BYU Independence Day and How It Helps the BCS Conferences

Posted: August 18, 2010 in College Basketball, College Football, Sports
Tags: , , , ,

While the realignment action at the BCS conference level has come to a standstill, BYU is aiming to be a next-tier combination of Notre Dame and Texas and possibly causing a massive upheaval at the non-AQ level with its reported proposal to become a football independent and become a member of the WAC for all other sports.  (The Salt Lake Tribune is calling this a “done deal”.)  If BYU pulls the trigger on going independent, I believe that it would be a brilliant move for the school and, interestingly enough, a great opportunity for the BCS conferences.

BYU has long been one of the most interesting potential players in the college conference realignment story.  From a pure financial and fan base perspective, BYU should’ve been invited to a BCS conference many years ago.  The Cougars sell out every home game, travel en masse to bowl games, and garner a national TV audience with LDS members.  Political factors, though, have killed BYU’s chances of getting into the Pac-10 (as the California-based schools have a myriad of issues where it has clashed with LDS positions) and its no-playing-on-Sunday rule has been a nagging problem for other conferences.  With its in-state rival of Utah heading down the yellow brick road to BCS AQ status in 2011 and the Big IIX unlikely to expand for several years, BYU has been at risk of getting left behind.

Count me in as someone that believes that BCS AQ status is far from a sure thing for the Mountain West Conference.  If there is a way for the other BCS conferences to avoid inviting in the MWC, it will absolutely exploit it – they have ZERO desire to give up $18 million per year and an at-large BCS bowl slot.   If BYU’s leadership has been evaluating everything realistically, they have realized that this is the case and came to the conclusion that if it wants any reasonable chance of becoming one of the insiders to the BCS, it would need to become independent.

Is BYU on the level of Notre Dame in terms of casual fan popularity?  Of course not.  However, BYU has an asset that no other school in the entire country has (and what Texas has banked its entire future upon creating): its own television network.  This isn’t some type of fly-by-night operation.  BYU-TV has a state-of-art studio, the most advanced HD live event production truck in the entire Western half of the United States, 60 million U.S. subscribers (including every single DirecTV household) and 40 million subscribers outside of the U.S. While I have never actually watched BYU-TV and presume that its programming lineup currently consists of telecasts of church services, stories of mission trips, a reality TV show featuring Jim McMahon visiting and reviewing every single bar in Chicago, and the Steve Young edition of “The Bachelor”, the key point is that BYU already has a ready-made and widely distributed cable TV platform to take its sports properties in-house.  My understanding is that BYU makes approximately $1.5 million per year from the current MWC TV deals.  That is a fairly low threshold to cross if the school turns BYU-TV into a revenue generator for sports events (currently, the network relies on donations and subscriptions similar to PBS) since it has 100 million international households already in the fold.  This isn’t even counting the fact that ESPN or another network would likely be willing to pay a premium for BYU’s top games.  If Army and Navy can strike deals on their own with national networks, there’s no reason that BYU wouldn’t be able to do it even better.

That’s all fluff compared to the big picture, though.  Maybe it’s because I have spent my entire life (other than my college years in Champaign) living and/or working in Cook County, but when Slant reader loki_the_bubba posted the initial rumors about this BYU story last night, my immediate thought was this: “Political payoff.” As we all know, this is perfectly legal under Federal law.

There seems to be this growing assumption that an independent BYU won’t be able to receive the same type of preferential treatment from the BCS system as Notre Dame does today.  However, I vehemently disagree with this notion, and it has little to do with college football games themselves and everything to do with Capitol Hill.  Which politician has spent more time bashing the BCS system, calling for hearings on the issue and demanding regulation more than any other?  Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).  What school did Sen. Hatch attend?  Brigham Young University.  Let’s list out the potential scenarios:

SCENARIO A: BYU stays in the MWC.  In 2 years, the MWC meets the BCS AQ numerical criteria and the BCS conferences decide to let the conference into the party.  This means that the BCS conferences have to give up at least $18 million per year and an at-large bowl slot.

SCENARIO B: BYU stays in the MWC.  In 2 years, the MWC meets the BCS AQ numerical criteria, but the BCS conferences decide to keep the MWC on the outside because it makes zero financial sense to invite them in.  Sen. Hatch raises a political and legal shitstorm unlike anything seen before and puts the entire BCS system in jeopardy.

SCENARIO C: BYU becomes a football independent, but the BCS conferences don’t give the school a Notre Dame-type deal.  Sen. Hatch raises a political and legal shitstorm unlike anything seen before and puts the entire BCS system in jeopardy.

SCENARIO D: BYU becomes a football independent and the BCS conferences extend the school a Notre Dame-type deal.  With both Utah and BYU now within the BCS system, Sen. Hatch suddenly has a new-found love for the BCS bowls and Washington leaves college football alone entirely.  Meanwhile, it cuts the legs out from under the MWC and any other viable non-AQ upgrade possibility.

I don’t know about you, but it looks like paying BYU a couple of million bucks per year as an independent under Scenario D in order to preserve a cartel of hundreds of millions of dollars, extinguish its most prominent opponent in Washington AND destroy the MWC’s chances of ever moving up to AQ status makes a whole lot of business and political sense if you’re running the BCS.  Plus, it’s going to be fairly rare that BYU will garner a top 8 final BCS ranking (which is where Notre Dame needs to rank in order to receive an automatic BCS bid), so it virtually preserves an at-large BCS slot for the current AQ conferences.  It’s a win-win-win for BYU, Sen. Hatch and the BCS system overall.  Unfortunately, the MWC will find a new definition of pain and suffering, as it is slowly digested over a thousand years in the Sarlacc pit of the non-AQ world.

In summary, BYU has an international TV network, a widespread built-in following with the LDS, and political clout of the highest order that can be leveraged into BCS access on par with Notre Dame.  From where I’m standing, it almost makes too much sense for BYU to declare its independence.

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

(Image from Deseret News)

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  1. greg says:

    As always, Hawkeyes #1!!!

  2. Wes Haggard says:


  3. Oneforthemoney says:

    As a die-hard Cougar fan, I’m glued to this news and can’t get anything done at work. Assuming this is true, I have a few thoughts:

    (1) As a BYU basketball fan, I don’t like the move. Although Utah left, we still had some good hoops rivalries with UNLV, SDSU, and New Mexico and those are all good teams. I know basketball doesn’t drive the bus, but this should still be said.

    (2) As a football fan, I think this could be a huge breakthrough, as long as BYU can fill the schedule toward the end of the season. USC and Stanford are willing to play Notre Dame in October or November, but will anyone want to play BYU during those months? I sure hope so. Still after suffering through games on the obscure and poorly-run Mtn. channel, I would love to see some ESPN games, even against weaker teams (of which the MWC has plenty).

    (3) How does this relate to a Big 12 invite? I think more than anything, BYU wants to be in that conference. Does this move help its chances of getting in? BYU no longer needs to give one year’s notice in order to join the Big 12. Could this have been a factor in the decision? Could BYU somehow lend its broadcasting facilities to Texas for a while in exchange for membership in the Big 12?

    Any thoughts?

    • M says:

      For part 2:

      Scheduling-wise, I think the plan is to play a mini-conference schedule against WAC teams in October or November. Given that base, BYU shouldn’t have too much trouble filling out the rest.

      For part 3:

      I don’t think a Big 12 invite is coming. I could see a “games for gear” trade where Texas agrees to a series of games in exchange for broadcasting equipment and expertise, but I think they only get into the Big 12 if something drastic happens and I’m not sure BYU would want to join whatever remnants remain after that scenario.

      BYU’s decision makes me more certain that independence is Texas’ eventual goal.

    • One4themoney, I’m predicting the Cougs rethink their decision and stay in the MWC. Makes no sense to go independent when conferences are still gobbling teams up. For me, the Cougars might be the eye of a much bigger storm, that being just how much Congress gets involved in the BCS business. Using some of Frank’s material, I’ve written about it at my blog at:

      Too long to post here, but if interested, check it out.

  4. M says:

    On the BYU-ND comparison:

    I know that BYU hasn’t played the same level of competition, but over the last 30 years they have the same number of national titles (1) and a substantially higher winning percentage (.709 to .644).

    I totally agree with the idea that BYU can get similar type access as Notre Dame, at least money-wise. Frankly, if I were BYU I wouldn’t want the Top 8 rule. I think BYU would be taken anyway if they were ranked that highly and that rule has caused nothing but spleen towards ND. (ND would probably be better off without it anyway).

    I wonder if they could work it into the current “highest non-BCS team gets in if they are in the top 12″. That would probably cover most situations.

    Does anyone know what sort of deal Navy and Army have with the BCS?

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      When I read the BCS qualifications last year there was no mention of any deal with Army or Navy. In fact, neither one could qualify for a BCS game unless they were ranked #1 or #2. The qualifications explicitly stated that anyone outside the 6 AQ conferences or Notre Dame must be a conference champion to get an at-large bid.

    • crpodhaj says:

      Maybe I’m missing something, but wouldn’t this be an opportunity to remove Notre Dame’s special provisions in the BSC agreement? If it looks like more teams might become independant, why not have all teams regardless of conference affiliation on the same playing field? Otherwise, aren’t you opening the door for every top team to go independent?

      Just asking.

  5. Penn State Danny says:

    After reading this post, I thought if 2 words: poor Boise.

    I also thought that BYU (and BSU) would go to the Big XII. We shall see…,,

  6. I don’t buy politics in this case. It’s possible, but the Mountain West wasn’t going to meet all requirements even before everyone decided to leave. Utah leaving cemented that they could be left out and as much as politicians like to talk and take power they have no constitutional right to, they haven’t yet and would have even less reason to after Utah joined a BCS AQ conference.

    Again not dismissing the idea competely, but I think the more likely case is that BYU decided it couldn’t accept being in a lesser conference than Utah. In the long run, it would lose value because of it. They didn’t have the choice of going into a AQ conference and thus left for independence.

  7. JRT says:

    Go Bucks!

  8. JohnDenver says:

    Air Force going indy also?

  9. Jeepers says:

    Ham sammich.

  10. zeek says:

    I think it’s easy to give BYU the same deal as Notre Dame because ND gave up a lot in the last renegotiation.

    I mean ND takes less on avg than a BCS school when it doesn’t make it ($1.3M) and it gets the 2nd level payout when it does make Top 8 ($4.5M).

    I really don’t see it as being difficult to give BYU some kind of deal similar to that, or if they’re stingy maybe $500-750k per year and $2-3M when it does reach and make it Top 6.

    But ND’s deal isn’t really that expensive since they took what looks like a substantial discount to help put money back into the system.

    Giving BYU $1.3M each year and potentially $4.5M if it makes the BCS is peanuts compared to having to giving the MWC the same $18M per year and a guaranteed slot that the Big 6 conferences get…

    And there’s no way the MWC ever gets an AQ slot if it can’t raid the WAC due to the $5M penalty in place now: just Boise State and TCU aren’t going to cut it.

    The question of course is what Boise State and TCU do about this?

    Does Boise State turn its back on the MWC and go back to the WAC?

    Would it do that if TCU somehow gets out of the MWC? The MWC could collapse because of this…

  11. HerbieHusker says:


  12. HerbieHusker says:

    adding part 2

  13. Hank says:


  14. Playoffs Now says:

    Good and interesting post, but Hatch doesn’t and won’t have THAT much power.

    I wouldn’t count on the B12-2 expanding back to 12 and inviting BYU, and especially not BYU and ND being #11 & 12. While ND, TX, OU, and BYU could make a nice foundation for a possible Independence Alliance (conference in all but name,) any such combo is only a backup plan in case the B10+? decides to go to 16 and the SEC follows. Even then, it might be more a ploy for negotiating leverage than a preferred endgame (and such an alliance may never have even been discussed by TX and ND.)

    My take is BYU:

    1. Wants more money. You can basically stop there.

    2. Had a strong suspicion that the BCS was going to screw over the MWC no matter what.

    3. Had a high chance of being frozen out of any 4×16 arrangement. P16 is 98% out, even if TX doesn’t head west, and BYU is a lone outpost too far west if the other surviving 3 super conferences end up being the B10+?, SEC, and ACC. So why not go ahead and become independent and work out any kinks before the big realignment hits? Might give them a better understanding of how best to protect their interests when super realignment talks and politics go into overdrive.

    As to future realignment, only the B10+? and SEC are safe. Everybody else has an Achilles’ heel.

    • Playoffs Now says:

      BTW, does UHou have a shot of talking their way into being a travel partner for TCU with the Big Least?

      • Hopkins Horn says:

        Again, I agree with you. I think TCU will now be exploring better options, and since the Big 12 door will continue to be closed to the Frogs, looking east, including the possibility of being paired with UH (whose basketball pedigree makes them a better Big East school than one might imagine), is a very realistic option.

    • Playoffs Now says:

      A caveat:

      One reason the B12-2 is in a holding pattern is to see if 12 does indeed remain the conference standard. If the B10+? stops at 12 and the conferences stabilize, then BYU might join one more to get the B12-2 back to 12.

      However I’d say it is more likely that Delany continues acquisitions.

      Meanwhile, in Aggieland, Bill Byrne compares aTm’s prospects in the SEC to Arkansas and S. Carolina’s:

      E-mails obtained by The Dallas Morning News through open records requests revealed how Byrne handled some of the fallout from the decision to bypass the SEC.

      “We had the chance to gain the upper hand and you guys couldn’t pull the trigger,” one fan wrote Byrne.

      Byrne responded in part: “Take a look how Arkansas and South Carolina did before they entered the SEC and how they have done since. Unless you’re the lead dog, the scenery is always the same.”

    • Hopkins Horn says:


      I’m going to agree with you on this one. I was going to post that this better positions BYU for being one of the 64 if we move to a 4×16 world in four-five years, but you beat me to it.

      That’s the Gordian Knot explanation, which is easier to digest than a behind-the-scenes political power play having caused this.

    • Playoffs Now says:

      Oh yeah,

      This may suggest that BYU is confident that no matter if 4×16 happens or other realignment, ND will be able to remain independent and won’t be frozen out by the BCS or whatever replaces it.

      I’d say ND ever to the B10+? is 90% dead.

      • zeek says:

        I agree with you and Hopkins Horn on all points.

        And I think ND to the Big Ten is totally dead for the next 10 years unless there’s something unfathomable like multiple 4 win seasons happens.

        Delany is looking East, and it seems as if Rutgers + 1 is likely to be an outcome if it brings enough $ to justify it.

        I think the Big Ten will go to 14 and then see what happens; it is possible that it stays at 12, but I think Delany really wants to be sure that he has the Big Ten as well positioned as he can leave it before he retires.

  15. duffman says:

    Scenario E: God & Country or The Well Endowed Conference (WEC) :)

    East = ND, BC, Army, Navy, VT(CoC), Syracuse

    West = BYU, TCU, AF, A&M (CoC), Baylor, SMU

    other possible choices

    Duke = Methodist / Quakers
    Miami = NS
    Wake Forrest = Baptist
    Tulane = NS
    Rice = NS

    if endowment matters!


    • loki_the_bubba says:

      More realistic

      Air Force

      Nice, neat eight team conference of similar sized schools.

      • duffman says:


        I was looking at 12, that could go to 16

        the east adds duke and miami

        the west adds tulane and rice

        too lazy to do it right now, but think of how the endowments stack up with those 16 in the same conference (you should know me well enough to know I am not gonna forget rice) :)

  16. Playoffs Now says:

    BTW, I’d say conference-burned but fan favorite Boise may actually be closer to the ND storyline.

    • Playoffs Now says:

      As in somewhat outcast that many of the big boys refuse to play but willing to play anyone anywhere and getting the story victories to win a national following.

  17. Gumbynuts says:

    15 days

  18. Hopkins Horn says:

    Also, there was a bit of joking on the previous thread about this being too coincidental with recent events at Texas and ND, but what I think you can take to the bank is that Austin will be watching Provo very closely over the next three to four years to see if modern-day independence works, especially with one’s own network in place.

    The situations aren’t entirely analogous — most glaringly, I highly doubt that Texas would have a WAC-style resting place for its non-revenues and would have to instead opt for total independence — but it’s great to have a trial run in place elsewhere.

    • m (Ag) says:

      Any chance we could get your school to hurry it up? Apparently politics means my school can’t do anything until you make a move.

    • Adam says:

      I would consider total independence a non-option for at least basketball. It strikes me as a really difficult slog to make the NCAA Tournament as an independent.

    • m (Ag) says:

      Since the realignment news seems to have sadly taken a break (it’s been what, 3 days without good gossip?), I want to ask you Hopkins Horn:

      If UT was to go independent, what would you like their schedule to look like?

  19. zeek says:

    Did anyone else get a hearty laugh out of Colorado State’s backtracking on its tweets?

    “FORT COLLINS, Colo. — At approximately 11 p.m. MDT last night, and again this morning around 5 a.m. MDT, the Colorado State football Twitter feed was deliberately compromised by an anonymous individual wishing to spread multiple rumors and attribute them to CSU.

    The tweets did not originate with anyone employed by the university. The tweets have been removed and the athletic department has changed passwords on all official athletics Twitter accounts.

    The Colorado State athletic department apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused members of the media or fans following the football Twitter account.”

  20. zeek says:

    Aug. 18, 2010

    COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Mountain West Conference has extended an offer of membership to California State University, Fresno and the University of Nevada, Reno.

    • zeek says:

      The Mountain West is trying to nuke the WAC to prevent the BYU independence bid, but that $5M buyout looks like it could prevent those schools from moving…

      • Hopkins Horn says:

        MWC nukes the WAC. Great. Remaining schools go to the Big West, which gladly takes in BYU’s other teams.

        Don’t think BYU’s move can be torpedoed this way.

        • Hopkins Horn says:

          Sorry, had a brain fart and thought Big West was 1-A.

          Still, there’d be enough schools out there for some non-MWC conference unless the MWC brings them all in.

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            Argh. It’s not 1-A, but who cares about its football classification? It’s D-1 everywhere else.

          • zeek says:

            Yeah I agree.

            I think the Utah v. BYU thing is the most important thing.

            This is the only way for BYU to be able to rise in stature after Utah’s move to the Pac-10.

            BYU will probably just stick with the independence plan regardless of what happens.

            Football is driving this bus, and independence is the only way for BYU to get an adult seat at the table if they can make the scheduling work in terms of getting enough BCS programs to do home-home games.

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      At this point, is it any more than a lateral move?

      Are there any numbers-crunchers out there who can look at the criteria laid out for BCS AQ and whether the MWC minus Utah and BYU but with BSU still has a chance in a couple of years?

      If so, then I’d consider the move. If not, I’d stay in place and let the remaining members of the MWC (after what would seem to be a likely TCU move east) coming crawling back to the WAC in a fit of poetic justice in a couple of years.

      • zeek says:

        I don’t even think we have to crunch the numbers; it was right on the edge to get a BCS bid with all 4 of Utah/BYU/Boise State/TCU.

        And that $5M is probably insurmountable unless the MWC somehow offers to pay it off over a period of years or something.

        How can you explain a $5M buyout to join a conference where you’re going to make $1.5M per year; the numbers just don’t work in the short term…

      • Nostradamus says:

        I think it is pretty clear with BYU’s departure that they felt the MWC wasn’t going to get the auto-bid.

      • Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton says:

        at Mountain West Connection they’ve been crunching these numbers right down to how many games New Mexico has to win this year…seriously.

        BYU, Utah, TCU and Boise St were a lock for BCS AQ under the numbers that the BCS released.

        Boise St, and Utah were/are washes. So, adding Boise St but losing Utah, left the MWC in about the same spot. Which was slightly good and in over the AQ line, but just barely.

        HOWEVER…there are many that suspect that the BCS won’t allow another conference at all.

        • bullet says:

          What I was reading was that they really needed to drop New Mexico and SDSU before they made all the qualifications. Otherwise they would have to get an exception (NO CHANCE) on the computer strength calculation.–All assuming, of course, the next 2 years are just like the last two.

          Fresno and Nevada didn’t make a significant difference either way on computer strength.

          • Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton says:

            yeah, that was what they had too. SDSU and UNM was killing the average total. BUT, they had it as MWC would just squeak over but as I recall it could come down to a win by SDSU or UNM out of conference.

            FSU and UNR I would think would be a small help..but they would be close.

    • bullet says:

      Wow! Full scale war.

      Fun scenario. SDSU, UNLV and Boise return to WAC. UNM and TCU join CUSA. The 3 original destroyers of the WAC-WY,CSU and AF end up stranded.

    • bullet says:

      Fresno Bee reporting Fresno will accept tonight.

    • Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton says:

      Taking Fresno St and UN-Reno leaves the WAC with only 6 schools playing football. (Idaho, NMstate, Utah St, Hawaii, San Jose St, and La. Tech)

      It would bring the MWC back up to 10 schools even with BYU leaving.

      Adding Houston and UTEP or SMU (the only schools from CUSA that matter in football) the MWC would be at the 12 team mark, and the increase in the Texas and Cali markets MWC survive.

  21. duffman says:

    Retirement Question?

    anybody want to guess what happens in the short term for conference folks like delany, slive, etc Say contracts are not renewed, or as someone mentioned delany retires, any what ifs out there?

  22. duffman says:

    BTW, just me or is anyone else annoyed that they keep not showing CFL to do Brett Favre coverage, as NFL follows CFL can they just show the college stuff for the college fans?

  23. Hopkins Horn says:


    Relevant to nothing else above, how the might have fallen.

    Tennessee is scared to play North Carolina next season.

    “Going into the season having two BCS non-conference opponents is problematic when you’re trying to rebuild a team,” [Tennessee AD] Hamilton said. “This is not a change in our scheduling philosophy, however.”

  24. Hopkins Horn says:

    Another thing that makes you go hmmm…

    That Tennessee article referenced above mentions a new stadium at North Texas. I hadn’t heard of it before.

    Looking into it, it’s pretty impressive-looking.

    And it will also seat 30K-35K, which would make UNT more attractive to future conference suitors like C-USA.

  25. btrealign says:


  26. Jim says:

    I think the national political angle has always been way overplayed and the BCS and its member conference are not really worried about it. For every Orin Hatch there is 2 Senators from Texas, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, NC, SC, the list goes on and on where the current system is a net positive to the schools in that state throw in states like NY, VT, ND, and SD where there is no school that gets looked over so no need for the Senator to waste political capital.

    There is also really nothing the Senate can do about it except strip the tax exempt from the schools. Good luck with that when the biggest boosters and alumni donors also tend to be the biggest political donors so again I can’t see where they would get enough votes to do anything.

    Moving to BYU this is a huge risk for them. For their alleged brand no one really wants them from any other conference to the bowls. They might travel but that is all they do, they don’t spend money when they arrive. Maybe they can work out a deal with the BCS but I can’t imagine they get what even ND gets they would be lucky to get a deal where they finish in the top 8 they get a half share other wise nothing and if I am the BCS I don’t offer them much more than that and I would put on minimum SOS requirements on that also. While they have a fairly huge TV footprint its in a block of channels that has viewership measured in the thousands if not hundreds.

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      Do you have anything to back up the claim that BYU fans “don’t spend money when they arrive,” or are you extrapolating a lack of overall spending from the mere fact that LDS members don’t drink?

      • @Hopkins Horn – Yeah, that doesn’t sound right. LDS members or not, people will spend money on hotels, restaurants and merchandise outside the scope of alcohol. Depending upon the bowl venue, there might not even be booze sold at the game. I was surprised that the Rose Bowl didn’t sell alcohol despite being an off-campus stadium. So, it was a good thing that I had the foresight to get loaded before the Illinois-USC game a couple of years ago. :)

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        Still better than what they used to say about Houston coming to the Cotton Bowl…

      • Jim says:

        I don’t have anything solid except from what I recall either hearing or reading from members of some bowl committee a few years ago in a story dealing with why some teams are bowl favorites and some are bowl pariahs. The general jist that I recall was they don’t spend money around town as much.

    • Jake says:

      You know what they say – when BYU fans go to Vegas, they keep a $20 bill in one pocket and the Ten Commandments in the other, and they don’t break either one while they’re in town.

      @Frank – I think the legend/stereotype is that so many Utah (the state, not the school) folks know people in Vegas (a common bowl destination for BYU) that they just stay with friends and family instead of getting a hotel room. And on top of the alcohol, there’s the gambling and some of the more lewd shows that they don’t partake of (supposedly). In other bowl destinations it might not be such an issue.

  27. Playoffs Now says:

    They came for their livers, but the MWC is not yet dead:

    Fresno St accepts MWC invite

    • Playoffs Now says:

      In response to:

      Mountain West Conference Invites Fresno State and Nevada

      Aug. 18, 2010

      COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Mountain West Conference has extended an offer of membership to California State University, Fresno and the University of Nevada, Reno.

      MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson is currently traveling and unavailable for comment.

    • zeek says:

      And this out of Nevada (doesn’t mean anything but I wanted to put it here):

      “As for Nevada, president Milt Glick said this: “We are honored to have received the invitation to join the Mountain West Conference. We are seriously considering the invitation, and do so with the best interests of our athletics program, University, community and Wolf Pack fans as our priority.””

      I think they’re going to go; now BYU has to see if it really wants to go through this independence bid.

    • M says:

      As long as the WAC is a workable place for the non-revenue sports, I can’t see BYU turning back. They seem to have been preparing for this possibility for several years.

      Now the MWC needs to take enough schools from the WAC to destabilize it. BYU wouldn’t abandon the rest of its athletic program to a third-tier conference. Adding Fresno State and Nevada might not be stand alone benefits, but if it forces BYU into the fold it might be worth it.

      It’s basically the ND-Big Ten-Big East conspiracy theory playing out.

      • @M – If BYU has convinced itself that it should be a football independent but the WAC is going to die, maybe it should take its non-football sports to the WCC. That’s actually a better basketball conference than the current WAC. Gonzaga vs. BYU sounds pretty good to me.

  28. Stopping By says:

    If both Fresno St and Nevada accept offer – that puts the WAC at 7 teams right? Doesn’t it take 8 to keep a conference alive?

    If so, that would kill BYU’s landing spot for its non football sports.

    • Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton says:

      6 in football..and 7 with BYU in the others.

      It would also mean no conference for Fresno St and UN-R to pay the $5mil exit fee to.

      • Stopping By says:

        Thanks – I had already forgot about Boise St….

      • Stopping By says:

        True – that would be a BYU worst nightmare too I would think. The MWC adds two mediocore schools (all but killing BCS dreams) and kills the soft landing for their non football sports in the process…..forcing them to withhold independence.

        Though I guess they can just go find a Sunbelt-like Conference maybe to take their non football maybe.

    • Stopping By says:

      Wait – I already forgot about Boise St moving as well. That would only leave 6 in the WAC – requiring them to get 2 more teams from somewhere to stay viable – right (someone correct me if wrong)?

      That would all but kill BYU basketball fans in a weakened WAC conference like that.

  29. Hopkins Horn says:

    The WAC has options. This article lays some out:

    Now my posting the link to UNT’s new stadium makes more sense, even to myself.

    This might resemble the last realignment scramble, in which half a confernce would move up, and the remaining half would poach the better half of the conference below in the pecking order.

    BYU’s plans for football independence won’t be curtailed by their basketball team having to play in a conference with UNT and Fullerton instead of Fresno State and Nevada.

    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      Hop – since the WAC already has a foot-hold in Louisiana with LA Tech, they could steal the U-LA-Loser twins (Lafayette & Monroe) from the Sunbelt.

      • Hopkins Horn says:

        That would certainly be an option as well.

        Also: UT-San Antonio is starting up a new program, with Larry Coker as coach. First season is next year, and the plan is to be 1-A by 2014.

        Might be too late for the present realignment madness, but they’ll probably be an attractive programs for the likes of the Sun Belt and WAC pretty quickly.

        • loki_the_bubba says:

          UTSA and Texas State have been discussed endlessly on the CUSA boards. The consensus is always that they would end up in Sun Belt as a first choice with the WAC as a backup.

    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      After looking at what’s left of the WAC – Hawaii, Idaho, NM St., San Jose St., Utah St., and LA Tech, I don’t think anyone’s leaving the Sunbelt to go to the WACk’ed.

      I’m thinking SMU and Houston or Hawaii go to the MWC to get to 12 teams and a CCG.

      LA Tech leaves the WACk’ed to go to CUSA, and either Troy or UNT from the Sunbelt bolt to CUSA.

      Sunbelt then picks up Hawaii (sunny), San Jose State (sunny), NM State (sunny), and Idaho (Sun Valley) to form a 12 team national conference that stretches from Miami to Honolulu.

      Utah St. can drop back down to 1-AA.

  30. GOPWolv says:

    I’m surprised the WAC didn’t become the safety raft considering the 5 million buy-out. I would have thought BSU, SJS, and TCU would see the WAC as a good landing place. Nevada, Fresno State are as good as buddies and CSU.

    Perhaps Fresno State thinks there is some way around the buyout.

    • GOPWolv says:

      Ah, UNR didn’t sign the buy-out.

      The Reno Gazette Journal just reported that Nevada did not sign the $5 million buyout clause that WAC commissioner Karl Benson asked it to sign last week.

  31. jj says:

    Goodbye WAC.

    The writing’s on the wall for BYU and I get this move, but Fresno, Nevada and Boise make the MW a pretty decent conference. I think BYU might reconsider. They need a move to one of the big boy leagues.

    I think someone made the point that TCU and BYU would make a nice outpost for the BEast. I can see that. But how does this duo not make sense for the B12?

    • GOPWolv says:

      Agree – the re-made MWC looks decent.

    • m (Ag) says:

      TCU brings no market for the Big 12. UT, A&M, and TTech each bring bigger ratings in the Dallas area.
      No Texas school will get added to the conference unless one of those schools leave.

      If there was a good school to pair it with, BYU would probably get into the Big 12. There just isn’t a school that will add a big enough market to justify the addition.

      • Playoffs Now says:

        It all depends on the B10+? and if they stop at 12. If 12 becomes the conference standard than BYU makes a lot of sense and Louisville could round it out. Lou, granted isn’t exciting, but decent and a good BBall addition.

        Plus that would give the conference map a solid core with an extension to the west and one to the east. Shaped like a Longhorn…

        • m (Ag) says:

          In the short-term, Louisville would be the best option.

          In the long term, a Nevada school might be best. When we were looking over population projections for the next few decades, Nevada always stood out as a state that will be able support a big conference school in the future, especially if professional leagues stay away.

          The problem would be getting the population to rally around just one of the schools, as it loses its population advantage if you have to divide the fans between 2 schools.

          • GOPWolv says:

            Nevada is such a transient state – none of the teams garner much respect for long. Even in Reno, most people are USC or Cal fans. Tark had a good run at UNLV and that was as close as any team came to capturing the hearts of NV fans.

      • Richard says:

        Not sure Louisville would jump to the Big12-ish. Memphis would, however. Don’t think Provo is much more of an outlier than Boulder.

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      TCU is a redundant market with a small fanbase, and BYU is too much of a geographic outlier now that CU is out of the conference.

      If you held a gun to my head and asked me to pick the best available pair for a mandatory move to 12, I think those are the two I’d pick, but staying at 10 keeps the conference stronger, on the aggregate, than adding those two schools, or any two schools.

      I think we’ve all gotten too hung up on 12 being the magic number for conferences because of the CCG when a number less than 12 might be optimal because of very real geographic considerations.

      • zeek says:

        I agree.

        After all, the Big Ten stayed at 11 for almost 20 years, even though that is a completely nonsensical number from the point of view of an 8 game conference schedule and virtually every other consideration whether it’s basketball or football scheduling (rivalry week, etc.).

        Unless BYU and TCU accept being junior members in the Big 12, there’s no reason to invite them.

        The Big 12 has to worry much more about whether it can afford to pay Texas/A&M/OU the $20M+ that they want to make (especially A&M)…

      • bullet says:

        Considerable discussion in the MWC news conference about how they couldn’t get coverage on the cable channels in DFW.

    • bullet says:

      Maybe goodbye Sun Belt.

      Interesting that they are moving so quickly with BYU possibly leaving. MWC-BYU vs. WAC + Boise looks pretty equal in football and WAC looks stronger otherwise. Can’t believe they wouldn’t talk to Boise first. Maybe all 3 want to leave SJSU and Idaho behind.

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        WAC is too far and not a step up to attract many Sun Belt teams. I think they’re safe from the mayhem on the west coast. If anything I can see Louisiana Tech going the other way.

    • jj says:

      The new MW, with BYU, blows the crap out of all the other mid-majors, that’s faux real!

  32. Playoffs Now says:

    Are we certain BYU is gone? BYU wanted more money and more quality schools in the MWC. With Fresno (good) and Nevada (nothing) if they added a potential top 25 school like UHou and Fox redid the MWC channel agreement could BYU stay put?

    I don’t expect it, but…

    • Wes Haggard says:

      Guys, I just do not understand your fascination with UH and TCU. Had these schools been able to put any fannies in the seats of their stadiums or draw any TV ratings on their own, there would be no Big Twelve. But unless TCU, SMU, Rice, or UH played Texas or Texas A&M, there was no money funneled to the other schools. Leopards have still not changed their spot. UH biggest crowd last year was for Texas Tech for goodness sakes and then less than 30,000, which is about the capacity of their stadium. They are a good fit in the USA.

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        Try telling that to Cougar fans. Man there is a lot delusion there.

      • bullet says:

        One of the factors in leaving was to try to improve season ticket sales. It was a motivator to alumni in DFW and Houston who otherwise could get good seats to see their team play TCU/SMU/Rice or UH and not drive all the way to Austin or College Station.

        MWC is pretty delusional too. UH is a good match for them. But I think they understand their budget limitations and its not worth the travel costs.

      • Playoffs Now says:

        But who would the BEast or MWC get that is better? Beast is considering their own TV network, Texas is the 2nd largest state with 2 top 10 markets and TCU and UHou are in each. Could (not certain) make a big difference on such a network’s viability.

        That said, I don’t expect the BEast to do anything until after the B10+? takes their bite out of ‘em. Too many cats to herd for the Big Least to make a proactive decision. Trouble is, the B10+? may lead to a deep raid by the ACC and SEC.

        Glad I’m not a BEast chancellor or commish.

        • BuckeyeBeau says:

          hmm… yes and no. Honestly, I think the BigEast really sees itself as a BBall conference. As a BBall conference, the Big East is safe.

          I agree that Big East will wait and see what the Big10 and/or ACC do. At 16 schools, it becomes cumbersome to add more. Plus adding a football school that does not add a good BBall team is a problem (viz East Carolina). And adding a good Bball school with a meh football team (Memphis) is also a problem.

          So, I think many reasons that Big East will stay put for now.

    • bullet says:

      Speculation a couple hours ago on the MWC board, while obviously self-serving, was that it was a power play to get a new deal.

      • zeek says:

        With Fresno State joining and Nevada joining without even signing that $5M buyout clause, I tend to agree that this may be a way for BYU to extricate themselves from the mtn. and the TV deals.

        If BYU can cut itself out of the media deals and get itself a deal like Texas has in the Big 12, then it is likely to stay in my mind.

        • zeek says:

          To be clear, I don’t mean totally remove themselves, I mean to see if they can get themselves a Bevo-TV kind of setup for BYU-TV in the MWC.

    • zeek says:

      One school that I think would be decent but the problem is of course travel is Hawaii. They get enough fans in the seats to justify being considered, but travel budgets would probably go up dramatically for everyone if they’re added…

      I think the MWC should aim for 12 and see if a CCG can make their TV package better…

      • schwarm says:

        Or wait for the Big XII to fall apart and see what’s available.

        • zeek says:

          That’s true; at the very least they’d be able to grab Iowa State probably if Kansas/KState/Missouri go off to the Big East…

          • schwarm says:

            OTOH, if they get to 12 sooner rather than later, maybe the money will be better to add potential Big XII refugees and go beyond 12 teams.

            FWIW, I think KSU would be a good fit in the MWC, if it ever comes to that.

          • BuckeyeBeau says:

            and, to be completely mercenary about it, some of the BXII north teams might be good even if no expansion beyond 12: that is, dump the worst teams in the MWC and upgrade to Iowa State and/or the two Kansases…

            There are precedents for dropping the worst performing schools in your conference.

  33. Badgerholic says:

    If BYU does in fact go independent despite Fresno St and Nevada going to MWC, I’d love to see a BYU/ND rivalry begin. Too bad “The Holy War” is taken for a rivalry name b/c it’d be perfect.

  34. Playoffs Now says:

    Rumors out the wazoo. Something up with UHou since at least yesterday, SMU also buzzing. ESPN scheming. John has a long mustache.

  35. loki_the_bubba says:

    I guess we could know in about 45 minutes if some of this is true.

    “Fresno State officials have scheduled a news conference for 7:30 tonight to announce the school’s expected move to the Mountain West Conference.

    The Reno Gazette-Journal is reporting that Nevada also will accept the offer to join the MWC and that the university did not sign a reported $5 million buyout clause to get out of the Western Athletic Conference. The Reno newspaper also said that Nevada would hold its news conference at 7:30 p.m.”

  36. Hopkins Horn says:

    This MWC/WAC situation is just screaming for a relegation/promotion solution.

    • boomdonkey says:

      I’ve been thinking that for a few years now! It could have been a radical and interesting way for non-AQ teams to force their way into the BCS picture.

      • Hopkins Horn says:

        Would it be fair for me to say that (1) pretty much every American sports fan who is knowledgeable about promotion/relegation loves the concept and wishes we had it in some form for our sports and leagues; and (2) there’s no chance in hell we’ll ever see it in the States? I mean, if even the MLS can get off the ground without it…

        • MAR1962 says:

          1) Yes,


          2) No shot.

        • M says:

          1) Promotion/relegation looks good on paper, but it doesn’t work well in practice. If you follow the Premier League, it’s always the same teams rotating in and out. They would be better off cutting it down to maybe 16 clubs and telling the rest to shove off.

          Basically the money difference between the upper leagues is too great for anyone who just got promoted to stay remotely competitive.

  37. Pariahwulfen says:


  38. Playoffs Now says:

    Here’s a thought:

    ESPN and the bowls are rumored to have stepped in with a notable offer to TX to keep the B12 and in order to stop the super conference dominoes from tumbling. The B10+? just announced they will be renegotiating with ESPN for the addition of NE and expect a hefty increase. Could that be the bowls and ESPN trying to head off their going to 16?

    Along that line, could ESPN and the bowls attempt to meddle in the MWC reorganization, perhaps offering a TV contract and BCS AQ status? Could a similar meddling with the BEast take place, squashing a BEast channel? Shaking out the weaklings to create 7×12 committed to continuing the BCS and fairly safe from congressional inquiry?

    Just brainstorming.

    • Playoffs Now says:

      To clarify, is ESPN pushing the MWC to get to 12 by adding top-25 potential teams such as Fresno and UHou? ESPN has given UHou and their QB lots of promo the last year.

    • Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton says:

      actually that could be the alternative to the 4 x 16. ESPN owns (biggest money donors)most of the bowl games..they have a vested interest in keeping the current system up and running.

      A 4 x 16 with playoffs..and ESPN could be left out or in a bidding war where one wins, and the rest looses.

      • MAR1962 says:

        And Bowl Week does massive ratings, especially against the feeble competition the broadcast networks put out from Dec. 25 to 31.

    • m (Ag) says:

      I don’t think this stops any conference from going to 16, but it does give ESPN/ABC programming to fall back on if the national scene changes.

      Right now ESPN has to program sports for ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3, and ESPNClassic. Any one of those networks always could use college games (and not just football).

      However, in the next 5 years:

      1) The Big 10, whether or not it expands, could sell it’s big games to Fox or NBC and/or move more coverage to the BTN or to other cable networks. And that’s even if it doesn’t expand and add more important schools.
      2) The Pac 10 could basically do the same thing as the Big 10, though it doesn’t have nearly as much programming on the ABC/ESPN family to start with.
      3) The SEC could expand (with a financial assist from CBS), removing some national names from ABC on Saturdays. It could then cancel its ESPN package in order to form an SEC network or to sell its games to CBS buddies TBS and TNT.
      4)BYU and maybe some other schools (read: UT) could go independent and sell their game rights.
      5)ACC, Big 12, and Big East programming on ABC/ESPN could be hurt by defections to those other 3 conferences. Maybe some of these conferences aren’t around in 5 years.

      Making the MWC a bigger conference doesn’t prevent any of the above from happening. However, getting the rights to an enlarged MWC does seem like an insurance policy to have in case it loses some of the programming it currently has.

  39. Playoffs Now says:

    Its official, Nevada accepts, and says Fresno also accepted.

  40. Playoffs Now says:

    Nevada says they will be negotiating with the WAC over the exit fee. Says $5 mil is the high end of the negotiating range, but whatever is decided they will come out ahead financially in the 5+ year time range.

  41. Playoffs Now says:

    More from the NV news conference: 2011 or 2012 is not decided yet. Not yet known what BYU will do.

    Serious discussions began yesterday. (Though earlier said that consideration began months ago with UNLV pushing NV’s membership.)

    Boise St did pay the WAC an exit fee, but it was smaller than whatever NV will pay.

  42. M says:

    I’m just stunned how fast this has happened. Literally 24 hours ago nothing was happening and now I’m watching the “We’re so happy to leave conference X to be in conference Y”.

    • crpodhaj says:

      Agreed. This is so fast it makes you wonder, what could the offer have been that makes you almost immediately drop affiliation with one conference at a significant cost (millions of dollars you don’t presently have) and run to affiliation with another conference? Makes the rumor above regarding significant TV money in play seem plausable.

      • Hopkins Horn says:

        I would guess that all WAC schools must know already that affiliation with the MWC, even minus BYU, is monetarily and psychologically worthwhile, so when the invite comes, they can jump immediately without looking.

  43. M says:

    Comments on press conference:

    Nevada has mentioned travel costs several times as reason for moving, specifically Hawaii and Louisiana Tech. I wonder how much of that is real and how much is posturing.

    Boise State will not get tv money this year, but no additional exit fee. Nevada will pay some sort of exit fee.

    Reporter tried to trick speaker into admitting that BYU was gone. Speaker directly denied it.

    Nevada is talking up scheduling benefits of conference.

    • bullet says:

      If Boise, NV and Fresno stick together, those Hawaii and LT flights are offset by Moscow, Boise, Fresno, San Jose and Reno bus rides with Logan maybe also. Laramie, Ft. Collins, Colorado Springs, Albuquerque, Ft. Worth aren’t exactly next door. SDSU isn’t either for that matter.

      • Reaux says:

        Fort Collins is 60 miles from Denver, so is Colorado Springs. It’s not the two hour drive through the middle of nowhere that a trip to Moscow, Idaho is after you fly into Spokane. Fort Worth is close enough to DFW to be in the name. Laramie is a pain, but that’s the only one. United, Delta, Continental, Southwest, American and US Air all fly into Albequerque.

        LA Tech is in Ruston. You’re talking about flying into New Orleans and driving 300 miles or going to Shreveport’s regional airport. It’s 2500 miles each way to go to Hawaii. I’m going to say travel costs are a legitimate issue.

        • Playoffs Now says:

          Wow, you’ve flunked geography and Travelocity.

          La Tech’s stadium is 35 miles from Monroe, LA’s airport, which has direct commercial flights to Memphis, DFW, and Houston hubs. Shreveport is 70 miles, all freeway.

          If you must have more choices, Alexandria, LA is 100 miles, Jackson, MS 160, Baton Rouge 210, and even DFW Airport is 265 miles, closer than New Orleans and all freeway.

          But don’t most schools fly charter? Ruston’s airport has a 5000′ runway which can handle jets.

          • Reaux says:

            It’s still easier for SDSU, Fresno, UNLV, and Nevada to get to virtually anywhere else than it is to get to LA Tech and Hawaii. Is it easier to get to Albequerque or Las Cruces?

            Charter flights still use gas and have flight time. Cutting off the trips to Hawaii alone are probably worth the move.

            Four of the six remaining WAC schools are a chore to travel to. Seven of the eight MWC schools are within 60 miles of cities with major airports. If you’re going to tell me that it’s easier to travel within the WAC, I suggest you double check the geography yourself.

            When Nevada repeatedly cites travel costs as reason for wanting to move, it’s real, not posturing.

          • Playoffs Now says:

            I was only replying to this:

            LA Tech is in Ruston. You’re talking about flying into New Orleans and driving 300 miles or going to Shreveport’s regional airport.

  44. loki_the_bubba says:

    TCU coach cautions BYU…

    “All I can tell you is this: Just wait and see in the next two weeks before you make any judgments and see what happens in the national landscape,” Patterson said. “Things that I know that maybe you don’t know. That’s all I’m going to tell you.”

    • Playoffs Now says:

      What would TCU’s Patterson know that BYU wouldn’t involving their conference? Though Patterson could be just blowing smoke, it seems to hit at something outside the MWC. Intriguing….

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        Yeah, it’s an odd comment. Even if TCU was, just guessing, BE bound, it wouldn’t really affect BYU. The only thing that would really impact BYU would be more WAC defections but he doesn’t really sound like he’s referencing that.

        • Stopping By says:

          Very odd comment – maybe I’m just looking at the whole hierarchy of the MWC and wondering “what would a TCU football coach know that the BYU/LDS Church doesn’t – as it pertains to the MWC?”

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            I did not focus on the MWC. I zeroed in on the “national landscape” verbiage.

          • Hopkins Horn says:


            It’s those damn Iluminati again, back to mess around with our realignment fun.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            @Hopkins – The Illuminati are a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bilderbergers, which is, as we all know, headed by DeLoss Dodds.

          • Stopping By says:

            @ Loki….Ok, as it pertains to the Nat’l landscape – that means it would have to involve TCU if Patterson is privy right? If it involves TCU – then I presume that it would be some sort of move, so why would TCU then care what BYU is thinking of doing? Like you said…very odd comment to make.

            Even if it was something outlandish like…..aTm saying screw the UTen and jumps to the SEC with team x, then the now UT9 goes after TCU and would like to add BYU as well – BYU simply moves from Independent to the new UTen or UTwelve in a matter of moments.

            Just not sure what he is alluding to.

          • bullet says:

            Maybe Rutgers to B10? TCU might know because they had discussions with BE.

          • zeek says:

            That’s actually a good thought bullet.

            Rutgers to the Big Ten is going to be #13 in my mind no matter how the rest of everything shakes down.

            And right now we’re at the window of when the Big Ten was supposed to make decisions under the original timeline…

          • mushroomgod says:

            Rutgers to the Big 10 wouldn’t happen out of the blue like that, imo.

          • MAR1962 says:

            RU to the Big 10 cold happen any moment JD wants it to. I think the Big 10 presidents are already sold on RU, given its research capabilities.

          • Richard says:

            The Presidents would be fine with the academic side; it’s the athletic side that would concern them. The Big10 is still an athletic conference first, and I doubt they’re eager to add a school if it isn’t going to be in the top half of the Big10 athletically.

          • Mike R says:

            On the athletic side, RU’s importance is that it would bring the Big 10′s marquee programs — PSU, UM, tOSU and UNL — to the NY metro area on a regular basis. And NJ is prime recruiting turf for lots of sports, turf that will be inviting for the entire league.

          • Vincent says:

            The Big Ten won’t invite Rutgers until it has a suitable expansion partner for it, for the simple reason that a 13-member conference is messy. I still sense Maryland is the Big Ten’s preferred partner with Rutgers, as it’s a comparable academic (and better athletic) institution that would complement Rutgers along the northeast corridor, and Delany may wait until the spring of 2011, at which time the new College Park president will be settled in and the governor (either O’Malley or Ehrlich) is safely in office (UMd officials didn’t want Big Ten membership to somehow become a political football in this fall’s campaign).

        • m (Ag) says:

          The most likely scenario might be a bigger bowl deal for the MWC, along with a bit of extra cash for a conference championship game.

          The only other thing that comes to mind is the slight chance that a Big 12 team or 3 will preemptively agree to move to the MWC conference in order to protect itself from UT’s future move.

          I can’t think of anything else that would entice BYU to stay. If the other BCS conferences stayed the same, the best school for a 12th spot in the MWC would probably be Houston.

          If BYU stayed, this would be the conference:

          San Diego State
          Fresno State

          Colorado State
          Air Force
          New Mexico

          While a BYU/TCU conference championship match would get some national attention, I think BYU could probably get a better schedule as an independent. Especially since most of these schools would schedule them as a non-conference game.

        • I’m racking my brain for something that TCU might know that BYU wouldn’t and would also be something that would convince BYU to stay. The only logical conclusion I can come up with is that it’s got to originate outside of the conference, likely in the Big 12. If it was in the Mountain West, BYU would know about it. TCU could conceivably get wind of events in the Big 12 though, given that there is likely communication among Texas schools.

          Do I actually believe that? Not a chance, but it’s the only thing that I get to that would make the comment make sense and be accurate.

          • zeek says:

            The only thing I can think of is that A&M would bolt to the SEC if it thinks it’s not going to get the $ that it wants…

            Everyone except Texas A&M looks to be in a holding pattern…

          • Hopkins Horn says:


            But why/how would Gary Patterson know that, but BYU wouldn’t?

          • zeek says:

            Your guess is as good as mine.

            I can’t think of anything that the coach of TCU would be privy to that would not be available to BYU…

            It just seems as if he’s saying something big is going down nationally, but we can only really guess that he’d know of goings on in the state of Texas which BYU wouldn’t have knowledge of…

            Still it sounds more like he’s just sounding foreboding without really knowing anything. Either way, within 2 weeks we’ll know whether he’s on to something or full of hot air…

          • Jake says:

            Being a TCU alum, I’ve listened to Patterson quite a bit over the years, and while he isn’t lying, he definitely gets excited about different things than most Internet message board posters. And when he said “I may know things you don’t,” I think he was talking to the assembled reporters, not BYU.

            As for things Patterson knows that BYU doesn’t – how about running the Wildcat? That sure came as a shock to them.

    • M says:

      More out of Gary Patterson…

      Some amusing tidbits:

      “What do you think of the news out of BYU?”
      “What news is it?”

      -”Illinois never went to a BCS game with 3 losses”
      Yes they did, 2007 Rose Bowl

      -”The only school to go to a BCS game with 3 losses is Florida”
      Well other than the Illinois part he’s right, assuming Florida and Florida State are the same school. Of course, Illinois got an at-large bid while FSU won their conference, but whatever.

      “If you think being an independent is an easier way to get to a national championship game, you’re fooling yourself”
      Domers, take note.

      This just reinforces the “Don’t ask coaches questions about this sort of thing. They don’t know what’s going on”.

      • @M – Patterson and Rex Ryan need to get a TV show together.

      • Jake says:

        I think Patterson was trying to say that you can’t lose two games and reach the BCS TITLE game – but even in that case he’s mistaken, because it was LSU that accomplished the feat, not Florida.

        Also amusing:

        “The Illini.”


        You’d think he’d be aware of Illinois, since they did hire away his OC a couple of years ago (how’s that working out, by the way?).

        And I can’t blame him for confusing the Big 12 and Big Ten. It is tricky these days.

        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          That’s the same 3-loss SEC Champ LSU Tiger team that destroyed a 1-loss Illinois Big Ten Champ in the Sugar Bowl that year.

          Apologies to FtT for bringing that up, but I just couldn’t help myself.

          • greg says:

            Wow, the SEC managed to win another bowl game played at home.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Greg – why doesn’t the Big Ten champ quit playing in the Rose Bowl and play in the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl if that’s the way you all feel?

        • M says:

          “I think Patterson was trying to say that you can’t lose two games and reach the BCS TITLE game – but even in that case he’s mistaken, because it was LSU that accomplished the feat, not Florida.”

          There are several true statements only a few words different than what he said. Your guess is as good as mine as to which he was intending.

  45. Playoffs Now says:

    Avoiding travel to Hawaii and La Tech was a factor.

    Wow, Mt West Conference TV set is too busy, hard on the eyes. Circa-1981, nice visible creases in the backdrop.

    Fresno St conference now on. Note to idiot FSU cameraman: Not wise to do extreme closeups on an old man. Especially a jittery one. Nose hairs are not attractive.

    Blah, blah, blah, they didn’t say anything new (though I may have dozed off.)

  46. Hopkins Horn says:

    So, without BYU and Utah, any chance that national carriers like DirecTV might consider dumping The Mountain, or at least renegotiate for even smaller carriage fees than they already pay?

  47. Playoffs Now says:

    Note to idiot MWChannel producers: don’t do closeups when one of your anchors is the elephant man.

  48. M says:

    Fresno State prez turning press conference into half time speech.

    Wants to start in fall of 11, but apparently WAC has deadline in July, so would have to be negotiated.

    Has “not heard that they (BYU) will not” be in the conference. “Not privy” to other decisions.

    Also mentioned travel cost.

    Mentioned Big 12. “When conference members left their conference” they negotiated exit fees and leaving dates. I wasn’t aware that those negotiations were over.

    Fresno said they talked quite closely with Nevada, Nevada said the decisions were independent. Not completely contradictory, but certainly different emphasis.

    Dodged the “why do you think they happened to ask now” question.

    “have you had discussions with BYU leadership?” “I’ve had discussions with lots of people” That’s an actual quote.

    Talking up feasibility of 11 schools. Made joke about Big Ten logo.

  49. Playoffs Now says:

    MWC commish teleconference temporarily drowned out by a heavy-breathing walrus, er, reporter from WY.

    Commish says BYU still a member (don’t read anything into that.)

    Conf champ game has not been discussed. Conf configuration discussed at most conf meetings. Some schools want 12 members, others are against. (Fits with rumor that UHou is a candidate but one school is creating resistance.)

    Entrance fee being discussed, as is paying assistance for exit fees.

    “I don’t know BYU’s intentions. They have been on conference calls with our commissioners for the last several days.”

  50. Hopkins Horn says:

    You know what’s nice about a day like this? All the gang’s back together again!

  51. Playoffs Now says:

    No deadline for BYU from the MWC.

    Denver chick reporter sounds drunk.

    Met in Philly today with Comcast and CBS.

    Claims this wasn’t a defensive move to weaken the WAC and keep BYU. Says adding FSU and NV helps their AQ case.

    Waiting to see what else will occur nationally.

  52. M says:

    Craig Thompson, MWC commissioner

    Sounds very tired. He’s added more in 24 hours than any other conference has in 6 months though.

    “BYU is a member of the MWC. They participated in several conference calls over the last 48 hours.”
    -Yes, but will they continue to be a member over the next 24?

    “As we’re speaking at 920, the MWC is an 11 team league… er, soon to be 11 team”

    Commish doesn’t seem interested in getting to 12. Says some people in conference do want to get to 12. “It may happen, it may not happen”.

    Andy Katz “what about BYU?”
    “I don’t know BYU’s intentions
    “why now?”
    Some garbage about television markets and additional coverage. Apparently Nevada doubled in size in the last 3 months.

    The commissioner keeps trying to say that these additions are unrelated to BYU. He’s trying to say that television discussions suddenly made it necessary to kill the WAC.

    “Would you have accepted one of them (Fresno, Nevada) without the other?”
    -”hypothetical, I can’t answer”

    “I don’t know what BYU’s intentions were or are, we simply wanted to make conference better”

    Reporters keep asking “What is happening with BYU?” in different ways. Commish is not biting.

    “What do you say to BYU to convince them to stay?”
    “Same as the University of Utah”-most ominous response ever
    He says they won’t make concessions to BYU.

    • bullet says:

      Yes, not related to BYU. So they discuss it with Fresno & NV on Tuesday, meet Comcast on Wednesday (arriving at 2am), make the formal invitation on Wednesday, tell them to make a quick decision, which they do on Wednesday, all without any detailed discussion of admission fees. Fresno and Nevada don’t know how much it will cost them to leave, when they will leave and how much it will cost to enter.

      BYU obviously had nothing to do with this. I must say though, Thompson says that very convincingly. He’s a better actor than a lot of professional actors.

      Also would not comment on whether one of the two would have been admitted without the other. It was a conditional offer on both accepting.

      Discussion of their inability to use the tremendous drawing power of TCU to get on cable in DFW.

  53. Phil says:

    And the Big East Providence mafia, with a natural pair of schools out there like TCU and Houston, will instead divide their time tomorrow morning between discussions on:

    A) whether Villanova, who drew about 8000 people a game for a national championship FCS team, can move up to the FBS

    B) Which italian restaurant will get their Thursday lunch order.

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      To riff on the possibility of Big East expansion for a moment, if we assume that (1) the Big East wanted to expand by two and (2) the Big East’s top target was TCU, would Houston or Memphis be a better second target?

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        Houston has a football team. Memphis, not so much…

      • Phil says:

        To me, you would always want to pair schools to make better trips for the non-football sports, so Houston.

      • Playoffs Now says:

        East Carolina and TCU might be the strongest available, if TCU is open.

        • Hopkins Horn says:

          Granted ECU would be stronger football-wise than either UH or Memphis, but I was looking at it from the traveling pair methodology you suggested above.

          (Also, would basketball perhaps matter more to the Big East than to the other conferences?)

          • zeek says:

            Why wouldn’t they go after UCF?

          • zeek says:

            To expound on UCF, they would work well with USF in terms of getting each team down to Florida at least once per season, and UCF has the same kind of upside in terms of going for 50,000+ attendance, etc.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            Does it really add much to grab the fifth team in a state?

          • One advantage of having both is that a legitimate rivalry could help bring attention to both. If people actually care about the result when the two play, even as a secondary concern at first, it could help both schools gain legitimacy. I don’t know if that’s a big enough factor to invite them, but it’s at least an argument.

          • zeek says:

            I would argue that UCF has as much upside as USF did when it got added to the Big East and hit an upward trajectory.

            The ingredients are all there; huge enrollment etc. Fan attendance has been getting there.

            And aren’t you discussing doing the same thing in Texas with Houston? Between Houston or UCF; UCF is easily a better fit for the Big East in my mind. Especially if you grab TCU to go with it.

          • Phil says:

            As a fan of a Big East team, I agree that the best of the BE’s admittedly limited options now is to try and get:
            -The pair of TCU and Houston
            -UCF to pair with USF
            -Memphis (because with Cinn and Lville it would fit the travel better than ECU would).

            The problem with that is the recent idea that the Big 12 north teams might become available if the Big 12 blows up.

            So, I would try the Texas thing for now and keep the other two spots unfilled for a little while (waiting for KU and KSU).

      • bullet says:

        Houston because of travel. Not just the traveling pair, but because TCU would be all alone.

        Memphis actually draws better than either of them with worse teams in fb. I’ve always looked at attendance as a key indicator of desirability. Note that Fresno, Boise and Nevada were #2,#3 and #4 in attendance in WAC (behind Hawaii).

        • Jake says:

          @bullet – Memphis draws better than whom? They only had one home crowd over 20,000 last season, and that was Ole Miss. Going back to 2007, an 8-5 bowl season, their best crowd (again, outside of Ole Miss) was 27,000. Meanwhile, TCU averaged 38,000 without any help from giant BCS conference state schools and has been handily topping Memphis’ attendance figures for years now.

          • bullet says:

            Accidently posted the numbers at the bottom instead of here. TCU has only outdrawn Memphis the last 3 years. Memphis was higher the 5 years before that. And Memphis has a higher average since SWC breakup.

  54. Playoffs Now says:

    “Other conf have made concessions to keep schools, we have not done that for BYU.”

    “We want our schools to enter as strong as possible” (suggesting that entry fees won’t be steep.)

    “This helps our TV position.”

    “Rumor of BYU press conference was totally false.”

    Confirmed that NV and FSU were told to give them a decision quickly. Somewhat cornered into admitting that BYU prompted the quick action (without explicitly saying so.

  55. Playoffs Now says:

    ESPN radio reporter goes AWOL in his question slot.

    Catman of the Americas (now with ESPN Dallas?) needles commish on why MWChannel still not in DFW market.

    Dang, I may have missed some good TV info.

    Dodged question on if BYU could stay in the MWC for everything but football.

    “Did the TV networks encourage you to expand?” – “They didn’t discourage us.”

    Unanimous vote to bring in NV and FSU.

    “Did you talk to WAC commish Karl Benson to let him know this was coming?” – “No. Well, we had email exchanges but I didn’t speak by phone.”

  56. M says:

    “BYU was fully participating” in adding these two schools.

    Re Hawaii-”been part of conversations in the past”

    “Was there a deadline for Fresno State/Nevada for today?” “I think that’s fair… conversations started Monday”
    I guess I’m still use to major conference timelines. The Big Ten has been looking at expansion for 20 years.

    “It doesn’t have to be a Comcast market but it certainly helps”

    “We are attractive to television. We have TCU, Boise State, Air Force, Fresno State”-There is no good reason for not listing BYU, unless the Fighting Mormoms are gone.

    “Would MWC allow BYU to go independent in football and stay in the conference in other sports?”
    “I wouldn’t even venture to guess, hypothetical”

    “We’re not going to stand in the way of anyone leaving”

    “was Boise State involved?” “involved and had a vote”

    “were the tv meetings prescheduled or were they set up recently?” “They were scheduled”

    “did tv networks encourage you to expand?” “it didn’t discourage us”

    Invitations officially went out today.

    “any comments on killing the WAC?” “I’m an employee of the mountain west conference”

    commish-”I’ve never been to Fresno”

    • Playoffs Now says:

      “It doesn’t have to be a Comcast market but it certainly helps”

      Houston is a Comcast market.

        • loki_the_bubba says:

          That’s why we went U-Verse.

        • bullet says:

          And we went to DirecTV. Unfortunately couldn’t get a clear view of the Southern sky in Atlanta. Stuck with Comcast.

          • @bullet – That’s a bummer. I switched to DirecTV 6 years ago and never looked back.

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            Yeah, I had years of tree-blocking Comcast necessity when living in DC. Now that I live in SoCal, where, to the best of my knowledge, there are no trees, I have DirecTV and love it. I’m even not renewing the ESPN College Football Package this season since I discovered last year that a majority of the games featured are also available via the Regional Sports package for pennies on the dollar.

          • @Hopkins Horn – Have you tried this yet?


            I’m planning on calling tomorrow. My one complaint about DirecTV was only offering the Red Zone Channel in conjunction with the $300 Sunday Ticket package instead of including it in the sports pack like other providers. It looks like DirecTV is giving its long-time customers an option, although you have to do a little dance.

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            Thanks for the tip! I haven’t had DirecTV for two years yet, so I might not qualify.

            I’ve actually never had the NFL Package. One of the advantages of being a Cowboys fan (hey, don’t pelt me with tomatoes, I grew up in Dallas and came by it naturally!) is that we’re on TV anywhere 12-14 times a year.

            As a PS (not to drive people away from Frank’s site, naturally), the subset of sports fans interested in the intricacies of realignment might overlap with the subset of sports fans who are interested in the intricacies of where and why NFL games are shown where they are. The link below is to a forum to the fascinating forum for those nuts interested in such info.


            (And a PPS to FtT: I thinkI sent you an email offline – let me know if you don’t get it!)

          • @Hopkins Horn – the506 is great – I post on the message boards there regularly (easily recognizable since I post as Frank the Tank with the same Oscar Gamble avatar). Tons of great discussions there on TV and business issues for all pro and college sports.

            I’ll check my email shortly!

          • bullet says:

            At least we have nice trees in the neighborhood. Although, after being in Houston for many years its gets a little claustrophobic, not being able to see the sky (plenty of trees in Houston, just not 200 ft ones).

  57. loki_the_bubba says:

    The WAC throws in the towel…

    “The WAC is keeping its options open, too, scouring for schools. Benson said there are five or six candidates from the [b]Football Championship Series[/b] the conference is keeping an eye on.”

  58. M says:

    At the very least, today guarantees us nibbles of realignment action as the WAC orphans find new homes.

  59. Playoffs Now says:

    SMU may be involved in all this. As in TCU, SMU, and Houston may all end up in the same conference. Not necessarily the MWC.

  60. Big Ten Jeff says:

    All I can say is wow (or better, WTF?)!!

    Frank, what’s going on? Is this what chaos looks like? At first blush it seems that way, but with all of the dominoes falling, at least some of this is very much orchestrated. There’s a great book to be written about this somewhere… Does any of this feed back and alter thoughts about your last thread re conference stability, or is this all reverberation and exclusively second-tier happenings?

    And meanwhile, back at the ranch… Our Big Ten continues forward slowly, methodically and definitively. The $15-$20M championship game grab, short term contract renegotiation with another top ten brand is still the MVP play of expansion to this point.

  61. jcfreder says:


  62. Carl says:

    Paterno rules!

  63. Sen Sogah says:

    BYU should jump at the chance to go independent. They can improve the quality of their football schedule, and with the TV deal, reap all the financial benefits. To stay in the MWC would mean staying in the 3rd world of the NCAA.

  64. Stopping By says:

    “ESPN giving BYU a golden handshake and a wink parachute to leave the MWC to go independent?!? Sounds familiar……somehow this is all going to come back and screw the Pac before TV negotiations somehow – I just know it!”

    Says the Pac 10/12 guy used to getting screwed by ESPN coverage.

  65. rstroup27 says:

    WASHINGTON LEAVES COLLEGE FOOTBALL ENTIRELY? Good. I can’t wait for the Huskies to leave college football. They suck hard enough already. Go Ducks.

  66. duffman says:

    Studying the 16 team model:

    some things up front

    1) Big 10 / Pac 10 / SEC = strong

    2) Big 12 / ACC / Big East / MWC / CUSA = weak

    3) 10 brands = ND, tOSU, PSU, UM, UNL, UT, OU, USC, BAMA, +1 SEC

    4) Slots filled DO NOT mean final choice, just placeholders for now

    5) Divisions are placeholders, not final decisions, not debating now

    6) This is just framework, arguing individual teams is secondary

    Conference #1 Big 10 = tOSU, UM, PSU, UNL = 40%


    Virginia, Maryland, Rutgers, Pitt, PSU, Ohio State, Michigan, MSU


    IU, PU, Northwestern, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa

    Thinking: puts Big 10 in east coast, all adds are AAU schools, adds east coast alumni base, all large state schools

    Conference #2 SEC = BAMA + 1 (UF,UGA,UT,LSU mix) = 20%


    UNC, NC State, Georgia, Ga Tech, Clemson, USC, Florida, Kentucky


    Miss, Miss St, Bama, Auburn, Vandy, Tennessee, LSU, Arkansas

    Thinking: Keeps 4 ACC in same division, upgrades academics, adds state schools, expands footprint into North Carolina

    Conference #3 Pac 10 = USC, UT, OU = 30%


    UTx, Ttech, Oklahoma, OK State, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Arizona St


    Washington, Wash St, Oregon, Oregon St, USC, UCLA, Stanford, Cal

    Thinking: forms last regional of the Big 3, allows tech and oSu to find an academic home, TU runs east & USC runs west, makes 2 Pac 8′s

    Conference #4 G&G = ND = 10%


    Notre Dame, Army, Navy, BC, Syracuse, Duke, Va Tech, Miami


    TAMU, BYU, Air Force, TCU, Baylor, SMU, Tulane, Rice

    Thinking: Preserves (independent) power to ND, as collection of private and military schools have similar standards, allows better teams to strengthen value via OOC scheduling, creates bigger footprint and media values for secondary teams while protecting academic standards and private status. Allows second tier team like TAMU, Miami, Va Tech, and BYU to develop “full” brand status.

    Conference #5 = B&P = secondary public schools


    Uconn, WVU, Cincinnati, Louisville, ECU, FSU, UCF, USF


    Missouri, Kansas, KSU, Iowa St, Memphis, Houston, Boise State, UNLV

    Thinking: collective of “lesser” schools that can pool to create more demand for secondary teams, allows a place for the “leftovers” to land where they can build new “brands” outside of current “brands”

    Implications for playoff system:

    1) all 5 conferences play CCG

    2) G&C CCG winner plays B&P CCG winner if neither conference has better record over the other. Say FSU wins B&P CCG and finishes season 12 – 1, while ND wins G&C CCG and finishes 12 – 1. They play following week to determine TEAM #4. If records were FSU 11 – 2 and ND was 12 – 1, then ND would automatically become TEAM #4

    3) TEAM #1 = Big 10 CCG winner

    4) TEAM #2 = Pac 10 CCG winner

    5) TEAM #3 = SEC CCG winner

    6) Big 10 champ (TEAM #1) plays Pac 10 champ (TEAM #2) in Rose Bowl

    7) SEC champ (TEAM #3) plays (TEAM #4) in Sugar Bowl

    8) Rose Bowl winner plays Sugar Bowl winner for National Championship

    9) for Big 3 + 2 BCS teams, other 2 get +1 BCS team = 8 teams

    10) secondary bowls look like this

    Fiesta Bowl = #2 Pac 10 team vs #2 Big 10
    Orange Bowl = #2 SEC team vs #2 G&C
    Outback = #3 SEC team vs #3 Big 10
    Cotton = #3 Pac 10 team vs #2 B&P

    Positive points:

    a) use CCG to narrow teams to 4, less upset of schedules & academics

    b) keeps importance of Rose and Sugar, with historic teams

    c) does not require added weeks for playoff system, less disruption

    d) Divides top bowls as follows:

    Big 10 (3) contractual bids – Rose, Fiesta, Outback
    Pac 10 (3) contractual bids – Rose, Fiesta, Cotton
    SEC (3) contractual bids – Sugar, Orange, Outback
    G&C (1+1) contractual bid(s) – Sugar ?, Orange
    B&P (1+1) contractual bid(s) – Sugar ?, Cotton

    This covers 70 of the roughly 120 D 1 college football teams

    While the Big 10 and SEC currently share, this allows the Pac 10, G&C, and B&P to decide if they want equal or unequal division (a sticking point as we have seen in previous discussions)

    • StvInIL says:

      Hello to all,

      Just back from the islands’. St. Croix was sunny and the water and scenery were beautiful.
      I see we have something new to ruminate over. Have just been spending some time catching up on the post and waiting to see if these medium sizes dominos gets the action moving again up top.

    • Vincent says:

      Conference #1 Big 10 = tOSU, UM, PSU, UNL = 40%


      Virginia, Maryland, Rutgers, Pitt, PSU, Ohio State, Michigan, MSU


      IU, PU, Northwestern, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa

      Thinking: puts Big 10 in east coast, all adds are AAU schools, adds east coast alumni base, all large state schools

      Could see it, although Big Ten might be cool to Pitt (no new market), and might prefer Syracuse even though SU is private and relatively weak on research.

      Conference #2 SEC = BAMA + 1 (UF,UGA,UT,LSU mix) = 20%


      UNC, NC State, Georgia, Ga Tech, Clemson, USC, Florida, Kentucky


      Miss, Miss St, Bama, Auburn, Vandy, Tennessee, LSU, Arkansas

      Thinking: Keeps 4 ACC in same division, upgrades academics, adds state schools, expands footprint into North Carolina

      North Carolina is the Texas of Tobacco Road (needs to be the lead dog). Substitute Virginia Tech for UNC and this might work.

      Conference #3 Pac 10 = USC, UT, OU = 30%


      UTx, Ttech, Oklahoma, OK State, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Arizona St


      Washington, Wash St, Oregon, Oregon St, USC, UCLA, Stanford, Cal

      Thinking: forms last regional of the Big 3, allows tech and oSu to find an academic home, TU runs east & USC runs west, makes 2 Pac 8′s

      Of the conference scenarios you envision, this has the most chance of proceeding as you planned.

      Conference #4 G&G = ND = 10%


      Notre Dame, Army, Navy, BC, Syracuse, Duke, Va Tech, Miami


      TAMU, BYU, Air Force, TCU, Baylor, SMU, Tulane, Rice

      Thinking: Preserves (independent) power to ND, as collection of private and military schools have similar standards, allows better teams to strengthen value via OOC scheduling, creates bigger footprint and media values for secondary teams while protecting academic standards and private status. Allows second tier team like TAMU, Miami, Va Tech, and BYU to develop “full” brand status.

      Conference #5 = B&P = secondary public schools


      Uconn, WVU, Cincinnati, Louisville, ECU, FSU, UCF, USF


      Missouri, Kansas, KSU, Iowa St, Memphis, Houston, Boise State, UNLV

      Thinking: collective of “lesser” schools that can pool to create more demand for secondary teams, allows a place for the “leftovers” to land where they can build new “brands” outside of current “brands”

      Both of these are longshots. I don’t think any of the service academics have BCS status as their #1 priority. Duke will want to be linked with UNC and A&M wants the SEC. Oh, and A&M, Miami and Virginia Tech are hardly “second-tier” schools.

      • duffman says:


        this was a “rough draft” as you and I have both discussed VT and ACC teams for quite some time on here. It may not reflect all actual movement accurately but was intended to show an overall perspective without “individual” tweaks to the system. The point of the G&C conference was to illustrate how some “out of the box” thinking could look in a “superconference” world. While I agree in principle about your service academies point, this would allow them participation in a conference with like minded schools. Plus ND and Navy have a long history that extends to “handshake” deals in a world clamoring for “ironclad” contracts.

        A&M, Miami, and VT are second tier in football compared to USC, tOSU, and BAMA. While I agree 100 % that Miami and VT are knocking on the “first tier” door, their history of being great has not passed the multi generational test that a team like OU already has. Again the point of the post was to focus on the “big picture” and not get “bogged down” yet with the logistics of each individual team. The goal was to show how a 16 team model could lead to a 4 team “playoff” while disrupting travel and academic conflict in the LEAST way possible. This model was an attempt to show a possible way this could be done, and not intended to become a debate on each team involved (at least not yet :) ). My apology if I was not clearer in getting this basic point across. You know I respect your thinking on this blog, and was not implying that these are the actual teams I would put in each one of the slots.

  67. Playoffs Now says:

    What was TCU coach Patterson hinting at that BYU might not know about and also make independence risky?

    1. Patterson is blowharding, desperate to keep BYU in.

    2. He’s been tipped off to likely changes to the BCS. TCU is 20 minutes from JerryWorld, so rumors from the BCS could easily trickle into his circle.

    Perhaps JerryWorld is about to be named the 5th BCS Bowl and is looking at the MWC as their tie-in. But wouldn’t word of that quickly leak through the conference?

    Perhaps the BCS will propose modifying its format, and making it much harder for non-AQ conf teams and indy’s to qualify. I’ve speculated on if Texas asked for some BCS changes in return for not starting the super conference era, which supposedly the BCS bowls fear. Could be based on 7×12 conf formats or something else.

    Perhaps Patterson is hearing from sources close to TX or other pertinent schools that 16 team super conferences are inevitable, but maybe 5×16 instead of 4×16 (JerryWorld added, each super conf gets their own bowl and virtually shuts out non-super conf schools, forcing ND into a conf.) MWC becomes the favorite to be the 5th super conf, but BYU could be screwed if they burn that bridge.

    But unless the B10+? moves soon (and there’s been zero buzz about such leaking out, right?) I’m not sure how a domino falls in the next 2 weeks, in regards to super conf. But consider this, TX’s choice of movement becomes politically much easier if connected Texas schools such as Baylor, TTech, UHou, and/or SMU have a BCS-equivalent alternative in the super conf realignment. Say TX does reach an agreement with the P12 to bring 3 friends, the Ags go to the SEC, the BEast is devoured by the B10+?, ACC, and SEC, there are still enough slots left to place most or all of the other B12-2 schools between those conferences and the MWC. Find everybody a home and there isn’t much for the Texas politicians to complain about.

    Not sure I buy any of those theories, but they are possibilities. No buzz on the TX or TexAgs boards.

    • Jake says:

      @Playoffs Now – TCU alum here. Patterson isn’t lying, but he gets excited about weird things. Maybe he knows something huge, but it could just be that he came up with some clever defensive wrinkle that will drive BYU’s offense crazy when they come to Fort Worth. (Oct. 16, which has suddenly acquired a big red circle on my calendar).

      As for BYUtv, my understanding was that their only revenue came from donations – they get no ad revenue or subscriber fees, which is why so many TV providers toss it in their basic tier. What would happen if they suddenly tried to charge subscriber fees? Would the carriers drop that sucker like an Andy Dalton pass in the Fiesta Bowl? Advertising revenues might be easier to start up than subscriber fees, but BYU sports aren’t really a huge sell, and if they refuse to run beer ads (this is BYU, after all) that would be a pretty serious limitation. Banking $1.5 million per year could be tougher than Frank makes it seem.

      Frank – from what I’ve seen, BYUtv runs a bunch of genealogy shows and reruns of classic BYU football games, along with some live sports, like men’s volleyball and an occasional baseball game. And broadcasts of church services, naturally. But the Jim McMahon show sounds like a winner.

      • witless chum says:

        BYUTV recently showed up on our DVR because they were showing “Anne of Green Gables” sequels. They seem to also have some fictional shows I never heard of, not sure the source of those.

        I’d previously watched it once because of the MSU/BYU basketball game.

  68. crpodhaj says:

    It is also easier to sell superconferences if the number of BCS automatic qualifying schools (and the apparent money available to them) increases. You can argue, from a large conference viewpoint, that we will have 70 or even 86 teams in AQ conferences as opposed to the current 66. Meanwhile, the real superconferences (Big 10, SEC, Pac10) will have even bigger TV deals actually leading to greater disparity. So while the smaller conference schools will be taking in more money than they do now, and have some more limited prestige, the bigger superconferences will be raking in huge amounts of money with which no one can regularly compete.

    This is why, if you are the Big 10, you may support the MWC in obtaining AQ status. It is a trade off to where you think you can go. What is $18 million when it may lead to the right 16 teams in your conference and true, national TV status? The BCS itself becomes a means to an end.

  69. Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton says:

    This might be to what “Playoffs Now” is asking.

    This is just unsubstantiated rumor so it might be rumor mongering at it’s finest (which I have no problem with)

    ESPN is brokering a deal to save C-USA and the MWC and some of the homeless orphans from the WAC. TCU and Louisiana Tech would joining C-USA putting TCU, UTEP, SMU, and Houston in the same conference, and giving them 14 teams.

    Both C-USA and the MWC would be tied together for ONE BCS spot that the highest rated conference winner would get.

    The Cotton Bowl will be announced as the 5th BCS Bowl Game. (this is part of what Patterson knows)

    Another crazy rumor along those lines: C-USA winner and the MWC would play in a inter-Conference championship game,with each conference sending it’s champ/highest rated team. It would be like a playoff play in game. Winner goes to the BCS. Where would this game be played? Jerry World (this rumor I think is a stretch but it makes sense)

    All of this is tied to a TV deal with ESPN for both MWC and C-USA.

    This is the deal the BYU is balking at. This TV deal didn’t come close to the money per team that Utah is getting in the 12-Pac (10-15 million eventually) BYU thinks they can make more money as an Indy, then they can in this deal.

  70. bullet says:

    Average since breakup of SWC:
    Memphis 30,268
    TCU 30,074
    UH 19,790

    Last 4 years when TCU has been great they have outdrawn Memphis, but only 32k to 28k. UH has only drawn 22k over last 4 years. Memphis was drawing 40k in 2003-2005.

    Others since 1996 (4 yr)
    ECU 35,960 (41,872)
    UCF 27,208 (38,315)
    USM 27,058 (29,128)

    • Jake says:

      @bullet – Interesting. Is there a website where you get those?

      • bullet says:

        You can find individual years on Not sure how far back they keep them-saw a link for 99-08 archives. I’ve downloaded them in prior years, so I’ve got it back to 96.

        Look up football team statistics. They update a variety of stats, including attendance, each week during the season. Always interesting to look at top players’ stats when they are talking about the Heisman and contrasting that with the hype those players are getting.

  71. Richard says:

    10 team MWC & 14 team CUSA conference winners facing off? Unless CUSA manages to shed a few teams, it’s hard to see how they can pull this off, scheduling-wise.

    I suppose they could both get to 12, then a round-robin in both conferences means 11 conference games and 1 non-conf (vs. a patsy, likely).

    If I was BYU, I’d object to that plan as well. Of course, the BE could make things easier by taking 2 of UCF/Memphis/TCU/Houston.

    • Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton says:

      well if the MWC adds some WAC orphans they could get to either 12 or 14 teams. BUT I would assume the MWC schools don’t want to go that big (the 16 team WAC comes to their minds) Plus the teams left even the MWC don’t want I would assume. Utah St, Idaho, New Mexico St,San Jose St are really dressed up FCS schools. And there’s the travel issues with Hawaii

      But the 2 conferences wouldn’t have to play each other in the regular season. Just their #1 team play in a playoff game.

      • Richard says:

        Right, but a 14 school CUSA will have it’s own championship game (unless the conference decides that not playing a roundrobin is OK), so fitting in _another_ game at the end of the season would be difficult unless the NCAA gives them an exemption from the “12 game + championship game” limit.
        A 12-school roundrobin seems too much, but an 11-school roundrobin probably would fly if the winner is guaranteed a shot at a BCS berth.

        • Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton says:

          and I’m going to guess that’s one of the issues. If they split the conferences into 2 sides…who’s the winner if they don’t play a round robin? Would they have a championship game, then the Inter-championship game? That would be tough

          • Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton says:

            maybe..and this is just thinking out loud…C-USA spins off their eastern schools like Marshall, UCF, E. Carolina. Memphis joins the Big-least.

            That would give you 10 teams and 10 teams in each of the MWC and C-USA

          • Richard says:

            Riffing on that theme, I wonder if ESPN is quietly “encouraging” the BE to take in a couple of UCF/Memphis/ECU/Houston/TCU.

            CUSA wouldn’t kick out ECU & UCF by themselves; those schools bring too much. Marshall may be sacrificed.

          • Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton says:

            @Richard With the rumors of ESPN behind the scenes brokering all this, that could make sense.

            It makes C-USA a Texas and gulf coast conference. Boosts the Big East as well.

            The Utah States, New Mexico States, Marshalls of this world seem to be the ones that will pushed down or to the side (and frankly I’m all for that. Those teams are not FBS caliber teams)

          • Richard says:

            Well, they’re Sun Belt-caliber; maybe even MAC-caliber.

          • m (Ag) says:

            Yeah, a 20 team superconference (as others discussed below) could work with 0-1 cross-divisional games and a 9 game divisional schedule.

            I suppose if you want to group 24 schools, you could have four 6-team divisions. Then have the highest 2 division winners meet in a ‘Championship game’ while the other 2 meet in another ‘Championship game’. You wouldn’t get a true conference champion, but you would get 2 co-champions. The winner of the first game would end up with a decent ranking most years, with a shot at the BCS.

            I think it would require an NCAA waiver, but I think it would look bad for the other conferences if they tried to block it.

          • m (Ag) says:

            “Then have the highest 2 division winners meet in a ‘Championship game’”

            That should be “the 2 highest-ranking division winners meet in a ‘Championship game’”

  72. Playoffs Now says:

    Rivals’ Houston site reports a super conference of 20 teams may be formed among the best of the Mountain West and C-USA.

    • Playoffs Now says:

      One of the original rumors of the ‘ESPN Conference’:

      Here’s what I thought was most interesting: A new conference was trying to be started by ESPN — BYU, TCU, boise, fresno st, san diego st, smu and Houston. . . . “No. 2 guy at espn almost had it done. UNLV and SDSU would have had nowhere to go. WAC has better fb tv contract than mwc. The new conference was to have a thurs and fri night game every week. ESPN was to pay big to fund it.” Apparently, they ran out of time and couldn’t get it done.

      • Playoffs Now says:

        This rumor seems to have circulated heavy yesterday among some big wig lawyers/boosters.

      • Richard says:

        Well, considering that the new MWC has 11 teams (as of now) and CUSA has 12, a 20-team superconference still wouldn’t be too difficult to form. If the BE takes 2 teams, only 1 team would be kicked out . . .

        • Playoffs Now says:

          Or more likely, Get BYU to stay in the MWC, now the ESPNMWDivision, shift TCU to the ESPN East, and take the 9 best applicants to join TCU. Each 10-school division plays 9 games internally, then their champs meets in a conf champ game. Winner gets a Cotton Bowl bid, the 5th BCS bowl.

          BEast sounds like they don’t want to do anything until their TV network analysis is done and they know what the B10+? is doing. B12-2 doesn’t want to do anything at the moment. ND wants to stay locked away in its abbey.

          Once Delany makes his move it all shakes out again, but ESPN is better positioned to influence the overall outcome. ESPN Conference and BEast likely get raided, but ESPN Conf big enough to likely survive and provide a safe home for B12 castoffs if TX later wants to move, giving TX political cover. Further separates out the hanger on schools getting closer to a true BCS core of 80+ schools that have any legit claim of belonging.

          On first glance this may be a win-win for college football as a whole.

          • Richard says:

            Which 3 schools would be cut?

            Marshall? Tulane? UTEP? UAB? S.Miss?

            Wyoming’s the only obvious candidate in the MWC, but CSU and AF are likely there to protect it.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Richard – Tulane is too fun of a roady to get cut. Southern Miss Figthing Favre’s are usually too good to get cut.

          • Jake says:

            @Richard – On the MWC side, SDSU has been threatening to drop football (or move down to FCS) for awhile. Their president is dead-set against it, but he may not have a choice.

            Wyoming is extremely committed to athletics. I believe I read that they have the highest student athletic fees as a percentage of tuition of any school in the country. And yeah, they have a solid rivalry with CSU, but what has that ever done for anyone?

            As for this whole MWC-CUSA split BCS berth plan, it sounds nice, but why would TCU and the MWC go for it? TCU already left CUSA once and isn’t at all interested in being in a conference with SMU, UTEP, Houston and Rice; and the MWC is as likely to get a BCS berth on its own as it is with CUSA. Why share the wealth? Now, if it was MWC vs. Big East for that BCS berth, then you might have something, but I don’t think the BEast would be too happy with that arrangement.

          • Playoffs Now says:

            Don’t know. Sounds like ESPN originally wanted to dump one or more of the weaker MWC schools but that didn’t go over well.

            I’d keep it simple and leave the MWC alone, then raid the other conferences:

            ESPNMW Div

            Colo St
            SDSU (hey, at least it is a SoCal recruiting foothold)

            ESPNE Div

            2 of Hawaii-S.MS-LA Tech-Marshall-Tulane-UAB

            An ESPN Conf would solve a lot of problems for the BCS conferences by sequestering every ‘problem’ BCS buster into a single conference. Add the JerryBowl for 10 BCS slots, give the conference one AQ, and you can basically limit them to just 1 of 10 slots instead of potentially 2 of 8. Limit them to 1/10th of the payout split 20 ways. Keeps the BCS conf schools at an advantage while providing enough inclusion to keep Congress (and public opinion) at bay. And of course lays the groundwork for a BCS-bowls based playoff.

          • Playoffs Now says:

            As for this whole MWC-CUSA split BCS berth plan, it sounds nice, but why would TCU and the MWC go for it?

            If ESPN has reached an agreement with the BCS and its bowls to give the new conference an AQ, that is more attractive to TCU than the crap they go through now. Win conf and you’re in, guaranteed.

          • I think adding another BCS bowl might be a problem. They did dilute the games going from 8 teams to 10 and I think going to 12 would further that a lot.

          • Richard says:

            So long as adding more BCS bowls doesn’t dilute the payout (and I doubt it would), no one’s going to care about “dilution”.

  73. Playoffs Now says:

    Story is BYU got assurances that WAC would hold together, BYU made plans, Nevada and FSU double crossed BYU and WAC

    • Playoffs Now says:

      Sorry for forgetting the quotemarks, all of that was a quote. Should read:

      “Story is BYU got assurances that WAC would hold together, BYU made plans, Nevada and FSU double crossed BYU and WAC”

    • Playoffs Now says:

      Ivan Maisel’s nuggets:

      1. (Basically says the FSU and NV doublecrossed the WAC and BYU.)

      2. MWC commissioner Craig Thompson said in a teleconference late Wednesday night that he will not make a pitch to BYU to keep the Cougars from leaving the league to pursue independence in football. “They know who we are,” Thompson said. He added that the league won’t make concessions to BYU to stay in the MWC, as Big 12 members did with Texas. If BYU intends to go national, there’s nothing the MWC can offer that would quench that thirst.

      3. (Says Pelini is immature.)

  74. Playoffs Now says:

    Another rumor from a UHou board, FWIW:

    (requires free registration)


    …On realignment MR (UHou AD) is tight lipped as you would expect him to be. He did say we will not know anything until after Sept 1 (I am sure you are aware of the significance of that date).

    My other sources highly placed with other schools affected by this as well as ESPN says that U of H is the next target. They are looking to build a 12 team conference. Lots of bucks for ESPN with a playoff.(I assume he is referring to a conf champ game.) I have heard no mention from any source that Hawaii is being considered. There are some other familiar names on the list in addition to us but as I said we are at the top of the list. I feel good about this although I have in the past been concerned about travel expense. But if this aligns the way I am hearing we will have enough schools close by to make this feasible. Plus the powers that be feel there is no way this conference would not be a BCS conference.

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      Lots of bucks for ESPN with a playoff.(I assume he is referring to a conf champ game.)

      Is there really that much money in it for ESPN to have the opportunity to show a conference championship game of a mid-tier conference?

      • @Hopkins Horn – Yeah, that’s got to be overstated. While the Big Ten and SEC championship games are valued around $15-20 million per year, the ACC’s championship game is worth substantially less (I’ve read in the $5 million range). C-USA already has a conference championship game and I don’t think that it provides the conference more than a rounding error in terms of revenue. A mid-tier conference championship game might garner around $1 million – it’s certainly not enough to justify expansion simply for the sake of getting to 12.

        • Hopkins Horn says:

          Thinking about it, it’s not just the CCG angle that makes the idea of ESPN pimping this seem odd.

          Unless the Ocho is finally in the works, or ESPN is planning Tuesday and Wednesday night doubleheaders, when in the world would ESPN find the time to air the games of whatever the hell is supposedly percolating right now?

          It’s not as if ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU are lacking for content right now from the mix of games from all of the BCS conferences.

          • MAR1962 says:

            You have to believe that ESPN is thinking of rebranding ESPN Classic since they have stopped producing original content for it. That network could soak up a lot of event programming.

          • @Hopkins Horn – The Ocho is already here:

            (1) ESPN
            (2) ESPN2
            (3) ESPNU
            (4) ESPN Classic
            (5) ESPN Deportes
            (7) ESPN News
            (8) ESPN 3D

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            Damn. I thought there’d be some sort of national holiday when the day arrived.

          • Hopkins Horn says:


            I thought the point behind the concept of the original Classic channel, before ESPN acquired it, was in fact the lack of original content!

          • Bamatab says:

            It wouldn’t suprise me if ESPN didn’t start showing games on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, & Wednesdays to go along with Thursdays, Fridays, & Saturdays.

          • Bob in Houston says:

            Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think a combination of the MWC and CUSA is much more attractive either of the original leagues.

      • Playoffs Now says:

        Depending on the proposal (and I suspect there are several ranging from just a 12-school MWC up to a 20 or 24 pairing) there could be lots of neutral site JerryWorld games throughout the season as part of the agreement. Between JJ and ESPN there could be lots of ways to pump in $$$ to make a viable package (and these wannabe BCS outsiders have a much, much lower buyoff threshold than the B12 schools did. Easier to turn a profit when you’re dealing with penny schools for inventory.)

        Also, by appearing to meet the outsiders’ demands for BCS access with a new leftovers conference and a spot in the 5th BCS bowl at Jerryworld, you still sequester these outside threats. The ESPN Conf champ gets a BCS conf wildcard, protecting the big boys’ champs from possible upset. Implement a +1 so in theory the ESPN Conf champ has a title shot, but in reality they’d be more likely frozen out this way than in the current system. TCU-Boise Quarantine Bowl was too obvious for the BCS to keep getting away with that, have to be more creative in the future, this might do that.

        My gut says ESPN has floated at least the 10-10=20 plan, a 12-school MWC proposal that drops some of the dead weight (1 or more of SDSU, UNLV, and NM,) and a 12-school MWC with minimal adds. MWC is trying to keep all on board and add either UH, SMU, or HI as the 12th, or two if BYU leaves. TCU doesn’t want both UH and SMU, but if BYU leaves both likely get added. I doubt ESPN is thrilled to have NV signed on, but perhaps that was necessary to kill BYU’s exit. Or maybe the MWC commish and schools want to keep it a MWC conf than the 10-10=20 combo.

        • bullet says:

          MWC is under contract for a few more years, so any ESPN deal would have to pull teams out of there. MWC is an example of a conference network hampering the conference. They would have gotten tremendous exposure and had the potential for lots more $ the last couple of years.

          Neutral site games with these teams would result in empty seats which is bad TV.

          I suspect this is more idle rumours, but stranger things have happened.

          • greg says:


            agreed about the empty seats. what kind of CUSA/MWC game at Jerryworld would even fill half of it? TCU and some other team may have a chance at an ok crowd, but most matchups would be embarrassingly empty.

          • Richard says:

            1. BYU
            2. TCU
            3 ……

            Uh, yeah, maybe not.

          • Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton says:

            Hearing that MWC is REALLY unhappy with their TV deal. They might try to get out of it’s TV deals as it was promised far wider distribution then it’s gotten. It’s not even available in DFW market where TCU is.

            Argument will be THEY didn’t live up to their end of the contract.

          • Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton says:

            I think JerryWorld holds about as many people that live in the state of Wyoming

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            I was thinking along the lines of Jerry World rotating BYU, Boise, and TCU vs schools with lots of alumni in Texas such as OU, OK St, AR, LSU, TTech, NE, aTm, ND, maybe MO. Some of the non-ESPN Conf teams probably wouldn’t want to risk scheduling Boise, BYU, or TCU but might UHou or SMU.

            Yeah, I may have oversold that potential, but still think JerryWorld could ink one or two of those games per year, perhaps even beyond AR playing there annually. ND likes games in Texas, NE travels and in a few years after emotions cool might savor a non-B12 game in Texas to pursue recruits. SMU may soon be too good, but for the moment that’s in TTech’s OOC wheelhouse and Dallas is home to their largest alumni base. With aTm you might could get an AF or WY. With JJones perhaps cofinancing the conf and the higher ESPN payouts the conf teams might be obligated to switch 1 home game to neutral every 4 or 5 years.

          • m (Ag) says:

            I don’t think there is a desire for A&M play in Jerryworld for 2 regular season games a year.

            Maybe a school like SMU could make a 2 home/1 away series with A&M and have their ‘home’ game at Jerryworld, but I don’t think A&M would add a second neutral game in Dallas.

          • bullet says:

            Actually there is another source on this: The Orlando paper is reporting 2 people with knowledge of the talks:


          • Playoffs Now! says:

            Sorry m(AG), I didn’t realize aTm-AR in Arlington was a 10-year deal with renewal options. Yes, no one is going to play 2 regular season games per year there.

  75. Richard says:

    The BCS conferences would want the new super-MWC/CUSA to grow to 20 so that they take in any school that could conceivably challenge for a BCS spot.

    So besides Houston, I’d take ECU, UCF, Memphis, S. Miss, Tulane, & Tulsa. Then SMU + one of Rice, UTEP, or UAB. Of course, the math works out easier if everyone pressures the Big East to take in 2 schools.

    • Jake says:

      So, no one thinks that a MAC team could conceivably put together a BCS-worthy season?

      • MAC Country says:

        I do. Miami, Bowling Green, Northern Illinois and Toledo have all put together seasons that would be BCS worthy.

        • Jake says:

          Yeah, I remember back in ’03 I think when there was a serious debate over which Miami had the better team. Would’ve been cool to see them meet in a bowl.

          • MAC Country says:

            Think that was when Miami (OH) had Ben Rothlesberger. And their top reciever was Barry Larkin’s nephew. They finished ranked 12th if I remember correctly. The MAC has had some decent teams. It’s almost impossible to build anything that lasts recruiting against tOSU, ND and Team Up North.

  76. Ross Hatton says:

    Some division news:

    Rumors from the Michigan side are that the conference is leaning towards splitting up Michigan and OSU. I guess the feeling is that, just as they have so often historically determined the Big Ten Championship, they should retain that ability in the new Big Ten.

    The other news is that, if this plays out, Michigan is looking at being in a division with PSU, while OSU and Nebraska would be together (that’s what Michigan wants anyway).

    • @Ross Hatton – Ugh. Seeing that Ohio State is the closest thing that Penn State has to a real rival in the Big Ten, that’s a double-ugh at a Michigan/PSU and OSU/Nebraska split. That one makes no sense at all.

      • Ross Hatton says:

        Well I don’t know if the Michigan/PSU thing would happen if the split occurred. What’s been said is that this is what Michigan would want as PSU is an eastern partner, and Pennsylvania is a much better recruiting ground than Nebraska.

        It remains to be seen if Michigan/OSU will be split and whether or not PSU would end up with Michigan.

      • GOPWolv says:

        Prefer Mich and tOSU staying in the same division, but if they have to be split, I want Michigan w/ PSU. Let tOSU get the bump in recruiting…in Nebraska. Mich has historically pulled great recruits out of PA.

      • Actually I think I do see the logic there even if I wouldn’t do it myself. The conference does seem to really want to avoid a Big 12 like situation (their comments suggest this is a bigger worry to them than an ACC situation). If that’s the case, Ohio and Pennsylvania are the best states to recruit from. They are both declining in that way, but they are definitely still top. It might make it harder on the other division if both are put in the same division.

        That said, Penn State remains more of an outlier than anyone else as the only eastern team (everyone else at least defines as Midwestern). Ohio State was the team they were circling and a rivalry was growing there. I find it hard to believe the conference would abandon that game, which means a 5-2-2 eventually feels likely to me if they go this route.

    • Adam says:

      Where’s the outcry? The only way to stop this from happening is to plaster Park Ridge with negative feedback. Unless the fans make themselves heard, this will be foisted upon us.

      • Ross Hatton says:

        Well here’s my thinking…there is no way, no way at all, a split like this happens without the consent of both of these teams. As a Michigan fan/student, I am well aware of how our alumni value tradition. Just look at the past few years…

        Fighting over the hiring of Rich Rod, rather than a “Michigan Man”, the mistaken use of the #1 Jersey, the mistakes regarding team captains in football, the fighting against night games until recently, the resistance to PSU in the Big Ten, etc. There is so much Michigan alumni have fought against in wanting to preserve historical traditions. I cannot imagine where the pushback is over this from Michigan, let alone OSU as well.

        • Adam says:

          I think it’s people are either lazy or cynical or both (perhaps they use their cynicism to justify their laziness).

        • It’s also a problem that most of this will be decided before anyone notices. Unless you are a dork like us, no one is going to be paying that much attention until after the decision is already made.

          • MAC Country says:

            It astounds me how otherwise knowlageable fans can be so ignorant about expansion. I know lots of people that think Missouri turned the BT down. And people that think Rutgers, Pitt or WVU would have been a better fit than Nebraska.

      • StvInIL says:

        It actually sounds like they have put a lot of effort into this decision. It might be worth looking at for 2 – 3years or at least till the next expansion. I am in favor of a KISS setup myself but we should be open to change. It might be for the better.

      • Hopkins Horn says:

        Strongly written letters!

      • I did just write to OSU’s athletic department telling them that if the OSU-Michigan game date is changed, I would never again be an alumni association member and would cease to be a Big Ten fan.

        (I also mentioned that I would not be buying from Nike this year due to them once again having OSU wear those ugly helmets against Michigan.)

    • Adam says:

      What really sickens me about this is that it would mean I’d have to begrudgingly admit that the smug Domers (like rich) were absolutely right: the Big Ten is just diving for dollars. I don’t mind making money, but if they don’t go about doing it the right way . . . . When making money is the point, rather than a consequence, of what the league is doing, it’s lost its way in exactly the way that the Domers have suspected will happen and I spent the last 8 months vigorously denying.

      • StvInIL says:

        Screw the Domers. By the time they join the conference they will be making regular appearances in its second division. Their smugness will be turn out to be the incentive not to win but not to lose to them.

      • Hopkins Horn says:


        Substitute “Texas” for “Big Ten,” and you’ll read something very similar to criticisms I’ve seen on here for months. (Not saying that those criticisms are wrong, just that this one is similar.)

        • Bob in Houston says:

          Not only that, but if ND didn’t have the dollars it has gained by renting NBC for what, 20 years, and sweet-talking the BE into taking care of non-football, it certainly would be diving as well.

    • yahwrite says:

      I don’t think the masses are paying as much attention as we are. If the mess up the UM-OSU game, and surprise most people, I would expect there to be a backlash. I have a hard time buying that they are that unaware of the passion of fans when they are banking on it.

      I don’t like not doing East-West, but I can understand the rationale. PSU and Neb have to be together and UM and OSU, then I can live with any alignment, although I won’t necessarily like it.

      Then again, if they are still planning expansion, say in 2015, maybe this is the plan:

      Outer Division
      Penn State

      Inner Division
      Ohio State
      Michigan State
      Notre Dame

    • If that they do go Ohio State/Nebraska and Michigan/Penn State, let’s try to picture the divisions. I really can’t imagine the conference letting Ohio State and Penn State avoid playing each year. Ohio State would move on, but I think they are going to have to give that concession to PSU. That means a 5-2-2. So if it goes like this, I’ll guess:

      Ohio State

      Penn State
      Michigan State

      Two permanent rivalries would preserve all/most trophy games, etc. I put Northwestern on that side because I read Michigan State wanted to continue playing them every year, but you could redo the bottom a lot. It might make more sense to push Michigan State to the other side all together.

    • M says:

      This is by far the worst possible split of the Big 4.


      1. Geographic-keeps all the rivalries in division
      2. Michigan and Ohio State together, Penn State and Nebraska on the other side- keep OSU-UM as in division game, but probably breaks up Wisconsin-Iowa as do all other non-geographic setups
      3. Michigan and Nebraska together- splits up two historically best programs (Nebraska/OSU) and keeps Penn State with only real rival
      4. Michigan and Penn State together- separates Penn State from Ohio State, puts two best programs on one side

      Why the hell does Michigan want this?

      Devil’s advocate: This setup would allow the MSU-Penn State game to continue easily which is probably lost any other way.

      As a Northwestern fan, I hope the division works out to Michigan-Penn State-MSU-Wisconsin-Northwestern-Illinois. That’s a division the ‘Cats can win maybe every 4 years.

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        I’ve stayed out of the Big Ten divisional arguments, since I thought cooler heads would prevail with the SEC/KISS model, and I don’t have a dog in this hunt.

        Now it appears that all those super smart people at the Big Ten office are going to f-up something as simple as football divisions. So if they aren’t going to go for the SEC/KISS model, how about a modified-zipper like this with one cross-divisional rivalry preserved?

        A Div. B Div.
        Penn St Ohio St
        Mich St Michigan
        Indiana Purdue
        Illinois Northwestern
        Nebraska Iowa
        Wisconsin Minnesota

        I’m sure I probably just eliminated some trophy, ax, bucket or pig, but that’s how you make sausage.

  77. Playoffs Now says:

    Rather than a 20-team C-USA/MWC, I’m told it may be more likely that C-USA adds two teams to grow to 14. The additions: TCU and Temple. 12 minutes ago via web

    Sheesh Louise!

    • Richard says:

      Why would TCU leave the MWC for CUSA now when they didn’t do so before?

      • @Richard – Yeah, I don’t see why TCU would ever think that’s a good idea. Temple has a legit concern where the MAC could force them to join for all-sports after 2012 or drop them for football, so maybe they like C-USA better as an all-sports option. TCU has no incentive to move to C-USA, though.

        • m (Ag) says:

          I find all these reports questionable.

          However, it might work if ESPN goes more regional. Months ago I theorized that we could see a shift of smaller conferences back into regions. While the big conferences could have national networks, the smaller conferences need multiple schools in a market to ensure their network would get coverage. For example, having TCU or Houston in a conference might not get you on cable in Texas, but having both of those schools + SMU + Rice likely does. They’d make much less money that the Big 12 schools, but they’d get some money.

          How might this fit in for ESPN? Well, now that they have ESPN3 on the internet, they can get even more regional with their coverage. They could show one game on ESPNU in Texas, and a different game on ESPNU in Utah. The other game could be placed on ESPN3 in both locales. This could provide additional push for cable companies to add ESPNU, and get a few more people interested in ESPN3.

        • Eric (ohio 1317) says:

          It’s a stretch, but if BYU still intends on going independent, it’s possible Conference USA would like better.

    • MAR1962 says:

      If Temple solidifies the gains they’ve made under Al Golden, they will be a good catch for a conference like C-USA.

      • 84Lion says:

        If Temple solidifies the gains made under Al Golden, they’d be a good catch for the Big East, which is probably kicking themselves for kicking Temple out of the conference.

        • Phil says:

          I don’t think the Big East is regretting kicking out Temple yet, but if they take the next step (which is increasing fan interest/attendance) I think the Big East would consider asking them back.
          I believe Uconn, Cinn, Lville and USF were not part of kicking them out, so there aren’t that many schools that have to reverse themselves.

          • Vincent says:

            Notre Dame and the Big East schools that don’t play in the football conference aren’t going to let the football schools grab a majority vote, which is what would happen if Central Florida, East Carolina, Memphis or Temple was invited — and all would insist on being all-sports members. Unless the Big East football members have the courage to declare independence from the Providence powers that be, the stalemate will continue.

  78. monty says:

    No advantage for TCU to go back to Conference USA

    • Bob in Houston says:

      It would save significant travel dollars for a program that has sold out exactly one football home game the last two years.

      • Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton says:

        only for the Texas state travel.

        Would going to UTEP be that much cheaper than going to New Mexico?

        What about going to Marshall? Or E. Carolina? Or UCF? Are they easier or cheaper to get to from DFW than the San Diego or Boise, ID?

        If travel was the concern, why didn’t they stay in C-USA? I know the MWC TV deal isn’t near as good as it was set up to be, but they still are better than C-USA has.

        If TCU joins C-USA it will be due to a merger with the MWC and a new TV deal with ESPN. But why would they add Temple? That’s a long way from El Paso, TX and Temple does nothing.

        So at least 1/2 of this Tweet is wrong.

        • Bob in Houston says:

          Just reaching for something that makes sense. Considering that I didn’t the original move made a big difference, I don’t think they’ll move back.

  79. Hopkins Horn says:

    Hey conspiracy nuts!

    Guess who just scheduled two additional games with the newly-independent BYU?

    (Oh, and that series with Maryland in 2017-18 finally looks just about official.)

  80. Doug says:

    I’ve been mulling over an idea for awhile, whereby the Big Ten could have its cake and eat it, too, and I thought I’d throw it out there for smarter heads to digest or spit out. It might seem like a cake-in-the-sky idea, but even if it didn’t work, it would garner the BT some good PR.

    Since ESPN seems to have turned into a conference broker, why doesn’t the BT call a pow wow with ESPN and the Big East to form a TV partnership? The BT could use the threat of expansion and the resultant dissolution of the BE to leverage a new ESPN contract for the BE that would pay them a living wage, with the BTN getting all the secondary rights to the BE events that ESPN didn’t want. Maybe strike a 20-year contract, with the BT agreeing not to raid the BE. The BE would control the advertising on all the BE programming, and would keep all the advertising profits, while at the same time being able to promote the BE without all the costs and risks involved in starting their own network. The BT would keep all (or most of) the money from the new cable subscriptions they’d be getting, which might be substantial, considering that they’d now be covering 28 teams (20 for football), which would be quite an attractive package. Fox might even be willing to kick in something, knowing that they’d be increasing their profits, too.

    If the partnership plan went through, the BT would still be free to raid any other conference besides the BE. But if the negotiations for the plan broke down, the BT could throw up its hands and say “We tried,” and then raid the hell out of the BE without looking like total robber barons.

    • Jake says:

      Mmmm … cake.

    • Vincent says:

      Trouble is, I think for now the only Big East school the Big Ten really wants to raid is Rutgers, likely in conjunction with Maryland and going to 14. If Maryland couldn’t be pulled from the ACC, the Big Ten might settle for Syracuse or Pittsburgh, but its preference would be only to take one of them if it went to 16 (and as a partner to Notre Dame). In other words, I don’t think the Big Ten has any need to keep the Big East football conference propped up.

      • Doug says:

        The idea is to make money off the BE by getting fans of Big East teams to buy subscriptions into the BTN. If the plan works, the BT can make money off the without taking any of their teams, and the BT can potentially make the BTN into a national network with its vast amount of content. The content of 28 teams, but still only having to split the profits twelve ways. Think of the billions of dollars ESPN spends on buying content, and yet here is a chance to maybe get lots of content for next to nothing. If ESPN can make money on poker and bowling, the BTN can make money on BE fans wanting to watch their teams play. Even if the BT doesn’t really want to raid the BE, can the BE really call their bluff and risk their own destruction? Taking Rutgers and Maryland will probably doom the BE, because the ACC will probably respond by taking a BE team to replace Maryland, and might take three of them to keep up with the arms race.

        • Vincent says:

          But how would the Big East’s doom hurt the Big Ten? Picking up some leftovers such as Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Connecticut might ultimately make the ACC a bit stronger overall, but with Penn State, Rutgers and Maryland the Big Ten would have a solid hold on the mid-Atlantic.

        • Doug says:

          The Big Ten wants the NYC market. BE basketball is some of the best in the country, and their football is decent. NYC is a basketball market, and they love their NY area teams, like St. Johns, Seton Hall, UConn, Rutgers and Syracuse, all of which the BTN would be broadcasting. And Notre Dame sports are obviously popular there, as are Big Ten sports.

          Why kill the goat when you can milk it?

          • Doug says:

            The BTN wants eyeballs. Why take one or two BE teams when you can broadcast all 16 of them without giving them shares in your conference?

  81. bullet says:

    Well, it was even more of a war than was obvious. MWC tried to eliminate WAC’s basketball bid by reducing them to 5 teams. Utah State was also invited but declined.

    • zeek says:

      Combine that with all of these rumors of a potential mid-major superconference, and there was total mayhem brewing among the mid-majors this past few weeks.

    • bullet says:

      From what I’ve read, BYU was a big objector to Fresno St. getting in over the years. They apparently wanted Hawaii and Utah St. on their independent schedule. MWC worked to keep SDSU and UNLV happy and didn’t invite Hawaii who probably would have been BYU’s #1 choice.

    • I wonder if Utah State accepted if Fresno and Nevada both still would have been invited.

      Really though I’m not sure destroying the WAC is in the best interest of the Mountain West. They can point out the difference in competition between the two leagues as one reason for a AQ status.

      On the other hand, they don’t want another Boise State to emerge and take a BCS bid that the Mountain West champion could have.

      • bullet says:

        What I’ve seen on MWC boards in the past is that they wanted to WAC to survive to have regional ooc games and teams to play in bowl games. And also to have, as you point out, someone beneath them in the pecking order in the west. However, they seem to have gone for the jugular when BYU looked like it was leaving. It isn’t like this is the first time the MWC teams have screwed the WAC.

        • monty says:

          BYU and the WAC were working behind closed doors, apparently the MWC got word and decided to eviscerate the WAC to punish them and throw a huge wrench in BYU’s plans.
          I am not sold that Utah State was invited or would have been, I think the MWC got wind and approached Utah State as the likely broker with BYU, got them to expose their hand and then finished them off.

  82. Playoffs Now! says:

    Go Orrin!

    Orrin Hatch still wants BCS change

    • Playoffs Now! says:

      Bullet made a great find, but it is now buried way up thread. Here’s the link:,0,4134695.story

      And perhaps the most tantalizing excerpt:

      …Two sources with knowledge of the discussions told the Orlando Sentinel on Thursday one of the scenarios being discussed includes a possible merger of 20 teams from the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA, with the champion claiming an automatic BCS bowl bid. However, the sources stated such an agreement is complex, could easily fall apart and is far from being completed…


      … (NM President) Schmidly said he was not directly negotiating with BYU, but it was his understanding the biggest issue for the Cougars was the Mountain West’s television agreement. BYU has its own television network, but the league’s contract limited the school’s access to games not picked up by the Mountain West’s network.

      “Based on conversations around table with BYU officials in the past, it was clear their primary concerns were in the TV area,” Schmidly said. “There may be others developed recently, but my sense has been access and redistribution are a special area of concern for their institution…

      …Utah State Athletic Director Scott Barnes…wrote that Utah State was among the schools invited to join the Mountain West, but it declined with the hope its non-football sports would compete in the same conference as BYU, located less than five miles from the Aggies’ campus.

      • Ross Hatton says:

        That would be odd. I can’t fathom how it would affect the expansion situation for other BCS conferences. Obviously the Big Ten isn’t going to feel much pressure from some 20 team conference, but I guess I could see it impacting Notre Dame if this leads to another AQ spot but not another BCS bowl.

        If it leads to another BCS bowl, then I can’t see much of a change. Maybe it makes recruiting harder for the Pac-10/Big 12.

      • Playoffs Now! says:

        With 6 current BCS conferences and just 8 BCS slots, why would the BCS conferences give up 1 of their 2 wildcard slots? Hence it looks like at least 1 additional BCS bowl is indeed being given heavy consideration, and would seem to confirm that ESPN is negotiating with the blessing of the BCS and its bowls. Which is what a story a month or two (or three?) ago reported along with that the BCS would probably add a +1 game after the BCS bowls. Of course this doesn’t corroborate the +1 speculation, but gives that report more believability.

        Note that a +1 would allow the Rose to guarantee B10+? vs P12 every year. It would also almost certainly evolve into a full blown BCS bowl-based playoff, just as Delany has said it would. +1 is the foot in the door that guarantees a real playoff is coming.

        • m (Ag) says:

          “With 6 current BCS conferences and just 8 BCS slots, why would the BCS conferences give up 1 of their 2 wildcard slots?”

          10 BCS spots: Orange, Sugar, Fiesta, & Rose Bowls + BCS championship game makes 5 games.

        • bullet says:

          I hate +1. If you look at the past, it would generate more controversy than picking top 2 before bowls. It could also lead to #1 playing #2 in a bowl and then having to play #3 for the championship.

          I prefer the present system to that one. A 4 team playoff using the New Year’s bowls with championship a week later would, however, be an improvement. But it would put a crimp in the B10/P10 Rose Bowl.

          • @bullet – I used to think the same way about the plus one option, but I’ve definitely come around to it as a reasonable compromise. The plus one allows the traditional bowl matchups to survive with the benefit of giving them all some national title impact again (as opposed to being the glorified consolation prizes that they are now). Unless the Big Ten and Pac-10 champs are ranked #1 and #2 and they play in the Rose Bowl, there’s actually a very low risk of a #1 vs. #2 matchup in the initial set of bowls if the correct selection parameters are put into place. It’s not as clear as a 4-team playoff, but I do think that a plus one is better than what we have now if only that it can provide some better information as to who are the #1 and #2 teams.

          • bullet says:

            My perception is that the bowls frequently don’t show who the best team is due to the long layoff and differing motivations. Think of how many Ohio St. and Michigan squads laid an egg in the Rose Bowl against lower ranked Pac 10 squads.

            If its a pure playoff, the motivations are the same. But if 11-0 #1Ohio St. is playing an 8-3 Stanford after a 6 week layoff and looking forward to playing 12-0 #2Florida a lot can happen. The 98 season is the prime example. Those weren’t bowl games, but UCLA and KSU both had a chance on that December weekend and both choked (seems like there was a 3rd team that did the same thing). You can arguably say that shows they weren’t that good, but they all would have played better if matched against each other.

          • Hopkins Horn says:


            So what happens with a +1 if the only two undefeated teams are, in fact, the undefeated champs of the Big 10 and the Pac 10?

            Does that open the door for a much weaker, one-loss #3 team to win the national championship after dispatching a much weaker opponent in its initial bowl game?

          • bullet says:

            And what happens if the #1 and #2 teams are clear (and most likely B10/P10 as you point out), meet each other, and are still #1 and #2? Perhaps #1 and #2 both have 1 loss after their bowl (if old #1 was unbeaten and lost). Do you have a rematch or take a #3 who might have 2 losses?

            +1 does have the advantage of making all major bowls potentially relevant and preserving the Rose, but it could make the old no BCS MNCs look non-controversial by comparison.

            Compared to the current system, a 4 team playoff makes 2 bowls relevant instead of 1 as now with the only downside that the Rose doesn’t get B10/P10 as frequently. But given the cyclical nature of football powers, will the Big 12 and SEC dominate the next decade again and get 12 of the 20 slots and 7 of 10 championships? Or will the P10/B10 get there more than 5 times and disrupt the Rose that way?

          • Bob in Houston says:

            What Hopkins said. You don’t want a plus-one if you don’t need a plus-one. But once you put it in place, it has to be played.

      • Playoffs Now! says:

        The 10-10=20 model might open the door for FedEx to sponsor the JerryCotton Bowl…

        • Playoffs Now! says:

          And might make the BEast a dead man walking conference, unless Delany shuts down expansion. When the B10+? starts raiding and other conferences react, a 10+10=20 ESPN conference might be able to absorb more blows and be more attractive to any orphans. Not a given, but the BEast commish has to be sweating, once he looks up from his pasta.

          • Vincent says:

            And after he consults with the Providence, St. John’s and Seton Hall people. (We all know who runs the show in that conference.)

    • Politicians, our economy is literally falling apart. Please, for the love God, focus on something you actually have a Constitutional say in.

      • SH says:

        As I said long ago, better find a way to satisfy the sentators from the majority of the states, because they can play havoc. Which is why if the BXII were to ever go under, the BCS conferences should figure out a way to take care of Mizzou and Kansas. Senators can easily force their way into this issue, because most of the general public wants a playoff anyway.

        • Eric (ohio 1317) says:

          That’s actually one of things that bothers me here. The senators are using the non-BCS teams as an excuse to meddle. Few care about whether the system includes them, but rallying against the BCS is popular because so many want a playoff. If the Big Ten, ACC, Big 12, SEC, and PAC-10 agreed to a playoff that included them and only them, 90% of the criticism would end within a couple of years. It would be even less fair to all the conferences left out than the current system, but the senators wouldn’t say a word unless their states team was left out.

  83. Bamatab says:

    So if ESPN is trying to form some MWC/CUSA super conference, I wonder how the Big Ten/Delany reacts to it. I mean if ESPN was one of the forces behind the Big 12-lite staying alive, then maybe that might have caused some reservation from the Big Ten/Delany to continue expansion (they may not have wanted to deal with any ESPN backlash). But if ESPN now has their hands in forming their own superconference (and maybe even in damaging the WAC), then maybe the Big Ten/Delany says to heck with this hypocrisy we’ll do what is best for us even if ESPN (and whoever else was involved in killing the PAC 16 deal) doesn’t want it. I think this might help ease any concerns that the Big Ten/Delany may have had with the powers that be in college football (if they had any concerns).

  84. M says:

    BYU didn’t participate in decision to add Nevada, Fresno State:

    Also, I have a hypothetical question. If the 8 best current non-AQ schools would somehow join together in one conference, would that conference be an automatic qualifier?

    Just for fodder, here is the conference:

    Boise State (MWC)
    BYU (MWC)
    TCU (MWC)
    Hawaii (WAC)
    East Carolina (CUSA)
    Central Michigan (MAC)
    Troy (Sun Belt)
    Fresno State (MWC)

    My guess is probably yes. If limit the question to “a conference west of the Mississippi”, you drop CMU, Troy and ECU for Houston (CUSA), Nevada (MWC), and Tulsa (CUSA). I think this conference would also get a berth. (If Hawaii is unavailable, Wyoming (MWC) would be next in).

    Basically, if you take the top half of the MWC and the top couple teams from CUSA you can make a BCS conference.

    All this leads back to the supposed merger between the MWC and CUSA. My guess is that if it happens, it will be more like my scenario than some 20 team monstrosity. “Merger” or “alliance” usually seems to be a cover for a raid: the Big 8 and SWC were supposedly in merger discussions before the Big 8 raid; the ACC and Big East were supposedly contemplating a joint television deal; the Pac-10 and Big 12 first got together to discuss an alliance, which turned into a raid, which turned into a paper cut.

    The underlying problem is that it’s not the top of the MWC that’s keeping it out; it’s the bottom. Fresno State and Nevada are fine as the bottom of a conference, but as middle of the pack (lol) teams they don’t work.

  85. duffman says:

    a view from TCU

    “But if the ultimate prize is a berth in the title game with the Conference USA champion, they don’t need to play all of the other teams every season. Nor would it be really necessary for the MWC to add a 12th team and play a league championship game.”

    • Playoffs Now says:

      Pulling out a few more quotes:

      “…The conference lives. But where will its champion be playing football in the Januarys to come? The question persists.

      That is what Thursday’s meetings in Colorado Springs, Colo., were all about, according to various sources.

      Late Thursday night, a source close to the situation said that representatives from the Mountain West and another league — believed to be Conference USA — met in Colorado to discuss a plan to match the two conferences’ champions in a title game, with the winner gaining an automatic BCS berth.

      “You’re on the right track,” said the source. “The lawyers have told them [the BCS] that it’s time to give someone else a chance.”

      • bullet says:

        There seems to be a lot of frustrations and impatience all around. BYU and USU and WAC with Fresno & Nevada. MWC schools with BYU. Thompson is looking not like a genius, but an incompetent. He couldn’t keep BYU in line for a few more weeks to see if this works out with a promise of a different deal in 2014 or 15 when their contract renews. As a result, they are trying to fit 23 teams into a model that doesn’t really work with more than 20. Otherwise you need to get rule changes on when you can have a championship game (think they would get any votes from MAC/SunBelt/WAC?). Then again, maybe SDSU/UNLV/WYO are afraid they will be left out. Or maybe the MWC is delusional and thinks they really get autobid on their own.

        Sounds like 3D double chess to me.

  86. Jake says:

    Also, with all of the discussion of BYUtv, I thought this would be worth sharing:

  87. Well Played Mauer says:

    From the San Francisco Examiner:

    There seems to be some rumblings that the PAC-10 expansion is not set in stone. Apparently some current and former chancellors have been voicing concerns in a game of email tag with one another. The content of the emails was not made public in the article [FOIA anyone?] but among the concerns listed are:
    1) Fear of losing the round robin play and annual rivalry games, especially among the Caly schools.
    2) Doubt as to whether TV revenue will actually be increased with the expansion.
    3) Academic concerns in Regard to Utah, and to a lesser extent Colorado.

    The presidents and chancellor still need to vote on final approval and some are calling for a block of expansion.

    Looks like we could be shaping up for a real Cluster-$#@!


    • Hopkins Horn says:

      I was getting quite intrigued by this until I noticed that the only person quoted in the article is a former chancellor.

      Oh well.

      • Good catch with just the former chancellor being quoted. I don’t think they’d get a unanimous approval now (the money isn’t likely to be much better and the northwestern schools aren’t going to want to give up access to UCLA and USC), but frankly it’s too late. The conference invited them and they accepted and the other conferences have plans to move on. It would look really bad to keep them out now on any technicality.

    • Vincent says:

      The Big 12 is back in business as the “BIg 12″…with Utah as the new Nebraska.

    • Playoffs Now says:

      Young was UCLA chancellor for a 30-year period, 1968-97…Part of it is based on academic grounds. Among major conferences, the Pac-10 is the best academically, largely because of Stanford, Cal and UCLA. “Colorado is on a par with Oregon,” he said.

      He’s FOS.

      I wonder what the ‘savings’ would be once all the legal costs of canceling the invites come in. Seems like CO and Utah would have good cases for substantial damage claims.

      Well, as long as we’re FOS, how about a conspiracy theory? Perhaps TX has communicated that if Bevo TV and exit fee issues are resolved, they are open again to moving. But TX wants to bring their clan and Utah is in one of their parking spaces. (BTW, Bill Byrne again let it be known he worries about Ags in SEC would be another AR and S. Car, so aTm might still go P16. And a MWC-CUSA BCS AQ agreement suggests a possible home for Baylor, which could ease Texas political hurdles.)

      • Playoffs Now says:

        Forgot to close my Italians, let’s try again (asking Santa for a preview feature):

        Young was UCLA chancellor for a 30-year period, 1968-97…Part of it is based on academic grounds. Among major conferences, the Pac-10 is the best academically, largely because of Stanford, Cal and UCLA. “Colorado is on a par with Oregon,” he said.

        He’s FOS.

        I wonder what the ‘savings’ would be once all the legal costs of canceling the invites come in. Seems like CO and Utah would have good cases for substantial damage claims.

        Well, as long as we’re FOS, how about a conspiracy theory? Perhaps TX has communicated that if Bevo TV and exit fee issues are resolved, they are open again to moving. But TX wants to bring their clan and Utah is in one of their parking spaces. (BTW, Bill Byrne again let it be known he worries about Ags in SEC would be another AR and S. Car, so aTm might still go P16. And a MWC-CUSA BCS AQ agreement suggests a possible home for Baylor, which could ease Texas political hurdles.)

        • m (Ag) says:

          Bill Bryne may understand fundraising, but he doesn’t understand recruiting. South Carolina and Arkansas are at a disadvantage when recruiting against the teams in their divisions; this wouldn’t be the case for A&M.

          That said, I would actually be happier to join a Pac 16 now than I would have been 2 months ago. With Colorado and Utah now joined, we would have to leave either Oklahoma State or Texas Tech behind. Still would slightly prefer SEC (or the Big 10, but it seems unlikely).

          • Playoffs Now says:

            I would prefer to leave Okie St behind, but would OK politics then force OU out? I’d love that, and just take TX, aTm, TTech, and Baylor to the P16. But apparently TX strongly wants OU. Would the SEC take both OK schools if aTm didn’t join them? I have doubts, but it isn’t completely inconceivable if the ACC schools pretty much hang together.

            I’d still prefer TX in the P16 and aTm in the SEC, hopeful that the Ags can do well there. A ranked SEC aTm would help TX’s SOS and take the game to another level.

          • Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton says:

            @Playoffs Now

            OU isn’t going anywhere with out OSU. UT isn’t going anywhere with out OU (besides Indy, and I’ve always doubted that). UT and A&M splitting is doubtful.

            No other conference wants Missouri or Kansas who are both solid assets in the Big 12.

            Why is the idea of the Big IIX staying the way it is, so unacceptable and unimaginable?

          • Hopkins Horn says:


            I raised this on the prior thread, but I think the issue is that too many people have had it beaten into their brains that 12 schools is the ideal number for a conference and have forgotten that a number less than 12 might be ideal, given the realities of geography.

            Even if that ideal number less than 12 means foregoing a CCG.

          • m (Ag) says:

            “No other conference wants Missouri or Kansas who are both solid assets in the Big 12.

            Why is the idea of the Big IIX staying the way it is, so unacceptable and unimaginable?”

            We know from the realignment talks that only UT, OU, and A&M are worth adding on their own to the big conferences, with Missouri apparently about equal to an average member of the Big 10 (wouldn’t add much value to the Big 10, but wouldn’t hurt either). If the other 6 schools brought in more conference money than the average member of the Pac 10, Big 10, or SEC, they would have been pursued separately.

            Saying Kansas is valuable to the Big 12 when it isn’t valuable to the Big 10 or Pac 10 is to admit the Big 12 isn’t as valuable as those conferences (at least, not after the first few schools).

            The 4 desirable schools are going to get less conference money by associating with the other 6 schools. The Big 10, SEC, and Pac 10 all have a lower percentage of dead weight in their conferences. As Kansas, Iowa, and Oklahoma continue to grow at a slower rate than the West, South, and East this will get comparatively worse (though Texas Tech will likely become more valuable).

            Maybe this doesn’t matter as long as UT makes so much more money from local tv revenues that it doesn’t care about conference money. It’s a probably more precarious than UT officials realize; if they gets too insular with this state-wide network and 9 game conference schedule, recruits may look to more national competition in other states (just like at the end of the SWC).

            In any event, I’d much prefer my university to have a more interesting schedule with schools who will be more competitive on a national scale. I think it does itself a huge disservice, both athletically and academically, by being so regionalized. Athletics is one of the big ways universities stay in the public eye. Outside of Texas, the Big 12 has states that total 15.5 million people (Missouri has 6 million of that). Regardless of the conference’s academic reputation, I believe being in the SEC would draw more attention to A&M’s academic offerings over time, simply because it will get more attention from people in Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee.

            I also think College sports overall would be better served with a clearer tiers. If Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, and Oklahoma State joined the Big East that would be pretty exciting conference, even though it would be a second tier conference.

      • SuperD says:

        Yeah there were a lot of credibility issues in that article. I’m certainly not going to claim that CU is on par with UCLA/Cal, but we’re closer to the Washington level then we are to Oregon. Though we did drop slightly in the stupid USNews Rankings which are undergrad focused, speculation is this is because the recent tuition hikes have reduced the number of applicants, thus dropping us a bit in the “exclusivity” formula they use to calculate the number of students rejected from the number that apply. Higher Ed funding is a mess in CO.

        • Stopping By says:

          I’ve seen this type of attitude before (as portrayed in the article)….from Tom Hansen. I don’t want to go down that road again.

  88. M says:

    More on Temple to CUSA:

    “an assistant AD at Rice adding the “exciting news” coming later today that Temple and one other school will join Conference USA for football only, effective starting in the 2011 season”

    loki, any idea who the “assistant AD” is? I can’t seem to find the original quote from him.

    Also, any guesses on the other school? Troy?

    • bullet says:

      Seems inconsistent with the idea of a super middle conference.

      • Playoffs Now says:

        Perhaps it is more about the MWC and CUSA somewhat strengthening themselves and reducing travel while creating a play-in game for a BCS berth. Hence TCU and Temple to CUSA makes some sense, TCU gets a more local division and if they are going to have to go through a play-in game to the BCS, it might be an easier route through CUSA than a MWC that still has Boise and probably BYU. Better to be eliminated in the nationally televised December BCS play-in game than mid-season.

        I think what happened is that the WAC and BYU tried to pull a fast one on the MWC. In desperation the MWC approached the BCS via ESPN (following up years of negotiation over the AQ) and the BCS said we’ll give you access to an AQ but either you create a bigger conference that swallows virtually all possible BCS buster schools or go through a play-in qualifying game. This lets the BCS limit the gatecrashers to just one instead of possibly two. Not ideal for MWC, but since getting their own AQ was pretty much dead, those 2 options were the best they could do. So the MWC countered by proposing the play-in would be only between the MWC and CUSA. Negotiations ongoing on various scenarios.

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      UNT with its new stadium and proximity to the DFW market?

      • M says:

        I know nothing about North Texas and their future plans, but over the last 5 years they have the worst record of any FBS team over the last 5 years while playing in the worst FBS conference. 3 of those wins came over formerly FCS Western Kentucky, the team Northwestern fans are hoping/dreading breaks the consecutive loss record.

        I can’t see how anyone would be excited about them.

        • Hopkins Horn says:

          I can’t see how anyone would be excited about them.

          Can’t the same be said about any potential target out there?

        • Ron says:

          These things can be cyclical. North Texas is one of the largest universities in Texas (36,000 students) and was an absolutely dominant football program in the Sun Belt in the early to mid-90′s with five straight conference championships. It can be dominant again, particularly with the new stadium. Issue for the WAC is that without Nevada, Fresno State and Boise State, it is virtually indistinguishable from the Sun Belt in terms of conference football strength or appeal. Do not really see why North Texas would want to jump from the Sun Belt to the WAC at this point since one main effect would be an increase in travel costs. A merger of the two conferences would be more to the point, you’d essentially wind up with a south/west equivalent of the MAC.

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      Or, focusing on the “football only” part, would there be any incentive for Army or Navy to join up with the C-USA? (I know it would be “rejoining” in the case of Army.)

      • M says:

        From what I understand, Army didn’t think being in a conference suited them (which is why they left) and Navy thinks they would have a similar experience.

    • m (Ag) says:

      If more teams decided to jump from the sinking WAC, both New Mexico State and Louisiana Tech would make geographic sense for the western division. NM State would give UTEP a close school; LATech would be right in the middle of a lot of schools in that conference.

      Of course, the WAC president has told us that all the current schools have pledged to stay together; but they apparently said that last week as well.

    • Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton says:

      this gives no main stream media source. It would also go against the C-USA/MWC 10×10 merger/alliance set up.

      Temple would also be a pretty extreme outlier.

    • Bill says:

      Actually, the “exciting news” from the Rice assistant AD was the announcement that we now have a coach’s show on Fox Sports Network. Not that big a deal but, for Rice, a nice uptick in our visibility.

    • MAC Country says:

      Don’t be surprised if the other school is Akron. I was told by someone in their athletic department that they wanted to move to C-USA. They thought the Big Ten would raid the BE. Which meant the BE would raid C-USA and open a spot for them. Since none of that happened they might have decided about jumping anyway.

  89. Ross Hatton says:

    Earlier I posted that word from the Michigan side was saying there could be a split of Michigan and OSU in the new divisions and that Michigan would want to be with PSU in one of the new divisions. Well…here’s some more from Dave Brandon, our AD, on Twitter:

    “…distinct possibility.. game will be a later game in the season…not necessarily the last game of the season.’


    “I’m just warning everybody, change is good and change is going to happen.”

    I really, really hope that isn’t a sign that the OSU/UM split is a done deal.

    • I hope they understand the impact this will have. I can say I’ve had a lot of issues with Ohio State over the years (wasting money while tuition rises a lot for one), but I’ve generally ignored them. This will push me too far. I love the team for state pride. I won’t to give the university another dime though.

    • Madison Hawk says:

      Michigan’s AD sure sounds like Michigan and OSU will be in separate divisions.–OSU-in-separate-divisions

      It certainly appears Michigan and Ohio State will be in separate divisions in the Big Ten, and the annual rivalry game will move from its traditional spot as the last regular-season game.

      Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon, appearing Friday morning on WTKA 1050 AM, was asked by host Sam Webb if he thinks the rivals will be in the same division, when the breakdown is revealed, more than likely within the next month.

      Brandon answered after a long pause.

      “No,” Brandon said.

    • greg says:

      Even as an Iowa fan, I’m depressed at them farking over the best rivalry in the league. They’re giving up a bird in hand in hopes of two in the bush, and will end up with neither.

  90. yahwrite says:

    Adding Nebraska to the Big Ten is a good change.

    Damaging Michigan-Ohio State is a bad change. Once a year makes it special. Twice a year, however rarely, renders the first game meaningless. Sometimes less is more. Christmas in July does not equal Christmas in December. There is no reason for it to be necessary to accomodate the addition of Nebraska.

    They think a possible UM-OSU rematch is bigger than one of them vs. Penn State or Nebraska? I was a KISS advocate, but I never thought they would split UM and OSU. I am getting angry.

  91. Well Played Mauer says:;coverlist_footer

    A article about divisional placement that illustrates the alpha apes in charge are completely out of touch.

    Some of the more nauseating quotes:

    “Ohio State and Michigan must be separated when the Big Ten ADs divide the league into two six-team divisions”

    ” The second game would be bigger, Big Ten Network president Mark Silverman said, just talking ratings. As a TV person, it is one of the highest, if not the highest regular-season games out there. I don’t think having a second one would impact the TV ratings. In other words, the nation can’t get enough.”

    “No one, though, seems to see my logic. They are hung up on increasingly meaningless stuff like travel and state lines and tradition”

    “Three “power” teams are in each division — Ohio State, Wisconsin, Penn State in the East and Michigan, Iowa and Nebraska in the West.”

    If everyone agrees that the 6 “power teams are Ohio State, Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan, Iowa and Nebraska why the hell do we have to get clever and cute with the place a straight east west split still has 3 “power teams” in each division, but know all the rivals are in the same divisions.

    This guy not only wants to split Ohio State and Michigan, in his setup he ripped apart the Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota for some reason?

    To quote Charlie Wilson:

    “These things happened. They were glorious and they changed the world…
    …and then we fucked up the end game.”

    • Ross Hatton says:

      I honestly think that the UM/OSU ADs might be being overrun on this one. Our AD, Brandon, has now repeatedly said that he only has 1/12 of the vote. Now, he’s a business man (former Domino’s CEO), so I think he’s going to voice, at least during the discussions, favor for whatever the likely decision is. After a decision is made, I think we might see his real thoughts.

      I could be wrong. He could be totally in favor of this, but you usually don’t go publicly voicing internal discontent during negotiations in business, which is what the Big Ten has become. I just find it odd he’s made repeated mention of his vote share.

      • Ross Hatton says:

        Here’s something else to think about. Let’s say UM/OSU are being overrun in this vote and the split is inevitable. The priority for these ADs then becomes the best possible divisional alignment.

        Right now, many have said that a West division would include Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Nebraska. If Michigan was placed there (most likely with MSU), the East would be PSU, OSU, Illinois, Purdue, Northwestern, Indiana.

        Wow. Those two divisions are completely imbalanced. I think, if that split is a risk, Dave Brandon’s priority right now is preventing that from happening. If he goes complaining in interviews, I think he loses much of his ability to do that.

      • If they are actually being overrun (I sadly not convinced they aren’t on board), that seems kind of risky to me. The conference has always been one where everyone works closely together, equal revenue sharing etc. If you seriously cause damage to the Ohio State and Michigan athletic departments though (say through fewer donations), that might for the first time, push up a few demands. I don’t want that, but it’s not an impossible outcome.

        • greg says:

          I find it extremely hard to believe that the rest of the conference is forcing OSU/UM to split divisions against their will. If a split occurs, OSU/UM are on board. Maybe not specific people within either institution (ADs), but the main PTB were (presidents, chancellor, provost, etc.).

          It is starting to appear that the B10 is whoring itself out for money. I hope we’re all wrong and it results in rainbows and lollipops.

          • Sadly I agree. If the OSU-Michigan game is moved, I think the schools will both have agreed, maybe a bit reluctantly, but I think they will be onboard.

          • Ross Hatton says:

            I just don’t get it. Where are all the people who were so up in arms about us hiring a non Michigan Man.

            God I’ve been attending Michigan for three years, and all I ever hear is moaning about tradition and never letting it go. What the hell happened?

          • Adam says:

            The only thing to do is to be a pain in the ass. If enough people are a pain in the ass, maybe they rethink this. That’s all I can think of.

    • One thing I can kind of understand is trying to maximize the championship game. How much the regular season contract can be changed now is uncertain. They want to maximize the championship game because it’s the one thing they can sell completely on the open market. It’s short sighted, but I can see it.

      • Adam says:

        Makes no sense. Why is the Big Ten suddenly so obsessed with maximizing anything? That isn’t how we do business. An integral component of the Big Ten’s brand value is that we don’t chase that crap. We’re better than that.

        • PSUGuy says:

          No offense man, but how naive are you?

          I love my PSU, but I know they’ve always been about the bottom line first and foremost. I have a feeling the rest of the Big Ten feels this type of mentality is another one of the “right ways of doing things”.

          In a way its kind of assuring I guess, since I can bank on the “prestige” my diploma has will never go down.

          • Adam says:

            Bullshit. For the last almost 20 years, OSU has had guaranteed games against Michigan and PSU, two of the best teams in the league. PSU has has guaranteed games against OSU (really good) and MSU (middle class). Wisconsin has had guaranteed games against Iowa (pretty good) and Minnesota (crappy). And on and on. The protected rivalries were totally unconcerned with balance and all about maximizing traditional rivalries — even if that meant that the good teams were guaranteed to play other good teams, not some “balanced” mix of good and bad teams. If you had a tough schedule one year, that’s how the cookie crumbled: rise above it, play through it, and win the games that are on your schedule.

            For 20 years the Big Ten sat on 11 members, even though 12 would likely have been more profitable and offered greater exposure. For decades the Big Ten has stood in the way of a playoff (which would almost certainly be more profitable than the bowl system) because they want to preserve the tradition of the Rose Bowl. The Big Ten has staunchly stood against playing weeknight games, even though that would allow for more nationally televised appearances. I am not naive; the Big Ten has consciously foregone many different profit centers in order to do things the Big Ten Way. Now all of a sudden they’re willing to piss all of that away to chase a couple of TV dollars, when what they fail to understand is that by chasing that they’re alienating the people who want the Big Ten to be above chasing that. The Big Ten doesn’t need to chase TV; TV will come to us, because there’s high demand for Big Ten product.

            Booster was right: once you let the financial people be in charge of the product, they ruin the product. And I’ll be damned if I’ll have anybody suggest that I’m naive for taking this position.

          • m (Ag) says:

            “or decades the Big Ten has stood in the way of a playoff (which would almost certainly be more profitable than the bowl system) because they want to preserve the tradition of the Rose Bowl”

            I disagree strongly. The bowl system greatly enhances the value of the regular season of college football. If they made a playoff, they might make more money from the playoff games than they would from the bowls, but the value of the regular season would drop. College football would likely make less money overall and the bigger conferences would be hit relatively harder, as second tier conferences would have their members pushed into the playoff system.

            Reporters try to tell you that playoffs would make more money, but they don’t think very hard about this sort of thing. You have to remember that the chief reason they like playoffs is because they don’t have to think at all about the results: Team who wins=greatest team ever! Team who didn’t win=losers! Reporter doesn’t have to consider anything that happened in the previous week, much less any game played in October!

          • bullet says:

            If you have a 96 team playoff it devalues the regular season-see NBA, NHL, NCAA basketball. A reasonable number, <15%, of teams does not.

          • m (Ag) says:

            “If you have a 96 team playoff it devalues the regular season-see NBA, NHL, NCAA basketball. A reasonable number, <15%, of teams does not."

            Again, I strongly, strongly disagree with that. To begin with, 15% of FBS is 18 schools!

            Even at 4 schools you are starting to weaken the regular season. There would be far less reason for fans from the Big 10 to pay attention to the SEC, and vice versa. Non-conference games and even sometimes cross-divisional games for teams in the top conferences would take on a lesser importance, as winning a conference championship often will be enough to get you a place. There would also be cases where teams can essentially take the last regular week of the season off, because they know they'll be ranked in the top 4 if they win their conference championship game, regardless of what they do the week before. All of this will lead to a drop in ratings, and perhaps less demand for tickets. Not huge, but more than the extra revenue the playoffs would bring.

            Playoffs bring a completely different mentality, both for the players and the fans. I expect casual fans, who might watch bits throughout the year, would likely start watching less before the playoffs. Passionate fans will start to watch less games that don't involve their team or conference. And while the lesser bowls might be OK with a +2, I think they'd start to lose appeal with a 3 or 4 round playoff. That would be more losses for the schools. As the other bowls become even less acceptable once a playoff starts, I think the fans will get upset with their current coach/administrator even quicker, which could lead to some drop offs in donations.

            And all of that ignores the ethical question: is it a good idea to add a game to 18-22 year olds who already may play 14 games a year? If you tell me they can play another game with no significant long-term health consequences, I'd prefer adding another regular season game for every school than a playoff game for two schools.

    • mushroomgod says:

      Dodd’s plan is amazingly bad. It would be hard to come up with a dumber plan.

      He not only splits up OSU-UM, he also splits up IU and PU, and NW and Ill. Finally he splits Iowa and Neb from Wis and Minnesota.

      After years of saying that a championship game wasn’t all that important, and even hinting they might not even have a championship game/divisions if they expanded, they now want to put championship game $/ratings above all other considerations. Fricking amazing.

      • R says:

        Ditto! Instead of KISS, which is logical and safe, they eff it up from the beginning! Why not wait until you’ve finalized expansion plans for the short term(within five years) and then, gerrymander the league for football. Selling their soul for a possible Michigan-Ohio State rematch seems ludicrous. If this goes down, I will be rooting for Iowa and Wisconsin(no slight intended) to play in the inaugural ‘We’re Effing Stupid’ championship game! Willarm1 has been silent recently. It must be because he is delirious with joy!

      • m (Ag) says:

        Seems like the ‘zipper’ divisions that Alan from Baton Rouge suggested yesterday.

      • Adam says:

        That’s an excellent point. All along they’ve been hinting that a CCG is not the be-all and end-all, and it was totally consistent with the Big Ten ethos of not just diving for every last penny you can squeeze out of your contracts, and now, suddenly, they’re willing to rip apart the rivalries that make college sports fantastic because they think they can make a few extra bucks.

    • PSUGuy says:

      I have to admit, if this goes through I just don’t se any further expansion happening.

      I mean with this kind of I just couldn’t see how a Rutgers, Pitt, MD, Cuse, etc would fit.

  92. Playoffs Now says:

    Alright, now we’re getting somewhere!

    Keep an eye on the Big East for football expansion next about 2 hours ago via MogoTXT

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      This begs the question.

      Mark May is a reporter/analyst for ESPN.

      If he knows something, shouldn’t be be breaking the story rather than merely teasing that he knows something that we don’t?

    • bullet says:

      A different headline triggered a thought.

      What about BYU being a fb only member of BE? Makes no sense geographically, but they are far and away the strongest non autobid program.

      If ND had any sense and truly didn’t want to join B10, they would have the BE fb schools secede, do a 12 team league with divisions and they would only be required to play their 5 division games and maybe 1 against the other division, leaving 6 or 7 for their “national” schedule. They could keep their TV contract. You could have the 8 BE, ND, BYU and 2 out of Memphis/UCF/ECU/UH/TCU/Navy/Army/AF. If you add the 3 service academies, you wouldn’t even need to leave the BE. You could have them and BYU as fb only.

      • I saw someone on another board suggest the same thing. Really in a lot of ways, it would make a ton of sense. BYU gets in a BCS conference, the Big East gets to expand with a name brand school. BYU can still put its non-revenue sports in another conference (plans to anyway) and the Big East doesn’t have to worry about adding a full member and upsetting the delicate football/non-football school balance.

        Big issues are there of course too. BYU wouldn’t be playing in highly Mormon areas and the Big East is going to have a hard time being labeled the northeast’s conference (something they want), when they have a team in Utah.

    • Bamatab says:

      I just don’t see how adding a team like Memphis or UCF or Temple helps stengthen the Big East enough to deter the Big Ten from raiding them. If anything, a Big East expansion along with the MWC expansion and if the MWC & CUSA merge, almost seems to encourage the Big Ten to go ahead and expand further (more blood in the college football water).

    • M says:

      Well we know it can’t be the Big East doing something proactive so it must be a raid on the Big East. Maybe the MWC success at destroying the WAC has invigorated the Big Ten.

  93. Playoffs Now says:

    This sure clears things up:

    Official Conference USA Statement on Talks with Mountain West Conference

    Commissioner Britton Banowsky issues official statement

    Aug. 20, 2010

    IRVING, Texas – Following up on various media reports, Conference USA and Mountain West representatives met yesterday, a meeting that had been previously scheduled. C-USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky issued the following statement:

    “The conferences have much in common and have worked cooperatively for many years and we are exploring creative ways to work together going forward. The discussion included scheduling, television, and post-season football. It is premature for anyone to suggest anything else at this point. We have the strong support of our members as we work on a variety of strategic initiatives. We had a good discussion yesterday and likely will have more in the future.”

    • Playoffs Now says:

      CUSA and MWC discuss BCS play-in game


      …The source stressed the preliminary nature of the talks.

      No information has been submitted to BCS officials from the two leagues. In fact, 2010 begins a new four-year cycle for the BCS. One source termed the agreement “locked in”. That would mean the soonest anything could be in place is at the end of the 2014 season.

      “The conferences have agreed to this format for the next four years,” BCS executive director Bill Hancock said…

      …The subject of a BCS bowl play-in game among non-BCS leagues has been discussed informally in the past. Conference USA and the MWC would have to get approval from the other nine Division I-A conferences. One potential roadblock: The three other non-BCS leagues (MAC, WAC, Sun Belt) probably would have an issue with those two conferences playing for a BCS bowl instead of them. The WAC probably isn’t on the best terms with the MWC right now. Plus, the WAC has placed teams in BCS bowls three times (winning twice) since 2007.

      This would not be a merger between Conference USA and the MWC, but a play-in game to advance to the BCS after both leagues decided their conference champions. Conference USA already stages a conference championship game. The Mountain West is in a state of flux as BYU decides if it wants to leave the league and play as an independent in football. Fresno State and Nevada accepted invitations to join the MWC this week, supposedly beginning in 2012. Since it’s not certain how many members the MWC will have going forward, it’s not certain if it will attempt to stage a conference championship game of its own.

      A play-in game could mean at least one of those leagues would be playing 15 games in a season, counting a conference title game, BCS play-in game and bowl game…

    • @Playoffs Now – I find it strange that C-USA is in the conversation for this play-in game when you could argue that even the depleted WAC has just as strong of a case for inclusion. The MWC is clearly the best of the non-AQ conferences, but I don’t see how anyone else has separated themselves at all.

      If there was to be a play-in game, it ought to simply pit the 2 highest ranked non-AQ conference champs against each other and not just limit it to the MWC and C-USA.

      • PSUGuy says:

        The remaining “good” programs from WAC/C-USA merge then have a championship game with the MWC which then goes to the BCS?

        The left over’s form a single non-BCS AQ conference and consolidate with the other “lower tier” football conferences?

      • Playoffs Now says:

        If there was to be a play-in game, it ought to simply pit the 2 highest ranked non-AQ conference champs against each other and not just limit it to the MWC and C-USA.

        I would think that would be the BCS’s preference. But perhaps the MWC is using the threat of lawsuits and congressional hassles and countering with the MWC-CUSA proposal to wrangle the MWC a stronger position for itself, and more importantly to lure BYU back in. The MWC is still in a precarious position and could effectively be killed tomorrow if the expansion winds blow the wrong way. Why would the BCS go along with the MWC proposal? Perhaps the MWC and CUSA have ESPN on their side. I dunno.

  94. Hank says:

    Adam Rittenberg “Momentum builds for Michigan-OSU split”

    speculates divisions

    Michigan State

    Penn State
    Ohio State

    pardon me while I go throw up.

    • Madison Hawk says:

      That setup is less competitively balanced than the KISS East/West split but it does preserve most rivalries. As an Iowa fan, I am most concerned about having Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and Wisconsin in the same division. I am largely indifferent whether you add some combination of MI/MSU, IL/NW, PSU/IL/NW to that combination.

      The team I most feel sorry for would be Minnesota as they would have a brutal time ever making it to the CCG with 5 of the Top 7 programs in their division.

    • Playoffs Now says:

      If they are going to split MI and OSU, that plan may make the most sense. NE-MN-IA-WI is good geography, the Mich, Ill, and Ind pairs aren’t split, and 4 of the 5 schools most likely to dwell at the bottom probably have a better shot at winning their division than in any other combo. Beat 1 of OSU and PSU when both are somewhat down (or lose key players to injury) and you could see Pur, IL, or NW in the title game. The 2 best programs in the east and #3-6 in the west somewhat balances out, and you still have several cross division games to level the field.

      • Playoffs Now says:

        Plus the more Little Brown Jugs the better.

      • @Playoffs Now – Yeah, I’m semi-OK with that division split (probably better to call it North/South) IF Michigan and Ohio State are split (which I maintain would be a colossal mistake). If there are 2 protected rivalries under a 9-game conference schedule, it provides even further flexibility. It’s probably the best of the batch of bad ideas.

    • Ross Hatton says:

      I think that split is awful. I don’t even know what the Big Ten would claim as its reasoning for that setup. Clearly it isn’t traditional rivalries, as the single biggest set is split up. The Big Ten can’t claim its competitive balance over the past 17 years either, as 4 of the top 6 teams are on one side.

      The Big Ten has said geography is its last concern, so I can’t imagine that argument either. I can’t see this split happening. It completely disregards the one thing the Big Ten has consistently gone back to: competitive balance over the past 17 years.

      • @Ross Hatton – Whether right or wrong, it appears that “competitive balance” really means the “Big 4″ of Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Nebraska being split up evenly as opposed to the top 6. So, even though the East/West split is actually more balanced top-to-bottom than this North/South proposal based on records over the past 2 decades, the perception is driven by the distribution of the marquee teams. I don’t really agree with that argument, but it seems like the Big 4 are who really matter to the powers that be (conference leadership, schools that want to maximize dates with the Big 4, and especially the TV networks).

        • Ross Hatton says:

          Yeah I understand, I just can’t see how Michigan’s leadership would be content with such a setup. Things are tough enough right now, as if this helps.

          Only way I really see this as acceptable is if 9 games is guaranteed at this point.

        • I’m not entirely sure I agree. I agree it does mean the top 4 being separated, but I think it also means top 6. If they go with Ohio State and Michigan in separate divisions, my most likely guess would be something like this with 2 permanent crossovers to preserve rivalries.

          Ohio State
          Penn State

          Michigan State

          Until they got up to 9 games, schools would have a choice of playing 2 or 1 permanent crossover.

      • Hank says:

        I’m not in favor of that split either. But it does fit the Big Ten criteria if you define them differently than we do. Most of this board looks at competitive balance as a tiered structure with a gradiation of strength. We split up the teams as if we were doing a fantasy league. BUT if you define competitive balance as simply the four brand names then they have split them two in each division.

        And as far as the geographic split it can fit. All you are looking for is is to move one of the eastern brand names. Penn State is a non starter apparently because they are too far east. Plus they are integral to the conference’s eastern strategy. So its Ohio State or Michigan. If you look at the west under the KISS view the two furthest east and prime for a flop are Illinois or Northwestern. If you want to protect local instate rivalries you can’t split them so you send them both east. Which means two from the east have to go west. If you send Ohio State you have to send either Purdue or Indiana with them breaking up that instate pair. Since Michigan is paired with Michigan State they make the eaiser move preserving instate rivalries.

        Again I really dislike it but can see the apparent logic in it.

    • Hodgepodge says:

      As a Buckeye fan, I’d have to say that if UM and OSU are going to be split up, then this is the best best possible scenario. This keeps all other major existing rivalries intact within divisions, which is big. The western division would have a beef with 4 of the top 6 teams being in that division, but rivalry games would be intact within the division (except OSU-UM, of course). Obviously I, like seemingly every other fan out there, wants OSU and UM in the same division, but if that simply isn’t going to happen, I could live with this.

      • Hank says:

        plus it gives the Buckeyes a weak division.

        • Playoffs Now says:


          Ohio State – “If we have to be split up, I like this one.”

          Michigan – “No way!”

          Conference – “cough, Rich Rod, cough, thin ice, cough.”

          Michigan shuts up and sits down.

          • PSUGuy says:

            They may have some $$$ reasons on their side as well.

            UoM is a very followed school in the mid-atlantic/NYC area…just like PSU and OSU.

            Not having UoM play regular games in the “eastern” side of the conference (especially if some BigEast teams are added) might be leaving “money on the table” as far as tv ratings, etc.

          • Hank says:

            great. so you take the school with the largest alumni base and with heavy representation in the NYC and other eastern markets that you want to exploit and you disembowel their largest rivalry game, which also happens to be one of the best publicized college football games each year, and move them away from those eastern markets because you want to make some snide, ignorant, dumbass statenent about a short term coaching situation. real bright.

          • Ross Hatton says:

            Yeah, the coaching situation at Michigan has absolutely nothing to do with this discussion.

            Michigan still has the largest endowment in the Big Ten, the largest alumni base, and is one of the few (what is it, like, 7?) athletic programs in the black.

          • mushroomgod says:

            Michigan doesn’t have the largest enrollment in the BT………

          • Playoffs Now says:

            great. so you take the school with the largest alumni base and with heavy representation in the NYC and other eastern markets that you want to exploit and you disembowel their largest rivalry game

            Oh, the huge manatee!

            MI-OSU will still be played every year. TX-OU is played midseason and has somehow thrived despite that ‘disembowelment.’

            Sure it would be preferable to see MI-OSU continue to end the season, I never suggested otherwise. But it is laughable to claim that moving it up in the season will somehow ruin it. You could play it the first game of the season (cough, MI-ND, cough) and it would still be huge and an always a heated rivalry anticipated all year. It is MI-OSU, not some tenuous house of cards.

            And because it is MI-OSU, moving the date is ultimately about as impactful as choosing what color to paint the room. Very little, but people like to fight to death over the most relatively meaningless nonsense. Which is fine, just injecting some honest reality for a second.

            It is MI-OSU, it really doesn’t matter when they play.

          • Playoffs Now says:

            Forgot to add, most likely we are only talking about a scheduling division for a couple of years. I don’t sense that Delany has shut off the Expansionator.

          • Ross Hatton says:

            I didn’t say enrollment. I said endowment. Completely different.

          • Hodgepodge says:

            @Ross Hatton

            I’m guessing the reason mushroomgod wrote that was because you wrote that UM has the largest alumni base. Unless UM has alumni with ridiculously long lifespans, it is impossible for them to have the largest alumni base considering the disparity in enrollments between them UM and other schools in the conference.

            I’m guessing what you actually meant to write is that UM has the largest alumni base in NYC, but that’s certainly not what you wrote. BTW, do you have a link for either statement? I’m curious to see where OSU ranks.

          • Hank says:


            I said Michigan has the largest alumni base and they do. The alumni base includes graduate students. While Ohio State has a larger undergraduate enrollment Michigan has a larger graduate enrollment (16k to 10k) and graduate enrollment turns over more quickly which bulks up the number. The most recent numbers I saw were from 2007 and Michigan had 460,000 living alumni which was the highest in the conference. Also these numbers count only graduated students as alumni (technically incorrect I belive) and while Ohio State has a larger enrollment they graduate 75% while Michigan graduates 88%.

          • Ross Hatton says:

            I will have to pull a source for you, been awhile since I have looked. What I said was true for all alumni, not NYC, the reason being Michigan has, I believe, the largest graduate student enrollment or one of the largest, and these programs are much quicker than undergraduate so the discrepancy is magnified.

            It’s been awhile since I even discussed our alumni base, last time I checked it was over 400,000 and that was over 3 years ago when I was applying to Michigan. I know if you go to the Alumni site for Michigan you can find it somewhere.

            The endowment thing I know to be true, I recently saw those numbers posted again for 2010.

          • Hodgepodge says:


            Actually, I wasn’t thinking about OSU’s alumni base being larger, but rather Minnesota’s and Illinois’s. Specifically, I was under the impression that Illinois had the largest alumni base, but after a little research realized that the University of Illinois system does, not the Champaign-Urbana campus. PSU also likes to trumpet that their alumni association has the largest numbers.

            But since you brought in up, I suspect OSU’s grad rate is now functionally around 80% if you assume the same correlation between graduation and freshman retention rates and between graduation rate and overall caliber of student entering over the past 7 years (the 75% grad rate is for the 2003 freshman class, I believe). Still below UM’s graduation rate, to be sure, but it shouldn’t be too long before it is within a couple percentage points (and assuming tuition rates haven’t priced out most students by that time).

            Oh, and FYI, OSU’s grad student population is about 13k. I don’t know about UM, but OSU separates out professional students (Medicine, Vet, Dentistry, Law) from its other graduate students in its enrollment numbers. I personally view them the same, but whatever. So, combined there are around 13k.

        • Hodgepodge says:

          That’s true, but Buckeye fans have enough faith in their football program that they could win the division regardless of who is in it.

    • PSUGuy says:

      That’s a distressingly doable conference.

      UoM v OSU rivalry is to the point of where it won’t matter if the game means something or not. They just want to beat the other team. The thing they need to watch out for is if OSU and PSU are forced to square off every year for the division championship that game might start to take priority.

      I know its blasphemous to the “Old Guard”, but it was decades of back and forth with something on the line that forged the current rivalry between OSU/UoM and that is exactly what would be happening with the OSU/PSU game. IMO, I could see the OSU/UoM game becoming the Steelers/Browns game today…it means something cause of the team, but in the end our real rival is the Ravens because that game usually means something.

      What’s more, for expansion purposes it seems pretty easy to adjust:

      2 schools from the East join, slide Illinois/NW to the West (or North, whatever).

      4 schools from the East join, Illinois and Indiana (the states) take their schools to the other division.

      1 School from the East a school like Mizzou might be added in the other or NW could be slid back to pick up its games against Iowa/Wisc/Minne.

      3 schools from the East the same from above.

      (Note: ND would count as any Eastern team, unlikely as that is to happen).

      The only gripe I could see is Mich missing out on playing regular games in any new eastern states that might join. A particularly problematic thing as they have a lot of alumni in the area and would probably prefer to continue recruiting PA and surrounding areas.

      Again, I still don’t think this sits well, but it sits better than some of the other “non-KISS” break-outs I’ve seen.

      • I’d have the opposite issue if 4 teams joined. I want to play in the Midwest. You put 4 eastern teams in the east, push out the Indiana and Illinois teams, and reduce the games against the west and we, for all intents and purposes, aren’t even in the Big Ten anymore.

        • PSUGuy says:

          I’d agree, but I’m just saying its kind of “custom built” for that kind of logic.

          Personally, I floated a 4×4 division system a couple months ago that I’ve come to really like.

          Play your own group (x3 games).
          Play one other group (x4 games).
          Rotate through groups to play every team once every 3 years.

          Key is to having one “designated rival” in each other grouping.

          In a 9 game conference schedule you would play the games mentioned above, but then you’d also have a “2 year on, 1 year off” rivalry with 3 other schools.

          IE: if Groups 1 & 2 were playing this year, the 2 extra conference games would be the “rivalry games” from Groups 3 & 4 (one from each group).

          Same could be done if there were only 8 conference games (just one less out of group rivalry game).

          This would allow every school to play across the Big Ten every year, maintain regional rivalries, but also include/begin further flung rivalries.

          Admittedly though, that solution is probably only elegant to an engineer like myself.

          • Being someone who was championing a 5-2-2 (not the kind that is emerging though) and trying to divide 3 regions equally, I can relate to the mathematical beauty that emerges in these different scenarios :)

          • Hodgepodge says:


            Has there ever been an issue where fans of both programs were so united? I mean, I cannot imagine a single fan or alumnus of either school that wants the two programs in separate divisions.

          • Hodgepodge says:

            Oops. Posted wrong place.

      • Ross Hatton says:

        As I posted earlier when rumors from the Michigan side indicated there might be this split, Michigan badly wants to be with PSU for obvious recruiting reasons and the whole Eastern partner argument.

        I think in terms of money and appearances in NYC, Michigan and PSU together does make more sense, as Michigan has a lot of alumni there.

        • PSUGuy says:

          The only problem is OSU is in exactly the same boat.

          The only thing, from a purely $$$ perspective, that makes sense is having OSU, PSU, & UoM in the same division…and that division is on the eastern side of the conference.

          • Ross Hatton says:

            I know OSU is in the same boat. The #1 priority should be competitive balance following this UM/OSU split, as I think Nebraska, UM/OSU, Iowa, and Wisconsin together is a massive mistake.

            But if you want one team playing PSU every year, guaranteed, is it Michigan or OSU? Right now a lot would be inclined to say OSU for the competitiveness argument; however, the UM/OSU split is clearly motivated by dollars and television exposure.

            At the end of the day, Michigan has a massive alumni base and a large alumni following in NYC, second in the Big Ten only to PSU.

          • Hodgepodge says:

            Thank you for pointing out that other programs have cards on the table as well.

            It would strike me as awfully unfair that UM could keep both their other conference rivalry game (MSU) and PSU in their division, whereas OSU would have to give up their only other rivalry game (PSU) if UM and PSU were in the same division without OSU. Granted, PSU is not as serious a rival as UM, but if you asked OSU fans who their second biggest rival was, probably about 90% would say PSU.

            Oh, and before anyone mentions it, the vast, vast majority of Buckeye fans couldn’t care less about the Illinois “rivalry”. The general reaction when they rotate off the schedule is a collective “meh”.

          • Hank says:


            please don’t count Michigan State as something we get to keep. Most Michigan fans have less interest in them than they in us. I’d have no problem rotating them off the schedule.

          • Hodgepodge says:


            It’s still a rivalry game, no matter how you slice it. Considering MSU values the rivalry so much, you can pretty much count on the people who matter considering it a major rivalry. I’m quite certain Delany et alia are counting it as such in their deliberations. At the very least, you’d have to admit that it means considerably more to the average UM fan than does the “rivalry” with Minnesota for the Little Brown Jug (analogous with the OSU-Illinois “rivalry” for the Illibuck).

          • Hank says:

            granted just please list it as something they get not as something we get in. we’d rather trade it in for keeping the Buckeyes in the same division.

          • Hodgepodge says:


            Has there ever been an issue where fans of both programs were so united? I mean, I cannot imagine a single fan or alumnus of either school that wants the two programs in separate divisions.

          • Hank says:


            yup. fans of both programs value the rivalry even through times of adversity for the other program. We have to much shared history to just give it up.

      • m (Ag) says:

        If accepted, I agree that OSU-PSU (which should be the season ending game if these divisions are accepted) could end up bigger than OSU-Michigan within a generation.

        One interesting thing about this attempt at ‘balance’, is that it doesn’t balance the population at all. OSU’s division has a combined population of 43.4 million; Michigan’s division has a combined population of 25.7 million. The SEC does just fine with that kind of split, probably because the state of Alabama is rather close to Florida and Georgia while Louisiana produces more than enough recruits for an elite team. Of course, the Big 12 was doomed by such a population split.

        I don’t find this setup as good as KISS, but it it better than many of the others that have been suggested; it is a geographic split, keeping nearly all of the rivalries.

        Now, how many years will this be played before they add more teams and have to readjust? I’m thinking just 1 year, as they’ll get 2 more teams announced next summer to start in 2012.

    • StvInIL says:

      From an Illinois standpoint that division split really sucks. None of the Illinois teams play in a division with Wisconsin, Iowa or Minnesota.

    • M says:

      I also don’t like any divisions that split up OSU and Michigan, but looking at these from the Northwestern perspective:

      Their division is incredibly workable. Indiana and Illinois are the two worst teams in conference over the last 15 years and should be wins much more often than not. Purdue is better but again, no reason to be under .500 against them. Penn State will likely wander in the desert a bit after JoePa retires (or let’s be honest, dies) and Ohio State (mumble mumble).

      • yahwrite says:

        Are any of the schools’ fanbases generally upset about an East-West split? Or is it just the executives looking to market a championship game. A championship game that we were told they weren’t even sure they would have, even after expansion. What happens if Purdue lands another Drew Brees and becomes a contender. “Oh no, a non-name brand may make the ccg! Our plans have been foiled!”

        It seems like avoiding geography, and going for competitive balance is going to upset some fanbase. The least controversial thing they could do is East-West, but that is unacceptable to the powers that be. How is this happening?

        Wow, I am seriously PO’d about this. I need to get my priorities in order.

        • Adam says:

          I’m seriously PO’d about it but I don’t consider it a lack of priorities. If you care about college football (and I do) then this matters. A lot. And if you don’t care about college football, you wouldn’t watch on Saturdays or comment on this blog.

  95. HerbieHusker says:

    Why doesn’t the remaining WAC members attempt a merger with the Sun Belt? The Sun Belt currently has 9 teams; the WAC currently has 6 teams (with conversation of adding Montana as a 7th) You could conceivably have two mid-major super conferences with the MWC/CUSA and the WAC/Sun Belt….the could split it up as follows:

    San Jose St
    New Mexico St
    Utah St
    North Texas
    Ark St

    La Tech

    …a little far fetched but after the past few days, anything is conceivable.

  96. Playoffs Now says:

    Mountain West Conference commissioner Craig Thompson just told me there is nothing to the Houston speculation.

    “I haven’t had any communication with Houston,” he said…

  97. Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton says:

    So…wondering who the most screwed in all this is? How about Hawaii? The very first BCS buster school.

    From the Honolulu Star

    “Unless there’s a shift in the continents, Hawaii’s isolation is a deal breaker. If BYU opts to remain in the MWC, and the league needs to add a 12th member, the Warriors still aren’t on the invitation list. Word on the boulevard is TCU wants to bring in Houston; New Mexico wants to invite UTEP.”

    He has a follow up entry today, that is basically that U of Hawaii should beg, plead, and bride, whatever it takes to get in the MWC.

    “The WAC has been good to UH, but why not also make a pitch to the Mountain West? UH can offer travel subsidies, emphasize the Hawaii exemption, and give up the automatic entry into the Hawaii Bowl.”

    • Jake says:

      Utah was the original BCS buster, and they’ve made out okay so far. Hawaii’s athletics are in a tough spot, but if they wanted to help themselves, they should have made more investments in athletic facilities. That’s one of the things that drove June Jones off.

  98. Hawkeye / Gator Boy says:

    RE: “Momentum builds for Michigan-OSU split” by Adam Rittenberg

    Hank and Madison Hawk,

    One of the problems here is that a bunch of old men who are living in the past are making the divisional split decisions. They remember the glory days of the OSU vs UM rivalry and think that they’ll relive those days in the CCG. The problem for them is that the BT has changed. Penn St & now UNL change the balance of power. We’ve had the emergence of Wisconsin and Iowa as power players (although not national brand names) and of course UM is not a conference contender at this point and may not be a contender for a number of years.

    I would hope that the BT powers that be are forward looking. I would hope that they see a future for the BT above and beyond just UM and tOSU, I would hope that they promote divisions that have strong rivalries and that develop BT schools into regional and national powers.

    KISS Divisions are the way to go, but it won’t happen. It could be years before UM and tOSU face each other in a CCG. The divisions outlined by Rittenberg give Penn St and tOSU a cake walk to the CCG. All the while the western teams duke it out with 5 of the top 7 teams. And poor old Minnesota is destined for obscurity.

    As Frank the Tank put it, they see the 4 national brand schools as the key money makers that have to be split up. They’ll split up the 4 national brands no matter how convoluted the divisions become.

    It seems apparent to me that UNL has to anchor the “west” and tOSU has to anchor the “east”. Thus, it becomes a question of which of the remaining national brands do you send west, either UM or Penn St. If you send Penn St. that means a whole lot of travel for Lion’s fans and you still have the “problem” that UM and tOSU in the same division. So, that means you have to send the Wolverines west.

    I’m not sure, but I would think that UM fans would be unhappy with going west since most of their following and alumni are in the east. It might also negatively impact recruiting and increase travel for Michigan fans. Although the BT powers that be are not asking fans….I’d like to know: Are UM and Michigan State fans happy about potentially being “shipped west”?

    • @Hawkeye / Gator Boy – Here’s the way to put lipstick on a pig assuming that we go to a 9-game conference schedule in a few years – use 2 protected inter-division rivalries to create an offshoot of the “pod” system.

      POD A
      Michigan State
      Ohio State
      Penn State

      POD B

      POD C

      Put 2 teams from each pod in each division and then ensure that every team in each pod plays each other annually via 2 inter-division protected rivalries. This will preserve every current Big Ten protected rivalry no matter how the divisions are split up, integrates Nebraska well since it will always play the 3 next westernmost schools, keeps Penn State from being isolated since they will always play the 3 next easternmost schools and overall makes geographic sense.

      • It prased it differently, but that’s actually the exact same thing I was arguing they should/would do. I always imagined it would be set up so that season ending games could be preserved though.

      • bullet says:

        It bugs me that this division seems to be driven entirely by television execs. Certainly TV needs to be considered, but not overriding. As I pointed out with Texas, 93% of their revenue does NOT come from TV.

        Also, if true, ESPN driving a CUSA/MWC combination bothers me even more. The story is them driving it, not facilitating it.

    • Hank says:

      living in the past? wasn’t it just a few years ago when Ohio State and Michigan were ranked 1 and 2 going into their game? And other than the last two years Penn State had a pretty bad run vs Michigan. Unless you are the main character in Memento that’s not the distant past.

      and I prefer the KISS approach. Put Michigan Ohio State and Penn State in the same division.

      • StvInIL says:

        Yup Hank, living in the past. Their the logic completely ignores;
        1) No more big 2 little 8. It’s been long since those days.
        2) The emergence of Iowa and Wisconsin as conference contenders.
        3) The addition of two more marquee teams in Penn State and Nebraska
        4) The ability of Mid level teams to upset someone’s apple cart
        Some seem to still be making out their itinerary for a game in Ann Arbor at season’s end. I think for the reasons I have mentioned that is far less necessary than it once was.

        • Hawkeye / Gator Boy says:

          Thanks StvInILL, you completed my thought process on how things have changed in the Big Ten better than I could!

          My point is that we don’t want to go back to the days of the Big Two little eight. Those days didn’t promote the BT as a competitive well rounded conference. Why watch the regular season games if the whole enchilada is decided by the same two schools in the final game of the year!?

          The BT should be looking to develop new powers, the University of Illinois is a prime example of a school that can and should be promoted. It would be good for the Big Ten overall.

          If they twist the divisions to help make a potential UM v tOSU showdown, they’re promoting two schools at the expense of ten schools. It just doesn’t make sense.

          • PSUGuy says:

            In fairness, by putting Illinois, NW, Indiana, & Purdue in the same division you allow them to start building their programs into what Iowa/Wisc already have.

            You could see a 2 loss team from the NW, Illinois or Purdue grouping (never Indiana IMO) on a regular basis.

            IMO, that will help develop programs, maybe just not the ones that have already been developed.

          • duffman says:

            PSU Guy,

            yeah I was noticing that :)

        • Hank says:

          not denying there are changes and there are a lot of competitive programs. but how about preserving a little tradition within the conference? Michigan Ohio State as the last game of the season has been a long tradition including many periods when either one was uncompetitive. How is preserving the tradition of that matchup any less valuable to the conference than preserving Floyd of Rosedale? Its not about competitive balance its about the traditions than make college football passion fun. And most of the fans of the school seem willing to maintain that tradition and sacrifice a competitive advantage (the ability to have the other cycle off if nothing else). Getting rid off the game as a season ending tradition makes no sense.

          • Hawkeye / Gator Boy says:


            I’m all for tradition. I’m fine with UM v tOSU for the final game of the year. I promote that game.

            What I don’t want to see is Jim Delany draft convoluted divisions just to promote the possibility of UM and tOSU in the CCG. Wacky divisions that promote two schools at the expense of ten other schools is a bad idea.

            I hope Iowa plays Minnesota for Floyd on the last game of the year. I hope they don’t move that game and make Iowa play Nebraska instead. So call me a traditionalist. But, let’s not promote a new CCG tradition or create obnoxious divisions at the expense of most of the conference members.

          • Hank says:

            @Hawkeye/Gator Boy

            I don’t want convulted divisions either. I’m for keeping them in the same division thereby eliminating a possible championship game rematch. The Yankee Red Sox rivalry is every bit as intense despite there being no possibility of it being in the World Series. I’m very willing to have the game be for who gets to a CCG than for the conference championship.

          • yahwrite says:

            Exactly, UM-OSU playing on the final day of the regular season in the same division does not stop other schools from achieving. If someday, they are both down, it will still be a big game for the two schools. It has been the season finale since 1935. (For the most part, I recall Michigan at Hawaii in the 80′s).
            You don’t just throw that away, tradition builds over time. In twenty years sleeping giant Illinois and 55 year old Pat Fitgerald’s Northwestern could be the dominant programs and that will be the big game.

          • Hawkeye / Gator Boy says:


            I think you and I are in agreement. Heck, it looks like most Big Ten fans are in agreement on what the best division cut would look like.

            JD and the BT are not asking the fans what they want. I hope I’m wrong, but the BT may make divisional alignments that piss off most of the fans and don’t promote long term competitive balance. Why do I say this? Because the BT is going to try to promote the four name brands at the expense of tradition and logic. So why promote the four main National Brands? TV share, money. Again, I hope that I’m wrong. I hope someone at the BT office is reading this blog.

            Whatever happens I’ll still watch the games and be a Big Ten fan. Most all of us will follow the BT no matter what the divisions look like. I guess they know that at the BT offices….so they won’t bother to consider our opinions. Too bad.

          • StvInIL says:

            Miopia Hank that’s what they call it. tOSU UM game will always be a big game on the conference schedule. My argument is that the thing that made the game is the significance of winning it. In the old days of the big 2 and little 8, the winner would be catapulted into the rose bowl, “the grand daddy of them all”, and the loser a footnote after an 11 game season. It is not tradition to manufacture what may not be there. Penn State, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Iowa may have something to say about who ends up in the CCG. Why manufacture a situation where YOU decide that UM and tOSU has the most to say about that when it may not be the case. Think about it?

          • Hank says:


            it appears you haven’t read my post. Who is suggesting the Ohio State Michigan game needs to decide anything? I’ve said and other have said make it a division game so that all it influences is a division championship, possibly, and not the conference championship. And the game was important before the Big Two Little Eight era and afterwards. The fans of both schools want to maintain the year end tradition whether it decides anything or not. Maube we should create a Woody Of Rosedale trophy so the game will have resonance to others.

            oh and I think the word you were looking for was myopia.

          • bullet says:

            Its sounding like the NBA where they go out of their way to promote certain franchises and players to the extent that they call fouls differently on those players (or fumbles??).

          • Vincent says:

            What I don’t want to see is Jim Delany draft convoluted divisions just to promote the possibility of UM and tOSU in the CCG. Wacky divisions that promote two schools at the expense of ten other schools is a bad idea.

            Not to the folks at ESPN -- storyline uber alles. This has Bristol’s messy little hands all over it (and I don’t mean Sarah Palin’s daughter). Aside from the occasional Penn State and Nebraska, they don’t want to see one of the “wrong” teams spoil the SportsCenter hype machine of OSU-Mich.

            I hope Iowa plays Minnesota for Floyd on the last game of the year. I hope they don’t move that game and make Iowa play Nebraska instead. So call me a traditionalist.

            Then let’s be a traditionalist and revive having Minnesota and Wisconsin end the season against each other, which I believe the Gophers did for several decades before the Hawkeyes got involved. Now that Minnesota plays outdoors at home again, why not?

    • StvInIL says:

      Hawkeye Gator,
      You are dead on in your assessment. I have to agree. Though I would add they can not send both Illinois and NW to the east if that’s the plan. They are both in the Central time zone for goodness sakes. They should send no more than one.

    • Ross Hatton says:

      Not happy, but OSU won’t be happy with it either. You undermind recruiting in Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania is one of few recruiting hotbeds in the Big Ten.

      Travel is honestly not a huge concern. Michigan travels well regardless. It does suck that it will be harder for the East Coast fans to make games, though I am not one of them.

    • crpodhaj says:

      I still wonder how much more travel Penn St. would incur if they were in the west. Half of the west teams would be coming to Happy Valley every year and you still have three games against teams in the east (four with a nine game schedule). So maybe you are trading one game more western than eastern. One. And that is worth spliting Ohio St. and Michigan? I dunno.

    • Adam says:

      One place I’ll disagree, Hawkeye, is that I am not thinking this is because it’s a bunch of old men calling the shots. If anything, I’d say the opposite: it’s because we have a lot of younger guys with business backgrounds who are the ADs. Or at least, those are the ones who seem to be out in front on this. We’ve heard a lot of non-traditional things coming from Dave Brandon and Mark Hollis, for example, but Gene Smith’s comments on the non-traditional result that’s apparently being pursued here were more hedged, uncertain, non-commital, or whatever other word you want to use.

      That’s been my sense of why this is getting messed up: you’ve got younger ADs with business backgrounds rather than sports backgrounds, and they think they need to show off their business acumen by doing something only they’d be smart enough to figure out. I have a feeling if all of the ADs were retired football coaches, it’d be a different result.

  99. Mick says:

    The Michigan fight song does declare them the champions of the West…

  100. duffman says:


    slightly off topic I know, but my thinking long ago seems to have caught others eyes as well! It follows the “Miami” discussion on this blog as noted in said article. Going back to one of your first posts about realignment, and the value of fans who fill stadiums in bad years!

    “So, despite having the worst program traditionally, and last year having the 2nd worst team on this list, Kentucky still averaged OVER capacity in home attendance. Something only 12 teams total did, or 10% of college football. Miami averaged 60% capacity last season, and finished 17th in the polls.”

    • Ross Hatton says:

      Yeah, UK has always done a really good job filling its stadium. I think a lot of that has to do with a proud basketball history bleeding some support over into other sports.

      • bullet says:

        But they’ve done it when IU, Duke and Kansas haven’t.

        • Ross Hatton says:

          That’s a good point. It probably has something to do with being in the SEC as well; I would have to see some sort of breakdown on how many UK fans are there and how many opposing team fans are there on average.

          I’m a big UK basketball fan, its history has certainly been nothing special, but I have even been to a number of UK home FB games.

          • StvInIL says:

            My first guess would be that KU pulls a lot in from rabid SEC football fans. Some who want to see the other teams and some who want to support their alma mater. Going on the road is one thing but going on the road in conference for, let’s face it a sure win, is another. This is what Kentucky offers as much as available seating. My apologies to the KU fans if I am wrong on this. Their numbers speak for themselves otherwise.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Ross – I think every SEC school provides only 7000 to 8000 tickets for visiting fans.

            Kentucky and South Carolina have to have the most loyal football fans in the country with not much to show for it.

        • duffman says:


          I can see duke as a small private school, but it seems like IU and KU should have better numbers. IU in the Big 10 and KU in the old Big 8 / new Big 12 are not slouch conferences compared to say Louisville in the old Metro or Memphis in the old Missouri Valley.

  101. Playoffs Now says:

    Big 12 ADs discuss starting cable network

    Eight Big 12 athletic directors met with a media rights holder Friday morning to discuss forming their own cable network.

    Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Iowa State, Colorado, Missouri and Kansas State had discussions Learfield Sports, a Plano, Texas-based company that manages the multimedia rights for more than 50 universities nationwide. Texas A&M AD Bill Byrne has talked and tweeted about the meeting publicly. The move is not related to any conference shifting, but is seen as a new revenue stream…

    …This is the conference’s last season as a 12-team league. Nebraska is headed to the Big Ten in 2011. Colorado is leaving for the Pac-10 in either 2011 or 2012. It wasn’t immediately clear what Colorado was doing at the meeting if it is soon leaving the league…

    …Learfield played down the meeting.

    “It caused a lot of questions [from media],” a spokesman said. “It was nothing out of the ordinary. It wasn’t anything top secret.”

    • Playoffs Now says:

      It wasn’t immediately clear what Colorado was doing at the meeting if it is soon leaving the league…

      • Ross Hatton says:

        Probably discussing what to do with Colorado’s rights to past games…would need to be some sort of negotiation with the Pac-10 network yeah?

        • Jake says:

          Then why wasn’t Nebraska there? Maybe CU isn’t leaving until 2012 and they might actually be a part of this thing at the start. Also, why no Kansas? Isn’t this relevant to their interests?

          • Ross Hatton says:

            Who knows, the Big 12 has been pretty chaotic and incomprehensible this entire process, why change now?

          • StvInIL says:

            Kansas football fortunes are up and down but their basket ball is gold. Maybe they think they can cut out a better deal on their own somehow.

  102. Adam says:

    Hawkeye / Gator Boy, it warmed my heart to read the thread you started a little while ago. Just really, really glad to see that people are getting angry about this. I believe in the KISS divisions, not so much because of geography but because it maximizes the most rivalries, including keeping important rivalries within the divisions so that the teams are jockeying for position in the standings against each other.

    In my opinion, it’s time to say and do something. So I did a little research. Here are some of the people you can write to about this. You can be angry, make threats, be polite and reasonable, or whatever else. But I think it’s time we make our voices heard.

    Mr. James E. Delany
    Commissioner, Big Ten Conference
    1500 Higgins Road
    Park Ridge, IL 60068-6300

    Look up your own school’s president, athletic director, even the Board of Trustees (or at least the chair) and speak out!

    • Adam says:

      I realize there’s a incongruity there; I said “here are some of the people” and then only listed Delany. I started looking up more, but verifying the addresses was a daunting task. I wouldn’t mind doing it for a few, but for several dozen ADs, presidents, and trustees, it just wasn’t worth the time.

    • Hawkeye / Gator Boy says:

      Thanks Adam,

      I think the frustration that we see on Frank the Tank’s blog has to do with the fact that we all know our opinions and input don’t mean squat to the Powers that Be. If JD and the ADs think that they’ll bring in the most income by putting Michigan or Penn State in the west, then those teams go west.

      They should have asked for fan input just to APPEAR like they care about Big Ten alumni and fans. Supposedly ND is staying independent to appease alumni, why doesn’t the BT care about alumni input? Heck, the Big Ten could have done some kind of fan “mail in ballot” just to make fans FEEL like their voice mattered in deciding the conference divisions.

      I’ll send an e-mail to JD, and Mr. Barta, I’ll consider it my “good deed” for the week. But, it’s like writing to the President about foreign policy. It might temporarily make you feel good to voice your opinion, but don’t think that it’s going to change anything.

      Here’s the contact info for the Iowa AD:

      Gary Barta
      Athletic Director
      University of Iowa
      338 CHA
      Iowa City IA 52242

      • Adam says:

        Hawkeye, I may be naïve, but I feel like if all of the people who are upset by this got angry and in the ear of TPTB, it might make a difference. We are the customers, after all. And unlike foreign policy, this is not an esoteric subject about which a relatively small number of people care. I think it’s clear lots of people are passionate about this, or would be if they realized these deliberations were going on.

    • angryapple says:

      I emailed Delaney. That was fun.

    • Thanks for the info. Just fired him off an e-mail.

      • Adam says:

        You’re welcome to the e-mail, by the way. Although I’m wondering whether it’s been changed (or something) along the way; I have to believe I’m not the only one who figured it out during the expansion saga, and if so he must have gotten absolutely bombed. Maybe they leave it open to swallow the e-mails and he really uses something else.

    • Adam says:

      I should probably clarify that by making threats, I mean things like threatening to cancel your season tickets or your membership in the alumni association. Should go without saying but I thought I ought to clarify.

      • R says:

        Darn, too late! I threatened to root for Duke against UNC. I imagine he is trembling from both rage and trepidation.:) Seriously, thanks for the address.

        • Adam says:

          Hahahaha I meant more along the lines of I do not mean to encourage anybody to actually threaten anybody’s safety. Their economic security, perhaps, in the sense of no longer being a customer.

        • Vincent says:

          Naw, Delany’s old school. Say you’ll root for N.C. State -- then he’ll know you mean business.

    • Adam says:

      More indication of why this is such a non-story: it isn’t even on the College Football page at ESPN, let alone the front page, that Brandon’s comments were on the radio. What gives?

  103. Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton says:

    MWC Commish Thompson is interviewed. Comes clean about talking with C-USA. Says talks are in infancy stages. Nothing could be done for 4 years when current BCS agreement is up.

    Nothing on a new BCS Bowl game.

    This would not be a merger, but an alliance and a play in game for a BCS spot.

    Thompson, says the numbers are not hard to figure out on BCS AQ. Says MWC is not qualified now, but has 2 year to become qualified.

    My take: Why would the MWC even think about this? They might get an AQ on their own. The MWC has put teams in the BCS and C-USA hasn’t come close.

    • zeek says:

      Because they’ll have a lot more heft as a supergrouping of mid-majors than they do individually, whether politically or even on the field.

      I mean if you have the two strongest mid-major conferences with a play-in game to a BCS slot, that’s an interesting offer to make to the BCS as a way of not having to give multiple like Boise State-TCU last year.

    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      Redhawk – A CUSA team started all the non-AQ hullabaloo. Remember that the 1998 Tulane Green Wave finished 12-0 and didn’t get a whiff of a BCS Bowl game. At that time, the MWC and CUSA champs met at the Liberty Bowl, where the Greenies destroyed BYU 41-27, with Shaun King at QB, Tommy Bowden as head coach, and RichRod as OC.

      Tulane President Scott Cowan then led the crusade for non-BCS (now known as non-AQ) schools that brought us to the compromise we live with today.

      If it weren’t for Tulane and Scott Cowan paving the way, Utah, Boise St., TCU, and Hawaii all might have been Liberty,Las Vegas, or Hawaii bowl bound.

      FWIW, Tulane’s new law school dean is a Big Ten man. Dean David Meyer earned his JD from Michigan, and was the Associate Dean at Illinois’ law school. Does this mean that Tulane is now part of the Big Ten’s Southern Strategy? I’ll ask him about that when he comes up to Baton Rouge for an Alumni reception next month.

  104. Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton says:

    MWC says Houston is not in MWC plans and they have not talked to them.

    I’m sure the MWC has to be looking at going to a 12th team if BYU stays. Who that team is, wither it’s UTEP, Houston or Hawaii or even Utah St, I’m sure would jump, so there is no reason to have discussions out in the open.

    I would assume MWC would stay at 10 teams if BYU leaves.

  105. M says:

    Utah State, MWC talking

    “To be clear, that source says nothing impending, but that is the goal of current negotiations for USU.
    37 minutes ago via web
    Any conference move for USU depends on BYU’s decision on FB indy status. Nothing will happen before Monday at earliest
    about 1 hour ago via web
    That source at USU says the MWC will expand, again, to 12 teams if BYU can be persuaded to stay in MWC for non-football sports
    about 1 hour ago via web
    A source close to the USU administration tells the Deseret News Utah State is actively negotiating a berth in MWC with WAC falling apart”

    Most key:
    “That source at USU says the MWC will expand, again, to 12 teams if BYU can be persuaded to stay in MWC for non-football sports”

    Does this mean that BYU going independent but Big-Easting the MWC is a possibility?

    • zeek says:

      They said 2 days ago that they didn’t plan to give any concessions to BYU. Now they’re gonna let them go independent and drop off the rest of their sports there?

      Utah State has made sense as a way of keeping BYU tied to the conference, since Utah-BYU seems to be dead, so both Utah and BYU are going to covet their relationships with Utah State.

  106. Hodgepodge says:

    FWIW, I went and found out the contact information for the Big Ten presidents/chancellors and athletic directors in case anyone wants to plead their school’s case with respect to stacking the divisions. I got emails for most of them, but web forms were all I could find for the Purdue prez and Michigan AD. Feel free to correct any of the info I posted and to spread this around to any other message board/blog you want.

    Honestly, I’m not certain that this will make much of a difference, but you never know. Honestly, I think the best way would to be to contact the sponsors of Big Ten programming and tell them that you won’t support/buy their products if they don’t throw their weight around to stop what configuration you are most opposed to. Let’s face it, the Big Ten decision making is all about money, and the only real way to get their attention is by letting them know that their actions can also cost the Big Ten money. It would probably take a concerted effort of fans/alumni of all the schools to pull it off, rather than a a few hundred individuals complaining via email, so if anyone wants to organize a media campaign to get the Big Ten’s attention, be my guest.

    President Michael Hogan (
    Athletics Director Ron Guenther (

    President Michael McRobbie (
    Athletic Director Fred Glass (

    President Sally Mason (
    Athletic Director Gary Barta (

    President Mary Sue Coleman (
    Director of Athletics David Brandon (

    Michigan State:
    President Lou Anna Simon (
    Athletic Director Mark Hollis (

    President Robert Bruininks (
    Athletics Director Joel Maturi (

    Chancellor Harvey Perlman (
    Athletic Director Tom Osborne (

    President Morton Shapiro (
    Director of Athletics and Recreation Jim Phillips (

    Ohio State:
    President E. Gordon Gee (
    Athletic Director Gene Smith (

    Penn State:
    President Graham Spanier (
    Athletic Director Timothy Curley (

    President France Córdova (
    Athletic Director Morgan Burke (

    President Kevin Reilly (
    Athletic Director Barry Alvarez (

    • Adam says:

      Delightful! My initial feeling had been that paper letters tend to be more impressive and I gave up trying to find everybody’s mailing address, but it probably made more sense to go after these anyway.

      I hope nobody’s getting any bounce-backs on that Delany e-mail.

    • I do believe enough e-mails would make a difference. They are doing this for money. If they worry the money won’t be there, they’ll choose a different paths. I doubt we can organize enough before a decision is reached, but you never know how close their decisions are anyway. Maybe they just need a little tug.

      Heck maybe ESPN is one to e-mail too, tell them how many fewer games we’ll be watching if they go that route. Here’s a link to leave them feedback

      • Figured it wouldn’t hurt to send all the offices e-mails, thanks for the info Hodgepodge. I just sent this one to Wisconsin’s AD and president:

        Dear President Reilly and Athletic Director Barry Alvarez,

        I am an Ohio State graduate, but a huge fan of Big Ten athletic programs in general. I cheer for Big Ten teams in multiple sports and have been a big fan of the Big Ten Network. This most definitely has included the Badgers. Watching them defeat Miami last year in football was particularly satisfying. My days of being a Big Ten fan could sadly soon be coming to an end though. I love the traditions of the conference. No other conference in the country comes close to matching them in my mind. As a Buckeye though, the one tradition that matters most to me is the season ending game against Michigan. If the conference values tradition so little that the Ohio State-Michigan game is moved from its season ending position, I will find another conference to cheer for or else shift my attention to the pros. I understand changes are coming and can accept almost any alignment, but if Ohio State and Michigan aren’t matching up to end their regular seasons, I’m sad to say that I’ve watched my last Badger game that doesn’t involve Ohio State (and I’m not even certain Ohio State). Thank you for taking time to read this and have a great day.

        • Adam says:

          I’d argue that there isn’t any point to them playing the last game of the season unless they’re in the same division.

        • Adam says:

          I think, incidentally, that the way you worded this really gets at the issue. Brandon’s comments the other day that change is coming and that it can be a good thing etc. That’s the PC thing to say because it sounds progressive and forward-facing and so forth, and I don’t necessarily disagree. I had no problem with them adding a 12th member (so long as it was an acceptable 12th member), even though that was destined to shake things up. But what I find frustrating is that they seem to think that, because some change is necessary, they have a license to change anything and everything. That makes no sense, and you’ve gotten at why that is: a big part of the Big Ten’s brand value is its traditions. That’s why a lot of people are so charmed by our league. Some traditions may be forced to go by the wayside (e.g., no matter what they do, the league title could never be on the line again in the OSU/UM season-ending game), but they should try to change as little as possible.

    • I’ve already gotten responses from both Purdue and Nebraska. Nebraska’s Chancellor said they don’t really have any say (don’t entirely buy that, but they definitely don’t have a vote). Purdue AD (or office) said, “There are lots of variables and not all will or can be managed to each person’s desire.” That does not leave me optimistic.

      I e-mailed both Ohio State and Michigan yesterday and haven’t received a word back from either.

      • Adam says:

        That is troubling.

        My retort would be that there only need to be a lot of variables if we choose to gin up a lot of variables. Or they can Keep It Simple, Stupid, and make a lot of the variables go away.

      • Bullet says:

        At least 2 schools think its significant enough to respond. They are clearly getting some comments.

  107. Sportsman24 says:

    In the first 6 months of conference realignment, there was only widespread speculation.
    In the next 2 months, BSU (MWC » WAC), CU (Pac 1# » B12), UNL (BT » B12) & UUt (Pac 1# » MWC) switched conferences.
    Now, w/i the last week, BYU talks about going Ind, the MWC & WAC are re-enacting “How the West was Won” (w/ UUt & BYU battling over USU?) and the MWC & C-USA are talking about an alliance.
    Also, the BT, BE, MWC, WAC &/ C-USA may (or may not) expand (again), while the Pac 1# may un-expand? It seems like we’re beginning again, but from different starting positions.

  108. ChicagoRed says:

    PSU’s President Graham Spanier weighed in on BT divisions, another indication they’re moving away from a KISS solution

    “It almost certainly won’t be a rigid straightforward geographical line as in North vs. South or East vs. West,” Spanier said. “But geography will be taken into account. “And that doesn’t mean all historical rivals will be in the same division,” Spanier said. “It might mean every year you play the teams in your division. But you also might play a historical rival every year outside your division.”

    From the Omaha World-Herald

    • 84Lion says:

      Spanier has always wanted PSU and Nebraska to play. I doubt he’d be in favor of geo KISS as this would put PSU and Nebraska in different divisions, and would require a crossover to make the game yearly. Even then, PSU would already be playing Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State every year; if PSU played the crossover with Nebraska they’d be the only team in the Big Ten to play the three other “heavies” (OSU, Mich, and Neb) every year and MSU would likely remain PSU’s divisional rival. Given Ohio State’s dominance I see no particular reason for PSU to make it tough on themselves. Assuming they could beat Ohio State and Michigan stays down, they’d probably be playing Nebraska in the CCG anyway.
      I would think that on a personal level Spanier would rather see PSU and Nebraska in the same division, although if the rumored split of OSU and Michigan into separate divisions occurs that doesn’t seem likely. Spanier’s best hope then would probably be PSU and Michigan together in a division with the crossovers being OSU-Mich and PSU-Neb.

  109. duffman says:


    Something to chew on..

    a) CU appears to still be at the table in the Longhorn Conference

    b) BYU appears headed to an “independent” life

    maybe my math is a little rusty, but what are the odds of:

    a) + b) = “new” Big 12?

    is it crazy to consider that CU stays, and BYU replaces UNL, and life goes on in the Big 12 south (with UNL out and BYU in) in the easy path to participating in the MNG pretty much EVERY year or at least every other year?

  110. Husker Al says:

    Back to whether tOSU and Michigan should be split into two divisions:

    There’s at least one online petition against this, and I’m sure there are several others out there.

    Personally, I’d like to keep them in the same division and playing at the end of the season. I didn’t get to see a lot of the games growing up because they aired opposite NU/OU, but I don’t think a change is necessary.

    • Adam says:

      Love it! Reading the comments is heart-warming for me. These people (IMO) get it: whether or not they play, whether or not it’s the last game of the regular season, doesn’t matter if they aren’t in the same division jockeying for position against each other in the standings.

  111. Adam says:

    I’ve seen their name come up above, but I haven’t been following it closely, so could someone sketch out what’s the situation with Temple? I have substantial familial connections to the MAC and care about the league, so Temple’s situation interests me.

    I’m just wondering if someone could maybe sketch out a little brief here on what’s known, what’s speculated, and maybe some links to substantiate.

  112. Playoffs Now says:

    Seems like the best way would be the simplest:





    Give each school 1 annual cross-division rival:

    and however you think the other 6 mix best

    Sorry for not following closer, but what were the strong arguments against this logical split? The only ones I can recall was that TV wanted the chance for MI-OSU to rematch in the title game and that the east might be too top heavy. Both weak arguments, IMHOutsider’sO.

    • Adam says:

      As I understand it, those are the arguments. I can’t think of anything else anybody has raised.

      I agree wholly with you on this.

    • Adam says:

      I don’t feel all that strongly about the cross-divisional pairings, and I guess if there was one place I’d disagree, it’d be putting PSU with NE; if OSU and MI get traditional cupcakes, I would think that PSU and NE would at least not want to face each other; perhaps PSU with Iowa or something. MSU indicated they want to play Northwestern every year, although absent that I’d have paired them with Wisconsin.

    • yahwrite says:

      I’ve been reading message boards and the comments to online newspapers from all over the Big Ten and it appears that most fans want East-West. I don’t understand why it won’t work for TPTB.

      Well, I know they’re thinking about TV for the CCG. It’s one game a year and non-brand names like Purdue or Illinois will win their division occassionally. So, competitive balance isn’t fail proof. I just don’t see how complicating the rivalries and making divisions that may be ACCish builds the brand.

      Delaney has been a great commissioner, creating BTN, and I love the Nebraska addition, but he is wrong on how he is leading the creation of divisions.

      • Adam says:

        It’d be one thing if the East/West split gave you 4 or 5 of the top 6 in the same group; or all 4 of the top 4 in the same group; or some other arrangement which, while superficially attractive, would just not be workable. But that’s not the case here.

        I am convinced that the leadership is all fouled up from top to bottom here because you have a bunch of people (including Delany) who want to show how brilliant they are by devising some counter-intuitive solution.

      • Husker Al says:

        As a Husker fan, the East/West split with NU alone among “the Big 4″ anchoring the west doesn’t excite me. Once again NU would be the lone national brand in a division where the rest of the teams are of regional interest.

        Michigan, Ohio St. or Penn State being placed in NU’s division would please the fan in me a lot more.

        That said, I’m not sure achieving that is worth the cost of splitting Ohio St. and Michigan into separate divisions.

        • StevenD says:

          I too am a Husker fan and I look forward to Nebraska playing Wisconsin and Iowa in conference. Those would be great games every year. As for games with the big 3 in the east, it is possible to arrange the crossover games so that Nebraska plays two of them every year. Those would be great games too.

        • schwarm says:

          OTOH, we would get big yearly games against Iowa and Wisconsin, and I think UNL would travel well to Minnesota, Northwestern, and probably even Illinois.
          I would be a bit disappointed if we were not playing Iowa, Minn, and Wisky regularly.

        • Husker Al says:

          I agree with both of you. Those are great games in great venues, and I’ve been to all of them except the new Minnesota stadium. Still, I’m probably not more excited about those than I am Mizzou or Colorado.

          But Penn State? Michigan? Ohio State? Possibly for the division title at the end of the year? Now I’m interested.

  113. M says:

    So for the vaguely Southeast vs Northwest alignment, here are the title games:

    09 Nebraska vs Ohio State
    08 Michigan State vs Penn State
    07 Michigan vs Ohio State
    06 Michigan vs Ohio State
    05 Iowa/Michigan/Wisconsin vs Penn State
    04 Michigan vs Northwestern
    03 Michigan vs Ohio State
    02 Iowa vs Ohio State
    01 Nebraska vs Illinois
    00 Nebraska/Michigan vs Purdue
    99 Nebraska/Wisconsin vs Penn State
    98 Michigan vs Ohio State
    97 Nebraska/Michigan vs Penn State
    96 Nebraska vs Northwestern/Ohio State
    95 Nebraska vs Northwestern
    94 Nebraska vs Penn State
    93 Nebraska vs Ohio State

    Ohio State 7.5
    Michigan 7.3
    Nebraska 6.5
    Penn State 5
    Northwestern 2.5
    Iowa 1.3
    Illinois 1
    Michigan State 1
    Purdue 1
    Wisconsin .8

    OSU-Michigan rematches: 4

    Curiously, while we instinctively say the East is the less competitive division the West actually has fewer appearances by teams other than Nebraska and Michigan. Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan State combined would have likely had only three appearances, while Northwestern, Purdue, and Illinois would have had 4 or 5.

    • StevenD says:

      I am strongly in favor of KISS divisions; however, it appears the beancounters are determined to split the big four teams 2-2. If that is going to happen, I strongly prefer putting Nebraska and PSU in the same division (leaving OSU and Michigan to play The Game as usual). The PSU-Nebraska division would be geographically ugly, but this could be mitigated by having three teams in the west and three teams in the east, rather than sending PSU to play five west teams. Therefore, I would put Iowa and Minnesota with Nebraska, and Indiana and Purdue with PSU. That would put OSU/Michigan in a compact central division with MSU, Wisconsin, Northwestern and Illinois.

      To preserve significant rivalries, the fixed crossover game should be OSU-PSU, Wisconsin-Minnesota, Illinois-Purdue, MSU-Indiana, Iowa-Northwestern, Nebraska-Michigan.

      This arrangement of divisiona should keep the beancounters happy with nine headline matchups every year: PSU-Nebraska, PSU-OSU, OSU-Michigan, Nebraska-Michigan, Nebraska-Iowa, PSU-Iowa, OSU-Wisconsin, Michigan-Wisconsin, and the CCG.

      • jcfreder says:

        it would suck if Wisconsin was in a division without Minnesota, Iowa, or Nebraska. I can’t believe UW would go for a setup like that.

        • Adam says:

          I can’t believe virtually a single thing I’ve heard about this process thus far. They all suddenly have a radically different set of priorities than I thought they did.

        • StevenD says:

          It appears that Wisconsin has already signed off on this. As long as they get an annual game with Minnesota, they are prepared to go east and play with PSU and OSU.

          • Adam says:

            What about Iowa? What about Bielema saying he wants the Nebraska game to be the season-ender? What about, you know, people acting like normal people who are interested in sports?

          • StevenD says:

            Yeah, I know, Wisconsin should play Minnesota and Iowa both. But the beancounters seem determined to split Iowa and Wisconsin (and split OSU and Michigan). Seems crazy to me, but what do I know. I’m just a fan.

  114. StvInIL says:

    How many months are we into Delany’s original 12-18 months time frame for expansion? I take it the plan is still in motion. Maybe they have their plan set based on the next possible expansion pick. How would that current competitive model point us to the next expansion team? If it’s ND it’s no problem geographically. They are positioned to easily fit into either an East or West division. Culturally more eastern but geographically would bring a marquee to the West. They then become the geographic patsy, leaving Penn State alone as they are now almost a 20 year member of the BT.

    • StevenD says:

      Reading between the lines, it appears the Big Ten is heading toward an eastern division comprising PSU, OSU, Indiana, Purdue, Wisconsin and Minnesota. If Rutgers and Maryland are added to the eastern division in 2013, it would be easy to send Minnesota to the western division (to play with Nebraska and Iowa). That would put seven teams in each division with a minimum of fuss.

      • StvInIL says:

        My thoughts run in a similar frame. Assuming the conference picks up one or two that are geographically in the east eventually it would be no biggy to slide someone from the west back over to their natural geographic alignment. Evan if they temporarily put NW in the East, its centralized location and O’Hare airport nearby would make the move a non factor temporarily.

        • StevenD says:

          Yeah, Northwestern is a convenient placeholder. For example, in a south division running from Nebraska through Iowa to PSU, you could include Indiana, Purdue and Northwestern to make six. Then in 2013 you can add Rutgers and Maryland and send Northwestern to the north division.

  115. Playoffs Now says:

    Newest rumor de jour is that the B10+? is going to add Pitt and Syracuse, with the Big East responding by pursuing TCU. This is coming from the Uhou to MWC rumor mill, presumably because of the TCU angle.

    Just another rumor, but for the moment assume there is something to it. Hard to see Delany taking Syracuse over Rutgers, so if true are we are the edge of getting to 16? Also hard to see ND joining without some major movement or rumors elsewhere, and so far the rumor mills for the BCS conferences are dead quiet. Only buzz is out of the MWC, WAC, and C-DOA. So could we see Delany go to 16 without ND, and what school would join Pitt, Syr, and Rut?

    If there is anything to this, the rumors should start flying around Pitt, Syr, Rut, and BEast boards. Until that happens, it may be just a smokescreen put out by TCU or BYU supporters for negotiating reasons, or speculation out west that quickly morphs via the telephone game into a supposed sure thing.

    • StevenD says:

      Syracuse and Pitt? No way. Not going to happen. The person who started this silly rumor hasn’t got a clue.

      • Vincent says:

        Syracuse and Pittsburgh become the 13th and 14th members only if both Rutgers and Maryland told the Big Ten no…a scenario I wouldn’t see happening. I could envision SU being part of an expansion to 16, with Pitt the last choice if Notre Dame declined, but not the other way around.

        • Adam says:

          Vincent alludes to an interesting requirement: the Big Ten is going to have to expand in pairs of teams from this point forward. No more one-off choices. This raises all kinds of concerns:
          Can you get 9 votes for any 2 expansion candidates on the COP/C?
          Will the choice of particular expansion candidates be complicated by how to place them in divisions? Or will the COP/C not especially care?
          Are there any chicken-and-egg hang-ups? If the league has to proceed in pairs, but you run into a situation where School A won’t join until School B gets the dominoes falling, and vice-versa, the net result could be that nothing happens.

          Generally speaking it just seems like a requirement to proceed in pairs will make this (even) more complicated than it was when the league only needed to pick off 1.

          • duffman says:

            MD = single state school, large public new state (new congressmen)

            Rutgers = single state school, large public new state (new congressmen)

            UVA = single state school, large public new state (new congressmen)

            then try for ND, but settle for Pitt

            Syracuse is PRIVATE, and is not exactly in NYC

            The long term move would be to invite Uconn but it will probably not happen (ESPN started by programming Uconn mens and womens basketball). In terms of untapped potential and “growing” a school Uconn would be it. Again, it will not happen but it would be a long term move that would seal up the northeast.

            If anybody wants to have fun, go back and look at Uconn basketball rise, and the rise of ESPN. Interesting correlation :)

    • Jake says:

      If the Big East lost Pitt and Syracuse, I would hope that TCU would think real hard before accepting an invite. That would be like the MWC losing Utah and BYU. Oh, wait.

  116. Big Ten Jeff says:

    ‘ve seen a few very interesting developments of late that bear mentioning.

    1) There is a very strong gravitational pull toward the East. Aside from JoePa’s insistence on PSU partners (kinda sounds like UT, huh?), I was shocked to learn that the Big Ten is the most popular conference in NYC/Northeast.

    2) Even with population trends leaning Southwest, the Northeast will remain the country’s most densely populated and most populated portion of the country. Delany’s comments without any meaningful expansion head fakes in that direction likely speak more to BTN penetration than expansion, especially with Texas’ need for autonomy (or dominance).

    3) Re Playoff Now’s post above, IMO it would be Pitt/Syr/Rut and MD or ND. I admit I’d be surprised by Pitt (instead of say, UVa) only because expansion seems to be geared toward accumulating states as well as universities, and PA seems to already be in the Big Ten column.

    Two questions:
    1) Unless this continues to be about ND (which I just can’t believe), what does the Big Ten stand to gain by waiting? With the new and ongoing momentum toward super conferences (actually led by the Big Ten), if the schools we desire are obtainable, why continue to allow schools like Texas and ND to create alternative scenarios and countermoves, instead of creating a sense of inevitability. The irony is we still don’t know what’s going on behind this 12-18 month timeframe.

    2) Many on this board have spoken strongly about a perception of the Big Ten as a Midwestern conference (which I, and apparently TPTB, disagree with). These trade winds are blowing in a manner that will blow that contention out of the water. I’m surprised there hasn’t been more angst about this than about conference divisions or the fate of various rivalries.

    • Big Ten Jeff says:

      Apologies. The last paragraph was meant to be a question along the lines of why hasn’t there been more angst?

    • Adam says:

      For my part, I do not suffer much angst about it at this point because I’m not convinced that further expansion is sensible until the 12-game cap is increased by the NCAA. I continue to think that 12 will be the number the major conferences settle at until something changes at the NCAA level.

      • Big Ten Jeff says:

        Good point, and I don’t disagree. I’m speaking more to the developing global intentions of TPTB, which seem to be putting financial considerations above what’s always made the Big Ten unique (collegiality/shared member interests and academic/research excellence). This trending evidence of a certain shift in philosophy is also apparent to those raising concerns about Division splits.

        • Adam says:

          Yeah, I definitely find that troubling! I feel like I dodged a bullet when the Big Ten took Nebraska and not . . . some of the other options. And now I’m freaking out that their priorities are all wrong on these divisions.

          Your question does make me think of something, though. Assuming that further consolidation appears to be in the offing. We’ve often speculated that that may be what forces ND’s hand to join the Good Ship Big Ten. But if it’s enough to force ND’s hand, will it provoke meaningful pressure from the Iowa or Pennsylvania legislatures for their Big Ten members to push for Iowa State or Pittsburgh’s entry into the league? I think we all anticipate that those would be money-losing deals, but might the legislatures be able to pressure the league into taking them anyway (perhaps on the theory that it doesn’t lose much money, or something)? I would think that if it becomes increasingly clear that there are a shrinking number of spots in a shrinking number of conferences, those states are not going to want a couple of their major schools left out in the cold.

          • Big Ten Jeff says:

            My simple response is the Big Ten is about to pour upwards of $25M into each state’s coffers on the basis of our relationship with their flagship universities. I’d doubt that any of our partner states would do anything to upset the apple cart. In fact, I’ve been very impressed at the amount of cohesiveness not just between Big Ten universities, but Big Ten member states. Besides, there’s no precedent in the Big Ten (although true in TX and VA) for a state legislature applying that type of pressure.

            Pitt fits as an all around academic/athletic consideration, but if we wouldn’t do it for Texas, and likely wouldn’t do it for PA, I’d seriously doubt we’d do it for Iowa.

        • PSUGuy says:

          To be fair, I see no difference of philosophy.

          The Big Ten has always considered financial concerns as one of its core beliefs, at least in my view.

          Why create the CIC if they didn’t want to minimize “duplicate” costs of research?

          Why start the BTN if they didn’t care about the profitability of second tier programs/sports?

          IMO, the Big Ten has always had the (correct) belief their universities must be large institutions, academically great, with a focus on graduate level research and “practical” sciences, with athletics that encompass many differing sports (the Big Ten IMO fields more sports programs than any other university system).

          To do those things, and do them well, financial concerns MUST be placed at the forefront of any major decision.

          • Big Ten Jeff says:

            PSU Guy, that’s the irony of my point. I personally don’t think it’s a difference of philosophy, but to the assembled masses on this blog, it’s more of an illumination of philosophy, which many of us here seem reluctant to accept.

            I still believe a goal is the nationalization of the BTN. Tying up the East, Midwest and Great Plains takes us a long way in that regard. The presence of our alumni bases in the South and rivalry/collaboration with the PacTwelve would go a long way to institutionaling that consideration. Unlike most posters, I’ve long believed money and academia is driving this expansion as much as athletics. IMO, these last leaks support that view.

          • Adam says:

            Financial concerns can be at the forefront without being the overriding factor. You can things that are not-stupid for your finances without doing things that are a singleminded pursuit of maximizing finances. There’s a big difference between the two. I expect that the Big Ten institutions be wise stewards of their finances and not act stupidly or irresponsibly, but when they become money grubbers, they’ve crossed a line.

          • Big Ten Jeff says:

            Adam, and that’s why I’ve held my fire to this point. I just can’t believe the same leadership team that’s been so stellar to this point is about to be so colossally stupid. It’s fine to preemptively express our opinions to TPTB, but until we actually see some outcomes and the explanations behind them, I refuse to believe Delany et al will let us down. We’ve already proven we can simultaneously be on top of the academic, financial and (close to) athletic heaps at the same time.

            We’re only as smart as our actions prove us to be. We’ve been the best thus far, and I just trust that to continue. I hope not to be proven wrong.

          • bullet says:

            Nebraska-small compared to the rest of the B10, academically not great, limited # of sports.

            Financially, very good.

            This is a conference that insisted that Rose Bowl invitees couldn’t go 2 years in a row and only 1 team could go to a bowl at least into the 60s and possibly into the 70s. Now its throwing traditions out the window (apparently) to maximize CCG revenues.

          • Adam says:

            Big Ten dropped the no repeats rule in 1972, and dropped the Rose Bowl exclusivity rule in 1975.

          • Adam says:

            In the same vein as bullet’s observation, in 1961 Ohio State University actually turned down an invitation to the Rose Bowl after the faculty decided that the school had a distasteful reputation as a “football school,” which led to Minnesota getting back-to-back appearances (they had finished 2nd that year).

          • Husker Al says:


            “Nebraska [...] limited # of sports.”

            Last I checked NU offered more sports than Texas A&M or Texas, at 21. The Longhorns carried 20, IIRC, and the Aggies 18.

          • bullet says:


            ALL the B12 schools offer a limited # of sports compared to the B10. Ohio St. has something like 35 or 36.

            I am contrasting UNL’s relatively limited #s to that broad based program philosophy, not denigrating it. UNL does does very well in most of what it offers. I know the Texas philosophy is to offer a limited # of sports and try to be nationally competitive in all of them.

            Someone posted the numbers a while back on the # of sports offered and I believe all, or maybe all but NW, offered more sports than anyone in the B12.

          • Husker Al says:


            Thanks for the clarification.

          • StevenD says:

            Nebraska has a limited # of sports? Really? In the Big 12 Nebraska is the sports leader (21 sports), more than Texas, more than Missouri. If you want to talk about a limited # of sports, look at Pitt (17) or Georgia Tech (15) or Iowa State (14). Even Syracuse offers only 20 sports.

    • yahwrite says:

      The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced the Big Ten is going to 16 with the additions all in the East.

      A West division would be the geographic 6 plus Michigan and MSU. That could be why they are transitioning the split of UM and OSU now. It will be easier to seperate them later, and possibly phase out the annual game.

      I don’t like it, but I’m trying to understand the reasoning for pairing UM and not PSU with Nebraska and further expansion makes the most sense. There has to be a huge financial projection (BTN in NYC and DC tv markets) for UM and OSU to be willing to split. I don’t think Brandon really believes what he is spinning.

      I think we’re going to see: Pitt (best fb brand not named ND), Maryland, Rutgers and one of ND, Virginia, Syracuse (most likely ‘Cuse, although I prefer UVa).

      • PSUGuy says:

        I posted elsewhere here that this split is tailor made for additional expansion…especially to the east.

        The only thing I wonder about it schools like Pitt or Cuse. IMO, they actually like the BE due to its bball centricity, even if I think they would be amenable to upgrading the football aspect of the conference.

        Not to say they wouldn’t leave, just that they would leave thinking the BigEast wasn’t a bad place to be, just the Big Ten is better.

        Rutgers (and to some extent possibly MD in the ACC) might have some belief that their current conference has marginalized, and not done enough to capitalize on, their strengths. Maybe they’d be “grateful” for the shot to be in the Big Ten.

        IMO, Mizzou on the west would be the same way.

        Personally my perfect additions would be Rutgers, MD, Mizzou then one of Pitt/Cuse (I guess ND could be thrown in there, but I’m really not pushing for them, nor do I really think they’ll come).

      • mushroomgod says:

        Obviusly hard to predict this stuff, but I still think they’ll only go to 14 w/o ND, and I still think the most likely additions are RU and Pitt. The 14 game schedule and Michigan to the West division plus the UM AD’s comments all seem to point to further expansion……..but I think the ultimate conservatism of the BT will prevail at this stage…..ultimately, if the BT DOES go to 16 down the road, I think Mo. will be one of the teams….but I think that will happen only if MD or ND is on board………..

        Mo will be added in the 16 team scenerio dispite academic concerns because adding any combination of RU/Pitt/MD/ND will provide sufficient academic cover……..

        Again, this is more of a semi-educated guess at this point, rather than a prediction…………

  117. StevenD says:

    I’ve just thought of another advantage of KISS divisions: you get more marquee matchups. Leaving aside crossover games and the ccg, KISS divisions give you: OSU-PSU, PSU-Mich and Mich-OSU. That’s three marquee matchups each year. One the other hand, if you split the big four teams 2-2, you get only one marquee matchup in each division. That’s two marquee matchups each year. KISS divisions are better.

  118. Vincent says:

    I can understand the reluctance towards Syracuse, but at the same time, SU is the only outlet available for the Big Ten if it wants the entirety of New York State (yes, metro New York City can be accessed through Rutgers, but SU is the sole conduit to that considerable upstate constituency). I would set some conditions for SU’s entry, including strengthening its current alliances with the SUNY system for research.

    • Hank says:

      Syracuse is not the only vehicle for upstate New York. I’m not advocating this but just pointing out that SUNY Buffalo is a better fit than Syracuse if upsate New York is a target (which I doubt. to large and diffuse.)
      Syracuse is a small private school with a small research presence. Buffalo is a public university, like Syracuse and AAU member, has a current research presence 10 times that of Syracuse and on par with Iowa and, like Nebraska, a recenty launched high profile multi year plan to grow the overall university and the research presence. No disrespect to Syracuse but it just does not fit the Big Ten profile. I don’t think Buffalo is a candidate either but if for some reason upstate New York were a target Buffalo fits the profile better and gives you western New York.

  119. Vincent says:

    If the Big Ten does go to 16 (and assuming Notre Dame isn’t an option), it will likely be four in the East from the group of Maryland, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Virginia. A group of four of those five creates its own “pod,” aligning with 12-team Big Ten pods of MSU/Mich/OSU/PSU, Ill/Ind?Nwest/Pur and Iowa/Minn/Nebr/Wisc.

    I suppose Missouri could fit in with Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska, but where does Wisconsin then go? In the pod with Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan, with Penn State joining its three new eastern brethren? Or do you slip UW in with three of the indiana/Illinois schools, moving IU or Purdue with OSU/MSU/Mich while PSU still bumps eastward?

    • mushroomgod says:

      Pods aren’t going to happen…..a pod of Ill/NW/Pur/IU?……wth…..Va’s not going to happen…..Syracuse won’t happen if they have any sense……….

    • m (Ag) says:

      Oh, how I missed pods!

      If you add Missouri, Maryland, Rutgers and 1 more East (Virginia, Pitt, UConn, Syracuse), these would be my pods:


      The Illinois-Missouri rivalry can replace the Illinois-Northwestern rivalry; Northwestern is happy to see Michigan or OSU visit every year. Of course, this means the 2 Big 12 arrivals don’t play every year, but I haven’t seen any Husker fans lamenting the loss of their Missouri rivalry since they joined the Big 10.

      • StevenD says:

        I think your Ill/MO/Ind/Pur pod is too weak. You really need to balance the strength in each pod. So put Nebraska in there with Ill/MO/Pur, send Ind to the OSU/Mich pod, and bump NW to the Iowa/Wisc pod. This gives you four nicely balanced pods and reignites the Nebraska-Misssouri rivalry.

        • M (Ag) says:

          I assume the 16 team configuration will be ‘permanent’, by which I mean the Big 10 will stop for at least 20 years.

          Given that, I’m more concerned about getting the most rivalries in than making sure everything’s balanced. In the years to come I’m sure some teams will fall back and others rise up.

          • Adam says:

            I still don’t see them expanding further until they can schedule more games, which would facilitate going to a 10-game schedule, which would eliminate the need to have rotating pods. You could have fixed divisions and still have everybody play everybody else a reasonable number of times.

  120. Adam says:

    Unrelated, but I thought someone would have said something by now, and since they haven’t, I just wanted to extend Frank a virtual high-five for the Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi reference.

  121. bullet says:

    P12 seems to be going the other way. Scott makes the comment that his bias is that it is easy for the fans to understand as well as competitive balance. So Scott gets it. Sounds like mass zipper is dead in the P12, maybe still a California zipper.

    As far as competitive balance, as close as all the schools are, I don’t know how you try to do that unless you just kick USC out and split up the rest.

    At the bottom of the article, mentions that Kirk Herbstreit comments that east coast bias is real and P10 has a long way to go to overcome it.

    • Adam says:

      Thanks for passing this along. Like you say, this quote is key:

      “My bias is for coming up for something that’s easy to understand for fans. I want an easy narrative to follow and it’s important that we have competitive equilibrium. Those are the two things I’m going to emphasize.”

      What I find frustrating is that the Big Ten’s leadership apparently is assuming that “something that’s easy to understand for fans” and presents “an easy narrative to follow” has no value. They’re just assuming it’s worth $0, so any money they (might) make off of an OSU/UM rematch obviously is more than $0. But I would say they’re wrong to assume that those things are worth $0, and they’re also wrong to assume that preserving an image of having some integrity and respect for tradition is also worth $0.

    • Adam says:

      FWIW, if I was running the Pac-10, I’d put the California and Arizona schools together in one division, and the Pacific NW and Mountain schools together. That’s roughly north-south, although I have no idea whether Utah and Colorado are north or south of Stanford and UC-Berkeley without checking a map. But that seems to make the most sense from a rivalries perspective.

      • bullet says:

        Adam, I think that plan makes the most sense. And with a 5-2-2 plan you can take care of the NW schools concerns about playing in So. California.

        If you split up the CA schools (bay area in north), you either breakup CA rivalries (not likely to happen), or you still have the problem of getting the NW schools into LA as the 5-2-2 would mean the CA schools play each other.

        Only issue with the CA/AZ in south plan is that the population and recruiting bases are in the south. IMO a 9 game schedule minimizes that impact.

    • m (Ag) says:

      I would avoid the zipper issue for the Pac 12; I definitely want the rivals together. That said, I’d put USC and UCLA in a division with the 4 Northwest schools; Stanford, Cal, Arizona, and ASU would join Colorado and Utah. Populations about as equal as can be without getting to un-geographic.

      According to wikipedia:
      SoCal=24.2 million
      Wash= 6.7 million
      Oreg= 3.8 million
      total=34.7 million

      NoCal=15.0 million
      Ariz= 6.6 million
      Colo= 5.0 million
      Utah= 2.8 million
      total=29.4 million

      • Vincent says:

        I might do a limited zipper so that all the non-California schools can take advantage of the NoCal and SoCal markets, big areas for recruiting. I’d put the Washington and Oregon schools with Stanford and Southern Cal, while Cal and UCLA would align with the Arizona schools plus Utah and Colorado. Of course, Cal-Stanford and UCLA-USC would be protected cross-divisional rivalries.

      • StevenD says:

        I’m with m(Ag). West division: 4 NW schools + 2 SoCal schools. East division: 2 Arizona schools + 2 Mountain schools + 2 Bay schools. The NW schools are currently screaming the loudest to play in SoCal, so let them have it. The Mountain schools want to play in California, so give them Stanford and Cali. This keeps rival pairs in the same division and produces a nice, simple conference structure.

        • Stopping By says:

          I think (on the surface) there would be an evident competitive inbalance with that set up. USC, UCLA, Wash, and Oregon (not to mention OrSt) in one division. That looks a whole lot stronger then AZ, CU, UU, Cal and Stanford… least to me it does.

  122. drwillini says:

    I’m not sure we are tied to a Noah’s Ark (2×2) expansion.
    1.) If the canididates are coming from different conferences (e.g. Rutgers and Maryland), the exit timetables might be different anyway.
    2.) A drawn out team at a time expansion could put the most pressure on ND. More subtle pressure, like the good reports we are getting from Big Red and their excitement for the big ten, and less a feeling the ND is being pressured into doing something in haste. Not that I favor Notre Dame’s expansion, in fact I don’t, but I concede that most people do.
    3.) Expansion votes are going to be contested. It think the presidents accepted Nebraska for the national brand, and had just enough cover from the AAU membership that they could vote them in. The only other school with that kind of national brand is ND, but their academic cover is different.

    I am sure the original timing outlined by Delany is driven by the new network negotiations timetable. It makes alot more sense to add a team before the contract rather than after, although the BTN allows the conference a bit of flexibility to realize expansion revenues independant of the network contract.

    Right now is the best scenario for a high quality expansion per Delany’s original timetable. Expansion news always percolating out, and general feeling of instability and vulnerability, positive news on BTN revenues, and the Nebraska folks crowing about how happy they are to be in the big ten.

  123. Todd says:


    I was just sitting here reading all of your excellent commentary when something occurred to me.

    Is there any chance that those of us who demand strict adherence to the tradition of “The Game” have turned into something similar to the Domers who will sacrifice all to preserve independence?

    Is the grouchy green island of misfit toys laughing at us right now?

    Just a thought. Peace and love.

    • Adam says:

      In a word, no. The Domers insist upon living in an alternate reality. I don’t see where this is that at all; it simply is taking the position that there is value (real monetary value) in honoring tradition, and that the Big Ten doesn’t do so at its peril.

      Someone above quoted the Pac-10 Commissioner as making the appropriate observation that there’s value in having something easily understood by the fans that presents a “narrative” which is easy to follow. You don’t have to live in the land of the Delusional Domers to take that position.

    • StevenD says:

      Yes, they are the same. The established traditions of the OSU/Mich rivalry carry the same weight as the established traditions of ND independence. That’s why I support puting OSU and Michigan in the same division AND support leaving Notre Dame out of the Big Ten.

      • mnfanstc says:

        ND stands for No Domers… Let them keep their dwindling piece of the cake on their little island…

        I find it interesting that ND’s football history (much of it ancient) is readily discussed in the current realm of a school’s prestige, while some other universities’ history is thrown by the wayside in comparison. Current day, ND is no more of a power on the football field than MSU, Purdue, or Minnesota. Assuming that ND is going to suddenly become a major power again is nothing more than that, an assumption.

        ND may be a good institution… However, it has long been the case that their identity and mission is significantly different than ANY of the Big Ten schools.

        Square pegs do NOT fit well in round holes… Caulking is only a temporary bandage…

    • Eric (ohio 1317) says:

      Maybe, I don’t know, but I never understood the hate to Notre Dame to begin with. They’ve always been a football independent, it’s something they value. If they can hold on to it without many monetary sacrifices, they should. They shouldn’t have to sacrifice that because some Big Ten teams would likely them in the conference.

      • Adam says:

        I don’t doubt that the Domers associate value with being Independent. The difference is that there is reason to question the long-term financial viability of that. It isn’t a question of profit maximization so much as survival.

      • StvInIL says:

        The problem with the domers giving value to their independence is its like the Amish giving value to the horse and buggy over the air plane. They believe their horse an buggy works quite well for them but it does not mean it’s not a system who’s time has passed. This all wrapped up in a candy wrapper of smugness is somewhat irritating to the those living in this century.

        • Adam says:

          However you want to characterize it, I do not think that objecting to the Big Ten’s plans for OSU/Michigan is in any way analogous to ND’s obstinateness.

        • It’s time has passed though is not a foregone conclusion. Being independent wouldn’t work for most teams, but there is no reason to assume it can’t work for Notre Dame. As a matter of fact, I’d make the argument that if they want to be as relevant on the national scene as in the past, they need something like independence that sets them apart. Everyone, love them or hate them, pays extra attention to them because of that. If they are just another member of the Big Ten, Big East, etc. that value drops.

    • Cliff's Notes says:


      I’ve been thinking about it more in terms of UM/tOSU vs UTx.

      If UM/tOSU were focused on maintaining power (as we’ve seen out of Texas), the feedback from TPTB would be about protecting The Game and The Importance of Michigan and Ohio State.

      But the words out of Ohio State and Michigan have been very open to moving The Game, and letting the process and studies and discussions play out.

      Both schools appear to be very engaged and supportive of doing what is best for The Big Ten and in the long run.

      That message is probably as important as the wheelbarrows of money from the BTN that Jim Delaney is rolling around in. All schools are fully invested in the partnership of The Big Ten, and not about a centrally located power.

      It’s not like Pitt, Syracuse, Rutgers, or Missouri would turn down an invite. But perhaps this message means something to Maryland or Virginia, if they compare it to the centralized power of the North Carolina schools, and the importance placed on supporting UNC-Duke to the detriment of other basketball teams.

  124. duffman says:

    FWIW: the west is dead!

    sure missouri and kansas are AAU schools but the Big 10 will not invite them (I am okay with either, but I am not a college pres, AD, or delany). While there has been debate about KU not being able to leave KSU behind, they do not have the same pull as a UT / TAMU, UNC / NC State, or a UVA / VT pair. Knowing this the smart folks in the state of Kansas would rather have at least 1 state school move up, than see both schools left behind. My feeling is that the realignment for the Big 10 is football centric and not basketball centric. I for one would love a future IU vs KU match up, but I do not have a vote here.

    UT and TAMU are probably a VERY low probability of joining the Big 10 (UT would get a bigger share in the Pac, and TAMU has the SEC as their future dance partner).

    While something could happen, for the sake of the argument, all future expansion is east!

    My gut feeling, is that how decisions on divisions fall out, they will probably be more reflective of Big 10 future schools. While as fans we may debate the short term wisdom. I have a feeling that how things pan out in the fall meeting will really be about where the Big 10 goes next (forget about divisions, concentrate on realignment). In short if breaks in rivals must be made, do it now, so new rivals will be open when the Big 10 goes to 16. So if divisions have Michigan in the west and tOSU in the east, it tells me the Big 10 will be adding 4 teams in the east and want to build “new” rivals now in anticipation of adding the 4 new teams.

    • duffman says:

      if it helps, if 16 is the goal:

      East 8 =

      UVA, MD, Rutgers, Pitt, PSU, tOSU, IU, PU

      West 8 =

      UM, MSU, NU, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, UNL

      If the Big 10 got ND, it would mean no Pitt. Without ND, Pitt is a good choice. Even with the PSU / Pitt overlap, the Big 10 has still picked up new markets in MD (Baltimore, Washington), NJ (Philly, NYC, and state), and VA (Washington + population of state)

      • StevenD says:

        100% correct. The Big Ten is going east. I believe Rutgers and Maryland will be added soon (starting play in 2013). This will provide two nice partners for PSU and will establish a Big Ten bridgehead on the east coast. Then we will wait to see how the dominoes fall from there.

        • StvInIL says:

          If I were JD, this is exactly how I would play it. But I believe we may have kept the door open for ND long enough. I would be more obliged to stop at 14 then go 1 team/school per year gradually ratcheting up the pressure on ND. With the possibility of other dominos falling upon word of our next expansion this brings more pressure on ND. The only way I go to 16 is if ND is 15.

      • yahwrite says:

        Take it for it is worth, but I read on a message board somewhere, maybe here, that Michigan was against Missouri for academic reasons. I’m not sure how many others may have been anti-Mizzou.
        But, I wonder if that would change in the name of preserving the OSU game if capturing the eastern market is a priority with at least 3 schools and Missouri. Of course, I’m assuming/hoping they come to their senses and go with East-West divisions making a western team a neccessity.

        Michigan State has already said they want to play Northwestern every year. Just flip them East and Indiana and Purdue West.

        • drwillini says:

          When Missouri started lobbying for an invite, Illinois interim President Ikenberry was quoted in the press as saying that Missouri was not a good academic fit. Hard to see how Nebraska is better.

          I too recall hearing that 3 or 4 presidents told JD that they would give him a unanimous vote for Nebraska, but he had better not bring another big 12 school that is not UT up for a vote.

          • StvInIL says:

            Logically, I dont see how you blame them. The football product is one thing and the academics is another. Nebraska’s fotball is a bonofide brand and the academics can be brought up by implication.

          • mushroomgod says:

            A week or so ago the new US News rankings came out. Neb went from #96 to #104, while Mo. went from #102 to #94.

            Interesting to contemplate whether things would have worked out differently if the ratings had changed 2 months ago…………

          • duffman says:

            missouri is in a weird spot, it is not like they are a bad school, but not good enough for the Big 10 or SEC. I know folks keep saying what about St. Louis, but it is a pro town and they follow the cardinals above all else by a wide margin. At least UNL had a bonna fide football brand, as KU had for basketball. It just looks like football is more important to the Big 10 at this point than basketball.

            The more I look at things it is almost better if a school does not have to compete with a pro football team, especially if the pro team is winning.

          • Jake says:

            @duffman – tell me about it. Things were going great for TCU until the Cowboys came to town (well, Dallas, but close enough). The better the Cowboys did, the worse things got for the Frogs. And TCU’s resurgence just happened to coincide with one of the worst stretches in Cowboys history.

  125. Playoffs Now says:

    The best way to reduce East Coast Bias is for all of the P12 to consistently schedule and beat SEC, B10+?, ACC, BEast, and (to a lesser extent) B12-2 teams. Especially the top 25 ones.

    • MAC Country says:

      PAC-10 record against the other BCS Conferences from 2000-2009:

      SEC 11-3
      ACC 7-6
      Big East 9-7
      Big Ten 32-21
      Big 12 23-23

      • MAC Country says:


        The PAC-10 is 11-9 against the SEC from 2000-2009

        • Jake says:

          What’s their record against the Mountain West?

        • MAC Country says:

          Compare that to the SEC, the self-titled most dominant conference in the country, in the same time frame, and it becomes clear there is an east coast bias.

          SEC record against other BCS conferences 2000-2009:

          ACC 47-32
          Big East 10-17
          Big Ten 18-15
          Big 12 20-15
          PAC 10 9-11

          • MAC Country says:


            The PAC-10 is 47-28 against the MWC from 2000-2009

          • bullet says:

            Interesting headline in the Atlanta paper:
            “ACC/SEC dominate poll”
            That was because the SEC had 6 and ACC 5, more than any other conference in the A/P poll. Accurate would have been, SEC and ACC dominate #16-#25 in AP poll. Each had only 2 in top 15 and ACC had noone in top 9. They did dominate the BOTTOM of the top 25.

  126. Playoffs Now says:

    Ya know, if BYU goes indy and brings air force with them, suddenly it gets easier for other schools to go indy. (Might not happen right now but rather if the B10+? goes to 16 and triggers SEC and probably ACC reshuffling.) If TX went indy they’d now have ND, BYU, AF, Navy, and Army available for mid and late season scheduling. Rice, OU, and aTm would continue annually, and almost certainly Baylor and TTech would also want to regardless of where they end up. That’s 10 games right there that on average have 3-4 of those schools in the top 25 during the season.

    Hawaii may be forced into indy, providing another option. UHou, SMU, and probably TCU would jump at the chance to play TX and arrange with their conferences for the mid or late season slots TX would want. Add 1 or 2 Sept top 25 games and TX’s schedule is solid and set with little difficulty.

    Of course the follow up is where would the other sports compete? I don’t foresee TX going indy unless B10+? expansion triggers a big shakeout, after which there will be one or more significant conference of leftovers. Even if that option is closed off, they can always slum with a C-DOA or a state of Texas division of a desperate WAC. Even if the B10+? doesn’t go past 12, if TX goes indy then aTm, OU, and perhaps OK St go SEC. Where do the B12-? leftovers go? Perhaps the MWC and BEast can take most of them, but there are probably enough leftovers that they can be combined with Texas and nearby mid-major schools. MWC might find it hard to turn down an offer to share in the market and TV $’s TX basketball and baseball would bring (1/2 the games would be available.)

    I hate the idea of TX going indy, but if BYU and AF do so then it starts to look a good bit easier for TX.

  127. StvInIL says:

    @Playoffs now

    You talk as though going independent is a destination like the best steakhouse in town. It’s a more exclusive situation than that I believe. BYU has a unique situation in their Mormon relationship and their possible viewership. I think for most schools the independent thing will see them quickly max out their income potential and they will be looking for new revenue streams in a relatively short time.

  128. Danimal says:

    Would the addition of UVA, Rutgers, Maryland or any of these other east coast schools that are being discussed be a breakeven to the revenue requirement for the Big 10 Network?

    • Vincent says:

      From a Maryland perspective, the interest in Terrapin sports (principally basketball right now, but football when the team is at least competitive) is such that were Maryland to join the Big Ten, cable systems throughout the state, principally the Washington-Baltimore area, would have to add the Big Ten Network to their basic tier — quite a few added subscriptions for the BTN. The same likely would also be true for Rutgers and UVa.

  129. Hawkeye / Gator Boy says:


    Reading the tea leaves, as we know them to date, it looks like the Big Ten Establishment is going to split the four name brands with Nebraska and Michigan in the west and tOSU and Penn State west. (lets assume this for the sake of argument). I would think that Iowa goes west given it’s location on the western fringe of the BT and the desire to keep Iowa in the same division as Nebraska.

    Thus, I think one of the main issues that Jim Delany is wresting with is where to but the Badgers. Wisconsin west really makes the West division full of tough teams (UM, UNL, Iowa and Wisky) but putting Wisconsin in the east reeks of gerrymandering and complicates the rivalry match-ups.

    I would be in favor of Wisconsin to the west even tough a west division of:

    Michigan State

    makes for a tough western division. I would think that Barry Alvares is considering going east, not only for an easier path to the CCG but for eastern TV exposure and an opening to the rich recruiting grounds in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

    I’m thinking that the question of “what to do with Wisconsin” is what is holding up the final decision on the Big Ten Divisions.

    • Adam says:

      This might be the best explanation yet for why splitting up Michigan/OSU causes as many or more problems than the benefits it brings. Everything you describe here doesn’t need to happen if they just do the smart thing, instead of trying to out-smart themselves.

      • bullet says:

        MI/OSU with PSU/UNL in the other division gives PSU the shaft (stuck on an island w/o major rivals).

        PSU/OSU with MI/UNL in the other division is either seriously unbalanced or WI gets the shaft (stuck on a peninsula w/o major rivals-PSU/OSU/IU/PU/IL/WI).

        UNL/OSU with MI/PSU in the other division and OSU gets the shaft (stuck w/o major rivals-UNL/OSU/IA/IL/IU/PU).

        KISS! KISS! KISS!

        • Vincent says:

          If KISS is not adopted, and the middle option (to me, the least objectionable) is selected, Wisconsin should make sure that its approval is conditional on a) Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa be its cross-division games for 2011 and ’12; b) the Big Ten commits to adding two eastern teams by 2013 (something PSU would certainly endorse) and c) UW then be moved to the Mich/Nebr division.

    • StevenD says:

      There is also a question about Minnesota, Wisconsin’s most important rival. If Wisconsin goes east, does Minnesota go with it? If both go east, we are left with three tidy pairs in the west: Iowa-Neb, Mich-MSU, Ill-NW. Then, if the Big Ten adds two (or four) new schools in the east, Minnesota (and Wisconsin) can go west.

  130. Tom Smith says:

    The more I hear about splitting OSU and UM, the more I’m getting used to the idea of UM and MSU in the West and Illinois and Northwestern in the East. Not too shabby the more I think about it.

    • Eric (ohio 1317) says:

      I’m the reverse. I actually kind of liked the idea when I was first running through scenarios right after expansion. Even without moving the date of the Ohio State-Michigan game I don’t like the idea now and if they move the date too well I’m going to be seriously angry. I’m actually coming around to the KISS and hated the idea originally.

      • Adam says:

        FWIW, I know a lot of people who hated the KISS model, in part because they had an immediate knee-jerk reaction that putting UM, OSU and PSU in the same division was “imbalanced.” However, as the numbers have been crunched and the implications for the Big Ten’s various important rivalries have come out, many have come around on the idea. They tend to see it as a “least bad” outcome, rather than an affirmatively good one, but it’s better than nothing.

        • That’s pretty much my take on it. There are one or two proposals I like better, but any of them involve the conference nailing down a lot of things (9 games being a must for starters). I don’t trust them on that anymore so I’d rather them just do the simple solution.

  131. loki_the_bubba says:

    Wow. I go away for a few days and come back to hundreds of posts. Yet nothing happened. BYU still hasn’t made up its mind. The BigTen++ is thinking about throwing away their marquee game (they should ask Nebraska about how well that works out). My mid-majors had some chaos. I half expect the mega-mid-major scenario to pan out and Rice to be left out and to go to D1AAA. It really makes me have more sympathy for the stability of the place I took my daughter to matriculate.

    Go Irish!

  132. loki_the_bubba says:

    Interesting post today on a Rice board about the MWC…

    [i]Yesterday, I had a fortuitous, face to face, one on one, meeting with perhaps one of the top four officials of the MWC. I immediately identified myself as loyal Rice fan and, having read this board, I think I was prepared to ask the right questions. The official was quite frank and extremely friendly.

    Quick summary:

    1. I congratulated him on the quick MWC move to get Fresno and Nevada to secure BYU. He smiled and winked. BYU “…is back…” in MWC, he said.

    2. “We think of Rice as one of our best possible partners…it’s all about academics, compared to Rice some of these other schools look like junior colleges. We want to be associated with Rice..”

    The official was on vacation with his family in a stateside resort, sort of getting away for the weekend. Nothing important would happen in MWC without him leading it.

    He invited my wife and I to his box for an important football game coming up; also to play some golf— I will take him up on both counts. My impression is that Rice has a good friend in him and that he will help Rice over other schools. It will be easy for me to try to nurture our friendship, since we seemed to enjoy each other’s company. [/i]

    • Playoffs Now says:

      What’s that poster’s reputation, reliable? So are you buying it or blowing it off?

      I could make some arguments for Rice. Most likely is the unmerged MWC plays C-USA for a BCS slot. Next would be the MWC going to 20 or 16 by raiding C-USA and Hawaii with ESPN’s assistance.

      But even at 14 it isn’t completely unfathomable. The Rice academic rep would be a plus for the MWC, the baseball team is consistently one of the best in the nation, and the football team was in a bowl recently. Adding UH, Rice, and SMU would give TCU and UH travel partners and another niche in each of the Houston and DFW markets, thus more local content for what would be the MWChannel’s 2 biggest markets. Perhaps TCU wants less travel, though it is hard to see how SMU and Rice add enough value to make 1/14th equal 1/12th. Who knows what was said in the Comcast suites last week.

      My guess is that BYU stays and MWC goes to 12 with UHou unless BYU insists on Utah St or someone else instead. However there is a rumor that C-USA is demanding major damages if UHou leaves, perhaps over $10 mil. Perhaps Temple or LA Tech to replace UHou, so not the end of the world for C-USA. Talk of MWC going over 12 is probably a negotiating threat to WAC ‘em unless they lower UHou’s exit penalties.

      • Playoffs Now says:

        BTW, are we sure the new MWC is going to share revenues equally? How many teams must they add before their horrid TV contracts can be renegotiated?

        • loki_the_bubba says:

          I have no insight. Just passing on rumors.

          • Playoffs Now says:

            Well how about a conspiracy theory? Texas Congressman Joe Barton has for awhile been outspoken in his criticism of the BCS. Could perhaps some state schools lobbied him to approach the MWC with a deal: “Add UHou, SMU and Rice to TCU, and Baylor in the future if they need a home, and I’ll pursue the BCS in congressional hearings once we retake Congress until the BCS gives the MWC an AQ.” But if that was going on, wouldn’t Orrin Hatch be twisting their arms to add Utah St?

            So highly unlikely, but not unfathomable. Totally unsubstantiated, I’m just brainstorming ways in theory that Rice could be included.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            @Playoffs Now…

            I have no idea who you root for, but your sarcasm, cynicism and bitterness make me question your objectivity.

          • Playoffs Now says:

            I’m a TX fan first. Then I root for all Texas teams when they aren’t playing TX (though LOL when aTm chokes against McNeese St and similar.)

            Look, I’m a designer, so I’m always mentally doodling and brainstorming, turning things upside down and backwards to look for patterns or revelations or something I’d missed. Repeatedly questioning assumptions from different angles, including the unlikely, before filtering it back through degrees of realism. So the speculation can get pretty far out, but occasionally odd sequences do happen.

            I’m not mocking Rice, sorry if you took it that way.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            @Playoffs Now

            Sorry if I misconstrued. It was too late to be on the web.

          • Playoffs Now says:

            No problem. Yeah, I’m not always the best communicator.

      • bullet says:

        TCU fan earlier said Patterson gets overly excited about things. More I hear about this, the less seems to be there.

        Extra game isn’t going to happen short of a playoff. And with a playoff, MWC/CUSA winner is not going to get 1 of 8 slots-both might have to play-in against a wildcard.

        MWC is tied to Mountain West Network, so if there is some form of merger, it will be CUSA absorbing some of Mountain West. And that is problematic as CUSA has more deadweight.

        Everything I hear is that SMU/Rice/UH are sticking together so that none get left behind again (if SEC/Big12 come calling that is a different story). UH doesn’t seem to be pursuing MWC, quite logically. Exposure is better in CUSA, bowls are better, money is comparable, attraction to the local fan base is comparable or better, travel drastically less.

        In any event, nothing really changes until 2014 when BCS is up. A lot can happen in 4 years. If SWC had broken up 4 years earlier, UH probably would have been in B12 and Kansas St. in CUSA.

        • Jake says:

          @bullet – that was probably me talking about Patterson. I have no idea what he was going on about, but most of us at TCU aren’t getting ourselves too worked up over whatever it might turn out to be.

          As far as bringing another Texas school into the MWC, TCU might not be blocking it, but we don’t seem to be encouraging the idea either. TCU’s marketing strategy revolves around product separation – basically, setting ourselves apart from the other non-Big 12 Texas schools. So, if one of those schools did get in, there would have to be a much better incentive than “maybe Congress will get around to fixing the BCS.” And I don’t put any stock in this MWC-CUSA merger idea.

  133. [...] many think that this is just the beginning.  As Frank from astutely noted, Senator Hatch may not be pacified by the fact that Utah has found a home in an AQ [...]

  134. Vincent says:

    Another scenario I could envision for 2013, if the Big East football schools finally summon up the courage to break free of the Providence shackles. This also operates under the assumptions that Notre Dame is not interested in an all-sports conference, period, and that Texas is legit about keeping a conference for good, not using one as a holding pattern:

    Big Ten goes to 14, adding Rutgers and Maryland.
    ACC, down to 11 after Maryland leaving, adds Connecticut, Pittsburgh and Syracuse for a 14-team conference.
    Big 12 adds the four remaining Big East football members — Cincinnati, Louisville, South Florida and West Virginia — for a 14-team conference. (USF joins the Texas and Oklahoma schools for a South division, while the North is comprised of UC, UL, WVU, Iowa State, Kansas State, Kansas and Missouri.)

    If the SEC decides to go to 14 as well, likely picking off Texas A&M and Virginia Tech, the Big 12 replenishes with Memphis and the ACC with Temple.

  135. mushroomgod says:

    The highly anticipated 1st annual Mushroomgod Academic Rankings are out.

    The idea is to get some idea of where the BT schools rank in graduate programs, and how the US news ratings might look if graduate education was considered.

    I used all US News ratings for undergrad and grad programs. I looked at the following grad programs: Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science, Biology, Business, Law, Medicine (ie,,U hospitals), Engineering, Education, English. I weighed Engineering most heavily because they build everything. I weighed Law next because the lawyers tear everything down. I gave equal weight to Law and Medicine. I counted the remainder of the programs evenly. If you don’t have an engineering school or medical school opn campus (like IU), you get no points in that category.

    I counted undergrad as 60% of the rankings, grad as 40%. My thinking was that grad school education is more important for each individual, but something like 75% of students are undergrad.

    Here are the US News undergrad rankings:


    Of note here is that, of all the BT schools, only Purdue gained in the recent rankings. All the others either stayed the same or declined, some significantly.

    Mushroomgod’s GRADUATE rankings are as follows:

    NW…………. 20

    Putting it all together, my overall BT rankings are:


    Others of interest:

    MD ….46

    Other notes:

    1. The drop-off from MSU to Neb is as substantial in grad rankings as in undergrad:

    Physics….MSU 36 Neb 70
    Chemistry MSU 38 Neb 78
    Biology….MSU 46 Neb 82
    Business…MSU 46 Neb NR
    Law……..MSU NA Neb 93
    Medicine…MSU 46 Neb NA
    Engineer. MSU 51 Neb 94
    Education MSU 17 Neb 56
    English….MSU 63 Neb 63

    2. % of grad students/overall enrollment


    • RedDenver says:

      Nice piece of data gather there. But I’m going to point out a major flaw in all academic rankings I’ve ever seen – this isn’t directed at mushroomgod specifically.

      Academic rankings are purely opinions based on perception. And, like all opinions, there is bias in the people doing the rankings. I think it would be interesting to see the trends between the schools attended by the people doing the rankings and the ranking results. Another point of my contention is that the rankings favor institutions boasting the leading researchers in various fields. But my experience is that few of the best researchers make the best teachers. Also, what exactly is a good metric for an academic institution? I’m sure there are many other reasons, but those stick out to me the most.

    • drwillini says:

      Interesting analysis. Everybody has a favorite ranking, my own is:
      I think the mid-career median salary is a great objective ranking. By mid-career, the liberal arts UGs that go on to professional school are competitive with the engineers. The only bad thing about this ranking is that, when you use it to look a colleges today, is that it is really an indicator of the quality of education 20 years ago. So none of these are perfect, but I think this is better than the subjective BS that USNews, Princeton and Forbes use. Second best, in my opinion iw the ARWU.

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        My problem with this ranking is that it is not controlled for the area of the country. Pay is higher in California because the cost of living is so out of whack there. And graduates are highly regional. Many more Harvey Mudd graduates in L.A. than in Houston. If you could norm this data for cost of living it would mean much much more.

  136. mushroomgod says:

    BTW, I have to give some props to IU here….

    If IU’s Indy medical center was counted in the grad ratings, IU would be 31st in grad school ranking nationally……


    Also, I used US News grad ratings for last year, because I was too lazy to look it all up again……..

    • spartakles78 says:

      While most people tend to look at the larger groupings such as the department or college, we see why college provosts look at individual programs when they do their evaluations and benchmarking. Nuclear physics at MSU has been thought to be ahead of MIT for several years but only recently overcame the #1 top brand name.

      as they say rankings are relative… Is there a brewing polling controversy with USN&WR, ARWU etc.?
      Of course, there’s The Princeton Review which lists 6 Big Ten universities in the Top 20 of party schools. :)

  137. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    NCAA president Mark Emmert (former UConn, UDub, and most importantly LSU Chancellor) wants to change college basketball/NBA draft rules. Same as college baseball/MLB draft rules.

  138. I’m predicting the Cougs rethink their decision and stay in the MWC. Makes no sense to go independent when conferences are still gobbling teams up. For me, the Cougars might be the eye of a much bigger storm, that being just how much Congress gets involved in the BCS business. Using some of Frank’s material, I’ve written about it at my blog at:

    • StvInIL says:

      The Cougars have two problems. 1) no play on Sundays 2) their strong affiliation to the church LDS.
      Otherwise, I would agree with you. In fact, I think they need to go out and be aggressive and beat the bush at conferences they would really want to join. Else that partial independent think might work best for them as a fall back.

  139. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    If your not already fired up for football season, watch this video.