A TV Network Killed the Big East (and It’s Not the One in Bristol)

Posted: February 11, 2013 in Big East, Big Ten, College Basketball, College Football, DePaul Blue Demons, Sports
Tags: , , , ,

Brett McMurphy and Andy Katz of ESPN.com have reported that NBC has verbally offered the remnants of the Big East between $20 million and $23 million per year for six years for the conference’s TV rights for all sports (including both football and basketball).  That would be approximately $2 million per year for each school in the league.  By way of comparison, each individual school in the Big Ten, SEC, Pac-12 and Big 12 (and depending upon who you talk to, soon the ACC) will make about as much TV money on its own annually than the entire Big East conference.  This is the latest news in the stunning decimation of the Big East since the league rejected an offer from ESPN two years ago worth an average of $130 million per year.  During that time frame, the Big East has lost 5 football members that have actually played in the league (Pittsburgh, Syracuse, West Virginia, Rutgers and Louisville), 8 non-football members (Notre Dame, Georgetown, Villanova, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Providence, DePaul and Marquette) and 2 3 schools that defected before they even played a down of Big East football (TCU, Boise State and San Diego State).  In the middle of that process, the conference also lost its place in the college football postseason structure, where it failed to secure a “Contract Bowl” slot (with its former BCS AQ counterparts Big Ten, SEC, Pac-12, Big 12 and ACC) and is now part of the “Gang of Five” non-power conference group (with the MAC, Conference USA, Mountain West Conference and Sun Belt as new counterparts).  The Big East made a huge gamble in taking its sports rights to the open market when it turned down that lucrative ESPN offer and even the largest conference naysayers couldn’t have predicted how badly that decision would backfire.

The argument that ESPN systemically devalued the Big East to the point where it was effectively destroyed is taken as gospel by many Big East partisans.  It started back in October 2011 with a quote from the then-AD at Boston College stating that ESPN “told [the ACC] what to do” in the wake of Pitt and Syracuse defecting to the ACC.  This line of thinking then continued on as the Big East lost more access in the new college football playoff system than any other conference (in fact, they’re likely going to be the only league that will end up making less money in the new format than it does in the current BCS system) and then suffered a literal avalanche of defections in the past 5 months.

However, it wasn’t the Bristol-based network that effectively killed off the Big East as we once knew it.  Instead, Fox, in its pursuit of becoming the main competitor to ESPN in US sports television, ended up pulling the trigger.  Consider two critical moves:

(1) Big Ten expands with Maryland and Rutgers – When the Big Ten added Maryland from the ACC and Rutgers from the Big East, Jim Delany wasn’t looking to aid its first tier national TV slate that’s being shown on the Disney networks of ABC and ESPN (unlike the addition of Nebraska in 2010).  Instead, the main beneficiary from this expansion was Fox, which is 51% owner of the Big Ten Network (BTN), since it now has an argument that the network should be carried on basic cable in the New York City and Washington, DC markets.  If anything, this move was terrible for ESPN since it makes Fox/BTN much stronger on the East Coast and took away schools from the two main conferences – the ACC and Big East – in which the Worldwide Leader owns all tiers of conference multimedia rights.  Without Fox and the BTN, the Big Ten doesn’t take Rutgers directly from the Big East or indirectly causing Louisville to defect (since the ACC replaced Maryland with the Cardinals).  The Big East still had the ability to survive as a viable football conference with Louisville and Rutgers in the fold, but once they were gone, Boise State (and subsequently San Diego State) didn’t believe that they would receive enough TV money to justify being complete western geographic outliers.

(2) Catholic 7 leave the Big East… because Fox convinced them to do so – A few weeks after the Rutgers and Louisville defections, the 7 remaining Catholic non-football schools (DePaul, Georgetown, Villanova, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Providence and Marquette) decided to split off from the Big East’s football members in order to form a new league (hereinafter called the “Catholic 7″).  Multiple reports from both ESPN (including the McMurphy/Katz report linked above) and Sports Illustrated have stated that Fox is the leading suitor for the rights to the new Catholic 7 league with offers of between $30 million and $40 million per year depending upon whether it has 10 or 12 schools.  That represents the Catholic 7 making around $3 million per year for basketball rights, which is more than the NBC offer to the Big East of $2 million per year for both basketball and football.

I’ve previously set forth reasons why the Catholic 7 would be more valuable than the new Big East even when they don’t offer any football (namely that football in and of itself isn’t what’s driving value and the Catholic 7 brand names and markets are much stronger top-to-bottom in order to garner a premium).  Even if you don’t want to believe that’s the case in terms of comparing the inherent values of the Catholic 7 versus the Big East, a Tweet from Brett McMurphy on Saturday should put this into clearer focus:

Do you see what occurred here if this is true?  Fox approached the Catholic 7 before they split off, which means it’s not so crazy to believe that Fox wanted them to split off.  So, if you believe that Fox is overpaying for the Catholic 7, then you might be right.  However, the point is that Fox needed to overpay the Catholic 7 in order to serve as a catalyst for them to split off.  If Fox just merely offered “fair market value” to the Catholic 7, then they likely would have stayed in the hybrid.  (Anyone that thought that the Catholic 7 would have split off without the knowledge that they’d be getting paid more compared to staying in the hybrid Big East isn’t thinking straight.)  There needed to be an extraordinary financial windfall from Fox in order for the Catholic 7 to take the extraordinary step of splitting off from the Big East football schools.  As a result, it’s almost pointless to try to compare the on-the-court basketball quality of the Catholic 7 versus the New Big East.  The amounts that are being offered by Fox to the Catholic 7 reflect a “blood money” premium offer that they couldn’t refuse, whereas the Big East isn’t going to garner any premium at all and will be subject to the “normal” market forces in play.

That leads to a corresponding question: why would Fox do this?  Why would it want to pay this much for the Catholic 7 instead of, say, simply bidding for the entire hybrid Big East?  Well, let’s take a step back and examine what Fox actually needs in terms of sports content.  The reality is that Fox (and when I say “Fox”, I really mean its new cable networks Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 as opposed to over-the-air Fox) already has a fairly full sports slate in the fall with Major League Baseball, NASCAR, Pac-12 football and Big 12 football rights.  As a result, they don’t have much of a need for other college football games.  The biggest programming gap that Fox has right now is during the winter, where its cable networks are pretty much wide open outside of some Pac-12 basketball rights.

I’ll put on my own tinfoil hat here, where my semi-educated guess is that Fox: (a) no longer had much interest in the New Big East football product after Rutgers and Louisville left, (b) still had interest in the Big East’s basketball product in order to provide winter programming and (c) didn’t want to get into a bidding war with NBC and/or ESPN to buy a Big East package for both basketball and football when all it really wanted was basketball.  As a result, Fox went straight to the Catholic 7 (who represented most of the schools that they wanted to showcase for basketball, anyway) and offered up enough money that would simultaneously be a financial boon to those schools while allowing the cable network operation to save money compared to a competitive bidding situation for the all-sports hybrid Big East rights.  It’s the very essence of a “win-win” for both the Catholic 7 and Fox here.

Meanwhile, the Big East has been left with only one legit suitor with NBC since Fox obviously has no interest (seeing that it made an offer to the Catholic 7 to split up the league), CBS has little funding for its fledgling CBS Sports Network and ESPN has had lukewarm feelings toward the league.  Without a bidding war, the already thrifty Comcast/NBC organization zero incentive to drive up the price of the Big East on its own, so this very low offer reflects that reality.  Either NBC takes the Big East rights or ESPN comes in to match it with its right of first of refusal (which the McMurphy/Katz article notes that the Worldwide Leader has), but there’s no other potential fountain of cash out there.

Sometimes, it’s not quite as simple as saying “UConn is a much better basketball program than DePaul, therefore, UConn should get paid more than DePaul”.  Timing matters in conference realignment and TV contracts, so in this case, Fox had a specific need in a situation where the Catholic 7 was in the right place at the right time.  Granted, that’s no consolation for the fans of schools that are left in the Big East and who may need to start hanging up pictures of Rupert Murdoch on their dartboards instead of Mickey Mouse.

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

(Image from Blackhawks DL)

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Comments
  1. jtower says:

    Hook ‘em

  2. Kevin says:

    Go BLUE!

  3. Carl says:

    Luv ya Lions!

  4. bullet says:

    It isn’t “overpaying” if they are making money on it.

    • @bullet – Yes, that’s very true. Fox could very well make money on the deal (or at least justify it in the event that Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 end up with the basic cable carriage that they’re looking for). I think the overall idea is that it was going to take a large amount to cajole a group from the status quo position.

    • BruceMcF says:

      Precisely ~ there is a difference between “fair market value” in the sense of $1 more than the second highest bid and “fair market value” in the sense of a fair share of the advertising and cable rights market value of the content. That is, “fair” as in “value in a fair rights market auction” versus “fair” as in “a fair share of prospective rights revenue”.

      Consider ESPN’s $130m offer for the current Big East. At 30% of the value for BBall, that places a value of $40m for current Big East Basketball. And that was the maximum “contract share” promised in the deal with Boise State, but arguably. Given the imbalance between strength of Big East Football and Basketball, Basketball could well have been 35% to 40% of the prospective revenues driving that bid, which would price Big East basketball including Rutgers (market) and Louisville (brand) at $45m-$50m.

      So $30m-$40m as a fair market value for the Basketball rights of the C7 subtract Rutgers, Louisville, UConn and UC but plus some more of the cream of non-football Division 1 seems quite reasonable.

      As the post says, its paying more than one would have to bid of the league already existed, but if Fox wanted the league to exist in the first place, they had to pay a “fair share of prospective revenues” value, rather than a “competitive market value in an auction market”

  5. kylepitt says:

    3 than never played a down: TCU was supposed to go as well.

    • Nathan says:

      Yup. What a bloodbath!

    • frug says:

      That was my first thought, but TCU may have bolted before the Big East turned down the ESPN deal. I don’t remember the exact dates.

    • Oh man, I can’t believe that I forgot to include them! “TCU to the Big East” was something that I advocated for a long time while they were in the MWC. I’ll update that pronto.

      • bullet says:

        I was thinking you missed them but wasn’t sure of the dates. How can you forget the conference killers? Darrell Royal once said of TCU after an upset loss, “They’re like cockroaches. Its not what they pick up and carry off. Its what they fall into and mess up.”

        The conferences they have fallen into:
        RIP TIAA
        RIP SWC
        RIP WAC
        CUSA shadow of its former self (only UAB and USM charter members)
        Big East shadow of its former self (only UConn long time member and not for football)
        The MWC would join that list, but TCU joined the Big East and jinxed it, sending Boise and SDSU back to the MWC. Still they lost BYU and Utah.

        • BruceMcF says:

          Which reminds me that given the TV offer, the NuBigEast might think about their basketball standing and number of Big Dance appearances, and be better off with Southern Miss (current Sagarin BBall 50th at 80.77, about the same as the average ranking of the Pac-12 and Mountain West and higher than the #7 SEC, #8 A-10 or #9 Missouri Valley) rather than Tulsa (current Sagarin BBall 160th at 73.32, which is dragging down the average of #11 Conference-USA)

          • bullet says:

            Historically, Tulsa has a much stronger basketball program even if that’s not true at the moment.

          • BruceMcF says:

            Is that only stronger than they are at present, or generally stronger than Southern Miss / Middle Tennessee over the past decade?

          • bullet says:

            Tulsa has generally been stronger than USM in basketball over the last 20 years, if not always. USM has only been to the tourney 3 times and hasn’t won a game. Tulsa has been there 14 times.

          • BruceMcF says:

            Ah, and I see they had one run to the regional finals. 12-14 in NCAA tournament appearances, 11-8 in the past twenty years looks a lot better than their more recent rankings ~ its just that the most recent of those appearances was 2002.

            Well, that puts a better spin on their bid.

        • Biological Imperiative says:

          of course the only person still active in College Athletics that was involved in the death of the SWC and collaterally the WAC. is UT’s Deloss Dodd. You may want to check for his fingerprints on all of those as well.

          • m (Ag) says:

            Dan Beebe (who investigated SMU, which many believe was the downfall of the SWC) has a nifty twitter account in his name!

  6. greg says:

    Go Hawks!!!

  7. vp19 says:

    For now, Connecticut is the biggest loser, diminishing from a multiple national basketball champion and BCS bowl participant to a member of a league of also-rans. The ACC won’t take Storrs until it needs it (probably alongside Cincinnati)…although if the Big 12 was sufficiently Machiavellian, it might pursue the two UCs, if only to destabilize the ACC by depriving it of the two programs it would need if replenishment was required. In a scenario where Virginia and Georgia Tech go to the Big Ten, the ACC would be stuck at 12 — and if the Big 12 then successfully wooed Florida State and Clemson, it would dwindle to 10 for football, lose its CCG and look a lot less attractive to Notre Dame.

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      <em… if the Big 12 was sufficiently Machiavellian, it might pursue the two UCs, if only to destabilize the ACC by depriving it of the two programs it would need if replenishment was required….

      There’s Machiavellian, and then there’s foolish. Taking the two UCs would cost the Big XII too much money, for too little value. If the ACC is unstable enough to lose Virginia and GT, then the Big XII can probably hook FSU and Clemson without taking on two extra schools that it clearly doesn’t need.

      the ACC would be stuck at 12 — and if the Big 12 then successfully wooed Florida State and Clemson, it would dwindle to 10 for football, lose its CCG and look a lot less attractive to Notre Dame.

      The ACC wouldn’t be stuck at 12; it would replenish, most likely with USF and one other school, such as Memphis or Navy. Notre Dame doesn’t care whether the ACC has 12 or 10 schools; it only cares if the ACC continues to have its bowl access.

      • wmwolverine says:

        FSU only wants to go to the Big XII unless it has ‘multiple’ partners, just Clemson probably doesn’t work YET as FSU prefers the B10/SEC. It sounds like FSU wants Miami, Clemson and one other ACC school.

        • BruceMcF says:

          Yes, this is why the Big12 is a “second mover”. All the schools that would be worth its while to add are not going to be going to the Big12 unless the ACC is destabilized. And the most worthwhile ones wouldn’t pick a Big12 invitation unless they are confident there is no BigTen and/or SEC (depending on school) invite coming.

          If the Big Ten or SEC moves, and then especially if the other moves, there will be opportunities, though the Big12 may still have to add four in order to construct a “Big14 East” that is preferable to sticking it out in a “New ACC” that bears a striking resemblance to the Old Big East.

    • The only fault with this is that UVA/VTech, Duke/UNC/NCState/WakeForest (UNC ‘owns’ NCState’s board) won’t move without one another–in some cases it requires state legislatures to approve it.

      I especially don’t see Tobacco Road leaving. UVA won’t leave without VTech (and vice versa), the only school that MIGHT leave is GTech and that’s only if they can realistically join UGA in the SEC.

      FSU might leave. Clemson I sincerely doubt, but it could.

      okay, big deal.

      USF, Cincy, UCF, Navy, ECU aren’t the best in the world but they’d be able to step up. UConn, on the other hand, will be a very, very, VERY last resort.

      • vp19 says:

        Virginia and North Carolina can probably move to the Big Ten with little difficulty if Virginia Tech and N.C. State move to the SEC simultaneously.

      • Kevin says:

        UVA will will not insist that VT comes with them. Just that they land safe. VT can go to SEC
        UNC will not insist that NC State come with them. Just that they land safe. NC State can go to SEC

        UNC WILL hwoever insist that Duke comes with them

        GT has no friends.

      • danallen2 says:

        Let me get this straight. USF, Cincy, USF, ECU and Navy can step up in conference. But UConn will be a very very very last resort. Is that what you’re saying?

        • Last resort for the ACC, yes, not the Big Least. They’ll be the flagbearers for the Big Least.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            I’m curious where you’re getting that from. The Louisville AD said that, before a last-minute switch was made, UConn was very close to getting the ACC invite after Maryland left. A number of ACC sources said that UConn and Cincy would probably get the next two bids.

          • danallen2 says:

            I think you flipped your wig.

  8. Blapples says:

    So the ACC has raided and pillaged five Big East schools (Miami, VaTech, BC, Syracuse, and Pitt) dating back to 2004, but the plucking of Rutgers by the B1G (which then allowed the ACC to take a sixth (!!) Big East team in Louisville) is seen as the catalyst that broke the conference’s ability to be a player in big boy football.

    Damn you, Delanyyyyyyyy!

    I know. Timing matters. Yada yada. But my god the ACC gets such a pass. Now, after being the biggest conference cannibal of the last decade, they get to play the poor victim card while mean ol’ Delany and Slive come together to discuss how best to carve up the most valuable parts of this conference.

    • vp19 says:

      It could have as easily gone in the other direction, had the Big East been more aggressive than the ACC. It could have wooed Clemson, Georgia Tech and Florida State as all-sports members in 2002 or so, joining a football conference that already had Miami, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Boston College, Rutgers and Temple. With Connecticut reaching I-A status, you would have had 12 football members and a CCG. Meanwhile, the ACC would have shrunk to six members and would have been the league forced to take in Conference USA emigres. There was going to be only one strong conference east of the Alleghenies.

      • Nathan says:

        Not “easily”. That was the problem with the hybrid structure to the old Big East. You couldn’t add any new teams without basically overloading the basketball side of things. And Clemson, GTech and FSU were not going to join as football only members. The Big East had no ability to grow.

    • Brian says:

      Blapples,

      “But my god the ACC gets such a pass.”

      You say that like killing the BE is a bad thing or the B10 is getting some horrible press for doing it.

      • Blapples says:

        Um, yea… Actually a lot of people are upset about the Big East being broken up (mostly Big East basketball fans), and the B1G, Delany in particular, is definitely being portrayed as a destroyer of college sports, long time conference rivalries, etc. in the quest to maximize profits.

        • Brian says:

          I haven’t heard a peep from anyone. Have you heard it from anyone outside the northeast? It would be a bigger story if the ACC collapsed, but the BE has been seen as a dead conference walking for a long time.

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      @Blapples: So the ACC has raided and pillaged five Big East schools . . . .

      No, they haven’t. Conferences are voluntary membership organizations. The ACC had a better product at the time (and still does), and those schools took advantage of it.

      Assuming you believe in capitalism, that is how it should work. Failed conferences (like the Big East) ought to pay a market penalty for their errors, and successful ones ought to reap the benefits.

  9. MHVer3 reporting tonight that B1G will meet in April to vote on 2-6 more members (this comes from a source at OSU and a source at Penn State). If they go past 16, they go to 10 game schedule. UVA is a lock, at least right now. Believes this will open up Orange Bowl to renegotiation.

  10. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    GEAUX LSU Fightin’ Tigers!

    College Baseball starts Friday. My Tigers versus Vincent’s turtles.

  11. ZSchroeder says:

    I thought the Dude and MHVer3 may be the same guy.

  12. stuart says:

    Gotta love competition in the TV industry.

    If you think about it the BE schools all won … that is those who left the league. Louisville, Pitt, and Syracuse get somewhat more than the BE turned down. West Virginia, TCU, and especially Rutgers quite a bit more. And the C7 will double their revenue.

    The losers are three: USF, UConn, and Cincy.

    Two of them (USF and UConn) have terrible and stupid and way overpaid leadership, and the 3rd (Cincy) simply didn’t have enough time to get things together – they need another 5-10 years like Jurich had at Louisville.

    Good luck Bearcats, screw the other two. As for the BE, the rest are happy (LOL the newbees bought the Brooklyn Bridge)

    • BruceMcF says:

      How long have UConn and USF been playing Division 1 football again?

      I’m still hopeful that UC will get into the ACC. Sometime before August 15th, there will be some announced departures from the ACC (but perhaps not enough departures to make The Dude and MHVer truly happy) and the ACC will reload.

  13. stuart says:

    Forget, even Boise State came out better, pushed the MWC to rework their TV contract and their distributions, which while not FBS level, could easily double what the new Big East works out to for each school.

  14. stuart says:

    Reminds me of Danny Devitto in “Other Peoples Money” when he discovered this company that was worth more dead than alive (i.e., sold for scrap). That is the Big East

  15. ZSchroeder says:

    At Big East meeting in Dallas last month, a rumor was floated that the Catholic 7 would bring in UConn and Cinci in all sports other then football, then UConn and Cinci would place their football teams in the MWC.

    UConn came out and publicly denied the rumors, but now that it looks like UConn and Cinci will get no more then $2 million, and the Catholic 7 will get $3 million in TV revenue, why not explore that option? You would be in a better basketball conference that geographically makes more sense then the Big East now, and if you can make enough in the MWC just to pay the cost to travel, they would still make more then they would in the Big East. Likely the MWC could pry away Houston and SMU from the Big East if this happened, so you would then be in, by far, the best non auto birth playoff conference, and even if Houston and SMU don’t come along, the MWC would be equal at worst compared to the conference your leaving.

    This obviously would be beneficial to UConn and Cinci and in a vacuum great for the Catholic 7 (Classic East) which would be retaining the two best remaining teams from the Big East and for the MWC your adding two teams that have made it to BCS games and give you some exposure for your teams on the east coast. The problem I see is that if you want to build a stable league would you bring in two schools that will not be happy until they are in the ACC or another big conference? Do you want to deal with rumors that they are leaving each year? Would it be worth the temporary advantage?

    I think it could still be worth it. I think if you build your league in a way that UConn and Cinci make sense, but if they leave you don’t have to scramble to find new teams. If the Catholic 7 picked up 5 teams as is rumored to get to 12, then threw UConn and Cinci on top of that with the other university and your TV partner understanding that this is possibly only a temporary bonus and then when they leave we are still a tight 12, then it could possibly work.

    http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/blog/eye-on-college-football/21540637/cincinnati-uconn-caught-between-big-east-catholic-7-mountain-west

    • frug says:

      The biggest advantage of bringing along UConn and Cincy is that it would give the C7 the 2 FB votes they need to actually dissolve the Big East. That would allow them to leave whenever they wanted without penalty and let them keep the name “Big East” amongst other things.

      • ZSchroeder says:

        @Frug, good point. This would not likely accelerate departure as the talk right now is summer of 2014, summer of 2013 is probably not possible at all… though the Big East does not have a basketball media contract in place for 2012-2013 yet (it does cover football for 2013 season).

        But as you say, If you could get UConn and Cincy to come along, even if just for a few years, being able to dissolve the league, take the name, and distribute credits and departure penalties the way you would like would be highly advantageous.

        Honestly, other then South Florida, the remaining teams under this scenario shouldn’t receive any revenue anyways since at this moment they have not contributed anything.

        • ZSchroeder says:

          Sorry, basketball for 2013-2014.

        • David Brown says:

          The reality of the matter is Connecticut , Cincinnati, South Florida, SMU & Houston will not remain in the Big East (Or whatever it is called) five years from now. One thing I do not see is the Huskies and Bearcats parking their teams in the Mountain West until the move somewhere else. Why? If I am the Mountain West, I see an opportunity to pick up two Schools who will more likely make a long-term commitment to my Conference (Houston & SMU) who are located far closer to where most of my Schools play (Texas), plus Houston will be heading into a brand new facility, so the growth potential is there as well. South Florida looks like a real possibility for the ACC, if the Conference has Miami & (or) Florida State poached by the Big XII, SEC or Big 10. Basically, Connecticut and Cincinnati are in the same boat as USF (Although I believe USF should be a higher priority for the ACC (If Florida State leaves which I suspect will happen)). I think the next two Schools to switch Conferences will be SMU & Houston, to makes too much sense for all concerned.

    • bullet says:

      But what’s the value to the MWC? Making themselves the clear #6? Is that worth anything? Just makes it easier for Houston or ECU to go unbeaten in the BE.

      • David Brown says:

        The benefit to the Mountain West is expansion into Texas (Without adding the likes of UTEP). Keep in mind Texas is one of the top recruiting areas in the Country. Beyond that, Ii you look at some of the Schools in the Mountain West, there are some that are either who cares (San Jose St), offer little growth opportunity (Wyoming), or Both (New Mexico). As far as being unbeaten in the Big East is concerned, keep in mind, Houston will NOT go unbeaten in the Big East, because they likely will not be playing in the Big East (I see them in the Mountain West).

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      I doubt that any conference is going to feel very good about taking two schools, Cincinnati and UConn, who are known to be itching to leave for the ACC at the first opportunity.

      It does not help your conference when the two most prominent members are openly pining to be elsewhere. If the MWC and the C7 want anything, it’s stability.

      Now, SMU and Houston to the MWC makes a lot more sense to me.

      • zeek says:

        This is the main reason why such a plan is unlikely.

        UConn and Cincy represent an ongoing “instability” factor if they are in the a conference outside of the ACC.

        In the Big East, they’re the first two to replace ACC teams that move to the Big Ten/SEC/Big 12.

        In the MWC (for fb) and Catholic-7 (for bb), they bring that instability factor to those two conference.

        Better to leave such things alone.

        • BruceMcF says:

          Precisely. Invite UC and UConn for Olympic Sports into the Classic East, and they could well have their exit already announced in the Classic East’s first season.

          The only stability in admitting a football school to the Classic East would be a school that has thrown in the towel on chasing a bigger conference membership, and that kind of school wouldn’t be applying to be FB-only in the MWC over halfway across the country … they’d be applying to be the second FB-only school in the MAC.

  16. Craig Z says:

    Go Bucks.

  17. MikeW says:

    Imagine if Fox, somehow, got UCONN in the B1G ( I realize what a monumental long shot that would be). That would put Fox in ESPN’s back yard. It makes me wonder why ESPN would not push for the ACC to take UCONN when they had the chance?

    • zeek says:

      Because Fox would much rather save that spot for UNC or UVa or Georgia Tech.

      We’re at 14, the spots are getting limited now. Need as many spots as possible for Southeast expansion.

      • acaffrey says:

        According to West Virginia bloggers the Big 10 is going to conspire with the Big XII and SEC to take every school except Syracuse and Pittsburgh.

        • zeek says:

          Those guys are nuts. I’ve never seen people throw as much crap at a wall to see what sticks.

          There’s a more than even chance that nothing changes with the Big 5 for a long time from where we are currently.

  18. OrderRestored83 says:

    add

  19. [...] Monday’s Top games: 7:00 p.m. – No. 25 Kentucky @ No. 7 Florida 7:00 p.m. – Towson @ James Madison 7:00 p.m. – Boston @ Vermont 7:00 p.m. – Valparaiso @ Wright State 8:00 p.m. – Villanova @ Cincinnati 8:00 p.m. – Indiana State @ Missouri State 9:00 p.m. – No. 4 Michigan @ No. 8 Michigan State 9:00 p.m. – Alabama @ Georgia     Read of the Day: It’s a common misconception that ESPN destroyed the Big East Conference. While the WWL has pulled some strings in regards to conference realignment, it was FOX and not ESPN that caused the Big East to deteriorate. (Frank The Tank’s Slant) [...]

  20. tomdauwwg says:

    Spartans > Wolverines. Go Green!

  21. cutter says:

    If Fox Sports doesn’t have much of a need of additional college football games with its 51% share of the BTN along with Pac 12 and Big XII games, do you think they will make a competitive bid for the Big Ten’s Tier 1/2 football and men’s basketball when the current television contracts end in a few year’s time?

    • @cutter – I think Fox would be very interested in the Big Ten 1st tier rights, but it would likely be more to fill out slots on the over-the-air network with its commitment to prime time games along with open Saturday afternoon spots as more MLB games shift to cable. The Big East has little to no value as an over-the-air property, so it would have been a pure cable play for Fox (and that’s not where they need more college football).

      Now, what’s interesting is that ESPN might be the more desperate party here. Losing Big Ten games would leave gaping holes in the schedules if ABC, ESPN and ESPN2. My long-term belief is that ESPN won’t let that happen – just like they did to keep the NFL and SEC, ESPN will pay up to the Big Ten. Fox might get a smaller package (e.g. a prime time package that could be created if you read between the lines of what Delany said about “prime” games yesterday).

      • cutter says:

        @Frank the Tank – Your comments are pretty much in line with my thinking. Fox could become something akin to what CBS Sports currently is with the SEC for prime time games. And yes, ABC/ESPN will be in a position where they don’t want to lose the B1G on Saturday afternoons.

        So how do you think this all plays out in the 9 v. 10 conference game decision/debate in the B1G? Will they go to ten games because it offers better inventory to the networks and five home/road conference games per year to help competitive balance? Or do they go with nine games in order to keep at least seven at home each season and increase the probability of more interesting home-and-home matchups outside the B1G region?

        ESPN’s last B1G blog post yesterday talked about the divisions being shaped by time zones, i.e., geography. See http://espn.go.com/blog/bigten/post/_/id/71477/time-zones-might-shape-b1g-divisions The entry had a link to MSU AD Mark Hollis talking about wanting to showcase Michigan State in Chicago, which would indicate a preference for being in the western division. Do you think that’s going to happen or will it be Purdue going to the west with MSU in the east?

        • zeek says:

          Right now 10 is likely just a discussion thing. To open minds and to have something to debate against 9.

          It’s extremely unlikely that the conference moves to 10 games before it secures a 15th and 16th member.

          • zeek says:

            The key to the debate of the # of conference games is to “move the bacon” if you will. By moving the default level to 9 games, they basically made it fiat accompli. But you can only do that by making this a debate 9 v 10 rather than 8 v 9.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            I don’t think the Big Ten ADs are that unsophisticated. They had already agreed to do 9 games previously, before the Pac-12 alliance temporarily put the idea on ice.

            Used car salesmen can trick unwary customers like that. I don’t think it works with Jim Delany and the Big Ten ADs.

          • BruceMcF says:

            Thing is, among the Big Ten AD’s are those who would benefit more from the 10 game schedule, so so all that is necessary is to raise the question whether in going to 14 schools and 7 school divisions, they play 8, 9 or 10.

            Those lining up for fewer games have no substantial difference in 8 or 9 ~ trading off a second level Home and Home OOC for a conference Home and Home is at worst a wash, possibly an upgrade since conference record is on the line. So put the question of 8, 9 or 10 on the agenda, and it quickly becomes 9v10 on its own.

        • Quacs says:

          I was thinking about this when I read the article as well, and I thought the proposed B1GW teams will likely push to keep MSU and Michigan in the same division. This would eliminate protected cross-overs for Michigan and give the western teams more chances to play Michigan. Purdue would have the protected rivalry game with Indiana, so Indiana would have less exposure to the western teams at the expense of more exposure to Purdue. This scenario would still guarantee MSU plays in Chicago once every four years (once per class).

          • Brian says:

            Conversely, the eastern school may well push to send MSU west in an attempt to give some balance to the divisions.

          • Quacs says:

            @ Brian,

            That may be true, but I guess my thinking is that the benefit/demand for more access to Michigan by the B1GW schools would outweight any perceived difference in strength between MSU and Purdue (assuming the decision is between Purdue and MSU going west).

            For non-king B1G schools, records/relative strength can vary significantly in a short amount of time. Ten years ago, Purdue would have been considered a stronger football program than MSU, so I’m not sure there’s a strong case to be made for sending MSU west based on competitive balance. Will B1G ADs feel the same way?

          • Brian says:

            Quacs,

            “That may be true, but I guess my thinking is that the benefit/demand for more access to Michigan by the B1GW schools would outweight any perceived difference in strength between MSU and Purdue (assuming the decision is between Purdue and MSU going west).”

            1. MSU wants to go west and PU doesn’t (as far as I know).
            2. MSU is a much better program now than PU.
            3. With 9 games, they still get MI twice every 12 years.
            4. Less MI also means more OSU and PSU (twice every 6 years instead of every 7, essentially).
            5. Net result is 7/9 (0.78) of an eastern king annually versus 6/7 (0.86) if MSU is in the east. That’s 1 less king game every 12 years, roughly.
            6. But PSU isn’t MI, you say. Well, they’d only get 1 fewer game against OSU and MI every 10 years.
            7. As I showed elsewhere, MSU in the west does provide better balance.
            8. MSU in the west also provides better brand balance.

          • Quacs says:

            @ Brian – here’s my response “Brian style”-

            1. MSU wants to go west and PU doesn’t (as far as I know).
            >I agree that MSU wants to go west, but I bet PU also wants to go west too, especially if they keep their IU rivalry protected and maintain the ND game (which could buffer losing some eastern king appearances with the IU crossover). Have you seen anyone from PU say they would rather go east? I would expect PU would want to go west for the same reasons MSU does.

            2. MSU is a much better program now than PU.
            >Delany and B1G PTB have consistently said these are long term decisions, not ones based on the immediate past. MSU has only been significantly better over the last 3-4 years.

            3. With 9 games, they still get MI twice every 12 years.
            > That’s not a lot. I would bet every B1GW team would rather play Michigan more often.

            4. Less MI also means more OSU and PSU (twice every 6 years instead of every 7, essentially).
            > As you say below, playing PSU isn’t nearly the same as playing Michigan – not nearly as appealing or lucrative for B1GW teams.

            5. Net result is 7/9 (0.78) of an eastern king annually versus 6/7 (0.86) if MSU is in the east. That’s 1 less king game every 12 years, roughly.
            > So, not only do B1GW teams play fewer kings, but a higher frequency of PSU and less Michigan? That’s even less appealing for all 6 B1GW teams.

            6. But PSU isn’t MI, you say. Well, they’d only get 1 fewer game against OSU and MI every 10 years.
            > See above.

            7. As I showed elsewhere, MSU in the west does provide better balance.
            > I believe you took a sample of win/loss records over a ten year timeframe. If we look at the last fifteen years, we can see PU has made more bowls, and had more Rose Bowl appearances than MSU. I don’t think the two programs are much different strength-wise, especially when taking a longer term view of both teams. I think anyone that says MSU is a significantly better football program than PU is clouded by recency bias.

            8. MSU in the west also provides better brand balance.
            > I lukewarmly agree with this, but only because of MSU’s basketball success, not because MSU’s perceived strength as a football program. I still think MSU and PU are very close on the Q-score spectrum, but this is meaningless anyway since brand balance is not a criterion the PTB have claimed they will use to select divisions.

            MSU going west is better for MSU, but worse for six other schools, and arguably for Purdue as well. Will the B1G PTB cave for MSU if the other six or seven schools express their preference for MSU in the east, especially when MSU going east still gives them games against NU just about once for each class? What if NU agreed to have MSU as a protected rival – that would satisfy MSU’s two top preferences in division realignment without sacrificing the others access to Michigan. I’m not sure NU would go for that, but the point is there are other ways to satisfy MSU’s Chicago love and still keep them east.

          • Brian says:

            Quacs,

            “I agree that MSU wants to go west, but I bet PU also wants to go west too,”

            Based on what?

            “especially if they keep their IU rivalry protected”

            Obviously that’s a condition for wherever they go.

            “and maintain the ND game”

            That’s not going anywhere.

            “(which could buffer losing some eastern king appearances with the IU crossover).”

            But they can go east and get those OSU and MI games, too.

            “Have you seen anyone from PU say they would rather go east?”

            Have you seen anyone from PU say they would rather go west?

            “I would expect PU would want to go west for the same reasons MSU does.”

            NW means nothing special to PU and PU isn’t trying to get out from under the shadow of IN. MSU will play MI annually regardless but that game is huge for PU. So is OSU.

            “Delany and B1G PTB have consistently said these are long term decisions, not ones based on the immediate past. MSU has only been significantly better over the last 3-4 years.”

            MSU is better over the past 5, 10 and 20 years. It’s been a bigger gap lately, but the gap has been there over the long haul, too. That doesn’t mean PU can’t catch up, but their ceiling is lower.

            “That’s not a lot. I would bet every B1GW team would rather play Michigan more often.”

            And yet they all seem OK putting OSU and MI and PSU all in the east. They can’t have it both ways.

            “6. But PSU isn’t MI, you say. Well, they’d only get 1 fewer game against OSU and MI every 10 years.
            > See above.”

            Your above complained that PSU wasn’t MI. Here I removed PSU from the equation. 1 game every 10 years is not a valid complaint.

            “I believe you took a sample of win/loss records over a ten year timeframe. If we look at the last fifteen years, we can see PU has made more bowls, and had more Rose Bowl appearances than MSU.”

            MSU has a significantly better B10 record over the past 5, 10 and 20 years. 15 years cherry picks when they were basically equal (PU was up and MSU was down in years 11-15).

            “I don’t think the two programs are much different strength-wise, especially when taking a longer term view of both teams.”

            I do. MSU has been the bigger brand for a long time. Stadium size is indicative of their relative status.

            “I think anyone that says MSU is a significantly better football program than PU is clouded by recency bias.”

            Or isn’t clouded by liking PU. MSU is a top 30 program all-time in W%, PU is top 60 (28 vs 58). It’s #30 vs #44 if you look at total Ws. MSU has national titles and PU doesn’t.

            “I still think MSU and PU are very close on the Q-score spectrum,”

            Maybe in IN.

            “but this is meaningless anyway since brand balance is not a criterion the PTB have claimed they will use to select divisions.”

            They don’t have to say it. They did it last time. It’s part of balance which is still #2 on their list.

            “MSU going west is better for MSU, but worse for six other schools, and arguably for Purdue as well.”

            WI is really the only school it is notably worse for, and they want to play MSU more. There are miniscule differences for the rest.

            “Will the B1G PTB cave for MSU if the other six or seven schools express their preference for MSU in the east,”

            Is it caving if half the schools feel one way and half the other? MSU wants the west and PU hasn’t said they don’t want the east. That’s enough reason right there to do it.

            “What if NU agreed to have MSU as a protected rival – that would satisfy MSU’s two top preferences in division realignment without sacrificing the others access to Michigan.”

            If that happened, then MI/MN would also get locked and everyone would play MI less anyway.

          • Scarlet_Lutefisk says:

            Regarding the relative strength of Purdue vs MSU (conference winning % in 5 year increments from 1940 onward)…

            http://oi48.tinypic.com/3134ua8.jpg

          • Quacs says:

            That graphic from Scarlet_lutefisk above shows that over the last 30-40 years, there hasn’t been a major difference in conf winning percentage between the two schools. The graphic doesn’t cherry pick years – the “best fit curves” merge around 1975 and are almost the same down to present day.

            I *speculate* that Purdue wants to go west for the some of the same reasons MSU does – maintaining active recruiting channels in Chicago (for both students and athletes), and once PSU returns to prominence, having fewer kings in the division to compete with on a yearly basis, especially with ND on their yearly schedule. That’s not unreasonable or necessarily incorrect, and I don’t need to prove anything – I freely admit I’m speculating. Also, NU doesn’t mean any more or less to MSU than it does to PU as you infer in your response – MSU just wants to maintain access to Chicago.

            Moving MSU west and instituting a UM/MSU crossover creates an imbalance for B1GW’s access to B1GE schools. Sure, you can backfill gaps created from the UM/MSU crossover w/ OSU and PSU, but I still think B1GW schools would prefer equal access to all B1GE programs rather than more of one and less of another. This is a league that trumpets equality as one of its core strengths. I know that the division format creates an imbalanced schedule by its very nature, but why exacerbate this imbalance for B1GW schools and their access to UM, a very important program for all of the B1GW teams? This would be benefit MSU, but cost six B1GW schools. You can believe those costs are insignificant, I just don’t happen to agree.

            Also, it’s not unreasonable to believe B1GW schools accepted PSU, OSU and UM in the same division while requesting that MSU be placed in the east to maintain a more balanced schedule. This is the essence of compromise, not “having it both ways” as you state. It’s not a hypocritical stance to give and take during this process.

            I couldn’t care less where Purdue ends up – I have no dog in that fight – and I don’t like Purdue any more than I like MSU. I just think that recency bias skews a lot of people’s opinion of the relative strengths of MSU and PU, and it looks to me like Scarlet’s graphic bears that out.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            I’ll split the baby here. I agree with Brian that MSU is a better long- and short-term brand than Purdue. But it’s not so dramatically better that it would tilt the decision, unless the other factors are tied.

            We can all enumerate the other factors at play. How the B1G ADs would weigh them is not so clear. The Legends/Leaders split wasn’t very popular; so obviously, the way the ADs think is not always aligned with the way the fans think.

            I suspect that the negotiation in the room is a delicate dance. Iowa can say, “We want to play Nebraska every year,” and it is uncontroversial. But access to Chicago is useful to many teams, not just MSU. So if Mark Hollis says, “I’d like to be in the west, so that we can play in Chicago every other year,” 13 other guys might say they want the same thing. If he insinuates that he wants to be in the west because the schedule will be easier, he won’t get a lot of sympathy for that either. ADs have to at least put up a show of thinking on behalf of the whole league.

            For the record, Illinois is Purdue’s second most-played rivalry, behind Indiana, and ahead of even Notre Dame, so perhaps they’d want to keep that. Michigan State is Northwestern’s least-often-played Big Ten rivalry (mainly because the Spartans joined the league much later than the other pre-Penn State schools).

            So I don’t think there is any particular history to the Michigan State-Northwestern rivalry, other than the Spartans simply wanting it for their own benefit. There’s nothing wrong with a little selfishness, at times, but I doubt it will prevail unless it’s what the ADs already want, for better reasons.

          • Brian says:

            Quacs,

            “That graphic from Scarlet_lutefisk above shows that over the last 30-40 years, there hasn’t been a major difference in conf winning percentage between the two schools. The graphic doesn’t cherry pick years – the “best fit curves” merge around 1975 and are almost the same down to present day.”

            And the huge gap before that shows why MSU is a bigger brand.

            “I *speculate* that Purdue wants to go west for the some of the same reasons MSU does – maintaining active recruiting channels in Chicago (for both students and athletes),”

            PU is much closer to Chicago, plus they have a smaller fraction of their alumni in Chicago IIRC. Still, you are welcome to speculate, of course. The difference is that we have evidence that MSU wants to go west.

            “and once PSU returns to prominence, having fewer kings in the division to compete with on a yearly basis, especially with ND on their yearly schedule.”

            MSU has NEVER said that fear of tougher teams is why they want to go west. That’s also speculation by you, and goes against what some of their fans have said. It also goes against the math which says it wouldn’t make a huge difference.

            “Also, NU doesn’t mean any more or less to MSU than it does to PU as you infer in your response – MSU just wants to maintain access to Chicago.”

            Show me all the quotes from Burke about playing NW being PU’s second most important game. Hollis has been saying that for years, and Alvarez has said MSU is campaigning to go west. He could have mentioned PU at the same time, but didn’t.

            “Moving MSU west and instituting a UM/MSU crossover creates an imbalance for B1GW’s access to B1GE schools.”

            No more so than IN/PU being locked would. It just changes the teams involved.

            “Sure, you can backfill gaps created from the UM/MSU crossover w/ OSU and PSU, but I still think B1GW schools would prefer equal access to all B1GE programs rather than more of one and less of another.”

            1. Equal access is impossible with a locked game. They’ll have equal access to the other 6, though.

            2. PSU is not an equal replacement for MI for some schools, but OSU is pretty equivalent team for all but MN. The increase in OSU games would almost equal the loss of MI games.

            “This is a league that trumpets equality as one of its core strengths.”

            So that means it shouldn’t matter who goes where. Since MSU wants the west, they should get it unless PU is campaigning just as hard for it.

            “I know that the division format creates an imbalanced schedule by its very nature, but why exacerbate this imbalance for B1GW schools and their access to UM, a very important program for all of the B1GW teams?”

            WI wants to play MSU more according to their fans. IL prefers OSU to MI slightly, so they get what they want. In addition, all these teams seemed to support sending OSU and MI east knowing that this sort of decision would have to be made.

            “Also, it’s not unreasonable to believe B1GW schools accepted PSU, OSU and UM in the same division while requesting that MSU be placed in the east to maintain a more balanced schedule.”

            It’s not unreasonable, but none of the leaks support it. They’ve said they agree on sending 3 kings east and are debating where MSU and PU go. If it was conditional on MSU also going east, then the western schools wouldn’t have supported the 6/6 split. That’s not the word we’ve been hearing, though.

            “This is the essence of compromise, not “having it both ways” as you state.”

            It’s compromise if they made it a condition of agreeing to send OSU and MI east. It’s hypocritical to agree to sending them east and then complain about not playing MI enough when there were 50/50 odds of MI/MSU being locked.

          • Brian says:

            Marc Shepherd,

            “I agree with Brian that MSU is a better long- and short-term brand than Purdue.”

            Hah. My plan has worked. I’ve forced you to agree with me on something. The brain washing will now begin.

            “But it’s not so dramatically better that it would tilt the decision, unless the other factors are tied.”

            I wouldn’t say tied, but close. I agree we’re not talking MI versus IN here.

            “So if Mark Hollis says, “I’d like to be in the west, so that we can play in Chicago every other year,” 13 other guys might say they want the same thing.”

            I can almost guarantee RU, MD, PSU and OSU wouldn’t make that claim (it certainly wouldn’t be credible), and clearly NW and IL wouldn’t. So at most 7 other guys would say it. Now subtract the obvious western schools (NE, WI, IA, MN) since they’ll clearly get that chance and you’re down to MI, MSU, PU and IN. We know MI is going east with IN, so it becomes just the two. And we know Hollis is saying it but we haven’t heard it from Burke.

            “If he insinuates that he wants to be in the west because the schedule will be easier, he won’t get a lot of sympathy for that either.”

            Nor should he.

            “For the record, Illinois is Purdue’s second most-played rivalry, behind Indiana, and ahead of even Notre Dame, so perhaps they’d want to keep that.”

            Yeah, the Purdue cannon has meaning. IL would also like to keep Illibuck. They tend to be the school getting screwed with this setup because they are near the E/W border.

            “So I don’t think there is any particular history to the Michigan State-Northwestern rivalry, other than the Spartans simply wanting it for their own benefit. There’s nothing wrong with a little selfishness, at times, but I doubt it will prevail unless it’s what the ADs already want, for better reasons.”

            Until we hear that PU also wants it, there’s no reason to deny MSU.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            Hah. My plan has worked. I’ve forced you to agree with me on something. The brain washing will now begin.

            I agree with you most of the time. I just don’t write a lot of posts to that effect, as there is no point unless I have something different (or additional) to say.

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          Will they go to ten games because it offers better inventory to the networks and five home/road conference games per year to help competitive balance?

          Some of these concerns are more imagined than real. As long as all the teams in a given division have the same number of home/road games, competitive balance is not really an issue.

          Moreover, even in the current 8-game structure, most teams play 3 OOC home games, and those are part of the Big Ten inventory anyway, regardless of opponent. Of course, Indiana vs. a BIg Ten team is going to get better ratings than Indiana vs. Ball State or Western Kentucky; but no one forced the Hoosiers to schedule those games; they did that to themselves. And with one less OOC game, what will Indiana drop? Will it drop Ball State (a game it ought to win easily), or will it drop USF (a game it could lose)?

          Or do they go with nine games in order to keep at least seven at home each season and increase the probability of more interesting home-and-home matchups outside the B1G region?
          Ohio State has said they intend to keep their competitive OOC games, and I believe Michigan will as well. What’s interesting is what the bottom half of the conference will do.

          • About 90% of me believes that the Big Ten is simply going to 9 conference games, with 10 only being a theoretical discussion point.

            The last 10% of me, though, looks at it from the perspective of a school like, well, Illinois. Sure, Ohio State has a nice slate of non-conference games lined up and if Purdue and Michigan State are able to maintain their Notre Dame series long-term (which isn’t necessarily a given since the Irish are giving priority to maintaining the Stanford series above them, much less Navy and USC), then they’ll obviously want to keep those games. For the “masses” of the Big Ten, though, how many non-conference opponents are out there that would be more intriguing (or more bluntly, would sell more tickets) than having more games against Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Nebraska? The vast majority of Big Ten schools don’t really play other marquee non-conference opponents – they’re typically schools that are at about the same level of quality or worse (or have some type of historical tie-in like Purdue-ND or Iowa-Iowa State). Maybe Big Ten ADs are starting to ask themselves about whether there’s any point to going through the headache of non-conference scheduling when the schools that your fans want to see and buy tickets for are located in your very own conference. Once again, a school like Ohio State or Michigan that can sell 100,000-plus seats whether they’re playing a MAC opponent or Notre Dame won’t necessarily think of it from that angle, but I’m sure the Illinois/Indiana/Northwestern/Minnesota-types that have to work to sell tickets (and aren’t as concerned about having a pristine on-the-field record to compete for a national championship) have a different perspective.

          • cutter says:

            @Frank-

            I’m of roughly the same mind you are right now concerning the nine v. ten game conference game discussion. I have to think that the athletic directors are going to be a bit conservative here in their thinking and put themselves in a situation where they can more readily schedule seven home game per year, which means nine conference games. It may just be an interim measure at this point to be implemented in 2016 because the conference may have 16 or more members by then.

            But with the cost of pay for play non conference opponents going up and given some of the revenue figures that have been tossed around regarding annual conference distributions being buttressed by post-season and television revenue, I could also really see them considering a ten-game conference model as well.

            If nothing else changed, a ten-game conference schedule with fourteen total teams could mean a 6-1-3 setup that would accomplish Delany’s stated goal of having the conference teams play one another as much as possible. With this setup, every team would play the other at least twice over a four year period.

            I do agree with you that schools do vary in their practices concerning non-conference game scheduling. For some, it’s a path to get enough victories to get to a bowl game. For others, it’s a way to showcase their program on a large stage and to be in the post-season discussion for the BCS or in a few years, the four-team playoff.

            One of the takeways I had from some of the articles written about the division split in the Big Ten is that the athletic directors really seem to value having their division opponents within a reasonable driving distance of one another. I suspect their thinking is that if I have to sell tickets for a less than stellar opponent’s game, it makes sense to be more accessible to that other team’s fans so they fill up the seats. That’s one of the reasons why I never thought that inner-outer division alignment wouldn’t work and it’s also one of the reasons why I suspect Northwestern was not interested in going to the east division (per the ChiTrib).

            What do you think would be the fallout if the Big Ten was an “early adapter” of a ten-game conference schedule? Would other conferences follow the B1G’s lead (SEC, ACC)? Would it be a clear signal that the B1G intends to expand? Would schools be willing to have alternating seasons of six and seven home games in order to have at least one compelling non-conference game per year or would this kill off major inter-conference play? And if the B1G does have conference games in the first three weeks of September on a regular basis, what does that do to the non-conference schedule? I don’t think programs would be willing to play a major opponent late in the season in the midst of conference play.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            What do you think would be the fallout if the Big Ten was an “early adapter” of a ten-game conference schedule? Would other conferences follow the B1G’s lead (SEC, ACC)?

            The other conferences would send Jim Delany a thank-you card for making their playoff access easier, and the Big Ten’s harder.

            Would it be a clear signal that the B1G intends to expand?

            They already signaled that anyway.

            Would schools be willing to have alternating seasons of six and seven home games in order to have at least one compelling non-conference game per year or would this kill off major inter-conference play?

            I think the lower half of the Big Ten will stop scheduling competitive OOC opponents.

            And if the B1G does have conference games in the first three weeks of September on a regular basis, what does that do to the non-conference schedule? I don’t think programs would be willing to play a major opponent late in the season in the midst of conference play.

            I think you’re right about this: the marquee OOC matchups will continue to be in September. I don’t think any conference schedules those games after October 1, aside from traditional rivalries and games against independents.

          • cutter says:

            @Marc Shepherd-

            It’s interesting that you say a ten-game Big Ten Conference schedule would make access to the four-team playoff easier for other conferences? Why would that be the case? If B1G teams opted to swap out a difficult non-conference opponent for a difficult conference opponent, it’s really a no change situation. Mind you, we also don’t know the exact parameters the committee will use for choosing these four teams, but being a conference champion and strength of schedule are supposedly part of it.

            As far as B1G expansion goes and clear signals, I’d say they’re still a bit murky at this point. Are the ADs saying they could see a larger conference? Absolutely. I even think it will happen as well. But there’s been no definitive statement from Delany that this is absolutely our plan. But the adoption of a ten-game schedule would definitely be another tell about where the conference is going.

            I do agree with you that the lower half of the conference will stop scheduling any comparable or major non-conference opponents. Getting into a bowl game is key–just look at what Minnesota just did with their schedule. Also, if the marquee non-conference games are going to be played earlier in the year, then I imagine the early B1G matchups (in the first three weeks of September) aren’t gong to be between the major programs. You”ll see Ohio State-Indiana or Michigan-Minnesota as possibilities more than, say Michigan-Wisconsin or Ohio State-Nebraska.

            Assuming Michigan State does go to the west and is Michigan’s protected rival, that means UM would play some combination of three of the following schools in a ten game schedule: Nebraska, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois. If the B1G were to break this up, it’d be Neb-NW-Minn for two years, then Wis-IA-IL for the other two years. Given those options, I could see the Wolverines playing Minnesota or Illinois earlier in the season than Iowa, Northwestern, Nebraska or Wisconsin.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            @cutter: It’s interesting that you say a ten-game Big Ten Conference schedule would make access to the four-team playoff easier for other conferences? Why would that be the case? If B1G teams opted to swap out a difficult non-conference opponent for a difficult conference opponent, it’s really a no change situation.

            Ohio State says that they intend to play one major OOC opponent every year. I assume Michigan and Nebraska will do the same: they have certainly scheduled the games, out to 2020 and beyond.

            If there are ten conference games, that would give the “kings” — the schools more likely to win the conference in most years — eleven games against major-conference opponents. It would also give them six road games at least half the time.

            Compare that to the status quo, where these schools seldom play more than nine or ten major-conference opponents (sometimes only eight), and seldom more than five road games (sometimes only four).

            I think it’s fairly apparent that this system will more frequently produce a Big Ten champion with multiple losses, who would probably not be ranked in the top four, and would therefore probably not make the playoff.

            Jim Delany, of course, was anti-playoff for years, and that the Rose Bowl was his top priority. The idea of a ten-game conference schedule is quite consistent with that, as the B1G’s Rose Bowl deal does not require the conference champion to be a great team; it only requires them to win the conference somehow.

          • cutter says:

            @Marc Shepherd

            I read Gene Smith’s comments about wanting to have Ohio State continue playing at least one major non-conference opponent per year, so I assume he’d be willing to do that even with a ten-game conference schedule.

            But let’s say Frank is right and Michigan State does go to the west. Ohio State is looking at playing Rutgers, Maryland, Indiana, Purdue and a depleted Penn State in the near future. That’s not exactly Murder’s Row with the onlly real opposition in the division being Michigan.

            Let’s make Ohio State’s protected cross divisional game Illinois because of the Illinibuck. So that means OSU would have its other contests with three of the following–Wisconsin, Nebraska, Northwestern, Michigan State, Iowa and Minnesota. By our definitions, one of those teams is a “king” in Nebraska.

            So you have a schedule with one king annually (Michigan), one depleted king (Penn State) and and a third king semi-annually (Nebraska). Then you add one major non-conference opponent to that list. On the top end, that’s actually a pretty typical Ohio State schedule. Where the difference is might be the bottom side.

            For example, OSU’s 2012 opponents were Miami (Ohio), Central Florida, California (home-and-home) and Alabama-Birmingham. In a ten-game conference schedule for OSU, Cal and one of those three other teams would be on it. The two dropped teams (let’s say UCF and UAB) would have been replaced by some combination of Maryland/Rutgers and/or a team from the west division. I don’t see that as a major strength of schedule upgrade for Ohio State.

            You could make the same sort of argument for Michigan or Nebraska, but I think the larger point is that a ten-game conference schedule only gets appreciably more difficult if you add high quality programs to your conference. If Florida State and Notre Dame were #13 and #14 on the list instead of Maryland and Rutgers, then I would agree with your point. The B1G would have six major program “kings” out of 14 instead of the four out of fourteen that we have now.

            We’ll see what happens. I think we’re both agreed that if the Big Ten does opt to play conference games during the first three weeks of September, then the major non-conference opponents would only be played in that same time frame. It might be a little tougher to match up a date with a major opponent if there is only one slot available in September. It’s not impossible, but it may be a bit more difficult.

            That leaves me with one more thought. One reason why the Big Ten might go to a ten-game conference schedule earlier rather than later is that it allows the athletic directors more time to plan ahead and to get their non-conference games in place. If they go to nine and leave the possibility of ten in the future, It could make their jobs a bit tricky. To be frank, that’s not the most compelling reason to go to ten conference games, but it’s just a thought.

            How far out do you think the conference will release its schedules this spring? Will they only go for 2014/5 or will the extend it out a few more years beyond that?

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            @cutter: If OSU goes from eight home games to six, and they replace UCF/UAB with two Big Ten teams, you don’t think the schedule gets harder? Remember, they’re making a decision that’s going to have a long tail; Penn State won’t be under sanctions forever.

            One reason why the Big Ten might go to a ten-game conference schedule earlier rather than later is that it allows the athletic directors more time to plan ahead and to get their non-conference games in place.

            All they’d do is pick a date well into the future, and say: “Don’t schedule more than two games past this year.”

          • BruceMcF says:

            @ Frank ~ I reckon the lineup is both ends against the middle, the big stadium schools and those at the very bottom who want three cupcakes to have a better chance a going bowling against the middle, with those who have an annual Home and Home OOC series making the balance likely to tilt to 9 games.

          • Brian says:

            cutter,

            “But with the cost of pay for play non conference opponents going up and given some of the revenue figures that have been tossed around regarding annual conference distributions being buttressed by post-season and television revenue, I could also really see them considering a ten-game conference model as well.”

            The big schools still make a huge profit off a home game after paying the other team.

            “What do you think would be the fallout if the Big Ten was an “early adapter” of a ten-game conference schedule?”

            Everyone else would point and laugh.

            “Would other conferences follow the B1G’s lead (SEC, ACC)?”

            Of course not. Who rushed to join the P12 at 9 games?

            “Would schools be willing to have alternating seasons of six and seven home games in order to have at least one compelling non-conference game per year or would this kill off major inter-conference play?”

            I think it would largely kill off good OOC games. Gene Smith says OSU would keep playing them, but I hope the accountants would tell him otherwise. There is talk of the B10 making schools whole for not having a 7th home game (maybe drop gate sharing), but they can’t replace the loss of fan interest from fewer home games.

            “And if the B1G does have conference games in the first three weeks of September on a regular basis, what does that do to the non-conference schedule?”

            It screws them up. You’ll have to buy the games later in the year, because no AQ coach will accept a road OOC game in November.

          • Brian says:

            cutter,

            Regarding SOS:

            1. Road games are harder than home games.

            2. Conference games are harder than OOC games because the opponent knows your style and your personnel so well. That’s why lesser teams can pull upsets in conference but rarely do OOC.

            3. Assume the extra games are against 2 median B10 teams. For 2012, median in the B10 was #32 in Sagarin. That would be #3 in the ACC, #2 in the BE, #6 in the B12 and P12, #9 in the SEC and #1 in all non-AQs. That doesn’t leave many OOC options that are the same or better than 2 median B10 teams. In other words, adding 2 B10 games makes the scheduler harder.

            Going to 10 games means more losses. Until they prove otherwise, it’s hard to believe they’ll reward a tougher schedule with 2 more losses, especially when part of the difficulty comes from location rather than opponent. Maybe you get by with 1 more loss, but the B10′s bad reputation won’t help there either. In essence, the B10 will lose more often and miss out on playoff spots because of it. Both of those things will reinforce the B10′s bad reputation, leading to more missed spots.

        • Quacs says:

          For my post above, assuming a 9 game league slate with the current 14 teams. 10 games would give MSU more access to Chicago.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            Yes, mathematically that’s true. The question is whether the other 13 members would agree to play 10 games (unless they already want that anyway), just to do MSU a favor.

        • @cutter – I don’t really know if 10 conference games necessarily impacts TV inventory that much. This is probably more of a “ground game” concern for the schools – the plebeians of the Big Ten might be coming to the conclusion that they’d rather trade 1 or even 2 non-conference games in exchange for playing Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Nebraska more often. As much as we talk about TV revenue here, game day ticket sales are still the driving force behind athletic department finances.

          It’s good to see all the comments coming out of the Big Ten that geography is going to be priority #1 in creating the new divisions. My gut feeling is that Michigan State will end up in the West and everyone will have a permanent cross-division rival like they do now. Whether it’s going to actually be true on the field or not, the perception is going to be that the East has the power with Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State (despite the likelihood of PSU being weak compared to the other 2 until the effect of their sanctions have run their course). Putting Michigan State in the West and keeping both Indiana and Purdue in the East mitigates that perception a bit.

          • cutter says:

            @Frank – I could make arguments both ways about where Michigan State is going to end up. I just don’t know what the Big Ten athletic directors will think about the eastern division having Michigan and Ohio State along with a depleted Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland, Purdue and Indiana. While we acknowledge that PSU has been a historic king, the perception of that program given its well publicized problems and the division itself may be that it’s not as competitive as it should be and that MSU should be in place of PU.

            One thing I found looking at Michigan’s past budgets is that annual conference disbursements (which include television revenue) have been a growing piece of the revenue pie relative to all other sources, including ticket sales. If the conference is really looking at disbursements of $43M by 2017, that could well means that most of the budget of the B1G schools is covered by that revenue source and not tickets sold to the general public. That said, I’m sure they’re looking at what having fewer home games would mean to donations, PSLs, etc. as well.

            We’ll see what happens. I do think they’ll adapt a nine-game conference schedule for 2016 and publish it with the disclaimer that it’s subject to change. 2014/5 will stick at eight games because of the existing non-conference games already scheduled. And if the conference adds two or four more members, we’ll toss all this out the window. :)

          • David Brown says:

            Frank, the idea of putting Michigan St in the West, might create three no votes (Michigan, Michigan State & Minnesota (No annual game vs Michigan)). I hate to admit it, but as far as Penn State is concerned, a number of possible schools in the West do not care if they play my Nittany Lions or not (Guess why Indiana moved their home game to Maryland?), which is quite different than Michigan & Ohio State (Sickening to admit this). You can apply that to Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue, Michigan State, Minnesota and of course, the Hoosiers, so they will not exactly cry if Penn State is not on their Schedule (Unless it is expressing regret over not having a guaranteed win in basketball). The sad thing is at Penn State we care zero about College Basketball (Sort of like Football at Bloomington, Indiana). How bad is it? A Wrestling match at the Rec Center has better attendance than a hoops game at the Jordan Center, and our attendance in Hockey is far superior as well.

          • Otts says:

            @ Frank: One of the interesting thing is what it will mean for the mid-tier Big East / Mountain West teams. If the B1G is going to play only two non-conference games schools like Purdue will not schedule Cincinnati or Marshall in the future. That’s too big a risk for a loss. They will make sure they play Eastern Michigan or similar directional from the MAC and Eastern Kentucky or some similar 1-AA school. This will starve schools like Cincinnati and Houston from some of the money they need since they are only getting $2,000,000 from their Big East contract. There is virtually no chance that a school like Purdue will ever actually play at Cincinnati or Toledo again. This will put tremendous strain on the budgets of the Big East schools since they have a national footprint and will have insane travel costs wtihout the revenue to support those costs.. Are we on the path to have a more pronounced tier of schools between 1-A and 1-AA whose teams for economic reasons are going to have to organize regionally. Does it make more sense for Cincinnati to be in the MAC with Miami, Toledo and Ohio where they will have the same access to the major bowls that they have in the Big East? Does it make more sense for SMU and Houston to return to a conference with Rice, Tulsa and UTEP for the same reason. You may have national mega-conferences and a return to tier-2 regional conferences. Those conferences won’t have national television deals but they will provide important regional programming.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            @Otts: The folks at Cincinnati think they and/or UConn have the next ticket up to the Big Leagues, as soon as the ACC loses two more teams—which everyone expects will happen. Even after the current round of re-alignment, the Big East has a considerably better reputation than the MAC. For a school like Cincinnati, stepping down to the MAC would amount to capitulation. I doubt that the travel costs are onerous enough to justify taking such a huge step down.

            Besides that, if you look at Cincinnati’s past and future schedules, they are not hugely dependent on getting games with the Big Ten. At most, it’s one game a year, which they can easily replace in other ways.

          • BruceMcF says:

            @Otts ~ all SMU and Houston have to do to get one or more of Tulsa, Rice and UTEP is to wait for a bit. They are not likely to play four seasons without one or more of those three in the NuBigEast.

          • Brian says:

            cutter,

            “I just don’t know what the Big Ten athletic directors will think about the eastern division having Michigan and Ohio State along with a depleted Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland, Purdue and Indiana.”

            1. The new divisions start in 2014
            2. The 9th game starts in 2016 or so (automatically helps with balance)
            3. PSU should be near full strength by 2018

            PSU won’t be down for long in the new setup. It would be silly to make a major decision like this based on 4 years of PSU down an unknown amount. PSU was better than many thought they’d be this year.

            Also, there’s no reason not to expect RU to be a midpack B10 team to start. Much like NW, they aren’t what we all remember them as. Now that they are in a real conference, they might reasonably be expected to improve, too. Purdue should solidify under Hazell. I don’t know where MD will fit in, but they must have bottomed out under Edsall.

            “One thing I found looking at Michigan’s past budgets is that annual conference disbursements (which include television revenue) have been a growing piece of the revenue pie relative to all other sources, including ticket sales. If the conference is really looking at disbursements of $43M by 2017, that could well means that most of the budget of the B1G schools is covered by that revenue source and not tickets sold to the general public. That said, I’m sure they’re looking at what having fewer home games would mean to donations, PSLs, etc. as well.”

            Yes, TV money is rapidly catching up to ticket sales. It’ll pass it for the smaller school if it hasn’t already, but the big boys should still make more from tickets for a while. OSU should be making $42-50M in ticket sales in the next few years.

          • Brian says:

            David Brown,

            “I hate to admit it, but as far as Penn State is concerned, a number of possible schools in the West do not care if they play my Nittany Lions or not (Guess why Indiana moved their home game to Maryland?), which is quite different than Michigan & Ohio State (Sickening to admit this).”

            Why is it sickening? Doesn’t PSU prefer to play eastern rivals to IN or MN? Why wouldn’t those feelings go both ways? Don’t you prefer your lifelong friends to new acquaintances?

      • zeek says:

        I think the Big Ten will be offered a similar ABC-Fox plan as the Big 12 got.

      • Serge says:

        I think FOX will be VERY interested in getting valuable B1G rights whenever available, to help propel FS1+2 distribution across the board, to create synergies with BTN and to weaken ESPN in order to access some of the money the WWL charges carriers.

        When the Pac-12 and Big XII deals were negotiated, FOX’s main need was to create a strong CFB package for their broadcast network (which IMHO they did; actually, add on a few marquee B1G games a year and they would be stronger than ABC especially on Saturday nights).

        Plus, FOX didn’t have a national sports net (or two) to sell like they do now. IIRC, B1G is the Conference with more population across its footprint.

  22. nickp says:

    The split will be far worse for the football side of the Big East, which is reportedly looking at a best-case offer from NBC

  23. metatron says:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/olympics/21427455

    Another shining moment for the IOC. Wrestling has been dropped from the 2020 games for consideration between Wushu, Sport Climbing, and Roller Sports.

    I can’t say I’m the biggest wrestling fan, but how can they justify dropping one of the ancient sports over things like Dressage. It’s just asinine.

    • bullet says:

      Unbelievable.

      Its best for the Olympics to drop a sport done pretty much around the globe in favor of obscure sports? One of the sports from the ancient Greek Olympics? And its a sport that can be done by people of different sizes without access to a lot of money and equipment. Maybe Nike isn’t paying enough sponsorship money.

      • ccrider55 says:

        If you follow wrestling you know that it has been under siege by the IOC for two decades. Beginning with reducing the number of wt classes from 10 to 8, then 7. Insisting on reducing match duration, weight class must be decided in 1 day, qualifiers to limit entrants, and in 2004 the complete alteration of the rules turning it into a hybrid tennis (2 out of 3 rounds regardless of total score), sumo (stepping out of bounds scores same as a takedown or 1 pt exposure),and lottery (scoreless period results in random draw to create wrestling from a position that neither contestant could achieve on their own, and 90% of time draw winner scores from). All this was decided by TV, marketing reps, IOC governance, advertising reps, but no one involved in the sport until they were told to take it, or risk exclusion from the Olympic$.

        Should have retained the integrity of the sport and been excluded, rather than unrecognizably bastardize the sport – and get excluded anyway. Backlash in the US may be very muted as many, like me, have stopped following the international styles in anything other than a passing way inspire of being involved with wrestling since 1965.

        Big lesson: market your sport. But do not alter the sport in order to market it, certainly not at the dictate of not invested commercial enterprise! You may lose some income, or more, but you retain your soul.

        • bullet says:

          I thought that two out of three rounds was odd this last time and wondered why that had changed.

          • ccrider55 says:

            It’s totally a fabricated “competition”. Nothing against the competitors or coaches, they are just playing the cards they were dealt. But when you can win a match without scoring (and the opponent has)? Or win a round in spite of trailing? Best thing for wrestling may be to get away from the IOC and rebuild as an actual competitive sport. I’ve advocated that since they began reducing the number of wt classes.

          • BruceMcF says:

            They should ask to be moved to the Winter Olympics. The Winter Olympics would get more participating countries, and the IOC in return could allow it to return to being a wrestling competition.

          • ccrider55 says:

            It’s probably a matter of not “contributing” enough to the “right” people.
            http://tracking.si.com/2013/02/12/ioc-drops-wrestling-from-2020-olympics/

    • Richard says:

      I’ve been advocating for a while now that the Summer Olympics (which are now gigantic) should be split in to a Summer Olympics and Indoor Olympics. The Indoor Olympics would actually have some of the most popular sports (gymnastics & swimming as well as wrestling, boxing, basketball, & volleyball) while the Summer Olympics would feature sports that take place outdoors (track is the big one). Baseball can be brought back as well.

      4 year cycle for all 3:
      Year 1 Summer: Indoor Olympics
      Year 2 Summer: Summer Olympics
      Year 4 Jan: Winter Olympics

      The Olympics would take place every 1 to 1.5 years (exciting sponsors) but the 4 year cycle would remain for all sports.

      There are a ton of reasons to do this: Besides allowing more sports, it would allow the Summer Olympics to always take place in the same part of the year (NBC would much prefer always July/August, after the NBA and NHL end but before football starts), yet southern hemisphere countries like Australia could still host the Indoor Olympics in what for them is the dead of winter.

      • Bruce in Ohio says:

        This sounds like a great idea. It would also be nice if NBC showed some competition at the Olympics instead of all the human “interest” stories.

      • BruceMcF says:

        Or four ~ the team olympics, for sports with teams of more than four people, indoor, outdoor summer, outdoor winter.

        But it could go a way in that direction if they moved some gymnasium sports to winter. Which ones would move would be drive, of course, by ratings. Gymnastics would stay in summer, but if they decided that the rating for wrestling and proper volleyball didn’t draw the ratings for the Summer Olympics, move it to the Winter Olympics.

        • m (Ag) says:

          Going to 3 Olympics sounds fine, although you shouldn’t separate between ‘indoor’ and ‘outdoor’. Call them ‘Alpha Olympics’ and ‘Omega Olympics’, or whatever.

          The reason the IOC tries to cut sports when it adds new ones is it wants to keep the costs from growing too much larger for host cities. Oftentimes the cities have problems finding uses for all the facilities they build for summer games, leading to little used facilities that cost a lot to build and then cost a lot to maintain.

          So you’d want to split the outdoor and indoor summer events between the 2 Summer Olympics; every large city can use some outdoor stadia and indoor arenas . Afterwards, some of those can be re-purposed to appropriate venues if necessary. If a Berlin Olympics hosts a summer Olympics that has baseball but not soccer, that baseball park can be built to be re-shaped into a soccer stadium after the Olympics.

          Shifting events between summer and winter Olympics is also a good idea. I know the NHL hates having Olympic hockey in the middle of their season, so that can move to one of the Summer events even as some summer events go to the Winter games.

          • Richard says:

            M(ag)H

            Except that people will have trouble remebering what events are in which. Indoor/Outside is a simple split.

            Also, it would allow southern hemisphere countries like Australia to host one of them in their dead of winter.

  24. BuckeyeBeau says:

    FtT: great article.

    As you all know, I have commented many times about the street fight going on between FOX and ESPIN. I had not yet processed the reports that FOX approached the C7 before they split off. And now add the “news” (to me) that the Big East “inventory” was ESpin “inventory”, it is clear that this was a very nimble move by FOX. FOX picked up 2 CFB and 10-12 Bball “properties” and denied these to ESpin.

    And the fact that FOX is “overpaying” seems, IMO, yet more proof that the networks and conferences are playing long-term strategies here. They are spending $$ now to accomplish 20-year goals. ESpin spent a lot of $$ on the LHN to keep the BXII intact and keep some of that “inventory” with ESpin; FOX spent $$ to hasten the end of the Big East and get some Bball inventory to enhance the long-term viability of FoxSports 1 and 2 and to diminish the value of other Big East “properties” “owned” by ESpin; the B1G may go to 10 conference games and take less $$ short-term to accomplish longer-term goals of conference cohesion.

    I think it is also worth noting the zero-sum nature of CFB and Bball from the networks’ collective perspectives. As FOX grows, it grows at the expense of ESpin. This last move took 12-14 “properties” from Espin. There are only a finite number of “properties.”

    By contrast, this also shows (again) the brilliance of Delany and the BTN. The BTN is not playing a zero-sum strategy. They are trying to expand the “pie” by finding cable-tv “value” in what ESpin can’t/doesn’t want to broadcast (that is, the “body bag” football games, olympic sports, hockey, lax. etc.). And slowly, that additive strategy is working.

    Frank, my only criticism is the photo. This is NOT conspiracy theory and tin-foil hat terrain. This is straight-forward hard-nosed business. To the networks, teams are “properties” and “inventory” and the goal is to get as many “properties” under contract as you can and to deny as many as possible to the opposition. I don’t think there is any question the networks are influencing and manipulating conference realignment/consolidation.

    Delany understands. Proof is the B1G’s no-apologies in-the-dark-of-night hostile take-over of cash-strapped Maryland. This not conspiracy theory; this is what the networks and the powers conferences are DOING.

    • bullet says:

      You might note that it was Fox, not ESPN, that saved the Big 12. ESPN promised not to cut the contract. Fox delivered a new contract 450% higher than the old one. ESPN’s LHN deal was a little further down the road. That deal wasn’t until January 2011.

      • BuckeyeBeau says:

        hmm… interesting. I’ll just ignore that. Why let facts get in the way of a good story. LOL

        In all seriousness, that is interesting. Wonder what the FOX strategy was there? Why would FOX be interested in keeping the BXII alive?

        • zeek says:

          Because even though Fox has part of the Pac-12 deal, a Pac-16 with Texas/OU is far more expensive per team.

          It’s in the interests of both Fox and ESPN to keep Texas/OU separate from the Pac-12 because they already pay for both conferences. They don’t want to pay another level of magnitude more for those 16 teams.

          And Fox has regional deals with plenty of the Big 12 teams for Tier 3 rights that helps fill their regional sports programming.

        • bullet says:

          They didn’t “overpay.” They paid a fair price. And they got inventory. Noone knew who would win the Pac contract. It was later Fox and ESPN got together to thwart NBC.

  25. [...] A TV Network Killed the Big East (And It’s Not the One in Bristol) (Frank the Tank’s Sla… [...]

  26. [...] the Tank has a new entry for your perusal.  In this latest blog entry, the opinion is that Fox, rather than ESPN, is [...]

  27. Mike says:

    :)

    • Andy says:

      Pretty dumb comment by dodds.

      Top 3 out of the last 6 seasons for Mizzou

      12-2
      10-3
      10-4

      Bottom 3 out of the last 6 seasons for Texas

      5-7
      8-5
      9-4

      And in Basketbal Mizzou has been significantly better than Texas for a while now.

      In baseball Mizzou won the series with Texas last year and won the Big 12 title.

      So I’m not sure what sport that would be true in. Not Softball, Mizzou has been above Texas there for a few years. Women’s soccer has been pretty even. Maybe tennis? Track and field? And this is considering UT’s budget is twice the size of Mizzou’s.

      • bullet says:

        I think he was talking about the whole program.

        He’s ticked because Missouri cost the conference $15 million in WV exit fees. He likes to make every $ he can.

        • bullet says:

          There’s a reason he is often listed as Delo$$ Dodd$.

          • Andy says:

            Well if all he’s talking about is money than no doubt Texas has Missouri beat.

          • bullet says:

            He’s talking about measurements like the Director’s Cup. Its been a bad couple of years by Texas standards overall. Baseball had its worse year in a long time last year. Basketball has struggled the last couple of years. Football hasn’t done great. We haven’t won the swim title since 2010. Some of the spring sports haven’t done as well as usual. UT finished 15th in 2010 in the Director’s Cup, 12th in 2011 and 6th in 2012. The 8 years prior to that were more typical-2nd, 2nd, 10th, 2nd, 3rd, 8th, 5th, 6th. 2001 when they were #19 was the last previous year UT wasn’t top 10. If you did a cumulative Director’s Cup over the last 20 years, UT would probably be either 2nd or 3rd (Stanford #1, UT or UCLA most likely #2).

            So there are a lot of complaints about the relative lack of success, particularly in the high profile sports. He’s defending it by saying a bad year by Texas standards is a good year for a lot of schools. And since Missouri cost him money, that’s probably why he chose Missouri to take a shot at.

          • Andy says:

            Yeah, Missouri isn’t competitive enough in the non-revenue sports to score all that high in the directors’ cup. Usually in the 30s or 40s.

            As far as that $15M, Mizzou paid that off with their exit fee. The Big 12 basically broke even on that deal.

  28. cutter says:

    Another post on ESPN’s B1G blog about how Delany is looking at partnerships, different bowl setups and how he wants to push individual conference members to schedule better non-conference games – See http://espn.go.com/blog/bigten/post/_/id/71489/b1g-open-to-alliances-for-scheduling-bowls

    One excerpt on non-conference scheduling:

    Delany points out that different Big Ten programs have different goals, whether it’s competing for national championships or making bowl games on a regular basis. But the message from the league office to its members is to push themselves more in non-league scheduling.

    “What we’ve got to do is upgrade,” Delany said. “It doesn’t make any sense to be playing people from different divisions with fewer scholarships [FCS]. It doesn’t make sense for everyone to be playing Southern Cal and Texas, but there’s comparability there that we could seek out. We’re trying to find out ways that we can create fair schedules, good schedules, healthy schedules for our teams, our players, our coaches and our fans.”

    END OF EXCERPT

    Cutter’s Comment: It sounds like Delany wants the B1G teams to upgrade the inventory of non-conference games and drop the Division 1-AA opponents (FCS). While that may not effect the major programs in the conference, it will definitely touch on a number of the others.

    • Brian says:

      Delany has been saying that same thing for years. You’ll notice how little impact it has had. He can’t force them to change, and many schools view their priorities as more important than upping the TV deal another $1M.

    • m (Ag) says:

      I’ve advocated on this blog that each of the major conferences, while negotiating with the networks promise:

      1) no FCS games
      2) 10 games a year against major conference opponents (with 9 conference games, every school would need 1 ‘major’ OOC game), with 1/2 of them at home (or a neutral game that they maintain the TV rights for).

      This would make the TV packages more valuable, so the networks would bid more (offsetting the losses). An individual school that failed to meet the scheduling requirements (unless a truly last minute happening made it impossible) would forfeit a percentage of TV money back to the networks.

      I think it would be great for college football.

      Good for the Big Ten for adopting the no FCS rule!

      • Brian says:

        Yeah, good for us right up until we never make the playoff because we lose more OOC games while the SEC thrives on I-AA wins on their way to 3 playoff teams per year.

        • BuckeyeBeau says:

          The SEC’s dominance in CFB will not end until the oversigning problem is solved. Either the SEC (West) has to stop or the B1G has to start. And this is a competitive advantage for the SEC (West). Every school experiences attrition between NLOI day and the August “deadline” for being at 85. For B1G schools, any attrition means the school is under the 85 limit. For the SEC (West), attrition just gets them to the full strength at 85. ‘Bama oversigned by 6 to 10 players a couple of weeks back. Saban’s 2013 March to 85 started off with a BANG with four players arrested for robbery. Sad that happened, but will have no impact on ‘Bama’s ability to win.

          My point is that the # of cupcakes and bodybag games is trivial compare to other factors that will lead the SEC to multiple bids in the playoffs.

          • bamatab says:

            Where do you get that Bama oversigned by 6 to 10 players this past signing period? Bama signed a total of 26 kids, with several of those backcounting against last year’s class. The SEC schools can no longer sign more than 25 kids against a class. Now they can only “oversign” if they undersigned the previous year.

            And btw, UF signed 29 kids and UGA signed 32 kids in this class. So the “SEC (West)” being the only SEC schools that “oversign” insinuation that goes around on this blog gets a little old.

          • Brian says:

            bamatab,

            Oversigning isn’t about the 25 limit, it’s about the 85 cap.

            Hypothetical example:
            Say AL had 85 people on scholarship last year with no walk-ons among those 85. Now say 20 players graduate/go pro/quit/transfer by February 1. AL can legally sign 25 recruits, but they only have 20 spots open. That would be oversigning by 5 if they signed 25 recruits.

            The reason the SEC west gets that reputation is because they earned it.

            http://oversigning.com/testing/index.php/recruiting-numbers/

            Average Class Size 2002 – 2010
            SEC West

            Auburn 28.11
            Miss. State 27.44
            Arkansas 26.56
            Ole Miss 26.33
            Alabama 26.11
            LSU 24.89

            SEC East
            South Carolina 26.89
            Kentucky 25.11
            Tennessee 24.00
            Florida 23.33
            Georgia 23.00
            Vanderbilt 21.22

            Considering a full class is 25, I presume you can see why others take issue with this. The highest number in the B10 was 24.22 for PU. OSU, PSU and MI were all below 22 (OSU was at 20.00).

            To be fair to the SEC West, those aren’t the only teams that do it. But they are most of the good teams that do it.

            Average size > 25:
            SEC W – 5 – AL, AU, AR, MS, MSU
            SEC E – 2 – SC, UK
            B12 – 3 – ISU, KSU, OkSU
            BE – 2 – UL, WV
            P10 – 1 – OrSU
            ACC – 0
            B10 – 0

            Clearly there was something different about recruiting in the SEC West than anywhere else.

          • C. Toda says:

            Just for the heck of it ,I went back and checked the number of 5 stars on the major rating services from OH. There was a total for all 4 was 1. On scouts Ohio State had 4 (5 stars) but only 1 was from Ohio ,the other 3 were not from Ohio and were not rated 5s by the other services. Quite simply something smells. Southern and Texas bias ?

          • bamatab says:

            “On scouts Ohio State had 4 (5 stars) but only 1 was from Ohio ,the other 3 were not from Ohio and were not rated 5s by the other services. Quite simply something smells. Southern and Texas bias?”

            The only thing that smells is Scout’s ratings. Their ratings as a whole are usually not as close to the other 3 major recruiting sites (Rivals, 247 Sports, & ESPN) as the other 3 are to each other. I’ve gotten to where I use 247′s composite rankings to get a better feel for the actual classes since it uses all 4 of the major sites rankings in their composite formula, not just their own.

          • m (Ag) says:

            Simply saying ‘X school signs more in an average class’, without examining things further, is not much of a charge. Any school that gets a higher percentage of its players for less than 5 years (4 years playing + 1 redshirt year) is going to need to sign more players:

            -A school that recruits more Juco players will need to sign more each year (they start with less eligibility)
            -A school that uses less redshirts will need to sign more each year (they’ll be out 1 year sooner)
            -A school that has more people leaving early for the NFL will need to sign more each year (oftentimes the same players who are in the previous category)
            -A school that takes a chance on more marginal students will need to sign more, as more of these will not qualify or drop out. (unlike others, I don’t think it’s an immoral act to take a chance on such students)

            -A school that takes more transfers from other schools will need to sign less, as transfers don’t count as recruits.

            There’s a lot of SEC schools that meet more of first four categories than a given Big Ten school, and that’s not sinister.

            I know a lot of you are going to say ‘blah blah Houston Nutt’, but not everyone who signs more players than Northwestern is Houston Nutt.

          • Brian says:

            m (Ag),

            “Simply saying ‘X school signs more in an average class’, without examining things further, is not much of a charge.”

            Like any stat, it’s can only tell part of the story, sure. But it is a quick way to show that one small group of schools is very different from the others. It’s different from the SEC East and every other major conference.

            “-A school that recruits more Juco players will need to sign more each year (they start with less eligibility)”

            No credible school should have a large number of JUCO players, especially ones they sent to a diploma mill out of high school.

            “-A school that uses less redshirts will need to sign more each year (they’ll be out 1 year sooner)
            -A school that has more people leaving early for the NFL will need to sign more each year (oftentimes the same players who are in the previous category)”

            No other kings came close to AL’s numbers, IIRC.

            “-A school that takes a chance on more marginal students will need to sign more, as more of these will not qualify or drop out.”

            This is a good point, and invites two responses.

            1. The recruiting services should do a better job of redoing their rankings in August to show only the players that actually made it to the team and stressing that those are the real rankings. That helps the SEC by not counting all the players they signed knowing they couldn’t make it and had to place in a JUCO, so it looks less like they are running off tons of players. It also helps everyone else by making it a more level playing field for comparing classes for all the schools that recruit by the spirit of the rules.

            2. Why is any self-respecting major university accepting people that can barely graduate from high school and can’t even match the incredibly low standards the NCAA has to qualify?

            “(unlike others, I don’t think it’s an immoral act to take a chance on such students)”

            Oh, please. They aren’t “taking a chance on them.” They’re hoping that between cherry-picking easy classes and majors and having a stable of tutors doing all their work for them, they can keep them eligible with a 2.0 long enough to help them win some games. Taking a chance would be if there was some cost to them if it didn’t work out and they actually cared if the players succeed in life.

            “-A school that takes more transfers from other schools will need to sign less, as transfers don’t count as recruits.”

            Do you really think that’s why AL took 55 more players than OSU over 9 years?

            “I know a lot of you are going to say ‘blah blah Houston Nutt’, but not everyone who signs more players than Northwestern is Houston Nutt.”

            No, but there is quite a bit of room between signing 37 and the 19/year of NW.

            It’s important to point out that these numbers predate the recent recruiting rule changes and now the four year scholarship (for those that give them). The numbers gap should shrink.

    • GreatLakeState says:

      Good comments as well. Especially concerning FSU to the B1G.
      (MrSEC’s writing style is very similar to FTT’s. Do you have an evil twin you’re not telling us about?)

    • zeek says:

      I tend to agree with virtually everything he says.

      The Big Ten is considering 9 versus 10 right now but the 10 game schedules are likely to be in conjunction with expansion to 16 or 18.

      I am also of the opinion that the Big Ten’s interest in JHU is very real (and not just because I’ve spent 4 years convincing myself that it’d be a brilliant move). The lure to bring them into the CIC as well as set up an elite lacrosse league is a valuable opportunity that shouldn’t be passed up if it is possible to pull it off.

      • David Brown says:

        I have no idea if Johns Hopkins would go to the Big 10, but it certainly would make some of the Lacrosse playing Schools in the ACC (Such as North Carolina) look long and hard at the Big 10 if they ever decided to leave the ACC and choose between the SEC and Big 10. Keep in mind the SEC does not have a lot of Schools playing Lacrosse (Florida I know is one), while the Big 10 is on the rise. To be fair, the SEC has a great baseball Conference (Particularly LSU, Florida & Georgia), and the Big 10 is awful at it, so that becomes a wash. Obviously the SEC is best in football, but not so hot in hoops (Except Florida & Kentucky), the Big 10 is the exact opposite (Only Ohio State Football is great. (Michigan, Wisconsin, Nebraska (And when sanctions end) Penn State can be). But if you look at Academics and Research $$$$$ it is not close. Big 10 all the way, and Hopkins would simply make that disparity even greater.

      • ChicagoMac says:

        This dynamic is very similar to the one that played out with the Big 12 that led to Nebraska and Colorado leaving, right?

        Regardless of what takes place with the exit fee lawsuit, ESPN could come in and sweeten its offer to the ACC to hold it together which is what ultimately happened with the Big12 before the second round of departures (Mizzou and aTm).

        A big chunk of the league could depart leaving the rest of the conference in big trouble, similar the much discussed Texas/Oklahoma schools leaving for the Pac12. This could play out with either a package of old school ACC members departing for the B1G, or a package of ACC schools with the right 3rd tier assets leaving for the Big 12.

        Or it could end up a slow leak, does ESPN care that much if UVA and GT were to leave and head to the B1G? Would it raise an eyebrow if NCState and Virginia Tech decided to head to the SEC?

        IMHO, ESPN probably is primarily focused on keeping access to ND, FSU, Miami, Clemson and then holding onto UNC/Duke for the winter months.

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          The Big XII similarity breaks down in a few ways. In the Big XII, Texas and Oklahoma are the football kings, and they also run the conference: if those two schools are in agreement, they get what they want, every time. So the dynamic in the Big XII was very simple: if they stay, you’ve got a league; if they leave, you don’t. To put it differently: anywhere that Texas and Oklahoma want to be, you can always assemble a league around them, no matter who else may stay or go.

          In much the same way that Texas and Oklahoma run the Big XII, the North Carolina schools run the ACC. But the North Carolina schools are football weaklings: they have just one league title between them in the last 20 years (Wake Forest, 2006). The schools who keep winning the league are relative newcomers, who do not have long-term emotional ties to the ACC.

    • cutter says:

      That would certainly be consistent with a lot of thinking on this board concerning the addition of Johns Hopkins for lacrosse in concert with further expansion to 18 members.

      I actually feel that Florida State might not be such an outlier as he believes. Yes, it is a non-AAU school, but given its location and the status of its football program, it’d be a valuable add to the conference in terms of what it could do for the athletic departments’ bottom lines.

      He’s right about the Big Ten being in a position to sell a very compelling package to any school it may opt to invite into the conference. I’ve also heard that Virginia and Georgia Tech would be the next likely pair to join the conference once the ACC/Maryland lawsuit is completed, so that’s consistent as well.

      In the remarks section, he does admit that have three 6-team divisions isn’t workable per the NCAA regulations. With a ten game schedule and 18 schools in fixed divisions, it’d be a 8-2 setup and it’d take ten years to play every team in the other division twice in a home-and-home setup.

      In a straight east west lineup, it’d go like this:

      East: Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue, Indiana, Michigan State

      West: Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, Georgia Tech

      With two 5-team pods and two 4-team pods swapping out every two years, it’d take six season to play every other team twice in a home-and-home setup. If UVa, Duke, UNC and Ga Tech join the current lineup, then the pods could be like this:

      Pod A (4 teams): Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin
      Pod B (4 teams): Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue, Indiana
      Pod C (5 teams): Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers
      Pod D (5 teams): Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, Georgia Tech

      In Years 1 & 2, Pods A and C form one division with Pods B and D the other

      In Years 3 & 4, Pods B and C form one division with Pods A and D the other

      Teams would play the eight teams in its own division and two from the pod its own size (A&B, C&D).

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        I tend to agree that FSU has a much better shot than he gives them credit for. But overall, I consider him a very sober-minded source, and well worth reading.

        I’ve said this before: pods suck. In your proposed alignment, half the time Michigan, MSU, OSU, PSU, Nebraska, Iowa, and Wisconsin would be in the same division. If you were a Big Ten AD, you’d be laughed out of the room if you proposed that.

        The scheduling format won’t ever be perfect, but it can’t be that imperfect.

        • cutter says:

          It’s a tough combination of programs to work with because you want to keep the inter-state rivalries in place while keeping the pods regional. That lineup above does that, but as you mention there would be a perceived competitive imbalance between the divisions half the time if the status quo remained in place.

          As far as athletic directors laughing are concerned, if the television networks are writing big checks with this lineup, those ADs will be laughing as they deposit them in the bank. But ideally, you’d like to split up the major programs into different pods. A possible swap could have Penn State in Pod D with Maryland in Pod C to balance it out a bit more, but then you lose the annual OSU-PSU game. It’s all trade offs at this point.

          When you do these types of exercises, you realize why a program like Florida State or Notre Dame would be attractive additions to the Big Ten outside of the dollars and cents. At the minimum, adding those two schools would make for perhaps a better pod system:

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

          This set up keeps much of the regionalism intact, but also loses some of the instate rivalries. OTOH, it also splits up the major programs 1-2-2-1 among the four pods and you can’t do much better that that. Two-thirds of the time, the major programs would be split within the divisions 3-3. With nine conference games on the schedule, that leaves three non-conference games for each team to schedule as they see fit.

          Of course, if Notre Dame wants to remain a hold out and a program Pittsburgh takes their place, then you could do something like this:

          Pod A: Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan State
          Pod B: Michigan, Illinois, Northwestern, Ohio State, Rutgers
          Pod C: Penn State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Indiana, Maryland
          Pod D: Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Duke, Virginia

          When Delany talked about having nine or even ten conference games per year, he said that the teams in the conference want to play one another more often than not. If that holds as the conference expands, then a pod system is the best way to accomplish that objective while trying to hold onto the more important/rivalry games each year.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            As far as athletic directors laughing are concerned, if the television networks are writing big checks with this lineup, those ADs will be laughing as they deposit them in the bank.

            The trouble is, I don’t think your lineup achieves that. It’s not in the Big Ten’s competitive interest (and therefore, in its TV interest) to have waaaaaay imbalanced divisions half the time. We can’t predict future performance, but your proposed alignment is so far unbalanced that it wouldn’t be a close call.

            I agree that if the Big Ten lands FSU and Notre Dame, a pod structure becomes at least possible. Your proposed structure (with FSU and ND included) would work, with just one extra rule: in the years when Illinois and Northwestern aren’t in the same division, then they play each other as a protected crossover; likewise, Indiana and Purdue. (This assumes 10 conference games.)

            Otherwise, your structure protects every rivalry that I believe the conference would regard as essential (i.e., no way in hell they’d sacrifice it). One could argue at the margins about exactly which rivalries are essential, but I don’t think they would ever sacrifice the in-states, UM-OSU, or WI-MN.

            As I indicated two or three FTT posts ago, I do think there are far better ways.

            Simplistically, if the NCAA didn’t require divisions, you would schedule the way the Big Ten did before Nebraska joined: protect whatever 2 or 3 games each team requires, and then put together a full slate among the remaining games, whatever way you want. At the end of the season, the top two face off in a CCG.

            This has the advantage of protecting ONLY those games you really need to protect. In your structure, you fail to protect some games that the teams really want, and you protect others that nobody wants.

            If the NCAA refuses to change the rule, then you just create two arbitrary divisions every year, with an algorithm that protects the minimum rivalries that you care about, and otherwise just arranges the teams into fictitious one-year divisions using whatever algorithm you choose (I could easily come up with several).

            You can’t say that’s too complicated, because no sport other than football fixes its schedule more than a year in advance; and before Nebraska joined no school was guaranteed more than two protected games.

          • Brian says:

            Marc,

            With no divisions, I’d go for the simple math:

            18 teams, 10 games – 3 locked, 7 games against the other 14
            18 teams, 9 games – 5 locked, 4 games against the other 12
            20 teams, 9 games – 4 locked, 5 games against the other 15

            The one exception is:
            20 teams, 10 games – 1 locked, 9 games against the other 18

            That needs to become:
            20 teams, 10 games – 3 locked, 7 games against the other 16

      • bullet says:

        Or you have 3 “divisions” and split the middle division 3/3 each year.
        Hard to see a fixed 9/9 split that would make sense with 4 more ACC schools.

        • BruceMcF says:

          Three “divisions” with the middle “division” split in half to form two divisions … is four groups.

          Two six school anchor groups and two three school swing groups, or two four school anchor groups and two five school swing groups would both work.

          • Brian says:

            He may mean splitting the middle 6 differently every time, so they really aren’t like normal pods.

            Years 1-2: OSU/MI/MSU, GT/PU/IN
            Years 3-4: OSU/MI/GT, MSU/PU/IN
            Years 5-6: OSU/MI/PU, GT/MSU/IN
            Years 7-8: OSU/MI/IN, GT/PU/MSU
            Years 9-10: OSU/GT/MSU, MI/PU/IN
            Years 11-12: OSU/PU/MSU, GT/MI/IN
            Years 13-14: OSU/IN/MSU, GT/PU/MI
            Years 15-16: OSU/GT/PU, MI/MSU/IN
            Years 17-18: OSU/GT/IN, MI/MSU/PU
            Years 19-20: OSU/PU/IN, MI/MSU/GT

      • Brian says:

        cutter,

        “In the remarks section, he does admit that have three 6-team divisions isn’t workable per the NCAA regulations. With a ten game schedule and 18 schools in fixed divisions, it’d be a 8-2 setup and it’d take ten years to play every team in the other division twice in a home-and-home setup.

        In a straight east west lineup, it’d go like this:

        East: Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue, Indiana, Michigan State

        West: Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, Georgia Tech”

        That’s horrible. The B10 minus OSU and MI and PSU but with NE versus the ACC. That sucks for everyone.

        “With two 5-team pods and two 4-team pods swapping out every two years, it’d take six season to play every other team twice in a home-and-home setup. If UVa, Duke, UNC and Ga Tech join the current lineup, then the pods could be like this:

        Pod A (4 teams): Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin
        Pod B (4 teams): Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue, Indiana
        Pod C (5 teams): Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers
        Pod D (5 teams): Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, Georgia Tech

        In Years 1 & 2, Pods A and C form one division with Pods B and D the other

        In Years 3 & 4, Pods B and C form one division with Pods A and D the other

        Teams would play the eight teams in its own division and two from the pod its own size (A&B, C&D).”

        You have to balance the pods better than that. A > B and C > D. I’m sure Richard can remind everyone of his 6 pods of 3 plan. I’d go 2 pods of 6 and 2 pods of 3, I think.

        W – NE, WI, IA, MN, NW, IL
        C1 – OSU, GT, PU
        C2 – MI, MSU, IN
        E – PSU, RU, MD, UVA, UNC, Duke

        Lock OSU/MI, MSU/GT and PU/IN. Rotate C1 and C2 every two years. W and E play 2 rotating games against the other (no home and homes), so they get everyone in 3 years. C1 and C2 play alternating home and homes against the two teams they aren’t locked with. That gives decent balance and exposure to everyone while keeping the rivalries alive.

        • bullet says:

          @Brian
          Your east/west example is why I said it was hard to see a fixed 9/9 split that made any sense. That one is a total non-starter.

          • Brian says:

            That wasn’t my split, that was his. I quoted it to show how bad it was. You’re correct, there is no good 9/9 split for the B10. That’s why I’ve suggested going to 22.

            Real B10 – OSU, MI, MSU, WI, IA, MN, NW, IL, PU, IN, NE
            ACC – PSU, RU, MD, UVA, UNC, Duke, GT, FSU, Miami, ND, BC (sub in others if you prefer)

            If you get 24, then PSU can slide west with the B10 schools.

            Play 10 games in division with no crossovers.

        • vp19 says:

          Georgia Tech would probably prefer to remain with its ACC brethren.

          • Brian says:

            vp19,

            Probably, yes, but the E needs a power for balance and PSU should be with RU and MD. Besides, GT would still play the ACC teams half the time, plus GT never had strong FB rivalries with UNC, Duke and MD. In exchange, they get OSU and PU (enginerd battle) annually and the rest of the B10 teams 1/3 of the time.

            GT definitely gets the short end of this alignment, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not that bad. Their biggest rivals are UGA, Auburn and Clemson, none of which are options.

            GT games played:
            1. UGA – 102
            2. AU – 86
            3. Duke – 80 (no rivalry since Duke stinks so bad)
            4. Clemson – 76
            5. AL – 52
            6. UNC – 48
            11. UVA – 35
            17. UMD – 21

            GT isn’t losing much there compared to getting to play UNC, Duke, UVA and MD.

            Also, consider travel distances:
            UNC & Duke – 380 miles
            IN – 525
            UVA – 540
            OSU – 567
            PU – 600
            IL – 621

            UMD – 651
            MI – 711
            NW – 734
            PSU – 757
            MSU – 779
            IA – 815

            RU – 841
            WI – 867
            NE – 999

            GT isn’t driving anywhere, first of all. Second, being in the east wouldn’t save that much travel for them. This distance and the lack of strong ACC rivalries are why I pulled GT into the central group.

        • cutter says:

          @Brian-

          It’s interesting that you criticize the NE v. ACC lineup since that’s what the Inside-Outside division alignment would have done on an annual basis–and that was one your were advocating earlier when there were discussions surrounding what a 14-team B1G would look like.

          The problem with the 2 pods of 6/2 pods of 3 setup is the same one we have now with the Legends and Leaders–a possible rematch in a conference championship game one week after the Michigan-Ohio State game. Unless you’re willing to move the date of the game, your lineup would go against what the UM and OSU ADs have recently said about the upcoming alignment scenario..

          While I appreciate the “balance” argument, you’re thinking like the French General Staff again by assuming these football programs are going to remain static vis-a-vis their relative strengths through the seasons this plan is adapted. Do you know how the new teams admitted to the B1G are going to be like in the future now that they have greater resources and play in a better football conference?

          I actually do like the 2 pods of 6/2 pods of 3 arrangement for all the reasons you describe except the one above, so here’s my modification to solve the problem mentioned above:

          W – Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio State
          C1- Northwestern, Georgia Tech, Purdue
          C2 – Illinois, Michigan State, Indiana
          E – Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke

          With a ten-game conference schedule, they could get through everyone in three years with no home and homes or six years with home and homes. Is it a tough road to hoe for Michigan, Ohio State and Nebraska? Sure, but OSU played UM, UW and UN-L this season and went undefeated while Nebraska did the same thing and got to the Big Ten Championship Game (where they got blasted by Wisconsin in the rematch).

          Besides, television would love having Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio State playing one another each year along with Penn State playing one or two of those teams as well. As a Michigan fan, I’m game. How about you?

          Michigan Conference Schedules

          Years 1 & 2 – Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio State, Northwestern, Georgia Tech, Purdue, Rutgers, Virginia

          Years 3 & 4 – Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio State, Illinois, Michigan State, Indiana, Penn State, Duke

          Years 5 & 6 – Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio State, Northwestern, Georgia Tech, Purdue, Maryland, North Carolina

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            @cutter: Why the obsession with static 4- and 5-team pods? They are totally unnecessary. They solve no problem, while introducing many others. Every permutation you’ve suggested has issues that are easily avoided with one answer: no pods.

            While I appreciate the “balance” argument, you’re thinking like the French General Staff again by assuming these football programs are going to remain static vis-a-vis their relative strengths through the seasons this plan is adapted. Do you know how the new teams admitted to the B1G are going to be like in the future now that they have greater resources and play in a better football conference?

            There is overwhelming evidence that college football programs tend to revert to their historical averages. Michigan may have a few bad years, but it returns to strength. Illinois may have a few great years, but it returns to mediocrity.

            Now, across a 14-team Big Ten, there will probably be one or two surprising teams. But you can’t put Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska, Penn State, Michigan State, and Wisconsin in the same division, and then say, “We have no idea how well they’ll do.” The odds of that many teams defying their historical average are vanishingly small.

          • cutter says:

            @Marc Shepherd

            The reason why the WAC used the pod-system and why the Big Ten might do it if the conference goes to 16 teams or better was stated quite plainly by Jim Delany when he talked about the conference adopted 9 or 10 conference games. Simply put, he wants to see the B1G teams play one another as much as possible. That same sentiment was echoed by UM AD David Brandon as well.

            Once you get to 16 teams and decided on static divisions, there are two options:

            1. A 9-game schedule with a 7-2 split. In a home-and-home arrangement for games with teams in the opposite division, it takes eight years to get through them. If the B1G went away from the home-and-home, then each team could play the other at least one time in a four year period.

            2. A 10-game schedule with a 7-3 split. The same as above, except we’re talking six years for the home and homes in an opposite division.

            A pod system with sixteen teams in a 4X4 setup and a nine-game schedule has each team playing the other at least twice in a home and home setup. Problem solved.

            Are you seriously suggesting that an 18- or 20-team B1G have fixed divisions? We’re talking about 8-1 or 8-2 splits for the former and 9-0 and 9-1 splits for the latter. Now if you think at that point the conference should act as two mini-conferences (Big Ten East, Big Ten West) administered by one entity. than I’d happily endorse that.

            Why can’t you put Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska, Penn State, Michigan State and Wisconsin in one division? I actually expect all of them to be excellent to good per their historic norms, so why not showcase those teams? If those programs can’t run that gauntlet, do they really belong in the national championship discussion or in a four-team playoff? If strength of schedule is one of the criteria for the playoff, what’s the objection here?

            The SEC manages to have a number of high profile games within and between division teams and they’ll have more of them when they adopt nine conference games. The SEC East has Florida, Georgia,Tennessee, Missouri (admittedly a down year for them) and South Carolina. The SEC West has Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas, LSU and Texas A&M. It hasn’t slowed them down vis-a-vis national titles.

            No, I’ll stick to my guns on this. The networks would like that lineup. The fans who pay for PSLs and tickets and luxury boxes deserve a good line up of home games for their money–especially with one less every other season. In my original lineup, teams would play all the ones in their region as well–also a plus for the fans.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            @cutter: You misunderstand me. I am not advocating static divisions in a 16-20 team Big Ten. I am advocating no divisions or pods whatsoever. Protect only those rivalries that you care about — no more, and no fewer — and write whatever schedule you want, as the Big Ten did before Nebraska joined.

            You can either stage a CCG between the top teams, or create artificial divisions to remain within the literal wording of the rule. You can always put Michigan and OSU in the same division, if you want. I could come up with a dozen ways of doing it, without pods.

            Your proposed system, based on the WAC system, changes the divisions every couple of years, but it’s hampered by artificial pods that have no actual value: Purdue doesn’t want to play Maryland every year, so don’t make them, just because static pods force you into it. You don’t need the pods. They’re a crutch that just makes the result worse.

            Why can’t you put Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska, Penn State, Michigan State and Wisconsin in one division? I actually expect all of them to be excellent to good per their historic norms, so why not showcase those teams?

            You’re borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. By creating one super-division, you’re also creating a lousy one. You’re not adding value, just re-arranging the value that already exists. Where it breaks down is in the CCG, where you’re liable to have an underwhelming match-up.

          • Brian says:

            cutter,

            “It’s interesting that you criticize the NE v. ACC lineup since that’s what the Inside-Outside division alignment would have done on an annual basis”

            Nebraska versus the ACC? New England versus the ACC? What? I have no idea what you’re talking about.

            As for Inner/Outer, you’re talking apples and oranges. Your plan involves 6 new teams, all medium to light weights in football, all in one division. There is no balance, and whichever B10 teams get stuck in the division with all the newbies get screwed. Inner/Outer had only 2 new teams and had a balance of power with OSU, MI and MSU versus NE, PSU and WI.

            “and that was one your were advocating earlier when there were discussions surrounding what a 14-team B1G would look like.”

            You seem to conveniently forget that I advocated that only if the B10 stuck to 8 games. It wouldn’t require locked crossovers. That was the basis for my supporting it. I didn’t give it universal support.

            “The problem with the 2 pods of 6/2 pods of 3 setup is the same one we have now with the Legends and Leaders–a possible rematch in a conference championship game one week after the Michigan-Ohio State game. Unless you’re willing to move the date of the game, your lineup would go against what the UM and OSU ADs have recently said about the upcoming alignment scenario.”

            First, it’s an artificial problem. It’s never happened yet so we have no way to know what it would be like. OSU/MI on Saturday night is not UCLA/Stanford during rush hour on Friday. Second, they’ve said they’d do what is best for the conference in terms of divisions. Third, you can split the middle 6 in multiple ways as I showed elsewhere. OSU and MI could be together with MSU and PSU in the other group (OSU/MI/IN vs PSU/MSU/PU, for example).

            “While I appreciate the “balance” argument, you’re thinking like the French General Staff again”

            Making you the Nazis? Heil cutter! You might want a different analogy.

            ” by assuming these football programs are going to remain static vis-a-vis their relative strengths through the seasons this plan is adapted.”

            You’re the one making assumptions. Did I ever say that’s what would happen?

            “Do you know how the new teams admitted to the B1G are going to be like in the future now that they have greater resources and play in a better football conference?”

            Yes. I know all.

            “I actually do like the 2 pods of 6/2 pods of 3 arrangement for all the reasons you describe except the one above, so here’s my modification to solve the problem mentioned above:

            W – Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio State
            C1- Northwestern, Georgia Tech, Purdue
            C2 – Illinois, Michigan State, Indiana
            E – Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke”

            Yuck.

            “As a Michigan fan, I’m game. How about you?”

            No. It’s a horrible plan. It’s bad for almost everybody.

    • GreatLakeState says:

      Whether this expansion scenario has now entered the realm of conventional wisdom or not, the consensus seems to be growing, which has to make the ACC nervous.

  29. zeek says:

    Comcast is buying out GE’s 49% stake in NBCUniversal according to WSJ.

    It doesn’t change the direction of anything since Comcast has been in control of NBC’s recent moves as majority owner, but it’s an indication that Comcast is all in on content.

    • David Brown says:

      Comcast buying out GE is good news. I wonder if they will do the Country a favor and get rid of MSNBC, and all of the awful shows on NBC and the bad films at Universal (I admit I liked “The Fast & the Furious” series. (Of course, Jordana Brewster, Eva Mendes, guns and muscle cars are my thing)) Basically, I cannot watch that Network with the exception of Football, Hockey & Golf.

  30. Marc Shepherd says:

    The Dude of WV just tweeted: “The biggest hurdle for FSU and the B1G – Michigan”.

    Given that Michigan has the B1G’s highest research budget, and voted Nebraska out of the AAU, that is not a crazy claim.

    • ccrider55 says:

      Too bad he doesn’t say how many other hurdles there are, and how much lower they are.

    • Mike says:

      Making claims that sound plausible is what he’s actually good at. Accuracy is his issue.

    • cutter says:

      Well, if the Big Ten Conference is seriously discussing Florida State as an invitee, then the conference is likely going from 14 to 18 pretty quickly. There might be some scenario for FSU to come in with Georgia Tech, but that would leave Virginia hanging in the wind unless there was a commitment in place for one of the Carolina schools (preferably UNC).

      So which one do you invite as #4 if Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia Tech are lined up? Duke or Florida State?

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        With those givens, Florida State in a heartbeat. At least, that’s my opinion as a fan and businessman. Duke would no doubt have some pull with the academics who actually get to make the decision. Duke is terrible in football, but their basketball program is one of the best brands in all of sports. Academically, they run rings around FSU, and most of the Big Ten.

        The reality is, if you have got any four of those five to leave the ACC, the fifth would almost certainly accept a Big Ten invite. The only question, then, is whether you go to 20 right away (and if so, with whom), or do you hang out for the ideal 20th member.

        • GreatLakeState says:

          Some ‘expert’ on the BTN thinks the expansion bomb is going to drop sooner rather that later because the schools don’t want to go through conference realignment (scheduling etc.) more than once.

        • Brian says:

          With those 5 to make 19, you’d have to think Delany would wait for a call from South Bend. If that doesn’t come, he has to choose from Miami, VT, NCSU, UConn, Syracuse or BC. None of those are exciting, but all have some positives. You can’t stay at 19 long term unless you don’t need divisions.

          • spaz says:

            I think you’d have to include Pitt on the list of options (which at least would be an AAU option). Yes, they duplicate a state but so does NC St, Va Tech and Miami (FL) in that situation.

          • Richard says:

            Or Pitt.

            Once you’ve added FSU and FL (and well as 3 other states and 4 extra AAU schools), it may make sense to add a school who is a perfect fit in every way but doesn’t bring any extra TV sets in order to get a member like Michigan (which would find Pitt agreeable and wants to play schools who are close by) to vote for the package.

          • Brian says:

            I didn’t include Pitt for these reasons:

            1. PSU dominates in FB in PA. Not true for UVA, FSU or even UNC.

            2. PSU has been in the B10 for 20 years, so it’s already B10 territory. VA and NC would still need converting.

            3. Population: FL – 19.3M, PA – 12.8M. You can justify adding Miami to gain more south FL fans while Pitt adds a lot less. It also means a major media market getting the BTN for sure.

            That’s not to say Pitt shouldn’t be on the list at all, I just thought they were too low on the list to include.

          • Richard says:

            I would advocate for Miami if not for the place being underwater several decades from now.

          • metatron says:

            I’m not sure Miami has any local fans. They sure don’t show up anyway if they do.

          • Brian says:

            metatron,

            Yes, Miami has a bandwagon fanbase that only shows up for big games. But south FL is full of B10 alumni that will happily go to the games. And Miami fans might be more interested in MI, OSU, PSU and NE than many of the ACC teams. Besides, Miami is a large TV market with plenty of CFB fans.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Brian – in an earlier discussion about all the B1G alums in the ATL that would prop up GA Tech, I asked you if you would buy season tickets to GA Tech. I seem to remember you saying “no.” Assuming most B1G fans are like you, I fail to see the value when Atlanta and Miami may be “full of B10 alums” but will only attend a GA Tech or Miami game when they play your team. Also, like ATL, the vast majority of cable subscribers are not B1G fans. Asking non-B1G fans to pay for the BTN on expanded basic is probably a non-starter as well.

            I’m not so sure that Miami even has “plenty of CFB fans.” My impression has always been that Miami is a Dolphin town, and then a bandwagon town, whether it be the Heat or Hurricanes. The bandwagon never seemed to jump on the Marlins, even when they were good. Maybe with a combination the new stadium and a competitive team, the band wagoners may show up. I have now knowledge of the NHL Panthers.

          • Brian says:

            Alan from Baton Rouge,

            “Brian – in an earlier discussion about all the B1G alums in the ATL that would prop up GA Tech, I asked you if you would buy season tickets to GA Tech. I seem to remember you saying “no.” Assuming most B1G fans are like you,”

            That would be a terrible assumption. It’s just too much money to me, but others may feel otherwise. I wouldn’t buy season tickets for OSU even if I lived in Columbus due to the prices, either. Clearly tens of thousands of people disagree with me on that.

          • Stephen says:

            Brian -

            “That would be a terrible assumption. It’s just too much money to me, but others may feel otherwise. I wouldn’t buy season tickets for OSU even if I lived in Columbus due to the prices, either. Clearly tens of thousands of people disagree with me on that.”

            This discussion is interesting. I have a friend who grew up as a Nebraska fan and is an Illinois alumnus. He just moved to Alpharetta, Georgia (Atlanta suburb) and would be ecstatic if Georgia Tech joined the Big Ten so that he could see his two favorite teams play in person less than an hour away from his home.

          • Brian says:

            Stephen,

            I might buy single game tickets when OSU is in town to play GT, but I wouldn’t buy GT season tickets to get them. It’s just not worth that much to me. I know plenty of people would do it, though.

  31. DjinnDjinn says:

    If it makes sense to bring in the Johns Hopkins University into the B1G fold for Lacrosse and the CIC, and it certainly seems to, the B1G may as well invite MIT to compete in rowing.

    • Transic says:

      I could see MIT as an additive to, say, BC, if BC is #20. It might alleviate some of the concerns about academics.

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        I don’t believe the presidents think about it that way. In the hypothetical case where MIT joins for rowing, it doesn’t make BC more acceptable than they were before. (MIT doesn’t compete in Division I rowing, so the idea is way, way out there — far more than Johns Hopkins for lacrosse.)

        • BruceMcF says:

          Yes, this was my reaction to the idea that the Big Ten is looking at expanding with UVA, FSU and John Hopkins Lacrosse, with the academic appeal of UVA and JHU overcoming the resistance to FSU ~ there’s no obvious reason why that would be a three school package deal, so the obvious response would be to accept JHU for Lacrosse and invite them as a guest member of the CIC, and then move on to the UVA and FSU proposal.

  32. danallen2 says:

    You need to add a couple points to add context to this document.

    1. The BE president and all but 4 of the schools approved the ESPN bid three years ago. They didn’t have the required majority (11 to 4). The 4 schools that voted against the offer all left. So, it’s not really accurate to say the rejection of the deal was myopic.

    2. I’d like to see how the deals shake out when all is said and done, because we still don’t know what anyone is going to make. But assuming the numbers are correct, you can’t compare these because you are essentially comparing apples to oranges. Who owns tier 2 and tier 3 for the BE? Does Fox own all the rights of the C7? Don’t imagine that this is an insignificant question for the likes of UConn. It earns $24.75 million a year in broadcasting and licensing rights (mainly the coach’s shows on SNY and all the games shown there as well, but added to that the IMG contract).

    UConn is not going to give up those rights. That’s why this comparison is not apt.

    3. I don’t consider Fox the killer of the conference since the C7 split should have happened many years ago regardless. They all voted to split in 1992 (ironically, UConn got the Catholics to agree to take on the football schools) and in 2004 (but the money loss for the Catholics was too great, and brokering an agreement was impossible). In spirit, the conference schools had split already. And when you realize that the vast majority of the NCAA credits came from Ville, Syracuse, Pitt, and especially UConn, the strength of the conference in basketball was not going to be hurt much (though G’town has had a recent resurgence).

    For all these reasons, I’m not buying the idea that the Fox money is some sort of coup.

    Also realize that the BE has over $70 million in its coffers of NCAA credits, as well as $68 million in exit fees, and it will recoup some more from ND, Ville and Rutgers’ departure, as well as the negotiations with the C7. So there’s a lot of dough there. For schools like Cincy and UConn, the licensing money plus the load in the bank vault should last for at least 5 years until there is more clarity.

    • Nostradamus says:

      Do you have a source on #2? Texas isn’t making $25 million from the Longhorn network…

      • danallen2 says:

        It’s not just Tier 3. It’s not just the games on SNY. It’s also the coaching show and all licensing through IMG. If you look at the USA Today NCAA database, you’ll see $24.75 million under licensing for UConn. Which is $10 million a year from IMG (they produce the coaches’ shows and also market the school), $1.2-1.5 from women’s bball, and then the men’s bball and football are separate. I suspect that adds up to about $15m when you include IMG. Then the rest of the $9m is in marketing/ads at the games. So, UConn is going to protect that $first 15 million at the very least that’s tied into the SNY games and shows.

        • Nostradamus says:

          “But assuming the numbers are correct, you can’t compare these because you are essentially comparing apples to oranges.”
          To a certain degree, no doubt… Every conference’s contracts are different in the rights a school retains vs. what are pooled. The value of retained rights is also going to differ for every school. That said, and we’ve discussed it here on previous blogs, I think these differences are largely over blown.

          “Who owns tier 2 and tier 3 for the BE? Does Fox own all the rights of the C7? Don’t imagine that this is an insignificant question for the likes of UConn.”
          We’ll like I said above, I don’t think it as big as you are trying to make it out to be.

          “It earns $24.75 million a year in broadcasting and licensing rights (mainly the coach’s shows on SNY and all the games shown there as well, but added to that the IMG contract).”
          1) That $24.7 million isn’t mainly their coaches shows, no way… 2) The Syracuse IMG contract is an $80 million/10 year deal or $8 million a year. Nebraska, Michigan, and Ohio State all have larger IMG deals than that in a conference that has less “2nd and 3rd tier” rights. 3) According to the the USA today database you are using for your $24.75 million a year in “broadcasting and licensing rights,” under the same column Michigan is at $46.75 million and Ohio State is at $43.6 million, again in a conference that has less 2nd and 3rd tier rights. I’m not sure how you want to explain that.

          “It’s not just Tier 3. It’s not just the games on SNY. It’s also the coaching show and all licensing through IMG. If you look at the USA Today NCAA database, you’ll see $24.75 million under licensing for UConn. “
          See above though. Michigan is earning almost double that in a conference most would say doesn’t have any 2nd tier rights and has some of the more limited 3rd tier rights.

          • danallen2 says:

            It’s impossible for me to figure out what portion of the tv rights are aggregated under the $24.75 million. I know only portions of it which you can find in the press, such as the fact that UConn’s IMG deal is worth $10 million a year, and that’s IMG putting together the shows. Beyond that, there are deals with SNY for women’s bball at $1.2-$1.5m a year. For some reason, UConn’s football and men’s basketball is not announced. Say that together they make $3 million, that’s $4.2 to $4.5. This is why I stated that about $15m of the $24.75m comes from broadcasting rights. By the way, if you compare UConn’s licensing to Rutgers or the average ACC member ($17 million) UConn’s is way higher. Rutgers’ huge TV market hasn’t been captured yet, whereas UConn’s is saturated with UConn 4 days a week.

          • Nostradamus says:

            “It’s impossible for me to figure out what portion of the tv rights are aggregated under the $24.75 million. “

            I don’t think you need to though. That is what I’ve been trying to tell you. When Michigan is nearly doubling that amount without any third tier television rights in the two major revenue sports; that is a fairly good sign it doesn’t matter.
            “I know only portions of it which you can find in the press, such as the fact that UConn’s IMG deal is worth $10 million a year, and that’s IMG putting together the shows.”

            It isn’t $10 million. It is an $80 million deal over 10 years, so an average of $8 million. Again, Nebraska and Ohio State both have IMG deals larger than that. Said IMG deal is going to be had in virtually any conference for UCONN. For the purposes of apples to oranges comparisons in your first post, they are pretty darn close regardless of the conference and thus largely irrelevant. Even in the SEC where schools retain the rights to a football game, most of the contracts are only in the range of $10 million a year.

            And it isn’t just coaches’ shows. I’d wager those are some the less valuable things in the deal. The IMG/Learfield deals typically cover radio rights, corporate sponsorships, advertising both on the media platforms and in stadium, and potentially managing media rights retained by the schools.

          • danallen2 says:

            The reason I mention the IMG deal is because they do produce the shows and the shows so far have gotten very high ratings. To give you but one example, the women’s games have been the highest ranked show on TV not only on cable, but on all TV including network, with the coaches show doing half of that. If UConn were to leave SNY for a comprehensive Fox deal in the C7, all that would be lost. So how do you monetize that? I’m thinking again it’s more than $4.5m (the direct SNY tier 3 payout) but probably not too much more.

          • Nostradamus says:

            The reason I mention the IMG deal is because they do produce the shows and the shows so far have gotten very high ratings.”
            Yes but the production, distribution, and advertising pertaining to the shows is covered in what IMG paid UConn $8 million a year for. It is covered in what IMG pays Nebraska $8.7 million a year for.
            “To give you but one example, the women’s games have been the highest ranked show on TV not only on cable, but on all TV including network, with the coaches show doing half of that. If UConn were to leave SNY for a comprehensive Fox deal in the C7, all that would be lost. “
            Another moot point. Short of joining the Big Ten (and even then it looks like schools have plenty of games to do with as they please especially non-conference) no conference has as you put it a “comprehensive” deal for women’s basketball. It is a sport that UConn is fairly unique in being able to monetize.
            “So how do you monetize that? I’m thinking again it’s more than $4.5m (the direct SNY tier 3 payout) but probably not too much more.”
            I don’t see anything about a $4.5 million SNY payment on the internet. I see stuff about a sub $2 million rights fee payment from SNY for women’s basketball. It is unclear if UConn gets all of that or not.

          • danallen2 says:

            I think you’re missing some points here. UConn also did a deal with SNY for football and men’s basketball, not only women’s basketball. That’s the $4.5m I’m referring to. If UConn doesn’t get it, then who does? They did the deal, they get the proceeds. As for IMG, yes they produce the show–but there is no show if there is no game! That’s the point. IMG does not get money for UConn’s tier 3 rights.

          • Nostradamus says:

            “I think you’re missing some points here.”
            I don’t believe I am…

            “UConn also did a deal with SNY for football and men’s basketball, not only women’s basketball.”
            I see no evidence of this deal at all on the internet and quite frankly I don’t think it is possible. Those are ESPN’s rights. I see more circumstantial evidence though that the SNY content (other than the women’s basketball) is sublicensed from ESPN the rights holder for the conference. This means any direct financial benefit of the football games for sure and more than likely the basketball games as well broadcast on SNY goes not to UConn, not to the Big East, but to ESPN.

            “That’s the $4.5m I’m referring to.”
            Like I said above, I’m not convinced this $4.5 million exists. The women’s deal is clearly on the side (but still not clear that UConn is getting 100% of the $4.5 million/4 year deal).
            “If UConn doesn’t get it, then who does? They did the deal, they get the proceeds. “
            Well as noted above, the men’s rights may not have been retained by the school to give to SNY. And even if there was a “deal” it wasn’t necessarily UConn that negotiated it (IMG) and it wouldn’t necessarily be UCONN getting all or part of the revenue (IMG). That would all depend on what UConn ended up selling to IMG when they signed their contract.

            “As for IMG, yes they produce the show–but there is no show if there is no game! That’s the point.”
            They not only produce the show. They are responsible for distributing it and selling advertising for it. They’ve basically paid UConn for the rights to the show. No different than ESPN paying the Big East for the right to football and basketball games.

            “IMG does not get money for UConn’s tier 3 rights. ”
            Yes they do. That is why they are willing to pay schools $8+ million. 3rd tier rights in the sense that it is anything retained by the school is a broad range of things. The coaches shows (ads and distribution), the radio rights(ads and distribution), potential television rights, in stadium advertising, corporate sponsorships are all 3rd tier rights. They also are the things IMG and Learfield buy from the schools. Buying those rights shifts the risk over to IMG. The tradeoff is IMG also is in line to get any excess profits. The schools have sold their rights to them just as conferences sell their 1st and 2nd tier rights to ESPN or Fox. ESPN and Fox bear the profits and or losses depending on how they monetize the inventory they buy.

          • danallen2 says:

            You are without a doubt definitely wrong on this. ESPN does not have the BE’s tier 3 rights, and UConn sells those rights direct in deals with SNY.

            http://www.ctpost.com/football/article/UConn-SNY-announce-three-year-contract-605055.php

            IMG gets the money from the shows around the games. But without the games, there are no shows.

            SNY pays ESPN for production. But it pays UConn for the rights.

          • Nostradamus says:

            “You are without a doubt definitely wrong on this.”
            No I am not.
            “ESPN does not have the BE’s tier 3 rights”
            In a sense no one does. ESPN controls the rights for football and basketball.
            From MattSarz’s site,
            “Big East – UPDATED: Same as the ACC. ESPN owns everything. Schools can buy back some content from ESPN (some OOC basketball, replay rights, etc.).”
            http://mattsarzsports.blogspot.com/2012/05/third-tier-rights-what-are-they.html

            “UConn sells those rights direct in deals with SNY.”
            That article you linked to provides no such evidence of this.

            “IMG gets the money from the shows around the games. But without the games, there are no shows.”
            Yes, but they also get money directly from the games via radio broadcasts, and other multimedia rights. The IMG’s and Learfield’s of the world basically pay to become the 3rd tier rights holders for the schools they have deals with. That is IMG’s college business model.
            “SNY pays ESPN for production. But it pays UConn for the rights.”
            The fact that ESPN is willing to produce the games is a pretty good indicator the games were ESPN’s to begin with. And again, if these games are ESPN’s, no UConn is not getting paid for the rights to games that they don’t have the right to sell.

            Especially in a basketball power conference like the Big East was, ESPN is going to come in and pay for everything. Short of the SEC and now the Big XII, and their exceptions are very public, major conference schools don’t get the rights to valuable content like football games. They assigned those rights to the conference and the conference sold them off to ESPN.

          • danallen2 says:

            You write this: “Yes, but they also get money directly from the games via radio broadcasts, and other multimedia rights. The IMG’s and Learfield’s of the world basically pay to become the 3rd tier rights holders for the schools they have deals with. That is IMG’s college business model.”

            And you write this: “And again, if these games are ESPN’s, no UConn is not getting paid for the rights to games that they don’t have the right to sell.”

            So, which is it? Does UConn give rights to IMG? And, if so, hen why did you write that it doesn’t have the rights to sell?

            The article I linked to said that UConn contracted with SNY. So, you think the contract is charity? Or is the article wrong? We know ESPN has the right to these games, but that doesn’t mean it shows them. It doesn’t. So why does ESPN take a fee to produce? Because, one, it defrays the cost of production, and two, ESPN does show these games out of market on ESPN3.

          • Nostradamus says:

            “So, which is it? Does UConn give rights to IMG? And, if so, hen why did you write that it doesn’t have the rights to sell?”
            Those two statements aren’t contradictory at all. Statement 1) IMG is a 3rd tier rights holder for colleges Statement 2) In this situation these are not 3rd tier rights. If ESPN has the rights to Big East football games and chooses to sublicense some UConn games to SNY, that is a separate transaction that does not involve UConn’s and or IMG’s rights.
            “The article I linked to said that UConn contracted with SNY.”
            It says SNY reached a deal to show 300 hours of programming. That doesn’t say anything about how the programming was acquired, who is getting paid and how much.
            “So, you think the contract is charity?”
            Of course not. Although the University is certainly going to be pleased with the publicity SNY provides.
            “ Or is the article wrong?”
            I don’t know that I would say the article is wrong necessarily. It just doesn’t mention where anyof the content is coming from and anything about compensation.

            “We know ESPN has the right to these games, but that doesn’t mean it shows them. It doesn’t. So why does ESPN take a fee to produce? Because, one, it defrays the cost of production, and two, ESPN does show these games out of market on ESPN3.”
            In the old Big XII contract, Fox had the rights for anything not shown on ABC for football. That is a lot of inventory and more than Fox could fill (this is pre games on FX and pre games on Big Fox). Fox sold sublicensed games to TBS for a while, Versus (now NBC Sports), and ESPN. The SEC and ACC have had sub-licensed syndication packages with Raycom and Jefferson Pilot, etc. So when you have more inventory than you can show, you sell it.
            This happens at the network level though. ESPN paid for the games and they can do with them as they please subject to their agreement with the Big East. Some conferences have clauses for profit sharing if the rights are sub-licensed, some conferences have clauses where they have to sign off on any sub-licensing deal. But this is all taking place above the school level.
            You want me to belive that UConn has a separate unreported contract for football and basketball games that it probably doesn’t own with unreported income. Let’s try this a different way. Look how easy it is to find the value of the UConn IMG deal and the SNY women’s basketball deal. Why is there nothing on the basketball/football?

  33. vp19 says:

    Good feature on Maryland’s wrestling program, which is looking forward to the challenge of the Big Ten: http://maryland.247sports.com/Article/Maryland-Wrestling-Coach-Kerry-McCoy-has-Terps-Thriving-116332

    • zeek says:

      Very few non-revenue sports conferences as brutal as Big Ten wrestling.

      • ccrider55 says:

        UVA, UNC, Duke all pass the wrestling test. I hope all adds do.

        • vp19 says:

          That’s why I think those three schools will lean towards Big Ten as opposed to SEC if push comes to shove. The SEC doesn’t sponsor wrestling, or men’s soccer, or men’s and women’s lacrosse. Kind of hard to park all those teams in a lower-tier conference (e.g., MAC, C-USA) and then retain your top 25 status in the Directors’ Cup.

          • zeek says:

            If the Big Ten does get those 4, it’ll give the Pac-12 a run for its money as far as non-revenue sports goes.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            The question isn’t whether they’d prefer the B1G or the SEC, but what it would take to shake them loose from their current moorings.

          • m (Ag) says:

            2 SEC schools offer Men’s soccer, and a different 2 play women’s lacrosse. If 2 ACC schools joined, I could see Slive moving to get a couple more current schools playing those sports to add to the SEC inventory.

            If the upcoming network really does have the reported financial projections, I hope the conference passes a requirement that each school adds at least 2 sports (1 men, 1 women) to their current offerings.

          • GreatLakeState says:

            That would be like watching the Bad News Bears play the Yankees.

    • Scarlet_Lutefisk says:

      Only tangentially related but the IOC can take a flying leap.

      • Brian says:

        Hopefully they undo their decision before finalizing the list of sports. They have another meeting in May and the final one in September, I believe.

        • Scarlet_Lutefisk says:

          Unless there is an unbelievably massive international backlash wrestling (in the Olympics) is dead. The executive committee wants it gone because it doesn’t provide the massive kickbacks other sports do.

          ccrider had an excellent post earlier giving some information about the poor treatment wrestling has dealt with at the hands of the IOC.

          To be brutally honest IMO opinion it’s time to just tear the whole thing down and start over.

          • ccrider55 says:

            It will be Russa, all the ‘stans, Iran, plus Turkey and Japan who both are bidding on the ’20 games that have the juice to maybe get this reversed. Quite a few of their top political leaders are former wrestlers and very avid. I’m not sure the board members that voted this thing would be safe visiting many of those places unprotected. In some places their wrestling fans make SEC football fanaticism seem like the British Royalties polite, subdued attendance at Wimbledon.

      • Transic says:

        I respect the true wrestling, the one with the tradition going back to the ancient Greeks. Never understood adding dirt biking or women’s boxing to the program. Score another one for political correctness.

      • mushroomgod says:

        No kidding….wtf……seems like there were 90 different rowing competitions in the summer…no room for baseball, softball, wrestling?

  34. ncrdbl1 says:

    No network killed the Big East. It was the make up of the Big East from the beginning that killed it. A make shift group of part time, football only and basketball only schools. There was no stability from day one. THAT is what eventually killed the Big East, NOT some TV network.

    • BruceMcF says:

      Now you are arguing whether killing the Big Least was murder or euthanasia. I think that Fixed Sports did indeed kill the Big Least ~ but lean toward the euthanasia side.

  35. bullet says:

    http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/sports/190943281.html?ipad=y

    Good scoop on Big 10 I found on Texas board. No more FCS. Purdue or MSU likely in west according to Alvarez.

  36. Pat says:

    Follow

    Chad
    @TeddyGreenstein – Unexpected side benefit to 10 game conf. schedule: the Big Ten’s name would make sense again. Kinda.

  37. zeek says:

    Interesting that Michigan State is actively lobbying to be in the West.

    This confirms something that I posted a couple threads ago asking Michigan State fans if they’d rather have a better chance of success than being in the same division as Michigan.

    Definitely makes sense to get the last spot in the West than be in the East with OSU/Michigan/Penn State.

    • Pat says:

      MSU’s largest alumni group is in Chicago and they do a lot of recruiting in that area and throughout Illinois which is also moving west. It’s a short drive for the fans from East Lansing to Evanston and tickets are easy to get. Wouldn’t be surprise to see MSU as Northwestern’s first opponent at Wrigley Field. Also, Wisconsin is a big rival and will be in the west, plus it sets up the possibility of playing Michigan twice in one season. As a resident of the state of Michigan, I would love to see the teams in separate divisions.

      • jj says:

        As an MSU man, I’m coming around to the idea. Not sold on the idea yet, but I wouldn’t be upset about it happening either.

        • ChicagoMac says:

          Strikes me as a very risky move for MSU.

          First, you put yourself at a disadvantage vs your division rivals by playing a more difficult schedule on average.

          On top of that, you guarantee yourself fewer games in the recruiting rich states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland.

          • Brian says:

            Their schedule wouldn’t be that much harder because they’d play OSU and PSU less often than everyone else.

      • zeek says:

        Yeah, I’d imagine Northwestern being in the West is important since their AD has said on a couple of occasions that they view the Chicago visits as the second most important thing to playing Michigan on an annual basis.

        • jj says:

          MSU in the west would guarantee annual games with NU, MI and WI, all of which are highly desirable for MSU.

          NE and IA are pretty well enjoyed as well. So assuming a 9 game season, 5 games are guaranteed interesting matchup for the MSU fanbase and I’m sure there will be more in most years. I’m a big fan of the season-ender. Maybe we can set up NW or WI as a locked season ender; that would be interesting.

          I also think it could help MSU’s recruiting frankly as they might be able to break away a little bit from UM and OSU.

          If we can keep ND as a more or less annual affair, we’d have good home schedules every year. I’d rather play ND than anyone else OOC – no question.

          The downside is not playing OSU or PSU as much. I’m not overly concerned about playing MD and Rutgers often.

          There are a lot of positives to it.

          • Ferdinand says:

            If Michigan St goes East then Michigan can have a Little Brown Jug Bye Week every year as their crossover.

    • Brian says:

      zeek,

      “Interesting that Michigan State is actively lobbying to be in the West.”

      Do you have a link to go with that? I’m not doubting you, but I haven’t seen any recent quotes to that effect.

      “This confirms something that I posted a couple threads ago asking Michigan State fans if they’d rather have a better chance of success than being in the same division as Michigan.”

      Didn’t you get mixed answers to that? I know at least one of the MSU guys said they’d rather be in the east and beat the best despite me showing that MSU would expect to lose an extra game per year that way.

      “Definitely makes sense to get the last spot in the West than be in the East with OSU/Michigan/Penn State.”

      More importantly, it improves balance a little.

      I used B10 results from 2003-2012 to determine W% against each team. For NE, I assigned the average of PSU and MI. I looked up the conference W% of all 14 teams and found RU was about the average of NW and PU, so I used that value across the board, and MD was about the average of PU and MN, so I used that value across the board.

      The following table is the number of expected wins in a 9 game season for 3 different alignments. The first number is for E/W with MSU in the west (only MI/MSU locked). The second is with MSU in the east (only IN/PU locked). The third is for no divisions (the ideal balanced schedule).

      IL – 1.97, 1.94, 2.01
      IN – 1.25, 1.20, 1.44
      IA – 5.16, 5.16, 5.01
      MI – 5.95, 5.89, 5.89
      MSU – 4.91, 4.81, 4.94
      MN – 3.23 , 3.30, 3.25
      NE – 5.75, 5.83, 5.78
      NW – 4.41, 4.49, 4.23
      OSU – 7.15, 7.29, 7.24
      PSU – 5.79, 5.72, 5.66
      PU – 3.94, 4.16, 3.90
      WI – 5.82, 6.06, 6.00
      MD – 3.57, 3.48, 3.57
      RU – 3.99, 3.91, 4.07

      Notes:
      1. E/W really hurts IN and helps IA, NW and PSU.

      2. MSU in the west hurts WI, PU and OSU the most while helping MSU, RU and MD. I know OSU seems counter-intuitive, but they have a better record against MSU than PU over the past 10 years. That shouldn’t continue, but I didn’t fudge any of the data.

      3. I didn’t include the numbers, but MSU in the west comes much closer to the balanced schedule of no divisions (difference of 1.24 versus 1.63 wins in the sum of absolute differences)

      4. MSU in the West is mathematically more fair. It also better balances the brands, which is often the more important form of balance. MSU gets 2 rivalries they want (WI and NW) while keeping MI. WI gets everyone they want, including MSU.

      • Brian says:

        zeek,

        I found a link.

        http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/sports/190957011.html#!page=0&pageSize=10&sort=newestfirst

        “I know Michigan State was lobbying in the West Division instead of the East.”

      • zeek says:

        I did get mixed answers, but if jj is coming around that helps tip the balance I suppose.

        And yeah, it’s better for balance to have Michigan State in the West than Purdue for sure.

        Michigan State’s potential is more similar to Wisconsin and Iowa than any other school in the Big Ten of the non-kings.

        • zeek says:

          I also hope that they only lock Michigan-Michigan State if this is the case. I don’t like the idea of Penn State locked into Nebraska as well as the other two kings, and who would Ohio State get locked into? Wisconsin?

          • BruceMcF says:

            I reckon Ohio State would get locked into Illinois.

          • frug says:

            @Bruce

            As an Illinois fan I would like that, but I could see Michigan pushing back against that idea. It would give the Buckeyes a much easier path to the CCG.

          • BruceMcF says:

            But, but, but … TRADITION!

            I’d rather the Buckeyes not be locked at all, and see the balance of the other division more often. If That School Up North doesn’t want being locked to the Spartans to give the Buckeyes an easier path, they can damn well pull for MSU in the eastern division.

          • Brian says:

            frug,

            It is OSU’s second biggest rivalry, just like MSU is for them.

            But I hope they won’t lock anything but the one split in-state rivalry.

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        MSU in the West is mathematically more fair.

        The options are within ~1/4th of a win for practically all teams, in all scenarios. One win every four years is close enough to be, in essence, statistically tied. There is probably at least that much error in the analysis, due to the fact that 3 out of 14 teams don’t have much history competing against the others.

        MSU gets 2 rivalries they want (WI and NW) while keeping MI. WI gets everyone they want, including MSU.

        I suspect the debate among the Big Ten ADs is whether this arrangement is giving WI and MSU a bit too much of what they want, at the expense of the other western teams.

        • Brian says:

          Marc Shepherd,

          “One win every four years is close enough to be, in essence, statistically tied.”

          It’s not a statistically significant difference given the inherent error in estimating 3 teams and the yearly fluctuations for teams anyway (or at least I can’t show that it is significant), but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

          “I suspect the debate among the Big Ten ADs is whether this arrangement is giving WI and MSU a bit too much of what they want, at the expense of the other western teams.”

          Has anyone heard of PU wanting to be in the west? If not, that means the two schools in question both want the same thing. So let’s look at the rest:

          Favor MSU in west – WI
          Don’t really care – OSU, PSU, MD, RU
          Don’t really care as long as split rivalry is locked – MI, IN
          Favor MSU in east – IL (PU cannon), maybe NE, IA, MN, NW (SOS reasons)

          I don’t see SOS concerns winning the day, especially when the math doesn’t support that as an issue for most teams. So where is the expense to the west? As I’ve shown elsewhere, they won’t play kings that much less often.

          All eastern kings – 1 in 12 years lost
          OSU and MI only – 1 in 10 years lost

          I don’t see enough cost to not give MSU and PU what they seem to want.

          • BruceMcF says:

            Didn’t the Buckeyes AD say something along the lines of a schedule with Indiana, Purdue, Rutgers and Maryland every year being less than exciting? While the Buckeyes might prefer to swap Indiana for MSU, the Spartans is an upgrade in terms of selling that ticket book.

          • Brian says:

            He said he didn’t want RU, MD, IL, IN and PU every year. That would have been 5 of 8 games back when he said it. Now you have 9+ games and IL isn’t included. That’s very different. Besides, many fans in western OH and IN go to the games at PU.

      • jj says:

        Maybe Masochist State University football needs a new approach. They’ve been beating their heads against a wall for almost 30 years.

  38. Richard says:

    One idea:

    Especially if the Big10 becomes the Big20, but even if they don’t, they may lobby the NCAA to allow schools in those conferences who don’t play a conference championship game an exemption to participate in a kick-off-classic-type 13th game the last weekend of August every 4 years.

    On net, that would likely be more lucrative for the B10 as well as pretty much every other conference outside of the SEC, and even the SEC may drop their title game in order to have 4 schools (in a 16 school league) participate in a kick-off-classic-type game every 4 years and so that they don’t decrease their chances of sending 2 schools to the 4-team playoff.

    With 20 schools, the B10 could have 5 schools playing in that type of game every year. They could have one matchup against the Pac, one against the B12, one against the ACC (or, if the ACC refuses to play because of the raiding, one against the BE), and one against the SEC if they’re allowed to as well as one against the MAC (which would essentially be an extra home game for the B10 school). For those schools who are insistent on having 7 home games, an extra 13th game every 4 years would allow for 10 conference games, 1 major OOC opponent, and still 7 home games (if they face a MAC or SunBelt school in the kickoff game) 3 of every 4 years.

    Thinking about this more, if the SEC joins in, the B10 could have 5 series:
    vs. SEC
    vs. Pac
    vs. B12
    vs. MAC (for schools who want an extra home game)
    vs. SunBelt (for schools who want an extra home game)

    With an expansion to 20, B10 schools would already be regularly visiting places in the Midwest and the entire Eastern seaboard.

    This setup would allow B10 schools to visit the rest of the south and the west as well.

    • Richard says:

      If FSU, GTech, UNC, Duke, UVa, and Pitt are added to form a B20, I would want 3 protected games with 10 conference games (meeting the nonprotected schools 7/16 of the time, so every class would play almost every other conference member home and away over 4 years).
      OSU-Michigan
      FSU-PSU
      FSU-UNL
      Would be annual games (as well as a bunch of others that I figured out).
      FSU gets a little bit of a tougher schedule, but they also have the best recruiting grounds (over 16 years, in 12 years, all the kings would face the same number of kings:2 each for 10 years and 4 each for 2 years; the other 4 years, FSU faces all 4 kings while the other 4 face 2 each). All members of the current 14-school B10 would have an annual series with a king except for Northwestern, Maryland, and one of IU/PU (I have them rotating in a spot against OSU). Even those schools who don’t have an annual series with a king would face a king 35/16 of the time, or a little over twice a year on average. That’s worse than in the 12-school B10, when the least often a school would face a king on average was 2.4 times but better than in the traditional 10-school B10, when a school faced a king only 1 or 2 times a year.

      You could have only 2 protected games, allowing you to meet the other schools 8/17 of the time, but that would mean sacrificing annual series like Iowa-Wisconsin, the Little Brown Jug game, and either UNL-FSU or UNL-Wisconsin, which to me would not be worth it given the minimal gain.

      • greg says:

        The NCAA and the schools have shown they no longer want the kickoff classics.

        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          greg – the neutral site opening weekend big ooc games are gaining momentum though. In addition to Atlanta and DFW, add Houston to list for the upcoming season.

          Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game – Bama v. VA Tech
          Cowboys Classic – LSU v. TCU
          Texas Kickoff Classic – OK State v. Miss State

          • greg says:

            Alan, I agree those games are coming back, but they aren’t an exempt game like they used to be. THAT concept has been squashed.

        • Richard says:

          They weren’t wanted back when the haul of a regular season game was a fraction of what it is now and the revenue of an exempt game wasn’t directly controlled by the conferences.

          Exempt games that bring in 8 figures with revenues that flow to the conferences directly may be a different story. Especialy if they can be packaged as an experience for the players. Kind of like a pre-season bowl game experience.

    • Richard says:

      Also, with the exemption for a 13th game every 4 years, a school could have 7 home games every year even with 10 conference games if they are OK with playing a major OOC opponent only 3 out of 4 years.

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      Especially if the Big10 becomes the Big20, but even if they don’t, they may lobby the NCAA to allow schools in those conferences who don’t play a conference championship game an exemption to participate in a kick-off-classic-type 13th game the last weekend of August every 4 years.

      Which conferences are you thinking of? Currently, every major conference except the Big XII has a CCG. And the Big XII will probably have one within the next five years. I don’t see any scenario where the SEC gives up its championship game; it’s one of the most valuable non-bowl games in the sport.

      So what you’re talking about, really, is just adding a 13th regular-season game for some teams. Once you’ve done that, why limit it to four or five teams per conference? Bear in mind, some schools could play up to 16 games (13 regular-season, CCG, two playoff games). There are concerns about the battering the players’ bodies would absorb.

      A more likely scenario is that they add a 13th game for FBS teams to host FCS teams, in a sort of regular-season tune-up in late August that wouldn’t count in the standings. A number of coaches have said they want this.

      • Richard says:

        Marc:

        Think outside the box. My proposal is either/or. Either a conference title game or kick-off classics (in order to limit the total number of non-postseason games to 13). Yes, many conferences have conference title games now, but except for the SEC and B10, they’re not all that lucrative; likely not as lucrative as several kick-off classics, so I forsee those conferences abandoning title games for kick-off classics if they have a choice. Even the SEC might for the reason I gave above if the kickoff classics bring in more dough.

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          @Richard: The people in the sport who know the real numbers don’t agree with you.

          • Richard says:

            Marc:

            Feel free to share those “real numbers” (any what they think about 1 title game vs. several kick-off classics) any day that you like.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            @Richard: Feel free to share those “real numbers” (any what they think about 1 title game vs. several kick-off classics) any day that you like.

            I didn’t say that I have the real numbers; only that the people who do are not proposing your system.

            What I know is that several conferences have added CCGs in recent years. The one major conference that doesn’t have a CCG (the Big XII) is calling for liberalized rules, that would make it easier to stage one.

            No one is calling for your idea.

          • Richard says:

            Marc:

            “I didn’t say that I have the real numbers”

            Pity; I was willing to be convinced with some data.

            “What I know is that several conferences have added CCGs in recent years.”

            Right, because in a system where pre-season 13th games are not allowed, it’s logical to play CCGs instead.

            “No one is calling for your idea.”

            Possibly because many folks are like you and unwilling to think outside the box. Also possibly because regular season games didn’t go up in so much value until relatively recently. Also because megaconferences didn’t exist in the past.

            No one was calling for CCG’s either until the SEC did one and showed how lucrative it is.
            No one was calling for a conference network until the B10 did one and showed how lucrative it is, so the “no one has proposed it yet” argument is a weak one.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            @Richard: The set of things that hasn’t been done is infinite. Most ideas in that infinite set will never be done, because they are terrible.

            College football is an inherently conservative sport: change comes very slowly, and usually not until there has been very considerable public discussion. So before such a change would be made, the people in charge would be talking about it. Right now, they’re not. They’re actually moving in the opposite direction. Hence, I readily conclude that it ain’t happening in the foreseeable future.

            Maybe they’re wrong, but intuitively, your idea sounds just awful, so I’m not surprised that no one is pursuing it.

          • Richard says:

            Mark:

            “College football is an inherently conservative sport: change comes very slowly, and usually not until there has been very considerable public discussion.”

            I must have missed the very considerable public discussion before the B10 decided to launch a conference network or the SEC decided to hold a CCG.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            @Richard: Since NCAA rules had to be changed for the SEC to stage a championship game, there was extensive discussion of that, whether you noticed it or not.

            The Big Ten network didn’t require any public discussion, because the NCAA doesn’t regulate which channel broadcasts your games.

          • greg says:

            “Since NCAA rules had to be changed for the SEC to stage a championship game”

            The SEC exploited (or leveraged) an existing rule to stage their title game.

          • Richard says:

            Marc,

            You’re simply wrong about there being a discussion before the SEC planned a CCG.

            Given that, I have little faith that you are right about what people in power in college football think.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Marc:

            No, the NCAA rule allowing CCG was already in existence. The SEC simply took advantage of an existing rule, enacted to help oversized lower level conferences arrive at a logical, acceptable championship.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            @Richard: I’m not going to spend an hour doing google research to disprove you.

            I have little faith that you are right about what people in power in college football think.

            I’m not the one proposing something new. I have nothing to prove.

          • ccrider55 says:

            And it did take the 80′s OU lawsuit to end the NCAA regulating TV broadcasts.

          • bullet says:

            @Marc
            You’re wrong. Everyone on this board has told you that you are wrong. The only discussion was in that article posted in the last thread when the NCAA head tried to tell the SEC commissioner not to use the existing rule, that it wasn’t meant for Division I football.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            @bullet: I have no disagreement with anything that you have said on this subject, or for that matter, anyone other than @Richard.

        • ccrider55 says:

          Who wouldn’t want to trade and market a game pitting two teams that have possible immediate NC aspirations for preseason exhibition games between teams that may be contenders, or may suck…

          • Richard says:

            . . . teams with possible immediate NC aspirations who could be knocked out of the running by the title game.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Join the B12…

          • metatron says:

            It’s about eyeballs. There’s a reason why playoffs get more than the regular season.

          • Richard says:

            metatron:

            I agree that it’s about eyeballs. The question is how much more of a premium a CCG draws over a regular game. Note that for a 12-school conference, the CCG only has to draw 1.5 times more than a regular game to be more worthwhile than my proposal of late August games every 4 years, but for a 20-school conference, the CCG would have to draw 2.5 times more.

            Schools in conferences like the MAC and Sun Belt can count on 3 X $1M = $3M in guarantees annually under my proposal. Does the MAC currently get that much for its CCG? I’d be a little surprised if they do.

          • metatron says:

            You’re forgetting something: exclusivity. People are watching the playoffs even if their teams aren’t in it, and they often have wide-open windows where nothing else is on. Advertisers will pay more for big games. They always have and always will.

            To say nothing of the actual emotional attachment that a championship run can do for the viewer. I mean, you’re essentially proposing MLB drop the World Series for 105 games spread between 30 teams.

          • Richard says:

            metatron:

            Exclusivity is all fine and good, but if the CCG brings in less financially than 5 kickoff classics, what inherent value does exclusivity have?

            “Advertisers will pay more for big games. They always have and always will.”

            It almost seems like you didn’t read my post. I didn’t dispute that a CCG will bring in more money than 1 regular season game, but will it bring in more than 1.5 times more or more than 2.5 times more money?

            “To say nothing of the actual emotional attachment that a championship run can do for the viewer. I mean, you’re essentially proposing MLB drop the World Series for 105 games spread between 30 teams.”

            Actually, it’s more like dropping the divisional playoff series, unless you’re saying that the B10 CCG means more to you than the Rose Bowl or national title game.

            Speaking of which, when did you become so attached to the B10 CCG? Did you feel a vast, empty, unfillable void in your soul the 100+ years when the B10 didn’t hold a CCG? Did no B10 team ever stage a title run before 2011?

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            Actually, it’s more like dropping the divisional playoff series. . . .

            Nevertheless, in case you’ve noticed, MLB is increasing the number of divisional playoff games, not curtailing them.

            Speaking of which, when did you become so attached to the B10 CCG?

            The practical reality is, without it, you could easily have two 8-1 teams who didn’t play each other, and no fair way to decide which one gets the Rose Bowl or playoff bid. That becomes far more probable as the conference grows.

          • Richard says:

            Marc:

            The B10 had that situation a bunch of times when we had 10 and then 11 member schools.

            The world did not end.

            Personally, I’m all for using the old Rose Bowl tie-breaker of the school that hadn’t been there the longest getting to go.

            I sometimes wonder just how old some folks on this board are.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            Actually, @Richard, I am probably older than you. I remember rule that very well.

            I’m just asking you: who is it, with decision-making influence in the sport, that has shown any indication of pining for those old days? Everything they are saying and doing, is moving in the opposite direction.

            Can you show me one example to the contrary. Just one?

          • ccrider55 says:

            So…follow the Oregon example a couple years ago and lose a NC shot first week by losing (to LSU in this example) by playing a high profile opener? How much value is lost for each game the rest of the year?

            Is this just a re-do of the B12 attempt to get a 13th game without enlarging the conference?

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            The substantive problem, is this:

            You’d be adding 20 new football games the weekend before the current regular season. (As I understand @Richard’s proposal, it’s four games per conference, for all five of the major conferences.)

            There aren’t enough time slots in one weekend for all of those games to be featured; many of them would be relegated to undesirable time slots on second- or third-tier networks, with a number of competing games played simultaneously. Moreover, it would be a weekend in late August, traditionally a low ratings period, when many viewers are on late summer holidays, and not yet focused on football. Those games aren’t all going to be Michigan vs. Alabama. You’re going to have miscellaneous Purdue vs Texas Tech type games too, that aren’t big draws, except perhaps for the fans of those two schools.

            In contrast, the CCGs are shown on a weekend when most teams are no longer playing. They have featured time slots on major networks, without a ton of other games competing with them, and with a major bowl appearance or playoff spot at stake. My guess is that one big game at the end of the season is worth more money to the SEC than four overlapping and far less meaningful ones in late August.

            And that’s before you consider all of the competitive issues (conference championships not decided on the field, uneven numbers of games, extra road trips, etc.).

          • Richard says:

            ccrider55:

            A team could lose luster after a kickoff classic-type game, but it could gain it as well.
            The same holds true for conference title games. Plus, if a 4-team playoff had been in place, Oregon probably would have gotten in.

            Note that in a world with a 4-team playoff, you will find yourself in a situation where a team may be better off by losing and not making the conference title game than by winning and going. For instance, in 2012, UGa went to the CCG because they beat UF, but UF likely would have benefitted if a 4-team playoff was in place as they would have been selected while UGa would have had to beat ‘Bama to make the playoff.

            Imagine the uproar that would have resulted.

            Marc:

            Superconferences have not existed up to now. Nor has a 4-team playoff. With the changing landscape, people may well discover that the old ways were better after all.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Jr size super conferences (large enough to hold CCG, the only truly distinguishing feature) have existed and have CCG’s. The PAC and B1G have joined in. The only conference to no longer hold one is the one that got raided/abandoned to a level they were unable to replenish with valuable enough schools to not net a loss getting back to 12 including the CCG value.

          • Richard says:

            Keep in mind that most CCG’s are not the SEC title game either.

            The TV ratings for most CCG’s just aren’t that impressive. A regular season Texas-KSU game outdrew the Pac CCG and the regular season OU-TCU game outdrew the ACC CCG (by a lot):

            http://www.sportsmediawatch.com/2012/12/college-football-wrap-tv-ratings-for-almost-every-game-this-season/

          • ccrider55 says:

            “Keep in mind that most CCG’s are not the SEC title game either.”

            Huh? Of course only the SEC CCG is the SEC title game.
            Yeah, I get it. But I call BS. Will every year be great? No, but OSU/ Neb or USC/Ore certainly are potentially their equal, at least to the regions and fan bases.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            Keep in mind that most CCG’s are not the SEC title game either.

            Part of your premise, though, was that the SEC would drop their game, and I have a lot of trouble imagining that. You are correct that some conferences’ CCGs have not been blockbusters.

          • Richard says:

            Did you guys read what I wrote? Here it is again:

            “On net, that would likely be more lucrative for the B10 as well as pretty much every other conference outside of the SEC, and even the SEC may drop their title game in order to have 4 schools (in a 16 school league) participate in a kick-off-classic-type game every 4 years and so that they don’t decrease their chances of sending 2 schools to the 4-team playoff.”

            Notice the word “may”. How does that become me premising this idea on the SEC dropping their CCG?

            Even if they don’t, the B10 and other leagues may find it more lucrative to hold the kickoff classics instead.

            ccrider:

            Sure, the CCG’s may be more lucrative. In fact, I’d expect them to be more lucrative than regular season games. But the key question is if they are more than 1.5 times as lucrative (to a 12-school league), more than 2 times as lucrative to a 16-school league, and more than 2.5 times as lucrative to a 20-school league.

          • ccrider55 says:

            For simplicity assume media contract is 80% for FB. PAC (because i remember their numbers…i think) is getting 4.4mm per contracted game. Fox supposedly paid 25mm for the CCG plus other obligations. I think the game itself was about 15mm of that. So you’re over 3X the reg season, before diluting the season with additional games of questionable value.

          • Richard says:

            ccrider55:

            That’s only the TV revenue, though.

            For conferences like the Pac that has to host on school sites (the B12 as well if they ever expand to 12 and hold a CCG) and the ACC (and a bunch of lower conferences) who usually don’t come close to selling out their CCG, 2 regular season games almost certainly bring in more ticket revenue than 1 CCG.

            Overall, I’d wager that the extra money a CCG brings in over a regular season game is less than double for most conferences and possibly less than 1.5 times for some conferences.

        • BruceMcF says:

          Which conferences would drop their CCG in order to have a kick-off classic?

          I can’t see the Big Ten, SEC, Pac-12 or ACC doing it. So that leaves the Big 12 and whichever Mid-Majors would do it.

          I don’t follow any of the Mid-Majors closely except the MAC ~ surely the MAC wouldn’t trade a kick-off classic weekend to give up their championship game. Their CCG is typically their biggest profile game of the year ~ and the only big profile game where a MAC school is guaranteed to come out as winner.

          • Richard says:

            It all comes down to money. A 14-school B10 may not find it more lucrative, but a Big20 may find kick-off classics featuring 5 B20 teams to be more lucrative than 1 CCG.

            Again, note that, outside of the SEC CCG, ratings for CCG’s just aren’t all that impressive.

            That “biggest profile game of the year” for the MAC garnered a 0.9 rating.

          • ccrider55 says:

            It’s not ratings, but what is bid for the CCG that matters, and that’s done years in advance. Far more certainty at ESPN/Fox/etc that a CCG will be valuable. Far more certainty that media really isn’t looking for a boatload of more exhibition/preseason inventory, too.

          • Richard says:

            Uh, the CCG bids are based off of projected ratings. The networks are not in the business of losing money, and if the CCG’s get only 1.5 times the ratings of a regular season game on average, they’ll get only 1.5 times the payout of a regular season game.
            As for inventory, I disagree. Unlike in pro football, there are no exhibition games in college football; these games would count just as much. Also, if you haven’t noticed, the networks (and sports fans) have an insatiable appetite for NFL pre-season games (due to boffo ratings).

          • ccrider55 says:

            I understand. But the media bidding on a CCG package isn’t bidding billions over a decade plus for maybe 500+ games. They are bidding on the POTENTIAL ratings of a few games at the end of seasons that have separated the wheat from the chaff. A year that doesn’t meet expectation wont be felt at all compared to over biding for regular season contract.

          • BruceMcF says:

            0.9 compared to what regular season ratings? Bowling Green – Ohio 0.5, Ball State – Toledo 0.4, Toledo – UNI 0.4, Akron – Toledo 0.4, Ohio – Ball State 0.2, Ohio – Kent State 0.1

            Play a bunch of FCS schools, at the same time that big name schools are playing a bunch of FCS schools, and if they get on TV at all there’s no reason to expect them to rate above 0.1 to 0.2.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            A 14-school B10 may not find it more lucrative, but a Big20 may find kick-off classics featuring 5 B20 teams to be more lucrative than 1 CCG.

            Once you allow 25 percent of the schools to play a 13th game, why not just allow everyone to play it? The CCGs have a sporting purpose, i.e., to determine a champion. And you have to earn your way there, on the playing field.

            Once you introduce games for the sole purpose of expanding the season (and making money from it), the other 75 percent are likely to say, “Why not us?” I’m not really seeing the logic of limiting it to a quarter of the programs. There is no rhyme or reason to that.

          • Richard says:

            BruceMcF:

            Except that MAC schools would be playing a bunch of guarantee games against power conferences, drawing higher ratings and bigger guarantees, not each other.

          • Richard says:

            Marc:

            “Once you introduce games for the sole purpose of expanding the season (and making money from it), the other 75 percent are likely to say, “Why not us?” I’m not really seeing the logic of limiting it to a quarter of the programs. There is no rhyme or reason to that.”

            In order to limit the wear and tear on athletes. Once every 4 years means a kid only plays an extra game once over his school career (while someone on ‘Bama’s squad could have played a bunch of extra games over his career with a CCG setup). The other programs will be allowed to play the extra game when their turn comes, so I don’t see anyone saying “why not us?”

            Oh, and let’s be real: the CCG’s are money grabs, plain and simple. The B12 currently has a very fair, simple, and elegant way of determining a conference champion, yet they still want to hold a CCG (for no good reason other than getting more money).

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            @Richard: I entirely agree with you that CCGs are money grabs, but there is a legal fiction at work. The NCAA purports to promote player safety, amateurism, and fair play. For every rule, they can at least claim that is the purpose, even if it also happens to make money.

            Those who vote on the rules would ask, I think rightfully: how are these goals advanced by more-than-doubling the number of teams that play an extra game; and once you’ve allowed that, what is the rationale for stopping there? What meaningful difference is there [in terms of player safety] between one game every three years, rather than one every four? After all, comparatively few players actually see much action for four full seasons.

          • m (Ag) says:

            “he B12 currently has a very fair, simple, and elegant way of determining a conference champion, yet they still want to hold a CCG (for no good reason other than getting more money).”

            I’ll point out that their system produced 2 co-champions this year, and could produce more than that in future years.

            Of course, the Big 12 also understands that ties also come up with divisions.

          • ccrider55 says:

            At least the in division ties cannot occur between teams that have not met.

          • Brian says:

            No current B12 ties involve teams that haven’t met either.

          • Richard says:

            “@Richard: I entirely agree with you that CCGs are money grabs, but there is a legal fiction at work. The NCAA purports to promote player safety, amateurism, and fair play. For every rule, they can at least claim that is the purpose, even if it also happens to make money.”

            Really? What was the noble purpose of going from 11 regular season games to 12 regular season games?

            As for the 13th game every 4 years, it can be spun as a cultural enrichment experience; an opportunity for every player who plays 4 years to experience something akin to a bowl game at least once (if their conference sets it up that way) even if their team isn’t good enough to go to a bowl ever during their playing career. Even if the game takes place in their home stadium, I’d require the kickoff classics to organize kickoff breakfast/lunch/dinners and events over a day or 2 for the players.

            Note that they can be played either Saturday or Sunday; I’d schedule most on Sunday.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Brian:

            That’s the point. Full round robin in division to eliminate what is eliminated by full RR in a conference small enough to achieve it, and is required of divisions in larger conferences to qualify for the 13th game as a CCG (as you know). It doesn’t eliminate ties.

  39. Kevin says:

    The biggest move Delany made was when Penn State was down taking Rutgers and Maryland. Penn State was considering a move to ACC. With the whole eastern seaboard locked up. The ACC could have made a move to a super conference with Notre Dame.

    That was not something the B1G could let happen. Which to get the ball rolling it gave Maryland a full share right away unlike Nebraska.

    • zeek says:

      Maryland will have to pay their 6 year buy in at a later time when their financial situation is less problematic.

      That’s the only difference between them and Nebraska.

    • vp19 says:

      Given the Big Ten GOR, how the heck could Penn State have left for the ACC, especially considering the huge penalty it had to pay the NCAA? Delany’s add of Maryland and Rutgers helped prevent the Big Ten from becoming invisible on the eastern seaboard for the next few years (PSU basketball gets no ink at all outside State College) and will pay off in the long run.

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        Theoretically, PSU might have left the B1G the next time the GOR was up for renewal. I never thought there was much chance of that happening.

    • C. Toda says:

      Penn State was never leaving the Big !

    • frug says:

      The biggest move Delany made was when Penn State was down taking Rutgers and Maryland. Penn State was considering a move to ACC. With the whole eastern seaboard locked up. The ACC could have made a move to a super conference with Notre Dame.

      That would have been huge… if it was possible (which it isn’t)

  40. bullet says:

    Lots of great lines on the Alabama arrests:
    http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20130212/NEWS/130219947

    Dan Wetzel-Bama boosters need to step it up. Got players arrested for beating students and stealing to buy vending machine snacks. No $100 handshakes?

    Andy Staples-I think its an Alabama rule that if you are going to commit a crime, take a few underperforming upperclassmen with you.

    EverydayshouldbeSaturday-After seeing Auburn pull off the legendary Switzer Slam, a national title, Heisman and Fulmer Cup all in the same year-Alabama naturally had to attempt the same one day.

    And a Texas fan on ShaggyBevo commenting on Texas’ recent troubles-Mack can’t even teach this &#%$ correctly. FIRST you win the *(#$&!$ title, THEN you get arrested.

  41. [...] As much as ESPN takes the blame for their role in expansiopocolypse and the demise of the Big East with regards to Pitt and Syracuse leaving for the ACC, a real case is made that the utter destruction of the Big East is by the hands of Fox. [...]

  42. GreatLakeState says:

    If the B1G invites UVA/UNC/DUKE/GT/FSU (as well as Johns Hopkins) and they accept,
    but ND doesn’t wish to join at number 20 I would look for another jaw-dropper in the form
    of VANDERBILT. The offer to join a conference with that much academic fire power, yearly pay out, and newly expanded Southern footprint would be hard to resist. I know SEC fans can’t imagine one of their own defecting, but that’s my dark horse and I’m sticking with it.

    • zeek says:

      Vanderbilt’s never leaving the SEC. It just doesn’t make sense.

      In any case, I don’t understand why the Big Ten wouldn’t sit at 18 and wait for Notre Dame. It wouldn’t really even be waiting, 18 is a full conference. Getting ND after that to go to 20 would be gravy (may take 30 years though).

      • GreatLakeState says:

        Oh gee. Okay. Thanks for setting me straight. If you don’t mind, please humor me. If the scenario I laid out occurs, explain how it ‘doesn’t make sense’. That’s quite a bar to clear, considering the Universities involved. I look forward to your expert analysis.

        • zeek says:

          Vanderbilt’s not going to get an invite to the Big Ten. They don’t bring a monetizable market that they can claim (they probably have less claim to Nashville than Georgia Tech has on Atlanta).

          As far as culture and the like matter, there’s no real fit there. They’re a worse fit than Duke probably as far as cultural fit goes. I spent 3 years at Vanderbilt, and it’s as different from Northwestern as I can imagine two private universities of similar academic standing being.

          In any case, where’s the money in it? Duke brings a top 10 hoops program and its rivalries in that arena.

          Why would a school leave the SEC for similar payouts in the Big Ten?

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      I’m not really seeing what either side gets out of it.

      Tennessee is not an especially coveted media market, and whatever it may be worth, the dominant school is UT. Vandy football and basketball games don’t attract much fan attention. They would probably dilute the Big Ten media deal. Academically, the Big Ten would probably be very happy to have Vandy, but not at the expense of taking on a school that doesn’t carry its weight financially.

      When the new media deals are settled, I doubt that the SEC and the Big Ten payouts are going to be very far off. Schools will abandon rivalries if the money is good enough. But we’re not talking ACC vs. Big Ten, where the discrepancy will be huge. We’re talking SEC vs. Big Ten, where there won’t be much difference.

      Vandy’s best major sport is baseball, and the SEC is obviously a much better home for that sport than the Big Ten.

    • mushroomgod says:

      Thanks but no thanks.

    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      Speaking of Vandy – Welcome to the SEC facilities arms race.

      http://www.tennessean.com/article/20130212/SPORTS0602/302120045/Vanderbilt-looks-ways-improve-stadium.

      From the article:

      “Vanderbilt is building a $31 million indoor practice field and multi-purpose facility that is due to be completed about Oct. 31. There also are more planned phases for renovations to McGugin Center.

      Vanderbilt Stadium underwent several changes prior to last season that included artificial turf, a new video board and a berm in the open end zone that offered hillside seating. The berm expanded the stadium capacity to 40,550.

      Williams said he thinks the ideal stadium capacity at this point would be 45,000, with the likely area for additional seating being in the corners or back of the open end zone.

      “We’re going to meet with some people who have done some renovations, have them come in and walk the stadium with a number of our people and look at plans of the stadium as it is now,” Williams said. “We’ll get the possibilities and attach the cost to it.”

      Part of the planning for stadium changes will have Williams and other key university figures setting up trips to visit and study approximately eight new or recently renovated college stadiums.

      Williams cited California, Houston, SMU, Stanford, TCU and Wake Forest as probable stops. Houston has plans for a $105 million stadium that will seat 40,000 with built-in expansion options to reach 60,000.”

      The SEC schools currently planning or constructing stadium renovations/expansions include LSU, Ole Miss, Miss State, Mizzou, A&M, Kentucky and now Vandy.

    • BruceMcF says:

      It would be a jaw dropper for a reason ~ it doesn’t offer a net benefit either Vanderbilt or the Big Ten.

    • Joe says:

      I think Missouri is more likely to go to the B1G than Vanderbilt.

  43. Wes Haggard says:

    Apologize if this already posted, do not have the time to go read all the other psots. Interesting post from Mr SEC…………..

    http://www.mrsec.com/2013/02/big-ten-to-add-more-conference-games-is-this-another-lure-for-uva-gt-unc-and-duke/

    UNC And Duke?
    February 12th, 2013 11:38 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink ║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
    Tags: ACC, Big Ten, GT, North Carolina

    Send This Story To A Friend
    The Big Ten will move to at least nine conference football games per season and possibly 10 according to league commissioner Jim Delany. The move has been rumored for several weeks, but Delany confirmed the decision yesterday:

    “There’s real recognition that we now live in two regions of the country, and we want to make sure those are bound together as best we can, so more games (makes sense). Eight games is not on the table. It’s nine or 10.”

    Ohio State AD Gene Smith also said: “There’s television considerations there when you have intriguing conference matchups that are better than some of our non-conference matchups, that’s an important piece.”

    That could also be an important piece for the SEC moving forward. Under current plans, the Big Ten, Pac-12, and Big XII will all be playing at least nine conference games per year. The SEC currently plays eight league games. The SEC’s format results in one more cupcake game per year for each school and fewer visits to and from conference rivals.

    Eventually — as we’ve stated for more than a year — the Southeastern Conference will move to a nine-game schedule. It will have to (barring a scheduling alliance with another conference). Its television partners and the league’s own SEC Network will require such a move for content purposes. And with a selection committee deciding each year’s four playoff participants, the SEC won’t be able to allow other leagues to claim their teams are playing tougher schedules. There is already a move to “spread the wealth” of football championships or else there would be no new playoff in the first place. If members of the selection committee can point to something as simple as “SEC teams play more creampuff non-conference games,” you better believe they’ll do so in order to get teams from as many leagues as possible into the playoffs each year.

    But look again at Delany’s statement. “We now live in two regions of the country,” meaning the Midwest and the East. There are hardly as many Big Ten schools in the East as there are in the Midwest. But more are probably on the way.

    In recent weeks we’ve reported that our sources have said Virginia and Georgia Tech have both had contact with the Big Ten. We’ve been told those schools are waiting to see the final bill Maryland will have to pay to get out of the ACC before they decide whether or not to follow the Terrapins’ lead. Everyone and their brother is now reporting the same thing (or at least reporting on the reports that are already out there).

    There have also been rumors that the Big Ten is wooing North Carolina, Duke, Boston College, and Florida State. At MrSEC.com, we don’t see BC or FSU as being realistic partners with the Big Ten as they lack AAU status, but we’ll mention the rumors just the same.

    By adding Maryland and Rutgers late last year, Delany’s league made it clear that it is a) looking to add large numbers of cable households for its Big Ten Network and b) trying to expand southward. As Delany himself has mentioned time and again, part of the decision to look south is driven by population shifts and demographics. Several Big Ten states have the slowest growth rates in the country. Some of the fastest growing states are in the South. So if you want more television revenue and you need robust populations to create new students and donors, clearly you try to grab a number of top schools farther south.

    So what’s this have to do with adding conference games?

    A move to nine or 10 conference games could be a lure to a number of ACC schools. “Come with us and you can continue to pal around with a number of your old buddies.” If the Big Ten — and this is simply speculation — were to add Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, and Georgia Tech to the recently nabbed Maryland and Rutgers, well, that would be an East Division.

    And Delany seems to be considering several moves that would please the ACC schools on his wish list.

    There have been recent rumblings that the Big Ten might add lacrosse power Johns Hopkins to its roster of teams in some partial capacity. That league’s academic consortium — the Committee on Institutional Cooperation — already includes the University of Chicago, once a full-fledged Big Ten member before it downshifted out of the world of big-time athletics. Opening a door to Johns Hopkins for lacrosse and the CIC would not require a paradigm shift as the Big Ten already has a partial member.

    Now consider the fact that the Big Ten has three lacrosse-playing schools who have to play that sport in other conferences. And also keep in mind that the four current, lacrosse-playing ACC schools are Maryland (moving to the Big Ten), Virginia, North Carolina, and Duke. Hmmm.

    Let’s take a step back and look at the big picture here. Delany has said that his league has to pay attention to population shifts into the Sun Belt region. He’s just grabbed Rutgers and Maryland. One of those schools brings the nation’s largest television market into the Big Ten fold. The other provides the Washington, DC and Baltimore markets as well as a gateway into the South. Adding Johns Hopkins would give the Big Ten the opportunity to create a lacrosse league for new ACC targets and it would further strengthen the Big Ten’s academic reputation. Finally, Delany’s league will be adding conference games which will allow any new ACC targets to play each other more often and soften the blow of realignment/expansion.

    That’s a lot to sell to the administrations of Virginia, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Duke.

    They could join the richest college conference (which also makes the Big Ten a stable college conference). They could enter a peer group of some of the top academic universities in the country (including the University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins). Lacrosse schools like Virginia, Duke and North Carolina could partner with Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan to form a strong league. And those Eastern/Southern teams could play each other more often in football and basketball.

    Imagine a Big Ten consisting of three six-school divisions:

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

    It would be hard for the SEC or any other conference to match such a league in terms of cable households, nationally-known sports brands, and academic reputation. If the Big Ten could pull all of that off it would — in theory — set itself up for years of success to come.

    • bullet says:

      The interesting thing about UNC and Duke is that they are the only ACC schools that haven’t been ranked in the final AP football poll in the BCS era.

  44. Psuhockey says:

    I am not sure it has been touched on in here but I have interesting theory about the BIG’s latest moves. I think the BIG is attacking the SEC’s strangle hold over college football.

    1. Jim Delaney last winter encouraged all BIG schools to start offering 4 year scholarships. This is an assault on the SEC’s schools (not all as I think Florida and Georgia don’t) advantage in oversigning. If this becomes the standard, Alabama and LSU won’t be able to get rid of underclassmen who are not performing and replace them with new recruits so easily.

    2. No longer scheduling FCS schools is not only to improve the BIG’s quality of schedule, but a response to the SEC. Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina were all ranked in the top 5 this year based on only beating themselves. None of them played a division 1 school out of conference until their rivalry game against the ACC the last week of the season, which all happen to be in their own state. The SEC also likes to schedule FCS schools late in the season to allow for defacto bye weeks to break up tough conference play, that the BIG currently grinds through.

    3. Increasing to 9 or 10 conference games is great for television. It will definitely force the SEC to match especially if they want to get that extra tv money boost. Last Georgia and Alabama didn’t have to play a single ranked power in the other division. That helped in keeping loses down. Increasing the number of conference games will increase the chances of these schools meeting more often, thus increasing their loss total.

    4. This isnt a football point as much as it is competition in expansion. Trying to add John Hopkins as a partial member would be great all around for the BIG, but is also a shot at the SEC. The SEC has been rumored by the Sportingnews to be pursuing UNC and Duke for three years now. One of the biggest hurdles the SEC faces is its academic reputation and the fact it doesn’t offer all the sports that UNC and Duke play in conference. Lacrosse, despite what some think, is of some importance to those schools. Adding JHU significantly adds to the academic prestige of the BIG even more and creates a very strong and appealing lacrosse league. In what will be a close decision for UNC either way, adding lacrosse could be that little bit that sways the university’s decision.

    5. This is pure conjecture, but the news of FOX starting a competitor against ESPN is interesting for the BIG against the SEC. Espn are king makers in college sports, and for some sports in general. They actively promote some teams and stories over others. If the BIG goes to Fox, does that weaken Espns power in college football. Would the BIG take the initial hit in national recognition by going to Fox just to weaken ESPN in the long run? I think it might.

  45. BuckeyeBeau says:

    General comment to those on the Board espousing rotating pods: change the name to something better.

    On the previous thread (or the one before that), someone complained that “pods” would never be accepted because they were too strange. Someone responded by saying that the “fans would be educated.”

    The first step in “educating” the fans is to choose a name that is comfortable and familiar. I suggest forever dumping the word pods and just say rotating division (“RDs”).

    Feel free to suggest other names.

    the marketing for RDs is straightforward: every conference has divisions; the BIG has divisions; the NFL has divisions that are 4 teams; the B1G will have divisions that are 4 teams. So, it’s not strange and weird and the butt of jokes. Oh, and our divisions rotate; pretty cool that they rotate, huh? Yep, the B1G is innovative with its rotating divisions,

    by contrast, “pods” sounds weird. Pod-people, drink pods, peas in a pod, pod rhymes with odd and no one wants to be odd. Pod is just an ugly sounding word. A doddering clod plodding along sees a nodding toddler on the sod while while drinking from a pod wearing a mod cod-piece made to look like a codfish which is really just a big wad of cash. The only pod that’s not odd is an iPod.

    • BruceMcF says:

      Yes, it always makes me think of Invasion of the Body Snatchers when I read a discussion of “pods”

      “Group” sounds a lot less nerdy than “pod”. “Rotating divisions” would be the annual championship divisions ~ or “Alternating divisions” if its the anchor group and swing group system.

      • vp19 says:

        The 1996-98 WAC always referred to “quads,” which sounds more collegiate to begin with.

        • cutter says:

          Unfortunately, some or all of the Big Ten’s quads may have five members in them (or three and six if we divide the teams up that way). I don’t know if that term would work.

          How about the term “regions”? That might be coupled with a geographic or directional term to differentiate one from the other.

          I was criticized earlier for this hypothetical 18-team conference setup, but I’ll use it again to show the example:

          Plains Region: Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin
          Mid-West Region: Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Northwestern
          Mid-East Region: Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers
          Coastal Region: Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Duke, Maryland

          The problem now is how do you describe the two divisions. East-West doesn’t work because the two regions permanently assigned to a division are both in the eastern part of the country.. Names probably won’t work because someone would feel left out. Colors are possible (Black Division/White Division), but not very interesting.

          I hate to do this, but–

          The Leaders Division could have the Plains and Coastal Regions in Years 1 & 2 while the Legends has the Mid-West and Mid-East Regions.

          In Years 3 & 4, the Leaders Division has the Plains and Mid-East Regions and the Legends as the Mid-west and Coastal Regions in it.

          • Blapples says:

            @cutter You’re essentially saying that the Plains schools will never play the Mid-West school, and the Mid-East schools will never get to play the Coastal schools. How is that a good thing?

            Pods can work when the pods have an equal number of schools in them. I.e. 4 pods of 4 (16 schools), or 4 pods of 5 (20 schools). I don’t see how four pods work at 18 schools.

          • BruceMcF says:

            You’ve got to switch it to 4 on both ends and five in the middle, because you have to put the Kings Group playing away to each East Coast team more frequently than once every decade.

            Plains as is.
            Central: Illinois, Northwestern Purdue, Indiana, Rutgers
            East: MSU, TSUN, OSU, Penn State, Maryland
            Coast: UVA, UNC, GTech, FSU (or Duke, if that was the four).

            Plains / Coast play through in four years with 9 conference games, two years with 10 conference games, North/East plays through in five years with 9 conference games, to/three years with 10 conference games.

            Massively unbalanced, but no way to make it not massively unbalanced without break up OSU/PSU. If it is assumed that the expansion is worth sufficient to drop OSU/PSU to once every three years, you can have:

            Plains: UNL, IA, MN, WI, IL, NW
            North: MSU, TSUN, OSU
            Central: IN, Purdue, PSU
            Coast: Rutgers, MD, UVA, UNC, GTech, FSU

            … which is a bit more balanced.

          • cutter says:

            @Blapples

            If you have a ten-game conference schedule, a team like Michigan would play the four teams in its region (MSU, OSU, PSU, RU), the four teams in the other region (either Mid-West or Plains) and two from the Coastal Region (4-4-2). If you do a home and home for all these schools, that scenario has Michigan playing all the teams in the conference at least twice in a six-year period.

            If the conference adopts a nine-game schedule, then its 4-4-1 and with no home-and-home for the Coastal Region schools, it would take five years to get through them. Now that would be problematic.

            I do agree with you that the pod (regions) system is cleaner with 16 or 20 teams in four regions of four or five teams apiece. With 16 teams, a team could play each program in the conference a minimum of twice in four years with a home and home (and with 20, its twice in six year with a home-and-home). 18 doesn’t work as well.

            If you scroll up, you’ll also see a discussion about having two pods of 6 and two pods of 3. The teams in the pods with 3 members would play each other annually in a fixed game while rotating between the two larger divisions. That’s certainly another way of doing it.

            In the midst of all this discussion about pods for 16 or 18 or 20 teams, the one thing you have to keep an eye on is what’s happening to college athletics at large. We’ve written about the possibility whereby Division 1-A shrinks into a 64- to 80-team entity. At that point, we might be talking about four super conferences with two large fixed divisions apiece (of 8 to 10 teams each) as part of a structure to support an eight-team playoff (with the super conference championship game being the first round of the playoff). If that were to happen, all this discussion about pods or regions will become a thing of the past.

          • Brian says:

            BruceMcF,

            “You’ve got to switch it to 4 on both ends and five in the middle, because you have to put the Kings Group playing away to each East Coast team more frequently than once every decade.”

            I’d restate that as the outside pods should be the same size and so should the middle pods. It doesn’t matter which is 4 and which is 5 for that purpose. You make the ends 4 because the western group of 4 works much better than any group of 5.

            “Plains as is.
            Central: Illinois, Northwestern Purdue, Indiana, Rutgers
            East: MSU, TSUN, OSU, Penn State, Maryland
            Coast: UVA, UNC, GTech, FSU (or Duke, if that was the four).”

            You can’t do that to Rutgers. 6 and 3 works better based on the teams.

            W – NE, WI, IA, MN, NW, IL
            N – MI, MSU, IN
            E – OSU, GT, PU
            S – PSU, RU, MD, UVA, UNC, Duke

            Lock OSU/MI, MSU/GT and PU/IN and play 8 division games. Games between the S and W rotate every year. You scramble the groups of 3 every two years (in order of locked games) so all of those teams play each other.

            1. MI, MSU, IN vs OSU, GT, PU
            2. MI, MSU, PU vs OSU, GT, IN
            3. MI, MSU, GT vs OSU, IN, PU
            4. MI, OSU, IN vs MSU, GT, PU
            5. MI, OSU, PU vs MSU, GT, IN
            6. MI, OSU, GT vs MSU, PU, IN
            7. MI, OSU, MSU vs GT, PU, IN

            “Massively unbalanced, but no way to make it not massively unbalanced without break up OSU/PSU.”

            Dropping that game has to be on the table at 18. It’s too much of a constraint in a divisional alignment.

          • BruceMcF says:

            Scrambling the groups is driven there by having locked cross division games which is driven by putting MSU, TSUN and OSU in different groups. But its too tinkery. The benefit of the tick tock system is there are only two division lineups, so of all the rotating divisions, its the least confusing for normal people.

            Break PSU from OSU, and we’re back to the 4/5/5/4 with the Illinois schools in the “North” and the Indiana schools in the “East”

            West: UNL, IA, WI, MN
            North: NW, IL, MSU, TSUN, OSU
            East: IN, PU, PennSt, MD, Rutgers
            South: 4 ACC newbies.

            After all, MSU wants to play That School Up North and Northwestern, Illinois wants to play Northwestern and OSU, OSU wants to play That School Up North and that School Up North wants to play OSU and MSU.

            As far as strength of schedule and the easier path to the CCG for PennSt than for OSU and TSUN, no telling whether Purdue will go on an upward cycle and Rutgers will grow into a Prince. So long as there is one King in the 4 ACC newbies, its as well balanced as one can make a system looking at four incumbent kings and none of them in the South.

          • Brian says:

            BruceMcF,

            “Scrambling the groups is driven there by having locked cross division games which is driven by putting MSU, TSUN and OSU in different groups.”

            It’s mostly driven by only playing 9 games in an 18 team conference. If I can use 10 games, I wouldn’t rotate the middle groups. They’d have 1 locked game and 1 rotating game, so they play everyone twice in 4 years.

            “Break PSU from OSU, and we’re back to the 4/5/5/4 with the Illinois schools in the “North” and the Indiana schools in the “East””

            No. Those groups never work well because you either split important rivalries or have terrible balance.

            “West: UNL, IA, WI, MN
            North: NW, IL, MSU, TSUN, OSU
            East: IN, PU, PennSt, MD, Rutgers
            South: 4 ACC newbies.”

            You chose terrible balance.

            “As far as strength of schedule and the easier path to the CCG for PennSt than for OSU and TSUN, no telling whether Purdue will go on an upward cycle and Rutgers will grow into a Prince.”

            PSU, GT, Duke, UNC, UVA, MD, RU, PU, IN vs OSU, MI, NE, MSU, WI, IA, NW, MN, IL

            Are you seriously suggesting that makes sense?

            “So long as there is one King in the 4 ACC newbies,”

            Huge assumption since many don’t think FSU will even get consideration.

            “its as well balanced as one can make a system looking at four incumbent kings and none of them in the South.”

            No, it isn’t.

          • BruceMcF says:

            “PSU, GT, Duke, UNC, UVA, MD, RU, PU, IN vs OSU, MI, NE, MSU, WI, IA, NW, MN, IL

            Are you seriously suggesting that makes sense?”

            If the Big Ten adds six schools straight with no Kings, all from one side of the current conference footprint, you either accept some competitive imbalance or engage in geographic contortions that make the widely unpopular Leader vs Legends look geographically sensible by comparison.

            And of course, that’s just one cycle, and assumes that the conference realignment process itself ignores competitive balance. If the conference realignment process has more respect for competitive balance, its a substantially better cycle:
            FSU, GT, UNC, UVA, PSU, MD, RU, PU, IN vs OSU, MI, MSU, NW, IL, NE, WI, IA, MN
            FSU, GT, UNC, UVA, OSU, MI, MSU, NW, IL vs PSU, MD, RU, PU, IN, NE, WI, IA, MN

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            If the Big Ten adds six schools straight with no Kings, all from one side of the current conference footprint, you either accept some competitive imbalance or engage in geographic contortions that make the widely unpopular Leader vs Legends look geographically sensible by comparison.

            The ACC schools already agreed to be in a conference where they’d be traveling as far south as Miami, and as far north as Boston, Syracuse, and Pittsburgh, with occasional trips to South Bend. You can probably add Cincinnati and UConn to that list, next time the ACC has a vacancy. Even in the current Big Ten, most games are plane trips for the teams, and only a minority of them attract traveling fans who arrive by car in very substantial numbers.

            Leaders/Legends was ridiculed because of the exceedingly dumb names and just one or two oddities that the fans disliked: splitting Iowa from Wisconsin and Minnesota; splitting Michigan and Ohio State. They also did themselves a disservice by insinuating that UM-OSU might be moved to an earlier date in the season. Though this never happened, the negative publicity created the impression that they didn’t give a damn about the fans.

            Once you expand to 18 teams, a lot of the scheduling goals are in tension with one another. It’s a matter of choosing your poison. Travel, as an issue, is much overrated, as long as teams get the key rivalries they care about. The Big Ten has apparently decided not to go with the Inner/Outer alignment, but it was more about getting Michigan and Ohio State into the New York/Washington markets. The actual travel difference wouldn’t be huge, bearing in mind that with nine conference games, you play three opponents in the other division regardless of the alignment.

            It also invites ridicule if a team is sent across the country for no good reason, e.g., a hypothetical pod of Penn State, Maryland, Rutgers, and Purdue. I think they would try to avoid this.

            I agree with you that the scheduling problems are far more acute if they go to 18 schools without FSU, as you get a cluster of schools in the same region, none of which are great at football. If you don’t break them up to some extent, you’re almost certain to end up with an intolerable competitive imbalance .

            …no telling whether Purdue will go on an upward cycle and Rutgers will grow into a Prince

            There is a pretty long history suggesting it’s improbable that both of those events will occur.

          • Brian says:

            BruceMcF,

            “PSU, GT, Duke, UNC, UVA, MD, RU, PU, IN vs OSU, MI, NE, MSU, WI, IA, NW, MN, IL

            Are you seriously suggesting that makes sense?”

            “If the Big Ten adds six schools straight with no Kings, all from one side of the current conference footprint, you either accept some competitive imbalance or engage in geographic contortions that make the widely unpopular Leader vs Legends look geographically sensible by comparison.”

            That’s not some competitive imbalance, it’s a ridiculously large amount of it. Based on the last 10 years of conference play, you have 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 15, 16 vs 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18 by conference W%. Swap PSU and GT for MN and IL and you’d have a clean sweep.

            “And of course, that’s just one cycle,”

            Yes, otherwise known as half of the time.

            “and assumes that the conference realignment process itself ignores competitive balance.”

            It your realignment plan that makes no sense. I’m saying the B10 would be too smart to follow geography so strictly as to cause that embarrassment of a lineup to happen. If, on the other hand, you mean the additions ignoring balance, that makes no sense. It’s not who you add, it’s where you put them.

            “If the conference realignment process has more respect for competitive balance, its a substantially better cycle:
            FSU, GT, UNC, UVA, PSU, MD, RU, PU, IN vs OSU, MI, MSU, NW, IL, NE, WI, IA, MN”

            You replaced #18 with #3 (and everyone else drops down a notch, obviously). That’s all that changed. 7 of the top 10 are still on one side half the time.

    • Eric says:

      I agree completely and was thinking along the same lines. The worse thing the Big Ten could do is say we are using pods and these are it. It would sound better to most to say the divisions will rotate, but every team will have x teams it plays every year (and then list those teams).

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        They should just lock whichever rivalries they feel are necessary, and let the rest of the schedule rotate freely, according to whatever rotation rules are deemed useful.

        Static pods (or groups, or quads) are unhelpful, because you wind up competitively unbalanced, or you invent extra rivalries that no one wants. There is no need to lock groups of four or five schools permanently together. The NE/WI/MN/IA quad works really well. But others are just made-up contrivances that have no basis in geography or history.

        Everyone just assumes the B1G would do this, apparently for no other reason than because the WAC did it. Is there any reason, besides that? It seems that people are twisting themselves into the shape of a pretzel, to create a structure that no one needs, doesn’t work very well, and was a failure the one time it was tried.

        • Brian says:

          Marc Shepherd,

          “They should just lock whichever rivalries they feel are necessary, and let the rest of the schedule rotate freely, according to whatever rotation rules are deemed useful.”

          Except for making it hard to obey the NCAA rules, that makes perfect sense.

          “Static pods (or groups, or quads) are unhelpful,”

          Wrong.

          “The NE/WI/MN/IA quad works really well. But others are just made-up contrivances that have no basis in geography or history.”

          Yeah, UNC, UVA, Duke and MD have nothing in common. Why would anybody group them together?

          “Everyone just assumes the B1G would do this,”

          No they don’t. They discuss it because the B10 could do it and perhaps they think the B10 should do it. As usual, you’re the one making assumptions.

          “Is there any reason, besides that?”

          Frequency of play while following the current NCAA rules to allow a 13th game exemption for the CCG.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            @Brian:

            <em“They should just lock whichever rivalries they feel are necessary, and let the rest of the schedule rotate freely, according to whatever rotation rules are deemed useful.”

            Except for making it hard to obey the NCAA rules, that makes perfect sense.

            It is trivially easy to rotate the schedule, without pods, while complying with the existing rules. All you need to do is have two divisions. No rule says that you need have static four- and five-team subdivisions within the divisions. That’s just one way of doing it.

            “Static pods (or groups, or quads) are unhelpful,”

            Wrong.

            Oh, yeah? Show me a pod alignment that doesn’t have fictitious rivalries, and that doesn’t separate any rivals that actually want to be together.

            “The NE/WI/MN/IA quad works really well. But others are just made-up contrivances that have no basis in geography or history.”

            Yeah, UNC, UVA, Duke and MD have nothing in common. Why would anybody group them together?

            I didn’t say none of the others work. But in every structure I’ve seen, you wind up with some teams arbitrarily thrown together, or historical rivals separated. Why do that, when you don’t have to?

            “Everyone just assumes the B1G would do this,”

            No they don’t. They discuss it because the B10 could do it and perhaps they think the B10 should do it. As usual, you’re the one making assumptions.

            OK, correct me: what other ways are under discussion.

            “Is there any reason, besides that?”

            Frequency of play while following the current NCAA rules to allow a 13th game exemption for the CCG.

            As I said, pods aren’t required to follow the rule [assuming, for argument's sake, that they couldn't just get the rule changed].

          • BruceMcF says:

            “Its trivially easy to rotate the schedule” ~ the thing is that if you have a collection of locked games for each school and a round robin schedule, a lot of of the schedule rotations fall off the list of feasible choices.

            As far the claim of it being trivially easy ~ that’s a bit of handwaving, isn’t it? Give a demonstration of the first four years of the division rotation, and how they respect all Big Ten rivalries and offer so much better divisional balance and make so much more geographic sense than eastern and western anchor groups and two central groups alternating between the two.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            @BruceMcF: This is how it works:

            1) Decide which rivalries you want to protect. Let’s assume the current 14 teams plus UVA, UNC, Duke, GT, FSU, and ND, for a total of 20. You might protect the following:

            UM: OSU, MSU
            OSU: UM
            MSU: UM
            WI: MN
            MN: WI
            NW: IL
            IL: NW
            ND: PU
            PU: ND, IN
            IN: PU
            NE: IA
            IA: NE
            PSU: RU, MD
            RU: PSU
            MD: PSU
            UVA: DK, UNC
            DK: UNC, UVA
            UNC: DK, UVA
            GT: FSU
            FSU: GT

            This is just a possible list. Arguments could be made for protecting more or fewer games than that. This is just an illustration. Within the “classic Big Ten,” I didn’t protect any game if that game has been unprotected at any point within the last 20 years. I didn’t protect MD with the rest of the ACC, because they’ve already decided to give that up. But I did give each school at least one guaranteed annual game. Some have two.

            2) Now, it is not a difficult combinatorial problem to generate two divisions that protect every one of these rivalries. There are many, many solutions. Brian could probably tell us exactly how many. He is good at that.

            With 9 conference games, every rival needs to be in the same division. With 10 conference games, a team can be in the opposite division as one of their rivals, since every team will have an opposite-division flex game. If you’re separated from your rival, that’s the flex game; otherwise, the flex game can be any opponent.

            You can also impose constraints, such as: “No more than 4 kings in a division” (the kings being UM, OSU, PSU, NE, FSU, and ND). Even with that constraint, there are many solutions.

            So anyway, you generate divisions with those constraints. A year later, they rotate to another combination using the same algorithm, mixing up the schools as much as possible while retaining the rivalries. These divisions can be generated as long in advance as you want. [On another thread, I suggested generating them dynamically, based on performance the preceding season. That is not at all necessary, but it is one available option.]

            The advantage of this, is that you protect exactly what is wanted, and no more. You don’t, for instance, create an artificial “Purdue-Maryland” annual game that no one wants, just because you needed a five-team pod.

            To give but one example of the many possible rotations, the first divisions could be:

            A: UM, OSU, MSU, UVA, UNC, DK, NW, IL, NE, IA
            B: PSU, RU, MD, ND, PU, IN, GT, FSU, WI, MN

            And then…

            A: UM, OSU, MSU, PSU, RU, MD, NW, IL, GT, FSU
            B: ND, PU, IN, UVA, UNC, DK, NE, IA, WI, MN

            And then…

            A: UM, OSU, MSU, ND, PU, IN, NW, IL, WI, MN
            B: PSU, RU, MD, UVA, UNC, DK, NE, IA, GT, FSU

            In that rotation, everyone plays everyone at least once in three or six years, with no rivalries broken. It can rotate annually, or bi-annually, as wanted. The above examples work with 9 conference games. With 10 conference games, many more divisions are possible, since rivals can be split.

            If you prefer settled scheduling, the rotation can be announced as many years in advance as you’d like. It could also be adjusted dynamically according to performance (my preference, but not at all necessary).

          • Brian says:

            Marc Shepherd,

            “It is trivially easy to rotate the schedule, without pods, while complying with the existing rules. All you need to do is have two divisions. No rule says that you need have static four- and five-team subdivisions within the divisions. That’s just one way of doing it.”

            I never said you had to have static pods to do it. Your way is so trivial that you have yet to even show that it works when preserving all the appropriate games. I haven’t said it won’t work, but it will be harder on the scheduler. What is the rotation? What is the frequency of games for each pairing?

            “Oh, yeah? Show me a pod alignment that doesn’t have fictitious rivalries, and that doesn’t separate any rivals that actually want to be together.”

            That’s impossible. Many fan bases disagree on which are real rivalries and which aren’t. I’ve given multiple pod examples that preserve all the necessary games. You’ve failed to show a problem with someone having an annual game against a team they aren’t rivals with yet.

            “I didn’t say none of the others work. But in every structure I’ve seen, you wind up with some teams arbitrarily thrown together,”

            You mean like NW/PU and MSU/PSU? Those are from the days of 11 teams and no divisions, but needed to make scheduling easier. We have them now with 12. Guess what? You’ll have them at 14, too.

            “OK, correct me: what other ways are under discussion.”

            Just recently? Changing the NCAA rule to go with no divisions, static divisions and various sizes and types of pods have all been discussed. Richard always has his 6 pods of 3 plan for 18 teams, too.

          • BruceMcF says:

            Sure arguments COULD be made “for protecting more or fewer”, but you didn’t actually present the argument for protecting so few. I presume the actual argument for not even protecting all of the old traditional rivalries in the conference, never mind the games that are really appealing as travel partners is that the more rivalries you protect ~ and the more actual demonstrated benefit of doing the scheduling that way instead of with groups ~ the harder it is to draw up the divisions.

            IA ~ UNL, WI, MN
            MN ~ IA, WI, TSUN
            MSU ~ TSUN, NW
            OSU ~ TSUN, IL, PSU
            IL ~ OSU, NW, (??? Illini fans, y’all tell me)
            TSUN ~ OSU, MSU, MN

            … and it starts to get substantially harder, because its really hard to have an average of two and a half protected rivalries without it being a fairly densely connected graph.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            Your way is so trivial that you have yet to even show that it works when preserving all the appropriate games.

            I did it above. About three FTT blog posts ago, I did another. I could give a third, fourth, fifth; as many as you want.

            I haven’t said it won’t work, but it will be harder on the scheduler.

            The scheduler is a Big Ten employee. He is well paid to do this. We’re all tossing this stuff out in our spare time, by some definition. If I make it your job, you’ll do better (I assume).

            “Oh, yeah? Show me a pod alignment that doesn’t have fictitious rivalries, and that doesn’t separate any rivals that actually want to be together.”

            That’s impossible.

            You can come a good deal closer than your last attempt. Eliminate all of the fictitious rivalries. Protect whatever you define as necessary.

            You’ve failed to show a problem with someone having an annual game against a team they aren’t rivals with yet.

            Opportunity cost. Since we clearly can’t preserve everything, every fictitious rivalry you create, carries the cost of multiple desired games that can’t be played. That’s why it’s better to protect no more than necessary — given whatever definition of “necessary” you want.

            Of course I agree that fans will not have the same view of what is “necessary”. But I assume you’d agree that an annual Michigan State/Georgia Tech rivalry (which I believe was part of your scenario) is “necessary” by no rational definition. By protecting it, other Big Ten teams and the Yellowjackets see each other less often.

            Why protect a game that no fan of either school has agitated for, when others they want are left unplayed for years at a time?

            “I didn’t say none of the others work. But in every structure I’ve seen, you wind up with some teams arbitrarily thrown together,”

            You mean like NW/PU and MSU/PSU?

            That’s a system no longer in use. There were a lot of jokes about that made-up MSU/PSU rivalry. What was so great about that system, that would make you eager to return to it?

            Of course, those were simpler times: you saw 80 percent of your conference mates every year, and no team was off your schedule for more than two years at a time. Then, they’d be back again for at the next eight years or so. With a 20-team Big Ten, inefficiencies like that are far more costly.

          • Brian says:

            Marc Shepherd,

            “1) Decide which rivalries you want to protect. Let’s assume the current 14 teams plus UVA, UNC, Duke, GT, FSU, and ND, for a total of 20. You might protect the following:

            UM: OSU, MSU
            OSU: UM
            MSU: UM
            WI: MN
            MN: WI
            NW: IL
            IL: NW
            ND: PU
            PU: ND, IN
            IN: PU
            NE: IA
            IA: NE
            PSU: RU, MD
            RU: PSU
            MD: PSU
            UVA: DK, UNC
            DK: UNC, UVA
            UNC: DK, UVA
            GT: FSU
            FSU: GT

            This is just a possible list. Arguments could be made for protecting more or fewer games than that. This is just an illustration.”

            It’s a ridiculously minimalist list that even you know is crap. Every team would have at least 2 and many need 3. Some might need 4.

            “2) Now, it is not a difficult combinatorial problem to generate two divisions that protect every one of these rivalries.”

            It becomes harder when you have a more realistic list.

            “There are many, many solutions. Brian could probably tell us exactly how many. He is good at that.”

            Count them yourself. It’s an important part of your argument to show how this plan works.

            “The advantage of this, is that you protect exactly what is wanted, and no more. You don’t, for instance, create an artificial “Purdue-Maryland” annual game that no one wants, just because you needed a five-team pod.”

            And the harm in PU playing MD annually would be what?

            “To give but one example of the many possible rotations, the first divisions could be:

            A: UM, OSU, MSU, UVA, UNC, DK, NW, IL, NE, IA
            B: PSU, RU, MD, ND, PU, IN, GT, FSU, WI, MN”

            Which shows several rivalries that should be kept but are split.

            Again, I’m not saying it won’t work but you reduced it to a trivial problem here.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            @BruceMcF:

            Sure arguments COULD be made “for protecting more or fewer”, but you didn’t actually present the argument for protecting so few. I presume the actual argument for not even protecting all of the old traditional rivalries in the conference, never mind the games that are really appealing as travel partners is that the more rivalries you protect ~ and the more actual demonstrated benefit of doing the scheduling that way instead of with groups ~ the harder it is to draw up the divisions.

            You’re absolutely correct that it is possible to so tightly constrain the problem that an acceptable rotation becomes impossible.

            But even in the system they’re considering NOW (with East-West), UM-MN and OSU-IL are not going to be protected. They were also not protected in the scheduling system before Nebraska joined.

            Now, I think it’s obvious that if some rivalries had to be sacrificed in an 11 or 14-team Big Ten, they surely will have to be in a 20-team Big Ten. As I said in my post, if a particular rivalry has not been protected historically (the last 20 years or so), then it’s hard to make the argument that it is essential in a 20-team league.

            But it is clearly possible to give each school their one or two “must haves”. And if you can do that, why wouldn’t you? In a 20-team league, I am not sure you can give anyone three or four annual rivals, without someone else making a larger sacrifice.

            Likewise, it seems apparent that if you give schools a “made-up” rivalry, you are creating an extra scheduling constraint that no one really wants, and in so doing, taking away flexibility for other useful games to take place.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            This is just a possible list. Arguments could be made for protecting more or fewer games than that. This is just an illustration.”

            It’s a ridiculously minimalist list that even you know is crap. Every team would have at least 2 and many need 3. Some might need 4.

            I believe most of what I left unprotected, has been unprotected at some point in one of the recently employed systems. If they were willing to leave it unplayed some years in an 11, 12, or 14-team Big Ten, how can it suddenly be essential in a 20-team Big Ten?

            I think the only exception is that I didn’t protect PSU/OSU, but I think in your proposal you didn’t protect it either.

            Just for fun, rewrite your own proposal without fictitious rivalries, but protect whatever you want to protect. If you want to max-protect, go ahead, but don’t protect anything unless you need it. Now see how much more the rest of the conference gets to play each other, because, e.g., Georgia Tech isn’t locked into Michigan State every year.

            All I am really saying is, don’t protect more than you need to, so that the remaining teams get to play each other more often.

          • Richard says:

            I have to throw in my 2 cents:

            Any scheme where the game for the pig or the game for the Jug or even Iowa-Wisconsin or even UNL-Wisconsin (which, according to Alvarez is a high-priority series for UW nowadays) or even OSU-PSU (without Pitt joining and taking the place of OSU) or UMD-UVa are not protected is not a realistic list. MSU also wants to visit Chicagoland very often as well.

            Ironically, Duke & UVa do not have to play annually. I have no idea why you threw that in there.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            @Brian: Every team would have at least 2 and many need 3. Some might need 4.

            Umm….why? Georgia Tech and FSU’s rivalries, both with each other and with the rest of the ACC, are fairly recently minted. Maryland was prepared to give up 100 percent of its ACC rivalries to join the Big Ten.

            Penn State and Nebraska had no annual rivalries with any Big Ten teams before joining the league. During the long period of an 11-team Big Ten, no team had more than two protected rivalries. Some of those were highly meaningful (UM-OSU), but some were just made-up, so that every team would have two. You know that PSU-MSU wasn’t that important, because as soon as Nebraska joined, they kicked it to the curb.

          • Richard says:

            “I believe most of what I left unprotected, has been unprotected at some point in one of the recently employed systems.”

            Floyd. The game for Floyd has been played continuously since the Great Depression.

            Just wondering, are you a Nebraska, UMD, or Rutgers fan?

            “All I am really saying is, don’t protect more than you need to, so that the remaining teams get to play each other more often.”

            Have you thought this through? With 10 conference games in a 20 school league, protecting 2 games and rotating the rest means you face the non-protected schools 8/17th of the time. Protecting 3 games and rotating the rest means you face the non-protected schools 7/16th of the time. That’s a 3.3% increase in frequency. That’s 1 extra game vs. each non-protected school every 30 years, or one extra HaH series every 60 years. If you think that’s worth killing off the oldest trophy game either (the LBJ game) as well as a bunch of lesser rivalries, you need your priorities examined.

            Also, if FSU joins, I’m pretty certain that the B10 would want FSU-PSU and/or FSU-UNL to become protected rivalries (for the TV value). Likely both.

          • Brian says:

            Marc Shepherd,

            “I did it above.”

            That comment wasn’t there when I wrote that.

            “About three FTT blog posts ago, I did another.”

            Then copy and paste should make it easy to do.

            “You can come a good deal closer than your last attempt.”

            Probably not. On the other hand, teams regularly play a lot of conference games against teams they don’t care about.

            “Eliminate all of the fictitious rivalries. Protect whatever you define as necessary.”

            I hereby define I all the games I locked as necessary. Problem solved.

            “Opportunity cost. Since we clearly can’t preserve everything, every fictitious rivalry you create, carries the cost of multiple desired games that can’t be played.”

            And yet you’ve failed to produce a viable list of all these desired games that are being lost and how much more valuable they are than the “unwanted” locked teams. Most schools don’t really care who fills out their schedule beyond a certain set of teams. That reduces the opportunity cost.

            “Of course I agree that fans will not have the same view of what is “necessary”. But I assume you’d agree that an annual Michigan State/Georgia Tech rivalry (which I believe was part of your scenario) is “necessary” by no rational definition. By protecting it, other Big Ten teams and the Yellowjackets see each other less often.”

            Actually, it was mathematically necessary. That’s as rational as it gets. I had OSU/MI and IN/PU locked to preserve important rivalries. That left MSU and GT to play each other. That locked game could go away with 10 conference games. Or maybe it stays because MSU wants GA access for recruiting and GT has limited interest in IN or PU.

            As for other teams seeing GT less because of MSU/GT, that only applies to OSU, MI, IN and PU. I think they’d rather keep their major rivalries locked than play GT more often. The other 12 teams would get them 50% of the time.

            “Why protect a game that no fan of either school has agitated for, when others they want are left unplayed for years at a time?”

            Again, what are all these neglected games that fans want that my system ignored?

            “That’s a system no longer in use.”

            Nice reply from Mr. “If it’s never been done before it’s a ridiculous idea and not worth discussing.” Now past methods are also no longer worthy of discussion. Way to limit any disagreement.

            “There were a lot of jokes about that made-up MSU/PSU rivalry. What was so great about that system, that would make you eager to return to it?”

            It preserved the major rivalries and gave an equal rotation through the other 8 teams.

          • Brian says:

            Marc Shepherd,

            “@Brian: Every team would have at least 2 and many need 3. Some might need 4.

            Umm….why?”

            NE – WI, IA, MN, maybe PSU
            WI – NE, IA, MN
            IA – NE, IA, MN, NW (look how much of their base is from or in Chicago)
            MN – NE, WI, IA, MI
            NW – IA, IL, MSU
            MSU – MI, NW
            MI – OSU, MSU, MN

            Get the idea?

            “Maryland was prepared to give up 100 percent of its ACC rivalries to join the Big Ten.”

            Out of financial need, yes. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t want to play them if they were also B10 members. Some history is better than none.

          • BruceMcF says:

            “You’re absolutely correct that it is possible to so tightly constrain the problem that an acceptable rotation becomes impossible.

            But even in the system they’re considering NOW (with East-West), UM-MN and OSU-IL are not going to be protected. They were also not protected in the scheduling system before Nebraska joined.”

            But in the scheduling system before Nebraska joined, the schools in the conference played most of the conference most of the time.

            And if your point is that your system is no WORSE in protecting rivalries than static divisions or alternating groups … then why go with your system? Static divisions are simpler, alternating groups are simpler. Static divisions are simplest, at the cost of not seeing half the conference very often, alternating groups are not as simple, for the gain of seeing the majority of the conference every two years.

            If it can be BETTER at protecting the fabric of rivalries that have grown up over the past century and half century, then you’ve got a case for living with the downsides of your system.

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          @Richard: Ironically, Duke & UVa do not have to play annually. I have no idea why you threw that in there.

          It was really just an illustration. I’m more trying to ask, “Why protect extra games annually that no one has asked for?” The actual set that’s necessary to protect is less meaningful; we all have different opinions on that.

          But it is useful to have a sense of history: there were four years that Michigan and Minnesota didn’t play, between Penn State’s entry to the league and the current divisional set-up. And in the proposed east-west set-up, it appears they’ll again go some years without playing.

          So, how essential is that?

          • Richard says:

            You’re assuming that the LBJ game won’t be protected in an E-W setup.

            Also, there’s a giant difference between playing 75% of the time and playing less than half the time in my book.

          • BruceMcF says:

            But if teams have to give up their second or third or fourth most desired games … how is that fundamentally any different from forming divisions from rotating or alternating groups that also can only respect two to four out of most team’s desired collections of games?

            At least with alternating or rotating groups, there is certainty that you’ll get to play the others in your group on an ongoing basis.

          • BruceMcF says:

            And that is shifting the goalposts mid-post. You say “why protect games nobody has asked for”. MSU has asked for NW, MN has asked for TSUN, IL has asked for OSU, the four western schools have asked to play each other, Penn State got the two east coast entrants THEY asked for, so I will treat that as asking for those games.

            How ESSENTIAL? Well, obviously there are different priorities, some games are more important to one school than the other, and sometimes in a conference you can’t get what you want so you make the best of what you can get.

            Lots of systems can protect a small number of “essential” games, especially when leeway is granted to dictate to schools an arbitrary cut-off of how “essential” their preferred games are to protect. If THAT’S all that the system can offer, its doesn’t seem to be offering very much.

          • vp19 says:

            And that is shifting the goalposts mid-post. You say “why protect games nobody has asked for”. MSU has asked for NW, MN has asked for TSUN, IL has asked for OSU, the four western schools have asked to play each other, Penn State got the two east coast entrants THEY asked for, so I will treat that as asking for those games.

            How ESSENTIAL? Well, obviously there are different priorities, some games are more important to one school than the other, and sometimes in a conference you can’t get what you want so you make the best of what you can get.

            This is what makes Purdue to the West/Michigan State to the East a preferable setup in terms of keeping members satisfied — protecting not only the Old Oaken Bucket, but the Little Brown Jug, Illiniwek, MSU-Northwestern (these first four as crossovers) and the Purdue-Illinois game (in the West division). You can legitimately argue that it lessens divisional balance, but if more members are happy, it would override that disadvantage. And while you can’t assume this is a short-term move, there’s a reasonably good chance (thanks to the upcoming TV deal) that before the 2010s are up, the Big Ten will have more than 14 football-playing teams.

            (P.S. The first time I saw the term “TSUN,” I thought someone had misspelled the acronym for Cal State Northridge. Oh, you crazy Buckeyes.)

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            And that is shifting the goalposts mid-post. You say “why protect games nobody has asked for”. MSU has asked for NW, MN has asked for TSUN, IL has asked for OSU, the four western schools have asked to play each other, Penn State got the two east coast entrants THEY asked for, so I will treat that as asking for those games.

            Shifting the goalposts…how? Everyone agrees that it’s impossible to preserve every desired rivalry annually. Even the current system fails to do that, and it only gets harder when you add teams.

            It therefore seems to me rather obvious, that you shouldn’t gum up the system with unsought locked rivalries, because that’s fewer slots available for the games the schools really want.

            Beyond that, I am not advocating a particular number of rivalries to protect. My idea is about the opposite kinds of games — those no sane person would believe need to be locked, like GT/MSU or Purdue/Maryland.

            And my suggestion is: don’t.

          • Brian says:

            vp19,

            “protecting not only the Old Oaken Bucket, but the Little Brown Jug, Illiniwek, MSU-Northwestern (these first four as crossovers) and the Purdue-Illinois game (in the West division).”

            It’s a big assumption that the B10 will choose to lock a bunch of crossover games. We know they’ll have to lock 1. It’s unclear that they’ll lock more than that. Limiting everyone to 1 rotating game really reduces how often teams can play. If only IN/PU gets locked in your version, then how do you feel about it?

            “You can legitimately argue that it lessens divisional balance, but if more members are happy, it would override that disadvantage.”

            But will more teams be happy? That hasn’t been shown. We’ve yet to hear who prefers PU in the west and who prefers MSU in the west. We can guess, but we may well be wrong. If it’s split 7/7 or 8/6 or maybe even 9/5, doesn’t it matter how much they care more than how many prefer 1 over the other?

    • Brian says:

      Pods is a term the NCAA uses in the tourney. But terminology doesn’t matter here. Call them whatever you want for PR. For practical use, though, pods is the accepted term when discussing the issue on the internet. Pods are just a means to an end and the B10 never needs to talk about them publicly. They can just discuss having dynamic divisions are whatever BS term makes you feel better about yourself.

      • BuckeyeBeau says:

        @ Brian: You said: “Pods is a term the NCAA uses in the tourney. But terminology doesn’t matter here. Call them whatever you want for PR. For practical use, though, pods is the accepted term when discussing the issue on the internet. Pods are just a means to an end and the B10 never needs to talk about them publicly. They can just discuss having dynamic divisions are whatever BS term makes you feel better about yourself.”

        My, you were in a foul mood yesterday. I hope you got a good night’s sleep and are less cranky and irritable today.

        You say “terminology doesn’t matter.” I disagree. “Leaders” and “Legends” are good examples of bad names. “Edsel” is another classic example of a bad name. The Chevy “Nova” was shunned by Spanish speaking consumers because “No va” in Spanish means “it does not run.”

        Naming matters. The “Rose Bowl” sounds wonderful; the “Broccoli Bowl” not so much.

        You say that the NCAA uses the term “pods.” First, I’ve never heard the term “pods” used by the NCAA. But, whatever. Second, I still think “pods” is a bad name even if the NCAA has used the term. Just because it has been done, doesn’t mean it needs to continue. Dead hand of the past begone !

        You also say that “pods is an accepted term.” I did not say otherwise. If it makes you feel better about yourself to limit yourself to the “accepted term,” feel free. My post was an attempt to suggest that the “accepted term” has limitations and that there are better alternatives.

        You say finally: “They [the B1G] can just discuss having dynamic divisions are whatever BS term makes you feel better about yourself.” (I assume “are” = “or”). As should be clear, the name matters and is not “BS.”

        • Brian says:

          BuckeyeBeau,

          “You say “terminology doesn’t matter.””

          No, I said it doesn’t matter here, as in on Frank’s blog. That word is kind of important to the meaning of my sentence. PR experts can decide on the proper term if and when the B10 decided to use them.

          “You say that the NCAA uses the term “pods.””

          They do. It’s their fairly new method of grouping schools for the first 2 rounds to reduce travel.

  46. vp19 says:

    More news on the lower-level realignment front — UMass Lowell, already Div I for hockey, will upgrade the rest of its program from Div II and go to America East, replacing Boston University in that market. Another rejection for NJIT, which has sought America East or Northeast Conference membership for years: http://collegesportsinfo.com/2013/02/13/report-umass-lowell-to-join-america-east/

  47. Andy says:

    I’m not a huge Clay Travis fan, but this article is absolutely brilliant:

    http://outkickthecoverage.com/texass-deloss-dodds-grapples-with-losing-legacy.php

    • bullet says:

      Typical Travis drivel. I’m sure you like it because it returns the unneccessary shot Dodds took at Missouri. The last half of the article is just stupid. But .500 for Clay Travis. Hits his norm.

    • Pat says:

      Clay Travis knocking it out of the park! Lack of a conference network will eventually lead to the demise of the B12. Longhorn Network is a cluster f…….

  48. Transic says:

    Not saying anything but interesting article about scheduling from a ND perspective:

    http://www.subwaydomer.com/2013-articles/february/notre-dame-the-big-ten-and-the-future-schedule-battle.html

    • OrderRestored83 says:

      I know I am in the minority among Irish fans; but I hate the animosity between the B1G and the Irish. For the most part its been a fun struggle through the years, I love the Michigan St series as well as the Michigan series these past few years. I understand the sentiment and angst by some in the fan bases on each side; but College Football is better as a whole when Notre Dame and Michigan/Michigan St are playing. This is sad to me.

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        @OrderRestored83: As far as I can tell, all three of Notre Dame’s regular rivals in the Big Ten wanted to keep playing Notre Dame. It’s true that some (sadly ignorant) fans say, “To Hell with Notre Dame.” But that attitude is not shared by the athletic directors.

        It was Jack Swarbrick’s decision to cancel the Michigan series.

        His apparent reasoning was that if he plays annual series with Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Navy, Stanford, and USC, that locks six games a year. The ACC league office is going to determine five other games, for a total of eleven. That would leave him with just one game a year under his control. He wanted more flexibility than that.

        • OrderRestored83 says:

          @Marc

          Yeah, as of now it sounds like the MSU and Purdue games will continue; but for how much longer? As for the Michigan series ending, regardless of whose decision it was; it was a bad one for the game. I went to both Michigan/ND games and the atmosphere was only rivaled by games against ‘SC. College Football needs that. I was outspoken against the partnership with the ACC; I don’t feel a connection to any of those schools (and could care less about playing any of them outside BC/Miami/Florida St). Who knows where this will end up; but games like Michigan/Notre Dame shouldn’t be sacrificed in the process.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            @OrderRestored83: My guess is that Swarbrick will keep the Purdue series, no matter what. They’re Notre Dame’s third most-frequent rival (after Navy and USC), and they have a better winning percentage against Purdue than either MSU or Michigan.

          • Pat says:

            Michigan State’s AD said last month that they would continue to play Notre Dame but probably only 4 of 6 years instead of the previous 8 of 10. Both schools want to schedule other rivals periodically. By the way, the cancellation of the Michigan vs ND series had been rumored for well over a year. No big surprise, other than maybe the way Swarbrick delivered the message to Brandon.

          • cutter says:

            @Pat-

            Once I saw that Notre Dame had agreed to a four-year series with Texas that included season opening games in 2015/6, I thought the UM-ND series was potentially on the ropes. If the Irish had kept the Wolverines on the schedule, the first two games for those seasons would have been UT followed by UM. That’s not smart scheduling for any college football team.

            Brandon was asked about the Notre Dame series cancellation in the following article from 25 September 2012–http://www.mlive.com/wolverines/index.ssf/2012/09/dave_brandon_explains_notre_da.html

            While Brandon says he wasn’t surprised that Notre Dame wanted to opt out of the contract after they joined the ACC, he did say that Swarbrick never contacted him about ending the series in the immediate aftermath of that decision (announced on 12 September). The first formal notice he had was when Swarbrick handed him the opt out letter before last season’s game.

            Brandon also said he didn’t realize the 2012 games was going to count as part of the three-game notice until after it was over and he was headed back to Ann Arbor and pulled the letter out of his pocket. Until that point, I think he assumed the 2015 game was still on the schedule.

        • cutter says:

          @Marc Shepherd – I wouldn’t say “To Hell with Notre Dame”, but as a Michigan alum and fan, I was happy to see the series end. My freshman year in Ann Arbor was 1978–the same year the UM/ND series was resurrected. That game was pretty much a “don’t miss” game for years after I graduated because the series was so great.

          The problem is that when Penn State came into the conference, the 85-scholarship limit was introduced and a half dozen years after that, the BCS came into being. All that meant that a non-conference schedule with three pretty good opponents went down to one, and that one was Notre Dame.

          At that point, I wanted to see some more variety in Michigan’s non-conference schedule when it came to the one major home-and-home series the Wolverines played. I didn’t want ND completely off the schedule, but it would have been fine if they were part of a rotation (maybe 2 years out of every 6 or 8) with some of the other major college football powers. That really hit home when I attended the 2005 (?) Rose Bowl in person against Texas. Here was a team that Michigan had never played before meeting for the first time (for the record, UM hasn’t played LSU either). It was a great game and an even better experience and it whet my appetite for non-conference games against the other major programs in the country.

          We’re in early days yet on the non-conference scheduling as far Michigan is concerned because there was supposed to be an agreement with the Pac 12, then it ended, now we’re looking at 9 or 10 conference games, etc. UM does have a home-and-home set with Arkansas–that’s okay, but not really a ND comparable opponent like Oklahoma or Florida State or USC.

          Who knows? If Notre Dame joins the Big Ten Conference as part of a 18- or 20-team setup, those games with Michigan and Michigan State could become annual affairs again. As far as I’m concerned, having ND as a regular conference opponent would be just fine.

          BTW, Bo Schembechler was prepared to end the ND series in the very earlier 90s, but he left the AD job before he was able to change anything. I have it on good authority that Bill Martin considered it as well. Not all of Michigan’s AD’s in recent times have been in love with Notre Dame, and seeing that Jack Swarbrick didn’t give David Brandon a head’s up regarding the ending of the series before he handed him that letter right before last season’s game, I imagine he isn’t in love with them right now either.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            @cutter: You may have better contacts at Michigan than I do. But you can count up the number of ADs at Michigan since 1978. If they disliked the series that much, why did they keep renewing it?

            I don’t know what Dave Brandon thinks of Jack Swarbrick now, but he sure sounded disappointed when he was handed that letter—not merely by the way in which it was done, but also the fact that the series was ending. Up to that point, I saw no inkling that he wanted to end it.

          • jj says:

            I honestly thought a fairly large portion of the M crowd was very disrespectful to ND. They are 2 very different places. Might be the same the other way around as well, but I was closer to the M crowd.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            Just an addendum on this point: it’s hard to schedule OOC opponents of Notre Dame’s stature. You can look up the one or two-dozen [we could dispute precisely how many there are] potential marquee opponents, and look up their availability. Michigan isn’t the only school trying to schedule them.

            Brandon just hooked Arkansas for 2018-19, after being turned down (reportedly) by a number of others. [We'll assume for argument's sake that Arkansas is of comparable stature to Notre Dame, which they really aren't.] An additional problem is that a lot of the potential marquee opponents are in the south, and a hot-weather September game in their stadiums would put Michigan at a rather considerable disadvantage.

            Some Michigan fans got tired of Notre Dame, but the rivalry produced a very large number of iconic games, including three of the last four years. (I am considering them iconic not just because they were Michigan wins, but how they were won; some of the ND wins fit that description too.)

            I’m not saying I don’t want variety in the schedule, because I do. I am just pointing out that it’s easier said than done.

          • jj says:

            @ Marc

            I agree with all of what you said. The loss of the series, to me, is a sad thing.

          • frug says:

            @Marc

            A lot of Michigan’s scheduling problems are their own fault though. About a year ago Brandon said that Michigan would no longer play any road OOC games besides ND and it had a major effect on their future schedule.

            He has since reversed it (obviously) but it takes time to catch up. Similar schools like Texas, USC and OSU have games scheduled out as far as 10 years.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            @frug: You are entirely correct, although the problem pre-dates Brandon; Bill Martin scheduled a bunch of cupcakes, too. My comment was really addressing the people who think Notre Dame can easily be replaced on the schedule with comparable opponents; they can’t.

            This year, for instance, Ohio State’s OOC opponents are Buffalo, San Diego State, Buffalo, and the return game at Cal — and the Buckeyes have been scheduling up for a while now. I assume Cal was the best they could do, and although they’re not chopped liver, they’re not Notre Dame.

            The Buckeyes’ future home & homes are Virginia Tech, Oklahoma, North Carolina, TCU, Oregon, Boston College, and Texas. A few of those are clearly of Notre Dame’s stature, but several are not.

          • cutter says:

            @ Marc Shepherd-

            Don Canham was responsible for getting the Michigan-Notre Dame series back on the calendar. He contacted ND in 1969 and the first game played was in 1978.

            Canham was replaced by Schembechler, who as I mentioned earlier, nearly cancelled the series during his tenure from 1988-90. Bo always wanted that ND game to be the mutual season opener for both teams, but Notre Dame began scheduling games prior to playing Michigan after Holtz got there. If Bo had stayed on as AD longer, the series may have ended in the early 1990s.

            His successor, Jack Weidenbach, was only there for two years, but he did two things. The first was to change Michigan’s schedule so that UM would have a game in hand when they played ND. The second was to contact his counterpart at Notre Dame and get a scheduling agreement in place that would make UM-ND the season opener again. That was the plan for 1998 and 1999.

            Joe Roberson was the next UM AD, but he was only there for four years (two of which included a break in the ND series) before he was replaced by Thomas Goss (1997-2000). As we both know, Goss was fired for mismanagement of the athletic department. But something interesting happened on his watch.

            In 1999, Michigan and Notre Dame were scheduled to play one another in Ann Arbor in what was supposed to be the two teams’ season opener (like it was in 1998). What ND did, however, was play Kansas in the Eddie Robinson Classic a week earlier (28 August) in what was clearly a prep game for Michigan. Lloyd Carr made a public statement about ND breaking a “gentleman’s agreement”, but never elaborated on it. I asked Carr about that at a charity event years later and he told me that ND “conveniently forgot” the agreement that Weidenbach had made with ND in early 90s. Let’s just say he wasn’t real happy about that, and to no surprise, Michigan has never again tried to open the season with Notre Dame. UM has always put at least one warm up game on the schedule before playing the Irish.

            Bill Martin considered cancelling the series late in his tenure, but held off because he was leaving as AD and was going to let Brandon make the decision for keeping it or not. I never got a good feel for why he was considering it, but Brandon made it very clear in public that he wasn’t happy with having Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State on the schedule as either all road game or all home games. ND wouldn’t budge because they wanted to play Michigan in South Bend when they played USC in LA and vice versa. I don’t know if Brandon was working with the B1G on getting the conference schedule changed, but happily for him, Notre Dame solved the problem by joining the ACC and cancelling the series.

            To be completely frank, neither school needs the other. They didn’t play one another from 1910 through 1978 with two exceptions–games in 1942/3 during World War II. Both of them are big time programs that have profitable athletic departments, recognizable and marketable brands, lots of loyal fans,etc. As far as any future scheduling between the two programs, it’s clearly not in Notre Dame’s immediate future and it may not be in Michigan’s either. The B1G is going to at least a nine-game conference schedule, and if the decision is to make it ten, I don’t know if there’d be much opportunity for such a game. The conference is also looking at expanding, and how that works out along with the way the playoff system is finally set will also effect on Michigan sets up its non conference games.

  49. ccrider55 says:

    USC again…
    http://reignoftroy.com/2013/02/13/usc-baseball-frank-cruz-fired-as-head-coach/

    And Kiffin outlasts both basketball and baseball coaches.

  50. bullet says:

    Another Big 10 voice (Gerry Dinardo) doubts the B1G ever plays at only 14:
    http://www.offtackleempire.com/2013/2/12/3974794/ote-interview-with-gerry-dinardo-part-2

    • Brian says:

      They’re running out of time to add someone in time for the 2014 season. Integration takes a year or more usually.

      • Brian says:

        Besides, Dinardo is dumb as a stump. He thinks moving OSU/MI to September is a good idea.

      • cutter says:

        Nebraska accepted the Big Ten’s invitation on June 12, 2010 and became a conference member on July 1, 2011. See–http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/news/story?id=5276551

        It’s a theoretically possible scenario. Outside of the exit fee, I don’t believe there are any other requirements for programs to leave the ACC, such as a waiting period.

        If the ACC-Maryland lawsuit is settled in three or four months and schools are still willing to move in the wake of the settlement, then precedent shows that additional schools could be integrated into the Big Ten in time for the 2014 football season.

        Goodness knows that Delany will have had plenty of time to vet the candidate schools, gauge their interest and gather the opinions and address the concerns of the COP/C and ADs these past months and through the last spring/early summer in order to quickly make a decision.

        Notre Dame announced it was joining the ACC on 12 September last year. Maryland and Rutgers joined the Big Ten a little over two months later. If the conference is prepared to issue and accept invitations like I imagine they will be, the whole process could happen even faster than that.

        • m (Ag) says:

          Texas A&M, and then TCU, and then Mizzou, and then West Virginia, all announced they were leaving with even less notice than Nebraska gave.

    • Scarlet_Lutefisk says:

      DiNardo was born in NY, played at ND & only coached at a B1G school for 3 years out of a 3 decade long career.

      Regardless of where he is currently employed, Gerry is not a Big 10 voice.

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        He was a mediocre coach, but he has been covering the league regularly for several years and has contacts the rest of us could only dream about. He could be wrong, but I’d say he is manny degrees more reliable than the two West Virginia tweeps.

  51. Marc Shepherd says:

    Just for laughs:

    Johns Hopkins considering moving men’s basketball and other sports to division 1 with BiG10 invitation looming.— MHver3 (@MHver3) February 13, 2013

    (JHU is Division III in every sport except lacrosse. Moving up to Division I would be an arduous process, in which they’d get clobbered for years and would have no value to the Big Ten. That’s to say nothing of the expense, given what I have to assume are highly sub-standard facilities by Division I standards.)

    • ccrider55 says:

      That would alleviate all the associate membership and minimum number is sports concerns. And probably get them considerably more (if not full) conference distribution.

      • frug says:

        I’m guessing the Big Ten would make them park their DI sports in another conference for a few years before they would be part of the Big Ten.

        Of course given the source of this report, who knows what will really happen.

        • Brian says:

          I think this would cost them the B10 offer. That would truly make them a partial member, and I don’t see the B10 accepting that. They wouldn’t for ND (all but FB), why would they for JHU lacrosse?

          • zeek says:

            I agree Brian, you get too close to the slippery slope if JHU somehow adds back a lot of D-1 programs.

            If it’s just men’s/women’s lacrosse, it’s easier to make an exception

          • ccrider55 says:

            It’s not an exception if they join the B1G in all sports. Raising the other sports to D1 eliminates both the minimum number requirement and the associate member concern. What am I missing? How is this a problem, assuming their distribution is at a level commensurate with their contribution (academics consideration included)?

          • vp19 says:

            I really don’t take this story seriously…although when the NCAA was debating the grandfathering rule, there was talk JHU would move its other teams to Div I if it was otherwise not allowed to play Div I lacrosse. (Had that happened, though, Hopkins probably would have joined the Patriot League, not the Big Ten.)

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            @ccrider55: It’s not an exception if they join the B1G in all sports. Raising the other sports to D1 eliminates both the minimum number requirement and the associate member concern. What am I missing? How is this a problem…?

            Raising the other sports to D1 would be very expensive and would take years. People complain when Big Ten teams play FCS squads, in games that are usually not even close to competitive (Appalachian State vs. Michigan aside). Hopkins plays two full levels below FCS. Their football stadium seats 8,500. Their basketball gym seats 1,100. Against any Division I team, they’d get slaughtered.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Satisfying the all D1 opponents requirement, and maintaining a cupcake game. Win, win :) .

          • Brian says:

            ccrider55,

            “It’s not an exception if they join the B1G in all sports. Raising the other sports to D1 eliminates both the minimum number requirement and the associate member concern. What am I missing?”

            I responded to frug saying they would park the other sports in another D-I conference.

            “How is this a problem, assuming their distribution is at a level commensurate with their contribution (academics consideration included)?”

            Bringing a bunch of terrible teams to the B10 is a problem. B10 teams all get paid the same amount, and JHU couldn’t possibly earn their share. Or are you claiming they’d get paid nothing from FB and hoops money? Would they buy into the BTN? How would they get paid from it?

          • ccrider55 says:

            I figured you were responding to frug after I posted.

            Perhaps compensate JHU FB along the lines of what currently is being paid for weak “buy” games (maybe with a requirement of a percentage going to improvements)? I don’t know. But do you think Chicago would have been kicked out if, rather than choosing to drop down, it said it would begin rebuilding over time?

          • Brian says:

            ccrider55,

            “But do you think Chicago would have been kicked out if, rather than choosing to drop down, it said it would begin rebuilding over time?”

            Back then, no. Look how long they let NW suck. But nowadays, yes. Can you imagine giving an equal annual split to a team that make IN look like a FB king and PSU like a hoops king? Chicago would just be stealing money. I think they would be required by the B10 to put much of their conference payout directly into serious attempts to get competitive or face getting the boot.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Brian:

            “I think they would be required by the B10 to put much of their conference payout directly into serious attempts to get competitive… ”

            I think that is what I was suggesting for JHU, except using what is currently being paid for FB cupcake games as a starting point (rather than trying to discover what is not discoverable – the value JHU would bring to B1G FB).

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        The Big Ten isn’t going to give them a full distribution (or anything near that) unless they generate enough economic value. The conference already has the state’s flagship school (Maryland), and it would be many years before JHU’s other teams were competitive against Division I talent. I don’t know the precedents for making the leap from Division III to Division I, but I imagine it is an arduous climb. A basketball game like Johns Hopkins at Indiana would probably be really, really ugly.

        • Hopkins Horn says:

          Unless the team has had a worse loss since I was a student in the early 90s, the worst loss was at UVA in the early 80s, when Hopkins still played DI schools on occasion.

          Yep, that’s a DIII team going against Ralph Sampson.

  52. Craig Z says:

    SIAP. A list of where active NFL players went to high school. This could be part of why Rutgers and Maryland were added and why North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia Tech would be desirable.

    http://www.maxpreps.com/news/J_G3Olz0lUaivTrWxlHrLQ/where-every-active-nfl-player-went-to-high-school.htm

    • Richard says:

      Note that if you don’t count FL and TX, there are actually more NFL players from the 14-school B10 footprint than the SEC footprint (467 vs. 431). Just FL+TX produced 457, however (though the SEC certainly doesn’t get the vast bulk of TX football players). If anything, this shows how desirable FSU should be (Miami as well if they weren’t going to be underwater before I die).

      • m (Ag) says:

        Well, if you’re not counting FL and TX, you shouldn’t really count U of Florida and Texas A&M, and the SEC comes out ahead on a per-school basis.

        467/14=33.36
        431/12=35.92

        • Richard says:

          Barely a difference, and even if you exclude TX & FL, the SEC has to share the talent-rich states of GA & SC with schools from other major conferences while the B10 shares only PA & IA (and no one has ever accused IA of being loaded in football-talent).

          Halve the numbers for GA, SC, PA, & IA, and you get
          427/14=30.5
          349.5/12= 29.125

          It’s pretty clear to me that the SEC advantage in talent can be explained by (besides more emphasis and money spent on recruiting) the proximity of most SEC schools to FL & TX.

  53. Brian says:

    New thread, same topic:

    18 teams – add UVA, UNC, Duke, GT

    Rivalry chains off the top of my head:
    NE – WI – MN – IA – NW – IL – OSU – MI – MSU
    NE – IA – WI – NE – MN
    OSU – PSU – RU
    MI – MN
    MSU – NW
    IL – PU – IN
    PSU – MD – UVA – UNC – Duke
    GT – UVA

    Something has to give no matter what.

    Let’s examine my pods:
    1. W – NE, WI, IA, MN, NW, IL

    Lots of preserved rivalries, plus highly desirable access to Chicago/IL for the western teams who have large fan/alumni bases there.

    Unneeded games – IL doesn’t care much about the western 4 AFAIK with the possible exception of IA. They’d rather play OSU and MI.

    Missing games – MI/MN, OSU/IL, MSU/NW

    2. E – PSU, RU, MD, UVA, UNC, Duke

    Again, many preserved rivalries plus eastern partners for PSU.

    Unneeded games – RU against UVA and UNC, PSU versus UVA, UNC and Duke

    Missing games – PSU/OSU

    3. C1 – OSU, GT, PU; C2 – MI, MSU, IN; OSU/MI and PU/IN locked

    Rivalries preserved.

    Unneeded games – GT against everyone, OSU/PU, MI/IN, MSU/IN

    Missing games – MI/MN, OSU/IL, MSU/NW, GT/UVA

    Conclusions
    All the missing games would be played 50% of the time. With 10 games, all games would be played at least 33% of the time. Everything except W versus E would be 50% or 100%. It’s not perfect, but it’s not terrible.

    What about Marc’s latest obsession?
    NE – WI, IA, MN, maybe PSU
    WI – NE, IA, MN
    IA – NE, WI, MN, NW
    MN – NE, WI, IA, MI
    NW – IA, IL, MSU
    IL – NW, OSU, PU
    PU – IL, IN
    IN – PU
    MI – OSU, MSU, MN
    MSU – MI, NW
    OSU – MI, IL, PSU
    PSU – OSU, RU, MD, maybe NE
    RU – PSU, MD
    MD – PSU, UVA, UNC, maybe GT & Duke
    UVA – MD, UNC, GT, maybe Duke
    UNC – UVA, Duke, maybe GT & MD
    Duke – UNC, maybe MD & UVA & GT
    GT – UVA, maybe MD & UNC & Duke

    You really can’t make clean divisions despite his claims. Something has to give, just as it does with pods or any other system. The main difference is that pods focus on local rivalries and are easier to understand in many ways. It means the western schools play each other a lot and the eastern school less often (and vice versa). If everyone had the same number of fixed games, it would be simpler conceptually but hard to form divisions. I fail to see this as a panacea. The old system with no divisions would accomplish \what he wants, but requires a rule change obviously.

    Frequency of play

    This is the great opportunity cost Marc was worried about, so let’s examine it.

    Everyone has 4 locked games as part of Marc’s scheme (they all have the same number for ease of math):
    4 – 100%
    13 – 38% or 46% (9 or 10 games)

    Pods of 6/3/3/6:
    A. One of the 6
    5 – 100%
    6 – 50%
    6 – 17% or 33% (9 or 10 games)

    B. One of the 3 (1 locked crossover)
    3 – 100%
    12 – 50%
    2 – 0% or 50% (9 or 10 games – the 0% is the reason for rotating the groups of 3)

    Comparison
    1. 10 games

    Marc – 4 x 100% + 13 x 46%
    Pod of 6 – 5 x 100% + 6 * 50% + 6 * 33%
    Pod of 3 – 3 x 100% + 14 * 50%

    That not very different. The pod of 3 is almost exactly the same. The pods of 6 play the farthest teams less often and the nearer ones more often than in Marc’s plan (an advantage of pods).

    2. 9 games

    Marc – 4 x 100% + 13 x 38%
    Pod of 6 – 5 x 100% + 6 * 50% + 6 * 17%
    Pod of 3 – 3 x 100% + 12 * 50% + 2 x 0%

    The differences are bigger here. Again, the pod of 6 teams get to play the nearest teams the most but now there games against the farthest teams are fairly rare (1 in 6 years). The pod of 3 teams actually can’t play each other. That’s why you implement a rotation of those groups of 3.

    OSU, GT, PU vs MI, MSU, IN – OSU/MSU, OSU/IN, GT/MI, GT/IN, PU/MI and PU/MSU never play

    The easy part is to swap IN and PU every two years (off cycle from when the pods of 3 trade divisions, ideally). That would knock IN/OSU, IN/GT, PU/MI and PU/MSU off the list as they get played. That leaves OSU/MSU and MI/GT. The fix for that is swapping OSU and IN, and then GT for IN/PU.

    In short:
    OSU, GT, PU vs MI, MSU, IN
    OSU, GT, IN vs MI, MSU, PU
    OSU, MI, MSU vs GT, PU, IN
    OSU, PU, IN vs MI, MSU, GT
    OSU, MI, GT vs MSU, PU, IN
    OSU, MI, MSU vs GT, PU, IN*

    * – This one gets repeated so OSU/MSU is also 33%

    OSU games:
    MI – 100%
    GT – 61%
    PU, IN – 53%
    MSU – 33%

    This also means OSU and MI are in the same division half the time.

    • BruceMcF says:

      Why would you wait two years to swap groups? If the aim is to play each other more often, swapping groups annually would let you play each other more often.

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        I would swap annually, but this is another one of the Big Ten’s traditions, which some would claim is essential, and others would not. Historically, the schedule has always rotated in two-year increments, I don’t know how far back it goes, but it’s at least 20 years.

        I suppose the idea is that if Georgia Tech comes in and beats you, you want the opportunity for revenge the following year, and vice versa.

        • BruceMcF says:

          The issue I can see with 9 conference games is that a particular division lineup will be 5 home games in one cycle and 4 the return, so for the Hawkeyes and Purdue and maybe MSU with annual OOC rivalries, running H-A-H-A-…, they’ll want those to offset, Home when they have 4 Home in conference and Away when they have 5 Home in conference … which is easiest to do if they tick tock first, then swap.

      • Brian says:

        I am swapping on two different schedules:
        After Year 1 – swap groups of 6
        After Year 2 – change groups of 3
        After Year 3 – swap groups of 6
        After Year 4 – change groups of 3
        etc

        Y1: W + C1 vs E + C2
        Y2: E + C1 vs W + C2

        This makes sure everyone in C has played all the E and W teams before mixing up the C groups. The rotating games change every year.

        Y3: W + C3 vs E + C4
        Y4: E + C3 vs W + C4
        etc

        The changing C groups make sure all the C teams play each other.

  54. Marc Shepherd says:

    Brian’s summary is in the zip code of what I was suggesting, but I would alter it to an extent.

    The league clearly has a desire to integrate new members, by having them play all of the other members reasonably often. It also has a desire to preserve rivalries that already exist. Those goals are in tension, because the more you protect, the fewer games are available for non-locked teams to play each other.

    Brian’s math assumed that, in my proposal, every team has four locked games. That, I believe, is more than necessary — given that no Big Ten team (in the current 14-team league) has more than two teams that it has played every year. It would be passing strange that as the league grows to 18 or 20, suddenly there is a need to protect more than you did historically. Each time the league has grown, more annual rivalries have been given up than added.

    Brian made an attempt to list unneeded rivalries in his system, but I think he exaggerated, for instance:

    2. E – PSU, RU, MD, UVA, UNC, Duke

    Again, many preserved rivalries plus eastern partners for PSU.

    Unneeded games – RU against UVA and UNC, PSU versus UVA, UNC and Duke

    Rutgers has no particular history against any of those teams except Penn State. As I noted upthread, Maryland had already made the decision to relinquish annual games against the rest of the ACC, so it would be a bit odd if the Terps now said, “We have to play them every year.”

    So all I am really saying is: make a list of what actually needs to be protected, and let the rest float, which thereby gives every team more regular access to every other team. What games should be protected is debatable, and certainly a very desirable discussion. I am sure that will be the main argument when and if this actually happens in the Big Ten.

    Now, it is fairly apparent that Brian’s static system works. If you delete the unneeded rivalries (however you define “unneeded”), and let them float, it still works, but a team like GT or Rutgers sees the rest of the Big Ten more often, and vice versa.

    That is really the essence of my idea: protect what you need to protect, and no more.

    • BruceMcF says:

      “It would be passing strange that as the league grows to 18 or 20, suddenly there is a need to protect more than you did historically.”

      It seems quite normal to me. As the league grows, the average frequency of the *unprotected* games drops. I wouldn’t be thrilled about the Illibuck not being played every year, but if it was four years on, two years off, or two years on, two years off, that’s easier to accept than it not being played for four years straight.

      So having to protect games wasn’t a big historical issue because for forty years, it wasn’t hard to do. It only arose quite recently, in the past two decades, with the first of the four newbies joined the conference after four decades of stability. Some schools felt at the time that the Big Ten didn’t always get that scheduling right. It became a bigger issue and one that in some quarters it is argued strongly that they didn’t get right when the Big Ten went to divisions.

      As far as I can understand your argument, its that the schools with good reason to be concerned that they will end up being screwed by rotating the divisions on a seat of the pants ad-hoc should just trust the Big Ten to get it right the next time they have a go at it. At least with the various division lineups and rotating divisions, they can fight to avoid being screwed when the structure is being established, rather than just trusting that they’ll end up doing OK when the schedules are actually drawn up.

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        As far as I can understand your argument, its that the schools with good reason to be concerned that they will end up being screwed by rotating the divisions on a seat of the pants ad-hoc should just trust the Big Ten to get it right the next time they have a go at it.

        I hadn’t considered that angle at all. For the sake of present discussion, I assume that the Big Ten can be trusted to A) implement whatever is agreed to; B) equitably allocate whatever is left to the league’s discretion. (Of course, it could be that, based on past experience, the ADs will want to spell out matters that were previously left unspecified.)

        If the league actually can’t be trusted to do that, it’s a whole new angle I hadn’t thought about, but it’s not a concern I have ever heard to any significant degree. For what it’s worth, some of my fellow Michigan fans think Delany deliberately wrote an anti-Michigan schedule. I am not buying it.

        • BruceMcF says:

          “If the league actually can’t be trusted to do that, it’s a whole new angle I hadn’t thought about, but it’s not a concern I have ever heard to any significant degree. For what it’s worth, some of my fellow Michigan fans think Delany deliberately wrote an anti-Michigan schedule. I am not buying it.”

          It doubt its an issue that the school up north is going to have to lose much sleep over ~ when the conference dropped down to eight conference games in the mid-80′s and started skipping the whole round robin, its not like the Buckeyes or the school up north had any substantial reason to complain about the scheduling in the late 80′s, and that is on top of that drop to eight being in their interest in the first place.

    • Brian says:

      Marc Shepherd,

      “Brian’s summary is in the zip code of what I was suggesting, but I would alter it to an extent.”

      That seems reasonable since it was your system.

      “Brian’s math assumed that, in my proposal, every team has four locked games.”

      I gave them all the same number for simplicity. Why list a bunch of options when once makes it clear? I realize you allowed/intended a varying number for each team. I chose 4 because several schools I listed had 4. Going smaller would have been an odd choice.

      “That, I believe, is more than necessary”

      And many of us have disagreed with you about the number.

      “It would be passing strange that as the league grows to 18 or 20, suddenly there is a need to protect more than you did historically.”

      Not to me. As half the league becomes newbies, it’s even more natural to want to preserve rivalries. Besides, I think you’ve been too binary in your thinking. You’ve said any rivalry that hasn’t always been preserved holds no value now. I’d say that previous lost rivalries were because the B10 valued other things more and because they still stayed frequent (as PSU was added). The B10 didn’t want to lose WI/IA, they just wanted balance a little more. Now they want to preserve rivalries more, so WI is going back west.

      Unneeded games – RU against UVA and UNC, PSU versus UVA, UNC and Duke

      Rutgers has no particular history against any of those teams except Penn State. As I noted upthread, Maryland had already made the decision to relinquish annual games against the rest of the ACC, so it would be a bit odd if the Terps now said, “We have to play them every year.””

      1. MD is the only other school in easy driving distance for RU, and proximity drives rivalries. As for Duke, many of their students come from NJ and they have a ton of alumni in NYC. The RU/Duke game seems fairly natural to me.

      2. You saying something doesn’t mean the world agrees. MD decided they needed more money slightly more than they needed to play those ACC teams. They didn’t suddenly decide those teams meant nothing to them. Everyone but you in the B10 thinks it is natural for MD to annually play some/all of their former ACC mates that join the B10. Some history is better than none. I promise the MD AD would ask for it to happen.

  55. Derek Johnson says:

    Very good breakdown of the split and who got what. It’s amazing how much simple economics drive College Sports.

  56. Richard says:

    I really wonder if those folks who want less protected games in order to play everyone else more have thought through the math.

    For instance, with 10 conference games in a 20 school league, protecting 3 games and rotating the rest means you face the non-protected schools 7/16th of the time. Protecting 2 games and rotating the rest means you face the non-protected schools 8/17th of the time. That’s a 3.3% increase in frequency. That’s 1 extra game vs. each non-protected school every 30 years, or one extra HaH series every 60 years. 1 extra game every 30 years against Rutgers, GTech, or some other B10 school that I have don’t consider different from any other isn’t worth killing off any half-way decent rivalry for, IMHO. Would it mean that some series that aren’t natural rivalries would be protected annually if there are 3 or 4 protected games for everyone? Sure, but what’s the harm in that? If I don’t consider 8 schools to be different from one another in terms of fan fervor, does it matter if I play 1 annually and the other 7 a little less rather than all 8 equally?

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      I was looking at a difference somewhat more dramatic than that. Let’s consider Florida State. Of the teams considered likely Big Ten switchers, FSU did not regularly play any of them until they joined the ACC in 1992. (I am excluding UF and Miami, neither of which is frequently mentioned as a likely Big Ten add.)

      Assume a 20-team Big Ten and 10 conference games per year. If you put FSU in a static five-team pod, they have 6 games available vs. the rest of the conference. It would take six years for every team not in FSU’s pod to play at least one home & home with them.

      If you protect Georgia Tech and no more,(*) they have 9 games available vs. the rest of the conference. It would take four years, rather than six, for every other B1G team to play a home & home with FSU.

      Whatever denominator you use, that’s much better than a 3.3% improvement, in terms of giving every team a recurring trip to Florida, and getting Florida State on every B1G team’s schedule, which I believe would be a high priority goal in the scenario where FSU joins the league.

      In one scenario suggested above (not by me), Purdue would share a pod with Maryland, Rutgers, Penn State, and Notre Dame, meaning that 30 percent of its annual conference schedule would consist of recurring games with teams it has no historical affinity with. I have to think that, given the choice, many Purdue fans would prefer to let those games float among the rest of the conference.

      Now, I understand that no system is perfect, but the imperfections usually come from not being able to satisfy every constraint, not from introducing new constraints (i.e., annual games vs. Maryland, Rutgers and Penn State) that no one asked for or wanted. Why do that, when you don’t ahve to?

      • Richard says:

        However, the odds that the B10 would have FSU have 1 permanent series while Iowa has 3 are essentially nil. The B10 has always had the same number of protected series for everyone, so the question is between 2 protected series (where a lot of meaningful rivalries would not be protected), 3 protected series (where almost all rivalries would be protected), or maybe 4 protected series (where any rivalry of any significance is protected).

        Oh, and I’m against pods. Just have protected series and rotate if the conference gets to 20.

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          … the odds that the B10 would have FSU have 1 permanent series while Iowa has 3 are essentially nil. The B10 has always had the same number of protected series for everyone…

          Once you get to a 20-team Big Ten, the league will obviously be doing many things it has never done before; the only question is which ones.

          There aren’t precisely three schools that make sense as FSU’s annual rivals. After you get past Georgia Tech (the closest geographically), there aren’t two schools that make sense, at the cost of seeing the rest of the league less often.

          Consider Northwestern: after Illinois, their next most frequently played rivalries are Wisconsin and Minnesota, games no one has proposed to lock. They’ve played the rest of the original B1G with fairly consistent frequency, so there just aren’t two particular games (after Illinois) that it makes particular sense to elevate to a privileged status above all the rest.

          • Blapples says:

            @Marc Shepherd

            I really think you’re underestimating the value of at least a basic level of consistency or familiarity. It sounds crazy but I think most people would prefer to know at least 30% of their team’s schedule off the top of their head.

            If FSU has one locked game a year… hell, why not just be Independent with a B1G scheduling agreement? You’re telling us that 3 games is too structured? You’d see every conference member within three years.

            We’re very close to agreeing on how to best navigate a 20 Team B1G schedule, but I just don’t see 3 games as being akin to a set of handcuffs. I think FSU would enjoy playing the 3 protected games that I gave them below. (GT, UNC, NEB)

            Even if you had varying numbers of protected games among the schools, I don’t think you would cycle FSU through the league noticeably faster.

            To top it off, scheduling would be far easier.

          • Richard says:

            “Once you get to a 20-team Big Ten, the league will obviously be doing many things it has never done before”

            Such as, for instance, petitioning the NCAA to allow each school to play an extra kickoff classic game every 4 years.

            Anyway, actually, I think you’re just displaying your ignorance of what other schools consider important. Northwestern fans definitely want to play Iowa far more than 50% of the time. They would be our second-most important series. We definitely don’t consider all games other than against Illinois to be the same. MSU’s AD considers a trip to Chicagoland every other year (that is, playing Northwestern annually) to be their second-highest priority.

            As for FSU, I fully expect the B10 to set up 2 annual series between them and 2 of the other 4 kings (probably UNL and PSU, though maybe UNL and Michigan if PSU-UNL and PSU-OSU are still protected as annual series) for TV purposes.

            Again, have you thought through the math? Sure 3% is less often (as is 7%), but what makes even less sense to me (as a Northwestern fan) than elevating some schools above others is sacrificing the Iowa series so that we can have an extra HAH with some random B10 school that we don’t care as much about every 30 or 60 years. To me, it _defnitely_ makes sense to elevate the Iowa game at the expense of an HaH with UMD or IU every 30 or 60 years. As a Michigan fan, are you willing to sacrifice the Jug game so that you can have an extra HaH with Duke, Rutgers, and GTech every 30 or 60 years? I know that Minnesota wouldn’t be willing.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            I think you’re just displaying your ignorance of what other schools consider important. Northwestern fans definitely want to play Iowa far more than 50% of the time.

            You kiddn’ me? Of course I know that. I’m just saying that — assuming the Big Ten gets to 20 members — which I neither favor nor am predicting — it is not realistically possible to lock Northwestern/Iowa. I haven’t seen any suggested structure that does so, unless it ruthlessly ignores many other equally important rivalries.

            That does lead some fans to suggest two divisions, comprising “Old Big Ten,” “New Big Ten.” If you want to believe they’d do that, go ahead and keep believing.

          • Richard says:

            “I’m just saying that — assuming the Big Ten gets to 20 members — which I neither favor nor am predicting — it is not realistically possible to lock Northwestern/Iowa.”

            Why not? 4 locked rivals in a 10-game schedule. No divisions. Play everyone else equally. It’s about as realistic as anything else out there.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            “I’m just saying that — assuming the Big Ten gets to 20 members — which I neither favor nor am predicting — it is not realistically possible to lock Northwestern/Iowa.”

            Why not? 4 locked rivals in a 10-game schedule. No divisions. Play everyone else equally. It’s about as realistic as anything else out there.

            Mathematically, it is possible. But Northwestern’s four most common Big Ten opponents are: Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Indiana. Iowa’s four most common opponents are Wisconsin, Minnesota, Purdue, and Indiana.

            We already know that if Iowa is asked which games it wants, the top three are going to be Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Nebraska. Assuming they lock four, would those two schools request each other as #4, and would the ADs agree to that? Quite a few teams would like a bi-annual game in Chicago; not just Iowa.

            More importantly, would they lock four? In the 11-game format (pre-Nebraska), the Big Ten protected two, not four, rivalries. Northwestern’s protected games were Illinois and Purdue. Would they go to four locked games, when two was considered sufficient before?

            We also know that most schools in the conference want to see the “kings” as much as possible. It’s beyond rational argument that UM-MSU and UM-OSU are going to be locked. If they go to four locked games, Minnesota will surely get one of the remaining two slots against Michigan. Which fourth school will “win the lottery,” and get Michigan at home every other year? Do you think the rest of the ADs will believe that is a good idea?

          • Brian says:

            Marc Shepherd,

            “We already know that if Iowa is asked which games it wants, the top three are going to be Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Nebraska. Assuming they lock four, would those two schools request each other as #4, and would the ADs agree to that? Quite a few teams would like a bi-annual game in Chicago; not just Iowa.”

            Let’s try it as a thought experiment with the 12 teams. These are my guesses at the top 4 choices for each school to play, roughly in order (last one is my least confident pick). If I struggle for 4, I’ll add teams that want to play them.

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

            The only one that really felt forced was PSU/IN to finish the set. Adding RU and MD changes things, obviously.

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

            I could also drop IN/IL instead of IA/NW to fill the last spots for RU and MD.

            Going to 20 makes more changes depending on the 20. UVA, UNC and Duke would all play each other. GT might play the NC schools while MD plays UVA. FSU would get GT and 3 others. ND should get in with PU, RU, MSU and MI.

            NE – IA, WI, MN, PSU
            WI – MN, IA, NE, MSU
            MN – WI, IA, MI, NE
            IA – MN, WI, NE, NW
            NW – IL, MSU, RU, IA
            IL – NW, OSU, PU, IN
            IN – PU, IL, OSU, FSU
            PU – IN, ND, IL, MD
            MI – OSU, MSU, MN, FSU
            MSU – MI, NW, WI, ND
            OSU – MI, IL, IN, PSU
            PSU – OSU, NE, RU, MD
            RU – PSU, MD, ND, Duke
            MD – PSU, RU, PU, ND
            UVA – UNC, MD, Duke, GT
            UNC – UVA, Duke, GT, FSU
            Duke – UNC, UVA, GT, RU
            GT – UNC, Duke, FSU, UVA
            FSU – GT, UNC, MI, IN
            ND – MSU, PU, MD, RU

            Not many feel forced here except IN/FSU and most requests are satisfied. I don’t see many conflicts of somebody having a clear preference that was denied. There is probably a better set, but this is a decent start.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            I don’t see many conflicts of somebody having a clear preference that was denied.

            I think you’ve covered all of the recurring and hotly desired rivalries, and most of the others make some sense: Rutgers-Duke is inspired.

            But if they finally manage to get Notre Dame into the conference after 20+ years of courtship, would they assign the Irish to Rutgers and Maryland every year? I’m having trouble imagining the conversation where the ADs would think that was the best idea.

            I think there might be some typos: you have Maryland on Virginia’s list, but not vice versa.

          • Brian says:

            Marc Shepherd,

            “I think you’ve covered all of the recurring and hotly desired rivalries, and most of the others make some sense: Rutgers-Duke is inspired.”

            As little as Duke cares about FB, I figured at least let them play near their fan base.

            “But if they finally manage to get Notre Dame into the conference after 20+ years of courtship, would they assign the Irish to Rutgers and Maryland every year?”

            I was thinking ND would want the east coast access so they play in NYC or DC every year.

            “I think there might be some typos: you have Maryland on Virginia’s list, but not vice versa.”

            Corrected version:

            NE – IA, WI, MN, PSU
            WI – MN, IA, NE, MSU
            MN – WI, IA, MI, NE
            IA – MN, WI, NE, NW
            NW – IL, MSU, PU, IA
            IL – NW, OSU, PU, IN
            IN – PU, IL, OSU, FSU
            PU – IN, ND, IL, NW
            MI – OSU, MSU, MN, FSU
            MSU – MI, NW, WI, ND
            OSU – MI, IL, IN, PSU
            PSU – OSU, NE, RU, MD
            RU – PSU, MD, ND, Duke
            MD – PSU, RU, UVA, ND
            UVA – UNC, MD, Duke, GT
            UNC – UVA, Duke, GT, FSU
            Duke – UNC, UVA, GT, RU
            GT – UNC, Duke, FSU, UVA
            FSU – GT, UNC, MI, IN
            ND – MSU, PU, MD, RU

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            I was thinking ND would want the east coast access so they play in NYC or DC every year.

            I certainly can see why the Irish would be fond of that. I’m just wondering if the rest of the league would be willing to placate them to that extent.

          • Brian says:

            Marc Shepherd,

            I was thinking ND would want the east coast access so they play in NYC or DC every year.

            “I certainly can see why the Irish would be fond of that. I’m just wondering if the rest of the league would be willing to placate them to that extent.”

            They are sending OSU and MI east to play MD and RU to build them up now. Why wouldn’t they be willing to send ND instead, especially if that was the deal required to get ND to join?

            The two strongest B10 rivalries with ND were kept and nobody but PSU really has any history with MD and RU. Besides, everyone acknowledges that ND has the largest eastern fan base. Everyone plays the other 15 teams 40% of the time, so they’ll all get their east coast access. Feel free to show me a better list that is reasonable and at least somewhat balanced.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            @Brian: They are sending OSU and MI east to play MD and RU to build them up now. Why wouldn’t they be willing to send ND instead, especially if that was the deal required to get ND to join?

            As I understand it, they are not merely trying to build up MD and RU, although that is part of it; they are also trying to give OSU and UM access to a region where they have a lot of fans (compared to the rest of the Big Ten). Beyond that, an east-west split also allows the western teams to play each other every year, which they want. So the same decision pleases many people at once.

            Maryland and Rutgers are “projects”; Notre Dame is a king. I imagine the whole league would want them on their schedule. Beyond that, if the word got out that the league gave the Irish any scheduling favors, the fan reaction would be…unprintable.

            And that’s even assuming the Irish would demand that. In a Big Ten that ND would feel compelled to join, you’ve probably got Georgia Tech, Penn State, Florida State, and North Carolina too—all teams the Irish have some history with. They probably could have had Maryland and Rutgers on their schedule almost anytime they wanted, but rarely scheduled them.

            Feel free to show me a better list that is reasonable and at least somewhat balanced.

            Given the premise of locking four games per team, I think you’ve done an excellent job. If I could improve it, it wouldn’t be by much. You admitted yourself that, in some cases, the fourth team is something of a coin flip. I don’t disagree with that.

          • Brian says:

            Marc Shepherd,

            “As I understand it, they are not merely trying to build up MD and RU, although that is part of it; they are also trying to give OSU and UM access to a region where they have a lot of fans (compared to the rest of the Big Ten).”

            They don’t want to give OSU and MI access to fans for their own good, but to help the BTN.

            “Beyond that, an east-west split also allows the western teams to play each other every year, which they want. So the same decision pleases many people at once.”

            And letting ND play MD and RU wouldn’t?

            “Maryland and Rutgers are “projects”; Notre Dame is a king. I imagine the whole league would want them on their schedule.”

            Who is them? Plenty of people don’t want RU or MD on their schedule. As for ND, everyone still would get them at least 40% of the time. The same is true of FSU, OSU, MI, PSU and NE (whichever they aren’t locked with. That’s 2.4 kings for everyone every year before considering the locked games with kings.

            “Beyond that, if the word got out that the league gave the Irish any scheduling favors, the fan reaction would be…unprintable.”

            Not when everyone else got favors. It’s only if they got special treatment that people would complain.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            “So the same decision pleases many people at once.”

            And letting ND play MD and RU wouldn’t?

            We already know that teams want to play the kings as much as they can. If Delany actually manages to hook ND, the next question will be, “How can we get them on the whole league’s schedule, as often as the math allows?” Locking them with two of the league’s newest members probably wouldn’t be the first idea that comes to mind.

            Anyhow, your premise was that Notre Dame might request this, which would be odd, in that the Irish have so seldom scheduled those two schools.

            Notre Dame vs. practically anybody is a top media draw, so the league would probably not want to concentrate their access to two teams. If the Irish ever join (about as likely as me being the next pope), I’d be surprised if that’s the solution they arrive at.

          • Brian says:

            Marc Shepherd,

            “We already know that teams want to play the kings as much as they can.”

            Many teams want to play certain kings more than others. And beyond a minimum number of games, they don’t want too many kings. 6 kings in 20 teams means at least 2.4 king games for everyone each year. Other than rivalries, I’m not sure how many more kings games most teams want. Only NW and UVA didn’t have a locked king in my list, meaning all the other non-kings play at least 3 king games while they get 2.4. The kings vary from 2 to 3.2 king games per year.

            “If Delany actually manages to hook ND, the next question will be, “How can we get them on the whole league’s schedule, as often as the math allows?” Locking them with two of the league’s newest members probably wouldn’t be the first idea that comes to mind.”

            Everyone knows ND would get at least 2 locked games (PU and MSU). Who else would they want? There are lots of options. RU, MD, GT, FSU and MI all come to mind. The first 4 offer unique east coast access, but maybe they feel MD is redundant with Navy and want GT instead. That’s doable.

            “Anyhow, your premise was that Notre Dame might request this, which would be odd, in that the Irish have so seldom scheduled those two schools.”

            I had to make choices to fill out the grid. It’s not hard to swap it to RU and GT or some other pair.

            “Notre Dame vs. practically anybody is a top media draw, so the league would probably not want to concentrate their access to two teams.”

            Right. Look how the B10 has forced PU and MSU to stop playing ND every year so other teams can get a shot now. As you say, it doesn’t matter who ND plays so why not let them play a few of their favorites annually? The other schools can play the other kings.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            Corrected version:…of four locked rivalries per school.

            Brian has now arrived at something very close to the idea I am proposing — namely, that it is better to give schools the rivalries they actually want.

            The only difference is, he tops up each school’s list with four rivals, regardless of whether four is the number that’s wanted. For Minnesota, four is perfect: they get exactly the schools they prefer (Wisc, Neb, Iowa, Mich). It’s also perfect for Purdue: they get Note Dame, Indiana, Northwestern, and Illinois.

            For some, four is too few. The ACC refugees would all (probably) like to keep playing each other frequently. But if you have six schools (GT, FSU, MD, VA, NC, Duke), each can lock up to three others, not five. (Some, in fact, don’t even get three in Brian’s scheme.)

            Notre Dame has 34 or more meetings with Purdue, MSU, NW, GT, and Mich. Instead, they get just two of these, with the other two slots going to schools (Maryland, Rutgers) whom they’ve seldom played.

            For some, four is too many. Indiana and Florida State are the obvious ones, with each given a rivalry with the other, for no other reason than to give each school an equal number. But the proposed Michigan-FSU locked rivalry, though no doubt a good one, is just one of many plausible fourth games you could have given to either school.

            It is a short step from there, to locking only what is necessary; and see what flexibility this gives the league. There is no need for the unlocked games to be played with equal frequency. You can increase the frequency of classic B1G vs B1G games, classic ACC vs ACC games, the frequency of king vs king games, or whatever you want. Notre Dame can be rotated through the league with equal frequency, or it can see the kings more frequently, or it can see its historical rivals more frequently. The options are numerous.

            In contrast, where you lock pods or lock a specific number of rivals, you wind up with contrived ahistorical rivalries, with others relegated to second-tier status, because the putative 16, 18, or 20-team league just doesn’t break down into these even-numbered groupings. It does for some teams, but it doesn’t work for all of them.

          • Brian says:

            Marc Shepherd,

            “Brian has now arrived at something very close to the idea I am proposing”

            Maybe I did, but my goal was to find four locked games per team. That was the topic you and Richard were debating, including whether there would be fighting over certain schools and such. I just wanted to provide an actual list to look at to see how it might work.

            It’s your job to show a list for your plan. You did it before but then disavowed it because we all jumped on you about it being too minimalist. Until you do, you’re just wasting space with this topic. You keep talking about it but refuse to produce this plan so we can critique it. How can we evaluate how much it would be better if you refuse to show it?

            “For some, four is too few. The ACC refugees would all (probably) like to keep playing each other frequently.”

            Hold it now. What happened to the argument about how loose the ties of FSU and GT to the rest of the ACC are? What happened to FSU already not liking their ACC schedule? Suddenly they want it back rather than MI every year?

            “Notre Dame has 34 or more meetings with Purdue, MSU, NW, GT, and Mich. Instead, they get just two of these, with the other two slots going to schools (Maryland, Rutgers) whom they’ve seldom played.”

            Which I explained, and I continue to wait for you to propose a better plan. But that’s not what you do, is it? You argue against the specifics of everyone else’s plans but keep yours nebulous so nobody can critique it.

            “It is a short step from there, to locking only what is necessary; and see what flexibility this gives the league.”

            If it’s such a short step, why do you keep refusing to take it? You’ve been rambling on about your great plan for days/weeks. How come it never shows up on here? Or is it all talk and you don’t actually have a plan?

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            @Brian:

            It’s your job to show a list for your plan. You did it before but then disavowed it because we all jumped on you about it being too minimalist.

            I have no preference for the number of rivalries to lock. What I have seen, is that in every plan based on static pods or a fixed number of locked games, inevitably some are “forced,” “made-up,” “fictitious,” or whatever word you would like to use. In some schemes, desired rivalries get kicked to the curb, because the pod isn’t big enough.

            So I am wondering, why be in thrall to that? Lock only the ones you really want—whatever they may be. At the point where you’re saying, “I need a fourth locked rival for Indiana: stop.” If it’s not immediately apparent, then it’s not needed (as an annual game).

            “For some, four is too few. The ACC refugees would all (probably) like to keep playing each other frequently.”

            Hold it now. What happened to the argument about how loose the ties of FSU and GT to the rest of the ACC are? What happened to FSU already not liking their ACC schedule? Suddenly they want it back rather than MI every year?

            This was in comparison to the plan you had suggested, where FSU would play Indiana more often than it would play Maryland. My actual view is that if FSU joins the league, the ADs would probably want to spread out access to the Florida market, rather than concentrating it with Michigan and Indiana. Once you erase those two locked games, an extra 20 percent of FSU’s conference slate is freed up. There’s a wide variety of ways those games could be used.

            All I was saying was that if you DO lock four FSU games, Indiana and Michigan wouldn’t be two of them. But I don’t think they ought to lock four.

            “Notre Dame has 34 or more meetings with Purdue, MSU, NW, GT, and Mich. Instead, they get just two of these, with the other two slots going to schools (Maryland, Rutgers) whom they’ve seldom played.”

            Which I explained, and I continue to wait for you to propose a better plan.

            Which I did: lock Purdue, and that’s it. From there, the league has numerous options better than yours, for how to schedule Notre Dame’s 10 conference games: rotate the remaining Irish games with equal frequency among members of the league; or give them a predominant rotation among teams they’ve historically played, with a less frequent rotation among the others. Alternatively, lock both Purdue and Michigan State, and do the same.

            Your explanation wasn’t crazy, but it was pretty close: no one would come up with Maryland and Rutgers, without the artificial constraint of locking four games per school. Notre Dame as an independent, with its broad scheduling discretion, never did that.

            There really is no reason (mathematically or historically) to lock the same number of games per team, nor to put them into equal-size pods. I assume you understand, combinatorially, that when you remove needless constraints from a system, your flexibility increases. “Florida State has to play Indiana every year” is a needless constraint. So is “Purdue has to play Maryland every year.” So is Georgia Tech/Michigan State.

            Once you remove those constraints, the league can do whatever it wants with the extra games. If you have a scheduling idea that works with contrived/fictitious annual games, it also works if you remove those games, and instead use the new found flexibility to satisfy other needs, whether it be extra king vs king games, extra “old Big Ten” games, or whatever you would like.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            where FSU would play Indiana more often than it would play Maryland

            Typo: I meant Virginia.

          • Brian says:

            Marc Shepherd,

            “I have no preference for the number of rivalries to lock.”

            Bull. You complain about everyone else keeping too many. That means one of two things:

            1. You do have a preference, so you’re lying now.
            2. You’re complaining for absolutely no reason and with no basis, so you’re being a jerk.

            “What I have seen, is that in every plan based on static pods or a fixed number of locked games, inevitably some are “forced,” “made-up,” “fictitious,” or whatever word you would like to use.”

            Frankly, I don’t want to hear it until you man up and post your list of real rivalries. I’m sick of you badmouthing everyone else’s plans while providing no substance of your own. Put up or shut up.

            Until then, you have nothing of value to say on this subject so I’m done.

      • Brian says:

        Marc Shepherd,

        “I was looking at a difference somewhat more dramatic than that. Let’s consider Florida State. Of the teams considered likely Big Ten switchers, FSU did not regularly play any of them until they joined the ACC in 1992. (I am excluding UF and Miami, neither of which is frequently mentioned as a likely Big Ten add.)

        Assume a 20-team Big Ten and 10 conference games per year. If you put FSU in a static five-team pod, they have 6 games available vs. the rest of the conference. It would take six years for every team not in FSU’s pod to play at least one home & home with them.

        If you protect Georgia Tech and no more,(*) they have 9 games available vs. the rest of the conference. It would take four years, rather than six, for every other B1G team to play a home & home with FSU.”

        It seems wise to you to make policy based on the history of FSU (newish to the ACC) and RU (no history with anyone but PSU) as opposed to all the other teams that do have some strong ties? What if FSU isn’t coming? That leaves RU as the only team with no history and GT as an outlier.

        I understand your concept and the basic idea you’re trying to promote, but your arguments make no sense. Acting like most B10 teams only need to preserve 1 game is silly and undermines your point. As Richard points out, the B10 has always chosen to lock the same number of games for each team. Many of us think that might change for the new 14 arrangement, but I don’t see why it would for your plan for 18+ (much more similar to the old 11 system). Once you get to 3 or 4 games locked, how much does your plan help?

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          @Brian: What if FSU isn’t coming?

          I don’t believe they are. That just happened to be one of the scenarios under discussion. I was just giving an example, not a schedule that required FSU’s presence.

          Acting like most B10 teams only need to preserve 1 game is silly and undermines your point.

          I don’t believe that at all. Let me say it again: I am not suggesting to lock 1 game per team. Rather, I recommending against locking annual rivalries that have no history, like Purdue/Maryland.

          As Richard points out, the B10 has always chosen to lock the same number of games for each team.

          This is quite true, but we could make a long list of things the Big Ten had always/never done, until it stopped/started doing them. The merits (or demerits) practically always need to be something better than, “We’ve always/never done that.”

          Even in the 14-team Big Ten, many of us have debated whether, if Michigan State goes West, every team will have a locked game, or only Michigan/MSU. I don’t think it’s a done deal either way, is it?

          • Brian says:

            Marc Shepherd,

            What if FSU isn’t coming?

            “I don’t believe they are. That just happened to be one of the scenarios under discussion. I was just giving an example, not a schedule that required FSU’s presence.”

            My point is, FSU is one of the very few teams without multiple strong ties to other teams. Without them, your list of counterexamples gets really small. If 17 of 18 teams really want to preserve 2 or 3 or 4 games, then not doing it because 1 team only cares about 1 game is silly.

            Acting like most B10 teams only need to preserve 1 game is silly and undermines your point.

            “I don’t believe that at all. Let me say it again: I am not suggesting to lock 1 game per team. Rather, I recommending against locking annual rivalries that have no history, like Purdue/Maryland.”

            That’s exactly what you suggested when you made a list with mostly 1 game per team.

            “The merits (or demerits) practically always need to be something better than, “We’ve always/never done that.””

            Except when discussing how to decide a conference champion apparently. Then precedent is all that matters.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            FSU is one of the very few teams without multiple strong ties to other teams. Without them, your list of counterexamples gets really small. If 17 of 18 teams really want to preserve 2 or 3 or 4 games, then not doing it because 1 team only cares about 1 game is silly.

            OK, I’ll give another example. Let’s take Georgia Tech: their history with the ACC teams is only a bit longer than FSU’s. GT has no historical ties to any B1G team. I think the league might prefer to give all the Big Ten teams comparable access to the Georgia recruiting market.

            You could put GT into a locked pod, and a couple of Big Ten teams would get disproportionate access to the Georgia market, for no good reason. Or you could let GT “float”, so that all the teams visit GT (and vice versa) with equal frequency.

            Am I out of my mind, to suggest that the latter might be more in line with the league’s objectives? (This assumes the premise of adding GT, which I am not that excited about.)

            In my scenario, I suggested locking GT and FSU, though it is worth noting that even the ACC doesn’t do this today, and neither of their locked ACC rivals (Wake Forest, Clemson) is considered a B1G candidate.

            If GT joins with UVA, they might consider locking them and no other. I have no idea how passionately Yellowjacket and Cavalier fans feel about that game; I doubt that many of them drive to the other stadium with any regularity.

            “I am not suggesting to lock 1 game per team. Rather, I recommending against locking annual rivalries that have no history, like Purdue/Maryland.”

            That’s exactly what you suggested when you made a list with mostly 1 game per team.

            I was merely illustrating a possible schedule where the number of protected games is not identical for every team. That was all I was trying to show. The concept still works if you protect more; it just takes longer for every B1G team to play at every other B1G team.

            Having said that, in the scenario that I gave, almost every rivalry that I left unprotected has been unprotected at some point in the recent past, so it wasn’t something crazy, such as unlocking Minnesota-Wisconsin.

            “The merits (or demerits) practically always need to be something better than, “We’ve always/never done that.””

            Except when discussing how to decide a conference champion apparently. Then precedent is all that matters.

            It applies there too.

          • Brian says:

            Marc Shepherd,

            “OK, I’ll give another example. Let’s take Georgia Tech: their history with the ACC teams is only a bit longer than FSU’s. GT has no historical ties to any B1G team. I think the league might prefer to give all the Big Ten teams comparable access to the Georgia recruiting market.”

            1. Duke is GT’s 3rd most played opponent at 80 games (trails UGA and Auburn).
            2. UNC is #6 at 48 games, 3rd among ACC teams (Clemson is 2nd)
            3. UVA is a small football rivalry and their 11th most frequent opponent at 35 games, 4th among ACC foes.
            4. Those are also closest to their fan base, so better road games for them.
            5. FSU also has meaning for them.

            “You could put GT into a locked pod, and a couple of Big Ten teams would get disproportionate access to the Georgia market, for no good reason. Or you could let GT “float”, so that all the teams visit GT (and vice versa) with equal frequency.

            Am I out of my mind, to suggest that the latter might be more in line with the league’s objectives? (This assumes the premise of adding GT, which I am not that excited about.)”

            Yes, you’re out of your mind. It makes more sense to keep GT with similar teams if you can. Again, this is you saying well FSU and GT are outliers so everyone else should sacrifice a ton of rivalries.

            In an 18 team scenario using 6/3/3/6 I have moved them to a group of 3, but that’s only locking 2 or 3 games. They still see everyone else 50% of the time except teams in the other pod of 3. Is it ideal? No. But some eggs are always broken in the making of an omelette.

            “I was merely illustrating a possible schedule where the number of protected games is not identical for every team. That was all I was trying to show. The concept still works if you protect more; it just takes longer for every B1G team to play at every other B1G team.”

            That may have been your purpose but that isn’t the message you conveyed. Everyone else took that as you saying the other games didn’t need to protection. Perhaps because you also said this:

            “Having said that, in the scenario that I gave, almost every rivalry that I left unprotected has been unprotected at some point in the recent past, so it wasn’t something crazy, such as unlocking Minnesota-Wisconsin.”

            Yes, it was crazy. That’s what we all keep telling you. Letting a game drop from annual to 75% because the league grew to 11 doesn’t mean everyone is also fine with that game dropping to 40%. Letting a game drop to 40% due to the division split doesn’t mean people didn’t want the game to be more frequent. People wanted to keep WI/IA, but that would mean them each playing their unlocked foes only 25% of the time. Balance forced their split and the 8 game schedule meant they couldn’t have 2 locked games. WI/MN is the more valuable rivalry, so it was preserved instead. But you take those games and say they should be treated just the same as any random B10 game and the rest of us know that’s silly. Teams value every other schools differently. few teams want to play Duke more at the expense of any B10 foe.

            No divisions:

            20 teams, 9 games:
            Lock 1 – 1 x 100%, 18 x 44%
            Lock 2 – 2 x 100%, 17 x 41%
            Lock 3 – 3 x 100%, 16 x 38%
            Lock 4 – 4 x 100%, 15 x 33%

            Going from 1 to 2 is a difference of roughly 1 game every 30 years. From 2 to 3 is 1 game every 27 years and 3 to 4 is 1 game every 24 years. From 1 to 4 the difference is 1 game every 9 years. In simple terms, every rivalry should be locked because the cost is so low.

            For 10 games, the numbers are:
            1 – 18 x 50%
            2 – 17 x 47%
            3 – 16 x 44%
            4 – 15 x 40%

            1 to 2 – 1 every 34 years
            2 to 3 – 1 every 30 years
            3 to 4 – 1 every 27 years
            1 to 4 – 1 every 10 years

            Again, locking is good.

            Pods:
            20 teams, 9 games, pods of 5, no locked games obviously
            4 x 100%, 15 x 33% (same as above)

            20 teams, 10 games, pods of 5
            Lock 0 – 4 x 100%, 15 x 40% (same as above)
            Lock 1 – 5 x 100%, 14 x 36%

            20 teams, 10 games, pods of 5, 2 anchor pods
            Lock 0 – 4 x 100%, 10 x 50%, 5 x 20%

            Just for argument’s sake, pods of 6 and 4
            Group of 6 – 5 x 100%, 8 x 50%, 6 x 17%
            Group of 4 (1 locked game) – 4 x 100%, 12 x 50%, 3 x 0%*
            Group of 4 (no locked games) – 3 x 100%, 12 x 50%, 4 x 25%

            * – this is why the smaller groups need to rotate or not have locked games

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            It makes more sense to keep GT with similar teams if you can. Again, this is you saying well FSU and GT are outliers so everyone else should sacrifice a ton of rivalries.

            I realize it’s easy to lose track…but I have seen quite a few pod proposals on this board where GT is not put in a pod with Duke, UNC, and UVA, but rather, where they get made-up locked rivalries with the likes of Michigan State. I totally agree with you that if you put them with logical partners, those are the logical ones. I could not agree more.

            That may have been your purpose but that isn’t the message you conveyed. Everyone else took that as you saying the other games didn’t need to protection.

            Well….now that I have clarified that that was not the idea, we can stop arguing things that no one is actually disagreeing with.

          • Brian says:

            Marc Shepherd,

            “I realize it’s easy to lose track…but I have seen quite a few pod proposals on this board where GT is not put in a pod with Duke, UNC, and UVA, but rather, where they get made-up locked rivalries with the likes of Michigan State.”

            Yes. My pod plan for 18 teams in which they have 3 whole games locked. Of course, that plan depends on the last 4 being UVA, UNC, Duke and GT. If we add FSU and/or ND instead, things change.

            I’d prefer to keep GT in an ACC pod in my plan, but it doesn’t work as well that way. Instead, I force GT to play 3 of OSU, MI, PSU, MSU , PU and IN. Oh, the horror. Except for UNC and Duke, I still gave them the closest teams for the most part. I also gave them 3 kings fairly often. I’d rather do that to one school than mess up several real rivalries like most other pod plans do. I’m not convinced GT would complain much either, and I have some idea how they think.

            From an earlier comment of mine:
            Also, consider travel distances:
            UNC & Duke – 380 miles
            IN – 525
            UVA – 540
            OSU – 567
            PU – 600

            IL – 621
            UMD – 651
            MI – 711
            NW – 734
            PSU – 757
            MSU – 779

            IA – 815
            RU – 841
            WI – 867
            NE – 999

  57. Blapples says:

    I thought the idea of scrapping divisions, pods, etc. in favor of 3 protected games sounded appealing. Here is how I would set it up in a 20 Team B1G.

    I really think all but 2 or 3 games would be looked forward to by both teams.

    This is assuming the B1G adds: Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Virginia, Notre Dame, and UConn. If you don’t like UConn as the 20th, sub in Syracuse, BC, or whoever you prefer.

    Illinois – NW, OSU, GT (3 good matchups. Illinois is lobbying for GT in expansion)
    Indiana – PUR, NW, RUT (2 out of 3 good matchups. That’s fair for doormat Indiana)
    Iowa – NEB, WISC, MINN (3 out of 3. Iowa’s dream setup.)
    Maryland – PSU, UVA, UNC (3 out of 3. PSU and two ACC friends)
    Michigan – OSU, MSU, MINN (3 out of 3. Little Brown Jug took precedence over ND)
    Michigan State – MICH, ND, NW (3 out of 3. Sparty’s dream setup.)
    Minnesota – WISC, MICH, IA (3 out of 3. Minny’s dream setup.)
    Nebraska – IA, WISC, FSU (3 out of 3. Only complaint is it’s potentially pretty tough.)
    Northwestern – ILL, MSU, IND (3 out of 3. Someone has to take Indiana.)
    Ohio State – MICH, PSU, ILL (3 out of 3. Great setup.)
    Penn State – MARY, OSU, UCONN (2 out of 3. However, sub in Syracuse and this looks better)
    Purdue – IND, ND, GT (3 out of 3. Purdue, like Illinois is lobbying for GT)
    Rutgers – UCONN, Notre Dame, Indiana (2 out of 3. Best Rutgers could hope for)
    Wisconsin – MINN, NEB, IA (3 out of 3. Perfect setup.)

    Florida State – GT, UNC, NEB (3 out of 3. Two ACC foes and national power Nebraska)
    Georgia Tech – FSU, ILL, PUR (2 out of 3. GT gets old rival, but would’ve liked another southern game.)
    North Carolina – UVA, FSU, MARY (3 out of 3. Three old ACC foes.)
    Virginia – UNC, MARY, UCONN (2 out of 3. Two ACC foes and and east coast UConn or Syracuse.)
    Notre Dame – PUR, MSU, RUT (2 out of 3. However, Rutgers gets them in NYC every other year.)
    UConn/Syracuse – RUT, PSU, UVA (2 out of 3. Those could blossom over the years.)

    The only unfavorable game that I see from both sides would be Indiana vs. Rutgers, and maybe the UVA vs. UConn/Syracuse game.

    What original B1G rivalries were not protected? Purdue/Illinois (Purdue Cannon), Michigan State/Indiana (Old Brass Spittoon).

    • Brian says:

      Blapples,

      “I thought the idea of scrapping divisions, pods, etc. in favor of 3 protected games sounded appealing.”

      It does to most people, I think, but it’s against the rules for now. After stating that, there isn’t much to discuss. Pods offer more to discuss as you can use different sized pods and put different teams in them and rotate them in different ways. Also, pods are currently within the rules.

      • hskrfb fan says:

        IF the B1G stays at 14 teams for awhile (2014-17), how about an East division (5 fixed members) & a West division (5 fixed members), & 4 floaters:

        Example:

        West – NE, IA, MN, WI, NW
        East – Mich, OSU, PSU, Rutgers, Maryland
        Floaters – IL, PU, MSU, IU

        This set up makes since geographically & it could be used to schedule most all of the necessary rivalry games. Being a floater team would be advantageous. The floaters would play 2 years in one division & then 2 years in the other division. They would get to play all other B1G teams home & home over a 4 year period, while still giving flexibility to protect their rivalry games in the years they are not in their rivals division.

        The only problem, what are the odds that the B1G stays at 14 teams until 2017?

        • Brian says:

          hskrfb fan,

          “IF the B1G stays at 14 teams for awhile (2014-17), how about an East division (5 fixed members) & a West division (5 fixed members), & 4 floaters:

          Example:

          West – NE, IA, MN, WI, NW
          East – Mich, OSU, PSU, Rutgers, Maryland
          Floaters – IL, PU, MSU, IU”

          The concept works. The issue would be having to lock a bunch of games, obviously. Also, I’m not sure groups of 5 are ideal. And really, does this improve much over fixed divisions?

          These are rough numbers (the locked rivalries change the numbers, but you get the picture).

          Group of 5 teams:
          MI, NW – 5 x 100%, 3 x 75%, 5 x 33%
          Others – 4 x 100%, 4 x 75%, 5 x 40%

          MSU, IL – 1 x 100%, 9 x 67%, 4 x 50%
          Others – 8 x 75%, 2 x 67%, 3 x 50%

          Divisions (assuming MSU in west):
          MSU, MI – 7 x 100%, 6 x 33%
          Others – 6 x 100%, 5 x 47%, 2 x 33%

          Is that better? If so, is it enough better to have to deal with floaters?

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        ….it’s against the rules for now. After stating that, there isn’t much to discuss.

        The Big Ten could get that rule changed without breaking a sweat. The only question is which member of the Corleone family they send to Indianapolis to get it done.

        Mathematically, you can also come pretty darned close to @Blapples’ proposal by creating “nonce” divisions every year, and then breaking them up the next year when the schedule rotates.

        Indeed, that would be a pretty good way of getting the rule changed, assuming they don’t just change it immediately. Once it became clear that the division requirement was really just a formalism with no actual structure, it wouldn’t last much longer.

        [Note: I am describing what the B1G could easily get done, if it wanted. It's not a prediction of what they will do, nor is it my own preference.]

        • ccrider55 says:

          “The Big Ten could get that rule changed without breaking a sweat.”

          The B1G, the PAC, and others have asked to have the rule changed in the recent past. No dice. Perhaps if the ginormous conference comes to pass, perhaps there would be consideration given, but its hardly an even net at best. Certainly not a “no sweat” proposition.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            Not disagreeing, but when did the B1G do that?

          • ccrider55 says:

            I’m not precisely sure. There wasn’t/isn’t an announcement every time a conference or school asks for some kind of exception or variance to a particular rule. It was stated several times (by conference reps, IIRC) during the PAC expansion, and the resultant division makeup “discussion”, that several potential proposals would be explored but that the B10 and others had been turned down (or perhaps informed that asking would be futil) over similar/same requests.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            I don’t honestly recall any serious attempt by the B1G or the PAC to get the rule altered. To the best of my recollection, the B1G almost immediately (upon adding Nebraska) started discussing what the divisions would be. I don’t remember any other option getting much airtime.

            Here is one way it could go down:

            We already know that the Big XII would like to see the rule altered. You’re saying the PAC did too, and we’re assuming that the B1G would as well. It would take Mike Slive about 15 minutes to realize that he might want to benefit from it at some point, so he would be on board.

            Now, the current structure of the NCAA is that about 60-80 schools bring in most of the revenue, but several hundred schools’ approval is required to change anything. The 60-80 are already known to be unhappy with this, and have dropped hints about breaking away. OSU’s Gordon Gee has said so explicitly.

            This isn’t like the “Total Cost of Attendance” rule, which Indiana State vetoed. Had it passed, every FBS school would have had to increase their expenses, or would have risked falling even farther behind. Altering the scheduling rules around a game that most of the major conferences already play anyway isn’t going to hurt Indiana State.

            So the Indiana States [assuming for argument's sake that they like the current rule as is] are going to say: “Do we really want to stand in the way of the Big Ten, Pac-12, Big XII, and SEC, when we gain nothing by obstructing them, lose nothing if the new rule passes, and our objection just gives those conferences another reason for breaking away?”

            I don’t think it’s a close call.

          • ccrider55 says:

            It wasn’t really an attempt to change because the exploration of the likelihood of success suggested it would be futil and unsuccessful. This is why I’d raise the possibility of success above now contengient upon conference exceeding 16. At that size there may be compelling legitimate competitive arguments to be made that the current rules are inadequate for obese conferences.

        • Brian says:

          Marc Shepherd,

          “The Big Ten could get that rule changed without breaking a sweat.”

          I’ll just say, “What ccrider55 said.”

          “Mathematically, you can also come pretty darned close to @Blapples’ proposal by creating “nonce” divisions every year, and then breaking them up the next year when the schedule rotates.

          Indeed, that would be a pretty good way of getting the rule changed, assuming they don’t just change it immediately. Once it became clear that the division requirement was really just a formalism with no actual structure, it wouldn’t last much longer.”

          I’m disagree that confusing all your fans and getting mocked by the media is “a pretty good way of getting the rule changed.”

          • ccrider55 says:

            New division each year wouldn’t be just random, and I don’t think it would need to be. You’d still be scheduling to meet the full RR in each new division each year. To me the rule still serves its purpose and would stand. They didn’t create a rule precluding reshapeing divisions yearly when the 13th as a CCG rules.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            @ccrider: Yes, exactly. That is what I was trying to suggest.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Then no rule change is required, just a willingness to create/schedule divisions yearly that conform to the rule.

  58. Andy says:

    It’s funny how so many of you have latched onto this whole idea of a Big 20. Personally, I think the idea of the B1G going over 16 is 1) a very bad idea, and 2) not all that likely.

    • zeek says:

      At this point, neither 16 nor 18 is likely, but I would put higher odds on 18 than on 16. It would seem easier to sell a package deal to UVa/UNC/Duke/Ga Tech than to try to just take 2 if the ACC does splinter.

      • Andy says:

        There’s a chance of that. There’s also a chance that the SEC grabs up UNC plus one more. And there’s a chance UNC wants no part of this and the B1G doesn’t get them either.

        But whatever happens, the B1G will regret going past 16 if they do. 18 or 20 schools is no longer a conference. It’s something else. The “Big Ten” as we knew it would be dead and replaced by this new thing that nobody understands.

      • zeek says:

        My best guess:

        70% chance that the Big Ten stays at 14 beyond 2016
        20% chance that the Big Ten goes to 18 with UNC/UVa/Georgia Tech/Duke
        9% chance that the Big Ten goes to 16 with UVa/Georgia Tech
        1% chance that the Big Ten goes to 20 with non-AAU’s included

        The reason why the 70% is so high is that the ACC may end up being stable because FSU may balk at going to the Big 12 (which has no identifiable consensus on expansion) and may not have other offers. If that’s the case, then UNC/UVa/Duke/Georgia Tech have no reason to leave, and Va Tech/Clemson also have no reason to leave.

        I think it’s at least twice as likely that the Big Ten moves to 18 than 16; the opportunity to offer those 4 similar schools (academically/athletically/etc.) seems to be more favorable than just offering UVa/Georgia Tech. An 18 team Big Ten has a legitimate East Coast wing.

        I don’t think 20 has much of a shot; that means involving non-AAU’s and I think Michigan and Wisconsin will balk given how much authority they have in research circles.

        As far as the JHU situation:
        30% chance that JHU joins
        70% chance that JHU doesn’t (I think women’s lacrosse is the deal-breaker, they pulled out of ALC to get away from the Big Ten and SEC money spending squads and have noted the difficulty in getting at-large bids while in the ALC; joining the Big Ten with Maryland would make it worse).

        • danallen2 says:

          Michigan and Wisconsin didn’t balk at adding Nebraska. So we know they don’t mind a non-AAU if the football and brand is good. Remember, Michigan was the head of the AAU committee that tossed Nebraska. Prior to Nebraska becoming a B1G candidate, that committee convened and didn’t have the votes to oust them. So Michigan, chairing the committee, stalled the vote and waited until the next session a year later when that committee was reconstituted with members favoring Nebraska’s ouster. The whole thing was engineered. And when the former Pres. of Wisconsin (now at Amherst College) was interviewed about Nebraska, she touted their academics but then stated that Nebraska’s academic status was not part of the discussion for entry to the B1G. This information was all discovered in FOI request filed by a Nebraska newspaper, which revealed the President of Nebraska’s emails with the Presidents of Penn State (Graham Spanier, former Pres. at Nebraska) and Northwestern, who were giving Nebraska the ugly blow-by-blow behind the scenes.

          • BruceMcF says:

            That’s reading it as if the balking of Big Ten Presidents at adding a non-AAU school reflects strongly held personal convictions. If it is rather a political calculation by successful academic politicians, the issue with UNL would not have been whether it was heading out the door in fact, but how many potential opponents in the various university communities were aware that UNL was heading out the door.

            “So Michigan, chairing the committee, stalled the vote and waited until the next session a year later when that committee was reconstituted with members favoring Nebraska’s ouster.”

            That sounds to me like the Michigan President wanted the add to go through, and was delaying the ouster from the AAU until it could no longer threaten to derail the move.

          • vp19 says:

            Nebraska at least is its state’s flagship and has many of the characteristics of many Big Ten institutions (e.g., land-grant). Florida State is the #2 public university in its state, and lacks the academic heft of Georgia Tech, perceived as the #2 university in Georgia (but with an AAU status the #1 lacks).

          • vp19 says:

            I sense 18 members is seen as the maximum for the Big Ten. You can play a 9- or 10-game football schedule in a number of ways, as we’ve argued, and it also allows you to play an 18-game schedule in men’s and women’s basketball, enabling one home-and-home and 16 single games. I doubt there’s really much enthusiasm for a 20-game conference basketball schedule, which you would need in a 20-member league in order to play everyone (the Northeast Conference did a 20-game sked some years ago, but only because its members’ gyms are so small it’s next to impossible to schedule out-of-conference home games against Div I teams). With hoops of both genders, wrestling and ice hockey, the Big Ten doesn’t need that much more inventory come winter.

            Moreover, I can’t see the SEC enlarging beyond 16 because football scheduling would become way too difficult given what its members would demand.

        • dtwphx says:

          I think if JHU joins, the difficult thing will be determining a “fair” monetary share for JHU’s associate lacrosse membership. Would it be something like 120% of the highest lacrosse budget of other big ten schools? (the adder to compensate for common facilities that the other schools’ might take advantage of on their campuses.) How can JHU be compensated fairly to be competitive in B1G lacrosse for the long term?

        • Andy says:

          Eh, I’d guess 80% nothing happens, 10% some sort of divided victory between the SEC and B1G with both going to 16, 10% some crazy super-huge B1G monstrosity.

          And I think that 10% is an optimistic estimate.

          There’s an awful lot of excitement over something that has a 90% chance of not happening.

          • GreatLakeState says:

            Gordon Gee (OSU Pres):
            “I believe there is movement towards three or four super conferences that are made up of 16-20 teams.”
            David Brandon (UM AD):
            “and a lot of people think the ultimate landing place is 20″
            Dave Joyner (PSU AD)
            ” I don’t see them staying at 14″

            These three are making statements like this on the record and you two put the odds at 10% to 20% that they’ll even go to 16? I’ll take those odds all day long.

            80% to 16 within a year
            50% to 18/20 within three years

            You don’t get a this much public smoke from guys like these without a lot of fire underneath. Delany & Co. know exactly what enticements to use to get who they want.
            JHU is a brilliant first step.

          • bullet says:

            I think its 99.9% that B1G wants to go beyond 14. But it takes two to tango. Its not certain UVA will say yes or that an acceptable #16 will say yes. GT’s comments about wanting to be with UVA, UNC and Duke could be interpreted as a signal to go to 18.

          • Transic says:

            I agree with GLS in that some within the B1G desire a national conference. The question is whether they’d be able to pull it off in time. What’s more interesting is the reaction from B1G-haters and fans of other conferences who fear something like this may actually happen. It gives me pleasure watching them sweat a bit.

          • GreatLakeState says:

            Reading tea leaves is a fools errand, but just the fact that ND has decided they’re not in as big a hurry to leave the BE as they thought and (if accurate) that JHU is even considering the B1G over the ACC, implies that they see the ACC in a state of flux.

          • BruceMcF says:

            “I think 20 is where this ends up” risks the danger of extrapolating trends and missing turning points. The experience of 16 or 18 could well lead to an upward revision in the value required to make an expansion to 20 worthwhile.

            I wouldn’t put the odds of expanding to 16 in a year at 80% ~ as we’ve seen with the Big East collapse, sometimes moves take longer to accomplish even when one side would rather move quickly. But I’d put the odds of expanding to 16 within three years at maybe 90% ~ for even numbers, put that at 2:1 of getting it done before every playing a 14 school schedule, so 60% 1 year, 30% in 2-3 years.

            Indeed, under its bylaws, the ACC is a conference that you can leave quickly, with the unsettled question being “at what price?” Notification by 15th of August is enough for leaving July 1 the following year.

        • C. Toda says:

          Based on what ? Just how you feel ? Ok, but say ,it’s just my guess.

        • Tom says:

          Correct, FSU has no interest whatsoever in the B12. It’s the linchpin that holds the ACC together.

      • BruceMcF says:

        On the other hand, given the schools that the Big Ten wants, the odds that UVA will move before the ACC is destabilized is greater than the odds that UNC will move before the ACC is destabilized. So if the Big Ten moves first, it could well be two are announced, and that shakes things up enough that the Big Ten ends up with four by 15 August.

        • GreatLakeState says:

          I agree with both your comments. I just feel (based on the loose lips quotient) that at least one ACC school (UVA or GT) is already in the bag and that it will happen sooner rather than later.
          UNC is the wild card. I really have no clue how they will react.

          • GreatLakeState says:

            Transic,
            Absolutely. Seeing Coach K in panic mode….priceless.

          • BruceMcF says:

            If ONLY one school is in the bag, then that would EXPLAIN the loose lips quotient, since a move doesn’t work unless they destabilize the ACC enough for two to jump.

    • jj says:

      I think some are hoping 20-22 turns into a new v old b10 set up, thus undoing the latest expansion. It can’t be that way though for just that reason. We’ve crossed the rubicon friends. B10 will never be the same.

      • Andy says:

        okay, but how is that even a conference? It’s two conferences linked by a championship game and a tv deal. what’s the point?

        • frug says:

          Make more money? Consolidate power?

          • Andy says:

            bleh. how much more money? How many more millions per school for adding Duke and Georgia Tech? I’m dubious about how much money there would be in such a move. UNC + UVA to 16 = gold mine. But there are diminishing returns the more you expand, because you have to multiply contract increases by 20 times just to see an affect for each member school.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Not when you approach near monopoly size.

          • BruceMcF says:

            I’ve never seen anyone suggest Duke Plus GTech as a pair. Both of them add gross revenue, and arguably neither of them add enough gross revenue to raise the average.

            Hence we see the two adds which are clear prospects to raise the average ~ UVA and UNC ~ and see them paired up with two other AAU schools that would provide SOME increase in value so that the paired add does not water down the value of UNC or UVA as much as an add lie Pitt would do.

            But they don’t both get included if FSU can be pushed through. In that case, if a safe landing for NC State in either the SEC or Big12/Big14 East is sorted out, and the ACC is sufficiently destabilized that UNC wants to move, then UVA, UNC, GTech and FSU.

            The notion that UNC won’t move without Duke seems likely to be confusing moves. Its quite possible that the SEC doesn’t move to the SEC without Duke coming along and NC State having an assured seat in the Big12. The reason there would be upgrading SEC academics and upgrading SEC basketball, which on the current Sagarin rankings is presently playing High Mid-Major BBall rather than Major conference BBall ~ nestled in with the MWC, the A-10 and the Missouri Valley. But Big Ten academics don’t need upgrading for UNC to move, and Big Ten BBall doesn’t need upgrading for UNC to move, so the “only if Duke moves too” doesn’t seem as likely to apply for a UNC move to the Big Ten.

          • BruceMcF says:

            Typo: “Its quite possible that the SEC doesn’t move to the SEC without Duke coming along and NC State having an assured seat in the Big12.”

            Its quite possible that UNC doesn’t move to the SEC without Duke coming along and NC State having an assured seat in the Big12.

        • Brian says:

          That is the point. Put all the newbies none of us wants to associate with in their own division and ignore them until the CCG rolls around.

          • BruceMcF says:

            Well, play them once in a while ~ just as in the days of 11 regular season games in the early 80′s, the Big 10 played a 9 game round robin and two OOC games and played teams outside of the Big Ten “once in a while”. Its turning a conference into modern Major League Baseball, eith AL and NL teams playing each other sometimes but not very often.

            Which is, of course, not a recipe for conference cohesion. If an effort is being made to build a conference that can survive for decades more, building a conference that can be split cleanly, if the current economic impetus toward bigger conferences should reverse, does not seem to qualify as building for the future.

          • Richard says:

            Bruce, I agree, which is why I’m for no divisions and 3-4 protected series with rotation of the rest (and a 10 game league schedule).

          • Brian says:

            BruceMcF,

            “Well, play them once in a while”

            No, I meant what I said. Put it in context. I was responding to this conversation:

            jj – “I think some are hoping 20-22 turns into a new v old b10 set up, thus undoing the latest expansion.”

            Andy – “okay, but how is that even a conference? It’s two conferences linked by a championship game and a tv deal. what’s the point?”

            For those hoping for what jj describes, the whole point is to not play those teams. Ever. Play the B10 teams you know and then play standard OOC games. Almost nobody in the B10 has a strong history of playing RU or those ACC teams. Those aren’t OOC games those fans want.

            “Its turning a conference into modern Major League Baseball, eith AL and NL teams playing each other sometimes but not very often.”

            But the fans jj is describing want the old MLB, where you never met until the World Series. They aren’t looking for interleague play.

            “Which is, of course, not a recipe for conference cohesion.”

            They don’t want cohesion. They want to segregate all the new schools and just deal with a B10 that makes sense to them.

          • BruceMcF says:

            “For those hoping for what jj describes, the whole point is to not play those teams. Ever.”

            Playing one of those teams in a given year would not be such a big deal as all that. I’m not claiming that for those hoping for what jj describes, “not playing those teams, ever” would be an UNSATISFACTORY outcome … just that it is going overboard to characterize them as being ADAMANT about not playing any of those schools, ever.

          • Brian says:

            BruceMcF,

            “Playing one of those teams in a given year would not be such a big deal as all that.”

            It would be to those people. Remember, we’re only talking about the subset of people that want to expand just so the old B10 becomes its own division of the new B10. Their only goal is to grow their way out of being stuck playing the newbies.

            “I’m not claiming that for those hoping for what jj describes, “not playing those teams, ever” would be an UNSATISFACTORY outcome … just that it is going overboard to characterize them as being ADAMANT about not playing any of those schools, ever.”

            No, it isn’t. Their only goal for expansion is to make those teams go away. They don’t want that so they can turn around and play them anyway. Very few B10 teams play the newbies or ACC 4 often at all. These aren’t teams fans are clamoring to play OOC. Duke/NW accounts for almost 1/3 of all such games in the past 20 years with 10 games played.

          • BruceMcF says:

            “It would be to those people. Remember, we’re only talking about the subset of people that want to expand just so the old B10 becomes its own division of the new B10. Their only goal is to grow their way out of being stuck playing the newbies.”

            So you are claiming that those who would like to play something as close to a traditional bona fide schedule as possible would view playing either four, five, six, seven and eight traditional bone fide Big Ten schools and five, four, three, two and one games against newbies (respectively) as all identical, equally unsatisfactory outcomes.

            All I am doing is pointing out that in reality they wouldn’t. In reality, they would treat the prospect of playing eight bona fide Big Ten schools and one newbie as much closer to playing all nine bona fide Big Ten schools than playing four bona fide Big Ten schools and five newbies.

          • Brian says:

            BruceMcF,

            “So you are claiming that those who would like to play something as close to a traditional bona fide schedule as possible would view playing either four, five, six, seven and eight traditional bone fide Big Ten schools and five, four, three, two and one games against newbies (respectively) as all identical, equally unsatisfactory outcomes.”

            No, I’m not. You completely made that up to feel good about yourself. I said playing even one of them would be a big deal to those people. I never compared 1 vs 2 vs ….

            “All I am doing is pointing out that in reality they wouldn’t.”

            No, you’re assuming they wouldn’t really mind playing 1 of them. They would. Their sole purpose in proposing future expansion is to never have to play RU and MD and …. They don’t want the occasional crossover with them, they don’t want to be affiliated with them at all. They certainly don’t want those games forced on them by the B10. If they wanted to play those teams, they’d schedule them OOC.

            You don’t have to agree with them, but stop saying they don’t feel the way they feel.

        • prophetstruth says:

          Andy it all depends on how you define a conference. Jim Delany said this during the Maryland and Rutgers adds. Why have you decided that a conference is defined as having 16 teams or less? Is the SEC a conference at 14 teams when playing 8 conference games or is it a scheduling arrangement with a championship game? If the SEC expands to 16 and stays at 8 conference games, would it be defined as two conferences with a scheduling arrangement and championship game? Who says a conference can’t be defined as having 4 divisions with 5 teams each where you play everyone in your division and two teams from the other divisions each year? Who says that the NCAA won’t increase the number of allowed regular seasons games to 13? Why is 16 ok but 18 or 20 would be a very bad idea? It seems to me once conferences went past 12 teams, all conferences ceased to be defined by old paradigms.

          • BruceMcF says:

            A college football conference has been a set of schools who regularly play each other in pursuit of a conference championship. Schools playing EVERY other school annually was dropped by the Big Ten in the mid-80′s, but until this decade, each school played 80%+ of the other schools in the conference in any given year, so conference cohesion wasn’t really an issue that came up.

            Now its something that has to be taken into account. At 14, the big challenge is division lineup, since 9 conference games allows three cross division games, so even with a locked cross division game, and even with two year home and home cross division series scheduling, each school will see 11/13 or 85% of the conference over a four year cycle. That’s close to the cohesion of an 11 school conference playing eight games, and the Big Ten lived with that reasonably well for a couple of decades.

            At 16, to get similar cohesion you need to either have rotating divisions or 10 conference games, both of which have upsides and downsides. And it gets hard for 18, then 20, after which point the complete round robin in division required under NCAA rules for hosting an extra football conference championship game begins to be a serious constraint, on top of the problem of cohesion.

    • Richard says:

      Big22, BAYBEE!!! !!!

    • Brian says:

      Andy,

      “It’s funny how so many of you have latched onto this whole idea of a Big 20.”

      Not really. It’s an internet discussion, not a business meeting.

      “Personally, I think the idea of the B1G going over 16 is 1) a very bad idea,”

      I think going over 12 fits that description.

      “and 2) not all that likely.”

      Likely doesn’t really matter when you are discussing things. The likely stuff stops being interesting after a while.

      • Andy says:

        Fair enough Brian. This is all a bad idea and it probably won’t happen, but these guys can talk about it for 200 posts a day if they feel like it. They’re off on some fantastical ego trip of the B1G conquering the universe. To what end, i don’t know. But I’m sure they’ll all get to wear those old timey general hats at some point. Maybe some frilly shoulder pads.

        • BruceMcF says:

          Though the 20 team Big Ten’s are a model of moderation compared to the 24 school SEC’s that pop up in the comments at MrSEC. Texas, Oklahoma, FSU, UNC …

          … one would be surprised that they leave USC, UCLA, OSU and that school up north alone in their Empire Builder game, except that the purpose is to have the SEC championship game be the formal play-in for one spot in the CCG and the Big Ten and Pac-12 playoff for the other one.

      • bullet says:

        I don’t think 20 is out of the question. I don’t think they will pull the trigger, but they are openly talking about it, so its not like the discussion is about UCLA joining the SEC.

        I agree that beyond 12 is not a good idea. 12>14>16 is a whole lot > than 18 which is a whole lot > 20. 20 may be Delaney’s legacy, that he ultimately led to the disentegration of the Big 10. I don’t think a Big 20 lasts more than 20-25 years tops.

    • metatron says:

      I like you.

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      It’s funny how so many of you have latched onto this whole idea of a Big 20.

      Since several people in the Big Ten, like Gordon Gee, have mentioned 20 as a possibility, it’s more serious than funny.

      But I think most of the conversation is: “If the B1G went to 20, who would be added, and what would be the implications?” That doesn’t mean we’re in favor of it, or that we consider it a certainty.

      Personally, I think the idea of the B1G going over 16 is 1) a very bad idea, and 2) not all that likely.

      I agree with others who’ve said, that once they get to 16, eighteen becomes pretty likely. Almost every plausible candidate for #15-16 comes from the ACC. It’s hard to believe that if the ACC loses two more schools, it would remain stable thereafter. And I think it’s pretty clear that there are at least four ACC schools the Big Ten would be happy to have.

      okay, but how is that even a conference? It’s two conferences linked by a championship game and a tv deal. what’s the point?

      That’s clearly false. It is quite easy to put together a 20-team schedule, where all play all in a three-year period, and every school gets to play at least its top two rivalries annually, and select others more often (though not annually). The merits of this arrangement can be debated, but not its feasibility.

      For what it’s worth, I am pretty sure the B1G would want to integrate all the newbies into the schedule, not to put them in a walled garden where they hardly ever see the rest of the conference. I’d say that a four-year all-play-all rotation is the minimum they would consider acceptable.

      Let me reiterate: I am not saying what I want personally, but what I think the league would do, based on various presidents and ADs’ comments.

      • metatron says:

        Everything they say is a lie.

        You guys think that Jim Delany went from “air-tight”, “no rumors” to Chatty Cathy? He knows every President is reading these things and talking to each other. He and the school officials he’s enlisted are trying to destabilize the other conferences, but to what end?

        • Andy says:

          Yeah, I don’t believe any of it. Nothing that’s come out so far makes me think it’s all that likely.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Mr SEC seems to have a somewhat different take.

          • ccrider55 says:

            So…inspite of whatever my personal feelings about he B1G continuing on toward becoming the obese10, many who have more insight (including those in your new conference) seem to be convinced its coming. And some even propose logical and reasoned arguments, rather than expound personal preferences. Everyone has claim to there personal preference. I’m more interested in what a likely outcome will be. I can love it or hate it later.

  59. Transic says:

    I’m not sure if this has been already but the ACC Commissioner, John Swofford made some comments over the state of that conference earlier this week.

    Part I: http://espn.go.com/blog/acc/post/_/id/52335/on-the-record-acc-commissioner-john-swofford

    Part II: http://espn.go.com/blog/acc/post/_/id/52337/on-the-record-john-swofford-part-ii

  60. Transic says:

    Here’s what killed the Big East: Disunity, Woeful Planning, Institutional Differences, Mistrust, Elitism

    Basically, a bunch of formerly independent Eastern schools were unwilling to lose their old identities after getting into a conference. Had a clear, long-term vision been articulated amongst the members, probably most of the destruction could have been avoided.

    • frug says:

      Ehh. The hybrid was never going to be viable long term. Too many disparate interests.

      Really, the only thing that is surprising about the collapse of the Big East is that it didn’t happen earlier.

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      Is it that complicated? The problem is simple: too many of them sucked at football. As a result, their football revenues were poor, compared to the other BCS leagues. Therefore, those with better options moved to more lucrative conferences. Every time a team moved, the league lost value. It was like making a snowball—in reverse.

      Two major errors stand out, the rejection of Penn State and the rejection of the TV deal. Reverse those mistakes, and the Big East is probably a lot better today. One doesn’t need a lengthy list of reasons for those blunders. They were just stupid.

      • Michael in Raleigh says:

        There still would have been losses by the Big East if the $130M/year deal offered in mid-2011 had been signed. Pitt was talking to the ACC at that time, anyway. I think that Syracuse was, too. The ACC’s TV deal at the time was still better than the Big East’s $130M deal would have been, on a preschool basis, and Syracuse and Pitt joining only helped increase the ACC payout even more. Those two were leaving no matter what.

        Next, TCU wasnt going to turn down the offer to replace A&M in the Big 12 even if that TV deal had already been signed. That league was TCU’s end game, not the distant Big East.

        With Syracuse, Pitt, and TCU now out of the Big East picture, does anyone think West Virginia wouldn’t have left the Big East, too?

        So, by the end of 2011, the Big East would have lost 4 schools (including TCU) with it without having that TV contract in place.

        It’s a little less certain Notre Dame would have left, but Louisville wouldnt have stuck around when an opportunity to flee to the ACC came up.

        By this point, ESPN would have forced a major reduction in TV payout, though by how much is hard to say. Still, with a contract in writing alreadyin place, maybe that would have been eenough for Boise State and San Diego State to follow through. Perhaps even enough to lure in additional western members like Air Force (to complement Navy) and/or UNLV.

        Would the Catholic 7 still have split off? Maybe. Fox Sports might have been willing to pay more than what the reduced Big East payout was.

        Either way, signing that deal in 2011 would have led only to a littke more damage control, not a saved conference.

        • BruceMcF says:

          Saved them from what?

          Losing their status as a “Major football conference”? No, of course not. I never took that status seriously, so I’ve long looked at them as de facto the “Best of the Rest” football conference and only nominally a Major conference.

          Losing their status as “the Best of the Rest”? It’s not certain that it would have, but it would have had a chance of doing so, as you describe, presumably under the heading of “damage control”.

          Losing their status as a “Major basketball conference”? I think that it might have. The $130m contract valued Big East basketball at $40m. If the contract is revalued to $100m, it values Big East basketball at $30m. I don’t know that its as easy to break the C7 away with an offer of $30m to $40m in that setting.

      • Bikemore says:

        The Big East was essentially dead before it started, because the formula that allowed other conferences to succeed (large flagship and land grant schools with statewide followings) was unavaiable to the Big East. The Northeast traditionally has been dominated by private schools, especially the Ivy League.

        When the Ivies demphasized their sports–many years before the Big East–it left a huge hole in the Northeast, and no one was there to step up. New England’s public schools made little effort to play major college football until fairly recently. New York’s were D3 until even more recently. Pitt and Penn State were never going to be enough, and schools like Syracuse and Boston College were always going to be at a disadvantage.

  61. Brian says:

    http://thegazette.com/2013/02/13/if-big-ten-squeezes-fcs-out-potentially-devastating-for-uni/

    I-AA schools are concerned about the B10′s plan to not play I-AA’s any more. It’s not so much the B10 stopping as it is other I-A conferences also stopping. That will make more demand for buy games with other schools, driving down the price.

    I linked an IA article about it, and their AD says it’s not a done deal. He still wants to play UNI on occasion it sounds like. I also saw a MN article about it, and not surprisingly MN is a bit concerned about the impact on their bowl chances.

    • Stephen says:

      If you have to beat an FCS team in order to get into a bowl game, you don’t deserve to be in a bowl.

      • jj says:

        Stephen
        I agree with your sentiment, but “deserve” has zero to do with almost all bowl game appearances.

        The only bowl that matters to me for the B10 is the Rose because there is a clear line to it. No votes, no popularity contest, no tv issues, no bs.

    • Andy says:

      I really don’t see the difference between playing a 1AA and playing Florida Atlantic or Eastern Michigan. If the B1Gs replace their 1AAs with quality opponents I’ll be impressed. But they won’t.

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        If you compare the already-announced future schedules to the past 5-10 years or so, you’ll see that many Big Ten schools have been gradually improving. Wisconsin has scheduled future home & homes with Washington, Washington State, BYU, and Virginia Tech. It might not be murderer’s row, but compare that to 2008, when their OOC slate consisted of Akron, Marshall, Fresno State, and Cal Poly; or 2009, when it was Northern Illinois, Fresno State, Wofford, and Hawaii.

        There might not be a whole lot of difference between the better FCS schools and the bottom of the FBS, but not everyone can play Eastern Michigan. The schools are still going to schedule one-and-dones, but even a bad FBS opponent is usually more of a test than just about any FCS school.

  62. lobills says:

    Question for everyone: Your school’s conference is about to implode. You can select 4 schools to take w/ you to your new conference. What 4 schools do you select?

    I’m an IU grad. I’d want Purdue, Ohio St., Michigan and Illinois. Losing the others wouldn’t be ideal, but I’d take those 4 and it wouldn’t even be all that difficult a decision.

    Thoughts?

    • Michael in Raleigh says:

      I’m a Florida State fan. Assuming only Florida could be guaranteed as an annual non-conference game (and that the conference FSU joined wouldn’t be the SEC), I would want Miami, Clemson, Georgia Tech, and either UNC or NC State.

    • JayDevil says:

      Kansas fan. Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and K-State.

    • Brian says:

      Do we have to take 4, or is 4 just the limit? I’d rather take just MI, IL and IN for OSU. If I had to take 4, my fourth would depend on the destination I suppose. I have no clear preference.

    • wmwolverine says:

      Michigan fan… I’d take Ohio State, Illinois & MSU then there is nobody else I’m particularly tied to in the conference. Minnesota used to be a rivalry a long time ago but there pretty irrelevant in football now. Nobody else stands out though I love how PSU hates us (Michigan) so much and beating up on them.

    • illiniguy says:

      Illinois fan. I find this question really tough. I’d go Wisconsin, Michigan, Purdue, OSU.

    • marmutia says:

      I’m a Nebraska grad. I would want to take Oklahoma, Kansas, Wisconsin and Penn State. I’m from the Big 8 Era and have strong ties to the first two. I think a Wisconsin rivalry developing has some real possibilities.

    • BruceMcF says:

      Buckeye born and bred (that is, my Dad met my Mom in Columbus because he came to grad school to study chemistry, and my Mom went to OSU when I was a kid and when she was a Senior we got to go to the horseshoe) … um, that school up north and …

      … hmmm, that’s hard. Lessee, that school up north, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Michigan State.

      • Brian says:

        Why would you pick NE and MSU? WI is bad enough, but we’ve played a lot at least. I’m sensing a lot of recency bias here.

        Most common opponents:
        MI – 108
        IL – 96
        IN – 82
        WI – 78
        NW – 74
        IA – 63
        PU – 55
        MN – 50
        MSU – 40
        PSU – 27
        NE – 4

        MI is our obvious major rival, but IL is our only trophy rival and our second most frequent opponent by a big margin. MSU has been in the B10 for 40 more years than PSU and we’ve only played them 13 more times. I included IN because of the basketball rivalry and the short drive for a road FB game.

        • BruceMcF says:

          Yes, its recency bias for MSU ~ they’ve only been in the league for sixty years, but they were in the league when I was born, and I came to like them in the 70′s. As far as Nebraska, its because my Dad grew up in South Dakota, so obviously he followed the Huskers.

    • Blapples says:

      Ohio State fan here. I would take Michigan, Penn State, Michigan State, and Illinois. Wiscoonsin would be strongly considered.

    • Brice in Ohio says:

      OSU fan. I would take: school up north, State Penn, Wiscy and Ilinoise. Play MinnySoda and Purdont for OOC games.

    • bullet says:

      Texas fan
      OU, Texas Tech, Kansas (basketball rival), Rice.

      And as a Kentucky fan
      Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Indiana.

    • Andy says:

      Mizzou and Michigan alum. For Mizzou I’d take Florida, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, and Georgia.

      For Michigan I’d take Illinois, Northwestern, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

      • Norm says:

        Also a UM/MU alum.

        Ridiculous. You’re in denial.

        MU – Admit it, (1) Kansas. After that, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Illinois.

        Really? Vandy? Georgia? Lot of history and emotion there…. If that doesn’t fire you up, what will?!? Where do I buy my tickets?

    • Pablo says:

      UVa alum…MD, UNC, VT & Duke

  63. Marc Shepherd says:

    Mr. SEC has a realignment update, and it makes for good reading.

    • @Marc Shepherd – That’s a great look at things. I highly recommend it.

      • GreatLakeState says:

        Search ‘Big Ten Expansion’ on google/news and your posts often come out near the top.
        I would be interested to know who from the B1G hierarchy reads this site. I’ll bet they all
        ‘browse’ it intermittently. Delany has said in interviews that he loves to surf the net and see what people are saying about the B1G.
        ………If you’re reading this Jimbo FLORIDA STATE yesterday!

        • metatron says:

          I wouldn’t be surprised if they are. PBC was played for a fiddle (if he was ever honest), once they found out they had a leak.

          Which is exactly why I think this Florida State talk is a smokescreen.

          • ccrider55 says:

            So…who here are they playing to discover a leak? Wouldn’t that mean there is something to be leaked?

          • metatron says:

            Nobody. I’m saying they’re purposely distributing false information to create confusion and panic in the ranks of every other conference.

            I have to believe that no matter what they say, Notre Dame is the end game. The Big Ten might be prepared to move on, but it seems as though they are very purposely and very publically dragging their feet and riling up every one of Notre Dame’s fears (a superconference, < 8 conference games, a destablized and impotent ACC). Delany is burning the Sibylline Books.

          • metatron says:

            Don’t misunderstand me; I don’t think they’re taking those actions specifically to cajole Notre Dame (these are things that the league wants and needs), but they are doing these things very publically and deliberately which is uncharacteristic of all prior Big Ten operations.

    • GreatLakeState says:

      Great article, thanks for the link. MrSEC is a real straight shooter.
      Rounding out the B1G with UVA/UNC would be great, but Delany & Co. are expanding the
      the long term, which is why I think they build a bridge all the way to the deep South.

      • bullet says:

        When it comes to 20, I think the Presidents are just going to say no. They seem to be sold on 16 (not that they ACC presidents are necessarily sold), but IMO 20 will get shot down.

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          I wish I could be that confident. The number 20 is already out there from Big Ten inside sources. Let’s suppose that UVA and GT are 15-16. It’s hard to imagine UNC and Duke being “shot down,” when the people doing the shooting are the same ones who approved 13, 14, 15, and 16.

          • vp19 says:

            One person with Big Ten ties posted on a Maryland message board that an ACC member has already agreed to be #15, and that Delany has extended an invitation to another to be #16 (all of this pending the outcome of the Maryland lawsuit, of course, I would think). However, if said candidate #16 says no, Delany would go ahead and add an SEC member as #16.

            My conjecture is that #15 is Georgia Tech, the #16 Delany wants is Virginia, and if the Cavs turn him down, SEC #16 would be Vanderbilt — probably the one SEC member that could leave for the Big Ten without a colossal uproar from alumni. Yes, I’d rather have UVa than Vandy, but were this to happen (and I have my doubts it will),

            * An eventual Big Ten expansion to 18 might leave Duke out in the cold if UVa and UNC subsequently join.
            * The SEC would need a 14th member…hello, Virginia Tech?

          • Brian says:

            vp19,

            “One person with Big Ten ties posted on a Maryland message board that an ACC member has already agreed to be #15, and that Delany has extended an invitation to another to be #16 (all of this pending the outcome of the Maryland lawsuit, of course, I would think). However, if said candidate #16 says no, Delany would go ahead and add an SEC member as #16.”

            That person is wrong. Either they’ve been lied to or they’re making this up. Maybe the ACC stuff is more or less right, but nobody is leaving the SEC.

            “My conjecture is that #15 is Georgia Tech, the #16 Delany wants is Virginia, and if the Cavs turn him down,”

            It would most likely be one of those two, anyway.

            “SEC #16 would be Vanderbilt — probably the one SEC member that could leave for the Big Ten without a colossal uproar from alumni.”

            Vandy has strong SEC ties. Their alumni would complain, too.

          • frug says:

            The only SEC school that would even consider leaving would be Mizzou and I think it is pretty clear how the Big Ten feels about them.

            As for Vandy? Not only would they never leave, the Big Ten would never add them. They aren’t worth anything.

          • vp19 says:

            Of course, let’s not forget that Gordon Gee used to head Vandy, so he might have some pull with administrators in Nashville. From a VU perspective, going to the Big Ten might propel it into perception as a more national institution along the lines of Duke. And Vandy has some tradition as a rival to Georgia Tech.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            Neither party benefits by Vandy joining the Big Ten. Tennessee isn’t a much coveted market, and even if it is, Vandy doesn’t deliver it. I think we’ve seen in recent years that, for enough money, almost any tradition can be broken. But in the end, SEC money and Big Ten money are going to be similar, so Delany doesn’t have much to offer them. The Big Ten is a better conference academically, but Vandy is doing just fine where they are.

            Athletically, the SEC is better for Vandy. In football, they’re going to get creamed wherever they are, but in the Big Ten they’d have a much tougher time in basketball. Baseball is a good sport at Vandy, and for that sport the SEC is clearly the better home.

          • m (Ag) says:

            Another problem Vandy might have is attendance. They already have a small stadium that generally has empty seats. If they were in a conference where visiting fans had to travel even further they might see less money from ticket sales.

        • wmwolverine says:

          I hope bullet is right that they stop before 20. Teams beyond 16 better mostly be of the Notre Dame, Florida State, Texas variety.

        • Andy says:

          bullet, I agree. 20 is nutso.

      • drwillini says:

        As others have said, good article. One thing that is taken for granted with BTN is how unique its success is to the big ten. Having lived in Florida, I can tell you that no Floridians are going to pay any attention to a UT/UGa hoops game the way people in Illinois and Indiana will watch UW/UMinn. I just don’t think you can fill 9 mo of programming on a “SEC network” of rerun football games. The B1G is developing Hockey into a BTN draw, and perhaps soon Lacrosse. That, combined with flagship schools and large dispersed alumni give you something that is farily unique to the B1G. Nice to see Mr.Sec appreicating the academic angle. For a long time my SEC friends have told me that all that is important in all this is football, and laughed at me when I brought up the CIC.

        • Scarlet_Lutefisk says:

          I’m reasonably sure that Baseball, track & field and women’s gymnastics would all garner some TV viewing down in SEC land.

          • ccrider55 says:

            I’m a loooong way from SEC land and I’d love to be able to watch SEC baseball, track, gymnastics, and wrestling (I know, but I’m old enough to remember when many of their schools fielded teams).

        • wmwolverine says:

          Football alone drives a vast majority of the BTN revenues (supplemented by basketball), it would do the same for every other conference. The trick is to 1. get on basic cable 2. get respectable ‘carriage’ fees from cable companies and satellite providers, it wasn’t an easy task for the B10 and is no sure thing for other leagues without as rapid as a fan base like the Pac 12 or ACC. Once you’re on basic cable, you’re in TONS of households, many of whom don’t care about the local university but are paying a portion of their cable bill to support the BTN…

          I’d expect the SEC to have the same type of success the B10 has with its netowrk; B10 has the advantage with basketball and potentially hockey while the SEC has a huge advantage in baseball. Probably a wash.

    • David Brown says:

      What is overlooked in the discussion of realignment is this: It is not about Academics vs Sports (Although there certain snobs who feel that way). It is about $$$$$, and it does not matter how schools and conferences get them. Call it “Research Grants” call it Television Packages” call it “Demographic Changes” it is still about money, and what certain schools and or conferences bring to the table or not. That is why Nebraska is still in the Big 10 (Despite being thrown out of the AAU, and having an academic ranking of 101), and the same for Vanderbilt in the SEC (Despite being uncompetitive in the SEC East). Let me use, another example: The very issue of would Penn State be allowed in the Big 10 came down to one school: Northwestern: Only when NW was assured that they would not be thrown out of the Conference, did they vote in favor of PSU. Northwestern basically brings a lot to the table (Number 12 Academic Ranking), as does Penn State, which is why both schools are in the Big 10, and are in strong positions as far as the Big 10 is concerned (The fear of losing Penn State to the ACC is why Maryland & Rutgers were invited into the Big 10). Conversely, a weaker school like Minnesota (Ranked 68th in Academics), which has had its football team operate like a piker living off Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State, and the rest for decades, had no option but to join the Big 10 Hockey Conference (Even though they never wanted to leave the WCHA), otherwise they risked being expelled from the conference. Basically It is all about money.

      • gfunk says:

        You lost me on Minny being a weaker academic school. Perhaps you should qualify “undergraduate school” based on US Knows Everything News as your source because when you factor in the other equally relevant metrics & alternate publications in the academic rankings world, Minny clearly jumps to the top third of the BIG, above say Northwestern in many graduate school rankings. Also, Minny had a nice run under Mason & damn near pulled an upset in their bowl game this year. Minny matters in other sports that do have relevance: hockey (an unquestionable blueblood), wrestling (3 NC’s), baseball (5 conference championships since 2000) & volleyball (3 FF’s in the past decade) – all these sports are televised on BTN. Minny has also won the second most NC’s (10) in the BIG since 2000. Conference membership and alignment is not as football focused as you & too many on these boards think. Trust me I know – wink.

        • David Brown says:

          Minnesota has not won a Hockey Title since 2003 (Duluth won in 2011 that about says it all), so they do not qualify a a hockey blue blood. They have not been to a major bowl in over a century (Even Washington State & Purdue top that), and they do not dominate Big 10 Wrestling and Volleyball (Penn State does!). Here is another number that is shocking: Since Penn State entered the Big 10, they have beaten Penn State ZERO times on the football field (Not talking about the NCAA lets screw Paterno vacated wins). I admit I spoke harshly when it came to possibly throwing the Gophers out of the Conference, but if the choice was Penn State, Northwestern or Minnesota being kicked out, I bet the Gophers would be selected (Even before Purdue and Indiana). Basically in football, Minnesota does little for the Conference (Sort of like Penn State in basketball), so when it meant it was time to leave the WCHA (The place where the Gophers are at their “Best”) Minnesota simply had to follow sports leaders like Wisconsin & Michigan and simply go.

          • largeR says:

            What’s the deal? You lost me on your athletic facts. Minnesota played in the 62 Rose Bowl and have beaten PSU 4 out of 12 games since PSU joined the B1G. I think you have Minnesota confused with the Hoosiers who are 0 and 16 in football versus our Nitts. Go Gophers!

          • BruceMcF says:

            “Minnesota has not won a Hockey Title since 2003 (Duluth won in 2011 that about says it all), so they do not qualify a a hockey blue blood.”

            Blue blood meaning “long time traditional power”? I’m not sure that phrase means what you think that it means. “Not winning the national championship for nearly a decade” does not disqualify a school from being a blue blood in a sport.

          • gfunk says:

            Whoa dude. Have you ever heard of the Governor’s Victory Bell? Minny beat PSU 4 consecutive times in football under Mason, including the great 1999 upset. But I do somewhat get your point about Minny football – no one here believes we have an upper echelon BIG program.

            My lost friend, here’s a little Minny hockey history to chew on:

            20 Frozen Fours

            5 NC’s

            6 Second Places

            Winning, all time records against the following:

            Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Denver, North Dakota, Boston College, Wisconsin, Minn Duluth (all these teams, minus Duluth, have won multiple NCs)

            Boston U is the only blue blood with a winning record against Minny, all time, and the series is quite close: 15-12-2

            Of all D1 college programs, Minny has sent the most first round picks to the NHL the past 12 years, including the league’s current leading scorer: Thomas Vanek.

            And last but not least, the “1980 Miracle On Ice” roster had 8 Minny Players & 12 Minnesotans. The HC, Herb Brooks, is also a Minnesotan & had he chosen to stay in college hockey, he would have dominated for many years. He won 3 NC’s in just 7 years of coaching at Minny. Btw, no other state has produced as much NHL talent as Minnesota – the kids don’t just go to Minny or Mn Duluth. Many of the great players in Minnesota go onto Wisconsin, North Dakota, Denver, Colorado College and even out to Hockey East.

            Other points: BIG charter members are never at risk of being removed, a 100 plus years is too long to terminate. Really, no team is at risk of being removed, not even PSU after the scandal. It’s the other way around, a team chooses to leave the BIG.

            Btw, I have immense respect for PSU’s athletic department, outside football the past decade. It is only PSU that has won more NCAA NC’s than Minny amongst BIG members the past 15 years.

          • bigbangbuck says:

            I seriously doubt there has ever been any consideration of kicking any school out of the B1G. If the Big Ten ever booted a school simply for the sake of money I would instantly stop being a B1G fan and lobby, as best a measly Buckeye fan could do, to go independent, however sad that may make me. The only instance which I can think of that may have caused some consideration of being kicked out was the recent issues at Penn State, which I don’t recall has ever been reported to have been considered. With that said, once in the Big Ten, always in the Big Ten, or so I hope.

          • gfunk says:

            FYI, my last post was aimed at David Clueless Brown. Also, a correction to this post in questiont: ND has never won a NC in hockey, but they have been a rival under Lucia’s tenure (ND Alum).

          • mushroomgod says:

            Being in the 60s in US News is pretty good for a public school with a huge enrollment……….

            Also, the last few years or so Minnhehaha has been in the top 20 in the Director’s Cup standings………

            I do wonder about the lack of pride Minnesotans feel about the state U….they just don’t seem to have the same enthus