New Year’s Conference Realignment FAQ: Big Ten, Mountain West, Big East and Catholic 7

Posted: January 10, 2013 in Big East, Big Ten, College Basketball, College Football, DePaul Blue Demons, Illinois Fighting Illini, Sports
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As the college football season has come to an end with Alabama and the SEC triumphant once again and basketball season in full swing, let’s take stock of the conference realignment landscape:

(1) Is the Big Ten expanding to 16 or 18 (or more) and if so, when? – Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune recently noted that there are some within the Big Ten that believe that the conference won’t stop expanding until it gets to 18 schools.  That being said, I’m not someone that believes that further Big Ten expansion is imminent.  Sure, there are schools that the Big Ten seem to be more than willing to add to create a legit superconference (e.g. Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia Tech and, of course, Notre Dame), but I continue to believe that there isn’t going to be some type of impending exodus from the ACC.  Look back at how much of a sales job the Big Ten needed to procure Maryland, which is a school in a state contiguous to the current Big Ten footprint, has relatively weak conference rivalries (Terps fans may care about Duke and UNC, but it’s not reciprocated), has turned into a Northern school from a cultural perspective and clearly needed more athletic department money.  From my vantage point, the members of the ACC still like the league even if they’re wary about the TV contract (whereas the Big 12 is the opposite where everyone outside of Texas really isn’t a huge fan of the league per se but are happy about the latest TV deal).  Are the Big Ten and SEC stronger than the ACC?  Absolutely.  However, that doesn’t automatically mean that the ACC is a sitting duck that’s about to get picked apart.

Let’s put it this way: if the Big Ten really thought that it could obtain all of the ACC schools that I’ve seen rumored that the conference wants to add in such a quick manner (e.g. within the next year), then I highly doubt that Jim Delany would have granted an invite to Rutgers.  That’s not a knock on Rutgers and what it can bring to the table in the new Big Ten setup (the school makes sense as an addition for various reasons, not the least of which is a presence in the New York City metro area), but UVA, UNC, Georgia Tech and probably Duke (yes, Duke, and yes, I need to take a shower after saying that) would have all been ahead of the Scarlet Knights on the pecking order.  Convincing Maryland to head to the Big Ten was tough enough and that’s nothing compared to persuading truly Southern schools such as UVA and UNC to come along (and by the same token, the SEC isn’t going to be as attractive to those same schools as it was to Texas A&M and Missouri).

As a Big Ten guy, I personally see a ton of benefits for the conference if it raids the ACC further.  From an objective standpoint, though, I don’t see that happening soon.  The threat of the Big Ten being on the prowl probably gives the conference more power than it does in terms of actually striking.  I know this much: the Big Ten will wait for who it really wants at this point.  They’re not going to force anything other than a 100% fit and to me, that would likely need to be some combo of UVA, UNC, Georgia Tech and/or Notre Dame (although I’d personally want to see Florida State become a prime target).  That could take awhile to come to fruition, so I believe we can put the Superconference Armageddon scenarios away for the time being as realistic (even though they’re so much fun to talk about as hypotheticals).

(2) What are the Big Ten divisions going to look like? - Greenstein’s report also intimated that the Big Ten was looking at an East/West split for divisions with the possibility of putting Northwestern in the East due to its alumni contingents in the New York and Washington, DC regions.  However, the word out of Northwestern is that they would prefer to stay in the West with its closer rivals such as Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin along with enjoying a massive influx of Nebraska fans buying up tickets in Evanston every other year.

From what I’ve seen, the divisional alignment that I had proposed a couple of weeks ago with Michigan State in the West and both Indiana and Purdue in the East and every school having a protected cross division rival won’t come to fruition.  If Northwestern is in the West (and I’ll be honest as an Illinois fan that I’d personally be pretty pissed if Northwestern ends up in the East on top of Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State), then it would seem that Indiana would make more sense as the Hoosier State rep in the East (look at this Wall Street Journal article from a few years ago about how many East Coast students have been invading Bloomington lately) while Purdue would head to the West.  That would mean the East would have Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland, Michigan State and Indiana, while the West would have Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Northwestern, Illinois and Purdue.  In that event, I would hope that the Big Ten assigns Indiana-Purdue as the only protected cross division rivalry while everyone else goes on a regular rotation.  This would allow the West schools to continue playing Michigan and Ohio State more often, especially if the Big Ten increases its conference schedule to 9 games.  The Pac-12 did the right thing by only making the games between the various California-based members into annual cross division games and not trying to force any unnatural pairings.  Hopefully, the Big Ten has the good sense to do the same.

(3) What’s going on with the Big East/Mountain West skirmish? – As of now, the conference realignment action is really happening outside of the scope of the five power conferences (Big Ten, SEC, Pac-12, ACC and Big 12).  The latest cog in the Gang of Five wheel is San Diego State, which is faced with a decision of whether to “go back” to the Mountain West Conference (which they are still a member of until July 1st) or “stay” with the Big East as football-only member (which they have committed to join on that date) and the Big West for basketball and Olympic sports.  I don’t envy the decision that has to be made by the Aztecs since neither option is exactly optimal – it’s either being in the MWC, which has a new TV deal structure that will largely benefit Boise State, or the Big East whose membership is in flux and SDSU will almost certainly be the lone extreme geographic outlier.

Even though there’s a case to be made that San Diego State would make more football TV money in the Big East and actually reduce their Olympics sports travel costs in the Big West, I believe that the Aztecs will ultimately stick with the MWC.  It comes down to a simple question: would San Diego State have chosen to join the Big East one year ago if it knew how the league would look today?  In my opinion, it would be an emphatic “No”, as evidenced by schools in smaller markets such as UNLV and Fresno State having since rejected overtures from the Big East.  It would have been one thing if the Big East still had AQ status (or the equivalent of it in the new postseason system) or could reasonably procure an outsized TV contract compared to the MWC (which is what Big East commissioner Mike Aresco has been trying to convince people will be coming down the pike even though no one outside of Big East partisans believes him), but being the sole West Coast team in a league that isn’t receiving favored treatment anymore and looks like it won’t be adding anyone else within 1500 miles of your school (which we’ll get to in a moment) is a rough thing for any university president or athletic director to sign up for.

Now, that doesn’t mean that the Big East is a bad choice for everyone.  Houston and SMU, who have been rumored to be targets of the MWC, still make a lot more sense in the Big East.  At worst, those schools will be in a better version of the Conference USA that they will be leaving, so the MWC doesn’t provide much upside comparatively.  As much as some observers seem to want to watch conferences just pack it in and completely die off, the Big East (or whatever it will be called in the future, which is a separate issue) can still survive as an entity with the pieces that it still has left.  Tulsa appears to be a Big East expansion target, which would be a solid addition for its Southwestern flank.  UMass is also out there as a classic “university presidents might love it and fans will hate it” option – they have a nascent and struggling FBS program yet offer a public flagship university in the Northeast that plays football at that level (which otherwise don’t exist at all outside of the 5 power conferences plus UConn).  Several other schools from Conference USA (e.g. Southern Mississippi) and the MAC (e.g. Northern Illinois) might also get a look, but my feeling  is that Tulsa and UMass are the frontrunners to get the Big East up to 12 football members (assuming that San Diego State stays in the MWC) as soon as possible.  The league would then do everything it can to keep Navy on board as an addition for 2015 and, if Mike Aresco is successful in doing so, would target one more school on top of that to get to 14 schools for that season.

(4) What is the TV Contract and Expansion Status for the “Catholic 7″? – The Catholic 7 defectors from the Big East (DePaul, St. John’s, Marquette, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Villanova and Providence) have upended the “football means everything and basketball means nothing” axiom of conference realignment.  According to Darren Rovell of ESPN. com, Fox has offered $500 million over 12 years for the Catholic 7, with the assumption that the group adds 5 more schools to get up to 12 members.  That figure will likely be larger than what the football playing schools in the Big East will receive for both football and basketball.  I’ve said many times on this blog that football in and of itself isn’t what’s valuable, but rather quality content.  In this case, the Catholic 7 are offering quality content in their sphere of non-FBS basketball schools with traditional schools in large urban markets.  The problem with so many conferences is that they’re trying to apply the way that the Big Ten and SEC make money via football when they don’t have the assets to do it properly.  It would be akin to a mom-and-pop corner store trying to run a business like Wal-Mart or Target without the requisite supply chain.  Not every conference can be all things to all people in the manner of the Big Ten and SEC, so the Catholic 7 was smart enough to realize (or at least make the right decision when backed into a corner) that they can exploit a lucrative niche.  They became the Trader Joe’s of college conferences as opposed to Wal-Mart, if you will.  Instead of being subject to the whims of raids from the 5 more powerful football conferences as members of the hybrid Big East, the Catholic 7 have positioned themselves as arguably the most powerful non-FBS sports conference out there.  The non-FBS market might be much smaller than the FBS market as a whole, but there’s something to be said to being #1 in the former with complete control of your destiny as opposed to #6 (or even #7) in the latter without any buying power.

With the Fox offer apparently contingent upon the Catholic 7 adding 5 schools, that brings into question who would be the expansion candidates.  Xavier and Butler have been continuously named by several separate outlets as locks, so that takes up the first two spots.  The next 2 most likely targets appear to be Dayton (great fan base) and Creighton (ditto with a top notch on-the-court program right now on top of that).  All 4 of those schools should feel fairly comfortable about getting into the new league with the Catholic 7 (which may very well still end up with the Big East brand name when all is said and done) with this news about Fox wanting a 12-team league.  That leaves the last spot that appears to be a battle between St. Louis and Virginia Commonwealth.

If I were running the Catholic 7, I’d definitely recommend SLU as school #12.  From my vantage point, this is an opportunity for this group of schools to create a conference with branding that goes beyond athletics with like-minded institutions.  Essentially, the new league can be to urban undergraduate-focused private schools in the Midwest and East Coast what the Big Ten is to large research institutions in the same region.  In that regard, SLU is a perfect institutional fit with the Catholic 7 and the 4 other schools mentioned.  SLU also has excellent basketball facilities and a solid history in the sport, so it’s not as if though this would be a poor on-the-court move.

VCU, on the other hand, would purely be a basketball resume addition.  Now, there’s certainly nothing wrong with that approach, as this new league is going to need top notch hoops teams on-the-court to gain the requisite NCAA Tournament credits to pay the bills.  At the same time, VCU would be an Eastern-based addition to balance out all of the other probable expansion candidates that are located in the Midwest.  However, I’m wary about VCU being an addition based on short-term results as opposed to long-term institutional fit.  What surprises me is that there has been zero buzz about the Catholic 7 looking at Richmond, which has a solid basketball resume itself and is a better institutional fit as a private liberal arts school located in the same market as VCU.

It’s not an accident that SLU was added by the Atlantic 10 immediately after Conference USA stopped its hybrid model after the Big East raids of 2003, while VCU and Butler were only invited this year.  SLU would be a long-term move in a solid TV market that’s a great institutional fit and makes geographic sense assuming that the Catholic 7 wants to add Creighton.  I have all of the respect in the world for VCU as a basketball program, but SLU would be best for the new Catholic 7 league for the long run.

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

(Image from CBS Sports)

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Comments
  1. greg says:

    #4 Hawks at Oklahoma State this Sunday.

    Like

  2. GreatLakeState says:

    MgoBLUE!

    Like

  3. largeR says:

    Gotta luv dem kompewtur prograhmurs! http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/blog/eye-on-college-football/21534509/notre-dame-still-1-in-one-bcs-computer-ranking Is it too late to join 8/12/16/32/64 team playoffs now?

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  4. BruceMcF says:

    Note: UMass WOULD be raiding the MAC, UMass is a FB-only member of the MAC. That status would simplify a quick add of UMass by the Big-“X”, since UMass could start as a FB-only member of the Big-“X” and then schedule an orderly transition to full member status.

    Simple financial sums: at a more pessimistic valuation of the Big-“X” as Original Conference USA (media) upgraded with UConn and Temple of around $30m a year for tier1/tier2 rights, in a 12 team league that’s $2.5m for a full member, $1.75m for a FB-only member.

    $1m from the MWC and the bonus for national TV (broadcast network / ESPN / ESPN2) would clearly beat $1.75m for Boise State ~ even without the $900,000 travel subsidy to the Big West.

    $1m from the MWC under the CBS contract with possibly a single bonus game a year would not beat $2.5m for Houston or SMU. Especially if Tulsa is added, making for in division trips including NOLA, Houston/Dallas, Tulsa, and Memphis, all much closer than in-division games for a MWC-East.

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    • danallen2 says:

      So, are we saying here that G’town basketball is worth double both UConn basketball and football (not to mention women’s bball)?

      Something is wrong in Frank’s analysis. First we hear that outside of BE partisans, no one thinks the BE will get much money. Not more than the MWC. Then we hear that the C7 will be making double what schools like UConn make on both football and basketball now, when the contract is still paying for Rutgers, Pitt, Cuse and Louisville.

      Who knows? Maybe the world really is upside down.

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      • BruceMcF says:

        That is being conservative ~ more middle of the road estimates are $60m-$80m for a NuBigEast contract, which would put the two on par. And as to whether they would be on part … the BB7 offers stability, which justifies investing more in the marketing of the league. UConn and Cinci together offer a good chunk of what the NuBigEast would be worth, and everyone expects both to be packing their bags and waiting by the phone if the ACC should need to restock.

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        • bullet says:

          Brands. And brands playing brands. There’s more of that in the C7.

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          • BruceMcF says:

            ESPECIALLY brands playing brands. If you’ve got 12 teams and six or more recognizable brands, the top tier of the inventory is going to be worth something, week after week. That was the “group of princes” effect that made the Big East worth more than the sum of the separate parts.

            If Fox Sport is planning on taking its 70m~80m household Speed Network to turn it into a national Fox sports network ~ and has to renegotiate carriage to keep those which have the motor sports focus specified in the contract ~ it needs interesting matchups to hold onto valuable spots in basic cable.

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  5. FranktheAg says:

    Gig’em

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  6. Andy says:

    Go Mizzou, and to a lesser extent Go Blue

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  7. Richard says:

    Good call on SLU. If Fox has a say on who to invite (and if I was Fox, I sure as heck would want a say, considering that my money is the lifeblood of that conference), SLU would be #3 after Xavier and Butler. Creighton and Dayton get great support, but bring small markets (Cincinnati is already covered by Xavier). If Fox wants to farm out games to FSN, they have an affiliate in RootsSports Northwest (Gonzaga) & one in Utah (though BYU is unlikely). Comcast in the Mid-Atlantic shows FSN content.

    If Gonzaga and BYU aren’t viable options, I would go with Creighton over Dayton (both have great attendance and are in a small market, but Creighton has more recent NCAA success). Then, personally, I’d decide between Richmond & Dayton, but Fox may want VCU despite the ill-fit.

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    • Jericho says:

      Fox certainly has a say, as they can speak with their money. But BYU and Gonazaga seem like no-gos. Gonzaga is too much of a geographic outlier. They don’t want to send other sports to the northeast. Too much in travel costs. BYU should be axed due to football. I realize BYU is currently independent in football, but there’s little reason for this conference to get caught up in other realignment. If BYU ever rejoins a conference in full, they are gone. It’s far easier to take a non-football school.

      Markets don’t matter that much. Support and content do. Dayton has a long history of on the court success and strong fan support. They may be located near Xavier, but it’s not as close as you may think. Villanova and St. John’s aren’t much further apart, and Seton Hall falls in between them.

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  8. frug says:

    Two statements seem to be in direct contradiction:

    if the Big Ten really thought that it could obtain all of the ACC schools that I’ve seen rumored that the conference wants to add in such a quick manner (e.g. within the next year), then I highly doubt that Jim Delany would have granted an invite to Rutgers.

    I know this much: the Big Ten will wait for who it really wants at this point. They’re not going to force anything other than a 100% fit and to me, that would likely need to be some combo of UVA, UNC, Georgia Tech and/or Notre Dame

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    • frug says:

      That said, I do think any additions by the Big 10 will involve those schools, but I think it is far more likely than you do.

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    • metatron says:

      No, not really. The game was different before Maryland left, and the Big Ten is very patient.

      The real date is 2016. That’s when the current media deal runs out.

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      • frug says:

        How is anything different now? If they couldn’t wait until 2016 to add Maryland why wouldn’t they be aggressive now?

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        • frug says:

          I will say that if anything is different now it is that the threshold has been lowered because because of Rutgers.

          I still think that any future expansion will involve some combination of the schools Frank mentioned, but the fact remains the standard is now Rutgers and Maryland not PSU and Nebraska.

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          • vp19 says:

            The difference is in the criteria. Nebraska made sense at #12 because the Big Ten was establishing a CCG at the time and needed a football “name” to help legitimize it. Maryland and Rutgers were brought in to bolster the Big Ten Network and give the conference complements to Penn State along the Northeast Corridor. The threshold hasn’t been lowered, just altered.

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        • Transic says:

          Good point, considering that a couple of those candidates would also be in the sights of the SEC. This time, they’re in competition with another conference…their main competitor and one which has the natural recruiting advantage at the current time. I think Delany understands the stakes here and why he and the B1G executive office are doing the diligence on the would-be candidates.

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        • BuckeyBeau says:

          My view is a bit different than Frank’s. I agree that the B1G is patient, but I would add
          “opportunistic.” If opportunities come along, Delany/B1G will act.

          My view is also a bit different than many have expressed here that 2016 is some sort of deadline. I do not think Maryland and Rutgers were added (and that other schools will be added) just because the TV contracts are coming up for renegotiation.

          In my view, Maryland was an “opportunity acquisition.” Think in terms of corporate raiding. Maryland’s athletic department was basically insolvent and needed a big cash infusion. Maryland’s leadership (particularly it’s President) were not Maryland partisans and could be approached with a bottom-line argument for switching conferences. Those conditions (cash-strapped and non-homer leadership) created an time-sensitive opportunity for expansion only tangentially related to the negotiations of the tv contracts. If the B1G waits, Dr. Loh might take another job or Maryland might find revenue sources. The B1G needed to act while the timing was right.

          So, I think the coming end of this tv contract cycle will not either impede or prompt further expansion.

          As said, in the end, I think the B1G will act opportunistically.

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    • BruceMcF says:

      What is the direct contradiction supposed to be, there?

      It surely is not that the move to 14 that guarantees Big Ten has access to growing eastern seaboard markets implies that a move to 16 or 18 would be under the same urgency. Quite the opposite: the urgent needs have been addressed, and the Big Ten can now afford to wait to get exactly who they want.

      If they were sure that they could pick and choose from among UNC+Duke / UVA / GTech at any time that they wished, then there ISN’T the same urgency in taking Rutgers. They could go straight to 16 picking four among MD / UNC+Duke / UVA / GTech.

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    • Jericho says:

      I read it differently. The Big Ten will be very selective from this point forward. Rutgers was already added in the past. Rutgers made some sense as a #14 to get Maryland. Maybe not the ideal add, but someone that was available and offered something. Now that the ice has been broken, you don’t need to pick-off ACC schools one by one.

      Like

  9. vp19 says:

    I too doubt further Big Ten expansion is imminent, but I believe it could annex up to four ACC AAU members not named Pittsburgh by the end of the decade. Much will depend upon the revenue gap, whether the ACC football brand continues to be putrid (thus enlarging the revenue gap), and other factors.

    If I’m Duke, I’d like to get this done relatively quickly for two reasons: 1) its men’s basketball brand may not flourish quite as brightly in a post-K world, thus diminishing much of its value; and 2) if Florida State gains AAU status in the next few years — and I personally don’t know whether it’s on track to get there -- FSU gets slot #18, not Duke, no matter how much UNC may whine. (And in having Big Ten exclusivity in the state, it might not.)

    There’s also the slim chance the SEC could reverse its “gentlemen’s agreement” and invite FSU, perhaps with Virginia Tech.

    Like

    • Andy says:

      UNC has leverage. They can always go to the SEC with Duke. The SEC would gladly take both.

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      • vp19 says:

        The UNC-Duke tie-in is severely overrated. If I’m Slive, knowing that unlike Delany, I probably can’t expand past 16 members, would you seriously take Duke over Virginia Tech? From an SEC perspective, Virginia Tech + N.C. State > North Carolina + Duke. Easily.

        Like

        • Andy says:

          SEC is already strong in football. Where they’re weak is academics and basketball. The UNC + Duke combo provides both. Virginia Tech provides neither.

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          • GreatLakeState says:

            The idea that UNC (or Duke for that matter) would choose the SEC over the B1G seems implausible. Not only is the Big Ten vastly superior academically, but is a much stronger basketball conference, top to bottom. They may opt not to go anywhere, but if they do, the administrators/faculty are not going to allow the ‘fans’ to dictate what’s best for the University.
            The only scenario I can imagine where UNC goes to the SEC is if both NCstate and Duke go with them. Even that would be a tough sell if UVA and GT go to the Big.

            Like

          • metatron says:

            ^In the end, it’s all about athletics. Alumni, fans, and legislators could very well get involved and force some hands.

            Let me put it this way, would Alabama join the Big Ten?

            Like

          • Andy says:

            There’s more to fitting in than just academics. SEC’s academics would be perfectly good with Duke, Vanderbilt, UNC, Florida, Texas A&M, Missouri, and Georgia. Basketball would be pretty good with Kentucky, UNC, Duke, Florida, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt. They could make it work.

            The question is, if they do chase the money and if they want $40M per year instead of $13M per year, who do they feel like they fit in more with? Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Kentucky? Or Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Rutgers?

            The SEC will try to sell them and their fans on the idea that the SEC is a better fit. Will it work? I don’t know. It might.

            Look at a map. North Carolina is in The South, not the Great Lakes.

            Like

          • Transic says:

            What if UVa, UNC, GT and FSU can be connected together? That would be the combo that would win out over the SEC for the B1G.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            So what you’re asking is, if given a choice, would UNC choose a combo of:

            UNC, Duke, Kentucky, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida in an SEC 16

            or

            UNC, Virginia, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Rutgers in a B1G 18

            Maybe they prefer option 2. Maybe. I guess that’s the B1G’s best shot. But then they’d have to go to 18. And UNC would have to split from Duke and NCSU.

            I think UNC and Duke would have to strongly consider the SEC. I think it could go either way.

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  10. Michael in Raleigh says:

    So Frank’s Big East Basketball Conference would be:

    Providence
    St. John’s
    Seton Hall
    Villa Nova
    Georgetown
    Xavier
    Dayton
    Butler
    St. Louis
    DePaul
    Marquette
    Creighton

    Wow, what a blow to the Atlantic 10 that would be. Replenish with George Mason, I suppose, and who else? Davidson?

    Other random thoughts: Who would make good candidates to fill in Creighton’s spot in the MVC? UT-Arlington has been suggested. What about the University of Denver? They do have a pretty impressive overall athletic department, and only seem to have struggled to get into a more stable, well-respected mid-major conference because of geographic isolation.

    Like

    • Andy says:

      It’ll likely be:

      Big East East:

      Georgetown
      Villanova
      Seton Hall
      Providence
      St. John’s
      Butler

      Big East West

      Marquette
      DePaul
      Xavier
      Dayton
      Creighton
      SLU

      Like

      • Richard says:

        Uh, Butler’s west of the OH schools and smack dab between them and DePaul & Marquette.

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        • Andy says:

          Yeah I know, but I don’t know if they’d want to split up Xavier and Dayton. It’s kind of a bad split this way to be honest. Which would be an argument for VCU over SLU.

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          • At the end of the day, there probably won’t be divisions in the Catholic 7 (just as the Big Ten, SEC, ACC and Pac-12 don’t have divisions for basketball). Andy is correct that Xavier and Dayton can’t be split up. What’s more likely is that each school with have 2 or 3 protected annual rivals and then rotate through everyone else.

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          • Andy says:

            Yeah, I guess that would work too.

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          • Richard says:

            I’m curious whether they will have 16 or 18 conference games. 18 conference games with 3 protected rivals means the other 8 are played once half the time and twice half the time.

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          • Jericho says:

            I initially was trying to think who who go “east” with the Big East originals. It only really works well if you bring in a Virginia school, like Richmond or VCU. SPlitting Dayton and Xavier does not make much sense.

            But then I realized this is not a football conference, so there’s no need for divisions. I was overthinking it.

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          • jcfreder says:

            Agreed that there won’t be divisions – the east schools carry most of the “Big East” cachet, and the western schools are going to want to have Georgetown and Villanova visit as much as possible.

            Good for the C7 to be nailing down such a big deal. I think it might be an overpay based on Fox Sports One’s need to grab programming. Ironically, this type of overpay is what the BE was banking on in terms of getting a huge football deal, only as Frank says, you have to have quality programming to sell.

            Can anyone enlighten me as to why it has to be 12 teams? I keep hearing the word “inventory,” but assuming that not every single C7 game is going to be televised, it seems to me that you dilute the bankable matchups by grabbing two more teams. Why not stick with 10 and ensure home-and-homes for every possible bankable matchup?

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          • Richard says:

            Extra markets still matter. Plus, #11 & #12 for the Catholic-12 likely will not dilute the product & may strengthen it; they are almost certainly going to be stronger on the court than Providence & DePaul. Maybe StJ as well.

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          • Richard says:

            Better than Seton Hall as well.

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      • boscatar says:

        Add Gonzaga and BYU and you get:

        East:

        Georgetown
        Villanova
        Seton Hall
        Providence
        St. John’s
        Xavier
        Dayton

        Big East West

        Marquette
        DePaul
        Creighton
        SLU
        Butler
        BYU
        Gonzaga

        Like

    • Michael in Raleigh says:

      I think the idea that the Catholic 7 could get $5M/year on average over the life of a 12-year, $500 million contract from Fox is not possible in a 12-team conference, which apparently is the size that Fox is seeking in order to pay such a high figure.

      $500M divided by 12 years is $41.67M/year, on average, for the conference. I emphasize on average because the contract is bound to have escalation clauses where the payouts start lower that $41.67M but end higher. Each of the 12 schools would receive $3.47M/year, on average ($41.67M divided by 12 schools). If the Catholic 7 were to get $5M/year, the remaining 5 new members would get only $1.334M a year.

      $5 million a year for seven “original” members, who technically would be just as new to this brand new league as any of the other five, vs. $1.334M a year for the other five? That’s just not going to fly. It’s possible there won’t be equal payments, but the five other schools ought to have use their leverage to get closer to the amount the Catholic 7 would get. Xavier and Butler, especially, would add more television value than Providence, Seton Hall, and, probably, DePaul.

      It’s true, the league cannot exist at all without the Catholic 7, but that does not mean the other five schools should just say, “Okay, we’ll accept anything. Just please let us in!” Certainly the athletic departments at Xavier, Butler, & company would have better negotiators than that!

      Like

      • Phil says:

        Fans of Big East football schools like myself (RU), are feeling pretty vindicated now that our long term feeling that the BE bb-only schools were the real problem has been proven correct.

        Given the clean slate of creating a new conference (w/o the football schools they always say ruined their precious Big East) one of the first ideas these clowns have is to try to set it up with unequal revenue sharing to screw over their new members.

        Like

        • To be fair, my understanding of the intent of the unequal revenue distribution in favor of the Catholic 7 is that it would be on a temporary basis for the first couple of years to reflect the fact that the schools that broke off from the Big East incurred all of the costs and risk in starting up the new league. (This isn’t reflected in the ESPN.com article, which makes it sounds like that the Catholic 7 simply believes that they’re worth more and they’ll have unequal revenue distributions for the entire contract, which almost certainly won’t be the case.) The Catholic 7 is the group that is paying the lawyers and consultants, dealing with the exit fees and conference name issue with the Big East, and took the risk in the first place in forming an entirely separate conference. So, there is the notion that the Catholic 7 have both financial and sweat equity in the new league that Xavier, Butler and others won’t have invested when they get invited. In that respect, it’s not much different than the reduced payouts initially from the Big Ten to Nebraska, Rutgers and Maryland (even though it’s otherwise an equal revenue sharing league).

          Like

          • Phil says:

            I don’t see it as comparable to RU and MD at all. B1G current members need to be compensated for the fact their equity share in the BTN is being diluted by the additions and the B1G doesn’t want to open up their ABC/ESPN deal before it runs out and they can get to market.

            On the other hand, the new additions will be joining the C7 either the same year or one year after the conference starts, but they will be named in time to be considered and fully valued in whatever new TV deals the new conference signs. There should be no “dilution” because of the additions.

            As far as risk goes, the C7 will be walking with $10’s of millions in exit fees and bb credits, as well as an automatic bid (due to their continuity in playing each other), so where’s their big risk in starting a conference that justifies keeping extra millions from their new partners?

            This whole thing reeks of trying to establish a hierarchy in the conference so they can run things like they did in the Big East, and deflect from the fact that if you were starting a conference completely from scratch, some of the C7 are not nearly as attractive as some of the new additions (I’m talking to you Seton Hall and Providence).

            Like

          • Mack says:

            The value of current C7 NCAA credits can be justified as a buyin since the 5 schools added will be leaving their credits with their current conferences. That value would decline every year and be $0 after 6 years.

            Like

          • danallen2 says:

            I think the original point is apt however. The Catholic schools could have left the BE at any time, and only stayed on because of $$$. That is, the NCAA basketball credits largely earned from the advance of FBS schools in the tournament. So, they leave the BE now and blame the instability of the league when the league has been unstable for a very long time (largely because of the shortsightedness of the basketball schools when it came to admitting Penn State and Maryland). So what kept them? $$$

            Like

          • frug says:

            B1G current members need to be compensated for the fact their equity share in the BTN is being diluted by the additions and the B1G doesn’t want to open up their ABC/ESPN deal before it runs out and they can get to market.

            Utah and TCU both had buy-ins to their new conferences despite the fact that neither conference had a network at the time.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Frug:

            I believe Utah got a bump from providing a CCG. The much ballyhooed Fox/ESPN contract didn’t start until this year. My understanding was that Utah received a reduced amount, perhaps equal to what they would have received playing 9 OOC games against the PAC until the new contract began? Not the case for Colorado.

            Like

          • BruceMcF says:

            Also, as NCAA tournament units accumulate over the first six years, total league revenue will grow, which can be used to equalize conference payout over six years without having to reduce payout to the original 7.

            Like

        • Eric says:

          I don’t think this at all supports the basketball schools having been a problem in the Big East. They were an anchor and like everyone else, when they saw a better opportunity they took. Before that though, they agreed to a lot of expansion that didn’t benefit them but would cost them (starting TCU which added nothing basketball but did another basketball mouth and a long road trip in all sports).

          Like

      • BruceMcF says:

        You are only dividing direct TV revenue ~ you are leaving out indirect TV revenue from NCAA Championship units.

        Like

    • morganwick says:

      So, would that basically leave the A-10 as being to the CAA what the NuBigEast is to Conference USA? Who would even be left?

      Denver’s biggest problem has been the lack of an FBS football program; were it not for that they’d be in the Mountain West yesterday. Or Conference USA, or even the NuBigEast. As is, hard to see them climbing much higher than the Valley.

      Like

  11. Andy says:

    I think with the ACC schools making, what, $12M? $15M? per year, they’re going to feel a lot of pressure in the next few years as the SEC and B1G start making more and more money. I wouldn’t be surprised to see both making upwards of $40M per year per school as the Big Ten Network and SEC Network grow. ACC schools will want a piece of that action.

    I think the SEC is pushing hard for UNC and Duke and will settle for nothing less unless those two are off the market.

    I really hope nobody goes past 16. Once you get to 18 it’s not really much of a conference anymore. If the dream scenario many of you are drooling about actually happens and the B1G picks up UNC, Duke, UVA, and GT, then what?

    Basically you’d have your old Big Ten on one side and then Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, and Georgia Tech on the other. What is that? It’s not even the Big Ten anymore. It’s a merger. It’s the Big Ten/ACC combo conference. How do you even integrate all that as one conference? It would almost be like that B1G/Pac 12 partnership that didn’t pan out.

    I hope the powers that be think long and hard about how that is supposed to work before moving ahead with it.

    I think optimally you give the state of Virginia to the B1G and the state of North Carolina to the SEC. UVA/VT to the B1G, UNC/Duke to the SEC. Then you draw the line there, have to 16 school power leagues, North and South, and those two leagues can be big rival leagues. You could even set up permanent B1G/SEC rivals, although I doubt it would ever happen. But if it did, maybe something like this:

    Ohio State-Florida
    Michigan-Alabama
    Penn State-Tennessee
    Nebraska-LSU
    Wisconsin-Georgia
    Michigan State-Auburn
    Iowa-Arkansas
    Northwestern-Duke
    Minnesota-Mississippi
    Illinois-Missouri
    Indiana-Kentucky
    Purdue-Mississippi State
    Rutgers-Vanderbilt
    Maryland-South Carolina
    Virginia-North Carolina
    Virginia Tech-Texas A&M

    Now tell me that wouldn’t be fun as hell?

    Like

    • vp19 says:

      Virginia Tech is improving academically, but it’s not quite AAU caliber yet, and after Nebraska’s post-invite loss of AAU status, Big Ten presidents will not let that academic embarrassment happen again. As of now, the only Tech qualified for the conference is in Georgia.

      Like

      • Mike says:

        I’ve never understood how Nebraska’s loss of AAU status was an embarrassment to the Big Ten. I highly doubt the Big Ten was embarrassed at Nebraska’s removal vote because:

        1) The Big Ten had to know it was coming since it was Big Ten schools who were leading the removal vote.

        2) Had the Big Ten schools actually voted to keep Nebraska in (Nebraska was only a few votes short of staying) there would have been no “embarrassment.”

        Like

        • danallen2 says:

          Not only were B10 schools well aware that Nebraska was on the outs, but Wisconsin and Michigan lead the charge to oust Nebraska from the AAU. In fact, long before negotiations to bring Nebraska to the B1G, Mich and Wisky tried to chuck Nebraska but fell short of the votes needed in committee, so instead of holding the official vote, they never brought the issue to the fore, then over the next year reconvened the committee with new members who were more in favor of the ouster of Nebraska.

          Like

        • Brian says:

          Mike,

          “I’ve never understood how Nebraska’s loss of AAU status was an embarrassment to the Big Ten.”

          I think embarrassed is the wrong word. NE was the kid that went to UMass from a family of Harvard alumni. The B10 used to be able to claim to be one of 2 conferences, and the only I-A conference, that was 100% AAU members. NE took away that claim. Now the B10 can only talk about the percentage of members that are AAU to distinguish themselves from other conferences.

          Like

          • danallen2 says:

            It was Wisconsin and Michigan that got Nebraska kicked out of the AAU, so I’m sure the B10 can be said to regret that decision.

            Like

          • Mack says:

            The B1G conference office may regret it, but MI and WI do not. NE would not have been booted if all the B1G schools had voted to keep NE in the AAU. The XII schools voted to keep NE in the AAU. The AAU vote occurred after the B1G offer to NE had been made and accepted.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            No, a bunch of AAU schools got them kicked out. Objectively, NE had fallen well behind the the other members on their preferred metrics, so I don’t blame MI and WI for voting their consciences. I’d rather they stand on principles than play politics.

            Like

          • danallen2 says:

            The thing is, however, that the initial vote on Nebraska’s AAU membership was scheduled long before Nebraska became a B10 candidate. After Michigan and Wisconsin determined in committee that it did not have the votes to oust Nebraska, they postponed the vote until the committee reformed with more likeminded members a year later. This literally means that these two schools at least did not mind a non-AAU member joining the B1G, and indeed the Wisky Pres. at the time, now the President of Amherst College, said that Nebraska’s AAU status was not a major factor in its B1G admission. What else could she say?

            Like

    • Richard says:

      Schools can be integrated in an 18-school conference with 6 pods of 3. You’d play 3 schools almost never in my setup (though Michigan, MSU, and Illinois pretty much never played UNC, Duke, and UVa anyway, etc.), but you’d play the vast majority of schools some of the time, 4 schools annually, and 4 other schools most of the time.

      BTW, at 16 without pods, the SEC would essentially be 2 conferences sharing a TV contract anyway.

      Like

      • Andy says:

        Richard, I’ve read your 6 pods of 3 theories. It just seems way too complicated. It would turn off the fans.

        Yes, the SEC would have to be 4 pods. Probably:

        Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Duke

        Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Vanderbilt

        Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi, Mississippi State

        LSU, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Missouri

        Like

        • Crpodhaj says:

          Frankly, four pods of five schools (20) in an annual nine game conference schedule works better than however you divide 18. Play the other four in your pod and the five in another pod. Simple. Play everyone at least twice in six years.

          Like

          • Richard says:

            In the B10, without crossover rivals, you’d break up rivalries with 4 pods of 5.

            Not sure if you could make it work in the SEC. I doubt it. I think either the Oldest Rivalry in the Deep South or the Third Saturday in October would have to be sacrificed.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            If we’re going to go down that crazy road of mega-20-school-conferences, I assume the dream scenario for the B1G is something like this:

            Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois

            Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Indiana

            Notre Dame, Purdue, Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland

            Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, Georgia Tech, Florida State

            Which would leave the SEC’s best scenario as something like this:

            Georgia, South Carolina, Clemson, NC State, Virginia Tech

            Florida, Miami, Tennessee, Kentucky, Vanderbilt

            Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi, Mississippi State, LSU

            Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri

            or maybe more realistically:

            Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois

            Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Indiana, Purdue

            Ohio State, Penn State, Syracuse, Rutgers, Maryland

            Virginia, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Miami

            with the SEC taking:

            Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, NC State, Duke

            Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisville, Vanderbilt

            Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi, Mississippi State, LSU

            Texas A&M, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State

            really, I don’t see any 20 school conferences as realistic. 18 is pushing it. I really hope they have the good sense to stick to 16.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            wow, the formatting of that post came out horribly.

            Like

          • Andy, I am thinking almost the same thing. Although I think that the “old Big Ten” would try to sprinkle in more of the ACC rather than giving them their own pod.

            For example, keep FSU/GaTech together…but put them in a pod with Ohio State/Indiana/Rutgers. And keep UNC/UVA/Duke/UMD together and add PSU.

            The crossover games would be tricky…but I suppose simply assuring one protected crossover per school and then rotating the other 14 teams through your 4 other games (4 pod plus 1 crossover rival = five…which leaves four other games in a 9-game schedule). Give ND FSU…Give OSU Michigan….Give Nebraska PSU…keep your blockbuster teams on the schedule and national radar every year.

            Like

    • metatron says:

      I’ve had this thought too. Instead of permanent rivals, a rotating series would be better – sort of like the Big Ten/ACC challenge. You’d have to get the majors to give up a out of conference game though, and the thought of Alabama at Iowa or Michigan at Vandy isn’t too palatable for administrators.

      Like

      • Andy says:

        Yeah, I think they’d probably need to set up appropriate match-ups. LSU-Indiana and OSU-Ole Miss don’t make a whole lot of sense.

        Like

        • Transic says:

          You see, once you start going down that road you’re tacitly admitting that only certain schools matter. That goes against the idea held strongly by academic types that schools associated with each other have a collegial relationship. So under a scheduling agreement mentioned above, while they may try to organize best fits, ultimately, some match-ups like a LSU-Indiana would have to be allowed so that certain schools won’t feel left out or be second-class citizens.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            Transic,

            The B10/ACC challenge plays like against like. Why couldn’t FB do the same?

            Like

          • morganwick says:

            “You see, once you start going down that road you’re tacitly admitting that only certain schools matter. That goes against the idea held strongly by academic types that schools associated with each other have a collegial relationship.”

            The Big 12 threw that idea out the window with regard to Texas, and ditto the Mountain West with Boise State. If we’re not going to adopt pro/rel for college football, we may have to kill it to save it from itself. At the very least, we may want to divorce national TV contracts from conferences, either by going back to the NCAA or a CFA-like organization controlling everything, or having individual schools sell contracts. Neither is likely to help the little guy very much short of finding a way around the NCAA anti-trust decision (I personally think sports leagues are natural monopolies that only compete with other sports and usually work against the monopoly power of teams rather than flexing their own), but revenue sharing is very much in jeopardy right now anyway in all but the most balanced conferences. (Which pretty much means the Big 10 and SEC, maybe the Pac-12.)

            A 20-team conference almost borders on one organization controlling the TV rights for two conferences. Anymore, conference realignment has become about choosing your TV contract more than choosing a conference, and the Catholic 7 news underscores that (and shows that it applies even to basketball). The worst chaos may still be to come.

            Like

      • Brian says:

        metatron,

        Certainly they could work in 4 tiers of 4, or even 2 tiers of 8.

        Like

    • Brian says:

      Andy,

      “I think with the ACC schools making, what, $12M? $15M? per year,”

      Right now, something like that. But they have a lot of other revenue sources like NCAA tourney credits, and the ACC does very well there. It doesn’t eliminate the difference, but it reduces it to a smaller percentage of the total. $15M versus $30M is very different from $50M versus $65M.

      “they’re going to feel a lot of pressure in the next few years as the SEC and B1G start making more and more money. I wouldn’t be surprised to see both making upwards of $40M per year per school as the Big Ten Network and SEC Network grow. ACC schools will want a piece of that action.”

      As always, it will come down to money versus intangibles. How much do rivalries, comfort, and culture mean to the various ACC schools? Are their ADs in the black? Everyone will have a different tipping point.

      “I really hope nobody goes past 16. Once you get to 18 it’s not really much of a conference anymore.”

      Is 16 really a conference? It’s never lasted more than 3 years in modern times. Heck, 14 is new. I know MO is thrilled to be in the SEC, but do you care that you’ll play some teams almost never? It’s probably not a huge deal to MO since they aren’t your rivals, but the old SEC schools have to be a little uncomfortable. Would you rather be in an SEC of 12 schools so you could play everyone more often? Would that feel more like a conference?

      Like

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        “Is 16 really a conference? It’s never lasted more than 3 years in modern times.

        The WAC is the only conference that tried 16 teams. That’s hardly enough of a sample size to support generalities. It didn’t work on that occasion, but for a combination of reasons, not solely (or even mainly) because 16 was too many.

        Like

      • Andy says:

        Brian, I think 10 is the optimal number and 16 is the upper limit. I see little difference between 14 and 16.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          I largely agree. The biggest difference from 14 to 16 is the frequency of play, but neither one is great for that.

          Like

        • frug says:

          14 is much netter (or at least easier) for divisions. There really isn’t much difference between a 12 team conference with an 8 game schedule and 14 team conference with a 9 game schedule (the difference is playing interdivisional teams 3 years out of 6 vs 3 years out of 7)

          Like

          • Brian says:

            frug,

            I agree, except for that lost OOC game. That’s especially important to schools that have locked OOC rivals.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Which for the B1G is pretty much irrelevant. Purdue and Michigan St. can’t care that much.

            Bigger issue for SEC/ACC schools where their biggest (or near biggest) game is ooc.

            Like

          • frug says:

            @bullet

            Purdue would care a lot. ND is their most valuable game of the year and unlike MSU (who has Alabama, Oregon and Miami on the future schedule), Purdue doesn’t have the pull to replace them. The only way that game goes away is if ND ends the series (the contract does 2014).

            Iowa probably wouldn’t mind dumping ISU but the state pols. might step in and force them to play.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            bullet,

            “Which for the B1G is pretty much irrelevant. Purdue and Michigan St. can’t care that much.”

            ND means a ton to PU and quite a bit to MSU. Also, IA has to play ISU whether they like it or not. The point is, those teams go down to 2 OOC games to achieve variety and 7 home games (6 for PU is OK). That’s a definite downside.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Purdue doesn’t schedule 7 home games every year, so they’d still have an open slot. MSU takes a break from ND 1/3rd of the time already, so they’d have openings as well.

            Iowa may have the biggest issue, as they (say they) need 7 home games and may be forced to play ISU every year. 9 conference games would mean no more trips out west or to TX.

            Still, they got UNL as a rivalry game. They can’t complain too much about the recent round of B10 expansion.

            Like

    • bullet says:

      I hope noone goes past 14. I’d really like to see the ACC survive, but if they could toss off a far western Florida school to the Big 12, that would be nice. FSU + 1 other and the ACC could go back to 12.5.

      Like

      • bullet says:

        Notre Dame is more likely to join a 12 or 14 team ACC eventually than a 16 team one. The ACC could do a division only schedule for ND, meaning they only had 5 (with 12) or 6 (with 14) conference games. They already play 5 (or have agreed to-remains to be seen if they follow through-they never did with BE).

        Like

    • Quacs says:

      @Andy, I don’t think that B1G or SEC would ever be motivated to drawing a figurative conference line in the sand between VA and NC, particularly when considering their revenue streams. The BTN (and presumably the upcoming SECN) revenue model encourages adding markets to increase carriage fees, so lopping off the market of a new state strictly to create a distinct border would be counterproductive to both conferences. I always wonder how much dialogue there is between Slive and Delany to discuss what markets each conference is targeting.

      The bigger question you touched on is whether there is appetite within the conference for creating an 18 team league instead of a conference. If it’s done properly, i.e. current member institutions maintaining most of their existing rivalry games, I think the appetite is there among B1G fans for this type of shift. The B1G-P12 alliance “pseudo-league” was met with wide acceptance by B1G members and fans. Conceptually, I don’t see a lot of resistance to the concept of a B1G league.

      Like

      • Andy says:

        Quacs, Slive is currently recruiting UNC and Duke heavily, so he’s already decided this is the path the SEC wants to go down. It seems the SEC has decided getting UNC and Duke is worth more than getting into the state of Virginia.

        As for 18 team leagues like you’re talking about, you’re right it would be like the B1G/Pac 12 partnership. It would effectivley be a B1G/ACC merger. A couple of B1G schools would have to move east.

        Maybe:

        West: Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Northwestern
        East: Indiana, Purdue, Penn State, Rutgers, Florida State, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Georgia Tech

        Teams play their half to maximize the preservation of rivalries (except Indiana and Purdue, who lose all rivalries), then they play one crossover game per year. Ohio State would see Penn State in Columbus once every 18 years.

        Either that or divide into 6 clumsy pods and forfeit a whole bunch of rivalries.

        16 schools is messy. 18 schools is extremely messy. Hopefully they don’t do it.

        Like

        • Quacs says:

          @ Andy, I read that too, but I have to believe that to Slive and his new SEC Network, UVA(or VT)+UNC > UNC+Duke. Slive may have been courting Duke and NC for other reasons – perhaps he feels they’re more likely to join the SEC? Also, talking to UNC + Duke doesn’t necessarily preclude Slive from having discussions with other Mid Atlantic universities.

          I guess what I’m saying is that if I’m in Slive’s shoes right now, priority #1 has to be establishing the success of SECN, so I’m looking to expand markets for the SECN. Why not shoot higher than just NC (and maybe he is)?

          Like

          • Andy says:

            Slive is pursuing UNC+Duke for two reasons, 1) they’ve been told that NCSU doesn’t really deliver the state of North Carolina, and 2) the UNC+Duke combo shores up the SEC’s biggest weaknesses: academics and basketball. By taking those two then suddenly the SEC doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses. That’s worth losing out on Virginia Tech.

            Like

        • BruceMcF says:

          Take that East/West in a heartbeat over most of the 14 team divisions with the Buckeyes in the East.

          Like

        • Richard says:

          Andy:

          “Either that or divide into 6 clumsy pods and forfeit a whole bunch of rivalries.”

          Actually, the point of setting up the 6 pods of 3 is that all major (and even most minor) rivalries would be played no less than 2/3rds of the time, with the most major rivalries played annually.

          Like

      • Brian says:

        Quacs,

        “I always wonder how much dialogue there is between Slive and Delany to discuss what markets each conference is targeting.”

        I doubt there is much discussion on that topic. The world frowns on collusion like that.

        “The bigger question you touched on is whether there is appetite within the conference for creating an 18 team league instead of a conference. If it’s done properly, i.e. current member institutions maintaining most of their existing rivalry games, I think the appetite is there among B1G fans for this type of shift.”

        1. It’s hard to keep most rivalries with 18 teams. Richard has his 6 pods of 3 plan, but most fans would find that very convoluted and confusing. It’s hard at 16. Even 14 poses challenges.

        2. Maybe the internet fans would support it, but the vast majority of fans and alumni aren’t on the internet discussing expansion. I doubt a high percentage of alumni in their 50s – 90s are enthusiastic about it. RU and MD hardly got an enthusiastic welcome, and other ACC schools would get the same cold shoulder.

        “The B1G-P12 alliance “pseudo-league” was met with wide acceptance by B1G members and fans.”

        Not every school was thrilled with it, nor were all the fans. Some fans accepted it only because it’s the P12 and the long historic ties make it have value. The B10 has no football ties with the ACC and fans wouldn’t be as accepting of an alliance with them.

        Like

        • Quacs says:

          Do I think there’s any collusion? No, but my inner conspiracy theorist always wonders if those backroom discussions between conference and university involve more than just these parties. Given the billions of dollars at play in college football, the hundreds of “Tech Problem” e-mails that have surfaced through FOIA during this latest expansion era, and the ever-communistic NCAA lurking in the background, no back-room deals or “gentlemen’s agreements” would ever surprise me.

          I agree it’s difficult to keep all rivalries under an 18 team conference and still play every team. That was my earlier point about B1G becoming a league instead of a conference. While I accept that you and many others may not want this (and to a certain extent I agree), I don’t think there’s been much of a backlash from anyone regarding the addition of Rutgers or Maryland that would dissuade Delany and the COP/C from further expansion, even past 16. Perhaps this is merely semantic, but I’m surprised the discourse has defaulted to the term “superconference” instead of “league” when discussing consolidation, because that’s what these superconferences will ulitmately be. In my opinion, if B1G expands beyond 16, it will cease being a conference and its structure will have to be more similar to the NFL than the Big Ten from 20 years ago.

          Like

          • Andy says:

            Yes, and I think a lot of people wouldn’t like that.

            Like

          • morganwick says:

            Basically “superconference” allows people to keep deluding themselves that this is still the same sport living up to the same ideal of the amateur student-athlete as it was 100 years ago, and not a money-making TV enterprise.

            The “league” terminology, however, does point to a solution: why do we have different “leagues” for different parts of the country? Why do we need to “carry” big markets with middling schools alongside the big-name schools people come to see? Why do we need two to four 20-team “leagues” including a bunch of schools no one cares about to fill out the number? The “league” analogy suggests one of two things: pro/rel for college football, or 24-32 schools leaving the NCAA to form a single, unified “league” of the top college football programs. If that results in an anti-trust action from the schools left out, it could lead to both.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            morganwick,

            “The “league” terminology, however, does point to a solution: why do we have different “leagues” for different parts of the country?”

            Because these aren’t solely athletic conferences.

            “Why do we need to “carry” big markets with middling schools alongside the big-name schools people come to see?”

            Because every school brings a different kind of value to the collective.

            “Why do we need two to four 20-team “leagues” including a bunch of schools no one cares about to fill out the number?”

            We don’t.

            “The “league” analogy suggests one of two things: pro/rel for college football,”

            No matter how much you try to promote it, relegation will never be an option. Americans have never embraced the concept and none of our athletics are set up in a way that it could work financially.

            “or 24-32 schools leaving the NCAA to form a single, unified “league” of the top college football programs.”

            Why so few? The split is much more likely to be bigger and include some “lesser” schools. Otherwise, all the top programs will just beat each other up. Their fans don’t want to watch 6-6 seasons, they want 11-1 seasons.

            Like

          • BruceMcF says:

            @morganwick ~ why do we have different football minor leagues in different parts of the country? Same basic reason why we have different baseball minor leagues in different parts of the country. You can only develop players for the major leagues by having them play competitive ball on a regular basis. You need to have more players in the minor leagues than you are actually going to give a shot in the majors. And to save on travel costs, which becomes of increasing importance the lower down in the minor leagues you go.

            Like

        • BruceMcF says:

          Regarding different awareness of the Pac-8/10/12 and the ACC ~ I grew up in the countryside east of Columbus, and knew about it when the Arizona schools joined the Pac-8 to make it the Pac-10, which was the late 70’s. I also vaguely knew that Clemson was a school down in the southeast somewhere, but couldn’t have pinned it to one of the Carolinas until after I’d moved to Knoxville to go to grad school.

          Like

  12. bamatab says:

    RTR!

    Like

  13. Rick says:

    Congrats to Bama. Go B1G Red

    Like

  14. Craig Z says:

    Go Buckeyes.

    Like

  15. Mack says:

    Does Dayton increase the TV value of a conference with Xavier?

    Like

    • bullet says:

      Dayton is a near brand, just like Xavier. Dayton and Cincinnati are separate markets in every way except both love the Reds.

      Like

      • bullet says:

        I would be surprised if Xavier, Butler and Dayton weren’t in. As Frank says, Creighton and SLU are getting a lot of mentions. But they might be looking for a 6th eastern team instead of 7 midwest. Duquesne got mentioned and they have been terrible. My guess is that they pick either Creighton or SLU for #11 and go east for #12. And they probably will consider institutional fit and not take VCU. What do Old Dominion, UAB, South Alabama, Charlotte, USF and VCU have in common? Urban commuter schools in the Sun Belt who didn’t play football. The first 5 are in FBS or on their way. Jacksonville added football, but not FBS. WKU moved from FCS to FBS. So out of 8 old Sun Belt schools, 6 added football, the 5 public schools moved to FBS, the one with football moved to FBS and only VCU hasn’t done anything with football.

        I’ve never seen any indication VCU will, but they have that potential. They look a lot like Charlotte and ODU except for having Richmond in the same city. Just don’t think BE schools will want another school that’s a risk to add fb and leave them.

        Like

      • BruceMcF says:

        And Columbus did not triple in size over the past half century without inmigration from the rest of Ohio ~ X and Dayton will attract more eyeballs in Columbus than X alone.

        Like

  16. Brian says:

    Frank,

    Regarding if and when on expansion

    There are several key points here.

    1. Who?

    Unless something changes, expect the B10 to only go after AAU schools. They are taking a P12 or SEC school, and I doubt B12 schools are in play either (KU has a KSU problem, plus the GOR). That leaves the usual ACC schools (UVA, UNC, Duke, GT). The question becomes how much value any of those 4 schools provide. They all expand the footprint, UNC and Duke are hoops kings, but none are football powers. They would also give the B10 more schools in a quickly growing part of the country, good for recruiting players and students, but MD and RU already provided some of that. There are diminishing returns from adding more schools for the same reason. Delany and company presumably have a lot of data to help them process the values of these schools, but we mostly have to guess.

    Another issue is whether the interest is reciprocated. MD and RU were desperate for money and more northern than the schools under discussion here. As core ACC schools, many expect UNC, Duke and UVA to hold on as long as it’s feasible. They are well off schools with strong ties and southern roots (Duke has a lot of northeast to it, of course). They are also attractive to the SEC, which will play up their southern commonalities. GT isn’t wanted by the SEC, but they are also the most removed from B10 territory. GT has some financial issues in their AD, but they also have strong ties to the ACC.

    Many have speculated the B10 might make academic exceptions for VT and/or FSU. These schools would have to have an AAU partner to have a chance (UVA/VT, GT/FSU). VT wanted into the ACC for years before they finally got in, so prying them out might be difficult. FSU has the weakest ACC ties of the group, and would provide access to the great state of FL, but their academics will be a tough sell to the COP/C.

    2. How many?

    A related question is how big the B10 wants to get. Many think of 16 as a natural end point, mostly because it leads to 4 pods of 4. That may not fit the COP/C’s plans though. Larger sizes have also been discussed frequently (18 vs 20 vs 22 vs 24). 18 would allow for all 4 ACC AAU schools, and it can theoretically keep the old rivalries. 20 would mean no crossover games and old rivalries dying. It would also require 9 B10 games. 22 and 24 are essentially two separate conferences with a CCG and a joint TV deal.

    The problem is that with increasing size comes a decreasing frequency of games against old B10 foes. The schools will lose cohesion and become more of a loose confederation. Old ties will weaken while new ones form. How much money is enough? How big can a conference get and still be a conference? How great is the risk of the conference fracturing in the future? How many schools in growing states do you need to ease population concerns? These are thorny issues the COP/C have to consider although we tend to gloss over them.

    3. How?

    The real question is how this would happen. The ACC likely needs to weaken to get UVA and UNC to leave. The problem is, those seem to be among the key targets for the B10 and SEC. The SEC doesn’t seem to want any ACC school from Clemson to Miami, preferring UNC and Duke apparently. Politics in NC may make it hard for UNC to leave without NCSU being taken care of. The same could apply to UVA and VT in VA.

    One path would be for the B12 to get FSU and Clemson. The ACC’s TV deal would probably get cut even if they refilled with UC and UConn. With their southern partners gone, GT might be more willing to leave. Miami might be available too (an academic reach like FSU, but smaller).

    Another path would be for the TV money differences to get so large that the ACC’s ties weaken on their own. The B10 told UMD to expect each school to get over $40M per year with the new TV deal. We don’t know what all went into that number, but that’s huge compared to the ACC’s $19M per year average (was $17.1M before ND, so I’m being generous) until 2027. That’s $20M+ per year for 10 years, so over $200M more. Can the ACC ties withstand that?

    4. When?

    If the B10 had willing candidates right now, they’d be announcing it. It’s better to expand to 16 (or 18) all at once than to go to 14 for 1-2 years then go to 16 and maybe to 18 2 years later. That way you only have to redo the divisions once. That tells me there aren’t an even number of schools that the B10 wants and that have told the B10 they want to join. So what future events might control the timing?

    The ACC sued Maryland to get their full $52M exit fee. They will settle before it goes to court, likely this spring or summer I’d think. If the number gets greatly reduced, that may open the doors for other ACC schools to consider leaving. Of course, the ACC may try to word the settlement in a way to make it only apply to UMD to discourage others. They can point out that UMD voted against the raised exit fee (only FSU also voted no) and left within 2 months of that vote, which is as soon as can practically be expected (FSU would have waited much longer).

    The SEC’s new/adjusted TV deal will be official soon. Slive said by the end of the year, but I’ll assume by spring now.

    The end of the current fiscal year is 6/30/2013.

    The ACC’s deadline for announcing a plan to exit for 2014 is 8/15/2013.

    The SECN is supposed to start in 8/2014. That means money rolling in to the SEC.

    The new playoff money starts with the 2014 season.

    The B10’s next TV deal will start in 2017-2018. It should be the biggest yet by far. Negotiations should happen in 2015-2016. Presumably the B10 would rather expand before signing the new deal and not right afterwards.

    That means the window is basically the next three years. If the B10 hasn’t announced expansion by then, it’s unlikely to happen in the following 5-10 years.

    5. Why?

    I saved the most important for last.

    “As a Big Ten guy, I personally see a ton of benefits for the conference if it raids the ACC further.”

    This is another issue where the COP/C has to make some tough decisions. What are the goals behind expansion? Starting from 10, they’ve added 2 football powerhouses and 2 large markets in growing states. What concerns are left, and what do they need to assuage them? Does the B10 need more growing states? More hoops for the BTN? More football power? Something else? Are the needs worth sacrificing their academic standards? Are they worth losing the camaraderie of the conference?

    What are the tons of benefits you see, Frank, and are you talking gross or net benefits? How are you weighing the intangible downsides? Are there diminishing returns from expansion, or should the B10 just attempt to grow forever?

    Divisions

    We’ve discussed this a lot, so I’ll just hit a few key points.

    1. We’ve heard almost as many division rumors as we have expansion rumors. We really have no idea what will happen until they are announced. It’s not like Greenstein got them right last time ahead of the announcement, IIRC.

    2. The schedule (8 games versus 9) hasn’t been talked about enough by TPTB. More teams should mean more games in order to preserve rivalries. 9 games makes a lot more options available in terms of acceptable divisions.

    3. Reducing locked rivals is a good idea for preserving rivalries, but at the cost of losing certain valuable TV games. They’ll have to think about that. I’m not sure they’ll like the implications of saying PU and IN should play each other so others don’t have to play them. Historically, the B10 has been more evenhanded than that. However, times are changing and something has to give in the divisions and scheduling.

    4. The B10 needs to be careful. There are both short and long term consequences to divisions. They need to balance fairness, rivalries, fans’ interests, money and TV concerns among other things.

    5. Change the damn names, no matter what.

    Like

    • zeek says:

      As far as divisions go, it’s not so much Greenstein getting them right as it is that Northwestern was explicitly asked whether it would consider moving East with Michigan/MIchigan State.

      I think that’s the key point that signals the direction of the Big Ten’s current thinking.

      That doesn’t imply that pen has been put to paper and anything is definite, but the Big Ten would have to be focused on an East-West split to breach the notion of Northwestern moving to the East.

      Like

      • bullet says:

        Rutgers might well have gotten chosen ahead of UVA for non-athletic reasons. B1G schools appearing in the NYC suburbs. CIC having that base near a bunch of decision makers in NYC. And UVA’s advantages over Rutgers academically have more to do with their undergraduate rankings.

        Athletically, Rutgers is a project.

        Like

        • greg says:

          The Rutgers/Maryland move was a home run for institutional fit. Virginia’s 21,000 students and 15,000 undergrad doesn’t compare well to Maryland’s 38k/27k and Rutgers’ 57k/42k. Both schools easily beat Virginia by ARWU rankings (Maryland 28, Rutgers 40, Virginia 56) . The move was more about CIC and research and fit than athletics.

          Like

      • Brian says:

        zeek,

        “As far as divisions go, it’s not so much Greenstein getting them right as it is that Northwestern was explicitly asked whether it would consider moving East with Michigan/MIchigan State.”

        He had sources before and didn’t know the truth. All we know is that he said NW was asked about going east. The tweet said nothing about who else would go east with them. It didn’t indicate whether it was a brainstorming question or indicative of the wishes of the other 13. All of a sudden it’s being treated like Delany practically ordered NW to go east. His source could have lied to him for all we know.

        “I think that’s the key point that signals the direction of the Big Ten’s current thinking.”

        Is every question they ask indicative of their current thinking, or are they allowed to investigate a range of options by asking questions?

        “That doesn’t imply that pen has been put to paper and anything is definite, but the Big Ten would have to be focused on an East-West split to breach the notion of Northwestern moving to the East.”

        No, they wouldn’t. They would have to have considered one or more options where NW went east. There are multiple plans that could do that. Or maybe they assumed NW wanted to go east and asked the question because they wanted to send NW west instead. We weren’t there. We have no context, tone of voice, body language or any other clues necessary to know what that question meant.

        Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      Brian’s post didn’t extensively discuss the CIC angle. Most fans know very little about the CIC, but it’s worth billions, all by itself. If it could get the four remaining AAU plums in the ACC, it would take them in a heartbeat.

      But I do think Frank is onto a valid point about Rutgers. If Delany had thought that the break-up of the ACC were imminent, he would not have taken Rutgers. Even Delany has insinuated that Rutgers is “a project.” Anyone who thinks Rutgers would have gotten the nod above UNC or UVA, assuming those two schools were available, is kidding themselves.

      So although Delany wants more ACC schools, he must have believed that it’ll take a while to pry them loose, assuming it can be done at all. On the other hand, multiple Big Ten sources are on record that they don’t think the conference is done at 14. The four ACC schools are the only plausible expansion candidates anyone in the Big Ten could possibly be thinking of.

      I am not necessarily agitating for expansion, but I don’t see the parade of horribles either. Conferences generally lose members for financial reasons. As long as the Big Ten remains the wealthiest and most financially stable conference (or tied for first, with the SEC), Illinois isn’t going to pull out because they face Ohio State in football every two years, instead of every year. [That's just an example.]

      And of course, that’s just football: the schools would keep playing each other annually in a dozen or more other sports, to say nothing of the research synergies. I wouldn’t worry about the Big Ten fracturing, unless it starts making financially stupid decisions, which is the one thing Jim Delany has not done.

      On the divisional alignment: I am surprised that Brian keeps agitating for 9 conference games, which is a terrible idea. As an Ohio State guy, he should want 8, desperately. The more games that Gene Smith controls, the more Ohio State can massage the schedule for its own benefit.

      Like

      • mushroomgod says:

        The CIC is not worth billions……research $s are not shared through the CIC……there are a ton of misconceptions about it. It’s effect is grossly overstated on these boards.

        I do think it has the potential to be more than it is at present….as much in lobbying as anything else.

        Like

        • bullet says:

          And that lobbying is why Maryland and Rutgers make a lot of sense to the CIC.

          Like

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          I know that the CIC does not pool research dollars, but they pool efforts in many other ways. It’s hard to measure exactly the value it would have, above the baseline if it didn’t exist, but “billions” doesn’t sound wrong to me. I have seen that figure bandied around.

          I don’t think the effect of the CIC is “grossly overstated” on these boards. If anything, it’s grossly understated, as most of the discussion here is about sports, without taking account of the factors university presidents actually care about.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            Marc Shepherd,

            The number I saw for the most recent year was that the CIC saved member schools about $7M per year. It has other, less tangible value of course (educational opportunities, sharing resources, etc), but that’s the fiscal value they quote.

            Like

          • m (Ag) says:

            Many have said here the CIC money dwarfs the conference payouts, and $7 million (while a big number) doesn’t do that. So it is somewhat overstated, perhaps not ‘grossly overstated’.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            I thought it was more than that (the amount I remember is $25M, for some reason). Plus, there are the intangible benefits (it would be interesting to compare PSU’s research dollars before and after they joined the B10/CIC, for instance; my impression is that it increased a lot).

            Still, I’ve always been in the camp that the B10 is primarily an athletics conference.

            Like

          • Scarlet_Lutefisk says:

            @ Richard:
            The top eight current B1G schools in research + the other two large research schools in Pennsylvania (Federal research grants rather than total but it gives a rough idea):

            1990
            Tier 1 (1-25)
            #6 TSUN $357.9M
            #7 Wisconsin $354.8M
            #12 Minnesota $285.2M
            #13 U Penn $265.3M
            #16 PSU $238.5M
            #23 Chicago $191.1M

            Tier 2 (26-50)
            #28 Pitt $179.9M
            #31 Iowa $156.8M
            #32 Ohio State $156.5M
            #46 Northwestern $123.4M

            1994
            Tier 1 (1-25)
            #6 TSUN $452.8M
            #7 Wisconsin $385.5M
            #11 U Penn $318.8M
            #12 Minnesota $309.6M
            #18 Pitt $254.8M
            #19 PSU $253.9M

            Tier 2 (26-50)
            #27 Ohio State $193.6M
            #30 Chicago $175.4M
            #31 Iowa $170.2M
            #42 Northwestern $143.1M

            1999
            Tier 1 (1-25)
            #4 TSUN $493.7M
            #7 U Penn $412.1M
            #10 Wisconsin $368.1M
            #14 Minnesota $306.9M
            #17 Pitt $287.5M
            #23 PSU $258.8M

            Tier 2 (26-50)
            #31 Chicago $200.5M
            #32 Ohio State $199.7M
            #35 Northwestern $195.9M
            #38 Iowa $181.1M

            2004
            Tier 1 (1-25)
            #4 TSUN $628.4M
            #7 U Penn $524.8M
            #8 Wisconsin $523.7M
            #12 Pitt $475.8M
            #16 PSU $377.5M
            #18 Minnesota $370.9M
            #20 Ohio State $343.1M

            Tier 2 (26-50)
            #31 Northwestern $277.9M
            #32 Chicago $276.2M
            #37 Iowa $252.9M

            2009
            Tier 1 (1-25)
            #2 TSUN $636.2M
            #6 Wisconsin $507.9M
            #7 U Penn $499.5M
            #11 Pitt $463.2M
            #15 Minnesota $390.6M
            #16 PSU $385.6M
            #20 Ohio State $339.8M

            Tier 2 (26-50)
            #26 Chicago $301.2M
            #27 Northwestern $300.6M
            #38 Iowa $252.3M

            Although these numbers don’t really show it, sometime back I ran the numbers on CIC members vs everyone else which suggested that there is a correlation between CIC membership & outperforming the norm in research funding over the past 20 years.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            OK, thanks, Scarlet.

            Like

    • vp19 says:

      I personally don’t want to see the Big Ten expand beyond 18 for the simple reason that if it got any larger, it’s realistically impossible for men’s and women’s basketball teams to play everyone in the conference. (Save for a few isolated cases, such as the Northeast Conference some years back, leagues have not gone beyond 18-game basketball schedules, and the NEC probably did that because its gyms are so small it makes it difficult to schedule non-conference home games against Division I opponents.) For TV purposes, I believe the 16-team Big East has had schedules where you didn’t play a few of your rivals at all during the regular season; I consider that absurd. With 18 members, you can play one team home-and-home, then alternate home and away for the other 16 opponents.

      Like

    • Jericho says:

      Fairly well thought out post. One point. You say “the ACC may try to word the settlement in a way to make it only apply to UMD to discourage others”. Note that settlements are not binding precedent. They really don’t have to word anything.

      That’s why I don’t get the idea that UVA or GT are simply waiting out the resolution of the Maryland suit. Unless this goes to court and gets a verdict (which could then be appealed and bounce through the courts for some time), there is no binding precedent. Sure, if Maryland settles for a lower amount, it is likely true that another school could settle for a similar amount. But its not like it has any magic, automatic power.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        Jericho,

        “Fairly well thought out post.”

        Thanks.

        ” One point. You say “the ACC may try to word the settlement in a way to make it only apply to UMD to discourage others”. Note that settlements are not binding precedent. They really don’t have to word anything.”

        I know they aren’t binding, but it would be the first step in the PR campaign to stop others from leaving. Explain why MD could get a good deal but nobody else could. That sets the tone for the next school that tries it and might get the public on the ACC’s side if they are tough negotiators the second time around. Otherwise, the next school will quote MD’s exit fee and say they should get the same deal. In that sense, these deals do set precedent.

        “That’s why I don’t get the idea that UVA or GT are simply waiting out the resolution of the Maryland suit. Unless this goes to court and gets a verdict (which could then be appealed and bounce through the courts for some time), there is no binding precedent. Sure, if Maryland settles for a lower amount, it is likely true that another school could settle for a similar amount. But its not like it has any magic, automatic power.”

        It sets the bar. If MD only pays $10M, others will expect a big discount too. That matters if you’re looking at the books and wondering how to pay the exit fee. Financing $20M is a lot easier than $50M for a cash strapped AD. Also, I’d imagine it’s much easier to sell to your BoT or other PTB if you can put a hard number to the cost as opposed to hand-waving.

        Like

        • Jericho says:

          Maryland could get a better deal since the ACC has a viable replacement in Louisville. The next school(s) to leave could really set the dominos in action. Not only does it likely trigger more teams leaving, but little to no viable replacements.

          Like

  17. OrderRestored83 says:

    add

    Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      Colley disregards margin of victory (as the BCS requires). But even allowing for that, it’s gotta be the dumbest poll in history. Sagarin has Notre Dame 5th, which I think is a lot closer to reality.

      Like

      • Eric says:

        If you exclude margin of victory/loss, Notre Dame has got to be pretty high. The list of wins is impressive.

        Like

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          I don’t quarrel with Notre Dame being “pretty high,” but it’s hard to justify ranking them above Alabama, as Colley did.

          Like

          • Eric says:

            OK. I agree then. Without margin of victory in consideration I see good arguments up through #2.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Marc Shepherd,

            “I don’t quarrel with Notre Dame being “pretty high,” but it’s hard to justify ranking them above Alabama, as Colley did.”

            For a computer, it makes some sense depending on the algorithm.

            Which was the better loss – neutral site versus AL or home versus TAMU?

            edge – ND

            Better wins – ND, UGA, LSU, MI or Stanford, OU, MI?

            edge – AL (Colley has Stanford > UGA, and LSU and OU next to each other)

            So it comes down to AL > ND and TAMU > AL. I could see an algorithm saying ND wins that.

            I’m not saying it’s a good algorithm, but it’s got some logic to it when you can’t consider MOV.

            Like

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            @Brian: Sure, as a computer programmer by training, I can envision the algorithm that led to ND being ranked above Alabama. On the other hand, it fails the smell test so badly that, if I were the programmer, I would feel like I’d failed. Computers are good at sifting through vast mountains of data and sifting out the emotion. But sometimes, the answer is simply wrong.

            Some may recall that, in the early days of the BCS, the ranking formula kept failing, because there was some special case they hadn’t considered. That is probably what happened here. If you’d handed Colley this exact scenario before he wrote his algorithm, it’s doubtful this is the outcome he would’ve wanted. As I mentioned, no other computer came up with that result, which is why the BCS does not rely on just one computer.

            The early chess-playing computers had a similar problem: there was always logic to what they did, but sometimes they just uncorked a weird move that any competent human knew instantly was wrong.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            http://www.colleyrankings.com/advan.html

            Colley stresses SOS and only uses Ws and Ls. He ranks what a team has accomplished, not how good they are.

            SOS:
            ND = 8
            AL = 21

            Top 50 Ws:
            ND = AL = 6

            Top 25 Ws:
            ND = 3
            AL = 4

            Outside Top 100 Ws:
            ND = 1
            AL = 2

            The problem for AL was the bottom of their schedule.

            Most of their wins balanced out (AL/ND):
            FAU/BC, AU/WF, WKU/Pitt, TN/PU, MO/Navy, MS/USC, MSU/other MSU, MI/MI, LSU/OU, UGA/Stanford, TAMU/AL

            The unbalanced Ws:
            AL – #122 I-AA WCU, #72 AR, #1 ND
            ND – #55 BYU, #48 Miami

            That WCU games really hurt AL’s SOS in comparison to ND’s. AL might have been #1 if they didn’t play WCU.

            Like

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            @Brian: There are six BCS computers, all of them forbidden to consider margin of victory, and ND was 1st in only one of them. I understand mathematically that it is possible to concoct an algorithm that would spit out that result. But all of the other computers following BCS rules rated ND lower, and I think practically all humans would agree that that is the correct result.

            Heck, I doubt even Irish fans (who are not noted for objectivity) would argue that they’re #1.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            That’s why FSU was so low. Even at the end of the season with the ccg, they ranked lower than Clemson. They were something like 17th before the bowls. They had 2 FCS, including a horrible Savannah St. squad (WVU cancelled on short notice after moving to the Big 12 and that was the best FSU could do).

            Like

          • morganwick says:

            “@Brian: Sure, as a computer programmer by training, I can envision the algorithm that led to ND being ranked above Alabama. On the other hand, it fails the smell test so badly that, if I were the programmer, I would feel like I’d failed.”

            “Wait, this totally smells. Well, the BCS keeps meddling in what formulae I can use, of course it smells.”

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Marc Shepherd,

            “There are six BCS computers, all of them forbidden to consider margin of victory, and ND was 1st in only one of them.”

            That’s the whole point of the system. If all the computers agreed, they’d only need 1. You want different ways of looking at things to see what the consensus is.

            I’ve heard plenty of fans say MOV is overvalued and that SOS is ignored (usually when their team wins lots of close games). Colley’s system is the result of that approach. It has an unusual result this time, but it normally matches the human polls pretty well (see his site for the stats). That’s pretty impressive for such a simplistic approach. Most computers agree that humans overvalue head to head results. This time it just happens to show up at the top.

            What you fail to understand is that his results are not supposed to be an end-all, be-all ranking. They are not intended to be predictive, but to measure each teams accomplishments.

            If ND didn’t play AL and AL didn’t play TAMU, Colley would have ND way ahead of AL.

            Actual:
            ND – 0.974
            AL – 0.961

            With changes:
            ND – 1.013
            AL – 0.963

            If AL just didn’t play FAU, it would have been a near dead heat:
            ND – 0.975
            AL – 0.974

            If AL hadn’t played WCU at all, Colley would have put them #1.

            If you believe in SOS and don’t look at MOV, his results make sense.

            “But all of the other computers following BCS rules rated ND lower, and I think practically all humans would agree that that is the correct result.”

            Humans can’t ignore MOV and aren’t objective about SOS. It’s pointless to compare their opinions on this to the computers.

            What if AL beat ND 24-23 with a shaky call on the winning score but TAMU had beaten AL 42-14? Most humans would still put AL #1 but I’d say they were wrong. The final game shouldn’t be that much more important than the season.

            Like

          • cfn_ms says:

            FWIW I have Bama’s schedule rating materially higher than Notre Dame’s ( http://cfn.scout.com/2/1257046.html ). I also looked at Sagarin ( http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin/fbt12.htm ) and he had Bama a bit higher.

            IMO it’s a bit of an outlier to have Notre Dame showing a substantially tougher schedule than Bama. They were SUPPOSED to have a brutal schedule, but almost every opponent they faced was either bad or at least disappointing (I think Stanford was the only real exception).

            Like

          • Brian says:

            He had their SOS at ND – 8, AL – 21.

            Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      By the way, all the other BCS computers had Notre Dame 3rd. Colley really is an outlier.

      Like

    • greg says:

      The media complained and complained that MOV encourages running up the score, resulting in MOV being removed from the calculations. Now the media calls it a flaw in the system.

      Like

      • bullet says:

        Actually, I think it was the AQ conferences that were worried that a Boise type team would get high up in the rankings. The elimination of MOV killed their chances as their conference schedule would never be strong enough.

        Like

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          I think @bullet’s recollection is accurate. I believe there was also some grousing that certain teams (e.g., Spurrier’s Florida) seemed to be deliberately running up the score, late in games where they led by a ton, and had no other apparent reason for doing so.

          Of course, there was media commentary on this, but “the media” is not monolithic. Just about any viewpoint is advocated by someone in the media. But yeah, the removal of MOV from the calculation is now widely considered a mistake.

          Like

          • bullet says:

            Of course, Spurrier and his proteges still do that. Had nothing to do with rankings.

            Like

          • greg says:

            Agree that Spurrier did that cuz he is a jerk, not to impact rankings. Hasn’t slowed down Bielema.

            The computer rankings that do use MOV top it out after 21 or so points, so running up the score in a blowout has no impact. Making a 10 point game a 17 point game would have a small impact.

            Like

          • frug says:

            @greg

            No BCS computer rankings incorporate any MOV. It is expressly forbidden.

            That said, setting a cap is the best way to do it.

            Like

          • greg says:

            “No BCS computer rankings incorporate any MOV. It is expressly forbidden.”

            I know. That is the basis of this discussion.

            There are computer rankings that exist that are not used by the BCS.

            Like

          • frug says:

            Misinterpreted what you said.

            However, I will add that not all computer rankings use the 21 point cap. Some use higher and at I least one I know only counts half of all points after 28 (i.e. a 48 point win would be calculated as 38)

            Like

          • morganwick says:

            I think it may have been the Nebraska/Colorado/Oregon incident that was the proximate cause of the banning of MOV.

            Another way to limit the impact of RUTS is to use a formula that causes diminishing returns as the MOV increases, rather than setting an arbitrary hard cap where it doesn’t count or an arbitrary soft cap where anything past this is halved. Perhaps the impact of doubling MOV is constant, for example, so that, say, scoring a touchdown and PAT when you’re already up by 49 is the same as scoring a field goal when you’re up by 21. If you’re lucky, you can create a formula where you can reach a point where running up the score more actually hurts your strength of schedule component more than it helps your MoV component.

            Like

          • cfn_ms says:

            The 2001 situation was the proximate cause, which is actually kind of hilarious given that MOV was the specific cause of the controversy (i.e. people didn’t want to see a Nebraska team that got badly blown out make it to the title game).

            Like

    • Jericho says:

      National Title for Notre Dame (or at least one based on how schools, including Alabama, count National titles)!

      Like

  18. Carl says:

    Let’s go Lions!

    Like

  19. vp19 says:

    Mr. SEC chimes in with part 4 of thoughts on super-conferences (links to the first three parts are provided): http://www.mrsec.com/2013/01/big-bang-theories-the-countdown-to-super-conferences-part-4

    Like

    • Mack says:

      Mr. SEC is way off on the P12. The P10 presidents were willing to make the P16 moves to get Texas and because they thought expansion was required to get the money. Once they got the big TV contract it was easy to turn down Okllahoma (w/Oklahoma State). P12 expansion is unlikely in the next 10 years even if B1G and SEC both go to 16 or more. BSU, SDSU, HI, BYU, and UNLV are not happening.

      Like

      • vp19 says:

        That read to me as grasping at straws. Unless Texas and Oklahoma can be wooed into a second try at a Pac-16 with brethren Texas Tech and Okie State (and I’m not even certain this could be done under Big 12 by-laws), any Pac expansion isn’t happening.

        Like

        • BruceMcF says:

          It takes six to dissolve the GOR.

          Like

          • Mack says:

            That is why I said for PAC expansion in next 10 years is unlikely. After 10 years it will be near the end of the current B12 GOR, and the PAC TV deal. The PAC will probably get estimates on what the TX/OK 4 would add to a renewal at that time to see if this is worth pursuing.

            With the XII GOR, a possible big move before expiration is a merge of the best of the XII and ACC schools (or the best of what is left after B1G/SEC raids). The GOR and the exit fees get eliminated by both old conferences being dissolved. Not likely, but technically possible.

            Like

      • Andy says:

        Yeah, Mr. SEC lost a lot of credibility when he started talking about UNLV, Hawaii, SMU and Houston in the PAC.

        Like

        • cfn_ms says:

          Has any league EVER done something totally idiotic just to “keep up with the Joneses”? No? Then why in the world would ANYONE expect the Pac-12 to add four crap programs to keep up with the size of other leagues? Especially if he doesn’t even project all the other leagues to go 16+? Dumb.

          Like

          • BruceMcF says:

            Yes, this seems like a case of getting caught in his own talking points ~ (1) argue that market pressures are pushing the “big conferences” to 16 (or maybe beyond), focusing on the SEC and Big Ten, then (2) repeat the conclusion often enough that you start thinking its some kind of universal law and then (3) mechanically apply it to the Pac-12, where the small population of the Mountain time zone makes for a substantially different market landscape. Indeed, the population of Colorado and Utah taken together is less than the population of the LA – Long Beach Urban Area (never mind the greater LA statistical metropolitan area). Indeed, the Arizona schools and Colorado would seem to suffice, with the Utes being a “best of the rest” add to even up the numbers.

            In my view, the only remaining school west of the Big 12 that looks interesting as a Pac-12 add from a media market standpoint would be BYU, and they are a very poor institutional fit.

            Like

          • Mack says:

            The P12 will never consider BYU. That is why Utah is in despite BYU having twice the football attendance. The B12 does not object to having religious sponsored schools, but did not get anywhere negotiating with BYU. BYU wanted more in media rights than what Texas is provided with the LHN. The P12 will also not agree to the no play of any sport on Sunday requirement of BYU.

            Since the P12 is unlikely to expand past 12, there is no reason for the B12 to go past 12. If the B1G and SEC take the 8 best ACC schools (NC, VA, GT, VT, NCSt, FSU, Duke, Clemson) B12 expansion will be limited. Mr. SEC’s SEC and B1G expansion prospects was realistic, so it is worth the read.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            I don’t see either the SEC or B10 taking Clemson. FSU to the B10 is a possibility only if the SEC takes UNC & NCSU. It’s very likely that the B10 takes 4 & the SEC takes only 2. the B12 could very well take FSU & Miami (making expansion palatable to the KS schools and ISU, as, if they’re going to lose their TX pipeline, visiting FL regularly is better for them for recruiting purposes than visiting SC). Clemson could very well be left out with the ACC castoffs.

            Like

          • Mack says:

            Clemson will have the opportunity to join when the B12 expands to 12, but could turn it down if they still think the ACC is viable, the SEC will call, etc. It will take a fumble by Clemson to get left out. If the B12 picked up FSU going to 12 there is a good chance it will never go to 14 unless a school like VT or NCSt is available to pair with Clemson.

            Like

          • vp19 says:

            Clemson will have the opportunity to join when the B12 expands to 12, but could turn it down if they still think the ACC is viable, the SEC will call, etc. It will take a fumble by Clemson to get left out. If the B12 picked up FSU going to 12 there is a good chance it will never go to 14 unless a school like VT or NCSt is available to pair with Clemson.

            NCSU would only be available to the Big 12 if UNC went SEC with either UVa or Duke.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Mack:

            Again, I don’t see either the SEC or B10 taking Clemson in a million years. The SEC because they’re redundant in a small state. The B10 because Clemson’s way too far from academic acceptability (and are in a small state). That leaves the B12, and as I stated before, I believe that Miami as a partner for FSU will be looked upon more favorably than Clemson as a partner. That’s because FSU+Miami means an annual trip to FL, which makes getting cut off from their TX talent pipeline a little easier to swallow for the KS schools and ISU (and remember that some of those schools have to approve expansion for the B12 to expand). Also, if FSU has any voice in the matter, they would push for Miami over Clemson. Is that “fair”? No, but many things in conference alignment are not “fair”.

            Your contention that the B12 has little reason to expand to 14 once they pick up FSU actually supports my reasoning that Clemson very well might be left out in the cold by the B12.

            Like

          • Mack says:

            The Kansas schools and ISU will not be driving the expansion decisions in the B12. It will be Texas and Oklahoma. Miami only gets in if none of the other top ACC schools (including Clemson) is willing to move to the B12 with FSU. Every 4 years KS, KSU, and ISU will play 5 games in TX/FL vs. 6 games in TX now. If these schools forced the issue, Texas will blow up the B12 by dissolving the conference with the other 6 schools. It will never come to that since scheduling OOC games with new BE members SF, CFU, SMU, and Houston for more exposure is better than having those as conference games. .

            I agree that Clemson has no shot at the SEC or B1G.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            It’s like the marriage market (well, in a universe with only 3 realistic eligible bachelors).

            Everyone may be in agreement that Girl A is hotter than Girl B, but if they’re looking to marry, it ultimately doesn’t matter which girl has more boys thinking she’s hotter. What does matter is that a girl has at least one boy willing to tie the knot with her, and Girl B will marry & Girl A won’t if some guy prefers Girl B to Girl A because of some other attribute of hers (and the other guys stay away from Girl A because of their own reasons).

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Mack:

            “The Kansas schools and ISU will not be driving the expansion decisions in the B12. It will be Texas and Oklahoma.”

            Texas is against expansion. I fail to see how/why OU would favor Clemson over Miami. If the KS schools and ISU provide the votes to admit Miami but don’t provide the votes to admit Clemson, how exactly is Clemson going to get in?

            “Every 4 years KS, KSU, and ISU will play 5 games in TX/FL vs. 6 games in TX now.”

            Uh, they currently play 8 games in TX every 4 years. 12 games in TX in 6 years.
            Assuming a 9 game conference slate, they would play 11 games in TX/FL in 6 years if Clemson is admitted but 14 games in TX/FL in 6 years if Miami is admitted with FSU instead.

            “If these schools forced the issue, Texas will blow up the B12 by dissolving the conference with the other 6 schools.”

            Texas will do no such thing as there is that thing called a GOR that Texas agreed to. Nor would the other 6 schools go along. In any case, why would Texas (or anyone else besides maybe WVU) prefer Clemson over Miami so much that (according to you), they would blow up the GOR (when there are far bigger things they care about and haven’t threatened the GOR)? Texas (and the other southern schools) would prefer recruiting in FL more just as much as the northern schools.

            Like

          • frug says:

            @Mack

            To add to what Richard said, you clearly haven’t even come close to considering the ramifications of what you are saying.

            Even if Texas came around and supported expansion, they would never get the votes to dissolve the Big XII for one simple reason; no one trusts anyone (and rightfully so).

            Assuming KU, KSU and ISU were all opposed, Texas would still need to convince all but 1 of OU, OSU, TTU, TCU, Tech, Baylor and WVU to support dissolving the conference, something none of those but maybe OU would do. The reason? Because they have nothing to go back to if the conference doesn’t reform.

            Sure pledge that they will immediately reform the conference, but what if they don’t? UT has lied before regarding this stuff (something they are not alone in). Or what if after they dissolve the conference UT says they will only return if they are allowed to show high school content on the LHN?

            And if Texas keeps its pledge, what happens if the PAC realizes they screwed the pooch by turning down the Oklahoma schools last year? This would be the PAC’s last best chance to for decent expansion and they wouldn’t pass it up.

            And even if the Oklahoma schools didn’t defect immediately what about the Kansas schools? A KU-KSU package kicks the crap out of any combination of New Mexico, Nevada, UNLV and Boise St. and the Kansas schools would jump at the chance to go west. Sure Oklahoma and Texas could try and rebuild, but they wouldn’t. A Big XII without Nebraska, Kansas, K-State, Missouri, Colorado and A&M just wouldn’t be acceptable (and even if they did rebuild they would make less money than they do now).

            The simple fact is this; with the exception of Oklahoma and Texas the number 1 priority of every Big XII team is guaranteeing a home in a power conference and for every school besides OU and Texas that means Big XII and only the Big XII. There is just no reward that would justify the risk being of relegated to the neo-Big East.

            Like

          • Mack says:

            “The simple fact is this; with the exception of Oklahoma and Texas the number 1 priority of every Big XII team is guaranteeing a home in a power conference and for every school besides OU and Texas that means Big XII and only the Big XII. There is just no reward that would justify the risk being of relegated to the neo-Big East.”

            That is my point. There is not going to be expansion in the B12 without Texas and Oklahoma approving. KU/KSU/ISU may try to convince these schools that Miami is a good choice, but will not cram it through. If Texas said in a closed door meeting that it might leave the conference (at GOR expiration) if a school was invited that might change votes. .

            The primary concern of TX and OK is that expansion improve the product without decreasing the payout. An extra game in FL for KS/KSU/ISU every 2 years will not elevate Miami over schools that provide a better fit and more $$. Will Miami do that if the B12 already has FSU, especially since the Miami brand has been damaged? The best way for Miami to get in the B12 is as a package deal that FSU requires.

            Any combination of KS/KSU/ISU will decrease the payout of the P12. Unless Kansas is #14 (to Notre Dame?) it is not happening. The P12 will just stay at 12. No need to take anyone. As you stated,without Texas and Oklahoma the conference choices for KS, KSU, ISU are the neo-Big East or the MWC.

            Like

          • frug says:

            @Richard

            The problem with Miami is they may be looking at near PSU level sanctions in the next few months and that would probably make them unacceptable to anyone (recruiting hot bed or not, the Big XII isn’t about to add more dead weight), and with no promise of an annual game in Florida the Northern Schools could any expansion (of course they might do that even if they were promised an annual game in Florida, but that is for another post)

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Frug:

            I agree. If Miami gets nuked with the death penalty or something similar, Clemson goes in front of them as the partner with FSU.

            If they get only USC-level sanctions, though, I think they have the inside track on Clemson.

            Like

          • frug says:

            @Mack

            I think what is most likely if the conference couldn’t agree on a 12th is that it would just stay at 10. No one has sufficient leverage to force the others unless it is 9-1 (like everyone but UT supporting expanding or a 16 team proposal that puts ISU in an Eastern division)

            Like

  20. When I first heard the “Northwestern was asked to move East” line, my thought was that they wanted to go East/West, but put MSU and Michigan in the west. This would split up the Kings and bring a little more competitive balance to the divisions. The west would still be a little stronger via the eye test, though.

    West
    Michigan
    Nebraska
    Michigan State
    Wisconsin
    Iowa
    Minnesota
    Illlinois

    East
    Ohio State
    Penn State
    Northwestern
    Purdue
    Indiana
    Rutgers
    Maryland

    Like

  21. loki_the_bubba says:

    Friday’s are always the best days for cliff-hangers in soap operas…

    – Will SDSU go back like ex to the MWC?
    – What happens in Dallas with the nBE meetings? Does it stay in Dallas?
    – Who will the C7 choose as life partners?

    Tune in Monday for answers to these and other exciting story lines!

    Like

  22. dtwphx says:

    Could Frank or someone explain the rationale for why the bigEast would want to go to 14 members?
    It seems like all you’d be doing is diluting value.

    Why Tulsa? small school, low attendance, no name recognition, good football. What happens when the football gets bad for an extended stretch?

    Why wouldn’t the bigEast just stay at 11 for football and 9 all sport? (assuming SDSU leaves)
    Does a FB championship game really provide financial value in a conference not in the big4?

    I could maybe see adding UMass. It would be an asset for bball. If uconn/umass could agree to have their conference game annually in foxborough, and umass/temple could agree to have their conference game annually in yankee stadium, you could argue that adding UMass for football may not be too negative. UMass could expand their campus stadium slightly and stop trying to play all home games in foxborough.

    The 10 team bball league would have 5 “names” (UConn, UMass, Temple, Cinci, Memphis),
    and 5 others.

    What other all sport school provides enough value on the football side to make up for their diluting effect on the bball side?

    Maybe you could add 2 more FB only to get to 14 on the FB side, but why?
    (improve rivalries maybe)
    and who? SouthernMiss or UTSA?

    Like

    • BruceMcF says:

      Or save a FB-only add for 2015 and Navy?

      Like

      • dtwphx says:

        You’d think there’d be some value in the bigEast
        waiting a couple of years and seeing what bubbles to the top of C-USA
        instead of making a move now.
        Will UTSA’s football attendance be sustained?
        Will all sports Charlotte and Old Dominion thrive or languish?

        Like

        • BruceMcF says:

          Whether they are at 10 or 11, there is at the very least a case for going to 12 and having a CCG.

          However, best case for the Big-“X” they only end up losing the FB-only western schools, and the ACC stays stable until it is time for Navy to enter the Big-“X”. In that scenario, either play as 10, then add a pair with Navy to go back to a CCG, or else add to reach 12, and then add a air with Navy to have two 7-team divisions.

          Second best case for the Big-“X”, the ACC is ripped to shreds and the remnants merge with the Big-“X” to form a “best of the rest” 5th conference. Adding more programs than necessary for the competition in the meantime only complicates things then.

          Worst case, the ACC is raided in dribs and drabs, with the ACC reloading out of the Big-“X” in dribs and drabs. Time enough to add the additional programs then.

          Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      @dtwphx: I don’t know how much value a conference championship game provides, but the Big East needs value wherever it can get it. Even if it’s only a couple of million, it’s still revenue foregone if they stay at 11 teams.

      After you get past 12, I think Aresco is just chasing after markets, and trying to maximize his TV contract. You have to assume that his TV partners, or potential partners, are giving him feedback on what he needs to do, to make the league more attractive. Presumably, he also has member schools in his ear. When so many of them have no long-term commitment, and would leave at the slightest provocation, he probably feels compelled to appease them.

      At this point, the Big East has made so many mistakes that one is entirely justified in being skeptical about anything they do. I can certainly see the merits of getting to 12. I am not sure about the additional schools, especially when Tulane and East Carolina are two of them.

      Like

      • morganwick says:

        I’m not sure even the networks know what’s best for their contracts, given the money Fox is paying the Catholic 7, even if it is an overpay, and given that Fox is demanding a 12-team conference despite the lack of football.

        Honestly, Fox and the Catholic 7 seem a really weird fit. An ESPN-CBS alliance would make a lot more sense, given the history of the schools involved.

        Like

  23. Now would be the time to strike for the B1G if they wanted a bunch of ACC schools. Why? If you get Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Florida State and Duke on board and you have the SEC willing to take Virginia Tech and NC State, all of a sudden you have a majority of players that could then reverse the $50 million buyout clause for the ACC. Syracuse, Pitt and Louisville don’t have a vote yet.

    Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      The Big Ten can’t “strike” unilaterally. Most of those schools you named want to be in the ACC, and want it to survive. They adopted the $50 million exit fee for precisely that purpose. Maryland had a unique problem that the rest of its conference-mates don’t share.

      The more plausible scenario is that the $50 million exit fee is not upheld in court, and then a couple of less committed ACC members are pried loose, which then paves the way for the next two, and so on.

      Even the Big East, which at its height was never as strong as the ACC, suffered most of its losses in ones and twos, not in big chunks. The Catholic 7 changed that, but only after the conference had suffered a lot of small pinpricks, each of which, in isolation, it seemed to have recovered from.

      Like

      • frug says:

        The more plausible scenario is that the $50 million exit fee is not upheld in court, and then a couple of less committed ACC members are pried loose, which then paves the way for the next two, and so on.

        This case will never see a courtroom.

        Plus, exit fees aren’t a deterrent for schools leaving. The money is so high now that even $50 million isn’t a prohibitive amount.

        Like

    • Jericho says:

      You might need more than a simple majority. Would need to check the bylaws. Oh, and what Marc Shepherd said

      Like

      • Eric says:

        Definitely need to check rules. Think about the Big East. 12 of the current 15 full members (ones who count for voting generally speaking) would be better off if the league dissolved. Since members can’t vote after they decide to leave though, only South Florida, Cincinnati, and UConn essentially have votes.

        Like

        • danallen2 says:

          You need 2 votes from basketball schools and 2 votes from football schools to dissolve.

          Like

          • vp19 says:

            If the Big East dissolved, who gets rights to the name? That might lead to neither faction being able to claim it…which, considering that conference’s ridiculously near-continuous revolving door of recent years, might be just as well. Its value has been severely tarnished, the legacy of its silly hybrid, inept commissioners, that stupid insistence upon referring to it as ALL CAPS when it’s not an acronym…hey, that might be why Fox, itself a non-acronym that prefers the all-caps routine, is so interested in this new league.

            Like

          • danallen2 says:

            They are negotiating the name, so it depends on how much the Catholic side wants to pay for it. I don’t blame the commissioners, personally, since it was always the membership that made the errors. To give but one example, the article below says “Big Mistake by the Big East” as though it was the commissioner’s idea to turn down $13m+ from ESPN. But it wasn’t. Pitt was the big mover behind that. Indeed, Pitt has had a big hand in some of the biggest screwups ever made by the BE (voting against Penn State and Maryland admission). To say that the BE shouldn’t have been a hybrid conference is to say that the BE should have never existed in the first place, since 3 of the 9 initial members played D1 football. The Catholic schools almost left in the early 1990s when the football schools were added (i.e. WV, Miami, Rutgers, etc.). Mike Tranghese is on record as saying the BE was almost dissolved then until UConn’s President (UConn was non-football at the time) and AD brought everyone together and saved the conference. This is per Tranghese’s recent interview. If it didn’t go hybrid then, it wouldn’t have even existed.

            The name as of now belongs to UConn, Cincy and USF, but through Aresco they are giving it up, for a price. There are also nearly $100 million in NCAA credits and exit fees tied up in the coffers in addition to this year’s $18m BCS take.

            Like

          • BruceMcF says:

            Which section of the by-laws says that? I only saw a 2/3 majority. There was a time, prior to Rutgers and Louisville turning in their notice and after the ACC bound schools had turned in their notice, when getting to 2/3 required 2 FB schools (8 and a fraction votes, but its a voting threshold, so that made it 9) … but all I saw in the by-laws was the 2/3.

            Like

          • BruceMcF says:

            After a 2/3 dissolution vote, asset distribution is majority vote, although that turns out to be the same 2 out of 3 schools as required to dissolve, assuming that the C7 have already turned in their notice as a block.

            Like

          • frug says:

            @Bruce

            The Catholic schools could vote to dissolve the league. However, they would need 2/3 majority, and although they have seven votes, at least two votes in the majority must come from football-playing schools.

            http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaab/bigeast/2012/12/13/big-east-conference-basketball-split-catholic-member-schools/1767387/

            Without the support of at least 2 FB schools all the Catholic schools are entitled to do is leave without paying an exit fee it they wait 27 months.

            Like

          • vp19 says:

            To give but one example, the article below says “Big Mistake by the Big East” as though it was the commissioner’s idea to turn down $13m+ from ESPN. But it wasn’t. Pitt was the big mover behind that. Indeed, Pitt has had a big hand in some of the biggest screwups ever made by the BE (voting against Penn State and Maryland admission).

            Uh, I’m a Maryland fan and have followed university athletics for decades, and I don’t believe at any time Maryland was formally interested in joining the Big East. Had the Eastern all-sports conference Penn State championed for years ever materialized, College Park might — and, I repeat, might - have had interest in joining. But Big East as has existed over its history held no appeal for Maryland, especially since in virtually all those years it would have resulted in lower revenue than it was making in the ACC. The Big Ten was the only conference Maryland would leave the ACC for, especially after Wallace Loh made the many academic, athletic and financial benefits evident to skeptical university officials.

            Like

          • danallen2 says:

            Joe Paterno is on record as saying that Maryland and Penn State approached in the late 1980s as the league was forming with Miami, and FSU was looking on. That was the deal presented, and it was rejected. http://www.fannation.com/truth_and_rumors/view/66059-why-pitt-still-irks-paterno

            Like

          • BruceMcF says:

            @frug Yes, that’s the kind of thing I’m talking to. Reading the bylaws themselves, I did not see any specific provision in the dissolution section referring to BB-only or all-sports schools, I just saw the 2/3 requirement. I also saw that schools lose their vote on that (among other things) when they put in their formal notice of leaving.

            As a practical matter, with the C7, UConn, UC, one of the UxF’s, Louisville, Rutgers and Temple, that’s 13, and 2/3 of 13 is 8.667, which means hitting the 2/3 threshold required during that period the C7 “plus 2 FB schools”.

            Like

          • danallen2 says:

            I’m sorry I’m not going to be able to pull this up for you because the post is gone on another board, but the rules were amended 3 years ago when the football schools temporarily had the upper hand. There is a new document in place on this issue regarding the by-laws. And it requires 2 from either side for dissolution, as it was initially put in place to protect the bball schools at a time when dissolution meant a total split of exit fees and NCAA credits.

            Like

          • BruceMcF says:

            Aha, so it was amended since the WV departure. Thanks.

            Like

  24. Mike says:

    This is interesting

    http://ajerseyguy.com/?p=4719


    The meeting in Dallas produced no hard decisions, but the general consensus after the meeting was that San Diego State would be remaining with the Mountain West in all sports.

    If that plays itself out in the next few weeks, than two more Big East members, Cincinnati and Connecticut, are also ready to depart.

    According to sources at Connecticut, UConn officials were pursuing a plan which would keep the Huskies with the Catholic 7–Marquette, DePaul, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Georgetown, Villanova and Providence, as well as Cincinnati.

    The plan would be then to increase the group to 12 with the addition of such schools as Butler, Xavier and Saint Louis the front runners.

    In order to do that, however, UConn officials must find a place for football. And while nothing officially has been offered, a plan in which the Huskies and Cincinnati would join the Mountain West was being considered as part of an overall expansion plan for the MWC which would expand from 10 teams to 12, 14 or 16 teams, if the schools currently committed to the Big East such as Houston, SMU, Memphis, Central Florida and South Florida find themselves in a crumbling football conference and switch to the MWC

    Like

    • Andy says:

      Wow, I didn’t expect that.

      Like

      • bullet says:

        Jersey Guy has come up with some off the wall stuff lately.
        Cincy and UConn to C7 not out of the realm of possibility, but why would MWC want them?

        Like

        • bullet says:

          And let me say, I don’t believe the Cincy & UConn bit, just that its not totally unrealistic. Don’t see how it helps them get in ACC eventually, which is certainly their goal.

          Like

          • Mike says:

            It keeps them in a top basketball conference with a best of the rest football conference. It is probably the best they could do on both fronts.

            Like

          • morganwick says:

            If they perceive that Cincy and UConn are using them as a stopover until the ACC comes calling, the Catholic 7 will not give them the time of day.

            Like

          • danallen2 says:

            According to the report, it’s the reverse. This was a Catholic school proposal and UConn wanted no part of it. I thought from the beginning that once the Catholic schools saw that UConn was vulnerable, they thought they could be pressured into joining the Catholic schools for basketball, abandoning USF and the like. Except UConn didn’t bite. Now we hear Fox is offering $5million per school for basketball, right before the BE meetings, and again, UConn isn’t biting.

            Like

          • Jericho says:

            Weird. I would have figured it was the other way around.

            Not sure why the C-7 really feel the need to mix with UConn and Cincy. Sure, they’re good programs. And there is at least some history with UConn (Cincy hasn’t been in the league that long). But everyone knows those two schools would leave as soon as they can. And it’s not like the C-7 can’t get good programs. None are UConn good, at least not Calhoun level UConn. There’s an open question if UConn can maintain that level post-Calhoun. But Creighton, Butler, Xavier. Those schools go a long ways to replacing the on the court talent.

            I’d also wonder what would happen to UConn and Cincy football? The Big east could basically say screw you and tell them its all or nothing. Then what? Go Con-USA or Sun Belt? Mountain West seems far fetched.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Jericho:

            The Catholic 7 probably believes that they can add any non-football school they want if UConn (and Cincy) leave.

            Also, Fox may be pressuring them to explore adding at least UConn.

            Like

          • BruceMcF says:

            If Fox is pressuring them to look at adding UConn and maybe UC, that would be incentive to leak the concept in hopes of it getting shot down.

            Like

          • Mack says:

            Or the TV rights $$$ being floated could be dependent on UCONN/Cinn. Will FOX pay the same for any 5 schools added? I do not believe the C7 will just go for the money, but it will be a factor in who gets invited.

            Like

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          I don’t know if it’ll happen, but it doesn’t sound crazy to me. I can understand why the MWC would like a bit of eastern media exposure. Of course, they know that Cincy and UConn would bolt for the ACC as soon as they can, but the MWC might be willing to gamble that that’ll take a while.

          From Cincy and UConn’s perspective, the new Big East is shaping up to be pretty weak at football, and certainly weaker at basketball than the new C7 conference. The MWC (for football) and the C7 (for basketball) would certainly be no worse, and it might be a lot better.

          Like

          • danallen2 says:

            UConn, Memphis, Cincy and Temple are AT LEAST as good basketball schools as G’Town, Butler, Villanova and Marquette, and I would argue they are better and have more eyeballs as well. Temple recently brought about 10,000 fans to an away game at NYC. After years of watching teams like Providence, DePaul and Seton Hall lose to the likes of Bryant and Brown U., etc., I would not argue that these teams are any better than SMU, Houston and USF. I think the two possible conferences are comparable in basketball.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            As good as G’Town, ‘Nova, Marquette, Butler, Xavier, Creighton, and Dayton?

            Like

          • danallen2 says:

            UConn > G’town
            Memphis = Nova
            Cincy = Marquette
            Temple = Xavier
            Butler is an interesting school, they could put the Catholics over the top, but we’re talking about a short reign under a hot coach. What’s the longterm for them?
            Creighton never does much in the tourney.

            Like

          • @danallen2 – I think this is a fair comparison among the top 4 teams, but I think you’re underestimating Butler (as Richard has said, they’ve had success under multiple coaches and they’re in a legit basketball hotbed) and Creighton (a school that can sell 17,000-plus tickets every single night playing a MVC schedule is going to have the financial resources to compete at the highest level in the long-term). Once you get past Temple, Butler and Creighton far outweigh anyone else in the new Big East hoops-wise and even the current dregs of the Catholic 7 (DePaul, Providence, Seton Hall) at least bring history and a major market/recruiting territory. At least in terms of perceived media value, it’s really not that close between the Catholic 7 and new Big East – the Catholic 7 has a major edge and the new Fox offer to the new league reflects that.

            To be sure, it doesn’t give me any great pleasure to state that from UConn’s perspective. Your school deserves a better home and frankly, the short-term choices will hopefully just be temporary until one of the 5 power conferences calls you up. In the meantime, though, I think new Big East fans are going to be in for a rude awakening if they think that they’re equal or greater than the Catholic 7 from a media deal viewpoint (at least for basketball). UConn itself has a very strong brand name, but most Big East fans that I’ve seen appear to overestimate the basketball TV value of Memphis, Cincinnati and Temple as compared to the Catholic 7 and then fail to recognize that the depth of the proposed 12 members of the Catholic 7 league beyond just the top 4 teams is vastly superior.

            Like

          • danallen2 says:

            I think in my initial post I allowed Butler may be something special, but under Stevens. I also think it’s hard to tell how good teams are from midmajors such as the MVC. Teams like Creighton and Utah St always get pumped up for great regular seasons, only to lose early in the tourney. I’m skeptical of them. Frankly, I stir all these teams in the same pot, and even if you look at a team with no bball history whatsoever, like USF, they more than held their own against the likes of Providence, Seton Hall and DePaul. I just don’t think much differentiates these schools.

            One thing about the media money is that it’s rumored, first of all, and secondly it’s coming from Fox. There has always been a premium paid for schools willing to break with ESPN. This is the entire reason the ACC has smaller contract than the Pac10. The ACC likes the exposure, and it trades dollars for exposure. It’s a smart move for them. A lot of this also depends on the tiers. Will the Catholic schools give up all tiers to Fox? Because if so, then I can understand why the deal is so good. If UConn were to do that, it would take a big hit, because its Tier 3 rights are tied up with SNY $5-$7 million, but an additional $10 million for licensing coach’s shows through IMG on SNY. Total licensing for UConn is about $25 million. In other words, it all depends on the breakdown.

            I do think UConn, Cincy, Memphis have a lot more fans than the top of the Catholic schools, by the way. Marquette and Georgetown are probably the most popular of the Catholics.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            You must not follow Butler very closely. 3 coaches ago, they made the NCAA tournament 3 times in 4 years. 2 coaches ago, they made the second round. Last coach before Brad Stevens, they made the Sweet 16 twice.

            In the past 10 years, they’ve been to more Final Fours than Memphis, Cincy, or Temple & more Sweet Sixteens than Cincy or Temple (tied with Memphis) under multiple coaches.

            Like

          • danallen2 says:

            Their success has come under Stevens. Making the tourney out of mid-major conferences is good, but not really impressive. Most of those teams are no better than the Providences, etc., who constantly lose to the top of their conference and therefore never make a tourney. The truly elite teams are the ones that get to F8s, F4s, win championships. Butler has a good start with Stevens, he’s been to 2, but winning one game in the tourney is not going to cut it. 32 teams do it every year.

            If Stevens leaves, I have very little faith in Butler, especially in a stronger conference than they’ve been in.

            Lastly, this new conference has no team like Uconn in it.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Frankly, I don’t think UConn will amount to much after Calhoun given their resources. They’ll be closer to a Temple than a G’Town or Pitt.

            Also, if you’re going to play that game, Butler has made 2 Sweet Sixteens and 3 2nd rounds in the past 20 years without Stevens as coach. Memphis has made 2 Sweet Sixteens (and of course 2 2nd rounds) the last 20 years without Calipari as coach. Temple has made 1 Sweet Sixteen (and of course the 2nd round) without Chaney as coach. Cincy has made 1 Sweet Sixteen and 2 2nd rounds in the past 20 years without Huggins as coach.

            If anything, Butler has shown that it will do better than Temple or Cincy and about as well as Memphis without a legendary coach.

            Like

          • danallen2 says:

            @Richard
            Now I know this isn’t a serious discussion. You seem not to be aware of Uconn’s resources. Pitt and G’town? You serious?

            Like

          • Richard says:

            I do know UConn’s basketball revenues. Granted, it has jumped in recent years, but previously, it was not impressive at all.

            Like

          • danallen2 says:

            Let me get this straight. The school with the highest revenues in the BE for 2 decades until last year (Louisville past them) is not impressive, but Pitt and G’town are? UConn, in case you didn’t notice, aggregates licensing and donations under the ADs line, but I assure you it’s BBall driving the licensing revenues which are double everyone else’s in the BE. Look it up. UConn is at $65m revenues with only $3m coming from the deal with ESPN.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            “I do think UConn, Cincy, Memphis have a lot more fans than the top of the Catholic schools, by the way. Marquette and Georgetown are probably the most popular of the Catholics.”

            Creighton has a higher attendance than Memphis. Marquette has a higher attendance than UConn. G’Town, Xavier, Dayton, Villanova, and St. John’s all have a higher attendance than either Cincy or Temple.

            Like

          • danallen2 says:

            I said fans, not attendance. TV sets count too.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            There’s a pretty tight correlation between fans and attendance. Other than in the case of UConn (located in the sticks), the vast majority of the fans of the rest of these schools all live in the same metropolitan area as the school itself, so there’s no excuse for them not showing up if they’re actually fans.

            Look, I’ll grant you that UConn almost certainly has more fans than the rest of the schools mentioned. Memphis also has impressive support. The depth of the leftover-BE is no match for the depth of the Catholic League, however.

            Like

          • danallen2 says:

            I disagree entirely with your latest. You have to look at the tier 3 and licensing rights. That’s where the real money is made. UConn makes $25 million there. That’s from marketing TV to its fans. Ticket sales are small compared to that. I mean, there isn’t even a 17,000 seat arena in the entire state of Conn. Gampel is barely 10k. You can’t apply that test across the country, not when places like Cameron only hold 9,000 people. The number of Duke fans is almost assuredly 50x the number of people who buy tickets to Duke games. Regardless, both schools sell out, but they don’t have 17k arenas.

            Like

          • frug says:

            @dan

            I know Syracuse for one has brought in more MBB revenue (and total revenue for that matter) than UConn for years. In fact it isn’t even close.

            Like

          • danallen2 says:

            Syracuse isn’t required to report federally. Here are the stats: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/college/story/2012-05-14/ncaa-college-athletics-finances-database/54955804/1

            N doubt, Syracuse gets more in tix because of the Carrier dome, but look at UConn’s licensing rights compared to everyone in the BE.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            OK, but we’re not talking about UConn or Duke (or even Memphis). Where is all this licensing revenue that Cincy and Temple (and USF, UCF, SMU, & Tulane) have brought in?

            Like

          • danallen2 says:

            Or Seton Hall or Creighton or any of these other schools. They are all the same. Limited. That’s my point.

            Like

          • frug says:

            @dan

            Well if you are only comparing UConn to the Big East’s public schools that report then their only competition is Rutgers, Cincy, USF and WVU. Not exactly a murderers row.

            Also, all schools that take Title IV funding (which is all of them) have to file with the Department of Education on their spending on sports. If you look at the numbers Syracuse has been bringing in more money than UConn for years.

            http://ope.ed.gov/athletics/index.aspx

            Like

          • danallen2 says:

            The public schools play football. Other than Cuse, then of course the public schools are the ones making the most money. I assure you that the schools you mention as not being a murderer’s row (i.e. WV and Louisville and UConn) are making more than G’town and the rest. Only Cuse as a private plays football.

            Like

          • frug says:

            I will say that I think UConn is more likely to remain a BB power than Richard does (at least if they can get back into a major conference). I understand Richards concerns (a triple whammy of the retirement of a legendary coach, NCAA sanctions and potential loss of power conference affiliation) but Arizona has managed to rebuild since Olson’s retirement with no more BB revenue than UConn and while they didn’t face the NCAA sanctions that UConn does, that is countered by the fact that UConn probably has more local talent.

            Really, as long as UConn can find a new home I think they will be fine.

            Like

        • frug says:

          My best guess the MWC might be doing this as a way to ensure the destruction of the Big East. It would leave them as the undisputed “Best of the Rest” and make it easier for them to grab Houston and SMU. Then if UConn and Cincy bolt in a few years it won’t have a huge impact.

          Like

        • morganwick says:

          Ugh. Before West Virginia joined the Big 12 I would have instinctively retched; as is I still feel oogy. This would be the baldest pure-money move imaginable to join the Mountain West for football, and it wouldn’t exactly be “mountain” or “west”.

          Is the NuBigEast putting down an all-or-nothing stance? UConn may be a geographic outlier in the NuBigEast outside Temple, but it would seem to make more sense than the Mountain West geographically and football-strength-wise. The Mountain West and NuBigEast are pretty close in terms of top-to-bottom football strength, with Boise, Nevada, and maybe Fresno or San Diego State on the one hand and the Florida schools, SMU, Houston, and potentially East Carolina on the other.

          Like

          • danallen2 says:

            Why does everyone think UConn is below these schools in football? UConn has a winning record against Pitt 5-3, is 6-3 against Syracuse, is even 4-4 with Louisville after staring 0-3, and has a winning record against USF. Against all the BE schools going to the B1G and ACC, Uconn has a winning record.

            Like

      • Andy says:

        I think best case for MWC and Big East looks like this:

        MWC:

        Boise State
        Wyoming
        San Diego State
        Fresno State
        San Jose State
        Hawaii
        Nevada
        UNLV

        BYU*
        Utah State
        UConn*
        Cincinatti*
        Memphis*
        New Mexico
        Colorado State
        Air Force

        *football only

        Big East:

        UConn
        Cincinatti
        Memphis
        Georgetown
        Villanova
        St. John’s
        Seton Hall
        Providence
        Marquette
        Depaul
        Xavier
        Butler

        Like

        • Andy says:

          The only consideration is would the new Big East want UConn and Cinci knowing that both want in the ACC? I say yes. They can always replace them with SLU and Creighton or Temple or whever when the time comes, if it comes.

          Like

          • danallen2 says:

            UConn’s AD already shot this rumor down: “Nothing we would ever consider.”
            Sounds like someone put a bug in the reporter’s ear to undercut the BE meetings.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            danallen, interesting that the rumor is false. Seems like a good setup for UConn. Now they’ll be in a league with:

            UConn
            Cinci
            South Florida
            Memphis
            Central Florida
            ECU
            Tulane
            SMU
            Houston
            Navy
            Tulsa(?)

            Not exactly a great basketball league, which is their focus.

            Like

          • danallen2 says:

            We’ll agree to disagree. UConn fans already know what we have with the Catholic schools, and frankly we’re not impressed. I tend to think that outside of G’town, this is going to be a bust of a league (Butler excepted). Memphis, Cincy, UConn, Temple are at least as formidable and the lower part of the current BE (DePaul, PC, Seton Hall) regularly lose to scrubs. But that’s not even the most important point. The big point is that UConn needs to keep football alive for 5 years until the possibility of an invite comes.

            I do believe that eventually the football schools will split into their own association for sports, and being left with the Catholics is certain doom.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            “We are a proud member of the ____ ____ Conference” (until we aren’t).”

            Like

          • morganwick says:

            “I do believe that eventually the football schools will split into their own association for sports, and being left with the Catholics is certain doom.”

            Psst. Mark Emmert. Undercut this before it happens and split football into a separate association that’s not held to the same conference scheme. Maybe one willing to adopt pro/rel?

            (I know I’ve been harping on pro/rel more than usual lately, but conference realignment has gotten so depressing.)

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            So you want a system that can effectively move any school out of the conference of there choice, over one that only a few feel they really don’t have a choice (other than independence, and that’s always available, too)?

            Like

          • morganwick says:

            Well, in this particular comment I was calling only for divorcing the football conference structure from that of other sports with pro/rel as a potential added bonus, but if conference realignment has proven anything it’s that schools will leave each other in a heartbeat if they can get more money with someone else, even the most traditional of rivalries be damned. In a vacuum, I think the top football schools would rush to form a single conference in a heartbeat and lock as many other schools out as they can; pro/rel is just a way of protecting that against antitrust lawsuits (and another way would be to enact an exchange of one good team outside the system for one bad team inside it, similar to how England’s Football League used to work). There are a lot of similarities between conference realignment now (and specifically the prospect of a split from the NCAA) and the formation of the English Premier League 20 years ago, namely the conflict between big-name teams looking to maximize their TV revenue and the little guys wanting a piece of the pie.

            Like

          • BruceMcF says:

            They are not slated to be in a BB league with Navy, Navy is slated to be FB-only.

            Like

        • frug says:

          Why would BYU go FB only?

          Like

          • Andy says:

            Maybe they like the Big West? Seems like they do. Or maybe not.

            Like

          • frug says:

            BYU is WCC not Big West.

            That said, outside of TV considerations I can’t imagine any reason that BYU would chose WCC or MWC. The Mountain West is stronger, more high profile and has more of their rivals.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            And they left it for FB independence, as well as haveing passed on BE (when still big) and B12.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            well alright then. I just threw them in there as a hypothetical. I don’t follow BYU at all.

            Like

    • Mike says:

      Didn’t the Big East learn anything from the WAC? Don’t mess with MWC commissioner Craig Thomsen. The MWC might end up killing off two football conferences if this happens.


      Brigham Young University will leave the Mountain West Conference for the 2011-12 season…

      BYU had originally agreed to go to the Western Athletic Conference in all sports and go independent in football before the MWC squelched the move by inviting WAC members Fresno State and Nevada two weeks ago.

      http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/news/story?id=5517305

      Like

  25. jackdinkins says:

    Would Missouri have gotten in over Rutgers?

    Like

    • metatron says:

      Well, considering how things have turned out: no.

      Which is a damn shame, as I really wish the Tigers could join the Big Ten.

      Like

      • Andy says:

        re: “Well, considering how things have turned out: no.”

        That doesn’t really prove anything. The question Jack was asking is had Missouri not joined the SEC, would they have gotten in over Rutgers, and the answer to that question is probably yes.

        Like

    • frug says:

      If the Big 10 was planning on sticking at 14 for the long term then probably. But, I think it is far more likely the Big 10 is looking at further expansion, which means East Coast, so I’m guessing they would have taken Rutgers as part of an Eastern strategy.

      Like

    • Brian says:

      jackdinkins,

      “Would Missouri have gotten in over Rutgers?”

      Maybe. It depends on the end game the B10 has in mind. MO is a safer pick than RU but has less upside. MO would have solidified the western flank of the B10, but RU brings a bigger state and a shot at NYC. RU also helps more with PSU than MO would have helped anybody (IL and IA have plenty of other rivals and neighbors to play).

      Frankly, I would have preferred MD and MO. The east/west balance is nice. It would let the B10 focus on cracking DC for a while. That would leave RU for a #16 slot if needed (UVA/RU if UNC says no?). That would keep the B10 contiguous instead of adding GT, too.

      Like

      • zeek says:

        I agree with that; I was originally pushing Maryland/Missouri as the strongest alternative to 14 without ND, but I gradually came around to Maryland/Rutgers given the strategy being pursued.

        I think the Big Ten has always had its eyes on the East though after the Pac-16 scenario popped up, which means that Missouri was likely not a part of any of the plans thereafter…

        Missouri probably only really had a role in Big Ten expansion as a bridge to Texas.

        Like

    • Andy says:

      Well, I know plenty of you don’t believe me, but Missouri curators have said privately that the Big Ten was seriously interested in Missouri as a #13 or #14, but then they didn’t expand that far so Missouri took the SEC offer instead.

      Like

      • Andy says:

        And of course there was also the issue of the SEC offering full revenue from day 1, while the Big Ten was offering about half as much for 5 or 6 years.

        Like

        • wmwolverine says:

          BTN is owned by the universities of the B10 and Fox. B10 required Nebraska and Missouri to ‘buy-in’ into the equity of the BTN before they profited from it. Missouri obviously would’ve received an equal share of everyone else in every other payouts (ABC, ESPN media, bowl payouts, NCAA tourney, etc.)

          Like

          • Andy says:

            I don’t know all the specifics but right now Nebraska is making roughly half as much as the rest of the B1G. Really all I have are a few details, but it sounds like Mizzou saw full revenue from day one as a positive factor when choosing to accept the SEC invite rather than wait on the B1G. Another factor, as bullet noted, was the impending grant of rights in the Big 12. Mizzou couldn’t sign those and then leave for the B1G. Then there was the difference in the way Mizzou was treated by the SEC vs B1G. The SEC actively pursued Mizzou, campaigned for them to join, while the B1G didn’t go to trouble of doing that. In the end I think it was a matter of timing more than anything. If the B1G had Maryland ready to go before the Big 12 signed their GOR then maybe they could have taken Mizzou and Maryland together a year ago.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            They could have refused to sign the GOR. Would the B12 have then kicked them out?

            Like

          • Andy says:

            Good question.

            Like

      • Brian says:

        Andy,

        Nobody doubts the B10 was considering MO as a #14. What we don’t believe is that the B10 considered MO for #12 after NE said they were available.

        Whether MO could have been a #13 is debatable. RU was available at the time, so the B10 could have added MO and RU then but they chose not to do it. I think the MO/MD pair would have been workable but MD didn’t want out yet.

        Most likely what happened is the B10 got NE and wanted to wait to see what opportunities the turmoil might present. If the B12 crumbled, the B10 would have had several options to chase. Given that, they weren’t prepared to offer MO a spot at that time.

        Like

        • Andy says:

          MU was a candidate for 12, but in the end NU got that spot. I don’t know the details of how that went down and neither do you. I’ve heard conflicting stories.

          As for spot #13, yes, Missouri was to be #13 if they could get a good #14, but at the time they could not, and by the time Maryland was ready Mizzou was already in the SEC, so that was that.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            Andy,

            Everyone has already agreed that you’re delusional about MO’s candidacy for #12. No need to rehash it yet again.

            “As for spot #13, yes, Missouri was to be #13 if they could get a good #14,”

            That’s not how it works. If MO needed a good #14, then they were the #14 and the B10 were looking for a #13.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            not necessarily. They could be looking for two co-13s. Mizzou didn’t necessarily have to be a junior partner, just needed a worthy partner. Mizzou wouldn’t have been a junior partner to Maryland for example. They’re about the same. Mizzou’s stronger in sports, Maryland is stronger in athletics, both states are about the same population.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            *should read Maryland is stronger in academics.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Andy,

            “not necessarily. They could be looking for two co-13s.”

            No, they couldn’t.

            “Mizzou didn’t necessarily have to be a junior partner, just needed a worthy partner.”

            RU was a good enough partner for MD, but not for MO. That says MD was worth more to the B10 when it was added than MO was when NE was added.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            Not necessarily. Remember that after only Notre Dame joined the ACC did the Big Ten decided to make a move on Rutgers. Look, I don’t know how it all played out. All I know is that Missouri was very much in the mix, but then for whatever reason the Big Ten put a freeze on expansion for a couple of years, and then Notre Dame joined the ACC and shortly thereafter Maryland and Rutgers joined the Big Ten. Missouri was not an option at that point because they had already moved to the SEC.

            Like

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            @Andy: I don’t believe Missouri was ever a serious candidate to be #12. Were they considered? I’m sure even Rutgers was considered. Delany probably had a dossier with about 15 schools in it. Every AAU school within or contiguous to the Big Ten footprint was at least looked at. Missouri was a candidate in that sense.

            Given the Big Ten’s known strategy (NYC/D.C./southern), it is hard to believe that Missouri ever came anywhere near an actual opportunity to join. If Delany were only adding one, it needed to be sexy, a requirement Nebraska filled, but Missouri did not. Since Delany knew he could have Rutgers any day he wanted, we can also conclude that MU/RU as #13/14 was not appealing to the Big Ten.

            After Maryland shook loose, would Missouri (if it were still available) have received the nod above Rutgers? That’s a much tougher call, but I think Rutgers still gets in. The Big Ten has made clear that it sees better opportunities for growth to its east and to its south, than to its west.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            I’m not sure Frank is right about his, “Why would they settle for Maryland and Rutgers if they could get anyone else?”

            Nebraska is a king and an obvious improvement to national TV contracts and competitiveness.

            But when you look at the ACC, there are only 6 AAU schools. Pitt is nothing but filler, since the B1G already has PSU. Duke is a relatively small private school. Its hard to imagine any major conference taking them except as a package deal with UNC or NCSU.
            Georgia Tech is a long way off and less like the B1G schools than Maryland or Rutgers. UVA, again, is less of an institutional fit, while not offering anything over MD but better football attendance athletically. And they really don’t offer enough to add much value over Rutgers and Rutgers has more potential. The SEC might value different things, but who in the ACC would the B1G prefer over those two other than UNC?

            I think the B1G got pretty much who they wanted. They probably preferred UNC, but they also would have preferred Notre Dame or Texas.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Of course, you have to remember the saying, “Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.”

            Like

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            Delany is never going to be wholly forthcoming, so we can only guess as to his thought process. I think he saw MD/RU as: 1) Financially accretive, if that’s all he gets; 2) Available now; 3) Potentially a stepping stone to more desirable schools farther south.

            There was no scenario where UVA/UNC would be available without the ACC being further undermined, and in the meantime Delany needed to take what he could get.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            Marc, you’re free to your opinion, bu they’re based on nothing but your own guesses.

            I’m very confident, based on what I’ve been told and who told me, that MIssouri was in very serious talks about joining the Big Ten, maybe at 12, but definitely at 13 if the right partner joined as well.

            Like

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            @Andy: Although Delany hasn’t shared his thinking with me personally, there are many public comments (by him and other Big Ten insiders) that are consistent with the view I’ve articulated. I am not just tossing out a wild guess.

            The fact that some private Missouri source thinks they were close to getting an invite, does not mean they were close to getting an invite. If a Big Ten source said that, it would be more credible, because they were clearly the ones holding the cards, not Missouri.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            Marc, Missouri leadership has talked publicly about their talks with Delany. Whatever he’s said publicly doesn’t jibe with what he’s said in private.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            gah, more typos. Meant to say Missouri leadership has spoken privately about what Delaney said privately with them.

            Point is what I’m referring to isn’t public record, but there are some people who know about it and talk about it. I don’t have every detail, but the most important detail I have is that Missouri joining the Big Ten went pretty far before it was scuttled, and when Nebraska got spot 12 it was understood that Missouri was still in line for a spot with future expansion. But then that future expansion stalled and Missouri joined the SEC instead.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Like Louisville telling recruits they were in the Big 12.

            There’s no doubt Missouri was seriously considered. When the B1G got turned down by ND the last time around 1999, they publically said their candidates for 12 to 14 were Missouri, Kansas and Rutgers, clearly indicating that Missouri was 1st on the list (2 west, 1 east). But nothing has come out this time other than people talking on Missouri boards, the sources I suspect were trying to make themselves look better after nearly being left in the Big East in 2010, when their bluff was called in the Big 12 meetings. A lot of people with connections in WV thought they were a lock for the SEC when Missouri got that slot. Don’t think there is any more credibility to the Missouri stories. Missouri is just more of the same of what the B1G already has. Others fill their needs better-new markets, large populations, above average growing areas, football recruiting areas.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            bullet, again, all your guesses. you’re free to believe what you want but your beliefs aren’t based on any evidence at all. Missouri is a state of 6.2M people, AAU Research 1 University, 35k students, top 25 attendance in football and basketball, decent tv ratings, two large metro areas with strong fan followings, ready-made rivalries with Iowa and Illinois, strong cultural fit. The SEC chose Missouri over WVU and Louisville, among others, so obviously Missouri is a stronger candidate than those two. There were actual negotiations about Mizzou joining the Big Ten. Terms were drawn up. Leaders in MU’s athletic department sincerely thought it was imminent, either as #12 or as #13/14. But then Nebraska ended up getting the spot and the Big Ten stopped at 12, so Missouri went to one of the other offers they had on the table, the SEC. At the time Missouri had been approached by the Big Ten, Pac 12, Big East, and SEC. All would take Missouri with the right partner(s). The B1G obviously didn’t think Mizzou and Rutgers was a good combo for them at the time. They preferred a stronger partner for Mizzou like Notre Dame, Texas, or Maryland. The Pac 12 talked about a combination along the lines of Missouri/Kansas/Oklahoma plus one more. The Big East was eager to take Missouri/Kansas/whoever. Missouri elected to combine with A&M to make the move to the SEC.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            @Andy
            Your beliefs are based on some message board or other source of Missouri insiders. Everyone else has beliefs based on what actually publically happened and reports from everywhere but Missouri. You are free to believe your sources. But noone other than Missouri fans believes any of that. That should raise questions about how reliable your sources are (whether they are making things up, spreading gossip instead of fact or simply don’t know the full story). It sounds so much like the mass hysteria on some of the WVU boards that had them in the SEC or the Louisville boards that they had too much integrity to leave the BE in 1 year, so the Big 12 took WVU instead.

            Missouri obviously thought they had an invite somewhere, otherwise they would have committed to the Big 12 when UNL and CU refused to in that Big 12 meeting when Texas said they would if 2 out of UNL/CU/MU did. But Missouri offered their share of the exit fees to Texas, OU and A&M to get them to stay instead of going to the Pac 12 after UNL decided to leave. That says they had no good alternatives. The rumors at the time were Big East. Missouri’s President was the leader to hold the Big 12 together until OU threatened to leave again. The insider stories you have heard are just not consistent with the actions. That’s why noone outside Missouri believes them.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            bullet, nothing of public record has ever contradicted anything I’ve said.

            Missouri message boards typically don’t believe what I’m talking about either. This isn’t like the WVU stuff where we have a blogger like “the dude” spouting this stuff. What I’m talking about is only coming from missouri curators, athletic department staff, and coaches and what they’ve told a few boosters behind closed doors.

            but outside of that, you stumbled on it yourself, why would Missouri refuse to commit to the Big 12 if they didn’t think they had a spot elsewhere? CU, NU, and MU were the only three schools who refused to commit. Those were the three schools in talks to go elsewhere. They didn’t think they might later be in talks. They were in talks. And when the situation changed, then and only then did Missouri commit to the Big 12, and that was a few months later. So actually the publicly available info corroborates my story, it doesn’t contradict it.

            Shortly after that the SEC started pursuing Missouri and A&M. The SEC approached Missouri very shortly after approaching A&M. Long before the actual move was made. Missouri was at first reluctant but were later won over and made the move.

            Like

  26. BuckeyBeau says:

    I don’t know if already linked (maybe yesterday in the previous thread).

    Excellent SI article by Mandel re: bowl system. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-football/news/20130110/college-football-bowl-system-changes/

    article is long, but worth your attention imho.

    relevant to our discussions of tv, ratings, worth of actual live people sitting in the stadium, etc.

    found this most telling:

    “Even its lowest-tier bowls (Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, GoDaddy.com, etc.) garner decent enough ratings to support a 35-bowl system. In a telling example, the network’s Dec. 15 Arizona-Nevada New Mexico Bowl broadcast drew a higher rating (1.9) than Butler’s overtime upset of No. 1 Indiana on CBS during the same time window (1.5). It doesn’t affect ESPN, which owns and operates the New Mexico Bowl, that only 24,610 fans attended the game in person.”

    methinks Fox Network may soon start sponsoring bowl games?

    Like

    • morganwick says:

      I’d be shocked if FS1 (and NBCSN) doesn’t make a serious run at a number of bowls. Considering it already has both “semifinals”, it’s surprising enough Fox didn’t nab the Rose Bowl.

      Like

      • Nostradamus says:

        I’m not sure Fox ever had a chance. Like the conference contracts, I have a feeling ESPN has both an exclusive negotiating window with a Bowl and potentially a right to match any offer. I don’t think the Rose Bowl rights hit the open market.

        Like

        • Mack says:

          Quite a few lower tier bowls that have shaky finances. FOX could buy these and get the TV rights. That is how ESPN got most of the bowls it owns. Probably a better strategy than trying to take away just the TV contract from ESPN, or to try to create a new bowl. The number of bowls is not likely to increase from 35 and ESPN could buy up all the failed bowls on the cheap if FOX does not bid.

          Like

          • Eric says:

            I think most those bowls probably have better value to ESPN though. My guess is most people aren’t turning in specially for most the lower bowls so much as turning onto ESPN for bowl season in general. Fox Sports 1 would have to a lot of those bowls before I think they’d start to have the same effect and I just don’t think they can probably buy that many. (although I don’t expect ESPN to keep as big a majority of them as it as now).

            Like

          • Mack says:

            That is why FOX will be better off trying to buy current bowl games vs. TV rights. There are 35 bowl games with no room to expand unless the required 6 wins is lowered to 5. At least 40% (14) of bowls are financially sound, including the all bowls in the new playoff system ESPN will broadcast. ESPN has already bought 7 bowls (20%) on the cheap. That leaves about 14 bowls. Up to half of these may be available for sale. Worst case is FOX can force ESPN to pay more for these bowls.

            Like

  27. Brian says:

    Another look at divisions:

    14 teams makes for 1716 possible combinations. 120 of those combine all 4 kings in one division, so those can be dropped leaving 1596. That’s still a lot of options.

    If you lock the western 4 together – 120 options

    Taking that as likely to happen, let’s work from there. Obviously 1 combo puts the western 4 and eastern 3 together. Otherwise, only 35 options don’t include 1 of the eastern 3. 10 of those choices would put OSU and MSU on one side with MI on the other, so they don’t work (25). Another 5 would put OSU and MI in the west, and that won’t happen (20).

    NE, WI, IA, MN + ???
    0. PSU, RU, MD
    1-4. 3 IN/IL schools
    5-10. MSU + 2 IN/IL schools
    11-16. OSU + 2 IN/IL schools
    17-20. MI, MSU + 1 IN/IL school

    That gets us to 21 choices. We can reduce those even further by picking the most likely combos within each subgroup.

    PSU, RU, MD – inner/outer
    IL, IN, PU – all about the east
    NW, IL, PU – all about the kings in the east
    NW, IL, IN – all about the kings in the east
    MSU, NW, IL – attempt to balance the 3 kings
    OSU, PU, IN – geographical pods
    OSU, NW, IL – balance and rivalries
    MI, MSU, NW – similar to now but with WI moved west

    So if you believe the western 4 will be together, those 8 choices seem like the most likely outcomes (some more likely than others, obviously).

    I just find it interesting how quickly 1 or 2 constraints reduce the options to a manageable number.

    Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      Well done, sir.

      Like

    • ccrider55 says:

      Is there an iPhone app for that?

      Like

    • jj says:

      That’s a hell of a post.

      Like

    • Brian says:

      You can do the same analysis locking just the eastern 3, but that starts with 330 options. About the only extra likely options are a few with WI in the east, basically variants of the current divisions.

      Add PSU, RU, MD, OSU, WI + 2 IN/IL schools

      That’s 6 more choices. Of those, 4 seem most likely:

      PU, IN – keeps in state rivals together
      NW, IL – keeps in state rivals together
      IL, PU – keeps Illibuck and provides IL access to newbies
      IL, IN – keeps Illibuck and provides IL access to newbies

      That gets us to 12 total options. Otherwise, the B10 will have to split the eastern 3 or divide the western 4 oddly.

      Of these 12 options:
      0 crossovers needed – 1
      NE, WI, IA, MN, PSU, RU, MD vs OSU, MI, MSU, NW, IL, PU, IN

      1 crossover needed – 9
      PU/IN:
      NE, WI, IA, MN, NW, IL, PU vs OSU, MI, MSU, IN, PSU, RU, MD
      NE, WI, IA, MN, NW, IL, IN vs OSU, MI, MSU, PU, PSU, RU, MD

      NW/IL:
      NE, WI, IA, MN, IL, IN, PU vs OSU, MI, MSU, NW, PSU, RU, MD
      NE, WI, IA, MN, MI, MSU, NW vs OSU, IL, PU, IN, PSU, RU, MD

      MI/MSU:
      NE, WI, IA, MN, MSU, NW, IL vs OSU, MI, PU, IN, PSU, RU, MD

      OSU/MI:
      NE, WI, IA, MN, OSU, PU, IN vs MI, MSU, NW, IL, PSU, RU, MD
      NE, WI, IA, MN, OSU, NW, IL vs MI, MSU, PU, IN, PSU, RU, MD
      NE, IA, MN, MI, MSU, PU, IN vs OSU, WI, NW, IL, PSU, RU, MD
      NE, IA, MN, MI, MSU, NW, IL vs OSU, WI, PU, IN, PSU, RU, MD

      3 crossovers needed – 2
      NE, IA, MN, MI, MSU, IL, PU vs OSU, WI, NW, IN, PSU, RU, MD
      NE, IA, MN, MI, MSU, IL, IN vs OSU, WI, NW, PU, PSU, RU, MD

      There may be a few other options, but I think these 12 cover the likely outcome. I think we all agree that minimizing the number of crossovers is a good thing, especially if the B10 stays with 8 games. That makes the last 2 choices unlikely, bringing us down to 10.

      The choice will come down to priorities (no crossovers, splitting OSU and MI, kings in the east, etc).

      Like

      • wmwolverine says:

        Tell Indiana & Purdue they can play OOC whenever they want, at Lucas Oil Field if they please and split those two. West looks obviously weaker but that would help programs like NW, Iowa, Illinois become competitive…

        Long-term I worry more about competitive balance than in the short-term, I’m not sure Nebraska is a king on the same level as Michigan or Ohio. Or PSU, after PSU recovers from sanctions. These divisions can be revised if the east wins every B10 CG and dominates in OOD play.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          wmwolverine,

          “Tell Indiana & Purdue they can play OOC whenever they want, at Lucas Oil Field if they please and split those two.”

          That’s certainly one option. I’m sure those two would object, but I don’t know if any plan would truly get unanimous consent. We can do a small scale experiment here. I’ll post it below.

          “West looks obviously weaker but that would help programs like NW, Iowa, Illinois become competitive…”

          I’ve seen this point before, and it always raises several questions for me.

          1. Is it the B10’s role to intentionally help some programs at the expense of others? If they’re helping those schools get better, it’s at the cost of hurting all the eastern schools. Why should IN (or PU), MD, RU, MSU, etc suffer to help NW, IA and IL? Isn’t that the sort of conspiracy many fan bases complain about with the B10 helping others at their expense?

          2. If you artificially promote some schools by moving them west, won’t that hurt the B10 in the postseason when teams with inflated records get beaten by better opponents in bowls? Won’t it also diminish the CCG? Don’t we really want a true meritocracy so teams get the rewards they deserve based on their skill level and not based on their division?

          3. To go along with that, does it hurt the B10 to group many of the top team together so they beat each other up and result in worse records than they would have in balanced divisions? Unless SOS becomes really important, extra losses mean fewer B10 teams in the playoffs. That hurts the B10 pocketbook and reputation.

          4. In sum, why is it a net good to “help programs like NW, Iowa, Illinois become competitive?” Shouldn’t the B10’s goal be to help everyone become more competitive, especially nationally?

          __

          “Long-term I worry more about competitive balance than in the short-term, I’m not sure Nebraska is a king on the same level as Michigan or Ohio. Or PSU, after PSU recovers from sanctions. These divisions can be revised if the east wins every B10 CG and dominates in OOD play.”

          No offense, but can we be better than the childish name games? I don’t think we want this blog to turn into ESPN/Rivals/Scout where it’s always Ohio and Scum or other such nonsense.

          Moving on…

          I realize one of the key drivers for this alignment is TV/money with the east coast media centers getting the king teams more often. The downside is the risk of a lack of competitive balance.

          20 Year Conference W%
          E – 1, 3, 4, 7, 10, 13, 14
          W – 2, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12

          E has 3 of top 4

          10 Year Conference W%
          E – 1, 3, 4, 7, 10, 11, 14
          W – 2, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13

          E has 3 of top 4

          5 Year Conference W%
          E – 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 11, 14
          W – 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 12, 13

          E has top 3, and that’s with the RichRod era at UM

          I agree that the B10 can tolerate a lack of balance in the short term. My concern is that when you build in a lack of balance intentionally, you’re asking for trouble. Mathematically, the divisions will tend towards more balance as someone in the west has to win the division games. However, equal records doesn’t mean equal skill when the divisions aren’t balanced.

          Other related considerations:
          a. Population
          E – 52.8M (62.2%)
          W – 32.2M (37.8%)

          b. Recruits
          E – 327 (73.3%)
          W – 119 (26.7%)

          c. Major media markets (Top 50 MSAs)
          E (10) – 1, 6, 7, 13, 20, 22, 27, 28, 32, 35
          W (5) – 3, 16, 19, 35, 39

          These advantages tell me that the east should only gain in relative power. Teams in the west may get better records, but the teams in the east should continue to get better. How long can the B10 tolerate it when they know there is an easy fix? That’s the question.

          Like

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            I tip my cap to Brian’s research prowess. The data’s not a secret, but it takes a lot of work to pull it all together…and he did. Now, to wmwolverine’s points:

            “Tell Indiana & Purdue they can play OOC whenever they want, at Lucas Oil Field if they please and split those two.”

            The Big Ten has never screwed any of its members like that. I mean, why should Indiana and Purdue’s instate rivalry have a lower priority than those in Michigan and Illinois? If you were going to push a rivalry OOC (not that they would), why UM-MSU, since Michigan is the only school claiming two high-priority rivalry games. I’m not advocating that, only pointing out the absurdity of your position.

            “West looks obviously weaker but that would help programs like NW, Iowa, Illinois become competitive…”

            I agree with Brian that conferences shouldn’t be in the business of helping mediocre programs get better. Let them figure that out for themselves.

            But the schedule sometimes has that effect coincidentally. In the current system, Michigan and Michigan State have locked rivalries with Ohio State and Indiana respectively. That’s certainly a boon for the Spartans, but the Big Ten didn’t do that to make Michigan State better. It was just a side-effect of meeting other needs.

            “Long-term I worry more about competitive balance than in the short-term, I’m not sure Nebraska is a king on the same level as Michigan or Ohio. Or PSU, after PSU recovers from sanctions.”

            Nebraska is a king by any definition. Since 1970, they have more AP titles than Michigan and Ohio State put together. (I realize some of those titles are contested.) But that still gives the east a 2-1 advantage, before Penn State is taken into consideration.

            Penn State is likely to recover, though. Kings practically return after a down period. They have permanent structural advantages that NCAA sanctions can’t erase. So that would give the east a 3-1 advantage, even before you consider the other factors that Brian mentioned.

            What’s interesting is that, the last time they did this, the Big Ten elevated competitive balance over almost any other factor, and given the rumors we’re hearing, it now seems to have fallen pretty far down the priority list. On the other hand…

            “To go along with that, does it hurt the B10 to group many of the top team together so they beat each other up and result in worse records than they would have in balanced divisions?”

            The B10 does that now anyway, with Michigan and Ohio State having a protected cross-divisional game. So each of them always plays at least two kings, and some years (when the schedule aligns just right) all three. But at least, in the alignment that is now (apparently) under consideration, once someone wins The Game, they’ll never have to go out and do it again the following week.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            I would argue the Pac 12 south has a “permanent” competitive advantage over the Pac 12 north. Yet it hasn’t worked that way. If you look long run, USC, UCLA, Colorado and Washington are the top 4 programs. 3 in the south. WSU, Oregon St. and Cal are probably the bottom 3, all in the north.

            Now the Pac, other than USC, isn’t as stratified as the B1G. They probably have the bottom rise to the top more than any other conference. But in the SEC, the population balance has been in the east, but the west has been stronger in recent years. In the Big 12, the north dominated in the early years. The north faded when the top 2 northern teams, Nebraska and Colorado slumped and the top 2 southern teams, Texas and OU rose. Yet it wasn’t all the south powers rising. A&M was a .500 team over the last 10 years of the Big 12.

            Divisions can be too stacked, but chasing competitive balance is like a cat chasing his tail. Make it reasonable, but you can’t make it exact. Focus on rivalries more than competitive precision.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            I agree with bullet.

            In and case, Brian,
            1. You seem to take it as a given that 3 kings in the east would lead to the top schools “beating each other up”, which presumably you think is bad because it would lead to less national titles, yet I look at the SEC West, which is absolutely stacked with ‘Bama, LSU, Auburn, Arkansas, and now TAMU and I see a division that has won the last 4 national titles (and 5 of the last 6). Beating each other up didn’t seem to hurt the SEC West any.
            2. As you showed, the east will have more on the top but also more on the bottom. I actually don’t see going 10-2 as being harder in the east than in the west.
            3. Objections raised by an OSU partisan seem even more peculiar. Currently, OSU has to play both Michigan and PSU. In any realistic divisional scenario, OSU will have to play both Michigan and PSU. An E/W split actually makes OSU’s SoS easier.

            Like

          • wmwolverine says:

            With the four west, three east split the B10 has geographically; there are no simple solutions to splitting the divisions. I just offered one possibility. There is going to be compromises, rivalries lost (we lost some going to 12, 14 is even harder) as there isn’t any solutions that satisfies everyone.

            What I’ve said all along is what team in the ‘west’ (NW, Illinois, Indiana, Purdue) most willing to go to the East imo gets it. I see the Illinois schools more tied to the four western schools, which gives them a strong block of six…

            Ohio State in the west (Brian’s preferred solution I believe) is an intriguing idea that satisfies most everyone though the OSU fans I know (I know a lot) absolutely hate it, I don’t think Ohio would support it at all. It would require M & Ohio to play a cross-division game every season, hurting everyone else in the conference that would like them on the schedule.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Richard,

            “1. You seem to take it as a given that 3 kings in the east would lead to the top schools “beating each other up”, which presumably you think is bad because it would lead to less national titles,”

            Yes, I do assume they would beat each other up. That’s what usually happens when several top teams are grouped together in sports. As for fewer national titles, the B10 can’t do much worse than they have lately so that may be a bad metric. I do think extra losses would mean fewer playoff appearances (the equivalent of not getting 2 BCS teams now).

            “yet I look at the SEC West, which is absolutely stacked with ‘Bama, LSU, Auburn, Arkansas, and now TAMU and I see a division that has won the last 4 national titles (and 5 of the last 6). Beating each other up didn’t seem to hurt the SEC West any.”

            Several things:
            1. The SEC East also has power teams with UF, UGA and SC, and maybe UT if they ever come back. All you can ask is to split the power up, not eliminate all competition.

            2. LSU fans aren’t thrilled about also playing UF annually because it’s a disadvantage. AR might have actually won something if they didn’t have to go through AL and LSU. AU almost blew their title run against AL. AL was 7-1, LSU and TAMU 6-2 this year. By most opinions, those teams were better than their records.

            3. SEC teams can afford losses that nobody else can due to their reputation. B10 teams need to be undefeated to get treated like a 1 loss SEC team. That makes extra losses more important in the B10.

            4. Every year, one or more of those teams gets beaten into submission in their division. That hurts their reputation long term.

            “2. As you showed, the east will have more on the top but also more on the bottom. I actually don’t see going 10-2 as being harder in the east than in the west.”

            Nobody cares about the bottom in terms of reputation and you know that. And while 10-2 is nice, it will never make the playoffs for the B10. 13-0, 12-1 and maybe 11-1 are the records that matter.

            “3. Objections raised by an OSU partisan seem even more peculiar. Currently, OSU has to play both Michigan and PSU. In any realistic divisional scenario, OSU will have to play both Michigan and PSU. An E/W split actually makes OSU’s SoS easier.”

            So maybe I’m not being provincial but am actually concerned about the general concept of fairness. Did that ever enter your mind?

            As for SOS:
            in the E – MI, PSU, MSU, RU, MD, IN + 2 of NE, WI, IA, MN, NW, IL, PU
            now – MI, PSU, WI, PU, IL, IN + 2 of NE, IA, MN, NW, MSU

            That’s 3 games that are the same and 4 of the same teams in the crossover pool. That’s more than half of the schedule. Let’s look at the differences:

            MSU, RU, MD vs WI, PU, IL – not much difference

            That makes over 7 games that are equivalent (7.3 in the E vs 7.6 now).

            2/7 (NE, WI, IA, MN, NW, IL, PU) vs 2/5 (NE, IA, MN, NW, MSU)
            2/7 (WI, IL, PU) vs 2/5 (MSU) + 4/35 (NE, IA, MN, NW) – now is a little harder

            So now is a little harder, but mostly in the crossover games. The division games would be harder in the East.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            wmwolverine,

            “With the four west, three east split the B10 has geographically; there are no simple solutions to splitting the divisions. I just offered one possibility. There is going to be compromises, rivalries lost (we lost some going to 12, 14 is even harder) as there isn’t any solutions that satisfies everyone.”

            It will definitely be a tough choice. All the alignments have problems.

            “Ohio State in the west (Brian’s preferred solution I believe)”

            I don’t have a preferred solution yet. OSU going west is one I’ve considered, as is inner vs outer. I think I’ll have different favorites depending on whether the B10 stays at 8 games or goes to 9.

            “[OSU going west] is an intriguing idea that satisfies most everyone though the OSU fans I know (I know a lot) absolutely hate it, I don’t think Ohio would support it at all.”

            Many OSU fans hate many options at first glance. Once they’ve studied the options and the downsides of each plan, then their opinions carry more value. I also find their opinions to vary based on age and where in OH they lived (if they did live there). There is no real consensus amongst OSU fans because every plan has drawbacks for them. Those same fans that don’t want to go west also don’t want to host RU and MD.

            “It would require M & Ohio to play a cross-division game every season, hurting everyone else in the conference that would like them on the schedule.”

            That wouldn’t stop OSU fans from liking it.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            “3. SEC teams can afford losses that nobody else can due to their reputation. B10 teams need to be undefeated to get treated like a 1 loss SEC team. That makes extra losses more important in the B10.”

            There an incongruity here. You’re saying that E/W would make the East too difficult, yet it would not boost the reputation of the East schools (enough) to put them on par with the SEC. That presumes stupidity on the part of fans/selection panel. I believe people are not as stupid as you think, Brian.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Richard,

            “There an incongruity here. You’re saying that E/W would make the East too difficult, yet it would not boost the reputation of the East schools (enough) to put them on par with the SEC. That presumes stupidity on the part of fans/selection panel. I believe people are not as stupid as you think, Brian.”

            Maybe. I’m saying that E/W would make the two sides differently difficult which I think is bad. Being “too” difficult is a relative term that I wouldn’t use.

            As for boosting reputation, that’s different. B10 fans can know that other B10 teams are good, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the country agrees. Until the B10 wins a NCG or two, any loss to a B10 team will be considered a bad loss. The SEC gets the benefit of the doubt, the B10 gets the opposite.

            You don’t have to be stupid to think that way, although it may help. It is a bias built in by media coverage and game results from the past few years. Humans aren’t good at making objective evaluations of a team’s strength, especially when a large group of people are telling them they are wrong.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            “I do think extra losses would mean fewer playoff appearances (the equivalent of not getting 2 BCS teams now).”

            However, at least during the BCS era, it was much better to finish second in a division than to lose a conference title game for getting picked as a 2nd BCS team, all else being equal.

            I’ve decided to run the numbers comparing E/W with, say, Inner/Outer.

            Assume that OSU/Michigan have a 50/50 chance of beating each other, 75% odds of beating PSU or UNL (or substitute Wisconsin for UNL), and will beat the rest in their division 100% of the time (if OSU/Michigan don’t have those odds, they’re not national title contender material anyway).

            In E/W (assuming a sweep over the west 90% of the time & 1 loss in interdivisional play 10% of the time), OSU has a 33.75% chance of finishing the regular season unbeaten & a 48.75% chance of finishing with 1 loss. There’s a chance of OSU finishing on top of the division with 1 loss. Say it’s 11.25% to get the title odds to an even 45% (37.5% chance of finishing with 1 loss and not playing for the conference title). Assume 87.5% odds on beating the western conference champ (UNL wins the division half the time). If history holds, OSU almost certainly will not make the playoffs with a conference loss. Say there’s a 50/50 chance of making the playoffs with 1 (non-title-game) loss. Odds of making the playoffs are 39.375% + 18.75% = 58.125%.

            In I/O, I believe OSU-PSU will still be kept. Still roughly 33.75% chance of finishing the regular season unbeaten & a 48.75% chance of finishing with 1 loss. 50/50 chance of making the title game (32.5% chance of finishing with 1 loss and not playing for the conference title). 83.33% odds of beating the western champ (lower now because both PSU and UNL are in the opposite division). Again, a 50/50 chance of making the playoffs with 1 (non-title-game) loss. Odds of making the playoffs are 41.67% + 16.25% = 57.917%.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Richard,

            “Assume that OSU/Michigan have a 50/50 chance of beating each other, 75% odds of beating PSU or UNL (or substitute Wisconsin for UNL), and will beat the rest in their division 100% of the time (if OSU/Michigan don’t have those odds, they’re not national title contender material anyway).”

            It’s not great analysis to just make up the odds of things happening. OSU/MI being 50/50 is reasonable, but not the others.

            I’d suggest these for OSU/MI based on history:
            MI/OSU – 0.50
            PSU, NE, WI, MSU – 0.65
            other – 0.90

            I’m also going to do a different analysis.

            E/W:
            OSU plays MI, PSU, MSU, RU, MD, IN + 2 of (NE, WI, IA, MN, NW, IL, PU)

            OSU = 0.5 + 2(0.65) + 3(0.90) + 2/7[2(0.65) + 5(0.90)] = 6.1 Ws expected

            OSU, MI – 6.1
            NE, WI – 5.1
            PSU, MSU – 3.7

            Are PSU and MSU fans OK with that?

            In/Out:
            OSU plays MI, MSU, NW, IL, PU, IN + 2 of (NE, WI, IA, MN, PSU, RU, MD)
            OSU = 0.5 + 0.65 + 4(0.9) + 2/7[3(0.65) + 4(0.9)] = 6.3 Ws expected

            OSU, MI – 6.3
            MSU – 4.7
            PSU, NE, WI – 4.9

            While marginally better for OSU and MI and marginally worse for NE and WI, that’s a lot better for PSU and MSU. It spreads out wins evenly among the tiers based on the odds above. That seems more fair to me.

            In addition, In/Out yields more total wins for the top 6 teams (32 to 29.8). That means better odds of teams making the playoffs.

            As a note, I didn’t keep OSU/PSU like you did. If I did, OSU would drop to 6.2 Ws and PSU would drop to 4.8 Ws. The others would rise slightly. The point is, it makes very little difference.

            Now, as to your analysis:

            “In E/W (assuming a sweep over the west 90% of the time & 1 loss in interdivisional play 10% of the time), … Odds of making the playoffs are 39.375% + 18.75% = 58.125%.

            In I/O, I believe OSU-PSU will still be kept. … Odds of making the playoffs are 41.67% + 16.25% = 57.917%.”

            You computed odds for OSU, but not the B10 in general as far as I can tell. I agree the two work out about the same for OSU, but there are 13 other teams to consider.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Based on history, shouldn’t PSU and UNL be above MSU and Wisconsin and Iowa and Northwestern be above the others?

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Richard,

            You set the basic concept of tiering. I just used actual results to make the odds more accurate. Based on OSU’s past results, those 3 tiers work. MI has been the toughest competition. PSU and WI have been the second hardest. I bumped up MSU to account for their recent success (their past with OSU isn’t good). I lumped in NE with PSU because you did and it seems reasonable.

            IA has a horrible history with OSU, and so does NW. PU and IL would actually deserve better odds than them, but I chose to lump them all together to make life easier.

            Like

  28. [...] 1-10-13  Frank The Tank’s topic is: “ New Year’s Conference Realignment FAQ: Big Ten, Mountain… [...]

    Like

  29. Transic says:

    Is it me or do you really want to hear the words “The Big Ten Conference is announcing that it is issuing invitations to ________” just about now?

    Like

    • Brian says:

      Transic,

      Is it me or do you really want to hear the words “The Big Ten Conference is announcing that it is issuing invitations to ________” just about now?

      1. If you mean am I ready for this to all just be over for 20+ years, then yes. Other conferences can entertain me by expanding.

      2. If you mean the question as written, I definitely don’t want to hear it. 14 is bad enough, diluting to 16 with more eastern schools is not an improvement. I’d be intrigued if a stealth candidate was announced (UT, ND, etc), though, I must admit.

      Like

  30. frug says:

    Like

    • frug says:

      I don’t know if this is old news, but this is the first I’ve heard of it.

      Like

    • frug says:

      Just found more

      FOX wants the game on a Friday because it has the B1G on Saturday. But there is no such conflict with ESPN, and the contract allows for broadcast on either Friday or Saturday so long as both the league and network agree. They initially discussed playing the ’13 game on a Saturday early this past season. Over time, the coaches made it abundantly clear that they wanted Saturday (for the extra day to prepare), and ESPN decided it preferred Saturday, as well. The final decision was made after the ’12 season. Did the attendance at Stanford Stadium play a role in ESPN’s thinking? I’ve been told it was taken into consideration but was not the determining factor in playing on Saturday.

      http://blogs.mercurynews.com/collegesports/2013/01/11/pac-12-football-ranking-the-2013-non-conference-schedules/

      Like

      • Brian says:

        frug,

        I’m not surprised ESPN wants it on Saturday. Friday is a terrible choice, especially out west where the game starts at 5pm. However, it’s not as simple as he makes it sound.

        2012 CCG weekend games:

        Friday
        7:00
        MAC CCG – ESPN2

        8:00
        P12 CCG – Fox

        Saturday
        12:00
        CUSA CCG – ESPN2
        B12 – ESPN
        B12 – FX

        2:30
        B12 – FSN
        P12 – PTN

        3:30
        MWC – ABC/ESPN GP
        BE – ABC/ESPN GP

        4:00
        SEC CCG – CBS
        I-AA – ESPN GP

        7:00
        BE – ESPN2
        I-AA – ESPN GP

        8:00
        B10 CCG – Fox
        ACC CCG – ESPN
        B12 – ABC

        So if ESPN wants to show the P12 CCG on Saturday, when do they show it? It can’t be before 3:30. 4:00 has the SEC CCG which is really tough competition. At 8 they had 2 other games. So do they move the ACC CCG to 4:00 to get killed by the SEC and put the P12 against the B10?

        Like

        • vp19 says:

          The Big 12 slot is not a CCG, but a regular-season finale. That’s what you substitute, moving Big 12 action to the afternoon..

          Like

          • Brian says:

            So they show 2 CCGs at the same time and compete against themselves (ABC vs ESPN)? That’s one option, but it seems like an odd business decision.

            Like

        • Richard says:

          Why can’t the ACC title game be in the early slot (where I believe it has been many times in the past)? It’s not as if the ACC has fans outside the eastern time zone (except for maybe a part of the FL panhandle).

          CUSA game can be moved down to be killed by the SEC.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            As far as I know it could be at 12:00 with CUSA at 3:30.

            My main point was that it’s not really true to say ESPN has no conflicts on that Saturday.

            Like

          • m (Ag) says:

            That seems to be the best option. Put the ACC game on at 12 ET and be the big morning game, with the Pac 12 title game opposite the Big Ten at night.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Note that there’s no reason why the Pac title game has to be at 8PM. ESPN very well could start it after 9M EST (which is still pretty early on the West Coast)

            Noon: ACC title game
            3:30PM: B12 game
            6:30PM: B12 game
            9:30PM: Pac title game

            Noon & 6:30 games on ABC; 3:30 and 9:30 games on ESPN.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            No reason except wanting the 47% of the country that lives in the eastern time zone to watch, that is.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            How many people there watch Pac games anyway?

            Also, note that ESPN frequently schedules SEC games for 9PM or later, so they clearly have reason to think that people (at least on the East Coast) stay up late on Saturdays to watch football.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Richard,

            “How many people there watch Pac games anyway?”

            ESPN hopes that a lot will. It’s not just any P12 game, it’s the CCG.

            “Also, note that ESPN frequently schedules SEC games for 9PM or later, so they clearly have reason to think that people (at least on the East Coast) stay up late on Saturdays to watch football.”

            TX @ MS – 9:15, ESPN/LHN
            MS @ AL – 9:15, ESPN
            TN @ MS St – 9:00, ESPN2

            That’s it for the entire season. That’s not frequent and there isn’t a decent game in the group. It’s certainly not evidence they want a CCG on in that slot.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            “ESPN hopes that a lot will. It’s not just any P12 game, it’s the CCG.”

            ESPN hopes to maximize their total ratings for the stuff they show. If that means ACC CCG at noon followed by 2 straight B12 games & the Pac CCG at 9:15, that’s what they’ll do.

            They’re not going to try to “grow the Pac brand” or whatever at the expense of less advertising revenue.

            Like

  31. Brian says:

    Above I showed how a few constraints reduce the possible division alignments from 1716 total options to the 12 most likely.

    1. NE, WI, IA, MN, PSU, RU, MD vs OSU, MI, MSU, NW, IL, PU, IN
    2. NE, WI, IA, MN, NW, IL, PU vs OSU, MI, MSU, IN, PSU, RU, MD
    3. NE, WI, IA, MN, NW, IL, IN vs OSU, MI, MSU, PU, PSU, RU, MD
    4. NE, WI, IA, MN, IL, IN, PU vs OSU, MI, MSU, NW, PSU, RU, MD
    5. NE, WI, IA, MN, MI, MSU, NW vs OSU, IL, PU, IN, PSU, RU, MD
    6. NE, WI, IA, MN, MSU, NW, IL vs OSU, MI, PU, IN, PSU, RU, MD
    7. NE, WI, IA, MN, OSU, PU, IN vs MI, MSU, NW, IL, PSU, RU, MD
    8. NE, WI, IA, MN, OSU, NW, IL vs MI, MSU, PU, IN, PSU, RU, MD
    9. NE, IA, MN, MI, MSU, PU, IN vs OSU, WI, NW, IL, PSU, RU, MD
    10. NE, IA, MN, MI, MSU, NW, IL vs OSU, WI, PU, IN, PSU, RU, MD
    11. NE, IA, MN, MI, MSU, IL, PU vs OSU, WI, NW, IN, PSU, RU, MD
    12. NE, IA, MN, MI, MSU, IL, IN vs OSU, WI, NW, PU, PSU, RU, MD

    To which of these would individual schools object?

    These are my guesses, feel free to add or correct
    IL – 4-5 + 11-12 (split from NW means they play everyone else less often)
    IN – 2-3 + 11-12 (split from PU means they play everyone else less often)
    IA – 1 (travel), 9-12 (no WI)
    MD – 1 (travel)
    MI – 6 (split from MSU), 5 + 7-12 (split from OSU)
    MSU – 6 (split from MI)
    MN – 1 (travel)
    NE – 1 (travel)
    NW – 4-5 + 11-12 (split from IL means they play everyone else less often)
    OSU – 5 (schedule), maybe 1-4 + 6 (with MI)
    PSU – 1 (travel)
    PU – 2-3 + 11-12 (split from IU means they play everyone else less often)
    RU – 1 (travel)
    WI – 1 (travel), 9-12 (split them from the western block)
    B10 in general – 11-12 (3 crossovers needed)

    All that said, here is a quick poll:
    1. Which B10 school, if any, is your favorite?
    2. Which of those 12 options (or other – please specify) would you prefer?
    3. Which of those 12 options (or other – please specify) do you think your school would prefer?

    Like

    • cutter says:

      Brian-

      Not to be flippant about your survey, but unless you can put a dollar figure to them, you leave out an important part of the analysis.

      We can breakdown competitive advantages, see how many rivalries are sustained or lost, etc. I’m not discounting any of those factors in this, but you also have to look at the bottom line.

      For example, you have two options where Ohio State is in the west (7 & 8) where the four “kings” as you call them are split. When the B1G does its revenue projections for that sort of lineup in terms of the future television negotiations, BTN revenue streams and overall conference distributions, how does that compare to the options which place OSU in the east with Michigan and Penn State?

      Would the schools with the smaller budgets be willing to take a couple of million out of their overall revenue in order to satisfy some of the other factors we’ve talked about in the past. What about Maryland, who is counting on that funding to returns its athletic department to basic solvency? There are B1G schools who rely on student fees to fund the athletic department–would they pass on a higher conference distribution if they’re in that situation?

      Clearly, if one option produced future conference distributions of $45M and another gave a figure of $35M, I suspect the school leadership would gravitate towards Option A and set aside the other considerations.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        cutter,

        “Not to be flippant about your survey, but unless you can put a dollar figure to them, you leave out an important part of the analysis.”

        1. You know we can’t put a dollar figure to them. Maybe the B10 can, but we don’t have the data.

        2. It’s a survey. The point was to not do analysis but ask peoples’ opinions. I tried to reduce it to a workable number of options, but you can always choose “Other.”

        3. It’s just seeking opinions, not predicting the future. It’s OK for fans to disagree with the final decision because the B10 has different goals and more information.

        “For example, you have two options where Ohio State is in the west (7 & 8) where the four “kings” as you call them are split. When the B1G does its revenue projections for that sort of lineup in terms of the future television negotiations, BTN revenue streams and overall conference distributions, how does that compare to the options which place OSU in the east with Michigan and Penn State?”

        We’ll never know, so why wait to ask what people would prefer?

        Like

        • Brian says:

          cutter,

          To be clear, I agree totally with your fundamental point. The financial side of this is huge and could be the main deciding factor. I’m just not aware of any way we can put a fair valuation on the different plans. So rather than try to do that and get shouted down for making stuff up, I leave it to the individual.

          Here are a few potentially relevant lessons we’ve learned over the years:
          1. TV contracts are based primarily on the premier games. Inventory is important, but the money comes from the big games.

          2. A CCG needs 2 elite teams to be a surefire success.

          3. The B10 has passed on more money to follow their principles before (no night November games, academics keeping an OU out, etc).

          4. The B10 likes money and wants to make a lot of it. (I didn’t want this to seem biased after #3)

          Like

          • zeek says:

            Yeah cutter, we’d need someone (Frank’s TV guy from a couple years ago?) to analyze the TV markets and numbers.

            We’re all just guessing here that putting Michigan/Ohio State/Penn State/Michigan State with Rutgers/Maryland can maximize the TV dollars for the conference.

            It makes sense intuitively:

            Biggest games for NJ/D.C.:

            1) Penn State
            2-3) Ohio State/Michigan
            4) Nebraska
            5) Michigan State
            6) Wisconsin
            7) Iowa
            8-12) Pretty much interchangeable

            If you’re talking TV value for games, it has to be that order for East Coast markets. I’d guess Michigan State resonates better in D.C. and NYC than Wisconsin or Iowa given that it’s got a larger East Coast alumni base, but that’s just my personal guess.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            zeek,

            “We’re all just guessing here that putting Michigan/Ohio State/Penn State/Michigan State with Rutgers/Maryland can maximize the TV dollars for the conference.”

            I’d say we’re guessing at a lot of smaller things that add up to that, but that’s the gist of it. I think there are several significant countervailing concerns, but others disagree about their importance.

            Like

    • Eric says:

      1. Ohio State
      2. #1. I think inner outer is far and away best because of no locked crossovers. On a personal fan level, I also don’t care about playing the newbies so them being in the other division is preferable (although obviously isn’t a reason the conference should choose this direction)
      3. #5 It puts Michigan, Penn State, and Illinois in division. I don’t think they’d be totally opposed to being in a western division if a split from Michigan was going to occur though.

      Like

    • vp19 says:

      1. Maryland
      2. My preferred option: #3
      3. School’s preferred option: #2

      Like

      • vp19 says:

        Protect Old Oaken Bucket game, and one other crossover for each team (Little Brown Jug, Illiniwek, Michigan State-Northwestern, Penn State-Nebraska, Rutgers-Iowa, Maryland-Wisconsin).

        Like

    • BruceMcF says:

      1. Buckeye born and bred

      2. Preferences ~ the OSU/MI divisions sorted from best to worst:
      #4. NE, WI, IA, MN, IL, IN, PU vs OSU, MI, MSU, NW, PSU, RU, MD
      #1. NE, WI, IA, MN, PSU, RU, MD vs OSU, MI, MSU, NW, IL, PU, IN
      #3. NE, WI, IA, MN, NW, IL, IN vs OSU, MI, MSU, PU, PSU, RU, MD
      #2. NE, WI, IA, MN, NW, IL, PU vs OSU, MI, MSU, IN, PSU, RU, MD
      #6. NE, WI, IA, MN, MSU, NW, IL vs OSU, MI, PU, IN, PSU, RU, MD

      3. DamnedifIknow.

      Like

    • Richard says:

      1. Northwestern.

      2. #2 (NE, WI, IA, MN, NW, IL, PU vs OSU, MI, MSU, IN, PSU, RU, MD)

      3. #5 (NE, WI, IA, MN, MI, MSU, NW vs OSU, IL, PU, IN, PSU, RU, MD) with cross-over with Illinois
      though #2 or #3 are probably OK as well.

      Like

    • vp19 says:

      Brian, just made this the topic of my latest “Terps in Big Ten” entry:

      http://terps-in-big-10.livejournal.com/1988.html

      Like

    • spaz says:

      1. PSU
      2. I prefer #3 (#2 is fine too), #6 is my third choice.
      3. I think they’d prefer #2 or #3, but would probably be fine with any option that puts PSU with UMD/RU and Ohio St (i.e. not #1, 7 or 8). I think PSU would go along with #1 as long as their is cross division rivals and they were fixed with Ohio St (which defeats the point of #1).

      Like

    • m (Ag) says:

      Not a fan of a Big Ten school, but I think Inner/Outer is the best for the conference as it allows the teams to visit everyone else more often, whether or not you go to 9 conference games.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        No more so than E/W.

        PSU-OSU would still be a protected cross-over (and certainly can not be played OOC part of the time).

        If anything, E/W may allow for getting rid of protected cross-overs if IU & PU agree to play OOC some times.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          Richard,

          “PSU-OSU would still be a protected cross-over”

          Or not. You’re guessing it will be.

          “(and certainly can not be played OOC part of the time).”

          Why not? If people are willing to ask IN/PU or IL/NW to go OOC, why not OSU/PSU? Sure, neither team would actually schedule it on a regular basis, but asking them to do it is no more offensive than asking it of others.

          “If anything, E/W may allow for getting rid of protected cross-overs if IU & PU agree to play OOC some times.”

          My point entirely. Somehow it’s fine to do it to them, but not OSU/PSU.

          Like

          • Richard says:

            Life ain’t fair.

            I’m looking forward to our annual season-ending rivalry game with Rice.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            To follow up:

            Let’s look at PSU’s schedule in Inner/Outer.

            Given – NE, WI, IA, MN, RU, MD

            With 8 games:
            PSU-OSU locked:
            OSU – 100%
            MI, MSU, NW, IL, PU, IN – 17% each
            2.17 king games per year
            2.17 princes

            Not locked:
            All 7 – 29% each
            1.58 kings
            2.29 princes

            Difference with locking OSU = + 0.6 kings – 0.12 princes

            So PSU misses out on about 1 big game every other year.

            But that’s only part of the story. How are the other 13 teams affected?

            MI, MSU, NW, IL, PU, IN – play PSU 17% versus 29%, or barely half as often
            NE, WI, IA, MN, RU, MD – play OSU 17% versus 29%, or barely half as often
            OSU – plays NE, WI, IA, MN, RU, MD 17% versus 29%, or barely half as often

            17% = once in 6 years (some players would never play the other team)
            29% = twice in 7 years (every player would get to play every team and play in most stadiums)

            The difference is about 1 game every 8 years (12 games in 42 years vs 7 games in 42 years).

            Total king/king games:
            OSU/MI, PSU/NE – 100%
            OSU/PSU – 100% or 29%
            OSU/NE, MI/PSU, NE/MI – 17% or 29%

            2+1+3(1/6) = 3.5
            2+4(2/7) = 3.14

            That’s roughly 1 less game every 3 years, so there’s a measure of the potential financial cost. As I pointed out, though, the king/prince games will increase which would slightly reduce the blow.

            Conclusions
            Yes, PSU would play what they consider a rival less often. But they’d gain games against MI and MSU to reduce their loss. The B10 would also lose a few king/king games, but gain some king/prince games.

            Like

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            “If people are willing to ask IN/PU or IL/NW to go OOC, why not OSU/PSU?”

            I haven’t heard any Big Ten source suggesting that these games would be forced out-of-conference. It has been brought up on message boards like this one, but tons of things are mentioned on message boards that have zero chance of happening.

            The Indiana/Purdue game has been contested 115 times, the most of any rivalry in the conference except Minnesota/Wisconsin. I don’t envision any scenario where they throw that away, or relegate it to non-conference status.

            The Northwestern/Illinois game has a few more gaps, but it has been anual since 1922. In contrast, the Michigan/MSU game is a mere pup, having been played for the first time in 1953.

            Like

          • I think we’re going a little overboard here in terms of what we think the Big Ten is willing to do. While tradition doesn’t mean as much as it used to with conference realignment, I can’t imagine any scenario where the Big Ten would force any school’s *primary* rivalry to be anything less than an annual conference game. Illinois-Northwestern and Indiana-Purdue would certainly qualify as being a primary rivalries for the respective schools (even if the hostility might not be quite there for Illinois-Northwestern). Also, I can’t understate how important the conference considers the Ohio State-Penn State game to be. They’re king programs in border states that happen to be the two most important football recruiting grounds in the conference and provide the most clear link between the the “old” Big Ten and the “new” side of the conference. That game isn’t going away as an annual game – every single realistic divisional alignment MUST account for that specific game to be played annually whether it’s a divisional game or a cross-divisional rivalry (not 75% of the time – it needs to be 100% of the time). I understand some old line Big Ten fans, such as Ohio State fans, claiming that it doesn’t have to be an annual game and trying to rationalize all types of other combinations, but in the eyes of the Big Ten conference overall, it’s as much of an absolute must as the Michigan-Ohio State game. It’s *that* important.

            Once again, I believe that there are 3 hard and fast rules in any divisional alignment:

            (1) Michigan-Ohio State is an annual game
            (2) Penn State-Ohio State is an annual game
            (3) Penn State, Maryland and Rutgers are all in the same division

            I think that we can add a 4th rule that every school’s primary rivalry must be an annual game, as well. (As you’ll see, Michigan and Ohio State have 2 primary rivals each.) On top of Michigan-OSU and PSU-OSU, those would be Wisconsin-Minnesota, Indiana-Purdue, Illinois-Northwestern, Iowa-Nebraska and Michigan-Michigan State.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            @Frank
            Having 3 (or 4) ooc games is not as important to some schools as it is to Michigan and Ohio St. If the most important game could be played no more than every other year as an ooc, in the time frame they chose, I could see those schools being convinced to do it. Rammed down their throat no, but if reluctantly accepted, yes.

            Like

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            @bullet: “Having 3 (or 4) ooc games is not as important to some schools as it is to Michigan and Ohio St. If the most important game could be played no more than every other year as an ooc, in the time frame they chose, I could see those schools being convinced to do it. Rammed down their throat no, but if reluctantly accepted, yes.”

            That’s unrealistic for a whole bunch of reasons. First of all, it sends a clear message that those schools are second-class members of the league. Why, of all the conference members, should they have to use an OOC game to schedule what every other school gets as part of the conference slate? The Big Ten has never screwed one of its members in this way.

            On top of that, most proposed alignments have Penn State gaining two new annual rivalries (MD, RU), on top of keeping their annual rivalry with Ohio State. And most alignments have all four of the western schools (or at least, three of four) staying together. When you’re giving Penn State and Wisconsin three games apiece that they really want, how do you explain not giving Indiana the ONE game they want?

            Bear in mind that Purdue has an annual home-and-home with Notre Dame that is extremely important to them. (It’s the only Purdue game that is always, without fail, televised nationally.) If you tell Purdue, “We’re going to play 9 conference games, and you’ve got to play Indiana OOC,” then you add Notre Dame, and they’re down to just one OOC game they control.

            I would add that OOC games are (normally) scheduled many more years in advance than the Big Ten conference schedule, which is a further problem for these schools being able to plan their seasons.

            It’s not as if this is an unsolvable problem. There are plenty of available, plausible alignments that preserve all of the key rivalries. It’s only a question of which one to choose.

            Like

          • Eric says:

            Frank,

            While I don’t you to be, I’m sure you are probably right about that Ohio State-Penn State is a game they inist will be locked.

            My question is, what do you think would happen if they expanded to 16? I’ve been playing through it in mind, and I’m not sure of the answer.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Marc Shepherd,

            “I haven’t heard any Big Ten source suggesting that these games would be forced out-of-conference. It has been brought up on message boards like this one, but tons of things are mentioned on message boards that have zero chance of happening.”

            Very true. I was just pointing out the hypocrisy. I also don’t believe OSU/PSU is sacrosanct, unlike Frank. It’s a big game, and means a lot to PSU, but it’s not a historic game. If they stick with 8 games and OSU and PSU aren’t in the same division, I’m not sure they lock that game and cost everyone else almost half their games with OSU and PSU.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Frank the Tank,

            “Also, I can’t understate how important the conference considers the Ohio State-Penn State game to be.”

            We’ll never know, you’ve never tried to understate it.

            “That game isn’t going away as an annual game – every single realistic divisional alignment MUST account for that specific game to be played annually whether it’s a divisional game or a cross-divisional rivalry (not 75% of the time – it needs to be 100% of the time).”

            Show me a quote or it in writing somewhere. Or give me a reliable source that has said it’s true. Since the east is the focus, PSU/MI would be a better game to have anyway.

            “but in the eyes of the Big Ten conference overall,”

            Who is that? Fans? ADs? The COP/C? Delany and his minions? Who makes up the B10 conference overall?

            “it’s as much of an absolute must as the Michigan-Ohio State game. It’s *that* important.”

            No. It isn’t. No game is.

            “Once again, I believe that there are 3 hard and fast rules in any divisional alignment:

            (1) Michigan-Ohio State is an annual game
            (2) Penn State-Ohio State is an annual game”

            You believing it doesn’t automatically make it true. You’ve never backed it up with anything.

            “I think that we can add a 4th rule that every school’s primary rivalry must be an annual game, as well. (As you’ll see, Michigan and Ohio State have 2 primary rivals each.)”

            No, OSU doesn’t. Nothing you or the B10 says or does will change that. OSU will always have 1 primary rival.

            Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      I’m a Michigan man. My preference is:

      2. NE, WI, IA, MN, NW, IL, PU vs OSU, MI, MSU, IN, PSU, RU, MD

      This puts Michigan in the same division as its two main rivals and maximizes East-coast access. I assume that if this alignment were chosen, no other schools but PU and IN would have locked crossovers, which I believe is desirable, regardless of whether 8 or 9 conference games are played. Among the options that achieve these goals, #2 is best because the school that moves east is the weakest one, Indiana.

      I suspect the the Michigan athletic department would have the same preference, but would cheerfully accept just about any alignment that puts them in the same division as Ohio State. Michigan probably won’t have to lobby for East-coast access, because the conference wants that anyway.

      Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      Just re-reading Brian’s list again. Brian, are you suggesting that you believe Ohio State would rather NOT be in the same division as Michigan? I cannot imagine why they would find that advantageous, given that they clearly intend to play Michigan every year, no matter what.

      I think travel is MUCH exaggerated as a disadvantage in Brian’s list, given that teams on the eastern and western flanks are probably going to be flying to most games anyway. But I figure that #1 is less likely to be chosen because they’re going to want more Michigan and Ohio State games featured on the east coast. If that weren’t a priority, #1 would be the best option for all concerned.

      It’s interesting that in Brian’s list, OSU is the only school that would dislike an option (#5) purely for schedule reasons. That might be a clue that this isn’t exactly a dispassionate list of pros and cons.

      Like

      • vp19 says:

        Brian’s entitled to his opinions.

        Like

      • Brian says:

        Marc Shepherd,

        “Just re-reading Brian’s list again. Brian, are you suggesting that you believe Ohio State would rather NOT be in the same division as Michigan?”

        I indicated that, yes. I’ve heard some things from people that make me think some of the people that matter think that way. It could be completely wrong. The other main reason is to show that it’s a potential objection. I believe I correctly indicated what MI fans say MI wants (with OSU), so I also wanted to show that other plans could have an objection. You’ll note that was the only objection I qualified with “maybe.”

        “I cannot imagine why they would find that advantageous, given that they clearly intend to play Michigan every year, no matter what.”

        Because they could play MI in the CCG if they are separate. Some people see that as preferable to only playing for the division title. You don’t have to agree, but the reason should have been obvious.

        “I think travel is MUCH exaggerated as a disadvantage in Brian’s list, given that teams on the eastern and western flanks are probably going to be flying to most games anyway.”

        I think it’s an overrated objection, too, but it’s one many fans from those teams have raised here and on other blogs. It would have been dishonest of me not to note it.

        “But I figure that #1 is less likely to be chosen because they’re going to want more Michigan and Ohio State games featured on the east coast.”

        The B10 does control the schedule for crossover games. They could put RU and MD on the schedules of OSU and MI more often if they want. They’ve done it before.

        “If that weren’t a priority, #1 would be the best option for all concerned.”

        Just saving that for posterity.

        “It’s interesting that in Brian’s list, OSU is the only school that would dislike an option (#5) purely for schedule reasons. That might be a clue that this isn’t exactly a dispassionate list of pros and cons.”

        Gene Smith came out and said he didn’t want that specific alignment because of the schedule. I’d include any other comments from ADs on specific alignments if people point them out. You’ll note I asked for people to add or correct any objections that I noted.

        Like

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          Regarding the travel issue, you really need to know who is saying it. I can’t imagine that there are big numbers of Maryland and Rutgers fans planning to drive to any game besides each other and Penn State; and once you’re in a plane, there’s not a lot of difference between Columbus and Minneapolis. Penn State, of course, is gaining two nearby rivals it never had before, so they’re net winners in this transaction.

          So I wonder how many people would actually be adversely affected, as opposed to people just assuming it would be a problem without having really analyzed it.

          Like

          • spaz says:

            Penn Stater gaining UMD and Rutgers but losing playing Ohio St every season (which is a possibility in some scenarios) isn’t much of a net gain, if at all, at least IMHO. PSU has suffered relative to other Big Ten teams in not having nearby opponents in conference and adding RU/UMD helps significantly in that, but losing the one team that is legitimately a rival in conference is a huge blow.

            As a PSU fan, I want to see the Nittany Lions plat Rutgers, Maryland and Ohio State every year. Beyond that, I don’t care that much about how the divisions/schedules are composed (would like to get another king game guaranteed every year, but that’s a secondary concern).

            Like

          • bullet says:

            The conference has to weigh which direction it goes. There are at least 4 major approaches which are sometimes contradictory. Last time competitive balance was primary.

            There’s:
            1) competitive balance
            2) attractive TV schedules
            3) building new rivalries
            4) maintaining old rivalries

            3) and 4) can be totally different approaches. You could have an 8 game schedule which two fixed divisions and one fixed cross-division game. Essentially you are saying the division is our new “conference.” You rarely see teams in the other half of the conference. In the old SEC, there were a limited number of teams that each school played. Georgia-Alabama, for example, rarely played. Of course, those games didn’t follow geographic boundaries.

            The opposite approach, 4), would be to setup divisions to avoid any fixed cross-division games. Then you get 2 or 3 (depending on whether you play 8 or 9 games) each year against the other division. You maximize cross-division exposure. You either have the inner/outer or give IU/PU or UI/NU some sort of compensation (doesn’t have to be money) for having to play their rivalry ooc some years.

            I think chasing 1) is illusory. It shouldn’t be ignored, but it always varies from year-to-year. The B1G gets plenty of money, so 2) shouldn’t be a high priority, but obviously you can’t ignore the TV people. And I think 4) builds conference long-run cohesiveness while carrying 3) to an extreme hurts. And Frank was right with KISS. Inner/outer is just too weird. I think you split IN or IL in an east/west split.

            Like

          • Dave in VA says:

            I’d add OSU-in-Columbus as a third game that folks in NJ and MD/DC would seriously consider driving to, if only because getting through those airports is so enervating, and takes so long that an 8 hour drive is not so horrible by comparison. But for pretty much all the other destinations save Chicago (which can be reached by overnight train), flying is the most reasonable method, at which point Lincoln and Minneapolis are only negligibly further away than Ann Arbor.

            Like

          • @Dave om VA – Co-sign on getting through those airports. One of the few completely personal posts that I’ve had on this blog centered around a wonderful experience at Dulles:

            https://frankthetank.wordpress.com/2008/12/19/a-trip-across-the-pond-and-frank-the-tanks-football-parlay-christmas-2008-edition/

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Dave in VA,

            “I’d add OSU-in-Columbus as a third game that folks in NJ and MD/DC would seriously consider driving to, if only because getting through those airports is so enervating, and takes so long that an 8 hour drive is not so horrible by comparison.”

            I regularly use Dulles and have driven OSU to VA many times. Trust me, that drive sucks. The stretch in PA is always under construction, so add an hour. Like all interstates anymore, it’s wall to wall semis. That adds another 30 minutes with all the hills unless they actually move over for you. That’s what makes it an 8 hour drive, but it should be 6:30 or less. It will save you some money, but you need a day off to do it. It all depends how close you live to an airport, though.

            Going from NJ will be another 1.5-2 hours, probably. I’d think getting to an airport would be easier for them. They can fly from Philly easily enough.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Frank the Tank,

            “Co-sign on getting through those airports. One of the few completely personal posts that I’ve had on this blog centered around a wonderful experience at Dulles:”

            Dulles is a lot better now that the train is up and running. At least it is for me, since I always use the B gates. They still use the shuttle buses for farther out.

            Like

          • @Brian – Those Dulles shuttle buses are dead ringers for the Jawa crawlers from Star Wars, right down to the lack of speed.

            I hadn’t read that post in awhile and, WOW, I was in a bad mood that day. That probably has the most expletives that I’ve written on this site.

            Of course, when I arrived at home, I found that out from my wife that we were pregnant with twins, so that put everything back into perspective quickly.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Frank,

            I used to hate those shuttles. What a stupid design to need buses that can be raised and lowered. It sure seems like building a ramp would have been cheaper and easier.

            Like

          • Mack says:

            The Dulles design predates airport gates. The big failures were not adding gates like every other airport in the last 40 years, and especially opening the midfield terminal without shuttle train access. Those buses cost a fortune to maintain and should have been retired decades ago.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            @Frank
            Not sure I’ve ever had the pleasure of Dulles. Done Reagan and BWI a number of times. The most amazing thing about your story is that you were able to land when your plane arrived early. Flying to Atlanta arriving early merely means you circle the airport or better yet, land and sit on the runway with the A/C not working until your originally scheduled landing time (and then only if you are lucky enough that the previous flight left on time-remote chance if you are flying Delta).

            Like

        • BuckeyeBeau says:

          @ Brian & Mark Shepard:

          ““I cannot imagine why they [tOSU] would find that advantageous [being separate from MI], given that they clearly intend to play Michigan every year, no matter what.”

          Because they could play MI in the CCG if they are separate. Some people see that as preferable to only playing for the division title. You don’t have to agree, but the reason should have been obvious.”

          In my view, this idea is most commonly expressed as: “If MI and tOSU are in the same division, then The Game is diminished because The Game is now merely to decide who goes to Indianapolis. The Game used to decide who went to Pasadena and who was the B10 Champion.”

          FWIW, I agree since The Game no longer determines who goes to the Rose Bowl. But I don’t care. MI and tOSU should be in the same division. ‘Bama and Auburn are in the same division and it has not tarnished or lessened the intensity of the Iron Bowl. For me, The Game must be played every year and must be the last game of the regular season. Those are more important to me than The Game determining who goes to the Rose Bowl. I am plenty happy ending a MI perfect season or keeping them from winning the B10East. Plus I think playing The Game twice in back-to-back weeks is stupid. But. then that is me.

          If the B1G did not want to change, they should not have expanded. Expansion inevitably leads to change; folks may not like the change, but change is here, has happened and is not going to be undone.

          But there are some good changes balancing out the bad changes. BTN is fabulous; love the coverage of olympic sports and now there will be hockey; CCG is interesting; playing Nebraska is cool.

          anyway, my choices:

          1. tOSU
          2. ##3-5; preference for #5
          3. no idea what the school would prefer.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            BuckeyeBeau,

            “If the B1G did not want to change, they should not have expanded.”

            Exactly. Long live the status quo.

            “Expansion inevitably leads to change; folks may not like the change,”

            And I don’t.

            “but change is here, has happened and is not going to be undone.”

            One can always hope RU and MD fold their ADs before they further the corruption of the B10.

            “But there are some good changes balancing out the bad changes.”

            No, there aren’t.

            “BTN is fabulous;”

            It happened before expansion, thus it isn’t a change due to expansion. It’s the reason for adding non-B10 schools to dilute the conference.

            “CCG is interesting;”

            Not to most people. It doesn’t sell out and it doesn’t draw great ratings. Plus, rematches always suck.

            “playing Nebraska is cool.”

            That’s just an OOC game that showed up in the B10 standings. It’s no different than when OSU played UT or USC (or OU or VT in the future).

            Like

          • BuckeyeBeau says:

            @Brian:

            LOLs at your responses to my suggestions that some changes are “good.” We will definitely disagree, tho’ there is no arguing anything you typed.

            My view is that expansion started with PSU and, from that point, bigger changes were inevitable. We did not know it at the time, but hindsight is 20/20. (I think most figured we would go to 12 once Notre Dame finally came to its senses and joined the “obviously wonderful” Big Ten. LOL).

            As I said, if the B1G didn’t want change, they shouldn’t have expanded.

            But that is actually false. If the B1G had not expanded, changes would still have come; just unpleasant changes (like what the Big East has been experiencing for a decade).

            it is interesting to run some counter-historical scenarios where PSU does not join the B1G.

            What if PSU had gone to the Big East? Would that have prevented the ACC raid in 2003? If yes, then a very interesting CFB landscape in 2007. Would the B1G have been strong enough for Delany to “roll the dice” with ESpin? Would there be a BTN? Would the B1G have been strong enough to attract Mizzu (and thereby destabilize the BXII)? Would the B1G have been attractive enough for Nebraska to jump ship? My guess is “no.” The B1G would have been stuck at 10.

            What if PSU had gone to the ACC? Would the ACC have needed to raid the Big East in 2003? If not, then the Big East would have remained a “power conference.” And all the conferences would still be in the 10-12 range?

            If PSU had gone to the Big East and the ACC had still successfully raided in 2003, who would they have raided? PSU instead of BC? Sounds right, but who knows. An ACC-with-PSU opposing a B1G-without-PSU over the carcass of the Big East gives the upper hand to the ACC.

            Without the B1G presently sitting at 14 with the money-machine that is the BTN, you can certainly imagine a SEC-based Frank-the-Tank running a blog where posters debate whether the SEC could pry tOSU and Michigan away from the B1G. I can just see the discussions about Michigan and Ohio State being too “northern”, but folks arguing that Ohio State is really pretty southern being “so close” to Kentucky and Appalachia.

            There would be an ACC counterpart blog debating about getting a block of four midwestern schools.

            Everyone wants OSU because they are a king and for the Ohio markets and the fertile recruiting grounds. I can just see the discussion about how best to accomplish that. Get MI first as a way to leverage tOSU or just figure out how to get tOSU (“give them what they want”) and MI will come along because they are a pair (as OU is to TX). or “Get ND first, that will pry loose Michigan and then OSU will have no choice but to join the ACC.”

            Then the debate over PSU or PITT (for the Philly and Pittsburgh markets). You can’t add both.

            And the SEC/ACC/Big East bloggers would endlessly debate whether Northwestern or Illinois could ever REALLY deliver the Chicago market.

            Indiana would be the B1G’s version of Kansas; a Bball king that no one wants (tho’ some SEC bloggers would argue it’s a good match with tOSU, MI and IL or NW. “Adding Indiana will make Kentucky happy.”)

            Poor Michigan State becomes an orphan like KState, GaTech and OkieState and Purdue and Minny are doomed to join the MAC.

            etc. etc.

            My point: the B1G is sitting in a position of power because it changed.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            BuckeyeBeau,

            “LOLs at your responses to my suggestions that some changes are “good.” We will definitely disagree, tho’ there is no arguing anything you typed.”

            I’m not saying there are no such thing as good changes, just that they are not balancing out the bad changes. And I consider adding PSU a separate round of expansion from this one. It was a different world back then.

            Like

          • BuckeyeBeau says:

            @ Brian. Yes, I did not assume you believed all change was “bad change.” I just chuckled that for my three examples of “good change” you had a quite valid counterpoint which did not change my mind that the changes were still “good.” We agree on the larger point which is change has happened and we all have to learn to deal with it.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            BuckeyeBeau,

            “We agree on the larger point which is change has happened and we all have to learn to deal with it.”

            Unfortunately for me, yes. The playoff has already killed my national interest in CFB (the BCS had already undermined it), and now the B10 is doing everything it can to drive me away. By 2014, I may only watch 2-3 games per year. And until Gene Smith stops ruining The Game with those stupid Nike uniforms, that won’t be 1 of the 2-3 games.

            On the bright side, it’ll free up a lot of time on Saturdays for me.

            Like

    • wmwolverine says:

      Any reason you don’t have a setup of M, MSU, Illini, OSU, PSU, RU, MD?

      Like

      • Brian says:

        wmwolverine,

        “Any reason you don’t have a setup of M, MSU, Illini, OSU, PSU, RU, MD?”

        Actually, yes. MSU really wanted to be with NW, and the B10 asked NW about going east. If only 1 of the middle schools is going east, IN or PU (neighbors of OH and MI) seem more likely to me than IL. Your welcome to add it as Other.

        Like

    • ohiomarc says:

      1. Ohio State
      2. I like 1, 4 and 2, in that order. Option 1 seems unlikely though, due to lack of OSU and UM exposure in NYC and DC. Option 4 seems unlikely due to competitive balance issues.
      3. Probably 4, then 2. 4 provides access to all 3 major markets, has UM in division and minimizes (or hopefully eliminates) crossovers. Same as 4, minus Chicago.

      Like

    • zeek says:

      I agree with bullet on a lot of these the issues as they pertain to division splits; I don’t think you can chase competitive balance or CCG setups.

      The ACC chased FSU-Miami CCGs for years; how’d that work out?

      The Big 12 for all its faults had much more reliable TV showings with Texas, OU, and Texas A&M in the same division. Those 3 schools accounted for every single Big 12 South title game representation between them.

      I’m almost certain that’s what the Big Ten will look like in an East-West setup, and that’s okay with me.

      As for me, I favor keeping Northwestern in the West of an East-West split with IU-PU being the sole kept crossover (scenario #2).

      I think that’s what we’re likely to get at this point.

      The TV people will be happy with a Michigan/Ohio State/Penn State/Michigan State/Indiana/Maryland/Rutgers division pumping out big names for the title game, and the West division will still have visits to Chicago every other year for its teams.

      Like

    • I Survived Cam Cameron says:

      1. Indiana
      2. 1 or 4. These are the two plans that should require no protected rivals. (Illinois has so many weak rivals and no strong rivals, so let them play everybody as much as possible. Northwestern isn’t mandatory.)
      3. 2 or 6. $$$

      Like

  32. cutter says:

    From Cutter:

    1. Michigan
    2. #4 because it has Ohio State in division and includes Northwestern and Chicago area.
    3. Probably #4 as well. Appeals to Chicago and east coast alums. Better fund raising opportunities in Chitown, NYC, WDC, etc. Access to #1 media market in NYC.

    Like

  33. jokewood says:

    1. Michigan fan

    2. I prefer option #2. Split E/W through Indiana, sending IU/UM/MSU to the east and Purdue to the west. Make PU/IU the only protected cross-over game.

    Like

  34. Andy says:

    1. Michigan alum (as well as a Mizzou alum of course)
    2. I’d pick 4. Keeps annual games with MSU and OSU, keeps regular games in Chicago, and helps recruit on the east coast.

    Like

  35. Michael in Raleigh says:

    Big East football seems bound and determined to beckme 14-team league for football by 2015 when Navy joins, regardless of who it has to add to get there.

    Does it also want to be a 12-team league for non-football sports? 14 minus Navy and ECU makes 12. Could the mere awkwardness of a 13-member league be keeping ECU from being a full member?

    Like

    • BruceMcF says:

      The agreement was for FB-only, and the NuBigEast is going to be in a holding pattern until the SDSU tip-ball ends up in one set of hands or the other. If and when SDSU decides that geography, stability and basketball together trump a few million dollars a year, then the NuBigEast can start making actual decisions.

      The present NuBigEast schools committed to BBall in 2014 are:

      15. UC 87.27
      28. UConn 85.26
      48. Temple 82.86
      116. South Florida 75.88
      — weighted average rank: 82.23

      Including all those committed to be playing BBall in 2014:

      15. UC 87.27
      28. UConn 85.26
      42. Memphis 83.40
      48. Temple 82.86
      108. Central Florida 76.20
      116. South Florida 75.88
      121. Tulane 75.67 {2014}
      159. Houston, 73.22
      172. SMU 72.36
      — weighted average rank: 78.59

      The FB-only adds would both pull that average down:

      171. ECU 72.39 — FB-only 2014
      282. Navy 64.39 — FB-only 2015

      Two widely rumored targets are:

      109. UMass 76.13
      176. Tulsa 72.08

      And one new add by C-USA as much to boost their BBall as their FBall would be:

      50. MTSU 82.24

      If the NuBigEast goes with Tulsa, in some combination, then ECU’s chances of Tulsa as a FB-only pair to Navy and ECU as a full member are better. If the NuBigEast went with Rice, it would be as a FB-only member, based on current rankings (333rd).

      The best three to add for basketball might be UMass from the MAC, Louisiana-Tech from C-USA, formerly from the WAC, and MTSU from C-USA, formerly from the Sunbelt, which would leave ECU as a FB-only member.

      Like

      • BruceMcF says:

        Putting that in context, Sagarin’s weakest “Big Five” conference is the SEC at 7th, 78.50, which the NuBigEast above is (currently, and counter-factually because they would have a difference schedule to this point) only marginally above.

        That tells us that there are two Group of Five conferences in amongst the Big Five, which are the MWC at 2nd and the OlBigEast at 3rd.

        So the NuBigEast would be well advised to look for an all-sports add that would not only not drag its BBall strength of schedule too far down, but actually increase it. On current strength (no idea how persistent these strengths may be, even over the current season), that would be MTSU from the Sunbelt ~ intercepting its move to the C-USA ~ and Southern Miss from the C-USA.

        Like

  36. zeek says:

    What about CCG representation balance in the longer term?

    If we do go East-West (assuming Purdue in the West) for a long period of time, would this change anyone’s minds about the division splits?

    If we do end up East-West after 2014, what would people think of these as our CCG representatives over a 20 year span (2014-2033) assuming no more expansion:

    East:
    Ohio State 11
    Michigan 6
    Penn State 2
    Michigan State 1
    Indiana/Rutgers/Maryland 0

    West:
    Nebraska 7
    Wisconsin 6
    Iowa 3
    Northwestern/Minnesota/Illinois/Purdue 4

    As far as CCG representation, you’re basically looking at the Big 12 North and Big 12 South all over again with a lot more spread of representation in the West than in the East.

    If you’re a Michigan State fan, does this change your mind? Michigan State would probably get into 4x as many CCGs in the West as it would in the East (in place of Purdue in the West).

    If you’re an Indiana/Rutgers/Maryland fan, do you really want that division if you knew going in that you were almost certain of never winning? Money is great, but that division is going to be a monster after 2020 (if we get that far without going to 16).

    These divisions work great for short-term development goals on the D.C. and NYC markets, but not so great if you want to see Michigan State/Indiana/Rutgers/Maryland aim higher.

    Like

    • zeek says:

      I mean, obviously, the TV people would love to know they’d have Ohio State or Michigan in almost every CCG along with Penn State taking up 2 of the other 3 slots.

      I assume that’s far more valuable than trying to gerrymander an Ohio State-Michigan rematch every 7 or 8 years…

      Like

      • Brian says:

        zeek,

        “I mean, obviously, the TV people would love to know they’d have Ohio State or Michigan in almost every CCG along with Penn State taking up 2 of the other 3 slots.

        I assume that’s far more valuable than trying to gerrymander an Ohio State-Michigan rematch every 7 or 8 years…”

        I’m sure they’re just thrilled at the prospect of NW/IL/MN.PU in 4 CCGs. Or IA in 3. Or, frankly, WI in 6 after the attendance issues for the last 2. Realistically, that’s only 7 of 20 CCGs they’d love (king/king). On top of that, they’d always miss out on their most valuable possible match-up.

        Like

        • zeek says:

          I think though that they’d rather guarantee kings in 19 of the 20 games rather than know that they may have a risk of 4-5 games completely without kings (as 2 kings per division might result in).

          It’s clearly a tradeoff, but I think the TV people would prefer the Big 12-ish imbalanced setup.

          You’re right though about the attendance issue. It may make for better TV guarantees but the attendance issue would probably end up worse off given less king-king matchups.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            zeek,

            “I think though that they’d rather guarantee kings in 19 of the 20 games rather than know that they may have a risk of 4-5 games completely without kings (as 2 kings per division might result in).”

            How would the numbers change if you slid MI west like they are now?

            My guess based on your numbers above:
            OSU – 12
            PSU – 5
            MSU – 3
            Other – 0

            MI – 9
            NE – 4
            WI – 3
            IA – 2
            Other – 2

            E kings – 17, W kings 13
            King/king – 11 of 20 expected
            King/prince – 6 of 20

            At least 1 king – 17/20

            OSU west?

            MI – 12
            PSU – 5
            MSU – 3
            Other – 0

            OSU – 11
            NE – 4
            WI – 3
            IA – 1
            Other – 1

            E kings – 17, W kings 15
            King/king – ~12 of 20 expected
            King/prince – ~6 of 20

            At least 1 king – 17/20

            Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      I think Brian stated upthread, and I agree, that the conference isn’t in the business of artificially inflating teams’ prospects by giving them deliberately weaker schedules.

      Let’s get real about Maryland and Rutgers. Since 1991, the year FSU joined the ACC, Maryland won the league title exactly once (2001), and they’ve never reached the championship game in the eight years it has been contested. That’s in a weaker league than the Big Ten is, or ever was.

      In 22 years in the Big East, Rutgers has never won the conference title, unless you count 2012, when four teams tied with 5-2 conference records, and Louisville won the tie-breaker for the BCS bid.

      Barring very substantial program upgrades, Maryland and Rutgers are going to be perennial also-rans, no matter the division setup.

      Michigan State has a slightly better claim, but only slightly. They did not win a Big Ten title between 1990 (when they shared it four ways) and 2010 (when they shared it three ways). Sure, the west would be easier for them, but they’re probably only going to be occasional winners in any alignment.

      Like

      • jj says:

        Yeah, those schools shouldn’t even field teams.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          jj,

          I’d like to see your vote on preferred divisions. I’m curious how MSU fans weigh playing in the east versus the expected reduced success compared to your peers.

          Like

          • jj says:

            I agree that MSU would almost certainly have better success in the western scenarios and know that some Spartans want this to se up a year-end game with Wisconsin That, of course, would be nice and i can live with that no problem. But I personally believe that MSU can compete with anyone and that if you want to be the best you have to beat the best. So, I prefer the East. I’d rather enjoy the year(s) we beat UM, OSU and PSU and earn it the hard way.

            Like

          • jj says:

            Brian:

            MSU was one of the last teams to schedule AA opponents and it really upset me when it did that. I understand it, but I don’t like it.

            Like

    • Brian says:

      zeek,

      Those CCG numbers somewhat jibe with my results elsewhere showing the price PSU and MSU would pay in wins for having an east with IN versus In/Out. It would cost them well over 1 B10 W per year.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        For the next 8 years or so, the chances of PSU competing for the conference title are virtually nonexistent anyway regardless of the division they’re in (and I expect that the B10 will have expanded some more before 2020).

        Like

  37. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Here’s some good news.

    http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/8842536/big-ten-consider-renaming-legends-leaders-divisions-jim-delany-says

    B1G division names may change for 2014.

    “”We weren’t going to go with ‘Bo or Woody,’ ‘Black or Blue,’ or ‘Plains or Lakes,’ ” Delany said. “Obviously we got some acceptance [with Legends and Leaders], but not as much as we would have liked.”

    Delany said he was a “little surprised” by the backlash when the division names were announced.”

    Like

    • zeek says:

      Should just go with East-West. It seems likely that we’re looking at the 6 Eastern schools in one division with possibly the Easternmost of the other 8 if they go with Indiana.

      Even if Northwestern is in the East, just go East-West.

      Like

    • bullet says:

      I was about to post this. I saw it on a Big 12 board, posted before you posted it here. This board’s slow this week. An SEC fan posts it and it was on a Big 12 board before here!

      Like

    • bullet says:

      Delany commented again about the months long circus surrounding expansion last time. He says they aren’t active right now.

      If they do expand again, it will happen suddenly, relative to news leaking out. With all the media speculation that smoke probably means something. I suspect either we will hear something soon or noone in the ACC that the B1G is truly interested in has responded favorably (as Frank believes).

      Like

    • Richard says:

      ” Delany said he was a “little surprised” by the backlash when the division names were announced.”

      This doesn’t bode well. You would think that they would consult with people under 60 when deciding on purely emotional issues like division names.

      Like

    • spaz says:

      If the names are not geographic, can they please just go with “Stagg” and “Berwanger”? They are so perfect that it’s hard to understand why they were’t used the last go around.

      Like

  38. zeek says:

    http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2013/01/14/Colleges/ACC.aspx

    Interesting article on ACC committee of ADs and hiring Wasserman Media Group to study potential of an ACC network.

    Most interesting tidbit is this:

    “Another reason for ESPN’s reluctance to move forward is that it is preparing to launch an SEC channel in August 2014, sources said, which would make it difficult to launch an ACC channel in many of those same markets, like Florida, Georgia and South Carolina where the SEC and ACC footprints overlap.”

    Like

  39. Mike says:

    http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2013/01/14/Colleges/ACC.aspx

    ACC Cable Channel inital discussions.

    The ACC has a bigger problem than the SEC does with its Cable Channel. All of the ACC’s content is controlled by ESPN, where the SEC has some content reserved. Interesting comment about sharing resources with the SEC Network.

    Like

    • Quacs says:

      I’m probably missing something, but how can the ACC set up an ACC network when they’ve already sold the rights to all of their sports content to ESPN? Where would this network get it’s content?

      The only way I can see this happening is if ESPN were to set up the network for the ACC, and then kick back a set dollar figure for any new carriage fees, and perhaps some of the advertising dollars to the ACC. However, off the top of my head (and I don’t claim to be any type of TV exec) I see some risk to ESPN here:

      1. Presumably, ESPN would foot the bill to set up and run the network, so they would likely be taking most of the risk on this endeavor.
      2. The ACC has a smaller population footprint than B1G, so they likely would not be able to approach BTN/Fox sized payouts ever.
      3. As mentioned in the article, SECN/ESPN will have a competing product in overlapping home markets. I highly doubt the SEC would ever agree to be packaged with an ACCN to get on basic cable.
      4. As a result of 2 and 3, any ACC network will certainly have a tough time getting on basic cable in enough large markets to justify the new network.
      5. A number of ACC teams are widely viewed as being the target of further expansion. Would they ESPN risk investing significant dollars in setting up a new network under the current “GOR-less” conference structure?

      As we all know, if ESPN were to take on a good portion of the risk, they would want to be compensated with the majority of the reward, which would leave the ACC less money assuming its success, and ultimately at the mercy of ESPN to determine how much they want to share since ESPN already owns the rights to these games.

      If ESPN acquiesces to a new ACC network, I have to believe it wouldn’t be broadcasting for at least another 2-3 years, if not longer, due to the set-up time and ESPN’s desire to ensure the success of its fledgling SECN. Also, I believe BTN operated in the red for the first couple of years, and if you assume the same for an ACC Network, that would extend the time table for getting paid anything from this network to 4-5 years, roughly 2017 or 2018 before ACC sees a dime and ESPN starts turning a profit Meanwhile, the upcoming ESPN/ACC deal runs out five years later in 2023.

      Another option for the ACC would be to purchase back some of their Tier 3 rights from ESPN, but that would be expensive and likely too risky for the ACC to handle alone.

      Like

      • Mike says:

        @Quacs – I expect the ACC to try and get a similar deal from ESPN that the SEC will get. The difference will be the SEC retains one football game for each team (typically the worst game on each teams schedule) so they will have some content to offer ESPN (in addition to what ESPN already has) for the SECN. ESPN can manage the risk and costs for an ACCN if it leverages the infrastructure it already has in place for the SECN. I wouldn’t be surprised to see ESPN “bundle” an ACCN and SECN in cable negotiations for operators in SEC/ACC markets to make sure both are profitable.

        Like

        • bullet says:

          ESPN already has these rights, so the ACC is delusional if they think they can make substantial money. How do you sell something you have already sold? Basically, they want to re-work the ESPN deal that they have already re-worked twice. Its odd that they are trying to do that now when they could have tried with either of the other two re-workings.

          The SEC not only added inventory (ACC already signed that over), they each had inventory the school owned that they are putting into the new venture. That comment about being reluctant with the SEC network to be sold in the same market makes sense. One will be difficult but has good potential. Trying to sell two makes the first more difficult.

          Like

        • Quacs says:

          Do you think SECN/Slive would allow SECN to be tethered to ACCN in network negotiations? I have to think the SECN, a more desirable network, would cede some money to the ACC (and in some markets risk not getting on basic cable) if bundled w/ ACCN. Perhaps they would allow this in ACC-only TV markets (VA, NC), but I have a hard time believing Slive would allow his network to be packaged with ACCN and accept a bundled discount in Texas, Florida, Georgia, etc.

          Like

          • Mike says:

            @Quacs –

            Do you think SECN/Slive would allow SECN to be tethered to ACCN in network negotiations?

            If the network takes shape like I expect it to (ESPN owned like the LHN) then I don’t think they’ll have a say. Its ESPN’s job to sell the network to the cable providers any way they see fit.

            I have to think the SECN, a more desirable network, would cede some money to the ACC (and in some markets risk not getting on basic cable) if bundled w/ ACCN.

            If you assume that the SECN will be more popular than the ACCN in areas where the ACC and SEC overlap, it would make sense for ESPN bundle the two networks together for carriage. Bundle doesn’t necessarily mean discount. If you want to buy one, you have to buy the other. I agree, the won’t be ACCN carriage in Texas anytime soon.

            Like

          • Mack says:

            What was referred to in the article was ESPN infrastructure. In effect, the ACC is saying that it will be cheap for ESPN to set up an ACC network because ESPN can leverage the studio, equipment, employees that will be used for the SEC network. No indication of ACC getting a cut of fees.

            Like

          • Quacs says:

            Bundling ACCN and SECN isn’t going to result in higher carriage fees for both if compared to what they may negotiate separately with the cable providers. The SECN will have a better chance of getting on basic cable by negotiating without an ACC bundle than with one.

            Again, I don’t know the structure of the SECN deal, but if it’s anything like BTN (and it may not be), then SEC will have an ownership stake in it. If they do, I have to believe they will be fighting like he!! to have their network negotiated separately from ACCN in ALL SEC markets.

            Like

          • Mike says:

            @Quacs –

            Again, I don’t know the structure of the SECN deal, but if it’s anything like BTN (and it may not be), then SEC will have an ownership stake in it.

            No one knows the structure of the deal because as far as I know it’s not done. I expect the SECN to follow the LHN model (ESPN owned, flat payments with profit sharing) because the two situations are similar. If it is, I would expect ESPN to launch a similarly modeled ACCN that shares the infrastructure with the SECN. If it isn’t LHN like, then the whole discussion is moot.

            Bundling ACCN and SECN isn’t going to result in higher carriage fees for both if compared to what they may negotiate separately with the cable providers.

            Even if there is a discount with bungling (which we don’t know will happen just like I don’t know there won’t be) the end game of ESPN owned networks like the LHN is to make ESPN money. If ESPN can make more money overall with a bundle then I would expect them to.

            What’s missing from the whole ACCN discussion (as bullet noted) is exactly what they’re going to give ESPN in exchange for any money from the ACCN.

            Like

        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          Mike & Quacs – the majority of the content for the SECN will come from the sub-licensed package with FSN and Comcast that expires after the 2013-14 seasons. That’s why the SECN will launch in August of 2014. ESPN will probably move some ESPNU content over to the SECN. I haven’t seen anything definitive regarding current Tier 3 content being added to the SECN, as each school has agreements that may extend past August 2014.

          Regarding the ACC, at the expiration of ESPN’s sub-licensing agreement with Raycom, ESPN could add more content to ESPNU or start an ACCN. ESPN could also move content from ESPN3 to ESPNU, once the SEC slots become available. Either way, that could increase the value of the ACC contract.

          Another thing to consider regarding the demise of the ACC. ESPN has a vested interest in seeing the ACC succeed, much more so than seeing the B1G or the B-12 steal members and show its games on FOX. I think ESPN shows more ACC content than any other conference. If and ACC school with value really gets antsy, I bet ESPN steps in and gives the ACC enough of a bump to calm the waters.

          Like

          • frug says:

            If and ACC school with value really gets antsy, I bet ESPN steps in and gives the ACC enough of a bump to calm the waters.

            If they were interested in calming the waters they wouldn’t have lowballed them when they renegotiated the deal last year. If they weren’t willing to bail the Big East then why would they do it for the ACC?

            Like

          • Quacs says:

            @ Alan, I understand ESPN wanting to maintain status quo vis a vis membership for ACC, but a small bump in the overall contract (spread out over 14-x members) isn’t going to dissuade the most valuable members from jumping if there’s a payday offered from another conference that doubles the future payouts of the ACC TV deal (assuming the targeted school is inclined to change conferences which isn’t necessarily a given). I don’t see ESPN being this “white knight” for ACC if there’s serious money on the table from someone else.

            Help me understand this Raycom structure, and how ACC could charge ESPN again for these rights. From the ACC’s press release on their new deal w/ ESPN:

            “Following are the key details of the new agreement:

            Football
            With exclusive rights to every conference-controlled football game, ESPN will serve as the national cable and broadcast TV home for the conference and distributor of syndication telecasts via an agreement with Raycom Sports. With the agreement granting rights to every matchup, there is flexibility where games can be distributed on a weekly basis throughout the season.”

            This sounds to me like ESPN has already paid for exclusive rights to “every conference-controlled football game”, so apart from a revenue share of carriage fees and ad dollars, how would ACC make more money?

            Like

          • Mike says:

            @Alan – If there’s a way for ESPN to make more money off of the ACC’s current ESPN3 and Raycom content by making an ACC channel than I think ESPN will use that content for the basis of the ACCN. How profitable it will be for the ACC is yet to be determined. Once we see what ESPN and the SEC agree to, it will be much easier to estimate what it will be from there. An ACCN showing profit potential for the ACC might just be the ‘bump’ from ESPN you refer to.

            Like

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            frug – as I stated above, the ACC provides more content to ESPN than any other conference. The ACC is also exclusive to ESPN. The B1G and the B-12 are shared with FOX. So far, only Maryland left and that move didn’t implode the ACC. With apologies to Vincent, the ACC arguably got a better football/basketball deal by replacing Maryland with Louisville. Now if UNC or Florida State really make noise about moving and it looks imminent (like the demise of the B-12 did prior to the LHN deal), I think its fair to assume that ESPN would step in at that point. There’s no reason to step in at any point before imminent demise. Why spend any more money if you don’t have to?

            Like

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Quacs said, “Help me understand this Raycom structure, and how ACC could charge ESPN again for these rights.”

            Since the ACC sold all its content to ESPN, ESPN doesn’t have enough windows to air that content. Once the Raycom agreement expires (I don’t know when that is), the success of the BTN, P12N, and the SECN may indicate that an ACCN is viable.

            Alternately, as I understand it , the ACC has a lot of content on the web-based ESPN3. Once the SECN is up and running, there should be several windows open on ESPNU that were once reserved for SEC content. The ACC could benefit by having ESPN move that content from ESPN3 to ESPNU. I would have to think that a window on a TV network is more valuable than a window on a webpage.

            The question is would ESPN share in the increased ad revenue produced by moving more ACC content to ESPNU, or keep it all and let the ACC blow up. Think of ESPN as an emergency room doctor. Its not their job to make you healthy, but to keep you from dying.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Well, first you are assuming paying more for the current 14.5 is cheaper and more profitable than paying more while getting half of the best of the group. Second, ESPN has to tread a fine line to avoid litigation and anti-trust issues. I don’t think they do anything.

            Like

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            bullet – ESPN saved your Big XII.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Let me say, I’m not convinced B1G or SEC expansion to 16 generates enough of a revenue bump to offset the headaches, unless, it involves knocking the remnants of the ACC down to the gang of 5. Big 12 could easily justify 12 and probably 14. 16 for them is very problematic.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Really it was more Fox. ESPN made promises of what they would do with the new contract. Fox paid up right away. ESPN kept the same deal for a couple of years, just recently renewing.

            Like

          • Quacs says:

            @Alan – I like the emergency room metaphor. Will it be too late if ESPN steps in after the ACC has already flatlined? After Maryland left, and with a new wave of expansion rumors swirling, why wouldn’t ESPN be acting to curtail any possible ACC departures right now? Instead the SBJ article states the ACC is hiring these consultants to make a case for a new ACCN. This isn’t being driven by ESPN.

            Also, If the SECN is being populated with previously unowned football content (as someone previously posted), then there are no “holes” created by the SEC in ESPN’s programming lineup. The current SEC content would remain where it is in ESPN’s schedule.

            I see the ACC having some tough sledding in trying to sell ESPN on giving them any more money on their current deal, and I think it may be difficult to convince ESPN to start a new, ground up ACCN without ceding most of the upside profit potential to ESPN.

            Like

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Quacs – here’s how the SEC package works.

            http://www.secdigitalnetwork.com/NEWS/tabid/473/Article/132060/unprecedented-espn-agreement.aspx

            All of the SEC content is sold to CBS, ESPN, or local Tier 3. ESPN bought more content than it can show on its various platforms, so ESPN has sub-licensed out certain SEC content to Comcast and FSN. The Comcast and FSN games, once their contracts expire at the end of the 2013-14 seasons, will be the foundation for the new SECN. While I don’t have any verification, it is reasonable to believe that ESPN would also move some SEC games previously designated for viewing on ESPNU to the SECN, in order to make it more desirable to cable providers. Movement of SEC content from ESPNU to the SECN would create windows in ESPNU’s programming that could be filled with ACC content currently shown on ESPN3.

            Like

          • frug says:

            @Alan

            I’m pretty sure the Raycom doesn’t expire for at least another 10 years (the length of the original ESPN deal). The ACC made partnering with a Raycom a condition for perspective media partners when they signed the last media deal and it caused Fox to drop out of the bidding.

            Really, the Raycom requirement is what led to the ACC getting a such an awful deal in the first place.

            Like

          • Quacs says:

            So, in essence, ESPN is setting up a new channel to broadcast already owned rights to SEC sporting events. A couple of questions:

            1. Will the SEC have any ownership stake in the new network? If so, how much (or are we waiting to hear this from Slive/ESPN)?
            2. Does the SEC share in the cost of getting the new network up and running?
            3. Will the SEC provide the new network with existing Tier 3 football content?

            I would assume the answers to these questions will dictate the likely payout the SEC (and ACC for that matter) can negotiate with ESPN. If all SEC teams keep their own Tier 3 content, the same question I have with the ACC Network would go for SECN: why would ESPN pay either conference more for content they already own?

            Like

          • @Quacs – The terms of ESPN’s agreements with the SEC and ACC likely have provisions about what ESPN can actually do with its low tier 2/tier 3 content that it owns. In fact, there’s likely language that states that the parties CANNOT start networks, as much of the value of the current SEC contract (which was the largest for any conference at the time that it was signed) was explicitly to prevent another BTN-type network. So, if ESPN wants to start an SEC Network, it can’t just take the lower tier content that it owns without altering the terms of its deal with the SEC. It’s the same thing for the ACC. As a result, there could be an incentive for ESPN to pay more to the SEC and ACC for new conference networks with content that ESPN technically owns at this point because (1) ESPN might not be able to use that content for conference networks under the terms of its SEC/ACC deals and (2) there might be enough money to be made in such conference networks that it’s worth it to pay the SEC and ACC to alter their contract terms.

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          • ccrider55 says:

            Frug:

            Perhaps they were setting the BE bar low (did they over do that?). Now that the BE is worth far less does ESPN now have an even greater interest in the ACC?

            Like

          • bullet says:

            The discussions I’ve seen indicate the school owned rights were being thrown in. It was taking time since they had to buy some of them out. Its not clear who owned the extra Missouri/A&M content. If the SEC, that is additional content. The plan is for a shared ownership, similar to the BTN. So both sides are throwing in additional content.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            So that is what makes the SEC deal much different than the ACC. The SEC owns Tier III and is throwing it into the pot. The ACC has already sold theirs.

            Like

          • Mike says:

            @Quacs –


            1. Will the SEC have any ownership stake in the new network? If so, how much (or are we waiting to hear this from Slive/ESPN)?

            IMHO – The most they will be a minority partner. I would be surprised if they end up with any ownership since their situation is very similar to the one Texas was in when they proposed the LHN. I don’t see the SEC using the PAC12 model.


            2. Does the SEC share in the cost of getting the new network up and running?

            I don’t think they will in any situation.


            3. Will the SEC provide the new network with existing Tier 3 football content?

            The SEC should turn over all available content to the SECN since the more content it has the more successful it will be. Unless there is a contract too prohibitive to buy out (say Florida’s with Sun Sports) expect the SECN to have first dibs on all tier three content.

            Like

          • Quacs says:

            @bullet – that makes sense. There’s no way ESPN would just give away their rights to the group they just bought them from. Both parties contribute content, both parties own a share, and both parties share in the profit. The SECN in this form makes a lot of sense.

            It also means the SEC, with an ownership share in this new SECN, will likely fight tooth and nail to make sure it’s not yoked together with an ACCN when negotiating carriage fees in SEC territory, and would not share “established infrastructure” with ACC. Slive’s not about to give charity to ACC, especially at the expense of his fledgling network.

            There’s no reason for ESPN to give away an ownership share in an ACC Network to any entity that doesn’t buy in. I suppose the ACC could contribute, but there would have to be a LOT more trust established among the ACC schools before they spend their own cash on a new network of schools rumored to be going elsewhere.

            Like

          • bamatab says:

            As bullet stated, the SEC owns its 3rd tier rights, which the ACC doesn’t. Also the SEC could potentially own the new content add by the additions of aTm & Mizzou (depending on how the language of the original ESPN contract, but I can’t imagine that ESPN would own content that was in existance back then). Now how they are able to use that content and any other leverage to gain ownership into the SECN remains to be seen. But with that said, I believe the SEC will get a certain percentage of the ownership.

            The difference with the ACC is that they do not own any of their (outside of the few games added by ND). The ACC’s 3rd tier rights were farmed out by ESPN to Raycom (supposedly at the ACC’s request as part of the negotiations). They don’t have near the negotiating leverage that the SEC has. Plus I don’t see enough fan interest from the majority of the ACC schools for ESPN to even risk starting an ACCN (especially with the intial trouble they are having with the LHN), but who knows. The ACC hasn’t even talked to ESPN yet. I’d bet my bottom dollar that Slive will not go along with being tied to the ACCN and any type of coverage packaging.

            Like

          • m (Ag) says:

            The story (around last summer maybe?) was that ESPN and SEC have been going around buying back the tier 3 rights from local channels to start the SECN in fall 2014. I believe that date was cited because that’s when the ESPN sub-licenses to FSN and the other cable channel originally expired . This was in some articles that I’m sure were linked to here.

            A month or so ago there was a few other articles that said an announcement would be made early this year (like around now, maybe). Some sports journalists interpreted that as saying the SECN would be up and running by next football season, though I haven’t seen anyone cite an insider that gave them that belief.

            The announcement may just be that all the negotiations have been finalized (both between ESPN & the SEC as well as those 2 parties and all the stations that bought tier 3 rights) and the channel will indeed start in a year and a half.

            Like

          • BruceMcF says:

            @bamatab ~ if the tier 1 and tier 2 rights specify a certain number of conference games that the rights holder can pick, then expansion would indeed increase the number of games falling under tier 3 rights.

            Like

    • Andy says:

      remember when a bunch of you were telling me that the SEC couldn’t set up an SEC Network, and I insisted that they could and would. yeah, those were the days.

      Like

      • ccrider55 says:

        They were saying, to the many who disagreed, they didn’t think they could. Your position (mine as well) had nothing to do with it, nor made it either a more or less viable proposition.

        Like

        • Andy says:

          my position was based on the fact that when the SEC was recruiting Missouri for membership, a centerpiece of their sales pitch was the SEC network, and it was also used as the sales pitch to SEC members as to why expansion was a good idea. Considering that, it would be kind of strange if it didn’t happen. But many on here would hear nothing of it.

          Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Andy:

            Whether it was your position or Elmer Fudd’s is immaterial to the argument. Everything isn’t personal. I shared the belief an SECN was probable, almost anything is if it has considerable potential value. I didn’t/don’t feel belittled by disagreement. I personally wonder at all the conferences helping sponsor more new ESPN (or other) channels. P12N seems the best model to me. I could be right or terribly wrong. Either way my opinion has no bearing on the outcome.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            The fact that it still hasn’t closed, even though Slive has been openly talking about it at least since summer, indicates how difficult it is. I didn’t think it would happen until the UGA and UF ADs or Presidents said they favored it. That indicated the economics worked well for the power teams, not just the Vanderbilts.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            ccrider, it wouldn’t be personal at all except a got lot of crap on here over the years even though I’ve been proven right about 85% of the time, so I’m cashing in another I-told-you so. Sue me.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Andy:

            You are the only one that can make it personal, or not, by how you take disagreement.

            I’m right most of the time, too…in my mind.

            Why would I sue? We were in agreement about the issue. Congrats on your “win”.

            Like

          • Andy says:

            ok, so I’m dealing with a turbodork. No, I didn’t literally think you were going to sue me. It’s an expression. It means “yeah, so? what are you going to do about it”, or maybe more specifically “mind your own business, I’ll do what I want.”

            I don’t follow you too closely, so I don’t know what conversations you were or weren’t part of. I’ll just say that there’s a not-short list of poster on here, some of whom post on here several times per day to this day, who used to give me a ton of crap on a regular basis, claiming I was wrong all the time when in fact I rarely was.

            Some of them gave me a whole lot of crap about this particular item. So now that it’s proven that I was right all along you bet your ass I’m going ot say I told you so. And I’m going to enjoy it.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            I’ll just leave you with this. My contention that the SECN would likely happen was born out, too. No need for anything else to be said. And I hope those who had a different opinion think no more or less of me than they did before (if they have an opinion of me at all). Bye

            Like

          • Andy says:

            you and I are definitely coming from different places on this because we had different experiences on this forum related to this topic, and we will consequentially have different feelings about it. I don’t expect you to feel the way I do about it, and you shouldn’t expect me to feel the way you do.

            Like

      • Nostradamus says:

        No Andy you are changing the goalposts here a bit. You were contending 1) that the SEC could create an SEC network and 2) that the SEC could entirely reopen its existing television contracts merely by expanding. Both of which I’d still contend are incorrect.

        What people told you then and what I’d tell you know is that the SEC is still under contract with CBS and ESPN. If ESPN feels it is more profitable for them to do a network they’ll do it. That said, with the SEC still being under contract for another 9 or so years ESPN has a tremendous amount of leverage in this situation. It isn’t the same as the Big Ten or Pac-12 choosing to start networks on the open market.

        Like

        • Andy says:

          actually I never argued #2. You argued that #2 would be necessary for #1 to happen. I said that wasn’t the case. I did say that the contract would have to be altered to account for the new additions, which turned out to be true.

          Not sure why you’re saying #1 isn’t happening. I guess you’re just stubborn.

          There will be an SEC network and it will make the SEC an awful lot of money. Whatever technicalities you are clinging to are irrelevant.

          Like

          • GreatLakeState says:

            All anyone ever said was that their wouldn’t be an SEC network if ESPN didn’t want there to be one. Their current contract gave ESPN the final say. I’d be interested if you could find ONE comment by anyone claiming that an SEC network was a non-starter or unfeasible.

            Like

          • bamatab says:

            @ GreatLakeState – There were several on here that stated basically that there was no way ESPN would allow a SECN to be established based on the view of the original contract being “overpriced” in order to keep an SECN from being established, like what Eric stated below (kudos to him for admitting it btw). But that was the view of quite a few on here back when the aTm move to the SEC was still a rumor.

            Like

          • Nostradamus says:

            @bamatab,

            I think that was more in response to people saying Slive suddenly had carte blanche on everything (The SEC is starting their own network, the existing ESPN/CBS contracts are going to be torn up, etc) by adding two upper-middle Big XII teams despite the fact he is locked into decade plus contracts.

            “ESPN would allow a SECN to be established based on the view of the original contract being “overpriced” in order to keep an SECN from being established,”

            ESPN paid a premium to keep to keep the SEC from starting a network. That is a pretty well documented “fact.” It seems highly foolish that the SEC would have an automatic out of that by expanding. Those three sentences of course don’t mean an SEC network is impossible.

            It just means anything here is going to have to go through ESPN and ultimately they’ll have the decision on whether or not something is a go or not. That also likely means ESPN has leverage to dictate terms like a significant equity stake in the network and or an extension of their existing SEC deal to get this done.

            All I was saying before is, if the SEC is as undervalued as many think it is, ESPN might say screw a network, do what is minimally contractually obligated by adding A&M and Mizzou and keep the higher profit margins through 2024. If they want to book more revenue, the network is the obvious solution.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Do we know exactly how ESPN overplayed in order to prevent a SECN? Could they simply have agreed to purchase X number of games per year leaving behind only 12 tier 3 games (one for each conf member at the contract signing)? If that’s the case then all the aTm and MO home games more than double the unpurchased content. ESPN may need to renegotiate what they already purchased due to the increase in tier 1 and 2 content, unless they would prefer to leave all of aTm and MO’s games unclaimed.

            Like

          • Nostradamus says:

            I think the contract was certainly valued by ESPN at $X per game. However I don’t think any contract from a network’s perspective is going to leave future games unclaimed, especially when you are the 2nd and or 3rd tier rights holder. If you outbidded Fox for the ACC like ESPN did, are you going to leave a loophole that would allow potential future inventory to hit the open market? There is no way those games were “unclaimed.”

            I’m sure the ESPN deal with the SEC has provisions on how expansion will be dealt with. The Conference-USA/ESPN contract that become public record as part of the lawsuit said ESPN had to negotiate in good faith over compensation for expansion. The SEC probably has a little more negotiating power than that, and it has been reported they have arbitration.

            We’ll see what happens, but I still have a hard time seeing how adding two teams turns $17 million for 12 into $25 million for 14 without a contract extension (basically ushering in a new deal like the ACC did). That implies Missouri and A&M magically added $146 million a year in value to ESPN and CBS pre SEC network.

            Like

      • wmwolverine says:

        Some of us agreed with you, expansion added ‘inventory’ that ESPN, CBS didn’t own which allowed for these SECN games to have a home.

        Like

        • Nostradamus says:

          @wmwolverine,

          I still contend that the added inventory was and is controlled by ESPN by default. In a primary and secondary rights situation like the SEC has, ESPN was paying for everything not covered by CBS minus the individual games retained by the schools for 3rd tier. The ESPN contract would’ve contained provisions saying any expansion games are ours, but we’ll compensate you for them.

          Like

      • Eric says:

        I figured there wouldn’t be one simply because that was the reason for ESPN “overpaying” (values have gone up a lot since then) to prevent the SEC going that route. I’m still not sure what it will take for them to do it though.

        Like

        • Nostradamus says:

          “I’m still not sure what it will take for them to do it though.”

          Slive can present a fairly compelling case to ESPN that the World Wide Leader could be making a lot more money on the syndicated inventory by putting it towards a dedicated SEC Network. ESPN still has a tremendous amount of leverage though as anything other than the 12 school controlled games, assorted basketball games, etc. belongs to them right now. If I were ESPN, I’d seek a majority stake in the network, and an extension on the syndicated inventory if not the entire SEC ESPN package.

          Like

    • Andy says:

      Sounds like they’re going for that Pac 12 invite.

      Like

      • Yes, if UNLV can up the ante a bit on academics, they’re in the most important market in the Pacific Time Zone that the Pac-12 doesn’t cover (if you grant that USC and UCLA already cover all of Southern California, including San Diego).

        I’d love to see that type of stadium in Vegas, although it would seem that a top tier basketball arena that’s acceptable to the NBA may make more sense financially. I’m fairly convinced that the NBA would be more than willing to set up shop in Las Vegas with the right facility in place (and that would be a *great* fit for that town, whereas the NFL still has a wacky denial of the existence of gambling despite openly encouraging fantasy leagues and having injury report requirements that specifically are geared toward gamblers.

        Like

      • Richard says:

        Yes, UNLV wants in, but they’re still essentially a commuter school that isn’t far from community college levels. I don’t see the Pac taking them any time soon.

        Only if the Pac loses out on Texas to the SEC in the Battle of Texas a decade from now will will they consider UNLV (and UNM?)

        Like

        • wmwolverine says:

          Really can’t see UNLV or Boise making the ‘grade’ academically, neither are even close to the worst Pac 12 schools. Both would be good fits if not for the academics.

          Like

          • bullet says:

            Neither draws enough fans. Boise averaged 33k and UNLV 20k over the last 4 years. Only WSU is below 40k.

            Like

          • cfn_ms says:

            Actually both would be poor fits were it not for the academics. Poor markets, small fanbases, lousy recruiting (especially Idaho)… basically there’s almost NOTHING positive for either program to slap on a Pac-12 application. Boise has recent (and really ONLY recent; prior to 2006 they were nothing special) football success, and UNLV has a halfway decent market.

            And that’s without considering that the Pac-12 has unique issues that inherently make expansion difficult. The main one being LA access, as EVERYONE wants as many LA games as possible, and every new school you add means fewer LA games for someone, possibly everyone (depending how the next scheduling structure would work out).

            The secondary issue is that the geographic distribution of the Pac-12 is kind of weird. Currently there are 6 relatively local pairs of 2 schools, that can also logically be grouped in 3 pods of 4 regional schools (Northwest, California, “Mountain/Desert” [or whatever you'd call AZ/CO/UT] ). That geographic distribution is part of why they division setup is the way it is (keeping all 3 pods together for annual games even in a 2 division setup).

            That kind of structure really doesn’t work if you slap on 2 extra teams, really in almost any format. So you’d have to do something more complicated, more awkward, or both. It’s a pretty messy way to do it, even without dealing with the LA access issue (which continues to be a big deal). So unless there’s a slam-dunk addition, or the league REALLY wants to expand for expansion’s sake (which is a big part of the Utah addition, since 12 games + CCG was valuable for its own sake, but that’s really the only point where a 12th member adds value just for being a 12th member)… then it’s just not going to happen. Much less for a pair of schools who are actually BELOW the average in almost every way.

            Like

        • BruceMcF says:

          And then only if new rules written to accomodate the larger Big Ten and SEC make expansion for the sake of it worthwhile. Under the current rules, there is no absolutely no incentive to expand beyond 12 just for the sake of expansion.

          Like

          • Andy says:

            Unless you can make a lot of money by doing it, which the Pac 12 could not without raiding the Big 12.

            Like

          • BruceMcF says:

            But expanding for the sake of more money per school is not “expansion for the sake of expansion”, its expansion in pursuit of money.

            Like

  40. Andy says:

    Las Vegas Invitation basketball tournament next thanksgiving. Anybody heard who’s in it? One of the mu coaches said Missouri will be in it next year. I’m wondering who we’ll play. Participants over the last three years have included North Carolina, Arizona, Kansas, Wisconsin, Arkansas, South Carolina, USC, Arizona State, UNLV, Creighton. So presumably by rule none of those schools will be in it.

    Like

  41. Eric says:

    If the conference doesn’t go east-west and they are going to rename the divisions, who thinks the original place holder might be ideal.

    Division X and Division O

    I always liked Great Lakes/Great Plains, but they’d probably throw that out with the 2 new east coast schools and it doesn’t sound like they’d use an individual names.

    Like

    • Richard says:

      For 18 schools, I thought of Lakes and Rivers.

      Actually, for 18 schools, they could split in to the “Western” and “Big Nine” divisions.

      Like

    • Transic says:

      It’s just shocking the decline in states like Pennsylvania. New Jersey also didn’t fare so well. Mississippi surprised me a bit. I thought the poverty there would be a greater motivator for sports participation. No wonder schools like UT and UF jealously guard their turfs. Schools elsewhere don’t even bother cultivating in their home states and, instead, keep leeching off the 3 or so states that are churning up athletes. This has greatly affected realignment as well.

      I look at a state like Virginia and I wonder when the B1G would finally make its move for a school there before either Swoffy pulls off a miracle or the SEC checkmates Delany by taking the more-coveted schools.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        Mississippi is a low-population state. Their per capita numbers are as good as anyone’s (better than TX’s and definitely better than CA’s), but you’re just not going to produce massive numbes of football players if you only have a few million people.

        Like

      • Richard says:

        Also, what you say is true of the schools on the West Coast and Great Plains (who depend heavily on talent from CA and TX, respectively, but the schools in the east are mostly in-state kids supplemented with talent from the 3 hot beds. For example, OSU under Tressel and Cooper was overwhelmingly OH kids with a few supplements from FL, TX, and elsewhere. Michigan under Carr and now under Hoke is/was overwhelmingly Midwestern kids with a few recruits from elsewhere. The weakest recruiting classes Michigan has had in recent times was, ironically, when RichRod deviated from that philosophy and ignored MI kids to chase recruits in Sun Belt states.

        Like

      • Brian says:

        Transic,

        The numbers are highly skewed by which teams happened to be in the top 20 in those particular years. OSU was in 3of the 4 for the early map, but only 2 of 4 for the later map, for example. Thus, OH dropped considerably.

        Like

  42. GreatLakeState says:

    Since I believe they’ll end up with two divisions of ten, I would name them BTE (Big Ten East) (Big Ten West). In the meantime, just East and West.

    Like

    • Mack says:

      If the B1G grows to 19 or more the best division names are B10 and B9. Put everyone in the conference before 1960 in the B10 division with the rest in the B9 division. At that size with the current NCAA rules it would be 2 conferences joined by a CCG (and BTN) in football.

      Like

      • vp19 says:

        That’s essentially inner-outer, with Nebraska on a western island.

        Like

      • metatron says:

        Then what’s the damn point?

        Like

        • BruceMcF says:

          The point is a vague notion of chasing cable TV money that may not, in fact, be there any more by the time that the end point is reached.

          Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            The notion is to chase the dollars live sports attract (and it’s not vague). Cable, broadcast, Internet, future yet to be imagined delivery system, whatever, are simply the conduit. The value is in the product, the delivery system is like asking whether you accept cash, Visa, MasterCard, etc.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            But the economics may change. You may not have the fixed .70/cable subscriber in your territory.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            So, we should be concerned about a theoretically possibility, that so far there is only evidence to the contrary?

            Like

          • frug says:

            @ccrider

            So, we should be concerned about a theoretically possibility, that so far there is only evidence to the contrary?

            That’s what they said about the housing market circa 2006.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Frug:

            I understand that. Many things go through boom and bust cycles. Has the market for live sports ever done anything but rise? Sometimes faster, sometimes slower, but no busts so far.

            Like