New Leader of the Pac

Posted: May 3, 2011 in Big East, Big Ten, College Basketball, College Football, Sports
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Pac-12 is ready to announce a massive new television deal with Fox and ESPN worth $250 million annually.  (No one has been covering this story better than Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News.)  I certainly have to give props to Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott here.  Up to this point, I’ve thought that he was smart and aggressive but more full of bluster with big ideas without necessarily the ability to implement them.  The amount of the Pac-12 deal, shows that the conference made a smart move in hiring from outside of the college administrator ranks.

Ultimately, the reasoning for a TV rights fee is akin to examining the price of a stock.  A portion of the price is going to be related to the market overall, another portion is connected to the industry sector, and there’s a final part that is based on the fundamentals of the individual company itself.  It wasn’t a surprise that the Pac-12 was able to raise its TV rights fees significantly, as the demand for sports programming in general has been skyrocketing over the past few months.  That’s a market-based factor that all sports entities negotiating new TV deals are benefiting from right now, which I examined in-depth in my last post.  What I didn’t expect was that the Pac-12 would vault itself to a position alongside the Big Ten and SEC in terms of TV revenue so quickly.  The Big Ten has the benefit of having the Big Ten Network that can take advantage of the market trends until its ABC/ESPN ends in 2016, but the SEC is locked into its CBS and ESPN deals until well into the next decade.  That doesn’t mean that the Pac-12 is inherently as valuable as either the Big Ten or SEC.  Indeed, the Big Ten and Pac-12 negotiated for the rights to their respective new conference championship games with Fox at virtually the same time.  Head-to-head, the Big Ten game garnered over $23 million per year, while the Pac-12 game received $14.5 million per year, so that gives you an idea of what the conferences are worth relative to each other when you take timing out of it.  My impression that the SEC championship game would be worth even more.  Still, it’s significant that the Pac-12 seems to have been able to pull away from the ACC and non-Texas/Oklahoma portion of the Big 12.

So, what are the fundamentals specific to the Pac-12 that led to this deal (as opposed to just the overall rising tide of sports fees)?  One important point that I’ve mentioned before but probably underestimated in the scheme of things is that the Pac-12 is the only conference with a BCS monopoly in its own footprint.  In fact, with the additions of Colorado and Utah, it’s the only BCS conference located in the entire Pacific and Rocky Mountain Time Zones.  That’s a pretty massive swath of area to effectively have all to yourself.  In contrast, all of the other BCS conferences compete with at least 2 other BCS conferences in their footprints.  For the the Big East in particular, it has to compete with all of the other BCS conferences in its footprint except for the Pac-12.

Another item to note is that Fox needed to retain the Pac-12 very badly for its owned-and-operated West Coast regional sports networks, especially FS West in the Los Angeles market.  FS West is suffering from the blow of losing its most valuable property of the Lakers next year, who are pouring salt in the wound by creating two competing networks (one English and the other Spanish) with Time Warner Cable.  Losing Pac-12 sports on top of that would have left FSN West to rely on the Clippers… and I don’t care how badass Blake Griffin might be (and he’s about as badass as one can be badass), but if I’m Rupert Murdoch, I’ll be damned if I run any organization that has to rely on the Clippers.  With ownership of FS Arizona and a minority interest Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, Fox had some heavy incentives to protect or expand its Pac-12 programming.

(Note that Fox’s owned-and-operated regional sports networks are heavily concentrated in California, Arizona, Texas, the Great Plains Midwest and the Southeast.  Looking at that lineup, it should come as no surprise why Fox paid up heavily for the Pac-12 and Big 12 TV rights and sent in a large bid for the ACC.  The Northeast markets, on the other hand, are largely the domain of Comcast RSNs with Fox largely being shut out.  This is instructive as to who might be (and not be) looking at the Big East’s TV rights down the road.)

ESPN expanding its relationship with the Pac-12 is a little more difficult to read.  Variety has indicated that the Pac-12 has agreed to provide 4 Thursday night and 4 Friday night football games per year to ESPN, so there seems to be a push from the Worldwide Leader to get more higher quality weeknight college football contests.  The Pac-12 also allows for late night games on Saturdays to compensate for the moves of Hawaii and Fresno State from the WAC to the MWC (which doesn’t show any games on ESPN).  Finally, there could be a return of a 11 pm Central Time Big Monday basketball time slot allocated to the Pac-12, which ESPN used to have for Big West or West Coast Conference games.  Overall, ESPN’s modus operandi may very well have been to ensure that neither Comcast nor Turner Sports would end up with the Pac-12, who could have been used as a cornerstone to really have beefed themselves up as legitimate college sports broadcast competitors.

It’s also a bit of a surprise that a Pac-12 network would be wholly-owned.  This is a good thing if the network can receive basic carriage, but could be a roadblock if there are any carriage disputes.  The Big Ten Network, which is 49% owned by Fox, was able to leverage its basic carriage with DirecTV (which was owned by Fox at the time of the launch of the BTN) to apply pressure on cable operators, while the MLB Network garnered one of the largest basic cable launches of any channel in history by offering minority stakes to several cable companies in exchange for carriage.  Those cable companies also provided capital start-up costs.  On the other end of the spectrum, the NFL Network (wholly-owned by the NFL) is still battling cable operators 8 years after it went on the air.  There seems to be a presumption that the Pac-12 wanted to have 100% ownership of a network, but I’m not so sure that’s the case with the amount of ramp-up costs involved and how critical basic cable carriage is for success.

Regardless, even if a conference network never even gets off the ground, I’m pretty sure the Pac-12 schools are acting like this right now.

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

(Image from Lehigh Valley Live)

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  1. Jeepers says:


  2. Husker Al says:

    Go Big Red!

  3. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    geaux tigers!

  4. wmtiger says:

    This deal includes football and basketball?

    • @wmtiger – Yes, although specifics aren’t quite clear other than it looks like the Pac-12 championship game for football and Pac-12 basketball tournament will rotate between ESPN and Fox/FX.

  5. Dan says:

    Any idea what the Big 12 and Big 10 first tier rights might be valued at in 2016? If I remember right, the current Big 10 tier 1 deal is for $100 million/yr and the Big 12 tier 1 deal is for $60 million/yr.

    Think these numbers will double by then?

    • @Dan – If current trends hold up, those numbers will more than triple by then (if not quadruple). Applying the difference between the contemporaneously valued Big Ten and Pac-12 title games ($23MM vs. $14.5MM), the Big Ten is getting almost a 60% premium compared to the Pac-12. A 60% premium over the Pac-12’s $250 million per year deal would mean the Big Ten ought to be looking at something around $400 million per year.

      • cfn_ms says:

        Tough to say exactly. The Big 12 only has 18 games on the first tier, so it’s really a question of how much they’re worth on a per game basis. I really don’t know the answer to that question.

        I also suspect that it’s overstating the difference between the B10 and P12 to just compare the CCG’s. The B10 has four very strong, proven commodities (Mich, OSU, PSU, Neb) that are likely to collectively dominate CCG appearances and wins. The P12 has one very valuable FB property (USC), who may or may not struggle for the next 5-ish years due to sanctions. Selling an Oregon-Utah or Stanford-ASU or Washington-Colorado CCG is going to be tough on the national scale (and CCG’s ARE sold on the national scale).

        On the other hand, when it comes to normal league games, a lot of viewership is regional. People in SEC country are more likely to watch the B10 CCG vs Pac-12 CCG, but they’re also more likely to watch Bama-Tenn, LSU-Georgia, etc. than a B10 or P12 regular season game. IMO that means that the premium for the bulk of the TV package should be less than the premium for CCG’s, though I’m sure it still exists to a fair degree. Pulling a number off the top of my head, I’d wildly guess 25% as about the “right” answer for the TV deal premium.

        • Nostradamus says:

          Big 12 in all likelihood could end up with less than 18 in the next go around. The Pac-12 only got 10 with ABC/Fox. They lost their championship game which had a value of $7 to $10 million. I still also think their primary rights contract is where the loss of Nebraska will hit harder as well. That said I fully expect them to make more money, it is just a question of how much more.

          cfn_ms, most of your last two paragraphs are still justification for why the Big Ten could/should command significantly more than the Pac-12.

    • Nostradamus says:

      The two contracts are also very similar in terms of scope making a comparison like Frank’s more valid. The Pac-12 contract will cover 44 football games + the championship, and 68 basketball games. The Big Ten deal covers up to 41 football games, and about 60 basketball games, keep in mind this is based on 11 team conference.

    • bullet says:

      What isn’t clear is how much of the increased value is from the 1st tier and how much from the 2nd tier. I don’t remember how the SEC’s deal was split. Pac 12’s figures have both grouped and Big 12 was just 2nd tier. I think the ACC had 1st, 2nd and 3rd tier grouped. Alan, anyone? How much was CBS for the SEC?

      My guess is that the 2nd tier is having the greatest increase because of more content and more flexibility. I don’t think the Big 12’s primary is going to go up 4.5 times like the second tier did. At that rate, the Big 12 would have $36 million per year per team (60*4.5 + 90).

  6. [...] Source : New Leader of the Pac « FRANK THE TANK'S SLANT [...]

  7. jj says:

    love the video. i never saw that one.

  8. Great stuff as always. I linked to it in what I posted today.

  9. allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

    Thanks for the great blog, Frank.
    Question though…why are the mainstream journalists claiming that the PAC12 is now the “leading money making conference” in light of this deal. Your numbers above have the PAC 10 nearly 10 million under the Big 10 still (our 23 to their 14.5). This seems like a huge discrepancy. What gives?

    • @allthatyoucantleavebehind – That comparison was just for the 2 respective conference championship games only. So, the overall Pac-12 contract has probably inched past the Big Ten for now (although that also depends upon how much the Big Ten Network is making now).

    • Nostradamus says:

      If you are just looking at average life of the contract values (which is the easiest thing to look at to compare) the Pac-12 is leading and will still get additional income from their future network.

      Wilner estimates the year 1 payout of the New Pac-12 deal will be about $180 million or $15 million per school if they hypothetically were splitting it equally (Utah will not be a full-share member yet). The Big Ten is benefiting in these comparisons right now, because it is approaching the back-end of the ABC/ESPN deal. In two years I figure each school in the Big Ten will be getting about $9.5 million from the ABC/ESPN deal, conservatively about $7 million from the BTN, and $1.7 million for the conference championship game or $18.2 million per school.

      The situation changes when the Big Ten re-negotiates the their ABC/ESPN contract. If you go with Frank’s hypothetical approx. $400 million at a 72% discount of the contract average (like year 1 of Pac-12 deal) $24 million plus maybe $8 million for the BTN for $32 million versus maybe $24 million that year for the Pac-12.

  10. bullet says:

    I don’t think the lack of another BCS competitor in their region is the benefit as much as it is the time zone. Iowa St. doesn’t add much to the Big 12. Iowa isn’t that big to the Big 10. UGA owns GA. The SEC really only shares SC which is a small state and FL, which is big enough for 2. The ACC also has FL to share, SC and then they have a small part in GA, but own NC, VA, MD and MA. TCU, UL, UC, Pitt, USF are no economic threat to the big dogs in those states. The BE is the one that is hampered by being #2 (or #3,4, 5 or 6).

    I believe the time zone is also what triggered ESPN’s interest. With Fox getting the Big 12, they didn’t want to get shut out west of the Mississippi. ABC/ESPN had primary and secondary rights on only 8 Central time zone AQ schools (assuming BE stays with them-6 B1G,UL,TCU). Also, replacing the WCC and BW with Pac 12 bb games as you point out above has to be a ratings winner for ESPN.

  11. M says:

    The Pac-10 covers a massive swath of area, but not very many people live there.

    US Population by Time Zone
    Eastern 47.0%
    Central 32.9%
    Mountain 5.4%
    Pacific 14.1%

    While almost 20% isn’t a bad total number, it’s a bad 20% of the population for college sports.

    • jj says:

      not enough water out west.

      some can laugh all they want about the upper midwest dying and all, but they can bag it when they come a lookin for our water. lol.

      • ccrider55 says:

        (insert poorly timed joke about midwesterners willing to part with quite a bit of water right now…)

  12. Nostradamus says:

    Something that might get overlooked in the release from the Pac-12 is the Friday night championship game. Very interesting, but I think it may ultimately be a smart move.

  13. Hopkins Horn says:

    Just for giggles, does anyone care to project what Larry Scott would have been able to procure for a rights deal had he been able to pull off the Pac-16?

    Nice post, Frank. My simplistic read is that any discrepancy in rights fees between the five major conferences is less of a big deal than it would have been a year ago since everyone had pretty much gotten theirs now. Who cares as much if someone else got a bigger slice of cake if your own slice is two or three times bigger than it was last year?

    • Super D says:

      Well…the ACC might be a little upset. Their new deal, considered very good at the time and marker for what the PAC would get, is almost a $100 million a year smaller, and the PAC still retained 36 games to start its own network. I was a little surprised they were able to retain that many games for the number they got. Didn’t the Big 12 only retain 1 game per team in their new Fox deal?

      I’m just glad it looks like all of the 44 games not on the PAC network will be on national channels…no more crappy FSN that looks like its being broadcast by the local high school, unless I’m reading the press release wrong.

      • cfn_ms says:

        The ACC might be upset, but I’m not sure that there’s really much of anything they can do about it. If the SEC comes calling, it might make that invite more compelling, but I don’t think the ACC can really drive change in an effective way. Even if they tried to move forward expando-mageddon by raiding the Big East, there’s a pretty reasonable chance that:

        1) The networks would at best up the TV deals by a factor of 14/12 or 16/12 (depending on whether they bump to 14 or 16)

        2) The other leagues would shrug, say “whatever” and go back to what they were already doing

    • Michael in Indy says:

      “Who cares as much if someone else got a bigger slice of cake if your own slice is two or three times bigger than it was last year?”

      My first reaction is to think about how it effects my favorite team and its conference, FSU & the ACC. Yes, the league got a hefty pay raise, but in light of the new deals for the Big 12 and Pac-12, I can’t help but be a little disappointed.

      The timing of the ACC’s deal is proving to be horrible. The ACC got $155M/year, all rights in, last year, while the Pac-12 got $95M/year more, excluding some third tier rights, this year. I tend to think the ACC would have a slight edge on the Pac-12 if they were on the open market at the same time. Yes, the Pac-12 has the West all to itself, and it has a bigger brand nationally, USC, than anything offered by the ACC. However, USC is the only real national brand, while the ACC has two. Virginia Tech is about equal to Oregon as a television draw when they are having comparable seasons. Then there’s basketball, where the ACC has an edge over everyone for television value. Even if the leagues are of equal value, the $95M discrepancy is still quite alarming.

      I’m starting to be a little more sympathetic toward the idea of FSU at least strongly considering an offer to join the SEC, should one ever come. I hate saying that because there is so much I like about the ACC: associating with great universities like Virginia, UNC, and Duke; familiarity that comes with nearly 20 years of membership; and the fact that FSU is in a league in my former- and soon-to-be present-home state of North Carolina. Plus, in cases where there are questionable ethics and NCAA violations, I like the way ACC fans react better than SEC fans. When UNC football was caught for their agent issues, every UNC fan I know was absolutely appalled. They wanted Butch Davis fired. They were disgusted for the black eye that was put on UNC. When Auburn had the Cam Newton issues, their fans were defiant. When oversigning is brought up, many (not all!) Alabama and LSU fans just made excuses…

      But all that being said, FSU has to be frustrated. Per school, its conference is already only the fifth-highest revenue generator, and with all rights in, there is no room for growth for the next 12 years. Meanwhile, the Big Ten will further distance itself as the BTN grows and when it negotiates its first tier rights in 2016; the Pac-12 will pull further away with its network; the SEC schools will further ahead with their individual third tier deals; and the Big 12 schools, likewise, plus their own first tier negotiations in 2016. I wouldn’t be too surprised if the Big East at least pulls even with the ACC when their next deal comes up.

      If for whatever reason the SEC does decide to expand, I would think the two most likely targets would be Texas A&M and FSU. OU won’t go anywhere without Texas. A&M, if it can separate themselves (and of course that’s a big if), would be glad to go. I think the SEC, regardless of what Florida says, would want FSU over Virginia Tech, Clemson, West Virginia, Louisville, Georgia Tech, or whoever else. FSU is a NATIONAL team with more fans in its huge home state than a regional team like VT has in its much smaller home state.

      • cfn_ms says:

        I tend to agree that A&M/FSU would be SEC’s preferred pair, though I don’t know if/how strongly Florida would be against it. Does anyone know the voting rules for SEC expansion, and how many “no” votes it takes to veto?

        • frug says:

          I don’t know the exact rules for the SEC, but I’m guessing Florida would do whatever they had to do to block FSU from joining the conference. If the SEC uses Big Ten rules (8 votes in favor) Florida could probably count on Georgia and SC to stand with them since they have their own ACC rivals they would like to block out (not that Clemson or G-Tech would get an invite anyways…) which means UF would only need one more school to kill the proposal. On other hand, if the SEC has PAC-10 rules (unanimous consent) then it’s a nonissue.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            frug – I have followed the SEC closely for over 25 years and have never seen, heard, or read anything to substantiate your claims that Florida would block Florida State from SEC membership. In fact, during the first round of expansion in the 90s, Florida State was SEC target #1, and Florida did nothing to block them. Bobby Bowden ultimately chose the ACC as the easier path to a championship.

            From a scheduling standpoint, FSU in the SEC greatly benefits Florida, since they play OOC games already.

          • M says:

            I’ve definitely heard that any school in the SEC has veto power over any school in its home state, but I can’t find a reputable source for that.

            As Alan says below, FSU was target #1 in the early 90s expansion and Florida did not seem to object. Whether FSU or Florida’s view has changed in the intervening years is up for debate, although I personally doubt that the SEC is seriously considering expansion of any sort.

          • Michael in Indy says:


            Florida probably would have blocked FSU from getting into the SEC at least through the 70’s, but FSU was basically the equivalent of an ECU type of program then. In the past 25 years, at least, UF couldn’t make that argument. Now that one of Jimbo Fisher’s best buds is the head coach at Florida, UF would have a lot more support within the athletic department to support an invitation of FSU to the league over the alternatives.

            I disagree the ACC route was necessarily the easier path to a championship, at least during the 90’s, when you take into context that FSU kept a very difficult non-conference schedule. The SEC was very good but not quite as great at that time as it is today, and SEC teams were still scheduling lightly outside of one difficult non-conference game. South Carolina and Kentucky were pushovers, and most years Ole Miss and Mississippi State were, too, whereas today, there are no easy outs other than Vanderbilt.

            FSU, by contrast, gave itself three tough non-conference games every year (Florida, Miami, and a third like Texas A&M, USC, or the early 90’s great Notre Dame teams). There was usually at least one or two other ranked ACC team among Virginia, Clemson, Georgia Tech, and North Carolina.

            FSU probably would have adopted Florida’s non-conference scheduling practices, making Miami their one tough game and the other two creampuffs.

            The ACC allowed FSU to keep a schedule on par with SEC teams, keep its in-state rivalries, and still have games like the so-called 1993 “game of the century” against the Domers. Bowden had made a name for Florida State by going on the road to big-name teams like Nebraska and Dan Marino’s Pitt Panthers, and he wanted to continue that. It allowed FSU to build a tradition of its own, independent of the well-established SEC.

          • frug says:


            At this point adding FSU would only hurt UF. While adding FSU would make the rivalry game a conference game, that would be offset since a 14 team conference would basically require a 9 game conference schedule.

            More importantly, the balance of power in college football has shifted significantly since 1991. 20 years ago FSU and UF were basically on equal footing. Now, however Florida has surpassed FSU in terms of recruiting in state talent, a fact accomplished in part thanks to the higher prestige, money and visibility of Florida’s SEC membership.

            If league could find a way to make the rivalry game a conference game without moving to a 9 game conference schedule or ditching the protected rivalries, then it might be worth it from Florida’s perspective, otherwise Florida has no reason to weaken its current recruiting advantage in its own state.

          • Michael in Indy says:

            FSU had either the #1 or the #2 recruiting classes in the country this past season, depending on which source you look at. Florida was #12 according to Rivals.

            FSU was just down for a few years. Now that they’re getting back to their normal, winning ways, FSU and UF will be back to an even footing. The one with the recruiting balance of power in its favor will usually be the team that won the most recent game.

            I don’t think a switch to the SEC would make a difference for FSU as far as in-state recruiting goes. FSU doesn’t have to sell the prestige of its conference; it merely needs to sell the prestige of its schedule.

            UF doesn’t offer a home against Oklahoma this year, or one against West Virginia in 2012, or one against Virginia Tech in 2013, or a road game at USF (close to recruits’ homes) in 2012, or an annual game against Miami. FSU does. Sure, UF offers good SEC games instead, but to high school recruits, it won’t make that much of a difference, just as it didn’t this past offseason.

          • Richard says:


            It may surprise you, but university presidents (who will be the ones who ultimately make a decision on expansion) care about more issues than football recruiting.

            In any case, I heard that Florida was OK with letting FSU in to the SEC last time around so long as they went to the western division.

          • cfn_ms says:

            One other consideration is that increasingly, the TV value of a good game (as 1/2 of a home and home) is starting to compete with the gate you get from a bodybag. So 9 league games MIGHT not be a big negative, especially if the Big Ten ever moves in the direction (at which point the SEC would be the only major power at < 9 league games).

          • frug says:


            That’s the reason most university presidents defer to their AD’s on these issues.

          • Richard says:


            Show me an example from the last round of expansion where the president let the AD pull the strings.

          • frug says:

            I’d say the fact that the PAC schools unanimously voted to give Larry Scott unilateral authority to pursue expansion tells me that the presidents/chancellors (not sure who has the final call for the UC schools since they share a president) were not really interested in getting personally involved in the expansion process.

            Moreover, back in the early ’90s Stanford and Cal actually killed talks with Texas because they were concerned about the Longhorns academics. This time they were willing to take on Texas Tech and Oklahoma State and their Tier 3 academic ratings. Do you seriously believe that this wasn’t a case of the university presidents/chancellors simply listening to their ADs who were no doubt screaming that this was the best move for the athletic department?

            Yes the presidents/chancellors have the ultimate decision, but, they usally, at least when it comes to expansion, do what the their ADs advise them to.

          • Richard says:

            The P10 presidents gave Larry Scott latitude because they wanted money, not because they listened to their ADs. The ADs have always cared about athletics. What’s changed is that the overall budgetary situation has worsened for pretty much every P10 school.

          • duffman says:

            I still say it would be TAMU + VT not TAMU + FSU. VT and TAMU open new markets, but FSU is just overlap for the SEC. The bigger issue is what will be left of the ACC if we really go to 16 team “super conferences”? The B1G and SEC would cherry pick the ACC, and what was left would have to merge with the BE just to stay alive, and not descend to MAC or Sun Belt status. The one smart thing the SEC did was to keep rivals OOC on the schedule to add an inventory of games that are above average in attracting non state media.

            USC vs Clemson
            UK vs UL
            UF vs FSU
            UGA vs GT

            The OOC exposure actually helps the value of the SEC without adding more mouths to feed.

      • Bamatab says:

        There was a rumor going around during last summer’s expansion craze that Slive’s original intention was to add aTm and FSU if the Pac 10 & Big Ten decided to expand. But UF, UGA, and Bama voiced “concern” about it and that’s when Slive offered OU instead. Apparently UF, UGA, and Bama didn’t want FSU in because all three schools do a lot of recruiting in northern Florida. They would’ve needed one more school to swing to their side to veto FSU being invited, but Slive didn’t want the hassle or bad publicity, so he decided to offer OU and then fall back to plan B (whatever that was). No again, that was just a rumor, but that rumor was coming from some Bama folks that usually have some pretty decent connections.

      • bullet says:

        As someone else said, its a race where everyone starts at a different point. In the mid-90s when the CFA went away, the ACC got the best deal. They just got stuck by having their deal expire at the very bottom of the recession. I suspect the ACC will be back up there with the next renewal-just that will be a long time.

    • bullet says:

      I’m not going to project, but Scott made the comment a few weeks ago that it would have been huge.

  14. Playoffs Now says:

    Now that Nebraska has become the first school kicked out of the AAU, have they figured out a way to blame Texas?

    • Mike says:

      Did you see who was President of the AAU?

      • Gopher86 says:

        President Emeritus of University of Texas at Austin, Larry Faulkner. A few blogs and more bold reporters brought up this point.

        • Mike says:

          If Playoffs Now was looking for the Texas boogy man that Nebraska could point to, there he is. Nevermind Texas supporting keeping UNL in the AAU.

      • bullet says:

        Actually he was just head of the committee that sent the letter to Pearlman asking for a response to their concerns.. Former UT President Robert Berdahl is president of the AAU.

  15. jj says:

    Way off subject, but did anyone see this video of the bin laden take-down? I can’t beleive they released it.

    • @jj – That’s probably the best scene from that movie alongside the Mike Tyson appearance and the Asian gangster escaping from the trunk. I hope the sequel this summer doesn’t bring up memories of Caddyshack 2, though.

      • jj says:

        It is hilarious. I liked all the scenes you mention and I loved the wedding singer. I have low expectations for part 2, but hey who knows.

      • Gopher86 says:

        I’m thinking it will be Tom Hanks’ ‘Bachelor Party’ set in Thailand.

  16. Nostradamus says:

    Delany was on an Omaha radio station this afternoon, the only thing of note they got out of him was don’t expect November night games anytime soon.

  17. Hopkins Horn says:

    Frank, was your choice of an image to accompany this article somewhat random, or did you deliberately choose to an image of the conference’s best-paid player in recent years to subtly illustrate the new-found riches of the conference? Well played.

  18. Hopkins Horn says:

    By the way, ESPN agreed to allow UT to have the right to fire LSN broadcasters, From the licensing agreement:

    “[I]n the event that UT reasonably determines that any on-air talent does not reflect the quality and reputation desired by UT for the Network based on inappropriate statements made or actions taken by such talent and so notifies ESPN, ESPN will cause such talent to be promptly replaced (and will in any event no longer allow them on air following such notice).”

    No conflict of interest issues here. At all.

  19. bullet says:

    DC took out Obama. They’ve decided to go after the BCS. This might be a tougher nut to crack.


  20. alchemist says:

    As to the carriage battles, it comes down to three things: content, content and content.

    The gripe about NFL Network is it only offers, what, eight games that all take place in the same month? That, a couple lower-tier bowl games and NFL draft coverage is all you get for a fairly pricey network. The Pac 12 held out 36 football games for the league network and will have original sports content year-round. I think they’re totally different animals so it’s hard to compare one to the other.

    I hate going off reasoning like this on this one but so far everything Larry Scott has touched has turned to gold. He’s proven himself to be a brilliant and very saavy commissioner thus far. Given his track record I don’t think he’d try to go it alone on this and hold 100% equity in the network if he wasn’t reasonably confident he could get it off the ground.

    • SideshowBob says:

      Flip side: look at the MLB Network. They have regular games on Thur and Sat nights all season, plus a decent number of day games and Tues and Fri night games. They do “30 games, 30 teams, in 30 days” to start the season. That’s real content, unlike the NFL Network.

    • Richard says:

      We’ll see. I think there’s enough interest in P12 sports along the West Coast to get on cable systems there, but will their network be on the basic tier anywhere else? The BTN has managed to get on th basic tier in a lot of places outside of B10 country in part because we send alums and other fans all over the country. The P12? Not so much. Plus, they won’t have as much football & basketball content for their channel as the B10. Finally, by retaining ownership, they’re taking on the costs of building a network from scratch. We’ll see how it turns out, but I don’t see it being a big moneymaker for the P12 (and likely will be a money sink during the early years).

      • ccrider55 says:

        I thought the Pac had reserved considerably more games for their network,digital net, and what ever the third distribution platform the conference is planing. Plus Wilner just posted that the P12N will get 2 first picks of games during the season.

        • ccrider55 says:

          I don’t believe it would ever be but how would the threat of USC vs ND on the P12N effect carrige negotiations?

          • M says:

            I don’t know the details of the contract, but I’m guessing FOX/ESPN has their pick of games each week. They won’t let USC-ND slip to the PTN.

          • Richard says:


            Yes, the PTN will have first choice some weeks, but I would be shocked if ESPN and Fox didn’t have a say on which weeks the PTN picks first. I seriously doubt Fox and ESPN will let USC/ND week be a week where the PTN picks first.

        • Richard says:

          Look up Nostrodamus’s post above in the thread. The B10 and P12 have reserved roughly the same number of football and basketball games for their networks. Both conferences hold all their nonrevenue sports, of course.

          • ccrider55 says:

            This post by Wilner has me confused then:
            “The remaining regular-season football games, an average of approximately three games per week, will be featured exclusively on the Pac-12 Network”
            Additionally the P12N will seemingly be treated as third partner, a junior first rights holder, being able to select games first two weekends a season and second for several others.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Now would they select the top game and deprive a broadcast partner? Highly unlikely. But the possibility seems to at least exist.

          • Nostradamus says:

            Yeah Richard it is basically the same in terms of inventory.
            44 Pac-12 games + a CCG, 68 basketball games.

            Big Ten deal with ABC/ESPN
            41 football games, ~60 basketball games.

          • bullet says:

            Again, I wonder about the math like the B12 deal. If its 44 games and they are reserving 36, that’s 80. They have 54 conference games (12*9/2) and 36 (12*3) non-conference for a total of 90. But not all of those 36 will be home games. Most likely no more than 24. That leaves you two short even if all teams have two home ooc games every year (will Utah and WSU?).

          • Brian says:


            The schools are guaranteed at least 1 game each. The networks can show up to the contracted number of games with some contractual minimum. The people in the room are smart enough to know that not everyone can reach their maximum.

          • bullet says:


            You DO realize you are using Enron terminology
            (“The smartest guys in the room”)?

            As for the Pac 12 network, I’ll quote Dirty Harry, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” Business is full of big egos resulting in failures of companies stepping outside their areas of expertise. Or doing things in-house when there are capable outside contractors.

          • bullet says:

            As for imperfect contracts, all the lawyers on here can tell you that’s how they make a living. Many of these deals get done in a rush with lots of last minute changes. Or the big guys make the deal and have other people write it up.

          • Brian says:

            I’m just saying, fans tend to skip over the part of the contract that says “up to” and just quote the maximum number of games. The contracts have to be written to cover the case that all 12 teams play all their OOC games at home and the other extreme of no home OOC games and everything in between. There are clauses in there that determine who gets taken care of and who gets shafted if there aren’t as many games as they want.

      • Nostradamus says:

        The alumni and fans in other parts of the country helped for sure, but it also helped to have a 49% owner that knew how to get carriage and had a huge financial incentive on their end to make it happen as well.

    • bullet says:

      He’s a gambler. Pac 12 is putting up the capital and reaping the benefits or absorbing the losses. BTN put the capital on Fox. Texas put it all on ESPN along with the upside.

      For an individual school, the Texas model makes sense. For a conference a sharing like the BTN is a reasonable allocation of risk. Pac 12 network is a gamble unless he just didn’t get what he thought it was worth. But he could still sell part later.

    • Nostradamus says:

      The question Alchemist though is does the Pac-12 network have content? I think it certainly does on a regional basis and could be very successful in the Pac-12 territory. I remain skeptical about its prospects outside Pac-12 territory though, (while covering myself in case Scott pulls another rabbit out of the hat).

      The one thing the 100% equity does for the Pac-12 is it means you can be in less houses and or charge a lower carriage fee and still be as profitable as the Big Ten Network as they obviously are giving nearly half of everything to Fox. On the other hand, as Frank and others have noted, getting carriage is key and the easier path towards getting carriage is giving up ownership.

      Wilner mentioned Scott is looking at starting from scratch or to take over an existing channel and re-brand it. Either one of those is going to either require a tremendous cash expenditure or giving up a partial ownership stake in the network.

  21. al says:

    Love the content, Frank! Does anyone know if the 49% owned by Fox of the Big Ten Network is permanent? I remember reading somewhere that there would be future negotiation between Fox and the B1G once the network startup costs were recovered and paid to Fox. Also, is it me as a B1G fan is too greedy or does 49% owned by Fox seem like a lot, especially if that is what is used to divide profit?

    • @al – There might be some type of clause to that effect, but I’m not certain. I think at the time of the launch for the BTN, the 49% was fair. It was brand new territory for a college conference and the Big Ten needed to get Fox to fund the start-up costs along with getting basic carriage at then-sister company DirecTV right off the bat. Fox also guarantees a minimum payment to the Big Ten every year – that figure might be moot now, but it was definitely relevant back when the BTN first went on the air and carriage was spotty. We’ll need to see how well the Pac-12 is able to get its network on the air without the assistance of a major cable partner to examine whether the Fox share is too large. Note that the new Longhorn network isn’t owned by UT at all.

      • al says:

        Thanks for the info Frank. I guess its easy for fans to overlook how hard it was to get the BTN on basic. Not to mention Delaney was making an unbelievable, unprecedented bold move.

        But speaking of others, do you have ANY IDEA WHY UT does not even own its own network? Are they going to renegotiate the ownership in the future? Does the terms of the contract give UT something we don’t know of? Or are you planning to give us your expert analysis in a future post? It just seems… weird how a university like that would make such a move, and we all know the folks at the top aren’t fools.

        • Gopher86 says:

          Starting up a network is a risky venture, which involves putting capital up front. UT placed all the risk on ESPN and put little to no capital up front.

          In addition, UT is pimping out its third tier rights only– a football game, a few OOC basketball games and non-revenue sports (though UT baseball is certainly a draw). Getting $15mm/yr for that content at zero risk is a windfall.

        • bullet says:

          And a single university has more risk in a network. If you have a down period that really hurts. Simple investment diversification strategy. I’m sure UT would have liked to have a piece of the upside, but ESPN offered them enough to forego. These universities and conferences are not media companies. I like the BTN approach. You’ve got Fox whose function is running networks doing the work. Pac 12 approach can be very profitable, but they could also fall on their face. They’re stepping outside their area of expertise. Then again, there’s nothing to stop them later from offering a piece to a Fox or Comcast to run it for them.

          • cfn_ms says:

            Right. I would guess they’re mulling over that option, as well as the possibility of giving a piece to various cable co’s and/or DirectTV to help smooth over the distribution wars. They COULD keep it 100% self-owned, but I’m guessing at some point they release at least some of the equity.

    • Richard says:

      The BTN’s a 25 year deal. Not sure what happens after 25 years, though there’d likely be negotiations close to that point.

      In any case, I’m far from convinced that 100% of a P12 network will be worth more than 51% of the BTN. In fact, I’m fairly certain it won’t be anytime during the lifetime of the 25 year BTN deal.

    • Nostradamus says:

      I think that we’ll likely find the 49% turns out to be high, but like Frank said their were certainly valid and to some extent still are valid reasons for it. Fox has a financial incentive to continue to try and expand the network’s carriage and enhance the network’s profitability. It will be interesting to see how Scott handles this though.

  22. bullet says:

    Since many on here have been interested in hockey relocations-from the Atlanta paper some discussion of Coyotes, Thrashers and Manitobans:

    • Adam says:

      Excellent, and thank you.

      One of the NHL’s problems is that they have 2 teams that are relocation targets (and several more in enough trouble that they ought to be, but for whatever reason, are on the back burner right now), but basically only one option in Winnipeg that I think everybody agrees is at least worth a shot. After that, you don’t have a ton of good choices. Kansas City? Portland? Seattle? I can guess largish towns that have pro franchises in other pro leagues just like anybody else, but that’s the extent of my insight. Although contraction has been mentioned as a serious possibility in MLB (one of the NY papers reported that contracting Tampa Bay and Oakland was legitimately on the table) and the NBA (the Commissioner specifically mentioned it vis-a-vis New Orleans, and I can remember the owner of the Pacers intimating it was a possibility), but perhaps the NHL is where it may actually happen for lack of other alternatives.

      • jj says:

        I agree that Seattle is probably worth a shot & maybe Omaha or Indy as well? I think a team could succeed in Windsor too, but the Wings would block it and/or the NHL won’t risk it.

        • Richard says:

          I think NHL expansion to any other US city would by folly. Omaha is small and I don’t expect Indianapolis to do better than Columbus or Nashville. Where there is demand for the NHL and a lack of teams is Canada. Toronto can easily support another team, and SW Ontario (centered around London) as well, but the Leafs (and Wings) probably would object.

          • Michael in Indy says:

            @Richard, I totally agree.

            FWIW, a few weeks ago the local ESPN Radio affiliate here in Indy had someone who called in trying to make a case that Indy should get an NHL team.

            The radio host handled it nicely (instead of mocking him for the next ten minutes like Colin Cowherd would), but the idea was shot down.

            Reasoning: This is Indiana, home of Hoosier Hysteria. It’s arguably the most hoops-crazed state in the nation. Yet the Pacers, a team with almost 40 years worth of roots in this city, are struggling for their survival. After about 15 straight playoff seasons, the team took about a 5-year downturn, and attendance plummeted. This year, if I remember correctly, they had the lowest attendance in the NBA, even though this was a team with likable players that, despite the sub-.500 record, wound up making the playoffs.

            So if an NBA team can’t make it in a city & state that adores basketball, how would the mismanaged NHL expect one to survive?

          • bullet says:

            I don’t really understand why Seattle hasn’t been tried (or why it took so long to get to Colorado). They would seem logical, especially with no bb team.

            Houston could support a team. They’ve got a good facility and the Rockets owner tried to get a team. He wanted to better utilize Toyota Center. They were one of the leaders in attendance in the WHA but they didn’t have the ownership to make the NHL jump.

            In the 2006 Census, Metro populations were: Quebec 715k, Winnipeg 694k, Hamilton 692k (but they are really part of the Toronto area). NHL cities metro population:
            Toronto 5.113 million
            Montreal 3.635
            Vancouver 2.117
            Ottowa 1.131
            Calgary 1.079
            Edmonton 1.035

            Winnipeg at 2.67% had the 2nd lowest growth rate of the 20 largest metro areas from 2001-2006. Quebec and Hamilton also had relatively low growth rates (14th and 15th of the top 20), well below the 6 NHL cities.

          • Adam says:

            Seattle does seem somewhat logical, although I have no idea how much interplay there is with Vancouver. Can KeyArena do ice hockey? Lack of any real knowledge of these sorts of things leaves me hesitant to say “Man, those clowns at the NHL should have put a team in Seattle.”

            The notion of Houston is intriguing. The Stars are on hard times right now, but discussion on the last article left me with the impression that has more to do with the owner pulling something of a George Shinn (I would compare to Bill Wirtz, but he is in a class unto himself), and other than the last couple of years, I think that most people perceived Dallas to be the NHL’s southern success story, so perhaps it could work in Houston?

          • bullet says:

            Its a long hard drive between Vancouver and Seattle even though the distance isn’t great. I don’t see any interplay. Of course you also have a border crossing to get through.

          • Richard says:

            It never gets cold enough for ice to form the NW, so it’s as foreign a sport there as it is to California (Vancouver is different since it’s a part of Canada, where hockey’s a religion). Houston may actually be a big enough city to support an NHL team, but really, how many warm-weather NHL franchises have been successful, and how many of the successful ones are actually located in areas where ice forms during the winter?

            Between them, the Hartford and Springfield,MA metropolitan areas have nearly 2M people. You’d figure that’d be enough to support an NHL franchise. They’d have to name the team the “New England Whatevers” to get fans from both states, but that’s probably more promising than many of the existing warm-clime franchises.

          • ccrider55 says:

            I would be surprised if Portland couldn’t support an NHL team. They support the Winterhawks fairly well, although that team would then probably need to move.

            Residents of WA and OR are familiar with the winter sports with their close proximity to mountains and a number of ski slopes.

          • Morgan Wick says:

            There should be more Vancouver interplay here, but only with Comcast SportsNet Portland being carried here have we gotten any Canucks games on local TV at all (outside of HNIC coverage from getting CBC on our side of the border), and we seem to get as many Sharks games as Canucks games.

          • Craig Z says:

            What about Milwaukee? College hockey is big in Wisconsin, so I would think the NHL would have a good chance. Is it too close to Chicago?

          • smashmode says:

            Seattle would be a likely spot, maybe Portland. And it makes much more sense than some of these other cities.

            Although it is more likely that Seattle gets a team to move than, rather than a brand new franchise.

          • Adam says:

            There is zero chance of additional expansion. The talent pool is probably already too diluted. Conceivably, you could have a team in one town fold and then have an expansion franchise granted to a town like Seattle if that was for some reason the desired angle, but they aren’t going to go past 30 teams.

        • jj says:

          San Jose has been hands-down the best expansion team of recent times; carolina seems pretty successful too.

          Winning helps and so does a good overall product.

          Part of the B-Jackets, Thrashers & Predators problems, I think, is that they are just stupid looking and/or sounding.

          Sorry, but I think it’s true.
          Marketing a new product matters. The sharks are cool even if teal is a bit out. You can do all sorts of stuff with sharks – jaws, fins on zambonis, it’s fun stuff

          When I saw Atlanta, Nashville & Ohio unveiled, WTF was my first reaction to all of them. Tampa Bay too to a lesser extent.

          Based on nothing more than wild speculation, I think the NW could do well with another team.

          You guys are right, Ontario easily could take on another & Grand Rapids (between Detroit & Chicago)might be able to support one.

          • Adam says:

            Carolina wasn’t an expansion team — Hartford relocated. The distinction is a critical one, because expansion teams are generally given some kind of preferential draft treatment and some kind of expansion draft to quickly stock their roster — just ask any NFL team that finished last overall but got the 2nd pick in the draft because there was an expansion team picking first that year.

          • Brian says:

            While they sound stupid, the Blue Jackets have a historical basis from an important Indian leader ( and a rich Civil War history.

            Thrashers is based on the Georgia state bird and won the fan poll, so it can’t be that unpopular. It was runner-up to Flames the first time around. The fact that the ownership is just as incompetent as every Atlanta pro sports owner ever (except Arthur Blank) is the real problem.

            The Predators have a cool logo (based on a saber-tooth cat skeleton found downtown), and the name is pretty good. It also won a fan poll. I think they suffer from playing hockey in Tennessee more than anything else.

            And it’s just my opinion, but I don’t think there’s any way Grand Rapids could support a team.

            The NHL should be bold and move to Las Vegas. Some pro team has to be first and there are lots of tourists who would be willing to watch the NHL rather than catch a show.

          • bullet says:

            The Thrashers have been hurt by an ownership split and legal battles. Its been a mess for several years.

          • jj says:


            I get your point, but popularity doesn’t equal good.

            It’s all subjective anyway. I just think they all kind of biffed. I prefer the simple stuff I guess.

            Of the 3, I guess I’d rank them Atlanta, Columbus, and Nashville (good to bad). Nashville’s could have been cool, but it reminds me of that shark from strange wilderness. I think cats are hard to do. TheDetroit Lions’ logo looks horrible too; the old one, “bubbles”, was straight-up embarrassing.

            The NHL has a proud history of this kind of crap. Remember when the mighty ducks started? Holy cow. Why not just call them the Walt Disneys?

            That was the fist time we all got to see Bettman in action on a big deal; he really set the tone with that nonsense, which then turned into glowing pucks and all kinds of total craziness.

          • Richard says:


            I’d pay to see the Mighty Walt Disneys vs. The Fighting Rupert Murdochs.

          • Brian says:


            I’m just saying you can’t really blame the names since the people chose them. That’s not the problem for those teams.

          • Morgan Wick says:

            Nashville is the one market in the NHL’s southern swing that doesn’t make sense to me (with Carolina nominally coming in second, and I’m not sure SoCal needs a second team); Columbus doesn’t feel “south” to me. Atlanta and Phoenix are top-10 markets, and Tampa and Miami aren’t far behind; Bettman probably felt the NHL had to have a presence in all the biggest markets for respectability stateside. That doesn’t explain why we don’t have a team in Seattle, though…

          • Kyle says:

            That’s because Columbus actually isn’t south. It’s parallel with Pittsburgh and north of Philly.

            The problem is merely that the team names and jersey designs were chosen by committee. Owners need to put that sort of “artistic direction” in a single knowledgeable person’s hands so they can implement a cohesive vision for a team. Otherwise too many interests are appeased and the compromise has not character. The Avalanche and the Wild are examples of the right way to do it; this stems from having hockey people to coordinate the brand creation.

  23. Frank the Ag says:

    “Still, it’s significant that the Pac-12 seems to have been able to pull away from the ACC and non-Texas/Oklahoma portion of the Big 12.”

    Of course you mean Texas/Oklahoma/Texas A&M.

    We are about to see if you were right about A&M being stuck as prisoner because 1) Texas politics and 2) The SEC isn’t really interested. This is going to get really, really interesting at the end of May.

    • frug says:

      Of course you mean Texas/Oklahoma/Texas A&M

      No he didn’t because A&M isn’t going to be getting its own TV network which will them short of what the PAC-12, UT and OU but still well ahead of the ACC and the Big 12 have-nots).

      As for whether they’ll be part of an expansion plan… we’ll see. The politics will be hard though with the legislature set to end its session things will be somewhat easier. Its still tough to imagine the SEC expanding though especially if they can’t get OU or FSU as part of the deal.

    • Morgan Wick says:

      “Of course you mean Texas/Oklahoma/Texas A&M.”

      No he didn’t, because Texas A&M isn’t a state. :)

  24. Richard says:

    For B10 fans, this isn’t bad at all. Guess which of th big 5 conferences has a massive chunk of it’s first-tier inventory up for bidding next? The BE will get a new deal soon, and in this environment, may pull close to the ACC, but their content has traditionally been valued at closer to the MWC than the average of the big 5. The B12 will also have first tier rights up for bidding in a few years, but that’s about 1-2 games a week. Plus, with all these new deals being longterm, whoever misses out on the B10’s big inventory of first tier games will have to wait until well after 2020 before SEC, ACC, P12 (and likely B12) football is open to bidding again.

    For Jim Delany, 2014 can’t come soon enough.

    On the other hand, if I’m an SEC fan, I would be a little nonplussed and asking Slive to trigger clauses that would lead to renegotiated TV deals. Expansion, anyone?

    • al says:

      I think at a certain point you are so swimming in cash, that triggering an expansion is a bit of a risk. Still, I agree that Delaney may be looking forward to 2014. And I wonder how this deal makes the B12 members think of their own deal?

    • Nostradamus says:

      Delany allegedly had a huge smile on his face today when the local Omaha radio guys asked him about negotiating the next contract in the wake of the Larry Scott news today. Basically you’ve got a situation right now where everyone has been helping each other out.

      The Big Ten got their network, which in turn lead ESPN to pay the SEC not to create a network. The Pac-12 used the SEC’s deal as a base to get a new deal, and structured their deal off of the Big Ten’s ABC/ESPN deal leaving the exact same amount of inventory for their Pac-12 network that Delany carved out for his. Now Delany gets to go back to the table in 2014 or 2015 and use what Scott negotiated monetarily as a basis for his new contract.

      Delany’s out there on an island (yeah Big XII’s primary rights are up at the same time, but in past cases the Big Ten crushes them here). You’ve got everyone else locked into deals at that point in college, the NFL contracts will have already been re-negotiated, the Olympics locked up… Basically if you want to bid on live sports in 2014-2015 you are going to be bidding on the Big Ten. Or like you said Richard you risk missing out on anything for a number of years.

    • Nostradamus says:

      The expansion risk or Slive expanding to get a new contract depends on how these clauses are actually written. If it allows you to get a fair market value or re-open the contract it is worth it. If it is anything less than that, it obviously doesn’t do much for you.

  25. greg says:

    Jon Wilner has updated his blog with additional details:

    * First up: Some clarification on the money.

    Yes, $3 billion divided by 12 years is $250 million … and $250 million divided by 12 schools is $20.8 million.

    But that’s the per-school average over the life of the contract, which, as these things always do, has an escalator clause:

    The league’s Year One payout from ESPN and Fox is approx $180 million, and that ramps up to well over $250 million in the final years.

    So every school is not going to get a check for $20.8 million at the end of Year One.

    • greg says:

      So at the start of the contract, P12 will still be a decent amount behind SEC/B10 (~$40M or $3.33 per school). By the time it catches up, four years will have gone by and B10 will have a new network deal.

      In 2015, would it make more sense for B10 to sign a short deal like 5 years, or a 10 to 12 like the other leagues?

      • bullet says:

        SEC has an escalation clause as well so they aren’t at $17.0 yet. B1G I usually see 20-21, but one of these articles said $220 million or 18.3/school.

        • Nostradamus says:

          SEC got paid $153.3 million out of a $205 million average life of the contract in year 1, or about 75% of the average. Wilner is suggesting 72% of the overall average for year 1 of the Pac-12 contract. I’m guessing in 2012-2013 the SEC makes about $175 million. So the Pac-12 is actually starting slightly ahead of the SEC, certainly in the same ballpark. Not $40 million behind.

      • Richard says:

        If the B10 signs a 5 year deal in 2014, they’d get another bite of the apple around 2020, before any of the other top 5 conferences negotiate again. It may be worth the risk.

        BTW, given that it will be 3 years later and B10 content is worth roughly 1.5 times P12 content, I think a 400M/year deal for first tier rights (which would be quadruple the current 10 year B10 first tier rights deal) is a conservative target. 500M/year is not out of the question (assuming long-term deal). I expect the B12 to get about half what the B10 gets for its first tier rights (because they include roughly half the number of games in their first tier package and have half as many “kings”), so 200M-250M for the B12.

        Knowing how the B10 operates, I wouldn’t be surprised if Delany manages to get blanket coverage for the B10 during the afternoon time slot (putting B10 games on ABC, ESPN, & ESPN2 at 3:30EST, maybe sharing with the P12/ACC), ceding the noon EST slot to the ACC & BE, and starting BTN games at 1PM local time (SEC afternoon still on CBS, Fox afternoon showing P12/B12, ESPN primetime still showing SEC, ABC primetime showing P12/B12/B10, Fox primetime showing P12/B12, ESPN late night showing P12).

        • Brian says:

          Why cede noon starts? Lots of fans like noon starts, plus it nominally allows the first round of games to end before the 3:30 games. Going to 1 PM local time starts would create a lot of overlap, hurting ratings for all the games. If he wants to eliminate 11 AM CT starts for home teams, that’s fine, but dropping 12 ET starts would be folly IMO.

        • Brian says:

          Oh, as a small correction the B10 deal is through 2016, not 2014.

          I’m not sure the networks will do short term deals. If they were willing, surely the ACC would have wanted one so they could renegotiate after the recession.

          As for the B10, the last thing I would expect them to do is want to be first up next time around. Clearly the last conference standing will get the best deal barring outside factors or a major change in the media market.

          • Nostradamus says:

            The Big Ten isn’t going to get anything under 10 years.

          • Nostradamus says:

            Big Ten deal is through 2016, but Delany will start negotiating in 2014 or 2015.

            What is first and what is last though? Many consider the Big Ten starting the Big Ten Network and their ABC/ESPN deal the kickoff of this round of negotiations. The fact that the Big Ten gets to negotiate again in 3 to 4 years from now… Does that mean they are going first in a new round, or since they are out there on their own with the Big XII compared to everyone else are they negotiating last in this round?

          • @Brian – I think you’re right that the networks are going to insist upon long-term deals. Since the bulk of the money is coming from cable networks, they need longer-term deals in order to provide time to push for higher subscriber fees or else the value proposition for sports goes way down. That’s why most of these deals are 10 years long or more.

          • Nostradamus says:

            Agree with both of you. What is still up for debate is how much wiggle room you have. Say the Big Ten can negotiate another 10 year deal. That means they get to re-negotiate AGAIN two years after the SEC finishes their current deal, and a year after the new Pac-12 deal. That would still be pretty valuable. If you look at it from that perspective Delany is basically getting the advantage of watching Slive and Scott negotiate twice and coming in and saying we’ll take more please.

            Obviously still remains to be seen if he can even get as low as 10 years this go around.

          • Brian says:


            The B10 will start talks in 2014-2015, but he talked about signing in 2014 which will happen in 2015 for a 2016 start.

            I agree the BTN really started this round of negotiations, but the B10 ABC deal will close it. By then everyone will be on a new longterm deal. There should be a long quiet period after that.

            And yes, the deal will be at least 10 years.

        • cutter says:

          If the Big Ten is looking at revenue projections of $400M for a future network television contract starting in 2016, what is the motivation for the conference to look at further expansion to fourteen or sixteen programs?

          The $22.2M conference distribution to each of the Big Ten programs for FY 2011 was projected to include $16.6M for televison revenue from football and men’s basketball (the combined amount from the ABC/ESPN, BTN and CBS contracts).

          Five years down the line, we’re now talking an average of $33.3M per program as what will probably be a ten-year contract (although due to escalator clauses, it will probably be less in the earlier years). Assuming approximately $10M per program from the BTN (plus whatever CBS will pay for men’s basketball) and the Big Ten programs are looking at perhaps $40M by FY 2017 from television alone.

          Add in another $8M or so from other sources of revenue for conference distributions (net bowl game revenue, NCAA men’s basketball, Big Ten Conference championship football game, other sources) and we’re looking at perhaps $48M in total conference distributions.

          Given that estimate on the numbers, is there a strongly compelling case to expand the Big Ten’s membership?

          There may be market or competitive factors (other conferences expand, playoffs implemented, etc.) at work that would make going to fourteen or sixteen teams profitable or worthwhile, but the case for any individual program joining the Big Ten probably becomes more problematic given the numbers involved.

          Or perhaps the situation hasn’t changed and any further expansion could only happen if it was a home run deal that involved a Notre Dame or a Texas?

          • @cutter – I think that expansion for any of the AQ conferences besides the Big East is probably going to be nearly impossible to financially justify at this point unless, as you said (1) there’s a fundamental structural change to college football system overall, such as a playoff system that would allow for or even encourage an NFL-style intraconference playoff (i.e. 16-team conference with 4 divisions to set up a 4-team playoff for the conference title) or (2) Texas and/or Notre Dame decides to move.

          • Dave says:

            I basically agree with the host, except that I think there’s an outside chance the Big 12 could expand back to 12 at some point if someone else in-area (but not seriously overlapping an exsisting B12 market) emerges to add along with BYU (basically in the unlikely event New Mexico or Colorado State gets good).

          • Nostradamus says:

            It doesn’t appear it would be financially viable for them to do so Dave.

          • Richard says:

            Frank & cutter:

            True, expansion likely wouldn’t net any current B10 team more money (at least in the short-term), but there are reasons other than money in the next few years to expand. Right now, the only possibility I can see in terms of B10 expansion is taking the core of the old ACC. That would be attractive for certain reasons: that area is growing in population, a fertile recruiting area (for both football and bball), and have economies that aren’t likely to fade away (the federal government around DC and tech & finance in NC), which is unlike the housing bubble-driven Ponzi economies of Nevada, Arizona, and big parts of Florida & California.

            Now, would Maryland, UVa, UNC, and Duke/NCSU leave? In the short-term, for the roughly 8 years between 2016 & 2023, ACC schools will take in $13M of TV money while seeing B10 schools likely take in close to $40M in TV money a year. When the ACC’s current deal is up, I see that gap closing substantially, but the ACC would still lag. The problem for the ACC is that they’re still valued mostly for their old core markets of NC, VA, and MD, with maybe some extra for FSU & Miami (though due to the underperformance of those 2 schools, that extra bit probably wasn’t valued as highly as it could have been during the last TV negotiations). WFU brings nothing. BC can’t even deliver Boston. GTech brings virtually nothing because they can’t deliver any part of Georgia, and Miami & FSU have been down.

            If that happens, I can see the SEC taking FSU, VTech, Clemson, and NCSU if the B10 doesn’t take them.

      • Nostradamus says:

        My math has the two contracts (SEC, Pac-12) being roughly equivalent in year 1 of the Pac-12 contract if Wiliner’s $180 million (and I have no reason to doubt it as 70-75% looks standard). Both should be at about $15 million.

    • Nostradamus says:

      Thanks for posting that Greg. It is a good reminder, but something that has been talked about here for months. For comparison the SEC contract which will average about $17 million over the life of the contract only paid out $12.7 million per school in year 1. Starting at a 70 to 75% discount of the average seems to be fairly standard for these contracts.

      • frug says:

        On this note, does anyone know if the PAC-12 is going to be able to immediately hit the $170 million in conference distributions they need to avoid giving the LA schools an extra $2 million a piece?

        • Brian says:

          It shouldn’t be a problem since Utah vests over several years. It may be close to $17M at the start but not for too long. Besides, was that promise solely for this deal or did it include the CCG, the network, etc?

          • Nostradamus says:

            I’ve seen it referred to as both, but more commonly just the media rights. It does appear it will be a moot point though as the Pac-12 contract will be paying out about $180 million in year 1.

          • Brian says:

            Yeah, but if the P12 takes an equal share like the B10 does, you need $187M for everyone to get an equal share of $17M. Like I said, a few years of escalation will help. Everyone else will probably be more than happy to accept a little less to get USC and UCLA up to $17M for the short term since it would still be much more even than what they were getting.

        • bullet says:

          Scott said they had plenty so it wasn’t an issue. What I’ve read says $170 million in TV money was the tripping point. They’ve got $180 million according to Wilner in the first year.

  26. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Matt’s Sports Blog has a good breakdown regarding the actual games and air-times.

    It looks like ESPN probably paid a premium to fill in hard to fill spots, i.e. Thursday & Friday nights, and Saturday late nights.

    FOX is taking their first real step into college football with their OTA network. When they jumped into the sports with the NFL 20 years ago, they overpaid as well.

    • Brian says:

      With the WAC disintegrating, there aren’t many choices for the late night slot. Do the weeknight games mean the WAC is getting bumped to ESPNU or did their contract die with the loss of teams? Even ESPN only has so many slots available.

      Based on the ratings, I wonder how much the late slots are really worth. Most of the country is asleep, and west coast fans aren’t the most hard core. Who watches WSU vs OrSU at 11 PM ET?

    • bullet says:

      One item of note-Fox and ESPN can sell the CCG “Presented by” sponsorship. Not certain, but I believe most conferences have kept that for themselves. Dr. Pepper did the Big 12.

  27. frug says:

    USC blogger implying that USC and UCLA are getting screwed by the new PAC-12 deal.

    • Brian says:

      Clearly he wants USC to be like Texas. He gives zero consideration to the benefits of helping the rest of the conference. Perhaps this is because they aren’t used to revenue sharing as much in the P10. He’s correct that USC got screwed by this deal based on that mindset. Over time, I’d like to think he’ll see some value in helping the other schools in the conference.

    • Robber Baron says:

      A lot of men of troy are upset over the deal. I really don’t know why now, though. Their time to cry was when the schools decided to share rights and allocate the money evenly (provided the conference cleared 170 million annually). What, did they want less money? I guess they fear we won’t return to the age of USC and the dwarves.

    • cfn_ms says:

      They ARE getting screwed to some degree… but the deal also benefits their bottom line in a pretty big way. Are they leaving some $$$ on the table? Probably, but it is what it is. And they (I think) can probably end-run the arrangement to some degree when it comes to OOC scheduling at least.

      • ccrider55 says:

        Surprised by the fairly reasonable responses. Several understood it was all in or independent, and rejected the second.

        They are getting screwed in a “just throw me the damn ball” frame of mind. Screw the team. Fortunately they didn’t feel that was in their interest.

  28. Brian says:

    I like the OOC games provision the P12 added. All OOC games must be in the first 3 weeks or get a waiver unanimously approved by the ADs, with USC/ND and Stanford/ND exempt. It’s nice to see them make the ND exemptions for tradition and leaving a small window for approval of other late OOC games. I like having all the OOC games early, but it’s smart to leave an option for adding one late in case something special comes up.,0,7080018.story?track=rss

    • cfn_ms says:

      I think it’s wise to exempt the ND games, and at least they have a waiver process so it at least CAN be altered for other games. Personally I think BYU-Utah should go back to Thanksgiving, and I think it would be really cool to see occassional big OOC matchups then. But that’s just my $0.02.

      • Brian says:

        Yeah, Utah/BYU seems the most obvious game for a waiver. To make scheduling easier, maybe the P12 moves it to the same weekend as USC/ND.

    • Michael in Indy says:

      I’ve noticed that the Big Ten puts a much greater value on having non-conference games almost exclusively early, whereas other conferences don’t mind a few non-conference games being scattered around. It really goes back to tradition. Michigan, Purdue, and Michigan State are the only teams with big rivalries outside the conference, and those games have been early in the season for a long time. Iowa-Iowa State has always been early, too. For Iowa, at least, it’s never been the biggest game on the schedule. Penn State did have several non-Big Ten rivalries but has largely chosen not to continue them, at least not on a pure home-and-home basis.

      By contrast, the ACC and SEC has three pairs of in-state rivalries that are each team’s biggest game (with the possible exception of Georgia, whose fans may hate Florida more than Tech). There would be an outrage if any of those games were moved back.

      Peronally, I don’t see what the big deal is about scattering the non-conference games around the schedule, at least a little bit. Doing so would help the Big Ten avoid having Ohio State-Western Michigan as ABC’s 3:30 game on the fourth Saturday in September. It could have been OSU-Wisconsin instead. As long as November is Big Ten-only, I don’t see what the big deal would be.

      • Brian says:

        It’s not having big OOC games spread around that bothers people, it’s the other SEC teams playing a I-AA team in November that stinks. The tradition, and coaching preference, puts the big OOC games early in the season in the B10.

        It’s the right thing to do when there is no tradition of having an OOC opponent late in the year. October and November are for winning conference titles. September is for making your national case or seasoning your team.

        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          Brian – after playing a stretch of Auburn, Florida and Georgia, catching a breather with a Sunbelt or a 1-AA team before the Alabama game is good for the team, and the fans can use a breather too. I think it works better than back-to-back-to-back rent-a-wins in September.

          • Brian says:

            All the AQ teams have to deal with difficult stretches in their schedules. The SEC is in no way special in this regard. The bye week was invented for a reason. There’s no need to corrupt November with bodybag games.

            As a fan I can’t imagine wanting to play a crappy OOC game in late October or November. That notion boggles my mind.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Brian – I can’t think of anything crappier than that “MAC-rifice” Saturday last September, when every B1G team played a non-AQ opponent.

            Sure, as a fan I’d like to see a war every Saturday, but taking a breather in November works for the SEC, just like that MAC-rifice weekend seems to work for the Big Ten.

            Scheduling a random breather in November also helps the SEC’s TV partners to schedule meaningful games in September, rather three weeks of garbage.

          • Brian says:

            Nobody likes a weekend when everybody has a body bag game, but that rarely happens. Normally at least 1 school has a good OOC game in weeks 2-4 (OSU vs name in week 2 or 3, ND vs MI/MSU/PU/, etc).

            You can have all the crappy OOC games you want in November, but I despise them and look down on the SEC for doing it. It makes them look chicken to me. Of course, I don’t like September conference games, either, so that works out nicely for me. Note that I’m not saying I’m right and you’re wrong, just telling you how I view those games. That’s part of why I watch so little SEC football in November (frankly, I rarely watch them all year, but those weak OOC games really turn me off on the whole league).

          • bullet says:

            It was the most uninterested UGA crowd I’ve ever seen when they played Idaho St. late in the season last year. Arrived late, left early, didn’t pay a whole lot of attention during the game.

          • Brian says:


            Exactly. It just kills the mood that the season was building. The players lose focus, too.

          • bullet says:

            Right about the players. UGA was very sloppy. For a long time it was 7-0 against a team that didn’t beat a single FCS team last year.

          • Bamatab says:

            Brian, it boggles my mind that anyone would want to play back-to back-to back crappy OOC games in September. Heck, there are weekends in September that I can’t watch one single Big 1G game because they are all playing crappy games. I’d much rather spread them out over the season so that you can always find a decent conference game to watch, but maybe that’s just me.

          • Brian says:

            I don’t think any real fan ever wants to see crappy OOC games. If they’re going to be played, I’d rather see them early when the team is sorting itself out and new starters are settling in. It’s pre-season, but it counts. The games serve a legitimate purpose for the teams then. Once you start playing real games, the bodybag games should go away.

          • Bamatab says:

            Sorry Brian, but we’ll have to agree to disagree. There is absolutely NO preseason in college football. As you stated, all of the games count (just try losing one of those crappy OOC games).

            The season is already too short in my opinion. I sure as heck don’t want to shorten it any further by scheduling 3 back to back crappy games and thus making 3/4ths of September hard to watch.

          • Adam says:

            Once the conference schedule starts, no body-bag games. Better to simply play nobody at all (sit idle) than play a chump at that point in the year (in fact, I say that generally — better to simply not play than play an FCS team). I wouldn’t argue for a rule against it, but it is beneath the dignity of this fine sport to do this.

          • Brian says:

            I’m so thankful football is back in September that I don’t really care who the opponents are. Like many fans, I’d watch scrimmages by that point. It takes several weeks for that to go away. By October you are into the flow of the season.

            Part of it for me may be that OSU is on quarters (for now), so the first 2-3 games every year are before the students are on campus. The alumni get 30k+ tickets to those early games, and there are events geared for the alums, so those games have a different feel.

            Like I said earlier, I’m not saying the SEC and their fans are objectively wrong on this, just expressing my view.

      • Richard says:

        It was a hard and fast rule back in the day for the B10 (after MSU & ND played the “game of the century” late in the season, the B10 didn’t want an OOC game to upstage the conference title race), but recently, it hasn’t been observed. I foresee Purdue (or maybe MSU) playing ND after conference play begins once the B10 moves to 9 conference games.

        • cutter says:

          I disagree with your assessment about Purdue or Michigan State playing Notre Dame in the latter portion of the season. Just like the SEC teams have no motivation to play a major non-conference opponent late in the season, MSU and PU also have no motivation to play ND late in the season during conference play.

          A program like Northwestern might be willing to do it on a one-off basis (such as 2014), but it’s foolhardy on your part to expect Michigan State or Purdue to agree to it–especiallly with a nine-game conference schedule.

          • cfn_ms says:

            I could be wrong, but I suspect that Purdue / Mich St might be willing to have games in, say, early October. I tend to agree that November is a non-starter though.

          • Richard says:

            I agree with cfn. Especially now that the B10 sees the value of having conference games during as many weeks as possible, I think going forward, only the first 3 weeks won’t have conference games. When the 9 game conference slate takes place, that may be reduced to only the first 2 weeks, which means we’ll see plenty of OOC games scheduled in to open slots after conference play starts in September and October.

            Oh and Purdue is different from Northwestern in football?

          • Brian says:

            Yes, they really are that different. Look before 1995 and consider the programs in their entirety, and they are not that close. If it wasn’t for those dreadful 30 years the programs would be similar, but Purdue has never been the laughingstock that NW was.

            Purdue has over 100 more wins, and 8 bowl wins to NW’s 1 bowl win. The teams have been about the same since PSU joined, but that isn’t all that counts. NW continues to struggle for respect because people remember those 30 years and the bowl streak isn’t helping.

      • Kyle says:

        Well you’re partially right about Penn State, but they kept Pitt on the schedule for ten years after joining the Big Ten. The game didn’t have a set weekend, though.

        • R says:

          Actually, PSU started in the Big Ten in 93, and since then, has only played Pitt in 97 thru 00. Three of the four years it was the third weekend of September.

  29. Brian says:

    It looks to me like the P12 will really gain with this contract by getting more national coverage. FOX gets 8 games, ABC 2, F/X 14, ESPN Thursdays and Fridays 8 and ESPN Saturday 14. Everything on FOX, ABC and ESPN weeknights figures to be national now. FX also has to show the B12, so there either will be regional coverage or double-headers. Many of the ESPN games will be in the late slot, which is national but might as well be regional, and others must be regional. Also some may be on ESPNU, which is also a lesser version of national. Any word yet on network exclusivity for any of the time slots (ABC/ESPN vs FOX/FX vs P12N)?

    On the downside, by reserving so many good games for the P12 network I think they will hurt themselves. The P12N get 1st, 2nd or 3rd choice every week. Since almost nobody east of Colorado will have the P12N, those games are going to disappear. It will drive carriage in the footprint I’m sure, but I don’t thin kit’s enough to help outside of the west. They may regret putting their top teams on that network (assuming they do).

    • Richard says:


      Compared to their old TV deals, yes, the P12’s TV exposure is a lot better, but you have to remember that pretty much everyone agreed that their old TV deals were horribly negotiated. Note that Larry Scott was willing to agree to almost anything to get the highest money possible: 1. frequent weeknight games, which no B10 team or the kings in the SEC and B12 are willing to do, including Friday night games, which no big 5 conference has been keen about in the past. 2. Likely frequent games on the ESPN late night slot, which the P10 previously shunned because it meant weakened visibility elsewhere in the country.

      Larry Scott is a great job, but the four-fold increase is due not only to the savviness of the current P12 leadership (and a very favorable environment with Fox entering the bidding in a big way), but also the detachment of the old leadership.

      With all that, they still won’t get the annual TV money of the B10 & Texas or surpass most of the SEC.

      • Brian says:

        I agree with almost everything you said.

        The significant increase in national games jumped out at me when looking at their deal, though. It’s been so unusual to see a P10 game nationally (an indictment of Hansen) that this is a huge improvement.

        I don’t think 8 weeknight games is that bad, especially as a way to get the lesser programs some exposure. They’ve already been playing some Thursday games anyway.

        Fridays were traditionally sacrosanct because of high school football, especially in the south, SE and midwest. If the western culture is different enough to allow Friday games, good for them. There are plenty of CFB fans that don’t watch HS FB. I believe there is a clause about discussing it with the HS football associations before having Friday games, though.

        They can knock out 2 Thursdays and 2 Fridays with Labor Day weekend and Thanksgiving weekend. That would leave only 4 Thursday or Friday games during the season.

        I don’t think the late slot is as bad in these circumstances. The locals get evening games and the eastern FB fanatics will stay up for an interesting game. More important is that other games get national coverage earlier in the day. Honestly, how many easterners would watch WSU/OrSU regardless of time slot?

        • Richard says:

          I actually foresee ESPN putting their top P12 choices on at weeknight.

          The big question is whether Fox will put their 8 P12 games on primetime or the afternoon. If they opt for primetime, we could see a P12 game on primetime virtually every week. I could see the picking order go like this:

          Before the season starts:
          2 primetime ABC games
          4 primetime Fox games
          4 Thursday night ESPN games
          Other 4 primetime Fox games
          4 Friday night ESPN games

          Then ESPN and FX (and the PTN) would alternate on who picks the rest.

  30. Brian says:

    The next recruiting issue that may become a problem is the blue shirt. If this description is accurate, this is a major loophole.

  31. Brian says:

    Apparently, the BSU investigation all started with a disgruntled whistleblower.

  32. SpaceTetra says:

    There has been a lot of talk here on long term contracts, yet no one is mentioning what may be the biggest issue – the current US debasing of the dollar. Inflation, real inflation is now coming upon us and it won’t go away. Last year when countries stopped buying our debt, we entered a cycle that won’t end. Do you really want to be tied in to a long term contract when you don’t know if the “real” inflation rate is going to be (5%, 10%, 20%, ???). Tying contracts to fudged inflation numbers isn’t going to cut it. We are going into a period where collapse of the dollar is a real possibility and this will create havoc on all of these big TV contracts. It will become the wild west again. The BigTen is in the best position with its contracts coming to an end first.

  33. Brian says:

    The NFF honors all senior starters and significant substitutes who also maintained a 3.2 GPA. 10 of 11 B10 teams are represented (plus Nebraska), but 5 of the teams only have 1 player and Michigan had none. The big winners were OSU and IN with 6 each (top 5 in the nation), although I would dispute their definition of significant.

  34. Brian says:

    Kristi Dosh aggregated all the new TV deal info in one place. She ignored 3rd tier rights since the deals vary so much from league to league.

    • bullet says:

      nice link.

      • Brian says:

        She’s been doing a great series looking at the finances of college sports. Lately she’s been looking at student tickets and student fees and how much of the revenue they are.

    • Nostradamus says:

      Thanks for the link. She’s answering people’s comments if anyone has any questions for her over there. Along with myself, Frank and Brian appear to have checked in over there.

  35. M says:

    A nice article from One Foot Down on the antitrust potential:

    Key part:

    “The focus of litigation by Utah would be that the BCS agreement acts as “an unreasonable restraint of trade” using a “group boycott” under Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act, limiting the non-automatic qualifier (non-AQ) schools. Not only would the suit include BCS conference schools, including Notre Dame, but may also include the BCS bowls, media and likely some ranking systems like the coaches poll that could be proved to be biased.

    The allegation would be that these entities conspired in a “horizontal” price-fixing scheme, which limits the relative amounts that the non-BCS schools can earn.”

    In other words they would have to argue that the BCS conferences coerced the bowls into selecting more BCS conference members than they would have otherwise. Back in reality, the BCS conferences have coerced the bowls into selecting fewer BCS conference members than they would have otherwise.

    If you didn’t notice notice, reality is the exact opposite of what would be necessary.

    • Well Played Mauer says:

      “Not only would the suit include BCS conference schools, including Notre Dame, but may also include the BCS bowls, media and likely some ranking systems like the coaches poll that could be proved to be biased.”

      So if I understand this right the Utah AG is going after the BCS, The power conferences, the Bowls, ESPN, USA Today, and the coaches because they did not give the mid majors enough???? respect, money, air time, all of the above?

      Is he going to sue the fans too for not being fans of the smaller schools? Because at least in my estimation the former is a direct result of the later.

      One other quote from the President of Tulane:

      “Our country is based on the idea of equal opportunity for all, and our educational institutions are dedicated today to the principles of access, inclusiveness, fairness, and consistency. It goes against everything we hold dear to allow – even encourage – a system that showers financial and reputational rewards on one member while unnecessarily denying or limiting the opportunity for another member to earn the same rewards.”

      This seems to be the sentiment the whole case is based on and it seems flawed to me. I am no law dog but it seems to me the Utah AG and by proxy the Mid-Majors are saying because they Can’t play in Bowl X that is why they can’t compete with school Y. But nothing is stopping them from forming their own bowls or TV agreements. Is it really the fault of the power conferences that the mid-major bowls are not as successful has the Rose Bowl or The Sugar Bowl? It also sounds like they are saying that if there is a playoff it would be illegal for anyone to abstain because that is a “group boycott”?

      To me it’s like their arguing MCdonald’s is a unfair monopoly because Wendy’s can’t sell Big Macs. Sure Wendy’s can sell their own hamburgers have their own signature sandwich build their own brand equity but that’s hard and unfair. Wendy’s should just be able to Sell Big Macs without any regard to the equity and brand building MCdonald’s as done with the Big MAC. Likewise the MWC could try and build the Las Vegas Bowl up into a upper caliber bowl, but that’s hard so Boise should get to play in the Rose Bowl Instead?

      Also there is a Basketball Playoff and the power conferences still suck up all the at large bids how is that the fault of the BCS. The same 6 or 7 conferences where taking the lions share of the tournament bids long before there was a BCS.

      I don’t understand what anyone thinks/hopes this lawsuit is going to do/change? There must be a lot I am missing to this lawsuit. Frank I think you need to do a BLOG POST about the mounting legal wrangling and the BCS.


      • Adam says:

        If the scrutiny of the discovery process brings to light more Fiesta Bowl-type outrages, that could shake things up considerably even if the plaintiffs have absolutely no case on the merits.

        • jj says:

          Nailed it Adam. I’m not well versed in antitrust, but it seems to me that the “worse” it looks, the more likely a court or jury would be to wail on it regardless of the economic issues.

          • Adam says:

            Even before it reaches a decision-maker, if through discovery we find out that virtually every bowl has been up to the same shenanigans as the Fiesta, that amplifies the pressure on all of them. I look at the things that people who are skeptics of this lawsuit are saying, and I say “if it’s such a done-deal, if everything is governed by the arrangement best suited to the big/power schools, why did this Fiesta thing every get legs?” And if the Fiesta thing had legs, can you imagine what kind of public outcry we’d be looking at if the whole thing is exposed as being a pit of Fiesta-like vipers? At that point, the anti-trust suit would be irrelevant.

          • M says:

            It’s a civil suit, so there’s no jury involved.

            Antitrust suits are about anti-competitive practices, not corruption or incompetence. You can’t win an anti-trust suit against ESPN because Nike uses child labor.

          • Adam says:

            Ah, juries are empaneled in civil cases every day. It was a jury in the NFL v. USFL case that famously found the NFL liable on anti-trust grounds and awarded the USFL $1 in damages.

            And again, you’re missing my point. I’m saying that the discovery process may bring to light uncomfortable facts for the bowls that are not especially relevant to the issues in the case itself, but would be just as damaging to them if brought to life. I might not be able to win an anti-trust suit against ESPN because Nike uses child labor, but if ESPN and Nike have a business partnership I’m trying to break up, bringing to light that Nike uses child labor may be enough for me to get what I want even if I lose the suit.

    • Bamatab says:

      What the anti-trust folks don’t seem to understand is, that if they were to somehow win an anti-trust lawsuit, all that would happen is that the BCS would be dissolved and it would go back to the old bowl tie-in system. There is not a chance in hades that it’ll go to some sort of 16 team playoff. Once it goes back to the old bowl tie-in (which is legal by the way), then the Boise St.’s of the world will be out of luck.

      • Adam says:

        But if the scrutiny of the discovery process reveals widespread Fiesta Bowl-type outrages, that is an assault on the bowl system, not the BCS as such, which (again) makes the merits of the anti-trust case against the BCS et al. somewhat irrelevant. If the bowls are forced out of business because of their outrageous behavior, that would be a tremendous shock to the whole system, at which point all bets are off — if there’s no old bowl system to go back to because there aren’t any more bowls, conceivably a playoff could be the only option left.

        • M says:

          This is akin to saying “What if all the politicians are corrupt? Then the government would just go away.” The conferences will make new bowls and they probably will have more direct control over them (like the Big Ten and Pac-12 with the Rose Bowl).

          • Adam says:

            The difference is, the Constitution requires that various political offices continue to exist, and that is very difficult to change. What you describe could happen, but that would be a pretty significant sea change, and I am not confident making any bold prediction about what would happen in that situation. That’s an earthquake.

          • Richard says:

            I think M’s scenario is more likely than an 8 or 16 team playoff. Note that to the BCS presidents, an 8 to 16 team playoff is a bigger sea change than M’s scenario.

          • Adam says:

            The political dynamics would be a tough sell and make things unpredictable. If there is substantiated widespread misbehavior on the part of the bowls and several high-profile games go under (which becomes more likely as more incidents crop up — each one amplifies the rest), you lose all of that tradition/brand equity, and then the powers that be have to climb uphill to explain why creating even more bowls to replace them is the right solution. Could it happen? Absolutely. But it’d be such a shock to the system that I am not at all confident saying it would.

          • Richard says:

            Except that an 8 or 16 team playoff would be an even bigger shock to the system. If the word “bowl” become radioactive, the BCS presidents could just avoid that word and call the new postseason games they control something else, like the “NCAA Championship Series” or something like that. It still would be a much smaller departure from the current setup; everything would be the same except the games would be run by the schools instead of bowl committees.

          • Adam says:

            Absolutely that could be how it pans out. In an absolute sense, I do not mean to be predicting the outcome I’ve proposed — only that, relatively speaking, it is the most likely way I can see getting to a playoff. I think that getting to a playoff will require some kind of exogenous shock to the system which the stakeholders cannot control. This, to me, looks like the kind of situation that could plausibly provide such an exogenous shock (I do not go so far as to say it will), and as a result there is a non-trivial possibility for radical change. Even if that is a small possibility, it is greater than 0, which is basically the chance of a playoff given the incentive structure in place today.

        • jj says:

          Seems like a reach Adam. Success could bust the bcs, but it will not wipe out bowls or lead to a playoff.

          • Adam says:

            There have to be examples of situations where the exposure brought by litigation did more damage than any actual adjudicated liability.

          • Brian says:

            Isn’t that what settling out of court is for?

          • Adam says:

            Yes, if the plaintiff can be bought off. Here, I don’t think the plaintiffs will be satisfied with cash.

        • Bamatab says:

          Surely you don’t believe that the other bowls (which are seperately run organizations) will somehow be forced out of business because of the actions of the Fiesta Bowl? Heck, the Fiesta Bowl won’t even be put out of business. I doubt they even lose their BCS bowl standing (although they should lose it to “encourage” the other bowls to straighten their acts up if needed).

          The bowls are a part of major college football’s tradition and it isn’t going anywhere (nor should it in my opinion because tradition is what separates college football from the NFL).

          The best that anyone can hope for in the foreseeable future in the way of a playoff is a 4 team playoff (plus 1 game). The government can’t force it and the major colleges sure don’t want it.

          • Adam says:

            No, but I do suspect that many of them were up to the same sorts of things the Fiesta Bowl was up to, and that a wide-ranging anti-trust suit may well bring such transgressions to light (whether or not they have anything to do with the underlying anti-trust issues).

          • Adam says:

            I would also repeat my objection here to the notion that “plus one” and “4-team playoff” are the same thing. A 4-team playoff would take 4 teams, seed them 1-2-3-4, and have Semifinals and a Final. “Plus one” only seems like a meaningful phrase if we use it to mean something other than that — such as the proposed format where the bowls are run using traditional pairings, regardless of seeding, and some formula/method then chooses the top 2 teams after the bowls are played (i.e., there are no Semifinals; they play a round of bowls to get some high-profile season-ending non-conference games to help determine who the 2 best teams in the country are).

          • Brian says:


            I think part of the problem is clashing assumptions and terminology.

            Many people assume that if a plus 1 system exists, it will be of the seeded variety so they use the terms interchangeably.

            You think of plus 1 as playing a bowl system and then choosing two teams to play for the title. You also assume that a 4-team playoff will be a seeded 1/4, 2/3, winners in the finals format.

            I don’t think there are standard definitions for these terms, but I would propose:

            Plus 1 – Any non-NCAA run CFB postseason system where 1 additional game is played after all the others to determine a champion. It expands championship contention from 2 teams after the regular season to up to 70 (normally it would be 4-10, but any bowl winner could make it in the broadest sense).

            4-team playoff – A two round single elimination bracketed tournament format for the postseason.

            plus 1 = parallelogram (basic category)

            4-team playoff = rectangle
            (special case)

            seeded 4-team playoff = square (very special case)

          • Adam says:

            I guess I just feel that, with the various proposals floating out there which are similar but different in critical aspects, we should all be careful with the labels we use. If we mean a 4-team playoff, we should say that, and not “plus one.” “Plus one” only seems useful to me if it’s describing something that cannot accurately be called a “4-team playoff” — otherwise it just makes it more confusing to discern what anybody is talking about.

          • Brian says:


            I think the problem is that you want both terms to mean something specific, but they don’t. There are multiple ways to stage a 4-team playoff, many different forms of a plus 1, and they do overlap. Any detailed discussion requires clarifying adjectives to nail down exactly what is being discussed.

            A fully seeded plus 1 is the same as a seeded 4-team playoff unless the plus 1 system actually has a clause that would allow for teams 5 and higher to qualify for the championship. Such a clause would make more than 4 teams eligible for the championship and thus distinguish it from a 4-team playoff.

      • M says:

        The other side is imagining the post-apocalyptic world for the non-BCS conferences if the anti-trust suit loses.

    • cfn_ms says:

      One other interesting aspect to this is the fact that there anti-competitive practices out there which specifically benefit the non-AQ’s, most notably the bowl eligibility rules (which deny the fans of big-name programs in a down year the chance to go to a bowl, and artificially prop up the bodybag payouts for the low-level 1-A programs [since only one AA win can count against the arbitrary 6-win target]).

  36. Richard says:

    It’s occurred to me that Fox and ESPN may have been willing to pay more once Larry Scott told them he wanted to do the PTN all by himself because, if the PTN manages to be as successful as the mtn (worst case scenario), the P12 games on the Fox and ESPN networks would be worth more as most Colorado, WSU, OreSt, and maybe even Cal and UCLA fans wouldn’t be able to watch their team except for those times when they’re on national TV.

    • MrTemecula says:

      My theory for the higher deal is Fox and ESPN expect Larry to kill the Big 12 and Fox and ESPN wants to have the inside track with Larry. All parties involved with the current Pac-12 deal would benefit a great deal if the Big-12 disintegrates. The networks would save millions in not paying for KSU, KU, Baylor, ISU, while the Pac-12 would make millions with Texas and Oklahoma teams. Now that everybody’s interests are aligned, and once a succesful Pac-12 running, then I bet Larry makes another run without the inteference of ESPN and Fox.

      • Richard says:

        Except that ESPN and Fox deliberately tried to keep the B12 together. Granted back then, they didn’t know if they’d have a stake in a P16, but I don’t see a world where consolidation of brands is better for the networks. They may not have to pay ISU, Baylor, and KSU any more, but they wouldn’t be able to save that money; that’d just accrue to Texas OU, USC and the other lucky duckies in the P16 who’d be able to demand a higher premium as ESPN, certainly, can’t afford to be cut off from those 3 powerhouses.

        • MrTemecula says:

          Sorry for the typos and awkward grammar in the previous post. I’ve had a few tonight.

          You are right that the Pac-12 would recieve much of the savings, but the ad sales for the better games for ESPN and Fox should more than make up for it.

          Scott seems compelled to expand to 14 or 16. He mentioned yesterday that he still sees value in expansion and more importantly, he seems to have earned the confidence of the presidents and chancellors to get there.

          • Richard says:

            It takes two to tango. Even with the new P12 TV deal, Texas will still make more as a member of the B12 than the P12 schools. That’s going to be even more true after the B12 gets a new first tier deal in 2016. Without Texas, I can’t see any expansion that makes the current P12 schools more money per school.

          • MrTemecula says:


            Do you need the Longhorns to get the Texas market? I wonder if Tech and Houston would be enough of a draw. It probably would not be profitable to the conference for a few years, but over time in a growing state, it would inevitably make money.

          • frug says:


            An OU-TAMU pairing would probably make the league more money (at least if the TV networks were willing to immediately rework the deals they just signed, but Oklahoma is in a similar boat to Texas and TAMU seems to have little interest any other league beside the SEC.

          • Richard says:

            Considering that TCU wasn’t able to get the mtn on basic cable in DFW, I doubt TTech + Houston would be able to deliver much of Texas.

        • Christian says:

          Houston is still commonly referred to as “Cougar High” down here, and Tech is certainly no academic titan. I don’t see the Cal schools allowing in any Texas schools, unless the Longhorns are included.

          • MrTemecula says:

            Houston and Tech’s are the leading Texas colleges close to Tier 1. I know Houston reached a milestone in research acknowledgement. Moreover, I think Larry cares more about maximizing revenue. The Pac-10 has cut quite a few athletic teams in the past 2 years. I believe Larry has the green light to maximize revenue to prevent more teams from getting cut. Why wait until Tech or Houston becomes attractive? Houston wasn’t always Cougar High and a Pac-10 affiliation would restore much of their luster.

      • smashmode says:

        Someone from one of the Texas Longhorns mentioned that as a possibility. You pay a extra 150 million for the 4-5 schools..and not have to pony up huge dollars to keep together.

        With Fox and ESPN owning the Pac-12 now, Does it make sense to have 2 large conferences both eating up billions of dollars? Or just one super conference that eats up less dollars.

        • Richard says:

          You’re assuming that they eat up less dollars. More likely is that the dollars saved by not having to pay Baylor, ISU, & KSU just flow to Texas, OU, & TAMU instead.

  37. Brian says:

    Gus Johnson out at CBS. Rumors say he’s talking to Fox about joining their CFB coverage.

  38. Mike says:

    Delaney on TV Landscape

    Delany has few worries about negotiating bigger paydays in the future because it appears that new money for college sports won’t dry up any time soon

    Having games that matter for four full months through the season is a function of the Bowl Championship Series being in place, said Delany, a longtime proponent of that system

    All commissioners, Delany said, are celebrating with the Pac-12, ACC and Big 12 because the recent contracts indicate the marketplace is hot and the interest in growing.

  39. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    ESPN’s Mark Schlabach’s Post-Spring Practice Way-Too-Early Pre-Season Top 25, by conference:

    SEC (7) – #2 Alabama, #5 LSU, #11 Arkansas, #17 Georgia, #19 South Carolina, #24 Florida, and #25 Mississippi State.

    Big XII-2 (5) – #1 Oklahoma, #6 Oklahoma State, #9 Texas A&M, #18 Missouri, and #20 Texas.

    B1G (4) – #10 Michigan State, #12 Wisconsin, #13 Nebraska, and #15 Ohio State.

    12-Pac (3) – #4 Oregon, #8 Stanford, and #21 Arizona State.

    ACC (2) – #3 Florida State and #23 Virginia Tech.

    MWC (2) – #7 Boise State and #22 TCU.

    Big East (1) – #14 West Virginia.

    Independent (1) – #16 Notre Dame.

    • Michael in Indy says:

      The ACC will have more than two top 25 teams at the end of the season, and it will probably be someone among NC State, UNC, Maryland, and Miami.

      I think too many writers are getting mesmerized by the SEC. Seven top 25 teams? Come on. Don’t get me wrong. It’s obviously it’s a great league, the best one there is, but it’s not seven-deep.

      I also don’t buy it that five of the top 20 teams are from the Big 12. To me, it looks like Texas is getting the Notre Dame treatment: ranked because of their name. Slap the names “Purdue” or “NC State” or “Cal” on that team and they wouldn’t even be considered.

      • Brian says:

        First, note the source. Schlabach is probably the biggest SEC homer at ESPN, and that’s saying something.

        SEC football equals BE basketball from last season. All the teams are gifted with high rankings to start and then losses in conference play don’t hurt anybody’s ranking.

        ESPN’s B12 blogger puts Baylor as #5 in the B12 coming out of spring with TX #7. You don’t think Baylor is top 20 material?

        And remember, conferences with no clear pecking order tend to suffer in the preseason polls. Nobody knows which of the ACC teams will be good this year, so none of them get much early support although we know 1 or 2 of them will rise up. The BE suffered that last year with nobody in the preseason top 25 because there were 5 candidates and no clear leader.

        • cfn_ms says:

          of course, with the Big East it turned out that there actually weren’t any top 25 teams there, so in the end the critics were right.

          also, wrt Texas and ND, remember that these are still programs that recruit VERY well and have a LOT of talent. Especially Texas. Maybe they struggle in 2011, but until/unless that happens, it looks like an aberration against a pretty consistently top-tier program. I wouldn’t put them top ten of course, but top 25 is VERY reasonable for the ‘Horns.

          • Brian says:

            I’m not judging TX either way, just showing that another ESPN employee with much more familiarity with TX had them rated significantly lower. TX had a tone of talent last year and didn’t do so well. Now they have a bunch of new coaches, a still shaky QB situation and no proven RB.

            Will they be better than last year? Probably. But there is a sizable gap between better than last year and top 20. 70 teams (71 eligible, 72 if you count USC) made bowls last year and TX wasn’t one of them.

            ND always recruits well but hasn’t been elite for 20 years. Perhaps that recruiting isn’t as good as people have said? I believe Kelly has them improving, but they haven’t proven much on the field yet.

          • cfn_ms says:

            Are you honestly suggesting that Texas was worse than all of the teams that made bowls? Even the MAC/SBC ones? Or UTEP? At absolute worst Texas was around 50th or so, and you can make a pretty reasonable case they were better than that. So while they do need to improve quite a bit to reach top 20, the gap isn’t nearly as big as you seem to be suggesting.

          • Brian says:

            No, I just used the numbers to show there was a large pool of candidates for being better than them. Sagarin had them rated #64 for example.

            Remember, they only beat 4-8 Rice, 3-9 Wyoming, 7-5 TT, 10-2 NE and 4-8 FAU. They lost to such powers as 4-8 UCLA, 5-7 ISU, 7-5 Baylor and 7-5 KSU in addition to OU, OkSU and TAMU.

          • glenn says:

            brian, you are not being reasonable. the texas team last season was highly irregular in that pretty much a full-scale mutiny was at play.

            that was a rotten and lazy coaching staff with few worthy of keeping their jobs. mack brown, for whatever reason, has difficulty recognizing that sort of thing and had to rely on trusted outsiders to point it out to him.

            questionable recruiting, especially on offense, has created some issues, for sure. but talent on hand is far better than we saw last season when much of the team essentially said, ‘no more.’

            some have compared last season to mackovic’s last campaign at texas, and i absolutely agree. the following season after mackovic left was mack’s first at texas, and that team stomped a jackie sherrill mississippi state squad at the cotton bowl.

            nobody in his or her right mind is expecting a return to the top this season, but to point to last season as an indicator of the state of the program is an exercise in foolish thinking.

          • bullet says:

            I don’t know how Texas will do this year, but as I pointed out last fall when Frank had UT rated very high, they had lost most of their starting offensive line, the winningest QB in college fb history, and perhaps most important, Jordan Shipley, a long ball threat with sure hands who was also a great punt returner.

            Texas had questionable line play, questionable QB play (from someone whose only real snaps were in the BCS title game the year before) and sorely missed having a receiver who could hold onto the ball. Their punt return game was abysmal. And they had bad breaks on injuries and on the bounce of the ball. At one point (around the 10th game) their defense had caused only one less fumble than the prior year-but had recovered only half as many. They had some bad breaks on officiating they let get to their heads. And as Mack and several players have said, they were complacent (Alabama faced the same thing but without all the other issues) and didn’t work as hard. They had a defense that would give up three 80 yard drives on the ground and hold the other team to no first downs on every other drive.

            Mack turned over about half the staff and 3 of those who left were near retirement age and weren’t able to reach these players last year.

            There is hunger and no more complacency. There is plenty of talent. They have big ball threats.

            QB play-Gilbert made lots of bad decisions
            Line play-can they improve
            Receivers-fast but can they learn to hold onto the ball
            Secondary-lost top secondary in college fb

            I suspect the line and receiver issue will be resolved. The real questions are how the new secondary will hold up and what will happen at QB.

          • glenn says:

            good summary, bully. you see it like i do.

            i really feel for gilbert. he was given a woefully inadequate preparation for being thrust into the national title game. really the way he was handled was borderline criminal. and it didn’t prepare him for last year, i don’t think, thoroughly regardless of his miserable situation in the title game. if i were his dad, greg davis would have need for the witness protection program.

            we’ll never know, but with shipley gone and not even a serious attempt to run the ball, i suspect colt would have had a rough time of it.

            the green secondary is a serious concern, but, as some have said, a withering front seven — if it develops — can take a lot of pressure off the youngsters in the backfield. we’ll see how the new wizards on d can work around the limitations.

            all this said, the woe-is-texas post by brian is far from how i see the situation. like i said, i think we can expect some reasonable springback a la mack’s first season.

          • Brian says:

            glenn & bullet,

            When you two are done worshiping the Longhorns, maybe you’ll go back and read what I actually wrote.

            I didn’t use last year to define the state of the program. I’ve also given absolutely no prediction for how good TX will be this season. I said they were below average last year with several facts to back it up. I pointed out that they could be much improved over last year and still not be top 20, but I didn’t predict how good they will be. I showed that one ESPN “expert” disagreed significantly with the quoted one, bringing in to question the accuracy of the quoted ranking for TX.

            I dispute the automatic assumption that their recruiting has been great across the board. How often have we heard about the next great TX tailback recruit? When was the last time TX had a good RB?

            As for all the coaching changes, I love how they are the panacea for all that was wrong with TX. Suddenly TX will be able to block, run effectively and make good passing decision? These were the same coaches that led TX to the national title, but apparently they forgot everything in a few years. It’s good to know that TX will be the first school ever to have absolutely no transition issues to new coaches despite the wholesale changes.

          • glenn says:

            as i said, there are holes in the roster due to some specious recruiting the past several years.  particularly at rb and on the o-line.  couple of bad places to have holes, and the source for me for some concern for the next year or perhaps two.  that said, i think the qb’s on campus have the potential to be very serviceable if a sensible plan is developed.

            the offensive recruiting issues were almost surely at the feet of the departed o.c.  as he aged he became more and more entrenched in his desire to throw the ball at the exclusion of a running game.  he went after running backs who could protect his qbs and linemen who could pass block and maybe run block a little.  if i live to be a thousand i won’t understand why mack let him do that.  it got so bad that mack publicly once declared that the short passing game IS the longhorn running game.

            well, that’s over with, thankfully.  the new coordinators on offense are going to have to dance around the holes until they can develop the personnel they need, but don’t use the recruiting and deployment of greg davis to define the nature of the longhorn program.

            my expectation for this season is that there will be some effective design to cover some weaknesses but not enough to win at the accustomed level.  this coming season will likely be a shakedown both offensively and defensively, but there are some excellent kids to work with.

            the new guys are no panacea — and we’ll just have to see how clever these new guys are — but quit smearing the new staff with complaints about the old staff.

          • Brian says:

            How am I smearing the new staff? I didn’t say anything about them. I pointed out the old coaches helped win a NC, but that says nothing about the new coaches.

            I fail to see how recruiting problems are the fault solely of the departing coaches. It is always the HC’s decision to sign a player. If Mack didn’t agree with the direction the team was going, he should have changed it. It’s very convenient to blame the OC who is now gone.

          • glenn says:

            well, now, you’ve a point there in that there is something bizarre about mack’s approach to recruiting.  i don’t know how much of it is messiah complex, how much is an addiction to risk-taking, and how much is playing to his image.  worst thing that ever happened to tom landry was his being branded as a football genius.  he spent the rest of his career trying to prove that right rather than the ‘just coaching’ that got him his accolades.  much the same with mack in that many refer to him as a recruiting wizard.  all that silly stuff about ratios of visits to commitments, i suspect, came out of that, and it has been very harmful to texas recruiting.

            he used to argue with oc greg davis in the off-season, insisting that the team develop a running game, but back then when push came to shove, mack stepped aside and let greg have and do what he wanted.  greg would go after kids expressly giving him the best chance to throw the ball, and — i suspect — kids who would be run-game liabilities so that he couldn’t reasonably be expected to produce a real running game.  i strongly suspect this is the cause of the present dilemma, and, yes, it belongs on the back of the departed o.c.

            yes, that staff won a championship and, no, it wasn’t all vince, though vince is the unbelievable catalyst that made it all work that couple of seasons (once mack interceded and demanded greg to let vince play his game, not greg’s).  don’t look at the few years that vince and colt overcame greg’s shortcomings.  look at all the years where his offense folded in the face of significant challenge.  listen to all the defenders crowing that they knew the play from the alignment with that down and distance.  greg thought it unmanly to induce doubt and hesitation — or some such dopiness.

            now, you are going to say ‘what is wrong with mack that he put up with that turkey parade for ten years?’, and i’m not going to have a leg to stand on, so let’s get that out of the way.  for reasons that i don’t know mack turned to some trusted advisors last year, and they told him the truth he couldn’t see for himself.  longhorn fans everywhere owe an enormous debt of gratitude toward those advisors.  and, yes, mack does need a seeing-eye coach at his side at every step.

            all this said, no, it is not merely a ‘convenience’ to blame the dearly departed.  it was that passive-aggressive item of fecal material who dug the hole they must work their way out of.

            regarding your comment that there is talent on that team and that there was talent there last year, i must refer you to one of my previous posts.  look for the word ‘mutiny’ or ‘mackovic’.  i’ll save bandwidth and not repeat.  look though, especially, for the analogous situation to when mackovic left.  mack’s first year — which was pretty ok — is probably a good starting point for expectations for this season unless some inordinately clever young coaches can scheme around the holes left by a burrowing rodent.

          • glenn says:

            i’ll done tole you an amusing story that i have no clue whether is based on fact.

            at the time, earlyish in his career, when vince was very frustrated trying to work with oc greg davis, mack called vince into his office and told him he wanted to show him some footage of a qb that he wanted vince to look like.

            ‘oh, boy,’ i’m sure vince thought, ‘what next?’  mack sat him down and the film flickered to life.  it was game footage of madison hs in houston, and the qb was a lithe, young miracle worker named vince young.  vince watched a moment and said, ‘that’s ME.’  ‘yes,’ said mack, ‘what are we doing wrong?’

            that was the moment that started the championship run.

            [not responsible if there's not a word of truth in the above, but it is the word on the street.  the goofy characterizations are, of course, my own invention.]

  40. Michael in Indy says:

    I’m very interested in responses to many questions about how these TV contracts affect the college football & college sports hierarchy. I’m really surprised there hasn’t already been much discussion about these things already…

    Will we see Pac-12 football start to close the gap with the SEC in on-the-field strength? Why or why not?

    Will the B12, SEC, B1G, and P12’s contracts give them further separation from the ACC & BEast in on-field results, or does the ACC’s contract provide enough support to prevent itself from falling behind even further?

    With the Big East football programs set to make 1/4th the TV revenue of the fifth-place ACC, how will on-field results be affected? Would a TV contract for the Big East that’s worth more per school than the ACC’s allow its teams to be on par with the four richest conferences, or will it perpetually duke it out with the ACC for the title of “fifth-best” no matter what?

    The most glaring difference, to me, isn’t the one between the Pac-12’s contract and the ACC’s or BEast’s; it’s the ginormous gap that’s between any of the AQ’s (after the BEast’s next deal is done) and any of the non-AQ’s. On the field, the AQ’s have certainly maintained the dominance that they’ve had over non-AQ programs ever since our grandparents were kids; just check the Big Ten’s record against the MAC. Over the past ten years, though, the non-AQ’s have gained some very notable ground through several high-profile upsets. Granted, the non-AQ’s have had a huge setback in losing TCU, Utah, and BYU. But they still have Boise State, who, at least under Chris Petersen, is proving to be as reliable a threat for a top 5-10 finish as any non-“king”. (A “king” being the most established dozen or so brand name teams.) There are also several MWC and C-USA teams who have made major strides towards becoming the “next Boise State.”

    So, will the rapidly-growing gap in funding levels between the AQ’s and non-AQ’s end up further separating their on-the-field performances as well, or will the non-AQ’s continue to gain ground in spite of their unbelievably weaker TV contracts?

    What else will these TV contracts do for the schools? I know that they will result in higher coaching salaries, recruiting budgets, funding for new facilities and stadium renovations, etc., but will they mean anything else outside the football and basketball programs? For example, will universities take the opportunity to cut out the athletic fees that get stapled onto students’ ever-growing tuition bills? Will more athletic departments start to “give back” to their universities’ general fund (an action which students and faculties would be appreciate enormously considering the huge cuts at state universities)? Will the schools add new scholarships for Olympic sports? Will they join Cal in bringing back sports that have already been eliminated and/or cancel plans to eliminate them? Will they start new sports which had never been on campus? What would you want your school to do?

    • ccrider55 says:

      What is the on field gap SEC v Pac10/12? Wasn’t it posted P12 had an advantage in head to heads over the last few years?

      Could it be the gap is in perception?

      • Michael in Indy says:

        Well, there’s no perfect way to measure conference strength. The SEC went only 5-4 against the ACC, but the bigger picture would show a bigger gap.

        The MWC went 6-1 vs. the Pac-10 in ’08, yet I’m sure someone could make a solid case that the Pac-10 was the better league.

        I guess a better question would have been more specific… Will the Pac-12 start to have two BCS bowl teams more often? Will it start winning national championships? Will it start to have as many top 25 teams as the SEC? Will the increased exposure improve the league’s perception in the eastern 2/3rds of the country?

        • ccrider55 says:

          Improved perception through greater exposure is a consistent theme coming from Larry Scott. The answer to the other questions, perhaps minus the NC one, will depend on the validity of that premis.

        • duffman says:


          a) ACC vs SEC – was it equal?

          VT beating Vandy is not the same as VT beating BAMA

          b) I think that is one of the bonuses of the Pac 12 vs Pac 10 (on the ability to squeeze another team into the discussion).

    • ccrider55 says:

      Cal’s sports are rescued (ransomed) by private fundraising. The intent being to reduce the athletic expenditures the school is paying for. I imagine that until the economy improves the additional income will, at most schools, be used pay down existing debt, improve pay for coaches that in some cases have had frozen salaries for several years and make sure the deptartments are solid before looking to expand.

    • Brian says:

      Remember that the non-AQs and the BE schools use a lot of student fees and institutional support, so the funding gap isn’t always as big as the TV contracts make it. There are diminishing returns on many forms of athletic spending, which is what lets a BSU compete on a smaller budget. Smaller schools can save a lot of money without sacrificing much in performance, often by having the minimum number of teams and cutting expenses.

      Some schools will cut student fees, some will reduce institutional support, some will start donating to the school, some will restore teams, some will pay off debt, some will save for a rainy day and some will go on as usual. Every school is different. I doubt many schools will add teams unless they have Title IX concerns.

    • M says:

      So, will the rapidly-growing gap in funding levels between the AQ’s and non-AQ’s end up further separating their on-the-field performances as well, or will the non-AQ’s continue to gain ground in spite of their unbelievably weaker TV contracts?

      I don’t know if the overall funding level gap is much different than 20 years ago. It used to be large stadiums, now it’s television.

      For example, will universities take the opportunity to cut out the athletic fees that get stapled onto students’ ever-growing tuition bills?

      Schools will not cut fees to anything ever.

      Will more athletic departments start to “give back” to their universities’ general fund (an action which students and faculties would be appreciate enormously considering the huge cuts at state universities)?

      If you replace “give back” with “take less of” then I agree.

      Will the schools add new scholarships for Olympic sports? Will they join Cal in bringing back sports that have already been eliminated and/or cancel plans to eliminate them? Will they start new sports which had never been on campus?

      I would be surprised if this happened widely. Many schools view every sport but football a compliance nuisance.

      What would you want your school to do?

      I don’t have a problem with every bit of my school’s revenue being spent on athletics. I would like seeing hockey or mens lacrosse added, but that might not be feasible. Northwestern needs a stadium and facilities upgrade rather desperately.

      • cfn_ms says:

        Tough to say. The really big programs will continue having huge advantages over everyone else, but I could see the trend towards a few of the non-AQ’s being materially better than a few of the AQ’s slowing down or even reversing (especially since Utah and TCU are now AQ’s).

        It’ll be interesting to see how, say, Washington St compares to Boise in a few years. Can the Cougars use their new revenue to poach some coaches from Boise (probably not Petersen, but a couple assistants)? And will Boise be able to keep Petersen now that a LOT more programs will be able to offer him a LOT more money than Boise can put on the table? If a UCLA or a Tennessee (or potentially an Ohio St) offers him $4M / year plus a huge bump in his budget for assistants, that’s a tough offer to turn down.

        • ccrider55 says:

          Not sure Peterson would leave. Like Mark Few, money is not the bottom line. He has other non-footall reasons to stay. Since he hasn’t left for other opportunities that certainly would have paid more and offered greater resources I think he stays for a while longer.

          • frug says:

            My guess is Peterson would only leave if he was offered a job for a “king” level program like Ohio State or Texas.

          • cfn_ms says:

            I suspect that a “next-level” program like a Tennessee could offer enough to get him, though I could certainly be wrong. He’s hesitated to interview or seriously pursue any opportunities, but if a major program came to him with a big bucks job offer (as opposed to a “interview with us, along with 5+ other guys, then we’ll think about it and maybe give you an offer”), my guess is he’d end up taking the money. But it’s just a guess, and I could certainly be wrong.

          • glenn says:

            interesting what you say, frug. i’ve seen it said that peterson is very interested in following mack in austin. some have suggested that peterson’s strong support for harsin taking the texas o.c. position was partially with this thinking in mind.

          • Brian says:


            By all accounts, Petersen has already turned down multiple next-level programs. He has a sick child with doctors he likes in Boise. I don’t think anybody can offer enough to overcome that right now, and good for him for having his priorities straight.

  41. joe4psu says:

    These huge contracts have come in the wake of the expansion “crisis”. At least if we are to believe second or third hand commentary, it was a crisis for certain networks, ESPN and Fox. I don’t believe that they ever made any public statements to this effect.

    The first example of these networks not wanting the status quo being changed any further than it already was is the B12 not taking a hit for losing two schools, including one king, and a CCG. Everything after that could be seen as an even bigger “payoff” to the negotiating conferences.

    Is it possible that these huge contracts may have specific provisions in regard to expansion? And I don’t mean provisions calling for re-negotiations for expanding conferences. I suppose it’s more likely to have been implied and further short circuited by the huge windfalls each conference has gained. Unlikely as it is, it still makes me wonder.

    On the topic of playoffs versus the old bowl system. There was a reason that the old system died. It didn’t give a clear MNC way too often. Anytime being way too often. As a PSU fan I may be more sensitive to this subject. The inherent unfairness of the old system is the only way to explain Paterno having five undefeated seasons and only one MNC to show for it. His first MNC came in a one loss season. His last undefeated team not to win a MNC was the 1994 team. The old excuse that PSU played a weak eastern schedule, besides being wrong, does not cover that season since it was PSU’s second in the B1G.

    If “those people”, shout out to Bobby Lee, try to go back to the old system the fans will be even more upset than they were originally since it will be a step back. The danger of the BCS disappearing is not from legal challenges, many people have given reasons why it is not a valid case. It will be for the same reason that the BCS conference commissioners and presidents are complaining now, perception. All the same forces attacking the current system will be right there, and there will most likely only be more if that should come to pass.

    Just my opinion…

    • joe4psu says:

      2 rules I try to live by:

      – don’t open your mouth (write on message boards) and remove all doubt

      – always read up on your subject first

      Too bad I didn’t follow them. It turns out that Scott said this:

      “Both ESPN and Fox know my views,” Scott said. “They both know that if we were to expand, there would be appropriate adjustments to our fees and we certainly have the ability to expand under these contracts. I don’t foresee it happening in the near future but it’s my view that there will be further expansion down the road.”

    • Jake says:

      @joe – it’s not like the BCS has been much better at giving us an undisputed champion; more often than not there’s some controversy about who gets to play in the title game. If a clear national champion is what you want, then we need a playoff. If you want tradition and pageantry, stick with the bowls.

      • Brian says:

        Because playoffs never have controversies, especially about who gets in and who wins?

        • Adam says:

          It doesn’t matter whether they “never” have controversy — it’s just that there is inevitably going to be ”less” controversy, and even if the complaining ends up in some cases being louder or more visible, everybody will agree that the stakes are lower. Improperly evaluating who the 16th vs. the 17th team is has lower stakes than who the 2nd vs. the 3rd team — the 16th and 17th teams are both sufficiently flawed that anybody can say “if you had just played better, you’d be in the field.” By contrast, a “2-team playoff” (which is what they have now) allows teams to be excluded for factors completely beyond their control.

          If you go undefeated, in any sport, you should win the championship. The only sport I am aware of where that is not the case is college football.

          • Brian says:

            It is not inevitable there will be less controversy, just that there will different controversy.

            Any > 2-team playoff:

            What if 2 teams are undefeated? What are the selection criteria? Only conference champs, or at-larges too? Does ND have special rules? Does SOS factor in or just wins? Team Y was hotter than team Z although Z had a better record. Where are games played? How is the money split?

            What if 5+ teams are undefeated?

            8-team or larger:
            Do the last X teams really deserve a chance? Team Y would have won if player A didn’t get hurt in an unnecessary first round game.

          • Adam says:

            I have zero sympathy for “we’d have won it all if not for injuries.” Depth is part of having a strong team.

            If you go undefeated, you should win the championship. Any postseason format that does not guarantee that an undefeated team wins the championship is the wrong format. We can argue (even passionately) about other details (how to seed teams, where to play games, etc.), but if you go undefeated, you should win the championship.

          • Brian says:


            You are making the huge assumption that teams play an equivalent schedule, or at least close enough that wins trump everything else.

            An independent could schedule the 11 worst teams in I-A plus a I-AA team. Going 12-0 against that schedule always deserves a shot at the title? Over a team that went 11-1 against the 12 best I-A teams?

            SOS has to play a factor in CFB where there are a lot of teams and relatively few games. Every team that wants a chance at the title should have to challenge themselves with their schedule.

            I believe every team should have a chance at the title, but the tradeoff is that those teams should have to earn it. Otherwise, you are providing an incentive for joining a bad conference and scheduling weakly OOC.

          • Adam says:

            I do not think I am making that assumption. What I am saying is that the playoff should be inclusive enough that the valid objections that you are raising should not be relevant as a threshold concern — they should be extremely relevant as a seeding concern.

          • Adam says:

            “An independent could schedule the 11 worst teams in I-A plus a I-AA team. Going 12-0 against that schedule always deserves a shot at the title? Over a team that went 11-1 against the 12 best I-A teams?”

            The playoff should be large enough that we don’t have to choose one or the other but not both.

          • Brian says:

            Unfortunately there is no playoff size that is ideal for all seasons.

            In 1998, Tulane was undefeated but Sagarin’s #19 due to their incredibly weak schedule. 15 of the top 16 played at least 4 other top 30 teams (AZ played 3) and at least 1 top 10 team (VT played none), but Tulane played nobody in the top 30. There were 7 teams in the top 10 with 0 or 1 loss. Should Tulane have made a 4-team playoff? 8-team? Were they better than the teams they might displace? Does that matter to you?

            In 2005, did anyone besides USC and TX really deserve a shot? They were the only undefeated teams. Both played top 15 schedules. OSU finished #3 in Sagarin and I wouldn’t say they deserved a shot at either team.

          • Adam says:

            It doesn’t matter whether some “undeserving” teams get in so long as all “deserving” teams do. An “undeserving” team will lose along the way.

          • Adam says:

            “Should Tulane have made a 4-team playoff? 8-team? Were they better than the teams they might displace? Does that matter to you?”

            My answer to all of these questions is “no.”

          • Brian says:


            I strongly disagree with you. It does matter if undeserving teams get in to a playoff. Only deserving team should get a shot at the title.

            So undefeated Tulane shouldn’t have gotten in anything less than a 16 team playoff? That counters your whole argument.

            Nobody has said a playoff would be 16 teams, which is the only scenario under which we would both agree Tulane deserved a chance. If you wouldn’t put them in an 8-team playoff, then your argument about being undefeated is moot. If you would put them in, then you might as well skip the season and just play a 128 team tournament.

          • Adam says:

            Like you say, it’s impossible to know in advance what sort of playoff format will best fit the competitive landscape in advance. As a result, any format will have some “undeserving” teams in it eventually — that’s the price of announcing the format in advance, before you know exactly how many teams you would like to accommodate. However, I take as a given that the championship does need to be formatted (i.e., that it is inappropriate to have an ad hoc championship), and so I take as “baked in” the risk of “undeserving” teams participating. If that’s a risk regardless of what we do, we should ensure that every deserving team does get in. If a team is truly undeserving in the playoffs, they’ll lose.

          • Adam says:

            I wouldn’t advocate for a 128-team playoff but a 90-team free-for-all wouldn’t offend me in the slightest.

          • Brian says:


            Yes, any playoff format has to be determined in advances. A 2-team playoff will always have the lowest chance of having undeserving teams in it. It also has the highest chance of leaving out a worthy team. That’s a compromise I’m happy with, since every team that has ever been left out could have scheduled better.

            Your 90 team free for all is exactly why I can never take you seriously, Adam. Anybody who could support such a thing lives in such a different world from me as to have almost nothing in common.

          • Adam says:

            E.g., divide teams into 16 geographic sectionals of either 7 or 8 teams. At the end of the regular season, the top 6 teams in each sectional qualify for the playoffs. Each sectional tournament would operate like one of the NFL conference tournaments (1-2 get a bye, 3-6 and 4-5 play each other in the first round). Group the sectionals into regionals, pair the regionals off in the Semifinals and then have a championship.

          • Adam says:

            Given the advance notice that it takes to schedule, I don’t think that teams can exercise enough fine-grain control over their schedule to accommodate a 2-team playoff. Especially when 75% of your schedule is opponents you’re forced into by your conference (and, as we’ve seen, conference membership isn’t entirely voluntary — we can’t just say “join a better conference,” since almost everybody on the outside looking in would love to).

            Deciding it on the field is always better than not deciding it on the field, regardless of the shortcomings of a single-elimination format. At least everybody can control the outcome of a single elimination game.

          • Brian says:

            Teams have tremendous control over their OOC schedules. Non-AQs can play AQs if they want, and certainly nobody has to play I-AAs. Just making those changes would do a lot for the schedules of those teams left out before.

          • Adam says:

            Teams like Boise St are desperate for AQ opponents. They can’t just whistle them up on demand. And like I say, 75% of your schedule is games that you can’t control other than via your choice of league affiliation, which is something that most schools cannot readily improve.

          • Brian says:

            Boise could easily play more AQs, but they have financial demands that have driven away many possible opponents. They choose to not play more AQs, so they get no sympathy from me.

          • cfn_ms says:


            What is actually the case is Boise is desperate for AQ opponents who either give them home and homes or give them $1M or more for paycheck games. That’s different than “desperate for AQ opponents.” What they’re REALLY the most desperate for, based on their decisions to date, is money.

            AQ’s have zero obligation to give Boise any money OR extra exposure, but Boise acts like they do.

          • ccrider55 says:

            So, the ability for a non auto qualifier who has been fairily highly ranked to get an AQ opponent is to do whatever that opponent says? 1: I don’t think that’s right and 2: I don’t think Neb wanted any part of Boise last year, home or away.

          • Richard says:

            Personally, I’d be for a 128-team free-for-all. In fact, that’d be my favorite option other than the current 2-team playoff or a 4-team playoff. If you do that, you’d essentially structure the way soccer does it almost everywhere in the world outside of North America, where you have the regular season determine the league champion and a knockout cup tournament which teams from any league in the country can enter. 8-9 game schedule to determine each league’s champion (8 if a league championship is held for leagues bigger than 10 teams) and the knockout to determine the cup champion. Of course, the cup games would be interpersed between the league games. Maybe have regional 16-team tournaments for those teams that get knocked out in the first 2 rounds so that they’d still have some home games (and potentially more rivalry games).

            So the schedule would be
            Week 0 (when preseason classics use to be held): round of 128
            Week 1: regular season
            Week 2: regular season
            Week 3: regular season
            Week 4: round of 64
            Week 5: regular season
            Week 6: regular season
            Week 7: regular season
            Week 8: round of 32
            Week 9: regular season
            Week10: regular season
            Week12 (historic rivalry week): regular season (or league title)
            Week13 (Thanksgiving): round of 16
            Week14 (current championship week): bye
            Week15 (current Navy-Army week): round of 8
            Between Christmas & NYE: round of 4
            After Jan 1st: championship game

          • Brian says:


            Yes, clearly that is the only option. There’s nothing in between demanding things you know you won’t get and complete capitulation.

            Boise has found some mid-level AQs willing to play home and home, but there’s no value in it for the elites. If they want to play elite programs, they have to make sacrifices like playing in neutral site games (2010 and 2011). That’s how programs get built.

            The problem many people have with their schedule is that they go for at most 2 AQs (counting BYU), usually mid-level, and then play their 10-11 non-AQs. They could do better but choose not to.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Brian, I understand but now you are distinguishing within AQ’s? Midlevel? (by the way I’m not a big Boise fan at all) But, this is where the impetis for a lawsuit comes from, ill concieved or not. You have to play your conference leaving 3 openings. How do you schedule years in advance with any confidence that team will still be a top level team? Wasn’t Va Tech a top level pre-season last year? Is TCU now recieved as at least a mid level AQ simply because of a change in conference affiliation?

            The AQ’s set the “rules” such that only they meet their criteria. There needs to be a way to account for the admittedly uncommon times that a non AQ may in fact be the best team that particular year. Figure a way to get a true #1 on the field without seriously altering the financial “standings” and you’ll have a winner. The apearence of fairness on the field, while still maintaining the financial advantage.

            Personally I hate the idea of a playoff. I like the importance of the regular season’s every game. Frankly I did not really mind the old voting for the mythical title even with the occasional split title. Now we argue about who wasn’t given an opportunity. Then about who wasn’t given a vote.

          • Brian says:


            We’ve always distinguished within AQs. OSU, MSU and IU are not the same. Boise deserves very little credit for scheduling WSU, a perennial cellar-dweller. They get lots of credit for playing VT. They get no sympathy for NE not wanting to play a home and home at their 32,000 seat stadium.

            Boise has 7 conference games next year. They are playing 1 AQ and 4 non-AQs. That’s the problem.

            If you want to play a top team, then schedule a king program. They are almost always good and you get credit regardless.

            TCU’s status is unclear at this point. Even being the best team in the BE doesn’t mean much unless some of the other programs return to former glory. I’d put them as an upper middle level team (between WI and IA) for now and wait to see how they progress in the BE.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Which Kings are available and willing this year , following the implosion of the WAC/MWC, to fill holes that recently apeared in places formerly held by conference members?

            Although it is almost always the case, the assumption that being in an AQ conf automatically confers superiority to the non AQ’s is just that. An assumption. A non AQ’s lack of evidence as to being an equal (on the field) is not evidence that they are not.

          • Brian says:


            Kings generally schedule in advance, but Boise only had 8 conference games in the WAC so 4 of the 5 OOC games could have been scheduled. Boise has games scheduled as late as 2023, so it’s not like they didn’t have time to schedule somebody besides GA for this year.

            Being an AQ does automatically confer superiority to a program by virtue of financial resources and reputation by affiliation. It doesn’t mean the team is better on any given game day, though.

          • Michael in Indy says:

            I agree that strong non-AQ’s like Boise, who lack a long list of strong opponents, still may very well be among the best teams in the country. They just don’t have many opportunities to prove it in the college football’s all-important regular season. Butler basketball is somewhat similar to Boise. Their league is a total cakewalk compared to the major conferences, and based solely on their past two regular seasons alone, they’d barely have gotten credit as even a top 20 team the past two years. Thanks to their great success in basketball’s expansive postseason, however, they’ve done more than enough to prove that they were one of the truly elite teams in the the nation each of the past two years.

            At the same time, I agree with the point that Boise’s generally weak non-conference schedule further puts their stong teams at an unnecessary disadvantage. Given the lack of an expansive postseason, Boise’s athletic department, and other non-AQ’s, for that matter, could schedule AQ’s a lot more often than they do.

            The best example that Boise should follow is East Carolina, THE model for good non-AQs’ non-conference scheduling.
            2011: @ S. C’lina, vs. VT, vs. UNC, @ Navy
            2010: @UNC, @VT, vs. NCSU, vs. Navy
            2009: @WVU, @UNC, vs. VT, vs. App State
            2008: vs. VT in Charlotte, vs. WVU, @NCSU, @UVA
            2007: @VT, vs. UNC, @WVU, vs. NCSU
            2006: vs. WVU, vs. UVA, @NCSU, @Navy

            Boise State needs to continue scheduling at least one premier game a year, like VT & Georgia, stop canceling premier games like Nebraska, and, except in scheduling emergencies (like ECU’s last-minute scheduling against App State in ’08), it needs to take out Bowling Green & 1-AA teams from the schedule altogether. Instead, it needs to load up on a western equivalent of ECU’s schedule, with games every year against at least two of the following: any Pac-12 school, especially Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Colorado, and Utah; BYU; maybe TCU after it leaves the MWC; and certain Big 12 schools.

            If Boise finished 12-0 with that kind of schedule, and similar conference dominance to what it has had of late, then it would be very, very difficult for a one-loss AQ team to get in the national title game ahead of them.

          • Mike says:

            @Michael – To be fair to Boise, they didn’t cancel a game with Nebraska. Boise wanted 1M+ (I don’t remember the exact figure) to play in Lincoln which the Huskers wouldn’t pay.

          • Michael in Indy says:

            Actually, come to think of it, Boise will only have three non-conference games from 2012 and beyond because it will have NINE MWC games:
            1) Hawaii (MWC football-only member)
            2) Fresno
            3) San Diego State
            4) Nevada
            5) UNLV
            6) Wyoming
            7) Air Force
            8) Colorado State
            9) New Mexico

            With only three non-conference games to schedule, there’s absolutely no reason Boise can’t have a non-conference schedule at least as difficult as ECU’s (see previous post), adding in a top tennish team like VT or Georgia.

          • Adam says:

            My point remains that we shouldn’t be forced to choose between them.

          • Richard says:


            Boise can’t get ECU’s schedule because their stadium doesn’t fit the number of people that ECU draws (and they’re unwilling to play guarantee games or 2-for-1’s, from what I understand). However, just because they don’t get as much fan support doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have a shot at becoming national champions.

          • Brian says:


            They have a shot at the NC but choose to make it harder on themselves. That’s their problem. Other schools and fans have invested a lot to get into better conferences, get good attendance, get a lot of donations and play respected schedules. They don’t owe a school that hasn’t done these things anything.

          • Adam says:

            No, the other schools don’t, but the system does. The system owes everyone a fair crack at the national championship every season.

          • Brian says:


            They have a fair crack but choose to make it harder on themselves but making it easier for them to win. Tough crap.

          • Michael in Indy says:

            @ Adam & Brian,

            I think you guys are arguing about two different things.

            Adam is saying that a team with an undefeated season like Boise (or, in recent years, TCU, Cincinnati, or Utah) should have a chance at the national title via a multiple-round postseason. For all I know, Brian agrees with that. I certainly do.

            Brian’s point, and mine too, is that Boise knows that a multiple-round postseason isn’t part of the deal right now. It’s just the way it is, so Boise has to schedule in a way that puts itself in position to stand out in spite of its lack of AQ conference affiliation. Miami and FSU, who were basically complete nobodies in college football prior to the late 70’s, set themselves up for national championship contention largely because their schedules allowed them to stand out. Right now, Boise’s schedule is too easy for the current system to allow an undefeated Boise team to finish ahead of an undefeated team from any AQ conference. It’s even possible for them to finish behind a one-loss SEC team, or maybe a one-loss team from another conference with a particularly hard schedule (think of a 12-1 Nebraska team, with games against Washington, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, and Northwestern).

            If Boise’s non-conference was schedule was this:

            vs. Georgia in Atlanta
            @ Oregon
            vs. Washington
            vs. Utah
            @ Arizona State,

            along with conference games against TCU, Air Force & San Diego State, and Boise went 12-0, even a 12-1 SEC champion or 12-1 Nebraska would be unlikely to make the national title game. Boise might even get in ahead of an undefeated ACC or Big East team. But the fact of the matter is that Boise’s non-conference schedule is:

            vs. Georgia in Atlanta
            @ Toledo
            vs. Tulsa
            vs. Nevada
            @ Fresno.

            12-0 against that schedule might not stand out enough under the current system. It’s not the team’s fault. It’s the athletic department’s.

          • frug says:

            To be fair to Boise State’s athletic department, they were scheduled to play Utah, but the Utes dropped the game because of the PAC-12’s 9 conference schedule and having to use a non-conference game to keep the rivalry game with BYU.

          • Adam says:

            I don’t dispute that that is necessary given the current championship format. I question how much control BSU has over getting meaningful access to the current championship format, although I don’t dispute that under it, they generally don’t qualify. (That is to say, I agree their schedule isn’t strong enough and that should be disqualifying — I just do not agree that they have as much control over their schedule strength as you seem to assume.) Ergo, I am arguing that the current championship format is unacceptably flawed. We need a tournament with a multi-round progression and the risk of some “undeserving” teams involved in order to make sure that everybody deserving does get a chance.

            It isn’t as though I don’t think schedule strength matters. I think it is hugely important. I was probably one of the only people in America who thought that a 2-loss USC team was one of the best 2 teams in the country and should have been playing in the national title game in 2002, largely on the strength of their extremely strong schedule. But I’d rather that there were a tournament structured such that we don’t have to choose between them. Sometimes an “undeserving” team will get a chance to participate, but that doesn’t bother me — if they’re undeserving, they’ll lose.

          • Adam says:

            Speaking of which, in hindsight USC’s non-participation in the 2002 national championship game may be something of a watershed moment. Yes, they went 10-2 and you had a couple of 12-0 AQ teams. But look at USC’s non-conference schedule that year: Auburn, Colorado, Kansas State, Notre Dame.

          • Michael in Indy says:


            I disagree with the notion that Boise does not have control over its schedule. Granted, they can’t get just anyone to play them. Oklahoma, for example, probably has no interest in playing them, period. But Boise can play a lot of teams if it’s willing to have an imbalanced schedule.

            If Boise does think of itself as a budding national power, there certainly is precedent for such imbalance schedules. Back in the late 70’s and much of the 80’s, Florida State couldn’t get home-and-homes with the bigger name teams, except for Florida, Auburn, & Miami. The scheduling in those days was unbelievably imbalanced in favor of the bigger-name teams, especially LSU and Nebraska, but FSU did what it had to do to get those tough games on the schedule, no matter the capacity that was required.

            From ’76, Bowden’s first year, to ’91, FSU’s last year as an independent, FSU didn’t get a lot of favors in its scheduling.

            @Oklahoma ’76. No return game.
            @San Diego State ’77. No return game.
            @Syracuse ’78, ’89; vs. ‘Cuse ’91.
            @LSU ’79, ’80, ’81, ’82, ’83, ’89, ’91; vs. LSU ’90.
            @Nebraska ’80, ’81, ’85, ’86. No return game.
            @Ohio State ’81, ’82. No return game.
            @Notre Dame ’81. No return game.
            vs. Az. State ’79, @ASU ’83, ’84
            @Michigan ’86, ’91. No return game.

            So against 9 programs, FSU had 3 home games and 22 road games. It wasn’t until FSU joined the ACC in 1992, and after five straight top five finishes, that FSU was able to command an equal number of return games from teams it visited.

            In the short run, FSU probably could have made more money to support the rest of its athletic programs in those early Bowden years if it had chosen to play more home-and-home or home-only series against southern and eastern independents, and the team probably would have had some better records in the early 80’s, too. But FSU couldn’t have become the program it is if it had done that.

            It’s not that different for Boise. The costs of running an athletic department have gone up, but so have home game revenues and road game payouts. Better yet for Boise, it’s already a step ahead of where FSU was in Bowden’s early years. Boise can benefit from the trend of high-payout neutral site games, and it’s already able to get a home-and-home series with the Nebraska Cornhuskers, the only problem being Boise’s unacceptable payout demands. That’s a far cry from Nebraska’s 4 home games to 0 road games against FSU.

            I would love to see a college football playoff, but I do not buy it that Boise can’t become an FSU-like road warrior and get a schedule that compares well with AQ conference teams.

          • Adam says:

            All of that is true in terms of building a program, which is the system we have, but you shouldn’t have to build a reputation to win the national championship. If Florida Atlantic is the best team in college football in 2011, they should win the national championship. There is no chance of that happening. A school like BSU can’t exercise enough control over their schedule strength on short enough notice to give them a fair crack at the championship in any given season.

          • Brian says:

            Just to follow up on Boise, these are their AQ opponents since 2001 when they joined the WAC:

            5 – OrSU (3-2)
            2 – OR (1-1)
            1 – UW, WSU, AR, GA, SC, VT (1-5)

            That’s 13 AQs in 10 years (5-8). By comparison, they also scheduled 21 non-AQs (3 CUSA, 4 Idaho, 6 MAC, 8 MWC) and 80 WAC games. Idaho moved into the WAC during this period. Boise scheduled 2 AQs in ’01, ’05 and ’10.

            AQs 5-8
            non-AQs 96-5 (OOC 21-0, WAC 75-5)

            That adds up to a great winning percentage but doesn’t make it clear how good Boise really is or isn’t. Clearly they have been almost exclusively playing inferior non-AQ teams that present no significant challenge. OrSU is the only team to beat them twice in the decade.

            Boise is moving up to the MWC, which is the best they can do for the 80 WAC games. That makes Idaho an OOC game again, but I accept that for the rivalry and political reasons (if they resume the series). Unfortunately, the MWC teams they chose to play included WY 5 times (also BYU 2 and Utah 1). That makes 14 non-AQs they shouldn’t have played if they wanted respect from the system (none of which won more than 8 games that year).

            Their average schedule was thus 1.4 bad non-AQs, 0.7 OK non-AQs, 1.4 AQs and 8 WAC teams. Based on realignment, that changes to 8 MWC games, maybe 1 OK non-AQ (Idaho, BYU), 1.5 AQs and 1.5 bad non-AQs. That works out to 2 tough OOC games per year (2 AQs or 1 AQ and BYU) and about 4 solid non-AQs. For that, they want to be treated exactly like a team playing 9+ AQs per year.

            The best comparison I could think of was OSU since they dominated their conference more than any other AQ. OSU had 4 conference opponents beat them at least twice, plus USC OOC (TX did also, but 1 was a bowl game).

            OSU’s record:
            AQs 74-18 (OOC 8-4, B10 66-14)
            non-AQs 22-0

            How much would Boise’s conference winning percentage change if they played in an AQ conference? OSU and Boise played essentially the same OOC schedule in terms of the numbers of AQs and non-AQs although I would say OSU had a slightly tougher slate with USC and TX being elite teams when they played. If the OOC AQ record is any guide, Boise would have lost a lot more than 5 conference games. The reason that is important is there wouldn’t be any groundswell of support for Boise if they had a record more like Iowa or MSU.

    • Brian says:

      So you’re saying that PSU didn’t play a weak eastern schedule in the 60s, 70s and 80s?

      JoePa coached PSU for 27 years before they joined the B10. The teams they played most often:
      27 – Pitt, WV
      25 – Syracuse
      24 – MD
      18 – BC
      17 – Temple
      14 – Rutgers, NCSU
      13 – ND
      12 – Alabama
      10 – Army, Miami (FL)
      8 – Cincinnati, Navy, Iowa
      5 – NE, OH, Stanford

      Teams they beat less than 75% of the time:
      ND, Alabama, Miami (FL), NE

      That means they played almost 8 games per season (on average) against frequent opponents that they beat at least 75% of the time. That’s an easy eastern schedule.

      For comparison (same time period, also limited to teams played 5 or more times):

      NE – 2 annual conference opponents that won at least 25% of the time (OU, MO), plus FSU, UCLA, PSU and Miami.

      AL – 2 annual conference opponents that won at least 25% of the time (AU, TN), plus FL, GA, GT, PSU, ND, USC.

      OU – 3 annual conference opponents that won at least 25% of the time (NE, CO, TX), plus USC and Miami.

      MI – 2 annual conference opponents that won at least 25% of the time (OSU, MSU), plus ND, UW, UCLA, Cal, USC and Stanford.

      ND – 2 annual opponents that won at least 25% of the time (USC, PU), plus Miami, MI, PSU, LSU and Stanford.

      The big difference is that PSU’s annual eastern opponents were not competitive while all the other powers had some difficult rivals.

      • duffman says:


        When I did that in depth analysis awhile back I made note that the Pitt of old was not the Pitt of modern times (the same one that looked at UChiago and the gophers). Same with Maryland (I think they were strong back in the 70’s and 80’s) and other schools, so depending on how old you are might be insightful if you are say in your 30’s and psu guy is in his 70’s.

        I am not saying your analysis is right or wrong, I am suggesting that it may be skewed when looking at modern team data and not totally in the historical perspective. Georgia Tech and Tulane were much more powerful when they were in the SEC than they are today yet how many folks are old enough to remember back when they were in the SEC.

        Sure we know the Sugar Bowl is now the SEC Bowl the way the Rose is for the B1G and PAC (tho this bond was not cemented till after WWII) but it was Tulane that gave the Sugar Bowl life. On the flip side I am old enough to remember Florida and Florida State as the opposites of the powerhouses they became (in the sense of having them on your schedule in the 1970’s vs having them on your schedule in the 1990’s).

        Just an observation, and why I think “brand” status is so hard to come by because many programs can rise, but not maintain it. In 68′ JoPa had his first undefeated season and went 11-0 but fell below a 9-0 tOSU and 9-0-1 U$C in the final polls (as auburn would point out in their undefeated season a few years ago, some teams only penalty is that they start the season to far down in the pre season and initial polls to ever catch up).

        FWIW: the 68′ tOSU team

        09.28 SMU (8-3) @ HOME W 35-14
        10.05 Oregon (4-6) @ HOME W 21-6
        10.12 Purdue (8-2) @ HOME W 13-0
        10.19 NU (1-9) @ HOME W 45-21
        10.26 Illinois (1-9) @ away W 31-24
        11.02 MSU (5-5) @ HOME W 25-20
        11.09 Wisconsin (0-10) @ away W 43-8
        11.16 Iowa (5-5) @ away W 33-27
        11.23 Michigan (8-2) @ HOME W 50-14

        vs USC Rose Bowl W 27-16

        If you look at schedule strength (and the large number of HOME games for tOSU that year) you could argue that in 68′ tOSU played a very weak schedule (only SMU, PU, and Michigan had 8+ wins, and Illinois+Northwestern+Wisconsin were a combined 2-28). Just saying things are open to interpretation sans a MNC as PSU and tOSU never played each other on the field that year for real comparison.

        • Brian says:

          My analysis was based solely on the number of teams regularly on the schedule (equivalent of conference games) that provided a competitive series (PSU won < 75% in a stretch where they were 0.784 overall).

          Over that time period, based on winning percentage (most played 8):

          33. WV
          40. Rutgers
          43. NCSU
          46. Syracuse
          49. BC
          54. Pitt
          63. Maryland
          69. Temple

          None of these teams were equivalent teams to PSU, not even close. That is the point. While all the other powers played 1 or more challenging rivals every year, PSU didn't have that. That's why they got accused of having an easy eastern schedule, and I think it's a fair argument. It's not an ironclad argument, but it is a fair one.

          • duffman says:


            Come on man Pitt with Johnny Majors and Jackie Sherrill!?!? Pitt has 9 claimed MNC’s and had PSU not joined the B1G might have had a different history since JoPa went west.

            Tatum got the Terps 2 MNC’s and granted they had some terrible years after that, but they had some good years under Clairborne and Ross.

            West Virginia had Bobby Bowden before FSU, and Carlen’s 69′ team went 10 – 1. Sure Cignetti was a disaster while he was there, but the following 20 years under Nehlen were quite respectable.

            I am guessing back in the day Temple and Rutgers were not real threats, but I am not willing to sign off on NC ST as a total gimmie (especially when Holtz was there) and Syracuse has had an impressive list of pro players to dismiss them so lightly. I think the Cuse have at least 1 MNC and Schwartzwalder was there for around a quarter of a century.

            When I did the detailed analysis for this thread awhile back I would have put Pitt in the B1G, except Frank was against the overlap on markets. Sure teams rise and fall, but to dismiss some of the teams on your list so lightly is not right man.

          • Brian says:

            I’m not dismissing those teams, I’m saying they weren’t on PSU’s level from 1966-1992. Sure they may have had a good year on occasion (about as often as PSU had a bad year) during that span but since none of them could win 1 of 4, there is no basis for calling them peers.

            During that span:

            10+ wins
            PSU – 14 (68-9, 71-4, 77-8, 80-2, 85-6, 91)
            Pitt – 4 (76, 79-81)
            MD – 1 (76)
            WV – 2 (69, 88)

            7-9 wins
            PSU – 10
            Pitt – 8
            MD – 11
            WV – 11

            0-6 wins
            PSU – 3
            Pitt – 15
            MD – 15
            WV – 14

          • duffman says:


            While I (and most the known world) would not diminish the ability of JoPa, they had a defacto conference prior to PSU joining the B1G. Here are some timelines….

            vs Pitt
            first played in 1893 with 96 total meetings

            vs WVU
            first played in 1904 and ended with PSU entry to B1G

            vs Terps
            first played in 1917 and ended with PSU entry to B1G

            vs Cuse
            first played in 1922 and ended with PSU entry to the B1G

            for the sake of the argument say you have a rivalry that breaks down like this..

            PSU vs Pitt = tOSU vs UM

            PSU vs Cuse = tOSU vs upper mid B1G

            PSU vs WVU = tOSU vs lower mid B1G

            PSU vs MD = tOSU vs IU

            For quite some time the Big 10 has been tOSU vs Michigan with a + 1 / 2 floater (the team that rises that specific year), my argument is that PSU had a similar life as an Independent with a good team (Pitt), a secondary team (Cuse), a decent team like WVU, and a lesser team like MD.

            The Big 8 had UNL / OU and the rest

            The Pac 8 had U$C / ND / floater

            The SWC had UT / OU plus a floater or two

            The SEC had BAMA / UT and some floaters (remember historically the nod would go to a team like LSU, as a team like Florida has been more reccent in their rise to power.)

            I guess where I am having the issue is you make it appear that every B1G team during that period of time was a top 20 – 40 team every year. As an IU guy I can say this is not the case. I am willing to say the gopher fans can say the same.

            The issue with playing teams year after year (as PSU did) is that you do fall into some games where the favorite (PSU) does not win, just because it it a “rival” game. In my lifetime I have seen this many times to know this is a different game. The records do not matter on that specific day, and you have upsets.

            If Pitt can go roughly 1:1 with PSU over time (50 – 42 – 4), and the Cuse can go roughly 1:2 with PSU over time (42 – 23 – 5) how different is this than say tOSU vs Michigan or tOSU vs Illinois (where the ratio is similar to PSU vs the Cuse)?

            While you may consider Michigan a peer to tOSU, I am fairly sure you do not feel that way about the majority of the B1G when it comes to football vs the Buckeyes. Maybe I am wrong, but I get that impression by how you post. If any PSU posters on here are over say 45 (pre PSU to the B1G) and can correct me on this, I am willing to become more educated on the subject.

          • Brian says:


            I don’t know how to make this more clear. Points that you keep missing or avoiding:

            1. I’m only looking at 1966-1992, the years JoePa coached an independent PSU. No other years are relevant to the discussion of PSU playing a weak eastern schedule under JoePa.

            2. I looked at every frequent opponent for PSU in that time frame (their equivalent to a conference schedule).

            3. None of those teams could go 0.250 against PSU. Four national opponents they played less often (less than 1/2 the years, and that includes bowls) were the only teams that challenged PSU.

            4. I looked at the other top schools for winning percentage in that time period, and they all had multiple annual opponents that did better than 0.250 plus a similar list of less frequent opponents.

            5. Combined, these stats show that PSU lacked the difficult rivals that all the other powers faced during this time period, and that is the basis for saying PSU played a weak eastern schedule.

            You propose:
            PSU vs Pitt = tOSU vs UM

            I say:
            That’s not even remotely similar. OSU and MI were peers while PSU and Pitt were not during that period (or historically). Pitt is not as strong as you like to assert during this period.

            Similarly, you get the strength of WV and Syracuse wrong. WV was stronger than Syracuse, and Pitt and Syracuse were about equal.

            The equivalents from 1993-2010 might be:

            Old WV = New IA
            Old Pitt/Syracuse = New MSU

            The only time the B10 even enters the discussion is when I used MI as a comparison school. In conference, MI had 1 much more difficult rival than PSU (OSU), another that was competitive (MSU), plus ND. These are the level of annual games that PSU didn’t have to face according to the numbers. The rest of their schedules were equivalent, but nobody ever said playing IU made a B10 schedule difficult.

            I do consider OSU and MI as football peers for the past 100 years or so. I’d include PSU, NE, OU, TX, USC, ND, AL and TN. Those teams stand apart from a win total and winning percentage over time. Note that Pitt is about 2 tiers lower (~ #35 in history, behind WV and Syracuse).

          • joe4psu says:

            You mistake PSU’s dominance for weakness among the Eastern Independents rather than the kind of dominance that OU had in the Big 8 or that OSU and UM had in the Big 10. There exist a perception problem in regard to the eastern schools. Here is a link that goes over the head to head results of the eastern teams against the similarly situated Big 10 teams. This covers the years from 1966 to 1992, from JoePa’s first year until his last year as an indy.


            In a nutshell:

            The Big 10 little 8 versus the eastern 7, 17-28-2. The eastern’s dominated the “AQ’s” of the day from the Big 10. Here’s another measure from the same link:

            Rank Team Win-Pct Won Lost Tied
            33 West Virginia 59.046% 176 121 7
            39 Rutgers 56.574% 161 123 5
            45 Pittsburgh 55.082% 164 133 8
            46 Syracuse 54.801% 163 134 5
            49 Boston College 54.054% 159 135 2
            57t Michigan State 52.181% 151 138 9
            62 Maryland 50.987% 152 146 6
            67 Purdue 48.986% 143 149 4
            69 Temple 48.410% 135 144 4
            71 Iowa 48.039% 143 155 8
            78 Illinois 44.833% 130 161 9
            80 Minnesota 44.407% 128 161 6
            84 Indiana 41.806% 122 171 6
            95 Wisconsin 38.176% 109 179 8
            109 Northwestern 22.603% 64 224 4

            TOTAL Big 10’s “Little 8″ 42.526% 990 1338 54
            TOTAL Eastern Indy’s “Little 7″ 54.252% 1110 936 37

            And you can’t use the weak eastern schools argument since the numbers above showed that is an erroneous perception. Again, what people suffered from is a perception problem in regard to eastern schools.

            Here’s a comparison of bowl results of the little 8 and the little 7.

            Big 10’s “Little 8″ Bowl Record
            Big 10 Team Bowl Record 1966-1992
            Illinois 1 – 7
            Indiana 3 – 4
            Iowa 4 – 5 – 1
            Michigan State 3 – 3
            Minnesota 1 – 2
            Northwestern 0 – 0
            Purdue 4 – 1
            Wisconsin 1 – 2
            TOTAL 17 – 24 -1 41.5%

            E. Independent’s “Little 7″ Bowl Record
            Eastern Team Bowl Record 1966-1992
            Boston College 2 – 3
            Maryland 4 – 7 – 1
            Pittsburgh 7 – 5
            Rutgers 0 – 1
            Syracuse 6 – 2 -1
            Temple 1 – 0
            West Virginia 5 – 5
            TOTAL 25 – 23 – 2 52.1%

          • Brian says:


            I can understand why you think I’m mistaking PSU’s dominance for weakness of the other eastern teams from 1966-1992, but I’m really not. I said that the basis for the perception of PSU playing a weak eastern schedule is that none of those teams was a peer for PSU or even competitive (defined as able to win 25% of the time).

            I gave some of the same data you presented (national ranking of overall winning percentage during that period). It’s not that all the eastern teams were terrible (maybe some people have said or implied that over the years, but I didn’t), but that PSU lacked top level opponents “in conference” and none of the other powers did.

            I looked at your numbers, and then adjusted them by removing games against PSU (eastern) or MI and OSU (B10). That moved MSU above BC (and within 2% of second place) and both IA and MN passed Temple. The net result is to make the two groups more similar, but still with WV on top and IN, WI and NW trailing. No other separation is more than 2%. This doesn’t change the point, since it wasn’t about the rest of the teams, but I thought it made a more fair comparison.

            My point was the lack of peer rivals for PSU. Any top team should excel against the lesser teams in their conference. The question is how they would do regularly playing a peer rival. MI had OSU and MSU, plus ND. NE had OU and MO. AL had AU and TN, plus FL and GA (last 2 not annual). OU had NE, TX and CO. ND had USC and PU, plus MI.

            PSU record against some other top programs:
            AL 4-8
            Miami 6-4
            NE 2-3
            ND 8-5
            Total 20-20

            The point is that if PSU had to play 1-2 teams of this caliber every year, their schedule would have been more comparable at the top to the other powers. The rest of the schedule matters less because the gap was so large between the kings and the rest back then.

            This isn’t to say JoePa didn’t have some great teams during this period, just that he didn’t have to prove it as often, especially against peer rivals.

          • joe4psu says:

            Here’s some numbers between other schools:

            Alabama 2-3

            Big 10 and other “AQ” schools:
            Arizona St. 1-0 (this is from 1977, I don’t remember when ASU joined the Pac-12)
            Baylor 1-0 (Grant Teaff era)
            BYU 2-1 (LaVell Edwars heyday)
            Cal 1-0
            Colorado 1-1
            Florida St. 1-1
            Georgia 1-0
            Georgia Tech 1-1
            Houston 1-0 (SWC years)
            Illinois 1-0
            Iowa 6-2 (includes the Haden Fry era)
            Kansas 1-0 (Orange Bowl)
            Kansas St. 2-0
            Kentucky 2-2
            LSU 1-0 (Orange Bowl)
            Miami 6-4
            Michigan St. 0-1
            Mizzou 2-0 (includes Orange Bowl)
            Nebraska 2-3
            North Carolina St. 12-2 (includes Lou Holtz era)
            Notre Dame 8-5
            Ohio St. 2-2 (Woody Hayes)
            Oklahoma 0-2
            USC 1-2
            SMU 1-0 (SWC)
            Stanford 4-1
            Tennessee 1-2
            Texas A&M 1-1
            TCU 2-0 (SWC)
            UCLA 1-2
            Virgina 1-1
            Wake Forest 1-0
            Washington 1-0
            Wisconsin 0-1

            That’s about 66% against “AQ” schools. Against “Kings” it was 15-18.

          • Brian says:


            Here are a few examples to show what I’m talking about:

            Let’s look at PSU’s 4 perfect seasons from 1966-1992.

            PSU played no ranked opponents until the bowl when they played #6. OSU won the NC after playing 2 top 15 teams in the season plus #2 in the bowl.

            PSU played #17 during the season and #6 in the bowl.
            TX won the NC by beating 2 top 10 teams, including #2 in the game of the century, during the season and #9 in the bowl.

            PSU played #20 during the season and #13 in the bowl.
            ND won the NC by playing #6 and #20 during the season and #1 in the bowl (and by being ND).

            PSU beat #2 during the season and #1 in the bowl to win the NC.

            PSU also won the 1982 NC when they played #2, 4, 5, 13 and 13 during the season and #1 in the bowl despite losing to #4. It’s like they were rewarded for playing a tougher schedule with several top teams on it.

            Nobody thinks PSU didn’t have great teams in all of those years, but other teams earned the NC in several of them. This is because PSU lacked an annual peer rival to give them a marquee game every year.

          • Brian says:


            I think your last post agrees with me. PSU was on par with the other kings during this period. When people critique the schedule back then it is because their toughest “conference” opponents weren’t as tough as all the other kings faced. That doesn’t make the teams any worse, but it might mean that PSU would have lost a handful of additional games during that period. Maybe PSU would have only been perfect twice during that span instead of 4 times.

            Please don’t mistake criticism of the schedules for criticism of the teams.

          • Richard says:

            Uh, MU isn’t a peer of UNL, CU isn’t a peer of OU, and PU isn’t a peer of ND. If you consider those schools “peers”, I can’t understand why you wouldn’t consider Pitt and WVU peers of PSU.

          • Brian says:


            No, none of the schools you mentioned were peers, but they won at least 25% of the time against their rivals. Surprisingly, that’s not true for Pitt or WV over that time period. The bigger point was that all the other kings had at least 1 peer rival. They also all had a second rival, peer or not, but the peer rival was the important part.
            WV was 2-25 (.074)
            Pitt was 6-20-1 (.241)
            MO was 7-20 (.259)
            CO was 7-19-1 (.278)
            PU was 8-19 (.296)

            The 4 rivalries besides WV are all equivalent, but I chose 25% as the cut off before I started looking up records. The reason is that NE, AL, OU, PSU, MI and ND all won at least 75% of their games during this period (ND was exactly 75%). I decided that to be a competitive rivalry you should win more than that. Including Pitt, or not including MO, CO and PU, wouldn’t have changed my conclusions.

          • Brian says:

            Here is little more info on PSU’s eastern “conference” schedule from ’66-’92. Let’s compare the other teams with the highest overall winning percentages during this time period to see what that tells us.

            The teams PSU played most often and at least 14 of the 27 years:
            Pitt, WV, Syracuse, MD, BC, Temple, Rutgers, NCSU

            Let’s call those games PSU’s conference schedule.

            The same process for ND finds a “conference” of:

            Navy, MSU, USC, Purdue, Pitt, Air Force, Miami

            Conference winning percentage from ’66-’92:
            PSU 0.892
            OU 0.834
            MI 0.830
            NE 0.813
            AL 0.796
            ND 0.762

            PSU is a clear outlier with ND bringing up the rear. If these teams were all the same strength over this period, these numbers would show exactly how difficult the conference schedule was for each team. While not entirely accurate, it still gives an approximation for conference schedule difficulty. ND was often acknowledged for the difficulty of its schedule and these numbers support that. PSU was often knocked for a soft eastern schedule and these numbers don’t disprove that.

            Another possible explanation for the numbers is that PSU was that much better than the other kings, so let’s look at records for king versus king games. I’m only using the 6 teams already under discussion as kings for this:

            Team – % – Total Games – Most Common Opponent(s)
            OU 0.603 34 NE
            ND 0.557 35 MI & PSU, AL
            AL 0.479 24 PSU, ND
            MI 0.469 16 ND
            PSU 0.438 32 AL & ND
            NE 0.436 39 OU

            The PSU dominance theory doesn’t survive this test. These team were fairly equal with the possible exception of OU over NE (17-11). That means that the difference in conference winning percentage is most likely due to the difficulty of the opponents. In this case, that means that PSU’s eastern “conference” schedule was easier than the schedules faced by the other powers.

            This does not mean that PSU didn’t have a lot of great teams during this period, just that they didn’t have quite as much difficulty in their conference schedule.

  42. Playoffs Now says:

    Enough with all that, let’s talk about this weekend’s opening of “Big Red Motors: The Sequel” starring Ohio St. Systemic free cars for tickets, IRS avoidance, and just like Auburn a blatant lack of institutional control obvious to anybody with a lick of common sense.

    Ohio State’s director of compliance is reviewing at least 50 car sales to Buckeyes athletes and relatives to see if they met NCAA rules, The Columbus Dispatch reported Saturday…

    …One car, a 2-year-old Chrysler 300 with fewer than 20,000 miles, was titled to then-sophomore defensive player Thaddeus Gibson in 2009. Documents show the purchase price as $0…

    So already, just one car to one Buckeye player equals more than 6 times the total $ amount of benefits to Boise St athletes that the NCAA is now trying to slap them with Lack of Institutional Control.

  43. duffman says:


    If the Pac 12 can get that bank, then the real question is what will the BTN and SEC value be next go round? The downside of all this is the infusion of more ads to pay the bill, and a future ticket price bump that will price me out of the game. :(

    • Richard says:


      I fail to see why gigantic new TV money would mean higher game ticket prices. ESPN doesn’t get to recoup costs by hiking ticket prices.

      • duffman says:


        In the bigger picture it means more money, which the schools will find a way to spend, and yet they will still want more. Business and individuals must actually live in budgets, while academic institutions and governments do not seem to feel the need to operate in such a world. If tOSU can find a way to spend 220 Million a year, they can figure out a way to spend 280 Million they may not have yet.

        I thought with the bonanza of the BTN and SEC money would have capped things, and yet donations & ticket prices seem to still climb even in a bad economy. No matter how much cash rolls in, it just creates bigger cash hogs on the schools part. The comment was directed at the nature of the beast as a whole, and not just the individual schools.

        If the new contract is 4 times greater than the old, then you would think such an infusion means ticket prices and “donations” should level off or drop but I will bet you the exact opposite happens. It will set off a new “arms race” which will drive up everything else.

        • PSUGuy says:

          You are 100% right, but I think miss an important point that makes a huge distinction between schools “escalation”.

          Schools like tOSU or my PSU may raise ticket prices year in and out (as they do) or get more money via other methods, but in the end they tend to continually expand their athletic scholarship programs (see men’s AND women’s hockey at PSU) to further the academic goals of the university.

          My question is what are the Texas’ and Alabama’s of the world going to do? Spend $3 trillion on the universe’s most sophisticated football only training room? Outbid NFL teams for coaches?

          Its sad, but I really think the respective schools’ history is indicative of their future behavior.

          • bullet says:

            Its sad you feel the need to specifically name other schools when you obviously don’t know anything about their athletic history.

            Alabama is vastly better across the board in sports than they were 25 years ago. They do have championships in only one sport besides fb, but they do have 4 women’s gymnastics titles. Ohio St. has women’s championships in only synchonized swimming and pistol. Penn St. has women’s championships in many sports, but only volleyball is widely played. Texas has women’s championships in 7 different sports, none of them syncrhonized swimming, pistol, bowling, fencing, Lacrosse, field hockey or gymnastics.

            And ALL the big time schools are spending money so that the NFL can’t outbid them for coaches. And even the mid-level schools are building gold plated training rooms fit more for Beverly Hills than college sports.

          • psuguy says:

            It’s sad you feel the need to inflict your belief that the only thing that matter is winning into a conversation about expanding he academic base of the institutions that play sports.

            Facts are tOSU and PSU support 30 scholarship athletic s at their respective schools. Texas (last time I checked) has 19 and the Alabama was similar.

            Sure one set likes to say “we want to compete for championships instead of just exist”, but IMO that’s simply because its far cheaper to shell out an extra couple thousand to get the best coaches (those sports don’t have near the inflation as football or bball) and multi-purpose facilities than have to build and support (ie scholarships) entirely new sports programs.

            Here…to make you happy l’ll restate point not naming names…

            Some schools will use inflation to do what is right…ensure the stability of their sports programs and expand their scholarship sports to increase the ability for kids to go to school.

            Other sports will use inflation to outbid each other on coaches and facilities in an effort to win every national championship they can.

            Based on prior behavior, I think it evident which schools will do what in the future.

          • duffman says:

            bullet & psuguy,

            I have no problem naming names. I think BAMA, UT, U$C, tOSU, ND, Michigan, PSU, OU, UNL, SEC #2 will all continue to raise “donation” demands and football ticket prices far faster than the corresponding wages of the average american (hence forcing many current and future fans outsides the confines of the actual venue). To be fair JoPa keeps PSU in a happy place in the arms race as he has never been demanding the huge salary and has donated much of his wealth back to PSU. In a post JoPa world (and a sad day indeed as I am a big JoPa fan) PSU will have to have a huge budget jump to bring PSU closer to the norm of top brands. The person who will fill the void will probably command closer to Saban dollars that current JoPa dollars. I am not saying I agree with it, but am not in denial to say it will not happen.

          • psuguy says:


            Agree totally. I really don’t know what we’re going to do once he retires and make no mistake…the admins are well aware we need a top notch football program to help pay the bills.

          • duffman says:

            psu guy,

            Here is a question….

            If JoPa goes in the next few years how would the PSU base feel about hiring Meyer to replace him?

            a) He already has been mentioned for tOSU in a post vest world

            b) Florida is behind only Vandy in academics in the SEC

            c) One can argue that football success did not prevent Donovan from building a basketball program there (remember I am a basketball guy and feel PSU is able to jump up a notch here, given the right hire).

            d) Health issues addressed, PSU might be a tad lower than Florida and the SEC pressure to win (In the sense that I still say the SEC is the toughest top to bottom conference in football, hence Urban could “rest” when PSU is playing OOC and the lesser children of the B1G).

          • Bullet says:


            Your post says that UT and Alabama invest in nothing but men’s football which is totally incorrect.

            UT’s has expanded it’s women’s offerings and has built new softball and soccer stadiums in recent years. It tries to have excellence in everything it does, be it sports or otherwise. It views its intercollegiate teams as representatives of the university and wants them to succeed as much as possible as opposed to spreading itself over many sports. It also has a very large intramural sports program for others who want to participate. And it has a number of scholarship programs for students, not just athletes.

            Ohio St. has a philosophy of emphasizing intercollegiate sports, participating in as many as possible.

            They are different philosophies and nothing is wrong with either one.

          • PSUGuy says:


            I can honestly say “hell no” to Meyer and I think the PSU admin types are on my side on this one.

            In 2005, Meyer’s first year with Florida, their (Florida football) graduation rate was in the 30% range. In 2006 the NCAA rolls out the “new and improved” graduation statistics and all of a sudden Florida is sitting ~70%. Problem is, going by the old rules Florida football still sat ~30%…and has every single year Meyer has been there.

            Point is if you manage to stick with the team for four years he makes sure you graduate, but he ends up churning through players like disposable parts and thus the extremely low graduation rates when you take student transfers into account.

            Long story short, PSU believes that so long as you can continue to play you maintain scholarship, even if you never turn into a first round NFL draftee and I don’t think that mentality meshes well with Meyer’s coaching philosophy.

          • duffman says:

            psu guy,

            who do you think then?

            The problem is twofold

            1) PSU the school

            2) JoPa the man

            IU still may wander the desert after Bobby. UCLA wandered after Wooden. BAMA took time and coaches before they were happy again. I would say PSU is a destination job, but it will come with huge baggage and pressure and how many coaches will be able to win with such an act to follow?

            Watching UK, I think they have perfected the model based on the Hindu system

            Rupp = Brahman
            Hall = Vishnu
            Sutton = Shiva
            Pitino = Brahman
            Smith = Vishnu
            Gillispie = Shiva
            Calipari = Brahman

            If this was a possible model, then the next PSU coach should be a Vishnu type coach, but I am not sure the PSU fanbase will be so calm about that type of coach. The alternative is for PSU to wander the desert till folks let JoPa fade back a bit and they can establish a new identity. It could be tough sledding as the time frame is so great. (remember the bear was at Maryland, Kentucky, and TAMU before he called the Tide home.

          • PSUGuy says:


            And once again you ignore the point to focus on what you want to.

            Fact: Texas is the most profitable athletic program in NCAA sports (unless its changed recently).

            Fact: Texas supports far fewer scholarship sports when compared to other universities in its size/reputation class.

            Last time I checked the goal of any university is to graduate students and if its a public university then its job is to graduate as many students as possible while maintaining acceptable academic standards.

            The whole idea of “competing at a high level” is just a red herring to get people away from the fact that if it spent just a little bit less on coaches salaries or facilities it could probably send another 5, 10, maybe 100 kids to school on scholarship.

            Listen…I get your point(s)…fact is I don’t care. I happen to think university athletics is based on a completely different set of principles than you do and I’m well aware I’ll never convince you of the veracity of my argument…which is fine because you will most likely not be able to change my position…

            I don’t mind paying a little more for my season tickets (football, wrestling, and soon to be hockey) so long as I believe the school is trying to maximize is student body.

            I refuse to pay more if its just going toward a $5.1+ million salary for the head coach (who relies on ridiculously low graduation rates to maintain competitiveness).

          • bullet says:

            So I guess you’ll have to drop your PSU tickets when the one of a kind JoePa retires since PSU will be paying top $ for its new coach.

            I disagree with your point of view that the purpose of intercollegiate athletics is to get athletes in school. And UT’s athletics department committed to giving $5 to $6 million a year back to the academic side to fund scholarships for students who weren’t athletes. Odds are it will probably end up giving more back, but it has committed to that much over a period of years.

            Texas, I believe, has the most sports of any Big 12 school. And having a lot of sports does not mean they are fully funded. Adding a sport like field hockey would simply not make sense for Texas when they would have to travel all over the country. Other than men’s soccer, Texas has all the sports with significant numbers of participants, and men’s soccer has few teams in the south. Distances are a little different in Texas.

            And Texas, which for many years was the largest school in the nation, and is still top 5, is not trying to maximize its student body. Its trying to maintain at its current level of around 50,000 as it has been for the last 30 years. Any more and the quality of education for all would likely decline.

          • bullet says:

            Ohio State was the largest university for many years. They dealt with the same issue of being too big and reduced their student body from mid-50s to around 48k by tightening admission requirements around 1980. That’s when Texas overtook them as the largest university.

          • ccrider55 says:

            I gotta support PSUGUY here. The point I think he’s making is that UT has (or had) the largest athletic dept budget (not club or inter-whatever). They offer 2 more intercollegiate NCAA sports than WSU. While we’ve been subjected to 30 years of sports being cut (how many mens gymnastics programs are left, 16? wrestling has lost over 200 programs, D1 down below 80 now, etc) We give up, UT wins the $/athletic department war. Adding programs would be a great way to gain some respect from those who believe in the mission of college athletics, as opposed to the seeming movement toward a poor mans NFL franchise. UT is not alone, but as the richest they are the easiest example.

          • Adam says:

            IMO, Stanford runs the model collegiate athletic program. Everybody should aspire to be Stanford. Anybody who doesn’t aspire to be Stanford has their head (institutionally) in the wrong place.

          • duffman says:


            While I agree that Stanford does support a large number of men’s and women’s sport, I must point out that they are both private AND have one of the largest endowments in the country which means they can pick and choose while have the money in the bank to support their way of doing things. That said I think Berea College may have one of the best college plans….

            Students attend free but must work jobs for the school while in school as part of their education. Prudent endowment management and common sense bugeting allows them to operate such a model but I have always pondered why more institutions of higher education have chosen not to employ this model.

            Many colleges have moved away from “education” to “entertainment” and “research” as profit centers while still being protected by non profit status. I agree with PSU guy on not using my “donations” to overypay anybody (coaches, AD’s, presidents, professors) in such a non profit environment. The problem is as I age, I am more and more of the minority in a all about “me” world. I am skeptical of trading long term growth for short term gratification.

          • Adam says:

            Berea is nice but they are not applicable to this discussion — it’s an obscure NAIA school. An athletics program should pursue a balance of depth and breadth, with a bias in favor of breadth over depth. Stanford simply does that better than everybody else.

          • PSUGuy says:

            Adam hit the nail on the head. IMO, Standford is the best example of how a university athletic program should be run.

            True it is private and has a huge endowment, but I think that is something the public universities are coming around to seeing the benefit of.

            Typically, they depended on public taxes for funding to a large extent so the necessity of an endowment wasn’t there.

            Over the past decades though the public (tax)portion of public university budgets has become smaller and smaller and the benefits (and outride need) of endowments for public universities has become obvious.

            This year, PSU is looking at such a reduction in public funding that they publicly discussed the possibliity of going private.

            IMO, I could easliy see a lot more schools (who care to implement it) go with the “large endowment Stanford” model.

          • duffman says:

            psu guy,

            I tend to agree about the endowment and the value of long term planning, but I still defer to the Berea model if it is truly about educating future generations. Stanford is indeed unique, but in the world of collge I think the draw of power and money is a stong pull in the overall “me, me, me” of modern america. The downside to “private” with large endowments is the lack of “open” disclosure. In the Krisit Dosch stuff I have been reading, it is a bit frustrating to only see part of the picture.

            To view it another way, how many institutions that may go “private” will have the leadership to look to what will happen well past their administration, and well beyond their lifetime. As I age I see this more and more as a different fundamental thinking between say my grandparents generation and those that would be my grandchildrens generation. (Think if the Boston Commons or Central Park would happen in todays world, and yet someone in the past had a vision for something well past their lifetime).

            I say this mainly as many I see today view what they manage as theirs, and not that they are just stewards for the future. If I have learned anything from my lifetime it is that greed kills the best of intentions, and the greater the wealth, the higher the greed factor grows. While I have always advocated endowments and “free” tuition long term based on prudent management, I know this is much harder in practice. Human nature is what it is.

            With large sums in front of them, I can see your point of “outbidding the NFL” but I can also see “outbidding IBM” as both are done under the cover of “non profit”. This is the sad part as it is not their money in the first place, and they lose sight of stewards vs owners.

          • bullet says:

            Sports participation has been a topic here. I found an NCAA publication showing the history from 1981-82 to 2009-10.

            Just a few men’s sports (note that some are impacted by the mass migration of schools from the NAIA to NCAA-football for instance):
            football from 197 div I/497 total to 238/633
            fencing 43/79 to 20/34
            gymnastics 59/79 to 16/17
            soccer 182/521 to 197/782
            swimming 181/377 to 138/399
            wrestling 146/363 to 82/217

            Stanford sponsors 34 sports and is of course very successful. 9 men’s and 9 women’s sports have wide participation in the NCAA. 1 men’s (wrestling) and 4 women’s have moderate partipation (70-100 schools) and 6 men’s and 5 women’s have 32 or less schools sponsoring.

            For Southern schools, a lot of those sports would not be realistic. In the midwest and northeast distances are closer. In California certain sports like water polo and men’s volleyball are widely played.

            For Texas, the only sports Stanford sponsors that Texas doesn’t already sponsor that would make any sense would be men’s soccer and women’s gymnastics. Wrestling would involve flying the team all over the midwest (and probably getting trounced by Iowa St. and Oklahoma St.!). Men’s & women’s fencing, Men’s & women’s sailing, Men’s & women’s water polo, men’s gymnastics, men’s rowing, women’s field hockey, w lacrosse, w squash, and w synchronized swimming make no sense in Austin as intercollegiate sports. There isn’t much local participation by students and even less particpation from regional colleges.

          • Adam says:

            shrug. Texas can afford it. Texas could afford to start Women’s Ice Hockey if it wanted to.

          • Brian says:


            Really? TX can’t afford wrestling because the other B12 teams are too far away? They can’t afford trips to OU or OkSU? ISU and MO would break the bank? OU went to 6 tournaments last year and then had 5 duals (4 at home). After that was the B12 and NCAA. How is it that ISU can afford wrestling but TX can’t?

            Similar arguments can be made for many of the other sports you dismissed as unreasonable.

            TX can (and probably should) support many other sports but chooses not to do so. That’s their prerogative, but don’t claim they can’t afford it. They are rolling in profit and just signed a ludicrous TV deal to boot.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Bullet, OU, OSU, Mizzu, ISU, and Neb (former conference member) all wrestle. Travel within your own conference not an issue for their other sports? Six closest D1 wrestling teams to OrSU are Boise St, Stanford, Cal Poly, Bakersfield, Utah Valley and ASU. Or St can afford this on an athletic budget maybe 1/3 Texas’, but UT can’t?

          • PSUGuy says:


            Regarding my personal preference for replacement…I really don’t have a clue.

            Odds are on an in house replacement like Bradely. I like him a lot, and think he’d carry on the tradition of high academic standards, but I just don’t know whether he can maintain the winning necessary to make the program stay viable (he’s a great coach for the players, not necessarily for the game).

            Guys like Ferentz (who I like a lot, but seems pretty set at Iowa) or Schiano (who IMO doesn’t have the academic or athletic credentials) have been mentioned, but I can’t say “YAH” for sure either.

            Personally, I think PSU is going to have to go the Stanford route. Find a small school coach who is a stand-out. Relatively young and preferably with NFL experience/contacts. Someone who is not only going to be ambitious enough to take on the legend that is JoePa, but also someone hard headed enough to to do it under the same “rules” as his predecessor.

            I don’t think we need another “40+ year guy” (though it’d be nice), but just someone who can show the rest of the country that success and academics weren’t just because JoePa was there.

          • bullet says:

            Regarding the Big 10, President Powers said he had no interest in flying the women’s softball team all over the midwest. Its not just a cost issue. Its a student time issue.
            You also have to understand Texas distances. El Paso is closer to the California beaches than the Texas beaches. Lincoln is closer to every B1G school except PSU than it is to Austin-and PSU isn’t much further.

            I said m soccer and w gymnastics might make sense because they have fewer contests and usually play on weekends, in addition to having a local talent base. There’s no reason to add sports just to add sports if there’s no local talent base or interest. Women’s rowing is done in lots of places simply for gender equity reasons, not because many students want to participate. Some places are giving full rides to athletic women who have never rowed in their lives. Sports like lacrosse and field hockey are only played in elite private schools in the south, so do you add more scholarships that are mostly for white women from well-to-do families?

            What makes sense for Stanford or Harvard or Ohio St. doesn’t necessarily make sense for everyone.

          • Adam says:

            What makes sense for one rich program makes sense for most any other rich program.

          • Hopkins Horn says:

            @ Duff:

            I’m not sure why you’re including Texas on the list of schools which will “continue to raise ‘donation’ demands” on ticket holders. I’ve just received my invoice for my football season tickets for the 14th season, and the demand placed on me is the same it was back in the 20th Century: $0.

          • duffman says:


            are you saying UT has no “donations” at all and they have not nickle and dimed thier season ticket holders like the majority of other programs have? To be fair they have the PUF, but when they have the most profitable sports dept in college you have to think they are getting the money from somewhere and football is king at UT.

            Please tell me more on how it works at Texas so the message can filter to other schools as well.

          • bullet says:

            Texas has no mandatory donations. Not sure about this year, but before they expanded to 100k seats, to guarantee NEW season tickets you had to donate. The donations weren’t mandatory, but it moved you up in line. Even that was a fairly recent development for Texas (sometime in the last 10 years).

            Now Texas gets lots of donations. One benefit of donations is to get OU tickets. In the 90s, that was one benefit of season tickets over buying individual tickets. You could guarantee OU tickets without any donation. Now the demand for OU tickets has gone up so that not all season ticket holders can get them and so donations impact who gets it like everywhere else. It also helps with bowl tickets.

            Ticket prices have gone up since the SWC days and UT has implemented variable pricing in the last few years (before OU was the only one that was a different price).

          • duffman says:


            thanks for the added info about “donations” at UT. How are they about “secondary” charges such as parking, concessions, and “nominal” charges in Austin? It also make me rethink the TV deal with ESPN as a way to increase revenue without passing it through in mandatory “donations”.

        • cutter says:

          Michigan raised its ticket prices for the first time in seven years per an announcement in March 2011:

          Season tickets for eight games is $480 or $60 per game. Ticket purchases for individual games is $70 with premium priciing of $85 for three games (Notre Dame, Nebraska, Notre Dame).

          Michigan currently supports 25 varsity sports and is looking at moving the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams from club to varsity status in the near term. Other teams that are club varsity status are men’s rowing, women’s synchronized swimming and women’s synchronized skating.

          The Athletic Department had been setting aside money since FY 2003 in a reserve fund that grew to over $35M. Some of those funds plus money from donors is currently being used to do a lot of facilities upgrades and building. The current debt balance for those projects is $171.3M with the bulk of that number ($144.5M) coming from the stadium renovation project that cost approximately $225M.

          Besides the upgrades to Michigan Stadium (which are more than paying for themselves with the revenues from the luxury boxes and premium seating that are all currently sold out), there is major work being done to upgrade Crisler Arena (basketball) and to add a basketball training facilitity). Those upgrades are upwards of about $110M. That amount includes new scoreboards that are being put into three locations: Crisler Arena, Michigan Stadium and Yost Ice Arena.

          Michigan has build a number of new facilities in the recent past for baseball, softball, soccer and rowing. U-M also just completed the construction a few years ago of the largerst indoor football practice facility in the nation (pro or college).

          For FY 2011, the Athletic Department is paying the tuition costs for the athletes (both in-state and out of state rates) of about $16.2M plus an additional $2.0M to the university’s general fund.

          Michigan will be releasing its FY 2012 budget and actual revenue/expenses for FY 2011 next month. We should get a better idea of what U-M is planning to do with its future budget when that document is published.

          I don’t foresee many major facilities projects in the near future given all the recent building’s that’s taken place. There has been serious discussion of adding additional seating to the south side of Michigan Stadium to add anywhere from 6,000 to 10,000 seats to current capacity. This project will be done once the new scoreboards/jumbotrons are installed prior to the start of next football season.

          Although Michigan’s most recent budget has listed revenue sources of $105.0M, U-M Athletic Director David Brandon has said in recent speeches that its around $110M. Expenses are at $100M in FY 2001 due to the increased debt payments for the stadium renovation. See

          • jj says:

            I’m a fan of the free market and all, but isn’t the premium pricing just nuts? They, along with many others, could sell out for a high school. There isn’t a need to stick it to people. Bush league move IMHO.

          • Richard says:

            Not really, IMHO. Would you rather that Michigan charged $85 for all games? Of course, then, they might have trouble selling out the non-marquee games. This really show how the weak economy has hurt Michigan, in my opinion.

          • cutter says:

            For JJ: Michigan Stadium was built and financed in part because of premium seating. Back in 1926, the athletic department ran a bond drive to raise money to build the stadium. In return for purchasing a $500 bond, the holder was given a premium seat location within the stadium.

            The bond sale was so successful that the excess funds were used to build the university golf course (still acclaimed as one of the ten best in the country in 2004) just south of the stadium for the use of the varsity team, students and general public.

            Fielding H. Yost (who was that Athletic Director at the time) also used some of that money to build a new intramural building (which still stands to this day).

            He also built a new fieldhouse for women’s sports and completely refurbished the Palmer Field area with new field hockey fields, tennis courts, fields for archery and putting greends. Michigan’s 3,000 co-eds now had their own athletic facilities–and this was back in the late 1920s.

            Fast forward to the present day and you might recall the Save the Big House contingent who didn’t want to see luxury boxes and premium seating as part of the stadium renovation. See

            When you look at that site now, what they’re saying seems kind of outdated–and it would have been outdated even back in 1926. The reality of the situation is that the luxury boxes and the premium seating licenses are essentially paying for the entire renovation of Michigan Stadium that all the people who attend it are benefitting from–widened aisles, wider seats, more retail, more restrooms, concourse areas, etc. The stadium is a vastly improved structure and much more aesthetically pleasing than the one I first walked into as a freshman back in 1978.

            The FY 2011 U-M athletic department budget shows revenue generated from the PSLs and luxury boxes at $21.0M–and this doesn’t even include the cost of the tickets for those locales. The debt service is $9.2M on the entire stadium project, so you can see that it has a positive net cash flow. See

            Will the increased ticket prices change the attendance figures next season? We’ll see how that works out. Last year, Michigan had attendance figures from 113,090 for the season opener/stadium rededication game against Connecticut to 109,933 for Bowling Green. Home games with Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State certainly won’t hurt the matter much.

            If past is present, I can see Michigan working to keep its facilities plant modernized and in good condition, but I don’t foresee any major projects on the horizon (although I could be surprised–there certainly is talk about adding more seats to the south side of Michgian Stadium). There could certainly be more sports added to the 25 (or 27 if you include the two lacrosse teams coming onboard) currently offered–perhaps men’s volleyball or women’s ice hockey would be possibilities. The other possibility would be funneling more money to the university’s general fund or not raising ticket prices (which I noted before hadn’t gone up in seven years).

          • jj says:

            I get it guys, it’s just a gut reaction that it’s gouging. MSU does it now as well for certain games. All the tickets should cost the same in my view; obviously boxes and different seats can vary. Michigan could sell that place out for anything.

            Is this common elsewhere? I can’t imagine the Yankees charging more when the Sox are in town or whatever other example you want to use.

            That said, I always thought tier pricing would work well with movies. For example, I’ll pay top dollar to see the dark knight or some other hugely expensive thing, but dropping 10 bucks a head plus extras on movies with Adam Sandler or someone just acting a fool doesn’t seem worth it. I feel like they could do better with “b” pricing.

          • @jj – Variable pricing is actually very common now, even with popular teams. The Cubs, Bulls and Blackhawks all have several tiers of pricing depending upon the opponent, even though they generally sellout their games. (The Cubs a bit less so lately because they’re just horrible.) The San Francisco Giants have even gone so far as to use software where there can be daily price changes based upon demand (similar to what airlines use for plane tickets):


            It hasn’t taken hold as much in the NFL since demand for tickets is fairly high no matter who the opponent is, but I’d actually be surprised if there’s any MLB, NBA and NHL team that doesn’t have different pricing tiers for more attractive games.

            I personally don’t have too much of a problem of it as it’s a reflection of the market. If tickets for certain games are clearly worth more in the secondary market, there’s little reason why sports teams should let ticket brokers and scalpers to receive all of the benefits from that.

          • Brian says:


            Many colleges use tiered pricing, but I think it’s less common in the pros. OSU uses one price all year although they could clearly charge more for MI, PSU and a big OOC game.

            From the Yankees ticket sales page:

            ‘The term “premium games” is defined as the Opening Day game, the Old-Timers’ Day game and all home games played against the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets.’

            These games are exempt from all their various discounts, but don’t cost more as fare as I can tell.

          • jj says:

            this all reminds me of an urban legend (?) that certain pop/soda vending machines have sensors in them that raise priced depending upon the weather.

            i cannot believe the giants do that. i can see doing it to offer discounts for games that aren’t selling, but raising it is bs and kind of short sighted as far as making the fans happy.

            as a former season ticket holder for the wings though, i can tell you that reselling bad games is hard – see, e.g., bluejackets and predators. i stopped buying them in large part because we were getting jammed with tons of crap that no one really wanted to see.

            i always viewed the constant pricing as a reward to those that bought the season or partial season package and took the bad with the good.

            I think these “tiered” plans are really just sticking it to season ticket holders for the most part. Michigan and many others do not have any problems selling out their games no matter who the oppponent is. They’re just envious of the secondary market – which is totally out of hand. I once sold a pair of wings playoff tickets in the 90s in the nosebleaders for about $1,200 or something equally crazy.

            if the wings tried to up their prices for a playoff round depending on who the oppponent was, i think the fans would burn the Joe down. that said, if the leafs & wings were to meet up for finals you could probably sell your tickets and buy a house with the proceeds.

          • Adam says:

            I don’t see any reason for the team to abandon all of those proceeds to the secondary market. Indeed, if we take for granted that that money is going to be spent on the tickets one way or another, and it’s just a matter of whose hands it ends up in, I would rather the team have that money than a scalper.

          • duffman says:

            jj and others,

            Michigan not rasing prices for 7 years seems more the exception than the rule these days..

            raising prices and “donations” every year

            higher prices for certain games

            rapid price hikes for parking, concessions, etc.

            scalping corporations getting better seats before the actual schools (I still say this is one of the worst offenses)

            I have “donated” over a lifetime to several schools, and it feels like all the upcharges lately are rising far faster than my ability to pay them. To say nothing of the fact that I am falling farther behind on donor lists.

            To be quite honest if I were starting as a “donor” today, I would not give a dime to any of them as I can get better value from the street scalpers.

            Also, as it was pointed out you got a better price and treatment for commiting to the season ticket package. Now it is actually better to go to individual games. You may think I am crazy, but someday your schools donor and ticket operation will be subed out to a group like IMG, and any hope of personal service, or reward for a lifetime of support will be a thing of the past.

            ps.. the biggest insult and injury is to nickle and dime (like charging 10 bucks on season tickets as a “handling” fee – especially when you pick them up in person and they are not even shipped). That is when the real greed shows up.

          • Adam says:

            duff, my background isn’t in tax law, but I find the whole concept of mandatory minimum donations which so many schools have put in place totally baffling. A “mandatory donation” sounds like something out of 1984.

          • duffman says:


            That was part of my argument on why realignment stopped so suddenly last june. My guess the “tax exempt” thing and the required “donations” was the “big stick” that could prevent a Big 4, 16 team “superconfernce” from forming and breaking away from the NCAA.

            It is my understanding that after the lawsuit in the 80’s football was no longer a revenue source for the NCAA and that the basketball tourney now provides a majority of their funding. If the “superconferences” broke away and say formed a 4 team playoff in football, and a 16 team playoff in basketball where they controlled all the rules and dough the NCAA would become a shell of its current self overnight.

            My guess is the smaller schools could call the tax exempt status in question for the bigger schools where the line between non profit and for profit is much more glaring. A school with an athletic budget under 10 Million is much more the “underdog” than a school with a budget over 100 Million. College football still has far less power than the NFL, and there are probably a majority of taxpayers out there who do not follow it or did not attend one of the top football schools.

          • M says:


            No university will try to make any other university lose its tax exemption for any reason, as no university wants to suggest that the exemption can be removed for anything short of loss of accreditation. The non-profit status is too important to endanger because of something small like athletics.

            Also, I don’t think that taxing the athletic department drives ticket prices down. Today’s mandatory donations become tomorrow’s personal seat licenses.

          • duffman says:


            20 years ago there was never a question about tax exempt status and religion but with the rise of the “mega church” there have been more and more debates on loss of tax exempt status for the “secondary” operations of said churches, while not affecting the “smaller” churches – the side business they are running that are very profitable due to said tax exempt status.

            We are still a country that wants the underdog story, and when things get so far out of whack between the haves and the have nots, my guess is all bets are off. So while I agree in part with your argument, I am not so sold that it is a “never happen” deal.

            If they go to “seat liscenses” instead, then there could be a lawsuit filed at somepoint saying that the “face value” must include the cost of add on charges in the future, so a 50 dollar “face value” ticket may be forced – with the loss of “tax exemption” – to print the “real” price of the ticket instead (which may be closer to 250 – 500 bucks). Once the general public sees visually that it is not some “greedy” scalper that is making the bulk of the money, they might be more inclined to rethink the true cost of new athletic venues.

            Not to single anybody out for reason, just look at the YUM center that carried a 30,000 extra “donation” in addition to the annual “donation” you may have been making for decades to keep seats you may have had for 20 – 40 years, and even at that number all they would garuntee was lower bowl (and not necessarily the same good seats you had in the first place). I know some lifetime fans that got the brushoff just so the corporations could move in and take over. I know several people that were “forced” out of the new YUM center for just this reason. The blinders are coming off as more people become aware just how much of the “scalped” price is hidden not by the scalpers, but by the university itself.

            If 2008 is causing reform on disclosure on things like the fees on mutual funds, my gut feeling is such a full disclosure can not be far away if the general fanbase becomes jaded with the have and have nots in college sports. Sure you have seat liscenses in professional sports, but they are private companies in a professional arena. I have a feeling that this does not filter down as well to college sports due to the nature of ownership (public and taxpayers) and nature of existance (academics vs sports).

          • M says:


            No one has sued the NFL for PSLs (that I know of), so I don’t know how they could successfully sue colleges. Everyone knows that the price of something is what you pay for it, regardless of how it’s structured. Car dealers, restaurants, and airlines all have flexible face value.

            More to the point, attending sporting events is not a basic need or right. If America loves underdogs, I doubt it will take up the plight of the poor guy who can’t afford courtside season tickets anymore. They’ll have to wait in line behind the options trader who has to fly commercial and the CEO who can only afford a single bottle of Cristal at dinner.

            Also, college will be the last sporting arena where fans become jaded with the haves. Fans love the haves. They tune out whenever the have-nots take the stage.

          • Michael in Indy says:

            I’ve never been a season ticket holder or dealt with PSL’s personally, so I may not be the best person to comment on them. That being said, one of the things I appreciate about PSL’s, at least in the NFL, is that it puts the cost of building of building stadiums on the consumers, rather than burdening the public at large.

            The Panthers did not use tax money to build their stadium in Charlotte in the mid-90’s, which I think is great. They instead used PSL sales. As a result, the Panthers’ stadium is Panthers’ property, not the City of Charlotte’s or the State of North Carolina’s. Owning such a big piece of real estate, as opposed to just leasing one, makes the team more invested in the city–how the the team sell it if it wanted to leave town?

            The downside is that so many PSL owners don’t really care much about the team and bail on the them as soon as there’s a two -game losing streak. Not many “average joes” can afford season tickets because of those PSL’s.

  44. duffman says:

    Some monday morning thoughts:

    a) UNL / AAU : pondering the decesion further

    from this link, note comment #3

    (yes shameless plug for UC) – However, has conference realignment forced too much issue with the AAU that the AAU felt forced to make an example of them? The chart did however put some visual expansion of the B1G to 16 discussion. Rutgers was barely above UNL, and KU / Missouri were below them. It also illustrates a point I made awhile back about Alabama and its 3 parts (BAMA = football, UAB = medical, and Huntsville = tech). I see some similarity with Nebraska in terms of a small population state that suffers by having separate parts and how it affects the outsiders view.

    I think in the last post someone pointed out that Syracuse could have been the “other” school not named in who was being on the AAU ouster list (which means they would be on the outside of a B1G expansion). It also points out a flaw in the AAU as I feel pretty sure that Brown and Rice will never feel a threat of expulsion from the AAU. I think that ISU could however find itself on the chopping block (wich would deal a further blow to the academic reputation of the former B12). I mention this is terms of long term strategic thinking. How much “academic damage” will UT and TAMU take before they abandon the B12 for the Big 3?

    b) I keep looking at the new Pac 12 deal and think that something will happen with the B1G and SEC. For better or worse these two have been the “demand” of college football, and their large “moat” between anybody else has been observed on this board for quite some time. I can not see Delany or Slive being happy with the speed or fact that now the PAC has narrowed the “moat” they one enjoyed. I guess my base question is what will Delany and Slive do now to once again widen their “moat”? I really feel they see no threat from the ACC or BE, and little threat from the B12 (-2), but the new PAC deal is different.

    • duffman says:

      as followup, this article out of Nebraska yesterday:

      I am surprised 1 B1G school may have affeceted the vote (as 2 votes made the difference, having all B1G schools on board would have meant this was limited to 1). I am curious to see how the PAC voted tho, as if the B1G got UNL, but they did not get UT and TAMU, that is where I might look to “conspiracy” before looking at UT and tLC.

      • Bullet says:

        At 44-19, it means SU and UNL got votes. 6 Big 12, 10 B1G, SU, UNL =18 of the 19.

        • duffman says:

          63 (pre UNL)

          63 = 44 + 19

          If 1 B1G school did not vote how do you get to 63 total votes? Would the vote not be 62 total? How did they vote the mystery B1G school?

          ps, we are assuming the other school was Syracuse, but does anybody have a link that shows a positive match?

          • Richard says:

            Not sure why you think that one B10 school did not vote. The article just said one of the B10 schools did not tell Perlman that they supported UNL’s continued membership in the AAU.

          • duffman says:


            sorry, I read several articles and thought that was the one that said 1 B1G had not voted. When I went back and reread the article above it was not clear if any B1G schools had voted for UNL. I guess the bigger thing in mky mind was this was the first ejection in AAU history, and wondered if there had been no media spotlight on the AAU in the expansion talks, would they have voted in the first place? It seemed like there was no mention of ejecting any AAU school till after the expansion tlaks heated up last spring.

            Basically, was expansion a double edged sword for UNL in the sense that had it not captured so many folks attention, would UNL ever been put on the chopping block?

          • Brian says:


            NE has known their membership was in trouble since 2000 at least. Conference expansion has nothing to do with it.

          • frug says:

            For the record, Pearlman said that “most” Big Ten schools voted in Nebraska favor.

    • M says:

      The actual chart of school rankings is in Nebraska’s report, though with the names of AAU schools not listed:

      Nebraska is last in the ranking. From the profiles of the next few schools they are likely Syracuse, UC-Davis, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa State.

      The AAU’s ranking system normalization for size heavily favors small private schools compared to large state schools. The lowest remaining private school is probably Brandeis at #71. By my reckoning Rice likely sits at #48, Brown at #39, so they are safe short of a radical restructuring.

  45. Mike says:

    Ugh. Woody Page. Worst sports writer ever.

    CU will receive $20.8 million in the first year of the contract, which increases 5 percent annually, and approximately $33 million in 2023. Colorado also will get a full share in a new Pac-12 Network TV package. The Buffs earned less than $9 million from television revenues in its final year in the Big 12.

    “The [Missouri] governor’s [Jay Nixon] remarks got me going. We had to do something, and fast,” … The Pac-10 had hired former Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg as chief operating officer. Bohn and Weiberg fast-tracked private talks, and the Buffaloes announced intentions in mid-June to join the Pac-10.

  46. Mike says:

    Nova’s missed oppertunity

    But after speaking with some people in the athletic department and spending considerable time over the past several years reporting on the conference membership shuffle, one thing is extremely clear: Football rules college sports right now, and those schools that don’t have strong gridiron affiliations are vulnerable.

    Some of you might think membership in a conference that includes Big East members St. John’s, Marquette, DePaul, Seton Hall Georgetown and Providence, along with perhaps Xavier, Dayton and Notre Dame would be pretty cool. The Vatican Conference would indeed be formidable on the basketball court, except that it wouldn’t have a football component to assure it a place at the NC2A grown-up table. What would that mean for Villanova? Well, its TV contract wouldn’t be so rich. Its recruiting leverage would be limited somewhat. And its coach could be far more willing to entertain offers from bigger schools, when they came knocking. Worse, if the big-time schools ever tired of sharing NC2A tournament revenues with their little brothers and formed a 96-school super federation, Villanova would be small time in everything.

    • Bullet says:

      Excellent analysis. Applies to a lot of things outside sports as well.

      Instead of being prepared and constantly monitoring the environment, their athletic department was caught flat-footed and couldn’t deal with such an obvious no brainer. Even if the BE didn’t gain a dime on its current very low TV football contract and Villanova didn’t raise a dime in additional donations, still averaged 7,000 fans and game and didn’t raise ticket prices they would still have broken even. Most likely, they would have had a small profit with the new TV contract instead of losing $4 million a year in FCS.

      And then they bungled the presentation by not having any clear plan to expand PPL from 18,000 seats and not understanding that was a non-starter. Their mentality seems to be to do it as cheap as possible. That’s the sense I get from message boards filled with die-hard fans. That undoubtedly came across in the presentation if even die-hard fans come across that way.

      • Richard says:

        Well, even if ‘Nova falls from the ranks of basketball powers because of their (non-)decision, they would always maintain their “steadfast mission of creating graduates of love, service and compassion — models of the Augustinian values currently being taught there”.

      • Brian says:

        I don’t think it’s a no-brainer. In many ways, I think Nova would be better off not moving up to I-A. They might break even, or even gain a little financially, but it’s unlikely they’ll ever be a football power in I-A. They can avoid a lot of hassles by concentrating on what they already do well instead.

        • bullet says:

          I don’t think playing in a shrinking NE FCS (UConn,Hofstra, Northeastern, UMass, RI, Buffalo have all moved or dropped) losing $4 million a year playing southern commuter schools makes sense for Villanova. They dropped fb once and decided they needed to bring it back. So if dropping isn’t an alternative, moving up is the only reasonable one (non-scholarship is really needs based and so is still expensive-and the logical spot for them is the Patriot which is thinking about adding scholarships). I believe its a no-brainer because the alternatives are bad.

          Villanova isn’t likely to be a fb power, but they might be a Northwestern or Wake Forest. Northwestern has 3 Big 10 titles in the last 15 or so years despite being in a much tougher conference than the BE. Wake Forest has a recent ACC title.

          • @bullet – I agree. This shouldn’t be a difficult choice for Villanova. It’s not as if though they’re taking the plunge to join the MAC (like UMass), which is much riskier. Having direct access to an AQ football league is a game changer for an entire athletic department, including basketball. I don’t believe the Big East is going to split up for the foreseeable future, but if it did, Villanova is going to want to be with the football schools. The Philly Mag blog post was correct – an all-Catholic league might be fun on paper, but over the long-term, it’s going to look a lot more like the A-10 or WCC than a true power conference. Being in the Big East means those Catholic schools effectively have BCS status in terms of perception for the purposes of basketball and that’s a big-time advantage over many very similar institutions that are in the A-10 and other leagues.

          • duffman says:


            Like ND to the B1G, we view what we see and not the way the actual institution does. I was at the game when Nova beat Georgetown for the title, and still maintain a friendship with at least one of their senior faculty. I can see the view of Villanova and football the same way Georgetown views football. Small independent schools have much greater risk when going to D 1 football because of a size issue. Remember Miami was on the verge of disbanding football just before they got hot, and they do not make my brand list because they can not sell seats year in and year out.

            Look at it this way

            Nova has around 6,000 undergrads with no real football history. While they have basketball history it is more in line with the student population.

            Basketball has fewer players and less equipment cost (less overhead). The basketball arena at Villanova holds roughly the undergrad population so filling it is not a big issue. If they move to football (and say 36,000+ seating) that is going to be harder to fill.

            Northwestern has a bigger base to draw from and roughly a 6 Billion endowment with a football stadium seating close to 50,000

            Vandy has a bigger base to draw from and roughly a 3 Billion endowment with a football stadium seating close to 40,000

            Villanova is sitting on .3 Billion in endowment money (10% of Vandy, and 5% of Northwestern)

            Wake has close to a billion in endowment money, and a 30,000 seat stadium (built back when it only cost 4 million).

            Before we all jump to say how dumb Villanova is, somebody run the numbers for Villanova football at the D 1 level and tell me if it makes as much sense?

            a) cost of new stadium (say 36,000 – 48,000) and the cost to maintain it. Subtract the ability to fill it and do you already have a net loss.

            b) Cost of property, plant, and equipment + cost on annual pepairs and maintenence.

            c) Cost of D 1 staff and scholarship money diverted to football scholarships.

            d) Other expenses

            Say what you will but I am willing to bet my bottom dollar that Villanova made the right decision at the time. It is a small school with a very defined mission. While Northwestern and Vandy may have football programs, they also have long histories and bigger endowments (Remember Vandy started the conference that would become the SEC).

            Add in competition from already established football programs in easy driving distance (and Pro sports competition for entertainment dollars) and I am not as sold on Nova as a D 1 football school as Frank and Bullet are. If over time Nova could grow its football brand in size and quality, then maybe I could see the jump up, but from what I see they are far far far away from that point. Ask Western Kentucky how that jump to D 1 football is affecting their bottom line (and morale seeing the hilltoppers constantly in ESPN’s Bottom 10).

            ps. Western has around 18,000 undergrads to fill the stands for a stadium that seats 22,000. It also helps that Houchens Industries is based there and is one of the larger private corporations in the USA (ranked in their top 200 – Forbes Magazine)

          • Brian says:

            Football isn’t that important to Nova. They are in a region that doesn’t care about college football, and have no real history and tradition with football.

            NW is a bigger school in a CFB crazy part of the country with a lot of FB tradition (great coaches that leave for ND, the worst stretch ever) and has long been a member of a BCS conference that can help support a program with relatively few fans and a small stadium. WF is a financial disaster of a program, actually losing money on FB without the hassles Nova will face.

          • bullet says:

            Estimates from both Villanova and UMass put additional costs at $2.5 to $3.0 million a year.

            TV money from Big East is currently around $2.0 million a year. Money games pay 300k-500k for FCS schools and 900k to 1.2 million for FBS schools. That’s enough to break even.

            BE TV proposal by ESPN would raise BE payout to $110-$130 million with fb and bb each close to half. So conservatively assume $50-$60 for fb gives you $5-$6 million instead of $2 million. FBS schools also get bigger donations, have higher ticket prices and have bigger attendance. Even if its 20k instead of 7k, that’s a big increase. UMass has a contract which discusses a $24 average ticket price (for the MAC-BE prices would be higher). (20k-7k)*24*6 games is nearly $1.9 million.

            They are using someone else’s stadium, so the only capital costs are their $30-$35 million estimate for facilities (new training/locker room). That is not a big fund raising goal (and they apparently have significant commitments-but that is something they have been using the last few months to work on).

            Now I’m not saying Villanova should have been seeking FBS or the BE should have been seeking them, but when an AQ conference extends an invitation, they should jump on it, much as the article suggested. I don’t think WKU should have moved up. But I also don’t think scholarship FCS makes much sense for any private school.

          • Brian says:


            Someone has to pay to expand the stadium, plus cover the increased annual costs of maintaining it. I’ve also never seen anyone correctly estimate what such a transition will cost and what revenue it will make.

            A small stadium far from campus with a small student body with no tradition of attending games and no history of large alumni FB donations is hardly a strong base to build on.

      • Phil says:

        I think Nova didn’t realize that in the year between being invited and offering their presentation things have changed in the Big East. They may have thought the presentation was just a formality since they were friends with the right people, but there are some new ADs like Luck, Pernetti, etc. that are starting to have a lot of influence at their schools and seem to have higher goals than maximizing attendance at the annual meeting’s big clambake event.

  47. duffman says:

    From this site

    “Ms. Varney manages an annual budget of over $160 million and staff of over 800, including more than 360 attorneys, 55 economists, and 180 paralegals—located in Washington DC, and the Division’s field offices in Atlanta, Cleveland, Chicago, Dallas, New York City, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.”

    2 observations

    1) Her annual budget is close to the annual budgets of the top sports schools

    2) I said it early on that the IRS would win in the end, and DoJ will be the ram that knocks down the door

    The IRS is looking at the Billions in lost revenue of a football playoff (and hence the taxes on said revenue), so in the end I have a feeling we will get the playoff. In the end is really is about the money and Uncle Sam wants a cut. ;)

    • duffman says:

      whoops, here is the link:

      bio for Varney

    • M says:

      Two points everyone forgets:

      1-Making less money than possible is not illegal, especially since it’s unclear that the schools who don’t wish a playoff would make more money. The IRS, the DOJ, the president, and Santa Claus cannot collectively force any school to participate in a playoff by a lawsuit anymore than they can sue GM for not making enough profit or sue Google for giving away search results.

      2-Every single school, from the BCS conferences down to Division III, will fight to their very last breath for any and every part of their nonprofit status. They will win. Have you seen the amount of political weight thrown around in conference realignment? Now think of that, but for the whole school and every school in the country in the same direction. $160 million? Gordon Gee manages a $4.75 billion budget.

      • SideshowBob says:

        Yeah, I don’t see how anyone can force the BCS schools into a playoff. Cause an abolishing of the BCS? Sure. But there’s no reason for the BCS schools to give up their massive financial advantage compared to the little guys and that’s what a playoff could lead to. We’d see a breakaway of the BCS conferences into a new class of the NCAA or even leaving the NCAA altogether before we’ll see them agree to a playoff in 1-A football.

      • Adam says:

        The theory is that if the BCS is killed off and the bowls are discredited, they’ll be out of postseason options other than a playoff. (As I’ve argued above, the lawsuit may prompt unflattering revelations about other bowl games engaging in Fiesta-like behavior — presumably the bowls’ finances are going to be scrutinized as part of the anti-trust proceedings.) Obviously, they could start new bowl-like games (and avoid the word “bowl” if, as Richard put it above, that term became radioactive), but that’s a gamble. A lot of fans are willing to part with their money because the concept of the Rose Bowl means something to them. Some new exhibition designed to replace it (or the Orange or Sugar or whatever) may not command the same kind of devotion.

        What excited me about the anti-trust suit is not the merits of the suit itself but that it introduces a tremendous amount of uncertainty into a system in which, so long as the status quo prevails, doesn’t have a lot of unknown variables left.

        • @Adam – Ultimately, I believe the antitrust case isn’t a winner for the Utah AG. While it may be pretty easy to show that the BCS system is a restraint of trade that favors the AQ conferences, that’s not enough. The claimants also have to show that there was harm to consumers, and that’s the tough prong to prove. Pretty much any media expert deposed is going to state that the matchups that draw the best ratings are the ones involving the most popular power schools, so where’s the consumer harm if the bowls are set up to do exactly that? I look at it this way (and I believe a court would do this, as well): if you took away the BCS system, would the bowls and TV networks be any more attracted to the non-AQ conferences? Could it even be the opposite, where the BCS is an illegal restraint of trade, but it’s really the Big Ten and SEC being harmed because they would be the ones getting 3 or 4 bids per year to major bowls if there was a “true” free market and didn’t have to provide access to non-AQ schools? There is where I find the non-AQ argument to be weak – (1) if there wasn’t a BCS system, they’d likely have even less access and revenue than they do today, and (2) even if there was a playoff system, if the AQ schools are bringing in 80-90% of the value of any TV contracts and other revenue (just like the bowl system), then the non-AQ aren’t entitled to any more money under such playoff system than under the BCS.

          Now, if the antitrust suit has the effect of spurring everyone to come to an agreement on improving today’s system (a plus one or full-fledged playoff) outside of the courts and/or government intervention, then I agree with your excitement. I just shudder in horror at the thought of Congress and/or the Supreme Court arguing about what is a “fair” postseason system. Maybe it’s just the libertarian streak in me, but the one thing that is guaranteed to be worse than the BCS system is whatever f**ked up system that the House and Senate comes up with.

          • Adam says:

            I am less of a libertarian than you, and at any rate I am confident that Congress wouldn’t actually devise the details of its own playoff system. But anything that shakes up the status quo gets a thumbs up from me.

            I agree that the merits of the anti-trust case are shaky — like you say, they have pieces of a case, but not the whole thing. But I don’t care whether they win or lose or what relief they get — what interests me is the opportunity the case presents to disrupt what has heretofore been settled.

          • frug says:

            Ultimately, I believe the antitrust case isn’t a winner for the Utah AG.

            While I agree that the legal justification for the suit is tenuous at best, the AG doesn’t necessarily need a legal victory to come out ahead. He’s a politician and being the guy that took on the BCS could be a very useful reputation to have in Utah.

        • Brian says:

          The problem with that theory is that it assumes all the other bowls are just as bad, or even worse than, the Fiesta Bowl. Even the anti-BCS people have made no accusations against the Rose Bowl. So even if the Orange and Sugar also get in trouble, other bowls will move up and new bowls will appear in Miami and New Orleans. As long as even one of the BCS bowls survive, the system is OK.

  48. Brian says:

    ESPN’s Outside the Lines looks into UNO dropping football and wrestling while moving up to D-I and finds some questionable issues.

    • bullet says:

      There’s no doubt UNO is hiding something. All e-mails relating to the topic from March have been deleted? Does anyone know of an organization that deletes e-mails that fast?

      • Mike says:

        Local media didn’t find anything and they did look into it, before ESPN did. The wrestlers and football players got screwed and that is the only part I agree with, the rest of that ESPN report was at best questionable. However, UNO had to do something because it wasn’t in a sustainable position financially (UNO athletics has been a mess for years). Just remember, ESPN and Trev Alberts (UNO’s AD) don’t exactly get along.

        • Brian says:

          Nobody could look too deeply into it with all the relevant communications deleted despite a legal requirement to keep them. UNO hired consultants but limited their access and forced them to provide a rushed report. UNO was hiring coaches for these teams the week before cutting them. The boosters weren’t even consulted, let alone the public. They are banking on the hockey team to support them despite shrinking attendance and warnings from their consultants.

          ESPN can’t manufacture those facts. By this point, I doubt they much care about Trev Alberts. The OTL reporters certainly couldn’t care less about him.

          • Mike says:

            UNO Athletics has been mismanaged and scandal ridden for a while. The hire of Trev Alberts two years ago was supposed to be the start of cleaning it up. Now I have no idea why Trev was thought of the guy to clean it up, but he has made some pretty bold changes (i.e. hiring Dean Blias to coach hockey) to get UNO athletics out of red ink.

            UNO did consult the boosters that mattered in regards to the move up to D1. The one that they didn’t consult who complained the loudest ESPN didn’t name. Why? It was David Sokol, who has some problems of his own right now.

            Omaha is a top down run town. If this wasn’t done right, the powers that be in Omaha (i.e. the money men) would have come down hard on UNO.

        • bullet says:

          I’m not necessarily disagreeing with their decision (although dropping wrestling, their one really successful sport for golf is odd), but deleting the e-mails raises lots of questions. The article insinuates that deals related to the hockey arena could have something to do with it or pressure from UNL (latter seems pretty unlikely).

          • Adam says:

            I laughed out loud at the alum who said that UNL was afraid of the football “powerhouse” that UNO was building. I wonder if he said that with a straight face or if the sarcasm of his remarks just didn’t translate well to the written word.

    • Richard says:

      I can understand dropping football because of finances and Title IX, but giving finances as a reason to drop a championship-winning wrestling program is less than lame; it’s downright suspicious.

      • ccrider55 says:

        A team that, from what I have read, was recieving from the school the same funding it was in the 70’s. I recall the amount as 20K. They were basically self funded, and could have easily raised more.

        On a brighter side, the team will rise like the Phoenix. But at a school in MO. They will compete this coming year.

      • Mike says:

        It came down to Title IX math. They needed meet the minimum amount of sports offered by their new conference, so they had to add men’s sports. To keep wrestling they would have had to add another women’s sport and then find a conference for wrestling, since wrestling wasn’t offered by their new conference. North Dakota (IIRC) solved same problem to keep their wrestling program.

        Keep in mind, UNO wrestling was a DII National Champion. They had the resources to compete and win at that level. To compete and win at the DI level is a whole different ball game. Compare the budgets for wrestling for UNL (Penn St, Ok St., Iowa) and UNO. There was going to cost increases for all programs, so you can’t assume the budget for DII is what it would cost for DI (bye football). UNO athletics had to cut costs, they were living off of student fee’s and tax dollars which wasn’t sustainable.

        • ccrider55 says:

          Mike, please…are you related to Trev?

          T9 doesn’t have diferent rules depending on division and I hadn’t heard of any compliance issues before. Losing 100+ men from football would have covered any possible problem there, if there actually were any.

          Wrestling wasn’t costing them. Same budget for over 30 years. All increases above that were raised by the team. A fair number of D1 teams operate on small budgets and work to provide additional funding.

          They could have been in the same wrestling conference as 2 of their new conference members currently are. Is hockey a conference sport in their new conference? No. Is hockey losing money? Lots. Is the hockey conference solid? Not with B1G hockey conference forming.

          • Mike says:

            @CC – Nope not related to Trev. To be honest, I’ve met him and I think he’s a douche. However, that ESPN piece was one sided, they are bigger douches. The only thing they got right was that the wrestlers and football players got screwed.

            UNO wasn’t in compliance with Title IX. I cited a source (the Omaha World Herald) the last time we discussed UNO on this site. The fact remains UNO athletics was operating at a loss and surviving on student fees and tax dollars. Keeping wrestling and its offsetting women’s sports were not going to make the problem go away. Moving up to DI was their chance (hello NCAA tourney checks) to try and solve those financial problems.

            A couple of points:
            – I believe UNO hockey is profitable.
            – I’m going to miss rooting for former UNO wrestlers in the UFC.
            – If UNO dropped an also ran DI wrestling program would anyone have cared? That’s where I fear UNO wrestling would have been headed had they kept it. Unfortunately, we will never know.

          • ccrider55 says:

            I don’t know if you have followed Trev’s history there much but it has been much discussed in wrestling circles that wrestling was a target of his from day one. If money is an issue he should have embraced a program that was not a cost.

            Beyond that, this seems to represent a simplistic mind set that has been gaining traction with AD’s. It’s discouraged that making a “problem go away” has become a way often used in leu of being proactive and fixing a problem, finding alternative that don’t involve removing existing opportunities.

            If you don’t involve those within your athletic department (as well as their backers) in an effort to problem solve then you have failed them, their athletes, and the school at large. If this was actually totally unavoidable the reasons would be evident and begrudgingly accepted, even to those most effected.

          • Mike says:

            I had heard that Trev and the wrestling coach didn’t get along. I don’t know if they were true or not.

            However, don’t you think it’s a little odd for someone to be hired as an AD and from day one decide to get rid of wrestling and his grand plan to do it involves getting rid of the sport he played and loves, football? Then all he would have to do is have his former college wrestler chancellor sign off on it? If this site were devoted to Summit league expansion, Frank’s Summit expansion index would have UNO way down the list because there would be NFW UNO would drop football and wrestling.

            I was originally skeptical about dropping the two sports, but becoming a DI school was UNO’s big chance to solve their financial problems. In order to join the Summit league (an invite to a DI conference is required to join DI) they had to add men’s sports. That meant adding more women’s sports or dropping men’s. Already losing money, adding more sports didn’t make sense. They dropped their biggest money loser, football, and the other sport the Summit didn’t offer, wrestling. To me, it was a business decision plan and simple. Now, the worst part of that decision is the football players and wrestlers have to deal with that decision and their lost opportunities.

            I’m not sure what you are referring to when you say this:

            If you don’t involve those within your athletic department (as well as their backers) in an effort to problem solve then you have failed them, their athletes, and the school at large. If this was actually totally unavoidable the reasons would be evident and begrudgingly accepted, even to those most effected.

            Here is a quote from the Omaha World Herald that seems to dispute that.

            But Christensen said that when he looked at the results of a nearly yearlong study produced by Alberts and a group of community business leaders looking at future athletic finances, it was obvious what the right call was.

  49. herbiehusker says:


  50. Brian says:

    I think Kristi Dosh’s latest post is interesting. She looks at FB finances in the MWC, and provides numbers for the current lineup, the new lineup and how the leaving teams will fit in their new conferences.

    The MWC is significantly ahead of CUSA now ($11.3M average revenue to $9.3M), but still well behind the BE ($18.8M). TCU ($20.6M) is the clear leader with BYU ($15.8M) and Utah ($14.7M) next and SDSU ($10.9M) the highest of the remaining teams. The new MWC will still lead CUSA with $10.6M, but the gap is smaller.

    TCU as is would be third in the BE in revenue and first in expenses and this is with getting MWC TV money, not BE TV money. Utah will be next to last in the P12, and TCU would only be 1 spot higher. It should be interesting to see how this effects their ability to compete in conference.

    I realize the new TV deals will completely scramble this picture, but I still think it’s instructive.

    • Jake says:

      It’s interesting, but as you said, TCU and Utah’s football revenues will instantly increase when they join their new conferences. TCU (who is also building a new stadium with lots of lucrative club seats and suites) will probably be at or above Pitt’s revenue level, but probably won’t pass WVU. Utah will still probably be next to last (ahead of WSU) or maybe third to last when they join the Pac.

      I was looking for something like this that would compare the MWC and C-USA. It’s close, but the MWC, it appears, will still be tops in the non-AQ world. Of course, there are still TV contracts to work out there.

      • Brian says:

        CUSA could pass the MWC if Boise doesn’t get a BCS bowl (especially if a CUSA team does). The non-AQ conference that sends a team gets more money. CUSA needs a team to rise up and be a national threat if it wants to be #1.

  51. Michael in Indy says:

    Fiesta Bowl is fined $1 million and will remain a part of the BCS.

    Shocking, I know.

    • Robber Baron says:

      I wonder if this provides enough cover for the NCAA committee on bowl licenses to give them a slap on the wrist, too.

    • Adam says:

      However, the hooplah around this and the perception of a slap on the wrist may well build public demand for harsher results the next time around. Consider the Cam Newton situation and how that has increased public scrutiny of an arguably less serious violation at Ohio State (which is very serious, but arguably less serious), and certainly a less serious violation at Boise State.

      • Michael in Indy says:

        I think the NCAA grossly takes advantage of the way the public bitches about the unfairness of the way it issues punishments, but never raises a united outcry against its policies. Anyone can see how unfair Boise’s punishment is compared to the lack of a substantial investigative effort at UNC and Auburn or the hand-slapping it has done so far with Ohio State. Anyone can see the conflict of interest when people who receive benefits from the “Fiesta Frolic” or the Orange Bowl’s cruises are the same people deciding which punishments to levy against them. But the NCAA and the BCS know that their scrutiny is limited to sports talk radio, message boards, and books with extremist-sound titles like Death to the BCS. With those as the main forms of criticism, the NCAA & BCS can always say, “Well, you can’t make everyone happy.” To justify unequal punishments, they can say, “Every case is handled on an individual basis,” as though precedent only matters when it’s convenient for them.

        For the NCAA and BCS to succumb to real public pressure for reform, it will take more. Sports Illlustrated will need a cover story and/or a weekly series on the issues. Good investigative reporters like Dan Wetzel will have to tone down their sensationalist tendencies and focus on facts that point to corruption. In essence, there has to be non-extremist leadership for change, because without that, the 24-hour, ADD, “that’s old news” public will get too distracted to let its scrutiny amount to very much.

        • bullet says:

          While so far Ohio St. has gotten off light, what Boise did was one of the most serious issues. They played someone who wasn’t a student. It doesn’t matter that it was tennis and not football. The only similar issue I remember was about 10-15 years ago Texas Southern had several fb players who were no longer attending classes. Not an NCAA violation, but a big chunk of their marching band was non-students as well.

          • Adam says:

            I think it kind of does matter that it was tennis and not football, really. That’s not to say it’s not a serious tennis violation, but the smell of this has gotten nearer to the football program than it really deserves to (IMO) and has largely because the public mood is primed for outrage after Cam Newton.

    • bullet says:

      Totally shocking. They have to contribute $1 million to an Arizona charity which is what their non-profit purpose is anyway.

      The real issue is what the IRS is going to do. NCAA is their smaller issue.

  52. Pat says:

    Spielman Says “More Stuff Coming Out” on Ohio State.
    Yikes!! How bad is this going to get?

  53. bullet says:

    The Obama administration is pushing to take even more spectrum from over-the-air TV to give/sell to wireless companies. The Feds already took Channels 52-69. As mentioned in this article, 2-6 are pretty much worthless for digital TV (less than 40 stations nationwide still use 2-6) This article discusses the possible implications for cable rates.

    • duffman says:

      In the end, the PAC may wind up with the best deal in the realignment war.

      # The SEC gained nothing

      # The B1G gained UNL which got them to a CCG and an expanded footprint in Nebraska. They got a solid football “brand”, but only picked up 2 senators and 3 congressmen. However, the loss of AAU status for UNL is a blow, and the L & L divisions has made the B1G look like the gang that could not shoot straight.

      # The PAC gained:

      + 2 new states with expanded footprints and large cities and eyeballs to add to the fold.

      + 4 new senators and 10 representatives (CO = 7 + UT = 3) to lobby for academic funding and research dollars for the PAC.

      + CU is a solid academic add, and Utah was way better than BYU, Boise State, or a host of other adds (KU might have been better, but it would not surprise me if KU was in the PAC if they go to 16)

      + With the new media deal, they certainly pulled into a real threat / competition with the B1G and SEC as opposed to being the “distant” third.

      + Monopoly power for college football in the west, and a threat to the B12 for football power between the Mississippi and the far west.

      + Destruction of the MWC and WAC as competition (the MAC, CUSA, Sun Belt are still unscathed after realigmnet)

      AQ east of the Mississippi = ACC, BE, B1G, SEC
      AQ west of the Mississippi = B12 and PAC

      non AQ east of Mississippi = CUSA, MAC, Sun Belt
      non AQ west of Mississippi = MWC and WAC

      + New media attention (which may have been the most valuable thing they gained even if they did not make a dime more than they would have as the old PAC 10.)

      # The ACC got some more money, but no other real gains I can see (and they still find themselves sandwiched between the BE, B1G, and SEC so they are still a prey conference.

      # The biggest loser was the B12 which now looks like a non AQ sans UT and OU.

      • ccrider55 says:

        Nice synopsis. Agree WAC=toast. MWC damaged but not below where they were at the turn of the century, just with different pieces. I think you’re giving aTm, MO, KU, etc a bit of a slight. I’d still have them above BE.

        • duffman says:


          was not trying to slight the 3 you mentioned, but without UT and OU, my guess is A&M is a new SEC school, and KU winds up in the PAC. If the Tigers are the best in what is left of the B12, you are probably looking at them as a non AQ (same with oSu).

      • Michael in Indy says:

        Make that 13 Representatives gained for the Pac-12. Utah, Arizona, and Washington are gaining one representative each in 2013 because their 2010 populations had grown so much compared to 2000.

        The Big 12 states will have a net loss of 11 Congressmen by 2013. They’re down 9 from Colorado (7 Rep. and 2 Sen.), 5 from Nebraska (3 and 2), 1 from Missouri (1 Rep. due to reapportionment), but Texas gains 4 Representatives.

        The Big Ten states have a net loss of 1 by 2013. They’re down 1 Rep. each from Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Ohio will lose 2. Nebraska brings in 5, including Senators.

        The ACC states will have a net gain of 3. They’re down 1 Rep. from Massachusetts and up 2 from Florida, 1 from Georgia, and 1 from South Carolina.

        The SEC states will also have a net gain of 3. They’re down 1 Rep. from Louisiana and up 4 from the same gainers as the ACC’s.

      • Jake says:

        @Duffman – by those criteria, you could argue that the Big East had the biggest gain; we got us a whole mess o’ congress critters down here in Texas. Although I think the ACC is more likely to prey upon the BEast than the other way around.

        Also, it’s worth pointing out that almost half of C-USA is west of the Mississippi.

        • duffman says:


          I think the ACC is only a secondary predator, in the sense that if 16 becomes the “magic” number, the big schools in the ACC will become memebers of the B1G or SEC. The rest will have to reform in some ACC lite + BE form.

          You are correct about CUSA. However, part of that is my view of CUSA in the old Metro conference roots as the “western” expansion was affected by the SWC implosion. As they now have HQ in TX, there has been a shift, but old habits are hard to break.

  54. Richard says:

    It’s occurred to me that Cal and Colorado could play all 11 P12 opponents if they make the title game this year against the right foe.

    Cal could also play an unprecedented 7 road games against conference foes.

    • Brian says:

      Somehow I doubt either team needs to worry about it.

    • Robber Baron says:

      For Cal to face its 11th different Pac12 foe in the CCG, Arizona would have to win the South.

      For Colorado to face its 11th different Pac12 foe in the CCG, Oregon State would have to win the North.

      Either of those events seems unlikely, but neither is as unlikely as Cal or Colorado winning its division to begin with.

  55. duffman says:


    Going all graphic and all!

    The only problem using halftones (grey) is black on grey is a little harder to read than black on white

    • glenn says:

      yes, and the indentation is not quite so easy to follow what belongs to what. maybe just need to get accustomed.

      • duffman says:


        agreed, but I think it was a tradeoff to getting the really narrow band posts as you got farther down the reply ladder. I think the contrast backgorund between posts is supposed to compensate for some of that, but it is still confusing as the contrast bocks did not always seem to correspond to previous posts (or I am having visual acuity issues).

        • glenn says:

          good point, duff.

        • Brian says:

          I like the greater width for posts too. That should save a lot of page length based on some of our long conversations. It’s a shame that left side is wasted on most of the page but there’s nothing you can do about it. I’d prefer the left side to be a lighter shade of gray personally, but I won’t pick nits.

          As for the color coding, it alternates with each thread (base level post and all replies). That can be helpful for skipping down the page to see what’s being discussed.

  56. glenn says:

    . . . deeper reply nesting . . .

    • duffman says:

      nest #2

      • duffman says:

        nest #3

        • duffman says:

          nest #4

          • duffman says:

            nest #5

          • duffman says:


            looks like the nesting ends at 5 so it would help the 5 slot posts. Not sure how deep the old version went but no matter what at least Frank found a fix to the nesting problems back early last year when this blog went from a sleepy little one to the monster it became due to conference realignment chatter. The day when the replies would randomly pop up where they were not wanted is a thing of the past. Woo Hoo!

            I am guessing Frank when to this shift durring a current thread to test flaws and feedback prior to starting a new post so it would not throw folks off quite as much. Not sure how I feel about the shift from right to left, but the calendar takes up space without offering much visual data. The calendar seems to work better for folks who put up a new blog once or more per week.

            ps Frank, any chance of a post about the hires and fires in college basketaball? could become an annual thing (and yes I saw a post saying the tan one should become the new TAMU coach).

          • glenn says:

            yeah. you know the thing that bugs me is that i look at my browser window and the great majority of it is wasted. just this little strip down the middle when the goo goes. i don’t know if that is because of my resolution (not new year’s – screen) or what, but i wish they used a reasonable width to allow generous indention but still room to write.

            also learning to hate how pics usually show up on the ‘net. these little dinky things that you have to squint to tell what’s there in a window the size of a dinner plate.

            don’t mind me, i’m just in a gripy and fumble-fingered mood today.

  57. frug says:

    Totally and completely random question just for my curiosity, but with graduation this weekend I was wondering who else that frequents this site besides Frank and I went to/are attending U of I.

    • duffman says:


      I have family older than I who were Illinois alum, but under me the ones who leave Indiana for Illinois wind up at Chicago or Northwestern (maybe it is being in the city that is appealing).

      • frug says:

        Well Chicago is a great city, and if you are out-of-state then the cost of NU/UC tuition is pretty similar to U of I.

        Unrelated, this year’s commencement speaker was White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley. Great speech, but sadly no stories about watching bin Laden getting shot through the eye from the situation room.

  58. bullet says:

    Sad story about Chicago sportscaster. No cause determined yet.

  59. Brian says:

    With the hockey playoffs going on, an interesting point came up that applies to CFB as well. No Canadian team has won the Stanley Cup since Montreal in 1993. Only 6 of 30 NHL teams are currently in Canada, but 17 years is still a long drought. What are the causes of this drought? Does the current alignment, with 3 Canadian teams in one division of each conference, hurt their chances of getting a Cup?

    Is it good or bad for the following groups that no Canadian team has won recently:

    1. NBC
    2. Versus
    3. CBC, TSN, other Canadian broadcasters
    4. US hockey fans
    5. Canadian hockey fans
    6. the NHL
    7. College hockey

    The equivalent questions for CFB deal with the recent string of SEC dominance, at least in national titles, while other conferences have struggled. I think most CFB fans would agree that the best thing for the sport would be for titles to be spread around among the AQ conferences (and maybe even the rare non-AQ to shut them up) with no conference dominating for long.

    Has it hurt CFB for the ACC to be down this long? What about the BE? The military academies? ND? Other traditional powers?

    Presumably CBS has benefited from the recent SEC success. Have the various other TV networks been hurt? Have the fans been hurt?

    • Michael in Indy says:

      I think it has hurt the ACC for the ACC to be down this long. Likewise for the Big East and Notre Dame. I don’t even think of the military academies as being “down.” They haven’t been contenders for a national title for my entire lifetime (I’m almost 29).

      But I simply do not buy the notion that college football “needs” any particular national power to be strong for the sport to be healthy. There’s never a point where they’re all strong. Seriously: has there ever been a year where Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Florida State, Miami, Notre Dame, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, LSU, and USC were all in the top 25? No. Statistically, it would be almost impossible. Besides, I think there’s a lot of intrigue when Oregon, Auburn, Washington, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin, Iowa, Texas A&M, and other programs who are right behind the “kings” in stature are making their own noise in the sport. Moreover, when historically downtrodden programs like K-State or Northwestern rise up, or when teams from the “outside” like Boise and Utah rise to be national powers, at least for the short-term, I think it’s good for the sport. Granted, those teams’ regular season games don’t draw great ratings, but their bowl games do.

      The way I see it is that it’s okay that Michigan, Florida, Notre Dame, Miami, and Penn State were down last year because there are always other power teams to fill the void. OU, Ohio State, LSU, and Alabama had very good seasons. In the 90’s, OU was down for basically the whole decade. Did college football suffer? Not at all. I think the sport flourished with the Ohio State-Michigan and FSU-Florida rivalries meaning as much as ever. When FSU and Miami started to drop off, USC and OU returned to glory.

      • Brian says:

        I don’t think any one power has to be strong, but certain ones do a lot for CFB. ND is important for the midwest, northeast and NBC. When ND is down the sport suffers. USC is important for the west, and CFB suffered when USC was down before Carroll. MI being down has hurt in the midwest and nationally with the OSU/MI rivalry being diminished. OSU, TX, OU and AL have similar status in my mind. Having a bad year is not a problem, but when any of these kings are down for a prolonged period I think the sport suffers. CFB does fine without them, but I still think it suffers.

        As for the academies, their greatness was before my time as well. Some of the older posters who remember them being strong might have a different view. Or they could be proof that the loss of any one power is not a big deal. I have to believe having them be ranked teams would be a boon for CFB though.

        • Richard says:

          CFB is as popular as it’s ever been. While Michigan’s been down, the B10 has likely generated more revenue than it ever has before, so that tells you just how valuable Michigan is to college football in the Midwest. If Michigan was as dominant as it usually is, would MSU have had the season that it had? I daresay that there are more viewers in both the stands and on TV of college football in the state of Michigan when MSU is up and Michigan is down than when Michigan is up and MSU is down.

          • Brian says:

            CFB being popular and making money does not mean that things aren’t hurting it. MI being down hurt FB in the midwest by reducing viewership of TV games (both theirs and games with less popular teams televised instead of MI). It hurt the OSU/MI rivalry by making it less relevant nationally and again reducing viewership. The reputation of the whole conference was hurt, and that also reduces viewers.

            If MI was better, at most MSU loses 1 more game. I’d say there are more viewers in Michigan and nationwide if both MSU and MI are good. MI doesn’t have to be elite to not be down like they were. I’d also guess that you are wrong. If MSU and MI are having typical seasons, I’d guess that draws more viewers than MSU being elite and MI sucking. MSU fans will accept a 8-4 season and still watch. MI fans don’t watch 7-5.

          • Richard says:


            I can’t change your prejudice, and without data, this debate can’t be resolved, so I’m going to simply say that I’d guess you’re wrong instead and leave it at that.

          • Brian says:

            I’m prejudiced because I disagree with you? Nice.

          • Richard says:

            No, you’re prejudiced because you have no data to back up your assertions.

          • Brian says:

            If there is no data, accusations of prejudice are unwarranted. It applies to you just as easily. Perhaps you should consider using a less loaded term like “opinion” instead.

            My 10 years living in MI (and continuing relationships with MI and MSU fans afterwards) tell me MI has many more fans than MSU if you include all the bandwagon fans for each. A good MI draws many more eyes than a good MSU. A bad MI doesn’t draw many eyes at all because the bandwagon fans go away and the regular fans are turned off by the sub-par season. An OK MSU will maintain more fans than that.

        • cutter says:

          I call BS on this one. Notre Dame may be important to NBC, but college football as a whole is doing quite well with the Irish being a very small factor in the larger narrative of the sport. It’s been twenty years since the Irish were, despite the rhetoric, a realistic national championship calibre team. Look at how much the sport’s grown in popularity through the Davie/Willingham/Weis years at ND–I can’t swallow the notion that CFB “suffers” when Notre Dame is down.

          A couple of other things. While there are major programs out there with higher recognition levels than others, the landscape of the game has changed significantly in the last twenty years or so. The 85-scholarship limit means more programs get access to players with higher talent levels. Increased media/television exposure also means teams that would have been low profile in the early 90s are now in the midst of the conversation. Add in more money so that teams have greater recruiting budgets, can sustain higher coaching salaries and afford better facilities and you have a certain levelling taking place within college football–or at least there are fewer have nots than before.

          What that also means is that the marquee college football programs can stumble more readily than not. Texas has all the money and recruiting advantages in the world, but they fell flat on their faces last year. UCLA’s program has been treading water for years. If you looked at Oklahoma prior to Stoops taking over, you’d see a program with problems (put pre-Carroll USC in that list as well). Washington has had a terrible time in recent years while Oregon has been building up its success and name recognition. Florida State’s been a non-factor, but they’re turning it around. There’s also a slew of solid programs out there like Missouri or West Virginia or Oklahoma State along with others like Utah and TCU and Boise State who are firmly established right now.

          Given the money the networks seem to be willing to pay right now, I’d say that college football is on extremely firm ground when it comes to sports entertainment. It’s grown into a 365 day a year sport in the last two decades despite the ups and downs of some high profile programs.

          • Brian says:

            So you’re saying that CFB wouldn’t be even a little bit bigger if ND had been in NC contention lately? Because that’s all it would take for ND being down to have hurt CFB. The casual fan is attracted to the biggest names, so when any of them are down the sport suffers. I didn’t say CFB isn’t doing well, just that it could be doing even better.

          • cutter says:

            To Brian: Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. When it comes to the casual football fan in the most important demograhic categories, Notre Dame right now is a big hat and no cattle. Lots of name recognition, but certainly not a major player on the national stage.

            Right now, there are probably a dozen-plus programs on the top end of the sport which are doing quite well keeping it popular without Notre Dame’s help (or lack therein). Do you think SEC fans are going to watch more CFB depending on how things are unfolding in South Bend? I suggest you call in to the Paul Finebaum Radio Show and ask him that question.

            Do you think folks in Texas or any of the Big XII states care? Outside of USC, what about Pac 12 territory? Outside of the DC and Boston areas, is there any real interest in ND football within the core areas of the ACC? Because of the religious and ethnic ties, I could certainly see how Notre Dame being good would raise college football’s popularity in the northeast portion of the country. Hell, the Big Ten knows that–no surprise there given all the talk and posts about the B1G expansion on this board.

            What’s make the sport popular is the increased media exposure and the fact that more teams are competitive than ever before. Back in 1991, would any of us have imagined that Utah or Boise State or TCU would be going undefeated and playing in major bowl games? Did anyone back then anticipate the steady rise of Oregon’s program? I could go on, but one of the reasons why CFB has grown isn’t because there are only a few “mega-teams”, but because there are more competitive teams.

            If Notre Dame does get consistently good again, then they’ll just be one of many programs that have taken the mantle these past years with the title of being among the best in the sport. But right now, they’re a name that resonates with an older generation remembering past glories.

          • Brian says:

            You say I’m, wrong but then agree with me by the third paragraph. You really can’t have it both ways.

            You may not find them important, but there are thousands of older casual fans who are not being served in the current market because ND is bad. There are more younger fans that fit that group than you’d think, too. I think you can find people all over the country that fit this description.

            I think you’re dead wrong that having more teams be competitive is driving the popularity of the sport. Media folks will tell you that there are a small number of teams that generate a buzz nationally and everyone else is filler. There will always be the current trendy teams on an upswing, but it’s the big boys that carry the weight. Lots of casual fans only watch the local king play, and that only when they’re good.

        • duffman says:


          the biggest thing with the service academies (and to some extent private schools) was the rise of the state school teams after WW II. On the public side, some have fallen (like the gophers) and some have risen (like Florida) but most of the “brands” (including ND and U$C) have been pretty solid the whole time. Part of the service academies is the time after school (remember the Cowboys drafted Staubach out of Navy, and then waited till he did his stint in the Navy – can you imagine that in this era of turning pro early)?

          • Jake says:


            I thought the rise of the NFL was what hurt the academies? Once players could get paid piles of money for football, spending four years or more in the military looked a lot less attractive to talented guys. Also, the height of academy football dominance was during WWII, when they were virtually the only schools that still had male students.

          • Brian says:

            I figured the rise of weightlifting and athletic specialization in high school were factors. The academies have size restrictions that prevent them from getting the 300 lb linemen that their opponents have.

          • bullet says:

            I think you are all right on the service academies. Size, pros, size of schools. In addition to the academies, the privates weren’t that much smaller than the state schools before the GI bill and the increases in the late 40s and then again in the 60s.

            On the powers, if one is down, other schools get more attention. If all the kings in a region are down it might limit the sport, but otherwise it just shifts. I think its better for the sport that Notre Dame is down-it shifts focus to conference races, but it most likely hurts NE ratings. On the other hand, I don’t think its a total coincidence that virtually all the 8 BE schools are stronger in attendance than they were before the ACC raid and that ND has been very down during those years.

          • duffman says:

            Before family tragedy struck I was headed to the Naval Academy for college. I was short (good for planes and subs) but solid and could pass for D 1 football back in the day. While not as sure about West Point or Air Force, I know back then the Navy had a height restriction. When I look at the college kids now they are all tall. Even the linemen all seem to be at least 6 feet or so, so at least in the Navy size may be an issue.

            The point about the swelling of public schools due to the GI bill is also quite correct. UC was a private school with about 10,000 students that overnight swelled to 45,000 students when they converted to a public school. My guess is most private schools did not see such swells in their populations at the same time, and the service academies are still quite small in relation to most of the D 1 schools they compete with.

            Both my grandfathers were professional athletes and my dad was at the pro football level. I was able to play several sports at the D 1 level, yet I have serious reservations about my nephew playing football at the D 1 level. Fortunately he is academic side is good enough for scholarships, but if he went the sports route for a scholarship I would steer him to one of the other sports he plays. The main reason is the size change in the current state of football has changed so much since I played. The other is the speed! I am constantly amazed at how much faster the game is played (hence more chance for serious injury if you do not see the hit coming).

    • jj says:

      That’s good data. I hadn’t realized that it had been so long. Vancouver looks pretty good though so maybe we’ll see it broken. Yes, I think it does hurt them and I think the NHL doesn’t care b/c the Canadians will watch no matter what.

      No matter how we do this – the divisions, which should be reverted back to the names Wales and Campbell, should each include 3 of the original 6 and half of the Canadian teams. And the original 6 must play a home and home every year with each other no matter what.

      Bettman’s a retard and I don’t throw that word around lightly. He really is. God, I hate that guy. I need help!

      • Adam says:

        I guess I am somewhat alone in not basically having a problem with the NHL’s alignment. I mean, at the margin I’d like to find a way for Dallas to have more games in the Central and Mountain Time Zones, and I think that Atlanta is going to be moving somewhere west anyway so you might as well swap them and Columbus to try and buck up the Columbus market (which I think is salvageable), but basically I think they have it right. (That said, those changes are harder to do than you’d think, since it’s not clear who the new 5th team would be in the Southeast Division, and it’s not immediately clear to me that you could put Dallas in a more Central Time-oriented division without splitting up Calgary and Edmonton.) Now, I’m not keen on where the franchises are located in many cases, but if you take as given the locations, the conferences and divisions are mostly the way I think they ought to look.

  60. cutter says:

    ABC/ESPN to air 7 Big Ten primetime games

    May, 12, 2011 May 12
    By Adam Rittenberg
    The wait is over.

    The first part of the Big Ten’s 2011 primetime TV schedule is finally official. Seven Big Ten night games will be aired on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2 this season.

    Without further ado …

    Sept. 1
    UNLV at Wisconsin, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

    Sept. 10
    Notre Dame at Michigan, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

    Oct. 1
    Nebraska at Wisconsin, 8 p.m. ET, ABC or ESPN or ESPN2
    Notre Dame at Purdue, 8 p.m. ET, ABC or ESPN or ESPN2

    Oct. 8
    Ohio State at Nebraska, 8 p.m. ET, ABC or ESPN or ESPN2

    Oct. 22
    Wisconsin at Michigan State, 8 p.m. ET, ABC or ESPN or ESPN2

    Oct. 29
    Wisconsin at Ohio State, 8 p.m. ET, ABC or ESPN or ESPN2

    ESPN typically televises six Big Ten primetime games per year, but a request for a seventh game was made and granted.

    The Big Ten Network’s primetime football schedule is expected to be finalized soon, most likely next week. I have confirmed that every Big Ten team will have at least one primetime game televised this season.

    “When combined with what BTN is going to have, it’s probably going to be our strongest primetime schedule ever,” Big Ten senior associate commissioner for television administration Mark Rudner told “Nebraska at Wisconsin, the kickoff [UNLV at Wisconsin], the first night game ever at Michigan, Ohio State-Wisconsin. It’s just a really, really strong schedule.”

    Some thoughts:

    Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema talked to me last month about the increased national exposure his program has received because of its Rose Bowl run. The Badgers will be in the spotlight with four primetime ABC/ESPN games, the most of any Big Ten team. Those back-to-back primetime road games in October won’t be easy.

    Nebraska’s first two Big Ten games as a league member will take place under the lights. It’s a fitting introduction for the Huskers, who will get a taste of the electric atmosphere in Madison on Oct. 1 before getting a chance to show off their stadium the next week against Ohio State. “It speaks to the value that Nebraska brings, not only to the Big Ten but to college football,” Rudner said.

    Michigan State has hosted several of the more memorable Big Ten night games in recent memory (Notre Dame in 2010, Iowa in 2009). I think the Spartans get a big advantage by getting to host Wisconsin under the lights.

    Sept. 10 will be a huge showcase day for the Big Ten. It features the first night game in Michigan Stadium history (Notre Dame at Michigan), which likely will be preceded by Alabama-Penn State at Beaver Stadium.

    • Brian says:

      OSU at Miami on September 17 will also be a night game (ABC or ESPN) with OU at FSU on the other network.

      They didn’t miss many obvious games. MSU at OSU is also 10/1, so there was no availability for it. Maybe MSU at NE on 10/29 is missing, but I think WI at OSU is a better game (I’d prefer it to be a day game, but oh well). AL at PSU on 9/10 would have been an option but the first ever night game at MI is a better story. MSU at ND is a 3:30 game on NBC.

    • Brian says:

      Here’s a link to the full ABC/ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU/ESPN3 schedule so far:

    • duffman says:

      With 4 out of 7 are they hoping for a badger MNC run or are they deflecting the spotlight away from tOSU because of what has happened in the off season? I have to say tho, that the game with UNL is the one I want to see most of the 4. With only 5 previous games and a fairly even split this game may set the tone for a future rivalry!

      • Brian says:

        The UNLV game is the only game available on 9/1. The NE game is their first B10 game. MSU was WI’s only loss, and OSU’s only loss was WI. Match-ups between the 3 co-champs from last year are logical choices for primetime games. OSU/MSU is missing because it is also on 10/1 and the suspended players won’t be back yet.

        OSU has 3 ABC/ESPN night games (Miami, NE, WI) and their biggest rivals are in November when they can’t play at night. I don’t think ABC is ducking them. If anyone has a complaint it is MSU. They only get WI at night, but at least it’s at home.

  61. duffman says:

    A few links:

    • duffman says:

      KU ends ticket issues with 5 years in prision:

      • Gopher86 says:

        For years, the points system was questioned. Perkins came in from UConn and did what many more modern AD’s did: he got rid of legacy seating and made it a bidding war. Suddenly, folks that had the same mid-court seats for 45 years needed to pay/donate $50k a year in order to keep them. Many were outraged, but others recognized that it would help the University to turn to a free market.

        Little did anyone know that the folks we were intrusting to support the University were juking the system to their advantage. Folks would increase their donations year over year and end up ten rows back. There would be empties in the centercourt bleachers. If someone was going to donate an average of $2-3k / ticket, why wouldn’t they use them?

        When this news broke, it was very difficult for people to not believe Perkins had some involvement. Some claim the oversight he put in place was spongey on purpose, others said he had direct involvement, and still others claim he was blindsided and didn’t deserve to get ousted. The truth, as with most things, is somewhere in the gray middle.

    • duffman says:

      NCAA will impose stiffer penalties in the future:

      • Richard says:

        Cuts to 55 scholarship players, decade long bowl (and championship) bans, and no OOC home games allowed for a decade should do it.

  62. Brian says:

    UNC ordered to provide parking ticket and phone records by a judge after they fought the FOI request. UNC plans to appeal to protect the privacy of their students.

  63. Michael in Indy says:


    Da Bulls are goin’ to Da Eastern Conference Finals. It’s been 13 years since they’ve made it this far. Where’s the gloating, man? It’s your blog!

    • Brian says:

      Isn’t it kind of hard to gloat about beating the Hawks in the playoffs?

    • @Michael in Indy – I’m VERY happy right now. It was nice to see the Bulls hammer the Hawks from the very beginning of the game tonight and not let up. The series with the Heat is going to be insanity.

      • bullet says:

        The continuing E/W imbalance in the NBA sure showed up in the playoffs. West had 4 1st round series that were close and #8 beat #1. Only close 1st round series in E was 4-5. West probably had 11 teams better than #4 in the East.

        I’d be glad to see no Lakers and no Heat superteam in the finals.

        • @bullet – The West is definitely deeper than the East (and that’s been the case since the end of the Bulls dynasty). That being said, the top of the East (Heat, Bulls, Celtics) has looked stronger than the top of the West, although Dirk is playing out of his mind right now in Dallas.

      • jj says:

        i have never wanted to see the bulls destroy a team as badly as i do right now. make them cry. thanks.

  64. bullet says:

    No va still. Bizarre handling of this deal. BE fans can’t complain about the ACC or BC anymore.

    My personal speculation is that the conference led on expansion, but the stadium issue woke up the fb schools and now they are leading and talking to TV consultants before saying yes, no or don’t call us, we’ll call you.

    • Brian says:

      While Nova fans are still optimistic, ESPN had a rumor that another school is now the league’s preference for #10 and Nova would have to be part of expanding to 12. A Philly writer says the BE TV deal would be worth slightly more with Nova than UCF or Houston.

      UCF could join right away with no facility issues and offer more FL exposure, though, so I could see them being ESPN’s rumored school.

      • bullet says:

        Given that the BE schools recruit FL so heavily, I could see the fb schools wanting UCF.

        It puzzles me that Memphis gets so litte interest. Their fb program is in better shape than USF or Cincinnati or UConn when they joined the BE on “potential.” For that matter, it is in better shape than Rutgers was 10 years ago. And they certainly have more long run potential than Villanova. They fit better geographically than UCF or UH. They (and no other candidate) has the fb fan support of ECU, but they have a better market and aren’t #5 in their state. And, of course, they have easily the best bb program of any candidate and the financial support of Fedex.

        • Brian says:

          Memphis football has been a disaster for a while. I don’t think anybody wants a piece of that.

        • Michael in Indy says:

          Memphis’ attendance is far below ECU’s for football. I would also dispute that ECU is #5 in its [larger] state. Duke football is arguably less popular than Appalachian State football. That’s what happen when one team has the worst decade any ACC school has ever had, while the other gets better attendance, 3 FCS national titles, and a win that will be talked about for decades to come.

          Having lived in NC, and preparing to move there, too, I think the order goes: 1) UNC, 2) NCSU, 3) ECU, 4) Wake Forest, 5) Appalachian State, 6) Duke, 7) Other FCS schools.

          It wouldn’t be right to assume that ECU’s “market” is Greenville, North Carolina. Really, it’s largest market is Raleigh-Durham. Is it a distant third in that market? Yes, but it’s not as overshadowed as you might think. They get a lot of talk in the newspapers and sports talk radio. Also in ECU’s favor is that RDU is a fairly wealthy, very fast-growing area. Memphis football has FedEx, sure, but otherwise not a lot of fan support, and the city as a whole doesn’t sport a very high median income.

          In the end, though, both ECU and Memphis both fall well short of what the Big East needs. I really don’t know what the league needs, but it seems like a wise move would be to add TCU, then wait and see whether Villanova can develop a stronger plan or if UCF can start living up to its potential. One top 25 finish in its history simply is not enough to gamble the conference’s future, no matter how big the [very young] alumni base is.

        • bullet says:

          Memphis is not exactly a power, but they don’t look much different than many of the BE schools or the candidates. I can understand them not being the top 3, but they seem to be getting no consideration.

          They had a 3 year period about 5 years ago where they averaged 40k a game with mediocre teams (but better than normal) playing in CUSA. UConn and Cincinnati have never done that. Rutgers was struggling to get 30k at that point. USF didn’t hit 40 until they joined the BE. UH hasn’t done that since SWC days. UCF was frequently drawing in the teens at that point in time.

          They have the potential to dominate Memphis and west TN. They are a long way from Knoxville. For the long run, I think they have a better chance than Cincy or UL to be a power and comparable to UH, UCF and USF (less talent base, but still close to talent in MS,AL,LA,GA-and an opportunity to own a market). They don’t have to worry about pro football, baseball or hockey and seem to be fine coexisting with pro bb.

          • cfn_ms says:

            The problem for Memphis is that the big moment of opportunity, when the Big East was truly desperate for new members (after the ACC raid, when it was unclear if the league would survive) is long gone. Therefore it’s no longer relevant to compare to Cincy or Lville. What Memphis needs is to do well in comparisons to:

            1) Actual candidates for new membership
            2) What Big East would gain from standing pat

            … and those comparisons don’t look great. Better than ECU, maybe, but ECU isn’t a legitimate candidate either.

          • Brian says:

            Memphis has some serious problems in their FB program. When they fired their previous coach, he said they either need to give the program more support or get rid of it.


            They’ve won less than 41% of their games since 2001 (4 seasons with 3 or fewer wins), compared to 49.2% for UCF (2 seasons), 45.6% for ECU (2 seasons) and 49.6% for Houston (2 seasons).

          • Richard says:

            Don’t underrate Louisville, who actually draw a fair amount of fan support despite their small metropolitan area (and of course, has a lot more history in basketball). I agree that Memphis isn’t worse than Cincy, but when you compare with the other expansion candidates, Memphis’s potential doesn’t exactly shout out at you. Houston has the much bigger city, and UCF has the much bigger school and is putting more money in to football. Both are in faster-growing areas. Both are doing much better in football. There’s not a lot to Memphis to recommend it.

          • Brian says:

            I think you may be selling Cincinnati short. I looked at conference games since 1995, when CUSA started. UL and UC were in CUSA from ’95-’05 before joining the BE. Houston joined in ’96, ECU in ’97 and UCF in ’05 (UCF was MAC from ’02-’04). Memphis was in CUSA for the whole period.

            Conference winning percentage since 1995:
            ECU 0.594
            UCF 0.573
            UL 0.573
            UC 0.515
            Houston 0.500
            Memphis 0.394

            Conference titles since ’95:
            UL 4 (3 CUSA, 1 BE)
            UC 3 (1 CUSA, 2 BE)
            UCF 2 CUSA
            ECU 2 CUSA
            Houston 2 CUSA
            Memphis 0

            The other CUSA winners were Southern Miss (4), Tulsa, Tulane and TCU. This means the BE has 5 of the 17 CUSA champs and their top candidates for expansion all won 2 each. Heck, they could take all 3 and get to 11 of 17.

            Yes, Cincinnati has low attendance in total numbers but UC is capacity limited (35,067 / 35,100 in 2010). Memphis was at 23,918 / 62,380 last year. Even when they got up to 40k+, that’s well short of capacity. UC has been talking off and on about a small expansion (between 3500 and 10k new seats) which would help them. They also use Paul Brown on occasion for big games (OSU, OU, etc).

        • bullet says:

          With regard to their potential, western TN is a distinct region than Eastern TN. They can dominate W. TN in a way that UC, UL and UH can’t dominate their own city. So its a smaller market, but one they can be 1st in if they are in a major conference and have good coaching (which they have lacked the last 5 years or so). UC is 2nd in Cincy and off the charts elsewhere in Ohio. UH is 3rd in Houston and off the charts elsewhere in TX, UL in 2nd in Louisville and off the charts elsewhere in KY.

          Until UL took off under Schnellenberger and UC joined the BE, there really wasn’t much difference in fb between the 3 schools from the 60s on. None of them were very good. Toledo and Miami had better fb than Cincy in Ohio.

          Of current candidates, there seems to be focus only on UCF, UH and Villanova. Memphis might be the only one that could fill a 60,000 seat stadium with a solid team in a good conference. UH couldn’t do it in the SWC. Villanova certainly can’t. UCF is so new and their stadium so new (they’re still gettting the new stadium effect), it remains to be seen. And UCF is 5th in their state and its hard to see them ever getting to #3. UH is 6th in Texas and their support is limited to SE Texas. The further you are down the pecking order, the tougher it is to get recruits, media coverage and maintain consistent support.

          Memphis’ advantages IMO put them in the same category as UCF, UH and Villanova. ECU is in the next category and then everybody else is a step down from ECU. Villanova’s biggest advantage is their bb program in the event of a split.

          • Brian says:

            Even in the BE, I’m not sure Memphis can dominate W TN over the SEC schools. MS and AL really do well there, and going to the BE won’t change that much I don’t think.

            UC is not second in Cincinnati, either. At worst it is tied for top billing with OSU. That is part of the state that OSU has never dominated. ND does really well there with the large Catholic population, too. The local paper covers UC, Xavier and “Other Colleges” with nobody on the OSU beat specifically.

            Don’t underestimate the value to the BE that UH and UCF can bring as companion schools to the 2 geographical outliers. It adds a natural rivalry, solidifies the foothold of the league and can make for more convenient road trips.

            The complete lack of success at Memphis is a huge drawback. They have never risen up to have even 1 great year, while UCF and UH have. If a team can’t ever be successful in CUSA, why would you want to add it to the BE? It’s not like they need another good BB team. They may actually prefer the easy wins UCF and UH would provide.

          • bullet says:

            How familiar are you with Cincy? Its been a long time since I lived in the area so I don’t know how things are now, but I don’t remember UC fb being that high on the list. Of course back then, SW Ohio was split 4 ways for fb-UC, Miami, Dayton and Xavier. Its true the Enquirer doesn’t have an Ohio St. section, but the Reds and Bengals are the primary interest of the paper.

          • Brian says:

            Well, I went to OSU, have lots of family in OH and read the OSU web sites. The Buckeye fans in the Cincy area are pretty clear about the level of support and coverage. OSU doesn’t recruit well in Cincy either.

            Certainly the move up to the BE made a big difference, especially when they started to win, but I think it started under Minter. He built them up to win CUSA, their first title in forever, and then Dantonio came in and built on that foundation. Once they started winning regularly, the fans came back. The Kelly years got everyone excited. The question is what happens under Butch Jones. If they start to lose, I think the support will melt away again.

          • Richard says:

            Louisville most definitely dominates their own city. Again, do you know how much revenue Louisville brings in? How do you reckon they can do that if they didn’t have deep support in their own region? Memphis does have their own region that they “own”, but they’re squeezed between UT to the east, Arkansas to the west, and the MS schools to the south. The biggest difference between the 2 is that Louisville has stronger support for football than Memphis. Memphis is comparable to Cincy, but they just weren’t as good as Cincy back when the BE was desperate for schools.

          • bullet says:

            UK is Louisville’s favorite team.

            Louisville is a good second.

            UK also gets good support in the Cincinnati metro area as a good part is in Kentucky.

      • Phil says:

        That same Philly writer is beginning to be known as the Baghdad Bob of Big East sports reporting on other schools football boards. It is hard to take seriously his comments on the TV deal when he had a 6 paragraph article earlier this week on how the Big East is keeping Nova from moving to the FBS without one word about the stadium issues.

  65. Brian says:

    A WI writer discusses whether playing night games hurts WI’s chances at a B10 title and if it is worth the exposure.

  66. Brian says:

    Now Tate Forcier isn’t going to Miami. Since he signed an aid agreement, does that cost him another year of eligibility, or can he get released and not waste a year? Is this because that other QB transferred in? I know the story says personal reasons, but they always say that at first and the Forcier’s have a history of being afraid of competition.

  67. Super D says:

    Fantastic article on the PAC 12 TV negotiations with several juicy insider nuggets for those interested in sports media detail. Sounds like the value of the deal really was significantly enhanced by Fox and ESPN’s desire to lockout Comcast. Comcast / NBC came within a whisker of having the PAC 12 as a key building block for their sports channels, until Fox and ESPN agreed to partner together to prevent it.

    • Brian says:

      Their chart at the bottom is missing the B10 deal with ABC/ESPN.

      • Super D says:

        I think they screwed up the Big 10 network money listed, I think that is the ABC/ESPN deal, or that deal with Big 10N numbers rolled in.

        • Richard says:

          Nah. Looks like they just added together the $100M guaranteed from the WWL for first-tier rights + the projected payouts for the BTN (which were quite conservative).

          • Brian says:

            Unfortunately they listed the BTN expiration date for this figure which confuses the issue. Part of the point of the article was discussing how networks were running out of conferences to sign for the foreseeable future. 2016 and 2032 are very different years for the contract to expire.

    • Pat says:

      Great article! I didn’t even realize Comcast was a serious player for the PAC-12 contract. All indications were Fox had it in the bag. I guess the question that needs to be asked is; Will Comcast go all out for the Big East? That might be the reason ESPN has already begun talking with the Big East even though their contract isn’t up until 2013. My guess is Big East goes to 12 teams and gets ACC type money, maybe a little better. The market is red hot.

    • Brian says:

      CFN ranked games a week or 2 ago, too. They topped that with their bowl projections today.

      • Brian says:

        I take that back, they ranked games back in March. They give a top 50 OOC and top 50 for conference games. Links are at the page below:

        • Brian says:

          Conference games:
          SEC (12) – 1, 5, 9, 12, 14, 16, 17, 19, 21, 22, 28, 41
          B10 (10) – 2, 7, 11, 13, 23, 31, 37, 44, 47, 49
          B12 (9) – 4, 6, 18, 24, 27, 32, 33, 43, 48
          ACC (6) – 10, 20, 26, 36, 40, 50
          P12 (4) – 8, 15, 30, 42
          BE (4) – 29, 34, 35, 46
          Non-AQ (5) – 3, 25, 38, 39, 45

          The somewhat odd thing is that these national rankings do not match the order CFN ranked the games for each conference in February. For example, WI at MSU was the 6th best B10 game but showed up 10th in the national list. It just shows the differences of opinion even at one media outlet (or over 2 months) I guess. The national rankings bump up #6 WI @ MSU and #7 NE @ PSU but omit #5 MSU @ NE and lower #4 MSU @ OSU.

          B10 – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10t, 10t
          National – 2, 7, 11, 31, X, 49, 47, 13, 23, 37, 44

        • Brian says:

          OOC games:

          ACC (12) – 2, 4, 7, 9, 19, 20, 21, 33, 38, 42, 46, 49
          BE (11) – 8, 21, 23, 32, 34, 37, 38, 39, 41, 42, 50
          B10 (13) – 3, 4, 13, 16, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 35, 47, 48
          B12 (11) – 2, 5, 11, 12, 14, 15, 30, 33, 35, 36, 49
          P12 (14) – 1, 10, 11, 12, 14, 18, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 32, 41, 45
          SEC (14) – 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 19, 20, 31, 34, 39, 43, 44
          Ind. (12) – 10, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 25, 37, 40, 40, 43, 44
          Non-AQ (13) – 6, 17, 28, 29, 29, 30, 31, 36, 45, 46, 47, 48, 50

          That’s a pretty even spread although they like a lot of the SEC games.
          1-10 SEC/ACC, 11-20 Ind/B12, 21-30 B10/P12, 31-40 BE/B12, 41-50 all

          SEC teams missing from the top 10 – MS, MSU, SC, TN, KY, V
          No real surprises there. These are the lesser teams except SC, and they have #19.

          Top 10 – PSU, OSU
          11-20 – MI, MSU (both vs ND)
          21-30 – IA, NE, IL, WI plus OSU & MI again
          31-50 – MN plus IA & WI again

          No big shocks here either. IN, PU and NW are the only leftovers. If PU was better their game with ND would make the list. That leaves NW as the odd man out, but they do have BC. I think everyone understands IN playing a weak schedule.

        • Jake says:

          TCU @ Boise ranked #3? Nice. Wish I could go to that one.

          • Brian says:

            Hopefully both teams have another good season to keep the game that high on the list. By November, we’ll see how well they have recovered from personnel losses.

  68. Playoffs Now says:

    Does this piss off the ACC?

    Sat., Dec. 3 Texas at Baylor 3:30 or 8 p.m. ABC
    Sat., Dec. 3 Oklahoma at Oklahoma State 3:30 or 8 p.m. ABC
    Sat., Dec. 3 Dr. Pepper ACC title game 8 p.m. ESPN

  69. bullet says:

    UT Chancellor put out a letter recently. In it he had some facts on state support. The decline in state support for universities is going on around the country as has been dicussed here before.
    For all 9 universities in the system-UT-Austin,UTEP, UTSA,UT-Dallas,UT-Arlington,UT-Brownsville,UT-Pan American,UT-Tyler,UT-Permian Basin) state support has decreased over the last 20 years from 38% to 20.7%. For the 6 medical institutions it has decreased from 29% to 12.8%. For Austin, that % is lower than 20%.

  70. Pat says:

    Detroit Red Wings not moving East, yet.

    During the second intermission of the Boston/Tampa hockey game tonight, the announcers reported that Atlanta will probably move to Winnipeg in the next three weeks. The move has to happen within three weeks to give the schedule maker time to do his work. Otherwise, the team remains in Atlanta. However, even if the Thrashers move, Detroit will remain in the Eastern Conference for 2011-12 because it’s too late for the Hockey Board of Governors to vote on the move this year. It was also reported that Detroit has been asking to move East for 10 years, but the pressure from the Wings has increased greatly in the last few years because fans and advertisers are becoming more and more upset with all the 10:00pm start times for playoff games in recent years (Phoenix, Los Angeles, Vancouver, San Jose and Anaheim). Had the Wings defeated San Jose this past week, they would be playing in Vancouver tomorrow, the third consecutive series to open out west. The late starts are a f….. pain in the ass for those of us that have to get up at 6:30am the next morning, especially for overtime games that can run until 2:00am or later because the NHL doesn’t use the shootout in the playoffs.

    Those of us in Ann Arbor and Detroit are fortunate to get the CBC from Windsor, Canada both over the air and on Comcast. “Hockey Night in Canada” is one of the best sports broadcasts you will find anywhere. Many Red Wing fans, including myself, watch the Wings playoff games on the CBC rather than Fox Sports Detroit. Camera coverage is better and the announcers know the sport inside and out. It’s nice to be able to chose between two broadcasts.

    • Adam says:

      There is absolutely no chance of the Red Wings being accommodated on this front before Columbus or Nashville. Those two teams need to play in the Eastern Conference. Detroit wants to play in the Eastern Conference. There’s a real big difference.

      • Brian says:

        All three teams would benefit from the move. The NHL has to be careful not to hurt Detroit by trying to help other teams. There is no guarantee that Detroit will remain the goose that lays the golden eggs. That said, the easy choice is to move Nashville into Atlanta’s spot in the SE. Then the question is who fills out the Central.

        My quick plan:
        Winnipeg -> NW
        Nashville -> SE
        Dallas -> Central
        Colorado -> Pacific

        Long term, the NHL should probably go to 16-14 with two divisions in each. If you prefer equal sized divisions, go to 6 team divisions without conferences. The 15-15 split punishes too many fan bases come playoff time.

        • Brian says:

          So for 16-14, I’d go back to 4 divisions:

          Western Conference

          Vancouver Canucks
          Calgary Flames
          Edmonton Oilers
          San Jose Sharks
          Los Angeles Kings
          Anaheim Ducks
          Phoenix Coyotes

          Colorado Avalanche
          Dallas Stars
          Winnipeg Thrashers
          Minnesota Wild
          St. Louis Blues
          Chicago Blackhawks
          Nashville Predators

          Eastern Conference

          Boston Bruins
          Montreal Canadiens
          Ottawa Senators
          Toronto Maple Leafs
          New Jersey Devils
          New York Islanders
          New York Rangers
          Philadelphia Flyers

          Carolina Hurricanes
          Florida Panthers
          Tampa Bay Lightning
          Washington Capitals
          Buffalo Sabres
          Columbus Blue Jackets
          Detroit Red Wings
          Pittsburgh Penguins

          I’d change the playoffs to play within each division first, then the two division champs play in the semifinals before the conference champs meet for the Cup. If you get 3 from one division and 5 from the other, #5 becomes #4 in the other division. This will help the west with time zone issues as nobody will be more than 1 hour off for the first 2 rounds. It could be 2 hours for the semis and 3 in the finals, but that’s unavoidable.

          This will help Detroit, Columbus and the western teams they play. Some rivalries will suffer, but that’s hard to avoid based on the continuous shifting of teams.

        • Adam says:

          I don’t see where the NHL, which is already very East-centric, can afford to have 5 of the Original Six on the same half of the conference divide — at least until it has little other choice. That is a pretty major jab at Chicago. And while there’s no guarantee “Detroit will remain the goose that lays the golden eggs,” no guarantee of that is still better than the virtual certainty of failure in several other markets.

          • Brian says:

            The NHL will be East-centric no matter what. Time zones are the killer for the NHL. 17 of the current teams are in the Eastern time zone (with Atlanta probably about to move west). Unfortunately, there are really only 8 western teams. Trying to deny this imbalance is what causes them problems.

            Stop punishing 1-2 teams in the east. They also have to acknowledge that you can’t revolve everything around the original six in a league of 30, especially when it’s trying to grow into new markets. 5 of the 6 are eastern teams. Why should Detroit travel to CA any more than Boston?

            I don’t believe there are any easy answers to this problem for the NHL.

            As for Detroit, wait until they have another down period. Then watch how quickly the western trips kill the goose. Modern fans won’t watch 10PM games of a bad team.

        • Jake says:

          Brian – I suggested the same thing about a week ago, except I moved Vancouver into the Pacific instead of Colorado. I do like having all of the western Canadian teams in one division though. And getting Dallas out of the Pacific would be a dream come true. Stupid 9:00 weeknight games.

          • Adam says:

            9 isn’t so bad. It’s those East-to-Pacific 10 or 10:30 starts that are brutal.

          • Brian says:

            Jake, I strongly considered doing the same thing, but I went with proximity over time zones. It seems like those 3 Canadian team almost have to be together, and Colorado in the Pacific mirrors the P12 nicely. If Phoenix moves, then CO would make less sense there.

          • Jake says:

            @Adam – yeah, but those 10:00 starts the Red Wings are complaining about aren’t for division games. Every single one of Dallas’ division opponents is two time zones away (okay, Phoenix is MT for part of the year, but not for the majority of hockey season). Same goes for the Texas Rangers, but they have virtually no chance of getting away from the AL West.

    • Adam says:

      There’s something about this that’s not quite right. If the Thrashers move to Winnipeg, someone is moving to the Eastern Conference. You’re telling me that they’d have a 16/14 split of the teams because the Board of Governors can’t get together for a conference call, or e-mail/fax in their votes on a single issue?

      • Brian says:

        If time was the issue, they may just put Winnipeg in Atlanta’s spot for a season. Shifting divisions causes a lot of scheduling issues since all these arenas have multiple uses.

        • Adam says:

          I guess if there is one situation where you could pull that off, it would be Winnipeg getting a team again, but even at that it seems implausible to have a team in Winnipeg playing 64 games against the Eastern Conference.

          • Brian says:

            If Detroit and Columbus play in the West, why not Winnipeg in the East for a year? Winnipeg is in the Central time zone, so they’d only be an hour off.

          • Adam says:

            Because there’s no getting around having 2 teams do that. It seems like the league should and would go to whatever lengths necessary to avoid having that happen any more than it absolutely must.

          • Brian says:

            There is getting around punishing those two teams, but the NHL chooses balanced conferences instead. This move offers the perfect opportunity to split 16-14 and quit punishing any of the eastern teams.

            As for Winnipeg, it is simply a matter of time. If the move happens too late there simply is not enough time to fix the schedule allowing for all the various other events that take place in these arenas. It is much simpler to tell the new guy that you’re stuck with this schedule, so work around it. Of course the NHL would prefer to fix it because what might make sense as a SE road trip doesn’t make as much sense when you go to Winnipeg in the middle of it.

          • Adam says:

            If it happens that late, why not do what they did when the Jets left Winnipeg? That was announced months in advance. What stops them from playing a lame duck season in Atlanta because they couldn’t get the move to Winnipeg announced in time?

          • Brian says:

            Nobody has promised the team would move in 2011. It would take a special vote to approve it, actually. One problem is that nobody is promising there is money available to keep them around for another year. Does the NHL want to own another team? Do the buyers want to pay now but not get their team until 2012? Why wouldn’t they wait until later to buy them?

          • Adam says:

            I figure that the True North group in Winnipeg would rather buy now and own a team that plays in Atlanta for 1 year than see the Atlanta team contracted (and therefore there be no team to own at all).

            It presents kind of an interesting issue of contract and franchise business law. If the ownership group in Atlanta (a) can’t plausibly claim bankruptcy and (b) can’t find anybody to sell an asset they no longer care to operate, are they contractually obligated to keep operating it anyway? The NHL owns the Coyotes because Moyes tried to sell the team through bankruptcy proceedings and the league snatched them up to avoid Balsillie getting them. In the case of Atlanta, nobody really seems to want that team, so what stops the league from letting the owners there wriggle on the hook for at least another several months? Long enough that the team is stuck playing in Atlanta for 2011-12, but then the Winnipeg group can work out a deal in Nov/Dec, in much the same fashion as the Jets left Winnipeg.

          • Brian says:

            Atlanta’s owners claim they lose something like $20M a year. Why would True North buy now and absorb that loss when they can delay?

          • Adam says:

            So that they’re sure they can have a team (or, sure that they can have a team without having to pay an expansion fee). If the Atlanta team contracts for lack of an owner, and the NHL figures out how to make the Coyotes work (and they’re apparently willing to work hard enough that that has become a plausible outcome), it seems realistic to think they’d buy a team to ensure they have one, or at least to obtain a team without having to pay a new expansion fee.

          • Brian says:

            The relocation fee is also huge, so I’m not sure how much they could save, if any. Plus, I’d think the NHL prefers relocation to contraction and then expansion.

          • @Brian – Agreed. Contraction requires owners to pay money out of their pockets to get rid of a team. Relocation, on the other hand, puts money into those owners’ pockets. That’s why contraction, while great in theory in a world where it could be “free”, isn’t realistic because it’s very expensive to do.

          • Adam says:

            I agree with all of that speculation, but it’s still just speculation — my point was only that the Winnipeg group would conceivably buy now so they didn’t have to worry about speculating. A bird in the hand, as they say, is worth two in the bush.

          • Adam says:

            Re: relocation fee, I think the size of that fee depends on the market to which you’re relocating. I’m guessing that the relocation fee to move an almost unwanted team from whatever sad-sack market has it now to Winnipeg isn’t going to be off the charts — Winnipeg is kind of doing the league a favor by being so gung-ho about a franchise nobody else wants. If they were talking about relocating to Hamilton, ON (or even a second full-fledged Toronto franchise, similar to New York?) you could be talking several hundred million dollars.

            But again, guessing at all of this stuff is why I don’t think it’s productive to just wish away (or wish to have relocated) the teams in discussing the alignment. Who the hell knows? Seems to me we can have no real conversation about alignment unless we take as our basis the teams and where they’re located, as well as well-documented/-sourced speculation (similar to Winnipeg). Otherwise I can just say, well I think Atlanta, Tampa, Florida and Carolina should move to Winnipeg, Seattle, Portland, and Kansas City. Do I have any idea whether all 4 of those towns could handle a team? Do I have any idea whether ownership groups would buy them? Do I have any idea whether details like the relocation fee would work out? Of course not. So I just don’t bother bringing it up. That’s Columbus — sure, there are reasons to think Columbus probably shouldn’t exist or should be moved, but until they are, discussion about what the alignment ought to look like needs to take them into account.

    • Adam says:

      Also, I find it hard to believe that a franchise can physically relocate (Atlanta to Winnipeg) without a vote of the BoG. So presumably they’d vote to approve that. In what sane universe could the BoG find the time to vote on that but not vote on what team to realign into the East?

      • Pat says:

        @Adam, Please don’t “shoot the messenger” !
        Just reporting what I heard on “Hockey Night in Canada” which is about as reputable a source as you will find in any sport. That said, I would love to see the Wings and Winnipeg switch divisions so the Wings can get back to their roots. It’s ridiculous that our arch-rival Toronto plus Montreal do not visit Detroit each year. That needs to be corrected.

        • Adam says:

          I agree that HNIC is a very reputable source, and I apologize if I came across too harshly. On the other hand, I’m faced with something that has some issues with it (which I articulated) and I’m confronted with the fact that those issues are inconsistent with my faith in HNIC, so (again, with your pardon), I’m going to think/hope that you’ve missed a critical detail somewhere (very possible with a TV as opposed to a written report).

        • Adam says:

          Also: I have to believe you would love to see Detroit and Atlanta switch Conferences, not Divisions, unless you really find the prospect of 6 games a year against the Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes extremely attractive.

          But like I say, there is zero chance of Detroit getting shifted to the East before Columbus. Columbus is a salvageable franchise but it needs more nearby, marketable matchups. Detroit would do just fine financially even if the league put Detroit in a conference with the 14 least interesting teams in the NHL. Columbus needs the help from flipping Conferences, Detroit doesn’t. Having 5 of the Original Six on one side of the alignment also isn’t going to be something the NHL does unless they have to. I’m sure the Wings would love more games against the Leafs and Habs, but they don’t need them, and that’s why Columbus is ahead of them in the pecking order.

        • Adam says:

          To be fair, it would be a more difficult and interesting situation if 2 teams made the East-to-West switch. Say, Atlanta and Florida. I am confident that Columbus is first in line, but is Nashville 2nd, or Detroit? There are arguments in both directions.

          1. For Nashville: they, like Columbus, need to be in the East more than Detroit does. Detroit will be successful (business-wise) no matter what alignment they’re placed in. Nashville needs the help.

          2. For Detroit: It’d be something of a middle-finger to the apparently vociferously-expressed wishes of the team to have Detroit, an Eastern Time team, kept in the West, while Nashville, a Central Time team, moved to the East. Moreover, if the 2nd East-to-West move is another Southeast Division team (like Florida, my hypothetical), it weakens the argument for shifting Nashville and putting them with the other Southeastern teams because the number of Southeastern teams would be dwindling at that point.

          I don’t know what’d happen at that point. So while I am confident Columbus is 1st in line, I am not sure who is 2nd.

      • Brian says:

        From the local coverage, while a deal seems imminent with True North there isn’t a timetable yet. They may not even move until 2012 depending on when a deal is reached. Any deal after 1/1 requires a vote for majority approval, and logistics will prevent it if it happens too late this summer.

    • Super D says:

      That’s a bummer…the Avs aren’t any good right now, but I’ve loved the rivalry they built up with Detroit since they came to Colorado.

    • @Pat – Question for the Red Wings fans here:

      I understand the hatred of all of the West Coast road games, but this is an issue that pretty much any team in the Eastern and Central Time Zones located in the Western Conference can complain about. The geography of the NHL (with so many teams concentrated in the East) pretty much mandates that a number of teams get screwed on that front. What I’m really interested in is the large focus on re-establishing a rivalry with Toronto. I somewhat understand that, too, but is it really so important that this rivalry would be valued over the Blackhawks (which would be given up by going to the East)? Maybe it’s my jaded Blackhawks fan self (where the Wings are really the only true rival we have), yet that would be an extremely important rivalry that the NHL would be throwing away if the Wings switched conferences. The Leafs and Wings have other alternatives in terms of rivals that the Blackhawks don’t since they’re stuck in the West no matter what happens.

      • Brian says:

        This is why I think the NHL should go away from their current conference scheduling. They should be more like college sports with many games in the division.

        Assume 4 divisions again, with 3-5 from each making the playoffs, and do the first 2 rounds of playoffs within the division. Then play EST vs EST and PST/MST vs CST before having the finals. That minimizes the time zone problems for the playoffs.

        For the season, many of the games should be in division with another big chunk in the conference. Very few games should pair eastern and western teams. The CST teams still suffer the 2 hour time difference to the PST teams, but that is a problem with no solution except more western teams (and cities that can support them). Vegas, SLC, Portland and Seattle would be helpful, and might bolster the team in Phoenix.

        As to your Chicago question, Frank, I think the long down period of Chicago really hurt that rivalry. Plus, given a choice between 1 original 6 team and 4 original 6 teams, which would you choose? The value of any rivalry really varies from fan to fan in the pros. I think Toronto may be nostalgia and a case of the grass being greener.

      • Adam says:

        This is what doesn’t make sense to me (from a league standpoint). Let’s assume that the Wings value the Toronto and Montreal rivalries more highly. Even assuming that, why should the NHL indulge that? The Red Wings in the West have interesting rivalries with Chicago, San Jose, and Anaheim, and although the player turnover has been substantial, it’ll remain a storyline between Detroit and Colorado if Colorado’s fortunes turn around. No doubt, Detroit-Toronto or Detroit-Montreal is more interesting than some of these — but it is it more interesting enough to sacrifice a series of pretty strong and telegenic pairings? I don’t see how that could be, especially when there is at least 1 more team and arguably 2 that need to be in the East, while Detroit only wants to be in the East. If someone is going to get screwed, it only makes sense to screw the one in the best business shape. We can speculate what will happen if/when Detroit’s fortunes go south, but while we’re waiting for that to happen, Columbus is struggling right now (and arguably Nashville).

        • Brian says:

          What doesn’t make sens to me is hurting your best asset to help your weakest link. If Columbus is in that much trouble, move them to Quebec or Hamilton or Portland or Seattle or SLC or Vegas or Houston or …. Moving east is no guarantee of success for Columbus. They gain Pittsburgh and Buffalo but lose Detroit and Chicago. It’s not like any teams outside those 4 will ever be their rivals. The rest of the league couldn’t care less about them.

          The biggest boost for them is apparently losing the 10PM games out west, which you don’t think hurt Detroit that much. Maybe the league should admit that Columbus doesn’t care that much and move the team rather than hurt a valuable franchise trying to save a doomed one.

          • Adam says:

            I take the franchise locations for granted. I don’t know how I can knowledgeably speculate about franchise location because I don’t know what towns have ownership groups willing to buy a team and pay a relocation fee, which towns would be willing to build a new arena (if needed), and so forth. You’re assuming an option (if Columbus is so bad, move them) that I think makes the debate unmanageable because at that point there’s no real mutual understanding that’s a basis for conversation. It’s like saying “Well what they should do is find more good hockey players” or something — it just kind of wishes for an outcome that we can’t control. The league has absolute control over the alignment, though, and taking the team locations as a given, Columbus should be in line ahead of Detroit to go East. Sure, it’s no guarantee, but it can’t hurt, and Detroit isn’t in desperate need of help like Columbus.

          • Brian says:

            If they can’t be moved, then contract them. Why waste resources on a failing team hoping they will eventually turn things around? They have potential owners out there. They keep refusing to let Balsillie buy a team, but let struggling franchises continue to fail. That’s bad business.

          • Adam says:

            Contraction is also sufficiently complicated that I think it undermines any common basis for a conversation on this subject if we blithely assume that that’s an option whenever we feel like making a difficult problem go away.

            It’s impossible to have a conversation focused on how the league ought to be aligned unless we can take for granted what the teams are. If we can just invent new franchise locations or the absence of franchises, what’s to talk about?

          • Brian says:

            If you want to stick to discussing only options if all the teams stay where they are, fine, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us have to restrict our discussion to that. I think there’s value in discussing if the NHL should keep teams where they are or consider moving them or contracting them. The exact destination isn’t important except when that is specifically what we’re discussing. There are multiple cities in Canada or out west but few in the eastern US. You say you take the franchise locations for granted, but we’re all assuming Atlanta moves to Winnipeg. Why is that speculation OK but not Columbus?

            I’m including a range of options for discussion:
            Stay 15/15 with 6 divisions of 5
            Split 16/14 with 2 divisions of 8 and 2 of 7
            Split with 5 divisions of 6 and no conferences
            Moving struggling teams
            Contract to 28
            Expand to 32
            Any other splits people want to discuss

            In your more limited discussion, I’d suggest you make a new post at the root level that gives your parameters (Atlanta -> Winnipeg, no other team moves, no contraction or expansion, etc) and then what you suggest the NHL do and why. Are we allowed to posit unbalanced conferences? What about changing the number of divisions? What else is open to change and what is set in stone as is? That way the rest of us will know what is allowable in your conversation but can discuss things more broadly elsewhere.

          • Adam says:

            You’re being difficult and comparing apples to oranges. The Atlanta–>Winnipeg speculation is well-documented and the point of departure for the conversation. That move is the whole reason that realignment is being proposed in the first place. At this point, of course, it’s within the parameters of the conversation to say, how about they just leave it unbalanced? Fine. Some had said that Detroit should be the 1 team that shifts from the West to the East; this presumes that they do end up balancing the conferences, which is a new point of departure but one that can be discussed in tandem with yours. I have argued that shifting Detroit in that fashion is not sensible because Columbus is a bigger problem. You then say you can’t kill the goose that lays the golden eggs, etc., and I say that Columbus has bigger issues and ought to have its needs addressed first before a team with less pressing needs gets accommodated. You then (out of nowhere) say that Columbus “ought” to be moved, even though we’re now talking about a very different sort of “ought.” The first two points of departure (that Atlanta is, supposedly, moving to Winnipeg, and second, that the league either (a) should go to a 16/14 alignment or (b) re-balance the conferences at 15 each and the question is, who?) assume factors that the NHL can control, but now you’re saying they “ought” to do something they can’t control and which introduces a bunch of unknowable variables into the equation (where would Columbus go? wouldn’t that affect the ultimate realignment that we’re trying to discuss in the first place? do we have any even rudimentary grasp of the multifarious considerations that have to be ironed out to blithely assume they go away in one fashion or another?). It completely changes the frame of reference of the whole conversation, from something over which the league exercises unfettered control and can do whatever it wants with, to saying the league “ought” to do something that it doesn’t control (it ought to find someone in some other market with an adequate arena who wants to buy Columbus and move them? it ought to untangle the complex issues surrounding contraction? let’s get serious).

          • Brian says:

            So on a blog where we discussed ND and TX joining the B10, talking about Columbus moving or being contracted is too speculative? Is there a list somewhere that tells us what we can and can’t speculate about or do you just always get to make that decision?

          • Adam says:

            Brian, it has to do with what the terms of the conversation take for granted — what’s the point of departure (i.e., up to this point you assume a set of facts and after that you make proposals). If you can’t see that, I am not going to be able to make you see it. Making Columbus conveniently disappear without needing to account for where they go or how they end up there, or whether any of that is realistic enough to actually opine on it happening, is roughly equivalent to saying that what the NHL really ought to do is double the amount of money the TV contract is worth, or lobby Congress to put the whole country on a single time zone, or some other fanciful solution that doesn’t live in the real world. In the specific context of the speculation around the Big Ten adding a 12th member, it’d be rather like if someone had said: “I think the Big Ten should add Nebraska and Notre Dame,” someone else had said “well how would you split those divisions?” and your solution was that Northwestern disband their football program.

          • Brian says:


            Just because you take certain things for granted in the conversation doesn’t mean that everyone else does. If you want to be that narrow, you should declare your assumptions. There is no clear reason why a discussion of NHL realignment wouldn’t include movement, contraction and expansion.

          • Adam says:

            OK, well in that case my solution to what the NHL should do is just make themselves as popular as the NFL. Then it wouldn’t matter where the franchises are located.

      • wmtiger says:

        Not a hockey fan but know and talk to a lot of Wings fans and its assumed that the Blackhawks could join the Red Wings in the new Eastern conference in the unlikely event of realignment. The teams people would like to see move west would be the southern teams; e.g. Carolina, Atlanata, Florida teams, etc.

        • Adam says:

          That’d be an excellent way to make the Western Conference almost totally pointless — not only would you put two more of the strongest brands in the East, you’d be voluntarily gerrymandering the alignment to put two more of the weakest brands in the West.

          I just think Detroit should stop whining. They have things pretty good.

          • wmtiger says:

            NHL is hurt a good bit by having one of its best money makers playing beyond midnight in about a third of its games, especially those very valuable postseason games…

          • Adam says:

            I don’t understand why everyone accepts that this happens so often. Detroit plays 8 games per regular season in the Pacific Time Zone (10 if you count the two in Arizona). That isn’t a third of its games; that’s 10%. If you count the 6 games played in Mountain Time, that’s 16 games — 19.5%. That’s 16 games out of 82 that are played 2 time zones away — hardly some constant thing. If they’re good enough to be making the playoffs, people will be watching regardless, and it’s not like the NHL can just write off any sort of draw in the later time slot. I don’t hear anybody crying about the teams that are stuck playing in the NBA’s Thursday night doubleheaders, which are fantastic exposure for the league.

            I’m not saying that the NHL should try and gerrymander Detroit into the West, but they shouldn’t go out of their way to get Detroit out of the West either. There’s other teams that need it more. There are countervailing concerns that make Detroit an asset in the West that are just being ignored.

          • wmtiger says:

            Did you factor in the postseason series against San Jose, Anaheim, Dallas, etc.?

          • Adam says:

            No, since those change year to year, but like I said, you can’t just write off as having zero value the notion of having an attractive option as the back-end of the playoff doubleheader on your cable partner.

            Even at that, though, the NHL schedules the Pacific Time games for 9pm ET starts in the 3rd round, and they start at either 8 or 9pm ET in the Cup Finals. So you’re only talking 2 rounds of the playoffs with late starts. The maximum number of late starts the Red Wings will have through 2 rounds of the playoffs is going to be 8, which assumes they play 2 series and are the lower-seeded team in both series, and that both series go the distance.

          • Adam says:

            Note: I consider a late start to be 10 or 10:30. 9 o’clock hour starts are later than is ideal but c’mon, suck it up.

          • Brian says:

            Yes, those late games have no effect on viewers at all. That’s why the late night P10/WAC games got them so much eastern exposure (and that’s on a weekend). At the same time Detroit is hurt by the late starts, all the western teams are hurt by games starting when they are at work. Heck, many professionals are still working or on their way home when the games end. That’s another 16 games screwing over fan bases by keeping Detroit in the west. The playoffs are even more important and present the same problems.

            You don’t care about Detroit but you seem to be in the minority here.

          • Adam says:

            Unlike you, I do not pretend to have a fine appreciation for the NHL’s need (or lack of a need) to also build a market presence on the west coast. As a result, I have no idea whether the Red Wings as an attractive matchup in the Western Conference is (as a simple example) part of a strategy to pressure cable providers to make Versus available in major metro areas like Los Angeles. Given that there is recognizable value in having the Red Wings in the Western Conference, I am unwilling to blithely assume I know enough to know that the league would be better off with them in the West. On the other hand, given that I am confident I know that there is zero value in having Columbus in the West, I am confident in saying that the league basically couldn’t have Columbus in a worse position than they are now and thus any change to the East would have to help them (even if, potentially, not enough — hard for me to say what enough would be, since I don’t run their books).

          • Adam says:

            I should say, I do not blithely assume I know enough to know whether the Red Wings are more valuable to the NHL in the west or the east. I can see arguments on both sides, so I see no reason to upset the status quo. I can see no arguments on the “west” side for Columbus.

          • Brian says:

            Columbus lost $25M last year and attendance was a record low. They’ve lost $80M since the lost season (the franchise cost $80M originally), including $14M per year the 2 previous years. The fans are sick of losing and moving east won’t change that. The team has zero value in either conference, so why change the status quo?

            As you argued elsewhere, only 8 of their games are 3 hours away with 8 more 2 hours away. Moving to the Eastern Conference trades 12 games with Chicago and Detroit for what? 24 with Tampa Bay, Florida, Carolina and DC? That will save the franchise? Or is it the 8 games against Pittsburgh and Buffalo instead that helps? They’ll get 16 original six games instead of 12, but see the nearest ones much less often. Where is the big financial boon that can save them?

          • Adam says:

            Virtually everything I’ve read re: Columbus in the East is that the prospect of more opponents which are a drivable distance away is their best chance at getting on their feet. (It also might help their need to win more that the East is arguably weaker than the West.)

          • Brian says:


            There are only a few teams in driving distance of Columbus:
            Pittsburgh – 185, Buffalo – 330, DC – 420, Toronto – 425
            Detroit – 204, Chicago – 360, Nashville – 380, St. Louis – 420

            How is the east any better for them based on this?

          • Adam says:

            I’m not saying it’s going to make a dramatic difference in their fortunes — only that they need any marginal improvements more than Detroit does. For example, 16 late games a year doesn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things for a team with a great following like Detroit. For a team with a weak following like Columbus? It could make a difference. Makes sense to give them the first crack at that.

          • Brian says:

            Columbus is struggling because of bad attendance. Late games out west don’t greatly change how many show up for home games. Winning would help, but they only have about 3 NHL-quality players. They are years from any success.

          • Adam says:

            Instead of relocating, what they ought to do is acquire Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.

      • jj says:

        I want anything that puts the hawks, leafs and wings in the same grouping.

        I would like giving 2 conferences and no divisions a shot.

        The 3 above in one

        Mon, bos & ny in the other.

        Divide the rest equally by time zone, country and age of franchise.

        Give each side equal Canadian access, equal travel, equal orig 6, and equal new guys.

        Just try it out.

        • jj says:

          Ok. Did the math, I think.

          Break em up like this. Each team plays 2 home and homes with the division mates and 1 home and home with all the others. Results in 86 game season.

          Playoffs just takes top 8 teams in each division.

        • @jj – One way to resurrect the old Norris Division is to swap Columbus with Toronto, have Nashville take Atlanta’s place in the Southeast, and then move Minnesota over to the Central. Of course, Toronto would almost certainly fight like hell to stay out of the West.

        • Brian says:

          I think they could fix some problems just by changing scheduling to put more focus on the division and less on the conference.

          Division – 24
          Conference – 40
          OOC – 18

          Division – 48
          Conference – 20
          OOC -14

          This would greatly reduce the burden on EST teams playing in the western conference. It would also help build rivalries in the division, especially for some of the newer teams.

          • Adam says:

            At one time the mix was:
            Division — 32
            Conference — 40
            OOC — 10

            Actually, I think it was Detroit that successfully moved to change that formula to the current formula. Ken Holland appears to have some sway at the league meetings, since he was also behind the rule change to disregard shootout victories when calculating the first standard playoff tiebreaker.

          • I loved the old playoff structure with the divisional playoffs for the first two rounds. That made those divisional games even more important and really threw a ton of bad blood in those rivalries. Those divisional rivals back in the 1980s truly hated each other, and as we all know, “sports hate” is really what makes watching games entertaining.

          • Adam says:

            I agree that was a superior format, although my guess is that it won’t change. It obviously isn’t workable with the 6-division format, so you’d have to go back to 4 divisions, which you can’t do evenly with 30 teams. Brian has proposed unbalanced conferences or divisions, which is obviously possible, but when Bettman took over as commissioner, they still used a 4-division format and one of his signature playoff reforms was the current conference-wide non-divisional format. My guess is that he wouldn’t want to go back on that, at least unless they somehow contracted 2 teams and went to a 28-team league with 14-team conferences and 7-team divisions, but that’s easy for me to say (and even if that happened, they still might not go back to the divisional playoff format).

        • jj says:

          detroit to the east and nhl structure is the topic on detroit sports radio today. 99% of callers want to make the move. & yeah, i miss those old divisional playoffs too.

      • jj says:

        For what it’s worth, i’d say the wings’ top rivals would be:

        1. Leafs
        2. Hawks
        3. Avalance

        Others that draw some heavy ire and/or historical feelings of vengeance – oilers, blues, ducks & sharks. Sometimes Pittsburg gets hot.

    • jj says:

      I would destroy the local cable routers if they took away my CBC

  71. Pat says:

    If you know anyone interested in buying the Atlanta Thrashers for $110 Million, please contact Bruce Levenson ASAP.

  72. Brian says:

    Add Pitt coach Todd Graham to the list of people that want Pitt/PSU to start playing again.

    It will never happen with Paterno coaching, but maybe after he leaves it can get done. PSU claims the problem is that they need an unbalanced series for financial reasons and Pitt has turned down 2-1 and 3-2 offers. I’d like to see it as a home and home, but PSU may have a financial point with the difference in stadium size. Perhaps some neutral site games at New Meadowlands and/or FedEx. They recently agreed to a 1-1-1 with Syracuse, so there’s no reason that couldn’t work with Pitt. Maybe it needs to be 2-2-1, or maybe they make it an all neutral site series. Regardless, they need to get past Paterno’s petty refusal to play them any more.

    PSU has started to revive some of its old eastern rivalries (Syracuse, Rutgers) so I hope Pitt is next. I’d like to see PSU’s OOC schedule be something like this:

    1. Mid-level eastern rival (SU, RU, MD, BC, etc)
    2. Pitt
    3. Tough national opponent
    4. Temple

    • joe4psu says:

      Paterno’s pettiness in regard to Pitt is an urban myth. Pitt was on the schedule from 1997-2000 most recently and among the rumors as the reason Pitt hasn’t been scheduled since is that they demand a long term deal. PSU considers Pitt an old eastern rival and wants to give them the same deal it gives schools like Syracuse and Rutgers. Heck, Pitt is one of the schools Paterno has mentioned for membership in the B1G. Paterno’s retirement (death) will not change that scheduling arrangement because of the need for 7 home games a year and the desire for diversity among eastern schools.

      I say all this as a fan that wants Pitt on the schedule. I think that the rivalry between the schools, lopsided as it has been under Paterno, would be good for in state recruiting. Kids in PA used to root for Pitt or for PSU because it was a big deal every year and that helped keep them in state. I honestly think that they could play Pitt yearly and still work out the 7 home games with an 8 game conference schedule. When the conference schedule goes to 9 games Pitt will only be on the schedule yearly if they’re in the B1G.

      • Brian says:

        While I’d like to see it be annual, I’d settle for it just being an occasional series. That being said, PSU has a 1-1-1 with Syracuse and a 1-1 with Rutgers but wants a 2-1 or 3-2 from Pitt (like they get from Temple). If JoePa wanted to play Pitt, they would have this decade.

        • SideshowBob says:

          PSU doesn’t “want a 2-1 or 3-2 from Pitt”. They have been willing and eager to do a 1-1 two game series like they have with Rutgers or Syracuse. PSU only wants an unbalanced number of home games if it is a long term series — something that Pitt is demanding. Pitt is not interested in a short series with PSU and they have said they only want a long term even series or nothing. And PSU isn’t interested in locking up the schedule with a long term even series with any team, including Pitt, because they prefer variety.

          • Brian says:

            You say one thing, others say another. I’ve seen multiple sources say PSU has said they need 2-1 or maybe 3-2, including some PSU fans.

            Pitt may be asking for a long term series, and I can understand PSU being hesitant about that. Still, I think PSU would benefit from reviving the rivalry.

          • SideshowBob says:

            Brian — People can say whatever they want. But they’d be wrong. The media has reported that PSU is fine with a 2 game series with Pitt that is home and home (which makes sense as they have given such a deal to BC, Syracuse and Rutgers in recent years, all peers of Pitt). PSU, however, is unwilling to do a long home and home with Pitt – or anyone else for all we know.

            To wit:


            >>Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley said Penn State would be willing to bring Pitt back onto the schedule, but only for a two-game series.

            Pitt officials have balked at that, saying the rivalry should be played every season.<>Curley said the reason Penn State and Pitt broke off discussions the last time around was because Pitt wanted something more than a two-year deal, while Penn State was and is married to the two-game contract.

            Pederson refused comment.

            Curley seemed open to reviving talks with Pederson about a two-game deal but said it is “not on his immediate radar screen.”

            “I don’t know for sure. I can’t read the crystal ball,” Curley said. “We’d have to talk. We couldn’t come to an agreement before. They wanted a longer series. We weren’t interested in doing that.<<

          • SideshowBob says:

            Ugh, my second citation didn’t come through properly:


            >>Penn State’s newest non-conference series against Virginia, Nebraska and Boston College and tentative deals with Notre Dame and Syracuse are all home-and-home series. All of those series are two-game series.

            Curley said the reason Penn State and Pitt broke off discussions the last time around was because Pitt wanted something more than a two-year deal, while Penn State was and is married to the two-game contract.

            Pederson refused comment.

            Curley seemed open to reviving talks with Pederson about a two-game deal but said it is “not on his immediate radar screen.”

            “I don’t know for sure. I can’t read the crystal ball,” Curley said. “We’d have to talk. We couldn’t come to an agreement before. They wanted a longer series. We weren’t interested in doing that.<<

          • Brian says:

            And here’s a newer article from the same paper saying otherwise. The whole point is that it isn’t as clear as you say it is. Multiple sources on each side give different information.


          • SideshowBob says:

            No, that article is meaningless. Ron Cook hates PSU and Paterno and is more than happy to write a hatchet piece to drives views to an article (since any article complaining about Paterno will get plenty of hits). Notice that the article has absolutely no quotes and is nothing but conjecture.

            There’s no evidence that PSU wouldn’t Pitt to the exact same deal it has given all of its peers in the Big East. The only reason such a deal isn’t signed is because Pitt doesn’t want it and is holding out for a long term deal on their term.

          • Brian says:

            Yes, because there so many facts in your articles. The PSU AD can say whatever he wants to the media. Show me evidence of the Pitt AD saying PSU offered a home and home and he turned it down because he will only accept a long term deal (or actual proof that such a deal was offered), and I’ll believe you. Otherwise this whole issue is he said – he said, where fans believe what they want.

          • Brian says:

            Here’s another article that says Paterno is the impediment to renewing the rivalry. It also says the rivalry will never be the same, and is a part of the past.


    • cutter says:

      I have a good solution–invite Pitt, Syracuse and Rutgers to the Big Ten and make sure they’re in the same division as Penn State. If Notre Dame doesn’t want to become the 16th member, invite a program like Maryland or Missouri or Connecticut to the table.

      That way the fans get their annual Pitt-PSU game and Paterno gets a de facto “Eastern Conference” within the Big Ten. The B1G drops the Leaders and Legends names for the divisions as Northwestern and Wisconsin join the Western Division (unless Missouri joins, then only one of the two go west).

      And yes, I know this won’t work if Notre Dame doesn’t agree to it because it doesn’t maximize profitability given the current economics of college football, etc. But it’d still be one hell of a conference for football and basketball without the Fighting Irish . . . .

  73. Hopkins Horn says:

    Frank, congrats to the Bulls for their impressive Game One victory. Rest assured I am being completely sincere when I wish the Bulls the best of luck prevailing in an extremely hard-fought, seven-game series with approximately 20 aggregate overtime periods.

    • @Hopkins Horn – Thank you very much, although I’d prefer 3 more victories like tonight even if it bores the rest of America! I won’t be expecting LeBron and D-Wade to be shut down like that again. That being said, the size advantage the Bulls have is pretty glaring and that showed up on the offensive boards. We also have the Taj Majal:

  74. Brian says:

    A little BCS AQ discussion for the off season.

    The SEC (1, 1, 1), B12 (2, 2, 2), P12 (3, 4, 4) and B10 (3, 5, 5) are safely in the top 6 barring monumental collapses this year.

    The ACC is ranked 3, 6 and 7, with the final percentage of teams in the BCS top 25 the problem area. They are close to the BE for 6th, though, so they could improve. The average highest ranked team has them #6, so they need someone to have a good year. The ACC and BE are pretty close for 6th place (12.0, 14.7), too, and well behind 5th place (B10 – 7.0).

    The BE is ranked 6, 6 and 7, with the average highest ranked team the biggest problem but at least they’re close to 6th. They are safely 6th in average computer ranking, but could drop to 7th in top 25 teams.

    The MWC is ranked 4, 5 and 7, with the average final computer ranking of all teams in the conference as the problem. Not only are they not currently an AQ, they are also losing TCU who is bolstering their numbers. However, if the BE (or ACC) drops to 7th in 2 categories you’d have to think the MWC would have a decent chance at getting a 2-year waiver. If things stay as is with the ACC, BE and MWC all coming up short in one area, I think they don’t get the waiver due to the upcoming membership changes.

    • cfn_ms says:

      I think they have zero chance at a waiver. MWC is outside the top 3 in all categories, and WELL outside the 6th spot in the average ranking prong. And there’s certainly no financial incentive for anyone to give them the gift of an AQ spot.

      • Brian says:

        If the BE drops to 6, 7 and 7 in the rankings and the external pressure from Congress/DOJ increases, I could see them getting a 2-year exemption. That buys time for the BE and ACC to recover from their doldrums. As is, the MWC has met the criteria to apply for a exemption. If 1 or 2 of the AQs are still in a position where they wouldn’t qualify for an exemption (if they were being evaluated), it presents a tough situation for the Presidential Oversight Committee.

  75. Brian says:

    B10 meetings are this week. Topics under discussion include the 9 game schedule, CCG sites and 1PM game starts.|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

      • Adam says:

        It is difficult for me to express how much it rankles me to hear all of this discussion about a “traditional upper division” or “traditional lower division.” Competitively, they shouldn’t be forming a league together unless they’re in the same “division” (or, are willing to disregard competitive differences).

      • Brian says:

        I like how he wisely accounts for the traditional tiers in the conference when delegating a second rival. His mistake is using only 2 tiers when 4 are more accurate. The concept of balancing the two locked rivals as well as splitting the remaining 4 teams equally shows more common sense than I expect the B10 to show, unfortunately.

        • Adam says:

          “Traditional tiers” of competitiveness is why you have different conferences in the same region — thus the MAC and Big Ten are geographically parallel but not competitively. Anybody in a given single league should either be either factually or constructively able to manage against anybody else in that same league. What does it mean to be in a league other than to have self-segregated into a series of peer institutions?

          This is not to say that I think that Indiana’s program is actually as strong as Ohio State’s, but I think the league is heading for a dark place in the long term if we are unwilling to pretend that that is the case — if they aren’t peers, why are they in a league together?

          • Brian says:

            Thankfully the B10, unlike you, was smart enough to recognize the tiers of FB programs in the conference and take competitive balance into account as the primary factor in divisional alignment. They then used tradition to lock in 1 inter-division rivalry.

            If the B10 goes to 9 games and they decide to lock a second rival, they would be well advised to again consider balance and rivalries when assigning the second rival and when scheduling the other 4 teams. There are clear differences in the strengths of certain programs and only a moron would ignore those differences when making these decisions.

            In the recent past several teams have had a B10 schedule missing OSU and MI, and coincidentally they often have an above average year. NW didn’t play OSU when winning their B10 titles. IA and OSU didn’t play in 2002. MSU and OSU didn’t play last year. The reality is that scheduling can lead to vast, largely avoidable differences in schedule difficulty. All 12 schedules can’t be equally difficult, especially since the top teams can’t play themselves and the same for the bottom teams, but precautions can be taken.

            Step 1 – Balance the intra-division schedules by using competitive balance to split the divisions

            Step 2 – Balance the locked inter-division schedules with the second locked rivals

            Current locked rivals (with tiers):
            1/1 – OSU/MI, PSU/NE
            2/3 – IA/PU
            2/4 – WI/MN
            3/4 – NW/IL
            3/4 – MSU/IN

            Second rival:
            2/2 – WI/IA (tradition)
            1/3 – PSU/MSU (tradition and balance)
            1/4 – OSU/MN, NE/IN, MI/IL (balance)
            3/3 – NW/PU (balance)

            Rivalry totals:
            3 – MN
            4 – IL, IN
            5 – OSU, MI, NE, IA, PU, MSU
            6 – PSU, WI
            7 – NW

            Yes, NW wins and MN loses with these pairings, but the rest are pretty balanced while respecting tradition.

            Step 3 – Balance the rotating inter-division schedule by pairing the remaining teams wisely

            OSU – NE/NW, IA/MSU – 1/3, 2/3
            PSU – IA/MN, MI/NW – 2/4, 1/3
            WI – MI/MSU, NE/NW – 1/3, 1/3
            PU – MI/MSU, NE/MN – 1/3, 1/4
            IL – NE/MN, IA/MSU – 1/4, 2/3
            IN – IA/NW, MI/MN – 2/3, 1/4

            MI – WI/PU, PSU/IN – 2/3, 1/4
            NE – OSU/IL, WI/PU – 1/4, 2/3
            IA – PSU/IN, OSU/IL – 1/4, 1/4
            MSU – WI/PU, OSU/IL – 2/3, 1/4
            NW – OSU/IN, PSU/WI – 1/4, 1/2
            MN – PSU/IL, PU/IN – 1/4, 3/4

            Here NW and MN get paid back for their second rivals. PSU is the only other school that doesn’t balance ideally.

            Step 4 – Balance the schedules by pairing home and away games wisely

            For example, OSU shouldn’t get PSU, WI, IL, MI and NE at home in one year while playing at IN, PU, MN and NW. Instead, perhaps pair PSU/IN and WI/PU with IL variable. Likewise, split the rival pairs (MI/MN) and the rotating inter-division pair (NE/NW or IA/MSU) so OSU would get either MI/NW or NE/MN at home and the other pair on the road.

            Step 5 – Balance the schedules by matching years with 5 home games to more difficult schedules and vice versa

            This would especially help for PSU, NW and MN who have unbalanced inter-division pairs due to their rivals.

            By taking all of this into account, the B10 can provide reasonably balanced schedules for all teams over time.

          • Adam says:

            In the long run it is destructive of the cohesion of the league to formally recognize such stratification. It’s been suggested in the comments on this blog before that schools like Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Nebraska, USC, Texas, et al. should leave the NCAA and start their own super-association where they make the rules and don’t need to share anything with anybody. The more times and more ways we recognize strata between the membership, the more likely we inch toward such a day. It’s like paying the players, which the NCAA has wisely and vociferously avoided.

            And thanks for calling my intelligence into question. The distinguishing characteristic of Frank’s blog is that the people are generally smart and civil, but I’m just going to be honest, you can be a real smug dick. If I’m alone in that assessment, shrug.

          • Brian says:

            You’re welcome. I call it like I see it in this case. You’re the one that thinks you know better than the presidents and ADs what’s best for the B10 schools. They acknowledge that there are historical tiers in the B10 and that ignoring them is bad for the B10, but you think they are idiots. None of them think IN football is the same as OSU football, and they act accordingly because that is best for everyone. They don’t punish IN with less money or tougher schedules, but they did consider historical success when making divisions and should also consider it when scheduling. Balanced scheduling will lead to more true champions which will in turn better represent the B10 in the BCS. That leads to more respect and greater success for the B10, and that helps everyone in the B10 including IN.

      • Richard says:

        I’m not sure why every single imaginary setup with a second rival (besides mine) insists on keeping Iowa-PU as a rivalry game.

        Anyway, here are the tiers (as I see them), which takes in to account resources and recruiting grounds more than past performance:
        1: OSU, PSU
        1.5: Michigan, Nebraska
        2: Wisconsin
        3: Iowa, MSU
        4: Illinois, NU
        5: IU, PU, Minny

        Both divisions have 18 points.
        Ideal would be 6 points per team
        Minny: UW(2), PU(5)
        Iowa: UW(2), Illinois (4)
        UNL: PSU(1.5), IU(5)
        NU: Illinois(4), OSU(1)
        MSU: IU(5), PSU(1)
        Michigan: OSU(1), PU(5)

        OSU: Michigan(1.5), NU(4)
        PSU: MSU(3), UNL(1.5)
        IU: MSU(3), UNL(1.5)
        PU: Michigan(1.5), Minny(5)
        Illinois: NU(4), Iowa(3)
        UW: Iowa(3), Minny(5)

        Every school is within 1 point of 6 except for PSU, IU, and Wisconsin. This is mostly due to Bucky’s two traditional rivals being a middle-of-the-B10 team and an average team (and no 2-rivalry arrangement would not pair Iowa and Minny with Wisconsin). PSU & IU suffer as a consequence, though of the kings, I’d say UNL is most vulnerable.

        • Brian says:


          At least for me, but probably for most others too, it’s because I used the current set up as a starting point. I had several reasons for that:

          1. I tend to think the B10 administration will prefer to keep their new line up as is. They don’t strike me as big on change. They tried to preserve many of the locked rivals from the 11 team schedule when expanding to 12, so I assume they’ll try to keep the first locked rival if they add a second one.

          2. If you start from scratch for the locked rivals, there are a ton of variables (at least we both looked to balance the difficulty of the pair of rivals – many people don’t). As is, we have 4 different games out of 12. Keeping IA/PU brings that to 3/12. The 3/12 is based on NW. I paired them with PU because they were locked before adding NE and the B10 likes to keep those things. You paired NW and OSU, perhaps in part out of personal preference. If you kept IA/PU and NW/PU, I think you’d end up with the pairings I did.

          3. I think IA/PU is at least as viable as IA/IL as a rivalry. I’ve never had the feeling that IA/IL is valued that much by anybody (besides you). NE, WI, MN and ISU mean more to IA (and probably PSU and NW at the moment) than IL. IL seems to value MI, OSU, PU, NW and MO over IA. They also don’t have a long history.

          IA opponents all-time:
          MN 103, WI 85, PU 81, IN 72, NW 71, IL 69

          Since 1950:
          MN 61, WI 59, PU 53, OSU 50, IN 50, NW 47, MI 43, MSU 42, IL 39

          IA has played PU a lot more than IL since 1950 (MSU joined the B10). IA is way down the list of opponent for IL, too.

          IL opponents all-time:
          NW 104, OSU 97, MI 92, PU 85, WI 77, IA 69, IN 67

          Since 1950:
          NW 61, OSU 59, MI 57, PU 53, WI 51, MN 45, MSU 44, IN 44, IA 39

          I just don’t see how IA/IL is an important rivalry. IA/PU has been played much more often, and will have several years as an annual locked rivalry to pick up steam. IL is about 100 miles closer to IA and in the same time zone, but that’s about it for advantages.

          • greg says:

            Iowa and Illinois didn’t play from 1952 to 1967 due to bad blood in the rivalry, which seems to be the definition of a rivalry accounts for the low number of games played. Had they played every year in that stretch, they would be each other’s 3rd most played opponent.

            They are border states that form a natural rivalry. There is a rivalry there, albeit one that is now relatively weak compared to Wisky or ISU. With Purdue, there just isn’t one at all. Iowa fans would definitely like to play Illinois more often, but its not a huge deal.

          • Brian says:

            Where was the outcry for not playing IA/IL? As BHGP says, the IA/IL rivalry “is essentially defunct right now.”


            IA/IL used to be a good rivalry, but IA can’t really maintain 7 rivalries. ISU, NE, WI and MN are all stronger rivalries, with NW and PSU being good lately. Even if they had played 14 more games, which is unlikely since they skipped about 2 years per decade (77-78, 87-88, 01-02, 09-10), they would only have played IL as much as PU. Based on the miss rate, PU would have still been a more common opponent. They have taken a prolonged break from playing each other 3 times. Apparently the ADs didn’t fight very hard to resume the rivalry since they’ll be on a 6 year break with the new schedules.

            There may be no juice in IA/PU, but that’s true for several of the locked pairs. OSU doesn’t have another rival besides MI in the west. Nobody else in the east has a rivalry with MN or NW. Since IA/IL really isn’t much bigger than IA/PU, I don’t see it as a show stopper.

          • greg says:

            There are a whole lot of people who would like to see IA/IL played, on both sides. The IA/PU matchup has created nothing but jeers from both fan bases.

            But like I said, not a big deal. I wouldn’t expect he conference to go to great lengths to change it, but if they decide to have two dedicated crossovers and changing it works out, it’d be nice to have.

          • Richard says:


            You’ve heard from the Iowa side, and if the Illinois side chimes in, I think you’ll find that Iowa is at least second on the list of Illini rivals. Illinois has no rivalry with PU, and as Frank said, Illinois and Indiana have a heated rivalry in basketball, but in football, there’s nothing there compared to Iowa.

            In any case, Iowa/PU was set up as a protected rivalry just to make the numbers work. The B10 was willing to jettison the NU/PU and Illinois/IU protected games (not to mention MSU/PSU) and Iowa/PU has even less justification for protection than those games. There’s no set of fans to which protecting Iowa/PU at the expense of Iowa/Illinois is actually the preferred choice.

          • Richard says:


            BTW, I didn’t pair NU/OSU because of personal preference, but solely because balance was considered important. If I was B10 dictator, I would not consider balance a top priority, and would put together these protected rivalries:

            Iowa: Illinois(4), Wisconsin(2)
            Minnesota: Wisconsin(2), Indiana(5)
            Nebraska: PSU(1), OSU(1)
            Michigan: PSU(1), OSU(1)
            MSU: Indiana(5), PU(5)
            NU: Illinois(4), PU(5)

            Wisconsin: Iowa(3), Minny(5)
            PSU: Nebraska(1.5), Michigan(1.5)
            OSU: Nebraska(1.5), Michigan(1.5)
            IU: MSU(3), Minny(5)
            PU: NU(4), MSU(3)
            Illinois: NU(4), Iowa(3)

          • Brian says:


            I’ve heard from 1 IA fan, who may or may not be representative of the majority of IA and IL fans, and he says IA would prefer IL but it isn’t a big deal.

            I never said IA wouldn’t prefer IL, just that I didn’t think it was important. Certainly not important enough for the B10 to act like they made a mistake and change it. Having already paired IA/PU, I expect them to maintain that game.

            I’ve never heard an IL fan ever claim IA as their second rival. OSU and MI seem to come before IA (even if the hate isn’t reciprocated) and of course NW. IL/PU may not have a rivalry as far as the fans are concerned, but they play a trophy game (since 1943, although it has older roots) and the B10 considers that important. Nobody but PU has a FB rivalry with IN. I don’t think I ever said IL does, but if so it was a mistake and I didn’t mean to say that. They had a locked game, so perhaps I used rival in that sense, but I certainly would never say either side particularly cares about the other.

            I realize IA/PU was set up as a pairing of odd men out, much like the old pairings of IL/IN, MSU/PSU and NW/PU. IL/IN is preserved by the division. MSU/PSU wasn’t kept because PSU/NE was more important, but many fans on each side have talked about reviving it with the ninth game (a lot also don’t care about it). NW/PU went away because NW/IL had to be kept.

            I fully agree with you that no fan base of IA, IL or PU would prefer IA/PU to IA/IL if given a choice with no other constraints. But I also think none of the fan bases will be up in arms about it, and that the B10 leaders have other concerns. They may go your way, but I think they are more inclined to view swapping IA/PU for IA/IL as akin to admitting they made a mistake. These are the people they won’t drop Leaders and Legends despite everyone telling them they made a horrible mistake. IA/PU would also be one of just several non-rivalry locked games as I pointed out elsewhere. It’s just an opinion. Just remember that what the fans would choose and what the conference will choose are not always the same.

          • Brian says:


            I wouldn’t put balance as the top priority, but second to preserving rivalries. However, WI/IA is the only important rivalry that was lost. Maybe PSU/MSU counts, but both fans bases seem split about that game. So after picking WI/IA, I chose balance as the next best criteria for the other pairs while trying to use lesser rivalries like PSU/MSU as a guide.

            I should note that I disagree with your tiers. I don’t see MI and NE as lesser powers since their names let them recruit anywhere and the results show it works just fine. Similarly, I don’t see PU as below IL and on par with IN and MN. PU has a significantly better track record than IN and MN. If you want to bump IL up a level based on potential I can understand that, but results show them lagging MSU, NW and PU.

            The fundamental difference between your games and mine is that I think it hurts the league to play all the kings against each other every year. That just guarantees them more losses while aiding the middle set of teams. The end results will be fewer BCS title game appearances, fewer BCS bowl game participants and a worse national perception of the league. It may help the regular season value of the TV deal but will hurt the CCG’s value. Balanced rivalry games and overall schedules allow each team to earn their place in the league as well as promising the bottom teams more games they can sell out.

            Your games add up to (making PU a 4 and MI and NE a 1):
            9 – MSU
            8 – NW, WI, IN
            7 – MN, PU, IL
            6 – IA
            2 – OSU, MI, PSU, NE

            Those seem destined to promote MSU, NW, WI and IN while hurting the kings and IA. I realize the other 2 games on the schedule will help reduce the discrepancy, but playing a king half the time versus all the time is a big difference.

        • Richard says:

          How would dropping Iowa/PU be “admitting to a mistake” when everyone knows that the numbers forced that matchup to be a protected rivalry game? Were they “admitting to mistakes” when they dropped the NU/PU, Illinois/IU and even MSU/PSU protected games?

          Look, Brian, sometimes, it’s OK to admit that you were wrong and that you don’t know as much about a subject as you might have thought. A reasonable person would defer to people who actually live in Illinois & Iowa when it comes to knowledge about a rivalry between those 2 schools, but you don’t strike me as that type. However, I have confidence that the B10 is not as wrongheaded & bullheaded as you are. If they do protect Iowa/PU at the expense of Iowa/Illinois, then they would have plumbed new depths of cluelessness.

          Then again, this may all be moot if the B10 expands by the time they implement a 9-game conference slate.

          • Brian says:

            You’ve said nothing that indicates I am wrong, Richard. I didn’t say IA/PU was a great rivalry or a better rivalry than IA/IL, I said it was viable (a few good games, especially with something on the line, would do wonders). I said IA/IL wasn’t an important rivalry and that I don’t think the B10 will drop the IA/PU game to lock it instead.

            I’ve seen Iowa writers come up with a 9 game plan that also keeps IA/PU. That shows I’m not too far off base as they reached the same conclusion. How many Iowa writers are proposing your change? I haven’t seen it anywhere else, not that I’ve been looking. What about IL writers? PU writers? If I’m so clearly wrong, there should be a preponderance of proposals suggesting/encouraging your change.

            Flipping through BHGP, I see no clear evidence for IA/IL being a big deal. Some say it is (most seem to be from the border area), others say not at all. Here’s their take on the 9 game schedule:


            Notice the complete lack of IA fans stumping for dumping IA/PU for IA/IL as part of the plan. Sure, they all mock the IA/PU game but nobody mentions your idea (and I scanned back about a year and still saw nothing).

            I’m not saying it is the right choice, but I think it’s what will happen.

          • Brian says:


            Here’s a quote from the B10’s Mar Rudner from an Iowa paper last year (actually an excerpt from an article in 2008):

            [start quote]

            Mark Rudner, a Big Ten associate commissioner who handles football and basketball scheduling, said the league never defined traditional rivalries before Penn State. But, he said, the league understood which rivalries “made sense.” For instance, Iowa didn’t play Indiana in 1985-86 and 1989-90, or Illinois in 1987-88, but it had played Minnesota since 1930.

            Each school tabbed two others as permanent. A few rivalries were automatic: Michigan-Ohio State, Indiana-Purdue, Wisconsin-Minnesota. Some grew in intensity, such as Illinois-Northwestern. Others, like Penn State-Michigan State, began with friendly college presidents and escalated into season-ending trophy games.

            “If you take the the 11 schools and multiply it by two for rivalry games, 21 of the 22 are pretty good rivalries now,” Rudner said. “The one that you could argue isn’t really a rivalry is Northwestern-Purdue.”

            Since the mid-1990s, when permanent opponents took effect, no school has asked to change.

            “It all sort of fell into place,” Rudner said. “During that time there’s been no request from athletic directors to reexamine the rivalries. It’s been constant since it was first adopted.”

            [end quote]

            The important points here:
            1. The B10 didn’t consider IA/IL an important rivalry
            2. Nobody has requested a change

            The second point indicates that IL isn’t complaining about getting IN instead of IA (perhaps because they knew it was futile, perhaps because they don’t mind). We already knew IA would prefer WI and MN over IL.

            A quick look at some IL message boards shows some fans that care a lot about IA (mostly older) but most don’t. The rivalry from their side seems to be more hate based on the 1952 ugliness that lead to the break (only the old fans) and the Deon Thomas NCAA issues in 1990, not IA itself. It is also clearly regional within IL (and probably IA). Outside of Chicago and the border area, IA is not a big deal.

    • Pat says:

      Michigan’s AD, Dave Brandon, said today that a 9 game conference schedule is unlikely in 2015, but he is hopeful for 2017.

      • Brian says:

        I’ve seen a couple of ADs indicate that they need to wait until 2017 now.

        Teams with 3+ OOC games scheduled in future years
        2015: IN (2h, 1?), IA (1h, 1a, 1?), MSU (2h, 1a), MN (2h, 1a), NW (2h, 1a), PU (3h, 1a)
        2016: MN (3h), NE (3h)
        2017: MSU (4h)
        2018: MSU (1h, 2a – 1 can move to 2020)

        Regular OOC series
        In odd years:
        IA @ ISU (ISU has 5 B12 road games in odds)
        MSU @ ND thru 2013, vs ND from 2017+
        MI vs ND (ND also @ USC)
        PU vs ND

        B10 Rivalries in 2011
        IL – 1a; NW @ IL
        IN – 1a; PU @ IN
        PU – 1h; PU @ IN
        WI – 1h; WI @ MN
        PSU – 1h, 1a; PSU @ OSU, NE @ PSU
        OSU – 1h, 1a; OSU @ MI, PSU @ OSU

        MN – 3a; NE @ MN, WI @ MN, IA @ MN
        NW – 2h; NW @ IL, NW @ IA
        MSU – 1a; MI @ MSU
        IA – 2a; IA @ NE, IA @ MN
        NE – 1h, 2a; IA @ NE, NE @ MI, NE @ PSU
        MI – 1h, 1a; MI @ MSU, NE @ MI

        All schedule info from

        Total Rivalry Games

        IL – 1a
        IN – 1a
        PU – 2h
        WI – 1h
        PSU – 1h, 1a
        OSU – 1h, 1a

        MN – 3a
        NW – 2h
        MSU – 1h, 1a
        IA – 3a
        NE – 1h, 2a
        MI – 2h, 1a

        2015 will be tough to start 9 games with 5 teams (IA, MSU, MN, NW, PU) having a road OOC game scheduled and 4 of the 5 being West Division teams. I’m assuming the B10 will want half of each division to have 5 home conference games rather than 4 and 2. The only other problem year is 2017 with MSU having 4 games scheduled, but presumably they can move one of those games.

        Assuming the 2011 schedule sets the pattern for rivalry games, then I’d propose 5 home games in odd years for IL, IN, OSU & MN, IA, NE.

        • bullet says:

          Isn’t 2017 when the new TV contract starts? Whenever that date is should be the logical time to change.

          • Brian says:

            Actually, the deal is through 2015-2016. But since the 12 team schedule starts in 2011, it make some sense to change in an odd year. That let’s them get through an equal rotation of home and away for the 6 locked opponents before making changes.

          • Nostradamus says:

            It was a 10 year deal starting in 2007-2008 going through 2016-2017. Thus the 2017 season is indeed when the new television contract would start. It is also the first season Nebraska will be a full equity member on the conference.

            I agree with Bullet, that it is a logical spot to make the switch. If you act now, you’ve given everyone enough time to get their scheduling issues taken care of. You also aren’t adding the additional game until you see the monetary benefits of adding it.

          • Brian says:


            Do you have a link for that?

            I’ve got multiple media sources that say the B10 deal runs through 2015-2016. Here’s one:


          • Nostradamus says:

            Saying through 2016 gets confusing, I agree. Your link from Mandel though doesn’t necessarily say what you are interpreting though. Generally though when someone says a deal expires in 2016 (especially a football writer like Mandel) they are talking about the 2016 football season or the 2016-2017 academic year.

            This link is from the ESPN/BTN/Big Ten fact sheet when they announced the deal in 2006. Notice how it compares the “old” or “current” deal with the “new” deal for the 2007-2008 season.


          • Nostradamus says:

            And then this link from Matt Sarz’s site. Note he is using single years as well, but the old Pac-12 deal expires after this season, 2011-2012. The SEC deal is listed as 2023, but expires 2023-2024, etc.


          • Brian says:

            I think you are right. They announced the new deal in June of 2006, with the 10 year deal starting in August of 2007 along with the BTN. A 10 year deal would run through June of 2017. I’ll try to remember to let a couple of my sources know (you never know how many of them just copied each other).

            Like I said, 2016 would be a bad choice anyway. Only odd years are really a choice, so 2017 is the first year that makes sense.


          • Nostradamus says:

            No problem.

          • Nostradamus says:

            And in all of the date confusion, just to make this clear for everyone… The Big XII will re-negotiate their primary contract that expires in 2015-2016 a year before the Big Ten. So Delany also has the advantage of seeing what Beebe and Co. come up with before going in to the Big Ten negotiations.

        • joe4psu says:

          That makes a lot of sense. What I’d like to see is all the schools in a division having the same number of home games per year. The unequal number of home games is often pointed to as a reason not to have a 9 game conference schedule so making it even by division is the closest you can come to “fairness”.

          • Brian says:

            It makes a lot of sense in some ways, but not in others. Who you play in your home division games may be more important than if you play 2 or 3. I think the B10 will prefer to have everyone play 2-2 for inter-division games to keep the balance between the divisions every year. Within the division, I think they’ll try to balance difficulty and rivalry locations versus the number of home games. They could go your way, though. I don’t see a definitive argument either way.

  76. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    LSU will receive 37,000 tickets for the Cowboys’ Classic against Oregon to open the 2011 season. Season ticket holders’ demand exceeded the supply and no tickets will be sold to the general public. No word on how many tickets Oregon will receive, but I’m guessing 24k and they sell half.

    • ccrider55 says:

      Would that be a surprise? 400+ mile drive vs 2200.

    • cutter says:

      The 2012 Cowboys Classic has Michigan playing Alabama. I have no doubt most of the fans in the stadium that day will be from the Crimson Tide given the relative proximity to Dallas.

    • Jake says:

      Alan – you mean LSU won’t sell tickets to the public, right? 37 + 24 is only 61,000, and that place holds at least another 25,000 or so. Yeah, I’d be surprised if the Ducks bring more than 10,000. That’s a long trip.

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        Jake – The Cowboys Classic originally allotted 24,000 seats to LSU. LSU was able to obtain another 13,000, so the total LSU ticket allotment is 37,000. LSU season ticket holders’ ticket requests for the game exceed 37,000, so LSU will not be able to sell any tickets to the general public.

        The Cowboys Classic offered Cowboys’ season ticket holders the first shot at tickets, so there should be several thousand locals in the stadium that may or may not be for LSU.

  77. Brian says: