You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Aggies

Posted: February 7, 2011 in Big Ten, College Basketball, College Football, Sports
Tags: , , , , , , ,

It was as predictable as a lackadaisical road game for the Illini basketball team. When the University of Texas signed its network deal with ESPN, the drumbeats from people that aren’t looking at the big picture started: “Well, this means Texas A&M is heading to the SEC sooner rather than later.”  It’s a stance that’s become reflexive among many widely read pundits.  Unfortunately, that stance is absolutely and positively dead wrong.

If there’s one overarching takeaway that you should get from this blog post, it’s that what Texas A&M wants to do means jack.  I’m very certain Aggies all across America (especially the younger ones) would love nothing more than to move to the SEC, yet that’s irrelevant.  What really matters is what Texas A&M is allowed to do, and with a Molotov cocktail of an SEC that doesn’t really want to expand, Texas state politicians that are out to quash any move that will injure Texas Tech and Baylor, and ESPN specifically wanting the Big 12 to live, that leaves with Texas A&M with virtually no options outside of staying right where they are.

THE REACTIONARY SEC

Let’s start out with the most basic rule in conference realignment: it takes two to tango.  In order for Texas A&M to even consider to move, the SEC has to want to add them in the first place.  There’s a widely misguided belief in the blog and message board world that since the SEC reportedly invited Texas A&M and Oklahoma over this past summer, that means there’s an “open invite” for the Aggies and Sooners.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Everyone is forgetting the circumstances under which the SEC invited those two schools.  OU president David Boren stated that the Pac-16 proposal was researched and planned, while the SEC invitations were “a reaction to the situation”.  The SEC was never proactive in last year’s conference realignment because they didn’t (and still don’t) have any type of vehicle to justify expanding beyond 12 schools.  This is in contrast to the Big Ten, whose Big Ten Network can garner additional revenue from adding more basic cable households, and the Pac-10, who was so far behind in revenue that it was worth it for them to take a huge leap in order to add UT and friends.

The fact of the matter is that the SEC loves the status quo.  They are Wal-Mart to the Big Ten’s Target in college football’s financial hierarchy, with everyone else way behind.  The last thing that the SEC wanted was to see major changes to the conference landscape where a third equal competitor would rise up or, even worse, being sent to a permanent third place position.  So, the only reason why the SEC offered A&M and OU those invites was because they were looking at a world where 2 superconferences were about to be formed – the Pac-16 with UT as the centerpiece and a 16-school Big Ten with Nebraska and Notre Dame as the main additions – and they had to draw a little blood in order to not completely get left behind.

We need to make this clear: the SEC invites to A&M and OU were completely reactionary.  Once the Big 12 was saved and superconferences weren’t formed, the reasoning for the SEC to expand evaporated.  There is only one way that the SEC can lose its dominant position next to the Big Ten at this point: if UT moves from the Big 12 to another conference (because as we’ve explained here before, they’re never going to the SEC themselves).  That’s something the SEC absolutely doesn’t want to see happen.  As a result, the SEC isn’t going to make a proactive move on the Big 12 because it’s not going to risk giving UT a reason to explore the Pac-16 proposal again.  If some other conference makes a move on the Big 12, then the SEC will react in order to pick up the pieces, but they’re not going to attack first.  The only realistic way A&M gets an SEC invite is if someone else raids the Big 12.

ALL CONFERENCE POLITICS ARE LOCAL

Now, let’s say that I’m completely wrong about all that I just said about the SEC and they extend invites to A&M and OU, anyway.  That doesn’t mean that the Aggies (or OU, for that matter) can just move willingly.  Here’s a quick recap of the major conference realignments since the collapse of the Southwestern Conference:

1994 – UT and A&M attempt to move to the Big 8 by themselves to create a 10-team conference.  Texas legislators catch wind of the plan and use political pressure on those 2 schools to force Texas Tech and Baylor into the league, too.

2003 – The ACC invites Miami, Boston College and Syracuse.  Virginia legislators catch wind of the plan and use political pressure on UVA to force Virginia Tech to get an invite in lieu of BC and Syracuse.  BC eventually gets an invite later on, while Syracuse is still in the Big East.

2010 – The Pac-10 invites the entire Big 12 South except for Baylor.  The deal falls apart and Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott attributes it to the political heat from Texas legislators with Baylor getting left out.

See a pattern here?  State legislators have played a central role in all three major conference realignments in the past 20 years, including Texas legislators specifically in two of them.  Public universities are controlled by a ton of different interest groups, including people whose loyalties lie with competing universities.  Notre Dame, as a private university, can simply listen to its own rabid alumni base in making decisions.  Texas A&M (and other public universities) can’t do the same.  Despite this fact along with recent conference realignment history, virtually every single column that I’ve read suggesting that Texas A&M will eventually head to the SEC either (a) completely ignores Texas politicians altogether or (b) makes unsubstantiated comments that the politicians aren’t obligated protect Tech and Baylor anymore.

What?!  It’s incredulous to me how anyone that observed what occurred this past summer could think for two seconds that Texas politicians won’t get involved.  If anything, it proves that Tech and Baylor have more pull than previously anticipated.  As I’ve admitted previously, I certainly made the grave mistake a year ago in my conference realignment analysis of underestimating how much Texans believe that football matters are of the utmost political importance.  I haven’t seen a single person articulate a legitimate reason why a single thing has changed in the political environment in Texas since this past summer or even 1994.  The Texas legislature has literally done more to shape college conferences over the past 20 years than any other entity.  Besides, even if you assume that Tech and Baylor don’t have a Bob Bullock-type figure to hammer through their interests, UT is going to be right alongside the supporters of the little brothers on this issue.  UT wants nothing to do with A&M in the SEC (for good reason) and the Longhorns know how to play the political game as well as anyone.  I really hope people aren’t naive enough to think that Texas politicians are just going to sit on the sidelines if A&M attempts to move to the SEC by itself. 

IF TEXAS TECH AND BAYLOR AREN’T BETTER OFF WITHOUT A&M THAN WITH THEM, THEN DO NOT PASS GO

The main argument that I see from those that believe that A&M is heading to the SEC is that Texas Tech and Baylor can be “taken care of” in order to placate the politicians.  There is a prevailing belief that as long as the Big 12 survives with UT staying there, then A&M can move alone.  The problem with this line of thinking is that Texas politicians have consistently placed a MUCH higher standard of what it means for Tech and Baylor to be “taken care of”.  Having those schools “taken care of” really means two options:

(1) UT and A&M are in the same conference as Tech and Baylor.  Period.

OR

(2) Tech and Baylor are financially stronger without one of the big brothers in the same conference than with them.

Think of it this way: if I come and take a wrecking ball to your kitchen, you’re probably not going to think you’re “taken care of” if I point out the fact that I left your bedroom intact, so at least you’re not homeless.  Well, Texas A&M can’t just leave the Big 12 and make more money in the SEC while simultaneously reduce the conference revenues for Texas Tech and Baylor (and for that matter, UT) and claim that they’re “taken care of”.  That’s a proactive move by A&M that hurts those in-state little brothers.  So, simply saying that Tech and Baylor are still in an AQ home isn’t good enough for the Texas politicians.  A&M has to find a way to ensure that Tech and Baylor somehow make more money with the Aggies leaving the Big 12, which most reasonable people would conclude simply isn’t realistic.  As noted earlier, the SEC doesn’t really have a financial vehicle to justify expanding in the first place, so every expansion candidate has to pull more than its own weight.  A&M is a very good catch for any conference by itself, but that school isn’t worth SEC having to add any type of financial dead weight (Tech or Baylor) in order to get them.

As for OU, the Sooners are even more tethered to Oklahoma State politically than the Texas-based schools are to each other.  The T. Boone Pickens mafia will destroy that prospect immediately.  There’s absolutely no scenario where OU would move to another conference without Okie State.  None.  Zip.  Nada.  Zilch.

THE PAC-16 PROPOSAL IS THE MINIMUM FOR ANY FUTURE CHANGES

Here’s the bottom line: the Pac-16 proposal is now the bare minimum that politicians will consider.  That proposal protected Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, yet the big brothers of UT, A&M and OU ultimately rejected that deal.  As a result, those big brothers expended pretty much all of their political capital on conference realignment.  There was a massive offer from a major conference that was willing to take Tech and Okie State, which means that the big brothers can’t now look their respective state legislators in the face and say that they’re ditching the little brothers for a better deal elsewhere.  (This includes the prospect of UT going independent.)  From this point forward, there’s absolutely NFW that the politicians in either Texas or Oklahoma are going to let the big brothers move without something that replicates the original Pac-16 proposal at the very least.  If you believe Larry Scott, Baylor has to protected in order to ensure it gets approved, too.

Some OU supporters are already ruing the day that they walked away from the Pac-16 offer.  (Of course, that’s neither here nor there.  OU wasn’t getting a Pac-10 invite without UT also coming along.)  Honestly, A&M’s reluctance to go to the Pac-16 might be what ends up forever binding them to the Big 12 that so many of their alums now hate.  Why would Texas politicians let them go off to the SEC alone when all of UT, A&M and Tech would’ve been taken care of in the Pac-16 deal if A&M didn’t have any reservations to going west?  The answer is that they’re not – A&M is stuck, whether they like it or not.

ESPN ISN’T STUPID – THEY WANT THE BIG 12 TO LIVE

Finally, there’s a pretty basic item that so many people are missing: ESPN paid up last summer specifically to save the Big 12, so they wouldn’t have entered into a deal with UT unless they believed the Big 12 would stay together.  Certainly, ESPN wouldn’t have created the new UT network if it would have the effect of actually breaking apart the conference that it just saved.  ESPN might be annoying from a journalistic standpoint, but their business people aren’t stupid.

(Indeed, in the third quarter of 2010, ESPN provided half of the profit of the entire Disney Company.  Think about that for a second: add up all of Toy Story 3 ticket sales, all of the people visiting Disney World and Disneyland, all of the Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh swag sold, all of the ABC advertising revenue, all of the Disney books and DVDs hawked, all of the High School Musical and Hannah Montana crap, all of the Disney Broadway show tickets, and revenue from thousands of other Disney properties, and they still weren’t as profitable altogether as ESPN was by itself.  That’s power.)

So, ESPN entered into the deal with UT based on assurances that the Big 12 was going to live on, and the cable giant has a ton of control over that.  With the Worldwide Leader holding the purse strings for the Big 12′s next TV contract, they’re going to provide juuuust enough to keep the non-UT members placated to ensure the investment in the Longhorn network was worth it.  ESPN wants nothing to do with paying massive rights fees for superconferences, which is why they intervened when it looked like the Big 12 was going to collapse.  The status quo is what they desire for college conferences and they have the financial capital to pay out accordingly in order to keep it that way.  Make no mistake about it – ESPN knows that UT staying in the Big 12 is ultimately what provides it stability and that’s a big reason why $15 million per year for the Longhorn Network is a relatively inexpensive insurance policy for the Worldwide Leader.

TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE FOR A&M

At the end of the day, if A&M or any other Big 12 school had an issue with UT’s new TV network, the time that they had any leverage was last summer.  They’ve all known for years that UT has been planning for a new TV network, so this wasn’t a surprise.  In fact, it was a key negotiating point of last summer’s realignment discussions.  Now that they agreed to keep the Big 12 together and, more importantly, rejected a Pac-16 deal that would’ve protected Texas Tech and Oklahoma State specifically, A&M in particular doesn’t have any more chips to play.  You can’t always get what you want, Aggies.  Instead, you can only do what you’re allowed to do, which isn’t much at all.

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

(Image from Texas A&M to SEC Facebook Page)

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Comments
  1. greg says:

    Go Hawks.

    • Playoffs Now says:

      FTT, in the urge to reduce Texas politics into simple absolutes you’ve put your faith in a Maginot Line.

      Timing and context matter, and last June the governor was up for election in 5 months and the legislature (which meets once every 2 years) would convene soon after to tackle a large deficit while pledged to avoid raising taxes. Not a good time to rock the boat. However the current legislative session ends June 1st, after which the political landscape will be much more opportune if aTm (or UTx) wants to take advantage of it.

      That said, I don’t expect the B12-2 to dissolve or aTm go to the SEC this year (and yes, one can potentially happen without the other.) Fanbase delusion tends to be a default for the Ags, and their SEC dreams are no exception. But one would be foolish to put one’s faith in absolutes when it comes to Texas politics.

      For example, 4×16 would indeed be difficult (not impossible) to pull off because of the likely big negative impact to Baylor, TCU, and UHou. However 5×16 (say a BEast+(B12-2) leftovers BCS-equivalent conference) might not be. You really think Texas politicians wouldn’t be tempted to consider a solution that moves from 5 in-state BCS schools (UTx, aTm, TT, Bayl, TCU) to 6 or 7 (elevating and UHou and perhaps SMU?) Baylor might bitch about the SuperBEast being a step down in pay, but protecting TCU, UHou, and maybe SMU benefits far more potential voters and provides good political cover.

      Plus I wouldn’t over rely on the assumption that ESPN strongly doesn’t want super conferences forming. Everything has its price, most things are negotiable. Thus the supposed preference against super conferences forming is a factor, not an absolute.

      • Jake says:

        Yeah, I’m holding my breath waiting for the Texas legislature to show some concern for TCU. Ain’t nobody lookin’ out for us but us.

        • glenn says:

          jake, jake, jake! that’s a good thing. actually, i bet you see it as such.

          most will tell you the worst thing you can do for someone is rob them of the opportunity to fail. it is fear of failure that spurs us all to push for success. i am convinced that the precarious situation that tcu has been in is the author of your recent success.

          it is ironic to me beyond words that the so-called conservative texas legislature become downright socialist and protectionist when it comes to their favorite programs. you want to think they don’t truly believe their basic tenets.

          • Richard says:

            Well, Glenn, you’ll find that most folks who espouse the conservative free-market ideals are really monopolists at heart once they get money and power. It makes sense, really, since everybody’s out for Number One (and once you’re on top, you _don’t_ want a competitive free market where you could go down; instead, you favor protectionism and monopoly to protect your interests). It’s why libertarians who think a functioning society can remain libertarian live in lalaland. What they find is that powerful interests will be capitalist on the way up and socialist on the way down (like our banking sector).

            BTW, fear of failure doesn’t drive success so much as it reduces risk-taking. This actually is fairly well documented in economics.

          • Jake says:

            @Glenn – Oh, believe me, we’re okay being on our own – state support may seem nice, but it ain’t worth letting the state leg. get its hooks in you. We’re doing just fine. I’m only saying that I don’t expect the fine folks in Austin (either on the hill or the 40 Acres) to extend us a hand.

            @Richard – I think a free market, libertarian system would “work,” but I’m not sure anyone would want to live in it. It would probably end up as a handful of essentially unchecked, unregulated monopolies showing just enough concern for workers and consumers to stave off revolution. Not a lot of fun, unless you run one of the monopolies.

          • Richard says:

            Jake:

            Yep. It wouldn’t be very free market, then. It’d be mercantilist/monopolist crony capitalism.

        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          Jake – your rich alums that have pumped well over half a billion into the campus over the last 10 years certainly helps.

          BTW Jake, my daughter and I, and several of her friends and their parents will be touring TCU over the Mardi Gras break, and taking in a TCU baseball game. We visited TCU this past Summer and she fell in love with the place. I’m trying to get her to keep an open mind about colleges, but as of now TCU is the measuring stick.

          • Jake says:

            @Alan – Glad to know the campus improvements are paying off. I hope you’ve either been saving up or your daughter can land a fat scholarship, because tuition has skyrocketed since I was there. And I’ve got baseball season tickets, so I look forward to seeing you in the newly expanded Lupton Stadium. If you’re around for a weekend series, you’ve got to see Matt Purke pitch. As the UT fans on this board can attest, that kid is unreal.

    • Jhn says:

      by god half your facts are skewed and the other half are missing, good god son, quit your day job. (if this is it)

  2. btrealign says:

    add

  3. John says:

    You wrote all that without doing your homework?
    A&M has a standing offer to join the SEC. The TV market along with the fan base is what the SEC wants.

    • Brian says:

      John,

      Do you have some evidence to back that up? Has someone official said that on the record? Has it been stated and not refuted? Can you provide a link?

      • Dr. Clarkus says:

        Of course he can’t because it’s not sure. Typical aggie delusion.

      • Rob says:

        FTT Brain can you prove there is not an open invite to the SEC? Provide a link to where the SEC said they don’t want A&M anymore? You can’t can you…see it works both ways!

        hth

        • jj says:

          FSM strikes again!

          • jj says:

            You cannot prove that something does not exist, but you can prove that something does. Brian wins.

          • Rob says:

            jj Says

            Read my post below and if you are not blind by the mighty tu spin machine you would see that I am totally right.

        • Brian says:

          Rob,

          I don’t know if they have an open offer or not. I was making an honest request for a link to information that John has. I’m not a TAMU or UT or SEC fan, so a quote from somebody relevant could easily have slipped by me. I’ve seen Mike Slive dodge the question of offering a spot to TAMU, but I’ve never seen any confirmation of a standing offer. If someone has that proof, great. If not, it’s speculation.

          Generally the person making a claim should provide the proof, not require that everyone prove that it isn’t true if they don’t agree.

          • Rob says:

            Brain

            Mike Slive was in College station last year at A&M right before tu decided to come back to the Big 12-2…not because it wanted to save it but because the Pac 10 Commissioner told tu that they will not bully the rest of the Pac 10 around. They will be an equal partner and all revenue will be shared with all members.

            Of course tu always want it cake and they want to eat it as well so they will never share anything with anybody.

            At any rate back to Mike Slive in College Station the SEC commissioner would come to College Station in person unless he was serious. The SEC wants into the the DFW, Houston, San Antonio TV markets. So whether you want to believe there is not an open ended offer is up to you. If A&M decides the time is right the SEC is not going to say know they will offer with open arms. If OU was smart they would follow.

            Mark my word any conference that has tu in it will go down in flames because tu wants to run everything. They are the ones that killed the old SWC becuase they are the ones that wanted to join the Big 8 first before they asked A&M to come with them.

          • Brian says:

            Rob,

            So what you’re saying is, it is pure speculation that TAMU has a standing offer to join the SEC.

      • m (Ag) says:

        FWIW, I have seen articles where an A&M Regent claims that A&M has a standing offer.

        I haven’t seen an article where the SEC makes a statement either way.

    • Smokey says:

      Jake,
      Your assumption is that the SEC contract is static. It would be very fluid with the Texas TV markets that now would be tuning into SEC football.

  4. jtower says:

    Frank,
    Now that have once more provided a clear, rational explanation for the survival of the Big x(II), the positioning of the ocho and the gigging of the aggys can you give some thought to where the Big x(II) goes from here. Texas and OU have indicated that they prefer round robin to divisions and ccg. Any chance the Big x(II) and Big East form an alliance for a “ccg” between the conferences. Keep the finances of the two entities separate call it a “super conference” with the XII “division” and the east “division” and have at it. It might stabilize the big east, and seems to me more likely than the Big X(II) adding any of the available/rumored/coveted suspects.

    • Richard says:

      1. If OU and Texas indicated that they prefer a round robin to a CCG, why would they endorse adding essentially a CCG against the BE? I kind of doubt that they want a round robin because they want to foster intense rivalries with KU, KSU, & ISU.

      2. Why would the B12 care about stabilizing the BE?

    • Aaron says:

      Last May, there was talk about a Big XII and Pac-10 agreement to play all of their non-conference games against each other. That quietly went away in early June.

  5. Steve says:

    Bookmark this post and come back in June of this year.

    The State of Texas is in a financial bind right now–1000s of jobs and literally $Billions will be slashed during the current biennial legislative session … you definitely overestimate the power of Baylor and Texas Tech and the ability of Texas legislators to worry about a “little” issue like conference realignment when a generational budget shortfall is staring Texas smack-dab in the face.

    When ESPN agreed to pay Texas $300M, the SEC had further proof of what they knew: that there is additional monetization out there for their college football media contracts. All they need, to get an additional “bite at the apple” of even more conference TV money, is to increase conference size. More members = renegotiation. Status quo = no more money, because the ink is dry on their media contracts.

    Will the SEC add a school or schools to renegotiate? Who knows. But adding A&M (or another school) would unequivocally open the door to renegotiations. Go read the Clay Travis interview with Mike Slive of summer 2010.

    In short, it’s always about money, so I wouldn’t bet on the SEC standing pat … especially if they are certain that significant $$$ are out there.

    If Texas alone can get $300M over 20 years for one football game per year, a bunch of Tier III programming, and “culturally relevant TV programming”, how much can the SEC get by renegotiating the contracts for an entire, expanded conference of the best football in America.

    Yep, they can get that much.

    • Richard says:

      Texas was going to get $2M from Fox. ESPN overpaid Texas in order to head off a superconference. No TV group wants to overpay an expanded SEC.

    • Aaron says:

      But Texas has a dog in this one now. They get their cash and stability by keeping the conference as it is. The loss of A&M would hurt Texas so it’s not just Tech and Baylor politicians, but UT’s as well.

  6. George says:

    Great post, as always.

    So the takeaway is that no more expansion in the Big Ten, Pac-12, or SEC occurs without UT to the Pac-12 or ND to the Big Ten? (Or some major legal challenge to the BCS) Texas going independent is not feasible given their legislature, and there are no other possible “home run” additions.

    • superdeluxe says:

      That is the way I read it. I think you have to take at least four..but I don’t even see how that works, unless Baylor is taken care of somehow (Travel partner with TCU?)

  7. BrianB says:

    I guess you are trolling tower.

    Rick Perry just replaced 3 regents all of which are pro SEC. Wait until the Texas Legislature rests in a few months.
    A&M is about to make the move.

    • Adam says:

      You know, the Legislature can be brought back into session where there is the political will/desire to do so. See Tex. Const. art. 4, §8(a).

      • Stemp says:

        Yeah, an Aggie governor is going to call a special session of the Texas Legislature to stop it from changing athletic conferences.

        Keep telling yourself that. Maybe it will come true.

        • Adam says:

          I suspect that, if the Legislature itself wanted to get back into session (because the constituents of the legislators were clamoring for them to intervene), no Governor would stand in the way.

  8. Mike says:

    Frank,

    To throw the A&M faithful a bone, what is the most likely scenario that A&M could end up divorcing UT (assuming they want to)? Is it ND+1 (Mizz, Pitt, MD, ‘Cuse, Rutgers, KU) to the Big Ten?

    • Richard says:

      TAMU, OU, OSU, & Mizzou to the SEC (maaaybe TAMU & Mizzou to the SEC). Only way I can see it work. This is assuming TAMU can get past the Texas politicos, which is a big “if”.

      • jimisawesome says:

        If a 4 team expansion of the SEC was on the table I would have to think that the Big 10 steps in and takes Mizzou along with others just to get to superconference level before the next ESPN deal to leverage it completely. Another reason ESPN will not approve more money for this.

      • superdeluxe says:

        If UT gets a sniff of that they will take OU/OSU/XX and run the pac-xx. I think if the longhorns can keep its network, they would be agreeable to a pac-XX

  9. Hopkins Horn says:

    Great post, Frank. Just threw up a prominent link to it on BON. I may or may not have done some freelance editorializing in my headline to the link.

  10. Hopkins Horn says:

    Great post, Frank. Just threw up a prominent link to it on BON. I may or may not have done some freelance editorializing in my headline to the link.

    http://www.burntorangenation.com/2011/2/7/1981553/frank-to-aggies-youre-not-going-anywhere-little-brother

  11. Nostradamus says:

    Another good article Frank. As an observer of the Big XII from the beginning I’ll agree with everything except the ESPN section (and I’ll concede you may be right there too, and I may be wrong).

    “Finally, there’s a pretty basic item that so many people are missing: ESPN paid up last summer specifically to save the Big 12, so they wouldn’t have entered into a deal with UT unless they believed the Big 12 would stay together.”
    Well define paid. They didn’t exactly shelve out any money last summer to keep the conference together. All they did was say we won’t reduce the payout for the last 5 years of our contract. From a 6/15 AP article about the “saving” of the conference, “The Big 12 approached us asking if we would maintain our current agreement through its term of 2015-16 and we agreed,” said Josh Krulewitz, vice president for communications for ESPN.” That is a less than ringing endorsement of the notion that ESPN paid up to specifically save the conference.

    “Certainly, ESPN wouldn’t have created the new UT network if it would have the effect of actually breaking apart the conference that it just saved. ESPN might be annoying from a journalistic standpoint, but their business people aren’t stupid… So, ESPN entered into the deal with UT based on assurances that the Big 12 was going to live on, and the cable giant has a ton of control over that. ”
    Again you could very well be right on this point. I still think it is essentially an insurance policy for ESPN. Either A) this helps keep Texas in the Big XII and protects the networks investment in the conference or B) ensures they will have the rights to Texas if it blows up. Texas and Oklahoma are really only the two schools left in the conference that the networks would give a damn about. Throw KU basketball in there on a lesser scale too maybe. From that standpoint Walt Disney and Co. are somewhat indifferent to what happens to the Big XII now that they’ve hedged with Texas.

    “With the Worldwide Leader holding the purse strings for the Big 12′s next TV contract, they’re going to provide juuuust enough to keep the non-UT members placated to ensure the investment in the Longhorn network was worth it.”
    If the SBJ rumors from late Sumer are true, it is Rupert Murdoch and not the Worldwide Leader holding the purse strings so to speak. And the Rupert deal was largely contingent on 3rd tier rights going to Fox. Something Powers and Deloss torpedoed with the LSN. It will be interesting to watch how the 2012 negotiations for what is currently covered by FSN and the 2016 ABC negotiations go for the conference. ESPN may have done more to destabilize the conference as opposed to saving it as you suggest.
    ”ESPN wants nothing to do with paying massive rights fees for superconferences, which is why they intervened when it looked like the Big 12 was going to collapse.”
    Again I’m not convinced they intervened. Beebe or more specifically Duda on his behalf approached ESPN in an effort to save the conference asking them if they would honor their current contract despite two schools leaving, they agreed. I also don’t know that ESPN is overly concerned with super-conferences per say. Assume a PAC-16 had formed and for the sake of simplicity that ESPN held similar rights in the new conference that it does in the present Pac 10/12. No doubt it would be more expensive for ESPN, right now they are getting games dirt cheap. As a comparison, the contracts with conferences that ABC/ESPN has pay each Big Ten team about $9 million, each Big XII team $5 million and each Pac 10 team $2.5 million a year. Combining to 16 would drive those team’s rights closer to the Big Ten’s average. I figure it would be a about a net $40 million difference for ESPN. That being said, there are also tradeoffs. You get better matchups. Many weekends under the current 10 team Big XII, ESPN will have a hard time fielding a decent second game. I don’t think ESPN would have any trouble leveraging a 16 team Pac conference; whether or not they would get rights to it may be the more appropriate question.

    “The status quo is what they desire for college conferences and they have the financial capital to pay out accordingly in order to keep it that way.”
    This is the more compelling argument in my opinion. ESPN has invested a significant amount of money and resources into the current system i.e. general conferences and a BCS system. Heading towards 16 team super conferences is getting very close to the dirty word in college football: playoffs.

    • twk says:

      Agree with all of the above, and I also think Frank has badly misread the political situation in Texas. Despite what Larry Scott said, the political heat this last time around was more on the federal level than on the state level. With UT having shown that it’s every man for himself, and an Aggie governor firmly ensconsed for another (and presumably final) four years, it’s highly unlikely that state politics would prove an insurmountable obstacle once the Legislature adjourns in June (and they won’t be back in session until 2013).

      Now, there’s a lot of validity to the argument that the SEC is in a steady state and would prefer to maintain the status quo, but so long as the Big XII remains unstable (and a 10 team league like the Big XII will only last as long as the money is there–let’s see what happens if the money Beebe promised isn’t there when the 4 year cable TV extension bids come in April), then I wouldn’t completely discount the possibility that a forward looking SEC could decide to make a preemptive move for the Texas market by taking A&M. The biggest single impediment to such a move, in my opinion, is the lack of an eastern partner (from the ACC) to balance the move.

  12. M says:

    I am much more confident that the SEC is not looking to expand than that the Texas political situation couldn’t resolve itself into something weird. A system with that many actors and that many contrary goals is highly unpredictable. Anyone who says they know how it will react to sustained determined pressure from a particular direction is lying (even Frank).

    The size of ESPN can work both ways. College football is a small corner of the empire, dwarfed by other sports both nationally (NFL, MLB) and their growing international presence. The college sports division is large, but not compared to the universities it has to deal with, especially considering the political resources that come with state institutions.

  13. Sportsman says:

    If CFB does go to Super Conferences, then the Rights Fees for the S/Cs would be higher, but they’d also be paying for fewer conferences and would (presumably) eliminate paying for the lesser programs/match-ups. There would only be 4 or 5 S/Cs. There would be 5-8 Mid-Majors that the Rights Fees wouldn’t be much more than they are now (per program, excluding inflation). The point being… I don’t think ESPN is worried about S/Cs, as they can afford to pay more programs their market value (more $ for the better programs & less $ for the “lesser” programs).

    • Richard says:

      Like anything else, monopoly power in college football is logorithmic, not linear, so ESPN would pay far more to the superconferences than they would save in paying the lesser conferences.

  14. Themapples says:

    Very good and thought out article but I believe a couple of your assumptions are not entirely correct.

    1. A&M taking a stand for not wanting to go to the PAC 16 did much more then Baylor’s politics. First let’s look back at the end of the SWC and Baylor and Tech forcing their way in. The Texas set up a PUF Fund in 1876 (same year Texas A&M was started) which was intended to support The University of Texas and Texas A&M. The Fund is maintained by 4 members of the Board of Regents (3 from UT and 1 from A&M). However, The Texas Governor controls who gets appointed to the Board of Regents. During the SWC collapse the Texas Governor was Baylor Alumni Ann Richardson. Additionally, the most important political head in the Texas Government the LT Governor at the time Bob Bullock was a Texas Tech (B.A) and Baylor (J.D.) Alumni. Richardson and Bullock threatened to appoint regents and divide the PUF fund to other state school such has Texas Tech.

    Today Governor Rick Perry, Aggie, and Lt Gov David Dewhurst, UofAz are not big road blocks for A&M. However, If Texas tries and leave or take A&M somewhere it doesn’t want to go (Last Summer to the PAC 16) it could get very political.

    2. Why Texas and ESPN don’t care. ESPN just signed a HUGE deal with Texas so that they can basically air one ooc football game? Yeah right… ESPN does not want a TV deal with KU, KSU, Baylor, ISU, Tech, OSU, A&M. What ESPN wants is to have a Texas deal identical or better than NBC and Notre Dame. Can you imagine if Texas got to play OU, A&M, Ark, USC, OSU, ND, BYU, etc, and have every game on prime time ESPN? The problem Texas has is it can’t be the one that breaks up the Big 12. (i.e giving Nebraska an ultimatum before the Big 10 even offered.) If A&M left Texas can place all the blame on A&M then go Indy without the political climate. Texas wants to be the Yankee’s of College Football while having the “It’s not our fault we are so good attitude”

    So to wrap up only Texas and A&M have to have a mutual agreement. If A&M wants to go Baylor and Tech not longer have the sway in high places to stop the move and if Texas’s real goal is to be Indy they will not stand in A&M’s way.

    • Rob says:

      Better the only real thought out opinion on this blog FTT take some lessons

    • BC says:

      I can’t fault the logic here. There could be a few more points added, however. I think UT has seen it’s stock rise sharply in the past 15 years since the advent of the Big 12. They have had a winning tradition before that, of course, but nothing like what they’ve experienced…up to the 2010 season.

      The 2010 season, I think, was an eye-opener for the school. How many empty seats did Royal Stadium see toward the end of the season? A LOT. Do you think they would have trouble filling all those seats with those expensive season tickets with an average (or worse) record every year? The UT brand becomes less valuable if they start to lose and going independent can get a little tricky if you don’t rack up wins against everybody, especially good teams. (See Notre Dame)

  15. jimisawesome says:

    I am not buying this move either it just does not make sense. Why would A&M make this move with out guarantees in writing from the SEC on what they can be expected to make. The SEC can’t make these guarantees because they need them from both CBS and ESPN and well they are not going to make an offer with out having guarantees. CBS is not going to be adding all that much to for their piece of the pie because A&M has not produced a product that would justify more than a game a year on the network. ESPN can’t put in anything in writer because they will be nailed with tampering by the Big 12 schools and it does not benefit them to move their Big 12 money to the SEC especially if they have to move money from another conference for a 14th team when it is just cheaper to keep the money where it is.

    The next problem is who is going to be team 14? Can’t imagine that the SEC wants only unbalanced division. Oklahoma is not a real option for the reasons you mentioned. No one else in Texas is really worthwhile or the Big 12 for that matter. Va Tech is an option but would Va Tech really want to burn the political capatial they just used can they even? And why would the SEC want them they don’t exactly have killer ratings. Clemson is name that gets mentioned but SC is a small state that the SEC already has. Florida State has the ratings but they would have to have a guarantee of big money jump to even think about it and that brings up all the problems I already mentioned.

    I also don’t understand why A&M has their panties in a bunch over the Texas ESPN deal does any believe the number is anything more than a NFL contract number? Sure it might be worth that much money but that is if the Texas channel can get on the basic tier in every market for more than a couple of cents.

  16. frug says:

    I’m glad someone has done a full post on what I (and many others) have said on this and other sites; there’s no way the Aggies bolt.

    That said I have two minor nitpicks:

    1. The SEC did issue a standing offer to Texas A&M (and OU but they rejected it) which everyone says is still valid. True this is not a major issue since just because the SEC said it’s an open invitation doesn’t actually mean it is, but is still worth noting.

    2. You seem to give actually validation to Larry Scott’s statement that the PAC-16 was torpedoed by political pressure from Waco which is really nothing more than a cover story Scott cooked up to avoid admitting that UT played him like a fiddle. Yes Baylor getting left behind created political problems but if the Waco legislators couldn’t generate enough heat to let Baylor keep it’s share of the Nebraska and Colorado exit penalties (which TTU was able to do) do you really think they could have sunk the whole merger? In the meantime Texas leveraged the PAC-10 offer to get what it wanted all along; it’s own TV station and the right to completely dominate a conference (at least as long as it keeps its unspoken alliance with Oklahoma intact).

    Excellent article otherwise.

    • cfn_ms says:

      I’m not sure about point 1 (though it seems a reasonable possibility), but I largely agree w/ point 2. Texas today is in a substantially better position than it would have been in the Pac-16. Is it possible that it really was Baylor who sunk the deal? Maybe… but the simpler answer is that Texas ultimately sunk the deal themselves because they thought (correctly) that they could get a better deal by sticking with the status quo.

  17. jimisawesome says:

    One thing I forgot in my last post. The one reason I can see the SEC keeping the door open for A&M is Auburn. If the worst case and very long but not impossible shot happiens and they lose accreditation from the SACS the SEC will be scrambling to add a 12th team.

  18. superdeluxe says:

    The A&M fans are not pleased!

  19. cfn_ms says:

    Frank,

    With respect to ESPN, I remain deeply skeptical that ESPN’s real aim is stability. I think that stability is an acceptable outcome for them, but I also think their Texas deal put them in the driver’s seat for future conference shifts, as opposed to simply shutting down all the possibilities.

    Consider the (long) hypothetical: if the Pac-x wants to deal with Texas, they need to deal with ESPN at the same time, which basically means that ESPN would almost certainly be the main partner of the league in a long-term deal at a price that should be pretty good for ESPN (well above the current low-ball numbers, but well below what you might expect the league to demand without ESPN’s essential veto power over Texas joining up).

    And let’s say for the sake of the argument that we see four 16-team super-leagues, with the 4th being an expanded ACC. ESPN is already the main partner of the SEC, already gets the best Big Ten games, and signed an ACC deal to be the key player there. If you presume that the SEC / Big Ten deals scale up (which seems reasonable IMO), then ESPN is out more money than before, but the landscape among teams / leagues that at all matter is:

    ESPN
    Main partner of Pac-16 (including whatever networks come out of the league, such as Longhorn Sports Network, probably other schools’ individual networks, and very possibly BTN-like partnership with the league itself)
    Main partner of ACC
    Major partners for Big Ten and SEC

    Fox
    Big Ten Network
    Minor partner of Pac-16 (the ESPN family probably won’t get ALL of the content, just the best – note that the minor partner could be a different network, Fox is just a guess)

    CBS
    Major partner for SEC

    NBC / Comcast
    Main partner for Notre Dame (presuming continued independence, which could conceivably go away)
    Various scraps, such as the mtn.

    So in that scenario, NBC is basically shut out of college football relevance, CBS gets their 1-2 premier SEC games a week, Fox gets the lesser content across the board, and ESPN basically dominates all nationally relevant content. That strikes me as a MAJOR win for ESPN, and a near-disaster for everyone else (except CBS, who never seemed really interested in being a major player in college football aside from their SEC content).

    Of course, that’s far from the only way things could shake out, but the fact remains that it’s a conceivable outcome that would massively favor ESPN and that was created through the LSN deal.

    IMO, the big thing that ESPN did was head off the possibility of Texas joining the Pac-16 and then watching as the league put its content up for a public bid process. Either ESPN would have to overpay by a lot to win the big, or watch as another network got control of a league that would be an immediate national power. Instead, ESPN can sit back, watch things unfold, and be protected against the majority of potentially negative outcomes.

    FWIW, I’m becoming more and more convinced the the real loser in this process was Fox. They were a key part of keeping the Big 12 alive and killing the Pac-16 deal, but it seems to me that ESPN is reaping the benefits while Fox becomes increasingly isolated, without any meaningful control over the outcomes of the process. At this point the best case outcome for them is to win the Pac-12 Network bid and be the primary partner of that league, so that they don’t just have the BTN and other leagues’ leftovers… but unless Fox is going to pay a lot for that privilege, there’s no special reason to think that they’d be more likely to win that bid than ESPN or NBC (or, for that matter, CBS if they randomly decided to make a play).

    • Richard says:

      Not sure why you think Texas going to the Pac16 would automatically give the Pac16 to ESPN. Also don’t see why Fox would have to pay a lot to get the Pac12/16. They just have to pay more than ESPN (which they were willing to do to land the B10 and P12 title games).

      • cfn_ms says:

        Given the fact that ESPN just signed the deal with Texas, it seems pretty plausible to me that ESPN also bought veto power over Texas’s moves. Which, if true, means that anyone who wants to add Texas to their league needs to play ball with ESPN.

        Of course, that’s just conjecture on my end, but it seems more plausible than FTT’s take “ESPN forces Texas to stay put.” IMO it’s more like “ESPN forces Texas to stay put, UNLESS the net effect of their move benefits ESPN.”

  20. duffman says:

    Frank,

    on your media point.

    I have said this for quite some time about logical flow. With the longhorn network a reality (via IMG) it stands to reason than ESPN expects UT to be around for the majority of the life of the contract to recoup it investment.

  21. Dr Drunkenstein says:

    As a Texas-ex, even I remain convinced that a chance to get the major media markets in Texas would be so appealing that the SEC would offer A&M in a heartbeat. Slive is not stupid and it would be reckless and a betrayal of his fiduciary responsibility to the conference not to secure those markets.

    Regardless, that is all meaningless because, as Frank correctly points out, Texas state politics will never allow A&M to fly off solo to the SEC. An earlier comment here stated, “you definitely overestimate the power of Baylor and Texas Tech and the ability of Texas legislators to worry about a “little” issue like conference realignment” Wrong, wrong, wrong. In fact, if anything, those same politicians would love any kind of distraction from the core issues and this conference realignment fight would be a whopper.

    Ultimately, since Texas does want to stand pat because it now has the best of both worlds, this puts the political stroke of Texas, Tech and Baylor against that of A&M and I don’t think TCU or U of H would be to thrilled with an SEC team in their backyard either. A&M to the SEC will never fly politically…..it simply can’t be done.

  22. TheBlanton says:

    Texas A&M can NOT leave the Big X(II) without legislativae approval, it;s in the constitution. The only way this happens is if Texas develops a 4th Tier I school (assuming Tech WILL be in approx 5 years- also in the constitution now). The only other public schools that would benefit the state and are even possible are Houston, Texas State, UTEP and N. Texas, but none of those are even close to Tier II status( Though State just moved up to Div I football this year. Houston seems more likely, but if the Big X(II) can add all 4 It would stay viable and not lose iany eyeballs in Texas. TCU/Rice could be plugged in right away but as private schools the lege. really has no impetus ($$$) to promote their programs.

    • Adam says:

      I am aware of no provision in the Texas Constitution that regulates what athletic conference A&M or any other school belongs to.

    • Stemp says:

      Better check again. The state legislature has no say in what athletic conference a school belongs to. All they can do is threaten the school funding (which they did last item around).

  23. Brian says:

    Frank,

    I tend to think you are right that TAMU isn’t leaving anytime soon. It’s not impossible, but I don’t think the right impetus is there yet. I think the B12 is like a building. There are a lot of forces trying to tear it apart, but a lot of interlocking pieces keeping it together. Every new problem is cutting a beam and increasing the stress on the others, but the structure is still standing. I don’t think ESPN UT was the critical beam, but I think they’re getting close. The problem is that everyone seems to want or need someone else to move first. The SEC doesn’t seem to want to start the consolidation. TAMU needs someone else to start the exodus. UT wants the B12 to stay together. OU wants to stay with UT. Something has to give to destroy the B12.

    One possible cause would be the financial gap causing an important ACC school to try to join the SEC, leading the SEC to consider a western school as a balance. Once the SEC has an incentive to invite TAMU, then the dominoes might start to fall. Another would be ND reconsidering joining a conference, unlikely as it is, leading to the Big Ten potentially poaching MO and/or another B12 school. A third would be the TV money not living up to expectations.

    I would like to point out that I think you are presenting a lot of opinions and supposition as fact here. While I realize that speculation is what this blog is all about, I think you should more clearly indicate what is fact and what is supposition.

    Some points of concern:

    1. You talk about TAMU and what they want. All the SEC talk has come from a few trustees (mostly Stallings) and a whole lot of fans. The president and AD say they want to stay. There is no monolithic TAMU effort to leave at this point.

    2. When referring to the power of politicians, you overstate the Virginia case. UVA only had power because of the anti-expansion votes of other members. UVA was the deciding vote if they voted no, so they had leverage. No other politicians were involved despite multiple states being impacted (NC politicos could have forced UNC to vote yes for expansion, for example, then Syracuse might have gotten in).

    Your time period also conveniently omits Penn State joining the B10. The Pennsylvania politicians didn’t involve themselves in that process much either. They didn’t try to force Pitt in, or get other major concessions.

    I think this may more narrowly apply to TX politicians, and maybe OK (and KS). Even in SEC country the politicians don’t get that involved in this sort of decision. None of this changes TAMU’s situation, but I think you painted with too broad of a brush here.

    3. You assume the B12 would suffer if TAMU went to the SEC. However, it is possible that the money per team would stay the same or even increase. They don’t lose any TV markets with TAMU gone, and since TAMU was getting the $20M but not as big of a draw as UT and OU, the shares for Baylor and TT might increase. Losing NE and CO didn’t hurt them at all, so maybe TAMU wouldn’t either.

    4. The SEC doesn’t have a financial vehicle like the BTN to make money from adding TAMU, but that doesn’t mean that can’t profit from the addition. Adding a major market and a top 20 program will boost their TV deals. Getting better access to TX recruiting grounds will have them salivating, too. A few professors would also be happy to have a quality school join.

    5. I think you give ESPN way too much credit. They are so profitable because they get huge subscription fees in addition to advertising. That’s why ABC is getting out of some sports and moving them to ESPN, like the BCS. That doesn’t mean ESPN hasn’t made plenty of bad decisions over the years. It also doesn’t mean they are clairvoyant. College football was neglected for a long time because ESPN was too influenced by east coast thinking to recognize the interest levels everywhere else. They’ve also been slow to get in on MMA despite the demographics of the fan base.

    You are assuming you know their motivations and can deduce what they want in the future. However, there are other reasons why ESPN might do what they did and they may have different goals than you suspect. They want to make money, and none of us are privy to their projections for the future of college football. Will TV be the dominant source for sports in the future, or will it be the internet? How does 3D factor in? Where will the growth be?

    Everyone seems to assume super-conferences are bad for ESPN. Are super-conferences better for them? Making a short term decision to support the status quo doesn’t mean they don’t think a change would help them in the future. Consolidation means better programming, which means better ratings, which means more revenue. It also might mean more subscribers or higher fees. ESPN might profit more from super-conferences, but wanted time to plan and prepare for them. Their Big 12 offer may have been as reactionary as the SEC’s membership offers were.

    • Richard says:

      2. As you noted, Virginia politicians had leverage to bring in VTech in to the ACC because UVa was the deciding vote. You neglect that Penn politicians had no leverage (they could have forced PSU to stay independent, but that would harm PSU and not help Pitt, so that would have been pretty stupid, plus I think PSU has more clout in that state). TAMU leaving very well could harm TTech & Baylor because…
      3. If the SEC takes TAMU, they’re not going to stop at 13. _Maybe_ they could pick off an ACC school (FSU/Clemson/VTech) to go to 14, but I find that highly doubtful. More likely is that they add Mizzou (and possibly the OK schools), and _that_ certainly would weaken the B12. Plus, losing TAMU would hurt. Make no bones about it. Right now, Texas is exclusively B12, and Texas is huge (accounting for the vast majority of the population of the current B12. Losing TAMU means lower raings for B12 games in Texas, which is going to hurt.
      4. You make more previous point: There’s no way adding TAMU wouldn’t be a big benefit to the SEC without it being a big loss to the B12.

  24. Walter says:

    “1994 – UT and A&M attempt to move to the Big 8 by themselves to create a 10-team conference. Texas legislators catch wind of the plan and use political pressure on those 2 schools to force Texas Tech and Baylor into the league, too.”

    You need better sources. Baylor and Tech did manage to pull together forces that resulted in the Big 12, but UT and A&M were not going to the Big 8 before that happened. UT was going to the Pac-10 and A&M was going to the SEC.

    • Bullet says:

      A&M was still flirting with the SEC, but the Big 8 + 2 was the most likely scenario until Bob Bullock called them all into a room.

      Texas considered the Pac 10 with Colorado, but in 1994 they were thinking Big 8 + 2.

      • Walter says:

        I’ve heard differently straight from the mouth of one of the people who were involved in the discussions at the time.

        • Bullet says:

          That Express News article from a few years back, one in the Texas Exes magazine and the book about Bullock all indicate Texas thought it would be Big 8 + 2. Now A&M may have been thinking differently, but they were talking to the Big 8 (and the 1st two articles indicated they were also talking to the SEC-I’ve just seen excerpts from the Bullock book so I don’t know what it says about that). I’m guessing you have an A&M source?

          The Express News article is a good discussion of the political arm twisting. I think its been linked on here before, but its not too hard to find.

  25. HerbieHusker says:

    add

  26. Aaron says:

    What if the Texas legislature can come to a compromise, let Aggie go and bring in the horned frogs.

  27. Aaron says:

    Aggie going to the SEC would increase competition in Texas for recruits and TV $ with the SEC. The state of Texas is the bread and butter for the Big XII and no Big XII school wants to see this happen.

  28. All Big Ten fans should be thankful that Pennsylvania politicians didn’t mandate taking both Penn State and Pitt or getting neither.

    Penn State to the Big Ten has been good for both sides and the addition of Nebraska might not have happened if we were already at 12.

    • PSUGuy says:

      In fairness…that was never going to happen. With the way Pitt played the politics game on the Big East thing and the fact Penn State has always held more sway (by sheer volume of graduates)there wasn’t going to be anyone who stood up for Pitt (or Temple) when they went to the Big Ten.

      To be honest, Pitt didn’t want to go anyway. I honestly think they thought the best profit model was to have a conference for bball and the rest of the non-football sports while maintaining independance in football.

  29. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    add.

  30. Bullet says:

    Good post.

    Texas still has a “Tech problem,” but I don’t really think they have a Bear problem. Waco politicians did try to raise a stink, but I don’t really think they have that much pull. Tech and Baylor politicians controlled Governor, Lt. Gov., Speaker of the House and some major committee chairmanships in 1994. Now they control none. Tech still has plenty of influence through their west Texas legislators, but Baylor could be left behind. Baylor wasn’t what killed the Pac 10 deal. I also think the tight budget situation makes rocking the boat in Texas politics less likely, not more so.

    I don’t think ESPN is necessarily opposed to superconferences. They were opposed to the Pac 16 which has been leaning towards Fox. So they may have lost Texas and OU to Fox. It also may have forced re-opening of their long term ACC and SEC deals if they expanded in response. Its fair to say they opposed the creation of superconferences as things were going in June of 2010. What they will think in 2015 under different scenarios may be totally different.

    And while ESPN didn’t put out any more cash, they lost a championship game and lost one of the “kings” in Nebraska. So they were giving out the same money for a less valuable product.

    • Jake says:

      @Bullet – I’m leaning towards that view. I think UT and A&M had a golden opportunity last summer to rid themselves of Baylor. They go to the Pac-16, then if they get tired of that after a few years and want to go somewhere else (say, the Big Ten or SEC), they only have Tech fans to stop them, and those guys are already in the Pac, so what do they have to complain about?

      Seems like A&M getting cold feet did more to screw the pooch on the Pac-16 than anything Baylor pulled. And no, I believe virtually nothing that conference commissioners say.

  31. swesleyh says:

    Alan from Baton Rouge and Bama fan both. Would enjoy hearing your comments on this subject and that goes double for M (AG).

    • Bamatab says:

      As much as I would like to bring aTm into the SEC, I just can’t see Slive wanting to risk making a move that could send the college football world into chaos. The SEC currently sits at the top of the college football world, why upset the current environment?

      Is a stronger recruiting foothold in Texas really worth it? The SEC already gets the most talent coming into their schools than any of the other conferences, so I don’t think gaining access to Texas is worth the risk. While I do believe that there is a loophole in the SEC’s tv contracts that would open it up to renegotiations, I don’t think we would get much more than $20 million per team and I don’t know if that is worth the risk either considering what each school makes already.

      The SEC is sitting in the best spot right now in college football. We have the most talent coming into our schools (if you believe the recruiting rankings). We have some of the best football facilities when compared to other conferences. We have the best overall attendance for our football games when compared to other conferences. And we’ve won the last 5 national championships. Why would we risk making a move that could upset all of that?

  32. RaiderZach says:

    I think this post is great, the one caveat being that you are lumping Baylor and Tech together too much. Baylor does not have pull in the state as much as you think. They are a private institution and do not have Bullock or Ma-Richards (may they both RIP) to protect them. Tech has a smaller fan base than Texas A&M but lets not pretend they haven’t been successful in the Big12 and would somehow take a nose dive in another conference. They have been bowl eligible for nearly 20 years in a row, have the 3rd best conference record, and have improved facilities during their stint in the Big12. They may not have been in the original plans for the Big12, but Tech has made the most of it. More than we can say for A&M or Baylor.

  33. Steve says:

    “ESPN knows that UT staying in the Big 12 is ultimately what provides it stability…”

    Eh, not quite. Stable conferences don’t blow themselves up in six months based on a rumor that Missouri might leave. Far from providing stability, Texas has been the single greatest destabilizing force on the Big XII since its inception. What sets the Big Ten and SEC and other conferences apart from the Big XII is that the Big XII has never been able to establish itself as a national brand and has never been able to foster bonds of loyalty between the schools. Once Oklahoma publicly wedded themselves to Texas and the South, those old Big 8 bonds largely disappeared. Texas never felt any loyalty to anyone and Nebraska lived in a constant state of rage that Texas became what Nebraska wanted to be. Colorado always felt like an outsider and the other North schools were always treated as also-rans even when they had their moments of success. Multiple commissioners tried to fix the problem by, for example, setting up a conference network, but all ended up moving on because Texas proved to be unmanageable. Enter the most worthless commissioner in Big XII history, Texas’ made man Dan Beebe, the man who looked like a six year old Darth Vader desperately trying to force push Jim Delany and Larry Scott out of his conference. The idea of “Texas fairness” took hold in the conference: What’s fair for Texas is fair for everyone.

    When the rumors came out that Mizzou might leave, the administration said all of the right things, but everyone else associated with the University – the fans, the faculty, the politicians – wanted out. For good reason too. Mizzou had spent ten years clawing their way up the Big XII money gradient to become competitive in the conference, only to see two (and now three) bordering Big Ten schools who were making >$10 million a year more than Mizzou before a single ticket was sold and who were busy plundering Mizzou’s recruiting base. Nebraska read the tea leaves and made the first move, seeing a way not only to move to a more stable conference but to finally put the knife in Texas once and for all. Texas was desperate not to be seen as a conference killer which is why they and OU led the massive media smear campaign against Missouri and Nebraska (and no, Missouri hasn’t forgotten that). While Dapper Dan Beebe gets the credit for saving the conference, it was, as you said, ESPN that did the deed because they are one of the few entities powerful enough to force Texas back to the table.

    The only thing that’s “stabilizing” the conference at the moment is that no other conference is ready to make a move to finish the Big XII off once and for all. However, there are already rumors of Kansas talking to the Big East and I can’t imagine Mizzou is going to allow itself to be caught off-guard again. With the Longhorn Network now threatening to allow Texas to pull away from everyone, even Oklahoma, there’s no reason to think that conference stability is going to increase. Texas brings a lot to the table, but they also take a lot from the table. If it gets to the point where having Texas in the conference adds no benefit to the conference, what incentive do the other schools have to stay? As we learned from last year’s fiasco, once the dominoes start falling and schools start panicking, anything can happen. The other conference know this and are just consolidating their positions and biding their time, knowing that they can break the Big XII apart at any time and no one, not even ESPN, can stop them.

    • Playoffs Now says:

      Plus Texas eats your puppies.

    • Bullet says:

      The only smear campaign has been by UNL. They seem desparate to smear Texas. They spent half their news conference about entering the Big 10 bashing Texas. Texas admin has said nothing but good things about UNL.

      As for Missouri, your governor did the bashing of TT and OSU and it came back to bite him. Your AD and President bet on an invite that never came and nearly led your program to disaster. Any wounds to Missouri have been self-inflicted.

      • Steve says:

        The rules of the Big XII are Every Man for Himself. To criticize Mizzou for trying to improve their situation, particularly when at least seven other conference members were openly negotiating to leave, is disingenuous. It’s particularly disingenuous for Texas, having spent 16 years gaming the system to benefit themselves at the expense of their conference mates, to cry foul when other institutions take those lessons to heart. Again, a strong conference doesn’t blow itself apart because of some impolitic comments from the Missouri Governor. This breakup has been building for 16 years and instead of doing something to prevent it, the Big XII’s philosophy is to double down.

      • Mike says:

        If the UNL news conference was a smear campaign, it was the weakest one in history. The press conference was laying out the legal groundwork for leaving the Big 12 and establishing the position that it shouldn’t pay an exit fee.

        Nebraska fans (pushed by the Omaha World-Herald) have been vocal about how Texas runs the conference for the benefit of itself. They have been lead to believe that Nebraska has been on the losing end of 11-1 votes on everything. It’s just not true. The votes on the things that matter (i.e. money distribution) went the way NU and UT wanted.

        [Here is where NU fans point to things like the partial qualifier vote. The truth is NU agreed to eliminate them, but wanted 2-4 transition years. That was voted down. Any vote NU lost 11-1 wasn't a deal breaker. Every issue that could have been a deal breaker (i.e. money), NU and UT were in agreement on. The Big 12 was ran for the benefit of NU, UT, OU, and A&M]

        NU moved to the Big Ten because it stood a real good chance about getting left out had the right moves been made. Nebraska had to move to stay relevant, not because it was mad at Texas.

        • Bullet says:

          That is was the start of a legal campaign was a later thought I also had. Either way, it really seemed inappropriate when they should be celebrating to be so negative.

  34. JR says:

    The only thing for the Big 12 to do is get back to 12 teams, to ensure their stability and increase their markets for an even better ESPN deal. Expand.

    Florida and Texas are the most college football hungry states in the nation. There are two enormous schools ripe for the picking in Florida who would join the Big 12 at the drop of a dime. Sure, UCF and USF don’t seem like much now, but their size and potential are limitless. Both are young schools, and that is why they aren’t big-time just yet. In another 10 years, with a few hundred thousand more graduates, they will be just as big-time as UF and FSU.
    Adding UCF and USF gives the Big 12 a giant footprint right in the middle of Florida. It gets Big 12 teams into the states fertile recruiting grounds. It gets two large television markets in Tampa and Orlando. It gets an immediate rivalry game which, in a few years, could become as relevant as any other rivalry game in the nation. The Big 12 need only look at where these two schools can go, not where they are now. It would be a brilliant move on their part.

    • I like this idea. USF and UCF are already better programs than Iowa State and the Kansas schools.

      How would you do the divisions?

    • Brian says:

      A few hundred thousand graduates in 10 years? The are big schools, but nobody is that big.

      • Richard says:

        Actually, they are. UCF has 47K undergrads. USF has 36K. Not all those kids graduate, but say they pump out alums equal to their undergraduate population in 5 years. That’s 83K alums combined in 5 years or 166K new alums in 10.

    • cfn_ms says:

      Why would the Big 12 want the 4th and 5th best programs in Florida? If the Big 12 is dead-set on expanding (which doesn’t seem likely), it’s not an awful pair given the options out there… but it’ll drop the average in terms of program quality, and it’s hard to see why getting second-rate Florida programs would suddenly unlock that state for either recruiting or TV purposes.

      FWIW, if you’ve read one “look at we can one day become!” posts you’ve read them all. No league is looking to pick up a project, especially given the inherently unstable status quo. If it’s 50-50 that Texas will be in the Big 12 in ten years (and I think it’s less) then why would they want to pick up a program that won’t become relevant for at least five more years?

      Not to mention the very real possibility that neither program will EVER become relevant, given that they’re both well under the top three (UF, Miami, FSU) in college ratings (US News WR: UM = 47; UF = 53; FSU = 104; UCF = 179; USF = 183), program prestige in the state, etc.

      Considering that the big dogs of the league make the decisions, why would Texas want to risk adding two more mouths to feed that potentially wouldn’t contribute much of anything?

      Moreover, Texas would be importing two schools whose academic reputations would immediately be worst in the league. Given that they’ve generally shown a preference for boosting rather than detracting the academic average (a huge part of why they showed interest in Big and Pac Ten), it would seem they’d need a good reason to go the other way with Big 12 expansion.

      IMO it wouldn’t be an insane move by the Big 12, but I’d hardly call it “brilliant”.

      And as a final point, why would USF be interested in making what would be only a small move upwards, into a league that’s arguably the most unstable AQ in the country? That would be a huge risk that could easily backfire massively for them. Obviously it’s a win for UCF, but it seems like a poor move for USF.

    • Nostradamus says:

      @JR,
      I think going back to 12 actually further destabilizes the conference. One of the major things holding the Big XII together is the promise of money. Adding the two directional Florida schools is a major gamble. I really don’t think the Big XII is in a position to gamble right now. If they expand it has to be with two teams they know will pay their own way from day 1.

    • m (Ag) says:

      If the Big 12 was going to add 2 faraway schools, they would probably grab 2 out of: Pitt, Rutgers, West Virginia, and UConn.

      They’re all really far, but they would probably be worth more than the 2 Florida schools, and those schools would probably see more buzz on their campuses as they competed with UT and OU. They would also likely make more money even with the unequal revenue sharing.

      • Brian says:

        m (Ag),

        I’m not sure core Big East schools would leave for the B12. The money might be better, but the conference also might implode. Leaving all their traditional rivals would not sit well with the fan bases, either. The Florida schools don’t have that history, and Florida cares much more about CFB than the northeast. There’s also no recruiting advantage to getting more access to the northeast.

        I don’t think the B12 would or should chase USF and UCF, certainly not yet (who knows what things will be like in 10 or 20 years), but the rest of the Big East makes even less sense to me.

    • jimisawesome says:

      UCF and USF would need to change dramatically as well as the rest of the state of Florida for these schools ever to be anything more than what they are. Both schools are still seen as commuiter schools by the vast majority and they are not producing the type of people that become big money boosters and alumni. USF has to rent their stadium with no real plans for an on campus stadium. What I am getting at is it will take a complete falling apart of FSU or uf as well as Miami to complete its death spirle for one of them to move up. These teams are not even competing for the third tier florida HS players.

      • Michael in Indy says:

        Chances are pretty good, if you live in the state of Florida, that someone you know, or the child of someone you know, has gone off to college at UCF. That school really does draw students from all over the state. Most people within the state of Florida recognize it’s primarily a residential campus, although it still probably has a higher percentage of commuters than FSU or UF.

        USF’s a different story. My cousin got one of her Bachelor’s there and she says it’s definitely commuter-oriented.

        Othewise, very solid points here. These schools will produce graduates who are capable of being big boosters; millionaires graduate from all kinds of schools, not just Tier 1. The problem is that their graduates don’t tend to be huge fans of their own schools’ teams. Many of them grow up as big Seminole or Gator fans and still are after graduation. I’m sure they don’t dislike their schools’ teams; it’s just that they’re kind of an afterthought.

        • Richard says:

          Of course, that was also true for that women’s college located on the panhandle during our grandparents’ generation. :)

          Incidentally, I didn’t know that FSU was the hippie capital of the South back in the day until I read Wikipedia.

        • jimisawesome says:

          Mike, I was probably a little to loose with the language about UCF because you are right it is has a large residential student population it was my time visiting friends on campus that always gave me the impression that it felt like more like a commuter school probably because how new the school is. Plus as you say most of the students there grew up as FSU, uf, or Miami fans and most of them still are fans of those teams. My comment about the alumni of these schools is sure they can produce millionaires but the political class in florida comes from FSU and uf making booster clubs with these teams more likely along with USF and UCF not really being feeder schools to law and medicine in any great numbers. They basically have to hit the lotto and find a T Bone Pikens to have a consistenly funded AD.

      • M says:

        I’ve expressed this opinion before, but I really think that Miami is the least stable of any of the commonly named major football powers. They simple do not have the fan support, financial resources, or alumni base to return to their two decade blip as a national presence. Their only strength is their location in a fertile recruiting area, a strength that becomes less and less helpful as recruiting becomes more regional and national.

        Miami’s future is a cross between Pitt and Stanford.

        • cfn_ms says:

          I would agree here to some extent, but they are still a powerful cultural force in a major recruiting area. I could see the decline continuing indefinitely, but it’s still a long way to fall before USF or UCF, much less both, could even equal them, much less exceed them.

        • Michael in Indy says:

          M,

          I think what you say is pretty accurate, but Miami is still 100X more secure & stable than UCF/USF. For one thing, they’re in the tightly-knit ACC, not the “Oh crap, what do we do? Let’s get five schools no other BCS league wants (UConn, USF, Louisville, Cincy, and TCU) and pretend we’re relevant” Big East.

          Its location is also always going to keep it a factor. Regardless of Miami’s football revenue, high school football players will continue taking their talents to South Beach (I’ve been dying for an excuse to throw that line in somewhere). Seriously, by all accounts, the team is still as talented as any in the country but just wasn’t coached well enough on the field to win big.

          Miami’s kind of the anti-Nebraska: loads of local talent available but few resources and supporters. Nebraska is a team most people can appreciate for its class; Miami, not so much. Both are very successful, and both had downward turns in the mid- to late-2000′s.

        • jimisawesome says:

          This. Miami acedmic side finally won the war and will no longer grant waivers which handicaps them greatly especially with FSU know owning recruiting in South Florida. The trouble is the players that they like are the players that ND, Michigan, and Stanford want and these schools in general offer more for the players that are considering them for acedmic reasons.

        • Richard says:

          Yeah, but even if Miami’s academic standards are now more strict, the talent pool in SFla is so deep that they should at least challenge for ACC titles every year. Look, if Northwestern can make a bowl pretty much every year (in freakin’ snowy Chicagoland) and Stanford can get to a BCS bowl, there’s no excuse for Miami to do as badly has they have recently. Plus, they still get the athletes to challenge for ACC divisional titles.

      • In barely ten years USF has risen to one of the top programs in the Big East. They were #2 in the BCS standings for a brief time a couple years back. They have beaten both FSU and Miami in the past two seasons. Now I’m not suggesting they have surpassed either of those schools, but it’s hard to suggest they have no chance of ever passing them by. They aren’t too far away right now, a couple breaks here or there and they could make a big move in a hurry,

        UCF is a little further behind, but they’ve been one of the best programs in C-USA the past couple years and they’re building up their facilities. O’Leary is a good coach (although a poor resume writer). They’re a longer shot than USF at this point, but again, with a couple breaks they could take a huge step up. There’s so much talent in the state that it wouldn’t take much of a fall by any of the big 3 to climb into the upper echelon.

        IMHO, adding two Florida schools would be a big advantage for some of the smaller Big XII schools. It would be a lot easier for a Kansas State to recruit kids from Florida if they could promise the chance to play in front of friends and family a couple times in their career.

    • Steve says:

      The Big XII missed out on expansion and now most of the viable candidates are gone. Rumor has it that BYU was ready to jump and the Big XII could have grabbed them and maybe Utah which might have been enough to keep Colorado in the fold. As it is, any meaningful candidate that comes in now would either be too low on the totem pole to be worth it (eg Memphis) or would be just as much of an outsider as Colorado was. Without the promise of long-term stability, I’m not sure why a school of any import would want to take the risk.

      • Richard says:

        I’m sure BYU is there for the taking whenever the B12 wants them. The main problem is that there’s no good 12th team.

        • BYU will never ever ever get a major conference invite. If they were a legitimate contender they would have got the invite over Utah. I live in Utah (no loyalties to either school, I’m an Illinois alum) and BYU has a much broader fanbase, both nationally and in-state. But nobody wants to deal with BYU’s refusal to play on Sundays (say goodbye to CBS basketball games and college baseball weekend series). And other schools view it as an unfair advantage that BYU gets an extra year of maturing by sending their kids on missions (it’s essentially an extra redshirt year). Throw in the altitude and being an hour away from an airport and they just aren’t worth it.

          • rtung says:

            The Pac has an issue with religious schools that don’t promise academic freedom. They also want to consist of all research universities. Not all other conferences have the same criteria as the Pac.

            I’ve also not heard of any other school complaining about BYU sending their players out on missions. About half of Utah’s football roster is Mormon, and the Pac didn’t seem to care.

  35. Dr Drunkenstein says:

    “Texas still has a “Tech problem,” but I don’t really think they have a Bear problem. Waco politicians did try to raise a stink, but I don’t really think they have that much pull.”

    Go read Larry Scott’s response as to what killed the Pac-16 deal. Scott said that once it became apparent that Baylor would be left out in the cold a “tsunami of political pressure” from Texas state politicians killed the deal.

    It is weird and bizarre and surprising but somehow, some way, Baylor has a lot of political weight to throw around.

    • Bullet says:

      The Texas admin said it was that they could get the same money w/o creating essentially two leagues w/i the Pac. Aggies will tell you it was their threat to go the the SEC. The threatened Waco hearings didn’t help, but Powers seemed pretty sincere in explaining the reasons, so I’m more inclined to believe his explanation than Scott’s.

      And if the Aggies did go to the SEC, that left one spot for KU or… Baylor.

    • frug says:

      I’ll copy-paste what I posted earlier in this thread:

      You seem to give actually validation to Larry Scott’s statement that the PAC-16 was torpedoed by political pressure from Waco which is really nothing more than a cover story Scott cooked up to avoid admitting that UT played him like a fiddle. Yes Baylor getting left behind created political problems but if the Waco legislators couldn’t generate enough heat to let Baylor keep it’s share of the Nebraska and Colorado exit penalties (which TTU was able to do) do you really think they could have sunk the whole merger? In the meantime Texas leveraged the PAC-10 offer to get what it wanted all along; it’s own TV station and the right to completely dominate a conference (at least as long as it keeps its unspoken alliance with Oklahoma intact).”

  36. MC says:

    Brilliantly, well written piece of commentary. You hit the nail on the head…A&M can’t and won’t go anywhere. And, you didn’t even have to get into the issue of their entire existence being predicated on a hatred of Texas or the fact that, in order for a SEC move to be equally beneficial to the conference and A&M, the aggies would actually have to compete in the SEC…which isn’t likely since they barely compete in the Big 12 on a yearly basis. Then there’s the academic issue in that the Alabamas, LSUs and Auburns of the world can let anyone with athletic talent into their school regardless of whether they know the english language or can read above a first grade level. A&M, if it wants to maintain it’s academic stature, wouldn’t be able to admit a majority of the recruits coming from SEC country. Poor Aggie.

  37. AgIdoc says:

    let’s “TTT” this when we’re in the SEC this summer.

  38. Truthfully says:

    Why are people still trying to debate this? Fact, UT has a “Tech” problem. Scott has already came out and said UT politics played a huge role in the conferences being saved. The Aggies are crazy if they think they are the ones who saved this conference. No the TX Legislature, ESPN and others did. Why does A&M think that if they head off to a better conference that UT will sit in a watered down conference in order to take care of Baylor and Tech? You are kidding yourselves. There will be an uproar in the state of Texas if Aggie is allowed to go to the SEC while UT is forced to hold the hands of Tech and Baylor alone by being forced in a mediocre conference with them. No, if Aggie makes a move, UT will make one as well. No matter how you look at it, as was stated in the article, nothing is happening unless Baylor and Tech are taken care of. At this point it doesn’t matter what Aggie or UT wants to do. Your Aggie govenor is not helping you either. He is concerned more about his political career more than Aggie going to the SEC. He knows that he has to make sure to look out for all TX schools. Yes A&M and UT could survive without each other, but Tech nor Baylor could. The day he allows Tech and Baylor to be on the outside looking in, will be the last time he spends in office. And that would include support in the state for a presidential campaign which I’m sure he has his sights set on. BTW, I believe the Legilsatue is made up of mainly UT and Houston grads.

    I honestly believe someone at UT, maybe not Dodds or Brown leaked information to Chip Brown with the purpose of trying to keep the conference together. Why would UT and even OU want to leave the Big 12 when they do quite well in it? Why break up a good thing? Missouri is the one that got all of this started by wh*ring itself out to the Big 10. They ended up not being able to get an offer from anyone, so why would the SEC invite Missouri. SEC is about Southern schools anyway.

    Also, it doesn’t matter who Rick Perry put on the BOR at A&M. Your school had enough votes to go to SEC from the BOR this past summer but did not make the move? Why? You knew the Longhorn network was coming, the conference would be weaker with 10 teams. Aggie stayed, because they got the same political pressure UT did. Leave, and you will be out of money which Aggie already has little of – you guys are making your students pay for tissue now. Let’s be honest. Tech had an invite to go somewhere with UT and A&M. Baylor was the only one that didn’t have anywhere to go. As long as UT and A&M have to carry Tech and Baylor, they will never be able to separate – ever. No one wants to see what happened with Houston and TCU happen to Tech and Baylor. Luckliy TCU has been able to overcome being left out of the Big 12 deal, but not Houston.

    I am a UT fan and I hate that we have to carry in state schools. But UT and A&M are the biggest and get the most money in the state so I guess it’s a price to pay. When these politicians get in office, yeah they all try to take care of their school, but they know they have to look out for the state of Texas period. Doesn’t matter what school it is.

    • footballnut says:

      No one was crying in the B12 when Colorado and Nebraska left. SEC, B10 and PAC 12 are happy campers with the number of teams they have and I don’t see them adding for 10 years, if ever. My crystal ball sees the B12 needing 2 more teams to compete with those leagues and will add BYU and ND in the future. Those are both independents and when the time comes when their independent status is no longer viable because of recruiting problems, the B12 will be waiting with open arms.

      May be 10 years down the road, but, my crystal ball is far reaching…

      • Nostradamus says:

        BYU and Notre Dame aren’t coming to the Big XII.

      • smashmode says:

        You are mistaken, the pac-xx will expand again, larry scott even says that consolidation/expansion just makes too much sense.

      • Richard says:

        If independence isn’t viable in the future, why the heck would ND choose the B12 over another conference?

        • Gopher86 says:

          Flexibility and unequal revenue sharing. If ND offered to come to the B12 tomorrow and said it would only play 5 conf. games and wouldn’t share revenue, the B12 would jump on it. The Big 12 is a capitalist league of the highest sort.

          • glenn says:

            egg-sackly, gopher. the big 12 has shown itself to be the closest thing to a collection of strong independent programs that the nation has. at least among the bcs-guarantee conferences. perfect place for nd if they have to go somewhere.

            it’s funny to me how socialist-like sports in america has become. people who go apoplectic at the mention of socialism accept what has happened on both the collegiate and professional levels without a whimper. texas and nd are staunchly opposed and show it with their behavior. kind of a modern-day loan arranger and taunt-oh, don’t you think?

          • Richard says:

            Uh, the BE would offer the same, and they’d actually be in cities where there are significant ND fans.

            The ACC may be flexible for ND as well and they offer the academic cachet (and have schools in cities with ND fans).

          • Redhawk says:

            @Richard. The Big 12 would offer a more lucrative TV contract than the Big East. The Big 12 also gives ND a greater access to recruiting in the state of Texas. It also gives the school greater exposure to the Hispanic Catholics in Texas.

            I think I was the first anywhere to say if ND joined a conference, it would be the Big 12. I think it makes sense. Mostly as the Big 12 is set up to be a conference of independents

          • Mike says:

            @Redhawk

            Do Hispanic Catholics care about Notre Dame? Is it considered by ND to be a target market?

          • M says:

            I’ll take a shot at that.

            In a nutshell, Hispanics are not a big segment of ND’s fanbase even on a percentage basis. ND would like to change that, but they are fighting an uphill battle.

            As far as joining the Big 12, I agree with Richard. If ND wants exposure in Texas, they will play Texas (or TCU). They will never agree to a system where they have to play at Kansas State. ND already has the best possible deal with the Big East. They share none of their football revenue and do not have to play any games they don’t want to play. Their secondary sports play in the region which has the vast majority of their alumni and fans.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            @Glenn said
            the big 12 has shown itself to be the closest thing to a collection of strong independent programs that the nation has.

            The B12 has exactly ONE program that fits that description. Not exactly a big collection.

        • duffman says:

          richard,

          The selling point of the B12 would be as follows:

          a) revenue sharing is now the norm in the B1G, SEC, and PAC (and throw the ACC in for good measure), which means this is the only conference that could offer a “port in a storm” for teams like Texas and Notre Dame that do not seem to want too share.

          b) The 12 team model is now with us for the long term (and contrary to what Scott says, the issur of going past 12 appears to be highly implausible). If this is the case I go back to my humorous post back almost a year ago about the TD conference, and while it was part in jest I was projecting what seems to be actually happening now.

          12 model, with 6 eastern teams, and 6 western with uneven revenue that could operate as “mini” conferences similar to the wat the PAC has been dominated by USC.

          East = ND + 5 “lesser fleas”
          West = Texas, OU, BYU, + 3 “lesser fleas”

          This would get the TD conference a CCG and national exposure, but keep selected teams with much larger slices of the financial pie.

          I can see such a thing happeniong as it would allow Texas and ND to retain true independent status, while masking a view that they were actually in a conference. If USC could do it as long as they did, why would it be illogical to think that ND and Texas could not emulate the model?

          • Richard says:

            As ND likely wouldn’t care to play annual series with KU, KSU, Mizzou, and ISU, the 5 “lesser fleas” are more likely to be current BE schools, in which case, why wouldn’t ND just join the BE? I’m pretty confident that the BE would be willing to match whatever financial payouts the B12 would offer (including up to half of conference revenues).

            In any case, this is all moot as I don’t see independence not being viable for ND any time soon.

  39. AggieFrank says:

    So many facts wrong on this one, Frank.

    A&M to the SEC died because A&M decided to stay (and get paid off to the the tune of $20M). It had zero to do with Baylor and Tech.

    The B10 is now officially shut out of the Texas market with Texas signing with ESPN. The two will now never be able to align. The SEC, on the other hand, has an option to capture a big chunk of that huge and growing market. You honestly think they are just going to sit by and be happy with the status quo? To use your Wal-Mart analogy, expansion into the big markets is what turned them into the largest retailer in the world, not sitting by idle happy with the current state of things.

    In reality, there is very little in the way of political pressure remaining to keep A&M in the B12-2. Texas is in the fast lane heading towards independence and really isn’t interested in investing the political capital required to hold this fractured league together. Tech and Baylor don’t carry the clout to stop it and with TCU landing in the Big East, A&M can point out to the politicos that success is not dependent upon being tied to the hip of Texas/A&M.

    There is a very real chance the SEC and A&M deal happens, as soon as this summer.

  40. Dr Drunkenstein says:

    “A&M to the SEC died because A&M decided to stay (and get paid off to the the tune of $20M). It had zero to do with Baylor and Tech”

    This is what it is like to deal with Aggies. These people are impervious to facts.

    • AggieFrank says:

      Dr. Drunk – you must not have followed the end game of the Pac16 / A&M & the SEC as it played out last summer.

      Baylor was DOA and Tech was giddy with the idea of heading off to the Pac16. Neither school was a barrier to A&M’s exit.

      A&M chose to remain. This might not fit with your view of the world but it is a fact.

  41. Piney Woods says:

    Man,

    Don’t you know not to wind Aggies “up?” They’ll join the Southland Conference, just to spite the “tsips”, if mad enough.

    I fear you have only quickened the process of Big XII implosion.

  42. LonghornLawyer says:

    For A&M to go to the SEC, it would have to decide that it wants to go to the SEC. And I see no indication that A&M has made that institutional determination.

    Sure, there are a bunch of fans (primarily of the younger generations) that want to see it happen. But on an administrative level, only Gene Stallings has been vocally in favor of such a move. And even he backed off his prior advocacy toward the end of the debate last Summer.

    Sorry, but I’m going to need something more than the delusion of TexAgs posters before I believe either that the SEC has extended a “standing invitation” to A&M or that A&M would accept such an invitation if offered.

  43. Bob Popeck says:

    It is really amazing how people write with a slant in their favor. The last post about Texas A&M to the SEC just proves Opinions are like A holes everyone is either got one or is one.

    Must be from the LA Times.

  44. ckwarren33 says:

    A&M will SECede as soon as their sense of honor and integrity is offended when they don’t get the promised $20MM to stay. This is the one true way to move the slow, conservative Ags to action. Greedy whorns should know this before they taunt our inability to act. Appreciate the Tanker’s touching on a hot topic, but he can shove his arrogant anti-Ag attitude right up his azz. Where is the evidence the SECession offer is no longer standing? Has ESPN offered to make A&M whole on the $20MM promised to stay? I interpret the ESiPN deal as the A&M SECession contingency plan.

    • C'mon Man says:

      “Where is the evidence the SECession offer is no longer standing?”

      Really? I believe this is what we call an “argument from ignorance.”

      Once you have figured out what I am talking about (or apply the standard Aggie Education techniques…. i.e. Wikipedia), please regroup and come up with a better rebuttal.

      I thought they taught you better in Collie Station. Or maybe its the fact that you played in the fake army for 4 years only to find out your education will only get you working as a vet or under big brother in big city life?

      I really can’t stand you ignorant marooners anymore. Your school isn’t worth playing in any sport anymore. GTFO of Texas.

      • Piney Woods says:

        You longhorns want to appear apathetic towards Aggy, but then you spew so much vitriol and denigrating comments at them over a little thing like conference affiliation.

        It’s okay to admit that you’re a little scared.

        • C'mon Man says:

          I am not sure where anyone said we wish to remain “apathetic” towards Aggie.

          I could only dream of an Aggy very much the like today’s Arkansas… the joke of the SEC and a distant memory for most Texans.

          Fact of the matter…Aggy needs the state of Texas more than the state needs them.

          • ckwarren33 says:

            C’Mon Man: When A&M begins battling Bama and LSU in the SEC, you can fill your calendar with Texas State, UTEP, or SMU. Good luck convincing the nation your victories (just like your posts) mean anything.

          • C'mon Man says:

            There you go with that ag logic again.

            1. Getting your butts whooped by another conference is not “battling.”
            2. I do believe UT has scheduled ND, BYU, USC, CAL, & Maryland in the future. Who has $Bill put on the sched?
            3. How many BCS bowls has TX been to by having UTEP and Rice on the schedule? I’m pretty sure we are doing something right.

            I hope to God yall get a chance at the SEC. I hate seeing Vanderbilt in last place every season.

          • ckwarren33 says:

            C’mon man: leave it to a whorn to make this thread about the whorns. That 2010 5-7 season was a real DOOZY. Congrats on those home wins versus Rice and Wyoming. Too bad you couldn’t quite get there @ home against Iowa State or Baylor. What bowl game did you guys play in this year? Keep up the good work – maybe you can hold onto a few coaches after next season.

          • C'mon Man says:

            CK… You’re so right. One season is really going to end the dynasty. You might want to share those feelings with ESPN. They might offer A&M a similar deal as insurance.

          • ckwarren33 says:

            c’mon man: Thanks, that “brilliant” ESPN deal is just the cover A&M needs to SECede. I’ll tune in to watch the whorns lose. Your ESPN deal can be just like NBC’s deal with Notre Dame: a disaster for the network.

  45. Dr Drunkenstein says:

    “But on an administrative level, only Gene Stallings has been vocally in favor of such a move. And even he backed off his prior advocacy toward the end of the debate last Summer.”

    ….and Stallings is no long on the A&M Board of Regents.

    http://www.wtaw.com/2011/02/07/governor-nominates-new-am-regents/

    Governor Nominates New A&M Regents
    Monday, February 7th, 2011

    Last week’s Texas A&M University System Board of Regents meeting was the last one for three members. Governor Perry has nominated three to fill expired terms.
    They include two Aggie grads, San Antonio businessowner Elaine Mendoza and Victoria convenience store and petroleum company owner Cliff Thomas. Also nominated was Texarkana businessowner Judy Morgan, who has a graduate degree from the Texarkana campus.
    Upon Senate confirmation they will replace Ida Clement Steen, Lupe Fraga, and Gene Stallings. The new regents will serve six year terms.

    • AggieFrank says:

      Yes Gene is gone, Dr. Drunk, but the board in general was in agreement that the SEC was the best option.

      There is one supporter of remaining in the Big12 within the A&M program and that is the A&M AD. Where was he over the summer when the SEC commissioner was in College Station? In Idaho. He played no role in the decision last summer and will have no role in the future.

      He is not a decision maker on this issue and the new board all strongly lean towards leaving the B12-2.

      • LonghornLawyer says:

        And yet A&M isn’t in the SEC, despite your claim that it had (and has) a “standing offer” from that conference and despite your claim that the Aggie administration was unanimously in favor of the move.

        That just doesn’t pass the smell test.

        • ckwarren33 says:

          The A&M SECession is coming. Perhaps we’ll need to see how the ESPN/horn TV deal progressively poisons our recruiting for a few years before we wake up and do the right thing.

  46. elspankdog says:

    So when is this mighty Texas legislature going to step up and save the third largest public university in the state. You know, the one they didn’t include in Big 12. You know, the one that is on track to become only the 3rd tier one public university in the state (which is sad). You know, the one located in the #10 TV market in the country. What makes you think the legislature will stick their neck out for Baylor and Tech this time? As Houston shows, they’re also willing to leave a school behind…one larger than both Tech and Baylor.

    • glenn says:

      brian, the polar-opposite reactions of ou and a&m are extremely telling. ou’s response is to dig in and get the best deal they can. profit from this opportunity. that’s a healthy response.

      what are the ags doing? who are they talking with to set up a highly lucrative network? nobody that i’m aware of. what are they doing? pouting and threatening to withhold their doo-doo. if you don’t understand that these responses are indicators of the highest order, you aren’t paying a tent shun.

    • duffman says:

      brian,

      thanks for the link, but I am not as sold as the reporter on the value of OU = Cubs with the WGN network. Chicago (like B1G schools) has a high population to draw from. How far from the center of Chicago would you have to go to equal a similar number of eyeballs from Norman. I would also make an educated guess that Chicago has a much more travelled population base than Norman. Both Chicago (WGN) and Atlanta (WTBS) have built in competitive advantage that Norman would be hard pressed to match.

      • Brian says:

        Yeah, I think the biggest problem with his argument is that most CFB fans already have a strong rooting interest. Seeing third tier games from OU isn’t going to sway anyone who isn’t neutral. It also assumes there are no alternatives. WGN and TBS built up fans for their teams because there was almost no competition for baseball fans.

  47. m (Ag) says:

    I’m not going to address OU. They certainly seem more bound to OSU than any Texas school is bound to another.

    As to whether A&M actually has a standing offer to the SEC: I’m not sure. I wouldn’t rule it out, however.

    You claim the SEC would be happy to if nothing further happened. They certainly don’t want to make any move that won’t put them in a better position. However, the other conference certainly haven’t been standing still. The Big Ten has it’s growing network and just added a national brand. The woefully mismanaged Pac 10 is becoming the Pac 12 under competent management. The Big Ten, in particular, may just be biding its time until it is ready to grab something from the ACC or Big East. The SEC can sit still, but it might be proactive behind the scenes.

    Live sports (especially football) are becoming more and more important to TV networks in our DVR lives. The Big Ten and Pac 12 championship games are getting more money than anyone thought they would. Fox is indicating it wants to go more into major college sports. As you’ve shown, he Big Ten network is apparently very profitable, providing income that the SEC can’t match through its current ESPN deal.

    That great ESPN deal sure seems like it’s already ripe to be renegotiated, with the idea of an SEC network in the negotiations (although ESPN could pay enough to keep one from forming).

    We know that the SEC has an out in its ESPN contract to form a network. Expansion probably forms another basis to renegotiate. Having Texas A&M will help in negotiations, especially if they’re talking about forming a network they want on basic cable across Texas.

    In addition to this, CBS has a different objective entirely than ESPN. While ESPN might (as you claim) be trying to keep all the conferences at their current positions, CBS wants to make sure the SEC stays on top, and, if possible, push them even further. CBS’s objective is pretty much identical to the SEC’s objectives. CBS would likely raise the payout for a bigger conference that got slightly higher ratings, at least proportionally. A more interesting possibility would be if CBS took the opportunity to buy additional games for the network. With more teams, there would be more interesting games to air each week, and there is certainly room for more doubleheaders on CBS’s Saturday schedule. Again, sports are increasingly valuable, and such a move could be profitable for both CBS and the SEC. I’m sure the SEC and CBS has already discussed this; if A&M does have an invite you can be sure the SEC already knows exactly what their amended CBS contract will be.

    The main problem would be whether the SEC could really stick at 13 schools if no big target (Virginia Tech, OU, Florida State) would be school #14.

    I’ll talk about the Texas legislature in a separate post.

    • Bullet says:

      Now its the Presidents and ADs that make the decisions, but living in SEC country, I can tell you there is absolutely no interest among the fans in bringing in the Texas Aggies. They already have Mississippi State if they want to play someone in maroon. And with 5 straight national championships, they see no need to change anything.

  48. Michael Z. says:

    Am I missing something? I haven’t heard anything about A&M to the SEC since before the college football season. And when those rumors were floated, it seems to me in was in anticipation of the Big Ten expanding past 12 members. I’m not saying we a move here or there isn’t possible (Big 12 to 12 if two schools existed to boost revenue), but I think we have probably seen the end of the landscape altering moves for at least a few years (and I agree, the Texas-ESPN solidifies this). What am I missing?

  49. jj says:

    Let’s just say this happens (SEC gets OU ATM and maybe 2 others)and ND and TX are still out as independents.

    Is the only acceptable “answer” for the B10 to add the four CA P-12 schools and break into pods? I see no other option that is an actual answer to something like that happening.

    The other P12 would meld into the B12 remains (i.e. the dwarves) or look to the other western merry-go-round.

    • Brian says:

      jj,

      Your hypothetical: TAMU, OU, OSU and ? to the SEC

      Hypothetical B10 responses (in order of B10 preference):
      1. ND & UT
      2. ND & UT +2 (MO, RU, MD, Pitt, other)
      3. ND +1
      4. UT +1
      5. none
      6. +2
      7. +4

      • jj says:

        I agree with 1-4.

        My gut tells me that ATM can make this move if it brings a suitable dance partner. It has to be OU or roughly equivalent. Maybe FSU or G Tech?

        OSU mucks things up. I don’t think the SEC wants 16. I think it does kinda want a Texas presence though; who doesn’t?

        I don’t know how people in FLA feel, but Fla, FSU and Miami in one conference would be pretty cool. Those games would have a whole lot on the line. Maybe those 2, ATM and G Tech or Clemson or something would work well.

        • Michael in Indy says:

          FSU, Miami, and UF don’t need to be in the same conference to have a whole lot on the line. The UF-FSU game has had national title implications in 2009, 2008, 2006, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1993, 1990, 1989, and maybe more than that. UM-FSU… similar story.

          Recruiting is also on the line. Do you not think FSU’s recruiting class was so strong at least in part because it beat UF and Miami last year?

          Besides, national titles, conference titles, etc. don’t have to be on the line, anyway. The FSU stadium went freaking biserk in November when it crushed Florida, and the only thing on the line was placement in the polls.

          FSU vs. Florida, Georgia Tech vs. Georgia, and Clemson vs. South Carolina are all heated, beautiful, ACC vs. SEC rivalries. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

          I actually wish more schools have non-conference rivalries. The rekindled Arkansas-A&M series is a good start. It would seem perfectly sensible if Pitt-Penn State was every year. Missouri-Illinois, West Virginia-Virginia Tech, and OU-Nebraska would make great annual rivalries, too.

          • frug says:

            UI and Mizzou just ended their annual rivalry game this year (it was played in St. Louis every year). Missouri is apparently looking for another partner for an annual neutral game but Illinois is appears happy to follow the Florida model and collect home games (they have 8(!) next year alone)

        • glenn says:

          ‘Texas presence’

          heh. a conference going to the state of texas for some ‘texas presence’ and coming back with a&m is a little like going downtown to get a german car and coming back with an opel.

          • jj says:

            yeah, the aggies should be embarrassed for going to such a huge pile of crap school. they should just call it a day and close the whole place down rather than try to do anything.

            according to this, they were 13th in attendance last year.

            http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/sports_college/2011/02/record-setting-year-for-college-football-attendance.html

            not sure how that is not a presence.

            also – volkswagens suck the big one (except their small diesel tech, which they get from audi); as a major aside, diesel beats the holy shit out of battery tech, i was glad to see someone (vw?) trying to push it during the superbowl.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            @jj VW doesn’t ‘get’ anything from Audi. They own Audi. That’s like saying Ford ‘gets’ something from Mercury.

          • jj says:

            i live in detroit loki, i get how it works. that was poorly worded.

            tech flows through orgs, which are often heavily sequestered – especially in the old days.

            vw’s diesel tech started as audi equipment i believe. it’s very good tech. i wish we had more of it. also – mercury isn’t getting crap anymore! lol.

            seriously, trade in a prius, leaf or volt for a diesel – it’s tried and true, relatively cheap ass-kicking tech.

    • Richard says:

      Without ND or Texas, the only way I can see the B10 expand to 16 is to
      1. Grab the 4 BCS Cali schools like you said.
      2. Take the heart of the ACC (Maryland, Virginia, UNC, and NCSU/Duke).

      1. is rather unlikely.
      2. will only happen if the SEC breaks the ACC by adding 2 key ACC schools (FSU & VTech? Clemson?)

    • m (Ag) says:

      I don’t really see the California schools joining the Big Ten…though it would be a huge coup if it happened.

      If OU and A&M did actually break off and join the SEC, the Longhorns might try for football independence.

      They could tell the Big 12 they’ll go independent in football, but would be willing to join them in a ‘Notre Dame’ type arrangement for other sports. If the remaining schools are petty, they could say no, but there isn’t any sense in driving them to the Pac 12 or Big Ten.

      To protect football, the Big 12 could merge with the Big East football schools and form a conference with 16 teams for football and 20 for other sports:

      For football, you’d have two 8 team divisions; other sports would have two 10 team divisions or four 5 team groupings.

      West:
      ISU/Missouri/Kansas/KSU/(BYU)

      OSU/Texas Tech/TCU/Baylor/(Texas)

      East:
      Pitt/Syracuse/Rutgers/UConn (ND)

      USF/Louisville/West Virginia/Cincinnati (Georgetown)

      You could leave off BYU and Georgetown if you wanted only 18 schools.

      This would be a decent AQ conference in football with a conference championship game. The non-football sports would be strong, giving the Longhorns several local schools with some national schools on their schedule. It might even increase national demand for that Longhorn network.

    • smashmode says:

      California schools will never join the Big 10, seriously?

      The only way I see that happening is if the power markets/teams from the pac-10, joined the power markets/teams in the Big 10.

  50. m (Ag) says:

    I think you learned the wrong lesson from the end of the SWC. The lesson is, that UT and A&M left 3 private and 1 public schools behind to further their own interests. Yes, they agreed to take along 2 other schools to make things easier, but the main focus should be that they left more schools behind than they took with them.

    Furthermore, it was not Baylor that stopped the reformation last summer. If A&M and UT had been in agreement to go West the 2 schools would have been off and all those hearings would have been an uncomfortable, but brief, few days of political grandstanding. Baylor, in particular, has no leverage, as it doesn’t have more influence than schools like Houston, Rice, TCU, or SMU. What sympathy do they have for Baylor?

    Last summer was stopped because UT and A&M were not in agreement. UT wasn’t ready to go without A&M (perhaps this new network deal means they are), and A&M was probably not ready for the Big 12 buyout or to deal with the shock some had from the idea that they’d be in a different conference from UT. Baylor wasn’t a factor, though the possible hearings probably hurried the announcement that the 2 schools would stay put for the time being.

    I truly believe that A&M and UT will only have problems with funding if the 2 schools decide to war against each other in the legislature. Neither school wants this to happen, as each has the capability of damaging the other. Whatever happens with athletic alignments, I expect the 2 administrations to be mostly united when facing the legislature. If UT announces it is going independent tomorrow, some A&M officials might be unhappy, but they will continue to work together in the legislature. If A&M goes to the SEC, I expect that UT will still remain a political ally. Each school just has too much to lose if they get divided on non-athletic issues.

    Yes, I think even Tech can be left behind, just as Houston was previously. Just as schools like UTEP and UNT are not ‘taken care of’ athletically. It would be a brief firestorm, but it isn’t really going to hurt Tech’s academics. The school will continue to function. That said, if UT doesn’t go independent, they will probably keep Tech with them, and they will be fine.

    Another reason why A&M could go its own way right now: public acceptance. Politics is all about what people believe to be true. People vote for politicians that say they’ll cut debt without cutting entitlements because people don’t think to hard and believe it to be true. People (and their representatives) were up in arms because they had believed that the Big 12 was essentially going to be strong forever. The media has a lot to do with this; except for a few places on the internet (like here!) there was no article even contemplating the Big 12 would drastically change until Nebraska bolted.

    So when all of a sudden (in the general public’s eyes), everything looked like it was falling apart in a few days, people went into denial. They thought the Big 12 should just add Arkansas and ND and everything would be fine! And why didn’t the Big 12 commissioner add USC the summer before! Politicians (who really aren’t brighter than the general public anyway), wanted to call hearings and somehow get them to answer why everything wasn’t awesome.

    Well, it’s been over half a year, and people have come to some acceptance. Only a few people think Notre Dame and Arkansas are ready to accept their invites. The media, which reflects public opinion far more than it shapes it, regularly writes that the Big 12 is not going to thrive, and will soon see changes. The initial shock is well over. The public now expects the other shoe to drop, though it might be a few years. If A&M or UT makes a move, I don’t think there will be an outcry from the people that matter. Many A&M and UT fans will point a finger at the other, but the people in charge will wish each other luck and sign an agreement to play non-conference in everything. Yes, there may be hearings of some kind, but it will all be brief and funding won’t be touched. The shock factor is long gone.

    As a sidenote, the success of TCU makes any complaining by Tech and (especially) Baylor more ridiculous in public eyes. Here is a ‘left behind’ school that has pulled itself up to national status and an AQ conference. It will be more difficult than ever for the general public to accept public support for Baylor when TCU went out and did it on their own.

    • jj says:

      That all seems very sensible.

    • Piney Woods says:

      You longhorns are letting an aggy out-think and out-write you!

    • Bullet says:

      There is a difference between UH and Tech. UH support is a mile wide and an inch deep in the Houston area. Tech is pretty thick in west Texas and pretty solid in DFW. UH being a commuter school just doesn’t have the same committment from its alumni and doesn’t have its alumni spread around the state as much as Tech. And Tech has a former US Representative as its leader. UH has an academic. Tech is very active politically. The Tier I legislation (creating a pot to encourage 7 schools to move up in their research) was basically written to make it easy for Tech to qualify. Still looks like UH will get there first.

  51. Hopkins Horn says:

    The Aggies are responding. And Frank, your thinking is, um, “follhardy”!

    http://www.iamthe12thman.com/2011/2/8/1982406/texas-a-m-to-the-sec-we-have-a-baylor-problem#storyjump

    • jj says:

      just keeping giving the horns fuel.

      i agree though that the SEC tends more proactive than reactive.

      • Hopkins Horn says:

        By way of background, that particular blogger seems to be a Longhorn plant, as he and his unintelligent writing live up to every negative stereotype one can conjure up about Aggies. I’d much rather read an intelligent and well-written Aggie like m(Ag)’s views on these subjects any day of the week.

      • Brian says:

        Mike Slive said they were like a duck during the summer – calm on the surface but a frenzy of activity below the surface. I still think reactive is the better description this time around, though. Proactive would have been offering spots before the B10 and P10 stirred things up. The SEC sees no reason to expand right now, and might not have responded to a P16 if everyone east of the Mississippi stayed at 12.

    • M says:

      Lots of fun stuff in there…

      “The SEC is always the leader when it comes to television programming, which is why they have the richest network deal in college football. Because of the SEC’s policy of allowing schools to sell their third-teir television rights, SEC schools make more in television revenue than Big Ten schools do, despite the presence of the Big Ten Network. Ohio State may have beaten Arkansas on the field at the Sugar Bowl, but the Razorbacks still receive more in television revenue than the Buckeyes do.”

      Is this true? I thought the consensus on this blog was that perhaps a few of the more popular schools (e.g. Florida) might receive more than the Big Ten take, the average SEC proceeds were less than the average Big Ten. I find it difficult to believe that Arkansas is above average.

      Beyond this nitpick, the bigger counterargument to this point is Texas itself. By common opinion at least, Texas makes more money off television than anyone. If A&M’s third “teir” rights are so valuable, why have they been unable to monetize them in the Big 12?

      • jimisawesome says:

        I am too lazy to look at the exact TV payouts but even if it is true its a big so what. He is comparing the current read old Big 10 deal without a championship game with the new SEC deal with its championship game when the Big 10 renews its contract in 5 years it will crush the SEC TV money.

    • glenn says:

      B O Y C O T T ! ! !

  52. Joe4psu says:

    Interesting and entertaining as always Frank. Thanks for all the time and effort you put into your blog.

    Slive won’t kiss and tell…

    http://espn.go.com/blog/sec/post/_/id/19860/kicking-it-with-mike-slive
    Kicking it with Mike Slive – SEC Blog – Chris Low, ESPN

    On expansion:

    Where do you think we are with expansion as it relates to the SEC? Will we see that heat back up again?

    MS: It’s hard to answer that. I can’t tell you what other conferences or commissioners are thinking. We can take what they say. But whether it’s the final whistle in the game or just a timeout, I don’t know. I think all of us tried to balance all the issues, and we have an obligation to do things to strengthen our respective conferences. Maybe the best metaphor of all would be to say what was clearly a front-burner issue on high is now a back-burner issue on low for most of the conferences.

    Is it important for the SEC to broaden its horizons, or are you guys OK with the current landscape?

    MS: We have been comfortable. We’ve won five straight national championships in football, two in recent years in men’s basketball and women’s basketball, two consecutive in baseball and recently had five in a row in gymnastics, and we win swimming and track on occasion. Our television contracts are in place and we’ve made progress in so many areas. It’s easy for us to say that we’re comfortable. The trick is looking ahead and trying to think about what the world’s going to look like in the future. So I would never say never. But as we speak today, I don’t think it’s a front-burner issue.

    So are you going to tell us how close you were to getting Texas A&M and Oklahoma?

    MS: No [laughing].

    Did you ever think it was going to happen?

    MS: As I said, I was going to be thoughtful and strategic, and I was both [laughing harder].

  53. TheExistentialVoiceOfJohnFacenda says:

    Sorry to gloat here, but I am so damn happy that Dear Ol’ Nebraska U ripped the chord on this mess. How great it is to be in the company of gentleman-partners in the B1G TEN versus the conniving horse thieves at the Big XII-II Conference HQ’s. Moreover, Beebe is to Delaney as midget is to giant.

    Insofar as future B1G TEN expanison, I believe FTT has it right, and in perfect order. To add, the B1G TEN only allows UT and ND if they roll their TV networks into the B1G TEN Network. No bargaining on this. No way twelve proud schools are going to let ND and UT have a second revenue generating machine on the sideline. Not a change.

    Of smaller consequence, should NU sue the Big XII conference to recapture the revenue it gave up moving to the B1G TEN? I know this: the last thing Texas wants is a lawsuit where private documents are made public. What the rest of the Big XII-II will find out is that Texas has had a media deal and conference re-alignment fallback plans far earlier than the rest of the remaining Big XII-II care to know. Should a suit break out [unlikely, because it's best to just move forward] the rest of the Big XII-II will find out that they hitched their tiny wagons to the tail of a burnt orange dragon, and all for nought.

    N!

    PS Anyone know of a good OC? Applications being taken.

  54. [...] You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Aggies It was as predictable as a lackadaisical road game for the Illini basketball team. When the University of Texas [...] [...]

  55. Jcs222 says:

    Texas,OU,ND,USC. I’d sit and wait and not jump the gun to the SEC if I were an aggie.

  56. duffman says:

    Frank,

    Congrats on passing 1.5 Million!

  57. glenn says:

    super piece of work, frank. i knew you would knock that little horsehide out of the zip code and you did.

    one thing i hadn’t considered is what it means to the sec to keep texas where it is in a kind of burnt orange virus vault, if you will. outstanding point and patently obvious when you think about it.

    what you said about undervaluing the texas lege last summer is dead on. more-or-less lifelong texan here and i didn’t expect that.

    large limos of flowers make the trek daily from boulder to waco these days. colorado will erect a shrine to the green and gold bear because baylor is why colorado is realizing its dream. had texas politicians not made noise to replace colorado with baylor in the big beverly hillbillie-style move to the pac, the pac boys would never have plucked colorado out of the muck for a first invitation. the pac boys were so certain of the rest of the move that they expected snagging colorado early would set the deal the way they wanted it. texas or ou by itself to the sec are much more viable moves than stanford and berkeley going along with the baylor fundamentalists.

    so larry scott was exactly and particularly right. in retrospect, the six-team move to the pac conference was dead in utero because of baylor and the texas legislature, but we didn’t know it. maybe nobody knew it.

    and, yes, the smart okie — and there are a few — will tell you that their meal ticket to the west coast was stapled to the texas ticket. there’s nothing there to rue (see baylor/texas lege).

    one last thing. it tickles me as much as it horrifies me to see you guys getting the aggie treatment. really you need to experience that before you get all chummy with the thought of them in your conference. but, as a texan i want to believe the writing skills of some of these respondents were not honed on college station soil.

    thanks again, frank. egg-spurt piece of work.

    • ckwarren33 says:

      Glenn knows too well what the Aggie treatment is like – if he is a t-sip, it felt like a 24-17 home loss. If he a child of the corn, it was 9-6 loss @ Kyle. And if he is a moblahomer, it was a 33-19 loss. We’re ready to step out of the sandbox and play with the big boys.

      • glenn says:

        what corner of the sandbox was the bowl game?

        you managed to scrape by texas when the team was in full mutiny against the part of the coaching staff that wasn’t doing its job. congratulations. you must feel proud. : )

      • glenn says:

        one more thing.

        i mentioned that you managed to scrape by texas in an almost historic low-point in modern terms. look around and you’ll see several other also-rans who did exactly the same thing. i don’t see them braying and puffing out their chests. they realize they caught a rare opportunity and see it as such. only ags are claiming up is now down and down is now up.

        other readers here need to make note of this and realize what it means.

        • ckwarren33 says:

          glenn – t.u. was 2-6 in Big-12 play this year. >50% your wins were against Rice, Wyoming, and Florida Atlantic. Bottom line, t.u. is irrelevant to A&M’s future. Recognize it and go polish your gameplan for next year’s matchups against Rice and Florida Atlantic.

    • TheExistentialVoiceOfJohnFacenda says:

      “lege”. Nice. Cute lil-word play.

      And hey everyone, try reading glenn’s posts in the voice of Emo Phillips – it’s priceless fun. Better yet, try reading his posts in the voice of Keith Olbermann – the same whiny, lil girl-skirt that he is. Typical T-sip, thanks for the laugh. But please don’t rue the day, glenn-ster. You hipster, you.

    • SuperD says:

      Yep, Colorado fans are absolutely thrilled. From our perspective we got the best possible outcome, a move to the actual PAC, not tossed to the wolves as part of some PAC / Big 12 South hybrid. We have a much better chance of getting our mojo under this arrangement. If we can right the ship over the next few years we’ll be in a much better spot once realignment issues come up again. I’m not sure I agree with attributing all of it to Baylor’s actions though. It has subsequently come out that Colorado was negotiating quietly with the PAC for months, mostly through a former AD, I think it was a foregone conclusion that we were moving, and the it was such a better fit I don’t think anyone in the Big 12 really cared all that much.

      Our Sports Information Director mentioned at one point he would like to write a disclosure piece once we were officially out of the Big 12 and couldn’t be fined, I bet it would be a hell of a read.

  58. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Here’s a good read from last August regarding the SEC television contracts and expansion straight from Slive’s mouth.

    http://ncaafootball.fanhouse.com/2010/08/04/sec-commissioner-mike-slive-talks-television-deal-expansion/

  59. glenn says:

    ‘ripped the chord’

    need i say anything?

  60. glenn says:

    say, if you read TheExistentialVoiceOfJohnFacenda, above, in a wc fields voice it comes out great. give it a go.

  61. glenn says:

    no, no. much better: imagine oliver hardy twiddling his tie and saying that.

  62. loki_the_bubba says:

    aTm may still end up in the SEC sooner than expected. But will be as one small piece of shrapnel when Kansas and Missouri leave for the Big East and toss that last match in the tinderbox once known as the Big XII, not because the Aggies made it happen.

    • Richard says:

      KU, KSU, ISU, Mizzou, Baylor, BYU, Miami, GTech, Duke, WFU, BC, & TCU in one conference after the SEC grabs TAMU, Clemson, FSU, and VTech, the B10 adds Maryland, Virginia, UNC, and NCSU in response, and Texas, TTech, OU, and OSU go to the P16.

      Whoo!

      BE adds UCF (maybe Houston as well).

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        Well, I’m not expecting all that. But it is an interesting thought experiment to forecast what might happen to the BigIIX if the BE does get Kansas/Missouri as teams 11&12 when ‘Nova moves up.

        • troyboy8ball says:

          Why would KU and MU take a massive pay cut to move from the Big 12 to the Big East, which is at least as unstable as the Big 12? Makes no sense. Would you move from Highland Park to south Dallas, just because your neighbor is a jerk and has a nicer house than you?

          • jj says:

            it’s hard to put a price on phsychic satisfaction.

          • jj says:

            psychic.

            bad typist.

          • Gopher86 says:

            KU and MU won’t move to the BEast unless it is a last resort to get into an AQ conference.

          • cfn_ms says:

            Is it really a massive pay cut? It might be given the current contracts, but both leagues will be up for renegotiation soon. There’s no question that BE basketball is a major property worth a substantial amount of cash (which would only be worth more if they added 2 national bball powers in KU and MU).

            Is it worth enough to materially offset how much less football is worth to make the difference on the order of $2M or so, rather than $5M+? I really don’t know, I’m certainly not a TV executive, but if the answer is “yes”, then what’s the incentive for KU and MU to stick around? KU has to know that the odds of them getting a Big Ten or Pac-x invite are basically zero; maybe Mizzou wants to roll the dice on landing in a good place if/when things blow up, but for Kansas especially, if they can massively upgrade the basketball side of things and not take a major financial hit from the move, it seems to me that it’d make a fair amount of sense for them.

            I do agree with you that the BE is fairly unstable, but it’s not anywhere close to the Big 12 in that regard. If Texas leaves, if Oklahoma leaves, if A&M leaves, or if Kansas/Mizzou both leave, then the league looks more or less done. There are too many low-level programs in the league to absorb the loss of another major player or the loss of a couple middle-class programs.

            The BE is somewhat more stable in that regard. Their main strength is markets rather than programs, and there’s an enormous amount of parity (usually mediocre parity); one of the major consequences of this is that the league could very well carry on without taking a huge hit if any pair of programs walks out. This would only be more true if they added two more decent programs in Kansas and Mizzou.

          • Richard says:

            Right now, both the football and basketball TV revenues for the BE are tiny (in general, for all conferences except the ACC, basketball TV revenues are tiny–think BE/MWC/CUSA-football level TV revenues). Maybe the BE could raise their payout a fair bit, but to get to within $2M of the B12 payout, they’d have to almost triple their current TV payouts.

          • duffman says:

            @cfn_ms

            not to be starting a troll war similar to the TAMU and UT folks, but I read you comment below, and was forced to wonder????

            cfn_ms says:

            February 9, 2011 at 10:05 am

            (which would only be worth more if they added 2 national bball powers in KU and MU).

            Umm, exactly when did Missouri become a national basketball power? KU, sure, but I am more of a basketball guy than a football guy, and unless I missed a memo there, I am pretty sure the Tigers do not have a solid basketball pedigree. Not to say they do not play, but what brand cache do they have compared to IU, UK, KU, MSU, and even second tier schools like UL or oSu (of the basketball schools close to Missouri).

  63. Michael in Indy says:

    Mike Slive would rather turn down the chance to take in Texas A&M than see the Big 12 fall apart and subsequently see superconferences form.

    Without A&M, the Big 12 (9) just wouldn’t have very good TV inventory except for games involving OU, UT, and/or Mizzou. (Ok State vs. Texas Tech? Total yawner unless they’re both Top 15. Baylor or Iowa State vs. Anyone? Ho-hum. KU and K-State? America’s not interested unless they’re in the national championship race.) There’s simply no way ESPN doesn’t give the Big 12 (9) a pay cut while also increasing its payout to an A&M-included SEC. The Big 12 (9) would also have a lot less to offer FSN for second-tier games, too, so they’d be disinclined to pay much of an increase, if any.

    So, how much confidence do Texas and OU have in their ability to negotiate competitive TV contracts without Nebraska, without A&M, and without Colorado? Not as much as they’d have if they were in more stable leagues. Enter Larry Scott and his open invitation.

    With A&M gone to the SEC, how could Texas and OU turn down an invitation to the Pac-16 (with T Tech and Ok State joining them)? The money and stability would be there. Not so with the Big 12 (9). KU, K-State, and Mizzou would head off to the Big East (unless the Big Ten surprises us all by taking Mizzour or KU.)

    So, now the SEC finds itself in a world with one league stretching from Texas to Washington state, and probably a 14- or 16-team Big Ten, and who knows what happens with the ACC & Big East. Is the SEC’s dominance in jeopardy? You bet it is.

    If anyone thinks all this is far-fetched, consider how close we were to seeing the Big 12 fall apart last summer. How much more when a school the caliber of A&M leaves! The risk of dominoes falling everywhere just isn’t worth it for the stable, successful SEC. It was worth it to the previously struggling Pac-10, but not to the SEC.

    • Steve says:

      Michael,

      The University of Texas / ESPN TV deal precludes everything upon which you just hypothesized.

      There may be a mega PAC-?? conference, but the Longhorns will not be a part of it.

      • glenn says:

        right now, i’d say if texas is lockstep with anybody it would be nd. those two programs have seen in each other a similar attitude toward all this, and they communicate and support each other on a frequent basis.

        i’m not suggesting that i necessarily favor that. just that it appears to be the case.

        actually, i can’t see a conference alignment for texas with any chance of happening right now except the big 12ish. nobody major is going to accept baylor, so texas is held hostage. texas is on record saying independent status is no good because of what it does to the non-football programs, but if the 12 folds, we may have no choice.

        • ckwarren33 says:

          at last I agree with glenn – tu and notre dame were once proud football franchises that have fallen off the pace. With a little work, tu can fall off as permanently as notre dame. Only thing ND has is its TV contract. Will the whorns follow in this regard? Time will tell. Can’t wait for the next t.u. barnburner against Rice, Wyoming, and Florida Atlantic.

  64. MIKEUM says:

    Good article. While I agree with the conclusion that Tx AM is stuck in the Big 12, I believe it is primarily due to the latter economic reasons rather than the former political reasons. The reason is that the State of Texas in 2011 is not the same socio-political-economic population as it was in 1994. I will be the first to acknowledge getting carried away with superconferences and the Big 10 last summer after the Pac legitimized the concept with their first expansion plan. As pointed out, the Big 10 and SEC were preparing reactive moves to the Pac’s superconference plan. The Big 10 was satisfied to just get to 12 and the SEC was satisfied as is, and both were just developing options to counter the Pac if successful going beyond 12. True, Texas state politics are like Jerseylicious in that everyone wants to be in everyone else’s business, however the difference between 1994 and 2011 is that 2011 does not have the political dynamic with the same percentage of good ole’ boys from the good ole’ days of all Texas (the State), all the way, all the time and who cares about what any other states think (except Arkansas due to SWC days). Check out population growth in Texas from 1990 to now and where they come from and the changes in poliitical profile of the urban centers where most population increases have occurred. Also, the State of Texas is in the same economic crunch as other states are in that unlike the University of Texas which is loaded with cash, the rest of the State and its public universities are not. The dollar will determine what happens to TX A&M in the future and as long as the Big 12 exists and keeps A&M on their increased dole out, which means less or no athletic money from the State, A&M is not going anywhere. Alot of the chatter heard is one of pride by fans and alumni, but they don’t write enough checks to determine the fate of the university. The SEC will not upset the balance of all leagues and has little incentive to open up to A&M and risk the impact of everything else if they did, as Frank notes. A bigger wild card in the future will be Missouri and the little Big 12 brothers of the north-if economics ever allow them to get the same benefits somewhere else, any one of them are gone (except maybe KS/KSU). Of course, some other conference will have to want to dance with them like Frank said. Good article – pick any reason but bottom line is the Big 12 is like a prison right now with a lot things needing to happen on a lot of different fronts to change things.

    • glenn says:

      mike, i agree that the dynamic in texas is not the same as in ’94, but last summer showed that even with a whole new cast and orchestra the play still came out the same.

      it shocked a lot of people much smarter and much better connected than me, but it’s there on the record for all to see.

    • footballnut says:

      Being “stuck in the B12″ is not a bad deal. People write like the B12 is a WAC or CUSA equal. Texas and Kansas will most likely get #1 seeds in the NCAA basketball tourny this year, and OU/TX are football top 5, top 10 nominees with several others in the top 20 every year. See how many “minor” sports are top-tier too-baseball, swimming, golf, wrestling. Academics? A notch under the B10 schools sure, maybe ACC too, but definitley a cut above SEC and all the other conferences (except IVY). They’re all big box, state flagship research schools, not a bunch of regional colleges.

      Stuck in the B12? aTm could do a heck of a lot worse. The B12 is here to stay and will get stronger, IMHO.

      • Redhawk says:

        I wish more people understood and “got” this.

        I’d add, getting “stuck” with the Big 12′s TV contract even right NOW, is still better by millions of dollars per year per school than the Big East, and more than the Pac-12 right now.(granted both the Pac-12 and Big 12 are coming up on new TV contracts). And not even comparable to the MWC or C-USA

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        Baylor, ISU, KSU, TTU, these are regional, not state flagship schools. Second fiddle in small states or well down the line in Texas. I’d add that oSu borderline belongs on that list.

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        footballnut – re: the Big XII academic rankings “but definitley a cut above SEC . . .”

        2011 USN&WR Best College rankings.

        Big XII v. SEC

        #45 Texas v. #17 Vandy
        #63 A&M v. #53 Florida
        #79 Baylor v. #56 Georgia
        #94 Iowa St. v. #79 Alabama
        #94 Mizzou v. #85 Auburn
        #104 Kansas v. #104 Tennessee
        #111 Oklahoma v. #111 South Carolina
        #132 Kansas St v. #124 LSU
        #132 Oklahoma St. v. #129 Kentucky
        #159 Texas Tech v. #132 Arkansas

        SEC Bench – #143 Ole Miss & #151 Miss St.

      • ckwarren33 says:

        B12 is inherently unstable, and not very exciting. Texas Tech, Baylor, and Ok State and second tier schools in terms of size and fanbases. t.u. is a terrible partner. A&M will be in a much better situation in the SEC.

  65. Bullet says:

    College presidents have opposed football playoffs even though they would generate lots more money. Some of the same dynamics could convince them to oppose superconferences-power, control, concern for the student-athlete and the travel required. ACC, SEC and maybe even a lot of B1G presidents don’t want to go beyond 12.

  66. Dr Drunkenstein says:

    Doesn’t seem like a good time for A&M to piss off state politicians:

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7419590.html

    “AUSTIN — The top officials in the University of Texas system are expected to explain to state senators Wednesday how budget cuts will hurt their programs.
    The Senate Finance Committee is hearing testimony on how the proposed $15 billion in budget cuts will hurt state agencies. College presidents are expected to complain they will be forced to cut faculty, services and enrollment. They will also likely as to raise tuition.
    The University of Texas System is a state agency, and historically higher education takes a tougher cut compared to other agencies. The draft budget proposed cutting $772 million from Texas colleges and universities, including nearly $100 million for flagship universities the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University.”

  67. Jake says:

    Well, Frank, I hope you’re happy – you’ve brought the wrath of the Texas A&M fanbase down on yourself, and you’re about to gain a very keen sense of why they’re a solid cultural fit for the SEC. Reap the whirlwind, etc. I’m going back to the Big East boards where I can get away from this particular brand of crazy for a little while. Go Frogs.

    • glenn says:

      yes, jake. these guys here are getting a somewhat more uninsulated look at the ags.

      one thing i’d really like to see from frank after the dust settles here is a bare-knuckled assessment of the aggie and husker programs and fan bases, given what he knows today. i’m sure his opinion of the huskers is ever-so-much more well informed than when all this went down last year. almost without doubt he is less enthralled at least by some small measure with the huskers. you never get to know anything more closely that you don’t discover that some assumptions you had — both good and bad — were not quite right. frank was so high on the huskers that i can’t believe there hasn’t been some lowering of expectations. particularly in terms of fit into the big ten.

      if he has developed anything like a jaundiced view of the corn-followers, he knows not to share it. at least not at this time. so if he has nothing to say, i’m going to guess something along those lines is a possibility. there have been numerous noisy issues aired from the lincoln epicenter since summer and those things can’t be seen in a favorable light.

      • Mike says:

        Glenn, this Husker thinks you sure are entertaining.

      • Richard says:

        Speaking as a fan of another B10 school, I can’t see what there is to dislike about Nebraska. They seem like a redder shade of Iowa to me.

      • M says:

        I can’t speak for everyone here, but I can’t think of a negative experience I’ve had with a Nebraska fan, either online or in person. I can’t say the same for either Texas or A&M.

        • Nostradamus says:

          We like any other fan base have some idiots online. Trust me. But I’ve never really heard of a bad experience in Lincoln.

          • Bullet says:

            Clearly UNL has some idiots online. But as a UT fan I’ve never heard any but great things about Lincoln. They take pride in their polite behavior unlike one other unnamed B12 school which takes pride in the opposite (No you paranoid Aggies-I’m not talking about you).

      • Jake says:

        I have nothing personal against A&M fans, but knowing them, they’re going to take Frank’s post as a challenge. They’ll get themselves into the SEC just to spite him, if for no other reason.

        Haven’t had a whole lot of interaction with Husker fans, but I’ve heard nice things. Their coaching staff could maybe mind their manners a little better.

        If you want a team with surprisingly friendly fans, check out Boise. Nice people. Can’t say the same for Wisconsin – it’s either drunk, obnoxious students or old alums displaying a shocking sense of entitlement and arrogance. Very disappointing.

        • ezdozen says:

          And their football team is more likely to score 70 points than their basketball team.

          /non-stat-based insult pulled from mental vault.

        • Brian says:

          It’s never fair to judge a fan base by a bowl crowd. That is a skewed subset of fans. Most regular fans can’t get tickets or afford the trip.

      • glenn says:

        i’m back. thanks, guys, for the comments.

        i’m mostly interested in comments about the organization, and i hope frank addresses that, either from his perspective or, better, his impressions of the big ten community at large, given he is in an unusually central role in all this. i mean unusual compared to most even well-connected fans.

        nebraska over the years was one of my favorite teams, beginning with the stellar devaney squads way back there. until relatively recently they remained in that position. i’d really like to see them regain that luster. hey, speaking of lusters, did the pelini brother leave or is he still there?

  68. Redhawk says:

    Frank: Great article as usual. Cuts through a lot of the BS that is out there.

    One thing I’d like to emphasis, that you pointed out, but I think EVERYONE misses:

    Conference Expansion won’t happen unless there is more money. AND FOR MORE MONEY SOMEONE HAS TO WRITE CHECKS. Espn is not going to write checks to break up the Big 12. It is against ESPN’s financial interests to have the super-conferences.

    So if they aren’t going to pay, who is? Fox and CBS and Comcast/NBC have not shown any kind of financial backing to change the college landscape.

    It’s not the Conferences or the school presidents making expansion decisions. It’s the TV money brokers. Until someone pays for conference expansion changes…it won’t happen (for the big conferences…for the smaller FBS conferences I don’t think we are done)

    One small quibble: OU is tied to Ok. State, but if it came down to “we have only one slot left in this new field of 64″ OU could and would push OSU down to get that last spot on the life boat. But I don’t think that situation will ever happen that way.

    Oh, and for you fans of expansion that seem to point to academics as a factor: Oklahoma just made Teir 1. http://www.ou.edu/content/publicaffairs/archives/CarnegieClassification.html

    • cfn_ms says:

      There’s definitely some validity to your case, but it’s not 100% true. Conference expansion can ALSO happen if it’s really about creating separation from the weaker programs in a league (ISU, KSU, Baylor for the Big 12 as an example). In that case, if the total money among the “haves” is actually similar to before, but there’s fewer programs that get a cut of the revenue, then there’s a financial incentive to move forward.

      As things stand, even though Texas gets the most $$$ out of the programs in the Big 12, they are STILL subsidizing the league’s weakest programs. The TV revenue, while not equal, is still a situation where Texas puts more into the pot (TV revenue is driven by viewership and national interest, and Texas has the most in the league) than they take out, and (for example) Iowa St takes more out of the pot than they put in. If the Big 12 went to a situation where each school got TV money exactly equal to how much their games were worth (100% for OOC home, 50% for league games, regardless of location), Texas would get MORE money, and ISU/Baylor/KSU LESS money.

      Moreover, Texas (and Oklahoma and A&M) are subsidizing the lesser programs another way. By being in a league together, they are agreeing to sign long-term home and home deals. Would Texas sign a single home and home with KSU, ISU or Baylor in a free market, much less annual home and homes? Considering that those three have smaller stadiums, less fan interest, less TV interest, and less program prestige in general, it’s hard to see why Texas would. And the same is true if you plug in A&M or Oklahoma for Texas.

      This means that, even if the TV revenue was split in a way that exactly rewarded teams for what their games were worth (and the Big 12′s arrangement, while obviously unequal, is still much more equal than that hypothetical), the bigger programs would STILL be giving major subsidies to the smaller ones simply due to the scheduling arrangements (note that this was part of A&M’s objection to Pac-16; they wanted no part of long-term scheduling arrangements w/ the Pacific Northwest, especially the “St’s”, much less long-term scheduling arrangements on a 1:1 basis).

      So I would actually argue that there is a pretty solid set of incentives for breaking up the Big 12, even if there isn’t more TV money, since by breaking up the league, Texas would (presumably) keep more of what they earn, and be rid of the subsidies they’re giving to the lesser programs in the Big 12.

      Of course, the downside for Texas is that they’d lose their current group that they subsidize and pick up a new one, but in almost any scenario the group of programs they subsidize would be smaller and the group of programs that majorly add to the pot would be greater.

      • Richard says:

        No, the downside for Texas is that TAMU goes to the SEC and opens up their state to the SEC. I think they’re happy to subsidize whoever to rein in the Aggies.

      • Redhawk says:

        but you can say that about EVERY conference. USC is the key to the Pac-12′s money. Florida and Alabama, are they Key’s to the SEC’s, Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State the same with the Big 10′s.

        What you are arguing isn’t breaking up the Big 12…it’s breaking up ALL the conferences, and taking the best of the best, into a smaller new D-1 and not sharing with the have nots.

        • Richard says:

          The B12 and P12 are more top heavy than the B10, SEC, or ACC.

          In the B10, football, footprint, basketball, and research all matter, and every school is a top school in at least one of those areas. In the SEC, really only football (and footprint) matter (OK, basketball a little), but while Florida is the clear leader there, ‘Bama, LSU, Georgia (and Auburn & Tenn) all are top schools in football (and Kentucky in bball). It wouldn’t make too much sense for Florida to leave the best football conference in the country. In the ACC, basketball brings in about as much money as football, so while FSU & Miami (and VTech & Clemson) add to its football money, the oldline ACC schools (the NC schools + UVa & Maryland add basketball viewers and tournament wins).

          The P12 is most similar to the B12 in top-heaviness (before the recent additions, the southland accounted for the majority of the population within P12 territory, just as Texas accounts for the majority of the population in B12 territory). Not coincidentally, while you never hear of Florida or tOSU (or even Texas up to now) talk about considering independence, USC has threatened to go independent several times (not only recently when the P12 was hashing out revenue sharing, but also back when they were deciding whether to admit the Arizona schools).

          • Richard says:

            Adding to my point, the only difference between USC and Texas is that USC is way out west far from the rest of the country while Texas is in the middle of the country. If USC (and the P8/10/12) was situated where Texas was, you’d have seen them switch conferences or go independent at least once by now.

          • cfn_ms says:

            The other difference being that USC is a private school and isn’t strongly beholden to anyone. Even if you consider UCLA/USC to be a permanent pair together, they’re still only politically beholden at most to the NorCal schools, neither of whom is an obvious undesirable like Baylor.

            I would also say that the P12 is appreciably less of an extreme variation b/w upper and lower class than the Big 12, but I would agree that it’s bigger in the P12 than any other AQ. That’s why I think it’s incorrect to automatically assume (as many seem to be doing) that the P12 is 100% stable and can’t be poached or broken up. They’ve been stable due to geography (isolated from all AQ leagues except to some degree Big 12) and the high number of bottom-feeders and instability in the Big 12 (which is why no P12 schools are currently interested in joining that league), as opposed to being stable because everyone is happy there.

            That was the point behind my “how USC could blow things up” post ( http://cfn.scout.com/2/1040447.html ) I made a few weeks back. And to be honest, if it turns out that the USC people who insist the league really didn’t do anything to help in the appeal are correct, I think it’s only a matter of time before they choose to torpedo the league, by that or some other method.

        • cfn_ms says:

          You can say that about every league to some degree, but some more than others. The disparity in the Big 12 is more than any other AQ league; simply going to any of the other AQ’s (except the Big East) along with the rest of the Big 12 South (sans Baylor) would take a huge bite out of Texas’s freeloader problem.

          This is the big reason why the Big 12 is the most unstable AQ league; they have a few very desirables, a few very undesirables, and a few in the middle. You look at the Big East, and there’s really not a single program that an elite AQ league would really want, and there aren’t any programs which are so far behind the rest that they really stand out (‘Nova might very well become that program if they take the invite, but they might say no, and they might turn out better than I’d expect). Where the Big 12 has a pretty clearly defined upper, middle and lower class, the Big East is almost one big middle class. This means that they’re less likely to get poached barring major nationwide change (ACC won’t be the first to rock the boat, B10 and SEC could very well take zero BE teams even in the “both go to 16″ scenario), and that the major effect of poaching would be to make the league smaller as opposed to crushing the average prestige of its programs. There’s not a single program, or pair of programs, that if the league lost would create nearly the same loss as Texas (or for that matter Oklahoma or A&M) would for Big 12,

          In terms of “breaking up ALL the conferences”, I think the SEC and Big Ten are fundamentally stable. They’re the only 2 leagues where the league itself (as opposed to just the member schools) brings real value to the table in terms of brand name awareness and prestige. While Alabama might wonder what it would be like to slice out Vandy and Miss St, they’re not going to risk damaging the brand by screwing with things even to that degree. And a total league breakdown seems virtually impossible, because everyone would be throwing away the brand value that the SEC name and institution carries.

          Ditto for the Big Ten (and there it’s much harder to ID a true “lower class” program). Any other league, though, could very well break up or throw members out.

          Even the ACC (generally considered fairly stable) is a less extreme version of the Big 12. They’ve got a bunch of programs that the two major AQ’s might actually want (MD, UVA, maybe UNC for B10; FSU, VT, UNC, maybe Miami, GT and/or Clemson for SEC), plus at least one (Wake) obvious lower-class program (Duke probably makes up for football; NC St may make the list since they’re arguably the 3rd most prestigious AD in the state… and NC isn’t exactly Texas).

          It’s a similar story for the Pac-12. I’m a fan of the league, I like its teams, and I hope it stays stable and prosperous, but I’d be lying if I said there weren’t underlying tensions that could potentially break the league up.

          Whether major tectonic shifts are a good idea is a whole other argument (as with anything, there’s good and bad). But is it plausible? Yes. Professional sports leagues talk about contraction from time to time, and usually it’d be a net gain for everyone left. It’s a similar story in college sports. It’s awful for those left behind, but the interests of the more powerful programs MAY be served by those kinds of changes. And that’s why that sort of thing MAY happen. Will it? I have no idea. But it’s plausible and possible.

          • Richard says:

            Texas doesn’t care about a freeloader problem because they can get as much or more money staying in the B12 as they can anywhere else.

            Also, the BE are mostly/all lower-class programs and the ACC are pretty much all middle class programs (and thus looks nothing like the B12). Other conferences may desire ACC schools, but there’s no freeloader problem (well, maybe WFU, but one school isn’t a problem).

            The P12 is the only other conference that looks like the B12.

          • jj says:

            if history tells us anything it’s that people like money. i have no doubt the top dogs will do more or less anything they feel will make more dough, which includes to some degree, not overly damaging the product. in other words, they need a critical mass, but i have no doubt they will contract if they think it more profitable.

  69. OT says:

    Frank is right about the following:

    The X Conference is a maximum security prison.

    - A&M can’t leave the X Conference for the SEC on its own without incurring the wrath of the Texas Tech faction in the Texas State Legislature. (Don’t believe the Baylor faction has much clout. I don’t believe anything coming out of Larry Scott’s mouth.)

    - Oklahoma can’t leave Oklahoma State behind. Boone Pickens has too much money and too much power.

    - Kansas can’t leave Kansas State behind. Kansas would prefer to be in the same league as Missouri as well.

    Iowa State appears to be the only one without any “protection” (The Big East can’t take KU/K-State/Mizzou/Iowa State as a bloc of 4 now that the Big East has taken TCU. The Big East has room for at most 3 more football schools.)

    If the X Conference were to tear apart, Iowa State could end up in the MAC, the WAC, or Conference USA (not even the Mountain West would want Iowa State.)

    ==

    Texas has the best of all worlds: its own TV network, and any conference it wants to be in. If the X Conference were to break apart, then Texas can go indy in football (and play a “national” schedule such as Notre Dame, BYU, Army at Yankee Stadium or New Meadowlands Stadium, Navy at FedEx Field, etc.) and park its other team sports in the Big East.

    • Gopher86 says:

      “Kansas would prefer to be in the same league as Missouri as well.”

      KU and MU folk don’t care about each other. As a KU alum, I can attest to the fact that the only thing we’d like to see Mizzou do is become mired in mediocrity for all time. Mizzou grads would say the same thing about KU. That’s the thing most don’t understand about the KU-MU rivalry; it isn’t a rivalry at all. It’s mutual hatred.

      That being said, there are academic and synergetic benefits that come with keeping the schools together. If we did join a conference as an ‘island’ addition, it would certainly intensify the rivalry. Ultimately, I’d rather have KU, MU and ISU together if we could only choose three teams. When it comes down to it, academics matter more than athletics. KSU isn’t close to ISU’s standing.

      As you’ve stated, the problem becomes KSU. The State of Kansas has one Board of Regents that cover both schools. They see more research and athletic dollars by having two BCS schools, rather than one flagship. Think of how rare that is for a second– two BCS teams in a low population state. That’s a system the state will defend tooth and nail.

      • greg says:

        Two-AQ schools in small state:

        Kansas 2.85M
        Mississippi 2.97
        Iowa 3.05
        Oklahoma 3.75
        Oregon 3.83
        Kentucky 4.34
        South Carolina 4.63
        Alabama 4.78

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

        I might be missing a state in there.

        • cfn_ms says:

          Of course, if the big 12 blows up, Kansas may not longer have a choice in the matter. Being the smallest state to have 2 AQ programs when neither is anything close to a power in football is probably unsustainable.

          It’s probably no coincidence that a lot of the programs considered to be vulnerable are the 2nd team in small population states. Other than Alabama and Mississippi, I think that EVERY other state on that list is vulnerable to get cut from 2 to 1 (if it wasn’t for Pickens, OK St would be worrying a lot more than they are right now).

          And, of course, there’s vulnerability in some states with overload numbers of AQ teams (NC doesn’t have the population base to support 4, and maybe not 3; Texas would be better off with 4 instead of 5; and Florida would be better off with 3 instead of 4).

          • Richard says:

            Well, neither SCarolina or Clemson are going to drop. The 2 MS schools actually are much more vulnerable (they’d be like the KS schools, except without Kansas bball, if they were in the B12 instead of the SEC). As for population, yes, NC has too many AQ schools for a state with 9.5M people, but with 25M & 19M people respectively, 5 AQ schools in Texas and 4 AQ schools in Florida are not much at all. That’s obvious when you compare to Alabama, with 2 AQ schools in a state with 4.8M, but Florida and Texas actually have more people per BCS school than Virginia, Washington, Indiana, Arizona, Louisiana, Conn., Arkansas, Utah, WV, Nebraska, and the 8 states on the previous list.

            On the other hand, only NY, Cali, Illinois, Penn, and Ohio have more people per BCS school.

            Given that they are both rich recruiting grounds (especially FL), unlike most northern states and even Cali, which is only average when it comes to NFL players produced per capita, they both could easily support another BCS school.

          • jj says:

            i really think the northern dwarves need to try stick together for awhile if they can.

            good comment, eh?

          • Gopher86 says:

            North Carolina doesn’t have too many public Universities when you think about it. Duke and Wake are private, which means their AQ representation isn’t too crazy.

          • Richard says:

            Huh? Private AQ schools aren’t AQ?

            I guess California only has 2 AQ schools, then.

        • m (Ag) says:

          After this year I think we’ll start thinking of BYU as a BCS-equivalent school, even if it doesn’t have a Notre Dame arrangement.

          So that would add Utah (2.7 million) to the list.

          • jj says:

            agree.

            i think they’re a hell of an asset. i can’t believe the P12 and B12 didn’t want them.

          • Bullet says:

            Pac has political issues. Big 12 has 2 issues:
            1) Who’s #12?
            2) No Sunday play. That hinders you from being TV friendly and actually creates more lost class time when events like track, baseball and softball can’t be played on Sunday. Probably doesn’t have a lot of revenue impact as football doesn’t and basketball rarely plays on Sundays, but does have exposure impact for non-rev sports.

        • jj says:

          looking purely at states can be misleading, it’s often times a bit more about population centers and waterways. indiana has what 3? and another 4-5 of so in the immediate vicinity. it’s pop is around 6.5, so it’s big but not huge.

          • Richard says:

            Waterways?

            Also, plenty of top football players come from rural areas. AL, MS, & SC have no major cities, yet they’re amongst the top producers of football talent per capita.

  70. ezdozen says:

    Call me crazy, but I don’t see anybody doing anything for a period of time. The only exception is the Big East, which seems to think it needs 10 teams for football.

    The Big 12 makes ample money for all involved. Why leave?

    The SEC makes ample money for all involved? They are successful. Why dilute voluntarily?

    The Big 10 and Pac 10 just went to 12? Why change?

    The ACC is fat and happy.

    Why would anyone change? It seems to be that jealousy over the Texas deal is the knee jerk reaction. However, for a long time, Notre Dame had the sweetheart TV deal. A lot of good it has done recently. Money does not equal success… or Indiana and Minnesota would have better teams than TCU.

    Now… in several years, things may change. But I just don’t see a lot of momentum for change.

  71. duffman says:

    alan and bamatab,

    going to bottom of OT’s comment, where basiaclly texas would be independent, and play other sports in the BE, what is to stop it from going to the SEC for sports not football? Look at the following:

    a) with the purchase of ISP by IMG, several SEC west schools, and most SEC schools are now in the IMG portfolio (I think alan said LSU was COX, and I think the Mississippi schools are Learfield). UTx is an IMG school as well!

    b) the SEC has baseball, and UTx has baseball

    c) the SEC has Arkansas, and the old football rivalry could be reborn as a basketball rivalry.

    d) IMG could broker 1 “independent” game of UTx vs SEC with fellow IMG schools UK or Vandy every year for a neutral site game in JerryWorld (Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, South Carolina are also ISP / IMG schools but Texas might want not want a mid to upper level SEC team on the schedule every year).

    e) IMG also represents:
    Baylor via ISP
    BYU via ISP
    Houston via ISP
    Notre Dame via ISP
    Kansas via IMG
    Rice via IMG
    Tulane va IMG
    these 7 + UK / Vandy would be decent exposure schedule, and could strengthen the schedule with rival games with OU and A&M leaving 1 slot for a B1G school every year, and 1 PAC school every year (this would make the most sense for the money ESPN just shelled out for a solid tier 2 / tier 3 Texas brodcast demand – and a whole lot more appealing to a national audience than KSU, oSu, ISU, and TT). The B1G and PAC games could be neutral in JerryWorld as well against mid and bottom tier schools in those conferences, as I would guess UTx vs Illinois would sell better than UTx vs ISU or UTx vs Stanford would have more eyeballs than UTx vs KSU. [a certain B1G college basketball coach is the master of the SoS via a method similar to this].

    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      Duff – that’s an interesting thought, but like the Big Ten and the mafia, I would tend to think the SEC would say, “Texas, you’re either all in and you play by our rules, or you’re all out.”

    • Richard says:

      The SEC has no need to allow special privileges to any school (including Texas). You already hear grumblings from BE schools about the special setup ND gets to enjoy, and the BE is far weaker vis-a-vis ND than the SEC is vis-a-vis Texas.

      Given how successful they’d been, the SEC would be idiotic to introduce discord amongst its membership and not even get Texas football.

  72. Michael in Indy says:

    @Duffman,

    The SEC wouldn’t take Texas as a non-football member for exactly the same reason the Big Ten won’t take Notre Dame as a non-football member.

    • duffman says:

      MiI,

      In the past I would agree 100%, but if something like this is floated we will know if the dog wags the tail, or the tail wags the dog when it comes to IMG ;)

  73. Michael in Indy says:

    I think we can all agree that, based on the the ESPNUT deal, ESPN has a vested interest in keeping the Big 12 intact. So I think it’s perfectly logical to assume that ESPN is already talking to A&M to ensure they’d make more money in the Big 12 than in the SEC. Letting A&M go to the SEC and put the Big 12′s existence without a fight would be ridiculous.

    So if A&M can’t make more money in the SEC, A&M wouldn’t have much of an argument to justify leaving. Frank is right. A&M answers to the Texas legislature, including Tech and UT supporters. Why would they approve of A&M leaving for the SEC, knowing it wouldn’t be improving its financial position, AND weakening the league of two major state universities?

    The good thing for Aggie fans is that A&M can use the threat of leaving for the SEC to get a sweetheart deal for its own network from ESPN, or maybe even Fox, which also would want A&M in the Big 12 for its second-tier games.

    • troyboy8ball says:

      Do we know for sure the terms of the provision for adding new teams in the SEC’s contracts with ESPN and CBS? Is it 1) the SEC can add whomever they choose, and ESPN and CBS are obligated to increase the contract to pay an equal (or near equal) share to the new teams, or is it 2) ESPN and CBS can dictate who the SEC can add, and can maybe even nix it altogether? I’ve seen speculation both ways, what’s the prevailing thought?

      • Nostradamus says:

        troyball8ball, we don’t know for sure. I’d guess it is closer to the first scenario you laid out instead of the veto power. All we know for sure is there is a clause in the SEC contracts pertaining to expansion. This could range from a specific dollar amount, to fair market value, to the unlikely scenario of re-opening the contract.

      • Brian says:

        There’s no way TV has an actual veto. The amount of money added is presumably negotiable, but no conference would cede the right to control their membership to TV networks.

    • cfn_ms says:

      I don’t think we can all agree that ESPN has a vested interest in keeping Big 12 intact. As I argued above, it seems much more likely that ESPN has a vested interest in controlling the expansion process. That means shutting down moves they don’t like and helping moves they do like.

      So in terms of A&M to the SEC, the larger question is whether it helps or hurts ESPN. If, as part of that move, ESPN negotiates a new SEC deal that they’re happy with, I don’t see why this would hurt ESPN’s interests. I don’t think ESPN would be OK with A&M leaving and the SEC publicly re-opening the TV deal, but if A&M’s move is contingent upon ESPN OK’ing the new deal, that seems like a win instead of a loss for ESPN.

      That’s especially true if figuring out what to do with Texas and the rest of the Big 12 is also part of the arrangement. In other words, ESPN would probably want to kill A&M unilaterally SECeding, but if ESPN can control the various contingent outcomes, and walk away an outcome that results in them paying not a whole lot more $$$ AND cornering the CFB market even more than they already do… why would ESPN say no to that?

      Fox might say no to that, but what influence do they have? In my mind, ESPN has bought the influence needed to either enforce the status quo or shepherd in a new status quo that’s even more favorable to them.

      • Richard says:

        We know that TV networks (ESPN, most likely) worked with Beebe to prevent the P12 from happening.

        From a purely intuitive level, no client wants their suppliers to gain more pricing power by colluding, which is what superconference formation would do.

        • Nostradamus says:

          I don’t think we have anything to prove Beebe and ESPN worked together to prevent the Pac 12 from happening. All we know is the Big 12 approached ESPN about honoring the current contract despite losing two teams.
          “The Big 12 approached us asking if we would maintain our current agreement through its term of 2015-16 and we agreed,” said Josh Krulewitz, vice president for communications for ESPN.”

          Fox on the other hand is a different story. They came to the table with an enormous offer to entice schools to stay.

        • cfn_ms says:

          Intuitively that would seem to make sense. That’s why ESPN would almost certainly insist on a long-term TV deal to be signed as part of any re-alignment deal (which would counter any extra pricing power that these deals could create).

          Moreover, there’s a strong incentive for ESPN to make sure they continue their dominant national hold on college football. If, for instance, the Pac-12 were to sign with Fox or NBC (or both), and exclude ESPN entirely (or almost entirely) that would weaken ESPN’s position, as right now they get the best content from pretty much everyone. It could also lead to a regionalization of networks (i.e. ESPN becomes “North and Southeast”, Fox becomes “West”, etc.), which is a big drop from ESPN as “all the best content” and everyone else as “all the rest” (though CBS gets some of the best SEC content).

          IMO the major incentive for ESPN is to reinforce their dominant marketplace position (not actually a monopoly, but considering they control nearly all premium content, it’s close to monopoly in terms of selling to the public). This is especially true since they’re essentially a middle man. They aren’t actually creating the content, they’re purchasing content from the teams and leagues, then selling it back to the public (through subscriber fees and advertising). This means that, as long as the costs aren’t truly awful, they can pretty much just pass on all their content acquisition costs to the public at large.

          This, in my mind, is why the Pac-16 idea last summer was so scary to ESPN. It would have immediately created a set of three “major have” leagues: Pac-16, Big Ten, SEC. And one of those three would have had an open bidding process for their content. If someone other than ESPN won that bid, then ESPN’s essential monopoly position for premium college football content was 100% dead. So either ESPN loses the bid (disaster) or they massively overpay (bad to potential disaster). Plus the Big Ten and SEC then could expand further and re-open negotiations, which could make things even worse for ESPN.

          The possibility that the Pac-12 goes to Fox or NBC isn’t anywhere near as troubling, because they’re just one of six AQ’s, and still clearly a step behind the two most important. It hurts ESPN to lose that deal… but it’s not necessarily a huge blow.

          Now contrast that with a Pac-16 (or 14 or whatever) where ESPN pays a premium to current rates, but not a ridiculous one. And where the SEC gets A&M, but as part of that arrangement agrees to sign a deal that ESPN considers at least reasonable (and maybe favorable if SEC REALLY wants their Texas presence). In that scenario, ESPN pays more (though not a LOT more), but they strongly reinforce their marketplace dominance over all other networks. That seems like a good deal for ESPN.

          Of course, that’s far from the only possible outcome, but my point here is that ESPN can arguably use their Texas leverage they acquired through the LSN deal to shape the re-alignment process to fit their needs… whatever those needs are. It could well be that their ultimate preference is stability. But it very well could be that they’d prefer (or at least be okay with) something else. And if that’s the case, they seem to have acquired the influence to make things happen the way they want. Not just to shut down any potential changes, including any that might actually help ESPN’s interests.

          • Richard says:

            I’ve posted this elsewhere, but the logic that because ESPN controls Texas’s third tier right then they have an edge at getting a P16′s first-tier rights simply doesn’t work, in my opinion. A P16 would still be just as likely to opt for Fox (especially if Fox outbids them), so it would still be in ESPN’s interests to keep TAMU from going to the SEC (leading to Texas & OU jumping to the P16).

  74. McDeath says:

    Enjoy the site Frank. Thanks.

    On the Disney/ESPN point, I’m not going to read 243 comments so maybe someone pointed this out.

    Unless I missed something, it says that ESPN was 1/2 of cable profits and cable profits were 2/3 of overall profits. Half of 2/3 is 1/3. Still a large number worth noting, just wanted to point that out to avoid too much hyperbole on that one point. Maybe I misread it, plus my accounting class in college was an 8am class so . . .

  75. jj says:

    are any of the thousands of lawyers on here employment law experts?

  76. Jimmy says:

    Now for your next article, you should do an in-depth examination into potential Big 12 expansion to…12 teams. New Mexico? Air Force? Colorado St.? Wyoming?

    • Nostradamus says:

      No.

    • Richard says:

      If any of those schools were compelling, the B12 would already have expanded. Is something going to change in the next few years that would compel the B12 to take those schools (or any school other than maybe BYU) if they decided against doing so now?

      • Redhawk says:

        @Richard
        I agree there is very little reason for the Big 12 to expand back to 12 teams. There are only 2 ways I see it happening:
        1) ESPN, etc. over pays for the CCG. I don’t see that happening…BUT..they could come back and say they want that game and are willing to pay for it. (and for the 11th and 12th teams too)
        2)BCS now that the Pac12 and the B1G have a CCG might say, to be eligible for an AQ bid, a conference has to have a CCG. I find this to be a long shot, BUT, I can see a CCG being a first step to a “playoff” set up.

        • glenn says:

          good point, r-hawk. i can see espn tipping that scale if they want. espn may be interested in developing an sec/b12 rivalry that often culminates in the title game. as you say, the ccg together with the title game might be sold as a sort of four-team playoff in the years when the title game matches winners from any two ccg games.

          • Richard says:

            1. You’d have to change NCAA rules first.
            2. Considering the gauntlet that the SEC teams already run (and that they think they’re the best/toughest conference anywhere) which means the SEC champ is almost guaranteed a spot in the national title game, I don’t see why they would even consider playing another title game before the championship game.

          • glenn says:

            no additional title game, richard. i meant the national title game. i’m just saying i can see espn trying to tip the process (which wouldn’t be that hard to do) such that the national title game would frequently pair up teams from sec and b12, and that espn would bray that it is essentially a four-team playoff. not true, of course, because the four teams wouldn’t necessarily be the four ‘best’ teams that a playoff is supposed to discover. but with espn, who’s counting, huh?

            also, i’m saying that, really, they would likely make that claim anytime the two in the national title game were coming in from ccg’s. thus the desire might be to ‘promote’ a ccg in the b12.

          • Richard says:

            Why would ESPN promote the B12 instead of the ACC or B10 (or P12 if they stay in the fold)?

          • glenn says:

            i’m just trying to envision a situation where they might feel compelled to encourage the b12 to really go to 12. it might matter to them.

    • M says:

      Here’s my list:

      BYU-A decent add. Easily the best fanbase not in a BCS conference.

      TCU-An okay add. Doesn’t add any new markets.

      Air Force-Decent football, decent fan following. If the Big 12 were forced to go to 12, Air Force might make the list.

      Houston-Like TCU, but fewer fans and worse football.

      Colorado State-Decent market, but they don’t have much of a following there.

      Wyoming/New Mexico-Tiny state, low fan support, low/zero football cache or success. This would be like a BCS conference adding an FCS school.

      If you like more exciting scenarios, arguments can be made for West Virginia and South Florida.

      Ultimately, I agree with Richard that expansion is very unlikely. However, the one beneficial trait of the Big 12 is its flexibility. In other words, they can offer a school a sort of junior partnership. For example, they could invite Houston, but on the condition that all of their conference home games be played at the Texans’ stadium. Also, when playing Texas they would only be allowed to have 10 players on the field.

      • Redhawk says:

        @M

        I disagree on New Mexico. They are a state university, and New Mexico is a growing state population wise and in the largest metro area. They are the most popular school and even the most popular sporting entertainment in the state. They have a history with Texas Tech.

        However…they have one of the worst football programs in the nation.

        You forgot Notre Dame. If they are ever forced to join a conference, their love affair with Texas and the Big 12′s flexibility with rights, make the Big 12 a loose confederation of independents.

        • Redhawk says:

          My list of candidates would be:
          1) BYU (#1 because they are more likely)
          2) Notre Dame
          3) New Mexico
          4) Air Force
          5) TCU
          6) Cincinnati
          6b) Louisville (but only as a package w/ Cincy)
          7) Colorado State
          8) UTEP
          9) Boise St (but only with BYU)
          10) Memphis
          11) Houston

          Now this list of course changes, if the Big 12 gets raided in any super-conference set up. I would think the Big 12 would try to survive by raiding down, ala the MWC raiding the WAC..the the WAC going for FCS schools.

          • Richard says:

            As I stated somewhere before, there’s no reason for ND to choose the B12 over the BE (where the bulk of their fans are and which give them games in Florida & Texas as well). I’m quite certain the BE would end over backwards (half the TV revenue, for instance) to match any offer the B12 could give ND.

          • glenn says:

            well, yes, richard, but something to think about is what espn would want nd to do. join the beast or the b12? if their preference–and i can’t imagine otherwise–were the b12–then the tv contract for a b12 with nd might generate a revenue situation for nd that the beast can’t match.

          • Richard says:

            In that case, the ACC would still be a better fit than the B12 (yes, I think they would bend their revenue sharing arrangement for ND). Both the BE and ACC offer ND greater geographic diversity in the areas they care about. The B12 only offers Texas. ND has no desire to play Mizzou, the Kansas schools, ISU, or OSU.

            This is all assuming that ND football is “forced” to join a conference, and I don’t see that happening.

          • glenn says:

            agree, richard, that the odds of nd being forced into any conference is lower than low. i think we are all just what-iffing.

        • M says:

          New Mexico may be a growing state, but it’s growing from a very small base. It’s currently the 36th largest state. As far as support for the football program, they were 89th in attendance last year, sandwiched between Wyoming and Louisiana-Monroe.

          Someone else stated this idea, but it’s a good rule: they aren’t going to invite anyone to the conference that they wouldn’t schedule for a non-conference home-and-home. Texas is not scheduling a home-and-home with New Mexico. I doubt anyone in the current Big 12 would.

          ND was already “forced” to join a conference which is why they joined the Big East fifteen years ago. Currently they keep all football related revenue and have no scheduling requirements (e.g. Texas has to play at Kansas State every other year). How could the Big 12 come close to this offer? If ND wants to play Texas, they will play Texas. They have no desire to play any of the seven dwarves.

          • Redhawk says:

            @M
            once you get pasted BYU and Notre Dame on my list, you won’t find too many that fit the qualification of the “home and away” rule.

            OU has played TCU, but it was a 2 for 1 plus 1 neutral. OU has recently played Cincy in a home and away, but the away was at the pro stadium.

            I’m not saying New Mexico is a great choice…there are none of those…just that they have more upside potential (potential is a fancy word meaning you ain’t done it yet) and pluses than other choices.

            Notre Dame…see Glen’s response above.

            Again..you wanted to talk about the Big 12′s options…to dismiss them all…well, is kinda silly. None of the options are great ones, or slam dunks…if they were the Big 12 would have added them by now.

          • Redhawk says:

            @M
            oh..and I should have added that New Mexico actually would qualify under your “home and away” rule, as Texas Tech has and does schedule New Mexico that way and have for years.

          • Richard says:

            Uh, Redhawk, dismissing all the options (except maybe BYU) isn’t silly. It’s reality. It’s what the B12 has done.

          • Playoffs Now says:

            Someone else stated this idea, but it’s a good rule: they aren’t going to invite anyone to the conference that they wouldn’t schedule for a non-conference home-and-home. Texas is not scheduling a home-and-home with New Mexico.

            Hmmm, TX did play home and home with UCF (actually a 2 for 1 deal, IIRC.) If the B(12-2) can’t raid a BEast team, then BYU and UCF may be the most logical and beneficial combo (assuming UCF hasn’t joined the BEast.) Otherwise BYU and Air Force (though there was the rumor that the B(12-2) had exploratory talks with San Diego St at some point.) Boise is probably not an option because of academics.

            But as others have said, the B12-2 doesn’t seem to want to expand, and there are few good arguments for why they should. I think the exploratory talks that fueled various expansion rumors were just Beebe performing basic due diligence for contingency cases.

            What should really piss off the Ags is that even if they leave for the SEC, if that conference doesn’t go beyond 13 or 14 schools and other conferences don’t overreact, the B((12-2)-1) is most likely to just replace aTm with BYU and move merrily along back at 10.

            BTW, if the latest usual rumor that the BEast will announce a 10th member on Monday is true, then that further suggests that the rest of the AQ conferences aren’t likely to make changes.

          • Jake says:

            @M and PlayoffsNow – So, we should expect Wyoming to join the Big 12? Texas did a home-and-home with them the last two seasons.

            As for New Mexico, that school keeps disappointing me. If Utah and Boise can build strong football programs, there’s no reason the Lobos can’t at least be respectable.

          • greg says:

            Texas also hosts Wyoming in 2012. Is it a 2 for 1, rather than home and home?

          • Redhawk says:

            @Richard.

            I agree…it’s why I’ve said for a long time the Big 12 isn’t going to add 2 schools.

            BUT if are going to play “what-if” we have to look at the best of the available, and it doesn’t work, to just say “they won’t work” cause I totally agree…but we are playing “what if”

          • Redhawk says:

            I would say 2 for 1′s don’t count if the rule is “playing at their place”…to me I assume that means 1&1′s or 2&2′s.

            OU played Air Force in a 2-1.

            and yes Texas/Wyoming was 2-1

    • glenn says:

      i think the league is on record opposing growth. neither texas nor ou is enthralled with the ccg concept and apparently prefer a round robin regular series. i think the sec boys refer to it as an ‘elongated duck’ series.

      what might be interesting is to consider who might replace a present team. let’s say we lost iowa state or baylor. i think either or both of those two programs could bolt and no one would get all huffy. who would likely come in to replace should either or both of them totally lose their collective minds and leave the easy money?

      since there are no divisions, geography isn’t important except from an economic or scheduling standpoint. baylor is special since it is the only private school in the conference. assumption would be a replacement for baylor would need to be private. tcu? pretty hard to beat if they are willing to do it. or byu. both very compelling prospects, but tcu represents easier travel while byu represents more footprint.

      call me petunia, but i think boise is a real possibility to replace an iowa state. that outfit has come up in the world by their own bootstraps, much like tcu, and deserves a world of respect. again, like tcu.

      • glenn says:

        hey, i just had a look at boise information and was surprised to discover that it was founded by the episcopal church. maybe they could buddy up to them again and be our private school if some baylor time travel experiment failed miserably and the entire town of waco disappeared. [no applause, please, fellow texans.]

        also noted that the motto for boise is ‘splendor sine occasu’, which, loosely translated, means ‘sometimes looks pretty good, especially when opposite oklahoma divided by the straight-line distance from norman to boise’.

      • Richard says:

        Glenn,

        Not sure what universe you’re living in, but ISU & Baylor would be the last schools to “bolt”. Who would want them? Where would they bolt to? CUSA?

        If any one school is leaving the B12, it’s Mizzou (if the B10 or SEC makes them an offer, they’re gone). TAMU if they can get past Texas politics (low probability). In either case, you can replace with BYU, though if schools start leaving the B12, I predict that you’ll start to see whole blocs move.

        • glenn says:

          flights of fancy, richard.

          trying to come up with a scenario with even a shred of possibility that would have the bug 12 require a replacement program. in subsequent post couldn’t bring myself to once again suggest that baylor might leave of its own volition. thus the time-travel canard. pretty much an order of magnitude higher probably, i would expect, than baylor up and leaving.

          ‘canard’ is french for ‘duck’, by the way, and thus dovetails nicely into the earlier post.

          the comments about boise and the others were not fanciful. good programs.

          • glenn says:

            using ‘probably’ instead of ‘probability’ is scotch/irish for dopey and unattentive. copious scotch.

        • glenn says:

          oh, yes, mizzou. i agree that mizzou is the likeliest to leave, but only if the big ten calls. i don’t see them in the sec, and, as frank points out, i don’t see the sec making a play for them.

          i guess i don’t want to think about mizzou leaving.

          • Jake says:

            Mizzou seems the most likely to leave, since they don’t have any in-state baggage to deal with. Let’s say they went to the Big Ten or SEC (unlikely, I know). Would the Big 12 feel compelled to replace them? Would they be okay at nine? Losing Mizzou costs them their most populous state outside of Texas, so would they feel the need to add another market? I suppose it would mostly depend on what their TV partners told them to do.

            And yeah, Baylor and ISU aren’t going anywhere so long as the Big 12 is still standing. CUSA already has a pretty strong presence in Texas, but the MWC would be happy to take Baylor, I imagine. ISU to … the MAC, maybe?

          • glenn says:

            jake, i have a question. the b10 balked at taking mizzou this past summer. do you envision they might come back to them after that? a part of me says, ‘no way’, but another part of me says, ‘maybe, once absorbing nebraska is done.’

            what do you think?

          • Pat says:

            Jim Delany indicated that they probably would be looking east if the B10 expanded again. I also read some media reports, after the Nebraska addition, that a few B10 presidents told Delany not to ask them to invite any more “lower academic” institutions. Mizzou is ranked similar to Nebraska which will be at the bottom of the B10 rankings. That said, I think Mizzou could be number 15 or 16 for the B10 along with ND and two eastern teams with higher academic rankings.

          • glenn says:

            that’s useful insight, pat. thank you. not far from what i expected to hear. not really never but not really now.

          • glenn says:

            you know, what you said raises another interesting question that can’t be answered for a while. i wonder if the academics at nebraska will come up to snuff. kind of a modified pygmalion effect, maybe. going to be interesting to see.

          • Jake says:

            My point wasn’t really about Mizzou, it was just a question about what the Big 12 would do if the Tigers left. I doubt the Big Ten is interested.

          • glenn says:

            thank you.

            i have to think the moment for that to happen was this past summer. kind of a do or die moment. it would seem to me uncomfortable to later go back to them unless there is an explanation so good that it smooths over last summer.

            i was interested in how it looks from your perspective.

  77. Brian says:

    Apparently a third party contacted TCU and Wisconsin about having a rematch at Camp Randall to open the season (the rumor is that UNLV doesn’t want to play their return game at Wisconsin). WI said yes, but TCU said no. TCU prefers playing at Baylor instead, and doesn’t want just a single game.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/dallas/ncf/news/story?id=6106632

    Just a note to non-AQ teams: this is why AQ fans make fun of your schedules. Even given the chance to play a top team, they chose to duck them and play somebody weaker instead. The top non-AQs always claim they’ll play anyone, anytime, anywhere, but that’s never true.

    Of course they prefer a home-and-home, or even a home-and-neutral series. But this is a last minute chance to fill a hole on an empty schedule and get some national pub, not WI asking them for a buyout game.

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      TCU did the right thing. They already scheduled an ‘AQ’ team that weekend. They’ve done everything they have needed to. If anyone should be made fun of it’s fans of a mid-level B1G program that think another D1 school should rearrange its schedule to play them on the road right after beating them on a neutral site. This just demonstrates, yet again, the arrogance and condescension that is ruining college football for me. “Not only should TCU cast aside their schedule for us, but Baylor is also beneath contempt.” harrumph.

    • Richard says:

      I’d like to see tOSU and Boise play (they can opening weekend in 2013). Oh, and what Loki said.

      TCU is going to be AQ anyway.

    • Jake says:

      Yes, TCU was offered a game against Wisconsin to open the season. We declined because a) we just played (and beat) them b) there was no return date and c) we already had a game scheduled for that day (no “hole in the schedule” to fill). If the Badgers would like to set up a future home-and-home, bring it.

      • Muck says:

        Translation – “Anyone, anywhere, anytime…except when it doesn’t fit our criteria.”

        • Richard says:

          That’s Pat Hill at Fresno. Boise (and TCU) have always wanted a “fair” treatment.

          • Muck says:

            Boise State wants nothing of the sort as they would lose their current ‘victim’ roll & easy path to bowl games.

            TCU is a bit different. For the most part they’ve played things straight but if your AD is going to shoot his mouth off you’re going to be taken to task when you fail to follow up on it.

          • glenn says:

            is a victim roll anything like a parachute landing fall?

          • Josh says:

            @Muck Yup. Thats why BSU rearranged their schedule to play Georgia in the Georgia Dome to kick off next season.

            This “BSU is ducking everyone to play a soft schedule” meme is crap. Boise needs paydays to pay for their program because they don’t get $20 million a year in TV money. When some big school says “BSU is ducking us,” what they really mean is that Boise refused to play a home game with no return date to Boise and for the same amount of money we offered San Jose State.

            I know a lot of College football fans think that BSU should shut up and be happy with whatever scraps the big boys offer from their table, but you can’t become an elite program by playing that game. Boise brings in huge TV ratings and they’ve got a strong traveling fan base. They need money to keep that going, and playing a Big 12 team at a discount for the “privilege” of playing them is not the way to keep that alive.

          • Muck says:

            @Josh – The “everybody is ducking us” story propagated by BSU is the real myth in this discussion. BSU makes ridiculous demands in their contract discussions that no school in their right mind is going to accede to….take the Nebraska offer for example. BSU wanted a $1 Mill payday to play the Cornhuskers regardless of what deal was signed..even if it was a home & home. There isn’t a program in the country that would sign that deal. If BSU’s financial situation is so dire that they have to resort to such foolishness then Bronco fans need to start looking closer to home & ask some hard questions regarding the school’s priorities.

          • Richard says:

            Muck:

            That’s not foolishness; that’s good business sense.

            Not sure how closely you look at college football schedules, but outside of a handful of schools like Fresno, every school prioritizes maximizing football revenues over schedule strength. I can’t fault them for doing what nearly every single other school is doing.

        • Jake says:

          The (slightly redundant) quote from TCU was “anywhere, any place, any time,” and referred solely to tOSU in the wake of the Little Sisters comment. We want good match-ups (we have future home-and-homes with Arky and LSU, thanks guys!), but we’re not desperate, and we’re not going to discard one of the most-played rivalries in college football to accommodate Wisky.

          • Muck says:

            TCU already backed out of playing Ohio State.

            The comment was nothing more than political grandstanding and should be called out as such.

            I don’t have a problem with TCU’s decision at all. It’s hard to argue that it wasn’t the right one for the University…although passing on any opportunity to upgrade the schedule is going to be (rightfully) criticized.

            Still TCU’s AD made a foolish comment and is going to get called on it.

            TCU fans have gone out of their way to criticize President Gee’s comments (while generally displaying a complete lack of understanding regarding his actual point) so aren’t in much of a position to cry foul when their own AD’s words come back to haunt them.

            @glenn – Good catch! lol

          • Richard says:

            When/how did TCU back out of playing tOSU?

          • cfn_ms says:

            TCU (and others) criticized Gee for saying “we don’t play Little Sisters of the Poor” when Ohio St annually plays 3 MAC or equal opponents. I don’t see how they failed to understand his point; I see how they correctly pointed out the hypocrisy of his point.

          • Brian says:

            Richard,

            There was an agreement in principle in 2007 to play a one-time game at OSU in 2009, at least according to OSU sources. TCU decided not to sign the contract, saying they already had a BCS team to open the season (UVA) and didn’t want any more one-off games. Sound familiar?

            TCU added a one-off game at Clemson instead. OSU went on to sign a home and home with Navy.

            http://www.cleveland.com/osu/index.ssf/2009/11/in_chasing_bcs_glory_did_tcu_m.html

            Considering the TCU AD mocked OSU for playing MAC teams OOC, their upcoming OOC schedule including ULM and FCS Portland St is interesting.

            I just don’t want to hear TCU complain about not getting respect based on their schedule when they dodge a top team to play a Baylor or ULM.

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      Is everyone else unaware that TCU/Baylor has been played as often as Michigan/Ohio State? I thought BigTen(+1+1) fans were in favor of tradition?

  78. Playoffs Now says:

    To expand on my point, say aTm does go to the SEC and they add a 14th member, say one of VTech, NC State, WV, Pitt, MO, or KS. MO or KS might be a problem, but otherwise TX may be more likely to stay put and just replace the Ags with BYU instead of bolting for a P16.

    So if the B(((12-2)-1)+1) survives back at 10 than the P12 doesn’t expand. If the B(10+2) doesn’t go past 14, then the ACC survives as 12 or 14 and the BEast probably reloads as necessary to end up at 10 or 12. ND can stay indy and the world hasn’t changed that much.

    • Redhawk says:

      I agree.

      Take a look at the MWC…they lost 3 schools…so they raid the WAC. The MWC didn’t “fold” or die. The WAC then added the FCS…and they didn’t die.

      I think the Big 12 would just raid one step down too. Losing JUST Texas A&M and the Big 12 takes BYU.

      I would even say…if the Big 12 lost A&M AND Texas they would add BYU and TCU…and go on..but with less cash and prestige.

  79. Playoffs Now says:

    And then boom, the Cal AD stirs the pot again:

    http://www.californiagoldenblogs.com/2011/2/9/1985708/sandy-barbour-kenwick-thompson-q-a-cal-will-play-colorado-in-2011

    Sandy question #4: What’s going on with BCS contraction? Will we see fewer BCS conferences in the near future?

    Response: This is on the minds of all AD’s right now, as we’re discussing the feasibility of contracting from 6 BCS conferences down to 4 within 4-5 years.

    • Richard says:

      Incidentally, Colorado will now play 7 away games and a neutral site game (their annual tussle with CSU). 8 games away from home must be a record for a BCS conference team (I’ll have to check WSU’s history).

      All their home games will be against conference opponents (must also be a first for a BCS conference school).

      • SuperD says:

        Yeah, I dunno why the Pac 12 didn’t just put Cal on our schedule this year instead of Stanford. Neither school wants to play the game, but it is still going to have to be played because of the freak occurrence that the schedule switch coincided with the fact that they are renovating their stadium this year. I think they are playing their home games this year in the Giant’s stadium, who have a home stand the weekend of that game, so they couldn’t break the game and bring in a home patsy.

        Our schedule is ridiculous now with having to be stuck playing CSU on a neutral site (even when they absolutely suck they get up for that game), @Hawaii, Cal as an “OOC” game, adding the OSU game aka the Hawkins buyout fund (we were able to add an extra game due to playing at Hawaii this year), and getting stuck with starting our schedule cycle having to play an extra roadie since the Pac 12 wanted to stick with 9 conference games instead of 8. Having to play the CSU game in Denver is stupid because I think we actually make more money at home and would prefer to have it on campus when we’re the hosts, but its a major part of CSU’s budget and there are political concerns with trying to strong-arm CSU into letting it be on campus. We’re not nearly as beholden to them as some other big-brother / little-brother situations, but we need their support on some funding and administrative issues such as trying to change the State rules to allow us to charge out-of-state athletes in-state rates for schollies.

        • Richard says:

          Colorado probably wanted to complete the Cal series at home. You knew that Colorado was getting stuck with 5 away conference games as a new guy.
          You can’t break the CSU game, @Hawaii doesn’t cost you a home game, and you’re playing at tOSU because your athletic department needs the money. So you need a home game, and given the choice between a free home game vs. Cal or having to shell out half a million to bring in a WAC team, it really was a no-brainer for your AD.

          BTW, Cal will also have only 5 designated home game (at PacBell/AT&T) as the Fresno game is officially neutral site.

          Of course, if I was the Cal AD, I would have gone with only 4 designated home games (since I’d have to pay rent on a small stadium, so home games aren’t lucrative this year) and taken the opportunity to play a high-profile neutral site match (against TCU), but who knows what they are thinking.

          • Jake says:

            I’d love a neutral site game with Cal this year, or a road game with a return trip to Fort Worth in a couple years. Right now it’s looking like Portland State and ULM will be filling the last two holes in our schedule. Vomit.

            But on the bright side, our 2012 schedule is a significant improvement:

            Home:
            OU
            Virginia
            Four Big East schools
            Probably a 1AA school

            Road:
            SMU (a virtual home game)
            Four Big East schools

            Of course, if the BEast goes to 10 before then, that could change things.

    • Playoffs Now says:

      BTW, while I think UTx doesn’t want super conferences over retaining the B(12-2), if at some point aTm is so insistent on going to the SEC and the B(10+2) and SEC are determined to reduce the BCS to 4×16, then I can see UTx agreeing to a split but demanding that aTm convince the SEC to take 1 of OkSU, Baylor, or TTech. Dividing the forming B12 South into 4 P16 and 2 SEC solves a lot of political problems.

      Would the SEC go for it? If 4×16 is happening and UTx is a kingmaker, my bet is yes. Taking OkSU and a 2nd team in Texas is probably worth it to get aTm, VTech, and perhaps NCSt. And my bet for the B16 would be ultimately ND, UVA, NC, and FSU.

      • Playoffs Now says:

        Really need a preview option.

        “…Dividing the former B12 South…”

        “…Taking OkSU or a 2nd team in Texas…”

      • Richard says:

        OSU isn’t separating from OU. Texas would want the SEC to take Baylor (assuming Baylor has to be taken care of) and join the P16 with TTech, OU, & OSU if they can’t keep TAMU from the SEC.

        • Playoffs Now says:

          I wouldn’t be so sure. Would OkSU turn down an SEC offer if it was firm? Same potential benefits to them as to aTm, a better chance to get out of the shadow of big brother. Which is why OU might not want OkSU to go east, but T. Boone might could fight them off. Quite a different situation than the fear of being left behind.

          • Richard says:

            Of course, the chances of SEC taking either Baylor or OSU to get TAMU are pretty close to nonexistant, anyway……

    • cfn_ms says:

      Wow, I think that’s the first time I’ve heard a AQ AD talk publicly in that manner. There are currently 67 AQ (or soon to be AQ programs): 12 each in SEC, ACC, P12, B10; 10 in B12; and 9 (maybe 10) in BE. Even if you think super-conferences, that’s 64, which means that you’re throwing at least three out of the club (maybe more if you add in ND and/or BYU as league members).

      • ccrider55 says:

        That was my first thought too. However a target of going from 6 to 4 leaves a convenient middle ground. The number 64 only matters if you are trying to do a huge bracket of 64(not possible in FB), and basketball has shown that 64 is not ironclad even then. Not that I think a playoff would be the goal but just for arguement sake 5 conference champs plus 3 wildcards gets you the same number as 4 and 4. Also I’m not certain 16 is the magical number for conferences. Big East has like 88 basketball teams and compares itself with much smaller conferences(number wise). Perhaps a 20(or some random large number) FB team BEast would, by sheer numbers, be able to keep a couple teams relevant in the national picture every year. I think you could accomidate the current AQ schools unless they themselves make the choice to drop down.

        Of course this AD may be just talking out of turn an not really be in the loop. This is the same AD that just cut 5 sports (including baseball) from one of the oldest and most established institutions. Not necessarily the person I’d look to for guidance on how to manage or improve a system.

  80. Michael in Indy says:

    If I remember correctly, SEC teams make about $23M a year from conference distribution. I don’t remember exactly how much of that is from ESPN, but let’s say it’s $17M. ESPN may feel that only 4 or 5 teams are worth that much, while it may not be interested in paying for Vanderbilt games at all. But if the price for those four or five is $17M each, then the price for all 12 is $17M each.

    With the Big 12, if A&M, OU, and UT want their conferece payout to be high enough for them to match or even exceed an SEC school’s, ESPN doesn’t have to pay $17M X 10. Rather, it only has to pay about $14M X 3, plus smaller amounts for the remaining seven schools. To get UT, OU, and A&M to SEC levels, ESPN can pay them for a ridiculous network. They’ll pay more for UT than the other two, but they’ll all get paid more than they’re worth. Think about it: ESPN would rather pay A&M $25M a year as a Big 12 program than have to pay them $24M a year as an SEC program because it doesn’t want to have to pay the existing 12 SEC schools an extra $7M a year. Heck, even if was only an extra $1M a year per school, ESPN would still better off with A&M in the Big 12. It could overpay quite substantially to A&M without paying as much as it would for an enlarged SEC.

    • SuperD says:

      Yeah, its going to be really interesting to see what the Big 12 gets in their re-upped deal, since Beebe has “promised” UT, OU, and TAMU that they are going to get 20 million from their new deal…even if it comes directly from the pockets of the other schools. Presumably this 20 million is for the primary rights only and not part of some ESPN payola deal for their tier 3 rights which would be added on top of their 20 million.

      • Richard says:

        $130M/year ($20M for the big 3 and $10M for the others) should be very doable. ESPN paid the ACC $155M/year for all rights, which would be the same as $129M for 10 teams.

        Granted, ACC basketball is far more valuable, but the football in the B12 should be worth more than ACC football, and the ACC deal was for all rights, but I’d expect ESPN to overpay to keep the B12 schools happy.

        • SuperD says:

          10 million a year (essentially no boost in revenues for the other 7 schools) while the other 3 schools get double that after signing a new long term deal seems like a fairly bitter pill to swallow, particularly for Mizzou, Kansas, OSU and Tech. Although as its been pointed out numerous times its not like they have much of an option.

          However, if the numbers really worked out where the Little 7 had almost no revenue growth it could mean that the Big East (after they renegotiate their deal) could potentially put a deal on the table for say Missouri and Kansas that might at least be a push with what they would be getting in the Big 12.

          • Richard says:

            Right now, the B12 gets $80M/year in TV revenue. It’s shared unequally, so those schools currently get about $8M or less. $10M would still be a (small) improvement. To put it in perspective, the ACC schools get close to $13M in TV revenue each in their new deal and the P12 schools likely will get about that number as well, I would guess. So no, the Little 7 wouldn’t be in the same league as the Big3, SEC, or B10 schools, but they’d still be competitive with some of the other BCS schools.

            As for the BE, the football schools there get $3.67M from their current TV deals (yes, it is that low and crappy). To get to the point where the B12 schools that leave won’t take a significant financial hit, and taking in to account the higher travel costs of flying all the sports teams to the east coast, the BE would have to more than double their TV payouts to be enticing. They are due for a significant increase, but can the BE get their TV payouts for the football schools to $8-9M per school (which I think is the bare minimum for the Little 7 to even consider moving)? That’s a tall order.

            Even at that point, though, there’d be a financial hit. Is pride worth losing a few million a year & flying your teams to play schools they have no history with all over the eastern half of the US?

      • Bullet says:

        Lets get the facts straight 1st. A&M is still asking for a special deal, but the will be on the wrong side of a 9-1 vote. UT and OU have insisted that they NOT get special deals. Everything is staying the same as it was before realignment. With the 50% equal, 50% appearances calculation for allocating TV money, the lowest school will be getting 70% of the highest amount based on history.

        An average of $17 gives you $14 million to $20 million. $17 x 10 schools requires a $170 million contract.

        That contract is broken into Fox which renews in 2012 and will be set to expire in 2015 (they’ve decided to have both contracts renew at the same time in the future) and ESPN/ABC which renews in 2015. So they need to get combined contracts of $170 million in 2015. That seems pretty easy given that the ACC got $155 million in the perhaps the worst media market in the history of TV. And its also 2015 before A&M can complain about not getting their $20 million.

        • Richard says:

          The ACC got $13M per school. Is the B12, on average & without third-tier rights, worth more than the ACC? Remember that the ACC is the only conference who’s basketball anyone is willing to pay significant money for.

          • Bullet says:

            B12 is arguably the strongest bb conference right now, so the Duke and UNC brands may make ACC more valuable, not that much more so. And the fb is much more valuable than bb and much more valuable in B12 than ACC. The 11th and 12th schools don’t add much value in most conferences other than a CCG. The Big 12 has 5 years of inflation and they won’t be in the bottom of the market. So yes, its easy to see how the 10 Big 12 schools in 2015 could be worth more than the 12 ACC schools were in 2009.

            The overall contract only needs to be 10% higher which doesn’t even cover inflation. So you’ve still got the fb value and market timing to offset the ACC’s championship game and tertiary rights.

          • cfn_ms says:

            Who would argue the Big 12 is the strongest right now? They’ve got 2 great teams, 2 good teams, and not much else. In the AP rankings, BE has four top 10 teams (B12 has four top 25), and another four teams 11 – 25.

            Now, you can argue that the B12 is better than the ACC THIS YEAR… but I don’t think anyone buys the idea that it’s a stronger basketball league over any meaningful long haul. And no way is B12 better than BE in basketball this year.

          • Bullet says:

            The Big 12 doesn’t have any weak links in bb. There’s no USF or DePaul. So there’s an argument at least. But the point is they are close to the top and were even better last year. And since bb is so much smaller in total $, ACC will not have much $ advantage there, relative to the total contract.

          • Richard says:

            Bullet:

            BBall (money) is so much smaller everywhere outside of the ACC (& BE). The ACC & BE are the only 2 conferences where the TV revenue for bball is in the same ballpark as the TV revenue for football (in fact, at one point, the TV revenue for basketball was higher than the TV revenue for football for the ACC). In the case of the BE, it’s because their football TV payout is so low. In the case of the ACC, it’s because their basketball TV payout is several times higher than any other league’s.

            Part of this is because of the UNC & Duke brands, but a bigger reason is that the folks in the core of the old ACC (NC,VA,MD) really care about college basketball. They may care a lot in Kansas & Kentucky as well, but those are both low-population states. NC+VA+MD, on the other hand, add up to a lot of people.

          • @Richard – This is correct. Within the ACC footprint, ACC basketball gets football-esque ratings and it’s really the only conference that does that consistently (even if the Big East and Big 12 are arguably stronger). That’s why the ACC’s syndicated basketball package is worth so much. I’ve stated from the very beginning of the conference realignment discussion last year that the ACC is MUCH stronger than what a lot of people give them credit for.

            Also, there are really only 6 national basketball brands that move the mark: Duke, UNC, Kentucky, Kansas, Indiana and UCLA. Everyone else is essentially at “What have you done for me lately?” status for TV purposes. This is in contrast with football, where you have different tiers of “kings”, “knights”, etc. As you can see, the ACC has 2 of the 6 programs that in and of themselves provide a national TV premium.

          • M says:

            I’m not sure attendance is as good a measure of popularity in basketball as for football, but just for fun here are the top 25 in basketball (from 2010 :

            Big Ten: 7, Wisconsin #6, Indiana #11, Illinois #12, Michigan State #13, Ohio State #16, Purdue #20, Minnesota #23

            SEC: 4, Kentucky #1, Tennessee #4, Vanderbilt #21, Arkansas #25

            Big East: 3, Syracuse #2, Louisville #3, Marquette #10

            ACC: 3, North Carolina #5, Maryland #7, NC State #24

            Big 12: 2, Kansas #9, Texas #14

            Mountain West: 2, #18 UNLV, #22 New Mexico

            CUSA: Memphis #8

            Missouri Valley: Creighton #15

            WCC: BYU #17

            Pac-12: Arizona #19

            Other notables: #53 Duke (just behind Bradley), UCLA #63 (just behind Providence and Penn State)

            Now I realize that there are douchebags Duke fans across the country, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Big Ten actually takes in the highest average basketball revenue per school, though it’s hidden in the undifferentiated BTN revenue.

          • greg says:

            The Big Ten has led the nation in basketball attendance every season since 1978.

          • Gopher86 says:

            Attendance numbers are tricky with college b-ball. A team like Kansas at #9 has a 16,300 arena and the longest continuous sell-out streak. Whereas, Tennessee at #2 has 21,678 seats and doesn’t sell out every game.

            Getting back to the ‘best b-ball conference’ argument. Top to bottom, the Big 12 will be the best league going forward on paper. They got rid of their two worst properties in NU and CU. The ACC is more top heavy and has better properties, overall. The Big East has a larger inventory of quality teams, but a lot of crap, as well.

          • duffman says:

            @ frank

            I still believe there are only 4 Elite basketball programs in the country. From top to bottom it would look like this:

            UK – 24,000 fans per game and a storied history.

            UNC – Dean Dome is slightly smaller, but they can still sell it and in the past decade or two, I think they have supplanted IU.

            IU – Between falling on tough times and a smaller venue I am sad that the Hoosiers have slipped to 3rd. This is offset by the rabid basketball fans in the state, who if the team picked up to its former glory, could possibly lead to games in a bigger venue (like Arkansas does in football in that they play some games in Fayetteville and some in Little Rock which is centrally located and it the biggest city in the state).

            Kansas – 20 years ago I would have put the Jayhawks in 3rd place behind UK and IU. Unfortunately, the ESPN contract has shifted the view to the ACC and KU has suffered the most from this.

            I know you count Duke and UCLA in your 6, but I would put a team like UL ahead of them for 2 reasons:

            Neither has been successful outside of a single coach (wooden at UCLA and coach k at Duke). I am not trying to be mean, but neither has a strong fan base (and the main reason UNC could build the Dean Dome and Duke is still in Cameron Indoor). I have been to the venure, and sat among the Cameron Crazies and I can tell you firsthand they are not real fans or true followers of a sport that actually understand and follow the sport. The fans in the stands of UK, IU, UNC, and KU are knowledgable of what is actually happening on the court, and follow their teams with religious fervor. I have never seen this firsthand in the Duke fans, and instead have found them to be rude and condescending. They are the pretenders to the throne, and may fall as fast as they have risen once coach k hangs it up. UCLA has some hard core fans, but there is too much to do in sunny California to gain the singular focus that you see in Indiana, Kentucky, Kansas, and North Carolina.

            If I were doing a top 5 by sport in conference it might look like this:

            Football
            SEC
            B1G (counting UNL)
            PAC
            B12
            ACC

            Basketball – Men
            B1G
            ACC
            SEC
            BE
            B12

            Basketball – Women
            SEC
            BE
            B12
            PAC
            ACC

            These rankings are based on the “ESPN” era starting at the end of the 70′s. Part is based on actual top teams, and part is based on a “gut” feeling watching teams from top to bottom in conference play. After you get past Duke UNC, and the floater ACC men’s basketball falls quickly. Sure Arkansas, Florida, and Kentucky have all won banners recently, but schools like LSU and Mississippi State are floating just out of the national spotlight. In the B1G men’s basketball favor, they are probably best from top to bottom, and hence at the top of the list in men’s basketball. However, the B1G’s women did not even make the list for the same reason.

          • @duffman – I’ll have to disagree, especially on Duke. In fact, I’d put Duke at the top of the list. (And believe me when I say this – I LOATHE Duke.) Putting aside the fact that Duke went to several Final Fours prior to the arrival of Coach K, Duke has entered into Yankees/Lakers/Cowboys/Notre Dame territory for sports fans of this generation – everyone has an opinion about them (whether it’s good or bad). I have a lot of friends that don’t follow college basketball that couldn’t tell you anything about Kansas or Kentucky, but man oh man, they know about Duke (or at least what they think about Duke and Coach K and how he molds leaders instead of basketball players and other related bunk). Duke is to college basketball what Notre Dame is to college football -loved by some and despised by everyone else.

            I’ll have to find the link later, but a Rutgers blog just had a post where the writer used Google Insights to see which searches for various college sports teams were most popular in the NYC market over the past few years. You can do comparisons by country, state and metro area – it’s a fascinating time-waster. The theory is that the searches for a team over time in a metro area is an indicator of such team’s regional popularity. Anyway, the writer compared the searches for “Syracuse basketball”, “UConn basketball”, “Rutgers basketball”, “St Johns basketball”, “Seton Hall basketball” and “Duke basketball”. What was shocking was how many people in the NYC market Googled “Duke basketball”. If you believe Google, Duke basketball is bigger in NYC than the local Big East schools. Take that FWIW. Interest in Duke is widespread.

          • jj says:

            Duff:

            I like your list, but Duke has to be in just based on K, ditto UCLA and Wooden,and UNC is close.

            Also, Michigan State has to have some love here. They have 2 NCs, a pile of Final Fours and a coaching tree between Jud Heathcote and Izzo that is literally out of control – please ignore Sampson (total db).
            Otherwise, look at that thing. You know all those tournament teams over the past decade that people are like where did they come from? Jud and Izzo, that’s where. I can’t believe Izzo keeps it up with the attrition.

            This is a good graphic.

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/sports/graphics/longterm/2007/pdf/coaching_tree.pdf

            Frank – let’s get some hoops talk; it has to count for something in these discussions.

          • Brian says:

            duffman,

            I’ve got to disagree with some of your points.

            The list of elite programs really depends on what you are considering, and how you weight each aspect. The recent failure of IU would drop them to the bottom of your list for me.

            I think your arguments against Duke and UCLA are weak. If Duke and UCLA were only successful under 1 coach by your standards, then so was IU. Duke had great teams in the 40s, 60s and late 70s, including 4 Final Fours. UCLA has won a national title and gone to 6 Final Fours since Wooden left.

            National titles:
            1. UCLA 11
            2. UK 7
            3. UNC & IU 5
            5. Duke 4
            6. KU 3
            7. Eight schools 2

            Total wins:
            1. UK 2023
            2. UNC 2004
            3. KU 2003
            4. Duke 1912
            5. Syracuse 1783
            8. UCLA 1686
            11. IU 1651

            Winning %:
            1. UK 0.760
            2. UNC 0.736
            3. KU 0.716
            4. Duke 0.699
            5. UCLA 0.694
            6. Syracuse 0.687
            18. IU 0.640

            If you average national ranks for total wins and winning percentage, IU is 14th (just behind Illinois and Louisville). Duke is 4th and UCLA 6th, and the ignored Syracuse is 5th. Maybe the problem is that IU is given too much credit just because Indiana folks love basketball, and also that some Indiana folks are too myopic about hoops. The numbers justify Duke and UCLA as elite programs.

            As for fan bases, I think you are judging on the wrong things. As a small private school, of course Duke doesn’t have the numbers and most of them don’t stay local. Having another elite program 8 miles away that is a state school also greatly reduces the number of local fans available (unlike ND, for example). That doesn’t mean their fans aren’t as fervent.

            Basing your judgment on the student section is unfair. The arrogance in your description of the knowledge and understanding of other fan bases is typical of Indiana residents who think they alone have real basketball and a proper understanding of the game. I don’t believe one fan gets to decide if another knows enough to be a “real” fan. I fully agree they aren’t as obsessive as many other fan bases. Maybe they are a fan of their team more than the sport in general. Why isn’t that OK?

            I can’t comment on UCLA fans as I have no direct experience with them, but I will reiterate that I don’t believe fans should judge another fan base. Having other options and not attending every game doesn’t mean you aren’t a fan, just like people too busy or too poor to get tickets can also be fans.

            As for your conference rank lists (since the late 70s, and based on current members), I’d adjust them a little:

            CFB:
            You – SEC, B10, PAC, B12, ACC
            Me – B10, ACC, SEC, B12, PAC

            The B10′s big 4 had at least 3 as top programs pretty much throughout that period. Miami and FSU were historically elite for the 80s and 90s. The SEC was nothing special until this decade, since AL was down and FL didn’t rise until Spurrier. The B12 is down to UT and OU, and both had prolonged down periods. The PAC was down except for USC’s recent run.

            MBB:
            You – B10, ACC, SEC, BE, B12
            Me – ACC, BE, B10, SEC, P10

            The combo of Duke, UNC and Maryland, with help from some others (GT, NCSU, UVA, WF), puts the ACC at the top for me. The BE was really strong in the 80s and lately, too (SU, G, UL, SJ, UConn, Nova, etc). The B10 had sustained success, but rarely with as many top teams. Having the only BCA team to never make the tourney hurts, too (don’t forget you have to factor in PSU and NE, too). The other 2 were largely 1 team leagues, but the B12 was really just KU.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Brian – I don’t know how you made your adjustments to duff’s ESPN era conference rankings (79-present), but you almost certainly didn’t use championships as part of your criteria.

            Regarding football, the SEC leads all conferences in championships during the ESPN era, with 11. Current ACC members have 9, but Miami’s five championships were collected before they gained ACC membership. Future and currnet B1G members have 7, but again Penn State’s 2 and Nebraska’s 3 predate their B1G membership, leaving the B1G with only 2 NCs.

            Here’s how it breaks down:

            SEC (11/11) – Bama 79, 92 & 09; Florida 96,06 & 08; LSU 03 & 07; Georgia 80; Tennessee 98; and Auburn 10.

            ACC (9/4) – Miami* 83, 97, 89, 91 & 01; Florida State 93 & 99; Georgia Tech 90; and Clemson 81.

            B1G (7/2) – Nebraska* 94, 95 & 97; Penn St* 82 & 86; Michigan 97; and Ohio St 02.

            Pac-12 (4/3) – USC 03 & 04; Washington 91; and Colorado* 90.

            Big XII (3) – Oklahoma 85 & 00; Texas 05.

            Independents (2) – BYU 84 and Notre Dame 88.

            Regarding College Basketball, the ACC leads in championships during the ESPN era with 10, followed by the Big East with 7 (5 really since Louisville’s championships pre-dated BE membership).

            The SEC and the B1G are tied with 5 each. B1G teams that won it all were Mich St in 79 & 00, Indiana in 81 & 87, and Michigan in 89. SEC national champions include Kentucky in 96 & 98, Florida in 06 & 07, and Arkansas in 94.

            Rounding out the ESPN era, the Pac-12 and Big XII have 2 championships each and UNLV has one in 1990.

          • Brian says:

            Alan,

            Duffman set the rules as considering the leagues based on current membership, so that’s what I did. Certainly NE, PSU and Miami make a difference for their leagues. The B10 and ACC would drop without their new members, and the BE would look better. The SEC was still not a top league for the 80s and 90s.

            I most certainly did use championships as part of my criteria, but they aren’t the only criteria. Otherwise, less than 1% of teams matter every year. I also looked at things like how many other teams were good, and whether there were prolonged periods of success or one and dones.

          • bullet says:

            Really tough to do bb in the ESPN era. Its changed so much in the last 15 years.

            The fb schools are taking it seriously (FL and TX for two). MVC (Ind. St.), Big West (UNLV), small privates (Providence, Seton Hall) have a much harder time.

            I’d probably still put BE on top (they clearly were during the 80s).
            1.BE
            2.ACC
            3.B1G (PSU and UNL don’t help)
            4. Big 12 (don’t forget OU-and everyone except CU and UNL took bb very seriously in B8)
            5. SEC (started getting serious in mid-80s-much underrated until recently) probably slightly ahead of Pac.

          • jj says:

            Alan

            I am pretty sure Michigan was stripped of that title for some minor transgressions.

          • duffman says:

            @ frank

            I am not communicating my point well enough. Remember I was watching sports probably well before most of you were born so I am looking at bigger history, and bigger windows (granted I am not old enough to remeber pre war games firsthand, but I did listen to the people growing up who were there, so my “vision” has a much larger data bank to pool from. If it helps I will take you back to football and my analysis of the 10 “brands” that have been posted before.

            USC, UT, OU, ND, OSU, UM, UNL, PSU, BAMA, +1 SEC.

            Left off this list were Miami and FSU. While nobody can deny they have both had big runs in the past 20 years or so, they fall below the threshold to be considered in the same league as the 10 “brands”. I would look at Duke in basketball and Mimai in football as “near” brands, but without the longer history to be in that top tier. This is not to say that either will not displace a “brand” in the future, but that is still to be determined as the longer term of history has not played itself out.

            I think you are viewing this based on “media”. I agree (as I have been to games there when Duke plays there) that NYC is Duke’s real home court (especially reinforced that Duke is school of east coast students, that just happens to be in the south). This is something most folks just do not understand if all they see of Duke is the TV aspect. When you are on their campus, and when you actually go to a game inside Cameron Indoor, you see a side of Duke that does not get translated to TV (and hence the national audience). On the “media” side I see your point, and I agree with you, but that is just a small part of the big picture and the most succeptible to changing “bandwagon” fans.

            As I discussed early on with vincent (who I have not seen post here in awhile) the UNC / Duke thing is modern. The long term rivalry was between UNC and NC State. Proir to coach K, Duke was at best the “third wheel” to the 2 state schools. Sure Duke is in the spotlight now, but what happens if coach k retires, and Duke wanders in the wilderness for 20 or 40 years. I know you can say that will never happen, but just ask the old timers about Tulane football, and look at Miami’s inability to sell seats when their program has dropped from where it has been as reccently as the last decade or two.

            I understand the team the country loves to hate, but how long will that last if they have a decade or two of “average” basketball. The thing that IU, UK, KU, and UNC all seem to have are fans that will watch their teams when they are not at the top. More importantly, they have a loyal enough fan base that will travel to see their team play.

            You did point out, and I will repeat, “sports fans of this generation” in describing Duke, which I agree with. I would say the same about Miami (a southern school with a northern student body) in terms of the “bandwagon” fans that have come of age during a high point in the programs history.

            I would go a step further to say that the most vulnerable of the 10 “brands” in football is PSU. How many people were born before JoPa took the assistants job at PSU? I see the same thing in the kids that grew up with Reagan as kids, and have a much different view of him than those who knew him long before he became president and enter the public mind.

            UCLA has the decade or so of Wooden, but their fanbase does not seem to have the same intensity of a IU, UK, KU, or UNC. am not knocking UCLA, but there is much to do in california (and a strong pro presence) that you do not have the rabid following that these 4 “brands” have in basketball. Again, I am older, so I can separate bigger chunks of “time” in how you view the big picture. If it helps I might break the “value” of a “brand” into the component parts. If you hold college football to such a standard, why not do the same for college basketball?

            While I have 10 “brands” in football, I can only see 4 “brands” in basketball. If it helps you understand I might assign values to the component parts. Hence;

            a) 30% live fan support
            b) 30% W / L (versus good teams, sure some teams have high winning percentages, but go back and look at who they were playing to rack up those wins)
            c) 20% media darlings (the point you make Frank)
            d) 10% history
            e) 10% market dominance (sure Ohio has the Browns and the Bengals, but they pale in comparison to Ohio State, and a reason I have long argued you will never see a pro football team in Columbus).

            @ jj

            I actually think MSU is better off than UCLA or Duke as a possible long term “brand” because they have a following that really like Spartan basketball, and seem to have fewer “bandwagon” fans that attach themselves to a team like Duke. I make no apologies as a Tom Izzo fan, but it goes beyond that, in that when I have seen MSU on the road, they have fans that will travel, and appear to love the team even when they are not doing well. MSU has sucessully passed the torch between Jud and Tom, and I can see them passing the torch once Izzo steps down. Even a team like Louisville (now sitting on a shiny 22,000 seat arena) has had success over several generations, and with multiple coaches. After Crum retired, they could have fallen off the earth, but they went out and got little ricky. I can see the Cards selling 20,000 + seats a game, and UNC /. UK already do this. I just feel Duke could not do the same, because they do not have the “real” fanbase to fill such a venue.

            @ brian

            Duke is a private school that could not support a 20,000+ seat arena. Notre Dame is a private school that can support an 80,000 seat football stadium. I do not know how to make this point clearer about Duke. IU has won multiple NCAA titles with multiple coaches (and has been well in the hunt with others). As of a few years ago the IU vs UK basketball game owned 7 of the top 10 slots (70%) of highest attedance for non conference regular season game (the 80,000 or so that showed up for the “nosebleed bowl” between MSU and UK still hold the record). I have been to at least a dozen or more Final Fours, and I can tell you firsthand that what you see on TV is not a true picture of what is actually happening in the arena.

            On UCLA, with their history, and their population demographics, they should have a basketball arena that seats between 20,000 – 30,000 and yet it still seats less that 13,000!!!! Think about that for a second, and tell me how serious they are in terms of their fanbase.

            While you may view my observations as myopic, as some guy who never leaves the confines of the state of Indiana, I can assure you I have travelled all over the country to watch college basketball and have a large base of personal history and observations to draw from. I was at the nosebleed bowl, and I have been to the IU games in the old HoosierDome and can tell you firsthand I have never experienced the same in the Duke or UCLA fans. This is why I prefaced the first post with the disclaimer that part of my rankings was based on “gut” instincts. So far not one Final Fours has had the same noise level as the IU vs UK regular season games.

            I will note that the noise level and enthusiam of the past will probably never be the same because of cell phones and texting. I am constantly amazed by people who sit around me at big games that are so busy texting that they miss the game (same can be said for the corporate folks in the suites). I guess at that point, I would have stayed home. I am old fashioned, and tho I may be old, I still get vocal during the games I attend.

          • Brian says:

            duffman,

            It’s not you personally, it’s the general attitude of IN hoops fans. They look down on BB fans everywhere else that BB isn’t the end all be all of existence for everyone. It’s like TX fans of HS FB or southern fans of CFB. It’s an inherent belief that ones version of fandom is the only true form of fandom, and everyone else is a pretender.

            You say no final four has been as electric as IU/UK. How many thousands of corporate tickets for the final four are sold to people that aren’t particularly a fan of either team? How many are sold to the fans of the semi-final losers to watch the finals? You’re comparing apples and oranges.

            Duke is considerably smaller than ND, and most of the alumni live far away. Of course they couldn’t fill a BB arena as well as ND fills a FB stadium. How would ND do if it was always based in southern IN instead of near Chicago, and didn’t get 50 years of obsessive coverage by national media?

            IU has 3 final fours outside of Bob Knight, and won 2 titles. Duke has 4 final fours outside of Coach K, but no titles. Duke has many more wins and a much higher winning percentage. Coach K (4 NC, 11 final fours including 5 in a row) is much more successful than Knight (3 NC, 5 final fours), too. IU has been mostly down for 15 years. At some point they have to stop living on their laurels.

            Of course IU/UK can turn out a lot of fans. You have two large, obsessive fan bases near each other. Having more fans in an area doesn’t make them better fans, nor does it make the program more elite.

            Duke could fill a larger arena, but why would they give up the great home court advantage they have just for money? They aren’t lacking for funds.

            Just because UCLA doesn’t have a huge stadium and fill it does not make the program less elite, either. The fervor of fans is not the end all be all.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            @Brian: Duke is considerably smaller than ND

            Student populations
            Duke: 13,662
            ND: 11,733

          • Richard says:

            “How would ND do if it was always based in southern IN instead of near Chicago”

            They’d still sell out. Plenty of Catholics in Cincy & other parts of Ohio, Kentucky, St. Louis, Indiana, etc., and the out-of-staters would still fly in.

            The argument that Duke bball hasn’t had the 50 years of obsessive national coverage that ND football has isn’t an argument for them being an elite brand.

          • duffman says:

            brian,

            you make a valid point about IU fans, but the same can be said for KU, UK, and UNC (I would say the same about Ohio State and Michigan fans in football ;) ). This was my basic point, as these type of hardcore Duke basketball fans do not exist in great numbers. As a fan I have made many friends among fellow “brand” members of UK, KU, and UNC. I have just never seen the same passion among the bulk of “fans” who watch Duke or UCLA. Fans matter, no matter what you might think, because demand fuels the program. It is no different if Ohio State is selling 100,000 + tickets in The Shoe, or UNC is selling 20,000 + in the Dean Dome. Duke is not in this category, and most of the seats are students seats (meaning there is not enough donor demand to move them out). If the tickets are “free” it is eay to fill the venue (and they have some of the rudest live fans), but if each one of those seats came with a 10,000 a year “donation” it is my guess it would not be filled. The truly Elite programs command a premium as ticket value is driven by supply and demand. I have dealt with scalpers for 40+ years, and I can tell you IU, UK, and UNC carry a premium that Duke and UCLA do not. My point is simple in that Duke is in the spotlight now, but they could easily fall to middle of the pack once coach k is gone. Like Miami in football there current perch is not as secure as Ohio State / Alabama in football or UNC / UK in basketball. Duke has won all their championships under a SINGLE coach, while UK has won with FOUR different coaches. I just find it perplexing that a Buckeye fan such as yourself, can see this so easily in football, but you can not seem to see it in basketball.

            I actually agree on your point of corporate invasion of the Final Four. The game in the checkerdome was the last of the “old world” Final Fours (I was with some rabid Arkansas fans, and got to see the triplets play), and the last “old school” game (sans corporate folks sitting on their hands) that I really enjoyed was the Gtown vs Nova game (I was on the winning side that game) :) when the Domes were not the status quo, and you actually had a shot at the lottery tickets :) . If I had the power I would move the corporate folks up, and give the best seats back to the schools and the fans and donors who support them (yes I am no fan of Ticketmaster and others controlling the seats before the actual schools attending.

            @ loki

            you Rice fellows are right smart about that math stuff! :)

            @ richard

            I can agree with you from firsthand observation. If ND was in southern Indiana, they would still pack em in. Those catholic high schools in Louisville and Cincinnati are still turning out ND fans even when their football fortunes have been down.

            In summary, I am old enough to remember when NC State was the king of North Carolina Basketball, so I am more willing to wait and see what the future holds for Duke, once coach k retires. I view them as “the emperor’s new clothes” in that they hitched their wagon to the ESPN gravy train early on. If it were not for the constant ESPN promotion, would they be “naked” before the crowds? The real Elite schools still seem to survive without all this promotion via coverage and announcers.

            If they can survive past coach K I will reconsider my position, but at this point in time I am not sold. UCONN and Duke both benefitted greatly by ESPN promotion (which was in ESPN’s self interest) but now ESPN can see the dollars that SEC football provides, so if I were a gambling man I would bet that in the next 20 years you will see a shift to SEC basketball (Florida and Georgia have many eyeballs, and that translates to the bottom line).

            If I was ESPN, and looking at the equation of Florida football + basketball vs Duke football + basketball. I am willing to guess Florida is a much bigger revenue stream.

          • Brian says:

            loki,

            Only undergrads count, in my opinion. Grad students are more likely to be fans of their undergrad alma mater.

            Duke – 6400
            ND – 8400

          • Brian says:

            Richard,

            My premise is that ND would never have gotten as much media coverage in the 20th century if they weren’t near a big city. Fewer media members were going to regularly cover them in Terre Haute or Bloomington.

            As for Duke BB not getting covered like ND FB, nobody gets covered like ND FB. If that’s the standard for being elite, ND FB is the only elite program in either sport. BB fans have been complaining about the level of Duke coverage for over 20 years, though.

          • Brian says:

            duffman,

            I fully agree that the other elite program fan bases are bad, too. The difference in IN is that the arrogance starts with HS BB, based on the all teams tournament of the past. Now that HS BB has gone to divisions for the tournament, that should start to fade but may take generations to go away entirely. That’s why I compared them with TX and HS FB among others.

            I fully agree with you that the other fan bases are not as large (Duke) and/or fanatical (UCLA) as IU, UK, KU and UNC. That doesn’t make the programs not elite in my opinion.

            Success is the most important factor, and the 15 national titles at Duke and UCLA make them members of the club. UCLA might not have been if Howland had not restored the winning, but he did. Duke has had great success in the 40s, 60s and since the mid 80s. If they stink for a long period after Coach K they could stop being elite, but they are elite now.

            Duke BB drives TV ratings more than anyone, nationally. In part, that’s because their fans are not concentrated geographically like the state schools. Duke is #1 in NYC, and is loved and (more commonly) hated everywhere. In that sense, they are the equivalent of ND FB.

            I would argue stadium size is much less important for hoops than football. Many schools hold on to old arenas with smaller capacities not because they couldn’t sell more tickets, but because they like the environment and the history. Duke chooses to stay in Cameron and sell seats to students because that is their tradition and most alums don’t live locally. Unless you have some evidence, I think your conclusion that their isn’t donor demand is unfounded. You say donors could pay a $10k per year per seat, but I’d argue Duke’s $40k tuition probably covers that donation just fine. Duke is not hurting for money.

            All elite programs can become mediocre when a great coach leaves. Look at IU post-Knight. If Crean doesn’t fix them, I think they’ll lose elite status nationally. UK has had significant down times too. Elite programs can come back because the name attracts coaches and players. Like it or not, Duke is now one of those programs. They weren’t before Coach K, but they are now.

            What you seem to forget is that all the elite programs got there by having one great coach that truly made the program. UK would be nothing without Rupp, much like IU without Knight. Duke had a lot of success before Coach K (yes, there is such a thing as success without winning a national title), but he has made them an elite program.

            UK won 4 titles under Rupp, which made the program. It was another 20 years before they won again, and then 18 more before getting 2 in 3 years. They’ve gone 13 years without another one, and even if Calipari wins one you know it will be wiped from the record books.

            By your argument, IU wasn’t elite until Knight won in 1976, UK wasn’t elite until Joe Hall won a title in 1978, UNC wasn’t elite until Dean Smith won in 1982 and KU wasn’t elite until Larry Brown won in 1988. However, UCLA must have become elite in 1995 when Harrick won a title.

            There were no elite programs before 1976? Really? Duke had the national player of the year in 1952 and 1963. Duke made the final four in 1963, 1964 and 1966 (lost the championship game in 1964) under Vic Bubas. Duke also lost the championship game in 1978 under Bill Foster. But none of that counts since Bubas and Foster lost, right?

            UCLA has also sustained success since Wooden left. They were a little down in the 80s (still went to the tourney 5 times plus won the NIT), but have been to 6 final fours since Wooden left (1 NC, 2 runner ups). That’s better than most programs have ever been.

            By the way, SEC basketball will never be huge because the fans don’t care. Outside of UK, they’d probably trade 10 NC in hoops for 1 in football. Hoops has support at UK, and to a lesser extent at UT and Vandy (and maybe UF). Everywhere else winter is for conditioning and recruiting, and spring is for football.

          • bullet says:

            I agree with you on Duke & UCLA being elite. One coach can create a legacy that is very hard to lose.

            But, if you consider UK’s down period to be 1 losing season (Sutton’s last year-89) since Rupp took over in the 20s and a couple of .500 seasons then (67 + 90) yes they have had down periods, but I don’t really consider 3 bad seasons that down. Rupp won 4 times, last in 58, but they were in the championship game in 66 with Rupp and 75 with Hall before 78′s win. Hall took them in 84 to the final 4. Sutton came a Kenny Walker scratched eyeball injury from beating LSU for the 4th staight time in 86 (lack of SEC respect-UK had to beat Alabama for the 4th straight time in the semis) from getting to the final 4. Pitino made final 4s in 93, 96 and 97. Tubby in 98. They’ve lost in the regional finals 4 times since then.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Bullet – no need to make excuses for Kentucky’s loss to LSU in the 1986 Elite Eight. LSU earned that win.

            That Cinderella run is the greatest sports memory of my college days at LSU. LSU was a #11 seed, but played the 1st and 2nd round games at the PMAC, that beat #6 Purdue in 2OTs in the 1st round, and followed it up with a miracle last-second shot to defeat #3 Memphis. The Sweet 16 was in Atlanta where LSU soundly beat #2 GA Tech and held on to beat #1 Kentucky.

            That team had to endure much adversity, from a starter flunking off the team to a chicken pox epidemic that sidelined most of the team for more than a few games. Several football players were drafted to stand in and play while the basketball ball team recovered.

            I don’t remember Kenny Walker having eye problems that game (he was 8 for 11 from the field and played 38 minutes), but LSU deserved to win that game.

          • bullet says:

            @Alan
            Unless I’m confusing that game with the near upset of #2 St. John’s the year before, Walker got accidentally scratched in the eye and wasn’t as effective as he had been earlier in the game.
            LSU played very well that game, its just very tough to beat a good team 3 times in one year, let alone 4. Let alone two good teams (AL and LSU). After that, the NCAA started seeding it so that conference members couldn’t meet until the regional finals (although if BE gets 10 this year that won’t be possible).

          • Brian says:

            Bullet,

            I’d consider the late Sutton to early Pitino period a down time as well as late Tubby through Gillespie. Records are so inflated by playing bad OOC teams that I don’t consider 0.500 a meaningful stat for a team like UK. Missing the tourney 4 years in a row is definitely a down period. Almost getting the death penalty for cheating so much hurts too.

      • jj says:

        well, i don’t believe he ever specified they’d be american dollars. he can trillions of these bad boys for a song.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zimbabwean_dollar#Abandonment

  81. The Truth says:

    The only people more delusional than the idiot aggy folk are those tcwho fans who truly believe that their school is relevant in anything. They aren’t in the Big 12 because they sucked at everything. They enjoy 1-2 years of success at football and then they feel they matter. Let’s just all agree that they do not. Now back to aggy bashing. Those arseclowns think they make the world go around.

    • Playoffs Now says:

      Um yeah, who beat #1 UT 2 of 3 in Austin to take their expected place in the College World Series? That would be TCU.

      Don’t make a further fool of yourself.

      • glenn says:

        don’t assume this guy is a horn. i read all the horn boards that matter and one word you never encounter is ‘arse’. i’ve seen it heavily used on other sites, and it’s always seemed kind of uncomfortable to me, but it has never caught on with the texas crowd to my knowledge.

  82. Pink Domer says:

    Lots of good discussion. But at the end of the day A&M is a wholly owned entity of Rick Perry, and will do what he wants. Likewise, Rick Perry is a wholly owned entity of Bob Perry (Baylor ’54), and will do what he wants. Despite the tens of millions that Bob Perry has thrown around in the last decade on Republican politics, he has only called in two favors: The RCLA boondoggle for home builders, and quash the Pac 16. Both happened within short order of him verbalizing the request. (Bob Perry probably does not care about Baylor that much, but Buddy Jones can motivate him). A&M folks can say what they want, but until they can get out from under Rick Perry’s thumb, they aren’t going anywhere.

    • @Pink Domer – Wow! I never made that connection and it’s a HUGE one. Through all of the amusing banter between the Longhorns and Aggies, you’ve just pointed out something I haven’t seen a single person mention in the last 8 months since the Big 12 was saved.

      Bob Perry isn’t just a run-of-the-mill rich guy Republican donor. He has been the single largest contributor to Texas Republicans over the past few decades and arguably the top donor to the party nationally since 2000. Also, he was the guy that funded the Swift Boat ads attacking John Kerry and was the main benefactor of Karl Rove’s shadow organization for the 2010 election.

      I saw a New York Times article about Bob Perry that ran just before the November election which I’ll try to track down and post here.

    • Playoffs Now says:

      Likewise, Rick Perry is a wholly owned entity of Bob Perry (Baylor ’54), and will do what he wants. Despite the tens of millions that Bob Perry has thrown around in the last decade on Republican politics, he has only called in two favors: The RCLA boondoggle for home builders, and quash the Pac 16.

      Complete and utter bullshit. But hey, you read it on the Huffington Post or saw it on Olbermann, so it must be true.

      Let me guess, you think Bob Perry also ordered 9/11?

      • @Playoffs Now – I don’t want this to devolve into a political discussion (I used to write about politics regularly, but the yahoo commenters on both sides of the aisle that came out of the woodwork on those posts were too much to take), but I find this connection to be plausible. FWIW, I consider myself to be a libertarian Republican, so I have no personal issue with Bob Perry at all. The point is that, unlike the boogeymen of big business on the right and big labor on the left, Perry donates large sums to the Republicans without a direct quid pro quo in mind – he simply wants to see them win. Thus, considering how much financial support he’s provided to the party (and especially to Rick Perry and Texas politicians in particular), when he does call in a rare political favor, he’s the type that those in power will move mountains for. Who knows if he cashed in a political chit on Baylor and the Big 12, but if he did, then the powers that be would listen.

  83. loki_the_bubba says:

    Frank, it was good while it lasted. Sorry that this article brought the mouth-breathers like “The Truth” in.

    • troyboy8ball says:

      Mouth breather might be a little harsh, but it was jarring reading his post, definitely not in keeping with the civility on this blog, more reminiscent of the discourse on Rival’s main college football board.

  84. greg says:

    Agree that the trolls are arriving in full force. I’m trying my darnedest to not let it negatively impact my impression of certain schools.

  85. Michael in Indy says:

    Can we please behave like grown-ups and refrain from this ridiculous name-calling and disparaging of people’s schools? One of the best things about Frank’s blog is that people know how to do this thing, which, brace yourselves, takes a few ounces of maturity. It’s called respectfully disagreeing. And yes, it is possible to be civil on blogs and message boards, even though we’re hidden behind the anonymity of cyberspace.

    Okay, got that soap box out of the way…

    So, I have a question for fans of Big 12 teams out there: How would you assess the cohesion and/or development of rivalries between the Texas schools and the former Big 8 schools (besides the OU-UT rivalry)? Even though most B8 schools don’t have much history between them prior to 1996, 15 years still seems long enough for something to develop. For instance, have OU and A&M developed something of a secondary rivalry? What abot Okie State and any of the Texas schools? Or perhaps Missouri? Basically, is there any attachment at all between the Big 8 schools and the Texas schools?

    FSU has been in the ACC only S seasons longer than the Big 12 has existed, but I think FSU fans have developed a little bit of fondness for playing certain teams. Clemson is always a big game for both teams, and the whole “Bowden Bowl” era certainly didn’t hurt. The NC State game also has turned out to be something of a fan favorite since NC State has been a bit of a nemesis to FSU; too often, FSU has had to come into that game with reveng on the mind.

    Penn State’s position in the Big Ten is very similar. Nobody in the Big Ten would consider them their biggest rival, but I know that both Ohio State and Iowa have developed a healthy animosity toward PSU. Penn State fans feel the same way towards those other schools.

    Anything like that in the Big 12, or does it still feel like a total emotionless shotgun wedding, even after 15 years?

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      Living in B12 country (although not a fan) I see nothing to indicate any rivalry with the north. Texas cares about three teams: Texas, Oklahoma, aTm, in that order. The Aggies care about Texas predominantly. Arkansas is probably second on their list now that they play yearly again. Baylor doesn’t have a rival. As to what those sand aggies out in the panhandle care about beyond beating Texas, I have no idea.

      • troyboy8ball says:

        Aggies don’t like to admit it, but they care A LOT about Tech. From my experience, Tech equally loathes A&M and Texas, and Baylor mostly despises A&M.

        • loki_the_bubba says:

          Still, you have the four Texas schools, the four northern schools, and the Oklahoma schools in between. Nothing in common but the Sooners and oSu.

    • m (Ag) says:

      The Oklahoma duo are the only 2 schools A&M has played every year from the old Big 8 (although that changes under the new arrangement).

      In the 90′s, A&M was good and OU forgettable; A&M won almost every game.

      In the 00′s, OU was excellent and A&M mediocre; OU won almost every game.

      So there hasn’t been much competitive basis for a rivalry. In addition, the fact that each of us considers the Longhorns our chief rival makes it hard for either of us to get too excited about the other.

      OSU has mostly been an afterthought.

      I’ve said it before; the only team A&M would miss in the Big 12 is the Longhorns. That’s why it’s so easy to imagine us being split off.

      That said, A&M had close games against OU and OSU last year. With all 3 schools likely to be pre-season top 15 schools this year, there will be a lot of anticipation for the A&M/OSU and A&M/OU games this year. (Same for the Arkansas/A&M game, but that team’s in some other conference)

    • Bullet says:

      The only Big 12 N schools that were normally interesting to UT were UNL and CU (even though KSU has given UT a tougher time than anyone). Boone Pickens State U has developed some good teams and has become interesting but not a rivalry, but the 4 remaining Big 12 N schools not so much.

    • Redhawk says:

      I’ll jump in on this one.

      When the Big 12 formed and added the 4 schools to the South there was a split right off and that hurt them from being properly assimilating.

      I think Missouri has a little bit going with Texas, but I’m not sure it’s more than Team X vs the Yankees or the Lakers.

      I know OU now has a rivalry with Texas Tech. Which if you would have said when the league was formed I’d have said you were crazy. I know OSU has TRIED to fire up a rivalry with Tech or A&M but I don’t think it’s caught on.

      Baylor does have a rival…it’s TCU. TCU hates Baylor for getting into the Big 12..and TCU having to bounce around. (even if it was ultimately the greatest thing to happen to TCU in 50 years)

      • Jake says:

        Except that TCU doesn’t consider Baylor it’s chief rival – that honor goes to cross-DMA nemesis SMU. Sure, it’s one of the most-played rivalries in NCAA football, but MAN do we hate going to Waco. Also, they may have burned down our campus back when we were in Waco, which is either a curse or a blessing, depending on your perspective.

        As far as TCU being left out of the Big 12, there is much discussion as to whether that was, again, either a curse or a blessing. Our athletic department certainly needed a kick in the pants back then, but being in the Big 12 sure would have brought in a bunch of revenue.

        • Redhawk says:

          Well, there was some trash talking on some boards during this past years TCU/Baylor game. There seems to be some real hatred there.

          as for blessing or curse..Where TCU now is a blessing, which they wouldn’t have done in the Big 12. I think TCU would have been where Baylor is now..and that’s not good.

          • Bullet says:

            TCU-Baylor was actually the 3rd most played rivalry in FBS before the demise of the SWC, just 2 games behind WI-MN and 1 behind MO-KS. Then the 4 left behind decided not to play Baylor or Tech for a while to limit their exposure in Houston and Dallas.

          • Richard says:

            Well, those schools played each other 2-3 times every year except one between 1901 & 1910 (a total of 24 games in 10 years).

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      Michael:

      I think that one of the unintended fringe benefits of what had happened to the Big 12 is that implementing a round robin in football, and a double round robin in basketball, will help finally integrate the remaining ten schools much better than they have been, leading to a more cohesive total unit. Notwithstanding our already existing rivalry with OU, from my Texas-centric standpoint, I feel a lot more of a kinship with Oklahoma State than I do with any of the other former Big 8 schools, and I’m sure that comes from seeing them every year on the football field (and twice in hoops) unlike the, on average, every other year for the other six schools. I think seeing Mizzou and Kansas State as frequently as we do Baylor and OSU will only be a positive thing that might might make the contemplation of breaking up the conference that much harder the next time around.

      • Redhawk says:

        It may be “unintended” but I do think this is one of the reasons (granted down the list) of why the Big 12 isn’t wanting to add 2 teams.

        Overall, I think this will really help the Big 12 feel like one conference and not the Big 8 and the Southwest Conference

        • Nostradamus says:

          Or the fact the league is being held together on financial promises; financial promises that can’t possibly be met if the Big XII adds anyone else.

          • @Nostradumus – Good basic point here. There seems to be this underlying notion that the Big 12 is somehow more stable at 12 schools instead of 10 school simply because of numeracy. However, that certainly wasn’t the case when Nebraska and Colorado were in the fold, so why would it be the case with BYU plus School X, too? The Big 12 schools don’t really like each other and they probably never will. However, as long as they can make more money in a 10-team Big 12 as opposed to a 12-team league or some other conference such as the Big East, then it will be stable in the sense that no one has a better option (or at least one that they’re allowed to avail themselves a la Texas A&M and dealing with the Texas legislature).

            Now, IF the Big 12 were to conclude that going up to 12 again was the best decision financially (and I must emphasize that I don’t personally believe that’s the case), then if I’m Dan Beebe, I’d call up BYU and Louisville. The Big 12 doesn’t necessarily have to limit themselves to non-AQ schools – they could poach the Big East if they wanted to and Louisville would be a valuable piece that’s not completely out of the way in terms of geography.

  86. Brian says:

    Another opinion from the TX media:

    “Cal asks … Could we still see the Big 12 South merge with the Pac 12 this summer? There’s really nothing that takes that off the table is there?

    Kevin Sherrington: Texas’ TV network takes everything off the table. When the next shake-up comes, it’ll more likely be Texas going independent and Oklahoma and A&M going to the SEC. Everyone else will be scrambling. I don’t see any other big mergers.

    Guest asks … When will TAMU join the SEC?

    Kevin Sherrington: Within five years. Or whenever Texas decides to go independent.”

    http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/college-sports/texas-aggies/20110209-sherrington-am-will-join-sec-within-5-years-…-or-whenever-ut-decides-to-go-independent-.ece

  87. M says:

    The ESPN Big 12 and B1G columnists did a nice series of articles on the Nebraska move:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/ncfnation/tag/_/name/nebraska-intro-021011

    Highlights are interviews with Tom Osborne and Dan Beebe. It sounds like Beebe will push for a name and logo change this summer.

  88. Brian says:

    Frank,

    What’s the fan response to Weber blaming lack of effort from the players?

    http://sports.espn.go.com/chicago/news/story?id=6114222

    • @Brian – Weber is defintely right, but he also has to share in the blame in not motivating this team at times. With the exception of the game at Minnesota on Thursday, the Illini have come out looking lost for the first half of every Big Ten road game. There is absolutely no reason why that should happen. This team definitely has the talent to at least make it to the Sweet Sixteen, but with the way they play down to our competition, they are primed for a first round upset exit (assuming we make the NCAA Tournament in the first place). The only saving grace is that outside of Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin, absolutely no one in the Big Ten has been consistent at all this year. Somehow, Illinois is alone at 4th place in the Big Ten despite being fairly mediocre.

  89. NateHeupel says:

    Frank:

    Although it may be somewhere in the 401 comments, I’ll just hit on it briefly. You whiffed, and I mean WHIFFED, on the OU/OSU link.

    Like many from Big 10 country, you pretty much assumed Texas and Oklahoma run their universities the same way. This is completely incorrect. In Texas, the public universities’ decisions are subject to legislative review. In Oklahoma, the schools have autonomy from legislative interference. Whatever the Board of Regents says, goes. If the OU Board of Regents cleared a move by OU to the SEC, then T. Boone and the Pokes would have to cry about it in the Mountain West.

    Further, T. Boone is not a beloved figure in Oklahoma. Most Okies remember him as a corporate raider who got rich by getting rid of their jobs. Put another way, any politician who was openly linked to T. Boone anywhere outside of Payne County (Stillwater) would likely not be a politician by the end of the next election cycle. Clay Bennett (OKC Thunder) may have some serious pull in Oklahoma, but T. Boone? Not so much.

    So, what’s the link between OU and OSU, if not forced? It’s voluntary. Oklahoma isn’t like Texas, Florida, or California (obviously). Either it’s all together, or we’re all screwed. Oklahoma needs Bedlam intact.

    • Mike says:

      If OU and OSU weren’t linked, then why did the PAC10 invite OSU? OSU doesn’t give you anything that OU doesn’t. OSU was included to placate someone.

      Frank may be wrong about T. Boone buying off the legislature, but I remember both the Governor and the OU president both say that OU and OSU were tied.

      • cfn_ms says:

        The invite of OK St was meant to placate BOTH Texas AND Oklahoma. From what I can tell, through Pickens OK St also wields some influence with Texas (and probably the Texas state legislature too). That said, the political calculations of the Pac-x MAY not actually reflect the relevant realities. Oklahoma would probably prefer not to have to fight the political battle that would occur if they tried to ditch OK St, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they couldn’t win it if they needed to.

  90. Brian says:

    A couple of legal issues are in the news today that could be important for CFB going forward.

    The EA Sports/NCAA lawsuit by former players is going to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday. It has ballooned from a simple money suit to a major First Amendment issue with powerful groups backing each side. The money issue could be big for the NCAA.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/football/ncaa/02/13/ncaa.lawsuits.ap/index.html

    Meanwhile, UConn is claiming trade secrets to prevent releasing their donor list after a FOI request was upheld by the state’s FOI Commission. A state Supreme Court judge sided with UConn and now it’s going to the Appellate Court.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/football/ncaa/02/13/uconn.trade.secrets.ap/index.html

  91. duffman says:

    If this has already been posted, my apologies, but anybody care to do this for all the schools in the top conferences( B1G, SEC, PAC, ACC, B12).

    http://www.garnetandblackattack.com/2011/2/9/1984111/sec-programs-as-biblical-figures

    I know the SEC was done in the above post, just seeing if you would change the way SEC schools were written up.

    enjoy

    • Bullet says:

      Isn’t it fitting that Auburn spent $170,000 on legal fees relating to the Cam Newton case (that was in a separate article). ALMOST enough to buy a player.

    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      Duff – Great stuff.

      I’ll have to change my name to Alan from Sodem and Gamora.

  92. Eric says:

    Back to logo news, the Big Ten did put the B1G (no “Ten”) up on the website. I’d been guessing they were going to wait until Nebraska officially joined, but it looks like they are starting the transition (although the Big1T1en logo remains on basketball floors and such for at least now).

    The full ‘B1G Ten’ logo appears no where on the main page.

    • mushroomgod says:

      Looks like they’re going to continue to try to shove this down our throats……….after a year or two of this when the complaints die down they’ll say we’ve been won over…….

      As a fan of a “BIG” conference team, I want to puke everytime I see that logo—and that’s the best one of the three. And the only thing worse than the names and logos is that commercial with Dungy and Paterno….it looks like Mrs. Paterno is watching to make sure Joe doesn’t keel over……..

      What a case study in the inability of decision makers and organizations to admit mistakes……..

  93. Penn State Danny says:

    I like the B1G logo (without the “10″). So, count me as one that has been won over.

    I have a 3 part question for the smart people on this board:

    1) Is there ANY chance that down the line the PAC invites KU, KSU, Oklahoma and OKSt?

    2) If so, would the 4 schools accept?

    3) If yes to #1 and #2, how does the Big 12 react? What about the SEC?? For that matter, what about the B1G?

    If this has already been addressed, just point me in the right direction.

    Great stuff as always Frank.

    • Eric says:

      1. The PAC-10 is unlikely to invite those 4 unless it feels it can also get Texas in the deal.

      2. Oklahoma probably won’t accept. They made it clear last summer they think they are best in a conference with Texas, which makes sense given recruiting and how big that rivalry has become as an in conference game. Oklahoma State would be unlikely to go (let alone invited) without Oklahoma. Kansas and Kansas State are not attractive enough to be invited by themselves and don’t have enough leverage to force Texas or Oklahoma to make a move, so the point is pretty mute.

      In short, the only way the PAC-10/12 is making an offers is if it thinks it can get Texas in the process. That’s probably only going to happen if it wants in in the first place and the politics in Texas make the whole thing highly unlikely.

      If Texas was hell bent on getting into the PAC-10/12 though, the smart way to do this might be something like you suggest though. Texas knows the state legislature is not going to easily put up with them leaving. The PAC-10 would have to invite Oklahoma and Oklahoma State first. That would make the Big 12 feel like it’s falling apart and give Texas and likely Texas A&M some room to maneuver (maybe). It would be risky though as the 4 Texas schools might be tied together even then and it isn’t what UT seems to want to begin with.

    • Gopher86 says:

      OU & UT are linked. OU and OSU are linked. KU and KSU would accept regardless of the Oklahomans.

      The Pac-XX model is based on television leverage. These 4 properties don’t offer too much in terms of tv sets. OU by itself would be a great catch, but not with three football weaklings.

      The Texas market was always the prize.

      • troyboy8ball says:

        I agree. I think Larry Scott eventually goes to Texas and says “You can have your network, we’ll pay your Big 12 exit fees, and you can pick three teams to come with you”, thinking that Texas will pick Tech, OU, and either A&M or OSU, depending on what Texas and OK legislatures will allow. Then, it’s 50/50 whether Texas goes for it.

        • Richard says:

          Only reason they would is if TAMU manages to get themselves in to the SEC. Texas likes the current situation just fine.

  94. Penn State Danny says:

    Thanks to all who responded. I love the game theory of this whole situation. I also love how many people on this board think 5 steps ahead.

    I was just thinking in terms of football (with the Sooners) and hoops (with the Jayhawks). I wasn’t thinking about markets.

  95. Playoffs Now says:

    I see elsewhere that someone has bought the “Bob Perry Truther” conspiracy theory hook, line, and sinker. The claim is that Bob Perry, a conservative activist who donates a lot of money, ordered Texas Gov. Rick Perry to kill the Pac 16 proposal, ostensibly because Bob Perry is a Baylor graduate. Like most kooky conspiracy theories, it is a simple idea that at first glance fits what some want to believe, but falls apart once the actual facts are examined and placed in proper context.

    I guess some are overlooking that the P10+ invite to Utah didn’t occur until after Texas killed the P16 proposal. The quick Colorado addition was the P10 attempting to avoid Baylor by leaving only 5 spots for new schools. But aTm going to the SEC would have
    solved the problem from Baylor’s angle, by leaving only 5 B12 South teams to move to the P16. If Bob Perry was really pulling the strings of Texas politics regarding realignment, wouldn’t he have insisted that the P16 deal go through and aTm to the SEC? The P10 schools may have grumbled, but that would have provided the protection of a permanent home for Baylor in the new 4×16 world, something that may be much harder for Baylor to pull off now that the original deal was killed. At the time it was widely rumored that Utah would be added if the P16 deal fell through, so waiting wouldn’t help Baylor.

    Thus if Bob Perry was involved as the conspiracy kooks claim, the outcome would have been the exact opposite of the conspiracy theory. Typical.

    • ccrider55 says:

      My recolection (which may be suspect) is slightly different. Baylor was never a Pac-1x possibility. I thought the Utah invite came, folloing aTm’s adamant rejection of suffering all the travel to the west (and the rumors that they had an SEC invite) and a flight to Lawrence I guss to explore if they would like to be the 5th, as an “ok, now there are 4 spots (not allowing Texas politics to dictate conference make up of a conference they haven’t yet joined, or comitted to join). The +4 deal to reach 16 deal was going through at the start of the weekend and was dead by monday morning. Perhaps my memory is faulty.

      • bullet says:

        Its partly faulty. They invited CU to avoid having to invite the full Big 12 South. Utah didn’t get invited until the whole thing fell apart.

        Now they were talking to Kansas (and there were rumours (w/o sources) they weren’t happy with the idea of Baylor) once A&M started squawking, but who knows how it would have all played out.

        • ccrider55 says:

          Are you sure? I thought Nebraska went B1G followed by Colorado’s Pac invite. There was talk on boards about texas posse trying to force an uninvite in order to get the whole south. There was never a chance of Baylor being included. Were the Pac presidents willing to accept that then BYU would have long since been a member.

          The source on Kansas visit was the flight plans and during flight changes that were filed for Pat Kilkenny’s (former U of Ore. AD) jet that he let the Pac use during that time. Someone linked it online at the time.

          • bullet says:

            Yes. CU was one of the 6. They got invited about the time the Waco politicians started getting involved and supposedly the Big 12S schools started selling Baylor. Then Scott went to Norman, STillwater, Lubbock, College Station and Austin.

            If Pac didn’t want Baylor, it would be because of competitiveness and markets. Baylor reduced their ties to the Southern Baptist convention to avoid too much ideological control. BYU and LDS are much more closely linked.

            Clearly they would prefer KU to BU, but whether they could have been convinced to go with Baylor we really don’t know. They would prefer KU to Utah as well. Utah was the reason they could invite CU. They knew they had an acceptable #12, but they were the last alternate.

          • ccrider55 says:

            I think we do know that either Texas(or the politicians) knew Baylor was unacceptable to the Pac-1x and allowed it to become a reason for the deal to fall through, or they really believed Baylor was not unacceptable to the Pac-1x and was unwilling to make the deal without them. Such is life in the longhorn conference.

            Reducing ties…not exactly the sound of a strong secular institution. Perhaps had Baylor eliminated ties and instituted some of the other changes they have started a couple decades ago, then they might have had a chance at being considered.

            I agree that a 12th was esential and Utah more than qualifies in academics, SLC market, and good athletics. They may have been the last alternative as the 5th (having already accepted Colorado) in that if KU would deliver OU, OkSU, TT, and UT then they would have been out. But obviously when that didn’t happen, Utah got invited and the 4 others followed UT’s lead and decided the time was not yet right to accept the invitation.

          • m (Ag) says:

            The only people suggesting Baylor could get into the Pac 16 were representatives from Waco and Baylor officials.

            The whole thing was spectacularly unseemly. I feel dirty just remembering their public pronouncements about how the state of Texas should bully a place for them in the conference. You expect that sort of thing to happen behind doors with politicians, but to see it out in the open was disgusting.

          • Richard says:

            ccrider:

            Even if Baylor had no religious ties, I doubt the Pac would have wanted them. It would have been equivalent to taking Rice to get Texas.

          • Muck says:

            Academically Rice would have been a coup for the Pac.

  96. Brian says:

    On a largely unrelated note, has anyone been following the BTN’s Top 50 Icons series? There have been a lot of complaints throughout the series based on who got included and how they were ranked, as is to be expected. The top of the rankings has really stirred up the OSU fan base, though.

    http://bucknuts.com/index.php/Football-Article/ramzy-b1g-blunder/menu-id-1346.html is just one of many examples.

    The top of the list so far:
    10. Isiah Thomas (IU, BB)
    9. Rick Mount (PU, BB)
    8. Jerry Lucas (OSU, BB)
    7. Nile Kinnick (IA, FB)
    6. Dick Butkus (IL, FB)
    5. Tom Harmon (MI, FB)
    4. Archie Griffin (OSU, FB)
    3. Jesse Owens (OSU, Track)
    2. ?
    1. ?

    The top two are Red Grange (IL, FB) and Magic Johnson (MSU, FB) but the order in unknown so far. The list is supposed to be based on achievements while a college student, not as a professional.

    The biggest complaints are with Magic being so high on the list. He only played two years and was much less decorated than Jerry Lucas. Certainly Magic had the better pro career although Lucas did make the NBA’s top 50 list. If it wasn’t for TV, there’s no way Magic would be ranked higher.

    Grange is a tougher case. His era was so long ago that it is really hard to compare to others. I tend to think he is more iconic for making the NFL popular than his college performance, although he was certainly great at IL and the two are hard to separate. The case for Grange over Owens seems to be as much about the sports they played as anything.

    How are other fan bases reacting?

    • M says:

      Northwestern got the two that were obvious (Fitzgerald and Graham). It would have been nice to have a representative of lacrosse (e.g. two time player of the year and four time national champion Nielson), but they weren’t particularly friendly to minor sports.

      • Brian says:

        I think they let media coverage sway them to choose “icons” rather than the top athletes. That tends to favor recent athletes, and FB and BB players over minor sports. Only 2 women made the list, and very few Olympic sports athletes. They also seemed to make an effort to spread the icons around to the schools.

    • bullet says:

      Wasn’t Lucas part of OSU’s 3 straight final 4s (when Cincy and O was going 5 straight).

      Magic won his second year, but lost in the regional finals the 1st year to champion UK.

      • Brian says:

        Yep. Lucas played when freshmen were ineligible, so he got three years to play. They went to the championship game all three years, winning the first one and losing the last two to Oscar Robertson’s Cincinnati teams.

        As a sophomore, Lucas was MOP of the NCAA tournament. He played so well, Pete Newell added him to the Olympic team where he averaged 17 points despite being the youngest player on the team.

        Lucas averaged 24.3 points and 17.2 rebounds for an Ohio State team that went 78-6 and won three Big Ten titles. He was a three-time All-American, three-time Big Ten MVP, two-time National Player of the Year and two-time Final Four MVP. Lucas led the nation in field goal percentage three times and in rebounding twice.

        After leading Ohio State to its second straight NCAA final, Lucas became the first college basketball player to win SI’s Sportsman of the Year, beating out Roger Maris in the year he broke Babe Ruth’s home run record.

        Against John Wooden and UCLA, Lucas became the first player to score 30 points and grab 30 rebounds in an NCAA tournament game.

    • jj says:

      I love the icons show. I think magic will be 1, but I think Owens should be. I can’t believe I’m lobbing for a buckeye, but his college records are amazing. I actually used to run track when I was skinny. Owens is a legend and he did it in a pretty hostile atmosphere. Magic was universally loved, except maybe by bird.

      I can’t believe isiha was 10. I know it’s supposed to be about college, and I love me some bad boys bb, but man was/is he a dickhead, IMHO

      I cannot b

      • Brian says:

        Owens is hard to match in terms of achievement and adversity overcome.

        He has the record with 8 NCAA track individual championships, 4 each in 1935 and 1936 (no relays). At the 1935 Big Ten championship meet held in Ann Arbor, he set 3 world records and tied a fourth in the span of 45 minutes (again, no relays). Then there was the Berlin Olympics, and 4 gold medals in Hitler’s stadium, while still a student.

        Magic has a national title and a nice smile. He’s a great player, but I think they put him too high.

    • Richard says:

      Rick Mount?

      Also, Red Grange was All-American 3 times, led Illinois to an undefeated season and mythical national championship and earned an unheard of $100K his first pro season solely based on what he had done in college. He did popularize the NFL, but people came to see him because of the legend he formed during the college career. He actually wasn’t as spectacular in the NFL (ran for 250 yards his first pro season, then formed his own pro football league which got assimilated in to the NFL, then (according to Wikipedia) “suffered a serious knee injury against the Bears, which robbed him of some speed and his cutting ability”.

      • Richard says:

        Also, how is Bronko Nagurski only 21st? The 17th best college football player from anywhere all time (according to ESPN) is only the 21st best athlete in the B10?

        • Brian says:

          Well, he was behind 3 other B10 FB players and 2 more were just behind him in the top 25. Reasonable minds can disagree, especially since they were listing “icons” and not necessarily the best players. Archie Griffin’s two Heismans move him up the list relative to his place based just on numbers, for example.

      • Brian says:

        Rick Mount may have been the greatest shooter ever. He averaged 32.3 ppg and shot 48.3%.

        Without Grange making the NFL popular, I doubt he is ranked this high (which is my point). Nobody is doubting he should be on the list, just where he should rank.

        • Richard says:

          Offense is only half the game.

          • Brian says:

            Yes, but offense seems to be the only part that people remember and consider when weighing greatness.

          • mushroomgod says:

            Mount WAS the greatest shooter ever….there is no way that he is overrated on this list…

            If I had to rank the same 10, I’d have it:

            10. I Thomas
            9. N. Kinnick
            8. M. Johnson
            7. R. Mount
            6. D. Butkis
            5. T. Harmon
            4. A. Griffin
            3. J. Lucas
            2. J. Owens
            1. R. Grange

            Grange over Owens because the guy playing the team sport wins ties.

            Many people thought Lucas was a better college player than Oscar. He was a CAA 3x, MVP of the FF 2x (he was hurt in ’62 but still played). He is still easily the all-time #1 rebounder at OSU. If I recall correctly, he led the NCAA in FG% 3x and in rebounding 2x or 3x.

    • jj says:

      Look at the below,how can anyone beat this? Seriously. He did this. Just him. I think that this is a solo event propels him to 1, most of the others had teammates. Also, he then went and won four gold medals at the Nazi Olympics, I mean, come on. Dude’s a friggin world legend.

      Owens attended the Ohio State University after employment was found for his father, ensuring the family could be supported. Affectionately known as the “Buckeye bullet,” Owens won a record eight individual NCAA championships, four each in 1935 and 1936. (The record of four gold medals at the NCAA was equaled only by Xavier Carter in 2006, although his many titles also included relay medals.) Though Owens enjoyed athletic success, he had to live off campus with other African-American athletes. When he traveled with the team, Owens was restricted to ordering carry-out or eating at “black-only” restaurants. Similarly, he had to stay at “blacks-only” hotels. Owens did not receive a scholarship for his efforts, so he continued to work part-time jobs to pay for school.
      Owens’s greatest achievement came in a span of 45 minutes on May 25, 1935 at the Big Ten meet in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he set three world records and tied a fourth. He equaled the world record for the 100-yard (91 m) sprint (9.4 seconds); and set world records in the long jump (26 feet 8¼ inches (8.13 m), a world record that would last 25 years); 220-yard (201.2 m) sprint (20.3 seconds); and 220-yard (201.2m) low hurdles (22.6 seconds, becoming the first to break 23 seconds).[4] In 2005, NBC sports announcer Bob Costas and University of Central Florida professor of sports history Richard C. Crepeau both chose these wins on one day as the most impressive athletic achievement since 1850.[5]
      Owens was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter organization established by and for African Americans.

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        I’d vote for Jesse Owens, along with Jackie Robinson and Ali as the greatest sports figures of the 20th century.

        FYI – Xavier Carter was a LSU Tiger.

        • jj says:

          Joe Louis is ahead of all of these guys. Tiger Woods probably is too. Gretzky? Phelps? Izzo?

          Gotta mull on this. To me, magic and bird are a pair.

          • Brian says:

            Tiger’s career is too split to be that great in the 20th century. He won 2 majors before 2000 and 3 in 2000. He’s not even close to the best golfer of that century. He might be the best ever when he’s done, but the calendar will prevent him from being the best of a century.

            Phelps is impressive, but having Spitz so close diminishes his accomplishments a little. For numbers, Gretzky is the best ever at anything. Nobody is even close to his records.

            I assume Alan is looking at more than just numbers, though. The cultural impact of the 3 he mentioned was huge.

        • @Alan – I’d put Michael Jordan on that list, too.

          Biggest shooting stars (5 years or so of freakish dominance): Bo Jackson, Mike Tyson and Dwight Gooden

          • Brian says:

            The problem with Jordan is that he only had impact on the court and on TV. Alan’s three were dealing with politics and racism and other cultural issues on top of being great players. MJ was about winning and getting ads.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Frank – I think the original discussion was Big Ten icons, not the best athlete. I slightly adjusted the original icon topic and named 3 guys I would vote for as the greatest sports figures of the 20th century. There’s probably several guys I would list that were as good or better athletes than Owens, Robinson & Ali.

        • jj says:

          Jordan had the benefit of being the lovely of the NBA.

        • Brian says:

          Alan,

          Wasn’t Xavier on the FB team, too? I don’t recall him doing much, but I seem to remember announcers fawning over how fast he was (actually, LSU has had several players like that).

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Brian – the X man was an underachiever on the football team in 04 & 05. After winning championships in track, he gave up his last two years to turn pro in track.

        • loki_the_bubba says:

          The greatest athlete of the 20th century was Babe Didrikson. People discount women athletes, but she was outstanding in everything. She won an AAU track and field team title BY HERSELF. She then won two Olympic gold medals. Should have won a third but was DQ’d on a bogus ruling.

          After that she took up golf and won 41 LPGA tournaments, including a grand slam (3 tournaments back then). She was a founder of the LPGA. Still the only woman to make the cut in a men’s PGA tournament.

          • Brian says:

            The problem is there were so few female athletes back then, there was no depth of competition compared to male athletes. It makes it very hard to accurately judge just how good she was.

            It’s like Boise in the WAC versus AQ teams, without all the TV coverage.

          • bullet says:

            You look at how she did vs. her peers. Same way you compare football programs. Teams from the 70s couldn’t compete today if you could magically move them in time just as they were.

            She was incredibly dominant.
            Jim Thorpe was as well if you want to go way back.

          • Richard says:

            Brian’s point is that the peers (or rather, pool of peers) were very different compared to now.

            Both Babe Didrikson and Babe Ruth were so much better than their contemporaries because a lot of potential Babes just didn’t (get the chance to) play. This point was covered by Stephen Jay Gould when talking about the disappearance of .400 hitters: http://danagonistes.blogspot.com/2004/08/where-have-400-hitters-gone.html.

            Back when Babe Ruth played, African-Americans weren’t allowed in, there was virtually no foreign talent in MLB, and even most Americans (who were working class) didn’t have the time/energy/money to develop their baseball skills much.

            On the other hand, I daresay that college football in the ’70′s was as or more popular than it is now, and the available talent pool by that time was just as big as it is now.

    • I actually think the top 3 are fair if we’re looking at overall cultural impact. Magic (along with Larry Bird) really ushered in the modern era of basketball (both college and pro) and popularized the sport in a way that it never did before. When I think of basketball history, it feels as though there’s a bright line between the era before the Magic/Bird national championship game and the time since then. Red Grange was a Roaring 20s icon that had huge influences on national coverage of college football and then the formation of the NFL. Jesse Owens’ records speak for themselves and his accomplishments at the 1936 Olympics in front of Hitler have historic significance far beyond athletics.

      • Brian says:

        That’s a pretty biased metric, though, since only one of these guys performed on TV. How big would other people have been if they played in that sweet spot era when TV hype was starting but there weren’t 1000 channels to spread the viewers? And like you said, half the credit needs to go to Larry.

        In terms of actual achievement, Magic isn’t the top BB player. In terms of cultural impact, I wouldn’t put him above Owens or Grange, either. Owens was dealing with international politics and racism, not just the popularity of a sport. Owens and Grange can make an argument to be the best ever in their sports, and Magic can’t come close.

        • jj says:

          Magic was pretty damn good. He’s not the best, but he’s easily one of them.

          • Brian says:

            He was a very good player, but he wasn’t a superstar in terms of numbers at MSU (17.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 7.6 apg). He was unique in playing the point at his size, and had a great personality, but plenty of college players out did him. Remember, it is supposed to be about college performance.

      • Brian says:

        Part of the problem is that the voters were TV people in their 20s, 30s and 40s. They have no real perspective for evaluating older athletes like Owens and Grange.

    • bullet says:

      @Duffman

      When I think of IU icons, I think of the whole 74-75 and 75-76 teams before Isaiah who only stayed 2 years. May, Buckner, Benson. They only lost one game in two years, and that after May broke his arm. They lost to UK by 2 in the regional finals after beating UK something like 97-74 early in the season (UK probably would have won the national championship that year if Wooden hadn’t announced his retirement just before the game). Then they went unbeaten the next year.

  97. jj says:

    Brian:

    Is acting 101 a required course for the bb team?

    • jj says:

      That was cold. This is a good one. I can’t be all mr buckeye love in one day.

      • Brian says:

        Doesn’t bother me. I never watch the BB team. I’m a complete jinx. Every time I flip on one of their games, OSU starts to screw up.

        I still expect them to lose 4 more games (at PU, either at PSU or vs WI, B10 semi, NCAA elite 8 at latest) and leave a sour taste in fans’ mouths.

  98. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    I really like this discussion of icons, sports figures, and greatest ever.

    I’m waiting for college baseball to start this weekend and waiting for basketball to mercifully end for my Tigers, but when I go watch my Tigers lose by 20, I can’t help but think of the fond memories of great tournament runs, final fours, and SEC Championships. While LSU is certainly not an elite historic (or present) program, we’ve had more than our share of great players. In fact, LSU was one of only a few teams to place 3 members on NBA 50 at 50 team a few years back (Bob Pettit, Pete Maravich, and Shaquille O’Neal).

    My all-time starting five for LSU would consist of the following:

    Chris Jackson (Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf) Consensus Player of the Year in the SEC, 1989, 1990 … First-Team All-American 1989, 1990 … Scored 48 and 53 points in the first month of his college career … Set NCAA freshman scoring record, averaging 30.2 points per game … Just the second freshman at the time to make AP first-team All-American. Made 172 treys in just two seasons.

    Pistol Pete Maravich – National Player of the Year 1969, 1970. All-time NCAA Career Scoring leaders with 3,667 points, an average of 44.2 points for 83 games. Scored 69 points vs. Alabama, Feb. 7, 1970. Member NBA 50 at 50 team.

    Shaquille O’Neal – Consensus First-Team All-American in 1991 and 1992 … 1991 and 1992 SEC Player of the Year … National Player of the Year in 1991 by AP (Rupp Award), UPI and Sports Illustrated … Runner-up for 1992 Naismith and Wooden Award … School record for blocks 412, blocking five or more shots 45 times in 90 games … National leader in rebounding (14.7) in 1991 … Member of the NBA 50 at 50 team.

    Bob Pettit – All-SEC First Team, 1952, 1953, 1954; All-American Second Team, 1952; All American First Team 1953, 1954 … Led LSU to the 1954 Final Four. Member of the NBA 50 at 50 team.

    Rudy Macklin – two time All-American, and led LSU to the 1981 Final Four.

    What’s your all-time starting five for your school?

    • Brian says:

      For OSU:

      John Havlicek – G
      NBA 50th Anniversary Team
      NBA 35th Anniversary Team
      13× NBA All Star (1966–1978)
      8× NBA Champion (1963–1966, 1968–1969, 1974, 1976)
      1× NBA Finals MVP (1974)

      Jim Jackson – G (tough call, could have gone Evan Turner)
      2 time All American
      UPI player of the year

      Jerry Lucas – F
      NBA 50th Anniversary Team
      See earlier posts for more details

      Gary Bradds – F
      National player of the year

      Herb Williams – C
      18 years in NBA

      • Brian says:

        I should note that without injury issues, the list might have included Greg Oden at C (great for 1 year, even with a wrist injury) and Clark Kellogg.

      • mushroomgod says:

        Based on college production alone:

        1. Lucas
        2. Bradds
        3. Jackson
        4. Robin Freeman
        5. Havlicek
        6. Williams
        7. Dick Schnittker
        8. Kelvin Ransey
        9. Evan Turner
        10.Dennis Hopson
        11.Clark Kellogg
        12.Bill Hosket
        13.Terence Dials
        14.Wes Fesler
        15.Jimmy Hull
        16.Allan Hornyak
        17.Larry Siegfried
        18.Don Grate
        19.Scoonie Penn
        20.Tony Campbell
        21.Dave Sorenson
        22.Frank Howard
        23.Paul Ebert
        24.Jim Clemons
        25.Michael Redd
        26.Gred Oden
        27.Mike Conley
        28.Andre Risen
        29.Jay Burson
        30.Perry Carter

        I think I may be underrating Hull and Fesler, overrating Dials.

    • duffman says:

      alan,

      do you travel to see your Tigers play baseball on the road?

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        duff – I usually don’t. I’ve been to a Tulane game in New Orleans and attended the SEC Baseball tournament championship game last year in Hoover, Alabama (B’ham suburb). The spring is just a very busy time for me with work. I usually attend 2 or 3 football road games each year though.

        With my daughter going off to college soon, we’ll probably try to attend the LSU/Vandy series in Nashville and mix in a tour of the school. We’re also looking forward to the TCU/Houston Baptist beat-down in a couple weeks when we are in Ft. Worth for her 2nd TCU visit. The nation’s best college pitcher, Matt Purke, should be on the bump that night.

        In two more days though, I’ll be at the new Alex Box Stadium with 10,000 of my closest friends as the Tigers open the season against Wake Forest – the only ACC team to win a CWS title as a member of the ACC.

    • Jake says:

      @Alan – this question depresses me. TCU’s top 5 all-time are … Kurt Thomas, Lee Nailon, and … umm … hey, baseball season starts tomorrow!

  99. jj says:

    As long as we’re ranking stuff, i just tried the wolf chili. Here’s how I rank our sponsors now.

    1. Rotel – 4 stars (simple, tasty)

    2. Velvetta (sp?) – 3 stars (loses one b/c i doubt it has any health value, tastes good though)

    3. Wolf Chili – 1 star (chili in a can is pretty hard to pull off, it wasn’t bad, but I doubt I’ll buy it again)

    4. Barabasol – 0 stars (horrible product)

  100. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Guys, I don’t know if you’ve seen or heard much about the poisoning of the hundred-plus year old oak trees at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn. Those are the same trees that Auburn fans decorate with toilet paper after an Auburn victory.

    Well they arrested a suspect early this morning.

    http://www.myfoxal.com/Global/story.asp?S=14048891

    • jj says:

      That’s a heartbreaker. I hope no lawyer in the state defends him.

      • Richard says:

        …yet in the end, they’re trees.

        What’s heartbreaking is people getting murdered, raped, or sold in to sexual slavery; kids growing up malnourished because their family is too poor to buy them food (happens waaaay too often in this world).

        I’m as much of a tree-hugger as any environmentalist, but a little perspective, please.

        • jj says:

          yes they are trees and obviously murder is worse.

          But this is an act intended to cause millions of people pain for no f’ing reason. it’s not a prank, it’s not really fixable. he’s destroyed peoples’ place of space. that’s important to people. this guy’s a f’er and if he’s a tide fan, Bama should ban him from the campus for life. plain and simple.

          • Richard says:

            I’m seeing in the news today people in the Middle East risk their lives against authoritarian regimes in order to gain basic human rights. A few days ago, I saw a Frontline documentary about Eastern European women being kidnapped and sold in to sexual slavery.

            Compared to that, it’s hard for me to get worked up about some trees being poisoned (or having much empathy for people who’s lives are evidently so comfortable that some trees being poisoned causes them pain).

            Perhaps its because I can put myself in other people’s shoes easily. Perhaps it’s because I’m a geezer in my 30′s. However, I can imagine how I’d feel if a female relative or friend got sold in to sexual slavery. I can imagine living under an authoritarian regime (because I have plenty of relatives who have). I can also imagine being a fan of a team who’s “sacred” trees got poisoned, and you know what, compared to the latter, the pain of the former two isn’t even on the same level of magnitude.

            Oh, and if we should have a lawyer defend all murder and rape suspects (and we should, because the police & prosecution most certainly are not 100% correct on targeting the right suspects all the time: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/the-confessions/), some dude who poisoned some trees deserves a lawyer as well.

          • greg says:

            With your worldly point of view, perhaps you shouldn’t waste your time on a blog dedicated to college sports.

          • Richard says:

            It’s a nice diversion.

            But really, that’s all it is.

          • jj says:

            In the event anyone from auburn is reading this, I am sure you have people on this, but michigan state has a killer pesticide research program. Call them, I am sure they will help.

          • cfn_ms says:

            I tend to be more with Richard on this one. Not all the way to “I completely don’t care”… but I agree that this seems to be getting blown substantially out of proportion.

            I’ve read enough of the “I hope they poison him”, “I hope he dies”, “I hope they lock him away and throw away the key” etc. stuff to be more than a little disturbed. What if someone actually DOES go out and murder him? That’s WAY worse and WAY scarier than the vandalism he committed.

            Did he do something bad? Yes. Of course he did. But there’s a disturbing over the top reaction that I’ve seen way too many places going on, and I’m beginning to think that the collective reaction is even worse than what he actually did.

        • jj says:

          Also, I hope he gets nothing but water and barbasol to eat in prison.

  101. ccrider55 says:

    And how many more points would Pistol Pete have if there had been a 3pt line during his time?

  102. loki_the_bubba says:

    New expansion rumor: Appalachian State has a verbal offer to jump direct to CUSA.

    http://www.championshipsubdivision.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=22130

    Considering the quality of programs out there if we had to replace someone going to the BE, I could see this.

    • bullet says:

      NC already has too many FBS teams and CUSA has as many as they need. Doubt there is any truth to this. Think they would go after a MAC team or LT first if they needed to add one to get back to 12.

      • Richard says:

        Eh, Appy St. is almost in TN or VA, and they’re pretty passionate about football in Appalachia (ask Tennessee, Clemson, VTech, or WVU).

        I also don’t see why any MAC school would be a better choice than Appy St. if they need to add any one. Appy St. actually outdrew every MAC school as well as LaTech (and New Mexico) last year.

        • Richard says:

          Also, if UCF gets the invite to the BE, consider that whoever they add would be pretty marginal and wouldn’t increase CUSA’s markets or profile much at all.
          In that case, I’m certain ECU, Marshall & UAB would much prefer adding Appy (who they can bus to & would be in the center of the eastern dividion of CUSA) rather than NTexas or LaTech or any MAC school (who, again, all draw less well than Appy. St.).

        • greg says:

          ASU also had a higher Sagarin rating this year than all but two MAC teams (NIU, Temple) and all but three C-USA teams (Tulsa, UCF, SMU).

          http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin/fbc10.htm

          • Bullet says:

            The point that any addition would be marginal is correct. So you would probably want a school that adds markets and basketball and isn’t from a lower division (a perceptual problem more than competitive in App. St.s case). CUSA did seriously consider some MAC schools when it added the SW schools back in 2005. Toledo was one they talked to.

          • Michael in Indy says:

            There aren’t really ANY candidates that stand out for basketball. The closest would be Western Kentucky, but that school has been a disaster in football. I may be proven wrong but I don’t think Temple would accept an offer of membership. MAC football plus the northeast-oriented A-10 for basketball seems like a better deal for that school.

            ASU’s revenue evidently is stronger than the entire Sun Belt and MAC as well as a good share of CUSA.

          • Bullet says:

            Temple, Ohio U. and Miami all have pretty solid basketball programs. They aren’t Memphis, but they are way ahead of Marshall and ECU.

          • Richard says:

            Bullet:

            You noted yourself that basketball is small potatoes. That’s true outside of the ACC & is even more true outside of the power conferences. Miami & Ohio add pretty much nothing in basketball. Temple’s the only school that would add anything in bball.

            1. Is the small increase in basketball value worth the increased travel costs to Philly?
            2. Is Temple even willing to give up A10 basketball?

          • Michael in Indy says:

            I tend to think that travel costs aren’t a factor in a school’s decision to join or leave a conference at the AQ level; for example, any MAC school would join the far away Pac-12 if it had the opportunity. Travel costs would be more than offset.

            At the non-AQ level, travel costs are still a big factor. C-USA may bring in more revenue than the MAC, but I’d find it very hard to believe that it’s enough to convince a MAC school to go there. Seven schools (CMU, EMU, WMU, Ball State, Toledo, Bowling Green, and Miami (OH)) probably can bus ALL of their teams to every other MAC school besides Buffalo. The other schools to their east and to their west can bus to the majority of the MAC. By contrast, any MAC school would be able to bus only to Marshall, unless that school was willing to send its teams on long-distance road trips resulting in a lot more missed class time. Again, I could be dead wrong about this, but I just don’t see MAC schools wanting to become the lone Midwestern school.

            I’m pretty convinced Temple prefers A-10 basketball plus MAC football over C-USA for everything.

            I think if C-USA expands with just one school, which itself is debatable, it will be one of these 7: La. Tech, WKU, MTSU, Troy, FIU, FAU, or App State.

            My case for App State:

            - It’s better to have a second school in NC (a state of 9.5 million) than one school in Kentucky (a state of 4.3 million) or a second school in Tennessee, Alabama, or Louisiana. (FIU & FAU holds an edge there.)

            - Don’t be fooled by Appalachian’s small town location. Alumni live all over NC, and ASU games get respectable TV ratings in Charlotte, Winston-Salem/Greensboro, Raleigh/Durham, and Asheville/Greenville (SC) when their games get on TV.

            - ASU’s facilities are arguably stronger than any other candidates: huge new locker rooms and weight rooms; indoor practice facility; recently opened new luxury suites and 5,000-seat expansion for generating new revenue streams.

            - Outranks MTSU, WKU, and Troy in US&WR’s Southern regional rankings; FIU, FAU, and La. Tech are Tier 4, unranked National Universities.

            - Better attendance than all of the MAC, all of the post-realignment WAC, and all of the Sun Belt. Record single-game attendance at home (set in 2010) only 1,000 less than Houston’s stadium, despite hosting far less appealing competition.

    • Michael in Indy says:

      This Appalachian grad would be pleased if that rumor comes true.

      I don’t see how a MAC school would be a better candidate considering they all can’t manage to draw decent attendance with much more interesting opponents than ASU has had. Switching to CUSA would balloon those schools’ travel budgets, anyway; right now, the Ohio schools can bus just about everywhere.

      App has a decent shot to get into that league, but I’m not certain of it.

  103. m (Ag) says:

    I know this is an old thread, but someone pointed out an amusing twitter exchange where Andy Staples told an exasperated Texas Tech supporter that, yes, Texas A&M had an invitation to join the SEC last summer. Most rational observers already understood that, and it doesn’t settle whether A&M still has a standing invite.

    What was more interesting is that he referred the Tech supporter back to an article he wrote on the subject last June. I looked it up; it’s an article I now remember reading but wish I had bookmarked for this discussion.

    For this thread, the important thing is this quote:

    “If the SEC does decide to expand, the change in membership number would trigger a clause that would allow the league to renegotiate its TV deals. Adding those [Texas] markets, plus the markets of any other new member, would allow the league to command a higher price.”

    So, there is the rebuttal for those who say adding A&M would result in the SEC losing money. Expansion allows the SEC to renegotiate it’s contracts. In the current marketplace, this would almost certainly result in the SEC easily raising their media income enough to offset the addition, with a good chance of getting a nice increase on top of that.

    This is what our SEC commenters have been saying
    all along, but there have been several posters who’ve disputed that, without sources of their own. Well, here’s a national reporter from a ‘respectable’ magazine saying it’s true.

    Again, this doesn’t mean A&M has a standing offer, but that possibility shouldn’t be dismissed. Once the Pac 12 is signed up to non-ESPN deals, the SEC would have even more leverage over ESPN in a renegotiation; CBS would likely be happy to offer at least enough to keep its part of the school payoffs the same.

    That said, with the recent deal announced, I think it sadly unlikely that A&M would move now. For the record, I still would support a move to the SEC, Big Ten, Pac 12, or even ACC, even if it resulted in a bit less money for the university. The Big 12′s lineup just isn’t appealing.

    The article:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/andy_staples/06/10/aggies.options/index.html

    • Nostradamus says:

      This really isn’t new news, and has been discussed here previously.
      So, there is the rebuttal for those who say adding A&M would result in the SEC losing money. Expansion allows the SEC to renegotiate it’s contracts. In the current marketplace, this would almost certainly result in the SEC easily raising their media income enough to offset the addition, with a good chance of getting a nice increase on top of that.
      I don’t know that it is a full rebuttal. The following is a direct quote from Comissioner Slive on the issue.

      “Let me try to answer that in a way that’s consistent with our contractual obligations,” Slive said. “There are confidentiality clauses in almost all of these contracts. Having said that, it’s not unusual in a contract to have a clause that talks about the composition of the league, what it is at the start and then what might happen if the league were to get smaller or grow larger.”

      Then he laughed. “You can figure that out,” Slive said

      Basically there is quite a bit of evidence that the SEC and other conference’s television deals contain clauses dealing with contraction or expansion. See the Big XII going to ABC/ESPN asking them not to reduce their payout over the remainder of the contract. Obviously you wouldn’t be doing that unless you knew their was a clause in your contract that allowed ABC/ESPN recourse for contraction. We also know the Big Ten had at least some sort of expansion clause as ABC/ESPN had an exclusive negotiating window for the conference championship game.

      The issue, (and this is the same issue with many re: a standing offer from the SEC, you can’t prove to me it is there)is that a clause pertaining to expansion could mean a pretty wide variety of things. 1) It could be a full out re-negotiation of the terms of the contract for the remainder of its term 2) It could be a set monetary amount per team 3) Sort of like 2 it could be a new equal share to the existing teams 4) it could be a reduced share…

      My point is the fact that the SEC by all accounts appears to have some sort of clause that allowed for more money doesn’t necessarily indicate that the SEC would’ve gotten a lot more money or even that A&M wouldn’t have cost them money as you indicate. It depends on the terms, and those that know the terms are bound by confidentiality.

      • m (Ag) says:

        Those that know the terms are bound by confidentiality, but they do still speak anonymously to reporters.

        The source in the article specifically said:

        “would trigger a clause that would allow the league to renegotiate its TV deals.”

        The meaning of renegotiate is pretty clear..

        • bullet says:

          But it takes two to tango. It would have to be beneficial to CBS and ESPN to offer enough to justify going from 12 to 14. They may view it as more profitable to keep things as they are and not offer much extra. And the SEC would have to be willing to rock the boat and there is every indication they don’t want to trigger more changes. The only realistic scenario worse for them than UT and OU to the Pac 12 and Notre Dame to the Big 10 would be if A&M joined UT and OU in the Pac.

  104. swesleyh says:

    M AG, just read your April post. If you are a subscriber, you may be interested In Billy Lucci’s Monday post and In Hop’s post today on Scout. Please do not post the information publicly.

    • m (Ag) says:

      Thanks for the heads up. It doesn’t seem like anything’s going to happen soon, but I’m glad reports are that they haven’t closed off their options.

  105. hey diddle diddle says:

    Billy Lucci is a lazy hack who lucked into his current gig, His op ed piece is a wish that A&M will go to the SEC as opposed to any actual journalistic work. It’s also 6 months after FTT wrote a more factual and better thought out reason why A&M won’t go.

  106. 247bassist says:

    This is cracking me up on 02/12/2012

    seems you were a tad incorrect. har.

  107. Basher22 says:

    Have you ever had an out of body experience and seen exactly how ignorant, arrogant, and full of crap you are? You should be on about month 7 of such a journey by my calculation.

    “Allowed to do…..” You’re allowed to gag on a penis.

    Way to go.

    This is hilarious.

  108. y0urm0mma@wh0cares.net says:

    Fail.
    Can’t believe this moron gets any traffic at all.

  109. David says:

    Really nailed this one.

  110. Try Again Loser says:

    Want a do-over on this one, Frank? Dumba$$.

  111. FranktheAg says:

    So much fail. Hello SEC!!

  112. Wes Haggard says:

    For Frank the Tank, but especially for Hopkins Horn and Bullet, who were so right. “Never gonna happen”……….

    LOL

  113. JDCrow says:

    It is done. Now you and all the morons who were so arrogant in the above replies can officially kiss my Aggie ass. Look into it further and it is obvious that NOBODY with any sense can trust the University if Texas. All you TCU fans-good luck with the Big 12 “partnership”with the horns, they deal so fairly with others…how does it feel to be their bitch?

  114. KeithDB says:

    Huge pundit FAIL. Maybe you should establish a new blog so no one will know you have no credibility.

  115. Gary says:

    Dear Frank:

    You’ve been SERVED!

    Texas A&M

    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      To all the Aggie and Mizzou fans on this board, congratulations upon receiving a bid to join the SEC fraternity. Now that bid day is over, there will be parties rejoicing your accomplishment over the next two months, but make no mistake that the hazing will begin in September. Just remember that the proper response to hazing by the SEC Actives is as follows . . .

  116. jagvocate says:

    Maybe next time, Frank.

  117. Steve says:

    Well done. You were wrong about everything. Lol.

  118. Ben says:

    “Objective Slant?!” Thanks for the laugh. Go back to beer bonging and streaking through the quad dork!

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