After the Conference Realignment Maelstrom

Posted: June 27, 2010 in Big East, Big Ten, Chicago Bulls, Sports
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A couple of weeks after the frenetic events of this round of conference realignment almost fried my brain and then settled down into fairly modest changes to the college landscape, I’m re-charged enough to collect a few overarching thoughts:

(1) Big Ten is Done Expanding Until Notre Dame Changes Its Mind – For all of the talk about demographics, academics and TV markets, the Big Ten’s expansion process has been about three schools: Texas, Notre Dame and Nebraska.  Those are the only schools that the Big Ten really cared about and anyone else would’ve been coming along for the ride.  Now, adding Nebraska alone doesn’t really do much to address the demographic shift of the the U.S. population toward the Sun Belt.  However, the indications that I’ve received are that the Big Ten’s appetite to add any Eastern-based schools such as Rutgers or Syracuse is very low unless Notre Dame is coming along, too.  The financial barrier to enter the Big Ten as team #13 is much higher than Nebraska’s barrier to entry since any schools added from this point don’t receive the benefit of the $15 million pop from the addition of a conference championship game.  Believe me – if the Big Ten was convinced that Rutgers and/or Syracuse could deliver New York/New Jersey households for the Big Ten Network, then they would’ve been added already.  The problem is that they are not convinced and don’t believe that it would ever be possible without Notre Dame.  Other markets, such the DC/Baltimore area that could be added with Maryland, are nice but not necessarily enough to justify a larger expansion.  I’ve long said that it would take the equivalent of adding either the state of Texas or the NYC market in order to make a 14- or 16-school conference financially viable, so you won’t see the Big Ten do anything less than that if it attempts to expand again.

(2) Entrenched Interests Don’t Want Superconferences – Another drag on the prospect of the Big Ten expanding further is what I believe has been a relatively underplayed aspect of the Big 12 Lite (or as some of the commenters have referred to, the “Big IIX”) surviving: a ton of entrenched interests in college football, including ESPN and Fox, worked to killed the formation of the Pac-16.  This actually contradicted a common argument that I’ve seen stating that TV networks actually would rather have superconferences so that they can obtain rights to more marquee schools while dealing with fewer entities.  If the TV networks don’t want superconferences to happen, and they are the ones that provide the financial basis of expanding toward superconferences in the first place, then that’s going to dissuade the Big Ten and other conferences from expanding beyond 12 schools (at least for the time being).

(3) National Brand Value Trumps Local Markets - For all of the talk about TV markets and cable subscriber rates, expansion decisions really came down to a pretty basic calculation: which schools do Average Joe Sports Fan in Anytown USA want to watch?  After Notre Dame and Texas, the consensus has long been that Nebraska fit that bill better than anyone.

I’ve receive a lot of questions about how Nebraska could add financial value to the Big Ten compared to schools like Missouri and Rutgers that could bring in more households on paper.  There are several factors at play here.  First, even though a lot of focus has been on the Big Ten Network, the Big Ten still receives more TV money from its national ABC/ESPN contract than any other source.  The Big Ten Network is really just a very strong supplement to that national TV income as opposed to a replacement, which is something that a lot of people have missed.  Therefore, a school like Nebraska that brings in national TV viewers does much more for the ABC/ESPN side of the equation and seeing how the ACC and Big IIX are in line for larger paydays in their own contracts, Jim Delany must be salivating at the potential increase to the Big Ten’s deals by adding such a strong national brand name AND a conference championship game.

Second, there is the advertising argument that Patrick set forth on this blog a few months ago.  The higher the ratings, the higher the advertising rates can be charged.

Now, there have been a number of questions about that analysis, but it needs to be coupled with the final point, which is that the oft-quoted $.70 per subscriber per month rate for the Big Ten Network in the Big Ten states is an average as opposed to an across-the-board rate.  Cable providers in markets where there is extremely strong demand for the channel, such as Columbus, pay a higher rate than markets where there is weaker demand (i.e. Philadelphia).  So, a lot of fans have made the mistake in assuming that the Big Ten Network could just automatically charge $.70 per subscriber in places like New Jersey, New York and Missouri simply by adding a school in those respective states.  Fan intensity matters, and in the case of Nebraska, the Big Ten will likely be able to charge a higher subscriber rate in the Huskers’ home market than anywhere else.  So, Nebraska’s 700,000 households might be much smaller in number compared to Missouri or New Jersey, but the flip side is that the Big Ten Network can effectively name its price there (i.e. an ESPN-level subscriber rate, which is the highest rate in the cable indsutry) and it will receive it.  At the same time, since Nebraska games will draw more interest within the Big Ten footprint and nationally on DirecTV (where it is on the national basic tier), that positions the Big Ten Network to charge higher rates to its current households in its next round of negotiations.

Please note that there were two schools in the soon-to-be-defunct Big 12 that looked seriously at starting their own networks: Texas and Nebraska.  The former obviously has the households, but the latter’s fan base is so intense that they will pay any price to watch every Husker event.  I’ve seen figures that Nebraska cleared about $2 million for every single pay-per-view game that it has offered, which is an insanely high number for any college football team regardless of the population base along with providing evidence that the Big Ten Network will get a massive subscriber fee in the state of Nebraska.  Therefore, the Big Ten Network isn’t passing up on subscriber revenue in the manner that a lot of people who are just looking a population figures believe.  Besides, Notre Dame is widely assumed to be an automatic money-maker for the Big Ten, but the Irish are also completely about national name brand value as opposed to adding actual markets.  What’s good nationally for the Big Ten is good for the Big Ten Network.

(4) Basketball Doesn’t Matter AT ALL – I think most of us understood that expansion and college sports revenue are football-driven.  However, there was a small part of me that believed that basketball would at least be a minor factor (as evidenced by the fact that I made “Basketball Brand Value” worth 10 points out of the 100-point Big Ten Expansion Index scale).  After Kansas ended up being passed around like a bad doobie and looked like it was Mountain West-bound for the better part of a week, though, it showed that absolutely NO consideration was or will be given to basketball in conference realignment.  Adding Kansas to any league for basketball is akin to adding Notre Dame or Texas for football, yet no one cared.  So, be forewarned if you’re a fan of a “basketball school” that might worry more about saving rivalries with, say, Georgetown or Duke instead of being concerned about how the football program is doing.  Being in the best football conference possible is the only thing that can guarantee overall athletic program stability (even if you think that basketball in a particular conference might be “boring”).

(5) Big Ten Needs to K.I.S.S. With Divisions – The more that I think about it, the more that I’m convinced that the Big Ten needs to just keep it simple with divisional alignment and go with a straight East/West split.  As a reminder, there’s how that would look like:

Ohio State
Penn State
Michigan State


I know that a lot of the national sportswriters are not in favor of sticking Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State together in the same division, but I’m extremely wary of gerrymandering divisions in a way that could reduce the juice of a lot of natural rivalries.  The main argument for moving Penn State away from Michigan and Ohio State is for “competitive balance”, yet trying to guess what would be the most “balanced” divisional alignment is a losing cause.  The ACC attempted to do this by putting Florida State and Miami into separate division and then blindly drawing the names of the other schools out of a hat.  The football gods voiced their disapproval by not allowing a Florida State-Miami ACC championship game occur even once so far even though the conference clearly jerry-rigged its divisions to do exactly that.  The much-aligned and soon-to-be-defunct Big 12 North was actually the much stronger division in the Big 12 for the first several years of that conference’s existence.  Meanwhile, the SEC was perfectly fine with having Florida, Tennessee and Georgia in national title contention at the same time while in the same division.  With football play on the field being so cyclical, a divisional alignment that creates strong natural geographic rivalries is better in the long-term than trying to force an alignment that looks like a TV executive searching for short-term ad dollars put it together.

Besides, Nebraska is a great anchor for the West division that’s going to draw national TV viewers and fill up stadiums no matter who they are playing.  Wisconsin and Iowa are both top 15 revenue athletic programs while Illinois manages to put together a massive run once or twice per decade and then crush its fan base by horrifically underachieving for 5 years thereafter (rinse, lather and repeat), meaning that it’s more of “national brand” perception of strength in the East as opposed to being a real competitive disparity.  Plus, I don’t think it makes sense for Penn State to be separated from Ohio State and Michigan, which are the two main schools that the Nitanny Lions care about playing (and from a Big Ten perspective, are the matchups that best leverage the conference’s exposure on the East Coast).  As I’ve stated before, the SEC hasn’t had a problem with loaded geographically-friendly divisions before while the ACC has had massive issues with its “balanced” divisions, so the Big Ten shouldn’t think too hard about the division issue.  A logical geographically pure East/West split is the way to go.

(6) Chicago is the Best Home for LeBron (and I’m not just saying that as a Bulls fan) – OK, this doesn’t have to do with conference realignment, but please note that I’ve written more about Bulls trade and free agent rumors than any other topic over the years.  After trading Kirk Hinrich to Washington (which will be effective July 8th), the Bulls can add one mega-star free agent (LeBron/Wade/Bosh) and one “next tier” free agent (Joe Johnson/Boozer/David Lee) outright.  If the Bulls can clear about $3 million more in cap space (which would likely necessitate moving Luol Deng), then they can add 2 mega-star free agents.  I’ve always had reserved optimism about the Bulls being a player in the LeBron James sweepstakes ever since a couple of weeks into Derrick Rose’s rookie season, but the Hinrich trade has skyrocketed my confidence level.  The main argument that the Knicks had other than the lure of New York City was that it could sign 2 max free agents.  With the Bulls now in the position to sign another top-of-the-line player besides LeBron on top of its young nucleus of Rose and Joakim Noah, I believe that Chicago is unequivocally the best pure long-term basketball destination for the King.  The fact that Chicago is a great market is a bonus, yet that doesn’t mean as much as having a substantial upgrade compared to LeBron’s current roster in Cleveland.  Up until the Hinrich trade, I thought it was 60/40 for Cleveland over Chicago in the competition for LeBron’s services.  Now, I believe that it’s flipped around in favor of the Bulls.  Cavs fans are pretty much resorting to emotional home-based arguments for LeBron to stay home and/or thinking that they can just sign-and-trade for a top-line player such as Chris Bosh.  The former is a certainly a factor, but considering that LeBron would make more money if he’d re-sign with the Cavs before July 1st, I don’t believe that the “Cleveland/Akron = Home” angle is going to be dispositive.   As for the latter, a sign-and-trade only works if the free agent target actually wants to move to Cleveland as opposed to signing with New York, Chicago and Miami AND the free agent’s old team actually wants to take back anyone (or more specifically, anyone’s contracts) from Cleveland, which is a lot easier said than done.  If the three-headed GM monster of GarPaxForSonManDorf  is able to land the biggest free agent in the history of free agency (and I don’t think that’s hyperbole), then this blog might have to totally shut down since I really don’t know what I’ll write about without conference realignment discussions or complaints about Bulls management.  Regardless, the course of the entire NBA for the next decade will likely be decided within the next 10 days and I’ll be eating up every tidbit in the meantime.

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

(Image from Mr. Pressbox)

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  1. duffman says:

    Is this like every movie where the bad guy is supposedly dead except that he is not and comes back at least once before the movie ends?


    I am thinking more and more that the Bulls are getting Lebron!

  2. Marc Shepherd says:

    There is only one problem with your suggestion about the Big Ten divisional split: it directly contradicts what Delaney and others have repeatedly said.

    According to them, geography is the lowest concern, after competitive balance and preserving rivalries (in that order). Those MUST be code words for saying that Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State won’t be in the same division. I cannot imagine what else they could mean by that, given that an East-West split would otherwise be so obvious.

    The ACC analogy doesn’t quite work, because the Big Ten doesn’t consist of two traditional powers and “everybody else,” the way the ACC (at the time) did.

    • @Marc Shepherd – True, but the Big Ten also talked for months about demographic shifts, Eastern candidates and multiple additions. It then proceeded to add Nebraska and that looks like the lone addition for the foreseeable future. So, we can only take so much from public comments at face value. I think the pure geographic split is going to be the ultimate outcome.

      • mb21 says:

        @Frank – the difference between what the Big Ten has said about demographic shifts, eastern candidates and other options is this: why would MSU, Indiana and Purdue accept a realignment plan that includes them in the same conference as 3 of the top 4 teams? I know it’s happened in other conferences, but that doesn’t mean it’s best for the Big Ten. While I agree that it’s cyclical as you said, we also have to acknowledge that over time it’s very likely that PSU, UM, OSU and NU are going to be the 4 best programs in the conference.

        Competitive balance matters to the fans. Baseball fans have complained for years about the competitive balance and they’ll continue to complain. That doesn’t have to happen here.

        I grew up an Iowa fan and will be for the rest of my life, but I want Iowa in a division that has 2 of the top 4 teams in the conference. If Iowa and UW revert back to the type of programs they’ve had in the past, NU runs away with that division every single year. Having 2 of the top 4 makes most games in the division something that is going to be watched nationally. If you don’t do that you create a lot of games that has nothing more than a local audience. That can’t be good for the conference.

        They may not be able to add a southern school so they need as much national exposure as they can get. That means splitting the 4 powerhouses so you create more games of national interest.

        • Adam says:

          Fans complain about a lot of things. Fans complain about the BCS even though the ratings are very good. What fans complain about really has very little to do with what makes good business sense.

          The Big Ten kills the goose that lays the golden eggs if it spends so much time worrying about “balance” that it creates a divisional structure that robs the season of the rivalries that make college football worth watching. I challenge any argument that the East/West alignment is imbalanced, but even if it is, I would still say that’s a better business move. Assume it’s wildly imbalanced and the Big Ten Championship Game is a mere formality, with the East Division champion always winning. What that means is that the 33 games that East Division teams will play (15 intra-divisional games and 18 inter-divisional games) will be extremely important. Would you rather have people paying attention to 33 games spread over 9 weeks, or 1 game played on one Saturday? I’d take the former every time.

          Besides, how much different would it be for Michigan State? Their locked-in annual rivals are already Michigan and Penn State anyway. And I have spent enough time lurking on this message board to see that even the bottom-dwellers in the Big Ten like to play the national brand perception “royalty” on a regular basis, even if they lose.

          • mb21 says:

            You’re right, fans complain all the time and businesses try to avoid to avoid that. Apple refunded customers who were complaining several years ago after the iphone went on sale. Complaining works. Businesses listen.

            As for the complaints about the BCS, those complaints are very different from the type of complaints I am talking about. Most people saw the BCS as a step in the right direction. They saw it as the next logical step to what will inevitably be a playoff system at some point. Many of the complaints have centered around how they rate the teams and you know what? They’ve changed how they’ve done that in response to that. Still, there’s a big difference from a vocal minority (BCS complainers) and an entire fan base or university that complains.

            I agree that business can’t just do whatever the people want and that some complaining is going to happen no matter what, but the Big Ten needs to minimize that. The networks aren’t going to want 3 elite teams in one division and only 1 in the other. What is the incentive for them to pay for it? It’s like many in the Big Ten have said over the last few years, why should the networks pay the Big 12 when they’re really only wanting to see the Big 12 South?

            More importantly than any of that though, competitive balance matters. While we can’t ensure that the top 4 so far will remain the top 4 there is a damn good chance that those 4 will remain at the top over a long period of time. Any alignment that doesn’t factor that in has failed. I don’t think the Big Ten gets this right just as I doubt professional sports in this country will ever do away with the current structure they have even though it would drastically improve competitive balance.

            As far as rivalries go, I like then, but I really couldn’t care less. I’d much rather there be a fair divisional set up that ensures as best as possible that each team will play a similarly tough schedule in conference. Rivalry games are fun, and they’re worth money, but the fact that is even a factor in this is a poor decision by the Big Ten. The only factor that should be considered is setting up the most fair divisions possible. Everything else is secondary.

          • Adam says:

            mb21, I think you are just profoundly, epically wrong on this. The single most important factor in college football (college sports generally, in fact) are rivalries. They are what makes college sports different from pro sports. Anybody who could care less about rivalries in college sports just doesn’t get it. If anything, an imbalanced structure that preserves rivalries is more important than the alternative. I don’t think there’s any indication that the concentration of attractive teams in the Big 12 South is what affected their rights fees: it had to do with market sizes (nothing to speak of outside of Texas).

            When you worry too much about “balance,” you make for a lame regular season. I’d rather it be a foregone conclusion that the East Champion will win the CCG than have a “balanced” schedule that makes it a foregone conclusion who will appear in the CCG. That is to say, I’d rather have a dull CCG and an exciting 13-week regular season leading up to it, than an exciting CCG and a dull 13-week regular season.

            A lack of “balance” is only a problem if you aren’t interested in watching the regular season. Of course, I reject the notion that the geographic alignment is imbalanced, but even if it were, it doesn’t matter.

          • mb21 says:

            Adam, you’re stating these things as if there’s only one way to go: exciting regular season schedule followed by boring CCG or boring regular season schedule. it’s not that simple and it’s certainly not that black and white.

            Stating things as you have make it clear which is preferable, but what you stated isn’t reality. You could never have a boring conference schedule unless you reduce the number of games. That’s not going to happen.

            It’s a pet peeve of mine to see someone simplify something as you did to pretend there are only two options. People do this far too often when they try to support their opinions with logical reasoning, but while doing so they are not being logical. Your presumptions here are simply not logical.

            There’s no either/or type of decision that has to be made. The plans, as you put it, are these:

            1) balanced schedule, no rivalry games
            2) rivalry games, unbalanced schedule

            You can accomplish both and that’s what the Big Ten will try to do. They aren’t looking at this from the simplistic angle you are and nor should they. The Big Ten would be doing each university, as well as each fan, a disservice if they simplified the options as you have. It’s just not that simple. There are alternatives that accomplish both and that’s what we’ll end up seeing the Big Ten do, because it’s right.

            The Big Ten can have a balanced schedule while also maintaining the rivalries. That’s what they’ll do. There’s no either/or decision to be made as you implied. It doesn’t exist.

            You’re more than free to reject the notion that a geographical alignment isn’t unbalanced, but keep in mind it is an opinion unsupported by the data. It is an opinion that requires one to create either/or scenarios to support the claims. It’s a position that also requires one to ignore factual information, which I won’t do.

          • Adam says:

            It’s false, false, false to say that that is unsupported by the data, and there is an enormous amount of data in this thread to that end. “Competitive balance,” if you consider it a target with pursuing (and I don’t, but let’s say that we do) is not solely accomplished in the alignment that makes the 2 groups as close to each other as possible; it is instead any of the range of outcomes that fits within an acceptable spectrum. And there is an enormous amount of statistical data that the so-called geographic alignment (which I prefer, although not for geographic reasons, as I’ve also stated here) that they are not especially imbalanced.

            I think you fail to understand the argument from the worst-case scenario. At no point did I say those were the only two options. The idea behind competitive balance is to have an exciting CCG. My point is that an exciting CCG is completely unnecessary, and if forced to choose between an exciting CCG and an exciting regular season, I’d choose the exciting regular season every time. I didn’t say “balanced schedule, no rivalry games” or “rivalry games, unbalanced schedule.” I said maximize rivalries and stop worrying about balance because it doesn’t matter. And the reason it doesn’t matter is because even in the most unbalanced league you could divine (say, Nebraska, OSU, UM, PSU, Wisconsin, and Iowa in one Division), that would still be better than any alignment which sacrifices inter-divisional rivalries, because it is far better to preserve those rivalries and maximize regular season interest, even if that comes at the expense of the CCG (which will be followed regardless, because of the size of Big Ten schools).

            I am arguing that the league should make no compromises in maximizing rivalries played because the “balance” question is totally irrelevant. It doesn’t matter. And the reason it doesn’t matter is because a totally unbalanced league with a CCG that is a scrimmage, a foregone conclusion, is still better than an alignment which sacrifices a single inter-divisional rivalry that can be preserved.

        • jcfreder says:

          As Wisconsin fan (and UW is in roughly the same position as Iowa in all this), I have to disagree. I think Wis and Iow are probably the biggest winners in a pure goegraphical setup. While UW or Iowa would have fewer games against the usual “big three” of Mich, OSU and PSU, a pure geographical split would provide a golden opportunity for Iow and Wis to bump up the prestige of their programs even further by avoiding the three traditional powers. A string of divisional (and then conference) titles is the kind of thing that can push these schools up from the “Baron” category that has been discussed, and a pure geographical setup makes it much more likely to happen. Somebody has to win the west, and Nebraska is not obviously looming over that division like OSU is in the East. Also, this isn’t the B12 North; Iow and Wis are huge-revenue programs. It’s not like you;re trying to cultivate an athletic department at Kansas State or something. If Iowa or Wisconsin rips off a bunch of divisional titles, they’ll have a chance to join the big boys.

          • Michael Z. says:

            What are we trying to accomplish here? Bump up the prestige of some programs or crown a true champion? THe model I suggested which was debated above, balanced the conferences based on how they finished the last 17 years win percentage wise and preserved 13 of the 16 most commonly cited rivalries in the conference. I did drop Wisconsin-Minnesota, a game that has been played for a long time but has turned into a dud for going on two decades now. Here is what I’m trying to avoid, from another article that I wrote:

            Consider the results of the Big 12 conference in recent seasons. In 2009, North division winner Nebraska faced South division winner Texas for the conference championship. Texas was 8-0 while Nebraska was 6-2. Texas won the game when an incomplete pass with one second left on the clock allowed them to kick a winning field goal. In other words, the Big 12 was one second or one missed field goal away from crowning a two loss team its conference champion (over what would have been a one loss Texas team). Things were even more bizarre for the Big 12 in 2008, when three teams tied for the top record in the South conference at 7-1, with Texas Tech beating Texas, Oklahoma beating Texas Tech, and Texas beating Oklahoma. That is, the three teams tied at the top had each beaten and lost to one of the other teams. Based on a tie-breaker, Oklahoma was declared the winner, culminating in a scintillating 62-21 win over a three loss Missouri team in the CCG. Want more? In 2007, the winner of the South, Oklahoma, at 6-2, was pitted against 7-1 Missouri in the conference championship game, while 7-1 Kansas in the South was left out of the mix altogether, meaning that a team with a worse record was invited to the championship game because they happened to be in a weaker subdivision. The same thing happened in the Big 12 in 2000, 2003, 2004, and 2005. And lest you think that the underdog winning is but a hypothetical, Kansas State at 6-2 knocked off 8-0 Oklahoma in 2003 to win the Big 12 Conference Championship. The BcS voters were so impressed, they sent Kansas State to to the Fiesta Bowl and put Oklahoma in the National Championships game anyway (in other words, the BcS voters treated the result of the CCG as a fluke and disregarded the game altogether). And these flawed conference championship games have lead to some lopsided contests. In the last ten years alone, these CCGs have resulted in the following one-sided contests: Oklahoma 62, Missouri 21; Texas 70, Colorado 3; Oklahoma 38, Missouri 17; Oklahoma 42, Colorado 3; Kansas State 35, Oklahoma 7; Oklahoma 29, Colorado 7; Nebraska 22, Texas 6; and Nebraska 54, Texas A&M 15. In other words, some fans were forced to digest some pretty bad football under the guise of a championship contest.

            I’m willing to lose a few rivalries to avoid that nonsense above. And, people shouldn’t act like these rivalries would be permanently lost; worst case scenario under my model, these teams meet every other year.

          • Adam says:

            We are certainly not trying to crown a true champion. Any divisional structure will fail to accomplish that, because there’s no way of knowing whether your best 2 teams in any given season will end up in the same division. And this is why “balancing” the divisions is a waste of time: you can try all you want, but you still won’t be right all that often, which means the divisional alignment should be based on some other, independent criterion than “balance.”

            The point about the schools “joining the big boys” is simply observing that an obsession with balance looks only to the past instead of to the future; if Iowa, Wisconsin, and Nebraska are in a division together, they’ll have an opportunity to blossom. The obsession with balance is determined to base the alignment on, and is therefore an effort at locking in, the past rather than acknowledging the malleability of the future.

          • Adam says:

            Notwithstanding the nonsense you describe, no amount of that nonsense justifies sacrificing a single inter-divisional rivalry.

          • Michael Z. says:

            Adam, I think that is the source of our disagreement. Historically, if more often then not it came down to Ohio State-Michigan, one can reasonably conclude from some fifty years of evidence that Michigan will return to power and such a result could occur again. I understand that if you are not a fan of those teams, a model centered around them at the very least annoying. I am not certain why you think it has to be a great season/boring CCG or vice-versa. I could draw up all kinds of scenarios where that won’t be the case. I’ve read alot of your posts on here, and many of them present black and white either/or possibilities that have little bearing on the way things actually work in the real world. I for one can’t accept the mockery that became the Big 12, and instead, want to focus on the success of the SEC the last few years (knowing that trying to predict such a thing consistently is very very difficult to do). The great Florida-Alabama CCG’s did absolutly nothing to ruin the SEC regular season. This should be the model.

          • Bullet says:

            Seems like you are arguing against your own point MichaelZ:

            KSU 35-7 over #1 OU was an upset. So was OU 38-17 over #1 Missouri. UNL over Texas 22-6 was not an upset, but was a rematch-Texas won the 1st game in Austin. You could make the same argument about a lot of the BCS championship games. Several have been very one-sided. What you are demonstrating is that the results are very unpredictable.

          • Adam says:

            First, I’d note that the SEC uses a geographic alignment. So I think the lesson I learn from the SEC is that if you stick to natural rivalries and let things shake out the way they do, you can get a great title game. As has been said many times in this thread, for much of the SEC’s history since going to divisions, the strength of the league was in the East, with Florida, Tennessee, and Georgia all in the same group. Until quite recently, Alabama’s football program was a shambles.

            As I have noted elsewhere, 50 years of evidence are totally irrelevant to projecting future competitive dynamics. The 50 years of dominance of those programs is driven by historical factors which are no longer present. For much of that history, only a few games were shown on TV; now virtually every game is. For much of that history, teams could offer (essentially) as many scholarships as they could afford; now there are tight scholarship restrictions which have produced measurable gains in even the MAC’s competitiveness, let alone the bottom of the Big Ten. This notion of “50 years of history” is driven almost entirely by memories of the “Big 2, Little 8″ Woody & Bo era, which is gone never to return. Planning around that is an effort at locking in something that has, in fact, died off.

            And I don’t see where the Big 12 was a “mockery” at all. Even the so-called worst-case scenario, the 2008 3-way race with Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech, was an absolutely thrilling campaign which had the nation glued to the games. The fact that the CCG was essentially a foregone conclusion (whoever won the South was obviously going to crush whoever won the North) meant that the race for the South Division title was must-see TV, creating 3 mega-games (Texas-Oklahoma, Texas-TTU, Oklahoma-TTU). You also had major upset bids when Missouri played Texas and Oklahoma State tried to derail Oklahoma’s national title bid. If that league is “balanced” better, you don’t get that; the reason it happened was because the stakes were so high, with all of the strength of the league in the same group. College GameDay came to 5 different Big 12 games that year. I’d rather have that than an exciting CCG.

            It’s not that it’s an either/or; it’s that the worst-case scenario of an unbalanced league is still awesome, not a mockery. Since that’s the case, I’d much rather preserve natural rivalries with the league alignment, and that means playing games within divisions whenever possible (not merely guaranteeing an annual game). Moreover, because even the worst-case scenario of an unbalanced league is still awesome, there’s no good reason to chase the un-findable notion of “balance.”

          • @Adam – I agree with you. It would’ve been one thing if the Big Ten only added Missouri, which meant that the west would not have any marquee national school, or Notre Dame, which doesn’t have any real rivals in the Western half of the conference. With Nebraska, however, the balance of power in an East/West split isn’t so lopsided where I see much of a compelling reason to break up natural geographic divisions. I also fail to see how the Big 12 was really that imbalanced – the people that believe that have fairly short memories. Missouri and Kansas were playing for a potential national championship spot in 2007 and for the Big 12 North was the much stronger division for the first several years of the conference’s existence.

            Above all else, I absolutely cannot stand the ACC’s divisions, which were specifically gerrymandered to set up a Miami-Florida State championship game. Of course, that matchup has never happened and it all came at the expense of removing drama from the regular season. I’m far from a complete traditionalist, but on this issue, I hope the Big Ten just keeps it simple and realize the ACC made a bad mistake.

          • Adam says:

            Incidentally, Frank, the best mnemonic I’ve been able to devise to remember the ACC’s Divisions is that one of the groups has the 2 Virginia schools, as well as the (in)famous pair of “Tobacco Road” schools (UNC-Duke), and it also has both of the “Tech” schools. That gets you 5, and since the ACC’s divisions were designed to split up Miami and FSU, and there’s no room for FSU anywhere else in the mnemonic, by default the last one is Miami. Still doesn’t help in remembering which is the “Atlantic” and which is the “Coastal” Division, though.

          • Michael in Indy says:


            The ACC split North/South would have been painfully lopsided in favor of the South.

            In terms of prestige & television demand, the only two teams that are anywhere close to the Big Ten’s “Big Four” are Miami and FSU. VT is the only program that could compare to Wisconsin or Iowa. GT, Clemson, and UNC probably carry more TV value than, say, Minnesota but less than Purdue (when Purdue’s good). The rest of the league is somewhere around the level of Minnesota & Indiana.

            So, four of the six most prominent ACC programs would be in the South, while the North would have four programs that carry almost no TV demand (BC, MD, UVA, Duke) even when they’re good.

            It wasn’t just about splitting FSU & Miami. It was about making as even a split as possible among FSU, Clemson, GT, Miami, and UNC while maintaining the most valued rivalries. (UNC and UVA, for example, have the oldest rivalry in the ENTIRE Southeast.)

            I like the ACC divisions, except I’d switch GT & BC so Miami, VT and BC could play annually and FSU could have a closer geographic rival.

          • Adam says:

            I think any ACC alignment ought to put BC, MD, VA and VT together, and MIA, FSU, GT, and CLEM together. Puts FSU and MIA together, puts BC and VT together (the Big East defectors), etc. You can split the NC schools however you want, and I don’t know what would be geographic. If I were doing it, I’d probably split them WF and DU going with the northern group, and UNC/NCST going with the southern group. It’s not my understanding that UNC/Duke is a rivalry anybody cares about in football, and depending on how you set it up your league scheduling rules, splitting them between divisions could be an improvement in basketball (a sport where rematches are routine).

      • Gopher86 says:

        I think they’ll do geography and adjust it if they expand further. Remember, the most likely additions they’re looking at in the next ten years are Notre Dame + an Eastern school. If you put Notre Dame in the west and a patsy in the East, it’s pretty well balanced.

        Michigan State
        Ohio State
        Penn State

        Notre Dame

        East: OSU, PSU, Michigan
        West: ND, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa

        It’s a bit more balanced, but it may be difficult to put ND in the West. They’d probably want fewer conference games, couldn’t do all protected rivalries with Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue, and the New York Game goes away.

        • Michael Z. says:

          Why do people still insist on breaking this up by geography? When broken up this way, your model has a 34-44 breakdown (1 point for each place the school ranked in winning pct the last 17 years), with the lower number reflecting the stronger division. You correct this by adding Notre Dame and Rutgers to the mix, a very uncertain development given ND’s determination to remain independent. I just don’t understand why people are stuck on geography, other than it appeals to our sense of an ordered universe. God I hope they don’t do this, it will make the CCG an after thought.

          • jcfreder says:

            There is no chance Notre Dame would be put into a West division if it joined in a couple of years.

            With the current 12 team setup, a pure geographical setup might very well work. Add in ND and Rutgers and there’s no way. There would have to be some other setup in a 14-team league.

          • Adam says:

            I want the CCG to be an afterthought. If the CCG is an afterthought, that means that the regular season was likely really exciting, because so much is riding on the outcome of who wins the division.

          • Adam says:

            Note, though, that it shouldn’t be a manufactured afterthought. The alignment shouldn’t be trying to make the CCG anything other than it is. The alignment should be based on some other, independent factor that is totally unrelated to whether the CCG ends up being an interesting game or not.

    • pioneerlion says:

      The ratings from annual matchups of PSU, tOSU and UM are a huge bargaining chip for Delaney and the big10. Competitive balance would be a galactically stupid move, jeopardizing $$ and national interest. Hopefully this is one aspect of the conference where Delany follows the SEC model and recognizes the mistakes of the ACC (and they are mistakes, to the point of being irrelevant on the national scene). ONE protected annual matchup can be arranged cross division, to maintain “cherished rivalries”, but splitting up the trioka of PSU, tOSU and UM would be killing the golden goose which has truly established the current ratings and annual $$ take that ALL the teams enjoy. Time for Iowa, Wisky, and Nebraska to step up the big10 west with 3 strong programs, with quality, perennial rivalries that would bring additional NATIONAL interest, higher ratings and more $$ to be divided up for the athletic departments of those that whine and pine for their quaint “cherished rivalries” and balance, which don’t add to the ADept balance sheet or satisfy every increasing demands of title IX enforcement.

      As a PSU fan, I will be hugely disappointed and angry with Delany and the conference if PSU is put into the big10 west – a move which would be as stupid, imbecillic and shortsighted as the big12’s idiotic and mornoic split of Oklahoma and Nebraska into the big12 north and south, and the end of their annual match up which brought great NATIONAL interest to the old big8. The big10 should not mess with the 1990 expansion success that got it where it is today, and as Frank says “KEEP IT SIMPLE”.

      • Michael says:


        There´s one very important point about divisional alignment that´s been overlooked. Whatever we decide upon, it is, in all likely hood, temporary!

        If Delany and co. see the Big 10 expanding to 14 or 16 in the near future, then it makes no sense to divide the divisions in any way other than an East/West split. Maintain rivalries and bide your time until the conference moves to a four team four pod system.

    • Aaron Musfeldt says:

      The most common solution that I have read to the problem of East/West imbalance is move Penn State west.

      All that does is move the imbalance from one division to the other. With Michigan being what it currently is, there is no way that divisions would be balanced as follows:

      Ohio State
      Michigan State
      Illinois or Northwestern

      Penn State
      Illinois or Northwestern

      This is an even worse imbalance than straight East/West.

      • Peter says:

        Totally agree.

        Yes there is a “big 4″. But we need to dig just a tad deeper to understand how the other 8 teams affect this.

        Wisconsin and Iowa are clearly the 5th and 6th best teams. If there is one thing the big ten needs as much as anything, is for both of these programs to breakthrough to the next level and become competitors on the national stage. The SEC has at least 6 nationally competitive teams. (FLA, UGA, Tenn, Bama, Auburn, LSU) and add in Ole Miss and Arkansas as solid.

        For the Big Ten to match the SEC, it needs to get past having only 4 “big” schools. Wisconsin and Iowa being in the same division with Nebraska, can expect to get that opportunity to breakthrough. This helps the Big Ten more than anything, in fact it is very much needed for the conference.

        Yea, if you focus on the “Big 4″ sure, 3 of 4 are in the East. But if you look at the top 6, Three are in the West and Three are in the East. The gap is not big. It is small and one that would only be visible over a long period of time, provided Iowa and Wisconsin fail to breakthrough—–which I highly doubt.

        Throwing Penn State to the West is simply dumb.

        East – West is very balanced. Stop worrying about 4 teams, this is now a 12 team league.

  3. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by jahernan, Frank the Tank. Frank the Tank said: New blog post on over-arching thoughts on conference realignment plus a little bit of LeBron: [...]

  4. M says:

    I think you are right about the “No more expansion without ND”, though I would have thought that a year ago as well.

    The fact that ESPN and Fox would intervene to stop super conferences lets me know that it is a good idea, at least financially.

    I really like the geographical divisions. As a Northwestern fan, having relatively close games increases attendance. Also, Northwestern has a winning record against everyone in the division (except Nebraska) since ’95.

    My first real meta-sports experience was Albert Belle signing with Chicago, which began my slow disenchantment with baseball. I was never really a big basketball fan, but I definitely watched more because LeBron was on the Cavs. I can’t say I would be surprised if he left though.

    • Peter says:

      I like divisions East West too.

      It keeps every single rivalry in-tact. It does. After Ohio St v Michigan (which by the way is not a trophy game) the group of games that need to be preserved is Minnesota-Wisconsin-Iowa. These teams cannot be broken up. Then you realize they have to be with Nebraska.

      Further, you want Nebraska to come to Chicago every other year to ensure a sell-out.

      I do think the first Big Ten home game for Nebraska should be hosting Wisconsin. The first road game should be @ Minnesota.

  5. gobucks1226 says:

    Frank, I agree the Big Ten is done expanding until they will be able to secure another national power. However, once the next round of TV negotiations begin, if the Big Ten is able to secure much higher revenues than the Big XII, won’t this talk about the Big XII splitting begin again? I think that Texas is always going to be the goal for the Big Ten, but if they potentially join the Pac-10 in the future, you will have schools raiding smaller conferences to replenish. This will force Notre Dame into the Big Ten, after the Big East ceases to exist

    • Derrick in KC says:

      After the way TX manipulated and played everyone in this round of realignment, I hope the Big Ten would be incredibly wary of flirting with the Longhorns in the future.
      I can’t blame the TX folks for getting the best deal for themselves, but they left a trail of bodies in their wake, especially in the B12 north.

      • eapg says:

        Unless the thinking changes between now and the next round, BevoTV is the sticking point between the Big Ten (or Pac 12) and Texas. The Texas point of view appears to be that once it is up and running, it becomes something any conference interested in them must accept. One wonders how much consideration they have given, if any, to the idea that BevoTV makes Texas a non-starter for those two conferences. It’s not like other conferences can’t eventually continue to nibble off important chunks of the Big 12, effectively forcing the Big 12 to further retreat geographically into Texas.

      • Bob in Houston says:

        Texas played everyone and chewed up the B12N? How do you figure? Texas put the B12 back together, and doubled everyone’s TV take (so they expect).

        They saved the B12N bacon, at least for five years.

        Texas didn’t come to a deal with the B10. If the LHN made the deal undoable, was that “playing” the B10?

        You could argue that the Pac-10 was played, but it was the Pac-10 that offered Colorado in order to avoid having the stigma of Baylor attached to it, and also talked about ejecting Oklahoma State in favor of Kansas (thereby changing the deal late in the game).

        • eapg says:

          We will see what’s been saved once expectations meet reality.

          “Maestas projects the remaining 10 Big 12 schools will receive $13.5 million each, but again, that’s before bargaining.

          “It’ll be similar to the Pac-10 per school,” he said. “It’s not realistic that Beebe’s going to give Texas and Oklahoma and (Texas) A&M $20 million (each) and all the have-nots $14 million to $17 million. They can distribute that kind of ratio, but the total pie won’t be large enough to add up to that.””

        • Nostradamus says:

          @Bob in Houston,

          “Texas put the B12 back together, and doubled everyone’s TV take (so they expect).”

          More like the Pac 10 wouldn’t agree to assigning media rights to individual schools rather than the conference so Texas decided to Stay in the Big XII-II, thus “saving” the conference.

          As for the doubling everyone’s tv take (or so the expect comment)… The so they expect part is the key there. Right now the only thing immediately holding the conference together is the fact ESPN (and thus ABC) and FSN decided not to reduce the value of the existing contracts, and the promise of the buyout money from NU and CU that may or may not ever come.

          “They saved the B12N bacon, at least for five years.”
          Time will tell about this. You are likely correct, but what happens in the next year with the FSN portion of the Big XII contract could doom the conference.

          The details leaked of the Fox master plan for the future were a joke. Even if the Big XII finally makes the right call by extending their FSN contract only to 2016 to bring up all of the rights at the same time in 2016; then all they’ve done is decided to go head-to-head with Delany. I’ll take Delany over Beebe in that one.

  6. K says:

    Missed the posts! Thanks Frank.

  7. Bay says:

    You’re right about the fevered following in Nebraska. Perfect example of this is the spring game. A lot of press gets written about the attendance and how great it is for a spring practice, second only to Alabama. They forget to mention the fact that Husker fans actually pay for their tickets. All the more impressive.

  8. loki_the_bubba says:

    The B10 may be done, but I don’t yet buy that for everyone else. Rumors today that Hawaii may go independent and Fresno State may go to D1AA.

    • duffman says:


      does this mean rice stays put for now?

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        As far as I can see, yes. Unless the MWC goes to 12 by raiding CUSA West (Houston?, UTEP?) to do it.

        • duffman says:


          good, I am going to make a serious effort to find at least 1 Rice game to watch on TV this fall because of you!

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            The Texas game on 9/4 is slated for ESPN, but I’m not sure I would recommend watching that one…

          • duffman says:


            agreed, i was wanting to see one where Rice can win in a fairly competitive game.

            suggestions? I have BTN and can get ESPN 3, but I have cable not satellite so my primary markets are Cincinnati, Louisville, and Indy.

          • M says:

            I am going to make a serious effort to watch a Rice game as well. Any idea if the Northwestern game will be televised?

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            The only three that are currently scheduled for TV are:
            9/5 Texas ESPN
            9/25 Baylor CBS College Sports
            10/16 Houston CSS

            There may be more added. Thanks for the interest, guys.

          • Bullet says:

            CBS college sports carries a lot of CUSA games. Of course, with Rice, you always want to see the halftime show if they show it and watch the MOB (Marching Owl Band). They are a satirical scatter band like Stanford and UVA.

  9. Sportsman24 says:

    I agree with a straight East/West divisional split. While conferences may become national, divisions should remain local/regional. The simplest way to create rivalries is geography. Non-geographic rivalries can form, but little elevates two institutions like geographic proximity.

  10. K Manns says:

    It would be such a slap in the face to Penn State to ask us to take one for the team and play in a western division. We were treated awfully in public and probably in private when we were first added to the conference (check out Black Shoe Diaries, a great PSU site, for a recent breakdown of how things went when the Nittany Lions were added to the conference).

    Now PSU would have to suffer and play teams they have very little historical connection with (except for Nebraska)? Not to mention the impact on the fans and traveling for away games.

    Look closely at what would be left in the “East” if Penn State was not there. It would be a bunch of tune up games that give Michigan and Ohio State a cake walk to solid records every year. I understand the protection of “the game”, no matter how unfair it is to everyone else, but there is no reason Penn State has to bite the bullet and be put at a disadvantage to make everyone else feel better.

    If “the game” is so important, put Michigan in the west and let it be set up so they can possibly play twice a year. If the conference caters to one Mich/OSU matchup, they’ll wet their pants for 2.

    • Nittanian says:

      Here is the BSD post about the reaction to PSU joining the Big Ten:

      • Michael in Indy says:

        I read that about a week ago. Very curious situation there, for sure.

      • Peter says:

        Wow. Wow.

        I remember some of that, but at the same time forget it was that contentious.

        Nebraska owes Penn State for being a trailblazer here and getting J Delaney to prepare better.

        Of course going from 10 to 11 was odd and part of the issue.

    • 84Lion says:

      Great article, Nittanian (although not from a PSU standpoint – still most instructive).
      If PSU takes the attitude that playing in the same division as Nebraska is “taking one for the team” I think this will be very self-defeating. Whether PSU fans want to acknowledge it or not, Ohio State-Michigan is the traditional top match-up in the Big Ten. If PSU continues to play MSU as their end-of-season rival, that matchup will almost certainly be relegated to a third-tier status behind whoever Nebraska plays. In short I think PSU would be flirting with becoming irrelevant as far as season-ending games are concerned.
      I suppose one could say, “when Notre Dame enters the Big Ten, they could be PSU’s rival.” Maybe. Then again they might be paired up with MSU, and PSU might be paired with an eastern school like Rutgers. Besides, suppose ND stays indie? Then PSU will either be locked into the MSU game or, again, an eastern rival.
      One of the divisional splits I considered was based on each school’s entry into the Big Ten. An exception or swap could be made to allow Michigan and Ohio State to be together in an “Olds” division (consisting of the schools in the Big Ten the longest). I think it would make a great championship game to pit the “oldsters” vs. the “new kids on the block.”
      If I were PSU I would try very hard to align with Nebraska, if for no other reason than to maintain relevance. Based on last year’s BCS selections, it’s pretty obvious that the Big Ten is pushing Iowa . If Tom Osborne wants PSU as his season-ending rivalry game (as I believe I’ve read elsewhere in one of the other blog entry comments), if I were PSU I’d take ‘em up on that one.

      • BillH says:

        The problem with doing divisions based on how long teams have been in the Big Ten is that Nebraska, Penn State, Ohio State, and Michigan all end up in the new teams division.

        Illinois, Northwestern, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Purdue have all been in since the start in 1896. Chicago was also an original member as was Michigan who later left and rejoined.

        Iowa and Indiana joined in 1900.

        Ohio State joined in 1912.

        Michigan rejoined in 1916 after leaving in 1907.

        Michigan State joined in 1953 and Penn State in 1990.

      • BuckeyeBeau says:

        IMHO, if PSU replaces MSU with NEB as its protected rivalry, staying in the East Division gives PSU everything they could want; get to keep the budding rivalries with MI and tOSU and get to start what may be a blockbuster annual event with the Huskers.

        I would schedule “the game” at noon and then “the new game” at 3:30 on the last saturday of the season. “the game’s” ratings would feed the ratings of the “new game.” everyone would be watching and then we’d have the CCG the following week. B10 in the public eye for two weeks.

        and even though there’d be a possible PSU/UNL rematch, I say “so what.” I know many have decried the idea of a rematch, but you can’t let the CCG drive the divisional decision like it did in the ACC. The CCG is definitely the tail; pay attention to the dog.

        in short, I 110% agree with Frank that geographical divisions are best.

        also, I don’t think anyone has mentioned, but geographical divisions almost perfectly protect the various rivalry games without the need for cross-divisional “protected rivalries.” I think the only ones “lost” are between the IL and IN teams and the long history between tOSU and Illinois (the Illibuck Trophy). But, those are not really lost; just some breaks are taken. A year or two off here or there is okay. That’s how it works now anyway. Example: tOSU cycles off of the Illini schedule now. So that can continue.

        • BuckeyeBeau says:

          oh, and with MSU and PSU still together in the east, even if not the last game of the season, they can continue to play for the prettiest trophy ever made (note: lots of sarcasm).

          • ezdozen says:

            As a non Big 10 fan, the logical E/W divisions make sense. Settle it on the field.

            Plus, you don’t need protected rivalries anymore. Just play your own division and 1/2 the other division. = 8 games.

            Every other year the Eastern teams would get Nebraska and the Western teams would get Ohio St.

            Plus, you don’t need to divide Indiana/Purdue or NW/Illinois.

            Solve it on the field.

  11. GreatLakeState says:

    I couldn’t agree more about the expansion talk being ‘on ice’ until Notre Dame can be lured. It’s all in Kelly’s hands now.
    I also believe that the expansion process (if it proceeds) will be signed and sealed behind the scenes then delivered once the deal’s done. All of Delany’s early bluster was counter productive.
    Nebraska is a home run add that will pay dividends for the Big Ten for decades. I agree that only ND, TEXAS (and FLORIDA) would be ahead of them.
    Great job on this blog Frank the Tank, your posts are informative, well reasoned and (since I agree with them almost verbatim) correct.
    Great Job! – And yes, Lebron is headed for Chicago.

  12. Carl says:

    Penn State vs. Ghana?

  13. Rich says:

    You preserve the rivalries by setting up protected rivalries. These protected rivalries are played each year.

    I think it is much more important to arrange divisions by competitive balance. This way you avoid what happened to the Big 12 where one division dominated. You also get a more interesting conference race. If one division is dominant then the other division suffers from a lack of attention not only nationally but within the conference, too.

    That means you will have to change the divisions periodically. I would use some kind of formula that calculates performance over the previous – oh, let’s say four years. This way you don’t change after every season yet you have the ability to adjust the competitive balance every four years.

    You can’t have PSU, OSU and UM in the same division because those are three of the four national schools and that would tend to pull focus away from the other division. Again, see the disaster that was the big twelve.

    I also think that you could set divisions each season based on projections. But there are problems with that. One, if you use the media projections, well, those are just so often wrong. Two, using some kind of panel made up of coaches or ADs might seem more appropriate but you would have schools angling to get paired with certain other schools. Some might want easier competition. Some may want a home game vs. OSU or UM for example. So I don’t think that would work. It must be objective and that means past performance. Maybe four years is too long. Maybe two years is more appropriate. Not sure.

    Anyway, based on previous four years’ records, here is how I would set it:

    Red Division

    Blue Division

    The protected rivalries that I would always protect under any alignment:

    You may notice that I’ve designated some schools with multiple protected rivals. That is because of certain unique relationships and potentially good rivalries. If by my formula a school ends up in the opposite division of all its protected rivals, then I’d have to adjust the alignment accordingly. The rules would have to be written in such a way to allow for these kinds of adjustments. For example, in the last four years, MSU and PUR both have 14 conference wins. I didn’t use any tiebreaker to decide which division to place them. But if MSU had ended up in the Red division and PUR in the Blue, both MSU protected rivals would have been in the other division. I would therefore have traded MSU and PUR.

    For schools that have two protected rivals, I would designate a primary rival. That’s whom they would play in the final game of the season. When a conflict arises like UM/OSU/MSU where UM/OSU must be the final game, I would have to make decisions based on what’s best for the conference. Obviously OSU/UM is a bigger rivalry than UM/MSU.

    • Adam says:

      Protected rivalries across the divisions are a pale imitation of an actual rivalry. An actual rivalry exists because both teams want something that only one of them can have. Their game is robbed of that significance if they can play a rematch in the title game.

      Cross-divisional rivalries are a last-ditch solution. They’re how you preserve rivalries like Michigan/Minnesota or Ohio State/Illinois, not Michigan/Ohio State.

    • BuckeyeBeau says:

      the BXII North is NOT the correct historical reference here. I think this is a mistake that a lot of people (including Delaney) are making and, again, this is a tail wagging the dog.

      unlike the BXII, there is equal revenue sharing in the B10; consequently, Minn, Illinois, NwU, Indiana, Purdue are NOT going to whither away.

      THAT was the problem with the BXII North. Other than Neb, there was a huge danger that the other teams in the BXII North would starve financially leading to perpetual cupcake status.

      That is not going to happen in the B10 because of the equal revenue sharing. The “lesser” B10 teams can still compete in the “arms race” by building facilities, etc. Minn for example, just built a new stadium; Indiana just revamped its stadium, etc.

      the point: the B10 West does not equal the BXII North.

      Neb, Iowa, Wis, Minn, IL, NwU

      greater than

      Neb, Mizzu, KS, KSstate, IowaState, Colo

      so, I again support 110% the idea of geographical divisions.

  14. duffman says:


    on your post.. good points..

    (1) I am going to throw out a wild card with almost no chance of success, but if the Big 10 goes to 16 maybe ND and USC instead of Texas, and then add 2 basketball schools (Kansas + Maryland) to capture some basketball brands that can lose to the football “brands”. It goes back to my argument that you have to have some balance of power which means you have to have some football losers as well.

    (2) I feel you are 100% right on this one. I really expected you as a lawyer to be filing some FOI requests. :) This ‘cabal’ for lack of a better word should not be able to stay out of the public eye in light of all that has happened.

    (3) In expansion football “brands” are driving it all. Academics are important, but in the end you better have a football program of note.

    (4) Amen! I kept saying Duke had no shot because of their football team, and I will stick with this till I turn blue or some major conference proves me wrong.

    (5) As an IU homer I disagree. That said, I think going forward you will have to at least try to balance the divisions. The problem is the historic rivals are sandwiched in between the new additions. No easy answer, but IU and PU might become another U of Chicago if they feel even more futile in football than they do now. If IU can not return to basketball greatness again, this could be a problem in the future.

    (6) Homer or not, I think you are correct about Lebron. If for no other reasons than Cleveland has cap room trouble, and Chicago is closer to Ohio than Miami or New York – in feel as much as actual mileage.

    (7) Okay I know you did not have a 7 but I am still pained by yesterday as a repeat of 2006. Since soccer will never have the TV timeouts that the US market demands I feel we may never be a serious contender for the World Cup. This is one place where the ESPN’s need to take some advertising losses for the betterment of the US on the world stage. Major media could chalk it up as pro bono work or write it off as an expense and get on the world bus here.

  15. HerbieHusker says:


  16. Jeepers says:

    Nutella crepes.

  17. duffman says:


    when it rains it pours in the Pac 10 football world

  18. Chas. says:

    As an Illinois basketball fan first and foremost I take exception to the keep it simple solution to conference divisions. The Fighting Illini’s closest geographic rival is actually the Purdue Boilermakers, so that tremendous rivalry should be broken up so that Nebraska always gets to play Wisconsin? I don’t think the college presidents think that way, nor does it have to be an obstacle.

    A roughly North/South division breakdown with two dedicated cross-rivals once we inevitably move to a nine game conference slate is the way to go.

    Great Lakes:
    Minnesota: Iowa & Nebraska
    Wisconsin: Nebraska & Iowa
    Northwestern: Purdue & Illinois
    Michigan State: Penn St & Indiana
    Michigan: Indiana & Purdue
    Ohio State: Illinois & Penn St

    Great Plains:
    Nebraska: Wisconsin & Minnesota
    Iowa: Minnesota & Wisconsin
    Illinois: Ohio St & Northwestern
    Indiana: Michigan & Michigan St
    Purdue: Northwestern & Michigan
    Penn State: Michigan St & Ohio St

    This achieves the competitive balance the league desires with the lack in disruption in long-standing football trophy games.

    • Joe4psu says:

      That’s a very interesting alignment. It is very similar to the alignment I have suggested but for different reasons. Looking strictly at competitive balance and trying to keep some geographic sanity I suggested the following:



      I am ignorant to the rivalries so I don’t know how much of a difference this is from your alignment. What I was trying to accomplish was set the book ends of UNL and PSU in the Blue division. To help PSU with travel I included the Indiana instead of the Illinois schools in the Blue division. Next for competitive balance I split Iowa and Wiscy. I chose Iowa for the Blue because it seems to be a natural rival for UNL and has become, at least to PSU fans, a rivalry game for PSU. The next thing I considered was the MSU and UM rivalry. That left Minny for the Blue.

    • jcfreder says:

      My guess is that there would not be divisions in basketball. But even if there are, football would presumably drive these much more than basketball. PUR isn’t even a protected rivarly game for ILL now, is it? Thsi particulr rivalry isn’t going to carry any weight in the divisional setup.

      • Chas. says:

        The SEC uses divisions for basketball effectively, making their tournament the crowning of the champ.

        As for football and basketball, the inclusion of Penn St has screwed up the continuity of rivalries for 17 seasons and now finally, by the addition of the Huskers we can restore some semblance of tradition.

        Did you know that Illinois plays for the Cannon with Purdue? Nor is the Illibuck game with Ohio State protected, but it should be. Nine game schedules allow all trophy games but the Governor’s Bell game between Minnesota and Penn State to be protected.

        Many fans don’t appreciate the cordial relationship between Big Ten institutions. Michigan may be the most storied football program in history, but they don’t make decisions for the league. I believe the consensus about decision-making is one of the many reasons Nebraska was attracted to the Big Ten.

        So even if Indiana is the weakest football program, equal time will be given to making sure that their stadium is packed by providing the most alluring match-ups for them. So let the Old Brass Spittoon be played for annually.

        • Gopher86 says:

          Even in 12 team leagues, the tourney champ is never the real champ. The best record over the regular season determines the champ.

          • Adam says:

            The Big East calls their tourney the “Big East Championship” and the winner the “Big East Champions.”

            I’ve always envied how cool the Big East’s event is and wondered why the Big Ten Tournament can’t be similarly cool.

          • Vincent says:

            It varies by league custom, not size of league. The Southern Conference and the ACC (which grew out of the Southern) deem the tournament winner its champion, not the team finishing first in the regular season. Conferences that later adopted tournaments never took this angle, perhaps fearing the regular season would be devalued.

      • Adam says:

        They don’t have any protected rivalries in basketball, which seems absurd to me. It wouldn’t astonish me if they went to a divisional structure in basketball too, although I may think that simply because the fact that they don’t protect any rivalries in basketball now makes no sense to me. Adding a 12th team is an opportunity to bring back sanity to basketball scheduling.

        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          The way the SEC schedule works for basketball is to play two games against each divisional opponents and one game against each team in the other division for a 16-game regular season, with 8 home games.

          • Adam says:

            That’s how I’d work it in Big Ten basketball, too. Seems perfect, doesn’t it? In fact, if the NCAA just wanted to trim those 2 games off the length of the season overall and start the NCAA Tournament a week earlier, sign me up. Nobody needs 2 more games against Coppin State and the University of Jacksonville in mid-December.

        • @Adam – I completely agree with you re: basketball scheduling. I’d handle it by having 3 geographic pods:

          POD A

          POD B

          POD C
          Michigan State
          Ohio State
          Penn State

          In an 18-game conference schedule, each team would play all of the other teams in its pod home-and-home every year (effectively protected rivalries). It would then rotate through the other schools 2 -years on/2-years off in terms of home-and-home within seasons. That is, you have 2 years on where you play a school outside of your pod twice per season, and then 2 years off where you play such school once per season.

          • Vincent says:

            This is more or less what the ACC should have done when it went to 12 teams (North: BC, Md, Va, VT; Central: Duke, UNC, NCSU, WF; South: Clem, FSU, GT, Miami). However, it didn’t happen because 1) the conference decided to retain its 16-game schedule, and 2) Maryland screamed to high heaven about preserving its “precious” home-and-home with Duke.

          • Gopher86 says:

            As a Big 12er, I’d say that the 16 game schedule works fine. No need to complicate things by bringing in rotating pods.

            The only downside to doing 5 home and homes and 6 alternating road/home games is that you miss a few great revenge games. KU vs. Texas determined the league champ more years than not– the Big 12 could have made a lot more money by making it a home and home game.

          • jcfreder says:

            With the last few years, the B10 went from 16 to 18 games, so I don’t think they are going back to 16 any time soon. Any time you throw the words “pods” out there, old-schoolers seem to blanch, but you could achieve the same result by announcing certain protected rivalries much like exists for football.

  19. duffman says:


    for the PSU and UNL bloggers only please.

    How would you guys like the divisions to look?

    • HerbieHusker says:

      Here’s my take as a Nebraska fan, I’m familiar with a lot of the Big Ten rivalries; but admittingly not all…..this takes care of most of the rivalries I know AND it keeps geography and competitiveness fairly convenient as far as I can tell:

      Michigan St

      Ohio St
      Penn St

      From what I understand; they are considering playing a 9 game conference schedule; if they do, this opens the door to the possibility of one permanent cross-division rival. So you’d end up playing the 5 teams in your division/your permanent cross-division rival/and 3 rotating games against the other teams in the opposite division. With that said, here are what I’d like to see the permanent rivals be:

      Iowa (Minnesota)
      Michigan (Ohio St)
      Michigan St (Penn St)
      Indiana (Purdue)

    • schwarm says:

      I suspect most UNL fans (like me) would like to see divisions based on geography (east/west). At least based on K Manns post above, PSU fans feel the same way. When you are on the geographic fringe, travel to away games is easier on average with the geographic split. Not sure of its significance, but the conferences that have had problems with divisions (ACC and Big XII) are/were laid out north/south while the SEC (and Big Ten) are naturally east/west.

      • eapg says:

        The Big Ten can be divided “naturally” North/South, only the two Illinois schools would go to different divisions of the states with two representatives. It isn’t considered natural because it divides Ohio State and Michigan, the number one rivalry that will be preserved. I suspect there are a number of ways of dividing that can easily be justified geographically but will be rejected out of hand because of such historical considerations.

        • schwarm says:

          The east/west distance of the Big Ten is much greater than the north/south distance. If you divide the conference north/south, some of your division rivals are probably a long way away.

          • eapg says:

            Agree. I’m just pointing out that geographic logic is not the deciding factor here. History is. Ohio State/Michigan and Michigan/Michigan State are untouchable, whether the geography of any particular split makes sense or not.

    • Joe4psu says:



      I am ignorant to the rivalries so I don’t know how much of a difference this is from your alignment. What I was trying to accomplish was set the book ends of UNL and PSU in the Blue division. To help PSU with travel I included the Indiana instead of the Illinois schools in the Blue division. Next for competitive balance I split Iowa and Wiscy. I chose Iowa for the Blue because it seems to be a natural rival for UNL and has become, at least to PSU fans, a rivalry game for PSU. The next thing I considered was the MSU and UM rivalry. That left Minny for the Blue.

    • ChicagoRed says:

      I think for most Nebraska fans geography outweighs rivalries since we lack special history with BT teams, there’s some with PSU and UM but not enough to base a division preference. Iowa makes sense, even though we haven’t played in a long time, think it’d generate interest.

      • Peter says:

        As a Big 10 grad (minny) and Husker fan, I prefer East West. It is balanced, contrary to what people say. The top 6 teams are clearly (OSU, NU, PSU, Mich, WIS, IOWA). 3/3

        The Big Ten NEEDs Wisconsin and Iowa to become national contenders of the B10 ever wants to match the SEC. Also, every rivalry is maintained with E/W split.

        The following teams need to be paired in any conference alignment.

        Ohio State-Michigan-Michigan State

        These trifectas need to be together. Next up is Nebraska. They need to be with UW/Minny/Iowa.

        From here I think it is foolish to try and engineer anything but geography.

        The E/W split is even. It is balanced. Sure, 3 of the “big 4″ are in the East, but this is a 12 team league and the top 6 are split evenly. Also, the West gets Chicago in its footprint.

        I do not like anchor games much. But I do like 9 game schedule. More games the better.

    • Nittanian says:

      I like a simple east/west split. Trying to balance divisions seems futile since team strength is cyclical.

      • Vincent says:

        Agreed with the straight geographical setup.

        For guaranteed cross-division games, play these:

        Penn State-Nebraska
        Ohio State-Illinois
        Michigan State-Wisconsin

        That insures the PSU-Neb game everyone wants, along with trophy rivalries such as Mich-Minn and OSU-Ill

        BTW, one problem the Big 12 had was that it didn’t insure an annual Nebraska-Oklahoma game. Had each team had a guaranteed interdivisional game, the conference might have had a bit more stability.

        • BuckeyeBeau says:

          um, some of the trophy games are not essential to protect every year; right now, many of those games (IL/OSU) take breaks when the teams cycle off each other’s schedules. In that regard, from earlier comments, maybe IL would prefer a protected rivalry with IN or Purdue?

          i think the schools themselves should have a lot of input into the divisional split and what becomes a “protected rivalry”

          • Vincent says:

            You have a point there; I just noticed that Michigan and Minnesota did not face each other last year, nor will they this year. I always assumed the Little Brown Jug was a “protected,” annual game, just as Alabama-Tennessee or Auburn-Georgia are. Heck, one of the reasons for the way the ACC divisions are set up was so that Clemson and N.C. State could meet every year (the game is called the “Textile Bowl”).

            Perhaps Wisconsin could get a guaranteed game with Ohio State, and Iowa with Michigan. Then, with PSU-Nebraska, the top half of the Big Ten would be assured of playing at least three games against its competitive peers. (As others have stated, strict geographic divisions would boost the visibility of Wisconsin and Iowa, programs that over the past decade or so are the virtual equal of Michigan on the field.)

        • loki_the_bubba says:

          One thing about tbe B12 interdivisional game history. I can’t think of any game other than OU-NU that anyone wanted or that would have mattered. Baylor v who? aTm vs who? Texas Tech didn’t care about any of the north. Adding a fake rivalry for ISU/Baylor would have done nothing to help the conference.

          • kmp says:

            Texas Tech did care about beating Nebraska the last four times they’ve played, including by 21 last season in Lincoln.

    • eapg says:

      1. Iowa
      2. Penn State
      3. Wisconsin
      4. Michigan

      For Nebraska, if possible you nail down Iowa/Nebraska as the regular season ender. There is history there and two fan bases who already bicker at one another. Nebraska @ Iowa City, Iowa @ Lincoln, pardon the oxymoron, is an instant classic.

      Penn State. Yes, rivalries are organic and must grow naturally. To ignore the potential and the draw of this rivalry, which is already 28 years old, is…I really can’t think of a word for what that is. I guess it’s really up to Penn State, if they would feel slighted somehow to get put in the same division which would have to ignore geography to some degree. But yeah, Nebraska would be all in on Penn State.

      3. Wisconsin is probably our rude awakening rival. A lot of Nebraskans feel a kinship with Alvarez and Wisconsin, and feel some obligation to repay the help they have already provided, if that’s what Wisconsin wants. I suspect it would rapidly develop into an intense rivalry and we wouldn’t be singing Kumbayah for long.

      4. Michigan. Some history and bad blood. Just because they’re Michigan. Love to see them on the schedule as much as possible.

      • schwarm says:

        WRT Wisconsin, not much recent history, but back in ’74 we went to their place with a #4 ranking and came out on the short end. I think shortly afterward, we hired their DC, Charlie McBride. Plus, Madison is one of the best road trips for us in Big Ten, when you factor in mileage.

    • Aaron Musfeldt says:

      Nebraska fan:

      I want to play (in no particular order) Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin every year. After that, bring em on. If you wan to throw in Penn State, Michigan and Ohio State into our schedule every year, so be it. The year we go undefeated and win the NC with a schedule like that will be a team that will be remembered for a long time.

      I think keeping as many rivalries together is the most important thing the conference can do. If you value your rivalries, just look at the UNL-Oklahoma rivalry and what happened to it. They create excitement and viewership and it’s what people want.

  20. ChicagoRed says:

    thanks for posting the picture from the end of the Nebraska-ND game, never get tired of it or the “Sea of Red” in ND’s house from the same game that you posted earlier.

    By any chance did you attend that game?

  21. K says:

    I grew up a huge penn st fan and now started liking michigan as well. I like the balanced conferences versus an strict east/west split. I have come to enjoy the PSU/IOWA game as much as the PSU/UM game. I think there should be as many OSU/PSU/UM/UN games as possible in each year. I am not a fan of these divisions in any other sport though if there would be a need for divisions.

  22. GopherKH says:


  23. Michael says:


    A couple good reads:


    The Big 10 has apparently asked its AD´s to hold off scheduling anything in football past 2012. I´m guessing this has more to do with the uncertainty regarding the number of conference games and the timing of the conference championship, but it could also very well be an indication that a new expansion strategy is being discussed internally. For the record, my money is still on the ACC raid: GTech and Miami first and then Maryland, Rutgers and Notre Dame.

    As for the LeBron rumors, if you haven´t seen this yet, you´re going to love it:

    According to an unnamed exec, LeBron and Bosh to the Bulls is already a done deal.

    Whether there´s any truth to it or not, you have to imagine LeBron and company already have a good idea of where they´re headed. I think this is why he took the circus aspect out of it and told all his suitors that they had to come to him.

    I also tend to think that Paxson and company must have been given pretty strong affirmations through the grape vine, so to speak, that things are going their way for them to make the Hinrich trade. At this point, they´ve moved all in and I don´t see them doing that unless they have a pretty good feeling about how it´s playing out.

    All in all, it´s been an exciting summer. Keep the blog posts coming!

  24. duffman says:

    question for A&M bloggers

    tu = sips = texas, but what does OP mean? I keep seeing OP on the A&M blogs, and am not sure what it means.


  25. Scott C says:

    While I do like the idea of Nebraska playing Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin every year. I just don’t think it’s going to happen. Based on what Purdue AD, Morgan Burke stated and coupled with Delany’s memo on priorities (1-competitive balance, 2-rivalries, and 3-geography), I believe it’s safe to assume Penn State and Nebraska will be grouped together.

    From Adam Rittenberg’s ESPN Big Ten blog:
    “We weren’t sure how the expansion thing was going to pan out, but we did talk about the notion that geography doesn’t always work,” Burke said. “The one thing we talked about, and it’s actually in our bylaws, is comparative parity. You have to make sure you protect the rivalries as best you can, and I think we’ll be able to do that, but you don’t want either of these divisions to be imbalanced.”

    So, let’s look at the past 50 years. From Stassen’s Major Team Win/Loss Database, I pulled the following ranking of Big Ten teams (1960-2009) sorted by wins:

    1. Nebraska (468-130) (Overall #1)
    2. Penn State (436-149) (Overall #2)
    3. Ohio State (434-130) (Overall #3)
    4. Michigan (415-154) (Overall #8)
    5. Michigan State (290-257) (Overall #49)
    6. Iowa (286-269) (Overall #52)
    7. Wisconsin (282-271) (Overall #53)
    8. Purdue (280-266) (Overall #55)
    9. Minnesota (255-292) (Overall #69)
    10. Illinois (232-310) (Overall #83)
    11. Indiana (204-339) (Overall #95)
    12. Northwestern (189-356) (Overall #100)

    Now, from these rankings create some tiers:

    Tier I: Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State
    Tier II: Iowa, Michigan State, Purdue, Wisconsin
    Tier III: Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Northwestern

    To create historical competitive balance, we’d want to take two from each tier in a division.

    To help maintain rivalries, we’ll have to follow an SEC model where there is a protected cross-division rival. From this I would guess the following divisions make the most sense:

    Division A
    Michigan (I)
    Ohio State (I)
    Michigan State (II)
    Wisconsin (II)
    Illinois (III)
    Indiana (III)

    Division B
    Nebraska (I)
    Penn State (I)
    Iowa (II)
    Purdue (II)
    Minnesota (III)
    Northwestern (III)

    The cross-division rivalries would be as follows:

    Ohio State-Penn State
    Michigan State-Iowa

    This will create more games between the Tier I schools than putting Penn State in an “eastern” division would. Also, it would give Penn State a true division rival to complement Michigan-Ohio State. Imagine ending the season with Michigan-Ohio State and Nebraska-Penn State.

    Also being mentioned by the athletic directors is the possibility of moving to a 9-game schedule. With that you could add another cross-division rival which would nearly eliminate rivalry loss.

    I doubt the Big Ten will actually use this setup, but I’d imagine it would be somewhat similar.

    • BillH says:

      There are other ways to look at the tiers. One could look at the number of BCS bowl games each team has played in during the last 12 seasons when the BCS has existed.

      8 Ohio State
      4 Michigan
      2 Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Penn State, Wisconsin
      1 Purdue
      0 Indiana, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern

    • StvInILL says:

      I like your idea of the tiers. But going back 50 years is crazy. 12 to 20 would be better. Going back 50 years takes a snapshot of something that is not relevant to current trends. For one example imaging ND in the past 12 years and ND in the previous 12 years. Imagine if our armed forces take recon pictures of bombing sites from 50 years ago?

  26. Jim says:

    I agree with going geography instead of competitive balance on division alignment. The East might seem loaded with UM, tOSU, and PSU but what that does is insure that one of these 3 teams play in the Big 10 championship game year in and year out. This is a huge problem with the ACC where the goal might be FSU/Miami the likelihood of this is low when if you have both in the same division the likelihood of one of them making it each year increases and more importantly winning and going to the BCS. A Big 10 sending UM, tOSU and PSU to its championship game every year also has other benefits. Even if one of these teams lose they will almost certainly get a BCS at large bid as each are rating and traveling powerhouses. It bumps up the perception of the conference where any team that can beat the other two to land a slot will be seen as a very good to great team and get poll voter support.

  27. Paul says:

    For the divisional split, the Big Ten should learn from history.

    Lesson 1: Learn from the Big 12’s mistake in splitting Nebraska-Oklahoma. Don’t split UM and tOSU into separate divisions.

    Lesson 2: Learn from the ACC’s mistake in splitting based on competitive balance (which has produced jumbled divisions) and from the SEC’s success in emphasizing geography over elusive competitive balance (which has produced popular CCG’s).

    The obvious conclusion is an east-west split.

    Practical question (since this is ultimately going to be decided by the presidents): Which schools, if any, would object to an east-west split? My sense is that all of the west schools would approve because it would preserve important rivalries. I think UM-tOSU-PSU-MSU would approve for the same reason. The only schools I could see objecting are Indiana and Purdue.

    If you are a fan of a school that would object to the east-west split, what is the basis?

    • Hank says:

      I know its a rhetorical question but why would Indiana or Purdue object?

      fwiw I’m starting to come around on the geographical split. My initial reaction was that putting Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State in one division was overweighting the east but that may be undervaluing the recent accomplishments of both Wisconsin and Iowa.

      Frank’s stab at a division alignment is as good as any, creates some potential natural rivalries and provides a good framework for both Wisconsin and Iowa to estabish them as counterwieghts to Nebraska in the west. I like it. Its better than gerrymandering the divisions based on the view in the rear view mirror.

      • duffman says:


        you answered your own question on IU and PU. Having PSU, tOSU, and UM you are looking at 0 -3 every year in your division, and if IU loses to PU and MSU every year they are 0 -5. Not the way to get to a bowl anytime soon.

        look at this link

        not that it is the end all and be all, but it is a reasonable place to argue “brand” value with the top teams being:

        (1 – 5) OU, USC, tOSU, ND, UNL
        (6 – 10) BAMA, TX, UM, FSU, Miami
        (11 – 15) PSU, TN, LSU, UGA, UF
        (16 – 20) UCLA, WU, GT, Ark, A&M

        if you look at 50 year windows instead of 10 yr or 20 yr teams like FSU and Miami would drop considerably, but teams like OU and USC would not (which would move PSU into the top 10). Now you are IU or PU and you have 3 of the top 10 “brands” in your division. Good luck recruiting against that. On top of it all your basketball team has not been up to snuff the past few years and Izzo is staying at MSU. Call me crazy but if I am the AD for IU, PU, and possibly MSU I am not real happy about that.

        • Vincent says:

          To placate Indiana and Purdue, have them and the Illinois/Northwestern pair swap divisions every two years. Aside from that, the East/West geographical integrity would be retained.

          • mushroomgod says:

            As an IU fan, imo the Big 10 shouldn’t spend 10 minutes considering what IU and PU want in all this. The Indiana schools need to get their s*** together when it comes to football anyway…….

        • Hank says:

          well Duff

          Indiana maybe but not so sure about Purdue, they have been more competitive over the years. but that said would the other division be any friendlier for them? Wisconsin, Nebraska and Iowa would start them the same way.

          As to the arguement that its tough for them to recruit facing that. Well to be honest so would the other division. If you are a school in their position in football you have to develop a strategy that allows you to build a successfull base. Purdue has done that in the past. Northwestern used to be a complete doormat and they have build a credible program over the years. It can be done. They are going to face tough competition anyway the conference goes.

          btw I’m open to any sensible approach to divisions. I just am getting to the point where it seems like trying for artificial parity arrangements are just transitory anyway. Go for the natural geographic fit.

          • duffman says:


            I agree, there is no simple way..

            the problem is the 2 newest ‘brands’ are the farthest away, and the big ‘old’ rivals would be near impossible to break up. If the Big 10 had gone to 16, my solution was:

            PSU + 3
            tOSU + 3
            UM + 3
            UNL + 3

            but with 12, and 2 divisions it makes it harder because of the old rivals vs distance thing. I guess if you have 4 “brands” and 2 divisions, an optimal way would be to split 2 and 2:

            Division 1
            Brand 1 + Brand 2 + 4

            Division 2
            Brand 3 + Brand 4 + 4

            for balance along the way Scott C did, but I know it will not make folks happy. The SEC got the balance to work, but some of it may have been because the additions of Ark and USC were not the top brands..

            SEC EAST

            UF + UGA + 4

            SEC WEST

            BAMA + LSU + 4

            I guess what I am trying to figure out is the long term strategic planning so if the B 10 goes to 16, you can make the “new” rivals now as opposed to later to allow more time to grow.

        • Peter says:

          Purdue went 2-0 vs (Ohio St and Michigan) in 2009, in a down year, finishing 5-7.

          To say they would go 0-3 is absurd. I thought the case against East/West was unbalanced, if so they why the automatic 0-3 each year?

  28. allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

    When you look at the current Big 10 yearly rivalries (not necessarily TROPHY games, but protected yearly games), it’s SO easy to split things up. Frank’s original lineup “east west” is perfect.

    Minny, Iowa, Wiscy have protected games with each other.
    Illini and NW are rivals, so they can go with these geographic three.
    Only “loss” of rivalries…NW/Purdue and Illini/Indiana. NEITHER are Big 10 football homeruns.

    UM has MSU and OSU.
    OSU has PSU and UM.
    PSU has OSU and MSU.
    Those four must stick together for tradition sake.
    Purdue and Indiana are rivals.
    Only “loss” of rivalries…NW/Purdue and Illini/Indiana.

    Now, if the league institutes ONE interdivisional rival, then this loss is neutralized.

    The following yearly interleague games would create “big” games for the networks and maintain difficulty of schedule for all.
    (last two could be switched, let OSU and UM fight for Wiscy)

    As a PSU fan, I’ll be ticked if it ends up OTHER than this.

    • Paul says:

      A big advantage of the east-west split is that you maintain almost all rivalries with an 8-game schedule. The other six teams can be played every other year. Adding a cross-divisional rival to an 8-game schedule messes things up by making some teams go longer than a year off from each other. If they go east-west, I hope they do not add one more fixed game.

      • Paul says:

        I forgot to add that the protected cross divisional game (especially when the big teams are paired against each other, i.e., PSU-UNL) increases the chances that the CCG will be a repeat.

      • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

        That’s fair. No offense to Indiana/Illinois/NW/Purdue fans, but them losing one rivalry game (not every year, mind you, simply every three years), is a small sacrifice to pay.

        I even wonder if those schools would GLADLY sacrifice games with each other. Think about from Indiana’s perspective. They can have a guaranteed yearly game with Illinois (meaning two home games with a meager opponent every four years) or they can rotate through and get “western foes” Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nebraska more frequently (one home game with good old Illinois every four years but one premiere opponent at home every four years as well).

  29. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    While I have no dog in this hunt, I think geographic East/West divisions is the way to go. Can anyone tell me who is in the Atlantic and the Coastal divisions of the ACC? Almost every college football fan could recite the members of the SEC East and the SEC West. Part of the interest for true Big Ten fans would be preserving the geographic and traditional rivalries. Part of the interest for casual Big Ten fans, like me, is understanding the organization of the league.

    You may see Iowa and Wisconsin step up in a Western Division. Getting Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State will probably help. Frank, I have never understood why Illinois isn’t more consistent. From the outside looking in, Illinois appears to be a sleeping giant as the flagship school in such a high population state.

    • Adam says:

      I almost wonder whether you copy/pasted that from an earlier post. I am almost certain I’ve used that same phrasing with respect to reciting the SEC East/West members. I could not possibly agree more.

    • duffman says:


      I was looking at a north / south, but it would mean splitting up tOSU and UM. I agree the Atlantic and Costal thing was terrible. Maybe Frank can offer better insight, but I thought early on U of Chicago was the early football power in the Big 10 (back when A A Stagg was coaching). It might have been like tOSU and Cincinnati in Ohio. Hard to play second fiddle in your own state. If Chicago was good maybe it made it harder for Illinois to be good early on. LSU is lucky to have no state “pair” as Tulane is private (like Cincinnati used to be). No matter how good Auburn does, it is always in BAMA’s shadow.

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        Duff – I suggested the same thing (splitting UM & tOSU) several blogs ago and that suggestion appeared to be blasphemous. In the SEC, Bama & Tennessee are in different divisions, as are Auburn & Georgia, but they play every year as the cross-division rivalry games.

        The more I have thought about it though, a North/South split in the Big Ten would still be somewhat confusing. A North/South split works for the new 12-Pac, should work for the ACC, and did work for the old/current Big XII. From a geographic standpoint, an East/West split just looks better for the SEC and the Big Ten+2.

        • duffman says:


          yeah, which is why I have never pushed the issue about tOSU and UM. :) which is why I was suggesting that if the Big 10 was going to 16 with 4 pods as outlined before, maybe this is the time to start making the breaks.

          If the SEC ‘brands’ were BAMA, LSU, UGA, and UF it would unbalance the SEC if 3 were in the West and only 1 was in the East (not saying that these 4 SEC teams are the ‘brands’ but saying they are to illustrate the point). The problem with the Big 10 is the 2 newest ‘brands’ are also the two farthest away from the center of the conference (if you look at a US map – UNL & PSU are the ‘wings’ or ‘arms’ of the Big 10).

        • Bullet says:

          I think the issue with UM and OSU is that they traditionally play at the end of the season. Alabama/TN and Ga/Auburn were not the final games. So if you split them, either you risk them playing 2 weeks in a row or you change the final game tradition which would really get fans upset.

          It is interesting, however, how infrequent rematches in the championship game are. The fact that one team must win reduces the chance of the other team winning their division. Rematches are the exception, not the rule, in the many games played by the MAC, Big 12, SEC and CUSA.

      • George says:

        Your U of Chicago idea isn’t true. University of Illinois had 5 national championships between 1914-1951, 4 of which came between 1914 and 1927. So, U of I did have a good tradition starting out.

        Illinois does absolutely horrible recruiting the state of Illinois.

    • Peter says:

      Great point. I know a lot of college football, even lived in the ACC footprint and still can’t tell you their division set up.

      Knowing the divisions is critical to any sports fan. I can name divisions of all 32 NFL teams, all 30 MLB teams, god-even the NBA, and every B12 and SEC team….but can’t do it for the ACC.

  30. Adam says:

    By my math, there are 15 noteworthy rivalries in the Big Ten (please correct my math if I’ve miscounted; I’ve run through this several times and it always seems like I produce slightly different numbers):
    Michigan-Ohio State
    Ohio State-Penn State
    Penn State-Michigan State
    Michigan State-Michigan
    Minnesota-Penn State
    Michigan State-Indiana
    Ohio State-Illinois

    I believe in maximizing the number of these games that continue to be played. That means you try to put as many pairs into the same division as possible. It’s likely that there will be 1 guaranteed rivalry game across the divisions, with 2 games that rotate, and you don’t want to burn that 1 guaranteed game unless you have no other choices.

    I think there are a couple of obvious building blocks in those rivalries: Michigan-Michigan State-Ohio State-Penn State is one, and Wisconsin-Iowa-Minnesota another. Just putting those sets of teams into divisions with each other gives you 7 out of those 15 rivalries annually. When you finish off the “East/West” split, you’re up to 10 of the 15. You can get a few more with inter-divisional guaranteed games: Michigan-Minnesota, Ohio State-Illinois, Purdue-Northwestern. So, I’ve been on the geographic bandwagon from the start, albeit for non-geographic reasons.

    I have nothing to add to Frank’s excellent observations (and those of everybody echoing Frank on here) about the quixotic nature of trying to create “balanced” divisions and the utter failure that has been the ACC as a result. I would just add this: it isn’t good enough that two teams play in a given season; it isn’t a meaningful rivalry unless only one of them can get something they both want as well as a strong likelihood that they will play for that sought-after outcome. This is why the Patriots and Colts have a big rivalry: they have to go through each other to get to the Super Bowl. They do not have significant rivalries to speak of with anybody in the NFC. This is why the Yankees and Red Sox have a big rivalry with each other, and not much to speak of with anybody in the National League. It’s why the Red Wings had a major rivalry with the Colorado Avalanche, but not all that much to speak of with Pittsburgh, even though they played Pittsburgh in consecutive years in the Cup Finals. It just matters more when you’re on the same side of the competitive structure; the likelihood of facing someone from the other side is too attenuated. (The Celtics/Lakers rivalry is a bit of an anomaly, but only developed because they’ve played each other so often in the Finals, and came into many other seasons with an expectancy of playing each other in the Finals.)

    Delany is wrong to put rivalries as the 2nd priority. It should be the first. And a rivalry-based alignment produces a geographic alignment.

    • Adam says:

      I would also note that it’s totally bogus to say that the East/West arrangement is imbalanced. It’s not based on anything other than people drawing the knee-jerk conclusion that Michigan and Penn State are a class ahead of everybody else. It just isn’t true. Wisconsin, Penn State, and Michigan are statistically identical since Penn State joined the conference. Iowa is a bit behind, but well ahead of the next pack of teams (Michigan State, Purdue, and Minnesota). It’s the same nonsense that the poll voters use. Michigan or Notre Dame starts 7-0 and it’s a BFD, but Minnesota starts 7-0 and it’s ho-hum because the presumption is they’ll run out of steam sooner rather than later. The so-called experts say “I don’t need a formula to tell me what my eyes tell me about how good a team is,” but I think the actual evidence suggests that what people’s eyes tell them is indelibly affected by the biases and expectations they bring to the table as shaped by history. What was happening in football even as recently as the 60s or 70s is not even relevant in this age of scholarship limitations which have made the MAC dramatically more competitive against the Big Ten.

      • duffman says:


        I agree about your knee jerk comment. The problem is TV is catering to “joe” football, and his inherent bias. Someone else posted about this, and I think it affects viewing more than the reality of how good teams actually are. While some guy in Madison that has been watching the badgers all their lives may know how good their team actually is, some guy in Durham will still tune in the tOSU vs UM game because that is what the media has reinforced him to think is the better game (even if both were having an off year).

        • Adam says:

          You can’t stop “joe” from thinking that, but I expect a little more out of the league office.

          Frank: by now we all know that you’ve established something along the lines of sources at the league office. When you say you think a straight-up E/W split is what will happen, is that speculation or is it based on actual information?

          This interests me substantially more than the identity of who they added; so long as they didn’t add a geographically and culturally unacceptable team, I was happy with a 12th (I probably wouldn’t have voted for Nebraska, but I wouldn’t have voted against them, either), but the manner in which the league divides itself greatly interests me.

          • duffman says:


            I agree once again, but “joe” drives ratings. Ratings drive revenue. So in the end “joe” drives the bus and any league office will have to bend to “joe” to drive revenue.

            As I said before, I am not happy with this. It just is.

          • Adam says:

            As I noted above, though, what Joe says he wants and what he buys are two very different things. The fact that people are complaining about OSU/PSU/UM in the same division is meaningless. People bitch about the BCS too, but it’s a ratings and financial success.

  31. duffman says:

    This has been brought up for awhile..

    but all this expansion stuff may bring it to a head.

  32. Bullet says:

    Agree wholehearted Frank on KISS and all your points. I would add one other point-don’t give Penn St. the shaft. Its one thing to move them west for Notre Dame. Its quite another for Nebraska.

    For schedule balance (mostly for the bottom 6), to give Nebraska a true marquee game, and TV reasons, you could do a 5-1-2 like the SEC. UNL/PSU, UM/IA, OSU/WI, IU/MN, MSU/NW, PU/IL. If you make PSU play Nebraska, it would be unfair to them to focus on trophy games and let UM play MN and OSU play IL.

    My 2nd choice for keeping rivalries together would be Chas’ Lake/Plains which is basically just a north/south except that Ohio St. is in the north. But that alignment still takes the 3 closest schools to PSU and puts them in another division.

    • Chas. says:

      Penn State would still get to play its current protected rivals of Michigan State and Ohio State in my scenario. While Iowa and Wisconsin fans are salivating at the chance to play the Huskers at the end of the season, I imagine the glorious battle of Penn State-Nebraska to close out the Plains opposite the Michigan-Ohio State game of the Lakes.

  33. Bullet says:

    Entrenched TV interests don’t want superconferences now. I think the key word is NOW.

    Most interpretations I saw said that ESPN didn’t want to renegotiate the deals they recently completed with the SEC and ACC. Fox didn’t want to lose out totally and/or face new competition (there are a couple of entities interested in college football-one was Comcast). So in 10-12 years when the 12 year ACC deal and 15 year SEC deals are nearing completion, we could see more interest. Right now in a recession, the networks are taking a big risk in guaranteeing money for a long time. It will be interesting to see if ABC/ESPN try to get the B10’s next deal to expire in that same general time frame (2022-2024).

    In Kirk Bohls article he said DeLoss Dodds thought the B12 would be together a long time. When asked to define a long time, the answer was, “5 years, 10 years. If we live long enough, we’ll see all this happen again.” (sounds like something out of Battlestar Galacatica-Its all happened before, it will all happen again).

    There was an interesting perspective that sometimes gets lost when the entire structure of college football is changing in a 2 week period: one of the “unknown powers”-an AD or President of a college not directly impacted-wondered how all this fit in with the mission of the colleges. Does it make sense for Texas to travel all the way to Los Angeles-1,225 miles (let alone Seattle)? Its about the same distance from Austin to Atlanta (819 miles) as it is from Austin to Tuscon (789). And you could fill 3 or 4 conferences with the teams within 819 miles north and east of Austin, instead of having Arizona as a team in your division.

    And as it all played out, its pretty clear that w/o Texas in the Pac and A&M in the SEC, there just aren’t viable options for those two conferences to get to 16. The Presidents in the PAC and B12 may be the powers that stop the superconference next time, wondering if it really makes sense based on the mission of the university. As we all know, all it takes in the Pac is Stanford’s president to vote no.

  34. Bullet says:


    A lot of people comment on the devaluation of the bb regular season. The reason bb doesn’t matter to expansion is that the regular season is the money the conferences control. The NCAA controls the tourney $. When they expanded the NCAA tourney to 64 and everyone implemented conference tourneys, they really crippled the regular season. And with 64, the conference tourneys don’t matter much for the top third of the teams (who would normally have the fans most interested). I know personally, my interest in the regular season really dropped after the expansion to 64. And unless my team is on the bubble, I’m not especially interested in the conference tourneys-its just an exhibition until we get to the games that matter.

    So besides the unimportance of bb, it also says that a 16 team tourney in football just isn’t going to happen for a long, long time. 4 or 8 maybe, but not 16.

    • duffman says:


      agreed, they have ruined college basketball for easy money. In a perfect world they would eliminate the conference tourneys, or limit it to maybe the top 4 teams. Then go back to the old 16 team format so the regular season games become important again.

      This will never happen of course and will probably go to 128 teams in the next decade or so. It would have been one nice side effect of the “super conferences” as they could have gone to a format as outlined in my first paragraph and kept the revenue “in house”.

      I mean seeds 13 – 16 are just chum games, and many of the 9 – 12 teams are the ‘bubble’ schools anyway. Why reward average, when the NC game should be for the best of the best. A team that gets hot for a game or two knocking off a top team and then gets the NC, you know that would never go down in football.

  35. BillH says:

    I posted my division thoughts in the other thread a week ago but I’m reposting them. I think one of the main things that will determine how the divisions are split is how many conference games the teams will play. Ikenberry stated a desire to make the 9 game schedule possible as a main reason for voting for expansion and I believe Michigan is also in favor of the 9 game schedule so it cannot be dismissed.

    I’d like to see the divisions be competitive as well as maintain as many of the current permanent matches in the Big Ten as well as as many of the trophy games as possible.

    I’ve come up the following plan which only sacrifices one trophy game (the most recently established Governor’s Victory Bell between PSU and Minnesota that I don’t think anyone cares about). It seems silly to outsiders but Illini fans prefer losing to tOSU to losing to the other powers because of the long history of the rivalry. I think this feeling is common among fan bases in the Big Ten. I chose to have Minnesota play Nebraska every year because of proximity.

    This is based on 9 conference games and permanent cross division rivals are listed in parenthesis.

    Big Ten North
    Wisconsin (Purdue, Iowa)
    Minnesota (Iowa, Nebraska)
    Northwestern (Purdue, Illinois)
    Michigan (Indiana, Nebraska)
    Michigan St (Penn St, Indiana)
    Ohio St (Illinois, Penn St)

    Big Ten South
    Nebraska (Minnesota, Michigan)
    Iowa (Minnesota, Wisconsin)
    Illinois (Ohio St, Northwestern)
    Indiana (Michigan, Michigan St)
    Purdue (Northwestern, Wisconsin)
    Penn St (Michigan St, Ohio St)

    I know there’s no historical or geography argument for a permanent game between Wisconsin and Purdue but every team needs two permanent rivals. I wanted Nebraska to play Michigan every year to keep the big 4 playing 2 of the other 3 every year.

    • Adam says:

      I am highly suspicious of a 9-game schedule. I would not say that has been an unmitigated success in the Pac-10. It means half the league plays more home league games than road league games, distorting the championship race. And it is essentially lighting money on fire, because league games are a zero-sum system: for one team to have a home game, someone else must play a road game. Non-conference games allow everybody to play at home (if they wanted to). You’re just giving away a ton of money playing 9 league games.

      And once you play 8 league games instead of 9, there is no way in hell that they protect 2 games across the divisions. The SEC did that for a few years and it flopped. Now they protect 1 game across the divisions.

    • Chas. says:

      Excellent, I have the same division line-up. I just switched the protected rivalries for Nebraska and Michigan, so The Huskers get an annual game with the Badgers and the Wolverines get the Boilers.

  36. MC says:

    How does one determine the “right” number of seasons to adequately measure the performance of 12 college football teams for the sake of comparing their competitiveness? Do we zoom in too far if we only review the last season or two? Does a decade or two provide an adequate perspective? Does 50 years place too much importance on the past? Or not enough? Short of calculating moving averages, maybe all of those are valid measurements that should be considered?

    From my perspective, I would prefer that a distinction be made between competitive balance and brand balance, both of which should be taken into consideration but with more weight of importance placed on the former since it has been specifically addressed by Delany on various occasions. I also suggest such a distinction between the two can be quantified whereby we use a wider perspective for brand balance, since it is subject to less volatility, and a narrower focus for competitive balance, which can be more cyclic in nature

    A previous post by Scott C provided a 50-year span of football records for the 12 teams as well as an assessment of how those teams could be split into tiers. Rather than wash, rinse, and repeat, I will simply borrow his great work and pass along many thanks to him for his effort (Thanks Scott C.!). I will also point out this a perfect example of the brand balance that will exist in the Big Ten and there is a definitive difference between the three tiers. Like it or not, it has been this way for a decade or two and it will probably be this way for the new generations of college football fans that follow:

    Tier I: Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State
    Tier II: Iowa, Michigan State, Purdue, Wisconsin
    Tier III: Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Northwestern

    As it relates to competitive balance, I think it is fair to measure the winning percentages from various dates to the present which gives more weight to the most recent seasons and their relative ranking compared to other conference teams. In doing so, I chose 1993 as the original starting date since that represents the most complete records of the 11 teams in the Big Ten against each other while still maintaining relevance to today’s competitive balance. I then also chose the periods from 1998 to present and 2004 to present, splitting the original start date into thirds as best possible. Finally, I also looked at the records of the last two seasons and compared those rankings to the rankings in 2004 to formulate any distinct trends in the rankins. I used the same time period for Nebraska, without accounting for any disparity in Big 12 strenght or weakness. Below are the wins, lossed, winning percentages and respective rank for each team in each period.


    Since 1993 W L % Rank
    Ohio State 170 43 79.8 1
    Nebraska 165 52 76.0 2
    Penn State 147 62 70.3 3
    Michigan 146 64 69.5 4
    Wisconsin 145 65 69.1 5
    Iowa 119 86 58.1 6
    Purdue 105 97 52.0 7
    Michigan State 101 103 49.5 8
    Northwestern 97 105 48.0 9
    Minnesota 92 111 45.3 10
    Illinois 75 121 38.3 11
    Indiana 69 126 35.4 12

    Since 1998 W L % Rank
    Ohio State 119 32 78.8 1
    Wisconsin 107 46 69.9 2
    Nebraska 105 49 68.2 3
    Michigan 101 48 67.8 4
    Penn State 96 52 64.9 5
    Iowa 84 63 57.1 6
    Purdue 83 66 55.7 7
    Michigan State 76 70 52.1 8
    Minnesota 75 72 51.0 9
    Northwestern 67 78 46.2 10
    Illinois 56 85 39.7 11
    Indiana 47 92 33.8 12

    Since 2004 W L % Rank
    Ohio State 62 14 81.6 1
    Wisconsin 57 20 74.0 2
    Penn State 55 20 73.3 3
    Iowa 49 26 65.3 4
    Nebraska 46 30 60.5 5
    Michigan 44 30 59.5 6
    Northwestern 40 34 54.1 7
    Purdue 37 37 50.0 8
    Michigan State 36 38 48.7 9
    Minnesota 34 41 45.3 10
    Indiana 26 45 36.6 11
    Illinois 24 47 33.8 12

    Since 2008 W L % Rank
    Penn State 22 4 84.6 1
    Ohio State 21 5 80.8 2
    Iowa 20 6 76.9 3
    Nebraska 19 8 70.4 4
    Wisconsin 17 9 65.4 5
    Northwestern 17 9 65.4 6
    Michigan State 15 11 57.7 7
    Minnesota 13 13 50.0 8
    Purdue 9 15 37.5 9
    Michigan 8 16 33.3 10
    Illinois 8 16 33.3 11
    Indiana 7 17 29.2 12

    The following is a summary of the rankings from each of the 1993, 1998, and 2004 periods, an average of those periods, and the difference in ranking between the 2004 period and the 2008 period used to identify any current upward or downward trend in performance. I have also taken the liberty to divide them into East and West, since such geographical division seems to also support the argument for competitive balance (as far as average, #1, 4 & 5 on one side and #2, 3 & 6 on the other) as well as all the other advantages that Frank made clear.

    Division 93 98 04 Avg Trend
    East Ohio State 1 1 1 1.00 -1
    East Penn State 3 5 3 3.67 2
    East Michigan 4 4 6 4.67 -4
    East Purdue 7 7 8 7.33 -1
    East Michigan State 8 8 9 8.33 2
    East Indiana 12 12 11 11.67 -1

    West Wisconsin 5 2 2 3.00 -3
    West Nebraska 2 3 5 3.33 1
    West Iowa 6 6 4 5.33 1
    West Northwestern 9 10 7 8.67 1
    West Minnesota 10 9 10 9.67 2
    West Illinois 11 11 12 11.33 1

    As a lifelong Husker fan, I was not a fan of losing Oklahoma as our every year rivalry game. Having been without a true rival for that long though, I have adapted to the schedule with the Big 12 South in which we play 3 teams for 2 years and then switch to the other 3 teams for 2 years. In my mind, getting that opportunity to play everyone in the other division frequently is preferable to having a cross division rival or two and not getting that opportunity to frequently play every team in the conference.

    • StvInILL says:

      You mentions Scotts 50 year span of football records. I too appreciated his work and the thought on the tiers. But 50 years is way too long to the point of not being relevant. 12 – 24 will give a more accurate trend I believe. 25 years is on generation. Take Notre Dame. The past 12 years 91W – 67L. This is a period of unhappy fan base, less bowls and less All Americans and more coaching turmoil than they were used to. The previous 12 years 105W – 36L and a national championship. All but one under Holtz.

      • Peter says:

        Actually take Notre Dame. If you used the past 12-24 years, the Big Ten wouldn’t want anything to do with Notre Dame.

        It is when looking at the past +50 years that makes ND so special.

        Long term in college football really does matter. You do rise again.

    • Scott C says:

      Personally, I’d rather look back at the past 20 to 25 years when judging this. The reason I used 50 was because of what Purdue’s AD was saying in regards to the competitive balance they were looking at achieving.

      When it comes down to it, you can try to place Iowa and Wisconsin as equals to Michigan, Penn State, Nebraska, and Ohio State all you want, but 0 national championships speaks for itself. They do not come close in # of wins in comparison to the tier I schools. Those two teams have a long way to go before they can reach the level of the big 4. Splitting the big 4 only makes sense.

      As for playing the other division frequently. This can be corrected by adding a ninth conference game, which has already been eluded to by Dr. Tom and other Big Ten AD’s. You can either make that ninth game a regular entry in the cross-division rotation or make it another permanent cross-division rival. Either way, you’re going to play ever team in the opposing division at least twice every 4 years.

      As a Husker fan myself, MC, I’ve always viewed the divisions of the Big Ten as a complete failure. When Nebraska hit its low point under the dreaded BC, where were the other North teams to compete with the South in the title game? All together in the history of the Big XII the North has claimed 4 wins to the South’s 10. That’s not exactly even. Wouldn’t things have been more competitive with Oklahoma in Nebraska’s division and the Red River Rivalry a protected cross-division game? It’s all hindsight at this point, but it’s interesting to think about.

      The point is, if you had to put your life savings on a team to stay consistently competitive over the next 20, 50, or even 100 years, you’re going to bet a tier I school over a tier II.

      That being said, with Nebraska in the Big Ten starting next year, they could be in a division with Northwestern, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, and Purdue, and I’ll still be happy. Getting out of the Big XII was the best thing Nebraska could do for its long term prosperity.

      On a side note, is it wrong to insinuate I have a Big Ten degree after Nebraska joins the Big Ten? :P

      • Adam says:

        I don’t understand why the number of national championships is relevant to an issue of balance. “Balance” refers to how competitive the division is. That’s a question of what is typical. Since PSU joined the league, they have exactly the same number of conference titles as Northwestern (3). Does that make them the same? Of course not, because the fact that a team put it all together in one (or more) years in the past such that they achieved the singular distinction of a championship is not necessarily any indication of typical performance over time.

        All of the measures of typical performance over time indicate that Michigan, PSU and Wisconsin are inseparable; that Iowa is behind them, but well ahead of the MSU/Purdue/NW group; and that OSU is the class of the league. This notion of a “big 4″ exclusive of Wisconsin is a product of selective thinking: counting Big Ten Championships matters . . . except when you need to exclude Northwestern. Win percentage matters . . . except when, over a relevant period of time, they’re all pretty much the same (then, “a win is not a win is not a win”). Perception is not matching reality here.

        • Scott C says:

          It’s not selective thinking. It’s taking the parameters of what the AD’s and Delany’s office have stated and analyzing it. If you look at that past 50 years as has been stated, the Big 4 are far ahead of the tier II schools. There’s no debating that. National Championships are important because it is an indicator of past success. Wisconsin has been great the last 20 years, but that doesn’t change the fact that most people would expect Michigan to be more dominant than Wisconsin over the next 50 years. If Wisconsin won a National Championship, that perception might change, but that’s the way it is

          You may think your parameters are how we should be looking at all of this. Your welcome to your opinion, but don’t get mad at me for using parameters stated by school and Big Ten officials. Maybe they’ll change their mind and use something similar to what you’ve been stating, but currently that doesn’t appear to be their thinking.

          Honestly, what is so horrible about my divisions that people are getting so bent out of shape on? Let’s look at the rivalries if we move to 9 division games with two permanent cross-division rivals:

          From my previous post:

          Division A
          Michigan (I)
          Ohio State (I)
          Michigan State (II)
          Wisconsin (II)
          Illinois (III)
          Indiana (III)

          Division B
          Nebraska (I)
          Penn State (I)
          Iowa (II)
          Purdue (II)
          Minnesota (III)
          Northwestern (III)

          The cross-division rivalries would be as follows:

          Ohio State-Penn State
          Michigan State-Iowa

          Second cross-division rivalry games:

          Ohio State-Northwestern
          Michigan State-Penn State

          Saved Rivalries and Other Old Protected Games
          Illinois-Northwestern (Sweet Sioux Tomahawk/Land of Lincoln Trophy)
          Illinois-Ohio State (Illibuck)
          Illinois-Purdue (Purdue Cannon)
          Indiana-Michigan State (Old Brass Spittoon)
          Indiana-Purdue (Old Oaken Bucket)
          Iowa-Minnesota (Floyd of Rosedale)
          Iowa-Wisconsin (Heartland Trophy)
          Michigan-Michigan State (Paul Bunyan Trophy)
          Michigan-Minnesota (Little Brown Jug)
          Michigan-Ohio State (No Trophy, but Ohio State football players receive a gold pants charm if they win the game)
          Michigan State-Penn State (Land Grant Trophy)
          Minnesota-Penn State (Governor’s Victory Bell)
          Minnesota-Wisconsin (Slab of Bacon/Paul Bunyan’s Axe)
          Ohio State-Penn State (No Trophy)
          Penn State-Iowa (No Trophy)

          Rivalries and Other Old Protected Games that won’t be played yearly.

          So, not only are the divisions fairly balanced, plus all those trophy games not played every year will be played every year, and the permanent match ups will be saved. As for the other 4 schools in the opposing division, they would be cycled in the remaining two conference games. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

          • Scott C says:

            Also, for those who didn’t read the ESPN article by Adam Rittenberg, this is where I’m getting 50 years from:
            “You have to look with a wide lens,” Burke said. “You have to look over a 50-year period and look at who’s been consistent. If you take a snapshot of a five-year period or a 10-year period, you may miss it. Clearly, Michigan and Ohio State and Penn State and Nebraska, if you look at a 50-year history, are your four biggest brands. It doesn’t mean they win all the time, but they’re your biggest brands. I don’t think there’ll be any disagreement among all the Big Ten ADs about that.

          • Adam says:

            I don’t doubt that most people expect Michigan to be better than Wisconsin over the next 50 years. It’s just that I think those most people are wrong. They’re making a prediction about the future based on inapplicable past results.

  37. Josh says:

    Those Nebraska PPV numbers are especially impressive when you look at the games that were on PPV for the Huskers. Last season, the Huskers had three PPV games: against Florida Atlantic, Arkansas State and Louisiana-Lafayette. Yep, that’s right–over 30,000 Nebraska households shelled out $29.95 for the chance to watch the Huskers destroy Louisiana-Lafayette 55-0. The cable companies won’t be able to flinch over $1.50 a month or more for the Big Ten Network, or they’ll lose their whole subscriber base to DirecTV.

    • Josh says:

      Sorry, my math is wrong. That’s closer to 65,000 Cornhusker households paying $30 to watch Florida Atlantic lose 49-3, although one has to assume a lot of that money came from bars that I assume were charged a higher rate.

      • bigredforever says:

        Neb fans love their team. They will pay to watch them. I think people don’t understand the level of passion the fans feel for the huskers

  38. Penn State Danny says:


    So what was up with the Memphis and UCF to the BE rumors from last week?

    Was there ANY truth to them or were they simply being considered as replacements if Rutgers, Syracuse, or Pitt left for the Big Ten.

    The BE really is screwed in all of this. If they do nothing, they will inevitably be raided. If they make a move like adding the 2 aforementioned teams, they will be ridiculed…and then be raided anyway.

    I hope that Pitt and WVU land somewhere on their feet. Nebraska fans, did you have a soft spot for Kansas and Missouri when it looked like they would be left out of a major conference. As a PSU guy, I still want our former rivals to survive.

    • eapg says:

      Frankly, the general tone you’ll find from Nebraska fans is that the Big 12 North schools made their bed with Texas, and now they can lie in it. With the football CCG issue gone for now, we’ll see how long it takes before the basketball tournament moves to Dallas and the baseball tournament to Round Rock. Personally, I wouldn’t mind it at all if things broke in a way that Kansas eventually wound up in the Big Ten, but that’s been my position all along. Missouri, less so, but that would also be OK. Iowa State and Kansas State might benefit from finding a level more sustainable for themselves.

      • StvInILL says:

        I had a long discussion with Bullet about Iowa State in particular moving to, as you put it, a level more sustainable. He and other bristled at the thought of not languishing in the Big XII basement. I suggested the MAC or the Big East.

        • eapg says:

          Seems to me that schools like ISU and KSU need to get over the illusion that what has taken place is anything more than a stay of execution.. Texas and Dodds aren’t promising anything, in fact they publicly expect this process to repeat in 5-10 years. That’s what they’re putting out there for optimistic. That’s not a commitment to anyone but themselves, to get BevoTV running and profitable, then it’s off to a new conference or independence, and the remaining Big 12 North schools aren’t on the buddy list. You’d think that taking control of their future would be more important than some short term gain Dan Beebe has promised, which may or may not come to pass.

          • StvInILL says:

            What gain? they are still in a vulnerable situation because nothing has changed for them. And last I heard they will be forking over the leaving money from NE and CO to Texas and OU. There is neither a fraternal or symbiotic relationship going on here. So why not try to chart their own course in better situation for them?

          • eapg says:

            What gains Beebe can deliver remain to be seen. So far it’s nothing but a ballpark proposal arrived at by taking revenue from schools that they customarily keep for themselves. From what I gather it’s important to UT, OU and A&M to bring home the 20M or so that Nebraska will get by making the move, and the rest can divide what’s left. About as durable as a house of cards.

  39. mmc22 says:


  40. JohnB says:

    I want to take a poke at number 4.

    Going into the Big 12 shakeup, the thought was that Kansas and Kansas State were inseparable. It’s possible that the Big 10 felt that this was the case as well. Having only a limited amount of choices and some higher “wants” on their list made pursuing Kansas a lower priority. The Kansas/KSU marriage may have been true when the Big 10 started discussions but discarded when it seemed likely that the Big 12 was disintegrating.

    At the same time, Kansas is undergoing investigations around a university ticket scalping scheme run by athletic department employees. The allegations may have been enough to make the Big 10 pass over Kansas at the time.

    I will watch any college football game that’s on regardless of teams but outside of the NCAA tournament for basketball, there are only a couple teams that I’ll watch when I see they are on. Kansas, Duke, North Carolina, Michigan State games are generally always worth watching in my opinion. Kansas has seemingly always been good in basketball and had some national success in football. Had they not suffered from the KSU marriage perception and the real threat of illegalities in their athletic department, perhaps they would be in the Big 10 today.

    • StvInILL says:

      Where it has already been established that Football drives the expansion bus, why would you select Kansas? Kansas is essentially Indiana, which I don’t dislike, but would not be a choice for expansion. And traditionally is Kansas even as strong an academic choice as Indiana. The viewrship is probably strong but the overall numbers do not compare to a typical Big ten state.Indiana with 2,818,747 possible viewers and Kansas with 2,818,747.

      • StvInILL says:

        Sorry Indiana has 6,423,113 possible viewers.

        • JohnB says:

          6 million divided by 2 schools in the state of Indiana, right? 3 million per school versus 2.8 million in Kansas isn’t that big of a difference. But beyond that, if there are such things as schools with national followings in Basketball I believe that Kansas is one of the first schools mentioned. If the Big 10 wanted to lose that stodgy style reputation then it’s one area in which it could. At the same time, I believe that Kansas is one of the very few basketball schools that people will watch if their game is on TV because of the belief that year in and year out they play a good game.

          As far as academic standing, it’s an AAU school and has 200 million in research with being a leader in pharmacy research (#2 nationally). They have a list of their bragging points at this link.

          What I am saying though is that it may be too quick to write off the Big 10 as unwilling to pass over schools with rich traditions as the sole reason when it’s weighed down by 2 glaring issues, one real and one perceived. Could those 2 reasons have factored into how the Big 10 moved when their chess by email transformed into speed chess?

          If the Big 10 was sitting at 11 right now with Purdue as a member but not Indiana, I would think that the Big 10 would have Indiana high on their list even though the Big 10 already owns the state with the Boilermakers.

  41. duffman says:

    a what if article

    on A&M and OU to the SEC (not really exciting)

    but then comes the big news out of Mississippi!

    looks like Ackbar and the Fightin Faulkners did not make the cut, but looks like Disney wants a piece of the action as they keep talking about “muppet like” choices several times.

    Who knew all this conference realignment stuff was just a cover for Disney to get in the mascot business. It seems like Mickey and Donald might be getting closer to copyright expiration so the folks at the castle are looking at new revenue streams.

    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      Here’s an update for the Ole Miss “Rebel” mascot finalists.

      I vote for the Louisiana Black Bear.

      • @Alan from Baton Rouge – Bleh. They’re all so ho-hum after the prospect of Admiral Ackbar. It’s not as if though George Lucas never licenses images and names to third parties – Lucasfilm is collecting a nice royalty from Motorola for the use of the term “Droid” for its smartphones.

        In a tangential story from a few months ago, Disney relinquished its Donald Duck-related copyright claims to the Oregon Duck mascot:,226222

        • duffman says:

          Alan and Frank,

          thanks for the updates!

          the 5 finalists are lame, and extra lame. might as well keep the rebel!

          They had a chance at:

          1) Admiral Ackbar

          2) The Fightin Faulkners (William attended Ole Miss and lived in Oxford)

          They could have been contenders with a media icon or a nobel prize winner, but alas they will now drown in mediocrity.

          ps.. had they adopted the Fighin Faulkners would they have the only nobel prize winner for a mascot in the nation?

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Frank & Duff – I’m with you regarding Admiral Ackbar. He is definitely the most PC rebel one could think of, since Ole Miss has done such a good job of offending people in the past.

            But of the remaining candidates, I would vote for the Louisiana Black Bear, even though they won’t call it by its official name.

            The Ole Mississippians will probably refer top their new mascot as Rebel – the fighting Black Bear of Ole Miss.

          • duffman says:


            my issue is, are modern students just bland? The 5 best choices were:

            1) horse!?!?!?!?

            2) land shark – SNL retread!?
            wwjd – what would jimmy do? (buffett)

            3) lion!? (in mississippi?)
            think monty python skit

            4) bear! not another animal mascot
            (no offense to bears)

            5) Hotty & Toddy
            (hooker & ghey – for those unfamiliar with ole miss history, how well can you translate a cheer to inanimate objects – would one be dressed as a soco bottle, and the other a coke can).

            Have we lived in bland architecture and shopped at Wal Mart too long to still have a sense of style and humor.


            thanks for the duck link, but after looking at the video, I guess we can assume that Disney does not want to revive the boy band craze, as much as putting Donald Duck out to pasture.

      • m (Ag) says:

        Auburn and LSU are both the ‘Tigers'; LSU has a real, live one to purr at visiting Ole Miss players. It would appear to be a serious case of ‘mascot envy’ if they actually choose a big cat decades after their division rivals.

  42. Search the Web on says:

    Frank the Tank > Chip Brown and the entire staff at combined.

    Must sting a little to MIZZOU fans to realize that even with all their magical, mythical television sets that their own apathy contrasted with our voracious love of all things Nebraska Football (which they love to mock) basically cost them a spot in the Big 10.

    As they like to flaunt, they have more residents & more tv’s. If they supported that program even half as well as Nebraska fans support ours, they’d be in the Big 10 right now and NU would be skulking back to the Big Texas conference. Thank God for apathy in Missouri!

    I’d like MIZZOU fans to think of this every time they make fun of NU fans for paying so much attention and puting so much emotional equity into the football team. Look where it got us.

  43. fivetitles says:

    Frank the Tank > Chip Brown and the entire staff at combined.

    Must sting a little to MIZZOU fans to realize that even with all their magical, mythical television sets that their own apathy contrasted with our voracious love of all things Nebraska Football (which they love to mock) basically cost them a spot in the Big 10.

    As they like to flaunt, they have more residents & more tv’s. If they supported that program even half as well as Nebraska fans support ours, they’d be in the Big 10 right now and NU would be skulking back to the Big Texas conference. Thank God for apathy in Methsouri!

    I’d like MIZZOU fans to think of this every time they make fun of NU fans for paying so much attention and puting so much emotional equity into the football team. Look where it got us.

    • ChicagoRed says:

      No need to troll here, don’t think there are any Missouri fans present.

      • doogie says:

        well, maybe one fan here.

        Im going to take the high road here and just say that I, for one, enjoyed the Nebraska-Mizzou games immensely. I looked forward to it every year, win or lose, because it was a very passionate game that sold out 71,000 in Columbia everytime I went.

        It was great for business, the fans, and everyone else involved in Columbia and I will miss seeing Big Red come to town.

        Good luck in the Big 10. You will need it.

      • fivetitles says:

        well, I got a little tired of hearing about all those tv’s stretching from kc to st. louis from the tiger fans. when you even mentioned NU’s national following, it was inevitably followed by some crack about a “fading dynasty”. Well, guess that national following still holds a little sway.

    • kmp says:

      Nebraska fans should be applauded for their support of the state’s lone football program.

      But I doubt too many sports fans in the state of Missouri are losing too much sleep over the situation. Instead of living and dying with the fortunes of one football program they also can chose to follow as many or as few of these teams as they want: an up-and-coming college basketball program, two major league baseball teams, two NFL teams and an NHL team in addition to a college football team.

      • eapg says:

        We follow pro teams also, if you count the Royals as a pro team. The east end of the state follows the Royals and Chiefs, the west end the Rockies, Broncos and Avs. But the state flagship school is first in everyone’s heart, win or lose.

  44. Pariahwulfen says:


  45. zeek says:

    Weiberg (formerly helped start BTN and former BT deputy; now Pac-10 deputy) and Silverman (BTN president) comments:

    Silverman’s comments should be the most reassuring in terms of financial impact of Nebraska on the Big Ten because he runs the network and know the ins and outs of the TV world.

    “We’re beyond happy that Nebraska is coming aboard,’’ Silverman said. “It increases the growth we have. Nebraska is a nationally known entity that increases the relevance of our network across the country.’’

    Critics such as Oklahoma State benefactor Boone Pickens have been dismissive of Nebraska’s potential impact because of its relatively small population (1.8 million) and TV households (700,000).

    Silverman sees it differently.

    “It’s not all about how many TV homes are in the local market,’’ he said. “It’s much bigger than that.’’

    Nebraska’s national reputation can motivate Big Ten alums and students — the league has more of both than any other conference in the country — to watch more events involving the Huskers.

    Also, NU’s highly motivated and far flung alumni groups may stir interest in areas where the Big Ten Network isn’t currently available. Their phone calls to request service from local cable companies are another avenue for growth.

    “Bringing on Nebraska,’’ Silverman said, “helps us in every way — distribution, more advertisers and bigger ratings.’’

    Speculation continues that the Big Ten might expand from the current 12 teams to 14 or 16. Silverman said his growth projections and long-range plans aren’t necessarily tied to a specific conference size.

    “There is plenty of growth at 12 teams for us,’’ he said. “We’re no different than any other network — we expand our distribution over time.

    “We’re the top-rated cable network in our eight-state region on football Saturdays. The way we’re going to grow is for our viewers who are coming for games to realize there is other stuff on the network that is interesting.’’

    • zeek says:

      He’s not saying anything new, but it is worth noting that he’s looking at the value of the BTN in national terms as opposed to state-by-state terms, so in that sense his focus would entirely be on Texas/Notre Dame/Nebraska.

  46. Joe4psu says:

    Frank, you said “Believe me – if the Big Ten was convinced that Rutgers and/or Syracuse could deliver New York/New Jersey households for the Big Ten Network, then they would’ve been added already.”

    On July 1 don’t the penalties for the BE schools change? Could this be a reason to wait?

  47. Mike says:

    @Frank – How does the Big Ten’s TV contract change with the addition of Nebraska? Was there set increases for expansion in the contract? Will there be a negotiation with ABC for the football title game and additional inventory?

    • Hank says:


      I believe the ABC/ESPN contract gives them a fixed number of games during the year. so the increase in the number of regular season games caused by expansion will not result in more games for ABC/ESPN but just give them the added choice of Nebraska. the extra games/inventory will go into the BTN pool.

      the understanding is that the championship game is negotiated sepeartely and not covered under the current contract.

  48. gregenstein says:

    As a PSU fan, I’d love to see them play Nebraska on a yearly basis, but I feel it makes the most sense to do this geographically. That just happens to mean no Nebraska.

  49. willarm1 says:

    I have been thinking some about alignment lately.

    Taking into account the usual criteria we have all talked about, but I believe the importance of the OSU v. UofM rival, and the spotlight that game has put on the league over the years may carry a bigger role than we suspect.

    I believe that annual game may help drive what the league does in terms of alignment.

    The winner of that game historically had a say in who won the Big Ten. Now if you add say Penn State to that mix, putting them in the same division (geographically) as UofM and OSU, “The Rivalry” may lose some luster long term.

    In addition if you add Wisky or Iowa you will be screwing a long term rival. Such as Rittenberg did dumping Wisconsin-Iowa? in his example.

    By keeping U of M and OSU in the same division say paired with MSU, Purdue, NW, Illinois. “The Rivalry” will still have meaning, but instead of the Rose Bowl, it will often decide who gets a chance to play for the Rose Bowl. (historically speaking) Thus keeping the game very crucial to deciding the Big Ten. (historically)

    That is why I believe the league will look something like this.

    U of M Nebraska
    OSU Penn State
    Purdue Indiana
    MSU Iowa
    NW Wisconsin
    Illinois Minnesota

    With the across game being protected. (subject to change)

    Of course Illinois and Indiana could be switched, or something like that. But I believe the relevance of “The Rivalry” has been very important to the Big Ten historically, and I believe that may be one of the reasons the league will decide to align in this fashion.

    Some may point to travel with Penn State. But lets look at the regulars.


    The rest of the schools are close. I don’t see a big problem with travel. especially with their intersectional game being close.

    I just think the Big Ten will want the last week to look as much as a semi-final as possible. with OSU-U of M—-NEB-PSU…..Wis-Iowa historically filling that bill. If they always meet on the last week.

    I know it is not perfect by any means. But I do believe this is a legit option that will be considered.

    Especially with the insistence that the game not be moved up in the schedule. Like the UT v. OU game which is always Big because of the timing. (early in league play)

    The game will always be Big. But something is automatically taken away because a Rose Bowl will not be on the line. Now if you lessen the chance of even a shot at the Rose Bowl is taken from that game, it could become a problem for the Big Ten.

    Does anyone think it could go this way?

    • Vincent says:

      We worry too much about “brand names” and not enough abut the quality of the program. As of 2011, the six dominant football programs in the Big Ten will be Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin and nebraska. Three east, three west.

      Divide by straight geography, perhaps making sure one of the big three in each division is guaranteed an annual game with one of the other three. Not to divide geographically is asinine — and frankly insults what Wisconsin and Iowa have accomplished in recent decades.

      • willarm1 says:

        I doubt it highly that PSU, OSU and U of M will be in the same division. (But I have been wrong b4)

        Especially after what Delany has said about the importance of Geography. (not very)

        The more championship games with OSU, U of M v. PSU, Nebraska. will bring better numbers. the harder question will be do you split Iowa and Wisconsin?

        I’m sure the Big Ten doesn’t want a Big 12 Championship game problem.

        That it why the historically national programs will be split. OSU, U of M…..PSU, Nebraska. The Big 12 showed blind geographic division splitting was probably even more asinine.

        • Vincent says:

          You’re severely underestimating Wisconsin and Iowa. Frankly, you’re thinking more like an ESPN executive, who’s so obsessed with Yankees-Red Sox/UNC-Duke/Brett Favre/TO/Tiger that he can’t see the forest for the trees.

          • willarm1 says:

            It seems you may be over estimating those teams.

            You propose to anchor a division with a new team (NEB) coupled with Iowa and Wisconsin arguably the 5th and 6th most relevant teams in the league.

            So they get a shot at a CCG without a meaningful game v. PSU, OSU or U of M?

            How does that make sense besides geographically which is basically irrelevant because it is a mid-west league. It is already geographic.

            split the big 4 and then decide if you should split Iowa and Wisconsin.

          • Adam says:

            willarm1, you chose the word that’s right and wrong here: “relevant.” It really encapsulates everything that’s wrongheaded about how people are talking about this issue. Somehow, Michigan is “more relevant” than Wisconsin, even though their performances have been statistically identical for the last 20 years.

            It’s this notion of “relevancy” that makes a 7-0 Notre Dame or Michigan team more “relevant” than a 7-0 Minnesota team, for no particular reason. The fact that a lot of people buy into this nonsense doesn’t make it any less nonsensical.

          • willarm1 says:

            Adam if you mean identical record with Wisconsin in the last two years than yeah your right. But a win is not win is not a win.

            Like you would have everyone believe.

            Since 1988 U of M has won 10 Big Ten championships and one national co championship. (thank you Phil Fulmer and instant replay for the co)

            Like it or not UofM, OSU, PSU and Nebraska have national chops. I’m sorry but that is the way it is.

            Call your therapist or start your playoff now blog, but that is reality.

            Big 4 UofM 877 wins and winning % of 737 Neb 827 701% OSU 819 717% PSU 811 691%

            Next 5 Minn 635 560% Wis 614 542% MSU 592 570% Iowa 580 513% Purdue 571 516%

            Bottom 3 Ill 563 500% NW 458 416% Indy 433 405%

            Again I think Iowa and Wisconsin are great programs…..but there is a pecking order here. and a Neb Iowa, Wisconsin geographic anchored division is not competitively balanced correctly IMO and it can be proved statistically many different ways.

          • Adam says:

            Comparison with all-time statistics is silly and pointless. What happened 60 years ago (or even 30 years ago) isn’t relevant now that teams face real scholarship limitations and have to make hard choices on who they’ll give a scholarship to. Additionally, with the proliferation of football on TV, many talented players elect to start for teams with lesser pedigrees than provide depth at the top programs. The perceptions of “national chops” are perpetuated by lazy sportswriters whose impressions were shaped by the Big Two/Little Eight days of Woody and Bo, and Penn State coasting on judicious use of their Independent scheduling flexibility.

            Since PSU joined in 1993, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Penn State are separated by approximately a game and a half. Nebraska alone has as many national championships in that time frame as all 11 Big Ten teams combined.

            This notion that Nebraska-Iowa-Wisconsin is “imbalanced” vis-a-vis Ohio State-Michigan-Penn State is based on lazy stereotypes, not actual on-field performances.

          • willarm1 says:

            So now those statistics are irrelevant?

            because they don’t fit your argument of only now matters?

          • greg says:


            you keep arguing that such a B10 West alignment “wouldn’t play a meaningful game against PSU/UM/PSU until the CCG”. But the West would play half the East every year, so, on average, a west team would play 2 of the big 3 one year, and 1 of the big 3 the next year.

          • mmc22 says:

            Let me ask you this. What will happen with Iowa when K. Ferentz retires? Are they still going to be a top team or not? They are not attracting top recruits, they are not a top academic institution, they are not a top destination for a coach candidate and they basically rely on their coaching staff to get the most out of their players. Even their DC is old and close to retiring.
            If they don’t get it right with their next coach they will become MSU or Illinois. This is why you have to account for the brand names and not look only at the past few years.

          • greg says:

            Where will Iowa be when Ferentz retires? Ok, in about 2020, Kirk will retire and it will be, at that point, 40+ years of success under two coaches. They aren’t guaranteed anything, but I like their record.

          • Josh says:

            What will happen to Iowa when Ferentz retires? Didn’t that used to be “What will happen to Iowa when Hayden Fry retires?”

          • Peter says:

            Good rip. Thinking like an ESPN executive will get you nowhere. Overly focusing on Ohio St v Michigan is small minded old Big Ten.

            The SEC also has Bama v Auburn and it manages to play that game without shutting down the SEC conference over it. To many, Bama v Auburn blows away OSU v Michigan. It may not have more national appeal, but it is way more intense.

            Let’s get used to the fact a 12 team B10 with Nebraska will have a bunch of competitive games. To pretend a Mich/OSU division without Penn State preserves anything is silly. OSU and Michigan will still have to play 2 of Nebraska/Wisconsin/Iowa/Penn State every year.

            Just go East/West. Grow up Big Ten.

      • StvInILL says:

        I am a Midwestern guy. I like the Ohio St Michigan State game like the next guy. But I am really getting irritated over the OVERPROTECTION of this rivalry. The think that really made this game the most relevant was the fact that all the other teams were done as far as the Big ten championship goes.
        I really don’t know why this game has to continue to have the same significance with Penn State, Nebraska and a couple of good teams like Wisconsin and Iowa capable of upsetting the apple cart. I’m beginning to think it will be a good thing if this games loses some of its relevance.

        • willarm1 says:

          OSU MSU?

          Has there been a ground swell for this game?

          • StvInILL says:

            Not that I know of. But I myself will watch any of the teams that can win the conference in the last 2 – 4 weeks. If its OSU vs MSU, I’m in. I won’t be lamenting the insignificance of OUS MU. There are 10 other teams in the conference for goodness sakes.

        • Hank says:

          assuming you meant Ohio State Michigan I’ll doubt you’ll get agreement from fans of either school or many in the Big Ten. Its just a great traditional game for rivalry week. The idea is to increase the marquee games and not diminish the ones we already have.

          The idea that it determines the championship is just left over rhetoric from the Woody Bo era, which is the last time the talking heads on networks had an original thought. Its a quality matchup that fans love. keep it and try to encourage others.

          • StvInILL says:

            So yeah it’s another big ten game to watch late in the season. The last couple of years it has not meant that much in the big scheme of things. That’s not saying people don’t like an OSU MU matchup. Its just not deciding anything besides one game. I think the more this happens the better for the conference. That means maybe Iowa vs. Penn State contest is significant late or a Penn State vs. Wisconsin games has more meaning. You can also throw a late season game in evolving Nebraska and any other upstart from the middle of the pack. Big 2 and little 10 RIP.

          • willarm1 says:


            If you think U of M OSU is just another Big Ten game.

            I would ask what color is the sky in your world?

          • StvInILL says:

            William, the ski here is blue today and late in the football season it’s gray from Nebraska to Pennsylvania.
            Like said it’s a good game to watch but maybe a lot more for Michigan and Ohio State fans. If it does not decide the Big ten championship and its not the Rose bowl then it’s not a 10. Yeah sure its not Kentucky vs. Indiana at Kentucky. It’s a much bigger game than that. But without a conference championship in the balance, it’s less of a game. Gimme Penn state Iowa or Nebraska or Wisconsin if it will decide the conference championship/Rose bowl over OSU vs UM.

          • willarm1 says:

            I can’t believe I have to write this.

            Show me the Iowa v. Wisconsin game for the Big 10 title.

            Show me the Penn State Iowa game that decided the league.

            Iowa v. OSU was great last year and meant something, but those games are the exception not the rule.

            PSU v. OSU has been huge. but not deciding anything, because there were plenty of games yet to be played.

            U of M OSU always means something in a 10 – 11 team conference even if one of those teams are down. Because a loss at that time of year could cost you a rose bowl or worse. But in a 6 team division that may not be the case. especially if you have three of the four major brands in one division.

            I doubt the Big Ten will risk making that game irrelevant by putting three of the four major Big Ten Brands in one division.

          • StvInILL says:

            Well William if you construct it that way then form follow function. It no secret OUS and UM have been the two best teams in the conference over time. Then you go ahead and set the OSU UM game for the last conference game. Viola! An instant yearly classic. Now times they are a changing. For my money they can go ahead and “setup” Iowa vs Nebraska for the finally or Penn State vs Nebraska or Wisconsin vs Penn State. And from here on out lets see who people tune into.
            Of course they don’t want all those games “setup” at the same time. Because they can stretch out fan interest if they stager these machups over the course of the season. So it may not happen. But pay attention. If it were setup, especially the past two years, the OSU UM game would lose the support it once had because the relevance to the conference championship would not be sure bet like in the Big 2 and Little 10 days. Some other peering would be of great interest though. And this is the point.

          • willarm1 says:

            U of M v. OSU is always the last game and it has been made clear by the Big Ten it will stay that way.

            I’m not talking about them being the best teams or not. It is irrelevant. but that game either directly or indirectly almost always effects the Big Ten Championship in one way or another.

            That is because the league played a round robin (sort of ) schedule.

            So that last game almost always had an effect on the championship. even if one of the teams were down.

            In a divisional format assuming that OSU, U of M, and PSU, are in the same division, makes it more likely that the game could be less relevant. Because you would have 3 of the 4 major programs in one division.

            This leads me to think, the 4 majors will be split 2 and 2. For competitions sake.

            With that said I’m not sure Wisconsin and Iowa will be split.(to keep rival games between Iowa, wisconsin, minnesota and Neb a given.) this added to Indy and Penn State makes a very tough division.

            Leaving u of m OSU, MSU, Purdue, Illinois and NW. (or some combination)

            But some may think this is a non-competitive split.

            since 1998 the Neb/ PSU division would have 514 wins to 502 wins from the OSU/ U of M division, and that is with Neb playing a totally different schedule.

            I’m saying the more games like the 2006 game, the better it is for the Big Ten and its partners.

            and I believe that will be taken into consideration when the divisions are formed. I’m not dissing any teams or trying to disrespect anyone, I’m saying that rivalry game has been huge to say the least, for the whole league in terms of exposure.

            And I believe it will not be compromised by a geographic divisional alignment, that hurts competition.

          • Bullet says:

            Wasn’t there a period around the 80s where IA/Michigan decided the conference title something like 8 out of 10 years? Ohio St. was irrelevant. There are cycles.

          • StvInILL says:

            I don’t believe the two, OU UM will be split up but I think the answer to the divisional thing IS the simplest. East West regardless of strength. It also will serve in not antagonizing PSU by sending them and those who travel with them east of the Indiana Illinois border every other week.

          • willarm1 says:

            East west does not seem to be fair competitively.

            Wisconsin has a career 542 winning %
            and Iowa has a 514%

            So them coupled with Neb a newly added team gets to compete for a chance to play in a CCG, without playing a meaningful game v PSU, OSU, or U of M?

            I still think the big 4 will be split.

          • jj says:

            ugh. if i hear any more about the um / osu game, i’m gonna puke.

            let those guys have their hand-job fest and leave the rest of out of it.

            why don’t they just form their own conference and noodle on about how their game decides everything known to mankind.

          • Adam says:

            will, if you aren’t “talking about them being the best teams or not,” then why are you complaining about balance? Balance is basically an empirical question. If you aren’t talking about them being the best teams or not, it doesn’t matter what the media chooses to hype; what matters is on-field performance. And on-field performance is that the Ohio State-Michigan-PSU triumvirate is only appreciably stronger than Nebraska-Wisconsin-Iowa because Ohio State is appreciably stronger than every other team in the league. Whatever group they get placed in will appear imbalanced unless it’s OSU, Indiana, NW, Illinois, Michigan State and Minnesota. You have to set them aside and compare the rest. Michigan, PSU, and Wisconsin are not meaningfully separable. Iowa is a step back but well ahead of the next pack of teams (Northwestern-Michigan State-Purdue).

            Ohio State/Michigan/PSU and Nebraska/Iowa/Wisconsin are balanced just fine.

          • Adam says:

            I also don’t buy this notion that putting PSU in with UM and OSU somehow detracts from the UM/OSU game. The UM/OSU game will be a big deal in exact proportion to how well the teams are doing (or whether one having a bad season remains a legitimate upset threat). The last 2 years when Michigan was bad, the game was not shown in the prime broadcast slot (3:30) and was predominantly a big deal to those fan bases. Penn State/OSU was a much bigger game: nationally televised night game which everybody could see was going to have the league title on the line (even if not the last game of the season).

            I wholly agree that OSU/UM is important from a business standpoint, but in some years it is important because of what’s on the line. In other years it’s important because it’s important. Either way, it isn’t losing anything by having PSU in that Division.

            I’d also note this: how in the world does the game become less important because it likely has the division title on the line, rather than the league title? As soon as you have a CCG, no game (other than the CCG) has the league title on the line. But the likelihood is still there that, if those 3 teams are in the same group, they all, or 2 out of the 3, go into the final weekend of the season wanting to know what happens in the other game.

          • jj says:

            oh, god, they’ll just demand that the big ten call it “the game” or “the f’ing game” or “the dickhead invitational” or something. whatever they want to call it.

            they’re ending up in the same division no matter what because only these two fanbases want to see a rematch.

            thank god for the rest of us.

          • willarm1 says:

            As you and others continue to focus on the rival game, the post is really about realignment, and specifically about Iowa and Wisconsin not being in the same category as the big 4 Historically and how a division divided east west based on todays results would be a long term mistake competitively.

            But apparently if a discussion includes talk of said rivalry and its importance no matter how big or small it may be to the subject of realignment, many have resorted to acting like some sort of special treatment has been asked regarding the game.

            The game will be the last game like it always has been. Nothing new, but I have raised the question about PSU being in their division and how that would be competitively unbalanced, and may have an effect on the game because the league would have three of the four major players in it.

            All that has been said is that unbalanced division would be the same mistake the big 12 made.

            So I believe the big 4 will be split when divisions are created.

            From there the difficult decision will be wether to split Iowa and Wisconsin up? and I believe that would be a mistake with the possibility of killing some major rivals. (Iowa v. Wisconsin) being one of the games possibly being lost.

            So before you start complaining about the uofm/osu game it is only being used as an example why psu will probably not be in their same division.

          • Adam says:

            The comparison with the Big 12 North is totally misplaced. First, the Big 12 did not last very long as a league, and even in its short lifespan, the Big 12 North had a heyday where it was far and away the stronger of the 2 Divisions. The first 8 years, the game was 4-4 between the Divisions. It was only the last 6 years that the South came to dominate. And (big surprise), it’s been the last 6 years that you heard Myles Brand and the Knight Commission talking about the “arms race” in college sports and the rich-get-richer business model. Which, of course, was only exacerbated in a league where the money wasn’t split equally, like it was in the Big Ten.

            The Big 12 North is simply not a pertinent example. The pertinent example is the ongoing failure that is the ACC’s divisional alignment, which has balanced the ACC into irrelevance.

          • willarm1 says:

            Now Adam if you cannot see after over 100 years of data that Wisconsin and Iowa are not in the same class in winning %, wins or national following than so be it.

            But I believe it would be a huge long term mistake to anchor the west division with a new team in Neb, flanked by historically just over .500% teams.

            But that is why Delany gets paid the big bucks and we will see what happens.

            As for PSU, OSU and U of M being in the same division. if you think 3 of the top 6 winningest programs belong in the same division and that will provide competitive balance I think you are dead wrong.

            Now if you are an Iowa or wisconsin fan I would love the east west divide. No OSU, PSU or U of M. in a meaningful game until the CCG.

            I still believe when it is said and done the big 4 will be split.

          • Adam says:

            Why do all-time stats matter? What happened before contemporary scholarship limitations and broadcast opportunities came about is meaningless. In the days of only 3 channels and cartel-like control of what got shown, the top talent had a very narrow choice of schools if they wanted to get on TV and exposure for the next level. They had to accept a spot as depth on the bench in exchange for their best chance at getting ahead, and the schools could hand out as many scholarships as they could afford.

            Now, by contrast, there are scholarship limitations: even Texas has to compete for players, because nobody wins a national championship solely with starters. You have to have depth, especially along the lines, and guys who would only provide depth at Texas or Ohio State can start at Cincinnati or Baylor. Moreover, with so many games on TV, a school like Central Michigan or Troy can put together some consistent success because their games will be on television.

            Nothing that happened before those factors were in place has anything to do with whether the Big Ten’s divisional alignment is “balanced.”

          • willarm1 says:


            “how in the world does the game become less important because it likely has the division title on the line, rather than the league title?”

            This was not said in any way or form.

            UofM will play OSU and PSU will play MSU if they were in the same division the last week of the season. (yippee!)

            Wouldn’t the powers that be rather have PSU playing NEB for a shot at the other division during this week? of course they would.

            They could also have Iowa v. Wisconsin playing or Purdue v. MSU or NW v. Illinois.

            But the big four teams move the needle, and you know it, that is why they will be split up.

          • Adam says:

            I would disagree that the powers that be want that, for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a bad idea to try to engineer stuff like that. It never works. Ex. A: ACC. Moreover, it cuts directly against the sort of comity that exists in the league. There’s plenty of precedent for the OSU/UM game being what it is and getting the treatment it gets from the league (guaranteed spot on the last week of the season, always nationally televised), but engineering a PSU/NEB matchup on the final weekend for the purported justification you’re presenting smacks of the league office more or less picking winners in advance (or at least designing league operations with an expectancy of particular outcomes) — something anybody who is not a fan or administrator of those 4 programs should (and would) find very offensive, no matter how much money is at stake.

          • willarm1 says:

            So we should judge Iowa by only the Farentz years! Ha.

            They have possibly the best all-time player development coach in history. yeah all the schollies in the world will not make him easily replaced.

            So lets judge Iowa by Farentz and Wisconsin by Alvarez?

            The league ebbs and flows the big 4 have done it better than Wisky and Iowa have through all the time periods.

            Wisky and Iowa have almost equalled a couple of the programs during their best years. This is why history is important.

          • Adam says:

            There’s also zero reason that a Nebraska/Wisconsin game (or Nebraska/Iowa) won’t “move the needle” if the teams are in contention for the title; conversely, if they aren’t, it won’t (just as the Michigan/OSU game has been a non-event the last couple of years with Michigan being bad and having no chance of upsetting OSU’s apple cart).

            What moves the needle is being in contention for the league title — especially when you have a franchise like College GameDay which comes to campuses and spotlights important games. Fans aren’t passive recipients of the network schedule à la the MLB Game of the Week on FOX, NHL Game of the Week on NBC, or the NBA Games of the Week on TNT and ABC. No doubt, it gets moved more when your so-called “big 4″ are in contention, but only when they’re in contention, and drawing the alignment around them to accommodate the years when they’re in contention is not just foolish, it is in tension with the Big Ten’s mantra of being a league of equals.

          • Adam says:

            I’d also note: what “moves the needle” and “balance” are 2 totally different things. “Balance” speaks to fairness. What you’re talking about has nothing to do with fairness and sounds more along the lines of what TV executives are interested in. The Big Ten holds the cards. People will watch Big Ten football regardless. Do not kowtow to the TV executives. They’re idiots.

          • willarm1 says:


            Ask the PSU fans if they would trade the MSU end of season game for a Nebraska end of season tilt with the division possibly on the line?


            The league can’t do a study and make a strong competitive two division league.

            Nope lets have a map decide? do you know how riduclous that sounds. You have 4 powerhouse teams….split them and make divisions.

            It is a midwest conference. Travel can be worked. This is not the NFL.

          • Adam says:

            The Big Ten, and all college sports, ebb and flow in fundamentally different ways now than they did in the past. I’m not saying ignore history; I’m saying draw a relevant period if you’re actually worried about balance. But I don’t think the people who talk about balance are really concerned with fairness at all. They’re more worried about perpetuating the stereotype of the Big 4. There’s no doubt that’s a stereotype that exists in the popular mind, it’s just that the on-field performances do not back it up over a meaningful time period.

            Why do the ebbs and flows of the 30s, 50s, or even 70s matter? The ebbs and flows relate to a school’s ability to attract talent. A qualitative (not quantitative) shift has occurred since then. Comparing today’s ebbs and flows to then is nonsensical.

          • willarm1 says:

            Save me the balance argument….you are proposing 3 of the top 5 winningest programs ever in a single division.

            And another division with two good teams and one historically great team entering a new league for the first time?

            Balance you say. Tell that to the other three teams that have to play in the east.

          • Adam says:

            Nor am I a “only now matters” person. I am the guy who is championing the one-time strength of the Big 12 North, after all. (The North Division champion came into the Big 12 CCG as the higher-ranked team the first 4 years it was played; the North Champion was, on average, 13 positions higher. Not only was the North Division stronger over the course of the season, it wasn’t especially close.) There is no doubt that 1996 is relevant now. It’s just that 1976 is not.

          • willarm1 says:

            Go back 20 years the answer is still the same.

            There are outliers but the big 4 is just that. You don’t have over a 700 winning % because you had a good 40’s and 50’s.

            winning% is a marathon stat.

          • Adam says:

            References to their all-time records are irrelevant! What difference does it make how Fielding Yost was able to get players into school? What difference do the peculiarities of schools willing to admit servicemen in and around World War II have to do with the likelihood of teams succeeding today? How on earth do the grainy, smeary telecasts of the CFA era tell us a single thing about what the competitive dynamics are like in an era when every Big Ten game is accessibly televised?

          • StvInILL says:

            William, history is history because everyone in it is dead. The current players in this theater though are not. Yes I agree with you Ferenz is an outstanding developer of talent and Alvarez has done an outstanding job recruiting at Wisconsin. I would also point you to 3 successive coaching and developing individuals at Northwestern in Barnett, Randy Walker and Fitzgerald. Your all time winning records really don’t mean a thing to these guys or the players that play for them. Coaching and defense is what will win in the new millennium. And if your defense spends too much time on the field they are not likely to win.

          • willarm1 says:

            again winning % is a marathon stat. Just because realignment happens while a program is doing well doesn’t mean those schools with just above 50% winning % should be given the keys to the city and ruin the long term viability of the conference. You talk like Wisconsin and Iowa are leaps and bounds above Purdue and MSU. They are not.

            They are closer to them than they are to the top.

          • willarm1 says:

            nobody is saying it means anything to the coaches. But it does mean something when you are realigning a conference.

            You are crazy if you think Delany isn’t looking at these programs histories while deciding. If it was as easy as looking at a map it would be done already.

          • Adam says:

            I never said let a map decide; as I noted elsewhere here, I think it should be about maximizing rivalries. As it happens, you do that with the East/West split.

            The notion of an engineered Nebraska-PSU season-ender for the sake of having a division title on the line offends me on behalf of everybody else. I am less interested in what PSU would rather than Indiana, Purdue, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, et al. They matter just as much. The Big Ten is (and should) be willing to leave money on the table to do right by everybody.

            You said: “Go back 20 years the answer is still the same.”

            Since PSU joined the league, here are their winning percentages:
            1. OSU 170-43 (.798)
            2. NEB 165-52 (.760)
            3. PSU 147-62 (.708)
            4. UM 146-64 (.695)
            5. WIS 145-65-4 (.687)
            6. IA 119-86-2 (.580)

            As I noted elsewhere, there is no doubt that Iowa is behind that pack, but also significantly ahead of the next group of teams (MSU, NW, PUR, all floating around .480). And PSU, UM and WIS are simply indistinguishable. That’s separation by a game and a half over almost 20 years.

            Of course, if you don’t buy “a win is a win” (and in college football, that’s a legitimate objection), this blog did a more sophisticated analysis with the Sagarin Ratings. But it produces very similar results: the top teams can largely be shuffled in any order you want (other than OSU) because their performances have been very similar.

            Perception does not match reality on the “balance” debate.

          • willarm1 says:


            “There’s also zero reason that a Nebraska/Wisconsin game (or Nebraska/Iowa) won’t “move the needle” if the teams are in contention for the title; conversely, if they aren’t, it won’t ”

            again this was not said at all.

            but PSU NEB for first or fourth place will move the needle.

          • willarm1 says:

            sure it does.

            a win is not a win is not a win.

            Like you would have everyone believe.

            Since 1988 U of M has won 10 Big Ten championships and one national co championship. (thank you Phil Fulmer and instant replay for the co)

            There is a difference.

          • StvInILL says:

            Willaim, I think your winning percentage has some relevance but not going back 60 years. You would do better to work with 12 years at time limit 25. (My rule) because you can more clearly see the most recent trend and 25 years is just one human generation. Anyway OSU and Mich simply dominated back in the day. Even if either wins a mother Big Ten championship they will actually earn it from here on out.
            I believe those 10 -1 or 11-0 seasons for OSU and Mich are more a thing of the past. Besides the new muscle in the conference there will always be a capable upstart from the middle of the pack to blemish a perfect season. Throw in a CCG and it will be tough to get out of here without 2 losses.

          • willarm1 says:

            In addition this is Iowa and Wisconsin at there best.

            they still rank below the big 4.

            What is your point.

            that is a great argument for them being the 5th and 6th best teams in the conference.

          • willarm1 says:

            again nobody is saying UofM and OSU is the end all be all.

            I’m saying the Big 4 have an advantage over the rest of the league and in the best interest of competition should be split.

            Neb Wis Iowa looks good on a map, but is not a competitively balanced league.

          • Adam says:

            “In addition this is Iowa and Wisconsin at there best.
            they still rank below the big 4.”

            You seem a bit ideologically flexible here. Sometimes a win is not a win is not a win. But now you’re seizing on the fact that Wisconsin is less than 2% behind Penn State (with Michigan wedged in between) over 20 years and Wisconsin is clearly “behind” them. That is clearly within the margin of error! 2 games over 20 years???

            Also, if a win is not a win is not a win, then just look at the breakdown of the Sagarin ratings. Very similar results.

          • Bullet says:

            12 years doesn’t tell the story. Otherwise ND would be a nobody. OU would be a nobody in 2000. Texas unimportant in 97. 25-30 is needed to get a feel long term. And 50 years does tell you something. Look at the national champions starting in 1961:
            1961 Alabama
            1962 USC
            1963 Texas
            1964 Alabama/Arkansas
            1965 Alabama/Mich. St.
            1966 Notre Dame
            1967 USC
            1968 Ohio St.
            1969 Texas
            And the 70s champs are Texas/Nebraska/Alabama/USC/Notre Dame/OU + Pitt one year. You could be talking about the 2000s.

            I agree with Frank that there is not a big difference w/the E/W split. Iowa doesn’t have that good a long term %, but their program was completely turned around by Hayden Fry and they became a very good fb school. Barry Alvarez created a personality and tradition in Wisconsin.

            Yes, the E will probably be a little better over time, but not that much.

          • StvInILL says:

            Bullet, “we don’t need no stinking” story. :- ) we need the trend. Notre Dame for instance. The Last 12 years 91W-67Ls. Upset fan base, less bowls, less important bowls, no all Americans, no NC. The previous 12 years 105W – 36Ls. Plenty of all Americans, national championships, significant bowls and coaching fidelity under 11 years of Holtz.

          • willarm1 says:

            One last thing.

            Nebraska will be new to the league. And some growing pains could easily happen..

            So Now you may have a freshman Neb with Wis, Iowa who are not year in year out contenders. In the same division. Here is how that league would look stacked against the east in terms of wins.

            since 98.

            geographic divison

            unl,wis,iowa,minn,indy, purdue-485wins


            here is a division splitting the 4 big boys while also keeping many of the west rivals in tact. In terms of wins.

            unl,psu,wis,iowa,minn,indy-512 wins

            uofm,osu,msu,purdue,nw,ill.-502 wins


            Now this example is without splitting Wisconsin and Iowa. I’m sure you could split them up and get closer in terms of wins. But you would be losing a possible rival or two out west.

            So I would not split them.

            It seems obvious to me that the big 4 should be split for long term competitions sake.

          • willarm1 says:

            And Adam;

            When I’m talking about wins. Championships and Conference titles as well as BCS games should be in that equation.

            It is obvious the west without another power besides Nebraska would be less of a division competitively.

            20 years ago 10 years ago, 30 years ago. It is obvious.

          • Adam says:

            You keep saying “it’s obvious,” but you point to no actual explanation for why it’s so obvious.

            Nor do I see any per se reason why BCS appearances et al. are independently relevant. Certainly they’re indirectly relevant, in that if you’re consistently having good years you’ll qualify for those. But the question is whether you’re consistently having good years (and how good your years are), not the number of discrete times you’ve happened into 1st place. “A championship is not a championship is not a championship” as far as that goes. Years when the Big Ten Champion has 2 or 3 league losses are much different than years when it has 1 (or 4). Just tabbing up the number of titles won is irrelevant to how typically competitive a group of teams will be. And there is no reason to think that the “West” group will be appreciably less competitive than the “East,” given that their statistics are so similar over the relevant era of scholarship limits and saturation television.

          • Bullet says:

            Recruiters tell stories. And those stories create trends. Notre Dame is one great coach away from being a regular national power again in just a few years (I’m not saying it will definitely happen). Indiana can’t say the same thing. After you lose a Woody Hayes, Lou Holtz or Hayden Fry, it doesn’t take that long to rebuild if you make a bad coaching hire.

          • willarm1 says:

            Obvious to everyone but you Adam;

            Wisconsin is a fine program but doesn’t stack up with the big 4.

            Even your example has them and iowa as the 5th and 6th best teams and that analysis leaves out the 70’s 80’s and half the 90’s.

            Wisconsin has not won even a share of the Big 10 in this decade and have never won a nc. and as far as I could find have never been ranked number 1. that is not elite.

            the 90’s were great and they still had less big 10 titles than UofM (5) and tied with OSU (3)

            I’m talking balance for a division that stands the test of time, and you continue to try to force Wisconsin as an equal to the big 4 in terms of wins. they still fall short. Now when you add following, championships, history, NC. wisconsin falls farther behind.

            I’m advocating a more balanced division split. Neb, Iowa and Wis do not accomplish this goal on their own.

          • willarm1 says:


            Blaming Wisconsin’s lack of record during the 70’s,80’s and part of the 90’s on tv and schollies is weak at best.

            Were talking Wisconsin not CMU.

            If Alvarez were there they would have won. that is a Wisconsin problem.

            The man didn’t hold them down those years. they made bad decisions.

          • Adam says:

            You’re fixating on their ordinal ranking in “my example” rather than the fact that they are statistically inseparable. Any time you ordinally rank teams, only 1 can be 1st, but that doesn’t mean that the team in 2nd is so close to 1st that their performance is effectively identical.

            And as I noted elsewhere, counting Big Ten championships makes no sense. That’s 1 season, and not all titles are created equally. A 1-loss Big Ten Champion and a 4-loss Big Ten Champion are not qualitatively identical, even if they both get the same title. If we’re interested in balance and competitive equity, the number of discrete times a team finishes in 1st place is less relevant than how well they do on average. As I said before: is Northwestern the same as PSU because they both have the same 3 league titles? Hardly.

            I keep trying to come up with ways to demonstrate my point. The Only Colors blog did a fascinating analysis of the Sagarin rankings. Win/loss percentage also bears out my conclusions (you’re overrating ordinal ranking rather than noting that 3 teams are separated by 2 games over 20 years — they’re effectively tied). You count league titles — except in the case of someone you want to write off, like Northwestern. (Nor does this consider whether a co-championship is different from an outright title, or whether a 2-loss league champion is different from an undefeated league champion.)

            It’s lazy thinking. I know a lot of people (including people with platforms) are indulging in it but that doesn’t mean I have to have any patience for it. What measure are you using other than league titles or national titles, which, as I’ve noted, shows very little about a team’s average performance? What’s your methodology for separating a 1-loss league champion from a 3-loss league champion? How do you go about comparing co-champions to outright champions?

          • willarm1 says:

            Champions don’t make sense….. O.K.?

            A co -champ is not different than a outright champ in the big ten. (no CCG) Bowls are distributed but they are equals in the eyes of the league. until 2011. CCG.

            With that logic a 2nd place 8-1 1990 wisconsin team is better than a champ in 1989 who lost three games. that is garbage.

            But that is what a wins and losses argument gets you.

            A teams avg performance means nothing!

            yea! we have won almost as many games as the big guys ON AVG? But we haven’t won anything in a decade in terms of the league. Steady as she goes…..

            Yet they are supposed to treated as equals to teams that have won championships? and competed for NC.

            That doesn’t make sense.

            You are putting the cart before the horse. wins are not enough to be considered elite. Champions play here.

            Methodology for separating a 1 loss league champ to a 3 loss champ.


            spoken like someone who wants every win to count the same.

            ” A 1-loss Big Ten Champion and a 4-loss Big Ten Champion are not qualitatively identical, even if they both get the same title. If we’re interested in balance and competitive equity, the number of discrete times a team finishes in 1st place is less relevant than how well they do on average.”

            Again really?

            This is so funny. Spoken like a non-competitor, yes the one loss champ will have more wins, but a champion is just that. You are better than the rest of the league that year.

            Hey Coach; our championship team last year only lost one game. I know we came in third this year, and we have one 1 championship in the last 11 years, but On AVG our championship team was better than the two loss co champion this year, even though they have been champs 10 times in the last 20 years.

            “Son go run the stairs and than turn in your jersey”

            If you don’t see the value of being a champion as opposed to wins and losses I can see why you believe Wisconsin is on par with the big 4. But your interesting sample size coupled with your W&L argument is not very convincing.

          • jcfreder says:

            I’m a Wisconsin alum, and bottom line is, UW isn’t Michigan. I’m not sure where this 20-year “identical record” argument is coming from, but over the last 20 years in conference play (which seems to be the most equitable way of looking at it), Michigan has a .719 wp and Wis has a .534 wp. Not even close.

            Iow and Wis are defintely ##5 and 6 in the Big Ten, and if there is a pure geographic split, they will have an opportunity to raise their profile even further by being in the less top-heavy division. PSU, Michigan and PSU have something to lose if they are only getting into the championship every three years or so.

          • willarm1 says:

            I have to stop here….

            Wisconsin and Iowa are wonderful programs and I would never miss a home game vs. either of them. Alvarez and Farentz are all-time greats.

            I believe if competition is going to drive Delany’s alignment. A freshman league member in Neb, coupled with Wis and Iowa is not as competitive as if the big 4 were split.

        • Adam says:

          Within any given season, the goal is to win the race. Get across the finish line with more wins than anybody else. In the eyes of the record books, all championships are created equal.

          We aren’t working in the eyes of the record books. We’re (supposedly) concerned about “competitive balance.” That has to do with average performance over time, not who crossed the finish line 1st the most times. And if you’re worried about “competitive balance,” you can’t just lump in all non-champions together and compare them against the league champion. That has insufficient granularity. If you’re worried about balance, it makes a difference if a team finishes in 2nd every year; and in fact, you have to meaningfully compare the team that finishes in 2nd every year to the team that wins the championship every 3rd year but finishes in 10th the other 2. Which is better? Hard to say, but you’re automatically saying the team that gets across the finish line 1st in any given year automatically has something on the team that is consistently finishing in 2nd. That is nonsense if you’re actually worried about balance. But the people who talk about balance aren’t worried about it at all. They’re worried about one of two things (a) maximizing their school’s chance of getting to the league title game, or (b) perpetuating the lazy stereotype that a good Michigan team is always better than a good Indiana or Illinois team, because it’s the sort of romantic nonsense that the purple prose writers from the early 20th century liked to promulgate (the “Four Horsemen” and such nonsense) and keeps sportswriters from having to think too hard about the narratives or “storylines” that they’re pushing in their columns and articles.

          • willarm1 says:

            Romantic notions?

            Good god. Why don’t you prove how Neb, Wisconsin and Iowa will provide a better competitive balance than say.

            1. UofM OSU Iowa vs. Neb PSU Wis.

            2. UofM Wis OSU vs. NEB PSU Iowa.

            Stop thinking in terms of the map. and how easy it will be for your team to make the CCG… can keep telling yourself that Iowa and Wisconsin are just as comparable as UofM PSU in terms of competitive balance, now show me an historical sample that proves your point. your last one failed.

            If OSU and Neb were drafting teams how do you think it would go?

            OSU picks U of M

            Neb picks PSU.

            OSU picks Wisconsin or Iowa

            Neb picks the team left over.

            would the draft go any other way?

            Your blind ambition to try to bring down any of the big 4 is pointless, Because they have wins, championships, and history on their side, and not only ancient history. saying the 70’s and 80’s do not count shows your contempt for the big 4. Look at some of the players that came out of that era? NFL Hall of Famers. The schollie argument would work if your were a MAC school but Wisconsin was not. so stop hiding behind that as well.

            Blaming the media is as lazy as it gets. very transparent. Like it has been a media cover-up that U of M PSU, Neb and OSU are on a different level than Wisconsin.

            If you want a geographic alignment just say so, but stop hiding behind the balance argument it doesn’t work. putting the arguably the 3rd best team along with the 5th and 6th brands in terms of competition in one division and somehow magically that is parity, doesn’t make sense.

            (I rank Neb 3rd or possibly 4th because they have not competed in the Big 10. This is not your Osborne Huskers but Bo is doing a great job, and they are on the rise. with that said The big 10 will pose a tougher challenge than the Big 12 did.)

          • Adam says:

            “Balance” is never going to be precise; there’s a spectrum of outcomes that will obviously have to be satisfactory. And I don’t see where the E/W split is so “imbalanced” as to be outside that spectrum. Wisconsin, Michigan, and PSU are inseparable, whether you go by winning percentage since PSU joined or a more subtle analysis like their Sagarin ratings. So if those 3 are equal, you can split them any way you want. No doubt, OSU is well ahead of the pack. Nebraska also seems to me to be clearly the next-best team. After that you’ve got a pack of 3 statistically identical teams. Then you’ve got Iowa, which is well ahead of the teams at or below .500 (Purdue, MSU, Northwestern), and behind the UM/PSU/Wisc group.

            Given those facts (along with the fact that an E/W split puts the worst team in the league, Indiana, into the E with the programs perceived to be “too strong”), I don’t see how an E/W split (or, as I would rather see it, a rivalries-based split) is so imbalanced as to fall outside the range of principled outcomes.

          • Adam says:

            You asked to show a historical example, and I have: their records are nearly identical since PSU joined (within about 2 games of each other). Or you could look at the Sagarin analysis at, where the teams are so closely bunched that different methodologies put them in different orders (indeed, Iowa’s weighted 10-year average is better than Michigan’s!).

          • jcfreder says:

            If you go by conference winning percentage since PSU joined, you get this:

            OSU .783
            Mich .691
            PSU .632
            Wis .592
            Iow .526
            Pur .474
            MSU .467
            NW .434
            Ill .335
            Minn .324
            Ind .243

            Note that Michigan is about .100 better. I know UM has really struggled recently, but I don’t think Wisconsin can be called statistically identical to Michigan. Which isn’t to say that an East-West split is automatically too imbalanced, but I think it’s clear that 3 out of the top 4 would be in the East in that scenario.

          • willarm1 says:

            Really Adam?

            A Ten Year AVG.

            apparently college football began in 1993 which just happens to be when the hey day of Wisconsin College football began.

            Since 93
            PSU 3 titles.
            Wis 3 titles
            U of M 5 titles and a NC.

            basing everything on a record from 93 on, under there greatest coach is less than genuine.

            And with that they still don’t stack up are the 5th best team.

            Thank God Delany is aligning the conference.

            I will let JC answer your wis is virtually identical to psu and u of m question

            “I’m a Wisconsin alum, and bottom line is, UW isn’t Michigan. I’m not sure where this 20-year “identical record” argument is coming from, but over the last 20 years in conference play (which seems to be the most equitable way of looking at it), Michigan has a .719 wp and Wis has a .534 wp. Not even close.”

            since 1970

            U of M 20 titles 1 NC
            PSU 2 NC 82,86
            Wisconsin 3 big ten titles highest rank 4. (90’s run)

            Wisconsin and Iowa are not U of M PSU, OSU or Neb.

            And subsequently do not have the historical chops to carry the western division without the help of two of the big 4.

          • Adam says:

            Going just by conference record is a much smaller sample size (4 fewer games per year) and offers no way to compare against Nebraska. If you’re disinclined to use the 11/12-game win-loss records, then I would point to the analysis of the Sagarin ratings (which are all about the notion that a win is not a win). And in those, again, they shake out very similarly.

          • jj says:

            can we all agree that wisconsin is s fraud and michigan is obnoxious? just askin.

          • jcfreder says:

            The reason I used conference records is because that more or less equalizes things. Teams schedule non-conference quite differently. The reason Michigan’s record looks so close to Wisconsin’s is that from the years 1993-2009, Michigan played 31 auto-BCS-bid conference opponents (inlcuding ND and not including bowls) while Wis played 16. UW’s record looks better because they larded up on weaker teams. As for Sagarin . . . that only takes into account 10 years, which happen to be UW’s best recent decade and Michigan’s worst. In the 90s, Michigan won 77% of all games, while UW won 61% . . . against weaker schedules. Michigan won a national championship in 97. If the argument is that 2000-2009 means everything, and 1999 and back means nothing, then perhaps Wisconsin is equal to Michigan, and that’s only because of two abysmal seasons that no one thinks will be a permanent state of affairs. For Michigan. On the other hand, the entire UW 70s and 80s looked like Michigans 2008-09.

          • Adam says:

            I, too, wish the Sagarin analysis had gone back further than 2000, but I think that it would have produced comparable results.

            I just don’t see how the OSU/PSU/UM group is so much stronger than NEB/WIS/IA that it would warp the league’s competitive structure into irrelevance. I’ve never argued that Iowa is the equal of PSU or UM, and OSU is clearly ahead of everybody (including Nebraska), but it seems close enough.

  50. jj says:

    Hey Frank:

    Nice post. The E/W division makes the most sense and the imbalance already exists per the annual matchup games. For example, Wisconsin and Iowa are widely regarded by the OSU/UM crowds I interact with as frauds in years they skip out on playing at least 2 of the UM/OSU/PSU triangle, with at least one of those being on the road.

    I, as a state man, am being told that state’s schedule this year is total crap because state doesn’t have OSU, just UM and PSU. State also has WI and Iowa, so how’s that for “total crap”.

    I guess the point is, that the inbalance already exists. The east-side teams have it hard enough already and hopefully pushing Nebraska and a championship game on the west-siders will even things out a bit.

    • jj says:

      Further, if PSU feels like the odd man out now, just pair them up with nothin but corn country for 4 games that the penn-dutch crowd would have to leave home 3 weeks in advance to get to. That will make them feel right at home? Just stick with E/W.

    • duffman says:

      I am wondering if her going to NC State (aside from sister) is to plan a move by NC State to the SEC

      • Vincent says:

        I’d be shocked to see that happen. The only way it does would be if UNC and Duke moved to the Big Ten in a package with Maryland and Virginia (something that’s now extremely unlikely to happen) and the SEC decides to pick up the ACC leftovers.

    • aps says:

      I am one of those who do not believe expansion is done yet. Don’t think it will happen soon but within the time frame of 6 to 12 months.

      I also believe Maryland & Rutgers will be two of the prime candidates, they would help secure parts of the east coast market. Both are AAU universities. Maryland academically and research wise is on par with Ohio State (a little above average in the Big Ten). Rutgers is another good research school.

      Like baseball, games are won not with Home Runs but singles and doubles. You can not have peaks without valleys. Both schools are not great in football but are solid in athletics. And again think like a university president, they are more concerned about academics and research. This would further the inclusion of solid academic universities within the Big Ten. Further the Big Ten’s territory, reach and market. It also seals off the SEC.

      Plus the addition of these two schools will not destroy either conference (may make them a little unstable), a concern of the Big Ten.

      By going to 14 schools, it shows other parties that they are serious about expansion. And 14 may be just a way station to greater numbers (16, 18, etc).

      I believe that the expansion of the Big Ten is more than just about athletics but academics as well. That is the difference between the Big Ten and other conferences.

      • Vincent says:

        I hope you’re right, despite my skepticism. I hope the Big Ten has sworn off Texas as more trouble than it’s worth, especially given UT’s apparent insistence on BevoTV. If so, bring in Maryland and Rutgers to go to 14, then let Notre Dame select a suitable partner for #16 (Syracuse? Pittsburgh?) once it decides to join.

      • Paul says:

        One of the articles linked about pointed out that Maryland is 4-44-1 against the Big Ten in football.

        The academics had better be stellar.

        • Vincent says:

          Take the Penn State game out of that, and Maryland has only a handful of games against Big Ten teams. I believe a few of them were games at Michigan State during the Jim Tatum era, and IIRC, the Terps split two games. (I’m pretty certain no team has played at Byrd Stadium while it was a member of the Big Ten.)

          I should also note that Maryland is 2-0 against the Big Ten in bowls, beating Minnesota and Purdue.

      • Michael in Indy says:

        “And again think like a university president, they are more concerned about academics and research.”

        With all due respect to Nebraska, if they were more concerned about academics and research, it would have been Pitt who was admitted into the league. Academically, Pitt fits better than any other rumored candidates besides, arguably, Texas or Maryland.

    • cutter says:

      Maryland’s Athletic Department under Debbie Yow took a nearly $50M deficit and brought the figure down to about $6M over sixteen years. She also submitted balanced budgets for each of those seasons.

      There are problems though. In August 2009, Maryland Athletics announced budget cuts across the department with a little over 3% taken from football and men’s basketball. See According to a recent article, the football and men’s basketball budgets have been restored–go to,0,6607584.story. Randy Eaton (Maryland AD CFO) is now the interim athletic director–see,0,6329311.story

      Maryland is also having difficulty selling out the luxury boxes and premium seating for football that were built at Byrd Stadium. See This is coupled with a drop in the sales of seasons tickets.

      Maryland supports 27 sports with a budget of approximately $55M (in contrast, Michigan supports about the same number with a budget at $100M that includes debt financing for Michigan Stadium renovations). See

      According to the linked article, Yow last year submitted a budget that was smaller than the previous year. See

      Maryland’s current president, Dan Mote, ends his tenure on 31 August. His replacement hasn’t been named. Obviously, that person will be responsible for naming a permenant AD and for helping to decide what Maryland’s future course might be.

      • Vincent says:

        This is why Big Ten membership is so crucial for Maryland. No matter how good ACC football gets, it simply doesn’t have the cachet of the Big Ten — especially since the D.C. metro area is teeming with alums of those schools. (It explains why Indiana moved its Nov. 20 home game with Penn State to FedEx Field, not Lucas Oil Stadium.) You bring in any of the now six top-tier programs of the Big Ten (not four, as per willarm1’s broken record), and not only will those Byrd Stadium suites be filled — suites that were planned following ACC expansion, when it appeared the conference would finally have a football brand — but the stadium itself could be further enlarged to at least 60,000 or so. While some may scoff at the football prowess of Maryland and Rutgers, that’s within the context of the ACC and Big East. Put the Big Ten brand on both of those schools, and while they may not become top 10 powers, they would improve considerably.

        • zeek says:

          Yeah, I’m a big believer that adding Rutgers and Maryland to the Big Ten would be able to convert their football atmosphere to that present at Purdue or Michigan State over a period of 15-20 years.

          As you stated, those areas are full of alums, and a part of the problem is that NJ and Maryland are Big East and ACC areas right now, but they make much more sense as Big Ten areas.

  51. PSUGuy says:

    1) I don’t know about that. I’ve already gone on record as saying ND won’t join a conference because quite frankly, it doesn’t need to. Even without (or in a decimated) the BigEast, ND can survive. If worse comes to worse I’m sure they could find another conference (ACC, MAC, etc) that would allow them to play as a member in all but football, and really that’s the only thing they seem to care about…football independence. They’ll change their tune if the only way to a NC is through a superconference, but I really think that is decades away (if ever).

    Thus the question is does the BigTen really think it needs to continue expanding? Schools like Rutgers, Pitt, MD, even Mizzou, still bring value. What’s more, from what I read some of those schools (namely any of the BigEast) have a much easier time shifting conferences come July 1. If that’s the case, a second expansion run into more eastern markets might happen.

    IMO, I think that’s the reason why the BigTen is pushing so hard to focus on integrating Nebraska…they want them on board and a “BigTen school” to weigh in in 6-12 months of on possible additions.

    2) I don’t know about that. ESPN definitely doesn’t want them (at least for a while) because it has tied up huge amounts of $$$ in two conferences, who because of that $$$, are now much less desiring to expand, and the BCS with all the conferences as they stand today. Fox on the other hand I think would have preferred a Big16/Pac16 ownership stake, but saw due to Texas issues (both school and state) that that wasn’t a possibility. So they swoop to the rescue of the Big12 (for now) to ensure they (Fox) will have college football markets from the mid-west through to the Pacific.

    3) Something that speaks to the “national” statements you make, but also to the smallish Nebraska (state) base…typical Nebraska tv coverage maps cover every state from Kansas north to Canada and west through Idaho, Colorado, & Wyoming. While I’ve been down on Nebraska for smallish state footprint for the BTN, the joke is they might be the only school that can solidly get the BTN on every state in the Great Plains…meaning they actually bring a larger “state population base” to go with the national following and higher rates that brings.

    4) Fair enough but let me ask everyone this…if Kansas was in NY do you think their fate would have been the same? I guarantee someone would have picked them up fast (BigEast/ACC) due to market, regardless of their football prowess (or lack there-of). Its for this reason why I think Syracuse is still in the running if the BigTen continues to expand (though admittedly, its chances are much diminished).

    5) I agree.

  52. Hopkins Horn says:

    Last week, I suggested a “what if” scenario in which Bevo TV could wind up proving a scenario in which individual school networks wind up being more profitable than conference-wide networks. I specifically suggested that Mizzou could wind up inadvertently stumbling into a more profitable model by not winding up locked into the BTN.

    Someone scoffed at my notion of an all-Mizzou network:

    Mizzou network? NFW. Gimme some of that weed.

    Enjoy the weed:

    • Hank says:

      Hop, did you read the article? check the numbers they are mentioning toward the end. “a more profitable model by not being locked into the BTN” might be a stretch. but what the hell Mizzou, go for it! :)

      • Hopkins Horn says:


        I’d agree that, as of today, a share of the BTN would probably be more profitable to Mizzou than would launching Mizzou TV. I just thought it was amusing that I was mocked (in the kindest of ways, of course!) for theorizing just last week about a scenario in which Mizzou would launch its own network (perhaps, only perhaps, being more profitable down the road).

        • Hank says:

          understood. but from the sounds of it it sounds a bit like they are doing it on the cheap. the journalism school is their resource? I’m not trying to put it down but it sounds a bit cable access, not that there is anything wrong with that. the BTN and this Missouri venture are two entirely different animals. the BTN is a legit network with a broader distribution and professional presentation. we’ll see how t develops but I would be surprised if it generates the type of revenue that the individual schools are getting from the BTN. I believe Texas has studied this awhile and is forecasting similar revenues to the BTN. does it sound likely that the Missouri Network would be more profitable than Texas’ venture?

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            does it sound likely that the Missouri Network would be more profitable than Texas’ venture?

            Of course not. But I guess my “what if” from last week derived from the uncertainty any of us have as to how profitable Bevo TV could be. The “what if” went to a scenario in which Bevo TV proved the concept of a single-school network so overwhelmingly that it demonstrated that even medium-sized schools/markets like Mizzou could do very well, leading to a theoretically ironic situation in which Mizzou could wind up better off financially by being left behind in the Big 12 and not being locked into the BTN.

            Do I think it’s likely? As someone who’s been skeptical of Bevo TV, no. But is it possible? Sure.

          • StvInILL says:

            So how does a Mizzu TV work out if the football team goes into a funk and only wins 3 or 4 games in the next 5 years? this singe school network think seems to me to be a venture fit best only for the “kings” as we discussed this term previously.

          • kmp says:

            One of the key numbers in that story is that Mizzou made a $4 million profit last year on its games that were outside the conference TV package. That’s a healthy number considering it doesn’t include football games or carriage fees. Add a couple of football games to make a network more appealing, include the basketball games that are the main element producing that $4 million profit and you should be able to produce another $1-$2 million in revenues.

            I think HH is right that this example shows that if a good but not great athletic program can produce that revenue, then it’s no wonder a school like Texas considers it such a priority.

        • PSUGuy says:

          Lets put it this way HH…if Mizzou does start its own tv network, I’m glad they aren’t in the BigTen.

          If Texas…Texas…has studied its own network, in a state the size of Texas with the alumni base and national tradition of winning, for the past several years and is still years away from a fully operational, profitable tv network (even if they announced financing today I think that’s about how long it would take to get up and running) what makes anyone realistically think Mizzou has got a chance any time soon?

          I mean its awfully easy to spout off numbers like “a nickel per household” and come out to a decent figure, but is that figure really likely?

          IMO, one of the things that makes the BTN successful is not just the single school in the states it covers (that’s just what gets the channel on cable in that state). Its the compelling content (ok, compelling might be a bit of an overkill, but you get the point).

          It is an actual college football channel every saturday in the fall and airs plenty of bball games throughout the winter. Combine that with plenty of “second tier” live programming against “rival schools” (aka the rest of the BigTen) and you’ve created a channel with a legitimate draw to a very large swath of the college athletics viewer base.

          I really think even schools as big and national as Texas are finding out that a single school network is simply too focused, relying too heavily on the “fanatics” of their sports world because quite simply they don’t provide enough “broad appeal” content. IMO, its for this reason Bevo TV has been “looked into” for the past couple of years, but the idea has been slow to develop (and also why I think they were interested in bringing TAMU in at the onset).

          Hey, maybe I’m wrong, and every school will have its own hugely profitable tv channel soon, but this article reads to me like Cleveland Browns off seasons article saying how they’re going to commit to the run and get more pressure on D…sounds good, but in the end is just a fluff piece without much substance.

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            s still years away from a fully operational, profitable tv network

            It’s launching next year, FWIW.

          • PSUGuy says:

            Really? I hadn’t seen anything to that effect.

            Be interesting to see the break out of who partnered with who, what is owned, and what the profits look like.

          • Hopkins Horn says:


            Yeah, I saw that somewhere in the last couple of days. What I’m beginning to gather is that Bevo TV has been much farther along than most of us guessed, and that going forward with it has been the primary driver in UT’s decision-making process, not control or academics or geography or any of those other quaint notions.

          • PSUGuy says:


            That’s the only link I could find that ties the network up and running in any short time-frame.

            The most interesting thing I found was that it would apparantly be third fiddle, being the home for that which doesn’t get picked up by FSN. The comment regarding operas was interesting too.

            Maybe Texas’ station is more of a “college entertainment” channel (to include plays, musicals, science shows, etc), not just a college athletics channel, which I have to admit is intriguing.

    • Mike B says:


      The top 3 issues with any one-school network that is in a conference, whether it is BevoTV or MizzouTV are

      1. Inventory
      2. Inventory
      3. Inventory

      How do you distribute without inventory?

      • eapg says:

        I’m sure there are warehouses full of burnt orange merch waiting to be sold on the Longhorn Shopping Network. Between that and various repackagings of Texas looking dreamily in the mirror at itself, it’ll go over gangbusters. In a state where allegiances are divided nine ways to Sunday.

        The important thing is that everyone understands that this network for Texas is non-negotiable and hold a spot for them just in case it turns out to be a flaming bag of crap.

      • Bullet says:

        Powers point was not that they had to have Bevo TV. His point was that he had a potential asset. He said he wasn’t going to give it away without seeing that he was getting something of value and the P10 network was very iffy-they still haven’t determined if that is the route they want to go (so the B10’s advantage potentially could be long term, not just short term). Without even considering any greed factor, its the President’s fidicuiary duty.

        And there is a lot of bad info about taking the lost 5’s share. Texas and OU have refused to take their share of the lost 5’s exit fees. Only A&M hasn’t committed yet. And the B12 TV deal is fair to all-its not even to all, but anyone who gets the TV appearances will get more money. If Iowa St. were to run off 50 straight wins, they would get the biggest share of TV dollars. That’s obviously not likely to happen-OU, UT and A&M will probably get the most TV appearances, but the TV deal is based on merit with no special deals for those 3. Its 50% even and 50% based on TV appearances.

        • eapg says:

          Texas now has its opportunity to see if it can convert a potential asset into a tangible asset, or quite possibly throw money down a rathole because their popularity has already reached saturation levels. In doing so, in the case of the Big Ten, they left a huge pile of money on the table. If they’re successful, they create a hindrance to joining two of the three conferences they might eventually be interested in, the dreaded SEC being the only one that would allow their network without batting an eyelash. Success also invites Texas politicians more into the fray by attaching ever more Texas schools to be joined to that success.

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            Woe is us! Damned if it succeeds, damned if it doesn’t. How will we survive?!?

          • eapg says:

            I’ll take your attempt to miscast my argument as something that it wasn’t (Texas survival) to mean you really don’t have much to say in opposition to my actual argument, that being whether Texas has already blown their opportunity to maximize their vaunted position.

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            You would assume incorrectly, but having an intellectually honest discussion regarding anything Texas-related with you is a waste of time.

            Have you figured out yet who will be the new target of your obsessions in the Big 10?

          • eapg says:

            Hmm. Guess you got a few victim cards in there with the hater cards.

            At any rate, HH, it’s interesting that you yourself confess to having doubts about BevoTV, but you bristle when I also have doubts. Who’s being intellectually dishonest again?

    • Ron says:

      Missouri TV in some ways might be an easier sell for their state than BEVO TV is for Texas. Since they lack an immediate rival in their own state, you shouldn’t have people calling their cable provider to complain about allocating channel spaces to their sworn enemy. One can easily picture Texas A&M SECessionists (advocates of SEC over PAC10) resorting to that even after the reconstruction of the Big XII.

      • Hopkins Horn says:

        I still don’t see what an Aggie pissed off about his cable company or satellite provider offering Bevo TV is going to do about it, other than bitch.

        • bigredforever says:

          nothing.. as long the aggie fan doesn’t have it as part of the base package and have to pay more, they won’t care. If it is forced on them, they will look at other options.

      • Josh says:

        Except for all the fans in Kansas City who are Kansas fans or all the fans in St. Louis who cheer for the Illini.

        Even if St. Louis is much more of a Mizzou town (and I think it is) the bigger issue for Mizzou TV is apathy. People calling up to say they don’t want a channel isn’t a problem. LOGO got on most cable systems despite opposition from Christian conservatives. The issue is going to be how many Mizzou fans are going to call up their cable company and demand it and threaten to go to another provider that has it? And will any of the providers (Cable, satellite, FIOS) offer to carry it in the first place?

        I don’t think Missouri has enough rabid MU fans and that Mizzou could get enough content onto such a channel to get enough people to demand it outside of Columbia. They may try, but getting the Big Ten network to be carried was a major war. When the KC Royals started their own network, it failed for lack of coverage and demand. I see the same thing happening with Mizzou TV.

  53. M says:

    In terms of “move the needle” games, if you only count games between two of Nebraska, Penn State, OSU, and Michigan, the strictly geographical alignment actually leads to more:

    On a two year basis assuming no cross division protected games, strictly geographic has:
    2 OSU-Mich
    2 Mich-Penn State
    2 OSU-Penn State
    1 Neb-Penn State
    1 Neb-OSU
    1 Neb-Mich
    = 9 total games

    Putting Penn State with Nebraska gives:
    2 Penn State-Neb
    2 OSU-Michigan
    1 Penn State-OSU
    1 Penn State-Michigan
    1 Nebraska-OSU
    1 Nebraska-Michigan
    = 8 total games

    Just some food for thought.

    • Adam says:

      Some excellent information.

      The other thing I’ve always said is this: let’s assume that E/W is totally imbalanced. Completely unfair. We know before the season starts that whoever emerges from the East will beat up on the West Champ. I don’t see where even this is bad from a business perspective. It means that the regular season race to win the East Division is really important, requiring anybody who cares to watch a large fraction of the 33 East Division games (15 intra-divisional games and 18 inter-divisional games) spread over 13 weeks, instead of this perfectly balanced league alignment that has a compelling CCG but fewer important regular season games. I’d rather have people watching from September-November than waiting until the final-weekend games which the supposedly well-balanced league has ensured the division races will come down to.

    • jj says:

      this is a great breakdown, well done.

  54. Michael in Indy says:

    Comparing an East/West split of the Big Ten to a North/South split of the ACC is apples-to-oranges.

    An “ACC North” would consist of BC, Md, UVa, VT, and I’m gonna say UNC & Duke since UVA/UNC would want to keep the “oldest rivalry in the South” an annual event. In that division, only VT is comparable in stature to Wisconsin or Iowa, let alone Nebraska. This past season, for example, half the “ACC North teams” had losing records, while five of six “Big Ten West” teams appeared in bowl games. (Sorry Frank!)

    Meanwhile, an “ACC South” would have two programs about on par with Nebraska & Miami, two programs (Clemson and Georgia Tech) roughly in the class of Wisc & Iowa, and two hit-or-miss programs in Wake & NC State.

    A Big Ten East might be slightly stronger than a Big Ten West, but an ACC South would be overwhelmingly stronger than an ACC North. Plus you have to factor the better access to superior recruiting ACC South teams would have in Florida, Georgia, & SC. Recruiting access in an East/West Big Ten split would practically be a wash since so many players come from Texas and Florida, anyway.

    And let’s face it: the ACC’s failure isn’t divisional lineup. It’s the fact that championship games have been held in off-center locations in FLORIDA, where several ACC bowl games are also located. It hasn’t helped that three times the championship games have featured BC or Wake Forest, which are both smaller than Northwestern and don’t exactly draw big crowds. No one noticed it because of the Big 12 & SEC games with national title implications, but the Georgia Tech-Clemson championship contest last year actually sold quite well.

    • Adam says:

      Any alignment is doomed to failure if fans can’t rattle off the alignment. I could do that very easily with the Big 12 and SEC, because their alignments are natural and make sense (and MAC, for that matter — other than Miami (OH) being in the East). I can’t do that with the ACC. That will impede the league no matter how compelling the league races might be some day.

      • Michael in Indy says:

        Were the Big 12 divisions not doomed to failure when the league slapped Nebraska in the face and put Oklahoma in an opposite division, without protecting the annual rivalry?

        So far, the ACC’s divisions haven’t failed. They’re just not easy to remember.

        • Adam says:

          “Were the Big 12 divisions not doomed to failure when the league slapped Nebraska in the face and put Oklahoma in an opposite division, without protecting the annual rivalry?”

          Certainly — but that’s a problem with their scheduling format (not protecting the annual rivalry), not the divisional structure.

          Also, the seeds of the Big 12’s doom were sewn in the unequal revenue distribution, not the divisional structure. As the rich got richer in the South Division, it was a game of beggar thy neighbor with the North Division. Split the money equally and you put the Colorados and Kansas States of the world on more equal footing with at least the Texas A&M’s and Oklahoma States.

          • Bullet says:

            You may have an argument long term, but the reality is that the B12North powers lost great coaches (Osborne at UNL, Snyder at KSU) or picked bad successors (Neuheisel at CU) while Mizzou and Kansas got good coaches. CU also tried to upgrade the student part of their student-athletes instead of recruiting gang members from LA-and the transition has taken awhile. If revenue were the reason, KU would not have ended up in the Orange Bowl and Tech and Ok. St would not have become good. At the same time, being in the B12 instead of the SWC and B8 and getting great coaches helped OU and UT regain their form.

          • Adam says:

            The fact that a school succeeds one year is not relevant to the sorts of long-term trends that (almost) broke up the Big 12. It’s like saying that the fact that 1 kid got into Harvard from your underprivileged inner-city school of choice, they all could have if they had just applied themselves.

            The fact that there are individual circumstances that cut against the trend doesn’t disprove that there are systemic factors at work which provoke that trend.

          • Bullet says:

            I think a lot of the B12 revenue distribution issues are red herrings. They really weren’t relevant to teams leaving. May have made them more interested in listening, but ultimately it was about more money and more attractive options. CU has long wanted to go to Pac 10. Missouri has been talking to the B10 for at least the last 10 years. B10 made more money and has the CIC. No matter how happy they were, I don’t see any of the B12N schools except CU turning that down.

            P10 revenue distribution is even more unequal and noone talks about them dissappearing.

          • Adam says:

            I think you’re right there, but I was addressing the concern of “competitive balance.” There’s this notion that the Big 12 committed some original sin by drawing up the divisions as they did, which the Big Ten must draw some lesson from, but the Big 12’s “competitive balance” problem was a function of the unequal revenue distribution, not the alignment of the teams.

  55. mmc22 says:

    Can everybody calm down with these division alignments? Before we start screaming about lost rivalries and long distance travel for a school or another, can we look at the actual games they will play.
    With 9 conference games proposed every school will play 9 out of 11 every year and 4 out of 6 from the opposing division. This is the exact same situation like now with 2 teams missing from your schedule every year.
    Now speaking of travel, being in one division or another doesn’t make too much of a difference. You basically trade two games (1 home and 1 away) against schools closer to you with two games (1 home and 1 away) against schools further away. This whole think actually ends up being just a one game sweep for your travel concerns. Worst case scenario for a school like PSU will be traveling to Nebraska (furthest away school) instead of OSU (closest school).
    Now about rivalries; with the actual format they have 2 protected rivals and play everybody else 3 out of 4 years. In the 12 schools, 2 divisions format they have at least 5 protected rivals (inside their one division) and play the schools from the other division 2 out of 3 years (no crossover protected rivals), or 3 out of 5 years (one protected rival). This doesn’t look bad at all to me. We were thinking 16 schools conference and the scheduling problems involved with that for so long that we forgot that a 12 schools conference is actually working pretty well.

    • Adam says:

      It’s a bit more than that. Whether you play a team in-division or between divisions makes a big difference on the amount of “juice” that game has. If only one of us can get to the CCG, it makes all the difference.

      You’re also taking for granted a 9-game schedule, which I think is a bad idea. It is a huge money loser (since half the league is losing a home date that they could play non-conference), and is inequitable, since some of the teams get 5 home dates and some get 4. It gets made up over time, but tell that to the team that catches magic in a bottle and loses out because they had to play 5 road games.

      Also: I think most everybody is hoping that going to 12 and splitting into divisions will improve the situation, not simply be no better than the status quo.

      • Bullet says:

        An extra game is not necessarily a loser. The cost of the money games has gone up dramatically the last few years, even with the liberalization of rules on FCS games. I’ve heard $1,000,000 for some of these games. Also, 9 games adds to the attractiveness of your TV content. That’s part of the B12 reason for going to 9.

        While it does give some teams an extra road game, it also reduces the chance that one team has an easier schedule as there are only 2 teams from the other division not played, not 3.

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        Adam – As a SEC fan, there is just as much, if not more “juice” when LSU tees it up against Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee as there is when LSU plays Auburn, Ole Miss, or Arkansas. The Saban factor with Alabama makes that game a little more juicy than the rest. Even though a loss to a cross-divisional rival is not quite as detrimental for CCG purposes, a top ten cross-divisional match-up gets everybody going. In fact, 3 of my top 5 greatest Tiger Stadium games I’ve attended (I have only missed 5 home games in the last 27 years) were UF in 97, UGA in 03, and UF in 07. I’m not speculating, I’m speaking from experience.

    • StvInILL says:

      Yeah, its 9 conference games for now!?! So then next month Delany annexes ND or Maryland and all of a sudden everything changes. I think there is still room for a somewhat comfortable 2 team expansion and we cant rule out 16 anymore. This is all about the politics of people claiming their interest now. We all know the storied OSU UM game is safe whether we own us or China does. But what about the rest of us?

    • PSUGuy says:

      IMO, there is going to be a lot of resistance to losing one of those 4 OoC games. Take my PSU…

      They have a 100000+ seating capacity stadium.
      My season tickets cost $55 per game (and we know luxury boxes, etc cost much more than that).

      100k x 55 = $5.5+ million per game that PSU gets to keep as the BigTen allows each individual school to keep the proceeds from the OoC games. And this only accounts for tickets sales…doesn’t even account for parking, local advertising, etc. (or costs admittedly).

      OSU, UoM, Neb have to be the same way.

      Until that 9th game can collectively show a greater gain that what is lost in those OoC games I think there’s going to be some resistance toward moving to that schedule.

  56. Bullet says:

    A little more support for Frank’s #3. An article discussing Pac 10 TV deals, saying CU, despite the Denver market, has no value and Utah limited value to ESPN since they don’t have much of a national following.

    • Jim Somers says:

      Your link to Jon Wilner of the S.J. Mercury News is curious. About six weeks ago, I commented on one of his articles via email, and his response, just six weeks ago, was that PAC 10 expansion wouldn’t happen because the conference didn’t want it. He also said there would be no PAC 10 cable network. That remains to be seen, but Wilner doesn’t do his homework very well.

  57. duffman says:

    A thought on 16 team conferences

    If you go to 16, it means more in conference games and fewer OOC. This means more control of games by a conference, and keeps more revenue in house. If I am UM and pay 100,000 to the sisters of the poor to beat their football team by 100 points how much is it adding to the bottom line of UM or the BTN? If that game is replaced by an in conference game I am guessing it would bring in a bit more revenue. Patrick or anybody in media care to comment on this thinking. I am thinking adding Maryland has more media value in conference than using that same slot on the schedule to play the sisters of the poor. As an added bonus you get the Terps basketball which gives you content once CFB is over, while the sisters of the poor just get you 1 game with no national appeal.

    I guess what I am trying to see is some bottom line numbers in the difference in value between an OOC “cupcake” and an in conference opponent on a per game basis. Then extrapolate that value to how it affects the bottom line of the conference as a whole.

    As a secondary question how much revenue is generated the first weekend of the NCAA BB tourney as a % of the total revenue for the tourney?


    • Bullet says:

      don’t have those numbers, but read another interesting number recently-97% of the NCAA’s revenue comes from the basketball tourney. The whole organization depends on the basketball tourney and the good graces of the big conferences who generate most of the interest.

      • duffman says:


        sort of my point. If the first weekend produces 20% of the value but the sweet 16 teams produces 80% of the value then the “superconference” model will actually benefit in a reduction of teams in the tourney. Same thing with the conference tourneys. I see many empty seats in these first round games, so that is lost revenue. I can see the point from a media standpoint if the first weekend accounted for 80 % of the NCAA revenues, but if it is only 20% of the total is it really worth it. Especially if you are an early round host site with half empty venues, or second round sites that can not fill because fans already blew their $$ on the first round game.

        playing thursday and friday (day) games seems pointless when fans have to work and can not take those days off to see their team. Having fewer teams and all games on the weekends (friday night, saturday, sunday afternoon).

    • StvInILL says:

      Your logic sound correct to me duffman. Especially so if you are an Ohio State, Penn State, Nebraska or a good Michigan team. Now if you are in the 3rd division you may need to schedule some cupcakes to keep fan interest as you go into conference play with a winning record as opposed to 0-3 or 1-2. This as you look ahead with realistically 2 or 3 conference games at the most that you have a chance at winning.

    • Adam says:

      Duffman — even if it’s replaced by a bit more revenue, that’s only every other year. The off years, you’re playing it as a road game instead. That’s why more conference games seem like they have to be money losers to me — only half of the teams can play home league games, but they can all play home non-conference games.

      It only works if the in-conference game is worth 2x what the game against the cupcake is worth, because otherwise games against the cupcake in consecutive seasons will end up being more profitable than the extra league game every other year.

      • SideshowBob says:

        And that’s ignoring the lost bowl revenue when some team finishes 5-7 by losing an extra conference game when they could have played an OOC patsiy instead and gone 6-6 and gone to a bowl.

    • greg says:

      I don’t see a possible 9th conference game as taking a cupcake off the schedule. It more likely reduces quality OOC opponents.

      Iowa plays 4 OOC games against:
      cupcake (EIU this year)
      MAC (Ball State)
      quality BCS home and home (arizona this year, Pitt next)

      Of those four games, it sure seems like the quality BCS game will disappear. I imagine the same scenario playing out with other teams.

      So, the B10 bottom line is that instead of owning the TV rights to half these quality BCS OOC games, they’ll own the TV rights to all of them.

      So they’ll gain 4.5 games a year of TV rights, but while losing out of conference scheduling freedom. Ticket sales should be a wash. Adding a ninth game to conference standings could be problematic (unbalanced home/road) but also good be a plus (see other conference mates more often).

      • Adam says:

        Even at that, Greg, if you have any kind of national pretentions, you’re going to need to play somebody non-conference, given the importance of opinion polls in college football on a year-to-year basis.

    • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

      Who says 16 teams means you must have more conference games? With the pod setup, each team would still have 4 yearly rivals…and everybody else they’d play twice every five years.

      Adding a conference game either A) eliminates the possibility of 1-1 OOC series OR B) eliminates the extra revenue schools get when they can have 8 home games.

      I don’t think B will happen, so the question you have to ask yourself is…IS IT WORTH IT to see your conference foes more frequently or to have a more diverse schedule?

      I think diversity is more important. Now, if the Big 10’s 16 team conference suddenly includes 2 Texas schools, Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Rutgers (I’m still hoping against hope), it’s awfully diverse even within the conference itself.

    • jj says:


      The only problem with this is that UM lost to App State, which was paid handsomely to deliver that win.

      Don’t fret fellow bottom feeders; whatever happens, we never lost to App State!

    • duffman says:


      irony – the article was written in kansas but in a kentucky paper

      A) the NCAA used to have the HQ in KC, now it is in Indy (moved from SWC & Big 8 territory to Big 10 and SEC territory).

      B) Both KU and UK have great basketball programs, and sucky (historical) football programs.

      C) KU seats around 50,000 and can not always fill it while UK seats around 70,000 and is over capacity so often the next expansion will take it to 80,000 or 90,000 (my argument for UNC or UK type basketball schools over KU and Duke types in conference realignment).

      D) State schools are limited by the state they reside in (think if KU basketball had built the same elite program in MD or WA instead of KS).

      • StvInILL says:

        The National Collegiate Athletic Association
        700 W. Washington Street
        P.O. Box 6222
        Indianapolis, Indiana 46206-6222
        Phone: 317/917-6222
        Fax: 317/917-6888
        All Packages:
        1802 Alonzo Watford Sr. Dr.
        Indianapolis, IN 46202

        This is a shocker. I always associated the NCAA in Kansas. Now a move or a second office in Indy?

        • duffman says:


          HQ in Indy, I think the move was made years ago to be closer to Host Communications (Lexington, KY) which is now IMG.

          IMG stays off folks radar, because they are a privately held company. Host stayed off many radars for decades, and the principal (former P&G guy) was the force behind the new arena in Louisville. Will put Yum in the reply.

          • duffman says:



            for UL new arena (Papa Johns is their football stadium) so they have cornered the fast food corporate sponsor market :)

          • Bullet says:

            Don’t know Host’s history-if maybe UK helped make them, but UK’s association with Host made UK basketball a very valuable property. According to Alan’s numbers, UK was making in the same vicinity on their tertiary rights as football powers like Alabama and LSU.

          • duffman says:


            Host maybe got their foot in the door with UK, but made the gravy being the source behind the NCAA. If you have bought an NCAA program for pretty much any NCAA sport in the last quarter century + chances are almost 100% that Host printed it and sold the ads in it (as an example of one of the things they did for the NCAA). They the folks you never saw, but made the deals.

            IMG is a private company, they do not need to go to the public to finance expansion. They can generate enough $$ internally to finance expansion in house.

          • duffman says:


            Why I made the point early on that UT – Austin is an IMG school.

    • Hank says:

      yea it sucks for the basketball guys but if you take emotion out of it and look at the numbers basketballs success with the tournament is what has backed it into a corner. Its pretty much understood by all that football generates the largest revenue but even so basketball wouldn’t be irrelevant. But the perverse effect of the success of the tournament and the season ending conference tournaments has really undermined the economic contribution of the regular season. Other than a few marquee matchups there isn’t as much excitement for regular season basketball. All the excitement gets focused into March Madness. And that revenue stream is controlled directly by the NCAA. What the conferences can control and maximize is their regular season and their conference tournaments. And that is devalued as the focus is increasingly on the tournament. And if they do go to 96 teams (god forbid) it will only exacerbate the situation. So Frnachilla et al can bemoan that basketball doesn’t count for more but the NCAA has created the situation where basketball revenues are minimized in conference calculations.

      And as a side not this is exactly why we will not see a football playoff until there is greater consolidation among the brand name conferences and teams so they are not forced to share that revenue stream with lesser contributors.

      • StvInILL says:

        The NCAA basketball tournament.
        It’s one of the most inclusive systems of crowning a champion we have in the collegiate realm.
        So why not expand it?
        Well if you go to 96 you further degrade the meaning of a 30 game schedule + the 3 game conference tourney.
        Some think that 64, 65 are still too much.
        I disagree. It helps to dissipate the elitist factor that you would have in a 32 team NCAA Tournament. 32 is simply a private club in which the rich get richer.

        • Hank says:

          there are 347 division 1 programs why not expand the tournament to 347? that would be really inclusive and non elitist.

          • StvInILL says:

            Because you also have to be realistic. Does the viewing public want to watch the other 267 of the 347?
            I don’t think so. I mean not outside of dad mom, dad and grandma. These other teams/Schools are not nationally viewed on television and most do not have a regional outlet they can count on. The NCAA is all about the nationally prominent. There are opportunities in tournament time those from 65 to 100 ranking to mach themselves against the top 30 teams in a meaningful engagement. Realistically these teams do not have a chance to end up in sweet 16. Possibly some will end up in the NIT. The NIT which is a snooze fest of the next 32 teams has very little interest.

          • duffman says:


            that is why I asked the question in the first place. If a 16 team NCAA tourney could produce 80 % of the revenue, is the added 20% worth going to 128 teams? In a law of diminishing returns what is each added team actually worth? I would argue that seeds 13 – 16 are not games I want to pay to see. I just would like to know what the % breakdowns are?

          • Hank says:


            right. I recognize that arguement. I’m not arguing for one answer or another but there is a real question of what the philosophy of the NCAA and college athletics are. Its an interesting debate.

            I suspect you are right that a 16 team tournament would generate a significant portion of the current tournament earnings. AND it would increase the value of regular season and conference play for all conferences. But the benefits would accrue largely to the big brand conferences who have the established names and marketing muscle. But it will be less inclusive. Fewer small conference players will get a shot even if they have no real shot. But then should they get a shot at the big payday that was built off the efforts of the brand namess?

          • duffman says:

            StvInILL and Hank,

            As a basketball guy I would like the conference tourneys to be limited to the top teams – say 4 or 8 teams MAX in a 16 team conference. Why reward mediocre teams in the regular season.

            Then the top conferences could have multiple slots, while the lesser conferences would have to play each other for the remaining slots the same weekend the major conferences are playing their tourneys. It still allows the little guys a shot, but gets rid of the “pasty” games in the actual NCAA tourney.

            If the conferences want more control of content than they had in the past (the BTN model) everything tells me they will continue to move toward ownership than away from it.

          • Hank says:


            I’m for anything that makes regular season games more meaningful. I’m not anti the tournament, I fill out the brackets and spaz out the first weekend like everyone else. my original point was just that the relative irrelevance of basketball in conference realignmnet was just a reflection of how much the NCAA controlled tournament now dominates the college basketball picture.

          • Bullet says:

            I didn’t like it when they went to 64,but I don’t see anything decreasing unless the big conferences leave.

            Your comment did bring up the expansion to 68. They can’t make up their mind whether to send the minor conferences to Siberia or the major conference teams from the bottom half of the conference to Siberia, so they are talking a blend of the two.

            I was thinking they ought to do a parallel regional for the bottom 4 conferences at the same time as everyone else. Then you get a sweet 17 and have the parallel regional champ play Tuesday against #16 of the sweet 16 (preferably the lowest seed left, or, if it must be predetermined, the lowest #4 seed or whoever is playing in that slot). Then you have a Cinderella game that gets exclusive TV access and noone gets sent off to Siberia.

      • Bullet says:

        Not that I’m expecting a playoff anytime soon, but I’ve long thought a 16 team playoff using 8 minor bowls in December as the 1st round with 8 autobids and 8 wildcards was the way to go(if you aren’t 1 of top 8 conferences-you have to qualify as wildcard-50% autobids is general NCAA policy on their tourneys). However, with this discussion, I’m beginning to think something like a 10 team (instead of 8-to have room for 1 non-BCS champ) tourney is best with 6 teams seeded into January 1 and 2 play-in games at home fields. It makes the tourney very hard to get into, meaning 2 losses could knock you out (keeping emphasis on regular season), keeps bowls the realistic goal for most schools instead of a dissappointment (NIT was important back when NCAA bb was 25-32 schools), keeps traditional ties on 1/1 (with 16 teams-B10 and P10 teams could be knocked out in 1st round), and doesn’t cut into finals time for students and athletes. Fewer schools gets rid of the chaff that don’t have a chance and also reduces the chances for the best teams to have a bad day and get knocked out.

      • jj says:

        Part of the problem with BB not being as profitable is the cupcake scheduling. Teams could make big-time events, but many of them are flat-out afraid to do it because they don’t want a loss. Expanding the field will only increase the desire to not schedule good games. BB also creates more programming for the B10 Network. If the B10 expands again, I hope we get better BB than what the Huskers deliver.

  58. jcfreder says:

    I looked at the years 2002-2009 (the years I had the relevant info available), and here are the championship matchups based on the Big Ten and B12 (for Nebraska) records that year. Obviously this is an alternative universe but it provides some idea of what a championship game might look like. Also, this is a pure geographic split.

    2009 #9(AP) Iow vs #8 OSU
    2008 #24 NW vs #6 PSU
    2007 #15 Ill vs #3 OSU
    2006 #7 Wis vs #1 OSU
    2005 UR NW vs #4 PSU
    2004 #12 Iow vs #14 Mich
    2003 #25 Neb vs #4 Mich
    2002 #4 Iow vs #2 OSU

    I note that if you throw PSU in the west (moving Ill to the East), PSU wins the West in 2008 and 2005, both times matching up against OSU.

    • jcfreder says:

      Judging from this, I will slightly question whether the B10 championship will be a smashing success, at least ratings-wise. The SEC has raised the bar so high that the games I’ve listed above just gernally don’t jump off the page. Maybe in the real word the West gets a boost by not playing the East biggies as much, leading them to better records and higher rankings. But it’s not like you’re going to see marquee name vs. marquee name every year (which seems somewhat obvious if the only West marquee is Nebraska).

      • jcfreder says:

        One more thought. In a world in which ND ever joins, they HAVE to be in the East, right? So do you bump PSU then?

        • StvInILL says:

          They (ND) should be in the East. But obviously, at this point you have to give the edge to competitive balance. You move them west. In their first year of BT play they should not be able to dictate so much. Texas anyone???
          Tell them we’ll see how it works out the next 10 years and we will reevaluate the situation. Fare? Of course there will be no more reevaluations unless further expansion dictates. With say Maryland or Rutgers or Syracuse in, they are ALL east without a doubt.

        • Vincent says:

          If ND ever joins, it will almost be certainly as part of a 16-team conference, and by then the Big Ten would probably organize into four 4-team rotating pods so that everyone outside ND’s pod would face it at least once every few years.

          • Vincent says:

            Were ND to join with Maryland, Rutgers and Syracuse, the pods would probably be organized this way:

            Md, PSU, Rut, Syr
            Mich, MSU, ND, OSU
            Ill, Ind, N’west, Pur
            Iowa, Minn, Neb, Wis

            Each team gets a permanent out-of-pod rival, enabling ND to continue playing Purdue and Penn State meeting Ohio State.

          • jcfreder says:

            I’ve gamed out as many 16-team scenarios as anyone, but given what we’ve seen over the last few months, is there any reason to believe the BT will go to 16? The only reason to do so would be to add members as a sweetener to Texas or ND. It doesn’t like Texas is coming period. Would Notre Dame have three other schools they’d want to bring along? Seems unlikely.

          • hawkfanbeau says:

            I really don’t see a 16 BT anymore. I can see a 14 team SEC, ACC, BT, with the Pac 10 staying at 12 and Big12 going back to 12. the MWC and Beast will be in trouble at that point but i see one of them getting by in a BCS style post season. it is all up to ND at this point… But i wouldn’t bet on the Big12 lasting longer than 5 years either.

    • StvInILL says:

      How these meetings ended up In season
      2009 Iowa @OSU 24-27 OSU win.
      2008 NW vs. @PSU (no meeting)
      2007 ILL @OSU 28-21 ILL win (dominant)
      2006 Wis vs. OSU (no meeting)
      2005 PSU @NW 34-29 PSU last minute win.
      2004 Iowa @Mich 17-30 UM win
      2003 NE vs. Mich ( no meeting)
      2002 Iowa vs. OSU (no meeting)

    • willarm1 says:

      I think that is why the Big 4 will be split.

      I just wonder what will they do with Iowa and Wisconsin? will they split them? or keep them west with PSU and Neb? keeping the rival games with each other and Minnesota, because if they are split the two both games cannot be protected.

  59. IrishTexan says:


    NOTRE DAME, IN– In an effort to disassociate themselves from Big Ten rumors, the University of Notre Dame will no longer use jersey #10 in any sport, effective this fall. Jerseys #11-15 will be suspended for five years, also effective this fall.

    Jersey #16, however, is still in play…

    • GOPWolv says:

      Similarly, the transition to the “spread-option” offense will highlight the use of “0” and multiples of “3” instead of “7” in the home-team score at Notre Dame stadium.

    • eapg says:

      Shucks. I thought Jerry Jones had them all fitted for jersey 11 or 12. The infallible Chip Brown said so. ;)

      • duffman says:


        guess that Longhorn spin just can go so far, at some point you gotta get past what comes out BeVo’s back end before you drown in it.

        • eapg says:

          Hey now. Just watch yourself, you too could be a Texas “gasp” Hater. ;)

          • duffman says:


            Not a Texas hater, just not a Chip Brown fan.

            a) I hate ‘pay’ sites that really are not all they are advertised to be. Even ESPN with their “insider” is insulting. They charge you for the TV channel and they make plenty from the advertisers. The least they could do is keep some things free for the masses.

            b) I am no fan of on side groups. At least here you here different sides, and you can debate when you have a different view from someone else. I am partial to a country that has opposing views as part of the conversation.

  60. RedDenver says:

    Tommy Tuberville isn’t buying the Beebe/UT spin:

    “I don’t think this conference will last long because there is too much disparity between all the teams,” Dienhart reports Tuberville having said on the show. “In the SEC, for instance, Vanderbilt makes as much money in the television contract as Florida. Everybody is good with it. Everybody is on the same page. Everyone gets the same votes.

    “That doesn’t happen here in the Big 12. We have some teams that get a little bit more money and have a little it [sic] more stroke than some of the other teams. And when that happens, you’re gonna have teams looking for better avenues to leave and reasons to leave. We have a 10-team league right now, but I just don’t know how long that’s gonna last, to be honest with you.”

    • eapg says:

      The Ministry of Information wishes to inform all members of the Big 12 Conference that things would go much better for them if they just stuck to the script.

    • StvInILL says:

      And the guys that really should be looking (KS, K.ST MO, I.ST and OK.ST arn’t. Beats the hell out of me.

      • Bamatab says:

        The problem is that no one wants those teams. The only reason that the Pac 10 wanted OK ST is because OU wanted them to tag along. I believe that is any of the major conferences offered those schools, they’d jump on a heartbeat. JMHO

      • Michael in Indy says:

        Purdue, Northwestern, Indiana, etc. are fortunate that the most powerful brand names in the league don’t treat them the way Iowa State, K-State, Okie State, etc. are treated by Texas. Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State could easily behave just like A&M, OU, and UT, but their commitment to all members of the league seems to elevate the Big Ten to a higher, more successful position than the Big 12 ever will see.

        • luke says:

          I really don’t think that luck has anything to do with it. The Big Ten has always been a pretty cohesive group. The Big 12 is not a cohesive group, why should texas help out a bunch of schools they have no loyalty to? This is why mergers dont work. I dont think the PAC 16 would have worked. The beauty of just adding a couple pieces here and there from different regions is that those teams are required to fall in line with the Big 10’s values. I think the current big 3 realize they are much stronger allied with the rest of the Big 10 then if they tried to strong arm a stronger position.

        • StvInILL says:

          It’s amazing how a rising tide lifts all boats. Accept in places where they don’t communally share the resource. It’s a beautiful thing that Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State can have their football godhood and Indiana, Mich State and Illinois some basketball legitimacy and Northwestern academic supremacy in the conference and can share revenue equally for the benefit of all. Texas are you listening???

  61. Art Vandelay says:

    I know (at least this is the impression I’m getting) what most everyone’s opinion is on this, but I think the Big Ten should consider adding Rutgers for the 2011 season. Think about this from a bargaining standpoint. Consider this: expansion is exclusively for financial purposes/greed, but joining the conference is about a variety of things, including money, but also academics, cultural fit, and athletics.

    The most popular sport right now by a longshot is the NFL. In a competitive second place is college football, one reason certainly being that it has to compete with the NFL for casual fans. Now, as 2011 approaches closer and closer, one thing seems to be more inevitable, and that’s a lockout for the NFL. Isn’t this the opportune time that the Big Ten can leverage the BTN and take full advantage of no football competition on the East Coast?

    Consider that the Big Ten is developing its brand name right now, in 2010, and all indications right now are that this is going to be an incredibly strong Big Ten, and Nebraska could very well win the Big 12 (I picked them to win it even before they were on my expansion radar), then entering 2011, the Big Ten could have three BCS teams returning, as well as a very strong Citrus Bowl team, probably one of Wisconsin, Iowa or Ohio State – all potential top ten teams. Sell the “best conference in college football” to the East Coast media, with the aforementioned four while also adding potentially multiple 8-10 win teams in Penn State, Michigan State, Michigan and/or Northwestern, and you’ve got a quality product to sell. Compound that by the (hypothetical) fact that there will be no NFL season, and the Big Ten can offer the football fans out East (with Rutgers) something they really can’t get anywhere else – a quality product that comes with a pseudo-vested interest (Rutgers).

    What if for all four weekends in November Rutgers is playing home games against Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Nebraska – just to peak the East Coast interest, and all the games with the exception of maybe one or two were put on the BTN? Rutgers likely would have a decent record as they will not have played any of the “big boys” up to this point. Am I wrong, or isn’t this at least worth a shot?

    Plus, with the addition of Nebraska, (and I mean no offense to anyone) academically the conference is diluted as opposed to solidified. Adding Rutgers helps solidify this part of it. Especially if Notre Dame comes around, another top tier research school is a must so as not to water down the academic side.

    How do the cable companies on the East Coast NOT add the BTN if there’s no NFL for 2011? Is it inconceivable that the BTN demands $0.60 per subscriber in New Jersey and $0.25 per in NYC? That’s a whole lot of money! With Rutgers the Big Ten is athletically diluted, but academically solidified; with Nebraska it’s athletically solidified but academically diluted. It seems like a decent compromise. And the money could make it worthwhile.

    • StvInILL says:

      You make a good sale. But I believe the expansion thing is all about the ND. If there is no way to get ND then Rutgers, I’m sure is on the short list.
      I believe a Nebraska can come in by itself but Rutgers will probably have to come in with someone else as a part of a strategy to solidify a (large eastern) market share. ND, TX and NE are teams and markets but at this point in time Rutgers is strictly a market. There are still some questions about Rutgers ability to completely deliver its market.

      • Art Vandelay says:

        I don’t disagree totally with what you’re saying, but my problem is how long is the Big Ten going to wait for Notre Dame – an institutional and cultural outlier? Right now, even with the schools that currently comprise the Big Ten, it’s a very regional conference. If it ever hopes to become more than a Midwestern association of universities, it has to eventually go to the East (most likely), Southwest (somewhat unlikely), way west (extremely unlikely), or to the Southeast (somewhat likely). It wouldn’t take much for Rutgers to make up the cost for its addition because of its populous geographic location. The Big Ten can always add Notre Dame later if the Irish decide independence is not feasible. Why should the Big Ten, with all the leverage it has, be so reactionary with regards to the Irish? If they want to join down the road, let them, and in doing so improve your national brand name. If not, let them stay where they’re at, but without the Irish, this has to be the best conceivable scenario to leverage the BTN to East Coast states like New York and New Jersey.

        The BTN is a potential gold mine. Why not develop it and try to turn it into something more than just nice supplemental income? It COULD become a powerhouse cable channel (like a mini-ESPN), but we’ll never know because the Big Ten is stuck waiting for things that may never happen to come around. I’m not suggesting not leaving spots open for the Irish or Texas, I’m only saying that if Rutgers is eventually going to be added anyways, why not now when there’s more leverage than normal on the table?

        • eapg says:

          For the moment, the perfect is the enemy of the good. To my eyes, the Big Ten is waiting on a school that wants nothing more than to remain independent, and a school that (possibly) wants to be independent. To think that one can dissuade them from their folly presumes that they can be dissuaded, and that what they want is folly, none of which is necessarily true. Notre Dame has the backing to remain independent. There is no reason to believe Texas can’t pull it off also, if that’s what they want. They’re better positioned for it than anyone.

          • Bamatab says:

            I wonder if the Big 10 would ever consider “suggesting” to its member schools to “take a break” on scheduling ND for a little while. While it might piss ND off at first, the Big 10 schools could use a nine game conference schedule (if it goes to one) as a reason why it can’t schedule home and home games with ND for awhile. This would limit ND’s ability to schedule games with schools within driving distance. I know that ND prides itself on playing a national schedule, but even they need to play a few games with schools within driving distance.

            Now I’m not saying that the Big 10 would entertain an idea like this, but it might be another way to add pressure to ND (besides raiding the Big East).

          • jj says:


            the 3 schools that routinely play ND will never stop doing it. no way. no how.

          • eapg says:


            Twenty years ago, the thought that Nebraska and Oklahoma would someday not playing would be just as unimaginable. Never is a long time.

          • jj says:

            that’s a good point. i really hope NB plays at least one of the old B8 crew anually.

            i still don’t see MSU, PUR and UM not scheduling the Irish no matter what if they can. I think if anyone was to stop, UM would be the one as they’ve done it before. they haven’t really played that much either. MSU/ND has probably been played twice as many times. But I suspect ND would drop Purdue if push came to shove. Just my read.

          • Art Vandelay says:

            That’s my whole point here. Why should the Big Ten wait on Notre Dame. I’m under the impression (which might be wrong and foolish) that IF the Big Ten can grab Notre Dame, THEN they’d definitely grab Rutgers to try and get the East Coast. If this is the case, why wait and essentially lose the money they’d gain now with Rutgers (with as many people as Rutgers caters to already, along with the current Big Ten alumni base on the East Coast, I just can’t imagine that they wouldn’t be able to recoup the cost to add them). Plus, adding New Jersey would mean the Big Ten would be located in 10 states (assuming I counted correctly in my head), and thus the name of the conference would make more sense.

        • StvInILL says:

          Love’em or hate’em beating ND is always something nice to have on the resume by bowl time. Freezing them out also only becomes an antagonistic thing towards the Irish and this is not productive in future negotiations. The Big ten has always been a gentleman suitor to ND for the same reasons a man should be to his probable future wife.

  62. eapg says:


    They might be looking. If there’s a next round, my guess is that things go down very quietly. Interesting to say the least that Tuberville (and I suppose Hance) feel their position is strong enough to pop off at the big boys.

  63. duffman says:

    do not know if this has been posted, but it looks like USC is now thinking of changing conferences.

    those darn trojans just want to leave the Pac 10 behind.

  64. NDx2 says:

    Dienhart himself was on Rivals this morning also. He said that he thinks the B10 is still in expansion mode and is looking at Rutgers and/or Syracuse as the next step on the way to 16. I believe he even opined about a 6-month timeframe. I think he’s wrong and that FTT is right, e.g., they will not just take Syracuse or Rutgers (or both) unless ND has already said yes, which isn’t going to happen. But Dienhart for whatever reason seems convinced of it.

  65. Patrick says:

    Side noting – Heard Nebraska AD Tom Osborne on the radio this afternoon being interviewed about the move to the Big Ten.

    He said that the Big 12 wasn’t a good cultural fit anymore (very PC answer), and that Nebraska would likely lose money on the deal in the first few years and then may make more or may not make more (depending on Big 12 contract). Sounded very PC again, trying not to look like a cash grab for the football program. Then after speaking about what a great fit the Big Ten is for NU athletics, weather, culture, mission, etc. he said that the cooperation between the universities in the Big Ten on Acedemic research was a BIG plus. Basically 2 or more universities can apply for research grants TOGETHER and work in cooperation. He said that it should mean about $50 – $100 million additional research dollars per year for the university.

    So while we all marvel at the wonderful BTN and the dollars they make, say $22 million per year (maybe a $10-$12 million increase for Nebraska) the CIC is a damn big deal! The CIC could mean a $100 million increase for Nebraska…. about 10 times those piddly football dollars.

    Thought it was interesting!

    • NDx2 says:

      I may be ignorant about the difference between TV/athletics revenue and research revenue, but it seems to me that whereas the former is unrestricted — “profit” if you will, such that the university can use it for whatever it wants — the latter is specifically designed to, well, fund research. Doesn’t that make it a classic apples to oranges comparison?

      • UWGradStudent says:

        Many research grants allow high percentages (40 to 50%) of the grant money to be used for “university overhead.” This essentially means the university can use the money for whatever it wants. The remaining money that is actually used on the research project often goes to funding graduate students, equipment, etc., which attracts higher quality students and advances the mission of the university. So while research grants may be more restricted than athletics revenue, this is largely irrelevant in practice.

    • Vincent says:

      Remember the old one-liner about the University of Oklahoma trying to build a school the football team could be proud of? With Big Ten membership, the Sooners’ one-time archrival (apologies to Okie State and Texas) has achieved precisely that.

  66. duffman says:

    As I am watching the CWS, had the Pac 16 gone as intended it would have looked like this:

    AZ 3
    ASU 5
    Cal 2
    OK 2
    oSu 1
    OSU 2
    USC 12
    stanford 2
    texas 6

    or over 1/2 of all the CWS championships (33 of 62)

    for the Big 10 – 6 total

    UM 2 53′ & 62′
    tOSU 1 66′
    Minnesota 3 56′, 60, & 64′

    The SEC has 8 (UGA 1, LSU 6, & USC 1)

    USC won this year beating UCLA in the bottom of the 11th (2 -1)

    and the rest have about 15 total

    FSU has been 20 times and never won a CWS, wow.

    ps loki, I did not know Rice won a CWS in 2003 (congrats)

    • Vincent says:

      Had the Gamecocks previously won a national title in any sport? Since the days of Paul Dietzel vs. Frank McGuire, which ultimately led to South Carolina’s departure from the ACC, that school has had one of the most dysfunctional athletic programs in Division I.

      • duffman says:


        I have an attorney friend who is a huge Clemson fan, and Clemson and USC are like oil and water in baseball. Clemson has been like 12 times and never won, now USC beats them to advance and can claim the NC that Clemson has never won. I am marking my calendar for the USC vs Clemson game this fall, somehow I think it will be a bit more “testy” than usual.

        I think the women have won something, and they may have won something in track. Those are the only things that come to my head vincent.

      • Phizzy says:

        Had the Gamecocks previously won a national title in any sport?

        Yes, women’s outdoor track and field, in 2002.

    • Michael in Indy says:

      Growing up my family followed FSU baseball. My parents said FSU was the Atlanta Braves of college baseball. At this point I’d say FSU is the Bills, Braves, Chargers, Cavaliers, and Suns–combined–of college baseball. :-(

      But as a native of SC, I’m happy for the U. of S Carolina. That school could never catch a break. Maybe for at least a few days they can be the honorary “real USC” or “real Carolina.”

      • duffman says:

        Indy Mike,

        I was watching the game, it was really good. They kept showing Spurrier in one of the private boxes all night. I did not realize UCLA had never won a CWS, as much as the Pac 10 has dominated I just always figured they had at least 1 NC.

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      The B10 has won the CWS five times since the mighty ACC last won. I continue to be amazed and amused at their failures in Omaha.

      • duffman says:


        they had about a decade, then nothing (Big 10) as their last CWS NC was tOSU in 1966.

        ACC = UM 82, 85, 99, and 01 + WF 55

        BC = 0 – 8, Clemson 0 – 12, Duke 0 – 3, FSU 0 – 20, GT 0 – 3, UM 4 – 23, UNC 0 – 8, NCSU 0 – 1, UVA 0 – 1, and WF 1 -2 (the best percentage in the ACC)

        I was a bit surprised that no SEC teams in Alabama or Mississippi had won the CWS tho.

    • StvInILL says:

      At Indiana some might say that football is just something they play to get them to the basketball season.

      It might be said of the Big Ten that baseball is just something they play to get them to the football season.
      This is just a joke and not a slight on Indi or big ten baseball by the way.

    • Phizzy says:

      Your numbers seem to be a little off. There have been 64 CWS championships.

      By conference:
      Pac-10 – 26
      Big 12 – 10
      SEC – 8
      Big Ten – 6
      ACC – 5
      Big East – 0
      Others – 10

      • duffman says:


        sorry, looks like I missed 2 somewhere. my primary point of the post was to point out that had the Pac 16 happened just how dominant they would be in the CWS.

        Current Pac 10 = 26 + UT,OU, & oSu = 35 which is still over half of the CWS NC’s. It would be ironic as it would leave Missouri as the only remaining Big 12 school with a CWS NC.

        Big West = 4 (CSF)
        WAC = 1 (Fresno State)
        Patriot = 1 (Holy Cross)
        WCC = 1 (Pepperdine)
        CUSA = 1 (Rice, yay loki!)
        MVC = 1 (Wichita State)

        phizzy who did I miss to get to 10?

  67. cutter says:

    This is Michigan’s current 2011 football schedule–the pre-expansion version:

    Sept. 10 NOTRE DAME
    Sept. 24 SAN DIEGO STATE
    Oct. 1 Bye Week
    Oct. 8 at Wisconsin
    Oct. 15 INDIANA (HC)
    Oct. 22 at Michigan State
    Oct. 29 at Iowa
    Nov. 5 MINNESOTA
    Nov. 12 ILLINOIS
    Nov. 19 at Northwestern
    Nov. 26 OHIO STATE

    Michigan will be paying San Diego State $1M for the game on 9/24 (SDSU HC Brady Hoke was a UM assistant under Lloyd Carr before becoming the HC at Ball State and then moving on to San Diego). In the past, Michigan has paid MAC teams about $500K apiece for their games. Michigan and Notre Dame swap checks for the same amount every other season and the home teams keeps all the gate revenue, so that arrangement is essentially a wash (this practice has been going on since 1978). The total cost for Michigan’s four non-conference games is about $2M in 2011.

    Obviously, that schedule will change with Big Ten expansion. Assume the east-west division breakdown is used and the west division is paired up for scheduling purposes as follows:

    1. Iowa-Illinois
    2. Nebraska-Northwestern
    3. Wisconsin-Minnesota

    If the Big Ten goes to nine conference games, Michigan’s 2011 schedule could look like this (assumes five home conference games that season, Pairs 1 & 3 from the Western Division above are used and no inter-divisional rivalries).

    E = Eastern Division
    W = Western Division

    Sept. 10 NOTRE DAME
    Sept. 24 PURDUE (E)
    Oct. 1 Bye Week
    Oct. 8 at Wisconsin (W)
    Oct. 15 INDIANA (E)
    Oct. 22 at Michigan State (E)
    Oct. 29 at Iowa (W)
    Nov. 5 MINNESOTA (W)
    Nov. 12 ILLINOIS (W)
    Nov. 19 at Penn State (E)
    Nov. 26 OHIO STATE (E)

    There are a few changes to the original 2011 schedule. Purdue takes the place of San Diego State on 9/24 and that saves Michigan a $1M payment to SDSU. The 11/19 game originally scheduled at Northwestern is now played in Happy Valley agasint PSU. Obviously, that makes for a stronger overall schedule.

    In fact, if I had used Pairs 2 & 3 from the Western Division instead of 1 & 3, it could have looked like this:

    Sept. 10 NOTRE DAME
    Sept. 24 PURDUE (E)
    Oct. 1 Bye Week
    Oct. 8 at Nebraska (W)
    Oct. 15 INDIANA (E)
    Oct. 22 at Michigan State (E)
    Oct. 29 at Iowa (W)
    Nov. 12 ILLINOIS (W)
    Nov. 19 at Penn State (E)
    Nov. 26 OHIO STATE (E)

    At Nebraska replaces at Wisconsin on 10/8 and Northwestern replaces Minnesota on 11/5. That means Michigan’s 2011 schedule would include four major CFB powers–Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Penn State.

    The schedules above help illustrate the questions the Big Ten confernce is going to be dealing with over the next few months in regard to divisons and scheduling. Would an Eastern Division with UM-OSU-PSU be too lopsided in terms of competiton? Does a nine-game conference schedule make sense in terms of competition, getting two BCS bowl bids, overall finances, etc.? Michigan might save $1M by not playing SDSU in 2011, but it loses one game per year that may net the athletic department upwards of $4-$5M per contest.

    If the conference were to stay at eight games and the Western Division was divided up for scheduling as follows:

    Group 1 – Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska
    Group 2 – Iowa, Northwestern, Wisconsin

    Then the 2011 schedule would look like this with Group 1 from the Western Division (assumes 3 home games with Eastern Division opponents, 1 home game with Western Division opponent):

    Sept. 10 NOTRE DAME
    Sept. 24 SAN DIEGO STATE
    Oct. 1 Bye Week
    Oct. 8 at Nebraska (W)
    Oct. 15 INDIANA (E)
    Oct. 22 at Michigan State (E)
    Oct. 29 MINNESOTA (W)
    Nov. 5 at Penn State (E)
    Nov. 12 at Illinois (W)
    Nov. 19 PURDUE (E)
    Nov. 26 OHIO STATE (E)

    The same schedule with Group 2 from the Western Division

    Sept. 10 NOTRE DAME
    Sept. 24 SAN DIEGO STATE
    Oct. 1 Bye Week
    Oct. 8 at Wisconsin (W)
    Oct. 15 INDIANA (E)
    Oct. 22 at Michigan State (E)
    Oct. 29 IOWA (W)
    Nov. 5 at Penn State (E)
    Nov. 12 at Northwestern (W)
    Nov. 19 PURDUE(E)
    Nov. 26 OHIO STATE (E)

    On balance, the two 8-game schedules look to be a bit more manageable in terms of overall competition with San Diego State back in as the four non-conference game. Because of the ability to schedule up to eight home games per season and the slightly easier nature of the schedule, we might see a lot of Big Ten teams wanting to remain at eight conference games.

    If Penn State was placed in the Western Division with Nebraska and the eight-game conference schedule were maintained, then the conference would be positioning itself to maximizing the number of bowl eligibile teams and overall number of home games for the different conference programs. Assuming the Western Division would have Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Penn State, Illinois and Northwestern and the schedule grouping were something like this:

    Group 1: Nebraska-Minnesota-Illinois
    Group 2: Penn State-Iowa-Northwestern

    That would mean a team from the Eastern Division wouldn’t be facing Nebraska and Penn State during the regular season in an eight-game schedule. The same would go for Western Division teams regarding Michigan and Ohio State.

    It’ll be interesting to see how this shakes out, but I think conventional wisdom dictates that the conference will stay at eight games and they’ll keep Nebraska and Penn State in one division with Michigan and Ohio State in a second division. While the cost of getting a one-and-done non-conference opponent is going up, I think the ADs will want to have maximum scheduling flexibility so that they could get up to eight home games per season and/or vary the overall scheedule strength as they see fit.

    Michigan’s 2011 schedule with eight conference games against the Western Division Group 1 would look something like this (assumes three home games against Eastern Divions, one home game against Western Divison):

    Sept. 10 NOTRE DAME
    Sept. 24 SAN DIEGO STATE
    Oct. 1 Bye Week
    Oct. 8 at Wisconsin (E)
    Oct. 15 INDIANA (E)
    Oct. 22 at Michigan State (E)
    Oct. 29 at Nebraska (W)
    Nov. 5 MINNESOTA (W)
    Nov. 12 At Illinois (W)
    Nov. 19 PURDUE (E)
    Nov. 26 OHIO STATE (E)

    Western Group 2 would be something like this:

    Sept. 10 NOTRE DAME
    Sept. 24 SAN DIEGO STATE
    Oct. 1 Bye Week
    Oct. 8 at Wisconsin (E)
    Oct. 15 INDIANA (E)
    Oct. 22 at Michigan State (E)
    Oct. 29 at Penn State (W)
    Nov. 5 IOWA (W)
    Nov. 12 At Northwestern (W)
    Nov. 19 PURDUE (E)
    Nov. 26 OHIO STATE (E)

    Obiously, these schedules can be changed around, but the general gist here is that they help illustrate some of the possibilities in terms of breaking up divisions, overall competitive balance, etc.

    • Hank says:


      Michigan, and the other top brands, are only one part of the story. The conference also includes a number of schools with lower game day takes. They don’t have the bargaining position either to more regularly arrange for 8 home games. to them the prospect of an additional Big Ten opponent may be better than a home and home series with a mid level BCS opponent. It would be interesting to consider the scheduling dynamics for a Minnesota or Indiana.

      • M says:

        “It would be interesting to consider the scheduling dynamics for a Minnesota or Indiana.”

        I don’t know about Minnesota or Indiana, but I am positive that Northwestern would prefer an extra conference game from a revenue perspective. Over the next six years (2010-2015) Northwestern will have a max of 9 buy games with only 5 over the next 4 years. I am sure that any Big Ten team would draw better than most of the home-and-home opponents Northwestern is able to get (Rice, Stanford, Vanderbilt).

        • loki_the_bubba says:

          I don’t know that the issue is “able to get”. My understand is that those schools, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Rice, Stanford, and others, have decided to play each other as a conscious decision. I know Rice would make more pimping themselves out to the likes of Texas, Oklahoma, or LSU.

          • M says:

            Don’t get me wrong; I like the fact that Northwestern is playing similar-type schools (other than the fact that Northwestern will again have a game I can’t get on tv, Rice this year and Syracuse last year). But in terms of attendance, I bet that any Big Ten team would draw better at Ryan Field if only because of proximity.

            Non-conference schools that might draw better (Tennessee? Missouri? ND?) aren’t giving up a home game to play Northwestern.

        • Hank says:

          thats pretty much what I assume. Michigan is already on board with 9 conference games and there have been some words from Wisconsin as well. I assume most of the schools in the conference would be similar to Northwestern. Ohio State favors 8 conference games but I suspect the conference is trending away from them on this one.

      • cutter says:

        Minnesota looks like they’re scheduling either one or two home-and-home series along with the buy-in games. Most of those are MAC opponents, but some are Division 1-AA. The Golden Gophers have a new stadium that I’m sure they want to keep filled.


        Indiana has more Division 1-AA opponents than most and they also have regular matchups with MAC teams in home-and-home series. I believe IU is also planning on playing a home game against Penn State in the Washington, DC area.


        I have to agree with you, Hank, that the dynamics for the Big Ten programs are different. Those dynamics are based not only on stadium size, but attendance, ticket sales, etc.

        We’ll see how the eight v. nine conference game debate plays out. Teams are balancing event revenue, season ticket sales, ease (or difficulty) of scheduling, competitive balance, chances of bowl appearances, etc. How the programs balance those factors out are going to determine their outlook because they’re still going to get approx. $20M or more from the conference irregardless of how hard or easy the non-conference schedule pans out.

        Indiana’s 2010 schedule is as follows with the East (E) and West (W) divisions noted in parens:

        09/02/10 Towson
        09/11/10 Open Date
        09/18/10 at Western Kentucky
        09/25/10 Akron
        10/02/10 Michigan (E)
        10/09/10 at Ohio State (E)
        10/16/10 Arkansas State
        10/23/10 at Illinois (W)
        10/30/10 Northwestern (W)
        11/06/10 Iowa (W)
        11/13/10 at Wisconsin (W)
        11/20/10 Penn State (in Landover, MD) (E)
        11/27/10 at Purdue (E)

        If this schedule was post-expansion, Michigan State (E) would replace one of the non-confernce games as the 9th Big Ten opponent–perhaps the game against Arkansas State would not have been scheduled. Nebraska and Northwestern would be the two Big Ten schools off the schedule. In this situation, does that help or hurt Indiana football in terms of its revenue and competitive goals? I don’t know how the Indiana AD would answer that question. Playing Arkansas State after a back-to-back with Michigan and Ohio State may be more desireable than playing Michigan State in that slot.

        For Minnesota or any member of the Western Division, Nebraska will be on the schedule on a regular basis. If Penn State is also in the west, then PSU would also be an annual opponent. Depending on how things shake out, Michigan and/or Ohio State would also be on the schedule if there were nine conference games.

        FWIW, Minnesota opens the 2011 season at Southern Cal followed by games with New Mexico State, Miami (Ohio) and North Dakota State. UMinn also has Michigan, Penn State and Ohio State on the schedule. In that situation, I suspect the Golden Gophers would want eight conference games, otherwise the schedule might be pretty insane (and we’ll see how it shakes out when this is over–Minnesota might have games with USC, Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska and Penn State in 2011 by the time the dust settles).

        Its an interesting topic. Michigan was advocating nine game seasons prior to expansion and Barry Alvarez is now in support. Purdue’s HC seems to like the idea, but I understand Ohio State isn’t in favor of the idea. We’ll know in a couple of months how it works out.

      • mnfanstc says:

        I am just a fan–don’t know the specifics–but I’d bet my annual salary that Minnesota’s bottom line and football future is in much better shape with an outdoor, on-campus stadium than with what (IMHO) wrecked the Gopher’s program—playing in their biggest competitor’s (the Vikings) building.

        I will never understand what the U of M’s powers that be were thinking when they made that move 20-some odd years ago.

        Seems to me more than coincidental that Minnesota’s fall from power (in football) is in the same timeframe that the Vikings and Twins arrived in Minneapolis.

        Vikes/Twins arrived 1961. Last of Minnesota’s 6 MNC’s- 1960, Last of 18 Big Ten titles- 1967. Minnesota was mighty at one time.

        The new stadium and the U’s take on it is to sell the history (beautifully done BTW), and try to create new tradition/history today. All we need now is the coach to take the program that way. Brew’s got one more year to try and prove his mettle, then it’s time to move on

        Geographical split is the way to go. It works for the SEC, should work for the Big Ten. EVERY team has is ups and downs–wasn’t long ago PSU was looking to hang JoPa out to dry–Michigan is down, Tennessee is down, Nebraska was down. Florida was an also ran until the last 20 years. Some teams are just down a little longer—see Minnesota, Ole Miss, Illinois…

        Love the blog, Frank… keep it up…

        • mushroomgod says:

          It’s great that the Goofers have a new stadium, but I never understood why you guys would build a brand new stadium of only 50,000 seats—seems rather unambitious and shortsighted. I know it can be expanded, but just seems surprising to me……….

          • mnfanstc says:

            Vikings still own the town… at least as long as they’re still in town (they want a new stadium too, have for a while).

            I’m not 100% sure, but, my understanding is that TCF Bank Stadium is expandable to something like 80,000 seats.

            I think the U probably made the right choice in starting a little on the lighter side… really only because the Metrodome rarely had much for Gopher support… sports fans up here seem a little fickle… so probably need a little break-in period to get people re-acquainted to “real” football played the way it should be… outdoors…

            We’ll see what happens down the road, I guess…

    • M says:

      I had a realization reading your post. Your setup could be viewed as having pods. In the years when Group 1 W plays Group 1 E, they could be declared a division without any change of the schedule.

  68. StvInILL says:

    There are plenty of MAC teams scheduled in the pre Big Ten season on all Big ten schedules.
    The games are 1) a great gage of potential 2) a joy to win. The MAC teams have either really come up in competition against the Big ten or the BT have dropped. I think they have come up over the years. In the lower Budget MAC there are no real dynasties just a couple of good seasons back to back depending of them having a defense and or a quarterback. This is they are far more cyclical.
    Many of the kids on these teams just missed on making it to a Big ten team because they were too small, not fast enough, or did not have great stats. So they really enjoy seeing how they do against Big brother Big Ten. The new conference alignment and may see less games scheduled against MAC teams over all.

    • Vincent says:

      Many of the kids on these teams just missed on making it to a Big ten team because they were too small, not fast enough, or did not have great stats. So they really enjoy seeing how they do against Big brother Big Ten.

      The same thing applies to East Carolina against the ACC in-state “big four” and for Southern Miss against Miss State and Mississippi.

    • Adam says:

      The MAC teams have come up because of scholarship limitations and the fact that more and more MAC games are on TV. As someone once said, the Big Ten Network is the best thing that ever happened to the MAC.

      The MAC’s rise against the Big Ten is one of many signs that the anything prior to the conditions of (roughly) the last 20 years is no indication of future competitive dynamics.

      • Bullet says:

        The MAC is a prime argument for expanding your recruiting area. They regularly had rated teams in the 60s and 70s. But when scholarship limits first came in they dissappeared from the rankings for 20 years. In the late 70s they expanded from 6 to 10 teams taking 4 schools that basically recruited the same area.

        Toledo was the next team ranked. They did it by recruiting Canada heavily. In fact, they were the only I-A school not to have at least 1 scholarship player from CA, TX or FL that year. And then the MAC expanded and ESPN, Marshall, Randy Moss and to some extent the 85 scholarship limit improved them.

  69. loki_the_bubba says:

    Back to realignment news…North Texas says ‘maybe next time’ to the WAC. I think the WAC may drop below the Sun Belt in relevance shortly.

    Honolulu Advertiser article (Link not working)

    It’s only going to get tougher for the WAC to ‘Play Up’
    By Dave Reardon

    POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jun 30, 2010

    Has it really come to this?

    North Texas basically tells the Western Athletic Conference, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

    The WAC motto the past several years has been “Play Up.” Every now and then one of its teams lives up to it and overachieves on the playing field against a BCS conference behemoth. But when it comes to acquiring and retaining member schools, the WAC plays down, way down. Or, as in this case, it gets nothing.

    Now it’s in what can best be described as a precarious holding pattern, perhaps a prelude to a crash-landing not too far into the future: The league announced yesterday it won’t add any schools for the 2011-12 year, when it loses flagship Boise State.

    What happened to that big footprint from the Mississippi to Manoa?

    It’s gotten to the point that a member of the Sun Belt holds out for a better offer. And when that source of fresh meat dries up, the WAC is in trouble. That’s where Idaho, New Mexico State and Utah State came from in 2005.

    Not that they’re all that. In their five seasons in the WAC, the agonizing Aggies (both of ‘em) and the mostly vapid Vandals have won 44 football games and lost 137. None of them made a bowl game until Idaho did it last season, and no one outside of Moscow’s calling the Kibbie Dome home to a budding dynasty. These three schools have averaged less than two wins a season against teams outside their triangle of futility.
    Need further illustration that when you delete Boise State you severely weaken the WAC? Easy, just take another look at the overall football standings again, from last season. The Broncos won all 14 of their games. Nevada, Fresno State and Idaho all went 8-5. The remaining five teams, including Hawaii, all posted losing overall marks.

    PROGRAMS LIKE Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada can look at Boise’s pending departure as an opportunity to become the new bull. But even if one of these teams romps through a Bronco-less conference in 2011, what is really gained if your goal is national respect? Unbeaten in the WAC won’t mean a whole lot when Boise State is not among the seven league victims. Such a squad better take care of business outside of the conference, too, if it wants to be taken seriously.

    And, as Ferd Lewis points out, since the WAC isn’t adding another school for 2011, UH must on fairly short notice find an opponent to replace the Broncos (adding to that conundrum is the fact that any available foes will also likely get emails and phone calls from seven other WAC teams with new holes in their schedules).

    Eight is enough for basketball. It actually works out better for scheduling with an even number of teams. And the March Madness money pie doesn’t have to be cut into as many pieces.
    So much for the positives. Speaking of money, bid aloha to the football breadwinner.

    An eight-team conference is workable. That, however, depends on which eight schools we’re talking about.

    Remember the old Big Eight? THAT was a conference. National-championship contenders in football and basketball every year. And it only got bigger and better in 1996, with the addition of Texas and three other Southwest Conference refugees. Earlier this month the Big 12 – with the Longhorns standing tall – withstood an attack from all sides, losing Colorado and Nebraska, but surviving.

    The WAC, however, now has no cushion to absorb any kind of a raid. If the Mountain West comes calling next year for Fresno State or Nevada, what then?

    Hard to believe a WAC team actually won a national championship in football, BYU in 1984. There’s a longshot, lameduck chance at such conference glory this fall, if Boise State can get past Virginia Tech in its opener and then run the table.

    After that, the WAC will be down to eight. And by no means a great eight.

    • StvInILL says:

      So what’s the answer? What do the WACs of the world actually do about a looming irrelevance and a future than does not promise a lot of invites from the big boys. The new policy likely will be to schedule more conference games which will be perceived as having more weight than scheduling Idaho state or Akron.

      Another thing, I am not sure what the growth of Division I has been over the past 25 years but are there really enough Division one athletes’ to go around or are most of these teams just wearing nice uniforms as they fly into Lincoln?

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        I certainly don’t have the answer. The gap between the top and bottom of D1A seems to be growing. Nothing short of a massive change in the governance of college football will make the WAC/MAC/SunBelt relevant. What could those changes be? Cut scholarships? Enforce NCAA-wide revenue sharing? Something else?

      • StvInILL says:

        I’m thinking scholarship limitations as well as maybe creating a new division for the big boys (55 teams) only and call it Division Alpha. So those who cannot afford the arms race can survive where they are at. I am thinking to limit the Scholarships in the Big Boy leagues (to 70) while leaving the others the same. If kids want to play with the big boys then they understand that there are fewer spots and if they really want to play at Texas or Ohio State they may have to walk on. The next division down will be happy to have more scholarships as a consolation and maybe get their own championship

    • Bullet says:

      Read one article that referenced NCAA consideration of a proposal to reduce scholarships to 73. Article didn’t expand on that. I haven’t seen that anywhere else. Might be one of the Knight Commission recommendations-which means its many years off before being seriously considered.

      Div. I-A was around 100 schools 25 years ago as off the top of my head I can think of at least 20 of the 120 schools that have moved up in that time (BE-2,MAC-2,CUSA-4,SB-8,WAC-4). Other than CA schools-LB St., Fullerton St. and Pacific I can’t think of anyone who dropped. Division I overall has grown quite a bit. There probably weren’t 300 schools, let alone 347.

    • Ron says:

      Loki, your concern for the welfare of the WAC is well-founded, but do have to point that there is really no minimum number of schools for an FBS conference. If you go back to the old “Big West” conference in the mid-1990’s, it only had six members (Nevada, Utah State, Idaho, North Texas, Boise State and New Mexico State). Do believe that a BCS conference is obligated to have at least eight schools, but the WAC obviously is not going to have to worry about that for awhile. Other than Louisiana Tech, the WAC offers no immediate rivals for North Texas, whereas the Sunbelt has Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana and Arkansas State in the immediate vicinity. The WAC just isn’t enough of an upgrade over the Sunbelt to justify changing conferences and increased travel costs for UNT. Am actually surprised Louisiana Tech hasn’t looked at joining the Sunbelt, but guess they look at the WAC as differentiating themselves from all the other Lousiana schools (whereas UNT is the only Texas school in the Sunbelt).

      • Adam says:

        Actually, there is a minimum number of schools: 8. See Division I Manual § 20.02.6. It was put in place among a series of I-A reforms designed to either eliminate the chaff at the bottom or at least force the bottom teams to strengthen their programs. The other major changes were that teams have to play 5 home games every year (§, and must average 15,000 “once every two years on a rolling basis” in home attendance (§ This requirement is slightly lower than the old rule (17,000), but has to be achieved every 2 years, rather than once every 4 years, and it used to be the case that if half a league’s membership was over the attendance mark, any of the rest who were below it were exempt from the requirement.

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        @Ron: “Am actually surprised Louisiana Tech hasn’t looked at joining the Sunbelt”

        The sentiment I’ve seen from LT fans is that they would consider that a step down. They want to move ‘up’ to CUSA.

        I’m also hearing rumbles that there is a group in CUSA West (everyone but Houston (ok, for those who don’t follow CUSA: UTEP, SMU, Rice, Tulsa and Tulane)) that might prefer to be in a more compact 8 to 9 team conference. LT would fit in that scenario.

        • Ron says:

          @Loki, good point, North Texas seems to be taking the parallel tack that changing conferences really isn’t worthwhile unless they can get into Conference USA as well. Of course Lousiana Tech football has been a lot better in recent years, their coach Derek Dooley’s hiring by Tennessee in the offseason was a pretty amazing story (once you lay aside the minor footnote of the Lane Kiffin saga, of course…). The thing we’ve got to look at with all these schools at the MAC/Sunbelt/WAC level is that a continued sagging economy may mean big school subsidies for FBS football won’t fly, so you may not see schools making the step up from FCS to FBS (like Western Kentucky recently did for the Sunbelt). If things get bad, suppose you could even start to see schools deciding to step down…

  70. Playoffs Now! says:

    Heard Tim Brando blowharding about how great the SEC is since they’ve won the last 2 College World Series, so I decided to look at the facts. Last year was the SEC’s first CWS title in 9 years, in between which Texas and OR St each won twice, along with Miami, Rice, CS-Fullerton, and Fresno St.

    But look at the bigger picture, until last night only 2 SEC teams had won a title. The SEC has now made 67 CWS appearances and won it 8 times. Texas by itself has made it 33 and won 6, half of the SEC’s 12 team total. The Big 12 South has appeared 69 times and won 9, more than the SEC as a whole.

    More B12 numbers, the 10 loyal schools have appeared 78 times and won 10. Add NE and CO and that goes to 81 and 10. B12 CWS nat’l champs are TX 6 of 33, OU 2 of 10, OK St 1 of 19, and MO 1 of 6. SEC nat’l champs are LSU 6 of 16, GA 1 of 6, and now S.Car 1 of 9 (until last night only 3 other teams had appeared more in the CWS without winning it, FSU at 20, Clem at 12, and N. Colo. at 10.)

    CWS titles by conference:

    P12 – 26
    B12-2 – 10
    SEC – 8
    B10+2 – 6
    ACC – 5
    Big West – 4

    CWS appearances by conference:

    P12 – 91
    ACC – 87
    B12-2 – 78
    SEC – 67
    B10+2 – 26

    So good for S.Car, nice to see them finally win after falling short so many times. But for the rest of the SEC, might want to keep your mouths shut about conference baseball. You’re average, not close to the best.

    • eapg says:

      “The ten loyal schools”? That’s priceless.

      Hostage to the situation doesn’t equate to “loyal”.

    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      Playoffs now – you may want to consider recent history before making those kind of statements.

      Until the mid-80s, baseball in the SEC was just something Mississippi State did. Then Skip Bertman showed the rest of the conference that money could be made in baseball. Georgia won the SEC’s first CWS title in 1990. Over the last 21 years, the SEC has 8 CWS titles (of which 6 belong to my LSU Tigers) and 4 national runners-up.

      Let’s compare that to the other BCS conferences:

      ACC: zero CWS titles and 4 runners-up;
      Big Ten: zero CWS titles and zero runners-up;
      Big 8/SWC/Big XII: 3 CWS titles and 3 runners-up;
      Pac 10: 3 CWS titles and 6 runners-up
      Miami was an independent in baseball and not part of the Big East or ACC when it won 2 CWS titles and was runner-up once during this time span. Since joining the ACC, Miami is 0-fer.

      During this time span, 3 SEC teams have won CWS titles and 5 SEC teams have appeared in the finals (LSU 6-0; USCe 1-1; UGA 1-1; UF 0-1; and Bama 0-1 losing to LSU in an all-SEC final in 97).

      By contrast, the ACC, Big 8/Big XII/SWC, Big Ten, Pac 10, Big East & Miami has a combined 8 CWS titles, the same as the SEC all by itself (Okla 94; UCSw 98; Miami 99 & 01; UTx 02 & 05; and Oregon St. 06 & 07).

      So, Playoffs now, if you look at the period of time when the SEC took baseball seriously, the SEC dominates college baseball almost as much as it does football during the BCS era.

  71. cutter says:

    It does have podlike qualities to it. Depending on an eight or nine-game set up, the divisions would essentially have two or three pods apiece and the schdules would rotate through those pods.

    Using the simple east-west division split, the four pods in an eight game schedule would be:

    West 1 – Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska
    West 2 – Iowa, Northwestern, Wisconsin
    East 1 – Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State
    East 2 – Michigan State, Penn State, Purdue

    If your team is in the Eastern Division, you play round robin in your division then West 1 in Years 1 & 2 and West 2 in Years 3 & 4. Vice versa for the Western Division teams.

    Using the same division split,the six pods in a nine-game schedule would be:

    West 1 – Iowa, Illinois
    West 2 – Nebraska, Northwestern
    West 3 – Minnesota, Wisconsin
    East 1 – Michigan, Purdue
    East 2 – Indiana, Ohio State
    East 3 – Michigan State, Penn State

    In this case, the Eastern Division team would play all the others in its division plus two of the three western pods for two years. One western pod replaces one of the two in years three and four and then the final combination of the three pods takes place in years five and six.

    Obviously, the pods would be different if the divisions were other than the east-west split, but the setup is pretty much the same.

  72. duffman says:

    If you liked my link to comparing women to Big 12 teams

    you might like this

    • StvInILL says:

      Well that was a lot of fun. But mostly for Texas and A&M. Most of the conference will be wishing they took geography as an elective when they had the chance.

  73. Ross Hatton says:

    Haven’t seen this already discussed, but has anyone else noticed the series PSU and Syracuse just agreed to beginning in the 2013 season?

    With Syracuse being thrown out as an expansion candidate, do we think there’s any chance this is, in some way, the Big Ten taking advantage of an open spot in PSU’s scheduling in order to see how strong a presence the Big Ten can generate in the New York market?

    If the Syracuse-PSU numbers are very good in 2013, then that might signal a move to adding more east coast partners in Syracuse/Rutgers just before the contracts renegotiate in 2016.

    • StvInILL says:

      I would not read much into the scheduling. Here is a note on the rivalry from a wiki site. The early part of the schedule has to be filled out one way or another.
      “With the exception of 1943, Penn State and Syracuse played every year from 1922 through 1990. However, the rivalry became dormant when Syracuse joined the Big East Conference and Penn State joined the Big Ten.
      The rivalry was briefly renewed when the teams agreed to a two-game home-and-home series for 2008 and 2009. Penn State holds a 42-23-5 record in this series, after defeating Syracuse 28-7 at Beaver Stadium in 2009”
      Instead of doing a series with someone from the central time zone, why not a team in which you have some familiarity and some history with. Filling up the meadowlands for a neutral site game would also be easier with this pick opposed to Central Michigan. This is a big payday at the gates for PSU.

    • PSUGuy says:

      PSU and ‘Cuse played in 2008/09 and have had a fairly long, though admittedly lop-sided, rivalry going back to 1922 (they stopped playing when Syracuse joined the BigEast and PSU joined the BigTen).

      Also, PSU has been starting to return to its “east coast roots” (starting ~2005-2010) by scheduling Temple, Rutgers, Syracuse, Virginia, ND, etc as some of their OoC schedule (not just the typical mid-western “beat up” schools).

      IMO, the BigTen doesn’t need a couple more games in 2013 to know what kind of draw those games will be…they have the numbers already.

      Though its interesting that most of those schools have been mentioned as expansion material for the BigTen moving to 16. If they were added, there’d be a “built in” transition schedule for those teams.

    • Vincent says:

      To me, that would be like the decision to move the Penn State-Indiana game to FedEx Field (rather than Lucas Oil Stadium) was the Big Ten trying to boost interest in having Maryland join. And while there are plenty of Big Ten folk who see Maryland’s potential value to the conference (and vice versa), that’s taking things to an extreme.

      • zeek says:

        Yeah, I don’t really read into these decisions by the schools themselves.

        I mean, we all know that the New York and D.C. markets are the two most valuable in the country other than Chicago and L.A. It’s only natural to want to play on the biggest stages in football, which is largely dependent on location.

  74. Gopher86 says:

    The players in the Pac 10’s new media deal:

    A good read. It will be interesting to see what Scott has up his sleeve.

  75. Jim Somers says:

    The headline of this post is “After the Conference Realignment Maelstrom.” Just curious; what do LeBron James and the Chicago Bulls have to do with BT realignment?

    • StvInILL says:

      Jim we have been talking hot and heavy conference realignment for a few weeks now. After the changes there has been some more speculation and a lot of general College football discussion. These guys (and myself) can’t leave it alone.

      Sorry if you’re not geting the latest on LeBron. I think frank open this post to talk about it but the conversation from the last realignment tread has just matriculated here as that was where the interest was.

      I have my money on lebron coming to Chicago. It just makes the most sense. The money will be there, so will D. Rose and Noah. Along with LeBron the bulls also have cap room to pick up Chris Bosh. Chicago was a big enough kingdom for one Michael Jordan and they treat their champion stars very well. All this adds up to LeBron in a Chicago Bulls jersey pretty soon.

      • bullet says:

        Saw an article in the Houston paper about Rockets trying to get Bosh. Article said a lot of people thought Bosh and LeBron to Bulls was a done deal.

      • @StvInILL – It will be interesting to see where Bosh ends up. I think any team that wants him will have to do a sign-and-trade because he wants a max deal with max years, which means that cap space is more about having the leverage to not give up too much in return to the Raptors as opposed to being able to sign him outright. Thus, as Bullet pointed out, there are teams like Houston that don’t have cap space that could be in line to get Bosh if they’re willing to give up a lot to the Raptors.

        LeBron probably wouldn’t be looking to sign a deal for the max number of years anyway, so that mitigates the Cavs’ advantage in terms of being to offer him the most money. Plus, LeBron is the one guy in the NBA whose outside income will skyrocket by winning championships (as that what international markets like China care about more than image), so getting into the best pure basketball situation to get multiple rings is paramount to him both on the court and in terms of long-term finances.

        As a side note, Henry Thomas, who represents Dywane Wade and Chris Bosh, was my sports law professor. He’s in line to have the greatest summer haul of any agent in history over the next few days. Henry built up an agency from scratch based on local Chicago guys like Michael Finley up to the point where CAA signed him on last year. He’s is a classy guy that’s nothing like the Jerry Maguire sterotypes of sports agents, so I’m happy for him. (I’d definitely love a piece of his 4% commission.)

        • StvInILL says:

          I think if Bosh is looking up at the stars and watching them align, he can see where a LeBron, Bosh, Rose and Noah constellation may take him. This is a big media town with plenty of attractions for anyone with a big ego or appetite or a need to be close to a cosmopolitan environment. They will be treated like kings here. They must know that.
          I hear late talk that he is strongly reconsidering Cleveland. What are the realistic odds of that?
          Now we know if Bosh comes its bye, bye Luol Deng. I will miss you luol but no regrets. Frank its cool that you and Henry Thomas have some history. So it’s only 4% these days??? Well I would take 4% of 4%.

      • Jim Somers says:

        You missed my point. The question was facetious. I couldn’t care less about the NBA or Lebron James. And I’m still wondering how Lebron James made it into a post on BT expansion.

        • Adam says:

          Jim, I’d say Frank addressed your concern when he led that section off with “OK, this doesn’t have to do with conference realignment, but please note that I’ve written more about Bulls trade and free agent rumors than any other topic over the years.”

  76. bullet says:

    An SEC article with balance-surprise! Talks about their recent dominance and lack thereof in the 1st part of the decade. Goes along with our discussion of the ups and downs of teams, divisions and conferences.

    • StvInIL says:

      Good job boys. I bet they lead all leagues in Academic all Americans too. At this point I would be really impressed.

  77. loki_the_bubba says:

    So, as the outlier mid-major fan on here, I’d like to survey your opinions on the relative strength of the lower level conferences. I hadn’t thought much about it before this year’s realignment discussions. But the realization that some schools would actually aspire to move up to CUSA made me pause. Where do you stack-rank the lower conferences?

    For me it would go:

    Big East
    Mountain West



    • bullet says:

      The same except I would have the MAC just above Sun Belt. In football with Boise, I believe the WAC has been stronger than CUSA the last few years, but CUSA has historically been better and is better at just about everything else.

    • MIRuss says:

      Uh, Loki….Last I checked, the BEast was a BCS conference…Not a “lower” conference…

      But, if you held a gun to my head and we are ranking only Football, not academics, etc….Mine would look like this:

      Mount West
      Sun Belt

      The MAC and WAC are, in my opinion, the closest to BCS caliber play and they each have had their share of upsets over BCS teams.

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        Well, it my be just me, but the Big East has never seemed like anything but a basketball conference. They don’t ‘feel’ like a major conference to me.

        Interesting that you would put the WAC so high. Outside of Boise, I don’t see much. They’re the teams the MWC didn’t want when they broke away.

      • Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton says:


        You do realize that TCU and Utah, have played in BCS games and are both in the Mtn West. And if you want to pull the Utah is leaving…fine, Boise St is joining.

    • StvInILL says:

      FOOTBALL pre realignment
      SEC )They have the NCs)
      PAC TEN (Why USC) and BIG XII
      BIG TEN ( lagged in bowls)
      BIG EAST (Why? The BE has less teams but have played bigger).
      ACC (does less with more)
      CUSA and MAC
      Sun Belt
      I may be wrong. I have not looked at any numbers since you want a perception. I am thinking back the last 10 years on this off the top of my head.

    • duffman says:


      since the BE is a BCS conference I will leave them out

      That said I think the 5 non AQ’s are more TV dependent than the Big 6. I am not picking on the MAC, but they illustrate my point. The MAC footprints inside the Big 10. They fit (with the exception of buffalo) in the eastern part of the Big 10. If I live in California or Texas I will almost never see them (which is a point I have made with you on several occasions about not seeing Rice in BTN footprint TV markets). Now move into CUSA and you can get secondary coverage in both Big 12 & SEC footprints. In addition most folks know Marshall because of the plane tragedy, and every time ECU plays Skip’s dad gives him some airtime on ESPN. The Sun Belt footprints in the same geography so they get the third coverage in their markets.

      I have said all along that I am a basketball guy so I will zero in on WKU in the Sun Belt. WKU has always had a good men’s and women’s team in basketball but get little coverage as they are overshadowed in their primary market by Vandy & UK in the SEC, and UL & UC in the BE. Fans of WKU know how good their teams are, but most of the country does not. WKU has moved football to D 1 and they have gotten clobbered so it is overshadowing their basketball programs as well. If you go to “basketball” only good schools like Xavier and Butler get overlooked and become the “cinderella” at the Big Dance. Again, if you are a fan of Butler you know they are good long before the “general public” does.

      I know this is rambling a bit, but I guess loki it matters who you dad is (Lou is Skip’s dad) and where you are located in relation to the “hot” teams in the 6 power conferences than anything else. Had you not been the mid major outlier out there Rice and many other mid majors may have never been part of this discussion. I also thank Frank for allowing open and intelligent debate. Loki, if you had posted on some ESPN ‘general public’ blog you would have been shouted down by Wal Mart Wolverine’s and Crimson Tide Crazies (bama, not directed at you, but at the bottom end of the BAMA faithful who would make muslim extremist look tame).

      I guess for the mid majors public opinion will have less information to provide more accurate analysis. Sorta like if I am a stockbroker selling Microsoft is much easier than Juniper stock.

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        Wordy, yes. But you never got around to answering the question. ;

        • duffman says:


          I am nearest to the MAC so I will be biased, same with Sun Belt because of WKU basketball. I am sorta embarrassed that I do not have a better feel for the WAC or MWC. My youth is filled with Graeter’s and Skyline so Xavier and Miami (OH) are schools I have been to to watch games. If Rice had been in the old Metro conference I would have a better feel.

          To answer your question I would rank them about equal as I would overweight the MAC and underweight the WAC or MWC.

        • duffman says:


          If it helps it is easier for me to do the 6

          Top Tier: Big 10 and SEC

          Middle Tier: Pac 10 and Big 12

          Bottom Tier: ACC and BE

          (for CFB)

    • JohnB says:

      Big East with Conference USA being right behind it. Mountain West next. Mountain West and Conference USA are an in between step between the bottom tier leagues and the automatic qualifiers.

      MAC has better sports than the WAC but both have schools struggling to stay above the attendance level for Division 1. The MAC has gained a reputation as a league that can grow future pro quarterbacks (Pennington, Leftwich, Rothlisberger.

      Sunbelt last.

    • Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton says:

      My Ranking:
      Mountain West
      Utah, and TCU have both been to BCS Bowls. BYU is a BCS level school. Col. St, regularly beats CU. In fact the Mountain West has a winning record over BCS conferences.

      Conference USA
      WAC (until they lose Boise St)
      MAC (under-rated solid teams)

      SunBelt Most of these schools should be D-1A again.

  78. Hank says:

    Expansion lessons Part II: Dividing the Big Ten, Notre Dame’s break

    June 30, 2010
    By Dennis Dodd

    The second installment of the 10 things we learned from conference realignment:

    (Just to refresh, here are the first five.)

    6. My Big Ten divisions: Everybody’s doing it, so let me weigh in on how the new 12-team Big Ten should be split up …

    Realigned 12-team Big Ten
    West Division East Division
    Iowa Illinois
    Michigan Indiana
    Michigan State Northwestern
    Minnesota Ohio State
    Nebraska Penn State
    Wisconsin Purdue

    Jim Delany rates the division factors in this order — competitive balance, the preservation of rivalries and (way down the list) geography. At first glance, the East looks like the weaker of the two divisions but most of the major rivalries are preserved.

    The key to any lineup, though, is that Ohio State and Michigan play in different divisions. That allows for the possibility of two Buckeyes-Wolverines games in any given season.

    Repeat, it’s a good thing that the teams could play twice in a season. That game — The Game — remains the Big Ten’s most important television property. The image came to me during this year’s Final Four: An Ohio State-Michigan rematch from the regular season in the Big Ten title game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis with the winner going to the Rose Bowl.

    Think that might generate some interest?

    Forget the claustrophobia of playing two such games two weeks apart. That’s a detail that can be worked around by moving the regular-season battle to earlier in the season. Heresy, I know, but we’ll get used to it.

    The Big Ten’s two signature programs don’t have to play in the same division. In fact, keeping them apart achieves part of that competitive balance. Simply make Michigan and Ohio State designated out-of-division rivals. The SEC has a similar scheduling format to preserve longstanding rivalries.

    That’s the easy part. The hard part is figuring out when Michigan is going to make it a rivalry again.

    7. Notre Dame is staying put — for now: When the Pac-10 and Big Ten stopped at 12, that stopped ND short of having to make the toughest decision in its athletic history.

    There is no reason, through this round of realignment, for the Irish to join a conference. The Big East has remained intact. There is excitement that Brian Kelly can get the program back to competing for championships. Best of all for Notre Dame, it doesn’t have to share with anyone.

    8. Thank you, Urban Meyer: When Utah hired Bowling Green’s driven, ambitious, little-known head coach in 2003, who knew it would lead to this?

    Seven years later, Utah is in the Pac-10, the BCS and looking forward to competing for Rose Bowls. Almost all of it thanks to Meyer. In his second season, he got the Utes to a Fiesta Bowl as Utah became the first non-BCS program to get to a BCS bowl. Now the school loves that it is part of the system it hated so much.

    Utah will suddenly have access to better recruits (California, here it comes). The Utes will be playing schools in conference games (Southern California, UCLA, etc.) that otherwise would never schedule them.

    Athletic director Chris Hill was wise enough to hire Meyer’s defensive coordinator when the coach split for Florida. Kyle Whittingham took what Meyer left behind and went one better. The victory over Alabama in the 2009 Sugar Bowl was arguably the biggest in school history.

    The Pac-10 move means Whittingham won’t be leaving for a bigger, better program because Utah suddenly just became a bigger, better program.

    It’s not too much to suggest that a new national power is blooming at the foot of the Wasatch.

    All because of Urban’s renewal.

    9. Networks are all the rage: Texas is starting one. Oklahoma is thinking about it. So is Missouri.

    The Big Ten’s success with its network spurred the league to explore expansion. The Big Ten Network turned a profit shortly after going on the air. Suddenly, everyone with a pair of tomato cans, some string and venture capital is trying to become the next BTN.

    Warning! Warning! The Big Ten Network is an anomaly. In fact, it might be the only one of its kind to work. Jim Delany was able to tap into a massive Big Ten fan base and get a deep-pocket partner (News Corp, parent of Fox). It is a regional network that is going national. Few remember there were tremendous problems in clearing enough cable systems to show the BTN.

    Does the Pac-10 have the stomach, money and viewers to be able to go through that kind of slog? The Mountain West has its own network but has yet to make a dime. The Big 12 isn’t about to start a network after losing two members. Texas could profit from its personal Bevo Channel (or whatever it is going to be called), but that’s a network for the largest, richest athletic department in the country. It makes sense.

    Everyone else? No. There are key questions to be asked of any fledgling startup.

    A.) Is it 24 hours a day, seven days a week? If not, the perception is that the network isn’t big time. Heck, it’s not even a network. With 168 hours of air time floating out there each week, that’s a lot of programming and a lot of advertising needed to fill it.

    B.) How many football games and how many men’s basketball games can it show? That’s basically all advertisers and investors want to know. If the answer is not many, then a network is not viable.

    I suspect when all this fever dies down, the term “network” will be redefined at a lot of schools. Streaming a few volleyball games and showing coaches shows does qualify as the next BTN.

    10. It’s possible to break up a conference by press release: A compelling case can be made for Missouri nearly becoming the assassin that killed the Big 12.

    Remember Dec. 15, when Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton put out this press release declaring his school’s interest in joining the Big Ten. Those words came on the same day the Big Ten said it would explore expansion.

    A few days later Missouri Gov. (and Mizzou alum) Jay Nixon dropped another bomb:

    “I’m not going to say anything bad about the Big 12, but when you compare Oklahoma State to Northwestern, when you compare Texas Tech to Wisconsin, I mean, you begin looking at educational possibilities that are worth looking at.”

    It’s one thing to think those things, it’s another for two powerful state officials to talk about them — boldly and arrogantly — in public. Deaton and Nixon couldn’t have stated more clearly how dissatisfied Missouri was with the Big 12. From there all the rancor and bitterness grew, leading the league to the brink of dissolution. Big 12 presidents and ADs started looking seriously at safe havens and started reacting angrily to Missouri.

    The final disgrace for Mizzou was that it was wrong about the Big Ten. Nebraska’s name brand trumped Missouri’s markets (Kansas City and St. Louis).

    Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville was right in stating publicly Tuesday what a lot of us are thinking.

    “I just don’t think this conference will last long because there’s just too much disparity between all the teams here,” he said.

    • GOPWolv says:

      I think in ten years, the Pac12 will look at Utah as the B12-2 looks at Iowa State. “Why did we let them in again?”

    • StvInILL says:

      Again, another person that worships the OUS UM rivalry way too much. Why would we want to see two of these games a year? My thoughts are that it would diminish the series. The biggest reason to watch a OSU UM game back in the Big 10 and little 2 days was because this game would produce a big ten champion for sure. And it previewed our Rose Bowl team if you had not been paying attention. Once IS enough.
      I and the rest of the country (not OSU and UM fans) will be watching whoever will be deciding the BT championship. Even If I am an Indiana, Kentucky or an Iowa State fan I will be watching those teams early in the season over OSU UM. Why? Because they will still matter then and there is still hope for a successful season.
      7. The Irish are the Texas of the Big East. The only thing they really contribute is their gravitas. And even that is tentative depending on the stability of the BE.
      9. Individual Networks. The last grab at independent cash that the schools can grab at. There are probably not 6 schools in the country that may successfully pull this off to any real satisfaction. They will all have problems filling content.

      • Paul says:

        If once is enough for tOSU – UM, then once is enough for all of the other possible championships. Which is a good reason for the Big Ten to avoid protected cross division rivalries between the top tier teams.

        • Adam says:

          I think there’s a place for protected cross-division games. It’s my feeling that the divisions should be drawn up to emphasize the primary rivalries (OSU/UM/PSU/MSU, IA/WIS/MIN, IND/PUR, ILL/NW), but your protected cross-division game is to make sure secondary rivalries (e.g., UM/MIN, OSU/ILL) get played annually. Of course, some of those aren’t being played annually now, but why not use the divisional opportunity to make things better?

  79. GOPWolv says:

    Looks like NU is sticking to their guns on the B12-2 exit fee.

    If, and this is a big “if,” this went to court, this will be fun to watch, as all the behind-the-scenes action will be public record.

    • duffman says:


      I think it is a great strategy by UNL, they know probably know no conference AD or college president ever wants this thing to see public scrutiny. It is the best strategy in the long run, and it could make UT look like a bully on the public record. If UT really does control the Big 12 I think a congressional hearing will not be far behind. Texas may be big, but each of the ‘battered wives’ have senators and congressmen who can stand strong when their football ‘brand’ can not.

      • Search the Web on says:

        Yes Duffman, it promises to be some interesting drama. Everybody loves a pretty woman but nobody likes to air dirty laundry.

      • GOPWolv says:

        Agreed. I put the over/under at 3 million to walk away.

        Though, I think Colorado has far less leverage than NU due to the lack of true legal defense (anticipatory breach). My bet is CU pays more than NU if they both leave in ’11.

        • Paul says:

          Why wouldn’t CU be able to make the same legal argument. They left only one day earlier.

          • duffman says:


            If CU was smart they would work with UNL on their “exit” strategy. Two heads are better than one, and the legal fees could be shared to reduce costs.

          • GOPWolv says:

            As far as what was public knowledge, only NU asked for reassurances about the future of the then-Big12 and didn’t get them. It appears from what is public that CU was leaving one way or another.

            Someone from CU may very well have sought information about the future of the then Big12, but I haven’t seen it reported.

            Here’s a fairly recent run-down. Of course, the current members of the Big12-2 would bring up material defenses.


          • Paul says:

            @GOPWolv – Thanks.

        • Nostradamus says:


          Re: Leverage.

          It depends how you want to look at the situation. Does Nebraska have a better anticipatory breach argument, of course.

          But if both schools are simply trying to negotiate a buyout, at this point I’d contend Colorado is in a stronger position. The Big 12 does not want Colorado around for the 2011 season. That gives Colorado quite a bit of leverage in negotiating a reduced buyout for an early exit.

          • GOPWolv says:

            That’s true. It is also true that NU has the money to walk right now at even the highest price. Ergo, NU has no downside in playing tough and fighting it out The Big12 has no leverage over NU. Whereas CU (1) doesn’t have any money, and (2) could be stuck in the B12-2 for a whole year longer than they’d prefer.

            I think any modeling of these settlements would produce NU as the party paying the least.

          • GOPWolv says:

            WRT to CU, I guess it really comes down to who doesn’t want CU in the Big12-2 the most (or the least). I’d wager its a bigger deal to CU, than the Big12-2.

            If it gets really nasty, the Big12-2 can enjoy some really high ratings as everyone watches their teams take on the (as of late) weak Buffs.

      • kmp says:

        Would this be Nebraska’s likely argument not to pay the fees:

        In light of what was going on at the time with six schools having offers from the Pac-10, Nebraska thought the Big 12 was no longer going to exist and had an obligation to protect its interests by accepting the Big Ten’s offer. In light of these extraordinary circumstances, the normal procedures for schools leaving the conference should not apply.

        Does that sound like the case they’d try to make?

        • duffman says:


          brings out an interesting point, as the negotiations had been going on for months. I NEVER once saw or heard that UNL had a Pac 16 invite. If they have to do due dilligence, they have to mitigate damages by going to the Big 10 if there was a liability issue of damages for UNL not being in the Pac 16 conversation from the start?

        • GOPWolv says:


          That’s pretty close.

          NU did have to protect its interests – no question.

          The key to this legal defense, however, is that the Big12 South members were making clear their intent to breach the conference agreement (allegedly). When the other side of a contract makes it clear that they are going to breach, you have every right to say “Wtf?! Really?” And then one of two things can happen:

          (1) They say, “no, not really – just screwing w/ ya.” At which point you say, well put some money on the table or do something that proves to me your telling the truth about not breaching. If the Big12 South did that, Nebraska is screwed and likely has to pay for leaving.

          (2) They say, “yeah, screw you.” or “yeah, but I wont do anything to show my good faith intent not to breach.” If the Big 12 South had said that, then Nebraska follows that with a quick “screw you, Nebraska out.” and, the Huskers don’t have to pay.

          By all accounts, NU asked Dodds straight up about the Pac10 offer and Texas’ intent to leave. And, we all know what Nebraska decided.

          The truth here is probably somewhere in the middle (ie, the Big 12 South gave a good indication of their intent to leave and Nebraska did the same prior to the Pac10 offer).

          Cases like this, with lots of actors and lots of opaque statements and posturing made by elected officials and government appointees don’t usually go to trial. I’d expect a settlement unless Nebraska or the Big12-2 has some really good evidence (in writing or video).

          • kmp59 says:

            I imagine everyone, including the Big Ten and Pac-10, would prefer a nice, quiet settlement over an airing of some of the things that went on.

            I don’t think Delany would want a light shining on his dealings with Nebraska (it could hurt Nebraska’s case if it was shown that they were assured of a Big Ten invite before the Pac-10 offers became public) or possibly even Texas and/or Missouri.

  80. StvInIL says:

    Dont know how that search the web got in there.

    Yes Duffman, it promises to be some interesting drama. Everybody loves a pretty woman but nobody likes to air dirty laundry.

  81. mushroomgod says:

    Anybody hear the comments of Barry Alvarez and PSU AD Curley? (I think both today, but not sure on that).

    Seems clear to me that PSU favors further expansion, and wants it to be in the East, esp. NY area. (Hope they mean RU, not Syr.)…..talking about keeping the evaluation going….along the previously-discussed timetable.

    Seems to me that Wis., PSU, and OSU are strongly in favor of further expansion within 6m-1 year. Also seems that Ill. and NW are contrary (also Michigan?).

    With repect to divisions, Curley seemed to emphasize competitive balance and geography, but also said rivalries and tv will be considered. Definately did not seem wedded to a staight East-West split.

  82. duffman says:

    did anybody post this already?

    UT may be the 800 lb gorilla in the Longhorn Conference, but the IRS is still the biggest gorilla of all.

  83. duffman says:

    Article out of Fort Wayne

    on Big 10 realignment, and take on tOSU vs UM game

    • Adam says:

      I like how the guy glibly writes off the problems with rematches, as though nobody in college football cares about rematches. Buddy: people go apeshit when there’s a rematch in a bowl game and it’s impossible to know whether that’ll happen at the time the first game is played. By contrast, if Michigan/OSU play the last weekend of the year, then everybody will know whether a rematch is on the line when they’re playing the game more often than not. Just changes everything.

      Rivalries are formed when only 1 team can have what they both want (this is, after all, what the economic concept of “rival goods” means). They should be in the same division; not only does it guarantee that they play every year, it makes it a lot more likely that their game is important. If they happen to meet in the CCG, it isn’t “The Game” anymore; it’s just a game that they both happened to end up in.

      • Adam says:

        Moreover, that observation (“it isn’t ‘The Game’ anymore; it’s just a game”) is true for any non-divisional rivalry, which is why you want the interdivisional guaranteed games to be the lowest priority rivalries (e.g., OSU/Illinois).

        • SideshowBob says:

          Exactly, which is why it’s most sensible to keep PSU in the East, together with Ohio State and Michigan (& Michigan St FWIW).

          Count me solidly in the KISS corner. Just do East/West. It’s logical, it’s sensible, it keeps all the important rivalries intact, it allows for easier away travel for fans. It’s stupid to go with bizarre divisions over competitive balance issues that may not even occur (or might even occur worse with an irregular division).

          • Adam says:

            The thing for me is that the geographic alignment isn’t even geographic. When people say you need “more than a map,” that assumes you’re using one to begin with. But if you did a rivalry-based alignment, you’d

            1. start with the cores of UM/OSU/PSU/MSU as one group, and WIS/IA/MIN as a 2nd group.
            2. you can’t credibly put NEB with UM/OSU/PSU/MSU, so you’d obviously put them with WIS/IA/MIN
            3. The 4 remaining teams need to be split into 2 groups of 2. Rivalry-based pairings of the 4 remaining teams obviously produce ILL/NW and IND/PUR.
            4. Once you reach this point, there really isn’t a reason not to put IND/PUR with the “east” group of teams, and ILL/NW with the “west” group.
            But you get there without “using a map.” And you preserve something like 13 or 14 out of 16 rivalries.

          • SideshowBob says:

            Adam — I totally agree. I’ll also add that putting Nebraska with Iowa and Minnesota (specifically) and Wisconsin (by default) makes sense from a rivalry prospective for them. The Huskers have played Minnesota and Iowa 51 and 31 times respectively. That’s a good number of games and certainly the basis for a rivalry especially considering the geographical location as well.

            PS: Interesting factoid, but Minnesota actually has a winning record versus Nebraska 29-20-2.

          • mnfanstc says:

            Minnesota also has one more mythical National Championship than Nebraska. U of M 6, UNL 5… Ya gotta go ancient history, of course, but it’s there…

      • grantlandR says:

        I couldn’t agree with you more. Your earlier post that cross divisional rivalries are just pale imitations was particularly on the mark. I will very disappointed if Delaney fails to make maintaining rivalries the top priority. These fierce regional rivalries define Big Ten.

      • bullet says:

        I like KISS, but I wouldn’t be concerned about the possibility of a rematch EXCEPT when the rematch is the following week. Being in the same division helps the rivalries but with good ones it doesn’t matter-ND/USC, Alabama/TN, TX/OU when they were in different conferences. Its either changing when the UM/OSU game is played or risking 2 weeks in a row that causes problems. I think both of those are non-starters, meaning they stay together.

    • StvInIL says:

      Here is what I say to do with the OSU UM game from here on out. Regardless of which division each team falls into, it will be a protected game. But change the game from the final game of the season to the second to last league game of the season. In this way if only one or neither of these two teams will decide the conference championship it will still be a game worth watching for tradition sake.
      There will still be a final week of Big ten play to give national focus to, say Penn State Nebraska or Wisconsin Ohio State or a Michigan Iowa game. There are a few interesting scenarios that can be setup. That will be beneficial to the conference. Once again the Big 2 and little 8 days are dead like the USA USSR cold war. Some feel like for the sake of tradition the want to live in the past.
      I say for the sake of a bigger and brighter future and conference we should demote OSU vs UM from the final focal point of the Big ten football season. At this point it would only be an artificial construct anyway. Any time anyone other than UM or OSU wins or shares a big ten championship it will be a somewhat irrelevant game. In the case that a CCG is put in place it would only further highlight that.

      • grantlandR says:

        StvInIL, you strike me as the kind of guy that likes rubbing a cat’s fur the wrong way. :)
        No doubt there will be many interesting scenarios in the Big Ten, but none of them will live up to The Game. The Ohio State – Michigan game is recognized throughout the nation as one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports, not just college football. And it’s a rivalry that usually has implications in determining the Big Ten champion. It would be silly and foolish for the Big Ten to not highlight such a valuable asset.

        • StvInIL says:

          Don’t like cats but have no particular dislike of OSU or UM.
          “The game” as you call it has been on my personal schedule for many years. But is takes on more importance to UM and OSU fans than is reasonable I’m sorry to say. In the days of the Big 2 and the little 8 the so called game was appointment TV, I don’t remember when it was moved to the final game of the year but this in itself elevates this game to a higher meaning than it otherwise would have. Today.
          Outside of Ohio and Michigan the biggest significance of this matchup is in determining the champion of the conference. Now realistically examine a few things.
          WHAT IF
          • Only one OSU/UM has enough wins to challenge for the CC?
          • Penn State is in line to win the division?
          • Nebraska is in line to win its division?
          • Wisconsin is in line to win its division?
          • Iowa is in line to win its division?
          • Any of the above teams are undefeated going into the final week?
          • A surprise team from the conference (NW,IL MSU) will win its division?
          • Neither team OSU or UM is in line to win the conference championship?
          • Injuries prevents a crucial OSU?UM player from finishing the season?
          Then to the rest of the world your OSU/UM matchup loses its luster.

          • grantlandR says:

            It “takes on more importance to UM and OSU fans than is reasonable”? Of course! That’s what makes it a rivalry!
            Scenarios like what you described aren’t at all unlikely, and have happened many times before (in the last 50 years, 28 teams other teams have won or claimed a share of the Big Ten championship), but that hasn’t diminished the intensity or value of this rivalry.
            And are you telling me that our other great conference rivalries are irrelevant because those teams weren’t involved in the Big Ten championship? The Big Ten has many great rivalries, that aren’t in the least diminished by the recognition the Ohio State-Michigan is certainly among the greatest rivalries in all of sports. I can’t see how reducing the focus of the rivalry would help the Big Ten in any way.

          • GOPWolv says:

            This is a ridiculous post on too many levels.

          • StvInIL says:

            Again you misunderstand. I am not knocking the revelry itself or any other for that matter. I do dislike the artificial placement of this game as the final conference games for both teams. It makes it seems like if they both are not in line to win the conference then the whole Big ten season was some kind of horrific failure.
            I only suggest, rather correctly, that if Penn State and Nebraska were to play their final league game together and it will decide the conference champion or the new division champion. This then is legitimately “the game” to watch and not what’s going on in Ann Arbor or Columbus. Even though they may both be the last games of the season for all four teams, Its ridiculous to try to force people to like OSU Mich when a more meaningful game will be played that week. I guarantee that OSU MIC will not be the prime time game in any case and that would be for a good reason.
            I maintain that it would be better to have OSU Mich on the week before the final game so that it does not steel any thunder from a more meaningful games should the old big 2 not be in line for a championship. With Penn state in the same division this is not thinking that is out of line.
            I will agree to disagree as you fail to see past your scarlet and grey colored glasses.

      • grantlandR says:

        OK, let’s remove scarlet and gray colored glasses you seem to think keeps me from seeing clearly.
        First of all, what’s artificial about playing the last conference game against a rival. Purdue plays Indiana, Minnesota plays Iowa, and Northwestern plays Illinois in the last game of the year. USC plays UCLA, Alabama plays Auburn, Georgia plays Georgia Tech, and Army plays Navy. There are many, many more such examples. Ohio State – Michigan has been the last conference game for both schools since the mid-1930s (probably why you don’t remember it). Doesn’t seem terribly unnatural. Saving the best for last heightens the excitement of a rivalry.
        Next, what’s best for the Big Ten? What conference wouldn’t want the conference championship decided by a rivalry game? How can that possibly be bad? Sure, if you schedule Penn State and Nebraska (who aren’t even rivals) for the last game of the year, one or the other, or both, might be in position to win the Big Ten. Maybe it will be another game. Who really knows? But are you really going to screw around with the conference’s most successful rivalry (I’m not saying the best – I expect each school finds their rivalry to be the best) for the possibility that another game MIGHT decide the conference championship. If that’s really your concern, you should note that since 1968, the Ohio State – Michigan game has decided the champion (or co-champion) of the Big Ten 34 times. Odds seem pretty good this will be an important game for the Big Ten for some time to come.
        I think I understand you point fairly clearly. You feel that games of equal or greater significance don’t get the attention they deserve when Ohio State – Michigan get the focus at the end of the year. By all means, the Big Ten should do their best to emphasize these games. However, it makes no sense to cripple a rivalry to accomplish this. In the end, you probably won’t shift the attention in a significant and lasting manner, and you’ll only hurt the rivalry.
        Which brings me to my point, which has nothing to do with the color of my glasses. It is not the “big games” that define college football, it’s the rivalries. No sport celebrates rivalries like college football. Now the Big Ten has many great rivalries, and it is a great conference because of these rivalries and the traditions involved. Maintaining and developing rivalries should be the priority of the Big Ten, while letting the other “big games” fall where they will. Otherwise, I fear the Big Ten will become a pale imitation of the great conference it has historically been.

        • Adam says:

          And this is why I feel a rivalry-based alignment should be the approach. As it happens, a rivalry-based approach ends up being geographic. There’s no reason to monkey with the league’s classic rivalries for the sake of “balance,” when that is an ephemeral thing to chase and even assuming that historical trends stand up, the league is not as imbalanced as detractors of the geographic/rivalry alignment seem to think.

  84. jj says:

    I heard a good set of divsion names for a pure E/W split.

    e = Great Lakes Division
    w = Great Plains Division

    not entirely accurate on the westside, but not bad. better that “east” or “west”.

    • Adam says:

      Perhaps it also helps overcome this notion that you “need more than a map” to do the divisions. Maybe people are somehow made to think the reasoning is simplistic because of the simple names that are being used.

  85. eapg says:

    The Sporting News chimes in with some Minnesota and Northwestern opinion:

    “Martin foresees a “Rivalry Saturday” to finish the regular season, headlined by a Michigan-Ohio State clash. All games would be divisional, preventing a rematch a week or two later in a conference title game.”

    I don’t know that one can assume anything is true at this point, but just for the sake of argument, this could be the rub for Penn State. To boil down the case for wanting to stay in an eastern division to its most basic truth, a significant percentage of Lion fans don’t believe Michigan, as currently constituted, provides a sufficient challenge to an extended run of Ohio State to the CCG, so for true competitive balance Penn State needs to stay east.

    What that gives up, though is roughly equal billing for a Penn State/Nebraska game to the Michigan/Ohio State game, to the same thing for Iowa/Nebraska or Wisconsin/Nebraska, with Penn State getting, to my eyes, a much less attractive rivalry matchup. An afterthought game.

    • mnfanstc says:

      This whole Penn State-Nebraska thing needs to go by the wayside… WHAT history is there between these schools? Minnesota and Iowa have far more history with UNL, and geographic ties.

      This makes as much sense as saying Minnesota and Rutgers will play the last weekend as a rivalry… or Wisconsin/Maryland… or Illinois/Ga Tech… this list could continue if Big Ten keeps getting bigger and we keep throwing out silly rivalry matchups…

      • eapg says:

        Sorry, I don’t see Penn State/Nebraska as a silly, thrown together rivalry. We have history. Maybe you had to be around in 1982. ;)

        • Vincent says:

          I suppose then had Pac-10 expansion gone through, Texas and Southern Cal should have become the regular-season finale. After all, they have history (Jan. 2006).

          Geography still makes the most sense. Have Nebraska close the season with Iowa and Wisconsin against Minnesota (they were season-ending rivals for many years), both games in the Big Ten West, where they should be.

          • eapg says:

            They would schedule Texas and USC as a headliner game. That was my original point, before it gets lost. The decision for Penn State may be whether they want a headliner game on the big weekend or one that flies under the radar.

      • ChicagoRed says:

        Borders dont make rivals (Nebraska played border neighbor Kansas over 100 times but always won) so much as an a team in the conference that gets in your way and that you split the series (see Nebraska-Oklahoma).

    • Paul says:

      People need to get over the idea that Michigan is permanently dead–as much as you would all like to see it happen.

      Every traditional power–even mighty Penn State–has gone through bad times.

      Factors in Michigan’s favor are:

      -A hundred plus years of tradition
      -cool winged helmets
      -A huge newly-renovated stadium full of rabid fans
      -Good TV ratings
      -A school committed to achieving football success

      Somebody, if not Rich Rod, is going to be able to make something out of this in the relatively near future. Rest assured.

      • Adam says:

        Even if Michigan comes back though, I don’t see that as a problem. If you split it East/West, right now it would be imbalanced in favor of the West, because Michigan is down. When Michigan comes back up, that gives you 3 strong programs in each Division. The East’s 3 have historically been somewhat stronger, but not so much stronger that it would be “imbalanced.”

        • wmtiger says:

          East-West split will be horribly balanced in favor of the east once RR gets his talent developed in Ann Arbor. When that happens, three of the four strongest programs will be in the east…

          Wisconsin & Iowa are nowhere near the level of the top four; Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska and Penn State. Both Iowa and Wisconsin are typically .500 teams in Big Ten play that are currently on an upswing thanks to quality coaching… Historically neither are much different than Michigan State when the Spartans have a quality coach.

          If ‘competitive balance’ is really the #1 factor in aligning divisions, I’m pretty sure Delaney is trying to push Penn State into the west to balance the competitiveness.

          • djinndjinn says:

            If you want to go back 40 or 50 years or more, you’re right. Neither Wisconsin nor Iowa has a record of success to match the top four teams.

            However, looking at the records of Wisconsin and Iowa shows some interesting things.

            First, based on recent history, saying Wisconsin and Iowa are “nowhere near” the level of the others is inaccurate. In the past 10 years, Ohio State is .803, Wisconsin is at .667, Nebraska is at .656, Michigan is at .653, Iowa is at .640 and Penn State is .626.

            Going by records in this time period, the east would have schools #1, 4, and 6 and the west would have #2,3, and 5. That’s reasonable balance in my mind.

            Still, is 10 years a fair time period to examine?

            Well, even going back to when Penn State joined the Big Ten, shortly after Wisconsin restructured their athletic department, Wisconsin and Penn State are pretty well splitting their games and Penn State, Michigan and Wisconsin and Michigan have very similar winning percentages, .703, .695 and .687, #11, #14 and #15 in the nation. So Wisconsin’s actually holding its own.

            So what’s the future going to hold? Let’s assume the top 4 BT teams all return to their historical glory (ranging from .690 to .737) and never falter. What will Wisconsin and Iowa do in the future? Will they fall back into the Big Ten pack, where they’ve always been?

            Let’s start with Iowa. While you might have the opinion that Iowa’s success is recent, their level of play has been rather consistent.

            Going back 5 years, Iowa has a winning percentage of .620 (ranked #35 in the nation.)

            10 years .640 (#24)
            15 years .590 (#35)
            20 years .609 (#29)
            25 years .609 (#30)
            30 years .612 (#27)

            So going back a good 30 years, Iowa is playing remarkably consistent football.

            So what will they do over the next 10 or 20 years? It’s probably a safe bet to think they’ll continue to play at that level in the future, which would put them in the top 19 teams all-time. In fact, given Ferentz’ record is even a bit higher than the 30 year average I’ve used, and given his relatively young age and history in turning down other coaching jobs, Iowa might be expected to average in the top 13-15 for as long as he’s coaching.

            The team that HAS been on a rather noticeable upswing is Wisconsin.

            Going back 25 years, Wisconsin’s winning percentage was .568 (#40 in the country)
            20 years: .640 (#21)
            15 years: .674 (#18, just behind Penn State)
            10 years: .667 (#18, ahead of Michigan and Penn State)
            5 years: .739 (#13, and interestingly, that’s better than the best all-time winning percentage, Michigan’s .737)

            That is a long-term, 25-year upward trend. That doesn’t seem to be a fluke.

            Given the age of the Wisconsin coach and the sort of money being poured into athletics (Wisconsin is #7, ahead of the likes of Penn State, Nebraska and Notre Dame), I think recent history is likely a better indicator of future success than records of coaches long gone.

            In fact, in speaking for Wisconsin, I think there is a completely different commitment to football than before Alvarez was hired.

            So while Wisconsin is actually playing as well as any BT team other than Ohio State over the past 5 years, let’s assume Wisconsin falls back a bit from that 5-year average. Let’s assume they fall back to their average over the past 15 years–a reasonable time frame to judge. Wisconsin’s 15-year winning percentage would put them at #11, right at the historical record of Penn State.

            So to my mind, the east-west split would not appear to be as unbalanced as you suggest.

          • wmtiger says:

            25 years is about the minimum you’d need to look at, I’d try to look at closer to 40…

            If you do that, Wisky and Iowa are merely .500 teams in BIG TEN play along with probably Michigan State and nowhere near the level of any of Nebraska, Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan.

          • ChicagoRed says:


            Iowa & Wisconsin’s performance is impressive until you realize that their best 10 years is only on par with Nebraska’s worst 10. And that’s without even throwing conference and national titles in the conversation.

            That’s why other posters insist Iowa & Wisconsin are BT’s 2nd tier. Until they meet or exceed the others for another 10-15 years, that’ll be the case no matter how many stats are thrown around.

            Not saying their not fine programs, just not fantastic like the OSU-PSU-UM-UNL group.

          • djinndjinn says:

            In my last post I agreed that if you look back 40 years or more, you’re right. The Big Four are historically superior. No question. No one would argue differently. The same is true at 25 years, too. And at 20 years.

            I’m not disparaging any of the Big Four teams. I actually quite like them. They’re all top 10 programs all time. Who could argue differently?

            However, the topic isn’t so much history of football going back to the times of the first Nixon administration and the early Apollo program as it is the issue of competitive balance of east-west as Nebraska enters the Big Ten, and I don’t think things are as unbalanced today or will be in the foreseeable distance as you do.

            Wisconsin has been on a demonstrable 25 year upward trend. And over the past 10 years, they’re winning percentage (.667) is better than Nebraska, Michigan, Penn State.

            Is this a fluke? Maybe. You could say that 10 or 15 years isn’t enough to go on to be considered an elite team. I wouldn’t disagree. Go ahead and consider them tier 2. I wouldn’t disagree with that either. A Tier 1 designation should come with a better long-term history than either Wisconsin or Iowa sport.

            But Wisconsin has a huge budget and a different commitment to athletics. Their past coach is now in the college Hall of Fame and their current coach has an even better winning percentage (.731). And he’s 40 years old. I think they are a stable program and I’m betting they’ll hold their own against the Big Four over the next 10, 20 years.

            I’ll also point out that as stable as I think Wisconsin is at present, (and to a somewhat lesser extent, Iowa, too), the same can’t be said for some of the other Big Four programs we’re discussing.

            Nebraska has wobbled a bit since Osborne left coaching. I’m pleased to see that they appear to be righting the ship.

            But the jury remains out on Michigan and Rich Rodriguez. He’s gone 3-9 and 5-7 and has had some issues with NCAA violations and player squabbles. Perhaps that’s growing pains. We’ll see. I really want them to return to top form, but I’m not sold on Rodriguez.

            And when (if) JoePa ever steps down, we’ll see if Penn State goes through any similar tumult that Michigan and Nebraska have seen. Some rough spots seem likely.

            So if you want to judge whether the east-west divide is lopsided on a historical basis, that’s one thing. But I don’t believe it’s lopsided as the teams are currently playing or will likely be playing over at least the next decade.

            Time will show us who’s right.

          • eapg says:

            I think the best argument against sending Penn State west for competitive balance is that there would have to be a reciprocal move of a team to the east to rebalance things, the most likely candidate being Wisconsin.

          • djinndjinn says:

            I also think it’s a bit unfair to Penn State to make them travel so far to create whatever sense of “balance”.

            And if Wisconsin goes east in return, you kill the most played rivalry (Wisconsin – Minnesota) in the process. And you also kill Wisconsin – Iowa. I’d hate to have either of those teams go east either.

            As a Badger, I don’t mind being in a conference with whatever combination of Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State or Nebraska–but my preference would be that one of the “Big Four” teams in Wisconsin’s conference be Nebraska. Although there’d be an awful lot of red on the field.

          • eapg says:

            Well, my contention, and I’m sticking to it for now, is that Penn State would be giving up a last week of the regular season headliner game to Wisconsin or Iowa if they don’t go west, that they may decide they don’t want to give up, fair or not. I don’t know that it is theirs for the asking, I just believe the temptation has to be strong to pair up Ohio State/Michigan and Penn State/Nebraska as must see TV somewhere around Thanksgiving. That can just as easily be Wisconsin/Nebraska or Iowa/Nebraska, but I guess I’m just trying to think like a TV guy. Fair or not, perception is to some degree reality, and the big four playing each other would be Plan A to me.

          • Adam says:

            Excellent points. When Paterno retires, that will be a blow that could fell PSU for some time. We’ll see whether Rodriguez can achieve consistent success at Michigan — consider that he’s working under a new Athletic Director, which brings an inherent sort of instability (Rodriguez is not “his guy”).

            Historically, there is no doubt that the “East” is stronger, but given a relevant time frame and reasonable projections, it is not so much stronger that the league would be so “imbalanced” as to warp the competitive structure.

            When I hear complaining about “imbalance” in an East/West alignment, the first thing that jumps to mind is MSU fans who have a knee-jerk inferiority complex vis-a-vis PSU, UM and OSU, and so are eager to avoid being in a group with those 3. That doesn’t strike me as a particular well-thought-out method.

          • spartakles78 says:

            Michigan State is not concerned about its division or pod. Dantonio is of the same mind as Izzo. The Spartans will play anyone, anytime, anywhere.

  86. bullet says:

    Really good article talking with Swarbick-ND AD and with some BE ADs about what comes next. Swarbick’s comments are most interesting for what he doesn’t say. He talks about all the information the general public doesn’t have-but doesn’t tell you what it is.

    ND fans were not monolithic. Other comments are that because of measuring differences, $ from conferences are not as far apart as advertised (not that they aren’t still significant).

  87. [...] done? Frank the Tank's Slant is that the Big Ten is done unless Notre Dame decides to join. After the Conference Realignment Maelstrom FRANK THE TANK’S SLANT __________________ Everything is proceeding as I have [...]

  88. duffman says:

    anybody see anybody they know in this video

    just curious

    • duffman says:

      sorry meant to put this on this blog not the Lebron one in the first place, have a safe and fun 4th.

  89. duffman says:

    out of orlando,0,2777690.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+orlandosentinel%2Fgators+%28Florida+Gators+News%29

    is it just me, or has this orlando paper been one of the most quoted in this blog. Funny as there is no major football team there (Gainesville, Tallahassee, and Miami for FL).

    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      Duff – Orlando is a SEC town, much the same way the Birmingham, Memphis, Atlanta, Jacksonville and New Orleans are also SEC towns. They are all close to SEC schools, have a large concentration of SEC alum/fans, and the in-town team is inferior to the SEC team in the area.

      BTW, Orlando is only 115 miles from Gainesville.

      • duffman says:


        thanks for the info.

        i guess i was asking about from early on in the blog, seems like this newspaper got quoted and linked often. i could not figure out why, as i guess it seemed that Big 10 or Pac 10 or Big 12 newspapers would have been linked more. is orlando the biggest school closest to gainsville? or is there another big city close by?

        • Jim says:

          The Orlando Sentinel has one of the best college football writing staffs in the nation. The reason for this is because of the 4 major Florida cities its the only one with out an NFL team as well as being the 3rd largest metro in the state that is football crazy. They really are not a secondary market to any of the NFL teams and with 2 of the 3 big time college football teams being in fairly small cities it became a natural.

          Orlando and Jacksonville are about the same distance from uf but Orlando has about double the population of Jacksonville (a fairly large chunk of Jax population is also military giving it even a smaller effective population*) as well as being a fairly straight shot using highways while Jax you need to use single lane back roads though true speed trap cities. UCF is located in Orlando and has a huge student body (believe 45 to 50k off the top of my head) but still is mostly a glorified commuter college.

          *Off topic but this is 1 of the 2 major reasons they should never have received a NFL team they other being no corporate base.

          • mnfanstc says:

            Hey Jim… I think you are right on regarding Orlando/Jax. From some of my time spent in FLA–college football rules/d the roost (except maybe in Miami metro).

            Jacksonville seemed like a big reach when the NFL decided to expand there (maybe some back-room skid-greasing went on…). Now, it has all been self-revealed (see poor attendance/support)… Unless something strange happens, Jax will likely go back to being NFLess.

          • duffman says:


            thanks for the added info.

            I was always under the impression that Jacksonville was a corporate HQ town, and that is why they got the NFL franchise (Bengals had P&G and Kroger, Atlanta had Coke and Delta, etc.. etc..). Do they not have major corp HQ’s there? I thought CSX and Winn Dixie called Jacksonville home?

          • Jim says:

            Duffman- At the time Jax had 3 major corporate HQ’s CSX, Winn Dixie and Barnett Bank. Even at the time though the NFL should have known this was unstable to say the least. CSX as well as all fright lines where hurting and surviving basically on new car transport but they have rebounded greatly. They should have known that Barnett Bank was vulnerable to take over as the 90’s was the decade of bank consolidation and they where a prime target for merger which is what happened. I don’t remember the exact numbers but there where a huge number of lay offs and moving of units out when they where bought. Win Dixie also has been in trouble since the early 90’s when it was clear they could not compete with Publix in Florida where losing market share like crazy with the rise of Super Walmart they are almost a rarity now and have not made moves to expand since around 1990.

            Beyond the unstability of the corporate base it is a poor city on a per captia basis. Off the top of my head I believe they are either last or second to last in this area. Throw in there is no secondary market with the East Coast of Florida except for Jax being long time Miami Dolphins secondary markets or new transplants and Orlando being split between Miami and Tampa and new transplants and not much in money population in Southern Georgia they where always behind everyone else. This was straight up the biggest mistake the NFL has ever made.

  90. eapg says:

    Bob Devaney talked to Jim Delany in 1992. From the OWH:

  91. duffman says:

    A post for today

    I know it does not affect conference realignment, but it fits today and has a football backdrop.

    enjoy, and have a safe and happy fourth!

  92. duffman says:

    Fourth of July Game:

    Know your conference commissioner better, posted in parts

    • duffman says:

      sorry this was a duplicate, sorry to do the multiple posts – word press does not let you two or more links on the same post. argh!

  93. duffman says:


    question for you?

    I asked in a previous link I think you posted about the rootie toot toot cheer. I always thought it was an A&M cheer, but when I googled it they give some credit to BYU (since discredited) and Rice. You are the Rice guy on here, any thoughts?

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      I had always heard it was a Rice original. I can’t imagine aTm or BYU having a cheer that says “We are the boys from the Institute”.

      The later most popular cheer at Rice was probably shared with many other geek schools:

      e to the x, dy dx
      e to the x, dx
      secant, tangent, cosine , sine
      cube root, square root, BTU
      beat those Longhorns
      go Rice U!!

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        Another version I heard more often in the student section;

        e to the x, dy dx, e to the x, dx
        secant, tangent, cosine, sine, 3.14159
        name the axes, y and x
        to hell with football, we want sex

        • duffman says:

          I like this cheer better

          so is Rice known as the “institute”? what is the history to referring to Rice as an institute?

        • Hopkins Horn says:

          My parents went to LSU (yes, I am of SEC pedigree!!), and they once told me what LSU fans would chant when playing Rice, which the two schools apparently did frequently in the 1960s.

          Unfortunately, there’s no way I can ever put it in print connected to my name, even a mere nickname. Let’s just say it would offend many a modern sensibility. :)

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            Rice/LSU was played annually from 1932-1983.

            Did the cheer start “What comes out…”?

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            PS – I had no idea it was that long-lasting a series.

          • bullet says:

            Interesting that LSU also played A&M nearly every year in that era, but has hardly ever played them since. With the oil industry, there are a lot of ties between LA and SE TX. You see more LSU bumper stickers, flags and T-shirts in Houston than Tech, TCU or SMU. LSU was actually at the initial founding meeting of the SWC, but decided not to join.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            bullet – LSU stopped playing A&M in the early 90s after the SEC expanded and added another conference game.

          • m (Ag) says:

            “LSU stopped playing A&M in the early 90s after the SEC expanded and added another conference game.”


            Of course, now that A&M has to play 9 ****ing conference games and has the Arkansas series set up, they wouldn’t be able to play the series anyway.

            It’s too bad, because it would be a lot of fun.

  94. duffman says:


    what is up with football at your alma mater?!?!

    the Zook just came on CFL on ESPN and said the SEC was better than the Big 10 in football!! He may feel that, but why did he let it get outside the Big 10 family?

    • duffman says:

      great now the ESPN talking heads are saying:

      SEC #1 with a big gap to
      Big 10 #2
      Pac 10 #3 nobody stands out
      Big 12 #4 big drop as just 3 teams UNL, UT, and OU are any good
      ACC #5
      BE #6 gaining on ACC

      • Jim says:

        I don’t even understand why they are even asking the question. I don’t cheer for conferences (well I didn’t until the last few years and its more a cheer against the sec) I cheer for schools and teams. The SEC is just like most other conference where you have 2 to 4 elite teams in any given year, a few second tier teams and than filler and bad teams. Lets compare the the SEC and the Big 12. Both have 3 teams with legit national title hopes. They both have a few other teams in the 10 to 30 range and than they both have some filler and crap.

  95. Madison Hawk says:


  96. M says:

    I thought of a new reason why geographic divisions can work. Look at the SEC, the only conference that has been successful with 12 teams. They have 3 of their top 4 brands in the same division: Florida, Tennessee, and Georgia. In fact these are the top three teams in terms of record for the conference in its current setup.

    This analogy can be taken further.


    • wmtiger says:

      Iowa, Wisconsin are certainly no Auburn or LSU, not even close. Wisky is most similar to Ole Miss and Iowa is closer to Kentucky.

      • Adam says:

        What in the world are you talking about? When have Ole Miss and Kentucky played in BCS games? Kentucky’s best bowl game appearance in recent memory is the Outback Bowl in 1998 (well, 1/1/99), and Mississippi has appeared in a melange of Cotton/Indepencence/Music City for the last 20 years. Those programs are well behind Iowa and Wisconsin.

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        Must be part of Team SEC if you think Kentucky is anything but a joke to the rest of the world.

        • duffman says:


          I know I am an old fart and all, but the last good coach left to coach at A&M and passed away in the 1980’s. Course during that time in between he coached BAMA and got a win or two there. Kentucky is the most cursed football team there is.

          Bryant, Shula, Schnellenberger, and a whole host of major coaches have been a part of the UK football team at one time. They still have never been a continual top football team. It is why I miss them on the IU football schedule.

          ps.. Vincent, you probably already knew this but but the bear coached the Terps, before heading to UK. Might explain why UK got Jerry from the Terps years later.

          pps.. Adam, Outback Steakhouse was started by a UK alumni, many said it is why they got the bowl that year. I think PSU spanked them early on as they were overmatched, but hey if the sponsor went to your school it probably does not hurt getting an invite.

        • duffman says:

          ps to the ps..


          Even tho they can not field a great football team they can still over sell their stadium most every game (actual seating is like 67,000 but they usually seat 70,000 to 72,000 – which is why they will expand to 80,000 soon). Yes I am jealous of that part as IU would not see 80,000 brave souls come watch us get thumped.

      • Bamatab says:

        I think that Auburn is very comparable to both Wisconsin & Iowa. Both have decent records in the recent past and compete for conference championships every 5 or so years, while not being in the national championship discussion.

        Now the issue I have is comparing LSU to either Iowa or Wisconsin.

        • duffman says:


          do not know what alan will say, but when I think of SEC west I think BAMA and LSU. I would put the tigers ahead of Iowa, and probably Wisconsin but behind tOSU, UM, and PSU. Auburn would be a good team, but fate did not shine down on them by putting them in the state of Alabama. Hard to be great when you are always #2 in your home state.

          • Bamatab says:


            I agree with you. LSU is definitely ahead of Iowa and Wisconsin in my book. And when comparing programs history, I agree that LSU in a notch below the big 4 of the big 10 (I’m including Nebraska). Actually I would almost be reluctant to put any SEC team in that category besides Bama when you look at the history of the schools (not just recent history). But with LSU’s recent success (just like Florida), they are gaining ground. They have a recruiting base and a devout following that makes contending for national championships possible on a yearly bases if they can get the right coach (which I don’t think they currently have even though the hat has won 1 NC).

            Now I would have to disagree with you about Auburn. I don’t think they could ever achieve “top” level status even if they were in any other state in the SEC. They only reason they are as successful as they have been is because their fanbase is so rabid which is a result of being in the state of Alabama (which is a college football loving state) and their hatred of being Bama’s little brother (the whole psychology of the Auburn fan base is a hard one to explain, but it is the reason for their success IMHO).

        • StvInIL says:

          You are so correct with that comparison. LSU might add up to a Community college here in the Midwest. Iowa and Wisconsin in contrast are public ivies’. :- ). Oh and their football teams have been highly productive over the last 20 years as well. remember we are talking about COLLEGE football her folks.

    • J. says:

      You must’ve been asleep when Iowa & Wisconsin defeated LSU & Auburn in their last head-to-head match-ups. You know: HEAD-TO-HEAD, where it’s decided on the FIELD?

      (And in the Wisconsin vs. Auburn case, it was an absolute beat down.)

    • Bamatab says:

      I think you have UGA and LSU switched up. LSU has actually won multiple NCs while UGA won one back in the early 80s (and I believe that is the only one they have).

      So the SEC divisions are as balanced as they can be with UF & UT winning multiple NCs thoughout their history and Bama & LSU winning multiple NCs thoughout their history.

      Where it gets a little lopsided is UGA is the next biggest “name” school with Auburn following way behind UGA as the next biggest “name” school. But since Auburn is the next biggest “name” school, the current divisions are as “equal” as they can be.

      • bullet says:

        Georgia claims 1942 as well as 1980. I believe LSU only claims 3 (1958 and the 2 BCS championships). LSU had a long mediocre stretch in the 70s and 80s. UGA had theirs in the 90s. It was really Bama & LSU and UGA and Tennessee when the SEC was founded. Florida never even won an official SEC championship until Spurrier arrived. But he turned that program around.

        • bullet says:

          My dates on LSU were off. Their dry spell was the 80s and 90s. They were good, but not great in the 70s. They had 3 losing seasons in the 80s and 7 in the 90s. Saban arrived in 2000.

      • StvInIL says:

        Steve Spurrier won a football conference championship at Duke in 1989. Kinda speaks to the man’s talents as a college football coach.Then he uplifted Floria a sleeping giant. I wish the state of Illinois had a Steve spurrier. Or al lease a John Mackovic.

    • M says:

      So there are really two parts to this discussion, the on-field football success and the off-field brand value. For on-field, here are the conference records of the various teams in their respective current formations:

      Florida 0.805
      Tennessee 0.701
      Alabama 0.626
      Georgia 0.622
      Auburn 0.599
      Louisiana State 0.571

      Ohio State 0.783
      Michigan 0.691
      Penn State 0.632
      Wisconsin 0.592
      Iowa 0.526

      Nebraska 0.677

      Doing a little arithmetic, we see that the overall winning percentage of the “Big 3″ in the SEC East is .709, while the equivalent group in the Big Ten has an overall winning percentage of .702. In other words, over the last 15ish years, the combo of Penn State, Michigan, and Ohio State has been (slightly) less dominant than Florida, Tennessee, and Georgia.

      Looking at the West, the same computation gives .599 for the SEC group and .598 for the Big Ten group.

      The takeaway point is that the disparity at the top between the East and West has been even greater in the SEC than in the Big Ten. This disparity has not hurt them at all and so should not be a worry in making Big Ten divisions.

      Brand value is a much more nebulous factor, though still very important. I would more readily concede that the brand difference in geographic divisions might be greater in the Big Ten (In Mandellian terms, the Big Ten would be 3 kings vs a king, a baron and a knight, while the SEC is 2 kings and a baron vs a king and two barons). However, I would again contend that this separation would not hurt the Big Ten overall. Currently, the protected rivalries setup already effectively forms an eastern block of Penn State, OSU, Michigan, and MSU. This arrangement hasn’t seem to have negatively affected the brand value of anyone.

      (Notes: Nebraska’s conference record is taken as its Big 12 record. While this record is obviously not directly comparable to a Big Ten record, I think the general consensus is that over the period in question, the two conferences were about the same in strength.

      Conference records for Nebraska and the SEC teams count the championship game. However, since all but four of the football teams in the SEC CCG have come from these 6 schools, the effect was mostly a wash.

      Alabama has had a number of wins vacated due to various NCAA convictions. My source uses the adjusted values as I don’t want to try to reascribe the wins and losses to the correct teams. The net effect is that Alabama has a lower winning percentage than actual results, but all the other schools have a higher winning percentage.)

      • StvInIL says:

        Nice work M. I am most surprised by Florida’s numbers. I can actually remember when Florida was a mediocre team. So that plus 800 percentage is kind of a shock to me.

      • M says:

        Just for completeness sake, here is the same analysis for the ACC and Big 12:

        Texas 0.790
        Oklahoma 0.698
        Texas Tech 0.597

        Nebraska 0.677
        Kansas State 0.590
        Colorado 0.520

        South .695
        North .595

        Virginia Tech 0.784
        Georgia Tech 0.660
        Miami (Florida) 0.521

        Boston College 0.625
        Clemson 0.571
        Florida State 0.571

        Coastal .655
        Atlantic .589

        Perception of success for the 3 12 teams leagues actually is the opposite of parity between the divisions. The league with the most unbalanced divisions (SEC) has been viewed as the most successful, while the league with the most equal divisions (ACC) has been considered the biggest flop.

    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      M – I know you posted this 2 weeks ago, but I haven’t had a chance to respond to your charge that LSU has the 6th best brand/reputation/etc in the SEC, as well as others misstatements from others below. Here’s a SEC history lesson from an LSU perspective.

      The SEC crowned its first champ in 1933. Surprise! It was Alabama. From 1933 to 1991 (pre-expansion) Bama won 19 SEC titles, following by UTn with 11, UGA with 9, LSU with 7, Ole Miss with 6, Auburn with 5, and MSU/UK/UF all had one apiece. (UF did win its first SEC title in 1984, but had to vacate it for cheating, so its 1st OFFICIAL title was in 1991 – the last year before expansion).

      Vandy has never won a SEC title in football. GA Tech, which left in 1964, won 5 championships, and my law school Tulane surprisingly won 3 championships before it left for more barren pastures in 1966. Little Sewanee – THE University of the South left the SEC in 1940 with no titles, but they do have an all-time winning record against Bama.

      So at the time of SEC expansion, the SEC East had a combined 22 titles while the SEC West had a combined 38 titles. Arkansas was also much more of a football power than was South Carolina. Excluding Bama’s titles, LSU/Ole Miss/Auburn/MSU had combined for 19. Looking at more recent pre-expansion history (1980-91), SEC West teams had 8 titles, while SEC East teams had 7 titles. Keep in mind that prior to the SEC CG, the SEC could have multiple champs just as the Big Ten.

      So pre-expansion, LSU had the 4th most SEC football titles, and LSU currently has the the 4th most SEC titles. Since the SEC began, BAMA has 8 national championships, followed by LSU and Florida with 3 each. Tennessee has 2 NCs, while Georgia, Auburn and Ole Miss have one apiece.

      If you look at national poll or BCS champions from 1936 – present, Bama & Notre Dame lead in NCs with 8 each, followed by USC & Oklahoma with 7 each, Miami, Nebraska & Ohio St. with 5 each, UTx & Minnesota with 4 each, LSU & Florida with 3 each. So LSU is tied for 10th in the nation in national championships.

      LSU has won SEC titles in the 30s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 2000s, so the Tigers are a Johnny-come-lately. LSU has 41 bowl appearances (tied for 9th nationally with tOSU), 14 Sugar Bowl appearances, 10 SEC championships, and is 4-0 in BCS Bowl Games.
      In fact, LSU is the only SEC team to win double digit championships in football (10), men’s basketball (10), and baseball (14).

      From 1989-2000, LSU did hit a rough patch, with 8 losing seasons in 11 years, but LSU was consistently a very good-sometimes-great team for most of its history. One could call the 90s, the Spurrier/Shanahan curse. In 86 when Bill Arnsparger resigned to become UF’s AD, he recommended 33-year-old Mike Archer to replace him. A young USFL coach/Heisman trophy winner and an up-and-coming young NFL assistant interviewed for the LSU job, but Archer was named the next HC at LSU.

      After Paul Dietzel left LSU for Army in the early 60s, Charles McClendon coached LSU for the next 18 years. LSU had many great teams during that time. The problem was that Cholly Mac just couldn’t seem to beat his old UK coach – THE BEAR. Ole Cholly Mac only won one SEC title during his 18 year tenure at LSU, while THE BEAR won 12.

      My point after all this rambling is that BAMA is the unquestioned historical power in the SEC, but Tennessee, Georgia, LSU and Florida all can make a legitimate case for #2. That’s the power and greatness of the SEC as any 6 teams could challenge for a NC any year.

      • M says:

        I will be the first to admit that I don’t know much about SEC history, but just looking at the records I can’t see any way to argue that LSU is #2. All-time they are 5th in overall conference record and its not particularly close. In the past 50 years they are 6th, dropping behind Auburn

        I strongly prefer using overall records than championships, but that’s probably a debatable premise. Conference championships and especially national championships are subject to too many external factors; I will be the first to trumpet Northwestern’s 2000 Big Ten championship with a 6-2 conference record, but pretending that has the same weight as one of OSU’s recent ones seems injust. On the other end, Illinois’ 2001 title does not mean they have had a more successful decade than Wisconsin (no titles).

        You did inspire me to look up overall Big Ten championships. In the geographical arrangement, the top two are in the east. However, the schools with the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th (tied) most championships are all in the west.

        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          M said, “I strongly prefer using overall records than championships, but that’s probably a debatable premise.”

          M – you got that right. Overall record versus championships? I’ll take championships and a few down years to being consistently above average (but rarely great) any day.

          As a Northwestern fan, do you wax nostalgic about your 96 Rose Bowl or the consistency of your 5 minor bowl appearances in the 2000s?

          Also, I wasn’t trying to say that LSU is the 2nd best team in SEC history. I said that the argument could be made. I could also make a compelling argument on behalf of Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida.

          That’s the beauty/brutality of the SEC. Sure, Bama’s #1, but if you take out THE BEAR’s era of dominance in the 60s & 70s, they are not that distinguishable from the other 4 teams. Throw in Auburn, and then Arkansas, South Carolina, Ole Miss, and Kentucky who all do consistently try to keep up with the top 6, and you’ve got a heckuva regular season.

          As an aside, I have to give props to the USCe and UK fans though. They continually fill up 80K and 70K seat stadiums with the realistic hope of an Outback Bowl appearance once a decade.

          • M says:

            “Overall record versus championships? I’ll take championships and a few down years to being consistently above average (but rarely great) any day.

            As a Northwestern fan, do you wax nostalgic about your 96 Rose Bowl or the consistency of your 5 minor bowl appearances in the 2000s?”

            Northwestern fans wax nostalgic over pretty much any win we can get our hands on, but I still stand by my point. I would definitely take Northwestern’s performance in the 2000s (.500 overall record, 5 bowls, no major bowls) over Illinois (.380 winning percentage, 2 bowls, 2 major bowls). I would much rather be respectable every year than dismal most years with a good year thrown in every so often, and I think most Illinois fans would agree.

            1995 holds a special place, almost as much for what came before and after as for anything that happened that year. Beating Iowa that year was big, but more for ending a 22 game losing streak and starting an 8-5 run than the win itself. Beating Michigan and Notre Dame was also big, but as much for ending 19 and 14 game respective losing streaks.

            Having a winning record was big that year because Northwestern had not done that since 1971. The team’s winning percentage the previous 20 years was .182. Since then it’s above .500. Going to the Rose Bowl was much more important because the last time Northwestern had been was 1949 and because they have continued the success since then.

            1995 meant more to Northwestern than any year has to any other school. Before then, Northwestern was the worst team in Division 1-A. That year, they went 8-0 in the conference and went to the Rose Bowl. Since then, they have been consistently respectable. It forms such a stark dividing line that many Northwestern fans (or maybe just me) often pretend that football didn’t exist before then.

            “Also, I wasn’t trying to say that LSU is the 2nd best team in SEC history. I said that the argument could be made. I could also make a compelling argument on behalf of Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida.”

            The ‘argument could be made’ nonsense is just pure sophistry. The argument could be made that Indiana is the greatest football power in the country, Ohio is south of Louisiana, or white is black. They wouldn’t be good arguments, but they could be made.

            “That’s the beauty/brutality of the SEC. Sure, Bama’s #1, but if you take out THE BEAR’s era of dominance in the 60s & 70s, they are not that distinguishable from the other 4 teams. Throw in Auburn, and then Arkansas, South Carolina, Ole Miss, and Kentucky who all do consistently try to keep up with the top 6, and you’ve got a heckuva regular season.”

            The others might try to keep up with the top 6, but they all fail pretty miserably. LSU, the 6th best team in the conference in its current form, has 19 more conference wins than the 7th place team Arkansas. For comparison, for the 2nd through 11th teams in the Big Ten, no two consecutive ones are that far apart. In fact, no group of three have that much separation and the 4th and 8th teams are distinguished by only 20 wins.

            The SEC might parity in the 2nd through 5th teams, but there is a huge drop off after that.

      • m (Ag) says:

        “and my law school Tulane surprisingly won 3 championships before it left for more barren pastures in 1966.”

        I don’t think it’s surprising that a university in a major Southern city was successful before an NFL team arrived (see Texas schools in Houston and Dallas). New Orleans ranked higher in population back then when compared to the rest of the South and the Saints hadn’t been created; you’d think they might have won even more.

        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          m (Ag)- The Saints’ first season was 1967, but I think the bigger problem with CFB in big cities is that they tend to be private (Tulane, Rice, SMU, BC, Miami, Vandy or USC)or public commuter schools (Houston, Memphis and Cincy).

          I believe Minnesota and Washington are the only big flagship publics in pro towns. Maryland is in the DC ‘burbs.

  97. schwarm says:

    Eighty-five years ago, the story had a
    different ending: Nebraska was left standing
    at the Big Ten’s doorstep

    The thinking in Lincoln was that a step up in the college football world was in order. Would the Big Ten, known more formally as the Western Conference, deem Nebraska worthy of its prestigious club?

    The answer was no. On March 14, 1925 – the same day Walter Camp died – the Big Ten buried the notion of becoming twelve. The membership applications of Nebraska and Michigan State, submitted three months earlier, were denied.


  98. Michael in Indy says:

    I think a lot of folks don’t want a pure east-west split because they fear the West would resemble the Big 12 North and the East would resemble the Big 12 South. Thinking that way is nonsense.

    First, it’s appropriate to look at how the divisions started, or will start. The Big 12 North was born with three Top 25 regulars (UNL, CU, and KSU), but only one of them had a long-term pattern of winning under its belt. A Big Ten West would also start out with three Top 25 regulars (UNL, Wisc, and Iowa), but all three of them have churned out winning records for many, many years. The Big 12 North’s other three were consistently average (Mizzou), below average (KU) or historically awful (ISU). By contrast, the Big Ten West has a fourth program that has had winning records more often than not over the past 15 years (NU), and the other two (Minny and UofI) today resemble the KU and Mizzou programs at the Big 12 North’s beginnings much more closely than Iowa State. Basically, the Big Ten West would start out on a much more solid footing.

    Second, there isn’t the same sort of enormous recruiting base difference between Big Ten East and West as there is between Big 12 North and South. Sure, the East has Ohio and Pennsylvania and is closer to New Jersey, but let’s face it: those states don’t provide the sort of recruiting imbalance that the state of Texas does.

    Third, the Big 12 North has suffered from coaching turnover, especially in light of the stability at OU and UT. The Big Ten West’s four most consistent programs (NU, Iowa, Wisc, and of course UNL) all have very solid coaching situations. Each of them are too young to retire anytime soon and are winning to much to leave soon, either. If anything, the Big Ten East is more likely to resemble the Big 12 North’s coaching instability. I’ve got to assume JoePa will retire within the next five years, and RichRod may be on his way out, too.

    Fourth, this has little to do with divisional balance, but an East-West split would be great for television. Every year there’d be OSU-PSU, PSU-UM, UM-OSU, Neb-Iowa, Neb-Wisc, and Wisc-Iowa. 2 out of 3 games among Neb-OSU, Neb-UM, and Neb-PSU would be played 2 of every four years, and the other one the other two years. Same story for Iowa and Wisc vs. the eastern “Big Three.”

    I would just hate to Penn State get stuck in a West division. They’d essentially get punished for being too successful.

    • aps says:

      Michael, I agree with you. If the Big Ten goes with an East – West split and plays 9 games they can have enough games to have a balanced result.

      Say you have the following split.

      1. Ohio State
      2. Indiana
      3. Penn State
      4. Purdue
      5. Michigan
      6. Michigan State

      1. Nebraska
      2. Minnesota
      3. Iowa
      4. Northwestern
      5. Wisconsin
      6. Illinois

      Ohio State would play all 5 on its side plus Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa and Northwestern. This would ensure Ohio State played 2 of the 3 better teams.

      Indiana would have to play Minnesota, Iowa, Northwestern and Wisconsin.

      Penn State would play Iowa, Northwestern, Wisconsin and Illinois. Penn State would be playing 2 of the 3 better teams. Iowa would be playing 2 of the 3 better teams from the east (Ohio State & Penn State).

      Michigan would play Wisconsin, Illinois, Nebraska and Minnesota. Again 2 of the 3 better teams would be pitted against Michigan.

      The following year, the first teams rolls off and the next in the list rolls on. In the case of Ohio State, Nebraska would roll off and Wisconsin would roll on.

      It may not be balanced as having a 2 – 2 split of the historic big time programs (Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State). But it would guarantee that each side has to play 2 of the 3 better teams (historically) from the other side.

      • Adam says:

        I am not a fan of a 9-game league schedule because it is imbalanced in the sense of 5 home and 4 road for some, and 5 road and 4 home for the others. Not fair, and not necessary when there’s a championship game; the 9-game schedule is more justifiable when the title is being awarded on the basis of just the overall standings, but with a title game decisively awarding it, it’s less important. Plus, I just don’t see how an extra conference game is a net money-winner; it seems like the extra non-conference games are a net money gain for the league.

        I agree with this analysis, it’s just that I’d rather discussions about the schedule format start from the 8-game schedule premise.

        • Josh says:

          The issue is that non-conference teams are asking more and more to schedule away games. To get Boise State to come to Oxford in 2011, Ole Miss had to shell out $900k. Lesser programs don’t ask as much, of course, but even a Sun Belt creampuff wants over $100k. And only the elite programs that sell out all their games can really sell tickets to those creampuff noncon games.

          Nonconference games are just getting too expensive for the revenue they generate, which is why they are looking at adding an extra conference game.

          • Michael in Indy says:

            Shoot, it’s got to be more than that for the Sun Belt teams. App State got a $400,000 check from Michigan, and the next year against LSU it was around $750,000. I’m actually surprised a program that’s built as much cache as Boise has would settle for $900K.

    • StvInIL says:

      My thoughts are so if after 4- 5 years there appears to be a severe imbalance between East and west, for the good of the league, can an adjustment not be made then. There would be empirical data to show it would be for the good of the league and not just for some football engineering.

      • Michael in Indy says:

        Exactly. And the Big 12 should have done this long ago.

        The divisions could/should’ve been set up like this:

        Division A

        1. Texas
        2. Texas A&M
        3. Oklahoma
        4. K-State
        5. Iowa State
        6. Oklahoma State

        Division B

        1. Texas Tech
        2. Baylor
        3. Nebraska
        4. Kansas
        5. Missouri
        6. Colorado

        Annually, Division A’s #1 plays Div B’s #1, etc.

        So what if it’s hard to remember which teams are in which division? That league would have been balanced. While it would have killed the annual rivalry b/tw the Texas schools, it would have preserved the vastly more significant Nebraska-Oklahoma rivalry, plus it would have allowed much more equitable access to recruits in Texas, which, IMO, has greatly aided Oklahoma’s success while hurt Nebraska & other B12 North schools. All the important rivalries would have been preserved.

        • Adam says:

          I think you seriously undervalue the importance of being able to remember who is in which division. You’ll always end up tripping over unnatural divisions — particularly when you have competition (i.e., the old NFC “West” with New Orleans, Carolina, and Atlanta could get away with it because there is no other credible pro football competition).

        • bullet says:

          UNL/OU was important to TV, but the others were important to those schools. Baylor and TT would lose their 2 most important rivals. If the UNL game was that important to OU, they would have adopted a 5-1-2 system like the SEC using the N/S alignment they have now. My guess (I don’t remember any discussion about why it wasn’t done) is OU preferred a balanced schedule rather than having a schedule possibly tougher than the other schools. Its one of the reasons the SEC went from 5-2-1 to 5-1-2 with 1 annual rival from the other division. Auburn was saddled with facing UGA and UF every year while Arkansas was getting UK and S. Carolina.

          I’m not sure there was any great outcry from UNL. Their fans definitely weren’t happy, but I don’t remember school officials complaining-maybe they did, but I don’t remember it.

          The idea was for CU/UNL to replace the OU game. CU won a national championship in 1990 and made a run in 94. OU was in a down cycle. But the rivalry never reached the same level of interest. And UNL totally dominated KU,KSU & ISU.

          • Josh says:

            OU didn’t think they could compete in the Big 12 south if they had to play Nebraska every year along with all the Texas schools. They thought (correctly, really) that it would be very difficult for them to win the Big 12 South if they had to play UNL every year and Texas, TAMU and OSU got to skip the Huskers at least every other year.

  99. Don’t know if this thread is dead, but I have to say I’m a little suprised Frank to see a Big 10 division based primarily on geography. First of all, Delaney has expressly said that geography is not a big factor. And second, I don’t think this will maximize profit, what I see as the driving force behind expansion. I absolutely believe OSU and Michigan will be put in separate conferences. While everyone thinks the conference will avoid a rematch like the plague, it is precisely because this is their most marketable game that I think the conference separates the two teams. If interested, I wrote a piece on this which can be read at:

    Would love your feedback on this…

    • mnfanstc says:

      Forgive me for being a homer on this one… BUT… Wisconsin/Minnesota is the longest running/most played rivalry in Div 1A FB. So Alvarez has ties to Nebraska… Big Deal…

      It is no secret that Minn has sucked lately, but they do own the series lead vs UWisc… they lead versus Iowa as well… Michigan not-so-much… (that Lil Brown Jug is very elusive–damn thing anyway…)

      I still am very much for FTT’s K.I.S.S. and go with the east/west geographic split…

    • Adam says:

      The OSU/UM game is the most marketable matchup in the league because they only play once a year. It eviscerates the concept of a rivalry if the game that you play every year may-or-may-not be the game for all the bragging rights.

      If you read this thread, it responds to almost all of the points in your article: Delany’s comment about geography comes from the same guy who said shifting demographics were key even while accepting Nebraska; you say that Delany is willing to sacrifice tradition for cash even while none of the things you point to are a sacrifice of a meaningful tradition; there’s every reason to think that even if the CCG is “reduced to a scrimmage” in years when UM and OSU are both good, that would hurt anything (if anything, it builds interest in the 13-week regular season, rather than the 1-game playoff); lots of historical evidence in this thread indicates that Michigan is not so head-and-shoulders ahead of everybody else that your supposition is accurate (indeed, Nebraska is arguably the 2nd-best team in the league on Day 1); the Big 12’s problems were not due to a geographic alignment but, instead, uniquely fertile recruiting grounds in Texas and a profit-sharing imbalance, while the Big Ten does not have a particular recruiting territory which runs rings around the rest of the league and shares money equally.

      In short, I disagree with all of the premises of the argument that the geographic alignment is unacceptable.

      • Adam, you can take that position, but Delaney is not. Are you suggesting he’s being disingenuous? I took the man at his word.

        They accepted Nebraska despite shifting demographics because Nebraska has a national fan base. Regardless of where these people move, they follow Nebraska.

        I disagree with you on the scrimmage point. The championship games in the ACC and the Big 12 have not been particularly interesting or lucrative because for the most part they were lopsided contests. The SEC match-up lately that has featured Florida v. Alabama is the model one. I realize it’s a short sample and both teams turned out to be national championship contenders, and this will rarely be the case, but this is still the model to strive for.

        To that end, I listed the teams by winning percentage for 17 years. I never argued there was a huge difference between Michigan and Nebraska, only that Michigan had a higher winning percentage for that block of time, which they do. Nebraska has been solid the last two years, but before that, their struggles were not unlike Michigans.

        I would love to preserve every rivalry if possible, but something will have to give. I imagine Wisconsin and Minnesota fans care about that rivalry, but no one else, It simply has no marketing appeal. I refuse to believe the Big 10 protects this game, over say, Ohio State v. Penn State or Michigan v. Michigan state, two games that have