There was quite a bit of conference realignment news over the last couple of weeks, so let’s assess the current landscape:

1.  Big Ten Making Out Like a Fox – To the surprise of no one except a handful that believes the Big Ten really wants a superconference, the conference announced that expansion has reached its “natural conclusion”.  Despite my many writings on the Big Ten expansion topic (and the reason why most of you found this blog), I’m very happy about this personally.  Call me old-fashioned, but I actually like it when schools in a conference, you know, actually get to play each other regularly instead of being in some type of massive 16/18/20-team scheduling arrangement.  One of the comments from regular Slant reader allthatyoucantleavebehind from several months ago always stuck with me: It’s a whole lot of fun to talk about superconferences and expanding to different markets, but will you actually have fun watching your team play all of these schools?  Well, Nebraska is one of those schools that everyone has fun playing with a tradition-rich football program and arguably the best fan base in college sports.  Plus, if Bo Pelini thought he hated Big 12 officials, we’re going to witness him murder a Big Ten ref in cold blood in Ann Arbor next season.  The Big Ten is making the right move for its alums and fans by stopping at 12.

Financially, it’s the right move, too.  Fox outbid ABC/ESPN for the rights to the Big Ten Championship Game and the rights fees apparently are astronomical: $140 million for 6 years, which is an average of around $23 million per year.  For comparison’s sake, the SEC title game brings in approximately $14 million per year and the Big East football TV contract with ESPN is worth about $13 million per year for all of that conference’s games.  This single game haul for the Big Ten has paid for the addition of Nebraska by itself and we haven’t even gotten to the additional Big Ten Network rights fees and forthcoming increases in the national TV contracts.

The fact that Fox won the Big Ten title game contract is interesting.  While Fox is the conference’s partner for the Big Ten Network, I personally had a hard time believing that the ESPN juggernaut would let this game get away.  As I’ve pointed out before, as much as we talk about how the Big Ten Network has really changed the TV revenue dynamic in college sports, the Big Ten still gets paid about twice as much more from ABC/ESPN than the BTN.  When the Big Ten’s national TV contract comes up for bidding for the 2016 season, expect the conference to really push for a bifurcated rights deal similar to the SEC: coast-to-coast clearance on a national over-the-air network for the top game of the week and 3 or so games on the next tier on the ESPN networks (with probably a guaranteed weekly prime time game).  The balance of the games would then be on BTN.  If Fox drops or cuts back on Major League Baseball coverage (and as much as I love baseball, any reasonable TV industry observer would recommend that Fox does just that because it’s receiving a horrible ROI for the amount that the network is paying for these regular season ratings), there’s a strong possibility that the network will take over the top Big Ten Game of the Week from ABC.  However, I highly doubt that the Big Ten would let the games that are currently on the ESPN networks move to the patchwork quilt of Fox Sports Net stations.  Much like the NFL, the Big Ten is going to balance providing a critical mass of games to its own network and maximizing revenue with being extremely exposure conscious with its top matchups.  Note that the NFL’s top game of the week package (Sunday Night Football on NBC that has a flex scheduling option to ensure higher-rated matchups later in the season) is actually the league’s least expensive TV contract.  The Big Ten could very well end up with a similar setup starting in 2016.

With the new Fox money and anticipated rights fee increases, if the Big Ten were to expand further at this point, each additional school would essentially have to add $30 million to the conference make it into a compelling case for the university presidents – and that’s without the benefit of a bump of a new conference championship game.  There’s basically two schools that could even come close to bringing that much: Texas and Notre Dame.  For various reasons, the chances of either ever joining the Big Ten in the near future is effectively zero (and we’ll explore them more in-depth later on).  Without either of those two schools involved, there’s no way that the Big Ten can add any other schools without the current members taking a pay cut from the new 12-team setup (and I can guarantee you that no one is voting to ever take a pay cut).

2.  Big East Football Member Number 9… Number 9… Number 9… Number 9 – The expansion action has shifted to the Big East, which smartly added Rose Bowl-bound TCU for all of the right reasons.  At least I got one prediction of a Texas-based school heading to a conference to the east correct.  With the Big East having previously stated that its members had approved expansion up to 10 football members, the outstanding issues are (1) whether Villanova takes up the Big East’s offer to move up from Division I-AA (for the love of all things that are good in this world, such as the removal of Brett Favre from the national consciousness, please go back to logical division names, NCAA) and (2) if Villanova refuses, is it really worth for the Big East to go up to 10 with the realistic expansion candidates.

Big East commissioner John Marinatto has indicated that the conference was “not going to wait for Villanova”.  However, I believe that his quote (which has gotten a lot of Big East blogs and message board over-excited) was under the guise that if a school such as Notre Dame called up and wanted to join the league for football, then of course there would be an immediate expansion.  In practicality with the realistic expansion candidates, the Big East isn’t going to do anything else until it knows for sure about Villanova’s final stance.  I’ve generally heard two extremes regarding Villanova with very little in between.  There’s a segment of the Big East that completely believes that they’re moving up and the main item to accomplish is finalizing a deal to play at PPL Park in Chester (an 18,500-seat Major League Soccer stadium).  The other segment of the Big East absolutely believes that there’s no chance that Villanova will move up because the university’s leadership has a tepid view of it and the financial commitment required is far beyond the school’s reasonable means.

I know what I would do if I were running Villanova: I’d take that invite, ride it like Zorro back to Providence with a big “YES” and figure out the details later.  Why they haven’t already done so is fairly maddening.  It’s incredulous to me that a school could be taking this much time to decide on whether to accept a golden ticket that sixty-plus other university presidents would sacrifice their math departments for.  My impression is that Villanova fancies itself to be more of a Boston College-type than a Holy Cross-type with respect to sports and if Nova wants to protect its basketball team and athletic department overall from future conference realignment earthquakes, the best way to do so is having a BCS football program.

Now, I don’t really believe that adding Villanova for football will do much to help the Big East, although the conference gets a bit more rope to work with after having added TCU.  If extending an invite to Villanova was the political grease to get the Catholic members of the Big East (or at least enough of them) to address the football expansion issue overall, then it was a necessary move.  Villanova is one of the old-line members of the Big East and if it wants to move up for football, everyone has to expect that the school will get to join that pigskin league first even if other programs are supposedly more “deserving”.  I’m just a bit wary that Villanova seems to have been dragged into this kicking and screaming, which I doubt will draw much sympathy from the Boise States of the world.

UCF appears to be the school-in-waiting if Villanova rejects the Big East football invite.  I really didn’t like the thought of UCF getting invited to the Big East over TCU if the conference was choosing only one of them, but the Knights make more sense as part of an expansion on top of the Horned Frogs.  With the sheer size of the school’s student base coupled with the prime recruiting location, the Big East is looking at UCF as a high upside school.  Now, I’ve probably spent more time in Central Florida than any place other than Chicago and Champaign and believe that the area is always going to be Gator country by a wide margin, but the rapid growth of UCF cannot be denied.  A school such as East Carolina has a better pure fan base in terms of actually showing up to games  and Houston offers a larger market, yet UCF seems offer enough of each of those factors that it appears to be the best choice of the rest for the Big East overall.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that the Big East has to go up to 10 football schools immediately (and thereby possibly 18 schools for other sports).  As I noted in the Big East Expansion FAQ post, the Big East still makes more TV money from basketball than football and a school such as UCF likely wouldn’t move the ESPN rights fee meter very much (if at all).  None of the C-USA schools are going anywhere, so the Big East can choose to see if a school such as UMass, which will likely be moving up the Division I-A level, develops into a viable Northeastern-based program that would fit extremely well into the conference.  Now that the Big East has 9 members with the TCU addition and the Big Ten has put its expansion on hold, there’s not the same sense of urgency to add school #10.

I’m personally about 50/50 on this.  Part of me believes that 10 football/18 basketball members in the Big East would be more desirable for the “perception of stability” factor that the league needs more than anyone else while getting a program such as UCF up to speed at the BCS AQ level.  (I’ve also got a way to split up an 18-team Big East basketball league into divisions that I believe will make pretty much all of the schools happy with home-and-home annual games with their top rivals and still playing everyone else frequently enough to maintain some conference unity.  However, I’ll save that for another post.)  On the other hand, there’s no real need to rush and the Big East may be well-served to just concentrate on integrating TCU for the next couple of years.

3.  Knife the WAC and Head for the Mountains – Mountain West Conference commissioner Craig Thompson has been coming after the WAC like Freddy Krueger ever since this past summer when there was a brief moment where the WAC looked like it was going to be the raider instead of the raidee.  Hawaii is all but confirmed as the latest defector from the WAC to the MWC as a football-only member.  I’ll give Thompson a whole lot of credit on this front: the MWC is going to be significantly weaker on an absolute basis with the losses of Utah, BYU and TCU, but it’s stronger on a relative basis compared to the other non-AQ conferences by mortally wounding its top competitor of the WAC.  The national perception of the MWC is that it’s still a desirable league at the non-AQ level, which is a fairly impressive feat considering that any conference losing its three most valuable members would typically be reeling.  Thompson obviously took some notes of what to do (and what not to do) from how the Big East reacted to the ACC raid of 2003 and had a prepared disaster recovery plan on how to react to any defections.  There’s absolutely no chance that the MWC is going to rise up to AQ status in this next bowl cycle (or probably ever), but it’s in a great position to be first in line for any non-AQ BCS bowl bid annually.

4.  The Texas 12 - There are still days where I can’t believe that the Big 12 survived, yet now that it has, it must be emphasized once again that the conference is a whole lot more stable than many pundits give it credit for.  To be sure, the Big 12 isn’t bound together because its members actually want to be with each other.  However, Texas wants this league to survive more than ever with the newly anticipated ESPN-owned Longhorn Network and that’s about 99% of the battle.*  I know that it’s VERY fashionable for college sports fans to believe that Texas eventually wants to become independent and then all hell will break loose in the Big 12, but that’s ignoring the constantly volatile emotions of Texas-based politicians.  The single biggest mistake I made in my early posts regarding Big Ten expansion and UT was completely underestimating the extent to which Texas politicos would get involved in conference realignment.  Even if UT really wants to go independent and/or Texas A&M really wants to go to the SEC, they’re bound together by the threat of mutually assured destruction if one of them makes a first move similar to the US and USSR during the Cold War.  Neither UT nor A&M can be perceived to be the one that killed the Big 12 and then drawing the wrath of Texas Tech and Baylor sympathizers in the legislature.  For all of the school’s financial power on paper, recall how much Texas needed to show that Missouri and Nebraska had wandering eyes first before it could attempt to create the Pac-16.  Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott himself said that the exclusion of Baylor from the Pac-16 proposal gave rise to a “tsunami effect” in Texas politics that killed the deal as opposed to anything with UT’s TV plans.

(* In what will surely be an interesting case study in testing how strong the Chinese walls are between the business and journalistic sides of ESPN, the Worldwide Leader filed a lawsuit last week against the University of Texas System under the Texas Public Information Act (h/t to duffman) to obtain documents from this past summer’s conference realignment discussions even though the network is right in the middle of negotiations with UT on the formation of the Longhorn cable channel.)

As a result, those 4 Texas-based schools are politically bound together as a group.  Add in the similarly bound Oklahoma and Oklahoma State (with OU being on the record that it is always going to want to be in the same conference as UT) and you have 6 total schools that have to be together no matter what, which severely limits them being anywhere other than in the Big 12.  With 2 of those schools being national marquee brands, any conference that has that group is going to survive just fine and make enough TV money for all of its members even in an unequal revenue distribution system.  The “Little 4″ of Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Iowa State might be wise to continue to have good relations with the Big East as a fallback option (which KU coach and Illini defector Bill Self said almost happened this past summer), but they’re not going to affirmatively split off from a league where they can still play UT and OU annually in a new round-robin Big 12 schedule unless an inebriated Big Ten suddenly throws invites their way after a Saturday night binge on Rush Street.

While the Big 12 isn’t safe in a warm and fuzzy family way, it looks like it’s safe in a maximum security prison way.  No one’s getting out of there even if they want to very badly.

5.  Notre Dame Network? – Let’s me repeat another item that I didn’t quite fully understand until the last few months:  NOTRE DAME WANTS TO BE INDEPENDENT FOR THE SAKE OF BEING INDEPENDENT.  It isn’t about making the most TV money, or else they’d join the Big Ten.  It isn’t about having the easiest road to BCS bowls, or else they’d join the Big East.  Instead, Notre Dame’s independence is a PRINCIPLE and about SCHOOL IDENTITY.  As a result, ignore the recurring columns suggesting that Notre Dame joining the Big East would somehow provide a nice geographic distribution of opponents while providing easier BCS access.  (Remember that Notre Dame has failed to even play 3 Big East opponents per year that it agreed to back in 2003, much less a full conference slate.  Why the heck would they all of the sudden want to play 5 or more Big East conference games as even a “partial member” when they just signed scheduling deals with Texas, Miami and BYU after the summer’s conference shuffling?  None of that makes any sense.  At the same time, the Irish see a “national” schedule as playing schools such as USC, Michigan, Miami and Texas, not just any random schools that happen to be located in certain states.)  You can also ignore anything from Big 12 country suggesting that UT’s ability to create a TV network within a conference would spur Notre Dame to join, too.  Maybe those strangely delusional Big 12 fans that suddenly believe that they can pick off Notre Dame along with members of the SEC (i.e. Arkansas and LSU) or Pac-10 (i.e. Arizona and Arizona State)* have forgotten that as an independent, the Irish can create a network anytime it freaking wants to.

(* Just because no one can get out of the Big 12 maximum security prison doesn’t mean anyone else actually wants to get in.)

In fact, that’s exactly the latest item on the rumor mill.  You should take the following with a heavy grain of salt, but I’ve heard and seen in a few places is that Comcast/NBC is working on putting together a Notre Dame Network that would be an Irish Catholic-focused cross between the Longhorn Network for sports and the BYU network for religious programming.  The Universal Sports network that’s currently being shown on a number of cable systems and NBC-owned digital subchannels across the country and broadcasts Olympic sports could possibly be converted into this Notre Dame Network.  The main thing that makes this plausible to me is that this sounds like something that Notre Dame would want to do.  The school has been consistent in insisting upon its own branding and independent identity (which kills the prospect of any joint network with the Big East that a lot of that conference’s fans are hoping for other than working with them to procure rights for Notre Dame’s non-football sports).  It doesn’t want a network that’s under the umbrella of the Big East, Big 12, Big Ten or any other conference.  Instead, this is about complete and 100% autonomy for Notre Dame in all respects.

Believe me, I sympathize with all of the fans of conferences that continue to dream about Notre Dame.  Many of us college football fans complain about Notre Dame 364 days per year about their “special treatment”, but when that one day comes with a semi-possible rumor that the Irish are looking to join your conference, you immediately get starry-eyed with thoughts of world domination.  It happened to me based on the logic that the Big Ten actually was (and still is) the one conference with the concrete financial wherewithal to make the Irish richer.  Let me be clear: there is no such thing as logic regarding independence with the Notre Dame alumni base that runs that school.  As a result, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Notre Dame Network comes to your TV within the next year or two and the Irish will be more independent than ever.

With the conference realignment situation settling down, we’ll turn to another favorite topic in my next piece: the annual “How can we make the college football postseason better?” post.  I know every two-bit columnist and blogger in the country covers that topic to the core, but let’s face it: it’s fun to talk about, so that’s all that matters.  Until then, let’s bask in the glow of the Illini football team going to the Texas Bowl even after having predictably Zooked themselves against Fresno State (the biggest positive development of Big Ten expansion is that it takes football scheduling after Thanksgiving completely out of the hands of Ron Guenther), the Illini basketball team gathering steam with big back-to-back wins against North Carolina (I don’t care if they’re down this year) and Gonzaga, both the Bears and Bulls leading their respective divisions (Derrick Rose continues to be my favorite active athlete on Earth right now with Julius Peppers vaulting up to #2), the Blackhawks looking a bit better again (although let’s hope Patrick Kane comes back as soon as possible) and the White Sox actually shelling out money for free agents (adding Adam Dunn AND probably keeping Paul Konerko – I love it as long as Dunn doesn’t spend a single moment in the outfield).  Not a bad holiday sports season in the Frank the Tank household so far.  Not bad at all.

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

(Image from Husker Locker)

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  1. HerbieHusker says:


  2. greg says:

    The Hawkeyes finish 2nd in the NW Division behind the (Herbie)Huskers

  3. greg says:

    Drats. Click the boxes this time.

  4. Jeepers says:


  5. Carl says:

    Outback Bowl!

  6. Piney Woods says:

    RE: Texas Teams

    Baylor will not be a factor in the next round, Tech probably won’t be either.

    The coup de grace will come from Texas and its $100M media deal with ESPN.

  7. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lynn Hayes, Frank the Tank. Frank the Tank said: New blog post: The Settling Conference Realignment Landscape (Big Ten/NU, Big East/TCU, MWC/WAC, Big 12/Texas and ND) [...]

  8. jcfreder says:

    Yeah, I think things look mostly stable right now, even for the Big East, because no one’s looking to poach from them.

    It looks to me that the BXII is the one possible source of further instability but we’ll see if TAM gets paid.

    For those reasons, I think the BE would probably be better off NOT expanding further. No one else is a threat to take UCF, so you might as well wait to see what they accomplish.

    I will say I’d be surprised if Notre Dame moved its football games to a Comcast cable network. I think ND much prefers having the games on a nationwide over-the-air network.

    • DJ says:

      NBC/Comcast owns the Versus network, home of NHL Hockey. Reportedly, after final federal anti-trust approval, it might be re-branded to reflect the NBC connection.

    • Dave says:

      The one thing that could drive further BE expansion if nothing else does is the Big Ten and/or ACC (who provide most of the Big East’s AQ-conference opponents) moving to a 9-game conference schedule. Playing one fewer conference game than everyone else makes scheduling tricky in interesting ways (and leaves half the conference scrambling to find opponents on short notice every year).

  9. M says:

    I agree that Notre Dame is not likely to join a conference (especially the Big East), but referring to it as a person “Notre Dame wants x” is misleading. Notre Dame has a very wide ranging group of interested people. Certainly one group views conference membership as the only thing worse than a Jumbotron or mums (they really hate those flowers) and would throw out every other good to stay independent (academic, financial, other sports). Right now this group is the loudest, or at least loud enough. Others are more pragmatic: independence is not sacred in itself, but is the best course to achieve other goals. At least a few think joining a conference might be a good decision.

    Ironically, the largest group probably doesn’t care. They simply want to watch them on television.


    The original division names weren’t any more sensible than currently. “1-A” and “1-AA” are just silly ways of saying “1” and “2”.

    • Adam says:

      I disagree; I-A and I-AA are logical labels when you already have I and II, and you’re trying to subdivide I only. When they created I-AA, that didn’t mean that the pre-existing Division III suddenly became Division IV.

      • Robber Baron says:

        I-A and I-AA are still good for a chuckle to those of us who think I-A and I-B were the more logical choices. Still, both are better than the current labels.

        • Adam says:

          I-A and I-B would probably have been more logical, but it doesn’t surprise me they did what they did. There’s a movement that’s not especially new that is offended by that sort of thing, which is why you have States which, instead of numbering their high school classifications, make them A, AA, AAA, AAAA, AAAAA, etc., which then get numbered anyway as 1A, 2A, 3A, 4A.

        • Bullet says:

          Texas had a B division, but those schools didn’t like being Class B, so A, AA, AAA and AAAA all added an “A” and Class B became Class A.

          • Adam says:

            Yeah that’s exactly what I’m thinking of, which is why I’m figuring they went with I-A and I-AA instead of I-A and I-B.

      • Brian says:

        I agree with you, Adam.

        (I just wanted to show that it is in fact possible for me to agree with you)

        If anything, they need to add I-AAA to absorb FCS while splitting FBS into the haves and have nots.

        • Adam says:

          The NCAA used to speak of I-AAA, but it referred to “Division I schools which do not have football programs.”

          • Scott says:

            I-AAA was also an unofficial term for those I-AA schools that didn’t give scholarships. The Ivy League and Pioneer Conferences primarily.

          • Dave in VA says:

            Well, assuming that the NCAA keeps the FCS and FBS monikers, we could add the FAS — Football Absent Subdivision. :-)

            Alternatively, FAS could be the Football’s All-important Subdivision, and add FDS as the Football Deleted Subdivision, though that’s not quite accurate for those schools that never HAD a football program. :-) :-)

      • @Adam – The NCAA just can’t help itself with its overly-complicated naming conventions. Remember when it nixed the straight-forward East/South/Midwest/West Regional names for the NCAA Tournament for a few seasons and named them for whatever city was hosting each year? Thankfully, sanity eventually ruled the day.

        • Adam says:

          I do remember that. Man, that was stupid.

          Then again, I’m a contrarian on that (surprise!). I’d rather the regionals really were regional: western teams out west, southern teams down south, etc. (to the best that you can; obviously it’s marginal whether, say, Texas is in the south or west). Yeah I know, the best 2 teams might be in the same part of the country — the dreaded North Carolina/Duke hypothetical. I don’t really care — in any year, there are going to be several good teams, and I’d rather the tournament represented a progression through meaningful rivals instead of an atomized collection of unrelated schools that are ordered using an antiseptic “national” seeding structure.

          • Bullet says:

            I prefer seeding. But it should be regional to the extent possible. Lately, you get a western #8 in the east and an eastern #8 in the west. Seeding is imprecise. There should be some geographic logic.

            One additional reason for moving teams around is to avoid teams from the same conference playing early on. Back when the SEC got no respect in bb, LSU and Alabama were pretty good teams with low seeds. Final 4 in SE was UK, LSU, Alabama. UK was #1 seed and had to beat Alabama for the 4th time that season in the semi-finals. They failed by 3 in beating LSU for the 4th time in the finals. Teams shouldn’t be forced to play teams from the same conference any more than necessary in the tourney.

          • @Adam – I actually think the NCAA Tournament committee approach is the correct one: the #1 seeds get to play in the region that’s closest to home and then everyone else falls in line behind them accordingly. This is basically the last incentive for the top teams in the country to keep playing hard until the very end of the regular season. Otherwise, it would start looking like those mid-April NBA games of teams that already have their seeding positions determined with scrubs getting all of the playing time.

          • Adam says:

            I kind of like mid-April NBA games!

      • M says:

        I guess we can’t agree on anything Adam :P

        To me, “Division III” is now the 4th highest level of college football, so Division IV would be the appropriate label.

        I do find the idea of a true “regional” for basketball intriguing. It would add some flavor to a tournament mostly famous for having a convenient gambling format.

        • @M – It’s really all about the NCAA trying to group schools’ entire athletic departments (not just football). All Division I-A and Division I-AA football programs still play all other sports at the Division I level, which is why there was a split there. By sub-dividing Division I, it allows all of the Division II and lower schools to be in the same division category for all sports (including football) instead of being in different categories for different sports. Regardless, the NCAA’s FBS and FCS categories are unnecessary on any level.

        • Adam says:

          Frank nails it here — while Division III may be the 4th-highest level of football, the Division “x” labels apply across sports. Thus, when they wanted to create 4 tiers in football and football only, they worked within the all-sport divisional structure, and subdivided one of the pre-existing divisions.

        • Adam says:

          And I agree with your comment about adding flavor. That’s exactly why I think that way. I am probably the last person in America who isn’t really all that enthused about the NCAA Tournament. I mean, it’s not like I refuse to watch it, but I do not catch “March Madness” every year. I like to see how my alma mater and the Big Ten/Midwestern teams do, and it is generally good for something to have on in the background during that part of the year, but I do not gamble and I think much of the “excitement” over the tournament is tied to that more or less exclusively. If it’s 2 teams I don’t care about, I’d much rather watch jam-packed arenas filled with raucous partisan fans, who can afford to be there because the tournament uses a truly geographic/regional format.

          • Adam says:

            For some context, I dislike neutral site games generally. Which is not to say that I think schools should get true home games in their on campus arenas during the basketball tournament, but I am not really that keen on seeing Florida play in Spokane, either.

        • Adam says:

          Speaking of the basketball tournament on FtT’s blog, I went to the Final Four last year and sat just in front of two guys with the funniest accents. I couldn’t quite place them, but they were Illinois fans and I have heard of (but not encountered) a supposed “Chicago accent,” so I thought perhaps that was what it was. They were both extremely pleasant and funny to talk to with delightful stories about Illinois’s run in the NIT or whatever it was.

          • Adam says:

            Note: I’ve been to Chicago plenty of times, but whether via serendipity or what, never really encoutered anyone whose speech patterns struck me as well outside what I’m used to — hence my unfamiliarity with a “Chicago accent.”

          • Richard says:

            The “Chicago accent” is really only spoken by maybe 10% of Chicagoans, and you’d have to go in to the ethnic neighborhoods like the far southwest side or Bridgeport (or the inner suburbs where they’ve migrated to) to find it.

          • DJ says:

            If you want a hint of the “Chicago Accent” (and it does exist), do a YouTube search for any SNL SuperFans sketch. You had George Wendt, Joe Mantegna, and Robert Smigel (all Chicagoans) ramping up their accents, with Chris Farley (Madison, Wisconsin) and Mike Meyers (Toronto) readily able to mimic it.

          • @DJ – Farley (RIP) and Meyers were also members of Second City, so they both spent a ton of time in Chicago.

            “Coach Ditka versus The Hurricane. Who would win?”

            “Ditka! Ditka!”

            “Hold on, hold on. The name of the hurricane is Hurricane Ditka.”

          • jj says:

            I was at lions/bears. I know, I know. I go once a year for a good laugh.

            Chicago fans are pretty funny. Pretty rowdy though. I find NFL fans to be the least behaved in general though.

          • Adam says:

            I am not sure these guys talked like the SuperFans (I have seen most of those segments and my reaction wasn’t “hey! they sound like those guys!”). If it was like any of them I guess it might have been like Chris Farley (“Michael Jordan will be held ta unner two hunnerd points”).

          • jj says:

            I can tell you this.

            They sounded like the bears won the superbowl after taking the lions down. i was all like, seriously guys? i mean, you drove 4.5 hours for this?

          • @jj – Us Bears fans are a VERY loud bunch and we travel as well as any fan base in the NFL. If you want to see a fun/ugly crowd, there’s nothing quite like Bears-Packers. Since Lions season ticket sales are tepid, Detroit is a popular road trip for Bears fans because it’s less expensive to travel there to see a game (even if you stay for the whole weekend in a hotel) than to have to pay broker/scalper prices for a home game at Soldier Field.

  10. Hank says:

    great Frank, now you’ve got me worrying that I may lose Universal Sports in order to have a Notre Dame network shoved onto my basic cable bill. I may be one of the few regular watchers of Universal Sports as it covers more live pro cycling than Versus (home of the Tour de France). dammit!

  11. Bullet says:

    Trying to figure out the $30 million B10+2 number.

    Right now, its about $22 for 11 schools. UNL just brought in $23 as #12. So unless I’m missing something, that’s $95 million between extra $ for UNL on BTN and renegotiated TV rights. UNL isn’t worth that much, but I’m not sure how long ago the TV contract was written.

    • Brian says:

      I believe it’s a 10 year deal that expires in 2016, so 2006. It averages $100 million per year, but it started at $83M and escalates each year. Considering they pay most of that for access to the top programs, adding another king like NE should be worth a significant bump. The Big 12 kept the same deal while losing a king, a major market and a CCG, which means about a 50% bump in value over the old deal.

      So NE adds $20M by showing up, $60M from the renegotiation and $10M from BTN. That’s $90M, not counting the CCG.

      • @Brian – Yes, that’s essentially how it breaks down. Plus, the Big Ten isn’t going to add anyone just to break even – they’ll need to clearly and unambiguously make a material amount of additional revenue from any new member, so that pushes it up to the $30 million number as a guidepost.

        • Brian says:

          Do you think the presidents consider the financial benefit on the CIC side when weighing these decisions?

          Is there any substance to the argument that a major market plus research and academic interests could push a school through the process next time?

          • @Brian – The financial benefit of the CIC isn’t quite as direct – that’s more of an “overall perception” matter for the Big Ten as opposed to a tangible increase in dollars. I look at academics as a “first cut” criteria for the Big Ten, where it won’t consider schools under a certain bar. For the schools that pass that bar, it then becomes solely an exercise about how much they bring to the table for athletics.

            At the current revenue levels, I believe that any additional school to the Big Ten is going to have to be an established football brand name. Anything less wouldn’t work.

          • Brian says:

            In general I look at it the same way as you. I just wondered if you heard anything behind the scenes to indicate that access to DC or NYC would be special considerations.

            I don’t know what gaps the CIC may have that a school could fill or improve on, but adding more congressmen and access to DC has to have value in a world of decreasing state funding for universities.

            Similarly, access to NYC provides for a lot of contacts that can be useful, plus a few million eyeballs waiting to be filled.

            I know it would be difficult to put hard numbers on it, but aiding the core mission of the schools has to be a consideration (unlike with NE).

            This is the only obvious path to future expansion to me. If the CIC and presidents thought access was of high enough value to them, the AD’s could all be told to learn to like it. I don’t consider this likely, but it is the only non-ND/TX path to expansion that I see.

  12. Sully says:

    The only way ND would want a network is if football stayed on NBC (And what kind of a network would you have then?) As you’ve come around to, NOTRE DAME WANTS TO BE INDEPENDENT FOR THE SAKE OF BEING INDEPENDENT. That includes having a national base, and being available to your national alumni network without the need for them to have a specific cable network/service.

    • @Sully – I believe that all football games would stay on NBC for ND (similar to how the new Longhorn Network might show 1 Texas football game per year at most). The NDN would mainly be a vehicle for pregame and postgame football shows, replays and basketball and hockey games (plus other Olympic sports).

      • FLP_NDRox says:

        Frank, correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the BIG EAST control all conference members basketball and Olympics sports rights? I don’t know about the CCHA TV deals (they’ll have two games a weekend on FSDetroit), but I’d imagine that ND has less control over their non-football rights than Texas.

    • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

      I found it interesting to look at bowl schedules this year. ABC has one, count ‘em, ONE bowl game on New Years Day or after. The Outback Bowl. All of the other major bowls aren’t even on network TV. As TV moves more and more away from networks, maybe Notre Dame sharing its games between NBC, ESPN, and Comcast cable wouldn’t be such a big deal at all.

  13. Phil says:


    If ND did get the cable network you mentioned, I assume they would be showing all ND sports, and the non-football ND sports home games would no longer be part of any Big East TV contract.

    At that point, with the (admittedly miniscule) hope for ND to join the Big East in football officially gone, would the tv rights to ND non-football away games and possibly some impact on the Big East’s #2 slot with the Champs bowl be enough to keep the conference arrangement with them? It would make more sense for the Big East to cut all ties with them and find another non-FBS school to add and keep the 10/18 model you talked about.

    • @Phil – I don’t necessarily believe that the non-football ND sports wouldn’t be a part of the BE contract. I’d envision it to be something similar to what UT would have with the Lonhorn Network, where any UT sporting events that aren’t covered by a conference TV partner are what would be available. For ND, this would likely encompass non-conference basketball games, hockey (which isn’t part of the Big East) and the spring sports that don’t fall under the BE TV contract (baseball, softball, lacrosse). ESPN could also choose to syndicate/license the ND Big East games that it controls to the NDN, although it’s an open question as to how much the Worldwide Leader wants to help out what could become a competing network.

      • FLP_NDRox says:

        The question is whether there would be any money in those games. ND’s national following is in football alone. ND’s basketball, soccer, hockey, fencing, baseball, etc. teams aren’t on TV anywhere, but I don’t know if there’s more than a few thousand who would pay to see those games.

        I hoped that BTN would show more olympic sports live and taped PBS style progamming. Unfortunately, it plays a lot of taped football and MBB games often from a couple years back. ND doesn’t have anywhere near the potential library the Big Ten does.

        If there’s a question of whether Religious programming could fill gaps, IIRC, Hallmark Channel is no longer broadcasting Mass at the Basillica.

  14. cfn_ms says:

    Interesting take as always. I’d disagree with you about how much Texas is locked into the Big 12; my interpretation of events was that they:

    1) Wanted to play for time to see how well LSN would play out
    2) Didn’t want to fight the political battles inherent in leaving anyone behind (much less multiple schools behind) without a clear win (and the Pac-16 didn’t really seem like a big step up for them, more like a small step up).

    I suspect that they have the ability to make selfish moves to an extent; I don’t think there’s any way they can make a move without A&M either coming along or at least finding a very good home, and the same may well be true for Tech (and I don’t think that Texas has any appetite for finding out one way or the other), and quite possibly the OK / OK St pair.

    Ultimately, I think that they’d only ditch Baylor for a very compelling deal, and they’d only ditch anyone else from the B12 South (and even then probably just one of them) for a massive upgrade, the kind of upgrade that really isn’t on the table anywhere.

    I definitely think they’re still a player when it comes to moves, and now that the Big Ten has said “we’re done”, any meaningful realignment going forward will almost certainly involve Texas as a driver.

    The one other possibility that wouldn’t stun me would be if one or more of the Big 12 North schools pre-empted Texas by finding a more stable home. That’s why the Kansas to the Big East rumor floating around seemed plausible; Kansas finds a stable long-term home, and the Big East further enhances their basketball rep. It makes more sense on Kansas’s end than hoping Texas doesn’t eventually screw them, and it makes more sense on the Big East’s end than adding Memphis, UCF, ECU, etc. Mizzou would be a very logical team to come along too, and then (since 12 football teams per league does seem to be the general trend) they figure something out for the 12th, whether it be ‘Nova, ISU/KSU, or a CUSA team.

    • Richard says:

      I don’t see a scenario where the BE says “no” to Kansas and Mizzou even if they wait, so I don’t see the benefit to KU & MU of being preemptive.

      • Brian says:

        At 10/18 do you think they would automatically go to 12/20? How big can the hoops side get and still be a conference?

        • cfn_ms says:

          Logistically it’d be difficult, but if basketball really is king for the league then there’s no bigger potentially available prize than Kansas. If they add Kansas (much less Kansas AND Mizzou), then it’s almost a slam-dunk of them being THE elite basketball league in the US.

          If they go in that direction, they could:

          1) Find a way to amicably break up (perhaps even share MSG, with each tourney at the same and then an extra game b/w the two league winners; maybe share revenue and have a bunch of inter-league games too, which would mean they’d remain a league in all but name)

          2) Do something weird like a 3-division setup: Football East, Football West, Non-Football.

          I’m thinking the logistics and other consequences would be difficult to juggle, but far from impossible. And those issues would pop up anyway if they wanted to bring along guys like UCF or Memphis. At least here there’d be a big upside in the bargain too.

        • Richard says:

          24. Do you think Syracuse would care if they only played South Florida every other year? I doubt it.

          At 20, you’d see every school 2 out of 3 years.

      • cfn_ms says:

        If 12 spots is the limit, then space could run out if/when Big East starts inviting teams like UCF etc. If the Big East gave an ultimatum to Kansas/Mizzou that said “come with us or we’ll go elsewhere and then we won’t have spots anymore”, those two would have to at least give the offer serious consideration I think.

        While we’re at it, a REALLY interesting expansion idea for the Big East is Baylor. The BE has so many religious schools that it could be a positive instead of a negative (as it was for the Pac-x), and Baylor would reinforce the Texas presence they started by adding TCU (and is probably a more attractive candidate than Houston et all even while ignoring the politics). Moreover, I’d have to think it’d be a big political winner: if they can guarantee a good home for Baylor, that would give Texas a much larger free hand to do whatever it is they want, and as a league which has taken a lot of body-blows in public opinion, having one of the country’s biggest weights owing them a big favor ought to protect them from a lot of potentially bad expansion scenarios. Definitely a reach for a whole host of reasons, but if they could somehow convince Kansas and/or Mizzou to sign up, and the Big 12 then became obviously imploding… I could potentially see things working out in that direction.

        • Bobestes says:

          Catholics hate baptists.

        • m (Ag) says:

          Baylor will pray for a Big East invite if the Big 12 breaks up, but it is extremely unlikely to move there while the Longhorns stay put. Put aside the fact that it will make more TV money in the Big 12; unless its football team is on a hot streak (which isn’t often) it will sell far fewer tickets without the big local schools visiting.

    • Bullet says:

      Texas tried long and hard to make the SWC work. I think they’re happy in the Big 12 as long as they are athletically and financially competitive. That ceased to happen in the SWC.

      In interviews and news conferences, the Texas President said he was surprised when losing UNL didn’t devastate the TV value. They were surprised that CU’s TV value was negligible. The Pac 16 deal was based on the idea that the B12-2 was not financially viable. They discovered they could have the same value without taking it to the Pac 16 and all the complications that created.

      If the mathematically challenged 10 become 16, Texas starts looking at Pac again. If finances in 2 years don’t come anywhere close to SEC numbers (and given what ACC got in a really bad market, it seems likely they will), they will start looking again. But I think they’re going to try to make it work. Independence is the last choice they would take.

  15. Sean says:

    I think we’re going to see some Notre Dame home football games on Versus, maybe 1 a year, maybe 2, before we see a whole Notre Dame network. I’ve read in a few places that Comcast really wants to make Versus a real network and that would give them its biggest ratings ever, obviously.

    I would assume even if Notre Dame did want a network, they would wait to see how it works out for Texas.

    I’m also surprised the Big East hasn’t looked at its own network, using basketball as the driver. The whole Northeast part of the country, save for Boston, would be very upset if it lost Big East basketball, much like the midwest was up in arms about losing Big Ten football.

    For example, SNY got coverage in Connecticut after three years solely because it got UConn basketball games. The Big East network would get clearance in Hartford, NYC, Philly, DC, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Louisville, Cincinnati and Chicago (Notre Dame) immediately thanks to basketball.

    • Adam says:

      The notion of ND on Versus is intriguing. Versus has had several near-misses: they wanted the NFL’s Thursday/Saturday package, but the “bid” from NFL Network (yeah right, I’m sure the NFL treated that like any other bid), they made a play for the MLB playoff package that went to TBS. If they had landed one of those, that goes a long way to legitimating them — if not as an ESPN competitor, at least a TNT-type channel with a legitimately interesting portfolio of broadcast rights. If they get a couple of ND games, and get lucky the next time a major sport’s cable broadcast rights are renegotiated, they could be a dark horse in the future, it seems to me.

      • Brian says:

        Doesn’t Versus still lag in terms of carriage? I thought they still couldn’t get on multiple systems. Why would ND tie themselves to an obscure network?

        • Adam says:

          Because ND has a close relationship with NBC, which is now owned by Comcast, which owns Versus.

          • Brian says:

            Yes, but they have a relationship with NBC. They get a lot better coverage on broadcast TV. They won’t stoop to Versus. They’ll go somewhere else first. Fox is looking for more college football supposedly.

    • Brandon says:

      The Big East has been studying their own network. Former NFL Commish and Georgetown Trustee Paul Tagliabue has been working on it since around April but it is at least 2 years away from being a reality.

    • Richard says:


      The BE has plans to start their own network. We’ll see how that goes.

  16. David K. says:

    Allt his talk of expansion and barely a mention of the Pac-10? Major section for Notre Dame who just sat on their hands and not one for the conference that made the biggest play of all in this? Just a footnote practically in the Texas section?? Yeesh.

    • wmtiger says:

      Pac 10/12 added a couple mediocre programs in Utah/Colorado. They swung for the fences and barely got the ball out of the infield in terms of expansion…

      ND was a huge player in expansion, they along with Texas held the cards that would’ve drastically changed the landscape of college football and still do.

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      Nebraska is a bigger add than Colorado and Utah combined.

    • cfn_ms says:

      His focus is mainly on the Big Ten, largely because that’s where his interest and expertise lie (Big East as well, to a lesser extent). His knowledge of Texas largely stems from how they’ve been a potential huge addition to the league, and hwo they’ve been a big driving force in pretty much all the expansion news. I wouldn’t expect him to be a Pac-12 expert any more than I’d expect him to be a CUSA expert.

      However, if you REALLY want something on them, they’re a LOT like the Big 12:

      1) Stable mainly because no one (good) really wants in and it’s tough to get out. I’m no state legislature expert, but I’d guess it’d be far tougher for UCLA and/or USC to screw over Cal and/or Stanford than it would be for Texas to ditch, say, Baylor or OK St; Texas is the clear #1 in their state (and A&M the clear #2), while I would think it’s a LOT more muddled in CA.

      That said, UCLA/USC don’t have the same large number of sub-programs to carry along as Texas does, which gives them a lot more flexibility. It’s also worth noting that USC’s AD publicly floated the independence idea with basically zero consequences, which basically means that they’ve largely got a free hand (almost certainly to a greater extent than Texas does).

      2) They gave the “Big 2″ (UCLA/USC) largely what they wanted (less NW games, guaranteed Bay Area games; $$$ wasn’t as big of an issue as it was for Texas), which is why the league still exists.

      3) Still a big gap between the top and bottom, though there’s more of a middle class than the Big 12 (partially b/c the different schools in many cases have different strengths and weaknesses, as opposed to the Big 12, where Texas is almost an across the board #1)

      4) $$$ is driving a lot of the league stability. Just like the Big 12, if the upcoming TV deal is a dud, the league will have a very limited shelf-life.

      • Brian says:

        USC is private, so they will never be tethered like UT. They are keeping themselves with the other 3 by choice. UCLA and Cal are the ones that can’t screw each other, and each is strongly tied to their rival.

        The geography also greatly limits the choices for western schools. Where would a CA school go? Who would they play? UT can at least look in three directions for choices.

        I don’t see any volatility here because the only schools near another AQ conference really want to be in the Pac 12 (CO, Utah, AZ, ASU). The CA schools aren’t leaving for the Big 12, either.

        I suppose there is a small chance of growth but there aren’t many western schools left. They don’t want BYU, and BSU is nowhere near ready as anything but a football team.

        • cfn_ms says:

          I would say that USC is largely tethered to UCLA (by choice/tradition/common interests), who is then tethered to Cal/Stanford (esp. Cal). Plus, as shown in the division split debate, all four intend to keep together for the foreseeable future (though at least in part I think it was UCLA/USC’s way of lowering their NW exposure without being blatantly obvious about it).

          Of course, USC could theoretically go independent, schedule UCLA/Cal/Stanford/Notre Dame every year and see how things work… but I’m thinking it’s a tough sell, since there are a lot of advantages to being in a league (not least of which is the fact that if they bail they lose their automatic tie to the Rose Bowl; just by itself I’d think it makes independence a non-starter, though I could be wrong).

          The only option for UCLA/USC that has any legs (other than staying put of course) would be to form some sort of “best of” league w/ Texas and the Big 12. There’s no way they want to add anyone else in the West to their club. Of course, they’d be thrilled if Texas signed up for a Pac-16… but that ship has sailed and it’s not coming back barring a MAJOR downgrade in Texas’s status (which doesn’t seem remotely likely).

          • Josh says:

            This is largely correct, but let’s also remember that California is not Texas. When UT decides to make a move, the TX legislature gets involved. Any effort in the CA legislature to influence college football realignment would get laughed at. It just isn’t as big a deal in California. And since, as has been noted, USC and Stanford are private, there is little they could do anyway. (And since funding to the UC system has been cut to the bone, there isn’t a lot they could do to UC or UCLA either.)

            If the legislature had any pull, they’d have been trying to get Fresno State in the Pac 12, who has the most rabid, although not the biggest, fanbase in the state.

        • frug says:

          I don’t know. If USC really wanted to they could join the Big 10. Yeah it’s pretty far, but it’s no worse than Boise St. having to travel to Hawaii and Louisiana and BSU doesn’t have the advantages of one of the largest athletic budgets in the country and a major airport local airport where they can get direct flights to any city in the country.

          • Brian says:

            I’m not convinced the Big Ten would say yes, based on cultural and geographic divides. That’s a lot of sports teams to fly to CA every year.

          • Richard says:

            You’re right; we should take Cal, Stanford, & UCLA as well.

          • frug says:

            I should clarify that this was an offhand comment, not some considered proposal (though it would address the Big 10’s single biggest (though under-discussed need; it would help the conference break out of it’s upper midwest/Rust Belt shell in advance of the region’s looming population crisis)

          • greg says:

            Population “crisis”? Its hardly a crisis, and the Southwest will have a water crisis before the population differences are truly a crisis.

          • Well Played Mauer says:

            After reading Frank’s post, the silly notion of USC popped into my head too. But then I thought some more about, and I don’t know if it is really all that silly. I am just throwing this out as food for thought and I am in no way saying this is likely, but just looking at it like Frank did Texas in his original post way back when.

            So if the Big Ten wanted to go to 16 with USC as one of the schools what would they need? 1st much like going after Texas I think the 4 sisters out in California are tied to each other just as Texas was tied to A&M, Tech and Baylor. So if the Big Ten wants USC what you are really taking about is would the Big Ten annex the four Caly schools together? This was a non starter in Texas because of a number of factors such as academics, culture, markets, revenue disruption and shared vision and goals.

            So lets look at those concerns. First a big difference with the four Left coast schools is that they are all tier 1 monster research institution and are all AAU members. So no problem with academics. Second all 4 schools are in major DMA markets, and are close enough to be meaningfully travel partners. I do not see the culture clash being as big a issue with the 4 Cally schools either. Many on this blog said they could have lived with A&M if it got Texas in the conference. If that is the case then surely one could live with Cal & Stanford if it gets USC and UCLA in Conference. The Big Ten also shares history with these schools via the Rose Bowl, and have similar academic goals and philosophy. These 4 schools have also shown they are not adverse to the equal revenue sharing style of the Big Ten, as was the case with UT.

            But how about the money, is it there? Frank as stated in his latest post it would take a name brand school and about 30 million per school to justify expanding further. I would agree with that. USC is that brand and the other 3 schools have very respectable ADs without overpopulating the shark tank. And based on super rough numbers there are about 12.5 million cable households in CA at 75 cents per x 12 months; amounts to around 112.5 million a year or 28 million per school. Very close to franks 30 million mark, and this does not even include the bump in add revenue or the national contract.

            Other Big Ten gains from the add:

            New control of recruiting hotbed.
            Adds a growth state to footprint. [most populated]
            Meaningful market share of the #2 and #6 TV Markets
            Strengthens the CIC.

            Why the left coast 4 would at least listen:

            More exposure in the east.
            More money.
            Would be among academic piers.
            Access to CIC.
            Would get to play each other every year again.
            Are already in a one of the most geographically far flung conference in the NCAA save for the WAC.
            Have already expressed a willingness to be in a 16 league. [with much less desirable schools save for UT & A&M]
            Would still get a chance to play in the Rose Bowl.

            Of course some of the drawbacks I in vision would be #1 travel, but really I do not see this as being that much different from BC being in the ACC, TCU & USF in the Big East, or C-USA stretching from El Paso to Greensboro. All four schools are close to major airline hubs. Also I may be servilely underestimating the importance of the ties to the NW schools?

            Anyway there you go; not to likely but interesting to ponder non the less. Let the whole poking begin! ;-)

          • frug says:

            Well if you’re interested in this stuff Well Played Mauer then you might want to check this table over Sports Illustrated. It has the revenue totals for the top 64 schools in the NCAA in 2008-2009.
            Anyways, according to the table the Cal-4 brought in an average of about $73.63 million each which would rank as the 21st most lucrative program in the country. (For comparison, new Big 10 member Nebraska brought in about $74.88 million which was 18th in the country). And keep in mind that the PAC-10 schools are getting about $7 million less than the Big 10 schools are.
            Anyways, adding the Cal-4 would probably be a net plus financially for both the Big 10 and the California schools, but tradition and logistics would probably block any move. (Though I still think it would be worth it from the Big 10’s perspective)

          • Richard says:

            I don’t think adding the Cali schools would increase the per-school payout, but I do believe it’s worth doing from the BigTen’s perspective. The big question is would the Cali schools be for it.

          • Brian says:

            Well Played Mauer,

            I think people look at USC the wrong way. Don’t think in terms of Texas. Ask yourself this:

            What would it take for the SEC or Pac-10 to take Ohio State or Michigan? How much of a money increase do you think that would take?

            To address your thoughts, though:

            Yes, USC would want their CA pals just like Texas. And yes, the academics and markets would be great. The money is probably there to be made, too.

            Biggest problems:

            1. Conference stability
            The Pac 8 have been together since 1928. The Big 12 formed in 1996. The ties to the NW schools are strong.

            2. Culture
            Texas is unique, but it is conservative like most of the Big Ten and shares an agricultural background. LA and SF are nothing like the Big Ten. It’s literally Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner.

            3. University culture
            Cal had athletic construction halted for years because protesters were protecting some trees. These schools are going to make athletics so important that they join a conference more than 1000 miles away?

            4. Time zones
            Texas is in the same time zone as half of the Big Ten and 1 hour behind the rest. USC is 2 more hours behind. Will they enjoy (and watch) the 9 am kickoffs? How about the 10 pm games for the EST people?

            5. Travel
            USC is several hundred more miles (about an hour by plane) away. The CA 4 have bigger athletic departments, much like the Big Ten, so that’s a lot of flying. USC’s is the smallest and it is still bigger than Texas’s department.

          • Richard says:

            1. Actually, they’ve been together only since 1960, and that’s only the Cali schools and UDub. There was a conference before as well, but while the Cali schools go back together a long ways, their relationship with the NW schools has been on/off.

            2. You’ve obviously never lived in NoCal. I lived in the the SF Bay Area for close to 3 years and felt a very Midwestern vibe (not surprisingly, since SF was originally populated almost exclusively by Midwesterners; back in the ’30’s, before the Northern Cities Vowel Shift, the accent in SF and the accent in Chicago were exactly the same, and Silicon Valley was started by a bunch of BigTen engineering grads).

            3. How are the tree-hugging vegans of Berkeley different from the tree-hugging vegans of Madison?

            4 & 5 are the only valid points. Obviously, no games involving the Cali teams would kickoff at noon eastern, but I don’t think many Midwesterners (except the very old) would mind 10PM kickoffs on a Saturday night.

          • ccrider55 says:

            I believe you shortchange the NW schools in your first point.
            about halfway down the page is an interesting timeline graph.

          • Bullet says:

            10 pm kickoffs don’t work. The old don’t want to stay up and the young want to go out and party around 10. So you only get the 30 somethings.

          • frug says:


            The Big 10 is conservative? Outside of Indiana (which actually voted for Obama in ’08), every state ranges from deep purple (Ohio) to bright blue (Illinois) and the schools are much more liberal than the states they represent (especially the ones in college towns).

            Culturally speaking, the California schools have at least as much in common with the average Big 10 school as UNL does.

            (Also, while the state of Texas is conservative, the city of Austin is actually quite liberal. Think of it as the orange county of the southwest)

          • Brian says:


            The NW schools have been with the CA schools for all but 5 years since 1922. That is hardly off and on.

            SF is not the same as all of northern CA. Fresno might fit culturally, but not SF. No US city is as liberal as SF. And Stanford and Cal are not renowned for their broad following from the greater community.

            Berkeley is a part of a bigger city that largely agrees with them. Madison is largely an island.


            The blue in the midwest is due to the strong UAW (and other unions) presence and several large cities. The people still tend to be more conservative than the true blue states. There is also a strong divide between the cities and rural areas. Chicago is liberal, but southern Illinois is not, for example.

            The CA schools may have a lot in common with MI for example, but UNL is more similar to others. Considering the natural tendency for colleges to be more liberal than their environment, many Big Ten schools are fairly conservative.

          • Richard says:


            Again, have you ever lived in SF, or does all you know of the city come from caricatures painted by others?

          • StevenD says:

            Adding the 4 Cali schools to the Big Ten wouldn’t be too bad. The western division would be Cali4-Neb-Iowa-Minn-NW, and the two Michigan schools would go back east. This would provide good balance between the divisions, give PSU an annual roadtrip to Michigan, give the Cali schools more exposure in the east, give eastern schools warm sites for night games, give BTN a more interesting range of games, add Stanford and UC Berkeley to the CIC, and take the Big Ten to ten (!) states.

            Adding Cali would require more travel (especially for the eastern schools); however, the eastern schools will already be flying to Minnesota and Nebraska, so it’s just a matter of staying on the plane for a couple more hours. Fortunately all the Cali schools are close to major airports.

            The implications for the BTN are particularly interesting. The games in Cali would enable the BTN to offer four live games running back-to-back, starting at noon in the east and finishing late in the west.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            StevenD – Adding the 4 Cali schools to the Big Ten would kill off the Pac-10(12). I doubt the Big Ten would want the Pac-10’s blood on their hands.

            Killing off their Rose Bowl partner would be very bad form.

          • Richard says:

            I’m not sure why you wouldn’t put Wisconsin with Iowa, Minny, & Nebraska instead of NU.

            In any case, in the unlikely scenario that the Cali schools join, we’d probably go to a pod system.

            We’d just make the Rose Bowl the BigTen title game.

          • cfn_ms says:

            IF the Big Ten were interested in expanding (which I doubt they really are), the 4 CA schools would be a good fit for them. But as noted above, it’d be a poor fit for the CA schools.

            In terms of long-term tradition, my guess is that the CA schools wouldn’t want to go anywhere without Washington. Oregon has moved up so fast that it’d be tough to justify leaving them behind either.

            Oregon St and Wazzu have always been vulnerable, and long-term I think the collapse of the “Pac-16″ put them both in a very precarious position. If super-conferences are indeed the wave of the future, chances are good that they could end up outside looking in, especially if we’re looking at four leagues of 16 (which would necessarily mean a few AQ’s get bounced). The best-case for them is that everyone stays at 12, and there isn’t any meaningful shakeup.

          • Brian says:


            I lived there for a while and still have family there.


          • Richard says:


            I didn’t find SF to be too different from, say, Chicago in terms of being liberal/conservative. Of course, you may say there’s a big difference between southern Indiana & SF, but there’s a big difference between southern Indiana & Chicago as well. The difference between rural/urban is greater in both the Midwest & West than the difference between comparables of either region, IMHO.

            The biggest difference, I found, is that SF (specifically, but Cali in general) is a lot more Asian than the Midwest, and that has nothing to do with politics.

          • frug says:


            I majored in poli-sci at Illinois and I live in Chicagoland, so I know about the cultural leanings of the universities in the Big 10 and while they are more conservative than Berkeley and Stanford, they are at least as liberal as Arizona and ASU.

            I also know that political leanings are clearly not that important to the Cali schools since they were willing to accept Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Utah (remember the Pac-10 gave unanimous approval for those schools to join the conference). The fact is Oklahoma and Utah are the two most conservative states in the country and TAMU is probably the most conservative public school in DI-A athletics. Something tells me if Cal can live with College Station, Norman, Stillwater and SLC they can handle West Lafayette and Iowa City.

          • ohio1317 says:

            With a minor in geography and education background, I will attest that at least Ohio State can be extremely liberal in the classroom. It wouldn’t surprise me if the facility is just as liberal as their west coast counterparts (although I suspect the students are less so).

          • Well Played Mauer says:

            Man, good points one and all about the Caly-4 thing. a few response if I may.

            To: Alan from Baton Rouge

            “Adding the 4 Cali schools to the Big Ten would kill off the Pac-10(12)”

            I thought about this too, but I do not think it would kill the PAC but it would defiantly turn them into the left coast version of the Big East. They could restock with BYU and Boise and still be a AQ conference. And while the thought of those two schools joining the PAC now is a big non starter, history as shown with the Big East and the MWC, that priority and standards change when a conference is in restock mode vs expand mode. I also kind of assume [though i did not put it in my last post do to length] at some point the Cotton Bowl in Jerry-land will be added to the BCS. Either as a plus one system or simply because in our country more for the sake of more always seems to win out [hence out little debates here ;)]. In that event the Texas 10 would pick up that tie in and the Fiesta Tie in would fall to the new PAC being that the new biggest Population center would move from CA to AZ. So yes I agree with you the PAC would be diminished but I think it would still be AQ and have it’s own bowl at the next go around of BCS musical chairs. The traditionalist would howl at the moon, but the Bowl committee in Pasadena “might” be placated with the fact that the 4 Caly schools will still have access to the Rose Bowl and another dump truck full of money that would come from the BT offices pribaly would not hurt things either ;).

            To Richard:

            “In any case, in the unlikely scenario that the Cali schools join, we’d probably go to a pod system.”

            I figured pods as well. The schools would break nicely along geographical and rivalry lines. The east and the west pods would be fixed and the midwest and central pod would switch division every two years. The alternating pods would play to schools from each others pods 2 years at a time, likewise with the fixed pods. Every schools has 3 permanent rivals and never goes more than 2 years without playing in another schools stadium. USC would have matchups with tOSU, UMi and/or PS every year.

            it would work in Basketball too. Schools would play their 3 rivals home and way for a total of 6 games, then rotate playing every other school in conference either home or away for a total of 12 games. Grand total 18 games.

            To frug:

            “I also know that political leanings are clearly not that important to the Cali schools since they were willing to accept Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Utah”

            One of my original points exactly. Academically the Big Ten is a better fit than the never was PAC-16 would have been. And travel would be no worse for the Caly schools in the Big Ten than it would have been in the PAC-16. The schools seemed to be willing to drag on out to Waco, Stillwater, Lubbock, etc. Those schools may be closer as the crow fly but athletic team don’t fly by crow they fly by plane and it is cheaper to fly hub to hub than to fly into a secondary terminal or charter private planes. Many Big Ten schools are close to major airline hubs.

            All though to be fair the Big Ten does have it’s share of distant outpost too.

            But anyway good stuff as always; really enjoyed everyone’s thoughts.

      • ccrider55 says:

        How do you figure Texas has so many “sub-programs”? A quick look at their web sites shows Texas with 18 programs. Seems closer to Or St (with 17) and Wash St (with 15) than with UCLA (with 22). If you want to compare number of “sub-programs” try Mich or Ohio St or Cal (with 27 this year) or Stanford (with 35).

        SC/UCLA get to suffer fewer losses in the NW than the last decade but are in an equal revenue sharing conference, which in the long run will be a benifit. Seems to be working for the Big Ten and the SEC.

        I was actually split on the cost/benifit of adding Texas et al to the PacXX. Attractive on the outside but the politics that come with them…. I’d have been much more comfortable with the Oklahoma schools and a couple others (Kansas and Missouri?). I don’t understand why Oklahoma doesn’t see it self as a national brand like Nebraska and forge its own future rather than be a little brother to a control freak crowd.

        • Richard says:

          re: subprograms: I think he was referring to TTech, et al.

          re: Okie: Unlike Nebraska, they are dependent on Texas for recruiting.

          • ccrider55 says:

            That makes more sense. Is Oklahoma a sub-program too?

            Unless roster sizes and scholi limits are dramatically increased I don’t think all those texas recruits on non texas teams are suddenly going to stay in state. USC and UCLA (and the rest of the PacX) may have as much to be concerned about with new blood recruiting the LA area as Okla would have with a lowered presence in TX.

          • cfn_ms says:

            Richard had it right. I was referring to Tech, Baylor, and OK St, none of whom any other AQ league would particularly want if Texas wasn’t part of the deal. Not sure OK really gets “sub-program” designation; they’re a historically strong football program, though market and academics (for Pac and Big Ten) aren’t where they’d like to be.

            I would agree that there are meaningful political issues that would probably come with adding Texas… but it’s worth it to add what it an elite program in pretty much every way (football, basketball, fan base, market, academics, etc.). No way would Oklahoma and/or OK St pass muster for the league. Academics for starters, market size also, plus OK St would immediately be a well below-average football program in the Pac. It’s only because Texas insisted that they were even considered for the Pac-16… and even then I bet some schools weren’t happy.

            I think that being in an equal revenue-sharing league is an effect of being at a high level, not a cause. If the Big 12 was chock full of great programs, no one would mind equal revenue-sharing. Since they aren’t, Texas doesn’t feel like carrying weight for everyone else any more than they need to. The SEC and Big Ten have massive revenue streams that are a function of how good their programs are and have been, and there aren’t enough “have nots” for the “have” programs to really mind treating them as equals.

          • ccrider55 says:

            I guess we agree to some extent. Texas would be a big get, especially with fewer of their little brothers. UT tried to make it the pac16 with 6 of their friends. The pac responded by officially inviting CO. (Utah on waiting list). Looks like 5 may come but politics gets involved and A&M with a former Oregon AD wants other pastures. The smaller the number the better(IMO). Pac invites Utah and has room for the remaining 4. More politics, a convenient last minute “problem” with revenue sharing, magic money machine arrives and we have our current situation.

            My concerns with TX politics are not soley my own. I’ve worked with a former vice-chancelor (after his retirement) who was in a Pac-8 schools administration through the expansion to 10 and he was/is seriously concerned about its (detrimental, in his opinion) effect on the conference, and the individual schools within.

            I strongly disagree on the equal revenue being the result of a strong conference. It is the basis to strengthen a conference overall thereby raising the big dogs in that conference to a higher level. You can be the big fish in a small pond or you can create a lake with many stronger fish that are all contributing to the whole. It’s taken fifty years for SC to come to this conclusion and yes they and UCLA get a monetary bone thrown to them if the anticipated revenue falls below a threshold. Having seen whats been negotiated just this last few months I find it very unlikely that threshold won’t be met.

            Didn’t Ok St just tie for the Big 12 south championship and tie Missouri for the best record in Big 12? If that’s a “well below average Pac 10 team” I guess I’ve been way overestimating the strength of the Big 12. (I expect Ok St to beat Az)

          • cfn_ms says:

            I think that the Pac-16 is dead with the arrival of Utah. I don’t think TX will accept just them and 3 others in the group.

            As far as OK St, I meant more long-term. Long-term they’re light years behind USC, UCLA, Washington and Colorado. Oregon and Utah have better programs right now, and in a long-term sense OK St would probably fit inside the group of Oregon, Cal, Stanford, Arizona, ASU somewhere… and historically only Wazzu and Oregon St are below that group. So I do think below avg is a fair description.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Its UT’s decision to try to decide the makeup of a conference they are not even a member of. That is the attitude I am glad not to have aboard. I’m not sure that 16 is dead yet, just delayed. Whether UT is a member in the future I don’t know. In a non numerical sense I’m of a mind that less may be more. Four schools that don’t include UT would probably be more cohesive and certainly cause less head aches. (though it would be fun watching SC and UT squable over who was the most (self)important.

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        Why would the Big Ten want to kill (or be blamed for killing) their long-term Rose Bowl partner by taking its best schools?

        If tradition means so much to Big Ten fans, taking Cali schools and driving a stake through the heart of the Pac-10 (or soon-to-be 12-Pack) would never be an option.

    • Michael in Indy says:


      I’m going to have to disagree with you regarding the Pac-10.

      Granted, the Big Ten was the biggest winner in getting a ginormous boost by adding Nebraska, and only Nebraska. But the Pac-10 did pretty well for itself.

      For one, Utah is not a mediocre program. They’ve been able to hang on to Wittingham despite his achievements and in spite of the fact that, until recently, they were merely in the MWC. Utah, 10-2 this year, will make Scott’s TV negotiations next yer go even better with Stanford and Oregon doing so well, Washington on the rise, and USC being USC. Colorado adds, if nothing else, the ability to have a conference championship game, and let’s not forget that programs with storied pasts don’t stay down forever.

      I think the Pac-10 has a ton of momentum right now.

      By contrast, the Big 12 has no forward momentum and is still licking its wounds. The Big East added TCU, but that only gets them back to where they were circa 2006: respectable, but far from great. TV revenue will continue to lag behind the other five BCS leagues. The ACC is doing okay financially but is in afterthought in the media; College Gameday covered one ACC game (LSU-UNC in Atlanta), which was the same amount as the WAC and the MWC this year.

      • greg says:

        The PAC12 additions may not even raise the per school payout, even with a conference title game addition. Adding Utah may have raised the competitive profile, but it may not result in dollars.

        Colorado is far from storied. They had a nice run in the early 90s, but that is it. And no one in Denver cares about the Buffs.

      • wmtiger says:

        Utah maybe 10-2 but that is 10-2 in the MWC with lousy attendance and I can’t see them adding much to the Pac 12 other than helping them get a CCG… Colorado having a storied past? You lost me there, I’d be surprised if they were top 30 all-time in winning percentage…

        Pac 12 had very few options for expansion and the additions they added were pretty marginal as their top options (Texas, Oklahoma, A&M) turned them down.

        • Josh says:

          Utah had 45k fans a game last year, which is more than Wazzu, Oregon State and Stanford, and it’s almost what ASU drew. CU drew 50k. I don’t think Utah’s attendance is “lousy.”

        • Brian says:

          Actually Colorado is #16 in wins and #22 in winning percentage (surprised me, too).

          I agree that Utah may dip by upgrading competition, but they get the benefit of recruiting as a Pac-12 member which should boost them back up quickly. It will be much easier to get quality players out of CA now.

          • Bullet says:

            CU has been down the last 5 years or so, but traditionally they have been very good, just overshadowed by OU and UNL. They have 4 top 5 finishes in the last 25 years. That ties them with Alabama, Notre Dame and LSU and only 1 behind Texas, Michigan, Penn St. and Tennessee. The only other schools ahead of them are the 3 Florida schools, OU, Ohio St., USC and UNL. They are tied with 2 of the “kings”, one “prince”(LSU) and behind 10 of the “kings” and one “prince”(TN).

    • Brian says:

      It’s a fair point, but I think he was focusing on the more recent news.

      1. The Big Ten just announced it was done with realignment. Contract numbers for the CCG leaked out not long ago. The recent popularity of this blog started with FtT’s Big Ten expansion posts last year, so it makes sense that is the focus.

      2. TCU just joined the Big East

      3. The MWC just finished destroying the WAC

      4 and 5 are mentioned mostly as they pertain to the Big Ten (Texas and ND are NOT coming).

      If he does a big wrap-up article once all the dust settles, then certainly the Pac-12 will be featured prominently. But for recent news, nothing has really happened out there since summer.

    • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

      Also, the PAC10 cannot expand without instability in the Big 12. This article focuses on the stability of the Big 12 (which some would debate…but Frank makes a strong point in favor of)…so the PAC12’s hands are tied.

      They certainly will see a bump in the next few years…Big 12 will drop a bit in bball/football, MWC and WAC will fall away even more significantly (not that they were ever peers), the Big East won’t see any significant upswing, the PAC12 will start its TV network AND will get a CCG. The SEC and Big 10 will continue to pull away from the PAC10, but the PAC12 is likely to be the third best conference by a big margin over the ACC.

      The PAC12 (even without a HR addition to their conference [CU is a triple and Utah a double]) definitely made out well with expansion.

      • David Brown says:

        I am not as sold on the PAC12 as you are. Colorado & Utah are singles (A&M would be a triple, and Kansas would be a double (Because of hoops), obviously UT & Oklahoma would have been homers). Right now, look at the PAC teams: Cal cancelled baseball & rugby (Which the dominated for 30 years), Colorado is so poor they are taking $2m to get slaughtered at Ohio St, Oregon St & Washington St are self-explainatory, Arizona & ASU have substandard facilities, UCLA’s basketball program is a shadow of itself, Utah has a stadium that has a capacity lower than Indiana, Oregon & Stanford are currently at their peak, throw in the economic basket case that California has become, and things are not good. The only schools I see growing are Washington & perhaps USC. I am willing to bet the ACC will surpass them very quickly

        • Richard says:

          Oregon’s powered by Nike money. They (and maybe USC & Washington) are the only program that has a chance of being prominent.

        • Brian says:

          The new TV deal could help them out a lot. If they get fiscally competitive, they will improve on the field. The ACC has never taken football as seriously as the Pac-10 does.

      • Bullet says:

        The Big 12 will improve tremendously in basketball. They were arguably the best conference last year (although BE would dispute that) and they lost what were easily their two weakest programs.

        Given UNL’s slump until the last couple of years and CU’s slump, football will actually be better in the short run. Long run they are hard to replace, but maybe MU,KU,KSU and ISU step up without being in UNL and CU’s shadow. The BE programs got better w/o Miami, VT and BC.

        • zeek says:

          I’m not so sure I agree with that.

          Now the 4 other North schools have to play all 6 of the Big 12 South every year instead of 3. And that’s on top of the fact that Nebraska was in a down period over a lot of this past decade.

          So they go from 8 to 9 conference games and those are more difficult games.

          I’d say the odds are they become less relevant with the exception of Mizzou which may be competitive, but on the whole that’s a hard proposition to see.

          Now they have to play Texas and Oklahoma every year along with the rest. It’s just hard to see any of the 4 North schools being better of in the short or long run.

  17. Brian says:

    I fully agree that expansion is on hiatus.

    That said, if money wasn’t a big factor and the Big Ten was going to 16, I wish it would take Pitt, MD, MO and ISU (KU and RU as back ups). The schools would be a good fit culturally and geographically. This would complete the domination of the north central US and extend to the coast, separating the mid-atlantic from the northeast. It would help some schools that have been screwed over so far, too.

    ISU is a great school and brings a killer wrestling program (and that’s about all). MO wants in badly and would provide some eyeballs as well as solid sports. MD would provide much the same with great academics. Pitt is strong all around and would improve in football with the new affiliation.

    None of those schools would help with football, but someone has to lose some football games and IN and MN are tired of always doing it.

    New divisions:
    Southwest: NE/OSU/IA/MO/PU/IL/IN/ISU
    Northeast: PSU/MI/WI/MSU/Pitt/NW/MD/MN

    It’s a romantic notion that has no bearing on the real world, though. I just wanted to show some appreciation for the ISU’s of the world that will unfortunately be screwed by the realities of modern athletics.

    • Richard says:

      As a fan (who also cares about academics), I’m not excited about either ISU or Mizzou (and KU only for their basketball).

      From a rivalry standpoint, I would like Pitt & Maryland (and BC, UNC, Duke, and Miami), though what I would really like is adding the 4 Cali schools.

      • Brian says:

        ISU would be good for wrestling, academics and rivals for IA, NE and MN. MO brings wrestling, hoops, St. Louis and part of KC. Neither is a sexy addition, especially for football. They probably would be better received by the western schools (NE, IA, MN, IL) than the rest of the league.

        Pitt and Maryland are similar but on the east. They bring academics and MD brings people and neither is sexy. PSU will appreciate them more than anyone else.

        I think BC, Miami, UNC and Duke are so different from the Big Ten that they would not fit well, not to mention the travel. The CA schools really wouldn’t fit, but nobody could complain about the academics and Olympic sports.

        • greg says:

          Iowa State really offers nothing. They would be the worst academically, worst athletically, and worst market share (basically none).

          Unlike most Iowa fans, I want the Cyclones to succeed, but they would only lower the B10 profile. Iowa is already scrapping the bottom of the B10 barrel academically.

          • Brian says:

            ISU is a better school than NE right now and they have some great engineering programs among other things. Being a top 100 school is pretty good for a rural state because they can’t tighten admissions like more populous states, and stricter admissions help your rankings. They are AAU members.

            I admitted that the only sport they bring is wrestling.

            Please note that it was a fantasy expansion for a world where the money (hence population and market share) doesn’t matter. I’m not advocating them as a serious addition.

            I feel bad for ISU, and they might well have been a Big Ten school if things had gone differently 60+ years ago. ISU was one of the main candidates to replace Chicago when they quit football (along with MSU, Pitt, NE, ND and Marquette). With NE in the fold, ISU is a natural bridge to IA.

        • Richard says:

          I live in Illinois and ISU would not be well received by any of the western schools. I would also prefer Pitt & Maryland over Mizzou, even though Missouri is closer, simply because of academics. There’s a pretty big difference between being middle-of-the-BigTen in research and dead-last-in-the-conference in research.

          • Brian says:

            The eastern schools are better, but ISU and MO aren’t bad. They are better than NE and close to IA. Rural schools in small states will never rank as highly as ones in populous states. The rankings criteria are skewed against them.

            Of course Pitt and MD have more research. It’s an impossible standard to expect a rural state school in a small state to match the research in a much more populous state. As with NE, I think you would see a rapid increase as they can partner with other Big Ten schools on contracts.

          • Richard says:

            Well, we’re not grading on a curve. If anything, being in a small rural state would be an argument against addition.

            Even if you asked just BigTen fans, they would say they support adding Nebraska almost solely because of their football (and their academics are just good enough). If you present to BigTen fans School X with the same academics as UNL but football that isn’t at the same level (and in a small rural state), don’t expect them to be interested.

          • Brian says:

            All these schools are AAU members

            Some numbers from 2006:
            USNWR rank, research $$$

            TX – #47, $431M
            ISU – #88, $222M
            NE – #96, $216M
            MO – #102, $215M
            KU – #96, $131M

            MD – #53, $354M
            Pitt – #56, $530M
            RU – #66, $281M

            MI – #27, $800M
            IL – #39, $476M (6th)
            IA – #71, $346M (10th)
            IN – #71, $142M (11th)

          • Brian says:


            Did you miss the part where this was not in any way a serious suggestion for expansion? I prefaced it by assuming money wasn’t a factor and the league wanted to go to 16. Clearly neither of those is true. I mostly wanted to look at what very well might have happened 60 years ago, and express sadness at how ISU has gotten stuck between a rock and a hard place.

          • greg says:

            Bad luck? Lake Forest College was at the original meeting in 1895 or whatever, but didn’t join and is now a tiny unknown.

          • Adam says:

            I am with Brian — it is kind of sad that ISU is where they are, and it would be nicer if they had been on-board from the start. Kind of complete the set.

          • Brian says:

            Looking back on the expansion process just reminds me how fickle fate is. The Big Ten could easily be a very different place right now.

            In 1946, the Big Ten might have added ND, Pitt, NE or ISU instead of MSU. Think how different expansion would have been.

            MSU could be the little brother stuck in a bad conference (ISU, Pitt) that the Big Ten doesn’t want.

            Having ND, would the league have gone past 10? If so, would it be 2 eastern schools? Pitt and PSU?

            If Pitt got in, would they have kept PSU out?

            If NE was in, would MO have been picked this time?

            Where would ISU be today with 60 years in the Big Ten?

          • Sportsman says:

            I agree with Brian & Adam, in that I’d like to see ISU in the Big Ten. ISU stands to lose the most in the future.

            Like Greg, I’m a Hawkeye that wants the Cyclones to succeed. Unfortunately, through fate & fortune, they are not well-placed to being a candidate for Big Ten membership. They’ve had decent runs in basketball and are very good in wrestling… but even in wrestling, they are overshadowed by the Hawkeyes. They only way I could see them being added is in some sort of politcal wrangling, like the UVA/VT scenario… but that is an extreme long-shot.

            For what it’s worth (very little, I know), if I had my pick for the Big Ten’s final four members, they’d be… ISU, Pitt, UMd and either UVA or RU.

          • Bullet says:

            You’re right about expansion being fickle. Had the B12 happened 5 years earlier when Arkansas left the SWC, Houston would have been in and either Baylor or Kansas State would have been out. But Houston was down, KSU had Bill Snyder and Baylor had the Governor, Lt. Governor, Speaker and head of the appropriations committee.

          • Bullet says:

            And even with all the whining, we’d be glad to trade you Iowa State (we still have Oklahoma State for wrestling titles) for Nebraska. It would save both conferences on travel costs!

          • Bullet says:

            Actually that’s a bit of an exaggeration about Baylor. I think Tech had the Speaker and the appropriations committee as well as one of the Lt. Governor’s degees. Baylor had key figures in the state Senate. The Lt. Governor alone was probably enough.

            Right now, the Governor is an Aggie, Lt. Governor went to Arizona and Speaker went to Vanderbilt.

          • M says:

            “Looking back on the expansion process just reminds me how fickle fate is. The Big Ten could easily be a very different place right now.”

            I just love questions like this.

            For Iowa State, I don’t think they would have been invited under any circumstances. While Iowa having two state universities of that caliber is remarkable, Michigan has 3 times the population currently and presumably a greater proportion then. I don’t think anyone has seriously considered ISU at any point.

            On the other hand, Pitt is much more interesting. At the time, they were a private school and academically substantially ahead of MSU. Athletically, Pitt was a “King” in football, though a bit down, while MSU was at best nouveau riche.

            From what I know of the situation, the only reason MSU was added instead of Pitt was the Michigan legislature, which pressured Michigan into allowing MSU into the conference.

          • Scott says:

            I have always liked Iowa State because they are the only ones who share my hatred for the Hawkeyes. As an Illini fan I am always stunned at how much most Illinois fans have forgotten all the s&*% those f*@&ers put us through with the Bruce Pearl incident. There aren’t enough bad things in the world that can happen to Iowa as far as I’m concerned.

          • Brian says:

            Don’t forget the strangest twist of fate. In 1993, Texas came to the Big Ten looking to join. The Big Ten said no because there was a four year moratorium on expansion since adding PSU in 1990.

            What if PSU joined in 1988 instead? Would the politics have stopped Texas from joining? Would the Big Ten have said yes? That was a down time for football at Texas and the Southwest Conference was dying. Money was also not the same player that it is today.

            I tend to think tradition and geography (and maybe politics) would have kept Texas out, but who knows?

            If you really want weird, what if Notre Dame joined in 1946 and PSU in 1988. Then potentially Texas joins in 1993. How rough would that schedule be, and how big would the TV contract be?

          • frug says:

            The question I always wonder about is what would have happened if the Big East had accepted Penn State’s request to join the conference back in the mid-’80s. That has to seriously rank as one of the most asinine and short sighted decisions in college sports history.

  18. Bullet says:

    Boise Prez complains about BCS errors:

    The previous article I saw said that Colley didn’t have a game included, and possibly others didn’t (since Wolfe may have provided the data set to all 6). I had downloaded the original BCS standings. If you look at the BCS before and after per ESPN, Colley didn’t change. Massey was the only one who changed and he had Boise 14 and LSU 7 originally. On the final it was LSU 14 and Boise 7.

    So, I have to wonder if there are more issues. I think we all knew what the B and S stood for. Is the C for Correctible, Corrupt or Computer Glitch.

    • Bullet says:

      The official explanation on the BCS site is a problem with Colley. When I link to the official standings, it takes you to ESPN which is the site I downloaded from.

      The official explanation doesn’t agree with the change, which looks like a simple error in listing the order of teams. NOTHING else changed. And that order is consistent with the prior week. Was Massey wrong the prior week? Or is the correction wrong?

      Looks to me like they didn’t get it right the 2nd time and didn’t even make the adjustment they intended. Does anybody look at this?

    • Brian says:

      I’d complain too. They get screwed intentionally already, they don’t need to also have human errors going against them.
      Colley’s Ratings changed: “a small discrepancy in the Colley Matrix rankings which interchanged #9 LSU with #10 Boise State, and #17 Alabama with #18 Nebraska”

      The corrected rankings switch those two pairs. BSU swapping with LSU is what changed the final rankings.

      Massey’s site has LSU 7, BSU 14. Are you sure they were different before?

      • Bullet says:

        Yes, the 1st one had LSU 7, BSU 14. The current one has BSU 7 and LSU 14. If you expand you can get the complete standings. Colley didn’t change on those ESPN standings.

      • Bullet says:

        The official BCS doesn’t agree with Colley’s website which has Boise 9 and LSU 10 now. It also doesn’t agree on UNL and Alabama.

      • Bullet says:

        Nebraska should have changed slightly and didn’t. On Boise and LSU, it looks like maybe ESPN changed the totals, but didn’t change the detail, except for switching Massey, which wasn’t supposed to switch.

  19. Purdidt says:

    @frankthetank111…you forgot to mention geography…

    As you know, Delaney and others close to the process mentioned the desire to address the country’s longer-term demographics trends of growth away from Big Ten country with expansion. Obviously, adding Nebraska isn’t adding a whole helluva lot…

  20. m (Ag) says:

    I don’t think the Big 12 is as stable as you indicate Frank. With the Texas legislature not in session, it will be much easier to move around this year. Half a year after Colorado and Nebraska announced they were leaving the conference, many more people in the Big 12 states appear to believe the conference will die in the next few years anyway (just read the local sports columns), so there will be much more acceptance if an announcement comes.

    I doubt Baylor has power to do anything more than creating a temporary stir. There are far more supporters of A&M and UT. If we presume TT is being looked after by UT, their supporters will dutifully repeat the party line. Supporters of TCU will laugh while dividing over whether to actively support or actively block a Baylor campaign to get into the Big East. Supporters of Rice, SMU, and UHouston will be unsympathetic, while trying to get them into Conference USA.

    In the last half year we saw:

    1)the ACC got a lot of money
    2)the networks were quick to offer the same amount of money to the Big 12 even down 2 schools
    3)the Big Ten’s revenue is going up, up, up.

    All of these things happening in a weak economy indicate that the SEC deals actually undervalued their conference in an environment where sports are one of the few things that people make an effort to watch live, instead of on DVDs, on DVRs, or online.

    Because of this escalation of the value of college sports, I have no doubt that the Big 12 can get a boost in their next contract. But that same escalation also means they are losing even more money by not moving to the Pac 16, Big Ten or SEC. Perhaps UT’s private network megamillions will make up the difference, but they might be able to squeeze that network into the Pac 16. In any event, OU and/or A&M might move on their own.

    Before last summer, administrators at A&M had no idea how appealing the idea of the SEC was to many of their supporters. Before last summer, OU fans hadn’t conceived of being in a different conference than Nebraska or Kansas. Deciding to keep the conference together hit the ‘pause’ button on an emotional situation, but people are likely to have much more clear-headed, long-term views now.

    I’d put the conference staying together with the same 10 members in the next few years at about 50%.

    • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

      I’m not sure if Frank is referring to “forever” stability in this post. My take on it is that he’s talking about the next 3 years or so. I too think the Big 12 has the issues you are talking about m(ag)…but for now, the maximum security prison analogy fits.

      In 3 years however, we could see economics like this become reality…
      Big Ten schools 40 million per year each
      SEC schools 25 million per year each
      Texas 20 million per year
      OU-TAMU 15 million per year each
      The other Big 12 schools 10 million per year each

      As that reality begins to slap Texas year after year, they might find themselves feeling what they felt in the SWC…this just isn’t working any more. But I think that’ll take a few years to come to fruition. For now, all quiet on the expansion front.

      • zeek says:

        I actually think Texas will do as well as the Big Ten schools because of ESPN’s $12M per year for their TV network rights.

        That’s probably the key to keeping the Big 12 stable.

        As for the rest, when the Big Ten does its ABC/ESPN contract, we should see the average Big Ten payout soar to over $30M easily.

        Seeing FOX put up $22+M per year for the CCG is just astonishing compared to what we expected, so all of the numbers should shoot up.

      • Richard says:

        I think $40M for the BigTen would be incredibly difficult any time soon. Low $30M per is doable. However, I expect Texas to pull in $30 in the Big12 at that point as well ($18M from the Big12 deal + $12M from the Longhorn network), and I don’t think they would mind the lesser brands in the Big12 pulling in only $10M each.

        Also, the SEC is locked in to their $18M per school deal ($20M+ per for the top schools if you add in local/third tier rights) for about another 20 years or so.

        • Brian says:

          Did we ever find out exactly what rights that $12M covers? UT used to have a $9M contract with IMG. Is that deal still in place or was it folded into the $12M?

          If it’s included in the $12M then I’m not as impressed. Your math would be blown up because OSU, for example, has an $11M deal with IMG on top of the TV deals. That puts OSU at $40M total fairly soon. Would that sort of difference have an impact on UT’s decision making?

          • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

            I was assuming your numbers are correct, brian. I’m not a whiz with all these numbers like Frank and others, but ballpark, I don’t think Texas in the Big 12 will even be sniffing what Northwestern in the Big 10 will be making.

          • Richard says:

            I think you exaggerate. Again, Texas in the Big12 can probably expect close to what each BigTen school gets from the conference, and its individual deals (like the Longhorn network) dwarf what Northwestern can get. In any case, Texas’s overall athletic revenues would still dwarf NU’s.

          • Brian says:


            I wasn’t trying to attack your numbers, your post just reminded me that I didn’t know what Texas’s side deal really covered. If it is a totally new deal just for TV rights that is very different from it being an extension of the old contract to also cover TV.

            If that $30M figure is what is coming for the Big Ten, then OSU will hit $41M. That creates a sizable gap to Texas unless they get both of the side deals ($20M + $12 + $9M = $41M). It seems odd that their side deals would be worth more than their main TV deal.

            Oh well, in a few months we should know the new numbers for everybody for a while.


            It doesn’t sound to me like the Big 12 deal will be all that close to the Big Ten deal. We’ll know better after we get the new numbers post-NE. I expect the Big Ten to get a bigger raise in 2016 than the Big 12. That said, NW won’t be dwarfing Texas thanks to the side deals and other revenue streams they have.

        • David Brown says:

          I have little doubt that UT does not care about how much the other teams in the Conference make, and if they can, they will remain “The Big Fish In The Little Pond” for the next hundred years. The long-term problem for the Big XII (Or whatever it chooses to be called), is not Texas, it is A&M and Oklahoma. We know that A&M is willing to say no to big brother Bevo, and leave (They showed that last summer), and although Oklahoma CURRENTLY wants to be attached to UT, things could change five years from now. Those teams will be watching their former Big XII mates in Nebraska very closely, and they know that the Huskers are already getting a train load of $$$$$$$ without even playing one game yet (Because of the Big 10 Conference Game). In a few years, if Nebraska is continuing to make tons of money, while they start to look like the Mets to UT’s Yankees, and the opportunity to join the SEC comes, they just might take it.

          • Larry says:

            I agree. aTm seems eager to leave. If they moved to the SEC, they would get out from under the Texas shadow, make more money, and probably recruit better. They also fit culturally in the SEC.

            If that happened, I think OU would follow them due to conference stability and money. OSU would try and get in also. I’m not sure who #16 would be.

            If that happened, Texas I think would be the big loser. They don’t want to be in the SEC (academics/open up Texas recruiting to SEC teams) and any other conference would require a lot more travel. Maybe they go independent.

          • Richard says:

            We’ll see if Texas politics will allow the Aggies to go off by themselves. If the politicos won’t allow Texas to leave without TTech or maybe even Baylor(!), we’ll see if they’d let TAMU strike their own course either.

            I’m also not at all convinced that OU would rather throw in its lot with TAMU (even if that means the SEC) rather than Texas (especially since their AD has said before that OU would follow Texes where ever they may go*), nor am I convinced that the SEC would be willing to take in OSU.


            While Castiglione also confirmed that the Southeastern Conference has shown interest in the Sooners, OU’s position is that it’s going to stick with Texas wherever the Longhorns go because of the long history between the two schools.

            “I think it would be a horrendous decision for OU and Texas to break up,” Castiglione said. “We’re going to stick together if it’s at all possible.”

            There are a lot of institutional forces that make TAMU (much less OU) to the SEC unlikely.

            Mizzou, on the other hand, is available for the taking if the SEC ever wants them.

    • Bullet says:

      Dodds said, “If we all live long enough, we’ll see it happen again.” I think in terms of conference alignments, 20-30 years is long term stability and anything that lasts the length of the TV contracts (10 years or so) is stable. From that standpoint, I would say the Big 12 is stable. The Big 10 has long term stability. But the demographic shifts everyone talks about could destabilize even the Big 10 in 20-30 years. Ohio has 80% of the high schools students it had 30 years ago. Some of the midwestern states probably have even bigger issues.

      For anyone thinking about Texas getting left behind, you have to remember that Texas had $140 million in revenue last year. Ohio State, with $10 million more in TV revenue, was 2nd in the nation with around $110 million. Texas is going to protect that $130 million that isn’t TV money.

      • M says:

        The “demographic trends” are a bit overstated. The Big Ten currently has the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th largest states. By the official 2030 census, the Big Ten will still have the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th largest state. The population advantage the Big Ten currently enjoys will still be there, even if the differential isn’t quite what it once was.

        • @M – There’s are silver linings to the demographic trend for the Big Ten footprint, too, which are (1) the conference has a large presence virtually everywhere in the country because so many of its grads have moved to high growth areas and (2) the Big Ten universities are more popular than ever with high school students and to the extent that in-state population is slowing, there is a whole line of high performing out-of-state students to take up the slots. The Chicago area (the main area in the Midwest that’s still growing very well population-wise) has long already been a feeder to Iowa, Purdue and Indiana in particular, while East Coast students have been flocking to Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana in addition to Penn State. The Big Ten publics are the beneficiaries of the East Coast states’ general lack of funding of public flagships over the years, where students from the NYC area and New England are increasingly finding that paying out-of-state tuition to go to a Big Ten school provides a better ROI than going to a smaller private school that’s not at the Ivy League level. Couple that with the high number of Big Ten grads that have moved to the Sun Belt and the conference has a much more national distribution of alums than the other BCS conferences yet still maintaining a significant home base in the Midwest.

          I’d compare the Big Ten to MLB and the SEC to NASCAR. Both MLB and NASCAR have similar national TV ratings, but where those ratings are coming from are very different. MLB viewers are more dispersed nationally with pockets of high ratings in large Northern markets such as NYC, Chicago and Boston. NASCAR, on the other hand, draws massive NFL-type numbers in the Southeast but very little anywhere else. Big Ten ratings act very similarly to the MLB on a national level with a wider distribution, while the SEC football numbers are driven by the fact that it’s the #1 sport (college or pro) in the Southeast. There are pluses and minuses to both, but it shows that there are different roads to get to the same end goal of conference strength.

          • zeek says:

            The number I’ve seen thrown around is 1/3 for the number of Big Ten students that come from out-of-state.

            “Big Ten schools tend to draw more out-of-state students than UNL. Just 21 percent of UNL freshmen in 2008 were from outside Nebraska, compared with 33 percent from other states in the rest of the Big Ten.”

            Of course that varies dramatically, I’d imagine that Michigan draws a majority from out of state, whereas Michigan State draws a supermajority from Michigan…

            “MSU is scrambling to bring in more nonresident students to boost tuition revenue. The percentage of nonresident students newly enrolled at MSU has more than doubled in four years, with 23 percent of this year’s freshmen coming from outside the state.”

            Michigan State has been trying to deal with these problems since the 2000 recession, since Michigan didn’t really leave that recession, it sort of just meandered along until the financial crisis.

          • M says:


            I wonder how much Northwestern skews that figure (~75-80% out of state). I bet if you take out Michigan, Northwestern and Illinois (who has a larger in-state contingent due to the size of the state), the rest of the Big Ten isn’t that different from UNL.

          • @M – I don’t think Northwestern impacts it that much, but remember that Iowa, Indiana and Purdue are effectively drawing from their own home states plus the Chicago area, so they have high proportions of out-of-state students that are largely from Illinois. Wisconsin and Minnesota also have in-state tuition reciprocity, so you see a good amount of crossover there. Penn State gets a ton of New Jersey and Maryland natives. Michigan, Wisconsin and increasingly Indiana are getting a lot of other kids from the East Coast. Illinois has the lowest out-of-state student percentage as the size of its own home state population is more than enough to support getting enough upper-tier students (especially since there’s no clear #2 public/Michigan State-type in the state).

          • zeek says:

            Well, Northwestern doesn’t impact it that much, since they’re looking at freshman and Northwestern only has around 2000 compared to the average of 8,000 or so.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Frank – here are the CBS ratings for the SEC.


            Highest rated game of the season was Bama/Auburn with a 7.3.

            SEC CCG pulled a 6.3.
            Big XII CCG pulled a 5.3.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Frank – here are the Notre Dame numbers from NBC.


          • greg says:

            I believe I have read that Iowa gets about a third from out of state, with a quarter from the Chicago area.

          • Bullet says:

            Interesting Alan. The Ole Miss-TN game, lowest drawing on CBS, between cellar dwellers in the 2 divisions, beat all but 3 ND games-2 of which involved B10 teams and 1 Army. ABC was significantly better than NBC/ND.

          • M says:


            It depends on how they do their averages. If they say “Of all Big Ten undergrads, how many of them are attending school in their home state?” than Northwestern’s numbers get drowned out. If they take the percentages at each Big Ten school and simply average them, then Northwestern has a disproportionate effect.

            From my experience with journalists doing math, I’m guessing they did the second option.

          • Josh says:

            There was an LA Times article a while ago that had Pac 10 schools complaining about the Big Ten Network and how all the kids who want to play non-revenue sports want to go to the Big Ten because their family can see them play on TV.

            I’d say it goes beyond that. Kids think the Big Ten is important because they have their own TV network. My wife is a California HS teacher, and her kids talk about going to Michigan and Ohio State more than UCLA. They ask her about going to Iowa, knowing she’s an alum. There are more reasons for that than the B10 network and most of them will end up at SJSU or Cal Poly SLO anyway. But the point is that kids in California are starting to consider Big Ten Schools to be the place to go if you can’t get into the big 4 California Schools, and that’s all because of the branding of the Big Ten Network.

        • David Brown says:

          The demographic trends are not what matters most to FOOTBALL Conferences such as the Big 10, it is the Conference Championship Game, BCS Bowls, Nielsen Ratings, Network Carriage, and people in the stands (Which is why the Conference chose Nebraska over Missouri and (or) Rutgers). As it relates to the Big Ten, does that mean they would not expand and take a Texas or Notre Dame if possible? Of course not. But unless a school has the ability to make the Conference more $$$$$$$$ instead of bring them to the point of diminishing marginal returns and also have the academic reputation needed to raise the Conference’s standing, they will simply be happy with Nebraska and not expand for another decade.

        • Bullet says:

          It isn’t just the differential. Ohio’s student drop has come at a time when population was still rising. Census projections show Pennsylvania, Iowa and possibly Ohio and Michigan losing population by 2030. So to continue to be an enormous state university with leading research in a large number of fields, you have to recruit more out of state students, as Frank has pointed out, or lower your standards, which the Big 10 schools don’t want to do. And from an athletic standpoint, that means recruiting more athletes out of state where you might be at a disadvantage compared to local schools.

          • M says:

            Here the projections from the most recent census available (2000):

            According to these projections, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan will still be the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th largest states in 2030. As a percentage of the total US population, those states will decline (mostly to Texas and California), but they still will have the same ranking.

          • zeek says:

            What he means though is that the populations are aging in those states. Fewer students going through the system but more older residents results in an overall increase or stable population, but that’s a negative for student recruitment.

      • zeek says:

        Texas will be fine, it’s revenue streams will dwarf everyone else’s regardless of TV conference money.

        As for the Big Ten, I don’t see it being destabilized, it’s just going to have to deal with the reality of less students in their home states. It won’t be an issue at all for a few of the schools like Michigan and Northwestern which don’t have any issues in grabbing out of state residents, or for Iowa and Nebraska which are smaller than the rest of the public Big Ten universities and won’t really face demographics struggles.

        Michigan State, Purdue, and Indiana are the ones that I could really see struggling to deal with the issue of shrinking home state student populations, whereas Illinois, Ohio State, and Penn State should be able to pull in enough out of state students to make up the difference over time. Minnesota and Wisconsin will probably have to really work at it.

        The one real strength of the Big Ten universities that will help them in the long run is that many of them have renowned graduate programs with large research budgets that should help them neutralize any decline in their undergraduate populations.

        I really don’t think it’ll be too much of an issue because these things are gradual. As a school like Minnesota notices their application numbers dropping from in-state, they’ll just have to figure out how to grab more applications from out of state.

        • zeek says:

          The best evidence of this is how Michigan State scrambled to increase their out of state student population from 11% to 23% over 4 years as a way of getting higher revenue students.

          They tripled the number of foreign students to around 1300.

          Michigan State is unique for having to deal with these struggles earlier due to the fact that Michigan entered decline earlier than the rest of the states, but that’s your blueprint that the other universities will have to follow.

          • @zeek – Just saw this after my prior post. That’s very interesting that MSU has adjusted already. I’d be curious to see where Ohio State is at right now in terms of in-state/out-of-state figures.

          • zeek says:

            Here’s a quote from an Illinois budget report that compares Illinois and Ohio State:

            The biggest Big Ten school is Ohio State University, with 41,348 undergraduates, 87 percent of them in-state. Illinois currently has an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 31,200 students, of whom 85 percent come from within the state.

        • @zeek – Agree with much of this, although the state of Indiana actually has been growing fairly well population-wise. The Indianapolis area continues to expand and Northwest Indiana gets some of the Chicago-area population growth. The states of Illinois and Minnesota are also growing at a good clip, while Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa and Pennsylvania are fairly stable. It’s the states of Michigan and Ohio that are seeing the most issues in terms of outward migration. The lack of a clear #2 public university in Illinois has always made Indiana, Purdue and Iowa into big draws for Chicago area high school students that didn’t make it into UIUC but have much better grades and test scores than what’s required for places like Illinois State, so those 3 schools always have a large pool of kids to draw from. (I’m not saying that Iowa/Indiana/Purdue are always backup schools to Illinois, as there are definitely programs such as Purdue Engineering and Indiana Kelley Business that are very tough to get into, but the lack of the equivalent of a Michigan State-type school in Illinois definitely has a big effect on Chicago kids looking out-of-state.) U of Michigan and U of Wisconsin have always been national out-of-state favorites because of their reputations and great college towns, so their approaches to drawing students won’t necessarily change much. Indiana, beyond its aforementioned draw from the Chicago area, has become the next popular choice for a lot of East Coast kids that didn’t get into Michigan or Wisconsin, with the strength of the Kelly business school driving a lot of that interest. So, I believe that Michigan State and Ohio State are the schools that have to adjust the most since they are in the most troubled states in terms of population and they haven’t focused on drawing out-of-state students as much as other Big Ten institutions.

          • StvInIL says:

            “The lack of a clear #2 public university in Illinois has always made Indiana, Purdue and Iowa into big draws for Chicago area high school students that didn’t make it into UIUC but have much better grades and test scores than what’s required for places like Illinois State”.
            That’s the God honest truth. Something that really should be addressed by promoting either NIU or ISU to the point that they are comperable to U of I. My son did not get into Illinois but was accepted by Minnesota and Purdue of the big ten schools he applied. He was accepted at UIC but wanted to get farther away from us I guess than that. Not getting into Illinois was a big deal to all of us.

          • @StvInIL – I’ll always be indebted to UIC because I literally wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for that school: my parents met there as students. From a pure academic research perspective, UIC is definitely the #2 public university in the state, but the largest issue that it needs to overcome is that the campus life is very lacking if you want to live down there full-time with so many commuter students (and the architecture is the antithesis of what most people find appealing with boxy grey 1960s post-modern buildings that don’t let in any natural light). There’s certainly none of the rah-rah school spirit that you’ll see at the Big Ten schools. It does have potential, though, as its proximity to downtown Chicago and the gentrification of the West Loop has made the UIC into an exponentially better location compared to 15 years ago and the presence of the U of I medical school has made it into a research funding draw. I believe it’s going to need to provide a better experience for those that want a traditional residential college experience if it wants to compete for the types of students that go to U of I and other Big Ten schools.

          • zeek says:

            All good points.

            The numbers I posted above for Ohio State shows that they haven’t yet had to do anything like Michigan State in terms of focusing on out of state enrollment. They’re at 13%.

          • Bullet says:

            Minnesota is growing faster than the national average, unlike the rest of the B10 states. So Gopher fans have hope that it won’t be another 43 years for a Big 10 title.

          • StvInIL says:

            Yeah Frank, about UIC, I see what you say is on the money. But I doubt it will ever be a big ten campus type school. it is something quite different. My thoughts are that there should be another option for kids who have worked hard but there is only one U of I UIUC. UIC is probably too real-estate locked for it to be similar transformation. The cost in the City/state is also a big hurdle to make it so. Thus I suggested ISU or NIU. We live in Evanston but a private ivy type like NU is both academically and financially a climb for many.

          • greg says:

            I’m originally from Chicago’s northern suburbs. Everyone at my high school wanted to go to Illinois, with NIU then ISU/EIU as a fallback. No one even considered UIC.

          • Bullet says:

            Texas has the opposite issue. Texas and Texas A&M have gotten as large as they wish to be (50k and 45k). When I was in school there were more out of staters. I remember one Michigan girl telling me her out of state tuition at Texas was lower than in state at Michigan. Now a lot of good students can’t get in. That is part of the reason for the Tier I effort for Texas Tech, Houston, North Texas, UTEP, UTSA, UTD and UTA.

            SEC schools are recruiting

          • Bullet says:

            I’ve had friends send their kids to look at LSU and Alabama in case they can’t get into UT or A&M. UGA has one sorority known as the “Texas” sorority since it has so many Texas girls.

          • Richard says:


            I remember when I was in high school, I got an offer for a full ride (academic) scholarship from TAMU without even applying for one (or applying to the university). Evidently, they just sent out a letter offering a full ride scholarship to every National Merit Semifinalist in the whole country.

            Even without scholarships, though, the tuition back in those days (1993) for the public Texas schools was ridiculously low.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Richard – The tuition at LSU for the fall semester at LSU was a whopping $432.00.

          • Bullet says:

            When I went to Texas, it was $200/semester tuition and fees. I think out of state was around $1000. In the mid-80s they quadrupled it. In the 90s and since they’ve kept raising it. Now its $4500-$5200/semester depending on which college you are in.

      • Brian says:

        I think OSU was more like $120M, not that it changes your point much. Texas will be fine unless they are the jealous type and cause their own suffering. That’s the only problem I could see them having. They won’t get left behind so much as they may not lead, or not by as much.

  21. allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

    This blog made me an expansion junkie (podcast summarizing expansion, but before I was an expansion junkie, I was a playoff junkie. My idea was for 8 teams (podcast detailing my plan

    The book “Death to the BCS” made me a 16 team proponent.

    I look forward to Frank’s proposal…all though he’s got his work cut out for him if he’s going to win me over from “Death to the BCS’s” proposal.

    • jj says:

      I think any playoff needs to be a “tournament of champions” format. I think 8 is the top, 6 for the aq conf and 2 for at large but outside the aq conf. In short, if you cannot win your conference, you do not get in. This leaves room for the Boises, Domers, etc. I also truly believe it would lead to better ooc games as the season isn’t shot by losing one. don’t think this would water anything down. 16 is too much.

      • jj says:

        Just to fill it out, here’s how I would stack the first round, I’m sure there are several way to do round two, maybe home games, I dunno.

        B10 v P12 (Rose)

        Non Aq v SEC (Sugar)

        ACC v B. East (Orange)

        B12 v Non Aq (Fiesta)

        Ideally, I’d like to see the Sugar land the B12 and SEC as a matchup and let the two non-aqs play each other, but I doubt that could ever happen.

        I’m sure this is not a novel idea, but I don’t see anything better. This would have to please everyone (except maybe the aq conferences that want 2 in, but they are geting 2 more games, which shold offset the loss) and put the anti-trust stuff to rest as every single d-1 school has a shot.

        All the other bowls can do whatever they want.

        • frug says:

          No way the Orange Bowl would ever agree to a set up that requires them to take the ACC champ and the Big East champ. They already want to dump their bowl tie in ACC so they have no reason to add an even less valuable conference.

        • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

          JJ, That’s nearly the same as mine for yearly match-ups. Except I don’t use the bowls themselves for the first round. I originally used the first round match-ups in regional sites (some of the current BCS bowl cities).

          WEST–PAC10 vs. At-large (played in either Pasadena or Glendale)
          EAST–Big 10 vs. Big East (Indy or Meadowlands)
          MIDWEST–Big 12 vs. At-large (Dallas or St. Louis)
          SOUTHEAST–SEC vs. ACC (Miami or New Orleans)

          Play it two weeks after CCG’s.

          Then announce bowl berths. Everybody still goes to bowl. Use traditional bowl match-ups…to create semi-final. Two weeks after Jan 1…play the championship.

          Lots of problems with my format too…but I don’t like waiting 3-4 weeks after the season to play round 1. I think you hurt your “product” to establish such a lag in the total season.

          • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

            Oh, and if a BCS conference champ isn’t ranked in the top 15, they don’t get in. It’s a low bar, but I think it might be acceptable so that most years the BCS conferences sign off on it.

    • mstinebrink says:

      Those links didn’t work, but I found my way, courtesy of Google Chrome. I will listen, tonight.

      Yours truly,
      Another Spinoff (kinda)

  22. Bullet says:

    Checked the ESPN site. They have corrected the errors in the revised BCS standings pointed out in this blog yesterday. LSU is back to #7 in Massey and Boise back to #14. The LSU/Boise and UNL/AL switches on Colley have been made and UNL’s BCS score adjusted. They had the Boise and LSU BCS scores right (but not UNL), but didn’t have the detail computer rankings correct that made up those scores.

    The interesting question is whether the BCS or ESPN figured it out on their own ( links you to the ESPN site for the detail standings, so that is effectively an official site) or if they only found out from someone reading Frank’s blog.

    • Brian says:

      Well, I emailed ESPN and told them it was wrong. They responded by asking me for a link to their page that was wrong as well as a link to the correct information. They had it fixed before I responded, though, so I may or may not have had any influence.

  23. ezdozen says:


    #1, Give in to ND completely. Allow ND, Army, and Navy to join the Big East on their terms. ND gets to keep its own TV contract–except for the Big East championship game.

    #2, ND, Army, and Navy get to play 5 conference games. If necessary, Army or Navy can play a 6th conference game to make schedules work.

    #3, for scheduling, divide the Big East into four “pods.”

    Pod 1: WVU, Pitt, Cincy

    Pod 2: Syracuse, Rutgers, UConn

    Pod 3: USF, TCU, Lville

    Pod 4: ND, Navy, Army

    #4, In Year 1, the divisions are

    “east” Pod 1 and Pod 3; “west” Pod 2 and Pod 4.

    Year 2, Pod 3 swaps with Pod 2. Year 3, Pod 1 swaps with Pod 3. And so on.

    #5, each “division” would play each other in 5 games. Two of those games for ND would be Army and Navy every year. Each would play 3 other conference games (again, possibly 4 depending on schedules). This would allow all three schools to play 6 or 7 OOC games, preserving their ability to have national scope and maintain other rivalries.

    #6, To determine who plays in the Big East championship game in Yankee Stadium, the teams with the best OVERALL record (rather than conference record) would qualify.

    #7, As tiebreakers, conference records would be used. So if ND was 11-1, but only 4-1 in conference, they would lose out to an 11-1 USF team that was 7-1 in conference. However, only wins over FBS programs would count, so 11-1 Notre Dame would win out over 11-1 Rutgers, based on the latter’s decision to play an FCS school.

    #8, while some would complain that the Big East did not have a true round robin, the winner from the “west” division would have had to play each of the 5 teams in that division. It would control its own destiny. So if Army somehow beat ND, Navy, and 3 other Big East teams AND had a better overall record than the other 5 teams in its division, who cares that they did not play the other division’s teams?

    #9, and even if you did care strongly about #8, the Big East championship game would settle that by requiring Army to beat the best team in the other division.

    #10, while this would suck slightly for the 3 teams in the ND pod each year, that would also be the year they benefited by playing ND AND by having Army/Navy as opponents. By rotating, every three years, every Big East team would get to play ND.

    #11, in the end, the two best Big East teams would play for the BCS slot. With 12 teams, far less likely that an 8 or 9 win team squeezes through. Preventing situations like this year, where an 8-4 UConn goes in place of a 9-3 WVU.

    #12, while SETTING UP the schedule would be difficult. However, once set up, it would be easy for fans to follow. ESPN would have the two divisions. The teams would be ranked by overall record. The race would just be based on overall record, rather than conference record, that’s all. Conference record would just be for tiebreakers.

    • ezdozen says:

      The gist of #11 is that 9-3 WVU looks more appealing to the national media than 8-4 UConn.

      When it comes to rankings and standings, overall record is far more important than conference record. After all, if Pitt had swept the Big East and been 9-3, would anyone have ranked them in the top 10? No. The OOC losses doomed them.

      Given that the BCS rankings, and the polls, are based on overall record, the Big East would benefit from relying on the same data to determine its representative. This gives the opening for flexibility with ND.

    • M says:

      “Give in to ND completely. Allow ND, Army, and Navy to join the Big East on their terms. ND gets to keep its own TV contract–except for the Big East championship game.”

      ND’s terms for joining the Big East are “no”, so that pretty much kills this idea. I rather doubt Navy or Army would join either.

      • Josh says:

        Army was a member of CUSA from 1998 to 2004, and they left because they couldn’t compete, winning only nine conference games in seven years (and two of those were in their final year after the decision to leave was made.)

        I think you’re on safe ground to conclude that Army wouldn’t be interested in the Big East.

  24. StvInIL says:

    Forget ND and Texas. It could be that just one of them would be so insufferable that they would make us earn every dollar that is associated with their entrance. YES, I admit they are still sexy prospects, but NO, I do not think they are worth it.

    • zeek says:

      Realistically, those are the only two schools for which the Big Ten can justify expansion on a financial basis.

      • StvInIL says:

        If money is everything to you. Perhaps. There must be some semblance of principles somewhere in the hearts of big ten movers and shakers. if not, they are wasting a whole lot of peoples time. The punch line to a joke goes, ” we have already established that, we are now merely discussing cost.”

        • zeek says:

          Well, money is everything to ADs who are dealing with tight budgets.

          Most spend every dime they get and would be hard pressed to justify an expansion that brings in 2 schools that don’t pay for themselves.

      • frug says:

        Technically there are other schools that could justify further expansion it’s just that they aren’t likely to be available. (i.e. Florida and USC, though if you look above making at run at USC, while highly unlikely, wouldn’t be a terrible idea)

  25. FLP_NDRox says:

    32 of like 240 teams make the Div III dance. 20 of 125 make the FCS Dance. 20 of like 150 make the Div II bracket. It looks like the max # of game is 15 in the lower levels.

    IMHO, the only way to make it fair is to make it as similar to the Lower divisions’ championships as possible.

    Since there’s 120 FBS…yeah, that *is* dumb, Div I Schools, it probably would mean 16 schools would make the tournament. 16 schools means 4 extra games max for the championship schools, so goodbye 12 game reg season, we’re going back to 11.

    aaaand my idea goes down in flames right there =(

    The good news is that pretty much kills the idea of a 9 game conference slate. The bad news is that 16 games means the traditional powers in the big conferences (i.e. Big Ten/SEC) have NO incentive to schedule anything interesting OOC.

    I’m not sure about giving Auto-bids to conference champions. I think they do in the other divisions, but there also seems to be a much lower discrepency between the conferences in the other divisions.

    I think the best way to pick the tournament is using a similar system to the Basketball tournament. A panel using their own judgment informed by the RPI and the human polls. Maybe make it so any conference champ with a top 40 RPI must get in.

    This year, I think it would have went a little something like this:

    1 Oregon
    16 WVA

    8 Wisc
    9 Ark.

    5 Boise St.
    12 Oklahoma St.

    4 Stanford
    13 TAMU

    3 TCU
    11 Mizzou

    6 Ohio St.
    14 Alabama

    7 Oklahoma
    10 LSU

    2 Auburn
    15 VT

    Wow. That didn’t turn out half bad. WVU gets in ahead of UCONN since they look a lot better on the Sagarin rankings I used in lieu of an RPI. Sagarin is also not a fan of Sparty at #20. The only other team IMHO that has room to gripe is Nevada at #15 BCS and #18 Sagarin. Ironically, they both still got bumped by lower ranked BCS conference champs: WVU and VT.

    IIRC, the teams play at the home of the higher seed. I can see an exception being made for nearby neutral site games for teams whose home stadiums seat under 40K, although I can see that being a logisitcal nightmare. Then again, how many teams that *can* finish in the top 8 have fields under 40K. Even TCU can squeeze 44K into their home field. Boise is the only one I can think of, but planned expansions will push them over 50K.

    I’m not sure of the long-term survivability of the Bowls. There’s no reason to include them in the Tournament process, and I doubt the NCAA has any financial reason to cut them in. Will the Rose be content to match up the #3 Pac 10 to the #4 Big Ten team? UW or Arizona vs. MSU sounds good theoretically, but they are .500 teams this season, and no the kind of schools for the “Granddaddy of ‘em all”.

    Which brings up the interesting question if the Big Ten would opt out of the tournament, a la the Ivy League, with the Pac 10 to maintain the Rose Bowl.

    • zeek says:

      I think the problem is that the AQ conferences don’t want to give up their control of the process as well as their relative control of the money.

      When you look at Wetzel’s solution, he wants to give say $20M to each participant in each game.

      It’s ridiculous to think that the AQ conferences would leave their financial superiority to chance on the field. They’ll never agree to something like that.

      The bowls will survive because a playoff will grow naturally out of the bowl system, such as Slive’s +1 modification that he proposed but was shot down by the Big Ten and Pac-10.

      Of course, there’s a host of other problems such as whether Notre Dame and the non-AQs would agree to the end result of such a system, especially if the result was for example the 6 AQ champions + top 2 ranked at large in an 8 team playoff.

      I just don’t see the incentive for the AQ conferences to agree to any system that doesn’t give them control over most of the slots in the tournament as well as the money.

    • willarm1 says:

      UConn won the Big East, they beat WVU and Pitt for that matter.

      Would you really let the sagarin rating trump the on the field result?

      • FLP_NDRox says:

        @ Willarm1

        I don’t look at it as decision between UConn and WVU. I look at it as a decision between the highest computer Big East co-champ and another At-large. If the Big East is married to naming UConn their sole champ, then Sparty should get the nod ahead of them as the #15 seed (still ahead of Nevada), since Sagarin hates UConn this year.

        @ zeek

        I think the real question is if the NCAA would allow a post-season tournament that was NOT under their control. I doubt it. Then it becomes and issue of whether the Big Schools leave the NCAA to have this tournament, and again I doubt it.

        That’s my basis for my suggestion, it seems to be consistent with how they run their other tournaments. I would have no problem changing it to more closely match the other divisions’ tournament. I confess I’m not as up on them as I’d like to be.

        To get the big boys to go along with this, they’d have to get a bigger share of the pie than they do even of the MBB. And that share has to be considerably larger than the bowl $$$ they’re currently getting.

        Let’s face it, the BCS schools aren’t doing as well in the last 25 years since March Madness went to 64 teams. Midmajor conferences are now getting multiple bids, and those have come at the expense of the BCS conferences.

        I don’t know what the terms of the contract might be. Guessing, I’d say that the pie would be split with every Div I school getting a cut, each school in a conference getting into the tournament getting another cut for every conference team getting in to the tournament, and an even bigger cut for each school getting in.

        The fight over divving up the money is the reason I doubt we’ll see a playoff. The way the Bowls are set up now are the best way for the rich to stay richer.

        • Richard says:

          1. The big boys control the NCAA.
          2. The NCAA already allows a postseason tournament outside of its control. Granted, it’s only a 1-game playoff, but its the same idea.

          However, I believe the BCS conferences have done better recently in basketball. Back over a decade ago (before the BCS conferences expanded), leagues like the Great Midwest->CUSA and A10 regularly got multiple bids & schools likw UNLV and Utah were national title challengers. These days, sure, you still have schools like Gonzaga, Xavier, Memphis, & Butler, but there’s definitely more bifurication between the BCS and non-BCS.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            But the A10 and the Metro were exceptions. “Mid-major” is a recent term. It used to be there were some power leagues that got like half their league in and all the good seeds and a bunch of leagues that got their auto-bid and at best a 12 seed.

            Now even the Missouri Valley is a three bid league and Gonzaga and Butler are 5 Seeds.

            Thanks to strides the midmajors have made in the last decade (which is in many way thanks to increased ESPN exposure that gave them the money to allow RPI manipulation scheduling), it’s gotten to the point it is easier to recruit as a Big Fish in a small conference pond than as a lower-to-mid school in a Big Time league.

            I think ^^^^^^^ is what the BCS leagues want to avoid in football.

        • zeek says:

          Yeah, those are fair points.

          I especially agree with the last one in that the bowl system allows the conferences with the strongest bowl connections to continue to grow the value in those bowls independent of other factors.

          The Capital One Bowl is probably the best example of that in that it has become the most valuable non-BCS bowl in terms of the highest payouts, the highest TV ratings, a coveted timeslot, etc.

    • Jake says:

      TCU got 50,000 for Utah last year, but we aren’t squeezing anywhere near 44,000 into any stadium at the moment:

  26. Playoffs Now says:

    I’m really looking forward to the iFLEW theyWALKED uDROVE HUMANITARIAN BOWL…

  27. Jake says:

    Frank – nice summation of a crazy 12 months or so in college sports. I, too, misjudged the reaction of the Texas legislature to the Pac-16 move, and in my case it’s much less excusable, since I live here and voted for (or against) some of those people. I think a smart move for Texas might have been to head to the Pac-1X with the ENTIRE Big 12 South – take BU and leave CU behind. Then, after a few years, ditch that and go to the Big Ten. They’d get less politcal flak for that manuever, since A&M, Tech and Baylor would all have a stable home out West. Of course, everyone else involved would be a bit irked with them. Oh, and TCU would still like to be in that maximum security prison. We just don’t want to be UT’s “little spoon.”

    I’m glad to see that things are settling down. No Big Ten expansion means the BEast is pretty safe. I never really thought that was a big risk anyway – despite all of the arguments on this blog and elsewhere, no BE school really seemed to meet the standard of a BT expansion candidate. PSU and Neb. are tough to match.

    Speaking of the Big East, I guess I’ll be running into you over on their message boards – you follow them because of DePaul, IIRC? I actually found myself cheering for ‘Cuse over Michigan State last night. Crazy how fast that happened. I personally hope the BE stays where it is for now. Nine is a nice number for football, and it’s not like any of their candidates are going anywhere. Also, should someone like KU come up, well, it’s nice to have a seat waiting for them.

    Oh, and good work with the John Lennon reference.

    • Jake says:

      Other thoughts:

      I wouldn’t mind at all if FOX Saturday went from MLB to college football. I love baseball, but I don’t really have time to follow anyone but the Rangers.

      I look forward to your college football postseason post. We keep talking about it on here anyway, might as well have a forum.

      And as a TCU fan, I welcome discussion from any Badgers on here about the upcoming Rose Bowl match-up. Just be sure to read this analysis before you bring up that ESPN-perpetrated canard about team size. Also, Dalton was totally robbed of the Unitas Award.

      • Richard says:

        I’m not sure why Craig James has a job. I can’t stand that sleazebag.

        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          Richard – I’m not a big fan either.

          I’ve heard he’s thinking about seeking the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate in Texas in 2012.

        • @Richard – I know that the Worldwide Leader practically demands its analysts to spew out hyperbolic statements so that we discuss them, but Craig James is quite possibly the biggest douchebag on television. I remember a few weeks ago him talking about Boise State and TCU players as not having to receive the same types of poundings as he did when he was on a major conference team. Of course, remember that his major conference team was SMU and he was there when violations were committed that caused that program to receive the death penalty. Plus, his “pounding” was mitigated by getting to run behind Eric Dickerson. What a complete tool.

          • Jake says:

            @Frank – I almost threw up when I heard him say that. Can’t wait to watch Pony Excess this weekend; it’ll be interesting to see how ESPN treats one of their own. Funny story – the other day when we were imploding our stadium, just as the countdown started, someone yelled out “Paging Craig James, Craig James to the pressbox.” Everyone laughed. Then the mother-farkin’ stadium blew up, which is something to behold in person if you ever get the chance.

          • Richard says:

            Well, the 30 for 30 directors are independent (so they say).

          • Richard says:

            BTW, check out the trailer for “Pony Excess” ( I got a kick out of it.

        • By the way, here’s Craig James’ stat line from Super Bowl XX as a member of the Patriots versus the ’85 Bears defense: 1 yard on 5 carries. I didn’t juxtapose those numbers.

        • Bullet says:

          I cheered when CBS let Musbarrger go. He really knew nothing. I was so upset when ABC got him for college football. He will cause me to watch a different game.

          He’s not the total idiot he used to be. He at least is doing some homework now. Before he didn’t even know the difference between pro and college rules.

          • Richard says:

            I can’t stand Musberger either. He gets one fact wrong (either on the play in front of him or something else) about ever 5 minutes or so. In his defense, he is getting old. However, I don’t understand how he got promoted to the top ABC/ESPN football broadcasting team and has stayed there.

            (His telecasts with Bob Knight are great, though, but that’s mostly because of Knight).

          • M says:

            Musberger may not be the best announcer, but he has moments of greatness. Craig James has nothing.

          • Jake says:

            Musberger is not good, but he talks pretty sometimes. I thought he’d get canned for sure after that “steroids are good for you” speech from earlier this year. His ignorance of the game is astounding.

      • greg says:

        Every time Iowa has non-conf game, such as the Arizona games the last two years or any bowl game, ESPN and Craig James talk about Iowa’s big lines against the speed of the SEC or P10. Iowa has the smallest lines in the B10 and relies on speed and technique.

      • Michael in Indy says:


        I almost expect Fox to switch to college football on Saturdays instead of baseball. They could follow the CBS model, having a game of the week for one conference. They could pay top dollar for the Big Ten and hope high ratings pay off, or maybe they could go for more of a bargain with the Pac-10, Big 12, or Big East.

        Speaking of which, I can’t help but wonder if NBC has thought about this, too. If they had the Big 12, for instance, they’d always have a handful of ranked teams to choose from for a broadcast to go head-to-head against the SEC game on CBS. Those teams would include big brand names like Oklahoma and Texas, both of whom have been much more successful than Notre Dame. Yet, with the Big 12’s relatively small demographics compared to other leagues, maybe a contract with that league wouldn’t cost much more than the one with Notre Dame.

        I guess it depends on the timing of when those conferences’ first-tier game contract runs out with ABC. (Someone feel free to fill me in on those dates.)

        Regardless, baseball’s lost its leverage for national TV contracts for the regular season. It seems Fox would be much better off putting baseball on FSN and football on the network station.

        • Jake says:

          @Michael in Indy – I think that’s pretty much what Frank was getting at in his post. I like baseball, but I don’t really care about Fox’s deal.

          I’m not sure how ND would feel about sharing “their” network with another conference, but I’m hoping something comes of this Comcast-NBC merger and a legitimate contender to the WWL emerges. Those guys have WAY too much power in college football. And as a fan, I just want more college football on television.

    • Bullet says:

      Missed the reference the first time. You have to have had a lot of alcohol to listen to that.

  28. greg says:

    Urban Meyer resigns, maybe for realz this time.

    • FLP_NDRox says:

      I’m waiting for the “Fire Kelly, get Urban” website to go up. I’m guessing the end of the week at the latest.

    • Jake says:

      Do you hear that? It’s the world’s tiniest violin, playing just for Jim Delaney.

    • Michael in Indy says:

      What the heck is Delany talking about? The Big Ten hasn’t given up squat in the Rose Bowl.

      Sure, the ’02 and ’06 Rose Bowls didn’t feature Big Ten teams, but that was because it was the BCS title game. Since the Rose Bowl is now a separate game from the title game, even when it’s played at the Rose Bowl stadium, that’s no longer an issue. Besides, even though the old system would have put Big Ten teams in the Rose Bowl, it also was the same system that prevented BT member Penn State from earning a shot at the ’94 national title, and easily could have done the same to the ’97 Michigan team had the AP been as sympathetic towards Nebraska as the coaches were.

      The only other Rose Bowl that didn’t feature a Big Ten team was the ’03 game… and that was because BT champ Ohio State was in the more lucrative, more rewarding national championship game.

      This year, it’s the Pac-10, not the Big Ten, that’s getting short-ended by the BCS this year.

      What does he have to complain about? The BCS has been nothing but sweet for the Big Ten. It’s given them an era where they get a Rose Bowl team… AND an Orange Bowl or Sugar Bowl or Fiesta Bowl team.

      • Robber Baron says:

        This year we in the Pac10 were preparing ourselves to get screwed by the BCS yet again. The feeling is that only the Rule of 4 saved Stanford. You appear to have a far more concrete grasp of BCS history than I do, so you’d know if we are out of line, but we have the sense that when it comes to getting teams in at the margin the Pac10 is always left on the outside looking in. I’m actually surprised that we haven’t joined Slive in being willing to shake up the BCS structure. What do we have to lose from a playoff of champions when we rarely get a second team in anyway?

        • M says:

          I think the “Rule of 2 (teams per conference” saved Stanford, though Boise State losing didn’t hurt.

          Even if Stanford were number 5, they probably still get the selection.

          • ccrider55 says:

            No, the odds were very good that had Stanford not been in the top four they would have been left out of the BCS games. The Rose Bowl was obligated to take a non AQ team(that met the criteria) this year if they lost a conf champ to the title game. Stanford is in the Orange, not the Rose Bowl.

          • Bullet says:

            Although if Missouri had played in the Big 12 ccg instead of UNL (or Okie St. instead of OU), UNL (or OU) probably would have gotten the Orange Bowl at 10-2 over Stanford at 11-1. Missouri and Oklahoma St. didn’t have enough stature to do that.

          • ccrider55 says:

            As long as Stanford wasn’t in the top 4.

          • Jake says:

            Yeah, I’d say there was a definite chance 11-1 Stanford gets left out of the BCS bowls if things had gone a little differently. Had the Big 12 provided a second suitable team, or Boise not lost, the Orange likely would have picked one of those over the Cardinal (TCU likely would have been the at-large, though). As it turned out, they made the top 4 and the only other BCS bowl candidate was MSU, who couldn’t be selected after UW and OSU went.

            But it does seem like the Pac-10 gets the shaft when it comes to BCS bowls. I know there was that one year when Mack Brown campaigned to get Texas in over Cal. Part of the problem may be that Pac-10 teams aren’t known for traveling well to bowls. I know that was a concern with Stanford this year.

        • Brian says:

          I think the USC dominance of the 00s hurt the Pac 10’s chances at a second bid. Nobody else looked competitive. Oregon has been screwed a couple of times, too.

          The Pac 10 teams don’t get the benefit of the doubt because they do not historically travel well (like many warm weather schools). Being so far from the other big bowls doesn’t help.

          The Pac 10 under Scott may be more likely to support a change than when Hansen was in charge. Delany is the last of the old guard commissioners.

      • greg says:

        I would say not having a B10 team in the Rose Bowl three times this decade is “giving up something”. You may not think its a big deal, but it is certainly something.

        In 2003, OSU was in the title game, but Iowa also went 8-0 in conference (11-1 overall). The Rose Bowl supposedly wanted to take Iowa, but the vagaries of the selection process allowed the Orange Bowl to use some one-time election to jump up and snag them before the Rose Bowl had the chance, which caused yet another BCS selection rule change. Iowa got to face USC in the Orange Bowl (and lose) while Oklahoma played Washington State in the Rose Bowl.

        • Michael in Indy says:


          The Orange (or Sugar or Fiesta) would no longer be able to take Iowa in a circumstance like that. The Rose would get to replace Ohio State with Iowa before any other bowl got a selection. So the Big Ten is no longer really giving that up.

      • Brian says:

        Michael in Indy,

        For the 1946-2000 seasons, the Rose Bowl was Big Ten/Pac 10 champs. In the past 10, that match up happened 3 times. Two more times it was a runner up from the Big Ten.

        The Big Ten considered it a major sacrifice to rotate the title game in the Rose Bowl. They also didn’t want to lose a conference champ to a title game. Now they have to take a non-AQ once every 4 years, too. These are significant concessions to the other leagues, especially the non-AQs, for the benefit of others.

        You make it sound like the Big Ten never got two BCS level bowls before the BCS. The second place teams were often chosen for at large spots in the other big bowls, not to mention PSU and NE.

        • Michael in Indy says:

          Of the seven of the ten games that weren’t B10 Champ vs. P10 Champ, three of them (2002, 2006, and 2007) were because Ohio State was in the national championship game, which gives the Big Ten better ratings and revenue than even the Rose Bowl does.

          Two more Rose Bowls (2001 and 2005) didn’t have a Big Ten team because the Rose Bowl was, itself, the national championship game. Since the Rose Bowl is now a separate game from the national title game, even when the title game is at the Rose Bowl, the Big Ten can still go to the Rose Bowl game every year.

          The situation you referred to from the 2002 season wouldn’t happen again because of rule changes. The Rose Bowl, having lost Ohio State to the national title game (which that year was at the Fiesta Bowl), would get first priority and would have gotten Iowa, who would have played Washington State.

          The only other time when the Rose Bowl took a team that wasn’t from the Big Ten or Pac 10 was the 2004 season, when the Rose Bowl chose to take Texas over Cal.

          Considering it was the Pac-10 that missed a bid to the Rose Bowl because of the new non-AQ rule, I don’t see what Delany has to complain about. Larry Scott? Different story.

          • Brian says:

            I agree with all your facts.

            However, the new non-AQ rule still means up to 25% of the time the game won’t be Big Ten/Pac 12 champs. And losing a champion to the title game in other years takes away more years. Both of those are sacrifices in Delany’s eyes. He would be happier with the Rose Bowl not in the BCS and always matching up the conference champions.

            It’s isn’t just the Big Ten losing a spot in the Rose Bowl that bothers him, it’s losing the traditional match-up period. It’s why he resisted the BCS for so long (with the support of the COP/C).

  29. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Based on the information I provided a little earlier from, I did a comparison of the ABC, CBS and NBC games that were all aired at the same time. That includes the 3:30 ET slot for the 11 weeks starting on 9/18, and the prime-time 8p ET slot on 10/2.

    The ABC regional coverage of ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big XII and Pac-10 had an average rating of 3.48.

    The CBS national coverage of the SEC had an average rating of 4.43.

    The NBC national coverage of Notre Dame home games had an average rating of 1.62.

    It should be noted that ABC’s regional-ized coverage should maximize ratings since they are sending the best game on a regional basis to the area most likely to care about that particular game.

    Frank, I’m not totally debunking your NASCAR/SEC, Big Ten/MLB analogy, but it looks like these numbers support what I have been saying all along about SEC expansion and TV deals. It’s all about compelling TV.

    ABC only beat CBS in 3 of the 11 head-to-head time slots.

    On 10/2 ABC pulled in a 4.4 with Texas/OU, Wisconsin/Mich St. and Va Tech/NC St. The CBS game that afternoon only pulled a 2.6 pitted my Tigers against a down, un-ranked Tennessee team.

    On 10/16 ABC pulled in a 3.6 with Texas/Nebraska and Iowa/Michigan. CBS pulled in a 2.9 with Arkansas/Auburn

    On 11/20 ABC pulled a 4.2 with Ohio St/Iowa, while CBS pulled a 3.2 with LSU against an Ole Miss team with a losing record. Louisiana only has a population of 4.5 million and Mississippi is around 3 million. Obviously, there were many more people outside of Louisiana and Mississippi watching that game.

    Frank, I obviously don’t have regional-ized ratings, but my point is that with CBS’ average ratings almost a full point over ABC’s (4.43 to 3.48), some people outside of the South must prefer the SEC’s brand of football to the football played in their own region.

    Also 2 of the top 3 highest rated games this season were SEC games.

    1. Bama/Auburn 7.3 [Note - this game overlapped ABC's coverage of Pitt/WVU (2.5) and UNL/CU (1.6)].
    2. Boise St./VA Tech 6.3 – no competition.
    3. SEC CCG – Auburn/USCe 5.3 – no competition.

    With all that said, CBS and ESPN made out like bandits with their SEC deals. Hopefully, there some performance triggers that allow the SEC to open up that contract. If not, the SEC could just tell ESPN that at the end of the contract, the SEC will start it own SECTV network like the BTN.

    • greg says:


      Is the Saturday afternoon CBS game the #1 SEC game every week?

      Sometimes the ABC afternoon game is B10 #1, sometimes the night game is.

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        greg – The average rating for the ABC night game from 9/4 to 11/20 is 3.55.

        The CBS afternoon game is generally the SEC’s #1 game, but CBS gets one prime-time game per year. This year, it was Florida/Bama on 10/2. The CBS game drew a 5.0, while the ABC prime-time combination of Stanford/Oregon and Notre Dame/BC drew a 3.0. Also, each SEC team is limited to 5 appearances on CBS per season, so ESPN/ESPN2 usually always have good to great games for the SEC prime-time slot(s).

      • @greg – Yes, CBS gets first pick of the SEC slate every week and that will always be in the afternoon slot. In addition, there might be one or two prime time games per year plus the Iron Bowl on Black Friday. ABC gets the first pick for the Big Ten every week, but that game will be shown in either the late afternoon or prime time.

    • @Alan from Baton Rouge – Oh, the SEC has been compelling TV for sure and I’m not surprised by those numbers. It would be interesting to see the market-by-market data for those games. The MLB/NASCAR analogy wasn’t really intended to say that the SEC doesn’t draw viewers outside of the South, but rather that the ratings are so massive in that region (NFL-level numbers) that they have a significant impact on the overall national number.

      The comparisons next year will be very interesting with Nebraska coming in – they’ll have a very strong effect on the Big Ten TV package from top-to-bottom. A game featuring any 2 of Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska and Penn State is going to draw a large rating year-in and year-out. The Big Ten is guaranteed to have 4 of those marquee games annually and, if a 9-game conference schedule is adopted as anticipated, will have 5 or 6 of them per year compared to only 2 or 3 now. Any of those 4 versus Wisconsin and Iowa (plus Michigan State and/or Illinois if they’re playing decently) is also going to be good for ratings. Think of it as the equivalent of the SEC just now adding Alabama and suddenly getting to add games between them and Auburn, LSU and Tennessee annually plus Florida 2 out of every 5 years and the trickle-down effect of them playing whoever happens to be playing well in a given season (i.e. Arkansas this year) – and all of those games didn’t exist before. That’s basically the effect that Nebraska is going to have on the Big Ten for TV purposes.

    • duffman says:


      I think you are quite correct in your thinking. The Big 10 has in modern times let the tOSU vs UM game drive the bus. While I understand this from one angle, it can cause issues as well. Look at the Pac 10, as USC has been the dominant program (from the national media / general american population view). I would argue this has hurt the rest of the conference as a whole. After doing the research a few months ago on underachieving teams (those really long posts I put up, and I still have in my mind to do Pitt and a few others). The fact that Chicago, Minnesota, and others moved the power around the Big 10 early probably helped them. I will admit that IU was not in that group, but al least it was a bigger pool.

      Maybe it is the luck at times, or maybe it is closer parity top to bottom, but the SEC seems to have better secondary games. Here we had a chance for MSU to more up in the national “awareness” and yet the tOSU guys in the media are still plugging (you know who you are) tOSU. Alabama was supposed to win it all, but LSU and Auburn were able to enter the “talking head” world. I think the SEC benefitted from the secondary exposure. When MSU popped up (like Auburn) and Wisconsin (like LSU) did as well, the tOSU guys in the media were still pushing tOSU. I know they keep talking about the Iowa game (and I am not discounting the debate), but why not give your Big 10 brothers some time in the sun? Yes, I know full well IU will probably live in the cellar for my lifetime, but why not push the “middle children” so over time you can get some national interest in the middle teams in the conference.

      Maybe I am just old and cranky, and I am willing to admit that, but it makes me unhappy for the conference as a whole to let this disparity go on. Am I the only one on here who feels this way at times?

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        “Maybe I am just old and cranky, and I am willing to admit that, but it makes me unhappy for the conference as a whole to let this disparity go on. Am I the only one on here who feels this way at times?”

        I would go further. The disparity has been growing for a long time. We split D1AA off from D1A. Then we made an artificial AQ-BCS status. Now the top of the big conferences are trying to pull further ahead of the lower tier teams. We’ll soon only have ten ‘worthy’ teams in the entire country.

      • greg says:

        How has the B10 “let the tOSU vs UM game drive the bus”? It was allowed to be the final game of the year, but no one has claimed that the B10 “let the Iowa vs MN game drive the bus.”

        Touting MSU above OSU simply because they aren’t a big name is also unfair. Sagarin ranks OSU 6th in predictor, while MSU is 34th.

        Teams like Auburn and LSU earned it on the field. Its no different in the B10.

      • jj says:

        I dunno. Maybe it is a MSU bias or maybe its becasuse i am in Ann Arbor, but I feel the same way sometimes. The Big 2 approach, which many push, particually around here, hurts the B10. 2006 Rematch UM/OSU anyone?! (uh, no.)

        Greg, did UM really earn the Gator Bowl on the field over Iowa? They both kind of melted down, but UM was getting the crap kicked out of it down the stretch, Iowa kept it close, plus Iowa pummeled UM at UM and was 4-4 in the B10, while UM was 3-5 and beat IN, Pur and IL in a fiasco. There’s a “shine” factor that kind of blows to all this stuff.

        As for MSU v OSU v Wisc. I’ll go to my grave thinking MSU got jobbed (and, yes, someone gets jobbed every year).

        MSU beat 7 bowl eligible teams this year, OSU beat 6, Wisc – wait for it, it’s good – beat 4. In fact, 7 of Wisc’s opponents had losing records.

        OSU’s signature win was 7-5 Iowa, which it got on a prayer. Wisc’s was OSU and it was pretty convincing. But, MSU’s was Wisc, and Sparty took a knee and won by 10.

        I don’t buy into margins of victory too much b/c if you don’t beleive that “shit happens in games”, then: (1) you’ve never played, (2) you need to check out such gems as IL v UM this year, which could be Exhibit A for this argument; or (3) you probably have a plan to win a boxing match, which will go really well until you get hit in the head. :)

        Arraugh! I need a beer.

        • greg says:


          A whole cluster of B10 teams finished at 7-5, so I can’t complain about the bowl slotting. Iowa jumped Michigan to get the Outback a few years ago, so it goes both ways.

          As for the 3-way first place tie, everyone looks at “best win”, but I also consider the loss. OSU lost a road game against an 11-1 team. Wisky lost a road game against an 11-1 team. MSU lost a road game against a 7-5 team. I won’t even mention the scores.

          • jj says:

            It does go both ways, but the head to head should matter a lot. The bowls are pretty lame in a lot of ways anyway. It just seems these guys get the breaks all the time. It gets old. I know it’s all money, but it just gets old.

          • Brian says:


            There is something to be said for having won 160 more games and a lot more conference and national titles. MI went to 10 Rose Bowls in 17 years, while MSU has gone to 4 total. MSU has won 10+ games 3 times ever. MSU hasn’t sustained much success since the 60s, so they don’t stay in the collective consciousness.

            National respect is earned over time, not in one season. Ask Boise, TCU and Utah. Win a couple of bowls and at least 10 games for 2 or 3 years and you’ll see the national opinion of MSU skyrocket.

          • jj says:

            I get it, Brian. I really do. Someone has to take up the flag for all the ugly teams out there.

            Getting a trip to the Rose Bowl should not be a 3 year proposition though. I just can’t beleive they let the BCS determine who gets that bid. They need to make that call themselves.

            And as for the crowds, I can easily do the old give and take. I have no idea what your team affiliation is, but I can tell you that 20+ years of hearing nonstop shit from these guys about how sweet they are (osu / um) and bo and woody and then going 11-1 for the first time ever and losing out to what is frankly the only bowl that matters in B10 land is a giant kick in the nuts. (And I don’t think I have little bro complex!)

            I love that we’re playing Bama. It will be fun.

          • Brian says:


            I am an OSU guy, but I do feel bad for MSU (not enough to give up the Sugar, but bad nonetheless). It is crushing to finally have that great year and still miss out on the Rose Bowl. Unfortunately they picked a year when WI and OSU had great years. The only reason they need to build their reputation is because they didn’t win the title outright. If they beat Iowa, or even lost a close game, they may be headed to Pasadena.

            I agree that the BCS tiebreaker is a bad choice. I’d put it much lower on the list. I think every effort should be made to focus on conference games to determine a conference winner.

            My procedure (based on the new Big Ten, but easily adaptable to the current alignment):

            An outright division winner has the best division record. As with any set of tiebreakers, you revert to the top of the list after eliminating one or more teams. I personally would eliminate the worst loss, but most people seem to prefer rewarding the best win so that is what I did here.

            1. Head to head against all tied teams
            1a. Value all wins and losses as 1
            1b. Value a road win as 1.25 and a road loss as 0.75 and check head to head again

            2. Record versus each of the remaining division opponents in descending rank
            2a. If several teams are tied, the tied teams are considered as a group

            3. Record versus common opponents

            4. Overall conference record

            5. Record versus each of the opposite division opponents in descending order of divisional record
            5a. If several teams are tied, the tied teams are considered as a group. The team with the fewest wins is eliminated. If all teams have the same number of wins, then the team with the most losses is eliminated.

            6. Highest final BCS ranking of defeated non-conference opponents in descending order

            7. Longest time since previously winning the conference

            I save overall conference record for later because division wins seem more important for deciding the division champion to me.

            Tiebreaker #6 is designed to encourage a difficult OOC schedule by rewarding good wins. Only in the very unusual situation of teams having multiple OOC opponents in common would losing hurt a team.

            #7 would never be used, since it would essentially require three or more teams to play an identical schedule with identical results, but if that should ever happen then #7 is a reasonable way to select a winner and is a recognition of the conference’s history.

          • Bullet says:

            +/- points vs. each other is not politically correct anymore, but it ought to be somewhere on the list. If Team A beats Team B by 35; Team B beats Team C by 8; Team C beats Team A by 1, Team A would win that tiebreak. Its probably a better measure than the BCS.

          • Brian says:


            I don’t use the BCS in my tiebreakers until #6, and that is for comparing non-conference victories.

            I would consider point differential, but that would be a non-starter in the Big Ten. The conference (-Bielema) values sportsmanship too much and enjoys good defensive football. Point differential would support offensive shootouts over defensive slugfests and the conference does not want to dictate style of play.

            Using BCS rankings achieves a similar distinction but allows for a bigger picture view of the teams than just points.

          • Bullet says:

            Using the BCS allows outsiders to determine your champion (even if a low option). It will favor the OSUs, UMs, UNLs and PSUs.

            I think the TX high schools used to (and maybe still do) use point differential but limit it to 21 points (i.e. win by 50 or 21, you still get credit for 21).

          • Brian says:


            The point is that I would never use the BCS rankings of the tied teams. Outside opinions of the Big Ten teams would not matter.

            I would use the BCS for comparing OOC opponents, where outside opinion is relevant. Is there a better way to compare OOC opponents?

            Besides, if you’ve gotten that far down the tiebreaker list then you have no right to complain. When the damn games and you’ll never need the tiebreakers.

        • Brian says:


          It is a MSU bias, but that’s what being a fan is about. You do realize that many, especially in AA, tout the Big 2 to piss off the MSU fans, right? Especially with MI down and OSU ascendant, they have to keep “little brother” down.

          It’s like when they started saying that MI/MSU was the bigger rivalry to them because Cooper kept losing. It was a mind game then and is now.

          As for the 2006 rematch, I was not a fan of it. But OSU/MI went into the game undefeated and ranked 1 and 2 and played an exciting game won by the home team. Florida had a loss and won their last game by blocking a field goal at the end. It was not unreasonable for people to consider which 1 loss team would be more deserving. People talked about a FL/AL rematch of the SEC title game the last two years. A rematch is always a bad idea in my opinion, but it is a valid discussion in the BCS era.

          IA would have gotten a better bowl if they didn’t lose to MN. Anybody that loses the last game to 2-9 MN deserves their fate. They were a better team than MI, but the season ended so badly that as a bowl I wouldn’t really want them. At least MI has the excitement of a return to a bowl and an exciting offense. Their defense is exciting too, in a very different way.

          It’s one thing to think the rest of the Big Ten is wrong, but people nationally all seem to agree that MSU was the worst of the three. Three narrow wins over mediocre teams and a blowout loss make it hard to support the argument for them. The exact margin of victory is not important, but a 31 point loss is. So are multiple close calls that required trick plays and gifts from the opponent (think LSU – a good comparison as they also just missed the BCS).

          MSU got screwed by having their best year in a long time the same year that WI did, but WI knows how that feels. MSU will get their chance to shine if they can maintain their performance. They get OSU/MI/NE/WI/IA all next year. Go 11-1 then win the CCG, then they’ll get a BCS game.

      • jj says:

        Oh, and UM/OSU was allowed to be more than the final game. It was allowed to be the final game and a potential rematch for the CCG. You can bet the christmas ham that UM and OSU demanded this set up. It’s BS. The SEC didn’t set anyone up this way that I’m aware of.

        • Adam says:

          And this is why I continue to be absolutely incensed at the alignment. Independently of what UM and OSU want for themselves, it is a slap in the face of decades of tradition to have the regularly scheduled UM/OSU game not be “the game” with as many marbles on the line as possible. But beyond that, the fact that their schools so demonstrably made it clear that they wanted to be in separate divisions had the trickle-down effect of neither of those two schools making any compromises, even while (for example) the Wisconsin-Iowa-Minnesota triad is getting broken up.

          Thus, I resent it doubly: both because it is a fundamentally stupid decision, and because it represents an abject capitulation to what 2 schools wanted (even if what they wanted for themselves was unwise).

          • yahwrite says:

            Did U-M and OSU want to be separated or were they doing what Delaney and others thought would be best for TV ratings and therefore $ and the conference?

            I guess we’ll never know for sure. I’m confident, although I can’t prove it, that the fans of the two schools wanted to be in the same division.

          • jj says:

            Yeah. You were really mad! I remember that.

            Just sticking psu and the corn patrol together would have been better. Or kiss, but I can see the downside to that.

          • Richard says:

            I’m quite certain the rest of the BigTen wanted UM & tOSU split up (so every school would get at least one of them).

            I’m not as sure that those 2 schools wanted to be in separate divisions. Certainly the fans didn’t.

          • jj says:

            @ Richard

            I think that is why kiss ultimately failed.

            But, I think that could be accomplished where the 2 tos are um/OSU and psu/neb.

          • greg says:

            The rest of the league wanted UM/OSU split up at least as much as they did, if not more. Or at least it appears. We don’t know anything about what truly went down.

            And how does the OSU-UM placement “hurt” the conference? How does it “hurt” the other schools?

            Too many times, people on this blog and elsewhere want organizations to cut off their nose to spit their face. Lets screw UM-OSU! What is the gain? I dunno, but they are evil! ISU/KSU/Baylor should tell Texas to F themselves. Sure, the MAC and C-USA aren’t great, but at least we’ll have self-respect.

            I think it makes sense for the conference to leverage their big names. OSU/UM and PSU/NEB appear to have the toughest crossovers, so they’ll have the toughest schedules in the long run. How does that hurt Indiana and the others?

          • greg says:


            How is it an abject capitulation?

            You seem to view the world in black and white. You act as if their is an inherent valuation of each team and the bowl pickings should reflect that. You think anything other than KISS (which I supported) is “abject capitulation” and a fundamentally stupid decision.

            Life has shades of gray, and UM/OSU in the same division isn’t the end of the world.

          • Richard says:

            I don’t.

            PSU just doesn’t elict the same emotions (boost attendance as much) as UM & OSU west of Ohio.

          • jj says:

            Greg, you make some good points and obviously our big bros are entitled to some deference, but what did they give up here? Where is their compromise? The last week of the season could set up into a mini playoff, but not anymore and the idea of a back to back rematch is beyond stupid, IMHO. I have come around that kiss would not have been best. If they would have moved OSU um to game one, this setup would be better. But I really think you get more value going with um OSU and psu neb.

            No one knows what happened, but my guess is um and OSU moved for separation and were argreeable to moving the game, then the fans flipped out and the league ok’d it as is. I think sometimes though the league pushes these 2 at the expense of the others. Just a gut feeling.

          • Adam says:

            I don’t expect the Big Ten to cut off its nose to spite its face; but I do expect it to voluntarily forego slightly higher income opportunities in order to take a stand for normative values in college athletics. They make lots of money, they can afford to cede a few bucks for the sake of doing what’s right.

          • Richard says:


            They gave up being in the same division. Again, the rest of the BigTen wanted to split up UM/OSU more than those 2 did. Michigan probably would prefer having PSU instead of Nebraska every year as well, since they draw so heavily from the East Coast.

            If you’re looking for a school that got everything they wanted, look at Minnesota. They got to play Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, as well as Nebraska annually and also visit Chicagoland as often as possible.

          • Adam says:

            If the rest of the league wanted those two split up, then someone should have said something about that too. What I resent as much as anything about the process is the almost Stepford Wives-type “toe the company line, nobody disagrees” ridiculousness. I respected Haden at USC far more for making it clear that he didn’t like the way things went down, but they were what they were. Pretending everybody agreed on everything is a way for nobody to have to take accountability for anything.

            The schools that were most vocal about splitting UM and OSU were UM and OSU. If it was somebody else’s idea, those two were the ones who championed it — particularly Dave Brandon and Gordon Gee (the “we want to beat them twice” comments and so forth). That’s where my abject capitulation thing comes from: nobody disagreed. What did they give up? They got split up (like they wanted), they got annual games against everybody they wanted annual games with. By contrast, virtually everybody else had to give up something that was important to them. The fact that Wisconsin-Iowa-Minnesota will not be an annual triad is an absolute crime against sports and has irrevocably tarnished Delany’s legacy in my eyes. All of the good things he has done come to naught if he betrays the reasons that we play the games in the first place. It is more than just a business — that’s what makes it college football instead of pro. When they start treating it like just a business, that’s when I head for the exits.

            UM/OSU in the same division may not be the end of the world, but it is the end of my following college football (well that and the myriad other things that are morally corrupt about the alignment). I’m trying to enjoy this season, because I don’t care to follow it after this — it’s clear the current leadership’s priorities are out of step with mine.

          • greg says:

            But HOW is this at the expense of other B10 schools? HOW does this negatively impact the rest of the league? UM/OSU don’t get more money. They don’t get more scholarships. They don’t get to play a November night game when no one else does. They don’t get a special trophy that no other rivalry can have.

            Conference decisions are made by a vote of the 11 presidents/chancellors. I think we are all kidding ourselves if we think two of them can force the rest of the conference to vote however they like.

          • greg says:


            I found it surprising that Michigan is shunted to the West with all us rural hicks when they seem to be a school with an Eastern slant. The divisional alignment may not have been ideal, but I think its easy to see that pretty much every school gained and lost something.

            Your point about Minnesota is interesting, they did get everything. :)

          • greg says:


            For someone who is no longer following college football, you sure post here a lot.

          • Adam says:

            With the season approaching its end, so will my posting, greg. But I’m happy to do so now.

          • Richard says:


            OK, let me get this straight:
            1. Everyone outside UM/OSU wanted to split them up.
            2. According to you, UM/OSU wanted to split up.
            3. You think it’s a bad idea because UM/OSU didn’t suffer enough.

            So you would rather have UM/OSU in one division (which UM/OSU don’t want and which the majority of the other schools, because 6 of the 10 would be in the opposite division, don’t want) just so UM/OSU also sacrifice?

            So instead of maximizing what everyone wants, you’re more concerned with making sure everyone suffers. OK, got it. I’m just glad you’re not dictator of the world.

          • jj says:

            I gotta stop talking to you guys.

            One last thing, one of my favorite thongs on here is when Adam goes on a rant, someone barks at him and he claims he’s gonna quit. Not that I want him gone, it’s just funny how addictive this site is and how emotionally invested lots of peoe get about this stuff.

            I swear to god, I am stopping for awhile.

          • cutter says:

            My recollection on the divisional split was that the conference assessed each teams’ performance since 1993 (when Penn State joined the conference) and ranked them from that point forward.

            If I recall correctly, that put Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska and Penn State in one group, followed by Iowa and Penn State.

            If you weren’t going to put Michigan and Ohio State in the same division, then UM had to go with either Nebraska or Penn State. Basic geography matched them up with UN-L while Ohio State was matched with PSU.

            Then the decision had to come down to Iowa and Wisconsin–which team goes where? The simplest answer had Iowa in the “west” and Wisconsin in the “east”.

            That left six teams and some more basic geography with some rivalry mixed in. Northwestern, Minnesota and Michigan State go “west”, while Illinois, Purdue and Indiana go “east”.

            Could Michigan and Ohio State been put in the same division? Sure, but that would have coupled Penn State with Nebraska–then what do you do? I suppose you could have put Purdue/Indiana along with Northwestern/Illinois in with PSU and Nebraska in order to keep the Wisconsin/Minnesota/Iowa triumviate intact–MSU would have rounded out that division.

            The problem with that is you’ve removed three teams that would be logical programs to play Nebraska from their division.

            But let’s say you kept Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa together along with Nebraska and Penn State plus one other school. That would put PSU on one end of the conference’s geography and most of the other schools on the other end–not a great thing when fans want to make road trips.

            You may be unhappy with the compromise, but given the way the evaluation was set up, this makes a certain amount of sense.

            What doesn’t make sense is having Michigan and Ohio State play at season’s end. I’m a Michgan alum and fan and I was totally okay if that game was played in late September or October–it wouldn’t have changed the UM football experience much for me (and for the record, my freshman year in Ann Arbor was 1978, so I have a long history there).

            The season should have ended up with the following games–all in the same division with the best matchups possible:

            Penn State-Ohio State

            Michigan State-Northwestern

          • mstinebrink says:

            Check my “Pod-casting The Big Ten” post for average, historic Sagarin rankings of the 12 members + ND, Mizzou, Rutgers, and Maryland:

            I’ve also calculated Average Point Differentials (APD), for all 12 teams, for all games:

            (1) Nebraska: +22.0
            (2) Michigan: +16.2
            (3) Ohio State: +11.3
            (4) Penn State: +10.7
            (5) Iowa: +4.7
            (6) Michigan St: +3.1
            (7) Illinois: -0.7
            (8) Indiana: -1.5
            (9) Wisconsin: -4.0
            (10) Purdue: -4.4
            (11) Minnesota: -5.6
            (12) Northwestern: -19.7

            (1) Nebraska: +15.6
            (2) Ohio State: +14.3
            (3) Penn State: +11.6
            (4) Michigan: +8.8
            (5) Wisconsin: +7.7
            (6) Iowa: +5.0
            (7) Purdue: +3.6
            (8) Michigan St: +2.4
            (9) Minnesota: +0.1
            (10) Illinois: -4.0
            (11) Northwestern: -4.4
            (12) Indiana: -7.9

          • M says:


            “Addiction is a disease, but it’s the only disease you can get yelled at for having. Damnit Otto you’re addicted. Damnit Otto you have lupus. One of these doesn’t sound right.”

          • mstinebrink says:

            Also, check out my “Big Ten Tic-Tac-Toe,” for the way the Big (12) Ten should’ve been aligned, based on actual, hard data (i.e. the APD’s listed above), not just fandom:

            P.S. Sorry for the Johnny-come-lately, self promotion. I’ve been reading for months; commenting for minutes.

          • Richard says:


            You need 2 divisions where all teams in the division play all others for a championship game. The work on how well 17 years of data predict is good, though. I felt the weighing of which schools have the most advantage going forward was wrong, myself.

            My idea (of what schools would be competitive going forward, IMHO):

            The interdivisional rivalry games would be almost the same as well; just switch to MSU-NU & Iowa-Illinois.

          • mstinebrink says:

            Adam & Richard:

            Thanks for the correction on the 6-team divisions requirement. You’ll see in the comments for my “Big Ten Tic-Tac-Toe” post ( that I provide an easy work-around.


            The “IMHO” is a useful qualifier, since no one can predict the future relative strength of 12 college football programs.

          • Brian says:


            IA/WI/MN was always going to be broken up, no matter which division(s) OSU and MI were in. They said from the start that balance was the top priority, and that meant splitting IA/WI even if KISS fans didn’t want to hear it.

            I remember all the fuss about geography when Stewart Mandel’s plan came out with the NW/PSU swap. Everyone was complaining how unfair it would be to make PSU travel so far and to force the two newbies together, but now people seem to be advocating that.

            If OSU/MI are together, so are NE/PSU. IA was going to be with NE, which forced WI east. MSU has to be with MI and the Indiana schools want OSU. That makes OSU/MI/WI/MSU/PU/IN versus PSU/NE/IA/NW/IL/MN. PSU will be happy with that? NE will be? The others will be?

            OSU and MI needed to be split for the sake of the rest of the league. The only tough decision left was The Game, and the fans forced that one.

            If it makes you feel better, history says a rematch should happen less than twice per decade, and the same team wins about 2/3 of the time. I’m guessing it will happen less often for OSU/MI because it’s the last game of the year so there’s no time to recover in the standings.

          • Brian says:


            Is it capitulation if they already agreed with the decision? Maybe that is why nobody spoke out about it? Alvarez seemed willing to talk to the media, so if he didn’t like the split or WI moving east he certainly could have made it known.

          • ohio1317 says:

            If that’s the case, the irony is OSU/UM fans on average hate it. If the administrators thought this was good for OSU/Um they were completely wrong.

            I’ll admit I was all for no compromises on moving the game from the end of the season and still am. Why it came to that is ridiculous though. They should be in the same division.

        • jj says:

          Also, the um fans I know, and I know a lot of them, seemed pretty concerned that um and OSU couldn’t play for all the marbles.

          I’ll be interested in the tell all book when it comes out.

          • Brian says:

            I think the fan bases were conflicted. They wanted to play for the title, but they also wanted the last game of the year. Most fans figured they couldn’t have both, so they settled for playing the last game for the division title.

            I think a lot of fans just assumed OSU and MI would be together and were dismayed when they started hearing about the split. They pushed for the last game, which they saw as the top priority, and got it.

            The league either greatly underestimated the fan backlash at moving The Game, or really didn’t understand their fan base. I wonder how surprised Brandon and Smith were at the response versus the other ADs and the COP/C.

          • ohio1317 says:

            I definitely got the impression that Brandon at least had been advocating the split (or was least fully on board) and didn’t anticipate the backlash. I’m not sure about Smith. My guess is he knew there would be a blacklash, but greatly underestimated it.

        • Adam says:

          For my part, the Big Ten’s efforts at “leveraging its brands” and whatnot in this bizarre and unnatural way is like someone trying to be cool. As soon as you’re trying to be cool, you’re advertising that you aren’t. As soon as the Big Ten starts trying to leverage its brands, I lose interest in its brands. I only care about them to the extent that the league doesn’t feel the need to try and leverage them.

          As a practical matter, the divisions are simply unsustainable. When the alignment’s raison d’être is “balance,” then it better be pretty damn balanced all the time — it has no other reason to exist. And of course, this is an impossible goal, because you’ll never know who will be good or bad in any given year. By contrast, a natural alignment of schools based on some other governing principle (whether geography or rivalries or whatever) would get the benefit of the doubt from me, because if it turned out imbalanced in a given year you could very plausibly say “nobody guaranteed it’d be balanced; we chose this alignment in order to serve other priorities.” Here, the only priority is “balance,” which is a goal that I think is set up to fail.

          • Brian says:

            Do you understand that it is TV that is leveraging the brands? They want as many games with the big 4 as possible and pay to get that. They choose what games to air and when, not the league. Frankly, the Big Ten could rig the schedule if they were trying to maximize the appearances of the big brands and total TV ratings. The league gets more eyeballs to attract potential students and promote the league in general when the games are popular.

            Every league wants their divisions to be balanced. Look at the flak the Big 12 took when the North went in the tank. Even the SEC suffers when one division is really down (like this year). The Big Ten happens to be set up in such a way that dividing by geography or rivalries would lead to poor balance. That leads to lower ratings and attendance. Balance is the key for the long term health of any league.

          • Adam says:

            The key to the health of a league is being true to itself. I’d rather have a radically “imbalanced” alignment that preserves what actually is interesting and matters about college athletics. The whole money angle is totally unconvincing. We set the terms of the debate. In a competitive sports broadcasting market, there will always be someone willing to step up and buy our broadcast rights for a hefty fee, regardless of what the alignment is, regardless of what the tiebreaker rules are, regardless of any other decision the league makes. Everybody has learned the lesson NBC suffered when it lost the AFC broadcast rights in ’98. If the league wanted to make 1 division NE-MI-OSU-PSU-IA-WIS, and a 2nd division of the other 6, they could do it and someone would still pay a hefty rights fee to broadcast the games. (That’d be stupid, but we could do it.) It was much more important for the league to send the signal that it wasn’t going to let its decision-making on that issue be affected by marginal increases in rights fees, than whatever small increase it did get as a result.

          • Adam says:

            Sure, nobody wants the Big 12 incident to happen — but so what? Trying to prevent it from happening is pointless. Humanities departments like to talk about things that are part of the “human condition”; the potential of an imbalanced alignment is part of the “2-division conference conditition.” Live with it, don’t try and fight it.

          • Brian says:


            It is one thing to have an unbalanced league for a few years due to the natural cycling of teams.

            However, it is silly to ignore history and invite an imbalance. That doesn’t help anybody. Half of the league gets ignored, and the bottom half of the strong division suffers damage. That’s 9 teams suffering because of forseeable problems.

            You will reduce the value of the league and reduce visibility that helps with attracting students. Most of the league will suffer in national reputation. How is that good for the Big Ten and its schools?

          • Adam says:

            It’s good for them because it’s authentic, natural, and honest. What they have now is contrived, artificial, and a lie.

            Plus, as the “bydivineright” guy noted on his post, the 17 years prior to 1993 only had an R-squared predictive value of .59 for the 17 years beginning with 1993. Who the hell knows what’s going to happen? The Big Ten should be above trying to play that stupid game.

          • Brian says:


            I’m sure 100 years of OSU, NE, MI and PSU winning more than everyone else will disappear overnight. Long live the reign of Indiana and Minnesota.

          • Adam says:

            Northwestern hadn’t won the Big Ten Championship since 1936, and then won in 1995, 1996, and 2000. Wisconsin hadn’t won the Big Ten Championship since 1962, and has titles in 1993, 1998, 1999, and 2010 (and is 3-0 in Rose Bowls). And in what way has PSU been winning for 100 years? PSU has as many league championships since joining as Northwestern does — and unlike Northwestern, faces the tremendous uncertainty of a coaching institution retiring sometime fairly soon.

          • Richard says:

            That’s why the divisions should have been split by potential/resources:


          • Brian says:


            Wins since 1993:
            OSU 181
            NE 175
            WI 156
            PSU 154
            MI 152
            IA 126
            MSU 112
            PU 109
            NW 104
            MN 95
            IL 81
            IN 74

            Win % 1910-2009 (national rank):
            OSU 0.734 (1)
            MI 0.720 (4)
            PSU 0.705 (9)
            NE 0.700 (10)

            I’d say PSU has been winning over the past 100 years. An average coach at PSU can achieve more than a great coach at NW because of the resources and tradition.

            All teams go through cycles, but they tend to return to the historical mean over time. PSU will win more than NW in the long term.

          • Adam says:

            I don’t much care about regression to the mean over time. We play by the season, not by the decade or century. I don’t much care if an alignment is balanced over 5 or 10 or 50 years; it only matters if it is balanced each individual year. Which it can’t be, and which is why it shouldn’t be attempted. By chasing that, you’ve legitimated something that should be rejected as a valid basis for organizing the league.

          • Brian says:


            Shockingly, most people don’t agree with you. Delany, the ADs, and most fans would say being balanced over any reasonable period of time is exactly what they want out of the divisions.

            You seem to have decided that this alignment is only acceptable if teams 1-6 in each division have the exact same records and the interdivisional games are split equally every season. That seems to be a nonsensical way to define success of the divisional alignment.

            You are, of course, welcome to your opinion on this issue but it baffles me that you think others share it. Have you heard anyone else espouse such a strict adherence to perfect balance as the only way to validate the divisions?

          • Adam says:

            I’ve decided no such thing — my attitude is that, because balance is unachievable, it should be totally disregarded. The league should adopt some other governing logic for aligning the divisions and adhere to it strictly, regardless of the balance consequences.

          • Brian says:


            It’s nice that you have decided balance is impossible. However, you have absolutely no evidence to support that.

            The only way you can truly state that categorically is if, as I said, you have decided that balance means perfect balance.

            That would also be an unsupported belief as balance is not a black and white issue (to anyone else but you).

            It’s wonderful for you to say to ignore balance since it can’t be perfect, but you have never offered any justification for why that would be a good decision. Everyone else recognizes that it would harm the league to be unbalanced, so what is your argument for the greater net good gained by ignoring it?

            You say you don’t even care what basis is used to divide the divisions as long as it isn’t competitive balance. Your position in a nutshell is that you don’t care what decision is made as long as it isn’t this one, but we all know that isn’t true. You’ll just complain about any decision unless it conforms to your secret preference (which you claim not to have).

            How about this for a driving force: honor the history of the conference by dividing based on historical success before 2011. That is a completely achievable goal, one that also happens to be likely to achieve balance in the future.

        • jj says:

          Great point. F’ing minny they get all the good stuff! :). They need all the help they can get though.

          I think we all might just need to agree to disagree. I really think OSU and um wanted to be split up. I didn’t care much until they rigged the rematch.

          I’ll still watch and I’m not gonna lose any sleep over it, I just think there us too much “shine” or “beauty contest” or whatever you want to call it in c football. On the other hand, it is kind of the opposite in bb; too many mid-level bcs teams in there to me.

        • jj says:

          Richard, I gotta disagree re um’s choice of psu or neb. They want neb more I think. I’m with them on that. I think it’s more interesting as well. I think they are more midwestern than some might think. The vast majority of the fan bad is around detroit, which isn’t really eastern. It’s midwestern. Hell, it’s more Canadian with a big dash if post-apocolyptic nightmare in flavor than east coast.

        • Brian says:


          You say OSU and MI wanted this, but I have seen no evidence of that.

          The league clearly wanted to split OSU and MI, so the statements later about playing twice only express what was already discussed in their meetings. There weren’t any early comments from either side expressing that. Besides, 2 schools have no power over the other 9. Once it was decided, the league fell into lockstep like they always do about everything. Nobody voices dissenting opinions of decided issues publicly.

          I don’t think any of the powers that be wanted the OSU/MI game to end the season, but the fans vetoed their decision. The OSU and MI AD’s both tried to sell an early November game to their fan bases and it was rejected.

          It should tell you something that they did not revisit the idea to split OSU and MI, they just moved The Game to the end of the year. The value of splitting them was worth the cost of a potential rematch. You don’t have to agree with it, but they are the ones who saw the numbers.

          The SEC ends with rivalry games. Some are OOC (GA/GT, FL/FSU) and others in conference (Egg Bowl, Iron Bowl). There are no inter-divisional rivalry games that week. If they had needed to split AL/Auburn when making divisions, I don’t know if they would have moved up the game or not.

          • ohio1317 says:

            I think it sadly says a lot that they didn’t revist the divisions. Two other points tell a lot too.

            1. They didn’t choose Northwestern vs. Illinois as the other last week crossover. You needed a second to balance the schedule with OSU/UM and that was a natural one, but they ignored it.
            2. They emphasized this was the first 2 years schedule. I fully expect the OSU/Michigan game to be moved up at some point. They’ll probably wait until we have one rematch and use that as justification, but I think it’s coming. If I’m right, that’s when I’m finished rooting for the conference (but will withhold judgment until then).

          • Brian says:


            I also think they are waiting to see the reaction to the first rematch. If people don’t mind, they’ll leave it alone. If the fans get upset, then they move it forward. At the cost of one rematch, they can give the fans what they asked for both times.

            A rematch should only happen once or twice a decade at most anyway, probably less often since there is no time to recover from the loss.

      • Bullet says:

        If you watched any of Obama’s news conference the other day, you aren’t the only one sounding old and cranky. He was mad at the Republicans (as usual) but also the Democrats. Kind of whiny. I wonder if he got his undergrad at Nebraska .

        I think the real issue is that the SEC is stronger in the middle than the other conferences. The Big 12 and Big 10 have been strong at the top. The Pac 10 is strong at the bottom. With the SEC, if Alabama, FL and LSU are the top, UGA, Auburn, TN, Arkansas, Ole Miss and S. Carolina are the middle.

        • Richard says:

          Obama should realize that pissing everybody off isn’t a winning formula. We should’ve nominated the old woman.

          • jj says:

            The best part is when they debate money issues and then compromise on the least fiscally responsible option. Good times. Where’s my checkbook?

          • Bullet says:

            Right! Social Security is bankrupt so they cut that tax. Sounds like something the B10 did in setting up divisions.

      • Brian says:


        I have a very different impression of what the media did than you. MSU got a ton of hype after ND and even more after beating WI. But the second half of the season was not impressive. NW and Purdue were much too close for an elite team. You get one of those a year, and they used it with ND. After IA, who was going to hype them? What other team got hyped after losing by 31? OSU played like the better team all season with the exception of versus WI, and MSU got them at home. Three narrow wins and a blowout loss don’t make for a lot of hype.

        MSU will help themselves if they win their bowl game. Respect carries over from year to year, and MSU doesn’t have a strong track record yet. They last won a bowl in 2001. None of the SEC teams you mentioned have that sort of past.

        The other SEC teams get talked about because so many in the media blindly love the SEC. They were so convinced of the greatness of FL and AL that every victory over them was treated as a superhuman effort.

        I would also guess that most OSU fans would tell you that most of the actual OSU guys in the media don’t talk up OSU enough. Herbstreit is vilified for his treatment of OSU when he’s on ABC or ESPN (especially for the Troy Smith incident). He’s much more positive when he’s on Columbus radio. Robert Smith isn’t overly enthusiastic either. Lou Holtz is a buffoon that blindly supports OSU but is balanced by Mark May who despises OSU and puts them down at every opportunity. Chris Spielman bleeds scarlet and gray but usually is too busy talking about bad tackling to say much else (and that is an expert I would listen to).

        Like others, I don’t see how the Big Ten has let The Game drive the bus. The fans have made it the biggest game in the inventory, not the league. Should the conference intentionally try to devalue their best property in the hope that PSU/MSU would rise up to take its place?

        • jj says:

          You’re talking about voting for clothing and not the teams that actually play.

          The whole reason msu is where they are is because they were unranked at the start.

          Auburn had several close games. You don’t have to pummel teams to be good.

          NW with persa is a good team, psu at home is a pretty tall order. Msu did just fine down the stretch.

          • Brian says:

            No, I’m talking about watching the games and voting accordingly. That’s not to say that voters don’t vote by the names, but I’m saying on the field results support MSU being third.

            MSU did fine, but elite teams are expected to do better than fine. NW lead until 2:00 in the 4th quarter. It took a desperate comeback and some luck to beat Purdue. PSU outplayed MSU in the second half. None of that looks good to a voter. Now add a 31 point loss to a team both WI and OSU beat.

            Why would a rational voter put MSU ahead?

          • Bullet says:

            MSU is ranked last for several reasons:
            1) They were unranked at start and noone expected them to do well;
            2) They lost badly; and most importantly,
            3) Their loss was the latest in the season.

            They did have the best win. I think they deserve the champion’s spot because they did best in conference and played a tougher conference schedule than OSU and beat WI. I agree with the general consensus that they are the 3rd best team but I think the facts in conference trump opinion.

          • Adam says:

            Granted, the Big Ten tiebreaker of throwing it to the BCS was stupid — but even if the Big Ten used an “internal,” quantifiable tiebreaker, MSU would likely use. Given the circumstances, it’s almost certain that the next tiebreaker would (if the league had committed itself to breaking its own ties) have been common opponents, which would have eliminated MSU (the only 1 of the 3 to lose to someone outside the group of 3) and then Wisconsin wins head-to-head over OSU.

          • Adam says:

            Whoops; meant “MSU would likely lose.”

          • Bullet says:

            If they used strength of schedule 1st, MSU would have won. Ohio St. played the weakest Big 10 schedule. MSU and Wisconsin were the same, but MSU beat WI.

          • Adam says:

            Yes, but almost nobody uses strength of schedule that highly in their tiebreaking system; usually some direct on-field analysis (like common opponents) is used before a more derivative statistic like SoS (or SoV) is used.

          • jcfreder says:

            But . . . part of the reason OSU had a weak schedule is that they didn’t get to play a home game against MSU, thus “completing the circle” of the Big 3 playing each other. However difficult MSU’s schedule was, they didn’t have to face the situation that gave OSU and Wisconsin their blemishes. I think most people would predict that OSU would have beaten MSU in Columbus.

          • jj says:

            yeah, and dewey beat truman.

            osu wins cuz its shinier!

            thank god for a ccg.

          • Brian says:


            I fully agree with your three reasons MSU was ranked lowest. They started lower, they lost badly and they lost last.

            But they also looked the least impressive to most people.

            Yes, MSU had the best win but it was balanced by the worst loss by far. I’m not sure how that equals them doing the best in conference.

            The difference between OSU’s and MSU’s conference schedules are location, NW/IN and results. OSU lost to WI on the road, MSU won at home. MSU lost at Iowa, OSU didn’t. MSU played NW (7-5) and OSU played IN (5-7).

            Even you admit they are the third best team which is what the BCS ranking is supposed to measure. So you agree with the results, but don’t like the system.

            You want to use resume to separate the teams, but there isn’t that much of a difference. All three teams had difficulties and advantages in their schedules.

        • gas1958 says:

          In an earlier time, in the event of a 3-way tie, the teams would be declared co-conference champs, but the B10 coaches would vote who would represent the conference in the Rose Bowl. I’m not advocating a return to that, but it’s interesting to speculate how this 3-way tie would have come out under the old system. My guess is OSU.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            gas – that’s the great thing about a CCG. No more co- or tri-champs.

          • Bullet says:

            Big 12 South did have tri-champs again. Seemed to be the year of tri-champs. Big 10, Big East and WAC also had them. Only clear champ was in BE where UConn beat the other two.

          • Brian says:

            I preferred the longest duration since a previous Rose Bowl rule to a vote. The politics of a vote have no place in the conference race.

            Theoretically it is like using the BCS rankings, but clearly none of the voters could be objective.

    • Brian says:

      I disagree with the premise that regional coverage should maximize ratings. That is probably true in regions that strongly care about the local conference and college football in general. However, I think there a lot of markets that would do better seeing the best game available rather than the local game featuring mediocre teams.

      People move a lot more than they used to, so there are a lot of transplanted fans anymore. Do Big Ten fans in the south want OSU/IA or MD/Clemson? It always irritates me when there is a match-up of top 25 teams available and I get two mediocre teams from a conference I don’t care about. I will always choose to watch something other than the ABC game. I’ll find the reverse mirror of the Big Ten game or something else on ESPN/ESPN2/FSN/VS. By the way, do their numbers include the reverse mirror ESPN or ESPN ratings for the ABC coverage? It didn’t look like it, but I’m no expert on TV ratings. How much would that impact your figures?

  30. mstinebrink says:

    Count me among those who will miss the expansion drama. And, despite my spinoff musings (, I look forward to watching the continued downward spiral of the Domers.

    P.S. Frank, you’ll find that I beat you to the punch, on the college football playoffs, with “The BCS: A Love Story,” also at

    • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

      Nice blog. Read a bunch of stuff on there.

      My opposition to your set-up though is the month (which we are currently suffering through) without football. Why? Why not make the first round (of 8 or 16, depending on your preference) before Christmas? Then, after you’ve narrowed it down to 4, use the “BCS” bowls to play the semi-final. Then, a week and a half later, play the championship game. These 3-4 weeks of nothing are bad for football. Whatever momentum and strength that’s been built up is gone (think of Wiscy now…I doubt we’ll see them as strong in the Rose).

      Like you mention, something must be done to placate the Big East (or any other current BCS conferences who don’t have a team in the top 8). That’s too much money for them to deal themselves out of. The BCS moguls must get theirs…any proposal must insure that. They have the power…no one will vote for less.

  31. Joe Pitt Fan says:

    Frank – another entertaining post. Some good stuff to chew on.

    As a BE fan, I’m intrigued by the UMass idea. School size, geographical fit, TV mkt, size of the alumni base, an easily expandable stadium/location – and the fact that they want to move up. And they have a decent BB program to boot. Whats not to love about all that if you are Marinatto?

  32. Bullet says:

    The ESPN article on Delaney defending the indefensible also had some comments from Beebe. The Big 12 apparently does not want to go to 12 or be made fun of, so they are seriously looking for a new name.

    Beebe also said he was glad to be rid of the championship game. He said it cost them shots at the BCS title. There is a common myth that it costs BCS slots. The reality is that over 15 years the Big 12 gained a net two, Texas in 96, A&M in 98, KSU in 03 got in, while Texas in 99 would have been in w/o a game.

    Now it has shifted who got in. OU got in 2007 over Missouri. CU got in 2001 over Texas. Texas was a longshot in 2003, but had no chance once KSU won.

    Its been beneficial for BCS slots, but it does make it more difficult to get to the championship game as its one more game to win to stay unbeaten or once beaten. It really only cost 2 (not 3 as Beebe said). Nebraska in 97 still would have ended up #3 with a win. KSU in 2000 and Missouri in 2007 were knocked out. OU lost in 2003, but still got in. Texas got knocked out in 2001 with their loss to CU, but Nebraska got in instead.

    Texas, other than the 1st year, has been hurt by the CCG, so you can see why Dodds & Brown are glad to be rid of it.

    Now the Big 10 and Pac 12 face those issues. I think the Pac 12 will end up getting more BCS slots.

    • Richard says:

      The “Big Texas”

      The “Texas 10″

      “The Longhorn Conference”

    • Jake says:

      The coaches may not like it, but the AD’s sure like getting the revenue. And the Big 12’s TV partners will eventually weary of paying for a game that isn’t being played.

      As for a name, just call it the Big 8. Let everyone argue about who the other two are.

    • Brian says:

      The numbers say there will be an upset 20% of the time. That may cost a few chances at national titles, but it may also prevent losing the title game and giving the league bad press.

      The Big 12 has had more upsets than any other league, probably because their divisions have been so unequal. They also have had more rematches of regular season games than any league but the ACC, but the ACCCG is too new for their stats to mean much. They are average with the rematches being won 2/3 of the time by the original winner.

  33. Michael in Indy says:

    “It really only cost 2 (not 3 as Beebe said). Nebraska in 97 still would have ended up #3 with a win.”


    I think you meant 1996. Nebraska shared the national title with Michigan in 1997.

    I remember that ’96 season very well. As a Florida State fan, it was my worst nightmare…

    Going into the last week of the regular season (not including pre-conference championship games), Florida was unbeaten at #1, FSU unbeaten at #2, Ohio State was unbeaten at #3, Arizona State was unbeaten at #4, and Nebraska had one loss (to AZ State) at #5. FSU fans wanted to win the national title, but if that couldn’t happen, they wanted ANYONE but Florida to win it instead.

    FSU supposedly took care of business and beat Florida. UF was out of the picture. Nebraska was poised to slide into the Sugar Bowl slot opposite FSU since it was pre-BCS, meaning Ohio State and Arizona State were Rose Bowl-bound. Then everything broke down…

    First, Ohio State eliminated itself from a national title chance by losing to Michigan, as they always did back in the 90’s. Then the next week, Nebraska eliminated itself by losing the Big 12 title game to Texas. When Florida beat Alabama in the SEC title game, they were right back in the Sugar Bowl, getting a second crack at FSU. At least FSU fans knew that Florida couldn’t win a national title as long as Arizona State could beat Ohio State. Weeks later, Ohio State, of course, beat Arizona State in the Rose Bowl. It was as though the regular season Florida-Florida State never even happened… Florida was the luckiest team in the world that year. I still begrudge Nebraska, Ohio State, and Az State for that. Absolutely horrible ending to that season.

    If that whole scenario had happened two seasons later, in the BCS era, the national title game would have been the only two remaining unbeaten teams: Florida State and Arizona State. That just makes me want to throw up even more. Florida was soooooo lucky.

    • Bullet says:

      Yes, I meant 96.

      I remember the Florida band marching onto the field in the SEC championship game playing “The Eyes of Texas.”

      • Mike says:

        The first time I ever saw Texas (I was young at the time) play, I wondered why the Texas band kept playing “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.”

        I know they changed the words, but its not quite the fight song I would picture a University with the stature of Texas having.

        • Richard says:

          A lot of schools in the south seem to use derivative tunes for their fight songs & alma maters.

        • Bullet says:

          It was originally written for a comedic student skit and it just stuck. Phrase came from a university president who derived it from something he heard Robert E. Lee say during Lee’s tenure as president of Washington & Lee (“The eyes of the South are upon you.”)

    • Brian says:

      On the other hand, FSU beat FL in part by intentionally roughing the QB repeatedly. A lot of neutral fans thought that was a dirty win, but still didn’t want a rematch particularly.

      I’m pretty sure OSU fans were much more upset at losing to MI again than you were at OSU losing to them. $%&@(#! John Cooper. The Rose Bowl should have been the national title game.

  34. OT says:

    Some possible names for the downsized Big 12 Conference:

    Conference X

    League X

    Big X Conference

    The X League


    As for realignment, the following issues are still out there:

    1. Villanova to Big East in football – April 2011 deadline

    2. Hawaii to Mountain West in football only – Comcast will have to decide whether it will allow Hawaii to keep its local pay-per-view TV deal with Oceanic Time Warner Cable and its out-of-market TV deal with and ESPN GamePlan pay-per-view

    3. The Big West will have to decide whether it wants to go to 10 or 12. The Big West will stop at Hawaii if it were to expand to 10. Otherwise, the Big West will add Hawaii, UC San Diego (4-year transition period from Division II will be required), and either San Jose State (which would stay in the WAC for football only) or Sacramento State (which would stay in the Big Sky for football only). No one expect the Big West to take Cal State Bakersfield.

    4. Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri (and possibly Iowa State) going to the Big East if the Big 12 were to implode for whatever reason. (Sorry UCF, Memphis, and Houston.)

    5. Unlikely for Mountain West to expand beyond 10 in football (assuming that Comcast will approve of Hawaii). Sorry Utah State and San Jose State.


    Baylor will be screwed if the Big 12 were to break apart.

    • gas1958 says:

      “Baylor will be screwed if the Big 12 were to break apart.”

      Maybe. I’m not convinced BU is more vulnerable than say, Iowa State, which is untethered to Iowa, whereas I don’t think the TX legislature would allow Baylor (or TTech) to devolve to a second tier conference. If somehow A&M were to pry itself away from UT/TTech/BU, then maybe UT could leverage its own independence; then Baylor would be vulnerable. That’s a lot of dominoes to fall, though.

    • Brian says:

      Xtreme Conference – think of all the Mountain Dew and Doritos sponsorship they could get

      Is XFL available yet?

  35. duffman says:

    Which is the bigger story

    That they were there?


    That IMG is the one who puts it on?

    • Brian says:

      I think the people they got to attend and speak in public about issues important to fans was tremendous. They already are in bed with the leagues so I don’t think that got any worse.

      Delany gave the most rational defense of the BCS I’ve seen in one place. I’m not saying I agree with him, but I’ve never seen anyone articulate the argument so well.

      • Bullet says:

        What he doesn’t tell you is how exclusive deals have shut out the rest. How there was a time when the Sugar Bowl invited Wyoming without being required to (’68 I believe). Navy got to the Cotton Bowl in 63. The big conferences have used their power to increase the gap between the haves and the have-nots. The current dominance in $ of the Big 10 and SEC is fairly recent. They were always strong financially, but not dominant.

        • duffman says:


          you are saying what I was thinking.

        • Brian says:

          Navy was good in 1963. Staubach won the Heisman that year and Navy was #2 with a 9-1 record. Wyoming was #5/6 in 1968. A top 10 Navy team would definitely get a BCS game today, and so would an undefeated Wyoming.

          Delany’s job is to advance the goals of the Big Ten. Growing the gap to the have-nots is his job. Largely the gap has grown because TV money has skyrocketed. There used to be much less money available with the NCAA controlling TV rights, so the gap couldn’t be that large. That said, a few teams dominated back then, too. The competitive gap has been around for a very long time.

          Welcome to a free market.

          • Bullet says:

            Your comment that they would invite teams flies in the face of BCS history. They had unbeaten teams and didn’t invite them until they were required to.

            Tulane unbeaten, top 10 in 1998
            Marshall unbeaten, top 12 in 1999
            Boise unbeaten top 10 in 2004
            They had to take Boise in 2006 but complained about it.
            Boise was unbeaten and top 10 in 2008, but Utah was ahead of them among non-AQ
            TCU and Boise both got in last year but got stuck together
            Consensus this year was that TCU or Boise would be left out if both finished unbeaten, even if #4 or #5.

            Conferences put pressure on bowls to get their teams in.

          • Brian says:

            I didn’t say they would have gotten in before. I said they would get in under the current system.

            An undefeated Wyoming this year would have beaten TCU, Boise, Texas, Utah, Air Force and SDSU. They’d be ranked #3, just like TCU is now.

            Any top 10 Navy team would get a BCS bowl bid unless the rules prevented it. They’d bring a ton of fans to TV and the backlash would be huge if they were left out.

      • duffman says:


        is there a video link of his speech? others as well? sometimes what we get in the sound bytes misses some good stuff.

        • Brian says:

          It was a conference that cost $1000-1500 to attend, so I’m guessing free video of the whole thing isn’t readily available. I haven’t seen it, anyway.

          Some of the articles I’ve seen go into more detail than others. Fanhouse had a pretty good one:

        • Bullet says:

          Interesting thing about his comments is that he didn’t sound opposed to +1. He was VERY opposed to 8 or 16 and thought +1 would lead to 8 or 16.

  36. duffman says:

    If somebody has already posted this my apologies

    Frank, how does this happen? I am guessing it was the Oakland in MI.

  37. ccrider55 says:

    Isn’t the Big Ten’s Rose Bowl spot just as at risk this year as the PacX’s? For example if tOSU and Oregon’s ranking swithched the Rose bowl would be TCU vs UO. Or am I mistaken?

    • ccrider55 says:

      Oops, should have been posted in response to Michael in Indy.

    • zeek says:

      You’re right, and that’s what Delany was referencing.

      In general, he just meant that the Pac-10 or Big Ten would have to give up their Rose Bowl spot during these 4 years. That’s 1 of 8 slots lost.

      • Bullet says:

        The idea is that Fiesta, Sugar and Orange have to take them, so Rose should also. This is about fairness to the bowls, not to the conferences. The rest of the conferences could care less about B10 and P10 getting the Rose, especially since B10 always gets a 2nd team in the current system.

        • Richard says:

          I’m not sure why the Rose should be treated like the other BCS bowls, though. Traditionally, they had a higher payout than everyone else. I think the BCS coerced them to pay the same as everyone else, but as the Rose likely garners the most in TV revenue and ticket sales of any bowl, I wouldn’t have a problem with showing them favoritism.

          • jcfreder says:

            Oh, cry me a river, Delaney. The B10 and P10 were not part of teh old Bowl Alliance and then they chose to join it to form the BCS. This means you aren’t always going to see a B10-P10 Rose Bowl, but they’ve repeatedly made changes to try and ensure this happens as often as possible. It’s only fair that the Rose takes a non-AQ once in a blue moon. If he’s that upset about the setup, pull the Rose out of the BCS. And lose a ton of relevance.

            The woe-is-me act doesn’t play well when you are the alpha dog, which the B10 most certainly is.

          • Robber Baron says:

            I agree with Richard. The Rose Bowl is different. But it need not have anything to do with the Rose Bowl’s higher payouts or longer history. The Rose Bowl is different because it has 2 tie-ins, not one. When any other BCS bowl loses its tie-in nobody bats an eye if that bowl chooses to replace its tie-in conference champ with the 2nd place team from that conference. Why should that be any different for the Rose Bowl? Fairness between the bowls is just such an odd concept. This should be about fairness between the conferences.

          • Bullet says:

            That’s part of my point. These issues are being decided by “what’s fair to the bowls.”

  38. Bullet says:

    Found a good article with 2009-10 revenue figures (link was on MWC board).

    Alabama has moved into 2nd behind Texas. Other interesting items:
    UNLV top non-AQ #39
    TCU 2nd non-AQ #50
    BYU 3rd non-AQ #65

    Bottom 4 AQ

    Washington St. #66
    USF #67
    Miss. ST. #68
    Cincinnati #69

    Top non FBS
    Yale #71 (of 12 in top 100)
    Top non football
    St. John’s #74

    Utah was #76
    Colorado #56
    Nebraska #25
    Hawaii #79
    Fresno #92
    Boise #96
    Nevada not in top 100
    Villanova #87
    UMass #100
    Rice #83

    • Brian says:

      Not too surprising for AL to be up with a NC year. They’ll drop (or grow more slowly) next time. Texas might pull back a little, too.

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        Brian – Alabama just expanded their stadium by 9000 seats to 101K. Maybe those new seat deposits were included in last years numbers as well, but I would expect Alabama to maintain those numbers with the large number of club seats and suits in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

        • Brian says:

          I’m just saying part of that bump is the NC year. Every team gets that due to extra donations and merchandising, especially if they haven’t won for a while.

          Even if the numbers stay high due to new seating revenue (I don’t know when it kicks in for them either), I was just trying to point out that a NC year always puts a bump on the underlying revenue curve. The new seating will step up the revenue to a new level, but that is a noticeable one year change.

    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      Bullet – you know how I love breaking these lists out by conference, so according to your link (a LSU site) here’s the Top 25 Revenue producing athletic departments by conference.

      SEC (9) – #2 Alabama, #4 Florida, #5 LSU, #8 Tennessee, #11 Auburn, #14 Georgia, #18 South Carolina, #19 Kentucky, and #20 Arkansas.

      Big Ten (7) – #2 Ohio State, #6 Michigan, #7 Penn State, #10 Wisconsin, #13 Iowa, #17 Michigan State, and #24 Minnesota.

      Big XII (3) – #1 Texas, #9 Oklahoma, and #25 Nebraska.

      Pac-10 (3) – #16 Stanford, #21 USC, and #22 Oregon.

      ACC (2) – #15 Virginia and #23 Florida State.

      Independent (1) – #12 Notre Dame

      Highest ranked Big East member was #35 Louisville.

  39. Brian says:

    Do the lawyers here agree with the analysis in this article about the BCS?

    • ohio1317 says:

      I’m not a lawyer, but I can tell you without any doubt that the only reason legal issues are ever brought up with the BCS is because it’s unpopular. It’s really no different than MLB setting up the World Series and determining how teams make it into it. If I go and start up a baseball team, MLB can decide to fully include it in their system, partially include it, or not include it at all. That’s not stopping me from setting up my own system, but I certainly have no right to dictate to the MLB if or how I should be included. The BCS isn’t so different. The power conferences set it up and got the non-AQ on board. They weren’t required to do that though and aren’t required to hold them to the same standards since it is their system. Whether or not it’s ideal is a separate question.

      • jj says:

        MLB enjoys a federal exemption from antitrust that the other leagues would love to have. The basis for it is a little weird. I think the decision came down in ww2 and the basic idea was that MLB was entrusted to protect the national pastime. Someone challenged it later and it was confirmed as a matter decided. It’s an interesting topic and it scares the crap outbid the leagues, save MLB, I am sure if that. The old bcs probably came pretty close to violating it. What I don’t know is has the NCAA ever been challlenged or can it as I think it is a non-profit (ha ha, ugh).

        • The University of Oklahoma and other power schools actually won an antitrust case against the NCAA, where the Supreme Court found that the old NCAA rules restricting TV appearances for each school was a restraint on trade that violated the Sherman Act. That case is what opened it up for conferences to separately negotiate their own TV contracts directly with the networks. I’m fairly certain that the BCS is relying on a lot of that case’s opinion, where Justice Stevens (not even some type of arch-conservative) effectively stated that the most popular schools that draw the best TV ratings should have the autonomy to make their own deals and make the most money possible without having to subsidize the less popular schools.

          • jj says:

            That’s right. Good memory. That suit paved the way for where we are now.

            Someomne asked about an attack strategy. I think legislation would be the best attack, but such efforts have repeatedly failed because the BCS is spread out geographically and has a lot of support.

            To me, BYU is the only reasonably plausible plaintiff out there right now and they would burn a whole ton of bridges by doing this.

          • duffman says:


            I think it was OU and UGA that filed that suit.

          • Bullet says:

            It was OU & UGA. What was ironic is that both went into a decade long tailspin after winning.

          • frug says:

            Yeah any antitrust suit is going to be hard since the whomever brings the suit will have to show damages which is going to be hard since, as hated as it may be, the BCS has unquestionably benefited college football. The sport is more popular and profitable than it has ever been in large part because the BCS has nationalized the sport in a way it never was before. Moreover, under BCS rules, the large conferences are required to share profits from the big bowls with smaller conferences, something that they did not have to do under the old system.

            The best legal argument against the BCS (at least as I see it) is that when non-AQ teams do qualify for BCS bowl games they do not receive an equal payout (typically they get less than half what the AQ schools get). Unfortunately for BCS opponents, this is also the easiest flaw for the system to correct since they can institute equal payouts without scrapping the system entirely.

        • Bullet says:

          I suspect their inclusion of 1 non AQ school was influenced more by the lawyers than public pressure.

          • jcfreder says:

            @ Bullet–Yeah, that was my read on it too – the BCS is (mostly) about money. As Blago might say, a spot in the BCS is a [very] valuable thing – they don’t just give them away. The fact that the BCS added the non-AQ provision says to me that they were worried about legal issues.

    • jj says:

      You need an expert on this field. I think if there was a 25% shot of success or so, someone would pull the trigger and file. That lack silence with so much money on the line speaks volumes to me.

      • jj says:

        That is not legal advice and I am not your lawyer. If you want to sue the bcs, call frank.

      • jj says:

        And of we’re taking bets on who files this someday, I think the smart money is on byu or maybe navy.

        • Richard says:

          I seriously doubt Navy could care about the BCS (well, unless they start stringing together undefeated seasons, but we all know the likelihood of that).

          • jj says:

            I’d say it’s possible they could go undefeated. Navy’s a good team and a great program. They crushed Mizzu in a bowl last year and had OSU on the ropes in Ohio not too long ago. When’s the last time half the B10 teams were in that position?

            They are also an arm of the federal gov’t so they have the political muscle, resources and likely support. In other words, they have significant addvantages in this type of a maneuver that others don’t. Air Force and Army don’t have the history of success to try it.

          • Richard says:

            Unlike at some schools, the fist, second, and third biggest concerns of the academies is not football.

        • Brian says:

          I think Navy has other ways of getting what it wants. Even the BCS is too politically and fiscally savvy to screw with an academy, they might bring better ratings than ND. They will give away a few good tickets to wounded veterans and make a PR killing instead. How can you hate the BCS, they’re nice to injured veterans?

          Imagine the PR of having a few million veterans explode if an undefeated Navy isn’t playing for the title. I can’t think of a better way to get congress involved again than to provide them with an easy way to get positive PR.

      • @jj – I agree. The fact that state AGs have been looking at the BCS system for years and absolutely nothing has been filed is a telling sign.

    • @Brian – I’m not an antitrust lawyer, but my understanding has always been that the legal arguments against the BCS were fairly weak and based more on emotional objections to the system. The fact that the bowls have agreements with only a limited set of conferences doesn’t in and of itself constitute illegal anticompetitive behavior. By that standard, any private contract with an exclusivity clause could be considered illegal and that’s clearly not the case. The strongest defense for the BCS, as Professor McCann pointed out, is that the AQ conferences are the most popular and create the most revenue, which means that their agreements with the BCS bowls are reasonable market-based arrangements.

      Think of the BCS bowls as movie theaters. It’s not a violation of antitrust laws when the latest Transformers movie made by a huge studio that might be horrible opens up on 3000 screens while a low budget independent film that is up for the best picture Oscar is only on 1/10th as many screens. It doesn’t matter that the latter movie is generally believed to be of higher quality – the former sells more tickets and no one questions that movie theaters are perfectly free to pimp Transformers in a free market system.

      Likewise, bowls exist to sell tickets and hotel rooms. They are perfectly free to pick the college football equivalent of a big budget movie (an AQ member) instead of a critically-acclaimed artsy film with limited marketability (non-AQ school).

      • Brian says:

        I never thought it was illegal. They have too much invested to make a rookie mistake like that. I was just wondering if it sounded like those were in fact the relevant issues and the appropriate defenses or if there are other avenues of attack that he ignored.

        The Utah AG is spending an awful lot of time on this. That implies that there is some gray area involved somewhere. Is he looking at the issues in this article, which seem to be dismissed rather easily, or do you think he has some other approach that he is considering? Is there some obvious other legal approach?

        • m (Ag) says:

          Politicians (and an AG is a politician) spend their time doing things that are political popular. That doesn’t imply he has any sort of a case.

      • 84Lion says:

        Nice analysis, Frank. It makes me wonder, though, what is holding the BCS conferences back from splitting away from NCAA and creating their own Association that would only include BCS conferences. This would lock out the non-AQ schools, which would presumably bring a sigh of relief from the BCS bowls.

        • FLP_NDRox says:

          My guess would be the need for these schools to continue to play both teams they can beat and teams nearby. If the BCS broke away, they’ll have a hard time finding ways to play 3 home OOC games. I’m sure in non-revenue sports playing a bunch of nearby teams (again as primarily home games) is a much cheaper option than flying all over the country to play tougher teams.

        • zeek says:

          They don’t want to isolate themselves.

          The NCAA still serves the purposes of the power conferences for the most part. Look at the people in charge of the NCAA, the power brokers are essentially the presidents of BCS schools.

          They just want to keep the football postseason to themselves. The current situation is the best of both worlds even though there has been substantial creep due to the BCS system in terms of AQ conferences giving up a part of the process.

          • zeek says:

            The only way they’d leave is if something happened that’d make leaving justifiable.

            i.e. if they can’t stack a potential playoff system for AQ conferences or if the 4×16 superconference era dawns and it benefits those 4 to leave and set up their own system.

            In any case, we’re much more likely to just regress backwards to the old pre-BCS system rather than to see the AQ conferences leave the NCAA.

            They’d much rather just keep everything and go back to the old bowl system to the exclusion of the non-AQs as opposed to blowing up the whole thing.

          • cfn_ms says:

            If I’m the AQ leagues, my “plan B” is something to the effect of “let’s all walk from the NCAA in football, but keep other sports in it; that way we win (more football $$$, esp. if that includes a playoff system), the NCAA wins (keep basketball, plus maybe bought off w/ some fraction of the football $$$), and the only losers are the non-AQ 1-A teams”. IMO that’s an idea with legs, but the AQ’s don’t really want to deal with the political and popular pushback on that or any similar ideas.

        • m (Ag) says:

          Why do you think the AQ schools have anything against the non-AQ schools?

          As long as there is no playoff system (which would use the popularity of the AQ schools to subsidize the non-AQ schools), there is no reason not to co-exist.

    • m (Ag) says:

      The BCS does not block competition.

      Ask yourself, “What’s stopping Fox and the Cotton Bowl from paying Conference USA and the MWC $15 million a year each to send their champions to Texas each year?”

      If you answer, “the BCS”, then maybe you have a case.

      But the actual answer is “Their champions aren’t worth that much money”. That comes down to economic value. It is not constraining trade to acknowledge that the conferences are not identical products.

  40. jj says:

    Congrats to Robinson, he was named B10 MVP in a close vote. I can’t believe it was close. W/o him, UM is probably 4-8 or worse.

    • Richard says:

      The voting in the BigTen this year has been interesting. Denard won the Silver Football (voted for by coaches), the BigTen Offensive Player of the Year by both the coaches and writers, and was first team QB according to the writers. However, he wasn’t named first team or even second team QB by the coaches (Persa & Tolzien, respectively).

      Maybe the coaches think Robinson is a running back or something.

      • Brian says:

        Robinson was definitely the most exciting offensive player (hence the awards), but his lack of production against the better teams hurt his chance at All-BT QB. He really was almost a QB/RB hybrid.

        Another year of development should help him immensely, unless Harbaugh comes in and starts Devin Gardner instead because he is a batter fit for the offense.

    • mushroomgod says:

      I thought Persa had the better conference season. DR had too many TOs and sat how too much with minor injuries to be the BT’s MVP, imo.

    • jj says:


      What are you talking about? Based on the news around here, Robinson won the heisman, right? With Focier’s from last year, this team as 2 heisman QBs. How can they possible lose the Gator Bowl! :)

      Actually, if I was picking a QB, Persa is my pick. To me, the MVP is who was most valuable to his team and I think UM would have been a total, total, trainwreck w/o this guy. With him, they got a Jan 1 bowl. Not too shabby.

      • Richard says:

        UM or NU?

        • jj says:

          I am a bad typist.

          If I was picking a QB for my team, I would want Persa; he’s far more complete.

          I think UM had no shot to do anything w/o robinson. That’s why I think he’s the right call for MVP. He’s pretty special and he seems like a great kid. I hope for good things for him. Maybe he should transfer. JK

  41. cutter says:


    Jim Delany Warns Non-AQ Leagues: Don’t Expect More Than You’re Getting

    Thursday, December 9, 2010

    NEW YORK – Inside The W Hotel in Manhattan on Wednesday morning, they sat side-by-side on a platform. Five of the most powerful men in college athletics — the conference commissioners from the Big Ten, SEC, Pac-10, Big 12 and Big East. Also part of the panel was Western Athletic Conference commissioner Karl Benson.

    Although Benson was seated with the group at IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum, it’s very obvious: Benson and his league are clearly viewed as an outsider by the big boys.

    And college football’s behemoths — the automatic qualifying BCS conference commissioners — vow they’ll keep it that way.

    They indicated that after providing the non-automatic qualifying leagues unprecedented financial reward and access to the BCS bowls in the past, enough is enough. They flat out said if those leagues try to get even more there could be dire consequences.

    “Don’t push it past this because if you push it past this, the Big 12’s position is we’ll just go back to the old (bowl) system,” Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe told FanHouse. “You’re getting the ability to get to places you’ve never gotten before. We’ve Jerry-rigged the free market system to the benefit of those institutions and a lot are institutions that don’t even fill their stadiums.”

    Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott had the same message.

    “The six (BCS) conferences have bent over backwards and tried to be politically correct to their own detriment, probably further than they had to, maybe should have,” Scott told FanHouse.

    However, it was Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany who wanted to make the automatic-qualifying BCS leagues’ point loud-and-crystal clear.

    During the forum, Delany emphasized how he already had testified before Congress three times. He discussed the congressional pressures, media pressure and public pressures that he and the other commissioners have faced defending the BCS system. He often referenced “BCS-defense fatigue” and having to be “politically correct” when discussing the smaller conferences.

    At times, Delany was a mixture of Col. Jessup (“You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!”) and Network’s Howard Beale (“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore”).

    Delany sat between SEC commissioner Mike Slive and Scott, the Pac-10’s new commissioner. Only a few feet to Delany’s right sat Benson, but they may have been located on opposite sides of the Earth — much like their polar opposite views of the BCS.

    At least on two occasions during the forum, Delany interrupted Benson to hammer his opinion home.

    “The BCS has provided greater access,” Benson said. “Look at 120 schools, 11 conferences and to establish opportunities for those student-athletes. To play on the big stage, we’ve been to the big stage. …

    “The problem,” Delany interrupted, “is your big stage takes away opportunities for my teams, to play on the stage they created in 1902.”

    “We gave up the Rose Bowl, the SEC gave up access to the Sugar Bowl, others were included but they never had access to any of this before. You have to understand who brought what to the table. Who’s continuing to give and who’s continuing to get.”
    — Jim Delany, Big Ten commissioner Responded Benson: “I think the group of five (non-automatic qualifying BCS conferences) has established value in the last five years.”

    “The notion,” Delany said, “that over time by putting political pressure on, it’s just going to get greater access, more financial reward and more access to the Rose Bowl, I think you’re really testing. I think people who have contributed a lot have, what I call, ‘BCS defense fatigue.’

    “If you think you can continue to push for more money, more access to the Rose Bowl, or Sugar Bowl. I have tremendous respect for Boise and TCU. … I think they are tremendous teams that can beat any team in the country on a given day. I think the only question is, ‘Does one team’s 12-0 and another team’s 12-0 equate?’ And that’s where the discussion plays out, not whether or not they’re elite teams or deserving access to the bowl system.

    “I’m not sure how much more give there is in the system.”

    The BCS began in 1998 when the Big Ten, Pac-10 and Rose Bowl agreed to join the SEC, Big 12, ACC and Big East and Sugar, Fiesta and Orange bowls to ensure a No. 1 vs. No. 2 national title game each season.

    In the 13 years since the BCS expanded access to the bigger paying BCS bowls for teams in the non-automatic qualifying conferences (WAC, Mountain West, C-USA, MAC and Sun Belt) and increased the revenue those leagues received. Last season, the five non-automatic qualifying BCS leagues divided $24 million with the Mountain West receiving $9.8 million and the WAC $7.8 million.

    However, the Big Ten and SEC each received $22.2 million and the Big 12, Pac-10, ACC and Big East each received $17.7 million.

    “I think the system does provide access and opportunity for a team like Boise State or TCU to play in the championship game,” Benson said. “But we’ve also proven that it’s a lot easier to get to No. 4 than it is to get to No. 2.”

    Benson said he supports the BCS, but wants even more access and more revenue. This is not a popular subject with Delany.

    “We gave up the Rose Bowl, the SEC gave up access to the Sugar Bowl, others were included but they never had access to any of this before,” Delany said. “You have to understand who brought what to the table. Who’s continuing to give and who’s continuing to get.”

    Delany, then, not so subtly drew a line in the sand.

    “The only thing I would say, if you think you (the non-automatic qualifying leagues) can continue to pressure the system and we’ll just naturally provide more and more and more,” Delany said. “I don’t think that’s an assumption that our presidents, athletic directors, football coaches and commissioners necessarily agree with.

    “Karl (Benson) says we like this contract and we want more. Well, we’ve got fatigue for defending a system that’s under a lot of pressure. The pressure is for more. It’s never enough.”

    Last year, non-automatic qualifying teams Boise State and TCU received BCS bowl berths. This year, TCU earned an automatic bid to the Rose Bowl because the Rose lost Pac-10 champion Oregon to the BCS title game. Delany didn’t hide his displeasure that Stanford, the Pac-10 runner-up, was not allowed to replace Oregon instead of TCU.

    The current BCS system runs through 2013. If the automatic-qualifying leagues are pressured to give the smaller leagues more money and more access to the bowls, they said they likely would go back to the bowl system before the BCS. That means, the bowl games would align with the most attractive conferences and be free to pick whatever team they wanted — i.e. you would never see a WAC and Mountain West team selected for one of the big four bowls (Rose, Fiesta, Sugar, Orange).

    The current BCS formula limits a conference to have only two teams in a BCS bowl. Delany said he would like to see that restriction lifted. This year, for instance, the Big Ten had three of the top nine teams in the final BCS rankings but because of the two-bid per conference rule, No. 9 Michigan State was sent to a non-BCS bowl while Wisconsin (Rose) and Ohio State (Sugar) went to BCS bowls.

    Delany said he and Slive are in favor of allowing a third team from a conference to earn a BCS bowl berth, but isn’t sure how the system and its 10 bowl berths would be restructured to allow that. Beebe also told FanHouse he would be willing to look at it, but would have to examine how it applies.

    “I think the conferences should be allowed to have three bids,” Delany said. “If the SEC has three teams in the top eight, the bowl system would be well served, the public would be well served. But that comes at a cost to something else. Mike (Slive) and I could suggest — I would support Mike’s motion, but we can’t get a third vote.

    “You can discuss it until the cows come home. The only way the system works is if everyone is willing to play the game. It doesn’t work if I take my ball and go home. It doesn’t work if the Big East takes its ball and goes home. Does it work if Mike (Slive) takes his ball and goes home?

    “This is nothing but an interlocking of contracts that are negotiated.”

    Those contracts, though, may not be renewed if the non-automatic qualifying leagues keep asking for more. And from Delany’s tone: this isn’t a threat, but a promise.

    • Bullet says:

      Obviously, Delany and Slive would like the 2 team limit removed. And they would only get two votes. Because the bowls will almost always choose SEC and B10 teams over more deserving teams (unless that team is in South Bend). And the BCS has benefitted the B10, SEC and the 4 bowls by separating these 4 bowls further and creating exclusive time slots, significantly increasing their value. Delany loses a lot of credibility by talking about what “we” created in 1902. Its the arrogance and hypocrisy that really sets me against them. 1st Rose Bowl 1902 Michigan and Stanford. 2nd Rose Bowl 1916. # of Big 10 teams in the Rose Bowl between 1916 and 1947-one. Alabama’s been in the Rose Bowl more than a lot of the Big 10 schools. I have the bowl results handy up to 1994 and from 1980 to 1994 there was only one Big 10 team in any major bowl besides the Rose (and in the 60s and into the 70s they only allowed one team to go to a bowl). There was also only one Pac 10 team. The BCS was created by the major conferences as a cartel and has been very good for them, especially the Big 10 and SEC.

      • jcfreder says:

        That article would have been more intersting if they could have pressed Benson to explain what he means by more money and access. I think Delaney has a point about not giving them MORE, but the idea that they could pull the non-AQ slot is laughable. I don’t think that bell can be unrung.

      • zeek says:

        The more I think about it, the more I realize that the Big Ten and SEC are mostly just playing everyone else like fiddles. Obviously, they’re not going to get everything they want, but they’re close enough…

        The current system clearly favors those two conferences in terms of access since they have the most “name brands”, largest fanbases, etc.

        The ACC and Big East just want access and to be at the big kids table, so they don’t mind that they won’t get at-large bids. They’re happy with a “shot” at the NC if everything falls right, but will take their guaranteed BCS slot and protect the system. This year reinforces that kind of position by the Big East in that they’d be willing to go to bat for the BCS in a year like this where their champion is unranked.

        The Big 12 thought that they were as protected as the Big Ten and SEC from a stability standpoint but are still willing to protect the system, since they’ve got Texas and Oklahoma, which will get to the NC and/or BCS at-large with undefeated or 1-loss teams in most years.

        The Pac-10 is somewhat of an oddity in all of this, since the at-large bids really wouldn’t favor them, but they’re willing to protect the system, since years like this prove that it works for them with Oregon in the NC and Stanford in the Orange Bowl.

        It’s hard to see where any playoff push would start. I mean, Slive was the only guy pushing the +1, and even he can see that the past 5 years proves that the SEC doesn’t even need anything like that to guarantee that it has a shot at the title.

        • jj says:

          Here’s what I don’t get.

          With the +1, why don’t they just say Rose = B10 / P12, end of story.

          And if I were the SEC, I would want to pull the B12 into the Sugar to enhance its appeal. Would B12 leave the Fiesta? I don’t know, but I suspect maybe they would.

          • jcfreder says:

            I could see the Rose going to a pure B10/P10 matchup in a world with a plus one. There’s two ways to do a plus one — seeded or unseeded. In an unseeded system, everything reverts to teh old tie-ins, so the Rose would have its standard matchup. In a seeded system (where you pull the top 4 teams into national semifinal bowls), the Rose woudl almost never get the true B10 champ vs P10 champ matchup. So I could see them opting out of a seeding system. In fact, I think the Rose Bowl problem might be the biggest impediment to a seeded plus one should that idea gain traction.

          • jcfreder and Playoffs Now – My next post on the college football season contains separate proposals that are largely in line with the unseeded plus one that jcfreder referred to and the “additional bowl” seeded plus one (with some variations and tweaks that I believe make sense) that Playoffs Now proposed. I won’t get into detail here, but there are ways to preserve the Big Ten/Pac-10 Rose Bowl without it having to “opt out” of the system (where unless they’re always getting the Big Ten and Pac-10 champs, they’re not going let themselves be a consolation bowl if the other bowls get to be seeded plus one bowls – they still need to be the “best” BCS bowl).

      • Brian says:


        I thought Delany meant the Big 6 when he said we, not just the Big Ten. Maybe that is just me.

    • Playoffs Now says:

      Hate to say it, but I actually agree with most of what that SOB Delany said. Non-AQ access is already pretty much sufficient, perhaps the only remaining weakness is if there are 2 undefeated top 10 non-AQ teams. That could be addressed by adding a bowl(s) and expanding to 12 BCS teams, with the trade off being allowing up to 3 teams per AQ conference.

      I also agree that the Rose should always be B10+x vs P10+2, but Delany could easily solve that problem by agreeing to a +1 or more playoff. The defiling of the Rose is purely his own making, by refusing to allow a post-bowls continuation playoff.

      What I don’t understand is how the B10+x alone can still prevent a playoff. If in the next round of negotiations several conferences want one, then form it and let the B10+x and the Rose opt out. Delany and the conference are then only screwing themselves, and probably missing out on a payout increase the other conferences can share. Heck, from Scott’s statements in the last year, I’m not even sure Delany and Gee could get the P12 to stick with them. Last BCS negotiations the B12 went along and killed a playoff, but statements since from TX, and less directly from Beebe, suggest that won’t happen this time. Note that TX will be one of the lead negotiating schools for the new BCS agreement.

      It may only start as a +1, but I’m convinced we’ll get some sort of playoff from the new BCS agreement, or whatever replaces it. Some at ESPN has suggested a 4-team based +1, but I think 8 is also on the table.

      • zeek says:

        Except it’s all 5 of the 6 commissioners opposed to the +1.

        Apparently, the Big East, ACC, Pac-10, Big Ten, and Big 12 are united against the playoff idea. I’d guess that they generally think that Delany is right that a +1 would naturally lead there.

        Only Slive seems to favor the notion.

        • zeek says:

          Among the commissioners on the panel — Slive, Jim Delany of the Big Ten, Larry Scott of the Pac-10, John Marinatto of the Big East, Karl Benson of the WAC and Dan Beebe of the Big 12 — Slive and Benson spoke out in favor of a plus-one. “If my colleagues wanted to put it back on the table,” Slive said, “I would be very happy to talk about it. But my guess is that this coming April [at the annual BCS meeting], if we did that, it would be just as lonely as the April was two years ago.”

          • zeek says:

            More quotes:

            “It would be a huge disservice to add more games to them so that others can profit in some manner,” Beebe said.

            Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott said while it’s “easy to poke holes” in the BCS format, a playoff would hurt college football’s regular season, which, he said, resembles a playoff.

        • Bullet says:

          ACC did vote for it last time.

          • jcfreder says:

            When undefeated BE, Pac-10, B10, or BXII teams end up as #3 in the BCS, then that conference’s vote might change in favor of plus one. I think BCS chaos is the best (and perhaps only) way to get a change.

          • zeek says:

            Yes, I forgot Swofford’s support of the system back when it was first brought up.

            You’d think the Big East would have changed its mind after last year when Cincy would have probably had a shot under a plus-one.

        • Playoffs Now says:

          Apparently, the Big East, ACC, Pac-10, Big Ten, and Big 12 are united against the playoff idea.

          Not at all apparent. There’s a good bit of parsing and posing going on. One of the tricks is for an AQ member to talk about a playoff and refer to replacing the BCS and bowls with something like Wetzel’s poorly thought out 16-team concept, instead of something incorporating the bowls.

          Also a +1 isn’t the only BCS-based option. Few are going to commit to any option until they know the tradeoffs being proposed, especially monetary and access.

          BTW, Dodds and TX for years have been outspoken in support of playoffs. You guys love to claim that the B12-2 is TX’s fiefdom, so why suddenly abandon that concept when Beebe makes a statement questioning a couple of many playoff proposals?

          One of the themes seems to be the non-AQ conferences are going to try and push some playoff proposals as a vehicle to wring out more access and $’s. So naturally the AQ conferences are going to be hesitant about giving an endorsement that might put non-AQ feet in the door. Hence I don’t take statements comiong out of this conference as indicative of a playoff won’t happen. A lot of it is positioning and smoke, especially considering past statements in the last 6-9 months from various individuals at TX, the P10, and BEast about how the vote went down last BCS negotiations and how attitudes are shifting.

          Political factors continue to be an influence. Who would have guessed 10 years ago that the AQ conferences would have allowed not just 1 but 2 non-AQ schools to feast at the BCS table? Yet that evolution did occur, primarily for political reasons and pressure. I wouldn’t assume that such would not continue to produce refinements and change. In fact the tone of Delany’s response suggests that they are continuing to be pushed.

          • zeek says:

            Beebe’s position is strange considering how opposed it is to Texas’ position.

            But this is with respect to an external matter, not an internal Big 12 policy per se…

          • Playoffs Now says:

            Here’s a simple example:

            Say we are discussing adding 2 rounds after the bowls, an 8-team BCS playoff. The additional revenue from those extra 3 games would be split among the advancing schools based on performance. Since the BEast and ACC are least likely to have teams reach those rounds, why would they be in favor of that playoff that would just enrich the more powerful conferences, highlighting the differences and potentially further separating them financially?

            OTOH, with an 8-team BCS bowl based playoff proposal where the additional revenue is added to the BCS pot and split equally, the BEast and ACC would be more likely to favor it. However the B10+x may see that as yielded more power and $ than necessary, so why support it now?

            Since public preference, and thus potentially momentum, is in favor of getting to some sort of a playoff, endorsing a generic playoff now before the details have been sufficiently hashed out could leave the ACC and BEast more susceptible to being steamrolled, or at least reducing the value they may extract in negotations. Hence all AQ conferences have potential reasons to be hesitant and non-committal to any playoff talk right now.

          • Richard says:

            Of course, those are also reasons for those conferences to be hesitant and noncommittal in the future as well. I’m not sure how an 8-team playoff will magically spring up under that scenario.

          • Playoffs Now says:

            Yes. 8 was just a simple example to highlight a bigger differential.

            I think +1 unseeded, +1 seeded (4-teams), 8, 10, 12, and maybe 16-team proposals could be on the table, with +1 unseeded being the most likely to be implemented.

          • Richard says:

            I think none of them are on the table (if by “on the table”, you mean being seriously considered by the BCS participants) other than an unseeded plus-one and a seeded plus-one.

  42. jj says:

    Everyone start praying, sacrificing chickens, etc.

    AA weather tomorrow night – 31 with possible tons of precipitation. Not likely to start until after the big game, but who knows.

    For any non-snow folks. 30-35 is that sweet spot where slurpies basically fall from the skies.

  43. Playoffs Now says:

    One of the recent articles had a bowl blowhard lying about how a playoff would hurt bowls like his, the Cotton Bowl. Well let’s take a closer look, using some of the best and easiest implemented playoff scenarios that utilize the existing BCS bowls:

    1) 8 and 2 Plan. Stay the same at 10 BCS teams, split the same money the same way as now, however 8 of those teams would compete in a playoff (6 AQ and 2 wild card) with the next highest 2 playing in a ‘NIT’ BCS bowl with a full BCS payout. Add a bowl to the BCS mix. 6 AQ champs, BCS ratings used to determine the 2 wild card and 2 NIT teams:

    Rose: OR-WI
    Fiesta: OU-Stan
    Sugar: AU-CT (SEC probably strongly lobbies for the weaker CT opponent)
    Orange: VT-TCU

    NIT-Cotton: OhSU-AR

    Hmmm, the 2 highest runner ups who would play in a NIT type BCS bowl just so happen to be meeting in a real BCS bowl this year. Why exactly is that a compelling matchup and bowl without a playoff but not so when just outside of a BCS-based playoff system? Same $$. Why would it have less viewers if it were a ‘meaningless’ game just outside the playoffs, when it is already a ‘meaningless’ game now, outside the current 2-team playoff? Since the other 4 BCS bowls all have added national title implications, ratings would only go up. Net total increase in bowl ratings, plus 3 more playoff games on 2 weekends afterward to up the payouts.


    2) 8 and 4 Plan. Expand to 12 BCS schools, allow up to 3 schools per AQ conference. 8 playoff teams, 4 runner up teams in 2 added NIT bowls. 6 AQ champs, BCS ratings used to determine the 2 wild card and 4 NIT teams:

    Rose: OR-WI
    Fiesta: OU-Stan
    Sugar: AU-CT
    Orange: VT-TCU

    NIT-Cotton: OhSU-Boise
    NIT-Peach: AR-MSU

    OhSU’s Gee’s big mouth would have ensured big ratings for the Cotton. Good, interesting matchups in both NIT bowls, basically as good as anything in the current system. So again, not at all hurting any bowls. Same net benefits.


    3) 12 Team Playoff. 6 AQ champs, BCS ratings used to determine 6 wild cards. 2 bowls added to BCS mix, up to 3 schools per conference allowed:

    Rose: OR-WI
    Fiesta: OU-Boise
    Cotton: TCU-OhSU
    Sugar: AU-MSU
    Orange: VT-AR
    Peach: CT-Stan

    (Could be done many ways, but I used the assumptions that the B10+x wanted to retain the CapOne Bowl, Cotton and Peach were the highest bidding bowls to join the BCS, Big East chooses the Peach to be their tie-in BCS bowl, Cotton without a tie-in gets to choose the first 2 wild cards before the other bowls pick.) Plenty of compelling matchups, and hard to argue that at least this year that 12 spots would dilute a playoff. All of the wild cards can make good arguments why they belong and could be the best team in the country.

    • Playoffs Now says:

      The point being how easy it would be to implement an 8 team playoff using the BCS bowls while still allowing 10 BCS teams. The simplest solution is adding an NIT game, but critics would claim that it would be meaningless, no one would want to play in it, and no one would watch. Since the 8 and 2 Plan this year would produce an NIT bowl matchup that is already planned for the Sugar Bowl, all those arguments are shot down.

      Thus a good, satisfying 8-team playoff that doesn’t water down the regular season or conference play (basically you have to win conference to have a chance.) All you have to do is add 3 games over 2 weekends after the bowl, which can be done without affecting academics.

      It would also likely result in more OOC games between quality opponents. Since winning conference automatically gets you in, instead of competing for only 2 spots in a subjective beauty contest, a OOC loss would be more of an acceptable risk that allows for the higher payout of a made for TV quality regular season matchup. A few programs like TX, OU, and OhSU might not view it that way since they are better positioned to ride their reputations and resulting overranking to one of 2 wildcard slots, but getting more of the #15-40 ranked teams to play each other is a net win for fans (and their programs’ budgets.)

      • zeek says:

        The NIT-BCS bowl solution is a bit too cute.

        I’d think they’d just add a 5th BCS bowl if they really want 2 more slots. I mean if you’re going to give the same payout, you might as well put it on the same level…

        • Playoffs Now says:

          Of course, the ‘NIT’ reference was just my slang.

          • Playoffs Now says:

            The idea being that it is easier to add 2 January weekends of college football than 3 (required for any more than 8 playoff teams using the BCS bowls around New Years as the 1st round.)

    • Michael in Indy says:

      Playoffs?! Don’t talk about… playoffs!

    • Brian says:

      Playoffs Now,

      1. You can’t reasonably call someone a liar for stating their opinion about what would happen in the future.

      2. You assume the Cotton Bowl would get added. What if it doesn’t? Does his bowl still benefit?

      3. If the new bowl is an equal partner, why wouldn’t it demand a rotation of being the NIT game? If it isn’t an equal partner, why give the same payout?

      4. I think you are kidding yourself if you don’t think an NIT bowl would suffer in comparison to the playoffs if it was played at the same time.

      5. The NFL playoffs are on every weekend until the end of January. They would crush the CF playoffs on TV. That’s why the BCS bowls are on weekdays after 1/1. The only reason you start the playoff on 1/1 is to protect the BCS bowls, but the cost is messing up the schedule. Are you moving the CF playoffs to Thursday nights like a WAC conference game?

      6. You don’t actually get to determine that everyone else’s arguments have been shot down just because you disagree with them. MSU is making the same money no matter what bowl they are in, so they are just as happy with the Cap 1 as the Sugar, right? In one year you copied the match-up from the Sugar Bowl. Does that happen every year?

      7. Why would the other conferences agree to let certain conferences or schools have automatic home field advantage in the first round games of playoffs? You are upping the stakes with playoffs, so winning these games is more important than before. Why should LSU, USC, UCLA and Miami be guaranteed home games with a conference title?

      8. Where are the other games held? There are serious logistical problems with floating games, and multiple neutral sites in a row are also an issue. If home games are used, what about schools that share a field with a pro team?

      9. Your playoffs extend into the winter term. What about players who graduate in December? They have to enroll in graduate school then drop out after a month? They get to act like pros and just show up for football? Can they get paid since they have no eligibility?

  44. Bullet says:

    Hawaii is now officially joining the Big West in 2012 for all sports but football with fb in the MWC.

    Announcement was made today.

    • Jeff says:

      Great move for Hawaii, which gets its best realistic football option, along with its best travel options for other sports. The Big West has some very strong programs in baseball and volleyball, which are big sports in Hawaii. The MWC is better in basketball, but that doesn’t matter a whole lot given that UH basketball is unlikely to ever do much.

      What does the MWC do now? Stay at 10, or add two for a championship game? Does it care about staying in Utah, and add USU, or does it take two from Texas?

      • Richard says:

        Championship games for the lesser leagues don’t really bring in much extra money, so I doubt that would sway the MWC as much as the quality of the candidates available.

        • Jeff says:

          Another consideration for the MWC is keeping its numbers up to offset potential future defections.

          I’m guessing tha Houston and SMU opt to stay in CUSA but that the MWC chooses to expand anyway, and goes to Utah St. and UTEP. I’m saying that on the assumption that getting into El Paso and keeping a foothold in Utah would be a net revenue plus per member, but who knows?

          • Bullet says:

            That seems to be what the MWC board is speculating-12 w/USU and UTEP (not that they like it). I don’t see any way UTEP goes west w/o another Texas school. I don’t think the other CUSA Texas schools are interested.

          • Richard says:

            I’m not sure who else in the MWC is going to defect where, and while USU would jump at the opportunity to join the MWC, UTEP likely would opt to stay with the other Texas schools in CUSA. I also don’t think either school would generate much extra; in fact, I’m not even sure USU would even be able to pay for itself. Being the third most popular school in Utah is akin to being the third most popular school in Oklahoma, and I don’t see the MWC looking to add Tulsa to grab a share of the lucrative Oklahoma market.

      • Bullet says:

        Don’t think this round of realignment will have the aftershocks and trickle-down effect of the last two. The Penn St./Arkansas moves led to the SWC implosion 5 years later which massively realigned things. The ACC raid of BE also led to a lot of trickle-down effects. Texas, Fox and ESPN decided not to let the Big 12 implode this time. I think the effects on the non-FBS conferences are going to be minor, as long as the BE doesn’t split. If they split, the trickle-down effects could go on for years.

        Seems like the MWC deciding whether they need to mutiliate the WAC instead of just mortally wounding them, the BE and Villanova deciding what to do and the MAC and UMass are about it.

        • Michael in Indy says:

          I don’t think the Big Ten taking Nebraska will have any trickle-down effect, nor will the Pac-10 taking Colorado.

          The biggest trickle-down effect was the Pac-10’s taking of Utah.

          Although a MWC invitation to Boise had been likely no matter what else happened, just the mere possibility of losing Utah made the invitation an absolute necessity. Days later, Utah indeed announced it had accepted an invitation to the Pac-10. Had that not occurred, BYU may not have gone through with independence, and the MWC would not have had a pre-emptive strike on the WAC by inviting Fresno and Nevada.

          The WAC, in turn, has raided the Southland Conference and the Sun Belt (Denver). That decision led Hawaii to leave for the Big West in all sports, except football, where it joined the MWC. This leaves the WAC at a crossroads where it either needs to add even more new members or face the fate of the Southwest Conference.

          I’ll admit that the Big East would have needed TCU whether any other realignment had happened or not, and TCU would have left even if Utah and BYU had never left. In other words, TCU wasn’t the result of any trickle-down effect. Whether the MWC decides it needs to replace them will determine whether this was another source of dominos.

      • Brian says:

        Adding members only helps if they make money and are good teams. The MWC still harbors hopes of getting an AQ slot eventually. New teams need to solidify the middle or top of the league, like Hawaii does, not add more cellar dwellers.

        I think they stay at 10 for now, which is their preferred option. They will approach going to 12 from a business point of view and there just aren’t any good, moneymaking programs left out west to pluck. Maybe some teams in the WAC will develop in the next few years with everyone gone and then the MWC can steal two more from them.

  45. Gobux says:

    I have heard of the plus-one idea several times, but how would it work?

    • Michael in Indy says:

      If it was unseeded, it would probably go something like this:

      Rose Bowl: Big Ten Champion vs. Pac 10 Champion. No exceptions.

      Sugar Bowl: SEC Champion vs. At-large

      Orange Bowl: ACC Champion vs. At-large

      Cotton Bowl: At-large vs. At-large

      Fiesta Bowl: Big 12 Champion vs. At-large

      One of the At-large spots would be reserved for the Big East Champion. The Cotton Bowl, having no automatic tie-ins, would get the first at-large selection. At-large selection #’s 2, 3, 4, and 5 would rotate among all the bowls except the Rose.

      After all five BCS bowls are played, the two highest-ranked teams in the BCS standings would play in the national title game, which would rotate among the five bowl sites.

      • Robber Baron says:

        That strikes me as a poor solution. We could still end up with undefeated Oregon, Auburn and TCU teams this year under that structure.

        • ohio1317 says:

          It’s basically amounts to extra week in this season with good games that might or might not make a championship easier to determine.

          The more I think about it though, the more I’d prefer not. It could just as easily complicate the national championship picture as clear it up and it would hurt travel to the bowls. I’m back in the camp of no playoffs (beyond the current 2 team one) at all.

          • Bullet says:

            Its basically the same thing we have now with a bowl game in-between which will be given way too much weight and will involve teams playing different strength opponents.

            Give me +1 seeded or give me the BCS!

          • jcfreder says:

            That’s exactly the problem with an unseeded plus-one. It might still leave you with three or more teams with a claim on the championship game. That’s why I think the best realistic choice is a seeded plus one. (BCS #5 almost never has a legitimate claim on the championship game.) The problem is that you start to reall screw with the bowl tie-ins if 4 teams are chosen for semifinal games. I’m interested to see what Frank has coming up on this.

        • Richard says:

          On the other hand, it would make for more compelling bowl games. Remember the days when people actually cared about more than one postseason game?

          For that reason, I wouldn’t mind mind an unseeded plus-one. I’m not sure what everyone has against chaos.

          • Brian says:

            You mean back when all the big games were played in one day, and that was a holiday?

            Doesn’t everyone love a Wednesday night BCS game between teams they hate and/or don’t care about?

      • Richard says:

        Oh, and I imagine that the Big12 tie-in would go to the Cotton Bowl if Jerryworld gets elevated. I just can’t see the Big12 South powers preferring to play their BCS bowl game in Pac12 territory rather than Big12 territory.

        The Orange Bowl may try to get out of it’s ACC tie-in as well.

        • jcfreder says:

          Certainly if a plus-one ever gets implemented, you’ll see a 5th bowl added to the lineup. Definitely seems like the Cotton Bowl is going to be back with the big boys. One would think that the B12 will be looking at the Cotton for a tie-in.

          • Bullet says:

            What would make a lot of sense if January 1 was used as quarterfinals would be Rose/Cotton/Sugar and Peach with Fiesta and Orange (much warmer weather than Cotton and Peach, not as convenient as Cotton and Peach) as semi-finals.

          • Richard says:

            The Rose, Cotton (assuming it becomes BCS), and Sugar would not let themselves be permanently saddled as quarterfinals. Also, I’m not sure why you promote the Peach instead of the Tangerine Bowl (or Hall of Fame). If Orlando and JerryWorld get promoted, the weather wouldn’t matter, since JerryWorld is domed.

          • Richard says:

            For that matter, so’s the Georgia Dome.

          • Bullet says:

            The weather matters to the tourists/fans. Late December/January 1st isn’t too bad in New Orleans normally. Atlanta and Dallas can be cold. And each week increases the liklihood of cold weather. Would you want to leave Chicago or Boston’s 10 degrees to vacation in 20 degrees in Atlanta?

            Peach Bowl is closer to most ACC and BE schools than Orlando, making it preferable.

            Reality is that it would all be a bidding process. Whoever paid the most would get it. That’s why the Cotton lost out to the Fiesta. Seems like Orlando likes its Big 10/SEC matchup. Tampa has expressed more interest. Dallas, Atlanta and Orlando, if interested, would be most likely to get any additional slots. They seem to have the resources. Tampa and San Antonio would be longshots. Don’t think anyone else would come close.

            There are pluses and minuses to being quarters. I don’t see Rose wanting to change. The quarterfinals would be in the holidays and give fans more time to make reservations and possibly more vacation time. The semi-finals, obviously, have bigger games. It seems more likely to me that the current Big 4 would prefer staying January 1 than becoming semi-finals. From a logistics and weather standpoint, the Orange and Fiesta would be better as semi-finals in an 8 team tourney. But logistics and weather won’t determine things, $ will.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Richard – you must not have been in Orlando , or saw the CapOne Bowl last New Year’s Day. The weather and the field conditions were a big problem. In addition, Citrus Bowl Stadium is a DUMP!

          • Brian says:


            The games moved back from 1/1 would stop being bowls. Fans would not be spending a week in town filling the coffers and there would be less of the pomp and circumstance since everyone is back at work.

            The bowls are week long experiences, not just showing up for a game in warm weather. Making money for the community is a big part of what the bowls do. I’m not even sure they could stay charities.

            Games could be played in those stadiums, but that is not the same thing. The city leaders might take issue with it.

            Speaking of which, why should the north be excluded from hosting semi-finals and finals? If people are just flying in, watching the game and leaving like with the NFL playoffs, where are Minneapolis, Detroit, Indy and St. Louis in your plans (all indoor to prevent whining from southern teams)?

            As for the Peach Bowl, do you think everyone would willingly give the SEC yet another home game in the playoffs? That would be 3 (Sugar – LSU, Orange – FL, Peach – GA) of 6 games. Are the finals going to be in Tuscaloosa or on Rocky Top?

          • Bullet says:

            I envision the Peach as being host for the ACC champ and/or Big East champ, not the SEC.

            @Brian The BCS game is already moved back from 1/1. Its still a “bowl.” But your point that it would tend to generate shorter stays is why I made the comment about quarterfinals on 1/1 being favored by the big bowls over semi-finals in the 2nd week of January.

            As for a northern bowl, if the Big 10 doesn’t want to stay there during bowl season, why should anyone else? The Big 10 has the Motor City as its #8 and always finds a way not to go there. Big 10 never signed up for Toronto or NYC. They’ve been in CA, AZ, TX and FL.

          • Brian says:


            Your plan doesn’t stop the SEC from being an at-large in the Peach, though. I promise you the SEC dominates in Atlanta over the ACC or anyone else.

            The BCS title game is sort of a bowl now. It really is more of a business trip. There are some activities for fans, mostly music and food, but not the sort of activities for the teams the 1/1 bowls do. They plan on fans making a long weekend of it at most.

            When there are rounds of playoffs, at most the first round can sort of be like bowls. Teams spend a long time on site for bowls. How many weeks of that are they supposed to do, especially with school in session?

            The northern games wouldn’t be bowls, they’d be playoff games. You show up, play and leave, not stay for a week. Of course most people don’t want to vacation in Detroit for a week in January. The Big Ten wouldn’t want to play all of its playoff games at the Pac-12 or SEC, either.

            Why should the northern schools have to pay all the travel expenses and suffer all the jet lag? Why shouldn’t the northern fans get a chance to have a nearby game and make the southerners travel across country? Why should the midwest have to pump all that money into other regions and never get any back? You don’t think Detroit hotels could use a weekend of being full?

          • Bullet says:

            You need people able to get there. I’ve been snowed in January 1 in Chicago. O’Hare was shut down. If the world’s 2nd busiest airport couldn’t handle it, imagine what the roads were like.

          • Brian says:

            An inch of snow would basically shut down Atlanta. The airport will be open, but the roads will be useless for days.

            The NFL somehow manages to allow playoff games in Boston, NYC, Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo, Minneapolis, Green Bay, etc.

            There is no magic wand that lets the NFL hold games but prevents the NCAA from doing it.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Brian – if the Big Ten and Big Ten fans really don’t like playing SEC teams in “SEC Country”, Pac-10 teams in “Pac-10 Country”, and Big XII teams in “Big XII Country”, the Big Ten should opt out of all bowl games in California (the Rose Bowl), Florida (CapOne, Outback & Gator), Arizona (Insight) and Texas (Texas & ticket City).

            The Big Ten should send their champion to the Little Caesar’s/Motor City Bowl, and establish other bowl games in “Big Ten Country” like the Lombardi Bowl in Green Bay, the Ditka Bowl in Chicago, the Tarkington Bowl in Minneapolis, the Jim Brown Bowl in Cleveland, the Paul Brown Bowl in Cincy, and the Manning Bowl in Indianapolis. Then they could show all thier bowl games on the BTN.

          • Richard says:


            In any case, any playoff that’s bigger than 4 (which I don’t see happening in the next few decades, BTW, so all this debate is rather moot) will have the first few rounds played in the home field of the higher seed.

            No fans are going to travel to one bowl and then another bowl a week later. No sport anywhere that needs to draw the attendance football games do sends teams to neutral sites in 2 rounds of a playoff a week apart, much less to 3 neutral site in 3 straight weeks, and while the FA Cup semifinals & final are played on neutral sites, 1. England is much smaller than the US. 2. Even then, they only start doing it when they get to the semifinal stage.

          • Brian says:


            Don’t be intentionally dense.

            Bowls aren’t playoff games. Where you want to go for a week of vacation is different from wanting a fair playoff system.

            You’ll notice southern and western conferences really stretch themselves for bowl travel:

            SEC: LA, FL, FL, TX, GA, FL, TN, TN, AL

            Pac-12: CA, CA, TX, CA, NV, CA, ID

            Big 12: AZ, TX, TX, AZ, CA, TX, NY, TX/DC

            ACC: FL, GA, FL, TX, CA, TN, LA, DC, CA

            I’ll give the ACC a little credit for going west a couple of times.

            I understand it makes no sense to travel if there are equally valuable local bowls that want you.

            A playoff system has to consider fairness, however. Why do only northern fans have to shell out big money to travel across country? Why do only northern teams have to travel and face a road environment?

            Big Ten fans do resent always playing road bowl games. The ones who go enjoy the trip and the weather, but at some point it would be nice for the other fans to have to spend the same amount of money year after year.

            Fans will revolt if you tell them there will be multiple rounds of playoffs all held in the south. That’s unless teams have to travel east or west to get out of their home territory. If the SEC and ACC have to play in AZ and CA, and the Pac-12 and Big 12 play in GA and FL, the northern fans won’t complain. Otherwise, the north has to be in the mix of game sites.

          • Brian says:


            You would think a multi-round playoff would start with home games but that isn’t the proposal that was thrown out here. The proposed plan is to use the bowls, starting on 1/1.

          • Richard says:


            Right, which is why the proposal under discussion has no chance of becoming reality, even if we see an 8-team FBS playoff sometime within our lifetimes.

          • Brian says:


            You see that and I see that, but clearly not everyone else sees that.

          • Bullet says:

            We musn’t forget to stage a game in Minneapolis.


            As for Atlanta, they have snow once a year. A decent snow will shut the town down, but the liklihood is pretty low.

          • @Bullet – I once had to drive through Atlanta during what was the equivalent of a snow dusting in Chicago. I’m fairly certain that a snowstorm in Hades would’ve been a more pleasant experience than what I had to go through that day.

          • Playoffs Now says:

            Thumbs up response!

            Because, ya know, what architect would plan for heavy snow in Minnesota?

            Sorting out seating may be a nightmare, but it seems like UMinn’s new stadium might be a better option than a hastily ‘cleaned up’ stadium whose roof has collapsed. Not sure I’d trust the building inspector, given the bridge inspectors’ track record…

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:


            Don’t be intentionally dense.”

            Brian – stay classy and scratch the Tarkington Bowl off the list of future Big Ten bowls.

          • Brian says:


            It snowed in Atlanta today. Odds are it’ll happen again before winter ends. The problem is that southern cities are not prepared to deal with any snow accumulation. They cancel school at the threat of snow. You would think the world is ending from the way southerners react to snow.

            Playoffs Now,

            They’re using Ford Field, aren’t they? To be fair, who could really plan for it to snow in Minneapolis? That almost never happens.


            You are the one who insists on conflating bowl games and playoff sites. They are not the same thing, so the selection criteria are different. I don’t think you’re dumb, which means you’re intentionally acting dense to avoid understanding the point.

          • greg says:

            Give Alan a break. He is from the South.

          • Bullet says:

            @ Frank

            My definition of a “decent snow” for Atlanta is probably the same as a “dusting” in Chicago. We actually did have snow today, but as probably 5% of the ground was covered and it didn’t last more than a couple of hours, that’s not what I would consider “decent.”

          • Bullet says:


            If you’ve seen how people below Tennessee drive in the snow, you would understand why they shut the schools down. And since it is so rare, it is rarely a problem.

          • Brian says:


            The scary thing is that they don’t drive much better in the rain. It rains all the time. How do you not learn to drive in it?

            It seems like about every five years a serious snow and/or ice storm hits and the city falls apart for days.

          • Bullet says:

            I haven’t really noticed the rain problem. Usually traffic is so stopped it doesn’t really matter in the rain. But with the hills in Atlanta it can be very slippery.

          • Bullet says:

            The problem in the snow is that they don’t know how to drive in it so they slow down. And driving 10 mph on the ice means all you are doing is sliding along. The cities really don’t budget for it so they don’t clear it quickly (on the other hand sand doesn’t rust out your car like salt).

      • Tim W says:

        A unseeded +1 system would allow Bowls to keep traditional conference champion tie-ins and serve as a “semi finals” stage.

        Under this system the bowls would likely be:

        Rose = Big 10 / Pac 10
        Sugar = SEC / Big 12
        Orange = ACC / Big East
        Fiesta = At Large / At Large

        (due to historical tie ins, geography, and general fanbase interest/hatred of the other league)

        • Tim W says:

          Additionally the Cotton Bowl could be added as a 5th BCS bowl to accommodate a plus one system.

          Something else to consider is; would adding the Cotton Bowl as a 5th BCS bowl help remove the 2 team limit, while keeping a minimum of 1 BCS bid per conference? Perhaps this would gain enough popular support to happen?

  46. M says:

    Official announcement about Hawaii to the WAC/Big West:

    To recap, here are MWC members:

    New Mexico
    San Diego State
    Air Force
    Colorado State

    New Mexico
    San Diego State
    Air Force
    Colorado State
    Boise State

    New Mexico
    San Diego State
    Air Force
    Colorado State
    Boise State
    Fresno State

    Presumably if another addition joined, they might begin in 2012 as well.

  47. OT says:

    Hawaii has left the WAC to join the Big West in 13 sports, but not football.

    Will Hawaii football be in the Mountain West or indy?

    Comcast will decide whether it wants Hawaii to hand over all football video rights as a condition of joining the Mountain West.

    Knowing that Hawaii makes over $2 million a season from its pay-per-view TV deal with Oceanic Time Warner Cable, and the combined Comcast/CBS College Sports TV contracts only pay each Mountain West school $1.2 million, Hawaii will have an “interesting” decision to make…

    • OT says:

      Hawaii has decided to hand over its football video rights to Comcast/CBS College Sports:

      Looks like Hawaii is willing to make less money from football video rights in order to join the Mountain West.

      • OT says:

        The new WAC ca. 2015 could look like this:

        New WAC ca. 2015:

        New Mexico State
        Louisiana Tech
        Texas State
        Texas-San Antonio
        Sam Houston State
        Stephen F. Austin State
        Northwestern State
        McNeese State
        San Jose State???


        San Jose State should apply to the Big West and drop football completely.

        San Jose State was the only FBS team to go winless against FBS opponents in 2010. We are talking about a program that finished DEAD LAST in the FBS.

        • loki_the_bubba says:

          I can’t see Texas supporting 15 D1A programs. SHSU, SFASU, and Lamar are unlikely to move up.

          • M says:

            FBS programs per capita:


            Lots of interesting data in that list, but one point is that Texas is currently around average for population per FBS school. If its population grows like it’s projected, 15 would probably be necessary to keep it at a similar ranking.

          • Bullet says:

            It makes the point for UMass to move up. Also shows there might be room for Illinois State, Missouri State (who however has never indicated any interest) and Georgia Southern. Appalachian State would, however, be entering a crowded field. And maybe Minnesota State from Division II-although they would have had an advantage closer to the time “Coach” was on the air.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            Good data. It also shows that Texas already has too many teams (below average) with just 10. With 15 teams, Texas could have a population in excess of California’s and still be below average.

        • Gumbynuts says:

          Do you have information about Utah State leaving the WAC? I have seen rumors they are joining the MWC but nothing reliable. Just curious because they aren’t on your list and were invited along with Fresno St. and Nevada but declined.

          • zeek says:

            Well the MWC should be stable at 10 with Hawaii.

            The question is whether they’d want to move to 12, and the likely answer is no…

  48. duffman says:

    Folks, you guys are putting the cart before the horse

    The NCAA went from 8 to 64 teams for basketball

    Why would Football start a 8, 12, 16 etc?


    My humble suggestion is you start with 4 teams, and add as time goes on, and you get all the bugs worked out.

    Rose = Team #1 vs Team #2 (preference given to B10 & P10 teams)

    Sugar = Team #3 vs Team #4 (preference given to SEC & at large)

    Winners of these games play for a MNC, and this allows the other conferences to settle out (BE, MWC, CUSA, WAC, etc) – as once all the secondary conferences get to 12 stable members (and can hold a CCG) then you will have a better feel as to what needs to be done.

    As a fan I can see paying for 1 added trip a year, but not multiple, and money does not grow on trees for me. I am guessing other fans are limited as well. The fact there are more and more empty seats for the first rounds of the NCAA basketball tourney makes me think I am not alone.

    If you have an 8 team system, you are looking a 3 games. If you have a 16 team system, you are looking at 4 games. 4 away weekends and related travel and ticket expenses will add up. Start simple (at 4) and work your way up as demand allows.

    • cfn_ms says:

      Which is pretty much Delaney’s point. 4 bleeds in 8 bleeds into 16 etc. And he doesn’t particularly want that (and neither do the other AQ’s, except for SEC)

      • zeek says:

        To be fair, if you look at what Slive and Swofford say about it, they believe that the BCS won’t have bracket creep like the NCAA.

        They believe that since the BCS is controlled by the AQ conferences for the most part that they can limit bracket creep.

        Delany seems to be leading the charge against that idea, although that’s more because he doesn’t want any form of it as it would restrict the value of the Rose Bowl…

        • Bullet says:

          An 8 team with guaranteed slots for the 6AQ would maximize the value of the Rose Bowl. Its clear he doesn’t like 16, but I don’t think he likes 8 either.

          • Brian says:

            Do you have any evidence that a playoff will maximize the value of the Rose? It is the best of the bowls now and gets the best ratings. Playoffs might increase TV ratings, but it makes the game less important. I don’t think Delany would see that as improving the Rose.

          • zeek says:

            I actually think Bullet has a point.

            Look at it this year, you’d have Oregon v. Wisconsin in the Rose.

            Probably Oklahoma/Stanford in Fiesta, Auburn/UConn in Sugar, and Virginia Tech/TCU in the Orange.

            It’d mean you actually get #1/2 ranked Big Ten/Pac-10 teams back to the Rose Bowl. I think that’d be a net positive even though other bowls like the Sugar Bowl would also become more important by getting the #1 SEC team every time.

          • Brian says:


            We’d have OR/WI this year if it wasn’t for the non-AQ rule. That’s an easy problem to fix.

            Why should Auburn get essentially a bye if everyone else is challenged?

            Your line-up is not any better than this year’s bowls except for the Rose. Knowing there are 2 more rounds would diminish the Rose. The Rose wouldn’t agree to it, in my opinion, and neither would Delany.

          • Bullet says:

            The Rose would actually mean something. Its already diminished with the BCS. There seems to be a gradual erosion of the non-championship BCS bowls. It would be enhanced if B10/P10 meant advancing every year.

          • Richard says:


            The Rose Bowl would mean less if it was a quarterfinal game, and I daresay almost everyone in BigTen and Pac10 country agrees. Right now, it’s pretty much always the game with the second-most sought-after tickets in the postseason. That wouldn’t be the case if it was a quarterfinal game.

            In any case, this debate is moot; again, there is just no way that an 8-team playoff would be staged with all games played at neutral sites. The quarterfinals would definitely be played at the home field of the higher seed. At most, the semifinals are neutral site.

        • Brian says:

          But once it is a playoff, it isn’t the BCS anymore. The NCAA would have to get involved because multiple post-season games are not allowed right now. At some point the rest of the NCAA is going to want a cut of the money if the big boys want a playoff.

          • Bullet says:

            That’s certainly a major fear of the big boys.

            But its also something that could be negotiated.

          • Bullet says:

            Despite all the nonsense the big boys put out, I think there are really only two reasons they oppose a playoff:
            1) sharing the money with the other schools as you pointed out;
            2) sharing the money with the players-which scares them even more.

          • m (Ag) says:

            I’m mostly skipping over the playoffs talk, but there are real reasons to oppose a playoff:

            1) The big level athletes hit much harder and faster than the FCS athletes; there are too many games for their health in playoff proposals

            2) The playoffs devalue the regular season.

            Playoff proponents can overlook these facts all they want, but playoffs won’t be a winning proposition for the schools or the players.

          • Brian says:


            I’d say there is a bigger reason: they don’t want one. They don’t see the need for one. The non-AQs and some of the fans are who want one.

            I’d also say playoff proponents spout just as much nonsense as the big boys. Neither side really cares what the other side has to say.

          • Bullet says:

            If you listen to the Presidents talk about every other sport, they are always talking about how great it is to increase the post-season opportunities for the student athletes. I’ve read this sort of stuff many times. They can want it for one sport and for other divisions for football and not want it for FBS?

          • Bullet says:

            @ m(Ag)
            I don’t believe 1) for a minute. There’s not a lot of difference. I think you should ask Michigan and Virginia Tech their opinion. There’s a fair number of FCS players in the NFL.

            2) is not a fact. Its an opinion and a legitimate one. But its one people can disagree on.

          • Richard says:

            “If you listen to the Presidents talk about every other sport, they are always talking about how great it is to increase the post-season opportunities for the student athletes.”

            Bullet, are you truly naive and actually think they believe that, or do you think they’ll say what ever justifies maximizing their schools’ revenues?

          • zeek says:

            The Montana AD (or was it the Prez?) sent out that letter a couple months ago stating what they were looking at and their decision to not move up to FBS.

            He ripped the playoff system though calling it unnecessary extra games that takes away from exam periods and adds another 4 games of wear and tear to the players bodies.

          • Brian says:


            No other level of football has bowl games. It is playoffs or nothing for them. FBS already has 70 teams getting a bowl experience. No playoff will increase the postseason opportunities to more teams. A very few teams could get more game(s), but at the cost of losing the bowl feel.

            I think many/most of the players, coaches, ADs and presidents would argue that a bowl experience is much better than a tournament experience. Hoops players don’t get a week in a luxury resort in a sunny location and a big swag bag. They don’t get events in their honor around town, either. The entourage for tournaments is much smaller, too.

            Playoffs only have two potential benefits that I can see.

            1. They might raise more revenue. It has yet to be proven that the increased post-season revenue will not be balanced by a loss of regular season revenue, though.

            2. There is a more definitive national champion in some years. Of course, some years an undeserving team will get lucky and win. Also, some players will suffer terrible injuries in the extra games.

            But hey, some football fan sitting on their couch at home will get to watch a playoff, so that’s all that matters. Everyone else should bow to the whims of the college football fan. Maybe the season should go all year, like baseball. With 30 games, think of all the OOC games you could get. Heck, Florida might actually leave the state for an OOC game.

          • Bullet says:


            When the Presidents say expanded post-season opportunities are beneficial for the student, they are talking about women’s cross-country or men’s track or tennis or some non-revenue sport. So it has nothing to do with revenue. It increases costs with little or no increase in revenue. So, yes I believe they mean it. I don’t recall them using that argument for the bb tourney expansion. That was about $ and distribution of $.

          • Bullet says:


            My problem with the arguments is that several have said F
            BS is so much harder on the body than FCS. I don’t think that’s correct. I’d be surprised if studies didn’t show more serious injuries in high school where athletes aren’t as well conditioned or trained and the size differential is bigger. You can argue that FCS ought to have bowls (see Zeek’s reference to the Montana comment). But arguing that FBS is somehow dramatically different doesn’t make any sense to me.

            As for the rest of your arguments, I’ll refrain from responding until Frank comes out with his proposal. I think those make for a good discussion.

          • Brian says:


            Do you not agree that NFL games are harder on the body than FBS games? There is a significant difference between FBS and FCS teams. FBS players are bigger, faster and better coached. That makes for bigger collisions more often.

            I would suspect concussions and shoulder dislocations are more common in FBS though I have no proof. A lot of injuries are the bad luck sort that probably are similar between FBS and FCS.

          • Bullet says:

            The most common long term injury is the knee. And whether its a 300 lb lineman running a 4.6 40 bending your knee the wrong way and landing on it or a 295 lb lineman running a 4.7 40 doing it doesn’t make a lot of difference.

            The FBS are on the average quicker, but not a lot. Recruiting is based on 18 year olds who may have a lot of growth left. And a lot of outstanding players move to FCS to get playing time w/o sitting out. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better college receiver than Randy Moss-and he transferred to Marshall when they were I-AA.

            The NFL is recruiting 22-23 year old grown men. And those are 2-5% of college players. So there is a lot of difference. Whether that translates into more injuries I don’t know. But that difference is vastly greater than FBS vs. FCS. Sagarin rated several FCS conferences higher than the MAC and Sun Belt this year-and this year wasn’t unique.

          • Brian says:


            I agree, knee injuries are in that category of bad luck injuries that happen at all levels. But there are a lot of players who suffer from a lot of less major injuries that still hurt the body. I think the presidents include all types of injuries in their thinking.

            I wasn’t trying to claim the NFL versus FBS is the same as FBS versus FCS, because the age difference with the NFL makes them a different class of athlete. My point was that if the NFL causes more wear and tear, then so does FBS.

            If you agree with that, then we’re just talking about degrees of bodily abuse. I don’t know that anyone has proof of how much worse FBS is than FCS on the body, so I won’t say you’re wrong. I just disagree with you.

            Now, I don’t think bodily abuse is the only reason to not add a playoff, but it is a plausible concern to me.

          • Bullet says:

            Concussions certainly more prevelant in NFL than I would have thought. On a pace to average nearly 10 per team. They should be gathering these sorts of stats for colleges and high schools.


  49. Playoffs Now says:

    We have college playoff football today! Just starting is a game featuring the all-time great LA Rams’ helmets, shades of Vince Ferragamo, Merlin Olsen, and Pat Haden. Heaven can wait. And the school sporting the Rams’ helmets is appropriately named Shepherd U.

  50. OT says:

    More data on Hawaii’s move to the Mountain West and Big West:

    Hawaii had to give up $2.5 million in local TV revenue, and Hawaii will have to pay $175,000 per team in travel cost, in order to join the Mountain West in football only.

    In return, Hawaii might end up with less than $2 million in TV revenue from the deals the Mountain West will renegotiate with Comcast and CBS College Sports.

    Hawaii was willing to lose money in order to get out of the Texas-centric new WAC.

    • Bullet says:

      Up to $1.0 million in TV (probably less given they would be playing Texas ST. and UTSA) and $.7 in travel costs is probably easily made up for in their own reduced travel costs and increased ticket sales.

      Demonstrates what a bad TV deal MWC has currently and why BYU left.

      • ccrider55 says:

        Do you think a large part of BYU leaving was based on worries that (as they and others had been the targets of WAC Poaching) the MWC was as unstable as the WAC? If they and TCU had stayed the MWC would look an awful lot like an auto qualifier to me.

        • OT says:

          ESPN, Inc. signed BYU to a TV deal that paid $8 million a year for 4 football home games. BYU could keep its other home games for its own BYUtv HD service.

          The Mountain West’s TV deals with Comcast and CBS College Sports currently pay out each school less than $2 million a year for all video rights to every sport.

          BYU simply got a better deal from ESPN than from the Mountain West (Comcast/CBS College Sports). In addition, BYUtv could air virtually any road game via tape delay as long as ESPN, Inc. has rights to that game.

          • ccrider55 says:

            You’re probably right about the TV broadcast rights though I doubt it had anything to do with the money involved. The LDS Church is not worried about a few million dollars, but saw many lost opportunities to broaden viewership of the BYU network (and thereby potential church membership) by the restrictive nature of the Mtn agreement. BYU is run/owned by the LDS church and athletics are a tool to promote its mission. I just wonder if being in an auto qualifier would have been enough of a benifit (higher visibility nationally) to have offset conference TV restrictions.

  51. Abe Froman says:

    Gators hire Will Muschamp as next head coach.
    Sooners rejoice as Stoops is still around and more bad news for the Longhorns.

    • Brian says:

      Interesting choice. I’m surprised they didn’t want an experienced head coach, but he is one of the hot names in coaching. I’m sure everyone is wondering who he’ll bring as OC since offense has been the problem. Will they stay spread, or change up?

      • Richard says:

        I’m rather surprised that they didn’t tab Mullen or Strong. I’m not sure Muschamp is a better choice than those 2.

        • Brian says:

          I’ll bet the BCA will have something to say, too, since Foley has already said Muschamp was the only guy he talked with. You would think they would at least interview some other people.

      • schwarm says:

        I’ve heard rumors that his OC might be Major Applewhite.

        • Playoffs Now says:

          Yep, though the most tantalizing rumor is Holgerson as OC and Kirby Smart as DC. If Muschamp pulls that off, then wow, no better setup in the nation. And nothing would make the seat hotter for Mack next year than Longhorn fans watching that trio knowing it could have been their program but for Mack’s ego (if certain rumors are true.)

          That said, Texas could still make some great OC and DC hires. Muschamp could still bust, Dream Teams don’t always pan out. But with OU poised to next year have Stoops get 4 times as many conference titles as Mack, it is going to take an incredible turnaround for him to survive.

    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      Congrats to former LSU DC Will Muschamp on being named HC of the Florida Gators.

      Since 2000, the following former LSU assistants have gone on to become Division I-A Head Coaches.

      Will Muschamp – Florida
      Derek Dooley – Tennessee
      Jimbo Fisher – FSU
      Bo Pelini – Nebraska
      Larry Porter – Memphis
      Mike Haywood – Miami (OH)
      Bradley Dale Pevato – Northwestern State (LA)

      • Bullet says:

        There was some article talking about Saban disciples being hot property.

        Texas defensive coordinators have been moving on a lot. Greg Robinson, Gene Chizik, Will Muschamp and I’m drawing a blank on the two before Chizik. They were co-coordinators and I think they both moved on to head coaching jobs.

        • Brian says:

          Saban seems to have that Belichek thing going on right now. Of course, most of his guys have not done well as head coaches.

    • Brian says:

      I’ve heard a mixed bag of responses locally. One group is using the Ron Zook analogy of a successful coordinator moving to a big job without any HC experience and finding it to be too much for him. The other side uses Bob Stoops, a successful coordinator moving to a big job and doing great things.

      I think the downside for Muschamp is that he can’t come in and improve recruiting which is what a lot of new coaches do. He’ll have to put together a staff good enough to be equal to or better than Urban Meyer’s staff was over 6 years. That’s a tall order.

      • M says:

        To me, the best track record for a head coach at a major school has both a period as an assistant at a major school and head coaching experience. I think getting a guy who has no background with how crazy a place like Florida can be is in trouble.

        Urban Meyer, Les Miles, and Jim Tressel all had both a successful head coaching stint and were assistants at major programs before their current jobs.

        • Brian says:

          That would be my plan, too. Let them learn the pressures and problems of being the HC somewhere with less pressure instead of making their rookie mistakes in the big leagues.

          Speaking of which, how about the news of Al Golden to Miami? I’ve got to believe the fans are disappointed to get the coach from Temple. They are all about the big name flashy hire.

          • Richard says:

            Actually, no, not historically. Randy Shannon was an assistant. Larry Coker was an assistant. Butch Davis was an assistant. Dennis Erickson spent the 4 years before he joined the U coaching Idaho, Wyoming, and Washington St. Jimmy Johnson was an assistant. Howard Schnellenberger was an assistant.

            Virtually all these men became famous after becoming head coach of the U, not before. Not sure what their fans think, but as a small private school, Miami really doesn’t have the deep pockets to land an already established star.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Richard – Jimmy Johnson was the HC at Oklahoma State immediately prior to becoming the HC at Miami, FL.

          • Richard says:

            Oh, you’re right. Sorry, I missed that. Still, Al Golden would still be amongst the bigger name hires the U has made since they’ve ascended in to the national consciousness.

          • Brian says:


            I was referring to the fans, not the school. The fans are all about the big name. They probably expected Nick Saban to come over from Alabama.

          • Richard says:

            Again, I’m not too in tune with Miami’s fanbase, but if they expected a bigger name, they don’t know their own school’s history too well. However, I would like to know where you got the idea that their fanbase was expecting a big name.

          • Brian says:


            I base it on the remarks I’ve seen and heard in the various media. A lot of people were upset with the list of candidates. Much like they think they should win at least 11 games every year, they also think they should be a destination job like Florida, Texas, OSU, USC, etc. They don’t see the poor crowds, bad facilities and low pay as an impediment.

        • Bullet says:

          Texas was willing to commit to Muschamp to become its next head coach. So Florida is not alone in their opinion.

  52. duffman says:

    Any thoughts on the SMU documentary?

    • Brian says:

      I either never knew, or had forgotten, just how blatant they were. Upholding contracts to pay players after the NCAA puts you on probation for it? That’s just ridiculous.

      Dickerson was dirty as sin, and James was too despite his denials. If he wasn’t on the take, he knew others were and benefited from it. SMU got what they deserved. They would have recovered years ago if they had hired better coaches.

      I wish more players and boosters would have been willing to speak out and admit what they did. It’s safe now.

      • Bullet says:

        Some people think a deals a deal and stick to their word. It certainly wasn’t very wise, but I can understand the thinking. I had to miss the show. Anyone know when it is replaying?

        • Brian says:

          It was hush money, plain and simple. They paid because any disgruntled player could expose more of what they had done. Unfortunately for them, the repeat violator rule had just passed and they did get exposed by an unhappy player.

          It must have been a proud day for Texas when the governor was implicated.

          • Playoffs Now says:

            Um, (shady) Bill Clements was nearly squeaky clean compared to the crooks that used to run this state. A long sordid history, there’s a reason so many suspected that Landslide Lyndon was behind the hit on JFK. The Sharpstown Scandal of the 70’s started the needed reforms but it still took a generation to pretty much clean house.

            That was a fascinating movie last night. I was even able to get past the concerns of relying so much on using disreputable clowns like Skip Bayless, Richard Justice, and Bryant Gumbel to tell the story, for the most part the editors did a pretty good job.

            No surprise to see Eric Dickerson still living down to his reputation: If his lips are moving, he’s lying.

            While at the time I was a fan of all the Texas teams and was ticked that this phony system of bowls and media votes handed a 1-loss Penn State a faux-national title over an undefeated SMU, I later fully supported giving them the death penalty they clearly earned. But what really pissed me and others off is the NCAA’s failure to follow through and give the death penalty to schools like FSU, USC, Tennessee, OU, Alabama, and Auburn that clearly earned it through obvious lack of institutional control. The latter 4 deserved multiple death penalties for institutionalized corruption.

            Ridiculous. Especially since those 4 (and others) benefited from SMU’s demise and barely missed a beat. As someone in the movie noted, their lesson learned was only to hide it better.

          • Brian says:

            Playoffs Now,

            I always felt the NCAA got scared away from the death penalty because SMU took so long to recover. The NCAA expected SMU to be competitive again in 5-7 years, not 20+.

            I think SMU could have recovered much sooner with better coaching hires and if they had not opted to sit out the second year. Losing two years hurt the program more than the NCAA intended.

            I agree the NCAA should be stricter and more consistent with its punishment. I also think the conferences should step up and discipline their schools. If the NCAA won’t do a TV ban, then the conference should reduce the TV money to the perpetrators.

          • Brian says:

            Playoffs Now,

            That system that you hated for giving PSU a title screwed JoePa more than anyone else. He had perfect seasons in 1968, 1969 and 1973 without getting a title. He also missed out in 1994 with another perfect season.

            In 1982, PSU (11-1) went 5-1 against top 13 teams. They lost at #4 Alabama in early October.

            SMU (11-0-1) went 2-0-1 against ranked teams, tieing #9 Arkansas at home in the last game of the season.

            PSU beat #1 Georgia in their bowl while SMU beat #10 Pitt.

            If I was a voter back then I would have voted PSU #1 too. As a fan, of course you should feel screwed. But hindsight says it was a good call (and JoePa didn’t buy his team).

          • schwarm says:

            @Brian – Alabama finished unranked in the AP poll in 1982.

          • Bullet says:

            My recollection is that the SWC was viewed as being down that year and SMU wasn’t rolling everyone. Other than Pony fans, I don’ think anyone was outraged. It was also viewed as a little bit of reward for Paterno togive him the benefit of a doubt in that year.

          • Brian says:


            Those were the ranks when they played, I wasn’t trying to deceive anybody. They were ranked #17 in the final coaches poll, for what that is worth. Alabama ended the regular season with a 3 game losing streak and Bear Bryant was dead before the end of January.

        • Brian says:

          You can find the full schedule at

          ESPN – Tuesday 12/14 2100 EST
          ESPN2 – Sunday 12/12 2300 EST
          Wednesday 12/15 2100 EST
          ESPNU – Monday 12/13 2000 EST
          Tuesday 12/14 2400 EST
          Thursday 12/16 0100 EST
          Thursday 12/16 1900 EST

    • Bullet says:

      After they got caught and it was all exposed, I thought it was interesting there were still things they wouldn’t talk about. Maybe they were protecting people who weren’t implicated.

      James and all the people talked about how they hated Texas. You can see that on ESPN. Not surprising they didn’t mention that ’81-’84 41-5-1 record included 3 losses to Texas.

      Comment that some people were spending much more than SMU and winning 3 games was amusing. He may have been referring to Tech, but most likely to A&M, who didn’t start winning until Jackie “probation” Sherrill got there.

      They talked a lot to Mike Ford, QB. He was a big part of getting SMU to believe they could win, playing 76-80 before the big money started flowing in. SMU was at the bottom before he led SMU to some surprising wins as a freshman.

  53. OT says:

    Back to conference realignment:

    If you want to check out Big East football expansion candidate Villanova play on national TV, you will have another chance next week.

    Friday December 17 at 8pm Eastern Time on ESPN2

    NCAA Division I FCS Semifinal

    Villanova at Eastern Washington


    Villanova has won twice on the road, taking out Stephen F. Austin State (which has been contacted by the WAC) and #1 Appalachian State.

    Villanova now has to play Eastern Washington on the RED TURF.

  54. zeek says:

    @ Frank

    We haven’t discussed the BTHC recently, but did you see this WSJ article?

    “Michigan expects its hockey program to bring in more ticket revenue than basketball this season by a margin of more than $1 million.”

    Even though that’s mainly due to the 113k ticket Big Chill, the article does have some other interesting details…

    ‘And then there’s TV: The Big Ten Network, the conference’s lucrative three-year-old sports channel, is a natural outlet that can carry games both regionally and nationally. The network is broadcasting nine hockey games this season. “We’d be interested in doing more,” said spokeswoman Elizabeth Conlisk. “It certainly has quite a bit of appeal in this part of the country.”‘

    • @zeek – Yeah, I saw that the other day. It’s an interesting read and I liked the reference to Illinois as a possibility to start a program.

      • zeek says:

        Yeah, I found the BTN quote to be interesting. It pretty much guarantees some form of a BTHC as an easy way to get all the rights to the Big Ten games and non-conference home games probably.

      • Brian says:

        The Illinois rep sounded pretty negative about it, though. Maybe once the extra TV $$$ starts rolling in they’ll re-evaluate.

    • jj says:

      Not much to see in hoops these days. Though they look a little better.

      I was at the chill, it was sweet. The Spartans are si classy to let the home team get the shutout. What gentlemen. And, as moter nature’s favorite sons, the metrodome crushing weather held off.

      They really should have gotten the wings and habs in there, they were in town and thatvwould have been insane. Maybe next time.

    • mushroomgod says:

      There will be a BTHC, but it won’t be called the BTHC, because it will include 3-4 schools like Miami OH, ND, and Bowling Green as well as the 6 BT schools…….called it the Great Lakes Hockey Conference……the BTN will then negotiate a deal with the GLHC…..

      • Richard says:

        I don’t see the rationale for why they would include Miami, OH, ND, and BG as well.

      • zeek says:

        Why? That would require us to pay those schools for the rights to put their games on TV.

        And you could end up with ND-Miami on BTN, which no one will care about…

        It’s easier to just bypass the issue and go with a 6 team BTHC…

      • jj says:

        i’d bet a timbit that ND and one other, maybe Neb Omaha, get invites.

        • duffman says:


          bear claws!

        • Cliff's Notes says:

          As it stands, if the Big Ten HC started, the CCHA would drop to 8 teams. The CCHA would remain a strong, competitive conference, as long as Miami and ND can keep their current success, but clearly losing their marquee teams.

          But if The BTHC invites two more teams, it really pushes the CCHA down the ladder, and could put the league in jeopardy of surviving. They would be left with six teams (one of which is in Alaska). Northern and LSSU could easily decide they fit more naturally in the WCHA, and without any natural additions, suddenly the CCHA ceases to exist.

          I don’t think the Big Ten wants to destroy the CCHA, or put the nearby schools in danger of losing their programs.

  55. greg says:

    My only take on the Heisman ceremony is that it sure was a fitting lead-in to Pony Excess.

  56. zeek says:

    Big Ten division names and logo revealed today at 11am central. Keep an eye out for that…

    • duffman says:

      is that going to be on the BTN, or national feed?

    • zeek says:

      Legends and Leaders.

      I don’t know what to think of that.

      • zeek says:

        And no one will ever have any idea of what schools are in which division…

        • duffman says:

          I am already confused, the ACC names make more sense. I like the names, but for a conference division, one would think they would go with geography. At least they did not go with Woody and Bo.

          • R says:

            Kiss KISS and East-West goodbye. OMG! What an arrogant, pompous choice! Why not call it the ‘NO CLUE’ conference. They are so effed that had they named the divisions Woody and Bo, they would have placed tOSU and UofM with the wrong coaches name. IMO, what an unmitigated disaster.

            It’s a little early for scotch, but what the hell! :)

        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          Legends = Atlantic
          Leaders = Coastal

          No one outside the Big Ten footprint will ever know (or care) who is in what division.

          I do like the names of the trophies, though.

          Should have stuck with KISS.
          EAST – Penn St, Ohio St, Michigan, Michigan St, Indiana, and Purdue.

          WEST – Illinois, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska.

          • greg says:

            Heck, I bet even a few B10 fans won’t know which teams are in which division. If anything, the alliteration in the names mean that people will remember the content of the divisions better than which name is which.


          • StvInIL says:

            I would have gone Lakes and Prairie divisions. With the more Westerly schools being the Prairie.

          • Richard says:

            I would have gone with “Lakes” and “Rivers”

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      I’m sorry, that logo is just awful. It looks like some kid typed it in a text message. ‘B1G TEN’?


      • duffman says:


        could be worse! When NBC went with the Red / Blue “N” it turned out it was already being used by a bank – woops! :)

  57. coldhusker says:

    Like the new logo, but Legends & Leaders?

    • zeek says:

      The most ridiculous division names ever. This sounds way too pompous.

    • greg says:

      Division names suck. I’m going to stick with Northwest and Southeast.

      • zeek says:

        Yeah, Northwest/Southeast would have been the easiest way to do this. Instead we pulled this too cute by half measure.

        • jcfreder says:

          The division names are beyond stupid. I agree that they sound pompous. Within 5 years they’ll be renamed East and West.

          • Bamatab says:

            I think they are just down right corny.

            Here is the reaction from outsiders: Legends & Leaders? OOOOOK?

            At least the ACC went with some names that had geographic indicators associated with them. But Legends & Leaders, really?

    • Bullet says:

      You are serious? Legends and leaders? Delaney-Mr. anti-KISS.

      Consultants! Kind of scary what name they might come up with for Big 12. Probably something meaninless like Summit or Horizon. Would anybody guess those are mid-western conferences? Does anyone but a diehard sports fan remember which is which?

      Why not just trade Iowa for Wisconsin and you could have the M&N division and the P&I division with WI and OSU thrown in for good measure.

      Does anyone remember the names of the ACC divisions? I can’t think of the other one besides Atlantic, since they really don’t mean anything. These are similar words so they really will be forgotten.

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      I posted in the wrong thread. With names like those, Thank God for unanswered wishes! :)

    • jj says:

      holy hell. unmitigated disaster.

      worst logo I have ever seen. what is this? white castle?

      • Jeepers says:

        Pentagram is a very respected, well-known design firm. But I gotta say, as someone who has worked at a shitload of magazines doing typographic stuff, the logo is really disappointing.

        If B1G represents B10, then isn’t it awfully redundant to put TEN underneath it?

        Just looks like a good idea that was executed in one night with lots of coffee and the cartoon network.

  58. greg says:

    New logo. I don’t understand why they didn’t just use the old one with the negative 11 removed.

  59. loki_the_bubba says:

    New rumor: The ‘G’ is supposed to represent a ‘6’.

    B1G = B16

    Expansion continues…

    • m (Ag) says:

      It all makes sense. The lousy division names are OK because there will be more teams coming in, leading to realignment and new names.

      But they didn’t want to get a new logo when they grab more teams.

      We’ll just have to wait for rumors to see what the final 4 teams will be.

  60. duffman says:

    Even something like The Great Lakes & The Great Plains would have been better! (checks calendar to see if today is April 1st).

  61. zeek says:

    Honestly, Northwest/Southeast would have made this so easy, since it’d just be geographic except for Wisconsin in the Southeast. That’s much easier to remember than this Legends/Leaders mess.

    • jcfreder says:

      I can only assume that the league will be unveiling a new tagline that utilizes the words leaders and legends. My guess is “Legends of today. Leaders of tomorrow.”

      And seriously, the only way these names could be more douchey would be if they were the “More Heismans than the ACC” division and the “Better academics than the SEC” division.

      • zeek says:

        Greg’s point that they’re easily confusable is also spot on…

        If they wanted to really go with this, why not Legends and Icons instead?

        Legends and Leaders are too easily confused, so even Big Ten country is going to have a tough time with this…

        • gas1958 says:

          UM fans–like me–will never get this right! Remember that a line from “The Victors” is ” …the leaders and best”.
          Yet, UM is in the Legends division. This will go down as the worst branding mistake since New Coke 25 years ago. Does anyone see Delany walking this back?

      • Bullet says:

        Legends includes schools that used to be legends:
        UM,MSU, MN, UNL used to be really good
        IA was really good in the 80s
        NW was incredibly good at being bad prior to the 90s.
        Now they’re all mediocre so you must look to the leaders?
        IU is the leader at being bad
        OSU is the leader at being good
        IL is the leader at underachieving
        WI is the leader at overachieving
        PSU is the leader at having old leaders
        Purdue is the leader at not being a leader in anything.

        • R says:

          @Bullet: You win for the most original lampoon of an utterly ridiculous decision!

          I offer a few alternatives to Jimbo:

          Lemur and Lemming
          Lincoln and Lindbergh
          Lake and Logger
          Liberty and Lawyer (I can hear the applause!)
          Leech and Lawyer (So, sue me!)
          Languid and Lecherous

          Thankyou to all of you posters who have made this an enjoyable year, and also to Frank, who made this all possible, while at the same time being occasionally right! Now back to my personal favorite divisions, Scotch and Water.

      • mushroomgod says:

        “Gay and Gayer”, “Dumb and Dumber”, “Jack” and “Wagon”, and “Moe” and Curly” were the other finalists.

        I also hope to win the “Delaney-Tool” award for the finest crap taken on New Year’s Day….

  62. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    I justed posted the division names on Rivals’ Universally negative reaction.

    Looking at the comments from Rittenberg’s blog announcing the names, on, negative reaction is running at about 99.99%.

    • eapg says:

      Hideous. Delany needs to hire somebody with the nads to tell him no.

    • curious2 says:

      Re: legends and whatever

      So does this mean “legends” aren’t “leaders” and “leaders” aren’t “legends”?

      Which is better: “leader” or “legend”?

      How about annual rotations based on performance?

      4 Divisions:
      1) Legends
      2) Leaders
      3) Wanna-be leaders
      4) Used to be legends

      • curious2 says:

        Re: Big 10 logo

        How about:
        1) Bigger than 10
        2) “We make more money than your miserable conference”
        3) “10=12: you have a problem with that?”
        4) “12=10: or whatever”
        5) “The BIG whatever conference”

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        Curious – I was basically thinking the same way.

        What legend isn’t a leader? Are there any legendary followers? You can be a leader without rising to the level of being a legend, though.

        I guess some are a little more equal than others.

        • curious2 says:

          Re: Alan:

          “I was basically thinking the same way.”

          Clearly, the less “thinking” the better on this one.

        • jj says:

          who was that dude who screwed up the cubs and snagged the ball? there’s a legend that’s not a leader.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            jj – I’m a suffering Oriole fan and we have our own “legend” punk of a kid that has screwed us up for more than a decade – Jeffrey Maier. He was a punk-kid Yankee fan that leaned over the wall in old Yankee Stadium to rob a fly ball out from Tony Tarasco in the 95 ALCS. The umps-on-the-take ruled no fan interference and gave the Yanks a home run. I still hate that kid, who is now a grown man.

            Steve Bartman is who you are thinking about. I don’t know if either qualify as legends, more like cult figures.

            I do know that Bartman got too much grief and Maier didn’t get enough.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Maier got an apriciation day howted by the mayer of NYC!

          • ccrider55 says:


  63. M says:

    I just can’t get that outraged over division names. Once they abandoned geography and people names, the only possible result was something like this.

    The logo is ok. I think the idea will be to use the B1G form on most things. Plus, Big Ten fans now have the option to chant “Bee One Gee” in the “Ess Eee See” manner.

    The trophies are unmitigatedly awesome.

    • jj says:

      M –

      The trophies are great.

      The division names are fine. I totally agree with you.

      The logo is a pile of crap. Look at that thing. The logo is the most important of the three as it will bet the most exposure and it is, IMHO, a giant turd. This is the first thing they have totally biffed on.

  64. duffman says:

    this in from the SEC

    they should have let FtT posters put up the ideas, or at least been part of a focus group before this thing went out to the general public.

    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      Obviously, Delany has never heard of a focus group.

    • StvInIL says:

      The logo is mediocre looking and befitting of a league that is mediocre. Not for one that has long since arrived. Maybe these guys could have consulted the Pac Ten to get a better visual image of the conference.

      It’s not classy like IBM and not clever like the “Big Ten” with the hidden eleven inside.

      Both the logo and the divisional names are a massive disappointment. Wasn’t there a rule that something had to be worth the wait?

      • duffman says:


        the least they could have done was to take NU’s purple! At least it is a more unique color. Add Purdue’s gold from the other side…. and bingo!

        The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold

        And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold

        And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea

        When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.

        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          Duff – I’ve also always liked purple and gold.

          • duffman says:

            I am just bummed as with a blunder like this, we can kiss off getting UT in the Big 10 fold. *sigh*

            So long Varsity Blues, we hardly knew thee! Your hockey team would have been a great add (the academics would just have been a bonus).

          • jj says:

            don”t worry duff. we’ll get em.

            we’ll put them in “the national” division.

  65. loki_the_bubba says:

    EVERY trophy has a hyphenated name? Someone is trying way, way too hard.

  66. Playoffs Now says:


    • Playoffs Now says:

      Stevie Nicks and Don Henley will sing the conference divisions theme song:

      “Lovers forever…face to face
      My city or corn fields
      Stay with me stay
      I need you to love me
      I need your tight ends
      Give to me your leaders
      Take from me, legends”

  67. greg says:

    Best comment I’ve read (re: logo):

    Now we’re the conference that can’t count or spell

  68. M says:

    Some comments from the logo designers:

    “Seeing two numbers at once is clever, but it means redesigning the logo every time the conference expands,”

    Do they know something we don’t? (mostly kidding)

  69. Playoffs Now says:

    The Big Whiff.

  70. Tim W says:

    How about this for a conference name?

    “The Notorious B1G.”

  71. Ross Hatton says:

    I don’t get the championship trophy name. Stagg being on there is fine, but Paterno? He hasn’t even been in the Big Ten for all of his coaching tenure, let alone half of it. Have we also forgotten that he is…still coaching?

  72. OT says:

    The B1G Conference





  73. jj says:

    uh oh. someone just pointed out that the blue looks a lot like honolulu blue.

    as in, detroit lions.

  74. Gopher86 says:

    When do naming rights come out for the new trophies? ‘The Rotel Stagg-Paterno Championship Trophy’

  75. Bullet says:

    They should have asked Frank. He might have come up with some names that could earn them some money. Something like:
    New Coke division and
    Crystal Pepsi division?

  76. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Dennis Dodd from says Legends & Leaders reminds him of Dungeons & Dragons.

    Once again, where was a focus group?

    • eapg says:

      “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

      This probably also applies to individuals or groups who fall in love with bad ideas enough to not bounce them off those of lesser standing.

    • Bullet says:

      I like those names. The Dragon division sounds intimidating.

    • Jeepers says:

      That is a pretty nifty logo. But reminds me too much of the Big 12.

    • Richard says:

      I like that. Definitely better than the first grade project that was actually designed. I would just make the “XII” different colors, though.
      BTW, that design works with a “XIV” as well (“XVI” would be more difficult). The “XIV” would look especially good with the “BIG” on top of the “TEN”.

      As it is not, the black and light blue “BIG” is the ugliest of the logos.

      Why oh why did they get rid of the block lettering?

  77. rich2 says:

    First, greetings from New Delhi, India. Frank, this was a sterling analysis, I think it is your best since I a reader in February, 2010. The commentary is excellent too.

    I thought of this board when a few friends sent me the link to the new Big Ten logo and your Legends and Leaders decision. They are both stupefyingly bad decisions. Tar Heel Blue? Explain in the next one hundred posts how it really isn’t Tar Heel Blue. Then conduct a poll — “this color reminds me of a. UNC b. the Big Ten”? See what the public thinks. Then Leaders and Legends. Where is Michigan? Aren’t they Leaders? In fact, don’t half of the Big Ten schools refer to Leaders in their promo tag lines? Should they change their tag line to Legends? Or switch divisions?

    Frank, in a nutshell, this is a perfectly elegant example why ND should remain independent. Again is UM a Leader or a Legend and who made this decision? More importantly, why would any institution worth their salt agree to such an embarrassing plan because they are instructed to do so by a Marketing Group acting on behalf of the “collective”?

    Take care, I read that the weather has been brutal Be safe.

    • PSUGuy says:

      Its all good…ND doesn’t need help in figuring out how to do stupid things! :P

    • duffman says:


      carolina blue is lighter, and kentucky blue is darker, but it is closer to kentucky blue (while their official color is supposed to be closer to navy, they are usually much lighter). The more I look at it, I find it a tad humorous that it is much closer to non repro blue than anything else. For those old enough to do pre press work by hand, you used non repro blue for work you did not want the camera to pick up in the finished work. In short non repro blue is “invisible” (not exactly a ringing endorsement for making the Big 10 “visible”).

      your comment:
      “More importantly, why would any institution worth their salt agree to such an embarrassing plan because they are instructed to do so by a Marketing Group acting on behalf of the “collective”?”. Is on point not just for the Big 10, but for the future of college sports in general. At what point do you cede decision making to folks who clearly do not understand what you do. Now this disaster is out there for all to see, and has already hit the “talking heads” at ESPN. Not a good way to move forward.

  78. jtower says:

    Now that the B1G has cornered the market on eponyms, and graphics artistry what will poor Dan Beebe be able to come up with as he works on rebranding/renaming the big X-II. Of course if Texas, aggy, Mizzou and ND would agree the B16 TEN logo would work well.

  79. Brian says:

    Wow, just when you think Delany can’t find a way to disappoint more people and invite more scorn for the Big Ten, here comes this logo, the division names and 18 trophies.

    1. Why did they change the shade of blue to that horrible baby blue? I wish they’d let schools use their own school colors for the logo like the Pac-10 does, but I’m guessing they won’t.

    2. I’m not a designer, so I won’t complain about the rest of the design of the logo except to say that 1G looks at least as much like 16 as 10.

    3. It takes months of paying consultants to get Legends and Leaders? Really, alliteration is the way you want to go? That will really help people keep them separate. Did they not see how easy it would be to substitute Losers for one of the names?

    4. 18 trophies? Really? And they all get double names? Could someone please stand up and just pick a name.

    5. Why would you pick two names from the same school for a trophy? Nobody but Purdue ever had a good quarterback, and only Wisconsin had running backs? Nobody can decide which player was better?

    6. Really, these are the best players and coaches? Based on what?

    7. For all the names used, they didn’t even spread the honors equally. 5 – OSU; 4 – MI, WI; 3 – IL, MN, MSU, PSU, PU; 2 – IN, IA, NW; 1 – NE, UIC. Leaders 21, Legends 15.

    Jim Delany gave some interesting answers to Adam Rittenberg about some of this.

    • mushroomgod says:

      Chicago Tribune poll says 95% hate,5% like the division names…not good…

      So….when the 1st place team in Legends plays the last place Leaders team…it will be “The leader of the Legends faces the loser of the Leaders”…turn it around and you have the leader of the Leaders playing the last of the Legends……two 3rd place teams would be mediocre leaders v. average legends…..

      If the leadership in the BT had any balls they would admit mistakes have been made and have a do-over…….

      • Adam says:

        As has been said elsewhere on this board: as soon as the Big Ten expressly rejected geography as the governing logic for the division names, it more or less forced them into coming up with fairly stupid names. Because they have so demonstrably come out as anti-geography, they have boxed themselves in thoroughly and can’t bring themselves to call the divisions “North” and “South” even if they could roughly be so characterized.

        The chickens are coming home to roost after the stupid alignment. It was but a leading indicator of the idiocracy that the Big Ten is becoming.

        • jcfreder says:

          There’s no reason East and West wouldn’t work, other than the powers that be talking themselves out of it. The Cowboys are in the NFC East and nobody’s too broken up about it. I’d be surprised if Leaders and Legends isn’t replaced by geographical names within two football seasons.

          • Adam says:

            I am not much of a fan of that either. It is a ridiculous concession to the self-absorbed, self-aggrandizing Jerry Jones.

            More importantly for these purposes though, is that the Big Ten has gone on a full court press for the last 6 months on exactly why geography is something they are explicitly rejecting. By contrast, the AFC/NFC divide made geographic groupings in the NFL virtually impossible from the get-go, meaning that the NFL never needed to take a stand against geographic language. The Big Ten does need to take a stand against geography, because it is such an overwhelmingly logical and rational way to divide the league, and since they’ve rejected that, they have to distance themselves from it.

            Smart division names cannot come until we have smart divisions.

          • Bullet says:

            I think someone hit it on the head. Most fans will simply know the divisions as the Ohio State division and the Michigan division.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Adam – The Dallas Cowboys were in the NFC East way before Jerry Jones bought the team. BTW, the Indianapolis Colts are the AFC South. Before re-allignment, the New Orleans Sainst and Atlanta Falcons were in the NFC West. In MLB, the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds used to be in the NL West.

            My point is that the directions don’t have to be exact. But Legends and Leaders??? Come on Delany!

          • zeek says:

            The reason we didn’t go with an East-West split is that the most of the schools didn’t want that.

            Do you really think that Indiana and Purdue and even Michigan State wanted to be in a division with Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State with all of their built in recruiting advantages and facilities?

            Short term the football would have been equal, but long term, those advantages expose the problem. Michigan gets a coach like Harbough and all of a sudden becomes a power again. They can turn on a dime like that.

            I’m among those who believe that the Big 4 had to be split, and then the remainder could have gone any which way.

            I think they should have just done Northwest/Southeast as a variation on East-West but with the Michigan schools in the West and the Illinois schools in the East.

            Switching Wisconsin and Northwestern and calling it Northwest and Southeast is probably the best balance fix.

            Wisconsin and Iowa don’t have national championships and their record over the past 17 years is solid, but they weren’t really powers before that. They’ve just done well of late, so I think assuming that they’d be a cut above Michigan State, Illinois, etc. was foolish.

          • zeek says:

            Er, I mean to say they should switch Northwestern and Wisconsin and then go with Northwest-Southeast as the names.

            I tend to think that Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan State, Illinois, Purdue, etc. can all have up or down years. None of them is a national power.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Zeek – so Northwestern goes in the Southeast division?

            I like it!

          • zeek says:

            As weird as it sounds, I think it works better geographically.

            I mean, if you said Northwest-Southeast, wouldn’t you automatically place Michigan/Michigan State/Wisconsin with Minnesota/Iowa/Nebraska as a division?

          • M says:


            This isn’t complicated…

            Northwestern would be on the northeast side of Illinois, a midwest state, in a conference called the Big Ten (with 12 or 13 schools) and in a division called the Southeast. What is so difficult to understand?

          • Adam says:

            @ Alan — but they stayed in the NFC East even after the 2002 realignment because of JJ.

        • Richard says:

          Even with the current split, though, they could have come up with better names. I thought Lakes & Rivers would have worked great, as all the Lakes schools border a great lake, and there are rivers everywhere. if they wanted to honor the past, Stagg & Berwanger would have been my choice; neutral (since the UofC doesn’t play football any more), but they allude to the BigTen’s game-shaping history.

          • jcfreder says:


            I’m not saying they should have gone with KISS in order to call the divisions East/West. I’m saying they just should have called the divisions East/West. Even Northeasth/Southwest is more complicated than it needs to be.

          • zeek says:

            Yeah I know, that’s why it wasn’t directed at you.

  80. spartakles78 says:

    future expansion will fill the Lollygaggers Division where there will be no crying over the really Big graphic logo…

  81. ohio1317 says:

    My respect for Delaney’s abilities have seriously been hit. I hate the divisions themselves with a passion, but I could accept, that was mostly the ADs. The logo is bad, but I can buy that we will get used to it. The division names aren’t going to improve with time though. They’ll always be a big joke.

  82. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Who all is a Buckeye on this board? If so, are you planning on going to the Sugar Bowl?

  83. jj says:

    Adam’s head must have exploded around 12 central y’day.

    • Adam says:

      I was spared — I spent the morning in the car, and at the time of the announcement was having lunch with a friend before I went to a job interview at 1. That got started a few minutes early and lasted until just before 3, at which point I met a few more people until 5, and then I set back out on the road. Unfortunately, apparently 5pm is when the power is supposed to decrease for AM stations (I am not a broadcaster), so the station I was getting clearly earlier in the day was almost inaudible, and so I didn’t get any wind of the announcement until I got home.

  84. duffman says:

    Russell Ziskey Rates the Russians:

    Big 10 action and corresponding quotes!

    Big 10 adds UNL to the family;
    John Winger – “I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy.”

    Big 10 announces divisions – flipping Wisconsin and Northwestern;
    Russell Ziskey – “I got the s**t kicked out of me in Wisconsin once.”

    E Gordon Gee makes little sisters of the poor comment;
    Russell Ziskey – “They’re pu**ies!”

    Big 10 ponders not stopping at 12 teams;
    Sergeant Hulka – “Now, since nobody else has the guts…”

    Big 10 announces stopping at 12 in december;
    John Winger – “I think it s**ks.”

    Big 10 unveils new logo;
    Dewey Oxburger – “Well sir, we were going to this bingo parlor at the YMCA, well one thing lead to another, and the instructions got all fouled up….”

    Big 10 announces Leaders and Legends;
    John Winger – “And then depression set in.”

    yes lame attempt at humor, but after yesterday, it all just seems surreal

  85. Adam says:

    This process is approaching self-parody. “Legends” and “Leaders”? Two names for every trophy? (I can accept that for somethi