, though the latter could also go to the Pac-10. Texas Christiam could also be a candidate.

        • Vincent says:

          In the above scenario, the SEC might also want a member in North Carolina, a fast-growing state. Its first choice would obviously be UNC, but I can’t see it leaving the ACC, especially without Duke; it also probably wouldn’t mesh culturally with the SEC. Wake Forest is too small from an SEC perspective. That leaves N.C. State, whose athletic program hasn’t done much of late, and for whom SEC membership could be a shot in the arm, especially for football. Would the SEC accept NCSU if UNC turned it down? That’s the question.

          • willarm1 says:

            Good point. If SEC goes ACC they should go after teams like NC, NC State, Va Tech, maybe Duke?

            I just can’t see Fla, Ga, SC, even KY signing off on, fla state, ga tech, miami, clemson, and even louisville for that matter. The SEC is the grade A beef in those states why would they want rivals getting a piece of that pie?

            $ and recruiting wise.

          • Cliff's Notes says:

            I don’t think The Big Ten President’s necessarily care how the SEC responds.

            Any SEC expansion is focused on making a “stronger football conference”, and, with the exception of Texas, appears to focus on their current footprint.

            The Big Ten expansion is looking at a “stronger football conference” as only one of many criteria. Academic Prestige, Research, Expanding the footprint, following the population growth, cultural fit, and increasing revenue are all a part of the criteria for the Big Ten.

            So even if the SEC maximizes their “football conference power”, the Big Ten will have grown in many, many more ways, whichever path they choose.

          • willarm1 says:

            Not looking at your main competition is a major mistake. just look at the auto-industry.

            must be part of the equation IMO.

          • willarm1 says:

            15 year deals are not re-done after a year, with an addition of teams that already fit the conference footprint.

            if they get ou osu kansas maybe tech than that maybe a different story.

            But you only have so many slots that are big payoffs for the network. that is why they draft the games they want to show.

            I respect your points but I do not think Delany is sitting down with espn before he expands to make sure everything works out. he has the ace in the hole, The BTN, the SEC does not.

          • willarm1 says:

            I do however, I think ESPN is trying to save the cash as well.

            ESPN and The SEC have a great thing going. I mean look at that deal. But I don’t think they are going to pony up a bunch of funds because the SEC expands because there likely expansion partners r in the bag so to speak.

            I also agree ESPN isn’t going to re-do the Big Ten deal either. But I think Delany knows that. and is insulated.

            As for compelling games vs market. I hope Delany doesn’t fall in the market trap and disguise it as an academic decision. I would take Pitt b4 Rutgers all day because ultimately it is about product.

            You build it and they will come type stuff.

          • Cliff's Notes says:


            I agree with most of your comments regarding the SEC, ESPN, and revenues.

            But I still think that while The Big Ten is definitely looking at what EVERY conference may do, I don’t think their strategy is based on any fear of the SEC response.

            The only real battle between the SEC and Big Ten is over UT. Everything else is indirect. The SEC, in many ways, is not the Big Ten’s competition.

            In research, the competition is not the SEC.

            In Academic reputation and performance (undergraduates), the competition is not the SEC.

            As regards The Big Ten Network revenue (footprint growth and added inventory), the SEC is not really the competition.

            With the exception of UT and maybe A&M, it does not appear that the SEC is the competition for “recruiting” a school to The Big Ten.

            And even then, with UT and A&M, it’s more of a “me, too” recruiting pitch. The Big Ten is saying “come join us, we’d love to have you”. The SEC is saying “if there is a major change in conferences, and if you guys are thinking of leaving the Big XII, and if the Big Ten goes to 16 teams, then, yes, we’d love to have you”.

            The SEC (apparently) is not looking at growing their footprint (aside from Texas). Their Plans B and C appear focused on fortifying the current footprint.

            Finally, “cultural fit” has nothing to do with the competition.

            So yes, the Big Ten needs to be aware of the SEC, but also the Pac 10, when it comes to recruiting UT and A&M. And maybe Miami or Ga Tech.

            So, yes, I will revise my earlier statement. The Big Ten Presidents do need to care about the SEC. But not get overboard on “beating the SEC in football” if it detracts from 5 other aspects of expansion.

      • willarm1 says:

        You think the SEC stands pat, if the Big Ten gets UT, A&M neb, missouri,and ND?

        Not sure Silve could let the Big 10 move without a counter.

        If the SEC goes to 16 they do hurt there revenue stream IMO. ESPN deal is 10 -15 years right? no way they re-do that deal. especially if they add GA Tech fla state miami clemson. why would they? those markets r sec markets that they have already paid for. Now add four more teams to share that SEC deal, and that hurts per team $.

        In addition ESPN will not re-do the Big Ten deal either imo it is a new 10 year deal as well. but the growth of the BTN to new markets and a championship game, make expansion not only feasible but smart. furthering the $ divide between the conferences.

        while the SEC doesn’t have any re-course except to share with the additional 4 teams. where does the additional money come from?

        The SEC would be smart to stand pat, and the ACC is a no deal…..But I would bet a dollar Silve would jump at the low hanging fruit. OU, OSU, Tex Tech and Kansas, and deal with revenue later.

        Delany could really control the landscape of the Big 10, while disbanding the big 12 and control the SEC counter move, if he can get ut and a&m to bite imo. and than bring a big 12 bloc to the big 10.

        • PensfaninLAexile says:

          It all depends on the TV. If the SEC can cut a new TV deal, the SEC has room to move.

          CBS just got the Tournament by partnering with TNT. If CBS and TNT get together a deal for the SEC, with the understanding that the SEC is going to pick up some new, strong brands, then the SEC might jump the B10 and move right away.

          • m (Ag) says:

            A lot of the money from the SEC’s new deal came from ESPN, who use their content for their networks, including ESPNU. Any negotiation would be with CBS and ESPN.

          • PensfaninLAexile says:

            m (ag) –

            CBS has a deal and ESPN has a deal. Is the ESPN deal dependent on the CBS deal?

            If not, what is preventing CBS from renegotiating its own deal and bringing in a partner? Will added schools mean added games not covered by either contract?

            Just like with the ACC deal, we don’t know the intricacies/contingencies of the contract. But it is possible that CBS owns a set of games and doesn’t need a sign-off from ESPN.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            CBS gets pick #1 every week of the football except for the weekend of the U.S. Open Tennis finals. ESPN gets picks #2, #3, #4, and sometimes #5.

          • PensfaninLAexile says:

            So, if the inventory of games increases (as it would with expansion), are those games up for grabs?

          • willarm1 says:

            But the NCAA tourney was up for bid.

            SEC and Big Ten just began new deals.

          • Pezlion says:

            This is the second time you’ve said this, but it’s not true. The Big Ten’s current deal started more than four years ago and is up in 2015. Therefore expanding now to add teams in 2013 or so would have a major impact on the negotiating of the Big Ten’s network deal (i.e. ABC/ESPN).

          • greg says:

            B10 ABC contract took effect in August 2007, so there are just over 7 years remaining.


          • PensfaninLAexile says:

            The SEC said they are in talks with CBS. Deals can be renegotiated, provided both sides agree.

            Here’s the real issue …

            Can/will the SEC expand without a new TV deal? I doubt it. Adding two new schools means a revenue reduction without a new deal. If the SEC can cut a new deal with CBS (and a partner like TNT), then expansion is much easier.

            The broadcast networks don’t have the $$ to keep up with the cable networks. The only way more cash comes into the SEC is by getting more money from ESPN (possible) and/or allowing CBS to add a cable partner.

            If the SEC can cut a new deal, expansion is far easier. If they can cut a deal in the next couple of months, the SEC could make a move ahead of the B10.

          • willarm1 says:

            Big Ten deal ends in 2017.

            my mistake calling it new. But it is not almost over by any means.

          • m (Ag) says:

            “CBS has a deal and ESPN has a deal. Is the ESPN deal dependent on the CBS deal?

            If not, what is preventing CBS from renegotiating its own deal and bringing in a partner? Will added schools mean added games not covered by either contract?”

            Well, ESPN has rights to SEC games; as long as that contract is in place, the SEC needs to renegotiate it in order to give more games to CBS.

            In any event, ESPN will be a better cable partner than TNT/TBS. The big SEC ESPN deal included a whole lot of sports, including baseball and softball, being televised on the big ESPN family of networks. TNT/TBS won’t make room for this sort of thing, and ESPN will ultimately have more money for this year round programming.

            Now, if the SEC now wants to create its own network, it will have to cancel much of that ESPN contract and partner with a cable corporation. Otherwise, I think they need to negotiate with ESPN, which will value all those extra sports.

          • willarm1 says:

            SEC deal is brand spanking new. ends in 2024. Can’t see ESPN changing terms so soon.

            Why would they? because the SEC didn’t plan ahead?

            It was the SEC choice to go away from a network to sign this deal.

            they made their bed.

          • m (Ag) says:

            “SEC deal is brand spanking new. ends in 2024. Can’t see ESPN changing terms so soon.

            Why would they? because the SEC didn’t plan ahead”

            This is foolish, they would give more money to the SEC because the SEC would be producing more programming with several valuable schools: Florida State, Virginia Tech, etc. It will also likely cancel that brand new ACC contract, which frees up money.

            Those extra schools are valuable. ESPN also has an interest in keeping the highest quality sports on its networks; with more good teams going to the Big 10, it needs to make sure it keeps more under its umbrella.

            The question isn’t whether ESPN would renegotiate; the question is whether they will give enough money so that the per school take would stay the same or go up with 16 schools.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            willarm1 – Before any conference expands, the conference will go to its TV partners and attempt to renegotiate, including the Big Ten. The Big Ten will try to get more money out of ABC/ESPN, in addition to the anticipated carriage for the BTN.

            One of my rules for SEC expansion is that the SEC won’t expand unless CBS & ESPN pay for it. If TV isn’t interested, then SEC won’t be cutting up their existing pie into 17 slices.

            Since the SEC is seen nationally with CBS/ESPN and the nationally syndicated ESPN-produced SEC Network (which is shown on broadcast or basic cable in at least 15 states outside the SEC footprint), the motivation for CBS & ESPN to renegotiate is higher ratings and more inventory of compelling games.

            That’s why Florida State & Miami (with a national following and recent NCs) would be stronger candidates than GA Tech & Clemson.

            Texas, Oklahoma, A&M, & VA Tech would all have appeal to the SEC partner networks.

            As circumstances change, contracts are renegotiated. It happens every day.

          • willarm1 says:

            What would be foolish would be to give more money to a league that adds va tech (small mkt) fla state? fla is already an sec market. miami same thing.

            no way ESPN changes that deal for what? because the SEC teams are not making as much money per team as they were…..that is laughable.

            why more money when Espn can’t even run a cost analysis on the current deal. To make sure it is profitable.

            Silve made a decision and he has talked about it constantly, that he decided to go away from a network. Then he pounded his chest for this espn deal. Hey it is a great deal.

            But maybe he didn’t have the forethought in regards to expansion.

            Now I’m also saying in fairness I do not believe ESPN will re-do the Big Ten deal either. But Delany is holding the cards with the BTN and a championship game.

            But four more teams isn’t going to change what was offered. because they all can’t be televised at 9 pm on thursday. or Sat night. how much is va tech v. vandy on espnu worth?

            He made his bed.

          • willarm1 says:

            15 year deals are not re-done after a year, with an addition of teams that already fit the conference footprint.

            if they get ou osu kansas maybe tech than that maybe a different story.

            But you only have so many slots that are big payoffs for the network. that is why they draft the games they want to show.

            I respect your points but I do not think Delany is sitting down with espn before he expands to make sure everything works out. he has the ace in the hole, The BTN, the SEC does not.

          • m (Ag) says:

            This may come as a surprise to you, but if someone comes to a network and offers them more quality programming for money, they generally try to come to a deal. Now, they might not come to a mutually agreeable price, but they do at least negotiate.

            If this didn’t happen, you would never see more than 1 Law and Order on the air, or more than 1 hour of American Idol per week.

            “What would be foolish would be to give more money to a league that adds va tech (small mkt) fla state? fla is already an sec market. miami same thing”

            Virginia Tech is not a small market. CBS and ESPN would be paying for the national appeal of a school like FSU as well as the local markets it would bring.

            The SEC would give its network partners more quality games from all SEC sports; with the ACC radically changing its lineup, ESPN wouldn’t be airing as much of its sports anymore.

            Yes, the networks will pay more for that. How much is the only question. If the SEC won’t make money on the deal they will stay at 12 schools and not expand.

          • Bullet says:

            I agree with Alan. SEC won’t expand to get less $. They need TV to fund it. And they only way TV funds it is with new markets. I’m not sure any markets support going from 12 to 14 or 16 for traditional networks (BTN is different).

            But if additions justify expansion, they must be populous new ones like NC, VA, TX. So how much does CBS want VT and OU? They certainly wouldn’t pay 2/14ths more for Houston and TCU. And I don’t see VT leaving the ACC unless UVA does go to the B10.

          • PensfaninLAexile says:

            Even with all those channels, more SEC could be a problem. Can they get ESPN 3 (360) added to more cable nets? Can they get more ESPNU carried? They may have all the inventory they can take for the main channel and the deuce. If more inventory means getting cable operators to add other ESPN channels, a new deal might be tough. Cable operators are fighting a tough war with the content providers over fees. I would not want to have a cable channel trying to get on basic right now, unless I had really compelling programming.

            For TNT/TBS — what do they have going on Saturdays? Bunch of reruns. Plus, they might want a Thu/Fri/Sat game. I think there is room for some college football/bball there. Good complement for also having the tourney.

            William –

            Since ESPN and CBS have practically 100% coverage (and TNT/TBS), the issue isn’t about getting schools that have good local markets. The issue is getting schools with programs that draw viewers. VA Tech stinks for the B10 b/c the B10 is all about adding systems for BTN. Conversely, Rutgers is good for the B10 b/c it means adding systems (even if its program is weak). VA Tech might be coveted by the SEC b/c it gets viewers and has a competitive program that can generate great games.

            Alan is right — it’s about good product, less about market.

          • willarm1 says:

            To say the SEC will not expand unless the money is there means the acc is out IMO.

            That is SEC country and you r just going to probably piss off your membership, and you are not increasing the leagues footprint.

            If and it is a big if The Big ten pulls enough big 12 teams(neb tex a&m missouri, nd) to cause a run on big 12 teams and their eventual demise, than I believe The SEC would jump to pick up the pieces for competitions sake.

            Because Silve wont have it.

            this could bite them in the ass in terms of $$$$ especially if Texas is not part of the mix.

          • willarm1 says:

            So if the SEC expands they will sign a deal with TNT?

            those better be four damn important teams.

          • willarm1 says:

            Here is my point.

            The Big Ten is in a much better financial situation to expand to a 16 team conference than is the SEC.

            And The SEC would be smart to stay at 12 no matter what happens, because adding four teams to that league could easily drop the per team intake of dollars.

          • PensfaninLAexile says:

            I should have posted a caveat regarding TNT/TBS. ESPN could well have an exclusivity clause in its contract.

            If that were the case, there is no way they let in TNT.

            Now, if they had the 12 teams locked in as an exclusive cable provider — there’s a chance that the SEC can’t move at all.

            If I’m ESPN and I have deals with all the major conferences, why participate in some deck-chair shuffling for the glory of the SEC. I got a pretty good thing going. Why pay more for FSU to move? I already have them in the ACC. How would that conversationwith the ACC go? Hey, we just dropped a bunch of cash on the SEC so they could raid you, how about a discount?

            Why pay to have the Okies move? I got them too. Same dynamics as above.

            So, it is up to CBS to stump up the cash. Why would CBS jack up its fees when it only has the marquee game? Is Oklahoma v. LSU worth that much more?
            Maybe they want FSU v. Florida. Fine, but that means they have to drop an existing game. Are the marginal dollars there to pay for expansion?

            If ESPN can block out TNT/TBS (and Fox Sports — almost forgot them), then why pay up to rock the boat?

            If ESPN doesn’t have exclusivity, then CBS/TNT or FoxSports could put in a new deal for the new inventory. ESPN could always match it.

            Bottom line — why would ESPN subsidize a raid on conferences with which it already has TV deals?

          • willarm1 says:

            My bad;

            TNT TBS is part of CBS.

            so just another venue to televise overflow. because unlike the tourney you don’t want to compete against yourself in terms of primetime time slots.

          • PensfaninLAexile says:

            One more issue —

            If ESPN has exclusivity in the SEC, they certainly won’t renegotiate to let in Big 12 teams. The reason is they have a cheap deal with the B12 as it stands. Why would they willingly pay more for Oklahoma or Texas than they already do?

            I am guessing ESPN won’t re-do its deal with the B10, for that matter — unless it involves an extension. Perhaps that makes adding systems and subs to the BTN that much more important.

          • willarm1 says:

            Agreed. It would also be a dangerous move for the SEC to give up that great deal from espn to move to fox.

          • m (Ag) says:

            “Even with all those channels, more SEC could be a problem. Can they get ESPN 3 (360) added to more cable nets? Can they get more ESPNU carried?”

            I was in Louisiana early last football season. I noticed that ESPNU was magically added to the hi-def lineup about a week before LSU played a game that was shown on ESPNU!!

            So, yeah, I think they can get more ESPNU carried, if they pick popular schools.

          • willarm1 says:

            My entire thought process on this is Delany could possibly control not only the Big 10 moves, but the demise of the Big 12 while forcing the SEC’s hand making the revenue divide even larger.

            Of course Texas is the key, and Delany would have to bring a Big 12 bloc to the Big Ten. to force the SEC counter.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Pensfan – here’s why CBS/ESPN participate in “deck-chair shuffling”: Florida State v. Alabama/ Tenn/ Florida/ LSU/ Georgia gets more eyeballs to the TV screen than Florida State v. any possible ACC matchup.

            For the SEC, its not about markets, its about compelling games on TV. Other than Alabama, and recently Florida, the SEC brand is more important than the individual schools. That’s why CBS doesn’t regionalize coverage of the SEC. I know all about mirror viewing in the Big Ten on ABC/ESPN, but if ABC thought it could beat CBS heads up with a Big Ten game, it wouldn’t be regionalized.

          • willarm1 says:

            ESPN is already paying for that game. with SEC deal and ACC deal why would they pay again.

            like he said.

            Bottom line — why would ESPN subsidize a raid on conferences with which it already has TV deals?

          • PensfaninLAexile says:

            Alan — we are in agreement about markets. For the SEC it is all about programming.

            As for shuffling the deck chairs, now we are in interesting territory as we do not know the guts of the contracts. The ACC contract is recent, so we can reasonably assume that there are clauses regarding expansion/poaching. I think you m (ag) and I are in agreement that it’s all about the cash. So, what’s the penalty for departure for FSU? What kind of discount can ESPN get if a school leaves? What can the SEC pony up? FSU/Alabama would be a much better draw that FSU/UNC. But, what SEC game does FSU/Bama replace? Note that CBS gets first dibs on games. Does ESPN want to help CBS get better games?

            What happens to its ACC slate? I don’t know how much more ESPN would be willing to abet turning a somewhat moribund conference moribunder.

            Is it really worth it for ESPN to pony up more cash to gut the ACC in return for a few better SEC games?
            Not to mention that the ACC would look like a bunch of dopes if they signed a deal with ESPN only to have the Worldwide Leader help the SEC poach its best schools. Do I smell lawsuit? Not a great way to treat your partners.
            (Side note: ACC is still valuable as a Bball conference, so having a rocky relationship with your marquee BBall league would be bad)

            ESPN likely values its relationship with the conferences and would be likely to avoid being complicit in wounding them.

          • PensfaninLAexile says:

            Willarm1 — are you also in agreement that it’s all about the cash when it comes to negotiating/renegotiating?

          • willarm1 says:

            I do however, I think ESPN is trying to save the cash as well.

            ESPN and The SEC have a great thing going. I mean look at that deal. But I don’t think they are going to pony up a bunch of funds because the SEC expands because there likely expansion partners r in the bag so to speak.

            I also agree ESPN isn’t going to re-do the Big Ten deal either. But I think Delany knows that. and is insulated.

            As for compelling games vs market. I hope Delany doesn’t fall in the market trap and disguise it as an academic decision. I would take Pitt b4 Rutgers all day because ultimately it is about product.

            You build it and they will come type stuff.

          • willarm1 says:

            All things being equal AAU member etc.

          • Michael says:

            Successful expansion from ESPN´s perspective does not = successful expansion from BTN perspective. ESPN already receives high premiums from cable companies across the country. The way they increase their bottom line is through advertising revenue. In that vein, ESPN would be interested in SEC expansion that draws higher ratings, not one that increases its footprint (it is already everywhere!).

            IMO, that means SEC expansion will be centered around the numbers and draw that particular candidates provide. Who´s the stronger draw: Florida State or West Virginia? Miami or VTech? etc, etc.

          • willarm1 says:

            Higher ratings for the SEC but lower for the ACC because those teams r gone. But ESPN has paid for both.

            Will the ACC discount because those teams were taken?

            Don’t see the contracts being significantly redone, at least not large enough to give 4 teams 17-20 million each. And that is what the SEC would need to keep the status quo. It doesn’t make sense.

            As for Footprint, it does play a role in this SEC expansion model. If the Big Ten lands a Tex and A&M you bet it counts in terms of recruits and Silve will want his own foothold in that region for competitions sake.

            which may force them to expand. increasing the revenue divide.

          • willarm1 says:

            My bad

            replied to the wrong area.

            I need a drink

          • PSUGuy says:

            All this is why I think if the SEC were to expand its going to be from schools that have nothing to do with the ACC.

          • Bullet says:

            Don’t underestimate the importance of footprint in increasing ratings.

            No conference has been rumoured to be considering multiple teams in their own footprint but the SEC. Being on CBS doesn’t make them different. A Virginia Tech adds more value than an FSU. FSU certainly adds more value than Tulsa, but the footprint is important. The SEC has limited options.

        • SDB10 says:

          Not likely anybody from the ACC would take the step down in academic stature to join the SEC for $. Maybe FSU but if I recall FSU was not interested in the SEC when the money was better 20 years ago. These schools want to brand up just like your company does. If you take up company with the dogs, you might get fleas, so ACC teams would only go to the B10. More likely they would go for B12 or BEast teams.

      • willarm1 says:

        that means the SEC would have to decide.

        A: stay at 12 and keep the cash, but lose some competitiveness and recruiting base.

        2: expand and increase your recruiting base and competition level but lose some cash. Because with the addition of 4 teams you would have to make up between 17-20 million per team to keep the payouts balanced.

        Where does that money come from? They just signed a huge ESPN deal, and even if ESPN re-opened the deal, there isn’t a chance they are going to pile 80 million more dollars on it. Hell ESPN and ABC already have a deal with the Big 12.

        Why would they pay the SEC for taking Big 12 teams? and then pay the Big 12 deal. seems like bad business.

        • Cliff's Notes says:

          The other aspect that ESPN needs to look at, is that they’ve got this locked in for 15 years.

          If after one or two years, the SEC thinks they aren’t getting enough money to keep up with their perceived competition, how is this going to look in year 5, let alone years 12, 13, 14, and 15? ESPN might have a 10-year bargain on their hands for these rights.

          Why mess with that?

  56. Michael says:


    I figured Delany´s more cautious 12-18 month timetable was a way to hedge his bets if the Texas/ND scenario fell through.

    Does this new 5 team scenario mean the original plan fell through and, more to the point, that we really are talking about an 18 month timetable now?

    If this 5 team expansion is really the direction the Big 10´s headed, what´s left to be ironed out?

  57. Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton says:

    my initial reaction to these schools names being out there:

    Translation: “Hey look over there! Is that Elvis?”

  58. m (Ag) says:

    Well I’d be excited about this.

    Academically, it’s a home run. In football it’s not the strongest scenario, but it will be a very deep conference. In basketball and baseball it’s very strong.

    I do wonder about Vanderbilt, though I’m not opposed to their inclusion. I wonder if Tennessee would bother to schedule them as a non-conference game?

    Anyway, look at the population

    2000 census numbers:
    Texas: 20.8 million
    Virginia: 7.1 million
    Maryland: 5.3 million
    D.C.: .6 milion

    total = 33.8 million people, 12% of the US population in 2000.

    Tennessee had 5.7 million people, though I don’t know how much Vandy adds.

    2030 census projection:
    Texas: 33.3 million
    Virginia: 9.8 million
    Maryland: 7.0 million
    D.C. : .4 million

    total = 50.5 million people, 13.9% of the US population in 2030.

    Again, Tennessee will be at 7.4 million people.

    So the 4 non-Vanderbilt schools each bring about 3% of the US population. In theory, a conference with 16 such schools would have 48% of the US population! Pretty strong numbers for the Big 10.

    • m (Ag) says:

      While I’ve opened up this document, I figure I’ll go ahead and list the entire Big 10 population in 2030 if these go through.

      (rank in US)State: population in 2030:

      2.Texas: 33.3 million
      5.Illinois: 13.4 million
      6.Pennsylvania: 12.8 million
      9.Ohio: 11.6 million
      11.Michigan: 10.7 million
      12.Virginia: 9.8 million
      (15.Tennessee: 7.4 million)
      16.Maryland: 7.0 million
      18.Indiana: 6.8 million
      20.Minnesota 6.3 million
      21.Wisconsin: 6.2 million
      34.Iowa: 3.0 million
      –D.C.: .4 million

      total=121.3 million people without Tennessee, 128.7 million people with Tennessee.

      33.4% of the US population without Tennessee, 35.4% of the US population with Tennessee.

      It’s very impressive that, with the exception of Iowa, every school is from the top 21 states in population.

      Taking the 121.3 million number, each of the 16 schools brings in an average of 7.6 million people. So the 2 Texas schools and Virginia would be bringing in more than this new average. Maryland+DC would be right at the new average.

      States missed by this expansion:
      4.New York: 19.5 million
      7.North Carolina: 12.2 million
      8.Georgia: 12.0 million
      13.New Jersey: 9.8 million
      22.Colorado: 5.8 million
      30.Connecticut: 3.7 million
      38.Nebraska: 1.7 million

      • Craig says:

        Please note that, in 2030, Michigan (a “pariah”) is still ahead of Virginia (a darling of the demographics crowd).

      • TyphonInc says:

        Hmmm, from a demographic perspective, swap out small private school Vandy with small private school Syracuse, and it is a populace home run.

        *Note I contend that 17 million NYC Market is an unobtainable market, but the 10 Million people in Upstate New York can be persuaded to include Syracuse on their basic cable package. 10 mil is slightly larger than 7.5 of Tennessee, but I would also contend that Vandy would not deliver the entire state.

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      I do wonder about Vanderbilt, though I’m not opposed to their inclusion. I wonder if Tennessee would bother to schedule them as a non-conference game?

      I can guarantee it. A perceived easy win and a chance for the SEC to pull their usual gag of scheduling a lower-ranked B10+ team and then bragging about their record vs. the conference.

      • m (Ag) says:

        Most SEC schools, like most Big 10 schools and most Big 12 schools, schedule 1 good non-conference game and then tries to get home games. For a lot of schools the good non-conference game is a rivalry game: Florida/FSU, Georgia/Georgia Tech, South Carolina/Clemson, Arkansas/Texas A&M. A school like LSU, without a rival, goes around the country playing a school like Arizona, Virginia Tech, or North Carolina each year.

        In the last 4 years, Tennessee has played Cal twice and UCLA twice. If Vanderbilt only agreed to a home and home, I could see Tennessee passing in order to continue to play a better ‘name’ school for it’s home-and-away opponent.

  59. jcfreder says:

    What do people think “plan A” actually is? My guess is Tex, TAM, ND and then either (1) Neb and Rut or (2) Mary and Virg. Not sure if ND and Tex would prefer one of these options or two other schools entirely.

    • m (Ag) says:

      Maryland + Virginia helps shed the ‘midwestern’ and ‘northern’ labels from the Big 10. They’re academically stronger and have more people.

      Nebraska would be a bit less travel, though.

      • mushroomgod says:

        I have no interest in shedding the “midwestern” and “northern” labels……culture matters.

        • m (Ag) says:

          I think the Big 10 is interested in establishing it’s culture as ‘elite academics’ and ‘elite athletics’.

          I think this culture is one that would attract the schools in the big markets listed in this expansion.

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            I think the Big 10 is interested in establishing it’s culture as ‘elite academics’ and ‘elite athletics’.

            Indeed, which is why I still think 20 or 24 is on the table. If TX proposed a Western Alliance, why wouldn’t they also propose an Eastern Alliance?

            Skim most of the academic best of the B12, ACC, and BEast. Keep it AAU focused in partnership with the B10+ and you’d share the riches of the BTN, boost its content, and offer the best chance to lure ND. B10+ can get most of the financial benefits of ND while staying all AAU.

            First conf: Original Big Ten plus PSU and Rut

            Second conf: TX, aTm, Vandy, GT, Duke, NC, Mia, ND, VA, MD, Syr, CT (or Pitt, or maybe even BC)

            Do that and you’d probably see the SEC simply replace Vandy and then form an alliance, without revenue sharing, with a 12 team leftover conference. The P10 goes to 12 and then combines with a rebuilt B12. Perhaps some shuffling between the new B12 and the SEC stepchild conference.

          • Cliff's Notes says:

            I disagree and don’t think that a 20 or 24 conference is coming any time soon. Way too much way too fast.

            I do think that after the reshuffling, you will see some drastic changes to the BCS, the definition of the FBS and FCS, and the NCAA tournament.

            Right now, especially with the tightened economy, the first step for The Big Ten is expanding the conference pie through the BTN.

            The second step will be getting more from the NCAA. And like it or not, the tickets sold to the Bowl Games and the eyeballs watching the bowls and the NCAA tournament are more for the big boys.

            The Big Ten – and probably the SEC – will push for the allowance of a 3rd team from a conference in the BCS bowls. Additionally, they will want a bigger payout to team # 2 and team #3.

            And they won’t have to bluff that they will pull out of the BCS, or remove their #2 and #3 teams from the BCS. Assuming a 14 or 16 team Big Ten and SEC which may include Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, ND, Miami, and Florida State.. A pre-ordained Big Ten #2 vs SEC #2 would see ratings and ticket sales equivalent to the #3 BCS game; and the BCS would have fewer bowls or less money to spread around.

            And on top of that, they may want to remove some of the schools at the bottom of the FBS… tighten it up from 120 to 100 or 85 or 64…

            Similarly, the power conferences will want more revenue from the NCAA tournament. It’s less likely to pull out of the tournament, but there are increased ratings for the power teams from the power conferences. And they will want more for their share of the pie, or more payouts to the teams for advancing than what is currently set aside to go to the smaller conferences.

            I don’t think it will happen, but if the Big Ten, ACC, Pac 10, SEC, and Big East pulled out of the NCAA and started their own division’s national tournament, I’m sure the schools left behind would see a dramatic cut to their revenue, so they’d have to listen and negotiate.

  60. Theta says:

    Anyone see this?

    ‘Nothing’s off the table’ as Texas, Notre Dame keep eye on expansion


    • Pezlion says:

      I find Swarbrick’s comment that, “DeLoss and I have a similar perspective” to be quite interesting, in light of the rumor from the NW board.

  61. Penn State Danny says:

    1) What exactly were the rumblings that have caused Missouri’s stock to fall?

    2) @jcfreder: I would gess that your choice 1 is the Big Ten’s Plan “A”. But who knows at this point? If you read this blog long enough, you can convince yourself that the teams added WILL be USC, Florida and Vandy.

    3) If the only teams added were Nebraska, Maryland and Rutgers, I would consider expansion a solid success. None of the other 3 conferences would be mortally wounded and everyone could live to fight another day.

  62. SH says:

    Seems like any combination of five schools could be a possible list, so why not just substitute Vandy and MD for UNC and GA Tech. That would be Southern strategy. Basically, you would be surrounding the SEC. Both are excellent academic schools and both have fairly good athletic brands and both are in growth states. If you remove MD and VA from the ACC, why would UNC and GT want to stay?

    In these economic times with public support for public universities shrinking every year, can a state government really prevent a school from moving conferences? UVA receives far less support from Virginia than it did when the legislature forced it to take VT in the ACC. Does that give UVA or the state more leverage?

    • Ken Smithmier says:

      Penn St Danny
      If you believe that the B10 is going for some combination of academic and sports powerhouses I think most agree that MO does not rise to the top in either category.

      • michaelC says:

        UMD academically can play with anybody on the list. Top is a very relative term when one is talking about the top 50 or so in the world.

        • michaelC says:

          Awww, hell. Hit the submit button as I realized you were talking about MO not MD.

          I agree completely, MO is nowhere near the top for either academics or athletics amongst the candidate schools. This is not hatred for MO, it’s a good school in the larger scheme of things. Rather, MO’s position in this list really underlines the strength of the options for the expansion.

  63. RedDenver says:

    Wow, that’s an academic powerhouse. Like the Ivy League but spread out. Not much of an improvement for football other than Texas.

    But this scenario seems to ignore an extremely important point: travel costs. The increased travel costs will easily be in the millions of dollars. Texas and A&M are complete outliers with huge fan travel distances for most of their games in every sport. Will the students even be able to attend those games? What happens to that conference if the BTN doesn’t continue to be a raging success? This just doesn’t pass the sniff test for me.

    And one other thing I find amusing – much of this discussion revolves around appeasing Texas. Does no one else see this as a problem for both the SWC and B12? If the B10 bends over backwards just to get UT into the fold, I think a repeat of the B12 will be likely. Especially considering that the Texas schools will be so far removed geographically from the rest of the conference.

    • Ken Smithmier says:

      “not much improvement for football other than Texas”
      Put TX in with the other B10 schools, throw in the 4 names Frank posted on, and people might bemoan missing out on a NE or someone like that but the end result is still smashing IMO.

    • 84Lion says:

      “And one other thing I find amusing – much of this discussion revolves around appeasing Texas…If the B10 bends over backwards just to get UT into the fold, I think a repeat of the B12 will be likely.”

      You took the words right outta my mouth.

      • HerbieHusker says:

        Is it a coincidence that the last two conferences Texas has been in have failed? (or at this point it appears that the second is failing) Does this scare any Big 10 fan here when talking in terms of the Big 10 making special rules for Texas?

          • HerbieHusker says:

            :) Just seeing if you were still lurking Hopkins….relax, i’m not that ignorant. I have a question for you though; I’ve read ALOT about Texas and A&M not necessarily being tied together, but I work with a Texas Alum that swears that its actually legislated that the two HAVE to remain in the same conference….I called him out on it, but to your knowledge is there any state legislation that ties the two that has been missed on this blog?

          • Hopkins Horn says:


            I work with a Texas Alum that swears that its actually legislated that the two HAVE to remain in the same conference

            I would assume that, if this were the case, it would have been mentioned in some ofthe 15,000 articles which have been written on the subject. I have never heard of any such provision, and I think it is safe to say that your Aggie coworker isn’t correct.

          • @Hopkins Horn – That legislation is a popular Internet myth just like the supposed “contiguous state” rule for the Big Ten. Now, certain politicians might want to link Texas and Texas A&M together, but it isn’t written into law.

          • glenn says:


            herbie explains in just a few words what is wrong with some huskers.

          • HerbieHusker says:

            See, that’s what I thought…..he isn’t an Aggie though he’s a UT Alum and that is why it confused me coming from a Longhorn…….thanks though; just wanted some backing for my argument.

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            Yeah, just tell him that Hopkins Horn said he was wrong. That should suffice. :)

          • Bullet says:

            No law. Texas A&M did want to join the SEC when the Big 12 was formed, but the Tech and Baylor alums who were in power then told them no. The legislature is back to its normal UT and A&M dominance. UT didn’t object to A&M going to the SEC. That arm twisting back in 94 may be what started the rumour.

      • m (Ag) says:

        Stop blaming Texas for the Big 12 failing.

        The problem is, when the SWC and the Big 8 conference were both failing, legislators pushed Texas from one failing conference into a merger with another failing conference.

        Despite all the message board stuff, noone would leave the Big 12 if it was doing as well financially as the Big 10 or SEC. Texas is not the reason the Big 12 is not doing as well financially as the Big 10 or SEC.

      • zeek says:

        Uh, we gave Penn State some favorable terms for their first decade in the Big Ten.

        I fail to see how appeasing Texas to bring them in equates to creating a Texas centric conference.

        Delaney will still run the Big Ten and Chicago will still be the “main” city.

        Texas will become 1 of 16 schools. There won’t be any Texas favoritism after it accepts an invite.

        Thus, it is in Texas’ best interest to negotiate everything it can now because when it joins it won’t have the votes to veto anything (like it might in the Pac-10).

    • SDB10 says:

      BC & USF aren’t complaining about their new travel, even Hawaii is in a conference. Yes travel would be an issue & maybe that is what is taking so long to analyze among other factors. I don’t think there are appeasing Tx, they didn’t do it with ND or PSU. Even though UT is the belle of the dance, the golden rule applies – he who has the gold rules.

      • RedDenver says:

        Quite a few schools complain about the travel costs of going to Hawaii. And the B10 has tried/is trying to appease ND to get them in the conference.

  64. RedDenver says:

    forgot to add

  65. Guido says:

    Good read I thought on the effect of the southern demographic shift on recruiting. Clear rationale why the Big 10 wants to move southward, not so clear why schools would want to move northward…at least from an athletics perspective:

  66. Playoffs Now! says:

    Perhaps of note is that fact that all 4 Southern schools in this rumor, TX, aTm, Vandy, and UVA, consider themselves ‘Southern but not Southern’ schools. Same for GT.

    If this is the combo and 16 is the intended max, I can see ND saying no instead of replacing Vandy. If the SEC and P10 don’t go beyond 12, then ND can probably stay indy. If those look likely to expand and perhaps create a new BCS format, there is always the ACC. It isn’t a certainty that the SEC could lure teams away from the academically superior ACC, so you might see an A16 with additions of Syr, Rut, CT, Pitt, Cin, and ND. A more natural academic fit for ND than the B16, with more privates mixed in. Several of the current BEast schools so travel isn’t that bad. Games in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, and Florida help keep the ‘national schedule.’

    And I’m almost certain the new ACC agreement includes clauses for renegotiation if the conference expanded and/or added ND. With ND, more inventory, and the high population Northeast schools, the ACC could lower the $ gap with the SEC.

    Even if the SEC nabs a couple of ACC schools, there is still TCU, SMU, and Baylor as potential academically acceptable replacements that would get the ACC into the Texas market. As long as they keep one of FSU or Mia, that’s a pretty attractive schedule for ND, hitting all the prime Southern and Eastern recruiting grounds nearly every year.

  67. mmc22 says:

    Two thinks that caught my attention from the USA Today article:
    1. “It’s not something we have to think about. It’s something we are thinking about,” says Texas’ DeLoss Dodds, and
    “If we have our way, we’re never going to get caught in a situation where we’re not part of something that’s really viable nationally. If that’s the way the world goes, then we’ll go in that world.”
    2. At Notre Dame, AD Jack Swarbrick says, “You’ve got to think about it and evaluate it, and make sure you don’t wind up with a different division of college football all of a sudden. DeLoss and I have a similar perspective.”
    To me that only means one think; ND and Texas are talking to each other about expansion and maybe about joining the same conference. Now you tell me which one could that be? SEC, B10, or maybe PAC10.

    • sf-james says:

      I think everything Delany told to the press should be considered seriously. By not touching any BE member, he and the Big Ten seem to be pretty determined to help ND to continue its destiny at the BE.

      Maybe ND is seeking for help from Texas to get a ticket to join the Big Ten?

    • Phizzy says:

      Definitely not SEC.

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      Here’s the Dodds quote from that same article which caught my eye:

      “It’s a possibility, but it’s not something we’re thinking about seriously. You could do it in football. It hurts basketball badly unless you find a conference. It’s got lots of flaws.”

    • Bullet says:

      Dodds never passes up an opportunity to make money. He’s the best in the business at it. If they were comfortable they would make more money in the long run, UT would not hesitate to join the B10 as long as A&M (or OU-no chance there) would come with them. They aren’t giving up the OU and A&M rivalries and couldn’t have both as ooc games.

      I think we would have heard a lot more talk if they didn’t believe they are better off in the Big 12. One thing to note is that Texas has 5 revenue sports, fb, bb, baseball, women’s bb, women’s volleyball. Baseball would be huge step down. Women’s bb would also be less competitive.

      • zeek says:

        Uh, Dodds would probably want to go to the SEC to be fairly blunt.

        Look at Hopkins Horn’s post on the subject from last week over at Burnt Orange Nation.

        The SEC fits their sports nearly perfectly and would allow them to keep their local rights for an LSN.

        However, TPTB at Texas are most likely interested in seeing whether the Big Ten offers a better package of academics (read CIC efficiencies) that can outweigh the fact that the SEC has a better sports package.

        Powers and the rest of the Texas administrators may not see themselves as willing to be another Florida and may prefer the model of a Penn State.

        • Bullet says:

          TPTB make the decisions. TPTB at UT would rather cut off their arms than join the SEC. UT fans aren’t as negative toward the SEC, but they don’t make the decision. The AD is influential, but still doesn’t make the decisions. UT has had a lot of P10 and B10 administrators. Can you imagine any B10 school joining the SEC under any scenario?

          IMO the B12 probably and the P10 definitely would be viable alternatives no matter what happens with the B10. I don’t have inside info, but from what I’ve seen and heard over the years, I suspect the B10 is preferred over the P10. Academically, geographically and financially it makes more sense. From a rivalry standpoint, what I’ve seen on the boards (and I agree) is that the P10 would be better.

          If Texas chooses to leave the B12, they would choose the B10 (there’s no guarantee the B10 Presidents would be willing to go so far). If forced to leave by finances or other issues and the B10 is not a choice they go P10.

      • Vincent says:

        For UT, women’s basketball would still be in a competitive league. The Big Ten is pretty solid, draws crowds comparable to the Big 12, and if Maryland is included in this 16-team conference, well, Gail G can tell you all about the Terps. April 4, 2006 in Boston…Kristi Toliver and “the shot”…”Overtime is our time”…

      • Pezlion says:

        Obviously baseball would be a step down, but including UVA and Vandy with Texas and A&M gives the Big Ten a solid group of four to build around. The rest of the conference would definitely have the opportunity to improve its baseball with the ability to push increased competition and viewership of the BTN.

        Women’s hoops is essentially a wash.

        Everything else would be a step up. I don’t care what the talking heads have been spouting the last two years. Historically, the Big Ten is a better football conference. Adding Texas only solidifies that. The Big Ten with UT is a better football conference than the B12 with UT, and it’s not that close.

        Men’s bball is also a wash, at worst, and with UMD and Vandy included, it probably becomes a pretty solid step up.

        Women’s vball? Well that’s not even close. You’d be competing with the three time national champs, who may also break the record for longest winning streak in the history of all NCAA sports next year. You know, the team that just beat Texas for the title? The conference had four top ten teams this year.

        • Bullet says:

          I’ll differ on your assessments of conference strengths, but we won’t settle that here-if you look at wbb and wvolleyball tourneys you’ll see B12 much better in wbb (6 top 4 seeds vs. 1) and comparable in wvolleyball. And football comparisons are endless debates. I will agree that B10 was stronger in the 90s. Don’t agree about currently. So it depends on who joins the B10.

  68. RickyBobby says:

    I enjoy how all these mega-expansion deals hinge on academics, and then 2 posts later how the top however many teams are going to split from the NCAA and essentially admit they’re the NFL-D League and want all the money.

    • Cliff's Notes says:

      It’s about self-interest.

      The CIC is looking to improve research money and efficiencies with the CIC. And they see that being a part of the AAU helps. The AAU isn’t letting just anyone into the club. Likewise, the CIC isn’t letting just anyone into the club, nor are they sharing it’s research money with Kent State or DePaul or Stanford, unless there is a relevant reason to share the research work.

      The Big Ten Athletic Conference is looking to improve its athletic revenue. Being a part of the NCAA helps. But more schools are adding Div 1 football and basketball, and national revenues are getting spread thinner. Again, it’s in the self-interest of The Big Ten schools – and other power programs – to keep the money that is generated by their Brand name, their performance, and their fans.

      The Big Ten doesn’t share its ticket or jersey sales with Oakland University or DePaul or Boise State. Why should they want to share the television revenue at a disproportionate rate with with other schools? While I agree that The Big Ten would be wise not to break off alone, at what point is expansion of Div 1 too much? Would The Big Ten be better off with only 20 Div 1 Basketball conferences? 18? 12? Or what about football? Would FBS be better off with only 6 or 7 or 8 conferences?

      As an alum, I want to see MY school get better. I want to see MY school compete academically and in research globally. I want my degree to continue to gain prestige. I want to see more jobs in my state because of more athletic programs and more research jobs. I want to see my school improve to compete better nationally. And if we get more research funding and tv revenue and NCAA revenue, we’re better off doing that.

  69. Kingswood says:

    A) I agree Pitt would be a logical deduction based on miminal market gain and pop shift, but swapping them for Vandy is lame (football) and UVA will never part ways with their tobacco road brothers…NEVER

    B) The conference should (imo) instead be targeting GT or Maryland to replace Pitt as a candidate

    C) Why is Missouri all of a sudden a non-starter under any scenario??? I would much rather we take Nebraska if it’s a choice between the two, but why wouldn’t we take Mizzu if the only other option is Pitt or Vandy??? (I realize their is a bit of an academic chasm between them and the BT…is that great?)

  70. Michael in Indy says:

    I find it funny how everyone assumes that Clemson, Georgia Tech, FSU, and Miami all would love to be in the SEC. Granted, a lot of their fans would, but they’re not university presidents.

    Looking back at FSU’s decision to choose ACC membership over the SEC in the early 90′s (which, by the way, led the SEC to settle on So. Carolina), one of the main reasons was to gain association with schools like UNC, UVa, Duke, and Ga. Tech. IMO, ACC membership has helped advance FSU’s academic reputation; in any case, AAU membership is now a much more realistic possibility than it was 20 years ago. Clemson, Miami, and most obviously GT have also made huge strides in research and academic rankings. Certainly ACC membership hasn’t hurt those causes. Additionally, VT credits its rise in US News rankings largely to ACC membership. Would they really do an about-face and join the sports-are-everything SEC.

    The SEC has just two AAU members, UF and Florida, so at the very least the faculties at ACC schools wouldn’t be too supportive of a move.

    The only conference I could see an ACC school leaving for is the Big Ten. Even with that, hoards of alumni would throw a fit, especially if the school that leaves is an original ACC member. After all, the core of MD, VA, UNC, NCSU, Wake, Duke, and Clemson have not been in separate leagues since the Southern Conference was founded in 1921, except for 1953-54, the ACC’s first year, when UVA was still in the SoCon.

    From an athletic standpoint, the path to the nat’l title is much more manageable in the ACC, anyway; just look at FSU in the 1990′s.

    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      Mike-n-Indy -The difference is that the ACC schools that are being mentioned for SEC expansion generally don’t have the longstanding history with the ACC, and they are football schools. Clemson is a charter member of the ACC, but it is a football school. The basketball schools (Duke, UNC, NC State, Wake, UVA & Maryland) all have longstanding relationships with each other and have 50,000 (or less) seat stadiums. The states of Maryland, Virginia & North Carolina are not college football crazy states either. The states of Florida, South Carolina and Georgia ARE college football crazy states.

      I have a hard time thinking that any of the ACC basketball schools will be the first to bolt. If any teams leave the stable ACC, it will probably be Florida State, Miami, Clemson, Georgia Tech, or VA Tech, and they all probably would want to go to the SEC, if the SEC expands. I do like the the idea of Miami to the Big Ten, with the Shalala connection. But, while that deal works for football, I’m not sure they fit from an institutional basis.

      I know this is an old theory, but I thought BC to the Big Ten, as a Catholic school companion for Notre Dame made a lot of sense.

      • Michael in Indy says:

        UNC is slated to expand from 60,000 to 68,000 seats. Maryland has 54,000. NC State 57,000 (with OUTSTANDING facilities), UVA 61,500. Duke’s stadium is, indeed, tiny by major college football standards.

        I also disagree with the notion that NC isn’t a college football-crazed state. It just looks different…

        While there’s no mega-stadium school in NC, I think it’s partly due to the fact there are four BCS schools dividing the states’ fanbases, plus ECU. NC State & UNC consistently sell out their 57,000+ seat stadiums. ECU does as well and is slated to expand to about 50,000 seats due to demand. WFU sells out its 31,500 seat stadium. And then there’s Appalachian State, which averages around 28,000 per home game, and that’s with a far less appealing home schedule.

        Other than UGA, which sells in the 80,000 range, and GT, around 55K, the state of Georgia doesn’t have those kinds of numbers. More people go to college football games in NC than in that state, and it wouldn’t surprise me if NC has more people going to football games than the states of Ohio & Michigan as well. The MAC schools do not sell out, whereas NC’s D-1AA schools do.

        • jokewood says:


          I did an exercise a few weeks ago where I divided each state’s population by the sum of the average home attendance for every FBS program in-state. Since fans can attend games from out-of-state, it’s a flawed approach. But I thought the results were interesting nonetheless, as well as relevant to your post.

          20.9 Nebraska (UNL)
          21.0 Mississippi (OM, MSU, USM)
          22.1 Alabama (Bama, Aub, UAB, Troy)
          22.2 Utah (BYU, Utah, USU)
          22.9 West Virginia (WVU, Marsh)
          22.9 Oklahoma (OU, OSU, Tulsa)
          25.8 Iowa (Iowa, ISU)
          26.4 Louisiana (LSU, LT, ULL/M, Tul)
          27.9 Wyoming (Wyo)
          29.0 Kansas (Kan, KSU)
          30.2 South Carolina (Clem, USC)
          34.1 Idaho (BSU, Idaho)
          34.9 Arkansas (Ark, ArkSt)
          34.9 Indiana (ND, Purd, IU, BSU)
          35.7 Hawaii (Haw)
          37.1 Kentucky (UK, Ville, WKU)
          37.9 Oregon (Ore, OSU)
          40.7 Tennessee (UT, Vandy, MTSU)
          43.6 Michigan (UM, MSU, C/W/EMU)
          44.1 North Carolina (UNC, NCSt, ECU, Wake, Duke)
          45.9 Colorado (CU, AFA, CSU)
          46.3 New Mexico (UNM, NMSU)
          49.7 Ohio (OSU, Cinci, Ohio, Akr, Tol, Kent, BGSU, MU)
          56.4 Florida (UF, FSU, USF, UCF, Miami, FAU, FIU)
          65.2 Arizona (Zona, ASU)
          65.6 Nevada (UNLV, Nev)
          68.1 Georgia (UGA, GT)
          69.0 Virginia (VT, UVA)
          69.4 Texas (UT, Tamu, Tech, TCU, Rice, UNT, SMU, UH, UTEP, Bay)
          70.6 Wisconsin (UW)
          70.9 Pennsylvania (PSU, Pitt, Temp)
          73.8 Washington (UW, WSU)
          74.8 Maryland (Mary, Navy)
          92.0 Connecticut (UConn)
          93.4 Missouri (Mizz)
          103.7 Minnesota (Minn)
          114.2 California (USC, UCLA, Cal, Stan, FSU, SDSU, SJSU)
          130.9 Illinois (Ill, NW, NIU)
          177.3 New Jersey (Rut)
          184.6 Massachusetts (BC)
          235.4 New York (Cuse, Army, Buff)

          • HoosierHusker says:

            Great stuff. Best data of the week. Now back to routine comments of THIS week, the most ignorant on average in many weeks that I’ve read here in Frank’s blog.

        • Jim says:

          You are also correct on UNC. They are the sleeping giant in college football. They get huge ratings for a school with there history and record. With an upgrade in facilitates and at least 2 first rounders this year and if they can keep Butch Davis for his South Florida recruiting they can become a monster over this decade. Especially with money not being an issue with there huge athletic endowment.

    • Jim says:

      I agree with you Michael. UF has vetoed FSU admittance to the SEC several times in the past and currently there is bad blood because UF is trying for a money grab in the state legislator money that FSU needs to dramatically improve their new med school and restructure the engineering department to gain AAU membership. The new president also is not attached to the football program to the extent that the former was (who gave us a lost decade in both football and academics)

      Miami on the other hand competes for students in the mid-Atlantic and north east not the south and the ACC is a better showcase to reach these students. There is of course the issue that Miami has medium and long term issues in its football program. The facilities are some of the worst in the ACC. They can no longer recruit in there own backyard (only 1 player in the top 50 of south Florida in the last class and not much more in the previous year). And there is constant tension between the academic side and the AD with the academic side winning out.

      I have a hard time believing GT will want back in to the SEC. They had issues in the past on how the SEC would basically allow anything to go and it has only got worse especially with the over-signing of players that only Vandy and UG do not partake in.

  71. twk says:

    Interesting scenario, for sure, but as a Texas A&M grad, I’m not sure we’d make that move.

    The money would be great, and the academics would definitely appeal to the faculty, but our AD as recently as Monday told the San Antonio A&M Club that he wouldn’t want any part of the Pac-10 because of travel problems, citing the women’s basketball team’s experience coming back from an NCAA tournament game in Seattle. I can’t see how travel in a 16 team Big 10 would be any better. For those who think adding a Nebraska or Kansas would make the move more palatable from a travel standpoint, not really. Those schools are on the periphery for A&M, and we typically send even our non-revenue teams up there by plane (usually, we have either one or two air trips to Northern Division schools per minor sport per year–southern division schools are all bus trips).

    If the Big 10 were able to pick off Texas and Vanderbilt, I think that A&M would at least seriously consider going to the SEC before they would take a Big 10 invite. Joining a 12 team SEC, without Texas, OU, or Tech, would be just about a perfect scenario for A&M, next to keeping the Big XII in tact but getting a better TV deal. LSU and Arkansas would be bus trips, the Mississippi schools might as well (or at least Ole Miss), and the money would be competitive with the Big 10.

    Bottom line: If Texas leaves the Big XII, I don’t think that A&M has any choice but to go somewhere. The Big 10 wouldn’t be a bad destination, but I’m not sure it would be our preferred destination. But, on the other hand, the Big XII wasn’t our choice last time around, either, so we might not get what we want (an experience that a number of schools are going to have in this game of musical chairs).

    • Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton says:

      I’m an OU guy. I’ve said, I think OU leaves for the SEC the 2nd the phone rings and asks. However, I get the feeling that OU wants to stay in the Big 12…the key is keeping either Texas or Nebraska.

      So my question is…if the Big 12 ONLY lost UT…would A&M stay? As for OU…I think the Sooners stay.

      • Hopkins Horn says:

        So my question is…if the Big 12 ONLY lost UT…would A&M stay? As for OU…I think the Sooners stay.

        Instinctively, I say yes. I would assume that Texas leaving the Big XII by itself means its headed to the Big 10, Pac 10 or is going independent (not to the SEC). If such, I’m not positive that the SEC would be willing to expand without Texas on the table.

        • Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton says:

          yes…if Only UT left, it would be one of those 3 options.

          I however, still think the SEC comes calling on A&M and possibly OU as a pair even with out UT. Texas is a huge market to get a toe hold into, and A&M, and OU actually would deliver a good chunk of Texas between the two. UT isn’t the ONLY desirable school that is good in football, and good in TV ratings.

          What I’m saying is, as attractive as the SEC is….I’m not sure OU leaves the Big 12 for the SEC..if only UT leaves. (or if it’s UT and Colorado). OU is emotionally tied to Nebraska, and if Nebraska stays…I think OU does as well.

      • SuperD says:

        That’s a good question. Based on some comments that have come out of the TAMU AD, I’ve gotten the impression that they kind of want to be out from under UT’s thumb, with the SEC being their preference in the event of a conference move. No knowledge to indicate that, just my impression. Wasn’t that where they were heading when UT was looking at the PAC10 back in 94? I think the TAMU AD would probably see a lot of benefits of being able to tell Texas kids “we’re part of SEC football” if UT wasn’t in the league.

        • Bullet says:

          As I mentioned above, A&M was going to the SEC instead of joining the B12 even after UT had decided on the B12. Legislative armtwisting stopped it. There is a good article from the San Antonio paper a few years back on the politics of it.

          So I think if the SEC comes up with the $ and UT goes to the B10 w/o them, A&M and OU gladly move.

        • zeek says:

          I would take those AD comments with the perspective that the higher ups at A&M would want to go with Texas if Texas ends up in the Big Ten.

          I don’t really see A&M as wanting to not be with Texas if it means the CIC if that’s what Texas is considering.

          Also, Texas probably wants A&M in the same conference because it gets to keep an away game in conference in Texas every other year.

          • eapg says:

            I don’t know that one can easily gloss over the fact that the first thing out of Byrne’s mouth when talking about conference realignment was travel demands and how those demands affect the welfare of the student athlete.

            It’s fun to pretend we start with a blank sheet of paper and can move schools around into this or that conference with no real regard for the logistics of what’s being imagined. Byrne’s complaint about the NCAA tournament game for the women’s hoops team in Seattle is a regular fact of conference life with A&M in either the Pac 10 or the Big Ten. And he’s fairly plainly saying it’s not going to happen. Been wrong before and I’ll be wrong again, but I take his comments to mean there are two options for A&M, SEC or staying the course with the Big 12. And if that’s true, by extension one can reasonably suppose Texas will come to the same conclusion, if they haven’t already.

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            There are different ways to read the aTm AD’s take on the P10 travel. I agree that it suggests he’s leaning toward the SEC, or at least away from the P10. However that can also be a negotiating position that could be mitigated if the P10 really wants the Texas teams. Establish a P16 with most aTm games in an eastern division of the AZ pair, CO, maybe Utah at the furthest and some closer teams like TT, OU, KS, NE, etc. Limit west coast travel, or at least Pac NW to the weekends instead of weeknights, or early start times during the week for visiting Central time zone teams. I think there is something to the various rumors that TX and aTm are trying to negotiate with the P10 for a state of Texas quad.

            And I wouldn’t assume that his statements rule out the B16. PSU is 1250 miles from College Station, the rest are 1130 or less. So pretty much every school is within about a 2 hour flight. (Same for the S. Cal schools and everything east.) The Pac NW is an extra hour or more, but the real killer is the time zone difference. Everything in the B16 would be eastern or central. Combine that and teams with weeknight games in the B16 would return home 3-7 hours earlier as compared to west coast starts.

            The SEC is closer, but not that much so. Teams returning from B16 events on average will arrive with 30 minutes of when the would from the SEC on average, and within an hour difference for the extremes. Less than an hours difference is manageable, 4+ hours, not so much.

          • eapg says:

            I would agree that the travel would be less daunting in a repackaged Big 12/Western Alliance East, and somewhat less so in the Big Ten, although from what I understand hiring sherpas to get into State College can get expensive. I just don’t know that I can easily discount these concerns from an Athletic Director, for whom a large part of the job entails getting satisfactory results in academic progress, graduation rates, etc. Excessive travel poses a real threat of cutting into those goals. The distances in the SEC for A&M aren’t any different from what they travel now in the Big 12, the other two conferences in question, no matter how you slice it, equal more time on the road.

        • m (Ag) says:

          I don’t think anyone from A&M thinks they’re under UT’s thumb.

          Up until the 1960′s A&M was an all male school where all students were required to participate in the military Corps of Cadets on campus. For this part of its football history, the school had some very good years, and some very poor years.

          Let’s compare A&M to UT in the years since 1975. UT fans might complain that I’m choosing the beginning of a good era for A&M, and they’d be right. However, given how much the campus changed from 1960, I think it’s a good starting point.

          Winning Percentage: UT 71.4%, 10th in the country. A&M 64.5%, 20th in the country.

          Head to Head record: 18-17. A&M has a 1 game lead, but also has had 1 more home game over these 35 years.

          A&M was downright mediocre in the 2000′s, just as UT was in the 1990′s. Still, the 2 schools have been very close the last 35 years.

          We compete just fine in the same conference as UT. Maybe some administrators will choose to go to the SEC for other reasons, but there is no problem competing directly in the same conference.

      • twk says:

        I don’t think that UT is going anywhere by itself, unless A&M is satisfied that it doesn’t need to go along. In other words, I don’t think you’re going to see a situation where UT gets a Big 10 invite and A&M doesn’t because that’s when the politicians would get involved.

        Like I said, if a scenario were to transpire where Vanderbilt left the SEC for the Big 10, and invitations were extended to UT and A&M, I could see A&M looking into the possibility of taking Vandy’s place rather than going to the Big 10 just because the travel is considerably easier (especially if the SEC stays at 12), and there are competitive reasons to believe that A&M might be better off recruiting as SEC member than as a Big 10 member.

        Could A&M simply decide to stay in the Big XII and UT go to the Big 10 on its own? I think that would be unlikely. It might be possible if every other Big XII team stayed in the league and some sort of TV alliance could be worked out with the Pac-10, but I just don’t know if that would work. A&M would certainly consider it, but the math would have to be right. The only way I could see that possibility working out was if the Big 10 decided just to go to 12 (with UT), and the SEC decided to stand pat.

        • Wes Haggard says:

          TWK, best “what if” scenario that I have seen. Totally logical.

        • AggieFrank says:

          I agree as well. If Texas moves to the B10, A&M will explore the SEC option. If there is a mutual interest in A&M joining the SEC, it will be strongly considered.

          IF Texas joins the B10, the SEC’s next best option to get a foothold in the state (and its 25 million population) would clearly be A&M. I don’t think anyone believes the SEC would walk away from the Texas market, when an option as attractive as Texas A&M is still on the table.

          • Michael says:

            aTm´s decision will be made before this all becomes official. This is not going to be a case where Vandy and Texas make the jump and then aTm is left on the sideline to decide between being the 16th member of the Big 10 or the 12th member of the SEC.

            Once it comes time for an official vote there will be no suspense. The applying schools will have already been accepted and they will have already confirmed. Like Delany said, no one will be embarrassed.

          • AggieFrank says:

            Of course Michael. The timing would of any A&M / SEC conversations would happen well before anything official happened. I was assuming that fact was a given and didn’t need to be discussed.

  72. RickyBobby says:


  73. [...] The Tank apparently has heard “rumblings” that Mizzou will be left at the altar if and when the Big 10 [...]

  74. Faitfhful5k says:

    The First Domino

    And the Big 10 announces… Vanderbilt!

    Big 12 Country: What? What we gonna do with all this new research now?

    ACC offices: It’s started. Get Pitt and Syracuse on the line.

    Rutgers: huh?

    SEC: Hahahaha. You call that expansion? Get those guys from Oklahoma, Texas, A&M, Clemson and Florida St. on the phone. Oh… and that ESPN guy too. We’re gonna show them how this expansion thing works! And get that smart fella in here.. what? He left? Good riddance. Vandy grads always rubbed me the wrong way.

    ESPN: Heads explode.

    Pac 10 text: WTF?
    Big 10 text: Op Roses starts now
    Pac 10 text: Ha. ok. see you in Jan. need laker tix?

    Texas: (conference call) UT politely declines SEC offer. A&M concurs.

    SEC: Ha. They’re scared! Ok. Let’s get on with the vote. Okie, Clemson and FSU? (count hands) 10-2. You’re in boys! And where is that ESPN guy?
    Florida/Georgia: /doublefacepalm
    GaTech: sighs relief.

    Big 10: Sorry about that little head fake at UVa and MD. We good now?
    ACC: Yep. Sounds good. Double down on the ACC/B10 challenge with the new holiday tournaments. Add the big college football opening weekend extravaganza. That new baseball schedule will work too. With all this shared inventory for live events we both should be good.

    Texas: Proudly announces the Longhorn Sport Network.

    SEC: Begins airing the SECFN. In a revolutionary venture to capture the reality show football market, programming will include rotating 1-hr fan-produced segments from each school. Ratings have been a success as fans across SEC land have submitted scouting reports since programming went live from team practices, locker rooms and the driveways of hot recruiting prospects. A special hot-line has been implemented to handle the flood of perceived violations.

    ESPN: Files suit.

    And the years pass…

    Big 10: All good here. Research funding is on a steady rise. Football is great. Hoops is great. And it sure is nice we all have baseball again. Right Bucky?

    ACC: Yeah. Thanks for the heads up on the wood bats market research. And we never thought football Saturdays could be so fun. And don’t worry about that new CYO-AAU feeder system for Big East hoops. We hear Worldwide Wes has been reassigned to China.

    Pac 10: (yawn) hi guys. just got up. what’s happening?

    Texas: The LSN keeps pulling strong numbers with the advent of its All-Texas-All-the-Time marketing approach. Just type in TX-24-7-365 to access the feed on your iPhone to follow all of the ongoing action from JerryWorld. Standard subscription rates apply. In other news, The Great Wall of Texas project has hit a small snag as groups have filed another suit about “so-called” profiling. Officials have
    agreed to suspend the 40-yard dash test that was being administered to all young males attempting to leave the state.

    SEC: The legal mess apparently has been cleared with the expiration of the ESPN contract, and Fox, Nascar and the SEC will now proceed with their new F-N-SEC network collaboration. Threats to secede from the NCAA continue.

    Big 6: In a joint press conference, researchers from the Big 6 Research Consortium announce simultaneous revolutionary breakthroughs in the areas of advanced battery technologies, carbon-capture systems, bio-waste fuel generation, wind power advancements, smart electrical grid control systems, photovoltaic technologies, and fuel cell design. Great Plains states brace for a new land rush.

    NBC/Notre Dame: Announce new independent tv deal.

  75. BuckeyeBeau says:

    C’mon people, let’s get real here.

    IMHO, FrankTheTank is now the new Teddy Greenstein; Daleny and the B10/11 are using reporters and bloggers to float schools to see the reaction. (Congrats! Frank on being deemed worthy of receiving leaks — and I mean that.)

    In that vein, here is my reaction: BOOOOOO!!! HISS! BLECCKK!! YUK, YUCKY AND UCKY!

    In a less speech-impaired fashion: the B10/11 is a MIDWEST and northern conference. that is what we have been for a very very very long time. Screw demographics; everyone start having babies.

    Adding southern schools is NOT going to cut it. And don’t give me any cr*p about Texas “not being southern.” I love Texas; would be fun to play Texas, but from the standpoint of C-bus, Texas and Maryland and Virginia and Tennessee are southern.

    And, I am sorry, but the B10/11 Presidents are not going to be voting in a vacuum. They vote based on lots and lots of input and this is NOT only about adding academic firepower to the league. Imagine the earful Pres. Gee gets if Vandy is added. It’ll be worse than the grief he gets for being anti-playoff.

    Here, run the thought experiments: newspaper headline says these five added: what’s the reaction of the general B10/11 fan? something like: “huh, what? who?” That is: bewilderment and confusion and mass emails of protest to various powers that be.

    tOSU is scheduled to play Maryland: what’s the reaction of the general tOSU fan? something like: “huh, what? who?” That is: bewilderment and confusion and blogger excoriation of the 20__ schedule.

    Purdue plays Virginia: what’s the reaction? something like: Yawn!!!

    Put it another way: if the B10 adds these schools, they will need to hire a PR firm to help “explain it.” That equals GIANT FAIL.

    So, in conclusion: Mr. Delany, I point my machine gun at your Trial Balloon and i’m going to empty the clip.

    • Michael in Indy says:

      “tOSU is scheduled to play Maryland: what’s the reaction of the general tOSU fan? something like: “huh, what? who?” That is: bewilderment and confusion and blogger excoriation of the 20__ schedule.”

      What’s the reaction of the general tOSU fan to looking at the schedule and seeing Northwestern, Indiana, Minnesota, and especially Akron, Youngstown State, and Eastern Michigan?

      Give me a break. Purdue playing Virginia is no yawn compared to the weenie schedule they have had in recent years with games vs. IU, Northern Colorado, and Indiana State (the worst football program in all of D-1AA, let alone D-1A).

    • ChicagoRed says:

      BuckeyeBeau, couldn’t agree more.

      People seem to losing sight of the fact that the BTN is driving this expansion. Academics are important, but nobody’s tuning in the watch the old GE College Bowl TV quiz show. The expansion will need to offer new football and sports offerings that are interesting and watchable….from schools that are at least academically viable. Most of the schools discussed lately are a HUGE stretch from this point of view, and some are ridiculous.

      As I said earlier, maybe a “southern academic” school is in the mix, but I don’t see the BT going all the way in any direction, west, south, or east.

      • zeek says:

        Uh what? How can you say that the expansion scenario in the post isn’t one of the best possible Big Ten Network expansion scenarios?

        Texas + Maryland + Virginia + Tennessee (okay that one is debatable) is prime time real estate from the perspective of the Big Ten Network…

        • Manifesto (Ohio St.) says:

          I’m alright with everything but Vanderbilt. Nothing against them, but the BigTen already has a Vanderbilt by the name of Northwestern. Replace Vandy for ND or Nebraska and I’d sign off on it. From the BTN standpoint I don’t see what Vandy gets you.

          As I said in another post on this thread, my preferred setup at the moment is Texas+TA&M+Nebraska+pick 2 from: ND/UVA/Maryland/maybe Rutgers.

          • zeek says:

            I get that but if Texas says we want the 5th school to be Notre Dame and Notre Dame says no, and then Texas/MD/VA say that they’d prefer a closer team like Vandy (to all of them), then what is the Big Ten really going to say, no? if they’re all at the table.

            Count me skeptical that all of them are at the table of course, but it’s a scenario worth considering if they all see that as a conference they’d want to join.

      • Mike R says:

        I would love a Big 10 “College Bowl” show on BTN. Lots of people watch “Jeopardy.” Make it a bit more intellectually challenging, cut across disciplines from physics to math to music to history, and you’ve got a great showcase for the academic side of the conference.

    • Vincent says:

      Hey, tOSU, Maryland’s men’s basketball coach used to work in Columbus. Guy named Williams.* Or does your world revolve around football only? Gee, I thought that kind of thinking was limited to Austin.

      *The Terp women’s coach also has Big Ten experience (a season at Minnesota), and she, like Williams, has also won an NCAA title.

  76. Paul says:

    “Screw demographics; everyone start having babies.”

    Second that.

    • Michael in Indy says:

      The Midwest doesn’t have a slow growth rate because of low birth rate or high death rate. Without looking at raw data, I think there’s no shortage of babies being born here in Indiana or in other states. The slow growth rate is also not due to a low immigration rate. Immigration from outside the US, especially to cities like Chicago and Detroit, and a birth rate that well outweighs the death rate are actually the only factors keeping most Midwestern states from having a net loss.

      The Midwest’s slow growth rate is due to the fact that fewer people FROM WITHIN THE US are moving into the Midwest than out of it. Florida, Texas, Arizona, Georgia, and the Carolinas have far fewer people leaving their states than coming in. Those states, plus California, also have a very high rate of immigration as well.

      I do think this is a question worth asking, though: Why is slow population growth a bad thing? It gives local governments more opportunity to keep up with demands for new infrastructure, rather than having to fund brand-new freeways that immediately get clogged up or schools that grow well over capacity. Places with slow growth, such as Chicago, have in place right now many advantages that places like Phoenix, Dallas, & Atlanta do not have yet, including commuter rail and a plethora of world-class museums. Compared with Sun Belt cities like Charlotte, Phoenix, Raleigh, & Tampa, many Midwestern cities also have a much higher median income.

      • Mike R says:

        Agree that immigration is needed in northern cities. They have excess housing stock and infrastructure because of out-migration to suburbs and the Sun Belt. Of course immigration (and internal migration) will flow to where jobs are being created, and Big 10/CIC schools have a major role to play in spurring innovation, supporting entrepreneurs and providing employees to going concerns.

      • m (Ag) says:

        The growth rate of the fastest growing states has a lot to do with immigration. Ohio’s population is only 3.7% immigrants; Texas is over 4 times that percentage. Many of these immigrants have US born children, which helps grow these states population even more.

        Foreign Born population by percent of total population-2008

        3.New Jersey 19.8%
        5.Florida 18.9%
        7.Texas 16.0%
        8.Massachusetts 14.4%
        10.Illinois 13.8%
        11.D.C. 13.2%
        12.Connecticut 13.0%
        13.Maryland 12.4%
        16.Virginia 10.2%
        17.Colorado 10.1%
        20.Georgia 9.4%
        23.North Carolina 7.0%
        24.Minnesota 6.5%
        28.Michigan 5.8%
        29.Nebraska 5.5%
        30.Pennsylvania 5.3%
        33.Wisconsin 4.4%
        35.Indiana 4.0%
        36.Tennessee 4.0%
        39.Iowa 3.7%
        40.Ohio 3.7%
        41.Missouri 3.6%

        • m (Ag) says:

          Percent of children under 18 residing with at least 1 immigrant parent in 2008:

          Texas 32.8%
          New Jersey 32.3%
          Florida 30.2%
          Illinois 25.0%
          US AVERAGE 23.2%
          Colorado 21.9%
          Maryland 21.6%
          Connecticut 21.4%
          Virginia 18.2%
          Georgia 17.7%
          Minnesota 13.9%
          Nebraska 11.7%
          Michigan 10.4%
          Pennsylvania 9.8%
          Wisconsin 9.1%
          Tennessee 9.1%
          Iowa 8.1%
          Indiana 8.0%
          Missouri 6.9%
          Ohio 6.3%


          • m (Ag) says:

            The take-home lesson from all this is that very few kids growing up in the states that will see population booms have any connections to Big 10 country. They don’t have parents who will talk wistfully about Michigan’s football program or Northwestern’s academics. They are mostly the kids of people from the region combined with kids of immigrants.

            Now, the Big 10 area will be large enough that it will do OK if it stays the same size. However, if it wants to be the best in academics or athletics it will need to recruit some students and athletes from elsewhere in the country.

            The 5 schools suggested do a good job of addressing that. The academic reputation of the conference is strongly boosted by adding schools that are respected in the South (a lot more Southerners have an idea of Vanderbilt and Virginia’s academic credentials than Northwestern’s). In addition, by having adding schools at the boundary between the North and South (Virginia & Maryland with PSU), the boundary between the South and the West (Texas), and 1 school more centrally located in the South, they keep relevant to a much larger area of the country.

    • Mike R says:

      Three kids, ages 7, 5 & 3. We’re doing our part.

  77. Can't Get Enough says:

    Holy crap!

    One of Frank’s posts leaves out Rutgers and Missouri, and all of a sudden they’re dead to you guys.

    I’m still having a difficult time seeing this go beyond 14, because once it hits 16, the door is nailed shut behind a wall of bricks. 20? Really? Why not just go the distance and change the name “AAU” to “Big Ten?”

    This is as entertaining as those guys on ESPN.

    • zeek says:

      Well all of this is speculation based on what it would take to bring in Texas.

      Seriously, whether the Big Ten expands to 12, 14, or 16 is almost entirely dependent on whether Texas or Notre Dame comes. It really is that simple.

      If Texas says “we’ll come if it’s the right 16,” then who in the Big Ten is going to say no?

      It’s not like Texas would say “you have to let us bring Oklahoma” to which the Big Ten would flat out say no.

      So clearly, the speculation is all focused on what it would take to have the strongest possible expansion. Whether any of these teams (especially these 5 which seem like such a low probability outcome) wants to come is debatable but you never really know…

      I still think it’s likely to be Nebraska/Missouri/Rutgers because I don’t see ACC or SEC teams leaving and I don’t see Texas/A&M leaving until after Nebraska/Missouri (and Colorado) leave.

      • Michael says:

        The success of the expansion is based around the Big Ten´s ability to hit a couple home runs and bookend those with doubles. In that sense, if inviting a couple ¨doubles¨ helps draw in one of the ¨home runs¨ (like Texas), I don´t see this as bending over backwards for a candidate. The Big 10´s not lowering their standards for any of the candidates – we are not talking about adding Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Baylor.

        If anything, the names Texas or the Big 10 is throwing out now in rumors are much more ambitious than those raised by most fans and media.

  78. Playoffs Now! says:

    Ya know, I could see Vandy being part of the Texas side of the deal. Earlier comments by Delany sounded like he was almost resigned to ND not coming to the B16. The ACC may end up being the better fit for them, and the USA Today article quoted ND as saying pretty much everything is still in play. The NW rumor thread from a few weeks ago had UT wanting to play ND every year. Say ND has told the conference and Texas that they are out, but TX and ND want to start an annual, or at least frequent, rivalry similar to USC-ND. With OU and ND now OOC, TX might want a weaker opponent to fill out the 16th spot. If Vandy is in the mix then they probably expressed interest to the conference, and perhaps TX has stated a preference for them over the stronger (and presumably more desirable) GT.

    Just speculating.

    • zeek says:

      Well you’re on the right track. Everyone going “zomg what Vandy?!?!? lol SEC will luvs this” are on the wrong track.

      Vandy is only coming if the other 4 are on the table and they want the 5th to be ND but ND says no, and they still want a team that is closer to Texas and Maryland/VA.

      This is still all about Texas and Notre Dame and seeing if there’s a scenario that would make them comfortable in the Big Ten.

      Let’s be honest, while Texas may have considered being #12 in the Big Ten in the early 90s, there’s no way Texas wants to be #12 in the Big Ten in 2010.

      Texas most likely would want to be a part of a solid expansion scenario that also bring the conference more towards them if they are indeed in the mix (which of course none of us knows)…

      • Vincent says:

        Maybe Vanderbilt isn’t there to appease Texas, but to appease Virginia.

        If Vandy leaves the SEC, this would enable Virginia Tech to take its place, thus satisfying Tech people and making it easier for UVa to join the similarly affluent (athletically speaking) Big Ten.

        Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if Delany and Slive have discussed this in private.

        • Vincent says:

          Also, perhaps Maryland officials have told Delany that Virginia had to be part of a Big Ten move for UMd, that it wanted at least one ACC partner (its closest) to come along. You could argue that after Notre Dame, Texas and Nebraska (possibly A&M and Rutgers, too), Maryland would be the best potential athletic/academic/financial fit for the Big Ten.

      • boilerfan says:

        I can see Vanderbilt being added to appease some of the Big 10 presidents who might be concerned that going to 16 teams could negatively impact the academic side of the conference in favor of athletics.

  79. loki_the_bubba says:

    I’m sorry, but Vandy just doesn’t pass any smell test. People can try to justify them all they want. But the only rational reaction is “WTF?”

  80. [...] Dirty South for the Big Ten? Let me preface this blog post by stating that I am not an “insider” regarding Big Ten expansion nor have ever [...] [...]

  81. Patrick says:

    Directors Cup Standings as of April 29th… FALL & WINTER

    6 Nebraska
    8 Virginia
    14 Texas A&M
    22 Iowa State
    23 Texas
    31 Notre Dame
    42 Missouri
    49 U Conn
    53 Georgia Tech
    58 Syracuse
    67 Colorado
    77 Miami FL
    78 Rutgers
    100 Montana
    100 Vanderbilt
    100 U – Wis Green Bay

    Seriously, Vanderbilt? I think they can be much more relevant with their choices.

  82. c says:

    Re house of cards falls apart (latest rumor)


    “One of the more popular rumors had Maryland joining the Big Ten.

    Don’t bet on it, said Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow. She addressed the topic during an interview on David Glenn’s afternoon radio show.

    “As far as I’m concerned, it’s a waste of time,” Yow said of the speculation. “We’re not going anywhere.”

    Yow acknowledged that, as AD, she doesn’t have the final say in the matter.

    “I certainly could be overruled, but I don’t think that I will (be),” Yow said. “I never have been in the 16 years that I’ve been here.”

    “It isn’t all about the money,” she continued. “It’s really about more than that. We love the ACC. We’re part of it and we’re going to say a part of it, as far as I know.”

    • c says:

      So if Maryland is out, then what are chances UVA is going anywhere.

      If Maryland and UVA are out then what are chances that Vanderbilt is a target?

      Next rumor?

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      Similar to the Texas AD’s stance for months. Now we are pretty certain TX has been in talks with the B10+, P10, and discussions with the SEC. And only recently did he change his tune. There’s not near as much smoke from MD’s fire, but ya never know…

      • c says:

        Re Maryland out (Playoffs Now!)

        Yow’s comments couldn’t have been more to the point and she’s repeating what she previously said.

        All she needs to do is say no comment or we don’t discuss rumors or we’re happy in the ACC.

        She said Maryland isn’t going anywhere.

        • Cliff's Notes says:

          “Plausible Deniability”

          She can speak all she wants, and still be truthful about it. But it’s not her call.

          If Maryland stays in the ACC, no matter how close a move to The Big Ten gets, she can claim “I told you we love the ACC and it would never happen!”

          But, if Maryland does move, she can say “I was not involved in the discussions. This was above my paygrade. We love the ACC, but I fully support our President and we are excited about the opportunities afforded by The Big Ten membership and we just couldn’t pass it up.”

          • PensfaninLAexile says:

            Maryland is looking for a new president?

            That’s clearly a reason why Maryland would not be in the running — at least in the short-term. I doubt an outgoing (or interim) president could make such a monumental decision as bolting the ACC. It would also be difficult for a newly minted president (unless there is a promotion from within).

            Maryland’s fluid leadership situation is a real handicap.

    • Vincent says:

      Keep in mind that Yow is from North Carolina, part of a famed athletic family with ties to the ACC. She understandably feels strongly about the conference, but others at the university might not feel that way.

  83. M says:


    Maryland AD says there is no chance that Maryland goes anywhere. Obviously the AD doesn’t make the decision, but it is hard to say how much influence she would have.

    • c says:

      Re Maryland out (M)

      “Hard to say how much influence (Yow) she would have.”

      Are you implying as an AD at Maryland for 16 years, she is being kept out of the loop while Frank is informing the universe that her school is actually in play.

      • Playoffs Now! says:

        Good cop/bad cop denial game. “Well yes, I was truthful back then, but the later offer changed the admin and persuaded them. Golly gee, I had no idea they were discussing this over golf and coffees.”

        That isn’t to say that I believe that MD and VA will say yes. But I believe someone at the top is having at least initial discussions. That’s just basic due diligence for a potential once in a generation type of offer.

        • Playoffs Now! says:

          BTW, I just glanced at a map and Vandy is closer to IU than MO or NE are to a current B10+ school. VA and Rut are only 10-20 miles closer to PSU. So Vandy isn’t at all a geographic reach.

          But say MD and VA don’t work out. Would TX, aTm, GT, Vandy, and Rut work?

          TX, aTm, GT, Vandy, and NE?

          TX, aTm, GT, Vandy, and Mia?

          TX, aTm, ND, Vandy, and GT? Atlanta is within driving distance for many FL recruits. Same for those in the Carolinas, TN, AL, and MS.

          TX, aTm, ND, GT, and Rut? Semi-national strategy might lure ND.

          TX, aTm, ND, GT, Mia? This one I really, really, like.

          • Michael says:


            I like your last scenario the best, as well.

            From ND´s perspective, the other four schools would all add a ¨national¨ feel and UT, GT and Miami could all be rivals of one sort or another.

            I think my main problem with the other scenarios is Rutgers and Vanderbilt. I´m OK with either of those schools as the fifth school that complements some four school combination of TX, aTm, Nebraska, ND, Virginia and Maryland, but when you try to turn either Rutgers or Vanderbilt into one of four marquee additions it comes out a bit flat.

            And when it comes to Miami and GTech, they seem like a bit of a package deal. Even though Atlanta to Miami isn´t an easy drive, it would take away a bit of the isolation of either of those schools by itself.

        • c says:

          Re “someone at the top is having initial discussions” (Playoffs Now!)

          Nothing wrong with discussions. However Yow is saying to a reporter this question is a waste of time and UMD isn’t going anywhere.

          On the other side there is a secret unidentified insider who is saying Maryland is in play as part of a complex package that includes Vanderbilt as a complement to Texas.

          Somehow, I would consider Yow as a credible insider who probably doesn’t want her reputation ruined by speaking about a subject if she feels she is out of the loop.

        • Vincent says:

          I still wouldn’t count out Maryland — conditions could change if the SEC wooed a few ACC schools.

          Yow probably feels she has to placate some of the fanbase, which is overly obsessed with men’s basketball in general and Duke in particular.

          The university will soon choose a new president, and he or she will make the final decision, not Yow.

      • zeek says:

        It’s really easy for an AD to say “we’re not going anywhere” and then in 8 months to come back and say “the higher ups told me we’re out.”

        The AD doesn’t make that call even if he/she is in the loop about inquiries.

        Granted, she’s probably more in the loop than your average AD, but it’s not like her statement that “we’re not going anywhere” actually means anything binding because it’s not her call to make.

        • eapg says:

          Or, less exciting, she’s passing on that the call has already been made by the higher ups.

          There is some contrast there with other statements, such as Nebraska’s official “we’re in the Big 12 unless and until the Big Ten says otherwise”. Yow has painted herself into a pretty tight corner if Maryland is actually in play. Why would she bring up never being overruled if she knew the truth was other than what she is saying? To have the words thrown back at her in a few months? Doesn’t make sense.

        • c says:

          Re Debbie Yow speaks for Maryland but is really out of the loop or (Zeek)

          So as a university spokesperson she’s making flat out untrue statements and is perhaps deliberately not asking her President what is the University’s position, so Maryland in harmony with UVA can “secretly” discuss expansion options with the Big 10.

          To fool who?

          Meanwhile Frank has blown her cover and revealed to the universe that she is a liar and she keeps the lie going?

          As an attorney I’d be curious what your view of her position might be and how you would advise her as a potential client.

      • M says:


        Just for comparison, here is an article describing some of the issues with adding Penn State:

        The more relevant quote is from Bo Schembechler: “Not one athletic director was consulted on this matter.” I agree that this time has been more public and less likely to not inform the ADs, the point is that if the presidents can act without telling Bo of Woody and Bo, they can act without telling any athletic figures at all.

        • c says:

          Re Penn State admission in 1990 vs today (M)

          Everyone understands the Big 10 is conducting a study of various options and considering many schools and packages and part of this process includes trial balloons of various kinds.

          And confidential informal discussions are being held as an essential part of the process. Does a school of possible interest to the Big 10 have reciprocal interest?

          However, 2010 with the Internet is not 1990.

          An experienced AD like Yow, who is familiar with the chaos of the recent ACC expansion, is not likely to issue blanket denials unless she has good reason to issue them.

          Maybe Maryland doesn’t want trial balloons putting the status of their school into question.

          Maybe Yow is speaking forcefully because she actually has a relationship with the UMD President and is playing the role of university spokesperson about a matter that has long ago been discussed and considered and rejected.

          If there is any doubt, all she has to do is say UMD is a happy member of the ACC and she doesn’t discuss rumors or refer questions to the Big 10 or such a question is above her pay grade or refer the question to the UMD President or tell the interviewer she needs to check and will reply later.

          She does not seem to be voicing her opinion here. She seems to be acting as the university spokesperson.

    • Marc V says:

      Sounds pretty definitive to me. And if Maryland is out, so is Virginia imo. As for Vandy, I just don’t see it, for the reasons indicated in other posts above.

      Texas and A&M are possibilities, but are longshots, imo. A&M is only a possibility as a UT tag-along and UT to the B10 seems more and more unlikely to me the more I read about this stuff. Hopkins Horn’s buddy over at Burnt Orange Nation does a nice job explaining why here: http://www.thedailygopher.com/2010/5/21/1468888/big-ten-expansion-the-case-for.

      Seems to me that Rutgers is a near lock, if expansion happens. And Nebraska is right behind them. As for the 14th spot, who knows. Notre Dame or Missouri seem most likely, followed by the grouping of Cuse, Pitt, Kansas & UConn. Of these schools, my personal preference would be to take Neb, RU and ND, and then stop. If no ND, then Neb, RU & Pitt.

      • Playoffs Now! says:

        Eh, Peter Bean is just another guy with an opinion. And it always irks me to see a poor use of statistics. He states that 9 million people live within a 3-hour drive of the Austin-Round Rock metro. Um, great, but it is far more impressive that 17 million live within a 4-hour drive!

        Kind of par for that course. He and the author make some good points, but for TX this expansion is likely driven as much by academic factors as $. They can make boatloads in the SEC, too, but there are only a few options to join an academically superior conference. Doesn’t take long to figure out who is on the AAU list. A good decision can probably be reached within a year, it doesn’t require the 3-5 years he’s suggesting.

  84. Playoffs Now! says:

    On the other side there is a secret unidentified insider who is saying Maryland is in play as part of a complex package that includes Vanderbilt as a complement to Texas.

    Maybe, but that isn’t what this blog post states. Rather it mentions that rumors have these 5 ‘in heavy discussion’ but that they aren’t necessarily the only schools in such discussions nor is that the specific or primary combination of schools.

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      BTW, since it looks increasingly likely that MO’s governor and some close to the program may have made asses out of themselves, she’d be a fool to give any hints MD might leave the ACC until a deal is basically done. Sure, an “I’m not going to get into hypotheticals” or a “No comment” might be better, or perhaps not given this climate.

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      One more thing: Could Vandy compensate for some of its weaknesses by something like offering a much higher buy-in, hence why they might be in consideration?

    • c says:

      Re today’s post (Playoffs Now!)

      Today’s post mentions 5 schools in “heavy discussion”.

      So if UMD is not in play as her AD just said in unmistakable terms, what are the chances UVA is going to the Big 10 without a partner?

      And if UMD and UVA are out, then what is the likelihood Vanderbilt is a target school?

      So what’s left of the post?

      • To clarify, I wasn’t referring to heavy discussions actually occurring between the Big Ten and these schools. What I meant is that these schools were identified and discussed as targets by the Big Ten at last week’s meetings.

        I don’t find any AD’s comments to be dispositive. While Maryland’s AD issued a strong denial, it is doubtful that anyone would preemptively reject Big Ten membership without at least seeing the final offer. If the Big Ten picks off other ACC schools or gets ND or Texas, then the calculation changes drastically for Maryland or any other school. Believe me, no one, not even Notre Dame, would just turn its back on a substantial financial gain without looking at it heavily. That doesn’t mean that Maryland ultimately ends up in the Big Ten, but I think we make assumptions that schools will “never” do this or that in a knee-jerk reaction when in reality, they’re going to take the time to do their due diligence.

        • c says:

          Re Yow’s “knee jerk reaction” (Frank)

          It is understood the Big 10 is considering it’s options. And the 5 schools you cited are certainly interesting.

          So please explain why an experienced AD like Yow with 16 years experience and months into the process and repeated questions on this very point would go out of her way to repeat what she has already said:

          that speclation about UMD joining the BIg 10 is a “waste of time” and UMD isn’t going anywhere.

          Reading the interview does it sound like Yow is out of the loop or shooting off her mouth without knowledge or approval of her President?

          Maybe UMD wants to remove any speculation or any doubts.

          If so, what does that imply for the likelihood that UVA is going anywhere. Or that Vanderbilt remains a school worth discussion?

          • @c – My understanding is that Maryland is in the midst of a search for a new president, so it’s unclear as to what directives Yow might have received or if they’d be the same directives as what the eventual new president would provide.

            Texas and/or ND committing itself to the Big Ten changes a whole lot of things – TV revenue projections that I’ve seen for the Big Ten with Texas and ND are in the $40 million per year range for every school. All I’m saying is that schools can’t make a decision on what the Big Ten is today, but rather what the Big Ten is going to look like once expansion is over and whether schools want to be a part of that ultimate vision.

            I agree that Maryland and Virginia are tied at the hip for the purposes of this discussion, so if one doesn’t come, then the other wouldn’t, either. I’ll reiterate that I don’t understand adding Vandy outside of pure academics or Texas possibly wanting that school for some reason. I’m just repeating what I’ve heard on that front.

          • Bullet says:

            FWIW, if you believe what the people on the ACC boards said during their expansion in 2003, what Yow says can be taken with a grain of salt. However, it is clear that MD is happy in the ACC and isn’t planning on going anywhere. Maybe she was just tired of hearing the questions.

            I know of no Texas ties to Vandy. That is NOT coming from Texas. Vandy definitely makes this look like a brainstorming session. They fill a geographic gap, have good research, differentiate the B10 and SEC further, poke a stick in the eye of the SEC, but really make no sense. I can’t think of a BCS school that adds less value athlethically. Not sure I wouldn’t rate every CUSA school over Vandy as well.

          • Todd says:

            Someone please correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t Vanderbilt and Florida the only 2 AAU schools in the SEC? If that is the case, could it be that Vanderbilt to the Big Ten is being discussed to make Florida consider a time when they are the only remaining AAU school in the conference?..maybe at that point they would look to make a move to upgrade their conference affiliation.

  85. Guido says:

    I’m pretty sure I just heard that LeBron got an official invite to join the Big 10.

  86. Richard says:

    I’ve considered some pretty far-out-there scenarios (at least, they were considered far out way back a few months ago) that included annexing the heart of the ACC. Never thought Vandy was ever a possibility, though. However, say the Big10 is successful in their southern push and persuade Texas and the core ACC schools (as well as Vandy) to join to form a research consortia powerhouse. What would the Big20 look like? Here’s one idea:




    Miami/FSU/Rice(?)/Tulane(?) (FSU & Miami aren’t AAU now, but FSU does the research and probably soon will be while Miami likely will be soon as well)

    Each pod plays a 9-game schedule consisting of the other schools in their pod & alternate between the pods to their left and right (so West alternates between North & South but never plays East, etc.
    This way, all the old Big10 schools still play each other at least half the time (PSU never plays schools east of Indiana, but I don’t think anyone would mind since PSU & those schools get to play Texas, Miami, and recruit down south). In baseball, same thing. In basketball, schools play the teams in their pod twice and the schools in the pods to their left and right once for an 18-game schedule.

    Original Big10 teams are happy because they get to play all the old Big10 schools at least half the time, yet still get to play in the south (and recruit there) regularly. Texas is happy because they play teams from Florida, Georgia, & Tennessee every year (so they can recruit there), and most of the time, they’ll be facing other top teams in baseball as well. The core ACC schools are happy because they still get to play each other twice a year in basketball (NCSU & WF are left out, but they can be non-conf games; UNC and NCST can even play home-and-away each year non-conf if they want to). Everybody’s happy on the research/academic front. Everybody wins.

    • Vincent says:

      I take it you mean OSU in the North, not PSU.

    • Michael says:

      I like this scenario a lot (with Miami as the 20th team), and it may make even more sense than the 16 school scenario this blog post is about.

      If we do go to 16 teams with the five rumored schools, is there any good reason why this 20 team scenario shouldn´t happen? It does a better job of balancing out the new additions, reaching new demographics and increasing the overall academic and athletic portfolio. Revenue would seemingly skyrocket and you really aren´t sacrificing much.

      I´m not sure I like the idea of never playing one of four pods in football – but scheduling concerns are only concerns in so far as you limit your imagination. If the Big Ten, from a scheduling standpoint, can work with pods of four, it can also work with pods of five.

      I could definitely buy into this 20 team league and it would certainly shake things up.

      • m (Ag) says:

        I think 16 schools is probably the maximum number of schools you can add to both fill up the network and still have nearly every football game on air. This isn’t true if you’re adding schools from the West coast who can have games that are late night on the East coast.

        With 16 teams you have 7-10 home games per week that your conference has the rights to.

        1 Thursday night game*
        4-5 Saturday games to ABC/ESPN including 1 primetime
        3 Saturday games on Big 10 Network

        *yes, I think they will have VOLUNTARY weekday night games if they reach 16 teams. Noone would be forced.

        With this schedule, you would miss a game when there are 10 home games in a week; you might miss a game when there are 9 games. Juggling teams’ schedules so there aren’t too many weeks with more than 8 games could be done by having some early conference games and mixing non-conference games and byes throughout the year.

        If you go to 20 teams there won’t be space to get every team on the air most weeks. Adding a second channel wouldn’t be as profitable as the first, so you’d be making less per school. You could have more night games, but then you’re crowding out all the other sports you want to showcase on the Big 10 network, and schools wouldn’t be eager to play on those nights.

        I don’t see 20 schools unless several valuable schools say they’ll only come if some games are returned to them. With 20 schools every school could probably get 1 or 2 football games to sell per year, as well as some other sporting events. It would diminish overall conference payouts from what they are at 16 schools, but the big schools could make up the difference by selling the rights to those extra games. The smaller schools would be making more money than they would if the big schools hadn’t joined.

        • Pezlion says:

          The BTN already has weeks in the non-conference schedule with more than 3 games shown. There are overflow channels for times when multiple teams have games scheduled in the same noon timeslot. This isn’t really an issue.

          • m (Ag) says:

            But financially, it seems like you’re not making nearly as much money as when you’re adding games that can be seen everywhere. You’ll make more money by adding these schools, but it seems you’ll likely make less per school.

            Also, you will definitely have less exposure per school this way. One advantage of the network is that your school can be seen not just in football but in all sports around the country. The more of your school’s sports that get bumped from live coverage, the less well off you’ll be. You’ll still be better off than without a network, though.

            Maybe they’ve done calculations and I’m wrong, but I think around 16 schools might be the best for TV purposes, unless you’re adding schools that play on Pacific Time.

          • Richard says:

            Doesn’t work that way. Being able to deliver, say, a 4.0 Nielsen rating during a particular time slot is more than twice as valuable as being able to deliver a 2.0 rating. Likewise, a 10.0 rating is far more than 5 times more valuable than a 2.0 rating, so it makes sense to put multiple games in the same time slot on overflow channels (essentially replicate the ABC regional coverage strategy, except the BTN doesn’t have to choose by geography & anyone who wants to watch their game can do so regardless of where they’re located).

          • m (Ag) says:

            Except you’re talking about switching between the 9th and 10th best games in your conference, or the 10th and 11th. It’s only going to be an incremental change in advertising, and you’re going to split your money between more teams.

          • Richard says:

            The new schools would bring extra BTN cable subscribers as well. Presumably enough to offset the split in revenue. In any case, there’s no need to worry about running out of TV space. If that was a real issue, ABC/ESPN would just acquire rights to 8 games a week (instead of the 40 or so they have rights to).

    • Paul says:

      Under your system, Texas and Miami would never play Michigan and Ohio State. Seems like a waste of good potential matchups.

      • Richard says:

        It’d make the championship game more interesting, since the teams would not have met before. Plus, the divisions would generally always be balanced. In any case, each year, you’d still have Texas-Miami, OSU-Michigan, and PSU vs OSU&Michigan or Texas&Miami.

  87. Michael says:

    One strange thing I do see here is what happens immediately to UNC and Duke in lieu of Maryland and UVa leaving for the Big 10. The Big 10 would obviously want UNC and Duke, perhaps more so than Maryland and UVa, and, if UVa, Maryland and Texas are part of the new Big 10, how would UNC and Duke not want in, as well?

    The reason I stayed away from UVa, Maryland, UNC and Duke prior to this rumor was because they seemed like a package deal. Each of those schools is strong enough to stand on its own, but any strategy that includes one would likely include all. It´s not that they couldn´t be broken up, but, from the Big 10´s perspective, there would be no reason to break them up. Each one would significantly add to the conference´s academic and athletic portfolio, while increasing the footprint in high growth areas.

    But if they are a package deal, where do they fit in terms of a five team expansion that centers around Texas? With or without the ACC four-team package, Texas is still the main target, and I don´t see them making the jump without aTm. If that´s the case – and all of these schools are actually on the table – the next question would be whether Delany and co. would consider a 7 team expansion.

    I know one of the premises to this rumor was that no conference would be destroyed, but if Duke and UNC are willing, how could Delany say no?

    • Richard says:

      Indeed, which is why I positted a Big20 (see above). Logistically, it’d work out as well or better than a Big16 (all original Big10 teams would have 4 permanent rivalries with current Big10 teams instead of 3, yet still play all the old Big10 teams at least half the time (besides PSU) and still get to play against and recruit southern areas regularly.

      Texas & the new southern schools would also mostly play other southern schools, who are all baseball powers, etc.

      • Cliff's Notes says:

        As much as I hate Duke basketball, I don’t think the Big Ten Presidents could deny the prestige, research, and markets added by getting Duke-UNC-UVa-UMd. If this was possible, I think it would happen immediately without regard to UT, and The Big Ten would go to 15 schools just to lock this down.

        At that point, if UT wants to join, and wants to bring a couple of schools with them (A&M or Nebraska or Vandy,etc.), I think The Big Ten would got to 18 or 20 to get Texas.

        • Richard says:

          +NCSU or GTech?

          Maybe. It actually wouldn’t be much of a gain athletically or TV-wise, since those 5 schools would just bring enough viewers to pay for themselves.

          • Cliff's Notes says:

            Richard – only the first four.

            Let me state up front that I don’t see this happening. Duke and UNC were the ones that did not want to expand the ACC in the first place.

            But if either Duke or UNC individually wanted into The Big Ten, or if Duke+UNC wanted in, I think it happens automatically. Yes, Duke football is worthless, but the Academics, Research, Name Brand Reputation, Basketball, and non-revenue sports all are World Class. The added market and UNC football isn’t bad, either.

            UVa and UMd have been discussed enough already; I’m sure a Duke+UNC+Maryland+UVa 4-school package is a slam dunk to get to 15.

            I don’t think The Big Ten would want NCSt or Wake or Ga Tech to get to 16, though, although UNC might insist.

            If Texas or ND sees the Big Ten add 4 from the ACC, and want to be #16, I think that would be it.

            If Texas and ND both want in, I think the Big Ten would go to 17, and then it becomes interesting looking at #18, or #18, 19, and 20.

            Now, at this point, I think the Big Ten would be OK looking at NC State or Ga Tech for example, tagging along, but could really go in any direction.

  88. Playoffs Now! says:


    “Expansion Not Tied To Renegotiating TV Deals, SEC Network Remains A Hypothetical Possibility”

    • PensfaninLAexile says:

      The blogger (just another guy with an opinion) states that a “full-scale” renegotiation is not necessary. He seems to think that expansion means that whatever new inventory is simply up for grabs.

      As Alan noted, CBS gets first pick, then ESPN gets a bunch of picks each week. Seems like that would apply to whatever teams are in the conference, not just the 12 current teams.

      Would Okla/LSU be exempt since it’s “new inventory”? Not likely. Not to mention he doesn’t get into that ESPN would lose inventory from other conferences and that would have to be worked out.

      In short, this guy is a doofus.

    • PensfaninLAexile says:

      Forgot to mention — he also states that any new inventory could be sold to another cable provider/outlet.

      In other words SEC expansion needs a new TV deal.

      I reiterate — this guy is a doofus.

      • willarm1 says:


        I think your thoughts on this subject are dead on, and filled with good insight.

        If The SEC expands to 16 they will have to figure a way to increase revenue, and a lot of it. (possibly 80 million a year) which is more than the entire deal the ACC got before this one (67 million?) for two more games a week.

        Silve will have work to do, especially if Delany can pull TX. and A&M. If The Big Ten heads East, The SEC will not have to worry. But if a southwest expansion is in the cards he will have a tough decision to make. or some serious horse trading.

        But it should be noted that ESPN is not the SEC network. They are tied to all these conferences and with some serious money, and have already paid for many of these games. As you have pointed out above.


  89. crpodhaj says:

    I think the very fact that Vandy is in any kind of serious discussion is an indication of how serious the talks with Texas are going. Without Texas, there is not much reason to speak of Vandy. With Texas, there are many reasons.

    And I think Texas is the one driving the talks to 16 teams. Again, there is more in it for Texas with 16 than just adding Texas, A&M, and Vandy to the B10. IF Texas comes in, they want definitive splash and marketshare.

    Of course this is all just rumors and speculation, but that appears to be the level of the talks behind the scenes. Nothing will be official until they are ready to move, and so everything is plausably deniable. Texas could stay and say, “We were never going anywhere.”


  90. NDx2 says:

    Vandy makes sense for one primary reason: getting ND. That would make three private universities in the conference. Add Texas to the mix, and I could definitely see ND joining. It would have the added benefit of being something truly different than the existing Big Ten, which would make it somewhat more palatable to many alumni.

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      Nothing I have seen anywhere makes me think that Vandy would have any impact on a Notre Dame decision. Where are the facts? Where is any realistic scenario?

      • zeek says:

        I agree.

        Why wouldn’t Notre Dame demand Boston College instead?

        Vandy makes no sense in a Notre Dame expansion.

        • IrishTexan says:

          Notre Dame respects Boston College academically, but I don’t see why they would want to throw BC a bone on the field.

          • M says:

            Historically, ND has avoided playing other Catholic schools because they didn’t want to split the Catholic fan base. I have no idea why they would demand Boston College in their conference, especially since BC has been the better football team over the last 15ish years. Bandwagon fans tend to follow better teams especially with head-to-head competition.

          • Manifesto (Ohio St.) says:


            You know, when you said BC had been the better team over the last 15 years, I thought you were nuts. Then I looked it up.

            I went since 1997, since both got new coaches that year and it made things easier, but 13 years is close enough:

            BC: .642, 8-3 Bowls (0-0 BCS)
            ND: .572, 1-7 Bowls (0-3 BCS)

            As for bowls, I think on average you can make the argument that ND has faced stiffer competition, but the flip of that is that ND’s only bowl win came against Hawaii in 2008. I’d still clearly prefer ND over BC in any scenario, but food for thought.

        • FLP_NDRox says:

          NDx2 is right. It’s an additional private university, but it’s outside the midwest. If it was sectarian it would be even better, but I didn’t realize how few sectarian schools exist in Div I football before I came here. Maybe it also helps Texas as an additional southern school on the way to the current B10 footprint. It would probably also be from the B10 POV a shot across the SEC’s bow. Of course from the SEC POV, it’s hauling off their dead football weight…

          ND would never demand BC. ND already has a pretty good toehold in Beantown. And don’t underestimate the CSC-Jesuit rivalry. IrishTexan and M are right that ND has historically never thrown BC a bone on the field. And there’s no reason to think that’ll change now.

          • M says:

            It’s amusing how Notre Dame fans can complain about Michigan trying to kill their program by not playing them at one moment and then act surprised that there aren’t very many Catholic schools still playing football out the other. By any measure, Notre Dame hated the fact that other Catholic schools had football teams and successfully boycotted them until they went away. Before 1975, Notre Dame had 3 games total against another Catholic school: Marquette in 1921 and St Louis in 1922 and 1923. They never played Fordham, never played Georgetown, never play Duquesne, never played Villanova, St. Mary’s or Santa Clara. While these schools do not sound impressive today, many of them were relative powers in the first half of last century. Just as Michigan did not want to split the Catholic fanbase in Michigan, Notre Dame did not want to split the Catholic fanbases in the various cities. To act innocent and surprised that these schools no longer play on a major level is ignorant of the history of ND.

    • mushroomgod says:

      If true, more good reasons not to add ND and Vandy.

  91. Can't Get Enough says:

    @ M

    Nice find. Here it is again.

    Looking at all the last-minute uncertainty and trouble for ONE school that is an obvious fit on so many levels, does everybody here honestly think that FIVE schools will simultaneously breeze through the same process?

    Do you think that people who administrate Big Ten Universities concern themselves with what “bait” schools they need to invite in order to lure Texas or ND?

    Also, how do make sure that UT does not back out and instead just end up getting B10 stuck married to the “bait” or completely back out and end up looking like a complete jackass?

    Each school invited will stand on its own merit. For bundling, call your cable company.

    • zeek says:

      Personally, I find this to be the most important statement: “Syracuse, Pitt, Rutgers, Vanderbilt, West Virginia and Maryland have all been mentioned by the presidents as candidates.”

      That was back when the presidents were in total control of the process (from start to finish including due diligence, which was done belatedly). Interesting how some things change but some things don’t.

    • 84Lion says:

      Nice article, from a Penn State viewpoint, “wow.” One thing that needs to be kept in mind is that Penn State sought admission to the Big Ten. If Penn State was “courted” in any way, that article sure seems to indicate otherwise.
      It’s bizarre. This whole expansion thing has morphed from getting a single good school to facilitate a conference championship game to an exercise where a CCG no longer matters and we are considering academics the prime component of expansion – even while one of the expansion drivers is the conference-owned sports network.
      As I read all this I’m thinking this is either disinformation or the process has morphed into a “horse designed by committee” thing. If it’s the former I think it’s working, if it’s the latter, expansion isn’t going to happen, because you’ve got too many people pulling on the same rope.
      It’s also possible that this could be the Big Ten’s attempt to keep Fox from interfering (“You want expansion, you’ll GET expansion!” How about putting the UVa-Vandy Chess Tourney on the BTN?”).
      If expansion gets done…and the further along the bigger that “if” seems to become…I believe expansion will occur with schools that have expressed a desire to leave their conferences and/or join the Big Ten. If “courting” or concessions are required, I cannot see the job getting done.

    • PSUGuy says:

      That article only furthers my deepening impressions on this whole expansion process…

      Last time the conference expanded there were several groups that felt left out of the process and as such they thought the worst case scenarios would come to happen because they “weren’t in the loop” to bring those possibilities up.

      This time Delany gets the go ahead to look at expansion and this time around, he’s going to take his time (12-18 months as he said in the first place) and do his due diligence (by looking at schools from across regional/academic/athletic backgrounds).

      Personally, I think that’s reason why we are hearing so many different reports. He’s off doing his investigation with plenty of “lower level” folks getting contatced about interest and the Big10 AD’s/Presidents are probably pretty much out of the loop. In another 6 months he’ll sit them all down, show the possible scenarios, outcomes, and liklihoods and they’ll have a murder board then before issuing a single invite. That way they’ll be no “you’re invited…but you’re not…well maybe…ok you’re in”.

      Once the smoke clears on that meeting about whether the expansion candidates are “good enough” for the Big10 then you’ll finally start to see some leaks that mean something.

      • Cliff's Notes says:

        This is similar to how I plan my fantasy football draft. I wish I had Jim Delaney’s job.

        I think that 84Lion’s comment about a “horse designed by committee” comment has some truth to it, but I think that the committee will present options based on research requested by the Presidents. And if only 8/11 votes are needed, they don’t need to appease everyone on every topic.

        It may be a deep negotiation to get the best 5 teams, but I don’t see a situation where a school or two is dead set against expansion, like we saw with UNC and Duke. If that were the case, then I think the politics and games would really come into play.

        But when the choices are “we can increase tv revenue by 160% and add two football powers and three academic powers” or “we can increase tv revenue by 140% and add one football power and four academic powers”, it’s not like there is a “bad” choice.

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      From that 1990 article:

      One wrinkle being explored by Jones’s subcommittee to ease travel burdens is the addition of a 12th school, so that the conference could go to divisional play. Syracuse, Pitt, Rutgers, Vanderbilt, West Virginia and Maryland have all been mentioned by the presidents as candidates…

      So if VB was being considered way back in 1990, the B10+’s interest now appears to be legit rather than a gimmick. Note that 1990 was also before Gee went to VB.

      Paterno points out that the roads to State College are being expanded and the airport is being enlarged.

      20 years later and there is still a sizable gap of just 2 lanes for anyone coming from Philly, Allentown, and Harrisburg.

      “And they’re talking about high-speed trains you’ll be able to take to Harrisburg [an hour-and-45-minute drive from State College] that go 300 miles an hour,” he says. The earliest projected completion date for those magnetic levitation trains, now being researched at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University, is well beyond the turn of the century, but Paterno says, “All I’m asking is for people to be a little more farsighted. A time will come when we’ll be closer together than we realize.”

      Bahahaha. Not in anyone’s lifetime to State College. Once a recruiting salesman, always a recruiting salesman!

      • Playoffs Now! says:

        I wonder if WV was included in the 1990 exploration as ring kissing of the state’s Congressional figures, who were much more powerful back then.

      • jokewood says:

        jetpacks seem like a cheaper and more flexible transportation option than a 300 mph train screaming through State College.

      • PSUGuy says:

        FYI…State College has 4 lane divided highway from Harrisburg to State College(65 MPH Speed Limit) with only one small stretch right outside the town (which is currently being bypassed). From Harrisburg its Turnpike to Phile or divided highway to York, Baltimore, Annapolis, DC, etc.

        To the north, I-80 ties directly to State College now (and goes straight out through the mid-west or to NYC eastward) and to the southwest there is 4 lane divided highway almost the entire way to Pittsburgh International Airport (last time I drove it, there were a couple miles up in the mountains where construction was being finalized).

        Don’t get me wrong, its taken for @#$%$$# ever, but State College is finally getting very easy to get to.

    • M says:

      “Looking at all the last-minute uncertainty and trouble for ONE school that is an obvious fit on so many levels, does everybody here honestly think that FIVE schools will simultaneously breeze through the same process?”

      Maybe now we know why the process is expected to take 12-18 months :P

  92. Pete says:

    Maybe Delany was being cryptic in his southern strategy. Try this on for size.

    Texas A&m
    U of Toronto

    Of course Toronto being southern Canada and pumping 30 million Canadians onto the BTN. The rumors of not playing a championship game are because they want to give U of Toronto 10 years to get up to Div 1 speed. If your going to add an academic heavyweight U of Toronto might get some juice.

    • M says:

      Of course, why didn’t I see it earlier… “Southern strategy” means “invade Canada”.

      • Josh says:

        I can hear Jim Delany echo Jack Kent Cooke now. “I invited the University of Toronto to join the Big Ten because I heard there were half a million Americans living in the Toronto area. We kicked them out of the conference when we discovered they moved there because they hate college sports!”

  93. TheMountaineer says:

    Interesting article; I guess the academics matters more than we think as the Big Ten seeks out similar research schools. I see the Big Ten adding the following 5: Nebraska is a lock in my opinion; Rutgers meets the need for NYC market; Maryland makes a lot of sense as DC is growing in popoulation; Texas and Texas A&M and of course would be a package deal. Would Texas jump? Texas is a hugh market and makes tons of cash…ND would be similar to Texas. I think this is where it gets more interesting. If Texas will not come and ND will not come; then who next Pitt? Syracuse? vanderbilt? UVA?…

    My guess is Texas and Texas A&M come on board…

    If Vanderbilt goes then the SEC will add 5: GT,CLEMSON,FSU, (Texas and Texas A&M if available), VT, Miami, or WVU?

    If SEC takes 4 schools from ACC and Maryland leaves for Big Ten then look for the ACC and whatever is left out of the BE to join forces. UConn is an ACC lock (hoops & part NYC market share); Pitt and WVU would add tradition and a great rivalry and give BC rivals again. Syracuse is tradition and great hoops plus has connection with BC and Miami (if still around). Would louisville be the 5th AC school?

    Expansion is fun but could you imagine being a university president…important who you know!!

    • Phizzy says:

      Texas to the SEC? Almost an impossible likelihood.
      Georgia Tech and Florida State to the SEC? Very unlikely.

      Why would the SEC look to expand, anyway? They’re locked into a TV contract for the next 14 years. You think they are going to add five more teams to divide the revenue pie even further?

      • zeek says:

        I’m pretty sure they could easily get ESPN and CBS to renegotiate with them if Texas is on the table.

        In fact I can guarantee that much…

        • Phizzy says:

          That is a big “if”. Probably about 0% chance of Texas in the SEC.

        • PensfaninLAexile says:

          CBS for Texas, ok.

          But why would ESPN trade a cheap Texas (B12 deal) for an expensive Texas (new SEC deal)?

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            Texas could always go indy (at least in theory) or could go to a Pac-12 after Fox or NBC throws some money that way. Better an expensive Texas than no Texas at all.

          • Nostradamus says:

            “But why would ESPN trade a cheap Texas for an expensive Texas?”

            When did ESPN get a vote?

          • PensfaninLAexile says:

            HH –

            So what? My point was that the SEC cannot expand without a new set of TV deals. Texas threatens to go independent? That’s about as hollow a threat as there is. Texas to the PAC-10? Believe it when I see it.

            Nostradamus –

            You need some work on seeing into the future. For SEC expansion to make sense, any added school needs to be additive — needs to be a net addition to the bottom line. That means ESPN and CBS contracts have to be renegotiated for more cash. ESPN already has Texas in the B12 — so why would ESPN pay more for a product it already has?

            The B10 is different since it owns its own network. All other conferences are highly dependent on their TV partners. None of the other conferences are going to expand unless they can be sure that their TV partners will increase their payments.

            In short, ESPN and CBS have something better than votes, they have vetoes.

          • Michael in Indy says:

            No matter who the SEC adds, CBS would have little incentive to increase its payout.

            Let’s face it: the SEC is very popular, and any game of the week is, right now, virtually guaranteed high ratings. For example, on any given October Saturday, CBS already has the luxury of choosing between a Georgia-Florida game (where both likely are ranked) and an LSU-Auburn game. CBS pays top dollar for that. But with great choices already, why would CBS feel a need to pay even more just because Texas and Oklahoma gives them more choices?

  94. metatron says:

    If I had to make a list of dream candidates, it’d go:

    Notre Dame
    Texas A&M

    If one passes, move down. Nebraska could be the end, or one of three. Only five will come if Texas and/or ND come along.

    I really don’t see Vandy adding anything, and everyone here is insisting that Texas is orchestrating everything. I really don’t see the Big Ten being pushed around by anyone, much less a POTENTIAL member (that they turned down once before and when they courted Notre Dame, didn’t offer many special concessions). Texas A&M is certainly acceptable in the Big Ten, but we’re not obligated to take it, only find it a good home (preferably the Pac-10 or left in the Big XII (or whatever number it ends up).

    People talk about athletics, but someone says academics. Now the entire argument slides to the other side, like a mop bucket on the deck of a ship. Any prospective member is going to bring a good balance of both, because the Big Ten is a good balance of both. We don’t need another Northwestern, they eat up more than their fair share of the pie (I’m not complaining, I’m just saying 11+1 = 13).

    • mushroomgod says:

      My order would be:


      but Maryland, Virginia, Miami aren’t coming

      and ND, TX, TX A&M

      and Miami, GT, and Vandy are both unlikely and not wanted

      leaving Neb, Rutgers, Misery, Pitt, Kansas, Syracuse

  95. JohnDenver says:

    It may interest some of you in the connections camp that Gordon Gee is also a past president of WVU. Not that it matters for the Big 10, but WVU still has many friends and connections working on its behalf and is not likely to be left out of the expansion game despite the uninformed opinions of some who ignore its attributes.

    • Phizzy says:

      West Virginia might not be left out of the expansion game, but they won’t be considered for the Big Ten.

    • Hodgepodge says:

      Gee was also the past president of Colorado (and Brown, for that matter), but that doesn’t mean he is going to have any pull with getting those two invited.

  96. Playoffs Now! says:

    Having slept on the idea, I’m good with this combo.

    Including glorious Vanderbilt may be a headscratcher that will create lots of press chatter, but it (and the inclusion of MD and VA) will amplify the message that academics were a big reason why TX and aTm switched conferences. An all AAU conference. They could make big $ in the SEC, but chose the B16 (assuming these 5 end up being the actual expansion. A P16 is still in play for one or both Texas schools.)

    Plus Nashville is a heck of a fun trip. Opryland, country stars, and partying on the Cumberland. Once again, Vince Young led the way. Yee haw to Hee Haw!

    With the 1990 story on how Vandy was on the expansion short list back then, this seems like it could be a legitimate preference list of the top 5 candidates beyond wavering ND. I would have swapped GT for Vandy, and wonder if they are 6th. Mia would also seem a great choice, except its lack of AAU may be a huge handicap to the presidents.

    One would guess that Vandy could be knocked out by ND, but since ND already plays every other year in MD with Navy, is access to Texas enough for ND? My guess is that the Irish won’t come aboard unless MD and VA decline. Would ND join if Mia was included? Mia and GT instead of Vandy? Or Mia plus Rut? GT and Rut if Mia isn’t academically acceptable?

    Would TX be interested without aTm (if aTm preferred the SEC or P-Whatever) if ND replaces them?

    My gut says those making the decision in Aggieland will chose the B16, as will TX, MD, and VA. ND won’t jump and thus GT or Vandy will indeed be the 16th.

    • mushroomgod says:

      Disagree 100%….Md and Va won’t come, period. We don’t want Vandy. TX, A&M, and ND are very unlikely. This is total blue-sky bs stuff.

  97. Just Say No to NJ says:

    All the schools mentioned previously are within the realm of discussion.

    Except Rutgers.

    Pls someone tell me how adding a financially-mismanaged school with zero Midwest characteristics, some of the worst sports teams in college history, in a state that proudly flaunts itself as home to corrupt politicians, the sopranos and jersey shore, and no proven fanbase or ability to cultivate one of any sort will add to the Big 10′s image.

    Just wondering.

    • mushroomgod says:

      Gladly. 35,000 students, 60,000 or so on the 3 campuses, which are all fairly close to each other. The public u for a state with 9M people. One of the oldest Us in the NE. Closest D1 football school to NYC. BT will receive plenty of pub when UM, OSU, PSU play there. Highly regarded school academically, with lots of research $. Football has been pretty successful the last 10 years or so, to the extent that the football stadium got a $100 non-taxpayer funded renovation. Attendance has been pretty solid. Stadium can be expanded by 10,000 seats or so fairly easily. Fans and admin. want to be in the BT.

      You made some good points, but you’re ignoring a lot.

    • michaelC says:

      @Just Say No to NJ

      Don’t sugar coat it, tell me what you really think.

      Rutgers has better research/academics than half of the Big Ten, gives access to the #1, #4 DMAs in the country, founded in 1766, played first college football game, lots of students, 10,000 new alumni each year, etc. Looks a lot like many Big Ten schools.

      I wouldn’t say the state “proudly flaunts itself as home to corrupt politicians”, etc. more so than you might say Illinois is proud of its recent run of governors. So far as I know, that hasn’t hurt the Big Ten’s image.

      Venom aside, nice contribution to the discussion.

      • michaelC says:

        To be fair, when Rutgers was looking for a new slogan a couple of years ago (winner== “Jersey Roots, Global Reach”) I suggested:

        “Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.
        You got a problem with that?”

        They said they would get back to me.

    • willarm1 says:

      +1 don’t see the value in Rutgers.

  98. M says:

    A bit of “fan on the street” Maryland perspective:

    A Maryland blog has a poll for go-or-stay. Right now its 58-41 in favor of staying.

    • mushroomgod says:

      The idea that MD or Va would come to the BT was nonsense from the start. The BT isn’t going to try to wrest another school from a conference when 60% of the fanbase is against the move. There are enough difficulties with this expansion the way it is.

      • Michael says:

        40% in favor of expansion, at this point, is actually an amazing number. Considering how new and how out-of-left-field this rumor seems to most people, it is little wonder that the average fan would dismiss it at first blush. Remember that this poll is just a first gut-reaction. I would love to see how these same Maryland fans voted after spending a week reading this blog and weighing the pros and cons.

        If the gut reaction of 2/5 of Maryland fans is to change conferences, that is INCREDIBLY telling. The ACC is not nearly as stable as many of us think, and I´d imagine that vote would be heavily biased to move after a little thought.

        Does the average Maryland fan understand the benefits of CIC membership? Does he understand that a move to the Big 10 could mean 3x or 4x higher profits right out of the gate? Does he understand the increased exposure it would mean for his university and the increased value it would mean for his diploma?

        • Kyle says:

          Well, judging from the comments, most aren’t taking the CIC into consideration. Keep in mind that this is a “fan” poll, not an alumni poll. Anyone registered with that blog could vote (including fans/alumni from other acc schools) regardless of academic affiliation or stake in the university of Maryland.

          Also keep in mind that it wouldn’t be 3x higher profits, just 3x higher TV revenue. Still millions of dollars they shouldn’t ignore, but not tripling their whole athletic budget.

          • Random says:

            Actually, anyone stumbling across that blog can vote, no registration necessary, so not a lot can be read from it.

          • @Kyle – I’ll give the general public a little bit of a benefit of the doubt with respect to knowing about the CIC. The basketball-focused comments, though, are way off base. In terms of sports, expansion is 99% about football and one would think anyone that followed the ACC’s expansion in 2003 would understand that. This is coming from a huge basketball fan that attended a hoops school. Plus, I personally get agitated at the way that Big Ten basketball is somehow perceived to be only a step above the MAC. In reality, it’s consistently at the top in terms of NCAA Tournament basketball credits (which is a pretty good proxy of displaying how well the league performs overall) and, believe it or not, has had the best basketball attendance of any conference for several decades in a row. The Big Ten is a football league overall, but it definitely doesn’t ignore basketball like the SEC (outside of Kentucky and maybe Arkansas).

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Frank – I’m not disputing that the Big Ten is a better basketball conference than the SEC, but saying that the SEC “ignores” basketball is a little strong.

            Since the SEC expanded to 12 teams, 5 different SEC schools have made 12 appearances in the Final Four, and 3 different SEC schools have won a combined 5 national championships.

            During that same time, the Big Ten sent 7 different schools to 14 Final Fours, winning 1 national championship.

          • HoosierHusker says:

            @Frank…easy on the hammering of ACC folks who do not understand great or good football. Of course, everyone with any semblance of a football brain knows UVA, Vandy and Maryland suck, but I digress. All non-Big Ten folks think Big Ten also doesn’t understand this topic, including me, as I read these many posts this week about how the Big Ten is elite football today (it’s not, and hasn’t been since the 60′s or 70′s) and that this shitty 5 team expansion (you do not say it but many are commenting on these 5 teams) would be great. It would be shit, in football, which is basically all that matters. Add Texas and 4 loser teams, and you have a substantial dilution of an already too diluted conference if the goal is relevant national weekly games, big bowl wins, and MNC’s.

            Big Ten can (should) do this very simply. ND, NE, or TX, are on the table as big adds. Add one, with 0 to maybe 2 more. Add 2 in a 3-5 add, or add 3 in a 5 add. Any less of a power addition WILL be CORRECTLY seen by the rest of the cfb world as a weak expansion.

            BTW, because Texas has very different motives (read, selfish, short-term, and disingenuous) from ND or NE, I would not be surprised if they try to get the exact expansion you mentioned in this week’s blog. But for UT, all mediocre to terrible football additions, so UT can rule the conference SW. If Big Ten does the exact addition of 5 you mention this week, I (and millions more) will laugh and watch as ALL major conferences including the simply reformatted B12 (TCU, Louisville, BYU, Utah, S Fla, Boise, etc) easily outpace the new Big16 in football power.

            aTm….should UT want Big Ten, aTm will try like heck to go SEC. aTm wants away from UT (as does everyone), and the recruiting advantage would swing hard to aTm should these conference changes occur.

            Now some homer talk…as I have said before, for NON-football reasons, I want NE in the Big Ten. But today, I don’t like it much for football and going forward, it is not clear to me that the Big Ten understands what it needs to do to be a better and lasting football power. It is not one today. 1.5 MNC’s in 35 years, which would have been reduced to 1 if they had joined the BCS soon enough, is about all one needs to know about that question.

            Final comment …maybe the Big Ten needs to split the CIC and the athletics. The talk this week is entirely too ignorant re football wins, prestige and marketability, TODAY AND GOING FORWARD, while attempting to splice together academics, tradition (which is good for 0 past 40-50 years, but seems few commenters here know that), demographics (meaning what, football fans, students, donors, poor immigrents, tired old soon to be dead people, …???). General demographics mean nothing. Big Ten wants BTN viewers, donors, and new students…end of demo story.

          • loki_the_bubba says:


            You bitterness towards Texas just went off the chart.

          • c says:

            Re football vs academics (HoosierHusker)

            First interesting and well stated post which again illustrates how difficult this expansion may be when trying to achieve “home run” goals combining a CIC research level school with a great football tradition and large markets.

            Even considering the 2 “home run” schools: ND is not a CIC research level school and may not even be in play while Texas in the southwest, is far from the traditional midwest geography of the conference.

            Despite all the advantages the Big 10 offers, Delany is struggling with balancing the sometimes competing goals of a great product fans want to watch, where even traditionally strong teams can have years of setback, with longer term population footprint and demographics that will grow the Big 10 market, with academic excellence that Presidents of the conference want to associate themselves with.

            The end result will be interesting; while most of what is going on may be invisible and confidential, Delany in some ways may be dealing with mission impossible that no one will be happy with, including many traditional Big 10 fans who may want more of the same: other midwestern state schools.

          • Hopkins Horn says:


            I’m particularly amused that this sentence:

            “because Texas has very different motives (read, selfish, short-term, and disingenuous) from ND or NE

            and this sentence:

            “But for UT, all mediocre to terrible football additions, so UT can rule the conference SW.”

            and this sentence:

            “aTm wants away from UT (as does everyone)”

            were followed by this:

            “Now some homer talk”

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            @HH (HoosierHusker) and @HH (Hopkins Horn), your arrogant football schools have more in common than you will admit to each other.

          • Nostradamus says:

            NU chancellor Harvey Perlman agrees, “There’s an undue concern about Texas,” Perlman said in an interview Monday. “Our programs probably are the two programs in the Big 12 that are the most alike. Our interests are probably the most aligned in terms of moving forward.”


          • loki_the_bubba says:


            With OU in the middle it should be “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”.

          • Hopkins Horn says:


            (1) How unforgivably selfish for Nebraska to consider its own network.

            (2) I’m not sure that Chancellor Perlman is aware that UT’s interests might be just a wee bit slightly more intertwined with the interests of a certain school about a hundred miles to our east than they would be with Nebraska’s.

          • Hopkins Horn says:


            In that particular case, shouldn’t it be “The enemy of my enemy is also my enemy, and we’re smarter than all of you anyway”?

            Come on, I went to a nerd school too for undergrad. Represent!

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            @Hopkins Horn
            Geez, I channel Sun Tzu on a CFB expansion board and get called out on my nerd-dom? Tough crowd.

          • c says:

            Clarification Re post above re football vs academics

            In saying that I thought Hoosier Husker made an “interesting and well stated post”, I was ONLY referring to his general point that there may be tension between the goals of including football teams fans want to watch and academic schools that the Presidents may want to associate with.

          • Bullet says:

            Actually what I’ve read is that NU and UT are almost always on the same side on all the financial votes. A&M for some reason occassional sides with the have-nots (TT, Baylor, KSU, OSU, ISU).

            I will mention one of my many other disagreements with Hoosier Husker-adding ND, NU and UT. It would look good having 6 of the top 9 teams of all time in a 16 team league but would be a disaster. There’s such a thing as too strong a league. I think the BE has been a disaster. Yes, its the strongest bb league, but it could be the 2 strongest leagues. St.John’s & DePaul were national powers, Providence & Seton Hall made final 4 trips, and USF and Rutgers were rising programs. All are now abysmal cellar dwellars. UL and UC were regulars in the top 15 instead of regulars in the top 40. There are advantages for a league to have a Kansas and a Nebraska, a Kentucky and an Alabama, a Duke and a Clemson, an IU and a Penn St.

            Going to 16 w/o any of ND, NU or UT would be bad, but adding all 3 could be a disaster, particularly for the middle schools like Illinois, who win the conference one year and finish just ahead of IU the next. The Pac 10 is regularly underrated because there is too much balance, as was the SEC West until LSU and Alabama separated themselves.

          • Vincent says:

            I thought the percentage at the Maryland site would be far more lopsided in favor of staying in the ACC, given the fanbase’s obsession with basketball (both men’s and women’s) in general and playing Duke/UNC in particular. If they, plus Virginia, joined Maryland in a Big Ten expansion, I believe the vote would be at least 2-to-1 in favor.

        • Vincent says:

          Here’s another thread among Terrapin fans regarding the Big Ten:


          Again, I was surprised to see so much support for the move. Many of the comments decried the part of the fan base overly obsessed with the Duke basketball games, believing a move to the Big Ten would eradicate this element.

      • Hodgepodge says:

        Honestly, I’m really surprised that the margin is that close– and that’s probably without many of those voters having a firm grasp on what the pluses of joining the Big Ten would be. I’d have expected it to be in at least the 75-80% against range if Maryland fans were as married to the ACC as many would suggest.

        • Manifesto (Ohio St.) says:

          Agreed. Our early assumptions about Maryland’s contentment with the ACC may actually mirror our early assumptions about Nebraska and the Big12, which proved to be false.

          Maybe nothing will come from it. But I’m not sure I’m willing to abandon Maryland because of what the AD says. Texas, A&M, and ND have all said similar things in the last few months and we’re not writing them off either. Not entirely discounting her statements, just not saying her statements are a definitive death knell.

          • Pezlion says:

            I think people are waaay overstating Debbie Yow’s position in all of this. Once Maryland has a new president, Yow may not have a job for much longer. The Maryland athletic department is not exactly financially stable at the moment, and Debbie Yow can rub some people the wrong way. There’s a reason that Friedgen is still the football coach, and it’s not because they’re rolling in money in College Park. A lot of people aren’t too happy about their “coach-in-waiting” situation either.

            As was pointed out above, it’s not going to be easy for a new president to come right in and move UMD to a new conference, but it’s not because Debbie Yow says they’re happy. At the same time, depending on who the new president is, this person may be extremely enticed by the benefits the Big Ten and CIC would provide their new university; particularly so when the university is experiencing some budget issues ($77.4 million in budget reductions in ’09 and ’10, $19.1 million being permanent).

          • Hodgepodge says:

            As I mentioned way up in the initial blog comments, the Chancellor of the University System of Maryland, Brit Kirwan, came to that position from Ohio State, where he was the president of the university. Granted, he came to OSU from Maryland in the first place, and before that taught at Maryland, but he is in a unique position with his experience at both universities. If he is gung-ho about getting Maryland into the Big Ten– and I have no clue whether this is the case– I imagine he’d have a great deal of input into who the next Maryland-College Park president is, and could get in someone who reflects his views on the subject if he’s so inclined.

            I’m not big on “connections” playing a huge role in the mechanics of expansion, but Kirwan’s position, along with the apparently open president position at Maryland-College Park, puts him in a position to stack the cards one way or another (assuming the Chancellor plays a big role in the selection of presidents, which I’d have to imagine is the case). I suspect Big Ten vs. ACC is down the list of issues to consider for the selection of the new president, but it has to be a consideration if the Big Ten has already made overtures to the higher-up at Maryland.

          • PensfaninLAexile says:

            Pez –

            Unless the new president has a mandate from the trustees to move to the B10, that new president will have to take the time to get up to speed and evaluate the positives and negatives of a move. Also, said president will have to bring along the trustees. Pretty tall order for a newcomer (unless it’s a promotion from within). This isn’t a Fortune 500 company with a pliant group of insider board members. This is a major universities with many power centers and trustees who are not beholden to the president for their appointments.

            A new president doesn’t preclude Maryland changing conferences. But it is an impediment.

          • Manifesto (Ohio St.) says:


            Agreed on Kirwan. Random factoid: Kirwan was president during when John Cooper was fired and Jim Tressel hired. He was also the OSU president that succeeded Gordon Gee (the first time). I think Kirwan’s connection here could be important.

          • Vincent says:

            Was Kirwan at Ohio State when Gary Williams was there? I don’t think he’s said anything about the Big Ten and Maryland, but since he’s been active in fundraising for College Park and has a few years’ experience with Big Ten culture, I sense that while Williams might not be 100% in favor of the move where his fiefdom was concerned, he wouldn’t be dragged kicking and screaming into the conference, as his good friend Jim Boeheim would.

          • Manifesto (Ohio St.) says:

            @Vincent: No, Gary Williams was at OSU about a decade before Kirwan. Ohio State has changed so much since 1989 I doubt Williams would even recognize it at this point. But, I agree that I don’t think Williams would threaten to retire before going to the BigTen, ala Boeheim.

  99. ezdozen says:

    Man… nobody hates this proposal quite like the fans of Missouri, Rutgers, and Nebraska, eh?

    • Let me be clear on this: despite all of this Southern talk, if I were to bet today, I still believe that both Nebraska and Rutgers will ultimately end up in the Big Ten. I’m more shakey on Missouri, though.

      • Manifesto (Ohio St.) says:

        Missouri is about as lukewarm as you can get for me anyway. It doesn’t make me scratch my head (read: Vanderbilt), but I’m not exactly chewing at the bit to add them either.

      • Playoffs Now! says:

        Let me be clear on this: despite all of this Southern talk, if I were to bet today, I still believe that both Nebraska and Rutgers will ultimately end up in the Big Ten.

        At 16?

        I can see how MD and VA might be exploratory approaches. But VB is such a perceived outlier that I suspect approaching them means they’ve already let the conference know that they have significant interest.

        My gut sense is that the conference is TX and aTm’s first choice, if the details can be worked out. Perhaps a P16 could win out with more local travel, say a pod with TT and OU and another with AZ, ASU, CO, and KS or Utah plus limiting travel to the coast. But the time zone factors, money difference, and all AAU allure will be hard to overcome.

        TX, aTm, VB, NE, Rut add? Makes sense on paper, but if NE came in would TX (and aTm) view that as too many alpha dogs? Yeah, TX wants ND, but the money and buzz the Irish would bring is significantly higher than for impressive NE (IMHO still higher than what TX could bring.)

      • Michael says:


        How do you see this rumor then? As a back-up plan? Unrealistic (on which end)? Or that this is just the first stage of expansion – and Rutgers, NU and two other schools might bring us up to 20?

        • @Michael – I’m still very skeptical that any school moves from the SEC and ACC. Texas, though, will be the ultimate goal until every possibility is exhausted with them. Anything out there that makes it look like the college football landscape is unstable helps the Big Ten out in terms of leverage. 20 schools is interesting in theory, but I think we’re a generation or two from that ever happening. I think the current Big Ten members are going to want to maintain a lot of control (hence my comment about not taking too many schools from a single league) and adding 7 or 9 schools obviously gives a lot of that up.

          • Random says:

            No historical example of a conference above 12 teams surviving is anywhere to be found (BE probably about to reprove that). Obviously, things have changed and this situation could very well prove to work out, but that being said, no way does anyone try to go beyond 16. No anytime soon.

          • M says:

            There was no historical example of a conference surviving above 10 before PSU joined and no example of 12 before the SEC added South Carolina and Arkansas. Everything is true until it isn’t.

          • Bullet says:

            They are looking for cohesiveness and the more schools, the more difficult that gets. If you forget history, you are doomed to repeat it. I’m old enough to remember IU actually playing in the Rose Bowl. I also remember the Missouri Valley being touted as the first superconference and the trend of the future when it went to 12 back in the early 70s. For a couple of years it may have been the best basketball conference. It stretched from New Mexico St. to Cincinnati and Houston to Drake. It included Louisville, Memphis, Bradley, Tulsa, Creigton, Wichita St. and a couple of other schools, probably St. Louis and N. Texas. Hard to keep track of who was in it, because the 1st superconference fell apart so fast. It didn’t last the decade before it changed almost completely. And the WAC 16 lasted all of 3 years.

            16 may work, but it is a challenge.

          • Gopher86 says:

            Bingo. The current Presidents aren’t going to allow a splinter group to form that can block decisions. Picking from multiple conferences and from multiple regions keeps the balance of power centralized and in the hands of the original member institutions.

            So while I like a Barking Carnival scenario (UT, aTm, NU, MU & KU) or a JoePa wetdream scenario (Pitt, Cuse, Rutgers, etc.), taking 3-5 teams from a single league can lead to fractures in the Big 10 down the road. The only time you take three teams from a league is when it is UT, aTm and NU.

            This kind of goes along with what Delany was saying about studying past expansions– he doesn’t want a Big 8+4 or the ACC+ 3 football schools. He wants similar member institutions that will blend into the Big 10 fabric.

      • Bullet says:

        I don’t think NU is helping their case with all this whining about losing 11-1 votes. Reminding the Presidents of the B10 about their single vote for partial qualifiers is not a good strategy. Reminding them they can’t seem to get along with their current partners is not good either.

        NU just is not a good fit w/ the B10. They don’t have a dozen directional and hyphenated schools to take most of the students while they concentrate on the very top. They take almost everyone. That’s their role in a small state with only 4 public universities. A few years back when the B10 was going through this exercise w/o ND and primarily looking at Rutgers, Mizzou and Kansas, Nebraska fans were pretty certain the B10 would not consider them.

        The ADs would accept NU, but I just don’t think the Presidents will. I think they will find 3 other schools or stop at 12 if ND and UT don’t “apply.”

        • Albino Tornado says:

          Public 4-year colleges/universities in Nebraska with enrollments (total / undergrad) :

          University of Nebraska – Lincoln (21,675/17,073)
          University of Nebraska – Omaha (14,093/11,329)
          University of Nebraska – Kearney (6,445/5,381)
          Chadron State College (~2600)
          Wayne State College (~3000)
          Peru State College (~2000)

          And I was under the impression that the concept of the partial qualifier didn’t much exist, given how the NCAA’s has a “balance” between core GPA and test scores now. Big 10 schools seem to focus on passing a number of credit hours and GPA to maintain eligibility.

          And I suspect Nebraska’s a better fit – culturally and athletically – than you believe.

          • Bullet says:

            You’re right that partial qualifiers don’t exist anymore. That’s not a current issue. Its the former attitude toward using them extensively that is not something that would endear Nebraska to a conference that prides itself on academics.

            I forgot the last two schools, but the point is the same. NU has nearly as many students as the rest combined and 4 are in isolated areas, 1 is a commuter school. NU’s role is to serve the whole state.

            NU officials have publically worried about how B10 rules might impact their recruiting. That raises the question of their athletic compatibility. Competitively they are a home run in fb and overall.

            As for culturally, we may have to wait 7 to 13 months to find out.

            Nebraska is a school that brings out the complexity of the expansion issue.

            Pizazz to help national ratings-A
            $ impact of Pizazz-unknown
            Academics-B or C
            Academic compatability-research B, Selectivity D
            Recruiting area-D

            How does the B10 weight the various factors? How much is the B10 willing to accept the “Ds” because of other schools who score well in market but not athletically? If Nebraska doesn’t generate $22 million in revenue does the B10 bring them in for their athletic strength as a #14 or #16(assuming the new schools combined average more than $22 million)?

    • Phil says:

      As a longtime (20 yr) RU season ticket holder, this is not even close to the nightmare scenario for RU. The nightmare is to not be in a viable BCS conference when the smoke clears. That would happen a) if other Big East teams are taken by the Big Ten instead of RU or b)The Big Ten only takes ND or Nebraska to get to 12 and the five conferences change the rules to the detriment of conferences with less than 12 members (because there aren’t really 4 teams the Big East can add right now to get to 12.
      The dream scenario is a Big Ten invitation. The original post here, where the ACC has lost Maryland and Virginia, with a further SEC raid of FSU and GTech/Clemson probably to come, means some merger of the ACC remnants with the Big East would probably happen. That landing spot would be a better place than RU has been or is now.

    • HoosierHusker says:

      Hey, speak for yourself. As a Husker football diehard, if Big Ten were to do something this stupid, footballicly speakinging, I would shake my head for a second, then say well ok, good, fooball turf is still wide open so lets move on and dominate it, which NE would/will do, regardless of conference changes, but this would make the goal simpler.

      • Hopkins Horn says:

        so lets move on and dominate it, which NE would/will do, regardless of conference changes

        Because the 2000s were such a dominant era for the Huskers.

        One of my key points when talking with other Texas supporters is that one cannot assume the current era of athletic excellence will always continue, and one should keep this in mind when choosing a conference affiliation which is best for the school, in good times and lean.

        But if supporters of a school that has done nothing for a decade want to delude themselves into thinking that they’ll automatically be dominant no matter where they wind up, be my guest.

  100. [...] Another interesting thought on expansion and where the Big Ten is focusing, Dirty South for the Big Ten? FRANK THE TANK’S SLANT [...]

    • Faitfhful5k says:

      I am not a university president but I did stay at a Holiday Express last night. So if I was going to be in a room with a bunch of university presidents, and we were going to compare the size of our cigars, how would I know Big 10 quality?

      Academic Ranking of World Universities

      My guess, from a research and academic reputation standpoint, is you look at ARWU. Forget USN&WR if you want to see the Big 10 landscape.

      How I graded things out:
      A+ Top 20 in the world
      A World ranking 21-100 (top 55 in US)
      B+ World ranking 101-151 (tied 56 in US)
      B World ranking 152-200 (tied 71 in US)
      C+ World ranking 201-302 (tied 91 in US)
      C World ranking 303-401 (tied 113 in US)
      C- World ranking 402-501 (tied 139 in US)
      D Not ranked

      I gave out A+ if your seal appears at the top of the AWRU web page. So sue me. GO BADGERS!

      Anyhow, these divisions might be a bit arbitrary but they paint a pretty good picture of how tidy and tight the Big 10 group is now.

      Big 10: A+, A+, A, A, A, A, A, A, A, A, A, B+
      Yes. That adds up to 12 with U of Chicago deservedly shown in the top spot.

      Other BCS schools:
      ACC: A, A, A, A, B+, B+, B+, B+, B, C, C, C-
      Big12: A, A, A, B+, B, C+, C+, C, C, C, C, D
      Big East: A, A, B, B, C+, C, C-, D
      Pac 10: A+, A+, A+, A+, A, A, A, B+, C+, C+
      SEC: A, A, B+, B, C+, C+, C+, C, C-, D, D, D
      Ind: C+

      Excluding the Pac 10, who would fit nicely in the Big 10 group by this standard?

      The A list: Duke (31), Colorado (34), Maryland (37), Texas (38), North Carolina (39), Vanderbilt (42), Pitt (51), Rutgers (55), Florida (58), Texas A&M (89), Virginia (92)

      Maybe Frank’s sources are on to something here.

      • Djinn Djinn says:

        An interesting perspective.

        ARWU may not be a perfect assessment tool, but I kind of like that its done offshore (so less biased) and I like that it tries to use objective criteria. Further, I think its view (of both undergrad and grad schools) would be a lot closer to that of BT presidents.

        If you rule out Florida and probably Duke and UNC (each of which would be a great addition, but unlikely), and if you want the Pac10 to remain strong with an ability to take their closest team (Colorado), you’re pretty much dealing with the names on this thread–Texas, TAMU, Vanderbilt, Maryland and Virginia. Plus Rutgers, discussed earlier.

      • Playoffs Now! says:

        The ARWU rankings for only the US:

        WI – 15
        MI – 18
        IL – 19
        MN – 20
        NW – 22

        MD – 28
        TX – 29
        Van- 31

        PSU- 32
        Pit- 37
        Rut- 38

        OSU- 41
        PU – 42
        MSU- 48

        aTm- 50
        VA – 51

        IU – 52
        GT, Mia, IA – 56 to 70 level
        CT, FSU, NE, Cincy, VTech – 71-90 level

        ND is down at the 91-112 level, along with schools like USF, UCF, UHou, MO, S.Car, and LSU.

        So yeah, expansion looks to be heavily focused on academic reputation. Hence the rumors of some members balking about MO and NE’s academics may be legit. If Texas does join, NE will likely be competing on the bubble with Rut, GT, and Mia.

        Rut beats those 3 on academics, so let’s glance at the internal ranking components for GT, Mia, and NE. You can get the detailed explanation on the ARWU site:


        IA – 00 – 00 – 33 – 22 – 48 – 21 (baseline)
        GT – 15 – 00 – 25 – 23 – 45 – 28
        Mia- 00 – 00 – 24 – 19 – 41 – 24
        NE – 20 – 00 – 16 – 15 – 34 – 18

        One frustrating aspect of the ARWU is that they don’t list the total score for the schools ranked below 100. But you can calculate it.

        Total scores work out to:

        WI = 46.7
        MI = 43.8
        IL = 42.4
        MN = 40.4
        NW = 38.7

        MD = 34.1
        TX = 34.0
        NC = 33.4
        VB = 33.0

        PSU = 32.5
        Pit= 31.7
        Rut= 30.4

        FL = 29.8
        OSU= 29.1
        PU = 28.5
        MSU= 25.5

        aTm= 25.2
        VA = 24.6


        IU = 24.4
        GT = 22.9
        IA = 22.7
        GA = 19.6
        Mia= 19.2
        TN = 19.0
        FSU = 18.2
        ISU= 17.4
        NE = 16.8
        Cin= 16.8
        CT = 16.2
        LSU= 15.9
        KY = 15.2
        UHou=15.1 (!)
        KS = 15.0
        ND = 14.9
        MO = 14.8

        USF= 13.6
        UCF= 12.7
        WkF= 12.1
        Syr= 11.9

        Now let’s look at the US News rankings:

        NW – 12
        VB – 17
        ND – 20
        VA – 24

        MI – 27
        NC – 28
        WkF- 28
        GT – 35
        WI – 39
        PSU- 47

        TX – 47
        FL – 47
        Mia- 50
        OSU- 53
        MD – 53
        Pit- 56
        Syr- 58

        GA – 58
        PU – 61
        MN – 61

        aTm- 61
        Rut- 66
        CT – 66

        IU – 71
        MSU- 71
        IA – 71

        Aub- 88
        ISU- 88
        AL – 96
        KS – 96
        NE – 96
        FSU- 102
        MO – 102

        TN – 106
        LSU- 128
        AR – 128
        KY – 128

        Since their seems to be heavy emphasis on the academic side, if I were NE I’d be very worried about Mia, and perhaps GT. Yes, NE has AAU and spends 40% more on research than Mia, but otherwise Mia is well ahead of NE, which seems to be near the likely cutoff line. NE has a great and large fanbase, but Mia is also a big TV draw and has the massive potential FL footprint. GT doesn’t have as much TV pull and fan support isn’t great, but it is in a lucrative state and is a step up in academic ratings, within the B10+ range and close to VA and aTm. If TX joins, I could well see one or more of Rut, GT, and Mia place ahead of NE on the conference’s preference list. So even if MD and VA don’t work out, the B10+ may still not get down to NE before the 5 invite slots are full.

        Syr ain’t so hot, either.

        • Playoffs Now! says:

          More context: FL has more than 10 times the population of NE, so in theory the BTN could make more money by bumping to basic in FL at just 10 cents as opposed to $1 in NE. Gives the negotiators a lot of pricing wiggle room to still reap a windfall.

        • mushroomgod says:

          Isn’t USF a huge public U in the Miami area? I haven’t checked it out but I would suspect Miami’s best days are behind them, in terms of athletics….

          • @mushroomgod – USF is in the Tampa area, despite the name. I’m skeptical that Miami is going to go away in the long-term – its recruiting location is arguably the best in the country outside of Texas.

          • Mike says:

            I never understood how South Florida could be directly west of Central Florida. The explanation according to Wikipedia

            Although located in west-central Florida, at the time of establishment USF was the southernmost public university in the State of Florida, a geographic situation that lent USF its sometimes confusing name.

      • Gopher86 says:


        Probably one of the most revealing posts in this update. Good job.

  101. Mike says:

    @Frank – I have been in (a hot and muggy) Chicago the past week leaving napkins with three to 15 teams written on them along with various 4G iPhone prototypes and real estate quotes for Lebron.

    Can you expand on what you are hearing about Missouri? Why has their stock fallen so much?

    • Nostradamus says:

      Not Frank, but what does Missouri add?

      Academics- Excellent journalism program, but overall like Nebraska it is near the bottom of the Big 10′s expansion targets. If it becomes a situation of taking one of the “lower” rated schools, Nebraska probably wins out.

      Athletics- Since the formation of the Big 12, Missouri has the fewest conference championships out of an member institution.

      Demographics- This is obviously one of the major reasons Missouri was in the expansion conversations. That being said, the St. Louis market has already been penetrated by Illinois. Adding Missouri likely locks up the Missouri side of St. Louis for the BTN though. Kansas City is another story. The fan order in KC is 1) Chiefs 2) Royals 3) KU Basketball 4) Missouri Football. There has been some debate whether adding Missouri would get the Big Ten Network on basic cable in KC.

      Fan Support- They averaged 64,000 in a 71,000 seat football stadium last year. The only times Faurot Field is consistently sold out are when Texas or Nebraska visit. For a campus located almost halfway between two major metropolitan areas (KC and StL) that isn’t overly impressive.

      Geography- A good fit.

      • Playoffs Now! says:

        I think MO gets frozen out, but have to defend a 64K average as pretty good.

        • @Playoffs Now! – Agreed. 64,000 average is very good for any school beyond the Michigan/OSU/PSU massive stadium tier.

          • Bullet says:

            4 year average attendance of teams mentioned (compiled from NCAA website):

            Texas 93,033
            UNL 85,126
            ND 80,802
            A&M 79,296
            SEC avg75,353
            B10 avg70,050
            MO 61,714
            B12 avg60,725
            P10 avg56,379
            UNC 55,178
            UVA 54,839
            ACC avg52,337
            MN 50,940 #9 in B10
            GT 49,993
            CO 49,734
            KS 48,799
            MD 48,266
            IA St 47,133
            Pitt 44,855
            Mi FL 44,837
            Rutger 44,067
            BE avg 42,044
            BC 39,397
            UConn 38,676
            Syr 36,197
            IU 35,921 #10
            Vandy 35,741
            NW 26,341 #11
            Duke 23,671

          • HoosierHusker says:

            Nice. Hard data. Hmm. Now let’s here about the price of tickets including donations, and lets go back 20, 30, 40 years (no says hopkinswhorne, let’s not (because his? team will not look so good).

            OK, so now that I poked lawyerliarhorn (is there any other combination? no), back to the data. Vandy, yea, sign em up go little 16!

          • Hopkins Horn says:


            I’m a “liar” now? Get a life.

    • @Mike – I can only speculate on the reasons. I’ve been told that there are certain schools that are simply dead-set against Missouri. A different source indicated that Missouri wouldn’t provide enough of an increase to BTN revenues to pay for itself (and those BTN basic cable households are really the #1, if not only reason, why Missouri is in the financial discussion).

      If I were running the Big Ten, I would also think of it this way (and I believe other commenters have noted this in the past): the LAST thing that the Big Ten would want to do is to cause a break-up of the Big XII and NOT get Texas, especially if Texas were to head to the SEC (as unlikely as that might be). That would be a failure of epic proportions. So, either completely break-up the Big XII in order to guarantee to get Texas, or only take 1 team from that conference to ensure that the Big XII survives and at least Texas doesn’t head to the SEC. Taking 2 Big XII schools without a guarantee of getting Texas is a risky maneuver, especially if the Pac-10 grabs Colorado. Most of us on this blog would argue in favor of Nebraska over Missouri if we could only choose one of them.

      • 84Lion says:

        “A different source indicated that Missouri wouldn’t provide enough of an increase to BTN revenues to pay for itself (and those BTN basic cable households are really the #1, if not only reason, why Missouri is in the financial discussion).”

        But didn’t the study by the Chicago firm that included Missouri, if memory serves, recommend expansion by the Big Ten as OK as far as economics are concerned?

        • @84Lion – Delany has said that the study didn’t indicate any or all of those schools would make money. It just showed that the Big Ten could make money with the right team(s). That was actually my interpretation when I first read the story about it, as well. I think it got morphed on the Internet that all of those listed schools would be money-makers, but that’s not the case.

      • HoosierHusker says:

        Let’s try to focus on the real, OK? Texas to the SEC is 1%. You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it. So it is absurd for you to mention it.

        Big Ten can do about anything and it will not break up the Big 12. But, for sure, when the Big Ten moves to 14 and beyond, which it will, for sure it will take some B12 teams. So what? Tough beans. B12 will be left to move as it sees fit. Fwiw, my estimate is that the Big Ten takes 1 B12 team, so if that is a worry, stop worrying about it.

  102. Less Is More says:

    PSUguy is right. Delany is the “staff-guy” to the B10 Presidents. He’s responsible for gathering facts about Universities, markets, TV contracts and partners, football/basketball, demographic trends, cultural fits and all things Expansive. The Presidents will weigh the factors and decide who to invite.

    How will each President weigh the factors? Will the Presidents politic for certain schools? Is there a consensus on some schools? If 8 Presidential votes constitutes an offer to join, the B10 could have any number of invitations.

    I suspect Delany will know more about the factors and the weightings after the June B10 President’s meeting.

    • HoosierHusker says:

      No, he’s way more than that. He’s the expert analyst and long time head of the athletic consortium money machine; a machine that has become incredibly strong recently with much more untapped potential. He is a mega-trusted adviser and a proven successful leader.

      • Less Is More says:

        You are right HoosierHusker. Delany is a mega-trusted adviser and proven successful leader. Perhaps Vanderbilt is on the list of 20 schools to evaluate because Gordon Gee suggested it to Delany. I suspect the demographic changes in the upper midwest is another challenge handed to Delany by some Presidents. (I doubt Northwestern feels threatened by local demographics.)

        I am pondering the issues faced by each of these twelve executives as they represent their institutions. (I include Delany and his BTN as a quasi-voting member.) There may not be consensus on any approach (an “if-then” sequence of schools) or even agreement on a single school for expansion.

    • zeek says:

      We all saw how much of a fiasco the Penn State addition was in terms of the presidents making a decision and doing due diligence without having a point person on expansion.

      That’s why Delany is being given control of that part of the process. Any recommendation of a group of schools is likely to be the one that the Big Ten presidents will end up considering.

  103. Playoffs Now! says:

    How to set up a TX-aTm-Vandy-VA-MD expansion? (“From Yee haw to Hee Haw to friends for Joe Pa!”)

    A. Divisions using pods – 3 annual games in pod, 2 per year from each of the other pods. Several natural groupings suggest IU-PU and/or NW-IL would likely have to play every other year. Say only IU-PU loses:

    MN, WI, IA, PU
    MSU, MI, OSU, IU
    PSU, MD, VA, VB
    TX, aTm, NW, IL

    Or perhaps swap IU and PU with NW and IL

    What TX probably wants:

    MN, WI, IA, IL
    MSU, MI, OSU, IU
    PSU, MD, VA, PU
    TX, aTm, VB, NW

    aTm might prefer to swap PU for NW (or maybe doesn’t give a whit)

    B. 3 protected annual rivals, play 6 of the remaining 12, no divisions, no conference championship games. One reason for it is that it protects the most rivalries:

    School – annual rivalries
    MN – IA, WI, MI
    WI – MN, IA, MSU (Edmund Fitzgerald Trophy? I know, Lake Superior isn’t Lake Michigan, poetic license)
    IA – MN, WI, MD (yeah, odd, but it is the only really forced one. Something has to replace the Lame Grant Trophy.)
    MSU – MI, IU, WI
    MI – MSU, OSU, MN
    OSU – MI, PSU, IL
    IL – NW, IU, OSU
    NW – IL, PU, TX (at TX’s request, Chicago road trips)
    PU – IU, NW, aTm (CAD Trophy?)
    IU – PU, IL, MSU
    PSU – OSU, MD, VA
    MD – VA, PSU, IA
    VA – MD, PSU, VB
    VB – VA, aTm, TX
    aTm – TX, PU, VB
    TX – aTm, VB, NW (2 good destinations for fun and fundraising, plus the Thanksgiving Ags)

    C. 2 simple divisions. 7 games in division, 2 of 8 or 3 of 8 per year vs. the other division. No protected cross-division games. Most likely split:

    East – MD, VA, PSU, OSU, MI, MSU, PU, IU
    West – MN, IA, WI, NW, IL, VB, TX, aTm

    Since I want a conference champ game and hate pods, I like this, but it’ll be a hard sell to the current conference schools. Doubt that TX would insist on it. Unlikely.

    • Phil says:

      Is expansion containing MD and UVA a good thing for Penn State? From what I seen, PSU’s recent resurgence has been aided a lot by their recruiting in both states (esp MD) and you would think those schools being added to the Big ten might give MD and UVA a better chance to keep those kids home.

    • HoosierHusker says:

      How many weeks and months do people need to play divisions and pod games? Have we not seen, by now, that reasonable thinking can produce very workable solutions?

      Anyway, maybe not. What I usually never see is something that is very much needed. Big Ten now, and probably post expansion, does not have enough heft to produce good game weekly, unless. Unless, they purposely schedule what appear to be ALL the top 25 games they can, spread intentionally week by week for TV.

      Now, back to all your (useless) talk about US News academic ratings.

      • Cliff's Notes says:


        I’ve been thinking along the same lines.

        For reference, here is the 2010 Big Ten Composite Schedule:


        Ignoring September’s non-conference games for now, once October and the conference schedule starts, there are nine weeks for 44 conference games. Broken down as 8 weeks w/ 5 conference games per week, with BTN presumably getting choices #4 and #5 each week, and 1 week with 4 conference games, and BTN gets choice #4.

        I’m assuming that ABC/ESPN gets the top three games each week, but if there is something else to this arrangement, please educate me.

        If you added Team #12, you’re adding four conference games to reach 48. So now you have 6 weeks w/ 5 games, and 3 weeks w/ 6 games, and BTN has choices #4, #5, and #6 each week.

        With 14 teams, you now have 56 games, presumably over nine weeks. This would perhaps mean 7 weeks w/ 6 games, and 2 weeks w/ 7 games (BTN shows games #4, $5, #6, and #7).

        With 16 teams, you now have 64 games, again presumably over nine weeks. 8 weeks w/ 7 games and 1 week w/ 8 games (BTN shows games #4, #5, #6, #7, and #8).

        When you get to 14 or 16 teams, At this point, there has got to be some market saturation with the noon kickoff games.

        So I think the BTN would look to move a game to Thursday night or Saturday at 3:30 or 8:00.

        I do have a question about how the non conference games area chosen/assigned with ESPN/ABC. Do they still get the top three picks in September?

        It would be nice if The Big Ten moved some conference games to September, but I’m not sure how that sorts out with ESPN, and that’s part of a too long thread to discuss right now.

  104. Guido says:


    Post on Big 12 meetings coming up next week. I expect this will be the launching pad for the next phase of expansion, where some of the players are clearly identified one way or the other.

    Expansion is not the only point of tension in the Big 12, so expect these meetings to be interesting on several level.

    I’m still thinking Rutgers, Nebraska and Missouri have already been asked to apply. The continued conversations the Big 10 is having with other schools are only to add additional teams and/or create contingency scenarios should any of these 3 say no.

    Clearly they are hoping Texas will join, probably have been told no by ND already, and are checking the temp on everyone else. At least that’s what I make of all the information that has been out there.

    • zeek says:

      I think that’s Beebe walking back his hard stand because he doesn’t know where a lot of these universities are on expansion.

      Until he knows where Texas is, he can’t take a hard stand and demand that everyone either be on or off the Big 12 plane at a certain point.

      • Guido says:

        I think you are exactly correct, and it is the underlying reason why there is discontent in the conference. If Texas were committed 100% to the conference, Beebe (who is basically a spokesperson for Texas I believe) would take a hard line approach. But if Texas is playing Big 10 off of Pac-10 off of SEC off of Independence off of Big 12 in search of their best deal, Beebe needs to follow their lead by stepping back. And the other 11 schools know it.

        It’s one thing to look out for your own best interests, but do it too openly and piss off your partners, things tend to get ugly. This statement refers to several Big 12 schools, thus I think the meetings will bring interesting information.

        • Hopkins Horn says:

          Beebe (who is basically a spokesperson for Texas I believe)


          • Guido says:

            More on thus topic, I’ve been reading all the articles and Q&A sessions with coaches and administrators in the Big 12 the past few months and what strikes me as most interesting is that everyone seems to have a similar answer when asked about expansion. They all generally say they are happy with the Big 12, would love to stay, but think they would be desirable to other conferences if they needed to move.

            You don’t hear those typed of comments from teams in the other BCS leagues, save perhaps Big East schools.

            Maybe they are all actually happy and will figure that out next week, but I think there is good reason everyone always jumps to the possibility of switching conferences. Something is just not right with the status quo.

      • HoosierHusker says:

        I think Bebe’s doing crazy shit because he’s an idiot with no plan, as is common with idiots soon to lose his job, or have a loss of stature and a pay-cut.

      • HoosierHusker says:

        So Zeek, you think Mr. Brains and Integrity Beebe will get UT, NE, MO, aTm, et al, to bare their souls? Send me a pack of what you smoke I need some. Telling the bare truth is actually the Nebraska way, but it is NOT the American way today (nor the lawyer way which is what is driving the comments on this board) by any measure, and Harvey and TO know that full well and will NOT be 100% forthcoming with idiot Beebe nor will Texas nor anyone else in play for a conference move. Beebe is a failure with no good plan and no school with options will give him full respect and disclosure now. Actually, I expect by now that NE has had substantive talks re a new B12, SEC, and P## move, unless they are certain of a B10 invite.

        • loki_the_bubba says:

          “idiot Beebe”

          I used to take you seriously. But stuff like this made me re-think my position.

          • HoosierHusker says:

            Too each his own. Read his bio and watch some clips and consider the success of his office as B12 head. If you think he seems worthy of his pay grade, OK with me. If you wanna share reasons, all the better. Me…I see him as the guy who has(d) OU, UT, and NU, with now a BAD TV deal and ALL 3 of his ace teams considering (strongly, IMO) other options. I call spades spades. Do you think there are good reasons to consider him a competent, hugely paid leader? I’m always willing to reconsider in the face of good strong evidence.

        • HoosierHusker says:

          Oops, I think we agree Zeek. If so, fine, if not, now you know what I think fwiw. I paid too much attention to your first para and not enough to your second.

          • Bullet says:

            B12 TV pact does better with their small population base than anyone else (although Beebe didn’t put it together).

            Its also older than the SEC deal. B12 will do fine when they renew. ACC did surprisingly well considering the economy. B10 took a gamble with their BTN and it paid off.

      • zeek says:

        All I was saying (which I thought was fairly noncontroversial), was that the Big 12 will not be stable until Texas makes a firm commitment to its future.

        Without Texas, I don’t see how any of the big brand teams can justify staying.

        Thus, Beebe cannot give an ultimatum until he knows what kind of Big 12 he has in the future. That is almost entirely dependent on Texas.

        A Big 12 deprived of Nebraska/Missouri/Colorado can still survive as a conference built around Texas’ markets. There’s far more uncertainty without Texas because then there’s big questionmarks of what markets the Big 12 actually has going forward and whether the bigger market teams are going and where and same is true of the big brand teams.

  105. Art Vandelay says:

    It appears that if the Big Ten is looking at Maryland and Virginia, they’re really considering trading the NYC Potential for DC, so as to not compromising their academic prestige. But let’s not forget what expansion is all about: money. If it’s not going to add money, the current Big Ten members will just stay where they’re at now.

    I can see the added value from Virginia and Maryland, but Vandy makes no sense. If either Maryland or Va would be willing to leave the ACC, then Miami(FL) makes more sense than Vandy. Even Rutgers makes more sense, because it would open the BTN to NYC metro and the state of New Jersey. Rutgers has HUGE market potential, isn’t going to dilute the Big Ten academically, and would probably thrive in the CIC because it’s the only flagship university in New Jersey and could very well get more research funding for state grants, and possibly federal grants while increasing its own academic prestige.

    That’s the biggest problem with adding Nebraska, Mizzou, Notre Dame, Rutgers, and Syracuse. They’re all bottom tier Big Ten schools academically, and the Big Ten goes from being viewed as great research schools (Michigan, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Illinois, Minnesota, Penn State) with several other very good ones (Ohio State, Michigan State, Indiana, Purdue, Iowa) to very good research schools with some great ones thrown in there.

    Replacing Missouri, Syracuse and Notre Dame with Texas, Texas A&M, Maryland and/or Virginia solve this problem, while still drastically expanding the BTN’s market. They should be able to get the BTN on basic cable in metro DC, throughout Texas, and possibly chunks of New Jersey and New York. If Rutgers is no longer desirable because of decreased value without their counterparts to draw out NYC (ND, Syracuse), then adding a school like Miami(FL), Virginia or even Va Tech seems like solid options. Imagine what Miami(FL), Texas, Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, and Nebraska would draw in TV ratings in football?

    Once Fox and the BTN buys the Pac 10′s TV contract in two years, the Big Ten would cover every part of the country, unless you don’t think they have a true influence in the Northeast with only Penn State. (I don’t care if this is a conspiracy-theory, it makes too much sense for the BTN and Fox to buy the entire Pac 10 TV deal, which is extremely affordable-$78M/yr currently to get the BTN on the West Coast).

    Who cares about New York at this point? How do you not put the BTN in at least half of Florida, with all the Midwest and Western transplants in the state? All of a sudden, the BTN will almost HAVE TO BECOME a national TV network just for the last week of the season for rivalry week. Who does ABC and the ESPNs not play when Michigan-Ohio State, Miami-Penn State, Nebraska-Wisconsin, and Texas-Texas A&M are all playing on the same day and the Big Ten conveniently schedules multiple games at the same times? Obviously ESPN has a say in the scheduled game-times, but how will that apply to newly added teams? Games like Illinois-Northwestern-a decent TV draw in and of itself would at the minimum get relegated to the BTN, as would Michigan State-Iowa, or Indiana-Purdue, or Maryland-Minnesota (an outlier, I know) etc.

    If UVA AND Maryland are musts, then I think Miami(FL) would get the invite over Nebraska for academic reasons, market potential, and a great football brand in their own right. But out of respect to the ACC, Nebraska adds close to what Miami would, and might get the invite anyways. Both would be stellar additions for the Big Ten, and Miami had a rivalry with Penn State throughout the 90′s and early 2000s if I’m not mistaken, although, Nebraska does seem like a more natural fit and could conceivably develop decent rivalries with Wisconsin and Iowa while maintaining decent rivalries with the Texas schools.

    • Michael says:


      Very lucid post. And it underscores the importance of not settling for schools. From an academic standpoint, the five new expansion teams will determine whether the Big 10 and CIC is taken seriously as THE national research conference or just a good research coalition. From the standpoint of the BTN, it´s important to have a deeper conference so you´ve got games to broadcast that draw well but are passed up by ABC and ESPN.

      • Art Vandelay says:

        I agree that there is definitely value in expanding the CIC, but they have to be selective who they’re expanding to, because it’s used very nicely as a bargaining piece when considering adding new members. Adding elite schools that don’t play D-I sports seems like a no-brainer. If any of the Ivy League would join, bring ‘em along. Schools like Carnegie-Mellon and Johns Hopkins should be welcomed aboard as well. But making an offer to Texas, Rutgers, etc. doesn’t make as much sense.

        I can really appreciate and respect the Big Ten for wanting to not just maintain, but actually improve their academic brand by adding other elite schools to participate in the CIC. In the end, I just don’t think inviting schools like Vandy to join the Big Ten is going to make sense from a financial perspective, and they SHOULDN’T be allowed to split the “TV pie” with the current members.

        While the academics should definitely be there, the money ALSO has to be there.

        • Art Vandelay says:

          Also, it should be noted that IF the Big Ten can either get the Texases to join or can buy out the next Pac 10 TV contract, that would pretty much squash the “Western Alliance” TV network, and would force the other’s hand (either force the Texas schools into the Big Ten, or force the Pac 10 to accept a TV contract from Fox and the BTN).

          • HoosierHusker says:

            OK dumping Vandy is fine for your propositions. But, how does this B10 add get markets like Fla for BTN, and more importantly, with an average football team power rating that is not so great, how do you get weekly games with wide or national exposure and ratings?

          • Art Vandelay says:


            The key would be to get one major player on the BTN every week. That means that Ohio State, Miami(FL), Michigan, Penn State, or Texas is playing on the BTN network every week. With Miami hopefully bringing enough interest to place the BTN on South Florida television sets, along with the large Big Ten alumni base already situated there. The million-dollar question is “does Texas, Miami(FL), Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, and maybe Nebraska bring enough national recognition to put the BTN on every cable station’s basic package in the country?”

    • mushroomgod says:

      The Big 10 presidents would be absolutely insane to take Miami over Nebraska. Let us hope they are not that stupid.

      If MD and VA are “musts”, then the BT is screwed, ’cause they’re not coming.

      • Vincent says:

        Maryland and Virginia come back into play if the SEC pursues a few schools on the ACC’s southern tier, or even looks into luring N.C. State (which could get a new identity after being in UNC and Duke’s shadow the past two decades).

        The ACC isn’t the stable happy family it once was when it comprised only seven or eight members. Change is on the horizon.

        • zeek says:

          Yeah but most of us think the Big Ten goes to 14 or 16 and then puts a moratorium on expansion (unless it’s Notre Dame that comes calling)…

        • Random says:

          The ACC is still really stable. For any member to leave, there’d have to be huge changes already happening. No ACC schools is ever going to be the first domino to fall.

          Furthermore, I don’t think the SEC is grabbing the ACC southern tier.

          1, Clemson, FSU, Miami, and GT just don’t add enought value, given their geographic locales. ABC might renegotiate w/ those 4 on board, but not to the tune of an additional $17M per school. Pretty much the only way the SEC expands is w/ 1 of the big 2 in Texas.

          2, I think FSU and Clemson would eventually depart for the SEC if asked. Culturally, they make enough sense. Miami and GT probably would not leave the ACC unless the whole conference was circling the drain. Miami under Shalala has made too big of a commitment to both academics and running a clean program to go to the SEC. (I know the SEC has been relatively tame recently, but still.) GT has already been there, didn’t work out so well.

          And one last thing about all this, I can see no scenario under which UVa separates from UNC. UVa has athletic rivalries w/ UMd, but being in a separate conference wouldn’t be a potenial deal breaker. UNC and UVa are too tied together culturally, academically, socially, w/ the oldest FB rivalry in the South, not to be lightly dismissed by alumni of either school. By the same token, UNC goes no where w/o Duke. So, any taking of these schools would almost have to be a package deal (and Texas would likely have to be on board as an enticement). VaTech and NCSt. (and maybe A&M) are unlikely to cause any probs as they all are valuable enough to take care of themselves. The SEC takes them long before Clemson.

          If (as absolutely unlikely as it might be) would the B10 be willing to take on these schools, w/, say ND, A&M, Vandy, or whoever else, when collectively, these schools are powerful enough to demand real changes from the B10?

          These schools would not be like Rutgers, Neb., Mizzou, just happy to be invited. No one would demand a sweetheart financial deal, as the $ would be great enough already, but these schools will not join a Midwestern conference. They might merge w/ a formerly Midwestern based conference.

          The changes asked for would likely include some/all/maybe even more of the following:

          1- Input into divisional alignment.

          2- Demand name change to fully represent the beginning of a new(ish) conference.

          3- Move conference HQ to reflect growth to the south.

          4- Championship games to be evenly distributed.

          5- Real effort (big $$$$ commitment) from all former B10 schools to improve baseball, LAX, soccer, et al. so as southern schools don’t feel they’re hurting these sports.

          6- UW stops playing terrible mid-90s white hip hop during home FB games. (Oh, we can dream!)

          Seriously, while no one here is in control of this stuff, in your humble opinions, would the B10 agree to this to get these schools? You can’t get a rainmkaer w/o getting wet.

          • Manifesto (Ohio St.) says:

            I could see some reasonable demands being met, sure. Commitments to baseball, LAX, and soccer are reasonable and probably even advantageous for the BigTen schools to pursue. Everyone but Wisconsin (and ESPN for some dumb reason) wants the Jump Around thing to just go away. :P

            Some other stuff I don’t think is negotiable however. Demanding a change of HQ location is almost most definitely off the board. BigTen spent a lot of money renovating a historic building in Chicago for the BTN, and either way no one in the current BigTen states are going to agree to that just because they’re adding 2-4 more southern schools. Moreover, how would that even work if they added Texas/TA&M/UVA/UMD? Moving it closer to either side probably hurts the other more than it helps.

            As for the name change, they’d be basically asking them to rebrand themselves. It might happen anyway, but I’m unsure anyone would be receptive to a prospective school “demanding” it.

            I think you’re correct that concessions will need to be made from both sides of the party. I could see Nebraska being expected to increase their academic rankings, for example. I think adding any southern school means the BigTen will need to increase their baseball, lax, etc. profiles. But no one is going to totally prostrate themselves to either the BigTen or vice-versa. Well, maybe Missouri.

  106. Sportsman24 says:

    I was watching ESPN this morning, specifically the Top Ten plays, and the top two were of BT baseball. #2 was a defensive play by the Iowa 2B making a sliding catch behind 1B (in foul territory). #1 was the IU CF making a diving catch. I’m not saying that BT baseball is elite, but it is ironic… especially in light of comments made on these blogs.

    • @Sportsman24 – I saw that last night along with another Top Ten play from the Big Ten a few days ago. Now, Big Ten baseball isn’t necessarily great, but it shows t