The Jump to Conclusions Game: Why Angry Aggies Aren’t Enough to Move Texas A&M to the SEC

Posted: August 2, 2011 in Big East, Big Ten, Sports
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Nature abhors a vacuum and with a month to go until football season starts, conference realignment talk is back at a fever pitch even though there’s nothing really going on. The latest scuttlebutt is that Texas A&M is dancing with the SEC again with the rest of the Big 12 getting all hot and bothered about their high school recruiting targets getting TV time on the Longhorn Network (which has been placated… for now).

Believe me – I loooove conference realignment talk. It’s the reason why 99% of you are reading this blog in the first place. However, the “Texas A&M to the SEC” rumors are driving me up the wall, not necessarily because it would never happen (even though that’s what I personally believe), but that so many commentators on this subject simply argue that “Angry Aggies = SEC Move” without any further analysis. (For the purposes of this blog post, I will focus on Texas A&M, but the same principles can be applied to rumors involving angry Oklahoma and Missouri fans.) I went through a fairly detailed look at why I didn’t believe that A&M could go to the SEC several months ago and think that all of those arguments still hold true.

To be clear, I believe Texas A&M is an extremely valuable school and if the SEC could add them with no conference realignment repercussions elsewhere, then I could see it happening. A&M has a lot more value than the average UT fan would likely admit. The problem is there could be major conference realignment repercussions that the SEC will not want to witness happen (i.e. its main competitors getting even stronger with the Pac-12 adding Texas and/or the Big Ten adding Notre Dame) – the SEC wanting to add A&M as a reactionary move in 2010 is much different than pulling the trigger and causing the dominoes to fall in 2011. At the same time, A&M’s value is exactly why UT won’t just let them walk away.

Regardless, there’s a segment of the college football fan population that’s simply always going to believe that Texas A&M is heading to SEC just because the Aggies are pissed off. (Remember Missouri was pissed off at the Big 12 last year, too. Also look at all those Big East schools that are supposedly pissed that the conference won’t split. Tons of options for all of them, right?) That’s fair enough, but all I ask of this segment of the population is to address the following roadblocks to that ever happening:

1. The SEC can’t just rip up its TV contracts simply because it expands – A decent number of columnists/bloggers have taken SEC Commissioner Mike Slive’s comment that there are periodic “look-ins” for its contracts with CBS and ESPN and came to conclusion that the conference could set fire to those deals in the event of expansion. While the terms of the SEC TV deal are not public (and that’s the case for any conference), this is a dangerous assumption that I would wager is 99.99% incorrect. (The .01% allows for the slight chance that Slive has compromising pictures of various CBS and ESPN executives with Casey Anthony.) ESPN certainly doesn’t believe that the SEC’s “look-ins” can reopen the TV deal:

The agreement with ESPN calls for a “look-in” review after the first five years but can occur sooner, said Burke Magnus, ESPN senior vice pres ident of college sports programming.

“We knew when we made a 15-year deal that time was not going to stand still so we purposely built in these look-ins,” Magnus said. “They don’t reopen the deal. There’s no outs. It’s an opportunity for both of us to really take stock of where we are and see what we could be doing better.”

It is standard operating procedure that these types of contracts have provisions that protect the network, NOT the conference, in the event of membership changes. In a post by the excellent college TV sports blogger mattsarz about the C-USA/ESPN lawsuit, he attached the underlying TV contract that was made public as part of the complaint that was filed. Here’s the language about regarding membership changes:

10. CONFERENCE COMPOSITION

(a) Essential Institutions. The participation and availability for televised play of the following academic institutions shall be deemed to be of the essence of this Agreement: University of Texas El Paso, Rice University, University of Alabama-Birmingham, University of Tulsa, University of Southern Mississippi, Memphis University, Tulane University, University of Houston, Marshall University, University of Central Florida, East Carolina University and Southern Methodist University.

(b) Unavailability. If any Conference team leaves the Conference or is otherwise unavailable for televised play as authorized by this Agreement (in either case, “Unavailable”) for any Season during the Term then ESPN and Conference will negotiate in good faith after such Unavailability comes to ESPN’s attention to determine appropriate adjustments to this Agreement. In such negotiations, the parties shall take into account, among all other relevant factors, any new members that are added to the Conference in replacement of the Unavailable members. If the parties cannot agree on the appropriate adjustments, then ESPN will have the right in its sole discretion to elect by the May 1 prior to the affected Season (unless such Unavailability occurs thereafter, in which case ESPN will have the right to make its election within 30 days after it is notified by Conference of the Unavailability) to reduce the rights fees hereunder in the same proportion as the number of Unavailable teams bears to 12. ESPN will also have the right at any such time to terminate this Agreement if the Conference has in any season fewer than ten member institutions that are NCAA Division I-A members and that are available for televised play as provided above. In addition, if additional institutions join the Conference (i.e., bringing the number of member institutions to 13 or more), then within 30 days after ESPN is notified by the Conference to that effect, ESPN and Conference will engage in good-faith negotiations regarding potential increases to the rights fees due hereunder.

As you can see, ESPN was able to get a concrete reduction in fees or even completely terminate the agreement if C-USA lost enough members, but if C-USA added any members, all that the parties would be obligated to do was to engage in “good-faith negotiations”, which as an attorney I can say is Kumbaya B.S. with no real meaning. ESPN was the only entity with a legitimate stick here. A conference would only have power if it actually had concrete termination rights in the event of an expansion, which wasn’t the case in the C-USA contract.

Even though C-USA is relatively small player, we can deduce that the power conferences also have a similar clause. The Big Ten, for instance, gained a new marquee member in Nebraska last year and even added a brand new conference championship game (which wouldn’t happen in the case of SEC expansion). If the Big Ten had a termination right that some are assuming that the SEC somehow has, then Jim Delany would’ve called ESPN ten seconds after the new Pac-12 monster contract was announced and said “I’m out!” That obviously hasn’t happened – the Big Ten still has to wait until its current TV deals are done in 2016. It’s also instructive that both the ACC in 2003 and the then-Pac-10 in 2010 performed their respective expansions only a few months prior to their respective TV rights going back up for open bid. That shows that those conferences needed to time their expansions to coincide with their new TV deals (as opposed to the other way around, as the A&M-to-the-SEC believers are arguing) because that’s the only way that they could receive the financial benefits from expansion immediately.

Frankly, this all makes sense. Networks would never reasonably agree to tearing up TV contracts based on expansion because they want to know who the conferences are expanding with (not just expansion in and of itself), and even then, it’s almost impossible to assign a value to any prospective expansion candidates ahead of time. In turn, networks can definitely assign a value to a conference as presently constituted, so they have leverage to get out of deals (or receive relief) in the event that such conference loses members.

So, unless Mike Slive can produce some Casey Anthony photos, we should assume that the SEC has terms just like everyone else: the SEC is stuck with its deals until 2024 unless its TV partners willingly give it more money prior to that. This brings us to the next point…

2. ESPN isn’t going to willingly hand the SEC more money for expansion – Let’s take a quick look at where ESPN stands right now. First, ESPN worked extremely hard to keep the Big 12 together last year in order to block the formation of superconferences by going so far as to give that league the same amount of money even though it had just lost its most populous non-Texas state (Colorado), a marquee national name (Nebraska) and a conference championship game. Second, ESPN has just invested a ton of capital in the Longhorn Network, which essentially depends upon the Big 12 surviving as none of the other BCS conferences besides maybe the Big East would let that monstrosity live.

Call me crazy, but when considering those two points, it seems quite far-fetched that ESPN would actually provide an incentive to the SEC to expand with Texas A&M (and/or Oklahoma and/or Missouri and/or whoever else you want to throw in) that would directly kill off the Big 12 that ESPN has every incentive to save. Plus, with the amount that ESPN is paying the Pac-12 now and with the Big Ten contract going up for bid in a couple of years, it doesn’t make any sense that the network would give the SEC any ability to increase its rights fees prior to 2024. If the SEC’s contract was up in a couple of years like the Big Ten’s deal, then maybe I could see ESPN throwing more dollars in order to lock in an extension, but there’s no business logic for the network to re-open a deal that’s locked in for the next 13 years that the SEC can’t do anything about.

3. Objectors to high school games on the Longhorn Network are arguing semantics (and that’s ultimately a losing argument) – There’s a massive public flagship university located in one of the top football recruiting states in the nation that has entered into a multi-year multi-million dollar third tier rights deal with a regional sports network that is wholly-owned by a large multimedia conglomerate. There are some football and basketball games along with coaches’ shows and other promotions showing the university. The RSN also telecasts high school football games that potentially showcase that university’s recruits. Such public flagship university does not own any part of such RSN.

I’ve just described the contract that the University of Florida has with Sun Sports. It also describes the deal between the University of Texas and ESPN for the Longhorn Network. Structurally, the two deals are virtually exactly the same. ESPN completely owns the LHN, and therefore, controls its programming decisions, just like Fox owns and controls Sun Sports. The main difference is branding, where Florida is part of a network that also shows the Miami Cheat (among other teams) while Texas has its Longhorn moniker in the ESPN’s network’s name. So, does the NCAA come down on the LHN for a branding decision but doesn’t care about Sun Sports? If the LHN simply changed its name to “ESPN Austin”, would it make a difference? Is a network that has 10% UF content acceptable, but another with 90% UT content unacceptable?

Note that this is different than the BTN and Pac-12 Network situations, where the schools in the Big Ten and Pac-12 have actual equity interests in those channels. This makes it much easier for the NCAA to regulate those types of setups or, more importantly, regulate them in a way where the NCAA doesn’t lose in a court challenge. The Texas relationship with the LHN, on the other hand, is really just a straight-up traditional rights fees deal that Florida and a whole host of other schools have with various regional sports networks. As a result, the NCAA, the Big 12 and any other challengers to the LHN would largely have to rely on semantics (the name “Longhorn Network”) with subjective benefits as opposed to the ownership structure of the network itself that can objectively measured, and courts hate arguments about semantics. If ESPN thought the fight was worth it (and that’s a business question as to whether it would spend millions of dollars in legal fees in order to show high school games on TV), it would likely flatten the NCAA (quite possibly the most blatant example of an antitrust violation that we currently have in America, which is a subject for another blog post at some point) in court, just as the University of Oklahoma did in its landmark lawsuit where the Supreme Court struck down the NCAA’s control of TV rights (thereby opening up the ability for conferences and schools to freely enter into contracts with TV networks directly as we see today). The NCAA telling a network that isn’t actually owned by a member school what it can and cannot show on TV could be construed as an overstepping of its authority and, considering the inherently collusive nature of the organization (hundreds of schools making collective decisions that affect students, agents and media personnel that aren’t even employed by such schools), it needs to be careful on how it phrases its regulations.

When the LHN deal was first announced, I was initially puzzled when UT didn’t take an equity interest in the channel, but we now see one of the main benefits. Is showing high school games on the LHN shady? Absolutely! Can the NCAA or Big 12 regulate it? It could try, but at face value, I doubt it would withstand a court challenge. The Big 12 athletic directors themselves have put the kabosh on high school games on the Longhorn Network for this year, yet I’m sure we’ll see this issue come up again next summer and the conference could face the same legal scrutiny as the NCAA would. If ESPN believes the fight is worth it, the NCAA is a fairly easy lawsuit target.

4. People that keep ignoring Texas politicians will get fooled again – Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me thrice, I’m in fucking denial. In the three major conference realignments since the 1990s, two have been heavily shaped by the whims of Texas politicians. The third was shaped by the Virginia legislature. I’ll point back to my “You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Aggies” post that goes through why it’s critical to take into account the irrational nature of Texas politicians with respect to anything regarding football. At the very least, it would be nice to see some other commentators on conference realignment that this is a very real impediment to change. Gov. Rick Perry might be a former Aggie Yell Leader, but if he wants to run for president, he’ll need to raise a lot of money from UT alums (and Texas Tech and Baylor alums), which brings us to the next point…

5. UT needs A&M in the same conference together – Many UT alums likely won’t admit it, but as I’ve stated before, Texas A&M is an extremely valuable school. That’s why UT simply isn’t going to let them walk away, and if it means making some financial concessions or telling ESPN to not show high school games on the LHN to keep the peace (along with applying their own political pressure plus the support of Tech and Baylor), then they’ll do it. There were a number of factors that went into play in the Pac-16 deal collapsing last year, but the threat of A&M heading to the SEC at that time was extremely high on the list. It’s instructive that the Pac-16 deal could’ve easily moved forward if UT was fine with only moving with Tech (and maybe having Utah or Kansas replace A&M in the Pac proposal) while A&M went to the SEC, yet it didn’t happen. I’ll always remember one of the first comments from a connected UT alum on this blog when the Big Ten first announced that it was exploring expansion almost 2 years ago and how he described that UT, in no uncertain terms, would not let A&M head off to the SEC as the Longhorns knew that opening up the state of Texas to that conference for TV and recruiting purposes would be a killer for their own program.

At the same time, count me in as someone that will always believe that the prospect of UT going independent is an empty threat. Money is important, but many commentators are ignoring how important institutional culture is in making decisions, too. Ultimately, UT needs an entourage like a Hollywood starlet. The school’s actions time and time again have shown that having power over others is how it gets it rocks off. It wants to have schools like Texas Tech and Baylor dependent upon it and it certainly doesn’t want A&M be in a separate higher profile league. UT doesn’t just want to make the most money – it wants to control college football in the state of Texas completely, and that requires A&M to be in the fold. Notre Dame is a J.D. Salinger-type recluse that doesn’t want any attachments to anyone, which is why they have chosen to be independent as an institution (even though they’d actually make substantially more television money in the Big Ten). UT simply isn’t like that – it has always positioned itself as the proverbial sun for a bunch of other schools.

UT and A&M have come very close to separating two times before over the last two decades, yet the leaders of both schools have never been able to pull the trigger (even if some their respective fans would love to use a machine gun on the relationship). A combination of politics, institutional culture and uniquely shared endowment money that makes football TV revenue look like pocket change (see the Permanent University Fund) has always kept them together.

Could Texas A&M end up in the SEC? I guess anything is possible, but let’s be clear that just because Aggies are angry doesn’t mean that they’ll move to the SEC. Any rational analysis needs to address (1) why the SEC would expand when it has no leverage to renegotiate its current TV contracts (meaning that the current SEC schools would be subsidizing any expansion until 2024), (2) why ESPN would help out the SEC on that front when it has direct interests in keeping the Big 12 alive, (3) how a court challenge to any restrictions on showing high school games on the Longhorn Network would turn out, (4) why Texas politicians would suddenly be wallflowers on conference realignment when history clearly indicates that they are not only not wallflowers, but completely interventionist and (5) why UT would just roll over and let A&M walk away. I would love to entertain arguments that address all of those massive roadblocks. “Aggies are steaming mad”, however, isn’t a valid argument.

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

(Image from ThinkGeek)

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Comments
  1. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    GEAUX TIGERS.

    Like

  2. greg says:

    Thanks for the new post, Frank!

    Iowa is #1 in the eternally 12-team Big Ten!

    Like

  3. btrealign says:

    add

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  4. Jim says:

    Great post. You did not mention it but the even funnier part of the new rumor was the first one out of an TAM blog that had Clemson already with an invite from the SEC despite no Clemson blog hearing anything about it and most saying the Admin side would never go because of acedmics. Never mind its Clemson a second brand in a small state that the SEC already has covered and that is also not a huge national brand.

    Like

  5. Sportsman says:

    So… you’re saying that aTm is an absolute LOCK to join the SEC. Point(s) taken! :-)

    Like

  6. mwp says:

    Lots of good subtle points, Frank. The focus seems to be entirely on aTm when, in fact, they are the smallest of the actors involved. This is really a fight between ESPN, the SEC, the Texas legislature and UT. With that much money and that much power there are lots complexities and you touched on a few.

    Without more information there´s not a whole lot we can say about any of your points.

    The only one I´ll attempt is the SEC´s perspective. Maybe they see expansion as inevitable and are positioning themselves as the opportunity arises? If Slive says his contract allows ¨look-ins¨ then maybe he probably sees meaningful expansion as a game-changer. The SEC is clearly not Conference USA, as no one that CUSA could realistically add would appreciably increase their value. Do you really think ESPN would NOT be compelled to renegotiate with a truly super 16 team SEC?

    Like

  7. R. Brandon Galloway says:

    Mr. Tank, once again you have made persuasive arguments for why Texas A&M is stuck in the SEC, which they may be, but I offer the following critiques of this blog.

    With regards to you first argument, as a fellow attorney, I agree that contract language requiring parties to “engage in good-faith negotiations” is inherently nebulous, but such provisions are not quite as impotent as you made out in this article, especially when such negotiations concerns the determination of the fair market values. Even if the SEC’s contract had identical terms as detailed above, the “good faith” provision would require both parties to tender an offer that details what each party contends is an accurate value for the enhanced product of an expanded SEC at that particular time. ESPN would have a hard time arguing the FMV of the SEC should not be measured against the value ESPN just negotiated with the PAC 12, and if they did, the SEC could then claim ESPN was in breach of contract. Under such a scenario, what are the default and mediation/arbitration provisions? It is also not safe to assume the ESPN-SEC contract has identical terms since the SEC had more negotiating leverage than C-USA, especially after the Big 10 had recently started the Big 10 Network, an entity which threatens to cut out the ESPN middleman.

    Another critique is your emphasis on ESPN having the SEC “stuck to its deal until 2024”. While I concede 13 years would be a long time to be “stuck” in a bad contract, and I doubt the SEC views it that way, 13 years is also a short time for a great thing to last when it could abruptly end. ESPN does not want the SEC for 13 years; ESPN wants the SEC for decades. The last thing ESPN would want is for the SEC to give them the finger in 2024, grab 4 to 12 other teams, and head over to FOX or whoever the chief competition would be at that time, or worse, create their own independent broadcast channel a la the BiG or the PAC 12. I suspect ESPN would be quite “willing” to pay more money as part of leveraging their 13 years remaining on their contract for a longer and happier relationship with the one conference whose potential could rival NFL numbers.

    Thanks for the Blog. Just my thoughts.

    Lurker Above

    Like

    • @R. Brandon Galloway – Thanks for your thoughts. Maybe the best counter to what you’re saying is what hasn’t happened: the Big Ten, who is the conference closest in position to the SEC financially, hasn’t done any of what you’ve described with respect to its own ESPN contract despite going through expansion and even establishing a conference championship game that didn’t exist before. The Big Ten could easily argue that the FMV of its new league is substantially more than the Pac-12 deal. Indeed, Fox negotiated the deals for the Big Ten and Pac-12 championship games contemporaneously and is paying over 50% more to the Big Ten. At the same time, the Big Ten has much more leverage as it’s only a couple of years away from being able to go to the open market with its games. Despite all of that, the only adjustments to the Big Ten/ESPN contract were to make the deal “revenue neutral” for the legacy members (ensuring that they’re getting the same per-school payout going forward as they did prior to adding Nebraska) and allowing for the BTN to show games in the 3:30 pm ET slot (which was previously an exclusive ABC/ESPN window). Now, if the SEC expanded, I could see how ESPN would also likely try to make it a “revenue neutral” deal for the existing members, but there’s no incentive for the Worldwide Leader to provide a windfall (just as it didn’t do for the Big Ten). Maybe I’m wrong and the SEC contract terms are drastically better than the Big Ten’s contract terms, but I doubt it. Without a termination right for the SEC (which ESPN says doesn’t exist), ESPN is the side that has the hammer.

      Like

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        Frank – since I started participating in this blog over a year ago, I’ve stated that based on my 30 years of closely following the SEC, there are a few rules the SEC will follow regarding potential expansion:

        1. The SEC is happy at 12 and is not looking to expand.
        2. If the SEC expands, it will only do so if its network partners (ESPN and CBS) pay for it.
        3. Unlike the B1G where cable carriage of the BTN would most likely drive future expansion, SEC expansion would be driven by ratings. Since everyone already has CBS & ESPN, geography really doesn’t matter.
        4. While the SEC only had stand-up doubles in the 1990s round of expansion (Arkansas & South Carolina), the SEC benefitted more than any other conference due it existing teams, and having an almost 20 year head start on CCGs over the B1G and the 12-Pac.

        The SEC is doing just fine without the Aggies. While I think the Aggies, Sooners, Seminoles, or Hokies for that matter would all be good fits for the SEC, the SEC doesn’t need any of them. The SEC has the deepest 1-8 of any conference, and that’s why the CBS game consistently beats ABC’s regionalized coverage of the other five BCS conferences. People outside of the South also find SEC football compelling.

        I agree with you that ESPN doesn’t want to see the demise of the Big XII. I also don’t think the SEC would want to destabilize college football when the current landscape has worked so well for them.

        However, I disagree with your underlying assumption that ESPN could prevent the SEC from expanding if the SEC otherwise wanted to expand, that ESPN would ever use a hammer on the SEC, and that the pre-existing look-ins with ESPN and CBS are just kumbaya bs.

        The SEC isn’t C-USA. The SEC contract with ESPN is the main reason so many cable outlets started carrying ESPNU. The SEC consistently gets the primetime slots on ESPN and ESPN2 because the SEC gets ratings. There’s two ways for cable channels to make money: ratings (advertising) and carriage. The SEC helped ESPN’s newest platform get carriage, and the SEC gets ratings for all of the family’s channels. Also, unlike the Big Ten and the 12-Pac, the SEC hasn’t tried to directly compete with ESPN, other than the CBS game.

        ESPN would like to keep the SEC happy and I fully expect the SEC to get a bump during a look-in as the SEC has most likely outperformed any ratings benchmarks established in their contract.

        Also, you never mentioned CBS in your post. Let’s assume that ESPN did use a hammer on the SEC and refused to re-negotiate if the SEC expanded to 16 with let’s say A&M, Florida State, VA Tech, and any one of Oklahoma/Clemson/GA Tech/Mizzou/Miami. The SEC would then have at least two more games per week that aren’t covered under any existing TV contracts. Would ESPN really want CBS to add a prime time game to compete with ABC’s game? Would ESPN really want one of those games on the CBS Sports cable channel that most people don’t currently have? The additional SEC games could do for CBS Sports what it did for ESPNU in the way of carriage. I think ESPN will always be the Worldwide Leader in Sports, but I also thought CNN would always be the cable news ratings leader. Would ESPN really want to give away a “must see” franchise to CBS Sports?

        Again, I don’t think the SEC wants to or will expand, but if they did, some network would be willing to pay for it.

        Like

        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          Don’t get me wrong. I love ESPN. They let my Tigers play night games. Scott Van Pelt is a big Les Miles fan. And, most importantly, my Tigers haven’t lost a football game broadcast on an ESPN channel in almost 6 years.

          http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2011/08/countdown_to_football_32_days.html

          Like

          • duffman says:

            alan,

            good to see you posting again, however your tigers are f**ked this season. I am on your side, and you know I was on the bandwagon at the start of last season. I still think the mad hatter may be the best showman since P T Barnum sold us the Great Egress. All that said I stick by what I truly believe in that the team at the end of the season is the one that flew under the radar of the pre season talking heads in the SEC. This is where your tigers are f**ked, as the talking heads have picked them out of the gate. I still think they will have a fine season, but they are now cursed. :( I hope the mad hatter can break the curse!

            ps, dicky V does the same thing to good basketball teams not named duke. Except for duke, when he picks them they go down the toilet.

            Like

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Duff – LSU was ranked #2 at the beginning of the 07 season and had an OOC game with a top ten ranked VA Tech, and a total of 8 ranked teams on the schedule. The 07 BCS NCG was slated for the Superdome.

            This season, LSU will be a consensus top 5 team (#4 in the Coaches’ poll that came out today). Half of LSU’s schedule includes ranked teams. By the end of the season, LSU will probably play 9 ranked teams. The 11 BCS NCG is slated for the Superdome.

            LSU only has six home games this season, with the Tigers going to Morgan Town to face West Virginia ( a team that will probably be ranked by the time the game is played) and starts the season against #3 Oregon at Cowboys Stadium. Due to its extremely difficult schedule, the Tigers will probably get the benefit of the doubt for any loss (or two).

            Its never a dull moment with the Mad Hatter. We are all hopeful for a title run, but with #3 Oregon, #27 West Virginia, #23 Florida, and the SEC West Murderers’ Row of ranked #2 Alabama, #14 Arkansas, #19 Auburn, and #20 Mississippi State, it ain’t going to be easy.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Alan,

            It should help that Auburn is terribly overrated in the polls, and MSU too.

            Like

          • duffman says:

            Alan,

            I think I heard they legalized the booze at WVU, if you are going in person, the natives will be restless. Update, the poll put them under Alabama, so I will get on the bandwagon early. I think you guys will take the ducks and the mountaineers, and with all the turnover in the east, I have less fears there. My worry is a slip in the west to a team not named Alabama. I think Miles will be down in the quarter before the game to do the voodoo that he do so well! :)

            ps, what is your favorite mad hatter moment?

            Like

      • Lurker Above says:

        Mr. Tank,

        Great retort, but you are assuming the B1G has tried to renegotiate or has even wanted to renegotiate a bigger and longer contract before now. That may not be the case. I believe it is likely the B1G has not renegotiated their present contract because of either one or both of the following reasons:

        First, the B1G probably is not ready, or was not ready until recently, to renegotiate. It was probably wise to watch the PAC 12 negotiations unfold before taking any action. Despite statements to the contrary, they might still be looking at expanding again, especially if the SEC does the same. Most importantly, they are still working out the kinks with the whole Leaders and Legends thingy.

        Second, the B1G just may not want to renegotiate because it might be in their best interest to let their contract play out with ESPN so they can start something new without them. The B1G Network is growing so fast that in three years they will be in enough households that ESPN will not be needed.

        ESPN’s greatest fear is that they could be seen as an expendable middleman. That is the greatest threat to ESPN’s college football coverage and why they would not want to alienate the SEC.

        Lurker Above

        Thanks for the Blog. Just my thoughts.

        Lurker Above

        Like

        • ccrider55 says:

          Reducing (eliminating?) the middleman’s presence/influence,and their cut, has crossed my mind too.

          The Pac withheld nearly a third of their games to increase P12N value. A year from startup and Scott says it is already guaranteed profitable, before any advertising revenue. http://www.cnbc.com/id/43992795 Would a collaboration between BTN and P12N make any sense? Sharing/sublicensing some games or other events through the year n order to provide more live events?

          Like

      • joe4psu says:

        Frank, given all that you said why did the B1G decide to look into expansion in the middle of their ESPN contract? Surely no school took a pay cut and Nebraska has been promised at least what they would have made in the B12. I’m sure some of the money will come from the CCG and some from BTN profits but the conference couldn’t have known before hand how much revenue this would generate. Also, while ESPN may not have added money to the contract the adjustments made in time slots etc. results in more money for the conference. They may not have paid directly but the result was more money for the B1G. I know this is an apples to oranges comparison with the SEC but don’t you think that ESPN would like to avoid hurting the relationship even if a new contract is years out?

        Here’s a couple of articles on the “evaluation” that ESPN and the B1G did as a result of expansion.

        Q&A with Big Ten’s Mark Rudner on football television contracts, scheduling – Scott Dochterman, thegazette.com

        http://thegazette.com/2011/05/18/qa-with-big-tens-mark-rudner-on-football-television-contracts-scheduling/

        Did the Big Ten receive a financial bump in its television contracts after adding Nebraska?

        “I think we went through a mid-term evaluation of our agreement and did some things, but I think it’s fair to say we had some discussions with ESPN and the Big Ten Network. We’re increasing the number of games and we’re increasing the quality of the game. We don’t ever discuss those terms and conditions of those agreements.”

        ————-

        Nebraska’s addition leads to Big Ten TV changes for football, basketball – Scott Dochterman, thegazette.com

        http://thegazette.com/2011/07/23/nebraskas-addition-leads-to-big-ten-tv-changes-for-football-basketball/

        …“The windows are no longer exclusive,” said Mark Rudner, the Big Ten’s senior associate commissioner for television administration.

        “The network will have 3:30 Eastern games in the same window as ABC’s 3:30 Eastern games, which heretofore they couldn’t do. The same in basketball.

        “Last year, since the beginning, if ESPN had a 7 p.m. Eastern game, that meant that the Big Ten Network had to wait until 9 p.m. Eastern, until the window was down. Now they’ll get some measure of relief.”

        The change allows the league scheduling flexibility and gives the Big Ten Network the ability to air games in multiple viewing windows. On four different Saturdays during the 2011 football season there are six Big Ten games with ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC usually airing three. Rather than lumping the other three games in the 11 a.m. CT window, the BTN can spread them into at least two time slots.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          Joe,

          From the perspective of the B10, given the BTN and the title game bump, UNL was worth grabbing now. No sense in waiting when you can monetize UNL to some degree from the get-go, even if you don’t realize the full benefits of having the Huskers until the primary & secondary contracts get negotiated mid-decade.

          Like

          • greg says:

            When the B10 added Nebraska, it was a long term fit. The BTN and title game made Nebraska revenue neutral, at least, from the get go.

            Like

      • Bamatab says:

        Frank, I have to agree with R. Brandon Galloway in that ESPN is not going to try and strong arm the SEC by forcing them to hold to the current contract through 2024 while the likes of the Pac 12 & B1G are making more money. In the end, they aren’t going to create an environment that would foster that kind of resentment that would surely be created. Even if the contract is a ironclad has you are claiming (and I have serious doubts that it is), the SEC is the one conference that they want to keep as a partner far beyond 2024 due to the continued and growing college football interest that the conference breeds due to the culture and demographics of the region. In the end, ESPN and CBS (which you seem to fail to mention in your writeup, btw) will do what it has to in order to appease the SEC’s growing discontent with the current tv contract (Slive has already started laying the ground work through some of his recent media interviews). I also feel that your comparision of the CUSA contract with the SEC contract isn’t apples to apples if for no other reason than the fact that the SEC had far more leverage while negotiating the original deal. The SEC had the threat of a SEC network that ESPN was trying to avoid (not to mention that the demand for SEC football games is far more than CUSA).

        Like

        • greg says:

          The SEC needs ESPN just as much as ESPN needs the SEC. 2024 is a long ways away, but if the SEC goes with another network, be prepared for investigative reports into all the SEC’s practices, and negative reporting in general. (although the SEC could be squeeky clean by 2024)

          Like

          • @greg – Agreed. Neither ESPN nor the SEC is going to actively try to piss each other off. The SEC also isn’t going to walk away from ESPN out of spite in 2024, either – they’ll take the best financial deal from whoever offers it at that time regardless of who it is. That doesn’t mean that ESPN is going to be helpful in subsidizing the SEC in actions that would likely destroy the Big 12, which ESPN has worked pretty hard to keep alive.

            The whole point of these 10 or 15-year deals is that’s the only way that cable companies can make money on them (via incremental raises in subscriber fees over time). ESPN (and even an OTA network like CBS) isn’t going to give a conferece an out simply because of expansion. That almost encourages conferences to expand at will the second that they think their current deal is falling behind, which defeats the whole financial proposition of these long-term deals.

            Like

  8. alchemist says:

    Great post, Frank.

    Your point about how SEC expansion doesn’t run their existing TV contracts through the shredder and send the league directly to the open market seems to be one of the most misunderstood points in all the realignment talk.

    Like

    • greg says:

      alchemist, agreed about how Frank did a good job outlining that any possible SEC expansion doesn’t mean the SEC can just throw their rights on the open market. It seems as if most internet yahoos think the SEC will add TAMU/Mizzou in order to bump up their contract value. At best, the SEC would somehow manage to get their contract bumped up to be revenue neutral for existing members. I don’t think the SEC is going to expand just to remain revenue neutral.

      The SEC is in a good position. They aren’t going to mess things up unless they have a really good reason. The same debates we have had here about the scheduling difficulties of 14 or 16 teams apply to the SEC. Do you think teams are going to want to give up games against old SEC rivals to play Mizzou?

      Like

  9. ccrider55 says:

    Frank:

    Say conference’s E, and P were able to poach enough members that conference X(II) no longer met the contractual requirements of their mega media partner. Your feeling is that rather than reinvest that formerly dedicated outlay in the remaining conferences (regaining lost inventory) they would look to either pocket that money, or throw it at a newly formed bovine related only conference?

    Like

  10. Pat says:

    Good read on BE Media Day and expansion options being pursued.
    Sounds like the BE feels they have a real opportunity to get $16M per team from Comcast and steal BC and Maryland from the ACC. My how things have changed the the last 12 months!

    http://blogs.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/sports/pitt-redshirt-diaries/28860-big-east-media-day

    Like

    • Richard says:

      The BE has about as much chance of landing Maryland as I have of laying a porn star.

      No wait, I think I have a better chance at laying a porn star.

      (Not to mention that if Maryland is in play, there’s little reason for them to choose the BE over the B10.)

      Like

    • okst8psycho says:

      I would love nothing more than for Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri to leave for the Big East and end the dysfunctional family feud that is the Big 12(-2) conference. Is there any chance that the bidding can get high enough between NBC/Comcast and ESPN that those schools maybe enticed enough to leave?

      Like

    • Brian says:

      There is still a lot of bad blood between BC and several BE schools. UConn still refuses to play them, for example. I fail to see how BC would choose to come back or the BE would actually vote to take them back.

      As Richard said, MD going to the BE is highly unlikely. A small pay boost ($3M) isn’t enough to cut ties with their rivals. The B10 would have better odds of grabbing them with the much larger money difference.

      Like

      • bullet says:

        I can’t imagine MD going to the BE mess even for more money. The only way I see BC doing it would be if Notre Dame joined for football. Even then, with ND and more money (with ND BE would almost certainly get more than the ACC’s $12.9 million/school/year), I think BC moving would be less than a 50/50 proposition. You have the same argument as Arkansas to the Big 12. Why leave something good & safe for something unstable that could collapse, leaving you out in the cold.

        Like

  11. Ross says:

    Already looking forward to that antitrust post, Frank.

    Nice post on A&M.

    Like

  12. S Pierce says:

    One development that did come out of the B1G expansion was that there were some changes with the ESPN contract. Mark Silverman has said that ESPN has waived the 7 day exclusivity window on replays of ABC/ESPN games. They’ve also opened up the 3:30 PM Eastern time slot so that BTN can broadcast games at that time. Isn’t the fact that the contract isn’t open the main reason that Nebraska isn’t getting a full payout until 2017?

    Like

    • frug says:

      That’s part of it. The other issue is that since Nebraska didn’t put up any money to start the BTN they are having to build up equity until they are a fully co-equal member.

      Like

    • Nostradamus says:

      The main reason is the BTN is essentially an established company that is 51% owned by the 11 Big Ten Schools. Said investment is worth $3 billion to maybe $5 billion over the life of contract. Nebraska needs to establish equity in said “company.”

      That said, the exclusive window negotiations are certainly an indication that the Big Ten couldn’t tear up their ABC/ESPN agreement and thus more circumstantial evidence for Frank’s argument.

      Like

    • Lurker Above says:

      Good points. I also seem to remember the B1G enterring into a seperate contract with someone other than ESPN for about 20 to 25 million for the rights to their conference championship.

      Like

    • Craig Z says:

      Couldn’t the loss of exclusivity in the time slots and replay windows be in lieu of an increase in fees to the conference? The Big Ten could have determined they will make more money by having games at 12 and 3:30 on the BTN and showing replays of games sooner (say a day or two later) than what they could get from ESPN.

      Like

      • S Pierce says:

        Lots of good points. I didn’t think of buying in to the BTN from an equity holdings perspective.

        Nostradamus/Craig Z – I agree that the changes to the terms (exclusivity windows) is an indication that they couldn’t reopen the contract which adds weight to Frank’s argument. I’m on the BTN Fan Council and Mark Silverman basically said that they (ESPN) waived some rights in the contract that would add value to the conference. I think that it will definitely help for some of their (BTN) studio shows and should build ratings therefore building value. Mark also said ad sales have been strong on the network already for this upcoming academic year.

        Lurker – I think that it’s no coincidence that FOX won the rights, although I think FOX probably had a better bid than ESPN. There’s apparently a large component of cross promotion with BTN from FOX (probably a case where the minority owner wants things to be more successful). This will ultimately drive success long term as the casual fan starts to watch BTN more. Apparently the CCG will have a pre-pregame show on BTN followed by pregame on FOX, the game, short postgame on FOX followed by post-postgame on BTN with full segue’s built into the signoff of each show. I’ve also noticed adds about the B1G on FOX already and Mark Hulsey (Exec Producer BTN) has said how FOX has done a lot with BTN this past offseason regarding graphics, music and other elements on the network. They’ve even confirmed that they’re broadcasting widescreen and are using the “FOX box” this upcoming season just like the NFL coverage.

        With the fact that BTN paid almost as much per school as the ABC/ESPN contract it definitely shows the times are changing in regards to our dependence on the worldwide leader. This is the gamble that the conference made by creating an equity stake in a network.

        Like

  13. Eric says:

    Very good post Frank. Thank you.

    Like

  14. cfn_ms says:

    I tend to agree tht the SEC shouldn’t be able to just rip up their deal. What they CAN possibly do, though, is find a way to monetize the much larger amount of content not covered by their deals (presumably the ESPN/CBS deals are for a fixed # of games per year). Unless the “you can’t do an SEC network” part of the deal is rock-solid, the SEC could potentially go in that direction. Whether that makes it worth it or not, I have no idea. But I would presume that’s the underlying logic.

    Like

  15. AggieFrank says:

    Lots of supposition and very little fact. So you believe that the Texas legislature would hold A&M in a conference even if that position is punitive to the university?

    You might want to actually develop some A&M contacts and discuss this versus leaning on the word of BON as your single source of input on this topic.

    Like

    • Brian says:

      Why would TAMU contacts be any more helpful than UT contacts? What would be helpful is knowing a bunch of TX legislators well enough that they would tell you honestly (as if that’s possible for a politician) if they would threaten TAMU in order to protect TT and Baylor. There is a bigger picture than satisfying TAMU fans.

      Like

      • Aggie in Fort Worth says:

        The Texas legislature is not in session right now, and we just finished last month a special session. The next legislature is to meet January 2013, unless our governor decides to call a special session — to which he is more concerned with his own aspirations than collegiate bickering.

        Baylor is royally screwed over — TCU, SMU, and Houston have not forgotten that they squeeked into the Big12 over them, and the other three Texas programs in the Big12 do not really care what happens to Baylor if it means to make more money. TCU has been rumored to be blocking any attempt of Baylor to join the Big East — knives have been drawn. As for Tech, they may land on their feet with the PAC12, but could the Mountain West Conference expand in the process and take the Big12’s prized BCS position if the Big12 were to fall apart?

        Like

  16. Mike says:

    OT: I am so happy that the awful picture of Al Davis isn’t at the top of this blog anymore.

    Like

  17. AggieFrank says:

    Also you really don’t see a substantial differences between Sun Sports and the LHN? How about the LHN is exclusive and has one partner in Texas? You mention the Miami Heat airs on Sun Sports but fail to discuss the fact that they also pay millions to the organization. They clearly are not the exclusive medium for UF and that is a material difference.

    Like

    • Eric says:

      From a legal standpoint though the difference isn’t very big. Texas and Florida both licensed some of their content to a 3rd party and have little control over what the 3rd party does from there. The real practical difference is UT letting the channel use its name and I doubt that’s enough to make any real difference.

      Like

  18. Well Played Mauer says:

    “Could Texas A&M end up in the SEC? I guess anything is possible”

    So your telling me there’s a chance! ;-)

    Like

  19. Bullet says:

    UT does have an equity kicker in the LHN. The deal starts at 10.98 million and increases 3% annually over the 1st 5 years (If this is escalation for all 20, this is for the full $300 million and not just UT’s $247.5—-$52.5 million goes to IMG). Once the revenue hits $295 million, UT gets 70% of the profits.

    Now I don’t know if this is like the Hollywood movie deals where nothing ever makes a profit, but most likely this is a real provision. ESPN is budgeting $15 million a year for production and $11 million for overhead with a $13 million startup cost. Source of this is the Texas alumni magazine.

    Like

  20. Steve on the Bayou says:

    WIth regards to conference media contracts, can anyone say if an escalator is different from a look-in, and describe what bearing the difference may have on the SEC not adding (or adding) a valuable school like Texas A&M?

    ” First of all, our contracts are written in such a way that the rights fees have escalators in them. So we feel good about that. Secondly, they have “look-ins,” so that every so often we revisit the contract and “look in” at our current deal to make sure that we are remaining on top of our game.”–

    Mike Slive Q&A with Tony Barnhart, May 30, 2011

    Like

    • bullet says:

      An escalator is simply a way of raising the fees each year. The SEC’s $205 million a year deal is the average. It starts much lower and works its way up, effectively adjusting for inflation. That’s a set arrangement.

      Hard to know exactly what a “look-in” is without knowing the language of the contract. Generically there may be some kind of standard to determine whether it is still a market deal. If not, there may be some provisions for renegotiation, but the rights of each parties could vary greatly depending on the language. I’m with Frank. I doubt the SEC really has much flexibility on their “look-ins” and I doubt ESPN is going to give them anything without getting something in return. ESPN is really playing hardball with CUSA. Yes, CUSA is not SEC, but ESPN is aggressively protecting what it views as its rights.

      Like

  21. Brian says:

    Frank,

    I largely agree with you, but I have several bones to pick with your arguments.

    1. True, angry TAMU fans don’t equal moving to the SEC. However, if the right set of Aggies get mad it’s a whole different ball game. If it’s the President and the trustees and the top boosters that are mad, that’s different. You should have clarified that you were only considering the masses, not the VIPs.

    2. I don’t think Mike Slive gives any consideration for the other schools in I-A. If he thinks adding TAMU is the right thing to do for the SEC, he’ll do it. Besides, UT to the P12 and ND to the B10 are stretches to me (UT – B12 or independent, ND – independent). The B12 would be OK without TAMU anyway, so taking them isn’t the critical piece.

    3. CUSA is not the SEC. CUSA had no chance of adding a school that would drastically boost the value of the league. The SEC has that ability and Slive is smart enough to have language in the contract to take care of that eventuality. There are no consequences to playing hardball with CUSA, but the SEC definitely has future leverage. ESPN would at least bump them up to revenue neutral including the additions plus a small COL adjustment to keep them satisfied. It wouldn’t be massive, but enough to show they value the relationship. CBS will also placate them, especially if they get to add a bunch of Texas TVs to their broadcasts.

    4. I think the main reason leagues expand just before negotiating new TV deals is because they want to put their best foot forward. By adding the teams and having numbers to show their value, the leagues have data to drive the negotiations rather than projections. It’s the same reason you clean your house before selling it rather than telling buyers how clean it will be by the time you hand the keys over. If you add the new teams too early, the newness wears off and the addition loses its impact.

    5. Bullet mentions that UT actually does get a cut of the profits after a certain number is reached. I’ll just add that the LHN also gets a lot of campus facilities/access/programming that a non-partner wouldn’t offer.

    6. As I said in the previous post, the NCAA can easily stop high school sports on TV. All they have to do is declare every player whose team plays a regionally or nationally televised game (local broadcasts and state-wide playoff coverage are fine), or whose school is paid in any way by a network, as permanently ineligible for NCAA sports. No school would let ESPN on campus if it meant no scholarships for everybody.

    Like

  22. David Brown says:

    The problem for A&M is they have become closer to Baylor in the athletic department then Texas or Oklahoma (And because of basketball, even behind Oklahoma State, Missouri & Kansas). They have become the Fighting Illini of the BIG XII (Or whatever you want to call it (Longhorn Conference maybe?)). Think about it: It used to be the Big Two and the Little Eight of the Big 10, for Illinois to deal with. Now, it is not just Ohio St & Michigan, but Penn State, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Michigan State and maybe even Iowa, have surpassed Illinois top to bottom. We saw this with the Big 10 Hockey Conference, where Illinois can’t afford to build a Hockey Program (While one man allows Penn State to do it). It is almost like Minnesota football, and Indiana basketball, living on past laurels, while falling behind Northwestern in the Big 10. I understand hockey is not cheap, but they could have taken advantage of the Chicago market, and done it a long time ago. but chose not to. That is where A&M is, living in the past, and not taking the steps necessary to break out of the pack (And that should mean leaving the conference like Nebraska did, and joining the SEC).

    Like

  23. herbiehusker says:

    add

    Like

  24. Walter says:

    If Texas has no say in the LHN as you imply is the defense (it’s ESPN not Texas making the decisions) then how can Dodds agree not to show games next year, in the AD agreement you mentioned… your logic is rowing on both sides of the boat.

    Like

  25. M says:

    I don’t think the antitrust issues would be as foregone a conclusion as you suggest. Sports’ leagues have always had a weird relationship with antitrust and have often received wide latitude to engage in behaviors that would be textbook antitrust violations in other industries (e.g. draft, salary cap, age restrictions).

    I don’t know if the NCAA would fight ESPN on it, but there’s certainly an argument that the NCAA has a legitimate interest in regulating recruiting to preserve amateur athletics and assist in competitive balance, two areas that SCOTUS recognized as areas justifying reasonable restrictions of trade in the ’84 case that allowed less limited television sales.

    Like

    • jcfreder says:

      I’m largely with Frank concerning antitrust issues. Professional sports mostly get leeway on antitrust issues because they collectively bargain with the players (and baseball actually has a ton of rope because the Supreme Court way back when ridiculously decided that MLB was not interstate commerce). The NCAA doesn’t have these protections. Plus, a really easy way to piss off a U.S. Senator is to freeze out a university in his/her state.

      Like

  26. Bigredforever says:

    We have seen this game before. The reality is Texas is doing what it has been condititioned to do: make demands. The LHN needs content. It needs content badly. ESPN knows this, so does Texas. So why not ask for the moon? If the settlement is a conference game or two, then the LHN wins. This is no different than any other negotiation. Sometimes, it is best to ask for 15 things when all you want is 5. Negotiate down and both sides feel like they’ve won. I don’t see this as anything more than a negotiation. And Texas is going to get more while the other 9 feel like they’ve won. Great strategy by Texas.

    Like

    • RedDenver says:

      That’s the feeling I get too. Why would an ESPN exec make the “mistake” of talking about all the Longhorn recruits the LHN was going to cover? That’s one of the stupidest moves I’ve ever seen. Unless it’s a calculated move to focus the attention and ire on the high school games. LHN is going to get B12-2 games on the network, and the rest of the conference will pat themselves on the back for “preventing” LHN from broadcasting high school games.

      Like

      • ccrider55 says:

        Precisely. And welcome to the Longhorn’s big12 Network…..

        Although it was the Big12 game that raised aTm, OU, MO’s ire. Barry Tramel wrote a piece a about how it was all smooth sailing without UNL. Following that big12 game announcement pretty much he (and others) admitted that what UNL had been saying, was coming true. He seemed shocked that UT/ESPN would make such a move, or at least so soon. The perception of having “prevented” something will not be such with administrators.

        Like

  27. bullet says:

    To go along with Frank’s frustration with commentators and someone else’s comment about how lazy many sportswriters are now, I get frustrated with legitimate sportswriters (i.e. NOT the Bleacher Report), getting the facts wrong. Repeatedly, and even recently, I have read about UT/OU/A&M getting the CU/UNL exit fees and special deals on the TV money and how they would get all the money and the rest would get a pittance. UT and OU both pointedly declined any guarantees and said they would oppose any special deals. The bottom team has always gotten around 70% of what the top team got, not exactly a pittance, and Kansas was 3rd in distributions in the most recent list I saw. The TV deal has always been based on appearances with no committments to any one school. Actually, the Big 12 changed the allocation of revenues toward more balance. It was around 50% equal, 50% appearance based and is now around 3/4 equal (I think the actual % was 77%) and 1/4 appearances. These guys get paid for this and write without any effort to get facts.

    Like

    • Eric says:

      Some of the other misconceptions bother me a lot too. I hate the fact that I feel like a Texas cheerleader at points, but there is just so much wrong with the ways a lot of facts are portrayed that I can’t help sound that way sometimes.

      Like

  28. Logan says:

    If the SEC goes to 16 teams and plays a 9-game conference schedule, that’s 24 new conference games that did not exist before. Who has the TV rights to those games? I would assume that the CBS and ESPN contracts are for a specific number of games. Seems to me one of three things would have to happen. ESPN could renegotiate its contract to acquire the extra games, the SEC could shop this package to Fox or Comcast, or the SEC could create its own B1G/Pac12-like network.

    If the SEC is truly locked in to its TV deal until 2024, I can’t imagine they will be happy watching the Pac12, Big 12(-2) and the Big Ten surpass them in TV revenues. It would seem like selling the extra games generated by expansion could close that gap. If SEC teams get $17m/year, that means this new package would have to be worth at least $68m/year to justify expansion. I could see it being worth significantly more than that given the current sports TV climate.

    Like

    • Eric says:

      That’s more conference games, but fewer games total (since they would replace nonconference games that average well more than 50% at home). CBS would still get the top pick and ABC/ESPN would still get the same number it gets now. The rest would presumably be able to be sold off unless the ABC/ESPN contract says they can take as many as they want (given the network was trying to stop an SEC Network, that might be the case). Regardless, whatever might be left over will be the smaller games and are unlikely to be enough to justify expansion.

      Like

  29. laxtonto says:

    A few of things…

    1. The memorandum by the Big 12 is just gamesmanship, nothing else. This gives the NCAA time to make a ruling that they well know will get struck down if they oppose the idea. During that time period, the clock keeps ticking. As time passes, the new bylaws come into effect and the new network deals get signed. Eventually by the time this comes up again, A&M will be neatly trapped between not having a catalyst to incite a move with the NCAA approving HS sports (with most likely some pain in the ass restrictions to look like they have done something and will allow A&M to save face for a PR victory) and huge new exit penalties tied to both the bylaws and the new TV deal.

    2. UT won’t go independent due to the rest of their sports. Going independent means UT basketball in the Southland conference… Lets just say that it is not going to happen. Independence is more of a nice threat and a worst case scenario contingency than anything else.

    3. Texas politics will be nasty over this. Perry is considering a presidential bid. There is no way he risk angering the rest of Texas politics by allowing any form of potential move that would see the likes of Baylor, TT or UT have problems in their programs. If he becomes a candidate, he will need lots of cash. There are some rather influential wealthy A&M alums, but they are outnumbered by the combined might of the other Big 12 Texas schools. If you want to see what will happen, just follow the money.

    Like

    • Piney Woods says:

      laxtonto,

      If this fait accompli that you propose is in the works then what if A&M refuses to sign a new deal with binding exit penalties? Pres. Loftin has publicly stated that no new documents binding A&M to the Big XII have been signed.

      Like

      • Mike says:

        The Big 12’s exit penalties are tied to the amount of conference revenue received. Once Nebraska and Colorado left the buyout increased (10 schools splitting the TV contract instead of 12) and once the increase from the 2nd tier FOX deal kicks in next year the buyout will increase. I think it’s safe to say that IF the Aggies were to leave they would be paying at least double what Nebraska did.

        Like

  30. duffman says:

    *mumbles something about those who do not study history are doomed to repeat them*

    ++++ TAMU was in the SEC once – or at least the beta version
    ++++ back then we had the superconference
    ++++ what is old, is new again

    Here is how the history played out

    TAMU was beating SEC teams for a few years after UT left the pre SEC because UT wanted to start a conference they could control. The conference was called the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Problem was nobody cared for UT by itself, so UT got TAMU from the pre SEC, and OU to form the new TIAA and called it the Southwest Conference. OU was smart enough to drop out early for what became the Big 8 while keeping the Red River Rivalry. Back then OU and TAMU were not so attached to the UT teat, but after about 100 years of dysfunction here we are again, still talking about TAMU going back to the SEC.

    Last time the super conference happened it broke into several parts. The SEC, ACC, and SWC were the big winners of the break up. TAMU and UT are still in a sibling fight that will never end, and everybody else thinks they will get one of the kids – *looks at the B1G, PAC, and SEC* – because the kids have grown and they have daddy’s trust fund (see also PUF) and everybody wants a cut. The problem with trust fund kids, is daddy never taught them to share, or how everybody else does not have a trust fund to live on. Add the whole “we are independent in Texas” to the mix, and it just fuels the fire.

    Someday the B1G, PAC, and SEC will wise up and pick folks who are happy to be on a team. Arkansas is happy being a team member in the SEC. Nebraska is happy to be in the B1G. Colorado is just happy to get out alive. Which begs the question, if Texas is so great, then why are the surrounding states trying to get away? Somebody will pick up Missouri and Kansas as they seem happy to find a new home and would be willing team members to anybody that takes them in. Oklahoma may find its former self and go elsewhere while keeping the RRR – this time with T Boone U in tow. The rest will just roll along because they have nothing in the coffer to buy their way out. As for TAMU to the SEC, let me know when TU puts Vanderbilt back on the schedule every year before I start buying that fairy tale.

    ps, Frank you have a good site, but we need a few therapists on here to balance out the lawyers when it comes to reading the tea leaves of conference realignment and the state of texas.

    Like

    • bullet says:

      Dodds commented that Texas could go independent if it had too (implication it clearly did not want to) and had talked to about 20 other schools about grouping into conferences.

      If the Big 12 broke up and Texas felt like it had to go independent, you could see a bigger transformation that anyone envisions. What was old could become new again where you have a large number of major independents in football. What if those 20 included Miami, FSU, OU, Arkansas, Arizona St. and USC along with Texas, BYU and Notre Dame?

      Like

      • Richard says:

        Pretty much none of those schools (besides Texas & ND) would get more money as an independent than staying in a BCS conference. BYU probably would join a BCS conference as well if they got an invite.

        Like

        • joe4psu says:

          Richard,

          Isn’t the income B1G schools get already much larger than ND gets? I don’t know when their NBC contract expires and I suppose they’ll get a big bump then but that is not guaranteed. I know for cultural reason ND wants no part of the B1G, or any other conference, but if money were a major concern don’t you think ND would join a conference? As for UT, would they really get more money as an indy than they can in a conference since there a more regional attraction? They don’t have the national following that ND has and if ESPN is paying above market value to UT now to help keep the B12 together that doesn’t mean they’d pay them better as an indy than they do now with UT as a member of the B12. BYU’s income is greater as an indy but they have a more national following than UT and their income from the MWC was a pittance.

          Like

          • duffman says:

            joe4psu,

            It was on here along time ago, but in theory you are correct that the B1G gets more $$ from TV, but that is offset by the alumni money that flows to ND and actual game $$. As an independent they can get more favorable games (with no home and home against say IU or a smaller venue school with limited appeal) on better terms by selling “neutral” games in neutral markets where ND is selling most of the tickets and keeps most of the profit. If any ND folks say this is wrong feel free to correct.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            joe4psu,

            Nobody knows for sure what ND gets.

            The general rumor is $15M from NBC. However, one of the ND professors that was part of the negotiation says that the contract is much more valuable than is commonly assumed. Maybe he is wrong about the “common assumption” or maybe the real value is $20M+. Who knows?

            Like

  31. Todd says:

    Most of the time I value Kristi’s opinion, but I think she has gone too far…

    http://businessofcollegesports.com/2011/08/03/creating-16-team-super-conerences-for-football/

    Like

    • Brian says:

      What do you mean, gone too far?

      I certainly disagree with parts of her analysis, even granting her base assumptions:

      1. MO would go B10 before SEC
      2. Kansas is a pointless addition for the B10 in her scenario, especially if they are looking east. Why not take Pitt instead?
      3. I really doubt the B10 goes for the NYC triangle with UConn, Rutgers and Syracuse
      4. TCU and TT to the P12 seems unlikely
      5. The ACC won’t bend on academics enough to get WV
      6. I think the OK schools would look west not SE
      7. It’s hard for me to believe the ACC would go unscathed

      Instead, maybe these are the additions for her scenario:
      SEC – TAMU, TT, UL, WV
      B10 – MO, KS, Pitt, Rutgers
      ACC – UConn, Syracuse
      P12 – OU, OkSU

      The SEC adds 2 teams to each division, keeping the current alignment in tact.

      The B10 sticks to geography/culture and academics. It gets some eastern companions for PSU, some big markets to build the BTN and a hoops king.

      The P12 takes the only football king available and OkSU is the price. They save room for BYU and the next good western program (or UT if they change their mind).

      The ACC takes 2 good hoops schools near NYC.

      Like

      • Todd says:

        Your nos. 1-7 sum it up pretty well.

        Like

      • Michael in Raleigh says:

        “5. The ACC won’t bend on academics enough to get WV”

        This is a solid point that tons of writers who should know better miss about the ACC. They erroneously presume that if the ACC ever either expands or needs replacement members, or both, the schools at the top of the list are West Virginia, Louisville, and Notre Dame. Well, of course they’re correct that the ACC would pursue Notre Dame, but realistically, Notre Dame is just a school they’d ask just for the sake of asking without any real expectation of an acceptance. Louisiville and West Virginia would absolutely not be on the league’s wish list. For that matter, USF and UCF wouldn’t be either, even if replacements were needed for FSU & Miami.

        Instead, the ACC would more likely go after the Big East’s stronger academic schools: Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse, and/or UConn. That should be rather easy to figure out. But, as I mentioned before, if the ACC was entering into an environment where the Big 12 has broken up and its competitors have swelled to 14+ members, then the ACC would certainly try to go after some of those schools, too. Missouri and Kansas would be at least as attractive as some of the Big East’s truly eastern schools. While I’m talking about reactionary moves, I wouldn’t put it past the ACC to go after the Big East’s western outpost, either, and get into the DFW market with TCU.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          The ACC may bend a little for a school in FL due to the large market and talent pool, but USF would need to be on a clear upward trend academically and athletically.

          WV has no market and no talent pool, and thus no shot.

          Like

          • duffman says:

            WVA to the ACC nope
            UL to the ACC nope

            UC to the ACC hummmmmmm……

            UC used to be a private school like duke and vandy, so they share roots. As we have discussed before they are not the “research” school they were before they went public in the 70’s. They have a billion dollar endowment which is nothing to sneeze at. They have a strong liberal arts side that would be more valuable to the ACC than the B1G (CCM is still top 5 in the US, and DAA is a solid top 10). Cincy has to NCAA basketball banners, and a footprint that puts the ACC in the IN/KY/OH triangle….

            Like

          • Brian says:

            I think Nippert Stadium really hurts UC’s chances, as does their academic ranking.

            Like

          • duffman says:

            brian,

            They can use Nippert for say duke, and Paul Brown for FSU, so that part is workable. When they played Oklahoma in Cincy last year they drew around 58 K which would put it around NC ST and UNC’s 60 K stadiums. and well above Duke. (it was a good game, and the final was 31-29 so it was not like the Sooners blew them out).

            With UVA, they would have the top architecture schools, and UC law is one of the oldest in the US. The problem with UC is they are two schools, and U college used to weigh down the core of UC. U college was started after the move from private to public to educate the masses, and had lower admission requirements. (not sure if U college was the actual term, but that is what everybody used to call it). Not sure if tOSU non main campus schools have the same entrance requirements as Columbus, but if so that was U college, the difference was they were both on the same campus.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            UC doesn’t like to use Paul Brown too much, plus they can’t control the conference schedule versus the Bengals’ schedule. The Bengals probably don’t want a weekend doubleheader.

            The OSU regionals are easier to get into, but you can usually transfer to Columbus after 1-2 years if you keep your grades up. Many students prefer to stay for the smaller campus and class size and staying closer to home.

            Like

    • @Todd – Yeah, the difficulty is that there aren’t really any ways to divide up the college football world into 4 16-team conferences (assuming the survivors are the Pac-12, Big Ten, SEC and ACC) without each of those conferences making some drastic concessions on what they look for in members, whether it’s in terms of academics or the new schools would make more money.

      I know I’m a Big Ten guy, but I doubt they’ll be getting the SEC’s sloppy seconds (much less being late movers after the ACC) in a complete reconstruction of college football. If the Big Ten wants Mizzou, they’ll get Mizzou over the SEC. The SEC won’t “block” the Big Ten from adding anyone. The only school of real value that the SEC could clearly get over the Big Ten in a head-to-head battle is Texas A&M.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        People seem to ignore the fact that conferences need a compelling financial reason to expand.

        Which schools might provide compelling value?

        ND – not going anywhere until forced
        UT – not looking to move, could go anywhere including independent
        TAMU – wants the SEC or B12
        OU – might go anywhere, but the academics are shaky for the B10
        FSU – SEC is only other realistic option
        VT – could go B10 or SEC

        I don’t see the P12 making the first move with these choices. The B10 might move to compete with the SEC for VT, but that presumes VT is looking to move. The SEC is happy as is, but could pursue TAMU and/or OU.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          Well, the B10 actually has nonfinancial reasons to take the heart of the old ACC, which is why I think they’d make the move for Maryland, UVa, UNC, and Duke/NCSU even if the additions turn out to only pay for themselves.

          1. Go South Young Man! I: It’s where the population growth is. Both NC and the DC area have grown substantially, and unlike many areas which saw population growth due to the recent Ponzi housing market, growth in NC is organic while the growth in greater DC due to the expansion of the federal government which is unlikely to reverse.
          2. Go South Young Man! II: Football recruiting.
          3. Academically, they’re a great fit. Other than Texas & TAMU or the Cali Pac schools (between unlikely and no-chance-in-hell of adding those) only the core ACC schools fit in perfectly academically and also can justify their additions athletically/monetarily.

          Plus, the BTN may be able to monetize basketball better. That $30M ACC Raycom contract is almost solely due to the football-level TV ratings that college basketball gets in NC, VA, and MD.
          Additionally, getting one of UNC or Duke coming to visit every year would help basketball ticket sales as well.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            I don’t buy some of your reasons, especially since collegiality is so important to the presidents. They don’t want to expand to 16, add 4 borderline cultural fits, risk diluting the brand and play the other schools much less often just to break even financially. They need to get paid (in money or otherwise) to make those sacrifices.

            1. The population growth is great in NC, and really good in SC and GA. The rest of the southeast, including FL, isn’t growing faster than IN, IL, MN, IA and NE. OH and PA have very limited growth and MI actually shrank during the recession. The other major growth areas are TX and the mountain states (AZ, UT, CO, WY, ID, NV).

            What people fail to mention is that part of growing faster is starting from a smaller base. The B10 is full of large states (7 of the top 21), while the SEC mostly has medium size states (3 of the top 20) and doesn’t completely dominate the biggest ones. The ACC has many large states (6 of the top 20), but doesn’t dominate in the biggest ones so the numbers are a little skewed.

            Data source (size and growth rate):

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

            B10 states
            5 IL 12.8M
            6 PA 12.7
            7 OH 11.5
            8 MI 9.9
            15 IN 6.5
            20 WI 5.7
            21 MN 5.3
            30 IA 3.0
            38 NE 1.8
            Total = 69.2M with only IA shared

            B12 states
            2 TX 25.1M
            18 MO 6.0
            28 OK 3.8
            30 IA 3.0
            33 KS 2.9
            Total = 40.8M with only IA shared
            This is the big problem for the B12 as TX will just dominate more and more over time.

            SEC states
            4 FL 18.8M
            9 GA 9.7
            17 TN 6.3
            23 AL 4.8
            24 SC 4.6
            25 LA 4.5
            26 KY 4.3
            31 MS 3.0
            32 AR 2.9
            Total = 58.9M with FL, GA, SC and KY shared

            ACC states
            4 FL 18.8M
            9 GA 9.7
            10 NC 9.5
            12 VA 8.0
            14 MA 6.5
            19 MD 5.8
            24 SC 4.6
            Total =62.9M with FL, GA and SC shared

            All the ACC states people mention would be 5th or 6th biggest in the B10, it’s not like they would make a drastic change. The B10 will have the lead in population for quite a while barring any changes, especially if you don’t give full FL, GA and SC credit to the SEC and ACC. The importance of UT and TAMU becomes obvious, though.

            2. Recruiting follows population in many ways. If more B10 states added spring football, that would balance much of the advantage that southern players have. So would eliminating oversigning and having equal academic standards. People forget that OH, PA, IL and MI produce tons of players, too. Southern players get more hype, and FL and TX produce a huge amount of talent based on larger populations, but every school is numbers limited. B10 schools already recruit FL, GA and even TX heavily.

            3. Of course, the ACC core would be a great addition academically. That’s not a reason to add them, though, just a reason not to avoid adding them. The schools might be able to pay for themselves, but in the process the B10 would be gutting an old league and adding a bunch of schools that are a questionable fit culturally. For that, they want to go to 16? Divisions of 8 mean at most 2 crossover games, or an 8 year cycle (yes, they could do pods and cycle faster but I don’t see that with this group added).

            Better reasons you didn’t mention:
            1. The SEC is trying to get a VA or NC school so the B10 at least needs a foothold there
            2. Some NCAA change makes 16 advantageous financially or required for post-season

            If population and recruiting are your big concerns, with academics also important, then the B10 needs to sell its soul to get UT or TAMU. Nothing else comes close.

            Like

          • duffman says:

            brian,

            to be fair

            Iowa > Iowa State : Iowa = B1G, not split state
            UGA > GT : Georgia = SEC state

            USC has made great strides on Clemson since SEC admission, so I would agree that is a split state, however I am willing to bet in state SEC games on TV outdraw ACC ones.

            UF is your parents and grandparents school, and that is who pays for the most expensive tickets, and they still watch TV. I would give the gators an advantage (and SEC TV games a big advantage to the ACC). I would put them above 50%, but not as high as UGA’s advantage to GT for the eyeballs.

            The in state one that really make me wonder is PA post JoPa
            If Pitt got hot again, and PSU fell, how would that state fall when it comes to eyeballs?

            Like

          • Brian says:

            duffman,

            I didn’t mean to imply that the split states were split evenly. I just wanted to note that having all of the AQ schools in one conference is quite different from having only some of them.

            I included IA to be fair, but sure UI > ISU in most of the state. But frankly, IA is so small that it’s not a big deal.

            To me the first issue is FL, with only 1/4 of the AQs in the SEC. Sure, UF and the SEC is top dog but not by that much anymore with the ACC having #2 and 3. If FSU beats UF again, the prominence battle for teams is on. In other words, a significant percentage of FL residents are not UF/SEC fans. That means their total population is significantly lower than what the raw numbers show.

            As for GA, yes UGA is dominant and the state leans towards the SEC. However, GT has a decent number of fans in Atlanta, too. Since half the state lives in Atlanta, that again means the raw numbers need adjusting.

            I agree that SC is fairly split with an SEC lean, especially lately.

            So to my point:

            Give the SEC 60% of SC, 67% of FL, 85% of GA just as guesses
            Whole states = 18.8 + 9.7 + 4.6 = 33.1M
            SEC share = 23.6M
            ACC share = 9.5M

            B10 total = 69.2M
            New SEC = 49.4M
            New ACC = 39.3M

            The guesses aren’t perfect, but the point is clear. Losing even a small percentage of their 2 biggest states (FL and GA) and a chunk of another one really hurts them in terms of total numbers. Even giving the SEC and ACC an extra 5M for overlap would leave a huge lead for the B10. The south is growing, but it has a long ways to go before it is a major problem for the B10.

            As for PA, I think Pitt has a long way to go to catch up, especially being in the BE. It would take a streak of Pitt dominance over PSU to change things, but PSU has a ton of advantage in recruiting, money and conference alignment. It’s like comparing USF to FSU.

            Like

          • duffman says:

            brian,

            I agree with the percentages, or something like them what I was aiming for was non school demand under 2 population groups.

            a) people that follow neither, but watch what is on the tv on saturday

            for this market I am willing to bet that the demand for SEC football greatly exceeds ACC football. While the SEC has a smaller state footprint (SEC home states) of the Big 3, they are the best at creating demand beyond their borders. Winning helps, but they are better at getting their low teams in as well.

            b) people that follow a specific school, but cross over to another conference when other games are on.

            A Ga Tech fan might watch their team, but watch another conference when Ga Tech is not playing. I have some friends that do this exactly, and watch Tech as a team, but the SEC as a conference. I never see them watching ACC football games if it is not Tech. I do not know how this percentage breaks out, but I am guessing there is more crossover than some suspect.

            I was on a B12 board and was surprised when they listed top games and market share, about half the teams in the top 10 were SEC games. Either there is a big demand, or crossover is bigger in the non football conferences. I think the B1G and SEC can hold their local ground and pick up extended ground outside their home states. the PAC who knows, but my guess is the B12 / ACC / BE are all reversed from the B1G / SEC / and the state of texas.

            Texas is a football crazy state, and Indiana / Kentucky are the same in basketball. In all these discussions I think people forget that some things translate differently across conferences and state lines. I will watch UNL (before the B1G move) ahead of pretty much any game with ACC only teams. Even tho I watch UNL, does not mean I will watch UT or OU play other B12 teams. We have already discussed the fractured NY market, but I often wonder what other markets are closer to NYC than say Norman. As I said before, being a basketball guy I live in a great spot to see B1G, BE, SEC, and A10 basketball with great ease. There are probably football fans like me out there, and how do you figure out their viewing habits (aside from owning a network and getting data firsthand). :)

            Like

          • Brian says:

            duffman,

            I agree with all your points. I just get tired of hearing the refrain of the B10 has to expand to the south because we’re running out of people. The B10 would like to get a bigger share of the people, but that’s partially due to wanting more BTN money and more national power.

            The B10 footprint has the most people and is still growing. The fastest growth in the south is localized to 3 states, with the rest not outpacing the B10 area. Of the 3, NC isn’t in the SEC, SC is split, and even GA has a piece missing.

            Yes, lots of people watch games from outside the region. You mention ACC and B12 (and B10 too) people watching the SEC, but don’t forget all the transplanted northerners in the south watching B10 games. Atlanta is hardly a pure SEC town, the same with Charlotte and others.

            Like

        • @Brian – Interesting that you bring up VT as a possible Big Ten candidate, as not too many have proposed that scenario and I’ve actually been thinking about that recently. IF the Big Ten were to try raiding the ACC (and let me be clear that I don’t believe that will happen and have long thought that the ACC is on much stronger footing than many seem to give it credit for), I’ve been wondering if the best play would be to grab Maryland, Virginia and Virginia Tech as a trifecta (and then the last spot for ND as I’m assuming this would entail the Armageddon scenario of 4 16-team conferences where you need to be in one of them to compete for the national championship, which is literally the only way to get ND to give up independence).

          UNC and Duke are obviously fantastic if you can get them, but what will be difficult to get over is that the ACC is their conference in the same way that the Pac-12 is the conference for USC and UCLA and (gulp) the Big 12 is the Texas conference. It would take a lot more than sheer money to get UNC and Duke to move from a league where they are clearly the standard-bearers. At the same time, from a market perspective, the Big Ten would likely always be Northern interlopers in North Carolina. I’d feel the same way if the Big Ten tried adding a school like Georgia Tech, too – there’s just no way that region of the country could ever be Big Ten territory. Those schools would be chosen to be hired guns that wouldn’t fit into the conference.

          In contrast, the Mid-Atlantic region and DC market have a much better shot at becoming legit Big Ten territories in spirit (not just on paper). There’s enough of a concentration of Big Ten alums in Maryland, DC and Northern Virginia (particularly a heavy Penn State contingent) where adding in all 3 of Maryland, UVA and VT would create some strong network effects. 15 years ago, you could’ve owned that region with just MD and UVA, but I think VT is necessary now as it’s solidified itself as the main football draw in the area. Why let the SEC take them and intrude on a territory that you would want to own completely? The area has favorable long-term demographic growth projections, yet it’s not just adding some Sun Belt schools simply to get a presence there while ignoring the cultural aspects. VT isn’t an AAU school, but its academic rankings are in line with Indiana/Purdue/Iowa, so I don’t think the Ivory Tower contingent would have an issue with the Hokies. Ultimately, any 16-school scenario still needs to be driven by football, so VT is pretty valuable.

          Like

          • Richard says:

            I guess I just don’t see ND ever giving up independence. I think they’d rather become Army than join a conference.

            BTW, NC is filled with Northerners now (granted, mostly down from the East Coast). You go to Charlotte, and almost everyone is from out of state.

            Like

          • @Richard – True, Charlotte has a lot of Northern transplants, although that can be said of most of the Sun Belt cities (Atlanta, Nashville, etc.). Culturally, though, they’re going to still be Southern for a long time (and thereby SEC or ACC country, respectively). Virginia (largely driven by the DC suburban portion) seems at face value to be a place that would more easily transition to being a Big Ten state

            If ND never gives up independence, then the Big Ten might as well go after the real big gun from the ACC: Miami. The football brand is top-notch (even if weakened a little bit recently), it’s a Northeastern school that happens to be located in the Southeast, and its location is geographically isolated from everyone in every conference, so distance is irrelevant. In terms of transplanted Midwesterners, Florida is the #1 destination, so it’s as good of a spot as any as a target area for the Big Ten. Granted, the “football fan” side of me wants that move more than the “university president” side of me, although academically, Miami is much farther along than ND in terms of research capabilities.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Oh, and while the NC schools obvious think of the ACC as “their” conference, if the ACC becomes an also ran, I just don’t see UNC staying put. They’d be as happy there as Texas was in the SWC after Arkansas left.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Frank: Don’t forget the Research Triangle as well, and eastern NC is filled with military transplants (and veterans who stayed after serving), who come from all over.

            NC is fast becoming as southern as southern Indiana.

            Like

          • @Richard – True about RTP.

            Nickname for Cary, NC: Containment Area for Relocated Yankees

            Like

          • Richard says:

            OK, from here:

            http://www.city-data.com/forum/new-york/6004-who-else-moving-north-carolina-11.html

            “The northerners I know here who are the happiest in NC are the ones who moved to one of the main cities. And I don’t mean just in the city limits—but deep inside the urban core. They find a better sense of community (instead of a farm field turned into a sprawling subdivision), walkable neighborhoods, educated neighbors, progressive schools that can better-handle the growth, better city services, higher diversity, etc etc. They find themselves much happier in those places, and the native NC’ers there get along with them fantastically.”

            “I’m talking about northerners finding an atmosphere of the people in those urban cores are more compatible with the northern culture they’re used to. Cuz those who do go into the suburbs and rural areas, they’re the ones who see all those negative aspects (& stereotypes) of the south that you see complaints about in the many pages of this thread. Those who stay in the big cities, don’t see nearly as many of them.”

            So there seems to be a big urban/rural divide.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            . . .however, I would say that’s true about VA as well. Move outside of the DC metroplex, and the rural areas are as southern as NC’s. I knew a Virginian in college, and she said Virginians (outside of NoVa) don’t consider the DC suburbs as being part of Virginia.

            Like

          • Michael in Raleigh says:

            Let’s not overstate the urban/rural divide too much here. Lifestyles in rural, middle-of-nowhere Illinois is like night and day compared with life in Chicago.

            That said, I think everyone’s made some solid observations about North Carolina. If I had to guesstimate, Charlotte and the Triangle both are about 50-60% from outside the Carolinas or nearby Virginia, and maybe 70% are from outside the state itself. There’s also a strong military presence that draws on people from everywhere in Fayetteville and small cities like Jacksonville and Goldsboro.

            At the same time, Frank is right about this not being some kind of northern state with warmer weather. Greensboro, Winston-Salem, High Point, Gastonia, and any town in eastern NC are all every bit as “southern” as Birmingham, AL, and it’s not as though I don’t hear plenty of southern drawl every day here in Raleigh, despite its rapid growth. Moreover, for the people who care about and follow the local teams, they think of their schools as southern schools first. Thus, I would say that the vast majority of people who care about UNC, NCSU, Wake, and Duke would prefer to be in the SEC over the Big Ten.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Frank,

            I don’t see VT as a primary candidate, but certainly it would be worth blocking the SEC to take them. I’m with you on the strength of the bonds of the ACC core.

            Your MD, UVA, VT plan makes some sense. VA is the much bigger state, so you get 4-5.7 million people per school. Unfortunately, none of the three is a great brand. Do you need UVA to get MD, because you could save a slot by getting just VT and MD. I don’t think UVA is needed to grab the VA market anymore, especially since their MBB team is down. The SEC isn’t going to get UVA. You could add Rutgers for population or Pitt for fit.

            I agree that NC will never feel like B10 country. I’m not sure about MD and N. VA either, but it’s possible I guess. At least they aren’t as southern in culture.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Richard,

            ND has said they would join a conference if it was a prerequisite for competing for a National Championship. There is also strong sentiment that they would join one if BCS access became much tougher for them. 16 team super-conferences may do that.

            Picture 2 auto-bids per conference, and you’re at 8 teams. That leaves 2 spots in the current setup, and super-conferences probably could get an at large bid as well. That could mean the 4 leagues take all 10 spots. Would ND accept having to be one of the top 2 non-superconference teams to get a BCS bowl, especially when the contract would probably reduce their guaranteed payout when they don’t go?

            Like

          • Richar says:

            Mike, the key question is whether the UNC and Duke administration (and alums) would prefer the SEC over the B10. With Duke, I think that’s an easy question. UNC’s alums are mostly Carolinian, but I get the sense that they have as much interest in joining the the SEC as the Longhorns do.

            Like

          • duffman says:

            Frank,

            I agree with VT, but in many scenarios we have TAMU heading to the SEC, and VT seems like the ideal fit. Looking at the TAMU boards VT is the number 1 pick by far that they would like if they go to the SEC. Granted the younger kids are not as keen on the COC status of both schools, but the old guys making the calls sure are. New army may chatter, but old army makes the deals. Put TAMU and VT in the same conference and I think Army / Navy / AF start showing up with regularity on both schools OOC. ND has used the Army and Navy games for years as solid OOC type games when compared to ND playing Iowa State or Wake Forest in those same slots. Say what you will, but ND is good in scheduling that way.

            Like

          • M says:

            “VT isn’t an AAU school, but its academic rankings are in line with Indiana/Purdue/Iowa”

            Not by the AAU research rankings (the ones that got Nebraska and Syracuse kicked out). VT is at #91 nestled right between Oklahoma and FSU, two schools routinely dismissed for Big Ten expansion on academic grounds which have a far better football acumen. Of course, Nebraska is #109 in those rankings, so perhaps the academic component has been overblown all along.

            Also, if the aim is to secure the DC market, VT is an almost 5 hour road trip from downtown DC. Their student population is much more from the southern and western part of the state. I don’t have specific numbers, but I would guess that they are the 4th or 5th most popular college team in the DC area (behind Penn State, Maryland, Georgetown and UVA in some order). I can’t see why the Big Ten would add a reach school with limited appeal to double count a state, especially if Maryland is added as well.

            In that situation, why is VT better than Pitt? Pennsylvania is a larger state than Virginia. Pitt is unassailable academically. Pitt’s DMA is twice the size of VT’s. Pitt is about the same distance away from DC. Pitt fits much better culturally.

            Of course, politics is politics. Texas might not be the only school with a tech problem.

            Like

          • M says:

            “I knew a Virginian in college, and she said Virginians (outside of NoVa) don’t consider the DC suburbs as being part of Virginia.”

            I’ve seen the term “occupied Virginia” tossed around.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            M,

            Frank said:
            “VT isn’t an AAU school, but its academic rankings are in line with Indiana/Purdue/Iowa”

            You replied:
            “Not by the AAU research rankings (the ones that got Nebraska and Syracuse kicked out). VT is at #91 nestled right between Oklahoma and FSU, two schools routinely dismissed for Big Ten expansion on academic grounds which have a far better football acumen. Of course, Nebraska is #109 in those rankings, so perhaps the academic component has been overblown all along.”

            He did say academic rankings, so here’s the USNWR rankings of some relevant schools:
            55 Syracuse
            56 PU, OSU, MD
            63 TAMU
            64 Pitt, Rutgers
            69 VT
            72 IA
            75 IN
            79 MSU
            104 NE, FSU
            111 OU

            I’m not saying USNWR rankings are gospel, but they give some guidance.

            As for the DC market, the B10’s goal would be to be on basic cable there to get the subscriber fees. The combo of PSU, MD and VT would achieve that. Once exposed to B10 football, the hope is that the ratings grow over time. Northern VA is almost 1/3 of the state’s population and would fit in nicely. The next biggest area is the coast around Norfolk and the giant Navy base, so many of the people aren’t directly tied to the south. Third is the Richmond area which is hard core southern. The western edge along the mountains is more Appalachian than southern and could fit in with parts of OH and PA. I agree with you about not getting both VT and UVA unless you have to, but blocking the SEC from taking VT is a decent reason to consider it.

            You ask why VT is better than Pitt in that case. Well, VT is hugely popular in large chunks of VA for starters. Second, the B10 already has complete coverage of Pittsburgh so it wouldn’t add much directly. Maybe the question is why take UVA if you have MD and VT?

            Like

          • frug says:

            @Michael

            While the schools’ fans my identify the the schools as having more in common culturally with the SEC, I think most of the fan bases (at least UNC and Duke) would prefer Big 10 membership because of the larger number of basketball schools. True, UK would provide them with a natural rival (something the Big 10 can not) but overall, I think most would find the Big 10 a better long term fit.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Brian:

            VA bigger than who? NC has 9.5M. VA has 8M.

            As for ND, despite what the administration may want, I think their alums force them to stay independent. Beating out a bunch of BE and MWC for one of 2 BCS spots isn’t going to be difficult for a good ND team, as they’d win the tiebreaker against any team from those conferences.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Richard,

            I was saying VA is much bigger than MD, so having 2 schools in VA versus 1 in MD wouldn’t lower the population per school too much.

            Like

        • greg says:

          Conferences need compelling financial, cultural, and long term reasons for expansion, financial by itself won’t do it. Well, this applies to the B10 and SEC. B12 seems to primarily need financial reasons, but there aren’t financial reasons on the horizon. BE needs only financial reasons and probably not even that, considering how often they expand. P12 is purely financial, and I think Larry Scott may be dangerously risking the P12 long term fit in order to expand.

          B10 and SEC will not expand just to slightly increase the financial return. SEC has the highest Q rating, the best brand, and just does not need to expand. B10 has the tightest educational fit, makes the most money (slightly ahead of SEC but you can basically consider them equal), and is the research leader. Both conferences will have to think long and hard before any expansion, and I think both are doubtful to expand.

          Posters mention that there may need to be a rule change that drives the expansion to 16. Where would this rule change come from? If conferences are not at 16, why would the NCAA membership change the rules to make 16 attractive? It was an accident that 12 became attractive, the SEC found basically a rule loophole to establish its title game and make 12 what it is today.

          Like

          • @greg – This is a good point as it’s a circular roadblock to any BCS conference going up to 16. To me, there’s not that much incentive to be that large under the current rules. However, if an NFL-style playoff system were allowed – 4 16-team conferences of 4 divisions each, with each of those division winners advancing to conference semifinals, and so on – then there’s a big-time incentive to go up to 16. The problem is what you point out – no one is going to propose a rule change like this to go up to 16 unless it’s already at 16, and it’s unlikely the conferences go to 16 without that rule change already in place, so there’s an inherent gridlock point there. Of course, the option for the power conferences to split off entirely from the NCAA remains, too.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            The people who are pointing out that there might need to be a rule change to drive this, like me, are the ones who don’t really think going to 16 is likely. It will probably take several kings wanting to move.

            If UT, OU and TAMU all wanted to go somewhere else, every other conference would have to listen. Those are great brands and schools and have a huge market base. Even if they aren’t a great fit for you, can you afford to let them go elsewhere? I think all the other important schools are settled, so no mass expansion:

            USC, UCLA – happy in P12
            AL, FL, GA – happy in SEC
            FSU, Miami – seem happy in ACC and UF doesn’t want them in SEC
            OSU, MI, PSU, NE – happy in B10
            ND – happy in isolation
            UT, OU – seem happy in B12

            TAMU could be a trigger, but it would require something big for the TX legislature to not try to stop it. Once they go, the question is what OU does? If OU stays put with UT, then things probably settle down again with the SEC (most likely) having a leg up on everyone else. At most it will drive the B10 to talk to ND again.

            The problem would be if the B12 – TAMU (and possibly MO as a partner) becomes too small to be viable. Do they start adding back old SWC foes or BE teams to raise the numbers, or do UT and OU look for new homes? OU can’t afford independence, so they either so P12, SEC or B10. The fight for UT would be legendary, but they might prefer independence. Even if all that happens, though, I don’t see everyone chasing 16. They will take the fewest additions necessary to get TAMU, OU and/or UT.

            The only other thing that comes to mind is if the media world changes to the point where having all the extra content from 16 teams becomes very valuable. What if the B10 could start BTN2 and get paid almost as much for it as for the BTN? Would that drive them to get to 16?

            Like

          • bullet says:

            I don’t think 16 is likely either. I also don’t think 16 is stable. That might give you the critical mass not for TV exposure, but for implosion.

            The most likely trigger for more expansion is Notre Dame deciding that independence hurts their football (which IMO it does). I suspect the BE and B12 will get to 12 eventually, but the SEC, ACC and B10 will be happy where they are unless ND (or UT or OU) triggers changes. A&M wouldn’t be a trigger. It would be a loss for the B12, but as long as OU stays put, BYU makes a nice replacement and even Louisville would be ok.

            Like

    • Richard says:

      Dosh is being very blonde here.

      The Big10 isn’t going to expand to 16 by adding KU, SU, UConn, & Rutgers just because the SEC does so (if they do). If its a choice between adding those 4 or staying at 12, they’d just stay at 12 and suffer no ill consequences.

      If TAMU joins the SEC, the SEC will either grab Mizzou and stop or raid the ACC.

      She doesn’t explain why the B10 and SEC wouldn’t try to raid the ACC with the B10 settling for BE leftovers instead.

      If the ACC holds together, only the B12 would implode.

      The OK schools likely head west because people say on the nets that the OK schools aren’t appealing enough to the SEC (and that seems reasonable; it makes no sense for the SEC to take OkSt with OU when they could leave 2 slots open for FSU and VTech in the future).

      TTech may be picked up by the BE.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        I thought her B10 expansion was silly, too. Her assumption of ACC stability seems shaky, but I gave it the benefit of the doubt.

        Assuming the ACC is off limits, the B10 would probably continue to wait for ND.

        What I wonder about is, what happens if the SEC offers TAMU, OU, OkSU and MO (I don’t buy that OkSU is too high of a price for getting OU – they have big revenue numbers)? It’s even worse if they substitute FSU or VT for MO.

        The B10 won’t want to see another king join the SEC, let along the SEC gaining a foothold in TX too. Do they wait and hope the P12 gets OU instead? Do they offer OU to pair with NE? Do they compete for MO/VT/FSU? Do they offer TAMU? Will the B10 just sit at 12 if the SEC goes to 16?

        Like

        • Richard says:

          If the SEC offers Mizzou, the B10 can block (actually, it could very well get the Pac to do the dirty work by offering the OK schools, Mizzou, and KU). For that old Big8 quartet, staying together and joining another old Big8 school in CU in the new Pac16 East (which would be the old Big8 +ASU + UA + Utah – ISU – KSU – UNL) would be pretty compelling compared to being split up.

          If the SEC manages to pick off ACC schools, that gives the B10 the opportunity to go after the heart of the old ACC (Maryland, UVa, UNC, and Duke/NCSU).

          Like

    • Lucky says:

      It amazes me that ppl still overvalue off-the-cuff academic rep as a factor in conference realignment. Nebraska got dropped from the AAU right after being accepted into the B1G! WVU will end up in the ACC if they expand because WVU brings cash dollars. If you think of Nebraska as a poor man’s Notre Dame, then WVU is a poor man’s Nebraska. Passionate fanbase. Strong athletic department throughout (except the baseball program). Complete market dominance over all WV markets, strong presence in Western PA and also DC as well as a very strong alumni presence in North Carolina and Charlotte in particular. The ACC would actually gain several compelling tv matchups (at least regionally) in WVU-Maryland, WVU-VT, WVU-UVA, WVU-BC, WVU-Miami, WVU-FSU (Bowden connection plus Jimbo is from Clarksburg, WV). Don’t overthink it (Cincinnati over WVU?? Get real.) If the dominoes fall, WVU & Pitt will be in the ACC.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        Like it or not, academics are an important factor for the decision makers, especially in the B10, P12 and ACC. WV is not a king. The brand of NE justified letting them in, especially since they enabled the B10 to add a CCG. There’s a huge difference. WV might pay for itself, but that’s about it. Why expand for that?

        Like

        • cfn_ms says:

          WV would be an interesting fit for ACC. I think if the ACC HAD to expand due to some combination of national movement towards 16 and/or getting raided by B10/SEC, then WV would definitely be a consideration. I certainly don’t think ACC would rush to take WV before they absolutely had to. I don’t see ACC doing anything other than reactive moves in this environment.

          Like

      • Vincent says:

        I can envision WVU as part of an ACC 2.0, that is, a conference looking to replenish after its core members (UNC, UVa, UMd and either Duke or NCSU) were absorbed by the Big Ten and Virginia Tech and perhaps FSU became an SEC member. In that environment, academics aren’t quite as big a factor and WVU goes in as part of a mass exodus from the Big East.

        Of course, WVU could become an SEC wild-card, as it’s in a state adjacent to Kentucky (and Virginia) and has had a southern orientation in the past (as a longtime member of the Southern Conference). I could see WVU joining A&M, Missouri and VT in a 16-team SEC.

        Like

  32. CAN’T WAIT for your post on NCAA antitrust issues.

    I will go to my grave saying Illinois should have sued the s*** out of the NCAA when they went after our mascot. The fact that they didn’t shows beyond a doubt that the UofI administration was happy and willing to kill the Chief and lay the blame on someone else. If Illinois had joined forces with North Dakota they could have beaten the NCAA, but the powers that be had no interest in that.

    Like

    • greg says:

      Did you just call the Chief a mascot? You need to study your pro-Chief talking points.

      Like

      • I refuse to buy into the PC crap that a “mascot” is somehow insulting or insensitive. If that were the case every human mascot would be on its way out the door. The whole “It’s a symbol not a mascot” argument was a feeble attempt by Pro-Chiefers to turn the debate. And as it failed miserably, I don’t see any reason to keep up the charade.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          So you don’t see how Ole Miss having a plantation owner as a mascot might be a little offensive to some people?

          Or how having a white guy dressed in a parody of Indian garments and making up fake Indian dances might be a problem? And no, I’m not accusing any specific school of that before you get too excited.

          At some point, institutes of higher learning have to value the feelings of others. State funded institutions especially shouldn’t be actively insulting large swathes of people for no good reason. And no, having had the same mascot for a long time does not count as a good reason.

          I had no issue with schools that responsibly used Indian names and mascots, but there is a lot of room for things to go wrong with it. If the Sioux tribes don’t feel North Dakota is properly representing them, they should have the right to stop it. If Ireland gets upset about Notre Dame, they should also have that right. I think the NCAA was right to get rid of the generic slang terms like Redskin since many of them were basically racial slurs. I wouldn’t want to see the Honkies or the Wetbacks, either, no matter how long the name had been used. I do sympathize with fans that are losing nicknames and mascots that they have a long, deep connection with.

          As for schools named after now non-existent tribes, that’s tough. Maybe a council of 5 leaders of various tribes should get a say in place of the defunct tribe’s leaders. The point is to avoid embarrassing stereotypes that exist because nobody is left to complain about them.

          I’d let schools slide on Cavemen or Neanderthals, but I don’t think anyone has gone that route.

          Like

          • bullet says:

            Didn’t you see? Some geneticists believe they have discovered Neanderthal DNA in our genes (at least in non-Africans). And Denosivan DNA in New Guineans.

            Should we ask Greeks if its ok for USC to be the Trojans and SJSU to be the Spartans?

            The Cleveland Indians and Washington Redskins aren’t changing and noone is asking them to. They’re the only ones still out there that are really offensive.

            Actually on North Dakota, one tribe approved it and the other refused to have a vote (per ND fans because they would sure it would be approved).

            Like

          • Brian says:

            I did see the stories about Neanderthal DNA, and I wasn’t really surprised. Teenagers aren’t exactly renowned for their will power, so 2 similar hominids doesn’t seem like a stretch.

            As long dead civilizations, I’m not too concerned about Trojans and Spartans. That’s a little different from a fairly recent extinction as with the Illini, especially since many similar tribes are still around. 2000 years after all the Indian tribes are gone, I wouldn’t have a problem with Indian nicknames coming back either.

            I agree about the Indians and the Redskins. Cleveland has certainly received a lot of heat over Chief Wahoo, and deservedly so. The difference is these are pro teams and people can choose not to support them. That’s harder to do if your taxes pay for the team.

            I heard about ND getting 1 of 2, but I didn’t follow it too closely. Maybe they should have bribed the other tribe. I’m sure they could scrounge up some beads and trinkets.

            Like

          • What about UMass, where a group of students complained that the Minuteman wasn’t inclusive enough because it only represented white males? So in that case a mascot is so great and so rewarding that people get offended when they are left out, but in the case of the Illini or Sioux it’s so offensive that it has to go?

            I used to agree with you on the Redskins name, but after years of seeing the anti-Chief people refuse to draw any distinction between Chief Illiniwek and the Washington Redskins I’ve lost any interest in the plight of mascot-haters.

            Your point about avoiding “embarrassing stereotypes that exist because nobody is left to complain about them” seems a little backwards considering other indians murdered the Illini and now you want to let other indians decide how they should be represented. That’d be kind of like asking Germans to determine how to discuss the Holocaust.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            If you believe the Peoria Indian tribe, the Peoria tribe in Oklahoma are the descendants of the Illini that were resettled to the west. So they did have someone who could respond.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            As for UMass, I don’t think the NCAA had anything to do with that. If the students want to bitch and the school chooses to cave, that’s a UMass issue. I’d have told them to shut up and study their history.

            Like

    • Eric says:

      The NCAA’s policies on mascots is actually the biggest reason I would be OK with it dieing. There are other things that are probably more important, but that so stepped over a line (the NCAA should have zero right to tell schools they can’t use mascots they were using before it was even founded) that I’ve always held that as my biggest beef with the NCAA.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        The NCAA is a voluntary association of schools. The schools voted to ban “offensive” mascots, probably because most school presidents see cultural sensitivity as important. All these schools have to do is get permission from the associated Indian tribe and they can keep the names and mascots (see FSU). If the Indian tribes have a problem with these mascots, why shouldn’t the NCAA consider that important?

        Like

        • That would be a legitimate argument except for one small detail: there are no more Illini Indians. They were massacred. And not by the evil white man, but by other Indians. All the NCAA did was effectively finish the genocide of the Illini by removing them from public consciousness.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            Yes, because Illinois sports really had people a lot of people thinking about the plight of the Indians. You do realize that most people don’t know IL’s nickname, and of those who do many more don’t know that the Illini was an Indian tribe, right? I bet a poll in IL would find a lot of people who don’t know who the Illini were, where they lived or anything about them.

            As I said above, the NCAA should have tried a panel of other Indian leaders for cases like IL where the relevant tribe is no more. They’ll know what is generally offensive and what isn’t.

            Like

          • jj says:

            i always liked the illini logo with the headdress

            Like

          • greg says:

            NCAA isn’t asking Illinois to remove the Illini name from the public consciousness, they just want to stop the white kid from Winnetka from dancing around in Indian garb at halftime.

            Like

      • frug says:

        The problem with your argument is that the NCAA didn’t actually ban U of I from using the Chief. They simply said that Illinois would not be allowed to participate in NCAA sanctioned post season events if they didn’t get rid of him.

        Like

  33. jj says:

    Frank – quit throwing wet blankets!

    The vacuum demands action or at least drama.

    Like

  34. jj says:

    Adam & other NHL fans:

    Here’s a link you might get a kick out of.

    http://www.makeit8.ca/

    Like

    • Adam says:

      Hahah, I like it!

      Granted, Quebec has issues that Winnipeg didn’t. They don’t have an arena, there isn’t a clear ownership group in place chomping at the bit to get a team, and the population is smaller. Yet the fact that Winnipeg gambled on a new arena and ended up with a team, combined with substantial franchise instability right now in the NHL (Islanders, Coyotes, Panthers, Predators, possibly the Blue Jackets) could be a catalyst to getting an ownership group interested in stepping forward and making an arena deal happen.

      Stuff like this leaves me baffled at why the NHL looked/looks (haven’t heard anything about it for a while) in such a hurry to realign. Who the hell knows what will happen in a year?

      Like

      • jj says:

        the lesson for the nhl is know where your bread is buttered. i read some crazy stat one time about the difference in actual eyeballs sabers games had v some of the new markets. a market isn’t worth a crap if you don’t have their attention.

        Like

  35. bullet says:

    Also on a contrarian note, its generally accepted that since the ACC contract was great and got eclipsed by the SEC which was eclipsed by the 2nd tier Big 12 which was eclipsed by the Pac 12, contracts are continually going up.

    There was a comment that the Pac 12 deal turned things on its heads. Scarcity was viewed as a value. Well, that could be true to a point. With all the saturation and availability of regional teams, the value of the big names could decrease. The Big 10 could find they don’t get much of an increase because of the market and having 4 kings-UNL, UM, OSU and PSU. ESPN and Fox had to work together to use all the inventory the Pac 12 had. Maybe they don’t have the capacity for additional SEC inventory. Football could decrease in value because of all the available games splitting the audience, much like basketball has. The conference championship games no longer have exclusive time slots. They compete with each other.

    Many people believed housing prices would go up continuously not too long ago. Continued increases in TV contracts is no guarantee. And the SEC deal is still pretty comparable to the Pac 12. They don’t have quite as much on the air. SEC teams get to hold 1 game back.

    Like

    • Brian says:

      The exponential growth will stop soon, I think, as the contracts catch up to the true market value. I think slow growth will continue beyond that, though.

      Like

      • duffman says:

        bullet and brian,

        I see your points, but folks in Texas are already watching SEC games. I can not see a reverse demand in the SEC for B12 games. I have to think in the end you have to pay for markets, and right now (past 5 years) the SEC is hot. Football drives the bus, but the SEC just dominated the past CWS where new revenue streams are expected to come from.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          Duffman,

          There is reverse demand, just not for as many games because the B12 hasn’t had as many elite teams lately. You don’t think people in the SEC footprint watch the Red River Shootout? I’m pretty sure the ABC night games out draw the SEC on ESPN, too. The SEC on CBS trumps ABC, but part of that is all the focus CBS can put on hyping one conference during other sports programming.

          Like

          • duffman says:

            brian,

            I agree on the RRR, but it is one game. When UNL and CU packed their bags, I would argue so went 1/3 at least of the outside eyeballs watching B12 games. Sure UT, OU can get outside eyeballs. TAMU’s value is eyeballs inside the footprint because I sure do not remember them getting the same national feeds that UT, OU, and UNL have since I was a young man. You can not tell me ESPN can sell more of TAMU vs ISU over UGA vs UK. Both TAMU and UGA are upper middle pack schools, and UK and ISU are football bottom feeders (put KU in place of ISU and you get about the same result). We have discussed this before, as that is where the real value seems to drive SEC national eyeballs in the games below the top 10 matchups. The SEC has a real sweet spot here that the B12 and ACC have not been able to challenge.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            I agree with all of that. I just thought your blanket statement of no reverse demand was too simple. There is reverse demand, it just isn’t equal.

            However, the SEC didn’t used to be the media monster it is now. It recruiting rules get straightened out to level the playing field, you’ll see the SEC come back to the pack and the top conferences will get more equal demand. The B12’s problem is that it lost 2 big names and several other schools just seem to refuse to commit to good football (Baylor, KU, KSU, ISU). You can’t have 4 out of 10 not try and still have a good product to sell.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            I guarantee KU, KSU, Baylor and ISU are trying. And all but Baylor have been in the top 10 at some point in the last 10 years. Have Minnesota or IU been there? Has Purdue or Michigan State? And KU has been in a BCS bowl more recently than most of the Big 10. In 1994 and 2007 KU finished the season in the top 10. How many Big 10 schools can claim 2 top 10 finishes in that time period (my guess-The Big 3 + WI + IA-less than half). KU certainly hasn’t been consistently good, but they have had some good moments.

            I’d argue that the Big 10, SEC and ACC have more schools that aren’t trying real hard than the Big 12.

            I’m not disagreeing with your overall point, but just how you are trying to get there. If you aren’t in the top 10 currently or frequently in the top 25, you don’t generate much interest other than locally. The SEC has more schools that fit that 2nd category than any other conference.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            bullet,

            There’s trying and then there’s trying, you know?

            KU had one fluke year when they missed UT and OU and played NE at home, and they still lost to MO. They won 8 games the next year, and you have to go back over a decade to find a previous 8 win season.

            KSU is running an extended JUCO team with a coach old enough to remember a young JoePa and haven’t won 8 games since his previous stint, with the last time in 2003.

            ISU hit the top 10 for a week before losing 6 of 7. They haven’t won 8 games in over a decade.

            Baylor hasn’t won 8 games in 20 years, but they’ve improved to decent under Briles.

            MN won 10 games in 2003 and was ranked #13. IN hasn’t sniffed the top 10 in forever. PU was in the top 10 in 2003 if not more recently and MSU was there last year and have a solid program.

            As for top 10 finishes, OSU, MI, PSU, WI, IA and NE (not in the B10 when they did it, I know) all had at least 2 since 1994. MSU and IL would go back to the 80s, PU and MN to the 60s, and IN and NW to the 40s. MSU, NW and PU all had one since 1994, and multiple top 20s. IL and MN have had 2 top 20s since 1994. IN has 2 since 1979.

            My point wasn’t that other conferences don’t have the same deadweight, but 4 in a conference of 10 that also just lost a king is a problem in terms of percentage. Maybe those 4 will commit more assets to football with the opportunity for improvement.

            Like

          • duffman says:

            bullet,

            It is a numbers game, and a bigger boats float the small one’s

            The old B 12 = 3 (UT, OU, UNL) + 1 floater

            in a 12 team league = 4 / 12 or 1/3

            The SEC = 4 (BAMA, LSU, UF, UGA) + 4 floater’s

            in a 12 team league = 8 / 12 or 2/3

            The new B12 = 2 (UT, OU) + ?? floater

            in a 10 team league = 2 / 10 or 1/5

            Look at it this way, if 2 B12 teams are ranked, and 6 SEC teams are ranked, you get 3 times the number of possible games on TV for the SEC. TV is driven by content (something needs to fill dead air space). The SEC wins because getting the ranked team on TV gets the unranked one on as well. I have often seen UK on only because they are playing Florida, Georgia, LSU, or Tennessee. It also helps that the SEC does not want many in state rivals in conference because it gets them an added national slot. Case in point was last season when dog UK was playing UL on a national feed. You get the same for UGA / Ga Tech, UF / FSU, and USC / Clemson, but I used the UK example because you would expect to see UGA / UF / USC in such a slot. I agree that KU / KSU will only hit a local or regional slot, but the SEC (by having more top teams to select from) gets national play for their “lesser children”. I get IU no matter what because of where I am, but when IU is playing UM or tOSU I am not sure how often that goes out across the US. That said, I am fairly sure the IU / PU does not unless it gets picked up by the BTN, and then it is only where you can get the BTN outside the BTN footprint.

            Last season the B12 might lift 3 boats

            UNL vs B12 lesser child
            UT vs B12 lesser child
            OU vs B12 lesser child

            This season the B12 might lift only 2 boats

            UT vs B12 lesser child
            OU vs B12 lesser child

            But in both seasons the SEC lifted at least 4 boats each and every week

            I can remember watching UNL play a B12 because they were on a national feed and I wanted to watch UNL, and not who they were playing. Now if UNL plays I will still watch them, but they will no longer be lifting a B12 boat, because they no longer play in that conference. Simple as that.

            Like

          • duffman says:

            brian,

            Trying or not the SEC is blessed with 2 schools with terrible football teams historically, yet they still sell seats when losing (USC and UK). Ask any commentator who travels live from place to place and they all seem to notice this. I do not know if it is because it is SEC football or the city spikes the water supply with some optimism drug but it translates. IU and UK have not been MNC threats in ages, but UK can sell an extra 15 – 20 K seats a game, and talk of expanding to 80 K while I think if the home office in Bloomington said they were going to 80, somebody would be out a job. I would love to have been a fly on the wall when the SEC was discussing adding USC and see just how much the fan demand affected the final decision. I think both USC and UK had 1 win seasons and it lead to talks of expanding their respective stadiums, and both were expanded. If IU, KU, Duke, or Washington State had the same record, you would see them discussing expansion, much less actually doing it.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            duffman,

            The SEC has 1 epically bad team, Vanderbilt. KY and MS St are a step above but still bad. SC is another tier up, and more average. These schools sell tickets because the fans love football and don’t have unrealistic expectations. The schools also put money into their programs, even KY.

            I don’t think Baylor, ISU, KS and KSU have shown the same commitment to football, and many of their fans prefer another sport (wrestling, MBB). IU is in that same boat. MN and IL at least seem to be refocusing on football which should help them.

            Like

    • @bullet – I agree with you to a certain extent. To the extent that there’s a “tulip bulb” craze for sports rights, we could certainly see a crash. That’s probably less of a concern for the Big Ten and SEC, whose underlying values are strong whether it’s a bull or bear market. The ones that benefit the most in a rising market (and in turn, get crushed most in a receding market) are those entities whose underlying values really aren’t that strong. The Big East, for instance, is almost completely banking on a continually rising market for sports rights in general as opposed to actual confidence in its own marketability. They could end up being better off in their next contract than the ACC simply due to market timing, but they also face the most risk in the event of a slowdown in the rise of rights fees.

      Note that NBC isn’t paying more in its new Olympic deal compared to prior Olympics on an inflation-adjusted basis and the NHL’s new deal is really just an inflationary rise compared to the pre-lockout deal that the league had with ESPN. College football has been undervalued relative to other sports considering it gets the highest ratings of any sport outside of the NFL, but as we all know, there are still substantive differences between the values of the various conferences.

      Like

    • Eric says:

      I’m personally of the opinion that you won’t a see a new contract as large as the new PAC-12 contract in the next cycle at all (that includes the Big Ten and SEC). This is admittedly mainly due to beliefs on the economy (won’t get into them here as this isn’t the place), but generally speaking, I very much agree on exponential growth and think it applies to these contracts as much as anything else. Anything that rises that fast is due for a crash. It might be to levels that were still high in the past, but it’s going to be significantly less than the top. Where the top is is almost impossible to say, but I don’t think it will take a whole lot to reverse the course we have been on.

      My personal guess (and that’s all it is) is that the Big East should have signed a deal this year with ESPN when the getting was good and a little better than a year from now (when their contract officially comes up to be renegotiated) will be harder and lead to a smaller contract. If my timing is off though, then the exact opposite is true.

      Like

      • Phil says:

        Eric-

        The thing is, money isn’t everything when it comes to the Big East contract. People are well aware how far down in the pecking order Big East football is at ESPN, and an opportunity to make the same or even slightly more money, but improve the exposure and promotion of the BE games, make a potential partner like NBC much more attractive.

        Like

      • As Frank has stated in previous posts, the growth of DVR has made sports exponentially more valuable because it’s one of the few programs people actually watch live and don’t fast forward through the commercials.

        Networks are already trying to find ways around this. I was watching something on FX this weekend and they kept showing annoying ads for the new Apes movie at the bottom of the screen during the program. Whether that’s the answer or something else, you have to believe networks will find a way to cram their advertising down our throats regardless of DVRs. But until they do and until it really catches on, I expect sports contracts to continue to skyrocket.

        Like

  36. footballnut says:

    Not much to argue against Frank. Everyone outside of Texa$ is glad to have a heavy weight like aTm around just to piss off UT. Heck, even the MO coach had the kahunas to blast UT and the LHN publically for the high school BS. I hope atm stays in the Big 12 just to stand up to the bully. The other schools are too nice and you know where nice guys end up…last place.

    Like

    • duffman says:

      Which is why I proposed that Missouri and Kansas go as a pair to the PAC because I feel they would blossom away from UT. I will be watching CU over the next decade to see how well they do as an equal conference partner. Arkansas sure has grown being an equal partner in the SEC, and USC has made up much ground on Clemson since SEC admission. Both were in the same spot Missouri and Kansas find themselves in now. When UNL and CU flew the coop, it was Big 8 teams leaving UT behind, not SWC teams. Missouri and Kansas roots are not that deep as say TAMU and Baylor with UT.

      Sure UNL is a top brand and would land anywhere, but Arkansas, South Carolina, and Colorado did not have the same golden goose to take with them when they moved. They are more like the little engine that could.

      Like

      • MIzzou and Kansas would probably love a Pac invite. Hard to see why the Pac would be high on them. And of course, if KSU somehow forces KU to bring them it’d be a total no go.

        Like

  37. Richard says:

    Ran across this as well on Dosh’s site:
    Which Is More Important: Booster Contributions or NCAA and Conference Distributions?

    http://businessofcollegesports.com/2011/08/01/which-is-more-important-booster-contributions-or-ncaa-and-conference-distributions/

    Like

  38. bullet says:

    RIP Bubba Smith Colt, later Raider & Michigan St. great.

    http://www.cnn.com/2011/SPORT/08/03/bubbasmith.obit/

    The Colts that I was a fan of in my youth are passing away. John Mackey, mold breaking tight end was last month. Johnny U. was 2-3 years ago. Tom Matte, Ohio St. great, is about the only one of the stars left (some of the ’58 Colts’ stars of the famous OT championship game vs. the Giants are still around, but that was before my time).

    Like

  39. [...] That’s why I say thank you to Frank the Tank for an argument that isn’t driven by emotions. The Jump to Conclusions Game: Why Angry Aggies Aren’t Enough to Move Texas A&M to the SEC … Again, it’s a long read, but he makes some good arguments. I’ve said it on here multiple times [...]

    Like

  40. [...] interesting read on Big 12 Realignment/Texas A&M. The Jump to Conclusions Game: Why Angry Aggies Aren’t Enough to Move Texas A&M to the SEC … __________________ Calling illegal aliens undocumented workers is like calling drug dealers [...]

    Like

  41. BigTenFan says:

    Question for you Frank:

    http://frankthetank.wordpress.com/2009/12/27/the-big-ten-expansion-index-a-different-shade-of-orange/

    In your “Shades of Orange” article that really made you the internet rock star of conference realignment you rated the schools based on the following criteria:

    Academics (25)
    TV Value (25)
    Football Brand Value (30)
    Basketball Value (10)
    Historic Rivalries/Cultural Fit (5)
    Mutual Interest (5)

    So, in my estimation, UNC/Duke blow MD/VT out of the water in academics (Virginia Tech more than MD obviously), TV Value, & Basketball Value. UNC probably has better or equal football brand than Maryland, yet your reason for excluding the possibility of UNC/Duke to the Big Ten is because they don’t match the two criteria that you weighted to be LEAST important when you began writing on this topic back in 2009?

    What’s changed? To me, you can’t argue for Texas/TAMU back in 2009 (even though they would be quite an odd cultural fit – regardless of what you say of UT, the state of Texas is no more of an odd Big Ten fit than North Carolina), then exclude Duke/UNC today based on the same criteria.

    Like

    • BigTenFan says:

      Also, I should note that I’d flip flop the values on TV Brand & Football Brand (Making TV Value worth 30 & Football Brand with 25), especially in the instance of a conference that has an equity share in its own TV network.

      Having a strong negotiating position for out of footprint TV subscribers would be HUGE for the Big Ten. Having Nebraska, Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Duke, UNC, & Notre Dame would ensure that the Big Ten would have a lot of leverage – enough so that the conference could demand much more than the $0.10 per subscriber it currently receives for out of conference subscribers.

      Like

    • mushroomgod says:

      Conferences which expand without consideration of “fit” will live to regret it.

      UNC and Duke wouldn’t consider the BIG, but even if they did it would be a terrible idea. UNC has always run whatever “show” it was in. They would NEVER consent to be 2nd banana in the BIG to OSU, UM, PSU…..MD would be a better fit, but they won’t seriously consider the BIG either.

      Like

      • BigTenFan says:

        How have they “run” whatever show they were in? They have equal revenue sharing with each member of their current conference….I’m kind of skeptical that they have anywhere near the level of ego of a ND/Texas.

        You’re telling me that UNC/Duke would flat out say NO to an increase in their athletic budget of over $100M during the course of a decade? I have a pretty hard time believing they wouldn’t at least consider that as an option. The ACC is locked into a weak TV contract for a while now and the Big Ten is renegotiating in 5 years.

        Like

        • duffman says:

          Guys you keep forgetting that the ACC is the new kid on the block and UNC has not always run the show, much less Duke. Ga Tech was the early power of the current ACC teams (granted they were not in the ACC at the time). Duke vs UNC did not hit the radar till coach K got there. The problem is, and always has been since they started the ACC, is how to straddle the gravy of TV sports, and following the Ivy League to sports mainstream oblivion. I am not so sure the big state schools would be willing to follow duke, boston college, miami, and wake forest to Ivy League oblivion. You can argue academics all you want, but surveys show NC’s boost enrollment demand. If you think of it as a loss leader, sports are free advertising for future students (and they sure open alumni wallets easier, just ask Notre Dame – the only private that has not faded to Ivy League oblivion the way former football beasts Harvard and Yale did. The problem for the ACC privates like WF is that they will always be regional players. Notre Dame is the only “national” player still private, and not already settled in the Big 3 like Stanford, (with its massive endowment) U$C, Northwestern, and Vanderbilt.

          I was serious in my my comment with brian above about IU being grandfathered in. Sure they are a state school (but must share with PU) and have an ELITE basketball (but sad football) in addition to solid academics (not top 20, but ahead of the majority), but would they make the cut today? Everybody keeps talking duke, but duke will never outpace NC ST in producing future alumni. Miami keeps getting love but will they ever produce more alumni every year than the school in Gainesville?

          think of the old saying:

          Make new friends, but keep the old

          One is silver, and the other is gold

          where casual fans = silver, and alumni = gold

          The ACC formed as the “lesser” sports children left the “jocks” in the SEC. 50 years later the “jocks” still get the cheerleader girlfriends and the jock sniffing alumni who write the checks. Unless somebody can show me how the ACC can turn from prey to predator, I remain unsold that the ACC is secure as the B1G, PAC, or SEC. The Ivy League is still around, and they still have great academics, but their football impact died long ago. With Bernie at Minnesota and Stagg at Chicago they were the cock of the walk. Ask either fanbase today (under say 40) and they would just think you were a crazy old coot. These schools are the poster children of teams that never replicated the “magic” coach. Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, U$C, Nebraska, and the real cash cows have all accomplished this trick, and all of them (save U$C) are state schools producing lots of new alumni each and every year.

          Like

        • Brian says:

          If you ask fans of the rest of the ACC, the general conspiracy theory is that Tobacco road runs the conference because basketball runs the conference.

          Like

          • Eric says:

            I’ve personally find the notion that power is concentrated in any of the conference (Tobacco road, Texas, southern Cal, etc) to be greatly off the mark and more accepted because its constantly repeated on the internet. All of those powers have lost major votes (expansion in the ACC, more equal revenue distribution in the Big 12, much more equal revenue distribution in the PAC-10/12).

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Well, power is in Texas because of sheer population, though SoCal, with a lesser percentage of the Pac’s population, actually lost out when the rest of the conference was united against it. NC is a pretty big state, but they’re not a behemoth like Texas or SoCal. Tobacco Road (and their kin to the north, UVa & UMD) do have 4(6) of 12, and originally, 9 votes, but that doesn’t mean UNC dominates anyone. I just don’t see UNC with the ego problems of Texas or ND. They’re more like PSU and UNL, the dominant brand in a region, but when they join a conference of equals, they’ll play along nicely.

            Like

  42. CarnegieNitt says:

    Has anyone seen this yet?

    http://blogs.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/sports/pitt-redshirt-diaries/28860-big-east-media-day

    “It is clear football is driving this bus and it is also clear that any and all resistance to any plans for expansion is from the basketball-only members as they have watched their league grow to 17 teams.

    But Pederson isn’t interested in adding just anyone, nor is the rest of the conference, which is where this could get very interesting because behind closed doors, there are less discussions about the Central Florida, Memphis, Southern Miss, Marshall, Army, Navy-type teams (you know, the ones which are always thrown out there) and more about the teams which may be ripe to be plucked from their current conferences for whatever reason.

    The dream scenario would be the current league, plus TCU and BC and Maryland and if three schools of that quality were added, then a 12th school could be a Villanova or Central Florida and the conference would clearly be better. However, adding Villanova or Central Florida as the 10th school or adding both as the 10th and 11th schools would not add a thing to the conference and thus is not attractive to anyone at this point.

    Central Florida, in fact, seems to be the only of those Conference USA/MAC/Less than BCS-League type schools that has any reasonable amount of support from the current membership and even then, there seems to be a wide variety of opinions on exactly what they’d bring. (Pederson said he would like another presence in Florida, but would not comment specifically about UCF so you do the math). Nobody seems to want Memphis or any of those other schools, though there are some discussions still about Navy.

    The other group of schools the Big East is keeping an eye on is the trio of Big 12 schools – Missouri, Kansas and Kansas State – which could be left out in the cold if the conference falls apart, which, given recent unrest about the Texas Longhorn Network and the unfair advantage it provides for Texas in both money and recruiting, that isn’t a pipe dream.”

    It is hard to see there being enough money per school from a new contract to peal away ACC teams, but those 3 Big XII schools might be interested. Is there a chance the Big East could get a Pac-12 type deal? I lurk here a lot, and am interested in any and all incite you folks might have.

    Like

    • 84Lion says:

      The dream scenario would be the current league, plus TCU and BC and Maryland
      That’s some pretty big dreamin’. One thing to pluck TCU from a non-AQ conf, quite another to lure BC and Maryland from a nice gig in the ACC.

      Isn’t Pederson the same guy that presided over the Nebraska debacle with Bill Callahan? Given that I’m not too sold on any comments or thoughts he might have.

      Like

      • Phil says:

        The feeling among myself and other Rutgers fans I know about BE expansion candidates:

        1-Adding TCU as the ninth team was crucial and there is no reason to go above that now unless it helps the TV contract value (more inventory). Adding more teams won’t save the Big East from a future raid.

        2-There is NO shot at BC or Maryland, but-

        3-If focusing on BC or MD keeps the idiots in Providence from dumb ideas like adding Villanova that is great and-

        4-Maybe in a few years the Big 12 blows up and the BE takes a run at the KU and KSU type schools, but-

        5-Whatever expansion that caused the Big 12 to blow up could come back to destroy the Big East with Big 10 and ACC raids, so-

        6-I’ll just have another beer and stop worrying about it.

        Like

    • bullet says:

      “the unfair advantage it provides for Texas in both money and recruiting”

      I keep hearing this, but I have yet to figure out how that goes away if a school goes to a different conference than Texas. I don’t know how joining Ohio St. or Alabama or Florida in a conference doesn’t get you in the same position where you are with a university with that has lots more revenue. Conference distributions are currently about 7% of Texas revenue. Its the tickets sales and donations that set the kings apart in the revenue category.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        I think the truly unfair parts people are talking about are:

        1. Making fans of other B12 teams pay UT, via the LHN, to see road B12 contests. Until they negotiate a deal that doesn’t make others pay for the LHN to see these games, it’s unfair.

        2. Boosting the value of the LHN by having B12 contests on it when only UT profits from that. The B12 agreed to this, but it is unfair. They need to form a B12 network to act as a counterbalance, and require equal carriage and pricing (or better).

        3. Allowing UT to promote their recruits by game selection and interviews while ignoring those committed elsewhere. This is not an issue for a year, and maybe never if the NCAA decides against the LHN, but it would have been unfair.

        The facts that UT is more popular and in a much bigger state are just reality, and they clearly provide advantages in money and recruiting. Actively hindering the rest of the conference while further helping UT seems a little unfair.

        I think the B12 imposed much of the unfairness on themselves with bad decisions, though, and much of it can be corrected.

        The other stuff is mostly whining from jealous fans of other schools.

        Like

        • bullet says:

          1 & 2-the other schools have the same rights if they form a network, which they have been talking about. Stop whining and start acting. Its the same deal if they play a Pac 12 team or a Big 10 team.

          3. Fair question. Remains to be seen how it works out.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            I don’t think the others thought conference games would be part of the deal. As I said, they should start a B12 network and provide some balance.

            Like

  43. [...] That's why I say thank you to Frank the Tank for an argument that isn't driven by emotions. The Jump to Conclusions Game: Why Angry Aggies Aren’t Enough to Move Texas A&M to the SEC … Again, it's a long read, but he makes some good arguments. I've said it on here multiple times [...]

    Like

  44. Mr. Crap says:

    Colorado was the most populous non Texas state? Someone needs a fact checker.

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

    Like

    • duffman says:

      On a lighter note, does the B1G buy the MAC as a wholly owned subsidiary? :)

      Like

      • Brian says:

        Hey, people are always clamoring for conference versus conference match-ups. The B10 just has a head start with B10/MAC.

        Like

    • Brian says:

      Why are they so PR challenged?

      They just had media days, with national attention from everyone who matters. Why not announce it then, rather than now when everyone is prepping for the start of fall practice (or already started)?

      Let the campaign for a second locked rivalry, at least for WI/IA, begin in earnest.

      Richard, I think you need to roll out your plan for revised locked rivals with a second rivalry added again, too.

      Like

      • bullet says:

        Change the divisions and you don’t need that. Go to KISS or the less balanced WI/NW switch. With KISS you could eliminate protected rivalries and play everyone 4 of 6 years.

        SEC switched from 2 protected rivalries due to competitive imbalance. Auburn had FL and GA every year. It really does make too much of a difference.

        And if they expect ND to come on board some time (less likely with 9 game schedule), they would likely go back to a 5-1-3 so you still get teams at least every other year.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          You could, but you do eliminate several minor rivalries that way as well as gain all the obvious problems with E/W that have been discussed in detail previously.

          2 locked rivals in an 8 game schedule is a bad choice, since it is really 7 of 8 games locked. It really slows down the cycle and can skew the balance of schedules. A 9 game schedule makes it a lot more manageable, with 2 rotating opponents among the 4 non-locked opponents.

          I suspect they will only lock WI/IA and let the rest have 3 rotating games.

          Like

    • Adam says:

      Not at all a fan of 9 games. The only justification for having an uneven number of home/road games is if you can have a true round robin.* Thus, 8 games is OK, 10 games is OK, and 11 games is OK, but 9 is not. What if your good year (good mix of seniors and underclassmen, prior experience, intangibles, etc.) comes in a year when you play an extra road game and that costs you the title? It doesn’t matter that it evens out over time; it needs to be as fair as possible every year. Of course, there is some unfairness intrinsic to the competition (like which teams you play if you play less than a true round robin), but that can’t be helped. We can choose not to impose this sort of unfairness upon ourselves.

      *-a bigger number of games would matter less. Playing 25 home and 26 on the road shouldn’t be any big deal competitively; it matters a lot more when you’re talking 4 home and 5 road.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        Your argument is based on the assumption that all games are equal.

        As an OSU fan, I’d take MI, WI and PU at home (PSU, IL and IN on the road) in a 4 home game year and vice versa in a 5 home game year. I’d hope the other 3 crossovers are split so we don’t get MI and NE on the road the same year.

        Like

        • Eric says:

          It might work out that way sometimes, but it’s also going to work out that sometimes the team with the 4 home games also has the tougher roads games, which makes things especially unfair. Note: I am not saying I disagree with going to 9 (I’m split), just think the 5/4 is going to be an issue with divisional play.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            I’m not a huge fan of 9, but I can see the advantages of it. The 5/4 split is going to be an issue, but so was when certain teams missed OSU and MI in the same year. The league could choose to make balance by careful selection when scheduling, or just let what happens happen.

            I think the longer term issue is the six extra B10 games causing six more B10 losses. Borderline teams are going to miss out on some bowls, and that will reflect badly on the conference as well as get some coaches fired.

            The other big issue is that if all else remains the same, the B10 and P12 will both play 9 games and a CCG. The B12 will play 9 games. The ACC and SEC will play 8 games and a CCG, and the BE just the 8 games. If expansion allows, I’d expect the BE to move to 9 games eventually.
            The inequities in the path to the BCS will cause some problems as the ACC may get more at-large berths with B10 and P12 teams knocking each other out.

            Like

          • greg says:

            Brian,

            We’ve discussed the 9 game schedule repeatedly and I’ve repeatedly pointed out that it is not a loss of 6 home games and not an addition of 6 losses, as much as I wish it were. A team like Iowa will be dropping a BCS home and home from their schedule, as I imagine it will be for NE, MI, OSU, PSU, WI. They’ll all stick with 2 money games and one home and home on their schedules. NW will probably lose a HaH as they don’t do money games. MN, IN, PU, IL and MSU are a mixed bag.

            Optimistically, the B10 is going from 9-3 or 10-2 in that 4th OOC game to 6-6 in the added B10 game. So 3 or 4 additional losses on the season. That will occasionally lose a bowl bid, and not very occasionally drop a bowl slot, since they are fighting for bowl slots within the conference.

            You could argue that the conference will occasionally lose a 2nd BCS team due to it, but I think it is unlikely. I do agree that 9 conf games + CCG could have some unintended BCS impact.

            Iowa will likely stop playing ISU annually, and play them 2 out of 4 years. At least that is what the message board denizens believe. A lot of them are in favor of 9 games, as a lot of them want the ISU game dropped as Iowa “has nothing to gain in playing them.”

            I don’t think a 9 game conf schedule is enormously unfair. It is a factor, but not huge.

            Like

          • @greg – I agree with you. The concern about losing a 2nd BCS bowl berth, in particular, is very much overstated by a lot of fans. A 2nd BCS bid has as much to do with the ticket-selling and TV drawing ability of the team itself as merit, which means the Big Ten will always be right in line with the SEC as virtually guaranteed to have 2 BCS teams per year. In Stanford’s case last year, the 9-game conference schedule actually *got* them a BCS bid, as the computer ranking got them a #4 BCS ranking (which is a guaranteed berth) even though the human voters had them at #5 and Wisconsin at #4. Stanford could very well have been passed over for a BCS bid for larger and better traveling schools if they hadn’t received a guaranteed spot.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            greg,

            It’s impossible to know what games will be lost from the schedule, so 6 games is a worst case scenario (and what you should plan for). It is a guaranteed addition of 6 conference losses, and a subtraction of up to 12 OOC losses (but usually much fewer). Everyone knows this, but it seems very unwieldy to type out the whole thing every time. Saying the loss of 6 home games and the addition of 6 losses is shorthand for all of that, and you know that it is.

            Yes, even if you do correct math based on the exact historical trends of B10 OOC scheduling and winning percentage, it will cost some bowl slots for what were 6-6 teams. It will also take some of the prestige off of some of the higher placed teams.

            I not only could, I would in fact argue that the ninth game will have some negative BCS impact in terms of at-large bids. On the bright side, it may help boost some 1 loss champs into the NCG, too. Having to go 10-0 in conference to play in the NCG is the thing the B10 has to avoid. 9-0 was already asking a lot. Heck, most years 8-0 is too much.

            I don’t know what IA/ISU will do. At least at first, I suspect they would take occasional 2 year breaks (maybe play 8 of 10 years). I think politics will force IA/ISU to stay regular, though. It may drop to 2 of 4 for all I know. Are only the IA people saying that, or do ISU fans predict that as well?

            As for how big of a factor nine games is, we’ll see. How would IA playing at NE, MI, MSU, OSU and PSU, with PU, NW, MN and WI at home sound? Do you think IA fans might complain?

            A 9 game schedule could do that.

            Like

          • greg says:

            I’m not agreeing to “the loss of 6 home games” as shorthand because its a lie. Go ahead and claim its a loss of 3 home games and 3 extra losses.

            ISU fans know that the game won’t be played every year, but I think they picture it being played more often than Iowa fans. Iowa and Nebraska were their two big money home games, and now they’ve lost Nebraska, so there will be pressure to play often.

            The extreme home and road scheduling is a red herring. The same thing can and did happen under 8 games. In 2009, Iowa faced MSU, Wisky, PSU and OSU on the road, and everyone thought it was unfair. Of course, Iowa managed to go 10-2 and win 3 of 4 road games, losing at OSU in OT when Iowa had a RS FR QB making his first career start. Last year, we had the tough games at home with all our big names returning and went 8-5.

            I’m not saying schedule strength doesn’t matter, but 9 games doesn’t greatly change it.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            greg,

            Well, I’m not going to stop using “the loss of 6 home games” as shorthand, either, because its a reasonable approximation of the situation. Once we have several years of data I’d use the actual number if someone calculates it (compare home games per year in the next 6 years versus the first few years after going to 9), as well as the actual number of extra losses. Until then, it’s 6 and 6.

            ISU has valued that game more than IA for as long as I remember. The Board of Regents hired an arbitrator to get the series to resume after 1 game in the 70s. However, both ADs seem to value the series. I’d expect them to play at least 50% of the time, so every player gets a home game and a road game in the series. Iowa can sub in another team for a home and home every so often.

            Yes, I showed the extreme schedule. It might have been a red herring except, as you proceeded to show by giving an example, the B10 does exactly that on occasion with the current 8 game schedule. That makes my 9 game example entirely plausible.

            And as you know, the fans bitch about how unfair that is with the 8 game schedule. When you add in a fifth difficult road game, the fans are going to explode. The ninth game doesn’t always change the difficulty of the schedule, but it can have very negative effects unless the B10 makes sure to avoid it (which they have never shown any tendency to do).

            Like

      • bullet says:

        I think the road/home is overblown. Teams don’t win going 5-4 or 6-3. Usually its a couple of teams competing. Then one or the other will always play the home game (unless its UT/OU or GA/FL).

        I like 9 games in that it generally strengthens the schedules. The real downside in my view is that it increases the liklihood of championship rematches in a 12 team league.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          With the locked rivals and division alignments, the champs are going to face several top teams each year. OSU will have to face MI, PSU and WI, and sometimes NE and IA, just as an example. Home field in one more of those games could easily be the difference between division champs and second place.

          The B10 last year gave a good example. MSU beat WI at home and lost badly at IA. WI lost at MSU but beat OSU at home. Home field made a big difference in those games. OSU might have been undefeated if WI came to OSU. WI might have been perfect if MSU came to them. 1 extra road game can be a big deal.

          It’s not the end of the world, and the better team should win regardless, but the wrong schedule can really make it difficult.

          Like

    • Richard says:

      OK, here’s what I don’t get:

      If competitive balance is so important (and that’s the reason for the wacky divisions, which I object to more, as well as the single protected cross-divisional game), why the heck are half the teams in each division getting 5 home games instead of all the schools in a division getting 4 or 5? I understand that to achieve that, the schedules would be more wacky (some schools would have 3 interdivisional games at home some years and 3 away on others), but it’s more fair, no?

      Heck, even if you have half the division play more home games, why not have the traditional powers all with the same type of schedule? Why not have PSU, OSU, and Wisconsin all have 5 home games together or 4 home games together?

      Like

      • Brian says:

        No matter how they split it someone will bitch. It also depends who the home games are, not just the number.

        Like

        • Eric says:

          No really good ways giving preexisting schedules is my guess.

          You’re right people will bitch and personally I’ll admit I’m probably be looking for reasons to till they put Ohio State and Michigan in the same division (sadly not going to happen, but that decision probably has permanently put a dark mark on my opinion of the conference).

          Like

          • bullet says:

            With all the talk about balancing the schedule, noone does a logical schedule that would create more geographic and competitive balance. They all do it random.

            With the 5-1-2 and 5-1-3 you can do it. But for a simple example of what I am talking about look at what the Big 12 could have done with their 5-0-3:
            North teams would play either:
            Texas, Oklahoma St., Texas Tech or
            OU, Texas A&M, Baylor

            South teams would play either:
            UNL, KU, MU or
            CU, KSU, ISU (or flip MU and ISU)

            Instead, teams frequently got Texas and OU or CU and UNL in the same year, much the way the random B10 schedule ended up giving a Purdue or NW a year with only 1 of the Big 3 (and a trip to the Rose Bowl). Random may be “fair” but if you know anything about randomness, you understand that it results in lots of clumps, such as getting all of the Big 3 in the Big 10 schedule or only 1.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            I’m with you 100% on this. They are paying people salaries to make these schedules. Why can’t they figure this out?

            Like

      • Eric says:

        It would definitely be better for competitive balance to do any of your suggestions. I’m guessing the reason that didn’t work out was fitting in all the existing future schedules they didn’t want to alter.

        Like

      • bullet says:

        If you did it that way, 3 would have to have 3 out of 4 out of division games at home (and in the other division the 3 with 3 division home games would have 1 of 4 out of division home). It would be really awkward.

        Like

  45. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    The USA Today Coaches’ Pre-season Poll is out.

    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/football/usatpoll.htm

    Rankings by conference:

    SEC (8)
    #2 Alabama
    #4 LSU
    #12 South Carolina
    #14 Arkansas
    #19 Auburn
    #20 Miss State
    #22 Georgia
    #23 Florida

    B1G (5)
    #10 Wisconsin
    #11 Nebraska
    #16 Ohio State
    #17 Michigan State
    #25 Penn State

    Big XII-2 (5)
    #1 Oklahoma
    #8 Oklahoma State
    #9 Texas A&M
    #21 Mizzou
    #24 Texas

    12-Pac (2)
    #3 Oregon
    #6 Stanford

    ACC (2)
    #5 Florida State
    #13 Virginia Tech

    MWC (2)
    #7 Boise State
    #15 TCU

    Ind.
    #18 Notre Dame

    Big East – zero (West VA is #27 in also receiving votes)

    Like

  46. Ross says:

    I have to think the B1G beginning a 9-game conference schedule the year after its contract opens for negotiation isn’t a coincidence. The lost home game is a loss in money for ticket sales, so they must be expecting the 9 games to increase the value of their contract to make it worth it in 2017, not before.

    Like

    • bullet says:

      That’s consistent with the discussion of the Pac 12 and Big 12 contracts. Since B10 has BTN, it may have even more of an impact with them.

      Like

    • Brian says:

      2017 is the start of the new deal. Plus, schools needed time to make space in their OOC schedules.

      The conference loses roughly 6 games (12 home OOC games become 6 B10 games), so the inventory is slightly smaller. However, the quality of the games should be better which boosts the value (assuming bad OOC games are dropped and not the marquee ones).

      Schools will lose a home game every other year, but the attendance will bump up for the replacement games which will help the smaller schools especially. Also, this allows all the schools to play more often which was a concern for some ADs during expansion. It has the side benefit of potentially making schedules more balanced (you only miss 2 schools, not 3, so you can’t miss OSU, PSU and WI) if they are smart.

      The key is for them to balance the number of home games with who the games are against. If you only get 4 home games, it should include the locked rival but only 2 in division (including the second best divisional rivalry – so OSU would get MI, WI and one of IN/PU/IL while the next year they get PSU). 3 division games at home would mean a ton of travel for most teams for the crossover games, and it’s better for ticket sales to spread rivalry games out.

      Now they need to discuss locking WI/IA and moving up B10 games into weeks 2 and 3.

      Like

      • bullet says:

        The inventory is smaller, but what is lost is almost all in September, so its probably not all usuable since it overlaps.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          With the BTN, it’s all usable somehow. It should help the primary rights deals while having a small impact on the BTN.

          Like

          • bullet says:

            If everyone is playing the same Saturday that’s 3 time slots on the BTN, 1 on ABC, 2 on ESPN at 11 am and 1 other ESPN game. That’s 7 of the 12. If everyone is playing 7 home games, on the average you will have 9 games a week, leaving two unusable (4-4 league and 3-1 home away ooc gives 7 home games).

            Now some teams have byes, but it won’t always work out. And there will sometimes be 10 home games against MAC teams in one week.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            The BTN has overflow channels for simultaneous games.

            Like

    • Eric says:

      I figured this would be something that was generally thought of as positive, but flipping through some Big Ten boards, most seem not to like the move feeling its going to put a big hit on nonconference play or are like me and pretty mixed. I see positive comments, but they are in the overall minority I think.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        Last I saw, the ESPN B10 blog poll was about 60-40 in favor of 9 games. I think a part of the message board effect is that the schools that benefit the most from this are the ones with the fewest fans.

        From a purely selfish standpoint, the top teams want as many home games as possible and can afford to buy home games. They draw more for a spring game than others can for a B10 game. It’s schools that struggle with attendance and the cost of buying home games that will really like this (IN, NW, even MN and PU).

        The other problem is for the 4 teams with a locked OOC rival (MI, MSU and PU with ND, IA with ISU). The ninth game will make scheduling any other AQs more challenging. Even if their locked OOC rival can fit their schedule so they have 5 home games locked in every year, that means no other home and home series if they want 7 home games. They’ll have to take breaks in their rivalry or play only 6 home games some years. I don’t think MI, MSU or IA can afford that.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          Well, MSU & Michigan will take breaks with ND (they have before). Only change is that the breaks may be more frequent (4 out of every 6 years, for instance). PU seems to have home-and-homes with the likes of Rice, Cincy, and Marshall, so that’s not a big loss. That leaves Iowa.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            Yes, MI and MSU will probably take breaks but it’s still an issue for them. Some fans don’t want the breaks, and others will mourn the years without a big intersectional game. Regardless, my point was that the bigger schools have more reasons to bitch so the message boards probably reflect that. It’s not like NW and IN have equal representation with OSU and NE on most message boards.

            Like

          • Eric says:

            Maybe the case, but they all show up more in polls so I don’t think big school vs. small school is necessarily it. It could be though that people who don’t like it are more likely to complain than those who like it are to praise it.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            UM is likely to line up one big OOC game a year, so if ND drops off, it’s almost certain that a team like ND will come on.

            Like

          • Ross says:

            As it stands, ND is home in 2017 while Michigan only has 4 home B1G games that year. So it seems Michigan is trying to get 7 home games a year by having ND at home in the even years plus 2 directional schools. I don’t see them dropping ND because of this. If they want someone other than ND in that slot, sure, but ND fits fine with the 9 game schedule right now.

            Like

          • jj says:

            this bad for nd, msu and um. anyway you slice it.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Not sure why it’s so bad for MSU or ND. ND has wanted to play MSU less frequently. MSU would have an extra B10 game that would most of the time take the place of an average BCS opponent, some times a patsy, and sometimes ND.

            For instance, since going to a 12 game schedule, in 2010, the conference game would have replaced the FAU game in Detroit. In 2009, it would have replaced one of the 2 MAC games. In 2008 the Cal game. In 2006 & 2007 the Pitt game.

            Like

          • cutter says:

            Michigan Athletic Director David Brandon has been quoted in the papers as saying he doesn’t want to continue playing Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State either all at home or all on the road each season. That’s what the schedules now look like from 2011 to 2014.

            I suspect the Big Ten Conference will split up the Nebraska and Ohio State games so that Michigan plays one at home and one on the road. UM hosts OSU in the odd numbered years, whhich means the Wolverines will playing the Cornhuskers in Ann Arbor in the even numbered years. If that happens, Michigan will probably play Nebraska back-to-back in Lincoln in 2016 and 2017 to accomodate the change.

            If the current schedule rotations for Michigan State and Iowa remain intact, that means Michigan will play those two squads and Nebraska on the road starting 2017. The other two teams in the Legends Division–Minnesota and Northwestern–will be home games for UM. MSU, IA and UN-L are all scheduled to play five home conference games in 2017.

            I expect Wisconsin and Penn State will rotate two years on/two years off on Michigan’s schedule with Indiana/Illinois/Purdue playing UM four times every six years. This assumes that Delany is able to implement what he said in the press about not wanting to have a second protected inter-divisional game (which I’m 95% sure is exactly what’s going to happen).

            If the Big Ten and Michigan agree to split the Notre Dame, Nebraska, Ohio State, Wisconsin/Penn State games two home and two away each season, the Michigan will have ND and OSU at home in Ann Arbor and Nebraska and Wisconsin/Penn State on the road. Since UW should appear on UM’s schedule in 2015/6, PSU will probably be on UM’s 2017 schedule.

            Here’s my best guess on Michigan’s home and road games for 2017:

            Home (7): Notre Dame, Ohio State, Northwestern, Minnesota, 1 of Indiana/Illinois/Purdue, 2 MAC teams or 1 MAC/1 Other Conference (C-USA, Mountain West)

            Away (5): at Nebraska, at Penn State, at Iowa, at Michigan State, at 1 of Indiana/Illinois/Purdue

            The other possibility if all these assumption are solid is that Penn State becomes a home game for Michigan and 2 of Indiana/Illinois/Purdue are on the road. If that’s done, it’s an acknowledgement that the division road schedule Michigan faces in 2017 is pretty difficult and the conference wants to balance things out somewhat. However, it does mean having ND, OSU and PSU all in Ann Arbor–the same problem Brandon identified from the 2011-14 schedules.

            Michigan and Notre Dame are scheduled to go on a hiatus in 2018/19. UM will schedule a major non-conference opponent to replace ND for those two seasons. The scheduling agreement between the two programs allows them to give a four-year notice to one another about terminating or altering the series. What happens beyond 2020 will be up to the two schools’ respective athletic directors.

            We’ll see what happens, but the Big Ten hasn’t finalized any future schedules yet beyond 2015. They’ll look at the second protected rivalry game (although Delany is against it) and they’ll look at possibly having early conference games in the first three weeks of September. Once all that gets finalized, Michigan and the other Big Ten schools will be able to flesh out their future non-conference schedules going forward.

            Like

          • Eric says:

            cutter,

            I’m pretty sure they’d either do a full even rotation among remaining teams or less likely a 2nd crossover. I’d be stunned if they had Michigan playing Penn State/Wisconsin more than Indiana/Purdue/Illinois. That means 6 times in 10 years for all 5 teams.

            Like

          • cutter says:

            For Eric:

            JIm Delany has been quoted as saying that he feels a second permanent inter-divison crossover game would erode competitive equity. I know they’re still looking at scheduling combinations in the wake of the accouncement, but if Delany has his way about it, then there won’t be a second protected rival in the schedule. For an excellent article on this issue (which include Delany’s quotes), go to http://thegazette.com/2011/08/04/b1g-second-protected-rivalry-looks-dead-but-still-a-good-idea/

            You’re correct about teams playing one another a minimum of six times in a ten-year period. That’s been acknowledged in a number of sources, including this Nebraska newspaper: http://www.omaha.com/article/20110804/BIGRED/708049773/-1#ninth-league-game-has-nonconference-impact

            Since television is one of the main drivers behind the nine-game schedule, it actually makes perfectly good sense in the eyes of the conference for Michigan to play Penn State and Wisconsin two years on/two years off. Add in Notre Dame (or another major non-conference opponent), Ohio State and Nebraska to that list and there’s four games right there that will draw a high level of interest pretty much right off the bat. I have little doubt that Delany, et. al. will want to put the best inventory of games out there–just look at Nebraska’s schedule this year for a gllimpse of what he may want to do when the 9-game schedule starts in 2017.

            I actually like the idea of Michigan having a second permanent crossover division rival that was outlined in the article above. With annual games against Ohio State and Illinois from the Leaders Division, UM could rotate two on/two off with the remaining four teams from that division(Penn State/Indiana, Wisconsin/Purdue). For whatever reason, though, Delany seems to be against it at this point. I don’t know if it’s due to television considerations or perhaps he feels he needs to give the non-traditional powers easier conference schedules so that they have a better chance of being bowl eligibile. To be frank, I don’t know if the latter is even possible–I throw that out there as a possible consideration.

            We’ll know more about how this goes when the conference formally releases its future schedules. I have to imagine it’ll have to be done sooner rather than later–especially for the 2015/16 seasons.

            Like

          • Eric says:

            Cutter,

            I guess my point is that if they do it the way they have announced, it won’t be flipping between Penn State/Wisconsin for Michigan for one game and Illinois/Purdue/Indiana for the other. It will be 2 of the 5 each year and that will still leave both Penn State and Wisconsin out on some occasions (not often, but it will happen).

            They theoretically could put it like that where some teams you see 4 out of 10 years (Indiana/Purdue/Illinois in your example) and others you see 1/2 the time (Penn State/Wisconsin), but I think that defeats one of the biggest reason on going to 9 games which is to play everyone more often. If you go with that strategy, every player still would be missing a school if they played in the conference for 4 years.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Actually, if they do it the way it’s announced, UM will play Wiscy and PSU both 60% of the time, so some years, UM gets both. I agree that there’s no way there will be an uneven split of UM’s opponents (Why would the B10 do that? “To accommodate UM” isn’t a sufficient reason).

            Like

  47. Brian says:

    http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/6833597/lsu-tigers-steve-kragthorpe-parkinson-disease

    LSU’s OC has to step down due to illness, but will remain QB coach. The OL coach will take over as OC. How does this impact LSU this year, LSU fans?

    Like

    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      Brian – Its not good. Steve Kragthorpe has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. His family has certainly had a rough last year, as Krags took off last season to care for his wife that had been diagnosed with MS.

      Krags main purpose in coming to LSU was to tutor the QBs. During the Spring, he also simplified Gary Crowton’s offense that hasn’t been good since Matt Flynn left for Green Bay. Krags will stay on as QB coach and be in the press box on game days, but the stress and extra time demanded of an OC look to be too much for a man dealing with Parkinson’s. OL coach Greg Studwara will serve as interim OC for the season. Coach Stud was the OC for Bowling Green from 2003 to 2006, prior to coming to LSU.

      The offense will be fine if QB Jordan Jefferson shows improvement. The Tigers sucked on offense last year, but went 11-2 and finished the season ranked #8. The Mad Hatter has assembled a veteran coaching staff that works well together. In the end, Les will still be making the tough calls, so I like the Tigers’ chances.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        I just didn’t know if switching from the QB coach to the OL coach was expected to make a big shift in focus or not. Most staffs develop the game plan as a team anyway, so that shouldn’t be too bad. Does this change the length of the leash for Jefferson?

        Like

        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          Brian – who the QB is, and when (or if) he gets yanked is completely the Mad Hatter’s call. A change in the OC doesn’t shorten or lengthen JJ’s leash.

          Like

  48. TB says:

    One minor correction. Colorado was not the most populous non-Texas state in the Big 12. That would be Missouri.

    Like

  49. cutter says:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/george_schroeder/08/05/pac-12-larry-scott-realignment/index.html#ixzz1UAPV1ofr

    Hold the parade: Pac-12 no longer in plum realignment position

    Larry Scott was explaining his vision for the future of college athletics, and anyone who had been paying attention these last couple of years — meaning, since Scott became involved with college athletics — knew it was important to, well, pay attention. The Pac-12 commissioner has been on the cutting edge, and we’re not talking about the two cellphones or the iPad he brought to the table. He’s been cutting the edge. If someone wanted to call him visionary, it would be hard to argue at this point.

    Consider the Pac-12’s ginormous TV rights deal ($3 billion over 12 years from an unprecedented combination with competitors ESPN and Fox) and the announcement last week of a Pac-12 Network that will somehow be built with four cable providers as partners, resulting in six regional channels and an overarching national outlet. It’s unclear how much the conference will make from the arrangement, but it owns the network and clearly expects to reel in revenue.

    Which is why ears perked up at the Pac-12’s media day last week when Scott said even more money is out there, waiting to be had, as soon as college sports becomes less fragmented. That’s his word, “fragmented,” and it was followed by “consolidation.” Yes, Scott was talking expansion again. Conference realignment. Those oft-predicted super-conferences. And the Pac-12’s place in that eventuality — inevitability, Scott would probably say instead.

    “I think market forces over time will drive more consolidation,” Scott said. “It just makes sense.”

    But here’s the thing: When it happens, the Pac-12 doesn’t appear as well-positioned as it was a year ago.

    Don’t misunderstand. It’s safe to say Scott is thinking a step or two ahead of most of us. The Pac-12 Network deal, for example, includes a clause withholding for the conference rights to devices that have not yet been invented (though some suspect Scott is about to invent them). But when it comes to conference realignment and further expansion, Scott’s big push came last summer. His aggressive attempt to lure Texas and five other Big 12 schools almost ushered in the radical change he still foresees: four 16-team conferences filled with haves, and the have-nots left behind on some different, lower tier. But when the Pac-16 didn’t become reality then, the chances were greatly reduced of it happening later.

    Maybe we’ve known it ever since Scott flew back to California after a whirlwind tour of the heartland. He brought with him Colorado, and soon after added Utah. Not Texas. Not Oklahoma. He’d just missed cutting the Big 12 in half and creating the first super-conference, which would probably have been the catalyst for a tectonic shift in the college landscape. But last month, when the aftershocks from last summer rumbled again, the Pac-12 didn’t seem to be in the picture.

    Texas A&M regents got riled up about Texas’ ambitious plans for The Longhorn Network, including broadcasts of high school games and at least one game against a Big 12 opponent. Suddenly, the Aggies were talking about the SEC again. Would they leave and perhaps take Oklahoma with them? Ultimately, nothing happened. Big 12 athletic directors emerged from a meeting this week with a one-year moratorium on the high school games and with proclamations of fidelity and unity, but let’s be real: The whole arrangement remains shaky at best. All it takes is for those well-placed Aggies to get good and mad again, and the Big 12 might be no more.

    Asked about the brouhaha, Scott took a barely veiled shot at the conference’s forced marriage and the concessions it made last summer to keep Texas in the fold.

    “I’m not surprised that there will be growing pains and issues,” Scott said. “As you know, we have a very different philosophy about how our conference operates. It’s why it was important for me to move to equal revenue-sharing. It’s why I’ve been insistent all along it was gonna be a conference network. I think that’s the appropriate way to do things as a conference and a formula for success and harmony.”

    As opposed to, say, allowing a member to start its own network and throw its considerable weight around. The Big 12’s imbalance hasn’t changed. At some point — and that point will come — when expansion occurs again, the Big 12 looks like the league that gets plucked by other, more stable conferences. The Pac-12 probably won’t be plucking, though. Scott says the conference is satisfied with 12 members, and he’s moved on to other initiatives, but that’s not why further expansion probably won’t happen in the league.

    “I want to make (the Pac-12) the most coveted place in the country to be,” Scott says. “A successful conference so that whenever things shake free … whenever there is realignment, I know we’re gonna be in great shape because I know we’re gonna be a desirous place for schools to be.”

    The remade Pac-12 already fits that description. But the question is how many desirous schools would become available. It might be as simple as geography.

    The Pac-16 that almost was would have functioned as essentially two separate conferences, with the eastern division consisting of the former Big 12 schools along with Arizona and Arizona State and the western division featuring the old Pac-8 members. The arrangement would have been especially good for sports other than football, when travel in the huge geographic footprint would have otherwise been an issue. But now Texas is out. The Longhorn Network might or might not be a long-term game-changer for the Longhorns, but as long as it exists, Texas and the Pac-12 won’t get together. Not that he needed to say it, but Scott told Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman as much last week.

    Unquestionably, Texas was the plum in Scott’s big plan for the Pac-16. (Texas’ only realistic move might be to become an independent, though it’s hard to see that as a desirable option.) Without the Longhorns, expansion looks a lot less delicious. And the lessened interest might be mutual. Texas A&M’s infatuation with the SEC might not be the smartest idea, but it’s real enough, at least with a serious segment of Aggies. Meanwhile, Oklahoma isn’t enthused about the idea of leaving the Big 12 behind, period.

    If there’s an attractive scenario for Scott and the Pac-12, though, it’s this: There’s some sentiment in Norman that Oklahoma would remain more interested in moving to the Pac-12 (or Pac-whatever) than the SEC. Even without Texas, a package of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas Tech might work.

    But without some combination of Texas, Oklahoma and A&M, as Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News laid it out in a comprehensive breakdown of the possibilities, the Pac-12 would be “woefully short of quality options.” Although the TV rights deals could and would be renegotiated if the Pac-12 expanded, it’s hard to see how those other options would add enough value to offset the extra slices of the revenue pie.

    The upshot is this: When the next round of expansion occurs, we should be mildly surprised if Scott makes big moves. Given the new TV deals, expansion probably isn’t necessary for the league’s future success. But if consolidation is inevitable, the Pac-12 doesn’t appear to have nearly as many attractive options as the Big Ten or SEC would. Scott seems boxed in by geography and recent events — not that he’d admit it.

    “However and whenever this consolidation (occurs) that we want to act on,” Scott said, “we’ll be in a good spot.”

    Could be, of course, he’s got the Sooners on speed dial. Or maybe the guy really is a visionary and we’re just not thinking big enough. Scott continues to talk about expanding the Pac-12’s footprint into the Pacific Rim. Could he know something we don’t about the future football plans of, say, Beijing Normal or Shanghai Sports University?

    From Jon Wilner’s blog: http://blogs.mercurynews.com/collegesports/2011/08/01/actionreaction-pac-12-expansion-options-or-lack-thereof/

    Action/reaction: Pac-12 expansion options … or lack thereof

    Posted by Jon Wilner on August 1st, 2011 at 8:09 am | Categorized as Big 12 football, Larry Scott, Oklahoma football, Pac-12 Conference, Pac-12 Network, Pac-12 basketball, Pac-12 football, Texas football

    *** 5:15 p.m. update (and I should have made this very clear from the outset): Oklahoma and Texas state politics NOT included in the following discussion.

    Thoughts on the landscape …

    Action: Commissioner Larry Scott tells the Austin American Statesman that the Pac-12 Network likely kills any chance of Texas joining the Pac-12.

    Reaction I: Scott’s comments make official what has been apparent for months: The Pac-12 Network (in the works since early May) and the Longhorn Network cannot co-exist. There are simply too many philosophical and financial conflicts.

    Reaction II: The Pac-12 probably will reach a point in the intermediate future when it must determine whether expansion (to 14 or 16 teams) is worthwhile without Texas. The answer depends on which schools are available.

    Reaction III: If the Big 12 dissolves — I should say, when the Big 12 dissolves — and Oklahoma and Texas A&M head to the SEC, then the Pac-12 will be woefully short of quality options. Texas Tech and Oklahoma State are worth far less to the conference without Texas and Oklahoma … if they are worth anything at all. The beauty of the Pac-16 arrangement was the natural division split with the Arizona schools joining Colorado, UT, A&M, Tech, and the Oklahoma schools in the east. It made perfect sense from the standpoint of natural rivalries and travel costs for Olympic sports.

    Reaction IV: Without Texas, A&M and Oklahoma, what combination of schools could meet the league’s academic threshold and form a seven- or eight-team eastern division that encompasses enough TV households to justify the additional revenue splits? I’ve always thought Missouri would be attractive from the standpoint of academics and TV market, but Mizzou would push the Pac-12 far beyond its natural footprint. San Diego State? Nope, the conference has no interest in a CSU school and the Aztecs don’t bring additional TV sets (San Diego is already part of the Pac-12 footprint). Boise State? Please. If the conference had any interest in the Broncos, it would have pursued them last summer. (BSU doesn’t bring enough TV sets, doesn’t cut the mustard academically and doesn’t have a Pac-caliber broad-based athletic program.) Frankly, I’m not sure there are any good options for the Pac-12 with Texas, Oklahoma and A&M all off the table.

    Reaction V: Now … If Oklahoma and A&M were to shun the SEC (for reasons I cannot fathom) and consider the Pac-12, then the conference might have some workable pieces: The Sooners and Aggies would increase the value of Oklahoma State and Tech and form a quartet that conceivably could be paired with the Arizona schools and Utah/Colorado to form an “eastern” division. That wouldn’t form as clean a split, and without Texas it wouldn’t be nearly as lucrative — but it might be workable.

    Reaction VI: It seems inevitable that Texas will go Independent in football, resulting in the collapse of the Big 12. But that point might come later rather than sooner. And the reason is an oft-overlooked component to the Independent issue: The Longhorns would need a home for their powerhouse Olympic and women’s sports. If the Big 12 breaks apart, where would they place their men’s basketball team? Their baseball team? The Pac-12/14/16 wouldn’t make sense logistically. The Mountain West and Conference USA would be options, but bad ones. (Texas vs. Nevada in swimming!?!?) BYU faced the same dilemma as UT until the West Coast Conference offered a first-rate solution. Texas wouldn’t have a comparable option in the post-Big 12 world. (Taking the Olympic sports down the Independent road would create an entirely new set of problems, from scheduling to NCAA championship access.)

    Reaction VII: So the Longhorns must continue to walk a fine line in the Big 12, flexing their muscle just enough to satisfy their ego and bank account while making enough concessions to keep the conference afloat. At least for a few more years.

    Like

    • Brian says:

      Could you provide some longer quotes from articles next time? I think there is still a small part of the internet that you didn’t quote.

      Like

      • cutter says:

        Brian:

        I didn’t think anyone would have a problem reading the text of the articles on the board. Is there a board policy I’m stepping on here or does your comment reflect some personal difficulty on your part?

        My sole motivations for putting the two articles back to back in full as a bit of a time saver and because they covered the issues of the Pac 12 expansion pretty thoroughly. In light of the discussion about Texas A&M to the SEC, etc,, I thought it was a timely contribution to this board.

        Like

        • greg says:

          cutter, I like to receive the full articles, as I read my email on my cell phone and its easier than opening a link in my phone browser.

          However, I think its against copyright to post the whole thing. Fair use does allow you to liberally quote, but not the whole thing.

          Like

        • Brian says:

          Mostly I was just kidding. As I was reading, I just kept scrolling and scrolling and wondered if there was an end or not.

          It is a copyright concern, though, and you are costing those sites money by denying them some extra page hits. I doubt Frank or WordPress care too much, but it is a potential issue for them.

          Personally, I find often find other sites easier to read for long articles than Frank’s layout, but his is great for threaded commenting.

          Like

    • Eric says:

      I continue to believe that instability in the Big 12 is greatly overstated. A&M is the only one who might want to move and have a better option and there’s too many pieces that would have to fall into place for that too happen in my opinion. Texas and Oklahoma have made clear they like the conference. No combination to the PAC-12 is likely to make enough money without those two included. Missouri and the Kansas schools only other option is for the Big East and they aren’t leaving a more geographically friendly conference they have a lot of ties to and take on exit fees and negative publicity for a conference that likely wouldn’t make them more to begin with.

      Like

  50. Brian says:

    http://thegazette.com/2011/08/04/b1g-second-protected-rivalry-looks-dead-but-still-a-good-idea/

    Scott Dochterman revives his plan for using 2 locked rivals to preserve balance. I know the concept isn’t unique to him, but he puts the whole thing together in one place. My major issue with his plan is that he just uses two tiers to group the teams when splitting them for balance. I’d prefer to use rankings to provide better balance.

    Example: he has OSU playing IA&MN then NE&MSU, but I’d pair IA&MSU then NE&MN because NE>IA and MSU>>MN (I’d say NE is #2, IA #6, MSU #7 and MN #11).

    I think the media could do a public service by starting a campaign to lock just WI/IA. The B10 won’t overrule Delany and lock 2 across the board, so rather than waste the effort everyone should redirect their energy to something that might be accomplished. The B10 made a big deal about the importance of rivalries when they made divisions and everyone knows WI/IA is the one major rivalry that was lost. Also, locking WI/IA would stop most of the complaints from WI about the alignment.

    Like

    • cutter says:

      Brian-

      Upon mature consideration, you might want to reconsider the idea of locking in just the Iowa-Wisconsin game every year and not doing the same for all the Big Ten teams.

      First off, if Barry Alvarez had his way, Wisconsin’s second permanent cross-division rival might be Nebraska instead of Iowa. Both of those games are attractive, even if Iowa and Wisconsin have had the longer relationship.

      Secondly, you give no consideration to what the other athletic directors might want. For example, Michigan Athletic Director David Brandon wanted to lock in PSU as a cross-division rival when it was thought that Ohio State and Michigan might be in the same divisions. If you make an exclusive arrangement for Iowa and Wisconsin, you open up a lot of potential problems within the conference. If you do something like this for one, you do it for all.

      Finally, when you have two programs with a second permanent cross-division rival, you’re likely throwing off the schedules for the ten other teams in the conference and making the scheduling sitatuation within the confernce unworkable.

      I do agree with you that it makes strong sense for the conference to have a second permanent cross-division rival for all the teams in the conference. Mr. Dochterman makes some really good points, but he also provides a scheme that is workable throughout the Big Ten. Your idea about Iowa and Wisconsin falls well short of that conclusion.

      Like

      • Eric says:

        I have to take the opposite approach. Purdue’s athletic director talked specifically about wanting students to play every team while in college and that won’t happen (absent a 5th year for a student) unless you don’t have a 2nd crossover. Wisconsin-Iowa is important enough to mess that up a little, but I don’t think any of the other games warrant it.

        I’m also not sure Michigan would still want Penn State as a crossover now. It made sense with Ohio State in the division (as it should have been :( ), but does the school really want to play Ohio State, Nebraska, and Penn State every year? That seems like it would make winning their division more difficult. I’m an Ohio State fan who would have rather been in a division with Nebraska than Penn State, but I know I’d hate the idea of adding Nebraska as a crossover now.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          Eric:

          Actually, every player would still play each team at least twice even with 2 locked rivals with a 9 game conference slate.
          5 divisional games + 2 locked rivals + 2 other interdivisional games (out of the remaining 4 schools) = 9.

          Like

          • Eric says:

            You are right Richard, don’t know what I was thinking that.

            With 2 crossovers you still only move up to playing the remaining teams half the time instead of going up to 60% of the time though (which I think is preferable outside of Wisconsin-Iowa).

            Like

      • bullet says:

        I think the 6 years until 2017 and the 9 game schedule may be enough to diminish the WI/IA rivalry. You’ve got a whole set of new students and athletes. They aren’t competing in the same division anymore. All of the SEC rivalries across divisions diminished except for UGA/Auburn and AL/TN. UGA/Ole Miss and TN/Ole Miss used to be big games and aren’t played every year anymore. LSU and FL continue to play and generate interest, but the fact that they have 4 national titles between them over the last 8 years is the biggest factor (although Alan might have a different perspective on that).

        UNL/OU when it was played every other year didn’t seem to have the intensity it did in the Big 8.

        That’s one of the reasons I like logical divisions (like KISS) that decrease the need for fixed cross division rivalries. In a 9 game 5-0-4 you get everyone 4 out of 6 and it ties the conference closer together. Now you can get everyone every other year in a 5-2-2, so its not that dramatically different than the 4 out of 6 or B10’s 5-1-3 with 6 out of 10 years, but the fewer the breaks, the better the rivalries. And rivalries are the real key to conference success. And the more fixed games, the more the schedule imbalance for certain teams.

        Like

      • Brian says:

        1. I have given it thought for quite a while, actually.

        2. It’s only my idea for what is possible, not what is best. I don’t believe the B10 can get past Delany’s statement that there won’t be 2 locked rivals. 90%+ negative reaction wasn’t enough to change the division names, and people won’t be nearly as riled up about this issue. Therefore, the best hope is to lock the one important rivalry that was lost, which will also alleviate many of WI’s complaints about the divisions.

        3. Alvarez clearly said he fought multiple times in the alignment process to also lock WI/IA. He’d like to play NE more, but he knows IA is more important. See Dochterman’s series for the details (linked on the previous post from Frank).

        4. I considered the other ADs, I just don’t think the rest of them have any pressing issues. I’d prefer to lock 2 and then rotate the other 4, I just don’t think it’s possible with Delany around. Maybe if he is no longer commissioner, but not as is. I don’t see this causing problems because the ADs will see this fixes a major problem for WI without hurting anyone else.

        5. I have looked at scheduling, and it isn’t a problem.
        WI: OSU, PSU, PU, IL, IN, MN, IA + 2 of (MI, NE, MSU, NW)
        IA: MI, NE, MSU, NW, MN, PU, WI + 2 of (OSU, PSU, IL, IN)

        They play everyone at least 50% of the time, versus 60% with 1 locked rival.

        I’ll use OSU to represent everyone else:
        OSU: PSU, WI, PU, IL, IN, MI + 3 of (NE, IA, MSU, NW, MN)

        From above, OSU/IA can only be 50% of the time. When OSU plays IA, they play 2 of the other 4. When OSU doesn’t, they play 3 of 4:
        OSU: 1/2[6 locked + IA + 2 of (NE, MSU, NW, MN)] + 1/2[6 locked + 3 of (NE, MSU, NW, MN)]
        OSU: 6 locked + IA 50% of the time + NE, MSU, NW and MN 62.5% of the time (10 in 16)

        What it requires it some effort by the B10 to do it right. If they do it, OSU would play every team at least once every 4 years. What they won’t get are home and homes with the other 4 in the 2 consecutive years they play IA, so they’ll only play at those 4 schools once every 8 years. Everybody will play at 10 of the 11 at least once in 4 years, though. There are other choices, too.

        1 IA, NE, MN
        2 IA, MSU, NW
        3 NE, MSU, NW
        4 NE, MSU, NW
        5 IA, NE, MN
        6 IA, MSU, NW
        7 MSU, NW, MN
        8 MSU, NW, MN
        9 IA, NE, MN
        10 IA, MSU, NW
        11 NW, MN, NE
        12 NW, MN, NE
        13 IA, NE, MN
        14 IA, MSU, NW
        15 MN, NE, MSU
        16 MN, NE, MSU

        Like

        • Brian says:

          A scheduling cycle people might prefer:

          1 IA, NE, MN
          2 NE, MN, MSU
          3 IA, MSU, NW
          4 MSU, NW, MN
          5 IA, NE, MN
          6 NE, MN, NW
          7 IA, MSU, NW
          8 NE, MSU, NW

          You play everyone at least 2 in 4 years (5 in 8 years for all but IA), and get to play at every stadium at least once in 4 years. Everyone except IA would get a home and home and a 2 for 1 every 8 years. Thus, you have to actually double the cycle to 16 years to get the home games to balance out, but the teams would repeat every 8.

          Like

        • Richard says:

          I think it’s a competitiveness issue. Mind you, I think trying to plan schedules based on perceived competitiveness is retarded, but if that’s important to the B10 higher-ups, 2 locked interdivisional games would make the schedules more unfair. For example, 2 non-kings in the SW division would get UNL or Michigan every year, but 2 others don’t. 2 non-kings in the NW division would get PSU or OSU every year, but 2 others don’t.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            It depends how they choose the teams. You can get some balance based on which rivals you lock. Right now, WI gets MN and MSU gets IN every year while OSU, MI, NE and PSU play each other. That’s hardly a bastion of fairness. Adding a second rival of complementary success would make the 7 locked games more equal. Then you can pair the remaining 4 as best as possible to be even. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than now when teams miss both OSU and MI every so often. That’s an unfair schedule.

            I will admit that part of my preference is that I like the symmetry of having 4 teams that you play 2 of every year rather than 3 of 5. However, I also like the ability to balance the two locked rivals and balance the rotating pairs of crossover games. That sort of rough balance in the schedules will make the crossover games pretty even, so the real differences will show up in the divisional games.

            I think the biggest problem I have with the current plan is that the division winners are based on B10 records instead of divisional play only. B10 records should only be the tiebreaker after all the possible divisional tiebreakers have failed. This is because the current plan has such unbalanced locked rivals. The Leaders division race shouldn’t come down to the OSU/MI and WI/MN games as the difference, just like the Legends shouldn’t come down to MI/OSU and MSU/IN. Those games are important nationally and for the rivalries, but shouldn’t impact the division races in my opinion.

            If locking 2 rivals and pairing the other 4 up wisely reduces this imbalance, then I’m all for it as long as total B10 record is deciding the divisional winners.

            Like

  51. Hopkins Horn says:

    Thanks for posting this while I was in the middle of a cross-country move back to the promised land, Frank. I appreciate it. :)

    Good piece, and I’ve linked to the UF analogy over at BON. I personally think there’s no chance this is happening anytime soon. Mainly, as you discuss, the political reasons. Keep in mind that, in neither the 1994 nor the 2010 realignment battles, the pro-UT legislative forces never really went all-in on issues like having to keep Baylor around, etc. If pro-Baylor forces alone in the Legislature can keep their school along for the ride, just imagine the combined power of the pro-Baylor, pro-Tech and, yes, pro-UT factions if they decided it was in their best interests to keep A&M in the Big 12.

    Ain’t gonna happen.

    Like

  52. Brian says:

    http://businessofcollegesports.com/2011/08/05/college-sports-at-a-glance/

    Some interesting facts about how big college sports are now.

    Like

  53. joe4psu says:

    Something I read today reminded me of a possible outcome from the move to nine conference games. Is the conference attempting to squeeze ND? With three of the BCS conferences playing nine conference games now it cuts down on games available for ND. I don’t remember if there has been any word of the MWC going to nine games when Fresno St, Nevada and Hawaii transition in but that would put a further crimp in the number of games available to ND. As things stand now WAC, C-USA and SBC schools would probably love scheduling ND but there aren’t many attractive games for ND in that bunch. The BE will probably continue to bend over backward for ND but if the SEC and ACC would go to nine conference games the noose is tightened even further.

    Like

    • Brian says:

      No, I don’t buy that at all. As much as many B10 fans would like to put the squeeze on ND (maybe less now that the B10 has 12 teams), the B10 and its teams get way too many benefits from playing them. ND makes money for PU, MSU and MI. ND makes money for the B10 by boosting TV ratings. Squeezing ND would be cutting off our nose to spite our face.

      Like

    • Richard says:

      Plus, which, how is ND going to get squeezed? ND doesn’t lack opportunities in September (when the B10 teams traditionally play them, since all leagues play OOC games then). They’d get squeezed if the ACC or BE (or the service academies, but that won’t happen) refuse to play them in October and November, but I wouldn’t bet on that happening.

      Like

      • joe4psu says:

        Something I forgot to mention is that the Pac-12 has decided that all OOC games must come before conference games begin. The scheduled USC and Stanford games won’t be affected but I’m pretty sure that changes when these series end. If the B1G plays all OOC games first then all these rivals can’t be scheduled.

        The BE AD’s, Luck definitely, I’ve seen interviewed said that the conference wants to got to a nine game schedule as well. So even though their schools may want to schedule ND it will become more difficult. The ACC and SEC seem happy at eight games and the ACC starts conference games from week one so they have open dates throughout the schedule. The SEC schools often have open weeks later in the season but how many of them will want to schedule ND at that time? Especially if Kelly get’s them turned around.

        I think the Big12 schools will have openings later in the year but I’m not sure of that. And even if they do how many of them will ND be interested in scheduling? The point is, scheduling BCS opponents becomes more and more difficult if the trend of nine conference games all at the beginning of the year continues.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          Uh, no. Scheduling BCS opponents becomes more difficult for ND only if the ACC and BE decide not to play ND in October and November. Regardless of how many conference games the ACC and BE play, so long as they’re willing to schedule their conference games around ND games (which is the case now, and which I don’t really expect to change), the number of conference games they play is pretty irrelevant.

          BTW, the Pac will allow the USC-ND and Stanford-ND games to take place later in the year indefinitely because they also don’t want to cut off their nose.

          Like

          • joe4psu says:

            Scheduling may not be an issue as long as the BE and ACC are flexible but it cuts down on the available options. One of the reasons ND fans want to maintain their independence is so they can play a large variety of games all over the country. If the Pac continues to give waivers to schools to play later in the year they still have a big field to choose from. It’s not as large as it was but it still gives them plenty of options. At some point though, whether it is the BCS conferences splitting off from the NCAA or deciding that it is time to consolidate into sixteen school conferences, ND can be pushed into a decision between joining a conference or really downgrading their schedule. Or the BCS conferences can just make access to the BCS (or playoffs) available only to members of conferences. It may seem unlikely today but there is always tomorrow.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            “Scheduling may not be an issue as long as the BE and ACC are flexible but it cuts down on the available options.”

            That’s the same situation as today, and today, the ND alums are fiercely against joining a conference.

            “One of the reasons ND fans want to maintain their independence is so they can play a large variety of games all over the country.”

            I don’t see how that would change. They may have to play Temple & Air Force (& BYU) away, but they’re already scheduling those types of games.

            “Or the BCS conferences can just make access to the BCS (or playoffs) available only to members of conferences.”

            Highly unlikely unless the BCS conferences break away first, because the rest of FBS (not only the Irish) would rebel, and I don’t see anyone leaving the NCAA any time soon.

            Like

    • M says:

      I don’t think Purdue, MSU, or Michigan plan on discontinuing that series and I know for certain that Northwestern would like to play more than the two scheduled games. If anything, going to 9 games opens up more BCS opponents for ND since they will likely no longer be playing as many Big Ten schools.

      The nicest thing that the Big Ten could do for ND would be to open up nonconference slots later in the year, which they seem to plan on doing by moving conference games earlier into September.

      Like

  54. Brian says:

    http://atleagle.blogspot.com/2011/08/how-acc-can-damper-big-east-tv-plans.html

    A BC blogger argues that the ACC should go to 9 games to prevent the BE from getting a better TV deal. His theory is that if the ACC ties up more ACC slots, then they don’t have room for more BE games and won’t pay as much. If ESPN bids less, then the other competitors will also bid less.

    Interesting.

    Like

    • Richard says:

      I don’t really buy that. I mean, I guess that argument has some merit if it’s just ESPN bidding against one other company, but it looks like Comcast will bid, NBC want’s content for their cable sport channel, and Fox wants to expand their college football offerings as well.

      Like

  55. Craig Z says:

    Brian,

    Only counting divisional games makes sense, but as an Ohio State fan, I would hate to see the OSU-Michigan game be reduced to a tie breaker at best. Interdivisional games would be only a little more important than nonconference games.

    Like

    • Eric says:

      It makes sense in a lot of ways and from a pure fairness point of view, it’s actually probably best. It also makes the conference feel less like a conference and more like a coalition though. The nondivisional games already mean less than the divisional games. If you don’t count them in the standings other than as a tiebreaker, the difference between them and nonconference games shrinks a lot.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        I agree with both of you, but I also hate an unfair schedule. On the bright side, 9 games greatly reduces the inequities even with only 1 locked rival.

        I know they won’t change it, but it will bug me greatly if/when MSU or WI make the CCG on the basis of playing an easy rival.

        Like

  56. RedDenver says:

    I’ll chime in with a vote for NOT having a 2nd protected rival. There’s simply no good way to make it fair to everyone based on competitive terms. And that’s the overiding principle of how these divisions were selected in the first place. Besides, I’d rather get to play the rest of the conference more often and form tighter bonds with all the teams.

    Like

    • Brian says:

      I’ll buy your second reason, but the first makes no sense to me.

      Now:
      OSU – MI
      PSU – NE
      WI – MN
      PU – IA
      IL – NW
      IN – MSU

      You consider those balanced?

      Option 1:
      OSU – MI, MN
      PSU – NE, MSU
      WI – MN, IA
      PU – IA, NW
      IL – NW, MI
      IN -MSU, NE
      MI – OSU, IL
      NE – PSU, IN
      MN – WI, OSU
      IA – PU, WI
      NW – IL, PU
      MSU – IN, PSU

      This set preserves rivalries and reduce the inequities. The biggest complaints would be from PSU, IN and MN, I suppose. The rivalries (PSU/MSU, IN/MSU) balance the difficulty for the most part, though.

      Option 2:
      OSU – MI, NW
      PSU – NE, MSU
      WI – MN, IA
      PU – MI, MN
      IL – NW, IA
      IN – MSU, NE
      MI – OSU, PU
      NE – PSU, IN
      MN – WI, PU
      IA – WI, IL
      NW – IL, OSU
      MSU – IN, PSU

      This set mostly does the same thing, but ditches IA/PU for IA/IL. Everyone has a top half and a bottom half opponent, though WI still has it fairly easy and PSU and IN have it hard. That’s the cost of keeping rivalries (WI/MN, PSU/MSU, MSU/IN, IA/IL).

      Adding the second locked games reduces playing frequency from 60% for 5 schools to 50% for the other 4 schools. However, the next 6 years will feature 40% for 5 schools so the value still goes up even with a second locked game. On top of this, remember that locking 2 rivals means playing 2 of the other 4. These 4 can be split into pairs of equivalent total difficulty, meaning that the crossover schedule will consist of 2 of 3 pairs of teams all designed to provide rough equivalence of difficulty. How does that not make things more balanced rather than less?

      Like

      • Eric says:

        Finally see what you are getting at Brian (took me long enough). If the status quo remains, I guess it is does help competitive balance. Still divided on whether I want it or to play everyone more (I really don’t like the thought of playing a conference team less than half the time, maybe by 2017 I’ll be used to it), but your argument is pretty convincing.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          No problem, I probably wasn’t explaining it clearly. It is hard to really see until you look at the whole thing laid out in front of you.

          I agree that playing less than half the time is bad, but 12 teams meant playing each other less:
          11 teams, 8 games, 0 locked = 80% for 10 rotating schools
          11 teams, 8 games, 1 locked = 78% for rotating schools
          11 teams, 8 games, 2 locked = 75% for rotating schools
          12 teams, 8 games, 0 locked = 50% for rotating schools
          12 teams, 8 games, 1 locked = 40% for rotating schools
          12 teams, 8 games, 2 locked = 25% for rotating schools
          12 teams, 9 games, 0 locked = 67% for rotating schools
          12 teams, 9 games, 1 locked = 60% for rotating schools
          12 teams, 9 games, 2 locked = 50% for rotating schools

          The question is always whether locking another school is worth the cost of playing the remaining schools even less often. I agree with the B10 that dropping from 40% to 25% was too big of a cost for locking a second rival with 8 games. I don’t see the harm in locking a second rival with 9 games, though. You’d lose 1 game every decade against the other 4 teams, none of which are primary rivals. The benefits are that you can preserve some important rivalries and improve the balance of the schedules. As important as competitive balance was, I fail to see why schedule balance is not valued as highly.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            Just to throw it out there, they could always move to a 10 game schedule.

            Pros:
            5 home, 5 away
            12 teams, 10 games, 0 locked = 83% for 6 rotating schools
            12 teams, 10 games, 1 locked = 80% for 5 rotating schools
            12 teams, 10 games, 2 locked = 75% for 4 rotating schools (same as schedule before NE)

            Cons:
            2 cupcakes unless it makes so much money teams can afford a 6-6 or 6-1-5 schedule
            Almost every CCG is a repeat
            A lot of extra losses for the teams
            Might as well go to 11 and play the round robin

            11 game schedule:
            See everybody every year
            CCG has to be a repeat, but neutral site this time
            Have the split of 5 home and 6 away
            Fair but brutal schedule

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Brian:

            With a round robin, there’s no need for a CCG,a nd the top school may not want it as it woul definitely make a national title game appearance harder.

            In any case, I think we may very well see a 10-game conference slate fairly soon, but in the BE or MWC or CUSA as schools there really don’t bring enough fans to justify the ever-rising guarantee game fees, and they’re not high profile enough to get home-and-homes with the really attractive teams. If the choice is a home-and-home with a similar team but in a different conference or a conference game, they may very well decide on the conference game as it would strengthen rivalries in the conference.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Richard,

            Of course you don’t need the CCG, and of course no coach would want it (they don’t want it now), but TV will pay for the CCG. Imagine the first B10 team to go 12-0 in conference.

            Like

      • RedDenver says:

        I mean competitive balance in terms of the whole schedule. There’s just no way to make it fair every year because teams have ups and downs, but having fixed mathups and consistently missing other teams is going to seriously advantage/disadvantage somebody when a team suddenly has a few good seasons or a good team takes a nose dive. I’d rather get rid of the protected crossover entirely than go to 2 of them. As a Husker fan, I definitely don’t want to get stuck playing IN every year. Yes, it’s usually going to be a win for us, but there’s no excitement for playing them every season.

        And your setup currently favors WI and shafts PSU.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          My setup favors WI less than the current one does, which is the whole point. PSU gets shafted because they want to keep their MSU rivalry. It’s the same reason MSU/IN and WI/MN are paired now. I’d do it differently without the rivalries to preserve.

          As for overall balance, nothing can account for that occasional year when a team does abnormally well (or poorly). However, pairing teams in equivalent success pairs reduces the odds of getting all the top teams or all the bottom ones in any one year. With 2 locked rivals you’d still see everyone 2 of 4 years, so a team on an upward or downward trend shouldn’t be a big issue.

          As a NE fan, would you prefer a schedule that promised:
          1. PSU & IN, plus either OSU & IL or WI & PU
          2. PSU & IL, plus either OSU & IN or WI & PU
          3. PSU, plus any 3 of (OSU, WI, PU, IL, IN)
          4. Any 2 of (OSU & IN, PSU & IL, WI & PU)
          5. Any 4 of (OSU, PSU, WI, PU, IL, IN)

          Basically, would you prefer pure luck of the draw or preset pairs designed to be balanced?

          Like

          • RedDenver says:

            The more I think about it, the more I like your idea of pairings. I guess out of those options I’d prefer 5 followed by 1 and 2 (they’re the same to me) and then 4 and dislike 3.

            One thing I disliked about the B12 rotation was that it was a full swap so we always played the same teams in a given year in every rotation. I’d prefer a staggered rotation. I think it would work for any of your options. For example, using your option 1, NU could play:
            @OSU & IL
            @IL & WI
            @WI & PU
            @PU & OSU

            Another plus for 2 protected crossovers is that the league doesn’t seem so much like us against them (north vs south in the B12). That really led to some bad blood within the B12 I’d like to avoid.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            I can understand #5 as your first choice, but that’s a no go once they decided to split OSU and MI. The B10 isn’t going to make the same mistake the B12 did with NE and OU.

            1 and 2 are basically the same, I was just checking to see if your objection was to having a second, easier locked rival or to IN in particular.

            Some NE (and PSU) fans have been excited about getting NE/PSU every year, while others aren’t. I think it was the right choice for TV and balance concerns, but it will take time to rekindle the heat.

            I just know that having a year with MI, NE, IA and MSU as OSU’s crossover games would really tick me off. That’s why I advocate the pairs system, so that nobody gets the short stick with the schedule. I’d much rather see the quality of the teams decide the division races rather the strength of schedule.

            Like

          • RedDenver says:

            #5 would probably require redoing the divisions, and I doubt that’s happening. So given that can’t happen, I’d go with one of your 2nd crossover opponent formats.

            In thinking about this, I’m wondering if there’s a way to let the divisions change in addition to the schedule. This is off the top of my head, so I’m sure there’s lots of issues with it, including being too radical of a change for many. But what if there was one protected game for each team and then the schedule rotated fully? That allows every team to play the others 8 out of 10 years and the protected opponent every year. Each team could play 4 home and 4 away and then the protected game rotates home/away for the 4 or 5 conference home games.

            The schedules are easy to put together, but I’m not sure on the division switches. Each team needs to play every team within the division, but I think it’s workable. Biggest problem I see is that you’d have to relearn which teams were in each division every year (or every other year depending on the switching). I’m sure there are other problems, and lots of people won’t like the idea, but I think it’s fascinating. Especially for the off-season.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            It’s an interesting concept to play around with, but the B10 is much too conservative to consider it. It would confuse too many people and lose way too many rivalries.

            Games that need to happen annually if at all possible:
            IL – NW
            IN – PU
            IA – NE, MN, WI
            MI – OSU, MSU
            MSU – MI
            MN – WI, IA
            NE – IA
            NW – IL
            OSU – MI, PSU
            PSU – OSU
            PU – IN
            WI – MN, IA

            Your system would cause definite problems for MI, OSU, IA, MN and WI.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            I’d add the Little Brown Jug.

            I just don’t see how killing off the oldest trophy game in the country is a good idea.

            Like

          • RedDenver says:

            Do all those rivalries really need to be played every year? I’m new to the B1G, but I doubt all of them were played every year before now. One every year and the rest 80% seems pretty reasonable to me. But I suppose 2 protected games per team may be possible. Any more than that and you’re approaching fixed divisions anyway.

            I agree that many fans simply wouldn’t like the idea because it’s too much of a change though.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Richard,

            I’d like to see the LBJ on that list too, but they have allowed breaks since the move to 11 teams so I didn’t include it (same with Illibuck).

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Brian:
            I think the LBJ wasn’t protected before because all B10 teams could only have 2 protected rivals, and obviously MSU and OSU took precedence over Minny for UM. However, under a divisional setup with one protected cross-divisional rival, you’d play 6 teams every year. In such a setup, there’s no reason not to protect the LBJ game (especially since you give Iowa 3 protected rivals already). Possibly the Illibuck as well.

            RedDenver:
            Other than (obviously) the UNL-Iowa game, all of these were protected when the B10 had 11 schools. Other than (obviously) UNL-Iowa & PSU-OSU, all of these games (except Iowa-Wisconsin) have been rivalries for close to a century. NU-UofI have played annually since 1927, IU-PU since 1920, Iowa-Minny since 1931, UM-MSU since 1945 (only a 2 year break during WWII since 1910), UM-OSU since 1918, & Minny-Wiscy since 1907.

            Plus, this isn’t an exhaustive list. The Little Brown Jug was played for every year from 1919-1998, when it was halted for 2 years due to the new 11-school schedule. The Illibuck was played for every year from 1914-2002. Wiscy-Iowa was played every year from 1932-1992. All 3 of those series have skipped only 2 games in the past 80 years or so, with the LBJ and Illibuck games only missing 2 games since WWI.

            The B10 has a ton of trophy and rivalry games.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            RedDenver,

            The B10 takes its rivalries very seriously. My list only covered the most important ones. This is how those games break down:

            Played every year in the last 50 years:
            IL – NW
            IN – PU
            IA – MN
            MN – WI
            OSU – MI
            MI – MSU

            Played every year since PSU joined:
            OSU – PSU

            Played every year until PSU joined:
            IA – WI (B10 changed the rules to lock 2 teams after IA/WI missed 93-94)
            OSU – IL (once missed 2 years, now divisional)
            MI – MN (twice missed 2 years, now divisional)

            Not regular until NE joined:
            IA – NE

            Before PSU, the B10 generally played 8 of 9 teams with 5 locked (for OSU – MI, IL, WI, IN, MN) and 4 rotating. So, from 1973-1992, OSU played MI, IL, WI, IN, MN 20 times each, IA 18, NW 16, and MSU and PU 14.

            When PSU joined, the B10 locked fewer teams (2 for OSU, PSU, MI, MSU and MN, 1 for IN, IL, IA, NW, PU and WI). After missing WI/IA for the first 2 years, the B10 realized their error and locked WI/IA, IN/IL and PU/NW (the last 2 were out of necessity, not any actual rivalry).

            That meant that everyone had 2 locked games and played 6 of the other 8, with the missing pair rotating. However, there were several old rivalries that didn’t get locked like the Little Brown Jug (MI/MN – oldest exchanged trophy at 1903, played 91 times since) and Illibuck (trophy since 1925, played 84 times – all but ’03 and ’04, OSU’s only trophy game). There are a lot of lesser rivalries that didn’t get locked, too, since IL/PU, IN/MSU, and PSU/MN all play for trophies.

            So of all the games I mentioned, only 1 is not now an annual game. IA/WI has been played 86 times since splitting the series 42-42-2, and it’s been annual since 1937 except for the break in 93-94.

            Welcome to the B10, the conference of trophies.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Richard,

            I agree that the LBJ and Illibuck were victims of numbers. I just put them slightly lower on the priority list because of the disparity if the programs. The western triangle rivalries are more balanced and/or older and/or more played, and the in-state rivalries have to stay. That’s why I dropped the other 2 down a notch. They’re still above the others I left off.

            Like

          • Ross says:

            Wasn’t part of PSU’s agreement to join the Big Ten to play Michigan every year until they just went off the schedule?

            Like

          • RedDenver says:

            Interesting stuff on the rivalries. Thanks. I gather from those responses that playing 4 out of every 5 years is not considered “good”. I personally think those rivalries will be fine played 80%, and the real damage will be to the non-divisional rivalries. Wait until UM-OSU doesn’t matter for one or both teams reaching the conf champ game and see how that affects “The Game”. Cross-division games mean less in the new Big Ten, and I’ll be interested what happens to the league as a result. Or perhaps I’m just jaded by the Husker’s experiences in the B12.

            All this makes me think it’ll be next to impossible for the B1G to expand passed 12 teams.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            RedDenver,

            Actually if the B10 added the 4 core ACC schools and go to a pod system, all of the most important rivalries can be kept and only the LBJ and Illibuck games would be sacrificed.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Ross:

            An implicit promise, you mean? Michigan did take a while to drop off PSU’s schedule, only doing so in 2003-2004.

            Like

          • Eric says:

            RedDenver,

            That is one of the reasons I continue to to despise the divisions and why I’ll never be able to view the conference in the same positive light again (not that I’ve abandoned). Division games are the most important ones when you have a divisional alignment. Ohio State’s games against Penn State and Wisconsin are going to make a bigger difference in its fate than Michigan most years. Michigan isn’t going to stop being our primary rival anytime soon, but I think these divisions will take something away from it.

            Brian, as for Ohio State-Penn State, that might be a game that should stay on the schedule for Penn State’s sake (although I don’t think they’d mind switching us for Michigan), but I don’t think its a must from an Ohio State perspective at all. We should have Nebraska or Penn State on the schedule, but which one it is doesn’t matter all that much to me.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Ross,

            I believe the rumor was that PSU got a deal to get OSU plus MI for the first 10 years to help get them more linked to the conference and have more exciting B10 games to get the fans used to the new teams. It was a good idea.

            Like

          • @Brian – Yes, I believe that Penn State was explicitly guaranteed to play Michigan for the first 10 years that they were in the Big Ten.

            Note that if we’re looking at the East Coast markets, Michigan is the next most popular school in the Big Ten after Penn State.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            RedDenver,

            Playing only 4 out 5 is fine for LBJ or Illibuck, but the other ones need to be annual. Keeping traditions like this is an important part of what makes the B10 the B10, and why NE wanted to join. Look what not playing annually did to NE/OU. The B10 would never have let that happen.

            The crossover rivalries won’t be affected except for The Game. The others don’t have the B10 title being on the line as an important part of their history. I think OSU and MI will continue to hate each other just fine, though. It’s survived the rare years when neither team could win the B10 because beating the other team was enough to salvage the season. It’s thrived in years when one team can win the title and the other can only play spoiler. It’s over the top when OSU and MI are playing for the title.

            Then there was 2006 when undefeated #1 hosted undefeated #2 and won by 3, which set a level that will be hard to match. Imagine a rematch the following week after that game, though. #3 MI pissed at losing a close game at #1 OSU gets a shot at revenge on a neutral field with the winner guaranteed a spot in the NCG. That might draw some interest.

            “Cross-division games mean less in the new Big Ten, and I’ll be interested what happens to the league as a result.”

            I hear people say that, but it’s barely true. The division title is decided by overall B10 record, so the crossover games are just as important until you get into tiebreakers. 7-1 beats 6-2 no matter if that was 7-1(4-1) versus 6-2(5-0).

            The tiebreakers are:
            1. Head to head
            2. Division record
            3. BCS ranking

            Head to head can only come up for division games I think (the final rules aren’t on the B10’s website yet), so that’s a slight difference. Plus, the next tiebreaker is division record. So yes, division games are technically a little more important for the title but I’d still rather beat MI than WI. I would value beating WI over NE for the title implications, though. The goal is to not end up tied with someone in the division

            “All this makes me think it’ll be next to impossible for the B1G to expand passed 12 teams.”

            For many reasons, this is what most of us have been saying all along. If Delany had his druthers, the next expansion (if it had to happen) would probably be to 20 by acquiring most of the B12 plus ND and Pitt, and basically have 2 independent leagues as divisions. UT, OU, TAMU, OkSU, MO, KU, NE, WI, IA, MN versus ND, Pitt, OSU, MI, PSU, MSU, IN, PU, IL, NW. Play a 9 game round robin with 1 crossover and he can roll in all the TV money.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Eric,

            Yes, OSU/PSU has to stay for PSU’s sake. It’s pretty important to OSU too, though, especially when recruiting in PA. Playing NE doesn’t help OSU recruit much of anywhere that is gets players. OSU/PSU just doesn’t have the age of OSU’s true rivalries. The crowds at the games show you it is more important than most teams, though. It’s ahead of Illibuck which has a lot more history to it. I’m guessing OSU will find it more of a rival when not winning the conference 6 years in a row.

            Like

          • greg says:

            As a run-of-the-mill somewhat-unbiased B10 fan, I find OSU-PSU to be the most attractive tv matchup after OSU-MI. Its a game that I think should continue annually.

            Like

          • @greg – I totally agree. It would’ve been insane to see OSU-PSU discontinued.

            Like

          • greg says:

            Brian, you mention “The crowds at the [PSU] games show you it is more important than most teams.” What team other than MI tops them?

            Not that you asked, but my personal Kinnick Stadium crowd electricity unscientific measurement:

            OSU
            [NE?]
            MI
            PSU
            WI
            ISU
            MSU
            IL
            NW [we keep thinking we'll win]
            MN [crowd lame, Floyd rocks]
            PU [locked "rival"]
            IU
            Ariz/Pitt/BCS
            UNI
            MAC
            FBS
            FCS

            NE could be #1 soon, if not right away. I’m surprised that I rank even the worst B10 games above Ariz/Pitt/BCS, but that seems to be true to me.

            In regards to the discussions about divisional games meaning more… They all matter. They matter the same in the win column. You don’t think OSU-MN matters? Just lose to MN and see how much it matters. It’ll be the most important game of the year. see OSU at Purdue a couple years ago.

            re: Purdue. just heard on the On Iowa podcast that PU wanted a new trophy, Iowa wasn’t interested. we invented a new one (Wisky) in 2004, inventing a new one (NE) this year, and replacing the ISU trophy this year. we’re full with contrived trophies, thanks. the Iowa-ISU Cy-Hawk trophy is an ugly embarrassing piece of junk, but we’ve played for it since 1977 and means something.

            sorry about the meandering stream of consciousness post.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            greg,

            What crowds at OSU top PSU games?

            Well, that’s a loaded question. Some PSU games are at night and some aren’t, and those are two very different crowds.

            An elite OOC opponent like USC or TX can top PSU, but those are always night games.

            MI does by default even though it’s always a day game.

            I’d say PSU is clearly next.

            The OSU crowd really only gets pumped for top teams and MI. PSU isn’t fully a rivalry yet, but it has been a battle of top contenders for the B10 title many times lately so the crowds have been strong. If the season is going well, the WI crowd will be great this year.

            Like

      • jcfreder says:

        As a UW fan, I’m pretty resigned to the Iowa game never being locked. I understand the difficulty of just locking UW-Iow as a 2nd game and rotating everyone else.

        But . . . the 2-locked rivalry system actually sounds pretty interesting. Particularly “Option 2″ that Brian sets forth. That being said, I understand why people might not take to the concept, as you end up protecting “rivalries” that aren’t that important, which isn’t going to compute for a lot of people.

        I am a little surprised at some of the arguments being raised (particularly by fans of teams that got to keep their designated rivals) that the strength of schedule isn’t fair. That is, OSU gets a raw deal because they have to play Michigan while Wisconsin gets it easy by having to play Minnesota. Now, I’d MUCH rather switch in Michigan or Iowa or Nebraska for Indiana because I prefer those rivalries, but seeing as that isn’t going to happen, and SOS evenhandedness is an understandable goal . . . how about the following idea, which is admittedly pretty out there:

        How about reserving the 1 new game as a counterbalance to any inequities that pop up? If OSU has the toughest B10 projected schedule with games 1-8, then give them Minnesota as game 9. Granted, there are a lot of moving parts there, but if balance is such a goal, then you could set up something similar to the way the NFL has scheduled, by reserving slots for particular finishes in the standings.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          jcfreder,

          Your acceptance of it is healthy, but there’s really no good reason not to lock WI/IA in 2017. That’s what bothers me. It isn’t difficult and it only slightly changes the frequency with which WI and IA play the non-locked teams (60% to 50%). WI and IA get to keep an important rivalry and it only costs 1 game per decade from 4 schools each. The cost to WI and IA would probably be that they don’t get home and homes with those schools but rather play every other year. That all seems like a small price to pay for preserving something the B10 considers important. As a bonus, it would add some balance to the schedule.

          I’m glad you liked my Option 2. I know it won’t happen, but it’s a good intellectual exercise. Once Delany makes a firm statement about something, it’s pretty much decided. The logic of at least locking WI/IA seems clear, but so does changing the division names

          I’m not sure why you’re surprised about other fans saying WI/MN is unfair. It doesn’t mean we don’t understand why it was locked or that we would change it. It doesn’t even necessarily mean we would trade our locked rivals for easier games, it just means we understand math.

          WI’s winning percentage since 1993 against:
          IA 0.50
          IL 0.75
          IN 0.86
          MI 0.43
          MN 0.78
          MSU 0.57
          NW 0.57
          OSU 0.39
          PSU 0.50
          PU 0.68
          NE 0.44 (average of OSU, MI and PSU as a guesstimate)

          Overall before NE 0.603 (the old measure of a fair schedule for WI)
          Overall 0.588 (the measure of a fair schedule for WI now)
          Leaders 0.636 (2 kings but 3 peasants, so better than average)
          Legends 0.548 (2 kings, 1 peer & 3 lesser teams, so worse than average)
          Old schedule 0.605 (close to average, but helped by MN)
          Current schedule 0.620 (even easier thanks to only MN locked)
          9 game schedule 0.607 (closer to average)
          9 with IA locked 0.603 (even closer to average)

          The good news is that despite the locked rivals being unfair, the other games help to average it out. A truly even schedule would net WI a 0.588 winning percentage, while the old system netted a 0.605 (very close to the fair 0.603 thanks to locked IA to balance MN). The current plan bumps that up to 0.620 (1 extra win every 4 years versus fair). Going to 9 games reduces that to 0.607 (1 extra win every ~6). Locking IA would further reduce that to 0.603 (2 extra wins every 15 years).

          This is why people say it’s unfair. WI wants and seems to be a regular contender, so getting a boost from the schedule is going to annoy the other contenders. OSU, MI, PSU and NE will all be hurt by their locked rival while WI benefits. That increases the effect, turning WI’s 1 extra win every 4 years into 1 every 2 years compared to OSU. OSU is probably going to lose some division titles over that 1 extra win, so the fans care.

          As you say, your idea is too complex for the B10 to actually implement. If it isn’t done a priori, the B10 won’t account for SOS.

          Like

          • jcfreder says:

            Oh hey, I hear you — on paper, UW should have “easier” schedules going forward. What I meant was that seeing as UW was clearly the odd man out in terms of the divisional setup, I can’t get too bent out of shape from complaints from the schools that actually got much more of what they wanted in the divisional alignments.

            Present compay excluded, of course, because you and others on the board have come up with some interesting ideas to make things more equitable while actually enhancing some important rivalries.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Hey, the grass is always greener, you know. WI fans didn’t get the division they wanted, so they complain about losing rivals. Other teams got a good division, so they complain about inequity in the rivals. And a large number of fans probably don’t see losing WI/MN or WI/IA as a big deal because it’s not their rivalry. What’s the fun of being a fan if you can’t complain about getting screwed over?

            As an OSU fan I want to play MI every year and then get to bitch about having to play MI every year (which would be easier if they get past the RichRod success level). It’s just like how SEC fans complain about how tough their conference schedule is, or P12 fans complain about 9 games when everyone else plays 9. You need a little sense of fan martyrdom.

            As for complaining, especially on the internet, nothing is more annoying to me than to bitch about a complex decision and not offer a better solution. If you just want to complain, that’s fine, but don’t blame the people making the same decision you would.

            Like

    • Richard says:

      Has he ever heard of European soccer? Those leagues are probably the most unbalanced in the world, and they draw in more money, per capita, than the NFL. The NFL had revenues of $8.5B in ’09-’10. The Premier League brought in just a bit over 2B sterling in the same time period in a nation with 1/6th the population.

      Links:

      http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2010/04/20100405/This-Weeks-News/Goodell-Sets-Revenue-Goal-Of-$25B-By-2027-For-NFL.aspx

      http://234next.com/csp/cms/sites/Next/Sport/5713201-147/premier_league_clubs_revenues_rise_amid.csp

      For that matter, MLB beats out the NFL in licensing/merchandising revenues even though MLB has far less parity:

      http://www.cnbc.com/id/37692194/Publication_MLB_Will_Beat_NFL_In_Licensing_Revenue_In_10

      Parity is overrated. In fact, one of the reasons why I don’t follow the NFL any more is because there’s no reason for a neutral fan to cheer for one team over another since there are no favorites or underdogs (and I don’t care for fantasy football).

      Like

      • M says:

        That’s funny, I stopped watching baseball because I figured out that all you have to do is look at the payrolls. If your team isn’t in the top 10, you’re better off rooting for the Washington Generals.

        The Premier League has the best per capita revenue because it has effectively no competition. Cricket is the second most popular sport in England, and its largest stadium seats 28000. Imagine what the disparity would be if the only sports in the US were the NFL and minor league baseball.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          The broadcasting rules for the Premier League have a lot to do with it as well. It wouldn’t be legal in the US, but the system makes them a ton of money.

          Like

        • Richard says:

          M:

          That’s not really true, though. Cleveland (26th in payroll) and Arizona (25th in payroll) are contending for playoff spots (Arizona’s a half game out of first) while the Brewers (17th in payroll) are actually leading their division.

          Like

          • M says:

            Let’s look at the teams who would actually make the playoffs right now:
            Yankees (#1)
            Phillies (#2)
            Red Sox (#3)
            Giants (tied) (#8)
            Tigers (#10)
            Rangers (#13)
            Braves (#15)
            Brewers (#17)
            Diamondbacks (tied) (#25)

            I suspect that the Brewers will be overtaken by the Cardinals (#11) and the Rangers will be overtaken by the Angels (#4). Even by the current standings, no American League team in the bottom half of payroll is in position for the playoffs. Only one (Tampa Bay) has a record above .500. Overall, it’s entirely possible that every playoff team will come from the top half in payroll.

            Basically, if your team is in the top 10, it has a 50% chance of making the playoffs. If it’s not, it has a 15% chance.

            Like

          • @M – Another MLB statistic: if you’re a team located in Chicago, you have a 100% chance of not making the playoffs even with a top 10 payroll.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            M:

            Well, yeah, that’s true but
            1. That’s a lot different from “If your team isn’t in the top 10, you’re better off rooting for the Washington Generals.”
            2. It’s really no different from college football. If you’re OSU, you expect to win the conference over half the time. If you’re Northwestern/Minny/IU/PU, you can’t realistically expect a conference title more than once every 10 years on average, if that.

            In any case, it also means (IMHO) that when the conference is won, it’s really satisfying.

            Like

        • Eric says:

          Actually baseball has a surprising amount of parity. While you can buy a decent team, you can’t buy a World Series. We’ve had 9 teams in the World Series in the last 5 years with only the Phillies going more than once and 14 (if I remember right, don’t want to count now) in the last 10. Missing from that list are big market teams like the Cubs and Mets.

          Like

          • M says:

            The “saving grace” of the baseball playoffs is that they are nearly random. A 5 or 7 game series isn’t enough for the percentages to play out when the best teams only win 65% of their games against average competition.

            Like

          • Eric says:

            I guess that is true. One more reason for me to oppose any new rounds of playoffs too.

            Like

        • SideshowBob says:

          Of course payroll would have a high corrolation with winning. That’s just logical since by and large better players are going to cost more. And, furthermore, because teams at different parts of a winning cycle are going to have different payrolls — if you are competitive and have a good chance to win, you expand payroll by adding complimentary players; if you are in a down part of the cycle, you shed payroll and expensive players.

          None of that has to do with parity.

          Parity would be illustrated by whether different teams have high payrolls at different times. And that’s very much been the case. Sure, the Yankees and, to a lesser extent, the Red Sox are outliers who have consistently had high payrolls, but otherwise teams are constantly going up and down the list. The Phillies are way up there now, but were in the botton end of payroll a decade ago (and only in the middle about 5 years ago, before they started getting good). Teams like the Mets, Tigers, Angels, Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals, Braves, and so on have all been at the top of payroll list at times but have fluctuated. Payroll rankings are not static.

          Ironically, MLB has had a tremendous amount of parity despite people constantly saying it does not. And this despite having the most exclusive playoffs in the major pro sports. In the last decade, there has been 9 different World Series champs. There have been 14 different teams (almost half of all the teams!) that have appears in the World Series. In that time, 25 different teams have made the playoffs. Hell, in the past 5 years, 22 different teams made the playoffs. In the past 3 years, 16 different teams made the playoffs (out of a possible 24 spots). How can you describe that as anything, but parity?

          Yes, the Yankees make the playoffs virtually every year. That’s true. And that’s an outlier. One. One team that has won one World Series in the past decade. And beyond that, there is nothing that makes MLB any less even than any other spot. Hell, have you ever seen the results of the NBA playoffs? That is a league without parity.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            Perhaps if the Yankees and Red Sox didn’t get approximately 85% of all the ESPN MLB coverage, people wouldn’t feel as strongly about it.

            That said, the Yankees are a pretty big outlier:
            NYY (25%) – 27 World Series wins (17 more than STL) in 106 years

            I think that’s why people don’t believe there is parity.

            However, most pro sports have that problem, with the NFL as the exception:
            Celtics (27%) – 17 championships (1 more than LAL) in 62 years
            Lakers (26%) – 16 championships (10 more than Bulls) in 62 years
            Canadiens (23%) – 24 Stanley Cups (11 more than Leafs, 13 more than Wings) in 105 years
            Steelers (12.5%) – 6 Super Bowl wins (1 more than 2 teams) in 48 years

            Teams needed to get 50% or more of all titles:
            NBA – 2
            NHL – 4
            MLB – 4
            NFL – 6

            Two teams have over half of the NBA titles. That’s the definition of a lack of parity.

            Like

          • Eric says:

            Yankees have a ton of World Series overall, but look at where those were. A huge portion were through the 20-60s. They’ve got 2 more in the 70s, none in the 80s and then went a good run with Joe Torry in the late 90s and into 2000. If you are talking about historic parity then the answer is absolutely not. If you are talking about now though, I don’t think their World Series record supports the sport being all that uneven. They have an advantage to be sure (one that the I’d don’t even think is bad for baseball, you want the Yankees making the playoffs most years to either come through or be the bad guys), but it’s less than its usually made out to be and they are the most extreme example in the sport by a good margin.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Eric,

            Most fans do a poor job of separating history from now. The old WS victories don’t impact the current game except they help swing the media coverage to the NYY. The media gives the impression of NYY domination despite no WS in a while. There are also a lot of small market team fans that don’t see the NYY always in the playoffs and them rarely in as parity.

            Like

          • Eric says:

            Very good analysis with against the NBA by the way. I don’t really follow it and had no idea the numbers were that screwed.

            Like

          • M says:

            The payroll figures vary a little, but not a lot. Of the 75 “top half” payroll slots in the last 5 years, 59 of them are from the following 12 teams:

            NYY
            Boston
            Detroit
            CWS
            Texas
            LAA
            Atlanta
            Philadelphia
            CHC
            St. Louis
            LAD
            SF

            Those teams account for the 29 of the last 40 playoff spots (counting this year), 20 of the last 24 pennants, and the 7 most recent World Series champions. Going back to the strike, only of 3 of the 15 WS winners have been peasant-class teams, and two of those (’97 Florida, ’01 Arizona) were in the top 10 in payroll in the years they won.

            In other words, if your team isn’t on that list, it has a 3/270 chance of winning the World Series (.011 winning percentage). If your team is in the bottom half of payroll, it has a 1/225 chance (.004 winning percentage). In fairness, the Generals’ winning percentage is a bit lower than .004, but not by much.

            The NBA’s divide might be worse, but that doesn’t make the MLB’s problem any less. As I said, I’ll look at the opening day payrolls and can easily determine if my team has any chance that year.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            M:

            Again, how is that different from college football and revenues? How many national champions have there been in recent memory who weren’t in the top half (or even the top quarter) of the highest-revenue-generating college football programs?

            Also, how are you calculating those odds? You can’t just multiply, you know (I’ll let a statistician explain that one).

            Like

          • M says:

            @Richard

            1-The Big Ten has had 22 champions or co-champions in that same period (’95 to present). 8 of them have been by teams who were middle or worse in football revenue last year. It’s certainly more difficult, but not prohibitively so.

            2-I have a much greater connection to various colleges than I do to any professional team. I can cheer for certain teams because of the overall school, not just as football teams.

            3-College football has acknowledged underdogs, pro leagues just have teams with no money. Colleges deal with a wide variety of restrictions, which leads to different measures of success.

            4-College sports don’t have the indignity an athlete leaving for an opposing team. Lower tier professional teams are a glorified farm system.

            The math:
            18 “peasant class” teams x 15 years = 270 team-years
            3 winners / 270 team-years = .01 winner / team-year = 1% chance of winning

            15 bottom half teams per year x 15 years = 225 team-years
            1 winner / 225 team-years = 0.4% chance of winning

            I’m not sure what you mean by “you can’t just multiply”. Probability = event/sample space

            Like

          • Brian says:

            M,

            You mentioned the fraction of playoff spots, fraction of pennants and fraction of WS won before you went on to give your probabilities. It was reasonable at first glance to think you might have multiplied those. A look at the numbers show that’s not what you did, but your lead in to it may have been misleading to some.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            The real impact of the salaries is by looking at what has happened since free agency came into full force.

            The Reds and the Pirates were the top 2 powers of the National League, 2 peasants. They built their teams before the Curt Flood case. They’ve rarely made the playoffs since the early 80s. 2 non-peasants, the Dodgers and Phillies, were their primary challengers.

            The AL’s top teams were 1st the Athletics, then the Yankees, then the Royals, 2 out of 3 peasants. The Royals are rarely seen. The Athletics have had a few good years.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            I’m referring to the 70s powers, just before full agency came into play.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            M:

            “1-The Big Ten has had 22 champions or co-champions in that same period (’95 to present). 8 of them have been by teams who were middle or worse in football revenue last year. It’s certainly more difficult, but not prohibitively so.”

            Same is true for making the baseball playoffs.

            “2-I have a much greater connection to various colleges than I do to any professional team. I can cheer for certain teams because of the overall school, not just as football teams.”

            Some people feel that way about their baseball teams, due to the long history (I grew up near St. Louis).

            “3-College football has acknowledged underdogs, pro leagues just have teams with no money. Colleges deal with a wide variety of restrictions, which leads to different measures of success.”

            Huh? Teams with no money are underdogs. If you don’t see it that way, well, there’s not much more I can say.

            “4-College sports don’t have the indignity an athlete leaving for an opposing team. Lower tier professional teams are a glorified farm system.”

            That’s not really true of MLB these days. Not sure what sports you follow, but these days, even the low payroll teams are able to lock up their star players for years.

            “Of the top 15 players in MLB from 2001 through 2010, just four have ever been available as free agents.”:

            http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/joe_sheehan/07/29/free.agent.market/index.html#ixzz1UOACdtr0

            Like

          • M says:

            Richard,

            That article has to be some sort of a cruel joke. I couldn’t find WAR numbers from 2000-2010, but of the active players, 18 of the top 20 players are on one of the 12 teams I listed.

            Let’s look at the teams the article lists as “successful”.

            Indians- among the top 5 in payroll for the years they were good. When they stopped spending money, they stopped being good. 2 pennants, 0 World Series
            Giants- not sure why they are here. They are one of the “haves”, consistently spending in the top half
            Brewers- 0 pennants, 0 World Series
            Twins- 0 pennants, 0 World Series
            Mariners- 0 pennants, 0 World Series
            Nationals/Expos- 0 pennants, 0 World Series

            The Jacobs’ Field Indians are particularly horrific as an example of a team keeping its stars:
            Albert Belle- signed away by the White Sox
            Manny Ramirez- signed away by the Red Sox
            Bartolo Colon- traded when it became clear he was going to leave
            Carlos Baerga (who was a major star at the time)- traded when it became clear he was going to leave
            Jim Thome- signed away by the Phillies

            Truly, these are models that any small market team can copy and be successful. All that’s missing is a reference to how “moneyball” helped the A’s win 1 playoff series in almost 15 years of implementation.

            As far as rooting for the underdog teams, I don’t really see cheapskate owners as sympathetic figures.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            M:

            Some are cheapskate owners, though if you don’t see the inherent disadvantages of a team located in the 39th (Milwaukee) or 28th (Cleveland) largest metropolitan areas, then you’re really not looking.

            BTW, true, Sheehan’s pretty terrible; probably the worst of the original BP contributors, yet he got the SI gig.

            Like

          • jcfreder says:

            Nice work by M. Really, to the extent MLB has “parity,” most of it is due to the random nature of the playoffs. So really it’s a “two wrongs make a right” situation. In my view, a more perfect system would have more true parity during the regular season and then crown a playoff champion on true merit rather than the coin-flip of 5 or 7 game series.

            The AL is essentially English league soccer, but (1) there are playoffs, and (2) NYY and BOS can only take up 2 of the 4 spots every year.

            Plus, parity is more than just pure wins/losses. Sometimes it seems that with its budgets, NYY or BOS are playing a different game than the other teams in terms of being able to paper over any hole/mistake with a pauper team’s best player. There is value in the Indianapolis Colts getting to hang onto Peyton Manning for his career rather than having him quickly slide over to the Giants.

            As for the NBA, basketball is a different game. The best players influence the games much much more. I have no problem with the teams that drafted Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Tim Duncan winning all those championships.

            Like

    • Richard says:

      OK, my original post awaits moderation because of links, so here’s the post without:

      Has he ever heard of European soccer? Those leagues are probably the most unbalanced in the world, and they draw in more money, per capita, than the NFL. The NFL had revenues of $8.5B in ’09-’10. The Premier League brought in just a bit over 2B sterling in the same time period in a nation with 1/6th the population.

      For that matter, MLB beats out the NFL in licensing/merchandising revenues even though MLB has far less parity:

      Parity is overrated. In fact, one of the reasons why I don’t follow the NFL any more is because there’s no reason for a neutral fan to cheer for one team over another since there are no favorites or underdogs (and I don’t care for fantasy football).

      Like

  57. Brian says:

    So, with going to 9 games some schedule changes OOC need to happen. The B10 did a pretty good job of picking the 6 teams with 5 home games in odd and even years. Here are a few things to keep an eye on:

    MSU
    at EMU in 2018 or 2020 (not a problem to change)
    at BSU in 2022 (switch with 2021 game or drop series)

    MN
    at CO in 2021 (should switch with 2021 game, it would help CO too)

    NW
    at Duke in 2017 (switch with 2018 game or just play 6 home games)

    OSU
    at TN in 2018 (switch with 2019 game)
    Need to lock versus UGA in 2020, at UGA in 2021 (sites TBD now)

    Like

    • Richard says:

      NU almost certainly would just play 6 home games. Minny probably will as well.

      BTW, with the current schedule, NU is set up to host 8 home games in 2018. I don’t think that’s ever happened before.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        Sorry, I had a typo there.

        MN plays at CO in 2021 and home versus CO in 2022. CO and MN are on the same plan of 5 road games in odd years, though. MN might play 6-6 or they might drop the series.

        My thought was that the AD would prefer to have the steadier cash flow from 7 in both years rather than 6 then 8, if Duke can make it work to switch.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          Considering that NU switches between 6 and 7 home games already, the budget probably can get by with 6 home games. Switching the Duke home games around would lead to 2 home games in a row followed by a visit to NC for NU, which both schools probably don’t want.

          Like

  58. Brian says:

    http://www.ajc.com/sports/atlanta-hawks/l-a-businessman-buying-1083677.html

    The dark era of the Atlanta Spirit Group looks to be over. LA businessman Alex Meruelo has a deal to buy over 50% of the Hawks pending NBA approval. He’ll be the first hispanic owner in the NBA, but not the first Cuban. He has no plans to move the Hawks.

    The ASG was started by a guy from Boston, two from DC and 1 from Atlanta. They bought the Hawks and Thrashers and led to Atlanta losing a second NHL team to western Canada.

    Like

  59. ccrider55 says:

    Ran across an aggie sight posting a FOIA obtained UT/ESPN contract. with considerable commentary included. Link to full contract at the end. Any legal types out there, with a bunch of free time, care to translate a brief and less passionate/prejudiced opinion? I got bleary eyed by page 5. And I’m not a lawyer….

    http://themidnightyell.blogspot.com/

    Like

    • M says:

      Let’s see if I can summarize this more descriptively than “Texas is now a fully owned subsidiary of ESPN”.

      -Texas agrees to help ESPN secure 2+ football games per year, 8+ basketball games, high school games, and home/away games/tournaments in other sports, total 200+ (!) athletic events per year

      -ESPN gets the rights to all Texas athletic games “with the exception of the rights controlled by the Conference and the NCAA”. It’s unclear what this means for Texas’ road games.

      -If Texas fails to procure the above, ESPN can cancel the contract with 30 days notice

      -If Texas goes independent or to another conference, ESPN gets to match any television contract for all of Texas’ media rights including 1st and 2nd tier.

      -Texas gets $11 million a year, not $15, as the other $4 goes to IMG

      -If the network makes more than $295 million for ESPN, Texas gets 70% of the overage

      -Texas can reject announcers/studio people at any point and ESPN must remove them

      -“in no event shall any Network or Digital Network programming or Content include any content, excepting factual news reporting and related commentary, that is in any significant part derogatory or disparaging to, or could reasonable be expected to harm the reputation or image of, UT…” got bored typing. Basically, ESPN is legally barred from saying anything negative about UT.

      -There’s a brief reference to a “PTI-Longhorn” show. I’m slightly horrified.

      -ESPN gets an unspecified number of Texas season tickets

      -Texas is not liable if it fails in the contract due to “acts of God, acts of nature, labor disputes, riots, wars…” I always love this clause.

      -The network is guaranteed to have at least 27 coaches shows per week… I’m guessing they allow reruns

      -ESPN has to make fundraising videos for Texas athletics

      The 200 events is the most eye popping part. If they can’t get high school stuff (which they were clearly planning on), I’m pretty sure Texas doesn’t have 200 home games/matches/meets in its entire (relatively small) athletic department.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        Well, baseball, softball, M & W basketball, and W soccer add up to a decent amount.

        I guess they could purchase away games in minor sports. Are there JV teams in any sports?

        Maybe they could show JC games as well. Does Texas traditionally tap junior college transfers?

        Like

        • M says:

          Some rough numbers:

          Football-2
          M Basketball-8
          M Tennis-15
          Baseball-30
          W Basketball-20
          W Soccer-10
          Softball-30
          W Tennis-10
          Volleyball-15
          ~=140 home games

          Even if they get every away game in every sport except football, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball, I don’t think they get to 200.

          Like

          • bullet says:

            There’s still M&W swimming and diving, M&W track, the Texas Relays, M&W cross country, M&W golf and W rowing. And in sports other than M&W basketball and football, I imagine it won’t be much trouble getting road contests on the air. The other schools will want the exposure.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            True, but what level of carriage will that drive? Avoiding failure to fulfill is a long way from being successful.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            I think those sports were all anticipated so its not avoiding failure. HS football was going only going to be 2 games a week, so that’s only 22 games before the playoffs.

            Like

    • Brian says:

      There are some bits in there that don’t look good on the surface. I’m sure it’s mostly standard contractese, but they did seem to include some things that on the surface go against what UT said publicly.

      1. They both want at least 2 football games per year
      2. UT has to help LHN get away game rights for free if at all possible
      3. UT has to help LHN win the rights to all state championship games once the current deal runs out, and LHN has first right of refusal to match the offer
      4. ESPN had the choice of putting the studio on campus or not, as long as UT approved the spot

      Like

    • Michael in Raleigh says:

      Wow. Biased as that blog post is, it’s a very revealing piece. I’ve maintained that the Big 12 would figure out a way to make things work as a ten-member league. Now, though,the details in that contract, coupled with UT officials’ lying about their role in getting an in-conference game on the network, have led me to believe the league will indeed have a perpetually rocky future.

      We already know that Texas is too important to the Big 12 for the conference to survive without, but this contract makes it apparent that UT is also too toxic for the conference to ever be truly healthy.

      Thanks ccrider55 for posting the link and to M for summarizing. Looking forward to FTT’s input…

      Like

  60. Brian says:

    http://www.freep.com/article/20110807/SPORTS06/110807015/Michigan-wide-receiver-Darryl-Stonum-redshirted-DUI-aftermath?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Sports

    Trouble at Michigan. Darryl Stonum is being redshirted for his DUI, which was his second alcohol related offense at MI. And after all the special teams problems last year, it can’t be good to lose the only punter on the roster for 4 games.

    More importantly, this was Hoke’s first real chance to be a disciplinarian and he is doing it. Unlike so many coaches (Mark Dantonio, Brian Jelly, etc) he’s taking a legal offense seriously. It’s good to see. As a comparison, Michael Floyd got a DUI as his third alcohol related offense in 2 years at ND and is fully reinstated now after missing spring practice.

    Like

  61. Danimal says:

    This is pretty interesting details about the Longhorn Network.

    http://themidnightyell.blogspot.com/

    Like

    • John says:

      And pretty tough for UT to sit back and claim they had no knowledge of what ESPN was trying to do w/ respect to additional conference games or high school telecasts when it’s there in black n white. Isn’t it also interesting for all those who claim Texas does NOT want to go independent to see preparations for that possibility being put into place as we speak. They’re just being careful right? ; )

      Like

  62. John says:

    Didn’t see the posts above, but now that I have I have a question about Brian’s point #2. Could someone speak to what this means as I’m confused about “try to get away games for free.” Is that saying ESPN will not select UT conference road basketball games on weeknights for nat’l coverage (ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU) so that they’ll be available for the LHN? Since I’m a fan of another Big XII conference school, that would suck.

    Like

    • Redhawk says:

      Yes, John, it COULD mean that. Mostly it means if UT plays at Baylor in Softball, that UT will try to get Baylor to GIVE UT the programing rights.

      Also….if the Big 12 actually got a network, and they wanted to broadcast that same Baylor/UT softball game, they couldn’t, as UT can’t be on another network (as I read it, but not sure how that works, as the broadcast rights would actually be owned by Baylor)

      Like

      • John says:

        Thanks Redhawk,
        In general as a fan I have a real problem with having to go to a rival team’s channel in order to watch my team. My reasoning is because my father taught me to honor the “Norm Stewart theory” in which you always stopped in KC Missouri, before entering the state of Kansas, to fill up w/ gas in order to prevent your tax dollars from going to KU. A powerful LHN would be that example times 1000.

        It still really makes me wonder if conference expansion won’t begin from the bottom up. Can the Big East come up with enough money to entice KU/KSU or something like that. Is everyone focusing on the wrong dominoes by looking at the “brands.” Yes the big boys (Big Ten/SEC) won’t tumble any more dominoes unless they’re satisfied they know how all will fall, but could a “lesser” conference send enough of a shockwave to bring them all down ahead of time?

        Like

      • Brian says:

        If the B12 got a network, it would have first chance at those rights. Only after the network says no would the rights revert to Baylor. Then Baylor could give or sell (probably give, since they’re a TX school and can get home exposure for their team) those rights to LHN.

        UT can’t give or sell the rights to any of their home games to anybody else, but UT can never have the rights to road games or conference tournaments. Those belong to the home school or B12. UT has no control over their road games being shown elsewhere.

        Like

        • Redhawk says:

          couple of points @Brian
          1) actually the Big 12 Network in the example of a UT AT Baylor softball game would be Baylor’s and would go to the Big 12 Network, assuming the Big 12 Network was a conglomeration of all the schools (besides UT) third tier rights.
          2) NO school is going to sell games to UT….not even a rowing match. No school wants their fans to have to pay UT to the right to watch their school play. Tech just turned down $5million for football.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            1. I don’t see where we are disagreeing about rights for the example. The network would have the rights and could choose to give them back to Baylor if they don’t have a use for them (like the PPV football games now because FSN doesn’t want them).

            2. Baylor and TT might sell non-revenue sports to the LHN. If their fans have to pay for the channel anyway, they might as well get some air time for their teams. It wouldn’t make sense for OU, OkSU, KU, KSU, MO or ISU, and I don’t think TAMU would do it with their fans so mad already.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            We could also very well see Texas work out an arrangement with several CUSA schools who are in Texas where Texas is willing to schedule home-and-homes in baseball/softball/volleyball with those schools as long as Texas gets the TV rights to the away games as well. In fact, we could see Texas baseball and women’s basketball play all OOC games either at home or at a CUSA school in Texas. Softball, in particular, seems to be filled with tournaments. It probably wouldn’t cost the LHN anything to get softball & volleyball tournaments.

            Like

  63. swesleyh says:

    Alan, have you considered hosting an SEC blog in the same manner that Frank hosts a BiG blog?

    Like

    • mushroomgod says:

      The problem is that there aren’t that many SEC fans that can read………….

      Like

    • greg says:

      This isn’t really a B10 blog, more of an expansion blog that happens to have more B10 readers. And there is already mrsec.com, which seems to be one of the best CFB sites out there.

      Like

      • duffman says:

        greg,

        I think you are correct, as the only ones to offer detailed realignment data and research are FtT and mrsec. I might add Dosh, but she is late to the game and has not researched the non financial issues. My bigger question is who is the PAC equivalent as FtT is B1G centric and mrsec is SEC centric. The PAC is part of the Big 3, but I raised the point on here ages ago about who is their “voice”.

        I think Frank and John at mrsec have succeeded by offering intelligent and thought out responses and have attracted a more long term theory crowd than the average 120 character my team rules, and yours sucks that dominate the blog world. Much less chest thumping on this blog, which leads to more open and rational discussions. Brian and I may not see eye to eye on every issue, but hopefully we have opened each others eyes to perspectives the other may not have seen or thought about. In the sports blog world that is rare indeed.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          Hey, eventually I will convince you of the value of Duke hoops beyond Coach K. They were the 8th team to win 1000 games, and that was all before him (along with 2 national players of the year, 3 ACC players of the year and 10 conference titles). Coach K made them a king, but they were a top flight program before him and will be after him.

          But seriously, you and I agree on plenty of things. It’s the differences that you remember because those are the things we have discussions about. Posting “Yes, I agree with Duffman” just doesn’t seem to add much.

          Like

          • duffman says:

            HaHa, I know we agree on many things, but it is usually when we are on different viewpoints that I learn something, or view something with a different set of eyes. You can teach an old dog new tricks, and wisdom comes from seeing things multiple ways before making a decision. :)

            On duke, it is not just coach K but a combination of 3 things:

            1) coach K
            2) alumni
            3) football

            Duke may find a replacement for K, but spitting out the same number of alumni as say Ohio State and selling 60,000+ seats a game in football are the part of the iceberg unseen when looking at the surface. It was not the part of the iceberg seen by those on deck that sunk it, it was the part unseen that ripped the hole that sent her to the bottom. The day I am dealing with a scalper and Duke is the harder ticket is when I will cut you some more slack on this issue ;)

            Like

          • Brian says:

            I won’t argue about football, except to point out that it is less important in ACC country to their total value.

            I won’t argue about the number of alumni, either. The only benefit is that many of their alumni are very well off and can donate a ridiculous amount. They are, pardon the phrase, well endowed.

            Duke hoops, with a tiny arena, made $26.6M in revenue, while ACC #3 MD made $10.7M (UNC was at $20.6M). B10 #1 WI made $17.7M. Yes, Duke FB revenue lags by a lot ($16.1M compared to an ACC median of $20.2M) but that is partially due to the ACC TV deal. Given their head start in MBB revenue, they come out OK. Duke’s total revenue of $47.9M is on par with NW ($48.9M) and even IL ($53.5). With a better TV deal, Duke would squeeze into the range of B10 schools.

            I’m not advocating them as an addition, at least not by themselves, but their hoops is so valuable that it covers up their lack of FB.

            I know, you think they will slide back after Coach K and the hoops will lose value but I want to see proof. IN hoops still rakes in cash and they’ve stunk for years. Yes, I know IN has a much bigger alumni base, but I’m guessing people will keep buying Duke tickets because if they fall off the season ticket list it will be tough to get back on.

            Like

          • duffman says:

            brian,

            I have said all along I am a basketball guy, here are some firsthand observations:

            #1) Several years ago I was in Austin when MSU played there. Scalpers were getting 4x face for the UK tickets, MSU was next, then Utah (I was staying at a Utah hotel). Day of the game duke failed to sell their allotment and I sat 8 rows from the floor in the Duke section.

            #2) Duke played IU in Rupp a few years ago and I sat on the second row of the Duke section with tickets purchased below face value.

            #3) Duke plays Butler in Indy for the banner. With no IU or UK the tickets dropped drastically (to at least 60 cents on the dollar). The only thing that stopped total free fall was that Butler (and IU fans) put a dent in the glut

            #4) I could not get decent tickets when MSU and UNC played for the banner just a year or two earlier, and I have been dealing with scalpers since before many on here were born

            I know this is less “official” than pure hard numbers, but ticket scalpers are the best thing I can find to gauge live fan support. I remember several years ago discussing this with a longtime scalper and his dream game from the scalper side was UK vs UNC. Next was IU vs UK. Next was UNC vs KU. After that, it dropped quickly, but he said to me point blank he hated Duke vs anybody because there was no demand. Several family and friends are Duke grads, and I have never know them to cough up the coin to see Duke live.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Duke sells in NYC, and parts of NC (not like UNC, but well). Duke alums generally don’t value sports as much as state school fans, as they see it as sort of beneath them to care too much. But that doesn’t mean the program doesn’t make money, and that’s what matters to the powers that be.

            Like

          • I’ve said something like this before, but I firmly believe that Duke to my generation (early 30s and younger) is what Notre Dame was to previous generations as a universal lightning rod. Duke’s value is with respect to the casual sports fan that I like to talk about. The average person really doesn’t have much of an opinion about even blue bloods like UNC basketball or Ohio State football, but virtually *everyone* has a strong opinion about Duke. I see duffman’s point that Duke fans don’t necessarily travel in the same manner as Kentucky/Indiana/Kansas/UNC, yet that’s not unexpected when you compare the school sizes. From a TV perspective, Duke’s power is unquestioned – they are the #1 draw in college basketball year-in and year-out and it’s been that way for the past 20 years. It’s more than just a Coach K-driven vehicle at this point – people hate Duke because it’s DOOK. Plus, they draw in the douchebag demo like no one else (and America has a whole lot of douchebags).

            For a football comparison regarding traveling fan bases, a school like Iowa is complete gold for a bowl game that’s trying to fill seats, while Miami isn’t good for ticket sales at all. Does that mean that Iowa is more valuable than Miami for conferences? Certainly not, especially when looking at Miami’s TV drawing power.

            Like

          • duffman says:

            Frank,

            I agree 100% about the DOOK / Dbag comment, but that drives on the cult of personality of coach K. This was sort of the point I was making about Wooden at UCLA or JoPa at PSU. The individual can cast such a shadow that the next coach struggles to get out from under it. Sure Stern and Rush can tweak the masses and drive ratings, but will their cult of personality doom the next person to sit in their seat? The Cowboys needed the Steelers to drive their rise to the top, but they had Jerry Jones personality keep them as “americas team” or the team you hate. The Yankees have history and a personality like Steinbrenner. I would argue that the biggest thing with IU was not having Knight’s personality to sell tickets.

            I would go the step further into politics. Many old farts who sit around and discuss this believe Gore distancing himself from Clinton cost him the White House. Scandal or not, Clinton had such a cult of personality that having him around would have gotten Gore the votes for a clearer win. Clinton was perceived as a bubba, and Gore was stiff. Clinton would have taken bubba vote from bush the same way Perot took vote from Bush sr. (no this is not intended to start a political debate, and is for illustrative use only)

            I get your Iowa / Miami argument, but I would counter that without the personality of the coach and player, their demand HAS dropped. A guy on the street could name Miami’s coach in the hot years, I would be willing to bet today the guy on the street could not. Granted a generation is an excellent start for long term exposure, but a century is much better. Remember my post about Chicago and Minnesota dominating the B1G. I am willing to bet folks thought it would last, but both fell hard without their touchstone coach. Izzo and Knight win games, but Knight won the press conferences hands down.

            To be clear I am not saying Duke will not succeed post K, I am just saying I am more skeptical than you or brian. :)

            If Butler had hit that shot in Lucas the Laettner clip would be replaced, and in a generation nobody would remember Laettner outside of Duke / UK fans and some old basketball fans like me. Public opinion can change that quick in our modern 15 second attention span of the bulk of America. Folks will remember Jordan longer because he did it in the pros, while Laettner did not. The problem with celebrity is staying in the public eye once you get there.

            Like

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Duff, Frank & Brian – At a press conference, UConn’s Jim Calhoun was asked about Duke once and replied, “DOOK is DOOK. They’re on on TV… more … than “Leave it to Beaver” re-runs.”

            Sorry, I couldn’t find a Youtube clip to link. Jim Rome used to play this clip every time he discussed DOOK.

            Like

          • Ross says:

            Duke is the #1 CBB draw?

            Like

          • Brian says:

            http://forums.nationalchamps.net/boards/archive/index.php/t-111.html contains a dead link to an article that said:

            “Last weekend, 3.9 million people turned on CBS to watch No. 1 Ohio State play No. 2 Wisconsin. It was the biggest television audience for a college basketball game this season. Back in November, 4.7 million viewers turned on CBS to watch No. 16 Georgia Tech play unranked Georgia in what was the fifth-most watched college football game of the day”

            This is a quote from an article in 2007, but it shows the difference between CFB and MBB. March Madness does better, but the BCS NCG was second to the Super Bowl for most viewed program of the year again this year.

            Some people try to say the better March Madness ratings justify scrapping the BCS for a playoff, but I think the regular season ratings show why that’s a problem.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2010/04/05/will-butler-prove-a-cinderella-for-ncaa-finals-ratings-too/47430/

            Interesting data for MBB Championship Game viewership. It pulled ~ 30M viewers up until 1994ish. It’s been below 20M since 2006 (the start of the 1 and done rule).

            Like

          • Brian says:

            http://www.tarheeltimes.com/article30920.aspx

            FWIW, Duke-UNC was the highest rated game on CBS last year.

            Duke-MI was also the highest rated tourney game in the first week according to USA Today.

            Like

        • bullet says:

          The west actually has a decent reporter in John Wilner (?sp) of the San Jose MercuryNews. He writes on a lot of these issues that not many reporters pick up on until the press conference announcing the changes.

          Like

          • greg says:

            Agreed that Wilner seems to be the top PAC voice in all of this. But its a newspaper site, which means the comments are not a place you want to hang out if you desire intelligent discourse.

            Like

          • duffman says:

            bullet,

            I think your point is valid, but I agree with greg about the intelligent discourse comment 100%. Does he have a separate blog that can be followed without going through his paper?

            I would also add that I do not care for sites where you must pay or must log in and have an account. Maybe I am an old guy but I think the best discussions come without such strings. ESPN comment site is free, but you have to have an account to post. Look at the discussions there as proof why you never want an account there in the first place. :)

            Like

  64. Brian says:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/ncfnation/post/_/id/44626/qa-big-ten-commissioner-jim-delany

    Jim Delany isn’t against moving up conference games, and the coaches seem to want it (presumably to move a cupcake to late in the year). I’m guessing this may start in 2017 with the 9 games since they have schedules through 2014 already.

    Like

    • Richard says:

      I think that we’ll see what I suggested before, with the first 2 weeks split between weeks 2-5, so cupcakes as late as early October, but conference games after that (unless a school schedules an OOC game during a bye week, as NU did with ND).

      Like

      • Brian says:

        Yes, I was projecting that at least some schools will fill a late bye with a cupcake so they have a week off more in the middle of the season. It’ll depend at least partly on when the byes come and what games are around then.

        OSU has a bye in week 11 in 2012, and that’s the sort of timing that could become a cupcake and move the bye earlier depending on the B10 schedule.

        I must say, I don’t really like the B10’s distribution of byes coming up, especially in 2013-4 when there are 2 byes. 8 teams get a week 5 bye (no other week gets more than 4 byes), and Purdue gets back to back byes in 2013 in weeks 5 and 6.

        Like

        • bullet says:

          I really dislike meaningless ooc games late in the season. I think few fans have interest. I don’t think the players have much interest.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            I think coaches prefer to have a pseudo off week but with a game to keep the players sharp and focused. Many teams don’t play well coming off a bye, but fewer seem to struggle coming off a cupcake.

            Like

          • Eric says:

            I definitely dislike meaningless conference games late in the season. I’d prefer all nonconference games first, but if we are going to move up a conference game, let’s make it the 3rd week and rather than the first two weeks. I want the teams at least a couple of games together before they get into the ones that really matter.

            Like

  65. Brian says:

    http://www.bcinterruption.com/2011/8/8/2351221/sb-nation-conference-realignment-draft-results-through-11-rounds

    Round 11 of the conference re-draft is done. The picks (61-66):
    Purdue, TT, Hawaii, MS St, AF, FAU

    Still available: WF, Baylor, KSU, ISU, Rutgers, NW, WSU, Army, Navy, ECU, UCF, UH, SMU

    How do you take FAU there, with UCF available? Why is NW still available? Rutgers? Army and Navy?

    I’m guessing they all go in round 12.

    Like

  66. mushroomgod says:

    What do you guys think of the recent rumors of OU, OSU, TT, and Kansas possibly to to the PAC 12?

    Larry Scott seems like a very aggressive expansionist commish……….he’s not going to get TX….is he ready to do this deal?

    If so, do the SEC and BIG go to 14 or 16? I could see the SEC and BIG stopping at 14.

    I’m thinking the SEC might add A@M and ????? I don’t think they will be able to steal NCS, VT, Clemson, or FSU from the ACC. Maybe they add WVU and stop.. Then maybe the BIG adds Pitt/Rut and MO and stops, since ND isn’t ready to budge………………………..what do you think? p.

    Like

    • greg says:

      I think that P12 adding OU/OSU/TT/KU could be a mistake that endangers the long term health of the conference. So I don’t see it happening, but Scott does seem bent on expansion.

      If it does happen, I could see more expansion not so much to “keep up”, but due to the names that will be looking for a conference. TAMU, UT, etc., may all be looking for a place to land.

      I don’t think the B10 is going to do a Pitt/Rut/MO kind of expansion. They’ve added two teams in 60 years, and they are both kings. They aren’t going to add a jester like Rutgers. We’ve seen that 12 teams is making it difficult for teams to play each other as much as they like, 16 is the nuclear option.

      Like

    • Eric says:

      I see almost zero chance of it. Oklahoma was very clear they wanted to stay with Texas last year and Kansas has the issue of probably having to stay with Kansas State. I also strongly question that the PAC-12 would be able to do that now right after signing a contract.

      Like

    • jcfreder says:

      I don’t see why either side would do this. Would Texas Tech be allowed to leave the other Texas schools behind? Would Oklahoma really want to join the P12 over staying with Texas or jumping to the SEC?

      From the P12 perspective, why would you take on a mediocre package of four when ultimately you are in the catbird seat as far as Texas goes?—Someday, if there really is armageddon that leads to 16-team conferences, the P12 has to be considered the favorite for UT. (Similarly to how the B10 has to be the favorite for ND in such a scenario).

      And finally, from a more overarching perspective, why would the P12 or anybody go to 16, unless there was a huge financial windfall behind it. We’ve all seen the rush to get to 12, but you can see the logic behind that in terms of revenue. Even with adding Oklahoma, I can;t see how these four teams raises the bar on a per-school basis for the P12. In my view, the only reason you’d go to 16 would be because of a grand-slam-type addition. Texas, ND and Texas A&M seem to be the only ones out there. If you go to 16 without any of these 3 schools, you’re almost guranteeing that when the dominos stop falling, the biggest fish went to your competitors.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        I think TT would be allowed to go. If TT said no, the P12 could replace them (MO to partner with KU maybe) or stop at 14 with OU and OkSU. They wouldn’t be the cause of the problem, and UT and TAMU would still be there to protect Baylor.

        The issue is what the rest of the B12 does. Does UT go independent, join another conference or try to be the anchor for the B12 to rebuild around? Will the politicos let UT and TAMU leave once the B12 has already splintered? Do they have to go to the same place?

        I think the B12 is so entangled with politics and co-dependency that it is actually fairly stable. Losing UT, TAMU or OU would probably kill it, but none of those teams really can or will leave.

        Like

    • Brian says:

      1. I think Scott is happy to just do the work of integrating 2 new teams, adding a CCG that rotates so that all 12 teams have to be ready to host it, and building the P12 network. He has plenty on his plate as it is.

      2. I don’t think those 4 are interested. Nobody but TAMU has said much of anything negative.

      3. There’s no way the P12 presidents would agree to go to 16 right now, since there is no financial argument to push it.

      4. Even Scott has said that while he thinks consolidation will happen eventually, he can’t predict when.

      5. If you get OU, OSU and TT, there’s a decent chance UT would follow. I don’t think they want to go independent, at least not right now, and there other choices are the SEC and B10. They could work a deal with the LHN morphing into the regional P12 network and paying UT less.

      6. The P12 would draw the least reaction from the SEC and B10 due to distance. However, the SEC would almost have to take TAMU with the B12 defunct and the B10 would consider MO (to keep them away from the SEC) in your scenario. If they didn’t go P12, KU would either go BE or maybe ACC if they have a hole to fill. KSU and ISU may have to go MWC unless KU can bring them along somewhere.

      7. The biggest shame in expansion is that quality schools like ISU always lose out due to location. I wish the financial realities were different so the B10 could justify taking them.

      Like

    • duffman says:

      shroom,

      the question to ask is why are 12 and 16 the “golden” numbers!

      12 gets you a CCG and the added revenue it brings

      16 gets you 8 team divisions or 4 team pods, with the end run to a playoff

      13 / 14 / 15 gets you neither

      just an observation

      Like

      • mushroomgod says:

        Except that 14 adds TV sets and the BTN beast needs to be fed. The logical reason to go to 14 or 16 is the BTN. But it’s a hell of a reason. Don’t forget that Delaney also talked about absolute #s of alumni as being important because of shifting national population. Adding NEB didn’t do much there.

        Eventually, the SEC and the PAC 12 will have networkds…SEC’s may be delayed 10 years……Also, the obvious BIG 16 would include ND, MP, Pitt, and Rut. Going to 14 soon might make that transition easier…..

        Also, 14 would mean 6 games inter-division and 3 in the other division each year. 14’s easier to accomodate than 16 in that regard.

        Like

        • bullet says:

          14 also allows pods. You could have 2 4 team pods with 2 3 team pods rotating. A hypothetical ACC 14 could be:
          1 FSU,Miami,GT,Clemson
          2 UNC,Duke,UVA
          3 NCSU,WF,VT
          4 MD,BC,Pitt,Notre Dame

          In an 8 game schedule in a 4 team pod, you would get the teams from 2 and 3 every other year, the teams in your pod every year and the teams in the other 4 team pod every other year in your out of division games. 3X4 + 10X2=32 (4 years 8 games a year). In the 3 team pods, they would have 1 every year fival from the opposite 3 team pod.

          And of course, you could have 7 team divisions and still play everyone in the other division at least 2 out of 8 with 8 games and at least 2 out of 6 years with 9 games.

          Like

      • Brian says:

        I’d say 18 and 20 are also magic numbers, as you can play a round robin in the division and 1 or no crossovers. Of course, that’s not much of a conference feel for football but many other sports play a lot more often.

        Like

        • duffman says:

          Historical precedence via the old SIAA and SoCon tells me there is a point of too big. After 16 you are getting to the laws of diminishing returns on each team added. When you get to West Virginia as a B1G add, or Memphis as an SEC add, what value are you getting for the extra mouth to feed?

          Like

          • Brian says:

            Going that large would depend on those teams adding something worthwhile, I was just commenting on the numbers. Maybe it allows the conference to split into divisions that were basically separate conferences in the past (like the P10 and the B12 if they got UT, TAMU, OU, OkSU, KU and TT). Maybe they would give you important market access, like adding USF and UCF for penetration into FL, or SMU, TCU, UH, and Baylor to get TX access.

            Like

    • Richard says:

      Shroom:

      Don’t see the Pac taking those 4 (or OU going, or the KS legislature allowing KU to escape) unless the B12 is disintegrating, which means TAMU has to go first.

      Also, why would the Pac take TTech over Mizzou if they could pick and choose?

      Finally, can we stop the BE/Mizzou to B10 speculation? If the B10 wanted those schools, they’d be part of the conference already. Other schools picking apart the B12 isn’t going to make those schools more attractive.

      Like

    • Eric says:

      Texas A&M board seems to believe it. All the reasons it can’t be true keep popping up in my mind, but I’ll admit the smoke is beginning to make me wonder about my assumptions.

      Like

      • jcfreder says:

        Gotta disagree with Frank about the “paradigm shift” issue. It may very well be that they’d like to have flexability re: 4, 4-team divisions in order to expand. But I don’t think it’s a requirement. Think of it this way: if ND begged for a B10 invite tomorrow, would the B10 tell the Irish to wait until NCAA rules change? No way. They’d be in in a heartbeat. The upside with TAM outweighs any logistical problems by a mile, and the SEC would be foolish to turn them down.

        Plus, we all know that the SEC has done its due dilligence. Why even talk with TAM if the curent NCAA structure is a dealbreaker?

        Like

        • Eric says:

          Texas A&M is valuable, but I don’t think they are valuable enough that the SEC should be willing to invite them on their own and potentially set off any chain reactions, particularly since it would mean fewer games between the east and west.

          If it was Texas (or Notre Dame for the Big Ten), I’d say it might be worth it, but I don’t think the Aggies are at that level (even if they are high).

          Like

          • jcfreder says:

            Here’s the thing – I’m not sure how a “chain reaction” can hurt the SEC if they have TAM signed, sealed and delivered. The SEC and B10 are in positions where any seismic shifts probably only help them, because they are the most attractive destinations. I think the B10 would be happy if there was enough instability for ND to start looking for a conference, for example.

            The conferences that have the most to lose with instability are the BE and B12. Members of these conference will look for ‘higher ground” if they can get it. In this analogy, the B10 and SEC are the ones holding their hands down looking to “save” these other schools. In perhaps a perverse way, chaos helps the strongest.

            Furthermore, to the extent anyone is arguing that the TV deals will stop expansion because they cannot be “torn up,” I also have to disagree. You have to strike when the iron is hot. These are 50-year decisions, not 10-year decisions. Again, for example, imagine ND comes asking for a B10 invite. Do you seriously think it matters when the next TV contract renewal is? (To be clear, this point only applies to the home run schools. Which I think TAM is for the SEC, particualry because neither Texas nor ND seem to be good fits for them.)

            In short, I can see Texas politicans killing the deal. Or perhaps TAM is just using this for leverage. But some of these other arguments fall flat for me.

            Like

          • Eric says:

            The SEC is the most valuable conference out there right now. People watch it from all over because they know its champion stands a very good chance of being the national champion. If Texas, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, etc (all more valuable than Texas A&M) feel the need to start finding new homes, it’s possible the Big Ten and PAC-12 will start drawing away some of that attention.

            Beyond that, if I was ESPN I would offer no incentives to the SEC to expand. If you want to take a new team and hurt our other deals, fine, but we aren’t going to pay you more to do it. The SEC can try again when it’s contract is closer to running out if market conditions warrant it, but ESPN has every reason to play hard ball here.

            Like

        • Brian says:

          Well, usually the paradigm shift is in reference to a way to justify the expansion. Sure, UT, ND, TAMU and OU would carry their weight. Who else would?

          Most of the SEC would probably be fine with having 14 and not playing the other division as much. Beyond AL (TN) and AU (GA), not many in the west have true rivalries with teams in the east.

          Like

        • bullet says:

          You have to understand the Aggie mentality and SEC mentality. The Aggie’s have the little brother syndrome. Many fans want anything that will poke UT in the eye. And the SEC doesn’t think its needs anything else. It likes its club like it is. It hardly acknowledges that anyone else plays football.

          So all these rumours need to be taken with a grain of salt and a dose of reality from reading Frank’s writeup above.

          Like

    • Bamatab says:

      The aTm sites and twitter accounts sure are lighting up today about it. Even some of the SEC sites are starting to get worked up about it like on the SEC forum on Tigerdroppings: http://www.tigerdroppings.com/rant/display.aspx?p=27579164&pg=6

      Like

      • Eric says:

        Let’s just pretend for a second this actually happened (still thinking it’s unlikely). Who would be the other school coming along? North Carolina would be wanted I think, but almost definitely would reject a move. Virginia Tech would be a little more feasible and who I would go after, but is probably also a no. Florida State might get some opposition from Florida, but I think they’d be the favorite for the SEC to make a serious effort for. If that happens I guess you would just plug in Florida State in the east, Texas A&M in the west and make them crossovers.

        From there, I’m guessing there would be more stability than many are guessing. The Big Ten would probably stand pat for now wanting to get used to 12. The Big 12 I think could remain stable as along as Texas and Oklahoma want it to, which I think they still would. They’d probably want one more member though and I’m guessing BYU would be invited and accept. The ACC would need one more and I think would probably take one Big East school (I know the contract for the Big East might be good, but I think the stability issues in the ACC still outweigh that). I’m not really sure which and could see arguments for any of the northeast members.

        Like

        • jcfreder says:

          My guess is the SEC already has this largely figured out, but if they were starting from scratch, I’d go in this order:

          1) It can’t hurt to ask Texas just to be sure — either a Texas-TAM duo, or a Tex-TAM-Okl-OSU combo

          2) Couldn’t hurt to at least ask about Oklahoma as a solo option.

          3) Then it gets much harder. If the goal is 16, it’d be hard to beat TAM-Okl-OSU and someone else. But if the goal is 14, OSU becomes a sticking point. And then you’ve got all the other usual suspects, none of which seems like a no-brainer to me. Probably Va Tech. I have doubts about Mizzou.

          Like

          • Richard says:

            Projection of what I think the SEC wishlist is:
            TAMU
            FSU (special case; if allowed in, UF likely will make them join the West division)
            VTech
            Clemson/NCSU/Mizzou

            Like

          • Richard says:

            BTW, I’m excluding Texas and UNC because those schools won’t join the SEC.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            I don’t believe UF has that power. FSU/UGA is a natural rivalry and they constantly recruit each others recruits. Similarly Clemson and SC would want them. I’d let the eastern schools stay east and the western schools stay west with TX as a recruiting ground to balance FL for the east.

            Like

        • Bamatab says:

          I don’t think it is out of the realm of possibilty that the SEC could just add aTm and stay at 13 until the following season. This could give them more time to court other teams. But Slive did also make the comment that he could get to 16 teams in 15 minutes. Was he bluffing? who knows, but I think he could find a 14th team pretty quickly if he had to. I’m guessing that Clemson or WV would jump at the chance, but I’m guessing they would be way down on the SEC’s wish list.

          Like

          • frug says:

            Well, Slive certainly could get to 16 in 15 minutes it just depends the quality of teams he wants.

            That said, the problem with Clemson is that the academic side of the university is almost universally opposed to the move to the SEC. Apparently, they are afraid if they are no longer affiliated athletically with UNC, Duke and UVa their academic reputation will take a significant hit.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Well, the academic side likely won’t be listened to (and the academic argument would start going away) if the ACC starts collapsing with the B10 raiding off UNC, Duke, UVa, and Maryland.

            Like

    • Richard says:

      The really interesting comment on that board (IMHO) is that the “SEC is not targeting OU or any other B12 schools”. Which (if true) means the SEC is targeting at least one ACC school, which means the blueblood core of the old ACC is in likely play.

      Like

  67. duffman says:

    Since the B12 boards are heated lets step back and look at this with dispassion as a university president or conference leader.

    Slive will not make the first move
    Delany will not make the first move, unless it means a home run add
    Scott is the only one who will make the first move, but is hobbled by politics and limited team options – Scott raiding east of the Mississippi river seems almost impossible

    While the TAMU fanbase may want the SEC, and the SEC may want TAMU who here really thinks Slive will start the war to 16? Sure the ACC or BE can go to 16, but would the B1G / PAC / SEC care? what 4 adds could any lesser conference make that would draw them equal to the Big 3? I said on here earlier that Scott adding OU / oSu / Kansas / Missouri would be an interesting play – especially as the political headache would be minimal compared to adding a Texas schools, but would Scott (who actually calls the shots) see it the same way?

    To go even further, colleges and college presidents operate on a year ending in June, and why realignment happened when it did last year. If there were any fire to all this smoke, I would bet it would be more possible next may than the month before the current football season starts. Not sure any president or AD would want such a distraction during their peak viewing time.

    Like

    • Eric says:

      You are probably right duffman. We talk about a subject long enough and a lot of rumors emerge whether true or not.

      Like

      • duffman says:

        eric,

        I would go a step further to say that reporters are now to lazy to do the real research and it is easier to start speculation to drive hits in the offseason than actually have multiple verifiable real sources in the old days of a print dominated media with tighter liability issues. :) In the modern world of Twitter and blogging, FtT and mrsec are the exceptions, and not the rule. :(

        Like

        • Brian says:

          While that’s true of many reporters, we should also remember that many companies will no longer pay for reporters to do the legwork. They make just as much off of opinion pieces and rumors as in depth sports news, and the other stuff gets cranked out faster.

          Like

    • jcfreder says:

      While acknowledging that it still seems to me more likely that NOTHING happens, here are my thoughts:

      -If they wanted to, Slive/TAM would be able to convince many many people that they did NOT make the first move. See, Texas did with the LHN, and besides, both the B10 and P10 started this free for all in the first place . . .

      -Like I said above, the only reason a conference would go 13+ is if there are home-run additions. Would the departure of TAM put Texas, Okla and ND in play? Very good chance that it would not. Is it really that much skin off Texas’s nose to see TAM go? Can’t they just bring in BYU/whoever else in and still rake in the cash? And unless all hell breaks loose, ND isn’t moving.

      -No way P12 adds OU/OSU/Kans/Miz unless they are the final movers in the whole thing, and Texas/TAM are off the table forever, and even then maybe they don’t do it. These schools look a lot more appetizing to the P12 presidents if they come along as UT’s little brothers.

      Like

    • mushroomgod says:

      I could definately see the SEC making the first move. IMO, they have a lot more and better options than the BIG. And the slimy SEC commish wants to cement the SEC’s place as “the” dominant conference (the BIG has gotten better with addition of Neb).

      Possible SEC options: A@M, OK, OK ST., MO, FSU, Clemson, Va. Tech, WV. NC State has been mentioned, but that won’t happen. I don’t think FSU, Clemson, or Va Tech would happen either, but they are possibilities. One interesting ? here would be “cultural” issues. A@M, OK, and OK ST are as western as they are southern. MO is really midwestern. Right now, SEC is made up of true southerners…..

      BIG? Rut; Pitt; MO. No ND now. And no UNC, Duke, or MD

      Like

    • Brian says:

      Slive won’t make the first move only in the sense that he won’t chase TAMU. If TAMU comes to him, he’d be more than happy to be the first to 13 or 14 and add the second school in TX. He won’t be worried about the chain reaction, just what is best for the SEC. The SEC would see it as a badge of honor that they were so powerful they destroyed a fellow AQ conference.

      Delany is in the same position. He won’t actively pursue ND or anyone else, but he’d accept ND or UT or OU or TAMU in a heartbeat (the presidents might balk at OU without an academic counterbalance).

      Like

  68. Harf says:

    I do wonder though if some movement from the northern schools may force the TX legislatures hand. Kansas, KSU, ISU, and Mizzou were really close to being without a home, and if they feel that the instability is not worth the risk, they may move to grab another seat before the music stops. The Big12 then has the option to become a Texas/OK only conference or to fold and let the schools find the best situation for each. The Texas legislature would then be hard pressed to put pressure on conferences to do anything as they would have no leverage.

    Like

    • Brian says:

      But why switch conferences to lose money? There’s no way MO, KU, KSU and ISU move anywhere as an upgrade without ND (MO) or UT/OU/TAMU moving.

      Like

      • Harf says:

        Because if they are left without a seat at the end of the day, they stand to lose a lot more money. The Big East would still be able to put a reasonable amount of money into each schools coffers and the move would provide stability for those schools as well as the Big East which would no longer be at risk of being plucked out of existence if/when the superconferences come to pass.

        Like

        • greg says:

          I disagree that the BE provides stability if MO/KU/KSU/ISU joins. Seems like a recipe for instability to make a conference that large, with those four schools plus TCU such geographical and cultural outliers.

          Like

        • Brian says:

          So rather than hoping the B12 stays together and sticking it out until the end, they should leave it and go play 1000 miles away for less money? MO has better options if they wait for the breakup as they might get into the SEC or B10. KU will still have value, too. I doubt KSU will voluntarily downgrade and leave KU, and neither will ISU. They are better off sticking it out until the doom of the B12 is certain.

          I can sort of see the logic unless the presidents agree with most people that the B12 probably will stick together once TAMU gets over their temper tantrum. Then they would have given up money and either been replaced by lesser programs or started the dominoes falling for major realignment which could end with them out of an AQ conference again.

          Like

          • Richard says:

            I’m almost certain that Mizzou would land somewhere (I’m doubtful about the B10, and maybe not the SEC, but the Pac would take them). Likewise for KU (likely the Pac). However, KSU probably would be out of luck, and ISU definitely would be out of luck if the B12 implodes. A move by those 4 to the BE would be done solely to save KSU and ISU, and while KSU may be able to prod KU in that direction, nobody is going to do anything just to help ISU.

            Like

        • vp19 says:

          I expect that once the Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12 pick off members of lower-tier conferences on their way to 16, the remnants of the Big 12 not interested in independence (most likely Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and/or Baylor) will merge with what’s left of the ACC and Big East football members into two separate BCS conferences, one centered on the eastern seaboard, the other the south, midwest and plains states.

          Like

  69. frug says:

    More bad news for the Big XII; now their credit rating has been downgraded.

    Like

  70. vp19 says:

    The Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12 are in the strongest positions among BCS conferences — the first two primarily to economics, the third due to geography. On lower rungs are the Big 12 (instability) and ACC (some advantages offset by its lack of a football brand), and at the bottom is the Big East.

    To expand to 16, the Pac-12 has to pick from the Big 12, assuming Boise State, Brigham Young and Texas are not in play. If Notre Dame and Texas are not candidates and the Big Ten wants to expand to 16, the only realistic candidate from the Big 12 is Missouri, the only realistic candidate from the Big East is Rutgers, and the only conference it could take multiple candidates from is the ACC. The SEC has the most flexibility, again assuming Texas is not in the mix. Missouri, Oklahoma, Okie State and Texas A&M are candidates from the Big 12; Virginia Tech, Florida State and to a lesser extent N.C. State and Clemson are potential candidates from the ACC; and West Virginia is the best fit from the Big East.

    Slive and the SEC hold the cards. What the Pac-12 and Big Ten do largely depends upon whether it goes all four from the Big 12, two-and-two from the Big 12 and ACC/WVU or a different direction entirely. No matter what happens, I doubt the Big 12 survives, with Texas either going independent or blending its LHN with the Pac-12 network, and the remnants of the Big 12 (likely Iowa State, Kansas and/or Kansas State and Baylor) merge with what’s left of the ACC (which won’t escape unscathed) and the Big East (which would likely lose Rutgers and WVU at most) into two conferences.

    Like

    • mushroomgod says:

      Pitt is a realistic BIG candidate. The next BIG expansion, if there is one, will include some academic punch, as adding NEB and MO would be adding the 2 lowset rated schools academically in the BIG 14/16.

      That being said, the SEC has all the good cards in this game.

      Like

      • Harf says:

        The only way the B1G expands in the near future is either if some cash cow (ND or Texas) knocks at the door or the SEC moves on expansion. Pitt would not really fit the profile of what the B1G would be looking for as a college team in a Pro town that is bookended by OSU and PSU in TV markets. Mizzou would likely be off the table as well, any expansion would probably come from the ACC and that is the conference that will be picked apart by the SEC (Clemson and VT) and the B1G (2-3 teams).

        Like

        • duffman says:

          Shroom,

          Pitt has been my favorite add from the start, but Frank said no overlap. From an academic side Pitt screams B1G. and they have a long standing history with Notre Dame which could not hurt if the B1G thinks ND will ever join.

          Like

      • Richard says:

        “The next BIG expansion, if there is one, will include some academic punch”

        Agreed, which is why I think the move would be to add the blueblood ACC core four.

        Like