ESPN UT: How it Saves the Big 12 and What’s in it for ESPN

Posted: January 20, 2011 in Big Ten, College Basketball, College Football, Sports
Tags: , , , ,

One of my Texan friends loves to remind me that Texas is the only state that was also a country.  (He’s an Aggie, by the way.)  Well, the University of Texas Athletic Department will soon have enough cash money to buy up a country or two.  As long-rumored, UT and ESPN have entered a deal to create a new Longhorn TV network that will pay the university $247.5 million over the course of 20 years.  An additional $52.5 million is earmarked for IMG, which is UT’s media licensing partner, which adds up to $300 million overall that ESPN is throwing down for this new property.

Believe it or not, this deal is what’s going to keep the Big 12 together.  UT gets to make more TV money than any other school in the country, play its rivals in all sports and keep the Texas state politicians happy.  As a result, UT is in a perfect spot and as long as they want to stay, the Big 12 will live on.  Could UT make a few more TV dollars down the road by becoming independent?  Sure, but that’s ignoring the fact that UT isn’t in complete control of its affairs in the same way as, say, Notre Dame, who only has to answer to its own alums.  UT’s leadership has to deal with state legislators whose loyalties may lie with Texas A&M, Texas Tech or Baylor.  Drawing the ire of those politicians that hold much greater purse strings beyond athletics, much less giving up its rivals and relegating its non-football sports to secondary status (noting that UT isn’t a one-trick football pony with across-the-board strong programs in basketball, baseball, softball, track and field, etc.), simply isn’t worth the extra money that might be there for independence.  UT has exactly what it wants: a conference that it controls with a TV network that it gets to keep all to itself.  It’s the best of both worlds.  Other schools in the Big 12 can complain, but as I noted last month, the conference is safe in a maximum security prison way.  No one’s getting out of there even if they want to very badly.

What’s ESPN getting out of this deal?  On its face, $15 million per year appears to be a whole lot of money for 1 football game per season, a handful of men’s basketball games and a bunch of Olympic sports.  However, we need to look at the big picture beyond Texas.  Think of the old sports adage that the best offense is a great defense.  For ESPN, the creation of the Big Ten Network was a nightmare.  Conference networks, whether real or imagined, created a viable threat for leagues to use in negotiations to drive up TV rights fees for college sports.  As a result, the last thing that ESPN wants to see is for any of the other BCS conferences to form their own channels with competitors such as Fox and Comcast.  (The Mountain West, on the other hand, can go start up 10 channels for all it cares.)  Well, for a mere $15 million per year in payments to UT and IMG, ESPN has completely destroyed any chance of a Big 12 network EVER forming.  Spending $15 million per year now will likely save ESPN tens of millions of dollars more in rights fees for the overall Big 12 package (assuming that it bids on it) in the long term.

At the same time, ESPN has taken the position that superconferences are bad for its business, as they would also drive up rights fees.  That’s why they were willing to step in and aid in saving the Big 12 by paying the same amount for a 10-team conference without a championship game as a 12-team conference with a championship game.  The new UT network effectively ensures that the school will stay in the Big 12 for at least the next 20 years.  With UT off the market, the Big Ten, Pac-10/12 and SEC are going to have a difficult time to financially justify expanding past 12.  So, ESPN’s $15 million per year for the UT network is insurance against having to spend literally hundreds of millions of dollars in extra fees for superconferences.  The ESPN UT network is likely going to profitable by itself (as with only one mouth to feed, it will take a fairly low basic cable subscriber rate across the state of Texas to make money), but preventing other conference networks and superconferences from forming is where ESPN is getting the most value of all.

Finally, this is a landmark deal for ESPN for a separate reason:

(1) ESPN
(2) ESPN2
(3) ESPN3
(4) ESPNU
(5) ESPN News
(6) ESPN Classic
(7) ESPN Deportes
(8 ) ESPN UT

The Ocho has finally arrived.

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

(Image from Scream Punch)

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Comments
  1. greg says:

    Go Hawks!

    Like

  2. HerbieHusker says:

    add

    Like

  3. George says:

    I can’t imagine Oklahoma is gonna be happy being so second-tier. What if they decide to bolt to the SEC?

    Like

    • Bullet says:

      How are they second tier? They’re one of the 2 or 3 big dogs in the Big 12.

      This deal definitely hems in the Pac 12 and SEC and limits future B10 expansion to the east.

      Like

      • George says:

        1st tier – Texas
        2nd tier – Oklahoma, A&M
        3rd tier – everyone else

        So ya, i guess they can still stake solace if they fact that they are better than Kansas and Baylor. But they will constantly be reminded that they are not equal with UT.

        Like

        • Playoffs Now says:

          But they will constantly be reminded that they are not equal with UT.

          Just as those land thieving barefoot constant probation yokels should be.

          But since they are about to start their own similar channel, perhaps partnered with OkSU or the OKC Thunder, I doubt that they’re too upset.

          Like

    • @George – OU has an even worse “Oklahoma State problem” compared to the “Tech problem” for UT and A&M. The Sooners can pine for the SEC all it wants, but they can’t go anywhere without Okie State (and the SEC isn’t going to take the Cowboys just to get OU). If the Virginia legislature made UVA cry uncle to get Virginia Tech into the ACC, then it will be 10 times worse in the state of Oklahoma where college sports are dominant and it feels like everyone either went to OU or Okie State.

      Like

      • George says:

        Got ya.

        Like

      • frug says:

        There are two other issues in addition to state politics;

        1. Oklahoma has said that it will not break away from Texas. Even if OU could free itself OSU it won’t go anywhere without UT.

        2. Of all the major players (schools, conferences, politicians, etc.) in the realignment round robin, OU had the weakest stomach for any major change. They made clear from the beginning they would only leave if they had absolutely no other options and didn’t even try to join A&M in leveraging an SEC invitation to secure better terms for themselves with either the Big XII or Pac-10.

        Plus Oklahoma has already said it is pursuing its own TV network and plans to have it up and running within a year.

        Like

  4. Lobills says:

    A&M has to be going nuclear. Aside from all the extra cash they’re getting in this deal, the ability to show the high school games on this channel represents a clear-cut competitive advantage for UT.

    Not sure what A&M can do about it. Likely nothing. But, I sure as hell would try to find a way into the SEC. OU and A&M are attractive options for possibly other conferences. The rest are truly screwed. Nebraska and Colorado have to be laughing their collective asses off right now at the even greater disparity between UT and the remaining B12 schools they left behind.

    Like

    • Highway6 says:

      I agree with the first part. A&M has worked to catch back up to UT and OU and they finally might be getting close now they are faced with this inequality ?!?!

      Don’t agree with the 2nd part. A&M doesn’t have the OSU albatross like OU does. The only way they can now keep that upward momentum and gain a competitive edge over TU is to offer their recruits the chance to play in the best conference in the country.

      SECeede Aggies !!!!

      Where does the BigXII stand if that were to happen?
      I would love to see the conference implode despite ESPN’s efforts and they end up stuck paying UT this money while everything they tried to prevent happens anyways.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        1. The BigTexas conference won’t implode if just TAMU leaves (replace with BYU & keep on chugging). ESPN also wouldn’t be too threatened since they already have a long-term deal with the SEC and they’ve made it clear to the SEC that expansion would not net that conference any monetary gain for the life of the deal.

        TAMU may not have an OSU albatross, but they have a UT albatross. I can’t imagine that if TTech and Baylor’s politicos are powerful enough to tie those 2 schools to Texas that UT’s politicos aren’t powerful enough to tie TAMU to the BigTexas conference.

        3. However, if the SEC does take TAMU, who’s the 14th school? FSU? VTech? (unlikely) Mizzou?

        Like

        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          Richard – please provide a link to back up your assertion that ESPN would not renegotiate with the SEC. I generally read a lot about the SEC and have never seen that anywhere.

          Regardless, as someone who has written a few contracts, I can tell you that contracts were made to be re-negotiated. The SEC is crushing the other conferences in TV ratings and is probably out-performing any thresholds that may may have been established in the current contracts. Don’t forget that 7 of the 13, and 5 straight, BCS titles belong to SEC schools.

          The SEC is very satisfied with the status quo, but if they do decide to expand, those contracts will be re-negotiated, regardless of any posturing ESPN may or may not have done.

          Like

          • Richard says:

            Alan:

            I’m certain I read it somewhere. As I don’t have photographic memory, I can’t recall where I read it or how reliable the source is. In any case, it’s clear that ESPN doesn’t want to encourage superconferences. Maybe the SEC would get something extra financially out of expanding. Maybe not. I don’t know (and neither do you).

            Like

          • Nostradamus says:

            Slive has not so subtlety hinted that the SEC has expansion clauses written into its television contracts…

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Sure, but are those to just keep the per-school payout the same, or would the payout be increased? If the per-school payout doesn’t change due to expansion, the SEC schools wouldn’t directly benefit financially in the short-term from expanding.

            Like

          • cfn_ms says:

            But they also wouldn’t be hurt financially. And then it becomes a question of whether the specific programs they bring in help the league as a whole. There’s good reason to think that 12 really is the optimal number… but it’s far from certain the SEC is completely in that camp, and certain programs may have enough allure to make the SEC prefer to grow anyway.

            Like

  5. laxtonto says:

    There are outs and escalators throughout the ESPNUT deal starting after 5 years. The 15M per # is going to be much more fluid than people think.

    I agree on the fact that this will keep UT and the Big 12 together, but lets not forget that within the next few years OU will be partnering with someone for their own network as well. The 400M investment from ESPN into the ESPNUT project can almost be looked at as a R&D expenditure to see if individual team or small groups of teams can support their own networks for secondary sports.

    Like

    • Madison Hawk says:

      @laxtonto: can you share a link or other information on the ESPN/UT contract? I would love to see the details. As a public institution will the contract be made public?

      Like

  6. Sportsman says:

    Shouldn’t “The Ocho” be ESPN Deportes, being it’s Spanish and all?

    Like

  7. zeek says:

    Big Ten expansion in the future is entirely up to Notre Dame in the same way that Pac-12 expansion is entirely up to Texas.

    As long as Notre Dame and Texas are stable, there aren’t going to be BCS conferences with more than 12 teams.

    Like

  8. Who knew Dodgeball would be such a prophetic movie???

    And now we can paraphrase from that movie in reference to the rest of the Big XII: “Those other schools are about as useful as a c@*&-flavored lollipop.”

    Like

  9. M says:

    “Texas is the only state that was also a country.”

    That’s that Aggie education at work for him :P

    Republic of Vermont- (1777-1791)
    South Carolina- (Dec 20 1860-Jan 9 1861)
    Kingdom/Republic of Hawaii- (1810-1898)
    Republic of California- (June 14 1846-July 9 1846)

    Like

  10. @towle_ says:

    Fun fact: the University of Texas, with an undergrad enrollment of 38,000, fields 8 men’s teams and 10 women’s. By comparison, The Ohio State University (41,000) fields 19 men’s teams and 20 women’s.

    Draw what conclusions you will.

    Like

  11. Lobills says:

    That Ohio St. is pathetic for having Men’s and Women’s Pistol teams.

    Like

    • Bullet says:

      Everyone is supposed to be an expert at that in Texas! You don’t need teams.

      I was trying to figure out how you could come up with 39 sports so I looked at the Ohio St. website. They only showed 37. If you count indoor track it goes up to 39, but then Texas goes up to 20. I presume “Spirit” is competitive cheerleading. Ohio St. does have about every sport you could think of except skiing and bowling. For anyone else who was curious, they have for both sexes: fencing, lacrosse, ice hockey, gymnastics, pistol, rifle. They also have men’s wrestling and men’s volleyball which not many schools have anymore as well as men’s soccer. They also have women’s field hockey and synchronized swimming and then the 18 sports UT has: MW golf, MW tennis, MW swimming, MW basketball, MW Cross-country, MW track, baseball/softball, football, W volleyball, W soccer and W rowing.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        Huh? 95 DivI schools have men’s wrestling programs. In some parts of the Midwest, wrestling’s the third most popular spectator sport after football & basketball.

        Like

        • Bullet says:

          Are you sure about 95 Div I programs? I thought I had read it was rapidly declining and was in the 60s.

          Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            It’s in the 80’s currently. The sport is not dying, it is being killed by some D1 AD’s but growing at HS and lower college levels. Several cuts have been attempted but thwarted by boosters and alumnae(ASU, Bakersfield, SIU restoring sport-fired AD who cut it, rumor that Oregon may restore{first olympic gold won while wearing Nikes was wrestler Wayne Wells in ’72}, etc)

            Like

        • trevor says:

          At U of Iowa, wrestling outdraws men’s basketball.

          More of a comment on basketball (sad) than wrestling.

          Like

    • duffman says:

      Lobills,

      they have pistol to keep the neighboring states at bay!

      UK and WVU have top historic rifle programs, as WVU usually wins the championship, and UK finishes second or third. Seriously, I am not making this up.

      Like

  12. BigRedForever says:

    A&M actually is the glue holding the Big12 together. Texas is happier now and really got everything they wanted. OU is going to be at Texas’ hip and as mentioned, has the oSu problem. A&M is the only attractive enough school that could leave and seriously hurt the Big12.

    Like

    • Herbie says:

      A&M is only sticking around for the $20 million Beebe promised and because their AD needs the funds. No $20 million means they take their school to the SEC, and we begin anew with Conference Armageddon 2: Electric Boogalo, Texas State Legislature or no.

      Also, I haven’t seen anyone discuss around these parts Kansas’ continued discussions with the Big East. Wouldn’t the mere existence of talks suggest Kansas is still looking for greener pastures and that they can do so without Kansas State tagging along?

      And no one is discussing the 800 lb. elephant in the room–that ESPN, by virtue of overpaying for Texas’ content in its current form, has a direct, vested interest in ensuring Texas’ success going forward?

      Anywhere else, this move would be considered a conflict of interest for the media organization (e.g. Fox News announces they are paying $247.5 million over the course of 20 years for a Palin network with exclusive rights to campaign functions, speeches, etc.), or have we given up the idea that ESPN actively engages in anything resembling journalistic integrity?

      Like

      • duffman says:

        Herbie,

        back when we were talking B1G expansion, I ventured Kansas to the Pac 10 (now 12) with Colorado. My original pick (before it came public) was UT, TAMU, OU, oSU, KU, and CU. With Kansas and UCLA in the same basketball conference, they could try and swing some ACC broadcasts to the Pac. Kansas is AAU, and I would be very happy to have them in the B1G, but I am a basketball guy, and most folks in the B1G are football folks.

        KU is sort of the orphan, as they have AAU status and an ELITE basketball program (equivalent to UNL in football). Still with no football, they find themselves without a future, and must remain as a part of the nutless nine. I know some on this blog believe that they are tied to KSU, but surely nobody in Kansas would kill one child, if they had to get out alive.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          You don’t think politicians (or college presidents) are clueless enough to make one school suffer to help another? Where have you been living?

          You could make an argument for the B10 if KU had any football prowess. CFB is so much more important financially, and they would be another dead weight like Indiana. MO has been good in football lately and their hoops isn’t bad. That’s a much better fit for the B10, especially with geography in their favor.

          Outside of the state of Indiana, the B10 has been about football for a long time. Teams have had periods of success when hoops became roughly equal to football (OSU in the 60s, MSU in the 00s, etc), but as a whole football has always been #1. The money makes sure it will stay that way.

          I heard it described well on the radio. A college football game is an event. It takes a couple of days if you have to travel. You get there early, the game takes 4 hours, it takes hours to get out, you go for dinner, etc. Basketball is just a game. You pop in, watch the game and try to beat the traffic home.

          Like

      • Mike says:

        As of right now KU (and Missouri) are in the position where they are better off financially taking a smaller share of a big (12) pie than they could get anywhere else. If the Big 12 collapses the Big East is KU and MU’s back up plan after beg the Big Ten, the SEC, and the PAC12.

        Like

      • Richard says:

        I’m pretty certain Beebe will somehow get TAMU $20M even if it means taking more from Baylor, ISU, etc.

        Like

  13. [...] Our old buddy from the Windy City, Frank The Tank, has some thoughts. [...]

    Like

  14. Penn State Danny says:

    So, if the other major conferences stay at 12 and the Big 12 stays at 10, what does that mean for the Big East?

    I know that I keep coming back to this question but I truly think that they need to take advantage of this situation and be proactive. Go get Houston, UCF and Temple..

    Like

    • Herbie says:

      Remember they just picked up TCU, and people have reported that Kansas and the Big East are talking…

      Like

      • Jeff says:

        KU’s talks with the Big East are just insurance.

        With the Big East, they’d be getting a conference with less prestige, significantly lower payouts and higher travel costs, and they’d be losing century-old rivalries with several schools.

        KU is in the Big 12 as long as it’s an AQ conference, unless the Big 10 or Pac 10 were to call, which is very unlikely.

        Like

    • Brian says:

      Temple? Seriously? After just kicking them out? Why? For the football team?

      Do any of those schools make financial sense? Does getting to 12 (and 20 in hoops) make sense for them? They’ll take Villanova football if they say yes, otherwise I think they take UCF. Houston doesn’t make sense to me unless they really want 12. The NE pays so little attention to CFB that I’m not sure the money is there to justify further expansion.

      Like

    • cfn_ms says:

      Why would the Big East take ANY more non-AQ programs when there’s a chance they could poach from the Big 12? TCU addressed a short-term need (separation from MWC), but none of the other non-AQ’s add much to the pie, and each one added cuts off other options permanently. Besides, it’s not like the non-AQ pu pu platter won’t be available five years from now anyway.

      Like

      • Dave says:

        If Villanova doesn’t move up (and right now I’d be shocked if they do), the Big East will almost certainly add UCF as a 10th shortly after ‘Nova formally declines.

        This is mostly for scheduling reasons; an odd number of teams means you can’t play an odd number of conference games, and means someone has to have a bye or non-conference game every week.

        The Big East would love to get Kansas and Mizzou, and would certainly take K-State to get Kansas. But unless there’s a bungled collapse of the Big 12, I can’t see how Kansas, K-State, and Mizzou are left in a situation where their best option is joining the Big East (or a new conference built from the Big East football members + 2-3 ex-Big 12 North schools).

        The chance that they (or BC) might become available is one reason why expansion to 12 Big East football members isn’t going to happen soon. But ten is going to happen, if not for the 2012 season, then certainly for the 2013 season.

        Like

        • cfn_ms says:

          Why would the BE rush on UCF? If you have 9 members, it’s VERY easy to schedule, you just do 8 games each, full round-robin, and you don’t have to worry about unbalanced schedules. 10 is actually a pretty awkward number, since then either you need to bump up to 9 league games (which nobody really wants, especially the bigger league members who could schedule up if they’re doing an extra home and home anyway). IMO the “one school gets a league bye per week” issue isn’t an especially big deal; BE teams schedule OOC in the middle of the year as it is, so it doesn’t strike me as a problem going forward.

          Unless the BE is getting an actual upgrade (and UCF certainly wouldn’t qualify), or they’re under some sort of major external pressure to get bigger (and they aren’t… at least not yet), why would they want to rush?

          Like

          • Richard says:

            Actually, the BE wants more conference games. Schools like PSU & Alabama certainly want to ensure at least 7 home games a year, but none of the BE schools have stadiums that are anywhere close to 100K in capacity and the cost of guarantee games have really skyrocketed.

            I think you’re right, in theory, that the schools could just schedule home-and-homes if they had 8 conference games instead of 9, but in practice, teams manage to schedule home-and-homes only with other schools that are similar in attendance/attractiveness. Is a school like UCF, say, better than the average team a BE school could schedule for a home-and-home? Maybe not. However, it would put more of a BE presence in Florida & add other positives. Adding Villanova, true, doesn’t make a lot of sense (unless they think there’s a lot of unexploited football potential in Philly or something) but everything I read indicates that the BE schools are hellbent of getting 9 conference games.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            The BE seems to want a buffer in case they lose someone in the future, IMO.

            Regardless of the reasons, they’ve said they want to get to 10.

            Like

  15. Dr Drunkenstein says:

    I am surprised at how may people think going to the SEC is a viable option for A&M. It isn’t. It will never happen without Baylor & Tech.

    Like

    • Lobills says:

      I think it will become more and more viable as UT is making $15M+ more than their in-state brethren each year. At some point its untenable for A&M to stay in the B12.

      This of course assumes the SEC wants A&M.

      Like

      • Bullet says:

        Based on the current SEC contract, and assuming A&M gets its 20 million in the Big 12, they will move to the SEC and make it $18 million less? And that benefits them in some way?

        There may be other reasons for trying to get in the SEC, but UT will still make more money even if A&M switches.

        Like

      • laxtonto says:

        It is a lot less likely than you think. OU already has their own network in the works. The problem here isn’t that UT is making more money, but the people in charge at A&M has failed utterly in preparing for the future of college media.

        It is hard to claim poor me poor me we can’t compete and need to go to the SEC when the reason you are suffering is poor planning on your own behalf.

        Like

        • Playoffs Now says:

          The problem here isn’t that UT is making more money, but the people in charge at A&M has failed utterly in preparing for the future of college media.

          Worth repeating. The fact that UT originally offered to partner with aTm on a Lone Star Network but Ag AD Byrne foolishly turned them down is damning. How can they whine about an unfair advantage for the high school aspect when they were offered equal access and ownership?

          Such a boneheaded failure in leadership that it could (and should) cost Byrne his job. Dude would have turned down the Louisiana Purchase.

          Like

          • AggieFrank says:

            Playoffs Now,

            Byrne declined for two reasons. 1) He wanted a Big12 network where all schools were equals; and 2) Texas offered a deal that was 80% Texas and 20% A&M.

            Like

    • duffman says:

      dr d (nice handle btw),

      In earlier posts, if the model is 12 (which it appears to be), then A&M to the SEC is as dead as disco. Baylor and TT will not find a home in the SEC because of Frank’s 11+1 = 13 math, and because if the SEC expands, they will be looking for academic schools, as they already have sports sewn up. If the SEC would take a Baylor (small base) or TT (bad academics) I would be looking for the weather forecast in hell to be heavy snow.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        I agree it won’t happen, I just don’t see Baylor and TT as the problem. If the B12 stayed viable why would the state care if TAMU went to the SEC? The Big 12 could try to get BYU to fill TAMU’s hole, or even consider being a 9 team conference so there’s one less conference game (4 home, 4 away).

        Like

        • BYU will never get a major conference bid. Other schools don’t like rolling out their kids against 24 and 25 year old adults, it’s an unfair advantage for BYU. And their refusal to play on Sundays hurts TV contracts in other sports.

          New Mexico would actually be a much more likely fit if the Big XII ever decided to expand. Albuquerque is a solid TV market (slightly smaller than Salt Lake, but not split like SLC is with BYU and Utah), and geographically a good fit with its proximity to Texas (they’d make an excellent travel partner for Tx Tech way out there is west Texas).

          Like

          • Samurai Jack says:

            Single White-

            What is in the water in Albequerque?

            UNM to the Big 12. The Freakin’ Lobos from deep in the bottom half of the MWC.

            Pipe dream is a merciful description.

            Note: BYU is far more than SLC, UT. They have a national following. Yes, it isn’t Notre Dame, but check the ESPN contract. UNM could pull that off in a million freakin’ years.

            Like

          • I have no ties to Albuquerque (I actually currently live in Utah). UNM may not be the best program but they’re in the best position to help the conference. As I said, no major conference wants anything to do with BYU because of the unfair advantage they get from sending their kids on “missions” that are really just two year weightroom stints.

            And by refusing to play on Sunday they screw up TV and just regular scheduling for all other sports. Imagine the Big XII not being able to have a nationally broadcast CBS basketball game on Sundays. Imagine trying to play a weekend baseball series without being able to play on Sunday.

            If BYU has such a great following and has such benefits why didn’t they get the Pac10 invite over Utah? California has the highest Mormon population in the world, but none of those schools want anything to do with them.

            Like

          • Michael in Indy says:

            Part of the reason the Pac-10 didn’t invite BYU is the cultural difference. Cal is as liberal as it gets in this country; BYU is one of the country’s most conservative universities. Stanford supposedly has huge philosophical differences as well.

            Think the about the whole conference: Boulder, Colorado; Eugene, Oregon; Tucson; Seattle… these places are the furthest thing from conservative, religious BYU.

            The Big 12 may look at BYU very differently. Baylor is a Southern Baptist university led by none other than Kenneth Starr. It’s religiously and politically conservative. A&M falls more on the conservative side. The other schools, I’m not so familiar with. Still, I’m not trying to be too stereotypical, but the middle of the country has tended to be much more religious than the west coast, especially the parts of the west coast near Pac-10 schools.

            The no-Sunday rule would present problems, but nothing that can’t be overcome. Surely the Mountain West has figured out a way to work around that issue.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            singlewhite:

            Short answer:
            New Mexico isn’t Utah.

            Long answer:
            I can see the Pac12 choosing Utah over BYU (they’re all secular research university, which Utah is and BYU definitely isn’t). I can’t see the B12 choosing NM over BYU (as Michael said, the B12 doesn’t have a problem with religious schools & research isn’t part of the equation either). I also haven’t heard of anyone caring about BYU using older Mormon players (which, BTW, Utah and plenty of other western schools do as well). Certainly Texas & ND don’t seem to as they’ve scheduled BYU.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            single,

            I’ve never heard anyone complain about BYU’s “advantage” of having players take two years off, especially in the big conferences (maybe the little guys complain).

            The rust Mormon players develop from two years without football training and coaching balances out the increased maturity to me.

            And I’m no Mormon, but you might want to back off calling their missions weighlifting stints. It’s uncool to dismiss someone’s religion that cavalierly.

            Like

          • Josh says:

            @MichaelinIndy

            The Pac 12’s issue with BYU wasn’t so much political (although Cal, UCLA and Stanford would make strange bedfellows with BYU) as much as it was academic. The issues are related, of course, but BYU severely limits the academic freedom of its professors and students when they conflict with LDS doctrine.

            BYU claims it gets a bum rap, but the strong perception among probably all Pac 12 schools is that there are severe limits on academic freedom at BYU and that makes them unacceptable for membership.

            Texas, honestly, might have the same problem with BYU, which might even make them unacceptable for the Big 12. The Mountain West will take them back though.

            Like

  16. duffman says:

    Frank,

    The biggest issue is what is actually happening at the high school level in this deal. I am willing to bet that you will see ESPN feeding more and more high school sports in the future, and this is the beachhead for the future invasion force.

    *puts on tinfoil hat*

    http://www.imgworld.com/services/training-and-academies.aspx

    a) spends some time looking at IMG facilities in Florida
    b) notes the following:
    Big 12 = UTx, KU, Baylor
    SEC = UF, UTn, UK, Bama, Arky, Auburn, UGA, USC, Vandy
    B1G = tOSU, UM, UNL
    ACC = BC, Clemson, Duke, FSU, GT, Miami, VT
    PAC = Arizona, Oregon, ASU, Cal, UCLA, Washington, Washington St
    IND = ND, BYU
    c) note the following “brands” in group
    Texas, Bama, +1 SEC, tOSU, UM, UNL, ND (missing are OU, U$C, PSU)

    *takes off tinfoil hat*

    Folks on here earlier were talking about UT moving IMG, but I said “what if” it was the other way around? If IMG can get the model to work for Texas and high school sports (and note the “lesser sports” like golf, tennis, etc.. What is the next progression? Replicate with “brands” under IMG control to do the same for them? The gators could be the defacto pipeline for high school in florida. Notre Dame could be the defacto pipeline for catholic high schools in the US (remember there are big programs in high school cities like Louisville, Cincinnati, Chicago, etc.). Bama could be the defacto high school pipeline for Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. (you get the picture).

    For the lesser sports (and the real endorsement money) IMG will be able to raid high schools for the next say Tiger Woods or lesser sports star in tennis, baseball, hockey, and such – where IMG can reap greater representation dollars for IMG.

    just a thought.

    Like

    • laxtonto says:

      Texas is the only state that has not yet severed HS sports from the flagship university…

      sorry to make a foil ball out of your tinfoil hat but in all other states they are now separate entities…

      Like

  17. Charlie@nwo says:

    Is there any chance this UT/ESPN deal will force teams like Texas A&M who were tied to the SEC during the expansion mayhem to search for greener pastures? Like you said, this deal will basically lock Texas into the Big XII for the next 20 years, but not Texas A&M or Oklahoma who must be fuming and eager to look elsewhere for more television revenue.

    Like

    • Nostradamus says:

      I don’t see how it locks Texas into the Big XII at all. If anything it has further opened up their options to leave.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        ??? ESPN paid that money to Texas to keep the B12 together. I wonder if the money for their network would be there if they decide to piss of ESPN and leave. Anyway, I don’t see the savvy businessmen in Austin pulling such a boneheaded move.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          You think TX signed a contract with a clause mandating they can’t leave the Big 12? Otherwise, ESPN is on the hook for the money. TX may have a hard time finding another conference to join with that contract, but independence would work. I’m not saying they leave, but the money will follow them if they do.

          Like

          • Richard says:

            The other bidder to be the Longhorn Network partner was Fox, which offered $2M/year. Even if there was no clause (and considering that ESPN overpaid Texas to keep the B12 from falling apart and superconferences are forming, I’d be quite surprised if there wasn’t something there to incentivize Texas to keep the B12 tgether) I don’t see how it makes good business sense to piss off your main TV partner.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            I didn’t say it made sense to go indy. I just doubt your statement that the contracted money would disappear. Texas has no incentive to sign that sort of deal, and certainly that sort of detail would have been mentioned.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Oh right. I was talking long-term. Presumably, the folks in charge in Austin expect their university to be around in 20 years and want their school to be in a good position in 2030 and beyond as well.

            Like

        • Nostradamus says:

          Presumably yes Richard, but it is just as easily a down payment on an insurance policy in case the Big XII doesn’t stay together.

          Like

  18. Michael in Indy says:

    I still have doubts about the Iowa State, Kansas, K-State, and Missouri. Right now, of course, there’s no other conference that offers more or even comparable revenue that’s interested in those schools. Meanwhile, the same things that have irked Nebraska and Missouri about the Big 12 over the past 15 years are only going to continue. The league will continue on with uneven revenue distribution, which most of the four do not like. It will be harder to get conference tournaments in St. Louis or Kansas City, which are much more convenient for those schools’ fans than anywhere in Texas. The power of the Texas schools will only increase without Nebraska.

    Again, Iowa State, Missouri, Kansas, and K-State have nowhere else to go right now and thus have to accept whatever Texas and OU dictate to them. But the marketplace may change in a few years in ways that are hard to predict.

    For example, several years from now, when the Big East is in negotiations for a new TV contract for football, that league may discover that its TV market value has become competitive with other BCS leagues. (Sure, the BE isn’t a great league and can’t compete dollar-wise with the Big Ten or SEC, but it’s possible for the BE to get a pretty good deal like the ACC did.) The BE may also find that expansion would raise their TV value even further. The first schools they’d go after would be those who are (a) high profile, (b) unhappy with their current conference and thus willing to entertain the idea of Big East membership. The four northern schools fit that description pretty well. Losing even two of them could do major damage to the viability of the league, a league which Texas MUST stay in.

    Another possibility is that, 8 or 10 years from now, the Pac-10 may decide to expand again. Larry Scott is of the mindset that 16-team conferences are only a matter of time. Depending on how the Pac-12 network goes, he may find that adding Kansas, Missouri, and/or K-State would actually add value substantial enough to invite them. Chances of that happening are less than 50%, but it’s still possible.

    I said this before, but I think Texas needs to realize that it’s dependent on the “dwarves” because the Big 12 would be in trouble without them. BYU, UCF, Louisville, Memphis, TCU, Houston, etc.–none are as valuable as Kansas and Missouri are. So I think it would be in Texas and the rest of the league’s best interests to make the Big 12 the kind of league where none of them would want to leave.

    Like

  19. Wethorn says:

    Great insights Tank. I haven’t been over hear since the conference realignment dust settled, but knew you’d be good for some ah-has on the economics and power machinations of this.

    It’s great day to bea horn!

    Now let’s see the Bears beat the Pack without anyone freezing to death.

    Like

  20. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.”
    “If you can didge traffic, you can dodge a ball.”

    Patches O’Houlihan

    Vivo Ocho!!

    Like

  21. Brian says:

    Frank,

    What impact do you see this deal having on future TV negotiations for the Big 12 and others? The Fox deal is up in 2012. The ABC/ESPN deal runs through 2016.

    Does this make Fox overpay to re-up with the B12? Will Fox try to take the main contract away? How much will ESPN spend to keep the B12?

    With OU also looking at a network, does this stop the rest from forming a B12 network? Does TAMU (possibly with Baylor and TT) start their own? KU, KSU and MO have a decent population base. What about starting a B12 network with the remaining schools? They still get road appearances from TX and OU.

    Any payback from the other schools against Texas? Do they unite to vote against them on internal issues like championship sites?

    Like

    • Nostradamus says:

      Not Frank, but someone very familiar with the Big XII and the Big XII television situation.

      1) This hurts the Big XII’s television negotiations especially the Fox portion of the contract up in 2012. One of the main reasons the leaked Beebe FSN plan over the summer was so high was FSN was seeking many third tier rights. In the Big XII schools currently hold the third tier rights themselves. These rights include but are not limited to radio broadcasts, in stadium advertising, televised events such as basketball (games not covered under conference contract), baseball, and the Olympic sports. The schools all have their deals with Learfield or IMG to cover these. These 3rd tier rights are essentially what Texas sold to ESPN to create this new network. That in itself devalues the rumored FSN contract for the conference from this summer significantly.

      2) I personally don’t think this decision affects the bidding war for the entire conference contract. Others may feel to disagree. This was an ESPN insurance policy in case Texas decides to pursue other actions.

      3) If multiple individual schools form their own networks/channels it negates the need or benefit of a conference channel. Texas, Nebraska, and possibly Oklahoma had already negated the idea of a conference channel and Texas’ actions here are proof positive of that.

      4) The other schools have nothing they can do to seek revenge even if they feel wronged. How the conference shakeout played out the summer essentially showed who was in control. This network only solidifies that. This is also one of the reasons I don’t take this network as a sign the Big XII is saved either. Texas has more leverage right now than it has ever had in the conference.

      Like

      • cfn_ms says:

        I could be wrong, but don’t 1 and 2 conflict to some degree? If it’s hurting the TV negotiations, isn’t if affecting the contract? Or do you mean more that there’ll still be a bidding war of the same structure, just that there will be less money attached to it?

        Like

        • Nostradamus says:

          I don’t think so, let me try and explain my thinking.

          In 2 I’m not saying it doesn’t affect the contracts. It does, because like I said in 1 it devalues the rumored FSN deal.

          My response in 2 was to Brian’s questions “Does this make Fox overpay to re-up with the B12? ”
          And like I said I don’t think this affects that at all and it certainly doesn’t make Fox overpay.

          Like

    • m (Ag) says:

      I don’t think A&M could start a network by itself. If they were going to partner up to create one, I’d look to LSU and Arkansas (and maybe OSU) instead of Texas Tech and Baylor. The SEC schools probably have nearly as much support in Houston and Dallas as TT and Baylor. They would provide better programming and, of course, allow the network to be sold at least in 2 neighboring states, if not more.

      And no, we wouldn’t need to join the SEC to do that (although it wouldn’t hurt).

      That said, I think A&M doesn’t join a separate network. Instead, Fox Sports regional networks will likely overpay a bit to televise A&M sports. They will lose Houston MLB and NBA teams in a few years, are not going to get Longhorn rights, and are in danger of losing Big 12 rights to the ESPN family of networks.

      So there is a good reason for them to go after A&M. A&M won’t make nearly as much as the Longhorns, nor will we get the same exposure, but it will probably be better than pooling our rights with Texas Tech and Baylor.

      Like

  22. cfn_ms says:

    Frank, thought your take was interesting as always, but I’m less convinced that it necessarily forced Texas to stand pat than you are.

    I tend to agree that it ensured that Texas was never going to buy into any sort of “all rights in” arrangement, which means that they’ll probably never be in a league with a strong shared network (though a weak one, in basically a supplemental role is still plausible).

    But I don’t think it really cuts off any of Texas’s options if they ever decide they don’t like the Big 12 anymore (or if anyone from the Big 12 [A&M, Kansas, Mizzou, etc.] bails and blows things up). If they wanted to sign up with the Pac-x, Big Ten or SEC this doesn’t prevent them from doing it. And it makes it at least a bit more feasible to try independence (they’d have more cash to buy their way into scheduling arrangements, which would probably make the logistics of scheduling for non-revenue sports less of an issue). I definitely agree that it makes them far less likely to be the drivers of major change, but I think that their options are still very much wide open.

    Like

    • Nostradamus says:

      Agreed, I don’t think this necessarily saves the Big XII and it certainly doesn’t force Texas to stand pat. The sinister side of me says Texas is now in a position to gradually move more of its games to Bevo TV in upcoming contract negotiations. They already know they have the rest of the conference by the horns so to speak. Threaten to leave if don’t agree, and if it comes to actually leaving they already have their own network to fall back on.

      Like

      • Michael in Indy says:

        @Nostradamus,

        My understanding was that schools in the Pac-12 do not retain local (or 3rd tier) media rights. UT didn’t want to give that up, and it seems obvious now that it was the right decision for them financially to stay out of that league. I know the SEC allows schools to keep their 3rd tier media rights; I don’t know what the Big Ten, ACC, and Big East policies are.

        Anyway, the Pac-12 appears NOT to be an option because UT would have to renege on this new deal with ESPN in order to join that league.

        Like

        • Nostradamus says:

          I don’t know about the Pac-12 Michael. I’m a Nebraska fan so I know the Big XII details very well and am polishing up on the Big Ten.

          The Pac-12 television contracts are very similar to the Big 12 partner wise. I’d imagine the schools at least retain some third tier rights for games not picked up as that seems to be standard nation-wise. As for Texas their network and the Pac-10/12/16… Larry Scott has said Texas could’ve had their network there and I take him at as word on that.

          Third tier rights is a very broad term and most schools have some of them, be it local radio rights, advertising, etc. Out of all of the conferences the Big Ten probably has the least third tier rights on a school level, as many of them are signed over to the conference for the Big Ten Network.

          I don’t think the Pac-12 is off the table at all. I also don’t think it will happen either. I think Texas still has all options available. The most likely scenarios are staying in the Big XII or Independence.

          All I am saying is Texas has a tremendous amount of leverage right now. They are in a conference where they know no one else will leave. That is a potentially dangerous situation for the rest of the Big XII.

          Like

          • cfn_ms says:

            I think it is all rights in, actually. Either Texas would have to cave (not happening) or the Pac-x would have to cave (actually they would if that was the deal-breaker and Texas was otherwise on board… which is unlikely IMO).

            FWIW, I think that Texas may well not be in a league no one else will bail on. The maximum security prison is a reasonably apt analogy for most of the programs there, but the bigger North teams (most obviously Mizzou, but Kansas MAY be able to act independently of K St and the legislature) could certainly pre-emptively act. Even a lateral or somewhat down move may make sense if it’s also a move from an inherently unstable environment into a more stable one.

            Like

          • Bullet says:

            I wouldn’t overstate the case. Arkansas in the SEC could be said to have golden handcuffs. They’d join the Big 12 pretty quickly if they believed it to be stable and financially comparable. Not that the Big 10 teams want to go anywhere, but they have golden handcuffs as well. 7 of the Big 12 teams are where they most want to be. Now if someone offered them golden handcuffs, they’d be glad to take them. MU, ISU and probably KU would prefer to be in the Big 10, but all are in their 2nd choice conference.

            Like

      • Could UT move all of its games over to Bevo TV in a move toward independence? Possibly, but I highly doubt that’s the intent, as every smart organization has to balance image and exposure with revenue. For instance, the NFL could arguably make more money by moving all of its games to the NFL Network and charge a rate that would be multiples of what ESPN gets. However, it hasn’t done that because it knows long-term that it can kill the proverbial golden goose without also having a strong presence on over-the-air networks and ESPN. That’s the same reason why the Big Ten has really only placed second and third tier games on the Big Ten Network.

        I also see things a bit differently in terms of UT’s options. The creation of ESPN UT kills any chance of joining the Big Ten, as those third tier rights would need to be assigned tonthe conference. Likewise, with the Pac-10 likely starting its own network, the third tier rights are going to be assigned to the conference, as well. It’s simply an untenable situation – neither conference would let UT keep its own network when much of the value proposition of adding UT is for Texas households for their conference networks.

        The SEC is an option for UT in theory, but as many have discussed before, there simply isn’t any desire at all by the powers that be to ever consider that conference, whether looking at culture, academics and overall conference control.

        That means that the only real 2 options are for UT are to stay put in the Big 12 or go independent. As Richard noted, going independent isn’t necessarily going to be that much of a boon for football as one might think, as UT can only monetize home games in that situation. As part of a conference, especially one that distributes unequally to UT’s advantage like the Big 12, all of the conference road games still put TV money into UT’s pocket, too. Add in the political situation in Texas (which I still have a hard time understanding how so many people seem to think isn’t a big deal – legislators in Texas and Virginia have basically dictated the terms in the conference realignments of the 1990s, 2003 and 2010) and the fact that UT isn’t going to send its non-football sports to C-USA, and all reasonable indicators point to UT staying in the Big 12 for a looong time. Just because UT can afford to go independent doesn’t mean that it wants to. They want the most money, but they also want to have their worker bees in Waco and Lubbock.

        Like

        • cfn_ms says:

          The real question wrt the Texas legislature is whether it’s a situation where Texas doesn’t really want to fight the battle b/c it’s unpleasant, or whether they actually have veto power. My guess (and it is just a guess) is that it’s the first one rather than the second, which means that they can probably restrict the Longhorns to some degree (see: the “Tech problem”), but that as long as A&M and Tech end up in a “good home” (preferably w/ Texas but may not be required – and I suspect that Baylor may not even need to be found a good home, much less stay w/ Texas), it won’t really be an issue.

          Again, to me it strikes me as a hurdle to overcome, and one of the reasons Texas would prefer not to bother. But I don’t see it as a deal-breaker, provided they find something they like a lot more than their current situation.

          As far as the Pac-x goes, in the last round of negotiations it seemed pretty clear that the league would bend over backwards to get Texas, and I’m sure that would stay the case. That could mean anything from gutting the league network to signing the league network over to ESPN as part of the deal (and then getting a mutually agreed upon LSN contract cancellation) to making sure that the network excludes tier 3 rights and killing the “all rights in” philosophy they’ve been trying for.

          As far as independence goes, Texas could only monetize home games, but since they’d get 100% of the TV money from home games, that’s the same as getting 50% from home games and 50% from road games, as they currently do. In fact, it’s probably even better, because they could probably sign 2:1 or 3:2 deal with either Iowa St or some AQ equivalent (someone from the Big East would probably take the offer, for instance, especially if some extra cash was thrown in).

          IMO the real reasons independence may not be so good for Texas are:

          1) Legislature, as you mentioned. Tough to keep A&M, Tech, Baylor, OK, OK St (the last two have some influence, especially considering Pickens) all happy when you’re bailing on them all. There’d be a hell of a lot more pushback for independence than there was for the Pac-16 deal.

          2) Other sports. Scheduling baseball, swimming, etc. is a nightmare when you’re not in a league. Is $x million more a year (almost certainly less than $20M, maybe less than $10M) worth the enormous logistical difficulties that move would create? I’m somewhat skeptical.

          Like

          • @cfn_ms – Great points. The one thing that I’d add, though, is that I think a “good home” for Tech and Baylor still means “a home with UT”. A Big 12 sans UT (going indy as a hypothetical) and A&M (gone to the SEC) isn’t necessarily a “good home” anymore even if it kept BCS AQ status and Tech and Baylor aren’t attractive to other conferences without their bigger brothers. In terms of exposure within the Texas market, there’s nothing that compares to playing UT. I just believe there’s a whole lot more rope provided to UT to control its environment within a conference with its little brothers versus ditching them completely in the name of extra dollars. Besides, I truly believe that’s what UT wants, anyway -to be the sun that the other Texas schools revolve around.

            Like

          • cfn_ms says:

            A “good home” for Tech and Baylor would seem like one w/ Texas… but if UT can find a way to (for instance) send Baylor to the Big East, which is still an AQ league… I would think that’d be good enough. Or if we’re going super-leagues, if they could find a way to guarantee Baylor a spot in the ACC / Big East hybrid league, that’d work too. I’m sure Baylor wouldn’t be happy with that outcome… but I doubt they’d be furious. And if UT thinks they can get away with dumping on Baylor, then you can substitute Tech in the above paragraph (otherwise UT and Tech are probably stuck together). Again, not what they want… but it’s reasonably likely that it’ll be enough to prevent political interference.

            I definitely agree that there’d be a big political fight if Texas actually went independent. I don’t see how they’d be able to make things work for everyone left behind.

            I suspect you’re right that Texas enjoys being the big dog in a Texas-centric league… but you do hear the fanbase complain from time to time about how they’re carrying water for some of their little siblings. And I’m not sure at all that they like being associated with the remnants of the Big 12 North, given that the two most historically relevant programs just left. I suspect that, rhetoric to the contrary, they’d be thrilled if they could find a way to dump ISU and KSU, and they’re probably neutral at best towards KU and MU.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            cfn:

            In a conference, Texas doesn’t get 50% of home & road games. The conference monetizes 100% of all home and road conference games and then the spoils are divvied up. If the B12 didn’t have OU, TAMU, Mizzou, and Kansas basketball (in other words, if it was CUSA), then sure it would make financial sense for Texas to go independent, but with unequal revenue sharing and ESPN willing to overpay to keep the B12 alive (other conferences from expanding), it’s doubtful that Texas actually would be better off financially as an independent.

            Another point (that Frank mentioned) is that national exposure matters to a program like Texas as well. Sure, an independent Texas would get a handful of games covered nationally (like BYU), but the rest would likely be limited to only Texas. Within a conference, they’d have national games with most of the rest at least going out to the whole B12 area & environs.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            About your second post, cfn:

            The fanbase is not the administration. The fanbase may not like to carry water for the little siblings, but the administration knows that it can call in chits by acting in a magnanimous fashion.

            Like

        • Mike says:

          I don’t think ESPN UT would stop UT to the Big Ten. There is always an out clause espically if the money UT to the Big Ten would generate is close to what we think it is.

          If ESPN UT works, look for individual school channels in the Big Ten. They may not get football games (or maybe they will, no more multiple BTN’s on game days), but there is plenty of content (VB, Baseball, Hockey, etc…) that the Big Ten doesn’t broadcast on BTN that people will pay for. My prediction: Look for 12 individual school channels (all owned by the conference) that cover an individual school.

          Cable companies will be told, if you buy BTN at 90 cents per subscriber we’ll throw in BTN-Neb for an extra 10 cents (or something). Sharing the production costs among 12 sets the bar for profitability very low. Maybe they will start telling companies, if you want BTN then you have to pick up all 12 school channels for the low, low price of 2 dollars.

          Like

          • Richard says:

            Um, no. That’s not the BTN/BigTen business model. The content that isn’t broadcast on the BTN
            1. aren’t paid for my too many people
            2. are already being monetized by the BTN with their web subscriptions

            When you have a collection of mostly equal schools that bring different strengths to the table, it makes sense to maximize market value by pooling all your resources together, not by splitting them apart.

            Channel space isn’t free, and a Nebraska channel that carries women’s volleyball, women’s basketball, & wrestling isn’t going to do well enough to justify its existence (that’s true even for a tOSU or PSU channel) while sucking value from the BTN (which makes no sense at all).

            Like

          • Mike says:

            @Richard

            What’s better than making money off of one cable channel? Making money off of two cable channels (or 12!).

            Why let just Texas just have a channel? I have also heard, but can’t find the link, that Nebraska hasn’t shut down their work on a channel.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Again, channel space isn’t free, and 2 channels could definitely be worse than 1 (or 12) if by having 2 channels, you make less money off of the first channel and the second one doesn’t bring in enough to make up the difference.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            BTW, Mike, you seem to be affected by pride, which isn’t a very good way to make business decisions. Nobody’s “letting just Texas have a channel”. BYU has a channel but they have to give that away for free for anyone to show it. Pitt’s starting a channel, but do you see anyone caring?

            Like

          • Mike says:

            @Richard – I’m not affected by pride at all, I just don’t see a reason to leave revenue streams untapped. If a Texas channel is worth 250M+ over 20 years (300M+ minus IMG’s cut) what is an Ohio St. channel worth? What is a Penn St. channel worth? The BTN only has 24 hours of programming a day. The member schools produce a lot more content than that. Why not make additional cable channels that are a must have within the footprint. If there is a [Big Ten school] channel, [Big Ten school]‘s fans will demand it be carried. Remember, if you buy cable you don’t have any choice on the channels you pay for (I don’t want Lifetime, but Time Warner charges me for it anyway). The internet is an opt-in model. Right now, cable channels are much more profitable than the internet.

            I shouldn’t have used figures in my example, but I don’t see how additional channels can’t be profitable.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Mike:

            Did you miss my post where I noted that the BTN streams virtually everything of interest (that isn’t on TV) on the internet? They charge for that, invested a fair amount in high-capacity internet streaming technology, and expect that to be a growth area.

            Also remember that Fox was willing to pay Texas only $2M/year for that channel. ESPN overpaid to keep the B12 together. That dynamic would not be in place for tOSU.

            Like

          • M says:

            @Brian

            I wouldn’t say that the BTN is completely overrun with content at this point. Considering that tonight’s prime time programming consists of “Big Ten Greatest Games: Northwestern vs Illinois basketball 2004″, the 33rd showing of “Fantastic Basketball Finishes of the 80s”, and the 42nd showing of “Big Ten Icons: Nile Kinnick”, I’d say there’s plenty of room for additional productions.

            I highly doubt OSU has shows that they can’t find room for on BTN.

            Like

          • Mike says:

            @Richard – No I didn’t miss the internet post, that’s why I pointed out it’s an opt-in model. You are right, it’s a growth market, but how long before it becomes as profitable as 12 additional school focused channels that people who will never watch it still pay for? Content is content, so why not monetize as many ways as possible? Since there is already production work being done for the web cast, the marginal cost of the additional channels can’t be too prohibitive given the TV infrastructure already in place for BTN.

            Like

          • Mike says:

            @M – There is a lot of content that doesn’t belong on a conference network that would make sense on a school network. Might was well make money off of that.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Mike:

            We’ll need an expert here, but I have a feeling that just having the BTN staff & equipment already there doesn’t mean launching a bunch of other channels costs no money.

            Did you see where I said above that channel space isn’t free?

            Also, you completely ignored my point that Fox was only willing to pay $2M for a Longhorn network & that ESPN overpaid to keep superconferences from forming.

            You just assume that more new networks means more profits, but that is far from a certainty. More channels may actually mean adding losses.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Richard,

            I think your assumption that Fox offered so much less for the same thing as ESPN is unfounded. It sounds like ESPN lumped in some extras that Fox may not have included in that initial offer.

            I agree with you that 12 individual cable networks is unlikely. However, digital broadcast channels in local areas may be plausible.

            Like

          • Mike says:

            Richard,

            I agree, we probably do need someone more knowledgeable than we are. Although I didn’t comment on it, I didn’t ignore your 2M figure or your costs. However, I think you will agree that 2M is still real money (albeit not as significant as the UT deal). Even if FOX would only pay half that for BTN-OSU, its still money that anyone would jump at (the Mountain West only gets 1.4M in total TV money).

            Cable companies will pay for university specific channels. Cable companies can be forced/coerced to buy channels they don’t necessarily want to get ones their subscribers do. You want BTN? You have to buy BTN-UM and BTN-MSU as well. -or- You can either pay price x for BTN or price x for BTN, BTN-UM, BTN-MSU. -or- Event y is only available on BTN-UM because event z is on BTN. Attention Ann Arbor call your cable operator and tell them to add BTN-UM or switch to Direct TV.

            The infrastructure is already in place so that the marginal cost of adding channels isn’t significant. Given the amount of crap cable channels I don’t think cost of “channel space” can be a significant barrier to entry. In my limited exposure to the TV world, content was the major cost. If it’s already production ready for the web cast, might as well use it on BTN-IU.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Mike:

            Just because you think those are crap channels doesn’t mean those channels don’t draw better than what BTN-IU would. Remember that women are half the population.

            Channels costs are also very real. It’s why the BTN can’t use its overflow channels besides its dedicated morning time in the fall.

            Like

  23. Playoffs Now says:

    Anyone else have the problem of this UT-ESPN article not showing up on actual FTT blog homepage? The only way I can get in is through the “Last 10 comments” sidebar.

    Like

  24. Mike says:

    I had the same problem until I forced a refresh (hold shift and then hit refresh in IE)

    Like

  25. Hopkins Horn says:

    I’m late here, and a lot of good thoughts have already been expressed, so no need for me to be redundant.

    One thought that hasn’t been is that Texas has just about the absolutely perfect OOC foe on its home schedule this fall for the launch of this network: BYU, a school with a pretty substantial nationwide following and a strong following in parts of the west. What better way to have cable providers across the country, particularly in the west, feel the pressure to add the network if the BYU-Texas game winds up on the new network and the only way anyone in Utah and other BYU/LDS-heavy areas in the west (Vegas and Phoenix in particular) can watch the game is on the new network?

    So look for that game, and not the Rice game (good news, Loki, you don’t have to subscribe!), the other home OOC game, to wind up on LSN.

    Like

    • Richard says:

      I don’t think Texas can hope to get many permanent subscribers to the Longhorn network outside of Texas (and bordering areas). No one’s going to keep up a subscription to a network just for one game every decade or so. All putting the BYU game on the Longhorn Network would do is force BYU fans to bars to sip club soda.

      Like

      • The real question is whether people will sign up for the cable or satellite sports pack outside of Texas (which is where ESPN UT will likely end up in non-Texas markets as opposed to PPV). In that event, you get a whole slew of sports channels in addition to ESPN UT, so I could see a temporary spike occurring in certain areas where there are large LDS populations. It would probably be short-lived for only that month of the game, though.

        Like

    • Mike says:

      I would be shocked if UT/BYU is passed on by both ABC and Fox to make it available as a third teir game. It would be great for UT if it did, but I don’t see it happening.

      Like

      • Hopkins Horn says:

        Good point, at least re Fox. (ABC would have the incentive to let the game fall to another network within its family.) What discretion do schools generally have with saying “no” to being picked up by a conference television partner? Of course, schools generally want to be shown, and I imagine, in most cases, the higher you’re chosen in the pecking order leads to better exposure. I doubt there have been many cases where a school would have quite the incentive Texas has to say “no”.

        As I type this out, there must be some way for Texas to opt out. Otherwise, how could the school guarantee that they’d be able to show at least one OOC game each year on the new network? If opting out wasn’t allowed, how could UT be sure that there’d be a game available for the network in, say, 2016 (when ND and UTEP are the OOC games) or 2017 (Maryland and UCF). The weaker game in each year, UTEP and UCF, are rematches of home games we’ve had the last couple of years, both of which were picked up by FSN. But I guess Texas must know that it could prevent a pick-up by a conference partner of at least one of those games each year.

        Like

        • Nostradamus says:

          In the Big XII it is pretty much none. ABC gets first pick. FSN holds the rights to all games not picked by ABC (The ESPN and Versus games are sub-licensed from FSN). The networks are paying the conference to select the games they want. It seems counter intuitive to let a school turn down coverage.

          The only time I know it happened with Nebraska was the first game of during one of the Bill Callahan years. Nebraska was approached about moving their opener to Sunday and declined. I assume the only out here was that the game had to be moved. Just as a move to the Thursday night ESPN slot has to be approved by both schools.

          Hopkins, If I had to speculate, I’d guess the one game a year is coming out of the pot of ESPN’s sub-licensed games from FSN. This is also why I’d be highly surprised to see everything remain the as it is now re: TV by 2016 when both conference contracts have been changed.

          Like

        • Richard says:

          Probably the way the BTN does it, where it’s ESPN contract allows the BTN second choice to pick a school (if it hasn’t been shown on the BTN in conference play yet, as the BTN is allowed at least one conference game of each B10 team). However, as I pointed out above, I don’t see the business sense of trying to get folks who aren’t going to be loyal customers. At best, you get a one month bump in subscriptions; at worst, the Mormons just all go to bars. To maximize their investment, ESPN would concentrate on establishing the Longhorn Network in Texas, and for that, the Rice game would make the most sense.

          Like

          • cfn_ms says:

            For establishing it in Texas, I’d think the BYU game would work better. It’s a more interesting game against a better opponent, which would presumably get more people to watch. That said, I have no idea whether Texas has any choice in the matter.

            Like

          • Nostradamus says:

            @Richard,
            The major difference is the Big Ten has a contract with ABC/ESPN that recognizes the Big Ten Network and establishes a protocol for selecting games. Hopkins is talking about a pretty different situation.

            Here we have a situation where there is already an established protocol of who picks what and when and are trying to figure out how this addition will work. It would analogous to Ohio State starting their own network and saying they get one game a year.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            cfn:

            You may be right. I’d wager that ABC picks up the BYU game because if they don’t, Fox likely would before the Longhorn Network gets a shot at it.

            Like

        • Hopkins Horn says:

          Let me rephrase my question based on the feedback above:

          Texas has said that “at least one” game will be on LSN, presumably beginning this fall. (I haven’t heard anything that indicates that the football broadcasts won’t start this season.)

          Texas has two home OOC games: Rice and BYU. Texas must have some contractual assurance that it move at least one of those games to LSN. If not, why couldn’t FSN jump in and pick up both games? Texas must know it can say “no” to FSN if it wants to.

          Like

          • Nostradamus says:

            I still don’t think that is the correct interpretation though. FSN for at least the past 8 years has paying the Big XII a “premium” to have the exclusive rights for any game not picked by ABC. The only time schools had/have a choice is what to do when the game got passed over by FSN.

            If I had to guess ESPN is using one of their sub-incensed selections to pick Rice or BYU and then put it on the LSN.

            Like

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            And if I’m making the right assumption (that Texas can veto FSN), what does that do to the valuation of the overall conference televsion contract with any non-ESPN partner the next time they’re negotiated if other partners know one or two Texas games a year are off the board.

            Like

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            @Nostradamus:

            How does that play out? I’m not quite sure I’m following.

            For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume Texas/ESPN want the BYU game on LSN, and let’s assume you’re right and that Texas cannot veto LSN. How and in what order would the game selection process go for that week’s games?

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Hopkins:

            Nostradamus actually answered it for you. ESPN’s sublicensing agreement with FSN probably allows it to pick from FSN’s pool of games at different points in time. That can get the LHN its football game.

            Now does it say anywhere that the game on the LHN has to be an OOC game, or can it be a B12 conference game?

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Hopkins:

            I’m not sure where you get the idea that Texas can veto anything. More likely is that ESPN’s sublicencing agreement allows it first (or maybe second) pick of FSN’s pool of games some weeks. Again, do you know if the LHN is limited to OOC games, or can the one game be a B12 game?

            Like

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            @Nostradamus, again:

            OK, just saw your explanation of ESPN using its ability to sublicense from FSN as a possible means of getting the games. I see what you’re saying now.

            Like

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            @Richard:

            I haven’t seen it explicitly stated anywhere, but I think everyone, including me, has been making the assumption that the one+ game would be an OOC game.

            But, if the sublicensing explanation is correct, then is there any reason why conference games couldn’t be in the mix? Would there be any contractual prohibition between ESPN using its sublicensing rights to move a conference game to ESPN and to LSN?

            Like

          • Nostradamus says:

            Hopkins if your assessment is right it devalues the conference contract in any future negotiations as FSN is no longer completely getting something it was paying “extra” to get. I still think my assumption on how this is working right now is correct though. Like I said somewhere else in this thread though, if that assumption is accurate future Big XII contract negotiations will be very interesting as Texas is going to need to either 1) have ESPN bidding for the ability to carve out the game in the future or 2) Negotiate a carve out in a contract with someone like Fox. Again that devalues the rest of the conference contract, and what is to stop Texas from asking for 2 or more games in the future? You guys are in a very good situation right now…

            So for your Texas-BYU example. ABC either passes completely or selects another Big XII home team. ESPN steps in and tells FSN they will be using one of their sub licensed games and takes the Texas game. The current agreement lets ESPN pick its X number of games ahead of FSN.

            Like

          • Nostradamus says:

            As for conference games, even if it were possible, I have a feeling the opposing school would have to sign off on the move. This is from past experience when games were moved to Thursday for ESPN or if Nebraska wanted to televise a PPV for a conference game.

            I also highly doubt many Big XII schools would be willing to sign off on such a move unless they are compensated. The current conference bylaws are pretty explicit on what you get paid from the unequal revenue sharing based on what network the game was played on.

            So I think there are likely issues in place right now that would prevent it from happening. Like I said though it is going to be fascinating to watch how the future conference contracts are negotiated and how far Texas is willing to force expansion of their network.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            I’m not sure why everyone assumes the LHN game would be an OOC game (unless it’s said so somewhere). I think it makes sense for it to be against another Texas school (so that a TTech fan with a UT spouse would get it for the Texas-TTech game but keep the LHN because there’s long-term interest in that channel) or at least a neighboring state.

            So for 2011, the ideal games would the Rice or TTech games (maybe OSU). In 2012, Baylor (maybe NM). In 2013, TTech (maybe OSU or NMSU).

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Nostradamus:

            I wasn’t aware that Nebraska had to get signoff to put a conference game on PPV. Do you have a source for that?

            Like

          • Bullet says:

            I don’t think the Big 12 contract lets you do it, but the SEC contract lets each school pick one home game a year and reserve it for their own tertiary rights. So it can be done. Hasn’t hurt their contract. I’m sure there are some restrictions on what they can pull out, but they do have some ability to choose the game.

            Like

          • Nostradamus says:

            Bullet,
            The Big XII doesn’t have such an agreement as FSN as allegedly been paying a “premium” for the “exclusive” rights for conference football not on ABC.

            In an SEC analogy it would be like CBS still having their SEC primary contract, but ESPN coming in secondary and saying we will pay you a little extra so that we have the rights to all of your games. No more regional 1 game a year broadcasts, etc.

            We presumably thought this prevented something like the LSN from happening, but they found a a loophole that I think we’ve identified. Whether the premium strategy for exclusive rights was wise/worked for the Big XII was and still is debatable.

            Like

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            @Richard:

            I think the assumption that it would be an OOC game came from the fact that Texas normally has one game that isn’t picked up by any network and winds up on PPV, and that those games would be the logical ones for the new network. In other words, a home for the games no one else wanted.

            But there’s no reason why it can’t be any other home game.

            Like

          • Nostradamus says:

            “But there’s no reason why it can’t be any other home game.”

            If the conference treats it like it would a conference game on ESPN and pays the other school accordingly than what you said is likely correct. Otherwise this could create a situation where the other Big XII schools raise holy hell.

            Like

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            @Richard, again:

            Those PPV games have historically been our gimme Sun Belt opener.

            We have filled out our schedule for the next seven years. This is the furthest out it’s been filled out so completely that anyone can remember.

            There is only one Sun Belt team in years to come: UNT in 2013 or 2014. There are hardly any other games coming up for us in future years which would be the equivalent of PPV-worthiness of recent years. (There are still “weaker” games, like Wyoming and UNM and UTEP, but those are games which FSN has always picked up when Texas isn’t going through a 5-7 season.)

            Coincidence that the schedule was filled up for years to come, with only one Sun Belt filler game, just before the network was announced? I think now.

            Like

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            I think “not,” not “now.”

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Nostradamus:

            Why would Texas have to pay the other school for a conference home game? Do you have a source for your assertion that Nebraska needed the permission of the other school to put their game on PPV?

            Like

          • Nostradamus says:

            Nothing I can cite. As for Texas paying other conference teams…

            The Big XII has a contract with ABC and FSN. In the bylaws of the conference it is stated what a school will receive for playing on ABC, ESPN/2, FSN, Versus for a non-conference or conference game. If Texas is going to play conference games on its own network something is going to have to be worked out with the conference over payment to the other team.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Nostradamus:

            Unless all of them pass on the game that ends up on the LHN.

            I still don’t know where you got the idea that Nebraska needed the approval of the other school to have their game on PPV, since those games were ones that weren’t picked up by anyone else.

            Like

          • Nostradamus says:

            Richard,
            No one is going to pass Texas completely up. Last season Texas had no games on PPV. The previous 4 or 5 seasons they only had 1 non-conference game on PPV. Compound this with the fact FSN and ESPN (ABC) are still going to show the same number of games with two fewer teams and it simply isn’t going to happen.

            As for the PPV, the games were not picked up by anyone, but the revenue is also not part governed by the conference contract. The few times Nebraska has PPV’ed conference games, they’ve had to work out an agreement with the other conference school.

            Like

          • Mike says:

            As far as I know, there are a certain number of slots any given Saturday. ABC and then Fox “draft” their games from the available pool of games played at conference sites (where a conference team is the home team). The games not “drafted” are returned to the home school. They can’t sell those games to a competing national network (say NBC) but are allowed to set up a PPV or (I think) a local broadcast. Visiting teams have no control over TV.

            There is also restrictions in the “draft” process where each team has to appear on TV a set number of times. KU was awful last year but still couldn’t be passed over each week.

            For Texas to get a home game, there would have other more compelling games to fit into all to all the slots. That’s why Nebraska had so many PPV games last year. They played three OOC crap teams and KU. I don’t believe Texas can refuse to have a game televised if FOX or ABC “draft” it.

            Like

          • Nostradamus says:

            Mike, you are sort of right.
            “As far as I know, there are a certain number of slots any given Saturday.”
            No. There really isn’t. There is a set number of slots for ABC and FSN (FSN includes FSN, ESPN, ESPN2, and Versus) before the season starts. For 2010 it was 18 games on ABC and 30 on FSN. The windows (or when a network plans on showing a Big XII broadcast) are usually set before the season starts.
            “ABC and then Fox “draft” their games from the available pool of games played at conference sites (where a conference team is the home team).”
            You are more correct here. Each week there is a selection process among the league partners. ABC if it intends to show a Big XII game has first pick. ESPN if it intends to show one of its sublicensed games would pick second that weekend. FSN will pick 2nd if ESPN isn’t showing a game 3rd if they are, and they may take multiple games on a given weekend. Versus if showing a game on a given weekend would pick last.
            “The games not “drafted” are returned to the home school. They can’t sell those games to a competing national network (say NBC) but are allowed to set up a PPV or (I think) a local broadcast. Visiting teams have no control over TV. “
            This is back to where you are sort of correct. If a game is not selected by ABC, ESPN, FSN, or Versus, a different process kicks in. The rights are not “returned to the home school” as you put it. This is part of what FSN is paying for in their exclusive contract. FSN still has the rights to the game even if they passed on it. What happens at this point can take one of three routes 1) For a school like Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M, or Missouri FSN will offer to create a PPV. You have to go through FSN. After FSN recoups its production costs, profits are split among FSN, the cable operators carrying the PPV, and the school. 2) In the past two seasons the option has emerged to put the game on Fox College Sports. This option isn’t widely used by any of the schools listed in #1, because FCS doesn’t pay the Big XII schools anything. 3) For “lessor” schools like Iowa State where FSN knows they won’t make a profit on a PPV, FSN will release the rights to a local broadcaster. For Iowa State this is usually the local cable company Mediacom.
            A school like Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Missouri, or Texas under the current contract never makes it beyond #1. FSN knows those 4 (formerly 5) schools will turn a profit on PPV’s and they will refuse to release the rights.

            “There is also restrictions in the “draft” process where each team has to appear on TV a set number of times. KU was awful last year but still couldn’t be passed over each week.”
            Incorrect again. The only actual stipulation re: Big XII TV is that a team cannot appear more than6 times on ABC under the Big XII contract in a given season. FSN has a self-imposed goal of trying to get every Big XII team on FSN at least once each season, but again that is not regulated by the conference nor is it a set-in-stone guideline by FSN.
            “For Texas to get a home game, there would have other more compelling games to fit into all to all the slots. That’s why Nebraska had so many PPV games last year. They played three OOC crap teams and KU. I don’t believe Texas can refuse to have a game televised if FOX or ABC “draft” it.”
            And you close out be being more correct. The fact remains though if ESPN has a contract to pick about 8 or 9 games a season, they can easily use one of those picks for a Texas game and put the game on ESPNUT.

            Like

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            Great explanation, Nostradamus. Thanks for posting.

            Like

  26. duffman says:

    On this former Big 12 ranking stuff:

    It depends on how you rate the factors;

    Based on wins / history, I rank the conference this way

    #1 Oklahoma
    .
    .
    #4 Texas
    .
    .
    .
    #8 TAMU
    .
    #10 the 7 dwarves KU, KSU, TT, BU, MU, ISU, oSu

    Based on demographics / recruits, I rank the conference this way

    #1 Texas
    .
    #3 TAMU (gets UT’s seconds)
    #4 MU (has state all to self)
    #5 OU
    #6 oSu (gets OU’s seconds)
    #7 TT, BU (gets UT’s & TAMU’s seconds and thirds)
    #8 KU
    #9 KSU (gets KU’s seconds)
    #10 ISU (gets Iowa’s thirds)

    Like

    • Mike says:

      Missouri historically hasn’t recruited well in Missouri. Tom Osborne used point to Missouri as a sleeping giant because they couldn’t keep their talent in. To paraphrase Hank “King of the” Hill, North Texas is more like South Oklahoma. I would make your second list UT, OU, TAMU, MU, OSU, TT, etc.

      Like

    • Richard says:

      Agree with Mike. OU recruits well in north Texas. Mizzou’s main problem is that its population centers are on the edge of the state, and while it has the loyalty of most of metro St. Louis, most of greater KC prefer the Kansas schools (or Nebraska, which isn’t very far away).

      I may put TT & OSU above Mizzou because the talent in Texas is so much greater in quantity.

      Like

  27. Bullet says:

    Dennis Dodds has some interesting comments, especially about the general landscape and TV interests.

    http://www.cbssports.com/college/football/story/14578278/texas-star-just-got-way-brighter-with-new-tv-network

    Like

  28. Richard says:

    You know, I just had an idea:

    Remember that TTech wussed out on playing TCU in 2011? Well, BYU has 12 games scheduled, but they could play 13 because they’re visiting Hawaii.

    If I was ESPN, I would try to have TCU visit BYU during championship week (because I don’t own the MWC broadcast rights). Imagine if one or both of those teams were still undefeated and challenging for a spot in the national title game. Right now, the best game I have for championship week is the ACC title game, which isn’t much compared to CBS’s SEC title game or Fox’s B10 and P12 title games. However, TCU-BYU may actually be highly anticipated and watched.

    Right now, BYU is scheduled to visit Hawaii during championship week, but they could move that to the open slot at 10/29/11 (the WAC hasn’t set their schedule yet).

    Jake, get on it, I say!

    Like

    • Richard says:

      Another possibility is a neutral site BYU-TCU game in JerryWorld Thanksgiving week.

      Like

    • Richard says:

      BTW, speaking of TTech, I’ve heard nothing but positive things about their fans, but their administration has got to be one of the scummiest in college football.

      Like

    • Brian says:

      If I was the Big East, I think I’d try to help my future member out. You can gain a lot of goodwill with the TCU fans and administration, and somebody may get a start on TX recruiting. ESPN could help make it happen.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        Good idea. However, only Rutgers still has an open slot, and TCU now has 3(!) OOC games to fill before the start of the season.

        One way to do it is for a BE team that has a scheduled OOC opponent break that matchup up so both would play TCU. For instance, Toledo @ TCU and TCU @ Syracuse.

        That gets TCU 2 games right there.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          Incidentally, if Toledo does exchange Syracuse for TCU, they may actually have a shot at the national title game if they miraculously run the table, as they’d have one of the most challenging OOC schedules of all time:

          New Hampshire
          @tOSU
          Boise
          @TCU

          Like

          • cfn_ms says:

            Except that they still play in the MAC, which is still horrible. Virtually any 1-loss AQ would leapfrog them, and I wouldn’t be remotely surprised to see a 2-loss. Of course this is academic, since it’s probably around 75% odds that Toledo loses all three (I don’t count UNH since that one doesn’t matter). 1-2 would be an achievement, and even 2-1 just isn’t going to happen.

            Like

          • Michael in Indy says:

            Hey, you should count UNH because they do very well against FBS teams.

            2010: UNH lost to Pitt
            2009: UNH beat Ball State
            2008: UNH beat Army
            2007: UNH beat Marshall
            2006: UNH beat Northwestern
            2004: UNH beat Rutgers

            They didn’t play an FBS team in ’05, so they’re 5-1 against teams who have 22 more scholarships and waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more exposure than they do since 2004. If Toledo finishes bowl ineligible at 5-7 with an L to New Hampshire, I guarantee you they’ll be reminded that the UNH game counts.

            Like

          • cfn_ms says:

            Wowie. UNH beat a bunch of MAC teams, Rutgers back when they were terrible, and Northwestern. I’m sure it matters to Toledo, but in terms of national impact, not exactly in the ballpark of the other three.

            Like

        • Richard says:

          Looking at the BE, I think the only 2 schools that may be looking for the challenge of upgrading their OOC are Louisville & USF. Of those 2, splitting up the UTEP @ USF game in to UTEP @ TCU & TCU & USF makes the most sense and probably would be welcomed by those 2 schools.

          Like

    • Richard says:

      Jake, any progress?

      Like

      • Jake says:

        Ugh. Rumors are something will be announced today. Maybe BYU at Jerry World – they play at Hawaii, so they can still schedule an extra game (they currently have 7 home and 5 road). Cal has an open date in September, and Pac-1X schools are usually game for good OOC match-ups. I wouldn’t mind a trip to the Bay Area in September. One of our OOC games will almost certainly be an FCS team – probably Texas State, coached by our old pal Dennis Franchione. Our love/hate with that guy is strong.

        For this year only, I wouldn’t mind having only five games on campus, since our football stadium is currently a slowly dwindling pile of rubble. Hey, piers!

        http://www.physicalplant.tcu.edu/AmonCarterStadiumRenovation.asp

        Click on either of the webcams.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          Sweet! Of course, the administration probably needs 6 home games to pay the bills (or 5 + one @ JerryWorld).

          I still think splitting the UTEP-UCF matchup (to make UTEP @ TCU & TCU @ USF) solves the problem easiest, though the fans probably would prefer BYU @ JerryWorld.

          Cal fans seem unenthusiastic about a tough OOC game; seems they don’t have much confidence in their squad for 2011.

          Like

          • Jake says:

            Okay, looks like we’ll have ULM for our final OOC game. Which gives TCU this compelling home schedule for 2011:

            Texas State
            Louisiana Monroe
            SMU
            Colorado State
            UNLV
            New Mexico

            and BYU at Jerry World. Yeah, that should help season ticket sales. Good thing our stadium won’t be at full capacity.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            If they’re smart, the admin would make the JerryWorld game part of the season ticket package.

            BTW, has that game been announced? I don’t see it anywhere yet.

            Like

  29. duffman says:

    loki,

    With this Texas deal, will they make the revenue and control the rights when they play you? Why would any opponent (say Rice) agree to this if they have no upside?

    Like

    • Nostradamus says:

      Rice really has no say in the issue.

      “will they make the revenue and control the rights when they play you?”
      Under the current situation pre-LSN Texas would still control the rights. The home team in a home controls the tv rights and the home team in a one-and-done buyout game as with the Texas Rice game controls the television rights. Rice is getting a payout from Texas to play the game.
      “Why would any opponent (say Rice) agree to this if they have no upside?”
      Ask any non-bcs conference team and many of the lesser bcs conference teams right now the same question. Texas is going to cut Rice a sizable check to come and play them. Rice gets put on FSN or the new LSN and gets good exposure.

      Like

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      As far as I can see, when we play in Austin they control it and I can’t see us having any say in the matter. When we play in Houston (Rice v Texas has averaged a 2/1 Austin/Houston since the breakup of the SWC)things would be different. I don’t recall the game here being picked up on any network last time. If Rice has the ability to sell the rights I could envision them selling them to the Ocho so that we are on live state-wide.The upside is how much the Longhorn Network would pay for those rights. Rice had no problem moving the game from Historic Rice Stadium to Reliant. I’d think they’d sell the broadcast for a decent payout.

      Like

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        I hadn’t really thought about road OOC games before now. I could see teams like Rice, Wyoming, or UTEP (Texas has played at all three recently) selling their rights to the Longhorn Network. Maybe UT will get two games on their network some years.

        Like

        • loki_the_bubba says:

          Envision this scenario. DeLoss Dodds site down with the Rice AD to discuss a new deal. He’ll say “Sure, we can do another 2-1. But we’d like to get the broadcast rights for the game in Houston on our network. We’ll pay you a good price (as determined by us). And since our schedule is so full you might want to take that offer (hint, hint).”

          Like

          • Bullet says:

            Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Rice is on the crowded schedule much, and only in Austin. I suspect HH is right: The home/away schedule was set up in consultation with the TV people in anticipation of the ESPN deal. On the positive side, maybe these networks will reverse the trend towards bad ooc schedules.

            I much preferred the UT-Rice games at Rice Stadium over Reliant Stadium. But, more $ in the pro stadium. If anyone on the board went down with NW this year, you know Rice Stadium has some of the best sight lines of any stadium in the country in a beautiful campus setting.

            Like

          • duffman says:

            loki,

            the road games was one of the things I was thinking, and I was thinking about Rice baseball as they are no slouch here. If Texas plays baseball against Rice @ Rice, or at a neutral site, why wpuld Rice give up the “media” inventory? at best it should be a shared rights deal on who “owns” the media property in the future?

            If they are going to resell old football games, at what point will they show other historic games to fill space. The problem with 24 hour media, is filling it 24/7/365.

            Like

          • duffman says:

            nostradamus,

            I understand the revenue part more, what I was really curious about was the rebroadcast rights, and the revenue stream that will accrue to UT, and not to say a team like Rice. It would make it lopsided on secondary revenue streams.

            Like

  30. duffman says:

    Frank,

    flipping between tOSU vs Illinois men’s basketball and A&M vs Iowa State women’s basketball (for those who may not follow women, ISU has a good program) it made me think. Will you do a weekly blog like you did for football where you did the ballot each week? If not can we get a college basketball post for the remainder of the season?

    Like

    • @duffman – My time crunch lately probably won’t allow me to get a weekly basketball post up, although I’m going to try to write about hoops more frequently. Basketball is actually the sport I enjoy writing about the most.

      By the way, I’d like to state how unfair it is that Ohio State can have such a dominant football program and has spent the last several years becoming just as dominant in basketball. (Same thing goes for schools such as Florida and Texas, although the Gators haven’t been as consistent since the Noah/Brewer class left.) Jared Sullinger could very well be the best player in the country as a freshman. Dare I say he might be another Ohio native that ends up being picked as #1 by the Cavs?

      Like

      • duffman says:

        frank,

        you say what I have been thinking for the past 5 – 10 years!

        IMG started out as Host Communications, and got their foothold in sports via Basketball (why UK and KU are IMG schools) and there was a balance of power.

        B1G
        tOSU football IU basketball

        B 8
        UNL, OU football KU basketball

        PAC
        U$C football UCLA basketball

        SWC
        UT football Arkansas basketball

        ACC
        Clemson football UNC / NC State basketball

        SEC
        Bama/ UT football UK basketball

        If say 4 regional powers emerge that dominate both because of financial advantage, will the rest of the country sit on their hands? While you may have the Yankees in the pros buying a skewed number of titles, will it play on the college level?

        East = tOSU
        South = UF
        Midwest = UT
        West = U$C

        will those with a lower financial / recruiting advantage still draw the rabid fan base? I am not talking a 1 – 5 year window, I am talking 1- – 20 year windows?

        Jim Host (now in his 70’s) started out as a scholarship baseball player at UK, and went to the White Sox, but blew out his pitching arm during a farm team game. He went on to P&G, before starting Host Communications in his 20’s. Remember I said long ago on this blog that old guys make the decisions. The new YUM basketball arena in Louisville was spearheaded by Host. When he sold Host to IMG, it was a trend of the local guy gets replaced by the global force (see also the current financial mess, and the dangers of the bigs eating all the fish in the sea).

        just something to ponder!

        Like

  31. Bullet says:

    Carnegie classification is out. 108 schools are classified as very high research, an alternative measure to AAU membership which has been discussed on this board.

    http://classifications.carnegiefoundation.org is the site where you can look up the schools.

    It includes 64 FBS schools, 17 FCS schools (11 limited or no-scholarship-8 Ivies, GT, SUNY-Albany, SUNY-Stony Brook + UC-Davis, UMass, NDSU, Montana St.,Ga ST.,Delaware), 7 non-football Division I (GW,VCU,Boston U.,UIC,UC-R,UC-SB,UC-I), 9 other football playing schools and 11 others. 7 of the 20 non Division I schools are UAA (U of Chicago, Case Western, Emory, etc.).

    FBS conferences:
    ACC 9/12 (BC,WF,Clemson not)
    SEC 9/12 (AL,AU,MS not)
    B1G 12/12
    Big 12 6/10 (TT,OSU,KSU,Baylor not)
    Big East 6/9 (TCU,SU,WVU not)
    Pac 12 12/12

    CUSA 5/12 (only Rice,UH,UCF,UAB,Tulane are)
    Indies 1/4 (ND only one)
    MAC 1/13 (only Buffalo)
    MWC 3/10 (only HI,UNM,CSU)
    SB/WAC 0/16

    Interesting that UAB and Alabama Huntsville are, but Auburn and Alabama aren’t. Medical schools may have something to do with that. Also interesting is that there is a difference other than fb in the BE as only new member TCU, old member WVU and AAU member Syracuse are not very high research, while only Georgetown among the non-fb schools is.

    Like

    • Richard says:

      I believe Alabama’s football budget is greater than its research budget.

      The correlation between football and research isn’t surprising, as large schools with large revenue streams & large student bodies (which includes most state flagships) tend to be the ones that have the money to sponsor FBS football as well as do a lot of research.

      Like

    • Michael in Indy says:

      “SEC 9/12 (AL,AU,MS not)”

      *For clarification, “MS” refers to Ole Miss, not Mississippi State.

      Like

    • Michael in Indy says:

      That list is very interesting. In the ACC, only 5/12 schools are in the AAU, but 4 more are classified for having very high research (VHR). The Big 12 has 5/12 schools in the AAU, and just one more is classified VHR. The SEC has just 2/12 AAU members but nine classified VHR.

      I’ve got to say it’s surprising that certain schools aren’t AAU. Given the huge population difference, how does Florida have only one AAU school while Iowa has two? With NC State’s contributions towards and access to Research Triangle Park, how is that school not yet an AAU member? How does Texas only have 3 AAU schools despite having both a high population and a high level of wealth (oil money) to support the schools?

      Like

      • Michael in Indy says:

        I’d be curious which schools, if any, are close to receiving AAU invitations. Among FBS schools, I know that FSU, UCF, USF, and NC State are actively pursuing membership. I imagine that UConn, Virginia Tech, Utah, Oklahoma, Arizona State, and Colorado State are close as well, but I am far from being well-informed about how AAU members decide to invite people into their club.

        Like

        • M says:

          Based on history, very few are getting in any time soon. In the last 15 years, here are the new entrants:

          Stony Brook 2001
          TAMU 2001
          Georgia Tech 2010

          Thats about 1 every 5 years and these additions were undeniably appropriate. The only school you list that I think has a reasonable shot in the near future is NC State.

          Like

        • Richard says:

          Not sure why you think OU is on that list. I remember their research level being way below B10 & regular AAU levels. they definitely should be below CSU, NCSU, FSU, and the rest.

          Like

          • Richard says:

            In fact, according to ARWU, OU’s research is on a tier that’s lower than all of those schools listed above (including USF & UCF, who, BTW, probably don’t have a chance at AAU membership if NCSU, CSU, Utah, ASU, FSU, and VTech aren’t in yet).

            http://www.arwu.org/Country2010Main.jsp?param=United States

            Like

          • Redhawk says:

            Yes, OU’s research is not on that level, and doubtful ever will be. They have put money into only a couple of areas (medical, weather, and energy-geology-petroleum).

            It takes money to be a research university. OU doesn’t have it to invest.

            Like

        • Fred says:

          Cincinnati is ahead of all those schools you mentioned in research funding. As of the latest numbers, UC is 47th in federal research funding, ahead of 21 of the 59 AAU members. Only two schools ahead of UC are not in the AAU: UAB and Boston U (the math doesn’t add up because many of the recipients are hospitals). Here is the list of federal research funding: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsf10311/pdf/tab37.pdf . Total research funding shows similar rankings: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsf10311/pdf/tab27.pdf

          Like

        • Re says:

          Regarding with AAU, I’ll try my best to answer. I’m neither expert nor work for any of those organizations. Yes, attaining AAU membership could be a lot easier before. However, keep in mind that many of these schools are (were) respectable when they were invited to the organization. Schools have changed or waffle their plans throughout their existence. Some of them are founded as research orientated one. However in the middle of the road, they change their course. And they tried to back the original route again. Classic example is the University of Nebraska (UNL). Not many many of us won’t remember the reputation of UNL in early ages. Could that be easier to get into AAU back in the early 1900s, no one knows. Yes, schools like Syracuse University are not very active right now. But I do not know their status when they were invited to join the group.
          Some of them are founded as teaching university. Nothing wrong with that. Overtime it has very big disadvantages to become a great university. It is very difficult attain very good professors and other things as well. So, some of them reinvented themselves to become a reach-intensive university. Notre Dame could be the best example. When ND turned down BIGTEN overture (not invitation), they tried to become a member of CIC. But it didn’t work out.
          If an organization like AAU has to rearrange today, it could be a whole lot different. However, you will surprisingly found that not too many SEC schools would not be in that new organization. Not 8. Not 7. Probably around 3 or 4 of SEC schools will get into. Again, I’m not insulting SEC schools. They are just not there yet. I do not know how many of these schools are founded as research university. On the contrary, the BIGTEN schools, throughout their existence, have been doing only one thing __reasearch!
          I’m not sure how many schools will get invited to AAU. But I’m sure the minimum line is five to six hundred millions dollars. If the research enterprise of that school has been bringing in that amount of money for about 5 or 6 years, the invitation card will be there. Like it or not it is “Show Me the Money” thing. May be another inconvenient truth.
          Some people brought up UGA. Everyone knows UGA is a fine school. But it will have hard time to get into AAU because of Emory. School of Medicine or fields related to biological sciences are cash cows. Without that UGA will always have hard time to get into AAU. That is the main reason UC Barkley has always hard time to take over those above it. If UC Barkley and UC San Francisco were the same school, it will be, no doubt, the top dog in research world.
          Another thing that always surprise people is A&M has more research income than UT. The main reasons are
          Academic Institutions Health institutions
          It wasn’t founded as research school for agriculture like A&M.

          Another interesting fact on that. Some states have two schools KU& KSU. UIowa and ISU.
          Some have only one such as UMN (TC) or UW.
          I read somewhere that purpose of having two is one of those can emphasize on agriculture and stuffs like that. It seems like it was the better decision to have only one consolidated school. UMN(TC) have to campus Mpls and St.Paul. St.Paul one is more to areas like vet, agri, forestry. St.Paul campus was indeed founded as agri school and later absolved by UMN. Having said that, if you compare UMN and UI, UI won’t be able to catch UMN interms of research expenditure. Because, UMN= UI+ISU.
          Actually, it is very complicated issue. One thing I would like to acknowledge is it is extremely difficult find data for SEC schools in terms of research income. If you can find very reliable data, I’ll love to explore. Now, I feel like I’m fishing in the dark.
          The following links helps a lot.

          http://www.research.umn.edu/documents/2010Report.pdf

          Like

      • Richard says:

        Well, there’s definitely a lag, and remember that no school gets kicked out of the AAU. Would Kansas or Mizzou get in to the AAU now if it was applying? Doubtful. Even Nebraska and ISU would be close calls. However, those schools got in about a hundred years ago when the AAU was setting up and virtually no southern school was a research institution of any note. As the AAU seems to expand very slowly, it make take a while for all those southern (and western) schools to be added.

        Like

        • Bullet says:

          Syracuse is AAU but not on this list. Rice only made AAU in the mid-80s.

          Medical schools have large research $ and will tend to move a school up. UAB has a very good medical school. Many of the SEC schools have medical schools attached. UGA is one that does not.

          Like

    • duffman says:

      @ bullet,

      a) is there a specific link to an overall list for this site? I do not feel like looking each school up one at a time? With the ARWU I can get a list with everyone on it at once for the birds eye view.

      b) I am not sure about UAB, but I am fairly sure that Huntsville is on the list because of the military / nasa (as a former aerospace guy, I can tell you first hand that UAB feeds both the public and private sides of aerospace). I have had many friends head that way for undergrad, post grad, teaching, and research. They were rocket scientists! :) I am never sure exactly how organizations like USNWR, ARWU, etc. part out the subsections of schools and universities. Baylor Medical is ranked in the ARWU, but their college as a whole is not. As UAB and UAH are both part of the University of Alabama system. UAB seems to have the strongest focus on Biology, while UAH is focused on Physics. Bamatab, maybe you can give us a better picture of how it works in the Alabama system.

      c) I think Auburn is still the second son in the state, and while they may not be good in all things, I have always heard that Auburn and Cornell were the best big animal vet schools in the country.

      @ M i I

      a) I was surprised that MSU was on the list and M was not! (well actually I was surprised that any Mississippi school made the list). Do you know what MSU had expertise in that would have them make the list?

      b) I posted early on that the AAU was biased to northern/midwestern schools based on early membership

      14 founding members – 1900

      Columbia – IVY
      Cornell – IVY
      Harvard – IVY
      Johns Hopkins – CC (yeah I still think the nerdy 9 should grab em)
      Princeton – IVY
      Stanford – PAC
      Cal – PAC
      Chicago – B1G
      Michigan – B1G
      Pennsylvania – IVY
      Wisconsin – B1G
      Yale – IVY
      Catholic University – former founding member, east coast
      Clark University – former founding member, east coast

      50% = IVY
      25% = B1G
      17% = PAC
      08% = CC

      I note that not 1 SEC, ACC, or B 12 school was a founding member, tho I would be hard pressed for anybody to tell me that Vandy, UVA, UNC, Duke, Tulane, Rice, Texas, etc were not worthy!!!! Which is why I say there is a bias inherent in the organization, as once you are in, you are in. I have often wondered if many of the midwestern schools who gained admission in the first decade or so would get in today and be held to the same standards as new member Georgia Tech?

      c) With said inherent bias in the AAU, it would explain you question for only 3 Texas schools, and a lag for southern schools in general to recognized for academic merit. While frankly I am surprised the SEC had 9 of 12 as VHR, it does not surprise me at all that they would have at least 7, and possibly 8. If I was going from a gut feeling the 4 in question would be the 2 Alabama schools and the 2 Mississippi schools, as the East side of the SEC has good academics, and at least LSU in the West does. Arkansas would be my sitting on the fence guess.

      d) Look at dates of admission for schools in the B1G (and former Big 8, now Big 12 North)

      B1G
      Illinois = 1908
      Minnesota = 1908
      Indiana = 1909
      Iowa = 1909 (a Big 8 member at the time)
      Ohio State = 1916
      Northwestern = 1917
      Penn State = 1958
      Purdue = 1958
      Michigan State = 1964

      Big 8
      Missouri = 1908
      Kansas = 1909
      Nebraska = 1909
      Iowa State = 1958
      Colorado = 1966

      and compare them to:

      ACC
      Virginia = 1904
      North Carolina = 1922
      Duke = 1938
      Maryland = 1969
      Georgia Tech = 2010

      SEC
      Vandy = 1950
      Tulane = 1958 (was an SEC school at the time)
      Florida = 1985
      Georgia = not a member, but probably should be, as the are the “other” half of GT, and while GT is the “research” side, Georgia is the “liberal arts” side, and a “southern” IVY.

      SWC
      Texas = 1929
      Rice = 1985
      Texas A&M = 2001

      It seems pretty clear that the system is bias towards the original members, and the schools around them. If it were truly reflective, it would require stiff standards to stay a member. Hey, I am happy IU is an AAU school, but admission in 1909 was probably much easier than 2009. Just an observation.

      Like

      • greg says:

        duffman, saying Iowa was a Big 8 member at the time is misleading. Iowa has been in the Big Ten since 1899. From 1907 to 1911, it was a member of both the Big Ten and the precursor to the Big 8.

        Due to this, ISU holds only a 2 to 1 lead over Iowa in Big 8 titles. ISU last won one in 1912.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Eight_Conference

        Like

      • Bullet says:

        I found the link on another site and really don’t remember where, just saving the link. You can do some searches on the Carnegie site. The list that shows the 108 schools only shows name, location and public/private. I started to put the link on here, but then I realized it was literally about 400 characters long and I would never get it typed right. You can go to “standard listings” and select basic classification RU/VH.

        If you’re curious, the 20 non Division I schools are (I listed at least indirectly all the Div I schools above):
        UAA schools
        Chicago
        Carnegie-Mellon
        Case Western
        Brandeis
        Emory
        NYU
        Washington Mo.
        Others
        CUNY
        Rockefeller U.
        Yeshiva U.
        UC-Santa Cruz
        UC-San Diego
        Cal Tech
        MIT
        Tufts
        RPI
        Rochester
        Alabama-Huntsville
        Wayne State (MI)
        John Hopkins

        Like

      • Brian says:

        duffman,

        Very high research:

        http://classifications.carnegiefoundation.org/lookup_listings/srp.php?clq={%22basic2005_ids%22%3A%2215%22}&start_page=standard.php&backurl=standard.php&limit=0,50

        High research:

        http://classifications.carnegiefoundation.org/lookup_listings/srp.php?clq={%22basic2005_ids%22%3A%2216%22}&start_page=standard.php&backurl=standard.php&limit=0,50

        It should be noted that these ratings are subsets of their “Doctorate-granting Universities,” and they break that list roughly into thirds. 108 made VHR, 98 made HR, and the other 88 are Doctoral/Research Universities.

        It is not surprising more southern schools make this list than the AAU since it is a larger number of schools. Bias would be more apparent if the VHR group were of similar size to the AAU.

        I question your opinion of AAU bias, especially since it only started with 14 schools. That said, early membership may have been easier to get than it is now. However, the B10 and Big 8 schools continued to get in during the 50s and 60s while the southern schools still weren’t getting in.

        Perhaps southern schools did not emphasize research as much until lately? I admire your conviction, but how exactly do you know that “Vandy, UVA, UNC, Duke, Tulane, Rice, Texas, etc” deserved to be in in 1900? Do you have research dollar figures for 1900? Just being a good school is not a qualification, and many schools have changed tremendously since 1900.

        Where you see bias, I see a correlation to high quality schools that do research. Many private schools lagged on getting into significant research, and many southern schools still aren’t highly rated. As for UGA, your argument makes no sense to me. UGA should get in because GT does research? BTW, they are in no way a southern ivy. UGA is a very good state school, and it is not an insult to not include them in the AAU

        I would expect more ACC schools to get in as time passes, and maybe a few SEC too. There aren’t that many elite research schools that are not in the AAU.

        Like

        • duffman says:

          brian,

          “I question your opinion of AAU bias, especially since it only started with 14 schools.”

          To which I respond, like follows like:

          The B1G had 3 schools in right off the bat, and another 4 within the first decade! 7 of 10 = 70 %, and 2 more in the next decade! 9 of 10 = 90%. Missouri, Nebraska, and Kansas all border the B1G and had 3 members in the first decade. You can not tell me that having that many northwestern schools, and ZERO southwestern schools does not create a voting bloc, and inherent bias!!

          Loki can correct me if I am wrong, but Rice was a fine academic school in the 60’s and 70’s when I was a prospective student. I know personally that Ga Tech has been an excellent school for generations because one of my dear friends (now retired) went there ages ago as did his father and grandfather. As they were actually there in the early history, I am inclined to accept their views.

          In 1931 Georgia Tech transferred their business school to Georgia, and Georgia transferred their engineering school to Georgia Tech (hence my comment of the 2 halves). This allowed each school to focus on specific programs for better education, as it did away with overlap. Both are fine schools, and have been for a long period of my life (and I am an older guy).

          The early AAU was East Coast, Upper Midwest, and California, and look at their numbers today

          63 current members:

          East Coast = Buffalo (89), Maryland (69), Rutgers (89), Penn State (58), Pitt (74), Stoney Brook (2001), Brandeis (85), Brown (33), Carnegie Mellon (82), Columbia (FM), Cornell (FM), Harvard (FM), Johns Hopkins (FM), MIT (34), NYU (50), Penn (FM), Princeton (FM), Rochester (41), Syracuse (66), Yale (FM), McGill (26) = 21 schools or roughly 1/3 of membership.

          Upper Midwest = Illinois (08), Indiana (09), Iowa (09), Iowa State (58), Kansas (09), Michigan (FM), Michigan State (64), Minnesota (08), Missouri (08), Nebraska (09), Ohio State (16), Purdue (58), Wisconsin (FM), Case Western (69), Chicago (FM), Northwestern (17), Washington – SLU (23), Toronto (26) = 18 schools, or slightly less than 1/3 of membership.

          California = UCBerkley (FM), UCDavis (96), UCIrvine (96), UCLA (74), UCSanDiego (82), UCSB (95), Cal Tech (34), USC (69), Stanford (FM) = 9 schools add in border states, Arizona (85), Colorado (66), Oregon (69), Washington (50) and that brings you to 13 schools.

          The rest = Florida (85), Georgia Tech (2010), North Carolina (22), Texas (29), TAMU (2001), UVA (04), Duke (38), Emory (95), Rice (85), Tulane (58), Vandy (50) = 11 schools! Hey I am all for the AAU, but you can not stand there with a straight face and tell me there is not a voting bias/preference based on geographic region.

          Michigan State joins the B1G around 1950, and they get in the AAU in 64, ahead of GT and Rice! Arizona gets in at the same time as Rice, and ahead or GT! Brandeis (which was not founded till after WWII) gets in the same year as Rice. Maybe I am a slow coach, but it does cause me to wonder.

          Loki,

          If you want to give us some background on Rice, and their academic backbone, I offer the floor to you.

          Like

          • Richard says:

            Duff,

            The AAU is a collection of research universities, not liberal arts colleges. Georgia getting GTech’s business school while giving up its engineering school does not make it more qualified to join the AAU.

            You’ll notice that Dartmouth isn’t part of the AAU.

            Like

          • duffman says:

            richard,

            I get your point, but it was my understanding that after GT left the SEC, Georgia has desired to back, and go head to head in schools where they once did not compete. Not sure, as I have not followed Georgia in the past few decades, so not sure how it came out, but I was under the impression at one time, they could get up to speed quicker than many due to size, and close proximity to many Fortune 500 companies. I could be wrong, is there a Georgia poster on this board who could clarify?

            Like

          • Brian says:

            duffman,

            You seem to conflate being a good school and AAU membership. They overlap, but they are not the same thing. Nobody is claiming Rice or GT or others weren’t good schools, but that doesn’t mean they were left out of the AAU due to bias. I think the membership indicates that different regions had different models for higher education and the AAU only selects one type of school. The former members didn’t suddenly become bad schools, they just had a different focus than the other members.

            Do you have any evidence these southern schools were doing a lot of research 100 or even 50 years ago? The southeast was devastated after the Civil War, so they weren’t pumping a ton of money into research in 1900. The feds may have been biased in where they allocated research money, but they didn’t really start large scale funding until WWII.

            I have 2 degrees from GT, so I’ll stick to my own opinion of it. Part of the delay getting into the AAU was an overly tight focus on engineering without sufficient departments in some of the science and liberal arts areas to get approved. This was acknowledged and fixed to gain entry. UGA and GT have more overlap now than they used to have. GT has a business school and UGA is adding engineering, just as examples. That does not make UGA an AAU candidate, and there is nothing wrong with that.

            Like

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            I can say without a doubt that the primary reason why Rice was not included as a founding member of the AAU in 1900 is that Rice did not open until 1912. People forget how new Rice is in the world of top-flight academics. Some of these schools have emeritus professors older than Rice.

            For comparison, founding dates:
            Oxford – 1096
            Cambridge – 1209
            Harvard – 1636
            Yale – 1701
            Tulane 1834
            Duke – 1838
            Baylor – 1845
            Texas A&M – 1871
            Rice – 1912

            Rice’s ability to become such a top-notch school in a short time is impressive. Those other schools also have had almost a century or more time to accumulate an endowment.

            One thing that keeps Rice from being mentioned as top ten school is that we have neither a medical school nor a law school. Most top universities have at least one and often both. If we had been able to complete the merger with Baylor College of Medicine last year we could have moved up significantly.

            As for the AAU’s anti-southern bias, when I look at the landscape between GT in Atlanta and Rice in Houston, the only school that jumps to mind instantly is Tulane. And they are a member. I don’t see a bias. I see a dearth of historically relevant candidates.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Well Vandy.

            I agree, though, that there really isn’t a bias so much as it is the AAU admitting members slowly (and never kicking members out), so there’s a lag. Notice that some western schools that do as much research as many AAU schools (Utah, ASU, & CSU) also aren’t in yet.

            Like

      • m (Ag) says:

        The Baylor College of Medicine is independent and not a part of Baylor University.

        Like

      • Bamatab says:

        duffman, sorry for the late response. I just now ran across your question.

        You are pretty close in your explanation on the University of Alabama school system. UAT (Bama), UAH, & UAB are all part of the University of Alabama school system and run by the same Board of Trustees, although for some reason they are counted seperately (I never have understood why or how that works). UAB is the medical/biological school, UAH is the engineering/aerospace school, and UAT is the business/law school (which is why there isn’t much research dollars spent in Tuscaloosa.

        Like

    • Michael in Indy says:

      So which schools are closest to gaining AAU membership?

      Florida State, NC State, LSU, Colorado State, and Miami, I would presume, are near the top of the list. (Someone who knows more about the AAU, please correct me if I’m wrong.) Would other candidates include another UC school, SUNY school, or other private schools who aren’t D-1? What about schools like UAB, USF, or Illinois-Chicago?

      BTW: To find the list of Carnegie’s “Very High Research Universities,” go to http://classifications.carnegiefoundation.org/descriptions/basic.php , then click on “RU/VH: Research Universities (very high research activity)” under Doctorate-Granting Universities.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        I’ve heard of NCSU & CSU pressing for membership (and likely are close). ASU has not been shy about it’s ambitions of being a top research university (and now is right there with Arizona in the ARWU rankings). Utah is also right there as well. Add those western schools (and VTech) to your list, and that’s probably the list of candidates. Maybe UIC as well.

        Like

  32. M says:

    More divisions fun:

    Like

  33. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    2010 NCAA attendance figures are out.

    http://web1.ncaa.org/mfb/2010/Internet/attendance/FBS_AVGATTENDANCE.pdf

    Here’s the Top 25 by conference.

    SEC (9) – #4 Alabama, #6 Tennessee, #7 Georgia, #8 LSU, #9 Florida, #10 Auburn, #17 South Carolina, #22 Arkansas, and #25 Kentucky.

    B1G (6) – #1 Michigan, #2 Ohio State, #3 Penn State, #16 Wisconsin, #19 Michigan State, and #21 Iowa.

    Big XII (4) – #5 Texas, #11 Nebraska, #12 Oklahoma, and #13 Texas A&M.

    ACC (3) – #18 Clemson, #20 Florida State, and #24 Virginia Tech.

    Pac-10 (2) – #15 USC and #23 Washington.

    Independent (1) – #14 Notre Dame.

    Schools with average attendance of more than 100k:
    #1 Michigan, #2 Ohio State, #3 Penn State, #4 Alabama, and #5 Texas.

    Schools with average attendance between 99,999 and 90k:
    #6 Tennessee, #7 Georgia, #8 LSU, and #9 Florida.

    Schools with average attendance between 89,999 and 80k:
    #10 Auburn, #11 Nebraska, #12 Oklahoma, #13 Texas A&M, and #14 Notre Dame.

    Schools with average attendance between 79,999 and 70k:
    #15 USC, #16 Wisconsin, #17 South Carolina, #18 Clemson, #19 Michigan State, #20 Florida State, and #21 Iowa.

    Schools with average attendance between 69,999 and 60k:
    #22 Arkansas, #23 Washington, #24 Virginia Tech, #25 Kentucky, #26 Missouri, #27 BYU, and #28 UCLA.

    Schools with average attendance between 59,999 and 50k:
    #29 Oregon, #30 North Carolina, #31 Cal, #32 Texas Tech, #33 NC State, #34 West Virginia, #35 Ole Miss, #36 Arizona, #37 Mississippi State, #38 Illinois, #39 Miami, #40 Pitt, #41 Oklahoma State, and #42 Louisville.

    Remaining Big Ten school and other schools mentioned prominently in expansion discussion on this board:

    #43 Kansas State 49,816
    #45 Minnesota 49,513
    #46 Purdue 48,063
    #48 Rutgers 47,013
    #50 Georgia Tech 46,449
    #53 Virginia 46,449
    #54 Iowa State 45,395
    #55 Kansas 44,851
    #56 TCU 42,466
    #57 Indiana 41,953
    #60 Syracuse 40,064
    #64 Maryland 39,168
    #66 UConn 38,248
    #68 Northwestern 36,449
    #72 Vandy 33,269
    #80 Duke 28,750

    And #120, or Mr. Irrelevant, is Ball State with an average attendance of 8,947.

    Like

    • M says:

      Very interesting data. I’m a big believer in attendance as a good measure of program health and these numbers say a lot. The fact that 16 of the top 25 are in the Big Ten (+ UNL) and SEC explains a good deal about the state of college football. From another view, they also explain why the Big 12 has devolved into the Big 3 and the 7 Dwarves.

      Closer to home, I am actually a little pleased with Northwestern’s numbers, especially given the absence of most of the best draws (no OSU, Michigan, Penn State, Wisconsin, or Nebraska at home this past year). If the same number of Northwestern fans attend games next year, attendance should break the 40k mark.

      The most disheartening total is Stanford. Even in their best year since WWII, they can’t crack the top half in attendance. That doesn’t bode well for Northwestern’s upper limit.

      Like

      • greg says:

        Iowa gave NW a sellout with at least 60% of the crowd. I was unfortunately there. :(

        It is kind of amazing that B10+SEC so dominates the top 25. But also unsurprising.

        Like

      • Bullet says:

        If you look at 4 year averages, which balance out some good and bad years, its interesting to look at the conferences.

        Before you get to the 1st ACC school (Clemson), there are 7 SEC, 5 B1G, 3 Big 12, 1 Pac 12 and Notre Dame.

        Before you get to the 1st BE school (WVU), there are 9 SEC, 7 B1G, 4 Big 12, 5 Pac 12, 3 ACC, Notre Dame and BYU.

        Before you get to the 1st non-AQ non-indie (ECU), there are 11 SEC, 10 B1G, 9 Big 12, 8 Pac 12, 9 ACC, Notre Dame and BYU.

        There are only 3 AQ schools not over 30k (NW, Duke, WSU). All the indies are over, but only 4 MWC (HI, AF, Fresno, Boise) and 3 CUSA (ECU, UCF, UTEP) over 30k. Noone from WAC, MAC or SB is.

        All the WAC, MAC and SB is under 21k. Only 5 (2 MWC and 3 CUSA) schools from the other 93 schools are below 21k (Reminder-this is 4 year average so it is a little different than the 2010 Alan posted).

        Like

        • Bullet says:

          Average by conference -4 year data:
          SEC 75,909
          B1G 71,692
          Big 12 60,588
          Pac 12 54,306
          ACC 52,075
          BE 42,627
          MWC 28,288 (33,468 for 2010 lineup)
          CUSA 27,466
          SB 17,198
          MAC 16,289
          WAC 5 16,035 (22,817 for 2010 lineup)

          Like

          • M says:

            I wonder about some of the second-order attendance effects of some of the conference movers. For instance, I know that BYU was a huge road draw for many teams in the MWC (most of which are located near the “Mormon Corridor”). Nebraska is famous for boosting attendance throughout the Big 12 North.

            I wouldn’t be surprised if Nebraska’s 90k+ expansion combined with their road attendances boosts the B1G past the SEC.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            M:

            That’s a pretty tall order, especially since
            1. most B10 teams draw full or close to full capacity for conference games already
            2. Nebraska plays in only 1/6 of all B10 games (both home and away).

            The biggest difference would be due to their expansion (when will it be completed?)
            The only B10 opponents’ attendance they’d boost significantly are Northwestern, Illinois, and the Indiana schools when UNL plays there.

            Like

          • M says:

            Adding a 90000 seat stadium that sells out every game boosts the average conference attendance by about 1500. I know that for Northwestern having Nebraska will be worth at least 20k additional tickets both for the game itself and additional season tickets, which adds ~2k to the conference average every other year.

            To pull even with the SEC, Nebraska’s other away game would have to average an increase of 7k or convince one other school to expand their stadium (Iowa?). It could happen.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            M:

            Playing UNL isn’t going to increase NU’s season ticket sales by 20K, not the least because 20K+36K would be over Ryan/Dyche’s capacity. You’re also not seriously thinking that UNL fans would buy NU season tickets, are you you?

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Richard,

            I think M was talking 20k over the whole season, not just for that game. NE fans travel well, so they will definitely get a sell out for that game. That’s 10k more tickets than their average this year, about 20k more than last year.

            It is not unheard of for away fans to buy season tickets, especially if the package is fairly cheap and you can get better seats. Usually that is for desirable games, but if NE fans live in Chicago or want really good seats to see their team it’s possible they’ll buy them. Maybe NW will only make NE tickets available as part of the season ticket package like they did with Wrigley. With a 6 game package, the tickets would add up quickly.

            Like

          • Bullet says:

            @M
            Those conference figures reflect the 2012 lineups, so the B1G 71k already includes UNL and about a 1300 bump in the average.

            Like

          • M says:

            @Richard- I have no doubt that Nebraska is worth 1-2k season tickets sold in addition to the sellout, both from Nebraska fans and from local fans who are more interested in the schedule now.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Bullet,

            Can you provide a link for that so I don’t have to do math?

            Like

          • Richard says:

            20K extra over a year (which is what a full house for the Nebraska game + 1K extra season tickets gets you) is an extra 3.3K boost to NU’s season average. As NU is 1 of 12 B10 schools, all that would do is boost the average B10 attendance by a few hundred.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            I’m always surprised NW isn’t more aggressive about playing at Soldier Field to sell more tickets. I know they want to build the home crowd, but they could probably make an extra $1-2 million. Maybe some Bear fans would go just to see a game in the stadium and end up deciding to see more NW games in the future.

            Like

          • @Brian – The problem is that the new Soldier Field configuration doesn’t really yield that many more seats, as capacity there is only 61,000 (smallest in the NFL). I could write several blog posts on the dubiuous choice of the State of Illinois and City of Chicago to renovate Soldier Field instead of building a retractable roof dome by McCormick Place that would’ve seated more people, could be used for Super Bowls, Final Fours, coventions, and other events besides football, and would have cost LESS money. I love history as much as anyone and Soldier Field is going to be an unbelievable scene today, but it was an incredible mistake cost-wise. Indianapolis is now getting events that the much larger market of Chicago could’ve easily had.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Brian:

            Soldier Field seats only 14K more. To get $1-2M more in revenue, you’d need to charge an average of about $100 for those tickets, which is a bit unrealistic. Add in the fact that NU would have to pay the Chicago Park District to rent Soldier Field and it’s even less.

            Plus, the only sellouts at Ryan/Dyche in the last decade or so were games against tOSU (and Michigan back when they were good) and it’s not certain at all that there would be an extra 14K for a tOSU game.

            Now that Nebraska will be visiting, games against them at Soldier Field may make financial sense (if the demand is high enough), though whatever small monetary benefit there’d be probably wouldn’t outweigh the home field/comfort advantage, and I doubt NU would sell that if it means the difference between winning and losing the division.

            The only opponent for which Soldier Field makes sense, really, is ND (in part because they’d demand that NU “home” games against them be at Soldier Field). However, they’ve been too pussy to schedule their historic rivals ever since we upset them at the start of our Rose Bowl year.

            Like

          • Bullet says:

            Its actually on a spreadsheet not a link.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Agreed, Frank. They could have kept the old Soldier Field as is (which would have been a truly historic monument) for summer events as well.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Richard and Frank,

            Soldier Field is small for any other B10 school, but that 14k bump for NW could be huge. They need all the ticket sales they can get (for respect if not money).

            I used round numbers, but you have to assume the suites and club level seats would boost the average ticket value. Desire to see a game at SF would also help. Plus, more people means more money for parking, concessions, etc. More importantly, a game at SF would mean PR and some attention for NW football. They need that a lot more than money, and Ryan Field attracts nobody.

            I was thinking possible opponents would be IA (they travel really well) and IL (lots of Bears fans who would like to get into SF), and NE now. It’s sad that WI doesn’t pack the house since they’re so close. ND would of course be a great choice if they get back on the schedule.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Again, Iowa and Illinois don’t pack Ryan/Dyche either, so there’s no reason to expect games against those teams to pack Soldier Field (though Iowa as well as Wisconsin tend to come close).

            As for PR, the PR would only be good if the game is sold out. Showing a half-empty Soldier Field wouldn’t be good PR for NU.

            Maybe games against Nebraska will have such huge demand that a game at Soldier Field may make financial sense. However, again, would tOSU move a home game out of the ‘Shoe against a team they’re battling for the division title (think PSU or Wisconsin) for an extra 14K tickets sold (just assume there’s a 125K stadium somewhere else in Columbus) and more box seats filled? So why would you think NU would be willing to do something like that?

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Richard,

            Iowa fans disagree as I’ve seen them claim multiple times that they sell out at NW. I’m not saying who’s right, just that they claim it. It looks like they did sell out in 2010.

            I only said IL because there might be a lot of Bears fans who want to get into Soldier Field and can’t get a Bears ticket. It’s really sad that IL fans won’t pack a stadium in Evanston. That complete lack of fan support shows why IL never rises to their potential.

            Done only rarely, and against the right opponent, I think NW would sell out SF and get a lot of good press. NE and ND seem like viable candidates to get the media splash. Of course, it would help if NW was playing a little better.

            No offense intended, but NW is not OSU. OSU has no problem selling out their stadium. OSU doesn’t lack for media attention. OSU doesn’t lag fellow conference members financially. OSU doesn’t lag fellow conference members in terms of prestige. OSU doesn’t possess a history of football futility, including the record for consecutive losses. OSU will regularly be a favorite to win their division.

            Your hypothetical supposes a substantially larger stadium than the Horseshoe, presumably also with much greater history and tradition of local team success. It also supposes that OSU has a lot to gain by moving a game there. None of those things are true, so it’s a little hard to say what OSU would do.

            If all of that was true, I’d hope OSU would take advantage of the chance to gain national attention and money. A chance to build the program and eventually compete with the big boys shouldn’t be overlooked. The chance of losing that game because of losing home field advantage is small. The chance that losing that game costs the team a division title is also small. The combination is a very small risk, although a team with only 3 B10 titles since WWII might be worried about that.

            Like

          • M says:

            @Brian

            Iowa did sell out in 2010, but that was the first sellout not to OSU or Michigan in something like 10 years. They usually do not.

            As far as lacking financial resources, Northwestern is 7th in the conference, but only 100k behind MSU and 1 million behind Michigan. Since the early 90s, the administrations of Northwestern have been willing to spend a reasonable amount on athletics.

            Your comment about “3 Big Ten titles since WWII” is a little deceptive. Since 1995, the only schools with more titles than Northwestern are OSU and Michigan.

            Despite those mistakes, I mostly agree with you about a Soldier Field game. If you could guarantee me that it would be a sellout with a majority Northwestern fans, I would be all for it. Otherwise, it gives the appearance of EMU having a “home” game in Detroit or NIU at Soldier Field (or Indiana at the Redskins stadium).

            My dream scenario is to have one game at Wrigley every year. That venue just draws a much bigger bang and its smaller size can help drive season ticket sales.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Brian:

            You’re right about Iowa this year, but you can see that before this year, tOSU (and Michigan when good) have been the only schools to sell out Ryan Field the past decade or so (http://hailtopurple.com/cde/attendance.html).

            I still don’t see NU moving the Nebraska game to Soldier Field unless the demand is ginormous. The tOSU game actually is a better candidate (if you guys can fill another 14K seats) because now we’ll get you guys at home only once every 4 years, so it’s more of an “event” where you can charge high prices (and given the small bump in attendance + the rent NU would have to pay the Chicago Park District to use Soldier Field, the ticket prices would have to be higher (plus you’re not a divisional foe).

            Otherwise, ND is the only other foe that would make sense at Soldier Field. _Possibly_ Texas if we ever have a series with the Longhorns, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            M:

            I actually would be opposed to having an annual game at Wrigley. One of the reasons why that game was a sellout and got the attention that it did was because it was seen as a historic once-in-a-lifetime event. Start going there every year (which, BTW, doesn’t make much sense financially either because Wrigley seats less than Ryan Field), and it would rapidly become ho-hum. Maybe a game at the Cell?

            Like

          • Brian says:

            OSU sells out at NW because it is a cheaper and easier ticket to get, it is closer for some fans, and it is an almost guaranteed win historically.

            There is not much overlap between OSU and Bears fans, so SF is not a built in draw for most OSU fans. Higher ticket prices would also impact demand. I think it would be tough to sell out SF unless OSU was undefeated and making a NC run. That’s kind of hard to plan for, though.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            M,

            I claimed IA sold out at NW in 2010, which is true, and said IA fans claim they sell out at NW and that I didn’t know if that was true.

            I also said NW lagged in money, not that they lacked money (they are a rich private school after all), which is true.

            As for 3 B10 titles since WWII, it is a fact. I could have said since 1937, but WWII is a convenient starting point for modern football. Yes, they got those titles since 1995, but I think that is more “misleading” since it ignores most of their history. It doesn’t even include the whole Barnett era. Even if you only look from 1995-2010, NW has the 8th best B10 winning percentage.

            If you prefer I could say OSU has more National Championships than NW has bowl wins, and the same number of NC as NW has B10 titles since OSU joined the B10. I could also point out that NW has never beaten OSU while winning a B10 title.

            As for money, please provide a link for the numbers you’re quoting. MI has more than double the revenue of NW from ticket sales, so saying they are $1 million apart is doubtful. Being private, NW doesn’t release a lot of numbers, so I want to know what you are looking at (revenue, expenses, football only, etc).

            Richard,

            Yes, lately OSU and MI dominate the list of NW sell outs. However, there are 8 different schools since 1994. That means there is a chance to schedule it and make it happen, especially if NW improves. ND sold out Soldier Field before.

            Like

          • greg says:

            Iowa sold out at NW this year but it was the first Iowa at NW sellout since 1985. This link has that fact and says the game was the first non-OSU/UM sellout sicne 1997:

            http://thegazette.com/2010/11/13/live-from-ryan-field-its-mike-hlas-tweets-and-twaddle-from-the-iowa-northwestern-game-updated-all-game/

            re: the NW at Soldier Field discussions, Northern Illinois has been attempting what many here are advocating. NIU hosted Iowa at SF in 2007 and had a sellout. NIU hosts Wisky in 2011 and Iowa in 2012, both at SF. I thought the Wisky deal included at least one more SF game, but I can’t find it listed on any future schedules. We’ll see if both are sellouts, which I imagine they will be. Those games have the advantage of being on Labor Day weekend, making it more of an event and guaranteeing good weather.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Brian:

            What you said about sellouds since 1994 is rather misleading (and you know it). All of the non-tOSU/Michigan sellouts before this year occurred in the Barnett era around the time of our magical Rose Bowl run.

            If you’re not confident that tOSU would sell out Soldier Field, then I have no idea why you’re advocating that NU schedule more games there. If tOSU had trouble selling out Ohio Stadium, would you advocate moving some home games to an even larger stadium?

            Greg:

            Unlike NU, NIU has a very local Chicagoland-based alumni base. They’d probably get better attendance playing all their home games in Chicago rather than in DeKalb. NU, on the other hand, likely would draw as many fans if they played all their home games in NYC as we do now in Evanston.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Not sure what M is looking at, but when it comes to football spending, NU is less than $3M behind Michigan, Nebraska, and Iowa (less than $2M behind MSU). Illinois actually trails NU in football spending by more than NU trails PSU, Michigan, Nebraska, & Iowa.

            You acknowledge that NU isn’t really hurting for money so again, why exactly do you advocate NU move home games to Soldier Field?

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Richard,

            Facts are facts. 8 different teams have sold out at NW since 1994. That shows it is possible, if NW plays better which is what I have said repeatedly.

            Why should OSU fans go to SF? If they were Bears fans, it would be a draw. Otherwise, not so much. I’m always amazed how many fans bother to go to RF. Just because OSU is not the ideal opponent to sell out SF hardly means it can’t or shouldn’t be done. NW needs positive press coverage in athletics to shake their reputation. Most of the country think of them like Indiana or Duke.

            Your hypotheticals are pointless. OSU doesn’t have problems selling tickets, and there are no larger and more historic stadiums to host home games. OSU doesn’t have a complete lack of respect as a football program, either. OSU and NW are apples and oranges.

            NW has a lot of alumni in the Chicago area (not as a percentage, but still tens of thousands). Their bigger problem is they have almost no casual fans. Outside of alumni and families, nobody cares. That is why games that draw more attention, like at SF, could be helpful. Suck in locals that want to see a game at SF, and convert a few to casual fans. Plus, it gets positive national attention that can help improve the NW athletics image.

            Like

          • One thing to note is that Soldier Field, while being a historic venue, isn’t a draw in and of itself for fans. No one really has a need to “see” Soldier Field. Wrigley Field, on the other hand, is definitely a place where you can sell 40,000 tickets for any type of random event (football, softball, beer pong) just because people simply want the experience of going there (and I say that as a die-hard White Sox fan). I actually think that Northwestern would have no problem selling out an annual Wrigley game. It would be best suited for games that, for whatever reason, NU has a tough time selling out Ryan Field for but could easily sell out Wrigley (i.e. Illinois, Michigan State, Wisconsin). Note that every single summer, a massive influx of Big Ten grads moves into neighborhoods within walking distance of Wrigley Field specifically – it’s an easy sell for those alums to walk down the street to watch a game there and then hit the bars. The novelty might wear off for NU fans over time, but I don’t think it would ever have an issue selling out. Having a game at Wrigley is perceived to be an “event”, whereas a game at Soldier Field is simply another football game in another football stadium.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Brian:

            Let me get this straight: 1. You don’t think tOSU, which consistently draws the most fans to Ryan Field of any visiting team, would sell out Soldier Field. That means you think that NU would essentially gain no financial benefit from moving home games to Soldier Field but you want them to do it anyway.

            2. You think NU should give up tangible home field advantage for intangible “national reputation”. If you could tie in that “national reputation” to something tangible, then maybe you’d have something there, but I think when it comes to recruiting, etc., recruits are draw by far more than gimmick games.

            3. You think Bears fans would go to NU games just because they’re in Soldier Field for some unfathomable reason. By your reasoning, the Chicago XFL team should have drawn well (because they played their football games at Soldier Field as well). In reality, the Chicago XFL team ranked dead last in attendance the one year that league existed (the SF XFL team had over double the attendance of the Chicago XFL team, and the NY/NJ team nearly doubled the attendance of the Chicago Engorcers).

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Richard,

            1a. I think OSU might sell out SF in a good year, but I’m not confident it would sell out every year. Like I said, though, I’m always surprised at how well OSU travels to NW. For a one time only game, it probably would. Fans like novelty.

            1b. That doesn’t mean I don’t think NE or ND or even IA/WI could sell out SF regularly.

            1c. Yes, I think the intangible benefits of the game are more important than the money. The extra money is a bonus, but not the main reason to play there.

            2a. NW has no home field advantage. Visitors often out number the home fans or come close.

            2b. You don’t think TV pictures of empty seats for conference games in the smallest B10 stadium by far hurts the national perception of NW? You don’t think NW gets skipped for better bowls because nobody thinks they have any fans? You don’t think recruits see the lack of fan enthusiasm and move on to other schools?

            3. My unfathomable reason is that many fans were excited to see OSU play Toledo at Cleveland Browns Stadium in 2009, including people that didn’t normally go to OSU or Toledo games. This includes Browns fans that don’t normally attend college games but can’t get Browns tickets and are somewhat fans of OSU and/or Toledo.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Frank,

            I think you underestimate the number of Bears fans that would love to see a game at SF but can’t afford it or can’t get tickets. OSU gets a lot of fans at the spring game precisely because those fans can’t see a regular game there. I’m not saying SF is Wrigley by any means, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a draw.

            I disagree with NW selling out Wrigley, though. Unless they come up with a much better field location, they’ll never play there again. Assuming the field would fit, I think the novelty will wear off for football fans after a while. It’s better as a rare thing.

            Has NW baseball ever played at Wrigley? That could be exciting for baseball fans of any team. Even a quality southern or western team team would probably bring lots of fans. NW/TX at Wrigley for a series?

            Like

          • @Brian – I agree that there’s no way that they can play at Wrigley again without addressing the field placement issues. Still, it’s a “bucket list” place for a lot of sports fans – I’m not exagerrating that they would sell out Wrigley for beer pong. For better or for worse, it’s a place to see and be seen for the post-collegiate crowd as effectively being a massive bar in the middle of a neighborhood with tons of other bars. However, trust me when I tell you that Soldier Field isn’t really anything special for Bears fans other than being able to watch an actual Bears game there. There are plenty of sparsely attended events (i.e. high school football games) that allow you to watch at game at or get into Soldier Field. Heck, you can easily get Bears preseason tickets for pennies on the dollar – people can’t give those things away fast enough.

            I don’t know if Northwestern has played baseball at Wrigley lately. Illinois and Notre Dame actually had a baseball series at U.S. Cellular a couple of years ago. The Big Ten Baseball Tournament might be a good event for Wrigley, although I’m partial to sending it to the new Omaha stadium since that’s a place that actually cares about college baseball.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            1. Evanston isn’t nearly as far from Chicago (it’s literally adjacent) as Cleveland is from Columbus,
            Brian. I wonder just how familiar you are with Chicagoland geography & population distribution.

            2. Home field advantage isn’t just about the number of supporting fans, but comfort level with your own field, etc.

            3. You’re woefully unaware of how well NU does when it comes to slotting in to the bowl order.

            In 2009, an 8-4 NU team jumped a 9-3 Wisconsin team to secure the Outback Bowl slot.

            In 2005, Michigan, Iowa, NU, and Minnesota all finished 7-5. Michigan & Iowa got chosen before us, but we got picked before Minny.

            In 2000, 5 B10 teams finished with 8 wins. PU got to go to the Rose & Michigan & tOSU got picked before us, but we got picked before Wisconsin.

            In 1996, 9-2 NU went to the Citrus Bowl even though both 8-3 Michigan & 8-3 Iowa could have been picked.

            We may not be one of the top draws in the conference, but bowl organizers aren’t as ignorant as the man on the street & know that NU has a nationwide alumni base with above average disposable income.

            NU is a small private school, and playing more games at Soldier Field isn’t going to change that (just ask Miami).

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Brian:

            I don’t think your theory about Bears fans who can’t get Bears tickets holds since, if that was true, they would have turned out for the Chicago XFL team (instead of being dead last in attendance and a fraction of what the SF and NY/NJ XFL teams got that year).

            For that matter if your theory that there exists some big number of Bears fans who just want to watch any football is valid, they could just go to Evanston. I don’t think you realize how close NU is to Chicago. Evanston is literally 15 miles away from Soldier Field. NU is closer to Soldier Field than Stanford is to Candlestick. NU is closer to Soldier Field than TCU is to JerryWorld. I could go on. I simply don’t get how you could think that moving a game 15 miles would make any significant difference in attendance.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Forgot to mention before:

            NU and ND played baseball at the Cell in 2009:

            I’m sure it was a great experience for the players, but the problem is that few people here care about college baseball.

            Maybe a college baseball game at Wrigley would draw more interest, but for whatever reason (the Cubs don’t want it, probably), it hasn’t happened yet.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Richard,

            Nice to see you continue to think I’m developmentally challenged. I thought all those stories about NW taking the El to the Wrigley game meant a 200 mile train ride. Thanks for clarifying that.

            In case you didn’t know, thousands of people travel from Cleveland for OSU games. It’s a 2-2.5 hour drive. It isn’t the distance keeping OSU fans from OSU games.

            Since 1992, NW has the 10th best home field advantage in terms of winning percentage in the B10 (conference games only). The only team worse is IL, who actually did better on the road.

            As for bowl picks, tell that to your fellow fans who bitch and moan about bowl selection.

            In 1996, NW tied for first in the B10 but went to the Citrus because PSU went to the Fiesta.

            In 2000, NW tied for first in the B10 with 2 other teams and was selected 4th, after an OSU team that lost 1 more B10 game.

            In 2003, WI had the same B10 record and 1 more win overall and got picked for the Music City Bowl relegating NW to the Motor City Bowl. Way to lose to the MAC, by the way.

            In 2005, every team that had the same record as NW got picked higher. MN had the same overall record, but a worse B10 record.

            In 2008, Iowa got picked ahead of NW despite having the same record and losing head to head, and the NW fans bitched loudly.

            In 2009, WI played a better team in the Champs Sports than NW did in the Outback. WI had been in 5 straight FL bowls including the Outback twice in 5 years.

            As for Soldier Field, the XFL is a useless comparison. It was more pro wrestling than football. I wouldn’t have watched it for free. However, a Bears fan that also likes NW or their opponent may be persuaded to pay some money to go to a game that he wouldn’t otherwise attend. Nobody wants to go to Ryan Field. I don’t know how many people fit that category, but you wouldn’t need many with a good opponent bringing lots of fans anyway.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Brian:

            It’s hard not to think that way when you seem to think that Browns fans (in a city that isn’t within commuting distance of Columbus) coming out for a tOSU game in Cleveland means moving an NU game 15 miles would affect the decision of Bears fans to attend at all. Bears fans that may be inclined to attend an NU game would just go to Ryan Field. Moving the game 15 miles wouldn’t change their inclinations at all. It wouldn’t even make the travel better, as most Bears fans live in the suburbs. I’m not sure where you get the strange idea that people are more inclined to go to Soldier Field than Ryan Field. You think that a Bears game in Ryan Field would have trouble getting fans?

            As for bowl preference, that came up because you seem to think that having games at Soldier Field would raise NU’s national profile for some reason and make the school more attractive to bowls. We already know that PSU, Michigan, tOSU, Nebraska, Iowa, & MSU tend to get the nod over NU if all else is equal. So tell me, do you think playing games at Soldier Field would make NU more attractive to bowls than PSU, Michigan, tOSU, Nebraska, Iowa, & MSU?

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Richard,

            Yes, clearly by disagreeing with you I must be near-retarded. There couldn’t possibly be any other reason to disagree with you.

            I’ll explain this again for you since you seem slow on the uptake on this issue. The distance from Cleveland to Columbus is NOT an impediment for OSU fans to attend a Buckeye game. However, there are plenty of Browns fans who are secondarily fans of OSU but never bothered to go to an OSU game. For some of them, seeing an OSU game at Browns Stadium (not just generically in Cleveland or somewhere else near by, but at Browns Stadium) made it worth while. The combination of two of their favorite things was sufficient to overcome the barrier to attending a game.

            By analogy, a Bears fan (especially one that has trouble getting a ticket) that is secondarily a fan of NW’s opponent may be enticed to watch a game at Soldier Field but wouldn’t bother to go to Ryan Field. Ryan is an attraction to nobody. For some fans, though, a historic stadium is a draw. Just because you aren’t one of them doesn’t make it untrue.

            Why did NW play at Wrigley? Because they wanted to sell fewer tickets to a home game? Or maybe, just maybe, they wanted a whole bunch of positive exposure with national press coverage that would otherwise ignore another boring NW/IL game. But how could they possibly think that is more important than playing at Ryan Field, since you have decided it isn’t?

            The only way NW improves their national reputation is by getting positive national attention. Games at Soldier Field are more likely to do that than any game at Ryan Field. Winning more often, especially in bowls, would be a recommended approach for NW to try as well. NW “fans” actually attending home games would help, too.

            If NW had a better reputation, they would sell more tickets and draw more eyeballs on TV. If they drew more eyeballs, they would be more enticing for bowl committees despite their fan base.

            NW will never pass the big boys, but IA didn’t used to be that popular. Hayden Fry changed their reputation and Ferentz has maintained it. The same with WI and Alvarez. NW has to convince America it isn’t just a purple version of Indiana, and Ryan Field doesn’t help. Maybe they should play at a local high school so they can at least sell out home games more often.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Brian:

            Wrigley was marketed as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (and it does have more cachet than Ryan Field). As Frank explained, Soldier Field doesn’t have more cachet than Ryan Field.

            Also, you seem to think that there’s no difference between 15 miles and 140 miles. In other words, that Browns fans (who may not have gone to see an OSU game in Columbus) attended a OSU game in Cleveland not because it was in Cleveland, but because it was at their stadium. That, frankly, makes no sense at all (and you can ask other folks if they think you’re right in your intuition or if I am).

            BTW, I’m not sure why you keep saying OSU fans are willing to travel 140 miles to see OSU, since that isn’t germane to the discussion. NU fans are also willing to travel 140 miles to see NU. The question is whether Browns fans (who may secondarily be OSU fans) are as equally willing to travel 140 miles to see a OSU game as 15 miles to see a OSU game. I think it’s common sense that traveling 140 miles is more of a deterrent than traveling 15 miles, but if you don’t think so, well, we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Richard,

            Soldier Field does have more cachet than Ryan Field. Maybe not by a lot, but it does. I’d consider seeing a game there if I was in town for another reason, but I wouldn’t cross the street to watch a game at Ryan.

            “In other words, that Browns fans (who may not have gone to see an OSU game in Columbus) attended a OSU game in Cleveland not because it was in Cleveland, but because it was at their stadium. That, frankly, makes no sense at all.”

            I hate to break it to you, but the fans were quoted in news articles saying exactly that. I wasn’t guessing. I was, however, assuming that what was true for Browns fans might well be true for Bears fans. I have no evidence to back that up. Maybe Ohioans are just less concerned about driving.

            I mentioned the distance not being a factor because it isn’t in this case. The Browns fans in question said it was the stadium that made the difference, not the drive. Not all of the Browns fans were from Cleveland. Some were from Columbus, but were seeing their first OSU game because it was in Browns Stadium.

            I think for most fans, 140 miles is not a factor. For marginal fans, it would be (but probably not the main one). For poor fans or fans with medical conditions, it is. A football game is an all day event anyway, and not an especially cheap one.

            Like

      • Brian says:

        NW got a bump from the Wrigley game this year. They won’t get that next year.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          Wrigley didn’t provide much of a bump, if at all. The Wrigley game drew 41K, and when you consider that Ryan Field seats more than Wrigley and games against Illinois almost always draw more than average, and it’s likely that NU’s average attendance would have been about the same even if it had been played in Evanston.

          Like

          • @Richard – I agree – the Wrigley game didn’t impact the attendance average that much since that was a smaller venue than Ryan Field, anyway. It’s good to see Northwestern’s attendance rise fairly well during Big Ten play. When I saw attendance figures earlier in the season, Northwestern was hovering around 20,000 per game.

            Like

          • M says:

            The Wrigley game did help boost season ticket sales quite a bit, though it’s hard to say the exact count.

            @Frank
            Northwestern’s OOC attendance is always pitiful. The students aren’t in town, the opponents are usually FCS/Duke/Vandy/Rice/MAC and Notre Dame is still on track to win the national title.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Speaking of which, I like how the 2011 Rice game will be filling in the B10 bye week (when students are around) instead of played early in the season. Unfortunately, that may be hard to do going forward.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            M,

            Exactly my point. There were lots of stories about the increased season ticket sales, and those count for every home game even if they only went to Wrigley.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Richard and Frank,

            Here’s a little evidence:

            http://espn.go.com/blog/ncfnation/post/_/id/25361/northwestern-tackling-attendance-struggles

            “Season-ticket sales for 2010 are up about 40 percent to approximately 16,000, but the surge is due mainly to Northwestern’s upcoming game against Illinois at Wrigley Field” according to Adam Rittenberg, who interviewed the NW AD and AAD.

            I hope their new sales push does help them in the future. The AD is hoping for a 10-15% increase for next year (presumably from the baseline of ~11,500).

            Did any of the Chicago people here actually notice their advertising this year?

            Like

          • @Brian – The Northwestern advertising has been fairly noticeable. There have been banner ads on the front of the Tribune sports section for virtually every home game (both football and basketball) along with radio ads on sports radio WSCR.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            (though no one actually reads the Trib now that it’s run by carny-barkers from radioland).

            Like

          • @Richard – I wrote a blog post a couple of years ago lamenting the state of the Trib in the hands of Sam Zell. I still have subscriptions to the Trib and the Wall Street Journal since I have a 40 minute train ride everyday, but I’m at the breaking point with the Trib. The sports section is pretty much all I read in the Trib at this point – they’ve cut back so much on staffing that it’s basically all wire copy for national and international news. If I can get back the iPad that was originally intended for me but has been co-opted by my 18-month twins (it’s scary how quickly they learned how to use that thing), I’d be done with Trib subscription and solely use the Journal and New York Times apps.

            Like

          • I have an iPhone, too, which is great for quick reads, but I can’t handle reading stories on it for 40 minutes due to the small size. The iPad is really a game changer – it replicates the feel of reading through a real newspaper or magazine (which I enjoy in my old-fashioned way).

            Like

          • Bullet says:

            The Atlanta paper looks like one of the community papers now. And they cut off so early, its useless for any night sports scores or keeping up with standings. The newspaper model isn’t working and I think there will be dramatic change over the next 20 years. The question is where will you get realiable local info, whether it be news or sports stories.

            Like

          • It’s a vicious circle. As people have dropped subscriptions, newspapers have cut back on coverage, which in turn makes those papers even less relevant and causes even more people to cut the chord. The Wall Street Journal was smart to charge for online content from the get-go. It will be interesting to see how the New York Times will fare with its new pay model or if the “free news” cat is out of the bag.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            I think newspapers fell in the same trap as many industries in terms of not evaluating their business model and adjusting to the times. For decades the papers have lived on local news, the sports section and comics as selling points for subscriptions.

            Americans have been moving a lot more of late, meaning a lot of people want non-regional news and sports. As baseball became less popular, the sports section became less important for part of the year. With the rise of the internet, the sports fan no longer is satisfied with daily updates that miss the night games and don’t cover all the stories of interest.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            The NYTimes has some terrific sections, some of which are not done anywhere as well by any other paper in the US (or maybe even the world; I’m thinking of their Science section, for one). It may make sense for them to adopt a cable network model, where people can pay a few cents a month for particular types of news & analysis (science & social science; business & dealbook; politics & economics; NY; yes, there could be overlap) with frequent teaser freebies. Essentially turn the paper in to a collection of special interest magazines. It may even make sense for them to start offering subscriptions to only certain portions (weekly science & social science; weekend magazine; style/traval/dining/arts).

            The FT is now (or maybe it always was) really just a collection of (good) op-ed writers & a good weekend section. Their reporting is dreck.

            Like

          • Bullet says:

            Newspapers have been hurt by the internet. People can get national news for free. And the recession has killed advertising which was the bulk of the revenue. There was some speculation earlier last year that Cleveland could become the first major city w/o a printed newspaper. The #2 papers in cities have almost all died off, with maybe 15-20 left and most of those on life support.

            Like

          • jj says:

            I only buy the paper for coupons and to read the op-eds and the real estate data. That’s it.

            Like

          • duffman says:

            brian,

            you raise an interesting point on “ticket” attendance, and folks that actually use said ticket, and attend the game, In NCAA regionals I have noticed more and more empty seats that do not match what you actually see in the arena. I was at a game a few years ago, and the place had many empty seats, but when I watched the replay a friend taped, it looked crowded because the way the media shot the angles. It would be good to see paid admission through the gate used as the actual attendance number, but that won’t happen.

            Like

        • MIRuss says:

          Newspapers are looking hard at the Detroit News Free Press model…No Paper delivery on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday. Thursday, Friday and Sunday are the only days you get delivery.

          I know they run something for the airports and newstands, but it’s limited.

          I think they’re making money, but not much. I could care less about a daily newspaper anymore, but on the weekend, I want the paper in my hands. The Thurs-Fri editions get you thru Saturday and Sunday is still the same.

          But clearly, the model is dying.

          Like

          • Richard says:

            I remember reading somewhere that years ago, someone in the media industry noted that in the future, daily papers would have to be like weeklies (Newsweek & Time), weeklies would have to be like monthlies (Atlantic magazine), & the monthlies would have to be like quarterlies.

            You’ll notice that the American newspapers and news weeklies (like Newsweek & Time) have done badly, while the FT & Economist (which are heavy on analysis) have done well, as has the Atlantic Monthly.

            Like

          • Bullet says:

            Atlanta paper really pushes the TH-Sun subscription. That’s when they have their ads.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            The NYT also pushes their weekender on CNBC all the time.

            Like

      • Brian says:

        What would be really interesting to me is to see home team fan attendance only (and actual attendance, not tickets sold). As a percentage of capacity, that would be the true measure of program health.

        Like

    • duffman says:

      alan,

      thanks!

      @ Frank

      Kentucky still is in the top 25 with a sucky football product, and IU, KU, and Duke are all past 50! I really am beginning to believe the folks just south of me are some of the most optimistic folks on the planet! Christ, Iowa State was ahead of us! *sigh*

      Like

      • duffman says:

        ps, alan

        what are the odds of tiger stadium getting another 10,000 seats or so?

        Like

        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          duff – There is a long waiting list for club seats as well as suites in Tiger Stadium. Before the Recession, there was serious talk about a South End-zone expansion to add club seats, suites, and maybe a few more regular seats on top.

          Since the recession, the demand is still there, be the Athletic Department thought it would be bad form to build an addition for fat cats, when the University is having their state budget cut with a meat cleaver. Also, there are some logistical issues such as tearing up South Stadium Drive and removing some very old, very large Live Oak trees.

          I’m sure we’ll see another expansion of Tiger Stadium within the next ten years. If the Tigers win the BCS NCG in the Superdome after this season, it may be sooner than later.

          Like

          • duffman says:

            alan,

            but would it be a serious expansion (10,000 seats type thing) or just a thousand or so for the fat cats?

            Alabama adding 10,000 or so seats it helping offset small stadiums like Vandy in terms of average #’s for the conference (having UM, tOSU, and PSU shines up the B1G numbers).

            Like

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            duff – Tiger Stadium’s current capacity is 92,400. I’ve been told by the Tiger Athletic Foundation (the private entity that built the last two expansions to Tiger Stadium) that there is sufficient demand for an additional 4,000 club and/or suite tickets. With an average per seat donation, that would generate $10mm/year, and easily finance a $100mm South Endzone expansion. Non club/suites in any addition would be just be lagniappe (in Cajun-French, that means a little something extra).

            The question or concern for further expansion over 100k is would supply exceed demand. Louisiana is a relatively small and poor state, but we do spend a disproportionate amount of our income on fun. My guess if LSU continues to be a top 10 team you’ll see Tiger Stadium over 100k sooner rather than later.

            Like

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        duff – for the last 20 years, I’ve thought that Kentucky and South Carolina have the most loyal and optimistic football fans in America. They keep showing up with really no realistic chance of ever consistently competing for championships.

        Like

        • Michael in Indy says:

          Growing up in SC, I thought the same thing. In the back-to-back 1-10 and 0-11 seasons, they still were bringing in about 60,000. Unbelievable. I didn’t have a dog in the fight, being a Florida State fan, but I usually pulled for SC against Clemson because there were always so many reasons to feel bad for their fans.

          FWIW, Washington still had a lot of fans at their games, too, during their 0-12 season a couple years ago.

          Like

  34. Redhawk says:

    Late to the party…but a couple of quick thoughts, a lot of folks seem to be missing:
    1) A lot of people are going “OMG! texas now makes SO much more than all the other schools in the Big 12, it’s not fair!” Newsflash…..UT already made more money than every school in the Big 12 and the Nation. Their Athletic Budget was near $100 million dollars before this deal, compared to OU’s which is around $80 Million a year.

    Yes, the rich got richer, but the playing field is the same as it was before as UT was already the richest before the deal.

    2) The UT/ESPN deal is not all NEW money. Some of it was money UT already was making though IMG. A lot of the UT deal IS new money…but not all of it. For example, OU has a deal with Learfield that brings in $7.5 million a year atm.

    3) This Does NOT eliminate a Big 12 Network. In fact, all it does is eliminate Fox and Comcast from the Big 12 Network, as ESPN can say…We are the only ones that can give you UT in a Big 12 Network IF they rolled Bevo-TV into the Big 12 Network deal.

    which is a possibility. One of the rumors earlier, was the Big 12 was looking at a network, that would be regional like Fox Sport does with pro teams. There would be shared back ground programing, but would feature local teams in the local markets.

    4)One thing not brought up was wither the High School sport broadcast on Bevo-TV would be an NCAA recruiting violation or not. Some are saying it could be.

    Like

    • Brian says:

      Redhawk,

      1. I think most people are reacting because of the increased imbalance in TV money within the B12, and the potential to cause friction between the members. It is also indicative of the power of TX in the media.

      2. Nobody seems to know enough details to know how much of it is new money, though.

      3. I still don’t see anything preventing an all but TX B12 network, either, and Fox could do that. Focus on the regional teams, but cover all 9 to have more programming of interest (FB, MBB). Lots of fans would be happy to have a channel that never covers TX I’m guessing.

      4. I highly doubt this will be an NCAA violation. Cecil Newton selling his son wasn’t a problem, so I doubt there is a specific rule written to cover this. Alabama got their Bryant scholarships grandfathered in, so this will probably follow that at worst. A properly written contract would protect TX from any NCAA problems anyway.

      Like

      • Nostradamus says:

        on 3) Yes it pretty much does eliminate a Big 12 Network. The idea being the Big 12 Network is collection of 2nd and third tier rights among the individual schools pooled together as a conference. The conference lost one of its top members in terms of media rights in Nebraska, the top member just signed its own deal and the 2nd best school Oklahoma is working on its own deal. In terms of $$$ potential from any Big XII Network and for all intents and purposes the network itself, it is dead.

        4. Ultimately Texas as now ownership stake in the network. I have a feeling the network was purposely structured this way in part due to the high school football. When it comes down to it from a legal/ncaa perspective this network isn’t any different than the broader ESPN networks that show both college football and high school sports.

        Like

    • m (Ag) says:

      This doesn’t affect a possible Big 12 network. Texas could push the other schools to only consider ESPN, but this doesn’t stop the conference from considering Fox or whoever.

      If the Big 12 averages 5 home games per week, you could sell 3 games for a national audience on ABC/ESPN/Fox, have roughly 1 per week given to a local school* (over 10 weeks every school gets 1), and keep 1 game per week for the ‘Big 12 network’. You can do something similar in all other sports. Schools without their own network might then be able to sell their extra game to the Big 12 network for some cash.

      Such a Big 12 network would not have the quality of the Big Ten network, but it would make some money.

      * This sort of schedule would be easier if conference games were spread throughout the year, so some of those lousy non-conference games can happen later in the year.

      Like

  35. An good in-depth look of the ESPN/UT deal at Burnt Orange Nation (with contributions from regular commenter Hopkins Horn):

    http://www.burntorangenation.com/2011/1/21/1948730/a-further-analysis-of-the-espn-tv-deal

    Like

    • M says:

      Good stuff all around.

      One point obliquely mentioned in the article was the potential political reaction of A&M. What’s to stop the Aggies (and for the matter the Red Raiders, Bears, or the rest of the SWC) from going to their local politician to force UT to make this network into a Texas-wide arrangement? I know that UT previously offered to have a joint UT-A&M network and A&M declined, but that was before this sort of money was thrown around.

      Like

      • Hopkins Horn says:

        @M:

        It’s important to remember that the Legislature doesn’t force Texas to share everything equally with all of the other schools in Texas. If Frank’s theory about Texas wanting control over everything else is true, then a lot of people might be looking at what happened during realignment and infer that Texas was pushed around in the Legislature by the Baylors and Techs of the world when, in reality, Texas got exactly what it wanted without having to raise a legislative stink about it.

        One great example about how Texas can be legislatively (and constitutionally) favored over A&M and the other schools in the state comes from the two-thirds/one-third distribution of funds from the Permanent University Fund*. To me, it’s pretty clear that a more equitable distribution of the PUF would be on the table if Texas didn’t have powerful interests looking after it in the Legislature, as that money makes whatever inequitable sports-related interests look like chump change.

        *If you want to learn why Texas is by far the wealthiest public institution in the country (I think that’s true, right?), check out the Wiki link below. In sum: the most important fact about the treaty under which Texas entered into the Union was that public lands went to the State, and not the Federal government as in most other states. Income from a good chunk of that land was dedicated to the PUF and funding the state’s flagship universities. And after those lands were dedicated, oil was discovered on those lands. A lot of oil.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permanent_University_Fund

        Like

        • M says:

          I know about the PUF and its uneven split, one of the many odd things I’ve learned throughout this process. However, in television related sports revenue, Texas has not insisted on following the “twice as much as A&M” model, though that would be hilarious (“We don’t care what we get, as long as the Aggies get half as much”). I would surprised if Texas were not politically encouraged to share this network with the other schools.

          Of course, if I’ve learned one thing from this process, it’s that no one, from Gordon Gee to Larry Scott to DeLoss Dodds knows exactly what will happen whenever Texas politicians become involved. From my view though, if Texas Tech and Baylor can finagle their way into the Big 12 (and purportedly into the Pac-16), A&M can get a piece of the network pie if they want it.

          If your into the endowment measuring game, by endowment Texas is the richest public university by far, according to this link:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._colleges_and_universities_by_endowment

          The only public universities over $2 billion in endowment are Texas at 12.6, Michigan at 6, A&M at 5.1, Virginia at 3.6, and Minnesota at 2.1. The next ones listed are UNC, Pitt, every other Big Ten school except Nebraska, and then Florida.

          Like

          • Bullet says:

            Unfortunately, the politicians look at that number and don’t understand that its only the AUF (basically earnings) that can be spent. Texas is glad to have that $5 million for academics as they are becoming more and more a state assisted school instead of a state supported school.

            Like

    • Richard says:

      Wait, did I read those folks talking about the LHN getting penetration outside of Texas (and environs)? I suppose you may see it on a sports tier or as a standalone option, but I simply can’t imagine it being included in any basic tier (unless they give it away for free like BYU does).

      Like

      • Hopkins Horn says:

        Yes, we did. And I fully expect at least a couple of national providers to offer it on its sports tier. I’d wager a considerable sum of money that DirecTV at the very least will offer it. Have you seen the number of sports-related channels DirecTV offers? LSN would fit in quite easily. (And if other schools [OU, for example] decide they want to launch their own networks, I’d expect DirecTV to pick them up as well.)

        Like

  36. M says:

    A local writer is reading the tea leaves about Villanova joining the Big East:

    http://brynmawr.patch.com/articles/villanova-looks-like-it-may-be-big-east-bound-for-football

    Like

    • Bullet says:

      Seems to me that Villanova’s President and AD were just really asleep at the switch for it to take 9 months for them to make this decision. If it were the MAC that would be one thing. But the status quo is to lose $4 million a year on football when moving to the Big East will mean they probably break even or make a little money (all but a couple of AQ schools made money or broke even on fb last year and those that didn’t were close to break even). They already tried dropping fb and brought it back 4 years later so that doesn’t seem to be an option. Raising/borrowing $30-35 million for upgrades such as practice facilities is hardly insurmountable.

      There seems to be some concern over “culture,” but they already have 85 scholarship players on campus. The only difference is they will spread 85 scholarships on 85 players instead of using partial scholarships to spread 63 over 85.

      The Carnegie Very High research group shows a reason for UMass to move up, even it is the MAC. They are the only established state flagship in FCS other than in the lightly populated states like Delaware, New Hampshire and Montana. UC-Davis has been in Div I less than 10 years and the SUNY schools don’t offer scholarships in football. And, of course if Villanova moves up (and the same argument applies in reverse to Villanova), they are pretty lonely in the NE with just New Hampshire and Delaware still in their conference.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        I think ‘Nova’s main concern if they move up is that alumni/booster enthusiam & donations would flag if they constantly occupy the cellar of the BE instead of making the FCS playoffs every year.

        Plus you can’t discount the fixed & variable costs involved with moving up. Even if greater revenues cover the variable costs, they’d still have to upgrade their stadium, and who knows how many years it would take them to make that money back.

        Like

        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          I don’t know much about Villanova, other than the basketball team’s great run in 85 and the baseball team serving as LSU’s sacrificial lamb when the Tigers opened up their new baseball stadium in 2009. Note: LSU sold over 400k baseball tickets in 2010. That’s better than all but 25 football programs.

          But if ‘Nova is worried about how to get their stadium up to a capacity of 15k, they really should stay in I-AA. Currently, the smallest stadium capacity among AQ conferences is Wake Forest’s stadium at 31,500. There are only 3 AQ schools that have a stadium capacity under 40k (Wake Forest, Cincy, and Washington State) and only 10 AQ schools that have a capacity under 50k (UConn, BC, Utah, Oregon State, TCU, Syracuse, and Northwestern).

          Like

        • Bullet says:

          Everything indicates they are going to use the new MLS soccer stadium with the baseball park and Franklin Field (Penn-45k) as backups. Temple has the Eagles stadium locked up. Expanding the on-campus stadium is probably not being seriously considered in the short run. If it were, that would bump up the investment.

          Like

          • Richard says:

            Everything except the article M posted.

            Like

          • Bullet says:

            Right. That article is just about the 1st indication that it is even being considered. There are lots of political and logistical problems with expanding the stadium. Phillie papers have basically said its the soccer field. As for the teardown they mention, that’s been one of the proposals for building a new training facility which is what Villanova needs the 30-35 million for.

            Long run to get the full benefit of a football program, I think you need an on-campus stadium to connect the university to the alumni. Minnesota did it. Akron did it. UCF did it. UNLV is talking about it. The number of off-campus facilities is pretty small. But Miami, Pittsburg and UCLA are prominent ones off campus so its not essential.

            Like

  37. wmtiger says:

    How is this any different than other ‘media rights’ deals for other universities? Ohio State makes like $11mil a year for their ‘media rights’ deal from IMG with potential for bonuses, M makes $7-8mil from IMG and that figure would be significantly higher if they allowed in stadium advertising.

    Like

    • Nostradamus says:

      The short answer is we don’t really know yet. The longer answer is no one has ever turned their third tier rights or “other ‘media rights'” as you put it into their own ESPN network. No one in the Big XII has ever managed to get any football game on their own broadcast platform either, much less a game a year. Texas has done something different for sure, but it may be too soon to tell how different it is.

      Like

    • m (Ag) says:

      1) This seems like it will be a good deal more money in the long term for those rights, although the matter is one of degree.

      2) The huge advantage is in exposure for non-football sports. People have talked how the Big Ten network gives the conference the edge in all sorts of minor sports. Since they don’t have to share time with 11 other teams, the Longhorns will have even more exposure for their sports in the state of Texas.

      3) The other possible recruiting advantage is if Texas high school sports gets shown on the Longhorns network. Doesn’t seem like it falls within the NCAA rules, since the whole point of the network is to promote and support the Longhorns, but it may be permitted.

      Like

  38. Adam says:

    The pattern on this blog is just to raise more or less whatever discussion topic in the comments to the most recent blog posting, so I’m going to do that now too.

    This is year 4 of the Big Ten’s 18-game format for Men’s Basketball. The format was put in place because under the 16-game format, everybody played 6 teams twice and 4 teams once, and if you happened to draw 3 or 4 of the crummiest teams in the league as your once-only games, you were at a severe disadvantage. My recollection is that momentum for the change really built when Michigan State had league championship-caliber teams and the perception was they got screwed out of the league title because Wisconsin or Illinois or whomever got 2 games against several chumps and MSU didn’t. All-in-all, a salutary change if you ask me.

    Once the Big Ten goes to 12 teams, however, an 18-game schedule will have the same dynamic. You’ll play 7 teams twice and 4 teams once. The same problem is a possibility: contenders could draw the 4 weakest teams as their one-time-only opponent, throwing off the competitive dynamics for the league championship. I suppose you could argue that this doesn’t matter much, since the auto-bid goes to the team that wins the Big Ten Tournament anyway, but it was apparently enough of a concern 4 years ago that they changed the format even though increasing the number of league games had an inevitable tendency to reduce the number of teams making the NCAA Tournament (since league games are zero-sum).

    The obvious solution to my mind is to split the league into divisions and play a 16-game league schedule: 2 games against everybody in your division (10 games), 1 against everybody from the other side (6 games). (A side benefit of this is that it would However, the football divisions would be terrible for basketball. I would not want separate alignments for basketball and football. I suspect that it would be very difficult or even impossible to do a “balance”-based alignment that combines balance concerns in both sports. Indeed, one suspects that they’d have to ignore “balance” altogether in devising an alignment common to both sports . . . .

    As most regulars here know, I hate the divisions (not just the names, but the alignment itself), so this may just be self-interested. Moreover, even I recognize that football drives the bus and basketball is a distant 2nd. Even so, this got me thinking.

    Like

    • Adam says:

      Whoops, I never finished my aside there. I was going to say that a side benefit of that is that it would tend to eliminate the confused distinction in the Big Ten between the “Big Ten Championship” (regular season) and “Big Ten Tournament Championship.” In virtually every sport other than Big Ten Basketball, the postseason title is the one that everybody wants; regular season supremacy is exclusively a means to an end. (Perhaps Red Wings fans would disagree with this?) In the Big Ten, the tournament title is pretty clearly 2nd fiddle. A divisional approach in basketball could crown 2 regular season division champions, with no league-wide regular season distinction, leaving the tournament title as the only league-wide team accolade, which I think would be good and provide greater clarity in what you should be shooting for as a team.

      Like

    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      Adam – that’s the way the SEC does basketball.

      Like

      • Adam says:

        And I think that the SEC’s arrangements are extremely sensible — in both football and basketball. The glaring exception is the bizarre crossover format they use in the SEC Basketball Tournament. It would be much smarter from this outsider’s perspective to seed the division champions 1-2, and then the remainder of the field 3-x, than have this oddball W1-6 and E1-6 with crossovers.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          Adam, in college basketball it doesn’t matter (unless you’re a bubble team trying to knock off as many top teams as you can).

          Like

          • Adam says:

            I guess I’d rather have a sensible tournament structure than not — I am very sympathetic to Larry Scott’s argument that competitive formats should have narratives that are easy to follow. The SEC’s complicated crossover format is not easy for me to follow. It’s neither East vs. West nor a straight 1-x seeded tournament.

            Like

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Adam – here’s how you follow the SEC Basketball tournament – print out a bracket and write in the teams. Seriously, the SEC format guarantees inter-divisional games for the first round, and byes for the 1st and 2nd place finishers in each division. It tries to avoid playing a 3rd game against a divisional foe, short of upsets. It works for the SEC and isn’t that hard to understand after you go through one tournament.

            Rather than continually trying to re-invent the wheel regarding divisional play, the Big Ten really should look at what has worked for the SEC and adopt it.

            See below for a link to the SEC men’s basketball tournament bracket.

            http://www.secdigitalnetwork.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=LaUW6IXaoCI=&tabid=712&mid=4578

            Like

    • M says:

      I think Delaney has stated that there will not be divisions for basketball, just fixed and rotating opponents. I’m not sure how having divisions helps the problem at all, as one side may turn out significantly stronger.

      More conference games doesn’t really affect NCAA berths, as the committee usually does a really good job of selection based on computer rankings and actual performance as opposed to raw record.

      Like

      • Adam says:

        But more conference games will inevitably lower your RPI. It is an ironclad law of how the RPI is calculated.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          Huh? No it isn’t. Whether the RPI goes up or not depends on the 2 opponents that the 2 extra league games replace. If the OOC opponents being replaced have a winning percentage of .25, opponent’s winning percentage of .33, and opponent’s opponent’s winning percentage of .4, then 2 extra league games where the league opponents have .5 across all 3 categories would raise your RPI.

          Usually, more league games means your RPI goes up as most B10 teams have higher RPI’s than most teams outside the B10.

          Like

          • Adam says:

            It does for a major conference. When a major conference goes from 16 to 18 league games, that means that they’re dropping 2 non-conference games. The two that get dropped are generally two that are almost guaranteed wins for most of the schools (the Coppins States of the world). That is why the RPI inevitably is driven down.

            By my count, the Big Ten is collectively 106-29 in non-conference play this year. That’s a win percentage of .785. That’s a lot less than .500. RPI is fundamentally governed by win percentage (something like 25% record+50% opponents’ record+25% opponents’ opponents’ record).

            Like

          • Adam says:

            Er, .500 is a lot less than that.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            OK, Adam, let’s do the math here:

            vs. B10 team
            .25*.5 + .5*.5 + .25*.5 = .5

            vs. cupcake
            .25*1 + .5*.25 + .25*.33 = .4575

            For a B10 team, that figure actually is likely higher than .5 (since the opponents’ winning percentage and opponents’ opponents’ winning percentage are almost certain to be higher than .5 each).

            Again, you need to understand that schedule strength may matter more than wins in the RPI. That’s how NU can beat a team like SIUE and drop in RPI.

            Like

          • Adam says:

            Big Ten RPI for the last several years:
            1999-00: .5635
            2000-01: .5823
            2001-02: .5553
            2002-03: .5586
            2003-04: .5468
            2004-05: .559
            2005-06: .5802
            2006-07: .5693
            2007-08: .5467
            2008-09: .5753
            2009-10: .5529

            Average RPI during the 16-game format: .5644
            Average RPI during the 18-game format: .5583
            Δ=.0061, or a decrease of about 1.1%

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Look at the variance. that .0061 is pretty much statistical noise (and no team missed out on the NCAA because of a .0061 difference in RPI).

            More importantly, 2 other criteria the NCAA committee looks at are good wins/bad losses as well as strength of schedule, and an 18-game conference slate only helps in that regard. It’s one of the reasons’s why big conferences consistently tend to do better with the committee than their RPIs indicate (fair or not).

            In any case, it’s not an “ironclad law” that “more conference games will inevitably lower your RPI”. It depends heavily on what OOC games you replace.

            Like

      • Adam says:

        And I think you’re right that Delany has said that — but the format that they thought they liked in basketball got changed 4 years ago. I doubt they put that format in place anticipating not being satisfied with it. Just because he says that doesn’t mean it’s the right/smart thing to do.

        Like

      • I’ll pull away for a moment from my self-wallowing from today’s events at Soldier Field. I’m a big supporter of 18 conference games. While I can see how an extra conference game in football can knock a team out of the national championship race, most bubble teams for the NCAA Tournament are better off with 2 more quality teams on the schedule instead of cupcakes. The NCAA Tourney selection process is much more hospitable to taking into account stength of schedule than the BCS system.

        For the Big Ten, I think basketball scheduling can be handled very simply. There should be 3 geographically based 4-team pods where each school plays everyone in their pods home-and-home annually. That accounts for 6 games on the conference schedule. Everyone then plays 4 other conference opponents home-and-home (8 games) and the other 4 conference members once (4 games) with a 2 year rotation, which adds up to 18 games. The pods should be no-nonsense with natural geographic rivals:

        POD A
        Iowa
        Minnesota
        Nebraska
        Wisconsin

        POD B
        Illinois
        Indiana
        Purdue
        Northwestern

        POD C
        Michigan
        Michigan State
        Ohio State
        Penn State

        Like

        • jj says:

          very sensible. my only beef with it is that Wisc will be greatly benefitted.

          Like

          • Richard says:

            Actually, they’d be hurt by a soft schedule. In college basketball, a tougher schedule gives you a chance to rack up good wins.

            Like

          • Adam says:

            Richard, it’s my sense that you undervalue the significance of winning the league championship. That’s why they went to the 18-game format in the first place: at 16, there was a feeling that the competitive dynamic was denying deserving teams the league title. I don’t know whether the NCAA factors that in or not, but it was something the schools wanted.

            Like

          • jj says:

            You both have good points, I agree there is a prestige to winning the B10 regular championship. It gets you banners, recruits and respect as it is hard to do. It also helps the seeding. I think we need to come up with something standard though. What we have isn’t ideal.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Adam:

            Yep. My view is that the regular season in college basketball is one gigantic preseason. Kinda like those preseason cups/tournaments that European soccer teams play in the summer. Sure, winning one is nice, but ultimately, no one cares or remembers 2 years later.

            It’s why I don’t like to have expanded playoffs in college football.

            Like

    • StevenD says:

      It is possible to design divisions to be balanced for both football and basketball:

      GREAT LAKES: Michigan, MSU, Penn St, Wisconsin, Purdue, NW

      GREAT PLAINS: Ohio St, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota

      Like

      • Eric says:

        I say to no to any divisions in basketball. I love how in the Big Ten, we put up Big Ten Champions banners for winning the regular season (with the Tournament considered something different). Without a championship game, the divisions make it feel like we aren’t competing for the same thing.

        Like

        • jj says:

          Maybe we can have a championship game and a 10 team tourney for 3rd. Play it all at the same site. The tourney, I think, is dumb anyway.

          Like

          • Adam says:

            My theory for improving the tournament was as follows:

            1. I crunched some numbers once and concluded that in the history of the Big Ten Tournament, there had never been more than 9 league members going into the tournament who were NCAA “bubble” teams that could help their chances short of winning the BTT outright. (I don’t remember how I reached that conclusion; I may have been using teams with overall winning records as a rough proxy.) My theory was to have the 8/9 teams play an on-campus play-in on Tuesday, tell teams 10 and 11 (and now 12) that we’ll see you next season, and then drop the Thursday games at the BTT.

            2. Re-seed after each round.

            Like

  39. Richard says:

    #23 was wide open for a first down, Caleb Hanie threw it towards #22 & it’s returned for a pick-6 by BJ Raji.

    Ouch.

    Like

    • Richard says:

      Whoever called that timeout and then that stupid sweep that put the 3rd string QB in a 4th and game situation . . . is an idiot.

      That sequence reinforces my belief that the pretty much universal control freak tendencies of football coaches are detrimental in-game.

      I remember that Dean Smith purposely refused to call time outs with seconds left and the game on the line because he felt he had coached his players to perform & make decisions better on the fly in stressful situations than the other guys.

      There are no Dean Smiths in football.

      Like

  40. Mike says:

    http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2011-01-23/sports/os-college-insider-01242011-20110123_1_texas-fan-longhorns-network

    Oh no! The Longhorn network means a new era of independence is upon us!

    “Taking their cue from Texas, programs will begin trying to get their own piece of the big money pie. Creating individual networks will only create chasms in conferences like the SEC, ACC or Big Ten. It will be every man for himself.”

    Like

  41. Mike says:

    http://www.statesman.com/sports/nine-things-and-one-crazy-prediction-1205259.html?cxtype=rss_sports_86352

    “Texas’ announcement that it will be the first in the country to show live rowing and cross country — oh, and one football game, a million football practices and a kajillion football interviews before and after practice — will have a number of domino-falls. Among them, I’m guessing, is a spike in Texas A&M’s interest in joining the SEC.

    Said one prominent Aggie, “I certainly think it’s going to create some reaction from some Aggies who will say, ‘(The heck with) Texas. Let’s do our own deal.’ I don’t think Texas is winning friends and influencing people among their Big 12 brethren. As for the SEC, it may be a lot of noise, but I don’t sense a lot of groundswell from the president or athletic director’s office.”

    Maybe so, but who could blame A&M and Oklahoma if they didn’t unite at some point to shift to the SEC, which I think would scoop them up in a second. I am told A&M AD Bill Byrne may rally the other eight non-Longhorn schools to try to pool their third-tier rights together and package them under the Big 12 name. You know, the We’re Not Texas channel”

    Like

  42. Brian says:

    Latest rumor:

    TAMU may try to get the other 8 B12 schools to unite into a B12 network.

    http://www.statesman.com/sports/nine-things-and-one-crazy-prediction-1205259.html?cxtype=rss_sports_86352

    Also of interest:

    “Several in the television industry told me they think it could be a real struggle for ESPN to ever recoup its investment in the Texas network and make a profit, because of the challenge of distribution and the lack of top-shelf programming inventory.”

    Like

  43. loki_the_bubba says:

    MWC rumored to be adding Utah State and San Jose this week. Rumor that UTEP declined. I believe the second. We shall see on the first.

    http://www.usufans.com/Forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=9369

    Like

    • Brian says:

      Well, we discussed USU and SJSU a bunch previously, so I’ll skip that.

      UTEP would save on travel in the MWC, but it doesn’t seem like a great move for them. They’d lose all the other TX schools and still be non-AQ most likely, and the TV money isn’t much better. Now, if the MWC becomes AQ it’s a different story.

      Maybe NM St? It’s in the same area, is not much worse than UTEP, has a natural rival in NM, probably wants out of the WAC, and would stick it to the WAC. I know it doesn’t add a TX school, but North Texas is the only possible TX school that I see.

      Like

      • cfn_ms says:

        IF it’s actually true, then I think it’s a clear sign that MWC has permanently given up on AQ status. IMO the dividing line between programs/leagues that matter and those that don’t has only gotten clearer and stronger with this move.

        Like

        • Bullet says:

          Good that reality finally set in on them. They Big 6 aren’t going to add anyone to their club. This summer they tried to get rid of one. Also proves, if true, there are two golden rules:
          1) Money rules and everything else depends on the situation. They may look for markets, for brands, for geography, for rivals, for recruiting or Comcast may simply want a local team in SLC and the Bay Area.
          2) Utah State will always end up in their dream conference shortly after BYU and Utah leave it.

          Like

        • Bullet says:

          Rumours are probably true because MWC board has been saying for some time that it isn’t. The fans on that board have totally missed everything that’s happened since June.

          Like

      • Richard says:

        Not sure why you’d think the MWC would pick NMSU, a school in an underpopulated area it already owns over USU or SJSU.

        Like

  44. Richard says:

    Comment about Andy Staples’s purported oversigning numbers
    (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/andy_staples/01/24/oversigning-data/index.html)

    1. A large class doesn’t automatically mean a lot of oversigning. A program like KSU that brings in large numbers of JUCO transfers each year will always have large classes even if they don’t oversign at all. What would be more educational is if we add together the number of returning players to the number of new signees each year.

    2. Interesting that the 2 most successful non-AQ programs (TCU & Boise) are in the top 10 when it comes to least number of players signed. I think it shows that you don’t need to do it to succeed.

    3. To reinforce that point, other than some smaller privates (NU, WFU) & a school that looks at itself as close to one (GTech), tOSU is the first major conference school you see when you count up from least players signed.

    Like

    • PSUGuy says:

      Disagree about #1…IMO, yesterday’s oversignee’s are today’s JUCO transfers. The school is just pushing the accounting down the road, but in reality they are still guilty of what the rest of the bad boys are doing in real time.

      Remember, Nutt’s idea wasn’t to bring all 37 players onto the team, but rather to pack the JUCO’s with his oversignee’s and have a glorified farm league for his school.

      To be honest, the treatment of JUCO’s in this whole situation needs to be addressed as well as oversigning.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        Well, how do you differentiate between “legitimate” JUCOs and pack-them-like-sardines JUCOs?

        From what I understand, KSU doesn’t try to pack more of their players in to JUCOs (though many SEC schools certainly do); they just aggressively recruit JUCOs because they’re not as competitive trying to get kids straight from high school.

        Like

        • Mike says:

          Expanding on Richard’s comments…

          The Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference which has a lot of DI capable palyers players is in KSU’s back yard. Much easier to recruit a player who is already used to small towns in Kansas to Manhattan than directly out of HS in Texas.

          Like

        • PSUGuy says:

          Pretty simple really…did the kid in question sign a LOI with another school before going to the JUCO?

          If yes, then there’s a high probability (though admittedly its not 100%) that kid was oversigned.

          Facts are, its usually pretty obvious which kids are ready academically and which are going to need a JUCO (once you remove money via scholarship, academics is the major variable). Thus why the institutions were created in the first place.

          Problem came when oversigning started in earnest and the state’s JUCO system’s became convenient places to push players that weren’t ready ATHLETICALLY.

          Personally, I think if there was a rule where a player playing at the JUCO level wasn’t allowed to play at the FBS level until 2 years after the start of their JUCO career (basically forcing them to switch for their Junior year) it’d make the JUCO exploitation a little harder.

          Players would be less likely to sign with an oversigning school since they might not be able to come up anytime soon and those that do end up at JUCO’s will be forced to focus on academics (and athletics) since they won’t be able to shift up.

          Then again I’m sure I’m missing something obvious that makes this completely unusable.

          Like

          • Richard says:

            Well, players like Nick Fairley who went JUCO straight after HS spend 2 years there already (and I think that’s true for pretty much all those types of players). Not sure how that would stop oversigning, though.

            Like

          • PSUGuy says:

            It wouldn’t. It’d just be a pretty obvious way of forcing the highschool seniors to look into what coaches are saying more closely since they might not get to play at the level they want.

            Basically it’d be an attempt to work the problem from the kid standpoint as opposed to the coaches side (where the real changes should be made).

            Like

    • Brian says:

      Richard,

      1. I agree, gross numbers don’t tell the whole story. However, with a max of 25 per year, signing 40 is a problem. http://oversigning.com/testing/ does a decent job of trying to track actual recruiting budgets.

      2. You don’t need to unless you have elite competitors that are doing it. That’s why the SEC doing it is a problem for CFB in general but the Sunbelt not so much (just for the students involved).

      3. In reverse order for BCS schools (in bottom 20):
      #2 NW, #3 WF, #4 GT, #10 OSU, #11 Stanford, #15 USC, #17 Clemson, #18 PSU, #19 Vandy, #20 IN

      4 B10, 3 ACC, 2 P12, 1 SEC, 0 BE, 0 B12

      Next best SEC – #48 GA
      Best BE – #43 Pitt, #52 UConn
      Best B12 – #50 TX, #51 KS

      Worst offenders in BCS out of 117 (in top 20):
      #116 MS, #115 Auburn, #114 MS St, #113 KSU, #110 AR, #109 KY, #108 AL, #107 ISU, #106 LSU, #105 Baylor, #103 Ok St, #102 FSU, #101 SC

      8 SEC, 4 B12, 1 ACC, 0 B10, 0 P12, 0 BE

      Next worst ACC – #83 Miami
      Worst B10 – #85 IL, #80 MN
      Worst P12 – #97 OR St, #96 WSU
      Worst BE – #95 USF, #91 Louisville

      Is it any wonder the SEC West does so well?

      Like

    • Bullet says:

      JUCOs may mean you are closer to 25 than 21 since you only get them 2 years, but you still have a limit of 25.

      Like

      • Mike says:

        There is such a thing as a 4 years to play 4, 4 years to play 3, and 3 years to play 2 JUCO players. They are not as uncommon as I once thought.

        Like

  45. loki_the_bubba says:

    Word that Houston and SMU were approached by the MWC and declined. And worries from UT-San Antonio that the WAC may not be there to move up to.

    http://blog.mysanantonio.com/utsa/2011/01/wac-rumors-flying-once-more/

    Like

  46. Pat says:

    The CBS radio affiliate in Detroit and Ann Arbor (WWJ AM-950)is reporting this morning that conference realignment may not be done yet. Oklahoma and Texas A&M have approached the SEC about joining the conference because they are upset about the Texas contract with ESPN. Nothing is imminent, but stayed tuned.
    (No mention of OSU or any other school inquiring about entry to SEC; Just the two.)

    Like

    • Nostradamus says:

      And how did the CBS radio affiliate in Ann Arbor get such important inside information? This is an example of the snowball media effect. Said radio report probably ties back to Bohls article over the weekend, which was actually more speculation on his part than anything.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        He makes a compelling case for why TAMU should join the SEC.

        What he doesn’t do is
        1. address the political aspect. If TTech & Baylor had enough pull to tie temselves to Texas, I’d be shocked if Texas didn’t have enough political pull to tie TAMU to the B12.
        2. make a case for why the B12 would collapse. I don’t see why TAMU moving away would make a B12 collapse more likely. For Texas, the negatives of pure independence still wouldn’t outweigh the costs of enjoying the benefits of being independent while being in a conference that it controls. BYU could substitute for TAMU, and I’d wager that B12 TV revenues actually wouldn’t go down if that happened.

        Like

  47. Pat says:

    Interesting article about a University of Connecticut booster who want’s his $3 million donation back because he’s angry with the AD.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=6057094

    Like

  48. M says:

    Utah State to the MWC seems all but certain:

    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700103655/Utah-State-may-be-joining-MWC.html

    “No exact timetable was given for the announcement, but it is expected to be official in the next 24 to 48 hours.”

    In the tradition of derisive names for zombified conferences (Big Least, Big 3 and the 7 Dwarves) I hereby endorse the mWAC for the former MWC and WAAC (double A?) for the former WAC.

    Like

  49. Brian says:

    ESPN looking to buy distribution in TX (and share risk) by selling a share of ESPN UT to Time Warner.

    http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2011/01/20110124/Media/TWC-UT.aspx

    Like

    • PSUGuy says:

      This tells me ESPN really did take a loss (or barely break even) on this deal.

      If they are already looking to get a cable partner involved that means they had no intention of trying to buy the tv slots, let alone create them.

      Like

  50. zeek says:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=6057405

    “WASHINGTON — College football conferences will get a record take of about $170 million from this year’s bowl games, including a new high of $24.7 million for the five conferences that don’t get automatic bids to the Bowl Championship Series.

    The six conferences that get automatic bids took in about $145 million. They sent nine of the 10 teams to the BCS bowl games this year.”

    This is why it’s tricky to contemplate a playoff system.

    You have to maintain the relative dominance in dollars, each BCS conference makes as much as all non-BCS conferences combined.

    Like

    • Bullet says:

      Notre Dame gets as much as members of the 1 bid conferences. They aren’t in a conference but get a share as if they are, even with no appearance (probably more than AQ members since Iowa State doesn’t get 1/12th if OU is in the Fiesta-OU gets a disproportionate share). With an appearance, they get $6 million.

      Like

  51. loki_the_bubba says:

    MWC puts out statement implying they are NOT expanding.

    http://www.themwc.com/genrel/012511aaa.html

    “Over the past two days, the Board of Directors has engaged in a very thorough discussion of several key topics pertinent to the future of the Mountain West Conference. This has included, but not been limited to, issues related to television, the Bowl Championship Series and membership. The Board feels strongly the membership configuration already established going forward creates outstanding prospects for future success. In addition, we are continuing with our strategic initiatives related to our television partnerships and the MWC’s efforts to effect change in the BCS structure. The Board is excited about what is undoubtedly a bright future for the Conference.”

    Like

    • Michael in Indy says:

      I think that’s the smart move. Even if reaching AQ status is unattainable for the foreseeable future, striving to remain the by-far #1 non-AQ league is still worthwhile. For instance, there will come a time once again, much like the ’09 season, where two non-AQ teams finish the season undefeated. One of them is likely to be a MWC team while the other could be from the #2 non-AQ league, C-USA. For simplicity, let’s say those teams are Boise and UCF. Boise has a much better chance of getting the non-AQ’s BCS bid over UCF if it isn’t saddled with too many worthless wins. With a 10-team MWC, Boise would have a chance to beat four bowl regulars (Air Force, Hawaii, Fresno, and Nevada) and a fifth that is on the rise (San Diego State). Replacing those games with SJSU and/or Utah State would jeopardize Boise’s chance to finish ahead of UCF, thus costing the MWC a huge share of BCS bowl money, which would be worth more than a conference title game.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        It comes down to whether a championship game would hurt or help.

        If Boise wins, they would gain in the polls and computers. If they lose, they’d likely be eliminated.

        Like

  52. Bullet says:

    Mountain West sits on its hands for now. From reading their statement, I interpret it as they couldn’t reach a consensus so they aren’t going to rush into anything.

    http://www.themwc.com/genrel/012511aaa.html

    USU made some sense because of geography and basketball. SJSU only made sense to balance out the conference by putting BSU in the east (USU,WYO,CSU,UNM are all bottom 20-30 teams right now as are potential expansion candidates NMSU and UNT-AF would have a cakewalk), although they could have done a “WAC” and “MWC” division since they would have been 6 2010 WAC teams and 6 2010 MWC teams.

    Like

    • Bullet says:

      http://www.denverpost.com/csu/ci_17194956

      Article says no expansion, YET.

      Some speculation out there (only speculation-nothing with any sources stated) that USU is still likely, but #12 is necessary first and they aren’t sold on SJSU.

      Like

    • Richard says:

      I doubt Boise wants to be in the east as they get the bulk of their talent from California.

      Note that if they don’t expand to 12, it’s immaterial because there wouldn’t be any divisions.

      Like

      • Mike says:

        I wonder if the MWC will play a 9 game league schedule? If so, that is one less opportunity for them to play a game against BCS competition either for BCS busting or for the guarantee.

        Like

        • Michael in Indy says:

          I would think so. Ideally, MWC teams would have one less game against 1-AA teams, WAC leftovers, and bottom-feeding Sun Belt, MAC, and C-USA teams, rather than one less game against Virginia Tech, Georgia, Oklahoma, etc.

          Like

        • Richard says:

          Realistically, it means one less game against someone who’s willing to play them home-and-home. That may be a BCS team but likely isn’t.

          As even Wyoming tries to have 6 home games, I think all MWC-caliber schools want to have 6 home games. With 3 OOC games, that means 1 FCS at home, 1 guarantee game away, and 1 home-and-home (as opposed to 2 home-and-homes). That may mean less games against Pac12 and B12 teams, but more likely means less games against CUSA, WAC, & MAC teams.

          Like

        • Bullet says:

          They will only go to 9 games if they want Air Force to leave, which would mean they lost their 4 good fb programs.

          Like

          • Richard says:

            I doubt AF’s going anywhere. Even with Army & Navy, they still have one slot. Not sure how important playing different teams OOC is to the Falcons.

            Like

    • Bullet says:

      Almost makes you wonder if MWC has personal vendettas against WAC. They took all the middle schools and left them with a donut hole conference in 98 and surprisingly it survived. They survived the CUSA raid and grew. So MWC took Boise, their prime program. When BYU started to leave they took Nevada and Fresno. Then after allowing them to expand, they grab Hawaii. Now they leave them dangling again. No clear, “We aren’t expanding.” Just a “We like ourselves.” May be time for NMSU and LT to head for the Sun Belt and for TX St. and UTSA to try to get in also. I can’t imagine anyone would join the WAC with the uncertainty unless they were an independent. And the WAC sure doesn’t want Seattle and Bakersfield if they are about to lose USU and SJSU.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        Well, Craig Thompson has said that he feels there’s only room for 2 conferences in the west (and one of them’s the Pac12).

        It’s certainly in the MWC’s interest to kill off the WAC.

        Like

        • Bullet says:

          Well there’s also the argument that is nice to have someone to schedule, to play bowls against and to look down on. The B10 and BE have the MAC. ACC, SEC & Big 12 have CUSA and SB. CUSA has SB. Pac 12 had WAC, and with expansion, MWC. MWC had WAC.

          Like

          • Richard says:

            The counter argument is that if they eliminate the WAC, the Pac12 teams have no choice but to schedule MWC teams (and maybe meet them in more bowl games). If they coordinate, they could force the Pac12 to always give them home-and-homes.

            Like

          • cfn_ms says:

            That seems like a foolish argument to me. The Pac-x schools that are (foolishly IMO) willing to do home and homes are already doing it. Those that aren’t, won’t be changing their tune. Maybe they can get bigger checks from the USC’s of the world, but that’s kind of it I think. Most of the Pac-x can always add Western AA’s or home and homes with good to elite programs nationwide as opposed to the MWC.

            Like

          • Bullet says:

            cooperation? not going to happen.

            Resources and recruiting and exposure call for eliminating the competition. I think there’s something important in not being at the bottom of the FBS food chain as far as national perception.

            Would have been interesting if Idaho got left behind again. Pac schools dissolved to get away from them in the 50s (skimming a book one time read that they were very halfheartedly doing athletics-kind of like being FBS and having a 16k domed stadium) and WAC is deserting them 50 years later.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Well, the MWC wouldn’t be at the bottom of the FBS food chain even if the WAC is eliminated, so I don’t see how that’s a factor.

            Eliminating competitors is always an advantage. The Pac12 would always get the top TV deal for that part of the country, but if there’s a second network that wants coverage for the west, who else can they get if the WAC is gone?

            Like

      • Jake says:

        @Bullet – But what does Idaho do? Go all the way down to the Sunbelt?

        Like

        • Bullet says:

          They have nowhere to go. Neither does SJSU. For non-fb SJSU certainly can and Idaho may be able to go back to the Big West. But there’s noplace for football. If the USU/SJSU expansion had occurred (or if it still does) that is a real lifeline for SJSU.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            All 3 schools face grim prospects. Outside of the MWC, they have no choices. They need a bunch of schools to move up from I-AA, or they need to move down.

            Based on their geographic spread and low TV value, I think they really need divisional play if they stay I-A. They have 8 members for 2012 (7 for football), so that means 5 schools need to move up or be stolen from the Sunbelt. Nobody from CUSA or MWC is coming to the WAC now.

            The problem is needing 3 western teams to go with Idaho, USU and SJSU (NMSU could, but they probably fit better with the TX schools).

            They have the Big Sky schools (EWU, P St, Sac St, Montana, Montana St, Idaho St, Weber St, N AZ, N CO), San Diego, UC-Davis, Cal Poly-SLO, and Southern Utah to choose from.

            Sac St, USD, N AZ and S Utah are already affiliate members for 1 or 2 sports. I assume they’d prefer schools from CA, AZ, CO or Utah for demographics and travel reasons, but beggars can’t be choosers.

            The eastern division is easier with the western half of the Sunbelt and the Southland conference as possibilities.

            Like

    • Bullet says:

      ESPN is apparently talking to MWC in addition to Comcast. All the sources say Comcast was pushing 12 teams and USU. Comcast has cable systems in Utah. It would be interesting to know what, if any, influence ESPN had on standing pat. Comcast deal with MWC on Mountain Network goes to 2015, but there some renegotiation clauses for membership changes.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        My interpretation was that Comcast was saying if you go to 12, then they suggested USU and probably SJSU. It’s not clear to me Comcast was pushing expansion, knowing that the schools would need more money from Comcast to justify it.

        There are clauses in their TV deals for renegotiating with membership changes, so I wonder if part of staying at 10 was the numbers they heard from CBSC and Comcast. Having an outside chance at AQ status may have been on their minds, too.

        The SDSU AD made it sound like it was a money losing proposition at this point, since CUSA just got a new deal that guaranteed the TX teams weren’t coming to the MWC.

        Like

  53. Bullet says:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/bigeast/post/_/id/17354/marinatto-were-not-waiting-for-villanova

    He implied this last fall, but now he’s come out and said it. They may go to 10 w/o Villanova. Wonder if this influenced MWC. Maybe they are going to see if CUSA West schools reconsider if BE takes UCF or UH. (general consensus was that UTEP, UH and SMU said they weren’t interested).

    Like

    • Brian says:

      Unless CUSA loses a lot of money from their TV deal, why would the TX schools go? Their new deal is much better than the MWC deal which runs for several more years.

      What interests me is if UCF goes to the BE (the logical choice outside of ‘Nova), does CUSA steal LA Tech or a Sunbelt team?

      Rumor has it USF is fighting to keep UCF out of the BE, and UCF is not pleased.

      http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/os-bianchi-ucf-usf-big-east-20110125,0,6380055.column

      On the other hand, others in CUSA aren’t happy with UCF for wanting to move up.

      http://www.herald-dispatch.com/sports/marshall/x247178241/Arrogant-UCF-no-lock-for-Big-East

      Like

      • Richard says:

        I think New Mexico would make more sense than either of those alternatives (and Los Lobos may prefer CUSA since nearly half the league is in neighboring Texas & OK, including next door neighbor UTEP, while only 2 MWC teams are in neighboring states now that the Utah schools have left).

        Like

        • Brian says:

          Isn’t NMSU the one next to UTEP? Being a WAC school, NMSU would be an easier get. I don’t know that CUSA makes enough more than the MWC to pull out a team, but it might. That’s a lot of travel to offset the TV money, though. UNM presumably would pull more eyeballs, to be fair.

          Regardless, I was intentionally only presenting part of their choices. Whether CUSA would look in the east or not to replace UCF is what interests me.

          Do they go for FIU or FAU to get back in Florida? Maybe Troy since it fits regionally and has been strong in the Sunbelt? LA Tech would also fit this plan.

          Going out west would be a shift for the conference and Marshall and ECU would be pretty isolated. UTEP is pretty isolated now, but at least it has 3 in-state schools.

          I think CUSA would benefit from trading UTEP for LA Tech, not that I think UTEP would agree or that this will happen. CFB would be better off if the MWC swallowed Idaho, SJSU and USU while dropping UNM to get to 12. Let UCF and ECU go to the BE while UNM and NMSU go to CUSA. Let Marshall and LA Tech go to the Sunbelt.

          Like

  54. Jake says:

    So sorry I haven’t been checking for updates. I’m going to preemptively call my television provider and insist that this channel never appear in my lineup. What a waste of bandwidth.

    Like

  55. Bullet says:

    Don’t know if anyone has already linked this. Dennis Dodds talks about the TV landscape with Comcast/Fox/ESPN and lists a few of the $ figures out there.

    http://dennis-dodd.blogs.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/view/6270202

    Like

  56. M says:

    An interesting survey by the Sports Business Journal about the popularity of various sports:

    http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Daily/Issues/2011/01/Jan-25/Ratings-and-Research/Harris-Poll.aspx

    Of “Americans who follow at least one sport”, here is the breakdown of favorite sport in 2011, 1998, and 1985:

    NFL-31%,26,24
    Baseball (presumably all levels)-17,18,23
    College football-12,9,10 (33% increase since the BCS started)
    Hockey-5,3,2
    Men’s college basketball-4,4,6

    A lot of interesting stuff, at least to me.
    -The NFL dwarfs everything else
    -Baseball has gone from about equal with the NFL 25 years ago to about half
    -Weirdly, hockey has the second biggest gain of any sport (BTHC needs to happen)

    Like

    • greg says:

      But but but…

      I thought the lack of a college football playoff was “driving fan apathy?” At the berth of the BCS in 1998, cfb was at 9%. Now its at 12%. A 25% growth. The BCS is killing things!

      College hoops has dropped from 6% to 4%, a 33% dropoff. But I thought their super happy playoff was the solution to everything?

      Like

    • Richard says:

      Well, when you start from an extremely low base, it’s easy to double.

      Interesting to see the changes from 1985->1998->2011

      Baseball gave up most of it’s share from 1985->1998 (probably due to the strike), but the NBA (probably due to 15 years of Jordan) picked up most of the gain (to be 3rd, above college football for a while) while the NFL was mostly flat.

      1998->present is when the NFL really picked up its gain (mostly at the expense of the post-Jordan NBA, which dropped below colelge football again).

      College football has had a slight uptick, and college basketball a slight downtick (expanded playoffs evidently do nothing for popularity).

      Like

    • jj says:

      Gary B is still an idiot.

      Like

    • Bullet says:

      There are some demographic issues as Frank pointed out in one of his comments a while back. But some of it is due to the changes in the sports.

      When I think back personally, back in 85 I was probably:
      1. Baseball
      2. College basketball
      3. College football
      4. NBA
      5. NFL

      Now it would probably be:
      1. College football
      2. College basketball
      3. NBA
      4. NFL
      5. Baseball

      The strikes really soured me on baseball. The fact that the Reds have been dismal most of the years since Rose and Perez finally retired doesn’t help. I attend more baseball games, but baseball is still more affordable and easier to get tickets (in most cities) than the NFL or NBA.

      The expansion of the NCAA tourney has made me less interested in the college basketball regular season. Anything prior to the conference tourneys (and often the conference tourneys) is just an exhibition game if you’re a fan of one of the better programs (of course the same could be said about the NBA).

      Like

      • Michael in Indy says:

        College basketball also suffers from the loss of its best players to the NBA after they’ve been in school for only a year or two. Just 15 years ago, we could count on players staying for at least 3 years.

        But I still think that March Madness is the primary culprit. There’s little incentive to watch the games. Let’s say Ohio State stumbles down the stretch and ends up with 7 or 8 losses and a 5 or 6 seed. Those losses wouldn’t matter in the least if OSU still goes to the Final Four, especially if it goes all the way. But if OSU finishes something like 30-2 but gets bounced in the second round or Sweet Sixteen, the season (unfairly) would be regarded as a failure. It’s still the most popular sport in ACC country, but everywhere else, it’s almost an afterthought.

        I think it would be wise to return to a 32 team or at least a 48 team tournament. Every regular season game would be critical. And it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if the NIT benefited from having more qualified teams. Right now, the NIT is like the papajohns.com Bowl. It still wouldn’t be comparable to BCS bowls, but it could at least be more like, say, the Outback Bowl.

        Like

      • Brian says:

        In 1985:
        1. CFB
        2. CBB
        3. NFL
        4. MLB
        5. Racing

        Now:
        1. CFB
        2. CBB
        3. Racing

        I never watch NFL or MLB anymore. CBB is worthless in the regular season unless you have some time to kill, but the tournament is still fun. In 1985 I lived near a race track and used to go once or twice a year. Now, it is mostly a time killer although I find the F1 technology impressive.

        NFL teams of interest to me over the years (largely based on proximity) – Brown, Lions, Bills. I wonder why I lost interest?

        MLB stopped being interesting as soon as I quit playing little league (unofficial, not the real organization). The same with the NBA being of interest during high school (the Pistons being good at the time helped).

        Like

    • M says:

      My ranking would probably be

      1. College football
      2. Pro football
      3. College basketball

      I have a theory that baseball’s remaining popularity is much more regional (centered in the northeast) and older, which doesn’t bode well for its future.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        Northeast & Midwest (St. Louisans still consider their city the top baseball town in the country), but definitely older elsewhere.

        Like

        • Bullet says:

          St. Louis is why I added “in most cities.” Was going to be in St. Louis this summer and tried about a week in advance to get baseball tickets. There were some very expensive bad seats available. So I passed.

          Like

    • duffman says:

      I would put in the caveat that I like to go to live games, and do not enjoy watching sports on TV near as much. My top 5 for each period is based on where I actually attend sporting events now (and not counting high school sports, where others kids and grandkids play now).

      1985:

      #1 Racing (horse)
      #2 College Basketball
      #3 Pro Football
      #4 College Football
      #5 Boxing

      2010:
      #1 College Basketball (men)
      #2 College Basketball (women)
      #3 Racing (horse)
      #4 College Baseball / College or AHL Hockey
      #5 Pro Football

      Like

      • Brian says:

        WCB – The game is just too slow for me (in terms of actual speed, not pace of play) and the lack of skill in the paint is depressing. The number of missed jumpers I’ve seen in the paint is amazing.

        College baseball – I can’t stand the ping. Get back to me if they go back to wooden bats. If you have to see baseball, watch the minor leagues instead.

        Since you have baseball/hockey at #4, there should be no #5.

        Like

        • Bullet says:

          The lack of skill in hitting free throws by today’s men’s college bb players is depressing. Women usually aren’t so bad. The women’s game has made huge strides. When you watched the teams in the 80s, I felt like I could coach one of those teams to a championship. Just teach them to play defense. They didn’t really cover anyone.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            I wholeheartedly agree on the lack of fundamentals in the men’s game. It’s becoming all about dunks, 3 pointers and jumping to the NBA.

            WCB still features relatively small and slow players often lacking in athletic ability. That and knowing only 2 or 3 teams can win in any given year make it no fun.

            Like

          • duffman says:

            brian,

            I was in the right place at the right time for women’s basketball and have followed it in the modern era from the Mighty Macs and Lady Techsters forward. While I agree that the women do not have the same ability as the men, they are still in the early age of their game (the men have almost 100 years of evolution on them) and in another generation or two they will be much different than today. Some of the reasons I like the women’s game:

            a) stay and play four years
            b) graduate with real degrees
            c) shoot free throws
            d) shoot 3 pointers
            e) play defense
            f) stands are full of kids, parents, and grandparents, and less corporate types
            g) taking more than 2 to see a game is possible in the number of tickets, and the cost of the experience (try getting 12 seats together close to the action at a tOSU game without taking out a loan from the bank).
            h) I know many players and their folks, and these women are way tougher than the men in terms of playing hurt or in pain. This does not translate to tv viewing, but you see it if you see games live.
            i) less “prima donnas” as the college level. Sure a certain player at Notre Dame may be a ball hog, as a whole teams in the area play as a team involving ALL 5 players, and not just 1 – 3, with a few that don’t get the ball much. I may be old school, but this parts reminds me most of what I miss in the old men’s game. There are time when I think the NBA should just go to a 3 on 3 format, and maybe the same for the men’s game at the college level.

            Some advice from an old guy, as you get older you want your daughters, granddaughters, nieces, and the girls they know to have a shot to excel if they want to. Not just in an everybody gets a ribbon way, but real competition with winners and losers. Maybe it is just the paternal instinct, but you want strong girls to grow into confident women who will stand on their own, and not back down when challenged by life in general.

            ps. brian, if you have girls, and they are good enough to play at the D 1 level, you may find your opinion changes as they start playing. :)

            Like

          • Brian says:

            duffman,

            Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to denigrate fans of WCB or even the game itself. I’m just not big on it personally. I agree the game is improving steadily, but there just aren’t enough good players to make it compelling yet. They should just have an 8 team tournament every year and quit wasting everyone’s time. There are certainly aspects of WCB that are better than MCB, just not the ones that would get me to watch.

            I will disagree about playing hurt, but not because you are necessarily wrong. You never know how much pain a person is actually feeling, so I never question anybody else on that. My problem is that I disagree with coaches playing people that are hurt. Non-professionals should not be risking increased injury or delayed healing for injuries. Satisfying the fans is not a sufficient reason.

            Another problem I have with WCB is that there is too high a risk of ACL tears. It’s 5 times more common in women, or some such ridiculous number. I wouldn’t let my hypothetical daughter play. It’s not worth it. I’d rather pay for tuition.

            I think you need to watch different MCB teams. You can still see the beautiful team game in some of the schools playing a Princeton offense, and even some of the motion offenses. You;re certainly right about most of the teams, though.

            Like

        • duffman says:

          brian,

          I put Pro Football in the second one when I meant to put College Football instead, So it should look like this:

          1985:

          #1 Racing (horse)
          #2 College Basketball
          #3 Pro Football
          #4 College Football
          #5 Boxing

          2010:
          #1 College Basketball (men)
          #2 College Basketball (women)
          #3 Racing (horse)
          #4 College Baseball / College or AHL Hockey
          #5 College Football

          My general theory is you follow the sports that you do, or have friends / family involved in. My grandfather was a professional boxer, and I was golden gloves. I do not watch it any more because of Ali and others with long term health issues, and Don King and other promoters have just sapped the life out of it. While I was not tall enough to play basketball, growing up in the tri state area (IN, OH, KY) meant basketball was more religion than sport, you just went!

          I grew up watching the Indy 500, but it was a one day event and did not include it (fwiw, by some of your posts, I am old enough to be your fathers age at least!). My dad played pro football, but watching what it did to him generally turned me off to pro sports in general (he was in the old school era, and while those guys were iron men on the field, old age was not so good).

          I put hockey and baseball in the same slot as hockey is being replaced by baseball. I followed the AHL because my mom lives in canada, so I got to see many games including several trips to see the Hershey Bears (they play in an aged arena, but the atmosphere makes up for it, and the fans are very nice after the game is over).

          My cousin played college baseball (and I started going to games with his grandmother) before he went pro. As I said before I count what I see live as the sports I follow. I agree about the aluminum bats, but I got used to it as a trade off for the atmosphere of the live game. Minor league baseball means the Indians or Riverbats, and while they both have history, I just like the college atmosphere better (and cost, when it comes to taking the nephew and his friends). The other nice thing about college baseball is the season is over in the early summer. I like the cold, and baking in the sun for hours on end in the peaks of summer heat is not for me.

          I will tag my women’s basketball comment to bullet’s post.

          Like

          • Bullet says:

            @Duffman
            While your general theory influences interests, it doesn’t always apply and doesn’t to me at all.

            My kids play soccer and I have no interest in watching it otherwise.

            I was a diehard Reds fan even before they became the Big Red Machine and never played organized baseball.

            My father was on a state championship fb team and I played in Jr. High, but had no interest when I moved to Texas and saw the JHS kids practicing in full pads the 1st week of August in Houston’s heat and humidity.

            Growing up in KY and IN I loved basketball, but wasn’t good enough to make the JHS teams. So my organized bb experience is limited to an elementary league in IN (EVERYONE joined-probably 75% of the boys were in that league).

            Like

          • Brian says:

            duffman,

            Number one thing we agree on is that sports are better live. Almost nothing is better on TV, just more convenient. I haven’t been attending many things lately, though, so it would be a very short list.

            Knowledge of the sport is usually required to be much of a fan. A few sports are big enough to draw in casual fans that then learn about the sport, but most fandom starts by participating in some way (even if by watching friends or family).

            I think a lot of the unusual sports draw in casual fans. I’m always a sucker for the endurance events (Ironman triathalon, Tour de France, etc) simply because I’m amazed at how far people can and will push themselves. The Olympics interest me too, since you so rarely see most of those events. Those sports are fairly simple to understand, though. Games with complicated rules take more effort to understand.

            I grew up in the country, so got to make a lot of sports teams due to sheer lack of competition, but there are no athletes in my family. The older generations frowned on them as trivial pursuits that wasted time and money better spent on farming or other work. The rest of us are just too short, small and slow.

            I grew up going to the local HS BB game because that’s what you did. The local HS didn’t even have a FB team, so only rarely did I ever watch a HS game until we moved. Then we went regularly. My dad’s company got race tickets, so he took me as a kid, but frankly I think the engineer in me enjoys it more than the fan in me now.

            Like

    • Interesting poll – this might spur a full blog post from me. Here’s my history:

      1985
      (1) MLB
      (2) NFL
      (3) NBA

      I was only 7 at this time, so my interest in sports was in its infancy. I loved baseball at this time, though – I pretty much spent every penny that I had from gifts and allowances on baseball cards and watched every game that I could. The ’85 Bears also set up a lifetime of unreasonable expectations from me on that franchise. I really had no concept of college sports at the time as I wasn’t raised in a household where they were followed (my parents went to UIC).

      1998
      (1) NBA
      (2) NFL
      (3) College football
      (4) MLB
      (5) College basketball

      I was definitely of the MJ generation as a Chicago kid that ended up playing basketball more than any other sport. I was in the middle of my college years in ’98, so my interest in college sports rose very quickly, but the Bulls were still the team I followed the most at the time. It didn’t help that my first 3 years of college were possibly the 3 worst overall sports years in Illinois history.

      2011
      (1) College football
      (2) NFL
      (3) College basketball
      (4) NBA
      (5) MLB

      I don’t know if this is common for a lot of people, but my interest in college sports actually rose in comparison to other sports after I graduated. Part of it might have been that I really had to start making choices as to what I wanted to watch for the first time (whereas my kid or college self could sit around and watch baseball all day whenever I wanted to). Getting married and having to work meant that I had to prioritize a bit more, and it ended up that it bothered me much more to miss Illini (both football and basketball) and Bears games than other sports when it came down to it. Granted, to my wife’s chagrin, I still probably watch all of these sports plus ones that I haven’t even listed (hockey, golf, tennis) more than about 99% of the population.

      Like

      • Further to my prior comment, probably the biggest sports viewing habit change for me over the past decade or so is that I virtually never watch regular season baseball games that don’t involve the White Sox (my team) or Cubs (local rival), whereas I used to always watch the Saturday game of the week in the past no matter who was playing. In contrast, I’ll happily watch football and basketball games (whether college or pro) that don’t involve the Illini, Bears or Bulls. Even for the baseball postseason, I’m finding it very hard to watch when the Sox aren’t playing. The Yankees-Red Sox focus has really worn me out to the point where it’s backfired – even though I’m bothered on paper by that East Coast obsession, I also now find that postseason games that don’t involve them don’t hold much interest for me. MLB and Fox have reaped what they’ve sown there.

        Like

      • Brian says:

        I’d like to think it is wisdom over time pointing out the folly of watching the pros.

        I don’t think it is uncommon for the teams at the alma mater to become more important over time. You have a real connection to the school. The players don’t seem to turn over as quickly in college, either (how sad is that?). All the whining by pros about $5 million a year being disrespectful doesn’t help their cause.

        Where you live makes a big difference, too.

        Like

        • Jake says:

          Let’s see, my personal sports history:

          1985:
          t-ball
          YMCA soccer
          throwing rocks at things

          1998:
          high school flannel wearing and being cynical about stuff
          marching band
          OMG Rangers won a division title!!!!

          2011:
          College football
          OMG Rangers made the World Series!!!!
          College baseball
          NFL?

          Ah, the memories.

          Like

        • @Brian – Interesting point about players not turning over as quickly in college, which is definitely true now. My favorite pro teams of all-time were the first 3 Bulls championship teams and a big reason is that those were teams that I truly watched develop over several seasons before reaching the pinnacle. The core of that team had to go through a few years of getting knocked down by the Pistons and Celtics before winning it all and they stayed together through that first three-peat. Now, pro teams pretty much aren’t allowed to develop in that manner – players get moved (whether voluntarily or not) much more often in order to “win now”.

          That being said, we have to be self-aware that most of the commenters here attended power conference schools with major sports programs, so we’re viewing the sports world through that prism. The majority of Americans don’t have a college degree and even among those with college degrees, only a small percentage of them went to BCS schools. My best friend from high school, for instance, watches the NFL (Packers), MLB (Cubs/Red Sox), NASCAR and English Premier League soccer. (Don’t ask me how he ended up with that combo and the fact that we’re still friends with me being a Bears and White Sox fan.) He attended a small private liberal arts school, so there’s simply no interest in major college sports for him whatsoever other than the 3 weeks of the NCAA Tournament every year. That’s a big difference from my best friend from college, where college football is unquestionably his favorite sport. A lot of it based on your life experiences and it’s sometimes easy to forget that the vast majority of people never attended a major sports school.

          Like

          • Richard says:

            True. I’d say it varies a fair bit by region as well, though. In NYC, you’re likely not going to find many college football fans who didn’t attend an FBS school (other than ND’s subway alumni). In most of the south (especially outside of the major cities), it would be tough to find people who don’t have a college football allegiance. Come to think of it, that’s true for Nebraska (& Iowa . . . and good parts of the rest of the Midwest) as well. College basketball fervor is spotty. In some states (Indiana, Kentucky, & NC), everyone seems to have a team. In other places, not so much.

            Like

          • duffman says:

            frank,

            your point is the main reason I do not watch pro basketball anymore, and almost never watch pro hockey any more. The AHL and ECHL got less and less of my time as the players you followed got called up before you got to attached. The difference in following the Stingers and the Cyclones / Mighty Ducks just feels totally different. Add in the fact that both pro hockey and pro basketball play way too many games (and a way too long post season) and they have lost my interest.

            NFL and MLB have become a game or two a season, and the championship series AL vs NL and AFC vs NFC. The World Series and Super Bowl have too many commercials to try and watch it on TV (the NCAA tourney is fast getting that way as well, but I like to attend the NCAA in person if I can).

            Your point about “developing” a team is why I like most college sports over pro sports now. I do not subscribe to “fantasy” play, and still follow teams. A dear friend who lives near Dayton is conflicted about rooting for teams he normally would not, just because he has a certain player in his fantasy league. Add in free agency, and the 2 have wrecked any long term loyalty for developing long term fan bases. We joke on here about the Wal Mart Wolverines, but there is something to be said for fans who still follow their teams though the good and the bad. While IU is down now, it appears as tho the Tan One is actually going back to the old formula of getting local / regional kids to stay and play team ball for the duration. It will be interesting to see how this works in the IU (stay and play) vs UK (one and done) in the next several years. I would much rather watch IU or PU than the Pacers, with IU football, I just wait for basketball season to start. :)

            Like

          • Richard says:

            For college basketball, I probably should add most of downstate Illinois. It’s somewhat amazing to me that Illinois basketball isn’t the elite program that UK, UNC, KU, Duke, & UCLA are (and IU was). Illinois/Indiana/Kentucky was the first region in the US where HS basketball became a big sport, and after the game migrated from its rural roots, Illinois still had the most fertile basketball recruiting ground in the Midwest (Chicago) within it’s borders. KU & UK have to get virtually all of their players from out of state (sometimes from halfway around the country) and UofI would be a power every year even if had a roster of solely Illinois kids (so long as it kept the best ones). I guess college basketball is more about the coach (who is a salesman) than it is about the program.

            Like

          • Bullet says:

            @Frank
            Good point. Its why college sports thrive in Alabama where there’s no pro competition, but have real trouble in the pro sports cities. Rice didn’t build their beautiful 70,000 seat stadium in 1950 on a whim. A&M actually played all their Rice games in Houston for about a 10 year period as they drew better in Houston than College Station. The Cotton Bowl is known as “the house that Doak built.” It was expanded to 68k when Doak Walker made SMU a national powerhouse in the late 40s.

            Then the Cowboys and Oilers came. It took 35 years, but the SWC dissolved and Rice, SMU, TCU and UH got left behind.

            The increased mobility of people is also a factor. Fast growing states have a lot of people who weren’t fans of State U. growing up or whose parents weren’t. So they don’t have the college connection or the regional connection. States like AL and MS still don’t have as much mobility as states with very large metro areas.

            Like

          • greg says:

            BCS states without any pro teams, which also doubles as a good list of “diehard fans”:

            Alabama
            Nebraska
            Oklahoma (Thunder now)
            Iowa
            South Carolina
            West Virginia
            Kentucky
            Mississippi
            Arkansas

            (I could be missing some here)

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Connecticut
            Kansas (eh, not really)

            Like

          • jj says:

            Michigan currently has no pro football team. UM and MSU get somewheres near 175,000 to 180,000 on weeks they are both home.

            Oregon is another, maybe. Or well on its way.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Well, if you’re talking about states with BCS schools but no pro football, beside Oregon (and the schools above), you’d have to add Utah.

            Like

          • Mike says:

            @jj was that a subtle dig on the Detroit Lions? They wern’t that bad this year.

            Like

          • greg says:

            I meant any pro teams, not just football. Which is why I noted Oklahoma has the Thunder now. Oregon has always had the Blazers. Storrs, CT, is 85 miles from Boston and 150 from NYC, so they don’t count. Kansas definitely doesn’t count, when your state name is in the team name of multiple pro teams.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Well, Morgantown’s only 70 miles from Pittsburgh, Lexington’s 85 miles from Cincinnati, Columbia’s 93 miles from Charlotte & Clemson’s only a little farther away. For that matter, Dallas isn’t that far from the Oklahoma border.

            If you’re excluding CT, you’d have to exclude WV, KY, SC, and maybe OK as well.

            Hell, Auburn’s 108 miles from Atlanta & Starksville’s 80 miles from Memphis (which is across the river from Arkansas as well).

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Richard,

            I’d add western Ohio as part of the BB region, too, especially in the really rural areas. Probably just border creep from IN, but plenty of areas didn’t/don’t have HS FB teams due to size so BB was the thing.

            Like

      • Bullet says:

        I’d say I had the same experience. Time budgeting is an issue. With regards to football, I just like the college game better. I also like the enthusiasm of the players, so I watch fb on Saturdays but rarely on Sundays.

        That the Bengals have been lousy since they last went to the Super Bowl doesn’t help, but the Cowboys have long been my 2nd team (of course that also means my two teams lost the only 5 interesting Super Bowls out of the 1st 25). Saw a Times article saying how the ‘boys least favorite teams are the Packers and Steelers due to NFL championship games and Super Bowls.

        @ Frank-as far as time budgeting-wait until your twins are walking around and exploring-you will discover toddler math in the next year or so. 1 toddler + 1 toddler = 14 toddlers.

        Like

        • @Bullet – That’s already happened with the twins – they’re 18-months old, but they’re already teaming up on me. It’s incredibly fun, albeit in a constant chaos sort of way.

          Like

          • duffman says:

            frank,

            welcome to fatherhood, and a good 20 – 30 years before you have free time again! At least they are still limited to the house, just wait till they get to sports, and it is not like the old days where you played with the kids on your block. Now it involves playgroups that are close the moon (or at least BFE) and see how much of the next 15 years of your life is spent as an unpaid chauffeur! :)

            Like

          • Bullet says:

            @Duffman

            This year in elementary age soccer, our primary field was about 15 miles away. Our secondary field was about 20. At least our practices were in the neighborhood.

            Like

    • Brian says:

      Here’s a link to more complete results. These include the best and worst demographic groups for each of the top sports.

      http://www.harrisinteractive.com/NewsRoom/HarrisPolls/tabid/447/mid/1508/articleId/675/ctl/ReadCustom%20Default/Default.aspx

      NFL
      Best groups: blacks, people 46-64 and easterners
      Worst groups: hispanics, people 18-33, midwesterners
      Note: Up 7 points from 1985, but down 4 from 2009. Labor issues next year could be problem.

      MLB
      Best: hispanics, people 65+, HS diploma or less
      Worst: blacks, people 18-33, people with some college
      Note: Baseball is in trouble. Relying on the elderly is bad business. Lucky for them the immigrant population helps them.

      CFB
      Best: post grads, Republicans, southerners
      Worst: easterners, hispanics, HS diploma or less

      Surprises to me:
      1. 45% of blacks chose the NFL, compared to 31% overall. I expected a lower % than that.

      2. 18-33 year olds don’t like the NFL. I thought they did OK in this demographic.

      3. Midwesterners don’t like the NFL. I would have expected southerners to be lower since they went so long without any teams and are so dedicated to CFB.

      4. Only 4% of easterners chose CFB. I knew it would be low, but that low surprised me. Good evidence for why the B10 didn’t go for Rutgers.

      Like

      • @Brian – I’ll try to find it, but this actually conflicts with a more detailed study on football that I’ve seen recently (and it might have been from Harris itself). For instance, that study showed that Midwesterners watched NFL football more than any other region, which seems to jive more with reality. I would characterize the Bears, Packers, Vikings, Browns and Colts as all easily the #1 teams (college or pro) in their respective markets. The only main markets in the Midwest were I don’t see the NFL as tops are St. Louis (baseball town first and foremost) and Detroit (due to the Lions’ historic decade of awfulness).

        Part of the new poll might be skewed by the absoluteness of the question, where you can only pick your one favorite sport. This belies the fact that many people follow multiple sports intensely. That’s where I think it’s wrong to characterize the Midwest as not liking the NFL. The other study I saw showed that the Midwest watches BOTH college and pro football (and really all sports) more than other regions overall. In contrast, the Northeast, unambiguously chooses pro football as its favorite sport, yet the actual numbers of people watching pro football in that region are lower than the Midwest.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          I think it is important to note that they did the survey December 6-13. That’s pretty much the peak time for football. Doing the same survey in June may give different results since people have a hard time separating their immediate feelings from their overall view.

          Remember that the worst groups are relative. The worst group for the NFL was 23%. That’s the real strength of the NFL, that every group is interested in them. The best groups for CFB was 18%, but the worst was 3%. Similarly, baseball ranged from 21% to 6%.

          So midwesterners not liking the NFL means they got 26% versus the 31% overall and 34% for easterners. That’s hardly terrible. Southerners came in at 17% for CFB, versus 4% of easterners. That’s a significant problem.

          It partly depends on what they classified as midwest. Did plains states like NE and IA get in the survey? I think a lot of more rural areas in the midwest might lean CFB over NFL, especially in OH. Markets where the NFL might not be #1: Columbus.

          Like

      • Gopher86 says:

        Midwesterners are the sleeping giant with the NFL. There have been some doormat teams for years. When the teams are good, the NFL can expect even better numbers.

        The Bears-Packers game is a prime example. There have only been 3 games in the history of the NFL to have more expensive average ticket prices than that game: the 3 previous Super Bowls.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          What, you think the stunning success of the Browns, Bengals, Lions and Rams has impacted fan interest? Isn’t the race for the top draft pick exciting enough? How spoiled can they get?

          Like

        • @Gopher86 – Maybe my viewpoint is colored by where I live, as the Bears are clearly the top sports team in the Chicago market (and this area pays attention to all of its sports teams pretty well, so that’s saying something). The Packers are also without reservation the top sports team in the state of Wisconsin to the point where it’s nauseating. When I visit places like Door County, I see Packers news on the front page of the local newspapers every day… and when I say front page, I mean the actual front page (not just the front of the sports section)… and it’s in the middle of June.

          At the506.com (which is most well-known for its NFL TV distribution maps, but also has a great discussion board regarding all televised sports), there are always questions from newbies about why certain teams get national TV appearances and wide distribution even when they’re bad (i.e. Cowboys) while some great teams (i.e. Falcons) are rarely seen outside of their home markets. In response, I talked about the concept of the NFL Security Council, where there is a set of permanent members that will get showed as much as possible nationally regardless of whether they’re playing well in a particular season or not (the Cowboys are the prime example of this) and some temporary members that are high profile for now yet will fall off the map once a superstar leaves or they aren’t playing well anymore (think of the 49ers, which were extremely high profile in the 80s and 90s but have no national drawing power now). Here’s the NFL Security Council:

          SECRETARY-GENERAL GRAND POOBAH FOR LIFE
          Cowboys

          PERMANENT MEMBERS
          Giants
          Redskins
          Eagles
          Bears
          Packers
          Steelers

          CURRENT TEMPORARY MEMBERS
          Patriots (on the cusp of permanent status, but want to see if fan base is still around after Brady retires)
          Jets (playing well in NY market)
          Colts (Peyton Manning)
          Vikings (Brett Favre)

          Everyone else in the league is in “What have you done for me lately?” mode for TV purposes and will get dropped like a bad habit the moment that they aren’t performing well. (This is similar to the notions of “Kings and Peasants” and marquee brands for college football.) The NFL always gets massive ratings overall, yet they get pushed to an even higher level when Security Council members were involved. We saw that last week with the Bears-Packers and Steelers-Jets games and it will occur again with this year’s Super Bowl matchup of Packers-Steelers. As you can see, the league’s top fan bases are very tilted toward the NFC East and NFC North, so they want those teams playing well.

          Like

          • Further to my last post, here are the top 40 TV rated games of the NFL this year:

            http://www.the506.com/smf/index.php?topic=8301.0

            Out of the 29 regular season games on that list, EVERY SINGLE ONE involved at least one Security Council member. 23 actually had 2 Security Council members playing each other. Out of the 6 that didn’t involve 2 Security Council members, 1 of them was the Thursday night opener (which always draws a huge rating as the first NFL game of the year) and 2 others were Thanksgiving Day games (which virtually everyone has on in their homes that day). The other 3 games were ranked #35, #38 and #39. So, if you ever want to know why you’re watching a Cowboys-Redskins game when both teams are under .500 instead of a battle between the Falcons and Saints for the first place in the NFL South, just think of the Security Council.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Note that all of the permanent members (except of the ‘Boys, who are relative newcomers) date back to the leather helmet days of the Depression & before and are thus original NFL teams.

            Like

          • @Richard – Multi-generational tradition is certainly a big factor in the sizes of fan bases. There’s also a similarity with the Big Ten in the sense that the Eastern and Midwestern teams have a lot of fans who grew up in those local markets but ended up migrating elsewhere, so they all have more nationalized fan bases. The Cowboys are an exception – they just draw a lot of casual fans no matter where they live like the Yankees, Lakers and Notre Dame.

            Like

          • Mike says:

            I wonder how “permanent” the Packers are or are they just the beneficiary of Brett Favre’s popularity? Are you arguing Favre make them permanent? The only Packer fans I know (except one) became Packer fans because they loved Favre (they still morn his tragic loss three years ago in a car wreck and wonder where that old QB for the Jets and Vikings came from).

            I’m not old enough to know, but were they just as popular during their mediocre years of 73 to 92 (1 playoff appearance) as, for example, the mediocre Redskins are today?

            Like

          • @Mike – I definitely believe the Packers are on the permanent list and are probably #2 behind the Cowboys when all things are equal. They were pound for pound the nuttiest fans in the NFL and probably all of pro sports even before Favre arrived. The college football comparison is Nebraska – a small immediate market but EVERYONE in the state is a diehard fan to the core and they’ve migrated all
            over the country.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Favre hasn’t been there in 3 years. If their popularity is due to Favre, would their popularity have dropped by now?

            Like

          • duffman says:

            frank,

            not sure why you would not bump the steelers up to level with the cowboys? what is the reason?

            Like

          • @duffman – The Steelers have a huge fan base, but I feel as though they’re closer to the Bears/Packers level than the Cowboys. There’s a constant buzz/drama around the Cowboys (whether they’re good or bad) that’s unique. They also seem to elicit a clear love/hate response from all sports fans (a la the Yankees, Notre Dame and Duke), even if they aren’t fans of rivals. There are a lot of people that tune in simply because they want to see the Cowboys lose. In contrast, I don’t believe the Steelers create that visceral reaction from many people outside of the AFC North. Maybe they did in the ’70s?

            Like

          • Mike says:

            @Richard – well the Packers have been good since he left. Plus if you liked the Packers for X years because of Favre, habits are hard to break.

            Like

          • duffman says:

            frank,

            I see your point, with the cowboys you get the drama in addition to the football. I disagree with it, as you should not reward bad behavior, but I understand human nature. I followed Vikings, Packers, Bears, and Steelers back in the 60’s and 70’s (I told you I like outdoor, bad weather football) and back then the Steelers were the rough and tumble blue collar guys, but they never got the “hate” back then of a Duke, Cowboys, Yankees. I actually got to be around Lambert in his heyday, and away from the field he was very nice. I think the Rooney clan worked their franchise up from humble beginnings like Green Bay, and it has never left them.

            I sorta miss the browns, oilers, steelers, and bengals from the old days and the divergence of landry and phillips on the sidelines of their respective clubs was most apparent.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            The Browns, Oilers, Bengals, Steelers were the “black and blue” division of the AFC like the Vikings, Lions, Bears and Packers.

            Although a lot of Frank’s list are old-line teams, the Redskins, Steelers & Eagles were pretty bad in the 60s. Actually the Redskins and Steelers were awful. The Steelers notice beyond western PA is due to Bradshaw and the 70s and later. The Redskins became a consistent power and were the “Red Sox” to the Cowboys “Yankees.” starting in the 70s. The Packers still carry some of the Lombardi 60s aura, even if it did fade a little outside WI due their mediocre years. Not sure when the Eagles became popular. That’s probably more recent.

            If you go back to the 80s, before the NFC domination period, the Raiders, Broncos and Dolphins were probably in the top group with the Raiders serving as the “Miami Hurricanes” of the NFL.

            Like

  57. duffman says:

    greg,

    this guys sure is getting popular!

    Like

    • duffman says:

      that was supposed to attach as a photo of Not Sure and his lawyer. It was also supposed to attach as a reply to your comment. argh!

      Like

  58. footballnut says:

    I’m a B10 alumni living in B12 country, so I enjoy reading Frank’s stuff. But I like the B12 a lot and keep up on what everyone’s writing about. Frank, NO ONE is talking about how the Longhorn network will save the B12. I’ve read KSU, OU, Mizzou, and OSU blogs and newspapers, and I’m here to tell ya, this has made everyone outside of Texas very nervous. We’re seeing a lot of AD’s dance around the topic in the best coach-speak imaginable, and all the blogs are spewing out words of gloom and doom.

    You always write highly rational, plausable dittys. But one thing I’ve learned about this conference realignment stuff, is that you’ve got to follow the network’s financial interests to understand why things happen.

    So, will aTm leave for SEC? Will OU follow suit? Only if TV wants them too, IMHO.

    Like

  59. duffman says:

    Some points for the day:

    a) more teams in the NCAA tourney does not appear to help fan interest, lets go back to 32 or 16 and make the regular seasons games become much watch tv again.

    b) TAMU (from a post on here earlier rating the top 5 underperforming college football teams) appears to have had an opportunity to get paired up with BeVo TV and chose not to. Yet again, shooting themselves in the foot! If anybody can give the exact original details (TAMU or UT fans on here), please elaborate.

    c) TAMU to the SEC is DOA, as that cookie was passed in june, and not taken at the time. I am guessing the 16 team “superconference” for the Big 3 will not have another chance now until at least 2016, and probably well beyond. If they are trying to bluff UT, this will not end well for them.

    d) not defending oversigning, but is there a correlation to injury in certain conferences? With a lighter schedule, can a team like Nevada have more of their roster at the end of the season? In the B1G or SEC, where you are playing better teams week in and week out, do they have higher attrition by season end?

    e) brian when were you at GT, and what degrees did you get there? If you have been there in the last decade, what is their best program right now?

    f) frank, next to the singing mouse, this was the best pic to go with a post. If they were really going to do an Ocho, it would be sort of cool if it was the obscure sports.

    g) StvInIll, saw where Smith from Cincy changed his mind from UC to Northwestern. I will be watching BTN this evening for the wildcats and the gophers.

    h) super bowl predictions?

    Like

    • Brian says:

      duffman,

      a. How about they reduce the number of teams but go double elimination to keep the game total high? The problem is all the scrub conference champions that get in, especially now that tourney champs get the auto-bids. If you drop to 32 teams, most conferences will never see the tournament again. They may be better off, though, if they got auto-bids to the NIT instead.

      d. Attrition doesn’t explain the SEC West (the East doesn’t) doing it but the B10 not. A lot of oversigning is coaches “signing” players that are as dumb as a box of rocks and don’t belong on a college campus. They sign 30 hoping 20 will qualify. This leads to issues when more players qualify than there are openings. The AQs cause another problem as the coaches cut non-star players to replace them with new recruits.

      If you use the rule of thumb that 1/3 of recruits exceed expectations, 1/3 meet them and 1/3 don’t reach their expectations, you see how the SEC West benefits. They can cut the underachieving 1/3 and replace them with new players either proven in JUCOs or with more potential.

      e. I was in grad school at GT in the ’90s and ’00s, for a MS and PhD in AE. Traditionally their best program is ISYE, by a narrow margin. Several departments are rated top 5 nationally regularly. Grad school is more about specialties and advisors than whole department ratings, though.

      h. Super Bowl prediction – it will be too long, poorly played, have overrated commercials, and I won’t watch a minute of it. The last several have met all these criteria. I assume Pittsburgh will win because I would prefer that they lose.

      Like

      • duffman says:

        brian,

        a) in my college basketball “dreamworld”

        16 team invitation tourney based on regular season (not AQ for conference tourney winner).

        I love the CWS and their round robin best of 3 play (to keep number of games constant) to allow folks to spend weekend at sites. If you play the first night and get bumped, folks go home, and less folks for economic impact on sponsoring town.

        I also feel more folks would travel if there were no weekday games, and you were sure to play all weekend. The double elimination means if you have 1 bad game you can recover. The problem with “cinderella” is that some weak school has 1 good game, and knocks out a good team, only to lose in the next round.

        You could drop seeds 13, 14, 15, and 16 (16 teams total) and have no drop off of realistic eventual tournament winner. NONE have advanced all the way to the Final Four!. You could argue 9, 10, 11, 12 (16 more teams) and still not lose much. Only LSU (86) and George Mason (06), in this group have made it to the Final Four, and I would argue that I watched GM play earlier in the season and would not have given them an #11 seed.

        Sure Villanova was an 8 seed, but only because the Hoyas were getting all the press coverage in their conference that year. 6 players on that Nova team got drafted into the pros, lost to the Hoyas in the regular season by ONLY 2pts, and beat #1 Michigan, #5 Maryland, #2 North Carolina, and #2 Memphis State. I was at that Final Four and picked Nova to take it all, and was branded as an idiot. Later that night I got to celebrate with the team and their endearing manager, as so few folks expected them to win, that the crowd at the hotel was tiny.

        If they want to do auto ins from the minor conferences, and bubble teams, let them play in the NIT in a 64, 96, 128 team single elimination so they can see how far cinderella can go. In short, I would love fewer teams in a double elimination! It would also allow you to see more top teams play each other more often.

        d) So you are saying it has more to do with academics (qualifying) than actual athletics. So basically the correlation should be high between low admission standards and oversigning. Is there someone who has run the numbers between undergrad:grad ratio and oversigning. I think it was you who suggested in an earlier post that actual live paid attendance was a sign of football health.

        e) I started out as an AE, but shifted to Finance. I am a fan of GT engineering school and get defensive at times when they seemed to take forever to get the AAU mantle. Several uncles from both sides of my family were engineers from Princeton, MIT, etc. and they all confirmed that GT was a good school way back when I was looking at colleges, which I why I do not get why they seem to not get the love at times.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          d) I think there is a correlation between admission standards & oversigning (though a weak one). The schools who signed the least players are Northwestern, WFU, & GTech. Duke, ND, BC, Cal, Vandy, Rice, and Stanford are all in the lower half of the list (most in the lower quarter).

          However, are admission standards for Auburn, MissSt., Auburn, Kentucky, Arkansas, Alabama, & LSU that much lower than admission standards for Florida Atlantic, Boise, TCU, NMSU, Buffalo, NIU, and WKU?

          Like

        • Brian says:

          Academics, or more precisely the willingness to ignore them, is a big part, especially for schools like Troy. They plan on putting a big chunk of every class into a JUCO. I wish they would pursue real student athletes, but they stress the athlete and are willing to compromise on academics.

          The bigger problem, in my opinion, is the willingness of schools to cut players who aren’t stars. Most schools have qualms about it, so the SEC West gets an advantage by being more professional in their approach. Alabama magically has more medical hardships under Saban than the rest of the SEC combined. Miles tells a player who’s already in a dorm that he has no scholarship. Tommy Tuberville openly says it is a competitive advantage but nobody forces the B10 to have morals. The university presidents don’t seem to care, especially in the SEC.

          The sheer amount of media coverage of the issue the last couple of years may be enough to get serious reform, though. Now that the spotlight is on the issue, the NCAA could earn some positive press by fixing the problem.

          GT is a great engineering school, but that’s all they were for a long time. They were told they had to improve and expand in some other areas (sciences, liberal arts) to get into the AAU. They just weren’t well rounded enough for membership. It is a fair criticism in my opinion. GT really was essentially an engineering trade school.

          Like

          • Bullet says:

            Hence UGA’s name for GT: “That trade school on North Avenue.”

            Like

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Brian – the LSU player you referenced above knew getting a grey-shirt was always a possibility. If he would have waited one more day, he would have gotten a scholly , as LSU’s would-be future savior QB Zach Lee decided to throw LSU a curveball and throw fastballs for the LA Dodgers – along with pocketing a $5mm signing bonus. But he left to play for Kentucky. Funny thing is now that the kid is back and enrolled at LSU.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Alan,

            If you don’t see a problem with pulling a ‘ship in fall after the kid is in school, then there’s nothing to discuss.

            Win at all costs and damn the consequences is an SEC philosophy, but not a national one.

            Like

          • Bamatab says:

            Brian, at least Saban is somewhat honest with the recruits that they are on one year scholarships that they have to work for. Here is the a quote from an article on it: “Give Saban credit. At least he tells recruits they might get cut to clear space for newer signees. When the Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Sun-News interviewed seven participants in the Offense-Defense Bowl about the topic of the one-year, renewable scholarship, only one, Alabama commitment Christion Jones, knew his scholarship had to be renewed annually. “Coach Saban told me it’s a one-year scholarship you have to work for,” Jones told the paper. “Some coaches don’t tell some kids. Some kids have to find out the hard way.””

            http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/andy_staples/01/24/oversigning/index.html#

            He also doesn’t just cut kids and not give them the opportunity to either transfer or take a medical redshirt (which they have all qualified for) so they can keep on earning their degree. If a kid isn’t going to see the field, why should you have to waste a spot on the football team for them? Let them either transfer or give them a medical where they can continue to earn their degree.

            College football is a BUSINESS. Like it or not that is a fact nowadays. It’s not like Saban is breaking the rules or anything by oversigning, bending them maybe, but not breaking them.

            Like

          • duffman says:

            To be fair to all sides, and conferences, the 4 year scholarship is as mythical as a unicorn these days.

            Like

          • Bullet says:

            Saban bends the rules until they’re unrecognizable. But at least the medical redshirt (which he abuses more than anyone else in the country-and more than the rest of the SEC combined) takes care of the student, rather than dumping them out the door a week before school starts.

            It violates the spirit of the rules and may break the rules if they aren’t really unable to play.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            duffman,

            The 4 year scholarship isn’t dead, just gravely wounded. Most schools don’t cut people for lack of skill, or force them to transfer or take medical redshirts. It is officially 1 year renewable, and oversigning is not against the letter of the rules. Some schools just place more value on treating players ethically than others.

            Like

        • Bullet says:

          The drag on the regular season is the 5th and 6th place team in the big conferences. They don’t get it done in the season, don’t get it done in the conference tourney, so they get one more shot. It also means the top 2 or 3 teams in the conference know almost from December they will be in (with 68 teams). There are 5 or 6 conferences that should be Division II. They wouldn’t be Division I if not for the tourney money. But I don’t think the 15 & 16 seeds do much harm.

          Like

        • ezdozen says:

          Villanova being an 8th seed was a product of being terrible during the regular season relative to their talent. They finally put it together at the end.

          Like

    • AggieFrank says:

      @duffman

      b) Texas A&M wanted a B12 network and was pushing for that option. It didn’t want a joint deal between the two as it was likely to destablize and kill the B12. Texas wasn’t offering equal terms either, more along the lines of 80% Texas / 20% A&M.

      c) A&M to the SEC is hardly DOA. The SEC and A&M might happen in the next 3 months.

      extra: Both A&M and OU undertand that the $15M annual payout Texas is receiving in the deal contains a large percentage based on the “goodwill” of paying both schools. It will be interesting to see how much value remains when A&M and OU are in the SEC…

      Like

  60. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    I can’t believe we didn’t already mention/think of the BEVO-TV proposal to televise HS games could be an NCAA violation.

    http://collegefootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/01/26/am-raising-eyebrows-at-espnut-televising-high-school-games/

    Like

    • Brian says:

      Somebody mentioned it, but I doubt it’s a problem. If a father selling his kid wasn’t already against the rules, what are the odds of university network being in the rules? I’d bet the network is structured such that legally Texas can avoid responsibility.

      It’ll probably take a new rule if they want to stop it, and then either ESPN will sue (if they’ve invested money) or the deal will just go away.

      Like

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        Brian – you can sit in judgment from wherever you are, but obviously the people closest to the situation – Elliott Porter and his parents – have a different opinion as he’s now back at LSU.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          ???

          That he’s back at LSU doesn’t mean he wasn’t wronged.

          Some women go back to men to beat them. Doesn’t mean we should condone domestic violence.

          Like

        • Brian says:

          What?

          You mentioned ESPN UT being a possible violation and I mentioned that even something obvious like Cam Newton wasn’t ruled against. What does Elliot Porter have to do with it?

          Like

        • Brian says:

          LSU had 18 openings and signed 27 players. By some miracle, all 27 qualified academically. Now LSU needed room for them all.

          Those 18 openings became 25 by:
          1. Kicking 1 off (it happens, but you can’t plan for it)

          2. Having 2 transfer (so does this, especially when your coach suggests it)

          3. Having 3 medical hardships

          4. Cutting 1 player for not being good enough

          That conveniently made 25 openings, the maximum number of signees allowed. With 27 signed, however, Miles still had to release one player from his LOI in April since he refused to grayshirt and then released Elliot Porter in August after he was in summer school and also refused to grayshirt. The other guy was at least released early enough to sign with another school, while Porter was screwed.

          Notes:
          1. Grayshirting is to delay starting school until the next January, for those who don’t know.

          2. Both released players were 3* recruits. I’m sure it’s a coincidence that they were the ones Miles chose to release, and not 4* players.

          3. Porter was not one of the last recruits for LSU. He was their 18th commitment and committed in summer.

          4. Players do not have to sign a LOI in order to get a scholarship in the fall. LSU could have only signed 25 and said to the others they will give you a scholarship if one comes open. That would have left the players as free agents instead of making empty promises that restricted their options. Then the players could make an informed decision between attending another school, grayshirting or walking on that fall.

          Like

      • Jake says:

        I know I saw something the other day that cited the specific NCAA rule in question, but I’ll be damned if I can remember where it was. It really should be against the rules, but it’s Texas, so they’ll probably get away with it.

        I’m wondering if they can’t show something like Southland Conference games instead of high school stuff. It’s not like those guys are getting on TV anywhere else.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          Well, a school can’t even mention a potential recruit, but it looks like UT doesn’t technically own any part of ESPN UT. ESPN is building the studio, hiring the employees and presumably renting the studio space, so they’ll claim it’s a completely separate enterprise. You have to believe the lawyers have looked into this.

          Like

        • Bullet says:

          You can’t give a HS student special benefits. But to rule this a violation is a REEEEAAAAL stretch of the rules. Much more of a stretch than the Cam ruling or the Ohio St. ruling in the other direction.

          The University Interscholastic League which coordinates HS sports and academic competitions in Texas is a unit of the University of Texas. The Longhorn Network might show some UIL competitions. To say this somehow benefits recruiting is something only an Aggie could believe (the link says A&M is asking for an investigation). There may be financial benefits to the University, but there are lots of things schools do that are of financial benefit that are none of the NCAA’s business. That T. Boone went to OSU, that Phil Nike went to Oregon and that Rice and Harvard have big endowments, that Cal has huge research $ are of financial benefit, but aren’t something that the NCAA regulates.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            Bullet,

            If the network is selective in which HS teams it shows and which players it interviews or hypes based on UT recruiting, of course it could be a recruiting tool (I said if).

            If HS coaches learn they’ll never get on TV if their best players don’t go to TX, they’ll be inclined to push TX.

            If players learn that they only get interviewed if they’re considering TX, they’ll consider TX.

            I’m not saying this would happen, but it is certainly possible for the channel to be used as a recruiting tool.

            Like

  61. Playoffs Now says:

    ESPN wants ‘significant’ high school sports coverage on UT network

    http://www.mysanantonio.com/sports/article/ESPN-wants-significant-high-school-sports-980064.php

    As I suspected, ESPN is about to get into high school sports in a huge way, TXPN is just one outlet for it, but the facility may be a logistical beachhead.

    While we’re at it, my sports watching hierarchy:

    1. NFL Red Zone
    2. CFB-regular season
    3. MLB-playoffs and a few spring/summer games if the Astros and/or Rangers have been consistently good or I’m working out
    4. NASCAR (in the background until a wreck or the final laps)
    5. College World Series and U.TX baseball in the post-season or I’m working out
    6. Augusta National
    7. NHL outdoors, a playoff game or two in the background, a Dallas Stars game or two per year when I’m working out
    8. a few Aussie Rules football in the background per year
    9. KY Derby and until Triple Crown chance is over

    (big gap)

    10. Puppy Bowl

    11. A World Cup game or two every 4 years, until something again reminds me how stupid soccer is (buzzing and ref corruption this year)

    (big gap)

    12. 10+ hour tennis matches

    (big gap)

    13. last 2 minutes of NCAA tourney games, maybe an entire title game if there is something like Butler (i.e. once a decade)

    14. last 2 minutes of Houston Rockets playoff games

    Like

    • Bullet says:

      You may have to wait a while for #14. Few more years?

      Like

    • Michael in Indy says:

      I’ll watch the Cubs in the playoffs because of the compelling prospect of seeing a team in the midst of a 103-year drought finally pull through, and I’ll watch the Braves because they were my favorite team growing up.

      Live baseball games are a blast.

      Otherwise, watching baseball on television, for me, is eye-crossingly boring, World Series and all. It’s not just that it’s a slow sport. It’s that the teams are so hard to relate to. If the Yankees win the World Series, so what? They’ve won the dang thing so many times that it’s neither exciting nor upsetting. Most other teams aren’t interesting either. I can’t force myself to be interested in the Rays when their own fans hardly ever show up until the postseason. Same for teams like the Rangers.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        Agreed on live baseball. I went to a few A’s games back when they made the playoffs, and for their record-setting winning streak (because it’s the A’s, you didn’t have trouble getting tickets to those games). Pretty cool. Fans acted only slightly better than Raiders fans, though.

        Like

      • Bullet says:

        Free agency has really hurt the sport. Cincy and Pittsburg were the powers of the 70s, but small market Pittsburg hasn’t been to the World Series since 1979. Small Market Cincinnati only 1990 since their 1976 trip. I realize there won’t be much sympathy from a Chicago based board, but 10 of the other 14 NL teams have been to the World Series since 1998. Small market Milwaukee hasn’t been since 82 when they were in the AL, Small market Montreal that recently moved to DC has never been, the Dodgers (surprisingly last there in 88) and, of course, the Cubs. Montreal, Milwaukee, Pittsburg and Cincinnati were the 4 smallest metro areas in the NL.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          Kinda like how, in college football, really only BCS schools (and pretty much always traditional powers in BCS conferences) really have a shot at the national title.

          Like

        • Of course, you could argue that having 10 different NL teams winning the pennant since 1998 is evidence of parity. In baseball, money really buys consistent competitiveness as opposed to championships themselves… and that’s assuming the money is spent wisely. The Cubs, Mets and Dodgers have all had massive payrolls, yet have paled in success compared to low budget/well-run franchises like the Twins and Rays. The general perception of MLB is that without a salary cap, it’s the sport most susceptible to rich teams buying titles. However, it’s actually had the largest variety of champions of the 4 major sports in this century so far.

          Like

          • Bullet says:

            Once you pass the threshold–9 of the teams(not counting Washington) are in metro areas of 4.0 million or better. 3 are around 3.0 million. The Brewers are around 1.6 and the Red, Pirates and Expos were 2.0 to 2.4. million. None of those 4 has been there in 20 years. 10 of the other 12 have.

            When you look at the AL 6 of the 7 teams since 98 have been in metro areas over 4.0 million and only 1 of the 6 below. 7 teams are in metro areas over 4.0 and 6 have been there since 98. Oakland was 1990 (and they are only 2.4 if you only consider Oakland and not the whole Bay Area).
            Of the 5 teams in areas around 3.0 million only Tampa Bay has been there. Toronto was 93, Minnesota 91, Orioles 83 and Seattle never. Of the other 2 Cleveland made it last in 97 (and 1948 before that) and KC hasn’t been since 85.

            While a lot of different teams have been there, no other sport is so split by the size of the metro area. Its a combination of free agency recruiting rules, the growth in local media markets and revenue sharing of those secondary and tertiary rights (sounds like we are talking about conference expansion).

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Not sure how you can complain about inequality in MLB and ignore the much more gigantic inequality in