West Coast Represent: Pac-12 TV Talks and What it Means for Other Conferences

Posted: February 17, 2011 in Big East, Big Ten, College Basketball, College Football, Sports
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

There were a couple of separate articles today regarding Pac-12 television rights that point to some implications for other conferences.  First, Jon Wilner from the San Jose Mercury-News had a fairly in-depth article today regarding the status Pac-12 television contract negotiations.  Second, Percy Allen from the Seattle Times had an interview with Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott that focused on the conference’s basketball TV rights.  Here are the main points from those articles:

(1) Fox is the most likely long-term TV partner for the Pac-12 with a possibility of some over-the-air football games on the mothership network, while Comcast/NBC is the second option;

(2) ESPN is not willing to pay as much for the Pac-12 as it did for the ACC for a variety of reasons (including lack of time slots and the value of the ACC’s syndicated basketball package);

(3) Larry Scott wants the Pac-12 Network to happen, but Time Warner Cable will be a large obstacle in the Los Angeles market; and

(4) Going forward, all media rights for all Pac-12 members will be controlled by the conference (as opposed to a portion being controlled by the individual schools as it is today).

Let’s examine each of these points from the perspective of the Pac-12 and how they apply to the college sports world at large.

Point #1 about Fox’s involvement isn’t a surprise considering the current relationship that it has with the Pac-12 and the media giant’s increasing focus on obtaining college sports rights over the past several months (including paying $140 million over the next six years solely for the Big Ten Championship Game).  The overarching questions going forward are (a) how serious is Fox about expanding its overall college sports presence and (b) are they willing to use Fox over-the-air for games?  Fox bid on the ACC package last year with an offer that was heavily reliant on FX as the main national platform.  Indeed, David Hill, Chairman of Fox Sports Group, sees an increase in sports programming on FX as a key in making that network competitive with the likes of TNT.  While Fox didn’t win that deal, they did procure a smaller agreement with C-USA plus rights to the Big Ten and Pac-12 championship games.  A hungry Fox can certainly bid up the price of rights for other conferences… as long as ESPN is willing to play, too.  (More on that in a moment.)

As for Comcast/NBC, call me skeptical of them ever becoming a truly major player in college sports.  Comcast-owned Versus certainly is looking for more sports programming, but that’s a fairly unattractive national cable partner compared to ESPN or FX on its face and you’re more likely to see sports move away from NBC as opposed to any events being added.  Sports programs in general are loss leaders for over-the-air networks and the last thing that NBC needs is more losses.  In fact, NBC Universal CEO Steve Burke told Wall Street analysts covering Comcast specifically yesterday that NBC’s current “sports properties lose hundreds of millions of dollars per year.”  NBC lost $220 million on the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and even its gold-plated NFL Sunday Night Football package loses around $100 million per year.  So, it doesn’t exactly sound like the new Comcast ownership is going to be spending very much money on more sports on NBC.  If anything, those quotes from the head of NBCU indicate that they’re preparing to cut back heavily.  Therefore, any conference hoping for Comcast/NBC to come through with some great offer is going to be severely disappointed.

From the Big Ten’s perspective, I see Fox only as a viable option in the conference’s next TV deal if there is essentially a replication of the SEC’s agreement with CBS: the top game of the week gets coast-to-coast over-the-air coverage.  I can’t realistically see the Big Ten considering a deal with Comcast at all.  While much has been made of the Big Ten’s partnership with Fox regarding the Big Ten Network, it must be emphasized that the conference still receives substantially more money from ESPN compared to the BTN.  There are also more Big Ten events on ESPN today than there were prior to the BTN being formed.  From the very beginning, the BTN has always been intended to be a supplement to ESPN coverage as opposed to a replacement.  The Big Ten is smart enough to know that the time slots that it has secured with ABC and ESPN provide incredible exposure and the conference doesn’t want to kill the proverbial long-term golden goose for short-term financial gains.  Any new deal going forward has to provide even more exposure than today’s deal.  Thus, I could see the Big Ten pushing to a movement of the games that are regionalized on ABC right now to national over-the-air Fox coverage.  However, I highly doubt that the Big Ten would ever seriously consider moving ESPN games to FX (and definitely not to the patchwork quilt of Fox Sports Net affiliates).  It’s interesting to note, by the way, that the two conferences that make the most money outside of ESPN (Big Ten with the BTN and SEC with CBS) also make the most money from ESPN. Money certainly talks, but the Big Ten seems to be a property that ESPN will pay up to get them to stay (and the desire to stay on ESPN will be reciprocated by the conference).

That leads to Point #2, where apparently the Pac-12 is a conference that ESPN is not willing to pay up for.  More specifically, ESPN appears to believe that the Pac-12 TV package is worth less than comparable ACC rights.  This doesn’t surprise me at all.  I’ve been fairly consistent on this blog that the ACC is in much better shape than what a lot of sports fans (that have concentrated on the conference’s relative weakness on the football field over the past few years) believe. 

National marquee brand names are extremely important for determining college sports rights and the ACC has 2 big ones for football (Miami and Florida State) and arguably the 2 very biggest ones for basketball (Duke and North Carolina).  The ACC basketball package is also unique in that it draws football-level ratings in several of its markets, which is something that none of the other BCS conferences can claim (even those that might be better on the court in a given year, such as the Big East).  If and when Miami and Florida State get back on track, you’ll see a dramatic turnaround in the football perception (and TV ratings) of the ACC.  In contrast, the Pac-12 is largely reliant on the strength of USC for football and UCLA for basketball in terms of drawing national interest.  Beyond the LA schools and Oregon’s wacky uniforms, the Pac-12 continues to struggle with getting much notoriety in the Eastern 2/3rds of the country.

The Pac-12’s inability to get much of a large bid out of ESPN should be a small warning sign to the Big 12 and a large red flag to the Big East, who are both hoping to receive large TV rights increases from the Worldwide Leader.  Several conferences last summer were under the impression that ESPN paying such a large amount to the ACC meant that the network’s greenback gushers were wide open and they could switch the style up, but if they hate let ‘em hate and watch the money pile up.  Instead, it looks like ESPN is going to keep all its money in a big brown bag inside a zoo.  Dan Beebe and the Big 12 members may sweat it out a bit as there were some financial assurances from ABC/ESPN this past summer that aided in keeping the conference from splitting apart.  Personally, I’m a believer that ESPN understands the big picture and seeing that they presently want to avoid the formation of superconferences, they’ll pay enough to the Big 12 so that the conference makes good on its promises to Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M.  With ESPN’s investment in the UT network, the Big 12 needs to stay alive and a few extra bucks on the conference contract would be money well-spent.

The Big East is a different matter.  That conference has already bore the brunt of having football games moved by ESPN to Thursday nights initially, and then when the SEC, ACC and Pac-12 saw that Thursday was a great night for exposure, the Big East has been kicked around to several Friday nights and even some Wednesday evenings.  Much of the hope of a Big East TV contract increase rested on leveraging its valuable and massive basketball package into better football exposure.  However, if ESPN isn’t willing to pay the Pac-12 TV rights in line with the ACC, then it stands to reason that they’re going to value the Big East even less.  Unless Fox or Comcast swoop in with competing bids for the Big East, the conference’s schools are going to have a difficult time coaxing the increases that they’re hoping for from ESPN.  I’m sure that you’ll see the Big East get what amounts to an inflationary increase (maybe 150% of what they receive now), but not enough to get on the same tier as the other BCS conferences.

Under Point #3, Larry Scott seems extremely determined to start a Pac-12 network.  However, Jon Wilner pointed out a large potential obstacle: Time Warner Cable.  He noted that TWC is the largest cable provided in the Los Angeles market and they’ve had a habit of getting into carriage fights regarding regional sports networks.  What Wilner neglected to mention (and I find to be even more important) is that TWC just sent a Valentine’s Day present to Jerry Buss of what’s rumored to be around $150 million per year to create two new regional sports networks in the LA market (one English language and the other Spanish language) built around the Lakers.  With 3 Fox Sports networks in that market already, that means that the LA market will be supporting 5 RSNs and making it even more crowded than the New York City market.  This crowded environment in the Pac-12’s most important market has huge implications on whether a conference network can realistically be formed.  The Big Ten Network only had to compete with 1 RSN in each of the markets within its footprint (even in its largest market of Chicago, which only has Comcast SportsNet Chicago).  Thus, it was a more palatable for the cable providers to give in when the BTN was RSN #2 on their systems… and even then, it took over a year of carriage fights for them to get to that point.  It’s a much different value proposition for the Pac-12 attempting to enter into market that already has 5 other RSNs – TWC has a whole lot more leverage to demand lower subscriber rates or refuse basic carriage entirely.  Note that a potential Big East Network would face the same issues in the NYC market with so many RSNs already clogging up cable bills.  This was a factor in the Big Ten ultimately deciding to not go after schools like Rutgers or Syracuse in this last round of expansion, as the BTN absolutely had to get basic carriage in the NYC market in order to financially justify those additions, and they didn’t see that happening anytime soon.

Finally, with respect to Point #4, Larry Scott confirmed that all media rights for all Pac-12 members would be controlled by the conference.  This is important for one massive reason: the University of Texas.  With the Pac-12 taking that position, it has effectively wiped out any reasonable possibility of Texas joining the conference in the future, as the new Longhorn Network would be unable to exist under those conditions (and I don’t see UT giving up in excess of $10 million per year for any reason).  For the fear mongerers (who are all wrong, by the way) that continue to believe that UT’s ultimate goal is to end up independent or in the Pac-12, at the very least, that Pac-12 option is gone.  (I’ve listed a multitude of reasons of why UT wants to stay in the Big 12 in perpetuity and, in fact, needs that league to live, but many people seem to believe what they want to believe on that front.)

Fans of all conferences should keep a close eye on the West Coast since how the Pac-12 proceeds will be a significant indicator of how TV networks will pay for college sports in this next round of contracts.

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

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  1. Alan from Baton Rouge says:


  2. Hopkins Horn says:

    Good piece, Frank. One quick question: why do you think that, on its face, FX, a network which presently (I think) doesn’t broadcast college sports, or any sports at all for that matter, is a more attractive network than Versus

    • @Hopkins Horn – The distribution difference is significant. FX is in 96 million homes (on par with ESPN and TNT) while VS is in about 75 million homes.

    • tt says:

      I think FX is more desirable (aside from the carriage difference) because of the name recognition: FX has worked hard to build it’s stable of original programming to become a household name (see: The Shield, Nip/Tuck, Damages, Rescue Me, Sons of Anarchy and Justified, as well as the comedies It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Louie). so, even though it doesn’t have any sports yet, people recognize the channel and will take a sports venture seriously, kind of like when TBS and TNT rebranded their networks, pushed original programming, and picked up the NBA and MLB. I think Versus still has this clout of being a second-rate wanna-be sports network which gets all the left over scraps of ESPNU and the Fox Sports Networks RSNs

  3. laxtonto says:

    Couple of quick thinkgs..

    ACC gets 30M a year from Raycom for its part in the ESPN deal. The real split is 125 from ESPN and 30M from Raycom in a sub-licensing fee.

    What kills ESPN doing a Pac-12 offer is that there is no viable equivalent to Raycom in the Pac-12 footprint. It is yet to be seen what that really means for the Big 12.

    FX is about to be re branded as NBC Sports Network in the coming months. There have been discussions about a Full USA rolling coverage of the BE/B12/MWC deal that could be used to provide a game of the week format that could be broadcasted on NBC before or after the ND game.

  4. M says:

    The other college football aspect to keep an eye with the Comcast/NBC merger is ND’s television situation. There’s been some talk around some ND fans that the new company might try to move an ND game to Versus once a year as a way to grow that network. I’m not sure ND would be happy about that, but I don’t know what other network would guarantee that every home game is on nationally. NBC has played hardball with ND before in forcing one night game a year (the “neutral site” game). I wonder if they will again.

  5. allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

    I’d like to see the Big 10 replicate the SEC’s deal with CBS. Give FOX the first choice in Saturday games…ABC/ESPN can have 2nd/3rd choices…the rest go to the BTN.

    Even if FOX does increase its college sports coverage, I doubt it’d go crazy all at once. A simple “Saturday night feature game” (as ABC has found these to be wildly popular) with a big Big 10 game would be a nice “kid brother” to its NFL lineup on Sundays. They already have HUGE buy in to the Big 10 (via BTN and Big 10 champ game), so promoting that particular league would be financially beneficial for them. Additionally, the “connection” of the Big 10 with the NFL would be a great thing for the league’s national perception. (e.g. “Fox does the NFL and the Big 10…Fox does great football.)

    • Nostradamus says:

      I’ve yet to see any evidence that ABC will go after “seconds.” Every other contract we’ve ever seen has always negotiated the OTA channel getting to pick the first game, and said channel being the only OTA channel carrying that conference. I have no doubt Delany and Co. would demand high standards on Fox, but from what i’ve seen of the BCS coverage and the FSN coverage of the Big XII, I’d do everything within reason to maintain the status quo with ABC/ESPN.

  6. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by artdirectorbyu, Frank the Tank. Frank the Tank said: New blog post: West Coast Represent: Pac-12 TV Talks and What it Means for Other Conferences http://bit.ly/eyk51i [...]

  7. HerbieHusker says:


  8. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    One channel that is not generating much speculation is CBS College Sports. One of the big reasons ESPN did their deal with the SEC was that ESPN was having trouble getting cable outlets to carry ESPNU. The SEC inventory got several cable providers to carry the U. CBS is the #1 network and has cash. CBS-CS doesn’t have much carriage or much inventory (the service academies, C-USA, & MWC, I think).

    Does CBS-CS become a player for Big XII, 12-Pac, and Big East rights in order to boost their carriage?

    • Jake says:

      And I can’t find it at the moment, but CBSCS is being rebranded as CBS Sports Network. Guess the Tiffany Network has bigger plans for that channel.

    • Brian says:

      I always hear about how the SEC deal was done to help ESPNU. It may be available in 73 million households, but is it available on expanded basic anywhere? It may be available in 73 million households, but the subscriber base is more like 41 million. I’m not sure the SEC deal had any impact on availability, although I’m sure it increased the subscribers in the southeast.

  9. Gopher86 says:

    What are your thoughts on Larry Scott trying to get into the Asian markets? Seem like there won’t be much relief there, but Scott’s plans won’t be limited to American markets.

    • smashmode says:

      I believe that Scott had said that he might want to have some basketball/football games played in China.

      Might as well use what most people perceive as a weakness and try to do things with that.

      • tt says:

        he should also consider playing some baseball games in japan and korea. I know that college baseball isn’t the most popular sport in this country, but those 2 countries love the game, so, might as well try it out

        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          tt – I know the popularity of college baseball in my little part of the country is not reflective of the whole, but I have to brag on my fellow Tiger fans. For the weekend series against Wake Forest this past weekend, attendance almost hit 34,000. Unfortunately, I was only able to make the opener on Friday night.

          Yesterday, the basketball team played Florida at the same time as the baseball game. Baseball attendance was 10,753 and basketball attendance was 7,711. Granted, the roundball Tigers are wrapping up a dismal season and it was baseball’s opening weekend, but baseball can be financially successful with a commitment to facilities and recruiting.

          Prior to Skip Bertman coming to LSU in 1984, the only real SEC baseball tradition and success was in
          Starkville. Skip showed the rest of the SEC that money could be made in baseball, and now you have a collection of very nice minor league quality ballparks all across the South, with several thousand fans showing up to watch baseball in “football” country every weekend.

          • Mike says:

            College Baseball could be huge, especially if the start was moved later in the season to benefit the large northern schools.

            I think if MLB were smart, they would invest/promote college baseball. Getting those passionate fan bases following baseball could help fix the demographic problems MLB is facing.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Mike – The season has been moved back a week last year, and I think it was moved back a week several years ago in an attempt to assist the Northern schools. I know its still cold up there, but baseball extends to the end of June as it currently stands. I doubt the season could be moved back any more.

            Cold weather hasn’t stopped UConn, Louisville, St. John’s, Pitt, and Wichita St. from being ranked in the Collegiate Baseball pre-season top 30.


            Do any of the B1G baseball teams utilize their football indoor practice facilities in January & February?

          • Mike says:

            I can’t speak for all of the Big Ten, but Nebraska uses its indoor football facilities for baseball only when it absolutely has to. It is a football field and isn’t really conductive for baseball. I imagine that it’s a pattern that is repeated across most northern schools. Nebraska, however, is building an indoor practice facility for Baseball that should be completed this year, IIRC.

            Weather doesn’t keep you from having good teams, but the cold weather does hamper recruiting. Where it really hurts is in the fan’s ability to support. Cold weather teams tend to play games during the day until April which is fine on weekends, but hurt attendance for mid week and Friday games (if they don’t and play a nite game and its cold, attendance will suffer as well). That means less money available to run a program on.

            The difference between College and Minor league baseball is, to me, very striking. Minor League baseball anymore seems to promote the experience, family fun, food, everything but baseball. College baseball is just about the game. To be at a game where everyone is actually into the game, not the distractions, is a refreshing.

          • Brian says:


            I heard they changed how live the bats were for this year. Do the new bats sound different? Are you noticing the difference in offense?

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Brian – its more of of thud than a ping or a crack. Our cleanup hitter Mikie Mahtook hit 4 dingers in the three games this weekend, so it certainly wasn’t bothering him.

          • Brian says:


            To answer your question, OSU baseball also practices in the football facility. Field hockey, softball, soccer and lacrosse use it, too.

    • cfn_ms says:

      It’s definitely been talked about before. I’m a skeptic that anything meaningful will ever happen with it, but I could be wrong.

    • Brian says:

      There may be interest in basketball and some Olympic sports. Maybe it would have influence on some Asian-American recruits that have family back in Asia.

  10. Bullet says:

    CBS College Sports is rebranding as CBS Sports. They want to raise their profile, so they may be more of a player than NBC/Universal. CUSA is not high profile-and now Fox has those games that used to be on CBS CS.

    I’ve wondered whether the Big 12-2 would work out a deal in 2015 to find everybody a home (“Hey Pac, SEC, B1G-find a home for all 10 and you get 1 less AQ conference”), but I don’t think the schools (or the SEC) would work that closely together. However, maybe the BE would as none of those schools has significantly more value than the others and combined they are a very distant #6. Clearly the Cal AD is thinking about ways to get rid of an AQ conference.

    12 seems to be the ideal number from a short and medium term revenue standpoint. Could that elimination of an AQ conference provide enough value in the long run for conferences to go to 14 (for example, TCU+1 to Pac, SU+UConn to ACC, UL+UC+Pitt+WVU to Big 12, RU+maybe ND to B1G, USF+1 to SEC)? If it was initiated by the BE members it wouldn’t be the anti-trust issue as if it were initiated by the other conferences.

  11. Brad says:

    “The Big Ten Network only had to compete with 1 RSN in each of the markets within its footprint”

    Not necessarily true in the Ohio markets as there exists FSN Ohio and Sportstime Ohio (STO). If I remember right STO basically was in bed with Time Warner from the start to guarantee carriage but struggled with other operators, and basically went right down to Opening Day for the Indians that first year before striking deals. BTN didn’t have initial carriage of the HD & subchannels at first either.

  12. Bullet says:


    UMass still not saying anything about moving up from FBS, except that something will be announced in early March. They’re unusually close-mouthed about the whole thing. Every indication is that they intend to move up but nothing is final. There’s some speculation (not in this article) that the BE expansion plans and CUSA replacements may be part of the delay, but I haven’t seen anything other than internet chatter supporting that. UMass is the only flagship in a state larger than New Hampshire not in FBS (unless you count the 2 non-scholarship SUNY schools or California’s #3 Cal-Davis who has only been in Division 1 for 8 years).

  13. cfn_ms says:

    Interesting read as always. A couple thoughts:

    1) Still not sold on the “all rights in” being a permanent thing given the current membership, much less if Texas were actually on the table otherwise. It would be incredibly stupid for the league to blow off Texas just because they didn’t want to change the TV rights structure. If Texas is ever actually interested, I can’t see why the league wouldn’t step back from all rights in.

    2) Fighting with Time Warner could be an issue, but it’s largely a question of how much the league wants to get in terms of revenue, as opposed to how much the league wants to increase exposure and make sure that ALL of their football content, almost all of the basketball content, and a good chunk of everything else is at least on the air.

    I would agree that it’s impossible for the league to get BTN-level revenue from their network right off the bat, but I’m sure that there’s some price point where Time Warner and other regional cable companies wouldn’t bother fighting over. Whether it’s high enough for the members to be happy, I don’t know, but it’s at least plausible that they can make a deal.

    3) IMO the apparent fact that ESPN is NOT willing to pay a lot for the league’s TV rights is a pretty big deal. I had been under the impression that the network was interested in essentially cornering the CFB market, but it looks like that’s not what they’re after. Instead they’re getting top-shelf games from B10 and SEC, some top-shelf from B12, and basically everything good from ACC to pad the content level.

    I can’t argue with that strategy, but it’s not what I expected. It’ll be interesting to see what an apparently more open marketplace leads to.

    4) Still not sold on league stability. Wilner is citing around a $170M benchmark as the target. That comes out to $14-$15M per team (UCLA/USC maybe more like $16M given the promise of $2M extra). Meanwhile Texas just got $10M or so annually for their 3rd-tier rights.

    If those numbers hold up, I don’t see how USC sticks around, and UCLA would probably want to follow them out the door (which they should be able to do IF they can ensure Cal/Stanford are “taken care of”, which is at least easier than finding a good home for Baylor). And a few others (most obviously Washington and Oregon) might be exploring their options as well.

    $170M or so (all TV revenues combined) might have been a good deal a couple years ago, but it’s nothing close to it now. If ESPN is truly interested in keeping the lid on super-conferences, they may have a big problem on their hands. $15M or so per school isn’t going to fly in a few of the Pac-12 athletic departments, which means we could potentially see drastic changes.

    And as I’ve noted before, league bylaws basically say that there’s no meaningful penalty for leaving (basically just that you need to give 2 years notice). I think this offseason just got even more interesting.

    • smashmode says:

      What do you thinkt he major west coast market/programs go?

      West Division:

      East Division:

      If the the difference in revenue is only going to be 5-7 million, not sure that those long standing relationships with the pac-10 conference would be given up, unless there is some crazy money on the table.

      The League’s geography is its biggest strength and weakness.

      • cfn_ms says:

        USC has talked independence enough over the years (including just last year) to think they might give it a shot. And if even 3 or 4 follow them out the door, they could have a scheduling alliance among themselves and at least try to make it work.

        I’ve also speculated that they could do a MWC-like deal where around half the league breaks off to form a smaller group, or that they could try to revive the Texas deal, but with fewer West Coast members than before.

        I’m not sure if any of those are good or even feasible options, but if the Pac-12 $$$ is bad enough, I’m sure that a few schools are going to be seriously considering their options.

        • smashmode says:

          I think the only comfort I can take is being a Fan of Washington. Seattle market and Washington program won’t be left in the cold

          • cfn_ms says:

            Washington is potentially vulnerable in the same way Oregon or Kansas is potentially vulnerable. If the state legislature is powerful enough to force the two state programs to stay together come hell or high water, that could be a problem for U-Dub.

            Washington is clearly valuable enough that they should find an AQ home no matter what happens if they can move independently. I’m not sure, however, whether they’re valuable enough to get an AQ to invite both them and Wazzu in the event of a league collapse.

        • ccrider55 says:

          I don’t believe the Pac is as unstable as you seem to think it is. It is not the WAC, the MWC, or even the BIG 12ish. Please look at the time line of membership. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific-10_Conference Note that 8 members have been together snce the great depression (save a short period late 50’s early 60’s). SC briefly talked last year, SC & UCLA got the financial guarantee, got Colorado and Utah in the south division, and got every year FB games with their north division Cal brothers. Their talk achieved its goal.

          • Richard says:

            BYU, Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming, CSU, & UTEP had been together in the WAC for 30+ years before that conference split. Now, strength of ties do matter, which is why I think the Cali schools will always stick together, but ultimately, money trumps history.

          • ccrider55 says:

            So you equate the the time that the (former) newbies Az and ASU have been in the Pac as the point where time and loyalty have maxed? Until FB starts this fall they are still the newcomers to the Pac-8.

          • cfn_ms says:

            Plus, the talks last offseason pretty much highlighted the LA schools’ position on rest of the league. Basically, they don’t really value the games with the PNW, since every proposal substantially cut the number, and in fact the final proposal was the one which cut it the most, 50% less than before. They also don’t really care about Colorado/Utah, since their favored proposal was the one to put those two in the North Division as well.

            They obviously value the Bay Area schools, and it’s implied that they value AZ ones too based on the positions they took.

            As far as “getting what they wanted”, what they wanted was:

            1) Continue the CA round-robin

            2) As much money as possible for themselves (i.e. unequal revenue distribution)

            3) The “Cali-zona” divisional setup

            They got one of the three, they lost one of the three, and for $$$, they barely got an unequal distribution (the Big 12 one is MUCH more unequal as a comparison), AND they didn’t retain any of their 3rd-tier rights. Essentially, the result was a league-wide compromise. The LA schools certainly didn’t “win” the negotiations.

            They still (accurately) feel like they’re subsidizing the rest of the league, they still have to deal with a 9-game schedule (good for many league members, not good for them), and they still probably feel like they should have a lot more pull than they currently do. That’s not a stable situation IMO.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Perhaps I’m not understanding you. Are you advocating for the demise of the Pac based on purely a selfish bid by a school or two to gain s small (compared to the total schools budget) increase in athletic dept revenue? Or are you simply stating that you feel that the Big 12ish’s model is the one that is superior and all big schools (tOSU, Mich, PSU, Fla, Mia, LSU, Ala, etc) should strive for? Only UT is in that position now and I wouldn’t think those who want to be in a conference (as opposed to BE the conference) would follow that path.

          • cfn_ms says:

            I’m NOT advocating for the demise of the league. I am, however, saying that it is a potential outcome. The TV $$$ currently being discussed are low enough that it’s very conceivable that some schools could decide they’re better off elsewhere.

            Moreover, the league is anything but one big happy family. It’s far less dysfunctional than the Big 12, but there are still underlying tensions. In the Big 12, it’s the medium members that are unhappy (the small ones are happy just to be AQ). In teh Pac-12, it’s the biggest ones. Neither is a stable situation.

            IMO the “best” setups are the Big Ten / SEC models, where the relatively equal revenue splits come naturally from the fact that there aren’t huge differences between the haves and have-nots of the league, and the fact that the biggest haves get less than they could have is papered over by the fact that the league brands themselves are extremely valuable, and there’s more than enough cash to make everyone happy.

            The Pac-12 doesn’t have that, because there ARE big differences between the haves and have-nots, and there is NOT enough money going around to make everyone happy. If the league is to survive, then realistically I think it needs to generate at least $200M in TV revenue (if it wasn’t all rights in, and schools could monetize 3rd tier independently, they could get away with less). If the TV deal comes out, and it’s more like $170M, that’s just not going to cut it.

            As far as a “small” increase, if you just look at athletic revenues ( http://www2.indystar.com/NCAA_financial_reports/ ), $5M or $10M is a HUGE bump. $5M for ASU, or $10M for an LA school, is over a 10% revenue bump. That’s money a program can use to: improve coaching staffs; buy respectable OOC home games (Boise costs ~ $1M for instance); increase the number of non-revenue sports; reduce the subsidies the school and/or student body gives the department; or any number of other things. Especially in tough economic times, that’s a LOT of money for an athletic department to sneeze at.

        • Michael in Indy says:

          Let’s say USC withdraws from the Pac-12 and goes independent in football. They’re still going to need to be in a conference for all non-football sports. I’ll call it the USC League.

          The USC League would need to include UCLA, Stanford, and Cal. It would also need to be regionally-friendly. Remember, we’re talking ALL sports, not just basketball, meaning USC is not going to want to send its non-revenue teams on more long trips than short trips. Thus, the USC League would have to have at least as many schools near it as it far away.

          Of course, the first far away school the USC League is going to go after is Texas. Texas would require, at minimum, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State. Already, USC has more opponents two time zones away than it does nearby, so at least one other western school would have to be added. But first, there’s a big problem: OU, OSU, and Tech were palatable to Stanford and Cal only as members of a rarely-played, eastern division of the Pac-16, not as regular, twice-a-year opponents. And there’s no way Texas joins the USC League without someone else from Texas or Oklahoma, either. This problem, alone, would make the USC League unviable. USC can’t have a league without the three California schools, and the league would not be financially productive without the unattainable Texas.

          Big Ten, ACC, and SEC teams would be unattainable for the USC League. So would BYU. That leaves the remainder of the Big 12 and the Big East. But really, how attractive are Kansas and Missouri as compared with closer schools like, say, those in the Pac-12?

          So, taking into account the reality that USC can’t get Texas without schools that Stanford wouldn’t approve, USC is probably in the best situation it could be in.

          • Richard says:

            It comes down to distance. By costs, flights to B10 country isn’t much more than flights to the B12 south. Realistically, I think those are the only 2 leagues that may have an interest in adding the 4 Cali schools. The key question is, is the differential in payout between the B10 (and maybe the B12) going to become so vast that the Cali schools become willing to ditch the P12 (which, BTW, they mostly have to fly to anyway outside of the Cali schools, though they can knock off 2 opponents in one roadtrip in the P12)? If they get $14M/school (putting them a little under $10M behind the B10), I don’t think the difference is big enough. If the financial difference ever gets cloase to $20M, though, being part of a 16 (or 20!) school Big Ten may start sounding attractive.

          • cfn_ms says:

            Even as little as $5M might be enough to at least make them really consider making a move of some sort. If it’s $10M+, it’s hard to see why they’d want to stay. $10M+ pays for a LOT of stuff, especially in times of budget trouble (especially for Cal; just an extra $5M should be more than enough to replace the two sports that they had to cut recently).

            That said, logistically the Big Ten would be a tough sell, because virtually all road games would be really far away (big deal in cost AND inconvenience). In that case, the sheer hassle factor might require a bigger boost in revenue to make it happen.

            Culturally it might be the best fit, though, given the B10’s strong academic reputation. Of course, the cold doesn’t help.

          • Richard says:

            Well, yes, you do have to take in to account the extra travel costs (which would run in to the millions and wipe out a puny $5M difference), which is why I think the differential would need to get to $20M before the Cali schools move.

            Plus, if $10M was enough to motivate them to move, they’d be in the B10 already (unless the BigTen didn’t want them), because the difference is already that big.

          • cfn_ms says:

            That was why I was saying “a move of some sort,” as opposed to specifically the Big Ten. I just don’t think that the Big Ten makes much sense for the CA four, and to be honest I’m not sure it even makes sense for the Big Ten, who’d get access to LA and Bay Area and would up the academic avg, but would also have to deal with travel logistics that are much less pleasant than the league’s current ones, and would have to deal with organizing a 16-team league, which has NEVER worked out well in CFB.

            It would also completely change the league’s identity, and given that the league’s brand name is a strong one worth a lot, I don’t see it as a win to screw with it to that extent.

            I would also suggest that last summer’s Pac-16 proposal was a “move of some sort,” that certainly would have raised their revenue level. It didn’t pan out, but that was clearly an attempt to change the status quo.

            And since then the revenue bar has only been raised with Texas’s huge deal and the ACC’s surprisingly high deal. I just don’t see the LA’s being content to sit back and watch as they fall further and further behind the power programs, and end up making about the same TV money as the lower end of the ACC. While I’d disagree about the viability of the Big Ten option, I definitely think that there’s a realistic chance that they’re going to try to do something drastic to bump up their revenue.

          • Richard says:

            1. There’s no “lower end” in the ACC. Everyone in the ACC gets the same payout. Evidently, it’s good enough for FSU, UNC, etc.

            2. There are precious few options for the LA schools. Texas isn’t really closer than the B10 (it is distance-wise, but travel costs would be similar since once you’re in the air, an extra 500 miles or so just isn’t a big deal). The B12 also doesn’t have any way to leverage the strong academics of the Cali schools (other than “reputation by association”). Plus, keep in mind that if they were in the B12, the LA schools would clearly be below the top tier of Texas, OU, & even TAMU, even if they would be above everyone else.

          • cfn_ms says:

            1) I wonder how happy everyone is with that setup. Given the lack of elite football programs in the ACC, maybe it’s just more a case where there’s not one or two programs who’d make a LOT more in a less equal setup. It’s definitely odd, though, especially with all rights in. One more reason to suspect that FSU, Clemson, and VA Tech would be inclined to listen if the SEC ever came calling (not saying they’d necessarily go, just that they’d take the invite VERY seriously).

            2) Hard to imagine both the LA schools being below A&M, though I’d agree that they’d likely be below Texas/Oklahoma. Of course, in the Big Ten you have four elite programs (Ohio St, Michigan, Penn St AND Nebraska) instead of two to deal with, and Iowa/Wisconsin are probably long-term around the A&M level (someone correct me if I’m wrong there).

            I would agree that the B12 wouldn’t have any real way to leverage the CA schools’ academics, but would the B10? I know CIC is a fairly big deal, but again that would be a weird setup to add four CA schools to a midwestern-focused research organization.

            Also, like I said earlier, it’s not so much that the distance to Texas is less than Big Ten (though it is; shorter plane flights are still shorter plane flights); rather, it’s that even if you take all 6 B12South programs (doubtful BU makes the cut), and add the 4 CA’s, you’re at 10. That means at least 2 spots to add, which would mean schools in the Western region, which then means that there are fewer grueling road trips to deal with on a regular basis (though there still are some).

          • Richard says:

            Equal revenue sharing makes sense for the ACC in part because there aren’t any top-10-level football programs in that conference (though note that USC isn’t either, and UCLA certainly isn’t), but also because ACC basketball has football-level value (it use to bring in more money to the league than football). Thus you don’t have a big disparity between the top and middle (or even middle and bottom). Plus, the population base isn’t concentrated within 1-2 schools’ footprint.

          • m (Ag) says:

            I don’t think the 4 Cali schools joining the Big Ten together is as bad travel as everyone suggests.

            In basketball, even if you had an 18 game schedule, that is 9 home games, 3 road games to the other Cali schools and then either two 3-game road trips (to minimize travel costs) or three 2-game road trips (to minimize missed classes). Most sports would be similar.

            If baseball went to a 9 series schedule (27 games), there would be 3 series against the other Cali schools (I’m assuming Cal would keep baseball with the Big Ten money), 3 other home series, and only 3 road series against the rest of the Big Ten.

            The big travel hurt would come with tournaments and the football championship game, as it would be much more difficult for fans to travel to ‘neutral’ sites.

            In addition, adding 4 Pacific time zone schools would be perfect for the Big Ten network. West Coast volleyball, basketball, and baseball would be on all the time in what is prime time for California, but late night for the East Coast. They would get more desirable local time slots than they would in the Pac 12 (where they have to share those slots with the Northwest and Arizona schools).

            Now, if it was going to happen, I think it probably would have already occurred. Still, I don’t think there is a great downside for such a merger.

          • cfn_ms says:

            @ Richard:


            USC is #10 in all-time wins and #7 in win% through 2009. Restrict it to 1936 and later, and USC becomes # 8 / 10. They’re also clearly top five in national titles based on that link (though I don’t really understand their table setup). Hard to argue that USC isn’t a top 10 program.

            @ m (Ag):
            Travel isn’t an absolute deal-breaker, but it’s enough of a negative that I think it’d have to be WAY better than all other alternatives for it to make sense. And I don’t really see it as one. The Big Ten means academically elite associations, national athletic program prestige, and big TV money, but it also means nasty travel logistics, crappy weather, and having to figure out how to make a 16-team league actually work (which I’m still skeptical about).

          • Richard says:


            The wins are all very nice, but Tennessee has more total wins & Boise has a higher winning percentage than USC, yet nobody would confuse Tennessee or Boise with Texas, Alabama, or tOSU when it comes to brand or attractiveness to a conference.

            As for travel, sure, the LA schools would prefer to be in a conference with more western schools and still get Texas/B10/SEC-level money, but I can’t think of an arrangement where that could happen. If there’s equal revenue sharing, those extra Western schools would lower the amount going to the LA schools. Even if there’s unequal revenue sharing, they’d still not be able to pull in what Texas or OU do (and probably not even what TAMU would).

          • cfn_ms says:

            IMO the relevant point from the link is that every table they have reinforces the idea that USC is a top 10 program. Tennessee, Penn St and Michigan are top 10 wins but not national titles. Miami, LSU and Florida are top 10 national titles but not wins. And nobody really should take Boise’s win % particularly seriously since the sample size is so small (and needless to say they aren’t in the other tables). In all those examples, it’s fairly clear that a lot of those “next-tier” programs (Tenn, LSU, etc.) are missing something (though I’d still consider Michigan an all-time elite despite the lower natl title count).

            It clearly means SOMETHING that USC is in all of those tables (especially since A&M, who you seem to think is a better program than USC, is in none of them).

            As far as money goes, there’s clearly a trade-off between travel logistics and revenue. But the choices aren’t between standing pat and going to the Big Ten. USC could also potentially:

            renegotiate revenue-sharing (which would add $$$ without changing logistics)

            try independence (which would add $$$, though logistics would be iffy, especially for non-revenue sports)

            join the Big 12 (which would put them closer to Texas’s revenue level, whatever it ended up being, though travel would be less pleasant)

            do a MWC-like move of blowing up the Pac-12 and forming something like an 8-team league from the remnants (more $$$, possibly better travel logistics)

            try to create some variation of the “new SWC” idea (much more $$$, worse travel logistics)

            I’m not sure any of them would put USC at the top of the $$$ list, but considering they’re the #1 program in the #2 TV market, I would have to think that there are a number of ways they could at least come reasonably close.

          • Richard says:

            Well, in the tables that matter when it comes to worth to a conference or viability as an independent (that is, MONEY, measured by value-of-program, revenues, and attendance), USC is clearly not top 10 (TAMU isn’t either, but they best USC in both attendance and revenues; in general, Texans just care about college football more than SoCal folks). And USC is the best of the bunch. UCLA isn’t even close to top 10 (and neither are the Bay Area schools).

            As for their possible options, I’m not sure why you think the LA schools would do better this time around if they negotiate with the P12 than a few months ago. Nothing’s changed. Their ability to get any better deal would come down to their next best option. In the case of TAMU, there’s a very good alternative to staying in the B12. In the case of of the LA schools, all of the alternatives have drawbacks.

          • Brian says:


            USC has prestige and draws TV eyeballs nationally. They are clearly a top 10 program.

            ESPN Prestige Rankings (since 1936):
            1. Oklahoma: 1,986
            2. USC: 1,897
            3. Ohio State: 1,655
            4. Notre Dame: 1,579
            5. Nebraska: 1,553
            6. Alabama: 1,534
            7. Texas: 1,494
            8. Michigan: 1,332
            9. Florida State: 1,110
            10. Miami: 1,109
            11. Penn State: 1,088
            12. Tennessee: 1,072
            13. LSU: 926
            14. Georgia: 888
            15. Florida: 834
            16. UCLA: 738
            17. Washington: 634
            18. Georgia Tech: 610
            19. Arkansas: 604
            20. Texas A&M: 584


            In the last 50 years, the top programs by success are:

            Tier 1a (500+ W, > 0.725)
            OSU, PSU, NE, OU

            Tier 1b (480+ W, > 0.700)
            TX, USC

            Tier 1c (460+ W, > 0.670)
            AL, MI, TN, FL, AU, ND

            Nobody else has 450 W or 0.660.

            Tier 2 (430+ W, > 0.630)
            UGA, LSU, Ark, FSU, Miami, ASU

            UCLA outperformed TAMU:
            UCLA 405 W (#24), 0.608 (#21)
            TAMU 377 W (#32), 0.565 (#37)

          • cfn_ms says:

            @ Richard: As far as re-negotiating, there are a couple of things potentially in their favor:

            1) Appeal process over. Any threats they may want to make about going independent are WAY more credible now that they don’t need to worry about pissing people off and looking bad in public. Whatever decision is made by NCAA, it’s not like USC can start up another round of appeals. One way or another, that’s over and done with.

            2) The divisions / scheduling are fixed and MUCH harder to change than revenue distributions. The league has established an identity going forward, which is hard to change. Revenue distributions aren’t a fundamental part of the league’s identity and can potentially be changed.

            3) The LSN and ACC TV deals. If the Pac-12 TV deal is poor enough, USC/UCLA can go to the league and basically say, “we’re the ones driving the revenue train for the whole league, but thanks to revenue-sharing, our revenue numbers are way behind other league leaders, and the gap is unacceptable.” Who knows if anyone else in the league will care, but UCLA/USC could potentially have a reasonable gripe about the way things are shaking out.

            Ultimately, I have no idea if the LA’s can renegotiate revenue-sharing. And if the TV deal is good enough, it may be a moot point. But it’s a plausible outcome.

        • smashmode says:

          For some reason it didn’t allow me to respond to your post about the Oregon/Kansas situation.

          Just my opinion, but there is no love lost between both schools, as there was a hard push by boosters of Wazzu to shut down getting some state funds to help with the Husky Stadium remodel (Which is a state facility). So honestly..I’d say FK wazzu. Most in the pac-12 acknowledge that wazzu is in effect a MWC team at best.

          • cfn_ms says:

            The question isn’t whether the programs like (or even tolerate) each other so much as it is whether the legislature can force the stronger program to stay with the lesser one (just like it appears to be with Texas and Tech/Baylor [I'm skeptical Baylor can force anything, but it seems likely Tech can] ).

            If Wazzu is a “MWC team at best” that makes it a big problem for Washington IF the legislature can tie them together. No power league is likely to want one very good but not great (“great” being a USC, Ohio St, Alabama etc. level program) and one MWC-level program, especially when they’re geographically isolated and together they have one meaningful (Seattle) market.

            If they’re not a package deal, then Washington is very attractive to any power league west of the Mississippi (since then you still get Seattle, but only need to take one program). If they are a package deal, then it’s a tougher sell.

            PS Once posts get far enough to the right, you need to reply to the one above it. The site limits how many levels of reply you can do.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Although WSU (Pullman) is isolated, their alumnae are highly concentrated in the Seattle area. Obviously not quite in the numbers as UW but enough that they have moved some “home” games to Seahawk stadium. They also now have the AD (Bill Moos)that brought Oregon from depths to the place it now resides (but had a falling out with Phil Knight a few years back)
            Wazoo has a bit more pull than you’d expect for a college in rolling wheat fields.

          • duffman says:


            Oregon has phil knight and IMG behind them, I would be highly surprised if they were left out of any PAC future (especially if you have to displace Oregon to add Texas Tech!).

      • Jake says:

        My suggestion:

        East division:
        Texas A&M
        Texas Tech

        West division:
        Arizona State

        Now THAT’s a Southwest Conference. Solves a few problems for the Texas crowd and USC. Population footprint of 73 million, including six of the top 15 media markets in the country. Alternate the title game between LA and Jerry World. Not too shabby. Maybe ditch Stanford and/or Cal for Oregon and Washington, if possible.

        The Wash/Ore. schools can join the MWC or something. Maybe merge with the remaining Big 12 North schools.

        • Michael in Indy says:

          Baylor would never get into a league with Cal and Stanford. Substitute with Missouri, Colorado, or Utah.

          But I say there’s no way Cal and Stanford agree to be in a league with Tech, OU, or OSU unless it’s a Pac-16 type of situation where they’re part of an eastern division, with minimal association. I especially find it hard to believe they’d voluntarily choose the likes of Tech, OU, or OSU while leaving behind the valuable brand and academics of Washington.

          • Jake says:

            Consider their options. USC and UCLA are leaving to join up with the Texas schools (and taking the Arizona schools, maybe Colorado, with them). Cal and Stanford can either go along or get replaced with Oregon and Washington. Their choice.

          • cfn_ms says:

            Baylor would be a very iffy add. MAYBE they could sneak in, but it would be a tough sell. I’d agree that Colorado would be more likely to sub in for Baylor.

            You could also throw in Kansas, Utah, or Missouri as a sub for A&M if they ended up in SEC.

            As far as filling out the rest, there are enough quality “left behind” programs that 14 would make more sense than 12. Something like Washington, Colorado and Oregon in the West, UA/ASU in the East, and then it’s a 7/7 split. If you do a 8-game schedule, then you’re talking about just one game per in the East division (which 2/7 of the time would be an AZ school), hardly much of a travel burden. Even if you do 9-game league schedule instead, it’s just 1.5 inter-division road games a year, and it’d be pretty reasonable to arrange it so that only one year out of 14 would a team have two road games without one being in Arizona.

            I do agree with your point that it’d be hard to leave behind Washington (and I think Oregon too; that’s a program that’s become increasingly valuable), which is a big part of why I think it’d be 14 rather than 12 if that sort of idea went forward, though I’d agree that the main idea itself is a plausible outcome – see http://cfn.scout.com/2/1040447.html.

          • Michael in Indy says:

            The league would have to be a minimum of 14 so Stanford and Cal could be buffered from Tech, OU, and OSU.

            it would be something like this:


            Az or Az State


            Texas Tech

            But this is too unrealistic. It would have to assume the Washington, Oregon, Arizona, and Kansas schools could all split up; that Baylor could be left behind; that that Texas could be fine with A&M going to the SEC; and that ESPN or another entity wouldn’t have the power to stop any of it.

            If you tried to ease the political problems by cutting out Missouri and replace with K-State, cutting out the Arizona school and replace with Utah… it’s still a pipe dream.

          • cfn_ms says:

            I’d actually guess that Mizzou would have a reasonable shot of going B10, and A&M to SEC, if there’s a movement towards 14 teams. Plus Kansas / Kansas St had the Big East invite last time, so it’s reasonable to think they could land there in such a scenario (as well as Mizzou if B10 didnt’ want them).

            I really don’t think AZ’s would split up, but I don’t think they’d likely have to. I am skeptical that Washington and Oregon could ditch their local neighbors, and am much more skeptical that somehow the disparate interests present in two different leagues would somehow be able to juggle everything and make this sort of deal actually work.

            FWIW, I wouldn’t go quite so far as to call it a pipe dream, but it’s definitely a major reach. There are a hell of a lot of ways things could shake out, and this is just one of a great many.

          • Jake says:

            Again, in this new conference, Cal and Stanford wouldn’t have the same sway that they enjoy in the Pac-10. It’s USC and UT’s world, and they just have to live in it or find a new home.

            One of my goals in drawing up that conference was not to split up in-state public school rivals. I don’t see UA-ASU, UO-OSU, or UW-WSU splitting up any more readily than OU-Okie State. I’m usually the first one to dream big and unrealistically, but in this case I was trying to retain at least a quantum of practicality. What I came up with is, I think, both workable and extremely lucrative.

            However you split it, with SoCal and Texas united, you end up with a power conference to rival (or even surpass) the Big Ten and SEC.

            And yeah, if Baylor can be ditched, I’m sure the powers-that-be would do so post-haste. Just depends on how much pull they have in the Texas legislature when it all goes down.

          • Jake says:

            @cfn_ms – nice, he even calls it the New SWC. I’ve often wondered what would have happened if the old SWC had invited the Arizona schools back in the late ’60s or early ’70s before the Pac-8 got them. Would USC have followed through on their threat to leave the conference and joined up with the Texas schools? Who knows.

        • Jake says:

          For comparison, the 12-team Big Ten will have a pop. footprint of 70 million, with three of the top 15 media markets.

          Also, ditch Baylor if possible. Replace them with, I don’t know, Colorado. That increases the footprint by 5 million to 78 million with only 12 schools.

        • smashmode says:

          lol no, Washington in terms of Football tradition Washington is #2 behind USC in the pac-10. Couple that with Fan loyalty, and how UW has captured the Seattle Market, that will never happen.

          UW is the big dog in the puget sound metroplex, and it sits in the metro area of the 13th biggest DMA in the country.

          • smashmode says:

            Not trying to sound like UW is a elite program, but with combination of Fan Loyalty/Tradition/Prestige and couple that with being right dab in the middle of the 13th biggest market in the country? No way does UW get left out

            Also add in a pretty good run of success in the #2 sport, mens basketball, and it is a slam dunk

          • SuperD says:

            Not trying to stir the pot…but technically Colorado is now #2 in the PAC, at least by all time wins, also have a Heisman winner, with both of us having a NC. I think you guys may have us in win percentage at the moment due to the recent Dodo era.

          • Muck says:

            According to the ESPN ‘prestige’ list linked previously it looks more like (national ranking)…

            (2) USC
            (16) UCLA
            (17) Washington
            (T-22) Colorado
            (28) ASU
            (43) Utah
            (44) Cal
            (45) Stanford
            (53) Oregon
            (56) Oregon St.
            (60) ‘Zona
            (T-77) WSU

        • Jake says:

          This would, of course, be a brand-new conference, separate from the Pac-12 and Big 12, and of, for, and by UT and USC.

          And a correction: it’s at least five of the biggest markets for the New SWC, not six. LA, DFW, SFBA, Houston, and Phoenix. With the possibility of adding a Seattle or Denver.

        • Jake says:

          I understand that Baylor and the Bay Area schools may not be the top picks, but remember the political factor. Leaving out Cal is probably a non-starter for the California legislature, and as we’ve seen, ditching Baylor can be problematic. Maybe Stanford can get left behind in favor of UWash. Also, not sure how possible it is to take only one Arizona school – maybe dump the both of them for Oregon and Washington?

          Of course, those schools both have in-state brethren to be dealt with, which is another problem. What I originally suggested would be the easiest arrangement to pull off, not necessarily the most ideal (although it would be quite lucrative in spite of that).

    • Bullet says:

      The extra money to UCLA and USC is only IF the league doesn’t hit $170 million. If it hits that everything is split evenly.

      There is a spread now in philospohies with Pac and ACC everything in, B1G primary to tertiary rights in with licensing separate, SEC primary and secondary rights in with rest separate and Big 12 with primary and secondary 50% equal and 50% on appearances, remainder separate.

      • Richard says:

        Pretty certain licensing is separate in all conferences. Do you have a link that says the ACC shares licensing rights?

        • bullet says:

          At least some of the licensing rights are pooled. Its been a while so I don’t have the link. ACC commissioner was pointing out that ACC was even more egalitarian than the B1G.

      • cfn_ms says:

        I intentionally went high w/ my estimates to illustrate that even at that point, it’s probably not going to be acceptable.

        There is definitely a big spread in philosophies at work. IMO the philosophy of all or most rights in, revenue equally spread can work if:

        1) There’s not a big stratification between the biggest and smallest names (B12 being biggest example of the stratification)

        2) The league itself has a valuable brand name (like SEC / Big Ten)

        3) There are meaningful rivalries and connections throughout the league, rather than just local geographic clusters (B10, with Illibuck, Little Brown Jug, etc. is a great example of this)

        4) The smaller schools don’t abuse the equal TV revenue by constantly selling bodybag games in football (Wazzu and Oregon St have each sold 3+ this past decade, Wazzu just signed up for another at Auburn, and Colorado is bodybagging it at Ohio St)

        Unfortunately for the Pac-12, zero of these things are the case. That’s why I don’t consider the current arrangement to be sustainable. Either the league sees a LOT more $$$ than currently discussed, or the revenue splits get radically changed, or there are a bunch of schools who could jump if/when they come up with a better option.

        If the Big 12 is a maximum security prison (FTT’s analogy), the Pac-12 is a minimum security one. The CA schools are beholden to no one except each other (and even there USC at least has options since they’re private), ditto for the AZ schools, Colorado could care less about the non-LA schools, etc.

        Plus, $170M is flat-out AWFUL TV money to be talking about. $15M per Pac-12 school for all rights in compared to $15M per Big 12 school retaining tertiary rights? Especially when Texas gets $10M+ for those? (and I think Florida and some others got $ in the ballpark at least) No way does that fly.

        Quite honestly, the TV $$$ figure being discussed is so bad that if Beebe’s numbers actually come true I could see the Big 12 making a Godfather offer to AZ / ASU (more money, including a guaranteed floor, the OK schools go to North Division to create more balance, maybe some other sweetener that I can’t think of), and while I suspect they’d turn it down, they’d probably at least seriously consider it.

        • Richard says:

          1. $14M isnt’s awful. That’s roughly what the ACC schools get.

          2. Only the top schools in the B12 get more. Everyone in the B12 who isn’t Texas/TAMU/OU isn’t going to get more than $15M (and likely will get less).

          3. Even if Beebe’s number come true, few P12 schools can better their situation from leaving. In the case of the Arizona schools, for instance, is the B12 going to offer them more money than what TTech, OSU, and Mizzou will get (which, BTW, I expect to be less than $15M)? Extremely doubtful.

          4. This ties to the above, which is that there really aren’t too many markets & brands in the P12 worth raiding. Essentially, there are only 2 schools/markets that are worth anything to anybody: USC, UCLA, and the SoCal market. Other conferences may be willing to take Cal & Stanford as well to get the SoCal schools (especially for the B10, those schools would boost the academic component), but any other school(s) really wouldn’t add more value to any of the other major conferences.

          That said, geography’s probably the main thing keeping the P12 together.

          • cfn_ms says:

            1) It’s awful for UCLA / USC, who compare themselves not to the ACC, but the big national names (Alabama, Texas, Ohio St, etc.). If the LA schools get $15M each, that compares very poorly to what Texas is getting (probably around $25M when all is said and done), that compares poorly to the SEC ($17M per member from league deal, plus 3rd tier rights, which is apparently north of $5M per school).

            2) see above. If Utah gets the same as OK St, then Utah might be fine, but they’re not the program whose unhappiness is going to really matter.

            3) I’d expect the #’s to be below $15M for Tech etc. But I could be wrong. That’s why I put in the big “if” for Beebe’s numbers. If they’re NOT just make-believe, then he can offer UA/ASU the same or more money as the Pac-12 deal PLUS whatever they can get for their 3rd tier rights (obviously not Texas money, but $5M might be a decent guess).

            Again, I’m dubious that Beebe’s numbers are real, but IF they are, he can offer a net gain of around $5M / year to the AZ’s. Is that worth blowing up their relationships w/ the Pac schools (especially LA)? I don’t know, especially since the B12 is still unstable. But I don’t think they’d laugh him off either. $5M / year is a lot of money for an AD.

            And the same deal could apply to USC/UCLA, except then they’d get more than the B12 avg given the distribution model, and they’d still have 3rd tier rights. They’d end up w/ less than Texas… but I’d be surprised to see them more than $5M behind the Longhorns in such an arrangement, which means about $10M per school per year extra (again, assuming Beebe’s #’s aren’t BS). That’s a lot of cash to turn down.

            4) There aren’t any programs / markets like LA in the P12 to raid. That said, Colorado (Denver), Washington (Seattle), Cal/Stanford (Bay Area), and ASU (Phoenix) are all pretty valuable TV properties.

            It’s more an issue that no AQ is really looking to add a bunch of programs to their league. Other than the LA’s, no one really is so strong that they’d really bring up the avg, but there are a bunch strong enough to not bring it down either.

          • Richard says:

            Sure, but that’s the point; no other power conference (AQ besides BE) would bother to add any P12 school without the SoCal pair because at best revenue stays the same while travel costs sky rocket.

            As for USC/UCLA comparing themselves to Alabama, Texas, and tOSU, sure, they may want to do so, but their brands are actually remarkably weak given the market that they’re in. For instance, Forbes lists USC as the 15th most valuable football team (behind Texas, ND, PSU, UNL, ‘Bama, Florida, LSU, tOSU, Georgia, OU, Michigan, SCarolina, Tennessee, and Auburn).

            The college football net revenue numbers tell the same story: USC is 26th (about the same as BC) while UCLA is 42nd (about the same as Northwestern). (http://ncaafootball.fanhouse.com/2010/06/30/for-longhorns-money-grows-on-football-program-instead-of-trees/)

            Attendance tells a similiar tale. USC is 15th; UCLA is 28th. tOSU, ‘Bama, & Texas are 2nd, 4th, and 5th, respectively (http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/d47a560045aad7aab88ffc9080650d5b/2010_Attendance.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=d47a560045aad7aab88ffc9080650d5b).

            Adding the 4 Cali schools may still make sense for the BigTen because of the research component & recruiting grounds, but let’s not overrate the quality of the SoCal brands. There’s a reason why the P12 is struggling to get even as much money as the ACC.

          • Richard says:

            Sure, but that’s the point; no other power conference (AQ besides BE) would bother to add any P12 school without the SoCal pair because at best revenue stays the same while travel costs sky rocket.

            As for USC/UCLA comparing themselves to Alabama, Texas, and tOSU, sure, they may want to do so, but their brands are actually remarkably weak given the market that they’re in. For instance, Forbes lists USC as the 15th most valuable football team (behind Texas, ND, PSU, UNL, ‘Bama, Florida, LSU, tOSU, Georgia, OU, Michigan, SCarolina, Tennessee, and Auburn).

            The college football net revenue numbers tell the same story: USC is 26th (about the same as BC) while UCLA is 42nd (about the same as Northwestern).

            Attendance tells a similiar tale. USC is 15th; UCLA is 28th. tOSU, ‘Bama, & Texas are 2nd, 4th, and 5th, respectively.

            Adding the 4 Cali schools may still make sense for the BigTen because of the research component & recruiting grounds, but let’s not overrate the quality of the SoCal brands. There’s a reason why the P12 is struggling to get even as much money as the ACC.

        • ccrider55 says:

          “4) The smaller schools don’t abuse the equal TV revenue by constantly selling bodybag games in football (Wazzu and Oregon St have each sold 3+ this past decade, Wazzu just signed up for another at Auburn, and Colorado is bodybagging it at Ohio St)”
          How would “bodybag” games which benefit a financially straped school (partially because of the unequal revenue sharing plan that is currently in effect) abuse? Are the powerful schools prohibited from scheduling big name opponents? or are they the ones that offer those weaker schools a payday in order to pad a record, a benifit to both.

          • Michael in Indy says:

            The TV revenue for non-conference home games in the Pac-12 are shared by the Pac-12 per league bylaws. So when Wazzu, Or. St., etc. schedule road games without return home games, they’re essentially costing the whole league TV revenue that would have been shared. Those teams get the payouts from the opposing team while the rest of the league gets nothing. Meanwhile, when USC hosts Ohio State, Wazzu, Or. St., etc. get the TV revenue from that game.

            That’s how it’s perceived as abuse.

          • cfn_ms says:

            When you sell a home game, the league loses the TV revenue that you could have gotten for the game if you did a home and home type arrangement, but you get to keep the whole bodybag check. That’s pretty obviously abuse of the equal revenue system.

            Look at it another way: if teams had to share with the league the bodybag checks they got to cash (a more than reasonable requirement given the loss of league TV revenue and the hit to league prestige that comes from any members selling home games) would they be so eager to do them?

          • ccrider55 says:

            I see what you are saying. However I don’t ever see the “little sisters” of the Pac beng able to, in the foreseeable future, get home and home’s with tOSU, Georgia, Tx, etc. It’s more likely that they would be depriving the conf. of (perhaps nonexistant) TV revenue for the highly anticipated Wash. St. vs Portland St. or Or St vs Sacramento St. You know those who would do a home and home, those deemed inferior and unworthy by those who presume to be.

    • Richard says:

      At $170M, it’s equal shares for all. The SoCal schools get the extra $2M only if the league can’t get to $170M.

      I think all 4 Cali schools are a package if they go anywhere.

      • cfn_ms says:

        That would be my guess as well. It’s possible that they wouldn’t be, but it would surprise me to see them in separate leagues (though USC might conceivably try independence for a while), given:

        1) USC and UCLA wouldn’t want to split, since it’d break up the LA market, reducing TV value and giving a lot more schools access to that area’s recruiting; plus the Big Ten still has 1 of the 2 Rose Bowl slots, which means it’d get dicey which of the LA school’s league would get those rights

        2) UCLA probably couldn’t break up with NorCal given state politics (Cal is the state flagship even if UCLA is the better athletically; plus Stanford presumably has enormous state influence)

        3) Neither Cal nor Stanford is an undesirable; both have historic attendance issues (especially Stanford), but they together control the Bay Area market, they’re both academically elite, and (a smaller point) they’ve had decent success in other sports (especially Stanford).

        • frug says:

          I doubt politicians in California would strap Cal to UCLA in the same way Texas has chained TTU to UT especially given the mess the state’s budget is in. That said, I can’t imagine UCLA would actually being willing to abandon Cal for the simple reason that they are not only both from the same state, but are part of the same school system (University of California).

          • Jake says:

            I think the budget crisis makes it MORE likely that Cal is linked to UCLA – they can’t afford for their flagship school to take a hit in revenue. We’ve got a discussion about this scenario going on a bit further up the thread, if you’re interested.

          • cfn_ms says:

            If the budget improvement for UCLA was WAY bigger than the budget hit for Cal, then maybe it’d be politically feasible. But even then, I’d be surprised if Cal (Cal+Stanford really, since they’re both affected) wasn’t politically connected enough to have veto power over UCLA’s moves, or at least enough power to make it a fight that UCLA REALLY wouldn’t want to get into.

            In Texas, it’s obvious that at least Tech (and maybe Baylor) have enough influence in Texas that their needs have to be taken into account to some degree. And if that’s true, then it’s hard to see how Cal/Stanford’s political power in CA would be somehow LESS than Baylor/Tech in TX.

          • frug’s basic point is the most important one. In the case of Cal and UCLA, we don’t even need to get into politics. They have the SAME Board of Regents that would have to approve any conference move by either school. Thus, Cal indeed has direct veto power over what UCLA can do – they’re both controlled by the exact same group of people. Those 2 schools are locked together no matter how much more money UCLA could make elsewhere.

          • frug says:

            The reason it would be harder for California’s politicians to chain UCLA to UC-Berkeley is because Texas’ constitution makes it easier for a handful of state legislators to hold a school hostage than California’s does. That said, it would probably never come to that since as members of the same school system it would be hard to separate them anyways.

    • bigredforever says:

      Last year I really thought the big12 south and the Cali-Zona Pac10 were going to merge into a conference. It was my worry about what would happen to UNL. I still think that will be the next big shakeup. They’ll have a Big12 like contract where schools can negotiate their own deals, yet there is a conference contract that supports all. This will maximize the revenue for these programs and shed themselves of some of the TV deadweight, fair or not.

  14. Mark says:

    Obscure Beatles reference.

  15. Jake says:

    I guess all of this means the end of Saturday afternoon MLB on FOX. Sucks for MLB, good for college football. I honestly never watched those games anyway – I only have time for the Rangers and maybe a bit of ESPN’s primetime games. One more channel showing college football on Saturday afternoon will just be that much sweeter. Means without even getting the sports tier, I can watch games on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, Versus, Big Ten Network (plus alternates!), CBS, NBC, FOX and FSN. Plus maybe FX. I can live with that.

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      Not sure why this would be the end of Saturday afternoon baseball on Fox. Those games typically start at 3:55 Eastern, which leaves potential 3.5 hour windows for college football both before and after baseball.

      • Jake says:

        Isn’t 3:30 sort of the main timeslot for college football? I guess they could do the college game at 12:00 and then go to baseball, but why? Join the party, FOX.

        • Richard says:

          Primetime is these days. In any case, I’m not sure why you want Fox to put on more college football in a crowded time slot. At 3:30, you have ABC, CBS, ESPN & sometimes CBS showing games. At noon, it’s only the various ESPNs while at primetime, it’s only the ABC/ESPN family right now (not counting the various Fox sports channels, CBSC, or Mtn, since few neutrals watch those games anyway).

  16. m (Ag) says:

    I don’t know what Comcast/NBC is thinking, but I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of going big for either the Pac 12 or the Big Ten.

    Sports may be loss leaders for an over the air network, but they’re quite profitable for cable, and a complete deal with a major conference could be used to draw viewers to its vast number of networks, all with the ‘Versus’ brand (just like the ESPN brand is on ABC). Place a major game or 2 every week on NBC, with another game of the week on USA. You could have a woman’s game of the week on Oxygen. Throw some games on Universal HD, while Versus airs the biggest selection of games. Telemundo can air a separate Spanish language telecast for some games. All of these networks would be advertising their own programming, while pointing towards the other networks for more major college action.

    And, of course, Comcast itself could be the partner forming a Pac 12 network instead of Fox.

    • Richard says:

      Uh, Spanish channels? Sorry, they like Mexican soccer and if they watch any American football, it would be the NFL. Consider that the NFL only started producing Spanish-language games (to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month) in 2010. For folks who prefer to watch their TV in Spanish, college football would be behind the NFL, NBA, and Central American soccer (and far behind Mexican league soccer, SA soccer, European soccer, and MLB).

  17. jj says:

    Good reading folks.

    I stand even more convinced that cali 4 to b10 is possible at some point. USC is, I think, thanatos card. Not advocating it, but it is not a crazy theory. Not advocating anything cuz I like where we are now, but Cali 4 would be great, as would tenn & kentucky.

    • Richard says:

      As a fan, adding the Cali 4 would be terrific. Not sure it makes sense to any of the presidents (in either the Midwest or California), though.

      TN & KY would be plenty of fun too, though I’d prefer adding the heart of the ACC (which, granted, is much less likely).

      • Richard says:

        The BigTwenty!:




        Some eastern team (Miami?)

        West & South never play each other.

        More problematically, East & North never play each other.

        UofI & NU would have to be OOC half the time.

        • Richard says:

          B16’s much easier:

          Cali 4




          Teams would still play all schools outside their division half the time.

          • frug says:

            You’d probably have to trade out at least one of the East teams for a Central because otherwise the divisions are going to be completely unbalanced competitively.

          • cfn_ms says:

            Don’t worry about that, the Big Ten has consistently shown that they value geographically sensible division far more than any competitive balance concerns.

  18. Brian says:


    A couple of points spring to mind.

    1. ESPN has to run out of slots for games at some point. With their current commitments, how much value does the P12 add for them? They don’t seem interested in the 10:15 PM time slot which is about all they have left to fill with AQ games. Perhaps this is why ESPN won’t pay as much as they did for the ACC.

    2. Versus doesn’t have full carriage, but NBComcast has plenty of other channels to choose from. They can match FX with USA or another cable channel. Getting better programming may help them get broader distribution for Versus, too. NBC may cut back on sports but the cable side might grow.

    3. I think TW Cable will fight more about the cost of the channel and where to carry it rather than whether to carry it. With digital cable, they have room for it. The P12 will probably have to suck it up and take a lower price than they’d like, but maybe a surprising number of subscribers will pay to get the network.

    4. How much of a factor is satellite in this? That provided leverage for the BTN. I realize there were ownership links for the BTN, but satellite is still some sort of threat to TWC.

    • Jake says:

      1. ESPN run out of slots? There’s always the Ocho …

      2. From now on, all Boise State home games will be shown on the Syfy Channel.

      3. But where to carry it and how much to charge, particularly in SoCal, will determine whether or not it’s viable. The Pac-12 can probably lose a bit of money on the channel initially, but they’re going to need to get on a basic tier if they want to make any serious coin off of this venture.

      • Brian says:

        Hey, you can’t just boot off that dodgeball coverage to air more CFB.

        If Syfy can show WWE, it can show CFB. CNBC doesn’t have any business to cover on the weekends either.

        I think the presidents want the network regardless of the income it makes. They want to cover their Olympic sports and have an outlet so all FB and BB games are on TV.

    • @Brian – My responses:

      1. I definitely think that ESPN is running out of spots assuming that they keep the same relationships. Now, if the Big Ten ends up moving its primary game of the week from ABC to Fox, then that could open up some more time, but we won’t know if that will happen for a few more years.

      2. Comcast definitely has some other options on paper, but they have seemed to be focused on Versus as opposed to getting some type of sports component on USA. That might change in the future, but they simply haven’t indicated anything of the sort (unlike Fox’s statements saying that really want more sports on FX).

      3. TWC would certainly fight about the cost of a Pac-12 network, but what’s a bit different here is that TWC is launching what it would consider to be a direct competitor RSN at about the same time. That changes the dynamic from TWC simply being a cable company that wants to avoid paying a lot of money to an RSN to a cable network owner that wants to protect the value of its own RSN in the LA market.

      4. Satellite is a factor, but only to the extent that there are enough Pac-12 fans that are willing to drop TWC entirely in order to switch to DirecTV or another competitor. That’s what ultimately got the BTN basic carriage – Comcast and other cable companies were losing enough business to satellite that it made financial sense to give in at the end. The thing is that Big Ten fans are generally more rabid and loyal than their Pac-12 counterparts, so a Pac-12 network might not generate the same type of response.

      I’d be interested to see how high the satellite penetration is in the LA market. Since LA doesn’t have an NFL team, I’ve been under the impression that there are more Sunday Ticket subscribers (and in turn, more DirecTV customers) there since virtually every NFL fan there is following an out-of-town team. That’s just a guess, though – I haven’t been able to find accurate statistical data.

      • bullet says:

        I’m sure there are some, but I’ve yet to meet anyone with satellite who isn’t glad to not have to deal with TW or Comcast. Unfortunately, I can’t get satellite where I live. Cable has the habit advantage, not an overal product (including customer service or lack thereof) advantage.

  19. Really interesting discussion so far on whether Pac-12 schools would ever move. Here are my thoughts:

    (1) As I’ve stated earlier, Cal and UCLA will ALWAYS be together. There’s not even a need to bring up politicians or the California legislature – they have EXACT SAME Board of Regents that ultimately approve or veto any conference decision by either school. That Board that directly controls both schools simply isn’t going to vote to allow UCLA to effectively screw over the actual flagship of the state. It’s not happening. Cal and UCLA essentially have the exact same leadership when it comes to conference realignment, so everyone has to look at them as one unit.

    (2) Someone earlier stated that the Pac-12’s geographic location is both its greatest strength and greatest weakness and I completely agree. The West Coast location is always going to be a drag on national TV rights since 80% of the US population lives in either the Eastern or Central Time Zones.

    However, it has one huge advantage that no other BCS conference has – an AQ monopoly over its entire footprint. The Pac-12 completely controls the LA, Bay Area, Seattle, Portland, Phoenix and Denver markets, all of which are fast growing metro areas. BYU is really the only legit competitor in a Pac-12 market (Salt Lake City), but they don’t have AQ status.

    Therefore, no one should be so quick to think that it’s ultimately beneficial to cut off the perceived weak links within the conference, such as Washington State. The “#2 schools” in each market may not be as valuable as the flagships by themselves, but when they’re coupled with those flagships, it means that there isn’t any direct AQ competition in those markets. If you let another conference like the Mountain West or some newly-formed league pick up schools like Wazzu, Oregon State and Arizona State, though, then you’re opening up to some large and fast growing markets like Seattle, Portland and Seattle to competition from other leagues. I certainly wouldn’t make that choice if I were running things as that’s really the main advantage of the Pac-12’s “remote” West Coast location.

    (3) I look at USC as sort of a higher rent version of Miami: perfect recruiting location with an extremely high national TV profile but a significantly more fickle and fair weather fan base compared to the other college football “Kings”. The Trojans are an extremely valuable school (and certainly #1 within the Pac-12), but that doesn’t mean that they should be making decisions similar to Texas.

    UT is basically the only school in the country that could procure the deal that it just received from ESPN: it is the most dominant school in its conference by far that delivers a massive state all by itself and has an extremely loyal and widespread fan base. Florida might be able to do it, but it’s counterbalanced by some other strong old-line programs in the SEC such as Alabama and other SEC states are very bountiful recruiting locales (Louisiana, Georgia, etc.) where the Gator competitors aren’t reliant on coming into the Sunshine State. Florida State and Miami are also in a competing conference and are more high profile nationally than UT’s in-state competitors.

    USC is ultimately more valuable for its national profile (like Miami) than its local fan base, which dwindles when they have downturns. This isn’t the type of school that’s going to be able to get a basic cable channel in the LA market all by itself in the way that UT can in the Texas market. Thus, I don’t see giving USC third tier TV rights as very much of an incentive to them to move into a Big 12-type revenue sharing scenario at all – they can’t monetize them in a way that UT or the SEC schools can.

    (4) Further to that, the Pac-12’s fan bases are a higher rent version of the Big East’s fan bases. Ultimately, the Pac-12 is going to have a harder time getting TV revenue along the lines of the Big Ten, SEC and ACC because West Coast fans simply aren’t as rabid. (We can apply that principle to West Coast pro sports teams outside of the Lakers, too.) Cable carriers in the Midwest got hurt when they didn’t carry the Big Ten Network since there were enough fans that were willing to completely switch to DirecTV just for that channel, which is ultimately why the BTN got the basic carriage that it was seeking. If a cable company in the South didn’t carry SEC football games, then it might as just declare bankruptcy immediately. The Pac-12 fan bases simply aren’t like that.

    As a result, the Pac-12 has the opposite issue of the Big 12: they have extremely attractive West Coast markets, yet the fan intensity is low compared to the other AQ conferences. In contrast, the Big 12 has pretty good to great fan bases across the board, yet Texas and Missouri are really the only markets that any TV executive would care about.

    Regardless, I consider the Pac-12 to be completely safe and a couple of million more TV dollars really won’t get any school switch conferences. As far as tight-knit conferences go, I’d put the Pac-12 right alongside the Big Ten and SEC – they have a strong regional bond, historic and natural rivalries and similar approaches to academics. Culture also plays a big part in conference memberships – when you’re talking about top shelf academic institutions like USC, UCLA, Cal and Stanford, I think they’re going to be very hard-pressed to actually ditch their other West Coast brethren to join a Big 12-type league. I certainly don’t believe that USC and UCLA, even though they’d probably enjoy the dollars from being associated with UT, would want to be in a league that’s actually controlled by UT and where they could be beholden to moves from the Texas legislature. It’s a very different scenario than when UT was the one possibly joining the Pac-16 and the California schools would’ve maintained the control.

    • duffman says:

      I think the biggest issue in the PAC is fragmented viewing. Sure the numbers look good, but with good weather (more outdoor sports), multiple pro teams, and multiple media contenders it is just a fragmented market (similar to NYC / Philly / Boston / Baltimore / DC corridor). So to say they will go head to head with the B1G or SEC I am skeptical. I agree with you in that they have a unique niche in terms of non PAC competition in their footprint. In terms of dollars and media values they will probably always run third in the race with the B1G and SEC.

      Thank you for pointing out the Cal / UCLA for us to keep in the background. I must confess not to know, but does USC have attendence numbers closer to Miami than say Notre Dame? I was always under the impression they sold seats fairly well year after year.

      PS I do like the Ducks going with a signature basketball floor similar to BSU having the Smurf Turf.

      • ccrider55 says:

        UCLA’s original mascot was a bear cub. They were the LA sattlite campus of The University of California Bears. It was later when they had grown (come of age) it was decided that being the little sibling or offspring was demeaning (and perhaps no longer accurate) that they became the Bruins.
        Frank: thanks for the rundown. Any thoughts on what effect having NFL and/or NBA teams in nearly every Pac 12 market has of fan “rabbidness”?

        • @ccrider55 – I don’t think the pro sports presence can really explain it since (1) the other conferences all have large pro sports contingents, especially the major Big Ten markets and (2) the West Coast doesn’t have very good pro sports fan bases compared to their Eastern and Midwestern counterparts, either. It’s probably explained by a combination of tons of transplants plus the good weather more than anything. The Lakers and maybe the Dodgers are really the only West Coast pro teams that would be considered to be “marquee” franchises within their respective sports.

          • m (Ag) says:

            Just this year I read that the Dodgers have some of the best and most consistent baseball attendance, when tracked through many years and accounting for good and bad seasons. So I definitely feel they qualify as a ‘marquee’ franchise.

            One problem they (and most Pac 10 schools) have is that the schools are mostly in pro cities. My impression is the most passionate fans (if not the most numerous) are probably in Oregon and Utah.

            How far will USC and UCLA slip when the NFL gets back to LA? They’ll still be a big name nationally, but they could lose some local buzz when the local reporters start covering the NFL team.

          • @m (Ag) – I think that you’re correct that Oregon fans are probably the best of the Pac-10 fan bases (with Utah coming in as the passionate newbies).

            The pro sports competition argument is a popular excuse for schools that don’t have great fan bases, but I’ve simply always found that to be weak when you look at the country as a whole. The Dallas Cowboys are the most popular team in the NFL with media coverage way out of proportion to their competitiveness, yet that hasn’t dampened any enthusiasm for college football in the state of Texas. All of the Big Ten schools except for Iowa have their main fan bases located in legitimately hardcore pro sports cities that crush the pro fan bases of any of the West Coast markets in terms of intensity and loyalty (Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Milwaukee/Green Bay, Minneapolis, Indianapolis), yet those schools still have great fan bases across the board. The SEC and ACC markets have all seen plenty of pro sports franchises in their territories, yet those conferences are all still fine.

            Frankly, the fan bases for the Pac-12 schools are comparatively better than their pro counterparts. The problem is that isn’t saying much – West Coast fans generally have a more laid-back attitude toward spectator sports than the rest of the country.

          • Richard says:

            Granted, few of the B10 or SEC or B12 south teams are actually physically located in a metropolitan area with pro football teams (only Minnesota, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, and Michigan, if you count it as a suburb of Detroit; though Florida, Georgia, LSU, Kentucky, & TAMU are about 90 minutes away from an NFL city, and Madison is also 90 minutes away from Milwaukee).

            Still, you’re probably right. Michigan manages to pack in 100K+ every game despite a pro team in all 4 major sports being located less than an hour away. Meanwhile, USC & UCLA can’t even sell out their annual rivalry game despite being in a gigantic metropolis with no NFL team.

          • m (Ag) says:

            I don’t think being in the same region as a pro team hurts; I think being in the same metro area as a pro team hurts.

            If you are in a small or mid size college town the students and community will make the local college sports a focus of the community. Alumni will have stronger memories of the sporting events and be more likely to follow the team; this produces more donations and more people willing to drive hours to see their team play. This in turn creates much more buzz and excitement around the team, which helps get more casual fans attention in the state the school is located.

            The Universities of Wisconsin and Minnesota seem to be good examples. They both have pro teams in their state, but seem to have very different followings for the college athletics.

            I’m not an expert in California geography, but if the major universities would have been place in, say, Fresno and Sacramento (instead of the LA and San Francisco areas), I think you’d probably see more excitement over the schools athletics.

          • Richard says:

            Well, again, Ann Arbor is a suburb of Detroit, and many SEC teams (as well as TAMU) are 90 mintes from an NFL city.

          • Brian says:

            I think a lot of California’s problem is cultural. Watching sports just isn’t as important to them compared to other places. They are more likely to go participate in something. CO is the same way.

            Where pros really hurt college sports is in the northeast, and that seems cultural too. The pros just dominate all interest.

          • cfn_ms says:

            I would agree with the general sentiment here. Spectator sports really aren’t that big of a deal in the West Coast (not just CA).

            Not entirely sure why. Some of it is the weather, some of it is the fact that a lot of the West Coast population is transplants from the East Coast and Midwest (who already have fixed loyalties to teams back home). But I’m sure there’s another big piece to it that I’m missing. Really not sure what it is, though.

          • frug says:

            Part of the issue also is the fact that the PAC-8-10-12 has always marketed itself as a sort of “country club” conference designed where spectator sports are designed to serve as a relaxing distraction. Obviously there’s a chicken and egg issue, but the conference hasn’t done much to try and change its image (though grabbing the Texas and Oklahoma schools would have helped given their crazy passionate fans).

          • Michael in Indy says:

            West Coast sports fans’ reputation for apathy was never more apparent than at Stanford Stadium this past season. How could they not sell out during an 11-1 season?

            That said, I think that Huskies fans at least deserve credit alongside Oregon and Utah for passion and loyalty. Their smallest home crowd during their 2008 0-12 campaign was 57,013. In 2004, a 1-10 season, home crowds bottomed out at 63,000. That’s pretty darn good if you ask me. When they’re winning semi-consistently, UW can count on a sold-out Husky Stadium every game…. Honestly, as bad as they were for not just a couple of years (like Michigan), but for six or seven years in a row, I think we’d be hard-pressed to find fanbases ANYWHERE who would still sell tickets as well as UW did if their team went through similar struggles.

          • bullet says:


            You’re wrong about the pro sports presence in Texas. SMU played in the 66k Cotton Bowl and Rice in the 70k Rice Stadium for good reasons. The Cowboys and Oilers crushed those programs along with TCU and UH. Texas normally draws only 50-60k in Houston for its Rice games. Its a pro sports town where people have lots of other things to do. Why UT and A&M have huge fan bases is that Austin is 160 miles from Houston and 270 from Dallas and has 50k students. A&M is also comfortably outside the metro areas and has 45k students. And also, Texans love football, so there are enough to go around. Michigan and UW are the only programs I can think of that are actually in pro sports markets that draw as well as comparable programs. MN, Rutgers, MD, GT, Miami, the California schools all underperform.

      • cfn_ms says:

        USC’s attendance definitely suffered during the down years of the 90’s. I don’t have numbers for it, though. I’m thinking they’re somewhere between Miami and ND; REALLY high when they’re good, but not so hot when they aren’t.

        As far as going head to head with B10 and SEC, that’s the goal. They feel like they should be getting in that ballpark. They may well be wrong to think that’s realistic, but if they do (and I think they do), then there’s a chance that they’re going to chase that money wherever it leads.

      • bullet says:


        USC draws much better than Miami. They are similar in their variability, but at a higher level. Last 15 years, USC has varied from 57k to 91k, Miami from 28k to 69k.

        • duffman says:


          thanks for the info

          30K per game is a big difference!

          even if USC is just drawing roughly 60K that is still enough to put it in the top 25 – top 50 every year. If there are 120 D 1 FBS that means even in their worst years they would be in the top 1/3 which is no small feat.

          • Richard says:

            True, but there’s a difference between top third and top 10. It’s hard to think that USC football is as valuable as tOSU, Michigan, or PSU football when they’re drawing as many fans as Wisconsin or MSU. Plus, mind you, this is the school with the highest attendance in the P12.

          • duffman says:


            agreed about your point, as my comment was aimed more at a school like Miami (FL) or oSu. Top 10 are not really going to move year after year. I put B1G and SEC schools in another group altogether just based on the difference of fan level.

    • cfn_ms says:

      I agree with you to the extent that I would say that the Pac-12 is PROBABLY safe. It would be a surprising outcome to see the league blow up. I just don’t think it would be a stunning outcome on the order of the Big Ten / SEC blowing up. Other than those two, IMO everything is in play to some degree, ESPECIALLY if there really is a widespread interest in cutting the # of AQ leagues (as per Cal AD interview – http://www.californiagoldenblogs.com/2011/2/9/1985708/sandy-barbour-kenwick-thompson-q-a-cal-will-play-colorado-in-2011 – question 4). A couple other responses:

      1) I can’t see a realistic chance of Cal / UCLA splitting up either. I don’t think that politically it would fly for UCLA to try independence either, for the same reasons. The frequency of LA comments (from USC AD Pat Haden as well as both fanbases) saying that they really liked their Bay Area games (esp. the “weekender” in football), makes me also think that even if they somehow could, that they wouldn’t even want to. I would guess that this applies to Stanford as well; even if Cal/UCLA could actually break up with Stanford (and I’m guessing politically that would be a very unpleasant fight), I doubt they’d want to.

      2) I’d also agree that geography is the league’s greatest strength and weakness.

      The ultimate question is whether the league can monetize their AQ monopoly over the West Coast (+ Denver + Phoenix + SLC). They have NEVER been able to do this. While it’s easy to blame Tom Hansen for doing a crappy job on this front, that by no means guarantees that under more competant leadership the league can then monetize its advantages. It’s obvious that there’s a plan in place (which is why they did all rights in in the first place); now the plan needs to succeed.

      IF they can’t create revenues that are at least reasonably competitive with the Big Ten / SEC and above everyone else (and I’m getting the sense that you don’t think they can), then they’re going to have a problem. If the stronger league members come to the conclusion that the inherent disadvantages of the league (including geographic isolation) outweigh the advantages, then it’s reasonable to believe that they’ll strongly consider trying to affect major change.

      One interesting note is that the league CAN’T just cut off any of its teams. The league’s own bylaws specify that there needs to be cause, and specifies what the acceptable causes are. Being a weaker member of the league is, unsurprisingly, not on the list.

      On the flip side, though, there are no meaningful exit penalties, only the need to deliver notice by around April 1st two years before departure AND to promise to play 9 football games against other league members for each of the two seasons after delivering the notice. This also means that if a member wants to leave immediately and void the scheduling arrangements, they’d only owe damages for missing two years of membership and voiding the scheduling. It’s hard to believe that would end up being much more than what Colorado and Nebraska ended up paying (which wasn’t a whole lot of cash).

      This creates an interesting dymanic where it’s actually much easier for any subgroup in the league to cut off multiple other league members (by leaving en masse) than it is to cut off just one or two (by voting them out). This makes it really easy to pull a Mountain West like move, IF the members in that group actually want to do it.

      3) I’d agree that USC shouldn’t be making decisions similar to Texas, and it’s clear that their brand isn’t worth as much as Texas. However, they have one key advantage that Texas doesn’t; completely political freedom. If Texas wants to make any kind of move, they need to keep in mind A&M’s interests, probably Tech’s interests, possibly OK and OK St’s interests, and MAYBE Baylor’s interests. USC only needs to keep in mind their own interests (and even if they choose to care about UCLA/Cal/Stanford, that’s still WAY better than carrying along Tech, OK St and Baylor)

      That makes them one of the biggest wildcards out there (Notre Dame would be the biggest IF it wasn’t already obvious that they are completely happy with their current situation and would only move if forced; Texas IS still the biggest because no one knows what they actually want or exactly how much political freedom they really have).

      Moreover, USC is currently in a politically volatile situation due to their recent sanctions and the appeal process. Until the appeal result they’ll avoid rocking the boat, but once it’s over they’re going to be free to pursue whatever they feel is in their own best interest. Moreover, they’re going to be free to basically give the rest of the league the finger IF it turns out that the league really didn’t do anything to help them out during the process (certainly the league did nothing publicly). I strongly suspect there are going to be factions inside their administration who’d like to do exactly that, as long as it’s not going to really hurt them financially (as opposed to the much tougher standard of “only if it would really help them financially”). And since they’re a private school, under no meaningful obligations to the rest of the state (much less other states in the league), it’s plausible that they could end up deciding to do exactly that.

      If that sounds strange and kind of obnoxious, remember that their original public response to the investigation was to essentially say “screw you” and “you’re all just jealous”. It was only AFTER the hammer came down that they chose to change their tune, and that was mainly to try to undo some of their penalties in appeal. It’s obvious that USC hasn’t always been enormously concerned with their public perception, and they’re certainly capable of doing what they feel like, regardless of the consequences to the league. IF they decide that they want out, then there’s really nothing stopping them.

      And, of course, if that were to happen then your second point would really start to unravel. The league would continue to be geographically isolated, but would no longer have anything close to monopoly power in their biggest market (LA), and would take a hit in the Bay Area too (since there are a decent chunk of USC grads and fans there as well). It would NOT be a death blow by any means, but it would seriously damage the league’s position. It would kill the league title game (which they’re getting a good chunk money for), it would take a lot out of the league’s media deal (since USC is the league’s most valuable media property), and it would completely end the dreams of becoming the 3rd most powerful league behind the Big Ten / SEC.

      As far as 3rd tier rights go, USC probably can’t monetize them in the way that UT or SEC schools can, but keep in mind that even Kansas is getting $6M / year for 3rd tier rights (and KSU gets around $3.5M / year). Just because USC can’t get a long term deal for $10M now and major escalation over time doesn’t mean they can’t take home somewhere in the ballpark of $6 to $8M. That’s still a major chunk of change; as shown in the indystar link in an above post, UCLA gets around $46M in revenue, and that would give over a 10% bump. Assuming USC is in the ballpark of UCLA, they’d also get around or over a 10% bump.

      4) I would actually say that the Pac-12 doesn’t really have a tight regional bond. The biggest problem is that a lot of the bonds are one-sided. For instance, everyone feels like they have a bond with LA, but UCLA/USC have very strong bonds with each other, solid bonds with Cal/Stanford, and are pretty meh about the rest. You get similar patterns in the NW, where Wazzu’s biggest bond is with U-Dub, Oregon St’s is with Oregon, but U-Dub and Oregon have a big rivalry between each other, and each feel strongly about the LA schools.

      This is part of why the more have-not schools really wanted nine league games (http://blogs.mercurynews.com/collegesports/2010/06/16/pac-10-expansion-splitting-the-divisions/), while the haves were less enthusiastic. Eight league games would have been a win for the members who could afford to sign another bodybag and/or have an elite OOC home and home, and a loss for those who couldn’t.

      I should also point out that all of the two-sided bonds are regional in nature. The league nicely splits up into three pods of four: NW, CA, AZ+Mountain, but there aren’t really meaningful connection between the pods. Washington has been good for long enough that there’s a decent connection between them and UCLA/USC, but even that isn’t a really strong connection, and that’s the biggest I can think of. There’s little really connecting ASU to Oregon, Cal to Washington, USC to Arizona, etc. And, of course, there really aren’t any strong connections to the newcomers (the AZ schools used to play Utah a lot, but that was a LONG time ago).

      IMO the ultimate situation wrt the Pac-12 is that they expanded in order to majorly enhance revenue not just beyond the awful old deal, but beyond what they could have gotten as just a 10-team league. If they succeed, and stay reasonably competitive with the rest of the country, it’s going to work out. But if they can’t get enough money to be reasonably competitive with everyone else, and it’s clear that they’re continuing to lag the pack in revenue, then there’s a good chance that people will bail. CFB is an increasingly mercenary environment, and league alignments are part of it.

      5) You also made a point about the CA schools not wanting to join a Texas-centric league. This is a reasonable point, though it’s worth pointing out that when the SWC remnants joined the Big 8 (which was anything but Texas-centric), it became Texas-centric. Were the CA’s to collectively join up with Texas, regardless of which side started out in the politically stronger position, over time it would probably move more towards equality of influence (especially if it was the CA four plus other Pac-x members moving). Plus, Texas and the CA schools share a lot of interests when it comes to operating a league:
      fairly tight academic standards for players is something that all would be interested in;
      restrictions on unethical recruting practices is something that all would be interested in;
      unequal rather than equal revenue sharing is something the LA schools would join hands with Texas on [and Bay Area's wouldn't likely be strongly opposed to];
      all have large athletic departments with a lot of sports and a lot of revenue;
      It’s not like they have radically different philosophies when it comes to how they operate and the values they embrace; there would certainly be differences, but it strikes me that they have more in common than they have different, other than geography of course. A&M might be more like an SEC school that happens to be in Texas, but Austin really isn’t, which was why they were never interested in the SEC and why they’ve flirted with both the Big Ten and Pac-x over the years.

      • Brian says:

        I’ve seen this mentioned before, but what exactly was the Pac-10 supposed to do to help USC with the NCAA? They can’t interfere with the investigation and they have no sway over the decision or appeal processes.

        • cfn_ms says:

          There are a few things the league could have / should have been doing:

          1) Politicking behind the scenes. The NCAA is a fundamentally political organization, and is clearly susceptible to pressure, if it’s applied in the right places and to the right people (especially given that the incoming NCAA president is a former U-Dub guy). For the record, I still think the league HAS being doing this, for the simple reason that it would have been monumentally stupid for them not to have.

          2) Public support. The only people publicly supporting USC’s case were from USC itself, and maybe some journalists here and there. No major statements from the league office, no statements from fellow league members.

          By choosing not to do this, the league allowed the USC fanbase to believe they were essentially abandoned. Not to mention occassionally develop wacky conspiracy theories like “Nike and Oregon lobbied against us b/c they wanted to fill the power vacuum” or “the league lobbied against us b/c they want more balance”.

          Obviously those shouldn’t be taken seriously, except as a sign that the fanbase as a whole is NOT happy. And if the fanbase is not happy, there’s no telling what the power brokers are thinking. And that’s dangerous.

          • Brian says:

            I don’t believe the behind the scenes stuff actually helps against the NCAA. They are the wrong sort of people and face no public pressure. The more people are upset, the more they think they are doing their job properly.

            I also think a conference would be doing a disservice to support a member accused of cheating. The other 9 schools don’t want to compete against a cheater. The value of the league is hurt if it is seen as supporting cheating like the SEC. In addition, the league members may be genuinely embarrassed to have such blatant cheating going on.

          • cfn_ms says:

            They don’t face public pressure, but I think most would agree that they can and probably do face internal political pressure. Either that or they’re just wildly inconsistent and simply randomly appear to favor the more powerful programs (thus the “the NCAA was so angry at Alabama’s violations they dropped the hammer on Cleveland St” saying [I probably butchered the expression] ). Occam’s razor favors the first explanation, though it’s possible that it’s wrong.

            I would agree that they wouldn’t/shouldn’t want to support cheating. But they could certainly have agreed with the argument USC raised, which was essentially:

            1) The penalties were too severe given what actually happened
            2) There were serious due process concerns

            The league could have supported either of those arguments without having condoned what USC actually did. Should they have? I don’t know. But they could have, and the fact that they didn’t choose to is certainly didn’t endear them to USC, which probably wasn’t wise given that USC is a program that has the direct ability to severely damage the league if they walk out.

          • Brian says:

            I don’t buy the internal pressure at all. As with any legal-type hearing, the rich have better lawyers. The big schools also have a lot more bureaucracy to create a gray area over violations. The changing membership of the committee means that they will be inconsistent. The NCAA also changes the stress on certain violations over time, as they should. Violators also try to draw false similarities to other cases in the hopes of getting lesser penalties.

            I think both of USC’s arguments are crap, and the other schools may have told the conference HQ that as well. If multiple schools asked the HQ to stay out of it, that’s what they should do. USC could have been hit harder for having violations in multiple sports. The due process arguments require proving the committee screwed up the NCAA procedures. Of course USC claims the committee did, but USC also said they did nothing wrong.

      • m (Ag) says:

        Yes, if the 4 Cali schools joined with the Texas schools to form a 12 team league, I have a hard time seeing large points of disagreement between the Longhorns and the California schools.

        If you left out a few of the hangers-on (Baylor, OSU, Tech) in exchange for schools like Colorado, Missouri, or Utah, it would even be hard to object to at least an SEC-level revenue sharing.

        • Jake says:

          @m (Ag) – yeah, but that’s what Frank’s last post was all about – you CAN’T leave those schools behind. Maybe Baylor, but even that could be tough. OSU and Tech aren’t getting left behind. Even if you’re stuck with all of them, a 12-school conference that brings together California and Texas (plus Arizona and Oklahoma) would be printing money.

          And the absence of equal revenue sharing would be the driving force behind this whole conference – it’s the one thing USC and UT can always agree on.

          • cfn_ms says:

            One of the big open questions is how much freedom does Texas actually have. FTT is convinced they can’t leave Baylor behind… but that’s speculation based on limited evidence (a couple prior expansion examples + Larry Scott said so). If they CAN leave Baylor behind, they have more options.

            And, of course, Texas has no enforceable obligation to the remaining Big 12 North programs, which is part of why they’d been looking around for Plan B(ig East) in the first place.

            As far as printing money goes, I really don’t know. It would certainly be worth more than either the Pac-12 or the current Big 12… but is it worth a LOT more? It’s unclear. The main financial advantage for the schools involved would be to get rid of the programs that aren’t worth much revenue (ISU, WSU, etc.), which means that (even if they do go w/ a basically equal revenue system, which I doubt they’d do) they get to end up with a number closer to what their program is actually worth. I don’t, however, think that there would be any meaningful synergy advantages (as opposed to the Big Ten or SEC, where it’s more like 6+6 = 13, and the total is greater than the sum of the parts).

            I’d also think that there’s enough value in the remaining programs (Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Missouri, Kansas), that it’d be tough to stick to a 12-team total. IMO 14 would be more likely, though it’s a guess on my end. And again, I should emphasize this is very much a wild speculation here. There are a LOT of other ways things could happen, including probably the likeliest, which is no meaningful changes at all.

      • Richard says:

        If Texas managed to slowly dominate over the old Big 8 schools, I don’t see how that is evidence that being in a league with Cali schools would pull the degree of influence towards Cali. There’s simply more money and passion for college football in Texas than California, even if California has more people. I don’t get how that would translate in to more influence for the Cali schools.

        • cfn_ms says:

          My point wasn’t that CA schools would dominate politically, my point was that you would expect political balance between the CA and the TX side. The example of Texas dominating the Big 12 was to highlight that it didn’t matter what the original political status was, since that can drastically change over time.

          • Richard says:

            Right, theoretically, the balance of power could change in any direction. You could have posited in 1996 that the center of the B12 will reside in Colorado, for instance.

            Realistically, it’s hard to imagine that Texas would give up what they have now (a conference which they dominate & control) for a conference where they’d shared power, have a tougher road to the NC, and where they’d get maybe a little more money.

          • @Richard – I think that’s a good observation. Honestly, UT doesn’t really gain that much more by adding USC and UCLA to its conference. UT would make some more money, but at the expense of giving up control and ease of scheduling along with making a national power (USC) that would now be a conference competitor much more financially stable. The main beneficiaries of that type of league would really be the Texas Techs and Baylors of the world that are much more dependent upon conference revenue as opposed to UT. The actions of UT this past year have shown that control is every bit as important to the school as money.

            Also, I have to reiterate that I really don’t think second and third tier TV rights mean that much to USC in the way that they do to UT. The Trojans (and all other Pac-10 schools) have those rights now yet haven’t been able to do much with them. So, the argument that they could make UT-type money in a different conference simply because of an unequal revenue sharing and TV rights structure isn’t persuasive to me. USC would’ve exploited those advantages already if they could have, but they haven’t because they can’t. They don’t have that type of leverage in the LA market (much less the entire state of California).

          • cfn_ms says:

            @ Richard: I think we’re talking past each other to some degree. My point wasn’t that political power can move in wildly unexpected directions (ala your Colorado example), my point was that whatever the “old” power structure isn’t likely to be dominant just because it used to be in power; once Texas and the other ex-SWC’s joined, it was (in retrospect) obvious that political power would swing that way to a material degree. Just because (I think) Nebraska/Oklahoma used to be the big power players didn’t mean that was destined to continue, and in fact it didn’t take long for that to change.

            @ FTT: I tend to agree with you that UCLA/USC joining the Big 12 wouldn’t be a huge financial benefit to Texas… but that wasn’t the example I had been talking about. It’s hard to see the CA’s joining a league with ISU, KSU or Baylor, much less all three.

            I’m also not sure why you think that the events of the last year show control to be as important as money. I do think that Texas has made a point of keeping their options open, so in that sense I’d agree with you, but I don’t think that wielding outsize influence in a league was high on their priority list (if so, I haven’t seen evidence of it). IMO money has been the biggest thing they’ve been chasing. There’s little question they’re in better shape financially than if they had joined the Pac-16, Big Ten OR the SEC.

            As far as 3rd tier rights go, it’s tough to say. Texas just provided a clear example of how to monetize 3rd tier rights through making a school-specific network. I’d agree that it could be harder for USC to monetize it than, say, Oklahoma, but I would also think that they’d be tempted to try. I still don’t see how going forward they couldn’t at least do about as well as Kansas has with those rights.

          • Richard says:

            Not to beat a dead horse, cfn, but if USC could monetize third tier rights so easily, why haven’t they done so up to now (and why did they give them up to the Pac12 so easily)?

            As a counter example, look at Texas, which has been exploring setting up their own channel for several years now and blocked the B12 from controlling third tier rights repeatedly in the past few years.

            As for money, like Frank, I’m skeptical that even a Texas-Cali only league with unequal revenue sharing would net Texas that much more (enough to be worth something after factoring increased travel costs). Yes, you do drop lesser members of the B12 north and P12 north, but keep in mind that the B12 will get the money Beebe promised it only because ESPN is paying them a premium to keep superconferences from forming. If a superconference does form, it’d get market price. As you mentioned, with it’s current situation, Texas gets more than (or at least as much as) what it would get as a member of the B10 or SEC. Are you saying that a Texas-Cali conference would be worth so much more than the B10 or SEC (or that revenue sharing would be so much more unequal than the current B12 or P12 models) that Texas would get measurably greater TV revenue than they do now? I’m skeptical.

          • cfn_ms says:

            It’s definitely a good question why USC hasn’t been able to monetize them to any meaningful extent (I can’t find documentation as to whether they’ve previously monetized them to ANY extent, much less how much, so I’m certainly speaking from ignorance here). Of course, it’s plausible that they could use the same business model as Texas, Oklahoma and probably more to come are following and see what happens. It’s certainly plausible that they could believe that they could cash in on it and at least be in the ballpark of Oklahoma money, EVEN IF THEY’RE WRONG IN THAT CONCLUSION. What’s most relevant to their decision-making is what they think they can do, not whether they’re correct in their analysis.

            One good question to think about is how much Texas itself is worth, ignoring conference affiliation, revenue-sharing etc. If they went independent (as an example), what would they take in? I don’t have the data to say one way or another, but I’d strongly suspect that it’d be north of $35M (and might be north of $40M). Approaching that number, whatever it actually is, while inside a league appears to be one of their driving motivations.

            As far as a Big 12 “premium”, it’s extremely unclear what the Big 12 will actually get in TV negotiations; there’s no tangible reason to think that just b/c Beebe promised the cash it would necessarily appear. It MAY do so, but there’s no guarantee.

            Moreover, it’s amazing how networks keep “overpaying” leagues even as the numbers keep going up. Maybe it’s b/c CFB is actually worth a lot MORE than we thought? (it’s also quite possible we’re seeing a bubble).

            So what’s “market price” for a superconference? It certainly depends on its overall prestige and membership. Would the aggregate per team price be comparable to SEC / B10 numbers? I have no idea. It certainly might be, it certainly might not be (and, of course, the SEC / B10 revenue splits are MUCH more equal than the B12 model, so comparing leaguewide numbers isn’t apples to apples). It’s also worth noting that the B10 numbers are still materially growing, and it’s far from clear how high they’ll end up going, or where the stable equilibrium of BTN viewership would be; so comparing to the current B10 take isn’t exactly right.

            One thing I can fairly confidently suggest, though, is that if the revenue model stayed the same as the Big 12’s, Texas’s take would almost certainly go up, because the LSN contract would stay the same, and the value of the league would be greater than the value of the old league plus the “please don’t kill the status quo” premium, unless you think that ESPN and/or Fox are going to be paying completely ridiculous premiums just to preserve the status quo. And, of course, if you think they’re going to pay completely ridiculous premiums just to preserve the status quo, it would seem likely that they’d grossly overpay the Pac-12 for the very same reason, in which case everyone would be happy and there wouldn’t be any issues to worry about.

            Side note: if you want to track Texas’s revenue growth, you need to compare revenues NOT to the SEC/B10, but to the B12 deal. Texas doesn’t need to be in a league that gets total dollars at the SEC/B10 deal to bump their revenue. They need to either have a revenue-sharing system more unequal than the current B12 model OR get league contracts much greater than the B12 deal, OR both.

            Of course that still doesn’t answer the important questions, such as what Texas actually wants to do, what USC and the other CA schools want to do, what political freedoms everyone has, whether any of them (much less all of them) would actually want a setup anything like this one, etc. As stated before, I really don’t know. This was just thrown out there are one possible example of what might happen. It’s certainly not the favorite, again, for a whole lot of reasons.

          • Richard says:

            Actually, no, if ESPN wants to prevent superconferences, they just need to overpay the B12, not the P12, because if the B12 schools are happy (enough) to stay where they are, no superconference can form (unless something really out of the blue happens like TN+KY to the B10, the B10 & SEC carving up the ACC, or the Cali schools joining the B10).

          • Brian says:


            You’ll probably never find USC data since they’re private. Arizona was making $6.7 million per year as of last summer for local media rights. By comparison, AZ gets $1.13 million for their apparel deal. UCLA gets $4.6 million for apparel and is about to renegotiate and expects to approach MI’s $7.5 million (the value is probably inflated since they’re the only adidas school in the P12). One would think UCLA’s local media rights are at least similarly valued to their apparel deal (like MI) and more valuable than AZ, and USC should probably be more valuable than UCLA.

          • cfn_ms says:

            In other words, USC probably has been making good money off of their 3rd tier rights, and could do so again if they got those rights back. Interesting.

          • Brian says:

            Don’t forget, a lot of that money is for radio and other non-TV things so they may not be giving up much.

          • m (Ag) says:

            What exactly would they argue about? The only thing that Nebraska and UT actually disagreed on was where to place the championship game, and I think the Longhorns would agree to rotate that between Arizona and Dallas.

            Just last year we knew UT was interested in joining the Big 10, but had a ‘Tech problem’. They’re not afraid to work with others, but they need better partners than Kansas State and Iowa State before they agree to share. We believe they want 4 things:

            1) money
            2) good academic partners
            3) games against OU and A&M
            4) security for Texas Tech (so it can become a better option for Texas high school graduates)

            This hypothetical conference boosts academic prestige, allows them to play OU and A&M, and would be a huge home run for Texas Tech. I also believe that the conference would definitely produce more conference money for Texas. In addition, their football schedule gets much more interesting immediately. Hosting Arizona and Cal is much better than KSU and Iowa State.

            If the California schools called, I think this conference would form quickly. Alas, I don’t think they’ll leave the Pac 12.

    • Jake says:

      It’d be tough to split up the Pac, but not impossible. If UT and the Big 12 South gang proposed forming a new conference, I think USC would be amenable, and that would likely be enough to get the ball rolling. If they got UCLA and the Arizona schools on board, Cal and Stanford would have little choice but to go along.

      • troyboy8ball says:

        This is also how I think you get Notre Dame into a conference. You pitch a national conference, starring Texas, OU, USC, Cal, Stanford, UCLA, and others, where everyone can keep their third tier rights. You probably give Notre Dame a couple other incentives (they can show most home games on their own network, they NEVER have to travel to Ames or Lubbock or whatever undesirable locales end up in this conference, they can keep all non-football sports in the Big East).

          • M says:

            I tend to take a “you never know” perspective to a lot of stuff, but the idea that Mark Cuban is going to force a playoff on the NCAA is ridiculous. He’s negotiating with the hostages if he thinks that the NCAA brass is the group he needs to convince.

          • @M – “Negotiating with the hostages” is a good way of putting it. The flaw in Cuban’s plan is that he seems to be depending on individual schools making the choice to forgo bowl bids in favor of his playoffs. The problem is that individual schools can’t just say, “We’re ignoring our conference tie-in with the BCS this year and choosing to go with the Cuban Championship instead.” That’s a quick way to get kicked out of a conference or at least lose a ton of conference revenue. Instead, Cuban has to convince the BCS conferences as entities that his playoff system should replace the BCS bowls, which is a whole lot different (and WAY tougher). I’ve always believed that saying the bowl system could “survive” with anything more than a 4-team playoff system is a completely false argument – you don’t slap the Rose Bowl label on the current Capital One Bowl matchup and say that it “survived”.

          • By the way, this is the article where Cuban implies that he would be going to the various schools directly:


          • Brian says:


            Do we know how this would interact with the bowl contracts conferences have? Could several B10 schools say no to the Capitol One, or are they obliged to accept? I imagine schools can choose to not go to a bowl, but would the contracts allow them to play elsewhere?

            Long term, I assume Cuban’s plan is to pay the schools enough to compensate for the reduced bowl payouts that would result in the future. I still think it will be hard to convince the conference officials.

  20. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    While we’re all thinking out of the box and throwing out realignment ideas that will never happen, here’s mine – a 14 member all private school conference.

    Notre Dame
    Wake Forest

    BYU – if the rest don’t want BYU, my Tulane Green Wave gets in over Rice & Tulsa because New Orleans is a better road trip.

    The ACC picks up UConn, Pitt, West Virginia, and Louisville to make up for its private school losses and Cincy & USF after the SEC raid get back to 12. How’s that for a basketball conference?

    The B1G picks up Rutgers and the NY/NJ market to counter its loss of Northwestern. It also takes Iowa St & Mizzou to get to 14. The carriage of the BTN in NY/NY, St. Louis and KC allow the B1G to do the right thing and take Iowa State. You also get good academic research schools as well.

    The SEC swaps Vandy for A&M. It also takes Florida State and VA Tech to get to 14. Great football/baseball combo.

    Texas, T-Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas & Kansas State go west to make a Pac-16. I thought geography outweighed conference symmetry so KU & K-State go west as the PAC’s #15 & #16, rather than to the basketball heavy ACC for #13 & #14.

    That’s five AQ conferences and 70 AQ teams. Good geography for all the public school conferences. Notre Dame gets to play a truly national schedule. Everybody plays a 9 game conference schedule and has a CCG. After the CCGs, the four highest ranked teams play national semi-finals utilizing my hard-seed plus 1 discussed a couple months ago. All is right in the CFB universe and it will never happen.

    • Jake says:

      I’ve thought about that, but the idea of Stanford, BYU, Notre Dame and Baylor all putting up with each other stretches even the limits of message board speculation. I’d be down with it, though.

    • @Alan – That’s a league that only a Domer could love!

      • rich2 says:

        Frank, that is a great conference. Where do I sign up? For me, the only annoyance would be that Fredo (BC) freeloads again.

        My only question about this entire thread, is that it attempts to project the value of cable rights in 2018 by assuming that the world wants more and more games on more and more days of the week. Why is everyone so utterly confident that viewership increases at a steady pace no matter how many games are carried — and that cable companies will pay to carry games based on this assumption, for the next decade?

        Take care.

        • @rich2 – I think you have a good point in that demand for televised college football games (and college sports generally) isn’t infinite. That’s why I believe fan base intensity is important because that indicates how much demand there is for a particular conference or team (either nationally or regionally). The SEC, Big Ten and Notre Dame have separated themselves on a national level. ACC basketball and the University of Texas have used their strong regional fan bases to cash in and get leverage over TV partners. Can anyone else really do that? It might be very hard at the national level. Whether the Pac-12 can do it at the regional level with its own network remains to be seen.

          • bullet says:

            Ricky Williams (UT Heisman winner) once made the comment that one of the reasons he can to Texas was the intensity of the fan interest, even at the HS level. He said people just didn’t care much in Southern California (he was from San Diego).

    • Brian says:


      I’ll give you credit for admitting it will never happen.

      Now, the obvious questions:

      1. What are the incentives for the private schools to form this league? Sure, Syracuse, Baylor, TCU, SMU and BYU probably stand to make a lot more money although the travel costs would hurt. What are the benefits for the ACC, P12, B10 and SEC schools? Why would ND agree?

      2. Why would the B10 pick up Rutgers, MO and ISU? There is no financial gain to going past 12 without a major program. Adding one school to get back to 12 makes sense, but three is wasteful. The BTN won’t make much by adding RU because nobody cares about them, so I think they’d be left with the BE remnants. The best financial choice of the options you left available would be MO. Why would they voluntarily lose money to “do the right thing” and add ISU?

      3. The ACC would be fine, and the Pac-16 gets what they seem to want. I’m not convinced the SEC would want to expand, though. They are better off taking TAMU and stopping at 12. They don’t need FSU and VT to be competitive, since the Pac would still not be their equal (UT, OU and 14 others) and the B10 wouldn’t improve either. I’d expect them to stay at 12 until they sense they will lose status.

      • Brian says:


        If we’re doing crazy realignments, then we need to think big. That means trimming dead weight. It also could mean separate conferences for FB, MBB and everything else.

        Football Level 1:

        NE, IA, WI, ND, Purdue, OSU, MI, MSU, Pitt, PSU, Syracuse, BC

        FL, FSU, Miami, UGA, GT, Clemson, SC, NC, NCSU, VT, MD, WV,

        TX, TAMU, TT, OK, MO, Ark, LSU, Miss, AL, AU, TN, Louisville

        AZ, ASU, USC, UCLA, Cal, Stanford, OR, UW, BSU, BYU, Utah, CO

        Level 2: the remaining AQs and the non-AQs

        That’s essentially the top 48 AQs by performance over the last 60 years grouped by region. Every ten years each conference will consider relegation of their bottom teams for other regional teams.

        Everybody gets to schedule 2 Level 2 teams at home, 2 Level 1 OOC games in conference comparison series (N vs E and W, etc, with the pairs of conferences rotating) split home and away, and 8 conference games. Division winners are determined by division record, with head to head, total conference record, overall record and ranking as the tiebreakers in order. The ranking for this purpose will be a formula based equally on the AP rankings (to allow for intangible factors) and a compilation of computer polls that use different methods (all data is allowed to be used including scores).

        The bowl season will match the teams that aren’t division champs in December. The conference championship games will be played in early to mid-December, allowing time to recover from the season with out getting rusty. The semis are played 1/1 (conferences that didn’t play OOC are paired) and the championship 2 weeks later. The sites rotate and include the BCS sites as well as northern domes. The CCG losers play in the BCS bowls that aren’t hosting playoff games, with the same pairings as the semis.

        I leave it as an exercise for the reader to produce similar regional conferences for hoops. I’d go with 12 16-team conferences. Each team plays their division twice and the other division once for 22 total conference games. Each team gets 4 OOC games against lesser competition, 1 tournament and 4 OOC games against other main conferences in conference comparison series (like ACC/B10 Challenge). Get rid of conference tourneys, and change the NCAA to a double elimination tourney for 32 teams (all conference champs plus the next 20). The rest of D-I organizes the same way but plays in the single-elimination NIT instead of the NCAA. Relegation every 10 years applies to hoops, too.

        Now that is ridiculous message board speculation at its best.

        • duffman says:

          I would put some money constraints in there as well so a school like UL, who has a stadium much smaller than UK (and has a hard time filling it) does not jump over in state rival UK who has been in the top 25 in attendence the past few years even with a poor team.

          I would say IU as well, but they have a smaller stadium. Not sure I would put Texas Tech on the list as well.

          • Brian says:

            I debated not including any of the new AQs, but there aren’t many quality programs I left out. I wanted to stick with teams above 0.500.

            UK was nowhere near making the list because they lose so much. The next in would have been Rutgers (also fairly new AQ) or OkSU. UK was also behind Cal, UVA, MN, Baylor, KU and IL, not to mention Cinci and TCU.

          • bullet says:

            UK has been at .500 or better in the regular season for 5 seasons in a row while playing in the toughest conference in the country. Maybe you should put them in over Michigan or MSU or Purdue!

            They don’t have as many high points as the schools on your list, but they’ve probably got a better record over the last 5 years than a 3rd of those schools.

          • Brian says:


            Five whole years? I don’t consider that enough time to establish a success level, but OK. I did post the adjustments if the list was based on 25 years, which is a reasonable period.

            UK would make the list if it was just the last 5 years. They had the 52nd best winning percentage over the last 5 years.

            Teams they trailed (5 closest):
            MI, TN, SC, MSU, Clemson

            Teams they led (14/48):
            Louisville, Miami, TAMU, AZ, ND, MD, FSU, ASU, NC, Stanford, Miss, Purdue, NCSU, UCLA

          • bullet says:

            That kind of points out the “brands” issue. If you’re on ESPN and get into the top 10 a couple of years in a row, you are perceived as much better, even if the record doesn’t indicate it. UL vs. UK is a good example.

            Obviously UK isn’t Miami, ND, FSU or even A&M. But since they haven’t won the SEC since the 70s and haven’t been in the top 10 since then, except the year they knocked off #1 LSU (who went on to win the national title), they don’t get much credit for what they do achieve–Which translates into TV value or lack thereof. Teams that aren’t regularly ranked (and preferably top 15), don’t generate much value.

          • Brian says:


            The programs near the cutoff were not very impressive. Like I said, it basically cutoff at 0.500 over the time period. I could easily have left UL off the list, but then I had to take an under 0.500 team. I actually think the 25 year list is the best, since it is long enough to average out anomalous years while not including the irrelevant past. UK did much worse in that list, and about the same as IU.

            Over the past 5 years, UK and UL
            were basically the same in record (36-29 vs 34-28) although UK presumably played better opposition. I ignored SOS for my lists outside of not including the non-AQs in general.

            If UK could ever beat TN it might help their perception. They haven’t won 9 games since 1984 and 10 since 1977. Outside of those years, since 1950 they won 8 in ’51, ’76, ’06 and ’07. Even 7 wins only came in ’53, ’54, ’98, ’02, ’08 and ’09. That’s 12 7+ win seasons in 60 years. For comparison, OkSU had 20 7+ win seasons in those years and didn’t make the list. How much esteem should UK be held in for being consistently mediocre at best?

        • Brian says:

          For more recent success (last 25 years), only 5 teams would change. Add KSU to the North to replace Purdue. Add UVA to the East to replace MD. Add OK St and TCU to the South to replace MO. Transfer TT and add Fresno State to the West to replace Stanford and Cal.

          Based on the last 10 years, relegation would lead to these 4 changes:

          Cincinnati replaces Syracuse
          MO, Louisville and TN transfer from South
          BC, Pitt and PSU transfer to East

          MD replaces NC
          BC, Pitt and PSU transfer from North
          FSU, FL and Miami transfer to South

          MO replaces Miss
          FSU, FL and Miami transfer from East
          MO, Louisville and TN transfer to North

          Hawaii replaces UW

          The problem is always the lack of teams in the west.

        • troyboy8ball says:

          Wow, your South division is murderous with Texas, OU, Bama, and LSU. The West looks like a cakewalk for USC, and OSU would rule the North the same way they currently rule the B1G.

          • Brian says:

            Geography’s a bitch sometimes. The west has fewer schools, so it will tend to be weaker. The long time frame also includes some schools that might not deserve it. The problem is the North combines the B12 N, B10 and BE while the West is P12 and MWC. The East is BE and ACC and SEC. The South is the B12 S and SEC W, currently 2 of the toughest divisions around. Power shifts all the time, though. A few coaching changes and things could be very different.

            If UCLA and UW return to glory while USC and UO stay at their peak that would be pretty stout. BSU and Utah will also add power. Similarly, a strong ND, NE, MI, PSU and OSU would be very tough.

    • duffman says:


      actually how far fetched is it? I am old enough to remember the Magnolia Conference which was based on a similar theory of conference relignment (it was just the southern privates tho).

  21. duffman says:

    a) It is Sunday morning
    b) Frank has put up this blog for P12 discussion
    c) Most on here seem to enjoy reading

    I offer:



    • Richard says:

      So who stood to gain?

      • duffman says:

        If the president of a University poisioned their primary benefactor that is just wild. The theory was that Mrs. Stanford had intentions of firing him, but she had plans for a vacation in Hawaii where she was given the fatal dose!

        • Richard says:

          Then again, who knows. It probably was easier to get away with in those days of less-than-instant communication and spotty (maybe even pliant) media. She should have fired him before taking the trip.

  22. duffman says:

    Tho we have discussed this possibility earlier, here is the lightbulb now going off in the media (they are always slower).


    from oklahoma

    I brought up the possibility that losing a CCG, 1 good, and 1 decent team was not going to bode well in the future. I will say it again that if trend continues, the Longhorn Conference will loose at least one or two bowl tie ins.

    • cfn_ms says:

      That wouldn’t surprise me at all. It’s also worth noting that every quality team in the Big 12 is now getting a full third of their schedule filled by home and home games against Kansas, Kansas St, Iowa St and Baylor. None of those four would likely get better than a 1:2 deal against Texas, Oklahoma, or A&M in an open market.

      At some point, the loss of home game revenue (since there are now nine league games, which means fewer home games), combined with fewer interesting games on each team’s slate (and to fix it w/ good OOC’s means doing home and homes, which means even fewer home games) is going to start to sting.

      I’d agree with you about the bowl tie-in’s getting hit at the next negotiation round, but I’m thinking that this was already a foregone conclusion. A league with only Texas, Oklahoma and A&M as big names is going to have a very hard time holding on to the Fiesta AND the Cotton AND the Alamo AND the Gator/Sun AND the Holiday, not to mention all of the more minor ones (though those might be OK since a lot of them are TX-based anyway).

    • Brian says:

      I think the writer was very generous in his counts of good games. He counts 18 marquee games, but I only count 3 OOC and 3 in conference that are of national interest before the season. The rest are only marquee in the B12 footprint. They’ll get national coverage for a few more, especially in conference when teams climb the rankings and provide some interest.

      By comparison, I count 3 OOC (MI/ND, PSU/AL, OSU/Miami) and 7-9 in conference (CCG, NE/MI, NE/PSU, NE/OSU, OSU/PSU, OSU/MI, NE/IA, NE/WI – 1st B10 game for NE, OSU/MSU – suspensions) for the B10. Normally that would be 3 and 7 without the added storylines. We need a few more marquee OOC games in the future, but I’ll cut NE some slack for their first 2 conference schedules. WI has VT and UW coming up in 2016+, but is weak until then. IA is always pretty weak.

      • cfn_ms says:

        That’s a good point. Mizzou and OK St aren’t good enough that they’d draw ratings when they play each other. Texas, Oklahoma and A&M will draw major ratings when they play each other, and Mizzou, OK St and maybe Tech are good enough to draw decent ratings when they play the main powers. So that means inside league play: 3 marquee games, plus 9 fairly decent rating games (though if Tech struggles again, it’s hard to see people watching them). If it turns out that national ratings just don’t come for much of anything outside of the 3 marquee league games, it’s going to be a lot harder for Beebe’s promised money to materialize.

        • m (Ag) says:

          The OSU/A&M game will happen in the first 4 weeks of the season (tentatively scheduled for Sept. 24). Unless one of the teams gets a surprise early loss (Arizona has a shot vs. OSU), both will be at least in the top 15, possibly top 10.

          So, this year I expect it to be one of the highlight games that week. They can also hype it up with highlights from last years ridiculous game.

          I’m guessing the Big 12 and ESPN will move it to Thursday night again to get more national attention to the league.

          Of course, most years both teams won’t be that highly ranked at the same time. There aren’t enough names in the conference that will still have national attention when they go ‘only’ 8-4.

          • Richard says:

            Actually, ESPN may cut down on the number of B12 Thursday night games (replacing them with SEC, ACC, or P12) in order to have have at least one decent B12 game for their Saturday afternoon time slot.

          • bullet says:

            Has the Big 12 been playing TH night games? SEC has avoided them like the plague. They kill home attendance. I used to love the TH night games, but then the name programs all started avoiding them.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Bullet – You’re right about the SEC on Thursday nights. Mississippi State and South Carolina are the only teams that I can think of that appear to be willing to move a home game just to get on TV.

            BTW, LSU will play Moo U in StarkVegas on a Thursday night this season, but LSU would never move one of its home games. Heck, we whine about 2:30pm kick-offs on CBS. If it were up to LSU fans, we’d kick-off at 8pm and be on ESPN for every home game.

          • Richard says:

            Here it is for 2010:

            I count 3 SEC games (2 of those were OOC) & 3 B12 games (including Texas-TAMU).

            ACC is in 4 (including 2 BE-ACC matchups). BE is in 4 (including 2 BE-ACC matchups). P10 is in 4 (1 OOC).

          • Richard says:

            Alabama moved their game against Georgia St. to Thursday in 2010.

            Anyway, here’s the Thursday lineup for 2009:

            2 games with SEC teams (1 OOC). 4 games with B12 teams (1 OOC). 5 ACC games (1 OOC).

          • Richard says:

            Evidently, Vandy was willing to move an SEC home game to Thursday in 2008:

            I count 2 SEC teams willing to move a home game to Thursday that year and 2 B12 teams moving a home game to Thursday (1 was the Texas-TAMU game).

          • Richard says:

            BTW, the Thursday night ESPN schedule looks to be very ACC & P12 heavy so far:

            So far, 1 SEC home game, the Texas-TAMU game, 1 BE home game, 4 ACC home games and 3 P12 home games on Thursday night with a few more slots to fill out.

          • Bullet says:


            Texas-Texas A&M is Thanksgiving. That doesn’t really count. Its effectively a weekend game. And its a long tradition that the networks moved from TH to F for a number of years.

          • Bullet says:

            For the Big 12 in 09 and 10, not counting Thanksgiving, it was 2 Ok. St., 1 KSU and 1 Missouri. They did have some of the “kings” and “barons”, but only on the road.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Richard – I forgot about Bama last year, but I doubt that will ever happen again. The GA State game took place the week before the Iron Bowl and Auburn had an open week. Bama used their open week immediately prior to the LSU game. Moving the GA State game gave Bama a few extra days to rest and get ready for Auburn. Bamatab, correct me if I’m wrong but I think Bama took some heat for moving that game.

          • Richard says:

            “They did have some of the “kings” and “barons”, but only on the road.”

            Well, except for Miami (which has well-known attendance/popularity issues), that’s true of the ACC & Pac10 as well (unless you count Oregon, Washington, UNC, & VTech as “barons”, and most people wouldn’t as they’re generally not in the top 25 of any prestige/money ranking).

            FSU, UCLA, & USC never hosted Thursday night games in the years I looked (’08-’11).

          • Brian says:


            Washington was #17 in ESPN’s prestige rankings. With their recent lack of success, however, I think it’s fair to temporarily not consider them as the baron that they are.

          • Bamatab says:

            Alan, you right in the reasoning for Bama to move the Ga St game to Thursday night. Saban wanted that to happen in order to give us some extra time to prepare for the auburn game.

            I very seriously doubt that we would do it again unless a similar situation arose. Bama doesn’t like playing Thursday night games because people from all over (in state & out of state) go to the games. And being on a Thursday traveling issues and causes in state people to have to take off work in order to make the games and not everyone can do that.

      • Richard says:

        I’d count PSU/WI, PSU/IA, & tOSU/WI as well (they’re at least as interesting as Mizzou/OSU, TAMU/OSU, and Mizzou/TAMU).

        In fairness, for the ABC afternoon slot, the games only have to be appealing to a B12 audience. Still, I’d expect ESPN to start pressing OU & TAMU to play 2 marquee OOC opponents a year (Texas’s OOC schedule is already set for as far as the eye can see, though they play 2 interesting opponents most years), especially if TAMU wants the $20M payout. Unfortunately, neither of those schools have away games to give (unless they’re willing to go with a 5-6-1 schedule some years). The only solution is those schools scheduling Boise (or maybe Oregon St.) as guarantee games for a big payout (or maybe BYU….maaaybe Miami in a 2-for-1) several times.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if ESPN asks OU & TAMU to step up if they want to get their $20M.

        • Richard says:

          Oh right, maybe Utah (or TCU) as well. Probably as a “neutral site” game somewhere in Texas. I wouldn’t be surprised if TAMU & OU have to have a 5-5-2 schedule some years (though 6-4-2 other years) in order to get their $20M.

          Come to think of it, if they’re neutral site games, ESPN may even be able to get more enticing opponents (LSU, WVU, Auburn, etc.)

        • Brian says:

          I tried to do an apples to apples comparison, and I wasn’t convinced your three games count for national interest. Maybe OSU/WI for the revenge factor, but I didn’t want to flavor it with OSU bias.

          I only counted OU/UT, UT/TAMU and OU/OkSU (plus OU/FSU, TAMU/Ark and UT/BYU) as games that get national attention regardless of records.

        • m (Ag) says:

          OU traditionally has one of the most competitive non-conference schedules in the country. This year they played FSU, Air Force, and Cincinnati. Their only weak game was against Utah State, who is at least an FBS school.

          A&M has the annual game versus Arkansas. I’ve heard we signed a contract to play a series each against USC and Oregon in the middle of the decade, but I think the USC games got canceled almost immediately for some reason.

          • duffman says:

            I had tickets to that game, but could not go. OU went to Cincy for that game so it was not a sure fire win that a home only game would indicate (it wound up being a FG difference in the score).

            Interesting as UC’s NC schedule this year included Oklahoma, NC State, and Fresno State.

            @ m(Ag)

            is the U$C game still off the schedule, as it is showing up on TAMU’s long term schedule? Was the cancellation due to U$C having the cloud of probation on some minds down in College Station?

          • m (Ag) says:

            I thought I read an article during football season mentioning the games were already canceled, though I’m not sure where. I’d sure like to be wrong.

            I haven’t found future opponents (other than next year) listed on A&M’s website.

          • Brian says:


            I can’t vouch for their accuracy, but:


            still has the games. I can’t find any articles saying they’ve been canceled.

            The deal was announced in 2009 as far as I can tell.

        • Nostradamus says:

          Re: In Fairness to the Big XII.. I agree with your point that the games have to be appealing only to the Big XII region. That being said, this is exactly the problem with the Big XII. It also explains why they will always lag in tv negotiations. Every Big Ten game is a national game, virtually every SEC game is a national game. The Big XII’s potentially game of the week is a regional game.

      • greg says:


        You are flat out wrong about Iowa’s non-conf schedule being “always pretty weak”. Iowa has played ISU every year since 1977, and while they are near the bottom of BCS-conference teams, its a BCS-conference team. Lots of Hawkeye fans hate playing them every year as we get their best game of the year, yet get zero credit for beating them. Its a no-win situation, and I’m sure plenty are reading this post and thinking ISU is a MAC-equivalent.

        Beyond ISU, Iowa plays a second BCS-conf game nearly every single season. Since 1998, Iowa has had three seasons without a second BCS conference team. From 1998 to 2011, a total of 14 seasons, Iowa has 25 BCS conference teams on the schedule, or 1.79 per year.

        A few months ago I went through some other B10 schedules, such as Minny and Wisky, and over the past decade they can’t even manage to average one BCS-conference game per year.

        Iowa hasn’t schedule marquee matchups, but they generally schedule solid programs (Ariz, Pitt, Syracuse, AzSU, Neb).

        I would imagine that Iowa is easily in the top 25% of the BCS teams in scheduling other BCS teams.

        Two bcs games: 2011 (Pitt), 2010 (Ariz), 2009 (Ariz), 2008 (Pitt), 2007 (Syracuse), 2006 (Syracuse), 2004 (AzSU), 2003 (AzSU and beat 12-1 Ben Rothlisberger-led Miami(OH)), 2000 (Nebraska), 1999 (Nebraska), 1998 (Ariz)

        one bcs game: 2005, 2002 (road win at Ben Rothlisberger-led Miami(OH)), 2001

        • Brian says:

          Iowa gets no credit for playing ISU every year because they’re perennially terrible. It boosts the number of AQ teams Iowa plays while being a MAC-level opponent. Over the past 25 years, ISU was outperformed by 8 MAC members (yes, I know they play MAC schedules). ISU was also outperformed by AQ powers like Baylor, Rutgers, Indiana and Wake. Do you give anyone respect for scheduling those teams OOC?

          The real problem is the lack of marquee opponents, which is what we were discussing. Iowa plays other AQ teams, but usual they are mid-level teams.

          AQs Iowa has played 2 times in the past 25 years during the regular season:
          ISU (25), AZ (5), KSU (3), ASU, NE, OR, CO, SU, Miami

          That’s 5 marquee OOC games (Miami 90, 92; NE 99, 00; CO 92) in 25 years, and that’s weak for a team that many fans wanted the B10 to consider as equal to the top 4 schools. I called out WI, too, and they are worse than Iowa with scheduling, but both need to step up their marquee OOC scheduling.

          For comparison, here’s WI’s info.

          AQs WI has played 2 times in the past 25 years during the regular season:
          CO, Stanford, Miami, OR, AZ, Cal, WV, NC, ISU

          That’s 6 for WI (Miami 88, 89; OR 00, 01; CO 94, 95).

          • greg says:

            Brian, you put excellent politician spin on anything you disagree with.

            As I said, Iowa gets zero scheduling respect even though ISU plays their best game of the year against Iowa, and you just fulfill the stereotype. Even ignoring ISU, Iowa plays a BCS team every year, but you ignore that to measure “marquee games” where you are the sole judge of “marquee”.

            The only way Iowa can gain any respect by your sliding scale is to schedule 3 AQs a year.

            Whatever. Continue to shovel your bullshit.

          • Brian says:

            I’m sorry you have such a problem with the rest of the world knowing that ISU stinks. It is not spin to point out that ISU is a MAC level team based on performance. Against non-AQ FBS teams, ISU is 19-15 (0.559) in the past 25 years. By comparison, Toledo is 133-76 (0.636). This is with the money and recruiting advantages of being in an AQ conference, too.

            Of course ISU plays at their best for a rivalry game, but that still doesn’t mean much. IA has a better record against ISU than any AQ team they’ve played more than twice in the past 25 years. That means ISU’s best is not as good as IN playing normal. Perhaps the fact that IA also plays better cancels out ISU’s level of play, too.

            I would give WI the same lack of credit for playing MN if that was OOC, or Purdue for playing IN. Pretending that all AQ teams are equal is silly and beneath you. If that’s all that matters to you, then you’d love an OOC schedule like Duke, Washington State and ISU since you get 3 AQs. Everyone else would chuckle.

            So who else on that list counts as marquee, AZ, ASU, KSU, Syracuse or OR/CO before they got good? Marquee games draw eyeballs from neutral fans. If they aren’t a name program, then they have to be highly rated the year before and in pre-season because there’s no buzz for an OOC game against a team that isn’t expected to be good.

            If Iowa wants respect for their OOC schedule, they should schedule some name programs. Some suggestions would be TX, OU, USC, OR now, BSU, TCU, AL, FL, LSU, AU, GA, TN, FSU, Miami, and VT. Other AQ programs that are up, like OkSU and TAMU, would count too.

            Instead, IA has scheduled TN Tech, ULM, N Ill, N IA, CMU, MO St, WMU, Ball St, N TX and Pitt (4 times) for upcoming years. How many of those teams are realistically capable of beating Iowa? How many will draw eyeballs from neutral fans? I can understand not always having a marquee game, but there’s no excuse not to do better than that.

          • greg says:


            Even with a “terrible” ISU game on the schedule every year, Iowa’s non-conf is in the upper half of BCS teams. Even if you want to believe ISU is MAC level, they are home and homes. Give the grief to teams like OSU (or the entire SEC) that schedule 3 or 4 home MAC-level games most years. Iowa plays a home and home with ISU and a home and home with a mid-level BCS team. Then two cupcakes. When most of the country is playing 3 or more cupcakes, I find it hard to ding Iowa’s schedule.

            You were talking marquee games, but you are the one who termed Iowa’s schedule “always pretty weak.” Go ahead and say they don’t really schedule marquee games, but that is a different argument than “always pretty weak.”

          • cfn_ms says:

            Upper half of AQ is an exaggeration, but I could maybe buy the argument that it’s around avg. The entire Pac-10 regularly scheduled much harder than IA, as have at least half of the ACC (4 teams play annual SEC games, plus a lot play other AQ’s), one or two SEC programs (UGA plays GT every year and frequently plays someone else decent), and a few others like Oklahoma (always a tough OOC).

            That said, IA has almost certainly been above avg OOC for a B10 program. And I would definitely agree with you that there are a number of MUCH more obvious targets out there. Can’t really comment on the future OOC, though, his list looks pretty weak.

          • Brian says:

            Yes, Greg, when talking about marquee opponents OOC Iowa’s schedule is always weak. Their past and future schedules show that. Their overall OOC SOS is probably around average for the AQs at best. They play a bottom feeder AQ, a MAC team and an FCS team every year. The fourth team varies from MAC/Sunbelt to mid-level AQ.

            It’s certainly worse than most P10 teams. Several SEC and ACC teams have tougher rivalry games (Ark/TAMU, GA/GT, FL/FSU, SC/Clemson) too. Other teams that always schedule a marquee game include OSU, MI, AL, TN, Miami and OU. NE, WI, TX and VT have marquee games coming up. IA has no bragging rights over most quality AQ programs when it comes to scheduling (LSU and PSU, maybe some others I’m forgetting).

            If Iowa wants to be seen as a big boy, then they will need to step up their scheduling. If they are content to be seen as an average B10 team, then they are fine as they are.

          • greg says:


            “The fourth team varies from MAC/Sunbelt to mid-level AQ”

            11 of 14 years its been a mid-level AQ, but that equates to “varies from MAC/Sunbelt to mid-level AQ” (note the ordering of your statement)

            Nice intellectual honesty.

            Be careful using words like “always”.

          • Brian says:


            “The fourth team varies from MAC/Sunbelt to mid-level AQ”

            “11 of 14 years its been a mid-level AQ, but that equates to “varies from MAC/Sunbelt to mid-level AQ” (note the ordering of your statement)”

            So you agree that my statement is true, but object because of the order of the words? Varying from A to B and B to A are the same thing. I wasn’t intending any insult or hidden meaning, but Iowa fans online seem to be very insecure.

            Over the next 4 years, Iowa plays 1 FCS, 1 MAC and 2 AQs twice (ISU and Pitt in 2011 and 2014). In 2012 and 2013 they have 1 FCS, 2 MACs and ISU.

            2015 and 2016 should also have 2 AQs (ISU and Pitt), but the OOC schedules are incomplete as are all future years. These schedules are subject to change, especially if the B10 goes to 9 conference games.

            In addition to ISU:
            2010 – 1 FCS, 1 MAC, AZ
            2009 – 1 FCS, 1 MAC, 1 Sunbelt
            2008 – 1 FCS, 1 Sunbelt, Pitt
            2007 – 2 MAC, Syracuse

            That’s 5 out of 8 (possibly 7 out of 10 but could also be 7 out of 12 for all we know) years with 2 AQs. That’s not a dominant trend to me.

            I give Iowa much more credit for 2007 than the other years since they skipped the FCS team, even though Syracuse and ISU were both weak. An FCS team really hurts the schedule.

            Stop scheduling FCS teams and play a name program OOC occasionally. Then people will quit making comments. For example, it’s a shame that Iowa has only played NE 30 times and only 6 times since 1946 (’79-’82 and ’99-’00). That’s a marquee school in a bordering state, so presumably they would be willing to consider a home and home. I realize many marquee schools may not see value in playing at Iowa, but how about a neutral site game in a year with ISU at home? Maybe AL wants another Jerryworld game.

          • greg says:

            Your data is incorrect in 2009. Iowa played Arizona, not a MAC team. So that makes 6 of 8 (for 2007-2014). In 2012/2013, Iowa does only play ISU as a AQ, which is related to playing NIU at Soldier Field in 2012 as a 2-for-1.

            Those two years (2012/2013) are the outliers. As far as I can tell, 2014/2015 are Pitt, which makes it 8 of 10. That is the trend. Your 7 of 12 figure is inaccurate speculation.

            Supposedly Iowa has long wanted to play Nebraska, but Nebraska doesn’t want to play Iowa as they need to schedule nationally for recruiting, just as Iowa likes to play inter-regional for recruiting reasons. Iowa fans hate that the two years we got to play them in 1999/2000 were the nadir at the start of the Ferentz regime.

            Iowa is a school from a small state that has long been a self-sustaining athletic program that carries a lot of sports. Football has to pay the bills. The football schedules aren’t the strongest, but they aren’t anything to be embarrassed about. We need three home games while also playing ISU every year.

          • Richard says:


            Actually, the problem is probably that marquee programs don’t see much value in playing a home-and-home with Iowa because they wouldn’t be such a draw for the attendance of the other team.

            For instance, OU probably would rather schedule a home-and-home with Miami than with Iowa because having Miami visit Norman would boost season ticket sales. On the other hand, Minnesota managed to schedule home-and-home series with USC & Texas (though the Texas game was later cancelled).

          • Brian says:


            Yep. The 2009 info was a screw up on my part. I meant to replace the MAC with Sunbelt and replaced the AQ instead. That makes it 6 of 8 years, which is more of a trend. Having 2 of the next 4 as outliers is a bit odd. It really isn’t clear (to outsiders, at least) if they are outliers or the start of a new scheduling philosophy. They are different from most of the past, though, I freely admit.

            I don’t really count any of the years after 2014 since schedules change. Pitt may want out or Iowa may want to drop them if the B10 goes to 9 conference games. Since the future schedules are basically empty, there is no way to note a trend after 2014. I mentioned the 7/10 and 7/12 (now 8/10 and 8/12) to limit your speculation. You inevitably were going to complain that I intentionally left out 2015 and 2016 when Pitt is also scheduled to “spin” the numbers, so I wanted to point out that by that logic then 2017 and 2018 also had no second AQ team (just ISU and N TX). Thus, no data after 2014 was useful.

            As for playing inter-regionally, I get that. Maybe try to play USC or OR instead of AZ and ASU. There aren’t really any strong BE teams. TX and TN play out of region series. Neutral site games, which pay well, could certainly be another workable approach. The appearance is that Iowa is ducking losses by not playing top teams while the fans clamor to be treated like an elite program. You can’t have it both ways.

          • greg says:

            Well, I’ve never been one to claim Iowa is an elite program. We’re second tier, and I take that as a compliment. We’ll never be Bama/OSU/USC.

            I just want things like their schedule to be accurately described, and it is not “always pretty weak”.

          • Brian says:


            Yes, I noted in a previous post that marquee programs may not see value in a series that requires playing at Iowa. But, as you point out, MN managed to schedule marquee programs for home and homes. It just requires a desire to do it. They certainly could be playing neutral site games if they tried.

            The IA-ISU series may go away if the B10 goes to 9 game schedule according to the IA AD, so it’s not like they have to play every year. With the B12 playing 9 games, IA and ISU couldn’t have 4 home games in the same year and still make their 7 home games (ADs don’t like alternating 6 and 8 home games).

          • Richard says:


            For home-and-homes to make sense financially, usually schools can only do them with schools with similar stadium sizes or appeal. So I looked at the SEC teams that were most similar to Iowa in the SEC in both appeal and stadium size (SCarolina & Arkansas). Turns out that, other than their fixed OOC game (though you have to credit Arkansas for setting up their long term series with TAMU), they don’t challenge themselves any more either. Arkansas is playing TCU twice & SC is playing UNC once. Arkansas did play USC and Texas a total of 3 times in the past 6 years (though before they started their series with TAMU, however). SCarolina played UNC & NCSU 3 times in the past 6 years.

            I looked at Auburn as well (slightly bigger stadium and slightly better appeal). They tend to play only 1 AQ conference team a year, which recently has been respectable (Clemson & WVU) but was atrocious for a few years under Tuberville (no AQ OOC teams in 2004, GTech in 2005, WSU! in 2006, and KSU in 2007).

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Richard – it should be noted that South Carolina does play Clemson every year.

          • Brian says:


            Nice to see some realism in Hawkeyeland. Care to export some to the rest of the internet?

            But in a discussion on marquee OOC opponents, Iowa’s schedule is always pretty weak. They rarely, if ever, intentionally schedule a top team. That’s what I said and the context I said it in. It wasn’t a discussion of their whole schedule.

            I happen to think their OOC schedules in total are average, which is to say pretty sad. Unfortunately but understandably, everybody has chosen money over quality games.

            Iowa schedules 2 AQs a lot, but only technically. If ISU becomes decent, I’ll change my opinion, but they have consistently been one of the worst AQs historically. They are no more challenging than a solid non-AQ.

            Iowa doesn’t have to play ISU, but they choose to do it. It may stop if the B10 goes to 9 games, too, since they both want 7 home games.

          • Brian says:


            Home and homes don’t require like teams, though. P10 schools regularly seek out series. If USC would play UVA and MN, they’d play IA. Instead, IA chooses AZ and ASU. OU, TN and VT have played a lot of programs, too, so they would be decent prospects. And as I’ve said, neutral site games open up even more opponents.

            I never said the other schools challenge themselves beyond that 1 marquee team. The difference is that a marquee opponent provides a very real chance of losing in addition to the profile boost. ISU doesn’t provide that, but ISU is being used as an excuse not to schedule someone better. Which schedule is harder – AZ and ISU or OU and Idaho? Which one will garner more respect?

            Many name programs play a 1 game OOC schedule, but at least they play the 1 game. I don’t see where the rest of Iowa’s OOC schedule is really any stronger than those teams, but they play a mid-level AQ instead.

          • Richard says:


            I think it was understood that SCarolina play Clemson every year (just like Iowa plays ISU every year).


            Theoretically it’s possible that Iowa could drop ISU. Considering that they’re public universities in the same state, though, well, tell me again how easy it was for Texas to go anywhere without TTech? Could Georgia ever drop GTech if the Jackets start stinking it up?

          • Michael in Indy says:

            This whole argument is silly. Iowa’s non-conference schedule is respectable but nothing jaw-dropping. They play a doormat, sometimes two, sometimes even three. It happens. Lots of teams do it. Who cares?

          • greg says:

            It is debatable whether or not Iowa could drop ISU. The state legislature forced the series renewal in 1977 after not playing for nearly 40 years, so a lot of people think that means they’d stick their nose in it again. But who knows. Just because the Iowa AD said they may drop them doesn’t mean it would happen.

          • Michael in Indy says:

            I doubt Iowa would have much of a shot at dropping Iowa State. I know almost nothing about Iowa politics, but the legislature seems serious about that one. Heck, Iowa State and Iowa have to take turns just about every other year to play NORTHERN Iowa.

          • Brian says:


            If the choice was between getting enough home games and playing a rival OOC, many big brothers would drop the rivalry down to every other year.

            If the B10 goes to 9 games, there’s a 50/50 chance IA and ISU will have 4 home games in the same season. They will both want 3 OOC home games that year, so they probably would switch to playing every other year when they both have 5 home games and can afford to play on the road.

            UGA and GT have had fights over where to play. MI and ND have also argued over where they play when. Rivalry games aren’t more important than balancing the books to the AD unless they are to the fans. Many/most IA fans seem fine with playing ISU less.

          • ccrider55 says:

            I think the only audience that matters in this case is the Iowa Board of Regents.

          • Brian says:

            If both schools have the same complaint about playing every year, the BOR will listen to them. Playing every other year isn’t that bad.

          • greg says:

            I would guess that ISU wants to keep Iowa on the schedule. They only really sell out for Iowa and Nebraska, and now they’re losing the Nebraska game.

          • cfn_ms says:

            and considering that the ISU faction was able to force Iowa to make the hollow gesture of voting against any future B10 expansion that didn’t include ISU, it’s highly plausible they could force the series to continue indefinitely as well.

          • greg says:

            “and considering that the ISU faction was able to force Iowa to make the hollow gesture of voting against any future B10 expansion that didn’t include ISU”

            What? This is news to me.

          • Brian says:

            Dropping to 6 home games may not be acceptable, though. Going to 7 and 7.5 may be better financially than 6 and 8, even with getting IA only half the time. It’s an extra 0.5 home game every 2 years.

            The other choice is for the schools to agree to some sort of financial agreement to even out the cash flows.

          • Richard says:


            ISU will have 2 home games and 1 away OOC going forward, meaning they will alternate between 6 & 7 home games every year (http://www.fbschedules.com/ncaa/big-12/iowa-state-cyclones.php).

            Obviously, that type of scheduling wouldn’t be acceptable to Iowa, but as ISU has trouble selling out their 55K stadium, they obviously don’t need to play 7 home games a year, which means an Iowa-ISU series most definitely can continue.

            In any case,
            1. I don’t see the B10 going to 9 conference games.
            2. I seriously doubt Iowa has a choice about playing ISU given that the B10 has 8 conference games.

            BTW, ISU has scheduled home-and-homes with Tulsa, Toledo, SJSU, Navy, and UNLV (they dropped Utah & Air Force).

          • cfn_ms says:

            @ greg: didn’t the IA governor order the IA head to vote down any future expansion if it didn’t include ISU? I recall reading that, but maybe I misremember, or it was just a rumor?

          • Brian says:

            Obviously all of this would depend on the B10 going to 9 games to force IA to want a change. If ISU doesn’t care about switching years with IA for hosting, then a 9 game B10 schedule shouldn’t change anything unless IA really doesn’t want a 10th AQ game.

            ISU may not enjoy having 10 AQs once they get a taste of it. Right now they have 5 AQ home games every year with 1 or 2 non-AQs. But if IA wants to switch years to maintain 7 home games, ISU would alternate between 4 and 6 AQ home games unless they can convince the B12 to shift their schedule. How would ticket sales be for 4 AQs (not Iowa) and 2 non-AQs?

            The PTB at IA want to play this series, but circumstances could force their hand.

          • greg says:

            A couple state legislators made statements that the governor should do something, some newspaper editorials were written, and nothing happened. This link is the only thing I could find remotely related, where Governor Culver just states support for both schools. Culver happened to play D-Tackle at Virginia Tech, who was part of the dance the last time a state forced a conference’s hand.


          • greg says:

            The problem with ISU becoming the 10th AQ team on Iowa’s schedule is that means no AQ team would become #11. It’d be ISU, MAC, FCS for the rest of time. THEN you can make fun of Iowa’s schedule.

          • Richard says:


            I don’t think it’s worth worrying about considering that you’d need a 9 game B10 conference slate first and Iowa having 5 home conference games the same year as ISU (instead of the B10 schedule makers being smart).

            In other words, that bridge will be crossed when we get there, and frankly, I don’t see us ever getting there, so all this speculation is moot.

          • Brian says:

            On the bright side, Iowa’s overall schedule would get more difficult on average (adding 1 of OSU/PSU/WI/IL/IN while dropping an AZ/ASU/CO type team).

            On the dark side, that would make for a very tedious and boring OOC schedule for IA fans. Many schools may weaken their OOC schedules if they go to 9 games, though.

          • Brian says:


            Just because you say it won’t happen doesn’t make it so. Enough of the ADs have talked about it as a serious possibility that I consider it a real possibility. I think they are more in the know on this subject than you are, no disrespect intended.

            And why do you assume the B10 will adjust their schedule to suit ISU? Why not make the B12 adjust instead? Do you really think Delany is above playing a power game with Beebe? Maybe at that point the IA folks would hint they want the B10 to cause the conflict and give them a possible way out of the annual series.

            Of course this is all pointless speculation. Isn’t that what the internet is for? It’s not like we’re claiming this is going to happen for sure.

          • Richard says:

            I prefer speculation that’s not pointless. Also, the B10 doesn’t have to “adjust” as it would be changing from 8 conference games to 9. Forcing a showdown with the B12/pissing off ISU/pissing off Iowa politicos also seems pretty pointlessly idiotic. Especially since, even if you think Iowa should drop ISU or some Iowa fans might, I seriously doubt anyone with any power in Iowa (at either school) is keen about that idea. I do have to say that I’m glad Delany heads the B10 instead of someone like you.

            Anyway, if a 9-game B10 conference slate comes about, I hope Iowa starts playing neutral site games (if a 6-5-1 schedule is good enough for Texas, it should be good enough for Iowa).

          • Brian says:


            You’re on a blog famous for discussing conference but don’t like pointless speculation like what may happen to IA’s schedule if the B10 goes to 9 games? That make sense, because we have so much more basis for all the expansion talk.

            You conveniently assume the B10 couldn’t have a valid reason for preferring IA to play 4 home games in one year versus another. There are other schools with scheduling concerns, so they might not be able to satisfy everyone. You also assume IA might not have reasons to ask for a schedule that conflicts with ISU, forcing ISU to change. I said last time that IA wants to keep the series, but they aren’t in a 9 game schedule now. They may chafe at the thought of losing regional play for home and homes.

            I think Iowa should be playing some neutral site games already. Without knowing why they aren’t, it’s hard to project if their reasoning would change. The current plan seems to be to play home and homes where they recruit (Pitt, Syracuse maybe) or where their alumni retire (AZ, ASU). You’d think some neutral site games cold also fit that philosophy.

          • Brian says:

            There was supposed to be an “expansion” in that first sentence.

            It should say “… conference expansion …”

    • Michael in Indy says:

      RE: “Big 12 doesn’t have enough quality football games” article

      @Duffman and cfn_ms: I think the Big 12’s top three bowl tie-ins are secure. B12 championship teams will still have great records and their fans will still flock to Glendale. The Cotton’s history with the Texas schools make that tie-in secure. The Alamo tie-in is pretty safe, too. That bowl simply lacks better options than Big 12 #3: The Big Ten’s top five teams already go to higher-paying bowl games; same for the SEC’s top six.

      The Insight (B12 #4 vs. B10 #4 or #5) seems bound for a change. The Big 12 team is probably going to be teams around 7-5, and they’re more likely, mathematically, to be 6-6 than 8-4. The Insight also is going to see more teams like K-State or Texas Tech than OU or Texas. Come next round of bowl negotiations, I expect the B10 tie-in to stay and for the B12 to be dropped in favor of the P12.

      If the tie-in to the Insight (B12 #5 vs. P12 #3) is dropped, then the Holiday tie-in would probably stay. All of the SEC and Big Ten tie-ins, except at the very bottom, pay better than the Holiday. The ACC and Big East would have too far to travel and probably wouldn’t bring better TV ratings.

      The B12 probably will be able to land two more bowl tie-ins, but they will be on the low end of the pay scale.

      (By the way, the Big 12’s Gator/Sun tie-in, which was shared with the Big East, now belongs to others. Gator is now Big Ten vs. SEC, and Sun Bowl is ACC vs. Pac-12.)

      • Nostradamus says:

        Bowl tie-ins are the least of the Big XII’s worries. Berry’s article about the television inventory or lack thereof and the potential implications of that on future tv negotiations are of much higher concern.

        Go week by week and look at the Big XII schedule this year against the Big Ten schedule for the same weekend (I fully realize the Big XII schedule may change significantly as they are trying to fit games in still). The Big XII’s biggest regular season game The Red River Rivarly is going to be overshadowed by Ohio State at Nebraska for the first Big Ten game in Lincoln. For a solid 8 or 9 weeks out of 13 the Big Ten has better match-ups and greater depth.

        • Brian says:

          I was just looking at the B10 schedule and how strong it was most weeks except #1 and 4. It’s great to see at least 5 conference games every week in Oct and Nov and only 1 OOC game each month. There’s plenty of content for all the networks to share.

          The bonus for the B12 is that the RRR is an afternoon game and OSU/NE will presumably be at night, so the B12 will share the spotlight.


          9/3 – MN/USC, NW/BC
          9/10 – PSU/AL, MI/ND (first Big House night game), WI/OrSU, IA/ISU, IN/UVA
          9/17 – OSU/Miami, NE/UW, MSU/ND, IL/ASU, IA/Pitt
          9/24 – OSU/CO, MI/SDSU (Hoke Trophy)
          10/1 – NE/WI, OSU/MSU, PU/ND, MI/MN
          10/8 – OSU/NE, PSU/IA
          10/15 – MI/MSU, OSU/IL, IA/NW
          10/22 – WI/MSU, NE/MN
          10/29 – OSU/WI, NE/MSU, IA/MN
          11/5 – MI/IA
          11/12 – NE/PSU, WI/MN, IA/MSU
          11/19 – OSU/PSU, NE/MI
          11/26 – OSU/MI, NE/IA, PSU/WI, IN/PU

    • Michael in Indy says:

      I’m not ready to put B12 expansion completely out of the realm of possibility just yet.

      Now, the league shouldn’t expand just for expansion’s sake or for the possibility of making only marginally more money. It certainly shouldn’t add teams that neither command much market penetration nor draw strong ratings nationally. In effect USF, UCF, New Mexico, Colorado State, Louisville, and Memphis are the kinds of programs that aren’t much worth considering. Teams that the Big 12 can’t get, like Arkansas and Notre Dame, aren’t worth considering, either.

      Something that is worth doing is monitoring the television ratings for now-independent BYU. BYU has great market penetration in a decent-sized city, but everyone already knows that. Playing against “big boy” level competition on the same “big boy” channel (ESPN) as Texas, OU, etc., BYU be able to prove just how much of a national brand it really is.

      In all likelihood, BYU’s TV ratings will be solid but not so strong that it could spike the income for 10 schools. But what if BYU TV ratings exceed all expectations? Would Texas, A&M, OU and friends not add them? Of course they would. The more important question is: How strong would the TV ratings have to be for the Big 12 to invite them?

      For TCU to get invited, the ratings would have to be even stronger than BYU’s. That school, too, will start appearing on ESPN against watchable competition, but it offers zero new market penetration. Plus, if BYU was invited first and increased the Big 12’s per-team TV income average significantly, TCU would have to raise it all the more.

      I think those two schools are the only ones with a realistic chance of getting invited to the Big 12 eventually. Without a reasonable TV platform and comparable competition, it’s been an unknown whether or not they could improve value. Every other candidate (Big East schools especially) have already had that platform and evidently aren’t deemed capable of improving the Big 12.

      • Brian says:

        I think you also have to track the B12’s TV ratings. The reduced number of marquee games may hurt them. If the ratings drop enough, the TV offers will drop in value too.

        In your scenario of BYU adding value, the real question is if the B12 wants a CCG back. If not, it’s hard to imagine BYU adding enough to be worth the hassles that come with 11 teams. If they do want the CCG back, TCU can add value that way in addition to providing more marquee games. If they stay elite for a few years in the BE, at some point they become a name program that will be desirable for the B12.

      • Nostradamus says:

        Unless the Big XII gets into a situation where the lack of inventory with 10 teams has devalued the contract greatly I still don’t think it makes financial sense for the conference to expand. This is and always has been a league held together by money. Any addition has to increase the value for the entire league. There are teams out there that could that for the Big XII, but none of them are realistic targets.

  23. duffman says:

    Side note on B1G basketball.

    OSU vs PU men’s was a snoozer, but OSU vs PU women’s has been a barn burner!

    will not spoil the winner (but the winning shot was at the 7/10ths of a second left on the clock!).

  24. duffman says:

    In all this realignment talk, is the possible lockout at the pro level a way to skew numbers? Is a “storm” brewing in a finite vs infinite world?

    I am an old guy who used to follow pro football more, but as I get older I find myself following college sports more. Be it cost, ease of travel, length of gmae, or live fan experience. The cost and advertising interruption has affected my viewing and spending habits. Lets say I am not alone, and that this is a growing trend among the baby boomer generation?

    a) the baby boomers have a definite economic impact

    b) the baby boomers have a limited lifespan

    I guess my basic issue are we about to have a money buildup followed by a spectacular crash as the folks who drive the wave die off? When I go to games I see fewer young people who will be tomorrows live fans and big donors.

    • dchorn says:

      Duffman, I think you are touching on something that I’ve been thinking about. The backfill for the Baby Boomer generation will mostly be immigrants from places other than the United States. Montgomery Co. Maryland in suburban DC has trended from being over 80% Anglo twenty years ago to a 50/50 split in this last census. This will have a lasting effect on the ways discretionary income is spent in the future.
      I find it interesting that that the places with the least rabid fanbases in college sports are also the places that are being impacted the most by outside immigration- California, Miami, the Notheast….In contrast, the places least impacted by outside immigration, the Southeast, Midwest, Middle America are the most rabid…
      I don’t want the discussion to stray into the politics of immigration, but i am sometimes left thinking if maybe the culture behind sports is changing in this country and we are at a “peak” period at this time….

      • RedDenver says:

        I think you guys are overestimating the total impact of the baby boomers. Although the baby boom was the biggest population increase by percentage of total population, the population is always increasing meaning the younger generations have more total population. The largest segments of the population are aged 35-45 followed by 5-15. Actually the 5-20 age group is larger than the baby boomers. I’ll try to link a graph:

        • duffman says:

          Red Denver,

          The one statitstic that does not show up on Wik about the boomers….

          They are the last american generation in the entire history of america to be better off than their parents. My guess is the death tax will not go away, and that is how the govt will pay off some of the crushing debt, but it will be too little – too late. While I will probably be dead and buried when it happens, I do not feel well for the kids and grandkids of today that their america will have the opportuniy we had. Much less the same ammount of “real” wealth (a single man could work a single job and make enough to support a wife, 4 kids, pets, school, house, ect.). Ponder that happening anywhere in the future of the USA.

          • Richard says:


            That’s nonsense (if you’re speaking of an absolute level), unless you expect productivity & economic growth to start going negative or the US following the national suicide path Japan chose (low birthrate, no immigration, protected jobs & benefits for the elderly, & no/little permanent employment opportunities for the young…oh, and what is really a crushing debt with national debt at 200% of GDP).

            BTW, as much as I like to tax rich dead people, even raising the estate tax to 100% (and somehow keeping capital from fleeing this country) wouldn’t garner that much for the government.

            However, the national debt is far from onerous at 59% of GDP. That’s nothing that any of 3-4% productivity/economic growth (which means young people, which means either immigration or higher birthrates or both), inflation, or reining in healthcare costs (yes, your generation may not like “death panels”, but cutting Medicare to bare bones is a very easy way to rein in our runaway non-discretionary spending–well easy that is, unless the elderly vote to preserve their entitlements at the expense of the young, which is what the Japanese elderly are doing).

      • duffman says:


        peaks, like peak oil, are never noticed as peaks at the time, except by the few who venture the long term opinion. see also Hubbert Peak Theory. Just secondhand I am seeing a fundamental switch in loyalty and donor dollar choices between my generation, and the one below me.

      • @dchorn – I think this theory has some validity, although I’d expand it beyond immigrants and look at the number of intra-US transplants, too. When looking at Northeast and Midwestern markets, you have a very strong outflow of people to other areas of the country, especially the Sun Belt. Thus, the people that stay in the North form a core support base of their Northern-based teams (both college and pro) while the Sun Belt cities get a large influx of people whose sports loyalties lie elsewhere, making them less “passionate” sports markets overall at least with respect to their local teams. You’ll find tons of Badgers and Packers fans in Arizona, but virtually no Pac-10 and Suns fans in Wisconsin.

        While I think all of that holds true in a lot of instances, why doesn’t it really apply to Texas? That state has had the largest influx of both American transplants and immigrants over the past 2 decades, yet that hasn’t diluted any support for UT, A&M or the Cowboys. Places like Atlanta and Charlotte also have tons of transplants and immigrants and while they have weak pro sports support compared to the North, they are also the centers of the SEC and ACC fan bases, respectively.

        It would be interesting to compare certain boomtowns like Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Charlotte, Orlando and Phoenix. Why hasn’t enthusiasm for sports teams in Texas really been diluted with all of the new residents? On the flip side, why does seemingly everyone living in Phoenix cling hard to the Midwestern towns that they’re from? Why are Northern transplants blamed for weak support for pro teams in Atlanta, Charlotte and the Florida cities, yet they’re able to maintain great college sports support?

        I have my own theories, but I’d love to see what others think.

        • Jake says:

          Because Texas kicks @$$, that’s why.

        • Richard says:

          History & tradition, I would guess. College basketball in NC and football at all levels in Texas have a a lot of tradition/passion in those places and long have been considered amongst the best in the nation in those sports. On the other hand, no sports team in Phoenix has any tradition. I think that’s key for 1.5/2nd generation transplants. If a kids’ parents move to Texas, NC, or Canada, they will most likely adopt a local football, college basketball, or hockey team (respectively) in those places, giving up their dad’s allegiances. On the other hand, when a Red Sox or Cornhusker family moves to California, the kids may very well stay Red Sox or Cornhusker fans, because the passion their family have for the old team surpasses the passion their peers have for the local team.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Richard – case in point. My parents were from Maryland. For better or worse (or much worse in the case of the last 13 years) I’m an Oriole fan. My son and daughter are Oriole fans too. Its easy since Louisiana doesn’t have a MLB team of its own. If we lived in Dallas, Houston, or Atlanta, I’d still be an Oriole fan, but I don’t know if my kids would be so loyal. I see it with kids living in Baton Rouge whose parents went to a college other than LSU. Parents love the (insert mascot name), but the kids get caught up in the local flavor and are Tiger fans.

          • Michael in Indy says:


            Those parents need to ingrain love of their alma mater to their kids!

            I grew up in Greenville, SC, 45 minutes from Clemson and 100 miles from S. Carolina. But there way nooooo way I ever would have been a Tigers or Gamecocks fan! My mom, dad, aunt, and two cousins went to Florida State. I didn’t even go there, but I’ll be making sure my kids are FSU fans.

          • Brian says:


            Kids really split into two camps. One group buys into the family line and roots for the same teams as Dad no matter what. The other wants to be unique and hops on a convenient bandwagon.

            Successful teams usually do better at keeping fans, but other than that I’m not sure what the factors are. It may be genetic for all I know. Rooting for a bad team when a winning team is local is hard to pass down, but some fans do.

        • m (Ag) says:

          I think the children of immigrants generally become fans of the sports and teams their community has. Not all, of course, but at roughly the same rate as the rest of us. I’m guessing the more a local community supports a team, the more likely the kids who grow up there will adopt the allegiance.

          From what I understand, the Dallas Cowboys are one of the top 2-3 NFL teams in Mexico (Steelers being another…they NFL first got attention there in the 70s), so the Cowboys have an advantage with some immigrants!

        • Bullet says:

          Georgia is slow to change, so they still love college sports. Also, the Falcons and Hawks have not been consistently good. The Falcons actually are rarely good. Thrashers have had ownership troubles on top of being out of hockey country. Also the ties run deep for the college programs in the SEC, like the Cubs, White Sox and Reds. Those allegiances don’t fade as quickly as others.

          In Texas, UT has a huge alumni base. Its been at 50,000 students since the early 80s. Austin has grown dramatically (1.2 million in 2000 and around 1.7 million now) and UT is much more Austin’s “pro” team than they used to be. With the growth of the high tech industry, a lot more well paid Longhorns stay in Austin (not just those who work for the state). And of course, they’ve been winning.

          A&M just has very strong ties to their alumni. Its weakening as it grows and changes, but it used to be almost a cult. And they have a huge alumni base with 45,000 students.

          The Cowboys are America’s team, so of course they have great support! Dallas gets a lot of transplants from rural Texas who are already Cowboy fans in addition to the out-of-staters. Despite the growth of Texas, nearly half the counties lost population from 2000-2010.

          Houston has more of the issues you described, but they love football. The people who didn’t go to college are less mobile and really embraced the Oilers and now the Texans. The people who went to college but later or to a non-football school also tend to really embrace the Houston pro football teams. And there are a lot of Longhorns and Aggies who come back to the Houston area and embrace the pros. Thats plenty of people even with all the out-of-staters and foreigners.

    • M says:

      The primary market for sports (and most entertainment) has always been the young (30 and under) and the old (maybe 55+). Baby boomers reaching the age where they have money and more free time is definitely a plus for sports in general and college football in particular, but football remains popular across a wide spectrum.

      The sports at demographic risk are golf (much more dependent on the AARP set) baseball, which doesn’t have much appeal to younger viewers and players (though it does have a greater popularity among immigrants), and college basketball, which for reasons I can’t quite explain has become disproportionately supported by the older generation.

      Longer term, I think college sports has a very bright future based on the constant increase in college education. 40 years ago, only 10% of the US population was a college graduate. Today it’s about 30%. In other words, for every blue-haired 60 year old booster buying practice facilities today, there will potentially be 3 of them 40 years from now.

      • Brian says:

        I would guess MBB is suffering because only the older generations remember the days of NBA level players as seniors in college and the regular season being important. MBB used to be bigger as a sport, but March Madness has killed the regular season for most fans. TV growth really helped CFB and the NFL explode, and that dominates most of the MBB season.

      • bullet says:

        The FBS colleges, however, are going to be a much lower % of college graduates. The commuter schools and community colleges are getting larger %s of the new students.

        And distance learning and the internet will become a bigger player. 40 years from now college will be very different than today. And computers haven’t really yet drastically changed education. 30 years ago when I went I used keypunch machines (90% of you will probably have to look that up) and bought boxes of 400 computer cards. Erasable bond was a wonderful new invention (most of you will have to look that up too).

        I think its pretty hard to project what college sports (or for that matter much of anything) will look like 40 years out.

        • duffman says:


          I am an old fart, so I remember paper media and vaccum tubes. I remember a box full of IBM punch cards just to run a simple blackjack program! ;)

  25. toddluvslounging says:

    West coast Frank fan here, first time poster, medium time reader,

    I agree with most of your points except one. I think Comcast is probably the leading contender for the PAC-10 rights and the PAC-10 Network. While Fox is making a big splash with the money they are throwing at the league championship, Comcast is a much better fit.

    I don’t think Comcast will allow Ebersol to throw money at the Olympics since unlike GE’s China interests, they have little appetite for losing money. However, Comcast does want to compete with ESPN and regional networks. Comcast realizes that 80% of NBC’s profit were from NBC’s cable networks, thus adding a PAC-10 network to the portfolio makes more business sense. Granted, the PAC-10 network will not make as much money as the BIG-10 network, but would still be profitable.

    One thing about the west coast, they love their basketball and the PAC-10 network would carry plenty of games. Moreover, the league is crazy about their Olympic sports and desperate to showcase them. There is probably little money in those sports, but they do have the cachet of ranking high in their sports. It’s one of the reasons Scott reserved all the rights for the league: they want the best games on the PAC-10 network. The PAC-10 network will have plenty going for it and a reasonable chance of success. If the Big-10 gets $6M for their network, the PAC-10 could get $4-5M for their rights. Plus, Comcast is already located in 8 of the PAC-10’s market.

    $13-15M for broadcast rights for NBC, USA and NBC Sports (Versus), plus $4-5M for the Pac-10 network, $17-19 total. I think that is very do-able for Comcast and fills the financial and exposure needs of the Pac-10.

    The one wildcard would be Time Warner. As a Laker fan, I could not believe they are throwing that kind of money at one team. Plus, you can’t have a regional network with only one team. Maybe you could, as a Dodger fan, whose rights expire at Fox in 2013, I could only hope they get a similar deal, but until then I worry Time Warner will throw out a ridiculous money to USC and UCLA to go independent. Say $30M a piece. As a Bruin fan, I know SC only cares about football and would probably go for the cash in a heartbeat (that’s just my bias, they’d think for a minute, say F the Pac-10, and hum Fight On [by far the most obnoxious song every written]). The Bruins, on the other hand, like the Bears, have serious budget problems and could talk themselves into the deal. If that happens, that would be a very sad day.

    • duffman says:


      thanks for the west coast backstory, as we do not have a huge PAC group on here to give us a better view from right where it is going on. Interesting about TW, because right after IMG sold tu to ESPN, it was my understanding that ESPN spun off 20% – 40% to TW. UCLA is an IMG school (look at the new map now that they have added ISP, can you say monopoly)http://www.imgcollege.com/about-us/imgc-about-us.html

      not to be totally tinfoil, but back when it happened I thought the NBC / China / Olympics was a partial sweetner to unload their appliance division! Then the economy crashed, and China backed out of the appliance deal. I had some friends who were tied to the big plant in Louisville, and they were 100% sure the plant was closing, and the jobs were moving to China the summer just before the Olympics.

      • Richard says:

        Interesting. Amongst the AQ conferences, the B10 and B12 seem to have the most holdouts to joining the Borg.

        • duffman says:


          I think it is just that learfield was there first with them. To be fair, most of the SEC and ACC teams were ISP and became IMG after being bought out. However, after this UT TV deal, the Borg may have scored a major win for future assimilation!

    • cfn_ms says:

      Those are really interesting points. One thing wrt Comcast/NBC I think would/should make the league hesitate is the fact that the mtn. (their other league network property) is widely considered to be a titanic mess. I think that if the $$$ were close to even, the league would probably prefer not to take that chance. That said, given the fact that Comcast is located in a number of the league’s markets, maybe they throw together a crazy-good deal for the league.

      I’d also be skeptical that the league would get a materially worse deal for the network than the BTN IF they’re actually going to put a lot of premium content on it. Pac-12 leftover content = B10 leftover content.

      And if not, then your comment about TW throwing crazy $$$ at USC/UCLA to go independent might become more relevant. As FTT noted above, the logistics / politics of the move would make it difficult for UCLA to come along… but for enough money, who knows? At the least, it’s plausible that there’s enough money floating around to make it feasible to make an “acceptable” offer to Cal, whatever that might be (also independent, w/ a share of the TV revenue? something else? not sure)

      • toddluvslounging says:

        The Mtn does worry me. I chalk it up that no matter how much money you put into it, you’ll never get a return. MWC teams are in small cities and states and the teams in the bigger states and cities never were #1 in the hearts of fans.

        Scott has been making noise about putting better games on the PAC-10 It’s probably just smoke. At this moment exposure on national networks is probably more important than the PAC-10 network. It’s been so lousy for so long.

        That would be interesting for Time Warner to include Cal. Even without Cal, California is going through such tough times, I can’t see how regents will be able to deny UCLA if the university argues that Time Warner money is the only way to save 4 or 5 sports.

        I have been wondering why Time Warner and Comcast don’t collude more. The don’t compete with each other, yet they don’t seem to engineer better deals for themselves. It’s probably illegal. If not, I think there is a deal here between the Laker channel and PAC-10 Network. If the Lakers could find a way to lift blackout rules by getting approval from the Kings, Warrior in the Bay area, Time Warner and Comcast could make a deal about placing both channels on the basic tiers in both markets. That’s just a pipe dream, though. The Kings and Warrior get nothing out of it, unless you cut them in on some of the sub and ad money. But, NBA teams are complaining about losing money, so who knows about the Warriors and Kings. Perhaps they come cheap now days.

        • Brian says:

          Aren’t the Kings owners looking to move to Anaheim?

          • toddluvslounging says:

            More than a rumor apparently. That would stink, though, Kings fans are some of the best in the NBA. I, as a Lakers fan, even feel they were jobbed in 2002. 2002 was an epic series. They lost because of a miracle shot and some atrocious referring.

          • Brian says:

            It seems hard to believe the NBA would think 3 LA teams are a good idea. What happens if the NFL ever comes back?

          • @Brian – I don’t personally think that it’s a good idea, but on paper, Orange County alone can provide more than enough support for an NBA team. Although Anaheim is part of the LA TV market, it’s still 60 miles away from downtown LA and culturally considers itself to be a distinct region. The issue that I see is more of the power of the Lakers as the equivalent of the Yankees and Cowboys of the NBA. The Clippers have a difficult enough time attracting attention – it took a ridiculous athletic phenom like Blake Griffin that dunks over cars to get anyone to notice.

            If I were running the NBA and knowing the reality that top shelf arenas are a requirement (which nixes Seattle and Las Vegas), I’d really push for Kansas City with the Sprint Center.

          • Mike says:


            I have heard San Jose is high on the list.

          • toddluvslounging says:

            @Frank – I read somewhere, probably an off-the-cuff remark, that SoCal could support 3 pro football teams, so 3 pro basketball teams would not be a stretch. I live here, so I don’t think about it so much, but southern California is huge and crowded. It’s basically vast stretches of suburbia from Santa Barbra to San Diego and Long Beach to Riverside. If you add L.A. county, Orange County, Ventura County and San Bernadino County, the population is well over 15M and within a two hour drive of each other on a traffic-free day (kind of rare, but so blissful when it happens).

            What kills this market is a point you and others have made…intensity. Half the population immigrated here with their old team connections from other US cities or even non-US cities. Moreover, native Angelinos have a limit to their fandom. Los Angeles has many problems, huge problems. Yet, this city and region has so much to offer other than sports. And the weather is spectacular.

            We don’t care if you (Rams) leave. No, we’re not going to build you a stadium (Raiders). When the Rams left, I was heart-broken, but when I looked around, nobody cared that much and went back to tanning. It drives me crazy. The Dodgers draw 2.5-3M every year, good or bad because everybody goes 4-5 times during the summer as a social event. I swear, when the Cubbies roll in, 10% of the crowd looks like Butkis (it never gets old to shout, “Sit down, Bartman).

            Just from sheer numbers of casual fans, L.A can support multiple teams. Heck, we support two pro hockey teams without any problems.

  26. mushroomgod says:

    Hey guys……BIG 10 Icons…..Magic ahead of Jesse Owens???? That rates a big WTF in my book…..

    Magic—1 NCAA championship in 2 years.

    Jesse Owesn–4 world records in 1 hour at the ’35 BT meet…….4 NCAA titles in both ’35 and ’36.

    Magic isn’t even the most accomplished BTB player….that was easily Jerry Lucas. I’d put Magic behind Cazzie and John Wooden, who was a 3 yr CAA.
    And, possibly, Rick Mount.

    It’s too bad the producers screwed up the ratings, because the shows have been pretty darn good……….

    • duffman says:


      while I agree 100%, it depends on how they are targeting the list. Like the top 100 movies, it amazing how many were made in the past 10 – 20 years. I am an old guy so I have seen many of the older movies, and my view of history is probably broader. The problem is the folks who make these lists probably have an average age of around 30.

    • toddluvslounging says:

      Well, Magic and Bird did create March Madness. But kicking Nazi ass ought to rank ahead of winning a tournament. Don’t know the rules, but it looked like they were only considering the college years.

      #1 has to be Red Grange…Galloping Ghost. He’s only the Babe Ruth of college football. The Ghost also popularized pro football. I don’t know any other Big-10 player immortalized by Grantland Rice:

      Could the Big-10 actually forget a ‘legend?’

      • toddluvslounging says:

        Having trouble with the HTML tags.

        A streak of fire, a breath of flame
        Eluding all who reach and clutch;
        A gray ghost thrown into the game
        That rival hands may never touch;
        A rubber bounding, blasting soul
        Whose destination is the goal — Red Grange of Illinois!

      • Brian says:

        Grange will be #1. It’s a shame he is more famous for what was written about him than what he actually did in college. Unfortunately, most people never got to see him play so he’s evaluated on one great game and legends written by now dead sports writers. Really hard to evaluate where he belongs when you can’t see the tape yourself.

    • jj says:

      I think ed hightower should have got number 1

  27. Brian says:

    I heard some talk on the radio today about WAC expansion. It was not clear what exactly prompted it since no news is available, at least officially.

    Supposedly they are looking at adding 3 non-FB schools (Cal State Bakersfield, Utah Valley, Seattle) and Lamar. The three non-FB schools are all independents while Lamar is in the Southland and will need to move up to FBS. That would get the WAC to 8 FB schools (minimum to be considered a FBS conference) and 12 total.

    The WAC said in January that they were assessing those 3 non-FB schools and additions could be announced by April 1.


    • duffman says:

      April 1st????

      april fool prank????

      • Brian says:

        Any schools they add will certainly sound like April Fools jokes. From their POV, though, what else can they do? They’ll build back their numbers and hope the TX schools grow to become WAC powers.

    • cfn_ms says:

      At this point the “New WAC” (w/o Boise, Fresno, Nevada, Hawaii) has become Sun Belt West (just like the MAC is Sun Belt North). Other than maybe to relieve boredom, does anyone even care what they’re doing? If every single athletic dept folded I don’t think I’d consider it especially noteworthy.

      • bullet says:

        If you like playoffs, continously adding schools to FBS makes it more difficult.

        If you like the status quo, continously adding schools to FBS might make it more likely for the AQ schools to bolt or force realignment of the NCAA.

        Directly, they don’t impact much, but indirectly they can have an impact. Seems like whenever the top division gets around 110 schools, they try to realign (early 70s, early 80s). They did pass the 15,000 attendance leglislation a few years back, but that doesn’t seem to be limiting anyone from moving or staying up.

      • Brian says:

        Well, it would leave a lot of holes in schedules if they all went away. It would be great for the MWC and CUSA teams as there would be a huge demand for them as OOC opponents for the AQs. The payouts would go way up. At some point it might force the AQs to just play each other OOC.

      • Michael in Indy says:

        The WAC shows a lot of parallels to the Southern Conference. Both have had a continuous existence, never losing all of their then-current members at any one given time. Both have had members who have moved on to multiple other, stronger conferences. Both have spawned off at least one new conference, in part as a result of being too large. Both have progressively grown weaker and weaker over time but somehow managed to continue in existence.

        SoCon: Parent conference of both the SEC and ACC. All current SEC members except Arkansas were once in the SoCon. All current ACC members except Miami, FSU, and Boston College were once in the SoCon. Big East member West Virginia was in the SoCon. C-USA members Tulane, ECU, and Marshall were in the SoCon, as were several FCS, D-1 non-football, and D-III schools. Today the league has 12 members. The only constant has been a presence in the states of North and South Carolina. Total membership in its history: 46 schools.

        WAC: Parent conference of the Mountain West. All current MWC members were once in the WAC. Pac-12 members Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah; WCC member BYU; soon-to-be Big East member TCU; and C-USA members UTEP, Rice, SMU, and Tulsa were all in the WAC at one time or another. No state has had constant representation. The only constant has been a presence in the Mountain Time Zone. Total membership in its history (including confirmed new members): 27 schools.

        • yahwrite says:

          It’s amazing that when TCU officially begins being a Big East member over the course of history they will have shared conferences with both Hawaii and UConn.

          • Brian says:

            They may well join a FL school soon, too. If they start a hockey team they could also be in a conference with Alaska.

          • Richard says:

            Well, they will when they join the BE (USF).

            Alaska seems a bit unlikely but they will be in the same conference as a school from Idaho (Boise) next year.

  28. Pat says:

    NBC’s Golf Broadcasts To Have Golf Channel Look, Feel Beginning This Weekend.
    Looks like the re-branding of NBC sports is beginning. Is college football next with Big East and ND?

    • Brian says:

      It’s a pretty obvious tie-in to build the Golf Channel brand. Many golf fans may not realize what they are missing until they look into what the GC offers them.

      It makes sense to unify their real sports coverage into one brand and do more cross-promotion. Then they can push coverage to cable networks without losing as many viewers. Their hockey coverage is being treated similarly to golf with NBC and Versus blending. I’d expect Versus and ND football coverage to look the same going forward, too, but probably with different talent.

      One interesting question is if NBC tries to buy the Olympics again. The winter games are in Russia, so the time difference will hurt. The summer game are in Brazil, though, so the U.S. networks should be drooling over the chance for lots of live coverage.

      • @Brian – It all makes sense to me for Comcast/NBC to do cross-promoting with The Golf Channel just like “ESPN on ABC”. I’d anticipate that the NBC Sports stand-alone division will eventually disappear like ABC Sports did and there will be an entity that combines all of the cable and over-the-air sports properties.

        Whether NBC goes after the Olympics again will be an interesting display of how much Comcast is going to be willing to pay for sports in general. As I noted in the blog post, NBC took a bath on the Vancouver Winter Olympics even though the time zone was a complete non-factor for US TV. NBC Sports chief Dick Ebersol looked at the Olympics as a labor of love as well as an important branding vehicle for the network (i.e. use of the Olympic rings in the logo). However, they’ve ultimately been overpaying for the games and the last thing that Comcast needs is to have NBC lose any more money. With NBC also losing money on Sunday Night Football (even with the NFL’s massive ratings), I wonder if NBC is making money on ANY sports programming at all.

        • Brian says:

          I think the Olympics bring a lot of intangible value that isn’t apparent on a balance sheet, though. How much free promotion do they get with the Games? Every time the Olympics are mentioned, people think of NBC too. It may also influence advertising for months or years. I don’t think it is as cut and dried as losses on paper.

          • Jake says:

            Yeah, the Olympics are pretty much the only time I watch NBC (apart from “Community,” of course), so it may be worth keeping. Although with all of these loss leaders, I have to wonder what shows on NBC are actually making money. The Today Show, maybe?

        • Jake says:

          @Frank – but ESPN was a huge brand with established personalities and programs when they merged the sports programming; what brand would replace NBC Sports? Versus? Comcast? I think this one may go the other way, as I seem to recall reading that Versus would be the one getting rebranded. But yeah, putting it all under one banner makes sense, and this will certainly be great exposure for the Golf Channel. Golf Channel. Man, it still gets me that people watch golf on TV.

          • @Jake – True – the branding for Versus would likely be related to NBC instead of the other way around. I was thinking more along the lines the the NBC Sports department would really cease to exist and become some type of organization that runs all of the cable sports properties plus the over-the-air NBC sports programming under one umbrella just like ESPN directs all ABC sports programs now.

            Personally, I enjoy flipping on golf. It’s really nice to have on in the background during a Sunday afternoon nap. Of course, that makes me sound like I’m 80.

          • Michael in Indy says:

            “Golf nap”- that’s a good one, Frank.

  29. Brian says:

    Nice to see Doug Williams back in college football at Grambling. He went 52-18 at Grambling the first time before leaving for the pros as an administrator.


  30. duffman says:

    A random thought bouncing in my head:

    Earlier in this blog I think it was UT breaking off a future game with a B1G team because of who would own the broadcast rights. With all the lawyers on here can I get a clarification?

    If the BTN and PTN wind up this way, will there be a line in the sand with the BTN and PTN on one side, and everybody else on the other? Can this have a major impact on regular season OOC scheduling?

    • Richard says:

      Texas & Minnesota.

      I can’t say I understand it, unless Texas wanted to own the broadcast rights for the Minnesota home game or something beyond the norm like that. Pretty much always, the home owns broadcast rights.

      Or maybe Texas wanted replay rights?

      • duffman says:

        I was thinking the replay rights, and wondered if we came to a conclusion on this issue.

      • @Richard – The “official” reason given was a dispute over replay rights. The real reason likely has more to do with Notre Dame taking Minnesota’s place on the schedule a couple of days after the Gopher series was canceled. ND/NBC wouldn’t be providing replay rights to UT for the games in South Bend, either, so that reason was ultimately bogus.

    • ccrider55 says:

      “…will there be a line in the sand with the BTN and PTN on one side, and everybody else on the other?”
      Those two now have 24 BCS schools. With a bit more expansion by B1G and Pac12 thay would be nearly 50% of the BCS. That would seem to have potential impact/leverage.

  31. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    College Baseball Update. Michigan and Notre Dame will travel to Baton Rouge in 2012 to play LSU in a three round-robin tournament.

  32. Brian says:

    As a follow up to the discussion about the B12 lacking enough big games to fill their TV slots, it’s now clear that they will extend the season for a week, too. OU sources say that the B12 is planning to move OU/OkSU and TX/TAMU to CCG weekend to keep the B12 in the national spotlight. We already knew OU/OkSU was moving and that TX said they would be willing to move if TV needed them to move, but TX/TAMU actually being moved is news.


    1. It’s not as good as a CCG, but the odds are pretty good the champ will be playing in one of those games, most likely with the title on the line. Those 4 schools always provided the B12 South representative, and won 11 of the 15 B12 CCG. Three CCG wins and 7 losses left the league (NE 2-4, CO 1-3), leaving KSU’s upset of OU as the only available winner not involved (KSU 1-2, MO 0-2). That means ESPN will pay attention, especially since they don’t have the B10 or P12 CCG to air. I’m sure ESPN’s coverage will perfectly align with the national interest and rankings of the combined teams playing as opposed to their business interests.

    2. They are messing with tradition moving these two games from Thanksgiving. It appears TX and TAMU don’t want to move but are willing. Does that put ESPN in a bind with their desire to have good games to air that weekend versus not pissing off their newly bought friend?

    3. OU says they would still like to play a game on Thanksgiving while TX and TAMU would have a bye. Would OkSU also play on T-day, or try to get an advantage by having an extra week to prepare? MO/KS is also T-day, so that doesn’t leave many choices for OU to play: Baylor, TT, ISU and KSU. Maybe an OOC game instead?

    4. They are basically trading national coverage T-day weekend for CCG weekend. They’re going to lose a lot of eyeballs over the holiday weekend unless OU and OkSU play solid OOC games, which is unlikely. I see how ESPN benefits from having programming to battle the CCGs, but the loss over T-day weekend is substantial. Is Fox supporting this too, or do they not matter?

    5. Moving these two games to the final weekend could really stretch their depleted number of marquee games. They seem to be just giving up on T-day weekend, so that helps for the other weeks if the networks don’t mind. If the networks try to also get another good game that weekend, I’m not sure where it would come from unless OU plays a good OOC opponent (BYU, TCU, ND, BSU, etc).

    • Richard says:

      I expect to see two B10 games replace the two B12 games that had been standard fare on ABC the Friday after Thanksgiving. Specifically, Nebraska-Iowa and PSU-Wisconsin.

      • Brian says:

        Certainly moving at least one makes sense for ESPN. They may want the second one for Saturday to follow OSU/MI, though. It depends what else they have available.

        • Richard says:

          C’mon, you don’t think Illinois-Minnesota would be scintillating enough? No worries, there’s always MSU-NU.

          • Brian says:

            MSU/NW is clearly the best in terms of expected team success, but there’s no storyline. They do have IU/PU, which might be ESPN2 fodder as a battle for bowl eligibility.

          • jj says:

            I’m a state man and nw has been one of the better games on the schedule for the past 5 years or so. Tend to be exciting for some reason.

          • greg says:

            Agreed about MSU/NWU being great games recently. They always seem to be a 41-38 affair.

      • greg says:

        There has been a lot of speculation about moving the Iowa-Nebraska game, particularly since NE has historically played on that Friday. Originally against Oklahoma and lately against Colorado (if I’m not screwing up my Nebraska history). But it has been announced that it will remain on Saturday for at least the first two years. I have heard rumors that Iowa disliked the idea.


        • I love the politically correct statement about the strong last week of games with the Big Ten exec mentioning OSU-Michigan, PSU-Wisky, Iowa-Nebraska… and Purdue-Indiana.

          • Brian says:

            IU/PU is a decent rivalry although both teams are rarely strong. It’s the best IU game of the year and fairly important to PU.

            It’s no match for OSU/MI, NE/IA and PSU/WI, but it has a better storyline than MSU/NW or IL/MN.

          • Richard says:

            I’m pretty certain ratings tend to correlate with success more than storyline. Would like to see a study if anyone’s done one on that.

          • Brian says:


            I’d guess you are right, although I don’t think a neutral fan would watch either game unless desperate. None of the schools are ratings magnets, but both NW and IU are poison for ratings.

            Maybe in the B10 footprint the rivalry would do better than expected (NW is never a strong draw, which helps). Nationally, you could probably count by hand the number of TVs watching either game.

          • Richard says:

            In general, ratings for games between schools from different states do better than ratings for games of schools from the same state, all else being equal (including the size of the state).

            Also, get with the times, Brian; more people watch NU football than attendance numbers would indicate (http://www.chicagobreakingsports.com/2010/01/northwestern-a-hit-with-tv-viewers.html). This, of course, makes sense if you remember that NU has a national (not regional) fanbase.

            TV execs evidently think so as well, as
            1. Northwestern-Minnesota was selected to be shown on ESPN over Michigan-Indiana (which went on ESPNU)
            2. MSU-NU was chosen for ESPN over both PSU-Minnesota (ESPNU) and PU-tOSU (BTN after tOSU had already made their one required showing on the BTN that year)
            3. Iowa-NU was chosen for ESPN over Wisconsin-IU (ESPN2) & Michigan-PU (BTN) (& Minnesota-Iowa)
            NU-Wisconsin was also chosen (for ABC) over MSU-PSU, but I won’t use that as an example.

            Northwestern actually had as many conference games shown on the BTN as tOSU & Wisconsin (twice each) and fewer times than league-winning MSU (3 times).

          • Richard says:

            BTW, Illinois was on the BTN 4 times in 2010.

          • Brian says:


            Did you find some data to support your statement about in-state versus inter-state game ratings? It makes sense, since the fan bases would be separate, but making sense isn’t proof. I think it would take a lot of ratings data to properly isolate this one variable from all the others.

            I’m willing to believe NW does better on TV than live (it’d be hard to do worse), but Greenstein doesn’t really provide much evidence. The 2010 Outback set a network bowl record for Chicago, but not all bowls are on that network. I’m guessing the ’97 Rose Bowl probably did a little better, for example. The shifting of the bowl schedule also makes comparisons hard. Accounting for it being a high scoring shootout is important, too.

            Beyond that, he claims strong ratings during the season but doesn’t provide any numbers. He only discusses the ’09 season, and one year isn’t enough data to show NW is a TV draw.

            I found some out of date numbers on teams as TV draws. NW didn’t have enough games to make their list, though (I’m working on some more data, so I might add something later). I’m including a link below because I found the results interesting despite not being relevant here. The top 2 schools will surprise most people. Of 30 schools, only 10 boosted ratings. The problem is they only looked at bowls and that doesn’t provide enough data to correct for everything (opponent, TV competition, weather, time, network, score, expectations, etc). My data will also face the same problem, though. I’d rather use regular season data because it would be much more accurate, but I don’t have a good source.


            You mention the geographic spread of the NW fan base as a plus, but that makes no sense. TVs are TVs no matter where they are. It’s the size of the fan base and the attractiveness to the neutral fan that matters for national ratings.

            Concerning TV appearances, I’ll remind you that the networks face some contractual limitations when making their choices. They have to consider the big picture, not just what is the best pick for that week. You also need to remember that a game that’s expected to be close is often a better TV choice than a game likely to be a blowout.

            If you’re happy thinking NW is a big TV draw, then keep believing it. I can’t prove that they aren’t, at least not yet.

          • Richard says:

            Just better than Minnesota, IU, & PU (granted, given recent success).

          • Brian says:


            Based purely on success I’d totally agree NW is a better TV draw than IN, PU and MN (and probably IL, too) right now. I was never trying to say they were worse than those teams. For their actual success level, though, I don’t think they do well on TV.

            The tail end of last year was dreadful and reinforced the old stereotype of NW football as junior league for the neutral national fan. I’d bet that a national poll would vastly undervalue NW’s recent success if asked to guess how many games NW had won over the last 5 or 10 years. That’s what hurts NW in the big picture. Winning some bowl games and competing for the B10 title would help NW immensely.

        • Richard says:

          Sometimes, I wonder what the heck the old farts in Park Ridge think they’re doing.

          • Nostradamus says:

            Part of the reason the game likely isn’t being moved is the Big Ten really doesn’t need to. Every Big Ten game is already on national TV. I realize ABC reaches more households than any of the other broadcast venues.

            In the Big 12, the Nebraska Colorado game was the only game we knew going into the season would be nationally televised. Now we know every home non-conference game, and every conference game will be. There is a lot less of an incentive to move the game to Friday for exposure.

          • Richard says:

            ??? Texas-TAMU.

          • Nostradamus says:

            Sorry I was referring to we as in Nebraska not the Big XII. In the Big 12 you knew OU-Texas, Texas-A&M, and Nebraska Colorado. Those were the only guarantees. Point still stands that in the Big 10 through the reverse mirror you know every game is nationwide with cable/sat.

        • Michael in Indy says:

          I think it’s a mistake on Iowa’s part if they were who nixed the idea. Iowa isn’t on national TV very often for a program of its stature, and when they are, it’s usually bowl games. A regular season game broadcast nationally (not just regionally) on ABC would be great publicity for them. It would also help to build a rivalry that right now exists much more on paper than in reality.

          • Brian says:

            See the earlier discussion on their OOC scheduling. They seem to not desire the spotlight.

            I assume they have two main concerns. First, they may not like getting a short week that late in the season, especially when NE is still a novel opponent. Second, it is always tricky messing with holiday tradition and plans. B10 fans aren’t used to playing on that holiday weekend, and the B10 avoids weekdays like the plague.

        • Michael in Indy says:

          With that game on Saturday, it will be hard to stand out. OSU-Michigan, FSU-Florida, GT-Georgia, Clemson-SC, Cal-Stanford, USC-UCLA, and many other games will be on that day. Very silly decision.

        • Mike says:

          Count me as disapointed. This is one of my favoite Nebraska traditions and the biggest reason most companies in Nebraska make that day a paid holiday.

          • Nostradamus says:

            We had Friday off long before Nebraska played on Friday. Count me as indifferent about it right now. The Friday game in the Big 12 was basically an appeasement for losing the actual rivalry with Oklahoma and an attempt to create a fake faux rivalry with Colorado by the conference.

            It was great for exposure when it used to be the only game we knew would be on national television for sure. That isn’t something we have to worry about anymore.

        • bullet says:

          Is ABC ceding TH & F to CBS and the SEC? Texas/Texas A&M and UNL/CU were the ABC games on TH/F of Thanksgiving weekend. Pitt/WVU just isn’t quite the same.

          Now we’re hearing Texas/Texas A&M and OU/OSU are likely being moved to the next week and the B1G isn’t going to use the Friday slot.

          • Michael in Indy says:

            I agree with you, Bullet. ABC will certainly have limited options on Black Friday if UT-A&M and OU-Ok. State aren’t until the next week and all the Big Ten games are on Saturday. Other Big 12 games frankly aren’t capable of drawing a strong national audience. SEC home games, including FSU @ Florida and Clemson @ South Carolina, can’t be on ABC.

            Convincing teams to play on Thanksgiving Day can’t be easy because of the holiday itself, obviously, and because it’s a shortened week for practice. If Ole Miss-Miss. State is willing to return as a Thanksgiving game, ESPN should agree to that game and move on.

            The Black Friday games on ABC would be limited to these options:
            Pitt-WVU, which, as you said, just isn’t the same. Other Big East games aren’t really standout rivalries.
            Georgia-Georgia Tech, I think, is in Atlanta in 2011 and would be an okay game for Black Friday, if they’re willing.
            Virginia-Virginia Tech is probably the only ACC in-conference game worth considering.

            That pretty much leaves the Pac-12.

            Colorado-Utah would probably put up the least resistence if ESPN asked them to do a Black Friday game since CU is accustomed to playing that day, but that game could easily be Pac-12 South #4 vs. #6.
            USC-UCLA would provide the most national appeal of the six end-of-season games, except if another pair happens to have one team contending for the national title, but the schools would put up more resistence to playing that day.

            But I doubt ABC/ESPN is eager to promote the Pac-12 with a special time slot if they’re not willing to sign the league to the TV contract it’s seeking. It’s all the more reason for the UT-A&M game to be on that day, especially if Nebraska-Iowa is a no-go.

      • Nostradamus says:

        @Richard, Big Ten has already said Nebraska-Iowa isn’t moving.

    • m (Ag) says:

      This is basically ESPN taking away publicity from the Big 12 to help itself.

      That week after Thanksgiving will have the SEC championship game on CBS while the first ever Pac 12 and Big Ten championship games will be on Fox. ABC/ESPN wants something to go with the ACC championship game.

      While the Big 12 might be served by moving the OU/OSU game (which would otherwise be on Thanksgiving Saturday, against games like Alabama/Auburn and Florida/FSU), it makes no sense for the Big 12 to move the UT/A&M game. If that game’s on Thanksgiving night, it will be the sole college football game on, and the only football game for those without the NFL Network.

      If UT and A&M are highly ranked, the game will get good ratings on Thanksgiving, but will lose at least some viewers against the championship games. If UT and A&M aren’t highly ranked, they would still get attention on Thanksgiving night, but get overlooked on championship weekend.

      I’m guessing ESPN already has plans to shift an SEC or ACC game Thanksgiving night, giving that conference the publicity. They had Ole Miss/MSU on that night for awhile.

      • @m (ag) – I agree that it would be a bad idea for the UT-A&M game to be moved. The game has always received a great rating on Thanksgiving night. If it moved to championship weekend, it would be going head-to-head with either the SEC and Pac-12 championship games in the afternoon or the Big Ten and ACC championships in prime time. I wouldn’t do it if I were the Big 12, but you may be right that ESPN could be pushing the move.

        • Brian says:

          Well, TX said they would only do it if the game needed to be moved for the sake of the TV contract. Neither TX nor TAMU seem to want to move it.

        • Hopkins Horn says:

          Frank, keep in mind that these “great ratings” the Texas-A&M game “always” gets on Thanksgiving only reflects three games in the last 18 years, with two of those games (2008 & 2009) having direct national championship implications.

          I’m confident that the game would enjoy similarly good ratings, if not better, in a prime time ABC slot on the final Saturday, for the reasons I articulate below, especially in years in which the game again has national championship implications.

      • bullet says:

        before I read this I posted just above. Its looking like TH/F of Thanksgiving week are being given to the SEC.

    • Hopkins Horn says:


      I point it out below (I’m slowly working my way backwards up this thread on my smartphone), but the Texas-A&M game has only been played on Thanksgiving three times since 1993. It’s better to think of the game as one that’s the last game of the season played on or around Thanksgiving. The proposed change wouldn’t alter that.

      • Brian says:

        I think moving to the following week is a significant change. Whether Thursday, Friday or Saturday (I didn’t mean to imply that the actual day was all that important), that game was a part of holiday weekend plans for many fans. It will upset some fans not to see their teams play that weekend.

  33. Brian says:

    I understood Frank Beamer hiring his son last week, although I think schools would be better served with a nepotism clause to prevent it.


    Am I the only one that finds it odd that he just promoted his son (RB coach, 1st year at VT, 1 year as a RB coach, 7 years as a CFB coach) to associate head coach after 1 week, though?

  34. duffman says:


    I see the green wave have a 13 game schedule this fall and LSU is not on it!

    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      Duff – its a shame that Tulane and LSU can’t work things out. The two schools signed a 10 year home and home agreement 6 years ago that was fairly beneficial to LSU. LSU treated Tulane like a local rent-a-win at Tiger Stadium ($500k, I think) and was going to split the gate at the Superdome. It still wouldn’t make up for the loss of a home game, though. Many LSU fans went crazy, thinking that the Tigers were propping up Tulane. I was in the distinct minority in thinking that there is nothing wrong with helping New Orleans largest employer (Tulane) survive in the post-Katrina world.

      Then ESPN kept coming to LSU with made-for-TV games, and LSU kept asking Tulane to move games and Tulane got tired of it. Four years into the 10 year deal, with 3 games at Tiger Stadium and 1 in the Superdome, Tulane and LSU mutually voided the deal. Tulane will probably appear in Tiger Stadium again as part of the in-state rent-a-win parade with ULL, ULM, and La Tech.

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        Things like this make me sad about the monetization of college football. If Houston wasn’t such a great recruiting area I would expect Texas to do the same thing. Even as it is I don’t think they’ll come here more than twice a decade.

        • bullet says:

          Unfortunately, it looks like Texas is filling up with TV games and dropping Rice to rare games. Also, with the way they are filling up the expanded stadium, they may not feel like they need to connect in Houston.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            We still have 2011 and 2015 scheduled in Austin. Hopefully we’ll get another game here late in the decade.

    • duffman says:


      or anybody else, what is the ruling for the 13th game that Tulane is getting? anybody have a lionk to the actual NCAA rule? I tried using google for several variants, but not getting the source I seek.

      • Richard says:

        They play @ Hawaii.

      • m (Ag) says:

        They cite the rulebook here:

        If Puerto Rico or Alaska ever field a football team, they would get the exemption as well.

        • @m (Ag) – Division 1 hockey teams that play a 2-game series at one of the Alaska schools also get 2 extra games added to the regular season.

        • duffman says:

          puerto rico and alaska might be in there by default as both are tourney sites for early season basketball games. I was more interested as the was a blog on PAC schools, and wondered if they played a game in asia every year (as scott has mentioned) if it would allow a 13th game for said site. This could be a way to add inventory for the PTN and up the dollars for the TV contract of the PTN.

          • Nostradamus says:

            Likely not. Nebraska and Kansas State played a game in Toyko in the 90’s and didn’t get an extra game. The extra game rule is there to give an incentive to trams to travel the distance to place like Hawaii and help The Hawaii’s or the Alaska hockey teams fill out their schedule. If the Pac 10 wants to play Asia games they can do that on their own prerogative, but until a Tokyo University joins the NCAA there is no need to reward it.

          • Richard says:

            Er, no. That clause was put in to help schools located in Hawaii, Alaska, & PR (because it’s tough for them to get opponents to travel to play them due to travel costs), not schools trying to make extra money playing overseas. As proof, Wisconsin playing MSU in Japan in 1993 (the year of their first Rose Bowl trip in 3 decades) didn’t mean those 2 teams got to play an extra game that year.

  35. Brian says:

    Based on a discussion Richard and I were having above, I crunched some numbers on the impact of certain teams on TV ratings and attendance. The best data I could find was for all the bowls from the 2002-2009 seasons.

    (the ’09 Outback was listed wrong, but I fixed it)

    I crunched the numbers to find the average rating and attendance for each bowl over that time period, and then found each team’s average effect. The most obvious problem is that there aren’t enough data points to average out other factors, but it’s the best I could do. The other problem is that bowls are less representative of a team than the regular season since so many outside factors can change the result. Bowl ratings are highly influenced by how exciting the game is, much more so than regular season games.

    Top level results (full numbers at end):

    107 schools played in bowls over those 8 years, but 28 played in only 1 or 2 so I largely ignored them. Of the remaining 79, 33 boosted TV and attendance, 8 only boosted TV, 15 only boosted attendance and 23 hurt both numbers. The biggest TV bumps (> 20%) came from ND, Miami, FSU, Miss and USC. The worst AQs were UVA, USF, TAMU, MN and GT (> 20% drop in TV).

    Breakdown of the 41 TV boosters:
    ACC 6 – Miami, FSU, NC, MD, BC, WF (<1%)
    BE 4 – RU, Pitt, UConn, UL
    B10 7 – PU, MI, OSU, WI, MSU, NE, NW (<1%)
    B12 4 – TX, MO, OU, OkSU
    P10 6 – USC, Cal, ASU, OrSU, UCLA, OR (<1%)
    SEC 4 – Miss, Ark, FL, LSU
    Ind 1 – ND

    Noted absences: AL, AU, GA, PSU, TAMU

    Nobody should read too much into these numbers due to all the noise sources, but it seemed like good fodder for conversation.

    School … TV Delta
    Air Force … -0.194
    Akron … -0.054
    Alabama … -0.021
    Arizona … 0.026
    Arizona State … 0.141
    Arkansas … 0.074
    Arkansas State … 0.295
    Auburn … -0.032
    Ball State … 0.075
    Boise State … 0.120
    Boston College … 0.041
    Bowling Green … -0.013
    Buffalo … 0.340
    BYU … 0.032
    California … 0.163
    Central Michigan … 0.146
    Cincinnati … -0.107
    Clemson … -0.168
    Colorado … -0.109
    Colorado State … -0.387
    East Carolina … -0.087
    Florida … 0.054
    Florida Atlantic … 0.162
    Florida State … 0.256
    Fresno State … -0.017
    Georgia … -0.027
    Georgia Tech … -0.198
    Hawaii … 0.039
    Houston … -0.169
    Idaho … 0.265
    Illinois … -0.190
    Indiana … -0.801
    Iowa … -0.048
    Iowa State … -0.079
    Kansas … -0.192
    Kansas State … -0.122
    Kentucky … -0.014
    La. Tech … -0.621
    Louisville … 0.014
    LSU … 0.045
    Marshall … 0.089
    Maryland … 0.060
    Memphis … 0.049
    Miami … 0.261
    Miami (Ohio) … -0.087
    Michigan … 0.109
    Michigan State … 0.077
    Middle Tenn. … -0.252
    Minnesota … -0.203
    Miss. State … 0.249
    Mississippi … 0.205
    Missouri … 0.104
    Navy … 0.018
    Nebraska … 0.060
    Nevada … -0.030
    New Mexico … -0.139
    North Carolina … 0.196
    North Carolina State … -0.067
    North Texas … 0.096
    Northern Illinois … -0.341
    Northwestern … 0.006
    Notre Dame … 0.312
    Ohio … 0.055
    Ohio State … 0.087
    Oklahoma … 0.096
    Oklahoma State … 0.015
    Oregon … 0.005
    Oregon State … 0.111
    Penn State … -0.016
    Pitt … 0.088
    Purdue … 0.125
    Rice … -0.412
    Rutgers … 0.143
    San Jose State … -0.209
    SMU … -0.122
    South Carolina … -0.044
    South Florida … -0.240
    Southern Miss … -0.029
    Stanford … 0.167
    Syracuse … -0.372
    TCU … -0.070
    Temple … 0.000
    Tennessee … -0.074
    Texas … 0.128
    Texas A&M … -0.234
    Texas Tech … -0.093
    Toledo … -0.136
    Troy … -0.051
    Tulane … 0.069
    Tulsa … -0.036
    UAB … -0.020
    UCF … 0.138
    UCLA … 0.098
    UConn … 0.066
    USC … 0.203
    Utah … -0.113
    UTEP … 0.095
    Vanderbilt … 0.068
    Virginia … -0.251
    Virginia Tech … -0.058
    Wake Forest … 0.003
    Washington … 0.269
    Washington State … -0.041
    West Virginia … -0.028
    Western Michigan … -0.495
    Wisconsin … 0.081
    Wyoming … 0.019

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      Well, at least we’re not La Tech or Western Michigan…

      • Brian says:

        Keep in mind that teams with few bowl appearances, like Rice with 2, can be more affected by one bad game (bad time slot, bad opponent, etc). Unfortunately, I don’t think that was the case with Rice. They pulled terrible numbers both times. The size of the built-in fan base hurts them. That’s why TAMU doing so poorly surprised me.

        TAMU’s really suffered from the Cotton Bowl against TN and the Alamo Bowl versus PSU. Neither of those teams are inherently bad draws, so I’m surprised the ratings were so low.

        • 84Lion says:

          I looked a bit at this last night (I was quite surprised that PSU would be considered a “negative draw.”) and IMO however the numbers are crunched the results are “educated garbage.” As an example, comparing the 2005 Orange Bowl (USC-OK; MNC) to the 2006 OB (PSU-FSU) is comparing oranges to some other fruit. I think it’s amazing that the rating slipped only about 1.5 points between the two games. Then there is the 2007 Alamo Bowl (UT-Iowa) vs. the 2008 AB (PSU-TAMU). The 2007 AB was the highest-rated bowl game on ESPN up to that time and did feature the previous year MNC Longhorns. In short, I think drawing too many conclusions from the indicated data is foolish as there are too many factors that need to be taken into account.

          • Brian says:

            I think I pointed out all the same caveats about drawing conclusions due to the lack of data points and the number of noise sources.

            I was thinking about correcting for the 4 NCGs that took place in BCS bowls (’02-’05), but that was 1 out of 8 for each of the 4 BCS bowls. Since I was comparing each game to the average for that bowl, the NC bump would be reduced by a factor of 8. I wanted to do a first cut at the numbers first. I’ll take a look at that today.

            The other factor you mention, that certain match-ups make for higher ratings was the whole point. It isn’t clear on paper why UT/IA should draw much better TV ratings than PSU/TAMU. Being reigning NC doesn’t carry much weight in the next year’s bowl game. The numbers show that TAMU was the problem team, not PSU, but PSU’s overall numbers took a hit. PSU would have been at 0.066 without that game.

            Another factor that I didn’t correct for is the changing level of bowl tie-ins. If a bowl slides down the list for a conference, or changes to a less desirable conference, its ratings will drop. Those teams would suffer despite it not being their fault.

            All of those problems are why I say regular season data would be better, but I don’t know of a freely available source that is conveniently compiled.

          • m (Ag) says:

            Bleah, you’re making me review an awful decade for A&M.

            Since you have so few years (and this was such a bad streak for A&M), there are only 3 bowl games A&M played in with ratings listed the year before and after:

            2004 31-28 Miss(10-2,#16) v. OkSU(9-3,#21) 4.5
            2005 38-7 Tenn(10-2,#15) v. A&M(7-4,#22) 2.6
            2006 13-10 Bama(9-2,#8) v. Texas Tech(9-2,#20) 3.7

            This is easy to explain. The Cotton was played on Jan 1 or 2, at the same time as several other games. A&M wasn’t even competitive, so people changed to better games.

            2005 17-14 OU(7-4,UR) v Oregon(10-1,#6) 5.06
            2006 10-45 A&M(9-3,#21) v Cal(9-3,#20) 4.11
            2007 52-34 Texas(9-3,#17) v ASU(10-2,#12) 4.38

            2005 was a competitive game featuring the #6 team in the country, so it got the best ratings. A&M’s game wasn’t far behind the UT game the following year despite being less competitive.

            2006 26-24 Texas (9-3,#18) v Iowa (6-6,UR) 5.99
            2007 17-24 A&M (7-5,UR) v. PSU (8-4,UR) 2.67
            2008 30-23 Missouri (9-4,#25) v NW (9-3,#22) 4.60

            This was a competitive game, although both teams are unranked. However, there are 2 other reasons the ratings are low:
            1)A&M’s coach had already resigned in controversy.
            2)At the same time, the 15-0 New England Patriots were playing their final regular season game against the NY Giants, a game televised on CBS, NBC, and the NFL network. You might recall it got some attention.

            For A&M to boost it’s bowl ratings, it needs to:
            1) not get blown out
            2) not play in bowls there are scheduled against NFL games featuring a 15-0 team.

            FWIW, the A&M/LSU Cotton Bowl this year got the 2nd best ratings for a non-BCS bowl, despite the fact it turned out to be a blowout:

          • Brian says:

            m (Ag),

            Sorry for stirring up bad memories.

            I also have the bowl averages for those 8 years:

            Cotton 3.89 (2.6)
            Holiday 4.44 (4.11)
            Alamo 4.64 (2.67)
            Independence 2.64 (2.36)

            The Cotton must have TV competition most years, not just when TAMU played, so that should only matter if the game is not competitive. I think it’s fair to place losing badly in TAMU’s lap as part of being a bad draw. The good news is that’s easy to fix, unlike lacking fans.

            There’s no obvious explanation for the Holiday bowl. Maybe other games on TV were better, but more likely it was a blow out so some people tuned out.

            I’ll grant you playing the Alamo against a historic NFL game is bad luck. If it makes you feel any better, I watched the Alamo Bowl unless there was a better bowl on (I don’t remember). I’ll excuse the rating completely. The problem for TAMU is that it was a down period so they only went to 4 bowls in 8 years, making it hard to average out that rating. Without that game, TAMU would only improve from -0.234 to -0.170 which is still bad. PSU didn’t perform as poorly despite also being in that bowl.

            I agree with your ratings solution for TAMU, but I would also add playing in more bowl games. That will improve their image with neutral fans and give them more games to average out a bad day.

          • 84Lion says:

            m(Ag), thanks for pointing out the NFL game on opposite the 2008 AB. I knew there had to be some other factor there. I had forgotten about that one, mostly because I’m not a Patriots fan, and if Penn State’s on, I’m watching that game with blinders on.

    • Brian says:

      As a follow up, I re-ran the numbers lumping the title games that were played as BCS bowls (’02 Fiesta, ’03 Sugar, ’04 Orange, ’05 Rose) in with the other championship games. This improves the accuracy of TV ratings averages for the bowl games and the teams that played in the non-championship game BCS bowls.

      This helped the TV averages for 25 schools and hurt them for 6. However, only 2 schools changed from a drain to a boost (PSU, UGA (<1%)) while 2 others almost did (WV, UW both 2 bowl game played:

      ACC 6 – FSU, NC, Miami, MD, BC, WF
      BE 4 – RU, Pitt, UConn, UL
      B10 8 – MI, PU, WI, MSU, NE, OSU, PSU, NW (<1%)
      B12 3 – TX, MO, OkSU
      P10 6 – Cal, ASU, USC, OrSU, UCLA, OR
      SEC 4 – Miss, Ark, FL, UGA (<1%)
      Ind 1 – ND

      Noted absences (size of drain):
      AL (<2%), AU (<2%), LSU (3%), OU (20%)

      These numbers aren’t meant to be exact, but they support some things we already knew:

      1. The B10 draws eyeballs and thus makes good TV money.
      2. The B12 has a weak TV contract for a reason.
      3. The P10 TV deal is really bad.
      4. ND may suck but it draws viewers.

      A few things still surprise me:

      1. So few SEC teams draw big viewership. Maybe SEC love really is localized to the footprint and ESPN HQ.

      2. TAMU is really unpopular.

      3. Illinois only went to 1 bowl game and it was the Rose. I knew they were up and down, but I forgot the Sugar Bowl was that long ago. North Texas went to 3 bowls, for God’s sake.

      4. WF draws viewers but VT doesn’t.

      5. Rutgers draws viewers but WV doesn’t.

      The whole list:
      School … TV D … Old TV D … Change (%)
      Air Force … -0.194 … -0.194
      Akron … -0.054 … -0.054
      Alabama … -0.012 … -0.021 … 42.1
      Arizona … 0.026 … 0.026
      Arizona State … 0.141 … 0.141
      Arkansas … 0.074 … 0.074
      Arkansas State … 0.295 … 0.295
      Auburn … -0.019 … -0.032 … 39.2
      Ball State … 0.075 … 0.075
      Boise State … 0.143 … 0.120 … 19.0
      Boston College … 0.041 … 0.041
      Bowling Green … -0.013 … -0.013
      Buffalo … 0.340 … 0.340
      BYU … 0.032 … 0.032
      California … 0.163 … 0.163
      Central Michigan … 0.146 … 0.146
      Cincinnati … -0.086 … -0.107 … 19.6
      Clemson … -0.168 … -0.168
      Colorado … -0.109 … -0.109
      Colorado State … -0.387 … -0.387
      East Carolina … -0.087 … -0.087
      Florida … 0.059 … 0.054 … 9.6
      Florida Atlantic … 0.162 … 0.162
      Florida State … 0.292 … 0.256 … 13.7
      Fresno State … -0.017 … -0.017
      Georgia … 0.002 … -0.027 … 106.5
      Georgia Tech … -0.190 … -0.198 … 3.8
      Hawaii … 0.050 … 0.039 … 27.0
      Houston … -0.169 … -0.169
      Idaho … 0.265 … 0.265
      Illinois … -0.117 … -0.190 … 38.7
      Indiana … -0.801 … -0.801
      Iowa … -0.027 … -0.048 … 44.2
      Iowa State … -0.079 … -0.079
      Kansas … -0.176 … -0.192 … 8.6
      Kansas State … -0.090 … -0.122 … 26.2
      Kentucky … -0.014 … -0.014
      La. Tech … -0.621 … -0.621
      Louisville … 0.027 … 0.014 … 87.0
      LSU … -0.030 … 0.045 … -167.4
      Marshall … 0.089 … 0.089
      Maryland … 0.060 … 0.060
      Memphis … 0.049 … 0.049
      Miami … 0.179 … 0.261 … -31.2
      Miami (Ohio) … -0.087 … -0.087
      Michigan … 0.154 … 0.109 … 41.0
      Michigan State … 0.077 … 0.077
      Middle Tenn. … -0.252 … -0.252
      Minnesota … -0.203 … -0.203
      Miss. State … 0.249 … 0.249
      Mississippi … 0.205 … 0.205
      Missouri … 0.104 … 0.104
      Navy … 0.018 … 0.018
      Nebraska … 0.060 … 0.060
      Nevada … -0.030 … -0.030
      New Mexico … -0.139 … -0.139
      North Carolina … 0.196 … 0.196
      North Carolina State … -0.067 … -0.067
      North Texas … 0.096 … 0.096
      Northern Illinois … -0.341 … -0.341
      Northwestern … 0.006 … 0.006
      Notre Dame … 0.357 … 0.312 … 14.5
      Ohio … 0.055 … 0.055
      Ohio State … 0.055 … 0.087 … -36.4
      Oklahoma … -0.045 … 0.096 … -146.4
      Oklahoma State … 0.015 … 0.015
      Oregon … 0.017 … 0.005 … 264.2
      Oregon State … 0.111 … 0.111
      Penn State … 0.015 … -0.016 … 197.4
      Pitt … 0.105 … 0.088 … 18.4
      Purdue … 0.125 … 0.125
      Rice … -0.412 … -0.412
      Rutgers … 0.143 … 0.143
      San Jose State … -0.209 … -0.209
      SMU … -0.122 … -0.122
      South Carolina … -0.044 … -0.044
      South Florida … -0.240 … -0.240
      Southern Miss … -0.029 … -0.029
      Stanford … 0.167 … 0.167
      Syracuse … -0.372 … -0.372
      TCU … -0.057 … -0.070 … 18.5
      Temple … 0.000 … 0.000
      Tennessee … -0.074 … -0.074
      Texas … 0.117 … 0.128 … -8.6
      Texas A&M … -0.234 … -0.234
      Texas Tech … -0.093 … -0.093
      Toledo … -0.136 … -0.136
      Troy … -0.051 … -0.051
      Tulane … 0.069 … 0.069
      Tulsa … -0.036 … -0.036
      UAB … -0.020 … -0.020
      UCF … 0.138 … 0.138
      UCLA … 0.098 … 0.098
      UConn … 0.066 … 0.066
      USC … 0.136 … 0.203 … -32.8
      Utah … -0.091 … -0.113 … 19.3
      UTEP … 0.095 … 0.095
      Vanderbilt … 0.068 … 0.068
      Virginia … -0.251 … -0.251
      Virginia Tech … -0.032 … -0.058 … 43.8
      Wake Forest … 0.018 … 0.003 … 563.2
      Washington … 0.269 … 0.269
      Washington State … -0.003 … -0.041 … 91.6
      West Virginia … -0.008 … -0.028 … 73.2
      Western Michigan … -0.495 … -0.495
      Wisconsin … 0.081 … 0.081
      Wyoming … 0.019 … 0.019

      • Morgan Wick says:

        I saw this same analysis at National Championship Issue, and I think the issue with the SEC schools is that you’re measuring the impact of a team on a bowl’s ratings, but the SEC schools are so close to one another that for an SEC tie-in bowl, the ratings will be strong no matter who gets picked, diluting the apparent impact of any one school.

  36. Michael in Indy says:

    The Big 12 ought to keep Texas-Texas A&M on Thanksgiving or Black Friday and move only Ok. State-OU to championship weekend. On Thursday, the Big 12 could have the spotlight all to itself with, presumably, a huge viewing audience. It would be a great alternative for anyone who doesn’t feel like watching It’s a Wonderful Life for the 50 bagillionth time, or, as someone else mentioned, for anyone who doesn’t get NFL Network. On Friday, it would be a great competitor to Auburn-Alabama and most other rivalries scheduled to be played on Black Friday. (In my opinion, UT vs. A&M would compete against Black Friday rivalries for TV viewers much better than it would against Big Ten, SEC, and Pac-12 championship games, where BCS bowl berths would unquestionably be on the line.)

    Neither Big 12 game will be able to compete with the championship games with true reliability because, in a given year, one of them may have only 2nd or 3rd place on the line. But A&M-UT, over the long haul, has been much more able to compete with the major national rivalries for viewers on Thanksgiving weekend than OU-Ok. State has.


    All this leads me to some questions: With the Big 12 championship out of existence and with three of the four AQ conference championship games on other networks, does ESPN move the ACC title game from ESPN back to ABC? Would the OU-Ok. State game be part of a double-header on ABC, or would it go to ESPN? Are any Big East games or scheduled for championship weekend?

    My feeling is that, if possible, the ACC game should go back on ABC but try to avoid going head-to-head against the SEC and the Big Ten games. Against the Pac-12, the ACC game would do much better. The OU-Ok. State game, on ESPN, should go simaltaneously with the ACC game and avoid going head to head against any other game but the Pac-12. An argument could be made that the Oklahoma game might do better nationally than the ACC, especially if yet again both ACC teams have mediocre records, but ESPN has much more invested in the ACC title game than in any one regular season Big 12 game.

    I’d love to hear others’ opinions on when these games should be played and on which stations.

    • Nostradamus says:

      For the majority of the Big 12 The UT-Texas A&M game was on Friday. Friday was a Big XII day. You had Nebraska/Colorado and UT/A&M. The Sec essentially caught on and put a game on CBS, but I digress…

      I’m not sure what the right solution for the Big XII is, but they likely do need to do something that weekend. I realize it a less than ideal situation because you are going to be head to head with the CCG games. But, what I like to refer to as the “Big Ten effect” is something the Big XII needs to consider. If you skip that weekend all together you risk being overlooked at the end of the season. In order to stay considered, you would need to have teams that you think are likely to be competing for something at the end of the year playing decent games at the end of the year.

      This goes back to the inventory thing again. The Big 12 has a very limited amount of desirable games. At some point decisions are going to have to be made that may have less than desirable outcomes. Do you sacrifice the thanksgiving game for relevancy? Is playing Bedlham as your only conference game that first week in December enough to keep the conference relevant at the end? Tough choices…

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        The logical thing to me would be to leave the RRSO where it is. Leave UT/aTm on Thanksgiving. Play OU/oSu that same weekend. And on the last weekend play UT/oSu and aTm/OU. That leave the B12-2 with potential for big games without disturbing traditions.

        • Richard says:

          I kind of doubt that OU, OSU, Texas, or TAMU have any interest in playing their rivalry game anywhere than as the last game of the regular season.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            OU and Texas both play their rivalry game in October.

          • Nostradamus says:

            And maybe it is just because Nebraska got left at the alter at the formation of the Big 12 regarding rivalries i.e. I may have a jaded view on this… But from my experience, end of the season last game rivalry games aren’t as “sacred” in the Big XII as other conferences. Part if it a lot of stuff got moved around when the conference formed. Nebraska and Oklahoma no longer played each other the last game. Bedlam for Oklahoma got moved to the final game. Nebraska got paired with Colorado. I will give them credit though, with their current schedule they’ve done a pretty good job of pairing teams on the final weekend.

          • @Richard – I know at least UT and A&M have been clear on that in the articles I’ve seen. Regardless of the date of the game, they are insisting that to be the last one of the regular season.

        • Nostradamus says:

          @Loki, I agree that might be a plausible solution. My two issues with it are 1) It back-end loads the schedules of A&M and Texas, having both schools play their two toughest games back to back every year. Pluses/minuses there.

          2) and More importantly back to the inventory. I’m basing this off of the current Big XII schedule. I understand it is likely going to change as they are still trying to fit a couple of games in. If you move Oklahoma and A&M, and Texas, Oklahoma State from their originally scheduled weeks, you’ve created the new problem of depriving ABC if the game they would’ve showed that week. That goes back to Trammel’s argument about the lack of inventory. The OU/A&M game may be fine as Texas plays Tech that weekend too, but the Texas Oklahoma State weekend becomes bleak.

        • greg says:

          Count me in as thinking its bizarre that the B12 would want to move the UT/TAMU game. That is a known quantity that gets good ratings on TGiving. On championship Saturday, it’s near the bottom of the viewing list.

    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      mike – just a couple of points:

      1. Its a Wonderful Life is a Christmas Eve staple on NBC, not that it really matters in the greater discussion.

      2. Over LSU’s objections, the LSU/Arkansas game is being moved back to the 1:30pm Central Black Friday timeslot and the Iron Bowl is going back to Saturday. The Saturday SEC slots include Bama/Auburn, Tenn/Kent, and Ole Miss/Miss St., and every other year UF/FSU, UGA/GT, and S.Car/Clemson, I think Ole Miss/Miss St is the only game that has willingly moved to Thanksgiving night in the past.

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      Over at BON, I seem to be in the minority of Horns followers who is OK with the proposed move.

      Even though many Longhorns and Aggies associate the game with Thanksgiving night, the reality is, over the last twenty years, the game has been moved around frequently, being played on Thanksgiving and the Friday after Thanksgiving and the Saturday after Thanksgiving and the Saturday the week after Thanksgiving and even a Saturday a few weeks before Thanksgiving one year when the Aggies were cheating. What’s so big about another move?

      Also, it dawned on me that, counter-intuitively, we might get a bigger audience moving the game. I get the sense now that the game gets a little lost in the shuffle being played at the end of a day otherwise devoted to the NFL. However, I think we could get a 100% national prime time ABC broadcast if it’s moved to that final Saturday, as the only major conference championship the ESPN family of networks now has is the ACC. Keep that on ESPN where it’s been, and have an ABC triple-header of a Big East game, Bedlam and Texas-A&M. I like the game’s chances to draw good ratings in that scenario, especially if the SEC game stays in its slightly earlier time slot.

      Some of this depends on the timing of the Big 10 and Pac 12 games on Fox, but my hunch is that the ratings for those games will be slightly depressed outside of their geographic footprint by virtue of being shown on a non-traditional network (as far as college football go).

      So if the game can be moved with that sort of guaranteed national exposure, I’m ok with it. If we’re getting into some sort of early day, split national broadcast, though, then I’m absolutely against it.

      • Richard says:

        We know that the B10 game will be primetime on Fox so the P12 game will almost surely be on the afternoon on Fox. Assuming CBS keeps the SEC game in the afternoon, ESPN likely will put the ACC game in primetime against the B10 game (they wouldn’t want to go head-to-head against the SEC, which is in the same region); probably on ABC. We could then see the 2 B12 games in the afternoon & primetime on ESPN. BE games will fill the various ESPNs in the morning. With so few games, we won’t see any split coverage.

        • Richard says:

          Texas-TAMU would likely go head-to-head with the B10 and ACC title games. I think from a purely ratings perspective, that’s worse than having Thanksgiving evening all to yourself. I know that I’ve watched the Thanksgiving evening football games many times (even when it was the Egg Bowl), but certainly wouldn’t watch Texas-TAMU if the B10 title game was on at the same time.

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            Also keep in mind that there’s an intangible value about not being dark on a finale day when all other potential competitors for a BCS/NCG slot are playing. I kind of like the idea of playing in the last regular season game and, depending on the time of kickoff, the last pre-bowl game (Army-Navy notwithstanding).

        • Hopkins Horn says:

          No offense to the Big 10ers on here, but if we move, I’d much rather go head to head with the prime time Big 10 game on Fox than I would with the the SEC game on CBS in the afternoon.

          • Nostradamus says:

            None taken, but I also wouldn’t assume you “might get a bigger audience moving the game.” You mention getting lost in the shuffle on Thursday. I don’t know about that… The game goes head to head with one NFL game. It isn’t like a typical Saturday where you are going head to head with maybe 20 games and up to 5 or 6 directly. Not to mention a championship weekend where you are either going to go head to head with the SEC or the Big Ten.

            Both the SEC and Big Ten have a leg up in that one given the participants are determined by merit, not picked before the season starts. I do agree with you though about the intangible benefits, and I think that is a huge part of the equation. Either a solid game/games get moved to help out the schools be keeping them relevant, or to help ABC fill a void. Either way though, it is a less than optimal situation to go head to head with one of the two main power conferences (television wise) in CFB.

          • I would say that in seasons where the UT/A&M game features (1) a national championship contender and (2) the opponent is a top 15 or so squad, then it *might* put a dent in the ratings versus the Big Ten or SEC Championship Games going head-to-head. (Think of the Iron Bowl matchup this past season.). Unless that standard is met, though, then a game where the *minimum* is the winner goes to the Rose Bowl is going to draw significantly more interest. You can usually bank on at least one of the 4 “kings” playing in the Big Ten title game, too, so there’s going to be star power in the average year.

          • Hopkins Horn says:


            Thinking about this a little more, predicting the ratings of a Texas-A&M game going head-to-head against the Big 10 championship has a bit of a wild card factor involved for anyone to be so sure about how the games would fare against each other.

            As you mention, the Big 10’s participants will be selected on merit, while the Texas-A&M game would be set in stone. However, in three of the last six years (2005 and 2009 certainly; perhaps 2008 as well), the Texas-A&M would have been the much more important game, given the national championship implications, and a theoretical Big 10 championship game might have suffered in comparison. On the flip side, 2007 and 2010 had neither national nor conference title implications, and those games would certainly have been lost in the shuffle. 2006 would have been a de facto conference championship game (for Texas, at least) but still would have been lost in the glare of what would have been a monster OSU-Michigan rematch.

          • Nostradamus says:

            Sure there is a little bit of a wildcard factor involved, but how much is pretty debatable. The 2010 Texas/A&M game drew a 2.5 overnight rating. Solid ratings especially considering nothing was on the line. The 2010 Big XII championship game drew a 5.3 overnight, the lowest in 4 years. Also somewhat strong considering there was no BCS championship game spot on the line.

            I’m not a huge fan of going back and looking at “what would’ve happened” in the past considering the upcoming changes. Perhaps Texas or Texas A&M would’ve slipped up against a North school that wasn’t on their schedule at the time, but would’ve been in the round robin format. Perhaps the new scheduling format would’ve benefited a Big Ten team in a way it didn’t, etc.

            I’m willing to bet that the Big Ten championship game pitting the two best teams in each division against each other, has greater odds of having a meaningful game (a spot in the NCG, or at the very least a Rose Bowl berth) than the Texas A&M, Texas game on a yearly basis. The state of Texas, and the University of Texas has an enviable position that really no school in the country can match. You have a state with a lot of people, and a lot of people that like football. That pays dividends as seen by the LSN deal with ESPN. I’m really not sure that translates into a lot of interest outside the traditional Big 12 territory though. The Big Ten has a bigger natural population base. The casual fan is going to go with the bigger game. I’d be willing to wager 8 or 9 times out of 10 that the Big Ten championship game will be a bigger game than a Texas/Texas A&M matchup at the end of the season simply due to the natural of the selection process.

          • Nostradamus says:

            And even if we want to try and backwards compare the results aren’t necessarily flattering for Texas. I left Nebraska out of it.

            2001 Illinois 10-1 vs. Michigan 8-3
            Texas 9-1 vs. Texas A&M 7-3
            Conclusion: If we keep Nebraska out of all of this, the head to head matchup is an effective draw. If you wanted to include NU, which I am not doing Nebraska replaces Michigan and you have a 10-1/10-1 game or 10-1/11-0 game. Draw.

            2002 Ohio State 13-0 vs. Iowa 11-1
            Texas 9-2 vs. Texas A&M 6-5
            Conclusion: Undefeated Ohio State against one loss Iowa beats a 6-5 A&M. Big Ten

            2003 Michigan 10-2 vs. Iowa 9-3
            Texas 9-2 vs. Texas A&M 4-7
            Conclusion: again A&M doesn’t help here. Big Ten.

            2004 Iowa 9-2 vs. Wisconsin 9-2
            Texas 9-1 vs. Texas A&M 7-3
            Conclusion: We’ll give it to a 1 loss Texas. Texas.

            2005 Penn State 10-1 vs. Michigan 7-4
            Texas 10-0 vs. Texas A&M 5-5
            Conclusion: Undefeated Texas. Texas.

            2006 Ohio State 12-0 vs. Michigan 11-1
            Texas 8-2 vs. Texas A&M 8-3
            Conclusion: rematch yes, but 12-0 vs. 11-1. Big Ten.

            2007 Ohio State 11-1 vs. Michigan 9-3
            Texas 9-2 vs. Texas A&M 6-5
            Conclusion: 1 loss vs. 3 loss> 2 loss vs. 5 loss. Big Ten.

            2008 Penn State 11-1 vs. Michigan State 9-3
            Texas 10-1 vs. Texas A&M 4-7
            Conclusion: 1 loss vs. 3 loss> 1 loss vs. 7 loss. Big Ten

            2009 Ohio State 11-2 vs. Iowa 10-2
            Texas 12-0 vs. Texas A&M 6-5
            Conclusion: Texas again undefeated playing for spot in National championship game. Albeit a game against a 6-5 team is less than thrilling. Slight edge Texas.

            2010 Ohio State 11-1 vs. Michigan State 11-1
            Texas 5-6 vs. Texas A&M 8-3
            Conclusion: two one loss teams. Big Ten

            6-3-1 Big Ten.

      • bullet says:

        Texas-Texas A&M used to be played on Thanksgiving Day nearly every year. In recent years it is more often Friday after Thanksgiving, as Hopkins points out, TH has been the exception.

        • Hopkins Horn says:

          And another random thing to keep in mind, for what it’s worth, is that there is a considerable overlap, as one might imagine, between the fanbases of the Longhorns and the Cowboys. I fall in that category, and the Cowboys have played on each snd every Thanksgiving in my living memory. For me at least, and I’ve seen some other Horn fans echoing this theme, given the ever-changing date of the Texas-A&M game, envisioning Thanksgiving without that game is much easier than envisioning Thanksgiving without the Cowboys. A lot of us will still have a favorite team to root for that day regardless of whether Texas and A&M continue to play on that day. I’m sure this fact is driving my “I don’t really care one way or another” attitude about the possible move.

    • Michael in Indy says:

      From what I gather, based partly on last year’s schedule and partly on the opinions of other FTT posters, it looks like “Championship Weekend” will have a schedule looking something like this:

      Friday, 8:00 ET

      ESPN: MAC Championship Game


      Noon ET

      FSN (maybe Fox?): Conference USA Championship Game
      ESPN: Big East game
      ESPN2: Big East game
      ESPNU: Sun Belt, WAC, or FCS playoff game

      3:30 ET

      CBS: SEC Championship Game
      Fox: Pac-12 Championship Game
      ESPN/ABC: Texas vs. Texas A&M (variable by region)
      ESPN/ABC: Big East Game (variable by region)
      ESPN2: Big East Game
      ESPNU: Sun Belt, WAC, or FCS playoff game

      8:00 ET

      Fox: Big Ten Championship Game
      ESPN/ABC (Variable by region): ACC Championship Game
      ESPN/ABC (Variable by region): Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State
      ESPN2: WAC game (BYU at Hawaii)
      ESPNU: Sun Belt, WAC, or FCS playoff game

      It appears that reason ESPN might be pushing the Big 12 to move the UT-A&M game is that it simply has holes in its schedule to fill. Last year, it had a healthy selection for its networks with 5 Pac-12 games, a game involving the Big Ten (Illinois vs. Fresno State), and the C-USA championship game. All games with those conferences will now be on Fox. Oklahoma State vs. Oklahoma has essentially filled in for the Big 12 Championship Game’s absence.

      Without UT-A&M that weekend, ESPN would be left to fill a key 3:30 game on ABC/ESPN a much less-desirable matchup. I suppose on Thanksgiving weekend, ESPN would have many more quality games to work with.

      • Pat says:

        Big East moving Pitt/Syracuse and Connecticut/Cincinnati to Sat, Dec 3rd on ABC/ESPN. Full conference schedule in link below. I suspect the Big East will go to 12 teams with a CCG in time for the next BCS contract.

        • Richard says:

          Only if they find 2 more schools worth adding (which I think will be tough for them). Remember that their championship game won’t be worth a whole lot of money, and they’ll certainly not expand from 10 to 12 if it means a decrease in the average payout. They will expand to 10, though, in order to have 9 conference games, since their attendance just doesn’t justify paying the skyrocketing costs of guarantee games.

          • Brian says:

            I think politics might be a bigger hurdle to 12 than money. I don’t think the BB schools want to be outnumbered that badly.

            Just based on geography, several BE candidates if they want 12 are obvious. UCF is the clear #1 with a growing program, a built in rival and providing more access to Florida. It also provides USF with a southern companion so it feels more a a part of the conference.

            For similar reasons, the BE would have to look to Texas for a partner for TCU. That probably means Houston or maybe SMU. ECU is a better geographic fit, but suffers from being somewhat isolated from the other BE schools and from being the 5th school in a BB state.

            Adding FL and TX markets plus a championship game might be OK financially, but the BB conference would be unwieldy.

          • Michael in Indy says:


            You’re right about ECU. They have aspirations, however fleeting they may be, to be the next Boise State. That’s good, because there’s no way they’ll be the next TCU, Utah, BYU, Louisville, Cincy, etc. In other words, the best they can hope for is to become a regular contender for BCS bowls, and if the stars align correctly, a rare chance at a national title. Their chances of getting into an AQ league are shot.

          • Pat says:

            I keep reading that the AQ Commissioners think that “12 is the model”. Almost makes me think that there is a gentleman’s agreement between the AQ Conferences to try and get to 12 plus a CCG before the next BCS contract. The first week of December would have the look and feel of a first round playoff with all the CCG’s. Then, add the Cotton Bowl as the fifth BCS game and re-tabulate the BCS rankings after the New Year’s Day bowl games to determine the participants in the unseeded Plus-1 BCS Championship Game. Six conferences with 12 teams allows for 72 BCS teams. That’s enough.

          • Brian says:


            I think what all the conferences have learned, except the P12 maybe, is that the numbers say going past 12 is really difficult. Sure, you can do it with a Texas or ND, but not with other schools. The CCG makes 12 desirable for many conferences, but 13 and beyond generally cost money. The test will be if the BE really wants to go to 12, or if they stop at 10. They get 9 conference games with 10 and that is a financial boon. Going to 12 means the CCG has to provide value or the next two teams need to have good value.

        • Steve says:

          Interesting that Pitt has 8 home this year including Notre Dame and Utah. On the road at Iowa and W. Virginia.

          • Paul says:

            Does the NCAA have a limit on how many home games a team can play? Could an independent like Notre Dame play 9 or 10 home games? How would that affect the BCS rankings?

          • @Paul – There’s no cap on home games, so ND could play that many home games in theory. Now, in practicality, ND’s alumni base (to its credit) insists upon fairly top tier schedules where that’s not really possible with the opponents they want to play. ND is moving to a 6 home – 1 “home” at off-campus site – 5 road game schedule, which is why you’re seeing much better schedules from the Irish over the next decade compared to the last 5 years.

            I don’t think the computer components of the BCS rankings take into account home and road wins, but I could be wrong. For basketball, teams do get more credit for road win compared to a home win in the RPI formula.

          • Paul says:

            Pitt has a Thursday 8pm game with USF and a Wednesday game with Connecticut, both on ESPN. I guess when you have 8 home games you can play twice in mid-week.

          • Richard says:

            Well, they only had 6 home games in 2008 & 2010 (and look to have only 6 home games in 2012), so it’s probably just how the OOC scheduling worked out.

          • Brian says:


            There is no upper limit but there is a lower limit on home games. You have to play 5 FBS home games, although you can count 1 neutral site game where you are designated as the home team.

          • Brian says:


            The computer polls differ on what they use. I know Massey uses location and Colley doesn’t. I’m not sure about the others.

  37. Brian says:

    So now HBO is looking into cheating in the SEC for an upcoming Real Sports episode. Stanley McClover will be a guest on 3/30 and talk about getting paid at Auburn. Chris Keys might also talk about his experiences with LSU and Alabama. Kenny Rogers may also be a guest with a tape of him and Cecil Newton. The statute of limitations has passed on all the old players, but it still could stir up the NCAA. This story coupled with all the rumored information that may come out through the FBI investigation in Alabama should be making Mike Slive worry just a little.


  38. Brian says:

    A story that could potentially have an impact on CFB is taking place in Atlanta. Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank wants a new, open-air stadium to replace the Georgia Dome. It is estimated to cost $700 million and be ready as early as 2017. Blank has rejected expanding the GA Dome, adding a retractable roof or building a stadium with a retractable roof.


    The stadium would have 65,000 permanent seats, 10,000 temporary seats, 7,500 club seats and 110 suites as compared to the 71,228 seats at the GA Dome. The GA Dome, opened in 1992, would be kept for other events although it is unclear how long that is affordable.

    The impact on CFB comes from the SEC CG held in Atlanta. The SEC, which has said it wants to keep the game indoors, has three options:

    1. Stay at the GA Dome if it is around
    2. Move to New Orleans if the GA Dome goes away
    3. Play at the new stadium to stay in Atlanta (and get paid)

    The problem with moving from Atlanta is that New Orleans is almost a home game for LSU (more than Atlanta for UGA) and is far from central in the footprint so the SEC West would gain an advantage for the game. The problem with the new stadium is the weather and reduced seating. If playing outdoors is OK, there are multiple choices to consider (somewhere in Florida for the weather, Legion Field).

    If the GA Dome stays open or the SEC leaves Atlanta, the new stadium would also provide an opportunity for the ACC. They have struggled with finding a good site for their CCG. Charlotte is central to the old ACC, but Atlanta would help for GT, Miami, FSU, BC and maybe MD. Maybe the NC schools would find Atlanta of more interest, too. The weather would be a wash. The big negative is the the CCG loser would normally be picked for the Peach Bowl, but the bowl might well skip them for a team that didn’t just play there (the SEC fights the same issue many years).

    • duffman says:


      the bigger issue is the waste of money on a duplicate building that actually holds fewer people. In the article it says they want fewer people who pay more money. This is where I would take issue as the construction will be funded by government money (see taxpayers) and corporate money (see shareholders). It has always been my undertanding that arena’s drain way more seed capital per dollar than other “public use” buildings like hospitals or schools, and are becoming more bloated by a few fatcats. It is my understanding that in building new facilities you want to have more events than less as it makes the revenue to repay easier. In the article it even implies this, by saying that the Ga Dome would become a “white elephant”. Corporations should be shelling out profits to shareholders before using the money (which belongs to the shareholders) so a few folks at the top can stroke their own egos on the corporate dime. Same with watering at the taxpayer trough, when the taxpayers money could be used better elsewhere.

      I do not understand the issue with having the retractable roof, if such a roof could provide more events (and greater revenue to repay the debt) then why not consider it. In current economic times, prudent allocation of capital will produce the greatest long term result. If we learned nothing else from the Cold War, escalation cripples long term growth.

      Sorry, did not mean to ramble, but I grow more tired by the day for corporate welfare when the parties have their own capital already and should put their own money on the line for such a move. If I could pass a law that restricted diverting shareholder and taxpayer money to such “hostage” deals, believe me I would.

      • Brian says:


        I agree there are bigger issues at stake, I just thought the CCG angle was the most relevant to the blog.

        The government will fund $350-400 million, but probably with bonds paid off by hotel taxes. The rest of the money would come from Arthur Blank and/or the Falcons, so no harm to shareholders.
        It seems like a waste, but a lot of tax revenue is tied to having a downtown NFL team. How much do they lose in a year if the Falcons move to the burbs?

        I agree having 2 arenas is a little weird, but many of the events at the GA Dome can’t easily be moved outdoors. I think the new stadium may struggle for extra events, too. I wouldn’t think there are enough for both places.

        I think Blank’s issues with a retractable roof are:
        1. No bad weather means less demand for suites.
        2. It would cost him about $500 million in the new stadium.
        3. He’s a spoiled billionaire that wants what he wants.

        • Richard says:

          The positive economic impact of stadiums is miniscule. The returns on investment in stadiums is extremely poor compared to virtually any other type of public investment (building schools/hiring teachers, building roads/refitting bridges, etc.). Nothing is free; that bond money backed by hotel taxes could be used to refit bridges or build schools instead (or it could simply not be levied/increased, making it more appealing for visitors/conventions to visit the city).

          I’d expect any right-thinking economic conservative to be most opposed to this type of corporate welfare (as opposed to the crony capitalist right-winger that most Republicans are these days).

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            …must be a slow sports week if we’re stooping to baiting conservatives here…

          • Brian says:

            It probably is a bed investment from a purely financial perspective, although I have no idea what the numbers actually are. It would be a huge hit to Atlanta and a whole bunch of county governments though. There are, or course, also non-financial reasons to do it.

          • Hopkins Horn says:


            It’s ok, because most conservatives live in the south, and global warming will soon make the areas in which they live uninhabitable, and there won’t be any conservatives left to bait. Or so I’ve previously read in the comments section on here. :)

          • Richard says:

            Hahaha. Unfortunately, they’d still have Alaska (then again, maybe that’s OK).

      • duffman says:


        “Blank and/or the Falcons, so no harm to shareholders.”

        ask the folks who owned Citi stock!


        400 million is a large payroll
        400 million is a nice dividend
        400 million is a nice capital expense sinking fund
        400 million is a nice charitable contribution

        This does not even add into the equation the total in corporate seating, luxury suites, and other $$$$ that are paid by “managers” vs “owners” (Sure if Bill Gates was putting up his own money great. If some CEO at a Fortune 500 who gets the benefits, but uses shareholder money to enrich their lifestyle, at no personal cost – no skin in the game so to speak)!

        I have been to Hershy Park arena, and it is no flashy joint. They built the place at the dawn of hockey, and have played there since. They are maximizing use vs cost of construction, hence it has had sufficicient time to recover construction capital, and is probably operating at minimal cost compared to new construction. Sure things wear out, but this building new building every 20 years is a bit insane just to massage some fat cats egos. In the meantime, the guys that actually go to see the games live, and cheer the teams, keep getting moved to the nosebleed, parking lot, or home watching TV.

        The majority of folks in sports made their money in business, hence they should have the skill set to make things work with the assets at hand. This “welfare” for the richest of the rich just seems above and beyond. Sorry if I rant a bit, but as I get older (and should move up the food chain) I seem to be going in the other direction. At what point do you kill the “golden goose” that is sports by extracting too much from the “average” fan?


        “3. He’s a spoiled billionaire that wants what he wants.”

        Is probably the correct answer. The sad thing is he will probably get it at great expense to the average georgia citizen! *sigh*


        a) It is ironic that most pro owners are republicans, and do not seem to want to adhere to what the party preaches.

        b) The sad thing is that it is not a Democrat or Republican thing (tho the majority of the populace thinks it is, because that is what they are told). I think in public they both want to blame the other side, but once the doors are closed to the public, they are both feeding on the common man. The older I get, the less faith I have in either party, as neither side protects their rank and file. Both sides just protect the top .001%, which seems a bit unamerican to me.

        Sorry to rant, but I love sports, and would like some of this to pass to future generations. If you keep drianing the land, and never let it recover / grow, pretty soon it is worthless.

        • Richard says:


          Actually, I agree with you. I’ve given up on the Democrats as well. the Republicans are just more open about it.

          • Eric (ohio1317) says:

            Coming from the opposite direction, I’ve given up on the Republicans. You’d think a party that was supposed to stand for limited government and free market capitalism would have a big problem with spending tax dollars to support monopolies, but apparently they’re just talk.

          • duffman says:


            backs up some things I have seen going on in the past 20 – 40 years (the oil crisis in the 70’s seemed to be a starting point). The 2 things that stick out are:

            a) public choice theory
            b) the loss of local and regional influence (and the concentration of ownership by outside groups with no local ties. [Ex when BankOne (an Ohio regional) was bought by JPM/Chase (a national).

          • Richard says:


            Indeed, the (Chicago School) intellectual economic conservatives have done good work (in social/political science; not so much in economics/finance). It seems, though, that some members of that school are blind to the very concepts that were developed by other members of that school.

      • Michael in Indy says:

        I think publicly financing stadiums is disgusting in just about any case, but the one that baffles me more than any other is New Yankee Stadium. How did the Steinbrenners get a dime out of NYC taxpayers for that one?

        Were they going to threaten to move the Yankees somewhere else? Yeah right. The Yankees are much better off in an old Yankee Stadium than in a new stadium anywhere else in the country.

        Did they say they’re falling behind in revenue? You’d have to be a moron to fall for that.

        I can’t find an ounce of leverage for why the Yankees should have gotten for financing their stadium, yet they got it. What a freaking joke. It’s even more disgusting that the public financed that stadium when the needs for better education, better law enforcement, better healthcare, better everything are staring city leaders right in the face in the Bronx, which is one of the poorest counties in the country.

        BTW, it’s my understanding that the RCA Dome, which doesn’t even exist anymore, is still being paid off by the City of Indianapolis, yet the city took on the financing of Lucas Oil Stadium, which cost about 10 times as much as RCA. Irsay never came out and said it, but everyone knew he had the threat of moving to LA in has back pocket–that’s the main reason the Colts are still here.

        • bullet says:

          Houston is still paying for the last improvements to the Astrodome even though Adams took off to Nashville. He got the concessions by threatening to move to Jacksonville. He helped get them an expansion franchise for thanks. So thanks to Bud Adams we’ve got two cities that are struggling to support their NFL teams. And then of course, Houston had to build Reliant Stadium to get an expansion team.

        • Jake says:

          @Michael – Steinbrenner wasn’t likely to move the Yankees to another market, true, but he might have moved them out of the Bronx. The Bergen County Bombers doesn’t sound too bad, does it? That’s the leverage Old Man Jones used to get Arlington to pony up; plenty of other DFW municipalities, including the city of Dallas, were interested in getting the new stadium.

          Anyway, don’t expect people to behave rationally when their favorite sports teams are involved.

    • bullet says:

      Atlanta is a big convention town and the Georgia Dome is important for that. But given what’s happened with the much more historic Astrodome in Houston (they can’t find a use for it, its deteriorating so even the Rodeo can’t use it and momentum is building to tear it down), the Georgia Dome will quickly become an albatross and be torn down. I think the city just needs to say no to Blanks. Renovate the existing facility.

      Given Georgia’s penchant for spending tax $ on politically connected developers and questionable economic development projects, they will probably give Blanks all he wants and lose tons of money until forced to tear the Georgia Dome down. And then they will lose convention business without it.

      • Brian says:

        The problem is that he is willing to move to the suburbs and they know that. For a while I thought he was just using the threat for leverage, but it’s progressed too far now for me to keep believing that.

        I think they have to renovate the Dome some more, but it probably won’t go away for a long time. It can’t be replaced until 2017 at the earliest, and then it will take several years to figure out if it can make enough to survive or not. That will get it to 30 years old, so then they have to make a financial decision whether to go another 10 years or knock it down and replace it with something more suited to the events left to it. I don’t think they’ll willingly let the convention business go.

        • bullet says:

          He’s already talked to Doraville about a closed GM site. But Atlanta is a very NIMBY place. He may find it harder than he thinks to find a site. Also, hotels and car rentals (taxes on those will likely provide the government revenue) are mainly in Fulton County. And in Fulton County, he would almost have to be in the city of Atlanta due to access, NIMBY attitudes and the desirability of sites. Access is a real issue. Atlanta’s road system is one of the worst in the country. They need to be on the MARTA train line.

    • bullet says:

      SEC won’t go to New Orleans. Sugar Bowl is in New Orleans. They’d have to live with open air in December in Atlanta or go to Florida. Birmingham’s stadium is just not a good option.

      • Brian says:

        Losing the Dome would be a test of their resolve to play indoors. I’m not sure how they would rank New Orleans, Atlanta outdoors, Florida and Other as choices. I don’t think the Sugar Bowl is the end all be all argument since the CCG winner’s fans are likely to travel twice. Even if they take a shorter trip for the Sugar than before, New Orleans will net the same amount.

        I think the SEC might rank them in this order:
        1. New Orleans
        2. Atlanta outdoors
        3. Birmingham
        4. Jacksonville

  39. Mike says:


    Have some fun with this

    What the Big East needs to do is realign it’s conference. It’s probably not that easy, but I suggest having Notre Dame try and join the Big Ten. I have no idea why South Florida is in the Big East and I’d hate to kick out the perennial bottom feeder of the league, but Big East schools need not be traveling to Florida for conference games. Traveling is wear and tear and I’m quite sure South Florida wouldn’t mind jumping conferences. Eliminating the travel to Florida and a perennial top 25 school in Notre Dame would be a nice start.

    • Richard says:

      The author’s obviously pretty basketball-centric (to the exclusion of everything else), and if basketball provided for 90% of the athletic revenues of a school, his suggestions would make sense. Unfortunately for him, the real world doesn’t quite correspond to his ideal one.

    • Brian says:

      Well, he was clearly only thinking about basketball (to help explain ditching ND and USF), but he’s still an idiot. His logic is quite strange. He says ND can go because they only joined in 1995, but USF is the only 2003 joinee he thinks it is OK to boot (not UC, UL, DePaul and Marquette) because those 5 haven’t been around long enough. TCU is safe, too. So I guess you need 10-20 years to be eligible to boot out, and clearly football is a non-factor in his eyes. I think it’s safe to say he isn’t looking at the big picture.

      It says something about the league that their fans think this way. Their Wikipedia page is telling, too. Football is the fourth sport listed, after MBB, WBB and LAX. It’s also fourth for the ACC, but their sports are listed alphabetically.

    • Michael in Indy says:

      I’ve got a better idea:

      Split the conference in two.

      One conference would have:
      – The 8 existing football schools;
      – TCU;
      – The tenth football school (either UCF or Villanova);
      – Non-football member Georgetown (to appease Syracuse and UConn); and
      – One among non-football members Notre Dame, St. John’s, and Villanova (for ND’s national appeal or for direct access to Philadelphia or New York markets).

      The other would have:
      – Providence, Seton Hall, DePaul, and Marquette;
      – Two among Notre Dame, St. John’s, and Villanova; and
      – Four more private, preferably northern, likely Catholic, basketball-oriented schools such as Xavier, Dayton, Butler, Detroit-Mercy, Temple, St. Joseph’s, and Saint Louis.

      The first conference, comprised of 12 teams in everything except football instead of a ridiculous 17 or 18, could have a 16-game conference schedule, with each school having two permanent, double-round-robin rivals (the same model used by the ACC).

      The second conference, comprised of 10 teams, would remain in huge markets and keep many big-time programs. It could use an 18-game full double round-robin schedule (the model that the Big 12 will use next year).

      With fewer conference games, old-line Big East programs like Georgetown, Syracuse, Pitt, UConn could still schedule plenty of games against the northeastern Catholic schools while everyone else in both leagues would be relieved of playing schools they have few connections with.

    • M says:

      That article is full of awesome. From the title (“Big East: It’s Own Worse Enemy”), to his modest proposal to kick out ND and have them join the B1G, to “I’m Ron Burgandy?”-level adventures in punctuation (“Yes, some teams need this tournament to play their way into the field of now 68, but my argument here is the aforementioned 18 previous games you just compiled over a span of three months now becomes irrelevant?”), the author demonstrates a vague understanding of college athletics, conference realignment, and the English language.

      The one correct point of that article is that the Big East sucks in the tournament. Every big upset seems to involve a Big East team going down:
      14 Ohio over 3 Georgetown
      5 Butler over 1 Syracuse
      6 Xavier over 3 Pitt
      11 Washington over 6 Marquette
      10 St Mary’s over 2 Villanova
      11 Dayton over 6 WVU
      10 Davidson over 2 Georgetown
      11 Winthrop over 6 ND
      12 TAMU over 5 Syracuse
      13 Bradley over 4 Pitt
      11 George Mason over 1 UConn

      Of the 11 teams the Big East is supposedly primed to get into the 2011 tournament, the only ones to not embarrass themselves at least once in the last 5 years are St John’s (0 appearances) and Louisville.

      • ezdozen says:

        Really? Since when is a 4-5 seeding gap a “big upset”? If that is the case, there were many big upsets last year, including some involving the Big 10:

        6 Tennessee over 2 Ohio St.
        12 Cornell over 4 Wisconsin

        Other 2010 “Big Upsets”

        9 Northern Iowa over 1 Kansas–probably the biggest upset of the tournament
        12 Cornell over 5 Temple
        11 Washington over 3 New Mexico

        I know it is fashionable to hate the Big East, but get over it.

        • Michael in Indy says:

          I don’t think it’s fashionable to hate the Big East at all. In fact, I’m perplexed why there’s not more backlash to the way the league brags on itself yet doesn’t come through in the NCAA tournament year after year.

          In 2006, and in most years since then, there was a huge backlash against the Big Ten because that league had the #1 and #2 football teams for much of that season, and both fell flat on their faces in the postseason. The backlash was just as bad this past season because of the 5 New Year’s Day losses, including losses by two of its three top ten teams.

          But Big Ten football fans and coaches have readily admitted for years that the league has been at least a little down. They’re not pretending the Big Ten is the center of the college football universe (although Jim Delany still needs to accept that idea by dumping “Legends and Leaders”). Big East basketball fans and coaches send the opposite message. Some are so convinced the league is so tough that the regular season keeps them from winning national titles. Some coaches say things like, “this is the greatest basketball conference of all time.”

          Look, I can hardly stand the SEC, but at least SEC football fans could back up that kind of claim. Big East fans can’t, yet the story every single year is, “Oh my goodness. The Big East is so amazing!” At some point, the league either needs to produce a national champion, or it needs to get the same kind of backlash that Big Ten football has been getting for the past five years.

    • Jake says:

      It’s worth pointing out that the athletes in question had already been kicked off of their teams and were on their way out of the school before this incident occurred back in 2006. Yes, TCU probably shouldn’t have taken a chance on those guys (particularly Lorenzo Jones), but should a university be responsible for every misdeed that one student perpetrates on another?

      • Brian says:

        Hey, it happens to every school on occasion. Welcome to the big leagues. Leaning on the prof to keep a player eligible is a nice touch. TCU really is ready for AQ status.

        As to your question, every school is responsible for the actions of their students to a certain extent. Especially when they make exceptions to their admittance guidelines to admit them. Once a student has shown warning signs of violence, however, the school bears a significant responsibility for future violent actions.

  40. bullet says:


    Interesting article on Larry Scott’s visit to Colorado. Lots of discussion of TV, allocations, scheduling, future expansion.

    • Brian says:

      It’s interesting that they are stuck at 6 bowl tie-ins for now. They’ll probably provide an at-large team, at least in years they don’t send 2 to the BCS. Some lesser bowls are going to be happy to get P12 #7 instead of MAC #3.

      • bullet says:

        There are so many bowls now, it really doesn’t matter, except that the conferences have to do some horse trading late in the game. The Sun Belt even sent two 6-6 teams to bowls last year. The only eligible teams not to go were WMU 6-6 and Temple 8-4 in the MAC. The MAC had the misfortune of being the backup team on the wrong bowls while the Sun Belt was on the right bowls (where conferences didn’t qualify enough teams). Had GT beaten UGA and UK beaten TN on the last weekend everyone eligible would have made it.

        • Richard says:

          Well, it matters only in terms of money, as the bowls left scrambling for at-larges usually don’t pay as well as the middle tier bowls (one of which I expect the P12 to add during the next round of negotiations).

          • Nostradamus says:

            I would say the Big 12 likely loses a mid to lowea Bowl partner to the Pac Ten in the next round of bowl tie-ins, but I’m not sure which one would switch. Obviously wouldn’t be the Holiday or the Alamo as the Pac 12 is the other partner. Wouldn’t be the Cotton or Texas as the Big 12 has the tie-ins due to Texas. Insight is likely out, because the Big 12 is in that game due to the Fiesta Bowl connections. That leaves the Pinstripe, but I doubt the Pac 12 has interest in playing a game outdoors at Yankee Stadium against the Big East either…

          • Richard says:

            It’s not at all clear that there will be a Fiesta Bowl connection to the B12 next time the bowls are negotiated.

          • Nostradamus says:

            Maybe maybe not, but the relations to the Insight Bowl people through the Big XII’s Fiesta Bowl ties are very strong. The Insight would be one of the more surprising losses for the Big XII.

          • Eric (ohio1317) says:

            I could see the Pinstripe (if it’s still around in 4 years, I think the economy is going to take out a lot of bowls), going to the Big Ten. Big Ten vs. Big East is much more natural in New York City than Big East vs. Big 12.

          • Michael in Indy says:

            My best guess is that the Insight will switch from Big 12 to Pac 12. I think the tie-in to the Fiesta Bowl is secure–selling tickets to the Big 12 champs hasn’t been nearly the issue that the Orange has had with the ACC–but that doesn’t mean the Fiesta Bowl has to guarantee a tie-in for the Insight. The Big 12 didn’t even have a tie-in to the Insight Bowl from 2002-2005, so it’s not as though this is a major tradition.

            The Pinstripe Bowl will probably go to another league as well. Assuming the Big East keeps its association, the other one would probably go to the Big Ten or maybe the ACC.

            The middle-tier bowls know the Big 12 is going to have fewer bowl-eligible teams in the coming years, not just because of the loss of two teams, but also because the league’s 9-game schedule will add five losses to be shared among the remaining ten teams. Fourth and fifth choice teams will often be 6-6 or 7-5 when in the past they would have been 8-4 or 9-3.

  41. bullet says:

    I had to get right back after seeing the article below. Hockey officials didn’t feel like this was good. They had a very strong reaction to impropriety on the ice:


    • Brian says:

      He should have sent out the Hanson brothers instead, or were they the ones in the fights?

      • bullet says:

        They were the fighters. The talented one, Ned, was the stripper. The big suspension really reminds me of that scene at the end where the people brawling were disgusted.

        I really liked that song. Unusual for a song to get played that much in one movie. It has a pretty good role in the Family Stone as well with Sarah Jessica Parker, but that’s not a sports movie unless you consider the brother’s slap fighting match a sport.

  42. swesleyh says:

    Hey Alan from Baton Rouge, I have a question for you. What is the only college athletic program to finish the football season ranked in the top 25 and have the men and women’s basketball teams ranked in the top 25 and as icing on the cake have the men’s baseball and women’s softball teams tanked in the top 25 today? Five GOLD stars for you if you answered Texas A&M!

    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      swesleyh – You may as well throw in your track titles from last year as well while you’re patting yourself on the back. Congrats, Aggies on finally developing an all-around athletic department.

  43. M says:

    A nice interview with “Senior Associate Commissioner” of the Big Ten on Off Tackle Empire:

    9 conference games appears to be the goal of the league office and they claim to have support from much of the league. The implementation issue appears to be more logistical and existing schedules than desire to stay at 8.

    For the division names, “The plan for 2011 is to ‘test’ the names the same way that we test all of our brand components on an on-going basis.” To me that sounds like they aren’t going anywhere.

    On the conference championship game location, “I think that we have had a lot of interest from a lot of different venues, and our athletic directors have discussed it in the context of basketball tournaments that are coming up for renewal after the 2011-2012 season, so it’s still sort of an open question.” That vaguely sounds like they might try to package the two events together.

    On the possibility of a Big Ten school going Texas on everyone: “I can’t really speak to any other conference and what it might lead to, but as far as the Big Ten is concerned, the Big Ten network as we’ve created it could not have been established without a long term commitment from our institutions, and all the Big Ten institutions have made a long term commitment through an assignment of television rights. So I don’t see that as something that could happen for a long period of time.”

    • Richard says:

      Actually, it makes me think that they would put the football title game and basketball tournament in different cities.

      As for a 9-game conference slate: Wow. I guess we’ll see that by 2020. It’ll mean everybody except NU, IU, PU, & maybe Minny will have 1 BCS home-and-home, one FCS game, and another (likely MAC) home game as their OOC schedule, though some schools may be OK with a 6-5-1 scheduling arrangement some years (neutral site instead of the MAC home game). Goodbye to two-for-ones. Northwestern may end up having one of the more challenging OOC slates in the conference most years, since we’ll be scheduling 2 academic peers home-and-home along with an FCS team. Maybe IU, PU, and Minny as well.

      • Brian says:


        Not everyone schedules I-AA games. This year MI and OSU don’t have one. In fact, OSU has only played 2 I-AA games (’07 and ’08 versus Youngstown St, Tressel’s previous coaching job). Another one may happen if there is a last minute schedule hole to fill, but otherwise OSU has a pretty good track record on this.

        The thing with NW scheduling academic peers (Rice, Duke, etc I assume) is that most of them stink at football even if they are I-A teams. For a team that should go to a bowl every year, you can’t complain about Duke or Rice making for a tough schedule. ND and the current Stanford (not sure how long they’ll stay good), yes, but not the others.

        And I’m very carefully not saying I told you so about the 9 games conference schedule. Many people have mentioned it as likely (Delany, Gene Smith, now Rudner). I think this is another case of the relationship amongst the schools taking precedence over the self-interest of the top programs. OSU has never complained (at least not publicly) about going to 9.

    • jj says:

      Have we discussed this at length? Would they be looking at keeping just 1 or now having 2 annual games against the other division in going to 9? Not sure which I favor.

      • Bullet says:

        If you schedule on a 4 year basis, a 5-1-3 ends up being the same as a 5-2-2: i.e. two teams all 4 years, four teams 2 years for a total of 16. Over 8 years you could have:
        1-8 times
        2-6 times
        3-4 times

      • Brian says:

        My guess is they would stay at 1 locked rival, but let’s look at it logically. Which rivalries aren’t being played every year under the 5-1-2 plan? The only big ones are IA/WI, IA/PSU, MI/PSU, NE/WI and NE/OSU. The problem is that of these 5 choices, only 6 schools are listed.

        So if everybody adds one more, you can add IA/WI, MI/PSU and OSU/NE and fans and TV execs would be thrilled. Of course that also guarantees 1 more loss for 3 of the top 6 programs, which might please that next tier of schools more than these 6. These 3 games eliminate the other choices I listed, though. What do you do with the other 6 teams? I’d guess you go with NW/PU, MN/IN and MSU/IL. Would these schools prefer to lock in these games or see the top 6 teams a little more often? These games are better for their winning percentage, but the big 6 are better for their finances.

        I think the best answer is a compromise. Lock IA/WI and put those schools on a 5-2-2 schedule. Put the other 10 schools on a 5-1-3. That preserves the one really important rivalry that was lost and keeps WI more connected with their neighbors. IA gains a true rivalry instead of IA/PU and it also gives WI a tougher rivalry game to make up for WI/MN, so WI’s schedule will be more comparable to the big 4 teams’ schedules.

        You could lock MI/PSU, but I’m not sure they really want to be locked. They weren’t great rivals yet (it might have been over time, but each had a bigger rival) and I think the other schools appreciate more chances to play them. As is, they’ll see each other 6 out of 10 years. It’s definitely better for NE to spread out their games rather than being locked into another rivalry. This way they get more familiar with everybody quicker.

        • Richard says:

          Scotch the Iowa/PU tie-in.
          Replace with
          Iowa/Illinois &

          NU/PU (restores the annual game, even though we’re not rivals, but I’m sure PU would like to visit Chicagoland regularly)
          MSU/PU (next door neighbors)
          Minny/IU (left overs, though at least it’s fair since they’re the weakest teams in each division)

          • Brian says:

            So you would leave the big 4 to float but lock the other 8 into 2 games (just checking)? Why not lock in two more big rivalries at that point. Sure, you’ll make the CCG a repeat most years, but the TV ratings will be great during the year and the CCG may well be a repeat anyway.

            In a 5-1-3 PU will still visit Chicago regularly. Locking in NW/PU prevents other teams from getting there as often, though, so why would it be better for the league? As you said, it’s not a rivalry. I considered pairing MSU/PU instead of NW/PU, but liked my 3 games slightly better.

            I think the conference is better served by a 5-1-3 model than a 5-2-2, but would consider locking IA/WI for the reasons I mentioned above. Seeing more different opponents is better for league cohesiveness, especially for NE and even PSU.

          • Richard says:

            Uh, I was going with 5-2-2 for all. I didn’t think there was disagreement on Michigan/PSU & UNL/tOSU so didn’t list them.

            In any case, I don’t think the B10 will have different setups for some teams than others. It’s either 5-2-2 or 5-1-3 for all.

          • jj says:

            I can think of 8 schools that might disagree with that. If the whole point if these ying yang divisions was to spread these 4 around, then do it.

            As for msu, we better not get iu and pur, in bb this would be fine, but it’s bs in fb.

          • Richard says:

            Playing tOSU & PSU 3/5th of the time instead of 1/2 the time? I wouldn’t think that’d be a big deal.

            Think of it this way: you’d have an easier path to the conference title game if Michigan & Nebraska have to play tOSU & PSU every year & Iowa at least has to contend with Wisconsin (& Illinois) while MSU gets to play the 2 Indiana schools.

            Of course, that severely unbalanced scheduling may make a 5-2-2 less likely.

          • Brian says:


            I initially assumed you were pairing them, then on re-reading I wasn’t as sure. That’s why I asked.

            I agree the B10 is most likely to go all 5-1-3 or all 5-2-2, but in this case I think they might consider an exception as they clearly wished they could have also preserved WI/IA. That’s the only game I ever heard them admit regretting was lost.

            I think many of the schools would object to facing OSU or MI (and PSU or NE to a lesser extent) less often. I realize it isn’t a big difference but I still think they would object. The big 4 probably wouldn’t be thrilled either.

          • @Brian – I do think that being able to play 4 more games (2 more games each) per 12-year cycle against the Big 4 schools in the opposite division (especially Michigan and Ohio State), which is the difference between a 5-1-3 schedule versus a 5-2-2 schedule, is a much bigger deal for the other Big Ten schools than we’re giving it credit for. A ticket boost due to an additional marquee name on the schedule even once every six years is not insignificant and those are additional opportunities to get onto ABC that the “lesser” schools might not have otherwise had for exposure purposes. It would also be one thing if every school had a clear 2nd cross-division rival, but I really don’t think that’s the case outside of Wisconsin-Iowa.

            Ever since I heard that Michigan had been firmly in the camp of expanding the conference schedule even before expansion, I’ve been certain that it would pass as that’s one of the schools whose financial interests on paper indicate it ought to play 4 non-conference home games per year if possible. As I’ve pointed out before, it was never a big deal for the SEC schools to see conference foes fall off the schedule for 3 or 4 years in a row when it expanded to 12 because they never had a history of playing each other that often outside of particular rivalry games, anyway. The Big Ten is the opposite with most of the schools having played each other for over 100 years without anything more than an infrequent one or two year break. They all still want to play each other as much as possible.

          • Michael in Indy says:

            It’s not possible for Wisconsin and Iowa to have a 5-2-2 schedule and for everyone else to have 5-1-3.

            A 5-1-3 schedule would have Ohio State the other five teams six times in ten years, but Iowa’s 5-2-2 schedule would only allow OSU to play five times.

          • Richard says:

            Thinking of it more, I take back what I said about 2-for-1’s. IU & PU may schedule plenty of them with MAC or even SunBelt schools. The schools that want 7 home games, though, likely won’t do them unless they don’t care about ending up with absolutely crap OOC schedules. However, Wisconsin & Iowa may do 2-for-1-neutral or home-and-neutral site series with NIU with the neutral site game at Soldier Field if they don’t mind a 6-5-1 schedule some years. Same for MSU if the neutral site is Ford Field. Would Illinois go with a 6-5-1 schedule some of the time if some other school consents to holding their “home game” in Chicago or St. Louis (with Illinois getting some payout of the neutral site game)?

            Could we possibly see the Iowa-ISU series continue but with half the ISU “home” games held in Chicago (or even the Twin Cities, StL or KC) instead?

          • Brian says:


            I think you’re right. The math would require 2 locked rivalries, not just 1. I don’t think there is a good second alternative.

            IA/WI could be played OOC in years they aren’t scheduled to meet in B10 play, but IA would never agree since they need their annual free win over ISU.

            I think 5-1-3 for everybody is the end result.

          • Brian says:


            Yes, I think for both financial and emotional reasons the other schools want to see OSU and MI as much as possible.

            The only reason the B10 would consider 5-2-2, in my opinion, is if WI needs to be placated. They had the most complaints about the new divisions, so the other 11 might concede this point to them if they really want it.

            The current 5-1-2 means the other eight schools see the two out of division big 4 teams 40% of the time each. Going to a 5-2-2 would mean seeing them 50% of the time, so it’s still a net gain if the B10 goes straight to a 5-2-2.

            A 5-1-3 would make it 60%, so it is a sacrifice, but the lower six teams would still be gaining. The top teams aren’t fighting adding a 9th game, so maybe the lower 6 teams wouldn’t fight a 5-2-2 for WI. The match-ups would be the question.

            The big 4 might well resist another pairing between themselves (they already play 2 of 3 every year). Technically the B10 could put just 4 teams on a 5-2-2 and leave the rest on a 5-1-3, but that isn’t a great choice either.

            I think the best choice in this case would be an easier rival for the big four, similar to WI/MN. Perhaps WI/IA, MI/IL (rivalry), NE/PU (best choice left), PSU/MSU (PSU liked that game), OSU/NW (best choice left) and IN/MN (competitive).

            Personally, I think they would and should stay with a 5-1-3 and tell WI to suck it up. WI still has MN and will see NE and IA 60% of the time. If they feel the need, they could play IA or NE OOC.

          • bullet says:

            As much as they are talking balance, forcing the Big 4 to play each other more would contradict that. I’m not sure the Big 4 or the Little 8 would like it.

            You could keep WI/IA happy with a 5-1-3 where the “1” was a “free to schedule your own game.” Setup every opponent twice in 4 years for the “3.” So over 8 years you would have 32 games:
            1 team 8 times
            3 teams 4 times
            and then you could have either:
            2 teams 6 times or 1 4 and 1 8.

            WI/IA could do the 2X8 + 4X4 while most of the schools would do 1X8 + 2X6 + 3X4.

          • jj says:

            Put me down for the 522 with Iowa/wisc and msu/psu back on. I like mich/Ill as well.

          • Richard says:

            & breaking up Iowa/PU:

            I think Iowa certainly cares more about playing Illinois than Michigan does, and, ask Frank, but I expect the most Illini would be OK with Iowa instead of Michigan as well (while the Indiana schools would definitely want more Michigan), so


            IU & PU both get a superpower, and since IU had a series with UNL & PU is closer to Michigan:


          • Pat says:

            MSU would love to get PSU back on their schedule each year as the season ending rivalry game. MSU gave that up so NEB could play PSU annually. I know people make fun of the Land Grant Trophy, but it was slowly catching on, and it’s actually a quality game that ABC/ESPN can televise over Thanksgiving weekend. When the divisions were being negotiated, MSU’s two big requests were to be in the same division as MI and NW. MSU’s largest alumni group is in Chicago and the schools are within easy driving distance for the fans. I think the conference will go to 5-2-2 and restore this game along with IA/Wisc.
            MI and PSU is always a good attraction, but it lacks the “passion” of other UM rivalries. UM used to have a decent rivalry with IL until some bad blood developed between Mike White and Bo back in the 80’s. Seems like that rivalry hasn’t been the same since. More likely that MI would play PU as their second crossover game.

          • Brian says:


            From the outside, IL/MI has been pretty spicy for a while. I’ve never noticed that with IL/IA, maybe because it just isn’t on ESPN as much. IA has NE, WI, MN and ISU as bigger rivalries than IL. I can’t speak for the Illini fan base, so I checked a couple of IL blogs. They said IL’s biggest rivalry was with MI, but their biggest mutual rivalry was with IA. I think that matches what I’ve felt and what you said. IL would be happy with either team and PU probably would prefer MI for ticket sales.

            The problem I see with your match-ups is that you gave NW by far the easiest pair of rivals (IL, PU) while MN got screwed (WI and OSU). MI (PU) and PSU (MSU) might also object to OSU (MN), NE (IN), WI (MN) and IA (IL) getting a much easier second rival. Things like this gets fans stirred up.

            After numerical analysis, I think your pairings make for more fair schedules than the current 5-1-2 or the pairings I listed (not that I was focused on that). The current schedule really hurts MI while helping MSU and WI. Your pairings reduce the disparity between past success and projected schedule difficulty for those teams. The trouble would be convincing people of that. A 5-1-3 schedule has the same effects, just not quite as much.

            Nobody would shed a tear for the IA/PU game to not be locked, but I think a lot of fans would struggle to grasp that having inequality among rivalry opponents actually makes the total schedule more balanced.

          • @Brian – That’s probably a very fair assessment of the feelings of the Illinois fan base: we care the most about beating Michigan, but the Iowa rivalry (to the extent that you can call it a rivalry) is more mutual. I’ve never quite understood why the Big Ten has not bothered to try to nurture what I believe is a very natural border rivalry between Illinois and Iowa. There’s also the added factor that Iowa draws a massive number of students from the Chicago suburbs, which makes Illinois-Iowa almost a quasi-interstate game when it comes to the student bodies. (At my surburban Chicago high school alma mater, Iowa was the #2 destination in sheer numbers after Illinois, which is replicated in many other places.). Yet, as Greg separately pointed out, Illinois-Iowa has been falling off the conference schedule more often than normal. It makes little sense.

          • cutter says:

            As a Michigan fan, I’m looking forward to the nine-game confernce schedule setup. In the current arrangement, U-M has managed to play alternating seasons of seven and eight home games depending depending on where the annual game is played against Notre Dame.

            The new set up will cap the number of home games at seven, which means one less contest in Ann Arbor every two years. To get a good barometer of how much money the athletic department will lose on that game, I understand that Jerry Jones is paying Michigan around $4.7M to play Alabama in Dallas to open the 2012 season.

            OTOH, the cost of non-conference opponents is going up. Back in 2008, U-M paid Utah $800K to play in the season opening game. In 2011, Michigan is paying San Diego State $1.0M and in 2012, the Air Force Academy is getting $1.1M for its appearance in Ann Arbor.

            What I suspect is that Michigan’s non-conference schedule will be two MAC teams (which are less expenseive than ones from other conferences) plus the ongoing home-and-home series with Notre Dame. That said, I do expect there will be breaks in the UM-ND series in the near future as Texas creeps onto the Irish’s September schedule in 2015/16.

            I suspect that one of the major reasons why U-M would support this is because the television revenues/conference distributions have or will shortly more than offset the revenue lost from that home game. If the inventory of games for ABC/ESPN and the BTN is better due to the nine-confernce game setup, then I imagine the thinking is that this will result in increased television revenue.

            On a side note, I would eventually expect ND to drop its number of annual games against Big Ten opponents from the typical three to just two if the B1G opts to play all the non-conference games in the first three weeks of September. As a Michigan fan, I say hooray because it gives U-M to schedule some other marquee named teams in the upcoming decade.

            If the conference does go to nine games, that means U-M will be playing the teams from its own division (Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan State, Northwestern, Minnesota) plus one protected rival (Ohio State) and three of the remaining five teams in the other division (Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Purdue).

            If the conference does adapt a 5-2-2 setup, I could see Illinois as being a possible second set opponent. I just don’t think the confernce would want to see U-M play both PSU and Wisconsin in the same year because that means the Wolverines would be playing all the teams that would historically be in the top half of the conference. This sort of setup would help set aside that problem.

            If the confernce goes with 5-1-3, then I have to imagine the conference will have either PSU or Wisconsin play U-M and then two of the remaining three (Indiana, Purdue, and Illinois).

            One thing the nine-game conference schedule does do is make it more likely the championship game between the two division champs will be a rematch from the regular season. This will be an interesting dynamic and it will be worth watching what happens in the Pac 12 to see how that dynamic plays out.

            One final note on the Michigan-Penn State rivalry. I think some people on the board have underestimated how quickly it developed and how firmly rooted it became in short order. U-M won the first game in a classic matchup, then lost the next three in excruciating fashion. In 1997, both teams were undefeated and Michigan won in convincing fashion. U-M generally owned the series for most of the remaining years, winning some of the games in spectacular fashion. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUTwWJ-4_XQ

            The balance tipped in Penn State’s favor when Rodriguez took over. Now we’ll see what happens as Hoke take over at U-M and I assume Tom Bradley formally replaces Paterno in the near future.

          • @cutter – I agree that the Michigan-Penn State matchup quickly developed as fairly spirited (if not heated). One of the conditions that Penn State negotiated prior to joining the Big Ten was that they would play Michigan annually for the first ten years as a member of the conference without a break even though they weren’t officially protected rivals. So, that was certainly an indication that PSU cared about playing Michigan as much as possible.

            From a conference perspective, Penn State and Michigan are the Big Ten’s 2 most popular schools on the East Coast by a wide margin, so that’s one incentive in keeping that rivalry going if the 5-2-2 format is adopted.

          • greg says:

            The IA/IL rivalry is dying due to scheduling. After playing 10 times in the 90s and again in 2000, they’ve played 6 of the last 10 years, and don’t play in 2011/2012. They may not even play in 2013, when it will have been 6 of 12.

            They also didn’t play between 1952 and 1967, which seems weird. 69 times overall, which is 6th most for Iowa.



          • Richard says:

            Er? If the B10 goes to 5-1-3, Michigan’s protected interdivisional opponent would be tOSU. If it’s 5-2-2, the second protected opponent would be PSU (if the league decides to match up all the top dogs against each other) or most likely one of the Indiana schools if they don’t match the top 4 against each other.

            Also, if the league goes to a 9-game conference slate, I expect ND to start a 4 years on, 2 years off rotation with PU, MSU, & Michigan (so only 2 of those 2 during any year), which would allow MSU & Michigan to play interesting non-ND OOC opponents every so often. ND may substitute tOSU or PSU in there every so often as well.

            BTW, ND could fit it’s B10 opponents in to the first 4 weeks of the schedule (as has been done historically, with PU or MSU having their open slot during the first week of conference play which they fill with ND).

          • Richard says:

            BTW, if the league goes to a 5-2-2 while matching the top 4 brands against each other, it may make for an unfair schedule (between the top 4 and the others), but it would also ensure that every B10 school plays exactly 3 of the top dogs every year.

            Despite the unfairness, such symmetry appeals to me.

            It would also make it more likely that a one-loss B10 champ could get in to the national title game if it came down to a bunch of one-loss teams contending for a spot (or 2) in the BCS championship game.

          • Brian says:


            With MI in favor of 9 games and OSU, PSU and NE not at least publicly against it, it seems pretty likely to happen.

            With a 5-1-3 schedule, the B10 would rotate opponents as always. There are 10 sets of possible opponents for MI under that scenario. That means 6 out of 20 years, MI will play both PSU and WI. Another 6 each they will play just PSU or just WI. In 2 of 20 years they won’t play either one.

            As for a 5-2-2, the Big Ten would have to make a choice. Assuming MI was paired with OSU and IL, that leaves PSU, WI, PU and IN. The B10 will have to decide if they rotate through all possible pairings or if they would just pair PSU & PU, WI & IN, PSU & IN and WI & PU. That would skip years with PSU & WI and PU & IN. Skipping those pairings may make it difficult to balance everybody’s schedule. It would be nice if they did that for everyone, though.

            The problem with MI/PSU is that it was never the primary rivalry for either team. MI had OSU and MSU before PSU, and PSU had OSU (and Pitt, although they never play them anymore). The emotion is never the same when you get to a lesser rivalry for a team. They were some great games, though.

          • Brian says:


            Yes, PSU wanted to play MI but they also wanted OSU and MSU as they were the nearest schools and all have big fan bases. MI already had 2 locked opponents while OSU and MSU each had 1, so they made their deal. It made perfect financial sense for a school joining a new conference without any built in rivals (PSU’s most common opponent before joining was MSU with 10 games and they had never played MI before joining the B10). They wanted close by games with name brand teams, not a schedule loaded with IN, PU and MN as an entry into the league.

            PSU/MI is a nice series that brings out the best in both teams, but it’ll never have the emotion of the bigger rivalries and that’s OK. From a scheduling standpoint, though, I don’t think you want to lock in that many losses for the top tier programs every year. That’s bad for national perception. Plus, it will leave some marquee match-ups for the CCG that aren’t rematches.

          • Brian says:


            I think the problem is that IA/IL has gotten lost in the shuffle. As I said earlier, IA now has at least 4 rivals more important to them (ISU, NE, WI, MN), and lately PSU and NW have been rivals. That doesn’t leave much room for IL.

            On IL’s part, they have MO, OSU and MI and an in state game that is getting more important as NW improves. Amazingly that series is almost even at 53-46-5 (8-10 since 1993). Between that and their lack of recent sustained success, they haven’t been able to build the IA rivalry.

            Since 1993, IL has played IA 14 times (also MI, PSU, WI and MN). They’ve only played NW (18), OSU (16) and IN (16) more. Likewise, IA has played MN (18), WI (16), NW (16) and IN (16) more. Both schools have played multiple teams only 12 times.

            I don’t think the B10 has prevented IL/IA from growing, it just isn’t a priority for the B10 or either school. If the B10 stayed at 11, IL/IA would have cycled back into playing more often. They played 8 straight years (’93-’00), took 2 years off, then played 6 straight years (’03-’08) before taking 2 more off. I know they don’t play the next 2 years either, but that’s an artifact of going to 12 teams and having a bunch of other games that had to be scheduled. They were scheduled to play each other before the schedules changed. We were 4 years into the 8 years schedule cycle that started in ’07.

            Here’s a good story about it from the IA point of view:

          • Richard says:

            It’s somewhat amazing how many rivalries Iowa has/will have (or will play in games where the other side will bring extra emotion). There are the natural rivalries (Minny, ISU, UNL, Wiscy) as well as games where rivalries have somewhat inexplicably developed (NU & PSU) + another game where there’s a bit of extra feeling as well (Illinois). I don’t think any other B10 school has close to that many red-letter games. Michigan’s rivals all have strong feelings about it, but there are only 4 (OSU, MSU, Minny, & ND). Illinois could potentially have as many rivals as Iowa (4 conference neighbors, an in-state rival in NU, an OOC neighbor in Mizzou, and a trophy game with a non-bordering school in OSU), but I don’t think any of Illinois’s 7 potential rivals feel as strongly when playing the Illini as the least riled up of Iowa’s 7 rivals when playing (or will play, in the case of UNL) the Hawkeyes.

          • Richard says:

            Oh wait, I guess there’s also Illinois-Michigan, though it’s hard to call something a rivalry when one side doesn’t even know it gets under the craw of the other side.

          • Brian says:


            Don’t believe the hype. MI knows it gets under the skin of IL and MI enjoys it. MI is big on downplaying rivalries as if they don’t care, but the fans do seem to care. They just like to look down on everyone else as beneath their notice.

          • Brian says:


            OSU and MI also get a rivalry-like effect from almost every team they play. Everyone wants to beat those two and gets excited for the game. PSU and NE get that to a lesser extent just due to lack of history in the conference. It goes with being a name brand.

          • Richard says:


            Not quite the same thing. Of course, any team that’s on top would draw extra attention, but if that emphasis goes away after a period of mediocrity, then there isn’t a rivalry there. For instance, to NU fans, beating Michigan feels a little blase these days, but even if Iowa descended to Minny’s quality of play, I think there’d still be a hard edge to both the play of the players and banter between the fans.

          • Brian says:

            NW feels blase about beating MI right now? They won in ’08, ’00, ’95-’96 and ’65. It’s not like they’ve been repeatedly beating them like OSU, or even played them in all of these down years. I somehow doubt it feels the same as beating IN or MN or PU, though.

          • Richard says:

            True, we haven’t played Michigan so often recently. However, I know it’s hard for you to believe, but beating the RichRod Wolverines would have been as momentous as beating MSU. In fact, there’s a bit more heat with MSU at the moment (for NU). It’s the same with OSU. We haven’t beaten the Buckeyes since forever (OK, once since forever), but if OSU gets in to a funk where they have trouble reaching .500 each year, after the first win over you folks, games with OSU would be as special as games with MSU.

          • greg says:

            re: blase about beating UM

            Lots of Iowa fans act like beating UM the last two years is no big deal. I think its a big deal, we’ve beaten them about 8 times in the last 60 years, so I’m not going to shrug off back-to-back wins.

            Then again, a lot of fans seem to do all they can to find as little joy in winning as possible. In a sport where you average 8 or 9 wins a year if you are lucky, I take great joy in any win.

          • Brian says:


            I doubt the older alumni and fans would agree. It’s not like even RichRod could keep MI down as a losing team for long, though.

            As a rival I’d love to beat MI 500-0 from now to the end of time and would enjoy every single win. The emotions change when the risk of losing goes way down, but I fully enjoyed embarrassing the RichRod teams no matter how bad they were. I don’t expect NW to feel quite that strongly, but any NW fan that lets 7 winning seasons in 16 years (and also in 39 years) go to their head enough to stop enjoying beating MI or OSU deserves another 20 years of losing seasons to reset expectations.

          • Richard says:


            That’s the difference between rivalry games and non-rivalry games. Against a rival, the more they suck, the more you relish playing them, because you want to beat them down as much as possible. Against a non-rival, the more they suck, the less interesting they get. For instance, if Wisconsin (or Nebraska) started stringing together 2-win seasons, would your desire to play & beat them go down or stay the same?

            Again, it seems hard for you to understand, but not everyone considers Michigan or OSU a rival.

          • Brian says:


            Beating IN is enjoyable. Beating NW is enjoyable. It’s not as great as beating MI, but still great fun. Beating a down MI is less fun than a good MI, but it is still very enjoyable. Being a rivalry means it matters more during the week, but any conference win is fun. Part of that is because conference titles are expected at OSU, so all conference wins are important and exciting and even a small part of the MI rivalry. The only wins that really don’t mean much are non-AQ or FCS.

            You can downplay MI all you want, but I’ve seen fans surveys. MI and OSU are the most hated teams in the B10, and therefore beating them is important and enjoyable. If you don’t enjoy it, I think the evidence indicates that you are an outlier.

          • Richard says:


            Read again. I didn’t say there is ever no joy in winning. I said that the difference between a rival and non-rival is that the intensity of feeling towards a non-rival goes down the more they suck, but that doesn’t happen with a true rival. Also you’d have to exclude external factors like the impact it has on your conference or national title chances. If that’s a big reason why you care about beating a team, then it’s not a rivalry game.

          • Brian says:


            OSU beating MI wasn’t as enjoyable these past 3 years because MI was so bad. According to you, that means OSU/MI isn’t a rivalry. All wins mean less when the opponent is down.

            There are exceptions, of course, like if you’re CalTech winning a conference hoops game for the first time since 1985 or NW beating N Illinois in football in 1982 to snap a 34 game losing streak.

            I never said NW/MI was a rivalry. I said MI gets a rivalry-like effect in that opponents play them harder and the fans get more into it during the game. It may be hard to notice the fan effect at NW, however.

            Maybe the younger NW fans have become jaded from almost 20 years of being average, but I think that is generational. Getting uppity after going 4-8 (2-8 since ’97)?

          • Richard says:

            Maybe it isn’t then. I just can’t imagine Alabama or Auburn caring any less about beating the other team even if the other side was winless heading in to the Iron Bowl.

          • Jake says:

            @Richard et al: I know I always relish watching TCU beat SMU, no matter how terrible they are. There is a bit more satisfaction in beating them when they think they might win, however.

  44. Mike says:

    Expansion and ACC basketball: The ACC is down.

    It’s [the league] become watered-down.

    “We’ve taken for granted the golden goose for a long time,” said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who was vehemently opposed to expansion before the league approved it six years ago. “We have to look at the old goose and see if it’s still golden. If it’s not, we have to get it there.”

    “This is still the best conference,” he added.

    • Michael in Indy says:

      I totally disagree with the notion that expansion hurt the ACC.

      One expansion team, Virginia Tech, is doing in its part, currently standing in fourth place. Meanwhile teams that were once major forces in college basketball are struggling.

      The ACC has been down because ACC coaches aren’t recruiting and coaching up their players as well as they once did. Virginia chronically fails to live up to its potential. NC State was too blinded by the success of its neighbors Duke and UNC to recognize a good coach (Herb Syndek) when it had one, so they replaced the unemotional “outsider” with a fiery “Wolfpack man,” who’s a great guy but doesn’t win. Wake Forest had a great coach, but then he tragically died in his office. I don’t know why Maryland and Georgia Tech are struggling, but it has nothing to do with expansion.

      Besides, the ACC doesn’t need to be envious of anyone. It gets more money for basketball than anyone else–including the 16-team Big East–and in terms of national titles, the ACC–not the Big East–is the SEC of college basketball. As a matter of fact, the ACC has won as many national titles since 2001 as the Big East has for its entire existence. (Louisville’s titles don’t count for the Big East, just as Miami’s football titles don’t count for the ACC.) Heck, since 1990, Big East teams have made the championship game four times to the ACC’s twelve.

      • Brian says:

        I think a lot of what Coach K sees is the cycling of teams up and down, especially as coaches change. If he’d ever get a talented, athletic big man again Duke could get back to where they were 10 years ago and stop losing to FSU. NC is briefly down, but not much. UVA needs the next Ralph Sampson and WF needs another Tim Duncan. MD has been down on talent, too.

        I think his reference is more to the excitement, and maybe attendance, of fans than actual success (outside of this year). Adding FB schools did dilute the passion for hoops, but it also added some Ws for the big boys. BC likes hoops, but they are far away and not emotionally tied to the ACC that much. I don’t think as many fans turn out for the hoops tournament now, in part because there are more FB fans now.

        He may well be right that the league office spent too much time trying to build up FB (and not all that successfully) and neglected hoops. Any successful business requires constant attention to keep it at the top. I think as the new teams are around longer, things will improve. The hoops excitement will spread south. The league will focus on BB again. Part of what they need is for the FB CCG to be successful in Charlotte (or somewhere) so they can stop having to focus on it so much.

        • Michael in Indy says:

          The Charlotte game actually did do very well last year, which is exactly what I expected. Charlotte’s within 5 hours of 8 schools. Maryland’s under seven hours away, and FSU’s just over eight. It is by far the best location.

          • Brian says:

            I know it did well, but that’s only one game. I’ll reserve judgment until I see more. How do teams like WF, BC or Miami impact the crowd? Last year had a FSU team with excited fans hoping to finally be “back” playing VT. What happens when it’s a rematch of a bad game, or two weaker teams?

            Until this game proves itself, ACC HQ will continue to be distracted by it.

      • jj says:

        Acc is clearly superior to beast on a top to bottom view.

    • duffman says:

      link please?

  45. bullet says:


    The 28 for 25 rule really won’t solve the oversigning problem as shown in this article. While S. Carolina oversigned with 31 players, they also told at least 2 committed players to take a hike on signing day. Those players both committed over the summer. While the rule limits (with 28/25 instead of 25/25 it can still happen-just Les likely) the LSU extreme abuse of student athletes (kicking them out when they have already moved into the dorm), it still doesn’t stop schools from leaving students hanging in February by overcommitting.

    I think the NCAA just needs to publicize it. If HS coaches and players can see what the schools are doing it will hinder those schools abusing the rule. Just put up a list, name the school, coach AND college president. And have the historical info follow the coach around when he switches jobs.

    Another simple rule-make the President sign that he has approved signing 28 players when he only has 25 slots and have him send the letter to the NCAA, each of the 28 and their parents, making clear that 3 of the 28 will not get a scholarship in the fall. The embarrassment factor wouldn’t stop a coach, but it might stop the presidents.

  46. Richard says:

    Re: ND scheduling with the B10 going to 9 conference games (and P12 not playing OOC games after conference play starts):

    Unlike some people, I don’t think having fewer choices for opponents will “force” ND to give up independence or do anything they don’t want to do.

    What will happen, I think, is that ND will play only 2 of it’s traditional B10 rivals each year. The USC game would also have to go in to one of the first 4 weeks, which would feature the USC game, at least 2 B10 games, and a final slot that be filled by another AQ conference team (B10/P12/B12/SEC).

    After that, their choice of opponents will be limited. SEC teams aren’t opposed to playing OOC games after conference play starts, though the latest ND can get a date with an SEC team is likely early October (then again, ND doesn’t seem to care to play SEC schools, as none are scheduled for the next 6 years even though ND’s schedule is pretty filled out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish_football_future_schedule).

    Of the B12 schools, realistically, ND would be interested in only playing OU or Texas (maaaybe TAMU), and since they’ll be moving games to championship week, they’ll have open slots after conference play starts which, if they’re willing to play ND in the middle of conference play, they can fill with the Irish.

    However, the last 8 games will almost wholly consist of Navy/Army/BYU/AF, BE, and ACC opponents (maybe some non-AQ schools thrown in there as well). It seems likely that ND will (have to) play 3 BE schools every year going forward. Probably 3 of Navy/Army/BYU/AF most years as well. Then a non-AQ school with the rest filled by ACC teams.

    It’ll be interesting to see who ND schedules as their last opponent once the USC game is forced to move to the beginning of the season (by the P12). For a long time now, they’ve always ended the season some place warm (or at least warmer than South Bend). To me, that means frequent games with Miami seem likely as well as series with TCU, maybe USF, maybe even SMU, SDSU, UNLV, Rice, Tulane, & UCF. Definitely trips to Hawaii every so often. Probably neutral site games in warm-weather locales during Thanksgiving week several years as well.

    • Richard says:

      The only thing arguing against the ND-PU series taking breaks now and then is that they’ve played each other annually since 1946. However, I have read that ND was interested in taking breaks with both the MSU series (which they’re planning to do & which probably both schools want if the B10 has 9 conference games) and the PU series (which isn’t planned yet and which PU definitely wouldn’t want).

      If they want to play PU annually, then I see less games against MSU & Michigan.

      • Richard says:

        The other alternative is PU playing ND during a bye week in the middle of B10 conference play. The B10 doesn’t seem to care so much about OOC games after conference play starts any more, though B10 teams still generally don’t play top AQ opponents after conference play begins. Since it’s PU, though, the B10 may not care.

        If that’s so, PU-ND may well continue as an annual game (though often played after September) with ND taking breaks with MSU & Michigan (but likely filling in tOSU or PSU or maybe even Nebraska for Michigan).

      • Brian says:

        Looking since 1986, this is who ND has played:
        25 times – USC, Navy, Purdue
        23 – MSU
        21 – MI, Stanford
        19 – Pitt
        18 – BC
        13 – AF
        9 – PSU
        6 – UW, BYU, TN

        If the B10 goes to 9 games, I’d expect ND to maintain USC, Navy and maybe Pitt and BC as annual games. The question is how they deal with MI, MSU, Purdue and Stanford. Only USC (of the annuals) has to be in September, so they can play 3 of MI/MSU/Purdue/Stanford every year, and maybe all 4 if a B10 team makes a hole the first week of October. I’m not sure where ND’s preferences and loyalties lie among those teams.

        • Richard says:

          BC definitely doesn’t have to be an annual game (though ND’d be able to fit them in). Stanford doesn’t have to be an annual game either (it’s a relatively recent series). If they still want to play Stanford pretty regularly, though, then the first 4 weeks would be almost exclusively B10/P12 almost every year (Stanford, being in the P12, also would have to be a September game in the future).

          So their first 4 weeks could consist of USC & 2 of Michigan/MSU/Stanford with the PU game usually played after B10 conference play starts (week 5?)

          • Brian says:

            BC certainly doesn’t need to be annual, but they would be available in Oct or Nov and have been a frequent opponent. It’s a good reason to get to the northeast alumni and is a rare Catholic opponent.

            I’m thinking maybe Stanford is used to fill in breaks in the series with MI and MSU. They can set it up so they get to CA more often.

        • Has anyone seen a confirmation that the Pac-12 isn’t going to allow non-conference games once the conference schedule starts? I know that this has been highly speculated and Larry Scott might have mentioned this once, but it wasn’t anything close to a done deal to my knowledge. Notre Dame fans also haven’t really mentioned anything about having to move the USC or Stanford series to earlier in the year at all (and they’re typically very on top of scheduling matters, especially regarding USC). Even if the Pac-12 does end up with some scheduling parameters, I’ll be very surprised if they end up messing with the USC and Stanford relationships with Notre Dame. The conference has effectively been guaranteed an ND game as part of its TV package every single Thanksgiving weekend for the past 2 decades – call me skeptical about that ever changing.

          • Gregory Lynch says:

            I can’t find a link but I recall reading that the Pac 12 was doing away with OOC games past September subject to the grandfathering of current agreements. That same article said that ND had agreements with USC and Stanford for approximately the next decade so I believe that ND will continue to be playing USC and Stanford in November for the forseeable future.

            On a related note, I never understood why conferences, such as the SEC, ACC and Pac 10 allow OOC games at the end of the season. They are not taking advantage of the branding opportunities of the championship chase. I understand that there are important intrastate rivalries (e.g. UG/GT, Clem/SC) but why not have UG play SC which has the potential to impact the SEC race many years?

          • cfn_ms says:

            I think that the USC arrangement is for the next decade plus, but I think the Stanford one is set to expire soon. If the ND-Stanford series is renewed, I’m not sure whether the league will try to force it into September or not.

            FWIW, I think that it’d be better to allow OOC games late, like the aforementioned ACC/SEC matchups (BYU-Utah, UCLA vs some other national name, maybe CU vs an old B12 foe, etc. would all be very good Thanksgiving weekend matchups). The ACC/SEC yearly Thanksgiving games have been very good for both leagues in terms of driving interest and ratings; I’m surprised no one else has really tried to replicate it on a league-wide scale.

          • Richard says:

            The problem for the P12 is that scheduling would be hell if ND keeps playing a P12 team Thanksgiving week. Now that the P12 is holding a championship game, it’s imperative that no school gets a bye week the week before. However, unlike the ACC & SEC, who can play each other (or BE teams if necessary) that week, there really aren’t good options for P12 teams (other than maybe BYU) since most schools likely wouldn’t want to travel cross-country before the conference title game & other than BYU, the options are non-AQ schools.

            So The P12 may be giving up national games with ND Thanksgiving week, but that means the regional spotlight would be focused on conference rivalry games (the national spotlight as well if a team or 2 is in the BCS title chase), plus they’d still get most of the national exposure of playing ND (assuming ND stills plays Stanford half or 2/3rds of the time, the P12 would cut their ND exposure by only 1/4-1/6); it’d just be earlier in the season.

          • @Richard – The simple solution to that is to have the Utah-BYU game on Thanksgiving weekend, too, which then allows the rest of the Pac-12 to play each other (besides whoever is playing ND). I just think there’s going to be a whole lot more pushback from USC regarding the ND game, in particular, and they’ve obviously have never had an issue with playing their primary rivals of the Irish and UCLA on back-to-back weeks before. This is one of those items where I’ll believe it when I see it. If the Pac-12 is going to allow the current ND-USC agreement run out for the next decade, anyway, they’re going to have to adjust during that time period and by the time 2020 or so rolls around, why change at that point?

          • Gregory Lynch says:

            @Richard. Your scenario is already happening next year in the Pac 12 as Arizona is forced to play La. Lafayette Thanksgiving weekend due to ND/Stanford.

            @cfn_ms: I do not have any evidence from television ratings but my impression is that I disagree on the merits of the ACC/SEC games on Thanksgiving weekend. There are almost no meaningful conference games in the SEC East. In contrast, the SEC West has had meaningful games almost every year in LSU vs. Arkansas and Alabama vs. Auburn. If anyone has television ratings comparing these games vs. the SEC/ACC matchups that would be helpful.

          • @Gregory Lynch – I’d imagine it depends upon the circumstances of a particular season. The last few years, the Iron Bowl has had a ton of national importance with how well Auburn and Alabama have played, so that conference matchup likely drew higher ratings that the SEC-ACC games. However, for most of my lifetime, the Florida-FSU game was one of the biggest (if not THE biggest) regular season games of the year, and when both of those teams are highly ranked at the same time, there aren’t many greater ratings draws nationally. At least when I was a more casual college football follower as a kid, I knew all about Florida-FSU and its history but very little about the main SEC conference rivalries.

          • m (Ag) says:

            Scheduling OOC games throughout the season is better for TV packages. Having OOC games late means that conference games for some teams start early, spreading out the conference games throughout the year. This keeps multiple quality TV matchups just about every week.

            Texas Tech has gotten exposure playing a conference game in the first few weeks recently (last year it was against Texas). Georgia got a lot more exposure than it would have last season by playing 3 conference games before October.

            This type of scheduling is also better for the athletes. By scheduling their ‘easy’ game later in the year (as many SEC schools do), they can get a pseudo-bye game where they can (hopefully) have their best players only play 2-3 quarters.

            For the Pac 12, there should be an obvious way to settle the OOC contests. They should have USC play Notre Dame and Utah play BYU every Thanksgiving. The Pac 12 should require Utah to be home in the years USC is away to ensure they get one game for TV purposes each year. With both teams in the same division, scheduling the last week is easy:

            Wash v WSU
            Ore v OSU
            Cal v Stan
            Ariz v ASU
            UCLA v Col
            Utah v BYU
            ND v USC

            The Pac 12 TV contract would include 6 games that weekend.

            If they go to a Pac 16 (with Utah and USC in separate divisions), it gets harder.

          • Michael in Indy says:


            Georgia Tech-Georgia and South Carolina-Clemson are rivalries that pre-date the existence of both the SEC and the ACC. They’ve been played almost exclusively on the last weekend of the season for generations. Florida State-Florida is newer, but it is THE rivalry for both schools, even bigger than Florida State-Miami in the eyes of their alumni.

            In each of those series, there have been changes in conference affiliations: GT leaving Georgia and the SEC in the 60’s, SC leaving Clemson and the ACC in the early 70’s, GT joining the ACC in the late 70’s, SC joining the SEC in the early 90’s, and FSU joining the ACC in the early 90’s. Any of those changes could have theoretically put the in-state rivalries on hiatus, or at least forced the games to earlier in the schedule. Instead, with each change the rivalries, remained strong. I’d even argue that the ACC vs. SEC aspect has added a healthy extra flavor of bitterness to those games.

            By contrast, all Big Ten teams, pre-Penn State, had their biggest rivalries within the conference. OSU, IU, NW, Wisc, and Minny don’t have any real non-conference football rivals at all. Penn State had Pitt, but that series would have continued if PSU fans had placed the kind of demand for it that the SEC and ACC teams did. Likewise, Nebraska fans’ appetite for its true rival, Oklahoma, soured and will, at best, play early season games years from now.

            So it’s not as though the Big Ten has ever forced members to end the season against Big Ten teams. Members have done so willingly. Asking the ACC/SEC teams to do the same thing would receive an overwhelming backlash from 25% of each league’s membership. I could not even imagine the anger such a move would create.

          • Richard says:


            I’m not at all convinced that there will be pushback from USC against the P12 if they dictate that no OOC games should be played after league play starts. After all, there’s no way ND would drop USC and playing the last game in Cali was a greater benefit to ND than USC. Was there pushback by MSU (or PU or NU) when the B10 decided that they couldn’t play ND after league play started? If any P12 school would have a problem with the rule, it would be Stanford, as that would likely mean ND playing them half or 2/3rds of the time instead of annually.

          • Richard says:


            Actually, ND would have to visit both USC & Stanford Thanksgiving week with BYU playing Utah for the numbers to work (unless the BYU/Utah game switches between September & November each year).

          • m (Ag) says:

            “Actually, ND would have to visit both USC & Stanford Thanksgiving week with BYU playing Utah for the numbers to work (unless the BYU/Utah game switches between September & November each year).”


            Year 1:
            BYU@Utah & USC@ND
            Pac 12 gets to televise the BYU@Utah game

            Year 2:
            Utah@BYU & ND@USC
            Pac 12 gets to televise the ND@USC game

            The other 10 Pac 12 schools play each other for 5 TV games, and the Pac 12 gets to televise one of the OOC games each year.

          • Richard says:


            Actually, before 12 game schedules became the norm, the B10 didn’t allow OOC games to be played after conference play started. Afterwards, since it was an 11-team league, and it ended conference play before Thanksgiving, it had to allow OOC games after conference play started (in order to fit 12 games in to 12 weeks).

          • Richard says:


            USC (and Stanford as well) traditionally visit ND in October (certainly before Thanksgiving week). I imagine USC would actually prefer just playing ND in September rather than having to visit frozen South Bend in late November.

    • Michael in Indy says:


      I like your idea that Miami could be a Notre Dame’s season-ending game. It would work well for Miami, who, after the USF series expires in a few years, does not have a traditional season-ending opponent.

      It would also make sense for the ACC. Three ACC teams (FSU, GT, and Clemson) close the regular season against rivals from the SEC. Four more teams have in-conference rivalries to close the season (Virginia-Virginia Tech and UNC-Duke, which, in football, is a snoozefest and ought to be UNC-NC State, but I digress). That leaves five teams (Miami, NC State, Wake Forest, Maryland, and Boston College), one or three of which have to close against non-ACC opponents. If Miami closed with Notre Dame, then Maryland-Boston College and NC State-Wake Forest would make sensible season-enders.

      The place where it would get tricky is if Notre Dame would only close its season against Miami on the road, but not in South Bend. That situation would force Miami every other year to find another non-ACC opponent to play at the end of the season. Those years, because of the trend of nine-game schedules, Miami wouldn’t have many good quality options, aside from BYU and a handful of non-AQ’s.

      • Richard says:

        Now that TCU is going to the BE, ND could set up their seasons to end at Miami & the Metroplex (instead of NoCal & SoCal) each year (they’d still be playing in warmer Hispanic fertile recruiting grounds). Who would Miami & TCU play when ND’s playing at the other school? Well, there’s another private southern school that needs to fill in their Thanksgiving week slot before their conference title game each year: Vanderbilt.

        I’m sure Miami wouldn’t mind a series with Vandy if it means playing ND annually. Vandy would be happy with annual home-and-home series with Miami & TCU. TCU would jump at the chance to play ND as well (though ND likely would insist that the TCU home game be held at JerryWorld). The only concern from TCU’s perspective is that if they have to take on Vandy as well as a 9-game BE conference slate, they’d have no scheduling flexibility & the only games they’d play in Texas would be their home games (their schedule would consist of 9 BE games, Vandy, ND, and an FCS school at home).

        Still, if that’s the price for playing ND every year, I can’t imagine that they’d turn down the opportunity if it’s available.

        • Richard says:

          Actually, I realized that TCU has to play SMU every year. Still, a win-win-win-win situation could be worked out by just substituting SMU for Vandy.

          Miami probably would be OK with playing SMU annually if it means playing ND annually.

          For TCU, it would be a clear win as they’d simply gain a series with ND, even if ND insists on their home games being played in JerryWorld (or even the Alamodome or Houston some years).

          SMU would gain an annual home-and-home series with Miami

          ND probably could insist on several guarantee games or 2-for-1’s (or 2-for-neutrals) with SMU given what the Ponies gain.

          So I envision a 12 year contracts with
          ND-Miami (Miami home games during Thanksgiving week)
          ND-TCU (TCU home games during Thanksgiving week at JerryWorld or other neutral site)
          ND-SMU maybe 6 (or 9) times in 12 years with 4(6) games @ND and 2(3) games at neutral sites in Texas (ND owns TV rights)

          ND gets frequent games in Florida & Texas (which are even neutral site) as well as Cali still (they’d still play USC annually and Stanford some times).

          Win-win-win-win for everyone.

          • Jake says:

            @Richard –
            So, assuming your scenario started in 2012, ND would play at TCU, TCU would play its previously scheduled game at SMU, SMU would play at Miami, and Miami would play at ND. Then in 2013, all of that would reverse: the U at SMU, SMU at TCU (again, already set), TCU at ND, ND at Miami. That sound about right?

            How big would TCU’s home stadium have to be, do you think, before ND would deign to play there? Our second phase of construction should take it over 50,000. ND played at BC in 2010 and 2008 in their 44,000 seat stadium, at Air Force in their 52,000 seat stadium, and Stanford’s is around 50,000 as well.

            Moving home games to Jerry World, while potentially profitable, would meet with a lot of resistance from TCU fans if it were going to be a regular thing. We’re only doing the BYU game there this year because Amon G. Carter is currently an odd jumble of concrete piers and scaffolding that is projected to seat around 33,000 this Fall, and the Oregon State game last season wasn’t a TCU home game. We’re not building a shiny new stadium so we can help line Jerry’s pockets, after all (you forgot to include him as one of your winners, btw).

            Also, why does SMU need any incentives from ND? They already play TCU every year, and setting up a series with Miami (Thug U vs. Pony Excess – too bad it isn’t the ’80s) would be a pretty good deal for them all by itself. I doubt ND would be interested in playing two FW/D teams on a regular basis.

          • Richard says:

            Thinking about it more, TCU doesn’t have to fill Thanksgiving week if ND doesn’t visit (since the BE doesn’t have a CCG), so Miami may not need to schedule SMU (they may prefer a biennial series with BYU instead).

            As for SMU, that’s not an incentive; that’s to get SMU to give ND guarantee games or 2-for-1’s (though they probably need no prodding to do that).

            Finally, as for JerryWorld, Stanford, & BC, I read ND is taking a break from the Stanford series because of their away/neutral scheduling issues (and they’ve done the same with BC). On the other hand, they did sign a home-and-home with Wake.

            Still, JerryWorld is so much bigger than Amon Carter (and an ND game is sure to sell out) that playing there could net TCU more revenue than playing at Amon Carter and still leave some extra for ND or Jerry himself.

            As a comparison, Gillette is a little over 20K bigger than BC’s stadium & Candlestick is less than 20K bigger than Stanford’s, so the extra rent likely would negate the extra revenue (or at least make it so that it’s not worth giving up home field advantage). JerryWorld is 55K bigger than Amon Carter.

          • Jake says:

            Two thoughts:

            1) Frank, could you write a post on why the Big East should add BYU? I mean, geography’s out the window, and arguing about the relative merits of Houston and Central Florida makes me sad and angry. Don’t even get me started on this Villanova idea. Seriously, this makes increasing sense the more I think about it. You’ve got a BCS-caliber athletics program without a home, and a BCS conference that needs both football prowess and eyeballs in new markets. The only problem I see is BYU’s private TV network, but I think future Big East TV deals could allow for that, particularly since there isn’t a BE Network at the moment.

            2) I have a suggestion for a new name for the Big 12: the Big X. X could be the Roman numeral for 10, or it could be a variable, like how many teams do we have? Who knows?!

          • Richard says:


            I don’t think geography’s completely out the window.

            Also, isn’t BYU making more TV money as an independent than the BE schools are? (http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/cougars/50203188-88/byu-espn-football-conference.html.csp)

            Add in the not-insignificant travel costs & classroom disruption for BYU (they’d be roughly twice as far away from the BE schools as TCU), and I don’t see the BE being that compelling to BYU.

          • Jake says:

            I see that I have yet to master the art of comment posting – I was trying to put this down at the bottom as a new thread. Oh well.

            If you believe the estimates, yes, it appears BYU is set to pull in more from football TV revenue than Big East members. We’ll see how profitable this turns out to be for them, and after Notre Dame and Texas tire of scheduling them, who knows? Given a choice between a steady revenue stream and a more unpredictable one that could be higher or lower, most schools would opt for the former. Also, the Big East has yet to negotiate its new contract, which should see at least a modest increase in revenue (more so if BYU is in the fold). But there’s basketball revenue to consider as well (TV and NCAA credits), along with bowls – access to the BCS, along with a share of that revenue, is another selling point.

            As for travel, if BYU was concerned about it’s non-football sports, it wouldn’t have been so quick to stick them in the rather obscure WCC. Not all sports play a full conference round-robin schedule each year, and at least BYU would be heading West on those return flights, which makes travel a bit more bearable.

            I feel like BYU and the BEast have a lot to offer each other. There should at least be more discussion of it among Big East fans than there is for, say, Memphis.

          • Richard says:

            I’m pretty sure ND would be happy scheduling BYU from now til eternity if BYU keeps giving 2-for-1’s to the Irish.

            As for basketball NCAA credits, BYU keeps all of theirs for themselves if they’re successful. Yes, there’s more risk as an independent, but remember that ESPN likes independents. They’d help BYU schedule. BYU has the fanbase/appeal & TV station to be independent, so I can’t see them choosing a BE-caliber conference over independence (of course, if the B12 calls, that’s a different matter).

          • Richard says:

            Oh, and the WCC schools are a fair bit closer to Provo than the BE schools. For the non-revenue sports, I’m pretty sure BYU cares more about cost than reputation.

          • Jake says:

            So, if BYU is only getting the big payouts for home games, and they’re giving Notre Dame and Texas 2-for-1’s, their deal with ESPN may not be as lucrative as they make it out to be. Exposure, sure, but not so much the coin. More details on that deal would be nice, but I don’t expect BYU to be too forthcoming.

            Also, how does the WCC not sponsor track and field? Doesn’t every college athletics program have track and field?

          • Richard says:

            ??? A BYU-ND game or BYU-Texas game is still worth it from ESPN’s perspective, regardless of how many times BYU has to visit South Bend to get it.

            BTW, the Texas-BYU series is home-and-home.

          • cfn_ms says:

            it’s essentially a 2:1


            2 games at Texas, 1 at BYU. They separately signed the 1-off and the home and home deals… but realistically, I would presume the intention had always been to make it a 2:1.

          • Richard says:

            my bad

          • Jake says:

            @Richard – I meant from BYU’s perspective. The article you posted said they got the ~$1 million payouts only for home games. How much do they get for visiting Austin and South Bend?

          • Richard says:

            Well, I’m sure ESPN prefers BYU/ND to BYU/Idaho & I reckon it’s likely that the TV payouts would be different depending on the opponents BYU face.

            Also, BYU would still get guarantees for visiting ND & Texas, even if they’re usually less for 2-for-1’s than straight guarantee games (though obviously, they’d make money off at ticket sales at home as well).

  47. Gopher86 says:

    The nine game schedule is just another instance of ‘we’re going home and taking our ball with us’. It’s consolidation and monetization. It’ll happen.

    It’s more games in the conference catalog, more quality opponents and smaller net payouts to small fry opponents.

    The negative is that you’ll have a tougher road to the NC, but this can easily be balanced with cream puffs or a SOS understanding from the media.

    Overall, it’s a win for the conference.

    • cfn_ms says:

      Consolidation and monetization are good arguments, but it’s going to be a $$$ net loss UNLESS the TV money is enough to make one league home game worth less than 2 OOC bodybags. Right now I don’t think it is. And until that changes (or at least comes closer to even), I don’t see the incentive for boosting the number of league games.

      • Richard says:

        Keeping in mind that the cost of guarantee games is going up significantly, so for conferences who can monetize their conference games well (or conferences with schools that have trouble drawing much more than 50K a game), it may well make sense.

        • cfn_ms says:

          Agreed. But the B10 can draw more than 50k even for bodybag games, or at least most of them can. Which is why I’m deeply skeptical that they’ll ever actually go to 9 league games instead of just talking about it (unless, of course, the NCAA season expands).

          FWIW, I strongly suspect that this is going to be a reason why Texas, A&M and Oklahoma are going to be less than thrilled w/ the B12 arrangement within the next couple years. They get the double-whammy of 9 league games AND a number of less than interesting opponents (which could drive down ticket prices and/or attendance). Unless the TV money is VERY good (which could happen), that’s not a happy arrangement.

          • Brian says:


            Some B10 schools can easily get big crowds, but not all.

            2010 averages and capacity:
            NW 36,449 49,256
            IN 41,953 52,929
            PU 48,063 62,500
            MN 49,513 50,805
            IL 54,188 62,872
            IA 70,585 70,585
            MSU 73,556 75,005
            WI 79,862 80,321
            NE 85,664 81,067
            PSU 104,234 107,282
            OSU 105,278 102,329
            MI 111,825 109,901

            NW, MN and IN can barely draw 50k for a marquee game. PU can draw 50k in a good year for a body bag. IL does a little better than PU in general. Most, if not all, of these schools would benefit from a 9th conference game. The other 7 don’t have attendance problems unless they really stink.

            If 4 or 5 schools really want something, the other 7 will certainly listen. I don’t think the top teams are thrilled with the size of payouts for non-AQs anyway. That makes it easier for them to help out fellow conference members. Too many people are saying this is going to happen and almost nobody in the know is coming out against it.

          • Richard says:


            That is even when not taking in to account the impact on TV contracts. As Nostro’s analysis indicates, increased TV rights for a popular league would make it so that 9 conference games sounds appealing to the majority of B10 schools.

            What I said applied more to a league like the BE, which wouldn’t increase their TV payouts so much by increasing their conference slate to 9 games, but would certainly save money on guarantee games by going to 9.

      • Nostradamus says:

        The financial aspect of things like this fascinates me. Like Richard alludes to below I think whether or not it is a “$$$ loss” as you put it depends on the individual circumstances: the school, the conference, and the conference tv contract.

        From the perspective a generic Big Ten team near the top 4 (I realize this will be an oversimplification) assume they draw 80,000 a home game and tickets are $55 a game. That is $4.4 million a home game. For the sake of simplification assume concession revenue equals the costs of the game employee’s, etc. Generic University nets $4.4 million a home game.

        Under an 8 game conference schedule we’ll assume generic school plays two paycheck games against FBS teams with payouts of $1 million each. So our school makes $6.8 million over the two year period.

        Pre Nebraska, the Big Ten got an estimated $212 million annually from the BTN and ABC/ESPN. Assume 80% of that revenue is directly tied to football and 80% of that is based on conference matchups or $135.7 million. By going to 9 games you are expanding your conference inventory by 12.5%. Assume it increases the television $135.7 million payout by 10% to $149.2 million or a $13.6 million a year increase. Divide that by 9 games and each additional conference game in this scenario is worth $1.5 million.

        So now our hypothetical team plays a home conference game in year 1
        $4.4 + 1.5= $5.9 million. Year 2: 0 + $1.5 million= $1.5 million, two year total is $7.4 million versus $6.8 million before. Depending on how the gate revenue is shared for the off balanced 5 vs. 4 home game scheduling could slightly change the numbers.

        And again by no means am I trying to say my numbers above are anywhere near gospel. It does show though depending on how things fall for a conference like the Big Ten that even the top schools could potentially be close to breaking even on a 9th game. Certainly anyone in the “bottom” half of attendance like Purdue, Northwestern, Indiana, Illinois, and Minnesota likely stand to benefit quite a bit.

        • duffman says:


          This is why I was wondering about future OOC in terms of who gets what when it is all said and done. Where I really would like concrete numbers is U$C going forward not that the conference will own their rights AND they will now have to share in equal parts with the lesser children in the conference. Time will tell, but the vast majority of folks that followed realignment never got past team X playing team Y.

          In the end it is alwyas in the details!

          • Nostradamus says:

            I think we likely need to wait and see what Scott comes up with next year for the new television contracts before looking at this. As long as Scott negotiates a decent increase everyone should be somewhat appeased.

            Nebraska is going from a situation where they benefited from unequal revenue sharing to an equal revenue conference. The difference? Nebraska is going to double their payday.

          • cfn_ms says:

            Actually, considering the last TV deal was horrible it’ll have to be more than just a decent increase. The baseline standard is IMO going to be at least the $170M discussed last year… and given the other $$$ figures floating around I still hold it’ll need to be more than that. Which is much more than just a decent increase.

        • Richard says:

          Hey Nost:

          It’s actually $6.4M vs. $6.8M but in any case, the numbers would be close, and most B10 fans seem to really like to play conference games (away games they can travel to, etc.), which may be why even the schools with the biggest stadiums don’t see to be pushing against a 9-game slate too much.

          • Nostradamus says:

            I failed basic addition there. Thanks Richard.

          • cfn_ms says:

            wait a minute. let me try some math here. a good home game is worth $4.4M in gate. let’s say a bodybag home game is then worth, I don’t know, $3.5M in gate (some combination of reduced attendance and/or ticket prices).

            Since TV revenues are equally shared, it doesn’t matter how you schedule OOC.

            So if you’re choosing b/w a home and a home and 2 years of a bodybag, home and home gets you $4.4M, while 2 bodybags gets you $7M, less $2M (paychecks, though AA paychecks are less than that). So that’s a $600k boost for scheduling the bodybags. A meaningful difference, though not as much as I’d expected.

            Now, a 9th league game is equivalent to everyone scheduling an extra home and home (just against each other). Would it raise or lower TV revenues? Fewer home games, but now the games don’t suck. Since everyone’s doing this (instead of just you), TV revenue becomes a factor. Say it bumps revenue $200k per school per year (wild guess). Over 2 years, that’s an extra $400k. So in that sense, maybe it might actually work to do 9 league games. Especially if you’re actually slicing out the existing home and homes instead of the existing bodybags (which is probably what would happen). Interesting.

          • Richard says:


            You have to take out the $1M per game guarantees for the body bag games as well (so that’s $2.5M net or $5M total). The general point remains: The figures are close enough that a league can choose to do what it prefers.

            For a league like the B10 where many fans like to play each other more, that means 9 conference games.

            For a league like the SEC where teams traditionally play fewer league games than other conferences, rarely play certain league members, and value wins over cupcakes (more than B10 fans), it’s probably staying at 8 league games the longest.

            For a league like the BE which doesn’t draw enough to justify the guarantees, 9 league games makes sense as well.

            For a league like the P12 where everyone wants to play in SoCal every year, 9 also makes sense.

            The interesting case is the ACC. In attendance, most schools there are close to the BE, yet they don’t really have the number of big ratings draws that the B10 and SEC has, so more league games wouldn’t translate in to significantly more TV money. For them, it really comes down to a choice: Do they want to play a league home-and-home or OOC home-and-home? Since many of those schools have required OOC rivalry games, they’d probably stay at 8 league games in order to give their member schools more scheduling flexibility.

          • Nostradamus says:

            CFN apparently my math a couple posts up wasn’t good enough for you ;). (I admit to the error Richard corrected).

            So if you’re choosing b/w a home and a home and 2 years of a bodybag, home and home gets you $4.4M, while 2 bodybags gets you $7M, less $2M (paychecks, though AA paychecks are less than that). So that’s a $600k boost for scheduling the bodybags. A meaningful difference, though not as much as I’d expected.
            And this is why a 9 game isn’t automatically shot down by the Big 4 or 5. Even for them the “bodybag” games as you put it are getting to the point where they aren’t as financially advantageous as they once were.
            Now, a 9th league game is equivalent to everyone scheduling an extra home and home (just against each other). Would it raise or lower TV revenues?
            Ah, hands down raise it. You are essentially trading Big Ten versus FCS or directional Michigan school games for Big Ten on Big Ten. See my post above about trying to quantify how much it may be worth. When you factor in the increase in television rights for the 9th game your bodybag-bodybag 8 game setup may actually be financially disadvantageous for the entire 12 teams.

          • cfn_ms says:

            For TV, the question is whether 2 bodybag games are worth 1 good game (for a 9th league game, you trade 12 bodybags for 6 good games). w/o any ratings data, it’d just be guessing on my end.

            you could definitely be right, but if somehow you can get good numbers of fans to watch really crappy football (and that’s plausible since you can get them to show up to the stadium, which is a bigger commitment of time and money), then 2 bodybags may actually be worth more than 1 good game. Anyone have data on this, one way or the other?

          • Richard says:

            The value of TV increases logarithmicly (which is why Super Bowl ads command so much money). Something on TV that gets a 1 rating is fairly worthless (because it’s so common). A 10 rating is rare and thus spots there are worth much more than 10 times the 1 rating show. That’s my understand, anyway, but we probably need someone who works in TV.

          • Nostradamus says:

            I’m not sure it is appropriate to frame the argument as 12 body games versus 6 “good” or conference games. Really what this comes down to from a television perspective is the top 3 games the conference can offer each week. The top 3 games most weeks in the conference are covered by the ABC/ESPN contract. By going to a 9 game schedule you essentially remove a week of game of Big Ten vs. Mac/Sunbelt/FCS team and replace it with Big Ten vs. Big Ten. From the conference’s perspective it has significantly improved 8.3% (1/12) of its offerings to ABC/ESPN and would expect compensation for that. I don’t think it is a coincidence Delany talks about the fans and the television partners in the same breath when speaking about a 9th conference game. Using the 2011-2012 schedules as an example, an Ohio State-Iowa home and home is significantly more attractive than two Ohio State Akron games or two Iowa body bag games. A potential Nebraska Illinois matchup is more attractive than Nebraska playing two Sunbelt teams. The 9th game will improve ratings (don’t have hard numbers to point you to in front of me) significantly, which in turn improves ad revenue, which in turn improves what the Big Ten will ask for in its next television contract. The whole 10 home games in the non-conference and how television works with that and the Big Ten Network is another story.

          • Richard says:


            Actually, for the B10, more than the top 3 games are of concern, because the rest are shown on the BTN. In fact, I would say that the BTN is a significant reason for why many folks with power in the B10 want the 9-game conference slate. In the old days, it would have been harder to monetize the extra conference games because it’d only improve the ESPN deal slightly. With the BTN, the difference in ratings between Michigan-Illinois & Michigan-EMU on the BTN is likely to be significant.

          • Nostradamus says:

            To a degree yes, but I think it is harder to quantify/understand the implications with the BTN. I still think the 9 game move benefits the ABC/ESPN portion of the contract significantly more though. That portion of the contract is obviously traditional rights based. Instead of Michigan-Eastern Michigan, Ohio State-Akron, Nebraska-South Dakota State, etc. you likely end up with one solid matchup a year i.e. Iowa-Ohio State and several decent games to give to ESPN/ESPN2.
            The Big Ten Network situation is obviously different. The conference has a significant ownership stake in the network and it essentially deals with the leftover games. The first thing here is yeah the games are better, but they are marginally better compared to the Top 3 games. The other issue I have with the BTN is we would need to know how ads are sold with the overflow games. Are they sold on an individual game-by-game basis or does the BTN sell them for all of the games that weekend? What I’m saying is if you have 4 to 6 body games on at once on the BTN and you sell ads for all of the games as a package at that time window; it is possible you have more viewers in those combined games than you do with a single head to head Big Ten game. I think the BTN likely still comes out ahead regardless, but like I said the benefits aren’t near what they’d be for the top end of the contract that the conference bids out.

          • greg says:

            Nostradamus brings up a good point about the bodybag games going head to head on BTN. While trading two bodybag games for one conference game appears, on the surface, to lower the BTN inventory, it may not actually do that.

            When Iowa-UNI and OSU-Akron and Indiana-Western Kentucky are all showing on various BTN overflow channels at the same time, I don’t see how they could bring in more viewers and ad revenue than a run-of-the-mill conference game.

          • Richard says:

            Pretty certain the BTN sells ads by the season. As for conference games vs. bodybag games, well, I imagine the conference game would draw more as neutral B10 (and casual) fans would tune in for that game while no one except fairly die-hard fans of the schools involved would tune in for the bodybag games.

          • Nostradamus says:

            And that would make sense if they handle it that way. The first issue is the Big Ten Network inventory essentially gets cut by 6 to 9 games. And the other issue is I agree more casual fans likely tune it, but it also depends on who is playing. If you have a newly created Indiana-Northwestern game instead of Nebraska playing someone, Ohio State playing someone in body bag games and a Iowa/Wisconsin type team playing someone I think the overlapping body bag games outdraw the Big Ten game. The other aspect we didn’t look at is the cost savings from less production crews. Cut the inventory by 6 to 9 games and you don’t need the production equipment and crews at 6 to 9 stadiums that week. I do think the Big Ten Network comes out ahead with the 9th game, but it is nowhere close to the gains with ABC/ESPN/ESPN2.

          • Richard says:

            Well, you’d get one more OSU/UNL/Michigan/PSU against somebody conference game. In any case, even IU-Northwestern would draw more viewers than IU vs. MAC and NU vs. MAC because fans of other B10 teams would care so long as one of them is challenging for a bowl slot.

  48. Michael in Indy says:

    Going back to the topic of new television deals for conferences, I’m interested in discussing a little more about the Big East since most of the discussion has been about the Big 12 and Pac-12.

    In a way, it’s rather striking how wide the revenue discrepancy is between the Big East and the other AQ conferences. By the 2012-2013, when the Pac-12’s new
    TV deal and the Big 12’s new second-tier sports TV deal (the one currently with Fox Sports) go into effect, five of the six AQ leagues will distribute $12 million+ per school. Meanwhile, the 8 Big East football schools receive $3.67 million.

    At the same time, maybe I’m blinded by the “AQ” label in that I expect the Big East to at least be closer to the Big 12/ACC/Pac-12 range than to non-AQ’s. Maybe I’m not alone.

    The truth is that the Big East’s pay is substantially lower than others because it actually does look more like a non-AQ conference than an AQ conference: By 2012, only 3 of the 10 football members (WVU, Pitt, and Syracuse) will be able to claim a history in major conference football that (a) dates back more than 8 years, and (b) was not horrific for the majority of the past 50-60 years. Standards like that don’t say much; even C-USA can claim four schools with a history in major conferences (Houston, SMU, Rice, and Tulane).

    Frank’s pointed out a number of times that the Big East’s status as an AQ league is secure for two reasons. First, the league had a terrible year in 2010 but it has still met the BCS’ performance-based qualifications. Second, the other AQ leagues know they’d receive a tremendous backlash if they excluded a league with three historically strong programs (Syracuse, Pitt, WVU) and one school that happens to be closer to New York than any other FBS school (Rutgers). So AQ status is not in danger, especially with TCU coming into the fold.

    What certainly is a concern is what the league does to keep from becoming a glorified version of C-USA or the MWC, revenue wise. Its basketball contract doesn’t expire until after the 2012-13 season, and the football version lasts through the 2013-14 season.

    I don’t think expanding beyond 10 football schools would be wise. If deal brokers at ESPN and other networks are unwilling to pay in the range of $8+ million per football school when membership already includes respectable programs like WVU, Pitt, and TCU, they’re not going start shelling it out because of yet even more projects like ECU, Houston, Memphis, or whomever.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I think it may take 15-20 years for the Big East to be able to command revenue in the range of the other five AQ’s. The Big East needs, well, the “next Miami,” a team with limited historical success that starts winning for such an extended period that it can command casual viewers nationally. West Virginia’s run of success wasn’t long enough or strong enough to get to that point. Even a year of brilliance like Oregon had, by itself, wouldn’t be enough. Miami won BIG for the better part of a decade, and in that process, it reached a point where people would watch Miami because it was Miami, regardless of record. On top of a new Miami, the Big East needs several other teams who give people a game worth tuning in for. It has to get to the point where it’s not some sort of surprise that the Big East actually has two teams with only one loss in early November. When that happens in the Big Ten and SEC, it’s never a surprise, which is good.

    Until the Big East truly builds a few solid football brands, what I think the Big East football schools need to do is a careful analysis of how much the Catholic schools are driving basketball revenue. There’s no doubt there are some people watching Big East games because of the Catholic schools, but are enough people watching that to raise the television payouts?

    To put it another way, when the Big East is up for its next contract negotiations, which is greater?

    A) the TV market value of new conference consisting of 71% (12/17) of Big East membership (specifically the 8 current football schools, TCU, Villanova, Georgetown, and St. John’s)


    B) 71% of the TV market value of full membership.

    If A is significantly greater than B, then the football members should split, taking Georgetown to appease UConn, Syracuse, and Pitt; Villanova, assuming it’s playing FBS football; and St. John’s for New York and the chance to keep the tournament in MSG.

    That’s my take on the Big East. Love to hear responses.

    • Jake says:

      Well, TCU has a history in a major conference – at least as much as any of those four C-USA schools you listed – and we’ll be in the Big East by 2012. And I think TCU is the next Miami for the Big East. We’ve been winning for awhile and we’re building a bit of a national brand. Not as much as the ‘Canes in the ’80s, but they had a real chance to win national titles, something the Frogs have been denied (and the Big East move won’t change that). Also, we don’t have the whole Thug U attitude going, which was a big part of Miami’s appeal, for better or worse.

      And yeah, the BEast will get a pay raise, but not near enough to put it in the range of the Pac-12, Big 12, or ACC; but it should definitely distance itself from the non-AQ crowd. A lot of us at TCU are as concerned with exposure as with money – it’s been nice watching so many baseball games on the Mtn. the last few years. I’d love to see an actual 24/7 Big East Network.

      As for the split, that’s been addressed. Lots of historic ties with those schools, and those are some valuable markets you’d be giving up in Chicago and Miwaukee. And oh yeah, Notre Dame. Don’t see it happening, even if it makes a bit of sense on paper.

      • Richard says:

        You can get the Mtn? At least after you join the BE, people who aren’t in the few markets where the Mtn is in can see your football games (even if they’ll be on during all days of the week). Oh, and TCU definitely has a better shot at a national title game appearance now that it’s in an AQ conference. Sure, if there are 2 other undefeated AQ teams out there, you’re out of luck, but the BE does have a stronger lineup than the pre-gutted MWC (and you get to go to a BCS bowl if you win the BE, even if you do it while finishing 8-4 & unranked).

        • Jake says:

          Well, not at home (despite numerous strongly worded e-mails to AT&T), but a lot of bars around here have DirecTV, which carries the Mtn, and plenty of TCU fans got the satellite so they could watch the Mtn. I’m really not looking forward to a return to mid-week games, particularly since I’m not going to be in the FW/D area this fall. Yeah, I get that there’s more money with the mid-week games, but man is it nice having only Saturday home games. We take tailgating seriously.

          And that’s pretty much what I meant by not having a shot at a national title. Not only will undefeated teams from any other AQ conference be ahead of an undefeated Big East champ in the pecking order, but one-loss SEC champs will be as well. Sure, the glimmer of hope for a BCS title is ever-so-slightly brighter, but not in any significant way. But that’s okay – we’ll still have huge increases in bowl revenue and NCAA tournament credits.

          I’m really trying to get into this whole Big East thing. I’ve been watching a lot more college basketball, and when I buy new hats now I keep the brims flat and leave the stickers on. Oh, and I listen exclusively to East Coast rap now.

          • Richard says:

            That’s pretty funny. The best part is when the cap looks clearly soiled & the New Era sticker has fallen off leaving a bright clean circle in the middle of the brim.

      • Brian says:

        I think one underrated aspect of Miami’s rise was FSU. Without them both becoming national powers together and playing those epic games, I doubt Miami would have become quite what it did. Those games really vaulted them into the spotlight.

        Right now TCU lacks that companion program willing to play them as they both rise. Maybe June Jones can get SMU up to that level. UCF and USF could try to grow together, too.

        • Richard says:

          They really need to schedule ND somehow. Maybe bribe the P12 in to carrying through with their post-September OOC ban by playing guarantee games at Stanford (tongue-in cheek; I don’t think they’d actually need to do that).

      • Michael in Indy says:

        Yeah, I knew TCU was in the SWC. I worded myself poorly.

        “(a)” was meant to refer to UConn, L’ville, Cincy, USF, and either Nova or UCF because none were in an AQ conference until 2005. “(b)” referred to Rutgers because their history in a major conference or as an independent was almost exclusively horrible, and it was meant to refer to TCU as well because, for the SWC’s final 40 years or so, TCU was pretty bad, too.

        My point is that it takes time to form equity, so to speak, in the minds of fans. If the Big East has a contender for a few years that then returns mediocrity, (think Colorado of the 90’s), then the league’s profile can’t be raised very much. But when a team finishes in the top ten for five or six years in a row, including one or two top fives, and finishes in the top 25 for 8 or 9 years out of a decade, then that team becomes synonymous with great football. Even if a team like that finally has a down year or two, it will still get decent viewership. The Big East simply doesn’t have that yet, but hey, that’s to be expected of a conference where 70% has had very little experience at winning at the major conference level, at least not since Eisenhower.

        TCU could get there. Time will tell.

      • Brian says:


        He probably discounted TCU for their performance in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. They had the 101st best winning percentage from 1960-1999 at 0.363. He did say “and (b) was not horrific for the majority of the past 50-60 years.”

      • Michael in Indy says:

        It would be worth examining for those football schools, though. Just as it would be foolish to add ECU because of the argument, “It adds a state of 9.5 million people,” it might be untrue that the Catholic schools are capturing as much of these big markets as is commonly assumed.

        Since you mentioned Chicago, I’ll use that as an example. Chicago is a pro sports town first. After that, it is THE Big Ten town. I’d be willing to bet that DePaul has fewer grads living in Chicago than Illinois, Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana, Michigan State, or Michigan has. If there’s been any measurable improvement in Big East basketball TV ratings in Chicago since DePaul joined, it’s because of the good basketball being played by Marquette, Louisville and Cincinnati.

        The other schools that I didn’t include were Providence, Seton Hall, Marquette, and Notre Dame. Providence is not a big market, and it’s not the least bit popular as a program anywhere south or west of New York. Seton Hall doesn’t provide anything that Rutgers and St. John’s don’t.

        Losing Marquette and Notre Dame would hurt the most. Marquette’s a consistent program and probably is watched quite a bit in Milwaukee and much of Wisconsin. Notre Dame’s just Notre Dame. I just figured St. the old-line schools would want St. John’s more than Notre Dame, if the number was limited to 12.

        Anyway, for the most part, I just don’t buy this idea that because a Big East school is in some city, then the Big East can claim that city, at least not without evidence that backs it up. In New York, I think a league with Syracuse, UConn, St. John’s, and Rutgers would provide sufficient local interest, and with the other quality programs further away (WVU, G’town, Pitt, L’ville, Cincy) combined with NYC’s love of basketball, the #1 market would be safe. If Villanova was there for football, then nothing is lost in Philadelphia, either. The cities of Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Louisville, Tampa, and Washington would all remain part of Big East territory.

        All I’m saying is that those schools should at least do a study to make sure their assumption that they need 17 schools to be successful.

        (As a side note, the Big East could do a much, much better job of connecting with fans in the Midwest. Indy is within 3 hours of 25% of the Big East (L’ville, Cincy, Notre Dame, and DePaul), but I can say pretty confidently there’s no more interest in the Big East here than there was in North or South Carolina, where I grew up.)

        • Brian says:

          Why would there be interest in BE basketball in Indiana? IU and PU dominate that market, plus I don’t think UL, UC and DP really feel like part of the BE to neutral fans.

        • Jake says:

          @Michael – I imagine studies like you suggest have already been conducted, but I doubt any of those schools (or TV networks) will be eager to share the findings with the public. Most conferences could improve their bottom line by ditching a school or two (does the Big Ten really need Northwestern and Purdue? What do Miss. St. and Vandy bring to the SEC? Don’t even get me started on Baylor), but it has to be a pretty major financial boost to justify splitting off from long-time rivals and going through the hassle of forming a new conference, establishing a new brand, getting an auto-bid to the NCAA tournament, and getting AQ BCS status. The MWC 8 left the WAC for pretty much that reason back in ’98, but, with the exceptions of UTEP and Hawaii, they didn’t really have any history with most of the left-behinds. Also, it’s kind of a dick move.

        • Richard says:


          I’d say you’d be wrong. There’s a huge population of DePaul alums in Chicagoland. There are likely more DePaul alums here than of any B10 school other than Illinois. Since they’ve been losing for a while now, however, there hasn’t been much interest in the Blue Demons. Even with their putrid performance on the court, though, DePaul still outdrew ND & St. John’s last year (8451 average is 59th in the country out of 300+ teams): http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-college-basketball/2010/05/attendance-in-chicago.html

    • bullet says:

      Given the low payout, a ccg would probably pay for the 11th & 12th school. Out of Houston, UCF, ECU, Memphis, N. Illinois, Toledo, W. Michigan they could get 2 decent schools with potential(Memphis isn’t any worse than Cincinnati was in CUSA).

      • Richard says:

        Well, the CCG also wouldn’t be such a financial windfall either….

      • wmtiger says:

        If nobody cares about the BE, who is going to care about the BE CCG. Their CCG isn’t going to be anywhere near the windfall as those from the other BCS conferences, much like football TV contract is well below everyone elses.

        • Brian says:

          I think their CCG will draw better than their regular season games. It is a playoff game for a BCS spot. An at-large spot may be in the balance, too. On rare occasions, it may even impact who goes to the NC game. A lot of people that don’t watch a single BE regular season game will watch a BE CCG.

          • frug says:

            The problem with a hypothetical Big East CCG is that unlike say the SEC or Big 10, it runs the risk of actually losing money. Another year like last year would virtually guarantee it would, and if TCU raises the league’s reputation how many people are going to be interested in watch the Horn Frogs crush ECU or Memphis or even current member like Louisville or UConn? This to say nothing of the fact that the league would have to hold the game on Thursday or Friday since even with a decent matchup, it still wouldn’t stand a chance against the Big 10, SEC, ACC, PAC-12 CCG or even an OU-OSU or UT-TAMU game.

          • Brian says:

            Who would watch a BE CCG?

            Fans of:
            1. the two participants
            2. the other BE teams
            3. the predicted BE opponent(s) in the BCS
            4. teams on the bubble for an at-large spot if the outcome could effect if and where they go
            5. CFB with no better game to watch

            They don’t need huge ratings since they payout will be low.

          • cfn_ms says:

            Except that if the payout is low, then it counters bullet’s original point, which is that somehow adding a CCG would pay for 2 scrub-level additions.

            I would be STUNNED if the Big East added any more than one scrub-level team (i.e. Nova, MAYBE UCF if Nova says no). The Big East’s AQ status is shaky enough as it is; if they start padding the lower end of the league, that’ll only put them in a tougher position when AQ status comes up for the next review (which I believe is 2013, as post-2011 is only for potentially adding leagues [which of course will never happen] ). As it is, there’s an outside chance of it getting revoked (politically difficult, but if they send up another UConn-like dog in the next couple years, there could be enough momentum to make it happen).

          • Richard says:


            Considering that CUSA holds a championship game (even the MAC holds a championship game, and neutral site, no less), I doubt it would lose money. Also, considering that even the CUSA championship game hasn’t had to switch from Saturday (yet), I seriously doubt any BE title would have to be played outside of Saturday. It likely would be played Saturday morning, going against either OU-OSU or the ACC championship game.

            However, I do think any payout from a BE CCG would be modest.

          • Brian says:


            The low payout is OK because the TV contract is so bad. Right now they get $3.67M per year. Between adding markets and inventory (more choices for ESPN) and a CCG, the new schools only need to add a total of about $7.3M (call it $10M for inflation and rising CFB value). That’s not asking a lot.

            The BE is never getting kicked out of the BCS. It will only go away if the conference is picked apart. The BCS will make whatever rules are necessary to make that happen. They will add the MWC before they’ll eliminate the BE.

          • m (Ag) says:

            A Big East Championship game starting at 11 am or noon on the East coast would probably get decent ratings as the kickoff to Championship Saturday.

            That said, the best decision for the Big East remains to sit back and see what happens to the Big 12 over the next few years. If the Big 12 stays steady, then the Big East might go ahead and add 2 programs from the non-AQ conferences; this would give schools like Houston or UCF an extra 2 years to prove themselves. If the Big 12 falls apart, the Big East can try to add several Big 12 schools + maybe BYU for a 14-16 conference that would be respectable.

          • cfn_ms says:

            @Brian: Yes, the normal TV money sucks… but basketball is still a (somewhat) valuable commodity, and the football TV money is still worth SOMETHING. I don’t see any guarantee that a BE CCG would make enough money to pay for 3 new members (2 if Nova is coming anyway) that basically bring $0 to the table for TV money.

            As far as the auto-bid goes, I’d tend to agree with you that, as currently set up, the Big East is very unlikely to lose its AQ in the post-2013 evaluation. However, there a few things which could change that:

            1) Currently the Big East sits nicely ahead of MWC and other non-AQ’s in terms of avg program strength. If that ever changes, it’s going to politically difficult to defend giving the BE an AQ while not giving MWC one. And I think it’s safe to say that the BCS is NEVER going to admit the Mountain West into their club.

            It’s entirely conceivable that, in such a scenario, the other AQ’s would collectively choose to pull the Big East’s AQ (and deal with that fallout) instead of having to defend the BE’s preferred status. This is ESPECIALLY true if the whole reason why the BE’s league strength dropped was because they consciously decided to dilute their own product.

            2) In two of the last seven years (2004 and 2010), the Big East has sent massively unworthy teams to the BCS. To some degree 2004 gets excused b/c it’s a transitional year, but there’s no excuse for 2010. If in any of the next three seasons the Big East sends another dog with fleas, people (BCS bowls, other AQ leagues who lose an at-large slot to BE, non-AQ leagues who resent BE’s status, the public at large) are going to seriously wonder why the BE has an AQ slot to begin with if they’re fairly frequently sending teams that no one wants to watch and that no BCS bowl wants to host. In that environment, I would think it would be much easier for the AQ’s to collectively decide to throw the Big East under the bus.

            3) There’s almost certainly a desire among the power-brokers to consolidate (NOT expand) the number of AQ’s out there (see Cal AD interview). Getting rid of a BE AQ slot is a simple way to cut the number. Especially if they do it while loosening the non-AQ qualification rules (or specifically guaranteeing the highest ranked non-AQ makes the BCS, even if they all suck one year). They free up one more spot for themselves, while dropping a league that doesn’t draw much to bowl games.

            Of course, there’s no guarantee whatsoever that they’d even want to do that… but the Big East would be insane to provide an excuse to everyone else to take away their AQ, given that doing so benefits almost everyone else (excepting whatever political fallout may exist).

          • Brian says:

            Remember, though, the MWC lost 3 of its best programs and only gained 1 equivalent in BSU. The MWC strength will drop significantly, and the WAC will be below the MAC and Sunbelt. Meanwhile, the BE gets a boost from adding TCU. Adding UCF and SMU/Houston would be equivalent to the MWC adding Nevada and Hawaii. I don’t think any 12th program is bad enough to drag the BE down to the MWC’s new level in the computers.

            While you say all these BE candidates would add zero TV money, I don’t think that’s true. They don’t pull a lot of eyeballs in CUSA (or wherever), but that’s partly due to the competition. SMU, Houston and UCF are all in big markets, so even the low percentage of locals that will watch adds up to a decent number. UCF also has the advantage of all the retired alumni from BE schools that live in FL.

            You don’t think TCU playing Houston or TCU with a BCS bowl bid on the line would draw a decent rating in Texas? How about UCF/USF for a bid?

            They don’t need to add much value, just not be a big drain. The BB league would get more access to FL and/or TX markets, too, which will also add some value.

            It’s not a slam dunk for the BE, but you can make a decent financial case for it. They will also get a reputation boost for having 12 teams, and also for adding one more tough game for their champion.

          • frug says:

            I think what people are missing is how profitable a CCG would have to be to justify taking on three more teams in addition to TCU. Even given the Big East’s low current payouts it is unlikely that any one of the current collection of MAC/CUSA teams being considered could raise the average value of the Big East’s regular season games, let alone 3 of them that could. This means that without a very profitable CCG the current members would be looking at paycut from any expansion scenario currently being considered. (For perspective, ESPN was paying about $10 million for the Big XII CCG and it’s tough to imagine them paying half that given that the Big East doesn’t have any teams as appealing as OU, UT or NU).
            Of course this is too say nothing of the massive logistical issues that would arise from trying to run a 21 team basketball conference but that’s for another post.

          • Brian says:


            The BE is going to 10 regardless, so it’s only the last 2 teams that we are discussing. So 2 teams plus a CCG have to equal 2 current teams. A current team is worth $3.67M for FB, so 2 teams plus the CCG only have to equal $7.3M. The B10 CCG is worth $20-25M, so the BE has to be able to get at least $3M. That means two teams need to be worth about $2.2M each. Large market schools in states that care about FB should at least be close to that.

            In addition, remember that the BE TV deal runs out in 2013. Adding 2 new teams now, even if they lead to a slight dilution of revenue, will be covered by the coming increase in money.

          • @Brian – A big thing to remember for BE expansion is that any addition has to pay for itself on the basketball end, which is actually more than the football TV revenue on a per school basis. None of the main C-USA candidates appear to be able to do that on top of paying for themselves for football. This is why it may very well be the case that Villanova is the mos