Message to the Big Ten: Don’t Create the New Coke Conference

Posted: August 26, 2010 in Big Ten, Sports
Tags: ,

A little over 25 years ago, the Coca-Cola Company was concerned that it was losing market share to Pepsi in the “Cola Wars” and hired an avalanche of consultants and scientists to concoct a new formula for its flagship product.  If you were a businessman that only made judgments based on specific metrics from market studies, it looked like the move would be a success.  Focus groups actually gave a ton of positive feedback to what would become known as “New Coke” and stated that they liked it better than both the original Coke formula and Pepsi.  Coca-Cola executives in Atlanta were convinced that this was what was going to overtake the “Pepsi Generation” by making a clear and bold break with tradition and the past.

New Coke was introduced to the public on April 23, 1985.  The public’s reaction was swift and visceral: they wanted to torch the company’s headquarters.  Oh sure, they said that they liked New Coke in blind taste tests, yet all of those highly-paid consultants didn’t factor in that there was a bond to the original flavor that went beyond the taste buds.  New Coke bombed in stores, boycotts occurred across the country, all of the original formula Coke left on store shelves was being hoarded and politicians started squawking.  Less than 3 months after New Coke’s debut, Coke brought back the original formula under the name Coca-Coca Classic.  David Keough, the president and chief operating officer of Coca-Cola at the time, stated this (with emphasis added) at the press conference announcing the return of the traditional taste:  “There is a twist to this story which will please every humanist and will probably keep Harvard professors puzzled for years.  The simple fact is that all the time and money and skill poured into consumer research on the new Coca-Cola could not measure or reveal the deep and abiding emotional attachment to original Coca-Cola felt by so many people.”

I’m a corporate attorney that has spent most of my career either working with or for large management consulting firms.  So, I have a ton of respect for consultants in general and personally have a lot at stake working within that industry.  I also have no qualms about bucking tradition when its appropriate in order to maximize revenue – most of the readers here came across my blog via a post advocating that the Big Ten go after Texas in a decidedly non-traditional expansion move.  According to Mike Gundy, I’m not even old enough to be a man yet.  The point is that I’m not an old fuddy duddy traditionalist that doesn’t think about finances and just wishes everything would go back to the old days.

Here’s the problem that I have and we’re facing as fans on the outside: no consulting firm on Earth will receive much in terms of hourly fees by telling Coca-Cola to stick with its original formula… or say that the Big Ten should simply have a logical East/West split in its divisions… or that moving the Michigan-Ohio State game from the last weekend of the regular season is so ludicrous that merely discussing is a waste of time since it is a slap in the face to college football fans everywhere.  Doing what’s logical can be summed up in a comment to a blog post (much less a blog post itself).  Making several million dollars in consulting fees requires to coming up with wacky division alignments, statistical analysis on “competitive balance”, test marketing, and multitudes of Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations explaining how there’s a double pot of gold if you can get Michigan and Ohio State to play twice in a single season.  Never mind that the ACC tried to do the same with Miami and Florida State and the football gods have crushed the prospect of that conference championship game matchup every year.  I’m sure that the Big Ten brass in Park Ridge has been poring over so much data over the past few months without public interaction that they’ve likely convinced themselves that the simple and logical answer to divisional alignment and treatment of the Michigan-Ohio State game can’t possibly be good enough, just like the people at Coca-Cola’s headquarters 25 years ago.

Alas, the very smart people at the Big Ten conference offices are completely outsmarting themselves here.  For whatever reason, the KISS formula of a logical East/West division split simply won’t do.  I can somewhat understand the desire to split the 4 “marquee brands” of Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Nebraska evenly amongst the divisions.  However, the thought of (1) sending Michigan and Ohio State to opposite divisions and (2) moving their rivalry game from the end of the season to the midseason is even worse than the idea of New Coke.  At least Coca-Cola wanted to shake things up because it was losing market share.  In contrast, the Big Ten is at the height of its power and has ZERO reason to eliminate a single rivalry game or mess with its most valuable regular season property.  Jim Delany, Barry Alvarez and other Big Ten representatives claiming that there isn’t a way to preserve all of the conference’s currently protected rivalries is complete B.S. (especially if it’s true that the Big Ten will have a 9-game conference schedule starting in 2015).  They can ALL be protected if the Big Ten chose the KISS alignment, but they are affirmatively CHOOSING not to use it.

Well, if the Big Ten isn’t going to go with the KISS formula (which I continue to believe is the right way to do it), it should at least try to mitigate the damage that it’s going to do to its fans and traditions.  My hope is that the Big Ten realizes that it’s not worth it to whore itself out for $150,000 per school (as determined by Dan Wetzel of Yahoo!) in the hopes of a Michigan-Ohio State rematch in a Big Ten Championship Game.  That’s right: a whole $150,000 per school, which is less than the annual interest on John Calipari’s slush fund.  Seriously, though, to put that in perspective, mgoblog calculated that Michigan could raise $150,000 by increasing ticket prices by twenty cents.  Also, Ohio State is paying Colorado $1.4 million to visit the Horsehoe for a PACrifice blood money home game in 2011.  So, the complete destruction of the century-old tradition of the Michigan-Ohio State game will pay for less than 7 minutes of Colorado’s time on the field.  WTF?!

Let me hammer home for the second time in this blog post that the ACC has tried this exact same thing with its gerrymandered divisions that look like a rottweiler tore into a Rand McNally road atlas in order to setup a Miami-Florida State championship game and HAS FAILED.  The fact that the national media doesn’t immediately point out immediately how AWFUL the ACC divisions are (as opposed to the constant bitching about the red herring of the perceived Big 12 North/South “imbalance”) is one of my biggest pet peeves in all of this.  LOOK AT THE FAILURE OF THE ACC HERE.  I will beat this into everyone’s head until it becomes a reflexive response.

Before I get angrier about this, let’s try to put together a reasonable alternative to the KISS formula that keeps Michigan and Ohio State together while also making a good faith effort toward the amorphous concept of “competitive balance”.  To me, there are 3 “pods” of schools in the Big Ten:

Ohio State
Penn State
Michigan State



Here are my division alignment parameters:

(1) 2 teams from each pod are in each division
(2) 1 permanent intra-pod cross-division opponent
(3) Michigan and Ohio State are kept together (meaning Penn State and Nebraska must be together)
(4) Don’t let either Penn State or Nebraska be on islands
(5) Equal access to prime recruiting territories means as much as competitive balance

So, here’s my proposed division alignment:

Ohio State

Penn State
Michigan State

Michigan – Michigan State
Ohio State – Penn State
Wisconsin – Nebraska
Minnesota – Iowa
Northwestern - Illinois
Purdue – Indiana

Under this, Michigan – Ohio State continues to be played at the end of the regular season and the conference sets up another marquee end-of-the-year matchup between Nebraska and either Penn State or Iowa.  The 4 marquee brand schools are split up evenly and every school has direct annual exposure to at least 3 of the 4 top recruiting territories within the Big Ten region (Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania).  Finally, except for Wisconsin – Iowa (which was most in danger because they are both such natural pairs with Nebraska and I’ll be damned if the Floyd of Rosedale, the most bad-ass trophy in sports, gets cut), EVERY SINGLE CURRENTLY PROTECTED RIVALRY WILL LIVE ON.  Once again, don’t let anyone sweet talk you into thinking that “competitive balance” had to kill multiple rivalries – that’s complete bunk.

Whatever your thoughts are on this issue, I encourage you to email Jim Delany at (h/t to super commenter Adam) and the president/chancellor and athletic director of your favorite school.  Even better on top of that, email the groups of people that can really make the aforementioned people squirm: the members of the board of trustees of your favorite school that sign the paychecks and the applicable state legislators that control public university funding.  Be sure to mention if you donate to your school or hold season tickets and what will happen to such donations and season ticket payments if the Big Ten continues to ignore its fans that provide financial support to its member institutions.

I hope that Jim Delany and the powers that be within the Big Ten remember the thoughts of the former Coca-Cola president that screwed up by introducing New Coke:  All of the time and money that the Big Ten is paying consultants to figure out its division will NOT measure or reveal the deep and abiding emotional attachment to the conference’s traditions by so many people.  If the Big Ten is going to make a grave error in its divisional alignments, at least make it only a Crystal Pepsi mistake instead of a New Coke nuclear bomb on history.

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

(Image from Virgin Media)

About these ads
  1. loki_the_bubba says:

    Go Irish!

  2. greg says:

    Hawks #2 (in the Ford division)!!!

  3. HerbieHusker says:


  4. Carl says:

    Love Ya Lions!

  5. willarm1 says:

    Great Post Frank;

    I would think a yearly Michigan v. Nebraska game would be good for ratings.

  6. jcfreder says:

    Barta said league officials have discussed divisional names using directions, icons or colors. He said the names will be widely scrutinized so the discussions are intense because “they have to stand the test of time.”

    Um, exactly why using “icons” or “colors” would be such a stupid way to name divisions.

  7. akaBruno says:

    In the end, I am indifferent to whether Ohio State-Michigan should be in the same division, let alone when they should meet.

    Just because it was that way in the past, does not not necessarily mean it should be in the future. We’ve added countless bowls as well as the names of the bowls have changed. The BCS formula seemingly changes every year. The Rose Bowl isn’t always the domain of the Big 10 and Pac-10. Why is OSU-Michigan suddenly this sacrosanct commodity….whether it is being changed for an extra $150k or not.

    My guess is that for the majority of non-Michigan and non-OSU fans, the holy Michigan-Ohio State match-up really doesn’t matter.

    • @akaBruno – That’s the thing – I’m not a Michigan or OSU fan in any shape or form, but I DO care about that game. TV ratings also indicate that plently of people outside of the Michigan-Ohio State universe care about it, too. The burden of proof should be on the powers that be to show why Michigan-Ohio State MUST be moved, not the other way around. Things change and the Big Ten should make progress, but that doesn’t mean it must change things just for the sake of change.

      • Adam says:

        I agree, Frank. This notion that, because some things have changed, or that some things must change, all things are in play for being changed, is total horseshit.

        • Dave says:

          I could not agree more. I also hate being lectured by douchebags in suits about how Change with a Capital C is good and we must embrace it, as if “change” is some disembodied and irresistible force of history that has come upon us, not ACTUAL BAD DECISIONS BEING MADE BY ACTUAL IDENTIFIABLE PEOPLE — the very ones lecturing us about the disembodied Change.

          If you’re going to make bad decisions that piss lots of people off, at least own up to it, you cowardly a-holes. Don’t pretend it’s some inevitable, impersonal entity that just happened.

          (Yes, I’m a Michigan fan and yes, I’m pissed off.)

      • akaBruno says:

        Ahhh…..but do you believe that the ratings of OSU-Michigan will go down if it is played in early October or early November instead of the end of the season?

        If the game is that important and people do care about it, people will flock to it regardless of when it is played.

        • aps says:

          As an Ohio State alum and fan. I can tell you that it will suffer. Myself and many of the Ohio State fans I know are pissed at even the thought of it being moved. I can also tell you that many of us will be done with the Big Ten and Ohio State.

          Personally, I am an alum who WILL NOT being renewing my alumni membership, purchasing any football tickets or contributing any funds to Ohio State IF they move the game.

          I will quite watching any Ohio State or Big Ten football games or sports. In other words, I am done.

          Ohio State and the Big Ten needs me the consumer. I don’t need them. I can do other things with my money and time.

          So, yes the Big Ten and Ohio State will take a hit.

          • Adam says:

            That’s my feeling. If they’re going to take away what makes college football fun for me, I might as well take my Saturdays back. I could use the time to actually have something resembling a life during the Fall.

          • gregalthoff says:

            Donate to the art school or the library.

        • McFate says:

          How’s that “split between divisions and not played last in the season” bit workin’ out for Oklahoma-Nebraska? OU-UNL was the Big 8′s equivalent to OSU-Michigan once upon a time. It was their big season-ending Thanksgiving-time game that the whole country watched.

          And then the Big XII did three things to it:
          (1) Moved it earlier in the season
          (2) Split the teams across divisions
          (3) Didn’t force it to be played every year

          Unless you want to argue that (3) and (3) alone is the reason that the ratings for that game now stink, it seems crazy to suggest that the Big Ten embark on (1) + (2), and that it won’t have much effect.

          To me it seems an obvious truth that late games are more meaningful than early games, because there is a clearer picture of what is at stake. There is an extra-high level of urgency for the very last game of the year, because the outcome of that game is the last piece of the puzzle for each team. Had Michigan-OSU been in October this past year, it would have been “a bad Michigan team versus a decent OSU team, ho-hum.” But as the final game, at least we knew that The Game made the difference for Michigan’s bowl eligibility. Even though Michigan was horrible, the game had some significance just by virtue of being the final game of the regular season.

          It’s also pretty obvious that games within the division are more important than those across the division. You can lose to a cross-division opponent and still control your own destiny — just run the table within your division and you hold head-to-head over every other team PLUS have given every one of them a loss. A cross-division opponent is somewhere between a non-conference opponent and a divisional opponent in terms of the value of the win.

          As an October cross-division game, OSU-Michigan becomes a lot like Michgian-ND. It’s an interesting game between two perennially good teams, but it’s not THE game any more. No, it won’t turn into Indiana-Purdue overnight, but it will be diminished.

          • PSUBruce says:

            I agree. “The Game” needs to be at the last game, as the history of other rivalries and confereneces testifies.

          • Bullet says:

            A little confusing when you reference “The Game.” I think most people outside the B10 think of “The Game” as the one whose most famous moment didn’t involve Bo or Woody. It involved a bunch of laterals and a marching band (Cal-Stanford for the B10+1 people).

          • @Bullet – I think you mean “The Play”:

            Fun fact: White Sox GM Kenny Williams was on the field playing for Stanford.

          • Hank says:


            you can’t be serious. outside of the Pacific coast most people are barely aware Cal Stanford is a significant rivalry. Let alone that it is called the BIG Game.

            and fwiw I lived in San Francisco at the time and was at that game (my first year on the west coast)

          • duffman says:

            just as an aside

            had the “band” stopped the play short of the goal line what would have been the call?

          • bullet says:

            I had just never heard UM/OSU referred to as “the game” until reading this board. And I lived in IN and OH for a few years (admittedly many years ago).

          • bullet says:

            Loki-know your Rice history? Dicky Maegle-Rice University.

            Cotton Bowl 56? Alabama player came off the bench and tackled Maegle as he was breaking away from the 11 bama players on the field. Result-touchdown. Pretty sure a band tackle would have been the same answer.

          • bullet says:

            Read about that Cotton Bowl in a book published in the 60s I used to have as a kid, titled something like 15 great football stories. Had one story, “Roses Bloom in the Snow.” Don’t remember if it was UM/OSU or someone else playing. Teams punted 40 or 50 times. They didn’t want to hold on to the ball for fear of fumbling, so they punted on 1st down. Final score was something like 3-2 or 9-3 with the winner going to the Rose Bowl. Anyone here know the story? Which teams?

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            That was one of the first football stories I read as a child in a compendium of football oddities. The Bama payer was Tommy Lewis. Their QB was Bart Starr. And Rice is 3-0 all time against Alabama.

          • bullet says:

            Loki-sounds like the same book.
            “Wrong way Corrigan,” (Cal player who took a turnover the wrong direction in the Rose Bowl giving up a safety) Centre College of Kentucky upsetting powerhouse Harvard with a bunch of Texas recruits, GT’s 222-0 win over Cumberland and the Rice/Alabama and Roses in the snow story.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            Chapter 21 is your roses in the snow:

          • Bamatab says:

            bullet & loki, that was during the 1954 Cotton Bowl. Dick Moegle who was on his way to a 95 yard TD run when Tommy Lewis charged off of the sideline (without his helmet) and tackled him. They awarded Dick the touchdown. When they asked Tommy why he did it, he said “I guess I’m just too full of Bama.” That phrase (and play) has stuck in Bama lore ever since.

          • bullet says:

            Good find Loki.

            So it was UM 9 OSU 3 in 1950. I thought IL was involved in some way-they lost to NW that day to send UM to Rose with their win.

            Started on the link below, but this is only about 1/3 of it. Didn’t ever think I would get it right. If you google “roses bloom in the snow” there will be a reference to “Michigan Wolverines-colorful tales of the maize and blue.” It has the story of the game for anyone interested. MI had no 1st downs, no completed passes and 27 yards rushing.


      • StvInIL says:

        Frank, as a Northwestern fan, I must say I like this alignment. I don’t know how others feel about it but this I could do.

        DIVISION A
        Ohio State

        I get Wisconsin Minnesota which is my preference. I lose Iowa but gain Michigan and Ohio state.
        Some good natural rivals plus a mountain to climb over like tOSU and Michigan (not so much). The last two are also gate stuffers for the wildcat accountants.

        • Hank says:

          fwiw I like that division as well. It keeps Michigan Ohio State but for a Michigan fan it also brings a couple of other benefits. It returns the Little Brown Jug to an annual game. Michigan Wisconsin has become a very good rivalry as well and they are the two schools that are the most similar in character culturally and academically. I like it.

    • Dave says:

      And every one of the changes you mention has sucked. This one will, too.

  8. Chas. says:

    Oh, so close Frank.

    Great Lakes: Ohio State, Michigan, Illinois, Northwestern, Wisconsin & Minnesota.

    Great Plains: Penn State, Mich. State, Purdue, Indiana, Nebraska & Iowa.

    Illibuck Lives!

    • @Chas – I like that one, too, as that was what I originally was thinking of. How to deal with Illinois/Northwestern/Indiana/Purdue was actually the hardest thing to pin down. I came to the conclusion that it’s significant enough for each division to have an Illinois state/Chicago market presence, where even thoughIllinois and Northwestern aren’t marquee schools, they’re extremely important for TV/media and recruiting purposes for everyone in the conference.

      • Chas. says:

        Chicago is the most critical market in the league, which is exactly why we don’t want Nebraska, Iowa or specifically MSU, who wants to paired with NU, to have access to it. Shouldn’t charter members, who have the ear of the commissioner, be able to protect their recruiting ground in division alignments?

    • 84Lion says:

      Either that one, or Frank’s alignment, work fine for me. Unless Wisconsin rises to challenge Ohio State, OSU will probably win their division hands down for the foreseeable future. Meaning that an OSU-PSU or OSU-Nebraska (or OSU-Iowa) championship game will be most likely.
      For division names I tend to favor Alpha and Omega, but Great Lakes/Plains is good too. How about Great Lands instead of Plains as Penn State has more mountains than plains?
      Frank makes a great argument but somehow I agree with him, I have a sinking feeling something stupid is about to happen as the Big Ten announces the divisions.

  9. bullet says:

    As their plans got more and more convulted (only counting division games) I was thinking of New Coke also.

  10. JRT says:


  11. jj says:

    I get it, but they’re gonna do it with UM-OSU. Sucks the big one. In the face of that seeming reality, really struggled with what to do with Iowa-Wisc. They are hard to keep together if they are split and both want to play Neb. At they end of the day, OSU and UM seem to want a split and if Iowa and Wisc want Neb so bad, then they have to give something up for the sake of getting the new girl. Don’t know what else you can do. I also think UM, MSU and Purdue in one division would help with the one that got away – ND.

    • jj says:

      For clarity, this is what I see happening:

      A B
      1. UM OSU
      2. MSU PSU
      3. Neb Wisc
      4. Iowa MN
      5. IN IL
      6. Pur NW

      each team plays the one across as a perm rival and the 1-2, 3-4, 5-6 pairs play the last game of the year in “rivalry week”.

      floyd gets the shaft in some years, but becomes a possible champ trophy.

      • Chas. says:

        This alignment would be acceptable. Like most proposals, it will be better in 2015 when we have a nine-game conference slate and we can have two protected cross-rivals and then play the other four schools twice in four years. Therefore, the ABC regions Frank referenced will always play one another.

  12. Playoffs Now says:

    News of the day:

    1. TX schedules Southern Cal for OOC games. In the last months they’ve added to their schedule 3 of the schools most able to go independent.

    2. BYU looks to be staying in the MWC, though still not confirmed. UHou rumored to be pursued as #12.

    3. Big Ten (sic) is close to splitting into 2 divisions: Dumb and Dumber.

  13. bullet says:

    How about go Hawkeyes? They’re fighting the leading plan OSU/PSU/WI/MN/?? vs. UM/UNL/IA/MSU/??

    Article comments they are down to 2 or 3.

  14. Hank says:

    I wonder if those Texas legislators will hire out to do a little free lance trouble making.

  15. Hodgepodge says:

    I posted this in the BYU thread, but it is certainly appropriate here:

    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 (

    That said, I’m not sure it will make a difference. Unless there is a way to make Jim Delany understand that his scenario (whatever that may ultimately be) will lose the New Coke Conference more money than it will gain, I don’t see any reason why he will listen. Therefore, I propose the following (originally posted on Bucknuts Premium Board):

    We all know that the splitting up of Ohio State and Michigan and the moving of The Game to earlier in the season is 100% about greed. The same for fans of other schools that will see the likes of Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin split up in some fashion. Is there really anyone out there that doesn’t believe that this isn’t about maximizing profit? Therefore, b!tching and moaning about it by framing it as an affront to tradition isn’t going to resonate with Jim Delany one bit. So, what will resonate with Jim Delany? Money.

    Which brings up the question of how can we as fans let Jim Delany know that messing with The Game and other conference rivalries will end up costing him more money than he’d gain with his meddling? Truly, there is only one way– make certain that companies that advertise during New Coke Conference (née Big Ten Conference) games know that they will lose customers if they support Big Ten football. Thus, here is what I suggest:

    Next Thursday, everyone who values The Game and other rivalries in their present form needs to write down the name of every advertiser during the OSU-Marshall game. We also need to watch the Big Ten games on the BTN and ESPN/ABC on Saturday and write down the names of the companies who advertise during those games as well. This includes those companies that advertise during the game action as well as those who purchase commercial time. The next step is to contact those companies en masse and tell in no uncertain terms them that by advertising during Big Ten games, they are implicitly supporting Jim Delany’s moves in carving up the conference’s traditions. As such, so long as they do so, each of us will no longer buy their products/services. If there is a sufficient groundswell among thousands– if not tens of thousands– of Big Ten fans, these companies will take notice. Such a coordinated boycott would force these companies to give this some considerable thought, and with enough people contacting them and threatening a boycott, they would contact Jim Delany and ESPN (who would then contact Delany) and let him know that they have a big problem with what he is trying to do. Money talks, and it is the advertisers that have the money.

    Look, I’m realistic and understand that what I just wrote is pretty idealized and honestly a bit of a longshot, but if you want The Game to remain as it is, this is probably the best shot. The emails we are firing off to conference officials are making little headway– the comments out of these same officials tell that tale. So, I’d suggest reposting this on every Big Ten message board you can think of to get the word out. Someone also would need to post the names of the advertisers so those of us (like myself) who don’t have the Big Ten Network or can’t watch all the games next Saturday can have the list of companies to contact.

    We can either bend over and take it passively from Jim Delany, complain about it and still bend over and take it, or we can fight back by hurting him where it counts.

    So, what are YOU going to do?

    • M says:

      Honestly, this post looks a little bit too much like something off of NDNation for me to feel comfortable.

      • Adam says:

        Ad hominem attacks are a classical sort of illogical reasoning. Even if what you say is true, it is not a per se reason not to do it if we take seriously a sensible divisional alignment.

        • M says:

          I strongly dislike the level of negativity and melodrama that has accompanied this decision. I prefer the East/West divisions, but all the nonsense about the end of the world and college football is absurd. Life will go on if OSU and Michigan play 3 weeks earlier.

          The comparison to other schools is apt. Notre Dame or Texas (or Nebraska for that matter) would be leaving 100 year series and traditions to come to the Big Ten for mostly financial reasons, yet very few on this board showed any concern for that.

          Also, read what you’ve written about Jim Delany just above this post and ask yourself who is using ad hominem arguments.

          • Adam says:

            Wrong again. An ad hominem attack is not the same as insulting someone; it is when you use insults (or comparisons to disfavored individuals) as a substitute for a substantive position. Thus, the fact that ND fans would react in a similar fashion isn’t a per se reason why this is a bad reaction; the question is whether the reaction is justified.

            ND clings to traditions which are unsustainable. The Big Ten’s traditions are entirely sustainable; that isn’t why they’re being rejected. Two totally different animals.

          • rich2 says:

            Of course, Adam is wrong. Adam explains the difference: “ND clings to traditions which are unsustainable. The Big Ten’s traditions are entirely sustainable; that isn’t why they’re being rejected. Two totally different animals.”

            The irony is delicious. Here is another difference: most posters on this thread blast domers for not willingly accepting a plan that would be externally forced upon ND: joining a Big 10+6 because there was no option (in your opinion); while the Big Ten’s decision is self inflicted. And to go back to a concern I raised three months ago: if the Big Ten is willing to do this to itself for peanuts, why should ND trust that this kind of decision making ends with splitting OSU and UM?

            I hope you enjoy “Big Ten Thursday night brought to you be State Farm.”

          • Adam says:

            As I noted on a thread or two ago, rich2, I am angry about this decision of the Big Ten’s precisely because it is self-inflicted and is entirely consistent with the criticism (articulated largely by you) that the Big Ten would sell its soul to chase after a few extra bucks. So I have no argument with you there.

            However, I don’t think ND’s model is sustainable in the longer term, either.

          • Danimal says:

            rich2 come on. ND is all about the benjamins too. You shouldn’t throw stones from that glass house.

          • StvInIL says:

            Let’s see, the games still gonna be played, right? Melodrama is right and I might add self serving. It’s gonna be a new alignment. Somebody is gonna get screwed somewhat or a little. The interest that will get screwed the least are making a bit too much noise. I respect passion but am perplexed by the lack of realism here with this.

          • jj says:

            Well said. As I said before, Adam needs help.

          • Adam says:

            Thanks for not being an asshole.

          • jj says:

            Whatever dude, you’re the one baggin on the domers whilst having a grand maul hissie if OSU and UM decide to do something you don’t like. It’s their show, and it’s ND’s show, they can all do what they want. Jesus. What’s so hard about this?

          • jj says:

            And no one is “getting screwed”. IF they split it is b/c UM and OSU want to. Whatever they say publicly, they are the ones deciding this.

    • I think the angst of moving Ohio State and Michigan off the last weekend of the regular season is overblown.

      Tennessee and Florida have played on the third Saturday of September since before Penn State joined the Big Ten. Great series with some great games.

      Texas and Oklahoma have been playing during the Texas State Fair (mid-October) since…well, forever. And it’s done nothing to diminish that series.

      If Michigan and Ohio State are moved to October, it will set up some great season-ending rivalries, including Penn State vs. Ohio State and Michigan vs. Michigan State. The Big Ten won’t just survive this, it will thrive.

      • Hank says:

        “If Michigan and Ohio State are moved to October, it will set up some great season-ending rivalries, including Penn State vs. Ohio State and Michigan vs. Michigan State.”

        by destroying a great season ending rivalry that already exists? on the off chance that by killing it off someone else might, big emphasis on might, replace it? that makes no sense.

        • “by destroying a great season ending rivalry that already exists?”

          Being a little melodramatic, aren’t we? This isn’t the Big 12, which killed the great Oklahoma-Nebraska series by not making them permanent cross-division opponents.

          Michigan and Ohio State will play every year and most years the games will be hugely meaningful in the standings.

          • Hank says:


            putting them in seperate divisions will start the process. rivalries are built by battling for the same first stage goal. in this case winning the division. would the Red Sox Yankee rivalry be as intense if one was moved to another division? there used to be a Yankee Tigers tradition that has died completely since they were moved to seperate divisions.

            add in as has been disccussed elsewhere that it appears Delany’s plan is that cross division games do not count for winning the division except as tie breakers.

            so they will be in seperate divisions and the games will only count as tiebreakers for division purposes. how is that not destroying the rivalry? it will last for a few years as muscle memory but the writing will be on the wall. regardless of whether you think its melodramatic.

          • aps says:

            To me, if they move the Ohio State vs Michigan game, it destroys any interest in Ohio State. Penn State will never replace Michigan in Ohio State fans minds.

            Many Ohio State fans feel the same way Great game against Penn State BUT never the rival of Michigan.

          • Eric (ohio1317) says:

            By that same reasoning though, Penn State vs. OSU and Michigan vs. Michigan State are already good games. Sure moving them to the end of the season could help, but it will be at the expense of OSU/Michigan.

        • StvInIL says:

          Great you say? for the conference? again you don’t look at the big picture. it’s about the conference, not the former big 2.

      • Well Played Mauer says:

        Everyone keeps making these comparisons to Texas/Oklahoma and Florida/Tennessee/Georgia, etc as to justify the moving of the game as okay. A few things if I may.

        1. All those other schools still play in the same DIVISION.
        2. Those schools have always played earlier in the season it is their traditions.

        A few week back when the big 12 went down to ten and lost the ability to host a CCG there was talk about moving the Texas Oklahoma game from the October date during the fair to December. The the outcry was just as bad on the Texas and Oklahoma blogs as it is here in regard to Ohio State Michigan.

        So the comparisons ring a little hollow with me. In my opinion more apt comparisons might be Florida/Miami and Nebraska/Oklahoma.

        • bullet says:

          There is a difference with Texas/OU. It isn’t October. Its the fact that it is played at the Texas state fair. Were they to try to move it to Jerry World instead of the Cotton Bowl there would be a similar outcry.

          • Herbie says:

            Bullet–they did try to move it to JerryWorld, but there was little outcry. The Cotton Bowl simply outbid Jerry to keep the series there.

            Having been to the Cotton Bowl, it would be best if they did move it to JerryWorld–that place is a dump without any sort of redeeming charm or quality. That they’re moving the Cotton Bowl game to JerryWorld should be indication enough that it’s time to tear down that place.

          • bullet says:

            If they could figure out a way to move the state fair to Jerry World everyone would be excited. Its just part of the atmosphere. Its not the Cotton Bowl itself which, you are correct, is kind of a dump.

            They gave the Cotton Bowl plenty of chances to keep it. Dallas almost blew it by putting off improvements.

            Unfortunately, at some point the allure of those extra seats and the fancy stadium will probably outweigh the fairgrounds aspect.

          • gregalthoff says:

            That game may not even stay in Dallas.

        • willarm1 says:

          Tenn and Florida are in the same division and play early in the year yes….

          But their true hatred is for Alabama which they play later in the year and would still have the chance to play them again in the SEC Championship. Do you think that Rivalry is diminished?

      • schwarm says:

        So do you think Texas/OU should be moved to the end of the year, since it will likely decide the conference winner many years?

        I’m sure many consultants will tell you its a good idea.

        • Jake says:

          Well, they’re probably going to move the game from Fair Park to Arlington when their contract is up in four or five years, so they might as well move it back in the season. Assuming both are still in the same conference by then. If they aren’t, is doesn’t matter as much when they play.

          • Jake says:

            IT doesn’t matter.

          • bullet says:

            Its the state fair that makes that date important. I don’t think people would care as much if it did get moved to Jerry World. But there would be a battle over that move.

          • Jake says:

            They’ve already laid the groundwork by suggesting that Texas-OU become just a home-and-home series. Once the fans get done protesting that, they won’t have the energy to fight the move to Arlington. Plus, there have been so many problems with parking and transportation since they expanded the Cotton Bowl that a lot of people may be ready to say good riddance to the State Fair.

          • bullet says:

            I thought it was the Norman merchants who were pushing the home-and-home. The only interest on the UT side was the financial people in the AD department.

          • bullet says:

            Transportation and parking were a problem long before they expanded the Cotton Bowl.

    • Eric (ohio1317) says:

      Love the idea. I was hoping Gameday would be at OSU before a decision would be reached so we could voice our displeasure with signs on national TV. This really might me more effective if enough participate though. It strikes right at the core of the reasons for these decisions.

  16. Paul says:

    I assume the Big Ten’s current plan is to have UM vs. OSU and Penn State vs. Nebraska as protected cross-division rivals. Over at The Rivalry (I think) they had a post explaining that the protected cross-division rivals in the SEC (LSU-Fla, Aub-Ga, Tenn-Bama) had never played each other for the championship because one of each pair always gets a key loss. Thus, the winner of Fla-LSU, for instance, is more likely to play against the winner of one of the other cross-division rivalry games than to have a rematch with the loser of Fla-LSU.

    Point being that the anticipated UM-OSU championship game is very unlikely to happen (even if UM gets good again).

    • bullet says:

      If you see below in the byu post, someone quoted the UM official as saying they were probably only going to count division games to avoid that problem.

      • jj says:

        it’s not fair to 10 schools to let them stack the deck like that; i doubt the others would go along with it.

      • Paul says:

        I haven’t read that, but wouldn’t it put the Big Ten at something of a disadvantage in the national picture if a team with two out-of-division losses could play for the conference championship?

      • @bullet – My God, that is FUBAR. Please tell me that someone completely misheard that because now I’m REALLY frightened.

        • Hank says:


          I believe he is referring to a post I made which related a post from the other board I frequent. Several posters attended an event at the Ann Arbor Club at which Brandon made some comments. He posted the following:

          Nothing earth shattering but some stuff I did not realize.

          The Big Ten does not want the top 2 brands in the same division.

          We can not have everything we want as we only have 1/12 vote.

          It appears that only your games against your Division will determine who goes to the Championship game. The games against the other Division will be used as tie-breakers. Is the SEC like this? I have never paid that close of attention.

          Brandon is a guy that is firery and he did not come across as arrogant at all. I can understand people being upset with him, but I think from his tone today he does not hold the cards here as OSU and U of M are outvoted.

          Did say he wants the Championship game played at one of the Big Ten Stadiums but he is losing that battle as they want it indoors.

          • @Hank – Ah, thanks. Wow, that’s even worse than I thought. Forget New Coke – this is becoming like Ishtar.

          • Hank says:


            lol. Ishtar is perfect. Maybe thats what we should call the divisions. Ishtar and Heaven’s Gate.

          • @Hank – …and the championship will be sponsored by Waterworld.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            I can only shake my head in wonder. Put OSU and Mich in separate divisions? Then move the game to the middle of the season? Then make it so the game doesn’t even count in the standings?

            Why play it at all?

          • bullet says:

            Its very anti-Scott. Talk about making it easy for the fans to understand. Now the MAC is the MAC, but no papers or ESPN posted their division records during the years when they only counted those games. They all posted the total conference record which was irrelevant. So I wasn’t aware they had changed it last year when they quit playing everyone in their division.

          • m (Ag) says:

            I had been thinking that, if 16 team conferences became a reality, the non-divisional games wouldn’t count in the divisional standings (since you’d play 7 teams in your division and randomly get 1-2 teams from the other division that could be very strong or very weak).

            However, it seems a bit odd to not count every game in a 12 team conference. My guess is that this means they will use the original SEC model with 2 permanent cross-divisional opponents and only 1 rotating opponent. That way it doesn’t hurt you in the standings if you get 2 difficult permanent rivals.

          • “It appears that only your games against your Division will determine who goes to the Championship game.”

            No way, Jim Delany isn’t that stupid. Can you imagine a team that goes 5-0 in the division, but loses three or four in the other division beating out a team with an 8-1 Big Ten Record? No way this flys.

          • Hank says:

            @m (Ag)

            I think some are interperting that as evidence of Delany preparing for his ultimate goal of a 16 team conference which functions for all intents as two 8 team conferences and the limited number, 2, of cross division games as exhibition games.

          • JohnB says:

            If that’s the case, not only would the game no longer determine who moves on (Rose bowl or B10 Championship game) but the game would be relatively worthless in determining the division champs. In other words, it goes from being a game of ultimate importance to an interesting exhibition not unlike the MLB All Star game. The All Star game does impact who gets home field advantage but is otherwise meaningless. Wow…

          • Jake says:

            @Frank – I liked Waterworld. Yeah, I said it.

      • bullet says:

        Maybe I didn’t state it clearly. My interpretation is that they are only going to count division games in order to avoid that problem. All he said was that it was likely only division games would count with no explanation as to why.

        There are only 2 reasons-so everyone plays the same schedule which has the negative point of only being 5 games. Or to try to create a championship game rematch.

  17. gregenstein says:

    I could live with your secondary alignment Frank. It’s better than most of the other “competitive balance” ones I’ve seen. My preference far and away is East/West.

    As a Penn State fan, I have no “rivalry” to really look forward to. Ohio State has been the closest thing, but it’s not a true rivalry since they already have one. There’s some old bad blood after what happened in ’94 with Nebraska, so I certainly wouldn’t mind being in their division.

    Is it possible that they just go with the Pods and have the 2 best teams (conference record wise) play in the championship game? I’d just assume have protected games with 2 or 3 schools and jumble the rest similar to how they do it now.

    • @gregenstein – Unfortunately, you can’t simply have the top 2 teams play in order to play an “exempt” championship game (meaning that it doesn’t count toward the 12 game regular season game limit). Under NCAA rules, there needs to be (a) divisions and (b) teams playing round-robins with everyone within their divisions.

      • Well Played Mauer says:

        Doesn’t the MAC have some kind of exemption from the NCAA that allows them to forgo round robin divisional play and still hold a championship game?

        Could not the Big Ten get something similar, this is not changing the bylaws to allow a ten team league to have CCG. They have the 12 teams it would just be a different format?

        Oh How far we’ve fallen taking our cues from the MAC. ;-)

        • Adam says:

          I contacted the NCAA to get details about this and they said they couldn’t provide them to me; I’d have to contact the league. And if you try to send an e-mail to the MAC, all of the e-mail addresses on their website will reject anything you try to send them as suspected of being spam. So I couldn’t get through to them.

          Here’s the facts: the MAC has 13 teams. 7 teams in the East, 6 in the West. For a group of 7 teams to play a “true” round robin, it requires 21 games. The MAC East, however, played only 19 games. This (apparently) enabled the MAC to play a traditional 8-game league schedule with all 8 games counting in the league standings, instead of just divisional games.

          Whatever exemption the MAC got, I doubt it would apply to the Big Ten, as we don’t have the weird unbalanced league.

          That or the MAC is breaking the rules and nobody in Indianapolis gives a shit.

          • bullet says:

            @ Adam

            I’m guessing the MAC got an exemption because they had a Chinese fire drill with the schedules the 1st year they went to 13 because they originally didn’t have everyone playing a round robin. Maybe because there is a moratorium on moving schools up they got the NCAA to justify it for a couple of years.

            So Indianapolis did not ignore it at that point in time. I doubt they are simply ignoring it now. Much more their style to shut down a championship game than simply ignore a violation (at least if its the MAC).

        • MAC Country says:

          Big Ten has been taking cues from the MAC for years.

          It’s all right. We don’t mind helping out little brothers in the Big Ten out.

    • schwarm says:

      “There’s some old bad blood after what happened in ’94″

      and ’82.

  18. Jeepers says:


  19. M says:

    I honestly think the reason they came up with the split is that they wanted to divide the Big 4 and thought putting Nebraska and Penn State together (the two farthest away schools in the conference) would be awkward. I’m pretty sure they know the financial implications wouldn’t be much.

  20. bullet says:

    I don’t think the PSU island issue gets helped much more than in the simpler MSU in Division A (OSU/UM/MSU/WI/MN/NW) and Purdue in Division B (different crossovers are UM/UNL instead of MSU, WI/PU instead of UNL and MSU/IU). Does Penn St. care about anyone other than UM or OSU?

    • @bullet – I see what you’re saying. PSU-MSU is still the designated rivalry game for each school (even though it has almost no juice). I’ve also been concerned about the number of proposals that have been sticking Penn State with the 4 westernmost schools and no one else in the Eastern time zone.

      • Sportsman24 says:

        I can’t speak for all Iowa fans, but some of us believe we have a budding rivalry with PSU. From some PSU fans on previous FtT blogs, it sounded like they may feel the same way. The rivalry (if that is indeed what it is becoming) was organic, developing on the field (not the boardroom).

        • Adam says:

          Sounds perfect for an inter-divisional game! KISS Divisions, with:

          Or flip-flop the last 2, I don’t think anybody cares there.

          • Sportsman24 says:


            I’d like that setup a lot!

            And with a 9-game schedule, we’d get to see UMi or OSU annually, as well (if it was set up right).

          • Husker Al says:


            As a Husker fan, I care. I care a lot. Are you seriously going to put NU on an island and not have a yearly game with UM, PSU or tOSU? At all?

            You make our cross-divisional game Indiana? That’s just awful from our perspective.

          • Hank says:

            @Husker Al

            Nebraska is not going to be left on an island. From all reports you will be in a division with Michigan. I’m sorry if the ranting and mourning for the Ohio State game makes it seem like thats all we care about but most Michigan fans I know are really excited about Nebraska and establishing a regular game. I’d love to see us play Ohio State, Penn State and Nebraska every year.

          • Adam says:

            I didn’t propose leaving Nebraska on an island; I assumed the KISS divisions, so Nebraska would be in a division with regional opponents like Iowa, Minnesota, and WIsconsin. I was talking about how to set up the cross-divisional games. Because of the immense history of the Little Brown Jug and Illibuck, you could put those as protected rivalry crossovers for Michigan-Minnesota and OSU-Illinois. Someone indicated that PSU has a budding rivalry with Iowa, so that’d be appropriate. MSU’s AD said they want Northwestern annually, so I threw that in to make him happy. That leaves 4 teams left, and I put Nebraska with the weaker of the 2 because I figured that’d be fairer than letting OSU and Michigan crossover against the weaker teams in the West, but leave Nebraska to play a slightly stronger “East” team (Purdue).

          • Husker Al says:


            I understand, and I’m in favor of keeping the Michigan/Ohio St. game in division and at the end of the season as well.

            But as a Husker fan I’d be very disappointed with a straight KISS split, especially if we don’t have an annual game against UM/OSU or PSU. I doubt PSU fans want this, but I’d like to have NU and PSU in the same division with Indiana/Purdue to help balance it out.

          • Husker Al says:


            You should understand that while Iowa/Wisconsin is attractive, many Husker fans salivate over playing PSU/OSU/Michigan.

            NU has had mediocre regional rivalries for decades. It is a mistake to assume most NU fans are comfortable with a straight KISS split.

          • Adam says:

            I have no inherent objection to PSU and Nebraska being paired, but I just thought PSU would balk (and I wouldn’t necessarily blame them) if they’re put in a division with OSU and Michigan and their cross-division game is Nebraska. If PSU and Nebraska were both cool with that, then I’d say go ahead and do it. What’s important to me is KISS.

    • gregenstein says:

      I won’t try to speak for all PSU fans, but right now it’s OSU and Nebraska for me. I could care less about the Land Grant trophy with Michigan State, but I’d rather play an school closer to me that I don’t care about than a school further away that I don’t care about. Since I doubt they’ll put Nebraska, Ohio State, and Penn State in the same division, I’m advocating geography.

      I can’t find one non-geography lineup that makes any more sense to me than just plain old geography.

      • 84Lion says:

        I second that emotion. However, in my mind the best solution is either PSU and Nebraska in the same division, with OSU as a cross-division rivalry, or PSU and OSU in same division, with PSU-Neb as the cross-division rivalry. I’d be happy with either one, suspect it’ll probably be neither. If the Land Grant trophy is dropped that’d be fine with me.

        • Husker Al says:

          This Nebraska fan agrees completely.

          • PSUBruce says:

            Al, I like the idea of PSU nd NU in the same division. JoePa and TomOz have had a great personal relationship for decades (I know they won’t be around for too much longer)and both schools play similar ball. It also balances out the divisions and brings in a new rivalry while protecting the established ones.
            Frank, I like your divisional structure. It is well thought out and makes lots of sense.
            But what about further expansion? My question is what happens when we have the 16-team conference with a few Eastern (schools, including as far south as Ga Tech or VTech). Provisions are probably being made for that wih JimD and the comissioners, but unless two schools west of the Miss. river are added where do you put the new Eastern/Southeastern additions?

  21. Ohio State is paying Colorado $1.4 million to visit the Horsehoe for a PACrifice blood money home game in 2011.

    In the interests of accuracy, this isn’t a PACrifice game, as the Buffs don’t join the Pac-12 until the following season.

  22. Paul says:

    Reading the tea leaves, I would guess the divisions will be split this way:

    Division A: Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana

    Division B: Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan State, Northwestern, Purdue.

    Protected rivalries would be: OSU-UM, PSU-UNL, UW-IOWA, MINN-MSU, ILL-NU, and IND-PUR.

    The Floyd of Rosedale will go the way of the Little Brown Jug. Both of these trophy rivalries could be protected by separating UM-MSU, but I can’t see that happening. It would create a much bigger ruckus in Michigan than would arise from splitting UM-OSU.

    • Dave says:

      I don’t know about that. I can’t speak for all Michigan fans (obviously), but I’d wager most of us wouldn’t really care if Michigan State were in a different division. MSU fans might care more, but most M fans wouldn’t since we don’t view Sparty as much of a rival. That game’s pretty much always only been about state bragging rights, and that could continue undisturbed in separate divisions.

      • Paul says:

        I was thinking about the Michigan State fans.

      • Adam says:

        I think, though, that this is a key part of trying to manage all of this. MSU people get pissed off when Michigan says that the MSU rivalry doesn’t matter to them. There are going to be MSU people who are in favor of splitting up Michigan/OSU just because they have a sense that it’ll make Michigan/OSU people angry.

        It’s in everybody’s best interests to promote some comity here. I think if Michigan wants MSU’s support for keeping the OSU game in-division, Michigan is at least going to have to say that they value the MSU rivalry highly as well and would like to see them both as divisional games. That’s the sort of thing that will make the people in East Lansing feel appreciated. Some of the dismissive things people on here have had to say about the various schools have been kind of shocking to me (like the comment about trying to deny some schools access to Chicago as a recruiting territory?!?!).

        • Hank says:

          Michigan State has a long history of voting against the interests of Michigan. Anyone who was a fan in 1973 will know well what I mean. I’m all for comity but have no illusions.

          • spartakles78 says:

            It goes much further than the 1973 vote from the MSU AD (a U-M grad) to send the Bucks to the Rose Bowl. Other ADs who also voted for OSU didn’t get the same ‘betrayal’ tag.

            U-M tried to keep MSU from getting into the then Big Nine. There have been several perceived slights on both sides before and after on the athletic fields and in the academic departments. Such slights and competition helps to make rivalries.

          • Hank says:

            actually other schools did get the tag. The Illinois coach told Bo they would vote for Michigan and it was afterwards learned they voted for the Buckeyes.

    • angryapple says:

      As a Wisconsin fan, this is my preferred split.

      I’m not sure it’s fair to Penn State, but at least they get games with Ohio State and Nebraska and they are not with all Western schools.

    • mnfanstc says:

      Huh?! Minn/MSU… No thanks… (the teams are evenly balanced and have similar history–but rivals–not really)… Keep Iowa on the annual sked please.
      We Minnesotan’s want our pig back and plan on keepin’ it for a while.

    • Josh says:

      As an Iowa alum, I’m willing to sacrifice the Heartland Trophy at the altar of conference unity, but losing Floyd is really not OK.

      • M says:

        At worst, I think Floyd would have a two year hiatus (either 2011-12 or 2013-2014). I highly doubt Iowa-Minnesota would not be protected in a 9 game conference season.

    • Richard says:

      UW-Iowa isn’t sacrosanct (Iowa says so). That wouls be sacrificed instead of Floyd, and Wisky would get MSU as their cross-divisional rival in your setup.

  23. Based on what we’re seeing, here is my best guess…

    Woody Division
    Ohio State
    Penn State

    Bo Division
    Michigan State

    This would create a new season-ending rivalry game between Penn State and Ohio State. Works for me!

    • willarm1 says:

      Sectional games maybe played around halloween:

      Mich-OSU Neb-PSU Iowa-MN MSU-Purdue NW-Wis (this game has been great as of late) ILL-Indy

      Last weeks games:
      Mich-MSU Iowa-NEB NW-Ill and then OSU-PSU WIS-MN Purdue-Indy.

    • Paul says:

      The Spartans would never agree to play in anything named the “Bo” division.

    • Bamatab says:

      I still think it will be split up like this:

      Division A:

      Division B:

      Then they will join up OSU/Michigan, Neb/PSU, Iowa/Wisc, Ill/NW, MSU/IN, & Minn/Pur as cross divisional rivalries.

      I think they will end up splitting up OSU & PSU for recruiting ground purposes (I think Michigan values the Penn recruiting grounds).

      I’m a traditionalist and would hate for this alignment to happen. I think that any split other than the KISS divisions would be a mistake. But I think this is how it will end up.

      • Adam says:

        I don’t get the whole recruiting grounds thing. Some parts of the Big Ten are richer than others, but c’mon, it’s not like we’re talking about Texas or Florida here.

      • mnfanstc says:

        I’m starting to get it now… the traditional rivalries outside of tOSU/Mich quickly get tossed… &&(#*$*^#$&*(%@

        K.I.S.S… keeps all the traditional rivalries intact… Is arguably best balance… geographically sensible… NOW, throw your annual or semi-annual “new” wannabe rivalry games with Neb/PSU, Neb/OSU, Neb/whoever, cross-divisional…

        Well, My HORSE is really, really DEAD now… No need for AUTOPSY–he’s busted open…

      • Chas. says:

        For the record, those North/South divisions will “keep it simple.”

        • mnfanstc says:

          Only if the Floyd of Rosedale remains an annual game as cross-division, which is wrong to start with… East/West PLEASE… ’nuff of the other conjecture.

    • George Bland says:

      Geesh, late November in Happy Valley. Imagine getting hit with a frozen urine-filled balloon! Doesn’t work for me. Give me the stink-weasles any day!

  24. Bill B says:

    Whatever happened to thinking like a University president? There is no way the traditional Big 10 schools in your Division B would ever agree to be isolated from both Michigan and Ohio State. Under your scenario Northwestern would have games against Michigan and Ohio State every year, while Illinois would be left with sporadic dates against those long-standing and gate-attracting opponents. Yes, Penn State and Nebraska are good draws, but they are not as prestigious as Ohio State and Michigan. I cannot foresee any divisional split that does not share the crown jewels of the conference (Michigan and Ohio State, without question) equally between the two divisions.

    • bullet says:

      @billb Its a good point.

      KISS with its geographical split gives you the opportunity to do a 5-0-3 which means you get either UM or OSU on your schedule every year (and PSU every other year + of course, UNL). With a 5-1-2 you miss both on occassion.

    • SideshowBob says:

      While I disagree with your assessment of Ohio St/Michigan as “crown jewels”, there might be some truth that the rumored split of Ohio St and Michigan into different divisions is a way to make sure that all the traditional Big Ten teams get to play at least one of them every year and compete for their division crown with them. There is probably more hatred of OSU/UM than other schools in general and making sure you have regular dates with at least one (and occasional dates with the other) is possibly a good way to keep your fan base intrigued.

      PSU and Nebraska would certainly garner interest but more in a “we’re playing a good team” way than a “I f’ing hate them” way. I’d guess.

  25. Adam says:

    Frank, I very much appreciate hearing you speak out on this.

  26. SH says:

    Who gave the NCAA such power? I’ll never understand the NCAA’s purpose for such a rule. If the B10 really wanted to change it, they should just simply tell the NCAA to change their rule. Obviously nicely. But this strikes me as a nonsense rule that the NCAA would want to hold onto just to assert their power in a place that it has no bearing. And unless the B10 was absouletly sure that was the best route to go, why pick a fight – when there will be better fights to have.

    • SH says:

      This was in response to Frank’s response that the NCAA requires two divisions – which I think is a rule serving no purpose.

    • bullet says:

      Actually it is all a fluke designed for a specific I-AA or division II conference. The SEC noticed it on the books and created a championship game.

      The point is that there has to be a special reason to add a game to the defined season. That reason was that the conference was too big to play a round robin, but you could if you had two divisions.

      • Adam says:

        In the case of the D-2 league, it was a league which essentially never was competitive to make the D-2 tournament, and since they also couldn’t complete a round robin, they asked for the CCG to provide more in-league cohesiveness and give their membership access to some sort of postseason, since they were never eligible for the NCAA postseason.

        Ironically, they never made use of the rule, because shortly afterwards, they lost membership and went below 12 members.

    • Husker Al says:

      @SH “Who gave the NCAA such power?”

      The member universities.

    • Jake says:

      And it’s doing far more harm than good. Would Utah have gotten the Pac-10 invite if they didn’t need 12 to host a title game? Would BC be in the ACC? Doubtful. That rule should have been amended after the 2003 ruckus, but here it is, wrecking conferences all over the place.

      The Big Ten might have had less incentive to invite NU if that rule wasn’t in place, but I think they still would have done it. Too many other good reasons.

  27. CM says:

    Do you think they’re taking any consideration of a potential future expansion down the line (adding an East Coast school or two?) when they make this decision?

    It would be pretty cruel to break everyone’s hearts, get them re-adjusted to a new standard in rivalries only to break it all up again.

    • @CM – I doubt it if only because I really think that further expansion is on the backburner for the foreseeable future unless Notre Dame suddenly comes out of its bunker. This is all about the here and now.

      • tomdauwwg says:


        I really want to agree with you here, but CM may be on to something. We know that Delany wants to expand in the future. We also know that the targets are:

        and one of

        Adam Rittenburg over at ESPN reads the tea leaves, predicting this lineup:

        Division 1:

        Division 2:


        You can see how nicely the four adds would fit into a new Big 10+2+4: Just shift UW/Minn. to Division 1, and add ND, Rut., MD, and PITT/SYR/UNCONN/BC to Division 2. If Mizzou is added instead of Pitt/Syr/Uconn/BC, move NW to Division 2 along with ND/Rut./MD. Pods play well together in this scenario also.

        If there was a 5+2+2 schedule, UMich and MSU could be ND’s protected rivals, and ND and OSU could be Umich’s protected rivals. As a bonus for you, Frank, Mizzou and Ill. would be in the same division (or even the same pod!). It’s just too good not to have been planned for, if Rittenburg’s prediction becomes reality.

  28. bullet says:

    How about calling them the New Coke and the Studebaker divisions?

  29. Sportsman24 says:

    I could hazard a guess at the Divisional Alignments, but I choose not to. I completely agree with FtT, Adam, et al that East/West is the ONLY way the divisions should be aligned. As an Iowa fan, I’d like to play UWi, UMn & UNL ANNUALLY. The only way to achieve that is by having them as intra-divisional games. I’d also like to play PSU, UMi & (to a lesser extent) MSU as often as possible. It isn’t that I don’t value others’ opinions on Divisions, it’s that I cannot state how unhappy I’ll be if the BT over-thinks something that should be so simple.

    The meeting should have gone something like…
    JD: “What does everyone think of an East/West split?”
    All (in unison): “Sounds good.”
    JD: “Now we’re down to the important business at hand… Where do you all want to eat?”
    All: (talking over each other, often-times disagreeing)

    • Adam says:

      Ahahahahahahaha, that is fantastic. You’re right; that is exactly how that meeting should have gone.

      Look, I won’t want to be a jerk and toot my own horn, but I’ve been at least as worried (if not more worried) about how this decision would go down as the who-will-they-add decision.

  30. GoBucks says:

    This is just dandy. Absolutely cannot wait for the big October game between the 5-0 Buckeyes and the 4-1 Wolverines. I’ll have to make sure I don’t use up too much energy, though, as the Bucks will have equally meaningful Central Michigan and Indiana after that. Put them in the same division, with the game at the end of the year. OSU and Michigan fans have historically cared more about beating each other than anything else, and that includes a trip to the Rose Bowl or a conference crown.

  31. jj says:

    The more I think about this, as an MSU fan, KISS does seem a little hard. Why should MSU, IN and PUR get to play 3 of the “big 4″ every year and most years, especially when we go to 9 games, all 4?

    • Adam says:

      Why shouldn’t they? Unless they’re shooting for a national championship, it doesn’t matter anyway. They’ll all be playing all of them, so the schedule will even out, and they’ll have the same shot at winning the Division Championship.

      • jj says:

        I get that. I’m just playing devil’s advocate. Still, the west siders on the bottom half – MN, IL, NW, – sure have it easier than the east siders in a KISS split.

  32. Bigredforever says:

    Best thing to do is flood ad office emails. They still have time to make a change


    The Big UnTENable Conference (The BUC)

    I wish they would cut the baby seal/suspension games to one, and play 11 conference games. I loved the PAC 10 round robin where there was no problem with “ifs” at the end of the season. But the whole thing here is money, so to H with common sense and rivalries. I say again, change the conference name to the Big UnTENable Conference, since it recognizes the unwieldiness of so many teams, keeps the TEN in the name for nostalgia, and acknowledges that it’s all about the buck. Let’s hear it for the BUC!!!

  34. “I wish they would…play 11 conference games.”

    Which would mean zero non-con games against BCS opponents. Sorry, pass.

    • jj says:

      You mean a typical UM and WI schedule? Oh!

      • UWGradStudent says:

        September 18, 2010 Arizona State at Wisconsin

        • jj says:

          What the hell does that prove?

        • Michael in Indy says:

          You mean one WHOLE game against a BCS opponent?

          September 11 FSU at Oklahoma
          September 18 BYU at FSU
          November 27 Florida at FSU

          It’s no wonder ACC teams lose the games they lose against non-league opponents: they actually play multiple good teams outside their own league. The same OUGHT to be said of the Big Ten, and the SEC, for that matter, especially since they’re convinced they’re the greatest conferences on earth.

          • mnfanstc says:

            Hey, the Gophers have been trying to schedule championship caliber opponents… SC is tarnished now because of sanctions, Texas wants nothing to do with Big Ten… I think UNC is in future… Powderpuff games suck…

  35. Steeler49 says:

    As a PSU fan, there is no question that we have been screwed since we joined the Big 10, because we have a “rival” no one cares about Michigan State (While leaving our real rival, also known as the Pitt Panthers behind), while our other “rival” (Ohio State), does not care about us the same way.
    What should this mean for PSU and the Big 10? Send us West. Why do I favor this? 1: They protect Ohio State/Michigan (While I despise both schools, it would be like moving the Yankees and Red Sox out of the same division). 2: It will be a temporary move. We will be heading back East when either Texas & Oklahoma or Pitt & Rutgers join the Big 10. There is little doubt that is the plan, because why else have a nine Game Conference Schedule starting in 2015, unless the plan is to have two seven team divisions (Six games against your division three against the other division (Including one protected game)). 3: I would do this on the condition that Ohio State is our protected rival now, and if and when we move, we can keep Nebraska.
    Scenario 1: Texas & Oklahoma.
    1: Texas
    2: Oklahoma
    3: Nebraska
    4: Iowa
    5: Minnesota
    6: Northwestern
    7: Indiana
    1: Penn St
    2: Ohio St
    3: Michigan
    4: Michigan St
    5: Wisconsin
    6: Purdue
    7: Illinois
    Scenario 2: Pitt & Rutgers
    1: Pitt
    2: Rutgers
    3: Penn St
    4: Ohio St
    5: Michigan St
    6: Michigan
    7: Wisconsin
    1: Indiana
    2: Purdue
    3: Illinois
    4: Northwestern
    5: Nebraska
    6: Minnesota
    7: Iowa
    Frank: What do you think?

    • Michael in Indy says:

      Oklahoma has no chance of joining the Big Ten. Seriously: the Big Ten is exclusively comprised of AAU members. Notre Dame is the only school in the country that an exception would be made for.

    • Vincent says:

      First of all, it would be Maryland and Rutgers, not Pitt and Rutgers. Pitt brings nothing new for the Big Ten, and only enters the conference in a 16-team scenario (which only happens if Notre Dame commits). Moreover, any Big Ten expansion will be eastward; Oklahoma is not an AAU member, Missouri doesn’t have the package the Big Ten seeks and Texas places too many demands such as BevoTV to be part of the Big Ten family.

      Second, if I’m Penn State, I only agree to go west for 2011 if the Big Ten publicly announces it will expand to 14 members for 2013, and that this is only a temporary arrangement. Anything else, and PSU is again being set up as the fall guy.

      • Steeler49 says:

        I am aware that Oklahoma is not an AAU Member, but they are improving their academics, so it is possible they could have membership in the next couple of years. As for Texas, although Bevo TV is huge, it is not as financially beneficial as Big 10 Research $$$$$$$$$$.
        As for PSU, teams like Maryland, and even Rutgers don’t really help with recruiting and rivalries. The only team that gives the Nitts an additional rivalry game is Pitt. If they can’t get the Panthers in the Big 10, then hopefully when Paterno leaves we can get them back as an annual non-conference game.

  36. Hawkeye / Gator Boy says:


    From an Iowa perspective, keeping the Minnesota and Wisconsin rivalry is important. But the rivalry goes beyond playing the one game a year. I really would prefer Minnesota and Wisconsin in my division; this way the rivalry is ongoing each week of the season!

    Here’s how I feel it works: As a fan the first thing I’ll do is look at the “west” division to see where Iowa ranks. I want to see if Iowa is ahead or behind my rivals in the divisional rankings. Frankly, I’d like to see if Iowa is ahead or behind Minny and Wisky in the division. This is what I mean about the rivalry being a weekly thing, not just the one game each year. Secondly, I’ll look to the east division to see who Iowa would play if in fact Iowa wins its division.

    If Iowa and Wisconsin are in different divisions (as it looks like they’ll be separated), then there’s always the chance that we play the Badgers in the CCG. But, It’s a long shot. My true rivals become the teams in my “western” division. Now with Wisconsin in the eastern division they become less of a rival, even if we play them once a year. Am I going to root for Wisconsin to win so that they win their division and Iowa has another shot at them in the CCG? I don’t know,…. Seems kind of odd to me. If Iowa clinches their division early (long shot) will there be a part of me that actually wants Wisconsin to Beat Iowa in the cross divisional game so that Wisconsin wins the east division and Iowa has another shot at them in the CCG? Weird, I know, but that’s the problem with convoluted divisions.

    Frank, the New Coke analogy is excellent, and insightful. Good point about consultants, they don’t get paid the big bucks to come in and tell you the obvious.


    ONE: I’m all for the BT to act strategically and in the best interest of the members in creating the divisions. Splitting the four national brand name schools is probably a sound idea, but there’s so many factors that make a simple KISS arrangement appealing that what might be a good idea (separating the 4 brand names) is just too hard to implement.

    TWO: This idea that cross divisional games that are not as important as divisional games is very disturbing. I’m talking about the Idea laid out that cross divisional games don’t count toward the CCG in the same manner as divisional games. Could this really create a situation where tOSU has locked up there east division and they don’t mind losing a game to UM, just so UM has a better chance at winning its western division and getting into the CCG for a rematch with tOSU? Sounds ludicrous to me, but if you’ve locked up your division the cross divisional game becomes pretty meaningless, except for the polls……it seems like a mess to me. The problem with creating unnatural divisions is that you may create unappealing and unwanted strategies for schools.

    • Adam says:

      I think this is well-said. Sure, there are some superficial reasons you might split the “Big 4.” Consider, after all, that a “pure” geographic alignment in the SEC would swap Auburn for Vanderbilt; anybody thinking that would be acceptable? No. Some compromises are sensible. It’s just that that is not the case here; they’re totally screwing the pooch to “fix” something that isn’t that unequal. Certainly not meaningful more unequal than it is now; after all, OSU never loses Michigan or PSU, but I’ve never heard of an OSU fan crying about that. I think your point about being all for the league acting strategically is why most of us don’t have a problem with divisions and a CCG . . . so long as the divisions are sensible. The point I’ve been trying to hammer is the illogic of saying that, because some things must change, all things may change, which is what Brandon’s comments suggested. Yes, a few traditions are being altered or going by the wayside in a 12-team era with a CCG; but that doesn’t give them license to change whatever they want.

      And I think, Hawkeye, that you have tapped into why it isn’t good enough that two rivals simply play. I like the way you worded that, and I’m going to put it in my letter(s): when rivals are in the same division, the rivalry lasts all season long.

  37. Jake says:

    To continue the New Coke analogy, perhaps the Big Ten leaders are proposing this set-up and leaking it so that the public outcry will “force” them to revert to the KISS arrangement and keep OSU and UM in the same division. Some accused Coca-Cola of foisting New Coke on the world simply to stir people up – after all, folks did hoard the Coke Classic as New Coke hit the shelves and rush to buy it again after it came back. Perhaps this is a similar strategy and we’re all being played.

    But if they really are planning on splitting them up, this all makes a sort of sense. Obviously, you want to split up your big 4, not just for competitive balance but to make sure that every school has at least one big draw on their home schedule every year, as Bill B pointed out above. This is a big concern for schools like Northwestern who only averaged … let’s see … 24,000 fans in 2009? WTF? You were 8-5! You’re in the Big Ten! That’s pathetic, Northwestern. Anyway, if UM-OSU continues to be a regular season game, then that will make it more difficult for the two schools to meet in the CCG … unless their annual meeting doesn’t count in the standings, as one rumored proposal has suggested. UM and OSU can beat each other up, but both can still go 5-0 in their own divisions and meet again in December. Makes sense.

    • Adam says:

      I never bought the whole “Coke conspiracy theory” angle, and I don’t think it’s the case here either.

      However, even assuming that’s true and we’re being played, it doesn’t really work unless we all get really angry anyway, so I’m willing to play along.

      • Jake says:

        When asked whether New Coke was a clever marketing scheme or just a colossal mistake, I believe one Coke exec responded with something to the effect of “We’re not that smart, and we’re not that dumb.” Perhaps that’s the case here.

        Anyway, it’s not like this will be permanent. You try it one way for a couple of years, and if it doesn’t work, realign. I would definitely keep the OSU-UM game at the end of the season regardless of what divisions they end up in. A rematch one week later I don’t see as that big of a problem.

        • Adam says:

          I highly disagree. What they put in place isn’t going to change; once you’ve made a decision, nobody wants to face all of this opposition all over again. The inertia will be impossible to overcome. Look at the ACC; everybody agrees their divisions suck and has agreed that for years, but there’s no movement.

          • Jake says:

            They got rid of New Coke …

          • Adam says:

            New Coke did not require overcoming the same collective action problem. It was either do it or lose it.

            By contrast, whatever alignment they put in place, even if everybody agrees that it stinks, it’s always going to be difficult to get enough people to agree on any given other alternative.

          • bullet says:

            There’s also what I see as the problem with the gerrymandered divisions: a slow erosion of long time rivalries, especially those that are not OSU/UM. It won’t be something that will hit them in the face. So they won’t change because they it won’t be obvious there is a problem until it is too late.

          • Jake says:

            @bullet – that’s a good point. Could take a generation before some of the effects are felt. Of course, if Nebraska-OU is any indication, it could happen a lot faster.

        • Eric (ohio1317) says:

          I never bought it was on purpose. One of my rules in life is to never believe in a conspiracy when incompetence (or just a bad decision) can just as easily explain everything.

          • bullet says:

            Its what happens when you have a Notre Dame grad and a bunch of foreigners messing with an American icon (the 4 making the New Coke decision were a Cuban, Mexican, ND grad and I believe an Australian).

            So Delaney is an ACC grad?-a basketball conference?

    • m (Ag) says:

      If you have the KISS divisions, 8 conference games and no permanent crossovers, this might be Illinois’ home games in a 4 year cycle:

      1) Iowa, Wisconsin, Purdue, Michigan,
      2) Nebraska, Minnesota, Michigan State, Northwestern
      3) Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Indiana
      4) Nebraska, Minnesota, Penn State, Northwestern

      That’s at least 1 big name every year, and lots of games against regional teams who will come visit. I think that’s some pretty good draws.

      Also, Illinois’ rivalries with the teams in it’s division will intensify over time.

      • m (Ag) says:

        While I support conferences staying at 8 games, this would be a possible Illinois schedule with:
        1)Kiss divisions
        2)9 conference games
        3)no permanent crossovers

        year 1:
        H Wisconsin, Nebraska, Purdue, MSU
        A Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, NW

        year 2:
        H Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, NW
        A Wisconsin, Nebraska, MSU, OSU

        year 3:
        H Wisconsin, Nebraska, MSU, OSU
        A Iowa, Minnesota, Indiana, PSU, NW

        year 4:
        H Iowa, Minnesota, Indiana, PSU, NW
        A Wisconsin, Nebraska, OSU, Purdue

        year 5:
        H Wisconsin, Nebraska, OSU, Purdue
        A Iowa, Minnesota, PSU, Michigan, NW

        year 6:
        H Iowa, Minnesota, PSU, Michigan, NW
        A Wisconsin, Nebraska, Purdue, MSU

    • zeek says:

      In fairness to Northwestern, no one really knows what a good solution is to the lack of butts in the seats.

      Northwestern is finally trying to market itself better and sell its tickets better, and the product on the field should be enough to be able to avg 40,000, but the problem is that Chicago is such a pro-sports town, that there’s no real way to crack it.

      I mean, when you’re in the same town as the Bears, Bulls, Cubs, and Blackhawks, all of which are incredibly popular around town right now (well Bears/Cubs could be doing better on the field but they’re royalty), there’s just no way to break through.

      Yes, they could do a better job of getting students to go to games, but that’s like an extra 1,000-2,000.

      And not that many alumni stick around within driving distance. So the problem is how to get people to come to the games when you’re a bit out of the way as Evanston is…

      • Michael in Indy says:

        Ticket prices are an edge Northwestern has over the pro sports teams. Any Bears games would be over $100 a ticket. But Northwestern, I would assume, is under $50. Not a bad deal, especially if the team is doing well or if they’re playing someone good.

        Does NW ever try to market itself based on its prices?

  38. duffman says:


    I look at the coke debate slightly different

    2 things happened in the Coke situation that you can apply here as well

    a) in a blind taste test pepsi was kicking cokes butt (where you could say the SEC is pepsi and the Big 10 is coke). Sure coke had huge sums in their brand, but the simple fact was that pepsi was sweeter and this was an issue because to compete for newer (see also younger) long term consumers the sweeter taste was swinging the balance (why when I was younger you saw chocolate and candy “cigarettes”). The answer was to create a new formula to appeal to a specific audience for future long term consumption. Currently the Big 10 may feel it’s brand is not reaching the fans (future donors) that are kids today, as the SEC and Big 12 have passed them by in MNC games (not saying this is correct, but if you poll the average american my guess is the Big 10 has lost some ground). If you fail to see this then remember back to when you were a kid. Did you know who the president of Michigan was? I am willing to bet at the same age you know who coached the team! Back then did you know how good IU academics were, or did you know how good their basketball team was? If I polled the readers on this blog I would guess the average was over 30. Point being we already know who we root for, as we are the coke people, but our kids or grandkids are more likely the pepsi generation.

    b) what really happened in the cola wars, and who really won! While most people look at the new coke and coke classic they miss totally what really happened. It is why in the UM vs tOSU some might not see the forrest for all those pesky trees in the way. Where coke really won long term was in controlling the market. When I was younger you went into a store and there were all kinds of cola brands, and each one had its own shelf space. When I go to a grocery now almost all those brands are gone. what happened, and how did they get forced out?

    Enter “new” coke, because shelf space was finite and for every “new” coke brand on the shelf it meant some local or regional cola bit the dust. Think about what coke really did was to eliminate the shelf space for the lesser brands to compete in. They literally squeezed the competition out of the space. Now while I personally would not like to see a change in the UM vs tOSU game, I have a pretty good feeling I understand the logic for it. Delany could be sitting in the same spot as the first coke (the UM / tOSU game) with a single product competing for shelf space (media). If he stays with tradition, the SEC (pepsi) could pass him by with multiple product choices (UF vs FSU, UGA vs GT, BAMA vs Auburn, USC vs Clemson, Arkansas vs TAMU, etc in OOC games with appeal + SEC interconference games with broad appeal. If this is the case then Delany is smart and forward thinking so he can put multiple products on the shelves to stay competitive with the SEC (and Pac 10) while squeezing out secondary teams and gaining their shelf space (media slot).

    Do I like the thought of it? No! do I think it is the smart long term thing to do to insure “shelf space” and “consumer demand”? Yes. Again, I ask you if the 12 team model or the 16 team model is the future, and the majority seem to feel the 12 team model will fall by the wayside. You can not have it both ways just like one can not get “kind of” pregnant! If the future it the BTN, and the BTN is about filling shelf space (media slots) then you need to start getting the kids addicted today so they will want to watch tomorrow. Maybe I am wrong, but it could explain delanys true long term intention.

    the current model:

    tOSU vs UM = coke

    the future model:

    Pitt vs PSU = coke
    UM vs MSU = diet coke
    tOSU vs MD = coke zero
    Wisconsin vs ?? = sprite
    Iowa vs ?? = dasani
    Nebraska vs ?? = powerade

    where the 16 team model looks like this (random 4 eastern adds)


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


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

    in keeping a 12 game schedule it could break down to greater control of content (whoever did the math last time I brought this up pointed out) so say tOSU present and future looks this way.

    tOSU this fall:

    4 OOCG’s
    8 CG’s

    tOSU in the future:

    2 OOCG’s
    10 CG’s

    The stronger the BTN gets, the more leverage it has on OOCG rights and negotiation. While UT as a single school may not make this work I can see how the BTN as a collective could!

    • bullet says:

      Actually the reason everyone is squeezed off the store shelves is slotting fees. Grocery stores charge brands money to get space. That’s really where they make their profits. Noone can afford what Coke and Pepsi pay. Its why smaller brands are dissappearing throughout grocery stores, not just on soft drink shelves. There’s a little bit of an anology with the big conferences and ESPN and the BTN. Also the arms race and coaching salaries.

      Coke and Pepsi have regional strengths. Coke dominates the south. That is where they really set off the traditionalists with New Coke. They hurt their base in order to get new customers. That is exactly what Delaney is doing. He’s hurting B10 fans in order to try to get viewers outside B10 territory.

      • Adam says:

        And the irony is that most of the people outside the region who comment here are as alienated by this decision as the Big Ten people.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Twitter Trackbacks…

  40. jj says:

    In all seriousness, the game is, in my view, owned by UM and OSU. Whatever they honestly agree on, the rest of us should suck it up and accept their decision.

    • Adam says:

      Not quite. It’s not only an affront to everybody to disrespect that game’s history; it’s an affront to the rest of the league that they’re gerrymandering the divisions around that rivalry in anticipation of a rematch. What, are the rest of us chopped liver?

      • jj says:

        They built it, they own it. I’m sure the B10 asked them what they wanted to do about it. They are taking a big risk. They’re big boys (like their women), let them make up their own collective mind. I guess I would just defer to them on it in all seriousness. I really would. Personally, I prefer KISS, but reasonable minds can disagree.

        • Vincent says:

          You want to protect Ohio State-Michigan? Show how some of the other Big Ten rivalries, such as Purdue-Indiana, are at risk. As long as the conference believes it’s defined by only two teams (the old ESPN canard), why should fans of the other 10 care?

      • Blue2255 says:

        Just remember the Big 2 and little 8, it is M and tOsu that led this conference to where it is today. Yes the little 8 is no more the last 20 years, just look at when one of the other 8 has won the conference the schedule has played a HUGE role in those seasons. Either play one of M, Osu or neither in some years. So yes M and Osu should at least be given the respect each very well deserves. With that said I put Psu and Neb with those two for what each has done for college football the last 30 years.

    • jj says:

      Whatever happens, I still see UM, PUR and MSU being in put in one division as a lure to a certain Indiana school. Most likely with Neb, Iowa and Indiana, but KISS works too. Problem is that KISS would be even more unbalanced with the domers.

  41. Blue2255 says:

    Not speaking for all M fans here but I know most dont look at Sparty as a rival on the same level as tosu. With that said I ABSOLUTELY do not want to see M end the season with a game vs sparty, going head to head tv wise vs Psu vs tO$u, Neb vs Wisc/Iowa. When was the last time sparty played for anything other than a bowl bid the last week of the season, this matchup would be third string if not fourth some years. If “THE GAME” does get moved the big ten will regret it as it will lose alot of its appeal nationally. With the way things are developing and THE GAME is moved I could handle a season ending game vs either Psu or Neb whoever is in the same division as a alternative with the other playing tO$u. The kiss theory really applies here and the comparison to Coke is so fitting. I am just afraid of how the next generation of M and Buckeyes see the greatest rivalry in all of sports. I would much rather see them play for the division bid to the ccg rather than the “chance” they will meet in the ccg once every few years.

  42. Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton says:

    I find it funny and interesting how the Big 10+ and the Pac-12 are finding out that a 12 team conference alignment can’t please everyone, all the time. AND they seem surprised by this.

    Funny…Oklahoma and Nebraska could have told ‘em that as could Miami and Fl. State.

    Sing 10….is the magic number Sing

    • Jake says:

      Nah, nine’s the right number for college football. You play eight conference games, four home and four road so everyone gets a balanced schedule, and you get four non-con games. That’s one of the things I’m gonna miss about the MWC, however it ends up. Stupid Fresno and Nevada.

      • bullet says:

        Then everyone has a bye week and plays directional state in late October or November in a game absolutely nobody cares about. Got to have an even number.

        Kind of surprised P12 being such an issue. B10 was kind of obvious when they went west instead of east or south (bend). East or South (bend) and PSU gets a rival so UM and OSU can be together.

        • Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton says:

          12-Pac: everyone wants that game in LA. With 10 they just go home and away split up with USC and UCLA. And none of the teams are budging.

          They may go zipper, with one set rival game, but that’s 10 games.

        • Jake says:

          It’s not a question of scheduling a non-con game to fill a whole, the problem is that with 10 teams, if you play a round-robin, half the teams play five home and four road while the other half play four home and five road. Not really a fair way of determining a conference champion. Once you go past nine, you almost have to go to 12. Or be like the Big Ten and not play a complete round-robin, which is also kind of weird.

          • Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton says:

            with the Big IIX they are planning on 4 home, 4 road..and 1 neutral, as they all have a neutral site rivalry or are trying to set one up.

          • bullet says:

            UT/OU, MU/KU. Don’t know how the others would work. ISU/KSU in Lincoln so the Huskers could have some nostalgia? A&M already is playing Arkansas in Dallas, so I don’t see Tech in Dallas.

          • bullet says:

            Don’t think the extra home game is that big a deal. Now BYU had a problem-they have TCU/AF/Boise(previously Utah)/CSU on the road (or at home) the same year. Apparently that was one of their issues with MWC. But if you balance the schedule it will normally not be an issue.

            In the 70s when they had a 7 game schedule did it matter that OSU had IU and MN on the road and NW at home while UM had IU and MN at home and NW on the road? IMO playing 8 of 9 is more distorting (at the top of the conference) than having 1 more road or home game-as long as you at least try to balance the schedule.

          • Jake says:

            I like the neutral site game idea. Tech and Baylor have been playing in DFW the last couple of years (Death Star last year, Cotton Bowl this year), so maybe that’ll be a continuing thing. I don’t know, A&M-OSU maybe? Aggies won’t want two neutral site games a year.

      • Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton says:

        I think I’m with you Jake. 9 does work well too.

        As for the MWC…I hate BYU even more now, either way it goes.

        • bullet says:

          Not like the MWC fans do. Texas barely gets that much venom from OU. On their boards and in their papers they are laying into BYU.

        • bullet says:

          Whatever you think of BYU, they do know how to keep a secret. You hear nothing out of Provo. The rare leaks you hear are from elsewhere.

          • Jake says:

            You couple BYU’s near betrayal with their historic arrogance and the fact that a lot of people just have something against Mormons, and yeah, you get a perfect storm of hate. Can’t wait for those guys to come to Fort Worth this year. I detest running up the score, but I hope we hang 100 on them.

          • StvInIL says:

            Jake, works for me.

    • Eric (ohio1317) says:

      I only got to hear a little analysis from after the interview (so this could be a little off), but Gordon Gee (OSU president) was on the radio today. He urged Buckeyes to e-mail their concerns and apparently dismissed that the OSU-Michigan game will be in October. It will be November still, but not sure when yet and urged Buckeyes to share their opinions, particularly send facts and figures.

      I didn’t hear him, but it makes me wonder if OSU’s administration isn’t fighting for the game, but up against rode blocks and basically wants to use the excuse, ‘if we move it, we’re going to lose too much money.’ That’s just speculation of one thing that could be going on, but something that I think would make sense.

      • Paul says:

        UM AD suggested the game would be late in the season (i.e., November) but not the last week.

        My opinion is that UM is wussing out here. I think UM wants to avoid OSU’s division. The Detroit Tigers did the same thing when they actively weaseled out of the American League East because they were afraid of their traditional rivals Boston, New York, and Baltimore. (Now Tigers fans are stuck with those pesky Twins!)

  43. Eric (ohio1317) says:

    I find it ironic that you basically outlined the proposal I’ve been leaning at for weeks (although I have it as a 5-2-2) just at the time I’ve decided the KISS is the way to go.

    Great post as always. Thanks for it and let’s hope the conference gets the message.

  44. Eric (ohio1317) says:

    I only got to hear a little analysis from after the interview (so this could be a little off), but Gordon Gee (OSU president) was on the radio today. He urged Buckeyes to e-mail their concerns and apparently dismissed that the OSU-Michigan game will be in October. It will be November still, but not sure when yet and urged Buckeyes to share their opinions, particularly send facts and figures.

    I didn’t hear him, but it makes me wonder if OSU’s administration isn’t fighting for the game, but up against rode blocks and basically wants to use the excuse, ‘if we move it, we’re going to lose too much money.’ That’s just speculation of one thing that could be going on, but something that I think would make sense.

    • Buckskin says:

      Sounds like Gee is a master of doublespeak. The same day in an interview with the Dayton Daily News he said, “We want to beat them twice”.

      I really wonder if they realize the storm of protests they are going to unleash by announcing this at the beginning of the football season.

      • Eric (ohio1317) says:

        Timing is both good and bad. The bad is that no one is at Ohio State now. Summer quarter is over (or about to end) and fall quarter won’t begin for a month. The good news is that it’s football season too and that is going to give us some good chances to let our voices heard. There’s word spreading on Facebook of a collective “Save the Game” chant at the 10:00 mark of the 1st quarter against Marshall. I just hope the BTN and/or Ohio State doesn’t try something to hold that back.

        I really want Gameday at Ohio State soon. I bet we could get a lot of people with signs on national TV.

        • yahwrite says:

          Now if we can get the other ten schools to chant:

          “East-West works best”

          We’ll get what we want.

          Right? Right?

  45. Pariahwulfen says:


  46. Larry says:

    As usual Frank, you absolutely nailed it.

    It is unbelievable to think that the Big Ten could see this negative reaction from the vast majority of fans, the vast majority of the media, and the vast majority of the blogosphere and not reconsider. Do they really think we’re ALL off-base?


  48. jj says:

    Let’s discuss. I think many of us see the B10 going to 14 in the next few years.

    B10 needs programming, 14 games works in a 9 game schedule and it’s not pods, which is, I think, confusing.

    Bottom line on expansion is that the cultural fit has to be there and PSU needs another like-mind so it doesn’t seem like the oddball that it kind of is. One of the two will be a Beast school or maybe either MD or Navy.

    A real problem with KISS is that there are no “west” schools to expand with that would up the cache of west side all that much in football and it needs to be a big one because it plainly trails the east. We got the big one already.

    So, KISS proponents? Who’s on deck for “west”? Mizzou doesn’t seem to cut it (see, also, Kansas) and TX is not coming for many, many reasons. Who else we got that makes sense? ND would obviously be in the east if it came on board, which would make things even worse in terms of balance.

    When BYU talked of bailing, I thought they might fill the bill, but it is pretty far away. Who the hell could fit into the west?

    • Adam says:

      Why would anybody have to? You take a couple of “East” teams and slide Purdue into the “West” with a KISS model. None of the eastern teams are powerhouses that would upset the “balance” of the KISS model, so moving Purdue into the West and adding 2 more roughly Purdue-caliber programs would be no big change.

    • StevenD says:

      If Notre Dame joins the Big Ten, you put it in the east with Mich/MSU/Pur, and ship Ohio State to the west to play with Neb/Iowa/Wisc. Until Notre Dame joins (if that day ever comes) the Big Ten should stick with KISS divisions.

      By the way, the suggestion that only divisional games will count for the ccg may be designed to attract Notre Dame. With 14 teams, Notre Dame will have only six divisional games, leaving six other games it could play out of conference.

      • Adam says:

        This assumes that we should think of Notre Dame as one of the football elites of the conference, when at best they seem like Iowa level (clear-cut 6th team in the league) or possibly even at the Purdue/Michigan State tier.

        • Adam says:

          That’s nothing against ND as a school (fantastic, in my view), it’s just that their football hasn’t been anything special for a while now.

          • gregenstein says:

            @Adam – It’s not really about how good the program is per say, but how much exposure it gets nationwide playing Notre Dame. They are a team that draws well even in down years. You can bet a 5-5 Notre Dame team vs. a 3-7 Northwestern team would be a sellout in Evanston.

          • Jake says:

            @gregenstein – I think that’s the critical point in all of this. OSU and Michigan aren’t going to be split up for competitive balance, but for financial balance. You’ve got to have a couple of top draws in each division to keep the less popular schools happy. And I doubt the Big Ten’s next expansion candidate will be a Purdue-caliber team. It would have to be someone on par with NU and PSU popularity wise, and not many fit the bill. ND and Texas are the only available candidates I can think of.

          • StevenD says:

            Georgia Tech? Miami?

          • Jake says:

            GT and Miami are very good schools with wonderful athletic programs, but they wouldn’t exactly bring the fans out in droves for their Big Ten road games the way a Penn State or Nebraska would.

        • jj says:

          Jake’s right. The only way we go to 14 is with ND. ND and a Beast school, likely Rutgers or Pitt, or Navy with a massive underdog shot at MD. They want that to go easy when it happens. ND slides into “Bo” and the other into “Woody”. (Bo and Woody willingly submit! Sorry everyone, could not resist.)

  49. greg says:

    Tonight’s BTN schedule:

    7pm Iowa season preview
    8pm 2010 Orange Bowl (Iowa 24, Ga Tech 14)
    10pm Iowa season preview

    I luv the BTN.

  50. Tom says:

    I apologize if this has already been mentioned, but I think one of the most disturbing things about this whole situation is Michigan AD Dave Brandon and his unabashed support for “New Coke.” He is literally trying to forced this down people’s throats–Title-game-possibility-trumps-date

    Rich Rodriguez didn’t really do himself any favors in my eyes by not demanding that the game be kept in place, but its understandable because he is an outsider to the rivalry, and looking more and more like a complete disaster of a hire, so I’ll give him a pass.

    I can see why Jim Delany would want to get his hands on this because he probably sees some economic benefit to it, and again, he’s a North Carolina guy, and by the use of his Duke – UNC analogy, he clearly doesn’t understand the Michigan – Ohio State rivalry.

    It was surprising to hear support from Ohio State AD Gene Smith, but then again he’s a Notre Dame guy, although to his credit he seems to understand that the majority of the world is against this.

    It was very surprising to not hear Jim Tressell speak out because from day one, he made beating Michigan priority 1, 2, and 3. But again, even though he was an assistant with the Buckeyes in the early 80′s, and has been the OSU coach for almost 10 years, he never played in the game. Still weird to hear his stance on it.

    Which brings me to Mr. Brandon. Yikes. Out of all the above characters this is only guy who actually played in the rivalry. Not only that, but he played for Bo god damn Schembechler. He took part in the 10 Year War, the absolute height of the rivalry. If anyone would speak out against this abomination about to unfold, one would think it would be Brandon. Yet, there he is, campaigning for it.

    Michigan fans would expect to see this from former AD Bill Martin, who if you recall tried to sell the rights of the game to SBC (now AT&T,) before being rebuked by prominent alumni, who viewed it as tarnishing the purity of the rivalry.

    Now, I am just a lowly Michigan alum, with no real sway on anything, so I’m afraid there isn’t much I can do. But I do hold out hope because of that above Martin fiasco. Both sides were vehemently against any increased revenue that would have come from corporate sponsorship and in the end their opinions were heard. I’m afraid there is nothing that can be done if the other 9 schools are for it, but there is hope.

    (By the way, Michigan State must be salivating at the prospect of being able to cap their season with a game against Michigan.)

    • bullet says:

      So Gene Smith is a ND guy. That completes Frank’s analogy! The lone American of the 4 who made the New Coke decision was a ND guy (I didn’t know Gene Smith was also ND when I posted my comment above).

    • Adam says:

      I agree this is surprising coming from Brandon given his background, but the dispositive factor for me is his business background. Although he may have played in the game, he’s spent the last few decades cultivating his professional identity in a field that rewards people for dreaming up outlandish solutions that allow them to “put their stamp on” what they’re working on. Nobody gets any recognition or consulting fees for preaching the obvious, and although he’s in no position to get a consulting fee here, he’s accustomed to working in (and with people who share) that mindset.

      • Hank says:

        We don’t really know what Brandon wanted. Brandon is doing what management is supposed to do. when a management decision has been made you take ownership as if it is your own even if you didn’t support it. Brandon has said several times recently that Michigan only has one vote. The implication is that Michagan and Ohio State didn’t have the votes to stop this. That doesn’t mean they supported it in conference discussions. But once decided they do what any mangement structure does. suck it up and endorse it.

        • Adam says:

          I don’t know that this is a traditional management structure situation. In one sense the league is a single business entity, but it’s also 12 different business entities (this is why the Supreme Court struggles with anti-trust issues in pro sports). It is not automatically a smart decision to alienate your customers because some other businesses you have an alliance with would like you to.

          • Hank says:

            the conference itself is a joint venture business.

            but the principal is the same, once a decision is made management, and/or partners, close ranks.

            and I agree the decision is alientating customers. all I’m pointing out is that we don’t know Brandon or Smith’s personal level of support. They could have argues against it. But once the decisions are made they are going to do what mamagement does, sign on and sell the decision.

        • Blue2255 says:

          That is my understanding when you read between the lines of some of the comments. Brandon and the Osu ad have said they each only have 1 vote and there are 10 others. With saying that it makes me wonder if its not the other ad’s and pres, that are not pushing this. Maybe its a bit of jealousy of the fact that M/Osu get all the attention that last week, I dont know but that is what it looks like.

          I think alot of this being led by Alvarez who thinks Wiscy is being left out. Take a look back who has been the most outspoken the past year since it was announced the B10 was expanding. BA is trying to increase his schools profile and I dont blame him thats part of his job, but by destroying something special is not the correct thing either.

    • mushroomgod says:

      I get the part about having them in different divisions, although I disagree with it. What makes no sense to me is moving the game from the end of the season. Frankly, the worry about a rematch in the CG being bad is way over-blown… others have said, this isn’t the 70s—-there are 6 or 7 teams that have a legit shot at getting to that game every year. Also, I guess the coaches would not like a rematch… what, it won’t kill them.

      If you keep UM_OSU on the last day, you can also play Neb_PSU, and Wis-Iowa that day.

  51. metatron says:

    As a Michigander, I told Jim Delany that I am prepared to contact my legislative representative and I’m doing just that.

    Hell, I’ll even get my Congressman involved.

    • Adam says:

      I’m going to ask my County board rep to consider a resolution of some forth. They’re all the time passing resolutions on things the County government has no real concern with, but it puts a little heat on the State legislators to pay attention to the issue.

  52. Booster says:

    Excellent post Frank. But let me point out something NOBODY has suggested. Why the hell is there a NCAA rule that requires 2 divisions in order to play a conference title game?

    This rule is completely arbitrary and doesn’t need to exist since it offers nothing of value. This rule is the reason why there is this pain.

    It seems to me, that it would be much easier to tell the NCAA to take a hike with their dumb rule than to settle this debate at this point. No?

    I do like your division suggestion very much and I think you nailed it. Minnesota, in the current proposal gets royally screwed. They are so far out on an island and they lose Iowa and don’t get Nebraska. Makes no sense.

    Only Oklahoma has beaten Nebraska more than Minnesota.

    • Eric (ohio1317) says:

      Issue is that the rule was never meant to be applied to 1-A college football in the first place. It wouldn’t have been voted in then and changing is kind of hard. The conferences might like it changed, but not enough support to leave the NCAA over it.

      • Adam says:

        Also, every league that has gotten to 12 and gone through all of this turmoil isn’t interested in cutting any slack for those who come after. I think you saw this dynamic when the 10-team ACC’s bid for a title game was shot down.

        • xyzzy says:

          Actually, it was an 11-team ACC’s bid for a championship game that was shot down. they made the bid after adding VT and UM, and before adding BC.

    • Jake says:

      I think I ranted about this earlier. Maybe it was a different post. Anyway, I think the Big Ten might want it changed, and the Big 12 could be on board as well. The Pac-10 might have supported it a couple of months ago, but maybe not at the moment. The MWC is at 11 right now, so who knows. SEC, ACC – most likely against it.

    • mnfanstc says:

      All of this is classic “what have you done for me lately?”…

      Seems TPTB are overlooking the ENTIRE history of the Big 10 and are assuming that only the “Big 4″ schools bring (or will bring) value…

      No school stays on top in football all the time… in many cases you are a good or bad head coach away from changing the direction of a program.
      The only reason Alabama is where it is, is because of Saban… a few years ago they were enduring NCAA sanctions, and couldn’t beat the seemingly lowly Gophers in a bowl game. tOSU needn’t look any further back than J Cooper, Michigan is NOT what it was, likely won’t be what it was any time soon, Nebraska is only a couple years removed from a decade of mediocrity. The major Florida schools were virtual unknowns before the 90′s. Texas was ordinary in the years before Mack Brown, same could be said about Oklahoma before Bob Stoops.
      Every program has different levels of dedication to various sports (see Duke, UNC, Kansas, Kentucky), and to education (see Northwestern, Vanderbilt…). A school’s mission and priorities will drive the monetary decisions of each institution. If football isn’t at the top of the list, a program likely will not be as strong. Doesn’t necessarily mean that the school doesn’t bring anything to the table…

  53. Tony says:

    This Husker fan wants Iowa, Wisconsin, Penn State, and Minnesota every year. These are the most logical choices for most Husker fans that I know as there is some type of old or potential rivalry with each. Whether these games come in the form of divisional or cross divisional games, I don’t care.

    • Herbie says:

      Tony–I agree with this 100%. Only concern I have is whether or not fans will want to travel to Penn State every other year due to distance.

      Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and the Illinois/Indiana schools–those can be driven to in a day or (as Dr. Tom already pointed out) have air service which can be just as frugal as driving (depending on who you fly with and when you procure tickets).

      Penn State, Ohio State, and the Michigan schools–that may be pushing it, even for our fans.

      Then again, this is all moot if the Big 10(12) does what I think they will do and eventually nab Missouri and possibly even Kansas in the near future.

    • Adam says:

      The easiest way to get most of that is to go with KISS. The only PSU obstacle is that PSU may balk at playing Nebraska cross-division if they have to play OSU and Michigan in-division, especially if OSU and Michigan get traditional cross-divisional rivalries against weaker programs (Illinois and Minnesota). But if that doesn’t faze PSU or Nebraska, I’d have no objection to that.

  54. bullet says:

    Article with e-mails on what happened to Benson’s plan to create a New WAC.

    • zeek says:

      And that $5M buyout clause to leave the WAC may not be as firm as we thought. Apparently one of the clauses in the resolution was that it would be terminated if BYU didn’t join by Sept. 1.

      So Fresno State and Nevada may have an out or a heavily reduced form of that fine.

      It’ll be interesting to see where BYU goes from here…

  55. BC says:

    The ACC divisions truly don’t make a ton of sense, but there is one shining bright side to that: People still think of the ACC as a whole, rather than focusing on the divisional split. I am not sure that is actually a bad thing.

    • xyzzy says:

      The ACC divisions have been much maligned on this blog but nowhere else that I can see, and I live in ACC country. I will stick up for the ACC’s divisions here by asking, what’s the KISS alternative to what the ACC did? The basic problem the ACC had is that any regionally-based alignment would have put the 4 NC schools together, and since they are smack in the middle of the conference, anything built around that would be ugly. How would you do a KISS alignment and still keep those 4 NC schools together?

      For example: Put the 4 NC and 2 VA schools together in a division. Looks nice. Until you see the other division, that has BC, Miami, FSU, etc: a geographical mess. If you go north-south with your divisions, you’d have to split the 4 NC schools and that blows away any “regional” pretense. Same with an east-west split which would have been ridiculously artificial anyway.

      So I think the ACC did a good job with divisions given the configuration they had. The way the ACC’s assumption of a UM-FSU championship matchup screwed them up was by putting the ACCCG in Florida, instead of someplace more centrally located. But not in how they configured the divisions.

      • @xyzzy – Don’t need to have all 4 NC schools together. The ACC should’ve had a simple North/South split:

        Virginia Tech

        Wake Forest
        NC State
        Georgia Tech
        Florida State

        Duke – Wake
        UNC – NC State
        VT – Miami
        BC – FSU
        UVA – Clemson
        Maryland – GT

        I definitely think that UNC-NC State, VT-Miami and Duke-Wake should be protected. The others aren’t as natural, but that’s compensated by the fact that the divisions make more geographic sense.

        • Adam says:

          When I first thought about this, my initial reaction was to have the North Carolina schools go Wake Forest/Duke in the “North” and UNC/NC State in the “South.” That was in part driven by a notion that they’d use the divisions for college basketball, too, where rematches are routine; then you could guarantee 2 Duke/UNC games across the divisions, but with them being in separate divisions they’d often be seeded 1st and either 2nd or 3rd, which sets up a potential rubber match in the ACC Tournament Championship; and if you’re going to get a potential rubber match in the ACC Tournament, why not in the final?

          It illustrates why the football and basketball dynamics are so different.

        • xyzzy says:

          Frank, I disagree and I think saying that you can have a “regionally based” alignment in the ACC with the 4 NC schools split up indicates a lack of familiarity with the ACC’s culture. And except for the first two, none of those protected rivalries make much sense. In the current alignment, the only protected rivalry that doesn’t make much sense is VT-BC, which is what I think was left over after everyone else got their natural protected rival.

          I’m not saying that the N-S alignment is no good, but it’s no better than what the ACC has now, and is slightly worse when you look at the protected rivalries.

        • bullet says:

          I’m not an ACC fan, but all you’ve really done is traded BC and MD for GT and Miami so its not that much different, except that it makes sense! I would think BC and GT would want to trade based on their alumni and student recruiting areas.

          I would probably switch the protected rivalries to FSU/MD (FSU gets in big metro area, MD gets FL recruiting), UVA/GT (they’ve had some hotly contested games in the past-especially in GT’s MNC year), and BC/Clemson (Massachusetts vs. South Carolina, Boston/Charleston, civil war all over)

          • Matthew says:

            Alternatively, you could JUST protect Duke-Wake, UNC-NC St, and BC-Miami, and let everything else float. It’d be a more weird setup, but it’d be completely feasible.

            That would mean that:

            FSU plays Duke, UNC, BC twice in five years, and the others three times in five years

            Wake plays Duke every year, and the others twice every five years

            Every other team has a similar schedule structure, just move around the names.

          • bullet says:

            During the SEC’s 5-2-1 years you effectively had several schools doing 5-1-2 (much as you suggest a 5-0-3 for some and 5-1-2 for others). TN always played Alabama, but they played both MS and AR in their other “every” year game. Similarly UK switched opponents. I believe S. Carolina and Vandy did also, although I haven’t verified that. Only UF (LSU/Auburn) and UGA (Auburn/MS) in the east stuck with the same 2.

            You could look at a 5-1-2 as: a)5 division; b)1 you choose; c)conference chooses in a rotating scheme.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Bullet – during the 5-2-1 days in the SEC, LSU had Florida and Kentucky. Both were also permanent games prior to divisional play.

        • Vincent says:

          As someone with an ACC background, I think some of the rivalries were kept within the Atlantic/Coastal setup. For example, as I’ve noted here before, Virginia and North Carolina have had a long rivalry and in fact closed the season with each other for several decades; it’s still perceived as a big game for UVa, not so much for UNC thanks to its rivalries with State, Duke and Wake. The Clemson-N.C. State game has been dubbed the “Textile Bowl” (textile technology has been a key part of the curriculum at both institutions). I believe Duke and Georgia Tech regularly played each other before both were ACC members.

          It would be interesting to see how the ACC alters divisions should Maryland move to the Big Ten (and Virginia Tech defect to the SEC). Where would Syracuse, Pittsburgh and/or Connecticut go? (West Virginia, too, but some in the ACC may object to its Tier 3 academic status.)

        • Michael in Indy says:

          These divisions would be much more lopsided in one direction than an east/west Big Ten split.

          UNC, Duke, Maryland, and Virginia have all had long stretches of losing, or at least mediocre, seasons. But this division is no equivalent to a Big Ten West with Nebraska, Iowa, and Wisconsin. The ACC North’s second-best program, BC, is comparable to a Big Ten West’s fourth-best, Northwestern.

          An ACC South has one program that hasn’t missed a bowl in over 30 years (FSU), another that’s littered with national titles in the past 30 years (Miami), a third that has gone bowling annually since 1997 (GT), and a fourth which, since 1990, has gone to bowl games roughly 3 of every four years (Clemson).

  56. IL_Husker says:

    Geography is the only thing that makes sense to me. Dividing line is the Illinois/Indiana border. This accomplishes most of what I see people bitching about. Michigan and Ohio State play every year and it counts for something. I lived through the glory years of Oklahoma-Nebraska and I also saw the rivalry destroyed by the Big 12. Splitting Michigan and Ohio State up is just BS. They need to continue playing every year. Especially now that Michigan is challenged. Trying to artificially setup the championship game between them won’t work. Straight geography and rotate 3 from the other division on a home/away basis. Competetive balance is achieved as the West division with Neb, Iowa, Wisc, Northwestern, Illinois, and Minnesota would currently be stronger than the East with OSU, PSU, Michigan, Purdue, Indiana, and MSU. The cross-division games would be setup so the West teams get OSU or PSU, Michigan or MSU, Purdue or Indiana. East teams get Neb or Iowa, Wisc or Northwestern, Minnesota or Illinois. No designated rivalry games. Stay with an 8 game conference schedule. All games count. This will also encourage solid out of conference scheduling. Some years you get a tough draw and some years you don’t. That’s life. Keep It Simple Stupid.

    • gregenstein says:

      I couldn’t agree more. I’m not a huge fan of “protected” games as to me it’s just a way to try to keep teams playing.

      PSU does have something of a budding rivalry brewing with Iowa, which I admit is a game I’ve been looking forward to when they play. I would like playing Nebraska as well. Trouble is, I don’t care too much about Wisconsin or Minnesota who I know belong with Nebraska and Iowa. To me, it makes no sense to put Penn State in with that group of 4. It makes much more sense to put Northwestern and Illinois in with them and be done with it.

      I don’t want all of my divisional games to be 4 states away. Like I said before, I can’t find a divisional alignment that I like A LOT more than just good East/West.

      Please, no more talk of what to once Notre Dame (or someone else) comes on board. The Big Ten averages an additional team every 20 years or so. It’s silly to worry about it now when setting up divisions.

  57. duffman says:

    I hate to type in all caps, but….


    If it is then the 4 teams will come from the east

    if 4 teams come from the east how else will this work?

    Again, I may not agree with it, but it makes sense!

    • duffman says:

      thank you to bullet summing it up pretty well

      “Coke and Pepsi have regional strengths. Coke dominates the south. That is where they really set off the traditionalists with New Coke. They hurt their base in order to get new customers. That is exactly what Delaney is doing. He’s hurting B10 fans in order to try to get viewers outside B10 territory.”

  58. loki_the_bubba says:

    Interesting. The WAC exit fee of $5m is contingent on BYU joining. Fresno and Nevada may not have to pay.

    ‘The WAC resolution says “In the event no written agreement is executed by BYU on or before September 1st … then this resolution is terminated.”‘

    • Jake says:

      @loki – and if the WAC ceases to exist, then they really won’t have to pay. I seriously doubt Benson sees that $10 million he’s expecting. Although I think rumors of the WAC’s demise are greatly exaggerated. That conference has survived so many defections, I’d be surprised if Fresno and Nevada were the ones to finally do it in.

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        Frenso, Boise, and Nevada are gone. BYU looks like they might not be coming. There are rumblings that Hawaii is looking seriously at independence. That would leave just SJSU, Idaho, New Mexico State, Utah State and Louisiana Tech (talk about an outlier). They would have to get some D1AA teams to move up. It just doesn’t seem like a viable league at that point.

        • Jake says:

          And LT has been open about their desire to join CUSA ever since SMU, Tulsa, Rice and UTEP left, but at this point the Sunbelt might even be a more viable option. If the WAC can’t get North Texas, they can try for UT San Antonio and Texas State, who are planning to move up to FBS. Montana and I think Portland State may be options as well.

          And BYU may still go independent, but I think the WAC may be out of the question as far as a home for their non-football sports.

        • bullet says:

          If BYU goes indy somewhere other than WAC and HI goes indy I suspect LT and NMSU will settle for Sun Belt and WAC will be gone. No consistency to what I’m reading about BYU. So noone knows what they are going to do.

          • Josh says:

            I think you’re right, and that leaves Utah State, Idaho and San Jose State holding the bag in the WAC. Utah State could end up getting the final MWC invite to make BYU happy. I see San Jose State dropping down to FCS or just dropping football altogether.

            Then the Vandal Cheese stands alone. Don’t know what they do. They could drop back to FCS, but they moved up in the first place because of BSU envy. The rivalry and hatred between Idaho and BSU goes far beyond football, and Idaho could not let BSU market itself as the only FBS school in Idaho. It would reinforce the perception that BSU has surpassed UI as the #1 school in the state.

            I guess they try to go back to the Sunbelt Conference.

  59. Bamatab says:

    I truely believe that in the end, the Big Ten fans will have the power to change the divisional format in a couple of years even if the original format is the gerrymandering format that the Big Ten PTB want. It will take a non-stop email/fax/letter campaign (as in years and not weeks or months). It will also probably take the threat of and the follow through of a boycott of the championship game and even possibly the OSU/UM game or even the other gerrymandered games. In this day and age, this type of protest usually doesn’t last very long since protesters (or people in general) now-a-days don’t seem to have the drive that they once did. But it is possible. You Big Ten fans shouldn’t just sit idolly by and throw up your hands in defeat. If you guys truely don’t want an ACC type of format. Then you need to be loud and visable and be willing to hit the Big Ten PTB where it hurts, in their pocketbooks.

    • Adam says:

      What it will need is something along the lines of what flummoxed the early FedEx Cup: a totally absurd outcome to the season.

  60. rich2 says:

    I am sitting in the office, looking at the TV schedule for next week for CFB and I notice this:

    Thursday, September 2

    7:30 PM ET Marshall at No. 2 Ohio State
    Big 10 Network

    7:30 PM ET Towson at Indiana
    Big Ten Network

    Where is William, duffman and Frank, et al? — the Big Ten is already “feeding” the BTN Thursday night home games and moving OSU vs. UM to Oct. for TV considerations — and you want ND to join your conference so the same ADs can vote on where and when we play our games? I thought expansion was about the CIC? ARWU? Expanding academic brands?

    Not about few hundred thousand dollars. IU has 800,000 living alums — if they donates one buck more a year could OSU and UM play in Nov? Would you stop the trend towards BTN Thursday Nights?

    You probably feel betrayed by JD and the ADs. Next time it appears that ND might be forced due to external factors that they cannot control to contemplate the horror of joining the Big Ten, please recall how you feel today.

    • Adam says:

      I am left to assume that OSU wanted to play on Thursday — perhaps not wanting to play on Saturday of the Labor Day weekend? Not real sure. That’s a head-scratcher. Very disappointing if the league office engineered that.

      • SideshowBob says:

        From what I gather it was more a “getting an extra 2 days to prepare for Miami (FL)” rationale. The game would be on the BTN either way so exposure isn’t really the issue.

    • m (Ag) says:

      We discussed this months ago.

      The only ‘moral’ reason not to have night games during the week is that it means your students miss classes. A university can decide not to have such games because it’s difficult for alumni to attend, but that’s a monetary reason that has nothing to do with the athletes.

      According to Ohio State’s website, summer classes end August 26. Fall classes begin September 22.

      Now, explain how it will hurt student athletes to play a night game on September 2.

      • rich2 says:

        M(ag): Obviously it is a non-starter to argue a matter of taste with someone — especially on the internet. I never asserted that scheduling Big Ten games on a Thursday night was immoral. It is a matter of money and feeding the BTN. I presume from your response that you are fine with Thursday night games for the Big Ten. I assume that if there was a need to feed the TV beast you would be ok with a Wednesday afternoon game. I mean – it is only TV entertainment, right.. Maybe JD and the ADs will share your sentiment and schedule OSU – UM on the Second Thursday in September. I assumed that you (and other posters) would have shared my view that Thursday games are intrinsically tacky and precisely the type of action taken by conferences desperate to be noticed. I was wrong. I find something wrong with this sequence: C-USA, WAC, Big East … and Big Ten. You don’t. We can agree to disagree.

        • Adam says:

          I think his point was that holding games on Thursday night doesn’t matter when a Thursday night and a Saturday night are interchangeable, since school isn’t in session, so there are no classes the following day either way.

          It’s certainly a lot tackier when the league is willing to accept the negative consequences to the athletes out of “desperation” to be noticed.

          • rich2 says:

            Ok. I see your point but I guess I don’t understand it. Does he mean that he would not object to OSU vs. UM on the second Thursday in September but would object if OSU vs. UM was held in October — because classes are not in session in September and they are in October. If so, I don’t think we are addressing the “big picture.”

            An isolated Thursday game in the first week when some schools are not in session (IU is) might seem palatable, I guess if needed for some reason, I guess. Again, however, what is the reason, other than agreeing to supply a Big Ten game for the BTN?

          • Adam says:

            Yeah, that I’m not totally sure on. I agree that it is kind of tacky — but not something I think is worth making a point of so long as they don’t do it on a “school night.”

        • M says:

          “Intrinsically tacky” “desperate to be noticed”- It’s a bit like sending supposedly student athletes on long trips all over the country during the academic year to create and maintain a “national presence”. I can’t imagine what sort of irresponsible educators would allow that sort of thing.

        • HuskersZac says:

          What’s the big deal about Thursday night games, especially if there are only one or two in a season? Missing class is not a big factor for football players, they only miss a few Friday afternoon classes over the course of a season with all Saturday games. On the other hand, maybe you’re right. Let’s stop this garbage of competing during the week and stop playing basketball games mid-week.

  61. PSUGuy says:

    Ok so I started asking questions about a possible alignment and gave up asking them of myself so here it is…with the following divisional alignment:



    Assuming a 5-2-2 schedule (which is what the BigTen rumor mill semes to be pointing to)…

    What Trophy game does not get played?

    Additionally, what “permanent match” does not get played?

    With those caveats…what exactly is the problem?

    NOTE: I am aware there’d be a period of a couple years where a 9 game schedule wouldn’t take place…but what’s the problem of (for that time period) having a 5-2-1 schedule to maintain the Trophy game streaks, until contracts, expansion, etc finalize ~2015?

    • Adam says:

      Because it makes important rivalries like UM-OSU, Wisc-Ia, and Ia-Min, non-divisional games.

      A divisional rivalry is a rivalry that gets played out every week of the season. People who act like all that matters is whether you play are wrong; it’s just as important what the stakes are. When you’re in the same division, you’re jockeying for position in the standings all season long; even when you aren’t playing, you’re still playing.

      • PSUGuy says:

        Since when has Ia-Min been an “important” game? When was the last time Iowa-Wisc played for the Big Ten crown?

        I mean if that’s the case there are only two real rivalries in the Big Ten (anymore)…OSU-Mich and OSU-PSU…and OSU-Mich hasn’t been that since RichRod.

        I’ve said before and I’ll say again, once you get away from that one rivalry that will play for the conference champ that year the Trophies are what gives meaning to the regular season.

        Create a division alignment that preserves those Trophies and I think you’ll maintain the “feel” of the Big Ten football season regardless of where any particular school resides.

        • Booster says:

          Dude, you take a very NFL approach to analyzing rivalries.

          The Big Ten has 1, only 1, rivalry of national importance.

          That is not to say it only has 1 rivalry. or 1 important rivalry.

          College Football is intensely local. Rivalries are intensely local. I can assure you as a grad and resident of both Wisconsin and Minnesota the Iowa-Wisconsin-Minnesota games are MORE meaningful to those states than Ohio State v Michigan is to those same states.

          To fuel the passion that is Big Ten Fans you need to preserve all of the great assets that keep all 12 teams engaged. The point of the conference is not to engage some casual sports fan in Vermont.

          Don’t dismiss all of the great Big Ten rivalries.

          • PSUGuy says:

            I didn’t dismiss any game…merely pointed out the obvious fact that while those games are important to the folks in the region, they are not important for the reasons why people seem to intent on protecting them.

            There is nothing on the line (other than the trophy) for the typical Iowa-Wisc or Wisc-Minne game because 90% of the time they are playing for slots #3-4 in the conference (or worse).

            The Trophy is what both teams are striving for, not a record with one more win, and that’s what will maintain the regional interest and rivalry.

            You call it “NFL mentality” I call it recognizing the truth for what it is.

        • mnfanstc says:

          PSU guy, the first problem is, you’re only looking at recent conference history. PSU has only been in the Big 10 since ’93… Minn/WIsc have been playing for 119 years, Minn/Iowa very similar timeframe. To this day, there is an annual “border war” with Wisc, where it’s one athetic dept’s record versus another (across the board)… It is bigger than you may think… Along those lines, Minnesotans and Iowans live to rub each other the wrong way… This football game is more than just a trophy…

          The second problem will be the SAME problem if ND ever comes aboard (God help us). PSU was independent. To my knowledge PSU’s primary rival was Pitt (which I seem to remember was an Indy at one time). I don’t believe any Big 10 school was ever a rival with PSU. Don’t get me wrong, PSU is a great school, with a great athletics program–but, expecting to break into/create new rivalries where there really wasn’t one before is a challenge. ND plays some Big 10 schools, but (as an outsider) appears the only true rivalry is with Michigan… (MSU/Purdue folks correct me if I’m wrong).

          A lot of discussion with Nebraska is around the Neb versus the “Big 3″, particularly PSU… The irony to all of this talk is that the only school that could really be considered a rival with Nebraska (from B10) is Minnesota… Nobody else has played them near as many times… Also, I think I saw a post in this thread where only Oklahoma has beaten Nebraska more than Minnesota… Funny how all this stuff works if ya dig a little deeper…

          Throwing these rivalry games around like ragdolls will bring the end to a great conference… It is my hope that TPTB are intelligent enough to recognize this looking past some of the short-term $ signs…

      • mushroomgod says:

        I’m with PSU guy on this one. Although I would go with a KISS model as the best alternative, I don’t see the ‘divisional rivalry’ aspect as being that important.

        I do think it’s important that Iowa and Minnesota play…apparently that will happen every year beginning in 2015…I do think it’s important that UM-OSU play every year, in the last game.

        • SideshowBob says:

          Totally disagree. Playing for the same thing (division crown) is huge and splitting up rivals into different divisions diminishes the rivalries since they aren’t competing for the same goal in the regular season.

          It’s the main reason I am adamantly against splitting PSU off from Ohio State and other eastern teams in general. I want PSU to be competing against the teams that are relatively local to them, not ones that are 900 miles away in the central time zone.

    • jj says:

      Flip your Illinois and Indiana schools and I think you have it.

  62. Matthew says:

    Also worth noting: in the last three years, the ACC has had three title games between “rivals”: twice BC-Virginia Tech, and last year Georgia Tech – Clemson. Those three games have each had the WORST attendance of the five games in ACC history ( ), including the abysmally attended 2008 game.

    That’s very much worth noting for anyone who thinks that, say, Iowa-Minnesota could be a big hit in ratings and attendance.

    • Eric (ohio1317) says:

      Yes and on the flip side, Miami-Florida State have never met and Oklahoma-Nebraska was played once in spite of both team winning their divisions a lot. Karma does not seem to be on the side of splitting divisions.

  63. Playoffs Now says:

    So BYU indy and the Big WAC would have happened had UNLV joined. NV had a goal of being in the same conference as UNLV, so when UNLV turned down the WAC invite NV got cold feet and backed away. Of course there was probably much more involved such as MWC counteroffers, but the UNLV aspect came out in some of the emails the Salt Lake paper got a hold of:

    • Jake says:

      I’m still not sure why the MWC invited Nevada. Was it just to damage the WAC? That’s great and all, but now we’re stuck with them as a conference mate. We don’t need two schools in Nevada, particularly when we already have Vegas. Fresno at least has good attendance and a strong following in the valley which should improve now that they’re playing better competition.

      • Booster says:

        Frank the Tank took a long time to finally come around and analyze conference realignment correctly. One poor meme that he helped fuel that was mostly wrong was that you were wasting a team by adding a new team from the existing “footprint”.

        Hogwash. Just hogwash. That argument may seem to make sense, but then you will cite Iowa State as the example.

        Programming content is KING. Distribution is a distant second. The footprint argument is one of pure distribution. Sports, being a very passionate endeavor, product quality is KING.

        Nevada is a very solid football program and it is the state’s flagship university with, arguably reach into California.

        If this footprint concept was so incredibly important, then we would see many schools getting kicked out of conferences coast to coast. Bye Illinois. By Miss State. Buy Stanford. By Wazzou. By Florida State. By Texas AM.

        Product is KING!!

        • Adam says:

          One thing I have learned from this whole divisions thing is, when you put the financial people in control of the product, they ruin the product.

          • Booster says:

            My god, this is so true in every area of life. Financial people are a dime a dozen. Nothing special there, warm bodies will do. They just overestimate their importance.

    • m (Ag) says:

      So BYU would have joined the WAC for non-football sports as long as Las Vegas was a part of the conference.

      Conference realignment is an odd thing.

  64. loki_the_bubba says:

    Another interesting tidbit from the MWC/WAC shenanigans;

    “I have talked to someone with knowledge of the MWC’s external TV deal who says the contract is voided if both BYU and Utah leave the conference. A departure of one or the other would not be enough to negate the deal, but if both schools were to depart, the MWC would basically be starting from scratch with its media partners. ”

  65. Playoffs Now says:

    I may have missed this earlier, but OU is considering starting their own network. From a tidbit in a section about ESPN subtitled “Big 12 Booster”:

    I spoke with Magnus prior to the recent conversations between some Big 12 athletic directors and Learfield Sports about a potential cable network. Texas hopes to develop its own network in partnership with IMG, and Magnus said ESPN “was open to consider anything” regarding plans by the Longhorns and the University of Oklahoma to start separate networks.

    “We would consider that kind of partnership if it made sense,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anything there that we wouldn’t consider.”


    TX, OU, ND, and BYU with their own networks could be the core of an Independent Alliance virtual conference with the ability to negotiate bowl tie-ins. The minor bowls also like Navy and Army, so they (and perhaps AF if they followed BYU) could increase the pool of bowls such an alliance might partner with.

    • Daniel "Redhawk" Dayton says:

      Oklahoma is not going to be Independent. OU will always be in a conference and with OSU. There are benefits to being in a conference.

      If UT leaves…fine…if A&M leaves…fine. OU will keep truckin’ on with the Big 12. If fans of other conferences don’t like it or respect it…..F ‘em. The WAC is still alive, after their Gutting last week…the Big whatever can live on with OU/OSU/KU/KSU/Missouri/ISU/TTech as a core.

      However, I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again, if the Big 12 ever expanded it would be with ND and BYU, because of the Big 12′s liberal TV money set up.

      As for the TV…7 Big IIX schools met in Frisco, TX last week with Learfield about starting their own networks. CU was reported to be there but that was changed after. KU wasn’t there, and UT wasn’t there.

      OU along with OSU and the OKC Thunder NBA team had some talks about a network initially. We’ll see if the numbers are better with a Big 12 Network, or separate.

    • duffman says:

      I told you guys to keep your eye on IMG!

      a few weeks ago they bought up a big chunk of the SEC.


      I brought up a new conference, and ND, BYU, and the service academies were a part of it. :)

  66. redsroom3 says:


    It seems as though your efforts are being heard….

    Gene Smith’s note to Buckeye fans…

    • Eric (ohio1317) says:

      Leaves me partly more optimistic, but also sadly leaves me with the impression divisions are set. He didn’t mention discussing divisions still, just schedules.

    • mushroomgod says:

      I’m encouraged about that. By publicly stating that 90% of the OSU fans want the UM game on the last weekend, he’s put himself in a bad spot if it doesn’t happen.

      Assuming the divisions are:

      PU and


      you play OSU-Mich the last WE.

      You could also play PSU-Neb and Iowa-Wis.

      If you’re afraid of a championship game rematch, you could stay intradivision (except OSU-UM)the last WE and play Neb-Iowa, PSU-WIS, IU-PUR, Ill-NW, and Minn-MSU. Except for Minn-MSU, those are all good matchups.

      • jj says:

        I cannot imagine they will set this up looking for a back-to-back. that’s a kick in the eye to the rest of us.

        • mushroomgod says:

          They wouldn’t be “looking” for a back-to-back, but I don’t understand why it would bother you if it happened.

      • Adam says:

        I agree with jj and Eric. This is a feint. It would be almost as bad as moving OSU/Michigan from the last Saturday of the year if they were playing the game that day in different divisions. What’s the point? Just to rig a rematch a week later?

        You can’t separate the scheduling issue from the alignment issue.

    • Michael in Indy says:

      Not a Buckeye fan, but I like this guy.

      OSU fans have a good AD.

  67. MIRuss says:

    I used to argue a lot with Hockey Fans until I learned that you can’t argue with hockey fans. But the foundation of my argument was:
    1. The casual fan didn’t know when the games were on.
    2. The casual fan didn’t know when the big rivalry game was.
    3. The regular season has absolutely no meaning and is merely a survival game until the play-offs because the regular season was too diluted…There were no “Stakes” involved..

    Hockey snobs would continue to disagree with me and punish me for not wasting 3 1/2 hours the evening before on a game that started at 7:30…Wait 8:00…Oh no, it’s West Coast so therefore 10:00.

    Which is why college football was so great for so long. I knew (know) where I needed to be on Saturday at 1:00 P.M. Of course, this was before the days of expanded regional TV coverage. Now, I simply need to know where to be a 12:00 EST or 3:30 EST or 8:00 EST and I will see a game.

    IF you move this game, you will lose the casual fan and piss off the hard core fan. Weddings, partys, and other plans on the 3rd Saturday in November were always questioned (at least by this fan) as to whether or not there was a “Better date on the Calendar because that’s Michigan – Ohio State.” And everyone would watch this game as it would always be a great game.

    In addition, if you take away the “stakes” and don’t count the game in the wins and losses column…Well, aren’t you flirting with disaster a little here? Don’t the office stiffs see the mistake they’re getting ready to make?

    I know…Too long and no point, but isn’t that what the comments section is for?

    • Cliff's Notes says:

      MIRuss, are you are arguing with NHL fans or college hockey fans?

      Because College Hockey has been pretty consistent with their scheduling. Friday and Saturday nights. The start time has changed from season to season, but once they pick the start time for the year, they usually stick with it except for a couple of slight changes to accommodate local/regional TV (Fox Sports Detroit for UM or MSU).

      Don’t get me started on the NHL. They have managed to make a terrific sport mediocre.

      I also made sure to give my input to friends regarding wedding dates avoiding any big matchups, but the Big Ten schedule is known a couple of years in advance. We will know a few years ahead of time when the first October Michigan-Ohio State game will be played. And it’s the same thing with the rotating UM-MSU game right now. Some years it’s week two, some years it’s week 5. But we do know in advance not to schedule anything else on that day – as well as usually Notre Dame, and often times Penn State, too.

      It’s a tremendous emotional attachment that a lot of folks have with The Game being the last weekend of the season, and what a win or loss means to the entire year.

      But I really don’t think the casual fan is going to be misled by the changing date of The Game, and it’s not going to diminish the interest of the casual fan. The wives and friends that don’t care about football are still going to show up at the parties. The SEC or Pac-10 fans that only watch a couple of out of conference games each year will still hear Michigan and Ohio State and want to check it out. Sports Radio and ESPN and Fox Sports are still going to spend an entire week discussing it.

      And that’s probably the biggest thing. When you play once a week, you have an entire week for the hype machine and gossip and betting and trash talking to get underway. I’m confident that whatever happens, the once-a-week schedule of college football will always keep the regular season more important than any other sport.

    • mnfanstc says:

      You must be talking about the NHL, ’cause IMHO there is nothing more pure than college hockey… Minnesota versus Saint Cloud State home and home (try getting tix for these)… Up close and personal, raucus fans in both arenas… Don’t need to mortgage your home to have a great time…

      • Cliff's Notes says:

        I totally agree. I had season tickets for UM as a student and then for about 7 years after college. College Football and College Hockey were my 1A and 1B for a long time. I wish I had the time to invest in it still, but now I only have the time to catch a couple of games per year before the playoffs.

        I’m still interested to see what happens down the road with Penn State and the possibility of a Big Ten Hockey conference, but that’s really for a completely different thread…

  68. WinorLose says:

    This is basically the proposed Big Ten divisional allgnment that is being proposed that has so many people upset…

    1. Ohio State
    2. Penn State
    3. Wisconsin
    4. Minnesota
    5. Purdue
    6. Illinois

    1. Michigan
    2. Nebraska
    3. Iowa
    4. Michigan State
    5. Indiana
    6. Northwestern

    (Cross divisonal rivals games by number: 1 vs. 1, 2vs. 2, etc…)

    Would anyone like these divisons if they switched Michigan & Penn State? So it now looked like this…

    1. Ohio State
    2. Michigan
    3. Wisconsin
    4. Minnesota
    5. Purdue
    6. Illinois

    1. Penn State
    2. Michigan State
    3. Iowa
    4. Nebraska
    5. Indiana
    6. Northwestern

    • Adam says:

      Any divisional alignment that doesn’t have UM and OSU in the same division, and Wisconsin-Iowa-Minnesota in the same division, is going to get my objection.

      • mushroomgod says:

        The KISS formula is easily the best scenerio.

        It’s not fair to PSU to put them in the west….

        It’s not logical to split OSU and UM and/or to not have them play the last WE.

        It’s not logical to split Neb, Iowa, Wis., and Minnesota.

        You could have had as interdivisional protected games: OSU-WIS; PSU-NEB; UM-Iowa.

        They’ve screwed this up; now the question is how much.

    • 84Lion says:

      I like your scenario #2 best, but switch Nebraska to 3 and Iowa to 4 so that Wisconsin plays Nebraska and Minnesota plays Iowa, cross-division.
      Due to competitive balance issues I just don’t see Wisconsin and Iowa being in the same division. Scenario #2 would then be an issue for Wisconsin-Iowa but other than that…scenario #2 is probably the best you’re gonna get.

      • gregenstein says:

        What is so imbalanced about having Wisconsin and Iowa in the same division? Outside of Ohio State, none of the other 10 programs have been dominant in the past 10 years. Penn State had a couple good years. Michigan had a couple of good years. Ditto Wisconsin and Iowa.

        Michigan has been bad the past years, so what is so imbalanced about them being in the same division as Ohio State?

        I just don’t think see how splitting up the “Big 4″ solves any issues. Everyone assumes Michigan will return to former glory. They might, but who says it be in the next 5 years? By then, maybe Ohio State or Penn State falls on hard times.

        I’m just don’t think it matters that much. Everything other than KISS is just trying to fix something that might or might not ever be broken.

    • mushroomgod says:

      There’s a logical reason to put OSU and Michigan in different divisions. I wouldn’t do it, but it’s at least logical. There is no logical reason to put IU and Purdue, or NW and Ill, in different divisions.

    • HuskersZac says:

      This doesn’t work because you aren’t maximizing the games between the four brand. There would be years where Nebraska wouldn’t play Ohio State or Michigan. Nebraska was invited to join largely because their games against the other three brands would automatically be of national interest.

    • Bullet says:

      PSU, WI, IL, UNL probably have no problem with the 1st, but MN, Purdue, IA, OSU and UM fans probably do have problems. IN, NW and MSU would probably have mixed feelings.

      In the 2nd OSU and UM, along With WI, IL and UNL fans are probably ok, but MSU and PSU join Purdue, IA and MN in the unhappy camp.

  69. StvInIL says:

    With all the whining and gnashing of teeth and lamenting about a game which will not be discontinued but will continue to be played is astounding!

    This argument is really beginning to get old here guys. If I had some pull I would get a couple of you guys on opera where you can be all the dram queens you want to be. For Gods sakes would Delany hurry up and make a decision so the UM and tOSU fans will be officially miserable and we can begin the phases of healing already. I am not sure things could not be any worst if Texas was involved.

    In the case of tOSU and UM fans I would advise , gentleman, recheck the glass. I believe its well above half full.
    Sorry for the rant.

  70. Michael in Indy says:

    I have a completely unrelated question for Big Ten fans: Why don’t Big Ten teams play more non-conference games in recruiting hotbed states like Florida, Texas, California, and the South in general?

    Ohio State, Nebraska, Michigan, and Penn State might not feel a need to do this; the tradition and name sell themselves. But what about Northwestern, Purdue, Indiana, etc? If they can’t, or don’t want to, play against SEC, ACC, or Big IIX teams, couldn’t they stand to benefit from games against Houston, TCU, USF, UCF, etc? Illinois, for example, could replace the soon-to-be cancelled Missouri series with games in the South. Plus, it could continue to spread national interest in Big Ten schools even more.


    • loki_the_bubba says:

      Northwestern plays at Historic RiceStadium, Sept 18th

      • mushroomgod says:

        Will anybody be there?

        • loki_the_bubba says:

          Nerds will descend on the city like a plague of locusts.

          • Hank says:

            the nerds go to Purdue. Northwestern is dweebs. think Mike Greenberg from Mike & Mike.

            (j/k stv…sort of)

          • StvInIL says:

            So loki, what does NU have to look out for with Rice? I have not seen them play on TV in maybe 3 years.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            Who knows about Rice this year. Three quarterbacks still fighting it out, new RB transfer from Michigan, a poor defense that returned almost everyone. We could score 40 on NW or lose 50-0. The Texas game next week won’t tell us much and we should beat North Texas easily the week after. So we should still be a big unknown before the game.

      • StvInIL says:

        Northwestern also opens up at Vanderbilt Sept 4th. I don’t think there is an interest over all.
        The BT typically plays MAC or some Missouri valley teams for about half their non conference games. I can see where the travel is reasonable, though these are all home games for the BT.
        I have seen TCU, Wake Forest and Duke on the wildcat’s non conferences schedule in the past. Nobody says it but I get the feeling that the Big Ten teams would really rather not see SEC teams until Bowl Time. Early losses could hurt the rankings and that east Coast bias thing is real after all.

    • Hank says:

      Michael my first instinct is to guess economics. There is a lot of pressure to maximize the number of home games. As we’ve heard in the last couple of days one of the delays around announcing a move to 9 conference games is to make sure the schedule can be arranged to guarantee each school a minimum of 7 home games every year. I’m sure that the current preference is already for 7 home games and with 4 conference road games that means no more than 1 non conference road game. So the pressure is to maximize the number of home games.

    • M says:

      Northwestern also has home-and-home against Cal, Stanford and BC in the next few years.

      I think most Big Ten teams are already doing what you suggest, though perhaps not as often. I would say most schools average non-conference road game a year. 4 schools (Iowa, MSU, Michigan, Purdue) have regional rivals they play each year, which cuts down on their options.

      In the past decade, these are out-of-region away games (presumably part of a home and home for each Big Ten team:
      Ohio State-Texas, USC, Washington, NC State, Arizona, UCLA
      Penn State-Boston College, Nebraska, Virginia, Syracuse
      Michigan-Washington, Oregon
      Northwestern-Duke(3), TCU(2), ASU, Nevada, Kansas, Syracuse, AFA, Navy, UNLV
      Iowa-Syracuse, Nebraska, Kansas State
      Wisconsin-Fresno State, UNLV(2), Hawaii(3), Oregon, Arizona, UNC
      Minnesota-ULL, Cal, Tulsa, CSU, Baylor, Syracuse
      Illinois-Cal(2), Rutger, Syracuse, UCLA, SDSU
      Purdue-Oregon, Arizona, Wake Forest, Hawaii
      Indiana-Kentucky(3), NC State, Utah, Washington, Oregon, Virginia
      MSU-Rutgers, Hawaii, Cal

      That 63 over ten years. Not common, but not exactly rare either.

    • SideshowBob says:

      Because there’s no evidence that playing an occasional game in recruiting hotbeds actually helps a school get recruits from that area?

      • mnfanstc says:

        In the big scheme of things, geography will play some role in recruiting. It’s a simple numbers game… bigger population base is going to equal larger percentage of football studs.

        However, there are multiple factors beyond geography (i.e. =admissions standards, campus life, facilities, etc) that will define where a recruit chooses to go, or whether a coaching staff can even pursue a certain athlete…

        In the end, an eligible athlete’s decision is likely going to hinge on the dedication the coaching staff/program has shown.

    • Cliff's Notes says:

      The economics of filling your own stadium is the big part of it. That’s why, unfortunately, you have seen the FCS/Div 1-AA type schools populating the schedules. If you go back and look at the schedules in the 80s and 90s, it was a bit different.

      Starting in the 90s and through 2003, UM played at UCLA, Boston College, Colorado, Syracuse, and Washington. They also did get TV eyeballs from some big states by hosting those same schools, plus Washington State, San Diego State, Utah, Houston, Rice, Baylor, Ok St., Memphis, Florida St, Miami Fla, Memphis, and Maryland. UM did approach Tennessee to have a home and home (at the time, those were the two biggest stadiums), but Tennessee declined, claiming they didn’t want a potential rematch in a bowl game (I seem to recall other SEC schools claiming the same thing to other Big Ten schools). During this era, the talking point at UM was that they ideally wanted their three non-conference games to be one top-10 opponent, one top-25 opponent, and one top-50 opponent. Obviously that’s changed over the last 5-7 years, so the priority at UM is now to get all home games, except for one home-and-home (usually ND, but that appears to be getting thinned out a bit).

      For Michigan, the Notre Dame matchup (although not annual) is very common, and considered a “national” matchup, with pretty good national ratings, even though it is technically an in-region matchup. Ohio State doesn’t have a big non-conference rival like ND, but I like what they have done in trying to schedule an ongoing top 10 home-an-home against the likes of Texas, USC, and ND.

      Hopefully, the big marquee non-conference games matchups continue to make enough TV money that it encourages more big matchups and better tv for us all. I hope the economics do allow Michigan to have a four game non-conference schedule like we saw in 1991 (BC/ND/Florida State) or 1994 (BC/ND/Colorado) or 1996 (Colorado/BC/UCLA) or 2002 (Washington/ND/Utah).

    • MAC Country says:

      Ohio State just finished series with Texas and USC. They have CAL, VaTech, Oklahoma, Miami and Tennessee in upcoming years.

  71. Paul says:

    Jon Chait and the New Republic (UM fan) gets involved: in the cause: Wanted: Midwestern Grandstanding Politicians

    • Eric (ohio1317) says:

      Very conflicted. On the one hand there is my deep love for Ohio State-Michigan. On the other hand, I hate politicians sticking their noses where they don’t belong.

      I hate to say it, but I still support the politicians staying out of this. It’s not their decision to mess up. :(

      • Adam says:

        They’re all (with one exception) public universities. The state legislature has every right to involve itself on an issue that has their constituents as outraged as this.

        • Nostradamus says:

          I don’t agree with that necessarily. I don’t know the Big Ten state/school relationships. That being said, here in Nebraska, the Athletic Department is entirely self sufficient and takes no money from the state or the school. In fact it gives money back to the school.

          • Adam says:

            I’m not just talking funding. I am saying that a public school is an arm of the state government and the state government has a legitimate interest in what the public school does — irrespective of where it draws its funding sources from.

          • Nostradamus says:

            And I’m saying if the athletic department is accepting state funds, than the state legislature has no business meddling in its affairs.

          • Nostradamus says:

            Should have obviously read if the athletic department is not accepting

          • Hank says:

            tell that to Texas. politicians interefere, thats what they do. they’re like in laws, you’re going to hear their two cents regardless of whether they should be involved.

          • Adam says:

            Whether they accept state funds or not, they are an arm of the state government.

            Imagine a business divided into product-based departments. One of the departments is self-sufficient and largely manages its own affairs. Does this mean it does not have to answer to the Board of Directors should they take an interest into its operations?

          • schwarm says:

            @Nostradamus – is the athletic department building that new arena with its own money?

          • rich2 says:

            Nostradamus, don’t fall for this canard. Does the NU Athletic Dept own the land, the facilities, maintain the infrastructure and so on for NU Sports. Does it pay for all scholarships for its athletes? The university and the athletics dept are entwined and cross-subsidies abound.

          • Nostradamus says:

            Ultimately my understanding of the arena is that the funding is going through the city of Lincoln as the taxing power of the city allows for lower interest rates. The city will own and maintain the arena and Nebraska will be a rent paying tenant.

            As far as I know the Nebraska Atheletic Department does own its facilities. For the facilities that it doesn’t own such as the University owned Coliseum (Volleyball) the athletic department pays the University to rent the facility. As an aside this is one of the proposed reasons for moving the volleyball team to the current basketball arena when the basketball teams move.

            The Nebraska athletic department pays the University for scholarships, books, and room and board for its student athletes.

            “Nebraska and Louisiana State were the only schools whose athletics programs reported receiving no subsidies in each of the four years studied.”

            Nebraska and LSU are the only two entirely self sufficient programs in the country that receive no form of subsidies from the school or the state.

          • Adam says:

            Who paves the roads that lead to and from the arena?

          • Nostradamus says:

            That would be the city of Lincoln the state of Nebraska on the some of the highways into Lincoln, and the federal government on some of the highways and I-80. So if Nebraska doesn’t get an annual game with Iowa, the city of Lincoln, the State of Nebraska, and the United States government all have the right to hold a hearing on the issue because they have roads/highways/interstates leading to the stadium?

          • Adam says:

            Whether they have the right to hold a “hearing” on it or not, I don’t doubt the right of any of the organizations you’ve mentioned to consider and pass a resolution expressing their dismay in order to put public pressure on the school to act in a certain fashion.

          • rich2 says:

            Huskers of all labels,

            I can sense that you believe that running a “self-sufficient” AD is important. I don’t understand the importance you attach to this phrase. Athletics is not independent from academic programs and student life — all of which is heavily subsidized by the citizens of Neb. How can you take a vast web of subsidized operations upon which the NU Athletic Dept cannot exist without and then say that the NU Athletic Dept is “independent” or “self sufficient.” It sounds like there is a PR value to the concept for you. If there was an external value then more AD would be “self-sufficient” since the status is heavily influenced by how costs are initially allocated and then amortized at the university. What meaning do you derive from this status? Efficiency? Thrift? Help me out. OSU, Texas and ND are not “self-sufficient” according to the article. NU and LSU are. What does this mean to you? How then do you compare NU, LSU, OSU, Texas and ND, for example in light of the varying degrees of “self-sufficiency” you observe?

          • Nostradamus says:

            ” I can sense that you believe that running a “self-sufficient” AD is important. I don’t understand the importance you attach to this phrase.”
            Then you sense wrong. It is a cool trivia item, nothing more than that. This isn’t the issue though. I only brought it up in the context of this discussion that with a case like the Nebraska athletic department where the program takes no state or school funds, rather it gives money back to both the state and the school; that legislative hearings seem inappropriate. Heck, I think legislative hearings over conference divisions, who plays who, or when a game is played are inappropriate anywhere. That being said, like I mentioned earlier if an athletic department is being subsidized by the state, than the state probably has some right to hold a hearing however absurd it may be.
            “Athletics is not independent from academic programs and student life — all of which is heavily subsidized by the citizens of Neb. How can you take a vast web of subsidized operations upon which the NU Athletic Dept cannot exist without and then say that the NU Athletic Dept is “independent” or “self sufficient.””
            I can say the Nebraska athletic department is financially self-sufficient, because the State of Nebraska and the University of Nebraska system contribute zero dollars towards it. I realize this isn’t the case in most places as the latest NCAA report that came out last week stated only 14 FBS athletic departments turned a profit. I fully realize the University of Nebraska football team plays at the University of Nebraska and on the campus. Again this wasn’t the issue in this discussion.
            ” Help me out. OSU, Texas and ND are not “self-sufficient” according to the article. NU and LSU are. What does this mean to you? How then do you compare NU, LSU, OSU, Texas and ND, for example in light of the varying degrees of “self-sufficiency” you observe?”
            Apparently this is supposed to have some sort of higher meaning to me as all Nebraskans pride themselves on the fact their athletic department is self sufficient. What it means to me is that schools like Ohio State and Texas are still much more profitable, but by law they either accept student fees towards the athletic program, their coaches are treated as state employees and thus by law their base salary is paid by the state, or in the case of some 110 FBS programs they flat out aren’t making money right now, etc. That is why the self-sufficient thing is nothing more than trivia. It is a cool fact, nothing more or nothing less. My point in all of this though is if the state isn’t sending money to the athletic department either directly or indirectly (funding the University and then the University giving money to the Athletic Department) they have no business in its affairs.
            Look I went to a public high school here. Obviously it was funded by the state. That doesn’t mean it is prudent for the Nebraska legislature to hold a hearing about when my old high school should play its rival. The state has a Board of Regents (or whatever the state wants to call it) to oversee the University, A chancellor or President to run the school, and an Athletic Director to run the athletic programs. The school belongs to a conference that has bylaws and rules about how it will be constructed and the process for establishing the schedule. This is an issue for the President/Chancellor the AD and the conference.

        • Eric (ohio1317) says:

          I just can’t go with that. At this point, the amount they each take from the state has been steadily declining and one state legislature shouldn’t intervene for the entire conference anyway. Granted they’d have more right to come here than Congress would have to fight the BCS.

          • Adam says:

            It need only “intervene” with its school to make a big difference.

            Look, I’m not saying it’s a good thing for the legislatures to do this routinely, but on something that has people as angry as this, it’s totally legitimate. If the universities don’t want that kind of butting-in, they can just go private.

          • StvInIL says:

            Sure what you say sounds good Adam, but it’s a slippery slope. Beware.

          • Adam says:

            I guess I see it as a bilateral thing. The universities deserve non-interference from the Legislature — as long as they don’t act so far outside of the bounds of what the legislators’ constituents want that the legislators don’t feel a backlash.

            Like all situations where trust is involved, there’s no clear-cut, logical solution. Both sides need to act in good faith and earn it from the other.

            I’d say the schools have lost my trust on this one.

        • Husker Al says:

          @ everyone above.

          Every year the Nebraska pays $2M to the state in sales tax and $500k to the city in sales tax (most of it incorporated into the price of the ticket, since the university isn’t taxed as a non-profit organization.)

          UNL is the city of Lincoln’s largest taxpayer by a fair margin.

          The arena will be owned by the City of Lincoln, not the University (though they are a prime tenant). The primary reason most Lincoln voters (including myself) approved the arena was not because of Husker Basketball, but because it was necessary to replace Pershing Auditorium, which has been losing money for 25 years, and avoid the duplicate refurbishing of the Devaney Center, which was structurally incapable of hosting major concerts.

          Nebraska also has a fairly energetic state auditor. He has done purchasing card audits at the university that resulted in overages of $260. So on one hand you have the responsibility of being a huge economic engine, then on the flip side they have to realize that they are part of a university with a lot of professors and people not making $1.8M/yr.

          Yes, NU is a public school, held accountable to public standards. But being the major economic force in a state of 1.7M does put it in a unique position, as Nostradamus indicated.

        • M says:

          Let’s review the opinion on this blog of politicians:

          Politicians trying to keep their constituent schools in the same conference (Texas): inappropriate, meddling

          Politicians trying to keep their schools in a BCS conference (Kansas): inappropriate, meddling

          Politicians trying to get the more successful conference to add one of their constituent schools (Iowa, Virginia): inappropriate, meddling

          Politicians trying to stop moving the Ohio State-Michigan game 3 weeks earlier: perfectly reasonable use of public resources


          • Adam says:

            It’s less the end to which it’s applied than whether you trust the institution not to overuse the technique.

      • StvInIL says:

        Eric, I agree. They (politicians) have done nothing but muddy the situation at Texas unnecessarily so. Multiply that by 10 or more and what a mess. College football would be paralyzed by the same BS politics that paralyzes our government from doing the will of the people.

        • m (Ag) says:

          Politicians shouldn’t get involved with this.

          It should be between each university and its students, fans, and alumni.

    • ChicagoRed says:

      Media hound politician making hay where they have no business or substantive issue? This is tailor made for………..Sarah Palin!

  72. loki_the_bubba says:

    WAC Sports Network announced today. Not sure why, but there it is…

    • Jake says:

      That’s cute. It’s a broadcast net like the SEC Network that syndicates the games to local over-the-air stations, along with some regional cable channels. I’m encouraged by the coverage in Washington state. That suggests Boise has a strong following outside of Idaho that they’ll be bringing to the MWC. And I have the feeling that Fresno is responsible for more of the Cali. interest than SJSU.

      • Josh says:

        Oh gosh yes on Fresno State. Fresno State is the team for the Central Valley and they have supporters throughout the state from former Central Valley residents. San Jose State is barely on the radar and keeps talking about dropping football altogether.

        Losing Fresno State is the death blow to the WAC.

  73. angryapple says:

    Why can’t Ohio State and Michigan be in split divisions but still play the last game of the season?

    If the only concern is possibly playing back-to-back games, let’s play out a hypothetical:

    Both schools are 11-0 (7-0) heading into the Big Game on the last Saturday in November. Michigan has already beaten Nebraska and Iowa and Ohio State has already beaten Wisconsin and Penn State, so they have both sealed spots in the Championship Game.

    There are two one-loss SEC teams, a one-loss Pac-12 team, and Texas and Boise State are both unbeaten.

    Texas is third in the polls, the SEC schools are in fourth and fifth, and Boise is in sixth. Everyone has a season ending rivalry game and the SEC, Pac-12, and Big Ten each have a Conference Championship the following week.

    Don’t you think that the Ohio State-Michigan game will still matter as much as ever, if not more? The Big Game is a must-win for both schools if they want to remain in the National Championship picture. The Conference Championship Game is a must win for the winner of the Big Game if they want to go to the National Championship Game. And the Conference Championship Game is an opportunity for the Big Game loser to ruin their rival’s season. Hell, if the two Ohio State-Michigan games are split and there are upsets in the other national games, we might even get some idiot commentators arguing for a third Ohio State-Michigan match-up in the National Championship Game.

    It seems likely that Ohio State and Michigan will only play for the Big Ten Championship once a decade with the winner gets to the National Championship. If they have to play two weeks in a row and we have to read a bunch of stupid columns, so be it. Both games will be worth watching, and the Big Game being played the last week of the season the other nine years each decade is what’s most important.

    • Adam says:

      Let’s play out another hypothetical:

      Both teams are 8-3 going into the “Big Game,” and 6-1 in league play. OSU wins to get to 9-3, while Michigan loses to finish tied with Northwestern at 6-2, but wins on the head-to-head tiebreaker. Michigan then plays OSU again the next week and wins.

      Gripping stuff, that. I think your hypothetical assumes an unlikely best-case scenario. If we do get a rematch, I have a feeling it’ll be more likely to be my scenario.

      • angryapple says:

        Both teams are going to lose two non-conference games and then tear it up in conference? That sounds extremely unlikely.

        • Adam says:

          Yeah, almost as unlikely as Michigan losing to Appalachian State and getting taken to the woodshed by Oregon, then winning 8 in a row.

      • M says:

        How about this scenario if they are both in the same division:

        OSU is 6-1 and has secured a position in the title game. Michigan is 1-6. They play the last week of the season. Does OSU rest their starters to heal up for the title game the next weekend?

        You might say that would never happen, but all it would take would be one injury to have people questioning the coach’s decision.

        You might think that this record setup would be a rare occurrence. You would be wrong:

        2004 (flipped)
        2003 (flipped)
        1999 (flipped)
        1997 (flipped)

        That’s 10 times in 17 years where one of the teams might have the CCG berth clinched before this game. There’s a reason the last few games of an NFL season are pretty terrible.

        • Michael in Indy says:

          There’s no way OSU rests its starters for the UM game, ever. Last year, Alabama was 11-0 and Auburn was, what, 7-4, 6-5? Alabama couldn’t afford to rest its starters because, in college football, one loss, especially a late-season loss, can cost you a national title.

    • m (Ag) says:

      Let’s say you have 9-2 Michigan and 9-2 OSU
      1) Both clinched their divisions
      2) Can’t really make the BCS title game judging from other conferences
      3) Everyone accepts that, if PSU beats MSU that weekend to finish at 9-3, they will get the BCS at large birth from the Big 10. If they lose, the Nebraska/Iowa winner, who will also finish 9-3, will get the birth.

      Whoever wins the championship game gets into the BCS
      Whoever loses the championship game, does not.
      Whoever wins the first game between the schools…gets to brag for 1 week

      1) Do OSU and Michigan show anything fancy before their rematch?
      2) Do they play any players who are even the slightest bit injured?
      3) Do people around the country want to watch that game? It’s the third biggest game at most for the conference, there are other big games being played across the country, and the 2 teams will be playing again the very next week.

      • angryapple says:

        Looking back at the last 17 years, how many times have BOTH Ohio State and Michigan had at least 2 losses heading into the Big Game? Can’t be more than twice.

        And how many times have they both had two losses and still been in a position to have hypothetically clinched divisions over Nebraska/Iowa and Penn State/Wisconsin? I’m pretty sure it’s zero.

        I bet we would go 50 years without a pair of two loss rivals playing a rivalry game with no conference implications and then the Conference Championship Game back-to-back.

        • StvInIL says:

          Good point but the conference now has more players able to upset the applecart. We can no longer think like its 1970′s. I say the two losses are possible now.

        • m (Ag) says:

          Let’s say OSU beats PSU and UCLA (in non-conference play) but narrowly loses to Wisconsin on the road and suffers a loss to Nebraska at home in a cross-divisional matchup.

          Let’s say Michigan defeats Nebraska and Iowa in its division and defeats Penn State in a cross-divisional matchup, but falters against Michigan State and Notre Dame.

          That doesn’t seem impossible (well, if Notre Dame ever becomes respectable on the field), and there’s lots of similar scenarios you can construct.

          • angryapple says:

            For Ohio State to have clinched the division after the first seven games (in order to make The Game meaningless) Wisconsin would have to have four conference losses and the other four teams in Ohio State’s division would have to have three three losses.

            Basically Ohio State would have to be 5-2, Wisconsin and one other team 3-4, and everyone else 4-3. I think we’re talking about a 100 year flood.

          • R says:

            Let’s say we are reaching the point of absurd. I am for

          • R says:


            I am for KISS. If not KISS, don’t isolate PSU on an island. Irregardless of divisons, play OSU and UMi on the last week.

            For the first time in 6 months, I will not follow this blog! I am ready for some football!

          • Cliff's Notes says:

            Senior Day. The last time that the Senior class of the home team gets to play on their own field in front of their own fans.

            Against their big rival.

            Rematches, CCG bids, bowl bids… that will take care of itself.

      • cutter says:

        With the three (later 4 in 2015) inter-division games not counting in a tie-breaker for the two divisions within the conference, the Big Ten teams have essentially become “semi-independent”. Not independent like Notre Dame, but not as closely tied to the conference as before.

        This would make winning your own division an absolute prerequisite to going on to the Big Ten Conference Championship Game. In parallel with that requirement, however, is the primarily goal of going to the national championship game and/or a BCS bowl.

        Does it then make sense schedule-wise to have the inter-divisional games played in the first part of the Big Ten schedule with the intra-divisional games coming in the second half?

        Let’s use a hypothetical 2012 schedule for Michigan as an example with Nebraska, Northwestern, Iowa, Illinois and Michigan State in the West (W)division and Ohio State as the protected rival from the East (E). The opener against Alabama is being rumored and the Notre Dame game is actually scheduled for that date. The two MAC teams are representative of typical non-conference opponents for Michigan. For this example, we’ll have Purdue and Indiana as the other two eastern (E) teams on the schedule:

        Hypothetical 2012 Schedule

        Sep. 1 ALABAMA (in Dallas, TX)
        Sep. 8 MIAMI-OHIO
        Sep. 15 EASTERN MICHIGAN
        Sep. 22 At Notre Dame
        Sep. 29 BYE WEEK
        Oct. 6 At Indiana(E)
        Oct. 13 PURDUE (E)
        Oct. 20 At Ohio State (E)
        Oct. 27 ILLINOIS (W)
        Nov. 3 At Iowa (W)
        Nov. 10 MICHIGAN STATE (W)
        Nov. 17 At Northwestern (W)
        Nov. 24 NEBRASKA (W)

        If Michigan were to go undefeated or 5-1 through the first six games, then what are the stakes for the Ohio State game in October? Well, its not a Big Ten championship because the first games against Indiana and Purdue don’t count towards the tie breaker. Instead what happens is that the OSU game now becomes important because of it has direct implications to the national title–and not the Big Ten championship or the Rose Bowl.

        Let’s say Michgan is 4-2 or 3-3 after a slow start–what does the Ohio State game mean? Well, a victory gives the team a lot of momentum going into divisional play, i.e. the games that do decide if UM goes into the Big Ten championship. A loss doesn’t hurt those chances, but it certainly makes the odds longer.

        The last five conference games then define the season in terms of the Big Ten championship–and if the team is undefeated or has one loss–a BCS NC or BCS bowl bid. One other thing that it does is reward teams that come together and get hot towards the latter half of the season if they stumbled out of the gate early. And like the wildcard system in baseball, it keeps the fans interested in their teams because even seven games into the season, they can still win the Big Ten championship regardless of their record in the first three B10 games.

        At this point going forward, you have teams who want to play spoiler within their division and there are teams with strong seasons to date that have every incentive to win out for the B10 CCG and for a BCS berth. Even the clubs that had a bad first half could be rewarded with a shot at the B10 CCG if they finished strong.

        We’ll see if this happens or something like it, i.e., if the majority of the intra-division games are played in the latter half of the conference season or not. If yes, then it means the Big Ten is structuring itself in such a way that teams have a stake in some outcome (division championship, conference championshiop, national championship) as far into the season as possible.

        A few other things come to mind. First off, this represents a real cultural change for the Big Ten. It means the B10 is stepping away from the Michigan/Ohio State/Rose Bowl centric image of the conference to one that values getting into the BCS national championship game and performing well in the post-season.

        The second thing that comes to mind is that this setup might make the games on the Big Ten Network late in the season somewhat more valuable then in the present. Adding Nebraska adds to the inventory of the games, but going to nine-conference games and setting up the schedule this way adds to the quality.

        This set up could also work if the conference went to 14- or 16-teams with no problem. Assuming that happened in 2015 or later, that means programs would play six or seven intra-division games and three or two inter-division games.

  74. Doug says:

    Have any of you people ever played football? Do any of you understand how intense and absolutely exhausting it is to play a rivalry game like Michigan vs Ohio State? The players have NOTHING LEFT after that game. And you people want either of those teams to play the very next in the Big Ten Championship Game, a game that not only determines who will win the BT, but oftentimes who may play in the National Championship Game? How can you expect either team to even be at HALF their best for the Championship Game. Don’t any of you people think? Is that what your tradition is, not using your brain. And you call Delany stupid? I’m sick of your whining! All because of a calendar date? They aren’t taking the Game away, just moving it. If you can’t get up for OSU-Mich, no matter what date it’s played, you aren’t a fan. Stop your incessant whining!

    • jj says:

      What do you mean, “you people”?

    • Adam says:

      Is it anything like how Florida plays Florida State in their last game before the SEC Championship? Because that seems to have really set Florida back in that game (7-3 record).

    • Doug says:

      Sorry that I lost my temper. My remarks were insulting and unfair. This site is full of intelligent people. But there are a lot of good reasons for moving the game. Moving it lets other teams like share the spotlight. For years, the conference has been far too Ohio State/Michigan-centric. When either team is down or loses a big game, the national perception is that the Big Ten sucks, because many people think those two teams are the Big Ten.

      The Big Ten needs to provide Penn State with a real rival (probably Ohio State) and feature that game on the final week. People will watch OSU-Mich no matter when it’s played. Adam, it’s a obvious handicap for Ohio State to play either PSU or Mich one week prior to the BT championship game, but playing Penn State wouldn’t have all the history and intensity of playing Mich, so it would be more manageable. A great program like Penn State needs to get promoted to the max, and that will never happen if all the talk is always about OSU-Mich. I’m 54 and I’ve been a big OSU fan my entire life, but and the perception has always been the Big Two and Little Eight (or nine). That has to change in a big way if the Big Ten wants to prosper. We have to promote Penn State, Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin. We don’t have to promote Ohio State or Michigan because the media already does incessantly. All this whining about the game hurts the Big Ten big time with all the negative publicity. We need to shut up for the good of the Big Ten.

      • Adam says:

        I’ll say first that I value Penn State and Nebraska very highly. Fantastic additions to the league. Glad to have both of them.

        That said: PSU has belonged, “properly speaking,” for less than 20 years. Nebraska just joined. I just don’t see why the league has an obligation to force a season-ending rivalry for either one of them. I think it’s fantastic that OSU willingly took on playing PSU annually (in the 11-team format), even if that “unbalanced” OSU’s schedule, because it was for the good of everybody and cultivated a rivalry with PSU. But I just don’t see why the 70+ years of history in the Michigan/OSU rivalry should give way to that on the final weekend of the year.

        I think it does a lot for PSU to put them in with the other 2. It makes those rivalries last longer than just the game that week; you’re “competing” week in and week out through the standings. Even when you don’t play each other, you’re still playing each other. There’s a perception in some quarters that that’s tying up 3 of your top “brands” and that that is a risk for the league, but I think that’s a risk that’s worth it to do right by Penn State and OSU/Michigan.

        The final-week rivalries are largely a function of history. The new members don’t have much to speak of. Hell, MSU has belonged for 60 years, and their final week was apparently sufficiently free that Perles could concoct the season-ender with PSU when the Lions came on board.

        I am of the opinion that an important part of the Big Ten’s brand is its embrace of tradition. This is a league that has clung to its traditional relationship with the Rose Bowl. Sat on an ultra-awkward 11 members for almost 20 years. Maintains fairly consistent standards in who it considers for membership. Delights in things like a bronze pig trophy. Hell, for years the Big Ten didn’t let teams play in the Rose Bowl in consecutive seasons! OSU once turned down a Rose Bowl invitation! Even when they budged on the consecutive seasons rule, they clung to a Rose Bowl-or-bust rule a while longer.

        I think people are way, way, way too quick to write off these soft-focus features of brand identity (and FtT alludes to this in the main text of the prose above). But it’s the small touches, like John Facenda reciting “The Autumn Wind” on those old NFL Films videos, that amplify something good and make it great.

        I won’t apologize for being earnest and not a cynic. But that’s what makes the Big Ten what it is. One of those things it is, is Michigan/OSU in the last week of the regular season. This whole notion of trying to engineer a rematch in the CCG is the wrong direction. The only way to think about the divisional format is 2 leagues, with 2 Big Ten Champions; and you’d never let UM and OSU play for different Big Ten titles. The CCG is (according to NCAA rules, literally) the equivalent of a bowl game for the teams involved. The most analogous way to keep that Michigan/OSU rivalry is to put them in the same division playing at the end of the year. You don’t need to be obsessed with promoting those two schools to buy that (I didn’t go to either one); you just need to accept that it’s part of the fabric of the Big Ten, and not doing that would be selling out our identity just as much as betraying Minnesota and not giving them divisional games against Wisconsin and Iowa (and a divisional matchup between Iowa and Wisconsin).

      • Hank says:

        with all due respect Doug that is the worst possible reason to move the game. The Michigan Ohio State rivalry has become to successful so it should be degraded so that some other rivalry MIGHT grow to replace it? That’s not how rivalries of that magnitude develop. Michigan Ohio State became a great rivalry because of the history between the two NOT because some suit thought it would be a good idea.

        There is plenty of opportunity now for great rivalries to be built on the field. Nebraska, Penn State and every long time member of the conference has every opportunity to build a great rivalry. Including with Michigan and Ohio State. But you build them on the field NOT by clear cutting one of the stronger assets you currently have.

        • willarm1 says:

          I think people who don’t have a huge objection to moving the game think this way.

          1. The last week of the year has been diminished with 12 teams. Not the Game. The time slot is. Next Year it is only for a CHANCE to play for the Rose Bowl.

          2. Many who agree with the split, are not willing to give up forever the game never being for the Rose Bowl.

          3. Many believe the great games of yesteryear would not be so great or remembered, if it were only for a Chance at Roses. Because the CCG would trump the game before.

          If the divisions play out like this.



          Rivalry week around Halloween would look like something like this.

          Iowa-MN(Floyd of Rosedale
          MSU-Indy (Brass spittoon)
          Illi-Purdue(Purdue Cannon)
          NW-Wis (great rival as of late)

          Last Week of Season like this.


          I just think UofM and OSU fans are overestimating the importance of the last regular season game. It was huge in the old Big Ten. But now the best it can be is for a CHANCE at Roses.

          • willarm1 says:


            Purdue v. Indy–last week of the season.

          • Hank says:

            “I just think UofM and OSU fans are overestimating the importance of the last regular season game.”

            sorry willarm but I don’t think we are overestimating the importance to US. And it has always been about more than the Big Ten to us as the game is huge to us even when one or both are down. Its our tradition and we value it. And to many its offensive to be told that it should be dismissed merely to create room for schools that haven’t built equal rivalries. Nothing is stopping them from building rivalries on the field. Why dimisish ours because some feel there is to much focus on our game and not theirs? Let them earn the focus.

          • willarm1 says:

            Hank I respect your opinion and have thought hard about this situation as a UofM season ticket holder.

            But my point is only this….The last game of the season is diminished greatly if only a chance of a Rose Bowl birth is the prize.

            I would hate for the game never again to have the Rose Bowl on the line.

            I don’t think this is trying to build others up. I think if they go this way it is because they have decided that The Rivalry should still mean Roses for one and not the other on certain years.

          • Hank says:


            if the game on the last weekend of the season wouldn’t have the Rose Bowl on the line how does moving it earlier and into a seperate division make it more meaningful?

          • Adam says:

            A Michigan/OSU rematch in the Big Ten Championship Game isn’t “The Game” anyway. “The Game” will never have the Rose Bowl on the line again no matter what they do. “The Game” is the game that they know the two teams will play annually in one or the other’s home stadium.

          • willarm1 says:

            Hank; If they are in the same division the game doesn’t have the Rose bowl on the line and never will again.

            Take 2006 for instance. If that game was played in late OCT. It still would have pitted two undefeated teams vying for a chance at a NC. How is that diminished?

            OSU (at home) Beats UofM by 3, and a controversial late hit helped OSU secure that victory.

            Still a classic UofM OSU game.

            But if that game was played next year it would have been for a chance at a Rose Bowl–Great game but diminished IMO.

            Under a division structure they would have re-matched on a neutral field for the B10 title. Rose Bowl birth and again a chance at the NC, those are the goals I’m talking about not a CCG.

            I believe The Rivalry is built on one team stopping the other from achieving something. If it is just a CCG, I believe that will hurt the rivalry more then moving the game up a couple of weeks.

            Especially since the last season game of the year is not as important as it once was under a division structure.

            I guess I’m saying i would rather lose a diminished time-slot, than lose a chance to play OSU for a Rose Bowl ever again…

            That is how this UofM fan looks at it.

          • willarm1 says:


            If they are in the same division they can never play for a Rose Bowl again….If they are split they can….

          • willarm1 says:


            You really think If OSU and Michigan re-matched it would change the ire towards each other?

            You think an * would be put in the program saying this match-up really wasn’t considered part of the OSU-Mich legacy? Because it was in a CCG? That is laughable…

            Typical Adam comment.

          • Hank says:

            Willarm if they are in the same division the game could determine who goes to the championship game which determines who is going to the Rose Bowl. So it is playing for a shot at the Rose Bowl.

            rivalries are built in division. the teams you are fighting EVERY season on the road to post season play. Would the Yankee Red Sox rivalry be as intense if they were in seperate divisions? No. it’s a function of being tied in the same sack and ALWAYS fighting to get out. The Yanks used to have a rivalry with the Tigers but since they were seperated it has faded. no one is even aware it existed. The Michigan Ohio State rivalry would survive a decade or two but eventual wither. And for what? A chance something else might fill the void? An occassional matchup in the championship game? thats a pretty poor trade imo.

          • Adam says:

            Yeah, I don’t need that anymore. Glad to have had a chance to contribute.

          • willarm1 says:

            Hank I believe playing for a CCG (when it happens) is a diminished prize result…

            TN-Alabama are in different divisions and are huge rivals that have not diminished. When it’s Bama week it’s Bama week.



            Nothing diminished. A rival diminished is Nebraska-Oklahoma because they didn’t play yearly.

            Just my take.

      • StvInIL4NW says:

        Sincere ( slow clap) Slow clap gradually turns in to a turant of aplaude for Doug. Could not have explained it better myself.

      • mnfanstc says:

        NO Big Ten team will need ANY promotion IF they prove it on the playing field…

        The ONLY difference between a 10-0 Indiana team and 10-0 tOSU team is frequency of this record.

        If Indiana is 10-0… they will be highly ranked, and highly discussed…

        The hyperbole regarding Michigan-tOSU is SERIOUSLY over-rated when it comes to modern day TV broadcasting… Look no further than Boise State or Texas Christian University, AND THEY DO NOT PLAY IN MAJOR CONFERENCES…

        You win, you will get attention… doesn’t matter who you are… Problem with ESPN is they devote too much time to last year’s teams…

  75. Tom says:

    Since the absurd idea of splitting Ohio State and Michigan is apparently coming to fruition, here is another absurd idea:

    Michigan and Ohio State, steamed that the Big Ten has insisted on wrecking their rivalry, secede from the Big Ten and form a new conference with the Big East football schools. This new league takes on the Eastern 11 name. Michigan State follows the Wolverines out. (I suppose the Spartans wouldn’t have to follow the Wolverines, as its athletic program is capable of standing on its own, but other without Michigan, they wouldn’t have any true rivals in what would be left of the Big Ten.) The Big Ten responds by adding Missouri and Kansas. Now, it’s probable that Penn State would want to move to the new Eastern 11 as well, but for argument’s sake, the Nittany Lions stay put in the reconstituted Big Ten.

    Eastern 11
    Michigan St.
    Ohio St.
    West Virginia
    South Florida

    Big Ten
    Penn St.

    So, which conference is the better football conference? Which conference is the better basketball conference? Which conference would Notre Dame be more inclined to join? The new Eastern 11 and its TV markets, along with Michigan and Ohio State, would no doubt fetch a substantial TV contract. Meanwhile, the Big Ten would find it difficult to negotiate as lucrative a TV contract without Michigan and Ohio State.

    Is this idea absurd? Yes, of course it is. Neither school would ever leave the Big Ten, nor would I want them to, and playing in a league with the likes of Cincinnati, Louisville, and especially South Florida would make most Michigan fans want to vomit.

    My point is, despite having only two of 11 votes, both Michigan and Ohio State wield substantial clout, and if they really wanted to, they could throw their weight around, maybe not to the extreme that I allude to, but something could certainly be done. Unfortunately, as the comments from the Michigan and Ohio State administrations seem to indicate, they aren’t averse to ruining the rivalry, and that is simply mind boggling.

    • Josh says:

      No one is forcing OSU and Michigan to do anything. If the Big Game gets moved or OSU and UM get put into different divisions, it will be because they’ve agreed to it.

      You really think Minnesota and Indiana are dictating terms to Ohio State and Michigan?

      • Hank says:

        both Brandon and Smith have said they each only have one vote. the clear message, whether spin or not, is that they lost the vote. If they’ve agreed to it it is because neither is prepared to blow off or up the Big Ten. When they lose a vote they go along with it whether they like it or not. Whether you want to call that forcing or not is largely semantics.

  76. Matt says:

    I agree 100%. We’ve talked about this on the ESPN message boards to death. I cannot believe how much they are over thinking this and usually Delaney is a wizard. In this case I hope he comes to his senses.

  77. Guido says:

    Count me as one who thinks the concern over playing Mich-Ohio St earlier in the year is way overblown. With a 12 team conference (done in the name of progress….err$$$$), they should be satisfied that they will play each year, regardless of when or division alignment. Once they pick a week, it’ll become the traditional time to play each other that people will become attached to in only a few seasons. This really seems like a nothing issue.

    • StvInIL4NW says:

      My sentiments exactly. The Big ten is really a brotherly league after all but our Michigan and Ohio State brethren can behave like spoiled children at times. Understandably they have been the focus of the league for a long time. (ATTENTION!) Times change but they are reluctant to FOR THE GOOD OF THE LEAGUE. Even at their most eluquent, the argument still comes down to give me all , becaues we are tOSU and UM. This is not an argument with any merit in a league 12 muketiers is it?

  78. Sportsman24 says:

    I believe that the core issue in this entire debate is Respect for the Traditions of the BT (and each member institution). This debate isn’t just about UMi vs. OSU in the Regular Season Finale… It’s about ALL of the BT Traditions & Rivalries. Iowa vs. UWi vs. UMn, UMi vs. MSU, OSU vs. PSU, etc…

    “Remember The Game” is, imo, the rallying cry for BT fans that want to break with tradition as little as possible, while embracing UNL (& even PSU, to a degree) as our newest sibling(s).

    I’m a Hawkeye. I don’t root for UMi or OSU (except in OoC/Bowl Games), but they’ve earned the right to end their season against each other.

    I believe the Time Zone Alignment (East/West) is the best option. I do not believe that it is without flaws. But, the flaws (balance, recruiting…) of the Time Zone split are easily overcome by the Traditions & Rivalries that will be maintained/initiated with this alignment. UNL vs Iowa & UWi & UMn, PSU vs. OSU & MSU & UMi, etc…

    If arranged properly, with a 9-Game 5-0-3 Model, UNL would play 1-2 of the “Big Three” in the BT East each year (as would Iowa & UWi). If my calculations are correct, there would be 4-5 matchups of the “Big Four” and 11± matchups of the “Big Six” annually (not counting the BT Title Game presented by Honor, Respect & Tradition).

    If this alignment proves untenable, after a period of time, by all means, alter it. Until then, let’s follow the “Big Ten Way” and prove it’s not all about the “Big Tenjamin$”.

    • Adam says:

      Well said. I have no affinity for either school. But more important than my concerns over whether the league over-promotes them or some such silly pettiness is preserving Big Ten tradition.

    • StvInIL4NW says:

      EARN THE RIGHT??? Wow that’s lofty. The big two have earned the right to play each other for the Big two CCH. Now this statement is equally as rediculus. Both the subjects reside in a leauge and are subject to abide by league policy and standards. The game is not lost. It may be played until kingdom come. But I can see where it has to be strategically moved as we all support the Big ten confrence and not the Big Two confrence. The trird to the last week of the saeson is a better place to play the annual match. Which no longer buarentees what it once did. League- wise the game has already changed even if tOSU and UM fans want time to stand still, just for the. Now UM and tOSU fans, it’s not 1970s any longer. Check the calendar.
      Big Ten championship
      Uptic in national rankings
      The Rose bowl selection
      A national championship possibility
      None of thes things may figure in this game going forward no matter when it is played outside of the Big Ten CCG.

  79. Guido says:

    Good read from Cal Blogger on Pac12 expansion stuff and really, really bad journalism.

    • duffman says:


      thanks for the link. nice to read through the comments to see how the west coast thinks as we do not get that input here.

  80. bullet says:

    SEC tops Big 10 again! Georgia followed up Alabama’s 2008 Fulmer Cup Title with a win in 2010, narrowly edging out Minnesota.

    I don’t agree with the writer’s premise that all schools would be so tolerant, but SEC schools tend to be. The other point the writer makes is that its all about money. Heard that theme before?

    On-line doesn’t have the chart the printed version does, but in fairness to UGA, UGA’s 23 arrests in 3 years isn’t exactly all armed robbery (not to downplay the seriousness of the offenses-but the majority were the type of bad judgement issues common to 18-22 year olds).

    3 were DUI, 2 were public intoxication, 4 were underage drinking, 1 was speeding while in possession of a concealed weapon and 4 were a UGA specialty-driving without a license. Several of the rest also involved driving w/o a license-my favorite was the guy driving a motor scooter on a sidewalk with a suspended license. The other 9 arrests were battery (various levels)-6, obstruction of law enforcement officer-1, hit and run-1 and 1 leaving the scene of an accident (along with DUI and every other thing the officer could throw at him).

  81. M says:

    I am in favor of the East/West split (in no small part because I think Northwestern could win the West as often as anyone in the division), but I thought I would channel the lawyery vibe this blog has and present the case for the split. Feel free to refute each of these points.

    1. The worst case is if both are in the same division, but one has clinched the division before the season ending game.

    There’s a reason no one like the last couple weeks of the NFL. The best teams rest their starters because they have already have their playoff position assured.

    This event could happen with OSU-Michigan. It might not happen immediately, and it might not happen for 20 years, but eventually the coaches will view it as too risky to have their star players in injury’s way when they have the CCG the next week.

    All it will take is one key starter getting hurt late in the game when their team has a sizable lead.

    2 A championship game would be huge

    I tend to hold with the sentiment that OSU-Michigan happening in the title game would not be a common event, maybe once every 5 years or less. However, if and when it happened, it would be unbelievable. Imagine a game at a neutral site (which of course means half of each fanbase mixed together) with everything on the line including bragging rights for the foreseeable future. Add in all of the bad blood that would inevitably be inspired by the previous game. I would love to attend, if I weren’t so terrified.

    3. Fans will care about OSU-Michigan no matter when it occurs (or honestly what sport)

    OSU-Michigan permeates through all sports, regardless of scheduling. OSU-Michigan basketball is hotly contested, OSU-Michigan softball has an extra kick to it, and you have not seen a “bad blood” game until you see OSU-Michigan hockey. If there were an OSU-Michigan tiddly-winks game played in February, it would be the biggest tiddly-winks game of the year. None of this is affected by moving the regular season football game by 3 weeks.

    4. The regular season game between OSU and Michigan cannot be as big if there is a championship, regardless of division and scheduling setups.

    OSU-Michigan became big in no small part because for many years it was the de facto Rose Bowl play in game. Even in years that it wasn’t, usually one team had a shot and the other team was trying to spoil. If they are in the same division, this event can never happen again.

    There will never be Buckeye players celebrating with the fans with Roses in their mouths unless they meet in the championship game.

    5. The conference cannot have an equitable balance of cache in the East/West split.

    While Wisconsin and Iowa have been on-the-field competitive with Penn State, Ohio State, and Michigan (if a collective 30-45 record counts), they simply do not carry the same level of media coverage. Just look at attendance. For 2009, the top 3 and 4 of the top 5 in conference would all be in the East.

    This setup would inevitably lead to a “The Real Division” and “The Other Division” breakdown.

    6. Penn State/Nebraska isn’t a great division basis either.

    I can’t find one Penn State fan that wants to be an island in a West division. Plus, having a “Noobs” division just seems uncool.

    5. Several great rivalries exist that are not the last game of the season
    Tennessee-Nashville PD

    A good number of these are obviously not on the OSU-Michigan level, but that’s unrelated to scheduling. OSU-Michigan is not big simply because it’s the last game of the season.

    • Madison Hawk says:

      Well said “M”. I favor an East-West split but am coming around to the divisions of MI, MSU, NE, IA, IL, NU and OSU, PSU, WI, MN, IN, PU. I would add three more reasons to yours.

      6. Expansion and a division split will have irrevocably changed “The Game”. The reason OSU vs. MI became such a heated rivalry is that for a very long stretch, starting with the Woody vs. Bo years, that game either decided or had a direct impact on the Big Ten representive in the Rose Bowl, period. More often than not the winner of The Game went the Rose Bowl. With expansion, The Game will no longer determine who goes to the Rose Bowl, the CCG will, which leads to . . .

      7. The Big Ten wants to make the CCG into a huge event that will (and should) supplant The Game as the focus of fans and media. The Big Ten places great pride in its Rose Bowl tie-in and it is only natural to focus all efforts to highlight the CCG. Contrary to popular perception, I do not believe that the Big Ten is trying to engineer a OSU vs. MI rematch in the CCG. The Big Ten is trying to ensure that both divisions are evenly balanced, both competitively and brand image, to maximize the chances that two really good (and popular) teams will meet in the CCG.

      8. Natural new rivalries. One overlooked item of the likely split above is that matches up very nicely with 2×2 pairs of natural geographic rivalries. WI-MN would be paired off for the last game, IA-NE are likely to develop a very good rivalry and secondary rivalries such as OSU-PSU and MI-MSU are likely to take on much greater significance. The drawback of not having OSU-MI as a potential year-end semi-final is somewhat countered by the elevation of these rivalries.

      The bottom line is that expansion will change some Big Ten traditions, most notably The Game. The New Coke analogy does not hold water because the decision has already been made to add Nebraska, irrevocably changing the classic formula. The issue is what the Big Ten does next.

      While I would prefer a straight East-West split, I completely understand the likely division split and am starting to get excited about it. It would be even better if they go to a 5-2-2 scheduling split in 2015 to keep the IA-WI rivalry on an annual basis and create natural new ones such as MN-NE and NE-PSU.

    • jj says:

      Well said dude. Assuming they want to split the big 4, putting PSU and Neb together is easily the stupidest way to do it.

      But as to point 3, I totally disagree. The OSU/UM bb games (for at least the past 15 years) are a total joke – the UM crowd really doesn’t give a crap about the sport in general. MSU/UM is far, far hotter in all other sports – particularly hockey. UM has at least 3 hockey rivals ahead of OSU. OSU is a piss-ass hockey team historically (getting a little better) and no one really cares. That said, there is some weird state-wide Ohio and Michigan rivalry generally that has nothing to do with college sports. I suppose it goes back to the Toledo war or something. It’s really a little weird from my perspective as the two are pretty similar until you get too far south.

      • M says:

        College bball has suffered a lot the last 20 years everywhere attendance-wise (due to top players skipping college and the worthlessness of the regular season), but you can’t tell me that Turner’s last second shot didn’t mean more because it came against Michigan.

        The OSU hockey team isn’t particularly good at hockey, but from the games I’ve been to I can say they are excellent pugilists. This skill comes to the fore against Michigan.

        The general Ohio-Michigan rivalry is big because people from Michigan are just generally bad people. It’s really that simple.

        • jj says:

          Ha! I like that! I always had you pegged as a “Michigan Man”. That’s a good one. In all seriousness, there are a lot of bad people up here, but it could be worse, we could be in Ohio.

        • jj says:

          Oh, and Breslin has been sold out for like 15 years! Bo-ya. Jesus Crean, get it together. Bo can’t be the only rival in this league.

          • Vincent says:

            If Maryland winds up in the Big Ten, Michigan State becomes the new Duke in College Park, as the Terps may have faced MSU more than any other big-time non-ACC men’s basketball program over the past decade or so (and they’ve had some riveting games — such as their second-round NCAA game this past March).

          • jj says:

            i almost peed myself that MD / MSU game was so good. That was one where it was a true shame a team had to lose. MD bb is a hell of a product dude, good coach, good program. I would love to see them in.

        • michaelC says:

          Well, that and they did fight a war.

    • 84Lion says:

      “6. Penn State/Nebraska isn’t a great division basis either.

      I can’t find one Penn State fan that wants to be an island in a West division. Plus, having a “Noobs” division just seems uncool.”

      Here’s one Nittany Lion that disagrees. I’ll admit to having a vested interest as my wife is a Husker and therefore I have additional reason to see PSU play Nebraska every year (preferably for their division title). Even so, I can’t see PSU benefiting from being the “third wheel” in an eastern (geo KISS) BT division. No matter what happens, the OSU and Michigan fans will always consider their Game to be better than anything else. PSU and Nebraska, as the two other BT “heavies,” have the opportunity to set up a rivalry to equal (or surpass) the OSU-Michigan rivalry. If you ask me, that might be why OSU and Michigan are talking being in separate divisions, to minimize the possibility of a PSU-Nebraska season-ender. Much seems to be made about PSU being on an “island” although nobody seemed to care when Texas was being discussed as a Big Ten add and Texas being on an “island.” PSU is an outlier no matter how the sausage is sliced. Frankly, so is Nebraska, being the western-most Big Ten school. In terms of travel, I did an analysis recently looking at PSU conference away games for the past 5 seasons, and PSU would probably play one more “far far away” game every other year, at most, being in a so-called Western division. The travel isn’t as huge a deal as everyone thinks. (Didn’t we hear that when the “Texas to the Big Ten” discussions were ongoing?) As far as a “noobs” division, why would Olds vs. News be so “uncool?” Seems to me that’d be a natural built-in rivalry point.

    • Cliff's Notes says:

      For my money, the non-football teams at Michigan have a bigger rivalry with Michigan State than with Ohio State. This was definitely the case when I was at Michigan in the early 90s, and I had friends on a number of varsity teams. Ohio State is still noted in the non-revenue sports, but MSU is generally considered the top rival. It may have changed some now, but I’d be surprised. In basketball, the season-ending game is still UM-MSU, not UM-OSU (even though Michigan has been competitive with MSU in about 3 games since about 1998).

      Also, back in 1998, Yost Arena in Ann Arbor hosted the NCAA Regional Playoffs. Ohio State (the underdog) was playing top ranked Michigan State in front of a Maize and Blue crowd waiting for Michigan to play next. The crowd was CLEARLY pulling for Ohio State. Ohio State hockey is more established now, but MSU is still the big game on the calender in hockey, too.

  82. StvInIL4NW says:

    Who was it that said “ask not what the Big Ten can do for you, but what YOU can do for the Big Ten”

    It’s a noble question, but I forget who?

  83. M says:

    A fun site for make your divisions:

    Obviously his grades are dependent on some of his choices (e.g. rivalry importance), but it’s better than kitchen magnets.

  84. Big Ten Jeff says:

    Feel free to consider me in the minority on this, but I continue to hold my tongue on this because I refuse to believe, until given hard evidence to the contrary, that the previously thought brilliant powers that be will engage in something apparently so stupid.

    Sorry guys, they’re not this stupid. The only rationale for this would that it’s a prelude to an eastern expansion. In any event, I’m not raising my blood pressure about this prematurely until I see Delany at the podium. If the plan everyone here hates so much doesn’t come to fruition, it won’t be our protests that “made the difference” (officially they still has plausible deniability) but this will be rendered another example of how internet rumors aren’t steeped in reality (and yes, I know certain comments from various Big Ten officials have fueled the fires…).

    This plan is setting the table for the next 50 years. What happened to “Think like a College President” and thinking macro, not micro? You know expansion isn’t stopping at 12. I think what we really have to gripe about at this point is the death march pace of it all. Get it over with already.

    • Eric (ohio1317) says:

      I understand that position and took the same one toward expansion. I discounted pretty much all rumors until something was announced and only started to believe even the Nebraska ones in the last few days.

      For divisions though, frankly there is too much evidence now for me to think this isn’t quite serious. Iowa and Wisconsin were confirmed split Barry Alvarez. OSU’s president and AD have come out saying separate divisions would be ideal and so has Michigan’s AD. I don’t see all of that unless there is a heck of a lot of smoke to that fire.

      I can tell you in Columbus, OSU is getting a lot of heat for this. If Ohio State and Michigan were going to be in the same division or keep the last game for sure, they would have quickly come out and said it because it would taken a lot of pressure off them. The fact they haven’t and Smith didn’t even mention divisions in his TV address speaks volumes.

      • Big Ten Jeff says:

        I know…maybe my position is just being in denial. I truly hope a rabbit’s being pulled out of the hat or someone’s trying to milk this for marketing purposes. I respect the traditions of many of the conference rivalries even though NU hasn’t been good long enough to enjoy many of substance.

        I just hope we get more than an announcement. If these changes are coming downstream, we deserve explanations.

    • duffman says:


      I will join you in the minority!

      I have said there are things I would not like to see. However, I offer the caveat that this is based on my personal feelings based on past history and in 50 years I will be dead and gone. If the census and current demographics are true by then it will be futbol and not football that folks will be watching by then! If the future rests one one game (UM vs tOSU) then the Big 10 will be lost in the dust of the SEC and Pac 10. You raise the main issue I have harped on for awhile now.

      We spent about a half of a year discussing on this very site a move by the Big 10 to expand to 16 teams! If I were to take a poll of everybody who has been posting since at least June I would bet the OVERWHELMING majority would say that 12 is a dead model in the long term future! Yet here were are debating tOSU vs UM as though we truly believe that the Big 10 will not cross the 12 team line in the future! You can not have both, unless someone on here can show me how it can work long term!

      I have raised the following points to defend this position:

      a) expansion will be in the east

      b) the Big 10 will not invite Missouri or Kansas

      c) the odds of the Big 10 landing UT and / or TAMU is close to zero

      thanks to the site provided by M in the post above I did it with the following:

      D 1: tOSU, PSU, IU, PU, Illinois, Northwestern

      D 2: UNL, UM, MSU, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin

      while I got a B+ for competitiveness, and a B for geography. I got a score of 97 = A+ for the rivalries part. I am fairly sure the competitiveness and geography would go up as I was basing it on a 4 team eastern add that would kick the Indiana and Illinois schools west (which by default should correct the lower scores in the other 2 categories).

      In conclusion it is pretty simple:

      a) Big 10 goes to 16 at the expense of current rivals


      b) Big 10 stays at 12 teams to protect current rivals

      you must pick one or the other, because to me it seems like they are mutually exclusive! bullets response to an earlier post I made summed it up pretty well. I think there are some really smart folks on here and respect your opinions, but long term I can see what delany is doing even if I personally do not agree with it.

      • Eric (ohio1317) says:

        I disagree over the long term about 12 being a dead model. I think the right moves could push us to superconferences, but I think long term it will be at the expense of college football and universities bottom lines. I think a convergence into 4 (or just as likely 2) superconferences is going to throw out a lot of interest as the college football model will start to more and more to resemble a pro-model and the last thing it needs is to be seen as a college version of the NFL.

        • duffman says:

          sort of my point, as if you believe 12 is the model then tOSU and UM have nothing to fear as it would make little sense to change and likely will not.

        • StvInIL4NW says:

          I totally agree with what you say Eric. Beyond 14 teams then things start to become more of problem than a smooth running machine. Yeah sure, there are more games to sell, so why not go to 20 then? There has to be an optimal number. My own personal belief is that number is 14.

      • bullet says:

        I agree with you Delaney is trying to go to 16. I don’t know whether he will succeed even with the B10. Beebe, Slive and the ACC commissioner all believe 12 is optimum.

        B10 could stay at 12 and destroy current rivals. That is another option. If, as some have suggested, trying to promote the conference at the expense of UM/OSU, maybe naming the divisions the Johnny Pont divisions and Murray Warmath division is appropriate.

        • duffman says:


          from your comment above:

          “Beebe, Slive and the ACC commissioner all believe 12 is optimum.”

          some points:

          a) Beebe and Swofford (ACC commissioner) both want 12 because they know they are prey not predator. They say 12 is optimum because they know if it goes past 12 then any of the Big 3 (B10, P10, SEC) can take a bite of them. Neither is in the position to return the favor. If ANYONE on this board can show me a B10/SEC team that will find a new home in the B12/ACC, please be my guest!

          b) Slive “believes” 12 is optimum because with the success of the SEC in the past decade he has shown they are in the best spot. The day the B10 or P10 adds the 13th team I am willing to bet my last dollar that Slive “believes” 16 is optimum. He is happy where the SEC is, but only a fool would think he will not change his position quickly if the status changes!

          Therefore, I take these comments with little value. I said early on the the only person I care about listening to is delany (and scott to a lesser extent). Going forward only two actions are what I care about, as these are the only opinions that really matter:

          a) Jim Delany, and the day he announces the 13th team invited to join the Big 10! It may not come this year (in fact I would bet the next move comes in 2011) but I feel very sure it will happen in the next few.

          b) Larry Scott, and the day he announces the 13th team invited to join the Pac 10! I have a feeling this is more likely to happen quickly as the Pac 10 has not worked out its future deal, and would like to have a real brand or two before said deal happens (granted any contract will have an expansion clause).

          Sure BYU might go independent, and any lesser conferences may move around, but none of this will greatly affect any of the BIG 3. I would love more commentary on here from Pac 10 folks or Big East folks to allow for a viewpoint or issue we may have missed (as well as more ACC and MWC input / insight) but all and all I still believe the next big move will have to come from delany.

          • bullet says:

            IMO, SEC and Pac12 really have no options. Its Texas, Texas A&M or bust. Without one of those 2 I don’t believe its financially feasible for either conference to expand.

            There have been differing opinions about how stable the ACC is, but I am quite certain UNC and UVA aren’t going to the SEC for the same reasons UT won’t. I think VT w/o UVA is a real stretch. Since FSU, Miami and GT all had chances to be in the SEC and left or chose not to go, something would have to change to make them enter. And the key issues haven’t. In any event, GT adds nothing. FSU and Miami definitely add something, but maybe not enough with UF already there.

            So that leaves Delaney, Dodds and Byrne as the key players.

            And I see no reason not to believe Swofford and Slive. Slive would have earlier been after OU, A&M and ACC schools if he thought more than 12 was beneficial except for keeping up with the Joneses. Swofford would be after BE schools such as Rutgers and Pitt if he thought a bigger number was better. Beebe clearly had self-interest, but I happen to agree with him.

  85. Big Ten Jeff says:

    Duffman, I can always count on you to see the big picture. Of course, I’m also emotionally vested but have chosen not to allow that to get in the way of “Thinking Like a President” and determining how to succeed over the next 50 years (one caveat: changing demographics don’t mean the country’s dominant population base won’t still be in the northeast; if the Big Ten consolidates its hold there and floods the SW/SE retirement areas with alums, we’ll be fine).

    Here’s my analysis of some likely ‘truths’ floating around Park Ridge.

    1) The days of the Big Two and Little Twelve are gone. UM and tOSU are two of the Big Ten’s 4 most important football schools, and just that. To exclusively cower to their concerns makes would make the Big Ten no different than the Big IIX or The Big Least (with its ND exception).

    2) The Big Ten would be fools to destroy the Brand that is the annual tOSU/UM game, and it would be shortsighted not to see the value in creating an annual PSU/UNL game. Any change in The Game must navigate the concerns of losing arguably the best rivalry game in sports.

    2a) The absence of a Big Ten Championship Game may have something to do with not having won a national championship of late, whether due to the lack of competitive hardening, too much time off, or failure to get our champ ranked high enough to compete (last point not so much).

    3) The Big Ten must foster growth and competition among all schools. NU’s post 1995 success (and aspirations to replicate Stanford’s PacTen success), as well as the rise of Iowa/Wisconsin are to be applauded and nourished, not squashed for the sake of maintaining the historic stature of our top 4 (including UNL) brands.

    4) Divisional considerations are going to be in flux, especially if we’re successful in our Eastern expansion strategy. With respect to making bold errors, even Coca Cola was able to reclaim its stature after New Coke. Not to justify mistakes, but the worst case scenario might involve adjusting things. Why aren’t more of us appreciating that going back is an option, and perhaps the perceived upside of positioning the Big Ten champ to play in the NCC might be a more important consideration – isn’t it damn near a given that the nat’l championship game has been SEC champ vs somebody?)

    5) EXPANSION WILL NOT STOP AT 12!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Every time I start to get upset about divisional realignment, I make myself say that 5 times.

    Given #4 and 5, I’m not overly concerned with the next 2-3 years, because I believe some 4some of Rutgers, MD, Pitt, UVa, Syrucuse (sigh, and maybe ND) will join, and we’ll be doing realignment again, with a probable repositioning/joining of tOSU/UM.

    Yes, past is prologue. Instead of looking at the failures of other conferences in realignment and expansion, I choose to look at the success the Big Ten has had at everything (i.e. business and academic) other that winning a recent national football champinoship. I just hope my trust is proven correct.

    BTW Duffman, how’s that Big Ten futball conference coming? That’s a pretty interesting piece of food for thought!

    • Big Ten Jeff says:

      One more truth: The Big Ten has an Illinois (State, not University) problem. Yes, Chicago is a pro sports town, but it’s the natural capital of The Big Ten (as the biggest Big Ten city in the biggest Big Ten state), and it should be a collective conference challenge to get the population more interested in NU’s inability to draw more than 28K/game and U of I’s inability to place a nationally relevant team on the field (quick; name a bigger state with a worse football team – Not CA, FL, TX, PA; ok, maybe NY, but still…).

      Obvious problems include that U of I is in Champaign, and many/most Chicagoans tend not to care about anything downstate, and Northwestern is small, private, elitist and historically not well marketed as “The Big Ten’s Chicago School” (new marketing campaign if you didn’t know) or representative of the city.

      Chicago is a recruiting hotbed without real loyalties to either Illinois Big Ten university. I think it was a huge mistake not to hold the Big Ten Championship in Chicago (yes, I know about the absence of a dome and the weather, but still…). I would suggest that over the long-term this needs to be a topic of discussion.

      • StvInIL4NW says:

        Big ten Jeff, I’m afraid we are talking apples and oranges when it comes to NU and football success.
        The fact that it is a private school and that is its biggest obstacle to recruiting top prep players. I believe they get a list of players they can recruit and not the whole pie to choose from. In contrast I do not hear of a lot of guys fearful of not being able to get into an SEC school of choice outside of Vandy. NU has to develop and coach well to win more than they have to get 5 star athletes.
        The attendance is impacted to by the size of the student body. They are the smallest school in the Big Ten so you may not expect them to draw like PSU, OSU or UM.
        FT Undergraduates: 8,476
        FT Undergraduates: 26,964
        Penn State
        FT Undergraduates: 39,400
        FT Undergraduates: 33,745

        FT Undergraduates: 23,770

        Northwestern is on the quarter system. Fall Quarter typically begins in mid-September and ends in early December. This means there are not as many students on campus two games into the season.
        Lastly it is direct next door to a pro town. There is plenty of professional sports here and many many more attractions to compete for NU’s gate. Parking is starting to suck but Chicago is a great town for sporting and entertainment options.

        U of I though has few excuses for not being more of a factor in the Big ten race on a regular basis.

        • Big Ten Jeff says:

          Thanks for the analysis, Steve. I have 4 year degrees from both NU and U of I, so I’ve been there and agree with all that you pointed out. That being said, I’ll reduce my point to this: I’ve never seen a concerted effort by either school to be “Chicago’s team” in the way DePaul could claim to be when Ray Meyer was coaching (except maybe U of I for basketball, which got upended for a brief time when Jimmy Collins left UofI for UIC.

          I think the Cummings/Aguirre DePaul teams and the Gill/Battle/Anderson Flying Illini team back in ’89 suggest that maybe Chicago is just needs for a winner to get interested and some attention/marketing to stick around.

          • zeek says:

            If Northwestern could win 6+ games almost every season for the next 10 years, I think it’d see attendance get back in the 30,000-40,000 range and possibly the 40k+ range for games/years where they’re ranked.

            We have to stop the pattern of dropping off after 1 or 2 good seasons and then coming back after a random 4-8 season.

        • MIhawk says:

          U of Miami and USC are both private schools with pretty decent academic reputations. Doesn’t stop them from recruiting ‘academically challenged’ players. That’s a decision NW has made on their own.

      • ChicagoRed says:

        Methinks Nebraska’s recruiting will pick up in Chicago

        • duffman says:

          where was big red recruiting before the big 8 became the big 12? will it revert to something similar now they are in the big 10?

          • Nostradamus says:

            Nebraska has always had to recruit nationally. It has largely depended on the assistant coaches and where there relationships were. In Osborne’s late 80′s and into the glory run of the 90′s Nebraska was hitting New Jersey hard, had a decent presence in California, was dabbling with Florida, and essentially had its pick of prospects from Missouri.

            Frank Solich- we aren’t really sure if he recruited at all. Nebraska loses the stranglehold it had on what the current staff calls the “500 mile radius” and not surprisingly by 2007 Missouri and Kansas have two really good teams.

            Callahan- was sort of all over. One of the coaches had ties to Arizona which lead to guys from there, went back into California a bit, started ratcheting up Texas.

            Pelini- Hitting Texas hard, starting to pull in better prospects from Missouri again, and they’ve pulled in a couple from California.

    • M says:

      Replicate Stanford’s Pac-10 success? What success? Over the last 15 years, Northwestern has more conference titles (3 to 1), more wins (91 to 77) and a better conference winning percentage (.475 to .444) in a harder conference.

      Stanford’s trying to replicate Northwestern’s Big Ten success.

      • Big Ten Jeff says:

        You’re right, and you have me beaming at that one; we have come a long way, haven’t we? Actually, I should have phrased that to speak of perception in its local market and national stature. Even on this board, NU’s recent success consistently gets no love, as if it’s an aberration, whereas Iowa and Wisconsin (deservedly) are the next best thing.

    • bullet says:

      Actually its been pretty much a given that the national championship game is somebody from the B12 (not always the champ-UNL and OU can testify) or Ohio St. vs. somebody else. Each of the last 10 years UNL/OU/UT/Ohio St. have been exactly one of the two participants. Fair chance that continues this year.

    • duffman says:


      Here is some points to file away on the futbol thing:

      a) the SEC does not play soccer! :)

      b) the last 50 years look like this
      IU = 7 titles (you know I would get the IU plug)
      MSU = 2 titles

      if the Big 10 added MD and UVA
      UVA = 6 titles
      MD = 3 titles

      which means a Big 10(16) would have 18 of the 50 titles (considering St Louis dominated the first 15 years by winning 10 of them) the number looks even better for a IU + MSU + MD + UVA combination.

      c) the SEC does not play soccer! ;)

      I will make some comments on the rest of your post later on, or if you want to email me Frank has my email address.

  86. StvInIL4NW says:

    Call me short sighted but I don’t see a meaningful Big Ten “ Futball” championship coming. My son and nieces and nephews have all grown up in the Chicago suburbs playing “Futball” as little guys. By the time they are old enough like middle school the organized games they play are the traditional ones as Basketball, Football and baseball for boys and soccer, basketball and softball for girls. Lacrosse is growing in this area and some of the football players play it to hone their agility as they can play both and the seasons don’t really overlap. Hockey is too dependent on the specialized facilities and will always have a small participation level as its also expensive and extended travel is a given.
    I understand the demographic influx in the country may favor the more international sport of soccer but the true test of where this is going I believe depends on how well professional soccer players are paid and not demographics.

    • duffman says:


      the post was intended specifically to B10J, and was somewhat done in jest. that said who knows what will be the dominate sport in 50 years or 100 years. 50 years ago boxing was huge and 100 years ago horse racing was the dominant sport. When was the last time you went to either event live? all things have life cycles. fantasy “teams” have kept pro interest alive, but can you see anybody doing that on the college level? A Michigan fan with an Ohio State QB in his college “fantasy” league? College and pro sports also rely on gambling for fan interest, so what happens if something else supplants the gambling segment of the market. Not saying it is futbol, could be lacrosse, could be something else. The point is all things have a life cycle birth, growth, level, decline, death and at some point all things end.

      The dynamics are changing both in ability and risk. Say my father played at the pro level, and I played at the D1 level. Would I really want my kid to play at that level, when they could play lacrosse instead on a full ride and get a degree they can actually use. In an early post i spoke of the “harvest” mode we are in now. if no seeds are sown in the future, then who will the donors of tomorrow be? I pointed out awhile back about the cost of live sports on a family of 4, and it did not seem that wages had kept up with said cost. Live fans seem to be a better solution than TV fans as they probably have a greater vested interest based on a unique experience. Sure a bunch of us “old guys” may catch a game at a sports bar now, but it is based on shared “live” games when we were younger.

    • mnfanstc says:

      Watching European football (“Futball”) is like watching grass grow, paint dry, or listening to mother-in-law…

      The Europeans don’t understand our “neanderthal (sp)” American football… As long as there is tackling being done, and more importantly, someone scoring a single solitary point, American football wins all the time…

      The media can keep hiding all the soccer ACL tears as long as they want…

  87. loki_the_bubba says:

    Nothing anyone has posted on any site has made me think that any alignment is better than pure geography. Cut at the Indiana/Illinois border. And no need for any protected east/west games. Play every team in the opposite division every other year.

    Any other attempt seems too smart by half.

    • duffman says:


      since you mentioned IU and you have friends in the rice food chain. what about a home and home in the future :)

  88. MichiganDav says:

    I’m all about the KISS model and as a Michigan fan I agree that the OSU game should be kept in division. But if they’re really intent on splitting up UM/OSU and the big four, a logical geographic split would be North/South. Here’s how I would do it (protected rival in parentheses):

    Michigan (OSU)
    Michigan State (IU)
    Nebraska (PSU)
    Iowa (Ill)
    Wisconsin (NW)
    Minnesota (PU)

    Ohio State (Mich)
    Penn State (Neb)
    Northwestern (UW)
    Illinois (Iowa)
    Purdue (Minn)
    Indiana (MSU)

    I realize that Evanston is north of Iowa City but I think that’s OK (just like the Vandy/Auburn thing) because it will preserve the IA/MN/WI series. Any thoughts?

    • zeek says:

      Iowa/Wisconsin are going to be in different divisions.

      Your North actually looks like it’d be too tough.

      Switch Northwestern and Wisconsin, and it sounds like what would happen…

      • Vincent says:

        I like the idea, with the Zeek Northwestern/Wisconsin switch:

        NORTH/WEST: Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern

        SOUTH/EAST: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin

        To placate Wisconsin, give each team two annual designated cross-division games — for the Badgers, it would be Iowa and Minnesota.

        Having Northwestern in the North/West division would be a good mnenomic aid.

        Should the Big Ten add two eastern members (say, Rutgers and Maryland), slide Purdue over to the North/West (hey, West Lafayette is sort of in northwest Indiana).

        • Vincent says:

          Or slide Wisconsin to the N/W rather than Purdue, if it’s believed divisional balance wouldn’t be disrupted.

          • zeek says:

            Yeah, I’m guessing that whatever the split is, it’s likely to enable adding 2 Eastern members if the opportunity arises.

        • cutter says:

          When the conference goes to nine conference games, its very possible they’ll adapt a 5-2-2 scheduling strategy (five games within the division, two protected rivals from other divvision, two more games on rotating basis with the other four teams in the opposite division).

          Assuming Iowa is in the West Division and Minnesota/Wisconsin are in the East, the Hawkeyes could then make UMinn and UW their protected games each season.

          Iowa’s schedule would include five teams from its division (Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern), two protected rivals (Minnesota, Wisconsin) and a combination of Ohio State or Penn State and Indiana or Purdue.

          There has been a lot of discussion about the timeline for the adaption of the nine conference game being 2015.

        • Steeler49 says:

          I hate to say it guys, the Big 10 is not adding Rutgers. They had an opportunity to add a Rutgers-type School… Missouri, and decided not to. The reason is it would dilute the product, and not help with additional people watching Let me tell you, I pay extra $$$$$$$ to my local Cable Company (Time-Warner) so I can get the Big 10 Network, and other College Football Games instead of watching Rutgers on SNY (If Penn State is not on, and the choice is Rutgers, or any Big 10, or SEC School, I am going Big 10 or SEC). Rutgers, and Local College Sports in general, gets little discussion on Sports talk here in NY (Either on WFAN or ESPN Radio). Why? Because it is a PRO-Sports town (Even the Islanders and Devils generate more interest). The popularity difference between Cubs/Northwestern is not as great as the difference between Yankees/ALL local college sports teams. The Big 10 knows this, and that is why Rutgers is not being invited.

          • Vincent says:

            I think Rutgers would have significantly more to offer the Big Ten than Missouri — a trifle more in athletics, a lot more in academics. (This would be as much about research funding than it would be football.) No one is expecting New York/New Jersey to instantly turn into a college sports hotbed because Rutgers joins the Big Ten, but it can boost the conference’s visibility.

            Adding Maryland would have a similar effect for the Big Ten in the metro Washington market (helping improve CIC access to federal grant funding), although Maryland has more of a big-time athletic heritage than Rutgers, particularly in football.

          • michaelC says:

            We’ve been through this before (see the previous threads). Rutgers is a better choice in every aspect.

        • mushroomgod says:

          As an IU fan, I like that arrangement a lot more then having Minnesota in the “east”, and putting Illinois in the “west”. Minnesota has the least interest to me as an opponent and is a hell of a long way from Indiana.

          That said, if I was a Wisconsin fan I think I’d prefer to have Minnesota in the east, Illinois in the west. I think Wis has, by far, the biggest beef with your plan. Even if you protecy Iowa and NW, you lose Minnesota.

  89. Pete says:

    Concerning Iowa one thing people don’t seem to be talking about is how important Illinois is to the school financially. With over 33% of the students coming from the Chicagoland area I would bet that keeping one or both NW and Illinois in the same division as Iowa is very important to the admissions and President.

    As a Hawkeye fan I was really looking forward to the bruising aspect of having Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska in the same division. They all kind mirror each other in an old school sort of way. I hope they stay with geography and be done with it.

  90. It’s funny to listen to the dialogue, and it reminds me of what must have gone through many a Husker and Sooner fan when the Big Eight was abolished. As a lifelong Husker fan, I missed the Oklahoma game being played during the Thanksgiving holiday–both programs lost. I still remember my friend falling over backwards as Barry’s Sooners pulled another ‘rabbit out of the hat’. Win or lose, it was worth it.

    As for the ‘red herring’, the conference was doomed from the start when offices were moved south. The Big Eight had been successful, and the coaches gave the failed SWC(Southwest Conference) control. Sounds like an Enron job, doesn’t it? The old SWC failed because games were called to favor Austin’s children, but when they hit the big time they couldn’t deliver–sound familiar. The proof’s in the pudding.

    Also, I remember the first Big XII championship game between NE-TX. A Husker team headed for the NC game ended up getting an intestinal bug that had members of the team taking IV’s just to get on the field. In those days, the teams showed up days early like it was a ‘Super Bowl’ for the media hype. As I understand, no TX player ever got the bug. I guess it wasn’t communicable. To paraphrase Spock, once you eliminate the possibilities only what remains can be–no matter how remote.

    Enough of the old, cheers to embracing the new. I hope this new conference works out in the long run for everyone. I thinks it’s great the conference relishes in being so academic. However nearly twenty years, it’s the only place where you can add eleven members and get ten. Ha Ha. Now it’s going to be twelve members adding up to ten. Isn’t that further from the truth? Could it only happen in the good ol’ U.S. of A? Gotta make y’all laugh.

    As a side note, you should know that Nebraska beat the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame–twice. In fact, they were the only team to beat the Four Horsemen thanks to Ed Weir whom Knute Rockne called, “the greatest tackle I ever saw.”

  91. jj says:

    I just got off the phone with 100,00 UM fans. They said they won’t go to “the game” if it gets moved. Someone call Jim!

    • jj says:

      typo -should be 100,000 UM fans.

      I’m working on the OSU fans, but they can’t figure out the conference call feature. stay tuned.

  92. mb21 says:

    So let me get this straight. The ACC, which wasn’t on par in football with several other conferences, aligned their divisions based on competitive balance and because the one championship they hoped to get hasn’t been failed, it’s a failure? Nevermind the much larger TV contract they got?

    And, because the SEC, one of the best conferences in college football, chose geography and has, well, remained one of the best conferences in college football it proves you have to do that?

    This is some very piss poor logic at work here. Not only is the logic faulty, but the entire premise of the argument is faulty.

    Sorry, but the whole idea that choosing competitive balance or geography can screw up a conference is laughable to me. it’s even more laughable when someone points out one or two examples to a prove a point, neither of which examples really does actually prove the point. The ACC is better off now. The SEC is still one of the best (the best right now, but these things are cyclical).

    This is usually a great blog, but this is ridiculous. This is 4th grade logic and it’s not even applied very well.

    • Nostradamus says:

      I haven’t seen anyone call the conference a failure. Several people pointed to the hodgepodge divisions as a cautionary example of what can happen if you don’t follow keep it simple geographic based divisions.

      I wouldn’t call the ACC Championship game a failure persay, but it has been far from a success. Whether or not this is attributable to the divisions is up for debate. I will say anchoring the game in Florida and putting FSU and Miami in opposite divisions it was apparent they were trying to set up that match-up.

      Attendance dropped every year for the first four years dipping to 27,000 in 2008. The ratings and the payout have historically lagged the Big 12 and the SEC. The latest numbers I have (2006) show $4.9 million for the ACC, $12 million for the Big 12 and $13.7 million for the SEC.

    • Eric (ohio1317) says:

      I agree that the divisional alignments between the ACC and SEC only suggests so much. The SEC had the advantage of being able to separate by geography and still be competitively balanced. The ACC meanwhile hit the worst luck imaginable as both Florida State and Miami, who would have dominated any division for a long time before that, fell off the map at the same time.

      Still, I do think there is a lot to be said for preserving rivalries. I’m not certain a fully geographic model is best. I’m pretty certain the current approach is still deeply flawed though.

    • zeek says:

      Uh. The point is that the ACC was set up explicitly to create a Florida State-Miami ACC title game.

      Dividing up Florida State and Miami was the goal of the ACC.

      How relevant has that been so far?

      Why exactly should the Big Ten attempt to gerrymander a Michigan-Ohio State CCG? The ACC is a cautionary tale for anyone trying to gerrymander popular title games.

      Oh, and if you don’t think the Florida State/Miami game was the goal, then why has the game been held so often in Florida? They’re finally doing away with that nonsense and moving it to the center of the footprint, but it’s hard to deny that the planning was a failure the past decade… low attendance to the CCGs held in Florida, lack of Florida teams, etc.

      • zeek says:

        Oh, and as pointed out by others, the SEC proves the exact same point.

        Look at the SEC crossover rivalry games. How many of those have been SEC CCGs as well? Almost none.

        We’re all criticizing the idea of changing Michigan-Ohio State to a crossover rivalry game because both the ACC and SEC prove that it’s a bad idea.

        The ACC hasn’t produced Florida State/Miami yet, and the SEC hasn’t had many (if any) crossover game rematches in the CCG.

        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          Zeek – while the SEC hasn’t had rematches with permanent cross-divisional rivalries, but there have been rematches in the SEC CG.

          The SEC Championship game has featured a rematch of a regular season game a total of five times (1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004). The team who won the regular season game is 4-1 in the rematches, the lone exception being in 2001 when LSU defeated Tennessee.

          My LSU Tigers have played in two of those rematches and are 2-0. In 2001, LSU and Tennessee played in the regular season (UTn 26 LSU 18) and the SEC CG (LSU 31 UTn 20). In 2003, LSU and Georgia played in the regular season (LSU 17 UGA 10) and the SEC CG (LSU 34 UGA 13).

          But the SEC didn’t divide up the SEC to try to produce any particular outcome for the SEC CG. The SEC didn’t divide states and didn’t divide #1 rivals. Secondary rivalries were preserved as permanent cross-divison games.

          As I posted in the BYU blog, back in 92, the SEC was in much the same shape the Big Ten is in now. Some traditional powers were up (Bama, Auburn & UTn) and some were down(UGA & LSU), some every-now-and-thens were doing fine, and one was about to make a jump into the stratosphere (UF). I’ll repeat my advice from wisdom gained after watching 18 years of divisional play in a big-time college football conference.

          1. Follow the SEC/KISS model.
          2. Follow the 8-game SEC 5-1-2 scheduling model.

          ***DO NOT go to a 9 conference game schedule. In the BCS era, Ohio State has been the only relevant team in the Big Ten, going 1-2 in the BCS CG. Adding another game to the conference schedule and a CCG, will make it even more difficult for a Big Ten team ever to make to a BCS CG in the future. ***

          3. Mix in a cupcake in early November.
          4. Quit stressing out about every “rivalry” game. A little sacrifice is necessary in the name of progress.

          • duffman says:


            in short you have to break some eggs to make an omelette :)

            slightly off topic, but how do you think your tigers will fare this season?

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Duff – an underachieving team saddled with a bowl (of mud) loss didn’t sit well with the Tigers this off season. Last year, LSU was 9-4, but led in the 4th quarter of 3 of the 4 losses. 3 of the 4 losses were to superior teams (yes, I think PSU was better than LSU, but conditions at the Cap One Mud Bowl definitely were to the Lions’ advantage).

            The Tigers’ weaknesses last year were line play on both sides and at QB. All those areas should be improved, but LSU plays 6 ranked teams, with #1 Bama and #25 West Virginia coming to Tiger Stadium. LSU plays #4 Florida, #17 Arkansas, and #22 Auburn on the road, and opens with #18 North Carolina in Atlanta.

            Florida and Bama won’t be as good as last year, but they’ll probably still be a notch better than the Tigers.

            I’m going with 11-2 or 10-3, and a top 12 ranking at the end of the year. If LSU does that well, I’d bet that Michigan takes another run at Les Miles after running off RichRod at the end of the season and they just may get their “Michigan Man” this year.

            The LSU fans have never fully embraced Les. I’m not one of them. We can (and have) do a lot worse than Les Miles.

  93. WinorLose says:

    Iowa AD Gary Barta:

    “I’m excited about the last two or three likely versions we’ve seen,” Barta says. “I’m not going to comment on any of the rumors that are swirling, but I can tell you there’s a lot of misinformation out there.”

    • wmtiger says:

      Iowa is a good source as they have a rivalry with pretty much everyone in the ‘west’ being that they border every ‘west’ state/school… Nebraska-Iowa immediately becomes one of the leagues very best rivalries (a notch below OSU/PSU quality)…

      I really don’t see any other ‘good’ option other than KISS (straight east/west). As far as the rankings of importance of divisions; I’d put them: 1. rivalries 2. competitive balance 3. geography

      Geography imo is overrated (as long as your not putting PSU in the west or Nebraska in the east) however geography determines nearly every rivalry in a straight east-west split..

      Attempts at fixing ‘competitive balance’ causes far issues far more significant than the issue it tries to fix.

    • Big Ten Jeff says:

      That’s what I’ve been waiting to hear. Can we infer that Iowa being excited bodes well for KISS, and stability of an IA/WI/NE/MN grouping?

      • Eric (ohio1317) says:

        Reading the article, KISS is saddly immediately dismissed and it’s assumed from the start Iowa and Wisconsin and Ohio State and Michigan are split.

    • bullet says:

      Author didn’t list all 8 of the plans he calculated, but his 3 most balanced are either awful (the 1st one w/Ohio St. on an island) or just downright strange (the other two). Just don’t see how IA/MN/WI rivalries don’t get hurt unless you do KISS or the more unbalanced N/S (N=UNL/IA/MN/WI/UM/MSU).

      • Scott C says:

        Two protected cross-division games and all Big Ten rivalry and protected games can be preserved as well as keeping Iowa and Wisconsin in opposing divisions. Plus, when they transition to 9 conference games, it’s easier to schedule the remaining 4 teams in the 2 game window, alternating every two years.

        • bullet says:

          5-2-1 means you only see the other 4 teams in the other division twice in 8 years. Yes, it could be done, but does IA want to miss Ohio St. and PSU (or UM and PSU) that frequently? Even with the 9 games, that is 4 years away.

      • StevenD says:

        As long as Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin are together, I don’t really care who the other two teams are. Northewestern and Illinois? Good, I love KISS. Michigan and MSU? Fine, it will be a tough division, but we’ll see some great football. MSU and Indiana? Whatever, I don’t care. Just keep the western four together.

  94. Scott C says:

    There was a great article in the OWH today. Unfortunately it was a print exclusive one. However, I scanned it to a pdf so that everyone could read it.

    It’s a fairly long article detailing what exactly happened with Big Ten Expansion leading up to the Nebraska invite.

    Some interesting things that came out of the article include:

    * The Big Ten held meetings with schools other than Nebraska.

    * The Big Ten has a secret meeting location outside of Big Ten country, Apparently, a car picked Osborne and Perlman up in an undisclosed city and drove them to the secret location in a rural area. Very cloak and daggers.

    * The Texas President, William Powers, told Harvey Perlman of the Pac-10 talks before the story broke and before the Big XII meetings.

  95. Playoffs Now says:

    Latest rumors:

    1. U. TX officials were in Provo this weekend.

    2. BYU wary of WCC, still considering WAC (as indy.)

    3. WAC scrambling, has solicited UHou, SMU, UTEP, SDSU, UNLV, and Colo St.

    4. WAC first approached BYU about expansion, BYU said no. After Utah departure BYU told WAC they were thinking about going indy and might be interested.

    5. ESPN may have been behind the WAC expansion attempt, complete with money lures, in order to break CBS’ MWC after losing TV darling Boise. ESPN may still be sowing mischief promoting a super WAC to weaken both MWC and CUSA, both CBS conferences.

    6. BYU insisting Ut St be added if they stay, most MWC adamently oppose. TCU insisting on UHou.

    7. UHou may refuse any and all invitations, given how fluid the entire realm of college football is in the next year. Whether the B10+? expands again is what most are waiting on. Hence the moves out west this week may end up being less than blockbuster and simply to continue treading water.

    8. OTOH, there are more potential moves than have been given much public discussion. Could get crazy, though most likely only within the MWC-WAC-CUSA triangle.


    Just rumors I’ve gathered from a half dozen sites, too many to link here without multiple posts or moderation waits. Not vouching for the veracity of any of the rumors, though the majority are from posters well regarded on their sites. FWIW.

  96. wyzerman says:

    a good read from the Omaha paper….



    Go behind the scenes at the private talks, secret meetings and high-stakes negotiations that led NU to a new conference


    Harvey Perlman was driving north on Interstate 29 out of Kansas City, somewhere around Mound City, Mo., when he got on the phone with Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany.

    The University of Nebraska-Lincoln chancellor had just endured two days of grilling from his Big 12 peers and now faced an ultimatum: You have a week to let us know whether Nebraska is committed to the Big 12.

    So Perlman essentially told Delany it was late in the fourth quarter. Regardless of the Big Ten’s time frame for expansion, if it wanted Nebraska, it needed to act now.

    “This is not an ultimatum to you, but in fair­ness, this is what the situation is,’’ Perlman recalls telling Delany. “If I don’t have something definitive from the Big Ten, I’ll have to commit to the Big 12.’’

    Exactly one week later — almost to the minute — of Perlman’s phone call, Delany was standing before a crowded hall in Lincoln on June 11 wel­coming Perlman, Nebraska and its powerhouse football program into the Big Ten Conference.

    The World-Herald recently dug deeper into Nebraska’s decision to jump to the Big Ten, a landmark shift that in 2011 will end a century of athletic traditions but open a new chapter for the Cornhuskers in one of the nation’s most presti­gious athletic leagues. The paper’s examination included the most extensive interviews to date on the topic with Delany, Perlman and NU Athletic Director Tom Osborne.

    The paper’s examination revealed many misconceptions about how and why the change unfolded. It also revealed a high drama featuring inside tips, surprises, powerful players, back­ channel contacts, cloak-and-dagger meet­ings, tough bargaining and big stakes.
    See Big 10: Page 6

    Consider: • When the Big Ten first launched its drive to expand late last year, Nebraska was not a likely partner. The Big Ten had bigger potential targets. And contrary to many perceptions, Nebraska was generally happy in a conference whose most impor­tant rules — those governing how money was distributed — tilted to Nebraska’s liking.

    • Perlman first reached out to the Big Ten this January after a tipster warned him that even an elite football school like Nebraska could be left standing on the sidelines in a major conference shake-up that appeared to be brewing.

    • The future stability and academic prestige offered by the Big Ten would grow on NU officials. After a secret meeting with Delany on May 25 — the first major exchange between the two sides — Perlman was leaning in favor of the Big Ten.

    • The attraction was becoming mutual.

    Delany says Nebraska’s stock rose signifi­cantly during that May 25 meeting. His parting words convinced Perlman that Nebraska was now a serious candidate.

    • During the showdown at Big 12 meet­ings a week later, Perlman tried hard to keep Nebraska’s options open but left fac­ing a one-week ultimatum instead.

    He was in a tight spot. There was no Big Ten offer on the visible horizon, the Big Ten still in the midst of its expansion timeline.

    At that point, Perlman says, it was essen­tially: Don’t call us, we’ll call you.

    But Perlman felt he had little choice.

    As he drove out of Kansas City on June 4 — metaphorically speeding away from Big 12 country toward a new future in the Big Ten — Perlman made the call.

    * * * The 287-word statement released from Big Ten headquarters on Dec. 15, 2009, quickly got the college football world buzz­ing. League leaders, it said, had decided the time was right to evaluate expansion.

    Adding at least one new member would allow the 11-member Big Ten to start play­ing a conference title game.

    A bigger geographic footprint also could expand the reach of the Big Ten TV network, a groundbreaking venture that was helping bring in $20 million annually to each league school. That’s double the con­ference revenue of top Big 12 schools.

    Back in Lincoln, though, the announce­ment caused hardly a stir.

    “I don’t see any indication Nebraska is looking to go to another conference at this point,’’ Osborne said in a radio interview that day.

    It’s not the plain-spoken Osborne’s style to put up smoke screens, and he says now he wasn’t. There truly was no thought of going to the Big Ten.

    Nebraska shared a lot of history with Big 12 schools. Plus, when you get right down to it, Perlman says, Nebraska had no major beefs with the way the Big 12 was run.

    Sure, Husker football fans had screamed robbery just 10 days earlier when a second was put back on the clock, allowing Texas to beat Nebraska for the Big 12 title.

    Osborne also personally had some longtime concerns about the Texas-centric nature of the Big 12 and the natural advan­tages of its Sunbelt schools. It certainly wasn’t the same as the old Big Eight, the league in which the legendary coach toiled for decades before it absorbed Texas and three other Southwest Conference schools in the mid-1990s.

    Osborne had opposed the relocation of the conference offices from Kansas City to Dallas. He also fought anchoring the conference title game in Dallas, preferring it move between cities in the north and the south.

    But Perlman didn’t really share those geographic concerns. In fact, he actually would end up voting to play the title game in Dallas for the next several years. “I wasn’t prepared to sit in Kansas City in the cold,’’ Perlman said.

    And on the issues of greatest import, “Nebraska was getting largely what it wanted,’’ Perlman said.

    While some schools complained about the league’s unequal distribution of revenue from network TV contracts, Nebraska wasn’t among them. It joined Texas as a strong proponent of giving big-time football schools — those most appealing to the net­works — a bigger slice of the pie.

    Plus, Perlman said, the Big 12 had just recently completed important conversa­tions about whether to form its own TV net­work for secondary sports programming, akin to the Big Ten’s.

    While many have blamed Texas and its plans to start its own Longhorn TV network as the reason a Big 12 network never got off the ground, Nebraska wasn’t on board with a conference network, either. Nebras­ka’s support was conditional on the high­profile schools taking a larger cut of that revenue, too — a condition some schools strongly opposed.

    As a result of those talks, Nebraska, like Texas, was now moving to create its own network. A consultant’s study had conclud­ed that a Husker network would succeed and bring in seven-figure revenue on top of what Nebraska was getting from major network telecasts.

    Perlman said NU was on track to have its network running by the fall of 2011 — actu­ally ahead of Texas’ timetable.

    For all those reasons, when Perlman first heard of Big Ten expansion, he didn’t give it five minutes’ thought.

    Before long, it would come to occupy much of his time.

    * * * In mid-January, university leaders from across the country gathered in Atlanta for the NCAA’s annual convention.

    In a hallway of the Hyatt Regency on Jan. 15, Perlman ran into a good friend — someone he describes only as a well­connected “sports insider.’’

    “You need to pay attention to conference realignment,’’ the friend told Perlman, “or you’re going to be left out in the cold.’’

    Indeed, the Big Ten’s expansion talk was now causing the ground to shift all over the college football landscape.

    This wasn’t about the Big Ten adding a team, the friend said. The Big Ten might add as many as five, becoming the first ma­jor football conference with 16 teams.

    If that happened, other leagues wouldn’t stand pat, creating the potential for major college football to reorganize into four 16­team superconferences.

    Under that scenario, at least two major conferences would not survive. And the Big 12 was in the cross hairs, with strong conferences both to the east and west in position to pilfer schools.

    If things didn’t break right, the friend said, even a traditional power like Nebras­ka could find itself on the outside looking in. The friend said things were moving fast. Perlman decided he needed to move quickly, too.

    The next day, as he was sitting in the convention’s general assembly, he pulled out his BlackBerry and punched out an e-mail to Jim Delany.

    “Are you around?’’ he asked the Big Ten’s com­missioner.

    “Yes. I’m right behind you,’’ came the reply five minutes later.

    Perlman, an erudite Nebraska native who has served as UNL’s chancellor for a decade, knew the businesslike Delany a little, the two having been active in football bowl matters.

    As the convention session broke up, they met up in the open at the front of the large ballroom. They talked just a few minutes.

    “I don’t know what you guys are think­­ing,’’ Perlman recalls saying. “But if you think about looking west, Nebraska would be interested in at least having a conversa­tion with you.’’

    Delany said he appreciated the inter­est from Perlman and then talked briefly about the Big Ten’s timeline, set at 12 to 18 months.

    Delany did not betray any particular interest in Nebraska. But as Perlman would later recall, Delany didn’t give him the brushoff, either.

    *** Back in Nebraska over ensuing weeks, Perlman and Osborne would have many talks about Nebraska’s position.

    Though NU was rich in football tradition, home to five national championships, three Heisman winners and coaching legends, both men feared the school was vulnerable. Rumors and speculation in the media did nothing to diminish that.

    Notre Dame and Texas were often men­tioned as the Big Ten’s top targets. Another report in March indicated the league had studied the viability of five schools: Notre Dame, the Big 12’s Missouri, and Pitts­burgh, Rutgers and Syracuse.

    It appeared from such reports that the Big Ten was eyeing schools in states with big populations and lots of TV sets. With only 1.8 million people, Nebraska wouldn’t make such a cut — a big concern.

    Delany today says nearly all such reports had no validity. The conference at that point was still doing broad research and had not narrowed its focus to any schools.

    “We didn’t have an endgame in mind or an end institution in mind,’’ he said. And in the end, “there was only one serious dance with one institution.’’

    Osborne and Perlman also talked about the pros and cons of the Big 12, the Big Ten or even trying to make it as an indepen­dent — a potential fallback if the Big 12 fell apart.

    Perlman in particular was intrigued by

    what the Big Ten would mean to Nebraska


    Big Ten schools were well-known for

    collaborating as hard in the classroom and

    laboratory as they competed on the field.

    Big Ten membership would bring more

    big-dollar research awards and boost UNL’s

    scholarly stature.

    Though Nebraska would rank at the bot­tom

    of the Big Ten on most academic mea­sures, concerted efforts over the past two decades had raised its national research standing, quality of students and overall reputation. With its rise, UNL’s profile compared favorably with many of the other supposed candidates.

    But still, the Big Ten had to be a good fit athletically, too. There were many unan­swered questions.

    Osborne and Perlman also kept their ears to the ground, each having a channel into the Big Ten.

    Osborne stayed in touch with Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez, a former Husker player and coach. And Perlman reached out to Graham Spanier, the presi­dent of Penn State. When Spanier was chan­cellor of UNL in the early 1990s, Perlman had served as the law school dean, and they remained close colleagues and friends.

    Perlman called Spanier early on and ex­pressed concern about Nebraska’s vulner­able position.

    But while Missouri’s governor openly campaigned to get the University of Missouri into the Big Ten, Perlman and Osborne decided against mounting even a back-channel campaign. They didn’t think it would be particularly productive, and thought it might actually hurt.

    *** In the spring, Delany offered up to Big Ten presidents a list of schools he wanted to pursue initial talks with. It appears he got approval to go ahead on April 18. That’s when Big Ten leaders were together in Washington for a meeting of the American Association of Universities, an organization of top research schools.

    By that point, Delany said, many schools had reached out to the Big Ten. But now the league would take the next step and sit down with schools it had interest in. Delany won’t disclose which, or how many, schools were on that list.

    The meetings were preliminary, Delany said, part of the “due diligence’’ of vetting all candidates. “There was nothing about these meetings that could have led anyone on the other side of the table to believe that a next meeting was going to happen,’’ he said.

    Around the same time, Perlman and Osborne were getting indications that Nebraska had made its way onto the Big Ten’s radar.

    On April 19, Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel came to Lincoln for a speak­ing engagement. As Osborne gave his old coaching colleague a tour of Nebraska’s facilities, Tressel told him he was hearing Nebraska’s name.

    “Nebraska’s very highly thought of,’’ Tressel said.

    Also around that time, Perlman got a call from Spanier: You should hear from Delany soon.

    In football terms, Nebraska had made the first cut.

    *** To this day, Perlman, Osborne and Delany won’t say where they met on May 25.

    Perlman will describe it only as “a very remote private location’’ far from both Big Ten country and Nebraska. It’s a secret, Perlman said, because the Big Ten may use it for future business.

    They went to considerable lengths to keep the meeting under wraps.

    Because Osborne is a well-known figure who tends to attract attention, it was agreed he and the chancellor would fly separately.

    Perlman was joined by Joel Pedersen, the university’s general counsel. Few on any of their staffs knew the reason for their travel.

    After staying overnight in a city and eat­ing breakfast separately to preserve their low profile, Perlman and Osborne received cell calls summoning them to meet a car outside. They then rode to a rural location about an hour outside the city.

    They were greeted by Delany, Big Ten Deputy Commissioner Brad Traviolia and the conference’s legal counsel.

    Perlman said Delany reiterated that “this shouldn’t be regarded as any more than sitting down for a chat.’’ He was holding similar meetings with other schools.

    Asked last week where NU’s bid ranked then, Delany said it would have been inac­curate to say the school was “not on the horizon” or “in the lead’’ — it was just in the mix.

    The next four hours, however, changed that.

    The Big Ten contingent went through a PowerPoint presentation detailing the Big Ten, its TV network, projections on future revenues, conference traditions and values and what it was looking for in a new member.

    Then it was Nebraska’s turn.

    Perlman said he and Osborne were defi­nitely trying to sell Delany on Nebraska.

    Even though they weren’t sure the Big Ten was right for NU, they felt it was important to keep the option alive.

    Perlman said he was upfront on why Nebraska was there, concerned about NU’s vulnerability in the Big 12 and intrigued by the Big Ten.

    Osborne and Perlman had decided against PowerPoints or flashy videos playing the school fight song. They talked through what they thought were the “high points’’ of Nebraska and went through a series of documents outlining information requested by the Big Ten.

    They covered the school’s guiding prin­ciples, budget, facilities, plans, NCAA com­pliance, future schedules and media deals.

    The university has declined to disclose the documents it offered, saying they are exempt from the state’s open records law.

    A key message Perlman wanted to convey was that at Nebraska, “we try to do things the right way.’’ He and Osborne cited the school’s record number of academic All-Americans and sterling compliance record.

    Delany was struck by how well Nebras­ka’s profile fit those of top-tier programs in the Big Ten: Iconic brand. AAU member­ship. Broad-based athletic program. Strong value on sportsmanship.

    “I saw a lot of things familiar to me,’’ he said.

    But the comfort level went beyond the school.

    Going in, Delany had been just vaguely acquainted with Osborne and Perlman. But he liked how the two Nebraskans presented themselves.

    He was particularly struck by how con­cerned Perlman and Osborne were about making sure the cultures of the Big Ten and Nebraska meshed — a concern born in the less-than-ideal marriage between the old Big Eight and the Texas schools.

    Delany recalls Osborne saying at one point during the culture discussion, “There are some things that are more important than money.’’

    In this case, Delany saw a great cultural fit. It’s safe to say that Nebraska’s stock had climbed considerably, he said last week.

    “It clicked on both of our ends,’’ he said.

    Then while the attorneys went over Ne­braska’s media contracts, and Osborne and Traviolia discussed more detailed athletic matters, Delany and Perlman went for a walk.

    Delany told Perlman he was not prepared to make any commitments. But Perlman recalls a statement from Delany he took as very encouraging: “All I can say is from what we see, the culture, the aspirations and the tenor of Nebraska seem to fit what we are looking for in the Big Ten.’’

    It was enough to convince Perlman the Big Ten was now seriously interested in Nebraska.

    *** By the time Perlman and Osborne re­turned from their whirlwind trip, the Big 12 meetings in Kansas City were just a week away.

    This was going to be tricky.

    The meeting with Delany had answered a lot of questions. Perlman says he was now leaning in favor of the Big Ten, though also not ready to rule out staying with the Big 12.

    And while Delany’s encouraging words had left Perlman excited about a potential Big Ten bid, there were no guarantees. The Big Ten could go in another direction.

    “We had nothing to fall back on, so we had to be pretty careful here,’’ Perlman said.

    Entering the meetings, Big 12 Commis­sioner Dan Beebe made clear he would be looking for commitments from all the con­ference’s schools. By that time there was a See Big Ten: Page 7

    Continued from Page 6

    radio report — again errone­ous — that Nebraska, Missouri, Notre Dame and Rutgers had been invited to join the Big Ten.

    But Perlman also knew NU was far from the only Big 12 school whose loyalty was now in doubt.

    Longhorn-Husker politics aside, Perlman describes Univer­sity of Texas President William Powers as a friend. And months earlier, when realignment talk was first heating up, they struck an agreement: Their first duty was to their own institutions, but to the degree they could share in­formation, they would.

    At some point, Perlman says, Powers had told him Texas and five other Big 12 schools were in serious discussions with the Pac-10 Conference. That story later would be leaked publicly midway through the Big 12 meetings.

    Despite the talk of commit­ments, Perlman and Osborne decided NU’s posture going in would be to keep its options open. Perlman described the Nebraska message as this: “Look, rumors are six of you are leaving for the Pac-10. We do not have an offer from the Big Ten, and we are feeling vulnerable that if we do make a commitment to the Big 12, there won’t be a conference there to honor it.’’

    While declaring that they had no Big Ten offer, Osborne and Perlman say they never dis­closed they’d met with the Big Ten, nor were they asked about it. “I was never cross-examined,’’ Perlman said.

    Powers and Beebe both de­clined to be interviewed for this story.

    As proceedings got under way at the InterContinental Hotel in Kansas City, media scrutiny was intense, but what happened in­side has largely remained behind closed doors.

    Osborne and Perlman both say the meetings were heated, but not inappropriately contentious. It was understood everyone was looking out for his own school, and lots was at stake.

    The athletic directors met first, and Osborne said there was an almost immediate call for all schools to commit. Osborne came to the defense of Missouri’s ath­letic director, who was particu­larly taking heat. Osborne noted it’s the university presidents who make the decisions here.

    “Everyone in this room can raise their hand one way or an­other and it won’t make much difference,’’ Osborne said.

    The presidents first took up the conference’s future late on Thursday, June 3. And the dis­cussion quickly came to revolve around just two schools.

    Powers made it clear that if Nebraska stayed, Texas would stay.

    Other than Colorado, the other schools being courted by the Pac-10 indicated they’d stay if Texas stayed.

    “What’s Nebraska going to do?’’ became the meeting’s con­stant refrain, Perlman said.

    The presidents broke for din­ner, and Powers and Perlman shared a cocktail.

    While Perlman and Powers were going back and forth in these meetings, Perlman said there was never any antagonism between them. Perlman knew from their private discussions that Powers well understood why the Big Ten would be attractive to Nebraska.

    The next day, Friday, June 4, the call for commitment turned to how to define it. As part of that, Perlman attempted to probe the depth of Texas’ commitment to the Big 12.

    What if Nebraska stayed but both Colorado and Missouri left? Would Texas stay then, Perlman asked? Perlman said Powers in­dicated he was optimistic Texas would, but he could not commit.

    Then Perlman said it occurred to him the most binding way to make a commitment would be for schools to pledge their major net­work TV rights to the Big 12. The league’s current TV contracts were soon set to expire, so such a pledge would have real meaning. He asked Powers whether Texas would commit its future rights to the league.

    He said Powers responded that he might be able to secure that commitment but it would take time, and the schools didn’t have much time.

    Perlman said the responses to those questions did little to allay his concerns that Nebraska could end up committing to a league with a short shelf life.

    However, it appears even if Texas had answered those ques­tions with solid commitments, there’s no guarantee Nebraska would have pledged to stay. Perl­man declined last week to specu­late, saying there would have been much else to weigh, includ­ing century-old rivalries and the Big Ten’s attractiveness.

    Finally the ultimatum was set: All schools had a week to commit — the Friday, June 11, deadline picked because that’s when Ne­braska’s Board of Regents would next meet.

    While the ultimatum applied to all schools, only one answer really mattered. As the meeting broke up, several presidents told Perlman they were sorry to put him on the spot.

    Perlman didn’t think there was anything inappropriate about the ultimatum. The conference needed to know who was in be­fore it could move forward.

    But Perlman felt the pressure. It was as if the fate not only of Nebraska but of several other Big 12 schools had been placed on his shoulders.

    *** Perlman was happy to get out of Kansas City and began his lonely drive home.

    As he motored north in his Lexus — a perk provided to the chancellor by the NU Founda­tion — he first dialed Osborne, who had left Kansas City the previous day.

    They discussed a meeting Osborne had had that morning with NU’s coaches. Telling them the conference discussions were getting serious, Osborne polled them on where they thought Nebraska should cast its lot.

    Every coach voted Big Ten.

    He and Osborne talked and agreed: It was time to make the call.

    Perlman first phoned Penn State’s Spanier and told him of Nebraska’s dilemma.

    Spanier responded that some of the presidents had been talk­ing about Nebraska. Spanier also said he would certainly support admitting Nebraska — the first time in all these months he’d ever expressed that to Perlman.

    Spanier said he’d talk to Delany.

    Then at 5 p.m., Delany phoned Perlman, the start of what Perl­man would later jokingly call “the Mound City conference.’’

    The call was an awkward dance for Perlman, who tried to avoid directly asking Delany to consider Nebraska, given the school had never been invited to apply. He stressed Nebraska’s problem wasn’t Delany’s prob­lem, but said, “If the Big Ten is seriously considering Nebraska, it doesn’t have much time.’’

    In effect, Perlman had just crossed the Rubicon — for the first time signaling to the Big Ten that Nebraska wanted in.

    “This is not our timeline,’’ Perlman recalls Delany saying, “but I understand the predica­ment you’re in.’’ One media report around that time indicated Delany was irritated that his timetable had been moved up, but he said last week he was never upset with Nebraska or the Big 12. It was just a new reality, he said, and as with any game plan, you need to adjust.

    Delany also felt confident by then that he knew everything he needed to know about Nebraska. He was ready to move.

    “I told (Perlman) we’d be interested to take the next step if they were,’’ Delany said.

    The next step was taking Nebraska’s name before the Big Ten’s chancellors and presi­dents. It just so happened they were scheduled to meet in two days — they always meet on the first Sunday in June.

    While Perlman waited in Lincoln, the Big Ten’s leaders huddled behind closed doors in Park Ridge, Ill., for more than four hours.

    Delany declined to provide much detail on the discussions.

    But he said Nebraska was fully vetted both academically and athletically. No vote was taken, but there was a clear consensus. Around 5 p.m. that evening, Delany called Perlman.

    “The presidents,’’ he said, “would be receptive to an ap­plication from Nebraska.’’

    It was intentionally cryp­tic, the way such conference courtships work, but there was powerful meaning in the words: Nebraska was in.

    *** It had all moved so quickly.

    Over a span of just 12 days, Nebraska had gone from its first serious meeting with the Big Ten to tacit conference member­ship.

    Still, Perlman wouldn’t feel secure until it was all official.

    In the next five hectic days, he engaged with the Board of Regents, sneaked away to Chicago to work out some busi­ness details with Delany, and prepared the remarks he would deliver Friday to the board and the outside world.

    Delany made a late decision to fly to Lincoln. So at 2 p.m.

    Friday, as the Regents voted unanimously to make applica­tion to the Big Ten, Delany was sitting in a suite at the Embassy Suites in downtown Lincoln, watching on TV and working the phones.

    At 4 p.m., the Big Ten presi­dents met in teleconference and soon accepted Nebraska’s bid.

    “Welcome to the Big Ten,’’ Delany told Osborne as they met for a 5 p.m. press conference.

    Perlman put on a Big Ten lapel pin. Delany sported a Big Red “N’’ on his jacket.

    Perlman was elated. He thought the day would prove a landmark in the history of both the university and the state. And he was both relieved and happy days later when the remaining Big 12 schools stayed together.

    Now weeks later, Delany says he continues to be amazed at the near-universal plaudits for the move and the excitement it still generates.

    Even as college football pre­pares to kick off the 2010 season — Nebraska’s last in the Big 12 — fans already are talking about future matchups between the Huskers and other traditional titans like Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan.

    Looking back, Delany said, there’s a lot of serendipity in how it all came together.

    “It wasn’t predicted,’’ he said.

    “It just worked.’’

  97. Playoffs Now says:

    Good read, thanks for posting it.

    The excerpt that could inspire perhaps the most fun around here:

    To this day, Perlman, Osborne and Delany won’t say where they met on May 25.

    Perlman will describe it only as “a very remote private location’’ far from both Big Ten country and Nebraska. It’s a secret, Perlman said, because the Big Ten may use it for future business.

    They went to considerable lengths to keep the meeting under wraps.

    Because Osborne is a well-known figure who tends to attract attention, it was agreed he and the chancellor would fly separately.

    Perlman was joined by Joel Pedersen, the university’s general counsel. Few on any of their staffs knew the reason for their travel.

    After staying overnight in a city and eat­ing breakfast separately to preserve their low profile, Perlman and Osborne received cell calls summoning them to meet a car outside. They then rode to a rural location about an hour outside the city.

    They were greeted by Delany, Big Ten Deputy Commissioner Brad Traviolia and the conference’s legal counsel.

    • Playoffs Now says:

      More excerpts debunking some of the urban myths still spammed by the delusional “Texas ate my homework” cranks around here:

      …And contrary to many perceptions, Nebraska was generally happy in a conference whose most impor­tant rules — those governing how money was distributed — tilted to Nebraska’s liking.

      Plus, when you get right down to it, Perlman says, Nebraska had no major beefs with the way the Big 12 was run…

      …Osborne had opposed the relocation of the conference offices from Kansas City to Dallas. He also fought anchoring the conference title game in Dallas, preferring it move between cities in the north and the south.

      But Perlman didn’t really share those geographic concerns. In fact, he actually would end up voting to play the title game in Dallas for the next several years. “I wasn’t prepared to sit in Kansas City in the cold,’’ Perlman said…

      …And on the issues of greatest import, “Nebraska was getting largely what it wanted,’’ Perlman said…

      …While some schools complained about the league’s unequal distribution of revenue from network TV contracts, Nebraska wasn’t among them. It joined Texas as a strong proponent of giving big-time football schools — those most appealing to the net­works — a bigger slice of the pie.

      Plus, Perlman said, the Big 12 had just recently completed important conversa­tions about whether to form its own TV net­work for secondary sports programming, akin to the Big Ten’s.

      While many have blamed Texas and its plans to start its own Longhorn TV network as the reason a Big 12 network never got off the ground, Nebraska wasn’t on board with a conference network, either. Nebras­ka’s support was conditional on the high­ profile schools taking a larger cut of that revenue, too — a condition some schools strongly opposed.

      As a result of those talks, Nebraska, like Texas, was now moving to create its own network. A consultant’s study had conclud­ed that a Husker network would succeed and bring in seven-figure revenue on top of what Nebraska was getting from major network telecasts.

      Perlman said NU was on track to have its network running by the fall of 2011 — actu­ally ahead of Texas’ timetable.


      So, most of the criticisms of TX could be equally said about NE, but they get a free pass since they are joining ‘The Team.’

    • Vincent says:

      I’m going to guess this site is not in New Jersey or Maryland. (Probably not in Pittsburgh, upstate New York or Virginia, either.)

    • Playoffs Now says:

      …At some point, Perlman says, Powers had told him Texas and five other Big 12 schools were in serious discussions with the Pac-10 Conference….

      Most likely TX, aTm, TTech, OU, OK St, CO.

      Though of course the excerpt is from NE’s version of the story as they prepare to weasel out of their exit fees, if does fit with some statements and would have certainly worried NE. Suggests that TX was indeed intent on bringing Tech all along, and was partnered with OU and thus OK St. Baylor on the outside.

      Powers made it clear that if Nebraska stayed, Texas would stay. Other than Colorado, the other schools being courted by the Pac-10 indicated they’d stay if Texas stayed.

      Again, this is NE’s rendition of the story, and it certainly suggests that TX’s talks with the P10 were defensive moves in response to possible B10+? actions that could harm the B12. TX’s first choice was indeed to keep the B12 intact.


      Anyway, perhaps my favorite part of the article was Perlman introducing the story element of NE’s guardian angel tipster, Harvey the Rabbit.

  98. MIhawk says:

    Your New Coke analogy is interesting. Most of comments on here seem to be focusing on the management angle and how they screwed things up by messing with tradition.

    I’d like to flip things around though and look at it from the consumer (fan) standpoint.
    The consumer reaction to New Coke was anger and disdain, similar to what many are expressing regarding any change to the UM/ tOSU rivalry. BUT….you could argue that the change was actually for the better. With Coke, when people actually tried the new product, they liked it. In fact in their studies, they like it MORE than the classic.
    What if the same is true for the ‘New B10′
    Isn’t it possible that the PSU/tOSU rivalry gets to the same intensity as the current ‘GAME’ at the end of the season, while we also can have another regular season finale of comparable standing in the other division (either UN vs IA or UN vs UM) as well as a number of great mid- season rivalries including UM/tOSU.
    Maybe all these high paid consultants and suits that are being mocked here are RIGHT!!!

    • Eric (ohio1317) says:

      The PSU/OSU rivalry may well grow to that level (I’d make an argument it’s actually quite likely over a couple of decades). Ohio State better be prepared to lose donations and fans before that happens though. I know I for one am not going to sit back and just watch while the Big Ten tries to replace our rivalry. If Penn State is actually made the last game as speculated, I’m not just done with the Big Ten, I’m done with Ohio State. College football has had a big special place in my heart and it’s going to be hard not routing the Buckeyes anymore, but I’ll manage.

  99. schwarm says:

    “What if Nebraska stayed but both Colorado and Missouri left? Would Texas stay then, Perlman asked? Perlman said Powers in dicated he was optimistic Texas would, but he could not commit.”

    I do think UT wanted to keep the Big XII intact, but also wants to keep their options open. Since the survival of the Big XII is largely dependent on UT’s whims, does it not make sense for UNL to look for more stability?

    • schwarm says:

      Above is a reply to Playoffs Now. Guess I didn’t click the reply link.

    • Playoffs Now says:

      The Big Ten was the best option for NE. Opportunity knocked, NE answered. Just as any other school would have done in their position.

    • bullet says:

      Texas wanted to find out what the value of the Big12 was w/o Missouri and CU. Those 2 states had most of the non-Texas population in the B12, so it was an obvious concern.

  100. bullet says:

    A little additional info on the WAC/MWC/BYU cloak and dagger. Article mentions CUSA official suspected as tipping off MWC.

  101. grantlandR says:

    Your New Big Ten – New Coke analogy is spot on. Thanks.

  102. Bryandagamer says:

    I don’t know if this has been said or not (I am not up for reading 500 comments but I have had an idea since early July about how the Big 10 should play their conference games. I used the same pods that you had set up but with a difference. Let me show you.

    Pod B: PUR-ILL-NW -IND

    Each year, you would play not only each team in your pod but also each team in your column. The pods, in my opinion, are pretty much set. The columns can be reworked but I tried to keep as many rivalries/trophy games together as I could. This lay-out would work perfectly with the 9-game conference schedule because you could play the other 6 teams in 4 years on, 2 years off rotating, similar to how it is now. As for the championship game, take the 2 teams with the best conference record and have them play. Thoughts?

    • Matthew says:

      can’t. NCAA rules state that you need 2 divisions, each having full round-robins internally, in order to have a CCG. Found that one out after proposing something similar for the Pac-12.

      • Bryandagamer says:

        From everything I have read about when the SEC, ACC, and Big 12 expanded, there was nothing that forced them to divide into divisions in order to play a conference game. It just seems like they all did for the ease of scheduling.

        Now, none of these places I have read are official (nothing from an NCAA website) so I could be wrong. If you know of such a site, please show me because I have been search for sometime now.

        • Brian says:

          p. 241

          Rule Annual Exemptions. [FBS/FCS] The maximum number of football contests shall exclude the following:

          (c) Twelve-Member Conference Championship Game. [FBS/FCS] A conference championship game between division champions of a member conference of 12 or more institutions that is divided into two divisions (of six or more institutions each), each of which conducts round-robin, regular-season competition among the members of that division;

  103. loki_the_bubba says:

    Let’s speculate:

    What’s the most likely next move in conference re-organization?

    I’d wager that BYU will declare football independence tomorrow and choose between the WAC and WCC for their other sports. If they choose the WCC it could be the final nail in the WAC’s coffin. Not sure yet what the next domino will be.

  104. yahwrite says:

    No news here, but an entertaining read as a Michigan blogger returns after two years of retirement in reaction to UM-OSU game.

  105. WinorLose says:

    Interesting news on the PAC-12:

    (My summary)…

    *Decision on division split up won’t be until Oct at earliest. The current “lean” is to split the league in a North/South manner with all four California schools together in the South with the Arizona Schools. We could expect to see “major scheduling concessions for schools in the North and perhaps even changes in the TV revenue distribution.”

    *Conference Championship game site is still up in the air, pros and cons for both sides.

    *A nine-game conference season is a lock.

    *Colorado is giving every indication that it will spend two more seasons in the Big 12 because the school and the league can’t work through the exit fees.

    (Full article)…

    • Eric (ohio1317) says:

      They can probably ignore the wishes of Utah and Colorado as neither get a vote or are going to feel like they are in much of a position to complain (Utah would have gladly accepted any division in the PAC-10 beforehand and Colorado is taking its time getting out west). Getting the Washington and Oregon schools on board with a north/south split is definitely going to take some coaxing. I could see changes in TV revenue meaning equal revenue sharing. What would scheduling arrangements include though?

    • Playoffs Now says:

      Seems like North-South in a 9-game conf sched should satisfy the PacNW contingent if you allow 2 annual cross-division rivalry games. So USC and UCLA would each play an OR and a WA school every year. That secures playing in SoCal every other year, and 3 out of every 4 years. The non-SoCal year could have 2 trips to NorCal, which has 10 million people within a 2-hour drive, the 2nd biggest recruiting area in the P12.

      For example, say UCLA gets annual games with OR and WSU, while USC gets OSU and WA. (ASU and AZ would both play Utah and CO each year, these newbies should just be happy to be there.) Could see an OR schedule with:

      Year 1 – @UCLA, Cal, Stan, @ASU
      Year 2 – UCLA, @Cal, @Stan, ASU
      Year 3 – @UCLA, Cal, USC, @AZ
      Year 4 – UCLA, @Cal @USC, AZ

      Rinse, lather, repeat.

      • @Playoffs Now – My guess is that there aren’t any protected cross-division rivalries if there’s a N/S split. With 9 conference games, not having protected rivals allows cross-division opponents play each other 4 years on/2 years off. That means that everyone in the North is playing at least one school each from the SoCal and NorCal every year, both SoCal teams 2 out of 6 years, and both NorCal teams 2 out of 6 years. Frankly, I don’t know what the heck else the North schools could reasonably expect.

        • Eric (ohio1317) says:

          That’s what I was trying to figure out. The only thing I could come up with was something like Playoffs Now said, but that would be too obviously exclusionary to Utah and Colorado. While I think their wishes can be ignored to a large extent, there’s a difference between ignoring them and directly setting things up so that every team but those two get better access to the California schools.

      • Bullet says:

        The N/S 5-2-2 with each NW school playing 1 bay area and 1 LA school each year (as Playoffs Now is suggesting) and the newbies playing the AZ schools always seemed the logical way to do it. Think I may have posted it here sometime back.

        3 games in LA in 4 years beats 4 in 6. CU still gets in LA every other year which is much more frequently than now. If CU doesn’t like it, they could give San Diego St. a call.

  106. thepolesposition says:

    Frank, I could care less about revenue. If you look at the history of the conference, 30% of the time Ohio State and Michigan were the two best teams in the conference, which represents the dominate result. While you reference the ACC example to support your point, you ignore the Big 12 model. This is what I’m afraid of, from a blog post of mine:

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

    Nothing disrespects the game more, IMO, when the winner of “The Game” is told to go play a 3 loss team for the conference title, which would happen in those years when they are the two best teams (again, the dominate result).

    For my model, which puts OSU-Michigan in different divisions, check out the following if interested:

    • Bullet says:

      Won’t argue against your general point, which is one of the risks when you have a CCG. But I will point out that a) OU 38 Missouri 17 was a #9 team upsetting #1; b) KSU 35 OU 7 was also an upset of a #1 (the game you mentioned being treated as a fluke); and c) UNL 22 UT 6 was a match of the 2 best teams. It was not an upset, but UT had beaten UNL earlier in the season in Austin.

    • Matthew says:

      Over the past 10 seasons, the Big 12 has sent a team to the national title game SEVEN times. How, exactly, would you call that a failure? If anything, the uneven setup probably helped them pull it off.

      The bigger reasons it collapsed was the substantial imbalance between the best and worst programs. No alignment structure would “fix” the fact that Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska were WAY better than ISU, Baylor, etc.

      • thepolesposition says:

        matthew, you are arguing things i’m not arguing. the conference championship is only supposed to crown a conference champion and has nothing to do with who is sent to the MNC. The games I listed were mostly lopsided flops that did not involve the teams two best teams from the conference playing in the game because they were in the same division. My limited point was that, if 30% of the time the two best teams are OSU-UM, then 3 in 10 times you will be creating an artificial CCG. I also never argued that this had anything to do with the failure/collapse of the Big 12.

        • Matthew says:

          Ah, sorry, must have misread what you were trying to say. I kind of skimmed the long paragraph before responding.

    • schwarm says:

      Since ’93 Michigan and OSU have finished 1-2 5 out of 17 times (29%). However, in none of those years were they the undisputed 1-2 teams (usually one was tied for second).

      If you 1) add UNL to the mix (who figures to finish at or near the top more than their fair share) and 2) put OSU and Michigan in separate divisions as designated rivals, the chance of them meeting in the CCG is, I think, much less than 30%.

      I think no matter how you divide the teams, there is always a good chance that the two best teams will be in the same division, and not matched up in the CCG.

      Given the more wide open nature of football in the Big XII (sans 2009), lopsided scores are more likely in any Big XII game.

    • schwarm says:

      Just doing some quick back-testing of your divisions versus KISS. I basically looked at actual conference records of all the teams to determine who would have won the divisions.

      My conclusions are:

      1) Your divisions would have resulted in 3 to 5 Michigan/OSU rematches since 1993, more than I would have thought.

      2) There is little difference in competitiveness of the CCG if you compare your divisions to KISS.

  107. Matthew says:

    This Big Ten whole divisional setup thing reminds me of the SNL celebrity jeopardy bit:

    “I’ll tell you what, let’s just go to final Jeopardy. And the category is, you know what? You guys just decide. You each ask your own question and answer it. There’s no way you can get this wrong, because you’re asking the question. Ask yourself anything at all and then answer it. You’d have to be the dumbest people in the world to mess this up; and now let’s see how you managed to mess it up”

    • StvInIL4NW says:

      I usually pay attention to what Mr. SEC has to say as has written some decent stuff in the past. On this subject he needs to keep his pie hole shut. Not because he might say something, no. Because he needs to keep away from that moonshine he has undoubtedly be drinking.

      The big 2 and the little 8 are no more. I think he missed that memo. There is a whole conference of 12 teams to look after. Keep the game, lose the last game position. It’s an entitlement that has been over served to the OSU UM crowd.

      • Vincent says:

        And I sense the non-Ohio State-Michigan crowd is fighting back, perhaps spurred on by Penn State, which doesn’t want to be stranded in a division with the western foursome. KISS may ultimately be perceived as the least of several evils.

        • duffman says:


          was looking at some poll yesterday from ESPN (??) showing a UM vs tOSU poll and it confirmed your thinking. I thought all the Big 10 states would be the same but many were not (Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, ??). Wish I had linked it because now I can not find it, but I was surprised by the results.

          • mnfanstc says:

            That poll could be some kid Delany and the bunch paid off to continue voting over and over and over… ;)

        • zek33 says:

          To me it sounds as if Michigan/Ohio State are somewhat isolated (may have Iowa/Wisconsin/Minnesota on their side) in wanting KISS or sending Penn State to the west and keeping Michigan/Ohio State in the same division.

          1) I would assume that Penn State is strongly against being in a division with 4 or 5 western schools.

          2) Michigan State has said it expects to be in the same division as Northwestern (even though there’s no rivalry there, they want to play in Chicago probably).

          3) Purdue/Indiana/Michigan State probably don’t want to be in a division with Michigan/Ohio State/Penn State for obvious competitive reasons.

          While Iowa/Wisconsin/Minnesota probably want KISS, Northwestern probably wants to be guaranteed of having at least 1 of the Big 4 draws visit every year. It’s hard enough getting butts in the seat, but being in a division with 2 of the 4 guarantees at least one home sellout every year (or 2 every other year) from the division games alone. Sure competitively it might be better for Northwestern to be put in the West, but that’s not all that’s at stake here.

          And finally, many of the schools may want Northwestern and Illinois divided because it’s the largest recruiting ground in the footprint where the best athletes are up for grabs, so that plays against KISS as well.

          I’d imagine the TV people told them they had to separate the Big 4 into pairs of 2 for the purposes of title game matchups for TV $. Clearly they seem to have bought into that, which to me seems obvious enough.

          KISS is a less valuable setup from a CCG perspective, since Nebraska would be the only national draw in the West if you went to KISS. Yeah you’d virtually guarantee a national draw in the East, but you only have 3 possible matchups (all dependent on Nebraska being good), whereas with the split you get 4.

          That’s also the same reason why you split Iowa/Wisconsin since those are the next tier in terms of drawing power.

  108. bullet says:

    Some interesting numbers on money games. Dramatic differences in $. Same school might get 500k one game and $1 million for another. Only explanation would seem to be that few schools were available on those dates at the time the game was scheduled.

  109. Eric (ohio1317) says:

    I didn’t hear it, but over on the CFN Big Ten board, TyphonInc wrote,

    “ok… so 1460 the fan Columbus sports radio is reporting the backlash from moving the game has been so big, Delany has asked his consultants to take another look into the matter.

    The logic of the consultants was sound, just not complete. “We have 4 marquee brand names lets put 2 in each division to bolster the chances of having a National appealing Conference Championship Game.” “

    • OSUMBuckeye says:

      I heard this report on 97.1 The Fan (formerly 1460, they might still broadcast on the AM dial, but I haven’t tried tuning in there since they moved to 97.1 FM)

      Essentially, they had heard through sources that the split was pretty much a done deal, but enough negative reaction has already been generated that they are going back to take another look at it.

  110. coldhusker says:

    Not sure the credibility of this, but accoring to an Iowa message board and twitter, Farentz said yesterday at a luncheon that the Big 10 divisions “could be announced in the next 48 hours”.

    I thought all along that they would announce them before the season starts. It makes the most sense to do it now to not take away from in-season storylines.

  111. greg says:

    Jon Miller, a Hawkeye writer/radio host is also the host of the new The Pulse on the BTN Thursday nights at 9pm. He has basically revealed that there is a LIVE show at 6pm Wednesday on BTN, although he won’t say what its going to cover. Everyone assumes its a Division announcement.

    • Eric (ohio1317) says:

      I hope if that’s it they’ll announce beforehand that’s what it’s for.

      Darn…I might be heading out of town just before then.

    • M says:

      If they are announcing it tomorrow, that means they have already decided, which means they already have the schedules, which means they haven’t had enough time to react to any backlash, which means they are going with their original plan.

  112. M says:

    I know a number of people have been worried about the divisions destroying rivalries, but our long nightmare is over. Today, we have been given confirmation that the Battle of the LoL Trophy will continue:

  113. Hank says:

    with all due respect announcing the divisions in the next few days would be downright stupid. The news is going to be contentious regardless of how well thought out. So you announce it a couple of days before the season openers so instead of people focusing on the positives of a new season they are bitching and moaning about the divisions? If they couldn’t make the announcement at least several weeks before the season it should be held until after the opening games.

    • Eric (ohio1317) says:

      They’d rather get the backlash started now and have it there for opening games than still have it talked about opening games and still have to release it. That’s my guess anyway.

      I’m sure their original plans (12-18 months) would not have involved a decision like this at the start of the season.

  114. loki_the_bubba says:

    There are 924 possible alignments. Which 3 have not been discussed?

    • M says:

      Actually there’s only 462 possibilities. You might think that it’s 12 choose 6, but that fails to account for a symmetry; choosing 6 teams results in the same divisions as choosing the opposite 6.

      Also, I think you were just exposed as a UHou grad trying to pass as a Rice alum.

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        I didn’t even try to do it in my head. When I tried to do that I was using permutations instead of combinations, so I just plugged ‘=COMBIN(12,6)’ into a spreadsheet. It’s been decades since i looked at this stuff…

        • bullet says:

          I haven’t heard these 3:

          Big East MN/NW/IL/IU/PU/MSU

          Charter Members IL/UM/MN/PU/WI/NW
          Late-comers UNL/PSU/MSU/OSU/IU/IA

          Middle MSU/IU/PU/IL/NW/WI
          East west OSU/PSU/UM/UNL/IA/MN

  115. bullet says:

    The more this gets discussed, the more convinced I am that KISS is vastly superior to any other option.

    If you absolutely decide to split the big 4, unfortunately, the best split seems to be UM+UNL/OSU+PSU. Otherwise you take either PSU’s only two big games or OSU’s, forcing one to be interdivision and 1 to go away. The split needs to not significantly hurt any school. And Michigan still has Michigan St. and has history with Iowa (game decided nearly every B10 title in 80s during Hayden Fry’s heyday) and Minnesota.

    So that leaves you with the unbalanced north/south setup PSU/OSU/IU/PU/IL/NW vs. UNL/UM/MN/IA/WI/MSU with the order referring to likely annual games vs. other division (PSU vs. UNL, OSU vs. UM, etc.) or a setup that ends WI/IA in order to get more balance-a southeast/NW:
    PSU/OSU/IU/PU/IL/WI vs. UNL/UM/IA/MSU/NW/MN (IA probably doesn’t care about IU or PU, so I’m sticking PU & MSU together since they are close to each other).

    In the southeast/Northwest setup, IA has to be with UNL and MSU with UM (since OSU is UM’s other division game and PSU is UNL’s) so that puts them in NW and comparable schools WI and PU in SE. There’s no compelling reason to split IU from PU, so that puts IU in SE and comparable school MN in NW. That leaves IL and NW and IL seems a little closer in ties to OSU and you can’t have NW in a SE division(!), so IL SE and Northwestern in Northwest.

    So in order to split the Big 4 you end IA/WI and split OSU/UM and have to move their game out of season end slot. Even if they only meet 30% of time in CCG, that is way too frequently for a rematch a week later. With KISS you have none of those issues and you can probably do a 5-0-4, playing everyone 4 out of 6 years, which keeps the conference closer.

  116. Hank says:

    “and Michigan still has Michigan St.”

    and Paris Hilton has substance abuse. and we’re not proud of it, wish we could get rid of it but everyone is constantly reminding us of it, giggling about it and won’t let us put it in the past.

    • Eric (ohio1317) says:

      Speaking of which, I wonder how history would have been different if the conference had chosen Pitt (I read somewhere else that was the 2nd choice) instead of Michigan State.

    • jcfreder says:

      Cobbling together the various leaks, it looks like it’ll be Mich-MSU-Neb-Iow in one division and PSU-OSU-Wis-Min in another. Some combo of Ind-Pur-Ill-NW to fill them out. For the Badgers’ sake, I hope we get Ill-NW.

      • Hank says:

        in that split I would think Ill-NW go west since they are actually further west than Purdue and Indiana if for no other reason. and fwiw that is among my least favorite divisional alignments as Michigan loses both Wisconsin and Minnesota.

        • jcfreder says:

          Hank, I agree that seems like default, but I’m still holding out hope that they don’t create an “East” division with Wisconsin and Minnesota basically on an island, particularly if the Wis-Iow rivalry isn’t protected. Also, I think balance is better preserved keeping Indiana and Minnesota separate.

          • Hank says:

            I know I, and a lot of Michigan fans, are fighting an uphill battle on this but Wisconsin and Minnesota shouldn’t be on an island but Michigan and Michigan State should?

          • jcfreder says:

            I would think that the allocation of Ill-NW-Pur-Ind is irrelavant to Mich and MSU in terms of being on “an island”; if anything putting Ind and Pur in the Mich-MSU division makes sense from their perspective because Indiana and Michigan border each other.

            If Wis and Min are put in a division with OSU, PSU, Ind and Pur, those are the worst 4 teams geographically for Wis and Min. Thats why I’d prefer Ill and NW for the Badgers. Maybe PSU and OSU fans would prefer the Indiana schools.

          • @jcfreder – Unless the Big Ten does the KISS format (and that appears to be dead in the water), either the WI/MN combo or the IA/NE combo is going to end up on island with OSU/PSU/IN/PUR. It’s equally inconvenient for both sets of western schools. Reading the tea leaves, the “big brand” split is going to come down to MI/NE in one division (meaning they’ll bring along MSU and IA) and OSU/PSU in the other. The “competitive balance” proponents appear to want to avoid all 4 of IL/NW/IN/PUR in the same division, so those rivalry pairs will be split up. So, my guess is that Adam Rittenberg’s prediction is right:

            DIVISION A
            Ohio State
            Penn State

            DIVISION B
            Michigan State

            This sets up the following “logical” protected cross-division rivalries:
            Ohio State – Michigan
            Penn State – Nebraska
            Wisconsin – Michigan State
            Minnesota – Iowa
            Indiana – Illinois
            Purdue – Northwestern

            At least in terms of protecting the maximum number of current annual rivalries, that’s not too bad – the only ones that would be lost are PSU-MSU and WI-IA. While PSU-MSU could certainly be saved, I’m fairly certain that the league office would rather set up the annual national draw of PSU-NE instead, especially since virtually no one from PSU and MSU seems to care about the Land Grant Trophy, anyway. Losing WI-IA hurts for sure, but with NE being locked in with IA, the existence of the Floyd of Rosedale, and WI and MSU being “border schools” (remember the UP), it shouldn’t surprise anyone that WI-IA was on the chopping block with the Big Ten ignoring the KISS option.

          • Eric (ohio1317) says:

            I think I’d prefer Illinois and Northwestern with OSU. At least that brings the Illibuck back to a yearly game.

          • jj says:

            Correct me if I am wrong gang, but doesn’t Neb v Iowa have more “juice” than Neb v PSU?

            I think the MSU/PSU test is a good example of how you can’t manufacture a rivalry. Iowa just seems more likely to develop into something fun.

            I’m willing to take friendly wagers that my bet is correct. MSU, UM and Pur in one division is too-forward thinking as to domers to ignore. Besides, OSU doesn’t need Indiana in its division. Unless KISS happens, I can’t see this not happening.

          • @jj – Oh, I think that will definitely be the case, but it may not matter since I think the Big Ten is setting up so that both NE-IA and NE-PSU will happen annually. Also, I actually think PSU fans have been as excited about playing Nebraska as much as anyone. The Huskers are certainly a national brand name over Michigan State. I remember someone (I think it was allthatyoucanleavebehind) saying several months ago that TALKING about expanding with certain teams (namely, the Big East candidates for market value) was more exciting than actually PLAYING them, whereas Nebraska is most definitely an exciting opponent that everyone always wants to play no matter where they’re located.

          • coldhusker says:

            From my perspective, I’d much rather have the crossover games be Neb/Wisc and PSU/MSU and keep the Land Grant Trophy alive. I’m guessing that Alavarez is pushing for this game hard.

          • jcfreder says:

            I see what you’re saying, Frank, but that setup is pretty much close to worst case for Wisconsin, and I have to think there’s some horse trading going on to avoid those kind of scenarios (Wis already loses Iow as a protected game, then doesn’t get Nebraska as a protected game AND gets shipped out to Eastern division only to have a “protected game” against MSU, another school in the Eastern time zone???)

            Plus, we keep hearing that balance and rivalries are more important than geography. Keeping Indiana and Purdue in the East makes geographical sense, but Ill and NW in the East helps maintain more rivalries:

            - Ill-OSU annually
            - Ind-MSU annually
            - avoids creating a contrived Wis-MSU rivalry game (UP or no UP). Instead, Wis gets Neb and PSU keeps MSU, which is currently a protected game even if it’s considered contrived.

            It is also more balanced (arguably), because Min and Ind are almost certainly the two weakest links, and this keeps them apart.

          • @jcfreder – I definitely have no problem with that setup. However, if the Big Ten is insane enough to mess with the Michigan-Ohio State game for a few extra championship game bucks, I’d wager a large amount of dollars that it’s going to make Penn State-Nebraska into a protected rivalry. The networks want that game played annually. From the Big Ten’s perspective, if you’re going to make the tough/horrible decision sell out your biggest rivalry, you might as well entirely break the bank in the process. That’s just my guess as to what’s going to occur (not that I actually want any of it to happen).

          • Richard says:

            In that setup, I’d say the protected rivalries are

            unless Purdue makes a big fuss about not playing in Chicago. The 3 other schools would all prefer these protected rivalries instead.

  117. coldhusker says:

    I just saw that the Big Ten Network special tomorrow is going to be hosted by Jim Grey and called “The Divisions”.

  118. Gopher86 says:

    In my mind, it becomes a question of how far they are going to go to protect rivalries:

    For one protected rivalry game:

    If split Michigan & OSU -> then Mich/OSU is protected rivalry. No Mich vs. Mich. State. No OSU vs. PSU.

    If Mich. & OSU in same division -> then Mich vs. Mich. State protected. OSU vs. PSU protected.

    For two protected rivalry games, your flexibility goes up and you can split the divisions more based on geography or competitive balance.

    However, you experience less cohesiveness. A non-rival, cross divisional opponents won’t play eachother as frequently:

    Based on a nine game schedule, (5 intradivisional, 2 cross rivals, 2 non-rival, cross divisional): A home and home will take 4 years.

    Based on an eight game schedule, (5 intradivisional, 2 cross rivals, 1 non-rival, cross divisional): A home and home will take 8 years.

    It makes sense to put major rivals in the same division, rather than separate divisions. A ‘protected, cross divisional game’ should be a get out of jail free card for smaller rivalries and not be used for major rivalries. Otherwise, you’re faced with a choice between protecting rivalries and the cohesiveness of the league.

  119. Vincent says:

    I can see something like this happening:

    Michigan State

    Ohio State
    Penn State

    Protected cross-divisional games:
    Michigan State-Penn State
    Michigan-Ohio State

    Iowa, Nebraska, Indiana and Purdue have no protected cross division games.

    The four protected cross-divisional games cited above would be played the second-to-last Saturday in November (17-23), as they are now, along with IU and Purdue vs. either Nebraska or Iowa. However, the season would end the last Saturday in November (24-30) with games within the division:

    Ohio State-Penn State
    Michigan State-Michigan
    *these season-ending pairings would rotate. After two years of the pairings above, they would switch to Iowa-Minnesota and Northwestern-Nebraska.

    The Big Ten title game would be played the first Saturday in December.

  120. M says:

    I keep expecting to see someone saying “My cousin’s brother’s boss’ friend knows a guy who says that he heard the divisions will be x”. Where have the rumor mongers gone to give me my daily allowance of crazy unsubstantiated whispers?

    • jj says:

      To kill time, I’ve been working on this chart of coolest to least coolest fans in the B10.

      So far, I’ve got this, with 1 being the coolest:

      1. MSU
      2-9. TBD
      10-11. UM/OSU (tied)

      • StvInIL says:

        1. MSU
        2-9. TBD
        10-11. UM/OSU

        MSU coolest? JJ, have you talked to the UM fans about this? ;-)

      • Eric (ohio1317) says:

        For my part in that low ranking, I do apologize. Usually I try to be level headed about stuff and not go overboard on anything, and I’ll admit that’s what I’m doing now. Something about this issue though just strikes at my emotions the way very few things could. I’ve posted more on here and several other message boards in the last week than I posted anywhere else for probably the last two years put together.

        So to the extent I’m annoying I apologize.

    • ccrider55 says:

      M, they are all busy with the BYU indy/WAC/MWC/Big12ish speculation on western boards.

  121. Hank says:

    The Big Ten Network revised its schedule and no longer has a live football special scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday.

    The schedule now reads “Big Ten Footballl Preview ‘10: Season Outlook Part I.” Earlier this morning the programming schedule listed a live football special in the slot, prompting many people to suspect the league would release its divisional realignment in that time slot.

    On Monday, I asked Scott Chipman, the Big Ten’s associate commissioner for communications, about rumors the alignment could be released soon. Tuesday, he said Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany has yet to get back to him with answers.

    I then asked that I’m sure I’ll get my answer via e-mail or announcement on the Big Ten Network.

    “Anything is possible,” he said joking.

    We’ll see.

  122. Hank says:

    Jason Smith tweet

    Breaking news: BYU to be football independent. We’ll have it on ESPN radio in 15 minutes…

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      WCC for other sports. WAC is left out in the cold.

      • Vincent says:

        That still surprises me, as geographically Brigham Young is a bit removed from the rest of the WCC, not to mention the whole Catholic (aside from Pepperdine) vs. Mormon cultural divide.

        Perhaps some of the remaining WAC members might be picked up by the Mountain West, although I’m not sure Louisiana Tech is all that appealing to the MWC, and the travel costs involving Hawaii decrease its value.

        • loki_the_bubba says:

          The WCC is all smaller private/religious schools. The WAC is large state schools. The move makes sense in that respect. But apparently BYU has 7 sports that the WCC does not offer. No idea where those teams will go.

          After the chaos out west we’re left with:
          WAC: Hawaii, San Jose, Idaho, New Mexico State, Utah State, Louisiana Tech

          MWC: Fresno State, Nevada, Boise State, Air Force, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV, Wyoming, TCU

          The WAC is in serious danger. As you alluded to, both Hawaii and LTU are outliers in the WAC. There are rumors that Hawaii is also considering independence. And LTU wants into CUSA. Personally I think they fit the Sun Belt better. But apparently they burned some bridges when they left.

        • loki_the_bubba says:

          Also, there is a provision in the MWC TV contracts that open them back up for negotiation if both Utah and BYU leave. I can’t imagine they would get more money with the two cash cows leaving. Things are not over west of the Mississippi.

        • loki_the_bubba says:

          Didn’t see anybody notice this today, but the MWC and CUSA are moving closer together. Wishful rumors on the boards that the Cotton Bowl will move up to BCS status, one slot will be an at-large, and the other will be a CUSA/MWC play-in winner. Seems unlikely, but that’s what’s out there.

          “The Mountain West Conference plans to “take the conversation to the next level” with Conference USA on various issues affecting to the leagues, including access to the Bowl Championship Series in college football.

          MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson requested the chief executives of league members Boise State, Air Force and Texas Christian form a subcommittee to meet with three chief executives from Conference USA in Dallas-Forth Worth sometime in September or October, according to an Aug. 23 memo from the MWC obtained by The San Diego Union-Tribune. Tentative Conference USA participants included executives from Tulane, Central Florida and Southern Methodist.

          The purpose of the requested meeting was to “take the conversation to the next level” with Conference USA after the commissioners of both leagues met in Colorado Springs about two weeks ago. The commissioners then discussed BCS access, marketing rights and a possible postseason game between the champions of both leagues, with the winner getting a berth in a lucrative BCS bowl.”

        • angryapple says:

          @loki — I was under the understanding that the provision in the MWC contracts allowed CBS College Sports and Versus to renegotiate their contracts (presumably for less money) if Utah and BYU left. I’m not sure it is safe to assume that the conference has equal power to demand a new contract.

          If the conference does have the right to tear up the old contracts, they should. The current league might not be as competitive or reach as many households as the one from this past season, but it definitely carries more valuable than the current crappy contracts pay. A new deal with ESPN or Fox would at least bring them up to the level that C-USA is at and would allow them to showcase their product to more of the country.

          As far as I can tell, they have about 12 marketable games (Boise vs the other nine teams, San Diego State vs Fresno State, Air Force vs TCU, Fresno State vs TCU, and maybe UNLV vs Nevada. Those 12 games plus their solid basketball line-up should net them a good deal.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            @angryapple I wasn’t trying to imply the conference could tear up the contract. But if I’m the network and the two big breadwinners left, I’m getting out.

        • angryapple says:

          I think the Mountain West should go after Houston and UTEP as hard as they can, and if one of those schools says no or TCU cries too much, they should bring in Hawaii as #12.

          Utah State has to be off the table and San Jose State, New Mexico State, and Idaho add nothing.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            I haven’t met a UTEP fan who wants to jump. All of their alums that leave El Paso come to Houston or Dallas. Their president has said they want to stay in CUSA.

            Some Houston fans wanted the MWC, but that was before the loss of Utah and BYU. Now there is no attraction to the MWC.

      • jj says:

        I like this move by BYU. The WCC is a good little BB conference and it shows balls in the football world. I hope they schedule a B10 game or 2. It would be cool.

    • M says:

      The question everyone has to wondering: How are they going to handle the logo? If my geography is correct, BYU would be somewhere in the middle of the W.

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      One more scenario I’m pondering. Can the WAC survive long enough for schools like Texas State and UT_San Antonio to make their projected move to D1A? I strongly believe Texas cannot support 12 teams, but they seem set on building programs to that level.

      • bullet says:

        I don’t think so. Montana isn’t quite ready. Montana St., Cal-Davis, Portland St. and Cal Poly are definitely not ready. Texas St. is apparently the only school ready to go. But now a conference has to invite you. I agree, Texas doesn’t need 12 schools. Think Texas St. would be an Eastern Michigan. They have had 1 good season since they moved up from Division II in the 80s and they are in the shadow of UT, much like EMU is in the shadow of Michigan. UTSA might do ok, but they are just starting fb.

        Its good for a future playoff if the WAC implodes. MAC is pretty full. Sun Belt can fill up. WAC is gone. So noone to add extra schools to FBS.

      • m (Ag) says:

        One national columnist (forget who, probably either or suggested that the WAC remain together as a non-football conference for a few years while it immediately adds schools that are moving to Div 1 football(like UTSA and Texas State) for basketball and all other sports. The current schools go independent in football but keep scheduling each other. Once the new schools achieve division 1 the WAC can declare itself a real football conference again.

  123. duffman says:

    Anybody watching the Big 10 preview tonight on BTN?

  124. Ross Hatton says:

    Hm, all these changes with the Big Ten Network scheduling are a bit odd.

    There were these reports out of Columbus this morning that Delaney had heard the complaints and sent his consultants back to the drawing board…

    Then the Big Ten had a scheduling change, placing a 1 hour live event for tomorrow night at 6pm, presumably to announce the division alignments…

    Now the Big Ten has changed its lineup again, removing the live even and putting the originally planned season preview in its place…

    Anyone else think we might not see the OSU/UM split after all?

    • Eric (ohio1317) says:

      That’s my hope. The timing doesn’t seem quite right, but it’s not hard to imagine the BTN was a little behind in getting the memo and rearranging/updating their website.

  125. OT says:

    Folks, we are NOT done with conference realignment yet, not even for the rest of August 31, 2010.

    ESPN VP of College Sports Programming Burke Magnus has until 11:59:59pm Hawaii Standard Time on August 31 (5:59:59am Eastern Daylight Time on September 1) to complete a TV deal with the University of Hawaii at Manoa so that the Rainbow Warriors can leave the WAC and become an independent in football.

    (Look for Hawaii to request ESPN Inc. to kick in some money as travel subsidy to the Big West Conference so that Hawaii can park men’s basketball and other sports in that California-based bus league.)

    The real “war” between Comcast and ESPN Inc. for control of college sports TV in the Mountain Time Zone, particularly the Salt Lake TV market, played out as expected.

    Comcast, staying true to form, would not give an inch to BYU (which wanted “3rd tier” and “re-run” rights to BYU home games on BYUtv and BYUtv HD) and basically chased BYU of the MWC.

    Whether Comcast did that deliberately so that it would have an “out” to cut its losses and walk away from the mtn. and the MWC is anyone’s guess at this point.


    Summary of the next dominoes to fall:

    1. Hawaii – Independent in football, Big West in other sports

    2. Louisiana Tech – likely headed for the Sun Belt

    3. New Mexico State – likely headed for the Sun Belt (and possibly dropping football)

    4. Idaho – has nowhere else to go unless the Sun Belt wants the Vandals

    5. Utah State – has nowhere else to go unless the Sun Belt wants the Aggies

    6. San Jose State – likely headed to the Big West for all other sports after it decides to drop football

    Mountain West Conference – will need a new TV deal if Comcast decides to walk away

    Western Athletic Conference – will lose NCAA certification as a Division I conference in any sport after the 2010-2011 school year and will likely be dissolved.

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      1. Every rumor I’ve read have Hawaii also joining the WCC with BYU.

      2. As noted above, LTU burned that bridge. They really want to be in CUSA.

      4. I can see Idaho going to D1AA.

      MWC tv contract – I can’t see any chance of Comcast not executing the out clause. It’s being bandied about that 70% of MTN revenue comes from the state of Utah.

      WAC – Last team out, turn off the lights.

      • Ross Hatton says:

        Anyone else shocked Hawaii is also making the jump to independent?

        I’ve seen plenty of stuff that would at least make being independent a decent opportunity for BYU, in terms of money and tv contracts. Even with that though, some people are hesitant it will work out in BYU’s favor.

        What exactly does Hawaii have going for it…

        • loki_the_bubba says:

          Hawaii can fill the late night time slot on ESPN. That may be worth more to them than the WAC tv deal.

          • Ross Hatton says:

            I guess it takes getting used to the fact that we aren’t talking about the payouts that schools in the Big Ten/SEC or even the Pac-10 get to realize that’s all it would take for there to be incentive to do it.

            I wonder who Hawaii will schedule though. BYU has actually shown some ability to be a top team from time to time…Hawaii did it once and was exposed by Georgia. Other than that, has Hawaii ever shown us much?

          • Vincent says:

            This really proves ESPN is the 800-pound gorilla in the room, particularly in the non-AQ ranks.

            Hadn’t realized how dependent the Mountain West was on Comcast, and Utah. I suppose it’s hoping now that UNR and UNLV are in the same conference, it might be able to replicate that dominance in Nevada. What’s the prime cable provider in that state?

        • bullet says:

          13th game. Teams get an extra game going to Hawaii. ESPN gets something to fill its late night time slot. Sometimes I like to unwind at night and watch (at least when I was in Central time zone) the late Hawaii games. Plus its Hawaii. Its like a bowl trip for the team. Coaches use it for recruiting. Several B10 teams have made the trip. I believe Alabama did recently.

          Hawaii has been talking about it for a couple of years, not necessarily seriously. Women’s programs were in Big West for many years. Several of its non-revenue sports are good. Hawaii may have to pay a travel subsidy to a new conference. They paid 500k a year in the WAC until it expanded to 16 when they got out of it.

          • StvInIL says:

            I like to unwind at night and watch (at least when I was in Central time zone) the late Hawaii games. Plus its Hawaii. Its like a bowl trip for the team. Coaches use it for recruiting. Several B10 teams have made the trip.
            I concur. But this trip was sometimes trap. The Big Ten boys looking forward to some tropical sun and a win in paradise would sometimes be caught short after a trip of 4253 miles and expectations of playing a lower division MAC team. Which they are not.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            In re the travel subsidies. One message I read said the Hawaii travel board may be putting some into that. Unconfirmed, but believable.

        • Matthew says:

          NO decent league wants Hawaii’s non-football sports. So they really don’t have any other good options other than trying football independence and parking the rest with whoever will take them.

        • OT says:

          ESPN Inc. sees value in offering an “independent” TV deal to Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football for two reasons:

          1. Guaranteed sellout in the Hawaii Bowl each December 24 as long as Hawaii is bowl eligible. ESPN Regional Television owns and operates the Hawaii Bowl.

          2. At least 7 live football games on ESPN2 or ESPNU on Saturdays at midnight Eastern Time (6pm or 7pm Hawaii Standard Time.)

      • OT says:

        The WCC does NOT want a “public” school. Its membership consists of church-affiliated schools (7 Jesuit Catholic, 2 protestant).

        The WCC men’s basketball tournament is at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas (attached to the Orleans Casino by a covered walkway) and is generally played on Saturday (6 vs 3 and 4 vs 5), Sunday (1 vs 4/5, 2 vs 3/6) and Monday (final).

        The WCC will have to change the schedule of the tourney i.e. to Thursday-Saturday.


        Hawaii has been talking to the Big West, no doubt with ESPN Inc. also having its hands in that cookie jar.

      • Josh says:

        Hawaii would join the Big West, not the WCC. The WCC is all religious schools. The Big West has the smaller California state schools. The WCC would not change their religious character by inviting a large state school like Hawaii.

        Idaho will not go to FCS. They fought hard to move up after Boise moved up and moving down would be admitting defeat to Boise. Those two schools are locked in a death match for students and funding in the legislature. They won’t surrender without a major fight.

        Idaho will probably try to get back into the Sunbelt. They played there when they first moved up to FBS.

      • OT says:

        Conference USA does NOT want or need Louisiana Tech because it already has Tulane to cover the state of Louisiana.

        CUSA choose UTEP, SMU, TCU, Tulsa, and Rice over LaTech the last time CUSA had openings to fill (after Cincinnati, Louisville, and South Florida bolted for the Big East.)

        LATech really has no choice but to apply to the Sun Belt.

        • loki_the_bubba says:

          And with the fiscal issues Louisiana has with their higher education, I question whether they can support five D1A programs (including Tulane).

          • bullet says:

            There was a contingency plan that would have shut down nearly half the universities in the state. Not likely to happen, but realistically, they’ve got 2 small HBCUs virtually next door to predominately white universities (not counting Southern and LSU) and a bunch of schools bunched in the north (ULM,LTU,Grambling,LSU-Shreveport, NW St., LSU-Alexandria) when their population is in the south. Had a LT friend talking about that issue 10 years ago before their fiscal crisis.

    • bullet says:

      I suspect SB isn’t interested in SJSU or Idaho. USU basketball may be good enough to interest SB, but probably not. I imagine you are right on HI, LT and NMSU. Sun Belt will be 11 fb, 1 starting fb, 2 non-fb if LT and NMSU join.

      SJSU and Idaho are in real trouble. SJSU probably gets in BW. Not sure if Idaho will make the cut there. BYU has to hope SJSU and Idaho don’t drop out of I-A in the next couple of years. Otherwise they may have trouble filling out their schedule.

      Once WAC started falling apart, I figured WCC was where BYU was going, even though they have 6 or 7 homeless sports. Makes WCC the western version of A10. Although BYU is the ONLY school w/o a tiny gym. In A10 its a mix. Newer members, Dayton, Xavier, SLU, UNCC and Richmond, along with UMass have decent size facilities.

      If WAC dissappears, it leaves us with 6 AQ conferences, 2 middle (MWC,CUSA), 2 bottom feeders (SB and MAC). That’s good for CUSA and MWC who are well ahead of the other two in fan support and average strength.

      • OT says:

        COX controls cable TV in Las Vegas while Charter Communications controls cable TV in Reno so Comcast and the mtn. has no edge in either market.

        Comcast does control cable TV in Fresno.