As promised, we continue to empty out the mailbag (click here for Part I):

Frank,
One of your theories is that if the Big 12 dies, Texas would try for a partial member deal like Notre Dame in the ACC instead of becoming an equal member of another conference. I had agreed with that theory up until Texas A&M exploded onto the national scene at the end of last year and has remained there ever since. Texas is going to make its money anywhere but playing 2nd fiddle to its state rival has to be a blow to the powers that be at UT. I don’t think playing a half ACC schedule mixed with a couple of 2nd tier Texas schools is going to offer enough pub to compete with A&M and the SEC especially with the coming difficultly of scheduling with conferences going to 9 games. Does Texas A&M success, and more importantly attention, change your thoughts on the future of UT? – PSUhockey

Very interesting question. I think that A&M’s success can definitely impact the long-term prospects of Texas, but that it’s a separate issue from the particular conference that UT is in (or if it’s an independent, not in). A lot of sports fans may be looking at the Big 12 through the prism of its relatively good on-the-field football success over the past few years, while the ACC has had arguably its weakest stretch over the exact same period. However, I’d argue that Florida State, Miami, Virginia Tech and Clemson at the very least are more valuable football opponents than any Big 12 school outside of Oklahoma. Personally, I’d put UNC, NC State and Georgia Tech ahead of anyone non-OU Big 12 school purely for football, as well. So, if Texas keeps the Red River Rivalry as an independent, plays 1 or 2 of its fellow in-state Texas schools not named Texas A&M, has a similar 5-game partial ACC schedule like ND and then fills out the rest of its schedule in a manner that’s similar to now, I think that’s very attractive compared to the normal Big 12 schedule for the long-term. We’re not even getting to basketball and baseball, where the ACC is extremely powerful.

So, A&M could certainly put a serious dent in UT’s power (and if it’s not A&M specifically, it could be simply the increased presence of the SEC in the state of Texas), but that doesn’t necessarily correlate in Texas preferring the Big 12 over partial membership in the ACC. If anything, Texas might end up with acting in a way similar to how BYU responded to Utah’s invite to the Pac-12, where independence became mechanism to show how it was “special” compared to its in-state rival.

To me, Big East expansion to 12 schools is inevitable and ought to have happened already. The fact that Xavier AD Greg Christopher mentioned St. Louis, Dayton, Richmond and VCU as the prime candidates isn’t any surprise. SLU seems to be a lock – it’s a perfect institutional fit in a large market (by college sports standards) with a competent on-the-court basketball team. As I’ve stated previously, it’s really a matter of who comes along with SLU. I don’t see the Big East being interested in creating a nationwide conference with schools like Gonzaga and BYU – that’s an interesting fantasy for those purely focused on the basketball product, but it’s a non-starter for all of the other sports. So, Dayton, Richmond and VCU are really the well-worn “other” candidates, with the Big East’s consternation on each of them being that they have major flaws from the conference’s perspective (Dayton is in a smaller Midwestern market, Richmond has a small alumni base, and VCU would be the lone public school in a league of private institutions). It’s also difficult to see many other schools outside of that group that could have both a Butler-like ascent and the institutional and market profiles that the Big East is looking for. The only ones that come to mind are Davidson (which has a small size like Richmond but has had more recent on-the-court success and is located in a college hoops hotbed) and Duquesne (great institutional and market fit, yet they have zero on-the-court credentials).

If I were running the Big East, I certainly wouldn’t see Davidson or Duquesne as panaceas that are worth holding off expansion for. University presidents have proven to be a strange bunch in conference realignment decisions, though. To me, SLU is a lock to get into the Big East when it expands (and I say when because I just don’t see Fox being satisfied with the level of inventory and market coverage that the 10-team setup offers in the long-term), with Dayton as a slight front-runner for the 12th spot. Now, VCU might end up being too much to ignore if they have another Final Four run and, maybe more importantly, keep having fans showing up in droves in Brooklyn for the Atlantic 10 Tournament (as the Big East needs to maintain ticket buyers for its own tournament at Madison Square Garden). The public school profile is definitely a major problem for VCU’s candidacy, though. That factor can’t be underestimated with the Big East presidents.

For the long-term (the next 10 to 20 years), it probably won’t look too much different than now when it comes to U.S. spectator sports: (1) football, (2) basketball, (3) baseball and then a big dropoff to get to hockey and soccer. (This is different than levels of actual participation in sports, where soccer and basketball will likely dominate.) When looking at the metrics, basketball is clearly ascendant compared to baseball: the NBA Finals have been consistently drawing better ratings than the World Series, NBA players are more recognizable to the general public, neutral sports fans are more likely to watch an NBA game that doesn’t involve their favorite team than an MLB game without their favorite team, and, most importantly, the NBA viewing audience is younger and more diverse across economic and racial lines.

I wrote a piece on soccer’s issues with viewership back when David Beckham joined the LA Galaxy a few years ago and the main thrust of that post still holds true: viewership of soccer in the U.S. will be capped as long as Major League Soccer fails to import the best players in their primes like they do in Major League Baseball, the NBA and NHL. Americans want to watch the best of the best, which is why they’re willing to watch the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams play in the World Cup and other international competitions, but aren’t interested in what they perceive to be minor league pro soccer compared to the English Premier League and other top European leagues.

Think of it this way: most sports fans can recognize the difference in the quality of play between an MLB game with a 1-0 score and a minor league baseball game with the same 1-0 score. Likewise, even relative soccer watching novices in America can see that the level of play in a World Cup or EPL match is vastly different than MLS. That’s why I’ve long said that the drag on soccer’s popularity in the U.S. has nothing to do with the supposed lack of scoring*. Instead, it’s that soccer is the main sport where we’re exporting the best players as opposed to importing them, which means we’re getting a worse product than other countries (unlike in basketball, baseball and soccer) and we know it. So, soccer can grow, but it will be limited as long as we don’t get to watch the best players here.

(* Scoring is an artificial construct, anyway. A 21-14 football score sounds a lot different than a 3-2 score (as in 3 touchdowns to 2 touchdowns) even if it reflects the same amount of on-the-field action. The “lack of scoring” argument for why Americans don’t watch soccer en masse is one of my sports pet peeves because it’s so simplistic and misses the larger picture.)

What will it mean for NCAA 14 that the conferences aren’t represented? – @Devon2012 

Ah, yes. Yet another toothless action by the NCAA and conferences in attempting to deflect criticism that they’re taking in billions of dollars on par with the largest pro sports entities in the world. I guess the NCAA has a bit more skin in the game since its brand is in the title of the game itself, but it’s pointless for the conferences to remove their names from video games, but then allow their members to continue to be included under their own separate agreements with EA Sports (and all but one of them have such agreements). We’re not talking about going to some Blades of Steel era logoless and nicknameless labeling of teams here: the Illinois Fighting Illini, Michigan Wolverines, Ohio State Buckeyes and all of their other conference-mates will be playing in a video game league that’s not named the Big Ten but everyone will recognize is the Big Ten. (I’m sure that EA Sports will simply use the mathematically correct “Big 14″.) Why the Big Ten, SEC and other power conferences give up their branding control when their member schools are still participating in the game is beyond me.

I don’t think ESPN and Fox are battling over conference realignment per se in the sense that the only conference where it really matters at this point for them is the Big Ten. In fact, the Big Ten’s next TV contract (which would start in 2016) is in an environment where it’s the only power conference that’s going out to the open market for the next decade, so ESPN and Fox (along with NBC and maybe even Turner) could fight for the conference with realignment being a tangential factor. At the end of the day, I believe that the Big Ten will end up with a Pac-12-style deal where the Tier 1/Top Tier 2 rights are split between ESPN and Fox and then the Lower Tier 2/Tier 3 rights go to the Fox-affiliated BTN, so neither ESPN nor Fox will push the Big Ten or the other conferences to do one thing or the other simply for the sake of TV rights. If anything, the last thing that ESPN and Fox would want is further realignment, as it has resulted in significantly higher rights fees that they’re footing the bill for. The Pac-12, Big 12, SEC and ACC rights are all locked up for a long time, so the networks are just going to end up paying more if any other schools end up defecting to the Big Ten.

Which is more likely for the NHL – expansion or contraction? Which NFL franchise(s) are most likely to land in LA? If none do in next 5-10 years, would NFL expand again? – John O

A couple of key overarching points about about pro sports realignment:

(1) Having an “acceptable” stadium is non-negotiable -  It doesn’t matter how attractive a market might be – if it doesn’t have the right stadium (which means having the requisite amount of luxury suites and sweetheart revenue streams), then it won’t be considered. (See the lack of an NFL team in LA for the past 2 decades.)

(2) The top 4 U.S. pro sports leagues will NEVER contract – Believe me – if I could wave a magic wand, there would be 8 to 10 NHL franchises eradicated tomorrow. However, when franchise values for even the worst pro teams in the worst markets are worth hundreds of millions of dollars, owners would rather (a) collect entry fees from new buyers of those dog franchises, (b) move those dog franchises to new markets with “acceptable” stadiums and (c) simultaneously scare current markets into building new “acceptable” stadiums in the process.

So, the first question is fairly straightforward at a high level – the greater likelihood for the NHL is expansion simply because contraction isn’t a viable option. That being said, when you dig down deeper, how much is it worth for any league to expand at this point? Most NBA and NHL franchises are better off using Seattle as a threat to current markets within their footprints to ram through new stadium deals than putting a team in Seattle itself. Leading into your next question, the NFL has used this type of threat better than anyone with the lack of a franchise in Los Angeles. Think about it if you’re Jacksonville, St. Louis or San Diego – if the NFL won’t put a team in LA for not having an “acceptable” stadium, then they sure as hell won’t care about you if you don’t have the right building.

The team that should move to LA is the Jaguars (nothing against Jacksonville, but it truly doesn’t make sense how that market has an NFL franchise), but it appears that their stadium lease is extremely difficult to break. That leaves LA’s two prodigal sons of the Rams and Raiders as frontrunners (franchises with aging stadiums and relatively low contractual barriers to deal with) along with the Chargers (a fairly short geographical move).

Of course, remember point #1: LA must have an “acceptable” stadium. That has always been the dilemma. The proposed Farmers Field in downtown LA near the Staples Center and LA Live had always made the most sense to me from afar since it presents the best opportunity to be a catalyst to further economic development in that area. Downtown LA still isn’t anywhere near as walkable as New York City, Chicago or San Francisco, but a football stadium is a logical addition to what the LA Live complex has already brought there. Unfortunately, that proposal seems to be dead right now.

The problem is that the massive size of the LA market almost works against it in an environment where getting the right stadium deal matters more than anything else in attracting an NFL (or any other pro sports) franchise. The LA market is so lucrative that tons of potential high profile investors want to get into the action, which means that the region as a hole continuously fails to coalesce around a single stadium proposal. The City of Industry and Orange County, for example, see Downtown LA as a competitive threat as opposed to a partner, so we’ve been seeing lots of stadium proposals from various municipalities and factions over the past two decades without any of them getting broad support. In contrast, smaller markets have a better ability to get behind a single proposal with little infighting.

I’ve been thinking that LA would have an NFL team within the next 5 years for the past 15 years, so while it makes sense to virtually everyone with half a brain, it’s pretty obvious that the NFL won’t budge whatsoever on the stadium issue even with a gaping hole in the #2 TV market in the country. Roger Goodell would rather work with markets that have top tier stadiums in place… like London*.

(* Look – I love London. It’s one of the few places that I’d ever consider moving to by choice from Chicago. However, Goodell’s continuous rhetoric about possibly putting a Super Bowl and/or team in London is wearying. The NFL needs to separate the interest of the American expat population in England that’s interested in the league with the fact that native Brits are unbelievably resistant to the overtures of U.S. sports leagues much more compared to other European countries. The most successful franchises in terms of attendance in the old NFL Europe developmental league were actually located in Germany, while Spain, France and many Eastern European countries are solid followers of the NBA. London simply isn’t a good growth spot for the NFL at all.)

Enjoy the upcoming games, everyone!

(Image from HitFix)

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Comments
  1. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    GEAUX Tigers!

  2. greg says:

    Go Hawks!!

  3. BuckeyeBeau says:

    whoo, go Buckeye!

  4. frug says:

    The top 4 U.S. pro sports leagues will NEVER contract

    I wouldn’t go quite that far. While I do think it is exceedingly unlikely any of the Big 4 (which is really the Big 3 + NHL, but that’s for another post) will contract any time soon, I think saying “never” is a bit a too far.

    Remember, MLB (with the agreement of the MLBPA) voted to contract in 2001 and it was only an injunction granted at the last possible moment that kept Twins and Expos from being eliminated (and actually, the league could have still contracted the Expos alone if they had been willing to ditch the 162 game schedule). In fact, contraction was so close that the Expos GM had already accepted it as inevitable and began trading away the team’s future (which he didn’t believe the franchise would ever see) in a desperate attempt to make one last playoff push (the best example of this was sending the Indians Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore, and Brandon Phillips for two months of Bartolo Colon).

    • vp19 says:

      And the result was that when the Expos relocated to Washington in 2005, MLB’s ownership and its dismantling of their farm system doomed the franchise for the rest of that decade.

  5. frug says:

    For the long-term (the next 10 to 20 years), it probably won’t look too much different than now when it comes to U.S. spectator sports: (1) football, (2) basketball, (3) baseball

    If you combine pro and college I agree, but I think MLB will continue to hold off the NBA. It is already well ahead to total TV ratings (even if the NBA’s national events like the Finals are ahead of the WS) and is a much better position financially.

    • @frug – I’d disagree – I think the NBA has already surpassed MLB at a national level. Growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, there were plenty of baseball players that were as high profile as the top NFL and NBA stars. As of today, though, the last 2 MLB players that have a Q rating anywhere near the top 10 to 20 NBA players are A-Rod and Derek Jeter (both of whom are near the end of the careers, with the former probably getting forced out). This matters because young people increasingly follow individual players as much as they follow teams (with social media as a catalyst), so MLB going down in terms of personality power is coming at the wrong time. At the same time, the NBA has consistently scored as the top sport after the NFL for all of the minority groups in the US (African-American, Hispanics and Asians) and we’re heading toward a majority minority country.

      Now, I do think MLB still has an advantage at a local level – MLB teams generally have more loyal fans than NBA teams at this point. NBA teams tend to have more fairweather fans outside of the marquee franchises like the Lakers, Knicks, Bulls and Celtics. MLB teams also have an advantage in terms of maximizing regional sports network revenue in today’s basic cable environment. However, the long-term economic structure is actually very favorable to NBA teams with the salary cap in place. Let’s put it this way: it’s better to own a bad NBA team than it is to own a bad MLB team because the costs are so much higher with the latter. At the same time, one superstar can make a small market NBA team into a marquee draw (see Kevin Durant and Oklahoma City) in a way that’s impossible in MLB. MLB is a franchise-driven league – it needs its marquee franchises like the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs and Dodgers to perform well in order to draw maximum interest. We’d know all of the Tampa Bay Rays a lot better if they switched uniforms with the Yankees. (MLB is like college football in that respect.) In contrast, the NBA is a star-driven league where the attention will go to wherever the stars might be (with the exception being that the Lakers will always draw coverage). That’s actually a better formula at a national level from year-to-year and closer to the NFL model.

      • frug says:

        I think the NBA has already surpassed MLB at a national level

        I do think MLB still has an advantage at a local level

        That was exactly my point; even if the NBA has surpassed MLB at the national level (and it probably has) it is not by much. Baseball, meanwhile, has a wide edge locally (if you look at total TV viewers, not just national broadcasts, it isn’t even close). This is why baseball teams generally bring in more gate revenue as well.

        I’ll add, that baseball has also become the first sport to successfully make the transition to internet broadcasting as MLB.tv has been massive success.

        However, the long-term economic structure is actually very favorable to NBA teams with the salary cap in place. Let’s put it this way: it’s better to own a bad NBA team than it is to own a bad MLB team because the costs are so much higher with the latter.

        If this was 10 years ago I would agree with you wholeheartedly. But this isn’t ten years ago; it’s now.

        Since baseball introduced revenue sharing and the luxury tax in 2002 it has become all but impossible to lose money in MLB. Remember, while there is no salary cap in MLB there is also no salary floor, meaning all teams have to do is get their operating costs low enough and they can turn a profit regardless of performance (which is exactly why the Pirates and Marlins are two of the most profitable teams in pro-sports). In fact, for all the talk of baseball’s declining popularity and the fact it is the only major sport without a salary cap MLB is actually more profitable now that it has ever been.

        Contrast the NBA which despite having a salary cap had long work stoppage precisely because teams were losing money.

        • bullet says:

          I heard the Astros were one of the most profitable teams in baseball. If true, definitely supports your point.

          A little anecdotal evidence on the star driven comment: My son went with a bunch of friends to a Hawks-Heat game. They were almost all rooting for the Heat because of LeBron & Co. (while the adults everywhere but Miami root against LeBron & Co.).

      • Brian says:

        Frank the Tank,

        “I’d disagree – I think the NBA has already surpassed MLB at a national level.”

        http://www.harrisinteractive.com/NewsRoom/HarrisPolls/tabid/447/ctl/ReadCustom%20Default/mid/1508/ArticleId/1136/Default.aspx

        Favorite sport:
        1985 – NFL 24%, baseball 23%, CFB 10%, NBA 6%, men’s college hoops 6%
        2002 – NFL 27%, baseball 14%, NBA 11%, CFB 9%, men’s college hoops 4%
        2012 – NFL 34%, baseball 16%, CFB 11%, NBA 7%, men’s college hoops 3%

        Now, baseball has a demographics problem as their fan base skews older, but this data doesn’t support your basic position. The NBA ranks higher for younger groups, but not overall.

        • Brian says:

          http://www.gallup.com/poll/4735/sports.aspx

          Now you might wonder about total fans, since the Harris poll made people choose their favorite. Gallup looked at that. They give the trends over time, but I’ll focus on 2013.

          Favorite sport:
          Football – 39%
          Baseball – 14%
          Basketball – 12%

          I show this just as a comparison to the Harris results (45%, 16%, 10%)

          Are you a fan of …?
          NFL – 63%
          CFB – 49%
          MLB – 48%
          College MBB – 37%
          NBA – 33%
          Pro soccer – 19%

          • BruceMcF says:

            Professional Ice Hockey 22%

            On the “once in four years” World Cup soccer fan, “somewhat a fan” is 4% for soccer, 2% for professional ice hockey.

  6. Nathan says:

    Freaking Add.

  7. SAM240 says:

    Wouldn’t Dortmund be the best choice for European NFL expansion?

    You already have a first-class stadium that can hold over 80,000 people. The city is located in the Rhein-Ruhr area, which is home to 12 million people. And, as noted above, the best support for NFL Europe was in Germany; at the time of its demise, five of the league’s six best teams were in Germany.

    Given that Germany has about 80 million people, as opposed for 60 million for the United Kingdom, wouldn’t the NFL realize that Germany would be a more attractive market than the UK?

    Also, isn’t it possible that Goodell thinks that the NFL is better off without a team in the Los Angeles market? Southern California still has an NFL franchise in San Diego, so, in a sense, LA is like Milwaukee — there’s no actual team in the city, but there’s one team that’s in a very good position to have the dominant fan base there. Furthermore, without an actual LA-based team, there would be no blackouts there, and that would be extremely helpful in getting money from television contracts.

    (The resident cynic adds that Los Angeles already has at least one pro football team — the Trojans. It does not need another.)

    • vp19 says:

      I still maintain the Rams will return to Los Angeles, in a football stadium built adjacent to Chavez Ravine, and that the site initially envisioned for a downtown football facility instead will host the Angels’ return to their original home (L.A. Wrigley Field, longtime home of the PCL Angels, 1961; Dodger Stadium, 1962-65).

  8. Ron says:

    Do you think that the ACC would give Texas the same set-up as Notre Dame? From everything have I read FSU and some others are not happen with the N.D. deal. Duke basketball head coach came out against the deal, after the fact, so how would Texas fit in?

  9. boscatar says:

    I think London and Europe would be prime expansion territory for the NBA. If they added a 6-team Europe division, consisting of London, Paris, Berlin, Madrid, Rome, and perhaps Athens, that would rock!.

    The Western and Eastern Conferences and the divisions would actually be fairly easy to realign. Move the 6-team Europe Division to the Eastern Conference. Then, add Washington into the Atlantic Division, add Minnesota to the Central Division, add New Orleans and Memphis to the Southeast Division, move Portland to the Pacific Division, and then combine the 3 Texas teams with the Northwest Division leftovers (OKC, Denver, Utah).

    There would be some long road trips, but scheduling would be fairly simple and straightforward. 20 games (10 home, 10 away) against your Division, and then play each of the other 30 teams twice (1 home, 1 away). That’s 80 games. Or, if you want to stick with 82, you play 20 games against your Division, 16 against each of the other two Divisions in your Conference, and then 10 games against each of the three Divisions in the other Conference.

    Your entire division would travel to Europe (or the entire Europe Division would travel to the States to play a particular Division) and play 6 games over 12-14 days or so. (One of those road trips would have 7 games, if you wanted to keep the 82 game schedule).

  10. ccrider55 says:

    FtT:

    “…taking in billions of dollars on par with the largest pro sports entities in the world.”

    Isn’t this a bit of a stretch? Does the NCAA take even approach a few percent of what pro leagues make? Isn’t the laker deal alone well above march madness?

    • Richard says:

      No. CBS & Turner pay the NCAA 10.8B/14 years for March Madness (almost $771M/year).

      The exact figures for the Laker’s deal with Time Warner are not known but rumored to be $3B/20 years. $150M/year is a heady figure, but still a small fraction of the March Madness TV deal (which only runs for a few weeks).

      • ccrider55 says:

        Yeah, brain cramp.
        It is, however, one single BB team getting more than half what all the combined sports teams of the entire PAC 12 receive. And only for their local media deal. Can UTs total budget even meet an NBA payroll, not counting admins, travel, stadiums, and of course ownerships take?

        I just think describing college athletics as a “professional like” venture is not accurate and feeds a negative, money for profit image of college athletics. 1) there is no profit and 2) the money available per conference, per school, and especially per athlete is penny’s on the pro C notes.

        • frug says:

          Can UTs total budget even meet an NBA payroll, not counting admins, travel, stadiums, and of course ownerships take?

          Yes.

          http://hoopshype.com/salaries.htm

          The team with the highest payroll in the NBA last year (by a huge margin) was Miami at $101.2 million. UT’s athletic budget for 2012 was $163 million (which is more than double the #2 NBA team).

          • frug says:

            (Whoops wasn’t done posting)

            For another comparison, the WSJ recently published the results of a study that attempted to quantify the value of college football teams. It estimated that UT is worth approximately $761.7 million which, as the article noted, is slightly more than the Jacksonville Jaguars sold for.

            http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324391104578225802183417888.html

            So I think it is safe to say that the very top teams in the NCAA do have values comparable to some pro teams.

            1) there is no profit

            That is true for the overwhelming majority of schools, however, a handful do indeed turn profits every year.

          • frug says:

            Quick clarification, the $163 million was revenue; the AD had “only” $138 million in expenditures.

          • ccrider55 says:

            How about a MLB payroll. And an NFL payroll. An NHL for schools with hockey. MSL. Now, how much does the pro infrastructure cost, and how much do the owners/business make, take out and not reinvest in the venture?

            Would Steinbrenner, Paul Allen, Jerry Jones, etc to pay for top level teams in dozens of other sports, up to the level that he makes nothing over a salary, perhaps with a few incentive based increases? Along with managing a team in all the major sports? Again, reinvesting all the income.

            Colleges really don’t provide much more than the facade of pro sport. But the misconception of them as pro is more damaging in the public eye, at least in my opinion, than many/most of the scandals. No body thinks twice about a for profit busines doing whatever it can get away with to make as much as possible. This is how college sports are increasingly being seen. Media/bloggers not continually noting the difference only aggravates this.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Frug:

            When did UT become a profit based institution? Can I buy stock like I can in it like I can in Grand Canyon University, DeVry, and other for profit schools? :)

            It isn’t just esoteric accounting. UT doesn’t make profit. They collect revenue and spend what is above expenses on other school needs, off setting other costs.

          • frug says:

            When did UT become a profit based institution? Can I buy stock like I can in it like I can in Grand Canyon University, DeVry, and other for profit schools?

            Just because the university is a non-profit doesn’t mean individual departments can turn a profit; it just means the excess revenue to redistributed to other parts of the university.

            How about a MLB payroll. And an NFL payroll.

            UT’s AD has a budget higher than all NFL teams and all but 5 MLB teams.

            http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/story/21989238/baseball-payrolls-list

          • ccrider55 says:

            Frug:

            My point is that pro incomes only support a single team. How many athletes, coaches, trainers, support staff, administrators, etc. do tOSU, Michigan, UT, etc support compared to the Indians and the Browns, or the Tigers and Lions, the Astros and Mavericks?

            Universities provide a broad, almost full spectrum of athletics rather than a single sport, and for the most part of only one gender. I think it’s important when talking about the money schools are bringing in to highlite just how many more costs, programs, athletes, etc that is being supported, and in most cases still require some subsidies from the school/state.

            It is a big pile of money, but its not like everyone is suddenly able to restore most of the programs that have been dropped, let alone start new ones in addition to those restored. There are big costs that eat up that pile. It does not provide nearly enough to be consideredf professional sport level.

          • Richard says:

            “No body thinks twice about a for profit busines doing whatever it can get away with to make as much as possible. This is how college sports are increasingly being seen.”

            Uh, this is how college sports (at least at some schools) increasing _are_.

            http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-football/news/20130910/oklahoma-state-special-report-archive/

  11. Brady says:

    I’m sorry frank, but if you don’t think that Soccer will surpass Baseball and Basketball in at least twenty years, you have a blind eye turned toward the sport. The thing you are forgetting is that popularity for a sport in a country is not just based off of one league. Just because not everyone is a fan of MLS does not mean that they are not or will not be fans of Liga MX, La Liga, Premier League, Bundesliga, or some other league around the globe. Soccer has an global appeal that no other sport in the U.S. can match.

    • @Brady – I don’t disagree with soccer’s global appeal – it is clearly the #1 sport worldwide. However, for what you’re stating to occur in the US, Americans would have to divorce the concepts of regionalism/localism and sports fandom, which I find to be extremely unlikely even in an ever more interconnected world. We’re a pretty provincial nation overall. I don’t see a scenario in the next 20 years where, in a place like Chicago, the aggregate of all soccer fans across all leagues would exceed the number of Cubs, Bulls and even us lowly White Sox fans. Same thing in New York, LA, Dallas, etc. And that’s just the pro leagues – add in college basketball and there’s definitely a big advantage for at least basketball there. The aggregate of all US soccer fans could possibly surpass the number of NHL fans in the next decade or two, but I’m not seeing it with respect to basketball or baseball.

    • bullet says:

      Kids don’t talk about Beckam or whoever. They don’t really talk about the World Cup. They do talk about Lebron. Soccer will not pass basketball or baseball in the next 20 years. I think it extremely unlikely it does so in the next 50. Beyond 50 anything can happen. Ultimate Frisbee could be the favorite sport.

    • BruceMcF says:

      But Brady, the conclusion does not follow from the argument. The fact that soccer in the US is more popular than the MLS does not on its own imply that soccer will every be a top three sport in terms of popularity. The demographics of its current support suggest it will pass ice hockey as the 4th most popular sport, but that is on popularity shares that suggest it being the biggest second tier sport rather than among the top tier sports.

  12. Mack says:

    Soccer will never be more than an after thought in the US because the MLS cannot afford to pay European level salaries and Football is already taken by another sport.

  13. I think baseball has a number of very serious long-term problems. The biggest is the generational interest problem. Comparatively few people younger than 30 have much interest in the sport. While baseball certainly has a large number of young fans, it severely lags behind football, basketball, and soccer in that regard. The general opinion of younger viewers is that baseball is boring, especially when compared to those other sports. Even in a 1-0 soccer game, the players will have been moving up and down the field for the entire game, unlike baseball, where everyone really just stands still. Baseball games also drag on and on in terms of length. If you took a poll of Americans under 25, I think Baseball would be well behind soccer in popularity, and would also be behind hockey in a number of northern states. Baseball has also lost a great deal of its popularity as a competitive sport among young children. Essentially every parent I know has their kids play soccer or basketball, but I don’t know a single one with kids in little league.

    • bullet says:

      I know lots with kids in baseball. The problem with baseball is that it is getting too serious at too young an age. Not enough “rec” leagues much beyond Tball.

      Baseball just fit a rural, pastoral nation better than a linked in, iphone, multi-tasking society.

      • zeek says:

        Re: that last part, football and basketball are Twitter-world sports. They’re perfect in that they have discrete moments (football plays, basketball shots) that occur in rapid-fire succession with a high potential for action in that discrete moment.

        With baseball and soccer, neither of them are really built for the Twitter age in that respect; soccer can have extended periods with little action on goal and baseball really doesn’t get going unless one team gets a couple hits in an inning. Neither of those sports are conducive to building fan support in the US among young people, especially when people have such short attention spans.

        Soccer though to its credit has such enormous tradition/fan support in Europe as well as youth support in the US that it has a fighting chance.

        I agree with you with respect to baseball; I don’t really see where it goes.

        • zeek says:

          Also with respect to soccer, parents love it for youths in terms of the fact that it’s relatively low cost, and it’s also accessible to most kids (I think it’s the “easiest” to play in terms of low degree of coordination needed), while also being safe in terms of concussion risks and the like.

        • Brian says:

          One thing i think people need to keep in mind is that your taste in sports tends to change with age. Lots of kids are soccer fans because they play, or recently played, soccer. That’s been true for a long time. Does that fandom persist though?

          Many kids that grow up playing soccer then go to college, and college sports become more important to them. CFB doesn’t have lots of fans under 16, but it’s very big for 18-24 year olds and for older fans. Will baseball continue to attract older fans as people age, or was its popularity a product of the times? Only time will tell.

          • David Brown says:

            Perhaps a great Bible quote and musical tastes can explain sports tastes quite nicely: “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.’ (Corinthians 1, 13:11). Here is the other: The entertainers that are popular with teenagers (see Cyrus, Miley), generally stop being so when they are of legal voting age, in addition, Lady Gaga has won 5 Competitive Grammy’s (which is supposed to be an award for “The Best” in music), which is more than Elvis & Led Zeppelin COMBINED. No one (I bet even Gaga herself), thinks she is on the level of Elvis or Zeppelin (there is a reason why Zeppelin won Kennedy Center Honors last year, and it was not politics). Same thing applies to sports. Maybe Lebron (like Miley Cyrus and her “Bear” (which had more YouTube hits than any in History)) appeal to the younger generation, but as their mind grows, they look for things a little deeper than a “Slam Dunk” by an opposing player, and Miley’s “Bear” and they discover, Baseball & Led Zeppelin.

          • @David Brown – That’s an interesting analogy, although I’ll say that my personal experience has been the opposite: baseball was my favorite sport to watch when I was growing up by far, but that interest has dissipated much more relative to football and basketball. I used to know the lineups and stats for all of the players on all of the teams… and mind you, this was in the pre-Internet era, so I was relying on newspaper box scores and career stats on the 20,000-plus baseball cards that I still have in my basement. Being in the midst of arguably the worst baseball season in Chicago sports history (my White Sox are at Astro-level ineptitude and my Cubs fan friends similarly want to ignore everything about this year), I’ve become acutely aware of how little I’m paying attention to the overall baseball world right now. I’ve suffered through some pretty terrible Bears, Bulls and Illini seasons recently, yet I still made time to watch the high profile NFL, NBA and college sports games in a way that I haven’t done for baseball. I don’t think that I’m the only one – the TV ratings reflect that. I grew up in an age where the thought of the World Series being beat by *anything* airing opposite it in the ratings in any demographic category would be asinine, yet that’s a routine occurrence now (getting beaten by Sunday Night Football and demo-friendly shows like Modern Family). That’s a big-time problem when the NFL and NBA are adding more viewers in an absolute sense.

            And to be clear, that’s a reflection of how my feelings about baseball have shifted from an overall interest in the game to one that’s only relly focused on the White Sox as a fan and, to a lesser extent, the Cubs since they’re local. When the Sox are in a pennant race (like last season until they collapsed like a bunch of floppy Ramen noodles in the last 2 weeks of the year), I’m watching baseball all of the time. I still dragged my wife and kids to White Sox spring training in Arizona in the spring and will even be enjoying a Cubs game tomorrow. (Even a bad baseball game is still better than going to work.) It’s just that the other teams don’t interest me in the way that non-Chicago NFL and NBA teams interest me.

            A big factor is the usage of PEDs. I’m not naive enough to think that there isn’t just as much PED usage in football and basketball as there is in baseball, but the negative impact (whether it’s fair or not) is so much greater with MLB compared to the other sports leagues. That’s because greatness in baseball, even in the pre-sabermetric era, has been defined by statistics accumulated over long periods of time. In contrast, we assign greatness in football and basketball much more to what we actually *see* – we knew Michael Jordan was great before he even won a single title and there aren’t too many people that would pick Emmitt Smith over Barry Sanders for a running back an all-time great football team despite the former having vastly superior stats over his contemporary.

            Now, I didn’t consciously turn away from baseball because of PEDs. It wasn’t as if though I made a moral proclamation that “I’m done with baseball”. Like I’ve said, I’ll continue to watch the White Sox. It’s simply that over the past 10 years, I’ve gradually ignored and/or discounted any claims of greatness of players on any other team more and more, and if I’m not interested in watching other “great” baseball players, then it turns out that I’m not really interested in watching any other teams at all. This is a major shift in my sports watching habits, where I used to always go out of my way to watch guys like Pedro Martinez and Cal Ripken (and admittedly, the steroid-fueled home run fireworks of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa) and loved the All-Star Game. Mike Trout and Bryce Harper might be unbelievable young superstars on paper, but, even though it’s not necessarily fair, I (and a lot of other fans, IMHO) are simply going to be skeptical about any numbers that top players put up forever. We’ve been burned by McGwire, Sosa and Bonds. We thought that A-Rod could be a “clean” home run record holder, yet now we’ve been burned by him. We’ve been burned by guys like Ryan Braun that rose to stardom AFTER we were fully aware of the extent of PED usage in those home run record chases, so we can’t chalk it up to the public being naive any longer.

            That’s a massive problem for baseball and, like I’ve said, MLB won’t get any leeway in the same manner that the NFL and NBA can because baseball is such a stat-driven sport. It’s sad because I really do love baseball and still want my kids to love it, as well.

          • bullet says:

            I think a lot of baseball’s problems are self-inflicted. Its not as “instant gratification,” but its driven people away. The strikes, split season and skipping the world series soured me on it. At the time of that 1985 poll it may have still been my favorite sport, but was slipping. The steroids have probably soured others on it. The downsizing of stadiums and upsizing of prices may have helped revenue, but have decreased fans. The massive revenue inequality that coincided with free agency has made the Yankees and Red Sox powers every year and made the formerly powerful Pirates a team that went 30 years between winning seasons. At one point 3 teams from the “poor” division of the National League (Cards, Reds, Pirates) had the 3 best records in the League and the Yankees were looking like they wouldn’t make the playoffs. It was refreshing.

            Sports are recreation. You don’t want to read about millionaires fighting with each other and accusing each other of being greedy while refusing to play or locking players out. Marvin Miller may eventually be viewed as the man who killed baseball.

          • zeek says:

            That’s a good point about whether fandom persists from youth participation. I do agree that there’s a transition away from soccer and towards college sports as those youth enter college.

            That may partially explain the problem that baseball is having as well.

            If you look at the regions where college sports serve as a connector between youth and pro-sports; football and basketball are universally successful at all 3 levels around the country.

            Baseball on the other hand is struggling mightily at the collegiate level in the North where most pro-teams are. As far as the South goes, Atlanta is really the only place where you have a well-supported pro-team and strong college teams in the state.

            Florida/Texas have struggling pro-teams (Houston seems to be drawing less than 1000 TV viewers for some games which is shocking for a professional team in a huge/wealthy market), whereas Missouri doesn’t really have well-followed college baseball.

            The only region in the US where you have thriving college and professional baseball is the West.

          • zeek says:

            @bullet, that’s another obvious point that we glazed over. Professional baseball is right now going through a worse scandal than any other sports league has faced in a while. The steroid era may have tainted the game for many and may be a part of the reason why baseball is struggling among younger viewers. The old-timers are committed to supporting baseball because they’ve done it for decades. People in their 20s or 30s are going to have more fluid sports loyalties.

            The long-term consequences may be disastrous though. In 40 or 50 years, that lost generation could become a permanent gap in baseball’s profile.

            Sports fandom is something that is often passed down from generation to generation. Having a lost generation severely impacts that process.

          • Mack says:

            40-50 years ago little league was very popular and the baseball fans were younger. I just do not see today’s 25 year old who never played or watched baseball becoming interested 25 years from now.

          • metatron says:

            @Frank – I blame divisional play. Outside of the AL Central, we’re lucky to see some teams seven times a year.

    • bullet says:

      Also the major leagues are maximizing revenue and downsizing attendance. It was the one sport you could go to with kids and not spend an arm and a leg. Now its very expensive as well.

    • Mark says:

      I don’t know where you are, but baseball is extremely popular in the midwest. Yes most kids play soccer for a few years but almost all drift away before high school. Perhaps you are too young to have kids and see how popular baseball is?

      Also – have you attended a MLB game recently? Tends to be a fairly young crowd, not just people over 60 but families and many people under 25. Baseball has the best weather and almost no competition in the summer.

      • zeek says:

        I think he’s talking about interest in professional baseball. World Series ratings are starting to routinely show the graying of the fanbase as compared to say basketball. NBA Finals median age is somewhere around 40. Baseball is north of 50 and going higher still; fastest growing demographic for baseball is 50+ (due to aging), whereas it’s 18-49 demographic numbers are struggling.

        Numbers from:
        http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/7372/the-world-series-at-least-its-beating-whitney

        • Mark says:

          I don’t believe that World Series ratings are relevant for MLB’s future – the money is made from May to August when it is the only game in town. Football, basketball and hockey directly compete with each other, while MLB has time to itself when it dominates. The large number of games also allow families to attend while few families can afford the NFL, NHL or NBA. People go on vacation to see games at Wrigley, Fenway, Dodger and Yankee Stadium, etc – what other sport has that?

          • bullet says:

            I was in St. Louis and we were going to try to see the Astros play the Cards. Cheapest seats we could find a few days in advance were something like $85 apiece. And they were upper deck in the outfield along the foul lines. Not exactly prime seats. It may be a little cheaper than NFL and NBA prices, but not much.

          • bullet says:

            What you are describing is what WAS baseball’s appeal. You could do a family outing. It was a good time with Dads and their sons. I remember driving up from Lexington with my Dad to watch the Reds in old Crosley Field. Keeping score on those simple one sheet charts. Eating peanuts. Seeing the beginnings of the Big Red Machine-Rose and Perez, playing teams like the Giants with Mays and McCovey. After the game you would see lots of cars heading up I-75 to Dayton or down I-75 to Lexington.

          • Richard says:

            Bullet:

            Well, you picked the place that is most fervent about baseball in America (on a weekend, I assume; weekday games are much cheaper due to the spread-out Cards fanbase) to see a game.

            Newsflash: tickets to Tide games in Tuscaloosa aren’t cheap either.

          • bullet says:

            @Richard
            He was making a point about baseball being relatively cheap and I was pointing out that is no longer so. Its like the rest. Don’t remember for sure, but I think we were looking at Wednesday or Thursday games.

          • bullet says:

            Baseball was also good for group activities. You still see things like Scout Day at baseball games. But groups seemed to be more prevalent in the past. At the very least they were better advertised. I remember Reds and Astros games where there would be acknowledgements of numerous groups, either by the announcer or on the scoreboard. For the Reds on weekends, they would have groups from Indianapolis, Columbus, Huntington, Lexington and Louisville and everywhere in between. The Astros would sometimes have San Antonio and Austin groups as well as Beaumont.

          • Richard says:

            Bullet:

            And my point is that St. Louis isn’t representative. You choose to watch a game in the city where baseball support is most fervent, then sure, it isn’t going to seem cheap.

            NHL games are, in general, cheaper than NFL games to attend, but it sure wouldn’t seem that way in Toronto.

  14. zeek says:

    Well Nebraska has strongly circled the wagons around Pelini. I thought he was in much more danger of losing his job than he is now, especially after Osborne’s comments saying he knew about this and addressed it last year.

    • Brian says:

      No, only loss #5 will put his job at serious risk.

    • Mike says:

      I mentioned in the previous thread that the ghosts of Frank Solich’s firing will make it very difficult to fire Pelini unless he wins less than 9 games. It is even more difficult now that Osborne has thrown his full weight behind him.

  15. duffman says:

    The Ranks of the undefeated after Week #3 :

    Big 5 schools 28 of 62 = 45.16% of population : 28 of 125 = 22.40% of total
    PAC = 07 of 12 => 58.33% remain undefeated
    ACC = 06 of 14 => 42.86% remain undefeated
    SEC = 06 of 14 => 42.86% remain undefeated
    B1G = 05 of 12 => 41.67% remain undefeated
    B 12 = 04 of 10 => 40.00% remain undefeated

    Non Big 5 schools 07 of 63 = 11.11% of population : 07 of 125 = 05.60% of total
    AAC = 03 of 10 => 30.00% remain undefeated
    IND = 01 of 06 => 16.67% : Navy
    SunB = 01 of 08 => 12.50% : Texas State
    MWC = 01 of 12 => 08.33% : Fresno State
    MAC = 01 of 13 => 07.69% : Northern Illinois
    CUSA = 00 of 14 => 00.00% : NONE undefeated

    .

    .

    Undefeated schools ( schools that did not play are highlighted in bold )

    ACC Atlantic : 3-0 Maryland :::: 2-0 Clemson, NC State, and Florida State
    ACC Costal : 2-0 Miami (FL) and Georgia Tech

    B1G Legends : 3-0 Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, and Northwestern
    B1G Leaders : 3-0 Ohio State

    B 12 : 3-0 Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State :::: 2-0 Baylor

    PAC North : 3-0 Oregon :::: 2-0 Stanford and Washington
    PAC South : 3-0 Arizona :::: 2-0 Arizona State, Colorado, and UCLA

    SEC East : 2-0 Missouri
    SEC West : 3-0 Arkansas, Auburn, Louisiana State, and Mississippi :::: 2-0 Alabama

    AAC : 3-0 Louisville and Central Florida :::: 2-0 Houston

    IND : 2-0 Navy

    MAC East : –0– :::: MAC West : 2-0 Northern Illinois

    MWC West : 2-0 Fresno State :::: MWC Mountain : –0–

    Sun Belt : 2-0 Texas State

    CUSA East : –0– :::: CUSA West : –0–

    .

    .

    Undefeated pairings for week #4

    FBS vs FCS : Buthune Cookman @ Florida State
    FBS vs FCS : Texas State @ Texas Tech
    FBS vs FCS : Maine @ Northwestern
    FBS vs FCS : Eastern Illinois @ Northern Illinois
    FBS vs FCS : Idaho State @ Washington

    FBS vs FBS : NONE

    FBS conference vs FBS conference
    ACC vs ACC : Clemson @ NC State
    PAC vs PAC : Arizona State @ Stanford
    SEC vs SEC : Auburn @ Louisiana State

  16. John Bulter says:

    “I wrote a piece on soccer’s issues with viewership back when David Beckham joined the LA Galaxy a few years ago and the main thrust of that post still holds true: viewership of soccer in the U.S. will be capped as long as Major League Soccer fails to import the best players in their primes like they do in Major League Baseball, the NBA and NHL. Americans want to watch the best of the best, which is why they’re willing to watch the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams play in the World Cup and other international competitions, but aren’t interested in what they perceive to be minor league pro soccer compared to the English Premier League and other top European leagues.”

    I feel the same way about college football. As long as college teams are inferior to NFL ones they will not be able to built fan bases that want to see local teams play… oh wait that seems wrong.

    In reality people care more about competitive games than some intrinsic value of “quality” that the teams playing supposedly have and this is best shown by college sports. If American only wanted to watch the best we wouldn’t follow college sports at all. No one cares that Manziel isn’t going to cut it in the pros when watching A&M play because he is entertaining at the level is he currently playing at.

    The idea that Americans only follow the best league is an over used cliche that is based on the idea that correlation is equal to causation and I would have expect better of you to rely on that for your argument. Most people think Americans follow the best leagues for sports and they happen to be ours, but really we follow our leagues and in most cases(once again college football and college basketball are exceptions to this) they happen to be the best because few other countries care about our sports. If a euro basketball team puts together a squad better an NBA team would we abandon our local teams? Some people might( the type that are Heat fans that don’t live in Florida), but most won’t since they already don’t root for the best team.

    The main reason MLS isn’t more popular is because the league is younger than most people reading this( I think this year was the first time a player younger than the league played a game). It takes time to grow fan bases and get people to take pride in their local team. In the cities where it has taken hold and become apart of the city’s sports identity( Seattle, Portland, Maybe Kansas City) no one cares how their team would fare against EPL teams they just want to get to the playoffs and win.

    Minor league baseball teams struggle is less about their quality and more about the fact that they aren’t stand alone franchises. It is hard to build local pride around a team isn’t really local.

    • zeek says:

      I don’t think that’s the correct way of viewing college sports; especially in an analysis of why a sport like soccer may never have comparable popularity to football/basketball/baseball.

      People don’t see college sports as minor league compared to professional league; they see it as pre-professional league. There’s a big difference. Sports fans know that they can see the superstars before they become superstars (or as the case is now, many of them become superstars at the college level in the case of football like Manziel, Luck, RG3).

      I do agree with a large part of your analysis with respect to soccer and MLS though. I think soccer will be considerably more successful in the future as it continues to build on its local popularity, and demographics will help. MLS is just young; we need to see what it looks like in 20 or 30 years before we can tell whether it’s on track to really becoming a major national player.

    • bullet says:

      NASL was founded in the 60s. It floundered for many years before folding. So professional soccer has been around for almost 50 years now.

      There are some people who follow pro sports because they are better players. In particular, I’ve heard that from sportswriters.

      • zeek says:

        Professional soccer hasn’t been done right in the US until now though. Overpaying for expensive transfers and creating artificial arms races (without the requisite revenue generators in place) tanked previous iterations of professional soccer in the US.

        MLS is the first time that thing have actually been done in the correct order with revenue generation (local stadium buildout, etc.) taking the priority.

      • nwood732@gmail.com says:

        How long the sport has been around doesn’t matter when building fans bases compared to how long these specific teams in MLS have been around. The few teams from the NASL that never folded and kept playing in lower league until they made it to MLS(Seattle, Portland, Vancouver) are actually doing great.

        “There are some people who follow pro sports because they are better players. In particular, I’ve heard that from sportswriters.” Some, not all and not even most just some.

  17. Brian says:

    So what do people think about the Browns trading the 2012 #3 pick Trent Richardson to the Colts for their 2014 1st round pick, which they’ll presumably use to replace the 2012 #22 pick Brandon Weeden? It’s week 2 and they’re trading their starting RB away? Is it time to start tanking for Teddy Bridgewater already? Do they really want to the gamble the franchise by drafting a top QB again? If they get that wrong, it’ll take yet another decade to recover.

    • Richard says:

      Decade? Wouldn’t they get several more shots at top 5 picks if they do badly over the next few years?

      • Brian says:

        I’ve seen articles that show that teams that whiff on a top QB pick tend to take 10 years to recover. It might be less now that salaries are capped for draftees, but apparently the extra losing costs the team enough free agents that it counterbalances getting more top picks.

        It might also be that it just takes time to flush out the bad management and get a new set of players drafted.

        • bullet says:

          Well in college Texas could have had RG3 and might well have been able to get Johnny Manziel. That’s two giant whiffs. They wanted RG3 as db and talked to but didn’t offer Manziel. Andrew Luck was in their backyard at Austin Westlake, but apparently there wasn’t mutual interest.

    • zeek says:

      I was stunned when I saw it. Yet another rebuild in Cleveland and more proof that the 49er method (stack top draft picks for a while and then become good) doesn’t really work that well. Teams that get into long-term ruts tend to stay in them.

    • @Brian – I’m not sure if this will work for the Browns simply because God (or if you prefer, the Flying Spaghetti Monster) hates Cleveland sports teams and whatever they try inevitably backfires. However, this does reflect how many NFL teams are now taking the approach that running backs are generally interchangeable with the way offenses work these days. I’m assuming that the Browns are justifying the move by believing that they can use one of their other lower round draft picks to get a running back that is just as effective as Trent Richardson, so they’re selling him high. (As a side note, this leads to the opposite draft value effect in fantasy football, where there are so few NFL teams left with a true primary RB that the handful that still exist are disproportionately valuable.)

      • Brian says:

        Yeah, I agree it was a dumb pick in the first place. I assume their thinking is that he wouldn’t have nearly the same value after the season, so better to trade him now and live with whatever RB they can scrape up (McGahee came in for a workout, I think). Still, they essentially told everyone they’re giving up on their starting QB after week 2 of his second year, wasting yet another 1st round pick.

        This whole situation is so Cleveland. I promise you they’ll pick a bust of a QB in the 2014 draft, too, or else finish too well this year to even get a decent QB and end up drafting an OG or something.

        • Psuhockey says:

          Stay away from Alabama running backs and quarterbacks. Alabama consistently has the best o-line talent in college football. Their runningback barely get touched until the 2nd level and their quarterbacks have a ton of time. That will not be the case in the NFL. The same thing happens to USC rbs and qbs under Carroll. All, even Bush for where he was drafted and the impact he was suppose to have, have been big busts.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Penn State went through the same situation in the 80s with all their running back busts in the NFL.

          • Psuhockey says:

            Your right. They had a ton of great offensive linemen as well. Not so much quarterbacks though.

          • frug says:

            The same thing happens to USC rbs and qbs under Carroll. All, even Bush for where he was drafted and the impact he was suppose to have, have been big busts.

            Almost all. Carson Palmer lived up to the hype. His career was eventually derailed by injuries, but he still gave the Bengals solid value.

    • Michael in Raleigh says:

      I think it’s bad for the Browns, but I’m really surprised at how little talk there is about how good a move this is for the Colts. They now have their running back to complement Andrew Luck’s passing game.

      Furthermore, I think it’s really weird how the Colts in general aren’t regarded at least as one of the best franchises in the NFL, if not in professional sports. Since the 1999 season, they’ve missed the playoffs twice. No NFL team, including New England, Pittsburgh, the Giants, Green Bay, and Baltimore can claim that. They had one awful, awful season in 2011 that followed nine straight playoff years, eight in a row of which were 12-win seasons, and turned things around immediately with a return to the playoffs last year. Now many more playoff runs are even more likely with Trent Richardson in the fold. Yet Indianapolis is never spoken of as a model franchise the way that the Steelers or Patriots are. Is it just because of market size? I don’t get it.

      • Psuhockey says:

        They are one of the luckiest franchises. They had the #1 pick overall when Peyton Manning came out. After becoming a perennial contender under Peyton, they missed the playoffs one time, finished worst overall, and it happens to be the year the best QB prospect since Manning came out. That kind of luck shouldn’t put you into consideration for best run franchises.

  18. duffman says:

    Results of week #3

    AP – Nebraska and Texas Christian dropped out
    (7) SEC : #1 Alabama, #6 LSU, #9 UGA, #10 TAMU, #12 S Carolina, #19 UF, #21 Mississippi
    (5) PAC : #2 Oregon, #5 Stanford, #13 UCLA, #17 Washington, #23 Arizona State
    (4) B1G : #4 Ohio State, #15 Michigan, #18 Northwestern, #24 Wisconsin
    (4) B12 : #11 Oklahoma State, #14 Oklahoma, #20 Baylor, #25 Texas Tech
    (3) ACC : #3 Clemson, #8 Florida State, #16 Miami
    (1) AAC : #7 Louisville
    (1) IND : #22 Notre Dame

    USA – Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Texas Christian dropped out
    (7) SEC : #1 Alabama, #7 LSU, #9 TAMU, #10 UGA, #13 S Carolina, #18 UF, #22 Mississippi
    (5) PAC : #2 Oregon, #5 Stanford, #15 UCLA, #20 Washington, #23 Arizona State
    (4) B1G : #3 Ohio State, #14 Michigan, #16 Northwestern, #24 Michigan State
    (3) B12 : #11 Oklahoma State, #12 Oklahoma, #19 Baylor
    (3) ACC : #4 Clemson, #8 Florida State, #17 Miami (FL)
    (1) AAC : #6 Louisville
    (1) IND : #21 Notre Dame
    (1) MWC : #25 Fresno State

    .

    .

    ACC : B5 = 1-2 : NB5 = 4-1 : FCS = 1-0 : OFF = FIVE :: U = (6) teams
    ACC (1-1) : B1G (DNP) : B12 (DNP) : PAC (0-1) : SEC (DNP) :::::::: FCS (1-0)
    AAC (1-0) : IND (DNP) : CUSA (1-0) : MAC (DNP) : MWC (2-0) : SunB (0-1)

    B 12 : B5 = 1-3 : NB5 = 3-1 : FCS = 1-0 : OFF = ONE :: U = (4) teams
    ACC (DNP) : B1G (0-1) : B12 (1-1) : PAC (DNP) : SEC (0-1) :::::::: FCS (1-0)
    AAC (DNP) : IND (DNP) : CUSA (1-1) : MAC (1-0) : MWC (DNP) : SunB (1-0)

    B1G : B5 = 2-3 : NB5 = 4-1 : FCS = 2-0 : OFF = NONE :: U = (5) teams
    ACC (DNP) : B1G (DNP) : B12 (1-0) : PAC (1-3) : SEC (DNP) :::::::: FCS (2-0)
    AAC (1-0) : IND (0-1) : CUSA (DNP) : MAC (3-0) : MWC (DNP) : SunB (DNP)

    PAC : B5 = 6-2 : NB5 = 2-0 : FCS = 1-0 : OFF = ONE :: U = (7) teams
    ACC (1-0) : B1G (3-1) : B12 (DNP) : PAC (1-1) : SEC (1-0) :::::::: FCS (1-0)
    AAC (DNP) : IND (1-0) : CUSA (1-0) : MAC (DNP) : MWC (DNP) : SunB (DNP)

    SEC : B5 = 0-0 : NB5 = 0-0 : FCS = 0-0 : OFF = THREE :: U = (6) teams
    ACC (DNP) : B1G (DNP) : B12 (1-0) : PAC (0-1) : SEC (3-3) :::::::: FCS (DNP)
    AAC (0-1) : IND (DNP) : CUSA (1-0) : MAC (1-0) : MWC (DNP) : SunB (DNP)

    ACC () : B1G () : B12 () : PAC () : SEC () :::::::: FCS ()
    AAC () : IND () : CUSA () : MAC () : MWC () : SunB ()

    .

    Best schedulers = Everybody but the ACC
    B1G : Everybody played, 4 PAC games, 1 B12 game
    B 12 : 1 conference game, 1 SEC game, 1 B1G game
    PAC : 1 conference game, 4 B1G games, 1 ACC game, 1 SEC game
    SEC : 3 conference games, 1 B12 game, 1 PAC game – ZERO FCS games
    Worst schedulers = ACC, 5 teams off and only 3 teams played Big 5 teams

    .

    Observations :
    The B1G has 5 undefeated teams – the good
    1-3 vs the PAC – the bad
    Michigan won but it was not pretty – the ugly

    The B12 upside
    - played 2 Big 5 games

    The B12 downside
    - lost both Big 5 games

  19. greg says:

    Baseball has 74M people show up at games each year, dwarfing all other US leagues.

    Revenue at $7B, trailing only NFL’s $11B. NBA 5.0, NHL 3.3, MLS 0.3(!).

    But, yeah, soccer is passing baseball sometime soon.

    • But baseball also plays so many more games than any other league that pure attendance isn’t that viable of a statistic when used in comparison. If 20% as many people see each baseball game in person as each football game, by the end of the season, almost double as many people would have seen a baseball game because there are so many more games.

      • ccrider55 says:

        The Golden Arches of McDonalds are gold on the back of high volume lower cost strategy.

      • greg says:

        More inventory is a feature, not a bug.

        As it is now, MLB averages 46% of the NFL on a per game basis while having 953% of the game inventory.

        • Mike says:

          @greg – It is a feature with an interesting side effect. Because of the volume of games, baseball much easier to consume for casual fans (either on TV or in person), however, there is no scarcity of games to make todays game a must. It would be very interesting to see what the ratings would be for baseball teams if they were playing on the same one game a week for 16 weeks schedule as the NFL (I don’t think ratings for the World Series apply due to baseball fatigue).

          • Michael in Raleigh says:

            Yes, Major League Baseball is making a lot of money. Even bad teams like the Astros are very financially sound. (Actually, it’s a little disgusting how the Astros may be making more money than its competitors by reducing costs and having worse players, but that’s another issue.) Baseball’s problems are not monetary, and won’t be for some time.

            But I do agree with Mike. Baseball gives me no sense of urgency to watch. Let’s say some team loses five games in a row. So what. If that losing streak is in June, there’s plenty of time to turn it around. If the team is talented and has good enough starting pitching, it could easily win the World Series. Meanwhile, if 5 losses in a row happened in the NFL, the team is already forced to start playing for next year.

            Baseball’s playoff system also exacerbates the lack of urgency to watch regular season games. You would think that 162 games should give us a large enough sample size to determine which team is the best in given year. Yet, because of dramatically shorter series in the playoffs, there are teams that win 95+ games who don’t even make it to the World Series all the time, while teams who win 82 or 83 are crowned champions. The format turns me off to both regular season and postseason. I don’t want to watch the regular season because the best teams in the regular season are no more likely to win the World Series than the fourth- or fifth-best team in either league, while the playoffs turn me off because so often teams that did not prove themselves as the best over the course of a long season wind up winning the championship. I want to see the best teams in the World Series, not just the hottest team.

          • bullet says:

            Astros are actually working on their farm system quite a bit. Just aren’t going after big $ free agents. Farm system was neglected during McLane’s later years as owner.

      • Richard says:

        Which is why he included the revenue figures. Hockey and soccer are no where close to MLB. Hockey also doesn’t exactly have a growing demographic.

        • David Brown says:

          I am a huge Hockey fan. Hockey is a growing sport and attendance figures and TV ratings show that (so does Team USA’s performances at events like World Juniors). In addition, they are building the BIGGEST Ice Skating facility on Earth at the Kingsbridge Armory in The Bronx (a Minority, Majority Area). Why? There is a demand for it. People who dislike Hockey love to bring up the demographic component of it (this is what we heard for YEARS about Baseball (of course, the past two MLB Drafts have shown that African-Americans still play baseball. Not to mention the fact, it is far more likely that an African-American will get drafted in the 1st Round of the MLB Draft, than a Caucasian will be drafted in the 1st Round of the NBA Draft)). The reality is the Media would NEVER dare say the NBA or NFL is too Black, or MLB too Hispanic (nor should it). Simply put, being a Hockey Fan (Penguins), a Yankee fan, a Nittany Lion fan (think I have heard enough about Sandusky?), a Steeler fan, and a Political Conservative, means there will be a lot of days when something you support will get bashed by the media, who want to ram stuff down your throat you disagree with (such as hearing for the past 30 years about how Soccer will replace Baseball & Hockey). Yet, despite Demographic changes, the interest gap between Hockey (and Baseball) versus Soccer has gotten only wider, and I could take Doc Brown’s DeLorian “Back To The Future” and will find 30 years from now, Soccer is still on the bottom.

    • Aaron says:

      “soccer is passing baseball sometime soon.”

      1. You need to look at multiple years of data if you want to look at trends over time.

      2. If you really want to see why Frank is up on the English Premier League, revenue from 2011-12 was $3.8B, 12-13 estimated at $4B, with predictions of $5.0B in 13-14. Forget Minor League, the U.S. needs an EPL franchise or two.

      NOTE: Assumed $1.6 per British pound based on Google,
      numbers from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22766638

      • @Aaron – I think you were reading my mind there because I was just about to say that one potential game changer for soccer would be if the English Premier League actually expands to the U.S. A patchwork quilt of U.S. men’s national team, European league and MLS fans would still add up to being more of a hockey-level of interest at best as opposed to a football/baseball/basketball-level of interest in the U.S. We’ve gone through cycles of where it looked like soccer was on the verge of breaking through here as a top tier spectator sports (i.e. Pele’s New York Cosmos teams, the 1994 World Cup, etc.), yet it hasn’t had the sustained interest to get it to the football/baseball/basketball-level (which is what we’re really talking about here in terms of being a ubiquitous spectator sport as opposed to having a sizable niche). Having the EPL expand *here* with EPL-level quality of play and funding could create an entirely different infusion of interest. I know that Manchester City has invested in a new MLS franchise in NYC with the Yankees, but what U.S. soccer really needs to get to the level of football/baseball/basketball is to have EPL clubs play actual regular seasons games that matter (not just offseason friendlies) here. Imagine Man U or Chelsea coming into town to play EPL franchises in NYC, DC, Chicago, LA, etc. That’s a completely different product from what we’re used to seeing now.

        • David Brown says:

          Frank, I know that Manchester City invested in an Expansion Team in New York City (partnered up with The Yankees), and they are talking about a Stadium by Yankee Stadium provided they can get through the notorious Uniformed Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), (good luck with that). But why would Manchester City or any English team want to give up a Home Game in The UK, for one in The Bronx? I guarantee you the Steelers (or the Yankees Versus the Red Sox for that matter) are not giving up a Home Game for one at Manchester City Stadium. Finally, another thing that is needed to captivate the American audience is some American Tiger Woods, Lebron James or Peyton Manning type to play Soccer (again good luck with that). Finally, Soccer has less interest in New York City than even Rutgers Football (Heck, Duke Hoops gets more coverage on WFAN than Red Bulls Soccer).

          • @David Brown – I’m not saying that Man City would give up home games, but rather that there would be US-based franchises in the EPL (meaning that to the extent that EPL teams are playing regular season games in the US, they’d be road games). Maybe MLS becomes part of the First Division promotion/relegation pool for the EPL and there’s a set number of US spots for the top Premiership level (maybe 4 or 6 spots with the 2 teams getting promoted or relegated per year). That gets the EPL into the US and provides an entirely different flavor to MLS games (and the quality of play may rise naturally due to the stakes being higher). Granted, the Brits are even more provincial than we are when it comes to sports, so the core EPL fans would likely vehemently loathe the thought of us intruding. However, with so many US and foreign owners of EPL teams now, leadership may have a very different attitude with how wide open the US market is for top level soccer.

          • vp19 says:

            Frank, in your scenario, would these be “expansion” teams or English teams that would split its home schedule with a U.S. city? For example, if the Lerners wanted a Washington team in the FA, would they start their own franchise or buy an existing team, say, Wolverhampton, and play 10 games at the Wolves’ pitch and the other nine at Nationals Park?

          • vp19 says:

            Or,instead of Nats Park, at the soon-to-be built soccer stadium in Southwest, sharing the facility with D.C. United?

        • ccrider55 says:

          “…which is what we’re really talking about here in terms of being a ubiquitous spectator sport as opposed to having a sizable niche.”

          Didn’t all our ubiquitous spectator sports start as niche sports? What is the timeline for a sport to move from niche to mainstream to be considered a success or failure? Is it the sport that fails, or the poor business model and unreasonable expectations?

          Soccer probably would have been better served decades ago by avoiding most cities with NFL teams. Working to get primary coverage in local markets is impossible in those cities. While improbable in outlier markets it would be less likely that some moderate success of a franchise would get completely buried by gossip and turmoil in even a bad NFL teams city.

          • David Brown says:

            If you look at the Timeline here in New York, niche sports (WNBA, MLS Lacrosse (even local College Hoops (except MAYBE St John’s Men’s)), are no more popular now, as when the first got started. In fact, the games might as well be played in Bulgaria, because they get no coverage in the Local Media. While it is true, the Arab Oil Sheik Owners of Manchester City can afford to throw away Hundreds of Millions on Expansion Fees, a New Stadium, and everything else, and MLS will be happy to get that $100m Expansion fee. But, it is simply not going to generate fan interest. One example being, Soccer Loving Hispanics of Queens rejecting the idea of the Stadium being put in Flushing Meadow Park. Why? Because they care about National Teams such as Mexico, and their interest in MLS (just like with Team USA) is at best in the margins.

        • Sam240 says:

          “Granted, the Brits are even more provincial than we are when it comes to sports, so the core EPL fans would likely vehemently loathe the thought of us intruding” — Frank the Tank

          It’s not the core EPL fans who would protest the most. La Liga, Serie A, and the Bundesliga would do their best to oppose any EPL expansion outside of England.

          In Europe, both FIFA and UEFA approval is required for a team to play in a league outside of its own country. Note that UEFA won’t let Rangers and Celtic join the EPL, even though they are British teams, as Scotland has its own league. Swansea City and Cardiff CIty, which are from Wales, do play in the EPL, but that’s different: Wales didn’t have its own league until 1992, and the Welsh teams in the top four levels of the English pyramid were permitted to remain there under a grandfather clause. Likewise, Monaco plays in France’s Ligue 1 — but Monaco is not a member of FIFA, and does not have a league of its own.

          The only other top-level club playing outside its country is Derry City, which plays in Ireland instead of Northern Ireland. However, Derry City, a Catholic club, was kicked out of the Northern Irish league in 1972, and, for the next thirteen years, the largely Protestant leadership wouldn’t let them return. UEFA let them join the Irish system in 1985 because it was the only way Derry City could ever play league matches, and Derry City has remained in the Republic’s league system ever since.

          There are a few other examples in lower leagues. Andorra has a team in the Spanish system, and San Marino has one in the Italian pyramid, but both teams existed before their home countries had official leagues, and were grandfathered in when the new leagues were formed. The Swiss system also has a German team (FC Büsingen) and an Italian team (AP Campionese) in its lower levels, but both clubs are from small towns that are completely surrounded by Switzerland.

          None of these special circumstances would apply to American clubs. The United States has its own league system, and any attempt to expel a team on sectarian grounds (like Derry City was) would be, quite frankly, illegal. The United States does not have any European exclaves, so entry into a UEFA league system could not occur on that ground. Finally, there’s no way any European league would be willing to concede the American market to a rival European league, so there’s no way the EPL could ever get approval of a New York team, or La Liga could gain approval of a Miami franchise. There’s a better chance of the NFL having a team in San Marino than there is of the EPL having a team on this side of the Atlantic.

          • FLP_NDRox says:

            ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^THIS^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^THIS^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^THIS^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

            Sam, could not agree more on your take.

            I was very surprised reading up on the history of American soccer that there were actual clubs in the U.S. in the early twentieth century set up like the ones abroad that are now the big pro teams. Baseball team owners had soccer clubs in the 1920s. The U.S. Open Cup has been contested since 1914. There actually was American Soccer before 1950.

            The biggest problem for Men’s Pro Soccer in the United States is that few of those clubs survived the Great Depression. The history of pro soccer in the U.S. is like the history of the dinosaurs: Noted mostly by mass extinctions of the biggest and baddest. If those clubs would have survived, I have little doubt soccer would be in the big four with football, baseball, and basketball.

            History is the reason that college football is COLLEGE FOOTBALL and not college baseball or college hockey. In Europe and S. America, those great clubs have grassroots origin stories and a century+ of history. In America they are franchises awarded and named by central committee (If I were in charge, they’d be the Philadelphia Zolos yesterday) and the league was literally made for TV. It really isn’t the same.

            With the other major leagues in this country having a century head start, I’m not sure if MLS (or it’s descendants) will ever pass the big three…assuming football survives, obviously.

          • BruceMcF says:

            Quite. I find it unlikely that the MLS will ever be among the top three sports leagues in the country. Even if soccer itself rose to be among the top three sports in the country in popularity, that would only push the MLS from a de facto AA minor league to a de facto AAA minor league, not to a top tier league, and that isn’t enough to support a top three position for the league.

    • Michael in Raleigh says:

      I think one thing baseball has failed to do as well as the NFL or even college football is to make the games relevant to fans in any part of the country. College football has teams everywhere, and because of that, with the notable exception of the exception of the Northeast, it also has fans everywhere. Yet because of the BCS and because of the upcoming playoff system, games that happen on the west coast matter to people in the South. In baseball, games in other parts of the country don’t matter until the last few weeks of the season.

      The NFL also has done a great job of making the NFL popular everywhere, regardless of whether a franchise is located nearby or whether a game on TV involves the local team. Seattle vs. San Francisco is going to get great ratings in New York, Chicago, Miami, or Texas because it’s two of the best NFL teams. In baseball, Dodgers vs. Giants matters to Dodgers fans, Giants fans, and… who else besides Tim Kirkjian and Jayson Stark?

      Another thing that I think is undersold as a factor for why baseball trails football in popularity is that its teams HAVE to be in major metropolitan areas. Because there are 81 home games a year at stadiums that seat 35,000+, teams need larger markets than in any other sports league. An NFL team can make it a smaller market like New Orleans because fans can drive from near and far for once-a-week games, but that’s not feasible 6 or 7 times a week. Baseball teams can’t fill their stadiums for 10-game home stands unless there are millions of people within a 45-minute drive. It’s reasonable to find 35,000 people multiple nights in a row who can make it to baseball games if they’re a small percentage of the population, the way it is in MLB cities. In Charlotte, it would be asking too much. Consequently, the NFL’s presence covers a broader area. Just look at the South: there are teams in North Carolina, Louisiana, and Tennessee. There are three in Florida. In the Midwest, teams can make it in smaller markets like Indianapolis or in a tiny one like Green Bay. Meanwhile, baseball in the South, not including Texas, has just two very lightly-attended teams in Florida and one in Atlanta. That’s it. North Carolina, despite being a state of nearly 10 million people, could not support an MLB franchise because residents are scattered into multiple smaller, not terribly dense cities. Tennessee, a state of over 6 million people, couldn’t support an MLB team, either, because it is made of multiple smaller cities. Yet Missouri, which has less than 6 million people, is capable of supporting two franchises simply because it has two relatively large markets. Salt Lake City, Portland, New Orleans, Nashville, Memphis, and San Antonio could not support baseball, even if they can support an NFL or NBA team. As a result, there are no baseball teams at all near where huge segments of populations live, and the interest in baseball in those places is weaker. In this state, baseball depends on the few transplants from the Midwest and Northeast willing to subscribe to the regional sports network from their home state in order to keep the sport relevant here.

      • bullet says:

        Braves sold everything out for years. The fans are spoiled.
        Astros and Braves dominated the late 90s early 00s. Braves had about 5 mediocre years after something like 13/14 years in the playoffs. Astros are having several incredibly bad years.

        But your point is correct. Basically a metro population of around 2 million is needed. 3 million to be really successful. A few hotbeds, usually with others not close by do well (St. Louis is 2.8 million). Milwaukee is the only team in a metro area of less than 2 million (1.6 million). KC is 2.0 million, Pittsburg is 2.4 million. Colorado is 2.5 million, Baltimore 2.7, Tampa Bay 2.8, Cleveland/Akron 2.8, Cincinnati/Dayton 3.0. The Giants and As split 4.3 million (although its 6.1 million with San Jose).

        You can see the franchises that have issues just by population.

        Baseball can’t just move anywhere, so that limits their leverage with communities. Metro areas with more than 2 million that don’t have teams are 1) Montreal who just lost theirs), 2) Portland; and 3) Orlando-who is too close to Tampa’s market to be an option.

  20. duffman says:

    Updated Sagarin after 2nd run with SoS rank – B1G shows game results :

    B1G
    009 013 014 015 Ohio State – 128 / 157 / 123 : W @ Cal 52-34
    017 021 020 016 Wisconsin – 160 / 217 / 200 : L @ Arizona State 30-32
    019 019 012 027 Michigan – 129 / 81 / 145 : W Akron @ home 28-24
    021 029 029 040 Nebraska – 116 / 152 / 99 : L UCLA @ home 21-41
    030 035 044 045 Michigan State – 124 / 164 / 182 : W Youngstown State @ home 55-17
    033 033 038 035 Penn State – 74 / 142 / 83 : L Central Florida @ home 31-34
    041 036 035 036 Northwestern – 44 / 71 / 107: W Western Michigan @ home 38-17
    054 054 060 061 Iowa – 80 / 137 / 103 : W @ Iowa State 27-21
    066 066 065 065 Minnesota – 141 / 169 / 196 : W Western Illinois @ home 29-12
    071 068 069 055 Indiana – 143 / 134 / 117 : W Bowling Green @ home 42-10
    074 074 101 093 Purdue – 23 / 91 / 46 : L Notre Dame @ home 24-31
    099 103 072 059 Illinois – 142 / 113 / 57: L Washington @ home 24-34

    SEC
    001 001 001 001 Alabama – 34 / 22 / 1 :::::::: Top 10 SoS
    003 006 007 004 Texas A&M – 95 / 119 / 64
    005 005 004 003 Georgia – 7 / 6 / 2 :::::::: Top 10 SoS
    006 004 005 006 Louisiana State – 15 / 65 / 120
    010 009 009 009 South Carolina – 72 / 16 / 21
    012 012 015 013 Florida – 98 / 39 / 23
    027 020 031 021 Mississippi – 24 / 118 / 25
    034 034 043 038 Vanderbilt – 54 / 171 / 38
    035 039 056 050 Mississippi State – 10 / 163 / 19
    038 046 040 037 Missouri – 170 / 174 / 171 **** Andy take note ****
    039 053 028 039 Tennessee – 198 / 204 / 143
    044 045 036 032 Auburn – 114 / 112 / 87
    047 041 049 046 Arkansas – 105 / 150 / 163
    075 083 080 089 Kentucky – 96 / 160 / 121

    Big 12
    004 002 006 005 Oklahoma State – 46 / 78 / 126
    008 008 008 007 Oklahoma – 112 / 108 / 113
    013 016 024 043 Texas – 158 / 94 / 45
    014 015 022 025 Texas Christian – 17 / 74 / 12
    024 028 034 034 Kansas State – 82 / 100 / 132
    026 023 010 010 Baylor – 133 / 167 / 165
    037 032 033 022 Texas Tech – 53 / 128 / 74
    042 052 052 053 West Virginia – 149 / 53 / 154
    057 063 063 075 Iowa State – 108 / 105 / 105
    082 070 081 087 Kansas – 212 / 136 / 136

    PAC
    002 007 002 002 Oregon – 188 / 136 / 76
    007 003 003 011 Stanford – 93 / 93 / 111
    020 018 016 012 UCLA – 103 / 110 / 48
    022 017 018 017 Arizona State – 201 / 116 / 116
    023 024 037 028 Southern California – 84 / 96 / 97
    025 037 042 041 Oregon State – 109 / 148 / 100
    040 026 021 018 Washington – 55 / 40 / 35
    049 044 026 023 Arizona – 140 / 143 / 158
    058 055 045 047 Utah – 83 / 138 / 88
    059 059 074 080 California – 68 / 124 / 60
    094 085 066 056 Washington State – 31 / 9 / 20
    103 102 091 088 Colorado – 119 / 153 / 142

    ACC
    016 011 017 014 Clemson – 27 / 117 / 109
    018 014 011 008 Florida State – 41 / 25 / 70
    028 030 023 020 Miami (FL) – 144 / 99 / 79
    029 025 027 031 Virginia Tech – 1 / 63 / 43
    043 040 046 048 North Carolina – 5 / 46 / 41
    046 048 032 024 Georgia Tech – 169 / 215 / 140
    050 042 054 060 North Carolina State – 106 / 147 / 173
    056 058 057 063 Pittsburgh – 43 / 21 / 85
    063 062 053 049 Maryland – 147 / 193 / 164
    067 064 068 064 Syracuse – 42 / 18 / 42
    068 061 064 062 Virginia – 70 / 19 / 6 :::::::: Top 10 SoS
    070 093 094 101 Wake Forest – 205 / 185 / 153
    086 095 071 071 Duke – 199 / 195 / 124
    091 090 083 090 Boston College – 127 / 156 / 114

    AAC
    031 027 019 019 Louisville – 111 / 159 / 131
    036 031 051 044 Cincinnati – 104 / 83 / 133
    048 043 047 054 Rutgers – 35 / 158 / 206
    052 057 039 030 Central Florida – 162 / 172 / 134
    061 091 102 135 South Florida – 138 / 128
    064 077 061 074 Houston – 194 / 184 / 209
    069 072 085 082 Southern Methodist – 67 / 90 / 72
    072 088 084 086 Connecticut – 125 / 80
    093 084 100 122 Temple – 6 / 24 / 110
    126 116 127 127 Memphis – 103 / 102

    MWC
    016 022 025 029 Boise State – 18 / 72 / 122
    051 050 041 042 Utah State – 39 / 28 / 78
    055 051 055 058 Fresno State – 77 / 106 / 125
    062 086 104 099 San Diego State – 137 / 49 / 29
    073 075 093 102 Air Force – 166/ 151 / 58
    077 071 062 068 San Jose State – 150 / 56 / 62
    080 073 078 095 Nevada – 12 / 82 / 4 :::::::: Top 10 SoS
    105 092 079 069 Wyoming – 21 / 98 / 175
    121 113 125 113 Hawaii – 58 / 27 / 15
    128 126 140 138 UNLV – 49 / 37 / 54
    130 130 120 108 Colorado State – 97 / 60 / 98
    155 170 151 151 New Mexico – 172 / 146 / 104

    IND
    011 010 013 026 Notre Dame – 113 / 42 / 53
    032 038 030 033 Brigham Young – 45 / 32 / 36
    065 060 059 052 Navy – 35 / 35 / 115
    108 128 139 137 Army – 211 / 190 / 75
    158 164 180 162 Idaho – 88 / 61 / 162
    165 150 170 186 New Mexico State – 11 / 33 / 81

    MAC
    053 047 048 057 Northern Illinois – 38 / 26 / 77
    076 067 076 067 Toledo – 8 / 4 / 9 :::::::: Top 10 SoS
    083 081 092 085 Ohio – 19 / 52 / 73
    087 069 058 072 Bowling Green – 86 / 88 / 66
    090 087 077 084 Ball State – 136 / 175 / 148
    102 110 108 111 Kent State – 171 / 154 / 90
    107 099 131 139 Western Michigan – 25 / 120 / 28
    114 109 118 142 Central Michigan – 13 / 51 / 93
    127 107 112 116 Buffalo – 9 / 2 / 5 :::::::: Top 10 SoS
    132 136 160 161 Miami (OH) – 66 / 44 / 44
    151 162 165 168 Eastern Michigan – 201 / 132 / 37
    161 155 156 140 Akron – 40 / 77 / 18
    164 153 175 176 Massachusetts – 14 / 62 / 13

    CUSA
    045 056 067 078 Tulsa – 51 / 87 / 33
    079 078 105 118 Louisiana Tech – 29 / 139 / 172
    081 065 070 066 Rice – 2 / 1 / 17
    084 089 086 076 East Carolina – 145 / 188 / 138
    097 094 071 073 Marshall – 146 / 219 / 198
    106 125 130 148 Southern Mississippi – 151 / 73 / 24
    111 118 111 117 Middle Tennessee – 183 / 121 / 168
    115 108 128 123 Texas – El Paso – 194 / 194 / 195
    124 122 115 109 Alabama – Birmingham – 89 / 17 / 8 :::::::: Top 10 SoS
    131 120 113 100 North Texas – 168 / 144 / 129
    136 137 154 175 Florida International – 47 / 34 / 52
    140 133 146 121 Florida Atlantic – 22 / 20 / 31
    147 148 150 131 Tulane – 190 / 218 / 197
    181 171 144 132 Texas – San Antonio – 122 / 57 / 11

    Sun Belt
    078 076 089 077 Louisiana – Lafayette – 28 / 14 / 30
    089 082 107 098 Louisiana – Monroe – 4 / 129 / 71
    095 101 096 097 Arkansas State – 191 / 130 / 147
    110 098 098 105 Western Kentucky – 85 / 29 / 63
    120 121 114 104 Troy – 139 / 227 / 178
    157 144 136 144 Texas State – 91 / 199 / 211
    174 177 163 150 South Alabama – 156 / 161 / 151
    200 201 208 213 Georgia State – 155 / 182 / 141

    Top 10 SoS
    Alabama 01
    Georgia 02
    North Dakota State 03
    Nevada 04
    Buffalo 05
    Virginia 06
    Sacramento State 07
    Alabama – Birmingham 08
    Toledo 09
    Lamar 10

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      What’s the key to the columns?

      • duffman says:

        The first 4 numbers are the Sagarin numbers for PreSeason Week1 Week2 Week3

        The last 3 numbers are the SoS’s for that team for each week

        The 10 at the bottom are the weekly top 10 SoS is case folks want to look at how Sagarin views a Top 10 schedule on a week to week basis. The number in BOLD is the team inside that specific conference that has the highest SoS for the week. Sort of a badge of shame for the weakest scheduler. Case in point, some Big 12 schools have been getting better at scheduling but Baylor remains a weak scheduler. Therefore, I keep calling them out on it in the hopes others do as well. As for highlighting Missouri, it was just to keep Andy from puffing up his Tigers for being undefeated while pointing out they may be undefeated just because they have not played a real team yet.

  21. morganwick says:

    You’d be correct about the lack of good players in MLS holding soccer back if you were just talking about MLS viewership, but I think the increasing interest in the places where the best players ARE playing suggests MLS can continue to be a minor league for now, especially with the popularity of the US as a summer tour gig for European teams. The real problem for soccer in this country is that only the Premier League has escaped being ghettoized to beIN Sport (or, in the case of the Bundesliga, GolTV) as a result, and for all the hype over how much Americans are becoming fans of the EPL, only the very biggest EPL matches are really even approaching a million viewers. The NHL laughs at that. Also, 1-0 games in soccer are much more common than 7-0 games in football, and “buzzer-beaters” are much less common in soccer than in any other sport except maybe hockey, USA-Algeria aside, which indicates a low rate of scoring per playing time.

    Has something actually happened to scuttle the Farmers Field deal, or has there just not been any news on it? I’d take the latter to be a sign that everything is just waiting to see if a team moves; the last I heard about it it was in pretty good shape. I would prefer if the Raiders moved over the Rams or Chargers because they seem to be in the middle of a long divorce with the Bay Area, as evidenced by the end of their Niners preseason games (if you’re not going to have those what’s the point?) and the fact that their most realistic stadium situation going forward would be to share Levi’s Stadium with the Niners, which besides the fact that the Davis family is dead-set against it and the increased absurdity of ending the Niners series, would result in teams named San Francisco and Oakland sharing a stadium that is in neither San Francisco or Oakland. Two big points work against Saint Louis: CBS would scream bloody murder if the NFC’s already substantial big-market advantage added an LA team as well (and similarly, the fact that the Rams, Raiders and Chargers are already in their respective West divisions means they don’t need divisional realignment the Jaguars would need), and if a team left St. Louis it would just become the NFL’s new “blackmail city” like Seattle.

    • vp19 says:

      I believe the Jaguars’ new owner is from St. Louis, so I suppose if the Rams moved back to LA, the Jags could relocate to St. Louis once their lease ended and assuming stadium upgrades were made (there’s always a price for this sort of thing, you know).

  22. Brian says:

    http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/9693344/cities-ready-bid-future-college-football-playoff-championship-games

    Multiple cities are considering bids for future NCGs.

    2015 season – Glendale, Jacksonville, New Orleans, Tampa
    2016 season – Jacksonville, Miami, New Orleans, San Antonio, SF, Tampa

    Other cities considering a bid on either game include Atlanta, Minneapolis and Arlington, Texas, sources said.

    Cities hosting the semifinals are not eligible to host the national title game in the same year. So Miami (Orange Bowl) and Arlington (Cotton Bowl) cannot bid for the 2016 title game, and Glendale (Fiesta Bowl) and Atlanta (Chick-fil-A Bowl) may not bid on the 2017 game.

    The Rose Bowl, which will host the final BCS championship on Jan. 7, 2014, will not bid on the 2016 or 2017 games. The Rose and Sugar bowls will host the inaugural College Football Playoff semifinals on Jan. 1, 2015.

    “The Tournament of Roses chose not to submit a bid for the national championship for the 2016 and 2017 games,” the Rose Bowl said in a statement. “The Association continues to evaluate the prospects for the 2018 game including the financial obligations, community support and regional involvement. The Association will use the upcoming BCS National Championship in Pasadena to continue the assessment process.”

    The Rose is the only bowl of the current four BCS bowls (Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta) that opted not to pursue a national title game.

    Arlington will hold the inaugural championship game on Jan. 12, 2015. Sources said it is unlikely that Arlington will bid for the 2017 game because it would be a long shot to win before the 2015 game is even played.

    Atlanta hasn’t officially ruled out bidding for the 2016 game, sources said. However, it’s unlikely because Atlanta is expected to make a strong run for the 2018 game — scheduled to be the first year its new stadium will be open.

    Orlando, Fla., which opted not to bid for the 2016 or 2017 championships, also is expected to pursue the next round of title games, beginning in 2018, sources said.

    Go Minneapolis!

  23. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Add a few cities to the mix in bidding for the 2016 and 2017 CFP CG.

    http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/9693344/cities-ready-bid-future-college-football-playoff-championship-games

    2016 – Jacksonville, FL, Glendale, AZ, New Orleans, and Tampa.

    2017 – Jax, New Orleans, Tampa, Miami, San Antonio, and San Francisco.

    Atlanta (2016) , Arlington, TX (2017), and Minneapolis (either year) may also submit bids.

  24. Craig Z says:

    Go Bucks.

  25. Brian says:

    http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/eye-on-college-football/23732014/penn-state-and-west-virginia-announce-homeandhome-series

    PSU and WV agree to a home and home in 2023-4. That should be fun with some regional flavor to up the energy. It’s certainly sounds better than Syracuse and some of the other eastern teams PSU regularly plays.

    Other PSU OOC games upcoming:
    Pitt – 2016-9
    SU – 2020-1
    VT – 2022-3

    That’s a pretty good 2023 schedule – VT, WV, ??? + 9 B10 games

  26. frug says:

    Outdoor Midnight Madness?

    http://www.fightingillini.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/091813aad.html

    My complaint is that they didn’t think of this 6 years ago when I could have watched from my apartment balcony.

  27. FranktheAg says:

    Texas is a complete and total clusterf@@@. Boosters threatening to sue each other over Mack. It is a joy to watch them wallow around.

    http://collegefootball.ap.org/article/apnewsbreak-texas-regent-talked-sabans-agent

    “Joe Jamail, a billionaire trial lawyer who is one of the top donors to Texas, is Brown’s attorney. When asked about the conference call with Sexton and the lunch meeting, Jamail suggested Hall was acting on his own and threatened to sue anyone outside the university if they try to pressure Brown to resign.”

  28. Andy says:

    I’m looking forward to this Missouri/Indiana game on Saturday. It’s the only regular season B1G/SEC matchup of the year.

    Indiana and Missouri are very similar institutions. Similar sized towns, similar enrollment numbers, similar academic rankings, similar endowment sizes, similar research budgets, similar ACT averages, similar establishment dates, similar state populations, similar looking campuses. Really, Indiana and Missouri are about as similar as it gets.

    Sports-wise Indiana’s kind of lopsided. Probably a 10 out of 10 in basketball and more of a 4 out of 10 in football, whereas Missouri is about a 7 out of 10 in both.

    Should be a good game though. Looks like Indiana’s offense is pretty dangerous.

  29. cutter says:

    Research at the University of Michigan is a $1.33 billion enterprise.

    Research spending at U-M increased 4.3 percent, or $54.7 million, from fiscal 2011-12 to fiscal 2012-13, according to figures released by the school Thursday.

    For more information, go to: http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2013/09/4_things_to_know_about_univers.html#incart_river_default

    Just some background information if the CIC/research/conference expansion discussion comes up again.

    • Psuhockey says:

      The CIC might end up being a huge factor in future realignment. Right now all the major programs are making decent television money with no end in sight. However, due to the craziness of the US budget, federal research funs could begin drying up. There will be greater competition for govt dollars and having a strong lobbying group of schools will be better than to go at it as individuals.

  30. acaffrey says:

    Soccer just will not cut it in the US. First, sports here is historical. People will take their kids to a baseball game because they were taken to games, and knew their parents were taken to games, it is a step back in history even without stats. However, we stat nerds have lost some of our zeal for the sport, For those of us who grew up in the 1980s, baseball was king during the long summers. I care much less about baseball… I was burned. But I just went on a date with a single mother of two girls who just took her kids to a tigers game. She likes football. Why go? It’s almost a cultural event.

    Second, soccer fails because it lacks that history. Maybe it could create a history, but the sport is slow like baseball. That hurts. It is not just the scoring, but the lack of potential scoring. Any football play can be a touchdown. Basketball and hockey have quick transitions, with hockey also having lots of scoring chances. Those are exciting. Soccer, in contrast, has a lot of time where there is no chance of scoring due to distance from the goal. That is dead time, regardless of whether soccer purists realize that it is not.

    Third, soccer could have the best soccer players, but Americans have other options that do not exist in Europe. Even with the best soccer players, great athletes will still flock to baseball, football, basketball, and hockey too. What is the competition anywhere else?

    Fourth,I continue to think that women’s soccer is the true future. A team sport featuring women with no need for freakish height or musculature. There can be athleticism and sex appeal. The best women athletes can flock to it. Unlike the WNBA, the women’s soccer could and should be the premier outlet for women’s athletes (outside individual sports, like tennis). It would never ever be as popular as even the NHL, but it makes more sense to me than force feeding the WNBA or men’s soccer. I would go see it long before seeing either WNBA or men’s soccer.

    My two cents.

    • BruceMcF says:

      So what level of popularity is the threshold for “cutting it” versus “not cutting it”? Are your arguments proving that soccer will never get 50%+ of sports fans to say they are fans of soccer, 25%+, or 10%+?

      If your arguments are proving soccer will never top 10%+, current reality disproves it, since in the 2012 Gallup is was 19% “fans” and 4% “somewhat a fan”. If your arguments are proving that soccer will never top 25%+, demographics suggests that they will be falsified over the coming decade or two, since soccer is more popular 18-35 than it is 35+.

      If “cutting it” is being the most popular sport, that’s plausible, but then its an absurd threshold for “cutting it”.

      The fact that the US history of soccer jumps from pre-Crash of 1929 to the 1980′s with little to recall matters less and less as time goes on, as the 70′s and before recedes into history.

      As far as athletes flocking to a sport, that is an effect being trotted out as a cause. We have seen in baseball that if the money is there, the athletes can be found, even if they are found overseas.

      Compared to all of those set of reasons, the point that Frank makes is more to the point: so long as the MLS is a league for young up and comers who haven’t yet landed a big contract, workhorses that will never land a big contract, and aging stars that no longer have the legs to land a big contract, MLS will fail to attract the attention even of all US soccer fans, soccer fans will continue to be split between supporters of US soccer clubs and the big overseas teams, many only uniting once every two years to back the USMNT in the World Cup and Olympics, and college soccer will continue to be three or four tiers down and of little interest even to most US soccer fans.

      • acaffrey says:

        cutting it = approaching hockey in some measurable stat other than # of participants under 12. Until soccer gets to hockey levels of revenue, the idea of soccer moving past baseball is absurd.

        • BruceMcF says:

          If “cutting it” means the matching the status of ice hockey, your analysis doesn’t really cut it, since it is tacitly comparing to the status of football rather than to the status of ice hockey. The parts of the country with substantial Latino populations plus the parts of the country with the strongest regional history is surely on part with the population share of the parts of the country where ice hockey has history. Indeed, many cities with NHL teams have no more ice hockey history than they have soccer history.

          As far as competition for athletes, many of the the highest value athletes for soccer and the highest value athletes for football and basketball are different athletes, and of course baseball has shown that its not necessary to rely exclusively on the US for professional athletes, and soccer has an even wider range of low income countries to draw athletes from than baseball has.

          And there is absolutely no coherent connection to be drawn between seeing women’s soccer as having a strong future and concluding that men’s soccer won’t continue its current growth track which will see it matching ice hockey.

          The actual argument would seem to be that you don’t care for soccer and therefore it can’t possibly be happening that around 1/5 of the population and an even larger share of the under 35 population are willing to declare themselves to be fans of soccer.

          • acaffrey says:

            “Fans of soccer.” Wow. I have 2,000 twitter followers, 1995 of which would not notice if I died. Being a fan is a loaded question. I am a hockey fan, but haven’t watched a game on TV in 2 years. Have not seen a NHL game live in 4+. i am a fan with zero revenue value.

            If the growth is so obvious for soccer, what TV revenue does this huge and growing fan base generate? All I am saying is that the reason why that number lags is not necessarily because the best soccer players in the world aren’t here—as some have suggested. It is that some, like me, just plain do not find it entertaining.

            I do not like ballet. Bringing in the best at it will not change my opinion on it. I like symphony performances–even regional ones. It is personal presence, not talent.

            If you want to ignore the people like me, so be it. I know from talking to others that I am far from alone. Far.

          • acaffrey says:

            Personal preference, not presence. iPad!

          • ccrider55 says:

            Soccer isn’t suddenly going to rival the bigs, but from the ’60′s until I can say the percent of people holding you’re adamant anti soccer stance has dropped precipitously. Does that mean they are among the adherents now? No. But it does suggest an environment less antagonistic to those who are, which slowly changes the “playing field.”

            I think the big three were fortunate to be ascending at the explosion of broadcast television. Had soccer clubs survived the great crash and been somewhat viable, soccer might possibly be one of the big four today. To quote McLuhan, “the medium is the message” and American soccer wasn’t available to become an ingrained part of the message as the TV medium developed.

          • bullet says:

            Noone played soccer. It was never going to become part of a Big 4. Very few people my age or older who are American played youth soccer. I never knew anyone growing up who had played soccer until I moved to Dallas. NASL really promoted youth soccer. It was a case of the pros trying to create demand. Youth soccer sprouted in places with NASL like Kansas City and Dallas. Dallas dominated HS soccer in Texas for a while because of that.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Well, now you “know” another one. I played (poorly) HS in the 60′s when half the schools didn’t play at all, and half of those who did were activity/club rather than varsity in the state. Now I don’t know of a school who hasn’t fielded M and W varsity teams for the last 20-25 years. There have been years where what should have been 5 or more FB starters (LBs, DBs, WRs) were leading soccer into playoffs and to a couple championships.

            Don’t get me wrong. Give me four more inches and forty more pounds I’d have been playing FB. I really liked it, but because I stood a chance to play inspite of being 5’6″ 145lbs I formed an appreciation for soccer, inspite of the prevailing, dominant, adamant acaffery-esque attitude. Now dominant athletes choose what was unthinkable then (much to the FB coaches chagrin.

            If the soccer clubs that failed in the depression had survived there would have an organized sport available to broadcast, not the NASL attempt to artificially create what no longer existed for broadcast. Got the cart before the horse. Imagine iff TR had failed to save football from possible congressional banishment. Eventually it is resurrected in the fifties, haphazardly. Would it be expected to overtake an existing sport that was benefiting from sudden, immediate, and national exposure through that new fangled television? Soccer is progressing about as should be expected, barring some catastrophic circumstance that crippled one of the bigs for at least a decade.

          • zeek says:

            MLS just needs time to be honest. I wouldn’t be surprised if MLS outperforms NHL everywhere outside of the North and California within 10-15 years.

            MLS probably needs another 30-40 years to really rival the Big 4 in terms of fan support and tradition. Getting to the 50-60 age mark is really when a league becomes entrenched in terms of having multiple generations of fans for teams and the like.

          • bullet says:

            When I was in school in Houston in the 70s I didn’t know of any HSs playing soccer. Certainly none of the city schools did. In Dallas it was more widespread, but mostly in the northern suburbs.

          • BruceMcF says:

            To make an argument that the Gallup poll results are invalid, you need to explain why they only overstate the number of fans for soccer and don’t overstate the fans for for any other sport.

            I recall in late 2012 a different sort of poll result that didn’t gibe with the personal feelings of a large number of people and generated a cottage industry in explaining why they were biased, but in the end it turned out that it was those people’s perceptions that were biased and all of their explaining away the poll results they didn’t like was so much BS.

            And its fairly easy to generate a distribution of the soccer that is fits the poll results and the earning power of various soccer properties on US media ~ take roughly 20% and spread them 6% to MLS, 6% to various European leagues, 8% to various Latin American leagues, adding up to 15% total (there are overlaps), and 5% that are only every two or four year fans for the World Cup and/or Olympics. There would then be no basis in the current earning power of the various properties (including the earning power in Spanish language media, which you likely overlook) in discounting the 19% poll result.

          • Brian says:

            ccrider55,

            “I played (poorly) HS in the 60′s when half the schools didn’t play at all, and half of those who did were activity/club rather than varsity in the state. Now I don’t know of a school who hasn’t fielded M and W varsity teams for the last 20-25 years.”

            I grew up in the country and we didn’t even play soccer in gym class until the late 80s. I just checked online and apparently they added a soccer team in 2011.

          • ccrider55 says:

            See? There still are areas the sport is making initial inroads into. ;)

          • BruceMcF says:

            @bullet, what ccrider55 is referring to is the fact that in the 20′s, there were substantially more people playing soccer in some parts of the country, and going to watch soccer teams playing in stadiums, than at the start of broadcast TV. The US getting to the quarterfinals in the first World Cup wasn’t a fluke. By the 50′s, soccer was not just a generation past the collapse of the biggest US teams, but also viewed as a suspect and vaguely subversive foreign sport under Americanism, which strongly favored sports that invented in the US, like basketball, or heavily reinvented in the US, like rounders to baseball and rugby to American rules football.

      • acaffrey says:

        The best players in the world could play in my city and I would not go see it. And I would rather watch college lacrosse than soccer. I just do not find the sport enjoyable to watch. I don’t even know or care who the best players are, much less whether they are here or there. Yet I love sports. I have tried to play soccer. There are fundamental problems that will not be solved just by moving talent here. Sorry. If you think I am alone, think again.

        • BruceMcF says:

          This would seem to be your real argument: “I don’t find the sport enjoyable to watch” implies “the sport couldn’t possibly be growing from fifth most popular sport toward equal fourth”.

          • acaffrey says:

            The question was why soccer is not more popular, not whether it is popular. My opinion was why the sport might not be popular. I offered my perspective. You just do not like my opinion because you disagree with it. That is your problem, not mine. All I am saying is that bringing the best players/league to the USA would not change my opinion on soccer. And I know others agree with me, and suspect that it might be a decent sized group that does.

      • Brian says:

        BruceMcF,

        “If your arguments are proving that soccer will never top 25%+, demographics suggests that they will be falsified over the coming decade or two, since soccer is more popular 18-35 than it is 35+.”

        Do they suggest that? What is your evidence that this group of young fans will continue to be soccer fans when the previous generations of young soccer fans largely dropped the sport as they aged?

        I think soccer will continue to grow, slowly, in popularity for a while. The increasing number of Hispanics and other immigrants means a growing fan base. However, those fans largely retain ties to foreign soccer leagues and not MLS. Until the US has a primary league, soccer can’t be a top tier sport in the US. Also, they’re picking the low hanging fruit right now. Adding fans is harder after you get the easy ones.

        • BruceMcF says:

          Previous generations of young soccer fans were smaller shares of their population. Simply dropping the sport at the same rate would result in a larger share, and in cities with a viable MLS team, the drop off is not going to happen at the same rate, and in areas with a large Latino population, the drop off is not going to happen at the same rate.

    • zeek says:

      I think professional soccer’s biggest problem in the US has been the lack of a stable and growing league over a long period of time. That’s a key ingredient to the creation of generation-spanning fanbases along with countrywide dispersed fanbases (as a result of fans moving around the country).

      We’re comparing MLS revenue to the Big 4 when MLS has only been around since the mid-90s and really didn’t start to gain traction until the past decade.

      If MLS had been around since the 60s and was putting up the current revenue numbers, then yes, I’d say US professional soccer doesn’t have much of a chance of comparing to even the NHL over the long run.

      But I don’t think we’ll really know for another 30 or 40 years because professional soccer has had too many re-starts and do-overs. Until we see a professional soccer league in existence for around 40 or 50 years with multiple generations of fans and some tradition and stability, we’re not really going to see what level of support is possible.

      • David Brown says:

        Blaming the MLS and time is not Soccer’s problem. If you look at established Leagues and Organizations how many people like the NCAA ( Penn State fans like me do not), ask a Canadian about the NHL, or an Oakland A’s fan about Bud Selig and MLB? It is simple: The average American does not care about Soccer. Could anyone imagine 95,000 Buckeye fans at Beaver Stadium? Or 45,000 Red Sox fans at Yankee Stadium? Of course not. But if Team USA would play Mexico in the Rosé Bowl about 90,000 out of 100,000 would be Mexican fans. Are they to blame? No. We are. Until at least half the people are willing to support our team with their hard earned money, then the sport cannot be taken seriously by the mainstream fan.

        • zeek says:

          Er, I’m not blaming MLS, I’m blaming the pre-MLS leagues.

          Popularity grows over time in sports generally, especially in the generational sense.

          Look at any college football king’s stadium situation. They didn’t just build 90k+ stadiums off the bat. They had 30k stadiums, and then they expanded to 50k after 15-20 years of success, and then they expanded to 70k in the 70s and 80s, and then 90k+ during the 90s, and now we have a bunch over 100k+. It takes multiple generations to build up a large thriving fanbase, as well as a dispersed fanbase nationally (fans who grew up as fans of a team and then were dispersed).

          This is true of any sports league.

          You can’t judge a 20 year old league against 70-120 year old leagues. It makes no sense because the 20 year old league won’t have any generational support whereas the 70+ year old leagues will all have multi-generational fanbases.

          • David Brown says:

            Sports do now always grow. They tried a couple of times with Women’s Pro soccer and it failed. Track & Field has never captivated Americans (even Carl Lewis pointed that out), NO ONE in New York cares about the Liberty & WNBA, Tennis is another dying sport. Where is it going without Serena Williams? The men’s game in the US is in even worse shape (including eliminating stops like San Jose that have been around for Decades). I go back to my original point. If Americans wanted to support AMERICAN soccer with their money and TV viewership they would, but they don’t. Until the American sports fan wants to support Soccer, it is going nowhere in this Country (except perhaps behind Lacrosse)

          • zeek says:

            MLS will be the fastest growing league for the next 40 or 50 years. I’m willing to bet that it’ll have comparable revenue to hockey by mid-century.

            The league is just young, it only has 19 (soon 20) teams, and its fans have only been supporting the teams for a few years at most.

            Wait until it has 30 teams as well as fans that have been fans of the teams for 40 or 50 years like all the other leagues have.

            We have to differentiate leagues from sports because leagues rely on teams’ individual and aggregated popularity/brands to drive their revenue streams.

          • Brian says:

            zeek,

            “Look at any college football king’s stadium situation. They didn’t just build 90k+ stadiums off the bat. They had 30k stadiums, and then they expanded to 50k after 15-20 years of success, and then they expanded to 70k in the 70s and 80s, and then 90k+ during the 90s, and now we have a bunch over 100k+.”

            Ohio Stadium was built in 1922 with a capacity of 66,210. It grew from there, obviously:
            70k+ – 1944
            80k+ – 1960
            90k+ – 1991
            100k+ – 2001

            “You can’t judge a 20 year old league against 70-120 year old leagues.”

            Sure I can, since other leagues of the same sport have been around a long time before that. There has been pro soccer in the US for over 45 years. In addition, you have all soprts of immigrant fans built in which the other sports didn’t.

        • BruceMcF says:

          Yes, this is why I asked what the benchmark is. The average American also doesn’t care about ice hockey, but the NHL is either the smallest of the big sports or the biggest of the little sports. There a level of success that can be achieved on the back of a large enough minority. Clearly, as today’s 15-35′s become tomorrow’s 35-55′s and today’s 55-75′s die off, the popularity of the sport will grow, the question is whether it will rise to match the popularity of ice hockey or pass it.

          • Brian says:

            I’d say the reason hockey is considered a major sport in the US is that the NHL is the top league in the world and the US is part of it. MLS is not an elite league, so soccer isn’t a major sport in the US. Soccer may easily match hockey for fans, and the MLS may even catch up to the NHL in terms of fans eventually, but until MLS is on par with EPL et al soccer is a minor sport.

      • Brian says:

        zeek,

        Why don’t those re-starts and do-overs count? Pro soccer has been around in the US for a long time, it just kept failing. That says something about the sport’s popularity back then. Just because the league has changed names doesn’t mean its a new sport.

        Pro football had the AFL, USFL and XFL and still kept going. CFB used to be dominated by the Ivies and other eastern colleges, but then other conferences took it over and it still prospered. Hoops had the ABA. My point is, not every league succeeds but the sports did. The fact that every soccer league failed miserably is something to note, not use as an excuse.

        • zeek says:

          They “count” against soccer but they shouldn’t against MLS.

          My point is simply that the 70+ year old leagues are all a lot closer to their theoretical potential because they all have 30+ team platforms built out with many years of tradition for many teams.

          Yes, in some sense a league is used as a proxy for the popularity of a sport, but it also is more or less an aggregate of the popularity and brands and tradition of the actual teams themselves.

          Comparing leagues with old-line teams to a league with a bunch of young teams isn’t a great exercise. Once MLS hits something like 60 or 70 years old, it will be a lot closer to hitting its potential because it will span across 3+ generations like the rest of the leagues.

          This is probably the first time that soccer has had a well-managed league without salary wars and teams that are being run with an eye to profitability and stadium building as the primary objective.

          • Brian says:

            That’s fair.

            But then you can’t count all soccer fans in the various polls since they aren’t all MLS fans. Take out all the fans of just foreign leagues or just the US team, and the number of fans drops a lot.

          • zeek says:

            Yeah, I agree that we shouldn’t include the fans of foreign teams or the MNT.

            I think most US soccer fans are just fans of the MNT, which means that they’re just casual fans once every 4 years, sort of like how we talk about fans of various Olympic sports like swimming or gymnastics.

            The fact that the MNT can draw ratings in the tens of millions doesn’t mean anything; that’s more of a once every 4 years expression of patriotic feelings/support.

            I think MLS’ various attendance/revenue measures will eventually be a good measure of how strong (in terms of depth) soccer’s support is in the US, but it’s not yet at the point where we can really get a good comparison out of it.

        • BruceMcF says:

          They “count” toward predicting soccer’s future to the extend that the America of 2030 resembles the America of 1960. The extent to which it will is why I would argue its unlikely that soccer will push aside one of the top three sports in popularity. The extent to which it isn’t is why it would be silly to predict that the sport will again stumble. Of course, just setting the history against the present reveals that something has changed, since on past history would predict that the MLS would already be shut down.

    • By that logic, horse racing and boxing (both of which have technically have more history than basketball and the NFL) should all still be major sports in the United States, but they aren’t. Sometimes a sports popularity just dies down over time as people move on and find ones they enjoy better. I don’t think you can fairly compare soccer and baseball based on scoring alone. While I am in no way a soccer fan, people are always in motion and something is constantly happening. In baseball, there’s a whole lot of nothing going on for the vast majority of the game (admittedly my opinion).

      • acaffrey says:

        Jeff,

        I agree. My fandom of baseball has decreased substantially as I have aged. But there is something about the baseball stadium that has a romantic, days of yore spirit to it. Maybe baseball doesn’t deserve it. But baseball has it. At least for now.

        Horse racing and boxing are not hugely family spectator sports. They seem more adult oriented, due to gambling and brutality. Of course, to whatever extent they are, it is probably among the key factors keeping the sports alive. I went to the golden gloves with an ex-gf and her dad (and other relatives). For them, it was kind of a family thing. And there were other families there, mostly relatives of the participants though. Horse racing at least has a lot of kids growing up participating in horse riding and other skills. But as the country becomes less rural, that is obviously waning too.

        I certainly agree that sports can change. I just think that soccer is more like baseball in terms of excitement. Only any pitch can be a home run. Of course, there are very very fervent soccer fans that find it exciting. But to catch up to football and basketball, something would have to happen to those sports. And I don’t see soccer passing by baseball for a long time. Hockey? Maybe, maybe not.

        • bullet says:

          Boxing hurt itself more than baseball. With the split titles, you don’t have as recognizable stars. You have the corruption and a couple promoters determining who fights who rather than the best fighting the best. Without the domination by Arum and King, boxing would have been a whole lot better off. Been a dearth of American stars as well. If we had done better in the Olympics lately, it would have helped promote fighters.

        • bullet says:

          Horse racing has also had to deal with the lotto and casinos, especially the Indian casinos which are all over. Dog tracks are hit even worse.

          • Brian says:

            You’re also talking about sports that became huge before TV. These were newspaper and radio sports, and a big fight or race was a noteworthy event. Large groups of people gathered together to listen. Nowadays sport have to compete with lots of other entertainment options.

            On top of the other boxing failures you mentioned, the move to PPV has really hurt. That’s why MMA has stolen the younger fans. They can see MMA on TV for “free” versus paying $75 for a Mayweather fight while he still skips Pacquiao.

        • Random note: I actually got to go on the field at Wrigley Field today for a work event, which was pretty sweet. (I’ve been down on the field at U.S. Cellular Field and Soldier Field, too.) For your bar bet/trivia knowledge, the outfield baskets above the ivy were put in place in the 1970s (and I’m serious about this) to keep the drunk fans that used to run on the bleachers from falling onto the field (which had become an epidemic).

  31. bullet says:

    Frank I think your perceptions on the Big 12 vs. the ACC from a fan’s standpoint are colored by eastern bias and basketball. They aren’t borne out by the polls.
    Ranking in the AP polls by decade 60s to 00s for a few of the ACC schools and the Big 12 schools:

    UNC NR, 26, 29, 21, NR
    NCSU NR, 23, NR, 41, 48
    GT 23, 38, 44, 23, 41
    Clemson NR, 30, 10, 33, 46
    VT NR, NR, 51, 15, 8
    BC NR, NR, 30, 38, 26
    SU NR, NR, 30, 20, 53
    UVA NR, NR, 41, 37, 61

    I didn’t do Wake, Duke or Pitt who have mostly been pretty bad the last quarter century.

    Big 12:
    Kansas 22,48,NR, 38,41
    Baylor 40,32,30,NR,NR
    WVU 44,54,27,42,19
    KSU NR,NR,NR,13,34
    TCU NR,NR,NR,NR,14
    Ok St NR, 41,28,63,38
    TT NR, 29,44,61,29
    ISU NR,52,NR,NR,72

    UNC, NCSU and UVA have just not done that much. GT has an MNC and was winless a couple years later. They’ve been very up and down. Their rankings haven’t been significantly better than Kansas since they left the SEC. Clemson has an outstanding team this year, but have struggled since their MNC and struggled before it.

    • bullet says:

      And it you look at attendance as a measure of their fan support, the Big 12 average over the last 4 years is about 8,000 higher than the ACC and the median is about 5,000 higher. I’m not going to look up the AD revenue numbers, but I recall the Big 12 being noticeably higher.

  32. Nemo says:

    Maryland unveils “Maryland Pride” football uniforms before game at West Virginia at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Kevin Plank, a Maryland alum and founder of UnderArmour seems determined to bring the Oregon plan for uni’s over to the East coast….

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/terrapins-insider/wp/2013/09/19/maryland-football-unveils-new-red-pride-uniforms/

    • Andy says:

      looks like a superhero costume. maybe flash?

      • BuckeyeBeau says:

        actually made me think of the Oregon uniforms. Got sort of NASCAR checkerboard thing on the shoulders instead of Duck’s feathers. Otherwise, the i actually like the uniforms. Basic red with some extras. (but not a fan of the gloves).

        the helmets, by contrast are a confusing mess of colors and ideas. big giant MARYLAND and then, what?, the state flag waving (I guess?) 3D contour-formed over the helmet. Not good color-wise (too many and not pleasing), not good visually (too complex for a rounded object) and not good information-wise (not clear what it is; you have to stop and go “what?”).

        “Maryland” is too many letters. The Terps need to get a stylized “M” (just do the Michigan M, but in red?) or do a “paw” print of a turtle (like Clemson) or something simple.

    • ccrider55 says:

      How do you create a puke imoticon?

    • GreatLakeState says:

      These are far better than last years. The ‘Maryland’ font on the back of the helmet has a gang quality I’m not thrilled with, but I actually like them quite a bit. I only pray Michigan never changes theirs again. Some teams should leave well enough alone. Nebraska is another. Their ‘special’ uniforms have been horrid. My brother being a Spartan, I have to give them their due. I have always loved their Spartan head logo and think their re-branding efforts (font/color) from a few years ago was a big improvement. And yes, I’m rooting for them to smoke ND. GO, (cough-spit-hack) SPARTY!

      • GreatLakeState says:

        Heads up FTT, Aaron Paul says this week’s episode is when things REALLY start to get messy.
        Considering last weeks body count, who’s going to be left?

        • @GreatLakeState – My gut feeling is that something bad happens to Walt Jr./Flynn. That’s the primary scenario where I’d see Walt coming back from hiding to use the Scarface-style semi-automatic weapons that he bought in revenge mode.

          I also think that Lydia’s tea (which they’ve made an emphasis of showing in several episodes) is going to that dose of ricin (although that seems like a final episode event).

          • GreatLakeState says:

            Yup. That brilliant flash-forward (showing bearded, at-wits-end Walt) lets you know the unthinkable has happened and forces you to ponder what that might be.
            JR Mitte (Walt Jr.) has been incredible. Hopefully this role leads to a long career for him.

      • Nemo says:

        The “Terps” motif which was present for 20 years is now gone. With the move to the B1G, I see a transition to spelling out “Maryland” on all uniforms as there are already UM’s in the Conference (Michigan). The whole “State flag” is something only someone from Maryland can appreciate. It is distinctive bearing the logos of two families that were vital to establishing the “Free State”.. See it here almost everywhere you go.

        The “camo” uniforms that Plank came up with are worn only once, auctioned off and the funds donated to the Wounded Warrior Project. He has also been making the rounds on early morning TV. The recruits seem to really like the color scheme……

        • vp19 says:

          Maryland has also worn the “camo” unis in baseball (saw the Terps beat UVa in Charlottesville wearing them in March), although with red as the complementary color, it doesn’t work anywhere as well as the Padres’ camo with navy.

  33. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    ESPN the Magazine’s current issue ranks the best two-sport (CFB & MBB) schools. The rankings were compiled by calculating results from three major categories (50% On Field Success; 20% Off Field Success; 30% Traditions of Success). For the most part, data was analyzed from the past 15 years. Schools were penalized for NCAA violations.

    Here’s the Top 25.

    1. Florida (CFB 4; MBB 6)
    2. Ohio State (CFB 1; MBB 10)
    3. Texas (CFB 5; MBB 11)
    4. Oklahoma (CFB 3; MBB 24)
    5. Michigan (CFB 12; MBB 16)
    6. Michigan State (CFB 26; MBB 5)
    7. Alabama (CFB 2; MBB 32)
    8. UCLA (CFB 21; MBB 12)
    9. Wisconsin (CFB 19; MBB 14)
    10. Notre Dame (CFB 11; MBB 25)
    11. LSU (CFB 6; MBB 44)
    12. North Carolina (CFB 56; MBB 2)
    13. Miami (CFB 13; MBB 31)
    14. Florida State (CFB 9; MBB 41)
    15. Duke (CFB 72; MBB 1)
    16. Syracuse (CFB 40; MBB 7)
    17. Maryland (CFB 35; MBB 9)
    18. Georgia (CFB 8; MBB 48)
    19. Louisville (CFB 46; MBB 8)
    20. Kansas (CFB 65; MBB 3)
    21. Tennessee (CFB 15; MBB 38)
    22. USC (CFB 7; MBB 59)
    23. Kentucky (CFB 67; MBB 4)
    24. Washington (CFB 29; MBB 20)
    25. Stanford (CFB24; MBB 27)

    • GreatLakeState says:

      Michigan’s ’00 basketball drought really hurt them. Surprised OSU is so high in BB.

      • Richard says:

        Haven’t been paying attention to bball lately? Final Four in 2007 & 2012, an Elite 8 in 2013, and Sweet 16′s in 2010 & 2011. Over the past 15 years, I would say OSU has a been a clear #2 overall in bball in the B10 behind MSU (IU’s descent in to ineptitude due to Sampson hurt them).

    • Andy says:

      The MBB numbers don’t make much sense. Alabama at 32 seems way too high. And Stanford at 27. I’d like to see the whole list.

      • frug says:

        Stanford had a nice run from ’94-’08, especially ’97-’04.

        • Andy says:

          Yeah, I guess that 15 year criteria suits them well. Pretty much all of their success is from that ’94-’08 run. Evaluate them over 30 years or 40 (or just 5) and they’d rank a lot lower.

  34. Mack says:

    That is why the US team will not play in the Rose Bowl for its home games. The US team has to play Mexico in places like Columbus (MLS stadium, not OSUs) to get a small 20K+ home crowd for World Cup qualifiers. Its working; the US has won the last 4 games in Columbus played against Mexico all by the score of 2-0.

  35. Brian says:

    http://articles.mcall.com/2013-09-19/sports/mc-penn-state-football-west-virginia-20130919_1_seat-transfer-equity-program-nittany-lion-club-dave-joyner

    PSU’s AD is looking to take a $30M outside loan.

    At first that seems really bad, but then dig into the details:

    About $5-$10 million of the loan would be used to fund operating expenses over the next three years, officials said. The remainder would go to help fund projects that might otherwise be shelved.

    Penn State projects athletic department capital reserves, currently positive, to reach a negative total of $5.5 million in the 2016-17 fiscal year. Reserves are expected to be positive again in 2017, with Penn State projecting a cash reserve of about $2.8 million.

    Doncsecz told the committee that the next five years will be a “difficult period” for Penn State athletics, according to the Centre Daily Times. The department, which funds 31 varsity sports, is responsible for paying the NCAA-sanctioned $60 million fine. It also is funding a $10 million upgrade of Beaver Stadium’s scoreboards, scheduled to be in place next season.

    The largest problem seems to be attendance.

    2012 – 96,730 (lowest average since expansion in 2001)
    2013 – 92,609 so far with Kent St this week (maybe the smallest crowd of the year)

    Capacity = 106,572
    2012 – 90.8%
    2013 – 86.9% so far (B10 games are still coming, obviously)

    PSU is using 88% of capacity (93,783) for future financial planning purposes.

    • BuckeyeBeau says:

      okay, maybe not “really bad.” but certainly not good. but on the other hand, hardly unexpected or surprising. the Sandusky mess has cost a ton of $$ including the $60M fine, $30M and counting for settlements, $6M to Freeh, $$$ to lawyers and consultants and other investigations including the Dept. of Ed., etc. etc.

      I am a bit surprised they didn’t need to do this sooner.

      on the attendance issue, that’s a big problem. PSU is white-washing the problem by pointing to the national trends, but PSU’s problem is more extreme than the national trends.

      My own view is that STEP was too big of a switch. It is a financial success, but it has driven a good number of season ticket holders away. Something more gradual might have been better (or maybe the AD was counting on Paterno to make it okay with the season ticket holders). The loss of season ticket holders is bad since that is how the stadium fills up for the cupcake games.

      STEP also moved everyone around, including the student section (if I understand correctly). PSU fans don’t like change. LOL

      Then there are a good number of PSU fans still angry about the firing of Paterno and it will take a couple of more years for them to come back.

      Then there is the weak slate of games (which PSU and other teams are working to correct for the future). I think the 9-game conference schedule will help. Even if it is just Purdue or Indiana, I would still rather see them than Kent State or Florida International.

      • Psuhockey says:

        The price is the biggest reason the stadium isn’t filling. Penn State has been charging profootball prices. Throw in $40 bucks to park, profootball priced consesions, a motel racket charging a flat 2 night package of close to$300 dollars for motor lodges, gas, and you could pay upwards of $500-$600 to watch Kent State. The weak schedule thing is effecting attendance everywhere, including in the SEC. Nobody wants to she’ll out big bucks for cupcakes.

        They powers that be at PSU raised all the prices during the longest stretch of mediocrity in school history and right before the scandal. You would think having one of the better business schools in America would not raise prices when demand was at its lowest but you would have thought wrong. Drop the prices and they will come back, especially now that the product is significantly better even though they can’t play for anything.

        • David Brown says:

          PSU Hockey, there is truth in what you say. But I am more optimistic, about the future. The biggest problem at Penn State was it became far too elitist, and they forgot the average Penn State supporter. The key will be time. 1: Garbage like what happened with Paterno/Sandusky/Spanier, is fresh in people’s minds, once it fades away, people will return. Personally speaking, there is nothing lower than a child molester, and until BOB came in and cleaned things up, I stayed away. 2: They cannot compete for anything for several years, once the Sanctions & Probation end, things should be different. 3: The New B10 TV Contract should mean more money for the Athletic Department. 4: Schedule. We will be adding teams to the schedule like Pitt & West Virginia that people want to see. The key is making sure they never leave again. I think the lesson is getting through, one example is Wrestling: The willingness to schedule Iowa non-Conference in Iowa City, because the fans want that match, is something you would not have seen under Paterno. I have commented numerous times on the Pitt Panthers, and how we need our REAL Rival, and they need us. I dislike Pitt (and Notre Dame) far more than Ohio State (once we start playing Pitt, younger fans will understand why). In fact, OSU is far down the dislike list. The Cowboys, Ravens, Red Sox, Mets, and NY Rangers are more despised by me than OSU. We have two more years to deal with garbage and then things will be good.

      • Brian says:

        BuckeyeBeau,

        “okay, maybe not “really bad.” but certainly not good”

        Agreed. But when they’re spending $10M of it on a new scoreboard and another $10-15M on other projects, you realize it isn’t that bad. They basically pop back into profitability as soon as they get bowl money back.

        As for STEP, I think it just takes time for the fans to adjust to what others have been dealing with for a long time. The timing was unfortunate with the scandal so soon after the implementation of STEP. I think they’ll come out of it just fine.

    • Andy says:

      “Illinois officials want a game against Missouri in St. Louis and one in Chicago”

      • zeek says:

        Not sure why Missouri would ever agree to that kind of setup. At best it’ll be home/home/St. Louis, or multiple St. Louis games.

        Both schools get a lot out of St. Louis trips, only Illinois really benefits from Chicago trips as they focus on their alumni there.

        • @zeek – Actually, Mizzou is now right up there with Iowa, Indiana and Purdue as the out-of-state schools with the largest number of Illinois students. I’ll have to find it, but the Chicago Tribune had a fairly lengthy article earlier this year outlining how Missouri has had a laser-like focus in attracting Chicago area students over the past 5 to 10 years where now nearly 40% of each freshman class is from Illinois. So, I could see Mizzou agreeing a Chicago game for that reason (not to mention the large number of alums in the area).

          • zeek says:

            Fair point. Perception-wise though, it won’t be seen that way. It’ll be seen as if an SEC team gave an extra home game to a Big Ten team. Doubt we ever see it come to pass that way.

      • Richard says:

        They could do 2 in StL for 1 in Chicago. Illinois would definitely have the attendance advantage in Chicago, but Mizzou would definitely have the attendance advantage in StL (more than they did 30-40 years ago, BTW).

  36. zeek says:

    Maryland is back?

    Maryland-WVU 37-0. You’re reading that right.

    Rittenberg/Bennett
    Jim Delany’s a genius RT @McMurphyESPN : West Virginia finishes w/6 turnovers & 6 1st downs.Shut out for 1st time in 168 games. Maryland 37-0

  37. zeek says:

    Rutgers also got a huge win. Rutgers 28-24 over Arkansas. Bielema’s first loss at Arkansas.

    Big weekend for the two future Big Ten members.

    Wisconsin fans will no doubt be happy to see that.

  38. gfunk says:

    Congrats to future BIG members Md and Rutgers: each beat respectable programs, one from the Big12, the other from the SEC.

    If IU pulls off a win tonight the current-future BIG goes 4-0 against the Big12 and SEC in OOC play.

    A consolation for last week’s letdown against the Pac12, albeit horrendous officiating factored in Wisky’s loss.

    MSU has a slight chance of winning in South Bend. 3 and 20 with 2 min left – will take a lot of luck to pull it off.

    • gfunk says:

      ND will win. Regardless of going 2-1 against BIG teams, ND would be at most, 3rd best in the BIG this year.

    • zeek says:

      I’m not sure this is the WVU that the Big 12 thought they were getting…; if their future looks like this, it won’t be good.

      They just haven’t been the same team since joining the Big 12.

      • wmtiger says:

        They dominated a very weak Big East after VT, Miami & Boston College left.

        • gfunk says:

          Yes, but they absolutely shined in at least two BCS games: absolutely destroyed Clemson and humiliated OU. You can’t take that away from them. They’re getting screwed by super long road trips in the Big12. It takes time to adapt to new conference environments.

          • frug says:

            Yes, but they absolutely shined in at least two BCS games: absolutely destroyed Clemson and humiliated OU.

            The victory over OU was 6 years ago. The fact that they thrashed Clemson doesn’t change the fact WVU went 9-3 (and 5-2 in Big East play) against a schedule that featured 2 ranked teams (a 3 point win over #23 Cincy and a destruction at the hand of LSU in Morgantown).

            And it isn’t just travel. Last year WVU was only 2-3 at home in conference play last year.

          • bullet says:

            They also beat Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.

      • gfunk says:

        I think WVa’s move to the Big12 is an example of horrible expansion from a geographical aspect. Why did the Big12 screw them without at least one travel partner? Cincy or Lville was there for the Big12, either would have jumped ship in a heartbeat.

        Big12 wanted a true conference championship format, which is dumb considering the Big12 Conference Championship often prepared its best team for a NCG in dramatic fashion.

        This move is a warning to ACC or Pac12 fans going for Tx add. You got to at least add 1 travel partner. The Pac12 would be a nightmare for the UT, with or without another Tx school. That is one spread out conference. Even Lubbock (which has a nice head start on Austin) to Tuscon is nearly a 10 hour drive.

        When I wish for a Tx add to the BIG, no doubt OU must fall into the equation. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to think of another Tx school, albeit the options are slim – TCU or Rice for me, both have their shortcomings, but both would diminish UT’s concerns in a BIG Western Division that stretches from Austin to Minneapolis. I really think UT will think twice about joining the BIG unless it has 2 nearby conference rivals. I could live with OU and TCU. I just don’t think RIce will ever build the alumni base to regain strong attendance. So many Tx FBS schools, and Houston has dumped a lot of money into their football.

        • zeek says:

          Yeah, well Texas could survive as an island in any conference given how strong its recruiting base is naturally.

          I’m not sure WVU will be able to given that they don’t really have a naturally great recruiting zone. I keep hearing people say they’re going to focus on Texas and Florida. What great Texas and Florida recruits are going to be willing to make that kind of move to a school that’s located so far from their traveling opponents?

          They’ve lost all those games in the Northeast now, and they’re an island in a tough recruiting spot. It won’t be easy for them in the future.

          • gfunk says:

            I disagree. UT has no recent history without at least 2 other Tx schools in the same conference: SWC or Big12. They need in-state rivals, it’s culturally expected down there, no other way to put it.

            Sure they’d be better than WVa due to the obvious reasons you cite, but geographic compatibility matters.

            Look at aTm: they have 5 SEC schools within 9 hours driving distance or less – a great border battle with LSU (upside in this rivalry, comparable to OU-UT) and a former SWC buddy, Ark – is included in that number. UT in a BIG Western Division would only have one school within 10 hours drive, if say OU was added as well. It’s about a 10 hour drive for UT fans based in Austin to Lawrence, KS.

          • frug says:

            I disagree. UT has no recent history without at least 2 other Tx schools in the same conference: SWC or Big12. They need in-state rivals, it’s culturally expected down there, no other way to put it.

            A&M always had at least 3 in state schools and they went to the SEC without in state rivals.

          • zeek says:

            There’s a big difference between being isolated in Austin, Texas and being isolated in Morgantown, WVa.

            WVU has no natural recruiting zone in its backyard, it’s located near Western Pennsylvania, but beyond that, it has no natural recruiting zone.

            I think we’re all going to see how problematic that will be over the next 10-20 years.

            It’s tough to compare UT or A&M to them given locations. UT and A&M are different animals given that they’re located in the heart of one of the most fertile recruiting zones in the country. For them, they could be traveling to Alaska to play 6 times a year, and they’d still do fine with recruiting.

          • frug says:

            @zeek

            Also, important from a travel perspective is that UT also has the advantage of having a major airport 15 minutes away.

            WVU has drive to Pittsburgh before they can fly anywhere.

          • gfunk says:

            Frug,

            Did you even bother reading my post? No you did not. aTm is simply closer to more SEC opponents than say a UT in a BIG western division with OU. More importantly, as trends clearly indicate, the SEC is unquestionably superior to the BIG right now. A no-brainer for aTm: join the best football conference, get out of UT’s shadow, make more money, etc.

          • zeek says:

            That’s a good point about WVU’s airport situation. That can’t make it easy on recruits either given how difficult it is to get to WVU in the first place.

          • frug says:

            @gfunk

            Actually I did read your post and still doesn’t make any sense.

            You say UT needs in state rivals and then go on to praise A&M for going to the SEC without any in state rivals. Can’t have it both ways.

          • gfunk says:

            Frug,

            BS. But I’ll spell it out again. If UT was in a BIG Western division with OU, they’d still be geographically challenged compared to aTm in the SEC. Thus, it would not surprise me if UT would want another Tx school to come with them to the BIG. OU may not be enough. KU certainly doesn’t produce a nice in-state rival for fans seeking a road trip. I’m suggesting you think about the commuting fans, family members & Olympic sports. It’s not just about football.

            I don’t disagree, UT would still be able to recruit. But aTm in the SEC is a superior option for Tx kids than UT in the BIG & damn right. aTm is trending up, UT is crapping themselves, and the SEC membership is clearly a factor in the Aggie’s rise.

          • frug says:

            If UT was in a BIG Western division with OU, they’d still be geographically challenged compared to aTm in the SEC.

            Not really. UT has an international airport in town. A&M has to drive to Houston.

            Also, if geography was super important A&M wouldn’t have left the Big XII.

            I’m suggesting you think about the commuting fans

            Who sit around anxiously awaiting annual trips to Lubbock and Waco?

            & Olympic sports

            Why does that matter? Since Big Ten (and for that matter PAC) schools are located much closer to major airports than Big XII schools the actual travel time doesn’t change (and I’m not making just that up, Tom Osbourne showed it during his testimony to the NU BOR when they were considering joining the Big Ten).

            aTm is trending up, UT is crapping themselves, and the SEC membership is clearly a factor in the Aggie’s rise.

            A. Virtually all the significant contributors on both this year’s A&M squad and last seasons were recruited before the SEC move.

            B. I grew up in Oklahoma and have heard about aTm having an upward trend since the founding of the Big XII. It never sticks.

          • zeek says:

            A&M is trending up right now because they have a superstar QB in Manziel. Let’s see what happens after Manziel. He’s a one-man show right now. I’ll be impressed if they stay competitive well after him.

          • gfunk says:

            Frug,

            More BS. My brother lives in Austin, he road trips many of the UT games, esp in Tx, and there are plenty of other folks in Austin who do the same. I literally just read your note to him, he laughed his ass off. He thinks UT to the BIG would be a tough sell to tshirt fans, primary reason: geography. What was hit counterpoint? UT would be better off in the SEC for competitive reasons and commuting fans.

            You could argue UT putting Tx schools on an OOC schedule if they were in the BIG, but if they were to ever consider a BIG move, I’d bet a lot that they’d want another Tx school and OU to come with them – at the very least.

            Say what you want about aTm, but they beat Bama last year then went on to annihilate OU. They’d hold their own in this year’s Big 12. They would clown stomp UT this year. Time moves forward, you never know who will emerge as a consistent power, I like aTm’s chances. They have so much more upside now that they’re in the SEC. If you can’t see the obvious, enjoy yourself. But their alum get it – hence stadium expansion – and other enhancements to come.

          • zeek says:

            The Big 12 is way down this year. I think A&M would go 11-1 at least if they had a Big 12 schedule, so that isn’t saying much.

            A&M is clearly doing better than they were a few years ago, but we need to see how sustainable this is. A big part of this is Manziel; he’s a unique player.

          • Richard says:

            Zeek:

            Texas is down, but Texas isn’t the B12.

            Sagarin has 3 B12 schools in his top 3. Most B12 schools haven’t played good competition yet, but that also means that it’s too early to say that the B12 is down.

          • frug says:

            Say what you want about aTm, but they beat Bama last year then went on to annihilate OU. They’d hold their own in this year’s Big 12. They would clown stomp UT this year.

            I agree, but like I said, that has little to do with the move to SEC since almost all the contributors (including Manziel) were recruited when A&M was in the Big XII.

            They have so much more upside now that they’re in the SEC.

            Possibly, but they have a lot more downside also. The competition will likely be tougher and (more importantly) recruiting will harder with a half dozen SEC teams getting regular exposure in East Texas.

            I literally just read your note to him, he laughed his ass off.

            Thanks. I too find the idea that anyone would actually be upset at not having to to visit Lubbock to be hilarious.

            He thinks UT to the BIG would be a tough sell to tshirt fans, primary reason: geography

            It wasn’t an easy sell for Maryland fans either. Hell, some Penn St. fans still whine about being in a Midwestern conference. But you know what? It didn’t stop them.

            The fans will get over it.

            (Plus, as you yourself have noted, A&M has thrived in the SEC (at least so far) even though it a much worse conference geographically for aTm than the Big XII. LSU is closet SEC school and it’s 5 and a half hours away. Meanwhile, Waco and Austin are less than two hours from College Station. Hell, even Norman is closer than Baton Rouge. And TTU and OSU are both closer than any SEC schools besides LSU.)

            What was hit counterpoint? UT would be better off in the SEC for competitive reasons and commuting fans.

            Well, the administrators apparently disagree since UT has made clear for 20 years they have only slightly more interest in SEC than they do Conference USA. Meanwhile, they showed very series interest in the Big 10 and PAC in ’94, some interest in the Big 10 in both 2010 and 2011 and nearly joined the PAC in both of those years.

            if they were to ever consider a BIG move, I’d bet a lot that they’d want another Tx school and OU to come with them – at the very least.

            Probably. On the other hand, they wanted to join the Big Ten and PAC alone back in ’94 and wanted to join the ACC two years ago by themselves.

          • vp19 says:

            You could argue UT putting Tx schools on an OOC schedule if they were in the BIG, but if they were to ever consider a BIG move, I’d bet a lot that they’d want another Tx school and OU to come with them – at the very least.

            The Big Ten presidents aren’t going to be coerced into taking Oklahoma just to satisfy UT — you can scream all you want about “kings,” but it won’t persuade them — and the only other Texas candidate with the requisite AAU status is Rice, which would have to make changes in its athletic program far beyond what Rutgers is doing in order to be Big Ten-caliber. If UT is tired of the Big 12, its most realistic alternative remains convincing the Pac it should reconsider a 16-member conference by adding Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Okie State. A&M won’t let UT into the SEC (not that Austin is all that interested), and going to the ACC, even with semi-indy status similar to Notre Dame? Yeah, playing the likes of Wake, BC and Georgia Tech would really bolster the Longhorns’ in-state recruiting..

          • zeek says:

            @Richard

            Oklahoma and Oklahoma State both look worse than they’ve been the past two years. They’re still top-15 teams but I’m not sure either is a legit contender this year.

            WVU, Kansas State, Texas are all much worse than they’ve been the past few years.

            Baylor and Texas Tech look like bottom top 25 teams.

            Iowa State and Kansas are both just bad.

            The conference looks like it’s taken a big step back from where it was 2 years ago when we talked about it as being the deepest conference by far.

          • bullet says:

            They’ve always recruited Ohio and Pennsylvania and Florida. Don’t see how the Big 12 hurts their recruiting. And it gives them a shot at recruiting Texas players.

          • bullet says:

            “Oklahoma and Oklahoma State both look worse than they’ve been the past two years. They’re still top-15 teams but I’m not sure either is a legit contender this year.

            WVU, Kansas State, Texas are all much worse than they’ve been the past few years.

            Baylor and Texas Tech look like bottom top 25 teams.”

            Regarding Oklahoma St., Baylor and Texas Tech, What sport are you talking about??????

            Texas is a work in progress. With 19 starters back, they should be better. Certainly didn’t look that way vs. BYU and Ole Miss.

        • Transic says:

          Not saying anything but Chip Brown put in an interesting tidbit in his recent column:

          That morale in UT athletics is at an all-time low – from the poor performance of football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball to the impending discrimination lawsuit of former Texas women’s track coach Bev Kearney (due to be filed the first week of October).

          Sources say Dodds is now being blamed by high-ranking officials for talking Powers into keeping Texas in what they see as a lackluster Big 12 instead of a robust Pac-12.

          http://texas.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1552167

          • @Transic – Well, I’ve said before that if I were running Texas, I would’ve taken the Pac-16 deal. That original proposal with Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado was the best lineup that UT could have ever been offered by another power conference. Now that A&M has gone off to the SEC, virtually any other proposal is going to look inferior to that one (not to mention that they’ll get to bring fewer regional friends overall).

          • duffman says:

            @ Frank

            While I tend to agree there are doubts TAMU would ever really makes that deal. The realistic 6 should have been :

            Texas
            Texas Tech
            Oklahoma
            Oklahoma State
            Colorado
            Kansas (in place of TAMU)

            If they did 4 tomorrow you still get a good deal with little realistic drop off from the original proposal – factoring in TAMU as a no go from the start :

            #1 Texas
            #2 Oklahoma
            #3 Colorado (already in)
            #4 Oklahoma State / Texas Tech / Kansas (pick one)
            #5 Oklahoma State / Texas Tech / Kansas (pick one)

            Not really much difference

            On a side note if Texas really was all about academics they would take Rice as their in state partner in a move to the PAC. Anything else is just lip service to academic issues.

          • Psuhockey says:

            Acedemics do play a part but in reality is just lip service to conference expansion. Nebraska was taken for football period. Rutgers and Maryland for markets. Arizona and Arizona State aren’t exactly acedemic heavy weights but the PAC added them long ago. Conference expansion is first and foremost about money. The BIG says AAU is mandatory but Nebraska’s membership had been under attack since 1998 and they would take Notre Dame, a school without even AAU ambition, in a heart beat. Notre Dame doesnt even match the profile of a BIG school in any way. Acedemics and AAU membership is a convenient excuse for the BIG to decline schools that don’t bring enough money to the conference. If Oklahoma will bring a ton of money to the Big Ten then Oklahoma will be added. Schools like Texas Tech and Oklahoma State wouldn’t not bring a profitable share to the BIG members so the BIG administrators can puff out their chest and say acedemics are the reason. In reality, its just money.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            Academics do play a part but in reality is just lip service to conference expansion.

            Probably a more accurate statement, is that academics are a qualifier, but don’t govern the entire decision.

            Here’s an analogy with student athletes: most Big Ten programs have admission standards above the NCAA minimums. They don’t take partial qualifiers, very few JuCo transfers, and so forth, even though the NCAA allows that. Academics matter.

            It’s worth noting that in most conference switches, a school moves to a better academic league than the one it was in previously. I don’t think that is a complete coincidence.

            Arizona and Arizona State aren’t exactly academic heavy weights but the PAC added them long ago.

            They aren’t academic heavyweights, but they’re large state flagship schools, like every other PAC school except USC and Stanford. They fit right in.

            The BIG says AAU is mandatory but Nebraska’s membership had been under attack since 1998 and they would take Notre Dame, a school without even AAU ambition, in a heart beat.

            I don’t think they ever actually said that AAU is mandatory, did they? We already know it’s not. But it would be silly to pretend that it’s a total non-factor.

          • Psuhockey says:

            AAU isn’t a nonfactor but I don’t think it is the biggest factor. Money is the biggest factor. Even AAU membership has a dollar sign attached. Why does the BIG want AAU schools? Is it a prestige thing or the fact that AAU schools receive close to 58% of all federal research money in the country? http://www.aau.edu/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=13460

          • BruceMcF says:

            More broadly for the Big Ten, good academics aren’t sufficient reason for wanting a school, but mediocre academics implies that adding the school would cause substantial headaches at some Big Ten schools for the President who supported it, and it would have to be a special school to justify the fight.

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          I think WVa’s move to the Big12 is an example of horrible expansion from a geographical aspect. Why did the Big12 screw them without at least one travel partner?

          You write as if WVa had no say in the matter. They accepted the Big XII’s invitation as the 10th school (TCU had already joined as #9), knowing there was no assurance of further expansion. Of course, had they not done so, the Big XII would probably have taken Louisville, and the Cardinals might have had the identical problem.

          Cincy or Lville was there for the Big12, either would have jumped ship in a heartbeat.

          The one inviolable rule of expansion is that no one expands to lose money. They were already at 10 with WV, so they’d have needed to add both Cincy and Louisville, which would have been two more mouths to feed with no change to the TV payout.

          Big12 wanted a true conference championship format, which is dumb considering the Big12 Conference Championship often prepared its best team for a NCG in dramatic fashion.

          The CCG doesn’t make much sense in a two-king league, where the two kings already meet every year in the regular season.

          This move is a warning to ACC or Pac12 fans going for Tx add. You got to at least add 1 travel partner.

          This strikes me as a dubious conclusion. Let’s say WV and Louisville had been the Big XII’s ninth and tenth schools. You’re talking about a difference of one “close” road trip every other year. Either way, the overwhelming majority of WV’s games would be in another time zone. To the extent WV was screwed, they’d still be.

          Flyover leagues are just not a very good model.

        • Mack says:

          So is your thesis that WV would have received the ACC invite rather than UCONN if Louisville got the XII invite? WV had been rejected by the ACC and SEC, and the ACC was not planning to expand having just invited Pitt and Syracuse. Would WV be better off in the American traveling to Tulsa, Houston, and Dallas rather than the XII traveling to Norman, Waco, and Austin? Not much better travel wise, and way worse in revenue. WV took the best deal available to them. WV is scheduling OOC schools that are close such as MD and PSU, so all the long road trips will be in conference.

          • Wainscott says:

            WVU was rejected by the SEC and ACC, but by the latter in a world before Maryland bolted for the Big Ten. Had both L’ville and WVU been available, i a contest between the two for Maryland’s spot, I think it likely would have been Louisville, but it would have been a much closer call. (Neither is an academic powerhouse, but at least WVU is a flagship state school like most other ACC schools, and has a history with several present and future ACC members; Louisville has had more recent athletic success overall).

            No, I am not secretly The Dude.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            I think you’re right: the football schools didn’t want another poor football program, such as UConn, which is why Louisville got the bid. But WV is historically a good football school, with a longer history of success than Louisville. WV just might get the bid in that scenario.

            But you can’t blame WV for leaping to the Big XII when they had the chance. No one expected Maryland to leave the ACC at that point, and had that not happened, WV would be in the American right now.

          • Wainscott says:

            Oh absolutely, WVU couldn’t sit and wait for the day when the ACC just might admit it to its conference. They made the easy and correct choice at the time to flee the Big East.

  39. zeek says:

    SEC is currently 5-6 against other BCS AQ conferences.

  40. gfunk says:

    IU was already exposed by Navy. I don’t see them winning this game, and it could get ugly. Like too many BIG teams, bad defense.

    Stanford is truly exposing the difference between them and Wisky, who may be one of the BIG’s top 4 teams. They are pounding ASU. But, ASU isn’t completely out yet.

    I could only see Michigan or OSU having the talent to adjust to Oregon or Stanford, but as of now, I’d take Oregon over OSU, Stanford over Michigan. No way Michigan would beat Oregon.

    • Richard says:

      No shame in that, I would say. I think that Stanford and Oregon are the only 2 (non-SEC) schools that could beat ‘Bama if they met the Sabanites in the title game (and thus the 2 best non-SEC teams out there)..

      Wiscy and Michigan definitely aren’t national title contenders. OSU may get to the title game, but I would have them as heavy underdogs to ‘Bama.

      • gfunk says:

        I agree. I also think the Pac12 may have a case as best conference this year, top to bottom. I’m just not sure if Oregon will be able to run that offense against Bama. aTm is not much different, though better i the air & Bama kept pace. Once that Oregon speed gets smacked by similar speed, yet greater power, will they be able to go to the air?

        I think Oregon’s offense is more hype than substance once you face a D as fast, but more physical. The read zone gets exposed. I was very cautious when the media was hyping Kelly’s debut against Washington. He, and the Eagles, are back on planet Earth now, two consecutive losses. Again, fast, physical D will typically prevail.

        IU is suddenly looking better. Too bad their offense couldn’t exploit the first of Mizzo’s 3 TOs. But now they’re getting hot. I just don’t trust their D, TOs or not.

      • GreatLakeState says:

        I can’t stand OSU, but I’d take them against Stanford. Alabama/Oregon appear, as of now, to be in a class by themselves.

        • Richard says:

          What makes you think that OSU would be able to keep Stanford’s O-line from bulldozing them?

          • Brian says:

            Richard,

            “What makes you think that OSU would be able to keep Stanford’s O-line from bulldozing them?”

            What makes you think that Stanford’s O-line will bulldoze OSU?

            Maybe after we play WI you’d have evidence for that, but not now. OSU has the #9 rushing D in ypg and ypc right now. Yes, I know the SOS is terrible but the point remains that nobody has done much on the ground against OSU yet. Meanwhile, Stanford is #41 in ypg rushing and #39 in ypc (played Army, SJSU and ASU). Both Stanford and WI have played ASU and WI averaged 7.2 ypc while Stanford got 4.9 (both had similar totals), so Stanford’s running game might not be elite.

  41. gfunk says:

    Michigan looking like very average again. They lose this game, or barely win, they will have a long season. But then again, most of the BIG is average or poor. If UConn wins, many of their fans will have a huge laugh, esp those often slammed on this site, as well as others, for wanting a BIG invite.

  42. BuckeyeBeau says:

    @ FtT.

    I don’t want to sound overly critical or get into a big debate over the pros and cons of “Breaking Bad,” but I have to ask this question.

    I have seen all the episodes but the last 5-6, and the only lawyer in the show is portrayed as a criminal conspiring with his clients and using the attorney-client privilege as a way to further criminal activity. And now there is a spinoff planned “(Better Call Saul”) where presumably Saul will continue committing crimes.

    Isn’t this troubling?

    Supporting a TV show portraying lawyers as criminals seems problematic to me.

    • bullet says:

      You don’t like reality TV?

    • @BuckeyeBeau – I wouldn’t have many movies and TV shows to watch at all if I had to avoid all instances where lawyers were shown as shady or outright criminals! Tom Hagen in The Godfather was similarly conspiring with the Corleone family. Lawyers are pretty easy target as a group for Hollywood (and it’s not undeserved). The irony, of course, is that Saul is generally beloved as a character (hence the spinoff) almost because he’s shamelessly involved in Walt’s business. Say what you will about Saul, but he’s (1) upfront, (2) really good at his job, (3) really funny, (4) completely self aware that he’s in the gutter (unlike Walt) and (5) not hypocritical, all of which are character traits that people in the audience generally respond positively to. In the Hollywood context, we (the audience) tend to forgive criminal activity much more than hypocrisy.

      • BuckeyeBeau says:

        @FtF: You said: “… we (the audience) tend to forgive criminal activity much more than hypocrisy.” I think that applies to much of the world. Think politics.

        All fair points.

    • GreatLakeState says:

      With exception to Hank and Walt Jr (‘er Flynn!) he’s probably the most honest person on the show.

      • GreatLakeState says:

        As it winds down, I’ve gone back and forth on who survives. I’m sticking with Marie and the baby. I’d be happy to see Jesse/Andrea/Brock ride off into the sunset, but that’s unlikely.
        If you haven’t seen Aaron Paul’s legendary appearance on Price is Right, it’s a riot.

  43. Andy says:

    Sorry Hoosier fans. Mizzou dominated tonight. At least you made the score a little closer in the last couple of minutes.

    It will be interesting to see how Indiana does this year. They’ve got some weapons on offense but their defense looks pretty weak. I could see them maybe sneaking into a bowl game at 6-6 but probably not.

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      It will be interesting to see how Indiana does this year. They’ve got some weapons on offense but their defense looks pretty weak. I could see them maybe sneaking into a bowl game at 6-6 but probably not.

      It would have to be miraculous. If the games were played today, they’d probably be the underdogs in every Big Ten game except their season finale against Purdue. It’s hard to see four more wins on that schedule.

  44. duffman says:

    Apology if already posted and slightly off topic but underscores the next generation of fans.

    http://nypost.com/2013/09/20/parents-want-to-sue-former-nfler-for-outing-their-hard-partying-brats/

    In a world of kids with the feelings of entitlement my thinking is they will not pay the “donor” part of ticket costs for college teams and the corporate suites of today may not find buyers 20 years from now. Also, a generation raised on watching TV games will have less desire to reach deep into their pockets for expensive live games when you factor in all costs of live game attendance.

    I keep seeing canaries in the coal mines but athletic departments still spending money like drunken sailors and still wanting bigger income streams. It just feels like a sports bubble waiting to pop.

    • BuckeyeBeau says:

      Hmm… agree in part. there will always the die-hard fans, a core of families where being a ____________________ fan is part of the family lore, part of the holidays, part of what makes the family a family.

      for the others, it’s all about marketing. pitch the stadium experience as something buzz-worthy, something for them to put on their FB page and Tweet about, then they will buy season tickets and pay the donor premium. It becomes a status symbol or indication of success. And make the Stadium itself an attraction. Think Jerry World.

      Some schools will be better at all this than others.

      • duffman says:

        Think Jerry World.

        I try not to think of JerryWorld :)

        Ribbon boards give me headaches
        Kids playing video games and texting t live games instead of watching the live game

        Have a family member in their college years and they have no desire to get season tickets. When I was their age I could not wait and the cost was low enough that I did not have too.

  45. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Week 5 AP Poll results by conference.

    SEC (7) #1 Alabama, #6 LSU, #9 Georgia, #10 A&M, #12 South Carolina, #20 Florida, #21 Ole Miss

    Pac-12 (4) #2 Oregon, #5 Stanford, #13 UCLA, #16 Washington

    B1G (4) #4 Ohio State, #17 Northwestern, #18 Michigan, #23 Wisconsin

    Big XII (4) #11 OK State, #14 Oklahoma, #19 Baylor, #24 Tx Tech

    ACC (3) #3 Clemson, #8 Florida State, #15 Miami

    AAC – #7 Louisville

    Ind – #22 Notre Dame

    MWC – #25 Fresno State

    Looking ahead, after cupcake weekend when 57 of the 59 favorites won and only one game pitted ranked teams, next week we have four games pitting ranked teams.

    #6 LSU at #9 Georgia (I’ll be there)
    #14 Oklahoma at #22 Notre Dame
    #21 Ole Miss at #1 Alabama
    #23 Wisconsin at #4 Ohio State.

  46. Brian says:

    http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/writer/jeremy-fowler/23784124/minneapolis-all-in-for-2017-college-football-playoff-bid

    Minneapolis is going hard after the NCG in 2017 (2016 season).

    The Vikings, who will open Vikings Stadium in 2016 with help from the state, would expect a $90 million economic impact from a title game and will invest $10 million or more “to get that type of return,” Bagley said.

    • bullet says:

      Falcons new stadium is supposed to be ready fall of 2017.

      • Brian says:

        They can aim for the 2018 NCG (2017 season). The Peach Bowl has a semifinal in 2017 so Atlanta can’t have the NCG that year anyway.

    • Wainscott says:

      I would expect all cities with new or new-ish domed/retractable roof stadia to vie to host semi-finals or the NCG.

      Still, I’m less optimistic that fans will readily travel to both a bowl/semi-final on New Years Eve/Day and also a NCG a week later, but that’s a separate issue.

      • Brian says:

        Wainscott,

        “I would expect all cities with new or new-ish domed/retractable roof stadia to vie to host semi-finals or the NCG.”

        The semis are in the 6 bowls already named. Only the NCG can bounce around (for now).

        “Still, I’m less optimistic that fans will readily travel to both a bowl/semi-final on New Years Eve/Day and also a NCG a week later, but that’s a separate issue.”

        I think they’re counting on a lot of neutral fans from around the host city area to attend, plus lots of corporate types. It’ll be more like a Super Bowl crowd and less like a bowl crowd.

    • gfunk says:

      Nice development is happening in Mpls right now and we’re growing, some sense a boom. But I know Minnesotans, our history, we will somehow filter a potential boom and stretch it to prevent rapid growth – we do things that way. We’re the underrated jewel of the Midwest – 13th best economy in the US. But we have a tendency to over do smart growth – like our sister cities out West: Portland and Seattle.

      There will be a very nice, 2 block park completed along with the stadium – it will connect to the stadium and offer year round amenities. It may not be done before the stadium completion. This park will also be anchored by additional corporate offices for Wells Fargo (aka Norwest Bank), a hotel-retail complex, and of course more housing for the upper middle class – faux-urban condos & lofts, and overpriced rental units. A second LRT line will shoot past the stadium, connecting Mpls to the U of Mn and downtown St. Paul (Central Corridor). It opens next year. In 5 years, Mpls-St.Paul-UofMn will all be connected via LRT & these lines will also connect to the international airport & yes that damn mall, which is planning a huge expansion.

      The new Viking’s hull, roll out Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”:

      http://www.vikings.com/media-vault/photo-gallery/Images-Of-The-New-Vikings-Stadium/ca0a3ace-4a19-4d9a-998c-b5fdf30b73c6#8f96ecbb-edb1-4552-92cd-16d0e381d0d0

  47. Brian says:

    http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/9708082/cleveland-browns-covet-ben-tate-free-agency-open-trading-josh-gordon-greg-little-source-says

    The Browns continue their race to the bottom by looking to trade WRs Josh Gordon and Greg Little.

    They are also looking to get Ben Tate (Arian Foster’s backup) in free agency to replace Richardson at RB. Why not just draft a RB since they’re all mostly interchangeable?

    • Richard says:

      Wouldn’t you waste a draft pick that way?

      • Brian says:

        You have to draft someone. It’s not a waste if you use a 2nd round or later pick like other teams do. Why pay a high price for a FA if you can get a RB cheaper through the draft (or get a cheaper FA)? Save your FA money for difference-making positions.

        Ben Tate was a 2nd round pick.

        • Richard says:

          But if you don’t use the draft pick on an RB, you can get a player at a more important position for cheaper. Free agency is a poor way to build a team in the NFL (and MLB as well).

  48. Brian says:

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/2013/09/22/week-4-college-football-misery-index-west-virginia/2849809/

    Miser Index Week 4:

    1. WV
    2. VT
    3. UT
    4. UConn
    5. BSU
    6. MSU
    7. TN
    8. NE
    9. BYU
    10. USC

  49. duffman says:

    Updated Sagarin after week 3 run with SoS rank :
    first 4 numbers are Sagarin Rank by week (preseason included)
    last 4 numbers are Sagarin SoS by week

    B1G
    009 013 014 015 015 Ohio State – 128 / 157 / 123 / 165 :
    017 021 020 016 018 Wisconsin – 160 / 217 / 200 / 182 :
    019 019 012 027 034 Michigan – 129 / 81 / 145 / 110 :
    021 029 029 040 029 Nebraska – 116 / 152 / 99 / 98 :
    030 035 044 045 046 Michigan State – 124 / 164 / 182 / 161 :
    033 033 038 035 031 Penn State – 74 / 142 / 83 / 116 :
    041 036 035 036 041 Northwestern – 44 / 71 / 107 / 129 :
    054 054 060 061 055 Iowa – 80 / 137 / 103 / 139 :
    066 066 065 065 061 Minnesota – 141 / 169 / 196 / 184 :
    071 068 069 055 056 Indiana – 143 / 134 / 117 / 72 :
    074 074 101 093 097 Purdue – 23 / 91 / 46 / 12 :
    099 103 072 059 063 Illinois – 142 / 113 / 57 / 53 :

    SEC
    001 001 001 001 001 Alabama – 34 / 22 / 1 / 10 :::::::: Top 10 SoS
    003 006 007 004 008 Texas A&M – 95 / 119 / 64 / 92
    005 005 004 003 005 Georgia – 7 / 6 / 2 / 6 :::::::: Top 10 SoS
    006 004 005 006 006 Louisiana State – 15 / 65 / 120 / 78
    010 009 009 009 012 South Carolina – 72 / 16 / 21 / 8 :::::::: Top 10 SoS
    012 012 015 013 013 Florida – 98 / 39 / 23 / 27
    027 020 031 021 023 Mississippi – 24 / 118 / 25 / 23
    034 034 043 038 040 Vanderbilt – 54 / 171 / 38 / 88
    035 039 056 050 039 Mississippi State – 10 / 163 / 19 / 75
    038 046 040 037 025 Missouri – 170 / 174 / 171 / 90
    039 053 028 039 045 Tennessee – 198 / 204 / 143 / 42
    044 045 036 032 033 Auburn – 114 / 112 / 87 / 39
    047 041 049 046 051 Arkansas – 105 / 150 / 163 / 130
    075 083 080 089 090 Kentucky – 96 / 160 / 121 / 117

    Big 12
    004 002 006 005 003 Oklahoma State – 46 / 78 / 126 / 101
    008 008 008 007 011 Oklahoma – 112 / 108 / 113 / 118
    013 016 024 043 037 Texas – 158 / 94 / 45 / 41
    014 015 022 025 026 Texas Christian – 17 / 74 / 12 / 5 :::::::: Top 10 SoS
    024 028 034 034 044 Kansas State – 82 / 100 / 132 / 83
    026 023 010 010 007 Baylor – 133 / 167 / 165 / 178
    037 032 033 022 022 Texas Tech – 53 / 128 / 74 / 119
    042 052 052 053 071 West Virginia – 149 / 53 / 154 / 69
    057 063 063 075 074 Iowa State – 108 / 105 / 105 / 68
    082 070 081 087 096 Kansas – 212 / 136 / 136 / 170

    PAC
    002 007 002 002 002 Oregon – 188 / 136 / 76 / 76
    007 003 003 011 009 Stanford – 93 / 93 / 111 / 77
    020 018 016 012 010 UCLA – 103 / 110 / 48 / 115
    022 017 018 017 019 Arizona State – 201 / 116 / 116 / 13
    023 024 037 028 027 Southern California – 84 / 96 / 97 / 66
    025 037 042 041 048 Oregon State – 109 / 148 / 100 / 74
    040 026 021 018 017 Washington – 55 / 40 / 35 / 73
    049 044 026 023 020 Arizona – 140 / 143 / 158 / 155
    058 055 045 047 042 Utah – 83 / 138 / 88 / 52
    059 059 074 080 077 California – 68 / 124 / 60 / 57
    094 085 066 056 050 Washington State – 31 / 9 / 20 / 70
    103 102 091 088 088 Colorado – 119 / 153 / 142 / 142

    ACC
    016 011 017 014 014 Clemson – 27 / 117 / 109 / 37
    018 014 011 008 004 Florida State – 41 / 25 / 70 / 108
    028 030 023 020 021 Miami (FL) – 144 / 99 / 79 / 190
    029 025 027 031 038 Virginia Tech – 1 / 63 / 43 / 58
    043 040 046 048 047 North Carolina – 5 / 46 / 41 / 3 :::::::: Top 10 SoS
    046 048 032 024 024 Georgia Tech – 169 / 215 / 140 / 82
    050 042 054 060 064 North Carolina State – 106 / 147 / 173 / 121
    056 058 057 063 059 Pittsburgh – 43 / 21 / 85 / 38
    063 062 053 049 032 Maryland – 147 / 193 / 164 / 146
    067 064 068 064 062 Syracuse – 42 / 18 / 42 / 103
    068 061 064 062 067 Virginia – 70 / 19 / 6 / 55
    070 093 094 101 093 Wake Forest – 205 / 185 / 153 / 152
    086 095 071 071 072 Duke – 199 / 195 / 124 / 85
    091 090 083 090 086 Boston College – 127 / 156 / 114 / 84

    AAC
    031 027 019 019 016 Louisville – 111 / 159 / 131 / 168
    036 031 051 044 049 Cincinnati – 104 / 83 / 133 / 148
    048 043 047 054 052 Rutgers – 35 / 158 / 206 / 160
    052 057 039 030 030 Central Florida – 162 / 172 / 134 / 138
    061 091 102 135 129 South Florida – 138 / 128 / 128 / 113
    064 077 061 074 068 Houston – 194 / 184 / 209 / 137
    069 072 085 082 092 Southern Methodist – 67 / 90 / 72 / 14
    072 088 084 086 082 Connecticut – 125 / 80 / 80 / 49
    093 084 100 122 113 Temple – 6 / 24 / 110 / 81
    126 116 127 127 105 Memphis – 103 / 102 / 102 / 111

    MWC
    016 022 025 029 035 Boise State – 18 / 72 / 122 / 65
    051 050 041 042 036 Utah State – 39 / 28 / 78 / 47
    055 051 055 058 057 Fresno State – 77 / 106 / 125 / 71
    062 086 104 099 094 San Diego State – 137 / 49 / 29 / 33
    073 075 093 102 111 Air Force – 166 / 151 / 58 / 59
    077 071 062 068 078 San Jose State – 150 / 56 / 62 / 21
    080 073 078 095 087 Nevada – 12 / 82 / 4 / 54
    105 092 079 069 060 Wyoming – 21 / 98 / 175 / 144
    121 113 125 113 132 Hawaii – 58 / 27 / 15 / 15
    128 126 140 138 117 UNLV – 49 / 37 / 54 / 109
    130 130 120 108 101 Colorado State – 97 / 60 / 98 / 51
    155 170 151 151 148 New Mexico – 172 / 146 / 104 / 97

    IND
    011 010 013 026 028 Notre Dame – 113 / 42 / 53 / 56
    032 038 030 033 043 Brigham Young – 45 / 32 / 36 / 30
    065 060 059 052 053 Navy – 35 / 35 / 115 / 104
    108 128 139 137 150 Army – 211 / 190 / 75 / 96
    158 164 180 162 166 Idaho – 88 / 61 / 162 / 28
    165 150 170 186 185 New Mexico State – 11 / 33 / 81 / 26

    MAC
    053 047 048 057 058 Northern Illinois – 38 / 26 / 77 / 93
    076 067 076 067 065 Toledo – 8 / 4 / 9 / 22
    083 081 092 085 076 Ohio – 19 / 52 / 73 / 106
    087 069 058 072 070 Bowling Green – 86 / 88 / 66 / 107
    090 087 077 084 083 Ball State – 136 / 175 / 148 / 175
    102 110 108 111 120 Kent State – 171 / 154 / 90 / 29
    107 099 131 139 159 Western Michigan – 25 / 120 / 28 / 16
    114 109 118 142 144 Central Michigan – 13 / 51 / 93 / 80
    127 107 112 116 121 Buffalo – 9 / 2 / 5 / 2 :::::::: Top 10 SoS
    132 136 160 161 167 Miami (OH) – 66 / 44 / 44 / 36
    151 162 165 168 174 Eastern Michigan – 201 / 132 / 37 / 61
    161 155 156 140 134 Akron – 40 / 77 / 18 / 48
    164 153 175 176 175 Massachusetts – 14 / 62 / 13 / 17

    CUSA
    045 056 067 078 079 Tulsa – 51 / 87 / 33 / 24
    079 078 105 118 119 Louisiana Tech – 29 / 139 / 172 / 132
    081 065 070 066 075 Rice – 2 / 1 / 17 / 35
    084 089 086 076 085 East Carolina – 145 / 188 / 138 / 154
    097 094 071 073 066 Marshall – 146 / 219 / 198 / 123
    106 125 130 148 138 Southern Mississippi – 151 / 73 / 24 / 18
    111 118 111 117 102 Middle Tennessee – 183 / 121 / 168 / 134
    115 108 128 123 136 Texas – El Paso – 194 / 194 / 195 / 186
    124 122 115 109 112 Alabama – Birmingham – 89 / 17 / 8 / 89
    131 120 113 100 091 North Texas – 168 / 144 / 129 / 62
    136 137 154 175 182 Florida International – 47 / 34 / 52 / 9 :::::::: Top 10 SoS
    140 133 146 121 130 Florida Atlantic – 22 / 20 / 31 / 60
    147 148 150 131 128 Tulane – 190 / 218 / 197 / 156
    181 171 144 132 106 Texas – San Antonio – 122 / 57 / 11 / 31

    Sun Belt
    078 076 089 077 080 Louisiana – Lafayette – 28 / 14 / 30 / 63
    089 082 107 098 104 Louisiana – Monroe – 4 / 129 / 71 / 11
    095 101 096 097 115 Arkansas State – 191 / 130 / 147 / 133
    110 098 098 105 108 Western Kentucky – 85 / 29 / 63 / 120
    120 121 114 104 122 Troy – 139 / 227 / 178 / 141
    157 144 136 144 125 Texas State – 91 / 199 / 211 / 126
    174 177 163 150 152 South Alabama – 156 / 161 / 151 / 164
    200 201 208 213 216 Georgia State – 155 / 182 / 141 / 180

    Top 10 SoS for week Big 5 schools denoted
    Idaho State 01 = Dixie State + Western State + @ Washington
    Buffalo 02 = @ Ohio State + @ Baylor + Stony Brook
    North Carolina 03 (ACC) = @ South Carolina + MTSU + @ Georgia Tech
    Lamar 04 = OK Panhandle State + @ La Tech + @ Oklahoma State + Bacone
    Texas Christian 05 (Big 12) = LSU + SE Louisiana + @ Texas Tech
    Georgia 06 (SEC) = @ Clemson + South Carolina + North Texas
    Eastern Washington 07 = @ Oregon State + Western Oregon + @ Toledo
    South Carolina 08 (SEC) = North Carolina + @ Georgia + Vanderbilt
    Florida International 09 = @ Maryland + Central Florida + Bethune Cookman + @ Louisville
    Alabama 10 (SEC) = vs Virginia Tech + @ Texas A&M + Colorado State

  50. duffman says:

    The Ranks of the undefeated (29 teams) after Week #4 :

    Big 5 schools 23 of 62 = 37.10% of population : 23 of 125 = 18.40% of total
    PAC = 06 of 12 => 50.00% remain undefeated
    B 12 = 04 of 10 => 40.00% remain undefeated
    ACC = 05 of 14 => 35.71% remain undefeated
    B1G = 04 of 12 => 33.33% remain undefeated
    SEC = 04 of 14 => 28.57% remain undefeated

    Non Big 5 schools 06 of 63 = 09.52% of population : 06 of 125 = 04.80% of total
    AAC = 03 of 10 => 30.00% : Louisville, Houston, and Central Florida
    IND = 01 of 06 => 16.67% : Navy
    MWC = 01 of 12 => 08.33% : Fresno State
    MAC = 01 of 13 => 07.69% : Northern Illinois
    SunB = 00 of 08 => 00.00% : NONE undefeated
    CUSA = 00 of 14 => 00.00% : NONE undefeated

    .

    .

    Undefeated schools ( schools that did not play are highlighted in bold )

    ACC Atlantic : 4-0 Maryland :::: 3-0 Clemson and Florida State
    ACC Costal : 3-0 Miami (FL) and Georgia Tech

    B1G Legends : 4-0 Michigan, Minnesota, and Northwestern
    B1G Leaders : 4-0 Ohio State

    B 12 : 4-0 Texas Tech :::: 3-0 Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Baylor

    PAC North : 3-0 Oregon, Stanford, and Washington
    PAC South : 3-0 Arizona and UCLA :::: 2-0 Colorado

    SEC East : 3-0 Missouri
    SEC West : 4-0 Louisiana State :::: 3-0 Alabama and Mississippi

    AAC : 4-0 Louisville :::: 3-0 Central Florida and Houston

    IND : 2-0 Navy

    MAC East : –0– :::: MAC West : 3-0 Northern Illinois

    MWC West : 3-0 Fresno State :::: MWC Mountain : –0–

    Sun Belt : –0–

    CUSA East : –0– :::: CUSA West : –0–

    .

    .

    Undefeated pairings for week #5

    FBS vs FCS : NONE

    FBS vs FBS : NONE

    FBS conference vs FBS conference
    PAC vs PAC : Arizona @ Washington
    SEC vs SEC : Mississippi @ Alabama

    Other undefeated teams playing in week #5
    3-0 Miami (FL) ACC @ 0-3 South Florida AAC
    2-1 South Carolina SEC @ 3-0 Central Florida AAC
    3-0 Houston AAC @ 2-2 UT – San Antonio CUSA
    3-1 Virginia Tech ACC @ 3-0 Georgia Tech ACC
    3-0 Florida State ACC @ 2-1 Boston College ACC
    2-2 Wake Forest ACC @ 3-0 Clemson ACC
    3-0 Oklahoma State B12 @ 2-2 West Virginia B12
    3-0 Oklahoma B12 @ 3-1 Notre Dame IND
    3-0 Northern Illinois MAC @ 1-3 Purdue B1G
    3-1 Iowa B1G @ 4-0 Minnesota B1G
    3-1 Wisconsin B1G @ 4-0 Ohio State B1G
    2-0 Navy IND @ 2-2 Western Kentucky Sun Belt
    3-0 Fresno State MWC @ 0-3 Hawaii MWC
    2-0 Colorado PAC @ 3-1 Oregon State PAC
    3-0 Stanford PAC @ 3-1 Washington State PAC
    1-2 California PAC @ 3-0 Oregon PAC
    4-0 Louisiana State SEC @ 2-1 Georgia SEC
    2-2 Arkansas State SunBelt @ 3-0 Missouri SEC

    Undefeated teams not playing in week #5
    4-0 Maryland
    4-0 Louisville
    4-0 Texas Tech
    4-0 Michigan
    4-0 Northwestern
    3-0 Baylor
    3-0 UCLA

    • zeek says:

      Maryland’s an interesting team this year. Outside of FSU and Clemson, there’s really no reason why they can’t go something like 5-3 or at least 4-4 in their ACC schedule.

  51. duffman says:

    Results of week #4

    AP – Arizona State dropped out / Fresno State moved in
    (7) SEC : #1 Alabama, #6 LSU, #9 UGA, #10 TAMU, #12 S Carolina, #20 UF, #21 Mississippi
    (4) PAC : #2 Oregon, #5 Stanford, #13 UCLA, #16 Washington
    (4) B1G : #4 Ohio State, #17 Northwestern, #18 Michigan, #23 Wisconsin
    (4) B12 : #11 Oklahoma State, #14 Oklahoma, #19 Baylor, #24 Texas Tech
    (3) ACC : #3 Clemson, #8 Florida State, #15 Miami
    (1) AAC : #7 Louisville
    (1) IND : #22 Notre Dame
    (1) MWC : #25 Fresno State

    USA – Arizona State & Michigan State dropped out / Texas Tech & Wisconsin moved in
    (7) SEC : #1 Alabama, #6 LSU, #9 TAMU, #10 UGA, #13 S Carolina, #19 UF, #21 Mississippi
    (4) PAC : #2 Oregon, #5 Stanford, #14 UCLA, #20 Washington
    (4) B1G : #3 Ohio State, #16 Northwestern, #17 Michigan, #24 Wisconsin
    (4) B12 : #11 Oklahoma State, #12 Oklahoma, #18 Baylor, #25 Texas Tech
    (3) ACC : #4 Clemson, #8 Florida State, #15 Miami (FL)
    (1) AAC : #7 Louisville
    (1) IND : #22 Notre Dame
    (1) MWC : #23 Fresno State

    .

    .

    ACC : B5 = 4-3 : NB5 = 3-0 : FCS = 3-0 : OFF = ONE :: U = (5) teams
    ACC (3-3) : B1G (DNP) : B12 (1-0) : PAC (DNP) : SEC (DNP) :::::::: FCS (3-0)
    AAC (DNP) : IND (1-0) : CUSA (2-0) : MAC (DNP) : MWC (DNP) : SunB (DNP)

    B 12 : B5 = 1-2 : NB5 = 3-0 : FCS = 0-0 : OFF = FOUR :: U = (4) teams
    ACC (0-1) : B1G (DNP) : B12 (1-1) : PAC (DNP) : SEC (DNP) :::::::: FCS (DNP)
    AAC (DNP) : IND (1-0) : CUSA (DNP) : MAC (DNP) : MWC (DNP) : SunB (2-0)

    B1G : B5 = 1-2 : NB5 = 4-1 : FCS = 3-0 : OFF = ONE :: U = (4) teams
    ACC (DNP) : B1G (1-1) : B12 (DNP) : PAC (DNP) : SEC (0-1) :::::::: FCS (3-0)
    AAC (1-0) : IND (0-1) : CUSA (DNP) : MAC (2-0) : MWC (1-0) : SunB (DNP)

    PAC : B5 = 1-1 : NB5 = 5-0 : FCS = 1-0 : OFF = FOUR :: U = (6) teams
    ACC (DNP) : B1G (DNP) : B12 (DNP) : PAC (1-1) : SEC (DNP) :::::::: FCS (1-0)
    AAC (DNP) : IND (3-0) : CUSA (DNP) : MAC (DNP) : MWC (2-0) : SunB (DNP)

    SEC : B5 = 3-2 : NB5 = 5-1 : FCS = 0-0 : OFF = THREE :: U = (4) teams
    ACC (DNP) : B1G (1-0) : B12 (DNP) : PAC (DNP) : SEC (2-2) :::::::: FCS (DNP)
    AAC (1-1) : IND (DNP) : CUSA (1-0) : MAC (1-0) : MWC (1-0) : SunB (1-0)

    xxx : B5 = xxx : NB5 = xxx : FCS = xxx : OFF = xxx :: U = (x) teams
    ACC () : B1G () : B12 () : PAC () : SEC () :::::::: FCS ()
    AAC () : IND () : CUSA () : MAC () : MWC () : SunB ()

    .

    The schedules – good schedules
    Most Big 5 games = ACC and SEC
    Fewest non Big 5 games = ACC and B 12
    Fewest FCS games = B 12 and SEC
    Fewest teams OFF = ACC and B1G

    The schedules – bad schedules
    Fewest Big 5 games = PAC, B 12, and B1G
    Most non Big 5 games = SEC, B1G and PAC
    Most FCS games = ACC and B1G
    Most teams OFF = B 12 and PAC

    .

    Observations :
    Gophers are still undefeated – the good
    Purdue is 1-3 already – the bad
    Michigan won but it was not pretty, again – the ugly

    • zeek says:

      As far as Michigan goes, they’re very lucky that they got such a forgiving schedule until November.

      Minnesota’s next two games are probably among the most intriguing in the Big Ten.

      Iowa-Minnesota’s an important game for bowl eligibility for both teams, and then Michigan’s offense has to be better than it was the past two weeks for them to beat Minnesota.

  52. loki_the_bubba says:

    Greatest on-side kick I have ever seen.

  53. bullet says:

    Dish taking on ESPN and Disney.

    Will Dish be willing to be a low cost provider and give up families and sports fans in order to get bigger market share of the rest? Big risk. If they black out either group, I think they lose them.

    I know if we didn’t have ESPN or Disney, we wouldn’t have cable at all.

  54. acaffrey says:

    The West Virginia/Big XII marriage. Is anyone having second thoughts? If West Virginia was given the option of leaving the Big XII and joining the ACC… regardless of the money difference… would they take it?

    Would the ACC do it? WVU is at least as good academically as Louisville, a good football school, a decent basketball school, and regionally relevant. Backyard brawl, etc.

    If Notre Dame ever decided to join the conference, which is in the pigs flying likelihood category, the ACC could take UConn and get to 18. Is 18 that much different than 16? Prob worth whatever hassle it would bring if ND is #17.

    And maybe the Big XII would be even better off with 9 teams. If not going to have a conference championship game, does 9 v 10 teams matter? It’s not like those schools are getting excited about going to Morgantown. Or that WVU brings recruits. Does the Big XII lose that much?

    Just some thoughts

    • Blapples says:

      The ACC isn’t adding anyone unless ND or UT come calling for full membership. Both are unlikely, but if the new Division 4 rules force ND to join a conference (also unlikely), I think the ACC is where the Irish would go. They’re a small, private, religious school with an East Coast identity. The only thing they have in common w/ the B1G is location.

      So no, I don’t think WVU gets added as #15. They’re on the list for #16 or #18 along w/ UConn and a few others in the unlikely event that ND or Texas jump in with both feet as full members.

    • zeek says:

      I’m not sure whether I’d describe it as second thoughts, since this was a financial/security (didn’t want to be left behind in the dust) kind of move and WVU didn’t have any other big conference option (rejected academically by ACC/Big Ten and rejected by SEC).

      However, there’s a decent chance that the WVU that we see in the Big 12 isn’t the same WVU that we saw in the Big East. If that turns out to be the case and WVU really struggles on the football field over the next decade or so, there’ll start to be people who wonder how well this turned out for them.

      I don’t think the ACC would add them down the road if all of that turns out to be the case.

    • Transic says:

      It’s possible that we could see UT doing a similar deal ND made with the ACC, with possibly UT and ND agreeing to a yearly football game between them. Then WVU gets out of the BigXII-IV+II and join the ACC with UConn. Cincy might be favored over UConn by some ACC schools but I think it would come down to a compromise between the UNC/Duke/UVa faction and the football-first faction. With UT/ND putting/keeping their Olympic sports in an expanded ACC. East coast access then including the wealthier Connecticut suburbs. Two flagships replacing one lost in Maryland, with one more in as a partial. If WVU can’t get out because of the Grant of Rights, then either Cincy gets picked instead or nobody else is added to UT.

      This also assumes that KU/OU move to another conference as well, which would happen if UT leaves.

    • Andy says:

      WVU is screwed. They should have never joined the Big 12.

      • frug says:

        I agree. Life in the AAC would be so much sweeter.

        • Andy says:

          Maybe it would be, maybe it wouldn’t be. Depends on what UT feels like doing.

          • Andy says:

            I guess what I’m getting at is WVU saw Colorado then Nebraska then A&M then Mizzou running away from the burning building that is the Big 12 and they decided that it was a good idea. I guess they thought they could bring some friends with them and get the Big 12 back up to, you know, 12. But Texas had their own ideas, like they always do.

          • Mack says:

            I do not believe that WV expected to bring anyone after Pittsburgh joined the ACC. Just like MO warmed up to the SEC after failing to get a B1G invite, WV warmed to the XII when they failed to get SEC or ACC invites. Compared to the BE that had just lost Pittsburgh and Syracuse, the XII looked good to WV.

          • frug says:

            Who cares. There isn’t a single AAC team that wouldn’t prefer the Big XII.

      • duffman says:

        The issue is not if WVU or UC are screwed now it is the issue of not doing something aggressively 20 years ago in case this day came. The day the B1G announced Penn State would join the fold was the wakeup call to be prepared in the future. I was a Scout and their motto still resonates with me.

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      The West Virginia/Big XII marriage. Is anyone having second thoughts? If West Virginia was given the option of leaving the Big XII and joining the ACC… regardless of the money difference… would they take it?

      Would WV have preferred the ACC? Of course. But the ACC wasn’t available, and might not ever be.

      That means their choices are the Big XII or the American. Given that choice, which do they prefer? The Big XII by a long shot.

      Could it be better? Let’s just say that if the Big XII had an eastward expansion that made an ounce of financial sense, WV would be the first yes vote.

      But I don’t think they have second thoughts. The alternative would be a lot worse.

      And maybe the Big XII would be even better off with 9 teams. If not going to have a conference championship game, does 9 v 10 teams matter? It’s not like those schools are getting excited about going to Morgantown. Or that WVU brings recruits. Does the Big XII lose that much?

      There are the issues of inventory and stability. There are reasons why no one wants to be in a 9-team league.

  55. tiger says:

    Hearing a good bit of chatter about Kansas to the B10 rumors today from connected Kansas fans, hearing they’d bring Oklahoma with them…

    Texas at that point is as good as gone, whether they choose indy, Pac, ACC, SEC, etc…

    Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas Tech, Baylor could end up homeless. They’d obviously get desperate and start bringing in Cincy, UCF, USF, Boise, BYU, etc which probably are good additions when you take away the top 3 of Texas, Oklahoma & Kansas.

    • ccrider55 says:

      Yawn…

      • Without Texas, Oklahoma, or Kansas, I think you’d have a hard time convincing anyone to leave the AAC for the Big 12, presuming that the loss of Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas would negate the Big 12′s TV deals, which I’m sure that it would. The AAC at that point would probably be more valuable from a television perspective than the remaining Big 12 due to its far superior markets and very comparable athletic departments, not to mention being far more travel friendly.

        • bullet says:

          You don’t seem to understand who is in the AAC now. UConn and SMU. Temple and Tulane. Nice compact geography.

          We aren’t talking about Syracuse, Pitt, WVU and Rutgers anymore.

          Cincinnati and USF are at the bottom of the BCS schools in budgets.

          The Big 12 would lose a huge amount of value, but its still far more valuable than the AAC. TCU has been ranked more in the BCS era than the entire AAC. KSU and WVU have been ranked 7 times, compared to 8 for the AAC (4 by Cincinnati). USF is the only 2014 AAC school who has a higher average attendance in the last 4 years than any Big 12 school (and that’s only better than two). TCU and WVU replaced A&M and Missouri and the Big 12 didn’t lose anything on its contract.

          Maybe, just maybe, UConn would be hesitant, but the rest would be, “You had me at hello.”

          • ccrider55 says:

            “TCU and WVU replaced A&M and Missouri and the Big 12 didn’t lose anything on its contract.”

            That was, along with tier 3 promises, strictly to keep UT/OU. If they leave the remainder is a plus version of MWC in media value.

            My point in yawning was that the only school that KU can “bring along” would be KSU, and possibly ISU. But obviously not to the B1G. There is no reason for OU and/or UT to even think about something new for near a decade. And then, together they may still have the power to bring little brothers along, if they choose to change then. But, again, obviously not to the B1G.

          • bullet says:

            I figured your yawn was addressing that nothing is happening now. I was addressing the AAC is better than the 7 leftover comment.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            I thought the yawn was because, here we go again, another unsubstantiated rumor emanating from the fans of a wanna be school.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Pretty much that.
            I guess I didn’t need to mention the obvious, but I did disagree with bullet in that the B12 theoretically minus those three would be significantly below the ACC (unless the ACC suffered multiple significant defections too).

          • bullet says:

            I was referring to the AAC, not the ACC.

          • BruceMcF says:

            Yes, ccrider55, you can’t disagree with bullet about the Big12 absent Texas, Okie and Kansas being better than the ACC, since what he said was that the Big12 absent Texas, Okie and Kansas would still be better than the American. After all, Jeffrey Juergens said “AAC”, not “ACC”.

            Take those three out, the Big12 calls basically any three teams still in the American that they would want, they say “yes, how soon do you want us?” SMU, Houston, Tulsa, Tulane, Memphis, there’s not even a geographic issue. Cincinnati or Eastern Carolina would count West Virginia as travel partners. Either UCF or South Florida would jump at the chance. Maybe Navy, Temple or UConn would balk at the geography, but no reason that Big12 would want them anyway.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            There are 12 football members in the American as of 2015. There are 7 members in the Big XII if you subtract KU, OU, and UT.

            Between them, they’d form a conference, and all of the Big XII relicts are getting in. The only question is how big they want to be, and that determines how many of the AAC teams get kicked to the curb.

            They probably don’t want a 21-team league. Navy might go independent again, but they’re the only ones who might, I stress might, have a better option. Tulane, Tulsa, East Carolina, and Memphis would probably not make the cut.

            Now the only question is what to call this entity. Between “Big XII” and “the American,” is there any doubt which name they’d keep?

          • I think that the Big 12 minus Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas would have very little value to television networks. Who would the biggest remaining brand be? West Virginia? Oklahoma State? Texas Tech? I doubt any of those schools could command much of a television contract, though they have been quite successful on the field. Just compare the remaining markets.

            Big 12
            Lubbock, Waco, Fort Worth – Texas
            Stillwater – Oklahoma
            Manhattan – Kansas
            Ames – Iowa
            Morgantown – West Virginia

            AAC
            Houston, Dallas – Texas
            Tulsa – Oklahoma
            Cincinnati – Ohio
            Orlando, Tampa – Florida
            Philadelphia – Pennsylvania
            Storrs/Hartford – Connecticut
            Greenville – North Carolina
            Memphis – Tennessee
            New Orleans – Louisiana
            Annapolis – Maryland

            Eliminate Texas and Oklahoma since there are schools in both places (though admittedly the Big 12 would have superior coverage in Oklahoma, and possibly Texas, though the actual market of the Big 12 schools’ location within those states is far less than those of their AAC counterparts). That leaves the markets as West Virginia, Iowa, and Kansas, vs. Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, North Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Maryland (let’s just ignore that Navy has a national fan base rather than a Maryland one). Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida all individually have populations that exceed those of all three of the Big 12 states combined, and even Connecticut, the least populated AAC state, has more people than Iowa, the most populated of those three Big 12 states. Would any of the remaining Big 12 brands be worth a population difference of over 50 Million people? I don’t think so.

            Not to mention most of the remaining Big 12 would be in fairly rural, comparatively difficult places to get to, unlike the AAC, where all of the members except ECU are in or very close to major metropolitan areas and therefore easier to get to in terms of flights, bus routes, etc.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            I think that the Big 12 minus Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas would have very little value to television networks.

            For sure, we’re not talking about current Big XII dollars here.

            But most of the AAC schools have very poor TV value too. It’s not just the size of the market. Otherwise, Temple would be the most valuable AAC school; whereas, in fact, they were kicked out of the AAC’s predecessor league not that long ago.

            It’s stretching a point to say that USF and UCF deliver the Florida market. Stop the average Floridian on the street, and ask which team they follow, and it’s probably not one of those two.

            Does Memphis “deliver” its home state? Does East Carolina? Tulane? Most of these teams have no great history of success that make them highly watchable.

            Ask yourself: of the 21 AAC + Big XII teams, minus KU, OU, and UT, who’d fail to make the cut in a combined league? It would be the lesser AAC teams. The ex-Big Twelvers would all get in.

          • ccrider55 says:

            “I was referring to the AAC, not the ACC.”

            Woops…

            In the immortal words of Emily Litella, “Never mind.”

        • On a school for school basis, most of the Big 12 schools are worth more than most of the AAC schools, but I think the combined value of the AAC schools would be worth more than the combined value of the Big 12 schools. As in, Texas Tech is worth more than Houston, and Baylor more valuable than Temple, but Houston and Temple combined are worth more than Texas Tech and Baylor combined because even though the brands are weaker the combined market is so much stronger that it more than makes up for it in potential revenue.

          Think of it without using school names. If you’re a television executive, do you want the biggest brand in West Virginia, second biggest brand in Oklahoma, Iowa, and Kansas, and the third, fourth, and fifth best brands in Texas, or do you want the biggest brand in connecticut, the second biggest brand in ohio and louisiana, the second or third best brand in tennessee, the third biggest brand in pennsylvania and oklahoma, the fourth and fifth biggest brands in florida, the fourth or fifth best brand in north carolina, the sixth and seventh brands in texas, and a brand with a scattered national following, focused on the chesapeake bay states. The first set of brands would have to be truly drastically outperforming the second set in their respective markets to be more valuable in order to make up for the population difference. The difference in the pure number of tv sets which you can potentially get revenue from is so extreme.

          From a university president’s perspective, which of those two sets of markets do you want the greatest exposure for your university in? Coincidentally, the difference in the academic reputation of the schools in the two conferences isn’t all that far off either.

          Again, this is all purely speculation and the Big 12 might be seen as a more desirable conference to the AAC schools regardless, but I don’t think it would be as automatic as you would think.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            @JepHJuergens: I see two flaws in your line of reasoning.

            Houston and Temple combined are worth more than Texas Tech and Baylor combined because even though the brands are weaker the combined market is so much stronger that it more than makes up for it in potential revenue.

            TV doesn’t value the AAC brands to that extent. Nobody — nobody — has ever attached great value to Temple football. We already know that when the Big XII added an extra Texas school, they chose TCU, not Houston. I think we can assume that the Big XII knew the value of Houston football.

            Think of it without using school names.

            I’ll think of it that way, if you can show me that TV executives think of it that way. They don’t just televise a game in Pennsylvania. It matters that Temple is the school playing, not Pitt or Penn State.

            From a university president’s perspective, which of those two sets of markets do you want the greatest exposure for your university in?

            You present it as a straight-up choice of the AAC or the Big XII; one or the other. That’s a false dichotomy. In the scenario we’re discussing, seven Big XII schools are going to be free agents. The AAC schools are free agents already: every one of them would jump to a better league tomorrow, if they had the chance.

            So you’ve got 21 schools. The best 10, 12, 14, or conceivably 16, are going to get together. The only question is the right number. It’ll be a combination of the two leagues, and a few will get kicked to the curb, because no one wants a 21-team league.

            That combination will probably be called the Big XII, because it’s the better brand name. Who will be in it? If they want 14, then 7 get kicked out. My hypothesis is that the weakest 7 will all be AAC schools.

            It goes without saying that Texas Tech, Baylor, and TCU are better than Houston and SMU; Oklahoma State is better than Tulsa. K-State and WV are clearly going to be in. Iowa State isn’t the greatest brand, but it runs rings around any number of AAC schools, such as Tulane, East Carolina, Memphis, or Temple.

            And so on.

          • Andy says:

            Sorry, Jeff, you’re very confused. The only reason any school is in the AAC is because none of the real conferences wanted them. Now, you could argue that some of the Big 12 teams belong in the AAC, and maybe that’s true, but in the end any conference #5 is going to pick the best 10 or 12 or 16 options available, and there will be more of those in the Big 12 than in the AAC.

            Maybe something like this:

            West

            BYU
            Boise State
            SDSU
            Texas Tech
            TCU
            Baylor

            East

            Kansas
            K-State
            Iowa State
            West Virginia
            Cincinatti
            UConn

            Next 4 in: USF, UCF, UNLV, Houston

          • Andy says:

            actually, I left out Oklahoma State. Maybe exclude BYU, and sub in OSU, I’m not sure BYU would join anyway.

          • vp19 says:

            Andy, no conference worth its salt is going to span from San Diego to Storrs, Conn. That’s four time zones, bringing to mind the absurd mix that was the late ’90s WAC..

          • Andy says:

            Sure. They’d probably have to pick between either Boise State/SDSU/BYU/UNLV or UConn/USF/UCF/Houston. I know which one WVU would prefer.

          • BruceMcF says:

            If you were a University President, and the AAC could get you EXPOSURE in the largest markets that the AAC is located in, it would definitely be compelling. That’s why its perceived as more commercially appealing than the MAC, CUSA or Sunbelt, since Go5 market shares in bigger markets are more appealing than Go5 market shares in smaller markets.

            But it’s only Go5 level market shares in this bigger markets. All up, it can’t give the same exposure as the Big12.

    • Andy says:

      Wishful thinking by the Jayhawk fans. I think the odds of it happening are very close to zero.

      • mushroomgod says:

        I agree….makes no sense on several levels….

        #1, I can’t see NW, UM, Wisky, and Illinois agreeing to add schools that would be ranked #s 15 and 16 in the Big Ten academically. Additionally, these schools would be 2 of the 5 smallest in enrollment.

        #2 Adding these 2 schools would force TX into the PAC, SEC, or ACC…not an outcome the Big 10 would welcome, I would think.

        #3 How many people live in KS and OK? Not too many, relatively speaking.

        Kansas, OK, or MO would all be fine as a 16th team, but you would need a TX, UNC, or VA to proceed, imo.

        • Andy says:

          You should have added Missouri and Maryland and called it a day.

          • wmwolverine says:

            Absolutely on one disputes Missouri > Rutgers, NO ONE!!! I don’t think you’ve yet to grasp this simple concept yet Andy.

            B10′s plan when they added Maryland and Rutgers was to damage the neighboring ACC and potentially shake lose Virginia, North Carolina and possibly Georgia Tech down the road as well…

            The B10 imo did what it set out to do, it is now the ‘northeast’ conference the Big East was and took away the ACC’s monopoly along most of the Atlantic Coast. ACC is now a North Carolina, Virginia based conference with a bunch of schools in markets/states in which the SEC or B10 has the large state school.

    • David Brown says:

      If the stories about drug use, and other terrible stuff at Oklahoma State are proven correct, that might be one way Oklahoma might try to get divorced from “Little Brother” OSU. I don’t see that happening because of the Land Grant.” I happen to think that the B10 would take OU (AAU or no AAU), because they bring so much to the table (including giving great balance to the West (joining Nebraska & Wisconsin). Basically, I wonder how tired is OU of taking marching orders from Austin (particularly when they see how much SEC money is going into the pockets of Missouri & A&M (I can only imagine how much more Nebraska is getting with the CIC as well as B10 $$$$)). Everyone knew Nebraska (and to a lesser extent Colorado and Missouri) were not happy, but I don’t think many people thought “Little Brother Aggie” would leave Bevo’s side as well, and at least three of those four Schools did very well. Finally, because of the “Land Grant” I do not think the Big XII is breaking apart, but if there is a weak link (besides West Virginia), it is OU, and if any School leaves it will be them.

      • bullet says:

        Right. They will leave the Big 12 because Oklahoma St. looked a lot like OU of the Switzer era and follow Oklahoma St.’s coach during the worst part of the accusations, Les Miles, to the SEC?

        • David Brown says:

          Bullet, No that is NOT what I said. I used the word MIGHT TRY not WILL (OSU would make a convenient excuse (of course, money would be the real reason. )) and I also said “I do not think the Big XII is breaking apart.” That said, unlike say The Laws of Gravity, the Jacksonville Jaguars winning the 2014 Super Bowl, or me getting a date with Ali Landry (last one is certainly not occurring (sigh)), no one can say with 100% certainty that it will not happen. Until we get clarity on O’Bannon, and a number of other things (B10 TV Contract being just one), I see very little happening.

          • bullet says:

            OSU’s SI article is not going to influence OU that way.
            And since any violations are past the statute of limitations, their program isn’t going to get on probation.

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        If the stories about drug use, and other terrible stuff at Oklahoma State are proven correct, that might be one way Oklahoma might try to get divorced from “Little Brother” OSU.

        I don’t see it. Conference affiliation has a very long time horizon, extending well beyond the scandal du jour. If OU tries to separate from OkSt, it will be because that’s the right decision for the next 50 years, not because OkSt is in a spot of trouble at the moment.

        I wonder how tired is OU of taking marching orders from Austin…

        I don’t see what’s changed since OU signed the grant of rights. If anything, Austin’s influence has waned since then.

        • David Brown says:

          Marc, Conference Affiliation does not matter like it once did ( ask Maryland). It is about what you said earlier what is best for the Program. Obviously Maryland felt that B10 $$$$$ were worth more than trips to The Dean Dome and Cameron Indoors. Does it mean it always works? No Boston College might be making more money in the ACC, but except for Hockey, they are basically in oblivion ( West Virginia may live to regret the move as well). But on average it does work out quite well ( for example: Penn State ( particularly in Academics), did the right thing moving to the B10 ( and I opposed it very strongly)).

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            @David: You paint with too broad a brush. Maryland’s athletic department was in deep financial trouble. That’s what it took for them to consider abandoning the ACC. As notable as Maryland’s move is who did NOT move, e.g., UVA and UNC.

            Boston College is a bit different, because they’ve moved a number of times and have no real natural rival in any league. But they’ve got to be somewhere, so they picked the best league available.

            In any event, all I pointed out was that whatever decision one makes is for the long term, and isn’t likely to be swayed by the short-term events that most fans tend to be preoccupied with.

          • Wainscott says:

            Also, while UMD was in severe financial straits, there was evident hostility between UMD and the ACC for what UMD perceived as a North Carolina-centric focus of the league–a hostility built up over the decades. That hostility + Big Ten money for a cash-strapped athletic department is what led to UMD’s departure.

            If you go and look back, South Carolina bolted the ACC in the 1970′s for similar reasons.

    • Wainscott says:

      Thus forming the Andy Crescent, from Champaign to Iowa City to Lincoln to Lawrence to Norman.

    • Mike says:

      The B1G has not expanded with more than one team from a single conference, and I believe this was a primary factor when determining expansion candidates.

      As mentioned repeatedly, conference realignment is a 100 year decision. A decision for the conference and for the moving school. The last thing the B1G needs is to have a school not committed to the long term benefit of the conference. A moving school has to divorce its old conference – sever all ties – and pretty much pledge an oath to the new conference. A lot easier to do when your good ole conference buddy isn’t there to gripe about how business is run in the new conference, or to try and force change into the new conference.

      Similar to how when one company purchases another. Senior managers are moved out of the purchased company, in order to change their way of doing business to that of the parent company. It’s a change of culture. Conferences look for cultural matches to ease the transition, but the B1G goes even further by not bringing along prior conference mates. Forcing the new school to conform and accept the new standard business model ensures a full commitment to the B1G. Bringing along buddy schools to ease the transition to a new conference is not in the B1Gs best interest.

      If the B1G decides to expand further, and does so with two schools at a time, I would not anticipate both schools to be in the same conference. There are other benefits to not taking two schools from a rival conference, such as avoiding blame if the conference would fail. If the Big 12 would have collapsed, it could be argued that the SEC is more at fault than any other inference.  Same for the old Big East and the ACC. 

      • bob sykes says:

        Does this mean that the B1G will not take any more schools from either the ACC or the B12?

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        The B1G has not expanded with more than one team from a single conference, and I believe this was a primary factor when determining expansion candidates.

        That’s highly illogical.Many people within the Big Ten have said that they don’t think expansion is finished. This is not just the rumor-mongers, but presidents and ADs, people with first-hand knowledge of the league’s thinking.

        It is pretty clear that if the league ever expands again, the only plausible candidates will come from leagues the Big Ten has poached before. (Even if you thought the Big Ten could get Missouri from the SEC, there’d still need to be a 16th team, and it would have to come from the Big XII or the ACC.)

        And anyhow, do you really think that if the Big Ten could have gotten Maryland and Virginia, it would have said no-thanks to the Cavaliers and taken Rutgers instead? Just to ask the question is to realize how absurd it is. There’s no “one school per league” rule. That’s just how it happened to turn out in this round.

        • Mike says:

          I did not intend to imply that the B1G would not take any more schools from conferences that it has already poached, I just don’t believe they will take two schools from the same conference together as a pair.

          Maybe the B1G has grown large enough that two schools from a rival conference would not upset the balance, but I believe the risk is there and the B1G will try to avoid that risk.

          Additionally, avoiding blame for a rival conferences demise is important from a PR perspective. Take the SEC for instance. It made sure that every media outlet fully understood that they were not out looking to actively expand, and that Texas A&M and Missouri aggressively approached the SEC. There was risk that the Big 12 could have collapsed when both of theses schools left, and the SEC did not want that on there hands.

        • Mike says:

          I did not intend to imply that the B1G would not take any more schools from conferences that it has already poached, I just don’t believe they will take two schools from the same conference together as a pair.

          Maybe the B1G has grown large enough that two schools from a rival conference would not upset the balance, but I believe the risk is there and the B1G will try to avoid that risk.

          Additionally, avoiding blame for a rival conferences demise is important from a PR perspective. Take the SEC for instance. It made sure that every media outlet fully understood that they were not out looking to actively expand, and that Texas A&M and Missouri aggressively approached the SEC. There was risk that the Big 12 could have collapsed when both of theses schools left, and the SEC did not want that on there hands.

  56. bullet says:

    Dish takes on ESPN and Disney (haven’t noticed this posted here yet):
    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/will-dish-network-dare-drop-631832

  57. Marc Shepherd says:

    The NCAA has partially lifted the Penn State sanctions (link).

    Not as far as they should have gone, in my view, but a step in the right direction.

      • zeek says:

        Word is they might reduce the bowl ban too.

        Basically, Penn State has probably gone from a 7-8 year slump to something much shorter. It’s a big deal.

        • Brian says:

          zeek,

          “Word is they might reduce the bowl ban too.”

          Where did you hear that? Everything I saw said reduced scholarship penalties only. Maybe it’ll change again next year, but I didn’t see any mention of further changes now.

          • zeek says:

            From what Emmert said and others, it seems as if the bowl ban will be revisited next year when they said this year’s would remain in place.

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        Word is they might reduce the bowl ban too.

        They should. I found the NCAA’s involvement reprehensible. Not as reprehensible as the original conduct, but entirely unjustified nevertheless. They only way they could have pleased me more was to dissolve the sanctions entirely. Obviously, for bunches of reasons, that won’t and can’t happen.

        The most that could happen is that Penn State will get two of the four bowl years back. They already missed last year, and clearly won’t be going to this season either.

        • BuckeyeBeau says:

          agree wholeheartedly. Emmert way overstepped. this is a good first effort to repair the damage he did to PSU and that he did the NCAA.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            Emmert way overstepped. this is a good first effort to repair the damage he did to PSU and that he did the NCAA.

            According to news stories at the time the original sanctions came out, Emmert was actually the voice of reason: some members of the NCAA board wanted the death penalty, and supposedly it was he who talked them down off the ledge.

          • Psuhockey says:

            I think this was planned from the start. That is why the provision to revisit the sanctions later was placed in the NCAA’s original decision. The NCAA was not about to kill a marquee program and thus seriously hurt the most powerful conference in college atheltics and destroy the economy of the town it supports. Penn State has some powerful alumni, especially in the finanical industry. The sanctions were a necessary evil to turn public opinion of the university, make Obrien and the football players sympathetic figures. It’s a little earlier than I thought but I figured the scholarships would be returned at the very least.

          • zeek says:

            I do think there was concern over how harsh the penalties were.

            Let’s face it, Penn State isn’t SMU. Killing off a football program (or even crippling it for a decade) of the size/scale of Penn State would have been a much bigger decision financially/economically for that state and the Big Ten region than I think anyone really considered at the time.

          • Brian says:

            Psuhockey,

            “The NCAA was not about to kill a marquee program and thus seriously hurt the most powerful conference in college atheltics and destroy the economy of the town it supports.”

            They barely even scratched the program on the field so far. Keeping the full sanctions wouldn’t be killing anything.

            “The sanctions were a necessary evil”

            No. There is zero evil in punishing someone for misbehavior.

            “to turn public opinion of the university, make Obrien and the football players sympathetic figures.”

            This decision has had the reverse effect on me. I never hated PSU through this whole ordeal, but I do now. I’ll root for ND or even the SEC versus PSU from now on.

          • Brian says:

            zeek,

            “I do think there was concern over how harsh the penalties were.”

            Why? PSU has done well since the sanctions came down. They’re recruiting as well or better than they did under JoePa and they went 8-4 last year after all the turmoil which is better than OSU did after their forced coaching change.

            “Killing off a football program (or even crippling it for a decade) of the size/scale of Penn State would have been a much bigger decision financially/economically for that state and the Big Ten region than I think anyone really considered at the time.”

            But the past has shown that these sanctions were in no way, shape or form killing PSU. So why the need to reduce them?

          • Psuhockey says:

            Brian,
            We at PSU are all sad you will be rooting for ND now but the sympathetic figure comment was refering to the media, which has for the most part changed its tune since the sanctions. The media shapes public opinion but there will always be haters.

          • zeek says:

            Brian, this decision seems to be more of a tactical retreat by the NCAA than a proactive step on the part of Penn State.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            They barely even scratched the program on the field so far.

            If that’s the case, what purpose did they serve?

            “The sanctions were a necessary evil”

            No. There is zero evil in punishing someone for misbehavior.

            Sure there is . . . if the punishment is duplicative of the civil and criminal courts’ competence, falls mainly on innocent people, and imposed by someone with no authority to do so.

            I never hated PSU through this whole ordeal, but I do now.

            For me it’s the opposite. I always hated Penn State, but after they got jobbed by the NCAA, I turned into a fan.

          • Brian says:

            Marc Shepherd,

            “If that’s the case, what purpose did they serve?”

            They hurt PSU off the field (fines, etc), but when did I ever say they served a purpose. They were supposed to be punitive, but the results show that PSU hasn’t actually suffered all that much.

            On the other hand, maybe they’d be on a 20 game winning streak right now without the sanctions. We’ll never know.

            “Sure there is . . . if the punishment is duplicative of the civil and criminal courts’ competence, falls mainly on innocent people, and imposed by someone with no authority to do so.”

            You and I clearly have very different definitions of evil.

            Besides that:

            1. Lots of punishing groups overlap jurisdiction. That doesn’t mean they should all stop doing their jobs. If the courts also punish PSU, that isn’t the NCAA’s concern. The NCAA should be solely concerned with whether their rules were violated. if they were, then PSU needed to be punished appropriately for that regardless of any other punishment PSU might face from other authorities.

            2. All NCAA punishments fall mainly on innocent people. If that’s all it take to be evil, then the NCAA has always been evil and always will be evil, which renders the word evil fairly pointless.

            3. The NCAA clearly had the authority to do it. They did it, PSU consented to it and nobody stopped it. No one individual did anything to PSU.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Do you support the Japanese internment camps of WWII? They have the same legal backing, ie little to none. But they enjoyed expedient popular support and were politically difficult at the time to oppose.

          • Brian says:

            Yes, they’re exactly the same.

    • mushroomgod says:

      They need to restore the forfeited games….that was complete BS, more so than the sch. reductions.

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        Actually, they were vacated, not forfeited. This means that where Penn State won on the field, their win is erased, but the other team’s loss is not.

        I’m not a fan of vacated games, because it screws up the statistics. Depending on where you look, the game was played, or it was not played. Certain types of database queries give anomalous results. The reality is: the game happened. People saw it, and the history of it can’t be erased.

        In appropriate cases, I’d favor vacating the fruits of the victory (a trophy or a banner, for instance), but the statistics ought to remain intact. Here, I think the connection between Paterno’s behavior and his team’s performance is awfully tenuous.

        • bullet says:

          Agree with you. There are football statistics as well as baseball. It was ridiculous also that they did it back to 1998 when no one had a clue what Sandusky was doing. And they didn’t do anything wrong in 2000. The police investigated and didn’t charge. If they vacated wins, it should have been from 2001.

          Titles should be vacated. Its appropriate that Florida never won an SEC title prior to Spurrier that they didn’t give back. “Wins” are different.

          • mushroomgod says:

            Thanks for the clarification Marc………..

            I hate vacating wins when there is no issue involving competitiveness…ie no recruiting scandel, no ineligible players…..is horrible…PC correctness…..in my opinion very Stalinist in approach-denying history. I have no problems with any of the other punishments.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            I hate vacating wins when there is no issue involving competitiveness…ie no recruiting scandal, no ineligible players…..is horrible…PC correctness…..in my opinion very Stalinist in approach-denying history. I have no problems with any of the other punishments.

            Except: the “vacated games” are the most meaningless part of the penalties. Everyone knows the results of the vacated wins, whether the NCAA chooses to acknowledge them or not.

            Vacating wins is stupid, but it has no practical effect. We all know what happened, whether the NCAA stats website is accurate or not.

    • Blapples says:

      As long as Penn State is still responsible for paying damages then I am fine with lifting the scholarship reductions and bowl bans even further. Bill O’Brien and the current players shouldn’t be on the hook for Sandusky’s evil actions and the past administration’s failings.

    • Brian says:

      Marc Shepherd,

      “The NCAA has partially lifted the Penn State sanctions (link).”

      This is a TERRIBLE decision, even by NCAA standards.

      PSU made a plea deal and should have to live with it. Everyone fixes what got them in trouble with the NCAA after the fact and nobody else gets reduced penalties because of it. It’s an expected part of being an NCAA member. USC fans are probably exploding right now.

      • Carl says:

        “This is a TERRIBLE decision, even by NCAA standards.”

        Brian, I know you don’t find the Sandusky Scandal machinations interesting, but keep watching. Things are not necessarily as they appear. Perhaps things will get yet more interesting …

        • Brian says:

          Carl,

          “Brian, I know you don’t find the Sandusky Scandal machinations interesting, but keep watching. Things are not necessarily as they appear. Perhaps things will get yet more interesting …”

          It’s the pace that bothers me more than the machinations themselves. I just don’t want to be deeply invested in that topic for years.

          • Carl says:

            “It’s the pace that bothers me more than the machinations themselves. I just don’t want to be deeply invested in that topic for years.”

            Fair enough. But maybe the machinations will be big enough that even if you’re not paying attention you still won’t miss them. Kinda like what happened today. (You don’t need to be invested, just watch.)

          • Brian says:

            Carl,

            “Fair enough. But maybe the machinations will be big enough that even if you’re not paying attention you still won’t miss them. Kinda like what happened today. (You don’t need to be invested, just watch.)”

            I keep an eye out and I assume PSU fans will keep everyone else in the loop. They are already invested in the issue so it’s more natural for them to keep up with every twist and turn.

          • BuckeyeBeau says:

            @Carl.

            You are henceforth to be known as Carl The Cryptic. :-)

          • Carl says:

            “You are henceforth to be known as Carl The Cryptic. :-)”

            I like the title. :-) I wasn’t actually trying to be cryptic – just trying to avoid being the subject of needless, stupid attacks.

            I believe the Sandusky scandal is worse than currently reported (pedophile starts and runs state-wide children’s charity for 40 years with many political and $$$ connections), but the headline is that Joe Paterno is a pedophile enabler?! (Frank Fina, PA state prosecutor, Sep. 2013: I did not find any evidence that Paterno played a role in concealing the abuse allegations.) To be clear: I’m not saying Paterno is totally innocent; that is still to be determined – and I absolutely believe he should have retired earlier!

            Anyone who has looked at the Sandusky scandal for half as long as many folks have followed conference realignment on this blog know that the Freeh Report is poorly investigated, reasoned, and written (as is much of his other work), and that he was chosen because of his political connections to those who hired him.

            And, yet, otherwise intelligent people, who are ignorant of the scandal details, attack anyone who expresses an opinion that deviates from Freeh’s narrative (to prove that they are against pedophilia more than you are!).

            Well, I’m against exploiting children, too. Remember the PA Cash for Kids scandal? How long did that take to uncover? It may take that long for the Sandusky scandal – at least part of it – to be uncovered, but I would guess not. I am heartened that apparently a new GJ has been convened.

            I think it’s easy to guess what’s really happening if you just pay attention.

            Maybe I’m wrong. I think it should be clear one way or the other relatively soon.

            Carl the Cryptic

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        This is a TERRIBLE decision, even by NCAA standards.

        PSU made a plea deal and should have to live with it. Everyone fixes what got them in trouble with the NCAA after the fact and nobody else gets reduced penalties because of it. It’s an expected part of being an NCAA member. USC fans are probably exploding right now.

        What’s interesting, is that on most Internet forums, the fact that Penn State supposedly “fixed” the problem is totally irrelevant.

        The people who thought the sanctions were appropriate or too lenient to begin with, are mad that they’ve been ameliorated. The people who always thought the sanctions were improper or too harsh, are delighted.

        I’ve yet to see anyone who’s said what the NCAA is saying: “The sanctions were correct at the time, but Penn State’s actions have been so impressive that they deserve a break.”

        But regardless of your opinion of the original decision, you can probably agree that both the problem and its solution were unprecedented. Emmert had to go outside of the enforcement process, because the enforcement process had no mechanism for dealing with a case like this. Hence, the NCAA can reduce the penalties, and still say they’re dealing with a case that was, and will probably always be, in a class by itself.

        USC was a garden-variety “improper benefits” case, right out of the standard rule book. Whether the NCAA handled that case correctly (and I know some Trojan fans believe they didn’t), it is readily distinguishable from Sandusky.

        • Brian says:

          Marc Shepherd,

          “What’s interesting, is that on most Internet forums, the fact that Penn State supposedly “fixed” the problem is totally irrelevant.”

          It is to me because a deal is a deal. That’s always how the NCAA has dealt with punishment, and it’s fair to everyone. Now they need to add a parole board so everyone can have their chance at getting reduced sanctions.

          “The people who thought the sanctions were appropriate or too lenient to begin with, are mad that they’ve been ameliorated. The people who always thought the sanctions were improper or too harsh, are delighted.”

          I never really cared what the punishment from the NCAA was. I could mentally justify anything from the death penalty to doing nothing. But if the penalties were fair at the time, then nothing that has happened since changes that.

          “I’ve yet to see anyone who’s said what the NCAA is saying: “The sanctions were correct at the time, but Penn State’s actions have been so impressive that they deserve a break.””

          I have.

          “But regardless of your opinion of the original decision, you can probably agree that both the problem and its solution were unprecedented.”

          Sure. Of course, the NCAA will explicitly tell you they aren’t bound by precedent.

          “Emmert had to go outside of the enforcement process, because the enforcement process had no mechanism for dealing with a case like this.”

          No, don’t blame him. The executive committee decided to do it. He’s the face of their actions, but he didn’t decide this alone.

          “Hence, the NCAA can reduce the penalties, and still say they’re dealing with a case that was, and will probably always be, in a class by itself.”

          That doesn’t make it any less of a terrible decision.

          • zeek says:

            I think this is the rare kind of instance where a wrong can make right a previous wrong.

          • Brian says:

            I fail to see the previous wrong. PSU agreed that they broke NCAA rules and agreed to the punishment.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Wasn’t PSU facing acceptance, or the “death penalty?”

          • Brian says:

            Not according to the NCAA. PSU’s president claimed that, perhaps to lessen the vitriol directed at him for signing. The head of the executive committee said definitively that it was not true.

            Believe who you want, I suppose, since none of us were there, but the president of OrSU has less reason to lie about it.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            Mark Emmert told ESPN: “The death penalty was unequivocally on the table. There was a lot of sentiment that that ought to be one of the variables in a package of penalties.”

          • Brian says:

            It was under consideration, sure. But, according to the NCAA, it hadn’t been decided upon already which is what PSU claimed and ccrider55 was implying. That’s all I’m saying. I never claimed it was off the table.

          • ccrider55 says:

            If it’s on the table, it is one of the alternatives you are facing, whether overtly threatened or discretely leaked.

    • greg says:

      Great decision. The case was unlike any other, was treated unlike any other at the time, and can be treated unlike any other after the fact.

      • John O says:

        Any word about a reduction in the fine?

        • Brian says:

          From what I heard, no. The only change will be to the scholarships. No reduced bowl ban, no reduced fine. That may change in another year, of course.

        • frug says:

          That money has already been earmarked for charities so I would be floored if it was changed.

        • bullet says:

          I don’t know how Penn St. or the NCAA could do that fine to benefit charities outside the state of Pennsylvania. That was why I thought the state lawsuit had a chance.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            I don’t know how Penn St. or the NCAA could do that fine to benefit charities outside the state of Pennsylvania. That was why I thought the state lawsuit had a chance.

            The state lawsuit had no chance because Penn State had agreed to those sanctions. As I gather, the state’s premise was that Penn State had been blackmailed, a position I have some sympathy with, but the court didn’t. If the court had accepted that premise, it would have applied not just to the fine, but to the whole package.

          • bullet says:

            Which raises the question of whether Penn St.’s trustees had the authority to spend that money out of state. But the courts ruled the state didn’t have standing.

    • Brian says:

      http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-football/news/20130924/penn-state-ncaa-scholarship-sanctions/?sct=cf_t2_a2

      I remember seeing lots of complaints from PSU fans about how the B10 and Delany didn’t help them during the scandal, so I wanted to point this article out.

      The decision marks a major victory for Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, who had been politicking behind the scenes about the unfairness of the Penn State sanctions.

      • BuckeyeBeau says:

        yeah, i noticed Delany’s role in this. I was a bit surprised, since all that was reported seemed to suggest that the B1G (and Delany) were really p***ed off about the scandal.

        But who knows.

        I repeat a comment made by someone else: the timing here is really interesting since PSU is back to full strength just as the new B1G TV contracts kick in. That’s good for the upcoming negotiations.

      • bullet says:

        http://web1.ncaa.org/committees/committees_roster.jsp?CommitteeName=EXEC

        This is the current executive committee that was pushing Emmert for the death penalty. Some may not have been on the committee last year, but the vast majority probably were. There is a majority of non-FBS school presidents and chancellors.

        The ADs and conference commissioners are pushing for more influence in the NCAA. And the power conferences want more say. And could this have been a case of smaller school presidents sharing a different view than bigger school presidents? Clearly the Big 10 thought the penalties were excessive.

        I had always wondered who was complaining about the PSU penalties when it was presidents who instituted them.

  58. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Paul Dietzel, who coached LSU to the 1958 national championship passed away early this morning. After winning the 1961 SEC championship, Dietzel resigned from LSU to take over as head coach at Army. He was an Army Air Corps B-29 pilot in the Pacific theater, a former assistant at Army, and felt it was his duty to go when called to West Point. One of the great “what ifs” of LSU football is how the 60s and 70s would have different if Dietzel had stayed in Baton Rouge. The Bear dominated the SEC for most of the 60s and 70s, with Dietzel gone. Dietzel was one of the game’s forward thinkers, and a great strategist and recruiter. LSU had a lot of good to great teams after Dietzel left, but I have to think Dietzel would have done a little better than his successor’s (Charlie McClendon) 2-13 record against the Bear.

    http://theadvocate.com/home/6993223-125/paul-dietzel-lsu-coaching-legend

  59. zeek says:

    Divisional competitive balance is going to change in a big way with these penalty reductions.

    I think most of us were operating under the assumption that Penn State would look like a 7-5 or 8-4 kind of team at best for a number of years (perhaps until 2019-2020) under the original penalties.

    Now though, Penn State could be back to being an elite team within 4-5 years assuming the bowl ban is also reduced next year and with their full scholarships returning much faster than under the original penalties. This also increases the chances that they can keep BOB around for the long haul to really build the program back to what it was.

    Ohio State and Michigan already have a big edge in terms of recruiting given that they’re the only two schools drawing consistent top 5-10 classes right now, and Penn State seems likely to rejoin them sooner rather than later.

    We could be looking at a situation where the top 3 teams in the conference are in the same division if Hoke and BOB put things together in the right way down the line.

    • Brian says:

      zeek,

      “Divisional competitive balance is going to change in a big way with these penalty reductions.”

      Not really. It’s just going to happen slightly sooner than expected. Only people expecting a quick move to 16+ didn’t think these divisions were terribly skewed.

      “We could be looking at a situation where the top 3 teams in the conference are in the same division if Hoke and BOB put things together in the right way down the line.”

      But the markets are too important to create fair divisions. Just more proof how bad the additions of RU and UMD will be.

      • Psuhockey says:

        The legends and leaders geographic cluster f was ridiculous. OSU, UM, and PSU should have been in the same division from the start.

        Can Rutgers and Maryland actual play a game in conference before they are labeled bad additions.

        • zeek says:

          For what it’s worth, I’m okay with the division makeup even if they do end up imbalanced. Geography and TV value and developing the NYC/D.C. markets are too important for the conference’s future at this moment in my mind.

          Also, I’m almost willing to bet that Maryland will do more in the Big Ten in its first years than WVU did in the Big 12 (although that’s not saying much). I think Maryland will prove to be a good addition pretty fast. Rutgers may take a little longer to get up to speed, but to me, both schools make sense.

          Poor Indiana though. How many bowl games will they make in a division like that?

          • Brian says:

            zeek,

            “For what it’s worth, I’m okay with the division makeup even if they do end up imbalanced.”

            And which division did your team end up in, the reasonable but easier one or the stupid and more difficult one?

            “Geography and TV value and developing the NYC/D.C. markets are too important for the conference’s future at this moment in my mind.”

            Especially when other teams have to waste 2 games per year forever playing the dreck that just got added to develop those markets for you to cash in on.

            “Also, I’m almost willing to bet that Maryland will do more in the Big Ten in its first years than WVU did in the Big 12 (although that’s not saying much). I think Maryland will prove to be a good addition pretty fast. Rutgers may take a little longer to get up to speed, but to me, both schools make sense.”

            They can both DIAF as far as I’m concerned.

            “Poor Indiana though. How many bowl games will they make in a division like that?”

            And MSU, who had a chance to be a contender in the old system. For that matter, what chance do UMD or RU have a winning a title? I think we all agree that the 3 kings will dominate the east, winning 90%+ of all the division titles. Meanwhile, the west has 1 down king, a prince in transition (fate TBD), a dropping prince (IA), a potential rising prince (NW), plus MN, IL and PU. NE and WI will win more titles than the others, but they are more likely to be spread around.

            But hey, as long as the east makes money for everyone that’s all that matters, right?

          • zeek says:

            Obviously, tradition minded fans of the Eastern division teams are going to feel like they got the shorter end of the stick. I’m not going to deny that, considering that the West will include 6 of the Big 10′s 10 old-line teams whereas the East only has 4.

            MSU and Indiana’s concerns I understand. I don’t really see Rutgers or Maryland’s; they probably prefer this divisional setup regardless of the competitiveness issue.

          • BuckeyeBeau says:

            Well, I will again state that I am a homer and a traditionalist. But that does not mean I oppose the expansion of the B1G.

            Eat or be eaten; be a hunter or you’ll be the prey.

            The expansion put us on the doorsteps of both Washington, DC and NYC. This is bigger than football.

            As for the newbies, I am okay with them football-wise. I have never been particularly ‘juiced’ to watch tOSU play Indiana, Illinois, Purdue, Minny, etc. Usually, those games are not very competitive. I expect that the games against MD and Rutgers will also be “not very competitive.” As between a bunch of “not very competitive” games, it doesn’t really matter which team it is. It’s all about the same. If Brian wants to call it “dreck,” okay. For me, Indiana dreck is likely to be about as interesting as Rutgers dreck. (Yes, yes. I know. The so-called “dreck” occasionally rises up and drags us under.)

            That being said, I love watching my team play. Sure, it’d be great to watch tOSU play nobody but kings and princes, but that’s not going to happen.

            Further, i am interesting in seeing some new things. From what i’ve seen the Rutger’s Knight is interesting. He rides a horse. That would be cool to see at the ‘Shoe. No other live animals in the B1G. And having our own “Oregon” in the conference might be fun. Personally, uniforms should change once a decade, not once a week. That’s the traditionalist in me. But I think I will still find it interesting. I can enjoy making fun of the clown costumes. LOL. Plus, I am curious to see if their marching bands are any good and what other traditions they might have.

            As for the larger point of the OP, three kings in the B1GE is okay. We will all be fine. No other partition works without making the B1G a laughing stock.

            As for IN and MSU.

            MSU could have gone West if they had agreed to not play MI every year; that is, if they had taken the Texas A&M route and gotten free from their older brother. Personally, I think Hollis should have pulled the trigger on that one. But, i’m not a Spartan, so what do I know.

            Anyway, MSU made its choice so I’m not feeling sorry for them.

            And Indiana is a basketball school. So I’m not feeling sorry for them either.

            .

          • Brian says:

            zeek,

            “Obviously, tradition minded fans of the Eastern division teams are going to feel like they got the shorter end of the stick. I’m not going to deny that, considering that the West will include 6 of the Big 10′s 10 old-line teams whereas the East only has 4.”

            Exactly. You got 6 of 10 and the 7th is a local king many of you wanted to play. As an eastern team, 1/3 of OSU’s division is now newbies with limited to non football history. Another 1/6 has only been around for 20 years (our equivalent of you getting NE, I suppose).

            But another view is too look at how often OSU has played these teams since 1953 (when MSU joined):

            Rank (of the 13 B10 teams) in terms of games played versus OSU since 1953:
            1. MI – 60
            4. IN – 52
            9. MSU – 39
            10. PSU – 27
            12t. RU – 0
            12t. UMD – 0

            We got 4 of the 5 bottom teams on our list (we miss the new king), a neighbor that’s terrible at football and MI. We miss out on teams we played 58, 56, 47, 44, 40, 40 and 4 times.

            We got a very short end of this stick.

            “MSU and Indiana’s concerns I understand. I don’t really see Rutgers or Maryland’s; they probably prefer this divisional setup regardless of the competitiveness issue.”

            I feel no sympathy for RU or UMD, I was just pointing out that they also join IN in the “basically no shot at a title” club in football.

          • Brian says:

            BuckeyeBeau,

            “But that does not mean I oppose the expansion of the B1G.”

            I’m anti-expansion, but I’m more against this specific expansion and particularly these divisions. Expansion could have been done better from my POV.

            “As for the newbies, I am okay with them football-wise. I have never been particularly ‘juiced’ to watch tOSU play Indiana, Illinois, Purdue, Minny, etc. Usually, those games are not very competitive. I expect that the games against MD and Rutgers will also be “not very competitive.” As between a bunch of “not very competitive” games, it doesn’t really matter which team it is.”

            At least we have some history with those teams. RU and UMD are boring and lack any history to add any spice. They’re just bad OOC games forced into our B10 schedule.

            “That being said, I love watching my team play. Sure, it’d be great to watch tOSU play nobody but kings and princes, but that’s not going to happen.”

            And I don’t want it to happen.

            “No other partition works without making the B1G a laughing stock.”

            Who cares what others think? The B10 chose L^&%$*@ and L!%$#@& after all. Nobody really mocks the NFL for Dallas being in the east.

            They could easily have done a northeast/southwest split with more balance (OSU goes west with NE). They could have done inner/outer.

            “MSU could have gone West if they had agreed to not play MI every year; that is, if they had taken the Texas A&M route and gotten free from their older brother. Personally, I think Hollis should have pulled the trigger on that one. But, i’m not a Spartan, so what do I know.”

            Why should they have to do that? Why couldn’t they get the IN/PU treatment? Is the Old Oaken Bucket more valuable than the Paul Bunyan Trophy? Do we even know for sure that MSU could have gone west under that scenario, or was it just a proposal?

          • frug says:

            If MSU or Indiana wants to swap divisions I would be glad to offer Illinois’ spot… or I would if I had the authority to do so.

          • Brian says:

            I think MSU would accept if they could. Their fans certainly would.

        • Brian says:

          Psuhockey,

          “The legends and leaders geographic cluster f was ridiculous.”

          The names were, but not the divisions themselves. They achieved the goals the B10 was aiming for, and those goals still make sense to me.

          “OSU, UM, and PSU should have been in the same division from the start.”

          I couldn’t disagree more. That would have been terrible.

          “Can Rutgers and Maryland actual play a game in conference before they are labeled bad additions.”

          No.

    • David Brown says:

      I would not count out Nebraska and Wisconsin as being top programs going forward. Getting these sanctions removed is not only good news for Penn State, and its supporters (such as me), but the entire B10 as well. Why? Think about how much more valuable the B10 TV rights will be if PSU is off of probation, and competing for B10 Titles and National Championships?

      • zeek says:

        That’s a good point about the TV rights.

        Now when Delany goes to renew the TV contract, he can basically say, look Penn State is going to be back to 100% right when the new TV deal kicks in, so there shouldn’t be any dock on their value to the TV contract.

        This reduction is definitely a good thing since it removes the risk of an extended slump for Penn State in my mind.

        I’m not going to count Nebraska or Wisconsin out for sure.

        But from just a recruiting standpoint, neither of them can draw top 10 classes on a consistent basis (even top 15 classes consistently is going to be a stretch); that doesn’t mean recruiting is the be-all end-all of success. I’m certainly not saying that.

        But Penn State could easily be back to recruiting on a higher level than them, since Penn State has the recruiting grounds and the ability to recruit at the level of Ohio State and Michigan.

      • Brian says:

        David Brown,

        “I would not count out Nebraska and Wisconsin as being top programs going forward.”

        No, they can be competitive. Their ceilings probably aren’t as high as those for OSU, MI and PSU, though.

        “Getting these sanctions removed is not only good news for Penn State, and its supporters (such as me), but the entire B10 as well. Why? Think about how much more valuable the B10 TV rights will be if PSU is off of probation, and competing for B10 Titles and National Championships?”

        In 20 years, PSU won 1 B10 title outright and shared 2 others and chased 1 NC. That was all without sanctions. PSU may rise back to their heights in the 80s, but don’t assume it will happen right away. That said, this has zero impact on the TV deals. Negotiations don’t start until fall of 2015 and the deal will start 7/1/2017. PSU would have been at the end of the sanctions by then and about to recover anyway. For a long term TV deal, this makes no difference.

        • David Brown says:

          Brian, objective Penn State fans (and not Paterno “Stepford Wives”), know what really happened (I am talking football not Sandusky). Paterno stopped recruiting and coaching the way he used to, and was essentially a figurehead and fundraiser at Penn State, and most people knew it (including University President Graham Spanier who could not fire him, because he was bigger than he was). Now that the Paterno “Cult of Personality” is over, the sanctions are ending, the Pitt Panthers are coming back (we need our REAL rival, and they need us) and assuming O’Brien stays, we will be able to compete with Ohio State & Michigan for Conference Titles.

          • BuckeyeBeau says:

            @ David Brown. Wow, you’re going to get chased out of Happy Valley if you keep saying things like that. LOL

            I actually think that PSU’s potential is higher now with a new coaching staff.

          • Brian says:

            David Brown,

            “Brian, objective Penn State fans (and not Paterno “Stepford Wives”), know what really happened (I am talking football not Sandusky). Paterno stopped recruiting and coaching the way he used to, and was essentially a figurehead and fundraiser at Penn State, and most people knew it (including University President Graham Spanier who could not fire him, because he was bigger than he was). Now that the Paterno “Cult of Personality” is over, the sanctions are ending, the Pitt Panthers are coming back (we need our REAL rival, and they need us) and assuming O’Brien stays, we will be able to compete with Ohio State & Michigan for Conference Titles.”

            I agree with all of that, I just don’t think they can do it before the new TV deal is signed. Thus, not soon enough for it to matter to the TV value. You’re still down on players and that will take time to fix. The new TV deal will be signed before the 2017 season, and I don’t think PSU will have had time to fully recover and show the results by then.

          • ccrider55 says:

            The promise of recovery could be of more value than what the actual recovery might actually be in 2020.

          • Brian says:

            But the promise was already there under the old sanctions, so nothing has changed in that regard.

          • ccrider55 says:

            The promise of an earlier recovery increases the number of anticipated years as a (assumed to be recovered) king in a 12 year contract. Hence, higher value.

          • Brian says:

            That assumes that PSU was going to be devalued in the negotiations in the first place. PSU would have been back to full strength in 2018, year 2 of the TV deal. How much would 2017 PSU being down a little hurt the B10 deal in total? Because if that’s such a big deal, people should be freaking out about NE losing 4 games per year. That’s what PSU has done so far under sanctions.

  60. Pat says:

    NCAA – Principles and Model for a New Governance Structure. (SIAP)
    http://www.oneafar.org/Governance_Proposal.pdf

    • David Brown says:

      Very interesting piece there. Two points. A: Very interesting that the AAC is mentioned, but not the Mountain West. I cannot see the ACC having a voice but not the MWC (maybe both or perhaps neither, but not AAC alone). But theoretically speaking, what would Boise State , San Diego State, Air Force, Fresno State and the rest do? If they were on a lower level than the AAC? We know Boise and San Diego State almost left before (could it happen again? Or would the Big XII be interested in any of these Schools? Also what about BYU? B: Another question is about “Olympic Sports” will there be more of a demand that more get funded, and if so, what would be the ramifications? a: I know Fresno has talked about ending football if they have to, would they actually follow through? I doubt the Bulldogs would (the two best games of the year involved Fresno (Rutgers & Boise) so I hope not), but I could actually see a School like Rice that has an excellent baseball program , but a bad football program and a small enrollment doing something like that. b: I will use the B10 as an example of this: What pressures would be placed on the smaller schools like Purdue and the Northwestern to bring the amount of sports offered (particularly woman’s) to the level of Michigan, Ohio State & Penn State, and how much would it cost? Lots to consider.

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        Very interesting that the AAC is mentioned, but not the Mountain West. I cannot see the ACC having a voice but not the MWC (maybe both or perhaps neither, but not AAC alone). But theoretically speaking, what would Boise State , San Diego State, Air Force, Fresno State and the rest do?

        I think you misread it. What they’re saying is that the new division would likely include all or most of FBS. However, there’s been discussion of giving the P5 weighted votes. The AAC is mentioned solely in that context: as a former AQ league, would they get a weighted vote or not? They’re not saying that the MWC would be excluded altogether.

        • bullet says:

          Under the old rules, the P5, AAC (Big East) and CUSA had 3 votes each. The MWC, WAC, Sun Belt and MAC had 1.5 votes. The old 16 team WAC had 3 votes, but when they split, they were no longer in the top group.

          If the AAC gets extra votes, it would be a recognition that the AAC is basically the old CUSA + a little of the Big East, whereas the CUSA is basically the Sun Belt + WAC schools (5 SB, 4 WAC, 1 MAC, 2 move-ups, 1 CUSA and 1 CUSA move-up)

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      I realize that the published document is merely a proposal, it doesn’t cover every contingency, and it could be a stalking horse. Taking it at its word, the proposal is quite a bit less drastic than the most extreme ideas that were out there.

      1) They aren’t breaking away from the NCAA.
      2) All or most of FBS would be in the new division.(*)
      3) In every sport but football, the current championship structure would remain intact.
      4) There are no comments about no longer scheduling games vs. the lower divisions.
      5) There are no comments about forcing independents to join a league.

      (*) A footnote states: “We also recognize that there will likely be much discussion concerning the precise contours of what should be the institutions and conferences included within the division.”

      Obviously, this leaves open the possibility of radically downsizing FBS. But if that’s the idea, there are no hints of it, and the discussion of weighted voting makes it unlikely. If the new division consisted only of the P5 plus Notre Dame, there would be no need for that.

      • bullet says:

        That it is an entirely new division could lead to separate championships in the future. Its a structure. I suspect if it happens like this, within 10 years there will be separate championships for all the popular sports except basketball and they will be thinking about basketball. With 350 schools, some of the championships are very long and unwieldy.

        Eventually, Division I will just be a slightly more expensive version of Division II, which has too many schools as is.

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          The proposal is very vague about that, either deliberately so, or because they just haven’t thought it out yet.

          On the one hand, once you start offering full cost-of-attendance scholarships, it tips the competitive balance if the other divisions are not doing that.

          But on the other hand, the list of kings, princes and paupers is totally different for every sport. Even today, many sports cross division boundaries, in some cases (as in ice hockey) where there just aren’t enough teams that play.

          • David Brown says:

            What you said is totally correct. As a Yankee Fan who follows the MLB Draft carefully, I can cite the case of Dave Palladino who was offered a full ride at LSU. For that reason, he cost the Yankees $371,000 ( instead of the slot of $278,100 for 5th Rounders ( for those who do not follow the Draft, each Round ( up until 10), has a certain slot value ( past Round 10 it is $100,000). Note: Each team is given a certain amount of money to spend on Draft Picks ( in the case of the Yankees, it was $7,957,000). So in actuality Palladino was the 3rd most expensive signing by the Yankees ( based on slot value). Taking this to Colleges, Schools like LSU, Texas, North Carolina, and UCLA can already afford to offer free rides to players in ways that smaller programs cannot ( including those who have National Programs like Fullerton State, Rice, Fresno State, or the University of San Diego), if they offer more, it could really harm programs who cannot afford it ( see Fresno who won the National Championship a few years ago). Here is a different way of looking at it. Suppose I am Penn State, and I suck at baseball, maybe I end the program ( like Wisconsin did), and use the savings for scholarships for ” Olympic Sports” like Women’s Lacrosse and Soccer. Basically, ” Robbing Peter To Pay Paul.” A real bad idea idea if there ever was one.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            David – every D-1 college baseball team, from LSU to Stony Brook, gets 11.7 scholarships. The coaching staff at each school divides those scholarships up as they see fit. Most of LSU’s scholarships go to out-of-state players like Palladino. Many Louisiana natives get no scholarship money. For example, Raph Rhymes the 2012 NCAA batting champ played at LSU for three years without any athletic scholarship.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Allan:

            They don’t all fund the full 11.9. And we don’t know what a stipend will be if allowed, how much and for whom. Perhaps that was his concern.

            Baseball (and sometimes FB) is an interesting rebuttal to those who insist schools benefiting off the student athlete is only a one way street. Every year we have a number of high, sometimes even first round, draft picks who see a higher value coming from going to, or remaining in school, rather than taking a significant chunk of cash right now.

          • Richard says:

            I really doubt that Rice (or Fullerton, or even Fresno) don’t fund their full allotment of scholarships.

          • ccrider55 says:

            I’m sure they do, but there are over 300 D1 baseball teams. I doubt they all do, and some that do won’t be able to offer full cost/stipend when it is approved.

    • Aaron says:

      Basketball-related hypothetical question here.

      If IIIB doesn’t fly for some reason, what non-football conferences could be part of the new Top Division? I guess the Big East and the A-10, maybe the MVC and the Big West.

      (I say hypothetical because while it’s likely that the Top Division and the Next Division will just share non-football championships, I’m curious about how the above conferences compare to the FBS Ten.)

  61. bullet says:

    Only one year, but below is Sagarin’s ratings for bb for last year:

    CONFERENCE CENTRAL MEAN SIMPLE AVERAGE TEAMS WIN50%

    1 BIG TEN = 84.98 84.42 ( 1) 12 84.68 ( 1)
    2 BIG EAST = 82.70 82.82 ( 2) 15 82.73 ( 2)
    3 BIG 12 = 81.37 80.39 ( 6) 10 80.88 ( 3)
    4 MOUNTAIN WEST = 80.75 80.40 ( 5) 9 80.48 ( 6)
    5 PAC-12 = 80.63 80.83 ( 3) 12 80.78 ( 4)
    6 ATLANTIC COAST = 80.33 80.79 ( 4) 12 80.64 ( 5)
    7 SOUTHEASTERN = 78.52 78.61 ( 7) 14 78.57 ( 7)
    8 ATLANTIC 10 = 78.51 78.25 ( 9) 16 78.40 ( 8)
    9 MISSOURI VALLEY = 77.97 78.29 ( 8) 10 78.12 ( 9)
    10 WEST COAST = 76.15 76.73 ( 10) 9 76.43 ( 10)
    11 CONFERENCE USA = 73.73 73.78 ( 11) 12 73.84 ( 11)
    12 HORIZON = 73.33 73.19 ( 12) 9 73.27 ( 12)
    13 METRO ATLANTIC = 72.80 72.31 ( 13) 10 72.44 ( 13)
    14 WESTERN ATHLETIC = 71.75 71.92 ( 14) 10 71.88 ( 14)
    15 BIG WEST = 70.66 70.44 ( 17) 10 70.54 ( 16)
    16 MID-AMERICAN = 70.58 70.85 ( 15) 12 70.79 ( 15)
    17 COLONIAL = 70.47 69.92 ( 19) 11 70.01 ( 18)
    18 PATRIOT = 70.05 70.56 ( 16) 8 70.33 ( 17)
    19 AMERICA EAST = 69.69 69.51 ( 21) 9 69.60 ( 21)
    20 IVY LEAGUE = 69.60 70.10 ( 18) 8 69.95 ( 19)
    21 SUN BELT = 69.59 69.79 ( 20) 11 69.64 ( 20)
    22 OHIO VALLEY = 68.77 69.09 ( 22) 12 68.92 ( 22)
    23 NORTHEAST = 68.54 67.97 ( 24) 12 68.12 ( 24)
    24 SUMMIT LEAGUE = 68.03 68.28 ( 23) 9 68.18 ( 23)
    25 ATLANTIC SUN = 67.68 67.93 ( 25) 10 67.82 ( 25)
    26 SOUTHLAND = 66.55 67.12 ( 26) 10 66.87 ( 26)
    27 BIG SOUTH = 65.31 65.06 ( 29) 12 65.17 ( 29)
    28 SOUTHERN = 65.24 65.68 ( 27) 12 65.44 ( 27)
    29 MID-EASTERN = 64.74 64.51 ( 30) 13 64.58 ( 30)
    30 BIG SKY = 64.56 65.64 ( 28) 11 65.20 ( 28)
    31 GREAT WEST = 62.77 62.86 ( 31) 5 62.86 ( 31)
    32 INDEPENDENTS = 61.01 61.01 ( 32) 2 61.01 ( 32)
    33 SOUTHWESTERN = 60.21 60.09 ( 33) 10 60.32 ( 33)

    • Andy says:

      The SEC goes up and down. I looked at the last 10 years and they’ve fluctuated from 1st to 7th and everywhere in between from year to year. The last 2-3 years it’s been down. But several SEC teams have a lot of history in the top 25, including Kentucky, Florida, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, and to a lesser extent LSU, Alabama, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, and Texas A&M. The potential is there for them to rise again. These things tend to be cyclical. It’s not that long ago that the Big Ten was sitting at 5th or 6th.

      • Andy says:

        Specifically, here are the SEC’s Sagarin rankings since the turn of the century:

        2013 – 7
        2012 – 4
        2011 – 6
        2010 – 5
        2009 – 6
        2008 – 4
        2007 – 2
        2006 – 1
        2005 – 4
        2004 – 2
        2003 – 2
        2002 – 1
        2001 – 3
        2000 – 2

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        Andy – I know you are new to the club, but you need to brush up on your SEC basketball history when you write about who does and “to a lesser extent” does not have a history of success. Just to let you know, LSU is #2 in the SEC in regular season titles, and has four Final Four Appearances, only behind Kentucky & Arkansas, and tied with Florida. I know your big stat is NCAA tourney appearances regardless of tournament success, and LSU has 20 of those, again tied for fourth. While LSU has been inconsistent since the retirement of Dale Brown, in the 2000s, LSU, with 3 SEC regular season titles, is only behind Kentucky (6) and Florida (5) in conference titles.

        • Andy says:

          OK. Sure. But Missouri has 23 conference regular season and tournament titles (going up against schools like Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas) compared to 11 for LSU, so I’d still put LSU a notch below Mizzou on the basketball totem poll, even though they’re “new to the club”.

          I’d also put Arkansas ahead of LSU with their 31 conference regular season and tournament titles.

          It’s real convenient for you as an LSU fan to discount conference titles from other leagues.

          I’m fairly certain the Big 8/12 is generally considered to be as strong or stronger than the SEC in basketball historically. SWC not as much, which cheapens the Arkansas titles, but they’re not exactly worthless either.

          • Andy says:

            I admit I may be wrong on Tennessee. I haven’t followed them much and may have mistakenly thought they were more successful than LSU in basketball historically. I know they draw big crowds over there.

          • bullet says:

            Historically, UK was dominant, but had to battle with Mississippi St. in the 50s and Tennessee in the 60s and 70s.

            In the 80s, LSU developed a pretty good program. Before that they had Pistol Pete, but he wasn’t enough. Alabama and Auburn (round mound of rebound) had some good teams. UGA had Dominque Wilkins. Florida didn’t really do much until Donovan arrived. Tennessee stayed solid.

        • Andy says:

          Also, Alan, while I agree that number of NCAA tournament wins is a good metric and generally tends to approximate the quality of a program on the national level, it is problematic in that it disproportionately penalizes teams that underachieve in the tournament. Example: 2 years ago, in 2011, both Duke and Missouri had 30 win teams, both finished the regular season ranked in the top 5 in the country, both got 2 seeds in the tournament, and then both went on to lose in the first round partly due to injury issues. So as far as the NCAA tournament wins metric goes, both Duke and Missouri may as well have gone 0-34 instead of 30-4 that season. I don’t think that’s fair. Those seasons should count for something. That’s why I think conference titles are a better metric. They’re less about luck, more about what you’ve done all year.

          Of course I admit that is self serving of me to feel that way as a Missouri fan, as Missouri has done fairly well in conference but has had the maddening tendency to do great in the regular season, get a 2 or a 3 seed in the national tournament, and then lose in the 1st or 2nd round. This trend that has gone on for 3 or 4 decades now.

          If Missouri had played to seed in each of their tournament appearances, that is, beat only teams that were seeded below them, then their all time tournament record would be 31-26. (it both added a dozen wins and took away 4) But because of all the upsets its 23-26.

          Here’s the SEC as a whole

          1. Kentucky 111-46
          2. Arkansas 40-29
          3. Florida 34-14
          *Missouri to seed 31-26
          4. LSU 24-23
          5. Missouri 23-26
          6. Alabama 21-20
          7. Tennessee 16-20
          8. Auburn 12-8
          9. Miss St. 11-10
          10. Vandy 10-14
          11. Texas A&M 9-13
          12. Georgia 5-9
          13. SC 4-9
          14. Ole Miss 4-7

  62. metatron says:

    A very valid criticism of David Brandon and well, modern college football in general from Michigan Radio. Interestingly, Michigan Radio is the public radio arm of the University of Michigan.

    http://michiganradio.org/post/students-aren-t-leaving-michigan-football-michigan-football-leaving-them?nopop=1

    I know these criticisms are a tad whiny, but they’re very important to the Maize and Blue faithful and they echo the common complaints against David Brandon and his administration and their efforts to commercialize every aspect of one of our few hallowed traditions.

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      He’s criticizing Brandon for changes that occurred long before his tenure, such as the length of games, TV timeouts, shifting start times, bye weeks, and the weak non-conference schedule.

      The one truly terrible non-conference game he mentions, Delaware State, was scheduled by his predecessor. Brandon has been trying to strengthen the non-conference schedule, but that requires the cooperation of the prospective opponents, which is not so easy to get.

      • BuckeyeBeau says:

        Nice article. The tone is a bit whiny, but the argument is solid. The in-stadium experience is not as fun as it was.

        The tv timeouts are a big problem since they make the in-stadium experience lag and drag. The in-stadium experience is kind of boring.

        And the author is right. Piping in canned music is boring.

        And various other jumbotron activities are usually an insult to a moderately educated person. I’m going to root for a cartoon something to defeat some cartoon something else in some cartoon “race?” Really? *yawn*

        Letting the band play more would help; doing more in-stadium color commentary would help. I don’t know how many stadiums do this, but the Bears have a woman give scores and updates over the jumbotron during some of the breaks. She is horrible (really bad), but the idea is a good one.

        We have become used to the “bottom scroll” of scores and updates and stadiums need to figure out how to do that.

        Further, in my experience, the concourses are boring. you go for food, drink and bathrooms, but there is nothing else. but there is so much potential to do interesting stuff on the concourses.

        this is back to the point about the tv breaks. with so much being boring on the field, there needs to be more interesting things off the field.

        then, of course, there is the cost. prices need to go down, not up; tiered pricing is essential. pay cheap for the body-bag games; pay up for the games you really want to see.

        anyway, those are a few of my 2 cents.

        • @BuckeyeBeau – If there’s one piece of low-hanging fruit out there for improving the in-stadium experience, it’s to have more replays of close plays. (The NFL is finally doing this.) I don’t think you need to feel like you’re sitting on your couch at a stadium (as that defeats the purpose of going to a game in the first place), but you *should* have access to the same replays that people at home are watching. Few things irk me more than paying for tickets to a game and then having to text my friends sitting at home to find out whether a call should be overturned (even though I’m the one watching the game in-person).

          • BuckeyeBeau says:

            @FtT. Agree wholeheartedly that more replays SHOULD happen. I have my doubts about whether it WILL.

            That jumbotron screen is a revenue stream with a limited number of minutes. If you divert some of those minutes to showing replays, then you have diminished the revenue stream.

            Further, you don’t have to divert time to replays if you can enhance wifi capacity enough that the fans will be looking at their mobile devices for the replays.

            I hope I am wrong and the jumbotron can become more “home-tv-like.” But I have my doubts. IMO, the people running these stadiums seem intent on frisking as much $$ from the fans/advertising as possible.

            I think they are miscalculating. If they stopped trying to completely fleece everyone and starting thinking “How can we make this more fun,” the declining attendance could be reversed.

          • Brian says:

            Frank,

            Is there any chance TV will go to side by side advertising for football like they do for auto racing (and presumably some other sports)? No more stoppages for TV timeouts, just ads running at the same time as the game during the least exciting portions (when MSU is on offense, etc). It seems like the wider screens people have now would make this feasible. The benefit to the advertisers is that nobody could change channels to avoid their ads without missing their game of choice.

      • BuckeyeBeau says:

        oh and @ Marc Shepard:

        i am not sure there is any need to defend Brandon, per se. I saw this as a metonymy or synecdoche where “Brandon” is shorthand for “Michigan’s Athletic Department” or some such.

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          i am not sure there is any need to defend Brandon, per se. I saw this as a metonymy or synecdoche where “Brandon” is shorthand for “Michigan’s Athletic Department” or some such.

          I think you’re more aware of the history than the average reader. The impression given is, “Dave Brandon did this.” It would not have been difficult for the writer to assign credit/blame where it is due.

          Even if you assume the writer meant “Michigan’s Athletic Department,” it still wouldn’t be accurate, as many of these things are just general nationwide trends in the sport, having nothing specifically to do with Michigan.

          I’m no Brandon apologist. He’s made enough actual mistakes that there’s no need to tar him with invented ones.

          • BuckeyeBeau says:

            @MS. You said: “He’s made enough actual mistakes that there’s no need to tar him with invented ones.” good line. I LOLed at that. good point too.

    • Big Ten Fan says:

      Heck, those criticisms apply to most spectator sports in the USA, not just college football. Living overseas, I enjoy the fact that overseas TV broadcasts of Formula One races and European football games usually never exceed 2 hours with zero TV commercials.

      By the way: I recently saw the movie “Rush” at the cinema which is highly recommended to all sports fans. And if that movie floats your boat, then you should definitely see the movie “Senna” which is simply haunting.

    • wmwolverine says:

      DB is mostly following others lead (tons of other schools have been doing this for years other than dynamic pricing) on these things to gain more revenue for his athletic department, to pay for both all the brand new or massively renovated facilities on campus…

      Look around Michigan’s athletic complex, EVERYTHING is either recently renovated or will be soon not to mention M is building a few brand new facilities for several sports. Michigan needs to pay for these things…

      FWIW when M signed it’s IMG contract, someone I talked in the AD office said they left $3-$4mil a year on the table due to just in-stadium advertising in the Big House.

    • cutter says:

      John U. Bacon and David Brandon are in the midst of a feud right now, so anything he writes or says about the Michigan football program needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

      Bacon has written or co-authored a number of books about Michigan football and hockey. He knows the history of the program like the back of his hand and he has a real affection for the university. He can also give an excellent interview because he does offer some unique insights and perspectives.

      The problem I have with Bacon is that while he’s in touch with the realities of major college sports, it’s coupled with this Norman Rockwell version of the past. He also represents what I call the “puritan wing” of Michigan athletics fandom who have this nostalgic and somewhat muddled look at things past coupled with a distrust of change.

      That was probably best illustrated by the “Save the Big House” movement that was organized by Jonathan Pollack, a former Clinton speechwriter who grew up in the state of Michigan. Pollack organized a campaign to try and eliminate luxury boxes and enclosed seating from the Michigan Stadium renovation because it was “non-egalitarian” and that it would infringe on the bowl design. See an interview with him here–http://mvictors.com/?p=7430

      One of the books that Bacon wrote was called “Three and Out”. It covered a season of Michigan football with Rich Rodriguez at the helm. Perhaps more importantly, it chronicled all the problems at UM during that time frame, including the NCAA violations, the schism within the UM football family, etc. In short, it wasn’t the most flattering portrait.

      So when Bacon wrote his most recent book, “Fourth and Long”, Brandon kept him at arm’s length from the program. I read the UM sections of the book, and not surprisingly, it painted Brandon in a very negative light regarding the direction he was taking UM athletics. In sharp contrast, the book by Armen Keteyian and Jeff Benedict called “The System: The Glory and Scandal of BIg Time College Football” was very flattering of Brandon. Keteyian also interviewed Brandon for 60 Minutes and much of what he wrote in that book is in that piece–see http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=nWMl0kbHqwU

      So when I read some of Bacon’s comments in this article, it comes out as a mix of someone with an ax to grind coupled with this odd visions of what Michigan football was and what it ought to be.

      I was at the last game of the season in 2012 against Iowa, and simply put, the student section didn’t show up on time or really fill up their section. Given the chance to give the seniors a rousing cheer in the pre-game ceremonies, the opted to stay at the house parties, etc. Now maybe I sound like an old curmudgeon here (I attended Michigan from 1978 to 82), but I made all but one of the games and never had a problem getting there on time and staying through the entire game. Of course, those were also the times when there weren’t many CFB games on television, there was no internet, no smart phones, etc. I understand it’s different, but what Brandon saw and what the numbers told him was that students weren’t showing up. That’s why he changed the policy to open seating. Come at a decent time and you’ll get a good seat. It’s not rocket science.

      One of the complaints Bacon reiterates is the cost of tickets for a family. His favorite line is that it costs a family of four more to go to a Michigan football game than it does to spend a day at Disney World. Because of that, families don’t go and kids don’t get indoctrinated to the game atmosphere, etc.

      I have some sympathy for that because college football tickets are expensive everywhere for big time programs. Are there fewer families going? I don’t have the metrics on it, but I suspect Brandon does. What Brandon can also see is that Michigan had its highest per game attendance last year even with the latest ticket increase (plus the biggest crowd ever during the Notre Dame game).

      Trying to tie Brandon to the different television starting times or the non-conference schedule is idiotic. In fact, Brandon has been pushing for a nine-game conference schedule since Nebraska joined the Big Ten and he’s also said that he doesn’t want UM to play “scrimmages” against mismatched teams because he wants to make the home schedule more attractive for the paying fans (although he may be rethinking that after the Akron and UConn games–I kid). I guess Bacon forgot to google his comments about that.

      So what else is he complaining about in this article? Longer games because of television time outs? Well, since Michigan is the most televised college football program in history, I think the fans have had time to acclimate to it (although I guess the students haven’t–such horror). Rock music talking up some of the moments when the band played. Having promo ads during down times promoting other UM teams and their accomplishments. Playing Ohio State over Thanksgiving weekend (which Brandon doesn’t have much say about seeing that the Big Ten runs the schedule).

      The one thing Bacon doesn’t mention is that there are no advertisements inside Michigan Stadium–something UM fans do not want and which Brandon has no plans doing either. And yes, the band still plays the Victors coming onto the field and has a halftime performance, so that hasn’t changed either. In fact, when it comes to the most timeworn traditions, Michigan still holds onto them rather tightly.

      Brandon also knows when he’s made a mistake. UM stepped back from all the special jerseys the did last year and said they weren’t going to do it again. That was a hit-and-miss affair, and frankly, Adidas is several rungs below Nike when it comes to designing alternate uniforms jerseys, etc.

      One last thing that I think Bacon would appreciate, but wouldn’t admit. Back in the 1920s, when Michigan Stadium was being planned, built and financed, UM AD Fielding H. Yost used part of the money from the bond drive to build the most extensive athletic complex at a university for women in the country. Yost’s vision was “Athletics for All” and he was determined to use the football money to expand opportunities not only for the varsity men, but intramural and for the then 3,000 co eds on the campus.

      Fast forward to today’s Title IX world and you can see Brandon is doing the same thing for UM’s non-revenue sports. Between the current debt outstanding for the recent projects (mostly dealing with football and basketball) of around $240M plus plans to spend another $350M (including that Schembechler Hall renovation Bacon was having spasms about) for lacrosse, softball, rowing, track & field, etc., there’s a big need for the revenue that football makes and attracts (such as the recent $100M gift Stephen Ross gave Michigan athletics). The main source of money for these products is football and you can rest assured Brandon is going to do whatever he can to promote and monetize the sport–much to the chagrin of John U. Bacon.

      • bullet says:

        Sounds like he has lots of good complaints. But Michigan is joined by about 70 other schools you could make the same complaints about.

        • bullet says:

          I think its pretty extreme NOT to have ads in the stadium. But I definitely thought it in bad taste to roll a BMW onto the field as an ad at Texas. There’s a reason his name is written DeLo$$ Dodd$.

      • Big Ten Fan says:

        TV commercials “per se” isn’t the issue (heck, it helps to pay the bills). It’s the amount of TV commercials. Like everything else, advertising is subject to diminishing returns. If there is too much advertising, then people begin to turn-off, and the cumulative impact is reduced.

      • BuckeyeBeau says:

        @ cutter

        thanks for the long post; quite informative; I had not made the connection that the author was THAT john bacon.

        question for those who’d know: was it successful to change to open seating for the student section?

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          question for those who’d know: was it successful to change to open seating for the student section?

          This is the first year, so it’s too soon to tell. It worked for the Central Michigan game, but that was the opener, and people are usually psyched for that, after 9 months without football.

          The Notre Dame game obviously gets a pass, because no one needed prodding to attend that one.

          It failed for the Akron game: the student section was nearly empty at kickoff. It filled in a bit later, but attendance was well below capacity. My son is a freshman at Michigan. He intended to go, but when his three suite-mates decided to skip it, he followed their lead. After he saw the fantastic finish on TV, he regretted not being there, but I’m sure a lot of people did. (The final goal-line stand was in the student end zone.)

        • Big Ten Fan says:

          Hopefully, it’s not like those big stadium concerts of the early 80′s. My friends and I camped out the whole day to get decent seats to see The Rolling Stones at the Pontiac Silverdome in 1981. But then we got separated during the surge and crush when the gates opened, and were not able to get any good seats to sit together.

          By the way: I always felt that the Stones peaked in 1972. That is until “Some Girls: Live in Texas ’78″ was released. For Stones fans I personnally recommend the combo version with the CD which really rocks and sounds great.

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        John U. Bacon and David Brandon are in the midst of a feud right now, so anything he writes or says about the Michigan football program needs to be taken with a grain of salt…

        One of the books that Bacon wrote was called “Three and Out”. It covered a season of Michigan football with Rich Rodriguez at the helm. Perhaps more importantly, it chronicled all the problems at UM during that time frame, including the NCAA violations, the schism within the UM football family, etc. In short, it wasn’t the most flattering portrait.

        So when Bacon wrote his most recent book, “Fourth and Long”, Brandon kept him at arm’s length from the program.

        I don’t really understand the Bacon/Brandon feud. The facts, as I understand them, are as follows:

        Bacon accepted an advance to write a book about Rich Rodriguez’s tenure at Michigan. He was granted unprecedented access to the program (practices, coaches’ meetings, the locker room). This was before Rodriguez had coached a single game.

        Given Michigan’s history, I suspect he assumed what most people did: the book would be a story of triumph, no doubt ending in a Big Ten championship and a Rose Bowl victory. Given Bacon’s affection for the program, I’m sure that’s the book he would have preferred to write.

        Well, it didn’t turn out that way,and what was the guy supposed to do? He’d already been paid and had to deliver a manuscript. Rodriguez made plenty of mistakes, which the book didn’t shy away from, but the U-M administration hadn’t covered itself in glory either. There was no way to tell the story of the Rodriguez era without a bunch of people looking bad.

        It must be noted that Bacon repeatedly tried to get Lloyd Carr and Dave Brandon on the record, and they refused to be interviewed. Now, it was of course their right to remain silent. But if a book is being written about your football program, and you decline to give your side, then you can’t complain that your side wasn’t told.

        I can understand why Michigan would prefer that one of the more embarrassing episodes in its history didn’t get any more publicity. But when you allow someone access to your program to write a book before the games are played, you have to ask yourself what might be written if the team loses. I am not sure what Bacon could have done differently, under the circumstances.

        I do realize that Bacon has a somewhat nostalgic view of collegiate sports, but he’s hardly the only one.

        • cutter says:

          I had an email exchange with David Brandon awhile back. Without going into too many specifics, it’s pretty clear he doesn’t have very much respect for newspaper sports journalists. Mind you, this was in the wake of the NCAA violations report on the football team which stated in the introduction that the newspaper reports were largely incorrect.

          What I know about Carr second hand is that he’s pretty much in the same boat regarding the press. Certainly something to be tolerated, but not given any real favor. That said, it was pretty apparent he had favored reporters he would accommodate. I think the networks caught onto something else with him–he’d be much more cordial to a female sideline reporter than a male. The 2003 interview before halftime of the Ohio State game was classic (“Why would you ask a dumb question like that?).

          Now again, clearly, Bacon isn’t a hack reporter and you describe the circumstances behind the book accurately. But I don’t think Carr wanted to get into a discussion or give quotes about his support (or lack therein) of Rodriguez after he was hired and have it published in a book. When in doubt about how you’re going to be portrayed, it might sometimes be best to lay low.

          I don’t know for certain what Brandon’s original beef with Bacon might have been in this manner, but it’s clear the two men have largely different opinions and approaches regarding the future of Michigan athletics. It could have come down to the negative portrayal in the book about what happened under Rodriguez (remember that Brandon was AD for his last year as head coach). Perhaps he feels a need to protect the program, so he only deals with journalists likely to give a positive spin (such as Armen Keteyian, who is a national journalist and doesn’t need to make a name for himself).

          As I said before, there are lots of things Bacon does really, really well. I just listened to an inteview with him from The Atlantic.and he did a great job describing the Big Ten culture, etc. From that end, he’s spot on. But he clearly doesn’t like the current approach to Michigan football in this article, “Tradition for Fun, But Mostly for Profit” that he wrote in December 2012.

          See http://johnubacon.com/2012/12/tradition-for-fun-but-mostly-profit/

          The crux of Bacon’s argument is that the UM athletic department’s long-term goal was to be “self-sustaining” and that past ADs had exercised restraint when doing that (including their own salaries). In his opinion, Brandon has essentially crossed the line by doing things like charging for stadium tours, staging weddings at the Big House, etc.

          Brandon’s argument would be that he’s trying to keep Michigan “self-sustaining” and this is the way he has to do it when competing for entertainment dollars and against high definition television. I would also add as I did in my original reply, Brandon is also embarking on a modern version of the “Athletics for All” vision that Yost articulated back in the 1920s. Brandon has repeatedly said that he wants all of UM’s athletes to have the best facilities, coaching, etc. in all the sports Michigan supports. That takes money, which means he not only needs to monetize football and basketball, but he also needs to promote them as well in public and to the major donors.

          We’ll see in due course which man was “right”. The remaining projects Michigan is embarking on should be started and all nearly completed by the end of this decade. Once that’s done and the debt for that construction and renovation is paid off or substantially reduced, I imagine we’ll see revenue going to endow more scholarships and/or send to the general university fund.

          • BuckeyeBeau says:

            Well, from that link, here is evidence that Bacon has a Norman Rockwell view of college football.

            “I can remember on football Saturdays our parents giving us five bucks each, and that would cover a two-dollar student ticket, a hot dog, a coke, and a little plastic football to toss around outside the stadium at halftime. That finski made the Michigan football players the cheapest babysitters in town. We got hooked watching the band flying out of the tunnel, the players leaping up to touch the banner, and the little dogs, Whiskey and Brandy, nosing a soccer ball up and down the field at halftime. We fell in love with it all – and I couldn’t wait for football season to come around again.”

            That’s a beautiful image and my first thought is: “How OLD is this guy?”

            When was the last time student tickets cost $2? and when was the last time $3 could buy a hot dog, a coke and a plastic football?

          • BuckeyeBeau says:

            Btw, that is a very good read. Bacon is not wrong about a lot of what he says. The money-grubbing (by all schools and teams) has gotten out of hand.

            Smith is doing the same thing to us. I am incensed every time I see the words: “more pro stadium feel.” A “pro-stadium feel” is the exact opposite of what I want watching college football.

            Anyway, the comments to the linked article are interesting too. The luxury boxes were supposed to keep prices down. Opps! “The Team The Team The Team” vs. “The Money The Money The Money.” Thought-provoking for every fan of college sports.

          • BuckeyeBeau says:

            I suppose I should modify my “how OLD is this guy?” question. I would guess student tickets might have been $2 in 1965. So, if he was 10 years old in 1965, he was born in 1955 which makes him 57-8 which is certainly a reasonable age and not particularly “elderly” (says the 50 year old). :-)

            Interestingly enough, i figured Bacon to be in his 20s and 30s. Not sure why I had that impression, but … whatever.

          • cutter says:

            Just a couple of comments for you in reply.

            Bacon received his undergraduate degree from Michigan in 1986, so he should be in his late 40s. He’s been a journalist, writer, speaker, etc., for a couple of decades now. What he’s describing could well have been a scene from the late 1960s or early 1970s (Michigan’s string of consecutive sellouts started in 1975). When I went to UM as a freshman starting in 1978, student tickets were half priced at $8 per game–that would have put the normal price at $16.

            This idea that the luxury boxes were supposed to keep ticket prices down may have been something Brandon’s predecessor (Bill Martin) said, but that’s clearly not true. What the luxury boxes did do, however, is pay not only for themselves, but for all the renovations throughout the stadium, including the ones that are enjoyed by the general public (concourses, more restrooms, more point of sale locations for food and souvenirs).

            The Michigan Daily did a lengthy article today on Brandon that you can find here–http://www.michigandaily.com/article/dave-brandons-fireworks

            The article notes that Brandon’s arrival at Michigan was predated by the revenue and cost expansion of college athletics. I think what he’s done is looked at the environment around him and proceeded accordingly. Here’s an interesting paragraph:

            “Fan happiness and the traditional, simple joys of Michigan sports are fine, but the modern Athletics Department is out for something else. It needs the most money to build the best facilities. It needs the best facilities to land the best recruits. The best recruits to win the most games. Win the most games to build the best brand, so the cycle restarts — over and over.”

            The article talks about a three-part battle he’s dealing with–”There’s the winning and the money-making, but then there’s the demands of being at a public research university with a rabid fan base that treasures the idea of Michigan athletics just as much as it treasures the teams themselves.”

            “There are those who see a problem in turning the enterprise of amateur athletics into big business.” (Cue John U. Bacon and the Puritan streak in the UM fan base).

      • Aaron says:

        “One of the complaints Bacon reiterates is the cost of tickets for a family. His favorite line is that it costs a family of four more to go to a Michigan football game than it does to spend a day at Disney World.”

        Does he ever show the math for this? I’m trying to figure out how to make that true.

        • BuckeyeBeau says:

          LOL. for the fun of it, I googled. Found this: http://wdwprepschool.com/how-much-does-it-cost-to-go-to-disney-world/

          A “Fancy Family” of 4 will spend $12,630.73 going to DisWorld.
          A “Moderate Family” will spend $4,152.04.
          And a “Frugal Family” will spend $2,127.46.

          On the other hand, you can go to magicalgetaways dot com and its $199 for 3 days, 2 nights in a hotel and 2 Epcot Tickets. Of course, it’s a nightmare timeshare sales pitch, but it’s all about choices ! :-)

          Anyway, Bacon is probably right. If you take out airfare and hotel, I suspect that getting tickets to DisWorld and Epcot is less than ticket prices at most CFB stadiums particularly if you factor in the seat licenses/donations.

  63. Mike says:

    Nothing Earth shattering here, but insight into the process that took San Jose St to the Mountain West.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/sports/ci_24173843/mountain-west-conference-brings-new-life-san-jose

  64. vp19 says:

    It’s back to the future for the Terrapin men’s and women’s basketball teams, as next month’s Maryland Madness will be held at venerable Cole Field House: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/cole-field-house-to-host-maryland-madness-on-oct-18/2013/09/24/e9511a7e-2554-11e3-b3e9-d97fb087acd6_story.html

    • zeek says:

      Best thing for Maryland is that they seem to have gotten all their ducks in a row for men’s football and men’s basketball in the coming years in terms of competitiveness.

    • BuckeyeBeau says:

      Is this planned as an annual event? It would be cool if it was.

      Of note, BTN will televise only one of these games. That surprised me. But no surprise as to which game (Minny vs. BC).

      I am puzzled by the choices for the Hockey East teams. IIRC, Notre Dame is now officially part of Hockey East. But they are not in the challenge?

      There are 12 Hockey East teams and only 6 B1G teams, so 6 get left off.

      Anybody know why these six were picked?

      Boston College (#9 last years final poll)
      Boston University (#17)
      UMass (NR)
      UMass Lowell (#3)
      NH (#11)
      VT (NR)

      Minnesota (#6)
      tOSU (NR)
      MI (#20)
      MSU (NR)
      PSU (NR)
      Wiscy (#12)

      FYI, Yale won the NC last year. (Hockey kings and princes are way different than CFB kings and princes.)

  65. Brian says:

    http://espn.go.com/college-sports/story/_/id/9723411/athletic-directors-say-pay-play-not-plans-college-athletics

    ADs and others say no to paying players but there is more talk of pressing the NFL and NBA to develop farm systems so only true student-athletes go to college.

    • bullet says:

      They could end excessive one and dones overnight. Only allow schools to apply the “good standing” rule for the APR to one freshman who doesn’t transfer to another NCAA school. So you don’t get penalized for someone who develops and turns pro, but if you do what Calipari is doing, you don’t get in the tourney. Or you could go extreme and don’t allow any “good standing” for freshmen.

      Its currently within the rules. I don’t care if Calipari can win the NCAA every other year for UK. It needs to change.

      • frug says:

        For what it’s worth, Calipari has said he would prefer that players be allowed to go pro straight from high school, but that those who choose college be required to stay for a minimum of two years.

        • bullet says:

          For the one and dones or two and dones, there is JC. A number of top players have spent time in JC. Those schools ARE designed for people going just one or two years.

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      ADs and others say no to paying players but there is more talk of pressing the NFL and NBA to develop farm systems so only true student-athletes go to college.

      Building a new sports league, assuming it succeeds, takes decades. I mean, you can’t just form an NFL minor league tomorrow, and suddenly have fans, TV coverage, etc. The NFL has been plugging away at NFL Europe for a long time now. It’s slow going. Basketball is different, because it’s an international sport. I think kids can go straight from high school to pro leagues in Europe, if they want to. They just can’t go to the NBA.

      But Delany’s being a bit disingenuous. Even when the NFL and NBA took kids right out of high school, very few turned pro that early. They’re usually not ready. Given the choice of a major college or a minor league, most kids will choose college.

      And if Delany thinks kids ought to be able to turn pro right out of high school, then what’s wrong with turning pro mid-way through your college career? That’s what Bill Gates and Steve Jobs did; just not in sports. Delany’s reasoning suggests that schools shouldn’t take an APR hit when kids leave early. What has the school done wrong, when one of its students realizes he doesn’t belong there?

      • BruceMcF says:

        If they want to get all student-athletey, they could let the student-athletes that complete a two-year’s associate degree to leave without taking an APR hit.

      • ccrider55 says:

        As has been noted in prior posts, there are quite a few alternatives to the NFL for kids to try to “get paid” now. They just aren’t as successful or accepted as those for BB.

        “But Delany’s being a bit disingenuous. Even when the NFL and NBA took kids right out of high school, very few turned pro that early. They’re usually not ready.”

        How is it disingenuous to note NCAA FB has a considerably longer history than the NFL and NBA, and is in no way obligated to become a professional minor league system for them?

        I,too, don’t think a school should take an apr hit if a kid with good academic standing chooses to try to succeed in another arena.

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          How is it disingenuous to note NCAA FB has a considerably longer history than the NFL and NBA, and is in no way obligated to become a professional minor league system for them?

          His argument is: if kids want to go pro right out of college, let them. But nothing’s stopping them now, other than union rules in the NBA and NFL that affect very few kids. Even before the current rules, there was no huge list of successful NBA careers right out of high school, and in the NFL that list was even shorter. If success straight out of high school were at all common, the pros would have no incentive to curtail it.

          He’s right that the NCAA isn’t obligated to create a farm system for the pros. But by the same token, the pros aren’t obligated to create farm systems for which there is no market demand.

          If kids aren’t ready for the NFL or the NBA straight out of high school, then college is almost certainly the best place for them, as Delany well knows. For him to suggest otherwise is disingenuous, especially given that, if you test the waters professionally, you lose the right to come back and play as an amateur.

          If Delany actually cared about doing right by the athlete, he’d argue for letting kids back into collegiate sports if they turn pro too early, and fail. Delany doesn’t want to pay the athletes, which is fine. But rather than say that directly, he’s trotting out a convoluted argument that he knows is economic nonsense.

          • ccrider55 says:

            “He’s right that the NCAA isn’t obligated to create a farm system for the pros. But by the same token, the pros aren’t obligated to create farm systems for which there is no market demand.”

            Precisely! So why do so many think the NCAA should become that system?

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            “He’s right that the NCAA isn’t obligated to create a farm system for the pros. But by the same token, the pros aren’t obligated to create farm systems for which there is no market demand.”

            Precisely! So why do so many think the NCAA should become that system?

            Well, the argument is: if you believe in free markets, then you ought to let players get paid (e.g., by agents, boosters, advertisers) if there is demand for it.

            If you do not want a free market in collegiate athletics (which currently there isn’t), then you’ve no business asking others to create it elsewhere. The people who’ve made a business of artificially constraining demand have no right to complain that demand doesn’t exist elsewhere.

            Allowing the players to get paid is really the only issue. Other than that, the NCAA already IS the farm system for the pros, and it will always be. There’s no credible farm system that is better for the athlete than college.

          • These quotes from Delany about minor leagues will be the subject of my next blog post. As an overarching preview, I don’t think much of his opinion on this issue.

          • ccrider55 says:

            The free market is working. No one is prevented from starting a pro minor league. In fact there are multiple non college FB alternatives. How’s that working out?

            Delany also emphasizes that the value is in the schools brand, not the transient student athlete.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            Then I am not sure what exactly you’re disagreeing with. You seem to concur that the additional minor leagues that Delany is calling for are probably not going to happen.

          • ccrider55 says:

            I agree with him that whether or not they occur is not up to the schools, and the imagined “responsibility” to fill the supposed void does not exist.

          • BuckeyeBeau says:

            @MS

            (as an aside, we’ve ended up with two threads…. so, apologies if this end up in the wrong place or has already been discussed).

            You said: “If Delany actually cared about doing right by the athlete, he’d argue for letting kids back into collegiate sports if they turn pro too early, and fail. Delany doesn’t want to pay the athletes, which is fine. But rather than say that directly, he’s trotting out a convoluted argument that he knows is economic nonsense.”

            You also said: “I am just pointing out that Delany is really only concerned with his employers’ self-interest. Rather than just say that, which would come across as crass, he’s suggesting completely impractical things that can’t happen, and would be pretty undesirable for the athletes if they ever did.”

            To the extent, MS, that you are suggesting that making a choice among a group of bad alternatives is not making a choice, I disagree with you 100%. There is no coercion merely because I dislike my choices. Where I live, I have three options for cable/internet. I also have the option to have no cable/internet. I don’t like my choices, but I made one. It is still a choice.

            The high school athlete is in the same boat and I am not going to be all “boohoohooo” because the athlete doesn’t like his/her choices.

            As for an athlete ‘testing the pro market” but then still being able to come back and play for a college team, let’s think a bit.

            First, we must have an age/time limit. Sure don’t want a 35 year old NFL retiree to go play for a college team. That would be weird. So, let’s say 2 years?

            So, high school kid name Johnson goes and gets a free agent contract with the Bears. He plays, maybe even gets on the field, but ultimately gets cut in year 2. He applies to, say, Toledo, asks to be a walk on, plays for the Rockets and is awarded a scholly by the coach.

            M’eh. I don’t think I would have a problem with that.

          • ccrider55 says:

            There are rules that dock a year of eligibility for each year of participation in an organized sport, after the first year out of HS, professional or not. Allowing for pros to return is far beyond what the schools that make up the NCAA currently find unacceptable practice.

      • greg says:

        “I mean, you can’t just form an NFL minor league tomorrow, and suddenly have fans, TV coverage, etc. ”

        Maybe not a whole new league, but the NFL could change their practice squad size from 6 to 20 tomorrow. A large practice squad would provide more opportunities for guys leaving school early.

        I never understood the NFL model, where a guy gets cut from a team and suddenly has zero support system, zero chance at finding a “football job” anywhere. They go back and lift weights at a friggin high school, waiting for a phone call. I don’t understand why the NFL doesn’t want more of these fringe players to be part of the medical, nutrition, and training program of an NFL team so they can jump back into action if needed. I guess the NFL is too cheap.

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          I never understood the NFL model, where a guy gets cut from a team and suddenly has zero support system, zero chance at finding a “football job” anywhere.

          I think the roster limits in the NFL exist for the same reason as roster limits in all pro sports: to prevent teams from hoarding players. Maybe that theory is outmoded, but all of the pro leagues work basically the same way, except for baseball which has the farm system. But even in baseball there are various limits that are meant to discourage hoarding.

          • greg says:

            “I think the roster limits in the NFL exist for the same reason as roster limits in all pro sports: to prevent teams from hoarding players.”

            NFL practice squad players cannot be hoarded. If any team offers them a spot on their 53 man roster, they must be released by the team that has them on their practice squad.

            “But even in baseball there are various limits that are meant to discourage hoarding.”

            What limits? They all have large minor league systems. I guess the weak salary cap is the only hoarding limitation.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Greg:

            I don’t know exactly how it works, but there are a limited number of times a player can be moved up and down from the majors before they must be signed given a major league contract or their release.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            NFL practice squad players cannot be hoarded. If any team offers them a spot on their 53 man roster, they must be released by the team that has them on their practice squad.

            The point is, that if the practice squad were unlimited, the wealthier teams wouldn’t just have a squad; they’d have a whole city. It’s the same reason (in principle) why the main roster is just 53, and not 83, or 153, or infinite.

            @ccrider55 answered for baseball. There are other rules with a similar purpose, e.g., limiting transfers in and out of injured reserve and the disabled list.

          • greg says:

            “The point is, that if the practice squad were unlimited, the wealthier teams wouldn’t just have a squad; they’d have a whole city.”

            No one suggested unlimited. I suggested raising it from 6 to 20. Or 12. Or 10. Or 15.

            “There are other rules with a similar purpose, e.g., limiting transfers in and out of injured reserve and the disabled list.”

            Those rules aren’t about hoarding talent.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            “There are other rules with a similar purpose, e.g., limiting transfers in and out of injured reserve and the disabled list.”

            Those rules aren’t about hoarding talent.

            Yes they are. If you could move athletes to/from IR and the DL indiscriminately, then the 53-man limit would be almost meaningless: you can always come up with an ingrown toenail that allows you to put Johnny on the DL, and then move him back whenever you need him.

  66. Brian says:

    http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/9723389/college-football-playoff-selection-committee-expected-finalized-end-2013-season

    They’re part way through picking the CFP committee. Supposedly nobody has declined just because they don’t want to do it. They all had a conflict of some sort.

  67. http://tracking.si.com/2013/09/25/big-ten-commissioner-jim-delany-let-players-bypass-college/?sct=hp_t2_a10&eref=sihp

    I guess that’s one way to bring the SEC down a peg or two while preserving the B1G’s financial monstrosity…

    • Big Ten Fan says:

      Nothing new here. Commissioner Delany has stated this before. See the following from his Guest Editorial in The NCAA News “Pay-for-Play Philosophy is the Wrong Approach” (June 3, 1996):

      “We should not object if young athletes prefer to go directly from high school to the NBA, NFL, NHL or some international version of professional sports. If they choose to attend a university for a year or several years, we should not attempt to restrain them from moving into professional leagues. In fact, after making the best possible case for the value of an education, we should eliminate any and all obstacles to such access. In short, the college community should provide educational and athletics opportunities, then get out of the way so those talented individuals interested in pursuing their sport on a professional basis can do so.”

    • BuckeyeBeau says:

      Rittenberg has a more complete report of what Delany said:

      http://espn.go.com/blog/ncfnation/post/_/id/83690/delany-sounds-off-on-pay-for-play-issue

      There is another important factor here that no one has mentioned: the players’ unions in professional bball and fball. Those unions set the rules for how long a high school athlete has to wait before attempting to “go pro.” Why is no pressure being brought to bear on them to change the rules so the kids can start to get paid right away? Likewise, the NFL Owners could establish a farm system. Why no pressure on them?

      anyway …

      I liked a lot of what Delany had to say.

      The solution here is not to pay players, but to get a farm system set up.

      I wish Delany would articulate better the point that “getting paid” (e.g., becoming famous) is really about the school’s brand, not the player’s talents. Without A&M (and ‘Bama and the SEC), Manzeil is a gifted athlete, but he ain’t getting paid. Without A&M no one wants to buy his autograph.

      As an aside, is there cheating in college baseball, golf and/or hockey? I honestly cannot think of an example and nothing came up quickly after a google search.

      • Mack says:

        Delany’s comments are all about no pay for play in college.

        Until a few years ago the NBA could draft directly out of high school, but there were many more busts than Kobe’s or LeBron’s. With the NBA’s cap and tax system $$$ going to busts are ones that do not go to players on the roster, so the union agreed that minimum draft was 1 year out of high school. The basketball players can play pro in Europe, but usually go to college (one & done). This has greatly reduced busts, so I doubt it will be changed. The fact is that everyone who could make money in basketball made the choice to go to college, and it only applies to true freshmen, since all others are eligible for the NBA draft.

        Football is a different. The NFL does not draft until 3 years out of high school and very few NFL players had the body development when they were 19 years old where they could play. Much worse for the average college player. The NFL could start a farm system, but it is not going to happen because the NFL is not stupid. The NFL is highly successful at making money, so why would they start a losing farm system? College football does enough of the development and weeding out process for them at no cost so a NFL farm system will never happen.

        Although baseball drafts directly out of high school if a draftee enrolls in college they are not eligible for a future draft until their junior year unless they have dropped out of college. Baseball draft rights expire when the draftee enrolls. So even baseball has some restrictions on college players.

        • ccrider55 says:

          I believe a baseball player may also be eligible for the draft again in two years if they attend a JC and get an AA. I seem to recall some concern about whether a JC transfer would attend or go pro.

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      There is another important factor here that no one has mentioned: the players’ unions in professional bball and fball. Those unions set the rules for how long a high school athlete has to wait before attempting to “go pro.” Why is no pressure being brought to bear on them to change the rules so the kids can start to get paid right away?

      Of course, athletics has one unique feature Delany doesn’t mention: once you’ve worked at it outside of college, your chance to go back and do it IN college is forever forfeited. This is not true of any other profession I can think of. If you’re going to encourage kids to skip college, then you ought to encourage them to come back if that turns out to be the wrong decision.

      As an aside, is there cheating in college baseball, golf and/or hockey? I honestly cannot think of an example and nothing came up quickly after a google search.

      Well, the Morehouse College men’s soccer program and the MacMurray College tennis program both received the death penalty in the 2000s. But yeah, most of the cheating is in the revenue sports, because that’s where the money is.

      • BuckeyeBeau says:

        @MS:

        You said: “once you’ve worked at it outside of college, your chance to go back and do it IN college is forever forfeited.”

        I admit that I am not well versed in the rules that restrict college eligibility based on being paid as an athlete. Basketball is where I read the stories about so-and-so coming from Europe and being declared ineligible, etc. I admit that I don’t really understand the rules. Apparently, you can receive some money, but not too much?

        I also seem to understand that there are different rules for College Baseball. You CAN go into the minor league farm system and still be eligible to come back into the college system?

        Do I also understand there are different rules re: agents for college baseball?

        Anyway, whatever the current rules, if some sort of farm system for football were to get going, I suspect many changes would be needed, particularly concerning agents and contacts with agents.

        • bullet says:

          Eligibility is based on different sports. Ricky Williams played professional baseball, but came back as a college football player.

      • greg says:

        “This is not true of any other profession I can think of. If you’re going to encourage kids to skip college, then you ought to encourage them to come back if that turns out to be the wrong decision.”

        Delany recently stated that kids who leave early should be able to return to college at any point for the rest of their life and receive a free education.

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          “This is not true of any other profession I can think of. If you’re going to encourage kids to skip college, then you ought to encourage them to come back if that turns out to be the wrong decision.”

          Delany recently stated that kids who leave early should be able to return to college at any point for the rest of their life and receive a free education.

          That was a different proposal, for kids who attended college on an athletic scholarship, but did not complete their education.

          His new proposal is about kids who turn pro directly out of high school. He is not suggesting any way to help them get into college later on, if it turns out that they made a bad choice. As Mack noted above, when the NBA allowed kids to be drafted out of high school, most were busts. That is why they no longer allow it. Turning pro out of high school is usually a bad idea.

          • ccrider55 says:

            “As Mack noted above, when the NBA allowed kids to be drafted out of high school, most were busts. That is why they no longer allow it.”

            No. It was taking money out of those already in the players union’s pockets. It created an expanded pool of “projects” at the expense of current “projects”. Being a bust, or being successful enough to become valuable to current NBA players are a long way apart.

          • Big Ten Fan says:

            Are you suggesting that if a young athlete chooses to skip college but then fails to make it in the NFL that he should be allowed to receive a scholarship in order to finance a second chance to play pro ball?

          • greg says:

            “His new proposal is about kids who turn pro directly out of high school. He is not suggesting any way to help them get into college later on, if it turns out that they made a bad choice. ”

            If those kids never enter a university, how is it the university’s job to get them into school later on?

            I don’t see how its Jim Delany’s job to bend over backwards for kids who have no relationship with any B1G university.

          • Big Ten Fan says:

            OK, I see your point if the issue is eligibility. But how many of these athletes would choose to finance this second chance using their own resources (student loans, etc)? But then we are back where we started. Because if these athletes must finance this second chance using their own resources, then why prevent them seeking sponsorships, etc.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            Are you suggesting that if a young athlete chooses to skip college but then fails to make it in the NFL that he should be allowed to receive a scholarship in order to finance a second chance to play pro ball?

            I am suggesting that Jim Delany knows that turning pro out of high school is a mistake for about 99.9 percent of athletes. Why, then, do you think he’s out there stumping for something he knows is a terrible idea for most of the kids concerned?

            I am putting it to you that no one who actually gave a damn about the kids would suggest that.

            If those kids never enter a university, how is it the university’s job to get them into school later on?

            I don’t see how its Jim Delany’s job to bend over backwards for kids who have no relationship with any B1G university.

            The kids under discussion are prospective B1G students. If they weren’t prospective B1G athletes, he would have no reason to be talking about them. And he’s out there with ideas that are very clearly not in the kids’ interest, that in fact are entirely contrary to it, in most cases.

          • ccrider55 says:

            They can seek whatever income they like in order to attend school. Just not going to be eligible in their pro sport (assuming they were paid for play, and not for their fame). Many corporations sponsor high achieving kids through school.

          • ccrider55 says:

            “The kids under discussion are prospective B1G students. If they weren’t prospective B1G athletes,”

            And B12, ACC, SEC, etc. Are you suggesting a nanny state where no consequences attach to choices, and that all conferences owe any kid who was ever considered a prospect?

          • Big Ten Fan says:

            But why should Jim Delany give a damn about young athletes whose only reason to be in college is the possibility to play pro ball?

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            Are you suggesting a nanny state where no consequences attach to choices, and that all conferences owe any kid who was ever considered a prospect?

            Why, of course not. Don’t be silly.

            I am just pointing out that Delany is really only concerned with his employers’ self-interest. Rather than just say that, which would come across as crass, he’s suggesting completely impractical things that can’t happen, and would be pretty undesirable for the athletes if they ever did.

            If he DID care about the athletes (not that I ever expect him to), one possible way would be to allow them to return to amateur status if going pro too early turns out to be a mistake. Of course, I realize that choices have consequences, but in this case the consequences are entirely artificial. There’s nothing preventing anyone from trying their hand as a pro musician, failing at it, and then getting a music scholarship at a Big Ten school. Athletics could work that way and The World Wouldn’t End.

            Far from suggesting a “nanny state,” I am suggesting the exact opposite, where collegiate athletics would not be the artificially restricted market that it presently is.

          • BuckeyeBeau says:

            I am not sure how or why any of us are discussing whether Delany “cares.” I think we can all agree that, beyond a certain generalized concern for the welfare of student athletes and hope that young athletes are successful, Delany does NOT care.

            I think Delany’s point is that, if high school athletes don’t want to go to college, then don’t.

            The flipside is that, if you choose to go to college, you know you are not going to get paid (other than the scholarship, room and board, training, coaching, etc.). If you don’t like that choice, make a different choice. You know what you were getting yourself into; stop trying to change the bargain mid-stream.

            To expand the idea, here are the choices: for basketball, (i) wait for a year, (ii) go play in Europe for a year or (iii) go to college for a year.

            For football it is: (i) go to play for a college team for 2-3 years, (ii) wait 2-3 years work on your body, etc., or (iii) go pro in something other than football for 2-3 years.

            We know which choices are the most viable.

            But a choice is still a choice even if some of the options are not very palatable.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            But why should Jim Delany give a damn about young athletes whose only reason to be in college is the possibility to play pro ball?

            In every other field, college is supposed to prepare you for a successful career. I don’t see anything wrong with it, when the career the student seeks happens to be athletics.

            I think all of the “king” programs have athletes whose goal quite transparently is to make it to pro ball. I don’t know of any program that actively discourages or denies that. If they exist, they’re the minority.

          • Big Ten Fan says:

            Nobody at this blog is naive enough to dispute your last point. And college athletes are not the only students who consider the education process as a nuisance and distraction in the pursuit of other aims. And I see your point concerning eligibility, as it relates to a person’s right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

            In the past, the talking point was usually whether some student athletes should even be in college, because of poor grades, etc. Funny how nobody talks about that any more.

          • Big Ten Fan says:

            I post the link where a person can download Delany’s Guest Editorial as quoted above:

            http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-football/news/20130318/big-ten-jim-delany-ncaa-obannon/

            Marc is right. A phony choice is not a choice, no matter how much lipstick is used.

            The fact is that Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany did not wake up yesterday and suddenly discover this neat philosophy, and then immediately dialled up Adam Rittenberg to share the good news. He first stated this philosophy almost 20 years ago. If he is being disingenuous, then he has done good job at it.

          • BuckeyeBeau says:

            @ Big Ten Fan.

            You said: “A phony choice is not a choice, no matter how much lipstick is used.”

            If, by “phony choice,” you mean a choice that does not actually exist, then I agree. Relevant to this discussion, to the extent that there is no “farm system” for the NFL, then that is not a “choice” for HS athletes and Delany is dissembling by “offering” that as a “choice.”

            However, if, by “phony choice,” you mean some sub-optimal choice or not-very-attractive choice, then I will have to disagree vehemently. There are ALWAYS choices. That is what life is.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Whether its a choice or not, schools are not compelled to provide the choice you prefer merely because you think they should.

          • Big Ten Fan says:

            No, I mean as you say: A choice that does not actually exist is not a choice.

            For example, nothing prevents me from trying to ask Kate Moss for a date. However, do I really have a choice whether or not I can date Kate Moss.

            By the way: I read the remainder of the Guest Editorial quoted above and found this nugget:

            “Additionally, if forced to decide between adopting or adapting to the professional model, I am confident our institutions would forgo the revenues and take steps necessary to downsize the scope, breadth and activity of these historically vibrant programs. While these decisions would be difficult and sad, this would be the ultimate choice of the presidents, faculty and board of trustees of Big Ten presidents.”

            Proof in the pudding??

          • BuckeyeBeau says:

            @ ccrider55

            You said: “schools are not compelled to provide the choice you prefer merely because you think they should.”

            I 100% agree.

            My big bugaboo here is any suggestion that high school athletes are being coerced to sign their respective Letters of Intent. As I have said, one cannot be coerced by a set of suboptimal choices. You still are making choices and I’m not feeling sorry for you just because you don’t like your options.

            Furthermore, to be intellectually honest, “choices” are rarely static and unchanging.

            If I don’t like the choices being offered, one choice is to bargain for a better choice, or coerce a better choice with threats, or after-the-fact unilaterally change the “bargain” by pilfering office supplies (a trivial form of increasing one’s pay) or bring in a 3rd party to coerce a better choice, etc. etc.

            This is exactly what is going on. On NLOI day, the high school athlete chooses the “least bad” of his/her alternatives and signs the Letter of Intent. Then, maybe, he/she makes the choice to wear “APU” on his/her sleeve in an effort to negotiate a better choice.

            Basically, I have no real problem with that.

            My problem is when folks in the media and elsewhere play the “victim” and “pity” cards. These kids are not coerced into exchanging their athletic talents for an opportunity to “go pro”, for an opportunity to become a “legend,” for free education, for free food, for free rent, for free training, for free health care, for free coaching, for free tutoring, etc. etc. And they are not impoverished. The whole idea of student athletes starving is bull***p. Adrian Foster could not buy tacos because he couldn’t properly budget his $$. Further, the alleged impoverishment of student athletes is not absolute, but only in the manner of a lost opportunity. “I have $20, but if you let me sell my jersey, I would have $1020.” That does not generate any sympathy from me.

          • ccrider55 says:

            I guess we are in near agreement. I, however, think that for 90% or more student athletes signing a NLOI may be the best deal they will make in their life. I don’t believe most kids that might truly claim it was a choice of the least bad would be identifiable until at least a couple years in (J. Clowney excluded).

          • Big Ten Fan says:

            The only idea that I could offer – other than requiring student athletes to live like Buddhist monks during their first semester, i.e. shaved heads, monk robes, morning alms walks to collect food, etc – is to somehow involve the NFL and NBA to partly finance the costs of college football and basketball. I haven’t thought about the details, and don’t know whether this would work or how it should work. It’s probably wacky.

        • bullet says:

          The colleges can do that now. Texas has started doing it. DeLoss Dodds was talking the other day about how they were researching and trying to get some of their pro athletes degrees. Tom Kite was 9 hours short and Texas paid for him to finish. Kevin Durant may be going back.

          The NCAA doesn’t need to mandate that. If Big 10 schools want to do that, they can either do it inidividually or based on a conference rule.

      • Psuhockey says:

        “Of course, athletics has one unique feature Delany doesn’t mention: once you’ve worked at it outside of college, your chance to go back and do it IN college is forever forfeited. This is not true of any other profession I can think of. If you’re going to encourage kids to skip college, then you ought to encourage them to come back if that turns out to be the wrong decision.”

        I completely agree on Delany. Right now there are “student” athletes taking up scholarships with zero intention of getting a degree. They are there to further their chance at professional athletics and are forced, especially with the NFL,by the current systems to go to college (basketball players can play over seas). The NFL and the NBA love this system because they get a free minor league while the NHL and MLB have to support their own. The only loser is the athlete who actual want to get a college education but are not as talented as some of the guys who don’t. IMO, Delany isn’t encouraging kids to skip college. He is saying that there are some who have no desire to be there and why force them to do it and make the university pay them on top of the free education they don’t want in the first place.

    • It appears that the logic is the conference presidents are willing to roll the dice that the sport is popular enough that the further drop in quality loss. They just want the stench of money under the table gone and for consensus to exist that a few hundred thousand dollars in education and expenses are both equal to a job and sufficient for a student athlete. Makes sense.

    • frug says:

      http://college-basketball.si.com/2013/09/17/mark-emmerts-basketball-dilemma/

      Mark Emmert said the same thing a week ago and this guy argues doing so would be devastating for college basketball.

      • Thanks for the link, frug. I think there’s a difference between what’s good for the NCAA as an entity and what’s good for college athletics. College sports aren’t going anywhere, but the NCAA very likely will have to change.

      • BuckeyeBeau says:

        I thought this was an interesting point:

        “If the NBA, over time, views the NCAA pipeline as less and less beneficial to its own needs, there will be more motivation for the league to explore other legitimate options to the NCAA, whether it’s really blowing out the D-League, starting club structures similar to Europe, somehow utilizing Europe’s club structures as an approved farm system, etc. Any of those options successfully pursued in full would be a long-term disaster for the NCAA. A systematic weakening and possibly eventual elimination of men’s basketball as a big-money product would essentially put it out of business.”

        This is pertinent for some of the discussions above about colleges being ‘farm-systems’ for the NFL and NBA.

        It is shortsighted to say that the NCAA should not/does not care about the pro leagues. If the pros drain all the talent, college sports will be less compelling and the teams will make less $$, leading to more talent drain, less sports, etc. etc.

        In this respect, to the extent that Delany is suggesting that there will be/should be an actual NFL farm system, I think he is dissembling.

        • Psuhockey says:

          Disagree completely. NCAA fans for the most part vote for the jersey. There might be some attrition from hard core NBA or NFL fans who watch to get an idea about prospects, but there will still be a ton of people watching. The NCAA basketball tournament is still must see tv and gets great ratings even though the one year rule has all but killed the star power of NCAA basketball. By the time folks get to know the players name, they leave for the draft. This might actually help create star power in NCAA basketball again,

          • BuckeyeBeau says:

            agree. CFB and college sports are not going to vanish. See Yale and Harvard.

            but if all the talent drains, then, over time, it might be tough to fill our 100,000+ seats stadiums.

            but, I agree, it’s not going to happen in our lifetimes. but at the same time, the universities can’t completely ignore what’s going on at the pro level.

  68. BuckeyeBeau says:

    Following up on some of Marc Shepard’s thoughts, let’s start a thread on “Letting College Athletes Test The Pro-Market.”

    Let’s call these athletes Pro-2Co Transfers.

    So, I wrote this above:

    “As for an athlete ‘testing the pro market” but then still being able to come back and play for a college team, let’s think a bit.”

    First, we must have an age/time limit. Sure don’t want a 35 year old NFL retiree to go play for a college team. That would be weird. So, let’s say 2 years?

    So, high school kid name Johnson goes and gets a free agent contract with the Bears. He plays, maybe even gets on the field, but ultimately gets cut in year 2. He applies to, say, Toledo, asks to be a walk on, plays for the Rockets and is awarded a scholly by the coach.

    M’eh. I don’t think I would have a problem with that.”

    Here are other thoughts. I think more rules would be needed. For example, the Pro2Co athlete would have to go the full 4 years in order to be eligible again to be drafted. Yes? No?

    It seems to me that college sports would benefit from Pro2Co transfers. I think teams/coaches would welcome retuning talent even if that talent proved to be not-quite-ready-for-the-pros. It would, in theory, further the “get-your-degree” ideals of the NCAA. Presumably, the returning talent would be more humble, less entitled, and more willing to work and maybe more willing to get that degree.

    Are there other problems with, say, rogue boosters or with agents funneling $$ to get some 5* QB to go to Auburn in one or two years, as an example?

    Don’t know. Just tossing out 2 cents.

    • BuckeyeBeau says:

      one more thought. from the university’s standpoint, taking a pro2co transfer is a good bargain. Presumably this athlete was a 4* or 5* talent. A university was willing to trade a scholarship for the talent out of high school in the hopes of getting to a bowl game, a conference title or getting a NC.

      Seems to me it’s an even better bargain with a pro2co transfer.

      • ccrider55 says:

        Which is the competitive advantage a few schools would benefit from that the NCAA as a whole chose long ago to ban through eligibility rules.

        • BuckeyeBeau says:

          I understand the NCAA has banned it. I understand that the NCAA had reasons for setting up the system as it currently is. But the dead hand of the past need not control forever. Are there now reasons to rethink the rules? Are the now benefits to changing the rule?

          Just thought it might be interesting to explore the question.

          • ccrider55 says:

            The rules are constantly reevaluated, and if there is support for change they are revisited. External media coverage to gain eyeballs and clicks is probably not high on the presidents and chancellors list of reasons to promote a particular change.

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          @ccrider55: Did you ever meet a rule you didn’t like? Whatever the subject may be, it seems your usual response is: “They decided that a long time ago, so it must be right.”

          • ccrider55 says:

            We’re you a cheerleader backing the admins that brought the death penalty to SMU? ;) If lassie faire is you’re goal lets make the rules up at the coin flip of each game.

            Most disagreement with particular rules stem from not understanding just what they were designed to address. Those that I may not understand still have been decided by people in better position to, and not by throwing dice or darts. There were and still are perfectly viable reasons for most of them, and when they don’t fit the schools (NCAA’s) purpose any more, they get changed. ie the current move to a stipend/full cost of attendance. The reinstituting of military serviceman taking part in “organized competition” not violating the ban and costing years of eligibility.

            Bottom line, I differentiate college extra curricular athletics and activities from professional sports.

          • ccrider55 says:

            “…lets make the rules up at the coin flip of each game.”

            And then disregard them as it suits…

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            If lassie faire is you’re goal lets make the rules up at the coin flip of each game.

            The false dichotomy is a specialty of yours. Apparently, my choices are to accept each and every rule as it stands, or to have no rule at all.

            As you’ve noted, the rules change all the time. You may recall that many of the FBS presidents vowed over their dead bodies that there would never be a playoff; now, we have one. Public opinion favored it long before they did.

            You may recall that the Olympics for decades insisted that its athletes remain amateurs (which was a fiction anyway in the Communist countries). Oh, the horror that would ensue if it were changed! Finally they changed it, and the Olympics are still doing fine.

            Currently, Congress is probably the only national institution with a worse reputation than the NCAA. So I don’t see much value in the uncritical presumption that they’re so much smarter than we are.

            Besides, it ought to be pretty apparent that the schools are not exactly neutral in this. When their interests and the athletes’ interests conflict, they’ll choose their own every time.

          • ccrider55 says:

            “FBS presidents vowed over their dead bodies that there would never be a playoff; now, we have one.”

            I don’t recall the president that said that.
            Actually we don’t have a playoff, we just are calling it that. We have a invitational of four instead of two. A playoff would by defination eliminate all but conference champions. But it is a fair point. Change does happen, when in the schools interest. And I suggest that is the only interest they should worry about. Schools arrange themselves as they see fit and students choose between them, or chose not to be students. How could it be otherwise?

            “Apparently, my choices are to accept each and every rule as it stands, or to have no rule at all.”

            Accept? Not in your heart, necessarily. But that it is a rule that needs to be followed until the governing body changes it. And yes, no rule seems to be where your support often lies. Example: Requirements in order to exceed the 12 game rule in order to hold a CCG. Because others are following the rules and holding one you’ve suggested that both the size of conference requirement and the divided conference RR rule shouldn’t apply to the B12…because others are getting to play a CCG.

            The Olympic$ have become a stinking cesspool of commercialism and greed. If that’s your picture of what the NCAA should emulate…I’ll become a fan of some obscure NAIA school.

            “Besides, it ought to be pretty apparent that the schools are not exactly neutral in this.”

            How could they be? It’s their ball, field, game, school, stadium, governing organization, rules, etc. Now external forces are telling them what they can or should do with what is their’s.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            “Apparently, my choices are to accept each and every rule as it stands, or to have no rule at all.”

            Accept? Not in your heart, necessarily. But that it is a rule that needs to be followed until the governing body changes it.

            I don’t think I have ever advocated not following the rules. That doesn’t mean we have the right ones.

            And yes, no rule seems to be where your support often lies. Example: Requirements in order to exceed the 12 game rule in order to hold a CCG. Because others are following the rules and holding one you’ve suggested that both the size of conference requirement and the divided conference RR rule shouldn’t apply to the B12…because others are getting to play a CCG.

            I freely admit that I am a vigorous proponent of the free market. Given that restricting markets is a core function of the NCAA, it’s no surprise that I often think those rules are wrong.

            But that doesn’t mean I favor no rule at all. For instance, I don’t favor allowing the schools to pay their players directly. But I I could see allowing players to monetize their value any way they want, or more than they are allowed to now, without losing their eligibility.

            As I said upthread, there might be some merit to allowing players back into the amateur ranks who turn pro prematurely, and fail at it. This is, as I noted, how it works in every other field except athletics.

            I think the number of games ought to be limited. But once you’ve allowed CCGs at all, I think leagues ought to be able to qualify the two participants any way they see fit. You seem to favor what I call the “Soviet planned economy,” where central bureaucrats think they know what you need better than you do.

            Of course, the central bureaucrats are right sometimes; but more often, they’re not. Remember, this is the same group that, until recently, was micro-managing the bagels served on recruiting trips.

  69. zeek says:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304795804579097223907738780.html?mod=wsj_share_tweet

    Interesting article on declining student attendance around the country (focuses on the impact on UGa and SEC).

    • zeek says:

      “As it turns out, Georgia students left empty 39% of their designated sections of Sanford Stadium over the last four seasons, according to school records of student-ticket scans. Despite their allocation of about 18,000 seats, the number of students at games between 2009 and 2012 never exceeded 15,000.”

      Some stunning information like this throughout.

      • bullet says:

        Its a pretty accurate picture in the article. There were a mass of empty seats in the student section. And you cannot get cellular service in the stadium. We finally were able to text in the 4th quarter after people started leaving. UGA hired Florida’s Asst. AD and instead of Arizona ST. and Oklahoma St. (the previous AD wanted to raise UGA’s profile across the nation), its Idaho St.s and Coastal Carolinas along with a North Texas. They’re starting to realize that doesn’t work. Georgia usually has a pretty lively crowd, but games that are going to be massive blowouts against ooc foes give you a dead crowd.

        There was never really any doubt UGA would win barring a massive set of errors, but it was only 35-21 late in the 3rd and people were leaving. That was still the score until about 4 minutes left.

        You’ll see some tailgaters hanging around big screen TVs outside instead of going into the stadium.

        And to Alan-in case you have any thought of upgrading your tickets this weekend-be careful. A bunch of tickets got stolen in the mail and have been cancelled and replaced. UGA is now scanning tickets. The scalpers may not even know they are voided tickets. The scanning isn’t very customer friendly. Instead of rolling in pretty quickly, you stand in line 10-15 minutes to get in while they scan the tickets.

    • BuckeyeBeau says:

      yep, good read.

      this is a bit eye-opening: “Georgia officials have been so concerned by student attendance that they reassigned 2,000 seats previously reserved for students to young alumni before this season. “It was a significant hole, and it was very noticeable,” Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said. “It was way too obvious.”

      goes to points made by John U. Bacon in the linked articles above and to comments made on here about how TV has become the overriding concern. ‘significant hole” “very noticeable” “way too obvious” Wow. in the pre-TV era, the Georgia AD would have spoken very differently.

      fwiw, we on this board have noted this trend for some time. I don’t remember who and when but I remember several threads discussing how fans and crowds are just props and background for the TV coverage. And here the GA AD shows he’s bought into that idea.

      • ccrider55 says:

        Paint the seat backs with multicolored fan silhouettes?

      • zeek says:

        I think the first time the real shift to TV as a primary driver was noted by Maryland President Wallace Loh when he said that the money is becoming more about eyeballs than seats. Most of the growth in revenue is likely to come from TV if you’re talking about real growth.

    • cutter says:

      Michigan graduate Pat Stansik did a number of videos interviewing undergrads (and sometimes their parents) at the pre-game parties on football Saturdays. They’re all pretty hilarious, but perhaps more importantly, they shed a light at the sort of social interaction that among students surrounding these events–and what the ADs are competing against in terms of retaining their interest, arriving to the games in a timely manner, etc.

      Here’s one from last September against UMass: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-suNE1kQD4

      And from November 2011 (against Nebraska): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oqYHs–4dQ

      I think you get the idea . . . .

  70. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Frank – Illinois just agreed to a home and home with North Carolina. Chapel Hill in ’15 and Champaign in ’16.

    http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/9726436/north-carolina-tar-heels-illinois-illini-agree-two-year-series

    • Richard says:

      What’s really interesting is that while upper-middle class B10 programs like Wisconsin and MSU seem like they’re going to be willing to forgo 7 home games every year when the 9-game conference slate commences (at least in the first several years; in the case of Wiscy because they’re really beefing up their OOC slate compared to the recent past), Illinois and Minny seem determined to have 7 home games each year even with 9 conference games (which would mean 1 OOC HaH series and 2 guarantee games every year).

    • Brian says:

      Meanwhile, AL just backed out of their series with MSU over uncertainty about the future SEC schedule.

  71. zeek says:

    http://www.chicagorealestatedaily.com/article/20130926/CRED01/130929835/big-ten-trades-up

    Crain’s walkthrough with Delany of new Big Ten headquarters (looks like they spent a pretty penny on it).

  72. loki_the_bubba says:

    Back to realignment. Rumors on the CUSA boards claiming that starting next week:

    1. AFA and Army to AAC
    2. UTEP to MWC
    3. James Madison to CUSA

    Not necessarily in that order.

    • ccrider55 says:

      AFA to the AACK? Aaaaaa!

      • David Brown says:

        I just do not buy it. Of course, if it would happen, for the UTEP Miners escaping Conference USA, would almost be on the Fiesta Level of Utah State & San Jose State escaping the WAC. Basically, the only way that makes sense from an Air Force point of view is if Army is also going to the AAC (which puts all 3 Service Academies together, and frees up non-Conference opponents (BYU & Notre Dame perhaps?). The travel is a big reason why. Remember, Colorado Springs is only about 2 & 1/2 hours from Fort Collins (Colorado State), and less than 4 four from Laramie, Wyoming (although after the beating the Falcons took at home from the Cowboys, they may not miss that trip).

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