Big Mistake by the Big East: Overconfidence in TV Valuation Caused Exodus Beyond Rutgers and Louisville

Posted: January 2, 2013 in Big East, College Basketball, College Football, DePaul Blue Demons, Sports
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In my observations of conference realignment over the past several years, I’ve actually believed that the various oft-maligned leaders of the Big East have often received a bad rap.  The frequent criticism that the basketball side ran the Big East rang hollow to me since having great basketball while improving football are not mutually exclusive, meaning that it made no sense to dilute what was legitimately an elite basketball conference just to add mediocre football bodies.  At the same time, there was never going to be a “proactive” move that would have prevented any Big East member from accepting an invite from the ACC, Big 12 or Big Ten.  Adding the likes of Houston, SMU, East Carolina, Memphis and Tulane earlier was never going to change the minds of Syracuse, Pitt, West Virginia, Notre Dame, Louisville and Rutgers when they got the opportunity to find different homes.  No one can really blame any Big East leader for those schools leaving.

The last two defections (Rutgers to the Big Ten and Louisville to the ACC), though, should not have caused an exodus that has seen the non-football “Catholic 7″ group (Georgetown, Villanova, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Providence, DePaul and Marquette) leave the league that several of them founded and Boise State decide to never even join as a football-only member (with San Diego State likely leaving right behind them).  Just because UConn and Cincinnati are doing everything that they can to leave the Big East didn’t have to mean that this league needed to split apart entirely.  Big East commissioner Mike Aresco, who came into the office this past summer with great fanfare and accolades from college sports industry veterans, has made a number of missteps that can’t be simply blamed on Rutgers and Louisville leaving.

Back in the heady days of October, the spin coming out of the Big East was that their new TV deal would be well in excess of $10 million per all-sports school and could even approach ACC-level figures.  Aresco, being a long-time TV industry executive with CBS Sports and ESPN, seemed to have some street cred on the issue.  However, the problem with all of the Big East valuations was that they were based on external broad-based market factors, such as new ESPN competitors (e.g. NBC Sports Network, Fox Sports One, etc.) needing the magic word of “inventory” and the overall rise in TV sports rights, as opposed to anything at all with the intrinsic value of the Big East itself.  The Big East tricked themselves (and many of their fans) into believing that they could turn down whatever ESPN was offering during an exclusive negotiating window period that ended on October 31st simply because they were selling a new TV contract in a rising market.  Even if Rutgers and Louisville had never left the Big East (as those defections occurred after the ESPN window expired), it was playing with fire.  There was never a guarantee that notoriously cheap Comcast was going to step up with a large offer on behalf of NBC Sports Network while Fox seemed to be more focused on other college conferences.  This isn’t just 20/20 hindsight from my viewpoint – the Big East got cocky about their TV valuation back in the fall and set themselves up to get burned on a number of levels irrespective of the actions of the Big Ten and ACC.

That cockiness about the potential TV deal led the Big East down a path where they mistakenly thought that they could convince BYU to join the league as a football-only member.  As I’ve stated several times before, BYU’s decision to become an independent was much more about obtaining exposure in and of itself with its ESPN contract and the leveraging of BYUtv than TV money itself.  However, reports out of the Big East repeatedly indicated that they wanted to keep going after BYU in a misguided belief that the conference could throw enough money to get the Cougars to bite.  This waste of time with respect to BYU prevented the Big East from moving on to different football-only alternatives for its proposed western flank, such as concentrating more on Air Force or going after other Mountain West members.  By the time that it was clear that the TV deal that the Big East was holding out for would never materialize, it was too late to get even Fresno State or UNLV (much less BYU). Without further western members willing to come to the Big East, that forced Boise State to reevaluate its own status and ultimately decide to remain in the Mountain West.  Whether or not the Big East should have offered Boise State some favorable TV deal terms in the same vein as the Mountain West did (where Boise State’s home games will be sold as a separate TV deal with financial bonuses to schools for national TV appearances) is irrelevant here.  It would never have come to this if the Big East hadn’t overvalued its TV prospects three months ago.

Meanwhile, the Catholic 7 had been witnessing the league that many of them founded start turn completely into Conference USA 2.0 over the past several years.  What kept them around up until last month was the prospect of a TV deal driven by the bubble in college football.  However, what the Catholic 7 figured out (and something that every single college sports fan that follows conference realignment should take note of) is that football in and of itself is not valuable.  Instead, what’s valuable is having the right football teams, and the Big East no longer had them.  Thus, hitching their wagon to schools simply because they played football no longer provided extra value to the Catholic 7, which meant there also wasn’t any point to being in an unstable hybrid that was getting picked apart due to football-focused conference realignment.  Receiving roughly the same TV money in a league that the Catholic 7 could control without worrying about football while also being an aggressor within its sphere of basketball-focused conference realignment (instead of being a victim) became much more appealing.  Of course, that TV calculation by the Catholic 7 would have never happened if the Big East had taken the ESPN offer this past fall since the league would have locked in an amount for the basketball schools that wouldn’t have made it worth it to consider splitting off.

At this point, the Big East mainly has to ensure that schools such as Houston and SMU don’t end up heading over to the Mountain West along with Boise State and presumably San Diego State, as well.  Now, I personally don’t believe that the Big East will lose anyone else to the MWC (the Big East still seems to be a better value proposition for the Texas-based schools), but perception of who is weak or strong can change pretty quickly in conference realignment.  It’s one thing for the Big East to be losing head-to-head battles with the Big Ten and ACC, yet it’s an entirely different matter when the MWC seems to have more momentum.

Ultimately, the decisions of Boise State and the Catholic 7 indicate that the new Big East TV valuation wasn’t going to be much of an increase (if there was an increase at all) over the Mountain West’s current fairly pedestrian deal and what the Catholic schools could receive in basketball TV money on their own.  All of that shows that Aresco turning down ESPN’s offer that would have surely been enough to keep Boise State and the Catholic 7 in the fold was a monumental error.  The Big East wanted to believe that it could still be in the power conference conversation or even argue that it was a stronger football league than the ACC.  However, they got put back into place quickly by the conference realignment gods with a major assist from the hubris of the Big East leadership.

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

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  1. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    GEAUX LSU Fightin’ Tigers! Baseball season starts next month!

  2. jj says:

    Go right through …

  3. Rick says:

    Go B1G Red

  4. Carl says:

    Re: Corbett: The enemy of my enemy is not my friend.

  5. Brian says:

    Go Louisville!!!!

    • zeek says:

      Louisville is absolutely overrunning Florida’s defense and has been all game. 9-13 on 3rd down conversions and many of them were long conversions.

      33-10 now. This thing is as good as done.

    • ccrider55 says:

      Florida must have gotten an advanced copy of Kiffin’s upcoming book on bowl game strategy.

  6. Richard says:

    Figure that this post better belongs here rather than in the old thread:

    Someone proposed the idea of the MWC, after adding Boise and SDSU, take Houston & SMU as well as Tulsa and UTEP. Tulsa and UTEP don’t add much, but if you go just a little east, the MWC could add Memphis and Tulane instead (much bigger media markets). If you split in to pods, the Houston-SMU-Memphis-Tulane pod is still pretty close to each other. Would Tulane and Memphis jump? Well, the closest MWC members with the TX added would be just as close or closer than the closest BE schools. With UNLV, SDSU, USU, and UNM, MWC basketball wouldn’t be much worse than BE basketball from Memphis’s perspective. The biggest differentiator is that the chances of schools jumping from the MWC to another league are minimal, promising stability, while Cincy and UConn want to join the ACC yesterday.

    BTW, to those folks who think that a MWC that stretches from the Pacific to the Mississippi is crazy, the Pacific Coast League has been in Memphis and New Orleans (as well as Nashville and Iowa) for over a decade now, and minor league baseball isn’t exactly a big-money operation either.

    • Jericho says:

      That’s not radically different than the old16 team WAC (and covers many of the same programs) that stretched from Hawaii to Texas/Oklahoma. Tulane and Memphis aren’t really that much farther East.

    • morganwick says:

      The PCL is really the “Western Conference” of AAA baseball to the “International” League’s “Eastern Conference”.

    • BruceMcF says:

      The MWC has just stabilized its position by promising Boise St. a larger share of the pie, and that plus the $2m or so less that the Big East was worth to a FB only member paying $0.9m in travel subsidies allowed it to offer the best deal to Boise State.

      Would Houston and/or SMU get the sam special package? If the did, would it generate national TV bonuses?

      With a set of members unlikely for any major conference, the MWC offers stability the Little East cannot, so on equal expected value of the current lineup, you’d take the MWC. Equal expected value to Boise State implies an upper bound of +3m or so to the favor of the Little East. It does not imply that regular MWC membership is equal or greater in value to regular Little East membership.

      • Jericho says:

        Although treating members differently seems like a recipe for disaster (see Big 12), the rules the Mountain West put into place could theoretically work for anyone, including Houston or SMU. If they joined the Mountain West, they’d get the same national exposures bonuses and bowl game bonuses that Boise could get. The only question is if they can package their TV deals separately (much harder).

        • Eric says:

          It’s a risk to have different rule for different schools, but it’s just as big a one to have the same. Miami (FL) probably would never have joined the old Big East without different revenue rules. Meanwhile, if the Big 12 had no made concessions to Texas, it would have lost every big program that it had. Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor, Iowa State, and possibly Missouri would have likely added most/all the Big East football schools of a couple of years ago. Instead those programs are safe in a Big 12 which now shares tier 1 and tier 2 equally, has a grant of rights keeping things steady, is tied with the SEC into the Sugar Bowl, has possibly the best alignment of any conference (home and home basketball, round robin football), and rumored to be raiding the ACC more than vice versa even though that’s probably unlikely.

          With all of that said, the set-up in Mountain West was set-up for Boise. I have big doubts it will work as effectively for the others and outside of San Diego State, I don’t see any others switching to the Mountain West (and we’ll have to even see on San Diego State).

          • bullet says:

            Other than the Boise games not being part of the original TV package (which is probably a win-win-CBS Sports has been a lousy deal for MWC), everyone gets the same rules. Its just that stronger programs will benefit more.

          • ccrider55 says:


            That’s how I see it. Just a variation of unequal revenue distribution, added to the ability to market (the games other than the 15 CBS gets) to other networks.

          • BruceMcF says:

            So other than the difference in the rules, the rules are the same? Every school, the one that has their home games sold in a separate package, both from the current and from the following MWC package, and the 10 to 13 that do not, get a $300K-$500K bonus for each game shown on a national broadcast network, or ESPN or ESPN2. The fact that the separate package may well be sold to ESPN, which would ensure that Boise State gets the lion’s share of those national broadcasts is somehow not the consequence of Boise State having a special provision to separate out its home games?

            The MWC has much less incentive to offer the same deal to Houston and/or SMU or, indeed, anyone not named BYU. And even if they did, the prospect of Houston and/or SMU leveraging such a deal into a number of national TV games per year is substantially less. So even if the MWC offered the deal to Houston and/or SMU, further watering down the value of their next TV contract, it wouldn’t hold the same expected return.

            Plus, the more schools have that special rule, the more of Boise State’s away games are lost to the CBS Sports contract.

            While the special rule carries costs, I’d say that Boise State is worth those costs to the MWC. But BYU is the only other school that would be, and if BYU knows that full well, that means that they can afford to stay independent for a while, since they can always get into the MWC on favorable terms.

            While the prospective financial benefit to Houston and/or SMU of jumping ship to the MWC is lower than was available to Boise State for remaining in the MWC, in the Little East, Houston and SMU are contracted as full members, with a full conference payout, whatever that may be, rather than 70%, no travel subsidy payment to its Olympic sports conference, and and travel costs to the Big East or the MWC would not be nearly the difference from Dallas or Houston as from Boise. Dallas is, after all, about halfway across the country, from either coast, and Tulane and Memphis are substantially closer to them than anyone in the MWC.

          • bullet says:

            From what I’ve read, as cc said, all the conference’s games other than the 15 or so CBS Sports takes, are in that separate package, not just the Boise games.

          • BruceMcF says:

            The first news, last week I believe was of the restructured CBS Sports contract, that the MWC would be free to separately package those games that CBS Sports did not pick up. It was not an announcement of what form that package or those packages would take.

            The second news, which came out yesterday or New Year’s day, was the terms of agreement with Boise State, which specifies that none of the Boise State home games will be included in the MWC conference broadcast package ~ either the current one or prospective one ~ and that they will be sold as a separate package.

            SO the agreement to allow the games not picked up by CBS Sports to be sold as one or more separate packages was a big piece of what permitted the special terms of agreement with Boise State, but clearly the other part was that CBS Sports must have agreed to waive their rights to pick Boise State home games ~ and doing so to allow the deal that kept Boise State in the MWC obviously was in their self-interest, as rights to the balance of the MWC including Boise State away games is worth more than rights to the MWC without Boise State participating.

          • Mack says:

            The only school in Texas worth the terms BSU got is Texas (add a 0 to bonuses), but the B12 is not going to give it to them.

            If MWC adds a Texas school, likely to be UTEP; however, no rush. More of an invite to get to 12 if MWC cannot get BYU or SDSU (or to make 14 if it gets both).

          • BruceMcF says:

            UTEP is more a travel partner for New Mexico than for a team in Dallas or Houston ~ having driven it, that is one long stretch between East Texas and El Paso.

          • BruceMcF says:

            It will be quite interesting interesting to see what offer the MWC could put together that would be bad enough to get SDSU to turn it down. It would have to be worse than just “enter the MWC Western division on the same terms as everyone else”, since that would not be bad enough for SDSU to turn it down.

            If they have to make an offer and cannot work out terms that SDSU will not, in the crunch, accept, then UTEP would be on the back burner as a 14th if BYU changes its mind on independence versus playoff access a couple years down the track and decides it wants in after all.

          • FranktheAg says:

            Mack –> Texas A&M say hello…

          • Mack says:

            The SEC will let any member walk before providing special benefits. Evaluation was importance to where they are now, not where they were.

          • BruceMcF says:

            Of course, the regular benefit of being in the SEC is a bucketload more than the special benefits Boise State are receiving, and the gap is only going to get bigger in the year ahead.

          • morganwick says:

            All these unequal revenue arrangements make me yearn for a pro/rel system all the more, where every school is on relatively equal footing regardless.

  7. Jericho says:

    Now that a precedent has been set, is there any possibility of BYU re-joining the Mountain West? They could have their “separate tv package” deal like Boise State has, and can benefit from the potential bowl births as well. It could also seem to be a better home for the non-football sports. Provided the Mountain West can sign off on some affiliation with BYUtv, it at least makes financial sense.

    Of course it means BYU has to associate with Utah State :)

    • morganwick says:

      I suspect a big reason the MWC gave Boise the separate TV package was to send a message to BYU that they might do the same for them.

    • Eric says:

      My guess is no. I think they legitimately like independence and there is still the issue of having to deal with Comcast for all the away games. They’d go for a deal like that with the Big 12, but I with Utah gone, I don’t think they’ll do it for the Mountain West anymore.

    • Richard says:

      One thing to keep in mind is that even if BYU hits every bonus target, they would still make more money from their independent TV contract than as a member of the MWC under a Boise-type deal.

      • BruceMcF says:

        And its not like the prospect of the deal is likely to be a limited time offer, if they find that the limited access to the Access Bowls that the MWC Champion may enjoy is something they hanker after. They can afford to wait and see, now that the MWC looks like it will be either the or one of the two “Best of the Rest” conference(s) in the Middle Five.

      • bullet says:

        They will only make 200k from the playoffs. The question is how much more they could make in MWC.

        And the MWC and CBS Sports might allow them to keep their ESPN deal, at least for a time.

        • BruceMcF says:

          And if the MWC continues to do reasonably well in basketball, they may begin accumulating NCAA units, which do not have the flash in the pan impact on mid-major revenues of a BCS/Access bowl payment.

  8. Richard says:

    BTW, unlike Frank, I can’t really blame Aresco or “Big East leadership” for not taking the TV deal from ESPN (though I could fault him for not strengthening the BE’s western flank with Fresno or AFA) as several key schools in the BE wanted to hold out for more money (I believe RU, G’Town, and Louisville, was it?) From the perspective of those schools (except possibly G’Town), it was rational as, if they were accepted in to another conference, they would get more money anyway, and if another conference did not want them, they likely would have gotten more money as a member of the BE out in the open market. For G’Town, financially, it may be a wash, as what they will get as part of a Catholic Conference is maybe the same as the basketball payout of the open-market BE contract.

    • Jericho says:

      Are you talking about the ESPN deal from the summer of 2011 (before Syracuse and Pitt left) or the one during the most recent negotiation window? Because those that voted down the prior deal (which helped push Pitt and Syracuse out the door) did include some of the schools you named. I’m not sure what the figures were for the most recent negotiation window. I never saw any reported.

      • Richard says:

        Right, and ‘Cuse and/or Pitt were against that deal as well. Basically, the schools with drawing power were not looking out for the good of the league as a whole.

      • Richard says:

        Thus I would not say ‘Cuse and Pitt were pushed out; they were as or more selfish as anyone else in the BE.

      • Eric says:

        Frank talked about the exclusive negotiating window, which means recently. Last years offer clearly should have been taken now, but we had just ended a round of realignment without the Big East loosing anyone (even TCU). There was no reason for them to assume there would be that much loss, that quickly.

        This years was different. Maybe the offer ESPN made wasn’t good enough to take, but it was always going to be at least somewhat risky letting it go to the open market, because if Comcast/FOX were less interested than ESPN the price (including ESPN’s offer) was going to go down. Maybe accepting then would have been a disaster too in which case we can’t blame them, but if that seemed evident, the west coast issue should have been solved immediately. They offered Tulane and East Carolina in a week. They could have offered Fresno, Air Force, and UNLV and had better luck two months ago I’d guess. Another defection or two would have been all it would have taken to in my opinion to stop a move of Boise going back.

  9. zeek says:

    These SEC teams are giving up an average of almost 30 points per game.

    The defenses haven’t really been all that stout; there’s been some obvious playmaking by studs like Clowney, but on the whole, it hasn’t been a dominant bowl season for SEC defenses.

    The offenses have bailed them out of some of these games (Georgia’s prolific offense and South Carolina’s last minute playmaking especially).

    • zeek says:

      Also, this whole Louisville = football thing is going to work out well for the ACC. It’s like the Big 12 getting TCU.

      • curious2 says:

        Shocking win by UL in terms of perceptions of the all-powerful SEC and poor ACC.

        Last year WVU was the Cinderella story after their win over Clemson. This year they beat Texas and lost to Ok by a single point (ranked 2 and 3 in Big 12) yet were badly beaten by SU. Another ACC vs. Big 12 upset.

        • bullet says:

          Well the BE has won 5 of their BCS games since 2005. That’s 2 more than the ACC has won in the entire BCS period. The ACC, where good Big East football programs go to die.

        • metatron says:

          No kidding. There’s certainly egg on my face for doubting the ACC.

      • mushroomgod says:

        They could tank when their coach leaves….the demographics for UL football aren’t that great.

    • bullet says:

      They don’t face great QBs. Aaron Murray, Johnny Manziel (but who does more with his feet), not much else. You get one of those Baylor QBs-RGIII or Florence, and they will eat up a good defense most days. So their offensive failings show up when they can’t completely shut someone down. Bridgewater is good and had an excellent night. He was putting the ball in tight spots and the receivers were catching the ball (the opposite of NIU last night who still stayed with 7 points over 3 Qs). Florida has had offensive struggles all year. They scored TDs on a 4th down, a kickoff return and a long drive with 2 minutes left.

    • metatron says:

      Clowney made a great play to be sure, but I think more than anything he helped Taylor Lewan’s draft stock – he had him wrapped up almost all game long.

  10. bamatab says:

    RTR…and here’s to rolling over the Irish!

    • Brian says:

      Go Irish!

      The rest of the SEC hasn’t been impressive so far in bowls:
      #3 UF 23-33 #23 UL
      #7 UGA 45-31 #16 NE
      #8 LSU 24-25 #14 Clemson
      #10 SC 33-28 #18 MI
      MS St 20-34 #20 NW
      Vandy 38-24 NCSU

      That’s 3-3 despite the SEC being a sizable favorite in most of them. The SEC defenses are giving up 29.1 ppg on average. None of that makes AL any better or worse, but it does give some perspective.

      • Richard says:

        I have mixed feelings but ultimately can’t support the Irish. A strong ND in the heart of B10 territory taking top Midwestern and East Coast recruits from B10 schools is worse than a strong Bama taking top recruits from other southern schools.

      • bamatab says:

        I really wouldn’t put a whole lot of stock into some of these bowl games. In my opinion, there is a big difference in playing a regular season and championship games for a couple of reasons, than playing in some of these bowl games. In the regular season there is a lot more sustained “normalcy” in terms of how teams practice and prepare for games. That isn’t the case when there is a long layover between the final regular season game and the bowl game.

        Plus (again in my opinion) the proliferation of the massive amount of bowl games has weakened the interest in not only the lesser bowls, but also some the bigger bowls. I believe that some of these teams are coming into these games flat, because they just are not motivated to be there. You see it all of the time in these bowl games. USC is a great example of that this year. I also think that had a part to play in the Sugar Bowl. When the UF fans don’t even show up to a Sugar Bowl game, that tells me that their probably wasn’t a whole lot of hype and buildup from the UF side of things either, which probably filtered down to the players. Plus I’m sure the fact that Muschamp being a second year HC and preparing his team for the first time to go to a bowl game, probably also played a factor because that team was in no way prepared to play that game.

        I don’t see Bama falling into either one of those two traps. Saban and Bama have a lot of experience preparing for these big bowl games, and he has a “process” that he sticks to which provides some sense of “normalcy” during the layoff. Plus they will be plenty motivated for a BCSCG, and a chance to get into the “dynasty” discussions. Plus Saban tries his best to keep his players focused on concentrating on doing their jobs, and not to focus on the externals of everything else. Do the players always do that? No, but they do it more often than not.

        When it comes to the overall SEC bowl record this year, I think there are a couple of points to look at. First, I think the UF lose had a lot to do with how Muschamp prepared them (or didn’t in this case). the team (and the fanbase) were not motivated or ready to play that game. In LSU’s case, their lose had a lot to do with some “questionable” coaching calls in the 4th qrt. If they would’ve just decided to run #33 in the 4th qrt, I think they would’ve won the game, but instead they decided to get fancy and try and pass the ball. Les is known for doing stuff like that, and sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t (which it didn’t in that game). Miss St should’ve lost that game because NW was the better team, with the better coach. That game was in no way an upset. But regardless, the SEC has crapped the bed so far this bowl season, i won’t argue with that.

        But I don’t personally think what one or two SEC teams do in regards to their bowl games has any effect on what Bama does in theirs. If Bama’s recent history is any indicator, Saban will have his team prepared for this game. It’ll be interesting to see how much (or even if) the betting line moves on this game in the coming days. It wouldn’t surpise me to see it drop a little, but it would surpised me to see it swap to ND’s favor.

        • mushroomgod says:

          LSU was better than Clemson…..Les coaching and Boyd playing so great, and they were still fortunate to win.

        • bullet says:

          Its always tough to judge bowl games because of the different motivations. Its why I think polls should pay less attention to bowl games and more to the regular season instead of vice versa.

          Still, in Florida’s case, they showed more of what they did in the regular season. They struggled offensively. They stuffed the run. They covered well. But Bridgewater was able to thread the needle time and again. That was something they didn’t face in the SEC. Florida played a very tough schedule, but barely made it through, even against some of the weaker teams-Bowling Green, Louisiana-Lafayette, a depleted Missouri.

          Alabama won’t have a problem with motivation, but might with overconfidence. And they aren’t facing a Bridgewater caliber QB. Oregon or KSU would give Alabama much more problems defensively. On the other hand, Notre Dame’s defense should keep the game close.

        • Brian says:


          I wasn’t trying to imply those other games impact AL in any way except to show that perhaps their SEC competition wasn’t as tough as we’d been led to believe.

      • mushroomgod says:

        True….but Saban’s a different animal than all those SEC coaches other than the old ball coach…

        • Redwood86 says:

          The reason why the bowl games matter in judging the SEC, as opposed to other conferences, is that the SEC plays incredibly weak OOC schedules AND they don’t play nearly enough of the power teams in their own conference. So you end up with a bunch of xero-loss, 1-loss and 2-loss teams who (with the usual exception of LSU) have no more than 1-2 impressive wins on their resume.

          This year, if Alabama had played Florida there would not have been the RIDICULUOUS discussion about both teams deserving to be in the NCS game. Anyone who watched that Georiga-Florida game, which was one of the sloppiest games of incompetent offense that I have ever seen, could easily see that neither of those teams was elite. And anyone who watched LSU struggle against Auburn, Florida, and Mississippi could see that the Bengal Tigers were not elite this season. The fact that S. Carolina blasted Georgia, yet was blasted by LSU and Florida, and almost lost to Wofford(?) further discredits the SEC claims to superiority this season. Yet, S. Carolina, too, strictly on the basis of that win against Georgia, was considered an elite team.

          Bottom-line, until the SEC moves to a 9-game conference schedule, and stops playing cupcakes OOC, we will have to judge the conference based upon bowl games. You live by the sword (claim to be superior based upon post-season wins), you die by the sword.

          • FranktheAg says:

            Now the SEC is 5-3 after convincing wins by Texas A&M and Ole Miss (who is much improved).

          • bullet says:

            Much improved? Ole Miss won by 21 over a jeckle & hyde pitt team that lost by 24 to Cincinnati, 14 to Youngstown St. and nearly beat Notre Dame. Nothing you do against such an inconsistent team says much about your team. Before that Ole Miss beat an overrated MSU team and lost 3 straight.

          • Michael in Raleigh says:


            “The fact that S. Carolina blasted Georgia, yet was blasted by LSU and Florida…”

            Really? That’s a fact? LSU won 23-21, at home. It was a nailbiter of a game. Since when is a two-point victory that goes down to the wire considered blasting?

            Sorry, I just find it obnoxious when people stretch the heck out of the truth in order to defend their point. I actually agree with you that the SEC was overrated this year, but it isn’t appropriate to misconstrue the facts in order to argue that.

          • m (Ag) says:

            The SEC isn’t up to the legendary status that a 9-0 bowl record would indicate.

            However, a likely 6-3 bowl result (with the ‘top 6′ teams winning 2/3 of their bowls and the middle 3 also winning 2/3 of their bowls) does point to them as clearly the best conference.

            The Big 12 has had it’s status as a deep conference with only 1 bad team upheld (although Baylor started the season pretty bad before improving drastically), but the top 2 teams in the conference had 3 shots at teams that will finish in the top 10. They stayed close for awhile in each of those games before losing by lopsided scores. So the lack of bad teams is somewhat offset by the lack of top teams.

            The Pac 12 has a couple of good teams at the top that will finish in the top 10, but the rest of the conference hasn’t held up.

            The ACC got some respectability back with Clemson edging LSU (and GT beating Southern Cal), but we still remember Clemson and FSU losing to South Carolina and Florida. Those 2 can be in the mix with the top 6 SEC schools but that conference still isn’t great.

            I don’t think anyone’s arguing for the B10 here.

            The Big East had a nifty bowl season and will rank solidly, but certainly not above the SEC.

            I think SEC schools like Mizzou and Tennessee, which just missed bowl eligibility in the SEC, could have swapped schedules with 2 middle Big 12 teams and done just as well in that conference as the teams they replaced.

  11. bullet says:

    UNLV cares too much about basketball. They said publically they would not go. Plus, why would the BE want them for football? They’ve been awful. Fresno cares about basketball. Its not certain they would have delegated bb to the Big West. SDSU was historically awful in basketball until the last 3 years or so. Only Air Force was worse. And Air Force wasn’t going because they couldn’t find a home for their other sports. They tried earlier in the year, but noone would take them. So there wasn’t going to be any other western team.

    They worked that angle. I don’t think they can be blamed for that. Now the TV contract was all them. They had 2 chances and whiffed.

    I think the ultimate problem was that the hybrid created too many mouths to feed and limited what they could do. ESPN confirmed they had a deal slightly better than the ACC’s deal at the time that they turned down. If they had 10-12 football programs and a better contract than the ACC, Pitt and SU don’t leave. But the bb programs tried to cram a half-hearted moveup by Villanova down their throats. I also remember the quote from a BE official when they were considering Navy as well as Villanova. Navy was a great program, “class, class, class.” Which totally missed the point. Navy brings some $ and class, but they loudly say that the conference doesn’t deserve an AQ. I think those two moves helped push Pitt to look. That along with the fact that Notre Dame was leading the expansion committee for football. All of those things only happen with a hybrid.

    • Richard says:

      A BE deal better than the ACC deal frankly doesn’t pass the smell test. The best I had heard was $10M/school, which is still slightly worse than the ACC.

      • bullet says:

        This is the 2010 deal. An ESPN article said they turned down $150 million (which came out to around $14 million per football school-ACC was $12.9 at the time). As I just posted, I didn’t believe that until the ESPN article. I think the most recent one they turned down was $10-$11 million.

        • frug says:

          I still think Pitt would have bolted. They were one of the four schools (along with Rutgers, G-Town and WVU) that were most opposed to the 2010 deal. And once Pitt jump ship, ‘Cuse would have followed.

          • BruceMcF says:

            But Boise State and SDSU would have stayed, and the C7 would have stayed. “Best of the Rest”, kind of by definition, will only lord it over ” the rest”. Any Major conference invite would still see the invited program gone.

          • frug says:

            Unless ESPN voided the deal/reduced the payout after Pitt, Syracuse, TCU and WVU left.

          • BruceMcF says:

            Even IF they had reduced the payout after Pitt, Syracuse and WVU left and TCU failed to enter. It wouldn’t have been reduce to the kind of payouts that the Little East is looking at now, negotiating as contract “among the best of the rest, maybe, contingent upon no further defections”.

          • frug says:

            I don’t know. The contract would have been reduced again (possibly even voided) after ND, Rutgers and Louisville bolted, so at most it would have been marginally more valuable than what they would be getting on the open market. And given that UConn and Cincinnati already have their bags packed for an ACC or Big XII invite (which might never come), I still the C-7 would have broken off, and Boise probably would have bailed as well.

  12. bullet says:

    I didn’t believe the stories that came out a few months after the 1st deal was rejected. TCU, Pitt, SU, WVU, UConn, USF, Rutgers, Cincinnati and Louisville were getting more per school than the ACC with FSU, Miami, Clemson, It was a really good deal for what they had.

    • Richard says:

      If Chadd Scott is to believed, Nordgren at Pitt was a backstabber, convincing other BE schools to reject the deal because he wanted Pitt to go to the ACC.

    • wmwolverine says:

      Very surprised the Big East turned down that offer (ACC equivalent was the rumor), it’s what killed the conference more than any other.

      • Phil says:

        The money was fair, but there were other factors. Mostly, it was the thought that the conference would continue to be buried on ESPN.

        -ESPN had so many deals with other conferences that used up their time slots that they couldn’t give the Big East Saturday exposure even if they wanted to.

        -When the Thursday night Big East games worked out very well for both parties, ESPN even took away some of those slots for other conferences.

        -ESPN was having trouble getting carriers to pick up ESPN3. Since they had total control of the Big East games, they had a lot of ESPN3 exclusives (no local TV, no ESPN Gameplan) which pissed people off.

  13. ZSchroeder says:

    I rarely disagree with what Frank has to say, but I think the MWC does have a shot at Houston and SMU. The Big East is down to 10 teams with REALLY poor options for expansion. (UMass, Rice and Tulsa are probably the best options). If expansion is over, the 10 team Big East isn’t completely terrible, it’s roughly on par with the MWC now, but if expansion isn’t over, the Big East still has some teams ripe for the picking. If there Big East were to lose UConn and then etiher Cinci, UCF, or South Florida the Big East is very much diminished, with no good back fill options.

    The MWC on the other hand offers stability in the fact that the Pac 12 and Big 12 are not likely to touch any of those teams, so what you see is likely what you will get unless there is another WAC style spinoff that created the MWC back in the late 90s.

    The choice for Houston and SMU is to stay with the Big East with the prospect of the conference diminishing in the next couple years, or go to the MWC which will likely stay as it is for the long term.

    • bullet says:

      I think there’s a good possibility UH and SMU go to MWC. As you say, who knows who is going to stay in the BE? And there is still no TV contract. BE makes slightly more geographic sense. But financially appears to be pretty much a wash. And the stability of the MWC is much better. As someone pointed out, UH made a statement and didn’t say a word about the BE in it. They didn’t say anything about leaving, but didn’t say anything about staying either.

      • FranktheAg says:

        I agree bullett and I think both should go to the MWC. Much more stable long term future and likely to be more lucrative over the long run.

    • BruceMcF says:

      However, roughly the same quality league in front of ten rather than five top fifty markets (whichever way Houston and SMU go, they bring a blip on the radar in two top fifty media markets) is going to be worth more ~ even if not the Major Conference values that the Little East was hoping for less than a year ago. If the MWC with three top 50 media markets was worth $9m, then the Little East should be worth $20m to $30m.

  14. metatron says:

    After the dreadful show the Big Ten put on yesterday, I reluctantly endorse raiding the ACC.

    If that’s even possible now.

    • mushroomgod says:

      Well…..alternatively, schools like Purdue, Indiana, Illinois, and Minnesota could start taking football seriously………

      • mushroomgod says:

        As an example……….look at the energy, enthusiasm and resources UoL has put into football
        compared to those 4….and UoL is a basketball school. l

        • mnfanstc says:

          Louisville is a Tier 3 university that has been desperately trying to sell themselves to any “higher-level” athletic/academic conference affiliation. Because of the Rutgers and Maryland moves, Louisville got their wish—at least until the slow death of the ACC—which is nearly inevitable given the nature of today’s beast. Louisville will be a player as long as they have the right coach in place, but it is NOT a destination job.

          Purdue, Indiana, Illinois, and Minnesota are not destination jobs for football either. As a fan, I don’t know exactly what is said and done in the AD’s office and University President’s office regarding athletic spending/ university priorities/ etc. There is no doubt that each school’s priorities are different (that’s nationwide, not just in the B1G).

          It would really be nice if some day the athletic arms of the universities would be broken off and called what they are— a farce — so-called amateur athletes making millions and millions for someone else. Make the high profile football, basketball, hockey, and baseball all semi-pro with NO college affiliation—pay the athletes, let them be developed for the pro leagues without the veil of amateurism and academics hanging over. This; in turn, would allow the colleges to do what they truly are supposed to do—provide higher education and research opportunities to the masses.

          • BruceMcF says:

            But “no college affiliation” is an impediment to putting the reform through.

            An alternative is for the college affiliation to be via a franchise arrangement, where the program pays a franchise fee to the university plus a share of gross revenue ~ which also eliminates a lot of the incentive to gold plate, since the revenue athletics program would be permitted to run a profit for itself, and its not the University’s job to bail out the revenue athletics department if it runs a loss.

            There might be an entitlement ~ rather than a requirement ~ for the contracted players to pursue a degree, as part of the quid pro quo in the franchise arrangement.

            As far as which sports ~ its just football and men’s basketball.

      • metatron says:

        Minnesota looks to be on the rise, and Indiana had Gunner Kiel before he chose Notre Dame.

        It’d be interesting if he transferred.

  15. morganwick says:

    The Big East is just a comedy of errors.

    Larry Scott came into the Pac-12 and proposed a radically new idea, based on the whole economic picture of the sports TV industry, to capture as much value for the Pac-12 schools as possible for both the short-medium and long term. Mike Aresco didn’t have more of a plan than “all these BCS conferences are getting this much, and we’re a BCS conference, so of course we should get this much too, maybe more with NBC and Fox overpaying for everything! What do you mean we’re the runt of the BCS conferences, have been since Miami left, and everyone wants to kick us out?” Even more amazing, everyone else was so equally blind to the actual state of the landscape that it actually took someone linking them to a newspaper article for the Catholic 7 to realize what was really going on.

    Houston and SMU, or any other school valuable to any other conference, should send a simple ultimatum to the others: Aresco goes, or we go.

  16. Transic says:

    When I first heard of TCU going to the Big East, the first reaction I had was “What?! TCU in the Big East? They belong with Texas schools.” This was when I thought regionalism still mattered in college sports. The SEC was about Southern schools, the Big Ten Midwestern schools and the Big East was supposed to be about Eastern schools. Yes, Miami was an outlier but at least they were East of the Mississippi. Otherwise, I still believed in this nebulous notion of camraderie, good rivalries, collegiality, all that nine yards. The last three years have been quite an education for me.

    It just amazes the disunity amongst Eastern schools. If the SEC and B1G represent the elite, the Eastern schools represent the “Housewives of (pick a city)”, acting like being married to money gives them the right to look down at fellow institutions. BC looks down at UConn; Syracuse looks down at Rutgers; the basketball schools despise the football schools while the football schools blame the basketball schools for every single wrong. And then there’s that special case of Notre Dame, who looked down at everyone else and used the pull of the non-football schools to get what they wanted without even sacrificing a game on their football schedules.

    Meanwhile, as they acted like children fighting over scraps as there was money to be made, the predators waited for the right opportunity to strike, the ACC in particular. Yes, I read about the decision not to invite Penn State more than 30 years ago but circumstances, then, were different. Nobody had an idea how college sports would have changed since then. However, the Eastern schools could have stuck together and continued to make it work. I guess the hybrid model didn’t work out in the long run, as the interests were diverging too far for the member schools to come to a reasonable compromise.

    Such a shame.

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      The “disunity of the Eastern schools” is a myth. Just look at the disunity that caused the Southwest Conference to break up, and the disunity that caused the Big 12 to lose one-third of its schools. This problem isn’t unique to the Eastern U.S.

      Yes, of course TCU belonged with the Texas schools. But in case you’ve forgotten, it was the bigger Texas schools that formed the Big 12 in the first place, and forced the smaller ones (TCU, SMU, Rice, and Houston) to find homes elsewhere. Naturally, TCU jumped at the chance to rejoin their old conference-mates as soon as there was an offer. But the decision wasn’t theirs to make.

      What seems to be the “unity” of the Big Ten and the SEC is simply due to their position of strength. It’s easy to seem unified when you’re winning the game. If it ever happened that those conferences were no longer dominant, trust me, you’d find out how just how many disagreements between those schools lurk beneath the surface.

      Even when it was at full strength, the Big East was lampooned as either the Big Least or the Big Easy. It was always the weakest of the major conferences. It was also the newest, and so there was essentially no culture holding the group together. It was an arrangement for monetary convenience only, and so it is no surprise that its members left, one by one, as better offers came along.

      Conference re-alignment has accelerated over the last three years, but it is nothing new. Schools have always acted in their self-interest, as they should.

      • bullet says:

        SWC was simple economics. 3 small private schools and 1 urban commuter school in pro sports markets along with 1 medium size private school that had good political connections + the 3 large state schools. All in 1 state. It didn’t make sense after the breakup of the CFA.

        • zeek says:

          In the most basic sense, all of the big conference shifts have been a result of conferences being in stressed economic situations relative to the changes that swept across the economics of sports in the 90s.

          Once the economics of college football started to become about TV deals and population metrics and the like, the end was neigh for some of these leagues.

          The Big 8 for example never had the population base to sustain itself.

          The SWC had no geographic diversity and too many schools in one state.

          The ACC needed football power in the form of FSU and Miami.

          While we can sit around and extol the inherent stability of the Big Ten, SEC, and Pac-12, the fact is that the stability is mainly based on the fact that they’re the 3 most homogeneous leagues in terms of featuring mostly larger state schools (fewest exceptions in those leagues) spread out over large, well-populated regions.

          • Jericho says:

            That and longevity. Not that you need to have longevity, but schools playing each other for years and years and years does help.

          • Mack says:

            The B8 and SWC had longivity, but not a large enough market. The B12 happened the way it did because the SWC did not move fast enough to sweep up the best of the B8 and was in a weak position due to sanctions at the time. Once Arkansas left the die was cast.

      • jj says:

        prisoner’s dilemma, tragedy of the commons, etc. acting in one’s best interest is not always the best idea. maybe the B10 have just figured out that making a bigger pie is the way to go rather than fighting over the pie you have.

    • bullet says:

      I think 1 thing it is saying is that brands matter more than markets. BE had no football brands after Miami left.

  17. [...] the crisis as a whole was not within the Big East’s control, there have been some big missteps in recent times that have accelerated the conference’s decline. In short, the suits running the [...]

  18. OrderRestored83 says:


  19. gfunk says:

    Who here thinks the ACC is going to be hard to poach now that they’ve had a strong bowl season? Winning does matter. ACC diehards are gleefully celebrating Louisville & Syracuse’s big bowl wins, which puts the future ACC at 6-2 in bowl games. If Pitt and ND win – damnnnn! The future ACC looks very strong, far better, temporarily, than the BIG which blew upset opportunities: Wisky vs Stanford, Michigan versus USCa, Minny vs TTech. Does the ACC gain leverage from this unexpectedly successful bowl season? These sort of wins could cause a tide of collective strength to push for a better tv deal and maybe, stress “maybe” getting ND into the ACC as a full member. If this happens, ACC becomes second best conference & their future is permanent.

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      I would have to disagree, for two reasons. First, the comparative strength of conferences and schools is built up over decades. If the ACC could pull that off 10 years in a row, or perhaps 8 out of 10, then they’d be cooking. Conference alignment decisions are based on many years of consistent results, not one.

      Second, strength is determined not by wins, but by fan support. What counts is TV ratings and empty seats in the stadium. I’m guessing the Sugar Bowl was a very low-rated and poorly-attended game, because it was perceived to be a mismatch. The fact that the perception turned out to be wrong, doesn’t matter. Trust me, the Sugar Bowl was not happy being forced to take Louisville.

      To give the opposite example, three bad years under Rich Rodriguez didn’t seriously harm Michigan’s reputation as one of the best brand names in sports. Heck, Notre Dame is still money in the bank, despite two decades of mediocrity between Lou Holtz and Brian Kelly.

      • zeek says:

        As far as Sugar Bowl attendance goes, let’s put it this way, a certain central Florida columnist has been calling for Gator Nation to be reduced to Gator Whistle-Stop…

        In any case, you’re right, TV drawing power and ratings and matchups and the like are built up over decades of time and take a generation or two to change.

        Miami is more of a TV draw than any of the ACC programs except Florida State as far as football match ups go. That’s just how it is; a couple of bowl wins by other programs in a single season don’t change that.

      • Jericho says:

        Agreed. It will take a while to change perception. This is a good step. Things are cyclical, and it was not that long ago that Miami and FSU were on top and VT was a national championship opponent. With just some of the programs on the cycle up, the ACC will look much stronger (if it holds).

        As a side note, Louisville has been very impressive. You kind of wonder if they have untapped potential. It was not long ago they were not even in a BCS conference. In less than 10 years they have two BCS bowl wins, should get a lot more money by moving to the ACC, and are decently located geographically for recruiting purposes.

        • zeek says:

          Louisville’s potential is money and the ability to build a pipeline to Florida (which they showed the had effectively last night given the playmakers they had from that state).

          Whey they join the ACC and get full revenue shares, they should be the only department there over $100 million. Obviously, money isn’t a determinant of winning, but it’s not a coincidence that the strongest financial departments are the ones that have the strongest sports programs…

      • Mack says:

        The ACC should thank the voters who put NIU ahead of Louisville; otherwise, it would have been a Louisvile vs. FSU Orange Bowl and FL vs. OK Sugar Bowl. Both would have been better attended and got higher ratings. You can be sure that the networks are telling the ones in charge of the new playoff that they cannot get the playoff money they want if this is allowed to happen again. The larger number of bowls and teams in the new setup will allow the access bowl damage to be limited.

        • BruceMcF says:

          If the “Group of Five” is in three tiers ~ MWC / Little East; C-USA / MAC ; Sunbelt ~ then the odds of the best ranked champion among the Group of Five being a team with an offensive line undersized for the MAC happening again is substantially reduced.

          • bullet says:

            There was a perfect storm of teams ahead losing late, lots of 7-5 teams and the Big East getting overrated early. Rutgers lost to Kent and Cincinnati lost to Toledo. So the MAC got overrated late.

            But the NIU/FSU game showed how narrow the margin of victory can be. FSU totally dominated NIU, NIU’s QB and receivers had bad days (off target passes and dropped passes) and it was 17-10 at the end of the 3rd. NIU hung in there and was in a position going into the 4th.

    • zeek says:

      The Big East won a majority of its BCS games and has won most of its bowl games over the past 8 or so years.

      That doesn’t really matter for the TV deal. The TV deals are based on ratings and the like…

    • bullet says:

      Wins over Rutgers, Northern Illinois and a USC team that didn’t show up. Losses to Vanderbilt and Cincinnati. A good win over LSU. Not that much to brag about. Its been a terrible year for the ACC. Let’s look at bowl records so far and their significance on stability:
      1. WAC 2-0 going out of business, lost 5 schools
      2. CUSA 4-1 worst conference in the country, lost 6 schools-so far
      3. Big East 3-1 lost AQ, lost 17 or 18 schools-hard to keep track of
      4. ACC 4-2 lost Maryland, 8th in ooc record, worst ooc record for ACC in the 20 years I have records on
      5. Big 12 4-3 lost 2 teams last year, 2 the year before
      6. SEC 3-3 added 2 schools
      7. Indies 1-1
      8. Pac 12 3-4 added 2 teams
      9. MAC 2-4, most stable conference out there
      10. Sun Belt 1-2, lost 4 teams
      11. Big 10 2-5, raiding everyone
      12. MWC 1-4, just took Boise back from BE and may take SDSU, UH, SMU also

      Other than the Sun Belt, it looks good to have a losing bowl record!

      • bullet says:

        OOC vs FBS so far including bowls:
        Conference W-L % ranking before bowls
        SEC 36-11 76.6% 2(had more ooc so hasn’t dropped as far as B12)
        B12 21- 7 75.0% 1
        Ind 25-16 60.98% 4
        B1G 28-19 59.57% 3
        BEast 20-14 58.82% 6
        P12 26-20 56.52% 5
        WAC 15-18 45.45% 7
        ACC 18-23 43.90% 8
        MAC 18-29 38.30% 9
        MWC 13-25 34.21% 10
        SB 12-25 32.43% 11
        CUSA 11-36 23.40% 12

        • cfn_ms says:

          that list is virtually meaningless since it almost totally ignores how good the OOC opponents actually were (the almost modifier is there since you at least excluded AA games).

          • bullet says:

            It doesn’t differentiate when they are close like the Indies, B1G, BE and P12 because of the difference in schedules. But it does tell a lot with the big gaps.

          • cfn_ms says:

            again, only if you ignore schedule strength. if ~70% of one league’s OOC games are bodybags, and only ~40% of another’s are, that’s a HUGE difference. Schedule strength isn’t some random tiebreaker, it’s a vitally important aspect of evaluating the resumes of teams and leagues.

          • bullet says:

            And the top conferences don’t have much difference except maybe Pac 12. The bottom conferences are similar to each other and play as body bags on the road a lot.

  20. zeek says:

    “We’re going to try and be national and try to have relationships on both coasts and maybe in areas we haven’t been before,” Delany said. “There will be more diversity in teams that get to go, so no one goes to Florida five times in six years or even three years in a row. I hope we would put together a slate of games where our alums live, where we recruit and against opponents that will test us every year. Those are the elements.


    They’ve met with 10-12 bowl reps.

    Gator Bowl has stated publicly that they still want SEC-Big Ten matchups, but the Big Ten may only want to keep Cap One and Outback.

    Pinstripe definitely seems like it’ll be Big Ten-ACC in the next round.

    • vp19 says:

      One thing I would love to see Delany do in conjunction with this is announce that BIg Ten teams will no longer face teams whose states have spring high school football practice in bowl games. None of the Big Ten states do; in contrast, Missouri is now the only state with an SEC program that doesn’t have at least some form of spring football practice at the high school level. (Oklahoma and Texas do likewise.)

      I despise high school spring football because it weakens other spring prep sports. It’s probably the reason America is weak in track and field and is underperforming in baseball.

      If Delany could get other conferences (notably the Pac, which is also at a competitive disadvantage) to follow that lead, SEC schools wouldn’t have as attractive a bowl schedule. It would be comparable to what happened in the ’60s, when many schools refused to play in southern bowl games because they wouldn’t accept black players. As a result, you occasionally had intra-SEC matchups such as Alabama vs. Mississippi by default.

      • zeek says:

        It’s not really possible. The Big Ten needs the SEC for the valuable bowls like the Capitol One and Outback Bowls.

        And the Orange Bowl deal shows just how closely aligned the Big Ten and SEC are in terms of the money issues at stake here.

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        Vincent – Spring high school football practice is such a red herring. In Louisiana, the LHSAA currently limits spring football to 10 practices. At my son’s school, a relatively small private non-football factory, spring practice doesn’t even start until after the state track meet. The late rounds of baseball playoffs do overlap, but I’m talking about quarters and semis, so it doesn’t affect many schools.

    • Michael in Raleigh says:

      Delany says that no one will go to Florida five times in six years or even three years in a row, but that seems like a nearly impossible promise to make.

      The Big Ten will most assuredly maintain its Capital One Bowl tie-in, and, barring a shocking change, will keep its Outback Bowl tie-in as well. While the Gator Bowl tie-in may be dropped, Big Ten teams could participate in the Orange Bowl as many as 9 out of 12 years, with an absolute minimum of 3 years:
      – 3 non-semifinal years are guaranteed for the Big Ten.
      – 4 years will be semifinals, any of which could easily feature Big Ten teams.
      – 2 non-semifinal years, and no more than 2 years, will likely feature Notre Dame, but ND must have a strong enough season to be chosen ahead of available Big Ten & SEC options, yet not so strong that it finishes in the top four. Again, ND will in all likelihood get into the OB its two times, but it’s feasible the Big Ten or the SEC could get an additional team into the OB.
      – 3 non-semifinal years are guaranteed for the SEC, the only three years out of 12 that are guaranteed not to feature a Big Ten team.

      Additionally, it is not outside the realm of possibility for the NCG to be held in Tampa or Miami at some time over the 12 years of the new system. Big Ten teams could make it to one of those games.

      Taking all those factors into consideration, how could Delany know that its most attractive brands (i.e., the kinds the Orange Bowl, Cap One, & Outback would pounce on if they’re available) wouldn’t go to Florida Bowls three years in a row? A Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio State, or Nebraska team that goes 10-2, 9-3, and 10-2 could very, very easily find itself in Florida bowl games very often. The formula would be simple. Nebraska, for instance would need only to have 3 or more seasons in a row where they have 2 or 3 losses, maybe even 4 losses, but not have any more or fewer losses than that; make sure they don’t win the league title; and finish far enough down in the standings not to finish in the top four nationally.

      It just seems far too likely for a few Big Ten teams to be playing in Florida regularly for Delany to make sure a promise.

      • zeek says:

        Yeah, I agree with you.

        Especially if Ohio State goes into buzzsaw mode and only loses 1 or 2 games a year while winning the Big Ten say 4 of the next 6 years.

        If they’re taking top 4 slots/Rose Bowl slots; then you’re going to have teams like Nebraska and Michigan ending up in Florida a lot…

    • Michael in Raleigh says:

      The Big Ten bowl pecking order, at the top, will look something like this:

      (1) One of the two semifinals, provided a Big Ten team qualifies.
      (2) Rose Bowl, OR, when the RB is a semifinal, the Fiesta, Cotton, or Chick-fil-a*
      (3) Orange Bowl at LEAST 3 times in 12 years
      (4) Capital One Bowl, vs. the SEC
      (5) Outback Bowl, vs. the SEC

      *The B1G managed to negotiate for the OB NOT to have access to the B1G champion in years where the RB is a semifinal, ensuring the B1G champion a spot in one of the three non-contract playoff bowl games instead. The move helps maximize the Big Ten’s chances of having two or more teams in the six semifinal/”major” bowl games

      All those bowl games will have higher picks than any other bowl game the Big Ten could get. Any potential renewed or new tie-in–The Alamo, the Meineke (Houston) Bowl, the Alamo Bowl, the BWW (Sun Devil Stadium) Bowl, the Holiday Bowl, the Music City Bowl, the Belk (Charlotte) Bowl, the Poinsettia Bowl, the Fight Hunger (San Fran) Bowl, and the Pinstripe Bowl–would have a lesser choice for Big Ten teams than the semifinal/major bowl games and the two in central Florida. The Florida Bowl games have more money at their disposal and will be able to outbid other options for the rights to the higher choices.

      I think it’s great and all that the Big Ten is spreading its bowl tie-ins across the country. They’re probably the only league that could pull it off successfully because its schools’ alumni bases are so large and spread out. But chances are that these games are going to feature teams with just 6, 7, or 8 wins. Maybe one of them would have a 9-3 team.

      My point is that it is exciting in theory that the Big Ten could diversify its bowl lineup from being so Big 12 and SEC-heavy, but in reality, it is still going to feature two games in central Florida against the SEC. After that, 6-, 7-, and 8-win teams going against 6-, 7-, and 8-win teams from the Pac-12, Big 12, and maybe ACC. On top of that, the Big Ten would still face the reality that bowl games against the Pac-12 will be played in Pac-12 territory, or in Texas at best. Bowl games against the Big 12 will be played in Texas, or Arizona or California at best. Bowl games against the ACC will be in Florida or on the east coast, both of which are closer to most ACC schools than B1G schools. Bowl games against the Big East are… well, they might as well be against the MAC as far as motivating fan travel is concerned.

    • morganwick says:

      Betting the Big Ten will send someone to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in the next round. The Holiday would be too much “Rose Bowl lite” I think.

      • Brian says:


        My concern would be that the bowl is too far down the order to have enthusiastic fans. SF weather isn’t great that time of year, either. That’s an expensive trip to expect fans to take for a lower tier bowl.

      • Richard says:

        Right. Factor in travel costs with the low payout, and the school that goes will likely lose money.

        • morganwick says:

          Payouts depend on a number of factors and tie-ins can always be renegotiated. The only other option I see is for the Pac to send a team to… is it the Buffalo Wild Wings bowl? Or does that already have a Pac-12 tie-in?

  21. cfn_ms says:

    I tend to agree with the idea that overvaluing the TV deal was a big factor in the Big East’s problems, but I don’t know that it was the only issue. I’ve been playing around with the theory that leagues become a lot more unstable after they admit members who are substantially worse than the norm. Some examples:

    1) The WAC-16. All-timer of an example, they took in a bunch of new programs, none of which were really worth much, and completely fell apart less than 5 years later.

    2) The Big East. A bunch of iffy adds, lowlighted by Tulane, which really did seem like the straw that broke the camel’s back. I wouldn’t be stunned if at the end of the day Tulane found itself either completely without a home or dumped in the Sun Belt or the like.

    Part of the reason for this is that it’s REALLY, REALLY hard to fire a league member (only Temple has gotten kicked out of a major league in the last 30 years or so, and they weren’t even a full member); it’s actually a lot easier to fire half or more of a league (by a single school or a group of schools walking) than it is to ditch 1-2 members, which means that if a new addition doesn’t work out, or isn’t expected to work out (or both), it puts enormous stress on a league.

    IMO the Mountain West may well be on the clock for this after taking SJ St and Utah St, though in fairness, most of the league’s programs aren’t worth much either.

    In this context, I also worry about the Pac-12 having taken Utah, which filled a need (12th team for CCG) and clearly helped to blow up up the Mountain West, but the Utes REALLY haven’t worked out in football so far, and that was after 2 years of missing Oregon and Stanford. Larry Scott did a fantastic job of creating TV money, but the league definitely doesn’t need another have-not, which Utah may be turning into, especially since Utah is still a pretty small state and basically shared with BYU, though at least they’ve been growing pretty fast.

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      @cfn_ms “1) The WAC-16. All-timer of an example, they took in a bunch of new programs, none of which were really worth much, and completely fell apart less than 5 years later.”

      Rice went 6-2 in both of the first two years of the WAC-16, beating both BYU and Utah. 4-4 in each of the next two years.

      • cfn_ms says:

        And yet, the programs weren’t worth much to TV (if I remember right the league expected big TV $$$ which never materialized), didn’t have large traveling fanbases etc. Short term success by ONE of the newcomers (and it really was just one) didn’t change the equation.

        PS Rice went 6-2, 5-3 and 5-3 in the three WAC-16 years (there were only 3 years), and no other newcomer ever beat 5-3, and no newcomer ever won a division title. As a group, there really wasn’t much in the way of on-field success for the newcomers, which I’d guess only added to the perception that the additions were a big mistake.

        • bullet says:

          The WAC was in a TV deal and thought it could re-negotiate. That was the mistake. So the deal got divided 16 ways instead of 10. The only increase was the ccg.

          • BruceMcF says:

            And for a ten team league, a CCG only requires (and costs, for a constant regular season contract payment) two new entrants. The four after that are redundant.

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      I’ve been playing around with the theory that leagues become a lot more unstable after they admit members who are substantially worse than the norm.

      I’d say that theory needs a LOT of work. Only one league so far has folded because it over-expanded: the WAC. The Big East’s future remains undetermined, but what, exactly, were they supposed to do? They lost Miami, Virginia Tech, BC, West Virginia, Pitt, Syracuse, Rutgers, and Louisville. Without replacing them, they’d have had no football league whatsoever.

      Adding Tulane may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, but that was only the last of a whole bunch of bad moves, including turning down Penn State, turning down TV deals twice, hiring weak commissioners, and so forth.

      • cfn_ms says:

        Considering that specifically adding Tulane was a bone of contention, maybe it would have made more sense to push harder for Air Force or try and grab someone else from the Mountain West. Or maybe give Tulane a football-only membership. Or maybe wait and see rather than take a school that apparently everyone thought was bad. Someones the right move can be no move, even when you’re in the middle of a very rough situation.

        I agree that it was more of a final issue rather than an original sin, but it definitely seemed like a big problem that made it MUCH tougher to hold things together.

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          With the benefit of hindsight, sure, there’s a good argument that doing nothing was better than adding Tulane. It’s a far cry from that to the general theory you suggested, especially given that Tulane was merely the last in a very long line of unrelated mistakes.

          Maybe a better theory is: don’t let fools run your conference.

          • BruceMcF says:

            Was there an add available that would be no worse in football than Tulane but better in basketball?

            I agree with Frank that if there had been a time in building their Western Strategy when getting Air Force was a possibility ~ say, joining FB only at the same time as Navy ~ that would have been an extremely valuable move for a conference flirting on the “the least of the Majors / greatest of the mid-Majors” boundary. That could even have put Army as a FB-only program on the table. It certainly would have been more valuable than the moves other than Boise State that they ended up trying to make in the Western Strategy.

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        Making Tulane the scapegoat for the fall of the Big East and secession of the C-7 is a crock. It’s not like Tulane forced their way into the Big East, the Big East invited them. Tulane football has been down since Tommy Bowden left, and Tulane basketball hasn’t really recovered since the school invoked its own death penalty after the Hot Rod Williams point shaving scandal of the early 80s. But Tulane survived Katrina and a possible move to D-III, and it putting a ton of money into its facilities, including a new 5,000 seat baseball stadium that is the envy of many Single A teams, a new on-campus football stadium coming on line in 2014, and a completely renovated basketball arena. That’s over $100 million committed to athletics since Katrina.

        Also, the Big East and the C-7 have feasted on New Orleans basketball talent since Dale Brown retired from LSU. Furthermore, Tulane is replacing Rutgers. How is Tulane basketball much worse than Rutgers?

        Here’s a good article from the Tulane perspective regarding the C-7’s departure from the Big East.

        • zeek says:

          Tulane is an excuse for the C-7 to use, that’s all. Tulane doesn’t change anything either way other than just being an addition.

          • BruceMcF says:

            The complaint by one or more of the AD’s seems to be that the addition of Tulane was pushed through the Presidents without the commissioner consulting the affected AD’s first. Of course, one can ask why the Presidents didn’t ask their AD’s on their own. Indeed, it wouldn’t be surprising if the AD’s posed that question.

      • James Maas says:

        What you need to decide about your theory is whether “leagues become a lot more unstable after they admit members who are substantially worse than the norm” or whether leagues that are unstable admit members who are substantially worse than the norm. I vote the second case.

    • Stopping By says:

      @cfn Yes, Utah filled a Pac need – and they were the best option to fill that need. Scott couldn’t not go to 12 and without the big jump with half of the Big XII there was precious few options. I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone who thought Utah would come in and be a “have” (at least sustained) of the Pac. Utah is a growing state that had recent FB success (2 BCS bowl Ws) with past success in BB – and a geographic match to CU, keeping the conference’s precious travel pair symmetry intact (sigh). I don’t mind the UU add though – it was the best play at the time.

      They definitely cant afford anymore Utah-like additions though (which is why I will say everyday until I am blue in the face that the Pac screwed up royally by not taking OU and OkSt when they had the chance) in the ever growing expansion game. There is a strong chance however that the Pac will never expand again (much to Scott’s dismay). Sans the quartet of UT/TT/OU/OkSt coming, there is no desirable geographic match to bring on anytime in the next lets say…15 years.

      Funny thing is that that may be exactly how the presidents want it. As currently configured, the Pac power brokers – CA schools and UW – will continue to wield power without risk of sharing or losing it. And has been mentioned many times – they are geographically isolated to prevent A) threat of being poached, and B) being left out of any future climate shifts (group exodus from NCAA or revenue splits as a power broker conference). Only caveat (as B1G can attest) is how aggressive any strategy changes due to P12 Network.

      • Brian says:

        I don’t think Utah was a bad addition. They’ll build their program as they recruit better and SLC is not a tiny market. It’s only been 2 years. Give them time.

  22. joe4psu says:

    We Are

  23. Mike says:

    Gladchuk supported that decision and applauded Aresco for not “caving in” to Boise State’s demands. Aresco kept the athletic directors of all current and future Big East schools apprised of the Boise State negotiations and none supported giving the Idaho school special consideration with regard to the television contract.

    “What Boise State wanted was outrageous and unprecedented. It was not palatable to any of the other Big East institutions,” Gladchuk said. “In the final analysis, Boise wasn’t worth it. There is zero television interest in Boise along the Eastern seaboard. What it tells me is the Mountain West was desperate. Clearly, the Mountain West was willing to make whatever concessions necessary to keep Boise in the fold.”

    • bullet says:

      Kind of a nasty comment.

      MWC had a different situation. They were stuck in a lousy contract and did a deal that was a win for them, a win for Boise and a win for CBS Sports who gets Boise’s road games to choose from. Everyone gets more value.

      Big East is doing a brand new contract.

      Sounds like Navy still views Big East as much better than independence. That’s good news for the BE. They probably have more TV value than anyone left in the conference.

      • BruceMcF says:

        Yes ~ the Little East has all top fifty television markets with a substantial lack of compelling reason for people in those markets to turn to their games. When Navy plays, it adds some eyeballs in every one of those markets. Supposing Houston and SMU do join, adding a toehold in two top ten media markets, the best FB-only add to balance Navy would likely be Army, putting the Army/Navy game and one of the other two academy trophy games in the Little East contract.

  24. Mike says:

    This guy goes further than acaffery did on the GOR.

    Because there is no evidence there would be a reduced payout to the league, the damages calculation is simple. The media deal for Conference A remains unchanged despite School X leaving, therefore there would be no damages for breach of grant of rights. The Big 12 grant of rights runs concurrently to media deals. So unless the networks change their strategy and go against precedent and start reducing the payouts to leagues, the only thing that binds these schools is money. Once the SEC starts its network there will be a new conference shuffle, and the Big 12 is still vulnerable.

    • bullet says:

      Clay Travis makes Bleacher Reports look good.

      • bullet says:

        He was the one who was claiming the SEC Network would get higher subscriber fees than the NFL network. I think he was claiming ESPN type numbers.

        • Mike says:

          By Jason Hutzler

          That a grant of rights prevents conferences from being raided is a myth. The Big 12 is still vulnerable because Texas and Oklahoma are still in play to be gobbled up in conference realignment. To give you some background, I am a contract lawyer in Phoenix. I litigate a lot of contracts. Some that have liquidated damages clauses and some that don’t.

          For the record, Clay didn’t write this. Is Hutzler’s logic wrong?

          • zeek says:

            Yes. A grant of rights is just an assignment of rights. Unless you can find a court to completely invalidate it (seems highly unlikely to me considering it’s an assignment as part of a group assigning rights for a shared TV contract), you’re going to end up having to negotiate to buy them back for hundreds of millions of dollars.

          • bullet says:

            OU and/or Texas could have gone to the SEC anytime they wanted over the last quarter century. They don’t want to go there. They aren’t going there. Anyone who writes they will shouldn’t be read. They don’t have a clue what they are talking about.

          • cfn_ms says:

            But that doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily stay in the Big 12. If the handcuffs are escapeable, that makes a BIG difference to any power programs not in the B1G or SEC.

          • Mike says:

            @zeek – his argument is that courts are reluctant to enforce it and are even more reluctant to do so when damages are easily calculated. Since ESPN hasn’t reduced contract values before and would be unlikely to do so the damages are much less. Are you saying he is wrong and courts will enforce it?

            @bullet – He doesn’t actually say UT and OU will be absorbed by the SEC. He implies that the Big 12 is vulnerable.

          • Quacs says:

            I think what this author is saying is this: any team that has given their TV rights to a conference via a GOR can give their media rights to a new conference at any time, leaving their old conference two choices: either sue the offending member institution, or let them go. Assuming the old conference would sue the departing member, the courts wouldn’t likely force the departing school to leave their media rights. Instead, they would force the departing instituion to pay a simple, calculable damage. These damages would be easy to figure out – the court would look at the money that conference members lost by losing the TV rights. If the damages are minimal (i.e. ESPN/Fox/etc. don’t change their yearly payout), then there’s no overwhelming monetary damage to the conference, leading to a relatively cheap departure.

            The illuminating concept to me in this article was that networks, because of their current contractual involvement with other conferences, have a vested interest to maintain status quo payments to member institutions to limit their exposure to lawsuits from the losing conferences.

            It seems like this jives with other articles posted on here about Maryland’s exit fees, and the courts’ likely interpretation of their exit fee being unenforceable, with the courts likely requiring Marlyand to pay the actual damages resulting from their departure.

          • Mack says:

            The damage logic may work for Baylor or ISU, but if TX or OK leaves you can bet on a big reduction in the network payout so there will be damages. The only reason the networks did not impose reductions when Nebraska left is that the market had outstripped the value lost from the old B12 contract.

          • Jericho says:

            It makes sense. A grant of rights is a school giving broadcast rights to a conference. Let’s hypothetically say Kansas leaves the Big 12 for the Big 10. To my knowledge, there’s no exit fee or waiting period. Kansas could leave quickly, somewhat like Missouri did. It’s not like all Kansas games would still be broadcast by the Big 12. More like is that Kansas would give them to the Big 10. This action would result in a whole host of claims, including breach of contract and tortious intereference with contractual relations. but the bottom line is, what are the damages? Unless the content providers (ESPN/Fox, etc…) reduce the money to the Big 12, then damages are hard to show or prove (but can go beyond pure media rights in theory).

          • Crpodhaj says:

            If I am understanding what is being said, then the Big XII is vulnerable because their GOR isn’t long enough? If the GOR went beyond the current contract, then you can sue for potential dollars added; but with it going exactly to the end of he current media deal, and you knew the networks won’t change their payments, it would be very hard to claim damages because the previous assigned value of their rights was being left behind to the conference and its’ members.

            If that is true then every GOR needs to be at least 5 if not 10 to 15 years beyond any media deal to have any teeth.

          • zeek says:


            The damages are that the Big 12 owns those rights and has to be compensated for them.

            It’s not much different from other forms of contractual TV rights are dealt with…

            GOR isn’t a punitive measure; they’re a contractual assignment of something of value. You can’t just revoke it like that; at least that’s my interpretation.

            I don’t think there’s any way a school would win a lawsuit to break a GOR; they’d likely be order to compensate the conference to the tune of the value of said rights (likely in the hundreds of millions of dollars range).

          • Mack says:

            What conference is going to challenge the B12 GOR? The SEC was very lawsuit shy in going after A&M and MO. Does anyone think the P12 or B1G will damage their GORs by challenging the B12 GOR? That leaves the ACC and below. Not attractive moves from the B12.

          • ccrider55 says:

            To the PAC or B1G a GOR is not a tool to enforce conference stability. It is a way to more effectively market themselves and run a conference network. I’m not sure challenging the “handcuff” nature of a GOR would have any negative consequences for them.

          • ccrider55 says:

            But no, I don’t think they would initiate anything like that. If it happens it would be driven by those trying to escape the “handcuffs”.

          • BruceMcF says:

            @Jericho ~ there would be no particular reason for the B12 TO waive their rights, if no compensation is offered. If they wish to, they can just sit on them. These kinds of media rights tangles occasionally occur in other media rights areas, and sometimes the result is just a blackout until the term expires.

            The conference would have ample incentive to simply sit on the departing school’s games until the poaching conference made what they considered to be adequate compensation.

            As far as damages and exit fees, the Big East would seem to be on more solid ground, they’ve got the two ESPN offers for various league make-ups to put a market value on what the Big East was, and will have some sort of contract offer in the low eight figures per year to put a market value on what they will end up with. Maryland compensating the ACC for the opportunity to upgrade their football competition does seem a bit more tenuous.

          • Jericho says:

            I guess you’re making a distinction between property rights and breach of contract actions. Under a grant of rights, is it an assignment of goods (television games) for delivery or is an assignment of ownership of property for that period?

            @ zeek – you say the Big 12 would have to be compensated for the lost television rights. But the point the article makes is that there is no loss. The Big 12 is getting paid x number of dollars for the next 13 years for all its television rights. If Kansas leaves, and the Big 12 still gets paid the same amount of money for less rights, then what was the conference lost? That’s the argument. Unless the conference gets paid less, how can the Big 12 show actual loss?

          • BruceMcF says:

            It would seem to be an exclusive grant of permission to create a specified form of copyrighted work on the school’s property and using the school’s intellectual property. The grant is being made well in advance of production, of course, but multiple media industries rely on the ability to gain permission to create a copyrighted work well in advance of the production.

            Now, IANDL, but a decade between gaining book rights and making a movie is by no means unheard of. If a studio has the book rights in a simple term assignment of rights, does not greenlight the project, and some other studio wants to make the movie, that second studio either has to pay the first studio or wait out until the assignment of rights expire.

          • zeek says:


            It’s a loss of something of value.

            The rights to those home games for football and basketball are worth hundreds of millions of dollars over a period of 12 years. It doesn’t matter if the school is being replaced on the other end.

            What happens if a court decides to say that the GOR is binding and that the Big 12 still owns the TV home game rights for as chool that bolted?

            Even if you think the odds are only 25%, who takes a gamble on that?

            There’s probably even a much higher chance that a court would say that. What then? Does the school try to buy back the rights for hundreds of millions? It’s just too big a can of worms in my opinion for any school to even think about gambling with that kind of risk.

          • bullet says:

            And its a big can of worms for the conference taking them and the networks holding that conference’s TV rights as well. They could potentially lose games.

          • Jericho says:

            @ zeek

            You keep saying the rights have value, but how do you define what that value is? If the Big 12 gets paid x dollars for tv rights for 10 school. And one school leaves and does not deliever their TV rights to the conference, but the conferences still gets paid the same, then the Big 12 still get paid x dollars just for 9 schools. That’s evidence that the Big 12 has not been damaged if they make the same money.

            The crux of the article is based on three presumptions:

            (1) The length of the grant of rights is equal to the length of the TV contract (this is true only for the Big 12 and may not true for other conferences). Any damages would be measured by the reduction in value of said television contract;

            (2) No content provider has ever reduced the value of the television contract despite what would generally be considered a net loss in value of the content; and

            (3) specific performance would never be ordered since it’s rarely used and only really applicable when montary damages cannot be calculated (and they can be calculated here)

            The analysis generally make sense. But I am not saying its perfect. What I think can be an issue is if the grant of rights is not viewed as an assignment of goods under a contract, but instead an a license to specific intellectual property rights to the conference. In the latter, if any school changed conferences and tried to give their games to another conference, I suspect the Big 12 would seek injunctive relief to halt the broadcast of said games.

            What I cannot comment on is the specific arrangement each school has with the Big 12 and how a court might interpret the grant of rights. It falls somewhere in between a supplier agreement (which would be a straight contract action) and the licensing of existing IP rights (which would be subject to an injunction). These are about future rights to something that has yet to be produced.

            I also think no conference wants to get entangled in any such legal action (and concurrent tortious interference claims), which makes the likelihood of such a scenario slim. Nor does it account for the possibility of Texas or Oklahoma leaving. If either of those schools did depart the Big 12, that’s a game changer in terms of the value of the contract. Assumption 2 is likely wrong.

            But I don’t discount the article completely.

          • zeek says:

            My problem with that analysis is that the 3rd assumption is extremely questionable and doesn’t match any legal analysis I’ve seen on this subject:

            (3) specific performance would never be ordered since it’s rarely used and only really applicable when montary damages cannot be calculated (and they can be calculated here)

            Just look at #3 for the moment.

            How is that a reasonable assumption? We’re talking about media rights. It has nothing to do with specific performance; there’s no way that a court is going to equate the turning over of media rights to requiring a party to perform a specific act in the future.

            Once the media rights are turned over to the conference (already done in the past), the act is done. The rights aren’t owned by the school to turn over to anyone else

            That’s where that article fails.

            A school that’s turned over its media rights to a conference does not own the rights to sell its home games until the grant is extinguished.

            The article assumes that the rights can somehow be assigned to a new conference that the school joins, and I’ve never heard of a media rights agreement where such a thing can happen.

          • bullet says:


            A specific performance would be requiring the Big 12 TV companies to give up the rights they have. A school leaving would have to have the courts force the voiding of the contract. That is one of the distinctive things about a grant of rights vs. simply leaving a conference. I think it was Bruce pointing out rights to make things into movies. You can’t force the company to give up those rights. They may sit idle for years.

          • Jericho says:

            Specific performance, in this instance, would be forcing any school to give their rights to a conference.

            Part of the issue is how those rights are generated. I don’t think this is analogous to a pure intellectual property scenario. Movie rights was mentioned as an example. Let’s say I have the exclusive rights to make a certain book into a movie. No one can force me to exercise those rights (i.e. make the movie) and I can bring an injunction to stop anyone else who tries. That is not in dispute.

            The question is how that fact scenario relates to a grant of rights for a school’s games. Let’s use Kansas as an example. Let’s say they leave the Big 12 for the Big 10. No one disputes that this can be done. The only question is if Kansas can give the Big 12 any of its tv rights. It has previously granted those rights to the Big 12.

            But how are those rights generated? Who is providing the actual cameras and generating the content? How is the game produced? If Kansas is suddenly in the Big 10, how is the Big 12 supposed to get on campus to film the basketball or football games to put on the air? If Kansas decides that it does not want to allow access to whomever to film their games, I don’t suspect a court would order them to force such action to take place. It’s possible a court could. Certainly Kansas tv rights are a unique product no one can obtain anywhere else. But money should suffice.

            I think the difference between this and the movie analogy is that I can always make my movie. What anyone else does will not prevent me from doing that. However, the Big 12 really needs cooperation and coordination with Kansas to generate the television games to broadcast. That seems to make it not so much a pure property right, but a contract to work together to deliever a specific product. In which case a contract could be broken. And while an injunction could be sought, it seems there IS an adequate remedy at law. Money.

            I’m not saying the above analysis is 100% correct. I’m just pointing out the complexity of the issue and how it does not seem so clear cut to me.

          • zeek says:

            @Jericho (and bullet)

            Here’s where the movie analogy works for grants of rights.

            Let’s use the case of Marvel (now owned by Disney) and their Spiderman/X-men franchises.

            Marvel when they were in a disadvantageous financial position and in need of cash assigned the rights to make Spiderman movies to Columbia and X-men to Fox in exchange for a small cut of the proceeds from the movies and some cash. The rights remain with Columbia and Fox respectively as long as they continue to produce movies in a certain time frame of their most recent releases in the franchises (the time period is believed to be 5-7 years although no one’s published those details).

            For all intents and purposes, the media rights for Spiderman and X-men are owned by Marvel. But given the rights agreements, Marvel can’t make movies for those two franchises until the rights transfers are extinguished by lapse or they outright pay several hundreds of millions of dollars (perhaps in the billion range) to buy them back.

            I think you’d see a grant of rights viewed the same way. The media rights of Texas football games may belong to UT, but for all intents and purposes, the media rights are assigned to the conference for the next 12 years.

            You bring up some interesting points about production, but the basic rights to those games are what’s at issue.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Zeek – in your movie analogy, the consideration for handing over the rights is evident – MONEY! I’m not a contract lawyer and don’t pretend to be an expert of conference grants of rights, but the consideration in such a deal doesn’t really jump out at you like handing over a wad of cash.

            Whether a conference has exits fees (ACC & Big East), GOR (B1G, P-12, B-12), or no legal ties binding the conference together (SEC), the network contracts are based on quality and quantity of content.

          • Quacs says:

            @ zeek, in your Marvel scenario, I would presume that Marvel received compensation in exchange for the rights to the movie up front. If Marvel were to break this contract, they would have to pay the money they received up front back to the buyer plus damages. However, with the rights to these B12 conference games, member institutions that want to leave the conference wouldn’t need to “buy them back” because they are paid for the rights as they are used (presumably yearly), so future rights haven’t technically been “sold”. Assume that Kansas receives a check for their 2013 TV rights on January 1, 2013. If they decide to leave on July 1, 2013, then I would assume KU would be on the hook for paying back money for the rights from July 1 – December 31, 2013, and any damages resulting from their withdrawal, not KU’s portion of the future, unpaid rights.

          • Jericho says:

            @ zeek

            I don’t disagree with you analysis of the Marvel scenario. But I do think there are factual difference between that scenario and a grant of rights. Factual differences alone do not mean that legally someone (a judge or jury) would come to a different conclusion, but they could.

            The issue with the Marvel example is that nothing prevents either Sony or Fox from making X-Men movies. No matter what Marvel does, Sony or Fox really needs nothing from Marvel. But the Big 12 does need cooperation of the schools to record and boradcast games.

            Here’s the polar opposite example. Let’s says I contract with you to deliever 100 widgets per year at a specified price for the next 13 years. I make full delivery for 3 years without incident. Then I suddenly stop. The moment I stop making deliveries, I’ve breached the contract. That is not in dispute. You can sue me for your damages, except the courts will tell you that you should mitigate your damages. Or in other words, try to buy widgets from somewhere else. If you find a second supplier that sells you the same widgets on the exact same terms without any delay, you’re back in the same position as the original contract. There are no damages. There was a technical breach, but no actual harm. However, if you can only find widgets at double the cost, then you can sue for the difference in price. In that case there is something to sue over.

            I don’t think a grant of rights is exactly the same as the above scenario. But you can see some similarities. Each school essentially “delievers” their rights to the conference each year. In some ways, its akin to an installment agreement. What Alan states is interesting in that any contract must have consideration. The question becomes how there “grants of rights” are structured and how the deal is laid out.

          • bullet says:

            Kansas has already handed over their rights. So that is not specific performance. They’ve already done it. Kansas would have to take an active step, locking ESPN and Fox cameramen out of the building. So its not simply failing to deliver widgets. Kansas doesn’t have anything else it needs to do (other than play the games-which it will). It simply needs not to interfere.

            So the GOR is about as ironclad a guarantee as you can get. What college will lock ESPN out of their building?

          • zeek says:

            I think the problem here is that you’re saying that the rights are delivered each year.

            That doesn’t seem to be what actually happens with a GOR. My view is that the rights are delivered when the GOR is signed.

            Look at Fox’s deal to buy 49% of YES; the Yankees transferred an extra 5 years of TV rights (2038-2042) to YES as a part of that deal which means that YES owns the rights to air Yankees games until 2042.

            Just like the Yankees have no way out of that, neither does a Big 12 (or Big Ten or Pac-12) school.

            I think the schools are basically at the mercy of the conferences to whom they’ve transferred those media rights.

            How the service is provided (camera crews and production personnel go on campus to tape games) doesn’t change the fact that the media rights themselves have already been forfeit.

          • BruceMcF says:

            @Jericho ~ except that the primary focus of the contract in these cases are not performance, but permission. Permission is not needed to produce a movie based on a Marvel character. However, since any movie based on a Marvel character is a derivative work, COPYING and DISTRIBUTION of a derivative work requires permission of both the derivative work creator and the original work creator. It would be making money off of the production that would be blocked, without Marvel’s permission.

            Permission is needed to broadcast/narrowcast a football game, since the broadcast production is a derivative work. The joint product problem has been resolved by the institution of vesting the original rights for a college football game with the host school.

            Nothing requires an original work creator to grant exclusive permission, or to grant an exclusive permission over an extended period, but if they do so, then a later grant of permission within the term of the prior grant would be invalid.

            There certainly are performances required of both school and broadcast/narrowcast producer in the media contracts between the conferences and the various networks, and performances required of each school as part of the bylaws of the conference organization, but the economic institution at the core of the media contract is not personal or real property, but copyright.

            In the Kansas scenario, any grant of rights by Kansas to the B1G that overlaps the prior grant of rights to the Big 12 would result in an encumbered media asset unless (and until) a court has ruled to invalidate the original grant of rights in some way, or else unless (and until) the B1G has negotiated an agreement with the Big 12 in which the Big 12 would grant the permission to the B1G for the Kansas home games.

            The broadcaster/narrowcaster is not going to pay on the basis of those encumbered rights until the permissions have been cleared up. Unless there is some flaw buried in the details of the grant, it seems that the B1G would have to negotiate with the Big 12 for the rights.

          • Scarlet_Lutefisk says:

            A better movie analogy is probably Prof. Tolkien’s work which languished for years because the people who had the rights to make the movies didn’t own the rights to distribute them. So yes, it was technically possible for them to make the films it was also impossible on a practical level as they had no way to monetize them.

          • BruceMcF says:

            Excellent example. There is a case of a documentary of some kind of stage production where the stage hands were watching a Simpsons episode back stage, and Fox did not grant permission to use that audio/video, so they had to find a way to scrub it out before they could release the documentary. You need all permissions sorted out before you can legally distribute.

            And a grant of broadcast media rights is not a promise to give permission at some future date, where the school might fail to perform as promised when the time comes ~ it is granting of permission OVER the term, at the time that the contract is completed. The contract IS the action of giving permission, so there no issue of damages should a promised future action not occur would not be salient for the grant of rights as such.

  25. zeek says:

    ACC gets a boost when it hosts ND in the Orange Bowl as an opponent.

    ESPN will pay an average of $55 million annually for the bowl, sources said. If the ACC plays an SEC or Big Ten opponent, both conferences would each receive $27.5 million.

    However, if Notre Dame is the ACC’s Orange Bowl opponent, the Irish only receive $13.75 million and the ACC $41.25 million.

    ND can appear a maximum of twice. Big Ten and SEC must appear minimum of 3 times each.

    • zeek says:

      If Notre Dame doesn’t qualify for the Orange Bowl, the national semifinals or one of the six major bowl games, the Irish will still receive an average of about $4 million annually during the 12-year contract, sources said.


      More on ND’s part of the deal.

    • bullet says:

      The rules are getting way too complicated. B1G and SEC champs won’t go to the Orange Bowl in years Sugar & Rose are playoff games.

    • greg says:

      Well, that answers the question as to where the extra money goes when ND makes it. Makes sense that the ACC gets it, they are the OB anchor tenant. ACC OB payout basically goes up $2.3M a year over the 10 year deal, assuming ND makes it twice.

      • greg says:

        Er, 12 year deal.

      • Pablo says:

        Assuming ND makes the Orange Bowl twice, then the average ACC payout increases by $3.5M per year for each non OB semi-final year. That closes the conference payout gap between B12 & ACC (from $40M/$27.5M to $40M/$31M)…which helps mitigate the financial lure of jumping from the ACC to the B12.

        The bigger story of the Orange Bowl deal is how it institutionalized the B1G and SEC in a unique class. The Orange Bowl deal actually helps B1G & SEC the most.

      • bullet says:

        Notre Dame is in the ACC’s bowl rotation. I’m wondering if their lower payout is because they get a share of the ACC’s $27.5 million in the other 6 years.

  26. Phil says:

    Now that a day of everyone talking about how great an addition Louisville is going to be for the ACC has gone by, I have a question.

    Everything I have seen has said that exit fees must represent actual damages, otherwise they are punitive and won’t hold up. How exactly is the ACC going to argue that trading Maryland for Louisville hurts the conference at all, let alone to the tune of $50mm?

    • zeek says:

      Yeah, I think we’re all wondering that as far as that exit fee goes. It seems as if the ACC will likely negotiate it down although who really knows, they really don’t want to set a precedent that any school can leave with a one time $20 million payment…

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      The ACC has a bit of a problem. Taking Maryland in isolation, the damages are probably zero: Louisville is arguably an upgrade. But there aren’t many Louisvilles left. The next time they have to replace a school, it will probably be a big downgrade.

      Hence, the ACC would likely argue that the exit fee is needed, not because the loss of any one school can’t be overcome, but because the perception of instability ultimately leads to other schools leaving, one by one.

      The reality is, this case will settle. The ACC knows that $52 million probably wouldn’t hold up, but they need to get as much as they can, because otherwise the barbarians will be pounding at the gate.

    • Jericho says:

      You are looking at the situation after the fact. The enforceability will be determined mainly by when the “contract” was formed. Liquidated damages are meant to reasonably estimate damages when they are hard to calculate. The questions is whether the $52 million was reasonable at the time it was put in? If that loses, then the ACC would need to prove actual damages. But if you are constructing an argument, if probably starts with the fact that the Big 10, a noted “better” conference, chose Maryland over Louisville. If Maryland is more valuable to the Big 10 and the Big 12 passed over Louisville for West Virginia, then there is evidence Louisville is not as valuable. Still does not put any specific dollar figure, however.

      • Richard says:

        The B12 passing on Louisville for WVU has no bearing on the question of whether UMD or Louisville is more valuable. Also, conferences may not take the most valuable school (in terms of TV value) if they think they are a better institutional fit. Furthermore, 2 schools may be equally valuable and one is chosen because of better institutional fit. UMD may be the better institutional fit yet Louisville and UMD are equally valuable in which case the penalty for damages should be zero.

  27. Brian says:

    SI’s legal expert takes a look at PA’s lawsuit against the NCAA. I’d say he leans towards the NCAA winning, but decide for yourself.

  28. bullet says:

    Who are these refs? 3 tackles well out of bounds and a helmet to helmet by Oregon just in the 1st half with no personal fouls. They ALWAYS call those late tackles. You may miss the helmet to helmet. This could get really out of hand if they keep letting them get away with it.

  29. frug says:

    Conference All Bowls ’00-’12 BCS Bowls ’00-’12 All Bowls 2012 BCS Bowls 2012

    Big East 42-24 (63.6%) 8-5 3-1 1-0
    SEC 62-42 (59.6%) 14-6 3-3 0-1
    MWC 31-22 (58.4%) 3-1 1-4 0-0
    Big XII 51-49 (51.0%) 8-9 4-3 0-0
    Pac-10/12 38-37 (50.6%) 12-5 3-4 1-0
    ACC 45-49 (47.8%) 2-11 4-2 1-0
    C-USA 31-37 (45.5%) 0-0 4-1 0-0
    WAC 19-25 (43.1%) 0-0 2-0 0-0
    MAC 19-27 (41.3%) 0-1 2-4 0-1
    Sun Belt 9-13 (40.9%) 0-0 1-2 0-0
    Big Ten 37-57 (39.3%) 8-14 2-5 0-1

    The WAC numbers are off in the BCS (the conference is 2-1 I believe), but as a Big Ten fan all I can say is ugh.

    • Brian says:


      The raw numbers don’t reflect the degree of difficulty, though.

      Take the BE for example:
      #1 – BCS at large
      #2 – ACC #3
      #3 – ACC #5
      #4 – B12 #7*
      #5/6 – SEC #8/9
      #5/6 – CUSA #1 or SEC #8/9
      #7 – CUSA #4

      * – homefield advantage

      Gee, I wonder why they have such a good record.

      ACC (8/14):
      Higher seed – 3
      Equal seed – 1
      Lower seed – 2
      Non-AQ – 1
      Home edge – 1
      Road game – 1

      B10 (8/12):
      Higher seed – 2
      Equal seed – 5
      Lower seed – 0
      Non-AQ – 1
      Home edge – 0
      Road game – 7

      B12 (8/10):
      Higher seed – 1
      Equal seed – 2
      Lower seed – 4
      Non-AQ – 0
      Home edge – 5
      Road game – 2

      P12 (7/12):
      Higher seed – 2
      Equal seed – 2
      Lower seed – 0
      Non-AQ – 3
      Home edge – 2
      Road game – 1

      SEC (10/14):
      Higher seed – 0
      Equal seed – 2
      Lower seed – 6
      Non-AQ – 1
      Home edge – 6
      Road game – 1

      1. Being a higher seed is an advantage, but conference size is also a factor. Being #6 of 8 is very different from being #6 of 14. There are times when the lower seeded team is in a higher percentile in their conference.

      2. AQ conferences are not equal. The B10 plays the SEC and B12 3 times each and the P12 and MAC once each. No ACC or BE games.

      3. The home/road edge is important. The following data are for 2002-2011 for conference play by all AQ schools.

      Home W% – .577
      Road W% – .435

      4. Based on the opponent’s conference and seeding plus game location, the B10 plays the hardest bowl schedule by far.

      5. The B10 needs to do better. They’ve been close in a lot of games recently, but need to get over the hump.

  30. ccrider55 says:

    I guess that’s why Chip Kelly doesn’t care about time of possession.

  31. zeek says:

    Pete Thamel ‏@SIPeteThamel
    A Penn State source said the numbers have yet to be finalized, but O’Brien and his staff are expected to receive significant raises.


    Big news for Penn State with BOB staying and holding together a pretty good recruiting class all things considered as well as the personnel already in the program.

    Interested to see this part about significant raises though; probably will bring them up to the levels being paid by OSU/Michigan?

    • Richard says:

      PSU certainly has the resources to do so.

      • spaz says:

        Pegula (the Sabres owner who funded the ice hockey program start) apparently chipped in the extra cash to give O’Brien and the staff raises.

        As for PSU having resources, they do, but there’s also a lot of money committed to other purposes (like $12M/year to the NCAA) that doesn’t exist at other comparable schools. And attendance has fallen with the sanctions so revenue is down.

        • Brian says:


          PSU had a net income of over $31M in 2010-2011 according to their DOE report. Even with their fines, they can afford raises.

  32. Craig Z says:

    Go Buckeyes.

  33. Transic says:

    OT – Colorado just got robbed of a victory at Arizona during their first Pac-12 basketball game. A player got off a 3-point shot at 0:00.1 seconds which went in. The replay was very definite. However, Pac-12 officiating at work again. They waived the basket off. Arizona went on to win in overtime.

  34. vp19 says:

    The latest “Terps in Big Ten” entry — a primer on the conference, and who fields what in where — is at

    • Brian says:

      I’ve been reading your posts, just not commenting. I figure you get enough of my opinion here.

      • vp19 says:

        Hope you like them.

        I personally was shocked to discover all 12 current Big Ten institutions field wrestling teams. It didn’t seem like something that, say, Indiana or Purdue would do. And as in the ACC, more members field women’s soccer programs than men’s, although unlike the Big Ten, not every ACC member has women’s soccer (I think Georgia Tech is the lone holdout).

    • zeek says:

      Good stuff on those posts.

      I’m wondering what’s going to end up with lacrosse when Maryland and Rutgers join. 6 women’s teams will be good to go for a league for that, but the men’s side will be at 5 unless something else changes.

      • cutter says:


        All the other Big Ten schools except Northwestern field club level men’s lacrosse teams. Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Purdue and Wisconsin are in the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association or MCLA (see

        If one of those schools promotes those programs to varsity (and adds a women’s lacrosse program to boot due to Title IX) and/or Northwestern adds men’s lacrosse, then you could see the B1G having the six clubs minimum to form a league.

        If North Carolinia, Virginia or Duke join the conference as part of a 16- or 18-team conference, then that’ll give the B1G the six teams minimum as well. Georgia Tech has a MCLA club team.

        • zeek says:

          Given how important lacrosse is becoming for recruiting East Coast students (an express goal of Michigan’s promotion of its men’s and women’s programs to D-1), I’d expect to see Michigan State look into adding it considering that Michigan/Ohio State/Penn State all have it and Michigan State is the closest to those 3 in terms of athletics profile.

          • jj says:

            MSU dropped it years ago. Maybe they can add again someday. Or maybe those guys can just learn to skate and play real hockey. JK

          • zeek says:

            Yeah jj, dropped it in the mid-90s.

            But the only sports that Michigan has that Michigan State doesn’t are water polo and then men’s/women’s lacrosse which Michigan just added in the past year or two.

            So it’s not that much of a stretch to think that the incentives have changed enough for MSU to reconsider (I know Michigan State’s recent talk about recruiting East Coast students more heavily matches up with what Brandon was saying was the reason for adding lacrosse as a way of bringing in more East Coast student athletes).

            Timing just seems right for Michigan State to go back to lacrosse.

          • Richard says:

            I think the impact of lacrosse is overstated.

            The atttendance for lacrosse games is on the level of women’s volleyball (or less).

            Plus, they play & follow hockey in the Northeast as well.

          • zeek says:

            Every non-revenue sport is an incremental addition; what I mean in terms of student recruitment is simply that it’s another 70-80 students every 4 years from the East Coast for a school that has both men’s and women’s versions.

          • zeek says:

            Also, they’re high quality student athletes as far as socioeconomics go.

            It may be a bit crass to say this, but you’re talking about student athletes from largely well-to-do backgrounds that typically are high performing students from high quality high schools.

          • bullet says:

            But would that be a disincentive? Many of these schools aren’t trying to recruit more white upper class kids.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Yup, that’s crass.

          • Richard says:


            All B10 schools already get plenty of high-performing kids from good high schools. Lots who come from rich families as well. Why not a math whiz or a kid who looks to be a promising researcher (from the East Coast) rather than a lacrosse player? Especially since the lacrosse player would cost a scholarship while the other 2 wouldn’t.

            Also, what’s 70 kids in a school with 50K students? Unless the non-revenue sports bring kids who want to be fans, it’s simply not a cost-effective way to increase enrollment.

          • ccrider55 says:


            You’re missing his “crass” point. Many of those high level math/whatever academic speciality kids may have been a high achiever in lacrosse/whatever sport in those eastern elite private schools. Many may not have what it takes to succeed at D1, but will give it a shot. Once in school they will need to decide to transfer to a lower level to play, or stay at a strong academic institution, be a supporter, and possibly play club. Walk-ons and partial scholarships make up the bulk of sports not named FB or BB. Plus eastern BTN exposure will be considerable broadcasting lacrosse.

          • Richard says:

            And I maintain that the popularity of lacrosse is oversold. I lived in the Northeast, and outside of Long Island and the Chesapeake region, lacrosse is a niche sport even in its heartland. I would be shocked if lacrosse got ratings as high as even volleyball or wrestling on the BTN.

          • zeek says:

            One thing about lacrosse scholarships, most of the athletes are going to be on partial scholarships (if any); there’s only like a dozen scholarships spread out over 30-40 athletes for your average men’s or women’s program (men’s typically has a couple more athletes); and we’re talking about out-of-state rates on those students.

            Richard, the popularity isn’t really oversold; it’s the fastest growing youth sport.

            The BTN aspects may be oversold, but lacrosse could be like soccer; a huge future as a youth sport.

            A big reason why Northwestern added women’s lacrosse when it was looking for a sport to round out its Title IX requirements was that (besides not needing a new pool or stables for horses or something), the female student athletes really fit the mold of what they wanted.

            You may think of 70-80 students as a drop in the bucket, but it’s incremental; the athletics department has over a thousand students at many of these schools, and to get these “high quality” student athletes is always going to be seen as a good thing.

            It’s why women’s lacrosse is the fastest growing D-1 sport; so many new programs of late.

          • zeek says:

            ccrider55 is basically right as to what I was getting at…

            My point is that if you’re Michigan or Michigan State and you’re looking at recruiting East Coast students, lacrosse is a cheap and effective way to grab 70-80 “high quality” student athletes for your student body.

            That’s really the only point I’m making here.

          • greg says:

            Lacrosse may be fun to talk about here. But its a big gigantic zero in terms of driving B10 expansion.

            I’ll let this deadspin URL do the talking:

          • zeek says:

            I didn’t even know there was a Major League Lacrosse…

            As far as lacrosse goes in these discussions, it’s really just about whether schools individually want to add it and whether the Big Ten wants to add AQ men’s/women’s leagues.

          • Cliff says:

            MSU’s AD Mark Hollis was quoted here about MSU going varsity in Lax:


            Hollis said the Spartans have no immediate plans for adding a lacrosse program, but there is a long-term possibility they would do so.

            “I just can’t do it without having revenues in place,” he said. “What you’ll do is deplete the programs that you already have in place. Never say never, but it’s probably not going to happen tomorrow.

            “We love to add sports, but it’s resource-driven. (Expansion is) not in our short-term plans.”

            Michigan’s addition of lacrosse does not create an incentive for the Spartans to follow suit, Hollis said.

            My assumption is that we will see a few Big Ten schools add lacrosse in 2-4 years, when schools can actually see another decent bump in conference revenues. Maybe the combination of Maryland and Rutgers adding TV sets to BTN combined with the new Bowl Alignments will be enough. If not, I’m sure that the new TV contracts that begin in 2016 will be more than enough. Either way, I would expect that by 2017 MSU has varsity Lax, and perhaps a couple of other schools, too.

          • zeek says:

            Yeah Cliff, basically a school has to be able to find around $4 million per year (growing with inflation naturally) to be able to fund the scholarships and coaches and the rest of the costs of men’s and women’s lacrosse programs. It’s not that expensive, so as soon as the next big bump ups in payments come (most likely the 2017 TV deal will make it considerably easier), we should start to see it.

          • Richard says:


            If sport A grows from 100 players to 150 players and sport B grows from 300 players to 350 players, sport A will be “faster growing”. That doesn’t mean that Sport A is more popular, has grown more, or will ever become more than a niche sport.

          • zeek says:

            Richard, we’re talking about 70-80 potential lacrosse student athletes at each of a handful of Big Ten universities.


            The growth of high school lacrosse is what matters:

            US Lacrosse Annual Participation Survey (Varsity, JV, Freshmen and Club Players)
            Year HS Boys HS Girls Total HS Players
            2006 96,777 65,244 162,021
            2007 112,496 74,550 187,046
            2008 131,092 87,731 218,823
            2009 136,710 90,914 227,624
            2010 149,400 105,914 255,314
            2011 162,416 112,865 275,281

            Again, you’re right that the numbers aren’t that large in absolute terms, but the growth is significant and the trend is strong.

            Dave Brandon’s been calling lacrosse “the sport of the future.”

            Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. But the numbers are there and the trend is there.

          • Cliff says:


            Lacrosse is considered to have a similar growth curve (in youth programs) to soccer in the 1980s. The major difference being that Lacrosse doesn’t have the stigma that soccer had of being played by foreigners. ‘Murica!

            And compared to hockey, it will be easier to grow in new regions, as there aren’t barriers like the cost of ice time and actually learning to skate.

            You’re right that it may never become more than a niche sport, but it’s certainly not a reach to believe that it’s popularity will overlap with hockey and soccer in the US in the next 20 years, as far as youth participants, high school and college teams, and attendance. I’m sure they will hit NHL TV ratings or attendance for a professional sport, but using other metrics, I’m not sure what’s stopping it from approaching soccer’s pro level here.

            Also, looking at NCAA Championship attendance, they are regularly getting 40K+ for the Final Four.

          • Cliff says:

            *Meant to say that Pro Lax WILL NOT reach the NHL levels of TV ratings and attendance.

          • Nemo says:


            I live in a passionate lacrosse region where kids are playing league games by the age of 7. The area (Annapolis, MD) is very upscale, family salaries high, and many kids go to private high schools. They play lacrosse because it is fast, physical and requires lightning instincts. I admit that ice hockey is a great sport, but this region (like the Long Island and Syracuse areas) exports kids all over the country to lacrosse programs. Enrollments would to institutions such as UNC, Duke, UVA, Johns Hopkins, Cornell or Syracuse. Many kids will go to places with partial scholies just to get more of a “free ride.” The National Championship for the NCAA has been moved around a bit, but M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore is where the consensus “best place to play” is located. It is essentially central along the Eastern corridor, and is acceptable to schools like ND. Lacrosse is popular here and always will be. There are even lacrosse groups (like the Gray Beards) who are former standouts who still gather on Sundays and play on Club teams. And, we’re talking about guys in their 40s.

            I think the Big Ten might well want to consider lacrosse because football is starting to get viewed under the microscope by the NFL because of all the stuff about concussions. I think it is inevitable that rule changes will be demanded and the game is not the one that was played only a few years ago with all the rule changes.

            Lacrosse is more physical than soccer but obviously less so than football or ice hockey. If the B1G wants to get more Eastern eyeballs on the BTN, I can tell you that a B1G lacrosse league would draw viewers. Even those with a casual interest follow the NCAA championship closely, and the last few years has been almost a sellout at several large stadia for the Final Four.

          • Tom says:

            I would love to see an official Big Ten lacrosse league, but unless the B1G adds Notre Dame, UNC, or Virginia, I fear that it will remain a 5 school unofficial league with no automatic NCAA berth for the foreseeable future.

            I think the main problem that most Big Ten schools face in terms of adding lacrosse is not money, but recruiting and the lack of elite high school talent within the current Big Ten region. Lacrosse is growing rapidly, however it still is heavily concentrated in the mid-Atlantic states and New England. If you look at the top division 1 programs today, be it Syracuse, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Virginia, Cornell, etc., all are located in those areas or recruit heavily in those areas. In the Big Ten region, only Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Chicago, have high school lacrosse that is anywhere near comparable to that found in DC/Baltimore, New Jersey, Upstate New York, Long Island, and New England. To compete at a high level, every school in the Big Ten not named Penn State or Ohio State would have to recruit predominately out of state, and even those two with solid local bases struggle to sustain success.

            Keep in mind, the socioeconomic background of a high school lacrosse player is a lot of different from that of a high school football, basketball, or even baseball player. Lacrosse is for the most part played by affluent kids in affluent areas. While there are technically pro leagues, you can’t really make a living doing it, meaning there is no lacrosse after college. When I was in high school, my assistant lacrosse coach was Roy Colsey, (at the time one of the best lacrosse players in the world,) who played professionally. Yet he was still a high school history teacher/assistant coach on the side. Therefore, potential college lacrosse players (more so than football or basketball players) are looking for the best schools to attend. So if given a choice between Duke and Wisconsin, I would think the elite high school lacrosse player is going to choose Duke 10 out of 10 times. If you were to give the elite high school football player the same choice, he would probably choose Wisconsin 10 out of 10 times, largely because of the NFL track record of the Badgers.

            Now, Notre Dame’s lacrosse program has been on the rise to elite status, playing for the title in 2010 and reaching the final four in 2012. The reason ND has been so successful isn’t because of the high school lacrosse talent in Indiana (if it even exists.) It’s because ND is a national school with great academics that can recruit anywhere. The only schools in the Big Ten region that I see with similar qualities capable of experiencing similar success are Michigan and Northwestern, national schools with great academics. Michigan has just started its program. NU recently started a women’s team that has since run roughshod over the rest of the NCAA. There’s no reason a men’s team couldn’t be successful given the location in Chicago and NU’s reach on the east coast. Unfortunately, the Wildcats have no plans to add men’s lacrosse.

            After that, I don’t think any other schools have the same national reach, and they would routinely lose those critical recruiting battles. Perhaps Illinois, Wisconsin, or Purdue could do it with their respective proximities to Chicago and the strong academics of those schools, but I think that’s a stretch. Michigan State would be a possibility since it once had a team, but MSU isn’t a national school and would face similar recruiting issues.

          • Richard says:


            Academics matter, but proximity to talent matters a fair bit too. The last 7 schools to make the men’s title game are Loyola, Maryland, Virginia, Duke, ND, ‘Cuse, & Cornell. You can argue that Duke, Cornell, ND, and maybe Virginia are better academically than Wisconsin. Hard to make that argument with regards to Maryland, Loyola, or ‘Cuse (though they are definitely closer to talent).

            On the general point, however, I do agree with you, Tom. If Wisconsin has $4M extra to spend, spending it to boost football assistant coaching salaries to be competitive makes more sense than starting up a lacrosse program.

          • morganwick says:

            Lacrosse is very popular as a preppy sport, but unless something happens to make the ball more visible on TV it will never become popular as a TV-friendly spectator sport.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Bring back the glowing puck technology? But skip the tracer effects…

      • BruceMcF says:

        So, the upshot is, no change to the 3 existing men’s Lacrosse programs at OSU, that school up north and Penn State, and Maryland & Rutgers need to find a place to play. One option would be for the C7 to start a lacrosse championship with Maryland & Rutgers as associate members, as they work toward six NCAA lacrosse programs at six members. Dayton might be possibility there, as they have had some success as an MCLA club.

        More like, everyone tries ~ but between Rutgers, MD, and the lacrosse schools among the C7, possibly not everyone succeeds ~ to get into lacrosse-specific leagues that already have AQ.

        Eventually, if the occasional women’s lacrosse games start attracting a small following on the BTN, Northwestern adds a men’s Lacrosse program (and some additional women’s sport to provide the scholarship balance currently provided by the women’s Lacrosse program), and the Big Ten sponsors a men’s lacrosse championship.

    • Richard says:

      Sounds like a guy who doesn’t understand the factors and details in conference expansion at all. Either that, or he’s playing ignoramus to rile up the 75 IQ fan and get page views.

    • B1G Jeff says:

      At ALL costs? No. But given how we’ve been willing to accommodate FSU, if OK is the cost of Texas, I’d be all for it. Sure would piss off the PAC-12, though.

      • ccrider55 says:

        Accommodate FSU? When did they join?

        • B1G Jeff says:

          @ccrider55: Lol. “We” as in the Royal We, as in the Collective Readers of this Blog, as in Frank the Tank (see the title of the last blog post). “We” certainly don’t speak for TPTB…

    • Brian says:

      Since when does OSU have any great hatred for MSU?

      • BruceMcF says:

        No idea when MSU become the second most hated school in Ohio ~ must have happened after I left Licking County. Maybe he heard “I don’t give a damn for the Whole State of Michigan” and thought it applied to the Spartans and that damn team up north in equal measure.

  35. Nostradamus says:

    Teddy Greenstein reporting that Northwestern may be switching divisions.

    • greg says:

      NW in the East with Illinois, Iowa, Wisky, Neb in the West is a configuration that wasn’t one of the three listed in the BTN survey. So not a straight East/West. I’m hopeful that its NW/SE.

    • Richard says:

      NU definitely want to play Iowa annually.
      East promises OSU, Michigan, and the East Coast, but UNL and Wisconsin to NU are as big as those 2. Iowa and Illinois tip it towards the west.

      Looks like Sparty’s desire to visit Chicagoland is trumping all again.

      If NU goes east, who goes west? The IN schools?

      Almost all the major metropolitan areas would be in the East, then, including Chicagoland and greater NYC.

      • greg says:

        “NU definitely want to play Iowa annually.”

        Of course. Why would they want to give up a gimme win?

      • Richard says:

        Or are they putting Wisconsin west and splitting Illinois/NU?

        Then it’s even worse, with the top 5 schools I care about playing most (Iowa, Illinois, UNL, Michigan, and Wisconsin) all in the opposite division.

        • Brian says:


          Obviously they haven’t said anything, but it sounds like they may mean this:

          E – OSU, MI, PSU, MSU, MD, RU, NW
          W – WI, NE, IA, IN, PU, MN, IL

          That sucks all around.

          • BruceMcF says:

            If the Buckeyes can only have three of the traditional Big 10 in its conference, that does indeed suck, but given that, we could draw a worse trio than MU, MSU and NW.

    • Scarlet_Lutefisk says:

      Doh, ninja’d!

  36. Scarlet_Lutefisk says:

    Teddy Greenstein ‏@TeddyGreenstein
    Chi Trib learns B1G interested in putting #Northwestern in East. Cats want to stay West w/rivals #Illini, Iowa, Wis, Neb. Better 4 fans.

    • zeek says:

      Can someone explain the rationale behind moving Illinois to the West and Northwestern to the East?

      I guess Northwestern is a more East Coast centric school than Illinois, but I’m not getting the angle. Is it Chicago?

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        That is likely the angle. The B1G would probably want both Michigan and Ohio State in the East, to maximize media exposure where those schools have a lot of alumni. So that leaves you with the following:

        Definitely East: Rutgers, Maryland, PSU, UM, OSU
        Definitely West: Wisc, Minn, Iowa, Neb., MichSt

        Others have pointed out, that in an East-West alignment, Michigan State has to go west, as otherwise the divisions are too unbalanced. So the question is, which school(s) go east to compensate for that. It sounds like the divisions they’re thinking of are something like the following:

        East: Rutgers, Maryland, PSU, UM, OSU, Indiana, Northwestern
        West: Wisc, Minn, Iowa, Neb, MichSt, Purdue, Illinois

        The protected cross-divisional rivalries would then be…
        …and some combination of the others, such as…

        I’m not a fan of protected rivalries, but if you go East-West, there’s no way to avoid it.

        • greg says:

          B12 North redux. Perception is greater than reality.

          • zeek says:

            That and I have to really wonder whether some of these other schools want to be in a group with Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State.

            Would anyone but those 3 ever stand a chance of winning that division?

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            You’re thinking like a fan, rather than an athletic director. Yes, those schools would love to have Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State, on their schedule very year. They’re thinking, “How can I sell out the stadium?” not “How can I play against more pitiful opponents?”

          • zeek says:

            Well, in the case of Northwestern, I think they legitimately prefer to be with Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota, etc.

            It may not be as marquee a schedule, but the school’s been more closely associated with the Western half of the Big Ten as far as football scheduling has gone in the past.

          • Richard says:

            I wouldn’t say I care more about MSU or Minny than a generic B10 school. Definitely want to play Iowa & Illinois often. Wisconsin, Michigan, and UNL are in the next level of importance.

          • Cliff says:

            Teddy Greenstein later tweeted:

            @scottkier Yeah, you break up IU/Purdue. Life goes on. W: Wis, Iowa, Neb, Minny, Ill, NU, IU. E: Mich, MSU, OSU, PSU, Rut, Md, Purdue.

            So Teddy is calling MSU to the East. That’s probably the pull to get Northwestern to go East because Michigan State, and to a lesser extent, really all of the other schools. Maybe Delaney sees Northwestern as more of a national identity than Indiana or Purdue (in football) for association with Rutgers and Maryland and Penn State.

            Having spoken to some of my Northwestern friends, they agree that the West makes much more sense for them.

            But man, long term, the Eastern Division is loaded in football, and has much more fertile recruiting grounds.

          • frug says:


            That alignment would really suck for Illinois. Losing annual games with the Indiana schools and the Illibuck.

            Of course I doubt these divisions last more than 3 years anyways, so I can’t be to upset. Plus any alignment that forces them to change the division names can’t be total failure.

          • Brian says:


            Thanks for finding that tweet.

            “Teddy Greenstein later tweeted:

            @scottkier Yeah, you break up IU/Purdue. Life goes on. W: Wis, Iowa, Neb, Minny, Ill, NU, IU. E: Mich, MSU, OSU, PSU, Rut, Md, Purdue.”

            Those divisions suck all around, too.

            Other than him being a Chicago guy, how is that really better than sending NW to the east?

          • Brian says:


            How does any new alignment force Delany to change the divisions names?

          • Richard says:

            Longterm, I really doubt the B10 stays at 14.

          • frug says:


            I guess nothing would force them to change the names, but it is really hard to imagine them keeping the current names if they go to an East/Wast alignment.

          • Brian says:


            “I guess nothing would force them to change the names, but it is really hard to imagine them keeping the current names if they go to an East/Wast alignment.”

            If NW is going east, how is this an E/W split? That was their argument against geographic names last time (WI out of place).

          • frug says:

            I was talking about the Greenstein tweet.

          • Richard says:


            No alignment gives Illinois everything it wants. Go East, and Illinois loses Iowa & Wisconsin.

            There’s no realistic division alignment scenario that gives Illinois all of OSU, Iowa, Wisconsin, Northwestern, & the IN schools.

          • frug says:


            Iowa isn’t really loss. Yeah, they are border states, but neither side really cares. In fact when the conference was coming up with the schedules after the division split they realized one (and only one) inter-divisional matchup would have to wait four years to be played and they picked Iowa-Illinois because they felt nobody would miss it (they were right).

            Wisconsin would be missed, but it ranks well below Northwestern, Ohio St. and Purdue on the list of games I (and I think most Illini) care about most.

          • Richard says:


            Tell Frank that the Iowa game doesn’t matter.

          • frug says:

            I’m not saying it doesn’t matter, just that there wouldn’t be too many tears shed if it was gone. Illinois ranks (at best) a distant fourth on the games that Iowa fans really care about behind Minnesota, Wisconsin and Nebraska, and I seriously doubt that most Illinois fans would place Iowa too much higher on their list of favorite opponents (I know I don’t).

          • Cliff says:

            Also, and this is not meant as an insult, but I find it amazing that the football program that everyone is fighting over in divisional realignment is Northwestern.

        • Richard says:

          OK, but if you’re going to split the MI schools, why split the IN and IL schools as well? For TV purposes? The East would already get the East Coast all to itself. Giving the west only half of IL seems like even more of a disadvantage.

          If this happens, I would want to expand to 18 sooner rather than later.

          Even if you split MI, IL. And IN, why can’t Illinois move east? They have the Illibuck and like to play Michigan, after all.

        • vp19 says:

          It sounds like the divisions they’re thinking of are something like the following:

          East: Rutgers, Maryland, PSU, UM, OSU, Indiana, Northwestern
          West: Wisc, Minn, Iowa, Neb, MichSt, Purdue, Illinois

          Swap Indiana and Purdue, and that might work, although MSU is going be ticked off it’s lost its annual game with the Wildcats.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            Well, that’s it in a nutshell: there is no alignment that gives every school the annual games they want. Even with 12 teams, divisional alignment was an over-constrained problem, and they wound up with a solution that many people are unhappy with. With 14 teams it only gets harder.

          • BruceMcF says:

            (I don’t like either) BUT prefer the one with Purdue in the East and Indiana in the West.

        • jj says:

          MSU would take the East over the West in these scenarios in a heartbeat. The NU talk is a bit overblown. Also, they better not do 8 games with a cross-division lock. That is unacceptable for everyone, I would think.

      • Eric says:

        I really don’t get it either. If east-west is how they are going then there aren’t a lot of scenarios that make sense to have Northwestern in the east. I don’t think they’d put the Illinois schools in the east and Indiana schools in the west (puts an already population disparity problem and makes it bigger), so my only guess (in an east-west framework) would be Marc Shepherd’s suggestion. I don’t really get the appeal in that over putting the Indiana schools in the east (at least then one big population state is entire in the west).

        • cutter says:


          I think moving Northwestern to the east makes perfect sense if you assume Penn State is not going to be able to be highly competitive due to the recruiting sanctions it received from the NCAA and this divisional alignment is going to be in place for a handful of years.

          A straight East-West split that has been outlined before has Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State together with Rutgers, Maryland, Indiana and Purdue. Those last four programs are very mixed with RU perhaps being the best of a rather meh bunch right now. If PSU can’t compete at a high level, then this division might be wholly dominated by UM and OSU in the time period.

          So what do you do? Swap out one of the Indiana schools and put them in the west (which geographically speaking is Purdue) and replace that team with a better one, i.e. Northwestern. It’s a compromise between the primary drivers (geography/demographics) with getting a better competitive balance between the two divisions.

          West – Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan State, Purdue
          East – Northwestern, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland

          There may be other reasons why Northwestern goes to the east that we’ve touched on before, ie. alumni distribution, getting the BTN on basic cable in NY/NJ/DC/Balt, etc. But I think another consideration behind this is what the conference thinks will happen to Penn State in the short term. On a side note, Maryland and Rutgers fans would probably enjoy that road trip to the Chicago area somewhat more than West Lafayette, IN. :)

          If the conference goes to 16 or more members with the additional teams coming from the mid-Atlantic region, then Northwestern likely head back west or is put in a pod with Illinois. If that’s the case, then the NW fans may see their Wildcats in the east for only a short time period.

          • Brian says:


            “I think moving Northwestern to the east makes perfect sense if you assume Penn State is not going to be able to be highly competitive due to the recruiting sanctions it received from the NCAA and this divisional alignment is going to be in place for a handful of years.”

            Those are two huge assumptions, and I’ve seen no evidence the B10 is making those assumptions. PSU fans expect to keep having winning seasons the whole time. Only bad leaders would assume expansion that hasn’t happened yet. It takes two to tango for any business deal, and expansion is more emotional than a typical M&A scenario. None of the most talked about candidates are automatic yeses like RU was.

            “A straight East-West split that has been outlined before has Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State together with Rutgers, Maryland, Indiana and Purdue.”

            That’s not a straight E/W split. The pure split would be RU, MD, PSU, OSU, MI, MSU and IN vs PU, NW, IL, WI, MN, IA. and NE.

            “There may be other reasons why Northwestern goes to the east that we’ve touched on before, ie. alumni distribution, getting the BTN on basic cable in NY/NJ/DC/Balt, etc.”

            How would putting NW in the east help get the BTN on basic cable in the east? NW has a small alumni base that already wants the BTN. It’s not like NW games draw a huge national audience.

            “But I think another consideration behind this is what the conference thinks will happen to Penn State in the short term.”

            Based on what? PSU won 26 games from 2000-2004 without sanctions and still were treated as a king. Are you saying they can’t average 5 wins per year?

          • zeek says:

            I’m as big a Northwestern fan as there is, but I don’t think Northwestern really changes competitive balance by being shifted.

            I mean we just won our 3rd ever 10 win season (and 2nd ever bowl game). Obviously that doesn’t mean that Northwestern’s next 20 years won’t be a lot more like the last 5 than historically, but I don’t think Northwestern should be moved from the West as a competitive balance kind of move.

  37. BigTenFan says:

    Determining divisions currently is probably a fruitless exercise, as I’d expect #15 & #16 to be joining relatively shortly.

  38. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Changes to the NCAA transfer rules may be on the horizon.

    “In summary, the principles establish a model where:
    ■Athletes would still need to get permission to contact another school before transferring. But permission would be tied to practice and competition, not athletics aid. So even if permission was denied, the student-athlete would still be able to receive a scholarship.
    ■Athletes who qualify for the transfer exemption in the APR would be permitted to play immediately at the new school. That would make a 2.600 GPA the magic number to play immediately.
    ■Athletes who do not qualify to play immediately at the next school would still receive an extension of their five-year clock so they can use all their eligibility.
    ■Tampering with an athlete by another school would be considered a severe breach of conduct, a Level I violation, the highest in the NCAA’s new enforcement structure.”

  39. zeek says:

    The Cotton Bowl has basically become the Big 12’s version of the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl.

    Bob Stoops has to thank his lucky stars for that match up with UConn a few years ago in the Fiesta Bowl.

    Without that, all I’d recall of him the past decade is a lot of big game losses…

    • Brian says:

      Yep. The B12 is 1-9 in the last 10. Big Game Bob has certainly lost his luster in big games.

      Stoops in BCS bowls: 2 Ws, then 5 Ls, then 1 W (also 1-0 in the Cotton before tonight)

      The oddity is that OU never caught the same amount of flak as OSU for big game losses.

      • Richard says:

        True. Anti-Big10 bias?

        Tressel & Stoops actually had very similar BCS championship trajectories: one title win early in the career, then 2 losses in a row later. OSU did come in ranked 1st in both their title losses, however.

        • Brian says:

          I actually think it’s because OU had UT winning some big games to prop the B12 up while nobody else in the B10 was winning big games either. Since OSU beat MI in the 1/2 game, big game wins have been few and far between for the B10. OSU beat OR in the Rose and AR in the Sugar. MI beat VT in the Sugar. Big game losses have been plentiful, though (regular season and bowls).

          • zeek says:

            Yes, Texas competing at a high level (winning that NC and then going up against Alabama) along with winning other games sort of balanced off OU’s losses in the public mindset.

            OSU was pretty much alone trying to win in the biggest games as far as the Big Ten was concerned between Michigan’s last loss in the Rose Bowl and their win in the Sugar Bowl.

      • frug says:

        I think the major difference is that OU was the underdog in its 3 NCG losses, while OSU was ranked #1 in both of its losses.

        Also, Stoops catches a lot of flak for coming up short in bowl games (at least in Big XII country).

        • Richard says:


          OU was actually ranked #1 in 2 of it’s 3 national title game losses.

          • frug says:

            They were number 1 in the BCS in 2003 and 2008 but number 2 in the AP in both years, and Florida was 5.5 point favorites in 2008.

          • frug says:

            Now that I think about though, I do think OU was favored against LSU in 2003, so they would have been underdogs in 2 of their 3 losses.

      • bamatab says:

        OU catches a lot of flak for losing in big (non-Red River) games. They don’t sarcastically call Stoops Big Game Bob for nothing.

      • Richard says:

        BTW, I still thinks Stoops has done a good job at OU. By all right, they should be as successful as Michigan (king program bordering a state with rich football talent but still has to beat out the king in the neighboring state and/or other kings elsewhere a fair amount in recruiting in order to contend for a national title) while Texas should be as successful as OSU (king program in a state with a ton of talent that should be able to contend for a national title solely, in the case of Texas, or almost solely, in the case of OSU, by corraling the best in-state talent, where they should have a sizable edge).

        OU has appeared in 8 BCS bowls & 4 national title games, going 3-5 & 1-3, respectively.
        Michigan has appeared in 5 BCS bowls (going 2-3) with no title game appearances.

        I think 5 BCS bowl appearances & 1 title game appearance should be expected from programs in the situation Michigan and OU are in.

        OSU has appeared in 9 BCS bowls & 3 national title games, going 6-3 & 1-2, respectively.
        Texas has appeared in 4 BCs bowls & 2 national title games, going 3-1 & 1-1, respectively.

        I think 7-8 BCS bowl appearances & 2 title game appearances should be expected from programs in the situation OSU & Texas are in.

        OU has overachieved while Texas has underachieved.

        Michigan & OSU are close to par (Michigan a little under and OSU a little over).

        • frug says:

          FWIW, there is way more talent in Texas than Ohio, so it is easier for Texas to support two elite programs at the same time.

          • frug says:

            Also, since Texas is so much larger geographically, it can make it harder for UT to assert home field advantage. The Cotton Bowl is located almost exactly halfway between Norman and Austin to the mile, so Oklahoma can still compete on even footing for kids in DFW who want their parents to be able to attend their games, and of course anything North of Dallas is actually closer to Norman.

          • Mack says:

            There is so much talent in Texas that UT did not offer a scholarship to the last two Heisman winners despite being the first choice out of HS for these players. UT talent evaluation not the best at QB.

          • Richard says:


            The argument that Norman is closer to some parts of TX than Austin can’t really be used as an excuse as talent-rich NE Ohio is almost as close to Ann Arbor as it is to Columbus. TX should still have a home-state advantage over OU.

            I’ll grant that TX does have a lot more talent than OH (though MI also has more talent than OK).but if anything, it reinforces the case that OU has overachieved while Texas has underachieved.

          • frug says:

            I’ll give you that Michigan has probably underachieved, but I have a tough time buying that Oklahoma has really overachieved since their performance in the BCS era is right in line with the rest of their post WWII performance. Oklahoma (at least since WWII) has always treated north Texas as “in state” for recruiting purposes and the amount of talent in north Texas + Oklahoma is still larger than Michigan + NE Ohio (especially since UM has to share Michigan with MSU and ND).

          • Richard says:

            Actually, I think Texas (with more inherent advantages) has underachieved more than Michigan.

            OU has to share northern TX with OKSt., A&M, TTech, and a bunch of other TX schools as well.

            The point remains that Texas, which should have an edge on OU in recruiting in most of TX, is also a king, and has a vast financial advantage over OU, should be doing better than OU, not worse.

        • Richard says:

          Given their king status, money, and in-state recruiting grounds, I’d hold UF, UGa, ‘Bama, and LSU to the same standards as OSU & Texas.

          I’d hold PSU, ND, Tennessee, USC, and FSU to the same standards as Michigan & OU. PSU, ND, & Tennessee because they’re like Michigan & OU, being kings with money who are close to rich recruiting grounds but still have to get plenty of out-of-state talent. USC and FSU because they have the recruiting grounds and brand but not as much money.

          So how have they done?

          UF in 7 BCS (5-2) & 2 title games (2-0)
          UGa in 3 BCS (2-1) & no title games
          ‘Bama in 5 BCS (2-2 so far) & 2 title games (2-0)
          LSU in 5 BCS (4-1) & 2 title games (1-1)

          Maybe I should just count the number of wins, in which case the superkings would be expected to have 4 BCS wins and 1 national title in the BCS era. By that metric, Texas, LSU, & ‘Bama currently are about par (though another national title by ‘Bama would raise them above par). UF and OSU are above par. UGa is below par.

          Regular kings:
          PSU in 2 BCS games (1-1) & no title games
          ND in 4 BCS games (0-3 so far) and 1 title game
          Tennessee in 2 BCS games (1-1) & 1 title game (1-0)
          USC in 7 BCS games (6-1) and 2 title games (1-1)
          FSU in 7 BCS games (2-5) and 3 title games (1-2)

          I expect these teams to have 5 BCS bowls, win 2-3 BCS bowls, make 1 title game and win 0-1 title games.

          Counting only wins, FSU and Tennessee (thanks solely to their championship) are par. PSU is below par. Michigan is a little below par. ND is well below par right now but jump to par if they win a national title (I’m weighing national titles as 3 times more valuable than a regular BCS win). USC is well above par.

          If you count appearances, USC & FSU are above par, Michigan is about par, and PSU, ND, and Tennessee are all below.

          • Richard says:

            Oh, and OU has been above par as well.

          • bamatab says:

            I’ll step in for Alan here. LSU has actually been in 3 title games going 2-1. They beat OU in 2004 & OSU in 2008, and lost last year to Bama.

          • frug says:

            While Georgia does has money and in state talent they lack the same level of prestige as the other schools on you list (except for Tennessee). The expectations at Georgia are still lower than than those at other superpowers.

            Also, I would bump USC up to the top tier. While they don’t have as much money as Texas, Florida, LSU and ‘Bama, the competition for recruits in Southern California isn’t as fierce as it is in Texas and the Southeast, and unlike the Big XII and SEC the PAC doesn’t have any other superpowers so the Trojans don’t need as much money to dominate.

          • Richard says:


            Noted, thanks.


            Good point about USC. SoCal doesn’t have the per capita talent of the southeast, but there are so many people there and so little competition (plus LA is an attractive location to 18 year-olds from anywhere), USC does always seem to easily get a ton of talent, so I’ll bump them up.

            On UGa, I disagree. I think they have underacheived. Yes, they are not a traditional king like ‘Bama & their state isn’t as big as UF’s, but there’s no reason why LSU should have done better than them (well, besides oversigning). Still, tOSU doesn’t oversign either, and GA produces as much talent as OH (& and UGa should be able to get as many of the top GA recruits as OSU does the top OH recruits), so there’s no excuse for UGa to have done considerably worse than tOSU has.

        • bullet says:

          KSU’s upset of OU knocked Texas out of one BCS game. Seems like there was another year someone got upset and Texas got knocked out. Mainly its just that OU & Texas were so good at the same time in the BCS era. Otherwise, both would have been in more BCS games. Texas was 2nd in win % in the 2000s behind Boise. OU was 3rd. Ohio St. 4th. Texas Tech was 3rd in Big 12 at 19th. Nebraska was 4th in Big 12 at 20th. OSU’s next competition was Wisconsin, 2nd in Big 10 at 18th. Michigan was 3rd in Big 10 at 22nd. SEC had Florida, Georgia and LSU in top 10 with Auburn at 14, so their appearances were thinner than they would have been without the competition.

          Big Game Bob gets his teams in the big games and stops. Mack’s done pretty good in bowls. He’s 10-4 and has won 9 of the last 11, 6 by a TD or less with late rallies.

          • Richard says:

            Beating up patsies more than other schools just isn’t that impressive when you have the money, brand, and in-state recruiting of Texas; you’re expected to be top 3 in winning percentage, as you have more money than anyone else, as much in-state talent as anyone, and you’re a king. Being top 3 by BCS metrics should be expected as well, however.

          • bullet says:

            Yes, I guess Mack has been beating up on patsies in bowl games.

            Oregon St., Cal, Ohio St., Arizona St., Iowa, USC, Michigan, LSU, Washington and MS St. Noone of any note.

          • Richard says:

            Just not enough BCS appearances (due in large part to not enough RRR wins).

            With the vast financial advantage Texas has over OU & home-state recruiting edge in TX, Mack should be beating OU 2/3rds of the time, not losing the majority of RRR games to Stoops.

          • bullet says:

            How many kings lose 2/3 of their games in a regular series? That’s ridiculous.

            Texas/OU has been a streaky series with each side having periods of domination. Mack won his 1st 2. Lost 5 straight. Won 4 out of 5 and now has lost 3 straight. Longhorn fan’s complaints are that 4 of his losses were routs and 2 others were really ugly.

          • Richard says:


            Have you seen the record for the OSU-Michigan series or the USC-ND series or the OSU-PSU series during the BCS era? I don’t think you’d find anyone who would say that Michigan, ND, and PSU are not kings, yet they each have lost about 2/3rds of the games in their biggest rivalry series to their rival with better in-state recruiting grounds.

            Texas is the only king in a regular king-king rivalry series with the in-state recruiting advantage who is not only not beating their biggest rival 2/3rds of the time, but is actually losing to their rival with worse in-state recruiting grounds almost 2/3rds of the time during the BCS era.

    • Richard says:

      Hmm, you’re right. 1 win by the B12 in the last 10 SEC-B12 Cotton Bowl matchups. The only 3 times the B12 has beaten the SEC in the last 13 Cotton Bowl meetings, the B12 team was ranked far higher (at least 10 spots better). 2 other times, the B12 team was that much more highly ranked than the SEC team and still lost.

      Also right about the Rose; B10 is 1-9 in their last 10 appearances (all but 2 losses to the Pac, though this was during USC’s awesome run. B10 was 7-1 before that (all vs. the Pac).

      Looking back, there had been some really long runs of dominance by one conference or the other in Rose Bowl history. Pac was 16-2 from 1970-1987 (mostly beating up on OSU & Michigan, who were 2-12, with USC (7-1) and UCLA (4-0) doing most of the damage. Of course, they were essentially playing a home game. Before that, the B10 was 12-1 vs. the PCC from 1947-1959, with over half the conference (6 different schools) getting in on the fun.
      Over the 52 year Big9/10-PCC/Pac exclusive period, the 2 conferences were 26-26. Pac is 7-3 in Pac-B10 matchups since then.

      • bullet says:

        If you keep harping on this Andy will be in here telling us how great Missouri is since they won that 1 of 10. Before that the Big 12 won 4 out of 5.

        • zeek says:


          As it is, it just seems as if the Big 12’s #2/3 teams that get slotted there just don’t seem to win it. Their #1 teams have done fine.

  40. 12-Team Playoffs Now says:

    This Longhorn says congrats to aTm. If college football wasn’t so ridiculously screwed up, the Ags might be the favorite to win an actual national title. Seems clear that by the end of the season they had improved and become the best team in the SEC (sorry Bama, you shouldn’t get mulligans every year, try winning on your own field.) If I had to rank teams right now, it would be 1-aTm, 2-Stanford, 3-ND, 4-Oregon, 5-Bama, 6-UGA, 7+ who cares.

    But this seasons and the bowls illustrate how neither a 4-team nor even an 8-team playoff is enough to assure college football’s best team is declared the national champion. You see aTm doesn’t make it in an 8-team system, and pollsters have once again proven they don’t know shit. I’m starting to rethink my belief that 8 is enough. Maybe 12 with 1st round byes for the top 4 conference champs plus 8 wildcards.

    • bamatab says:

      So Alabama doesn’t deserve a “mulligan” because they lost at home, yet aTm deserves 2 “mulligans” even though they lost 2 games and both of those games at home?

      Regardless, Bama is playing in it and going to 3 national championships in 4 years! Here’s to the possible Bama dynasty & RTR!!!

    • bullet says:

      That SI simulation put A&M in the top 8. In trying to get to 4, they picked the top 2 and then figured out the top 8. It was Notre Dame, Alabama, Florida, Oregon, Stanford, Georgia, A&M, LSU. It was KSU that got left out.

  41. frug says:

    More realignment news from The Dude. What is most noteworthy to me is the change in his tone; he is making far fewer actual predictions and instead making it clear he is simply passing on information from sources (including stuff he doesn’t agree with).

    As for his actual points, he says his sources are telling him G-Tech and UVA are heading to the Big 10 if UVA’s president can get enough support from the Board, that FSU has agreements with both the Big XII and Big 10, that K-State and ISU were spooked by the FSU to Big XII rumors and now back expanding the conference, that the Big XII now favors Miami to Clemson, and (my favorite part) that ESPN is pleading with the Big XII to take UConn.

    He does close with this nugget;

    The only thing I’m 100% confident about is the ACC’s days are numbered and only Jim Delany knows when their clock strikes midnight.

    • Richard says:

      If FSU had offers from both the B10 and B12, it’s easy to predict what their choice would be. I doubt they have a B10 offer, though.

    • vp19 says:

      My Brian-like take on some of the Dude’s comments:

      My understanding, from talking to several people around the SEC and ACC, is that UVA is #16. I’ve had my doubts as sources can be wrong. Dr. [Teresa] Sullivan was basically fired by UVA’s board this past summer and then brought back.

      Dr. Sullivan’s problems with the board seemed to originate from her intentions to buck tradition at UVA and modernize the university in terms of employment and tenure. So her willingness to cast aside tradition for the sake of economics certainly fits the profile of someone who would be willing to move her school from the ACC to the Big 10.

      I live in Charlottesville (was transferred there this fall), and while he’s generally accurate on the problems Sullivan had with the Board of Visitors (her prime antagonist, Helen Dragas, is now up for renewal by the General Assembly), if athletics had anything to do with the flareup, it certainly wasn’t made public. Not that he was saying it did.

      I will add this, however: UVa may not be able to go to the Big Ten unless there are assurances that Virginia Tech will be taken into the SEC. And while Slive might like to add the Gobblers, how would that affect his chances of landing UNC? Would SEC officials go beyond 16 members if Chapel Hill required NCSU and/or Duke to join as well?

      Here’s where the mystery comes in… recently Dennis Dodd of CBS sports wrote a story that claimed the Big 12 would feature an annual payout of $31 million per team beginning in 2014 and if we take what we know we are two million short at our arrived at $29 million.

      The difference could be a Big 12 championship game. The public estimates of seen have a Big 12 championship game at $1.5 to $2 million per school. Add the $2 million and the Big 12 is at $31 million per annum.

      (By the way my source at WVU tells me the Big 12 must have a championship game by 2014 if no other reason than the formula for selecting playoff teams will severely hurt the Big 12 without one.)…

      My friend at WVU continues to say that the Big 12 has an agreement in place with FSU to be the Big 12′s 11th member with Miami or Clemson as #12. …

      I realize that some of this sounds contradicting and confusing. It’s not clear if the Big 12 has invited FSU or Clemson or FSU and Miami. It’s possible the Big 12 will skip 12 and hit 14 and has already invited FSU, Miami, Clemson and one other.

      Perhaps ESPN is pressing the Big 12 to make #14 Connecticut, although some in the conference would prefer Cincinnati or even the Mormon Moby Dick of Brigham Young.

    • metatron says:

      We’re definitely in the “throw crap at the wall” phase of college expansion.

      • Psuhockey says:

        This is going to be an ongoing crap fest until the last two teams are announced. I think wih all the smoke coming out the actual B1G about further expanding, “insiders” are going to throwing out new stuff just for the hits and attention. Hopefully this all stops once everyone hits 16…….at least for a few years.

    • bullet says:

      He made a comment recently that he realized some of his contacts had agendas and they told him stuff with those agendas in mind or left out things with those in mind. He’s definitely come up with stuff that made no sense whatsoever.

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      The ACC’s days aren’t numbered. Their current and admitted members now stand at 15. Let’s assume the worst realistically imaginable case: they lose 4 schools to the Big XII, 2 to the SEC, and 2 to the Big Ten. They would replenish with UConn and Cincinnati, and would be at 9 teams, with 8 full-time football members.

      The remaining core would still be better than the Big East circa 2006, and they could easily get back to 12 schools in football by adding just about any combination of remaining Big East schools they wanted (e.g., Navy, Temple, UMass, Memphis, Central Florida, South Florida, etc.).

      This combination clearly wouldn’t be as good as the ACC of yore, but it would be stable, simply because they’d have nothing left that the conferences higher in the food chain would want to poach. And mind you, this is the worst case: rumored expansion is usually far more dramatic than the reality.

      • Richard says:


        Worst possible case is that the B10 takes 4, SEC takes 2, B12 takes 6, leaving BC and Wake to invite UConn, Cincy, USF, UCF, maybe Memphis, maybe ECU, and whoever else to form a new CUSA. You’re right, though. The ACC’s days may not be numbered; the BE’s could be.

        • bullet says:

          Actually the worst case is they lose 10 and are left with Duke, Wake Forest, Syracuse and BC, 4 private schools. Not telling what would happen then. Duke, Wake and SU might even drop to FCS and join the Catholic 7. ACC would disappear in that case.

          • Mack says:

            For the ACC to go away, almost all the schools will need to leave in the same year. Otherwise, it higher payout will allow it to restock from the BE. If everyone wants to leave at once a vote to dissolve the conference gets rid of exit penalties.

          • Richard says:

            I agree with Mack. For the ACC to dissolve, everyone will have to get offers and leave almost instantaneously. I don’t think that happens. So the ACC will add UConn&Cincy (and maybe Memphis & ECU) if/when the NC&VA schools go, will add UCF&USF if/when FSU&Miami go. May add Navy and/or Tulane at some point as well.

      • Mack says:

        Worst case for the ACC is it gets demoted in a few years to the “best of the rest” conference like what is happening now to the BE (if it maintains that status against MWC). If that occurs it will be a bad outcome for Wake Forest and others left behind in the “BE2″.

      • frug says:

        1. The scenario you describe is no where near the worst case scenario for the ACC. It’s conceivable everyone but Wake could end up elsewhere.

        2. Even if the ACC were to survive, it could be regulated to second tier status, meaning its days as a power conference are numbered.

      • vp19 says:

        Much of the ACC’s fate depends upon whom it loses. I can’t imagine UNC wanting to stay aboard a sinking ship, but its decision where to land — Big Ten or SEC — will set all the other wheels in motion. An SEC UNC would be far more of a wild-card in all this, especially were it to demand conference exclusivity in the state. In that scenario, NCSU has to wind up in the Big 12 (assuming the Big 12 even wants the Wolfpack), and longtime Tar Heel rival UVa has to determine whether it wants to tag along with Chapel Hill (thus probably forcing Virginia Tech to the Big 12, too), or go on its own to the Big Ten. And if all that came into play, Duke has to hope Delany would take it as a fallback option with either UVa or Georgia Tech.

        All of the above assumes that the Big Ten, SEC or Big 12 would refuse to expand beyond 16 members. (Would the Big 12 leap from 10 to 16? Not likely, but if Clemson, Florida State, Virginia Tech and N.C. State were available for growth to 14, there’s no reason why the Big 12 wouldn’t follow its two rival conferences in expanding to 16 — Pittsburgh and Syracuse, perhaps?)

        But while Delany, Slive and Bowlsby may initially argue over which cuts of the ACC carcass to claim, in the end it probably will go like this:

        To Big Ten: Duke, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Virginia. (At the end, a win for the administrators over the T-shirt fans. The Big Ten is probably the only conference of the three that can realistically expand beyond 16, and there certainly is synergy among three of the ACC “old guard” and Georgia Tech, which likes to think of itself that way. Note all four have been part of the Coastal Division since the ACC divided for football.)

        To SEC: North Carolina State, Virginia Tech. (NCSU isn’t as bad a “consolation prize” as some may think; it has more of an SEC-like fan base than UNC does. And Tech has the football-oriented mentality to fit in with the SEC from day one.)

        To Big 12: Clemson, Florida State. (The burnt orange honchos will reluctantly give in and return to a CCG. If it works, the conference could expand to 14 — Pitt and SU would provide the league some exposure in the Northeast, and complement West Virginia in the same way Maryland and Rutgers will complement Penn State in the Big Ten.)

        If the Big 12 only expands by two, the ACC is then left with Boston College, Louisville, Wake Forest, Miami, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Notre Dame (non-football). Add Cincinnati and Connecticut, and you have eight football members, nine overall. Not a top-tier football conference, but a reasonably competitive one that’s probably within the means of its members.

        And I fully expect when the time comes, the ACC will fall on its sword so that all of this can be resolved rapidly and the survivors can get on with their new lives. The Big East’s Camille-like expiration has shown the perils of uncertainty.

        • Mack says:

          The B12 is more likely to go to 14 if the B1G stops at 16 since that provides the B12 a southeast block of 5 schools (w/WVU) by taking the two that do not get a B1G or SEC invite. Any two (or none) of Louisville, Miami, Pittsburgh, Syracuse could get a B12 invite.

          • frug says:

            14 is a really bad number for the Big XII since it forces the conference is split the Kansas schools.

            To be honest, everyone in the Big XII besides ISU would probably favor going to 16 than they would 12 or 14.

          • Mack says:

            I think TX and OK want to make sure that expansion does not decrease their take. That is a tall order after adding 2 to get a CCG. The B12 will only get what the B1G and SEC do not want from the ACC. That is probably FSU and Clemson, but could include VT and NCSU if the SEC gets NC. Will the B12 pass on any of these 4? Making a case for any of Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Miami, and Louisville is harder.

            There are other B12 division options besides splitting the KS schools. Might ship one of the TX privates (TCU/Baylor) to the east. Not likely these schools will quit the B12 even if they are unhappy with the division split. Some schools (but not OSU or MI) will be unhappy with the new B1G split. If NW gets put in the B1G east they may not like it, but will not quit the conference.

          • frug says:


            They don’t have to leave if they don’t like the division; they could just vote against expansion. Texas has already made it clear they are against any expansion, so it would only take 2 more schools to shut the process down.

          • Mack says:

            The weak members of the B12 will not want to leave quality football schools (FSU, Clemson, VT, NCSU) from the ACC free-floating where they may be willing to make MWC BSU like offers to attract TX and OK, who will drag along TT, OkSt, and WVU (TCU experienced this in the SWC). Like the PAC, ACC, B1G, and SEC if the B12 expands to 12 or more schools, the division alignment will be settled after expansion.

          • Brian says:


            “Some schools (but not OSU or MI) will be unhappy with the new B1G split. If NW gets put in the B1G east they may not like it, but will not quit the conference.”

            What makes you think OSU and MI automatically won’t be unhappy? OSU doesn’t want to be in a harder division and have to play 2+ kings annually and have to play both newbies annually. MI would share some of those concerns if not all of them.

          • Mack says:

            It may not be perfect, but OSU will still play Michigan every year.

          • Brian says:


            That doesn’t mean OSU will be happy with the outcome.

          • frug says:


            They may well be perfectly willing to leave good ACC schools floating around if they don’t like the impact on the divisions. Colorado, Utah, and the AZ and No. Cal schools killed the addition of the Oklahoma schools to the PAC because they weren’t willing to give up annual games in LA.

            Right now KU, KSU and ISU all get two games annually in Texas and the last thing they want is a return to the Big XII North and South Divisions.

            Also, they have no reason to fear Texas jumping ship since Texas is the school happiest with the current alignment. That and the GOR.

          • vp19 says:

            Right now KU, KSU and ISU all get two games annually in Texas and the last thing they want is a return to the Big XII North and South divisions.

            Have to disagree. All three fielded competitive teams during the divisional format — heck, ISU came close to winning the North a few times — and I don’t think they’d be averse to going back to divisions. However, a lot would depend upon whom they’d partner with. Would a WVU/Clemson/FSU combo satisfy them? Maybe, maybe not.

          • frug says:

            All three fielded competitive teams during the divisional format

            They were so competitive they won a combined 1 Big XII championship.

            I don’t think they have a problem going to divisions… I think they have a problem going to divisions that is Texoma and Other.

            Right now KU, KSU and ISU all get two games in Texas and a home game against either Oklahoma or Texas every year, if they are put into a Northern/Eastern division those both go away. That is why I think it would probably be easier to get support for a 16 team conference since it would mean KU and KSU could stay in a division with the Texas and Oklahoma schools. Then they could either buy off ISU with the promise of a couple extra million dollars in conference distributions (they could say it was to cover the extra travel expenses they incur by being placed in an Eastern division) or just tell the Cyclones they should just consider themselves lucky in be in any Big XII division.

          • Mack says:

            TX and OK are not going to be held hostage by KS, KSU, ISU, TCU, or Baylor. Texas will do what it takes to keep its conference better or equal to the P12. That may involve limited expansion if the B1G and SEC raid the ACC. If these schools do not go along, the B12 will get dissolved (solves the GOR and NCAA credits issues). TX/OK/TxT/osu are already tightly linked. Add WVU and one or two of the 5 above and the conference is no more.

            If the B1G and SEC only split NC/Duke/VA/GaT then Texas can create a new conference with:
            East: WVU, FSU, Clemson, VaT, NCSU, one of (Pittsburgh, Louisville, Miami)
            West: TX, OK, TxT, osu, two of (TCU, KS, KSU, ISU, Baylor)

            The B12 now provides equal shares of tier 1/2 TV money. KS was #1 in tier 3 money but is now #2 behind the TX LHN money.

          • frug says:

            I’ll clarify that I’m not saying the Big XII wouldn’t expand by just two teams (especially if they were willing to adopt some sort of modified zipper instead of purely geographic divisions) but I think everyone aside from ISU and maybe Texas would prefer 16 to 12 (or 14 for that matter).

          • bullet says:

            I hear a lot of that talk, but it really doesn’t make a lot of sense when you look at what a schedule would actually entail.

            If they keep the 9 game schedule in a 12 team conference, divisions are pretty minor. You play all but 2 teams a year. If you assume Miami and FSU get added and 8 games with Texoma/other divsion split, ISU/KU/KSU get a game in Florida every year AND a game in Texas every year with a Florida & Texas team at home every year as well.

          • frug says:


            What makes you think they would stick at a 9 game schedule if they expanded? With 12 teams they could still meet their inventory requirements with an 8 game schedule and Texas biggest objection to returning is that a CCG makes it harder to reach the NCG so they might insist that the conference drop back to 8 games so they could schedule another creampuff.

            Plus, FSU made clear they weren’t happy at all when the ACC decided to expand to a 9 game schedule, and later forced the conference to scrap the plan all together.

          • Michael in Raleigh says:


            FSU and others who play annual SEC rivals only were able to convince the ACC to go back to an 8-game conference schedule when Notre Dame joined. ND will count as a non-conference game for football. During the years in which ND is on the schedule for FSU, Clemson, and Georgia Tech, they’d have had 11 games pre-determined: 9 ACC games, their in-state rival, and Notre Dame. Inevitably, those three would have had six home games, when their budgets require at least seven.

            I think if FSU was in the Big 12, playing 9 conference games plus Florida, that might be more acceptable.

          • Richard says:


            Unless ND gets the same deal from the B12.


            I’m mystified why everyone puts Louisville so low on the pecking order.

            Personally, I think that if the B12 expands by 2, it will be FSU+Miami (Everyone in their division gets to visit FL once a year & everyone gets to visit FL pretty often).
            Then Clemson+Louisville
            Then it becomes harder to justify expansion, but 2 divisions of 8 _is_ easier to split than 2 divisions of 7, so they could had Pitt+Syracuse (B12 bball definitely would be improved)

          • frug says:


            the B12 will get dissolved (solves the GOR and NCAA credits issues). TX/OK/TxT/osu are already tightly linked. Add WVU and one or two of the 5 above and the conference is no more.

            Why would WVU agree to that? They already applied to the SEC (and ACC) and were turned down. Why would any the other 5 agree to that? Who would give them a better deal than they have now? And what makes you think they could dissolve the conference with a simple majority vote? Major conference decisions require 7 or 8 votes.

            Plus, UT’s BOTs made it clear that they will not sign off on any deal that doesn’t guarantee the survival of the LHN (that’s why the UT BOT declined Bill Powers request for the same unilateral authority to pursue realignment that the presidents at A&M, Mizzou, WVU, Oklahoma and Okie St. were granted) and no other major conference is willing to take it on (Texas checked).

            The fact is, with equal revenue sharing, a GOR and a need for a home for the LHN has left Texas without the same ability to bully around the other members.

          • Mack says:

            This is not TX joining another conference, but creating a new conference like the PAC8 was created out of dissolving the PCC (less 2 members). It will only occur if the B1G/SEC take at least 4-6 from the ACC and destabilize it. The little 5 will not be cohesive. They know that even if they are, the GOR will still expire and for their stand, most will get relegated. This is just a possibility. I think the reality is that some of the little 5 will “volunteer” to join the east division to keep this from happening if the B12 goes back to 12 or more.

            If you are WVU would you rather hang with TX, TxT, OK, osu, FSU, Clemson or KSU, KU, ISU, Baylor, and TCU? And if you pick the first group you probably get another east team such as Pittsburgh or Louisville if the B12 is dissolved.

            Do not know if this was changed, but when the P16 was proposed it was reported that a simple majority was required to dissolve the B12 conference. Even if it is 2/3’s 7 members will provide that.

            Any new conference will have the same TV deals as currently in the B12, equal for tier 1/2, schools have control of tier 3, so no LHN issue.

          • ccrider55 says:

            AAWU was the 5 team offspring of PCC formed in ’59. A year later WSU rejoined and a couple years after OR and OrST becoming the PAC 8 officially a few years later. Not exactly analogous the proposed situation.

          • m (Ag) says:

            If the B12 goes to 16, I think the best option is to put TCU in the East with WVU and make Baylor/TCU the only fixed rivalry.

            Yes, they won’t be happy with that but they were the last in and were going to join the Big East until the Big 12 opportunity arrived.

        • ccrider55 says:

          If the ACC anchors choose to ride it out the ACC will remain in the conference power structure. While they may currently look to be withering they are no where near the B12’s situation a short time ago. They haven’t lost 4 powers, 3 that have won a NC. They haven’t lost a king and 3 princes (granted, CU as a bit off right now). If the ACC anchors feel that the combined weight of the mid Atlantic is greater than that of Texas, the ACC survives.

          • frug says:

            If the ACC anchors choose to ride it out the ACC will remain in the conference power structure.

            Well that’s true of every conference. As long as the top teams stick around they don’t lose ground.

          • vp19 says:

            cc, a lot will depend on how big the revenue gap grows between the ACC and other conferences — and that will almost unilaterally ride on football. Eventually, UNC and the other ACC anchors (Duke, NCSU, UVa) will reach a point where their precious basketball revenue can’t come to the rescue…and that will hold true even after Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Louisville (as well as possibly Cincinnati and Connecticut) join the conference. There’s a difference between being proud and being foolhardy, and the tipping point is coming sooner than the ACC might want to admit.

          • ccrider55 says:


            My point is that the B12 did lose 4 (3 1/2) top teams. ACC lost Maryland.

          • That just speaks to the power of Texas. Big 12 loses four top notch programs and their TV payout doubles or triples for each team in the league. ACC loses Maryland and all of a sudden everyone’s in a wild scramble to find a new home. Larry Scott screwed up big time not compromising on a few issues to get Texas.

          • ccrider55 says:

            C in Wylie:

            I guess the PAC feels if they have a conference that UT can join or not, that’s their choice. However, they aren’t in a position to need to acquiesce, as the B12 has been.

            I still question whether one admittedly large and athletically strong state really of more worth than multiple mid Atlantic states. If so, then UT should go independent.

          • I agree, as long as the PAC is happy with 12. If, as many on here have suggested, 16 team power conferences is the end game, then I still say they made a major mistake. They could have yielded a bit on the LHN (grandfather UT in, so to speak) and made a ton more money for each school. Instead, they’ll have to severely compromise on their academic and secular ideals and let in a BYU or UNLV or Boise State to get to 16.

          • frug says:


            Texas already looked into independence but ruled it out because they couldn’t find an acceptable home for their non-FB sports. (Big East wasn’t strong enough for them even before all the defections)

          • ccrider55 says:

            C in Wylie:

            Or stay happily at 12 with a 100% conference owned network (income equal to BTN will generate aprox double for PAC ), maintain rivalries, and deal with the egos they already know.


            I actually have come to believe UT doesn’t wish independence, even with a great home for non FB sports. What use is being a King if you have no kingdom?

          • Richard says:


            “income equal to BTN”

            Which I think is a giant assumption. I don’t think PTN income will be close to BTN income.

      • metatron says:

        That’s a terrible worst-case scenario. There’s a reason why they all left the Big East.

  42. loki_the_bubba says:

    More rumoring about BYU returning to the MWC.

    Interesting that there is also a non-denial denial from Gonzaga about rumors they’re talking to the C7.

  43. zeek says:

    My review of bowl season:

    Basically reinforced the stereotypes that have been developing over the past couple of years:

    1) SEC still elite at the top although clearly not to the tune of 6 of the top 10 (which was inflated due to how bad the bottom 5-6 SEC teams were this year resulting in the top 6 going 30-0 against the other 8 = easy way of producing a lot of 10+ win teams). Defenses overall seem to have taken a bit of a step back. Some of the offenses are more legit like A&M and Georgia, but some of the others are still messes (Florida/LSU). Still has the most flashy playmakers (and that won’t change for the foreseeable future).

    2) Big 12 has the depth of 4-5 top 25 teams although the next 4-5 ended up a bit overrated. The two losses at the very top (KState and OU) reinforce the notion that it’s not yet producing the most elite teams capable of running the table (also needs to start winning the Cotton Bowl). OU has to start showing up in these really big games though and figuring out how to fix a defense that’s been broken for years…

    3) Pac-12 has been riding the eliteness of Oregon and Stanford (big 2, little 10 syndrome) heavily over the past couple of years and this year shows that (Oregon in 4th straight BCS game, Stanford in 3rd), and they’re getting the wins there now. But the depth was largely overrated due to early season wins against Big Ten and Oklahoma State. Looks like a big 2, little 10 after this bowl season. I’m not sure what USC and UCLA were doing in their practices or whether they even cared to show up. Arizona State put up a ton of points on Navy but I’m not sure whether that shows anything. Rest of the conference did poorly.

    4) ACC got the two wins that it needed most (FSU avoiding embarrassment and Clemson over LSU). Also got good news with the Louisville win over Florida which will be talked about in the same way as TCU winning Rose or WVU defeating Clemson and then going to Big 12; some goodwill will go with Louisville to the ACC as a result of that win. The Georgia Tech win didn’t mean that much to me (other than pointing out how overrated and unmotivated USC looked), but I’m wondering if there’s some concern with Virginia Tech’s performance this year on the whole and looking forward; ACC can’t really afford a Virginia Tech slump with the issues at Miami and UNC.

    5) Big Ten is still down (obviously) as Wisconsin goes 0-3 in 3 straight Rose Bowls and the Big Ten goes 1-4 on New Year’s Day. Clearly, the Big Ten has to turn around the Rose Bowl losses and New Year’s Day losses in general; and sending a 4-4 Big Ten team to Pasadena hopefully never happens again. Only Ohio State (didn’t bowl) and Northwestern come out of the season looking to be in great shape. Bielema supposedly believed that next year’s Wisconsin team will be much better, and it will have to be if they’re going to overcome Ohio State and win a BCS game. Michigan had a silver lining in that they held their own against South Carolina until losing in the last minute as SC made plays at the end; Michigan’s recruiting has been stellar the past couple of years under Brady so we’ll see what they look like in the next year or two. Nebraska’s defense was a disaster in their losses (50 points given up or something like that in their losses); I’m concerned as to whether their recruiting has kept up enough to produce the defensive playmakers that anchored much better defenses that they had in Pelini’s early years. But Nebraska’s advantage in the next year will be that their schedule eases considerably compared to their main competitors in the division. Michigan State loses some great playmakers and we’ll have to see if they can reload to make a run back up to 10+ win seasons. Minnesota was very well coached in their bowl game but Kill’s health is going to be a factor. Purdue had no business even being in a bowl game. Penn State kept BOB but won’t be a factor in bowls for years; they’re hoping to just not fall into a total rut of 0-4 win seasons over the next 5 years…

    • zeek says:

      FWIW, the gaps between the conferences look much smaller than during the past couple of years.

      It’s no coincidence also that it seems to also be a year in which the differences between the top of the top 25 and the bottom are the narrowest they’ve been.

      • bullet says:

        The top is weaker than its been in a number of years. I don’t think Alabama or Notre Dame would beat any champion of the BCS era. And not many runnerups. There seems to be a little gap around #14, but not large. And there doesn’t seem to be much difference from 15 to 35.

        I pretty much agree with your (Zeek’s) earlier analysis of the various conferences. SEC has a lot of 10-2 teams with records inflated by a weak bottom of the conference. Their #6 team may well be better than anyone else’s #3 team, but not by much, and those #3 teams all have 4 or 5 losses. Florida got dominated by UL and Florida didn’t look like a team that failed to show up (see USC). They looked like a team whose weaknesses got exploited. Certainly didn’t hurt having a former Florida coach running Louisville.

      • FranktheAg says:

        The gap between 1 and 2 is large. Bama, Georgia, A&M, USC, and LSU beat OU and KSU decisively if they play and would all challenge to run the table. Florida would likely lose one or two because of their offense but could also beat OU\KSU. Ole Miss is competitive now with all but the top 3.

    • Andy says:

      Bama, A&M, Georgia, SC, and probably Florida will all be top 10. LSU probably just outside. SEC will still likely finish 6-3. If Les Miles hadn’t made such questionable calls at the end against Clemson then the SEC would have gone 7-2. No other league came close.

      • zeek says:

        I watched all of the SEC’s games except Vandy/NC State.

        The only team that went wire-to-wire impressively was Texas A&M of the 5 top 10 teams to play thus far.

        Georgia was in a close game till the 4th quarter against a Nebraska team that was demolished from the first quarter against Wisconsin.

        South Carolina won on a last minute set of plays against Michigan.

        Florida was thoroughly outclassed by Louisville (which incidentally was basically only the 2nd dynamic offense they’d seen all year despite playing 8 SEC games) but made it appear closer than a blowout with some garbage time scoring. Also sets a record for biggest favorite to lose a BCS game I believe.

        LSU lost on a final set of downs for Clemson.

        Mississippi State lost. Vandy won. Ole Miss seems likely to win.

        You analysis fails a basic eyeball test. The SEC was favored to get 9 wins until Vegas switched the line to favor Northwestern by 2 over Miss. State.

        • Andy says:

          SC and Georgia won, they won’t drop in the polls, and they were already top 10. Florida was #3, they may drop 7 spots but I doubt it. Fact is there will be at least 5 SEC teams in the top 10 in the final rankings. Your eyeballs may disagree but that doesn’t mean a whole lot.

          • Michael in Raleigh says:

            Yeah, you’re right. Alabama, Georgia, A&M, South Carolina, and Florida will be in the top 10. Probably in that order.

            Order of finish:
            (1) Ala/ND winner
            (2) Ohio State if ND wins; ND if Ala. wins
            (3) Ohio State if Ala. wins; Ala. if ND wins
            (4) Oregon
            (5) Georgia
            (6) Stanford
            (7) Texas A&M
            (8) South Carolina
            (9) Florida
            (10) Florida State

            Clemson, Louisville, LSU, & K-State not too far behind.

          • bullet says:

            Pollsters get excessively influenced by the last game. Your top 5 are probably right, but I think 6 to 15 will be
            6 A&M
            7 Stanford (not big enough win)
            8 FSU
            9 S. Carolina
            10 Clemson
            11 Florida (ugly loss)
            12 Louisville (being in BE probably keeps them from jumping FL)
            13 KSU
            14 LSU
            15 OU

            So that’s 4 SEC, 2 ACC, 2 Pac 12, 1 B1G, 1 Indy in top 10. Top 15 should be pretty predictable. After that its hard to tell what they will do. There are a bunch of 2 loss non-AQ schools. Northwestern is the only 3 loss Big 5 school. Oregon St, Texas, Nebraska and Vandy only 4 loss Big 5 schools.

            A sign of the weakness of the bottom of the SEC-Vandy lost to 4 top 20 teams, beat 7 non bowl teams and beat a 6-6 Ole Miss team that went to a bowl. They won 5 SEC games and Ole Miss was their best win.

          • zeek says:

            Depends on where Florida goes.

            I think there’ll be plenty of voters who put Florida after Clemson and Louisville. Will it be enough to keep them out of the top 10? I don’t know.

  44. duffman says:

    The B12 is over rated – and the bowls seem to indicate this :

    B12 vs NAQ = 0-1
    – 6-6 Iowa State loss to 10-3 Tulsa (CUSA) by 14 points in a game in Memphis
    B12 vs ACC = No games played
    B12 vs B1G = 2-1
    + 7-5 Oklahoma State beats 6-6 Purdue by 44 points in a game in Dallas
    + 7-5 Texas Tech beats 6-6 Minnesota by 3 points in a virtual home game for Texas Tech
    – 7-5 TCU loss to 6-6 Michigan State by 1 point in a game in Tempe
    B12 vs BigE = 0-1
    – 7-5 West Virginia loss to 7-5 Syracuse by 20 points in a game in New York
    B12 vs IND = No games played
    B12 vs PAC = 2-1
    + 7-5 Baylor beats 9-4 UCLA by 23 points in a game in San Diego
    + 8-4 Texas beats 9-3 Oregon State by 4 points in a virtual home game for Texas
    - 11-1 Kansas State loss to 11-1 Oregon by 18 points in a game in Glendale
    B12 vs SEC = 0-1
    - 10-2 Oklahoma loss to 10-2 Texas A&M by 28 points in a game in Arlington

    Granted, the teams went 4-5 but the top teams in the B12 were dominated by the top teams in the PAC and SEC. 3 of the other 7 games were decided by less than a touchdown. The only B12 blowouts were OSU over the Boilers and Baylor over the Bruins. No way to spin this as the B12 was the #1 conference in the country according to Sagarin and #2 by the rest of the media.

    Here are the records by conference :

    Conference :::: All Bowls 2012 :::: BCS Bowls 2012

    AQ conferences
    ACC :::: 4-2 :::: 1-0 – no games left, won Orange Bowl
    B 12 :::: 4-5 :::: 0-1 – no games left, lost Fiesta Bowl
    BigE :::: 3-1 :::: 1-0 – 1 game left, won Sugar Bowl
    B1G :::: 2-5 :::: 0-1 – no games left, lost Rose Bowl
    IND :::: 1-1 :::: ?-? – 1 game left, plays in MNC game
    PAC :::: 4-4 :::: 2-0 – no game left, won Rose Bowl and Fiesta Bowl
    SEC :::: 4-3 :::: 0-1 – 2 games left, lost Sugar Bowl, plays in MNC game

    non AQ conferences
    CUSA :::: 4-1 :::: 0-0 – no games left, yay Rice!
    MAC :::: 2-4 :::: 0-1 – 1 game left, lost Orange Bowl
    MWC :::: 1-4 :::: 0-0 – no games left, no BCS bowl games
    SunB :::: 1-2 :::: 0-0 – 1 game left, no BCS bowl games
    WAC :::: 2-0 :::: 0-0 – no games left, no BCS bowl games


    The B1G may have gone 2-5 however;
    + 3 of 7 games were against SEC, 2 were close till the end
    + 3 of 7 games were against B12, 2 of which were close
    + 1 of 7 games were against the PAC, and was decided by 2 FG’s
    + Ohio State and Penn State were top B1G teams but unable to go to bowls
    + No bowl games were played in the B1G footprint so they were all “away” games

    • zeek says:

      I’d still say the Big 12 is the 2nd best conference this season.

      Pac-12 lost the important games that would have showed top 25 depth beyond Oregon and Stanford.

      The gaps aren’t that wide though between the conferences as they appeared to be earlier on in the season.

    • bullet says:

      Big 12 was the underdog in 5 of those 9 games. They lost 5 of 9.
      KSU and OU lost to higher ranked teams. Unranked underdogs Texas (in AP) and Baylor beat ranked Pac 12 teams (BU by 30). In the bowls with teams who shouldn’t be in bowls (a bunch of 7-5, 6-6 teams), favorite Okie St won by huge margin, Texas Tech won close w/o a coach, TCU lost close, WVU lost by large margin. Underdog Iowa St. lost to a 10 win non-AQ team they beat earlier in the season.

      Since they performed right with expectations (and ISU was an underdog against someone they previously beat), its hard to read that as overrated. And you talked about KSU being the only one ranked right all season, OU being slightly overrated but the rest being way over-rated. Looks like Texas and Baylor were under-rated. Okie St. might slip into the top 25 as well. As for KSU, I’ve felt all season Oregon was the best team in the country. They don’t deserve to play Monday night since they lost their biggest game, but they are very good.

      • duffman says:

        @ bullet

        Tell me again how the non B12 schools were favored at the end of the season because the data sure shows the opposite. From pollstalker week 15 – last updated 12.03.2012 :
        here is link –,com_psreport/Itemid,3/lang,en/p,45/p_1,45/r,F/r_1,F/s,21/s_1,21/t1,0/t1_1,0/t2,0/t2_1,0/v,0/v_1,0/w,15/w_1,15/

        12.27.2013 – Holiday Bowl : PAC was favorite – got hammered
        7-5 Baylor, listed in 8 of 10 polls – highest spot #23 (Sagarin)
        9-4 UCLA, listed in 9 of 10 polls – highest spot #16 (Massey)

        12.28.2013 – Meineke Bowl : B 12 was favorite – squeaked by with 3 pt win
        7-5 Texas Tech, listed in 8 of 10 polls – highest spot #32 (Billingsley)
        6-6 Minnesota, not listed in any poll

        12.29.2013 – Pinstripe Bowl : B 12 was favorite – got hammered
        7-5 West Virginia, listed in 8 of 10 polls – highest spot #21 (Sagarin)
        7-5 Syracuse, listed in 3 of 10 polls – highest spot #41 (Harris Interactive)

        12.29.2013 – Alamo Bowl : B 12 was favorite – squeaked by with 4 pt win
        8-4 Texas, listed in 10 of 10 polls – highest spot #14 (Sagarin)
        9-3 Oregon State, listed in 10 of 10 polls – highest spot #13 (BCS standings)

        12.29.2013 – BWW Bowl : B 12 was favorite – lost by with 1 point
        7-5 TCU, listed in 8 of 10 polls – highest spot #24 (Billingsley)
        6-6 Michigan State, listed in 6 of 10 polls – highest spot #38 (Sagarin)

        12.31.2013 – Liberty Bowl : CUSA was favorite – hammered Iowa State
        6-6 Iowa State, listed in 5 of 10 polls – highest spot #35 (Billingsley)
        10-3 Tulsa, listed in 6 of 10 polls – highest spot #29 (Harris Interactive)

        12.31.2013 – Dallas Bowl : B 12 was favorite – hammered Purdue
        7-5 Oklahoma State, listed in 8 of 10 polls – highest spot #19 (Sagarin)
        6-6 Purdue, not listed in any poll

        12.31.2013 – Dallas Bowl : B 12 was favorite – got hammered by Oregon
        11-1 Kansas State, listed in 10 of 10 polls – highest spot #3 (Billingsley)
        11-1 Oregon, listed in 10 of 10 polls – highest spot #3 (Harris Interactive)

        12.31.2013 – Dallas Bowl : B 12 was favorite – got hammered Texas A&M
        10-2 Oklahoma, listed in 10 of 10 polls – highest spot #8 (Billingsley)
        10-2 Texas A&M, listed in 10 of 10 polls – highest spot #9 (Harris Interactive)

        I love how you defend Sagarin et all the whole season then switch to the bookies / Vegas to defend your point in bowl season. Again, I am not saying the B12 is not good just saying they are not the greatest thing since sliced bread or the second coming of Jesus. My point has been all season that 80% to 90% of any conference in the Top 30 – Top 40 is suspect and the bowls have proved just how suspect they are. If you have 90% in the Top 35 you should be winning all your bowls and have at least 1 team in the MNC game. I stand by my premise that they have been over rated since losing Nebraska, Colorado, Texas A&M, and Missouri. Even playing 3 OOC cupcakes could not help them win the most important games in the end.

        Kansas State and Oklahoma deserved Top 25 status all season but they were probably the only 2 B12 teams that should have been there. The more accurate breakdown probably should have been :

        Top 25 = Kansas Sate and Oklahoma
        Top 50 = Baylor and Oklahoma State + 1 more
        everybody else would be between 50 – 100

        • Brian says:


          “I love how you defend Sagarin et all the whole season then switch to the bookies / Vegas to defend your point in bowl season.”

          By definition, favored refers to the betting line. Try to let facts seep through your giant wall of B12 hatred on occasion.

        • bullet says:

          Duffman. I’m sorry. On this one matter you have totally flipped out! You post stats showing the Big 12 as lower rated and the underdog and claim the Big 12 is the favorite. Alamo, Liberty, Cotton (Sagarin has A&M #3 in his predictor, OU #8-even he doesn’t take his ELO BCS ratings seriously) and Fiesta (along with Holiday) Big 12 was underdog. Almost noone expected Baylor, Texas, KSU or OU to win. I expected Baylor, Texas and KSU to lose, although I did think OU would win.

          And I have repeatedly said Sagarin over-rated the Big 12 teams. I never defended Sagarin at all. Again, you are totally flipped out on that. Noone on here ever defended those Sagarin ratings this year. I’ve said the Big 12 was over-rated on Sagarin last year (more so than this year). But the human pollsters have not over-rated the Big 12.

          And on your last, I’m laughing. Baylor and Texas beat top 16 teams, but neither are top 25-ok maybe not Baylor. Texas might not be top 50? Who is your top 50? Toledo, Kent, Ball St, Arkansas St and Western Kentucky?

          And if you have 90% in the top 35, you probably won’t be in MNC game because you will have too tough a schedule. Now just because I have Sagarin pulled up, Alabama is #35 in schedule strength and Notre Dame #27. USC is #13, A&M is #14, Stanford #16. A team with a schedule like LSU last year that gets in a 2 game BCS title game is the exception. Its a lot easier to go 12-1 if you are #125 like Northern Illinois.

          • frug says:

            I defended the Sagarin ratings, but I’ve mostly given up on debating Duff.

          • bullet says:

            I don’t think Sagarin is totally out of line, but his models over-value winning and so the Big 12 teams were over-rated this year. But the gap between the Big 12 and SEC and the rest in his model was about 4 points, so it didn’t invalidate the overall ranking. Just the gap was over-stated.
            I believe this is his pre-bowl average:
            Big 12 81.49
            SEC 81.05
            Pac 12 76.36
            B1G 75.88
            Ind 73.64
            BE 70.60
            ACC 69.91
            WAC 64.93
            MAC 62.80
            SB 62.21
            CUSA 62.06
            MWC 62.05

          • frug says:


            Sagarin’s models right in line with virtually every other objective model. Most have the Big XII and the SEC basically tied, followed by drop to the PAC at #3 and another drop to the Big 10 at 4.

          • greg says:

            I don’t understand why the conference ranking discussion around here focuses solely on Sagarin. I’ve linked to the Massey computer ranking compilation numerous times and everyone seems to ignore it. The most recent version has 132 rankings. Eyeballing it, more than half of the rankings have B12 #1.

            The overall conference mean rankings:

            B12 36.05
            SEC 37.24
            P12 44.63
            B10 48.81
            BE 60.83
            ACC 63.55
            WAC 76.48
            MWC 79.72
            MAC 80.59
            SBC 81.40
            CUSA 90.27


          • bullet says:

            Sagarin is easy to find. Look up USA Today.

            I had no clue there were 132 computer models out there in public until you linked that a couple weeks ago.

          • Brian says:


            “I don’t understand why the conference ranking discussion around here focuses solely on Sagarin.”

            Because they’ve been around a long time, are familiar to most people, and are archived.

            “I’ve linked to the Massey computer ranking compilation numerous times and everyone seems to ignore it.”

            Do you have any idea of the validity of the various models in that compilation? Their methodology? How many are essentially the same model? What background the various modelers have?

          • greg says:

            Do you have any idea of the validity of the Sagarin model? The Sagarin methodology?

            I’ll take a huge sample size with some possibly problematic rankings rather than a single ranking system that is much more likely to have a systemic flaw or bias built into it.

          • Brian says:


            “Do you have any idea of the validity of the Sagarin model? The Sagarin methodology?”

            Yes, I do.

            “I’ll take a huge sample size with some possibly problematic rankings rather than a single ranking system that is much more likely to have a systemic flaw or bias built into it.”

            Good for you. That was the BCS approach. But more data isn’t always helpful, especially if many of the polls use the same basic math.

            I’d rather reference just one model that everyone knows about. Nobody’s claiming his model is absolutely correct.

          • greg says:

            brian, thanks for continuing to be obtuse, obstinate and argumentative, which is why I avoid interacting with you. I think I’ll stick with that.

          • Brian says:


            You asked and I answered. If you didn’t want answers, then don’t ask the questions.

        • frug says:

          Tell me again how the non B12 schools were favored at the end of the season because the data sure shows the opposite

          You do realize that Alabama is favored over ND don’t you?

    • bullet says:

      For the SEC
      Vandy 7 point favorite won by 14
      UGA 10 point favorite won by 14
      S. Carolina 5 point favorite won by 5
      A&M 4.5 point favorite won by 21
      MSU 2.5 point favorite lost by 14
      Florida 13.5 point favorite lost by 10
      LSU 4 point favorite lost by 1

    • bullet says:

      For the Pac 12
      AZ 8 point favorite won by 1
      ASU 15 point favorite won by 34
      Stanford 7 point favorite won by 6
      Oregon 9 point favorite won by 18
      USC 11 point favorite lost by 14
      UCLA 3 point favorite lost by 23 to 30 (depending on whether you give them that last play non-touchdown)
      Oregon St. 1 point favorite lost by 4
      Washington 8 point underdog lost by 2

      Favorites in 7 of 8 but only 4-4

      @Duffman, you should be looking south or west for over-rated conferences, not southwest.

      • FranktheAg says:

        Wait, how you perform vs. the line determines a conferences rating? What? So if you are favored to win by 14 but only win by 7, that somehow lowers the value of the win? Excuse me if I’ll continue to look at actually outcomes and evaluate those results by computer rankings or polls. The line is set to drive betting action first and foremost.

        There was a lot of premature evaluation of the SEC bowl results the first six games. Now that A&M and Ole Miss have bumped the record to 5-3, well, lets just say some “justification” is going on. Bama beating ND pretty much ends the debate altogether.

        • bullet says:

          You are totally misreading the discussion. The discussion is about conferences being over-rated. If you are a favorite in 7 of 8 games and only win 4 that indicates you are over-rated. Pac is still clearly better than ACC even if they are over-rated.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Not sure UT winning basically at home and trailing (a 3-9 team previous year) until the end should be considered an example of PAC being over rated. USC started the year way over rated. People forgot they were beginning their actual penalties, not the ornamental bowl ban. UCLA? Which team shows. The one vs Cal, or vs Stanford in CCG. Two LA stinkers really is the difference between matching expectations or not. I saw 6-2 as the high side expectation for them.

          • bullet says:

            To use your argument, UCLA getting killed basicallly at home, shows they are over-rated.

            One game doesn’t prove anything. Its only an indication. But two of their teams were big favorites and won big, one was a big favorite and had a huge comeback to win by 1, one was a 7 pt favorite and struggled to win by 6. Really Washington (who after Pitt was the 2nd in the Jeckle and Hyde poll) was the only one who outperformed expectations. The rest were favorites and lost. Most underperformed. That’s a trend.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Cal crushed UCLA. Bruins must be in the Jeckle and Hydy running.

            One over perform, two way underperform, the rest’s results, whether impressive or not, were about as expected. Are you suggesting that a reversal of one of the stinker losses would mean the PAC is underrated?

          • bullet says:

            So you are suggesting all the results on the field should be totally ignored? You can argue that, but it makes any discussion impossible.

          • ccrider55 says:

            No, I’m saying that to say they were expected to win seven of eight is intentionally setting the bar unreasonably high. Even 6-2 would have been a surprising result. So, yes they underperformed the 5-3 in bowl games I thought they would achieve, by one. I’m not sure a single bowl game difference from expectations paints the conference as a whole as overrated.

  45. Andy says:

    MWC could look like this:

    BYU (?)
    Boise State
    Utah State

    San Diego State (?)
    Fresno State
    San Jose State

    New Mexico
    UTEP (?)

    Colorado State
    Air Force
    Houston (?)
    SMU (?)

    • Redwood86 says:

      MWC made a colossal mistake in taking San Jose St. That school just has too many challenges to be successful on an ongoing basis. And now if they get BYU, they will either have to expand to at least 14 or not take back SDSU – which is much stronger in its market than SJSU can even dream about in its market.

      Your 16 teams seem plausible and workable, although I quibble with the pods. However, I would take Tulsa over UTEP.

      • bullet says:

        They didn’t really have much choice at the time. To get to 10, it was Idaho, NMSU, UTSA, Texas St. or San Jose St. And it looked like Air Force or others might join the BE.

    • Transic says:

      I don’t think they’ll go to pods this time. The WAC-16 experience has spooked them out of it. They’ll go to 2 divisions of 8 if they expand to 16. Front Range schools would prefer to play against each other every season, plus a couple of Texas teams. BYU and Boise might get put in separate divisions so that there won’t be too much on an unbalance either way.




      UTEP (?)
      SMU (?)
      UH (?)

      Hawaii might go all-in, under this scenario. BYU gets access to Texas recruiting, which would alleviate any concerns about not being in a division with Calif. schools.

      • ccrider55 says:

        Someone please explain how the LDS church leadership has suddenly decided to rejoin a conference similar to the one they just left. Is there evidence the move out is not serving the purpose intended by the church? While not impossible, the decision would not be based on money or simple competitive issues other schools schools study. While BYU is not ND, they are similar in some regards (BYU possibly being even more extreme in some ways).

        I’ll be surprised if they join any conference voluntarily any time soon. I think they revel in the attention every time they are included in a rumor. It feeds the #1 purpose of going independent. Increased visibility of the school, and thus the church.

  46. GreatLakeState says:

    The Redwings have been in the Western conference with Anaheim and San Jose for twenty years, and have somehow endured. The funny thing is, even with a new geographic split in the B1G, I think Delany & Co. will want to keep the ‘Legends and Leaders’ names. At least until they go to 16.
    I also think VP19’s divisions are correct
    East: Rutgers, Maryland, PSU, UM, OSU, Indiana, Northwestern
    West: Wisc, Minn, Iowa, Neb, MichSt, Purdue, Illinois
    I’m sure Purdue will beg to be in the east, but Indiana basketball will trump Purdue’s wishes.

    • vp19 says:

      Basketball will have nothing to do with football divisions. I seriously doubt the Big Ten will split into divisions for hoops.

      Purdue makes more sense in the East, as it has more of a rivalry with Ohio State and Northwestern than Indiana does, whereas IU has a rivalry with Illinois.

      • GreatLakeState says:

        Firstly, if they go to twenty, which I think they will, these football divisions will also become basketball divisions. They’re not going to create new divisions for basketball. Indiana, in the East, creates many more attractive BB match-ups (and contrary to the prevailing opinion of the FTT Presidential Fan Club, BTN considerations are….considered.)
        I am curious wonder why you chose Indiana in the East, if you think Purdue is the obvious choice?

        • frug says:

          Or that could just not have BB divisions at all…

        • Eric says:

          I disagree. At 20, there is actually less reason for divisions than at 14. The only purpose of divisions in basketball is for round robin play and if you do that at 20, you are essentially never playing the other division (round robin in a 10 team division is 18 games). At 20, I’d assume the conference would probably have 20 conference games (19 vs. each other and one home and home).

      • BruceMcF says:

        Between the two, I’d rather Purdue than Indiana, even if Purdue is sometimes a pain in the derriere for the Buckeyes.

    • metatron says:

      Switch Purdue with Michigan then. I don’t want to be in the East. At all.

    • jj says:

      We’ve discussed the Wings before. It sucks being the West and no other fanbase would put up with it.

      • metatron says:

        The trade off would be losing Chicago, and I can’t do that. I mean, I miss pummeling the Maple Leafs, but the Blackhawks are our first and true rivals.

        • jj says:

          Leafs is the better rivalry in my opinion. No question. Perhaps this is why I feel more “Eastern” and you “Midwestern”.

          • vp19 says:

            BTW, it appears the lockout is over and we’ll have a truncated season a la 1995 or last year’s NBA:

            Can NHL players currently in Russia and elsewhere make it back to North America for the start of the season, or are they locked into those contracts?

          • jj says:

            I’m equal parts happy and still angry about this. This league needs serious help going forward.

          • Brian says:

            Did this new deal really fix their underlying problems? I don’t see enough changes to think so. They eliminated some of the most ridiculous contracts and adjusted the salary cap. Is that enough?

          • jj says:

            @ Brian

            Not at all. From what I see, you are correct, they tried to stop creative contracting and tinkered with the money. While those may or may not be good ideas, they need a long, hard look at how to improve the product. In my view, 100 zealots would be better than 1,000 meh fans in terms of spreading the word, so to speak.

            The winter classic and return of Winny were the only really good moves I’ve seen in awhile. Some of the last round of rule changes were ok, but they need to: (1) drop the trapezoid; (2) eliminate the center red line; (3) go back to one referee; and (4) sit down and rebuild the divisions. Items 1 and 2 would lead to faster and more interesting play in my view. I think they could stand to lose a few teams as well, but that’s not likely.

          • On a related note, I see some similarities in the arguments over the NHL divisional alignments with the Big Ten discussion. The Red Wings (or at least their fans) seem to very much prefer to switch over to the East, but the problem from an overall NHL perspective is that would be making a league that is already disproportionately tilted way too much to the Eastern Conference with brand names and fan bases even worse and effectively make the West completely worthless from a TV value perspective outside of Chicago. NBC didn’t televise a single regular season Western Conference game last year that didn’t have Chicago and/or Detroit participating. In fact, there were only 4 Western Conference teams outside of Chicago and Detroit that appeared on NBC at all (one time each and only regional coverage in all instances): St. Louis (vs. Chicago), Los Angeles (vs. Chicago), Minnesota (vs. Boston) and San Jose (vs. Detroit).


            That’s why the NHL has resisted moving Detroit to the East so much (and rightly so since the West is already close to non-existent TV-wise as shown by the NBC schedule above). Now, Red Wings fans need to remember that Blackhawks and Blues fans hate having to see non-Canadian western teams at the expense of more games against the tradition-rich NHL franchises just as much as people in Detroit do, so the “4 conference” proposal that seemed to be agreed upon last year would be the best realignment compromise.

          • morganwick says:

            The problem with the NHL’s expansion isn’t the expansion itself, but how little the NHL has done to make it work – they seem to have believed “build it and they will come”. This may have to do with Gary Bettman coming to the NHL from the NBA with no hockey background and scratching his head at the lack of southern and non-Canadian Western teams and the large number of teams in small markets (especially in Canada).

            As I’ve said in the past, looking strictly at a list of markets no one would dispute the need for the southern expansion or the moves of the Jets or Nordiques, two markets that make Green Bay seem major league. Dallas, Atlanta, Phoenix, Tampa, and Miami are larger than any Canadian market not named Toronto or Montreal, Raleigh is not that much smaller than Vancouver, and even Nashville might be larger than the other four Canadian markets. Even Anaheim, as much as it was a power play by Disney, makes some sense in the sense that if there’s going to be a second multiple-team market, you’d pick LA over Chicago or Toronto.

            The problem is that nothing was done in any of these markets to build any sort of hockey fanbase, which is why no one mourned the Thrashers when they left Atlanta despite not only Winnipeg being a tiny fraction of Atlanta’s size, but also the fact the Calgary Flames were in Atlanta before Bettman came along, suggesting Atlanta was too large a market to ignore no matter what. If Bettman never became commissioner, I’d still bet on expansion teams in Dallas and Atlanta at the very least. I believe Steve Lepore of Puck the Media fame has suggested NBCSN doubleheaders to give West Coast teams more exposure, even if that amounted to a “National Avs Game of the Week” at first. In other words, NBC’s obsession with the “NBC Seven” (the US Original Six teams plus Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Washington) has been a self-fulfilling prophecy, and a more logical east/west split would be more feasible if the NHL had done a better job of building fanbases for the Sharks, Ducks, Coyotes, Stars, and others in their home markets to begin with, rather than rely on a small number of popular teams to hold up their popularity.

          • bullet says:

            My daughter missed the Thrashers. They did try hard to promote them in the community.

            Problem was they got in the playoffs something like 1 or 2 times in 10 years. Kind of like getting a 10 on a a,b,c,d multiple choice test.

          • Richard says:


            I’m not sure how much good promoting hockey in the Sun Belt could have done. As an example, the NFL could promote the heck out of American football in London, but it would still be regarded as a sideshow played by non-natives ranking in the sports scene far below rugby, cricket, & F1 and far, far, far below soccer. This would be true even if the NFL put a franchise in London. Kansas City would still have more NFL fans than London despite metro London having 6 times more people than metro KC.

            I feel that’s roughly the situation with regards to hockey. Atlanta may have 6-7 times more people than Winnepeg, but there are still more hockey fans in Winnepeg than Atlanta.

            Note that Nielsen once figured out that less than 3K people in greater Phoenix actually watched a Phoenix Coyotes hockey game on TV there.

          • morganwick says:

            There’s some anecdotal evidence that hockey is catching on in parts of Florida. It’s not like the northern and southern US are completely separate countries separated by an ocean like the US and England. Heck, Canada is virtually the 51st State compared to Europe.

            What’s a good Winnipeg-size town or city in England and what level is their soccer team on?

        • GreatLakeState says:

          I agree with that. In the bruiser days (pre Avalanche rivalry) the Toronto rivalry was bitter, but Chicago is the one constant.

  47. GreatLakeState says:

    For the record ‘I am curious’ and ‘I do wonder’.

  48. zeek says:

    “San Diego State removes Big East logo from website”


    Could be happening soon.

  49. Tom Jones says:

    With the B1G’s new division alignment due this spring, will we know schools 15 and 16 by then? Seems to be consistent projections that its Ga Tech and Va. I cannot help thinking NC and Duke will be making the B1G 18 at some point.

    • Andy says:

      I think it’ll be UVA and GT, then UNC/Duke will have to decide whether to become 15&16 for the SEC or 17&18 for the B1G. If they go SEC then I think both leagues stop at 16. If they go B1G then the SEC will have some decisions to make. Do they take VT and NCSU? Do they stay at 14? Do they raid the Big 12 more? Right now they’re trying their best to position themselves to get UNC and Duke and stop there.

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      I don’t think we’ll know nos. 15 and 16 by the spring. Re-alignment will remain on the back-burner until everyone finds out how much Maryland will have to pay to get out of the ACC.

  50. zeek says:

    Big Ten to 18?

    Teddy Greenstein (Tribune’s sportswriter generally plugged into Big Ten/Northwestern)–20130106,0,244829.story

    “Some sources within the Big Ten believe the conference won’t stop expanding until it hits 18.”

    Clearly that’s a reference to UVa, UNC, Duke, Georgia Tech; the 4 AAU that most obviously pass the academic smell test I would guess.

    As for divisions,

    “The Tribune has learned that in preliminary chats, Big Ten officials have inquired as to whether Northwestern would be open to pairing with the Eastern block of schools.

    The thinking is Northwestern is a national university with large alumni bases up and down the East Coast. And if Northwestern went east, the western division could be tidy: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Purdue and Wisconsin. That would leave an eastern division of Northwestern, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers.”


    So the Big Ten’s plan is to move Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Purdue to the West in exchange for Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern moving to the East.

    • zeek says:

      It sounds to me as if the scenario that they posted in their survey is their East-West split with the tossup of splitting the Illinois schools or the Indiana schools

      Indiana (or Northwestern)

      Ohio State
      Penn State
      Michigan State
      Northwestern (or Indiana)


      This matches up to that East-West split scenario.

      Issue seems to be who to split off from their in-state partner (Indiana or Northwestern).

      I’d imagine that Michigan and Michigan State are pushing for Northwestern to go East with them (so they keep their Chicago visits every other year).

      As much as I hate it, I doubt Northwestern has enough say to overcome Michigan and Michigan State pulling Northwestern to the East.

      • Brian says:


        If it helps, OSU wouldn’t particularly want them either. They’d much rather have IN or PU or IL.

        What it sounds like to me is IN, PU and IL have all said they don’t particularly want to go east. Thus, the B10 is asking NW since they have more alumni out there.

        • zeek says:

          Competitively this will unbalance the divisions in my opinion.
          Northwestern for Indiana is the one trade up (from Northwestern’s football point of view) that I can safely assume given the past 20 years.

          And anyone who thinks Wisconsin/Illinois for Michigan/Michigan State isn’t a trade up as well isn’t following college football.

          The Western division looks awfully weak beyond Nebraska/Iowa/Wisconsin. And I have long-term questions about whether Iowa/Wisconsin will be able to stay “up” for long periods of time given recruiting constraints.

          I think Michigan State and Northwestern need to remain in the West with Purdue and Indiana staying in the East.

          • zeek says:

            Er meant that in reverse I think with Michigan/Michigan State replacing Wisconsin/Illinois being a trade up competitively (you get what I mean).

          • Brian says:


            The E/W split is always unbalanced. It’s a fundamentally flawed idea.

      • vp19 says:

        Were that to happen, would there be guaranteed crossovers?

        If so…

        Ohio State-Illinois
        Penn State-Nebraska
        Michigan State-Wisconsin

        • zeek says:

          Well, they’re splitting up Illinois/Northwestern or Indiana/Purdue so the question is whether those are important enough to keep crossovers for…

        • Brian says:


          I’d have to think they’d favor NW/IL over OSU/IL and NW/IA.

          • vp19 says:

            Then make it Northwestern-Illinois and Ohio State-Iowa. (In this setup, I’m pretty certain Maryland and Rutgers would draw the Indiana schools.)

          • Brian says:


            That could happen. On the other hand, the B10 may want to keep MSU/IN like they did last time.


            Or maybe they want to keep OSU/PU, making it MD/WI and RU/IA.

            The point is, there are lots of choices.

          • BruceMcF says:

            @vp19, if Penn State and that school up north is in an Eastern division with OSU, together with MSU, and they end up with locked cross-division games, I’d think OSU/WI, OSU/IA and the Buckeyes against the Illini are all more likely locked crossovers for the Buckeyes than Indiana. That is, when the Buckeyes were pushing back against:
            OSU / TSUN / Rutgers / MD / Penn State / Purdue / Indiana.

            … as giving a less then exciting conference schedule, it wasn’t that school up north and Penn State that they were focusing on there.

          • Richard says:

            Bruce, I think the B10 cares more about fairness than excitement (or rather, they don’t want to hear about complaints from fans), and matching OSU with IU (who, after all, is in your fight song) when Michigan gets Minny is more “fair”.

          • Brian says:


            “Bruce, I think the B10 cares more about fairness than excitement (or rather, they don’t want to hear about complaints from fans),”

            Based on what? They locked MSU/IN to keep the most minor of rivalries despite the obvious lack of fairness.

            “and matching OSU with IU (who, after all, is in your fight song)”

            IU is not in any standard lyrics to any song an OSU fan would consider the OSU fight song (we have 2 of them).

          • Richard says:


            “Based on what? They locked MSU/IN to keep the most minor of rivalries despite the obvious lack of fairness.”

            I’m talking about fairness with regards to locking in rivals. The fairness doctrine says “every school should have a locked rival if OSU & Michigan have one”, so that actually proves my point. In other words, I don’t see the B10 making special rules for some schools instead of others.

            “IU is not in any standard lyrics to any song an OSU fan would consider the OSU fight song (we have 2 of them).”

            OK, this is the one I heard:


            “Indiana” was in the ending of the Burger Kings commercial that played this song. Evidently, Indiana was one of the possible alternate endings in the original lyrics.

          • Brian says:


            “I’m talking about fairness with regards to locking in rivals. The fairness doctrine says “every school should have a locked rival if OSU & Michigan have one”, so that actually proves my point. In other words, I don’t see the B10 making special rules for some schools instead of others.”

            OK, I agree that’s been the B10’s M.O.

            I thought you were referencing the difficulty of locked opponents, since Bruce responded to vp19 proposing OSU/IN by suggesting OSU vs WI, IA or IL as better choices because they are more appealing games. You responded by saying the B10 preferred fairness over excitement, and suggested OSU/IN to pair with MI/MN as being more fair. That’s why I mentioned MSU/IN as an example of the B10 choosing an unfair pairing.

            ““Indiana” was in the ending of the Burger Kings commercial that played this song. Evidently, Indiana was one of the possible alternate endings in the original lyrics.”

            Yes, there are old variants but nobody uses them anymore.

        • Eric says:

          I don’t doubt they’d keep the instate rivals split, but in east-west I hope they don’t have other crossovers. As much as I want to keep the Illibuck regular (and I care more about that than any game besides Michigan), there should as few of locked crossovers as possible between divisions.

      • C. Toda says:

        With Ohio St and Michigan in the east, your 2 top teams are in the East. Sorry, but they must be in In different divisions. How about Ohio St, Penn St,Rutgers Maryland,NW,Indiana add Purdue in the East . Michigan ,Michigan St, ILL,Min,Iowa,Wisconsin and NEB in the west.One x over game and two more with other div . for a total of 9 division games.You would play everyone every 3 years .

      • morganwick says:

        Why would they split up the Illinois or Indiana rivalries rather than just put the Illinois teams in the West and the Indiana teams in the East? How would either one be preferable to the other? Are Illinois and Indiana great and powerful pipelines of high school talent?

        • Brian says:

          One could argue that almost everyone wants access in or near Chicago, thus splitting NW and IL.

          • morganwick says:

            Why split the Indiana teams then?

          • Brian says:

            So IN/PU is the only locked crossover game, and every one else can play each other more often.

            Let’s say OSU is with IN, and there are 8 games, only IN/PU is locked.

            IN vs 6 in division and PU – 100%
            IN vs rest of other division – 17% (1/6)

            OSU vs 6 in division – 100%
            OSU vs 6 in other division – 31%
            OSU vs PU – 17%

            Now lock 1 game for everyone:
            OSU vs division + rival – 100%
            OSU vs 6 in other division – 17%

            That’s almost double the frequency of games against the other division in exchange for no locked rival and playing PU or IN less often.

    • Brian says:


      It’s a terrible plan. Why do TPTB insist on trying to ruin the B10?

      • zeek says:

        Michigan and Michigan State are extremely likely to go East now in my opinion. It seems as if their presidents and ADs really want the East Coast exposure.

        There’s no way the Big Ten doesn’t ask Northwestern these questions if Michigan/Michigan State are almost committed now to going East.

        • jj says:

          FWIW, I think MI in general, at least the Southeastern part where most of the urbanites live, is more culturally “eastern” than “midwestern.”

          • Brian says:


            Be careful not to confuse midwestern/eastern and urban/rural. Cities are always different from the surrounding area, but that doesn’t always mean they lose regional flavor.

          • metatron says:


            I don’t see how you can come to that conclusion at all. I mean, I’m truly struggling and I live on that side of the state.

          • jj says:

            i guess it just depends on your view of the topics. When I’m in MN, IA, IL and IN, they just seem a bit different. I think life gets more “midwestern” the further west and more rural you go.

          • BruceMcF says:

            From growing up in Central Ohio, visiting our relatives in South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Michigan over the years, and living in Northeast Ohio, Central Ohio is substantially more midwestern than Northeastern Ohio. It must be the corn: in Ohio the cornbelt goes from being states to being counties, most of the state on the western border, narrowing down to a strap near Columbus that stretches east to the PA border. The parts outside the cornbelt to the southeast are part of Appalachia, and the parts outside the cornbelt to the northeast are more “Inland Northeastern”, like Upstate NY.

          • Richard says:


            Culturally, NE Ohio is part of extended Yankeedom (like MI & upstate NY as well), having originally been part of CT’s Western Reserve and originally settled by Connecticut Yankees.
            Southern OH was settled by Virginians and other folks from the Appalachians while the rest of central & northern OH are part of the Midlands that epitomize the Midwest.

          • GreatLakeState says:

            The only place in Michigan I’ve felt a distinctly eastern vibe is AA, where it’s unmistakable.

    • spaz says:

      Yeah, the East wouldn’t have enough large markets in a straight geographic split. Adding Chicago seems like a good idea. And the West gets total control of Indianapolis!

      • zeek says:

        Yeah, that’s another reason why I think Northwestern will stay in the West.

        Nebraska at Northwestern was one of the highest rated games of the year in Chicago and the fact that it took place in Evanston is likely why…

    • metatron says:


    • mushroomgod says:

      Interesting read.

      Somewhat unusual that Teddy would diss “Legends” and “Leaders” so openly, as he’s kinda of a BIG corporate guy. Leads me to believe there’s widespread support for new divisional names amoung the ADs/Presidents/administrators.

      As an IU guy, I have no particular objection to IU and Purdue being in different divisions, as long as they play the last game every year….doing it that way increases the odds that an Indiana(state of) college football fan could see any particular school he wanted to in a given year. That said, the East would be a bear as MICH and OSU are set to dominate the league for the next 10 years.

    • Scarlet_Lutefisk says:

      The idea that Northwestern has a ‘large’ alumni base anywhere is amusing to me.

  51. frug says:

    Nice overview of Corbett’s lawsuit against the NCAA (unless you are a Corbett fan in which case it is not so nice)

  52. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    I’m so glad they let co-eds into A&M.

    • bamatab says:

      Alan, to embed that youtube video, did you just copy & paste the embedded string? I’ve never tried to post a video (or picture for that matter) to this particular blog.

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        Bamatab – I just copied and pasted the embedded string and the video popped up after I hit “post comment”.

  53. zeek says:

    $500 million over 12 years for Catholic 7????

    The seven Catholic schools that plan to leave the Big East to form their own basketball conference expect to double their money off a television deal, according to sources.

    Sources say that Fox, whose Fox Sports 1 channel is set to launch in August, has an initial high offer on the table of more than $500 million for a 12-year deal. Fox Sports 1 will replace the network’s motorsports channel Speed, already in 81 million homes. Sources say officials with Fox are scheduled to meet with those representing the interest of the “Catholic 7″ in New York City on Wednesday. A Fox spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment. A high-ranking source at NBC Sports Network, which has so far engaged in preliminary discussions with the “Catholic 7,” declined comment. ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz also declined comment on the network’s interest in the “Catholic 7″ games.

    • zeek says:

      My only concern here is this part about those 7 taking $5 million and then offering only around $2.5 million to the other 3-5 schools that are going to join from the A-10 (which are only making $400k right now).

      I would hope it’s a situation like schools joining the Big Ten or Pac-12 and that they all are eventually taking the same amount of money by the end of that contract.

      • frug says:

        Yeah, hopefully it would just be a buy in like TCU and Utah, but if the C-7 believe that they will always be the only non-football playing power conference in the country they may be tempted to keep unequal distribution and just assume no one will ever be able to find a better home.

    • greg says:

      C7 setting up a conference of unequals?

      It is believed the “Catholic 7″ would divide their share of the television rights evenly and split the rest among what ideally will become the other three to five schools that they add to form a 10- to 12-team conference. One source said it is likely the new schools wouldn’t share the same amount as the “Catholic 7,” which would allow the former Big East basketball schools to earn in the $5 million range. It’s thought that free agent schools such as the ones in the Atlantic 10 would be fine with making less than half of that on an annual basis because they currently pull in $400,000 a year.

      • zeek says:

        As I said above, I really hope that this is a short term thing and that the “unequals” get scaled up rapidly to the “more equals” so that they’re all earning the same amounts down the road.

        Hope it’s temporary/short-term and not a permanent fix…

        • Jericho says:

          Agreed. Uneven revenue sharing is never a great building block for a conference. There’s no real need to do it, and if schools like Butler or Xavier join, they can easily “outearn” on the court most of the C-7 schools.

          • Eric says:

            I don’t think unequal revenue sharing itself is a problem, but a set-up which directly states schools 1-7 receive this and schools 8-12 receive this seems more open to issues.

          • Michael in Raleigh says:

            I agree as well. Perhaps uneven sharing could make sense for a few years, but it’s a formula for disunity. Butler and Xavier could make 3 times the number if national TV appearances, make the NCAA tournament AND advance in it, and by themselves boost the initial value of the contract. Yet Providence, Seton Hall, and DePaul could earn double in league distributions, even if they’re rarely on TV and never in the NCAA tournament?

            I also don’t see how the C7 schools can make the argument that those who are added to them need to “buy in.” It was totally different for Nebraska in the Big Ten. The 11 members of the B1G had put up millions of their own money to fund the startup costs for the BTN. Nebraska’s lesser payments from the B1G are a way of buying equity into that network. The C7 schools, on the other hand, have no network for which they will be paying startup costs. They do not even have a league yet!

          • BruceMcF says:

            If they are the ones with the contract offer, and it turns out they end up with the Big East name, which is strong in basketball and sullied in football, they do have assets to justify a buy in, even if they form the conference, sign the contract, then immediately do the invites.

            In part it depends on whether they are leaving their NCAA units income behind with the conference currently slated to receive it, or negotiate an agreement for the present “Big East” to forward unit revenue to the new conference.

            If they are leaving their NCAA unit income behind, with no or only partial pass through, then a buy-in period of 6 years would allow total conference revenue to rise via NCAA tournament appearance income to rise as total conference revenue becomes spread more evenly.

          • bullet says:

            They may well be talking about the NCAA units which they take with them.

          • bullet says:

            this could be a way to even it out.

    • vp19 says:

      A pretty arrogant move by the Catholic 7, as some of the other potential members being discussed would bring more to the conference table than the likes of Providence and Seton Hall.

  54. Transic says:

    Well, that’s an interesting development. The C7 hasn’t even decided on a name and they’re already on the verge of signing a lucrative contract. More evidence of how the Big East was undermined by its own members. The funny thing would be if ESPN is shut out completely of the C7 by Fox.

    If Fox does this for the C7, imagine the impact if they take all of the Big Ten’s rights for first tier.

  55. Brian says:

    I’d like to back up the division talk and consider the main point of dissent.

    Putting OSU and MI both in the east is better for the B10 than splitting the kings equally.

    Pro – It will help attendance for RU and MD.
    Con – 6 old B10 members won’t see OSU or MI much, hurting their attendance and exposure.

    Pro – It will help the 3 kings see their alumni in the east.
    Con – If the 3 kings cared about their eastern alumni so much, they would have been playing there before now. OSU has never played MD or RU. MI hosted MD 3 times from 1985-1990 and has never played RU. PSU played at MD in 1993 and gave RU a 2 for 1 in the early 90s. That’s it since 1920.

    Pro – It will get RU and MD more national exposure.
    Con – Imbalance means the three kings beating up on each other and dragging all of their reputations down as they win less than normal.

    Pro – It brings the 3 kings closer to the media.
    Con – OSU and MI get tons of media coverage already. This will put even more focus on them to the detriment of everyone else.

    Maybe – Interesting games in NYC and DC could build the CFB fandom and drive more interest in the sport in general. The B10 would benefit as the local conference.

    Maybe – King/RU and king/MD games on BTN might drive some fans to demand BTN that wouldn’t otherwise care. But how many of those games will be on BTN and how will they compare to, say, UMD hoops in driving BTN desires?

    Con – The CCG can never have OSU and MI or OSU and PSU or MI and PSU.

    Con – The east will have a lot more population than the west and they’ll have the vast majority of major media markets. They’ll have all the best recruiting states, too. Those are big advantages for the future, and they’ll only grow as the mid-atlantic grows faster than the midwest does.

    What other aspects did I miss, since I did this off the top of my head?

    • wmtiger says:

      None of the kings want in the ‘west’ or really belong there other than Nebraska while Michigan very much prefers the East. It’s not about M wanting to be in the same division as Ohio either. It’s that they want to play in the backyards of the fertile recruiting grounds of Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and receive the media exposure from playing on the Atlantic Coast..

      East: Ohio, Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland
      West: Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin

      Then you’ve got to organize the other six: Michigan/MSU, Indiana/Purdue, Illinois/Northwestern… These six all share a state with its in-state rival and most likely would prefer to not be broken-up which isn’t possible to at least to one of them. There is no logical way to break-down the divisions (w/ Michigan in the East where they belong) and result in great balance as the West is significantly weaker than the East historically… Last time around, they put M & MSU in the ‘west’ to fix this while putting Wisconsin, Illini in the ‘east’. Didn’t really accomplish much other than gifted Wisconsin a really easy path to the CCG this season.

      • Brian says:


        “None of the kings want in the ‘west’ or really belong there other than Nebraska while Michigan very much prefers the East.”

        OSU and MI belong in the West just as much as the East, as in not at all. While MI prefers the East, I’m not sure OSU does (especially in this scenario).

        “It’s not about M wanting to be in the same division as Ohio either. It’s that they want to play in the backyards of the fertile recruiting grounds of Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and receive the media exposure from playing on the Atlantic Coast.”

        Since when does MI lack media exposure? Does ESPN not cover them now?

        “East: Ohio, Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland
        West: Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin

        Then you’ve got to organize the other six: Michigan/MSU, Indiana/Purdue, Illinois/Northwestern… These six all share a state with its in-state rival and most likely would prefer to not be broken-up which isn’t possible to at least to one of them. There is no logical way to break-down the divisions (w/ Michigan in the East where they belong) and result in great balance as the West is significantly weaker than the East historically… Last time around, they put M & MSU in the ‘west’ to fix this while putting Wisconsin, Illini in the ‘east’. Didn’t really accomplish much other than gifted Wisconsin a really easy path to the CCG this season.”

        But if you move OSU west, then you don’t have to split any in-state rivalries and still have some semblance of balance. You still would need locked crossover games, obviously, but the B10 seems to like those anyway.

    • Eric says:

      Strictly from a fan perspective, I’ve come to the point I’d be OK with Ohio State in the west without Michigan, but the east without Michigan is tough to swallow as it leaves Ohio State without most of what I want it to have. Our only in division traditional Big Ten games would be the Indiana and Illinois schools.

    • Eric says:

      You basically have them all covered. Slight adds:

      Pro: Over short term, relatively competitively balanced
      Con: Big 12 North/South type divide very possible. It’s not unlikely the west would start out stronger, but given the population/media/recruiting advantages in the east (which will only be magnified by fewer games between divisions), it is very possible the west is looked at as the weaker division over the long term and given less much less attention by fans.

      Pro: Ohio State and Michigan being in same division means locked crossovers can be avoided in right circumstance, but…
      Con: There is no east-west set-up that avoids the need for locked crossovers which severely limits scheduling.

    • BruceMcF says:

      Regarding King/RU and King/MD games on the BTN, it seems like those are the kinds of games where OSU has been ON the BTN ~ and scheduling, eg, OSU at Rutgers and MD at that team up north on the same weekend would surely place one or both on the BTN.

      • Brian says:

        Sometimes, yes. But if the B10 wants to promote the newbies, wouldn’t they push OSU/IN type games on BTN like now and push OSU/RU onto ESPN/ESPN2?

        • Richard says:


          I think the B10 cares more about getting the BTN on basic cable in NJ and MD than promoting Rutgers and UMD.

          • Richard says:

            To add to that, I expect to see pretty much every football game of RU or UMD on the BTN unless they become nationally ranked and are picked for an ABC telecast.

          • Brian says:


            I asked because I think this is one of the key points to how this east/west split is supposed to make so much money. This was the debate I wanted to have when I posted that pro/con list. Everyone seemed to agree the goal was to make money. I want to see every side explain exactly how moving OSU east makes a lot more money for the B10. What’s the specific path to profit? Different paths require different decisions.

            Many seem to be saying that the goal is to build up the fan bases in NYC and DC for CFB in general and RU and MD (respectively) in particular, which would seem to require ABC and ESPN games so they’ll be seen. Apparently local ratings increase in those markets trump the losses elsewhere and would lead to a larger TV deal in 2017. That doesn’t explain to me why OSU should be in the east (or have locked crossover games with RU and MD) beyond the minute the TV deal is signed, but that seems to be their plan.

            You seem to be saying the path to money is to get the BTN in more households, and that putting OSU/RU and OSU/MD football games on the BTN is the way to monetize this. I can certainly see how cracking the NYC market would make money, but I don’t see how 1 OSU/RU game per year is enough leverage to make the difference unless you believe the BTN is almost at the tipping point for getting carried.

            One counterpoint I like to make to the ratings argument is that RU and MD have to be good to pull solid ratings. RU was part of 4 of the top 5 ESPN games for ratings in NYC, 5 of 5 for ESPN2. All of the ESPN games happened in 2006-7. 2006 was when RU was ranked for the first time in a long time. The 2007 game was RU (having just fallen out of the top 25 after losing 2 games earlier) hosting #2/3 USF. OSU can bring in high rated teams to NJ, but will RU have good enough seasons to care? That’s the big question.

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      It’s always interesting when one’s list of pros and cons is tendentiously structured to support one’s preferred outcome.

      Both David Brandon and Gene Smith have said publicly that they would prefer to be in the same division as each other. I do not recall them stating that they prefer to be in the same division as PSU, Rutgers, and Maryland, though it is widely believed that the conference wants this.The conference, of course, is not monolithic. It is hard to tell if everyone else agrees with this, and what they are prepared to sacrifice to make it possible.

      Many athletic directors admitted their various complaints with the last re-alignment that produced Leaders and Legends. All of them admitted that it was a compromise, and that there was no arrangement that would give everyone what they wanted. The addition of two more teams makes it even harder.

      The solution (whatever it may ultimately be) is not a matter of counting the number of pros and cons, but of weighing them according to what types of outcomes you consider to be more valuable. This is clearly not an exact science: “Leaders and Legends” was widely considered a dud, and yet there was no shortage of smart people who signed off on it.

      Although Bill O’Brien has done a terrific job under difficult circumstances, I think that PSU won’t be a perennial contender again for many years. In terms of playing strength, the Big Ten now has three kings (UM, OSU, Neb), not four. By the time PSU returns to its former glory, assuming it happens at all, the Big Ten probably will have added more teams, and we’ll be revisiting the divisional alignment again anyway.

      This means that any alignment is going to be competitively unbalanced, since three kings have to be split among two divisions. Bearing that in mind, I don’t know of anyone who finds it especially attractive for fierce rivals to have the possibility of playing two weekends in a row. Recall that, for precisely that reason, the Big Ten originally considered moving The Game to earlier in the season, before the fans (quite rightly) revolted.

      • unproductive says:

        The problem with static divisions is that they can’t do everything that the BIG wants to do. One of the things that the schools (and fans) want, is to play each other a lot and preserve rivalries. Just look at the games that have been played more than 85 times – Minn/Wisc (121); Ind/Pur (114); Mich/OSU (108); Minn/IA (106); Ill/NW (105); Mich/MSU (104); Ill/OSU (98); Minn/UM (98); Ill/Pur (87); and IA/Wisc (86). If you want to preserve these rivalries, you have to place certain teams in the same division, which screws up both competitiveness and geography. You can ameliorate these concerns if you lock some games across the division, but then, for an 8 game schedule, you end up playing some teams only once every 6 years. The BIG also wants to get UM, OSU and PSU playing on the east coast as much as possible. But you can’t do that without sacrificing some of the rivalries (or competitiveness). This is why I like the idea of pods and changing divisions each year (which can solve all of these issues, at least somewhat). I’m in a minority on that issue, though, and I doubt that the BIG will adopt non-static divisions. For a static division, in order to preserve the rivalries and supply some east coast exposure, I think that the following might work: North – Neb, Minn, Wisc, IA, MSU, UM, Rutgers; and South (NW, Ill, Pur, Ind, OSU, PSU and MD. You’d have to lock UM and OSU and it makes sense to also lock Neb – PSU and Rutgers – MD, and you wouldn’t need to lock anyone else. On paper, though, the North seems much stronger than the South, and for UM and OSU in an 8-game schedule to get to play some of the traditional BIG teams only once in 6 years is pretty poor.

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          At this point, no one thinks the Big Ten is seriously considering a rotating pod structure. I toyed with this for a while and couldn’t come up with plausible pods that didn’t have some other, overwhelming disadvantage.

          The problem with “North-South” is that the Big Ten just isn’t laid out that way. If you put the map inside a bounding rectangle, the width is much greater than the height. A North-South alignment comes out looking pretty arbitrary, much like Leaders/Legends did. In addition, just about every alignment proposal I’ve seen has PSU, Maryland, and Rutgers playing each other every year, which I’m pretty sure the conference (and those schools) would want. Your alignment fails to do that.

          Also, I don’t recall any league adopting an alignment where some schools have annual rivals in the opposite division, and some do not. It is certainly not the usual way of doing it, as it leads to some serious scheduling imbalances, over time.

          If they go with an 8-game schedule, they might consider rotating the non-locked rivals every year, rather than every two, so that everyone plays everyone more often.

          • vp19 says:

            The “floating” concept I earlier brought up should the Big Ten assimilate the ACC “core” of Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Duke isn’t really a pod concept, as two-thirds of the members would be locked into permanent divisions (Rutgers + the ACC emigres in the East, the six Central time zone members in the West). But the six in between (Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Purdue) could “float” between East and West in two-year cycles. Heck, the floaters themselves could be altered every four years, as long as games such as OSU-Mich, Mich-MSU, PSU-OSU and IU-Purdue were guaranteed, either in-division or as the designated crossover game. (The 18-team Big Ten would play a 9-game schedule.) The six permanent East and West teams would rotate crossover opponents over a 12-year span.

      • Brian says:

        Marc Shepherd,

        “It’s always interesting when one’s list of pros and cons is tendentiously structured to support one’s preferred outcome.”

        I’m really not trying to slant it. I actually want a reasonably objective list of the points on both sides of the issue. I tried to remember the points made by various posters and summarize them. Please feel free to restate any of them in what you feel are more accurate terms. My goal was to just accumulate all the points in one concise discussion so everyone can draw their own conclusions. Everyone will weight the various factors differently anyway, and thus reach a variety of conclusions.

        “Both David Brandon and Gene Smith have said publicly that they would prefer to be in the same division as each other.”

        When did Smith say that?

        “I do not recall them stating that they prefer to be in the same division as PSU, Rutgers, and Maryland, though it is widely believed that the conference wants this.”

        I think Brandon has said that, but I’ll let MI fans say for sure.

        “Many athletic directors admitted their various complaints with the last re-alignment that produced Leaders and Legends. All of them admitted that it was a compromise, and that there was no arrangement that would give everyone what they wanted. The addition of two more teams makes it even harder.”

        Of course.

        “The solution (whatever it may ultimately be) is not a matter of counting the number of pros and cons, but of weighing them according to what types of outcomes you consider to be more valuable.”

        Right. But it helps to first know what all the points are. Then you can start weighing them. My goal here was just to get all the points in one place, since that can be done more or less objectively. Then everyone can weight those points on their own, which is much more of a subjective exercise.

        “Although Bill O’Brien has done a terrific job under difficult circumstances, I think that PSU won’t be a perennial contender again for many years. In terms of playing strength, the Big Ten now has three kings (UM, OSU, Neb), not four.”

        Kings are brands more than performance. PSU from 2000-2004 won 26 games and didn’t stop being a king. Do you not think PSU can average 5 wins per year? Minus the emotional turmoil this year, PSU would have been 9-3 or 10-2 probably. Yes, they’ll get worse as the penalties hit, but they get to play a lot of beatable teams, too. IA has fallen down, and WI and MSU slipped for at least a year.

        “By the time PSU returns to its former glory, assuming it happens at all, the Big Ten probably will have added more teams, and we’ll be revisiting the divisional alignment again anyway.”

        That’s too pessimistic. PSU bounced back from the dark years under JoePa. There’s no reason to think they won’t come back this time. They should be good by 2020 at the latest.

        2012 – postseason ban starts
        2013 – 15 scholarship limit starts
        2014 – 65 scholarship cap starts
        2016 – bowl eligible
        2017 – can sign 25 kids (as long as they stay at 65)
        2018 – back to 85 scholarships

        “This means that any alignment is going to be competitively unbalanced, since three kings have to be split among two divisions.”

        Not if you also consider princes and split them, too. K/K/P vs K/P/P is pretty balanced.

        “Bearing that in mind, I don’t know of anyone who finds it especially attractive for fierce rivals to have the possibility of playing two weekends in a row.”

        Me neither, but it may be the least offensive option to a lot of people. Especially when they realize it would be a fairly rare occurrence.

        “Recall that, for precisely that reason, the Big Ten originally considered moving The Game to earlier in the season, before the fans (quite rightly) revolted.”

        They discussed it, yes, but they already knew the fans would revolt. I think they did it to prove to any doubters in the room that the fans wouldn’t accept it. That clarified the options for the final decision – OSU and MI together or separate with the chance of a repeat. They chose to separate them then.

        To be clear, I have no real stake in the final outcome. There is no set of divisions that will make me “happy,” because I don’t want to be in a conference with RU and MD. I said inner/outer was the best solely because it is balanced and works with 8 games and no crossovers. There are several other options I’ve seen that I dislike less than most other options.

    • cutter says:


      I’m confused. In Frank’s last post, you put together a lengthy analysis of pros and cons surrounding the conference divisions and concluded that the Inside/Outside set up would be optimal. Yet Adam Rittenberg (ESPN B10 blogger) and now Teddy Greenstein indicate that there could well be what is essentially and east-west alignment? Didn’t Jim Delany get your email describing in detail the advantages of the “Eye of Sauron” setup?

      You also describe above how “emotional” conference expansion is and that it’s not a typical merger and acquisition scenario. If none of the candidates are automatic Yeses like Rutgers per your analysis, then how can anyone possibly speculate that the Big Ten will have 18 programs?

      You also wrote the following above:

      How would putting NW in the east help get the BTN on basic cable in the east? NW has a small alumni base that already wants the BTN. It’s not like NW games draw a huge national audience

      But the Greenstein article talks about Northwestern being a national school with east coast alums. How could that be true given your analysis of the situation? Perhaps Greenstein is “speculating”? Or is it “informed speculation” seeing that it’s clear he has sources with Northwestern and the Big Ten? Please let us know your opinion on the matter.

      Hmmm. They’re thinking of keeping both Northwestern and Michigan State in the east in lieu of a straight east-west split that could have had Indiana and Purdue there instead? Why would that be? Perhaps they think football wise, MSU and NW would generate larger media interest in the east than the Hoosiers or Boilermakers? Maybe, and I know you think this is a “huge assumption”, the conference really is concerned that Penn State is going to be in the dumps for awhile due to the recruiting sanctions and because PSU has a head coach who has already interviewed with at least one NFL team (happily he stayed because he’s not a “one and done” kind of a guy, but PSU did take it seriously enough to look at contingencies O’Brien did bolt). Of course, according to you, because Nittany Lion fans expect to continue to have winning seasons, then it just doesn’t make sense to consider the may bottom out. After all, didn’t USC fans expect to win the national championship this year? I’m sure they deserved their king status all the way through their multi-loss season, including the one to possible future B1G member Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl.

      Here’s some insight, Brian. The B1G is going to showcase the eastern division for football because New York is the #1 media market in the world, ESPN is located in Connecticut (and Fox is in NYC) and the four new members of the conference will likely come from schools in the ACC south of the Potomac River (and who knows–maybe Notre Dame wants in on the party as well). Are they going to look at alumni numbers and have the better programs in the East because they want to make sure the new members’ stadiums are filled up? Yes. Do they expect to have a 14-team conference for very long? No. Are recruiting areas, competitive unbalance between the divisions and the fact that Nebraska is going to be the western rep in the CCG a major driver? Not as much as the other factors.

      So when you do your pro and con list, you need to weigh the factors first. The pro and cons you have there are not all “equal” when it comes to making the decisions on how the conference is going to make its decisions. The ones that effect the future television negotiations which are going to boost conference distributions over the $40M mark in FY 2017 from its current figure that over $25M are the most important. One of the mandates Delany was given when this process started was to make the conference’s athletic departments as financially self-sufficient as possible. The biggest revenue growth factor in athletic department revenues has come through the television deals with the networks and for the B1G, the introduction of the Big Ten Network. Keep you eye on that and you’ll almost all the insight you’ll need on any future division line up, be it 14, 16, 18 or 20 teams.

      • Eric says:

        I hope the TV contract is a distant part of the list. The differences probably won’t be huge (and as a fan I couldn’t care less about the size of it even though the schools obviously will be).

        Maybe east-west works for now, but I think we overstate how glued together all of even these powerful conferences are. You make big differences between east and west and have that go on for time the glue holding the conference together weakens and either a split or (more likely) a new set-up where schools leave to form a new type of conference (say away from the NCAA) gets a lot easier. It won’t happen now, but give us east-west for a decade and its more possible.

      • Brian says:


        “I’m confused.”

        Yes, you are.

        “In Frank’s last post, you put together a lengthy analysis of pros and cons surrounding the conference divisions and concluded that the Inside/Outside set up would be optimal.”

        No, I didn’t. I said it was the best of a bad set of choices if the B10 hasn’t decided on 9 games.

        • Brian says:

          “So when you do your pro and con list, you need to weigh the factors first.”

          No, you don’t. I wasn’t trying to reach a conclusion, just a list of points to consider. Everyone will weigh the factors differently and reach their own conclusions.

        • cutter says:


          I’m confused because you don’t make sense. And the best of bad choices is the optimal decision given the pros and cons you put forward.

          • Brian says:


            “And the best of bad choices is the optimal decision given the pros and cons you put forward.”

            Not quite, because I didn’t say it was the optimal outcome for the B10. I said if 9 games weren’t locked in and teams wanted to play each other frequently, it was the best choice. I never tried to say that was the emphasis of the B10, though. If the B10 wants TV money more than regular games against old rivals, then it isn’t the best choice. Within that little area of restrictions that I mentioned, it is the optimal plan. But I didn’t say that small area was the whole world, and people rarely use optimal to refer to local maxima.

            The optimal decision depends on what your priorities are, and I didn’t try to impose my priorities on others. I just said what they were for that analysis. That’s why I think it’s a misnomer to apply “optimal” to what I did. I intentionally made no attempt to consider other sets of priorities since the analysis was long enough as it was. I think the term optimal should be reserved for a more comprehensive analysis.

          • Brian says:

            To follow up, the clearest conclusion I reached was that going to 9 games would be an optimal decision for the B10. If they did that, then my divisional analysis would have changed significantly. 9 games makes a lot of options more reasonable. Then it would come down to how you weigh the priorities in terms of the desired outcome.

    • Andy says:

      Brian, you sound like an OSU fan who wants to keep all the goodies to yourself and lock Michigan out. No dice.

      • zeek says:

        He’s said several times that he wouldn’t mind switching Michigan and Ohio State if East Coast exposure is what Michigan wants.

        He’s not opposed to a division with Ohio State in the West with Nebraska. He just doesn’t think the conference will be balanced if they end up in the same division with Penn State.

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          I don’t think the conference would align that way because Michigan wanted it. The issue is that, to make the addition of Rutgers and Maryland financially accretive, the conference needs to maximize the Eastern exposure of teams that it believes will command higher TV ratings in that region—which Michigan does, but they aren’t the only ones.

          I am pretty sure that the whole conference recognizes this, and supports it in principle. They would not have agreed to add Maryland and Rutgers without understanding the underlying premise. The question is what each school is willing to sacrifice in order to make it happen, and here the members may be in wide disagreement.

          • zeek says:

            It seems to come down to whether Northwestern stays West or goes East in a switch with Indiana.

            They want to make as many big games as possible in NYC and D.C. which means we seem to have Michigan/Ohio State/Penn State/Michigan State going there.

            The question is who is team #7.

        • GreatLakeState says:

          Michigan is going to be in the East. If anything, Ohio State might opt west because they’re already nestled in a recruiting hotbed. UofM will get it’s Chicago enrollees regardless, so broadening their horizons by going East (and more importantly, South) is a win/win.
          Plus, the ‘academic pedigree’ factor can’t be overstated.

      • Brian says:

        Shockingly, Andy, you’re horribly wrong. I want no part of being in the east, assuming that’s what you consider the goodies, and I’ve said so before. I’d rather see balanced divisions with OSU in the west than 3 kings in the east.

        • Eric says:

          As odd as this sounds given what our school will probably fight for, I’d wager most Ohio State fans would take a divisions with Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, and Northwestern (with a Michigan crossover) over a divisions with Penn State, Maryland, Rutgers, Illinois, Indiana, Northwestern, and Indiana (with a Michigan crossover). Now more still would go for a set-up with Michigan in division, but if Michigan is out of division, I have little doubt the fan vote would be for the western set-up.

    • zeek says:

      You didn’t miss anything.

      But let’s just call it what it is; a money grab.

      The biggest pro which outshines all of the cons in the minds of Delany and co.: A division with Michigan/Ohio State/Penn State/Michigan State is the best possible way to extract $ out of NYC and D.C. given those are the 4 most Eastern big football schools of the Big Ten and it includes the 3 Eastern kings that those media markets will get big ratings with…

      • Eric says:

        The worry with that approach has to be though that they might potentially be setting up a situation where the western schools receive less national attention. Just as Maryland and Rutgers might be more valuable with more games against the big names, so too are games involving Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, etc bigger when there are more implications with the Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State.

        If you can have a set-up with a lot of attention in both divisions, that outweighs marginal gains in the east, especially since the latter will also be hindered by too tough of competition. It also makes the CCG more valuable. That’s the whole reason I think they emphasized competitive balance the first time.

        • zeek says:

          I agree with your arguments. I just don’t think they’re thinking much beyond the notion that this is a short-term fix for a 14 team Big Ten (which is likely to get to 16 or 18 in the medium/long-term).

      • Brian says:

        OK, I accept that as the premise. How does this net the B10 much more money?

        Local ratings from 1 extra game per year? Some other mechanism? I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, I just want to see it explained. How, exactly, does putting 3 kings in the east net a lot more money for the B10?

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          Well, the math is that Rutgers and Maryland would each see three kings at home every two years. For television, home and away games serve the same purpose, so RU and MD would see all three kings every year, plus the occasional Nebraska game.

          How much more is this worth, over the baseline assumption of splitting the kings 2-2? Jim Delany isn’t going to tell us the numbers. Counting money is basically all Delany does for a living, and he has made bucket-loads of it for his bosses, so I would tend to trust his numbers over anyone else’s.

          Whether it is worth sacrificing other worthwhile objectives in the pursuit of money is a valid question. But as far as the money goes, his track record suggests that he probably has that right, even if we haven’t seen (and will never see) the real numbers.

          • Brian says:

            Marc Shepherd,

            “Well, the math is that Rutgers and Maryland would each see three kings at home every two years. For television, home and away games serve the same purpose, so RU and MD would see all three kings every year, plus the occasional Nebraska game. How much more is this worth, over the baseline assumption of splitting the kings 2-2?”

            Right. As opposed to 2 kings every year plus the occasional OSU (or MI) and NE game.

            8 games, locked non-king rival = 2.33 kings/year vs 3.17 (0.83 kings/yr difference)
            8 games, no locked rival = 2.57 vs 3.29 (0.72 diff)
            9 games, locked non-king rival = 2.67 kings/year vs 3.33 (0.67 kings/yr difference)
            9 games, no locked rival = 2.86 vs 4.00 (1.14 diff)

            So that’s about 5/6 of an extra king game for RU and for MD, at the cost of king games against NE, WI, etc.

            1. How do those extra games turn into money for the B10?
            2. How much more do those games make?
            3. How much does the B10 lose for the king games against NE, WI, etc that are lost?
            4. What is the net gain?

            “Jim Delany isn’t going to tell us the numbers. Counting money is basically all Delany does for a living, and he has made bucket-loads of it for his bosses, so I would tend to trust his numbers over anyone else’s.”

            I’d trust them, too, but he’s never actually said it’s about short term money. He may have long term goals instead.

            “Whether it is worth sacrificing other worthwhile objectives in the pursuit of money is a valid question. But as far as the money goes, his track record suggests that he probably has that right, even if we haven’t seen (and will never see) the real numbers.”

            We will probably never see a comparison, but we know roughly what numbers he told MD and we’ll see what numbers actually get generated.

        • zeek says:

          Higher average local ratings than other divisional setups is my guess.

          It’s not a fluke that Nebraska at Northwestern drew one of the highest local Chicago ratings of the year for college football.

          If you’re guaranteeing as many games in those local markets with the biggest 4 Eastern brands (Michigan State is probably more valuable than any non-king as far as NYC and D.C. goes given its alumni pull there), you’re going to generate higher average local ratings.

          That probably gives Fox the most leverage to get BTN on local cable networks there.

          It also probably gets the Big Ten its strongest bargaining position for the national TV deal if they say “look at the ratings we pull in NYC and D.C. for these T1 games where Ohio State is a top 5 team and they go to D.C. or NYC and the game is put on ABC or ESPN and draws an 8.0 rating”…

          • Brian says:


            “Higher average local ratings than other divisional setups is my guess.”

            I can see that helping the next TV deal, but higher ratings in NYC will be countered by lower ratings elsewhere. Will the net number of eyeballs increase?

            “It’s not a fluke that Nebraska at Northwestern drew one of the highest local Chicago ratings of the year for college football.”

            1. Was that a one time effect, or will that happen every time? NW/NE had an impact on the division race and NW was having one of their best years ever. Plus, NE was visiting for the first time in B10 play.

            2. How did that game do nationally?

            “If you’re guaranteeing as many games in those local markets with the biggest 4 Eastern brands (Michigan State is probably more valuable than any non-king as far as NYC and D.C. goes given its alumni pull there), you’re going to generate higher average local ratings.

            That probably gives Fox the most leverage to get BTN on local cable networks there.”

            That’s assuming a huge ratings jump, isn’t it? We’re talking less than 1 extra king game per year, and even that may not be on BTN. How much leverage does 3.5 hours get versus the rest of the year?

            “It also probably gets the Big Ten its strongest bargaining position for the national TV deal if they say “look at the ratings we pull in NYC and D.C. for these T1 games where Ohio State is a top 5 team and they go to D.C. or NYC and the game is put on ABC or ESPN and draws an 8.0 rating”…”

            But do they need OSU to also be there annually to do that? Where is the balance point between good opponents and local teams losing a lot? What about the loss of other games with national value? Is the total package really better off this way, or is it solely a bid to force the BTN into DC and NJ?

          • zeek says:

            Brian, my guess is that they view the Western markets as “maxed out” as far as eyeballs to TV sets go for Big Ten games. They can probably afford some minor slippage as a result of fewer visits by the big brands on average (namely Michigan/Michigan State exchanged for Wisconsin) but it’s not like there’ll be much more than a minor loss in markets like the Twin Cities.

            The Eastern markets are more important as far as generating eyeballs are concerned; even just a small increase in eyeballs for national Big Ten games in NYC/Philly/D.C. could be significantly larger than loss in the much smaller Western markets.

            That’s basically what their market research must show if they’re putting together a division with Michigan/Ohio State/Penn State/Michigan State.

            I’m not sure what the Northwestern-Nebraska game did nationally; and I’m not sure that will matter. After all, you’re talking about two different effects at work, here’s the logic:

            The positive effect of people in New Jersey and Maryland seeing the 3 kings + Michigan State visit them every other year, and the impact that said visits over time will have on the growth in viewership of a big game like Michigan-Ohio State in NYC and D.C. for example. It’s really tough to gauge the impact but that’s what the Big Ten is measuring.

            The Big Ten is betting that by putting Michigan and Ohio State in a division with Rutgers and Maryland, that people from D.C. and NYC will be more inclined to watch them play each other as well as Penn State (so that’s 3 big games that are guaranteed to be on ABC or ESPN Michigan-Ohio State, Michigan-Penn State, Ohio State-Penn State).

            Of course, this creates an NHL-like media markets imbalance with the focus of those markets so heavily tilted towards the Big Ten East, but the Big Ten is betting that those games in particular will gain value: Michigan-Ohio State, Michigan-Penn State, Ohio State-Penn State and perhaps even a game like Michigan-Michigan State which might be more important to people in D.C. and NYC.

            Finally, and most importantly, I think they view this as a short-term opportunity. This is the key to making the pros outweigh the cons (including competitive imbalance and kings taking on too many losses) in the long-term. Why? Because the imbalances will be cured in the long-term when the conference moves to 16 or 18 and the conference is again redivided.

            The short-term opportunity to develop viewership in NYC and D.C. (and perhaps Philly as well) is what they’re after.

          • BuckeyBeau says:

            @ Zeke.

            I think you have hit the nail on the head. Sending MI and MSU and Northwestern to the East is a short term effort to build viewership and interest in the new east coast markets.

            When the B1G goes to 16, MI and MSU go back to the West with some decision made re: Northwestern vs. Indiana vs. Purdue.

            If 16 is the number, you have in the East: PSU, Rut, Maryland, 2 new ACC teams, tOSU and, say, the two Indianas.

            Now you are competitively balanced again and good geographically. Plusyou had a couple of seasons of MI and MSU and Northwestern sowing up in the NYC and DC markets.

            Likewise, if 18 is the number: PSU, Rut, Maryland, 4 new ACC teams, tOSU, & Indiana (since they are getting lots of east coast students). If N.Car. and/or FSU is one of the new ACC teams, you have a blockbuster B1GE(ast). With the Champions of the West (MI) out west with MSU, Northwestern, Wiscy and Nebbie, you also have a blockbuster BIGW

          • Brian says:


            So what if this isn’t a short term plan? What if the B10 chooses not to expand or can’t find any willing schools? Do these divisions persist indefinitely or do they have to be redone?

            If all they want is short term exposure, couldn’t they balance the divisions and use the crossover games to increase eastern exposure? Why haven’t they already decided on 9 games, since that is clearly the easiest way to get more good teams in NYC and DC?

            That’s where this plan fails for me. It seems to be fighting itself.

          • zeek says:


            My guess is that the time frame for these divisions are 10-15 years.

            That’s enough time to build up the NYC and D.C. markets with Michigan/Ohio State/Penn State/Michigan State.

          • Scarlet_Lutefisk says:

            “If 16 is the number, you have in the East: PSU, Rut, Maryland, 2 new ACC teams,
            tOSU and, say, the two Indianas.

            Likewise, if 18 is the number: PSU, Rut, Maryland, 4 new ACC teams, tOSU, & Indiana”

            @Beau – That is a whole lot of suck right there. It effective means that Ohio State (as
            well as Indiana) is no longer in the Big Ten. I don’t see that as being a smart long term move by the conference.

  56. vp19 says:

    The latest “Terps in Big Ten” entry examines Big Ten football divisional arguments (with a “Frank the Tank” plug, as well), and can be found at

    • zeek says:

      Yeah, my take is similar to yours at this point.

      I think they’re convinced that Michigan/Ohio State/Penn State/Michigan State are the 4 schools to put with Maryland and Rutgers in order to maximize the D.C. and NYC presence of the Big Ten.

      I can’t disagree with that logic, although I hope Maryland and Rutgers get up to speed quickly because that’s going to be a bear of a division on paper when Penn State gets back to full speed (although I’m guessing we’ll be at 16 or 18 by then).

      The 7th slot in that division is tricky and brings up the question of whether we need a full set of crossover games or just 1 crossover game.

      It comes down to Northwestern or Indiana. For the sake of competitive balance, Indiana’s clearly the poorest performing school of the Big Ten historically, while Northwestern has had almost 20 years of decent success and looks to be near it’s peak.

      I’m hoping that whatever they do, they just keep 1 crossover game (Northwestern/Illinois or Indiana/Purdue) and get rid of the rest. I’m not sure it’s fair to Penn State to have to play Nebraska annually along with Michigan/Ohio State/Michigan State. That’s a bear of a schedule to be getting annually.

      As a Northwestern fan, I think they should just leave Indiana in the East and make Indiana/Purdue a crossover game. While Northwestern has a larger portion of its alumni on the Eastern seaboard compared to most of the Big Ten (especially those not named Penn State/Rutgers/Maryland), historically the school’s major games are against Wisconsin/Iowa/Illinois and Nebraska seems like a better fit.

      Also from the perspective of the conference as a whole, I don’t think the Western schools are going to like that they won’t be making physical visits to any of the large markets as divisional games.

      Removing Chicago from the West seems to me to be a bad idea; it’s a good thing to have Nebraska and Iowa traveling their every other year in my opinion because it’s likely to be their best travel games over the 2 year periods (Nebraska can easily send 25000 and Iowa can send 15000 easily and more recently has sold it out).

      • bullet says:

        If you go to 9 games, IU in east with PU in west, they could do a semi 6-1-2 with 6 division games, 2 rotating games among the 7 other teams and 1 roll-your-own, not a fixed game, but a choice game. Over 6 years you would get all 7 in the other division home and away and have 4 games to schedule on your own. IU/PU could schedule each other every year. Other schools could schedule two teams 4 out of 6. The conference would only need to coordinate to make sure everyone got a dance partner.

        If you do 8 games, you could go everyone 2 out of 8 with 2 extra games (2 cross division * 8 years=16 7 teams * 2=14, 2 left over). IU/PU would have to schedule ooc 4 out of 8 years.

        • Richard says:

          9 conference games will make everything easier, but that won’t happen soon. IU&PU _could_ be OOC some years, making no cross-overs a possibility.

          • wmwolverine says:

            That’s an idea I wanted to throw out too but that would be up to those schools to support, which I think they should.

          • zeek says:

            Why can’t we just do 1 crossover for Indiana-Purdue and let the other 6 division teams on each side match up normally rotating?

          • @zeek – That’s what I would hope for if the Big Ten chooses that alignment.

          • wmwolverine says:

            Indiana and Purdue would very rarely play anyone in the other division. They’d have to ‘swap’ divisions every once in awhile.

          • zeek says:

            Yeah, but if they know that 8 game scheduling is a short term thing, maybe they’d be okay with that for a couple of years.

          • Richard says:


            The problem is that it would look like favoritism/unfairness if only IU/PU is protected. Where do you draw the line on which matchups are important enough to protect?

            Minny would say that the Little Brown Jug game (oldest trophy game in the country) is just as important and demand that Minny-Michigan be protected.

            Illinois would say that the Illibuck is just as important as the LBJ.

            UNL may demand to have PSU.

            If we’re going to 16/18 soon anyway, then it’s all a moot point, as the differences only begin the 3rd year and after of the rotation, so just give everyone a protected game.

          • To be fair, though, Indiana vs. Purdue is THE primary rivalry for each of those schools and I believe that other Big Ten programs would understand the protection of that particular game. Every other school is able to keep their primary rivalry with its own division in the proposed East/West setup (while the other ones that you’ve listed are secondary rivalries at best), so I think there would be a different type of latitude granted to protecting IU/PU compared to others. Plus, playing Indiana and Purdue fewer times in exchange for playing Michigan/Ohio State/Penn State/Nebraska more often would probably be looked upon favorably by the other schools. Personally, I much prefer seeing Michigan State in the west as opposed to either of the Indiana schools, but I can certainly see the argument where splitting the Indiana schools would cause the least amount of heartburn as the sole protected cross-division rivalry.

          • BuckeyBeau says:

            this is my thought too. as long as tOSU & Michigan are in the same division, ax the mandated crossovers and let those rivalries become OOC games if they are important enough.

          • Brian says:


            The assumption, of course, is that the B10 would ask them and only them to move their rivalry OOC. That seems unlikely to me, especially since PU also has the ND game OOC. That’s 10 locked games per year. I’m not sure the B10 wouls ask that, and I’m not sure the schools would volunteer it.

          • Brian says:


            “Why can’t we just do 1 crossover for Indiana-Purdue and let the other 6 division teams on each side match up normally rotating?”

            In the past, the B10 has been unwilling to do that. It was one reason they refused to also lock WI/IA, even with a 9th game.

          • Brian says:


            “Yeah, but if they know that 8 game scheduling is a short term thing, maybe they’d be okay with that for a couple of years.”

            That’s a huge if that so many people seem to take for granted. There’s no way they can know it’s a short term thing unless they have already agreed to accept 2 schools that have applied. If that was true, the B10 would already have 16 teams.

          • zeek says:

            Er I mean 9 game 14 team conference Brian.

            You can sell Indiana/Purdue as only locked up game.

          • cutter says:


            You remind me of the French Army General Staff, although I don’t quite know if you’re the 1914 or 1940 version. Perhaps some of both.

            The German Army has never invaded France through Belgium, therefore we should not prepare for it. And there’s no way the Wehrmacht could launch an armored assault through the Ardennes Forest, so let’s leave that sector lightly guarded and depend on the Maginot Line.

            You keep saying that the conference didn’t do “something” before, therefore they won’t do that “something” in the future. It’s no shock the French lost the Franco-Prussian War, were on the ropes in WWI and surrendered to the Germans in WWII.

            It also won’t be a shock in the end to find out that you’re wrong.

          • Brian says:


            “You keep saying that the conference didn’t do “something” before, therefore they won’t do that “something” in the future.”

            No, I don’t. I keep saying that if they chose not to do something before, you shouldn’t assume they’ll do it now without some evidence. Hopes and wishes of fans are not evidence. I’m not saying the B10 will never change their mind about anything. I am saying it is wise to see evidence of the change rather than just assuming it. It’s like people who insisted the B10 would add OU despite the B10 making clear academics mattered. Them wanting it didn’t mean the B10 had changed their stance on the topic. Or people who insist ND will join the B10 despite ND making it clear they don’t want to join.

            9 games isn’t a given until it happens. 16+ teams isn’t a given until it happens, especially since the other schools also have a say in it. I’m not saying these things won’t happen, I’m just saying it’s silly to assume they will and on your preferred timescale to boot.

      • @zeek – Also, one thing to note about Indiana is that it has been drawing a very large and growing contingent of East Coast students. For various reasons, Indiana has gained favored status for a lot of East Coast high school grads over the past decade in the way Michigan and Wisconsin previously have among the Big Ten public universities. Here is a Wall Street Journal article from a few years ago about the influx of New York area students to IU specifically:

        As a result, I think that Indiana would be very happy to stay in the East.

        At the same time, the West is already going to perceived to be getting the shaft in terms of the football lineup already. It’s going to be tough enough to move away from what I had previously envisioned (which was having Michigan State in the West instead of Purdue or Indiana), so swapping Northwestern for Indiana (on top of shifting MSU out of the West) is almost like adding insult to injury from a competitive standpoint.

        • wmwolverine says:

          Lots of talk about who relies on out-of-state students from the East Coast (Purdue relies heavily on out-of-state students as well), that is certainly in consideration but it might boil down to who among the “Middle Six” (Illinois, Northwestern, Indiana, Purdue, Michigan and MSU) is most willing to be split from its in-state rival. None of them are going to give up their rivalry game. All are ‘big’ games for them and the conference so out-of-division rivalries are here to stay…

          Or you could split up all three. Or you could do what the B10 did last time and put M & MSU in the ‘west’ and Wisconsin the ‘east’, which the Michigan schools really don’t want. Or you could rotate these programs between divisions…

          Regardless, I don’t see this situation as critical as I see the B10 at 14 as a stepping stone to 16 or 16+, potentially even before the divisions even get used.

        • zeek says:

          Frank, that’s a good point about Indiana. The Washington Post also pointed out earlier that they’re one of 5-6 Big Ten schools with over 10,000 alumni in the D.C. region, so they’re more NYC-D.C. focused than most of the Big Ten.

          Also, you bring up a great point earlier about the NHL’s media market imbalances as it relates to their contract.

          I think the Big Ten is aiming for a similar outcome if they go with Michigan/Ohio State/Penn State/Michigan State.

          Those 4 will be getting so many prime ABC and ESPN slots for their games against one another that it will be significantly outweigh what the Western teams get.

          But at the same time, as those 4 schools play in NYC and D.C. they may generate additional viewership for their games against one another…; that has to be what the Big Ten is aiming for if they go with the East-West split: that Michigan’s games against Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan State will generate higher numbers as a result of the division split over time. It’s a secondary point to the obvious notion that Rutgers and Maryland will draw their best viewership locally as well in a division like that, which would be good for the BTN.

          • jj says:

            Do the divisions have to be balanced? Can we do 6 and 8? Not saying I would. Just might be worth considering if possible.

          • ccrider55 says:


            I believe odd unequal division is only allowed if conference number is odd. 6 and 7 in a 13 team conf.

          • Brian says:


            “Do the divisions have to be balanced? Can we do 6 and 8? Not saying I would. Just might be worth considering if possible.”

            To get the 13th game exemption, yes. The divisions have to be the same size and play a round robin. Besides, the crossover games don’t work with 6 and 8 unless you play 10 B10 games.

  57. Phil says:

    There is a consideration to these proposed divisions that “Marc Shepard” touched on earlier. People are thinking of Penn State as a “king”, when if the current sanctions stay in place that will be virtually impossible for them from 2015-2018. At 65 scholarship players, you don’t even go 3-deep in scholarship players at every position, most of your freshmen have to contribute immediately, and any injuries are incredibly damaging.

    These divisions are taking in account 1) that Penn State will be nowhere near their traditional level of play for a while, and 2) by the time PSU is getting back, these divisions will be reworked again due to additional expansion.

    • Eric says:

      Penn State is a big name with big attention regardless and I think the effect of the sanctions might be overstated from what we originally thought it was. Regardless, if more expansion is planned, they have to assume these divisions might be here for awhile and things can change quickly and changing divisions isn’t done often.

      • Phil says:

        If anything, people are letting the fact Penn State had a good 2012 season cause them to underestimate the future effect of the sanctions.

        The bowl ban may deter a handful of kids, but you already see some of this year’s recruits talking about how great it will be to make PSU’s next bowl in their senior season. When the recruiting sanctions start, PSU simply will not be allowed to carry the roster depth necessary to compete at a high level, regardless of how many recruits still want to go there.

        • wmwolverine says:

          Recruiting sanctions for PSU are too severe to be overcome and be a >.500 B10 team. They got hammered as hard as anyone since SMU; far, far worse than USC, Bama, Miami, etc…

          I’m just hoping they remain ‘decent’ till they get past these sanctions.

        • BuckeyBeau says:

          @Phil: there are many factors to consider for PSU. Like USC, PSU might be able to up the quality of recruits (they are getting the a very highly ranked QB in this class). Plus, do not underestimate PSU’s push for walk-on players (re-named “run-ons”). If O’Brien and PSU can bring in 10-15 “run-ons,” and assume they are mid-level 3* “run-ons” whose parents can afford the tuition, etc., PSU will have some depth. Mad King Emmert limited the number of scholarships, not players.

          • Richard says:

            MAC-level players who are either too small or slow to get scholarship offers from major programs (who would form the PSU’s walk-on program) provide little depth. Unless BOB focuses his scholarships on fast/impact guys and hope that his walk-ons can develop in to passable linemen or something like that.

          • Brian says:


            It’s not uncommon for a player who is borderline for a major school to walk-on there rather than take a scholarship elsewhere. They may be recruit #22 when only 21 scholarships are available, or in this case #16 when only 15 are available. These would be 3* players, but most B10 teams are built around a core of 3* players. The key is getting diamonds in the rough and not maxed out players.

            I’d expect him to spend scholarships on difference makers (QB, RB, CB, DE) and build a lot of depth on the lines with walk-ons. He’ll probably also take some undersized players with speed at skill positions and some shorter linemen.

          • Richard says:


            OK, but how many of those 3-star players walk on at a powerhouse because they want to win championships? Because PSU can’t do that (any time soon, anyway). BTW, I can’t think of a 3-star player choosing to forgo a scholarship to walk-on somewhere.

          • Brian says:


            “OK, but how many of those 3-star players walk on at a powerhouse because they want to win championships?”

            Some. Maybe many. But a portion of them just really want to play for a certain school. OSU gets a few players who could get a MAC or CUSA or even BE scholarship but want to play at OSU instead. I’m sure PSU does, too. That’s all I’m saying. I’m not claiming they’ll get tons of them, but a few extra OL to provide depth could be a critical help.

            “BTW, I can’t think of a 3-star player choosing to forgo a scholarship to walk-on somewhere.”


            OSU has one at FB in the 2013 class. He would have had MAC offers at least, and rumors said WV might have been preparing to offer him before he chose OSU.

        • Brian says:


          PSU will lack depth, but they are trying to make up for that by developing their walk-on program. When the 65 cap applies, PSU can still have 40 walk-ons to get to the 105 roster limit. A lot of kids may be willing to pay their way because they want to play at PSU. They can also get playing time and get a scholarship later on. I’m really curious to see if BOB goes to 1 years scholarships rather than 4 year ones during this phase. That would give him much more flexibility to maximize his roster, but would look bad.

          2012 – postseason ban starts
          2013 – 15 scholarship limit starts (but can backfill the 2012 class)
          2014 – 65 scholarship cap starts

          2016 – postseason ban ends
          2017 – 15 scholarship limit ends
          2018 – 65 scholarship cap ends

          Also, remember PSU went 26-33 from 2000-2004. They stayed a king and promptly went 51-13 the next 5 seasons. Players want to play at PSU, especially eastern players. They will still have some talent during the down years. They probably won’t win a division in 2013-2017, but they’ll start being highly competitive again by 2018 and should be a power in 2020.

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      Brian replied with a useful distinction, which I support. There are branding kings, and there are kings on the field. Penn State remained a powerful brand, even when Paterno fielded mediocre teams for several years in the early 2000s. They remain a powerful brand today.

      Notre Dame is perhaps the best example of this phenomenon. Even after 20 years with very little competitive success (after Lou Holtz’s departure), they remained one of the most popular brands in sports. Florida State is another school that remained nationally popular, despite a long period of unimpressive performance on the field (after Bobby Bowden’s best years were behind him).

      Divisional re-alignment obviously needs to suit multiple agendas. If you are evaluating the divisons (or the proposed divsions) competitively, you can think of Penn State like a Wisconsin or an Iowa: a second-tier team (and that’s the optimistic view). Historically, the major programs always rebound, and I think Penn State will too, but it will take quite a few years. The sanctions are just too debilitating.

      However, if you are evaluating the divsions in terms of brand strength, Penn State remains a king.

      The Big Ten obviously needs to consider both marketing and competitive equity. I suspect they’d be very hesitant about putting PSU, OSU, and UM in the same division if they believed PSU was a perennial 10-11 win team. The fact that they know PSU can’t do that makes the East-West alignment palatable, from a competitive standpoint, and they can make the decision on marketing alone.

      Obviously, the Big Ten knows that they’re likely to add teams before PSU returns to prominence on the field, at which point they get another do-over on the divisions.

  58. BigTenFan says:

    Unless I missed it above, I don’t think anyone has commented on the “going to 18″ quote in the Greenstein article – that is significant coming from Greenstein. It’s the first that we’ve openly heard someone who has connections to the B1G office openly talk about it as a possibility I think.

    Also, regarding NW to the east….I may be reading too much into it, but if the B1G is going to 18, ND almost certainly has to be involved, and they’d go east, but they’d also want a game in Chicago regularly…..I’m not sayin, but I’m just sayin.

    If the B1G expands to 18 or 20, and can offer ND a NE pod of PSU, ND, Rutgers, BC, & Northwestern, ND would have regular games in Chicago, NYC & Boston – three of their largest fan base centers – that would be awfully tough for them to say no to if they are forced to join a conference when the super 64 split from the NCAA.

    • Eric says:

      Notre Dame isn’t coming until there is a break from the NCAA and they need to be there for playoffs. That’s what their alumni want and nothing is going to change that in medium term that the Big Ten has control over (and the 12 year deal on the new BCS means a break in unlikely soon either).

      • BigTenFan says:

        “Notre Dame isn’t coming until there is a break from the NCAA and they need to be there for playoffs”

        Didn’t I just say that is exactly what is going to happen? The split is inevitable, it’s going to happen, and when it does, ND couldn’t say no to games in NYC, Boston, & Chicago every season.

        The split will happen sooner than you think…the 12 year playoff can always be reworked if the SEC/B1G/PAC want it to be.

        • greg says:

          Why would a break from the NCAA force ND into a conference? ND can just leave the NCAA and be an independent in the new organization/bowl/playoff structure.

          I wish Delany would give up on his white whale, because he isn’t going to land them.

          • zeek says:

            I’m almost positive that Maryland/Rutgers is a step that shows Delany has given up on Notre Dame.

          • mushroomgod says:

            Agree…..I think Delany and the Presidents have decided that they could never make ND happy….and have moved on.

          • frug says:

            I don’t think Delany has given up on ND, but is now operating on the assumption that they won’t join barring true Armageddon.

            In other words, the Big 10 would be happy to have them, but they are no longer a priority target.

          • metatron says:

            Because the conference commissioners would conspire to finally land Notre Dame.

            Independents are an anathema to the rest of college sports.

          • greg says:

            “Because the conference commissioners would conspire to finally land Notre Dame.”

            What would they do to conspire? Tell them they aren’t allowed to play in their reindeer games?

            When the networks are negotiating the rights fees for the new and improved playoff, they’ll pay a good chuck less for a ND-less reindeer game.

          • frug says:


            Yes, and they could make up a good portion of the difference by not having to give ND a cut of the revenue (ND’s gets paid better than any school in the country from the BCS).

            Anyways, further consolidation is inevitable and ND will be forced to join a FB conference within a decade (though the “conference” could be a giant 60-72 member entity)

          • greg says:

            “Anyways, further consolidation is inevitable and ND will be forced to join a FB conference within a decade”

            Don’t hold your breath.

          • frug says:

            Wasn’t planning on it, a decade is a long time.

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          I have a middle-ground opinion on Notre Dame. I don’t think Delany has quite given up on them, but he isn’t holding his breath either. The new playoff is a 12-year deal that gives Notre Dame what they need: guaranteed post-season access. As long as they have that, they have no need to relinquish their independence.

          For years, Notre Dame tolerated the Big East, which was considerably weaker than the ACC is today. Since the ACC can keep replenishing with former Big East schools, I don’t think that league is in any immediate danger. The ACC could lose a good 6, 8, even 10 schools, replenish with former Big East schools, and Notre Dame would still have what they want.

          • frug says:

            If the ACC loses 10 schools ND won’t stick. They won’t be able to put together an acceptable schedule.

          • BruceMcF says:

            If they replenish from the Big East, sooner or later that includes Navy as a FB-only member, so its only four of the remaining schools that have to be “good enough” to be placed on ND’s schedule.

          • frug says:

            If Big East schools were acceptable to ND they wouldn’t left the conference. Remember, ND originally pledged to play 3 games a year against Big East teams in exchange for hosting their non-FB sports and never once did so.

            If ND wasn’t willing to play 3 Big East teams a year what makes you think they will play 5?

          • frug says:

            Also, Notre Dame probably doesn’t want Navy to count as a “conference” game since that means another game they have to fill (plus there is no guarantee Navy will join)

    • vp19 says:

      I may be reading too much into it, but if the B1G is going to 18, ND almost certainly has to be involved

      Not necessarily; Delany could add the ACC southern AAU quartet of Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Duke, which would give as much synergy for Maryland as it and Rutgers will do for Penn State.

      • BigTenFan says:


        I fully believe the end game is 20 for the B1G – and ND/FSU have to be involved. 18 is an awkward number for scheduling purposes, 20 is clean and easy.

        If we go back to Frank’s first post on B1G expansion, what was the driver for expansion? Football. Basketball matters (especially for BTN inventory), but football is king. Adding a quartet of Virginia, UNC, Ga Tech, & Duke would certainly add BTN inventory, but it doesn’t add tier 1 money for football, and that is what this entire thing is about. If you are going to add those four, you need to add some serious tier 1 money via football ratings to split the pie 18/20 ways and still make a boatload of cash for everyone. I suspect just adding UVA/UNC/GT/Duke would lose everyone money – you would need to add some big football brands to that mix in order to get the value of the tier 1 deal up in order to make those four financially viable.

        I think, for certain, these 19 should be locks if the B1G moves to 20:

        Central Division


        Great Lakes Division

        Ohio State
        Michigan State

        Northeastern Division

        Penn State
        Notre Dame

        Southeastern Division

        Florida State
        North Carolina
        Georgia Tech

        An expansion to 20 should almost certainly involve the above 19 – the 20th member could go one of three ways:

        Boston College: It is in Boston, has deep ties w/ Notre Dame (and would give ND exposure in one of its largest fan markets every other year), & is an elite academic school. On the negative side, it isn’t AAU, it is private, it isn’t contiguous, & there is no major following for BC sports (pretty apathetic fan base). A move to add BC would be strictly about trying to get penetration in Boston for the BTN & appeasing ND.

        Duke: It would solidify the B1G’s presence in North Carolina, it is a national brand name that would help add valuable inventory to the BTN, & is an elite academic school who is a member of the AAU. On the negative side it is a private school, your average Duke fan would rather get chlamydia than watch a Duke football game (and the administration doesn’t seem to support the program), & if you can get UNC without Duke, are they really necessary for anything at all?

        Miami: Miami is a top 20 TV market with a football program that has a storied history (for the last 30 years anyway) and they happen to be smack dab in the middle of the some of the most fertile football recruiting grounds in the country. It is also an elite medical school, which the academics would look kindly upon and would give FSU a heated rivalry game. On the negative side, their football program could be non existent for a decade or so depending on the NCAA sanctions that they could be facing, they are a private school, they aren’t AAU, and they can’t even sell half of their tickets for home football games – fan support is pretty weak for the hurricanes..

        I’m not sure which of the three above schools I would prefer for #20, but I know who five of the next six should be if the B1G is going to go national.

        • BuckeyBeau says:

          @ BigTenFan. I don’t think Football is the driver anymore.

          I will let Frank speak for himself, but I think the focus is no longer on the tier I football teams and schools. Since Frank began writing about conference realignment (a mere three years ago that seems like decades ago), we’ve learned a lot about the BTN, about cable subscription fees, the importance of “eyeballs” vs. butts in the seats vs. other ways of monetizing “inventory.” We have also begun to understand how BBall fits into the equation (and, at least for the BTN, how other so-called “non-revenue sports” are going to become monetized … B1G Hockey anyone?).

          At this point, other than ND and maybe FSU, the tier I football teams/schools are off the table (barring something strange like Texas suddenly wanting to move to the B1G).

          Adding another football “king” is not going to generate “tier I money” as you say. The B1G is already getting “tier I money” from their existing football kings. In other words, in my view, adding ND or FSU adds only marginally to the ABC/ESPN tv contracts.

          Consequently, football is no longer “king” in conference realignment. The Rutgers and Maryland additions make this crystal clear. Now the “king” in conference realignment is the tv market and getting the BTN on the basic cable tier where subscription fees are 80-90 cents. vs. 10 cents. Now Bball matters a lot as does the ability to maximize the local exposure of your existing football “kings” because those will drive demand for the BTN to be placed on the basic cable subscription tier. In other words, you don’t need a new football king if you can properly leverage your existing football kings.

          For these reasons, I disagree that you MUST add a “tier I football program” to the quartet of Vir, Duke, NC and GaTech. Obviously, if you CAN add a “tier I football program,” then you should. But, it is not, in my view, a “must” to accomplish the long-term goals of the B1G and the BTN.

          • Transic says:

            If that’s the case, would it not be easier to add, say, UConn and Syracuse, as these are also basketball powers and will solidify the BTN’s presence in the Northeast? Or add them to the 4 you mentioned to go to 20?

          • vp19 says:

            If that’s the case, would it not be easier to add, say, UConn and Syracuse, as these are also basketball powers and will solidify the BTN’s presence in the Northeast? Or add them to the 4 you mentioned to go to 20?

            Since SU and Connecticut aren’t AAU, they are off the table for Big Ten presidents. Notre Dame would be the only exception to enter without AAU membership (remember, Nebraska was AAU when it entered in June 2010) because of its undergraduate academic strength as America’s preeminent Catholic university (sorry, Fordham and Georgetown).

            As long as Kansas is tied by both the Big 12 grant of rights and KSU, and conference stablemate Texas deems itself bigger than the game, the only realistic candidates for further Big Ten expansion are Duke, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Virginia. I know many of you don’t like hearing that, but it’s the truth.

        • Richard says:

          PSU-OSU series ended. LBJ series ended. Illinois-Northwestern not annual.

          With 18, all major rivalrives could still be kept (I worked it out). Thus, the B10 goes to 20 only if ND and FSU are 19 and 20, but I don’t see ND joining within 10 years.

    • Brian says:


      “Also, regarding NW to the east….I may be reading too much into it, but if the B1G is going to 18, ND almost certainly has to be involved,”

      Why? UVA, UNC, Duke, GT. Or swap in FSU and/or VT. Or if you want out of the box teams, consider BC, MO, KU and others as well.

  59. brindelin says:

    I was hesitant about putting Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State in the east due to competitive balance but I’ve done a 180 on this one.

    We’re expanding to 16 at the very least, it could be a few years, but this is a temporary alignment. Why not put our three biggest current draws in the East, while one of them is down anyways, for a few years to get some initial buzz for our newest members and presence on the East Coast?

    If it’s a 2-5 year arrangement I don’t see many downsides. I think the sooner we can get to established divisions the sooner we can start to establish new rivalries etc, but I can’t see any future expansions that are going to send one team to East and the West so we’ll be doing this all over again in a few years anyways.

    • GreatLakeState says:

      I agree wholeheartedly with this. What better way to get the population centers of the B1G East onboard (and BTN in those markets) than to have UM/OSU and PSU coming to a campus near you. Then, once expansion is complete and ND is on board (: Ohio state can take a hike westward.

    • Brian says:


      “If it’s a 2-5 year arrangement I don’t see many downsides.”

      And if it lasts for 18 years like 11 did?

  60. ZSchroeder says:

    I’m still very curious were ND ends up.

    I’m still looking at some long term ideas. If in fact the Big 10 could somehow pickup Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia Tech, and you combined those 4 with Maryland and Rutgers you have a very nice Eastern mostly historic ACC schools in a tight 6 team package. The Big 10 West would be a tight package of Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconson, Illinois, and NW, but then how do you split up the other 6, especially Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State, teams everyone wants to play? I have been thinking about how those 6 could rotate every couple years between the “West” division and the “Atlantic” division, but I don’t see how that is possible. There would be a distinct disadvantage to the middle group in getting a larger set of new teams to prepare for every couple years.

    If the Big 10 is able to grab Duke, North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia Tech how does that impact other conferences? If Florida, South Carolina, and Kentucky all have no interest in other schools from their states joining, the choices are pretty limited for SEC, expansion into Virginia and NC is about it. So North Carolina State, Virginia Tech. Would they have any interest in expanding to Penn or even farther north? I don’t see that happening.

    That leaves Wake Forest, Florida State, Boston College, Clemson, Lousiville, Miami, Syracuse, Pitt. You drop Wake Forest, and the Big 12 could expand to 18 have have a very distinct west and east. West Virginia, Pitt, (back together!), Florida State, Boston College, Clemson, Lousiville, Miami, and Syracuse make a nice East with teams that know most of each other quite well. Then the west would be made up of the 9 remaining big 12 schools. Would make the Big 12 look a lot less bizarre then it does now, in fact it would look very tidy with two 9 team divisions, far tidier then the mess with the Big 10 and SEC have and would have with division breakdowns.

    • zeek says:

      Maybe you have two central pods that rotate:

      Michigan/Michigan State/Purdue
      Ohio State/Penn State/Indiana

      One attaches to Eastern division to create a 9 team East. The other attaches to the Western division to create a 9 team West.

      Alternate every 2 years.

      It might be better to just have 6 pods of 3 teams each though and just combine various sets of 3 pods to create divisions every 2 years.

      That’s basically how the 11 team Big Ten worked when each team had 2 fixed rivals.

      • zeek says:

        And in either case you have to add 1 fixed rival.

        Still, if you go with 6 pods of 3 teams each, you can only fix 3 annual games. The other 6 games would be different every 2 years, so that you go through the entire conference relatively quickly.

        • Richard says:

          Actually, you could have 4 fixed games under my 6 pods of 3 setup. Granted, each pod would play the pod farthest away from it almost never (1/9th of the time, though how much do Michigan, MSU, & Illinois have to play UNC, Duke, and UVa, anyway?)

      • vp19 says:

        It might be better to just have 6 pods of 3 teams each though and just combine various sets of 3 pods to create divisions every 2 years.

        That’s basically how the 11 team Big Ten worked when each team had 2 fixed rivals.

        The difference is that those were de facto divisions, not de jure. If you thought the four pods of 4 in the late ’90s WAC was confusing, try selling six pods of 3.

        The better alternative is to have six permanent East (Rutgers + ACC 5) and West (six Central Time Zone schools) members, complemented by floating East/West trios from (as suggested above, Penn State/Ohio State/Purdue and Michigan/Michigan State/Indiana) over 2-year cycles. You could even periodically alter the trios every 4 years, making certain Purdue-Indiana, Ohio State-Michigan and Michigan State-Michigan are preserved).

        You need to keep the East permanent six and West permanent six together for synergy.

        • cutter says:

          If a pod system is put in place, I like your idea of having the permanent sixes in the East and West and while the other six teams in the conference rotate through divisions every two years.

          The only thing I can think of tinkering with is the trios you suggest. I might be inclined to make it Michigan/Michigan State/Ohio State and Indiana/Penn State/Purdue for ease of scheduling in order to keep most of the major rivalry games intact, but it would make OSU-PSU problematic.

          Perhaps those two trios could have have set rivals so that Ohio State and Penn State do play each year (MSU could be with IU like it is now and UM with Purdue).

          For Michigan, that would mean annual games with Michigan State, Ohio State and Purdue with the six remaining games with either the six permanent Eastern Division teams or the six permanent Western Division teams. The downside is no games scheduled with Penn State or Indiana during any regular season whatsover (although they could meet in the conference championship game).

          Of course, all this assumes on my part that the B1G will have nine conference games. If it were to go to ten, then it’d be annual games with MSU, OSU and PU, six games with either the Eastern or Western Division teams and one game with either Penn State or Indiana.

          The six teams in the permanent divisions would play the five other teams in their own divisions each year, three teams from one of the trios and in a ten conference game set up, two teams from the other division.

          • Brian says:


            “The only thing I can think of tinkering with is the trios you suggest. I might be inclined to make it Michigan/Michigan State/Ohio State and Indiana/Penn State/Purdue for ease of scheduling in order to keep most of the major rivalry games intact, but it would make OSU-PSU problematic.

            Perhaps those two trios could have have set rivals so that Ohio State and Penn State do play each year (MSU could be with IU like it is now and UM with Purdue).”

            Convenient of you to give OSU a much harder schedule every year.

            MI – OSU, MSU, PU
            MSU – OSU, MI, IN
            OSU – MI, PSU, MSU

            Yeah, that seems fair.

          • Richard says:

            You’re right, Brian.

            It should be

          • Brian says:


            “It should be

            Those aren’t the triads he wanted. OSU, MI, MSU vs PSU, PU, IN was his idea. That lead to OSU/PSU, MI/PU and MSU/IN. Conveniently, that stuck OSU with the hardest schedule by far.

            There are more balanced ways to split those teams.

            OSU, PSU, IN vs MI, MSU, PU, for example. Then play OSU/MI, PSU/MSU and IN/PU.

            OSU – MI, PSU, IN
            MI – OSU, MSU, PU
            PSU – OSU, MSU, IN
            MSU – MI, PSU, PU
            IN – OSU, PSU, PU
            PU – MI, MSU, IN

            That keeps every game you’d want while being balanced.

          • cutter says:


            The premise that Ohio State has the most difficult schedule of the three doesn’t hold water. Penn State is about to undergo severe, multi-year recruiting restrictions and has to deal with a head coach who has already flirted with the NFL once and may well do so again in the near future.

            But hey, if you went that fixed game to be Ohio State-Indiana or Ohio State-Purdue while Michigan has the annual game with Penn State, then I’d happily take it. PSU is going to have problems galore putting together a reliable two-deep with 65 scholarships and I have no objections with Michigan–armed with 85 scholarships and a couple of top end recruiting classes already–annually playing PSU starting 2014 or 2015 or 2016.

            I thought the Buckeyes under Urban Meyer could handle a severely undermanned Nittany Lion squad pretty easily, but I guess you think otherwise.

            And Michigan State? Ever since UM got its act together, OSU changed management and ND actually became relevant, their recruiting has started to wane. The Spartans will probably go back to their norm, get a handful of good players, but not have the talent levels to consistently compete with Ohio State or Michigan.

            The actual reason why I paired Ohio State together with Penn State is based on Frank’s premise that this was an important matchup that should be preserved in the conference realignment. But you’re so blinded by the idea that PSU is a “king” that you immediately consider them a major program despite perhaps the most rigorous sanctions ever imposed on a football program by the NCAA outside of the Death Penalty.

          • Brian says:


            “The premise that Ohio State has the most difficult schedule of the three doesn’t hold water.”

            Only to you.

            “Penn State is about to undergo severe, multi-year recruiting restrictions and has to deal with a head coach who has already flirted with the NFL once and may well do so again in the near future.”

            And they’ll still be better than PU or IN. Plus, PSU gets off the sanctions by 2018. PU and IN will still be PU and IN in 2018.

            “I thought the Buckeyes under Urban Meyer could handle a severely undermanned Nittany Lion squad pretty easily, but I guess you think otherwise.”

            Yes, that’s the only conclusion. Saying it’s a harder schedule must mean I think OSU will always lose to PSU for all eternity. It couldn’t possibly mean just what it says, that it’s a harder schedule. I also couldn’t possibly be considering years when PSU isn’t on sanctions, either.

            There were multiple ways to split the 6 teams that were more balanced yet preserved all the important games. You didn’t choose any of them.

        • Richard says:

          If the B10 goes with this idea, I do think the trios would have to be reshuffled every so often (every 4 years; that is, after a rotation through both the East & West), so that all schools play each other. The problem, though, is that OSU has to play Michigan and PSU annually, which means they can’t ever play MSU and Michigan can’t ever play PSU (try out the rotations; you can’t get them to work) which means you end up just flipping the IN schools between Michigan+MSU and OSU+PSU.

          • Brian says:


            “If the B10 goes with this idea, I do think the trios would have to be reshuffled every so often (every 4 years; that is, after a rotation through both the East & West), so that all schools play each other.”

            Yes, they’d have to do that. IN wouldn’t accept never playing OSU or MI again, OSU wouldn’t accept never playing IN or PU again, etc.

            “The problem, though, is that OSU has to play Michigan and PSU annually,”

            No, they don’t. They have to play MI annually. OSU/PSU may be a luxury the B10 can’t afford in that scenario.

            “which means they can’t ever play MSU and Michigan can’t ever play PSU (try out the rotations; you can’t get them to work) which means you end up just flipping the IN schools between Michigan+MSU and OSU+PSU.”

            All of these keep OSU/MI, OSU/PSU, MI/MSU and PU/IN except where noted.

            Balanced (no OSU/MSU or MI/PSU, though)
            OSU/MI/IN vs PSU/MSU/PU
            OSU/MI/PU vs PSU/MSU/IN
            OSU/PSU/PU vs MI/MSU/IN
            OSU/PSU/IN vs MI/MSU/PU

            OSU/MI/PSU vs MSU/PU/IN – allows MI/PSU
            OSU/MI/MSU vs PSU/PU/IN – allows OSU/MSU and MI/PSU
            OSU/PU/IN vs MI/MSU/PSU – MI/PSU replaces OSU/PSU

            OSU/MI – 7
            MI/MSU – 7
            PU/IN – 7
            OSU/PSU – 6
            PSU/MSU – 5
            PSU/PU – 4
            PSU/IN – 4
            MSU/PU – 4
            MSU/IN – 4
            OSU/PU – 3
            OSU/IN – 3
            MI/PSU – 3
            MI/PU – 2.5
            MI/IN – 2.5
            OSU/MSU – 1

      • cutter says:

        One way to do it would to have two 5-team pods that are permanently attached to each of the division and two 4-team pods that rotate every two years.

        Pod A: Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, Georgia Tech (all the former ACC teams)
        Pod B: Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers

        Pods A & B would be permanently assigned to Division 1 and Division 2 each season

        Pod C: Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota
        Pod D: Northwestern, Illinois, Purdue, Indiana

        Pods C & D would rotate between the two divisions on a two-year basis.

        Assuming a nine-game conference schedule, that means a program would play the eight teams within its division plus one program from the other division.

        So in Years 1 and 2, Division 1 would be comprised of Pods A & C (Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, Georgia Tech, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota) while Division 2 would have Pods B & D (Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, Northwestern, Illinois, Purdue, Indiana). This would essentially be the Inside/Outside arrangement that many people would like.

        In Years 3 and 4, Division 1 would have Pods A & D (Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, Georgia Tech, Northwestern, Illinois, Purdue, Indiana) and Division 2 would have Pods B & C (Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers).

        But does this really work for all the stakeholders? My answer to that is no. This isn’t the optimal lineup for the networks and it doesn’t really work for the universities that have large concentrations of alumni networks on the east coast. While many of the rivalries are kept in place within the pods themselves, the geography is problematic (especially for the “Eye of Sauron” makeup) when it comes to fan travel and to how they relate to the divisions.

        The Big Ten will want to showcase the eastern division because that’s where the major media and the population growth is located. Combine the five members of Pod A described above with Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers to make the Eastern Division and put Michigan State along with the teams in Pods C and D to make the Western Division. Eight games within the division with one game (or perhaps two if they opt to go with ten conference games) with a team from the other division.

        That sort of structure essentially acknowledges that the B1G Conference will essentially be two “super divisions” or small conferences operating underneath one umbrella for purposes of promotion, playoffs in the form of a conference championship game, the BTN (which may have a BTN East channel and a BTN west channel), etc. In essence, that abandons the traditional conference model for a whole different setup.

    • mushroomgod says:

      I would hardly say that the SEC’s options are “limited”.

      If the BIG added UNC, VA, GT, and Duke it would be an an academic powerhouse, but football-wise, it will eternally be second fiddle to the SEC. I think this is inevtable anyway, so I’m not too disturbed about it……but if the SEC then takes VT, NC State, FSU, and Clemson, it will have 1/2 of VA and NC, and the rest of the South….and the brand will be out of this world. The ratings will be enormous I don’t entirely buy the idea that FSU and Clemson don’t add markets–1/2 of SC and 1/2 of Florida are “markets”, aren’t they>?.

      • mushroomgod says:

        To elaborate a little…..I already have quite a few family and friends who either went to IU or Purdue, or have lived in Indiana their whole life, who look upon BIG football as the minor leagues, and watch the SEC game when it’s on v. a BIG 10 game…..that’s why I’ve wondered on here about the wisdom of expanding to 18….even IF you could get the 4 (presumably) targeted schools, the SEC can more than match it in football terms…..and at some point you risk looking like you’re playing a different (and lesser) game than that being played by the SEC… what point do you become irrelevant? Can being dominant in basketball and somewhat so in the olynpic sports amke up for the hit in football?

        That’s why, to me, the targeting of the ACC 4 only makes sense if it’s 70% about academic punch/%, 30% about markets, 0% about football.

        • mushroomgod says:

          Also……..a BIG expansion including VA, UNC, Duke, GT would be far riskier than an SEC expansion to VT, NC State, Clemson, and FSU…..the BIG is changing it’s culture significantly…..the SEC’s 4 would fit right in……….

      • frug says:

        SEC’s options are limited only to the extent that they refuse to add duplicate markets and expand outside the South.

        • FranktheAg says:

          …and the assumptions on this board. UNC is more likely to the SEC than B1G.

          • frug says:

            That is one school. They were talking about in general. If the SEC is unwilling to add duplicate markets or extend outside the south their only options are UNC, NC State, Duke, UVA and V-Tech.

            And no one outside of the UNC administration and BOT’s has any idea where UNC is more likely to end up.

          • FranktheAg says:

            Plus another Texas school, plus OU, plus Kansas if you expand your time horizon just a bit. Plenty of options when only two ads are really likely. Most likely would be UNC / UVA but that probably won’t happen for a long while still since those two schools will move last in this game.

          • frug says:

            The only Texas school that would add any value to the SEC is UT and they have made clear they have made clear for 20 years they have absolutely no interest in the SEC.

            Similarly, OU has repeatedly stated they will not go to the SEC (and that is why they, unlike A&M, declined their invite a couple years ago). Plus, by all accounts Oklahoma is either unwilling or unable or both to leave Okie St. and I’m not sure the SEC wants a package deal.

            Kansas lies outside the South, which was one of the limiting factors that this whole discussion.

            Plus, all the Big XII has a GOR in effect for another decade, so none of those schools are moving anyways.

            To reiterate my point, the SEC has options, but unless they are willing to go outside the South and/or add schools in existing markets they restricted to schools in North Carolina and Virginia.

      • ZSchroeder says:

        I said “limited” if Florida, Kentucky, and South Carolina indeed would veto any other state schools coming in. That would mean no Miami, Florida State, Clemson or Louisville. So other then North Carolina State, Wake Forest, and Virginia Tech the remaining available schools would all be northern schools.

        • mushroomgod says:

          Conferences typically have a 2/3 or 3/4 vote for expansion….so those schools wouldn’t necessarily have a veto power……and not sure all 3 would band together to prevent Clemson, FSU, UL from getting an SEC invite……those schools are all public schools so there would be political ramifications for those schools to vote against the other in-state schools…..esp. if the alternative is the Big 12…

        • frug says:

          And UGA. They called it the Gentleman’s Agreement. It has never been confirmed, but UK’s AD said that they would consider “vetoing” a potentially UL admission.

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      @ZSchroeder: There is one thing missing from your analysis. If the Big 12 “East” consists of nine former ACC schools, what exactly does either group get from the deal? The East schools would play an annual round robin, and maybe one wild-card game from the opposite division. They could do that now with just a scheduling deal between the existing conferences.

      This is why I’m doubtful that 18-team leagues will happen. What you end up with is just two 9-team mini-leagues with very few cross-over games. If you’re the 9 eastern teams, why join the Big 12 so that you can just play each other, which is what they do now anyway?

      • ZSchroeder says:

        Just pure market share. It retains many historic rivalries but allows the Big 12 to go to the TV market with 18 schools. And potentially one less competing conference.

        • ZSchroeder says:

          It also allows for a really exciting championship game. If you play your division in a round robin of 8 games, play one cross over game for each school with reasonably well matched teams one weekend, call it the Big 12 West / East Challenge, then you have a 9 game schedule. That builds up some rivalry between the two divisions and then it would come to the head in a conference championship game between two teams that likely have not already played each other during the season. I think it gets a bit boring when you just played the other team 3-4 weeks earlier, like Nebraska v Wisconsin this year. Each division doesn’t need to play each other all the time, they don’t have a lot of history anyways.

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          I don’t think the economics work that way. Expansion only helps if you create new rivalries. What you’re proposing amounts to two nine-team mini-leagues: the current Big 12 (minus West Virginia), and what’s left of the ACC (plus West Virginia).

          Each team would play a round-robin in its mini-league, so 8/9ths of the schedule would be what they already have. Its value to TV would therefore be just the sum of its parts, or maybe 1/9th better than the sum of its parts. That is hardly a compelling financial argument for a merger.

          From the Big 12’s perspective, why would they want to share their TV deal with a bunch of ex-ACC schools whom they almost never meet on the field? From the ACC schools’ perspective, why join a league run by Texans, unless you’re getting something you don’t already have? They could get the identical thing with just a scheduling arrangement, much like Jim Delany tried (and failed) to negotiate with the Pac-12.

          Imagine if the Big Ten added Rutgers and Maryland, but then arranged the schedule so that the Big Ten’s marquee teams hardly ever played Rutgers or Maryland. What added value would that have?

          By the way, I could see the Big Ten reaching 18 teams, because they have several reasons for doing so that the Big 12 does not: their research consortium (CIC), which is worth billions all by itself; and their successful TV network. For the Big 12, I don’t see the synergies that would make it worthwhile.

          As it is, some factions within the Big 12 prefer to stay at 10 teams, because they make almost as much money as the SEC, and they have to share it with four fewer schools. And the Big 12 is not an equal-revenue-sharing conference. A new deal has to be seriously accretive, or the “haves” of the Big 12 would lose money.

          • Mack says:

            If the top 8 ACC schools are divided by the B1G and SEC most of whats left will sink. The B12 will not rescue these schools with a subsidy at the expense of Texas and Oklahoma. The B12 may chose 2 of these schools (not WF or BC) to get a CCG, but no more. In 20 years, the schools that do not get into a power conference are more likely to end up like Rice, SMU, and Houston than TCU. The B12 may grow larger than 12 if the B1G and SEC leave some of the top 8 schools available, but the rest will not be able to pay their way.

          • ZSchroeder says:

            I don’t think every conference expansion is equal in motivation. Big 10 is very much focused on population growth areas, TV sets, and where there alumni are located. I don’t think the Big 12 adding West Virginia was to create great rivalries, it was purely to stay relevant. If Texas and Oklahoma cared about creating new and exciting rivalries they would have ditched most of the Big 12 for the Pac 10 or another conference that gave them better options. Picking up a separate division would allow them to stay relevant, especially in a world of larger leagues.

    • cutter says:

      I suspect Notre Dame will remain as a semi-independent in football with the Atlantic Coast Conference for as long as the ACC remains basically viable. ND has too much invested in its identity to its stakeholders (major donors, alumns, NBC, Adidas) to do otherwise unless they’re absolutely compelled to do so.

      I call ND a semi-independent because it has five games scheduled annually with ACC teams starting in 2014, annual rivalry games with Navy and USC plus a long-term scheduling agreement with Stanford that was put in place to ensure the Irish play in California once a year. That’s eight games which are annually set in place, essentially giving them the equivalent of a conference schedule each year.

      As long as NBC is willing to pay them for their home broadcasts and Notre Dame has access to the post-season, I suspect ND will stick with the ACC in much the same manner as they did with the Big East.

      Assuming Virginia, North Carolina, Duke and Georgia Tech join the B1G as members 15 thru 18, that’ll leave the ACC a ten-team conference (Boston College, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, North Carolina State, Clemson, Florida State, Miami-FL). If Connecticut or Cincinnati are available, that number could go back up to twelve and the ACC could keep its conference championship game. Or they could go the route of the current Big XII and stay at ten teams.

      But is that likely to be the status quo? Probably not for very long. The SEC is starting their own network and as others have suggested, they’re probably looking at getting into North Carolina and Virginia. Let’s say they add two programs from those states–that puts the ACC back at ten again, but still viable enough for Notre Dame’s purposes. Unless the Big XII decides it wants to go on some sort of expansion binge to give it an eastern presence (perhaps for the same reasons as the Big Ten) or the SEC invites additional teams in states where they already have a presence, that’s where ND will stay in the near term.

      I suspect they’ll “stick it out” until we see a contraction of Division 1-A into a 64- to 80-team entity organized into four or five super conferences with the first round of the playoffs organized around the super conference championship games.

      It will be interesting to see what the Big Ten does if it goes to 18 members. Will the B1G do it in a two step process by perhaps inviting North Carolina or Virginia and Georgia Tech first? If yes, then will they approach ND again to see if the Irish want to be one of the next pair of teams to coming in as #17 and #18? Or will the B1G forego all that and just invite four more members in one step?

      Whatever happens, it’s become clear that the B1G is looking to make a strong presence in the mid-Atlantic and the northeast. These are the some of the same urban areas where Notre Dame–due to social, religious and ethnic ties–has a very strong identity. If the B1G has a major presence from NYC to Atlanta with an 18-team expansion, does that make the conference more or less desirable to the Irish?

    • frug says:

      So the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl will be played on New Year’s Eve when New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday. The Rose Bowl’s never been played in December.

    • bullet says:

      Rice not completely forgotten. Tulsa, UMass considered. Rice & USM also discussed.

      What I find interesting is that the BE always seems to add in pairs. But they had 11 when they added ECU and Tulane. They have 12, probably soon 11 (SDSU leaving), but they are still talking in pairs. That would still leave them with an odd number, 13. I guess they are just trying to get to 12 ASAP for the ccg and will deal with 14 when Navy finally joins.

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        Whenever I see Rice mentioned in an expansion article I search the comments for all of the negative things people say. There is rarely anything positive. lol

        • ccrider55 says:

          If it makes you feel any better, as one who now lives in the west I could see Rice as a Texas version of Stanford if things eventually drove the PAC to 16 and the usual suspects were unwilling or unable to be involved. Smaller, private, and academic an elite opening a Texas window for the PAC?

        • @loki_the_bubba – FWIW, every time that I see Rice associated with anything in conference realignment, I always think of you. Usually, it’s in the realm of, “Aw, man, Rice just got screwed again!” So, it’s nice to see something semi-positive about your school.

  61. duffman says:

    Anybody want to guess where this game will rank all time in BCS MNC games for TV ratings?

    If football TV money is driving the bus you want rising numbers not falling ones. If Notre Dame’s highest draw was ~13 for the Fiesta Bowl vs Ohio State in 2006 and Alabama drew ~17 for the game against Texas in 2010 both are still below Texas vs Southern Cal in 2006 that pulled almost a 22. Does anybody think they will pull 22 tonight?

    • greg says:

      Duff, I think ND/Bama could beat the 2006 game. Which makes the “then we’ll just tell ND to go F themselves” argument even more hilarious.

      • frug says:

        It won’t beat USC-UT. Those teams were wire to wire #1 and #2 and was hyped was hyped for weeks before the matchup as “the greatest game” ever.

        Plus, the USC-UT game was on ABC, tonight’s game is on ESPN.