Sports Data From Nielsen: TV Viewership for College Conferences and Pro Sports Social Media Buzz

Posted: February 27, 2012 in Big East, Big Ten, College Basketball, College Football, Golf, Major League Baseball, NBA Basketball, NFL Football, NHL Hockey, Olympics, Soccer, Sports
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This blog has been a hub of activity for conference realignment discussion and other issues in the business of sports for the past couple of years, but it has sometimes been difficult to get quantitative data to back up what many of us observe qualitatively (such as the popularity of fan bases and conferences).  So, the following presentation direct from Nielsen (the TV ratings firm) about the 2011 sports year provides a treasure trove of previously unknown (at least to me) and fascinating statistics about pro and college sports TV viewership, social networking buzz and ad spending:
This slide presentation was uploaded by ceobroadband at slideshare.net.  Nielsen analyzed everything from the four major pro sports leagues to the rising viewership of the English Premier League in the US, so there’s something here for every type of sports fan.  It’s key that this analysis is coming directly from Nielsen itself, whereas a lot of other viewership figures that get reported these days come from leagues, conferences and TV networks themselves and are spun to put them in the most favorable light.  As a result, the slide presentation is about as unbiased as you can reasonably get on the subject matters at hand.
One of the more interesting charts is on slide 4, where Nielsen tracked the social media buzz for the major pro sports leagues over the course of 2011 and news events where activity spiked on Twitter and Facebook.  Major League Baseball can’t be happy to see social networking mentions hover around the NHL’s numbers and its 7-game World Series last year didn’t produce a real spike in activity compared to the NBA Finals.  I’m not surprised by the fact that the NBA has more social networking buzz compared to MLB since the basketball league’s fan base skews younger, but I didn’t expect baseball to be on the social media level of hockey.  (Note that there’s no point in comparing any other sport to the NFL in America: pro football blows everything else away on every metric.  The only discussion is about who can take second place.)
For college sports fans, slide 9 presents some extremely pertinent information that few of us have seen before: the average TV viewer numbers per game for each of the 6 power conferences for both football and basketball.  With so many issues in college sports, such as conference realignment and a football playoff, driven by television money, these viewership figures are enlightening (and surprising in some cases).
Here are the average football viewership totals by conference according to Nielsen:1. SEC – 4,447,000
2. Big Ten – 3,267,000
3. ACC – 2,650,000
4. Big 12 – 2,347,000
5. Pac-12 – 2,108,000
6. Big East – 1,884,000
Here are the average basketball viewership totals by conference according to Nielsen:1. Big Ten – 1,496,000
2. ACC – 1,247,000
3. SEC – 1,222,000
4. Big 12 – 1,069,000
5. Big East – 1,049,000
6. Pac-12 – 783,000
Some takeaways from those figures:
A. The Big Ten and SEC deserve every penny that they receive and then some – The readers of this blog probably aren’t surprised by the football viewership numbers, but the proverbial icing on the cake is how strong both of them are in basketball.  ACC alum Scott Van Pelt of ESPN once said, “Watching Big Ten basketball is like watching fat people have sex.”  Well, the Big Ten even tops the vaunted the ACC in basketball viewership and it’s by a fairly healthy margin.
B. The ACC has an undervalued TV contract – The flip side of the Big Ten and SEC analysis above is that while the ACC’s basketball viewership strength isn’t unexpected, the much maligned football side actually has strong TV numbers.  If you take a step back for a moment, it makes sense.  Florida State and Miami continue to be great national TV draws (even when they’re down) and schools such as Virginia Tech bring in large state markets.
C.  Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott can sell ice cubs to Eskimos – The viewership numbers for the Pac-12 in both football and basketball indicate that they shouldn’t be in the vicinity of the ACC and Big 12 TV contracts, much less currently above the Big Ten and SEC.  The football numbers might be a little lower compared to a normal season with USC having the scarlet letter of not being able to go to a bowl this year, but one would think that some of that would have been countered by strong Stanford and Oregon teams.  Meanwhile, the basketball numbers are just awful – the Pac-12 definitely needs UCLA to resuscitate itself to be viable nationally.  The Pac-12 presidents ought to give Larry Scott a lifetime contract with the TV dollars that he’s pulled from ESPN and Fox.
D.  Big East basketball is a weaker draw than expected – No one should be surprised by the weak Big East football numbers.  However, the basketball and large market-centric side of the league actually had fewer hoops viewers than any of the power conferences except for the Pac-12, which doesn’t bode well with the league losing the strong draws of Syracuse, Pitt and West Virginia.  The Big East was also widely acknowledged as the top conference in basketball last year, so the league was at its competitive peak in the post-2003 ACC raid era.  This gives credence to the argument that large media markets in and of themselves don’t matter as much as large and rabid fan bases that draw in statewide audiences.
E.  The Big 12 is appropriately valued – For all of the dysfunction of the Big 12, it might be the one conference whose TV contracts are actually in line with their viewership numbers.  The Big 12 is ranked #4 among the power conferences for both football and basketball and the likelihood is that it will end up as the #4 conference in TV dollars after the Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC when all is said and done.
There’s lots of other data to chew on here that I may examine in future posts, but for now, the college conference viewership breakdown is something that I haven’t seen before and puts some quantitative backup to what we have speculated was behind conference realignment moves.
(Follow Frank the Tank’s Slant on Twitter @frankthetank111 and Facebook)

(Slides from slideshare.net)

Comments
  1. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    GEAUX LSU Fightin’ Tigers!

    Like

    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      LSU’s Tiger Athletic Foundation approved plans for an expansion in the south end-zone of Tiger Stadium that will include 60 24-person suites, 4000 club seats, with some regular seats on top. Tiger Stadium’s capacity would grow from 92,400 to 99,500. This addition could be completed in time for the 2014 season.

      http://theadvocate.com/sports/lsu/2179765-123/tiger-stadium-project-advances.html

      A new tennis complex is also on the drawing board.

      Like

      • duffman says:

        Alan,

        Any reason they did not go all the way and wind up #1 in the SEC for seating? Maybe 3,000 more seats and they are ahead of Alabama and Tennessee.

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        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          duff – I’m not sure. Its probably still a work in progress. Extensive market studies were conducted for the suites and club seats. The existing waiting lists for suites and club seats already exceed the planned expansion. I think the idea is to keep demand high and make money.

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          • bullet says:

            I’m surprised they didn’t figure out a way to squeeze 500 more seats and claim 100k.

            Texas has generally had a philosophy that they want enough seats to meet (or come close to meeting) peak demand as opposed to the scarcity concept that baseball uses. However, now that they are over 100k, I don’t think there’s room for a lot more.

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          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            bullet – if there’s enough public outcry, I’m sure they’ll add a few rows on the back of the upper deck to get over 100k. Right now, all the seats in the plan are accounted for: Club seats – SOLD; Suites – SOLD; move 1,000 visitor seats from existing seats up to the top of the new South upper deck (ala AlaBAMA) and sell the good seats to Tiger fans – SOLD; use the remaining 500 seats for various youth groups at discounted prices – CHECK; and update the scoreboards – CHECK. Now if they can do a little extreme home makeover on the recent West upper deck expansion that does not match the original style of the stadium (Roman coliseum), I would be very pleased.

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      • Michael in Raleigh says:

        Alan how about those Appalachian State Mountaineers?
        ;-)

        Good luck to the Tigers baseball team the rest of the way.

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        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          Michael – congrats to you and your ‘eers. Its early and its baseball. In ’09, when LSU last won the CWS, my Tigers dropped 2 or 3 to Frank’s Illini, and lost to Nicholls State. I take full responsibility for the losses as I was in Fort Worth and missed the entire series.

          LSU should be a top 20 team and may make it to a Super Regional this year, but I don’t think my Tigers are CWS material at this point. They have three of the best starters in college baseball, but the bullpen is unsettled and hitting is light.

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          • Mike says:

            Light hitting Tigers? What in the name of Skip Bertman is going on down there?

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          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Mike – thanks to the new bats, the days of LSU Gorilla ball are over. The transition to west coast/UTx small ball is still a work in progress. As a (now suffering) Oriole fan since birth, I do miss the days of the Earl Weaver-style good pitching, good defense, and the 3 run homer play my Tigers emulated during Skip’s run.

            For those not familiar with Skip Bertman, he is one of the greatest college coaches in any sport. Skip ought to rank right up there with John Wooden and Dan Gable. He took over the LSU baseball program that had never really distinguished itself in 1984. The running joke at LSU was that prior to Skip’s arrival, the most quiet place to study on campus was the old Alex Box Stadium – during a game. During his 18 year career, LSU made 11 CWS appearances, won 7 SEC titles, and 5 CWS titles. He also coached an all-college USA team to the bronze medal in the 96 Olympics. Skip showed the rest of the SEC schools that you could make money in baseball, and he set off the explosion of improved facilities, increased budgets and increased success in baseball. Skip Bertman is greatly responsible for making college baseball what it is today in the region of the country where it is most popular.

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          • Mike says:

            No disrespect to Skip, but Rod Dedeaux was pretty good too.

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          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Dedeaux was great, won more championships than Skip and has a great French name, but he didn’t transform the sport. USC was an established power prior to Dedeaux’s arrival. When Skip took over prior to the 1984 season, LSU baseball was roughly equivelent to Indiana football today(no offense – duff). Also, college baseball was much less competitive in the 60s and 70s than it was in the 90s.

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    • SEC Expansion Screw-Up says:

      Alumni in the SEC for some reason pushed for Mizzou because of TV sets when they should’ve taken West Virginia instead, since first WV has a great alumni base and strong TV viewership. The SEC A.D.’s listened to internet alumni hype and took the wrong team, they could probably sit on 14 and the Big Ten probably would’ve never had to expand past 12.

      It’s pretty strange and after that the Big XII could’ve have expanded more sensibly and who knows who the Big Ten would have looked at for #12 or if Penn State might have actually taken the place of Pittsburgh in the ACC Expansion. Now we’re looking into a forced 16-team conference and now idiot alum’s want 18 or 20 teams?!

      It wouldn’t take long until leagues split up back to 8 to 10 team leagues and maybe 12 again. It was a clusterfuck of a move by the SEC and the Big Ten made their own by taking a team like Nebraska only for it to blow up in their face quickly. Nebraska is no-longer AAU and they are not getting better in the Big Ten, they were better off building the program back-up in the Big XII where they were a big dog but they all coward to Texas which was a bad move.

      I eventually thing the Big XII will be the league to get poached. Kansas, Kansas State will jump to Pac-12, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State will jump to the SEC and Texas, West Virginia will eventually make the jump to the ACC. My guess is that Big Ten will take Mizzou and Virginia while the SEC will snatch up Texas Tech. At that point, I think Larry Scott will swallow big and accept Colorado State then either look at Utah State or BYU (if they can finally give into the religious thing). ACC after all this can get Notre Dame to come in as a full-member.

      At that point the 4-team Super Conferences will be in place.

      Like

  2. jtower says:

    hook em

    Like

  3. Chas. says:

    I can’t believe more people watch BCS bowl games than the Final Four. Also, how can Nielsen account for the lack of representation in the pure volume of college basketball games compared to to their football counterparts. Even in this lackluster year in Illini sports, I still watch more minutes of basketball than the 13 football games.

    Like

    • morganwick says:

      Nationwide, college football is more popular than basketball. That’s basically it. In fact, college football is pretty clearly the #2 that Frank talks about in the article unless you count the Olympics. You and Frank happen to follow a school that actually cares about basketball outside the Tournament.

      Like

    • Cliff's Notes says:

      Chas,

      I was thinking along the same lines. There is more more inventory in basketball than football, and generally, more windows in basketball where you aren’t competing directly with other Big Ten events. While there are clearly more football viewers, the volume of basketball viewers should close the gap pretty closely. So it’s a bit fascinating that while overall viewership numbers may be pretty close this doesn’t correspond with realignment being solely football driven (aside from the academic requirements for the Big Ten).

      Like

      • morganwick says:

        College football ratings on ABC and ESPN are pretty damn good. Saturday Night Football ratings that do worse than the Stanley Cup Final are probably below average. No other non-NFL sport can boast regular season ratings that top 3.0 as regularly as college football (well, maybe NASCAR). And the biggest regular season college football games, like the SEC Championship in recent years, can approach NFL territory. Duke-Carolina struggles to match a typical afternoon football game on ABC.

        The volume of people watching college basketball (or any sport) tend to be the same people over and over, especially if it’s the same team over and over.

        Advertisers prefer big events where one ad can reach millions of people to many smaller events where you have to rely on repetition. That’s why the Super Bowl is such a big event for advertisers.

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        • morganwick says:

          Also, as noted below, both college sports skew really old, but basketball skews older, making the gap between them wider.

          Like

          • Does anyone know if the demographic trend for CFB fandom is trending older, or if it’s just one of those things where it’s fairly consistently about the same demographic? If it’s the first then it’s concerning, but if it’s the second, then it would mainly suggest that people don’t really become fans until they graduate college, which seems reasonable and doesn’t suggest any kind of potential long-term issue.

            Like

      • Richard says:

        College bball actually brings in more advertising dollars in total than college football. However, most of the money made in college bball is in the postseason, and that revenue is split up (well, the best performing schools get more shares, but those are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, not millions). When it comes to the money that schools/conferences can keep themselves (the regular season TV money and ticket sales), football brings in more than basketball (in most cases) by 2-1 and 3-1 ratios, roughly.

        Like

  4. vp19 says:

    Considering it’s generally perceived as Kentucky and 11 afterthoughts, the SEC does surprisingly well in basketball — though if Kentucky and Vanderbilt were taken out of the equation, the SEC might trail the Pac-12.

    Like

    • duffman says:

      From the NCAA from last season, the top 30 by conference ranked by game average :

      SEC (4) = #1 UK ~24K, #5 UTn ~19K, #18 VU ~14K, #29 UAf ~12K
      BigE (4) = #2 SU ~22K, #3 UL ~22K, #11 MU ~16K, #25 GU ~13K
      ACC (3) = #4 UNC ~19K, #14 MD ~15K, #19 NCST ~14K
      B1G (7) = #7Wis~17K,#10IL~16,#12IU#13OSU#15MSU~15K,#17PU~14K,#24MN~13K
      B12 (4) = #9 KU ~16K, #21 UTx ~14K, #26 KSU ~13K, #28 ISU 12K
      PAC (1) = #20 Arizona ~14K

      The other 10 SEC schools :
      11K = Alabama, Missouri
      10K = Florida, South Carolina
      09K = TAMU
      08K = Georgia
      07K = LSU
      06K = Auburn, Mississippi, Mississippi State

      Since only 1 PAC team made the top 30, not sure the SEC would still not be well ahead of them even if UK and VU were not included. ASU = 7K, Cal = 8K, CU = 7K, OU = 8K, OSU = 5K, USC 5K, Stanford 6K, UCLA = 8K, UT = 8K, WU = 10K, WSU = 7K. Surprising to many probably is how low UCLA’s numbers are, but I brought this up in a previous thread about UCLA’s dwindling “brand” status.

      Like

      • vp19 says:

        I was referring to TV viewership, not game attendance. Using the above criteria, N.C. State would rate higher than Duke, which hasn’t been the case since the Wolfpack men played all their home games at Reynolds Coliseum.

        Like

      • Richard says:

        “UAf” is Arkansas, I presume.

        Anyway, UK is a true king and Arkansas, Tennessee, and UF are all top 20 programs. UF has a big state, and you might not think of Arkansas & Tennessee as brand names, but the revenue they bring in indicates that they have plenty of fans.

        In comparison, the Pac only has 2 top 20 programs (UCLA & Arizona).

        Like

  5. frug says:

    Does anyone know what those average viewership numbers are represent? Are those per game, and do they adjust for the number of teams in the league?

    Like

  6. Craig Z says:

    Notre Dame’s ratings aren’t given (I’m not sure of the significance of the Michigan game on the chart. Did it have the second most viewers of a regular season game last season? The most in September?). However, given the fast fact at the bottom of that page that college football viewers skew older, I would bet Notre Dame games on NBC get decent ratings. Older fans still remember when Notre Dame was a national championship contender. This would seem to be reflected in the Michigan game viewership. It would also go along with Frank’s analysis of the ACC ratings. Older fans also still remember when Miami and Florida State were national championship contenders.

    Like

  7. duffman says:

    Frank, thanks for the link, but they appear to deal with averages which helps the B12 +/- 10 as they have fewer members to divide by. It will be VERY interesting to see what happens to those numbers next season as the B1G and PAC were set at 12, but the SEC and ACC are still adding, and the Big East and B12 are contracting. If we have the 2012 numbers we will see just how big the TAMU and MU numbers are on the B12 averages.

    As close as the SEC was to the ACC in basketball, with only ~ 20 thousand average viewer difference, I must question if the league is not as UK centric as it is always made out to be. I really did expect the ACC and B1G to be well ahead of the other 4, and the ACC was not. It does seem to reinforce my post in your last thread about viewers watching the better basketball teams play each other. I really think a 16 team NCAA double elimination would be a viewing boost, fueled by a 64 team elimination the week before.

    Like

    • Eric says:

      Yeah I do think that especially with the Big East basketball, using averages hurt. Since the top games are the ones that are worth the most, I think undervalues them a little.

      Like

      • Jon says:

        Yep, this is a silly way to look at television ratings. The Big East has 18 teams some of whom don’t have a football team or much of a national following. This completely skews the average ratings. If you multiply each average by the number of televised conference games they played you’d have a reasonable estimate of the total viewership of the conference. The Big East played more games than the other conferences and would easily win total views.

        Likewise, statistics for a conference aren’t really that useful. Do they release ratings for individual games? With those you could actually start to see trends and figure out the draw of each team.

        Like

    • Mike says:

      Wouldnt it hurt the Big 12? The 2011 calendar year still included basketball juggernauts Nebraska and Colorado.

      Like

    • Mack says:

      The slide stated that (televised) games that had one of the conference participants are included in the averages. That means that televised SEC vs. ACC football games are counted in both conference averages regardless of the home team or TV contract it is broadcast under. Games that did not get televised (and all conferences have these for basketball) did not effect the average. Therefore, the part of the value that is not shown is how many games do these conferences get on TV per season.

      Like

  8. Andy says:

    You’d have to think the SEC’s football #s will up significantly with the addition of Texas A&M as football-crazed Texas will start tuning in more. And the state of Missouri is very enthused about basketball, so the SEC’s basketball #s should go up a notch as well. Expansion will likely see the SEC widening it’s lead in football and nearly catching up to the Big Ten in basketball viewership. SEC basketball has a lot of potential. As one poster above noted, only the Big Ten has better basketball attendance (the Southern SEC schools don’t care much about basketball, but the northern schools sure do). And the SEC is flush with money. If they start investing that money in basketball as well as football, look out.

    Like

    • bullet says:

      The SEC has been investing in basketball for a while. Some fan bases aren’t going to care much, but the SEC is almost always pretty tough. They just get under-rated because of UK.

      Like

      • Michael in Raleigh says:

        Should criticism of the ACC’s undervalued contract goes towards John Swofford or towards the bad timing of the contract?

        Like

        • bullet says:

          It was just timing IMO. It was the depth of the recession and everyone was amazed at the time how good it was.

          Like

        • Jim in Florida says:

          It was about the worst timing for a contract to come up in a long time. Besides the economic climate when it came up it also was right before expansion took off. Fox was looking to get out of the sport. NBC was owned by GE still and in limbo. The Big Ten Network was still struggling to get on in the footprint. I believe that was also the time frame ESPN was putting together or renewing the MNF package.

          Like

        • Elvis says:

          Nobody forced Swofford to sign a 12 year contract that was horrible.

          Also, it sounds like he is going to add 3 years to that horrible contract.

          But his son is an exec for Raycom which got a piece of that horrible contract.

          Yes, Swofford deserves criticism, even though he did have bad timing, he just did a bad job. Got worked actually.

          Like

  9. Wes says:

    The Big 12 will be 5th by this time next year, and the SEC will pull farther ahead. This data set includes A&M and Mizzou, two of the four biggest draws for TV eyeballs in the conference, who won’t be there next year.

    Like

    • bullet says:

      A&M and Missouri have big populations and are 3rd and 4th in fan attendance, but they aren’t necessarily the biggest TV draws. Missouri for football is hampered by having 2 NFL teams. There’s a reason the bowls frequently pass up Missouri. A&M is hampered by not having many good seasons the last 10 years as well as the NFL issue.

      Colorado was the same as those two and when they talked to the TV people, they figured out that CU added less than average value. Coloradans want to go outside or watch the Broncos much more than the Buffalos. And Colorado had 4 or 5 bad seasons.

      I suspect the Big 12 doesn’t change much.

      Like

      • Frank the Ag says:

        So who in the B12 other than OU and Texas are bigger draws than A&M? A&M TV draws are closer to those two than the other members of the B12. To suggest otherwise is nonsense. I suspect the B12 changes greatly and for the worse without A&M and Mizzou.

        Like

    • bullet says:

      Also, A&M and Missouri add more value to the SEC than to the Big 12. The Big 12 still has Texas and Kansas City.

      Like

    • Eric says:

      If you are talking basketball maybe, but I bet the Big 12 beats the PAC-12 in football next year. They lose some interest, but the new configuration is also going to draw some more interest at least short term.

      Like

    • Since the exhibit is average viewers per game, I don’t see why the SEC would pull further ahead with A&M and Mizzou on board. I’d guess they’re average to a bit below-average for TV interest compared to most SEC teams.

      Like

    • Jim in Florida says:

      TAM is not that big of a TV draw. They have only been on TV 5 times or more in a season something like 2 times in the last 20 years.

      Like

      • Frank the Ag says:

        You got a link for that? I’m going to go out on a limb and say you made it up. For instance, last year A&M was on TV vs. SMU, Arkansas, OSU, Tech, OU, ISU, Missou, KSU, and Texas. So you actually believe A&M only played on TV 5 times in a season ONCE in the other 19 years? Seriously, you posted that and expect people to think you are speaking factually?

        A&M brings huge sections of Houston and Dallas to any market along with all the mid-markets in Texas. A&M pulls stong TV numbers and has since the early 80s as the school expanded. Some of the comments on here can only make you lol.

        Like

  10. Phil says:

    I think it needs to be pointed out how much better the Big East football numbers look than expected. For a conference that has had no team in the BCS Championship discussion since WVU in 2007 (and a lack of marquee teams in general) they drew 80% of the viewers the Big 12 did and almost 90% of the Pac 12.

    Combining that with the downside surprise in the Big East basketball viewership just reinforces what a f***ing crime it is that the conference has been destroyed by the Big East management’s overemphasis on basketball.

    Like

    • Eric says:

      I hear that complaint a lot, but I’m not sure I actually agree with it. It’s not like any decision from the conference would have prevented the ACC or Big 12 raiding. I think they did their best with the hand they were dealt. If it feels like basketball is emphasized, it’s just because when its emphasized, it stands out better compared to the competition.

      Like

      • bullet says:

        I think the Villanova invite and refusal of the ESPN offer triggered the Pitt and SU exodus. Maybe it would have happened eventually anyway, but it definitely precipitated what happened. I also think the Notre Dame, Marquette and DePaul invites seriously limited the conference’s flexibility in football and were a mistake.

        UConn, Pitt, SU, WVU, UL, UC coupled with Rutgers, USF, UCF, Houston, Memphis and Temple (or even ECU or SMU) is a great basketball conference, let alone throwing in Georgetown, Villanova, St. John’s, Providence and Seton Hall. But with all those basketball only schools, they were limited to 8 football teams.

        Like

        • Eric says:

          The Big East rejected the offer because they thought they could get a better one (I said it was a mistake to refuse it at the time, but I can see why they did).

          The original expansion to 16 probably was a mistake in retrospect, but at the time the conference expected to be splitting into two down the road. I don’t think it would have prevented expansion to 12 in football if the schools were united themselves though.

          Like

        • joe4psu says:

          I believe that Pitt was one of the ringleaders in turning down the *SPN contract. From what I understand Pitt, WVU and Rutgers were the major opponents to Villanova. I don’t remember is Syracuse was behind Nova or not. IMO, the bottom line is that the conference should have expanded sooner. Period. The end up with Memphis, and in all likelihood Temple, who they could have had for years. The western additions may not have flown before things got so crazy but the league should have been thinking WAY, WAY outside of the box all along.

          I think it is very important to remember that the outlook for their next contract was considered to be very good with the conference they had together and adding Boise, among others, would have only improved that yet Pitt and Syracuse bolted. I think that had A LOT to do with Nova being pushed on them. Whether that had to do with the bball schools and the BE office or just the BE office, it appears to have been the final straw.

          Like

          • Mike R says:

            It’s ironic, but I think that being effectively dropped from the Big East was a blessing for Temple, in that it spurred the school to make good hires in Golden and Addazio, step up recruiting and build the Edberg-Olson practice facility. Now that the Owls are back, they are ready to be very competitive in that league .. and would even if it included Pitt and SU.

            Like

      • Michael in Raleigh says:

        I am not sure I agree with that. I think that Syracuse and Pittsburgh might have been willing to stay if the league had expanded beyond just tcu prior to their defections. The inaction, the back-and-forth indecisiveness by Villanova about whether to upgrade football lasted for nine months after TCU’s invitation in November of 2010 before Syracuse and Pitt bailed on the league. Contrast that with all five other leagues, who expanded carefully deliberately even when they were required to do so at a faster timetable than they had planned on. The Big East acted as though it had all the time in the world.

        If the league had been more decisive (and, yes, perhaps if it was not so beholden by the demands of the schools who don’t play BE football), then Pitt and Syracuse might have remained in the league. After all, one was a founding member who had all but declined an ACC invitation back in 2003, and the other had been in the league since three years after its founding. The Big East, thanks to the favorable market for live sports, was due for a TV contract that could have matched the ACC’s. With the additions of Navy, UCF, and Houston, Pitt and Syracuse would have known the league’s identity going forward and its motivation to leave might have disappeared. Granted, TCU would have left no matter what, but losing TCU (whom the league never really had) doesn’t mean WVU would have left. The Big East could have simply added one more team among the many it has added and been all set at 12.

        So, yes, I do think that there’s a lot of remorse in the conference office that it was held back by the need to please its basketball members (by waiting and waiting and waiting. Villqnova)

        Like

        • Jim in Florida says:

          What I heared was during the expansion Pitt wanted to add UCF and Cuse wanted to add Houston but either would have been happy enough with either of those teams. USF though wanted to block UCF so came up with the Nova idea. The Basketball schools went along with this and schools like Pitt, WVU, Cuse and UConn where like what why would you do this and started to look for an exist path. The ACC gave Pitt and Cuse the out they needed and the weekend to decide so they jumped.

          USF because of the power play to block UCF ended up with UCF anyways but at the cost of Pitt, Cuse and WVU and UConn the second they can get out.

          Like

          • Michael in Raleigh says:

            Jim that’s very plausible. It’s dysfunction, and an inability for schools to unite behind the good ideas of a strong commissioner the way the Pac-12 did with Scott, that has been as much the source of the league’s downfall as anything else.

            Speaking of which, the Pac-12’s results with expansion and, more significantly, with creating great TV contracts and league-owned networks provide a great comparison for the Big East. Both had lower ratings than their fellow power conferences. Both had factions (academic elites like Cal, Stanford, and UCLA who associate with WSU, ORSU, ASU with reluctance; USC and UCLA who wanted unequal revenue sharing; old Northwest schools vs. newer Arizona schools and mountain schools) but the Pac-12 came out with decent expansion results (no losses of schools) and fantastic financial results. The divisiveness within the Big East is even more pronounced than the Pac-12 or Big 12, but strong leadership and a willingness to work together could have prevented efections and resulted in a great TV future. Hbeing, at best, the fourth most popular league to watch, then the Big East could have gotten a deal about as good as the ACC or Big 12’s. Now, even the most shrewd negotiator or the best consensus-builder couldn’t overcome the loss ofvits best programs. It will always be sixth best in every regard.

            Like

        • Eric says:

          I’m just not sure I buy that the basketball members have done anything to hold anyone back. If we ever heard of the football schools being united on inviting someone I could be convinced, but it sounds more to me like the basketball schools caved every time there was a conflict.

          With expansion, we saw the same thing all of the place, teams in less prestigious leagues left for the more prestigious ones. Colorado joined the PAC-10 even though it was then making less money than the Big 12 and had revenue sharing even more inequitable. Not one of the Alliance members flinched when offered into the Big East. I just don’t see any circumstance where the ACC wouldn’t have been able to take Big East teams at will even if it did mean they think they’ll be stuck in lower contract for while.

          Like

        • acaffrey says:

          The Big East should have gone for TCU, Boise State, and San Diego State. And then UCF.

          Now you’ve got quadrants:

          UConn, Syracuse, Rutgers

          WVU, Pitt, Cincy

          Louisville, USF, UCF

          TCU, Boise St., San Diego State.

          Instead, they went TCU and sat on their hands.

          Like

    • IMO a huge part of their TV numbers is the fact that they’ve basically owned Thursday/Friday, since no other AQ league wanted to play on those time slots. Now that this is changing, I suspect that their numbers will take a meaningful hit.

      Like

      • Phil says:

        The Big East has not been a major factor on ESPN’s Thursday night games for 3 years, once the BE example showed the other conferences the value of having the stage to yourself.

        The Big East is on Friday a lot, but that is a bad night for ratings, especially when you are showing football on the night a lot of high school football games are being played. In addition, there were several occurrences this year where ESPN had Big East Friday night games on ESPN and ESPN2 at the same time, dividing the viewership.

        Like

    • Richard says:

      I don’t think it’s an apples-to-apples comparison, though. The cruddy BE games aren’t shown (or rather, they’re shown on “the Big East Network” produced by ESPNU and shown on various local/independent channels). That’s also true with the Pac, but not true for the B12, I believe.

      Like

      • Mack says:

        There is a B12 Network (for basketball) syndicated by ESPNU. As noted by someone above, the third tier games (BTN, BE, B12, etc. networks) were not included in the averages.

        Like

    • This tells me that the Big East’s football schools might be more of a draw than most imagine. Again, a terrible product overall, yet they ARE the home school for large population bases. That’s the bare bones truth.

      Marinatto mocked Rutgers/Minnesota as being a lousy draw for TV last year. The truth is Rutgers/Minny would draw better than Rutgers vs. 80% of the Big East…and Rutgers/OSU and Rutgers/PSU and Rutgers/Michigan and Rutgers/Nebraska would draw TONS more interest in NYC and nationally than any Rutgers/BigEast competition.

      Stay tuned as the Big East is further dilluted…

      Like

  11. Kevin says:

    How much are the average football viewership totals influenced by the audience? Meaning, the SEC has a national audience with CBS while the Big Ten is subjected to regional broadcasts through ABC/ESPN.

    Also, the value of the TV markets/deals is heavily influenced by demographics which may include significant income differences between fan bases. ie. It’s fairly well documented that the income levels in the North are marginally higher than in the South. Same for the coasts vs. the Midwest.

    Like

    • Michael in Raleigh says:

      Big Ten and the other leagues still have their games broadcast nationally. Basically, they’re on ABC regionally and on ESPN or ESPN2 everywhere else.

      Having one game a week on a traditional, over-the-air network nationally certainly helps, but it’s not that big of a deal. It’s still just one game out of many others (depending on how many teams have byes or non-conference games in a given week) for that conference, and the SEC also many other games on ESPN, just like the Big Ten. In other words, the SEC’s ratings are an accurate reflection of how popular it is, not just at the regional level but at the national level.

      Like

      • joe4psu says:

        I’d like to know the details on the CBS versus ABC/*SPN numbers. I think the CBS games have become an event. It is special because they have no competition within CBS. It is ALL SEC ALL THE TIME on CBS. *SPN does their alot of pimping for their SEC games but it is not the same and is at odds with their coverage of the other conferences. I don’t see the B1G catching up unless they move to Fox or possibly NBC, the ND games are an issue though, with the upcoming contract.

        Like

    • Jim in Florida says:

      The SEC ratings this year are a little bit higher then their baseline average because of the huge ratings of the LSU/Bama regular season game. They also have an advantage over the Big Ten because they play prime time games all year long while the biggest gun in the Big Ten has played 1 prime time home game in its history. The SEC is the most popular and the Big Ten is not that far behind. The better demo for the Big Ten makes them much more valuable TV though.

      Like

      • Kevin says:

        @ Jim I agree with your comments and I would also add that I think that typical viewership between the Big Ten and SEC is pretty comparable in most years. If you adjust the numbers for the over the air CBS broadcast advantage (CBS is the nations most watched network) and factor in how most of the top programs in the Big Ten have been down recently I think you’ll get a comparable number. If Penn State, Mich, OSU and Nebraska/WI are firing on all cylinders like the SEC currently is it’s a different story. Not saying the Big Ten would be better just saying they would be comparable.

        Everyone remembers the Michigan vs. OSU game in 2006 is still one of the all time most viewed regular season games in CFB. I think it edged out this years 1 vs. 2 matchup with LSU and Alabama.

        Like

    • @Kevin – This isn’t broken out, but the calculations consist of Nielsen-rated channels. That group would include the over-the-air networks, ESPN, ESPN2, FX and NBC Sports Net. It would NOT include regional sports networks (such as the Fox Sports Net affiliates) or the Big Ten Network.

      So, I would look at these numbers as measuring the viewership of each conference for its Tier 1/high Tier 2 games on the national networks. Tier 3 games wouldn’t be included, so the Big Ten isn’t having many (if any) Indiana football games or Penn State basketball games in these numbers. (To address a separate duffman point, that means that the Big Ten basketball average isn’t going to get dragged down by Nebraska this year on this metric, but its football average likely saw a bump from the Huskers.
      As a result, these figures are about as good as you can find publicly in terms of measuring how the top-level national TV contracts ought to be valued.

      Like

    • @Kevin – On your note about demographics, what I’ve seen previously is that the differences in income in terms of college football viewers from region-to-region aren’t that material (so the ACC and Big East aren’t going to be getting demo premiums, if that’s what you’re getting at). The demo argument matters more when comparing sports. Generally speaking, college football viewers nationwide have higher incomes and education levels than any of the pro sports leagues (which makes sense since you’re more likely to follow college sports if you actually went to college). Golf gets the largest premium because it (not surprisingly) has the highest income demo, while NASCAR’s large on-paper viewership gets discounted because it has a lower income demo.

      More important than income is that the age 18-49 demo is critical to advertisers and, as a subgroup, the 18-34 year-old male demo is the most valuable of all. Those metrics favor the NFL and NBA the most.

      Like

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        Frank – exactly. While the South may have a lower per capita income than other regions of the country, Southerners drink just as much beer and probably buy more pick up trucks.

        I would think that Bud, MillerCoors, Chevy and Ford aren’t displeased with their ad buys in the South.

        Like

  12. bullet says:

    Interesting data. Some comments:

    NHL has got to be concerned long retired players blow away any current players in popularity.

    Hope Solo got a good bump from Dancing with the Stars. Good marketing move by her agent.

    College Football has to be concerened 71% of viewers are over 35. That’s not prime advertising age. I think Frank had found even more concerning numbers for college basketball a while back.

    SEC, ACC, Big 12 are about the same in average viewership in bb per # of teams. A similar dynamic plays out in football. The larger conferences need to be able to parlay the extra content into well rated extra games or that rating advantage dissapates.

    Like

    • zeek says:

      This is a very underrated point (the one about the age of college football viewers).

      For all we talk about the popularity of college football, the fact of the matter is that it hasn’t translated anywhere near as well as the NFL.

      College football has become a much more niche kind of sport relatively, and it’s hard to see how they reverse that easily.

      In some states, people will grow up rooting for college teams as a result of their family’s rooting interests, but there’s going to be a lot more people every year going to colleges that are not D-1 football schools. Those people may not really keep their interest or gain an interest in college football at later points in life.

      The best example is of how schools like USC, Texas, Ohio State, Florida will continue to grow their popularity but at the same time reach smaller % of their states’ college graduates. Of course those schools will never have anything to worry about, but schools like Illinois, Arizona, Colorado, Maryland, Georgia Tech, have got to be concerned about how they can maintain and grow their fanbases without being football powers. It’s only going to get harder to get butts in seats (and TV viewers) for those schools’ football programs unless they perform at a much higher level than in the past.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        Well, I daresay that most football stadiums are filled by alums (outside of maybe the SEC and some B10 schools). TV viewership might be a concern, but it’s not facing the demographic problems MLB and college bball are facing (yet, anyway).

        Like

  13. Cliff's Notes says:

    Another curious bit of data to me: Bowl Game Advertising dropped by half from 09-10 to 10-11, while the prior trends for bowl games was for steady 10% growth. Meanwhile, regular season advertising had actually decreased minimally (~1%) over the prior three years, but then suddenly jumped up by about 5%.

    Perhaps the recent ruling to eliminate bowl eligibility for 6-6 teams, and consequently eliminate some bowl games, is an attempt to eliminate over-saturation of the product, and give a kick start to Bowl Advertising Revenue?

    Like

  14. One very key thing to note about the new Pac-12 TV deal is that a LOT of the games are going to be at non-standard starting times, most notably Thursday and Friday nights. The current Nielsen data is almost entirely for games at fairly normal Saturday start times, when they’re going up against major BIG, SEC and Big 12 games. When they’re instead going up against the WAC/Big East (the current leagues who do Thursday/Friday), the ratings are likely to go WAY up. When people look just at the $$$ figure for the TV deal, they neglect to account for the sacrifices needed to make that happen. Similarly, when people bitch about weekday games, they neglect to realize that this sacrifice is a major reason why there’s so much TV money to go around.

    On the same note, now that the Big East’s Thursday/Friday spots are getting poached (not to mention that their marquee team, West Virginia, is leaving), I’d expect their TV numbers to go way down. Instead of being the only game in town (or competing against the WAC, which is generally way down on the list of viewer interest) they’ll now be competing against a higher-prestige league. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them moving to MAC territory, Monday through Wednesday games, to try and rekindle viewer interest in their games.

    Like

    • Phil says:

      You are way behind the times on the idea that the Big East owned a Thursday night spot. Other conferences took those spots after they saw the upside of being the only game on.

      For example, the Big East was only part of 4 of the 14 Thursday night ESPN games in 2010, and only 2 of the 14 in 2011.

      Like

      • joe4psu says:

        And while WVU is leaving, Boise will be joining next year and they seem to get pretty good ratings. Even if it will be odd for them to play more eastern schools games in the Philly market (if Temple is added) and NY via Rutgers could be interesting. Rutgers itself could really benefit from the changes. They had an extraordinary year in ’06 (? I think it was ’06, sheesh, a long time ago now) and put up some great ratings. The competition will be down overall but if they are winning will the bandwagon fans notice?

        Like

        • Phil says:

          That’s really all us Rutgers fans have to go on right now. Most of us are in the 5th stage of grief when it comes to conference reshuffling, the one positive we have is despite his recruiting prowess Schiano was not a good game day coach and had one or several WTF losses every year. There is still a lot of talent in the program so a new coaching staff might be able to do more with it.

          RU really has a two year window to win the Big East while that is still meaningful in terms of bowl selection and establish that they can be a solid program regardless of the coach.

          Finally having some basketball success after a two decade downturn wouldn’t hurt either. That is one area the new Big East should help because RU will be losing 3-5 conference games against Syr/Pitt/WVU and replacing them with games that shouldn’t be as tough.

          Like

          • joe4psu says:

            I hope the next couple of years go well and if the B1G looks into expansion again RU is included. I hope things go well except when we play and compete for recruits of course. :)

            The players must think alot of Flood since there has not been any transfers, that I know of, since Schiano left and since he held on to all the recruits. Very good class. Here’s hoping that Flood is a better game day coach.

            Like

    • @cfn_ms – One thing that will be important next season: the NFL is going to be showing Thursday night games all year for the first time, so ESPN’s college football games on that evening are going to face a lot more competition. This is going to impact the desirability (or undesirability) of those Thursday night slots significantly because the large potential sports fan audience that was available previously is going to be split up.

      Like

      • bullet says:

        I think it will drive the Big 5 from TH nights eventually. I don’t see ESPN paying a lot to challenge the NFL. That announcement could have a noticeable impact on the Big East and CUSA/MWC contracts.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          No one watches CUSA/MWC anyway (which is why their TV contracts are so bad).

          As for the BE, I think that depends on how many suitors there are. If NBC/Comcast still want to get a college football property (and ESPN & Fox still want to deny them), the BE will get paid.

          We could see the BE try to “own” a weeknight slots as well (“Wednesday Night Big East Football on Versus Presented by Doritos”). Have 2 league games on weeknights (W & Th?) a week, and scheduling actually gets easier.

          Like

          • bullet says:

            Tuesdays and Wednesdays are difficult. The MAC virtually moved to T & W late in the year. You have to be off the weekend before and weekend after. With TH you can do a short week without a bye week.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Right, which is why I suggested 2 weeknight games a week. Then, over a 3 week period, 4 teams can play a roundrobin on weeknights while the other 8 play each other. I think you can switch this around to do this for (maybe) 2 more 3-week blocks.

            Like

      • I would presume that CFB games on Thursday nights would try to overlap w/ the NFL as little as possible. If the NFL kicks off on 8PM EST then any Eastern leagues would kick off at 5-6PM and any Western leagues would kick off around 10 PM. You still get some hit from the NFL competition for the three or so hour period but enough of your game is in a non-overlapping slot that you still get viewership. If anything, you might get more since people are already set up to watch football, and “hey we get to watch more football after(or before) the NFL” could be a winning strategy.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          Matthew,

          A school would have to cancel afternoon classes to have a 5 pm kickoff on a weekday. I don’t see that as a likely choice.

          Like

  15. David says:

    Combined viewership –
    1. SEC – 4,447,000 + 1,222,000 = 5,669,000
    2. Big Ten – 3,267,000 + 1,496,000 = 4,763,000
    3. ACC – 2,650,000 + 1,247,000 = 3,897,000
    4. Big 12 – 2,347,000 + 1,069,000 = 3,416,000
    5. Big East – 1,884,000 + 1,049,000 = 2,933,000
    6. PAC 12 – 2,108,000 + 783,000 = 2,891,000

    Like

  16. Mike says:

    B1G Baseball Update

    Above .500 for the weekend: Nebraska (4-0), Michigan (3-1), Michigan St. (3-1), Purdue (2-1), Minnesota (2-2), and Illinois (2-2).

    Like

  17. bullet says:

    http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2012/02/sec_will_discuss_switching_to.html

    Interesting discussions with 7 of the SEC ADs regarding their scheduling issues. They mostly want to keep 8 games, keep cross-division rivalries and play everyone in the other division frequently, which are conflicting goals. Tennessee seems more flexible than most. I think they are finding out its tough to consistently fill a 100k+ stadium.

    Last comment is interesting. TV wants more conference games the 1st two and last two weeks of the season. Does that mean some of the in-state ooc rivalries get moved to mid-season?

    Like

    • Eric says:

      I don’t know if that is necessary. Maybe I’m not remembering right, but it seemed to me like there were a lot of non-conference/off weeks the last two weeks in the SEC for some reason. I think Georgia or South Carolina had their last SEC game 3 weeks before the CCG.

      Like

      • m (Ag) says:

        Yeah, the problem isn’t the last week of the season, it’s the 2nd to last week. It’s good for the SEC’s TV package that they spread out the ‘buy’ games throughout the season, but recently too many schools have moved their ‘buy’ game to the week before the rivalry game. Combined with unimpressive conference match-ups, it leads to probably the worst weekend of games for the SEC.

        Here was last year:
        MSU@Arkie
        LSU@Ole Miss
        Kentucky@Georgia
        Vandy@TN

        Samford@Auburn
        Georgia Southern@Bama
        Furman @Florida
        Citadel@SC

        You can see why ESPN and CBS haven’t been thrilled with this schedule.

        The SEC could have improved the situation by forcing Auburn and Bama to play SEC West games, while still allowing Florida and SC get their ‘easy’ game the week before playing their ACC foes.

        The 2 newcomers don’t look like they will improve the situation next year, as A&M scheduled Sam Houston State that weekend. Missouri still has that spot open and is looking for a home game; maybe they’ll be able to get a MAC team to visit if Temple moves to the Big East, leaving a gap in the MAC schedule.

        Like

  18. OrderRestored says:

    add

    Like

  19. One thing I just noticed in the Nielsen presentation: bowl ad revenue compared to regular season ad revenue is WAY down. Regular season ad spend went up a bit, and bowl ad spend is down OVER 50% from last year! This may have a lot to do with the exploration of a playoff and the idea of cutting off some bowl games…

    Like

  20. JMann says:

    Good data but averages are completely irrelevant when it comes to TV contracts for college football and basketball. That’s why networks pay a premium for Tier I and Tier II rights. The are not paying to televise every single game, just the premier ones they will get ratings for. It does not surprise me that the Big east gets low averages overall for basketball with 16 teams. ESPN is not paying to televise Depaul- South Florida, but they know that with a weekly package they can televise Syracuse, Uconn, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Louisville in some combination almost every week. Same with SEC football, ESPN did not pay all that money to tellvise Ole Miss-Vandy.

    Like

  21. Kass says:

    Your ACC/undervalued argument has a weakness in that the breadth of televised ACC games is significantly lower than conferences like the Big Ten, SEC, and maybe Big XII (I dunno about the last part). So the ACC games shown on TV would be relatively better quality than these other conferences, artificially increasing the average viewership numbers. If the ACC had the same breadth as the SEC, I guarantee those average numbers decrease. And to be frank, you are only looking at one data point in a time series process, which means that ultimately it is relatively impossible to infer anything intelligently. You need to much more data that this.

    I think that ACC does about as well as it can regarding TV $$$. If anything, it iss the SEC that appears to be undervalued more than all the other conferences.

    Like

  22. cutter says:

    On a slightly different tack, here’s Stewart Mandel on CNNSI arguing why a four-team playoff with conference champions only isn’t a good idea:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/stewart_mandel/02/28/conference-champion-playoff-requirement/index.html?sct=cf_t11_a0

    As he points out, if this were the setup last year, then the semi-fina games would have been #10 Wisconsin (11-2) at #1 LSU (13-0) and #5 Oregon (11-2) at #3 Oregon State (11-1). That would have left Alabama (11-1) and Stanford (11-1) out of the mix because they didn’t win their divisions or their conference championship games. Other teams ranked ahead of Wisconsin in the final BCS poll were Arkansas (10-2 with losses to Alabama and LSU), Boise State (11-1 with a one-point loss to TCU), South Carolina (10-2 with losses to Auburn and Arkansas) and Kansas State (10-2 with losses to Oklahoma by 41 points and Oklahoma State by seven points) . These teams were listed #6 thru #9 in the BCS poll). Wisconsin’s two losses were to Michigan State and Ohio State.

    Mandel also adds that if the tenth best team in the nation was in the playoff, it’d put increasing pressure on college football to go to an eight- or even sixteen-team playoff.

    Like

    • Eric says:

      The #10 team making it in a huge fluke. It’s very rare not to have 4 champs/independents before that.

      I personally don’t think leaving out any of those teams would have been a big deal, but I could see how some would use as it a call to expand.

      Like

      • bullet says:

        Here’s a reason it is unlikely to happen (even though many of these teams have moved, the conferences remain):
        2010 TCU MWC champ would be in
        2009 TCU MWC champ and Cincinnati BE champ would be in
        2008 Utah MWC champ would be in
        2006 #6 Louisville BE champ would be in
        2005 #6 ND or #7 UGA (depending on how indies were treated) would be in
        2004 #6 Utah MWC champ would be in

        I don’t think the Big 5 are going to want to make it easier for the other conferences to get in, especially #6 rated teams. I know the SEC and Big 12 won’t like this idea. The Pac likes it because they often fall outside the top 4 and would benefit. Fresno or ECU or Rice could be the team who goes unbeaten in the MWC/CUSA conference and ends up ahead of the B1G or ACC or Pac champ.

        Like

        • cutter says:

          bullet:

          You make an excellent point about how all the teams you listed are or likely will be in the larger conferences. With college football consolidating the better football teams into five conferences–ACC, Big Ten, Big XII, Pac 12 and SEC–the chance a team from the Big East or Mountain West/Conference USA being rated one of the top four in the country isn’t very strong (I’m going to discount the MAC, WAC, and Sun Belt from this conversation for obvious reasons).

          When I look at the ranks of the Big East and the Mountain West/C-USA, the only teams in those three conferences that have won a BCS bowl is Boise State. Connecticut has also gone to a BCS bowl and lost heavily to Oklahoma, so I really wouldn’t consider them a likely candidate program to get into a playoff (and the year UConn went to the Fiesta Bowl, they wouldn’t have been on of the top four conference winners). Hawaii, who will soon join the Mountain West, also made a BCS bowl, but lost to Georgia 41-10. UH, however, was #12 in the BCS in 2007 and they would have been behind Ohio State, LSU, Virginia Tech and UGa that year in the rankings.

          That’s not to say that some team could go undefeated in those three conferences and make a four-team playoff, but given their current membership, it’s not a strong possibility and I don’t think it necessarily disqualifies discussion about having conference champions only.

          We’ll see what happens. I have no doubt TPTB are seeing the same results we are regarding the circumstances of adopting a four-team playoff with conference champions only. They’re also going to have to figure out what they’re going to do with Notre Dame and Brigham Young if those two teams go undefeated and/or are rated in the top four of the ranking system being used. There are, of course, the highly rated teams like Alabama and Stanford that didn’t win their conferences last year–something else to consider as well.

          They seem to be committed to only four teams, so I suspect we’ll see some combination with the top three conference winners plus one at large team (unless the top four teams are all conference winners). That allows ND and BYU an opportunity to get into the playoff, plus it allows CFB some flexibility in picking at least one of the four teams in the playoff. It may not be ideal, but it’s about as far as TPTB seem willing to go at this point.

          Like

        • TX_Andy says:

          Below is a summary of how many teams each conference would have placed in a four team playoff over the past 14 years. First number is the amount of teams based on top 4 BCS ranking and second number is the amount of teams based on 4 highest rated conference champions.

          B12 – 14 / 9
          SEC- 14 / 11
          P12 – 9 / 11
          B10 – 8 / 9
          BE – 5 / 6
          ACC – 4 / 5
          MWC – 2 / 4
          IND – 0 / 1

          Every conference except the Big XII and SEC stand to gain by limiting the playoff to conference champions.

          Also, as cutter mentioned, only the five major conferences plus the Big East, MWC-CUSA and independents would have a legitimate chance at making the playoff. For a MWC-CUSA team to make it, they would have to run the table and hope only 3 of the 5 major conferences had strong seasons. The only controversy involves picking the best 4 out of 8. Even if there is controversy over the 5th best team being left out, it seems much less likely that it expands to include pretty much everyone.

          On the other hand, seeding based on highest ranking will immediately be pressured to increase to 8. Most don’t want to even begin at 4. And when you get to 8, the outcomes of regular season games lose importance. You’ll have situations where both teams playing in conference title games can lose and still make the playoff.

          Like

          • Question for everyone to ponder: if there’s a conference champ requirement, then is there really that much difference between a seeded plus-one and and unseeded plus-one at that point?

            This past year, a conference champ requirement would have let in #10 Wisconsin over #2 Alabama. We may argue whether Alabama should have gotten into the national title game over Oklahoma State, but I have a very hard time justifying in my mind leaving out Bama in favor of Wisconsin in a 4-team playoff (and I’m a Big Ten guy). It would be one thing if all conferences were of the same size and had a conference championship game, but they’re not.

            To me, the value of the seeded plus-one is that you can get the 4 best teams and have them play elimination games. If you bring in teams outside of the top 4 because of conference distinctions, then you might as well go to an unseeded system since the rankings don’t really matter if a #2 team can get left out in favor of a #10 team. The argument that conference champs “earn it on the field” belies the fact that some type of ranking system or selection process off-the-field is going to have to be used to determine which 4 teams go to a playoff, anyway.

            The existence of independents muddy things even further. If Notre Dame ended up at #5 last year, should it have ended up in a playoff over #2 Alabama or, in an even better hypothetical, a #4 Stanford team that the Irish actually lost to just because it was an independent? On the flip side, can you shut a #2 ranked ND out of a playoff just because they’re not a member of a conference? Neither option seems equitable no matter what you may think of ND.

            IMHO, a seeded playoff should have the 4 best teams no matter where they’re from. If all 4 happen to be from the SEC in a given year, then so be it. If a #10 team can get into a 4-team playoff over a #2 team, then I’d rather have the traditional Rose Bowl and other bowls and re-rank everyone after they’re played, instead.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            I would have limits on the number of teams from a conference (2 for a 4 team, 3 for an 8 team) for several reasons:
            1) You don’t really know until you play the games how strong someone is. There is limited ooc play. Even in basketball it becomes clear some years that a particular conference was underrated or overrated when the NCAA tourney starts.
            2) How many teams should a conference champ have to beat out again? Its not fair to them.
            3) The idea is not to simply have a tournament, but to pick the best team. If there are 3 teams in a conference ahead of you, can you really lay any type of claim to being the best? With 2, they may not have played, they may have actually beaten the team ahead but lost to other teams, it may be a 3 way tie and lost on tiebreaks, they may have had a bad day or injured player or it may have been on the road. It may be a weak claim when they win in the playoffs, but if you are 4th, there is no doubt.
            4) To have legitiimacy, there needs to be some diversity of participation.

            I think points 1,2 and 4 were all violated with the Alabama/LSU rematch.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            I really dislike the BCS as it is now done. However, I prefer that to an unseeded +1. That exaggerates all that is wrong with the current system. Pairings are very different. One team may have a much tougher opponent. The two top teams may meet in a bowl. And most of all, one game gets extremely over-valued in determining how good a team is. That’s true whether you are limiting it to conference champions or not. In fact, unseeded +1 is probably even worse with conference champs only because only B1G and Pac champs would be likely to play a conference champ.

            The only way they could screw up the current system more than doing an unseeded +1 would be going back to the pre-BCS system.

            Like

          • joe4psu says:

            Frank,

            The problem isn’t with conference champs, who DO belong, it is limiting the playoff to 4 teams. There should be an 8 team playoff with 5 (6?) conference champs and 3 (2?) committee selections. I don’t buy that you can ever know that 4 teams from a particular conference are better than the champs from other conferences since there is such a limited sample of games between conferences. The most important rule, first, win your conference.

            Like

          • jj says:

            I’m a little late to this thread, but the certainty and objectiveness that a conf champ requirement brings to the table far surpasses the downside. I’m sure there are plenty of years where a pro championship conference runner up is better than the team that made it to the championship from the other conference.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            jj
            But there is not always certainty or objectiveness with the conference champ. There are tiebreaks with the prime example being the Big 12 South in 2008. The SEC and Big 12 (and possibly others) break ties based in part on BCS rankings. So you can have the same situation in determining the conference champ as in selectig the teams.

            Like

          • cutter says:

            Frank-

            With the exception of the Big XII currently at ten members, all the major conference have or will have at least a dozen members and a conference championship game to boot (and the Big XII might soon have 12 members in due course anyway). While the conferences aren’t strictly uniform across the board (including in the number of conference games they play), the vast of majority of them will have a CCG and a resume of at least twelve games to evaluate over the season.

            Does a seeded Plus One really bring about that uniformity you’re looking for? Take away the national championship game and the major bowl games may have looked like this:

            Rose – Wisconsin v. Oregon
            Sugar – LSU v. Boise State
            Orange – Clemson v. West Virginia
            Fiesta – Oklahoma State v. Stanford
            Cotton – Kansas State v. Alabama

            Who would the other teams in consideration play? Among the top ten teams, Arkansas and South Carolina aren’t in one of these larger bowls (and were rated higher than Wisconsin), but would their games (which might have been the Outback and Citrus Bowls against Michigan and Michigan State) have also counted as part of the play in to the national championship game or not?

            Finally, would the five (or seven) bowl games above really have helped sort out the top four teams? West Virginia destroyed Clemson in the Orange Bowl, but would that have been enough to advance them to a playoff? If Wisconsin did win their game and Arkansas (which was ranked higher than the Badgers) also won, do they both get into the playoff or not? While a Plus One might help sort out the field (for example, Wisconsin and Stanford both lost the actual bowl games and would be definitively eliminated in those cases), would it still leave itself open to some interpretation because the bowl games weren’t all between evenly matched opponents?

            I don’t think there’s a good four-team solution, although a seeded Plus One would probably be better than just using conference champions. It’s a rough approximation of an eight-team or ten-team playoff, but a bit messier because there’s no seeding (this assumes the bowls hold onto their traditional tie-ins). If you think the bowls would be happy with not having their traditional tie-ins, that’d be fine, but it just be a playoff in another name.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Frank the Tank,

            Question for everyone to ponder: if there’s a conference champ requirement, then is there really that much difference between a seeded plus-one and and unseeded plus-one at that point?

            You mean beyond the obvious fact that one is seeded and the other isn’t? What other differences were there even without the conference champ requirement? A seeded system still rewards the highest ranked teams by giving them the supposedly lesser opponents.

            Also, why are you asking about a plus-one? Everything I’ve seen seems to indicate a playoff (separate from the traditional bowls) instead of a plus-one (NCG after the bowls).

            This past year, a conference champ requirement would have let in #10 Wisconsin over #2 Alabama. We may argue whether Alabama should have gotten into the national title game over Oklahoma State, but I have a very hard time justifying in my mind leaving out Bama in favor of Wisconsin in a 4-team playoff (and I’m a Big Ten guy). It would be one thing if all conferences were of the same size and had a conference championship game, but they’re not.

            As several articles have shown, WI this year would have been by far the lowest ranked team to make a champs-only playoff in the BCS era. If once every 15 years the #10 ranked team gets in I can live with it, especially knowing how inaccurate the rankings are and how few intersectional games we have to judge one conference against another.

            To me, the value of the seeded plus-one is that you can get the 4 best teams and have them play elimination games.

            Seeding has nothing to do with team selection. Those are two separate issues.

            As for the “best” teams, that’s the whole problem. People don’t agree on what the best teams are. Does the coaches poll really tell us which are the best teams, considering the voters have a stake in the outcome and are too busy to watch everyone play? Is the Harris poll any better, as a bunch of old men with built in biases vote? How about handcuffed computer models that can’t even consider all the relevant data available? Why should I trust that top 4 to be the best?

            On the other hand, conference races have a lot of games among a few teams so you get a decent sense of how good the teams are. We all know that on any given Saturday any college team can beat any other team, but you do the best you can with 8-10 games to judge a conference champ. That leaves a handful of teams to make a subjective pick of the “best” four from. One could even contend that winning your conference is part of being the best team, so any team that failed to accomplish that has eliminated themselves.

            I hear all these playoff proponents talk about determining it on the field, so why doesn’t that apply to playoff eligibility too? If the complaint with the BCS is that it doesn’t pick the right 2 teams, why trust it to pick the right 4 teams?

            If you bring in teams outside of the top 4 because of conference distinctions, then you might as well go to an unseeded system since the rankings don’t really matter if a #2 team can get left out in favor of a #10 team.

            Really? So if I said OR should replace Stanford due to winning the P12 and head to head, suddenly the concept of seeding is out the window? You’re that confident in the BCS rankings that #4 is better than #5? Because #10 is in, suddenly pairing #1/#3 and #5/#10 is OK because #2 was eliminated by the rules? That’s silly. You are conflating two completely unrelated issues.

            The argument that conference champs “earn it on the field” belies the fact that some type of ranking system or selection process off-the-field is going to have to be used to determine which 4 teams go to a playoff, anyway.

            How is that any different than the argument that a playoff champ “earns it on the field?” Some ranking system was used to pick them, too. By that argument, why not stick with the BCS since you are so confident in it’s rankings?

            The difference is that a conference champ has 7-10 games against conference opponents to prove their relative worth. There are only 3-5 games against the rest of the country to determine how teams compare nationally, and many of those are cupcake games that tell us nothing. By the end of the regular season, we have a a much better sense of the pecking order within a conference than we do nationally.

            The existence of independents muddy things even further. If Notre Dame ended up at #5 last year, should it have ended up in a playoff over #2 Alabama or, in an even better hypothetical, a #4 Stanford team that the Irish actually lost to just because it was an independent? On the flip side, can you shut a #2 ranked ND out of a playoff just because they’re not a member of a conference? Neither option seems equitable no matter what you may think of ND.

            I don’t think independents are a problem. You have professed confidence in the ranking system to pick the best teams, so eliminate non-champs and let the rankings do their job. People keep throwing up the strawman of a champs-only rule eliminating independents but we all know that isn’t true. The rule would only eliminate teams that tried and failed to win a conference championship.

            IMHO, a seeded playoff should have the 4 best teams no matter where they’re from. If all 4 happen to be from the SEC in a given year, then so be it. If a #10 team can get into a 4-team playoff over a #2 team, then I’d rather have the traditional Rose Bowl and other bowls and re-rank everyone after they’re played, instead.

            That’s a great sentiment, but it has two major flaws. First, nobody knows who the best teams are. You seem really confident in the BCS rankings, but I think they are horribly flawed. I’d say a better measure of best is what the teams accomplished during the season, and winning a conference is a major accomplishment. Second, nobody should agree to a playoff where biased polls can put 4 SEC teams into the system even if money is split equally.

            As for preferring an unseeded plus-one to a seeded playoff, that ‘s great except the president want to move the NCG closer to 1/1. Unless the bowls move earlier, that option is gone.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            bullet,

            But there is not always certainty or objectiveness with the conference champ. There are tiebreaks with the prime example being the Big 12 South in 2008. The SEC and Big 12 (and possibly others) break ties based in part on BCS rankings. So you can have the same situation in determining the conference champ as in selectig the teams.

            You keep bringing this up, but it sounds like a conference problem not a national problem. If conferences have bad tiebreakers, they should change them instead of expecting the playoff format to adapt to their bad rules. Nobody forced these conferences to use the BCS rankings.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            @Brian
            You have to have a tiebreak, whether it be BCS, points for/against, coin flip.

            The point is that conference champion is not always clean.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            And people “keep on” bringing up the conference champion as being certain and objective and clearly superior. Many (if not all) conference don’t have objective methods in the event of a 3 way tie or a tie when teams don’t play. And coin flips and computer polls are “objective” methods. Also objective is the points for and against common teams on odd weekends the NFL uses (alright its not THAT bad-but it is very arcane). The NFL method is because one year they were one game going the other way on the last weekend from having a coin flip. And I believe it nearly happened in both conferences.

            People also talk about Wisconsin #10 being a fluke. Its true no other #4 champion in the BCS era was lower than #7. But its also true that this was the first year of the Pac 12 and the B1G + 1 + Nebraska. The Pac 12, ACC and Big 12 will now be on 9 game schedules. You could have Wisconsins more than once in 14 years. And maybe they shouldn’t be so low, but it clearly hurts the legitimacy. We could have multiple upsets in championship games and end up with a #1 LSU, a #3 Oklahoma St., a #10 Wisconsin and a #17 Clemson. Or worse yet, a CUSA/MWC or MAC school. Non-champs are clearly much more accomplished in many cases than conference champs of other conferences.

            And I don’t think losing a ccg should be an eliminator unless all conferences have them and all conference champs get invited (making it a ccg AND 1st round of playoffs). And that’s not going to happen unless FBS restructures and eliminates a lot of schools.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            There was one year back when the NCAA only invited conference champs and independents in basketball where USC was probably the 2nd best team in the country. They were 5th in the final regular season poll (#1,#4,#7 and #18 made the final 4). They only lost to UCLA. Yet 24 other teams got invited to the tourney. UCLA cruised to the championship. Yes, the deserving champion won. But there were a lot of less accomplished teams than USC in the tourney and USC stayed at home with a 24-2 record.

            That was, coincidentally, the same year Nebraska, Oklahoma and Colorado finished #1,#2 and #3 in the final football polls.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            bullet,

            @Brian
            You have to have a tiebreak, whether it be BCS, points for/against, coin flip.

            The point is that conference champion is not always clean.

            I agree you have to have tiebreakers, but some are better than others. The B12 could have used margin of victory or site of games, but they didn’t. They could have had rules that tried to eliminate the 3rd place team and then use head to head, but they didn’t.

            You ignore these factors in you argument:
            1. You’re talking about 1 conference race in 14 years that ended in a 3 way tie. That shouldn’t be the basis for making a playoff format.

            2. There was also only one instance of 8-0 co-champs in the B10 in those years, and then the OOC games clearly showed the winner. Nobody seems likely to repeat this since everyone has a CCG or a round robin right now.

            3. Once a team loses a game so a tiebreaker comes into play, they also lose the right to complain about the outcome. They had a chance to do something about it on the field and didn’t.

            4. Tied teams are likely to be equivalent, but how likely are they also to be all the top teams in the country?

            And people “keep on” bringing up the conference champion as being certain and objective and clearly superior.

            It is certain, likely objective and to many people superior. At least it isn’t voted on by people who haven’t watched half of the teams play a game.

            Many (if not all) conference don’t have objective methods in the event of a 3 way tie or a tie when teams don’t play.

            I fully agree that many/most conferences have bad tiebreakers. That is an argument for better tiebreakers, not against using champs though.

            And coin flips and computer polls are “objective” methods.

            I’d support computer polls if they were not restricted in what data they could use and qualified math/stats experts agreed the various systems were unbiased and made sense.

            People also talk about Wisconsin #10 being a fluke. Its true no other #4 champion in the BCS era was lower than #7.

            Exactly. Once in 14 years is unusual, not the sort of thing you plan in happeneing.

            But its also true that this was the first year of the Pac 12 and the B1G + 1 + Nebraska. The Pac 12, ACC and Big 12 will now be on 9 game schedules. You could have Wisconsins more than once in 14 years.

            That is also a valid point. However, the non-AQs that have snuck into the top 10 are now in AQ conferences, so that will tend to move the 4th champs up a little.

            Besides, based on #10 WI almost beating #5 OR in CA, who’s to say the rankings were anywhere near accurate? Maybe WI should have been #7 instead.

            And maybe they shouldn’t be so low, but it clearly hurts the legitimacy.

            That isn’t clear to me. I see winning a conference as a major accomplishment, greater than anything AL did last year until the NCG for example.

            We could have multiple upsets in championship games and end up with a #1 LSU, a #3 Oklahoma St., a #10 Wisconsin and a #17 Clemson. Or worse yet, a CUSA/MWC or MAC school. Non-champs are clearly much more accomplished in many cases than conference champs of other conferences.

            No, that isn’t clear at all. It depends how much a conference championship means to you. Apparently it means very little to you, while it means a lot to me. I think champs are more deserving of making the playoffs while a non-champ may be better acccording to some.

            And I don’t think losing a ccg should be an eliminator unless all conferences have them and all conference champs get invited (making it a ccg AND 1st round of playoffs). And that’s not going to happen unless FBS restructures and eliminates a lot of schools.

            And I think it should be an eliminator. Agree to disagree?

            Like

          • bullet says:

            @Brian
            Ohio St. definitely looked like a better team than Iowa, but they weren’t the “winner.” Both teams were perfect in conference.

            You need to allow for reasonable circumstances (and 2 in 14 years is reasonable). The BCS formula put Nebraska in for 2001 because they overweighted schedule strength and # of losses and didn’t consider that someone might lose 1 game really badly, fall in the polls and yet still end up #2.

            You also need to allow for conference changes. They are happening at a dizzying pace. Assuming the current structure will hold for 2 years, let alone 8 is a precarious assumption. We could conceivably find ourselves with 3 conferences far ahead of the rest in a few years. And in that case, the top 3 teams could easily be in one conference. As it is, I think the number of strong teams in the SEC in recent years is because of competition. Not only does the weekly competition make teams better, but the top coaches push each other to be their best. That encourages “clumping” of the top teams. Ohio State had a comparatively easy ride in the Big 10 over the past decade. Had Michigan and Penn St. not been in (by their standards) slumps, all three might have been better than if only one was very good.

            Computer polls often don’t make sense in football where you only have 12 or so games, even without the handicaps the BCS puts on them. IMO the AP and coaches polls, as flawed as they are, usually make more sense.

            I can agree with you on ccgs being eliminators in certain circumstances. I just think there need to be consistent circumstances for the contending teams in order to be fair. That’s one of the problems I have with an unseeded +1 where teams are put in different bowls against what could be very different levels of competition who may have very different levels of motivation.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            As far as conference champs, I do value that. I just don’t agree with the extreme end of the spectrum that conference championships are all that should matter. Especially since the champs haven’t always done more than a team that was not a champ. In some cases they beat them out by tiebreaker.

            And you could have a scenario where a team like LSU this year played a great schedule but lost a ccg and almost every other team had two losses (see 2007 where Ohio St. was the only 1 loss team). I don’t think ignoring the rest of the season gives you the best group. I can’t imagine an 8 team playoff this past year without LSU in that scenario (again unless everyone was playing ccgs and essentially all the conferences were included).

            Like

          • Brian says:

            bullet,

            @Brian
            Ohio St. definitely looked like a better team than Iowa, but they weren’t the “winner.” Both teams were perfect in conference.

            Yes, but OSU was 5-0 OOC and IA was 3-1, and OSU played a tougher OOC schedule. That’s an easy choice, which was my point.

            You need to allow for reasonable circumstances (and 2 in 14 years is reasonable). The BCS formula put Nebraska in for 2001 because they overweighted schedule strength and # of losses and didn’t consider that someone might lose 1 game really badly, fall in the polls and yet still end up #2.

            That’s 2 of 14*6, or 2 of 84 champs (2.4%) if I ignore all the non-AQs. And those two times, a deserving team was chosen. Nobody really debates that OSU was the right choice. You (and your fellow UT fans) may debate whether UT deserved it over OU, but it’s not like OU was undeserving. IA could have made an argument by beating ISU (I think that was their loss), but they didn’t. UT could have claimed their place by beating TT, but they didn’t. I feel no regrets if teams lose a playoff spot by losing a game.

            You also need to allow for conference changes. They are happening at a dizzying pace. Assuming the current structure will hold for 2 years, let alone 8 is a precarious assumption. We could conceivably find ourselves with 3 conferences far ahead of the rest in a few years.

            We could, but I doubt it. At least 4 conferences (B10, SEC, B12, P12) are making top dollar and have king programs. The ACC is just a notch below in money. Which 3 are going to move away from the rest, and how will we really know they are better?

            They can always come back and eliminate the rule later if circumstances change. It’s not carved in stone. But hypothesizing a future world where only 3 conferences matter as a justification for not taking champs only seems like a stretch to me.

            And in that case, the top 3 teams could easily be in one conference.

            Top 3 teams in what sense? The “best” 3? The most accomplished 3? That’s the problem with your argument. AR may be great, but they lost to AL and LSU. They could argue that makes them #3, but there’s no way in hell they deserved a playoff spot. Did OU, UT and TT all deserve a spot? No, of course not. I just don’t have the sympathy for the runner-ups that you have.

            As it is, I think the number of strong teams in the SEC in recent years is because of competition. Not only does the weekly competition make teams better, but the top coaches push each other to be their best. That encourages “clumping” of the top teams. Ohio State had a comparatively easy ride in the Big 10 over the past decade. Had Michigan and Penn St. not been in (by their standards) slumps, all three might have been better than if only one was very good.

            Competition helps, but so do bandwagon media opinions all selling certain teams they are in business with as the best. Playing by different recruiting rules helps, too. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that UF couldn’t maintain their status when Meyer didn’t oversign and AL and LSU did like madmen.

            Computer polls often don’t make sense in football where you only have 12 or so games, even without the handicaps the BCS puts on them. IMO the AP and coaches polls, as flawed as they are, usually make more sense.

            Unfettered computer polls can, if properly programmed, measure who has accomplished the most without bias. Coaches can’t overcome their bias. AP votes show strong regional influences, too, just like Heisman voting. If you haven’t seen every game for every relevant team, then you can’t make an informed vote.

            I can agree with you on ccgs being eliminators in certain circumstances. I just think there need to be consistent circumstances for the contending teams in order to be fair. That’s one of the problems I have with an unseeded +1 where teams are put in different bowls against what could be very different levels of competition who may have very different levels of motivation.

            Right now everyone either plays a CCG or a full round robin. Either way, the best 2 teams have to face each other at some point. What more do you need?

            Like

          • Brian says:

            bullet,

            As far as conference champs, I do value that. I just don’t agree with the extreme end of the spectrum that conference championships are all that should matter. Especially since the champs haven’t always done more than a team that was not a champ. In some cases they beat them out by tiebreaker.

            It’s not all that matters, it’s just a clear criterion to eliminate teams. The seeding would look at the whole season, certainly.

            And you could have a scenario where a team like LSU this year played a great schedule but lost a ccg and almost every other team had two losses (see 2007 where Ohio St. was the only 1 loss team). I don’t think ignoring the rest of the season gives you the best group. I can’t imagine an 8 team playoff this past year without LSU in that scenario (again unless everyone was playing ccgs and essentially all the conferences were included).

            I think taking champs only gets you the most deserving group, and that’s what matters to me. Best is completely subjective and people will never agree about it. And why worry about 8 teams this past year? I thought we were staying in the reasonable world of 4. And I would have no problem omitting AL or Stanford this past year from a 4 team playoff.

            Like

          • Neil says:

            I think the compromise could be the 3 top rated conference champions have an auto-bid while an at-large team can get a bid if they are ranked ‘x’ spots ahead of the 4th rated conference champion. This addresses the Alabama over Wisconsin dilemma, but solidifies Oregon being taken over Stanford.

            If the semi-finals are held at home field sites, an at-large selection, if it would occur is denied home field advantage.

            Like

          • m (Ag) says:

            “You ignore these factors in you argument:
            1. You’re talking about 1 conference race in 14 years that ended in a 3 way tie. That shouldn’t be the basis for making a playoff format.”

            Ehh, you haven’t been paying attention to College football.

            Just in 2010, the Big 12 South ended in a 3-way tie again! In 2010, the Big Ten ended in a 3 way tie! I’m not going to start clicking through years, but I’m fairly confident the SEC West has finished in a 3 way tie more than once (though not recently). If Oklahoma would have defeated OSU last year there would have been another 3 way tie for that conference championship.

            These haven’t caused a whole lot of controversy because none were competing for the BCS bowl. If anyone’s foolish enough to have a playoff system that only includes conference champions, this is going to be a fairly frequent complaint.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            “The B12 could have used margin of victory or site of games, but they didn’t.”

            I’m not of the opinion that those would be better tie-breakers.

            Like

          • TX_Andy says:

            Neil,

            Your compromise will create even more controversy. They would need to rank the conference champs where there could be controversy between teams 3 and 4. Then rank the at-large teams and decide who was the 1st at-large. Then, they would have to judge if the 1st at-large was more deserving than the 4th conf champ. Even last year where Alabama seems like a clear choice, their body of work was very similar to Stanford’s as both teams went 11-1 and lost the most important game on their schedule.

            Similar to taking the 4 highest ranked teams, I think it will quickly lead to an 8 team playoff. If the compromise is to limit a playoff to 4 teams, the best solution is to only allow conference champs.

            Frank,

            I agree with bullet that an unseeded plus-one would be less desirable than what we currently have. To go back to the old bowls, I think you’d need to have a 4 team playoff afterwards.

            Like

          • Neil says:

            Neil,

            Your compromise will create even more controversy. They would need to rank the conference champs where there could be controversy between teams 3 and 4. Then rank the at-large teams and decide who was the 1st at-large. Then, they would have to judge if the 1st at-large was more deserving than the 4th conf champ. Even last year where Alabama seems like a clear choice, their body of work was very similar to Stanford’s as both teams went 11-1 and lost the most important game on their schedule.

            TX_Andy, there is no system that won’t involve ranking of teams. So your initial comment about more controversy makes absolutely no sense to me. As for your latter comment, there is a huge difference between comparing Alabama with Wisconsin and Stanford with Oregon.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            m (Ag),

            Just in 2010, the Big 12 South ended in a 3-way tie again! In 2010, the Big Ten ended in a 3 way tie!

            There is no controversy when teams with 2 conference losses tie. Nobody cares if one of them gets left out. And the B10 can’t have co-champs anymore.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Richard,

            “The B12 could have used margin of victory or site of games, but they didn’t.”

            I’m not of the opinion that those would be better tie-breakers.

            Good. That makes me think those are decent ideas, then.

            If you look back at that season, where they the 3 played each other and MOV were about the only differences in their conference schedules. They beat everyone else and had equally difficult North opponents. UT won neutral site and barely lost on the road. OU lost neutral site and won big at home. TT barely won at home and lost on the road big.

            Otherwise you have to go to the OOC games:

            OU – I-AA, BE, P12, #23 non-AQ
            UT – 3 non-AQ, SEC
            TT – 2 I-AA, 2 non-AQ

            They all won out, but OU played the hardest schedule. Is OOC SOS a better conference tiebreaker?

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Oh right, as a tOSU fan, you wouldn’t have a problem with a process that rewards coaches for running up scores.

            Like

          • jj says:

            The issue is, to me, that if we’re going to have a playoff, a player or a coach or a fan needs to have a 100% objective do this and you are in rule. Not do this and if some dudes vote Bama or OSU or Texas or whomever ahead of you, then it’s oh well you tried buddy.

            In other words, the playoff has to account for the idea that the participants are on a more or less equal footing and everyone can win.

            If that means we break D-1 into 2 or 3 divisions then so be it. If that means sucking up a little less dough when K-State makes it, then that’s the way it is.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Richard,

            Oh right, as a tOSU fan, you wouldn’t have a problem with a process that rewards coaches for running up scores.

            Right, because Tressel was so famous for running up the score. Or are you referring to Fickell and Bollman running it up in those 6 wins?

            As a tiebreaker for a division champ, MOV in the three team round robin doesn’t seem unreasonable as a later tiebreaker. Once you’ve exhausted other choices, saying OU was +44, UT was +4 and TT was -38 is a reasonable set of data to consider. They still have 2 choices from there – eliminate the worst team and proceed to head to head (my preference), or choose the top team. They could also say TT won at home and lost on the road, OU lost neutral and won at home, while UT lost on the road and won neutral and use that as a criterion.

            Like

  23. […] Slant pulled out some very interesting TV viewership numbers from a Nielsen presentation on TV viewership, social networking buzz and ad spend. Of particular note to college sports fans is slide 9, which gives us the average TVArticle source: […]

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    • redwood86 says:

      Re: Frank’s point to ponder

      The question should be: Why should a non-conference champ ever get to participate in a playoff?

      Let us look at Alabama specifically. The only justification for them being in the NC was that a bunch of people and computers decided that they were the #2 team. But whether they should have been ranked #2 is purely speculative. The rationale was as follows: a) Dominated the SEC (considered the superior conference), except for an OT loss to the #1 team in a game they could have/should have won. b) Beat a mediocre Penn St. team soundly on the road. That is it.

      The case against Alabama: a) Had a chance to win the conference championship, with home field advantage, and failed to do so. b) Had a chance to beat the #1 team already, on its home field, and failed to do so. c) Did not have to play the best teams in the SEC East: Georgia and South Carolina. d) Played an appallingly weak OOC schedule, which is made even more appalling when you consider that the SEC only plays 8 conference games and Alabama got to avoid the two best teams in the SEC East.

      Bottom-line, Alabama had no excuse for not winning its conference championship if it wanted to claim to be the best team in the country.

      On the general level, why bother with conferences or conference championships, if they do not serve to eliminate teams from national championship contention? It is ridiculous.

      Like

      • Bamatab says:

        redwood86,

        Name me one sport which has a playoff for it’s championship, that has a requirement that the teams in the tournament have to be conference champions. I can’t think of one. Heck, do the other college football divisions even have that requirement?

        Like

        • Brian says:

          Before they expanded their playoffs, (almost?) every sport had that rule (MLB, NFL, MBB, etc).

          Like

          • Bamatab says:

            That is true, but they don’t now.

            What about other college sports? Did the NCAA basketball tournament (or the NIT previously) ever have that requirement? What about the College World Series? Do the other football divisions that have playoffs have that requirement? I’m just curious because I’ve never really thought about it before (and haven’t looked it up yet).

            Like

          • bullet says:

            NCAA bb did, until they expanded from 25 to 32, require a conference champion or independent. NIT never has. NBA never has.

            So far as I know, the other divisions have never had that requirement for football. Although Division II and III had small fields in the 60s and 70s, so you pretty much had to be unbeaten to get in. And that didn’t guarantee you got in. Now its large and there are a number of wildcards. Conference champion automatic slots are limited to half the field with half reserved for wildcards (who might be conference champs from the weaker conferences).

            I don’t recall baseball having a requirement for a conference championship. They don’t now.

            Like

      • Richard says:

        “On the general level, why bother with conferences or conference championships, if they do not serve to eliminate teams from national championship contention? It is ridiculous.”

        Eh? Why don’t you apply the same logic to college basketball (or baseball or hockey or volleyball, etc.)?

        Like

  24. Richard Cain (@Rich_Cain) says:

    I’m not surprised by the weak Big East basketball numbers for many reasons. Basketball, other than the NCAA tournament (whose popularity is driven by gambling/office pools/brackets) simply isn’t particularly popular in the US; especially compared to football. Those that do watch college hoops, I think, are doing so mainly because they have passion for their alma mater. I don’t think there are too many college basketball fans who are team fans for reasons other than school allegiance. In other words, there aren’t too many Wal-Mart Wolverine and the like basketball fans.
    Some of the Big East schools are commuter schools, which don’t engender the same kind of loyalty or passion for the school that the state schools do. I think this is probably because most of the students don’t live on campus ever and so they don’t develop that sense of community like students who live in dorms on campus for a couple of years. Take Cincinnati for example. It’s a fairly large school with over 40,000 students. But it is the quintessential commuter school. There isn’t the same level of school spirit that you find at a place like Ohio State or Wisconsin. They don’t draw well in football, which illustrates a lack of community support. My guess is OSU fans outnumber Bearcat fans in the city of Cincinnati by at least four to one. Cincy sometimes draws well for basketball, but I would argue that is only when they have a winning program. Additionally, there isn’t all that much of a winning tradition at Cincy (unlike Louisville, for example). After the championship seasons of the early 60s, the Bearcats struggled until the Bob Huggins era. They struggled to make .500 in most seasons and only made a handful of NCAA tournament appearances. That kind of mediocrity doesn’t lend itself to building a fan base that will watch games on TV in high numbers.
    If you look at the basketball history of most of these schools, outside of Georgetown, Syracuse, Connecticut, and Louisville there are no long running eras of sustained excellence. Other schools have had good runs of a few years but these are not the type of long runs that build fan bases outside of alumni. Moreover, the alumni get conditioned to the up and down nature of these programs’ good fortune and therefore don’t get too animated unless their team is doing really well. And I would argue that for these schools their alumni only get excited during the NCAA tournament if their schools make deep runs.
    And then you have schools like South Florida (which has no genuine sporting tradition yet), Rutgers, Seton Hall, Providence who have almost no basketball traditions of excellence. These schools are insignificant when it comes to basketball viewership on TV.
    DePaul has a wonderful tradition in basketball. But the program has been an afterthought for at least 20 years hasn’t been excellent since the days of Aguirre and Cummings in the early 80s. Besides, DePaul isn’t even the most popular team in its own hometown. There are probably 6 or 7 Big Ten schools after Illinois and Northwestern who have more popularity in the city than DePaul.
    Marquette has good tradition but it is one of those commuter schools and it is a small school to boot. There aren’t very many alumni out there and they come from a relatively small town in a relatively small state.
    Notre Dame basketball simply does not have anywhere near the tradition of the football team.
    Georgetown has great tradition. But it’s a smaller school and my impression is that the students there are not too concerned with sports. And the graduates simply aren’t the kind of people who make sports on TV a very high priority. We’re talking about people in government and high-powered lawyers and the like. My guess is they don’t have too much time to watch a lot of sports and if they do they are watching Redskins football. I do think that Georgetown is one of the teams people hate and it goes back to John Thompson II. He was not too likeable when he brought the Hoyas to prominence. I loved the guy and what he stood for but I knew so many people who called him a racist and a jerk and a thug and other unpleasant words. Whether that was driven by prejudiced attitudes or not probably is a discussion for another time, but I think the strong dislike for Georgetown has carried over to contemporary times and prevents the Hoyas from being more popular outside of their core fan base in certain demographic groups.
    St. John’s is a decent sized school in a huge city. If any Big East school could pull casual fans who are not alumni, it seems like SJU would be it. But I think the lack of popularity of SJU illustrates what many people have said about the New York market and the Northeast market in general. This is an area of the country that is pro sports oriented; probably more so than any other part of America. If St John’s can’t draw viewers, how can the rest of the conference do so?
    Villanova suffers from the same problem as SJU. Philly just isn’t a college town.
    Seton Hall and Providence are just small blips on the sporting radar screen.
    None of the Big East’s private Catholic schools will ever generate big TV viewership. They just aren’t big enough or have enough graduates. And most of them are commuter schools.
    Louisville is another commuter school but they have a terrific basketball tradtion that they have sustained to this day. However, they are not even the most popular team in their own state. I think this makes it hard for them to draw large numbers of TV viewers. I think the Cardinals have some casual fans outside of their home area, but basketball isn’t popular enough where this would produce enough viewers to make a big difference.
    Syracuse is a great basketball power but they are in an isolated part of the country and don’t really register outside of their home area. Another example of the idea that pro sports are more important to people in the Northeast. Same thing for UCONN.
    I think Pitt falls into the category of commuter school. And they’ve had good teams of late but there isn’t a great basketball tradition at the school. No final fours. No transcendent players or coaches. Send it in Jerome isn’t enough.
    I think it is safe to say that the Midwest and South have lots of fans of college sports. It isn’t just about pro sports in these areas so these schools draw more casual fans. Couple that with the fact that both the Big Ten and SEC members are all huge state schools, for the most part, with lots of passionate alumni and it seems fairly clear why there is such disparity between viewing levels of these conferences and the Big East.

    Like

    • bullet says:

      You make some good points, but I think you seriously under-rate the basketball traditions of those schools. Providence does have two final fours. I haven’t studied Cincinnati’s record year-by-year, but I seem to recall them always being a threat to win their conference from MVC to GMW to CUSA days. I’m not old enough to remember Big O as a Bearcat and their 5 straight trips to the final 4, but I still have always thought of Cincinnati as a very good basketball program. Seton Hall wouldn’t have gotten into the Big East unless they were decent. And they do have 1 final 4 which is more than most schools. St. John’s has been to the final 4 and was an NIT or NCAA regular for years back when not everyone got in the postseason. Villanova rates up there very close to Georgetown and Syracuse. Marquette has two national titles.

      Like

  25. Mike says:

    Texas A&M and Missouri have agreed to pay $12.4 million each to leave the Big 12 and join the Southeastern Conference in July.

    Big 12 Interim Commissioner Chuck Neinas said Tuesday in a statement that the agreements were reached “though a collegial, respectful process among the Conference, its institutions,” and the departing schools.

    Texas A&M will receive unspecified benefits from the Big 12’s new television contract with Fox Sports and “certain other concessions.”

    “We appreciate the Big 12 working with us on a quick and amicable settlement,” said Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin, who indicated that the bottom-line financial impact of the withdrawal settlement for the university will be $9.31 million.

    Missouri waived any claims to revenue from the TV deal, which takes effect in July, and agreed to pay the Big 12 another $500,000 to cover officiating expenses for 2011-12.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/top/news?slug=ap-big12buyouts

    Like

    • bullet says:

      It’d be interesting to see what the calculation of the buyout per the by-laws was. Beebe said A&M would earn $20 million under the new contract. I saw this year’s distributions recently, but can’t find the link. Kansas was 1st, UT 2nd, OU 3rd. I believe A&M and Missouri were around $10 million, but don’t remember for sure.

      If $20 and $10 were the figures, the calculation would be $27 million (90% of two years). I expected they would get the same discount as Nebraska, which was 50%, which would give a $13.5 million figure.

      Like

    • Frank the Ag says:

      Wait, wasn’t it going to be $30 to $40 million? I’ve read that countless times on this blog but Longhorns and from mouthpieces for Texas like Chip Brown. A&M sources have always countered it would be more in line with Nebraska.

      Exact amount will be $9.31 million per the Dallas Morning News. A&M will get $3.1M to offset the $12.4M being withheld.

      http://collegesportsblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2012/02/texas-am-must-forfeit-931-million-in-rev-1.html

      Like

      • Eric says:

        I’m kind of surprised its that low. I figured that since they announced after July 1st, the one year fewer notice, combined with the contract at stake being higher would have had pushed the figure closer to $20 million (not necessarily that high, but closer than it ended up at).

        Like

        • bullet says:

          The new Fox contract doesn’t kick in until 7/1/12, so it may be that those higher revenue figures don’t apply. I had thought it kicked in this year.

          Like

        • bullet says:

          This is what I have been able to piece together.

          Both schools agreed to $12.4 million exit fees. Someone posted a few days ago that the “calculated” exit fee was $23.8 million, which is less than the $30-$40 million suggested before. If so, their $12.4 million would have been around 50%, similar to Nebraska. If it was based on future revenue, the figure would be around $40 million, but its almost certainly based on the last 2 years. In the 2 years ending 6/30/2010, the calculated figure was around $19 million (those years included Nebraska and Colorado). The Fox contract doesn’t start until 7/1/12, so the big jump in Big 12 revenue hasn’t happened yet. The only significant increase would be from sharing 10 ways instead of 12 for this year. So, that would make the $23.8 million seem reasonable (roughly $10 million in 2011 + CU/UNL exit fees of $15 million split 10 ways + $10 million *12/10 in 2012=$23.5 million). Someone from A&M a while back said avoiding the increase in exit fees from the Fox contract was a factor in the rush to declare by 8/31.

          There is a “signing bonus” from Fox for $4 million per school. In essence, even though the Tier II contract jumping from $20-$90 million/year doesn’t go into effect until 7/1/12, they bumped it to $60 million this year with the signing bonus to be paid in July. A&M agreed to stay during the summer of 2010 based on the new Fox contract. As part of this deal, they get $2 million of the $4 million signing bonus. A&M probably claimed they were entitled to all of it, so the two sides agreed on half. Missouri got no guarantees as noone was inviting them at the time. Their late move also forced the Big 12 to chip in $5 million towards WVU’s Big East early exit fee.

          So both get $12.4 million withheld but A&M gets $2 million from Fox and some other undisclosed concessions. They don’t pay a 500k officiating fee which Missouri does.

          All this makes it clear basing the exit fee on revenues is very complicated. You can see why the BE and ACC have moved to flat fees.

          Like

          • bullet says:

            The “calculated” fee is 100% of 2 years revenues if you give less than 6 months notice, 90% for 6-12 months notice (which UNL, MIssouri and A&M fell into) and 80% for more than 12 months (which Colorado was doing so they got a better deal than UNL). A&M may also have argued that 8/31 was 12 months since competition doesn’t begin in August, even though the fiscal year starts 7/1.

            Like

      • bullet says:

        @FranktheAg
        Its all in the definitions. Loftin is right and Chip Brown was right depending on how you define it.
        Missouri $12.4 million + $4.0 million they would have gotten in July from Fox if they stayed + 500k referee fees =$16.9 million
        A&M $12.4 million + $2.0 million forfeited from Fox=$14.4 million for a total of $31.3 million.

        I’m guessing Loftin is defining it as $12.4 million -$2.0 million from Fox -500k referee fees not paid-600k undisclosed “concessions.”

        I look at it as Missouri would have had $16.4 million more in their pocket in August if they stayed. A&M would have had $13.3 to $13.9 million more (depending on what those 600k concessions are).

        Like

        • Michael in Raleigh says:

          Good breakdown, bullet.

          Like

        • Mack says:

          This was still a sweet deal for A&M. Getting TV money that Fox will not pay until after they are in the SEC. keeping the exit $$$ paid to them by KS, KS St, Ia St, and Baylor to stay in the conference (apparently that was only for the year) which TX and OK refused to take. A&M probably got a better deal than Mizzou because TCU was already selected ($5M damages) before Missouri announced their exit so A&M could attribute the $20M damages for WVU exit to MO.

          Like

          • bullet says:

            I don’t think the conference ever agreed to giving disproportionate distribution of the exit fees. That was one of the reasons Loftin was upset. I believe everyone just got their 1/10th share.

            Like

  26. jj says:

    Duff – I correctly predicted the pain.

    Good win.

    Like

    • duffman says:

      I told you it would happen, but now I am worried about a loss to PU

      Both will go dancing, even if they exit the B1G tourney early. I am just bummed Bloomington is not a host site :(

      I have this uneasy feeling the NCAA will put UK in YUM, with IU for a rematch. If it happens, hopefully the local Card fans will make it red.

      You guys beat us by a similar number when we played there, so it is all good. I still have a man crush on Izzo, so it is not like I felt totally bad for losing the first game.

      Like

      • jj says:

        PU will be hungry no doubt.

        That was the loudest I’d seen your crowd in awhile. We have the better Tom, but Crean’s a good coach. I’ll be curious to see how this goes for a few years. Right now the state fans seem to be all like well if we had to lose to someone, may as well be them. It will be fun to see if that attitude changes much.

        Like

        • duffman says:

          jj,

          I hope not. I am concerned about the younger fans being more negative than positive. I am all for cheering and getting loud, but when fans get abusive there is no place for that. IU is an top school with real history, it would be a shame if the kids lost sight of this.

          Like

      • Ross says:

        I’m a UK fan, and there’s no way you all end up in the Yum Center. You would have to fall to an 8/9 seed for that to happen. You all are going to be a top 4/5 seed, most likely. Now, I could see the NCAA putting you as our 4/5 for a potential Sweet Sixteen rematch, but that would be in Atlanta or St. Louis.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          Huh? Yum would host 2 pods of 4, and the 2 pods don’t have to be in the same regional (at least, it’s been that way for several years; I don’t think they’ve changed it).

          Like

        • Richard says:

          Oh right, I saw what you were responding it; yeah, IU could end up at YUM, and IU & UK could stage a rematch, but IU & UK won’t hold a rematch at YUM.

          Like

  27. bullet says:

    Its possible this has been posted here before. This report shows where the Division I players come from and shows by conference. One interesting surpise-the leading state for SEC players-Georgia. Florida leads for the Big East and ACC. Texas leads for Big 12 and CUSA. California leads for Pac. MIchigan nudges out Illinois for B1G.

    http://www.tulsaworld.com/specialprojects/sports/starsearch/

    Like

    • Eric says:

      According to the map that’s the case, but if you look at the numbers below, it shows Ohio with 205 in the conference above Michigan’s 153. Given Ohio usually produces more, I bet that’s accurate. http://www.tulsaworld.com/webextra/content/items/starsearchbig10.pdf

      Like

      • bullet says:

        When I clicked on Notre Dame it looked like it was giving a total for the whole country but Georgia, for one, was lower than for the SEC alone. The maps are nice, but based on what you saw, there may be some issues with them.

        It looked like for the B1G it was pretty much dependent on how many schools were in the state, except for Ohio, which was higher than the others, as it was not far behind Illinois (based on the map).

        Like

    • frug says:

      Thanks for that link. I had always wondered where Tulsa (my original home town) ranked on the list of top prospect producers per capita, and now I know (13th). Not all that surprising since it has 2 of the top 25 high schools football programs in the country located within 10 miles of each other

      Like

  28. Red Reed says:

    Frank,
    How can the Pac-12 justify the large TV package they received last year? It was reportedly the largest and richest of any conference. They rank 5th and 6th in FB and BB. Pac-12 combined viewership is dead last. I can understand the SEC, B10 and even the ACC earning their paycheck but the Pac-12 is apparently a massive fraud. The B12 may be receiving a bit more than they deserve and the B East a bit less but the Pac-12 requires a significant downgrade.

    Like

    • frug says:

      Part of it was timing and Larry Scott’s skills as a negotiator, but I think it gets back to something I said awhile ago, that a lot people disagreed with; that ESPN and Fox decided to overpay for the PAC-12 in order to box out NBC. Comcast/NBC was the early leader to land the PAC at a rate of $180 million a year, but ESPN and Fox agreed to team up and offer $250 million a year just to preserve their oligopoly (which is really a biopoly) over college sports.

      Like

      • zeek says:

        That’s definitely a big part of it. Especially with NBC’s recent launch of NBC Sports, the last thing that ESPN would want to do is give them a marquee football package up front.

        They’ll probably let them have the Big East package (as in let them overpay), given that the next round of bidding isn’t for a couple of years at least (Big Ten and Big 12)…

        Like

      • Nostradamus says:

        I don’t know that they necessarily overpaid to shut out Comcast. But we do know for certain that they had 3 serious bidders; something I don’t ever recall seeing for a college conference contract much less many professional television deals.

        We also know that two of the bidders teamed up to out-bid a 3rd much like the NCAA tournament deal between Turner and CBS. At the very least you can say the more bidders the higher the likely price.

        Like

        • frug says:

          The reason I say they overpaid is because neither was willing to give the PAC the same amount NBC was. Now part of that is that ESPN doesn’t have as many slots in its schedule to fill as NBC did (though I suspect Fox easily could have handled the inventory).

          Admittedly, it is hard to define when someone “overpays” for a unique widget, since you could always say that market price is whatever anyone is willing to pay. But in this case I doubt the PAC is going to be anywhere near as profitable as the massive deal it received would imply.

          Like

          • Nostradamus says:

            Oh I’m not saying they didn’t overpay. It is pretty clear they did. I’m just not sure there did it to shut out Comcast. The fundamentals don’t support what the Pac-12 got paid. If ESPN/Fox think they got a good deal out of that contract, the Big Ten needs to give them a call and start negotiations several years early.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Nah, the money will still be there in 2015. I don’t see either the economy or interest in college football cratering by then.

            Like

          • frug says:

            Ok, I see what you’re saying. Yeah, there are multiple factors at play (timing and Larry Scott’s skills as a commissioner for instance) but I still think they were trying to keep NBC and the new NBC Sports Network from getting a foot in the door of major college sports (except for Notre Dame whose ratings have plunged recently).

            Like

          • @frug – Another regional factor was that Fox needed to retain content for its two LA regional sports networks. Fox had just lost its most important LA property (the Lakers, who are starting their own network with Time Warner Cable) and is still in danger of losing its second most important one (the Dodgers, who might end up teaming with the Lakers). Losing Pac-12 games on top of that might have caused Fox to shut down one of the 2 networks, which they obviously don’t want to do in such a large cash cow market. The subscriber fees for those networks are so large that Fox found it worth it to pay the Angels $150 million per year for their games. (That’s how they were able to afford Albert Pujols.) The Dodgers would cost even more, but Fox would happily pay it to lessen the power of the new Lakers network.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            The PAC deal is large, but not massively so. It will start around 17M/school and escalate to 24(?) over the life of the contract. What really makes it valuable is the number of “tier 1″ (a term that really doesn’t apply to the Pac’s contracts) games reserved for the P12N’s. Profitable before it launches, before anyone other than the initial carriers have signed on, and before any ad revenue has been added. If blocking competition were paramount it would seem the PAC contract was low by at perhaps 50% or more. By the end of the ESPN/Fox contract I’ve heard some speculation that P12N revenue may surpass it. (BTN may surpass the primary contract this year, almost did last year)

            Like

          • frug says:

            The fact that the PAC got a contract that is inconsistent with what other conferences with better ratings have and protected “tier 1″ games for themselves is all the more evidence that ESPN and Fox overpaid, and it’s tough to believe that they would have done that if they didn’t view NBC as a potential threat.

            Like

          • joe4psu says:

            frug,

            It doesn’t PROVE that they overpaid. It does seem to indicate that they overpaid or that current contracts are undervalued. Or both.

            Like

  29. Carl says:

    Go Cael!

    Like

  30. Denogginizer says:

    GBR

    Like

  31. Pat says:

    B1G moving to summer baseball? Interesting article from TV channel 4 in Detroit. Provides summer inventory for BTN in addition to football reruns. Maybe Wisconsin will add baseball?
    http://www.clickondetroit.com/sports/Big-Ten-might-take-look-at-summer-baseball/-/1719176/9151850/-/lyaog5/-/index.html

    Like

    • Nostradamus says:

      Terrible idea. Not that the Big Ten has had good luck even making it to the College World Series, but to completely give up is a non-starter.

      Like

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        I agree. Playing summer ball and opting out of the NCAAs would only make the level on B1G baseball worse. No self-respecting pro prospect would ever sign with a B1G school if this happened. The B1G needs to realize that baseball is different than football and change its signing rules, invest in indoor practice facilities, and upgrade their ballparks. If Nebraska, Wichita State, St. John’s, UConn, and Louisville can field competitive teams, so can Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          Alan,

          It’s really just the recruiting rules holding them back. Many/most B10 teams have indoor facilities and decent ballparks. The timing of the season hurts, too, though. They have to play so many more road games to start the season. Until the rules change, no school will up their commitment to baseball.

          Like

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Brain – the B1G ought to change their rules. Baseball cannot be reasonably compared to football regarding oversigning of players. Baseball players have so many more options than do football players. There is almost no certainty that a college signee will ever set foot on campus. They can sign with a MLB team right out of high school. JUCOs ain’t just for dummies when it comes to baseball. JUCOs allow more flexibility in future MLB signings and play a high level of ball. Prospects pit the college, JUCO, and MLB teams against each other. Every year, fans of elite college baseball programs are sitting on pins and needles on August 15, the MLB signing deadline. A couple of years ago, my Tigers lost a Friday night starter and QB of the future to the Dodgers after he enrolled in school, had a dorm room, and participated in fall camp. That’s also the backstory for the Elliott Porter saga, but I digress. The bottom line is you can’t fit a round peg into a square hole. What sounds great for football, just can’t work in baseball.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Alan,

            They probably should change them. I haven’t put much effort into finding out their justification for not adapting to the reality of the situation. It’s not like any other conference would agree to these restrictions, whereas the football rules make sense to stop unethical coaches.

            I just don’t care because it’s baseball, America’s most boring sport. I’d be fine with OSU just dropping baseball.

            Like

        • Richard says:

          “No self-respecting pro prospect would ever sign with a B1G school if this happened.”

          I don’t get why you think that is necessarily true. The Cape Cod League gets top prospects, for instance. Almost all baseball prospects care more about making it in MLB than winning in college, so if the B10 provides a better venue for that (wooden bats, TV exposure in the summer, stiff competition, etc.), I don’t see why a B10 summer league wouldn’t get the top prospects that want to improve their draft status.

          Maybe some other northern leagues (or the Pac, which would also have a TV channel that would have a need for programming in the summer) would join in.

          Like

    • vp19 says:

      The ACC considered doing this in the 1970s, when it had only seven members. It wouldn’t have meant much one way or the other at a school in a large metro like Maryland, but in the Research Triangle, which I believe at the time had no minor-league teams (I’m not sure when the Durham Bulls were revived), it might have worked given the intensity of the UNC/State/Duke rivalries (with Wake Forest out in Winston-Salem getting a lesser bump). Not sure why it ultimately decided not to.

      I believe Iowa plays high school baseball in the summer.

      Like

  32. Steve says:

    I’ve heard Delany mention this in the past. I’m not wild about it, but something needs to be done about B1G baseball. The quality of play is weak, and most of the games are away from home due to cold weather and they compete with the NCAA basketball tournament. Fans don’t really get involved in following the teams the way they should. Maybe the NCAA should look into a summer season for all conferences. Starting baseball in February just makes it very difficult for B1G teams.

    Like

    • greg says:

      I don’t see why the B1G needs to do something about baseball. I don’t see the ACC/SEC wringing their hands about wrestling and hockey. Having a few regional sports retains some character in different parts of the country.

      Like

      • @greg – The difference is that I wouldn’t call baseball a regional sport. There are cultural and historical reasons why hockey is played more in the Great Lakes Region and New England and lacrosse is a major sport in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic. In contrast, baseball is a widely-played and watched sport nationally. It’s the NCAA baseball calendar itself (where half the season is played when Northern teams can’t really play at home) that has turned college baseball specifically into a regional game. At the high school and pro levels, baseball isn’t regionally played at all. MLB is also most popular in Northern markets such as New York, Chicago, Boston and St. Louis. Changing *when* you play hockey or lacrosse wouldn’t impact whether they’re played in the South one bit, but being able to play baseball in the fall or summer in the North (as opposed to February) makes a massive difference.

        That being said, the suggestion that the Big Ten should opt out of the NCAA Tournament is insane to me. Alan is right that this would be a killer for Big Ten recruiting (even with a wood bat option). Nebraska, which is the de facto home team for College World Series site Omaha, would also have a visceral reaction to that suggestion. I’m fairly certain that this was thrown out there publicly to focus attention on how much the NCAA calendar in and of itself is killing college baseball in the North as opposed to being seriously considered by the Big Ten.

        The fall ball proposal, though, is a much more reasonable and realistic. That linked article says that NCAA rules don’t prohibit schools from playing in the summer (which is news to me), so why would it not be allowed in the fall as long as the same overall practice time/game limits are observed? That seems a bit arbitrary. A fall schedule also allows games to be played when all students are on campus, which is another advantage over a summer schedule. I really hope that proposal can get sold to the rest of the NCAA or else you’ll see more Northern teams drop baseball sooner rather than later.

        Like

        • bullet says:

          I don’t think the season has hurt northern baseball. They competed in the 50s and early 60s. Nebraska is competitive. Wichita State is competitive (without AQ $ behind them) I think the B1G just hasn’t invested.

          Its ridiculous to have college baseball primarily in the summer when the majority of the student body is not on campus.

          Fall seasons run into the same issue as the traditional one as the weather can be difficult at the end of the season when teams are supposed to be peaking. In any event, it would involve competing with football which would hurt the sport.

          Like

          • bullet says:

            I see-its a partial fall season. It would be interesting to see if the presidents approved it. They are squawking about football becoming a 2 semester sport (by a week-for only some schools).

            Like

          • Brian says:

            bullet,

            Was the season the same in the 50s and 60s? I really don’t know. Certainly the recruiting rules have changed.

            Like

          • vp19 says:

            Brian, in the old days the college baseball season tended to run a few weeks later because university calendars ran a few weeks later. (Most schools that had a semester system had the break in January.) For a few reasons — economics for having semester break coincide with Christmas-New Year’s, shortening spring on campuses to help minimize student protests in the days of the antiwar movement — colleges increasingly moved their calendars up a few weeks so that the academic year went from mid-August through May instead of September through early June. (I think the only colleges of note that still have a January semester break are Princeton and Harvard.) Anyway, one of the big losers in this was spring sports such as track, and especially college baseball outside the Sun Belt. It’s why Big Ten baseball has weakened, and why Syracuse hasn’t fielded a baseball program since the mid-’70s. (It’s interesting to note that SU and Iowa State — which ended its baseball about a decade ago — both still field softball, probably for Title IX purposes.)

            Like

          • Richard says:

            vp:

            Out of curiosity, I looked it up. Harvard seems to have a typical semester schedule now. Princeton is still old-school, with fall finals not ending until after Christmas and spring classes starting in February.

            Note that pretty much every school on a quarter system runs Sept->June, but fewer and fewer schools are on a quarter system now.

            Like

        • greg says:

          Frank, you make some good points. But high school baseball is definitely regional, the northern states just can’t compete with the southern states. Head over to Baseball America’s web site and check out the top high school teams and prospects, and they are totally dominated by sun belt schools.

          I didn’t mean to infer that the B1G shouldn’t attempt to compete at baseball, but if they continue to lag, it is what it is. Monkeying with the schedule isn’t going to make a huge difference.

          Like

          • jj says:

            I agree Greg. I also think the metal bats is an issue. I literally never watch college baseball. I think the bats have something to do with it.

            Like

          • Mike says:

            What exactly is your problem with metal bats? Last year they implemented requirements that deadened the metal bats so that they matched the performance of the wood ones. They are used primarily to save money. As Alan in Baton Rouge laments above, the days of Gorilla ball are over.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Mike,

            I won’t speak for anyone else but I hated the ping and the ridiculously large sweet spot. The new rules makes sense and I’m glad they implemented them. I’m all for saving them money, but juiced bats were silly.

            Like

          • jj says:

            It’s the ping.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Yeah, I hope that the B10 (which can afford it) uses wooden bats at least during conference play (and in special series; for instance, against the Pac or BE). They’d have more success drawing fans to the ballpark and getting TV viewers. The ping really is offputting.

            Like

          • Mike says:

            For the record, most of the metal bats don’t ping anymore.

            Like

        • Richard says:

          Frank:

          I have to say that i just don’t get why you all think moving games to summer would “kill” B10 baseball (more than it is, anyway). Most top baseball recruits play because they have dreams of making it in MLB, not to win in college anyway.

          Like

    • Pat says:

      Major League Baseball has very little competition during the summer, except during Olympic years which is only for two weeks. Might not be a bad idea to create a B1G summer season and televise a bunch of games on BTN. Right now summer is basically a “dead season” on BTN. Not sure if they would consider doing the same thing with softball; Probably not.

      Like

      • Pat says:

        Here’s another article on the B1G moving baseball to the summer or fall. I think a 56 game wood bat league culminating with a tournament hosted by Nebraska at the new stadium in Omaha, home of the college World Series, would be very interesting; Especially if they could convince a couple other northern conferences to play at the same time. Definitely worth looking into.
        http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120229/SPORTS0203/202290438/1361/Big-Ten-weighs-break-from-NCAA-baseball-format-to-play-in-summer

        Like

        • If this actually has legs, I wonder if it’s in part a bit of a test run for operating outside the NCAA’s auspices in general. If the BIG can organize the logistics of moving their teams for a whole sport into an entirely different format, that could be a very interesting test run for a much bigger move for a much more important sport. Could certainly be wrong, but that’s my immediate take from that news.

          Like

          • joe4psu says:

            Could the Pac-12 be convinced to join the northern schools? Surely, Delany and the B1G would try to take advantage of what appears to be a very good working relationship between the conferences. The Pac-12 will also be looking for summer time content for their network.

            Like

          • @joe4PSU – The Pac-12 is waaaay too good of a baseball conference to drop out of the running of the College World Series. However, the partial fall schedule proposal from the Big Ten would be aided greatly with the Pac-12’s support. That’s also where the Big Ten/Pac-12 partnership can be leveraged, as the main thing that the Big Ten would need even if the fall ball proposal passes is to get top baseball schools to actually come up North to play. If the Pac-12 schools are willing to schedule games with the Big Ten in the fall, then that’s a great scenario.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            You could have a player complication. What is someone plays for Ohio St. in the fall but transfers at mid-term to Miami? Does he get to start playing in February?

            Like

          • I don’t see the Pac-12 joining a summer league. If the BIG wants to give that a shot, they’d need to look for other northern schools. I could certainly see the Pac-12 supporting an option to play a few games of the schedule in the fall, especially since there are three universities (UU, CU, WSU) in VERY cold weather sites (CU doesn’t do baseball now, but I’d assume it’s a matter of time).

            Like

          • Neil says:

            I believe the better solution to the baseball conundrum is allow for a two semester schedule, do the OOC schedule in August and September and then do the conference schedule in April and May with the playoffs in June.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            “You could have a player complication. What is someone plays for Ohio St. in the fall but transfers at mid-term to Miami? Does he get to start playing in February?”

            bullet:

            Don’t transfers have to sit out a year in any sport? Basketball players leave after the fall and then start in the spring for a different school the next year all the time. I don’t see any complication there.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            I guess it depends on how you define “autumn”. Both the B10 & Pac (and other northern leagues) could place baseball in August, before college football starts, filling their conference channels with programming in a month when there usually aren’t any live sports.

            Like

        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          Pat – no player with a dream of playing pro baseball will ever sign with a B1G team if the B1G plays summer ball. They would have to give up the chance to play in superior summer leagues, most notably the Cape Cod (wood bat) League, where all the pro scouts hang out. Are the Tampa Bay Rays really going to send a scout to West Lafayette in July, or go to Martha’s Vinyard and watch teams full of prospects?

          I would hate to see the Midwest give up on college baseball, but this idea, if it happens, will only make B1G baseball worse.

          Like

          • Richard says:

            Alan:

            No pro scout goes to West Lafayette now anyway. One of the reasons ideas like these are floated is because it’s hard to make B10 baseball worse.

            BTW, I checked the schedule, and the Cape Cod regular season ends 8/3 (playoffs end 8/13), so the B10 could conceivably fit in games in August.

            Like

    • Eric says:

      Biggest concern that comes to my mind with this is, even is if that would hurt players going to the majors. Does summer count as the end of the last school year or begining of the next. If its the end of one, Major League teams aren’t going to wait till the Big Ten season is over to take drafted players.

      Like

      • Mike says:

        That would be an issue. If you are drafted in June, your “advisor” will tell you to shut down to prevent injury.

        Like

        • Pat says:

          College baseball players have to declare for the MLB draft by March 20th, even though the draft is in June. Therefore, their decision to go pro will have to be made well before any summer season begins. Declaring for the draft makes them ineligible for college ball.
          (A college player must have completed his junior season before he can declare for the draft. MLB will not touch freshmen or sophomores. I wish the NBA would adhere to this philosophy so we could get rid of the “one-and-done” bull shit that is ruining college basketball. Hello Kentucky!!)

          Like

          • Mike says:

            Are you sure about this? I don’t believe there is any Football or Basketball style declaring for the draft in NCAA baseball. Here is who is eligible for the draft:


            Certain groups of players are ineligible for selection, generally because they are still in school. The basic categories of players eligible to be drafted are:

            •High school players, if they have graduated from high school and have not yet attended college or junior college;
            •College players, from four-year colleges who have either completed their junior or senior years or are at least 21 years old; and
            •Junior college players, regardless of how many years of school they have completed

            A Club generally retains the rights to sign a selected player until 11:59 PM (EDT) August 15, or until the player enters, or returns to, a four-year college on a full-time basis. A player who is drafted and does not sign with the Club that selected him may be drafted again at a future year’s Draft, so long as the player is eligible for that year’s Draft. A Club may not select a player again in a subsequent year, unless the player has consented to the re-selection

            http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/draftday/rules.jsp

            Players who are drafted play all the time in the NCAA tournaments and players with eligibility remaining can sign up until school starts. If they choose not to sign, they are still allowed to play. They are even allow to retain agents who can act in an advisory role.

            Like

    • Michael in Raleigh says:

      Are indoor baseball stadiums feasible for the Big Ten schools? Southern/western teams might be willing to play there if they knew it wasn’t in the blistering cold, and drawing elite recruits would be much, much easier.

      I know that those kind of facilities aren’t cheap, but I’m not suggesting retractable roofs and luxury boxes; simply a covered stadium. Heck, FCS scholar like North Dakota State have indoor football stadiums. A baseball stadium wouldn’t be much bigger or more expensive.

      Like

      • Pat says:

        Minnesota played indoors at the Metro Dome last year. The B1G could probably play a tournament up there in February or March. I don’t think Ford Field in Detroit or Lucas Oil in Indianapolis are configured for baseball. Not too many options in the mid-west. If I’m not mistaken, one of the New England schools (Boston College ?) has an inflatable dome for workouts and batting practice for softball and baseball, but that’s the only one I can think of.

        Like

      • Mike says:

        Minnesota actually does host tourneys at the Metrodome (like this weekend’s Dairy Queen Classic with Nebraska, New Mexico State and West Virginia).

        It’s tough to justify building a domed baseball stadium when for most schools baseball doesn’t make money. College baseball just isn’t going to attract large crowds to justify it. Teams have built indoor practice facilities (Nebraska’s just opened this year) and use indoor football facilities when possible.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          Speaking of which, I’m a little surprised that the Gophers haven’t started to become more of a force in B10 baseball. You’d think that being able to play indoors would be a draw (as would being able to watch baseball indoors to fans).

          Like

          • @Richard – It’s because watching baseball at the Metrodome is like watching baseball at the seventh gate of hell. It’s why everyone (Twins, Vikings, Gophers football) is running from that place like the plague.

            Like

        • m (Ag) says:

          Save up your BTN money!

          1)Work with the White Sox or Cubs to build a domed minor league/Big Ten stadium in (or near) Chicago.

          2) First 4 weekends of the baseball season, hold 4 tournaments, each with 3 Big Ten teams against 3 teams from around the country. Should be able to get some fans of the schools, and of the Big Ten in general, to show up. Maybe the Pac 12 partnership could lead them to supply 6 of the 12 visiting teams each year?

          3)Televise those games on the BTN; most of them probably on the overflow channels, since basketball is still going strong at that point.

          4)During the summer BTN might air some games of the minor league team to get some live sports programming.

          Unrealistic, but if the Big Ten Network really brings in the $$ like rumored you could dream.

          Do the Western Big Ten teams hold a tournament in the Brewer’s park?

          Like

          • Richard says:

            All incredibly unrealistic and/or foolish. BTW, the first 4 weekends of the college baseball season is early Feb/late March, so no, no tournament will get people to watch baseball games outside in the freezing cold.

            However, they probably should play the Pac or (if the Pac is unwilling), BE baseball over 4 weekends in August if approved.

            The B10 should hold their conference tourney at one of the Chicago ballparks as well; that’s actually a really good idea that I’m surprised hasn’t happened yet.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            There could be tournaments in Detroit, Indianapolis, Minnesota or St. Louis where there are domed stadiums. And conceivably they could play in Cincinnati where it isn’t quite as cold as the upper midwest. That could be attractive enough to get good programs to travel north. If not the Miami’s, you could certainly get strong CUSA and Sun Belt programs (probably the 5th and 6th best baseball conferences).

            Rice and UH have had a tourney early in the season using Minute Maid Park.

            Like

          • Mike says:

            @Richard – Basketball tournaments have attendance issues during weekday games, imagine how bad attendance would be for Baseball. Playing the B1G tournament at Wrigley or whatever they call the Sox’s field would be a novelty for a year or two before crowds of 1,000 in a 40,000 seat stadium start to become an issue.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Mike:

            Good point, so I would hold the conference tourney over 3 days with 5 teams in it.

            Fri:
            Game1: #2 vs. #5
            Game2: #3 vs. #4

            Sat:
            Game3: Game1 & Game2 losers
            Game4: Game1 & Game2 winners
            Game5: Game3 winner vs. Game4 loser
            Game6: #1 vs. Game4 winner

            Sun:
            Game7: Game5 winner vs. Game6 loser
            Game8: Championship

            So, double elimination until the championship game.

            Like

          • Mike says:

            @Richard – Regular season championship would be important (a plus). Five games over three days would tax a pitching staff, not sure if you want to do that a week before regionals.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            OK, on second thought, I’d move the “Game 4″ to Friday night.

            As for taxing the pitching staff, it’s not much different from what happens now with the way the current B10 baseball tourney is set up (possibly 6-7 games over 4-5 days, including doubleheaders Fri & Sat). Pitchers would have 4 days off before regionals and managers wouldn’t be able to start starters on short rest.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            The “Houston Classic” is this weekend at Minute Maid Park. Rice, Texas, Arkansas and Tennessee are playing a round robin F, Sat and Sun. The players like being in a big league park. The fans go. I really think it could work as an early season tourney for B1G squads in the domes or in Cincy or St. Louis major league parks. Might take a couple years to get established, but would give them games in their region.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            bullet:

            I don’t think college baseball draws enough to pay to reconfigure football stadiums to be baseball venues (and baseball in a dome isn’t all that appealing). Outside of the Metrodome, the only option is likely August games.

            Like

          • Mike says:

            @Richard twit pic from Nebraska’s game at the metrodome. Saturday day game vs New Mexico St.

            https://mobile.twitter.com/Culver7/status/176044985039323137?photo=1

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Sweet. The Metrodome is branded as a B10 stadium now.

            Like

  33. largeR says:

    This is a nice podcast synopsis dealing with the plus 1 and further expansion on CBS sports with Brett McMurphy. It starts at the 25:00 minute point of the podcast.
    http://eye-on-collegefootball.blogs.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/24156338/35032425
    Nothing new that this blog doesn’t already know.

    Like

  34. cutter says:

    MGoBlog took a look at the same Nielsen report and came up with a post titled “The Real Reason We’re Talking Playoffs”. Brian Cook looks at the graphic for advertising dollars over the years and shows a major dropoff for the college football post-season between 2009/10 and 2010/11.

    See http://mgoblog.com/content/real-reason-were-talking-playoffs

    Like

    • @cutter – I think someone mentioned this earlier, but much of that ad revenue drop is likely the result of the BCS bowls moving from over-the-air Fox to cable ESPN that year.

      Like

      • cutter says:

        Frank: MGoBlog does acknowledge the move from broadcast to cable in his post, but then adds:

        “But when paired with declining interest, the cavern between postseason formats screams “grit your teeth and do something literally everyone else wants.”

        He points out that the NCAA men’s basketball tournament changed formats to multiple broadcasts on a number of CBS outlets and compares it to the bowl games on cable.

        While he may be a bit off target here, I think we all acknowledge that a four-team playoff should bring more revenue (ad revenue plus money paid to the universities) not only via its format, but also if it went back to be broadcast on ABC over ESPN.

        I’m just curious to see how they’re going to put this together, when they’re going to schedule the games and how the four teams are going to be decided. Now that should be interesting.

        Thanks.

        Like

    • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

      I like how they are patting themselves on the bat for being so amazing at MGoBlog. Um…ND and the first night game in Ann Arbor had something to do with that game’s popularity…and the Sugar Bowl, well, it was THE night game on that night, in the heart of bowl season. Again, it’s not about how awesome Michigan is…but the novelty/window of those games.

      Like

  35. Mike says:

    To continue the baseball discussion…

    Not a huge fan of the site Corn Nation, but a few days ago they posted an article concluding:

    The bottom line is simple. If Big Ten teams (and Commissioner Jim Delany) expect to be taken seriously as a baseball conference, the out of conference scheduling must improve

    They then got a response from Purdue’s head baseball coach Doug Schreiber:

    http://www.cornnation.com/2012/3/1/2835120/purdues-doug-schreiber-big-ten-baseball-scheduling-improving-rpi-inequity-difficult


    Again, I think you gloss over the fact that most Big Ten teams are on the road for their first 18-20 games. I think the winning percentages of the Big Twelve teams would be affected somewhat if they had to play their first 18-20 games on the road.

    You also need to factor in that once conference play starts, Big Ten teams, like most other conferences, have to play teams that are within 3 hour drives for their midweek games. Big Ten teams have had to miss quite a bit of class prior to conference play starting and really can’t afford to go out on the road midweek for several days at a time. There are not a lot of great RPI non-conference opponents or conferences in the Midwest for Big Ten teams to play on a regular basis or that will play Big Ten teams more than a couple times a season. Some will only agree to play once. This makes it hard to improve your RPI once conference play starts.

    So, according to your rationale, Big Ten teams need to play a murderous, non-conference schedule prior to their conference season when 95% of these games will be on the road. It may help with improving the RPI’s a little, but probably not the overall winning percentages, which will cancel out the tough schedules being played.

    Again, I agree that all Big Ten teams should play a tough, non-conference schedule. I think that most of the teams are playing quality, non-conference opponents, especially early in the season and compared to the power conferences. However, improving RPI’s by improving non-conference opponents (which is the only control teams have when scheduling) is not as easy as you would make it seem to be.

    [snip]

    I appreciate your interest in college baseball and coverage of Nebraska and Big Ten baseball. We are all trying to improve the conference.

    Interesting to see a coach’s perspective on B1G baseball challenges. I am also shocked that a head coach would respond to a blogger. Way to go Doug!

    Like

    • redsroom3 says:

      The Purdue coach has been leading the charge in trying to fix the baseball issue within the conference. His proposal to split the season between the fall and spring was rejected by the “power” baseball conferences (SEC, Texas, Pac 12 and ACC).

      I can’t say that I’m a fan of a summer schedule, I think something has to give for northern teams to have a shot at having a successful season. Today is March 1st, and teams in the SEC have been practicing since late January. Practicing outdoors at that. No team in the BIG has been able to go outside, let alone practice, and by all accounts, it has been an extremely mild winter in the midwest. This is a huge issue.

      The other sticking point, is that baseball generates revenue for schools down south. LSU, Texas, TA&M, and ASU to name a few, can have seasons where the baseball team breaks even, which is important given the shrinking athletic department budgets. You don’t want to jeapordize their revenue stream by shifting schedules, but there should be a way to accomodate everyone, at least you would think a way exists. We will see what happens.

      I”m glad the Purdue coach responded, he has been carrying this torch for five years at least.

      Boiler Up!!!!

      Like

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        redsroom3 – LSU’s baseball program grosses over $9 million per year. To put it in perspective, that’s more money than most D-1 men’s basketball teams bring in, including the LSU men’s team.

        Granted, LSU is the No. 1 revenue producer in college baseball and it ain’t close, but there is money to be made in this sport. And 30 years ago, LSU baseball team wasn’t any better than Purdue’s baseball team.

        Like

        • redsroom3 says:

          Alan,

          That was my point. It’s a huge revenue generator for sourthern schools. ASU’s program makes money as well. I’m sure the same is true for Texas, Miami, FSU and USC to name a few. You don’t want to take money from those schools for sure, but only playing in the spring puts northern schools at an extreme disadvantage. I don’t know how you bridge this divide.

          The LSUs of the world play northern schools in the beginning of their season, which helps them out greatly, especially in terms of winning records and experience. While Purdue gains experience, their record suffers and they play away from West Lafayette. So, all around, it hits them hard….

          Like

        • duffman says:

          alan,

          do you have a link for the LSU baseball data?
          one for SEC baseball as a whole?
          NCAA D I baseball?

          Like

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            duff – I’ve seen LSU’s revenue numbers mentioned in the local press, but don’t have a link.

            Here’s the NCAA final attendance figures for 2011, which should be decent indicator of revenue.

            http://www.collegebaseballdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/National-Attendance-Report-FINAL.pdf

            Like

          • duffman says:

            I knew the actual attendance numbers, but I was looking more at gate receipts or Tier 3 TV numbers. We already know attendance numbers can be manipulated in the tickets sold vs actual turnstile numbers. Gate receipts would at least be an indication if they were “dollar tickets” or full price. A certain school not far from Bloomington does not have the live attendance numbers their ticket sales seems to indicate. In addition, they get a big push with steeply discounted tickets. If the NCAA ever regulates something I would love to see them do this.

            I keep looking at that LHN deal with 15 million for a single non conference football game and a bunch of lesser sports. Kansas has basketball, and Baylor has womens basketball. Not sure how baseball gets split in the B12, but I know Texas is a top school there. All this makes me wonder about demand across the US for non football TV demand. As much as we discuss financial data, it would be interesting to see the demand show up in data we can actually look at. 9 million at LSU is not exactly pocket change, but how does it break down?

            a) tickets
            b) concessions, parking, misc
            c) “donations”
            d) TV revenue

            Like

    • metatron5369 says:

      Why are people even playing baseball at this time of year?!

      Christ, even MLB knows when to schedule Opening Day, and they’re run by Bud Selig!

      Like

  36. Christian in Texas says:

    add

    Like

  37. cutter says:

    Dan Wetzel wrote an article titled “Configuring a Playoff Field isn’t Hard: The Guys in the Suits Just Need to Keep it Simple”– see http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/news;_ylt=At5wSjqAyLWLVh7l9UKuzlMcvrYF?slug=dw-wetzel_college_football_playoff_keep_simple_022912

    Here’s the concluding paragraphs:

    Scott has one thing right: Rewarding conference champions with a spot in the playoff would increase the value of the regular season. We’ve argued that for years. The Big Ten, for one, has seen a number of highly competitive races lack national interest because they didn’t impact the BCS championship game.

    The BCS made those regular seasons mean less.

    There are, at this point, five major conferences, with the Big East a debatable entity as No. 6. That leads itself to an eight-team playoff – six automatic bids and two at-large spots. Yet Scott, among others, has expressed an unwillingness to make a move to that large a field at this point.

    With the pending Mountain West-Conference USA merger and the highly possible death of the WAC, college football may have only nine conferences by 2014, when the changes would be made. To give every league an automatic bid would require either a 12- or 16-team tournament.

    Sixteen would allow for seven at-large bids, a number so big that it actually would affect the way the regular season is staged. A 12-teamer would allow for three at-large bids, but then the top four teams would get byes and the first round often would become a non-competitive mess.

    These are the detail devils everyone talks about, but they only come into play when bad initial decisions are made.

    Just keep it simple.

    If college football is set on a four-team playoff, then it needs to just set the field with the four best teams, regardless of conference affiliation. Yes, subjectivity still comes into play, but as long as the commissioners are unwilling to create a larger field, that can’t be avoided.

    The playoff will work fine as long as the suits in charge don’t complicate this. That should be easy because it really isn’t very complicated.

    Like

    • bullet says:

      Interesting that Wetzel seems to be backing off his 16 team proposal. He suggests that 7 at large is too many as it may harm the regular season. He suggests 12 would result in 1st round blowouts.

      Scott hasn’t ruled out more than 4. His wording was that more than 4 would be difficult to fit into the academic calendar. Difficult is unlikely, but not impossible.

      Just to look at 12 this past season, assuming there were 9 conferences and assuming the conference champs get the byes and the 1st 4 seeds:
      1st round
      Un(12th seed) Northern Illinois (10-3) at #2 Alabama (11-1)
      Un(11th seed) Arkansas St. (10-2)–or Louisiana Tech of WAC 8-4 at #4 Stanford 11-1
      #23 (10th seed) WVU (9-3) at #6 Arkansas (10-2)
      #18 (9th seed) TCU (10-2)–or USM of CUSA 11-2 at #15 Clemson (10-3)

      2nd round
      #2 Alabama/NIU at #10 Wisconsin (11-2)
      #4 Stanford/ASU-LT at #5 Oregon (11-2)
      #6 Arkansas/WVU at #3 Oklahoma St. (11-1)
      #15 Clemson/TCU-USM at #1 LSU (13-0)

      Like

    • Eric says:

      Part of the argument here I just don’t get is the notion that in order for this to be conference champs (and presumably independents) we have to include all conference champs. Why is that? Taking the top 4 conference champs/independents doesn’t seem to me to have anymore inherent flaws than taking the top 4 teams in the rankings.

      Like

      • cutter says:

        Eric: I agree with your premise as well. I don’t think anyone would think the Sun Belt Conference champion is equivalent to the SEC champ in terms of a playoff. The main questions are how large of a playoff off should be considered (as bullet says, Wetzel seems to indicicate he’d go as high as eight teams) and how many conference champions should get autoberths. When talking about an eight-team championship, people on this board have talked about giving anywhere from the top four to top six conference champions an autoberth with four to two at large teams.

        Wetzel initially talks about having a small committee selecting and seeding the top four teams as the simplest soluton, but then goes into a discussion about conference champions getting autobids and Pac 12 Commissioner Larry Scott’s comments. When he writes about other playoff scenarios (8-team, 12-team, 16-team), he doesn’t discuss about how these teams get seeded. Maybe he feels that it should just be by committee or some other rating system that replaces the BCS polls. Perhaps he has some other thoughts on if conference champions should be rated higher than other programs.

        Since he talks about having six conference winners plus two at large teams in the playoff, I suspect he’s just going to let the committee or the rating system pick the program 1 thru 8 and if the two at large teams get slotted wherever they land, even at #1 and #2. I’d be curious to hear what procedure he would use to slot the eight teams in a 6/2 type of arrangement.

        Like

      • bullet says:

        Wetzel has championed a 16 team playoff with all 11 conferences getting in (“Death to the BCS”). The BCS has been a cartel to shut out the smaller conferences and he’s promoting inclusion rather than setting up haves and have nots. That’s why its interesting that he talks about a 12 team having a boring first round.

        Like

        • cutter says:

          bullet: Wetzel called the first round of a twelve-team playoff with the top four teams getting byes a “non-competitive mess” in the first round with the assumption that there would be nine conference champions picked with three at large teams. He’s assuming there will only be nine conferences by 2014 due to a Mountain West/Conference USA merger and the highly possible death of the WAC. That’d leave the following conferences in the hunt:

          ACC
          Big Ten
          Big XIII
          Pac 12
          SEC

          Big East
          Conference USA/Mountain West
          Mid-American (MAC)
          Sun Belt

          In most season, I assume the 9 thru 12 seeds would come from the four conferences I listed at the bottom. Seeds 1 thru 8 would come from the five major conferences plus the three at large teams.

          Would a team between the #12 Sun Belt Champion or the #11 MAC Champion against the #5 or #6 seeds likely be boring? I imagine the answer would be yes and Wetzel seems to indicate much the same. A twelve- or even a sixteen-game playoff would be too many teams for this sort of setup.

          But go to an eight-team playoff with the top five conference champions and three at large and you have something that’s probably better than the 12 or 16-team scenarios. I doubt there’s be too many mismatched first round games, especially if the top five conference champions have to be in the top 12 or 14 of the rating system utilized.

          Like

          • bullet says:

            I agree. Although a 10 to 12 team playoff with allowances for all champs if they meet certain criteria would still be competitive. In most (and probably nearly all) years, the MAC and Sun Belt wouldn’t qualify. I like 10 to 12 because it is more inclusive for the “minor” conferences.

            Even though I like 10-12, I wouldn’t recommend they go to that number immediately until they see the impact of an 8 team playoff first.

            I wouldn’t be stunned to see an 8 team playoff come out of this review. Except for the B1G, I don’t think any conference has totally rejected it. Scott’s comments were that it was difficult to fit in the academic calendar. He didn’t say it was impossible.

            Like

  38. Pat says:

    ACC may hold key to renewed rivalries.
    Interesting article on further conference realignment.
    http://espn.go.com/college-sports/story/_/id/7633311/next-round-realignment-renew-rivalries

    Like

    • OT says:

      Woj forgot about “Boss DeLoss”.

      Rutgers will join the XII in a nanosecond if the Boss were to finally give up on Notre Dame.

      Like

    • Playoffs Now says:

      That’s a ‘mail it in’ column with little connection to reality or cause and effect.

      So in that spirit, I proposed the B1G forget about moving baseball to summer and instead spearhead creation of stock car racing as an NCAA sport. Would be pretty awesome to watch the Ohio St and Michigan cars battle it out, WV spin Pitt into the wall, ND without teammates never able to make a run, the SEC cars constantly being fined for illegal modifications, the Aggie car running into jet driers on caution laps, and Nike making the Oregon car invisible so that all you see is a green driver floating around the track at 150mph.

      Like

    • vp19 says:

      Woj is nuts.

      First of all, he’s assuming the ACC wants to go to 16, which it would do only if Notre Dame is one of those two newcomers (and in the longshot event that happened, the ND partner would be Rutgers, not Connecticut, as New Jersey is a bigger market and Boston College has been promised ACC exclusivity in New England).

      Second, he’s viewing it from a basketball perspective, not football. West Virginia has a fine basketball program, but that’s not what lured the Big 12 to Morgantown.

      I agree this is indeed a “mail it in” column, and proves someone who should know better doesn’t truly understand how college athletics works…or worse, he does know and is simply playing to the peanut gallery.

      Like

    • Andy says:

      No way the Big Ten invites Kansas. Zero chance of that happening. And no way Mizzou leaves the SEC any time soon. 50 years from now? Who knows. But not any time soon.

      Like

      • frug says:

        Kansas (assuming they can break from KSU) is unlikely, but certainly plausible for the Big 10, especially if they can’t raid the core of the ACC. I also agree that Mizzou probably wouldn’t leave the SEC, but the SEC has no exit fees or waiting period and the Big 10 was their first choice, so it’s not out of the question (of course I see Mizzou even less likely to receive an invite from the Big 10 than a KSUless Kansas).

        Like

        • zeek says:

          To be perfectly honest, Duke is the only pure basketball school that I could ever see joining the Big Ten (and it’d have to be in conjunction with UNC obviously).

          Kansas just seems too hard to justify from a football standpoint. With a combo of UNC-Duke you get the Mid-Atlantic population factor along with UNC football and UNC-Duke basketball.

          Nebraska and Penn State showed just how much basketball itself is being weighed here. The only real exception to that is probably Duke in a combination with UNC because of the combination you get there…

          Like

          • frug says:

            Well Kansas football is considerably more valuable than Duke’s (and Duke’s BB is only marginally more valuable than Kansas’). But that gets back to point, Kansas is probably only an option if the Big 10 can’t lure the top ACC teams. Assuming they keep the AAU requirement for schools not located in South Bend, then the Big 10’s options outside of the ACC and the Jayhawks are Texas, Notre Dame, Rutgers and (maybe) Missouri. Obviously Texas and Notre Dame are the big guns, but you can make a case for Kansas being more valuable to the Big Ten than either Rutgers or Mizzou (if they are even an option).

            Hell, even if you include the ACC you are only adding Pitt, Maryland, UVa, UNC, Duke and G-Tech to the list, and of those only UNC is clearly better than Kansas from the Big 10’s perspective. (Pitt adds no media markets, Duke is basically Kansas, and Maryland, Uva and G-Tech don’t have any property more valuable than Kansas’ MBB team. Plus G-Tech would create some travel problems.)

            Again, it’s not likely that Kansas would get picked, but they would be a decent “throw in” if the Big 10 were to add somebody like ND or Texas and they needed someone to balance the divisions. (and if they go to 16 that becomes even more likely).

            Like

          • Yeah, Kansas isn’t a massive stretch for the Big Ten assuming that they can come without Kansas State (which would be a non-starter). It’s doubtful that KU would be involved in a Big Ten expansion to 14 at this point, but it’s not crazy to at all think that they could be part of a 16-school Big Ten.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            The difference is that Duke is a top flight AAU university. Kansas is a bottom of the rung AAU university. So Duke is slightly more valuable in basketball and market. More valuable in the CIC and in reputation. Kansas is more valuable in football, but they aren’t that valuable. Either one would simply be filler in football to get to an even number. So where Kansas is more valuable, it really doesn’t matter. If UNC was in the B1G, I think Duke would be much more likely to get the last spot than Kansas.

            Like

          • Michael in Raleigh says:

            I see the Big Ten as the most conservative of the major conferences when it comes to expansion, and their history shows it. They added Michigan State in the 50’s, waited 40 years, added a school almost anyone would love to have in Penn state to get to 11, waited 20 more years despite being one school away from being able to stage a CCG, and finally added another traditional power in Nebraska.

            Contrast that with the ACC, which has added schools on four different occasions since 1978, doubling the size of the league from 7 to 14. The SEC added schools with, on paper, less upside than the Big Ten has added. The SEC was the first to get to 12, and while the ACC was the first to invite enough schools to get to 14, the SEC will be the first power conference to field 14. The Pac-12 was very conservative when it comes to expansion, but with Larry Scott they’ve proven to be very aggressive in this new era. The Big 12 I wouldn’t describe as conservative; it’s only been in existence for 16 years (and was a a product of schools dismantling their historic conferences to create a new one), and it has structured itself in such a way to lose 4 teams but gain two.

            Meanwhile, the Big Ten has merely added two can’t miss schools in the past 60 years.

            So, yes, if the Big Ten was aggressive like the ACC, Pac-12, or even SEC, it might be likely to add a school like Kansas, but every indication shows otherwise.

            The only schools I could see the Big Ten adding would be Notre Dame and 1 or 3 partners. That partner or partners are most likely to come from the ACC and/or be Rutgers. Oklahoma has zero chance given its lack of AAU statusl (only ND gets an exception there) and its inability to be separated from, in the eyes of the B1G, the even more academically inferior Oklahoma State. Texas is similarly tied to Tech, which makes them a non-starter.

            Therefore the only schools with realistic chances at being invited are schools that (1) the Big Ten would see as a complement to Notre Dame and (2) Notre Dame would request as a familiar, geographically-frienly (I.e., eastern) rival. Kansas doesn’t fit that bill. Nor does Missouri.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Texas Tech isn’t AAU or anywhere close, but they, along with Houston, recently qualified to draw from the Texas Tier I fund, which is a state fund to assist “emerging research universities” in achieving Tier I status (UH, Tech, UT Dallas, UT Arlington, North Texas, UT San Antonio, UTEP and Texas State in rough order are universities that can get money from the fund once they meet certain qualifications). Houston has already made the classification as Carnegie High Research. In 10 to 20 years with the efforts by the state and growth in the state (and enrollment caps at UT and A&M pushing good students to other schools), Texas Tech might be at the Kansas level.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            I’m not saying the Big Ten couldn’t take Kansas if they absolutely had to expand. But if Kansas is their best option for expansion, I can’t see the Big Ten expanding.

            Kansas is even weaker than Nebraska academically, and is terrible at football. The population of the state of Kansas is tiny. KU’s enrollment is relatively small and is declining. They just aren’t a good candidate for the Big Ten. They would fit in better with the Pac 12. They’re more on par with a Colorado or a Utah.

            Like

    • wmtiger says:

      B10 unlikely to invite anyone except two schools that can invite themselves; Texas & ND…

      After those two, you have to look at are there any two schools together the B10 would take to get to 14? Would the B10 be interested in any 2 of Missouri, Rutgers, Maryland, Kansas, NC, Duke?

      I think most of these schools at best only pay their own way and don’t increase the B10’s revenue per school on its next tv deal. As most all of us have concluded, its ND (or Texas) or bust for the B10.

      B10 isn’t too worried about finding a partner with either, I’d expect they’d accept any number of universities as program #14 to partner with either Texas or ND.

      Like

  39. Brian says:

    http://alabama.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1337082

    Nick Saban will be offering 4 year scholarships starting with the 2013 class. I’m sure he’ll still find ways to cut players (continued medical redshirt abuse, etc), but I wanted to acknowledge the move since I’ve criticized him before. It’s only fair.

    Like

    • zeek says:

      Good move, glad to hear it. We’ll see what happens down the line of course, but he deserves credit for this at least.

      Like

  40. Al says:

    Hey Frank, this is way OT, but do you have an opinion about Big Ten baseball potentially breaking away from the NCAA? A Michigan blog was floating the idea, and I thought your input would be great!

    http://mgoblog.com/content/big-ten-should-take-its-baseball-and-go-home

    Like

  41. Richard says:

    I’m pretty excited about the B10 proposal to allow play of up to 14 baseball games in the fall (I would suggest 4 weekends in August, before college football starts). One question though: why would approval be needed to play in the fall but not the summer? Is it because there is a rule stating when college baseball can start but not when it can end?

    BTW, if 14 baseball games can be played in the fall, I’d suggest in August vs the Pac (both leagues have a TV channel to fill then), or, if they pass, the BE. Maybe even some in MLB stadiums.

    The spring schedule would be a BE/B10 challenge to kickoff the spring + 1 OOC series/tournament before conference play starts.

    Like

  42. frug says:

    For fans of teams that are facing the end of rivalries because of realignment:

    I am investigating the impact of conference realignment in intercollegiate athletics. In particular, I am interested in gauging fan perceptions toward rival teams for schools that are changing conferences in the coming years. If you would like to provide your perception of your favorite team’s rival in the current and new conference, please follow the link to the survey below.

    http://fs21.formsite.com/havard22/form6/index.html

    Thank you and your help is very much appreciated.

    Cody T. Havard, Ph.D.
    University of Memphis

    Like

  43. […] Slant pulled out some very interesting TV viewership numbers from a Nielsen presentation on TV viewership, social networking buzz and ad spend. Of particular note to college sports fans is slide 9, which gives us the average TVArticle source: […]

    Like

  44. Mike says:

    Value of a home game


    One of those potential events could be a Southern Miss-Nebraska football game played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in 2013.

    When asked what kind of pay-off that USM could be looking at for the game, Hammond answered between “$1.2 and $1.5 million after expenses.”

    That’s an impressive figure compared USM came out with approximately $400,000 when the Cornhuskers came to Hattiesburg in 2003.

    http://www.hattiesburgamerican.com/article/20120302/SOUTHERNMISS/120301015

    Like

  45. Mike says:

    Update on Temple

    Temple has given the Big East a verbal agreement it will join the league in 2012, but an official announcement can not be made until the Owls finalize their settlement to leave the Mid-American Conference, sources told CBSSports.com.

    http://brett-mcmurphy.blogs.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/29532522/35063868

    Like

  46. Richard says:

    Good maps showing where the talent is in various sports:

    http://www.sportsgeography.com/projects-whosgotgame.htm

    The thing that jumps out at me is that CA (and rest of the west coast to a certain extent) in baseball is like the deep south in football: A big region that produces a giant number of players. Meanwhile, most of the south in baseball (outside of a few low population states) is more akin to OH, TX or the ACC core in football: pretty good; above average, but not the dominant region.

    This can be seen in Boyd Nation’s college rankings (he shows that the teams west of the Rockies tend to get penalied by RPI because they rarely ever play teams east of the Rockies, so even though they tend to be the best in the country, just because they beat each other up so much and don’t get to play weak northern teams that much, thei RPI profiles are similar to southern teams.

    Also, of the 17 North Americans who were in the top 10 in WAR in either pitching or hitting in 2011, a whopping 9 were Californians (compared to 5 southerners, 2 northerners, and an Oregonian in Jacoby Ellsbury).

    Meanwhile, the north has a hold on basketball talent (though the Mississippi delta produces at an above average rate as well). What’s interesting is that while the stretch from NC up to NYC has a heavy concentration of college basketball recruits, the Midwest actually produces NBA players at a better rate. My theory is that hype (and interest in HS basketball) may be the reason for the difference.

    Like

    • bullet says:

      Maybe midwestern players learn the fundamentals. Although NBA players don’t know fundamentals that much anymore.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        bullet:

        I thought what you said was true was true 10-20 years ago (when they pretty much didn’t call traveling in the NBA), but these days, NBA players seem to be able to combine solid fundamental play with immense athleticism. My theory is that the overall athleticism has increased so much all around that no player can get by on sheer athleticism but sloppy fundamentals any more.

        Like

        • bullet says:

          I’m really talking about blocking out and free throw shooting. There are no pure shooters anymore either.

          There used to be players you could bring in off the bench who would nail an open 15-20 footer.

          Speaking of fundamentals, today is the 50th anniversary of Wilt Chamberlin’s 100 point game, which, of course, is still the record. He had a rare good free throw shooting game that day. His 55 rebounds in another game is also still a record. He averaged 50 points and 25 rebounds a game that year.

          I was pointing out to one of my children that today is Texas Independence Day. However, at their school they are celebrating Dr. Seuss’s birthday. And, its Wilt 100 day at ESPN.

          Like

          • Richard says:

            “There are no pure shooters anymore either.”
            “There used to be players you could bring in off the bench who would nail an open 15-20 footer.”

            ??? Steve Novak? To me, there are a ton of pure shooters in the NBA (bench players who’s sole role is shooting open jumpers). Frank and those who watch the NBA more frequently can likely name more.

            Free throw shooting percentage in the NBA also hasn’t declined:
            http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/04/sports/basketball/04freethrow.html?pagewanted=all

            Just curious, bullet, how many NBA games do you watch these days?

            Like

          • I’d disagree about the jump shooting and free throw shooting. If anything, the big change is that many power forwards have turned into face the basket jump shooters instead of back to the basket post players.

            Now, the boxing out does seem poorer these days, although I think it has less to do with players not knowing how the box out and more that there’s much more of an emphasis on getting transition points with the rise in athleticism. That’s really where the Heat (as much as I loathe them) excel. They might give up some offensive rebounds, yet that’s because LeBron and Wade will streak down the floor as soon as the other team shoots. When the Heat do get the rebound, they often get a quick outlet pass and get a 2-and-1 with LeBron and Wade in the open floor, which is completely unstoppable. Personally, there’s nothing more infuriating than watching my teams, the Bulls and Illini, give up offensive rebounds since proper boxing out by everyone can always prevent that, but I can understand the tradeoff if you’ve got super-athletic wing players that can take advantage of the transition game.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Interestingly (or maybe not), college players have consistently been worse at free throws than NBA players (by about the same margin) for decades:

            http://basketballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1611
            It’s in one of the early links.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            I haven’t watched a lot in the last 5 years.

            Those were interesting articles and supported my perception. Except for last year the free throw shooting is well below where it was in the 80s. It was really low in the late 90s. FT% has recovered somewhat in recent years, but part was due to foreigners, who shoot 1.4% better. WNBA players shoot better.

            I don’t know how long you have been following the NBA, but if you started in the 90s, you would have a very different perception. I followed a Houston Rockets team in the 70s that had Rudy Tomjanovich, Mike Newlin and Calvin Murphy, 3 great pure shooters. Rick Barry was with them for a couple of years. Barry and Murphy are Hall of Famers, who, when they retired, were #1 and #2 on the all time FT% list at around 90%. Murphy broke Barry’s record 1 year by hitting 95.8% of his free throws. It wasn’t broken for 28 years (a Spaniard broke it).

            Every team had one of those guys, who, if he gets clear on a screen was deadly. Larry Bird was a great pure shooter. Denver averaged 126.5 points a game in 81-82 and went 136 games without scoring less than 100. Has any team even scored 126 points yet this season? Teams rarely won scoring below 100. The Lakers hold the FG shooting % with 54.5% in 1984-5. A lot was Jabbar and Worthy up close, but they had a lot of great outside shooters. The NBA became a really ugly game in the 90s compared to what it was before.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Some of the low % in that study in the 70s have to do with the ABA. The number of pro teams tripled from 9 to 27 in the space of a few years. It dropped down to 22 in the late 70s with the merger of the ABA and NBA. There was definitely some dilution prior to that.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            bullet:

            I watched the NBA some in the ’80’s and in the ’90’s during the Jordan years. Compared to college ball back then, NBA ball in the ’90’s was too physical and dreary for my taste. Now the NBA players are as athletic as they’ve ever been, but the skill level is at an insane level as well. They’re almost like video game characters the way they can create shots, score from any angle, fly to the hoop, and block shots a foot above the rim. Open shots are nearly automatic, and the defending is good too (guys can strip and block without fouling despite players and the ball moving at lightening speeds). Now when I switch from the NBA to college ball, it’s like watching 10 unathletic guys scrapping it out on the playground, missing open shot after open shot, fouling all the time, and scrumming below the rim for rebounds, often times just exploiting their physicality or size rather than skill.

            I think what it is is that basketball is most entertaining when skill is on display, and skill is on display when players can’t win just by using their physicality. In college ball in the ’80’s, players weren’t generally athletic enough to just win with physicality while that was more true with NBA players. Now college ball has reached the stage the NBA was in in the ’90’s, while in the NBA, nearly everyone is an athletic freak (and the league really has cracked down on negative play), so you have to outskill/outscheme the other guy to win.

            Like

          • frug says:

            I think one big issue was the decision to allow the zone defense in 2001. Forced players to refine their skills since they no longer had to worry about just beating one guy (that’s an oversimplification but it gets my point across).

            Like

          • bullet says:

            There is definitely an increase in athleticism in the NBA over the last few years. The 90s did have a lot of 2 man game. The Rockets/Knicks final was pretty ugly, especially considering the enormous talent on the floor.

            The problem in the colleges in the 80s was that it was a transition period. Its one of the reasons I dislike John Thompson and the Big East. His Georgetown teams mugged the opponents and the Big East style of officiating took over the game. I remember one game against Dayton that was really bad. Some of the things that weren’t called fouls might have been assults if they were in a bar. They were trailing UK in the semi-finals that year and just started mugging the dribbler and UK barely got a shot off the 2nd half, scoring only 11 points. As you say, few college players had the talent for them to use NBA style officiating. Reminds me of a kids game with my son the other day where they were loose on calling fouls and it was just one jump ball after another. The teams scored half what they normally did. I liked the college game better in the 70s and early 80s (except that there was no shot clock). The players have to be stronger now to handle the physicality while agilty had a higher priority before. We’re finally starting to get more players who combine the two traits well.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            frug:

            Good point. The NBA’s loosen of the defensive rules to allow zones has made it more entertaining and more of a thinking man’s game.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            It was getting hard to police anyway. Several teams were already playing zones. That was part of the idea of the 2 man game-to expose zones. The teams would have to play a real man-to-man or risk getting a technical foul.

            Like

  47. bullet says:

    Interesting article.

    Its a reprint of a 1995 Athlon article about the end of the SWC and Birth of the Big 12. It has a lot of parallels with what has been happening the last couple of years.

    http://www.athlonsports.com/college-football/look-back-birth-big-12

    Like

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      I hadn’t read that in a while, but this quote stuck out this time:

      “Miami’s support is four miles wide and an inch deep. If they drop off, that will plummet.”

      Like

    • duffman says:

      I was amazed at the typos, do they not have proofreaders anymore?

      Like

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        In reading that it appeared to have been scanned an put through an optical character recognition system. It was probably not stored digitally when written in the 1990s.

        Like

  48. Pat says:

    New NCAA sport for women launched today! Florida State defeated UAB 5-0 in —- “Sand Volleyball”. Not sure if they wore bikinis or school uniforms. Can’t find a picture yet of the game, but I assume bikinis would be too “titillating” for the NCAA Poobahs. Wouldn’t want to tarnish the image of that exalted organization (sarcastic!).
    http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/46609853/ns/sports-college_basketball/

    http://usavolleyball.org/news/article/30643

    Like

  49. Steve says:

    Wonder if Delany voted in favor of this sport? Will they have playoffs?

    Like

  50. Pat says:

    New NCAA women’s sport launched today — Sand Volleyball. Florida State beat UAB 5-0. Wonder if they wore bikini’s or school uniforms. Can’t find any pictures of the game, but bikinis are probably too titillating for the NCAA poobahs. Wouldn’t want to tarnish the image of that exalted organization (sarcasm!).
    http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/46609853/ns/sports-college_basketball/

    http://usavolleyball.org/news/article/30643

    Like

  51. Stopping By says:

    Apologies if this may have been mentioned prior to (I did not read through every comment yet), but one reason the Pac numbers may be poor is that they are still working off of Hansen’s TV deal. While I love what Scott has done for the conference, and he very well may be able to sell ice to Eskimos – Hansen could not sell ice in Phoenix during the summer.

    Finding the Pac on TV (prior to next year when the Scott deal kicks in) consisted of Thurs night or finding the needle in the SEC, B1G, ACC Saturday haystack. The only real place to find Pac games were on FSN networks which are 100% regional. I would have to venture to say that lack of exposure hurt them in these rankings. I am not saying that they would beat out the SEC or B1G, because they wouldn’t, but I have to believe that their numbers would be much stronger with more exposure throughout the year (as well as prior years leading up to in order to create a buzz or a larger “following” or interest to programs outside of USC).

    Like

  52. Steve says:

    Chuck Neinas wants conference champs only in four team playoff. I believe that’s three conference commissioners supporting champs only. Nearly a done deal. I assume this means Big-12 is going to at least 12 teams. Where does that leave the independents?
    http://newsok.com/a-four-team-playoff-in-college-football-what-a-fantastic-thing-that-would-be/article/3654549?custom_click=rss&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

    Like

    • wmtiger says:

      There will be provisions for independents if they are ranked significantly higher than a conference champion… Which 3 commishes are “pro” conference champions?

      Like

      • Michael in Raleigh says:

        There are only two: Neinas of the Big 12 and Scott of the Pac-12. The supposed third is former SEC commish Roy Kramer.

        Like

        • Steve says:

          I think we can safely assume that Delany is aligned with Scott. Therefore, three commissioners plus one influential former commissioner support conference champs only. Sounds like a done deal.

          Like

      • cutter says:

        IRT the indepedents, I suspect that there will be some provision for Notre Dame and Brigham Young (unless BYU has joined the Big XII). My guess is that if ND or BYU are in the top four of the system or poll used to rate the teams in the playoffs, then those two programs would supplant a conference champion (if the four conference champion system is utilized).

        The problem with that approach, however, is that it would have exclused a team like Alabama from last season just because they were in a conference–even if they had the same record as a hypothetical 11-1 Notre Dame or Brigham Young team from last year.

        In the end, the system might give the top three conference champions an autobid and leave room for one at large team to become the fourth member of the playoff. If the at large is also a conference champion, then that’s the way it would work out. If not, then that leaves room for an independent and/or a non-conference champion team that had an outstanding season.

        Like

        • bullet says:

          I don’t see how they exclude independents (especially when ND is one). And I also don’t see them giving ND an advantage over a team in a conference.

          They haven’t shut out wild cards before in the BCS and don’t in any other sport. I don’t see the presidents doing any system any more restrictive than the 3 champs and 1 wild card as you describe, cutter.

          Like

          • Eric says:

            I don’t think there will be a wildcard. I think they really do want to emphasize the conference races and thus don’t want it assumed a conference will get a 2nd bid.

            More likely, I think the actual rule will say, “The top 4 conference champs or independents, limit one per conference”. If there is a worry that independents will have an easier rode (and since we’re only talking Notre Dame, I don’t think that’s a worry), then I think they’d say:

            “The top 4 champions will be in. An independent can replace one of those teams if it is higher than 2 of the champions or in the top 4 overall” So in effect, Notre Dame would have to be the 3rd highest conference champ/independent to get in rather than 4th.

            Like

          • Josh says:

            Solution: the top 2 in the final bcs standings are automatic, if a conference champ finishes in the top 4 it is also automatic;
            Form a committee to make the other selections.

            Like

  53. I found the TV ad dollars for college bball vs. college fball to be quite interesting. Sure there are more D1 teams, and more games per season in roundball, yet regular season and tourney seem to blow the fball numbers away. Also there were nearly identical 20 mil. viewers for the fball title game between two traditional powers, and the NCAA title game between UConn & Butler. It seems to me that college basketball is fairly well underrated by many who preach Football uber alles…

    Like

    • Richard says:

      The big difference is that in the areas where the individual schools and conferences keep 100% of the revenues (regular season TV rights & ticket sales), college football brings in twice as much as college basketball, on average, which is why conference realignment is still primarily driven by football.

      Like

    • Eric says:

      There’s also the issue that for your average games, dollars simply don’t rise proportionally. Games aren’t valued by how many people watch, but rather by how many people watch vs. how many people would watch something else the network would air (the opportunity cost in economics terms).

      For instance:

      Lets say a Big Ten football game can get 10 million viewers, while an Big Ten basketball game can bring 2 million viewers, and an episode of Sportscenter could get 1 million viewers. The Big Ten football game brings an extra 9 million people as far as ESPN is concerned, while the Big Ten basketball game only brings 1 million extra.

      This is a big part of the reason football is more valuable too. 10 million in one sitting, rather than being five times more valuable than 2 million people, is actually 9 times more valuable.

      Then there is also the fact that there are a lot more choices out there for basketball. For instance, the ACC will bring in more basketball fans the SEC, who will bring more fans than the Atlantic 10, but the gulf between ratings for your average game isn’t nearly as great meaning the extra payout to the better leagues is less.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        Well yes, but that’s reflected in the TV revenue numbers (which are higher for college basketball in total than for college football, but not for regular season games).

        Like

  54. greg says:

    The Des Moines Register has a Sunday feature on basketball guarantee games, with numbers for most B12 and B10 schools. The tenor of the article is a little off-putting, as all the big school coaches and administrators complain that the little schools are expecting good money to come in and get their butt kicked (the two conferences went 90-2 in guarantee games this year, with Kansas taking one of the losses).

    Its a multi-part article, the main article includes links to the sub-sections. The second link contains the actual per-school guarantee schedules and payments.

    http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20120304/NEWS/303040023/The-cost-of-a-winning-schedule

    http://http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20120304/NEWS/303040025

    Like

  55. greg says:

    The Des Moines Register has a Sunday feature on basketball guarantee games, with numbers for most B12 and B10 schools. The tenor of the article is a little off-putting, as all the big school coaches and administrators complain that the little schools are expecting good money to come in and get their butt kicked (the two conferences went 90-2 in guarantee games this year, with Kansas taking one of the losses).

    Its a multi-part article, the main article includes links to the sub-sections.

    http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20120304/NEWS/303040023/The-cost-of-a-winning-schedule

    Like

    • bullet says:

      @Loki
      Did Rice settle for 60k vs. A&M (80-90 seems to be the going rate) since they wouldn’t guarantee they would lose? Rice and Davidson were the 2 wins in those 92 games.

      Like

    • Richard says:

      Uh, they’re paying more because the big-money programs sell enough tickets to make guarantee games worthwhile (or more worthwhile than scheduliung home-and-homes). This market doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Seems Bilas is the only big-school guy in the article who understands economics.

      Like

  56. Richard says:

    Frank,

    At least SIU isn’t going dancing as well.

    Also, Illinois St. stealing a bid affects NU’s chances negatively.

    Like

  57. duffman says:

    Not like anybody on here is probably watching, but Purdue and Nebraska have gone to overtime yet again! For those who do not watch WCBB this game went to triple OT during the regular season. This time around it is for the B1G tourney and the trip to the NCAA.

    Like

    • Mike says:

      I will admit to watching it. Good game.

      Like

    • redsroom3 says:

      Duff,

      It was a great game, and a fitting end to the tournament.
      I’m sorry I missed the game during the regular season. Let’s hope the men’s tourney is just as compelling.

      Boiler Up!!!

      Like

      • duffman says:

        redsroom3,

        It was interesting as Nebraska was coming on in WCBB before the B12 split, and Purdue had the “status” in the B1G. It was exciting to watch and will be interesting if this is an “unexpected” bonus of Nebraska in the B1G. I think PU is an NCAA host site for the women so that will give you guys the home court till the regionals. Are you planning on going?

        After the big win against MSU I really worried about dropping the game to you guys in the mens game. That 10-0 run in the first half gave enough breathing to withstand the second half run you guys made. A rematch in the championship game for the B1G crown, hummmmm. :)

        .

        jj,

        It is not how you start but how you finish. Izzo got those early losses yet here he sits with the #1 seed in the B1G tourney. It is on like Donkey Kong in that bracket! Good luck till then.

        Like

        • jj says:

          Thanks. Looking forward to this more than usual this year. MSU is usually pretty bad in this event. I could easily see IN playing UM or OSU.

          Like

  58. Dan says:

    It looks like the AQ status for Football will soon be a thing of the past. With March Madness about to start, college basketball should drop the AQ (win conf tourny, get in even if have a losing record) for teams to get into the tourny. Hopefully, Frank will have a post to bring attention to this subject.

    Like

  59. Mike says:

    B1G Baseball Update.
    3-0 Purdue (Auburn, Southern Miss, Charleston Southern)
    3-1 Ohio St. (Michigan, Western Michigan (1-1),Villanova)
    2-1 Iowa (Youngstown St, Austin Peay (L), Akron); Minnesota (New Mexico St, West Virginia, Nebraska (L)); Nebraska (West Virginia (L), New Mexico St, Minnesota)
    2-2 Northwestern (Western Michigan (L), Xavier, Villanova (L), Chicago State)
    1-1 Penn St. (Samford); Illinois (St John’s, Coastal Carolina (L))
    1-2 Indiana (E TN ST)
    1-3 Michigan (Ohio St, Chicago St (W), Xavier (2))
    0-3 Michigan St (Texas A&M)

    Purdue keeps winning, Michigan St hung around a tough opponent.

    Like

    • zeek says:

      Should we assume those Purdue wins are as impressive as they would seem to be given the location of those opponents?

      Like

      • Mike says:

        Auburn doens’t look like an SEC power this year. So. Miss has been decent and I don’t know much about Charleston Southern. Right now, Purdue looks like it has a good team. We’ll know for sure in two weeks after games against Missouri St. and Wichita St.

        Like

  60. bullet says:

    http://aol.sportingnews.com/nfl/story/2012-03-04/nfl-bounty-investigation-wont-stop-with-2011-saints

    Does this surprise anyone else? Sounds like this coach may have been paying bounties at Washington, Buffalo, Tennessee, Jacksonville, in additon to New Orleans, for knocking out players. Also the Saints apparently put into a pool for knocking out certain players (good players, not players who they owed for something done to them).

    Like

  61. Mike says:

    Tramel on Big 12 expansion

    http://blog.newsok.com/berrytramel/2012/03/03/big-12-expansion-smu-is-not-a-candidate/


    Only one problem: You can not make a case for the Big 12 inviting Southern Methodist University.

    I really didn’t think we needed to go over this again, but I guess we do. The driving force in conference expansion, the No. 1 criteria, is television money. Not geography. Not culture. Not academic reputation. Not even athletic success. All those things have their various value. But television money is No. 1.

    [snip]

    Brigham Young would make financial sense for the Big 12. Louisville, Cincinnati, Rutgers, Houston, all would be questionable financially but range from probably would pay off (Louisville, Rutgers) to probably wouldn’t (Cincinnati, Houston). Of course, those other criteria come into play, too, which changes the viability in certain ways.

    But New Mexico? Southern Miss? SMU? They don’t work. They don’t work at all.

    Like

    • zeek says:

      The most interesting part of Tramel’s opinion there is that Rutgers would pay off but Cincinnati probably would not.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        Not that surprising to me. Rutgers brings NJ and the potential for NYC. Cincy’s probably the 4th or 5th most popular sports brand in it’s own (fairly small) city (Xavier doesn’t have a football team, but the X-men have better bball attendance than Cincy by a decent amount).

        Granted, Louisville is in an even smaller city, but their only competition for local fan support is UK, and they evidently get a fair amount of local support, judging by their bball revenue.

        Like

        • duffman says:

          Richard,

          Louisville has UK in the south, and IU to the north. The CJ still carries all three and the red across the river is more crimson than cardinal. The BB revenue is skewed by beer sales and suites – with YUM, Humana, Brown Forman, Papa Johns, and host of corporate HQ’s the cost of entry to a YUM game is raised by the abundance of corporate checks. Even selling the numbers they are, they are not meeting positive financial numbers. If UL stumbles or can not find a media star like Pitino going forward it could get ugly quickly. Cal has brought UK back, and now the Tan One has IU headed back in the right direction.

          When UK said they would drop one of UNC / UL / IU, it looked like it would be UNC on the chopping block. This seems to reinforce my observation that old fans in IN and KY want the past to return, and knock UL back down in the process. Look at it as a diamond with IU vs UK on one axis, and UC vs UL on the other. That is between 1 of 4 and 1 of 5 banners for every NCAA basketball championship ever played! Which leads to my next point.

          I agree Xavier basketball gets nice attention, and Cintas is a great venue to watch a game in, but discounting the Bearcats seems to miss some key points :

          A) – UC has an endowment of around 1 Billion which puts them in select company in D I sports schools.
          B) – As you mentioned, X does not have a D I football team, but UC does, which means they are not out of the running.
          C) – While not be top 25, but they may be Top 50, which means they can actually compete for a BCS MNC. Not saying the odds are great, but they have a better chance than many below them in the lesser conferences. Remember they finished #2 in the BE, and that included a broken foot that probably kept them from #1
          D) – Natural rivals with Louisville. UL is #2 all time on Cincinnati’s football history behind Miami OH (who they have played since the 1800’s) with only 5 games played before 1950. That means the other 45 games are so have been in the post WW II era, and in the past 40 years they have played pretty much interrupted. On the flip side, UC is UL’s #1 all time opponent. While no OU vs TU in stature, they are only 1.5 hours drive from each other which means it is not hard to be fan and rive to a game at the last moment.
          E) – TV values are complimented and not cannibalized like CUSA teams. If SMU or Rice join the B12, they are just new schools in the current footprint. Linking UL + UC + WVU gets a part of the bandwidth between Kentucky and Pennsylvania. While not great as islands, they get a boost as island chains. This also makes AD’s happy as you can create pods to shorten travel distance and cost, so you get something like this :

          Pod A = WVU + UC + UL
          Pod B = KU + KSU + ISU
          Pod C = OU + oSu + TT
          Pod D = UT + BU + TCU

          With shared Tier 1 and Tier 2, each Pod could have its own TV deal for Tier 3. Since the LHN is already in place they could just pay BU and TCU for content while the other 3 Pods could band together for regional niche markets. Selling LHN or Sooner TV in Pod A could be done PPV, while Pod A’s own Tier 3 could find purchase in major metropolitan markets (LOU / CIN / PIT) as a basic channel at maybe 5 to 50 cents a subscriber. Same thing with bundling Pod B in their local area, or viewed another way :

          Pod A Tier 3 = WVU (1/3 owner) + UC (1/3 owner) + UL (1/3 owner)
          Pod B Tier 3 = KU (2/3 owner) + KSU (1/6 owner) + ISU (1/6 owner)
          Pod C Tier 3 = OU (2/3 owner) + oSu (1/6 owner) + TT (1/6 owner)
          Pod D Tier 3 = UT (8/9 owner) + BU (1/18 owner) + TCU (1/18 owner)

          While you can adjust the share values you get a fit that flows with the historic desires of the top schools in the food chain.

          Like

          • Richard says:

            ” Even selling the numbers they are, they are not meeting positive financial numbers.”

            Eh? What financial numbers? Louisville bball cleared $16.8m; football cleared $3.3M:

            http://businessofcollegesports.com/2011/06/20/which-football-and-basketball-programs-produce-the-largest-profits/

            Also, from a link there by Dosh:
            ” Louisville only missed the self-sustaining athletic departments list for the 2009-2010 school year by approximately $1.8 million. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them make the list in coming years with increased revenue from the football stadium expansion and new basketball arena. The athletic department confirmed for me today that revenue from the new basketball arena exceeded projections for ticket sales, suite rentals and concessions, although final numbers are not yet available.”

            Mind you, only 22 athletic departments in the whole country are self-sustaining (not on there is UK, though IU is on that list; half are football kings).

            Cincy trails Louisville in both football and bball revenues and profit & Rutgers in football revenue.

            BTW, a $1B endowment is pretty good, but 36 FBS schools have a bigger endowment (and no one’s going to rush to add Rice or Vandy to their conference, both of whom have several times Cincy’s endowment). Another 12 Div-I bball schools have bigger endowments.

            The biggest problem is that Cincy is a small market that has 2 pro teams already. Louisville is smaller, but they’re the biggest game in town (both Lexington and Bloomington are out of town). Rutgers is surrounded by pro teams, but they have a potentially huge market.

            Like

          • duffman says:

            richard,

            UL may be making money, but the venue itself seems to be having troubles paying their debt!

            Like

  62. Mike says:

    Brett McMurphy (@mcmurphycbs)

    If Plus-1 only has conference champs, look for Bama to join Sun Belt, Georgia to Big East, Ark to WAC, S.Carolina to MAC

    Like

  63. Brian says:

    http://cfn.scout.com/2/1164492.html

    CFN’s top 50 OOC games for 2012 are in the link.

    1. AL vs MI (Dallas) 9/1
    2. ND @ OU 10/27
    3. UF @ FSU 11/24
    4. MI @ ND 9/22
    5. AU vs Clemson (Atlanta) 9/1
    6. BSU @ MSU 8/31
    7. OkSU @ AZ 9/8
    8. SC @ Clemson 11/24
    9. ND @ USC 11/24
    10. Miami vs ND (Chicago) 10/6

    If that’s the top 10, this will be a boring year. 4 of the 10 are traditional games, which lowers their value in my eyes.

    Like

    • bullet says:

      A Notre Dame fan? 4 of 10 and 6 of the top 17?

      I wonder if many games were victims of conference realignment. FSU/WVU would have been interesting. I would probably have put it behind only AL/MI on the list of 10 above.

      Like

      • zeek says:

        More just a function of all their games being non-conference whereas the conferences themselves have maybe 3-5 marquee non-conference matchups each.

        Like

      • Brian says:

        bullet,

        A Notre Dame fan? 4 of 10 and 6 of the top 17?

        They do play several big name teams this year, but 4 of those 6 are traditional. I think the ND/OU and ND/Miami games are big.

        I’d bump some of the next 10 up to replace the traditional OOC games and AU/Clemson since they’ve played a bunch recently (NCSU/TN, NE/UCLA, UC/VT, FSU/USF, UW/LSU).

        I wonder if many games were victims of conference realignment. FSU/WVU would have been interesting. I would probably have put it behind only AL/MI on the list of 10 above.

        Yeah, that would be top 3 for sure. I don’t think many others were lost, it may have just been a down year. OSU has Cal, for example, which is nice but not as prominent as their top OOC game has been most years. The move to 9 game schedules is having an impact, too. Wait until the B10/P12 deal kicks in, and the ACC, BE, B12 and P12 are at 9 games. There won’t be many major intersectional games left that aren’t traditional unless the B10/P12 match up causes it.

        Like

  64. Steve says:

    More realignment rumors, this one from the Georgia Tech board. Not sure it will happen, but sounds plausible.
    http://www.fromtherumbleseat.com/2012/3/5/2846545/monday-afternoon-rumor-mill-where-i-guarantee-that-you-didnt-see-this

    Like

    • Mike says:

      From the link:


      There’s a rumor being reported by Kelly Quinlan of JacketsOnline.com that comes from a couple contacts he has who work for a certain company with four-letter name (it doesn’t start with F, either). This rumor states that the ACC is pushing pretty hard to get Notre Dame and Rutgers to join the conference, which would make the conference round out at 16 after the addition of Pitt and Syracuse. However, they’re saying that this scenario does not have as much weight in likelihood as the next rumor: one that involves Tech leaving the ACC. (obligatory)

      You read that right, there’s a rumor with a little more smoke than the other one mentioned that involves said four-letter TV network pushing on the Big Ten (or so) to add Notre Dame, Rutgers, Maryland, and Georgia Tech by the year 2016. Georgia Tech would be offered $25-30 million in TV revenue (from the Big 10 network), meaning travel issues would be nonexistent. The same group expects the SEC to go after NC State and Maryland, also trying to reach 16. (Personally, I get the feeling that if the SEC gets Maryland, the Big Ten goes after Virginia, while the Big Ten getting Maryland would mean the SEC would go after Virginia Tech.) It’ll be really interesting seeing where this goes over the coming months and years. Folks expect the scene of conference realignment to heat up again at the end of this season, so we could see something around that time or earlier suggesting this will happen.

      FWIW – Rutgers, Maryland, and Georgia Tech are able to move without having to worry about little brothers. If this rumor is made up, it at least gets that part right. Not sure why Tech would even think about it. It’s a long way from Atlanta to the B1G.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        It’s less than 600 miles to OSU. Besides, they are right next to the world’s busiest airport. They can get to anywhere but PSU pretty easily.

        Like

      • Craig Z says:

        You read that right, there’s a rumor with a little more smoke than the other one mentioned that involves said four-letter TV network pushing on the Big Ten (or so) to add Notre Dame, Rutgers, Maryland, and Georgia Tech by the year 2016

        ESPN must be very sure the Big Ten is going to re-sign with them.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          Yeah, that part seems a tad unrealistic. On the other hand, Delany could work with ESPN to put together a deal to present to ND that would entice them to join.

          Like

          • Richard says:

            Or maybe ESPN to the B10: add ND and these 3 other schools and this is the deal you will get.

            Still, I’m a bit skeptical because how would it help ESPN (or any network) to see one of the strongest leagues stronger (and the ACC, which they have under long-term contract to favorable terms, weaker)?

            Like

      • m (Ag) says:

        So they expect the Big Ten to go after Maryland & Georgia Tech from ACC and the SEC to go after NC State & Maryland.

        Assume the above to be true for a second, those rumors that had FSU & Clemson looking into joining the Big 12 would make a whole lot of sense; this would be a ‘maim the ACC’ scenario, when we had been pondering ‘devour the Big 12′ for the past few years.

        Of course, these rumors ignore the Big Fish in the ACC: UNC. Would they look to move North or South when everyone else gets on the phone? Surely the Big Ten would skip 1 of Rutgers/Maryland/GT to get UNC? Maybe a 2nd to get Duke as well (giving ND another private school).

        If the SEC is looking to expand, NCState and Maryland would certainly be high on the list, but I would think UNC and the Virginia schools would be the first try.

        Maybe the Big Ten can steal Maryland and GT and the rest of the ACC would stay put at a 12 school size.

        Anyway, maybe ESPN isn’t so much looking to help the Big Ten, but to get some big ACC teams to the Big 12 and to the SEC, where they’ll likely have a stake in a conference network.

        Like

        • Mike says:

          Why would ESPN want to help the Big 12? They own all the ACC’s rights. They only own Tier 1 of the Big 12 for the next few years and network for Texas. It seems moving ACC teams to the Big 12 would help out FOX and their Tier 2 contract and do nothing for ESPN.

          ESPN may be pushing more schools into the ACC but I highly doubt they would help push a school away given how inexpensive and locked down the ACC is for them.

          Like

          • duffman says:

            ESPN owns the ACC and SEC long term, the much simpler solution is to have the ACC play the SEC the same way the B1G plans to play the PAC in the future. lex parsimoniae if you look at the total map.

            Like

    • cutter says:

      Well, if the Big Ten were to actually expand to 16 teams, then Notre Dame, Rutgers and Maryland make sense to the degree the conference would be looking to get the BTN on basic cable in the mid-Atlantic and the northeast. I assume the feeling is that a fourth team from that area, such as Connecticut and Boston College, wouldn’t be necessary to accomplish tha goal.

      So why not Georgia Tech as #16? The school’s located in Atlanta, so it’s in the midst not only of a major population center, but in the midst of ACC/SEC territory. The Big Ten would be able to split on an east-west divide as follows:

      East – Georgia Tech, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers

      West – Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, Wisconsin

      The Wisconsin-Minnesota-Iowa triumvirate is brought back and Nebraska has natural rivalries with all three teams. Illinois is paired with Northwestern and Purdue with Indiana.

      In the east, Notre Dame gets annual games in the east and plays two teams on its regular schedule (Michigan and Michigan State) plus OSU and PSU. Add USC to the Irish’s non-conference schedule as a regular Pac 12 opponent and schedule the remaining non-conference games as desired. Michigan and Ohio State get put back into the same conference. Admittedly, this division looks stronger than the west, but in terms of alignment, rivalries and traditional in-state opponents, etc., it lines up pretty well.

      Seven games in the division, one intra-division game, one non-conference games with a Pac 12 (or 16) team and three non-conference games. Otherwise, it 7-2-1-2 in terms of scheduling with the Big 10(16) playing nine conference games as a possibility.

      Like

      • Eric says:

        As a fan of Ohio State playing a mainly traditional Midwestern schedule, I’d hate that. It would half feel like Ohio State left the Big Ten and joined an eastern conference. I hope that if they did go with these 4 (which is unlikely, but fun to play along) they’d do pods.

        Like

        • vp19 says:

          This Terp fan agrees with you regarding pods; it’s the best way to give everyone a chance to play Notre Dame.

          How could pods be done with these four newcomers?

          A: Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin
          B: Notre Dame, Purdue, Michigan State, Michigan
          C: Ohio State, Indiana, Illinois, Northwestern
          D: Penn State, Maryland, Rutgers, Georgia Tech

          Three games in pod, four vs. one other pod (rotating), one vs. each of the other two pods

          One guaranteed out-of-pod opponent (with a substitute opponent when pods face each other):

          Ohio State-Michigan
          Notre Dame-Penn State
          Michigan State-Wisconsin
          Purdue-Indiana
          Nebraska-Georgia Tech
          Maryland-Illinois
          Rutgers-Minnesota
          Northwestern-Iowa

          Notre Dame keeps its three traditional Midwest rivals and everyone else sees ND in its stadium once every six years.

          Like

          • Eric says:

            That’s better than anything I was coming up with. I think it’s pretty good actually.

            Only issue might be them wanting to keep Ohio State-Penn State. I’d take 3 traditional teams over an eastern pod, but I doubt the powers-that-be would let that game end now so you probably need Ohio State in a pod with Michigan or Penn State.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Actually, I’m seeing the following pods with an 8 game schedule (protected game in parenthesis). You’d play most of the non-protected opponents 1/3rds of the time.

            West:
            Nebraska (PSU)
            Wisconsin (GTech)
            Iowa (NU)
            Minny (Michigan)

            East:
            PSU (Nebraska)
            Rutgers (Maryland)
            NU (Iowa)
            Illinois (OSU)

            South:
            ND (MSU)
            GTech (Wisconsin)
            PU (IU)
            Maryland (Rutgers)

            North:
            Michigan (Minny)
            OSU (Illinois)
            MSU (ND)
            IU (PU)

            I’d have to think this through to see if this works.

            Like

          • frug says:

            @Richard

            ND would probably insist on playing Michigan every year.

            NW and Illinois also wouldn’t play annually which could be an issue.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            frug:

            Northwestern is “NU”. Nebraska is “Nebraska”.

            Also, ND will have to put up with playing Michigan only 4 times in 6 years once the Pac arrangement starts anyway even if they stay as an independent, so they won’t get to play Michigan annually regardless. Going from playing 4 times in 6 years to 2 times in 6 years isn’t a huge deal (IMHO).

            Anyway, I revised by pods below.

            Like

        • cutter says:

          Eric – Penn State is already in Ohio State’s division with Michigan and Michigan State being just to the north and Notre Dame to the east. If you were to pick four teams in an expanded Big Ten that OSU would likely want to play on a regular basis, those would be the top four. But heck, if the conference were to go to nine conference games, then the Buckeyes would get two more Midwestern teams on the schedule.

          I actually do like the pod idea and think it’s a great way to make sure that teams rotate thru the schedule while making sure the major programs get mached up with their traditional foes. I don’t know the present NCAA legislation says about this, but we do know that the then 16-team WAC did do this, but without success. Their problem was that they didn’t keep the traditional rivalries in place. Your idea with the one guaranteed out of pod game would work well. However, does it keep the competitive balance in place that was used to set up the Leaders and Legends Divisions in the first place? Or is that important?

          For Brian: I admit that the split I proposed is based more on geography and traditional rivalries and less then on what the Big Ten did when Nebraska entered, i.e., to have a competitive balance between the two divisions. The Big Ten went back to 1993 to figure out how the the present Leaders and Legends Divisions would look like last time. Here’s what we’d get with the three new teams:

          East

          Georgia Tech 137 – 98
          Maryland 109 – 116
          Michigan 164 – 72
          Michigan State 123 – 108 – 1
          Notre Dame 141 – 90 – 1
          Ohio State 188 – 51
          Penn State 163 – 72
          Rutgers 92 – 130 – 1

          East Total 1,117 – 737 – 3 (.6025)

          West

          Illinois 89 – 133 – 1
          Indiana 75 – 144 – 1
          Iowa 134 – 97
          Minnesota 98 – 129
          Nebraska 184 – 60
          Northwestern 100 – 118 – 1
          Purdue 116 – 111 – 3
          Wisconsin 167 – 70 – 4

          West Total 963 – 862 – 7 (.5276)

          So yes, in terms of competitive balance, the overall record for the East would be much better than the West by 154 wins and if the Big Ten went by competitive balance, then the conferences would have to be altered in some manner–perhaps Michigan and Michigan State go west with Indiana and Purdue going to the east.

          If the CFB does adapt a playoff system with conference champions getting autobids of some nature, I don’t know if having the Big Ten divisions completely in balance competitively is as much of a necessity. I readily admit that the better teams in the west would have an easier go at winning more of the champions than their eastern counterparts. But if winning the conference championship game is a prerequisite for getting into a playoff, I don’t know how much that really matters.

          But as a Michigan alum and fan, when I look at the East Division, I see top tier teams that have regularly appeared on UM’s schedule in the past–ND, MSU, PSU and OSU. This doesn’t represent much of a change in terms of the Wolverines’ past competition. What would be a change is getting into the conference championship game with the likely opponent being Nebraska, Wisconsin or Iowa.

          Oh, well. It’s all fun speculation at this point. As I wrote before, unless there’s a major change in college football’s post season or future conference realignment that prohibits or makes it extremely difficult for Notre Dame to get to the national championship and/or schedule enough quality football games, I can’t see ND going anywhere at this point. That said, figuring out which division ND and the other three schools would reside along with the present Big Ten members would be a nice problem to have.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            cutter,

            [as a reminder, cutter proposed the following split:

            East – Georgia Tech, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers

            West – Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, Wisconsin

            and Eric objected to playing so many eastern schools as an OSU fan]

            Eric – Penn State is already in Ohio State’s division with Michigan and Michigan State being just to the north and Notre Dame to the east. If you were to pick four teams in an expanded Big Ten that OSU would likely want to play on a regular basis, those would be the top four.

            I assume you meant that ND is just to the west of OSU. Mistakes happen.

            That said, as an OSU guy those sure wouldn’t be my top 4.

            1. MI – obvious
            2. PSU – border rival lite
            3. IL – Illibuck
            4. IN – border opponent (carryover from MBB rivalry in western OH)

            There are short term feelings for certain teams (WI right now), but those would be my top 4 in general. I’m completely indifferent to MSU, like most OSU fans, and I’d put ND on the bottom of my list. OSU and ND have played twice since WWII (regular season), and that’s twice too often for me. I’d put the rest of the B10 on my list before any of GT, MD or RU, too.

            But heck, if the conference were to go to nine conference games, then the Buckeyes would get two more Midwestern teams on the schedule.

            The ninth game helps, but it doesn’t change that half of the division is eastern. Whatever teams get put with ND and the 4 eastern teams would feel a little out of place. For many reasons, it would be better to split them two and two so they get integrated into the conference faster and so everyone plays them equally.

            I actually do like the pod idea and think it’s a great way to make sure that teams rotate thru the schedule while making sure the major programs get mached up with their traditional foes. I don’t know the present NCAA legislation says about this, but we do know that the then 16-team WAC did do this, but without success. Their problem was that they didn’t keep the traditional rivalries in place. Your idea with the one guaranteed out of pod game would work well. However, does it keep the competitive balance in place that was used to set up the Leaders and Legends Divisions in the first place? Or is that important?

            Pods are fine by the rules as long as you play every team in your division that year. The NCAA can’t prevent a conference from realigning their divisions every year.

            The balance issue is key with B10 pods. You really need all of them about equal so every pairing works and no teams get easier paths to the CCG. The lack of balance breeds infighting.

            For Brian: I admit that the split I proposed is based more on geography and traditional rivalries and less then on what the Big Ten did when Nebraska entered, i.e., to have a competitive balance between the two divisions.

            I’d say completely overriding what they said when they did the split is based less on what they did last time, yes. While they used the term “competitive balance,” I think we all know they meant brand/media balance as well. Putting 4 kings in one division and 1 in the other is bad for business. You greatly reduce the odds of a king/king CCG, you give 1 king an easier path to the CCG so the other 4 fan bases are irate, and you lessen the value of the 4 by giving them more losses while elevating lesser programs that don’t get the same national attention. With your plan, you also separate all the western schools from OSU and MI and PSU and ND. Why would they accept that?

            Any realistic plan would have to split them 3-2 or 2-1-1-1 for pods. I just don’t see the B10 accepting anything else. They can play with where MSU, WI and IA fit in to keep rivalries or balance, but the kings have to be spread out for everybody’s benefit.

            The Big Ten went back to 1993 to figure out how the the present Leaders and Legends Divisions would look like last time.

            Right. I used numbers since 1996 in my other post since that’s when the B12 started, plus another season has passed making 1993 that much less relevant.

            [cutter’s numbers]

            National W% ranks since 1996, grouped where appropriate:
            OSU 2, NE 9
            WI 14, MI 15
            PSU 22, GT 26
            ND 36, IA 37
            MSU 43
            PU 50
            MD 62
            NW 72
            MN 80
            RU 91
            IL 98
            IN 111

            So yes, in terms of competitive balance, the overall record for the East would be much better than the West by 154 wins and if the Big Ten went by competitive balance, then the conferences would have to be altered in some manner–perhaps Michigan and Michigan State go west with Indiana and Purdue going to the east.

            Something would certainly have to change, yes.

            If you take a top 8 of OSU, MI, PSU, NE, ND, WI, IA and MSU (ACC numbers put GT in this group, but I think they’d do worse in the B10), there are a few good ways to divide them. True east/west is not really one of them.

            Rivalries and balance:
            OSU, MI, ND, MSU
            PSU, NE, WI, IA

            E/W feel:
            OSU, NE, WI, IA
            MI, PSU, ND, MSU

            True E/W:
            OSU, PSU, MI, MSU
            NE, ND, WI, IA

            If the CFB does adapt a playoff system with conference champions getting autobids of some nature, I don’t know if having the Big Ten divisions completely in balance competitively is as much of a necessity. I readily admit that the better teams in the west would have an easier go at winning more of the champions than their eastern counterparts. But if winning the conference championship game is a prerequisite for getting into a playoff, I don’t know how much that really matters.

            It matters tremendously to the fans of those teams in the east. Why should NE, WI and IA be gifted an easier path to the CCG, and thus the playoff and ultimately a NC? Balance is crucial if the CCG is the only pathway to the playoff.

            But as a Michigan alum and fan, when I look at the East Division, I see top tier teams that have regularly appeared on UM’s schedule in the past–ND, MSU, PSU and OSU. This doesn’t represent much of a change in terms of the Wolverines’ past competition. What would be a change is getting into the conference championship game with the likely opponent being Nebraska, Wisconsin or Iowa.

            MI is used to playing them, but MI is also used to those other 4 having similarly difficult schedules. OSU isn’t used to playing ND (thankfully), but also plays a tough OOC game every year. Fans already complain about WI and MSU getting easier B10 schedules with MN and IN as locked games. Letting NE and WI have IN, MN, IL, NW and PU while OSU, MI, PSU, ND and MSU fight among themselves will not be accepted by many fan bases (or ADs or presidents).

            Oh, well. It’s all fun speculation at this point. As I wrote before, unless there’s a major change in college football’s post season or future conference realignment that prohibits or makes it extremely difficult for Notre Dame to get to the national championship and/or schedule enough quality football games, I can’t see ND going anywhere at this point. That said, figuring out which division ND and the other three schools would reside along with the present Big Ten members would be a nice problem to have.

            Yes, it’s harmless speculation. But even accepting the premise of the rumor, I can’t see the B10 making the split you proposed. Only PSU (maybe ND) wants to play all those eastern schools annually, and everybody would want a level playing field in terms of schedule difficulty and media attention.

            Like

      • Brian says:

        cutter,

        E – OSU, MI, PSU, ND
        W – NE

        They wouldn’t accept that split without ND involved, why would it be OK now?

        Like

      • Richard says:

        Pretty certain they’d split in to pods of 4 if they actually happens (no way the traditional B10 schools go about a decade without playing some other traditional B10 schools, which is what would happen with a straight split). Maybe with semifinals as well? That would require a rule change, but the SEC may be for a rule change also (as well as possibly the ACC and Pac).

        Frank wrote a post describing the mechanics of an 8-game schedule with 4 pods of 4:
        http://frankthetank.wordpress.com/2011/09/08/conference-realignment-if-i-was-richer-id-still-be-with-ya/

        Obviously with different pods if adding GTech instead of Texas (Maryland would take Syracuse’s spot without missing a beat).

        Only ND rivalry that _must_ be protected is Purdue (Michigan and MSU plan to play ND 4 out of 6 years going forward anyway). ND would probably insist on GTech as a rivalry game as well. Maybe an Eastern school. MSU likely has to play ND at least 4 out of 6 years. I don’t think Michigan would mind playing ND only 2 out of 6 years as that allows them to schedule other big-name matchups.

        Like

      • Brian says:

        In the scenario that the B10 goes to 16, many of us would like to see pods. I’m not sure the B10 office is in favor of that, though. I think they are concerned that casual fans will be confused by the rotating divisions. It helps you play everyone more frequently, but I don’t know if that is enough to win over TPTB.

        Even with pods, it’s hard to keep everyone happy.

        Appease ND and PSU:
        A – PSU, RU, MD, GT
        B – MI, ND, MSU, PU
        C – NE, IA, WI, MN
        D – OSU, IL, NW, IN

        You’d have to lock several games (OSU/MI, PU/IN), and the lack of balance will be a sore spot.

        Balance and rivalries:
        A – OSU, PU, IL, IN
        B – MI, ND, MSU, NW
        C – NE, WI, IA, MN
        D – PSU, GT, MD, RU

        Based on conference W% since 1996, the order is OSU, MI, NE, GT, WI, PSU, IA, PU, MSU, NW, MD, MN, IL, RU, IN. Based on overall W%, ND would be after PSU and before IA. I also tried to keep geography together. MSU is on the rise and PU is down, so that hurts the balance. I also assume GT wouldn’t do as well in the B10 as in the ACC.

        I could easily see the B10 leaning towards divisions with the edges versus the middle:
        Inside – OSU, MI, ND, MSU, NW, IL, PU, IN
        Outside – NE, WI, IA, MN, PSU, MD, RU, GT

        The balance is decent, almost every major rivalry is preserved, and everyone gets to play the local opponents. The downside is the new guys are all in one division and might feel like outcasts. It certainly makes travel to half of their opponents more difficult. It would slow the integration of the new schools to the B10 to keep them isolated, too. WI, IA and MN might complain about not seeing OSU and MI more, and everyone would want ND.

        They’d go to a 9 game schedule (7-2, no fixed), and hopefully have the inside play one east team and one west team each year. I’d prefer to rotate every year, but I assume they’ll stick to 2 years so you get a home and home.

        Like

        • vp19 says:

          In a 16-team Big Ten with Notre Dame, you will need pods; otherwise, teams in the other division will only have ND visit their stadium once every 14 (or 16) years.

          The “balance and rivalries” alignment is good, especially since you can set things up so the permanent out-of-pod games involve A vs. B and C vs. D. In years where that’s the regular pod matchup, have A and B each play one game vs. C and one vs. D.

          Like

          • cutter says:

            vp19 – Uh, no offense, but there are a bunch of other really good football teams other than Notre Dame in this hypothetical 16-team conference. Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska, Penn State and Wisconsin are right up there either in historic terms and/or in win-loss records over the last two decades.

            That said, I do like the pod idea that you present, but I recall one of the problems with the WAC in the mid 90s was that fans got confused because teams were changing divisions every two years to accomodate the pod setup. I don’t know if fans have gotten smarter or more sophisticated since then, but seeing that they’re still tripping over the membership of the Leaders and Legends Divisions, I’m not too optimistic. Most would be happy with a straight geographic arrangement instead as borne out by the polling data (and then they’d argue about which division is stronger than the other one).

            Whatever the league would do, I think they’d at least like to see the following:

            1. Keep Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin together, preferably along with Nebraska.
            2. Keep Illinois and Northwestern together (i.e. play one another annually).
            3. Keep Purdue and Indiana together.
            4. Keep Michigan and Ohio State together.
            5. Keep Michigan and Michigan State together.
            6. Allow Penn State to play Rutgers and Maryland on a regular basis.
            7. Keep Michigan, Michigan State and Notre Dame together.

            Perhaps a different type of split with a protected rivalry (in brackens) would work for two divisions:

            Division A

            Georgia Tech (Notre Dame)
            Iowa (Purdue)
            Minnesota (Indiana)
            Nebraska (Penn State)
            Wisconsin (Michigan State)
            Ohio State (Michigan)
            Illinois (Rutgers)
            Northwestern (Maryland)

            Division B

            Maryland (Northwestern)
            Penn State (Nebraska)
            Rutgers (Illinois)
            Purdue (Iowa)
            Indiana (Minnesota)
            Notre Dame (Georgia Tech)
            Michigan (Ohio State)
            Michigan State (Wisconsin)

            That’d require seven division games, one game with a protected cross-division rival, one more cross-division game and three non-conference games (perhaps with one being against a Pac 12 team). It’s not as neat a solution as the pods, but I throw it out there for consideration. Georgia Tech is going to have to travel regardless of where they end up, but I don’t think they’d mind annual games with Notre Dame, Ohio State, Nebraska and Wisconsin too much in terms of a trade-off.

            IRT Notre Dame, they’d have annual games with three teams they currently play on a regular basis in the Big Ten (Michigan, Michgian State, Purdue), one with a traditional power in the B10 (Penn State), two games with east coast teams (Maryland, Rutgers) and an annual contest with Georgia Tech (along with Indiana). Add one more cross-division game plus the annual contest with USC and two other non-conference games (or one if the annual game with Navy is kept in place).

            Like

          • Richard says:

            cutter:

            9 conference games and B10 schools play some neighbors only twice in 16 years? The Little Brown Jug (oldest college football trophy game in the whole country) not played for 14 straight years? Yeah, that’s not going to fly. Regardless of whether fans can keep pods separate (and here in the B10, fans care more about college football than WAC fans, so I don’t think that would be a big issue), it’s the only way to make 16 schools in the B10 work.

            Like

          • cutter says:

            Richard:

            A lot of sacred cows have been sacrificed on the altar of college football realignment lately, so the idea that Michgan and Minnesota won’t be playing one another annually for the Little Brown Jug actually isn’t as earth shattering as Texas and Texas A&M not playing or Kansas and Missouri parting ways, etc. I’ll also add that as a Michigan fan and alum, playing the Golden Gophers is way down the priority list of conference football opponents. If someone were to tell me that Michigan had a regular schedule of Notre Dame, Michigan State, Penn State and Ohio State on the schedule and Minnesota would be on the schedule two years out of 14 or 16, I wouldn’t sweat it too much.

            I really like the pod idea and would love to see it implemented for a hypothetical 16-team conference. Given CFB’s recent track record regarding adaptation and change, I don’t know if it would actually happen in the Big Ten (or any other conference) right away.

            But yes, the whole discussion of putting 16 teams in two divisions and deciding where they go, who they play, how many conference games should be on the schedule, whether or not there should be protected rivalries and how competitive balance should be measured and assessed when putting together these divisions shows how difficult it is to balance competing interests. Simply put, outside of using a pod system, there isn’t a really great way to do it and to balance all the competing interests and desires.

            We’ll see what happens. Right now, the SEC is wrestling with a 14-team conference and whether or not they want to play eight or nine conference games. If it’s the latter, I suspect the thinking is that it might make it more difficult for a SEC team to win the national championship. However, with a four-team playoff plus the possible requirement of a conference championship as a prerequisite for getting into it, that might be a lesser concern. Whatever they and the ACC opt to do will help set the standard for the future.

            Like

        • Eric says:

          I don’t see anything but pods if the Big Ten goes to 16. It’s not because of playing Notre Dame, it’s to keep the conference one. If you have two 8 team divisions, you don’t have a conference. You have 2 conferences with a scheduling agreement. Teams that have usually played each other every year for 100 years would all of a sudden be playing at most (assuming 9 conference games and no-crossovers) 2 out of 8 years. That’s not a conference or a recipe for long term success. It could have worked in the PAC-16, but that was only with a very straight forward dividing line and even there, the Arizona schools wouldn’t have liked it.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            Eric,

            I don’t see anything but pods if the Big Ten goes to 16. It’s not because of playing Notre Dame, it’s to keep the conference one. If you have two 8 team divisions, you don’t have a conference. You have 2 conferences with a scheduling agreement. Teams that have usually played each other every year for 100 years would all of a sudden be playing at most (assuming 9 conference games and no-crossovers) 2 out of 8 years. That’s not a conference or a recipe for long term success. It could have worked in the PAC-16, but that was only with a very straight forward dividing line and even there, the Arizona schools wouldn’t have liked it.

            For serious football fans pods are a no brainer. The B10 has to worry about the other 90% of fans, though. How many 70 year old alumni are going to understand rotating pod pairings and divisions changing every two years? Hell, how many ESPN broadcasters will get it right? Most people won’t know who’s in their division in any given year, and that’s a problem. The B10 would have to seriously consider divisions with a 9 game schedule. If you don’t play home and homes, you’ll see every team once every 4 years and play at every stadium once every 8. With pods, you play those other 8 more but the 4 less. That’s why I proposed my split before, with the western 4 and eastern 4 as one division (2 groups of 4 with a strong need to play each other) versus the middle 8 (a tangled web of rivalries and history). It even gets the smaller western states access to some prime recruiting grounds (GA, MD, NJ) as an advantage.

            Like

          • Eric says:

            Brian,

            While the pods are difficult to understand I think that’s actually more of a reason they’ll avoid 16 (hopefully) than a reason they’ll avoid them at 16. The mantra coming from the Big Ten offices has been “we want to play each other more.” I just don’t see them agreeing to go to 16 and only playing half the conference twice every eight years. If they decide on 16, I think pods are agreed to beforehand.

            Like

          • zeek says:

            While it’s fair to characterize the Big Ten’s position that way, the Big Ten-Pac-12 agreement was put in place to replace the potential 9th Big Ten conference game. So you know Delany and co. don’t mind forgoing Big Ten games if something else comes up…

            Like

      • frug says:

        That would never work in a million years. With ND, UM, OSU and PSU in the same division you have way to much wealth concentrated in the East.

        Like

    • Brian says:

      FWIW, the idea is polling pretty well.

      Like

    • zeek says:

      It’s interesting to be sure, but it’s hard to see any situation where the Big Ten goes to 16 and goes for pods in one fell swoop at this time.

      That’s why it’s harder for me to see Georgia Tech as an option right now but it’s a possibility like anything else.

      Most likely, the Big Ten would have to get Notre Dame and Rutgers in a move to 14. Then after a while (read 20 years), if there’s a possibility of grabbing Maryland + Va Tech or Maryland + Georgia Tech, the Big Ten is likely to look at that.

      Again though, as with any scenario for 16, why wouldn’t the Big Ten go to 14 with Notre Dame + Rutgers or Notre Dame + Maryland and just call it a day for a long long time?

      Unless, there’s a possibility of semifinals to a CCG being introduced, it’s hard to see anyone going to 16. These conferences still like to be smaller than full fledged leagues. At 16, you really are a football league instead of a conference.

      The SEC is stubbornly staying at 8 games for now even with 14 members. Is that going to float with 16? And can the Big Ten or SEC go to pods without destroying a lot of rivalries?

      Like

      • Eric says:

        I almost think 16 works better than 14 (and am very against either). With 14, you almost have 2 separate football conferences united by a championship game. Outside of a locked crossover (probably not going away), you would only be playing 1 or 2 of the other 6 every year (depending on if you have an 8 or 9 game schedule). With 16, you’d have more breaks from most teams, but the gaps would be shorter and more spread out.

        Like

      • Richard says:

        Zeek:

        16 instead of 14 because ND mostly likely would want games in the east and SE (a national conference, if you will) if they deign to join the B10.

        Like

      • bullet says:

        Its hard for me to see that any of those teams justify going from 14 to 16. You get Notre Dame and 1 other.

        16 really gets you into the two conferences tied by a TV contract. With 14, you could still play everyone at least twice in six years with a 9 game schedule and 1 fixed game. Without fixed games you could get everyone at least 4 out of 10.

        And if you wanted, you could still do pods with 14. For example (without putting a lot of thought into who goes where)
        West WI, MN, IA, UNL
        East ND, Rutgers, PSU, NW
        Rotating group 1 IL, IU, OSU
        Rotating group 2 UM, MSU, PU

        You could play every team at least every other year with an 8 game schedule (3 teams X 4 games + 10 teams X 2 games =32 games over 4 years).

        Like

        • Richard says:

          bullet:

          If you can add ND while just expanding by 2, you’d stop at 14. However, if ND demands to bring along 2 eastern and 1 southern teams as a condition of them joining, then you’d have to seriously consider 16 (it’s the only reason the B10 would go to 16 instead of 14 first). As I lay out below, if you add 2 eastern & 1 southern team & put, say, GTech & one of Rutgers/Maryland in ND’s pod, ND’s geographical coverage would be very similar to their “national” schedule now as an independent, with the only difference being the games @Pitt being shifted a few hundred miles westward to being @Columbus, @Bloomington, and @Evanston.

          Like

  65. Richard says:

    Brian & Vincent: The thing to keep in mind is that to get ND, ND would have to be appeased, and I’m pretty certain that ND cares more about playing a “national” schedule (well, as much of one as possible) rather than playing all 3 traditional Midwestern B10 rivalries annually (especially since the Michigan and MSU ones would switch to 4 games in 6 years after the Pac agreement starts anyway). Really, only Purdue would be adamant about playing ND annually. That also means 8 conference games, not 9 (Iowa and the big name programs wouldn’t want both 9 conference games & the Pac agreement anyway)

    So, thinking about it some more, here are the pods with protected annual games first in parenthesis and the opponent that each team would play 4 times in 6 years second in parenthesis (everyone else is played 2 times in 6 years). Last number is order by winning percentage (16 is highest, 1 is lowest), courtesy of Brian.

    West:
    Nebraska (PSU, ND) 14
    Wisconsin (Illinois, PU) 12
    Iowa (NU, Maryland) 9
    Minny (GTech, Michigan) 4

    North:
    Michigan (OSU, Minny) 15
    MSU (ND, PSU) 7
    NU (Iowa, Rutgers) 6
    Illinois (Wisconsin, IU) 3

    East:
    OSU (Michigan, GTech) 16
    PSU (Nebraska, MSU) 11
    Rutgers (Maryland, NU) 2
    IU (PU, Illinois) 1

    South:
    ND (MSU, Nebraska) 10
    PU (IU, Wisconsin) 8
    GTech (Minny, OSU) 13
    Maryland (Rutgers, Iowa) 5

    I believe all traditional rivalries are at least somewhat protected. The Little Brown Jug game is still played 4 out of 6 years. MSU even gets to have it’s precious annual game with NU.

    Maybe Wisconsin & Iowa switch their permanent rivalries with NU and Illinois, so each school plays the 2 in the other pod 2/3rds of the time.

    The divsions are actually somewhat balanced (obviously, 2 kings in the east, but with 5 kings and 4 pods, there’s no good way to avoid that; the East actually comes out weakest using ordinal rank of conference winning percentage since 1996 as the criteria). Average rank:

    West: 9.75
    North: 7.75
    East: 7.5
    South: 9

    Like

    • Richard says:

      From ND’s perspective, they can still keep the series with USC, Navy, & Stanford and still have one more game to play on the East Coast, Texas, or SE.

      In the next 4 years, they will play outside South Bend in the following places:
      Ireland: 1
      Midwest: 7
      East Coast/Northeast: 7
      West: 5
      South (including Texas): 1

      In the B10, they would play a southern team once a year, an eastern team 1 & 2/3 times, and a Midwestern team 5 & 1/3rd times, on average. If they still play USC & Stanford annually and Navy on the East Coast, then say their remaining game against a western school a third of the time and an eastern school 2/3rds of the time, their distribution over 6 years would be

      Midwest: 16
      East Coast/Northeast: 10
      West: 7
      South: 3

      If you apply the percentage of ND’s current schedule played in each region over 36 games, they would be

      Midwest: 12.6
      East Coast/Northeast: 12.6
      West: 9
      South (including Texas): 1.8

      The biggest difference is a shift from East Coast games to Midwest games, and that difference is literally shifting 3 games @Pitt to games @tOSU, @IU, and @NU.

      Like

  66. Steve says:

    Missouri vs Arkansas to be crossover game in SEC. Also, aTm vs South Carolina.
    http://www.sbnation.com/ncaa-football/2012/3/5/2846069/texas-am-south-carolina-sec-football-rivals

    Like

    • Richard says:

      Mizzou would not like to lose their pipeline to Texas recruits, but I suppose beggars can’t be choosers (+ they can establish new ones in FL and GA, though FL is farther away from MO than TX is).

      Like

    • Eric says:

      Very good move in my opinion. Texas A&M and Missouri were never rivals and didn’t play every year anyway until the last year of the Big 12 when it went to round robin. Missouri being in the east should have its crossover with the other border state. Them and Arkansas are more likely to become rivals than them and A&M.

      On the flip side, Arkansas will like it and South Carolina would rather have access to Texas recruits than a game that doesn’t mean that much vs. Arkansas. Only school I don’t think gains anything here is Texas A&M and I don’t think they really lose anything either.

      Like

      • frug says:

        I think that aTm gains exposure on the East coast which may help the transition. While I really like this arrangement (and predicted it) I do think Mizzou probably would have preferred a biannual game in Texas, not just for the recruiting but also because they have a large alumni base in the state.

        Like

      • Andy says:

        Mizzou already has a basketball rivalry with Arkansas. The two schools have played each other 37 times (mostly in the last 30 years) with Arkansas leading the series 19-18. Those were always hotly contested games.

        The two schools have only met 5 times in football, with Missouri leading the series 3-2. I think it’s likely that the SEC will play up Missouri and Arkansas as a big rivalry game, and will likely move it to a showcase time slot and date for national TV, maybe on Thanksgiving.

        I’m not sure how much playing at Texas A&M every other year was going to help Mizzou in recruiting Texas. It seems to me that when Missouri left the Big 12 they also left behind much of their Texas recruiting. They will need to concentrate more on the southeast now.

        As much as there has been talk of Missouri playing in a conference with schools that are far away, and as much as people seem to think Mizzou doesn’t belong in the East, it actually ends up working for the best for Mizzou. With Arkansas as their cross divisional rival, Missouri now plays 4 border state schools on a yearly basis: Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt. In the Big 12 they had 5: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Kansas State, and Iowa State. South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida really aren’t that much farther from Missouri than Texas, Texas Tech, and Baylor. In the end, it’s pretty similar, especially now with Arkansas as the cross divisional rival. The University of Arkansas is less than an hour from the Missouri border.

        Like

        • bullet says:

          It makes sense at the end of the season. With 7 teams in a division, not everyone can play a division game. So A&M/LSU replaces Arkansas/LSU and Missouri/Arkansas is also end of season, along with UM/MSU, AL/AU, UK/TN. UGA,UF,SC and Vandy play out of conference.

          Like

          • Eric says:

            I like that. I think is a great way to end the season. Only one kind of left out is Vandy, but there’s no way around that with 3 others ending out of conference and they get the next to the last week for the game they want.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Vandy has a budding rivalry with Wake (OK, I’m not sure how fierce the rivalry is, but they’re similar smaller private academically prestigious southern schools with the exact same colors in bordering states, so there’s potential there).

            Like

  67. Pat says:

    Arkansas was probably the biggest proponent for admitting Missouri to the SEC because it gives them a new regional rival. The Razorbacks have been a bit of an outlier since leaving the Southwest Conference and losing their big rivals Texas and aTm. If the SEC ever goes to 16, they want a pod of LSU, Arkansas, aTm and Missouri.

    Like

  68. Andy says:

    If these rumors of the demise of the ACC have any merit, I suppose we might see the Big Ten and SEC taking the best of the ACC, with the rest merging into the Big 12.

    Rutgers, Maryland, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech to the Big Ten

    North Carolina, Virginia to the SEC

    Florida State, Miami, Clemson, NC State, Virginia Tech, Pitt to the Big 12

    Boston College, Syracuse, Duke, Wake Forest to the Big East.

    But I find it really hard to believe that the ACC would fall apart like that. I have a tough time believing this rumor.

    Maybe something like:

    Rutgers, Notre Dame, Virginia, Georgia Tech to the Big Ten

    Maryland and NC State to the SEC

    Texas, Texas Tech, OU and OSU to the PAC

    West Virginia, Louisville, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, and UConn to the ACC

    Baylor to the Big East

    Or maybe we won’t see superconferences at all. Maybe the Big Ten is done expanding. I tend to think that’s the most likely at this point.

    Like

    • metatron5369 says:

      Big Ten: Missouri, Maryland, Notre Dame, Kansas/Rutgers

      SEC: Georgia Tech, Clemson, NC State

      ACC: Rutgers, UConn

      Big East: *folds*

      Like

    • vp19 says:

      1. The SEC is a non-starter for Maryland.

      2. North Carolina won’t go anywhere without Duke (ESPN will make sure of that).

      Like

    • bullet says:

      The SEC is a non-starter for UVA and UNC as well.

      Going back to the Big East is a non-starter for any of those schools. They would take who they wanted out of the mess that is the Big East and create a new ACC.

      But I don’t think we’ll see anyone move within the Big 5 until at least the next round of contract negotiations 10 years from now.

      Like

      • joe4psu says:

        The B12 and the B1G are just about to start negotiations or will in the next couple of years. Considering the long term contracts that they will likely sign, why not sort some of this out now? Who other than the SEC, and possibly the Pac (I don’t remember how long their contract runs), will be negotiating in ten years? The ACC is tied up until 2025 or 2026 after the recent three year extension aren’t they?

        Like

        • bullet says:

          B12 Tier II (and almost certainly the new Tier I) will expire about the same time as the SEC, Pac and the current ACC (before the extension). B12 schools have signed over their rights for 6 years, which stretches beyond the B1G window. So there will be a LOT of discussions going on around that time.

          As for now, I don’t see the B1G expanding w/o ND or Texas and I don’t think either is interested right now.

          Like

      • Andy says:

        I think all of these “non-starter” rules go out the window if the ACC is actually falling apart, as is being suggested. Short of that I agree that those core AAU ACC schools likely would not join the SEC.

        Like

        • zeek says:

          The thing is, unless the Big 12 manages to pluck out a lot of ACC schools, it’s hard to see the ACC falling apart. The Big Ten isn’t going to be proactive; they’re waiting on ND or Texas. The SEC is at 14, and they’re not likely to make a move that would put UNC at the doorstep of the Big Ten, so why would they make a move unless Florida State decides that they want to bolt the ACC for the SEC?

          And even then, the ACC is now at 14. Is UNC ever really going to want to leave the ACC where it’s the king of the hill with the core North Carolina based schools? If the ACC loses 2 schools, they’re back to 12, that’s not much of a loss. Money is important, but in the same way that Texas wanted its own roost, UNC probably thinks the same way. And the East Coast has way more population than Texas + smaller Midwest/Southwest states, so there’s no real population threat to the ACC even if they do lose a school like Clemson or even Florida State.

          The only possibility I see for UNC is someday going to the Big Ten, but that scenario really does require the ACC to fall apart (5 or so schools leaving) and it’s hard to see how that can happen unless the Big 12 pulls off an all time stunner and grabs Florida State, Clemson, and 2 or so others.

          UNC to me is a 4th or 5th mover kind of school like Texas. Unless a lot of schools start bolting, they aren’t going to be looking at options. Even if the money differences only grow in the future…

          Like

          • zeek says:

            Other thing is, I think Texas is more likely to go to the ACC than UNC is to leave the ACC.

            Dodds himself said a few weeks ago that Texas would look East if they left. They’re looking at the ACC or Big Ten or some kind of grand alliance of schools if they ever have to leave the Big 12.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            In any scenario that involves the ACC surviving, one would think the founding schools would not leave. That means North Carolina, Duke, NC State, Wake Forest, Virginia, Clemson, Maryland.

            Now, Clemson and Maryland are periphery rather than core schools, so they would be less solid. And perhaps NC State would want to differientiate itself from UNC in the same way Texas A&M is trying to do with UT, but other than that, one would think the other 5 would be loyal to the ACC.

            But if the ACC is to totally fall apart, I think anything is possible. The only reason this would be happening is if the ACC were at a severe financial disadvantage comapred with neighboring leagues. If the ACC is paying $16M per school and the B1G and SEC are paying $35M per school, for example. In this case there would be a rush among ACC schools to occupy the 4 or 5 openings in those two leagues. The best of the best would be eligible for those spots. This means the prestigious AAU schools like North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland, Duke, and Georgia Tech. I could see 3 going to the Big Ten and two going to the SEC. Maybe Maryland, Virginia, and Georgia Tech to the Big Ten, and North Carolina and Duke to the SEC. The rest of the ACC wouldmerge with Texas and the best of the Big 12 to create teh 4th super-conference.

            I personally don’t think superconferences are likely at this point, but if they do happen, this is a way they might happen.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Andy:

            NCSU’s board of trustees is the same as UNC’s board of trustees, which means they aren’t going anywhere without UNC’s approval, which means we won’t see a TAMU-type situation in Carolina. Plus, my impression is that NC St. people get along far better with UNC than A&M folks ever did with Texas.

            Like

  69. Brian says:

    http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/7649441/syracuse-reports-possible-drug-policy-violations-ncaa

    So what do people make of the Syracuse drug scandal? If proven, violating your own drug policy is a pretty big no-no. It’s possible that Boeheim and others really didn’t know, but it’s pretty ballsy for somebody lower on the totem pole to decide on their own to falsify results for years. How did this not get caught sooner? And why has the NCAA known for over a year? Even they shouldn’t take that long to investigate this.

    Like

    • Steve says:

      Probably time for Boeheim to retire; Too many scandals. It’s hard for me to believe he didn’t have at least some knowledge of what was going on with Bernie Fine and this most recent scandal. Most likely, he decided to turn a “blind eye” to the situations. I think he will be gone before Syracuse enters the ACC, maybe even after the NCAA tournament this year. The university will find a way to ease him out as gracefully as possible so they can move on and begin to rebuild their reputation. I’m sure they will want to enter the ACC with a clean slate.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        From what I read, Boeheim ran his basketball team like an NBA coach. That is, he expected his players and coaches to work like it was a real job. He also didn’t ask or care about what was going on in your personal life. All that mattered was that you always showed up and did your job well. The rest of your life was your life and not his concern.

        If that’s the case, I can certainly see a guy like Boeheim not knowing about non-basketball stuff going on with his charges.

        Like

  70. Brian says:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/ncfnation/post/_/id/59734/3-point-stance-seven-on-seven-summit

    An important issue for CFB that has largely been under the radar is the the growing threat that is 7 on 7 tournaments. AAU has destroyed MBB with its corruption and promotion of selfishness, and the same could happen to CFB. I’ll be curious to hear if anything comes out of the meeting being hosted by Lane Kiffin. WIth he and Urban Meyer both involved, you have people on the cutting edge of recruiting to explain the issues and how bad it has gotten.

    Like

    • bullet says:

      In Texas its tied into the high schools and doesn’t seem to have the agent issue.

      Interesting with all the talk of simplifying they are talking about restricting non-coaching personnel. That would be a real administrative nightmare defining jobs that fall into the restricted area and those that don’t.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        As you know, it’s all about the money. The little guys can’t compete with AL having an NFL sized staff, so you throw them a bone by limiting it. The big boys will be OK without the extra people.

        Like

        • Of course, the real question is why should anyone be forced to limit themselves just so that the little guys can pretend to compete (they can’t compete primarily b/c they don’t have the fanbase, the facilities, the tradition, the same quality education, etc. as the big guys). This sort of thing papers over the fundamental issue that the little guys don’t have the same sort of program as the big boys and never will.

          OTOH, staff sizes are pretty bloated and cutting them down really isn’t a bad idea. I just think “let’s throw the little guys a bone” is a terrible justification for policy.

          Like

  71. bullet says:

    http://www.ajc.com/sports/georgia-tech/a-conversation-with-acc-1373711.html

    Interview with John Swofford. One of his big issues is “finding the right governance approach nationally that best serves an increasingly heterogenous NCAA membership.” I interpret that as Division I is too big.

    Says its too early to say there will be 4 team playoff, but there won’t be an “NFL-type playoff.”

    On whether there was an inclination to limiting to conference champs, his response was “Not yet. That would be part of the discussion.”

    Like

    • Mike says:

      ACC is still in the process of altering its agreement with ESPN.


      Q: Are you concerned about the revenue disparity between the ACC’s television contract and some other leagues’ larger deals? Will a renegotiation of your ESPN contract address that?

      A: It will. One of the benefits of our expansion . . . is that it allows us to renegotiate our television contract. A lot of TV negotiation is timing and circumstance. The deal we made just a couple of years ago was an outstanding one at the time, [but] circumstances changed and other players came into the marketplace. So the relativity of it changed sooner than we would have ever dreamed, but this gives us the opportunity to [alter] that arrangement, and we’re in the process of doing that.

      Q: One report had each ACC school gaining an extra $1 million to $2 million per year from the renegotiation. Is that correct?

      A: We haven’t finalized that yet. I’d rather not comment on that at this point, other than to say that I think we’re going to be very pleased with where we are financially when all is said and done.

      Like

  72. frug says:

    Jon Wilner is reporting on his Twitter account that the PAC will announce next week that they will be holding next season’s BB tournament in Las Vegas.

    Smart move if true.

    Like

    • zeek says:

      They really just need to overcome the talent dip/exodus to the NBA and for UCLA to become relevant again.

      Considering that both are at all-time nadirs, they’ve got a lot of work in both of those departments.

      Like

  73. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Talk about impeccable time management and organizational skills. LSU women’s basketball coach Nikki Caldwell coaches the Lady Tigers all the way to the SEC Tournament Championship game on Sunday, gives birth today, and will we ready to coach the Lady Tigers in the NCAAs beginning March 18, most likely in Baton Rouge.

    http://theadvocate.com/home/2249293-125/its-a-girl-caldwell-delivers.html

    Mom and baby girl (future Lady Tiger?) are doing fine.

    Like

  74. jj says:

    As long as we’re back on the wild super c speculation, has 15 teams ever been vetted?

    How about 3 divisions of 5 with 9 games. You would play the 4 in your division, 3 from 1 other and 2 from the last. Then flip the non-dividional opponents next year. No crossovers. A team would get every other team in 2 years and a home and road with them in 4 years. 2 best records play for championship.

    A
    Neb
    Wisc
    Ia
    Minny
    Mizzou / Texas / Kansas

    B
    UM
    OSU
    MSU
    Ill
    NW

    C
    PSU
    ND
    Pur
    In
    Pitt / MD

    Like

    • frug says:

      You couldn’t hold a CCG if you did that.

      Like

    • Brian says:

      Well, there are a couple of obvious issues:

      1. NCAA rules would have to change.
      2. An odd number of teams makes scheduling harder as not everyone can play a conference game the same week.

      If you change the rules, you can rethink 12:

      West – NE, WI, IA, MN (medium)
      Central – NW, IL, PU, IN (easy)
      East – OSU, PSU, MI, MSU (hard)

      The east will dominate the media coverage, but the west is pretty stout competitively and the central is balanced despite lacking star power. Play 3 in pod, 3 in another pod, and 2 from the last pod. Two best pod champs meet in the CCG. It’s still not ideal since you lose many king/king options for the CCG, but you restore the rivalries.

      Balanced:
      A – OSU, PSU, PU, IN
      B – MI, MSU, NW, IL
      C – NE, WI, IA, MN

      You’d need to lock OSU/MI (and could lock PSU/MSU if that helped for scheduling), but now each pod has a king, a second strong team and a weakling. OSU and MI play 3-1-4 (3 in pod, The Game, 2 from each other pod or 3/1) and everyone else is 3-3-2 (3 in pod, 3 from one pod, 2 from the other).

      Since you’re throwing out unusual ideas, though, try 13:

      Add ND and nobody else to dilute the cash.

      A – MI, ND, MSU, PU, IN
      B – OSU, PSU, NW, IL
      C – NE, WI, IA, MN

      Everybody plays their pod, obviously, and The Game is locked.

      A – 4 in pod, 2 from each other pod
      B, C – 3 in pod, 3 from one pod, 2 from the other
      MI – 4 in pod, OSU, 1 from B, 2 from C
      OSU – 3 in pod, MI, 2 from A, 2 from C

      Like

      • jj says:

        Brian:

        your 13 isn’t bad at all. the rules can always be changed.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          It’s certainly good for cash if ND didn’t demand an east coast partner. I think PSU would throw a fit about not adding somebody eastern, though, and with decent cause. Nobody likes to be the outlier, and east coast access cold be a windfall for the B10.

          Take my 13 and add RU or MD to pod B.

          A and B play 4 pod games and 2 from each of the other pods, with the OSU/MI exception.
          C plays 3 in pod, 2 from one pod and 3 from the other.

          Like

          • zeek says:

            Pretty much, if you’re going to add ND, why not add Rutgers or Maryland to maximize the value you get in NYC or DC given the concentration of Big Ten alumni (especially Penn State alumni along with solid presence from other schools like Michigan/Ohio State/Michigan State) in either of those areas. You really do want to plant a flag in one of those two metros if you get ND…

            Like

          • Brian says:

            I agree. I just wanted to show the 13 case since we were talking odd numbers that will never happen.

            Like

    • Richard says:

      I’ve played around with crazy ideas like 3 5-school pods. For your idea to work, obviously the NCAA rules would have to change. You could also have 3 5-school pods without changing the rules. 2 of the pods would combine to form one division while the other pod makes up the second division. The 10-team division plays roundrobin and 1-interdivisional game for 10 league games. The 5-team division plays 4 games in their little division and 2-interdivisional games for 6 games. Teams would have 4 years of 10 league games and 2 years of 6 league games over 6 years. The interdivisional games could be with permanent rivals (one in each pod).

      Pods with permanent crossover rivals in parenthesis and ordinal rank of conference winning percentage (from Brian) last (in 15 being best)

      Pod A (8.6 average strength):
      Michigan (OSU, PU) 14
      MSU (ND, Northwestern) 6
      Wisconsin (Illinois, Rutgers) 11
      Iowa (Nebraska, PSU) 8
      Minny (IU, GTech) 4

      Pod B (7.4 average strength):
      OSU (PSU, Michigan) 15
      Nebraska (Iowa, ND) 13
      IU (PU, Minny) 1
      Northwestern (MSU, Rutgers) 5
      Illinois (Wisconsin, GTech) 3

      Pod C (8.0 average strength):
      ND (MSU, Nebraska) 9
      PSU (OSU, Iowa) 10
      GTech (Minny, Illinois) 12
      Rutgers (Wisconsin, Northwestern) 2
      PU (IU, Michigan) 7

      Pretty balanced. The pod with the fewest kings has the highest average strength, and the pod with 2 of the 3 highest kings has the lowest average strength, which is what you’d want to see.

      You’d obviously want to plan for the 2 years out of 6 when you’re in the smaller division, as getting to the title game is much easier then. The smaller division would also be the one that plays all of the B10-Pac series games (if each of the Pac teams play one game, then 2 of the B10 teams in the smaller division play 3 Pac opponents while the other one plays 2 Pac opponents.

      The non-ND kings would still be able to hold 7 home games a year (though obviously, when playing 10 league games, the other 2 are guarantee games & big time OOC series have to take place when playing in the small division). A school like Iowa that has to play ISU every year would have only 6 home games 2 out of 6 years, but they could hold 8 home games when they’re in the smaller division. ND would only be able to play USC & Navy (and maybe visit Hawaii) the 4 years when they’re in the big division, but they could also play Stanford & BC the 2 years when they only have 6 league games.

      In fact, this system is so crazy and thought-provoking that I really wish it came about.

      Like

  75. Brian says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/05/sports/ncaabasketball/big-east-pays-the-price-for-not-embracing-football.html

    Bill Rhoden wrote a column about the demise of the BE due to ignoring CFB. Nothing really new except a lot of quotes from Mike Tranghese blaming everyone else and claiming he foresaw that they would regret declining to invite PSU. He says he wanted the BE to split rather than go hybrid and blamed the bad TV deal on Miami getting probation. He also sounds bitter about SU leaving.

    I don’t know how much of that is accurate and how much is a self-serving version of history, but Tranghese definitely throws SJU, Nova and Georgetown under the bus. Marinatto doesn’t come off great either.

    Like

    • wmtiger says:

      Big East was a better football conference than the ACC back before Miami, Virginia Tech, Boston College left; at the time I felt they were both a distant #5… End result is largely the same; it was either going to be the Big East’s top programs leaving for the ACC or vice versa…

      FWIW I see the B10 able to steal Penn State away from the Big East even if PSU joined back in mid 80’s.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        I don’t know that I’d say that. They both were mostly 1 team conferences. The ACC had FSU’s great run, a few great UNC teams, and some quality GT and UVA teams. I think the hybrid format and brief history of the BE always meant the ACC had an edge.

        The BE said no to inviting PSU the same year the B10 invited them according to the article. I enjoyed the arrogance to assume that PSU would have chosen the BE over the B10. They might have chosen the BE, but I’d think it would have been a hard choice.

        Like

      • vp19 says:

        There have been stories from PSU officials that if the ACC had invited Penn State in the early ’80s, it would gladly have joined and the move to the Big Ten might never have taken place. Add the possibility of Syracuse back then as well (SU and Florida State were both considered as the 9th member, the vote was deadlocked 4-4 and eventually wound up in FSU’s favor), with Miami as member #12 along with FSU, and that would have been a heckuva conference in the 1990s — one dozen, same as today, with Penn State and Syracuse replacing Boston College and Virginia Tech.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          Carry that forward, and it might have meant VT in the SEC instead of Arkansas. Then what would the collapse of the SWC have yielded? If AR was still around, does Baylor not make the B12 (or someone else)? The B10 would likely have still been at 10. Would they have pushed to steal Big 8 teams then? SWC teams? Would UT have been an option? NE?

          Like

          • Michael in Raleigh says:

            Ctually, I think it still would have been Arkansas and SC in the SEC. VT wasn’t a valuable commodity until the mid-atlantic to late-90’s. Remember, Beamer’s first 4-5 seasons in the late 80’s were losing seasons, and although SC also was not exactly a powerhouse either, it was a better known entity and had a 70,00-plus seat stadium back then.

            Come to think of it, if PSU would have joined the ACC back in the80’s or 90’s, alongside Miami and others, VT would never have had any Big east to use as a platform to grow into the solid programthat it is today.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            And also, Arkansas was a national power in 89. They’ve slipped in the SEC. South Carolina was a nobody at the time. Arkansas would have still been #11. And the demise of the SWC was inevitable with all the city school’s being hurt by the pros.

            Timing is important. If the SWC had collapsed when Arkansas left, Houston might have been in the Big 12 and Kansas St. left out. But Houston’s fb and bb programs both took a nosedive at that point and Bill Snyder took over KSU.

            Like

          • frug says:

            I agree the collapse of the SWC was inevitable, regardless of what happened with Arkie. In the post-BCS/expanded cable package era of nationalized college sports a conference with 7 schools in one state never would have worked.

            That said…

            There is no way K-State ever would have been left out. Remember, the Big XII began as an expansion of the Big 8. UT, aTm, Baylor and Tech all applied for admittance to the Big 8. It wasn’t until after they were accepted that the conference decided to reject the Big 8 history and declare themselves a new conference. (Houston over Baylor definitely could have happened though)

            Like

          • bullet says:

            OU and OSU discussed joining the SWC. There was also a discussion of a full merger.

            Basically, SMU, TCU and Rice didn’t add value. For that matter neither did Tech or Baylor-or several Big 8 members.

            KSU was awful before Snyder. They could have very easily been left out in whatever happened.

            The Big 8 story is that the Texas 4 joined the Big 8. What really happened was the best 12 programs from the 2 conferences got together. Only Houston was anywhere close to making the cut among the other 4.

            Like

          • Mack says:

            The SWC proposed the full merger. Never had a chance with the B8. B8 wanted the 4 big TX public schools, but TX politics allowed Baylor in instead of Houston. Happened very fast when UT said it would explore all options (UT and A&M had an offer from PAC, but A&M wanted to go SEC at that time). Texas state politics kept UT and A&M from both the PAC and SEC since both TT and Baylor would have suffered the fate of Rice and SMU if they moved to the power conferences.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Michael and bullet,

            What I was thinking was that the timing would be different. Tranghese said it was PSU to the B10 that kickstarted everything, so what if that didn’t happen in 1989 but PSU joined the BE for MBB in the early 80s?

            Maybe the SEC delays expansion for a couple of years until the SWC explodes anyway. In the 1994 season, VT played in the Sugar Bowl. AR might have preferred the B12 and playing UT every year. VT wasn’t a big name like AR, but it brought a bigger potential TV audience. Would the SEC have looked at a map and said with SC and VT, eventually we might get a NC school too and own the SE?

            Would the B12 divisions have been different if AR was around? Would it have been a full merger? Would that mean NE was still happily playing OU every year and not in the B10? Or would UT have looked elsewhere and decided to jump like they almost did?

            Like

          • frug says:

            The Big 8 story is that the Texas 4 joined the Big 8.

            It wasn’t a story, it’s what happened. There wasn’t any “discussion” of a merger; there was a proposal by the SWC schools. (Though the Big 8 was willing to consider negotiating TV contracts together). Yes some people had mentioned the possibility of the Oklahoma schools joining the SWC in the early ’80s but that died out once Arkansas left and it became clear the SWC was on life support.

            No Big 8 member could have been left out of the Big XII.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            There was a recent article by a retired Big 8 president saying they were surprised when Texas and Texas A&M weren’t interested in bringing along the rest of the SWC schools. They had a meeting that he expected to include all 16 schools.

            As for KSU, you may not remember how bad they were. They were regularly 1-10, 2-9 and drawing 20k fans a game. It was always KSU (Kansas St.) and KSU (Kent St.) at the top of the bottom 10. These things are about money and KSU was a serious drag at the time, as were TCU, SMU and Rice (who were all winning more and drawing better than pre-Snyder KSU-at least until the SMU death penalty). Its been many years so I’m not certain, but I think I remember a Kansas St. official making the comment that they could have been left out.

            These things are about money and Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Nebraska were the key players.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Had A&M joined Arkansas in the SEC at that time and Texas and Colorado joined the Pac, with the Big 8 surviving but w/o UT or A&M, things would have been very different. They likely would have invited Texas Tech, Houston and perhaps some of the other original CUSA schools or WAC schools.

            Like

          • frug says:

            Had A&M joined Arkansas in the SEC at that time and Texas and Colorado joined the Pac, with the Big 8 surviving but w/o UT or A&M, things would have been very different. They likely would have invited Texas Tech, Houston and perhaps some of the other original CUSA schools or WAC schools.

            In that case, then yeah it may have happened, but you have to remember that KU and KSU share a BoR so barring a complete meltdown they would have been stuck together and Kansas was a net positive to the conference.

            The fact is, once it became clear that UT and A&M had no option besides the (then) Big 8, the Big 8 had (almost) all the leverage and it would have been impossible to leave behind any Big 8 schools.

            Like

          • m (Ag) says:

            When the SEC expanded, they wanted Arkansas, Texas, A&M and then 1 from FSU & Miami. South Carolina was only invited after 4 of those schools turned them down. So I don’t think VT would have jumped the line, although they might have been picked before SC.

            I’ve heard (and read) several different stories about how the Big 12 was founded. In most of them, it was only the Longhorns and Aggies that were going to join the Big 8. The Conference would either going to stay at 10 or add 2 more non-Texas schools (BYU was 1 target, and I think Louisville might have been the other). Politics, of course, lead to 2 other Texas schools joining.

            Like

          • Mack says:

            B8 never considered just TX and A&M because both PAC and SEC were interested and would have invited these two schools to join, leaving the B8 high and dry. Neither the PAC or SEC were willing to take baggage in the form of TT, Baylor, or Houston. Texas politics and the fact that A&M wanted to go SEC and TX PAC (and a split would not work with the TX politics of the day) resulted in the B12 since the B8 was willing to take some baggage and TT (leg.) and Baylor (gov.) were the best connected.

            Like

        • Richard says:

          Hard to see FSU joining the BE with an invite from the ACC (and FSU would have gotten an invite from the ACC with a BE invite). Remember that Miami originally joined the BE only because the ACC turned them down at the time.

          Like

    • frug says:

      http://thequad.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/09/quad-qa-big-east-commissioner-mike-tranghese/

      Here’s an interview with Tranghese from 2009 that has a lot of good stuff about Penn St (such as the fact that, despite years of speculation, Syracuse did not torpedo Penn St. back in the ’80s, voting in favor of adding PSU all 5 times Gavitt brought the matter up for a vote). However, the most interesting part (at least to me) is his speculation that had Penn St. been admitted we might still have independents.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        There are some blatant contradictions in the two articles, such as why Tranghese retired when he did (fear of flying impacting his job versus realignment) and when the issue of bringing in PSU came up (1982 vs 1989).

        I think he is dead wrong about independents, though. Outside forces pushed them to join conferences. Where were they all going to get the TV money from to keep up with the power conferences? Once the NCAA lost control of the TV package, independents were mostly doomed.

        Something that stuck out to me was the discussion about the hiring of Marinatto. Tranghese clearly felt that the next commissioner needed to have experience with the BE, and all TPTB apparently told him that was the deciding factor in choosing Marinatto. Where were the voices saying they needed an outside viewpoint and some fresh ideas? Where were the people saying Providence shouldn’t always provide the commissioner? Instead, the BE kept choosing the good friend and former lieutenant of the previous guy. Tranghese talks about how he recognized the importance of football, so where was the recommendation to hire someone with some serious CFB experience?

        Like

        • PSUGuy says:

          IIRC, there were differing dates with differing purposes.

          In the late 70’s or early 80’s Paterno tried to put together an all sports conference with football as its marquee sport (just like the Big Ten or SEC) using the eastern independents as its core (or entirety really). Too many of those schools shot it down, electing to join / stay with the Big East basketball conference and remain independent in football. They honestly thought they were having their cake and eating it too.

          Fast forward to 1982 and PSU tries to gain admittance to the Big East, for basketball only, and is shot down. The simple reason is, certain schools that loved the bball focus were worried (rightly so) that PSU would push to include football into the Big East. Ironically, turning the Big East into what it is today. In 1989 there was some confusion on whether PSU was actually going to join the Big Ten or not…the Big East voted, again, to invite PSU as a counter, but, again, was voted down.

          Speaking as a PSU fan and one mildly interested in the history of it…I really think think PSU would have chosen a Big East or ACC invite over the Big Ten in the 80’s timeframe. They viewed the joining of a conference as a strictly sports move. What’s more, to be brutally honest PSU wasn’t that “complete” of a school, preferring to focus more on practical sciences as opposed to business, economics, or other Liberal Arts focused endeavors (truly, Paterno can be thanked for the growth in those areas due to his belief in their importance and active fundraising for them).

          Nowadays, its comical to see people say PSU is going to join the ACC or any other conference. Penn State is exactly where it wants, and should, be.

          Like

          • vp19 says:

            Another thing to keep in mind: An eastern all-sports conference might well derived not from the Big East, but the Atlantic 10 (or its predecessor, the Eastern Eight). At one time in the late ’70s, that league included Penn State, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Rutgers and Temple. Had it been able to corral Syracuse and Boston College before the Big East was founded in 1979, it would have a seven-member core, and it might have been able to persuade Maryland to ditch the ACC and make it eight.

            Like

          • Kevin says:

            Penn State has made the Big Ten a better conference in football and in sports beyond football. Should be interesting to see how this Hockey conference plays out. I am a casual or less than casual Hockey fan but it definitely has my interest. This is coming from a Wisconsin fan where Hockey was our number 1 sport for a long time.

            In a prefect world I would like the Big Ten to stay at 12 schools but I really think PSU needs a travel partner at some point. Whether that is Maryland or Rutgers I am fairly indifferent although I think there is more growth in the DC market. If it doesn’t happen when the new television contract is signed it may be another 20 years.

            All these “look backs” of hypothetical moves is always fascinating. I remember at one time many thought the Big Ten should and was going to add Iowa State. It’s probably a good thing that the conference leadership takes a very deliberate approach to conference expansion. These moves are extremely difficult if not impossible to unwind.

            Like

          • PSUGuy says:

            @Kevin

            I was a big proponent of the NorthEast expansion to 16 for the Big Ten, but the more I think about it the more I really thing the Big Ten is done for a decade or two.

            I think the B1G and Pac are going to focus on this “collaboration” of all sports and consider that the “new expansion”. They’ll (try to) help establish and promote each other’s conference networks as legitmate channels of interest across the nation and use that as a spring-board for when their next tv contracts come up in 2030 or so. They might expand again then, but then again they might just consider a “tightening” of their collaboration too.

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          • zeek says:

            The Big Ten though is clearly done out west. The only school that the Big Ten was really after out there was Nebraska (besides the longshot on Texas). Considering that the Big Ten passed on Missouri (and has on the past), I don’t see them working into future plans.

            Now the Pac-12 collaboration brings them to the Big Ten’s border in Colorado, and it’s really hard to see what anything out west other than Texas brings to the table.

            The next move will be Eastern, the only question is whether or when it happens.

            It is likely to require Notre Dame + 1 or possibly two Eastern schools neither of which is Notre Dame.

            Either way, future expansion is likely to solve Penn State’s Eastern synergy issues; the only question is how long we all have to wait.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            We might all have to wait for ND to decide to go somewhere.

            Like

  76. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Slive speaks on the home semis and champions only final four. He’s open to home semis, but doesn’t think the final four should be limited to conference champs.

    http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2012/03/slive_currently_opposes_only_c.html

    While my Tigers certainly got the short end of the stick last season, I have a compromise to the champions-only debate.

    1. Use the current BCS formula and take the 3 highest ranked conference champions, with the two highest ranked conference champions getting home field advantage in the semi-finals.

    2. Team #4 would the the highest ranked team not among the 3 conference champs. It could an independent Notre Dame, a division runner-up Alabama, a conference co-champ from a conference without a title game, or a conference champ from another conference not in the top 3.

    The one caveat would be that a non-conference champ could not host a semi-final game.

    Like

    • greg says:

      Alan, I like your idea of #4 being a wild card. Covers a lot of possibilities and should keep a lot of parties happy.

      Like

    • bullet says:

      I would just limit it to 2 teams from the same conference.

      Theoretically, you could have Notre Dame, Army and BYU all go unbeaten and end up the top 3. This wouldn’t allow for that. But limiting it to 2 teams from a conference keeps you from getting too much subjectivity and possibly inviting 3 or 4 teams from one conference.

      Like

      • greg says:

        If the top 3 are all indies, only one is the indy champ. They are choosing to be indy, they can accept the downsides as well as the upsides.

        Like

    • Brian says:

      Alan,

      With all due respect, I hate it. Division runner up whomever can sit down and shut up and win their conference next time.

      But if your plan becomes the general basis for the playoff, I’d force the runner-up to play at their conference champ in one semi-final even if it’s 3 versus 4. No one-conference NCG, and no getting a second shot on a neutral field for the NCG. Go on the road in conference in December and beat them the second time around. I’d actually prefer to make it best two out of three, but that doesn’t work logistically. Then the “real” conference champ can face somebody else for the NCG to see how good that conference really was.

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      • bullet says: